My 80 starry encounters

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Charlton Heston
Actor, Ben-Hur
With features chiseled in stone, and renowned for playing a long list of historical figures, particularly in Biblical epics, the tall, well built and ruggedly handsome Charlton Heston was one of Hollywood's greatest leading men and remained active in front of movie cameras for over sixty years. As a Hollywood star...
Dustin Hoffman
Dustin Lee Hoffman was born in Los Angeles, California, to Lillian (Gold) and Harry Hoffman, who was a furniture salesman and prop supervisor for Columbia Pictures. He was raised in a Jewish family (from Ukraine, Russia-Poland, and Romania). Hoffman graduated from Los Angeles High School in 1955, and went to Santa Monica City College...
John Malkovich
John Gavin Malkovich was born in Christopher, Illinois, to Joe Anne (Choisser), who owned a local newspaper, and Daniel Leon Malkovich, a state conservation director. His paternal grandparents were Croatian. In 1976, Malkovich joined Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre, newly founded by his friend Gary Sinise...
Vanessa Redgrave
On January 30, 1937, renowned theatre actor Michael Redgrave was performing in a production of Hamlet in London. During the curtain call, the show's lead, Laurence Olivier, announced to the audience: "tonight a great actress was born". This was in reference to his co-star's newborn daughter, Vanessa Redgrave...
Alec Guinness
Alec Guinness was an English actor. After an early career on the stage, he was featured in several of the Ealing Comedies, including The Ladykillers and Kind Hearts and Coronets in which he played eight different characters. He is also known for his six collaborations with David Lean: Herbert Pocket in Great Expectations (1946)...
Jack Lemmon
Jack Lemmon was born in Newton, Massachusetts, to Mildred Burgess LaRue (Noel) and John Uhler Lemmon, Jr., the president of a doughnut company. His ancestry included Irish (from his paternal grandmother) and English. Jack attended Ward Elementary near his Newton, MA home. At age 9 he was sent to Rivers Country Day School...
Maggie Smith
One of the world's most famous and distinguished actresses, Dame Maggie Smith was born Margaret Natalie Smith in Essex. Her Scottish mother, Margaret (Hutton), worked as a secretary, and her English father, Nathaniel Smith, was a teacher at Oxford University. Smith has been married twice: to actor Robert Stephens and to playwright Beverley Cross...
Mickey Rooney
Mickey Rooney was born Joe Yule Jr. on September 23, 1920 in Brooklyn, New York. He first took the stage as a toddler in his parents vaudeville act at 17 months old. He made his first film appearance in 1926. The following year, he played the lead character in the first Mickey McGuire short film. It was in this popular film series that he took the stage name Mickey Rooney...
Teresa Wright
A natural and lovely talent who was discovered for films by Samuel Goldwyn, the always likable Teresa Wright distinguished herself early on in high-caliber, Oscar-worthy form -- the only performer ever to be nominated for Oscars for her first three films. Always true to herself, she was able to earn Hollywood stardom on her own unglamorized terms...
Jeremy Irons
Elegant and handsome British actor Jeremy Irons was born in Cowes, Isle of Wight, a small island just off the south coast of England. He is the son of Barbara Anne Brereton (Sharpe) and Paul Dugan Irons, an accountant. Young Jeremy didn't prove very fond of figures. A typical islander, he used to go to mainland England only once a year...
Glenn Close
Six time Academy Award-nominated actress Glenn Close was born and raised in Greenwich, Connecticut. She is the daughter of Elizabeth Mary Hester "Bettine" (Moore) and William Taliaferro Close (William Close), a prominent doctor. Both of her parents were from upper-class northeastern families. Glenn...
Michael Gambon
Sir Michael Gambon was born in Cabra, Dublin, Ireland, to Mary (Hoare), a seamstress, and Edward Gambon, an engineer. After joining the National Theatre, under the Artistic Directorship of Sir Laurence Olivier, Gambon went on to appear in a number of leading roles in plays written by Alan Ayckbourn...
