One of the greatest actors in all of film history, Al Pacino established himself during one of film's greatest decades, the 1970s, and has become an enduring and iconic figure in the world of American movies.
Alfredo James Pacino was born on April 25, 1940, in the Bronx, New York, to an Italian-American family. His parents, Rose (Gerardi) and Sal Pacino, divorced when he was young. His mother moved them into his grandparents' house. Pacino found himself often repeating the plots and voices of characters he had seen in the movies, one of his favorite activities. Bored and unmotivated in school, the young Al Pacino found a haven in school plays, and his interest soon blossomed into a full-time career. Starting on the stage, he went through a lengthy period of depression and poverty, sometimes having to borrow bus fare to make it to auditions. He made it into the prestigious Actors Studio in 1966, studying under legendary acting coach Lee Strasberg, creator of the Method Approach that would become the trademark of many 1970s-era actors.
After appearing in a string of plays in supporting roles, Pacino finally succeeded with "The Indian Wants the Bronx", winning an Obie Award for the 1966-67 season. That was followed by a Tony Award for "Does the Tiger Wear a Necktie?". His first feature films made little departure from the gritty realistic stage performances that earned him respect: he played a drug addict in The Panic in Needle Park after his film debut in Me, Natalie. What came next would change his life forever. The role of Michael Corleone in The Godfather was one of the most sought-after of the time: Robert Redford, Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson, Ryan O'Neal, Robert De Niro and a host of others either wanted it or were mentioned for it, but director Francis Ford Coppola had his heart set on the unknown Italian Pacino for the role, although pretty much everyone else--from the studio to the producers to some of the cast members--did not want him.
Though Coppola won out through slick persuasion, Pacino was in constant fear of being fired during the hellish shoot. Much to his (and Coppola's) relief, the film was a monster hit that did wonders for everyone's career, including Pacino's, and earned him his first Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. However, instead of taking on easier projects for the big money he could now command, Pacino threw his support behind what he considered tough but important films, such as the true-life crime drama Serpico and the tragic real-life bank robbery film Dog Day Afternoon. He opened eyes around the film world for his brave choice of roles, and he was nominated three consecutive years for the "Best Actor" Academy Award. He faltered slightly with Bobby Deerfield, but regained his stride with ...and justice for all., for which he received another Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Unfortunately, this would signal the beginning of a decline in his career, which produced such critical and commercial flops as Cruising and Author! Author!.
Pacino took on another vicious gangster role and cemented his legendary status in the ultra-violent cult film Scarface, but a monumental mistake was about to follow. Revolution endured an endless and seemingly cursed shoot in which equipment was destroyed, weather was terrible, and Pacino became terribly ill with pneumonia. Constant changes in the script also further derailed a project that seemed doomed from the start anyway. The Revolutionary War film is considered one of the worst films ever, not to mention one of the worst of his career, resulted in his first truly awful reviews and kept him off the screen for the next four years. Returning to the stage, Pacino has done much to give back and contribute to the theatre, which he considers his first love. He directed a film, The Local Stigmatic, but it remains unreleased. He lifted his self-imposed exile with the striking Sea of Love as a hard-drinking policeman. This marked the second phase of Pacino's career, being the first to feature his now famous dark, owl eyes and hoarse, gravelly voice.
Returning to the Corleones, Pacino made The Godfather: Part III and earned raves for his first comedic role in the colorful Dick Tracy. This earned him another Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor, and two years later he was nominated for Glengarry Glen Ross. He went into romantic mode for Frankie and Johnny. In 1992, he finally won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his amazing performance in Scent of a Woman. A mixture of technical perfection (he plays a blind man) and charisma, the role was tailor-made for him, and remains a classic. The next few years would see Pacino becoming more comfortable with acting and movies as a business, turning out great roles in great films with more frequency and less of the demanding personal involvement of his wilder days. Carlito's Way proved another gangster classic, as did the epic crime drama Heat directed by Michael Mann and co-starring Robert De Niro, although they only had a few scenes together. He returned to the director's chair for the highly acclaimed and quirky Shakespeare adaptation Looking for Richard. City Hall, Donnie Brasco and The Devil's Advocate all came out in this period. Reteaming with Mann and then Oliver Stone, he gave two commanding performances in The Insider and Any Given Sunday.
In the 2000s, Pacino starred in a number of theatrical blockbusters, including Ocean's Thirteen, but his choice in television roles (the vicious Roy Cohn in the HBO miniseries Angels in America and his sensitive portrayal of Jack Kevorkian, in the television movie You Don't Know Jack) are reminiscent of the bolder choices of his early career. Each television project garnered him an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie.
In his personal life, Pacino is one of Hollywood's most enduring and notorious bachelors, having never been married. He has a daughter, Julie Marie, with acting teacher Jan Tarrant, and a new set of twins with longtime girlfriend Beverly D'Angelo. His romantic history includes a long-time romance with "Godfather" co-star Diane Keaton. With his intense and gritty performances, Pacino was an original in the acting profession. His Method approach would become the process of many actors throughout time, and his unbeatable number of classic roles has already made him a legend among film buffs and all aspiring actors and directors. His commitment to acting as a profession and his constant screen dominance has established him as one of the movies' true legends.
Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson at the Los Angeles County Hospital on June 1, 1926. Her mother Gladys Pearl Baker was a film-cutter at Consolidated Film Industries. Marilyn's father's identity was never known. Because Gladys was mentally and financially unable to care for young Marilyn, Gladys placed her in the care of a foster family, The Bolenders. Although the Bolender family wanted to adopt Marilyn, Gladys was eventually able to stabilize her lifestyle and took Marilyn back in her care when Marilyn was 7 years old. However, shortly after regaining custody of Marilyn, Gladys had a complete mental breakdown and was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and was committed to a state mental hospital. Gladys spent the rest of her life going in and out of hospitals and did not have contact with Marilyn ever again. Gladys outlived her daughter, dying in 1984.
