Alan Tudyk was born in El Paso, Texas, and grew up in Plano, where he attended Plano Sr. High. In 1990, he went on to study drama at Lon Morris Jr. College. While there, he was awarded the Academic Excellence Award for Drama. He was also named Most Likely to Succeed and Sophomore Beau. During this time, Alan was also an active member of the Delta Psi Omega fraternity.
After leaving LMJC, Alan went on to study at the prestigious Juilliard conservatory but left in 1996 before earning a degree.
After a number of smaller stage productions and a small role in the movie Patch Adams, Alan landed his first Broadway role in 1999 with "Epic Proportions." He quickly became a sought-after comedic actor, with roles in such films as 28 Days and A Knight's Tale.
In 2002, Alan got the role of Wash, the wise-cracking pilot of Serenity on the short-lived series Firefly. Although it lasted only eleven episodes, this may be Alan's most well-known and best-loved role. No other networks would buy the failed series, but Universal Pictures began courting creator Joss Whedon to produce a big-screen version of the series. While awaiting the final news of Firefly's fate, Alan played the beloved Steve the Pirate in the movie Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story and the voice of the robot Sonny in I, Robot.
In 2005, Alan finally reprised the role of Wash in Serenity, the feature-film version of the series Firefly. The same year, he went back to Broadway from June to November, taking over the role of Lancelot for Hank Azaria in the successful musical "Spamalot."
He lives in New York City but also has a place in Los Angeles, California
Since melting audiences' hearts - at the age of six - in Steven Spielberg's beloved sci-fi blockbuster, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Drew Barrymore has emerged as one of the most endearing and talented actresses of her generation.
Drew Blyth Barrymore was born in Culver City, California, to actors John Drew Barrymore and Jaid Barrymore (née Ildiko Jaid Mako). Her father came from a long showbusiness legacy, as the son of actors John Barrymore and Dolores Costello, while her mother was the daughter of Hungarian refugees.
Despite a troubled and much-publicized adolescence, and a string of "bad girl" parts in lurid crime dramas such as Poison Ivy, Barrymore's star was officially on the rise during the mid-1990s, with notable appearances in Boys on the Side, Woody Allen's Everyone Says I Love You, and the game-changing horror hit Scream.
An eclectic mix of high-profile and low-key film projects followed - such as The Wedding Singer, Ever After: A Cinderella Story, Never Been Kissed, Charlie's Angels, Donnie Darko, Riding in Cars with Boys and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind - proving to once-cynical audiences that Barrymore was not only a capable leading lady, but also a gifted and versatile actor.
Next came headlining parts in Duplex, 50 First Dates, Fever Pitch, Music and Lyrics, Lucky You, He's Just Not That Into You, and the much-lauded Grey Gardens, for which she earned Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards for her portrayal of Edith Bouvier Beale.
In 2009, Barrymore - whose production company, Flower Films, has spawned several lucrative features - made her long-awaited directional debut with the comedy-drama Whip It, emerging as "a sensitive director who knows how and when to let an emotional moment linger on the screen" (TIME).
Alongside a recurring guest spot - as the voice of Jillian - on the cult animated series Family Guy, recent acting roles have included Everybody's Fine, Going the Distance, Big Miracle, Blended, and Miss You Already.
Robin McLaurin Williams was born on Saturday, July 21st, 1951, in Chicago, Illinois, a great-great-grandson of Mississippi Governor and Senator, Anselm J. McLaurin. His mother, Laurie McLaurin (née Janin), was a former model from Mississippi, and his father, Robert Fitzgerald Williams, was a Ford Motor Company executive from Indiana. Williams had English, German, French, Welsh, Irish, and Scottish ancestry.
Robin briefly studied political science before enrolling at Juilliard School to study theatre. After leaving Juilliard, he performed in nightclubs where he was discovered for the role of "Mork, from Ork", in an episode of Happy Days. The episode, My Favorite Orkan, led to his famous spin-off weekly TV series, Mork & Mindy. He made his feature starring debut playing the title role in Popeye, directed by Robert Altman.
Williams' continuous comedies and wild comic talents involved a great deal of improvisation, following in the footsteps of his idol Jonathan Winters. Williams also proved to be an effective dramatic actor, receiving Academy Award nominations for Best Actor in a Leading Role in Good Morning, Vietnam, Dead Poets Society, and The Fisher King, before winning the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in Good Will Hunting.
During the 1990s, Williams became a beloved hero to children the world over for his roles in a string of hit family-oriented films, including Hook, FernGully: The Last Rainforest, Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire, Jumanji, Flubber, and Bicentennial Man. He continued entertaining children and families into the 21st century with his work in Robots, Happy Feet, Night at the Museum, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, Happy Feet 2, and Night at the Museum 3. Other more adult-oriented films for which Williams received acclaim include The World According to Garp, Moscow on the Hudson, Awakenings, The Birdcage, Insomnia, One Hour Photo, World's Greatest Dad, and Boulevard.
On Monday, August 11th, 2014, Robin Williams was found dead at his home in Tiburon, California USA, the victim of an apparent suicide, according to the Marin County Sheriff's Department. A 911 call was received at 11:55 AM PDT, firefighters and paramedics arrived at his home at 12:00 PM PDT, and he was pronounced dead at 12:02 PM PDT.
Mara Elizabeth Wilson was born on Friday, July 24th, 1987 in Los Angeles, California. She is the oldest daughter of Michael and Suzie Wilson, with three elder brothers - Danny (b. 1979), Jon (b. 1981) and Joel (b. 1983) - and a younger sister Anna (b. 1993). When Mara was 5 years old, her eldest brother Daniel Ben Wilson (Danny) started acting in television commercials and she wanted to follow in his footsteps. Her parents refused to let her act at first. After continuous persistence from Mara Elizabeth, her parents reluctantly agreed to let her give acting a try. She went on to appear in a number of commercials, including those advertising Texaco and the Bank of America. She also appeared in Mrs. Doubtfire, starring Robin Williams and Sally Field, as the divorced parents. In her role, Mara proved herself to be a talented young actress, who was mature for her tender years, and her acting career went from strength-to-strength as she quickly became a favorite among cinema-goers. The following year, Mara played a small girl whose mother had suffered a major stroke in A Time to Heal. But her big break came with the remake of Miracle on 34th Street, as the little, intelligent, cynical girl who learned the magic of Santa Claus. Ironically, Mara was not raised to believe in Santa Claus but this was a bonus in some ways since she was able to empathize with her character's stance that there was no Santa. At the age of nine, Mara was cast in the lead role in the film adaptation of Roald Dahls book, Matilda. Sadly, during filming, Mara lost her beloved mother to breast cancer but she bravely pushed ahead with the film, much to the amazement and admiration of her adult co-stars. Mara starred in three films over the following three years, the last of which was in Thomas and the Magic Railroad. Unfortunately, the film did not do well in the theaters of American box office, but it did very well in the UK box office. This signaled an end to Mara's film career, as she wanted to focus on school and to enjoy her teenage years. In June 2005, Mara graduated from Idyllwild School of Music & Arts and went on to attend New York University. In a March 2012 blog post, she revealed she has no desire to return to acting in films. Today, Mara Wilson is a stage actress, a voice actress, a writer, and a playwright. Mara now lives a quiet life in "The Big Apple", a nickname of New York City, New York.
Sophia Loren was born as Sofia Scicolone at the Clinica Regina Margherita in Rome, Italy, on September 20, 1934. Her father, Riccardo Scicolone, was married to another woman and refused to marry her mother, Romilda Villani, despite the fact that she was the mother of his two children (Sophia and her younger sister Maria Scicolone). Growing up in the slums of Pozzuoli during the second World War without any support from her father, she experienced much sadness in her childhood. Her life took an unexpected turn for the best when, at age 14, she entered into a beauty contest where she placed as one of the finalists. It was there that Sophia caught the attention of film producer Carlo Ponti, some 22 years her senior, whom she eventually married in 1966 once he finally obtained a divorce from his first wife. Perhaps he was the only father figure she ever had. Under his guidance, Sophia was put under contract and appeared as an extra in ten films beginning in 1950, before working her way up to supporting roles. In these early films, she was credited as "Sofia Lazzaro" because people joked her beauty could raise Lazzarus from the dead.
By her late teens, Sophia was playing lead roles in many Italian features such as La favorita and Aida. In 1957, she embarked on a successful acting career in the United States, starring in Boy on a Dolphin, Legend of the Lost, and The Pride and the Passion that year. She had a short-lived but much-publicized fling with co-star Cary Grant, who was 31 years her senior. She was only 22 while he was 53, and she rejected a marriage proposal from him. They were paired together a second time in the family-friendly romantic comedy Houseboat. While under contract to Paramount Pictures, Sophia starred in Desire Under the Elms, The Key, The Black Orchid, It Started in Naples, Heller in Pink Tights, A Breath of Scandal, and The Millionairess before returning to Italy to star in Two Women. The film was a period piece about a woman living in war-torn Italy who is raped while trying to protect her young daughter. Originally cast as the more glamorous child, Sophia fought against type and was re-cast as the mother, evidencing a lack of vanity and proving herself as a genuine actress. This performance received international acclaim and was honored with an Academy Award for Best Actress.
Sophia remained a bona fide international movie star throughout the sixties and seventies, making films on both sides of the Atlantic, and starring opposite such leading men as Paul Newman, Marlon Brando, Gregory Peck, and Charlton Heston. Her American films included El Cid, The Fall of the Roman Empire, Arabesque, Man of La Mancha, and The Cassandra Crossing. She gained a wider respect with her Italian films, especially Marriage Italian Style and A Special Day. During these years she received a second Oscar nomination and won five Golden Globe Awards.
From the eighties onward, Sophia's appearances on the big screen came few and far between. She preferred to spend the majority of her time raising sons Carlo Jr. (b. 1969) and Eduardo (b. 1973). Her only acting credits during the decade were five television films, beginning with Sophia Loren: Her Own Story, a biopic in which she portrayed herself and her mother. She ventured into other areas of business and became the first actress to launch her own fragrance and design of eye wear. In 1982 she voluntarily spent nineteen days in jail for tax evasion.
In 1991 Sophia received an Honorary Academy Award for her body of work, and was declared "one of world cinema's greatest treasures." Later that year, she experienced a great loss when her mother died of cancer. Her return to mainstream films in Ready to Wear ("Ready to Wear") was well-received, although the film as a whole was not. She followed this up with her biggest U.S. hit in years, the comedy Grumpier Old Men in which she played a sexy divorcée who seduces Walter Matthau. Over the next decade Sophia had plum roles in a few non-mainstream arthouse films like Soleil, Between Strangers (directed by Edoardo), and Lives of the Saints. Still beautiful at 72, she posed scantily-clad for the 2007 Pirelli Calendar. Sadly, that same year she mourned the loss of her spouse, Carlo Ponti, who died at age 94. In 2009, after far too much time away from film, she appeared in the musical Nine opposite Daniel Day-Lewis. These days Sophia is based in Switzerland but frequently travels to Los Angeles to spend time with her sons and their families (Eduardo is married to actress Sasha Alexander). Sophia Loren remains one of the most beloved and recognizable figures in the international film world.
|Neil Patrick Harris
Neil Patrick Harris was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on June 15, 1973. His parents, Sheila Gail (Scott) and Ronald Gene Harris, were lawyers and ran a restaurant. He grew up in Ruidoso, New Mexico, a small town 120 miles south of Albuquerque, where he first took up acting in the fourth grade. While tagging along with his older brother of 3 years, Harris won the part of Toto in a school production of The Wizard of Oz.
His parents moved the family to Albuquerque in 1988, the same year that Harris made his film debut in two movies: Purple People Eater and Clara's Heart, which starred Whoopi Goldberg. A year later, when Neil was 16, he landed the lead role in Steven Bochco's television series about a teen prodigy doctor at a local hospital, Doogie Howser, M.D., which launched Harris into teen-heartthrob status. The series lasted1989-1993 and earned him a People's Choice Award for Favorite Male Performer in a New Series (1990) and a Golden Globe Nomination (1990). Harris attended the same high school as Freddie Prinze Jr., La Cueva High School in Albuquerque. Neil acted on stage in a few plays while there, one of which was his senior play, Fiddler on the Roof, in which he portrayed Lazar Wolf the butcher (1991).
When "Doogie Howser, M.D." stopped production in 1993, Harris took up stage acting, which he had always wanted to do. After a string of made-for-television movies, Harris acted in his first big screen roles in nine years, Starship Troopers with Casper Van Dien and then The Proposition. In July 1997, Harris accepted the role of Mark Cohen for the Los Angeles production of the beloved musical, Rent. His performance in "Rent" garnered him a Drama-League Award in 1997. He continued in the musical, to rave reviews, until January 1998. He later reprised the role for six nights in his hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico, in December 1998.
In 1999, Harris returned to television in the short-lived sitcom Stark Raving Mad, with Tony Shalhoub. He was also in the big-screen projects The Next Best Thing and Undercover Brother, and he can be heard as the voice of Peter Parker/Spider-Man in the newest animated Spider-Man series. Harris has continued his stage work, making his Broadway debut in 2001 in "Proof." He has also appeared on stage in "Romeo and Juliet," "Cabaret," Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street in Concert, and, most recently, "Assassins." In 2005, Harris returned to the small screen in a guest-starring role on Numb3rs and a starring role in the sitcom How I Met Your Mother. Neil played the title role in the web-exclusive musical comedy Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, widely downloaded via iTunes to become the #1 TV series for five straight weeks, despite not actually being on television.
Wes Bentley is an American actor who first became well-known via his role in the Oscar-winning film American Beauty, in which he played the soulful, artistic next-door neighbor Ricky Fitts. He also portrayed gamemaker Seneca Crane in The Hunger Games, and co-stars in Lovelace as photographer Thomas.
Wesley Cook Bentley was born September 4, 1978, in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to David and Cherie Bentley, two Methodist ministers. Wes joined older brothers Jamey and Philip, and was later joined by younger brother, Patrick. Wes attended Sylvan Hills High School in Sherwood, Arkansas, where he was in the drama club. Interest in acting came from Improv Comedy. He, his brother Patrick, his best friend Damien Bunting and other close friend Josh Cowdery developed an Improv group called B(3) + C. They regularly dominated competitions in Arkansas. He then placed First in the state of Arkansas in solo acting in 1996, his senior year of high school, Second in Duet, and also regularly won for Poetry and Prose Readings.
Wes appeared on-stage quite a bit in Little Rock. At The Weekend Theater, Wes played the straight son of the gay couple in a production of La Cage aux Folles. At Murry's Dinner Playhouse, Wes' plays included Oliver. At his mother's urging, Wes attended Juilliard School in New York after high school graduation. He was there only a short time but appeared in stage work like Henry IV, Part 1 and The Weavers. Wes then worked at Blockbuster and was a waiter at TGI Friday's on Long Island. Wes has stated that his most prideful venture in life was starting a soccer team from scratch at his high school and subsequently putting together a full Conference, one of Arkansas's first. Wes had no real experience in soccer before doing this.
Bentley made his onscreen debut in Jonathan Demme's Beloved (1998). Following his success in American Beauty, Bentley struggled with substance abuse, which cost him his first marriage, to actress Jennifer Quanz. Although he continued to land parts in films, including that of the primary antagonist in Ghost Rider and another major role in The Game of Their Lives, Bentley has publicly admitted that during most of the 2000s he only took on acting roles to earn enough money to buy drugs. Bentley did not enter a 12-step program until 2009. He has stated that he considers his sobriety to be an ongoing process.
Bentley is one of the main subjects featured in the documentary My Big Break, which followed him and former roommates Chad Lindberg, Brad Rowe and Greg Fawcett as they struggle to find success within the film industry. In 2010, Bentley made his professional stage debut with Nina Arianda in David Ives's award-winning play "Venus In Fur."
Bentley has one child with his second wife, producer Jacqui Swedberg.
Joshua Ryan Hutcherson was born on October 12, 1992 in Union, Kentucky to Michelle Fightmaster Hutcherson, who worked for Delta Air Lines, and Chris Hutcherson, an EPA analyst. He has one younger brother, Connor Hutcherson. From the age of four, Josh knew that he wanted to be an actor. In order to pursue his goal, Josh and his family moved to Los Angeles when he was nine-years-old.
In 2002, Josh landed his first acting role in the TV film, House Blend, with Amy Yasbeck, Dan Cortese and Sean Faris. The same year, Josh was cast in the pilot, Becoming Glen, but Fox did not order it to series (though, several years later, it was reconfigured as the short-lived series, The Winner, starring Rob Corddry, and co-written/produced by Seth MacFarlane). Toward the end of 2002, Josh appeared on an episode of ER.
Josh made his big-screen debut, in 2003, with a bit part in the Oscar-nominated American Splendor. His career began its measured ascent in 2005 with a supporting slot as one of Will Ferrell's kids in Kicking & Screaming, a co-starring role in the indie hit Little Manhattan, and another co-starring role in Zathura: A Space Adventure, which was originally conceived as a sequel to Jumanji. Despite underperforming at the box office, "Zathura" helped earned for Josh his first Young Artist Award for "Leading Young Actor".
2006 saw bigger returns for Josh's burgeoning film career with a role as one of Robin Williams' sons in the modest hit, RV. The following year, he landed his first breakthrough role in Bridge to Terabithia, the kid-approved adaptation of Katherine Paterson's novel that co-starred AnnaSophia Robb, whose career was also taking off at this time.
Josh starred as Brendan Fraser's nephew in another family-film hit, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and he had a smaller role in the Crash-like drama, Fragments, though by now his face and name were being used in movie-marketing materials. Though it wasn't a hit, Josh's character in Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant served as a major plot device early in the story.
In 2010, Josh co-starred in the critically-acclaimed film, The Kids Are All Right, alongside Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, and Mia Wasikowska. The film received several awards and four Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. Josh's performance as the youngest child in a family, led by two mothers, earned him acclaim from audiences and the industry, alike. Josh followed up with an expanded role in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, which saw Dwayne Johnson take over as the main character from Brendan Fraser. Between the star power and the allure of 3D, the sequel was a worldwide hit and a third installment is in development.
With the announcement that he would portray the beloved "Peeta Mellark" in The Hunger Games, the film adaptation of the best-selling novel written by Suzanne Collins, Josh became an instant celebrity. In the wake of the movie's massive worldwide success, Detention, a horror/comedy that Josh made before "The Hunger Games", was released. Josh was also an executive producer on that feature.
Before Josh reprises his role as "Peeta" in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, we will see him in the long-delayed remake of Red Dawn; the omnibus 7 Days in Havana (aka "7 Days in Havana") (Josh's segment was directed by Benicio Del Toro); The Forger opposite Lauren Bacall, Alfred Molina, and Hayden Panettiere; and the animated Epic from Ice Age co-director (and voice of "Scrat"), Chris Wedge.