Timothy Dalton
At a consistently lean 6' 2", green-eyed Timothy Dalton may very well be one of the last of the dying breed of swashbuckling, classically trained Shakespearean actors who have forged simultaneous successful careers in theater, television and film. He has been comparison-shopped roundly for stepping into roles played by other actors...
Twiggy is a top model of the late 1960s, who made skinny an "inny", along with other famous skinny models such as Jean Shrimpton ("The Shrimp"), Veruschka von Lehndorff, and Penelope Tree ("The Tree"). She was born Leslie Hornby on September 19, 1949, in Twickenham, Middlesex, England, one of three daughters of 'Nell Hornby' (née Nellie Lydia Reeman)...
John Gielgud
Actor, Gandhi
Born in London, England, John Gielgud trained at Lady Benson's Acting School and RADA, London. Best known for his Shakespearean roles in the theater, he first played Hamlet at the age of 26. He worked under the tutelage of Lilian Bayliss with friend and fellow performer Laurence Olivier and other contemporaries of the National Theatre at the "Old Vic"...
Ann Miller
Ann Miller was born Johnnie Lucille Ann Collier on April 12, 1923 in Chireno, Texas. She lived there until she was nine, when her mother left her philandering father and moved with Ann to Los Angeles, California. Even at that young age, she had to support her mother, who was hearing-impaired and unable to hold a job...
Joely Richardson
Actress, The Patriot
For Joely the theater must be in her genes. Daughter of Tony Richardson and Vanessa Redgrave, and granddaughter of actor Sir Michael Redgrave, she is the niece of Lynn Redgrave and her late sister Natasha Richardson was also an actress. Former husband Tim Bevan is a producer. However the genes were slow...
Liv Ullmann
Actress, Persona
Liv Ullmann's father was a Norwegian engineer who used to work abroad, so as a child she lived in Tokyo, Canada, New York and Oslo. In the mid-'50s she made her stage debut and in 1957 made her film debut. She really became successful, however, when she began to work for Swedish director Ingmar Bergman in such films as Persona...
Kieran Culkin
Kieran Kyle Culkin was born September 30, 1982 in New York City, New York. He is the son of Christopher Culkin, a former stage and child actor, and Patricia Brentrup. He is the brother of Shane Culkin, Dakota Culkin, Macaulay Culkin, Quinn Culkin, Christian Culkin, and Rory Culkin. His mother...
Colin Hanks
Actor, King Kong
Colin Lewes Hanks is an American actor. He was born in Sacramento, California, to actors Samantha Lewes and Tom Hanks. Colin is best-known for his work as "Jack Bailey" in the series, The Good Guys and as "Alex Whitman" in Roswell. Hanks' best-known film role may be in the teen movie...
Alison Lohman
Alison Lohman was born in Palm Springs, California, to Diane (Dunham), a patisserie owner, and Gary Lohman, an architect. Her ancestry includes English, German, and Scottish. She grew up in a family with no showbiz connections but she always wanted to perform. By age 9, she had landed her first professional...
Alan Bates
If there was ever an actor whose choice of film projects suggested a pure love of acting rather than an interest in commercial gain, it would have to be Alan Bates. A supremely talented and versatile actor, Bates hasn't attained the stardom of far lesser performers because of his preference for challenging and interesting work and an avoidance of being type-cast...
Eddie Albert
A graduate of the University of Minnesota, Eddie Albert was a circus trapeze flier before becoming a stage and radio actor. He made his film debut in 1938 and has worked steadily since, often cast as the friendly, good-natured buddy of the hero but occasionally being cast as a villain; one of his most memorable roles was as the cowardly...
Griffin Dunne
Griffin Dunne was born on June 8, 1955 in New York City, the oldest child of Dominick Dunne, a producer, actor, and writer, and Ellen Beatriz (Griffin) Dunne, an activist. His sister was actress Dominique Dunne. He grew up mainly in Los Angeles, California and attended school in Colorado before moving back to New York in the late 1970s...