Marilyn was then taken in by Gladys' best friend Grace Goddard, who, after a series of foster homes, placed Marilyn into the Los Angeles Orphan's Home in 1935. Marilyn was traumatized by her experience there despite the Orphan's Home being an adequate living facility. Grace Goddard eventually took Marilyn back to live with her in 1937 although this stay did not last long as Grace's husband began molesting Marilyn. Marilyn went to live with Grace's Aunt Ana after this incident, although due to Aunt Ana's advanced age she could not care properly for Marilyn. Marilyn once again for the third time had to return to live with the Goddard's. The Goddard's planned to relocated and according to law, could not take Marilyn with them. She only had two choices: return to the orphanage or get married. Marilyn was only 16 years old.
She decided to marry a neighborhood friend named James Dougherty; he went into the military, she modeled, they divorced in 1946. She owned 200 books (including Tolstoy, Whitman, Milton), listened to Beethoven records, studied acting at the Actors' lab in Hollywood, and took literature courses at UCLA downtown. 20th Century Fox gave her a contract but let it lapse a year later. In 1948, Columbia gave her a six-month contract, turned her over to coach Natasha Lytess and featured her in the B movie Ladies of the Chorus in which she sang three numbers : "Every Baby Needs a Da Da Daddy", "Anyone Can Tell I Love You" and "The Ladies of the Chorus" with Adele Jergens (dubbed by Virginia Rees) and others. Joseph L. Mankiewicz saw her in a small part in The Asphalt Jungle and put her in All About Eve, resulting in 20th Century re-signing her to a seven-year contract. Niagara and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes launched her as a sex symbol superstar.
When she went to a supper honoring her in the The Seven Year Itch, she arrived in a red chiffon gown borrowed from the studio (she had never owned a gown). That same year, she married and divorced baseball great Joe DiMaggio (their wedding night was spent in Paso Robles, California). After The Seven Year Itch, she wanted serious acting to replace the sexpot image and went to New York's Actors Studio. She worked with director Lee Strasberg and also underwent psychoanalysis to learn more about herself. Critics praised her transformation in Bus Stop and the press was stunned by her marriage to playwright Arthur Miller. True to form, she had no veil to match her beige wedding dress so she dyed one in coffee; he wore one of the two suits he owned. They went to England that fall where she made The Prince and the Showgirl with Laurence Olivier, fighting with him and falling further prey to alcohol and pills. Two miscarriages and gynecological surgery followed. So did an affair with Yves Montand. Work on her last picture The Misfits, written for her by departing husband Miller was interrupted by exhaustion. She was dropped from the unfinished Something's Got to Give due to chronic lateness and drug dependency.
On August 4, 1962, Marilyn Monroe's day began with threatening phone calls. Dr. Ralph Greenson, Marilyn's physician, came over the following day and quoted later in a document "felt it was possible that Marilyn Monroe had felt rejected by some of the people she had been close to". Apart from being upset that her publicist slept too long, she seemed fine. Pat Newcombe, who had stayed the previous night at Marilyn's house, left in the early evening as did Greenson who had a dinner date. Marilyn was upset he couldn't stay, and around 7:30pm she telephoned him while she was to tell him that her second husband's son had called him. Peter Lawford also called Marilyn, inviting her to dinner, but she declined. Lawford later said her speech was slurred. As the dark and depressing evening for Marilyn wore on there were other phone calls, including one from Jose Belanos, who said he thought she sounded fine. According to the funeral directors, Marilyn died sometime between 9:30pm and 11:30pm. Her maid unable to raise her but seeing a light under her locked door, called the police shortly after midnight. She also phoned Ralph Greenson who, on arrival, could not break down the bedroom door. He eventually broke in through French windows and found Marilyn dead in bed. The coroner stated she had died from acute barbiturate poisoning, and it was a 'probable suicide'.
First known as a rapper who became one of the more prominent voices in hip-hop's new millennium renaissance, Common later transitioned into acting. He was born in Chicago, and is the son of educator Dr. Mahalia Ann Hines and Lonnie Lynn, an ABA basketball player turned youth counselor.
On October 6, 1992, Common released his first LP, "Can I Borrow A Dollar?" under the Common Sense moniker. Tracks like "Charm's Alarm" and "Breaker 1-9" established him as a lyricist with wit, street-smarts, and love for extended similes, while tracks like "Heidi Hoe" would touch on the misogyny that would surface sparingly on future work.
In 1994 he released "Resurrection", notable for the smooth 'Large Professor' produced title cut as well as "I Used To Love H.E.R.", an ode to hip-hop. This album further increased his underground reputation while giving the hip-hop nation a new solid conscientious voice in a year that was excellent for underground artists (Nas, Kendrick Davis, Digable Planet, et al.)
After a name change brought on by a lawsuit, Common reemerged in 1997 with "One Day It'll All Make Sense". With guests ranging from Erykah Badu to Canibus to De La Soul and production help from mainstays No I.D. and Dug Infinite, the album had a distinctly underground flair. His big mainstream breakthrough album was yet to come.
After an appearance on The Roots smash 1999 album, "Things Fall Apart," Common moved to MCA Records. He soon was in the studio collaborating with the Okayplayer collective and with help from the forward-thinking production troupe Ahmir-Khalib Thompson(aka ?uestlove),James 'Jay Dee' Yancey,James Poyser, et al) he released his fourth album, "Like Water For Chocolate" in the spring of 2000. With its varied sonic plateau (Afrobeat, funk, and old-school soul) it was much different from previous outings. On the strength of tracks like the 'DJ Premier' produced banger "The 6th Sense", the album was a success, becoming a worthy addition to "The Next Movement".
In 2003 he released "Electric Circus". The album, a hip-hop/funk/soul/rock/psychedelia hybrid, polarized hip-hop fans like no other album has in recent memory. Common has also chosen to redefine himself, swearing off the alcohol, marijuana, and fornication that he had once indulged in.
Also in 2003 he appeared in a TV sitcom episode. With only a couple minor roles between 2003 and 2004, in January of 2007 he made his big screen debut.
