stars I've met or seen in person
Born in the Astoria section of Queens, New York City, Ethel Merman was surely the pre-eminent star of 'Broadway' musical comedy. Though untrained in singing, she could belt out a song like quite no one else, and was sought after by major songwriters such as Irving Berlin
and Cole Porter
. Having debuted in 1930 in "Girl Crazy...
William Shatner has notched up an impressive 50-plus years in front of the camera, most recently displaying comedic talent, and being instantly recognizable to several generations of cult television fans as the square-jawed Captain James T. Kirk, commander of the starship U.S.S. Enterprise. Shatner was born in Côte Saint-Luc...
Exotic leading man of American films, famed as much for his completely bald head as for his performances, Yul Brynner masked much of his life in mystery and outright lies designed to tease people he considered gullible. It was not until the publication of the books "Yul: The Man Who Would Be King" and "Empire and Odyssey" by his son...
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"...
This elegant singer/actress initially had designs on becoming an opera singer. Born in Montana on May 20, 1933, and christened Constance Mary Towers, she appeared on radio as a child singer. Her family moved to New York where she subsequently studied at the Julliard School of Music and the American Academy of the Dramatic Arts (AADA)...
Comedienne Dorothy Loudon had the confidence and talent to make anything or anyone around her funny. The veteran singer/entertainer earned the respect of theatergoers long ago with her hilarious, fully played-out characters on the musical stage. She was born in Boston in 1925 and grew up in both Indianapolis and Claremont...
Frank Sinatra was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, to Italian immigrants Natalina Della (Garaventa), from Northern Italy, and Saverio Antonino Martino Sinatra, a Sicilian boxer, fireman, and bar owner. Growing up on the gritty streets of Hoboken made Sinatra determined to work hard to get ahead. Starting out as a saloon singer in musty little dives (he carried his own P.A...
Shirley MacLaine was born Shirley MacLean Beaty in Richmond, Virginia. Her mother, Kathlyn Corinne (MacLean), was a drama teacher from Nova Scotia, Canada, and her father, Ira Owens Beaty, a professor of psychology and real estate agent, was from Virginia. Her brother, Warren Beatty
, was born on March 30, 1937. Her ancestry includes English and Scottish...
Since starring in his first film, Splendor in the Grass
, Warren Beatty has been said to have demonstrated a greater longevity in movies than any actor of his generation. Few people have taken so many responsibilities for all phases of the production of films as producer, director, writer, and actor, and few have evidenced so high a level of integrity in a body of work...
The remarkable, hyper-ambitious Material Girl who never stops reinventing herself, Madonna is a seven-time Grammy Award-winner who has sold over three hundred million records and CDs to adoring fans worldwide. Her film career, however, is another story. Her performances have consistently drawn scathing or laughable reviews from film critics...
Actress and singer Ann-Margret is one of the most famous sex symbols and actresses of the 1960s and beyond. She continued her career through the following decades and into the 21st century. Ann-Margret was born Ann-Margret Olsson in Valsjöbyn, Jämtland County, Sweden, to Anna Regina (Aronsson) and Carl Gustav Olsson...
Julia Elizabeth Wells was born on October 1, 1935, in England. Her mother, Barbara Ward (Morris), and stepfather, both vaudeville performers, discovered her freakish but undeniably lovely four-octave singing voice and immediately got her a singing career. She performed in music halls throughout her childhood and teens...
René Murat Auberjonois was born on June 1, 1940 in New York City. René was born into an already artistic family, which included his grandfather, a well-known Swiss painter, and his father Fernand, a writer. The Auberjonois family moved to Paris shortly after World War II, and it was there that René made an important career decision at the age of six...
Boyishly cute, diminutive and strong as a bull, but as graceful as any gazelle or swan, Mikhail Baryshnikov is a household name even to non-balletomanes. Widely considered to be one of the greatest and biggest names in dance. Mikhail began his ballet studies in his native Riga, Latvia. He was accepted by the Leningrad Choreographic School...