Daniel Day-Lewis
Born in London, England, Daniel Michael Blake Day-Lewis is the second child of Cecil Day-Lewis (A.K.A. Nicholas Blake) (Poet Laureate of England) and his second wife, Jill Balcon. His maternal grandfather was Sir Michael Balcon, an important figure in the history of British cinema and head of the famous Ealing Studios...
Rod Steiger
Rodney Stephen Steiger was born in Westhampton, New York, to Augusta Amelia (Driver) and Frederick Jacob Steiger, both vaudevillians. He was of German and Austrian ancestry. After his parents' divorce, Steiger was raised by his mother in Newark, New Jersey. He dropped out of Westside High school at age 16 and joined the Navy...
Michelle Yeoh
Born as Yang Zi Qiong in the mining town of Ipoh, in West Malaysia, in the lunar year of the Tiger, Michelle is the daughter of Janet Yeoh and Yeoh Kian Teik, a lawyer and politician. She is of Han Chinese (Hokkien) descent, and spoke English and Malay before Chinese. A ballet dancer since age 4, she moved to London...
Ang Lee
Director, Life of Pi
Born in 1954 in Pingtung, Taiwan, Ang Lee has become one of today's greatest contemporary filmmakers. Ang graduated from the National Taiwan College of Arts in 1975 and then came to the U.S. to receive a B.F.A. Degree in Theatre/Theater Direction at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a Masters Degree in Film Production at New York University...
Peter Ustinov
Actor, Robin Hood
Peter Ustinov was a two-time Academy Award-winning film actor, a director, writer, journalist and raconteur. He wrote and directed many acclaimed stage plays and led numerous international theatrical productions. He was born Peter Alexander Freiherr von Ustinov on April 16, 1921, in Swiss Cottage, London...
Frank Langella
Frank Langella was born in Bayonne, New Jersey, to Angelina and Frank A. Langella, a business executive. He is of Italian descent. A stage and screen actor of extreme versatility, Frank Langella won acclaim on the New York stage in "Seascape" and followed it up with the title role in the Edward Gorey production of "Dracula"...
Tommy Tune
Tommy Tune is possibly the tallest dancer in the country. He was in the New York Company of "How Now Dow Jones" when Ernest Lehman engaged him to play Ambrose Kemper in the film, "Hello, Dolly!". His father is a Texas restaurateur. Tommy acted in, directed and choreographed school productions, arrived in New York St...
Rex Smith
A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Smith debuted on Broadway in "Grease" in 1978. He enjoyed a stint as a teen idol in the late 70s and had a gold top-10 single, "You Take My Breath Away", in 1979. He later appeared in both the stage and film versions of The Pirates of Penzance, and he has also appeared on stage in "The Human Comedy"...
Ned Beatty
Stocky, genial-looking supporting actor Ned Beatty was once hailed by Daily Variety as the "busiest actor in Hollywood". Ned Thomas Beatty was born in Louisville, Kentucky, to Margaret (Fortney) and Charles William Beatty. He grew up fishing and working on farms. His hometown of St. Matthews, Kentucky...
Sarah Brightman
Soundtrack, Wanted
Sarah Brightman's soprano voice has sold millions of records and been heard in arenas, cathedrals, and Olympic stadiums around the world. Brightman is the winner of more than 180 gold and platinum awards in 40 countries, and is a concert artist who has performed before millions of fans on every continent...
Brendan Fraser
Actor, The Mummy
Brendan James Fraser was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, to Canadian parents Carol Mary (Genereux), a sales counselor, and Peter Fraser, a journalist and travel executive. He is of Irish, Scottish, German, Czech, and French-Canadian ancestry. As his parents frequently moved, Brendan can claim affinity with Ottawa...
Liza Minnelli
Actress, Cabaret
Liza Minnelli was born on March 12, 1946, the daughter of Judy Garland and movie director Vincente Minnelli. She was practically raised at MGM studios while her parents worked long hours there and she made her film debut at fourteen months of age in the movie In the Good Old Summertime. Her parents divorced in 1951 and...