Katie Finneran was raised in Miami, Florida. After a brief stint in conservatory training, she left college to make her mark in the entertainment industry. She quickly began racking up credits in theater, film and television. She has appeared in You've Got Mail, Liberty Heights and Night of the Living Dead. Her television work includes appearances on Frasier, Oz and Sex and the City. Her greatest achievements have been onstage. Katie's regional theater work includes "Hedda Gabler" with Kate Burton (Bay Street and Williamstown Theatre Festival) and "The Smell of the Kill" (Berkshire Theatre Festival). Her off-Broadway credits include parts in "Arms and the Man", "Edith Stein", "Bosoms and Neglect", "You Never Can Tell", "A Fair Country" and Encore's "Lil' Abner". She has also appeared on Broadway with Kevin Spacey in "The Iceman Cometh", 'Neil Simon (I)''s "Proposals", "The Heiress", "In the Summer House", "My Favorite Year", "Two Shakespearean Actors", "On Borrowed Time" and as Sally Bowles in the Tony-winning revival of "Cabaret".
Katie shot to stardom with her winning, witty turn as Brooke Ashton in Michael Frayn's farce "Noises Off!", for which she received critical acclaim and a 2002 Drama Desk and Tony Award for her portrayal. Katie left the show on July 14, 2002, to begin her work on the CBS sitcom Bram and Alice.
Bradley Pierce was born and raised in Arizona. He moved to southern California to begin acting at age 6 and has since appeared in various projects ranging from commercial and voiceover to television and film. He is known for voicing Chip in Disney's Beauty and the Beast and Tails in the Saturday morning cartoon series Sonic the Hedgehog. Other roles include Peter in Jumanji and a starring role as Pete Lender in The Borrowers with John Goodman. Pierce and appeared with Patty Duke and Melissa Gilbert in the TV film Cries from the Heart/Touch of Truth as an autistic child named Michael.
Bradley has been involved with many charities throughout his life. He received a mayoral commendation from the City of San Diego for his work with "Reading is Fundamental" and worked for several years with the Los Angeles based "Kids With A Cause" helping initially as a youth ambassador, and eventually serving as spokesperson for a year. He has also worked with "The Red Cross" and "Los Angeles Children's Hospital". Bradley works with "the Y" (formerly known as the YMCA) as a counselor and outdoor skills instructor and is still an active cancer research advocate.
Bradley Pierce is married to Shari Holmes since May 6th 2005. The couple have two sons named Gavin (Born Sept. 30 2005) and Dorian (Born July 14, 2008) and one Daughter Lorelai (Born January 20, 2014).
In addition to acting Bradley is producing short films and new media "Geek" content with the production company "ZFO Entertainment", a company he started with his good friend and fellow actor J. Paul Zimmerman (Joey Zimmerman. They are primarily working as a press/media outlet, in addition to producing their own short film content. Their first short film "Vultures" is slated for release late 2014.
Janet Leigh was the only child of a couple who often moved from town to town. Living in apartments, Janet was a bright child who skipped several grades and finished high school when she was 15. A lonely child, she would spend much of her time at movie theaters. She was a student, studying music and psychology, at the University of the Pacific until she was "discovered" while visiting her parents in Northern California. Her father was working the desk at a ski resort where her mother worked as a maid. Retired MGM actress Norma Shearer saw a picture of Janet on the front desk and asked if she could borrow it. This led to a screen test at MGM and a starring role in The Romance of Rosy Ridge. MGM was looking for a young naive country girl and Janet filled the bill perfectly. She would play the young ingénue in a number of films and work with such stars as Errol Flynn, Gary Cooper, James Stewart, Orson Welles and Judy Garland. She appeared in a number of successful films, including Little Women, Angels in the Outfield, Scaramouche, Houdini and The Black Shield of Falworth, among others. Janet would appear in a variety of films, from comedies to westerns to musicals to dramas. Of her more than 50 movies, she would be remembered for the 45 minutes that she was on the screen in the small-budget thriller Psycho. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, this 1960 classic would include the shower scene that would become a film landmark. Even though her character is killed off early in the picture, she would be nominated for an Academy Award and receive a Golden Globe. Her next film would be The Manchurian Candidate, in which she starred with Frank Sinatra. For the rest of the decade, her appearances in films would be rare, but she worked with Paul Newman in Harper. In the 1970s she appeared on the small screen in a number of made-for-TV movies. In 1980, she appeared alongside her daughter Jamie Lee Curtis in The Fog, and later, in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later. Janet Leigh died at age 77 in her home in Beverly Hills, California on October 3, 2004.
Celia Diana Savile Imrie is an English actress. She is known for her appearances with Victoria Wood; including Claire in Pat and Margaret (1994), Philippa Moorcroft in Dinnerladies (1998-2000) and playing various characters in the sketch show Victoria Wood As Seen On TV (1985-87), including Miss Babs in the spoof soap opera sketches Acorn Antiques. She reprised the role of Miss Babs in Acorn Antiques: The Musical! in 2005, and won the Olivier Award for Best Supporting Performance in a Musical.
Imrie's other television roles include Marianne Bellshade in Bergerac (1983), Diana Neal in After You've Gone (2007-08), Gloria Millington in Kingdom (2007-09), and Miss Kizlet in the 2013 Doctor Who season opener The Bells of Saint John. Her film appearances include Highlander (1986), Hilary and Jackie (1998), Bridget Jones's Diary (2001), Calendar Girls (2003), Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004), Imagine Me & You (2005), The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012) and The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015). She has been described as "one of the most successful British actresses of recent decades".
Imrie was born in 1952 in Guildford, Surrey, the fourth of five children of Diana Elizabeth Blois (née Cator) and David Andrew Imrie, a radiologist. Her father was from Glasgow, Scotland.
Imrie was educated at Guildford High School, an independent school for girls in her hometown of Guildford, followed by the Guildford School of Acting.