Rex Harrison was born Reginald Carey Harrison in Huyton, Lancashire, England, to Edith Mary (Carey) and William Reginald Harrison, a cotton broker. He changed his name to Rex as a young boy, knowing it was the Latin word for "King". Starting out on his theater career at age 18, his first job at the Liverpool Rep Theatre was nearly his last - dashing across the stage to say his one line...
Stewart Granger was born James Leblanche Stewart in London, the grandson of the actor "Luigi Lablache". He attended Epsom College but left after deciding not to pursue a medical degree. He decided to try acting and attended Webber-Douglas School of Dramatic Art, London. By 1935, he made his stage debut in "The Cardinal" at the Little Theatre Hull ...
Husky voiced Glynis is the daughter of actor Mervyn Johns
. Best known for her light comedy roles and often playful flirtation, Glynis was born in South Africa while her parents were on tour there (her mother was a concert pianist) but was always proud of her Welsh roots and took delight in playing the female lead (opposite Richard Burton
) in the classic Under Milk Wood
Nicol Williamson was an enormously talented actor who was considered by some critics to be the finest actor of his generation in the late 1960s and the 1970s, rivaled only by Albert Finney
, whom Williamson bested in the classics. Williamson's 1969 "Hamlet" at the Roundhouse Theatre was a sensation in London...
Actor and musician Bruce Willis is well known for playing wisecracking or hard-edged characters, often in spectacular action films. Collectively, he has appeared in films that have grossed in excess of $2.5 billion USD, placing him in the top ten stars in terms of box office receipts. Walter Bruce Willis was born on March 19...
Raven-haired, suavely handsome and prolific actor Alec Baldwin was born on April 3, 1958 in Massapequa, New York, and is the oldest, and easily the best-known, of the four Baldwin brothers in the acting business (the others are Stephen Baldwin
, William Baldwin
and Daniel Baldwin
). Alexander Rae Baldwin III is the son of Carol Newcomb (Martineau) and Alexander Rae Baldwin...
Jessica Phyllis Lange was born 1949 in Cloquet, Minnesota, to Dorothy Florence (Sahlman) and Albert John Lange, a traveling salesman and teacher. She is of Finnish (mother) and Dutch and German (father) descent. She obtained a scholarship to study art at the University of Minnesota, but instead went to Paris to study drama...
Tony Danza is an American actor, perhaps best known for starring on some of television's most beloved and long-running series, including Taxi (1978-1983) and Who's the Boss (1984-1992). Danza was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, to Anne (Cammisa), a bookkeeper, and Matty Iadanza, a garbageman...
Cybill Lynne Shepherd was born in Memphis, Tennessee, to Patty, a homemaker, and William Shepherd, a small business owner. Named after her grandfather, Cy, and her father, Bill, Shepherd's career began at a young age in modeling, when she won the "Miss Teenage Memphis" contest in 1966 and the "Model of the Year" contest in 1968...
David Hasselhoff has become one of the most recognizable faces on television and throughout the world. Aside from starring in Knight Rider
, he is also an accomplished singer and popular recording artist. David Michael Hasselhoff was born on July 17, 1952 in Baltimore, Maryland...
Jean Stapleton was born Jeanne Murray in Manhattan, New York City, to Marie A. (Stapleton), an opera singer, and Joseph Edward Murray, a billboard advertising salesman. Her paternal grandparents were Irish. She was a cousin of actress Betty Jane Watson
. Other relatives in show business were her uncle...
Carroll was born in Manhattan and raised in Forest Hills, a heavily Jewish community in New York City's borough of Queens. After graduating from high school in 1942, O'Connor joined the Merchant Marines and worked on ships in the Atlantic. In 1946, he enrolled at the University of Montana to study English...
As the short, hypertensive male counterpart of the stellar husband-and-wife comedy team "Stiller & Meara", Jerry Stiller and wife Anne Meara
were on top of the comedy game in the 1960s, a steady and hilarious presence on television variety, notably The Ed Sullivan Show
, on which they appeared 36 times...