In America, the early performing arts accomplishments of young Maureen FitzSimons (who we know as Maureen O'Hara) would definitely have put her in the child prodigy category. However, for a child of Irish heritage surrounded by gifted parents and family, these were very natural traits. Maureen made her entrance into this caring haven on August 17, 1920, in Ranelagh (a suburb of Dublin), Ireland. Her mother, Marguerita Lilburn FitzSimons, was an accomplished contralto. Her father, Charles FitzSimons, managed a business in Dublin and also owned part of the renowned Irish soccer team "The Shamrock Rovers". Maureen was the second of six FitzSimons children - Peggy, Florrie, Charles B. Fitzsimons, Margot Fitzsimons and James O'Hara completed this beautiful family.
Maureen loved playing rough athletic games as a child and excelled in sports. She combined this interest with an equally natural gift for performing. This was demonstrated by her winning pretty much every Feis award for drama and theatrical performing her country offered. By age 14 she was accepted to the prestigious Abbey Theater and pursued her dream of classical theater and operatic singing. This course was to be altered, however, when Charles Laughton, after seeing a screen test of Maureen, became mesmerized by her hauntingly beautiful eyes. Before casting her to star in Jamaica Inn, Laughton and his partner, Erich Pommer, changed her name from Maureen FitzSimons to "Maureen O'Hara" - a bit shorter last name for the marquee.
Under contract to Laughton, Maureen's next picture was to be filmed in America (The Hunchback of Notre Dame) at RKO Pictures. The epic film was an extraordinary success and Maureen's contract was eventually bought from Laughton by RKO. At 19, Maureen had already starred in two major motion pictures with Laughton. Unlike most stars of her era, she started at the top, and remained there - with her skills and talents only getting better and better with the passing years.
Maureen has an enviable string of all-time classics to her credit that include the aforementioned "The Hunchback of Notre Dame", How Green Was My Valley, Miracle on 34th Street, Sitting Pretty, The Quiet Man, The Parent Trap and McLintock!. Add to this the distinction of being voted one of the five most beautiful women in the world and you have a film star who was as gorgeous as she was talented.
Although at times early in her career Hollywood didn't seem to notice, there was much more to Maureen O'Hara than her dynamic beauty. She not only had a wonderful lyric soprano voice, but she could use her inherent athletic ability to perform physical feats that most actresses couldn't begin to attempt, from fencing to fisticuffs. She was a natural athlete.
In her career Maureen starred with some of Hollywood's most dashing leading men, including Tyrone Power, John Payne, Rex Harrison, James Stewart, Henry Fonda, Brian Keith, Sir Alec Guinness and, of course, her famed pairings with "The Duke" himself, John Wayne. She starred in five films with Wayne, the most beloved being The Quiet Man.
In addition to famed director John Ford, Maureen was also fortunate to have worked for some other great directors in the business: Alfred Hitchcock, William Dieterle, Henry Hathaway, Henry King, Jean Renoir, John M. Stahl, William A. Wellman, Frank Borzage, Walter Lang, George Seaton, George Sherman, Carol Reed, Delmer Daves, David Swift, Andrew V. McLaglen and Chris Columbus.
In 1968 Maureen found much deserved personal happiness when she married Charles Blair. Gen. Blair was a famous aviator whom she had known as a friend of her family for many years. A new career began for Maureen, that of a full-time wife. Her marriage to Blair, however, was again far from typical. Blair was the real-life version of what John Wayne had been on the screen. He had been a Brigadier General in the Air Force, a Senior Pilot with Pan American, and held many incredible record-breaking aeronautic achievements. Maureen happily retired from films in 1973 after making the TV movie The Red Pony (which won the prestigious Peabody Award for Excellence) with Henry Fonda. With Blair, Maureen managed Antilles Airboats, a commuter sea plane service in the Caribbean. She not only made trips around the world with her pilot husband, but owned and published a magazine, "The Virgin Islander", writing a monthly column called "Maureen O'Hara Says".
Tragically, Charles Blair died in a plane crash in 1978. Though completely devastated, Maureen pulled herself together and, with memories of ten of the happiest years of her life, continued on. She was elected President and CEO of Antilles Airboats, which brought her the distinction of being the first woman president of a scheduled airline in the United States.
Maureen now lives quite happily in retirement in a home near her grandson and his family in Boise, Idaho. Fortunately, she was coaxed out of retirement several times - once in 1991 to star with John Candy in Only the Lonely and again, in 1995, in a made-for-TV movie, The Christmas Box on CBS. In the spring of 1998, Maureen accepted the second of what would be three projects for Polson Productions and CBS: Cab to Canada - and, in October, 2000, The Last Dance.
On November 4, 2014 Maureen was honored by a long overdue Oscar for "Lifetime Achievement" at the annual Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Governors Awards.
Maureen O'Hara is still absolutely stunning, with that trademark red hair, dazzling smile and those huge, expressive eyes. She has fans from all over the world of all ages who are utterly devoted to her legacy of films and her persona as a strong, courageous and intelligent woman.
Sean Bean's 20 year career spans theater, radio, television and movies. Bean was born in Handsworth, Sheffield, West Riding of Yorkshire, to Rita (Tuckwood) and Brian Bean. He worked for his father's welding firm before he decided to become an actor. He attended RADA in London and appeared in a number of West End stage productions including RSC's "Fair Maid of the West" (Spencer), (1986) and "Romeo and Juliet" (1987) (Romeo) , as well as "Deathwatch" (Lederer) (1985) at the Young Vic and "Killing the Cat" (Danny) (1990) at the Theatre Upstairs.
This soulful, green-eyed blonde's roles are so varied that his magnetic persona convincing plays angst-ridden villains, as in Clarissa, passionate lovers like Mellors in Lady Chatterley, rough-and-ready soldiers such as Richard Sharpe, heartwrenching warriors as the emotionally torn Boromir in "The Lord of the Rings," and noble Greeks, like Odysseus in Troy, where his very presence in the film adds grace and validity to the rest of the movie. Recently, he did a turn in Shakespeare's "Macbeth," where as the principal lead, he so transfixed the audience that the show was extended in London and critically acclaimed. Bean, however, remains himself, a man's man, and in the glizty world of movies this is a rare thing indeed. Bean resides in London where he enjoys raising his beautiful daughters, his beloved football, and the occasional pint.
Bean has three daughters, Lorna, Molly and Evie.
Sean Astin is well known for his film debut portraying Mikey in Steven Spielberg's The Goonies, for playing the title role in the critically acclaimed Rudy, and for his role as the beloved Sam Gamgee in the Academy Award winning trilogy, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
Astin was born Sean Patrick Duke on February 25, 1971 in Santa Monica, California. His mother was actress Patty Duke. At the time of his birth, his biological father was believed to be entertainer Desi Arnaz Jr., but Astin discovered through a DNA test in the 1990s that his biological father is music promoter Michael Tell, who was married to Patty Duke in 1970. Sean was raised by his stepfather, actor John Astin, who married Patty Duke in 1972 and whose surname Sean took. Sean's mother was of Irish and more distant German ancestry, and Sean's biological father is of Austrian Jewish and Polish Jewish descent.
At age nine, Sean starred with his mother in the after-school special Please Don't Hit Me, Mom. Followed by Sean's feature debut The Goonies and since then, he has had a steady stream of roles. Starring in Toy Soldiers, Where the Day Takes You, Rudy and Harrison Bergeron. He directed and co-produced the short film Kangaroo Court, which was nominated in the best short film category at The 67th Annual Academy Awards. Sean's adoptive father John Astin was nominated for the same award in 1969.
Politically, Sean has been very active having served in two non-partisan Presidential appointments. Sean also hosts a live weekly 2 hour in-studio bi-partisan political radio talk show, 'Vox Populi Radio' which was made possible by a successful crowdfunding campaign in 2013.
In 2004, Sean broke into the publishing world and authored the NY Times Best Selling release of There and Back Again a memoir of his film career (co-written with Joe Layden).
Sean attended Crossroads High School for the Arts and studied with the famous Stella Adler. He graduated with honors from UCLA; B.A. in History & B.A. in English American Literature and Culture. Sean is married to Christine Astin, his co-producer on Kangaroo Court. The couple lives in Los Angeles.
One of the brightest, most tragic movie stars of Hollywood's Golden Era, Judy Garland was a much-loved character whose warmth and spirit, along with her rich and exuberant voice, kept theatre-goers entertained with an array of delightful musicals.
She was born Frances Ethel Gumm on 10 June 1922 in Minnesota, the youngest daughter of vaudevillians Ethel Marion (Milne) and Francis Avent Gumm. She was of English, along with some Scottish and Irish, descent. Her mother, an ambitious woman gifted in playing various musical instruments, saw the potential in her daughter at the tender age of just 2 years old when Baby Frances repeatedly sang "Jingle Bells" until she was dragged from the stage kicking and screaming during one of their Christmas shows and immediately drafted her into a dance act, entitled "The Gumm Sisters", along with her older sisters Mary Jane Gumm and Virginia Gumm. However, knowing that her youngest daughter would eventually become the biggest star, Ethel soon took Frances out of the act and together they traveled across America where she would perform in nightclubs, cabarets, hotels and theaters solo.
Her family life was not a happy one, largely because of her mother's drive for her to succeed as a performer and also her father's closeted homosexuality. The Gumm family would regularly be forced to leave town owing to her father's illicit affairs with other men, and from time to time they would be reduced to living out of their automobile. However, in September 1935 the Gumms', in particular Ethel's, prayers were answered when Frances was signed by Louis B. Mayer, mogul of leading film studio MGM, after hearing her sing. It was then that her name was changed from Frances Gumm to Judy Garland, after a popular '30s song "Judy" and film critic Robert Garland.
Tragedy soon followed, however, in the form of her father's death of meningitis in November 1935. Having been given no assignments with the exception of singing on radio, Judy faced the threat of losing her job following the arrival of Deanna Durbin. Knowing that they couldn't keep both of the teenage singers, MGM devised a short entitled Every Sunday which would be the girls' screen test. However, despite being the outright winner and being kept on by MGM, Judy's career did not officially kick off until she sang one of her most famous songs, "You Made Me Love You", at Clark Gable's birthday party in February 1937, during which Louis B. Mayer finally paid attention to the talented songstress.
Prior to this her film debut in Pigskin Parade, in which she played a teenage hillbilly, had left her career hanging in the balance. However, following her rendition of "You Made Me Love You", MGM set to work preparing various musicals with which to keep Judy busy. All this had its toll on the young teenager, and she was given numerous pills by the studio doctors in order to combat her tiredness on set. Another problem was her weight fluctuation, but she was soon given amphetamines in order to give her the desired streamlined figure. This soon produced the downward spiral that resulted in her lifelong drug addiction.
In 1939, Judy shot immediately to stardom with The Wizard of Oz, in which she portrayed Dorothy, an orphaned girl living on a farm in the dry plains of Kansas who gets whisked off into the magical world of Oz on the other end of the rainbow. Her poignant performance and sweet delivery of her signature song, 'Over The Rainbow', earned Judy a special juvenile Oscar statuette on 29 February 1940 for Best Performance by a Juvenile Actor. Now growing up, Judy began to yearn for meatier adult roles instead of the virginal characters she had been playing since she was 14. She was now taking an interest in men, and after starring in her final juvenile performance in Ziegfeld Girl alongside glamorous beauties Lana Turner and Hedy Lamarr, Judy got engaged to bandleader David Rose in May 1941, just two months after his divorce from Martha Raye. Despite planning a big wedding, the couple eloped to Las Vegas and married during the early hours of the morning on 28 July 1941 with just her mother Ethel and her stepfather Will Gilmore present. However, their marriage went downhill as, after discovering that she was pregnant in November 1942, David and MGM persuaded her to abort the baby in order to keep her good-girl image up. She did so and, as a result, was haunted for the rest of her life by her 'inhumane actions'. The couple separated in January 1943.
By this time, Judy had starred in her first adult role as a vaudevillian during WWI in For Me and My Gal. Within weeks of separation, Judy was soon having an affair with actor Tyrone Power, who was married to French actress Annabella. Their affair ended in May 1943, which was when her affair with producer Joseph L. Mankiewicz kicked off. He introduced her to psychoanalysis and she soon began to make decisions about her career on her own instead of being influenced by her domineering mother and MGM. Their affair ended in November 1943, and soon afterward Judy reluctantly began filming Meet Me in St. Louis, which proved to be a big success. The director Vincente Minnelli highlighted Judy's beauty for the first time on screen, having made the period musical in color, her first color film since The Wizard of Oz. He showed off her large brandy-brown eyes and her full, thick lips and after filming ended in April 1944, a love affair resulted between director and actress and they were soon living together.
Vincente began to mold Judy and her career, making her more beautiful and more popular with audiences worldwide. He directed her in The Clock, and it was during the filming of this movie that the couple announced their engagement on set on 9 January 1945. Judy's divorce from David Rose had been finalized on 8 June 1944 after almost three years of marriage, and despite her brief fling with Orson Welles, who at the time was married to screen sex goddess Rita Hayworth, on 15 June 1945 Judy made Vincente her second husband, tying the knot with him that afternoon at her mother's home with her boss Louis B. Mayer giving her away and her best friend Betty Asher serving as bridesmaid. They spent three months on honeymoon in New York and afterwards Judy discovered that she was pregnant.
On 12 March 1946 in Los Angeles, California, Judy gave birth to their daughter, Liza Minnelli, via caesarean section. It was a joyous time for the couple, but Judy was out of commission for weeks due to the caesarean and her postnatal depression, so she spent much of her time recuperating in bed. She soon returned to work, but married life was never the same for Vincente and Judy after they filmed The Pirate together in 1947. Judy's mental health was fast deteriorating and she began hallucinating things and making false accusations toward people, especially her husband, making the filming a nightmare. She also began an affair with aspiring Russian actor Yul Brynner, but after the affair ended, Judy soon regained health and tried to salvage her failing marriage. She then teamed up with dancing legend Fred Astaire for the delightful musical Easter Parade, which resulted in a successful comeback despite having Vincente fired from directing the musical. Afterwards, Judy's health deteriorated and she began the first of several suicide attempts. In May 1949, she was checked into a rehabilitation center, which caused her much distress.
She soon regained strength and was visited frequently by her lover Frank Sinatra, but never saw much of Vincente or Liza. On returning, Judy made In the Good Old Summertime, which was also Liza's film debut, albeit via an uncredited cameo. She had already been suspended by MGM for her lack of cooperation on the set of The Barkleys of Broadway, which also resulted in her getting replaced by Ginger Rogers. After being replaced by Betty Hutton on Annie Get Your Gun, Judy was suspended yet again before making her final film for MGM, entitled Summer Stock. At 28, Judy received her third suspension and was fired by MGM, and her second marriage was soon dissolved.
Having taken up with Sidney Luft, Judy traveled to London to star at the legendary Palladium. She was an instant success and after her divorce to Vincente Minnelli was finalized on 29 March 1951 after almost six years of marriage, Judy traveled with Sid to New York to make an appearance on Broadway. With her newfound fame on stage, Judy was stopped in her tracks in February 1952 when she became pregnant by her new lover, Sid. At the age of 30, she made him her third husband on 8 June 1952; the wedding was held at a friend's ranch in Pasadena. Her relationship with her mother had long since been dissolved by this point, and after the birth of her second daughter, Lorna Luft, on 21 November 1952, she refused to allow her mother to see her granddaughter. Ethel then died in January 1953 of a heart attack, leaving Judy devastated and feeling guilty about not reconciling with her mother before her untimely demise.
After the funeral, Judy signed a film contract with Warner Bros. to star in the musical remake of A Star Is Born, which had starred Janet Gaynor, who had won the first-ever Academy Award for Best Actress in 1929. Filming soon began, resulting in an affair between Judy and her leading man, British star James Mason. She also picked up on her affair with Frank Sinatra, and after filming was complete Judy was yet again lauded as a great film star. She won a Golden Globe for her brilliant and truly outstanding performance as Esther Blodgett, nightclub singer turned movie star, but when it came to the Academy Awards, a distraught Judy lost out on the Best Actress Oscar to Grace Kelly for her portrayal of the wife of an alcoholic star in The Country Girl. Many still argue that Judy should have won the Oscar over Grace Kelly. Continuing her work on stage, Judy gave birth to her beloved son, Joey Luft, on 29 March 1955. She soon began to lose her millions of dollars as a result of her husband's strong gambling addiction, and with hundreds of debts to pay, Judy and Sid began a volatile, on-off relationship resulting in numerous divorce filings.
In 1961, at the age of 39, Judy returned to her ailing film career, this time to star in Judgment at Nuremberg, for which she received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress, but this time she lost out to Rita Moreno for her performance in West Side Story. Her battles with alcoholism and drugs led to Judy's making numerous headlines in newspapers, but she soldiered on, forming a close friendship with President John F. Kennedy. In 1963, Judy and Sid finally separated permanently, and on 19 May 1965 their divorce was finalized after almost 13 years of marriage. By this time, Judy, now 41, had made her final performance on film alongside Dirk Bogarde in I Could Go on Singing. She married her fourth husband, Mark Herron, on 14 November 1965 in Las Vegas, but they separated in April 1966 after five months of marriage owing to his homosexuality. It was also that year that she began an affair with young journalist Tom Green. She then settled down in London after their affair ended, and she began dating disk jockey Mickey Deans in December 1968. They became engaged once her divorce from Mark Herron was finalized on 9 January 1969 after three years of marriage. She married Mickey, her fifth and final husband, in a register office in Chelsea, London, on 15 March 1969.
She continued working on stage, appearing several times with her daughter Liza. It was during a concert in Chelsea, London, that Judy stumbled into her bathroom late one night and died of an overdose of barbiturates, the drug that had dominated her much of her life, on the 22nd of June 1969 at the age of 47. Her daughter Liza Minnelli paid for her funeral, and her former lover James Mason delivered her touching eulogy. She is still an icon to this day with her famous performances in The Wizard of Oz, Meet Me in St. Louis, Easter Parade, and A Star Is Born.
Katherine Kiernan Mulgrew, or Kate Mulgrew, was born on April 29, 1955. She grew up in Dubuque, Iowa, being the oldest girl in an Irish Catholic family of 8. When Kate, as a 12-year-old, expressed an interest in acting, her mother, Joan, brought home biographies of great actresses and sent Kate to summer acting schools. At age 17, she left home and traveled to New York City to study acting. At New York University, she was accepted into Stella Adler's Conservatory. At the end of her junior year, she left the university to commit herself full time to her craft. Her early career included portraying Mary Ryan for two years on the ABC soap opera Ryan's Hope while also playing the role of Emily in the American Shakespeare Theatre production of "Our Town" in Stratford, Connecticut. When Kate was only 23, she played Kate Columbo in a series created especially for her, Mrs. Columbo. In this series, she was playing the wife of one of television's most beloved detectives, Lt. Columbo. While a critical success, the series was canceled after two seasons.