Imrie's varied career spans films, television and radio drama, and the theatre. Her film credits include Nanny McPhee, Hilary and Jackie (playing Iris du Pré) and the 1997 film of The Borrowers where she played Homily Clock. Other films include Bridget Jones's Diary, Calendar Girls, Highlander and, as Fighter Pilot Bravo 5, in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace. In 2004, Imrie played Doctor Imogen Reed in the schoolgirl thriller, Out of Bounds. In 2007 Imrie appeared in St Trinian's.
Television series to feature Imrie include The Nightmare Man, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, Casualty, Absolutely Fabulous, "Bergerac",The Darling Buds of May and Upstairs, Downstairs. In the 2000 miniseries of Gormenghast, she played Lady Gertrude. She also had a guest appearance in an episode of the BBC Scotland sitcom Still Game in 2003, where she played a home help called Mrs Begg. She also appeared in the 2005 BBC television drama Mr. Harvey Lights a Candle, playing the part of a teacher taking an unruly party of pupils on a day-trip to Salisbury Cathedral. She starred in the BBC sitcom, After You've Gone, alongside Nicholas Lyndhurst and in the ITV1 drama Kingdom, with Stephen Fry. Her part in After You've Gone has, whilst being critically acclaimed, been described as "criminally squandered". In 2013 she guest starred in the BBC's Doctor Who where she played the villainous Miss Kizlet in the series opener The Bells of Saint John.
Her radio work includes parts in BBC Radio 4's No Commitments, Adventures of a Black Bag, and Bleak Expectations. In early 2007, she narrated the book Arabella, broadcast over two weeks as the Book at Bedtime.
In May 2016, she made her US television debut in the DC action-adventure series Legends of Tomorrow.
Imrie is perhaps best known for her frequent collaborations with Victoria Wood, with whom she has appeared in TV programmes such as the sitcom Dinnerladies and sketch show Victoria Wood As Seen On TV. It was on the latter show in 1985 that she first played the infamous part of Miss Babs, owner of Acorn Antiques, a parody of the low budget British soap opera Crossroads.
These sketches became such a British institution that the show was turned into a West End musical in 2005 starring most of the original cast (see the picture on the right). Imrie won an Olivier Award for her performance. The character has curly blonde hair, and is known for her frequent parodic flirtations with the customers, and her abuse of the housekeeper Mrs Overall (portrayed by Julie Walters).
Imrie was the guest on Desert Island Discs on BBC Radio 4 on 13 February 2011. On 18 October 2013 she was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Winchester.
The dark, petulant beauty of this petite American film and musical star worked to her advantage, especially in her early dramatic career. Ann Marie Blyth was born of Irish stock to Harry and Nan Blyth on August 16, 1928, in Mt. Kisco, New York. Her parents split while she was young and she, her mother and sister moved to New York City, where the girls attended various Catholic schools. Already determined at an early age to perform, Ann attended Manhattan's Professional Children's School and was already a seasoned radio performer, particularly on soap dramas, while in elementary school. A member of New York's Children's Opera Company, the young girl made an important Broadway debut as Paul Lukas' and Mady Christians' daughter in the classic Lillian Hellman WWII drama "Watch on the Rhine" (1941), billed as Anne (with an extra "e"). She stayed with the show for two years.
While touring with the play in Los Angeles, the teenager was noticed by director Henry Koster at Universal and given a screen test. Signed on as Ann (without the "e") Blyth, the pretty, photographic colleen displayed her warbling talent in her debut film Chip Off the Old Block, a swing-era teen musical starring Universal song-and-dance favorites Donald O'Connor and Peggy Ryan. She followed it pleasantly enough with other "B" tunefests such as The Merry Monahans and Babes on Swing Street. It wasn't until Warner Bros. borrowed her to make self-sacrificing mother Joan Crawford's life pure hell as malicious, spiteful daughter Veda in the classic, Oscar-winning wallow Mildred Pierce that she really clicked with viewers and set up her dramatic career. With murder on her young character's mind, Hollywood stood up and took notice of this fresh-faced talent.
Although Ann lost the Best Supporting Actress Oscar that year to another Anne (Anne Revere), she was borrowed again by Warner Bros. to film Danger Signal. During filming, Ann suffered a broken back in a sledding accident while briefly vacationing in Lake Arrowhead and had to be replaced in the role. After a long convalescence (over a year and a half in a back brace) Universal used her in a wheelchair-bound cameo in Brute Force.
Her first starring role was an inauspicious one opposite Sonny Tufts in Swell Guy, but she finally began gaining some momentum again. Instead of offering her musical gifts, she continued her serious streak with Killer McCoy and a dangerously calculated role in Another Part of the Forest, a prequel to The Little Foxes in which Ann played the Bette Davis role of Regina at a younger age. Her attempts at lighter comedy were mild at best, playing a fetching creature of the sea opposite William Powell in Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid and a teen infatuated with much-older movie star Robert Montgomery in Once More, My Darling.
At full-throttle as a star in the early 1950s, Ann transitioned easily among glossy operettas, wide-eyed comedies and all-out melodramas, some of which tended to be overbaked and, thereby, overplayed. When not dishing out the high dramatics of an adopted girl searching for her birth mother in Our Very Own or a wrongly-convicted murderess in Thunder on the Hill, she was introducing classic standards as wife to Mario Lanza in The Great Caruso or playing pert and perky in such light confections as Katie Did It. A well-embraced romantic leading lady, she made her last film for Universal playing a Russian countess courted by Gregory Peck in The World in His Arms.
MGM eventually optioned her for its musical outings, having borrowed her a couple of times previously. She became a chief operatic rival to Kathryn Grayson at the studio during that time. Grayson, however, fared much better than Ann, who was given rather stilted vehicles.
Catching Howard Keel's roving eye while costumed to the nines in the underwhelming Rose Marie and his daughter in Kismet, she also gussied up other stiff proceedings like The Student Prince and The King's Thief will attest. Unfortunately, Ann came to MGM at the tail end of the Golden Age of musicals and probably suffered for it. She was dropped by the studio in 1956.