Comedienne Anna Meara was born September 20, 1929, in Brooklyn, New York, to Mary (Dempsey) and Edward Joseph Meara, who were both of Irish descent. She and her husband, Jerry Stiller
were members of the improvisational company, the Compass Players, which later became SCTV
. They performed as a duo under the name "Stiller and Meara"...
He breathed life into Batman. Adam West was born Billy (William) West Anderson in Walla Walla, Washington, to parents Otto West Anderson and his wife Audrey. At age 10 Adam had a cache of comic books, and "Batman" made a big impression on him--the comic hero was part bat-man (a la Count Dracula) and part world's greatest detective (a la Charlie Chan and Sherlock Holmes)...
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
James Stewart was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning one in competition for The Philadelphia Story
and receiving an Academy Lifetime Achievement award. Stewart was named the third greatest male screen legend of the Golden Age Hollywood by the American Film Institute. He was a major Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer contract star...
Born in New York City to legendary screen star Henry Fonda
and New York socialite Frances Seymour Brokaw, Jane Seymour Fonda was destined early to an uncommon and influential life in the limelight. Although she initially showed little inclination to follow her father's trade, she was prompted by...
Known as "The First lady of the American Theater", Helen Hayes had a legendary career on stage and in films and television that spanned over eighty years. Hayes was born in Washington, D.C., to Catherine Estelle "Essie" Hayes, an actress who worked in touring companies, and Francis van Arnum Brown, a clerk and salesman...
This athletically built, dark-haired American actor/screenwriter/director may never be mentioned by old-school film critics in the same breath as, say, Richard Burton
or Alec Guinness
; however, movie fans worldwide have been flocking to see Stallone's films for over 30 years, making "Sly" one of Hollywood's biggest-ever box office draws...
Yale-educated Dick Cavett established his reputation as the most erudite of American talk show hosts in the late 1960s and early '70s. Although there were many contenders who took on Johnny Carson
, the undisputed heavyweight champion of late-night TV, Cavett generally was considered the most successful of the pretenders to Carson's throne...
Born May 12, 1907 in Hartford, Connecticut, she was the daughter of a doctor and a suffragette, both of whom always encouraged her to speak her mind, develop it fully, and exercise her body to its full potential. An athletic tomboy as a child, she was also very close to her brother, Tom, and was devastated at age 14 to find him dead...
"Want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing". If you have not heard of Brooke Shields before, this tagline from her Calvin Klein
Jeans ad had to grab your attention. Not that she has not had a previously noteworthy resume. She was born on May 31, 1965 in New York City and, at age 12...
Tony Randall was born on February 26, 1920 in Tulsa, Oklahoma as Aryeh Leonard Rosenberg. He attended Tulsa Central High School and later Northwestern University and New York City's Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre. After graduating, he starred in two plays: George Bernard Shaw
's 'Candida' alongside 'Jane Cowl' and 'Emyln Williams'' 'The Corn Is Green' alongside Ethel Barrymore
As a film character actor, Klugman was the epitome of the everyman. He was one of the pioneers of television acting in the 1950s, and is best remembered for his 1970s TV work as Oscar Madison on The Odd Couple
and as the medical examiner on Quincy M.E.
Actress-comedienne Bea Arthur was born on May 13, 1922 in New York City to a Jewish family. She grew up in Maryland, where her parents ran a dress shop. At 12 years old, she was the tallest girl in her school at 5'9". She earned the title "wittiest" girl in her school, and Bea's dream was to be in show business...
Betty White was born in Oak Park, Illinois, to Christine Tess (Cachikis), a homemaker, and Horace Logan White, a lighting company executive. She is of Danish, Greek, English, and Welsh descent. Although best known as the devious Sue Ann Nivens on the classic sitcom Mary Tyler Moore
and the ditzy Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls
A New York stage actress in the 1950s, McClanahan was plucked from the stage by Norman Lear
for roles on All in the Family
and later Maude
. For two years (1982 - 1984), she played "Aunt Fran" on Mama's Family
until her character was killed off and she joined the cast of Golden Girls. She hit her comedic stride as a sharp tongued oversexed Southern belle on The Golden Girls
She was truly one mother of a mom...on stage, on film and on TV. A favorite firecracker on 80s and 90s television, tiny character player Estelle Getty became best known for her carping, meddlesome moms -- complete with bemused, cynical looks, irreverent digs and dead-pan Henny Youngman
Born in 1931, Bronx-born Hal Linden was the son of Charles Lipshitz and Frances Rosen and had an older brother who would become a future professor of music at Bowling Green State University, Ohio. Similarly musical, Hal took up classical clarinet in his late teens and played regularly with symphony orchestras...