Rip Torn
Rip Torn was born Elmore Rual Torn, Jr. on February 6, 1931 in Temple, Texas. "Rip" is a family name, taken by generations of Torn men and bestowed on Elmore by his father, who was also called "Rip". Torn attended Texas A & M and the University of Texas, where he majored in animal husbandry. Extremely naive when he was young...
Elizabeth Taylor
Actress, Giant
Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor was considered one of the last, if not the last, major star to have come out of the old Hollywood studio system. She was known internationally for her beauty, especially for her violet eyes, with which she captured audiences early on in her youth and kept the world hooked on with since...
Gore Vidal
Writer, Caligula
Gore Vidal was born Eugene Louis Vidal in 1925 in West Point, New York, to Nina (Gore) and West Point aeronautics instructor and aviation pioneer Eugene Luther Vidal. The Vidals endured a rocky marriage divorcing ten years after Gore's birth. Young Gore spent much of his childhood with his blind grandfather...
Dolores Gray
Dabbling in practically every facet of the business during her over six-decade career -- nightclubs, cabaret, radio, recordings, TV, film and Broadway -- sultry, opulent, hard-looking singing star Dolores Gray, distinctive for her sharp, somewhat equine features, lived the high life for most of her time on earth...
Richard Burton
Probably more frequently remembered for his turbulent personal life and multiple marriages, Richard Burton was nonetheless regarded as one of the great British actors of the post-WWII period. Burton was born Richard Walter Jenkins in Pontrhydyfen, Wales, to Edith Maude (Thomas) and Richard Walter Jenkins...
Kevin Bacon
Actor, Apollo 13
Kevin Norwood Bacon was born on July 8, 1958 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Ruth Hilda (Holmes), an elementary school teacher, and Edmund Norwood Bacon, a prominent architect who was on the cover of Time Magazine in November 1964. Kevin's early training as an actor came from The Manning Street. His debut as the strict Chip Diller in Animal House almost seems like an inside joke...
Lea Salonga
Actress, Mulan
Lea Salonga began her singing career at the age of ten, when she recorded her first album, Small Voice. She also hosted her own musical TV show, "Love, Lea". She starred in "Miss Saigon" and was then offered the role of the singing voice of Jasmine in the Disney film Aladdin. She has continued to record albums. Lea has performed for Queen Elizabeth II, George Bush, and Bill Clinton.
Cliff Robertson
Actor, Spider-Man
A serious and talented actor, at his best playing somewhat troubled characters, Cliff Robertson has been a fairly successful leading man through most of his career without ever becoming a major star. Following strong stage and television experience, he made an interesting film debut in a supporting role in Picnic...
Paul Simon
Soundtrack, Forrest Gump
Born on October 13, 1941 in Newark New Jersey, Paul Simon is one of the greatest singer/songwriters ever. In 1957, he and high school pal, Art Garfunkel, wrote and recorded the single, "Hey Schoolgirl", under the name "Tom and Jerry". After some failures, they broke up. Simon still wrote and recorded music as "Tico and The Triumps" and "Jerry Landis"...
Helen Reddy
The #1 Grammy-winning "I Am Woman" became not only THE anthem of the feminist movement during the radical 1970s, but also the signature song for its crop-haired composer and singer Helen Reddy. Three decades later this is the hit people still remember her for, despite the fact she had an abundance of other "top ten" records over the course of her long career...
Harry Guardino
Virile Brooklyn-born actor Harry Guardino, with dark, wavy hair and a perpetual worried look on his craggy-looking mug, started out in the acting school of hard knocks, slumming for nearly a decade in small, obscure 'tough guy' film parts in the early to mid 50s. A definite man's man, he finally attracted...
Maureen O'Sullivan
Maureen Paula O'Sullivan was born on May 17, 1911 in County Roscommon, Ireland, to Evangeline "Mary Eva" Lovatt (Frazer) and Charles Joseph O'Sullivan, an officer in the Connaught Rangers. She was of Irish, English, and Scottish descent. The future mother of Mia Farrow was educated in private Catholic girls schools in London...