Kate also starred in several feature films, such as Lovespell, A Stranger Is Watching with Rip Torn, Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins and Throw Momma from the Train with Danny DeVito. In 1981, she traveled to Europe to film the ABC miniseries The Manions of America with Pierce Brosnan. About that time, she married theater director Robert H. Egan and, a few years later, she had two sons: Ian Thomas and Alexander James. In the drama series, Heartbeat, Kate played Dr. Joanne Springsteen, the head of a medical clinic. However, in series such as: Murphy Brown, Murder, She Wrote, St. Elsewhere and Cheers, she only had guest roles.
In 1993, Kate separated from her husband, Robert H. Egan, with whom she had been married for 12 years. In 1995, the divorce became final, and she was on the verge of having to sell her house (and move into an apartment in Westwood) when something incredible happened. She had been called to resume a role in a television series after the original actress, Geneviève Bujold, left two days into filming. What she did not know then was that this role was going to become her most famous one. The role in question was Captain Kathryn Janeway in Star Trek: Voyager. At the moment, she played Katharine Hepburn in the play "Tea at Five" on some stages in the United States.
Mariska (Ma-rish-ka) Magdolna Hargitay was born on January 23, 1964, in Santa Monica, California. Her parents are Mickey Hargitay and Jayne Mansfield. She is the youngest of their three children. In June 1967, Mariska and her brothers Zoltan and Mickey Jr. were in the back seat of a car when it was involved in the fatal accident which killed her mother. The children escaped with minor injuries. Her father remarried a stewardess named Ellen, and they raised the three children and gave them a normal childhood. They also financially supported the children, since Jayne Mansfield's debt-ridden estate left no money for them.
Mariska majored in theater at UCLA. Her first motion picture feature was the cult favorite, Ghoulies, where she gave a memorable performance as Donna. Unlike her mother Jayne, who had changed her name, her hair color, and did nude pictorials to become a star, Mariska took a very different approach on her journey to become a star. She rejected advice to change her name and appearance. And she refused to copy her mother's sexy image by turning down nude scenes in her next film Jocks. She told casting directors that she was her own person when she held onto her dark locks and athletic figure, when they were expecting another blond, buxom Jayne Mansfield. Mariska continued with her acting classes and waited on tables, while she landed forgettable roles in short-lived television shows. She appeared a few times on the nighttime soap Falcon Crest. She also appeared in the hit film Leaving Las Vegas, credited as 'Hooker at the bar', and in the flop film Lake Placid as Myra Okubo. Her recurring role on the top-rated show ER in 1998 gave her career enough of a jolt to land her the starring role of Det. Olivia Benson in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, the first spin off from the excellent franchise of Law & Order. The hour-long show deals with sex crimes and the detectives who solve these cases. Mariska played Olivia as a tough, compassionate detective, who did action scenes and her own stunt work. She reaped the rewards from the hit TV show, after struggling and studying her craft for fifteen years. She became the highest paid actress on television, and she won Emmy and Golden Globe awards for her performance. The show also changed her personal life, since she met her husband actor Peter Hermann on the set and married him on August 28, 2004. That same year, she appeared in the television movie Plain Truth, in which she played attorney Ellie Harrison. Mariska became an activist, when fans of her show who were abused, would write to her, and she founded a non-profit organization called "Joyful Heart Foundation" to help "survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse."
Mariska gave birth to her son August in 2006. But that tremendous joy was soon followed by tremendous sadness when her beloved father Mickey died just two months later at the age of 80. Mariska and her husband Peter adopted two children, a girl named Amaya, and a boy named Andrew, within a span of few months in 2011.
Mariska speaks English, Hungarian, French, Spanish, and Italian, and her husband also speaks several languages, including his native language German. They divide their time between New York and Los Angeles.
Danny Strong was born and raised in Manhattan Beach, a little borough south of Los Angeles. He attended the University of Southern California, where he majored in Theater. During his tenure there, he was awarded the James Pendelton Award for Acting and was a finalist for the prestigious Irene Ryan Award given by the Kennedy Center. Upon graduation, he immediately started working as an actor and was awarded a fellowship from the USC School of Theater to teach acting during the summer session (at twenty-two, he's the youngest person to ever receive this honor). Named by Variety as one of their "Top Ten Screenwriters to Watch" of 2007, his debut script, "Recount", was voted number one on the Hollywood Blacklist for 2007. The film aired on HBO in 2008 with an all-star cast and was hailed by the Los Angeles Times as "the best political thriller since All the President's Men". It garnered 11 Emmy nominations (including Best Writing), 5 Golden Globe nominations and won the Emmy for Best TV Movie. Strong also received the Writers Guild of America Award for the script.
As an actor, he has an impressive resume, with extensive credits in film, television and theater, that includes classic movies and TV shows, like Pleasantville, Seabiscuit, Seinfeld, Nip/Tuck and 3rd Rock from the Sun. He is best-known for the five years he played "Jonathan Levinson" on the landmark television series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, for which he was named "One of the Top Ten Scene Stealers on Television" by the San Francisco Chronicle. He is also widely recognized for his four seasons as "Doyle McMaster" on the beloved WB show, Gilmore Girls.
The woman who will always be remembered as the crazy, accident-prone, lovable Lucy Ricardo was born Lucille Desiree Ball on August 6, 1911 in Jamestown, New York. Her father died before she was four, and her mother worked several jobs, so she and her younger brother were raised by their grandparents. Always willing to take responsibility for her brother and young cousins, she was a restless teenager who yearned to "make some noise". She entered a dramatic school in New York City, but while her classmate Bette Davis received all the raves, she was sent home; "too shy". She found some work modeling for Hattie Carnegie's and, in 1933, she was chosen to be a "Goldwyn Girl" and appear in the film Roman Scandals.
She was put under contract to RKO Radio Pictures and several small roles, including one in Top Hat, followed. Eventually, she received starring roles in B-pictures and, occasionally, a good role in an A-picture, like in Stage Door or The Big Street. While filming Too Many Girls, she met and fell madly in love with a young Cuban actor-musician named Desi Arnaz. Despite different personalities, lifestyles, religions and ages (he was six years younger), he fell hard, too, and after a passionate romance, they eloped and were married in November 1940. Lucy soon switched to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, where she got better roles in films such as Du Barry Was a Lady; Best Foot Forward and the Katharine Hepburn-Spencer Tracy vehicle Without Love. In 1948, she took a starring role in the radio comedy "My Favorite Husband", in which she played the scatterbrained wife of a Midwestern banker. In 1950, CBS came knocking with the offer of turning it into a television series. After convincing the network brass to let Desi play her husband and to sign over the rights to and creative control over the series to them, work began on the most popular and universally beloved sitcom of all time.
With I Love Lucy, she and Desi pioneered the 3-camera technique now the standard in filming sitcoms, and the concept of syndicating television programs. She was also the first woman to own her own studio as the head of Desilu Productions. Lucille Ball died at home, age 77, of an acute aortic aneurysm on April 26, 1989 in Beverly Hills, California.
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, Yul "Rock" Brynner, that many of the details of Brynner's early life became clear.
Yul sometimes claimed to be a half-Swiss, half-Japanese named Taidje Khan, born on the island of Sakhalin; in reality, he was the son of Marousia Dimitrievna (Blagovidova), the Russian daughter of a doctor, and Boris Yuliyevich Bryner, an engineer and inventor of Swiss-German and Russian descent. He was born in their home town of Vladivostok on 11 July 1920 and named Yuli after his grandfather, Jules Bryner. When Yuli's father abandoned the family, his mother took him and his sister Vera to Harbin, Manchuria, where they attended a YMCA school. In 1934 Yuli's mother took her children to Paris. Her son was sent to the exclusive Lycée Moncelle, but his attendance was spotty. He dropped out and became a musician, playing guitar in the nightclubs among the Russian gypsies who gave him his first real sense of family. He met luminaries such as Jean Cocteau and became an apprentice at the Theatre des Mathurins. He worked as a trapeze artist with the famed Cirque d'Hiver company.
He traveled to the U.S. in 1941 to study with acting teacher Michael Chekhov and toured the country with Chekhov's theatrical troupe. That same year, he debuted in New York as Fabian in "Twelfth Night" (billed as Youl Bryner). After working in a very early TV series, Mr. Jones and His Neighbors, he played on Broadway in "Lute Song" with Mary Martin, winning awards and mild acclaim. He and his wife, actress Virginia Gilmore, starred in the first TV talk show, Mr. and Mrs.. Brynner then joined CBS as a television director. He made his film debut in Port of New York. Two years later Mary Martin recommended him for the part he would forever be known for: the King in Richard Rodgers' and Oscar Hammerstein II's musical "The King and I". Brynner became an immediate sensation in the role, repeating it for film (The King and I) and winning the Oscar for Best Actor.
For the next two decades, he maintained a starring film career despite the exotic nature of his persona, performing in a wide range of roles from Egyptian pharaohs to Western gunfighters, almost all with the same shaved head and indefinable accent. In the 1970s he returned to the role that had made him a star, and spent most of the rest of his life touring the world in "The King and I". When he developed lung cancer in the mid 1980s, he left a powerful public service announcement denouncing smoking as the cause, for broadcast after his death. The cancer and its complications, after a long illness, ended his life. Brynner was cremated and his ashes buried in a remote part of France, on the grounds of the Abbey of Saint-Michel de Bois Aubry, a short distance outside the village of Luzé. He remains one of the most fascinating, unusual and beloved stars of his time.
Brent Spiner, whose primary claim to fame is his portrayal of the beloved android Data on the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, was born and raised in Houston, Texas. His parents, Sylvia (Schwartz) and Jack Spiner, owned and operated a furniture store, and were both from Jewish immigrant families (from Austria, Hungary, and Russia). Jack died of kidney failure at age 29, when Brent was 10 months old. When he was 6 years old, his mother married Sol Mintz, who adopted Brent and his older brother Ron. Although his mother divorced Mintz after 7 years of marriage, Brent retained his adopted father's last name until 1975, when he took back his birth name.
Spiner first began pursuing his interest in acting while in high school. There his inspirational drama teacher, Cecil Pickett, gave a great start to the careers of a remarkable group of aspiring young actors (and directors), including Spiner, Cindy Pickett (Cecil's daughter), Randy Quaid, Dennis Quaid, Trey Wilson, Robert Wuhl and Thomas Schlamme, all of whom later attained success in Hollywood. After graduation, Spiner followed his mentor to the University of Houston and other local colleges, while also launching his professional acting career in theater (The Houston Music Theater and other regional theater) and in film (My Sweet Charlie, which was shot on location in Texas). After a couple of false starts in New York and Hollywood, Spiner eventually established himself as a stage actor in New York, appearing in a number of off-Broadway and Broadway plays, such as "A History of the American Film" (1978), "Leave It to Beaver is Dead" (1979), "Sunday in the Park with George" (1984), and "Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" (1985). While in New York, he had a bit part in Woody Allen's Stardust Memories and starred in an independent film called Rent Control. The play "Little Shop of Horrors "brought Spiner to Los Angeles in 1984, where he eventually took up permanent residence.
In 1986, after a number of character parts in television series and movies, such as Robert Kennedy and His Times, Crime of Innocence, Manhunt for Claude Dallas, and Family Sins, Spiner snagged the role that would bring him international fame: Data, the endearing android, whom Spiner played "by tapping into his inner child." Star Trek: The Next Generation, the sequel to the original television series Star Trek, became hugely popular, moving to the big screen for four films (so far) after its 7-year run on television. Aside from these films, Spiner has made cameo appearances in a number of films directed by his friend and old schoolmate Thomas Schlamme, such as Miss Firecracker, Crazy from the Heart, and Kingfish: A Story of Huey P. Long, and has appeared in small roles in more recent films, such as Dude, Where's My Car? and The Master of Disguise. Arguably his most popular film portrayal was Dr. Brakish Okun in Independence Day, a role that elicited his unique eccentricity and sense of humor. He reprised the character in the sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence.
Lauren Bacall was born Betty Joan Perske on September 16, 1924, in New York City. She is the daughter of Natalie Weinstein-Bacal, a Romanian Jewish immigrant, and William Perske, who was born in New Jersey, to Polish Jewish parents. Her family was middle-class, with her father working as a salesman and her mother as a secretary. They divorced when she was five. When she was a school girl, Lauren originally wanted to be a dancer, but later, she became enthralled with acting, so she switched gears to head into that field. She had studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York after high school, which enabled her to get her feet wet in some off-Broadway productions.
Once out of school, Lauren entered modeling and, because of her beauty, appeared on the cover of Harper's Bazaar, one of the most popular magazines in the US. The wife of famed director Howard Hawks spotted the picture in the publication and arranged with her husband to have Lauren take a screen test. As a result, which was entirely positive, she was given the part of Marie Browning in To Have and Have Not, a thriller opposite the great Humphrey Bogart, when she was just 19 years old. This not only set the tone for a fabulous career but also one of Hollywood's greatest love stories (she married Bogart in 1945). It was also the first of several Bogie-Bacall films.
After 1945's Confidential Agent, Lauren received second billing in The Big Sleep with Bogart. The mystery, in the role of Vivian Sternwood Rutledge, was a resounding success. Although she was making one film a year, each production would be eagerly awaited by the public. In 1947, again with her husband, Lauren starred in the thriller Dark Passage. The film kept movie patrons on the edge of their seats. The following year, she starred with Bogart, Edward G. Robinson, and Lionel Barrymore in Key Largo. The crime drama was even more of a nail biter than her previous film. In 1950, Lauren starred in Bright Leaf, a drama set in 1894. It was a film of note because she appeared without her husband - her co-star was Gary Cooper. In 1953, Lauren appeared in her first comedy as Schatze Page in How to Marry a Millionaire. The film, with co-stars Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable, was a smash hit all across the theaters of America.
After filming Designing Woman, which was released in 1957, Humphrey Bogart died on January 14 from throat cancer. Devastated at being a widow, Lauren returned to the silver screen with The Gift of Love in 1958 opposite Robert Stack. The production turned out to be a big disappointment. Undaunted, Lauren moved back to New York City and appeared in several Broadway plays to huge critical acclaim. She was enjoying acting before live audiences and the audiences in turn enjoyed her fine performances.
Lauren was away from the big screen for five years, but she returned in 1964 to appear in Shock Treatment and Sex and the Single Girl. The latter film was a comedy starring Henry Fonda and Tony Curtis. In 1966, Lauren starred in Harper with Paul Newman and Julie Harris, which was one of former's signature films. Alternating her time between films and the stage, Lauren returned in 1974's Murder on the Orient Express. The film, based on Agatha Christie's best-selling book was a huge hit. It also garnered Ingrid Bergman her third Oscar. Actually, the huge star-studded cast helped to ensure its success. Two years later, in 1976, Lauren co-starred with John Wayne in The Shootist. The film was Wayne's last - he died from cancer in 1979.
In 1981, Lauren played an actress being stalked by a crazed admirer in The Fan. The thriller was absolutely fascinating with Lauren in the lead role. After that production, Lauren was away from films again, this time for seven years. In the interim, she again appeared on the stages of Broadway. When she returned, it was for the filming of 1988's Mr. North. After Misery, in 1990, and several made for television films, Lauren appeared in 1996's My Fellow Americans. It was a wonderful comedy romp with Jack Lemmon and James Garner as two ex-presidents and their escapades.
Despite her advanced age and deteriorating health, she made a small-scale comeback in the English-language dub of Hayao Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle ("Howl's Moving Castle," based on the young-adult novel by Diana Wynne Jones) as the Witch of the Waste, but future endeavors for the beloved actress became increasingly rare. Lauren Bacall died on 12 August 2014, five weeks short of her 90th birthday.
Born and raised in Winnetka, Illinois to Princeton and Harvard grads, it was expected that Charlotte Ross would follow in her parent's footsteps and continue in the field of education. However, falling in love with acting (and singing) in the tender years of her childhood, Charlotte had other plans in mind and decided at an early age she would follow the "Hollywood" route instead.
From that moment on, Charlotte studied with anyone and everyone she possibly could to polish and sharpen her craft (especially adored, Roy London). She worked at Second City and the Goodman Theater in Chicago and earned a early living with numerous commercial and modeling gigs. Then a month after graduating from the famous New Trier High School, Charlotte made the move to Los Angeles where she quickly landed her first role in Hollywood as 'Eve Donovan' on Days of Our Lives, a role that later garnered her 2 Emmy Nominations. After a wonderful four years on the infamous Soap, she went on to pursue other roles. Charlotte then quickly jumped into starring in numerous TV movies including, A Kiss So Deadly, Kidnapped in Paradise, Fall Into Darkness, and She Says She's Innocent, to name a few. She also landed the lead in Aaron Spelling's _The Heights_ (FOX), which earned a Gold record for her and the cast's singing. She went on to release 3 albums.
Since then Charlotte has remained a prominent figure in the entertainment industry, starring in TV series such as CBS's comedy The 5 Mrs. Buchanans by Marc Cherry, FOX's Mommie and Me with Pauly Shore, NBC's/John Wells' ER and later his family drama, Trinity. She also starred in Showtime's critically acclaimed Beggars and Choosers as 'Lorri Valpone', a role the Los Angeles Times said made Charlotte an "Emmy Shoe-in".
Before Beggars and Choosers was officially canceled after two seasons, Charlotte was asked to consider replacing Kim Delany on the Emmy Award winning show, NYPD Blue. Charlotte gratefully jumped at the opportunity and made her debut on the ever successful cop drama as the tough talking Irish Detective, 'Connie McDowell'. Again, the media's response to Charlotte echoed that of Beggars and Choosers with the LA Times saying "If NYPD Blue still had the popularity it once had, Charlotte would have a shelf of Emmy's"... not to mention her famous "Ass scene" that caused a succession of Court appeals about standards and practices ending in the Supreme Court with President Barack Obama weighing in.
At the end of her fifth season as 'Detective Connie McDowell' on NYPD Blue, Charlotte was 8 months pregnant with her first child and eager to take a break from acting to just be a Mom. After so many years of being so grateful for work, she craved a break and today still says that time off was the best decision she ever made.
Two years after the birth of her beautiful little boy, Max, Charlotte went back to work starring in the "re-tooled" second season of ABC's, Jake in Progress , Lifetime's Nora Roberts film, Montana Sky, Christmas in Paradise, VH1's Hit the Floor and Law & Order as the memorable character 'Anne Coltour', which once again generated Emmy buzz.
Guest starring as Deacon's ex girlfriend on ABC's Nashville, Charlotte also recurs as Quinn's Mom on the hit show, _Glee_, and on CW's hit show, Arrow, as the beloved Felicity's Mother, Donna (aka "Mama Smoak"). Charlotte continues to challenge and reinvent herself for a diverse array of roles. Whether it be showing off her athleticism as the first female umpire in professional baseball in the highly anticipated short film, The Umpire, seducing Nicolas Cage as the white trash, tattoo covered sex cougar, 'Candy' in Summit's 3D film, _Drive Angry (2012)_, or starring in _Street Kings: Motor City (2013)_ opposite Ray Liotta, Charlotte continues to captivate audiences and impress critics with her unbelievable range as an actress.