She reunited with old Universal co-star Donald O'Connor in The Buster Keaton Story, but both were oddly cast with Ann playing a totally fictional love interest to O'Connor's Keaton. Ann ended her career on a high note, however, playing the tragic title role in the The Helen Morgan Story opposite a gorgeously smirking Paul Newman. Ann has a field day as the piano-sitting, kerchief-holding, liquor-swilling torch singer whose train wreck of a personal life was destined for celluloid. Disappointing for Ann personally, no doubt, was that her singing voice had to be dubbed (albeit superbly) by the highly emotive, non-operatic songstress Gogi Grant.
Through with films, Ann's later concentration (besides family life) was the musical stage, with dramatic TV guest appearances thrown in now and then. Over the years a number of classic songs have been tailored to suit Ann's glorious lyric soprano both in concert form and on the civic light opera/summer stock stages. "The Sound of Music", "The King and I", "Carnival", "Bittersweet", "South Pacific", "Show Boat" and "A Little Night Music" are but a few of her stage credits. During this time Ann appeared as the typical American housewife for Hostess in its Twinkie, cupcake and fruit pie commercials, a job that lasted well over a decade.
She made the last of her sporadic TV guest appearances on Quincy M.E. and Murder, She Wrote in the mid-'80s. Married since 1953 to Dr. James McNulty, the brother of late Irish tenor Dennis Day, she is the mother of five. Ann continues to be seen occasionally at social functions and conventions.
Annette Joanne Funicello achieved teenage popularity starting in October, 1955 after she debuted as a Mouseketeer. Born on October 22, 1942 in Utica New York, the family had moved to California when she was still young. Walt Disney himself saw her performing the lead role in "Swan Lake" at her ballet school's year-end recital in Burbank and decided to have her audition along with two hundred other children. Annette became the last Mouseketeer of the twenty-four that was picked. By the run-through in 1958 of The Mickey Mouse Club in which she appeared in her own multi-segmented series entitled "Annette", she had become the most popular Mousketeer of them all and the only one kept under contract by Walt Disney after he canceled the show. Her popularity was such that by the late 50s, she was simply known as "Annette" -- America's sweetheart and the first "crush" for many a teenage baby boomer. Whenever anyone spoke of Annette, no last name was ever needed as everyone knew who you were talking about.
The popular teenager became synonymous with wholesome entertainment and was borrowed by Danny Thomas in 1959 to play Gina, a foreign exchange student, on Make Room for Daddy (aka "The Danny Thomas Show") and also that same year had a recurring role on the Disney TV series Zorro. She made her well as other Disney film vehicles for several years, including The Shaggy Dog, Babes in Toyland and The Monkey's Uncle. During this time, the modest young singer had a couple of hit singles on the "Hot 100" charts, notably, "Tall Paul," and, as a result, traveled with Dick Clark's caravan on singing tours around the country. At one point she and teen idol Paul Anka became an item and he wrote both "Puppy Love" and "Put Your Head On My Shoulder" with her in mind. Their busy careers led to them parting ways.
During the early 1960s, American International Films wanted to use her in a fun-on-the-beach movie. They presented the idea to "Mr. Disney," as Annette always called him and with whom she was still under contract. To everyone's surprise, he gave his consent, with the only condition being that she make sure her navel was completely covered by a one piece bathing suit. The first movie, aptly titled Beach Party starred Robert Cummings and Dorothy Malone as the older generation who explore the younger set represented by Annette (as "Dee Dee") and her love interest Frankie Avalon (as "Frankie"). The "teenage" couple (actually she was 20 and he 23) proved so popular in this that they were whisked into a number of sand-and-surf romps (Muscle Beach Party, Bikini Beach, Beach Blanket Bingo and How to Stuff a Wild Bikini) that showcased the actors engaging in harmless fun while singing and dancing in the sand, and falling into silly slapstick.
After the surfing craze died out in 1965, Annette married Jack Gilardi, Paul Anka's agent, and became the mother of his three children -- Gina, Jack, Jr. and Jason. While appearing in a few other movies that did nothing to further her career, including Fireball 500, Thunder Alley and Head, she appeared as a guest on shows and, most famously, became the spokesperson for Skippy Peanut Butter in a host of commercials. But she phased out her career in favor of family.
She and Gilardi divorced in 1983. Three years later she married Glen Holt, a race horse trainer/breeder. Within a year into her second marriage, Annette was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She hid her condition for five years before making a formal announcement (in 1992) for fear that her uncontrollable movements might be characterized by drunkenness. She became the most famous spokesperson for the disease. Annette's life was filmed as a TV movie with A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes: The Annette Funicello Story co-starring her good friend, Shelley Fabares. Receiving a Hollywood "Walk of Fame" star in 1993, Annette was eventually wheelchair-ridden and went into complete seclusion.
Following a tragic March 2011 incident in which their Los Angeles house burnt to the ground and both Annette and husband Glen were hospitalized with smoke inhalation, the couple moved to Bakersfield, California. A little more than a year later, and over 25 years after she was diagnosed with this long and painful illness, Annette passed away on April 8, 2013 from complications at age 70. To this day her foundation continues to raise money to help find cures for this and other debilitating disorders, including "Lou Gehrig's disease".
Tall, luminous and leonine, the legendary Colleen Dewhurst must go down as one of the theater's finest contemporary tragediennes of the late 1900s. With trademark dusky tones and a majestically careworn appearance, she possessed an inimitable down-to-earth fierceness that not only earned her the title "Queen of Off-Broadway" but allowed her to put a fiery and formidable stamp on a number of Eugene O'Neill's heroines. The multiple award-winning actress was no slouch in the on-camera department, either, reaping trophies for a host of wryly comedic and electrifying dramatic turns on TV. While most of her towering achievements occurred in mid- to late career, she quickly made up for lost time. In addition, she and two-time actor/husband George C. Scott became an acting force together throughout much of the 1960s and early 1970s.