Jack Wagner
Born in Washington, Missouri, the son of Peter Wagner, a car salesman who died in 1990, and his wife, Scotty, he took up golf at age 10 and spent his teen years planning on becoming a pro. Performing on stage was just an extracurricular activity for him at the local St. Gertrude School though he won raves...
Stephen Geoffreys
Stephen Geoffreys made a strong and distinct impression with his winning blend of wild energy and manic intensity that he brought to a handful of hugely enjoyable comedies and horror films made throughout the 1980s. He was born Stephen Geoffrey Miller on November 22, 1964, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Geoffreys...
Alan Price
Soundtrack, Casino
Alfonso Ribeiro
Alfonso Ribeiro was born in New York on September 21, 1971. Alfonso's family is from Trinidad & Tobago. Although rumor has been that he is of Dominican descent, he has stated in an interview that this is false. Neither he nor his family are from the Dominican Republic; they originate from Trinidad & Tobago...
Whitney Houston
Actress, The Bodyguard
Whitney Elizabeth Houston was born into a musical family on 9 August 1963, in Newark, New Jersey, the daughter of gospel star Cissy Houston, cousin of singing star Dionne Warwick and goddaughter of soul legend Aretha Franklin. She began singing in the choir at her church, The New Hope Baptist Church in Newark...
Kris Allen
Kris Allen was born on June 21, 1985 in Jacksonville, Arkansas, USA as Kristopher Neil Allen. He is best known as the winner for the eighth season of American Idol. In 2007, he released a album titled Brand New Shoes. He has been married to Katy O'Connell since September 26, 2008. They have two children.
Skeeter Davis
Soundtrack, Girl, Interrupted
Skeeter Davis was one of the first female vocalists to become a top level star in the country music field. Born Mary Frances Penick on December 30, 1931, Davis began performing in her native Kentucky as part of a duet with high school friend Betty Jack Davis in 1949. The teenagers, dubbed The Davis Sisters...
Wynton Marsalis
Wynton Marsalis is widely recognized as the pre-eminent jazz artist of our time. He is hailed not only as a performer on the trumpet, but also as a music educator and a promoter of the history and culture of jazz. Marsalis is also an established artist in performing trumpet in works of classical music, and he is a leader in civic matters...
Boris Becker
Boris Franz Becker was born on November 22, 1967 in Leimen, West Germany, the only son in the family of an architect. His father built the tennis center (Blau-Weiss Tennisklub), where young Becker was usually playing against young Steffi Graf in training matches. In 1984 he became a professional tennis player...
Nicole Scherzinger
Nicole Scherzinger was born on June 29 in Honolulu, and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. While attending a performing arts high school, she won the Coca-Cola Classic Talent Contest and performed in many plays at The Actors Theatre of Louisville. She then furthered her studies majoring in theater arts at Wright State University before entering the premiere season of the WB's television show...
Joshua Bell
Music Department, The Red Violin
Born in Bloomington, Indiana in 1967, Joshua Bell began playing the violin at age 4. Growing up, he didn't focus on the violin exclusively. His other interests included video games, computers, cars, and sports. In 1978, he was a national tennis champion. However, at age 11 he attended the Meadowmount music camp and subsequently began to devote more time to the violin...
Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey was born in Long Island, New York. She is the daughter of Patricia (Hickey), a singer and vocal coach, who is of Irish descent, and Alfred Roy Carey, an engineer, who was of Afro-Cuban ancestry. Mariah attended Greenlawn's Harborfields High School. In June of 1990, Mariah made her debut with "Mariah Carey" which entered at #73...
Cliff Richard
Cliff Richard burst onto the rock'n'roll world in 1958 with his hit single Move It. He was then known as Britain's answer to Elvis Presley. His first film was Serious Charge followed by Expresso Bongo, Wonderful to Be Young! and Summer Holiday. Wonderful to Be Young! and Summer Holiday were both massive hits for Cliff in Britain and overseas where Cliff was now a major pop star...