A successful actress for over two decades, a proud single mom to her son Max, a passionate recognized animal rights activist (widely known for PETA "I'd rather go naked..." campaign ) who received the HSUS Animal Advocate of the Year Award for her lobbying work on Capitol Hill to release Chimpanzee's from testing labs, a vocal fitness fanatic (recently summited Kilimanjaro) who inspires women to be in the best shape of their lives and, filming her own fitness video, Charlotte is fortunate to be able to do what she loves. She is passionate about producing as well. Once a Winnetka gal with a love of finding the truth on screen, Charlotte is now living her dream and couldn't be in a happier more grateful place in her life.
|Mary Tyler Moore
Mary Tyler Moore was born on December 29, 1936 in Flatbush, Brooklyn, to Marjorie (Hackett) and George Tyler Moore, a clerk. Her maternal grandparents were English immigrants, and her father was of English, Irish, and German descent. Moore's family relocated to California when she was eight. Her childhood was troubled, due in part to her mother's alcoholism. The oldest of three siblings, she attended a Catholic high school and married upon her graduation, in 1955. Her only child, Richie, was born soon after.
A dancer at first, Moore's first break in show business was in 1955, as a dancing kitchen appliance - Happy Hotpoint, the Hotpoint Appliance elf, in commercials generally broadcast during the popular TV program The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet. She then shifted from dancing to acting, and work soon came, at first a number of guest roles on TV series, but eventually a recurring role as "Sam", Richard Diamond's sultry answering service girl, on Richard Diamond, Private Detective, her performance being particularly notorious because her legs (usually dangling a pump on her toe) were shown instead of her face.
Although these early roles often took advantage of her willowy charms (in particular, her famously-beautiful dancer's legs), Moore's career soon took a more substantive turn as she was cast in two of the most highly regarded comedies in television history, which would air first-run for most of the Sixties and Seventies. In the first of these, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Moore played "Laura Petrie", the charmingly loopy wife of star Dick Van Dyke. The show became famous for its very clever writing and terrific comic ensemble - Moore and her fellow performers received multiple Emmy awards for their work. Meanwhile, she had separated from her first husband, and later married ad man (and, later, network executive) Grant Tinker.
After the end of The Dick Van Dyke Show, Moore focused on movie-making, co-starring in five between the end of the show and the start of Mary Tyler Moore, including Thoroughly Modern Millie, in which she plays a ditsy aspiring actress, and an inane Elvis Presley vehicle, Change of Habit, in which she plays a nun-to-be and love interest for Presley. Also included in this mixed bag of films was a first-rate TV movie, Run a Crooked Mile, which was an early showcase for Moore's considerable talent at dramatic acting.
After trying her hand at movies for a few years, Moore decided, a bit reluctantly, to return to TV, but on her terms. The result was Mary Tyler Moore, which was produced by MTM Enterprises, a company she had formed with Tinker, and which later went on to produce scores of other television programs. Moore starred as "Mary Richards", who moves to Minneapolis/St. Paul on the heels of a failed relationship. Mary finds work at the news room of WJM-TV, whose news program is the lowest-rated in the city, and establishes fast friendships with her colleagues and her neighbors. The show was a commercial and critical success and for years was a fixture of CBS television's unbeatable Saturday night line-up. Moore and Tinker were determined from the start to make the show a cut above the average, and it certainly was - instead of going for a barrage of gags, the humor took longer to develop, and arose out of the interaction between the characters in more realistic situations. It was also one of the earliest TV portrayals of a woman who was happy and successful on her own rather than simply being a man's wife. Mary Tyler Moore is generally included amongst the finest television programs ever produced in America.
Moore ended the show in 1977, while it was still on a high point, but found it difficult to flee the beloved "Mary Richards" persona - her subsequent attempts at television series, variety programs and specials (such as the mortifying disco-era Mary's Incredible Dream) usually failed, but even her dramatic work, which is generally excellent, fell under the shadow of "Mary Richards". With time, however, her body of dramatic acting came to be recognized on its own, with such memorable work as in Ordinary People, as an aloof WASP mother who not-so-secretly resents her younger son's survival; in Finnegan Begin Again, as a middle-aged widow who finds love with a man whose wife is slowly slipping away, in Lincoln, as the troubled "Mary Todd Lincoln", and in Stolen Babies, as an infamous baby smuggler (for which she won her sixth Emmy award). She also inspired a new appreciation for her famed comic talents in Flirting with Disaster, in which she is hilarious as the resentful adoptive mother of a son who is seeking his birth parents. Moore had also acted on Broadway, and she won a Tony Award for her performance in "Whose Life Is It Anyway?".
Widely acknowledged as being much tougher and more high-strung than her iconic image would suggest, Moore had a life with more than the normal share of ups and downs. Both of her siblings predeceased her, her sister Elizabeth of a drug overdose in 1978 and her brother of cancer after a failed attempt at assisted suicide, Moore having been the assistant. Moore's troubled son Richie shot and killed himself in what was officially ruled an accident in 1980. Moore had long been diagnosed an insulin-dependent diabetic, and had a bout with alcoholism in the mid-70s. Divorced from Tinker since 1981, she had been married to physician Robert Levine since 1983. Despite the opening credits of Mary Tyler Moore, in which she throws a package of meat into her shopping cart, Moore was a vegetarian and a proponent of animal rights. She was an active spokesperson for both diabetes issues and animal rights. She and Levine lived in Upstate New York and Manhattan.
Farrah Fawcett is a true Hollywood success story. A native of Texas, she was the daughter of Pauline Alice (Evans), a homemaker, and James Fawcett, an oil field contractor. She was a natural athlete, something that her father encouraged, and she attended a high school with a strong arts program. She attended University of Texas in Austin, graduating with a degree in Microbiology, but only wanted to be an actress.
Winning a campus beauty contest got her noticed by an agent, who encouraged her to pursue acting. After graduating, she moved to Los Angeles and her healthy, all-American blond beauty was immediately noticed. She quickly got roles in various television commercials for such products as Ultra-Brite toothpaste, and Wella Balsam shampoo, and also made appearances in some TV series. In 1968, she met another Southerner, actor Lee Majors, star of the popular TV series The Big Valley, on a blind date set up by their publicists. He became very taken with her and also used his own standing to promote her career. In 1969, she made her film debut in Love Is a Funny Thing. The next year, she appeared in the film adaptation of the Gore Vidal bestselling novel Myra Breckinridge. The shooting was very unpleasant, with much feuding on the set, and Farrah was embarrassed by the finished film, which was a major failure. But Farrah was undamaged and continued to win roles. In 1973, she and Majors married, and the following year, she won a recurring role in the crime series Harry O. She had her first taste of major success when she won a supporting role in the science fiction film Logan's Run. She came to the attention to the highly successful producer Aaron Spelling, who was impressed by her beauty and vivacious personality. That won her a role in the TV series Charlie's Angels. She played a private investigator who works for a wealthy and mysterious businessman, along with two other glamorous female detectives, played by Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith. The show immediately became the most popular series on television, earning record ratings and a huge audience. All three actresses became very popular, but Farrah became by far the best known. She won People's Choice Award for Favorite Female Performer in a New TV program in 1977. Her lush, free-wheeling, wavy blond hair also became a phenomenon, with millions of women begging their hairstylists to give them "The Farrah," as her hairstyle was called. Fawcett was also a savvy businesswoman, and she received 10% profit from the proceeds of her famous poster in a red swimsuit. It sold millions and she became the "It Girl" of the 1970s.
Fawcett was America's sweetheart and found herself on every celebrity magazine and pursued by photographers and fans. While she enjoyed the success and got along well with her co-stars (both of whom were also of Southern origin), she found the material lightweight. Also, the long hours she worked were beginning to take a toll on her marriage to Majors, who found himself eclipsed by her popularity. So the following year, when the show was at its peak, she left to pursue a movie career. Charlie's Angels producers sued her, and the studios shied away from her, and she lost out on the lead role in the hit feature film Foul Play to Goldie Hawn. Eventually, she and the Charlie's Angels producers reached a settlement, where she would make guest appearances on the series. As a result of the negative publicity and some poor script choices, her career briefly hit a slow spot. In addition, she and Majors separated in 1979. She had starring roles in Somebody Killed Her Husband, Sunburn, and Saturn 3 (which she did a topless scene in), but all three failed financially. She appeared in the Burt Reynolds chase comedy The Cannonball Run, which was successful financially, but it was met not only with bad reviews but also with bad publicity when Farrah's stunt double Heidi Von Beltz was involved in a stunt that went horribly wrong and left her a quadriplegic. Farrah's feature film career came to a halt, and she and Majors were drifting apart. In 1981, she met Ryan O'Neal, a friend of her husband's, and they began became friends and spent a great deal of time together. He also encouraged her to go back to television and she received good reviews in the well-received miniseries "Murder in Texas" (1981). In 1982, she filed for divorce, which Majors readily agreed to. Soon, she and O'Neal were a couple and moved in together. She set on sights on becoming a serious dramatic actress. She took over for Susan Sarandon in the stage play "Extremities" where she played a rape victim who turns the tables on her rapist. That, in turn, led her to her major comeback when she starred in the searing story of a battered wife in The Burning Bed, based on a true story. It garnered a very large audience, and critics gave her the best reviews she had ever received for her heartfelt performance. She was nominated for both an Emmy and Golden Globe and also became involved in helping organizations for battered women. The following year, she and O'Neal became the parents of a son, 'Redmond O'Neal'. She tried to continue her momentum with a starring role in the feature film adaptation of Extremities, and while she garnered a Golden Globe nomination, the film, itself, was not a hit.
She continued to seek out serious roles, appearing mainly on television. She scored success again in Small Sacrifices, again based on a true crime. Portraying an unhappy woman who is so obsessed with the man she loves that she shoots her children to make herself available and disguises it as a carjacking, Farrah again won rave reviews and helped draw a large audience, and was nominated for an Emmy again. Shortly afterwards, she and O'Neal co-starred in Good Sports, playing a couple who co-star in a sports news program, but O'Neil's performance was lambasted and only 9 episodes were aired. In 1995, she surprised her fans by posing for "Playboy" at the age of 48, it became the magazine's best-selling issue of that decade.
Her relationship with O'Neal was deteriorating, however, and in 1997, they broke up. The breakup took a toll, and she posed for Playboy again at the age of 50. To promote it, she appeared on Late Show with David Letterman and gave a rambling interview, sparking rumors of drug use. That same year, however, she made another comeback in The Apostle, playing the neglected wife of a Pentacostal preacher, played by Robert Duvall. Both stars were praised and the film became a surprise hit. She also began dating James Orr, who had directed her earlier in the feature film Man of the House. An incident occurred between them in 1998, and Farrah suffered injuries. The scandal drew nationwide headlines, especially after the tabloids published photos of Farrah with her injuries. The authorities compelled Fawcett to testify against Orr in court, and he was found guilty of assault and given a minimum sentence. Embarrassed, she lowered her profile and her career lost momentum, but she continued to work in television and films. She and O'Neal also started seeing each other again when he was diagnosed with leukemia. The new millennium brought her highs and lows. In 2000, she acted with Richard Gere in Robert Altman's film Dr. T & the Women. Her son Redmond has had problems with drug abuse and has been in and out of jail. In 2001, she lost her only sister to cancer. In 2004, she received her third Emmy nomination for her performance in The Guardian, and she starred in her own reality show titled "Chasing Farrah" in 2005 along with Ryan O'Neal, but that ended after only 7 episodes. That same year, she was devastated when her beloved mother died. In 2006, producer Aaron Spelling died, and she famously reunited with her Charlie's Angels co-stars Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith at the Emmys in a tribute to him. She looked tan and healthy, but soon, she was diagnosed with anal cancer. She asked her friend Alana Stewart to accompany her and videotape her during her doctor's visits. Those video journals resulted in the documentary "Farrah's Story," co-executive produced by Fawcett. It aired in 2009, and viewers were shocked to see Farrah with a shaved head and in a continuous state of pain. Ryan O'Neal and Alana Stewart were constantly by her side, and her Charlie's Angels co-stars Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith also visited her, marking the final time that all three original angels appeared together on television. The documentary became a ratings success, and it earned a Emmy nomination as Outstanding Nonfiction Special. On June 25, 2009 Farrah lost her battle with cancer and passed away at aged 62. She left the bulk of her estate to her only son Redmond, and her trust fund allowed for the creation of The Farrah Fawcett Foundation, which provides funding for cancer research and prevention. Alana Stewart is the president of the Foundation and Jaclyn Smith's husband Dr. Brad Allen is one of the Board of Directors. Ryan O'Neal and Farrah's nephew Greg Walls are also on the Advisory Board, keeping alive her legacy.
Stephanie Szostak, a natural talent with an international appeal, is a French-American actress.
Szostak stars opposite Matt Passmore in USA Network's "Satisfaction," which is a provocative drama from Sean Jablonski ("Nip/Tuck," "Suits") that explores a modern marriage at its core. The series premiered to critical buzz on July 17, 2014 and was subsequently renewed for a second season, which premiered in summer 2015.
Most recently, Szostak appeared in the Ricky Blitt-directed independent comedy "Hit by Lightning" alongside Jon Cryer and Will Sasso, and co-stared opposite Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges in "R.I.P.D," which was released by Universal Pictures.
Szostak appeared in Marvel's "Iron Man 3," which was released on May 3, 2013 by Disney and also starred Robert Downey, Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle and Guy Pearce. The film brought in $174 million domestically in its opening weekend and has since passed the 1 billion mark globally. Also in 2013, Szostak appeared in Ross Krauss' "Gimme Shelter" with Vanessa Hudgens, Brendan Fraser and Rosario Dawson.
In 2011, Szostak played Matt Damon's late-wife in the Fox comedy-drama from Cameron Crowe titled "We Bought a Zoo," and in 2010 Szostak starred as the female lead opposite Paul Rudd, Steve Carrell and Zach Galifianakis in "Dinner for Schmucks," the American adaptation of the 1998 French comedy "Le Dîner de Cons." Directed by Jay Roach ("Meet the Parents" and "Austin Powers" franchises), the comedy was released by Paramount Pictures on July 30, 2010.
In 2006, Szostak rivaled Meryl Streep's 'Miranda Priestly' as French Vogue Editor, 'Jacqueline Follet' in David Frankel's beloved take on Lauren Weisberger's novel of the same name, "The Devil Wears Prada. " The film received critical acclaim and garnered an AFI Award for 'Movie of the Year,' a Golden Globe nomination in the category of 'Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical' and was named one of the Top Ten Films of the year by the National Board of Review, among others.
Additional projects include the French film, "Une aventure New Yorkaise" ("A New York Thing") alongside actor Jonathan Zaccai, "The Rebound" directed by Bart Freundlich and starring Catherine Zeta Jones, Italian comedy "Four Single Fathers, Motherhood" starring Uma Thurman, "The Good Heart" with Brian Cox, and Jeff Winner's independent film "Satellite," for which Szostak received a Best Actress award at the BendFilm Festival. Other television credits include the acclaimed HBO series "The Sopranos" and the hit NBC series "Law & Order: Criminal Intent." Szostak has a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from the College of William & Mary and is an avid golfer. She currently lives outside of New York City with her family.
Oprah Winfrey was born Orpah Gail Winfrey in Kosciusko, Mississippi, to Vernita Lee, a former maid, and Vernon Winfrey, a coal miner, barber, and city councilman.
While Winfrey has been cited as the richest African American of the 20th century, she does not come from a rich, or even middle class, family. She was born in an economically troubled neighborhood and raised by a single-teenaged mother in the city of Milwaukee. Orpah, named after a biblical character, had a name no one could pronounce, so her family and friends starting calling her Oprah. Shortly after Oprah's birth, Vernita Lee left her daughter and traveled north. Oprah was then raised by her grandmother,Hatti Mae Lee. Oprah while being raised by her grandmother lived in terrible conditions. Oprah's only friends were farm animals,however even at that age Oprah had a very imaginative mind. Oprah would frequently give the animals dramatic parts and included them in games. This was perhaps where she had gotten the craze for acting, and would soon be seen in legendary masterpieces such as The Color Purple. Oprah because of her grandmother's values, had religion and God instilled in herself at a very young age. Oprah because of her grandmother knew how to read,and write before the age of three. Oprah during church would recite poems,and verses from the bible. Soon the church, and the entire neighborhood knew she had a gift and was nicknamed,"The Little Speaker". This would soon prompt her to become a woman with a strong perspective, which millions across the world would want to have insight on. This prepared her for The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Due to her ability to read and write before the age of three, when enrolled in school she was often promoted several grades ahead of her age. Oprah at the age of six went to live with her mother, Vernita Lee. Vernita worked as a maid, so Oprah was often left alone at home with her cousins. Oprah due to her busy mother was paid little attention to at home, this is what prompted Oprah to started misbehaving and talking back to her mother. Vernita Lee then decided it was best Oprah live with her father in Nashville Tennessee. Oprah while living in Tennessee, found out her mother was pregnant and her mother requested for her to come back to Milwaukee to live with her mother and half-sister. When Oprah was nine she was raped by her nineteen year old cousin who was baby sitting her. This wouldn't be the only time she was sexually abused she would then be sexually abused by her cousin, a family friend,her mother's boyfriend, and her uncle during her stay in Milwaukee. Toward all these incidents, she never told a soul because the predators swore her to silence. At the age of thirteen Oprah ran away from home, this was due to her years of abuse and at the age of fourteen she became pregnant with an ill son who died shortly after birth. Oprah took the death of her son as she was given a second chance in life. Oprah's mother sent her to live once again with her father in Nashville,Tennessee. Oprah's father was very strict and made education the number-one priority for Oprah.
Oprah attended Nashville East High School. Oprah during high-school wasn't precisely certain toward what she wanted to do, however she knew it was something with speaking or drama. Oprah was also elected school president and met with president Richard Nixon being apart of public speaking classes in her high-school.
Oprah during the last year of high-school was rehearsing with her drama class when a local radio station, WVOL spotted her and asked her if she would like to read on radio. Oprah was then given a job reading the news on the radio. Oprah soon entered into a public speaking contest where the grand prize was a scholarship to Tennessee State University. Oprah won the contest and received a scholarship to Tennessee State University where she majored in Speech Communications and Performing Arts.
Oprah during her college education was offered a job as a co-anchor on the CBS television station, she declined several times before she was convinced by her speech professor that it may be the ultimate step to launch her career. Oprah wanted to find work outside of Nashville Tennessee and was soon offered a job in Baltimore,Maryland. The job offer came up a few months before her graduation, she had to choose between the job and graduating, so she decided to choose the job in Maryland as the offer was very tempting. At the job in Maryland she wasn't a very good reporter and was shortly fired. Oprah's boss set her up as a talk show host on a morning talk show called, People Are Talking. Immediately after the first show Oprah knew this is what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. Oprah strengthened the talk show for seven years and then she decided it was time to move on.