She was born on June 3, 1924, in Montreal, Quebec, the only child of professional hockey player Fred Dewhurst, who later became a sales manager to support his family. Her mother, a homemaker, was a Christian Science practitioner. Raised in the US (just outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin), she graduated from Riverside High School in Milwaukee in 1942 and then enrolled at Milwaukee's Downer College for Young Ladies. Working such odd jobs as a receptionist and elevator operator in between summer-stock engagements, she prepared for the stage in New York at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, where she met and later married fellow acting student James Vickery in 1947. She also took up studies with such illustrious teachers as Harold Clurman and Tyrone Guthrie. The young actress showed fine promise as Julia Cavendish in "The Royal Family" while a student at Carnegie Lyceum in 1946. However, it took six years for her to make her professional debut at the ANTA in New York with a small dancing role in O'Neill's "Desire Under the Elms" (1952). Eleven years later the actress would win an off-Broadway Obie Award in the play's leading role.
Colleen built up her esteemed resumé gradually. In 1956 Joseph Papp featured her strongly at his New York Shakespeare Festival with roles in "Tamburlaine the Great," "Titus Androcius," "Camille" (title part), "The Taming of the Shrew" (as Kate) and "The Eagle Has Two Heads". She won a single Obie Award (her first) for her combined performances in the last three productions mentioned. The following year she portrayed Lady Macbeth and also Mrs. Squeamish in "The Country Wife". She divorced Vickery in 1959 after meeting the equally imposing George C. Scott during the 1958 run of Broadway's "Children of Darkness," for which the actress won a Theatre World Award. Scott divorced his wife to marry Colleen in 1960 (ex-husband Vickery later married actress Diana Muldaur).
Dewhurst's signature O'Neill role was that of Irish-American Josie Hogan in "The Moon for the Misbegotten". She first played the part in 1958 in Italy, then tackled the role again in 1965 in a production in Buffalo, New York, The third time was the charm when she recreated the role on Broadway in December of 1973 at age 49, not only earning the coveted Tony Award (her second), but the Los Angeles Drama Critics and Sarah Siddons awards as well. Over the years O'Neill's plays would benefit greatly from her searing, impassioned performances, which included Sara in "More Stately Mansions," Christine Mannon in "Mourning Becomes Electra," Mary Tyrone in "Long Day's Journey Into Night," Essie Miller in "Ah, Wilderness!" and, of course, Abbie Putnam in "Desire Under the Elms". In 1987 she portrayed Carlotta Monterey O'Neill (Eugene's wife) in an acclaimed one-woman show "My Gene" in New York.
Throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, Dewhurst became a frequent contender at the Tony Awards ceremonies. She won her first Tony for James Agee's "All the Way Home" in 1960, and went on to be nominated for "Great Day in the Morning" (1962), "The Ballad of the Sad Café" (1963), "More Stately Mansions" (1967, "All Over" (1971), "Mourning Becomes Electra" (1972) and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1976). One of her few career failures was directing the Broadway production of "Ned & Jack", which opened and closed the same night on November 8, 1981. Very much a theater activist, Colleen joined several advisory boards in her time and became president of the Actor's Equity Association in 1985, serving until her death six years later.
While Dewhurst and then-husband Scott were heralded for their explosive appearances together on stage ("Desire Under the Elms" [both won Obies], "Antony and Cleopatra," "The Lion in Winter"), film (The Last Run) and TV (The Crucible), the couple's personal relationship was equally turbulent. Separated in 1963 and divorced in 1965 due to his infidelity, they remarried two years later. After appearing together in "The Last Run", Scott and Dewhurst parted ways again when he took up with another actress from the movie, Trish Van Devere, whom he later married. Scott and Dewhurst had two sons together and remained amicable.
Preferring the stage, Colleen was vastly underused on the big screen. Despite showing Hollywood her potential on film with a small but spectacular, spine-tingling role as an asylum patient who nearly does in poor Audrey Hepburn in The Nun's Story, she offered only a sprinkling of film roles over the years--Man on a String, A Fine Madness, The Cowboys, McQ, Ice Castles, When a Stranger Calls, Tribute, The Dead Zone, The Boy Who Could Fly, Termini Station and Dying Young.
Better utilized on TV, the multiple Emmy Award winner appeared delightfully as Candice Bergen's brash, worldly mother on the popular Murphy Brown, earning two of her Emmy statuettes. The other two came for her strong supporting performances in the mini-movies Between Two Women and Those She Left Behind. In 1985 Colleen played Marilla Cuthbert in Kevin Sullivan's strong adaptation of Anne of Green Gables and continued her role in the mini-movie Anne of Avonlea. She then graced Sullivan's series Avonlea with the same character in a recurring format. Sadly, Dewhurst died before her role could be written out of the show properly. Thankfully, a touching death scene was edited into one episode as a tribute.
Diagnosed with cervical cancer, Colleen's fervent Christian Science beliefs led her to refuse any kind of surgical treatment. She died at age 67 at the pet-friendly South Salem, New York, farmhouse she shared with her companion (since 1974), producer Ken Marsolais on August 22, 1991. In October of that year George C. Scott starred in and directed a production of "On Borrowed Time" and dedicated the show to her memory. Both of their sons, Alex(ander) and Campbell Scott entered the entertainment field. Alex became a theatrical manager and writer, while the younger Campbell has made an impressive showing on stage and in films. He appeared with his mother in "Dying Young" (one of her last performances), and on Broadway in both "Long Day's Journey Into Night" and "Ah, Wilderness!" in the late 1980s. Colleen's autobiography, incomplete at the time of her death (she had been working on it for nearly 15 years), finally arrived in bookstores in 1997.
Pittsburgh-born John Hodiak was one of several up-and-coming male talents who managed to take advantage of the dearth of WWII-era superstars (MGM's Clark Gable, Van Johnson, Robert Taylor and James Stewart, among others) who were off serving their country. John's early death at age 41, however, robbed Hollywood of a strong player and promising character star.