After almost fifty years in the music business, Tina Turner has become one of the most commercially-successful international female rock stars to date. Her sultry, powerful voice, her incredible legs, her time-tested beauty and her unforgettable story all contribute to her legendary status. Tina Turner was born Anna Mae Bullock in Nutbush...
David Bowie is widely regarded as one of the most influential writers of pop music. Born David Jones, he changed his name to Bowie in the 1960s, to avoid confusion with the then well-known Davy Jones
(lead singer of The Monkees
). The 1960s were not a happy period for Bowie, who remained a struggling artist...
Ringo Starr is a British musician, actor, director, writer, and artist best known as the drummer of The Beatles
who also coined the title 'A Hard day's Night' for The Beatles' first movie. He was born Richard Starkey on July 7, 1940, in a small two-storey house in the working class area of Liverpool...
Sir Elton John is one of pop music's great survivors. Born 25 March, 1947, as Reginald Kenneth Dwight, he started to play the piano at the early age of four. At the age of 11, he won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music. His first band was called Bluesology. He later auditioned (unsuccessfully) as lead singer for the progressive rock bands King Crimson
and Gentle Giant...
Rosemary Clooney was born in Maysville, Kentucky, to Marie Frances (Guilfoyle) and Andrew Joseph Clooney. She was one of five children. Her father was of Irish and German descent, and her mother was of Irish and English ancestry. She grew up in Maysville, where she and her sister Betty Clooney
used to sing in her grandfather's mayoral election campaigns...
Sir Paul McCartney is a key figure in contemporary culture as a singer, composer, poet, writer, artist, humanitarian, entrepreneur, and holder of more than 3 thousand copyrights. He is in the "Guinness Book of World Records" for most records sold, most #1s (shared), most covered song, "Yesterday," largest paid audience for a solo concert (350,000+ people...
Born Rupaul Andre Charles on November 17 1960, he grew up in San Diego, learning fashion tips from his mother and three sisters. After some time living in Atlanta doing odd jobs such as a used-car salesman, RuPaul moved to New York by the early '90s. He had begun performing in local Manhattan clubs and became a popular attraction through his various flamboyant acts on stage...
Adam Ant is best known as a singer. He led Adam and the Ants in the early 1980s. Soon after he began a solo career with hits like "Goody Two Shoes" His most recent solo album was 1995's "Wonderful", which spawned the top 40 US single by the same name. His biggest contribution to music was probably his pioneering use of videos in the early 1980s.
Cyndi was born at Boulevard Hospital, in Astoria, Queens. She spent her first four years in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Her family then moved to Ozone Park, Queens.
The beat goes on ... and on ... and as strong as ever for this superstar entertainer who has well surpassed the four-decade mark while improbably transforming herself from an artificial, glossy "flashionplate" singer into a serious, Oscar-worthy, dramatic actress ... and back again! With more ups and downs than the 2008 Dow Jones Industrial Average...
Johnny Cash was born February 26, 1932, in Kingsland, Arkansas, to Carrie Cash (Rivers) and Raymond Cash. He made his first single, "Hey Porter", for Sun Records in 1955. In 1958 he moved to Columbia Records. He had long periods of drug abuse during the 1960s, but later that decade he successfully fought his addiction with the help of singer June Carter Cash...
A professional singer at the age of three, Mel Torme was a genuine musical prodigy. As a teenager, he played the drums in Chico Marx
's band and earned the nickname "The Velvet Fog" because of his smooth, mellow tenor voice. In the 1940s, he formed his own group, the Mel-Tones, one of the first jazz-influenced vocal groups...