In 1981 Oprah sent recorded tapes of the show to a talk-show in Chicago called A.M. Chicago. They immediately offered her the job and in September of 1985 she changed the name of the show to, "The Oprah Winfrey Show". The first broadcast of The Oprah Winfrey Show was on September 8,1986 it broadcast nationally. The Oprah Winfrey show first targeted woman, however soon due to controversial topics and intriguing topics Oprah brought on to the show it appealed to people of all genders,ethnics,and ages. Oprah promoted many things on her show such as books, movie releases all of which people were eager to know what her opinions were of them. Oprah helped broaden not just woman's point of view and significance but Oprah helped to realize that every human has an importance in this world. From it's first broadcast The Oprah Winfrey show went on to receive multiple Day Time Emmy Awards and several other prestigious awards.Winfrey expanded the Oprah Winfrey show and started releasing a monthly magazine which was called, O:The Oprah Magazine. The first issue was in 2000. The series finale of the Oprah Winfrey Show as on it's twenty-fifth season and it aired on May,25,2011. Concluding a segment of her career toward which she used as a device to inspire millions and help thousands to lead a better life.
Oprah's made her debut as a film actress in the 1985 period drama film, The Color Purple. Oprah played a troubled housewife named Sofia. Oprah was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. This movie went on to become a Broadway musical adaptation. In 1998 Oprah starred in the movie, Beloved which she also produced. Winfrey played the character Sethe who was a former slave. Winfrey has also acted in several movies such as Charlotte's Web, Bee Movie, and The Princess and the Frog.
Oprah Winfrey in 1998 received an Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. In 2011 Oprah Winfrey received a Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from the Academy Of Motion Pictures Arts And Sciences.
Oprah Winfrey will forever be remembered as an innovator through the landmarks she made, becoming the first female African American to host a television show. Inspiring millions of people across the world, discussing significant issues on her show such as equal rights toward genders,racism,poverty, and many others. Oprah will be seen as an icon someone who paved the way for others to become successful.
Samm Levine's first breakout role was as a member of the "geek" half of the short lived cult hit, Freaks and Geeks.
The following year, he rejoined "Freaks and Geeks" producer, Judd Apatow, for another widely praised coming of age series, Undeclared. That same year, Samm made his feature debut in the raucous teen spoof, Not Another Teen Movie.
Since then, he has appeared in over 60 films and television shows, including the Oscar winning Quentin Tarantino epic, Inglourious Basterds, and in many memorable roles on beloved programs such as Entourage, Modern Family, NCIS and How I Met Your Mother. In addition to his growing catalog of television appearances, Samm is also known for roles in many cult features, including the Broken Lizard comedy, Club Dread, the sci-fi thriller, Pulse, and acclaimed indie comedies, Drones and IFC's Made for Each Other
Samm has also served as co-host and producer to Kevin Pollak's renowned celebrity talk show, Kevin Pollak's Chat Show, since its inception in 2009 - a role he came into after his interview as a guest on the first episode.
Paul Reubens was born Paul Rubenfeld on August 27, 1952 in Peekskill, New York, to Judy (Rosen), a teacher, and Milton Rubenfeld, a car salesman who had flown for the air forces of the U.S., U.K., and Israel, becoming one of the latter country's pioneering pilots. Paul grew up in Sarasota, Florida, where his parents owned a lamp store. During winters, The Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus called Sarasota home, and young Paul counted such big-top families as the Wallendas and the Zacchinis among his neighbors. When he was 11-years-old, he joined the local Asolo Theater, and during the next six years, he appeared in a variety of plays. After graduating from Sarasota High School in 1970, he attended Boston University for one year before deciding to seek his fortune as Paul Reubens in Hollywood, where he enrolled as an acting major at the California Institute of the Arts and accepted a string of pay-the-rent jobs ranging from pizza chef to Fuller Brush salesman.
In the mid 1970s, his acting career grew slowly and steadily with small roles in theater productions, gigs at local comedy clubs and four guest appearances on The Gong Show. During this time of education/employment, he joined an improvisational comedy troupe called The Groundlings. The popular gang of yuksters, whose roster has included Conan O'Brien, Lisa Kudrow, the late Phil Hartman, Jon Lovitz, and Julia Sweeney, wrung laughs from audiences with skits starring scads of imaginative, self-created characters. Among Reubens's contributions to this comedic community were a philandering husband named Moses Feldman, an Indian chief named Jay Longtoe, and the now fallen Pee-Wee Herman, who debuted in 1978.
Pee-Wee was a funny man-child of indeterminate age and sexuality who created a sarcastic enthusiasm for the popular culture of the '50s and '60s. The geeky character's wardrobe consisted of a gray suit, a white short-sleeved shirt accessorized with a red clip-on bow tie, and white patent-leather loafers. He wore his jet-black hair military short with a defiant tuft in front, and he accentuated his lily-white complexion with pink cheeks and red lipstick. Reubens drew inspiration for Pee-Wee's geeky behavior from a youth he had attended summer camp with, and derived his creation's boyish voice from a character he played as a child actor. Pee-Wee appeared for only 10 minutes of The Groundlings show, but he nonetheless built up a considerable following and turned out to be a star of the '80s and early '90s. The Pee Wee Herman Show, ran for five sellout months at the Los Angeles's Roxy nightclub, and HBO taped the performance and aired it as a special.
Now a genuine comedy-circuit star, he became a frequent guest of David Letterman and a favorite at Caroline's in New York. In 1984, he sold out Carnegie Hall. He later auditioned for the cast of Saturday Night Live, but when that didn't turn out as planned, he started writing a feature-length screenplay for Pee-Wee to star in, and asked friend Tim Burton to direct. Released to wildly divergent reviews, Pee-wee's Big Adventure, followed its star cross-country in a madcap search for his beloved, stolen bike. The $7 million picture ended up grossing $45 million. That following year, CBS which had been losing children's audiences to cable programming, was interested in finding something to shore up its Saturday Morning lineup. The network company signed him to act/produce and to direct its live-action children's program called Pee-wee's Playhouse. They doled out an eye-popping budget of $325,000 per episode - the same price as a prime- time sitcom. Reubens received complete creative control, albeit with three minor exceptions. During its five-year-run on CBS, he never appeared in general as himself. He even granted printed interviews in full Pee-Wee regalia.
The image of Pee-Wee was broken on July 26, 1991. On his summer vacation, Reubens was visiting his parents in Sarasota and sought escape from boredom by catching a showing of the X-rated film, Nurse Nancy. He fell victim to a police sting operation and was arrested for sex charges when detectives allegedly saw him playing with his private parts. He was released on $219 bail and nobody realized what had happened until somebody recognized him beneath his long hair and goatee. The media went berserk: 'Kids show star arrested for indecent exposure'. Because of his behavior, CBS dropped the Playhouse and related merchandise was released from its shelves. He agreed to pay a $50 fine plus $85 in court costs to Sarasota County, and he produced a 30 second public service message for the Partnership For Drug-Free America commercial. As part of the deal, the county sealed all legal papers relating to the actor's arrest and didn't leave Reubens with a criminal record. The scandal marked the virtual death of Pee-Wee Herman. Reubens appeared as his favorite character for the last time at that Autumn's MTV Music Video Awards. The enthusiastic reception was not surprising, as he had received 15 thousand supportive letters during his arrest. Regardless, he had recently made a promise not to play Pee-Wee anymore and used his arrest as an chance to portray other roles. A new feature length film by Netflix available beginning March 18, 2016 will allow Reubens to show Pee-Wee fans his character again in Pee-wee's Big Holiday.
Reubens has landed a series of offbeat character roles. One year after he was taken into custody, he appeared in Burton's Batman Returns as the Penguin's unloving father, and as a vampire henchman in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Subsequent jobs have included a voice over for Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas, a healthy stint as Andrew J. Lansing III on Murphy Brown, and roles in the feature films, Dunston Checks In, Matilda, Buddy and Mystery Men. He also signed to emcee a new game show based on the popular 'You Don't Know Jack' CD-ROM version.
Bruce Lee remains the greatest icon of martial arts cinema and a key figure of modern popular media. Had it not been for Bruce Lee and his movies in the early 1970s, it's arguable whether or not the martial arts film genre would have ever penetrated and influenced mainstream North American and European cinema and audiences the way it has over the past four decades.
The influence of East Asian martial arts cinema can be seen today in so many other film genres including comedies, action, drama, science fiction, horror and animation.....and they all have their roots in the phenomenon that was Bruce Lee.
Lee was born "Lee Jun Fan" November twenty-seventh 1940 in San Francisco, the son of Lee Hoi Chuen, a singer with the Cantonese Opera. Approximately one year later the family returned to Kowloon in Hong Kong and at the age of five years, a young Bruce begins appearing in children's roles in minor films including The Birth of Mankind and Fu gui fu yun. At the age of 12, Bruce commenced attending La Salle College. Bruce was later beaten up by a street gang, which inspired him to take up martial arts training under the tutelage of "Sifu Yip Man" who schooled Bruce in wing chun kung fu for a period of approximately five years. This was the only formalized martial arts training ever undertaken by Lee. The talented & athletic Bruce also took up cha-cha dancing and, at the age of 18, won a major dance championship in Hong Kong.
However, his temper and quick fists got him in trouble with the Hong Kong police on numerous occasions. His parents suggested that he head off to the United States. Lee landed in San Francisco's Chinatown in 1959 and worked in a close relative's restaurant. He eventually made his way to Seattle, Washington, where he enrolled at university to study philosophy and found the time to practice his beloved kung fu techniques. In 1963, Lee met Linda Lee Cadwell (aka Linda Emery) (later his wife) and also opened his first kung fu school at 4750 University Way. During the early half of the 1960s, Lee became associated with many key martial arts figures in the USA, including kenpo karate expert Ed Parker and tae kwon do master Jhoon Rhee. He made guest appearances at notable martial arts events including the Long Beach Nationals. Through one of these tournaments Bruce met Hollywood hair-stylist Jay Sebring who introduced him to T.V. producer William Dozier. Based on the runaway success of Batman, Dozier was keen to bring the cartoon character of The Green Hornet to T.V. and was on the lookout for an East Asian actor to play the Green Hornet's sidekick, Kato. Around this time Bruce also opened a second kung fu school in Oakland, California and relocated to Oakland to be closer to Hollywood.
Bruce's screen test was successful, and The Green Hornet starring Van Williams aired in 1966 with mixed success. His fight scenes were sometimes obscured by unrevealing camera angles, but his dedication was such that he insisted his character behave like a perfect bodyguard, keeping his eyes on whoever might be a threat to his employer except when the script made this impossible. The show was surprisingly terminated after only one season (twenty-six episodes), but by this time Lee was receiving more fan mail than the show's nominal star. He then opened a third branch of his kung fu school in Los Angeles and began providing personalized martial arts training to celebrities including film stars Steve McQueen and James Coburn as well as screenwriter Stirling Silliphant. In addition he refined his prior knowledge of wing chun and incorporated aspects of other fighting styles such as traditional boxing and Okinawan karate. He also developed his own unique style "Jeet Kune Do" (Way of the Intercepting Fist). Another film opportunity then came his way as he landed the small role of a stand over man named "Winslow Wong" who intimidates private eye James Garner in Marlowe. Wong pays a visit to Garner and proceeds to demolish the investigator's office with his fists and feet, finishing off with a spectacular high kick that shatters the light fixture. With this further exposure of his talents, Bruce then scored several guest appearances as a martial arts instructor to blind private eye James Franciscus on the TV series Longstreet.
With his minor success in Hollywood and money in his pocket, Bruce returned for a visit to Hong Kong and was approached by film producer Raymond Chow who had recently started "Golden Harvest" productions. Chow was keen to utilize Lee's strong popularity amongst young Chinese fans, and offered him the lead role in The Big Boss, (aka "The Big Boss", aka Fists Of Fury"). In it, Lee plays a distant cousin coming to join relatives working at an ice house, where murder, corruption, and drug-running lead to his character's adventures and display of Kung-Fu expertise. The film was directed by Wei Lo, shot in Thailand on a very low budget and in terrible living conditions for cast and crew. However, when it opened in Hong Kong the film was an enormous hit. Chow knew he had struck box office gold with Lee and quickly assembled another script entitled The Chinese Connection (aka "Fist Of Fury", aka "The Chinese Connection"). The second film (with a slightly bigger budget) was again directed by Wei Lo and was set in Shanghai in the year 1900, with Lee returning to his school to find that his beloved master has been poisoned by the local Japanese karate school. Once again he uncovers the evil-doers and sets about seeking revenge on those responsible for murdering his teacher and intimidating his school. The film features several superb fight sequences and, at the film's conclusion, Lee refuses to surrender to the Japanese law and seemingly leaps to his death in a hail of police bullets.
Once more, Hong Kong streets were jammed with thousands of fervent Chinese movie fans who could not get enough of the fearless Bruce Lee, and his second film went on to break the box office records set by the first! Lee then set up his own production company, Concord Productions, and set about guiding his film career personally by writing, directing and acting in his next film, The Way of the Dragon (aka "Return of The Dragon"). A bigger budget meant better locations and opponents, with the new film set in Rome, Italy and additionally starring hapkido expert Ing-Sik Whang, karate legend Robert Wall and seven-time U.S. karate champion Chuck Norris. Bruce plays a seemingly simple country boy sent to assist at a cousin's restaurant in Rome and finds his cousins are being bullied by local thugs for protection.
By now, Lee's remarkable success in East Asia had come to the attention of Hollywood film executives and a script was hastily written pitching him as a secret agent penetrating an island fortress. Warner Bros. financed the film and also insisted on B-movie tough guy John Saxon starring alongside Lee to give the film wider appeal. The film culminates with another show-stopping fight sequence between Lee and the key villain, Han, in a maze of mirrors. Shooting was completed in and around Hong Kong in early 1973 and in the subsequent weeks Bruce was involved in completing overdubs and looping for the final cut. Various reports from friends and coworkers cite that he was not feeling well during this period and on July twentieth 1973 he lay down at the apartment of actress Betty Ting Pei after taking a head-ache tablet and was later unable to be revived. A doctor was called and Lee was taken to hospital by ambulance and pronounced dead that evening. The official finding was death due to a cerebral edema, caused by a reaction to the head-ache tablet.
Fans world-wide were shattered that their virile idol had passed at such a young age, and nearly thirty thousand fans filed past his coffin in Hong Kong. A second, much smaller ceremony was held in Seattle, Washington and Bruce was laid to rest at Lake View Cemetary in Seattle with pall bearers including Steve McQueen, James Coburn and Dan Inosanto. Enter the Dragon was later released in the mainland United States, and was a huge hit with audiences there, which then prompted National General films to actively distribute his three prior movies to U.S. theatres... each was a box office smash.
Fans throughout the world were still hungry for more Bruce Lee films and thus remaining footage (completed before his death) of Lee fighting several opponents including Dan Inosanto, Hugh O'Brian and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was crafted into another film titled Game of Death. The film used a look-alike and shadowy camera work to be substituted for the real Lee in numerous scenes. The film is a poor addition to the line-up and is only saved by the final twenty minutes and the footage of the real Bruce Lee battling his way up the tower. Amazingly this same shoddy process was used to create Game of Death II (A.K.A. "Game of Death II"), with a look-alike and more stunt doubles interwoven with a few brief minutes of footage of the real Bruce Lee.
Bruce Lee was not only an amazing athlete and martial artist but he possessed genuine superstar charisma and through a handful of films he left behind an indelible impression on the tapestry of modern cinema.
Jeremy Philip Northam was born in Cambridge, England to parents John and Rachel, both university professors. John Northam is best known for his translations of Henrik Ibsen. The family moved to Bristol, in 1972, where Jeremy attended Bristol Grammar School. Jeremy graduated from Bedford College, University of London, in 1984 with a bachelor of arts degree in English Literature. After graduation, he attended the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and worked his way through regional theater to the London stage. Northam was the recipient of the prestigious Laurence Olivier Award - the British equivalent of the Tony - for outstanding newcomer, for his 1990 performance as "Edward Voysey", the moral pivot of the Royal National Theatre revival of the 1905 play, "The Voysey Inheritance". In 1994, he made his American film debut in the thriller, The Net, with Sandra Bullock, followed by his beloved portrayal of "Mr. Knightley" in Miramax's Emma, starring opposite Gwyneth Paltrow. Northam has continued to thrill his audiences with his many acclaimed performances, which include big budget productions, smart, independent projects and even television and audio books.
Beautiful red-haired and beloved actress Annette was born in Houston, Texas on April 1, 1952 to William West Toole Jr. and Dorothy Geraldine Toole née Niland. She is a film/stage actress, dancer, writer, singer, producer and composer. She started with acting at a very young age and during the 60s, she began a career in theater and television. Some of the TV shows that she acted in were My Three Sons, Gunsmoke and The Partridge Family. She also started dancing and singing.
Her career on TV also began during the 60s, while work on films was smaller. At the end of the 70s, she made a first leading role in One on One, as Robby Benson's mentor and girlfriend and a supporting role in King of the Gypsies, opposite Eric Roberts and Susan Sarandon. She frequently played leading roles in TV films. At the beginning of the 80s, she played a leading role opposite Gary Busey in the comedy Foolin' Around. From that point on larger parts in well-known motion pictures occurred. She appeared in the horror remake Cat People with Nastassja Kinski. Her most famous role of the 80s was in Superman III, where she joined a well-known acting crew of "Superman" films, Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder and also with (also a new member of "Superman" films (a comic relief)) brilliant Richard Pryor.
She continued to work on TV films, but none of them were famous as It, based upon Stephen King's novel, opposite John Ritter, Richard Thomas, Tim Reid, Richard Masur and the unforgettable Tim Curry as Pennywise the Clown, aka It.
Annette appeared in more films such as On Hope and Imaginary Crimes with Harvey Keitel, she still stood tight on TV. When it comes to TV series she is known for the role of Lisa Bridges in Nash Bridges, but she is perhaps known to the wide audience as Martha Kent in Smallville, a series about young Clark Kent/Superman. She also starred in the series The Huntress.
Annette has been married to Michael McKean since 1999 and they were both nominated for the Academy Award for Best Song in the film A Mighty Wind. She has two daughters from her previous marriage with Bill Geisslinger.
Edith Falco, called Edie, was born on July 5, 1963 in Brooklyn, New York, to Judith Anderson, an actress, and Frank Falco, a jazz drummer. She is of Italian (father) and Swedish, English, and Cornish (mother) descent. Edie grew up on Long Island and attended SUNY Purchase, where she was trained in acting at the prestigious Conservatory of Theatre Arts and Film. She moved to Manhattan after graduation, auditioning for roles and supporting herself as best she could; for example, working parties for an entertainment company where she would wear a Cookie Monster costume and urge people to get on the dance floor. Falco began getting film roles, mostly smaller supporting parts, starting in the late 1980s. Her first notable role was a supporting part in Bullets Over Broadway.