Born on April 16, 1914, the eldest of four (one daughter was adopted), John was eight years old when his middle-class family moved to a thriving Polish community in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan. His father, Walter, was born in the Ukraine and his mother, Anna, was Polish. Expressing interest in music and drama at an early age, he was encouraged by his father who had appeared in amateur shows. He found roles in school plays (done in Hungarian or Polish), sang in the Ukranian church choir, played the clarinet, and even took diction lessons. Not to be outdone, his athletic skills were also put on display. At one point, he was considered by the St. Louis Cardinals for their farm league but he declined the offer in favor of pursuing an acting career.
Following high school, John found work as a golf caddy and stockroom clerk (at a Chevrolet company) before breaking into radio (WXYZ) in Detroit and (later) Chicago. His more notable roles was as the title figure in "L'il Abner" (a role created on radio) and in the serials "Ma Perkins" and "Wings of Destiny". While in Chicago he was noticed by MGM talent agent Marvin Schenck and signed. Proud of his heritage, he refused to change his name to a more marquee-friendly moniker despite mogul Louis B. Mayer's concerns. Hodiak made his debut as a walk-on in A Stranger in Town, and had a bit part in one of Ann Sothern's "Maisie" series Swing Shift Maisie before becoming her leading man in a subsequent entry (Maisie Goes to Reno) the following year.
His inability to sign up for military duty due to his high blood pressure ended up giving him a starring career. Attention started being paid after he played Lana Turner's soldier husband in Marriage Is a Private Affair. An interested Alfred Hitchcock then borrowed John for the role of Kovac, the torpedoed ship's crew member, in one of his classic war dramas Lifeboat starring the irrepressible Tallulah Bankhead at 20th Century-Fox. The studio was so impressed with John's work in this that it cast him in two other quality films: Sunday Dinner for a Soldier and A Bell for Adano, both of which showed off his quiet but rugged charm.
In the former he played the patriotic title role and co-starred with Anne Baxter. No sparks as of yet between these two, but a year or so later they reconnected at a party and started dating. They married on July 6, 1946. The second film, the exquisitely sensitive and moving war picture A Bell for Adano made him a star by Hollywood standards. Co-starring a rather miscast Gene Tierney (as a blonde Italian village girl) and William Bendix, John was more than up to the challenge of playing the role of U.S. Major Joppolo, originally created on Broadway by Fredric March. The irony of it all is that the actor never found better roles (at MGM) than the ones he filmed while lent out to Fox.
Back at MGM, John went through the usual paces. He was overlooked in the rousing Judy Garland vehicle The Harvey Girls, but seemed much more at home in the film noir Somewhere in the Night and in the WWII drama Homecoming that starred Clark Gable and Lana Turner, with John and wife Anne Baxter serving as second leads.
With MGM's male roster of talent back home now from the war, John was unceremoniously relegated to second leads that supported the top-tier actors, including Gable, Spencer Tracy, Robert Walker, James Stewart and Robert Taylor. While several of his subsequent post-war films drew desultory reviews, notably the Greer Garson "Miniver" sequel The Miniver Story, Hedy Lamarr's so-called tale of intrigue A Lady Without Passport, and the Clark Gable western Across the Wide Missouri, John did manage to co-star in two of MGM's more stirring war pictures -- Command Decision and Battleground. Occasionally deemed "glum" and "wooden" by his harsher critics, John's MGM contract expired in 1951 and he began to freelance. Most of the work that followed were starring roles in low-budget entries. Battle Zone had John and Stephen McNally as two Korean war photographers distracted by the lovely Linda Christian, and Conquest of Cochise featured a miscast John as the famed Indian warrior.
John reaped better rewards on the stage during this time. Receiving excellent reviews following his 1952 Broadway debut as the sheriff in "The Chase" (he received the Donaldson Award), the actor returned to Broadway as Lieutenant Maryk in "The Caine Mutiny Court Martial (1954) co-starring Henry Fonda. He was extremely disappointed when former fellow MGM player Van Johnson was cast as the lieutenant in the acclaimed film version starring Humphrey Bogart as Captain Queeg.
The father of daughter Katrina Baxter Hodiak, who was born in 1951, John and Anne's varied backgrounds (he was middle class and she more high society -- her grandfather being the renowned Frank Lloyd Wright) and their busy film careers created significant problems. They divorced on January 27, 1953. John later built a home for his parents and younger brother in Tarzana, California and eventually lived there with them. His later years grew difficult and were plagued by self-doubt, a diminishing career and an equally diminishing social life.
John's key Broadway success in "Mutiny" led to a fine comeback role on screen as a prosecuting attorney in Trial, finding "guest artist" work on dramatic TV as well. What might have led to a strong resurgence, however, was sadly cut short. On the morning of October 19, 1955, 41-year-old John suffered a coronary thrombosis and died instantly while shaving in the bathroom of his home. He was on his way to the 20th Century-Fox lot to complete final work on his last film, On the Threshold of Space, when he was stricken.
The movie was released posthumously with John's role left intact. While no previous record of a heart ailment, per se, was ever uncovered, the hypertension that kept him out of the service, at a relatively young age, no doubt contributed to his death. It was an extreme shock to lose someone so relatively young, and even sadder for those he loved and left behind, including his 4-year-old daughter. Katrina Hodiak later became a composer, an actress and a theater director). John was interred at the Calvary Cemetery in Los Angeles.
Having made his feature film debut starring in the teen comedy Cavegirl Daniel Roebuck quickly realized that there was only one direction to travel in his career. Up!
Soon after Cavegirl, Roebuck established himself as one of the industry's youngest character actors with his haunting portrayal as the teenage killer, Samson in The River's Edge.
Daniel Roebuck was born and raised in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, A fan of movies and television from a very early age he was immediately drawn to the actors and comedians. As his obsession with performing grew his parents unwittingly fomented his future by gifting him with a cardboard TV on his seventh Christmas.