Peggy Lee was Born Norma Dolores Egstrom in Jamestown, North Dakota, on May 26, 1920. At age four her mother died. Peggy's father, a railroad station agent, remarried but later left home, leaving Peggy's care entrusted to a stepmother who physically abused her. Peggy later memorialized this in the calypso number "One Beating a Day"...
Actress/singer Olivia Newton-John was born on September 26, 1948, in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England. She lived there until she was five years old, and her family relocated to Australia when her father was offered a job as the dean of a college in Melbourne. When she was a teen she returned to live in England with her mother...
Dick Van Dyke
Dick Van Dyke was born Richard Wayne Van Dyke in West Plains, Missouri, to Hazel Victoria (McCord), a stenographer, and Loren Wayne Van Dyke, a salesman. His younger brother is entertainer Jerry Van Dyke
. His ancestry includes English, Scottish, German, Swiss-German, and Dutch. Although he'd had small roles beforehand...
Annette Joanne Funicello achieved teenage popularity starting in October, 1955 after she debuted as a Mouseketeer. Born on October 22, 1942 in Utica New York, the family had moved to California when she was still young. Walt Disney
himself saw her performing the lead role in "Swan Lake" at her ballet...
One of a spate of teen idols to come out of Philadelphia in the 1950s and 1960s, Frankie Avalon--unlike many of the others--actually had a musical background, having been taught to play the trumpet at a very young age by his father. As a youth Avalon performed in local clubs and theaters. He won a local TV talent contest playing a trumpet solo...
An intense, versatile actor as adept at playing clean-cut FBI agents as he is psychotic motorcycle-gang leaders, who can go from portraying soulless, murderous vampires to burned-out, world-weary homicide detectives, Lance Henriksen has starred in a variety of films that have allowed him to stretch his talents just about as far as an actor could possibly hope...
Few entertainers today are as accomplished or versatile as Ben Vereen. His legendary performances transcend time and have been woven into the fabric of this country's artistic legacy. His first love and passion is and always will be the stage. "The theater was my first training ground. It taught me discipline...
Comedian Bob Hope was born Leslie Townes Hope in Eltham, London, England, the fifth of seven sons of Avis (Townes), light opera singer, and William Henry Hope, a stonemason from Weston-super-Mare, Somerset. His maternal grandmother was Welsh. Hope moved to Bristol before emigrating with his parents to the US in 1908...
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...
John Beal was born James Andrew Bliedung on August 13, 1909, in Joplin, Missouri. The son of a department store owner and concert pianist, he began acting in school and church plays and decided to pursue it as a career following his B.S. degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania. The more...
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...
Roderick McDowall was born in London, the son of a Merchant Mariner father and a mother who had always wanted to be in movies. He was enrolled in elocution courses at age five and by ten had appeared in his first film, Murder in the Family
, playing Peter Osborne, the younger brother of sisters played by Jessica Tandy
and Glynis Johns
American leading lady whose sweet smile and sunny disposition made her the prototypical girl-next-door of American movies of the 1940s. Raised in semi-poverty in Bronx neighborhoods by her divorced mother, Allyson (nee Ella Geisman) was injured in a fall at age eight and spent four years confined within a steel brace...
Van Johnson was the well-mannered nice guy on screen you wanted your daughter to marry. This fair, freckled and invariably friendly-looking MGM song-and-dance star of the 40s emerged a box office favorite (1944-1946) and second only to heartthrob Frank Sinatra
during what gossipmonger Hedda Hopper
dubbed the "Bobby-Soxer Blitz" era...
Vaudeville headliners Carter and Flora DeHaven made sure their daughter would be educated at the very best private schools. They also indulged her ambition to be in show business by packing her off to the Mar-Ken Professional School in Hollywood (1940-42). Diminutive of stature and dark-haired, budding musical star Gloria (her nickname then was "Glo") enjoyed collecting perfume...