Ironically, it was in television where the conservatory-trained Falco's career first flowered. She obtained her first recurring roles in 1993, on the acclaimed police dramas Homicide: Life on the Street, as the wife of a blinded police officer, and Law & Order as a Legal Aid attorney. Next came a recurring role on the prison drama Oz, as a sympathetic corrections officer. All the while she continued to work in film, still in small supporting roles.
Supporting herself in acting continued to be a challenge until at last Falco found success in 1999, when she was cast in the HBO series The Sopranos, as Carmela, the wife of New Jersey Mafia street boss Tony Soprano. "The Sopranos" gained her a great deal of visibility and praise for her exceptionally strong dramatic skills. In 2000 Falco became one of the few actresses in history to sweep all of the major television awards (the Emmy, the Golden Globe and the SAG Award) in one year for a dramatic role. She is also the first female actor ever to receive the Television Critics Association Award for Individual Achievement in Drama.
Interestingly, her roles have frequently put her on one side of the law or the other--a defense attorney, a corrections officer, a cop's wife, a mobster's wife, a police officer (in a pilot for a television adaptation of the movie Fargo). She has also worked frequently on the stage, such as her award-winning work in the play "Sideman," in "The Vagina Monologues," and in revivals of "Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune" (which was hugely successful) and "'night Mother."
Unlike her brashly assertive alter-ego Carmela Soprano, Falco is self-described as shy, but is clearly a witty and down-to-earth person. She sometimes travels with her beloved dog Marley, driving so that the dog does not have to travel in the baggage compartment. At one point Falco had a relationship with her "Frankie and Johnny" co-star Stanley Tucci. She was treated for breast cancer in 2004 and her prognosis is very good. In December 2004, Falco adopted a baby boy, whom she named Anderson, after her mother's surname. Another adoption, of a baby girl named Macy, followed in 2008.
Julia Nickson was born in the beautiful island city of Singapore. Her early years were spent in the vales of Wiltshire, England followed by the red rock canyons of the Zambezi river in Africa, but she returned to Singapore after her father's death when she was only six. From the age of seven to seventeen,she watched Singapore transition from an unsophisticated British colony to a prosperous independent nation. After her Chinese mother remarried an American, she attended the Singapore American School.
Excelling in both studies as well as athletics, she competed in field hockey and track. Other pursuits included equestrian activities: dressage, show- jumping, cross country, and polo as well as gaining her license at 15 as an amateur jockey which entitled her to race at Pro Am Meets in both Singapore and Malaysia. She was a top competitor in all events, winning numerous three day shows and lower division polo tournaments. At 14, she even received a first place trophy from Sir Run Run Shaw, a most unexpected and rewarding moment of victory, having been raised on Shaw Brother epics; However, her greatest satisfaction came during her last two outs as a jockey in 1976, when at 17, she placed and then won her final two races at the Singapore Turf Club.
Graduating early from school, Nickson left a modeling career in Singapore to attend the University of Hawaii. Although intending to study Hotel Management, while passing the Drama Department, she gate crashed an audition, and won a role in her first play, Shakespeare's, "Winter's Tale." All desire to be in the hotel industry made a prompt departure, and Nickson's stage debut was followed with voice, dance and acting classes and attendant small roles in community theater and on Magnum PI.
In 1984, a search was conducted in New York, Los Angeles and Hawaii for a key role in an upcoming Sylvester Stallone film. After numerous auditions, Ms. Nickson was flown to LA for an old fashioned Hollywood screen test, resulting in her first international film, Rambo: First Blood, Part II, which became the second largest grossing film of 1985. To this day, Rambo, First Blood, Part II is still the most widely viewed action film nationwide on US television and the most successful and popular of all the Rambo sequels.
Following Rambo, Julia moved to Los Angeles. She became known for portraying beautiful, glamorous women starring in numerous television and film productions in the 80's and 90's. She was cast in Harry's Hong Kong by Aaron Spelling, and guest starring opposite David Soul, whom she later married, But it was James Clavell's Noble House that caused audiences and particularly NBC to take note. Nickson played Orlanda Ramos, the seductive Eurasian mistress, with such beauty, grace and glamor that she was given a second starring role on NBC opposite Pierce Brosnan, in Around the World in 80 Days. Merely, a month after the birth of her child, China Alexandra Soul, Nickson packed a suitcase of disposable diapers and trekked from the crystal caves in Serbia to the jungles of Thailand, playing the Indian Princess Aouda to Brosnan's, Phileas Fogg. When they reached Hong Kong, Julia stood awe struck as the company filmed on the famous Shaw Brothers lot.
After that, Nickson traveled fast, and in 1990 starred in China Cry, the true story of evangelist, Nora Lam, the young girl who risked her life to defend her faith during the Communist Revolution. By the time China Cry was released in 1990, along with critical acclaim, she was considered one of the top Asian American actors in the U.S.
Nickson then co-starred in Paramount's adventure film, K-2 with Michael Biehn and New Line's, Sidekicks, with Chuck Norris, and Beau Bridges. In 1994, she played Bortei, first and most beloved wife to Genghis Khan, and mother of the Mongol Empire. Aging from 18 to 55, and filming in the desolate regions of Central Asia, a year after the coup in the Soviet Union, became a life changing experience for Nickson.
Over the course of her career, Nickson has appeared on numerous television productions including Babylon 5, Walker, Texas Ranger, Nash Bridges, One West Waikiki, The Marshall, Seaquest, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Chicago Hope and more recently Castle and Rex is Not Your Lawyer.
Over the years, Nickson guested on talk shows with David Letterman, Regis Philbin, Good Morning America, as well as affiliate news and entertainment shows, both in the US and abroad. Julia has been a huge supporter of independent film makers and two of her films, Life Tastes Good, and Half Life, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Her recent films, Dim Sum Funeral, which played the Singapore Film Festival in 2009, and Half Life, winner of numerous festival awards, have just been released on DVD. Nickson has just completed filming the feature, One Kine Day, lensed on the windward side of Oahu.
Nickson took some time off from her career to focus on her daughter, China Soul,who has just graduated with honors from the University of London, Royal Holloway, where in 2009, Ms. Soul received a first in play writing. Ms. Soul is also a singer songwriter, and her first album is available on Amazon UK presently. Her singles will be available on Itunes in late October, 2010
Kristen has been following her passion as an actress from the early age of 17 when she was cast in The Sausage Factory, a wonderfully quirky series for MTV. Kristen most recently had a recurring role as "Ima" on the critically acclaimed FX series, Sons Of Anarchy; a hard-edged drama that revolves around the fictitious motorcycle gang, SAMCRO. Kristen's character is a no-nonsense porn star who seems to always leave a trail of chaos in her wake.
Her extensive TV background includes playing the Southern Belle "Morgan Hollingsworth" on NBC's popular daytime drama series, Days of Our Lives, as well as many memorable guest appearances on hit TV shows including, CSI:MIAMI, The OC, and CSI:NY. Kristen has recently worked on several projects including The Glades on A&E, a hilarious pilot for CBS called Friend Me, as well as a terrifying short Girl at the Door directed by Academy Award Nominee Colin Campbell. She recently won "Best Actress" at the Claremont Film Festival for her short "Love In Our Time" which she co-produced. Kristen was able to show her comedic side while recurring as Charlie Sheen's love interest in Anger Management, and is looking forward to the release of her most recent film, Battle Scars, which portrays the often dark reality service men and woman face adjusting to home life after returning from war, which won the "Festival Founders Choice Award for Feature Film" at the 2015 GI Film Festival.
Kristen has also appeared on Kendra On Top, a reality show on WE TV following the fast-paced and often hilarious life of her real-life girlfriend Kendra Wilkinson. She has also been featured in the docu-series "Celebrity Ghost Stories" where she recounted a terrifying evening on the ship The Queen Mary in which she witnessed one of the many documented "ghosts" on the ship. Kristen was also featured in the follow up series "The Haunting Of...." where she and renowned psychic Kim Russo returned to The Queen Mary to revisit her haunting experience and seek out long awaited answers.
After being asked to participate in the documentary "Give Me Shelter" which was written by her friend Katie Cleary, these two animal advocates began "World Animal News", which airs weekly on TRadioV, and discusses a variety of animal issues and causes. With powerful weekly in-studio guests, and very strong opinions, "World Animal News" has become wildly popular in the animal rescue and advocacy community.
Philanthropy is Kristen's passion and her focus when she isn't acting. She a huge animal activist, supporting Boxer Rescue LA, ASPCA, Dogs for the Deaf, HSUS, Save the Manatee Club and SPCA, just to name a few. Kristen was recently named as an ambassador for Lupus LA, as well as working with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. She also volunteers at Children's Hospital LA, and is working closely with The Dream Builders Foundation as well as Delivering Dreams on many upcoming charitable events. She enjoys horseback riding and photography when she has a rare moment off! Kristen lives with her mastiff/boxer mix named Roxy and her beloved cat Minnie. She is attending The Pennsylvania State University, her parents' alma mater, to obtain a degree in Psychology.
Donal Logue's versatility and talent makes him one of the most well respected and beloved actors today. Born in Ottawa, Canada, Logue moved all over the United States, from the Boston area as an infant to various towns on the Mexican border. He returned to Boston to attend Harvard University, where he majored in Intellectual History and discovered his love for the performing arts. While in college, he appeared in over thirty plays, worked for two summers in the American Repertory Theatre's Harvard/Radcliffe Summer Stock Company, and spent a short time doing theatre in England. After graduating, Logue joined the Cornerstone Theatre Company which developed community theatre in rural parts of the United States. From then on Logue dedicated himself to pursuing his passion for acting. In his 20 plus years in the industry, Logue has starred in films such as, The Tao of Steve, the story of a larger-than-life, philosophizing lothario, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival, and won him a Special Jury Prize for Outstanding Performance. His other film credits include Sneakers, Gettysburg, Blade, Runaway Bride, Reindeer Games, The Million Dollar Hotel, Comic Book Villains with Michael Rapaport, Confidence, Just Like Heaven, and The Groomsmen with Ed Burns. Recently, Donal co-starred in Max Payne with Mark Wahlberg, as well as Charlie St. Cloud with Zac Ephron. He also appeared in Zodiac, directed by David Fincher, based on the Robert Graysmith books about the notorious Zodiac serial killer. Following the US release of Zodiac, he co-starred in Mark Steven Johnson's Ghost Rider with Nicolas Cage and Eva Mendes. Logue made his directorial debut with the independent film Tennis, Anyone?, which appeared at the US Comedy Arts Festival. He wrote, starred, and directed the film about two Hollywood has-beens who try and find meaning in their lives through a series of celebrity tennis tournaments. In television, Logue joined the cast of the NBC series "LIFE" about a former police officer who returns to the force after having been wrongly imprisoned for years. In 2007, he headlined the critically lauded ABC comedy "The Knights of Prosperity" in which a group of blue collar guys band together to plan a heist of Mick Jagger's New York City apartment. Prior to "The Knights of Prosperity" Logue starred in the Carsey-Warner produced show, "Grounded for Life" which aired for five seasons. He was also featured in a recurring role on "ER" as Sherry Stringfield's love interest. In 2010, Logue finished a critically acclaimed season on "Terriers," a television series created by Ted Griffin and Shawn Ryan for FX. He begins production on the Marc Cherry pilot "Hallelujah" for ABC in March of 2011. Logue lives in Los Angeles and has two children.
One of three children (she has two brothers, Greg and Don), Dianne Wiest was born in Kansas City, Missouri, USA. Her mother, Anne Stewart (Keddie), was a nurse from Auchtermuchty, Scotland, and her father, Bernard John Wiest, was a college dean and social worker who was born in Pennsylvania, of German and Croatian descent. Dianne's original ambition was to be a ballerina, but she was bitten by the acting bug after some stage work, most notably playing Desdemona to James Earl Jones' Othello on Broadway. She made her film debut in 1980, but did not make a name for herself until her performance as Emma, a prostitute during the 1930s Depression, in Woody Allen's The Purple Rose of Cairo. Allen was so impressed by Wiest's acting ability that he has directed her on four more occasions since. Under Allen's direction, Wiest won a well deserved Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, for her brilliant performance as the neurotic, wannabe actress Holly in Hannah and Her Sisters. She followed her Academy Award success with performances in The Lost Boys and Bright Lights, Big City before stealing the show from the likes of Steve Martin, Mary Steenburgen, Jason Robards, Keanu Reeves and Martha Plimpton in Ron Howard's Parenthood.
Playing Helen Buckman, the divorced mother of two difficult teenagers, Wiest was both touching and hilarious, and received her second Oscar nomination. Arguably her most beloved role came as Peg Boggs, the kindly Avon Lady who discovers the titular Edward Scissorhands. Wiest returned to Woody Allen for Bullets Over Broadway, a superb comedy film set in 1920s New York, winning her second Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her magnificent portrayal of Helen Sinclair, a boozy, glamorous and neurotic star of the stage, who could made the words "Don't speak!" the funniest sentence ever captured on film. Recently enjoying great success with witchy roles in the comedy film Practical Magic and the television miniseries The 10th Kingdom, Dianne Wiest lives in New York City with her two adopted daughters, Emily and Lily.
Johnny Whitworth is an American actor born in Charleston, SC on October 31, 1975. Whitworth grew up moving throughout the south before heading to Los Angeles at age 15 to pursue his acting career.
Having appeared in over 40 film and television projects throughout his career, Whitworth has performed alongside some of Hollywood's most notable talents: Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, Nicolas Cage, Idris Elba, Renee Zellweger, Angelina Jolie, Matt Damon, Claire Danes, Danny DeVito, Mickey Rourke, Jon Voight, Christian Bale and Russell Crowe, in films such as Limitless, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, 3:10 to Yuma, Empire Records, Gamer and Francis Ford Coppola's The Rainmaker, to name a few.
In the early 90s, he quickly achieved teen idol status after playing the wildly popular role of "A.J." in the cult hit, Empire Records. This came shortly after making one of his first acting debuts in the award winning television series, Party of Five. Johnny also appeared, over a span of four years, in the beloved recurring role of "Detective Jake Berkeley" on the series CSI: Miami (2006-2010). He recently returned to prime time television in the role of "Cage Wallace" in Season Two of the popular series, _The 100_.
This comes after completing work in early 2014 on the dramatic independent film, Bad Hurt, with co-stars Karen Allen, Michael Harney and Theo Rossi. Bad Hurt is a family drama set in Staten Island, New York in the late 90's. Johnny portrays "Kent Kendall", a Gulf War Veteran suffering from PTSD among other elements, after returning home from an intense military combat tour. Bad Hurt was also selected to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2015.
Johnny has said "that by the age of six, he knew he was going to be an actor" and went on to define his craft through a series of formal training throughout his travels, while evolving as a professional actor. He has cultivated an impressive body of work, earning himself a number of TV and film credits, while demonstrating a highly versatile, professional dependability within the industry.
Along the way, he was voted YM Magazine's 'Young and Modern Man' and has subsequently been featured in various entertainment publications throughout his career.
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. Rooney reached new heights in 1937 with A Family Affair, the film that introduced the country to Andy Hardy, the popular all-American teenager. This beloved character appeared in nearly 20 films and helped make Rooney the top star at the box office in 1939, 1940 and 1941. Rooney also proved himself an excellent dramatic actor as a delinquent in Boys Town starring Spencer Tracy. In 1938, he was awarded a Juvenile Academy Award.
Teaming up with Judy Garland, Rooney also appeared in a string of musicals, including Babes in Arms the first teenager to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor in a leading role, Strike Up the Band, Babes on Broadway, and Girl Crazy. He and Garland immediately became best of friends. "We weren't just a team, we were magic," Rooney once said. During that time he also appeared with Elizabeth Taylor in the now classic National Velvet. Rooney joined the service that same year, where he helped to entertain the troops and worked on the American Armed Forces Network. He returned to Hollywood after 21 months in Love Laughs at Andy Hardy, did a remake of a Robert Taylor film, The Crowd Roars called Killer McCoy and portrayed composer Lorenz Hart in Words and Music. He also appeared in Breakfast at Tiffany's, starring Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard. Rooney played Hepburn's Japanese neighbor, Mr. Yunioshi. A sign of the times, Rooney played the part for comic relief which he later regretted feeling the role was offensive. He once again showed his incredible range in the dramatic role of a boxing trainer with Anthony Quinn and Jackie Gleason in Requiem for a Heavyweight. In the late 1960s and 1970s Rooney showed audiences and critics alike why he was one of Hollywood's most enduring stars. He gave an impressive performance in Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 film The Black Stallion, which brought him an Academy Award nomination as Best Actor in a Supporting Role. He also turned to the stage in 1979 in Sugar Babies with Ann Miller, and was nominated for a Tony Award. During that time he also portrayed the Wizard in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz with Eartha Kitt at New York's Madison Square Garden, which also had a successful run nationally.
Rooney appeared in four television series': The Mickey Rooney Show (1954-1955), a comedy sit-com in 1964 with Sammee Tong called Mickey, One of the Boys in 1982 with Dana Carvey and Nathan Lane, and The New Adventures of the Black Stallion from 1990-1993. In 1981, Rooney won an Emmy Award for his portrayal of a mentally challenged man in Bill. The critical acclaim continued to flow for the veteran performer, with Rooney receiving an honorary Academy Award "in recognition of his 60 years of versatility in a variety of memorable film performances". More recently he has appeared in such films as Night at the Museum with Ben Stiller and The Muppets with Amy Adams and Jason Segel.
Rooney's personal life, including his frequent trips to the altar, has proved to be just as epic as his on-screen performances. His first wife was one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood, actress Ava Gardner. Mickey permanently separated from his eighth wife Jan in June of 2012. In 2011 Rooney filed elder abuse and fraud charges against stepson Christopher Aber and Aber's wife. At Rooney's request, the Superior Court issued a restraining order against the Aber's demanding they stay 100 yards from Rooney, as well as Mickey's other son Mark Rooney and Mark's wife Charlene. Just prior, Rooney mustered the strength to break his silence and appeared before the Senate in Washington D.C. telling of his own heartbreaking story of abuse in an effort to live a peaceful, full life and help others who may be similarly suffering in silence.
Rooney requested through the Superior Court to permanently reside with his son Mark Rooney, who is a musician and Marks wife Charlene, an artist, in the Hollywood Hills. He legally separated from his eighth wife in June of 2012. Ironically, after eight failed marriages he never looked or felt better and finally found happiness and peace in the single life. Mickey, Mark and Charlene focused on health, happiness and creative endeavors and it showed. Mickey Rooney had once again landed on his feet reminding us that he was a survivor. Rooney died on April 6th 2014. He was taking his afternoon nap and never woke. One week before his death Mark and Charlene surprised him by reunited him with a long lost love, the racetrack. He was ecstatic to be back after decades and ran into his old friends Mel Brooks and Dick Van Patten.
Never work with animals or children. It's the stern warning oft-repeated in Hollywood. Breakout actor Beck Bennett, however, would kindly disagree-with the second part, at least.
Bennett stars in the immensely popular "It's Not Complicated" campaign for AT&T, a series of ads in which he plays the wry, deadpan moderator of a focus group populated by precocious children. "Do you guys think it's better to be fast than be slow?" he'll prompt the kids, gathered around him at a comically child-size table. The kids go on energetic, meandering rants about werewolves and islands made of candy. Bennett blinks in response, unamused. The nation, judging by the social-media buzz and YouTube views the ads receive, is very amused.
Bennett's ads-thanks to his adorable rapport with the kids-have been so enthusiastically embraced that AT&T keeps ordering more, most recently a special March Madness edition co-starring a round-table of basketball legends. As a result, the once up-and-coming actor has been beamed into millions of American households countless times since the campaign's launch in November. Both ubiquitous and beloved at this point, Bennett has joined hallowed pantheon of cherished ad stars, alongside the likes of Flo from Progressive, Verizon's "Can You Hear Me Now?" guy, and Wendy the Snapple lady.
A native of Cat Island, The Bahamas (though born in Miami during a mainland visit by his parents), Poitier grew up in poverty as the son of farmers Evelyn (Outten) and Reginald James Poitier, who also drove a cab. He had little formal education and at the age of 15 was sent to Miami to live with his brother, in order to forestall a growing tendency toward delinquency. In the U.S., Poitier first experienced the racial chasm that divides the country, a great shock to a boy coming from a society with a majority of African descent. A determination to find and create opportunities for African-Americans was born in him because of the poor treatment he received on the streets of Miami. At 18, he went to New York, did menial jobs and slept in a bus terminal toilet. A brief stint in the Army as a worker at a veteran's hospital was followed by more menial jobs in Harlem. An impulsive audition at the American Negro Theatre was rejected so forcefully that Poitier dedicated the next six months to overcoming his accent and performance ineptness. On his second try, he was accepted. He was spotted in a rehearsal and given a bit part in a Broadway production of "Lysistrata," for which he got excellent reviews. By the end of 1949, he was having to choose between leading roles on stage and an offer to work for Darryl F. Zanuck in the film No Way Out. Poitier's performance as a doctor treating a white bigot got him plenty of notice and led to more roles, each considerably more interesting and prominent than most African American actors of the time were getting. Nevertheless, the roles were still less interesting and prominent than those white actors routinely obtained. But seven years later, after turning down several projects he considered demeaning, Poitier got a number of roles that catapulted him into a category rarely if ever achieved by an African American man of that time, that of starring leading man. One of the films, The Defiant Ones, gave Poitier his first Academy Award nomination as Best Actor. Five years later, he won the Oscar for Lilies of the Field, the first African American to win for a leading role. Poitier maintained activity on stage, on screen, and in the burgeoning Civil Rights movement. His roles in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and To Sir, with Love were for their time landmarks in the breaking down of social barriers between African Americans and whites, and Poitier's talent, conscience, integrity, and inherent likability placed him on equal footing with the white stars of the day. He took on directing and producing chores in the Seventies, achieving success in both arenas. Although he has reduced the frequency of his roles in recent years, he remains one of the most respected and beloved figures in American cinema of the twentieth century.
With a career spanning more than 25 years, Jason Marsden has been affectionately referred to as that guy from that show. The seasoned actor has worked in film and television with the best and the brightest, including Ridley Scott (White Squall), Robert Downey Jr. (Ally McBeal), James Woods (Shark), Billy Crystal (Mr. Saturday Night), Jim Carrey (Fun with Dick and Jane), and countless others. With more than 150 credits to his name, Jason Marsden has definitely made a dent in the entertainment industry.
Originally from Warwick, Rhode Island, Jason and his parents relocated to California when he was 11 years old. After just a few weeks of his new after-school activity--scene study and commercial training--the charismatic Jason was instantly signed by an agency and saturated with auditions for film, television, voice-over, commercials, and more.
After turns on General Hospital, Webster, and Murphy Brown, Jason was cast as "Eddie Munster" in the revamped The Munsters Today, which ran for three seasons in syndication. From there, he appeared on Tales from the Crypt, Anything But Love, and Star Trek: The Next Generation before landing his second series regular role as Dash X on the series Eerie, Indiana. His character actor appeal soon caught the attention of Billy Crystal, who cast him as a younger version of himself in the film Mr. Saturday Night.
For the next few years, Jason co-starred in numerous television shows, including Baywatch, Blossom, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He starred in two more sitcoms after that. Almost Home, with Brittany Murphy, and Tom, which starred Tom Arnold. He was soon asked to recur on Full House, as D.J.'s rich boyfriend, Nelson Burkhard. His teen-heartthrob status earned him another recurring gig for two years on the popular TGIF series Boy Meets World. Shortly after, he joined the cast of Step by Step (which starred Suzanne Somers and Patrick Duffy) for its final two seasons.
The silver screen soon called to Jason and, at age twenty, he was offered a role appearing opposite Jeff Bridges in White Squall. On a production that spanned eight countries, he shared the screen with contemporaries Scott Wolf, Jeremy Sisto, Ryan Phillippe, and Balthazar Getty. Upon returning to the states, Jason propelled himself into more network television, appearing in episodes of The Jamie Foxx Show, Ally McBeal, Bram and Alice, Even Stevens, Just Shoot Me!, and Shark. It was his unforgettable guest-starring role as Kim on Will & Grace, however, that earned him a place alongside Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, and Harry Connick Jr..
Somehow, among all of his on-camera work, Jason has also managed to amass over 100 credits behind the mike. He has lent his voice to some of animation's most beloved characters in cartoon series, feature films, radio programs, and more. Jason has played a wide range of roles--from the main male character in the English-language dub of the Academy Award-winning Spirited Away, to the son of one of Disney's favorite dogs in A Goofy Movie. At present, he is wrapping the first season of Hasbro's G.I. Joe: Renegades for the HUB network, The Fairly OddParents for Nickelodeon, and The Garfield Show on Cartoon Network. If you're a video-game fan, you've probably heard Jason in such epic games as Fallout: New Vegas, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and the title role in Tak and the Power of Juju.
Jason is also a proud member of the Directors Guild of America. Having helmed the season finale of Nickelodeon's The Journey of Allen Strange, he has subsequently directed numerous music videos as well as several short films. His latest short film, Locker 13 (starring Krista Allen and Rick Hoffman), earned official selection at Palm Springs Shorts Fest, the Phoenix Film Festival, the Nashville International Film Festival, and continues touring the 2010-2011 film-festival circuit.
Back in the spotlight once again, Jason has recently appeared in several independent films including High Hopes (with David Faustino and Jason Mewes), Pizza Man (starring Frankie Muniz), and the much-anticipated Blue Like Jazz, based on the famed novel, which just wrapped filming in Nashville, Tennessee. While working on his current projects, Jason is studying the Charles Conrad Method at the Steve Eastin Studio and enjoying the role he was born to play--a loving husband to his wife Christy Marsden and awesome dad of his son, Clark Otis.
Radiating the screen with her engaging presence and captivating talent, Amy Davidson has quickly become one of Hollywood's most intriguing young actresses.
Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Davidson discovered her love for entertaining when her parents enrolled her in dance classes as a young child. As a member of the award-winning dance production company, "Dance Motion", Davidson sharpened her skills for ballet, point, hip hop and modern dancing. After years of captivating audiences at national dance competitions and annual "Dance Motion" productions, the seasoned performer developed an affinity for acting.
During her last years in high school, Davidson was introduced to an agent and soon began doing commercial work. She also began mentoring with acting coach Gene Fowler, who recognized her talent and encouraged her to move to Hollywood to further her acting career. Davidson took his advice and, without having any connections in the entertainment industry, she packed her belongings and headed west.
Upon arriving in Los Angeles, Davidson continued to study her craft with a variety of coaches, each offering their own unique acting style. As a result of her perseverance and discipline, Davidson soon landed a recurring role as "Cammie Morton" in the Mary-Kate Olsen-Ashley Olsen series, So Little Time, for ABC Family. She also guest-starred on the drama series, Judging Amy, and appeared in Lifetime's original movie, The Truth About Jane, prior to landing 8 Simple Rules.
Despite her active schedule, Davidson finds time to enjoy a variety of activities that keep her physically fit, such as running, weight training, hiking, boxing and snow skiing. She continues to keep her spirit of dance alive by attending classes at "Cardio Barre", a workout studio where exercisers can experience a high energy, aerobic class done at a ballet barre. In order to improve her "jam sessions" in the car, she recently began taking voice lessons. Davidson recently wrapped production in a starring role opposite television veterans Betty White and Richard Thomas in Annie's Point, a Hallmark Channel original movie. Davidson portrayed "Ella Eason", a 19-year-old college dropout who agrees to travel cross country with her grandmother (White) in order to spread her grandfather's ashes in a significant spot - "Annie's Point".
She co-starred on ABC's family comedy "8 Simple Rules" from 2002 to 2005, with an ensemble cast that included James Garner, Katey Sagal and David Spade. She played the cute middle child, "Kerry Hennessy", who is a confident and intelligent teenager who knows that she does not need to pretty herself up in order to succeed. In its second season, the Hennessy family faced the heart-wrenching task of moving on with their lives after the tragic death of "Paul", their beloved patriarch (John Ritter).
Davidson currently resides in Los Angeles, where's she recently purchased a new home.
Jim Beaver is an American character actor, best known for his leading roles on the TV series Deadwood and Supernatural. Born in Laramie, Wyoming a minister's son, he was raised in and around Irving, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. Following high school and a year of college, he joined the Marines and served as a radioman with the 1st Marine Division in Vietnam. He attended Oklahoma Christian College (now Oklahoma Christian University), Edmond, OK, where he first became interested in acting as a career. After one year, he transferred to Central State University (now the University of Central Oklahoma), Edmond, OK, and while a student made his professional debut in a production of "Rain" at the Oklahoma Theatre Center in 1972. He obtained a degree in theatre and returned to the Dallas area where he worked for five seasons with the Dallas Shakespeare Festival. He had written several plays in college and afterward (as well as a biography of actor John Garfield), and in 1979 he was commissioned for the first of three plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville. He also began to make appearances in bit roles in films and television shows shot in the Dallas area, including Semi-Tough and Dallas. Moving to New York in 1979, he worked in stock and in dinner theatre tours, and also maintained a side career as a critic, columnist, and feature writer for Films in Review, the magazine of the National Board of Review. An assignment for an article on TV Superman George Reeves led him to Los Angeles. During his research there, his play "Verdigris" was produced to solid reviews at Theatre West in Hollywood, and he was signed as a writer by Sam Adams, partner in the prestigious Triad Artists agency. He began a successful period as a television writer, penning episodes for shows such as Vietnam War Story, Tour of Duty, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and was nominated for a CableAce Award for an episode of the latter. He had continued to act on stage and in small film and TV roles, and in 1988 he landed a substantial supporting role as Bruce Willis's best friend, an alcoholic Vietnam veteran, in Norman Jewison's production In Country. He gave up television writing and concentrated on acting. Slowly his roles grew larger (and more varied). He was Mark Harmon's chain-smoking detective partner Earl Gaddis on Reasonable Doubts and Edward Asner's dim-witted mechanic assistant Leland on Thunder Alley. He was frequently cast in Westerns (Geronimo: An American Legend, Bad Girls, among many others) or as detectives, sheriffs, or police officers (Sister Act, Sliver, Joy Ride). After two seasons on 3rd Rock from the Sun as French Stewart's sullen bar-owner boss Happy Doug, Beaver landed his most prominent and critically acclaimed role, that of Ellsworth, the gruff but decent and beloved prospector in the landmark Western series Deadwood. Nominated along with other cast members for a 2006 Screen Actors Guild Award, he found his career in high gear following that series. From it he moved to the popular father-figure role of demon hunter Bobby Singer on Supernatural, a part that brought him a worldwide fan base and a secondary career making personal appearances. He was married to and had a daughter with Cecily Adams, the actress-casting director daughter of Get Smart's Don Adams. Following her death from lung cancer in 2004, he wrote a best-selling memoir, "Life's That Way." He has continued to write plays and, between acting jobs, to work on the George Reeves project, now planned as a book. He served as biographical consultant on Reeves for the semi-biopic Hollywoodland.
Wendy Makkena is an accomplished actress, musician and entrepreneur from New York City, with a diverse background in film, television, theatre, and the arts. Ms. Makkena is a classically trained Juilliard harpist, performing at Carnegie Hall. She also plays R&B guitar, danced for six years with Balanchine's New York City Ballet, and is the founder of a successful startup.
In feature films Ms. Makkena recently appeared in "The Discovery" with Rooney Mara, Jason Segel, and Robert Redford, as Mr. Redford's beloved wife Maggie; "The Enchanted Forest", directed by Josh Klausner, and as the British real estate agent Maggie in "Fair Market Value", which had its world premiere at the Bentonville Film Festival winning the Best Ensemble Award. Other films include State of Play as Ben Affleck's erstwhile assistant Greer Thornton and leads in "Finding North", "Camp Nowhere", "Noise", "Air Bud" and John Sayle's "Eight Men Out". Wendy is perhaps best known for her role of shy novice sister Mary Robert in "Sister Act" and "Sister Act 2".
In television, Wendy has a recurring role on "NCIS" as Kate Todd's sister Dr. Rachel Cranston. She has also starred in the Fox comedy series "Oliver Beene"; the CBS series "Listen Up" opposite Jason Alexander; the ABC series "The Job" opposite Denis Leary; Fox's "The Mob Doctor" and the role of "All the Way" Mae in the TV series A League of Their Own, directed by Penny Marshall. Other TV roles include recurring roles on "Judging Amy" opposite Tyne Daly; "NYPD Blue" opposite David Caruso; "Alpha House" on Amazon Prime; "Rizzoli & Isles", "The Good Wife", "Desperate Housewives", "Law & Order", "Law & Order: SVU", "CSI", "House", "The Nine" and "Philly".
As a theatre actress, her roles on stage as varied as they are on screen, ranging from leads in the farce of Broadway's "Lend Me a Tenor", to the holocaust drama, Cynthia Ozick's "The Shawl" opposite Dianne Wiest and directed by Sidney Lumet. On Broadway, Wendy has appeared in numerous productions earning rave reviews, including the leading role of Crazy Terry in Roundabout's "Side Man", Tony Award winner for Best Play, and "Pygmalion" with Peter O'Toole. Off Broadway, she has appeared in Richard Greenberg's "American Plan"; Donald Margulies's "Loman Family Picnic" and "Prin" with Eileen Atkins. At Playwrights Horizons, Wendy originated the roles of Carmen Berra in "Bronx Bombers" and Megan in The Water Children (NY & LA), winning the LA Drama Critics Circle Award and the Robby Award for Best Actress. She was selected by Harold Pinter to appear in the American premiere of "Mountain Language", opposite David Strathairn, and performed in "The Birthday Party" with Jean Stapleton. She has also worked with such artists as Beth Henley at New York Stage & Film and Julie Taymor in "The Taming of the Shrew".
A successful entrepreneur, Wendy is the founder and recipe inventor behind "Ruby's Rockets" frozen fruit and veggie pops. Conceived and crafted with her daughter Ruby, their first-to-market recipes have won the Masters Of Taste Award, The New Hope Editor's Choice NEXTY Award, and the SupplySide West Award. Ruby's Rockets have been featured on The Today Show, Forbes, and NY Business Insider, among others, and were selected to be in Oprah's coveted O list. They are now in over 3,000 doors nationwide.
The entertainment world has enjoyed a five-decade love affair with comedienne/singer Carol Burnett. A peerless sketch performer and delightful, self-effacing personality who rightfully succeeded Lucille Ball as the carrot-topped "Queen of Television Comedy," it was Burnett's traumatic childhood that set the stage for her comedy.
Carol's rags-to-riches story started out in San Antonio, Texas, on April 26, 1933, where she was born to Jodie and Louise Burnett, both of whom suffered from acute alcoholism. As a child, she was left in the care of a beloved grandmother, who shuttled the two of them off to Hollywood, California, where they lived in a boarding house and shared a great passion for the Golden Age of movies. The plaintive, loose-limbed, highly sensitive Carol survived her wallflower insecurities by grabbing attention as a cut-up at Hollywood High School. A natural talent, she attended the University of California and switched majors from journalism to theater. Scouting out comedy parts on TV and in the theater, she first had them rolling in the aisles in the mid-1950s performing a lovelorn novelty song called "I Made a Fool of Myself Over John Foster Dulles" (then Secretary of State) in a nightclub act. This led to night-time variety show appearances with Jack Paar and Ed Sullivan and where the career ball really started rolling.
Carol's first big TV breaks came at age 22 and 23 as a foil to a ventriloquist's dummy on the already-established The Paul Winchell Show in 1955, and as Buddy Hackett's gawky girlfriend on the short-lived sitcom Stanley. She also developed an affinity for game shows and appeared as a regular on one of TV earliest, Stump the Stars in 1958. While TV would bring Carol fans by the millions, it was Broadway that set her on the road to stardom. She began as the woebegone Princess Winnifred in the 1959 Broadway musical "Once Upon a Mattress" which earned her first Tony Award nomination. [She would later appear in three TV adaptations - Once Upon a Mattress, Once Upon a Mattress and Once Upon a Mattress.] This, in turn, led to the first of an armful of Emmy Awards as a repertoire player on the popular variety series The Garry Moore Show in 1959. Burnett invented a number of scene-stealing characters during this time, most notably her charwoman character. With the phenomenal household success of the Moore show, she moved up quickly from second banana to headliner and appeared in a 1962 Emmy-winning special Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall co-starring close friend Julie Andrews. She earned the Outer Critics Circle Award for the short-lived musical "Fade Out, Fade In" (1964); and made her official film debut opposite Bewitched star Elizabeth Montgomery and Dean Martin in the lightweight comedy Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed?.
Not surprisingly, fellow redhead Lucille Ball, who had been Carol's treasured idol growing up, subsequently became a friend and mentor to the rising funny girl. Hilarious as a guest star on The Lucy Show, Carol appeared as a painfully shy (natch) wallflower type who suddenly blooms in jaw-dropping fashion. Ms. Ball was so convinced of Carol's talent that she offered Carol her own Desilu-produced sitcom, but Burnett had her heart set on fronting a variety show. With her own team of second bananas, including character crony Harvey Korman, handsome foil Lyle Waggoner, and lookalike "kid sister" type Vicki Lawrence, the The Carol Burnett Show became an instant sensation, and earned 22 Emmy Awards during its 11-year run. It allowed Carol to fire off her wide range of comedy and musical ammunition--whether running amok in broad sketch comedy, parodying movie icons such as Gloria Swanson, Shirley Temple, Vivien Leigh or Joan Crawford, or singing/gushing alongside favorite vocalists Jim Nabors, Steve Lawrence, Peggy Lee, Sammy Davis Jr., Ella Fitzgerald and Mel Tormé. She managed to bring in huge stars not known at all for slapstick comedy, including Rock Hudson and even then-Governor Ronald Reagan while providing a platform for such up-and-coming talent as Bernadette Peters and The Pointer Sisters In between, Carol branched out with supporting turns in the films Pete 'n' Tillie, The Front Page and Robert Altman's A Wedding.