Cyd Charisse was born Tula Ellice Finklea on March 8, 1921 in Amarillo, Texas. Born to be a dancer, she spent her early childhood taking ballet lessons and joined the Ballet Russe at age 13. In 1939, she married Nico Charisse
, her former dance teacher. In 1943, she appeared in her first film, Something to Shout About
Songwriter ("New York, New York", "Lonely Town", "The Party's Over", "Just in Time"), author and actress. educated at New York University with a Bachelor of Science degree. While a student, she acted with the Washington Square Players. She was a member of the Revuers, a night club act which also included Judy Holliday and Adolph Green...
Songwriter ("New York, New York", "The Party's Over", "Just in Time", "Make Someone Happy"), author and actor, educated at City College of New York. While he was a student, he acted with the Washington Square Players and had a part in the road company of "Having a Wonderful Time". A member of The Revuers...
Actor Burt Ward had to endure one of the toughest setbacks ever to befall a TV star once his camp-styled antics as the "Boy Wonder" superhero ended on the one-time hit series Batman
. Irreparably typecast, he was out of commission for much of his "post-Robin" career with the cult star eventually becoming a frequent participant at TV nostalgia conventions...
Yvonne Joyce Craig was born on May 16, 1937 in Taylorville, Illinois. As a young teenager, Yvonne showed such promise as a dancer that she was accepted to Denham's Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Her training progressed until she left the company in 1957 over a disagreement on casting changes. She moved to Los Angeles hoping to continue her dancing...
Frank John Gorshin Jr. was born on April 5, 1933 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His father, Frank John Sr., was a railroad worker and his mother, Frances, was a seamstress. While in high school, Frank worked as an usher at the Sheridan Square Theatre and began doing impressions of some of his screen idols: Al Jolson
Adrienne Jo Barbeau is an American actress and author best known for her roles on the TV series Maude
and in horror films, especially those directed by John Carpenter
, with whom she was once married. She was born on June 11, 1945 in Sacramento, California, the daughter of an executive for Mobil Oil...
Usually sized up as an erudite gent, advice-spouting father or uptight, pompous neighbor, the acting talents of Conrad Bain were best utilized on stage and on TV. Born in Lethbridge, Alberta, on February 4, 1923, Conrad Stafford Bain was a twin son (the other was named Bonar) born to Stafford Harrison Bain...
Actor Todd Bridges has seen and done it all. Todd has lived and worked amongst some of the most famous and influential individuals in the world. For over twenty-five years, he has victoriously survived a rapidly changing business. He experienced his second rise to fame, as "Juice" on The Young and the Restless
Dean Cain was born Dean George Tanaka in Mount Clemens, Michigan, to actress Sharon Thomas Cain
and Roger Tanaka. His mother married his adoptive father, director Christopher Cain
, when Dean was three. Though he grew up in Malibu and attended Santa Monica High School, his career plans favored professional football over acting...
Marta Kristen will be forever known as "Judy Robinson" in the cult 1960s science fiction series, Lost In Space, produced by Irwin Allen. Kristen expected more from her character when she got the role, she also wanted a romance between Judy and series co-star Don West (Mark Goddard) to happen. But when Kristen mentioned the idea to Irwin Allen...
Born in New York City on June 25, 1925, the daughter of actors Gene Lockhart
and Kathleen Lockhart
, June Lockhart made her professional debut at age eight in a Metropolitan Opera production of "Peter Ibbetson", playing Mimsey in the dream sequence. In the mid-1930s, the Lockharts relocated to California...
Along with his most impressive list of television/film credits, Bill is also a very talented well-known musician, songwriter, recording artist, as well as writer. He plays guitar, bass, keyboards, banjo, mandolin, harmonica, percussion and sings. He has released three solo CDs, 1997's "Dying To Be Heard"...
Born Jonathan Charasuchin in the Bronx to impoverished Russian-Jewish émigrés, Jonathan Harris worked as a box boy in a pharmacy at age 12 and later earned his pharmacy degree at Fordham University. However, the desire to act proved overwhelming and he forsook this promising trade for the theater, shaking off his thick Bronx accent and changing his surname to one easier to pronounce...