Her program, whose last episode aired in March of 1978, was the last truly successful major network variety show to date. Carol took on new challenges to display her unseen dramatic mettle, and accomplished this amazingly in TV-movie showcases. She earned an Emmy nomination for her gripping portrayal of anti-Vietnam War activist Peg Mullen in Friendly Fire, and convincingly played a woman coming to terms with her alcoholism in Life of the Party: The Story of Beatrice. Neither character bore any traces of the usual Burnett comedy shtick. Though she proved she could contain herself for films, Carol was never able to acquire crossover success into movies, despite trouper work in The Four Seasons, Annie (as the hammy villainess Miss Hannigan), and Noises Off.... The last two roles had been created onstage by Broadway's Dorothy Loudon.
Carol would return from time to time to the stage and concert forums with productions of "Plaza Suite", "I Do! I Do", "Follies", "Company" and "Putting It Together". A second Tony nomination came for her comedy work in "Moon Over Buffalo" in 1995. Carol has made frequent appearances on her own favorite TV shows too, such as Password All-Stars (along with Elizabeth Montgomery, Carol was considered one of the show's best players) and the daytime soaper, All My Children.
During the early 1990s, Carol attempted a TV comeback of sorts, with a couple of new variety formats in Carol & Company and The Carol Burnett Show, but neither could recreate the magic of the original. She has appeared, sporadically, on various established shows such as "Magnum, P.I.," "Touched by an Angel," "Mad About You" (for which she won an Emmy), "Desperate Housewives," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (Emmy nomination), "Hawaii Five-0," "Glee" and "Hot in Cleveland." Befitting such a classy clown, she has received a multitude of awards over time, including the 2003 Kennedy Center Honors and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005. She was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1985. Her personal life has been valiant--tears in between the laughs. Married three times, her second union with jazz-musician-turned-variety-show-producer Joe Hamilton produced three daughters. Eldest girl, Carrie Hamilton, an actress and former teen substance abuser, tragically died of lung and brain cancer at age 38. Shortly before Carrie's death, mother and daughter managed to write a play, together, entitled "Hollywood Arms", based on Carol's 1986 memoir, "One More Time". The show subsequently made it to Broadway.
Today, at age 80 plus, Carol has been seen less frequently but still continues to make appearances, especially on TV. Most recently she has guested on the shows "Hot in Cleveland" and the new "Hawaii Five-0". As always she signs off a live appearance with her signature ear tug (acknowledging her late grandmother), reminding us all, between the wisecracks and the songs, how glad and lucky we all are to still have some of "this time together".
Handsome Ricardo Montalban was the epitome of continental elegance, charm and grace on film and television and in the late 1940s and early 1950s reinvigorated the Rudolph Valentino / Ramon Novarro "Latin Lover" style in Hollywood without achieving top screen stardom. Moreover, unlike most minority actors of his time, he fought to upscale the Latin (particularly, Mexican) image in Hollywood. His noted militancy may have cost him a number of roles along the way, but he gained respect and a solid reputation as a mover and shaker within the acting community while providing wider-range opportunities for Spanish-speaking actors via Los Angeles theater.
He was born in Mexico City on November 25, 1920, the youngest of four children to Castilian Spanish immigrants, Ricarda Merino and Jenaro Montalbán. His father was a dry goods store owner. Montalbán moved to Los Angeles as a teen and lived with his much older brother Carlos Montalbán, who was then pursuing show business as both an actor and dancer. Ricardo attended Fairfax High School in Hollywood and was noticed in a student play but passed on a screen test that was offered. Instead, he traveled with his brother to New York, where he earned a bit part in the Tallulah Bankhead stage vehicle "Her Cardboard Lover" in 1940, and won subsequent roles in the plays "Our Betters" and "Private Affair".
Returning to Mexico to care for his extremely ill mother, his dark good looks and magnetic style helped propel him into the Spanish-language film industry. After nearly a dozen or so films, he was on the verge of stardom in Mexico when MGM took an interest in him and he relocated back to Los Angeles. Making his Hollywood leading debut as a robust bullfighter and twin brother of MGM star Esther Williams in the "B"-level musical Fiesta, he attracted immediate attention. His second film with Williams, On an Island with You, led to a contract with the studio, where he routinely ignited "Latin Lover" sparks opposite such prime female stars as Cyd Charisse, Shelley Winters, Anne Bancroft, Pier Angeli, Laraine Day and (once again) Esther Williams, this time in Neptune's Daughter (one of his MGM extravaganzas opposite gorgeous Lana Turner was actually called Latin Lovers). His strongest Hispanic competition in films at the time was Argentine-born fellow MGM player Fernando Lamas, who wound up eventually marrying Esther Williams after divorcing another MGM beauty, Arlene Dahl.
Although Montalban was the epitome of the "Latin lover" type, it actually damaged his cinematic career, pigeonholing him and hurting his momentum. He was seldom able to extricate himself from the usual portrayals of gringos, bandidos and gigolos, although he did manage to find an interesting film from time to time, such as his turn as a Mexican undercover cop in the gritty Border Incident, Mystery Street, the classic war film Battleground and the hard-edged boxing drama Right Cross. Occasionally, he was handed ethnic roles outside the Latino realm, such as his villainous Blackfoot Indian chief in Across the Wide Missouri starring Clark Gable, his heroic, bare-chested rebel warrior in the steamy Italian sword-and-sandals costumer The Queen of Babylon alongside Rhonda Fleming and his Japanese Kabuki actor in the Oscar-winning feature Sayonara. It was during the filming of Across the Wide Missouri that he suffered a serious injury to his spine after he slipped and fell off a running horse, which resulted in a permanent limp.
Well established by this time, Montalban returned to the stage in 1954 with varied roles in such fare as "Can-Can", "The Inspector General", "South Pacific" and "Accent on Youth", before making his 1955 Broadway debut as Chico in the original musical "Seventh Heaven" with Gloria DeHaven, Kurt Kasznar and Bea Arthur. He then earned a Tony nomination as the only non-African-American actor in the tropical-themed musical "Jamaica" (1957) co-starring Lena Horne. He also toured as the title role in "Don Juan in Hell" in the 1960s, returning to Broadway with it in 1973 with Agnes Moorehead, Paul Henreid and Edward Mulhare, and touring once again with the show in 1991.
His strong work ethic and reservoir of talent enabled him to continue on television long after his exotic beefcake status in films had waned. He had married Loretta Young's half-sister Georgiana Young in 1944, and appeared on his sister-in-law's television series (The New Loretta Young Show) several times. He also showed up in a number of television dramatic anthologies (Playhouse 90 and Colgate Theatre) and made guest appearances on the popular series of the day, such as Death Valley Days, Bonanza, Burke's Law, Dr. Kildare, The Defenders and, more notably, a 1967 Star Trek episode in which he memorably portrayed galaxy arch-villain Khan Noonien Singh. He resurrected this character memorably in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
Over the years, he continued to appear occasionally on the big screen, typically playing continental smoothies, in such films as Love Is a Ball, Madame X and Sweet Charity, but it was television that finally made him a household name. Montalban captivated audiences as the urbane, white-suited concierge of mystery Mr. Roarke in the Aaron Spelling series Fantasy Island. He stayed with the series for six seasons, buoyed by his popular "odd couple" teaming with the late Hervé Villechaize, who played Mr. Roarke's diminutive sidekick, and fellow greeter, Tattoo. While it may have seemed a somewhat lightweight and undemanding role for the talented Montalban, it nevertheless became his signature character. The series faltered after Villechaize, who had become erratic and difficult on the set, was fired from the series in 1983. Corpulent Britisher Christopher Hewett, as Lawrence, replaced the Tattoo character but to little avail and the series was canceled one season later. The troubled Villechaize committed suicide in 1993.
An Emmy winner for his role in the miniseries How the West Was Won and a noteworthy villain in the Dynasty spin-off soap series The Colbys, Montalban was also famous for a series of television commercials in which he returned somewhat to his "Latin lover" persona, primarily in a series of slick commercials for Chrysler's Cordoba automobile, pitching the elegant auto with its "rich, Corinthian leather" (it later came to light that this phrase had been conjured up as a marketing tool, and that there was no such product from Corinth or anywhere else!). As for film and television work in his later years, he good-naturedly spoofed his Hollywood image in a number of featured parts, including a hilarious send-up of himself in The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!. Two of his final, larger-scaled film roles were as the grandfather in the two "Spy Kids" sequels: Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams and Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over. His deep, soothing, confident tones could also be heard in animated features and television series.
Frustrated at Hollywood's portrayal of Mexicans, he helped to found, and gave great support, attention and distinction to, the image-building "Nosotros" organization, a Los Angeles theatre-based company designed for Latinos working in the industry. Nosotros and the Montalban foundation eventually bought the historic Doolittle Theater in Hollywood and renamed the theatre in his honor in 2004. It became the first major theater facility (1200 seats) in the United States to carry the name of a Latino performing artist. In 1980 he, along with Bob Thomas, published his memoir, entitled "Reflections: A Life in Two Worlds".
A class act who was beloved in the industry for his gentle and caring nature, the long-term effects of his spinal injury eventually confined him to a wheelchair in his later years. He died in his Los Angeles home of complications from old age on January 14, 2009 at age 88. His wife having died in 2007, he was survived by their two daughters and two sons: Laura, Anita, Victor and Mark.
"Amazing Grace" Zabriskie was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. She wrote her own original poetry, then performed at coffee shops and various artist hangouts in Atlanta. She was also a wonderful silk-screen printmaker. She moved to Hollywood and made her acting debut in Norma Rae. She went on to appear in over 80 movies. She gave an acclaimed performance as Mrs. Ames in East of Eden, the adaptation of John Steinbeck's novel. Grace appeared in the highly acclaimed and Oscar-nominated An Officer and a Gentleman and The Big Easy, set in her beloved New Orleans. She worked with producer and director David Lynch, and was a series regular in the cult favorite Twin Peaks as Sarah Palmer, the part with which she is most often identified. She also appeared in Lynch's Wild at Heart the same year. She has played a wide variety of roles, and gave a terrific performance in the Oscar-nominated Fried Green Tomatoes and showed great character depth as the lonely and despondent widow in The Passion of Darkly Noon.
Grace's more recent roles were in the zany Sparkler and in the big-name feature No Good Deed, based on a short story by Dashiell Hammett. A woman of many talents, she is currently creating her own original paintings, unique sculptures and woodwork art that can be viewed in Los Angeles galleries.
Her visual arts, which include creating lamps or "sculptures with light" as she calls them, are available from the L.A.-based ArtHaus.
Valerie Bertinelli was born in Wilmington, Delaware. Her father was a General Motors executive. In her early teens, her father was transferred to a GM assembly plant in the Detroit, Michigan area and her family resided in Clarkston, Michigan where she attended Clarkston Middle School. A short time later, her father again was transferred to another GM automotive plant in Van Nuys, California. At this time, Ms. Bertinelli became neighborhood friends of the daughter of a TV producer and soon enrolled in the Tami Lynn School of Artists to study acting. Tami Lynn launched Valerie's career in the CBS hit TV series, One Day at a Time. Tami Lynn was Valerie's Personal Manager from 1971 through 1979.
In January 1975, the situation comedy One Day at a Time, produced by Norman Lear, premiered on CBS with Bertinelli as "Barbara Cooper", one of two daughters of a recently divorced woman. The show was a long-time hit and ended production in 1984, without being canceled.
Ms. Bertinelli has starred in three feature films: C.H.O.M.P.S., Ordinary Heroes, and Number One with a Bullet. She was also the protagonist of the miniseries, I'll Take Manhattan, based on a novel by Judith Krantz. She has appeared in made-for-TV movies almost annually since 1979. She was also the star of two other situation comedies, Sydney and Cafe Americain, both of which were canceled after short runs. In 1981, she married rock guitarist Edward Van Halen. They had homes in the Hollywood Hills and Malibu and have a son, Wolfgang Van Halen. They separated in 2001, when Van Halen had tongue cancer. In 2005, Bertinelli filed for divorce for irreconcilable differences and, it was finalized two years later. Ms. Bertinelli is still chiefly remembered by her television fans for her work on One Day at a Time.
An adored actress, Bertinelli's long and celebrated career has expanded to include equally beloved TV personality, spokesperson and best-selling author. She stars as "Melanie Moretti" on the Emmy® Award-winning series, Hot in Cleveland, which in 2011 was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award® for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series. The comedy revolves around three fabulous LA women of a certain age, and best friends (Bertinelli, Jane Leeves and Wendie Malick) whose lives are changed forever when their plane, bound for Paris, unexpectedly lands in Cleveland. Once safely on the ground, they soon rediscover themselves in this new "promised land" -- meeting their new landlord, played by Betty White, along the way.
Michael Welch is a veteran actor of 18 years with nearly 100 film and television credits to his name. He has received tremendous praise throughout his career by fans, critics, and industry insiders alike for the depth and diversity of his work. Michael continues to build his career, as he always has a new project on the horizon.
Welch is best known for his role as the popular Mike Newton in the Twilight Film Series, a franchise that grossed $3.3 billion worldwide. More recently, he appeared as a series regular on Z Nation, Syfy's hit original zombie series that's just been renewed for a third season. Michael was also a regular as Luke Girardi in the beloved, Emmy-nominated CBS show, Joan of Arcadia, for which he received his second Young Artist Award. His first feature film experience was as Artim in Star Trek: Insurrection, the ninth installment of the iconic franchise.
Welch is passionate about the issue of clean water and is heavily involved with The Thirst Project, a youth oriented non-profit that builds fresh-water wells in developing communities.
Michael is represented by Primary Wave Entertainment and The Talent House LA.
Janet Varney is a comedian, actor, writer and producer. In the animation world, she is lucky enough to be the voice of "Korra" on Nickelodeon's hit series, The Legend of Korra, and she can currently be seen as "Becca" on the live action FX series, You're the Worst. She also spent seven wonderful years hosting TBS's Dinner & a Movie, recurred on HBO's Entourage, was a series regular on the beloved E! and Yahoo series, Burning Love - seasons 1 and 3, and has made guest appearances on hit shows, including How I Met Your Mother, Key and Peele, Psych, Bones, on the panel of Chelsea Lately and @midnight, as a regular producer and co-host on Huffpost Live, and has appeared in films, such as Still Waiting..., Drillbit Taylor, and Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer. Janet is the host of the popular Nerdist podcast, "The JV Club", and the co-founder, creative director, and producer of one of the largest and most acclaimed comedy festivals in North America, "SF Sketchfest: the San Francisco Comedy Festival", now in its 15th year.
Gregory Michael Cipes realized his calling as an entertainer early in life. Having been born and raised in South Florida to a family of 9 brothers and sisters, Greg's inspiration to join the entertainment business was drawn from his thespian grandparents and TV director father. After dozens of roles in children's theater and numerous national commercials, made his professional off-Broadway acting and singing debut, starring as Young Solomon in the production "The Rothschild's" at the age of 13. At 16 he wrote, recorded and self produced his first single and eventual South Florida dance club hit with his band "Cipes and the People", whose album has since sold 60,000 copies plus. His new band, "Super Space Fighters" has been touted by critics as being a fresh take on Rock and Roll by mashing the sounds of the likes of the Beatles, Grateful Dead and Bob Marley (I). Cipes's new band has just started playing festivals across the United States.
At the age of 17, Greg became nationally ranked as a Junior Professional surfer with an unheard of 13 corporate sponsors. He's been featured several surfing magazines, and has graced the cover of "Eastern Surf Magazine" while appearing in numerous advertising campaigns for his sponsors.
Greg moved to Los Angeles in 2001, with nothing more than his beloved dog Timber, a guitar on his bad, and a surfboard. Since, he has starred in over 30 feature films such as "Fast & Furious", "Vile", "John Tucker Must Die", "Simon Says", "Pledge This!", "The Onion Movie", "Club Dread". His television appearances include "Ghost Whisperer", "Cold Case", "Gilmore Girls", Raines", "House M.D., "Bones", "Without a Trace, "Samantha Who?". He has had recurring and series regular television roles on "The Middle", "Deadwood, "One on One", "True Blood" and "Twentyfourseven", "Roseanne's Nuts", "CSI: Miami", "General Hospital" & "Anger Management.
Cipes has been dubbed the Crowned Prince of the Voiceover, having originally been discovered by 8 time Emmy Award-winning voice director Andrea Romano who cast Greg in his first cartoon role announcing "Greg has begun this ridiculously huge voice-over career." Greg is now the voice of his childhood idol Michelangelo in Nickelodeon's new global hit series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. His animation roles have made him known universally in such immortal characterizations as "Beast Boy" in Teen Titans Go!, "Kevin Levin" in Ben 10: Alien Force, "Chiro" in Disney's "Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!" (2004) , "Danny Rand/Iron Fist" in Ultimate Spider-Man, "Caleb" in W.I.T.C.H., Atlas" in "Astro Boy" (2003), the unforgettable lion cub, "Ryan" in The Wild and recurring roles in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Fish Hooks and Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil.
Greg's latest projects include a bi weekly "speakeasy" concert of eclectic local bands called La La Land, which is held at the Hollywood lounge Bardot. As a celebration of the culture and community of Laurel Canyon, Greg has created and is hosting the 4th Annual "Love Street Festival", taking place in Laurel Canyon July 5th. Greg is also on the board of the "Kids Venice Basketball League Natural Leaders program" which is an outreach program based in Los Angeles where underprivileged youth are introduced to the practices and principles of organic gardening, Yoga, Surfing, sustainable living and meditation. He has started his own charity organization based in Los Angeles called "UnAmor" bringing homeless Children, the Elderly and dogs together. Greg continues to tour the world making autograph appearances, teaching meditation and playing music live at Comic cons.
Kevin Dillon, born in Mamaroneck, New York was known for playing tough guys and bad boys during his early career. His first major role was Rooney, the bully in the brilliant (though much understated) film Heaven Help Us.
Kevin has since made many memorable film and television appearances, most notably in Oliver Stone's Platoon and The Doors, in the World War II film A Midnight Clear and in the cult classic The Blob. He was nominated for a Young Artist Award for his poignant performance opposite James Woods, Glenn Close and Mary Stuart Masterson in Immediate Family. Dillon starred opposite Kurt Russell and Richard Dreyfuss in Wolfgang Petersen's Poseidon for Warner Brothers and opposite Lisa Kudrow, Emma Roberts and Don Cheadle in Hotel for Dogs for Dreamworks.
Dillon is probably best known for his hilarious, yet heartfelt portrayal of the beloved character Johnny Drama on the hit series Entourage for HBO. His performance garnered him nominations for three Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe Award and three SAG Awards. He also recurred on both the critically acclaimed series NYPD Blue and 24.
He will next be seen this Summer as Johnny Drama in the feature film Entourage for Warner Brothers, directed by Doug Ellin.