At the age of 10, he started performing in talent shows doing impressions of movie stars he loved. He joined a local circus two years later and made his debut as one of the youngest clowns in the country. Roebuck's clown act eventually segued into a magic act and he performed that throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.
It was only a matter of time before Roebuck discovered the theater and from that point he never looked back. Over the next few years while still in Pennsylvania, Roebuck continued to hone his craft, acting in, directing, and even writing over 40 plays. He also began performing stand up comedy.
Now, nearly 30 years later, Roebuck has amassed a substantial resume as an actor, writer and director. He has moved easily between all mediums having continued working on television, in movies and on the stage.
His film credits are myriad, having starred in blockbusters like The Fugitive, US Marshals,and final Destination, as well as popular titles including Agent Cody Banks and it's sequel, That's What I Am, Money Talks, Flash Of Genius and so many more.
Lately, Roebuck has enjoyed working in a number of horror movies - his favorite genre. He has collaborated with filmmaker Rob Zombie on Halloween, Halloween 2, Devil's Rejects, and Lords of Salem (as well as a commercial for AMDRO, the insecticide). He also appeared in Don Coscarelli's cult favorite Bubba Ho Tep as well as the director's Reggie's Tales and John Dies At The End.
Daniel has also been a familiar face on television for nearly 3 decades, he was a regular for three seasons on the evergreen hit drama, Matlock, portraying attorney 'Cliff Lewis," the junior partner of the law firm headed by Andy Griffith's beloved character, 'Ben Matlock.' Interestingly, his landing the role was the fulfillment of a promise made several years earlier with his first appearance on "Matlock" in its inaugural season. At that time, Roebuck was told that Griffith had been so impressed with his work that he would be back as a regular on the show. It took five seasons, two more guest shots as different characters, and a change of networks, but Griffith kept his promise and Roebuck indeed became a series regular.
He portrayed the irascible Rick Bettina on many episodes of Nash Bridges and in the fall of 2003 Daniel returned to series television as Pete Peterson, the gay owner of a local diner in A Minute With Stan Hooper.
As a television guest star, Daniel has played countless characters. Some of his most memorable are a cop who literally turns into a pig on Grimm, a Romulan on Star Trek, Next Generation, a gun toting hostage taker on NYPD Blue, a cranky studio owner on Sonny With A Chance and a grieving father on Glee. He played other memorable roles on New Adventures of Old Christine, NCIS, Ghost Whisperer, CSI, Boston Legal, CSI Miami, Law And Order, Desperate Housewives and Hot in Cleveland.
On the popular show, Lost, Roebuck portrayed the infamous Dr. Leslie Arzt, the aggravating science teacher whose explosive exit in the finale of the first season remains one of television's most surprising and talked about moments.
He has starred in dozens of TV Movies. Perhaps his most famous turn was his critically acclaimed portrayal of Jay Leno in The Late Shift. He stepped into another pair of famous shoes when he played Garry Marshall in Behind The Camera; Mork and Mindy, The Unauthorized Story. Other Movies for television include A Family Lost, A Glimpse Of Hell, Murder At The Presidio, Shredderman Rules, A Borrowed Life, Quints and many others. Daniel's voice over work includes Christmas Is Here Again (a film he also produced),The Haunted World Of El Super Beasto and the groundbreaking video game, L.A. Noire.
The theater remains Roebuck's first love and he has continued that passion in the Los Angeles area. He appeared in the world premiers of Sarcophagus and Crooks. He has also starred in No Time For Sergeants, Here Lies Jeremy Troy, Arsenic and Old Lace and The Man Who Came To Dinner among others. In 2006 Daniel founded THE Saint Francis Stage Company.
Behind the camera, Roebuck has produced, written and directed/co-directed a number of documentaries including Halloween: The Happy Haunting of America and it's sequel as well as Goolians, Movieland Memories and a number of documentaries for the Monsterama series.
Daniel has fulfilled nearly every dream of his childhood like appearing in Mad Magazine, becoming a toy and a Halloween mask and having his mug on a few trading cards.
When not performing, Roebuck writes articles about Horror Movies, raises two children, teaches The Audition is the Job Experience and mentors young actors.
|Stefán Karl Stefánsson
Stefan Karl Stefansson is an Icelandic film and stage actor/comedian, best known for playing the villain Robbie Rotten of Nickjr's popular TV program Lazy Town, that currently airs worldwide in over 103 countries, in all five continents, on [such distinguished] networks as BBC, CBBC, CBS, Discovery Kids, Disney, RUV-Icelandic TV, and Nick Jr.
Stefan Karl was born 1975 into a non-biz working class family in the village of Hafnarfjordur in Iceland. Shortly after graduation from drama school [or: from The Icelandic Academy of Arts in Reykjavík] he signed up with the National Theatre of Iceland, soon to be praised by critics and audiences alike as one of the most individual and versatile actor of the younger generation, introduced at the beginning of a new millennium.
As a lead comedic actor with the NT he was invited to play the leading role in the original theatre production of Lazy Town, in which he created the character of Robbie Rotten and when the play was eventually turned into a Television series, he was the obvious choice for the same part, in recognition of his contribution to its extraordinary success. As the villain Stefan Karl has been instrumental to the series and the success it has achieved, which includes number of prestigious awards and honors, including an EMIL Award, EDDA Award, Emmy Award nominations, and most notably two BAFTA Award nomination in the United Kingdom as well as having won the 2006 BAFTA Award, when LazyTown was specifically awarded for the episode titled "Robbie's Greatest Misses." He has also received the "Thorbjorn Egner Award" for an Outstanding Stage Performance as well as having his one man show, Thousand Island Dressing, selected by the President of the Leipzig Film Festival in Germany, as a showcase of Icelandic theatre, and performed at the festival's 10 year anniversary.
As a star player on repertoire at the National Theatre Stefan Karl also excelled in a variety of classical and contemporary starring- and character parts, such as the title role in Rostand's romantic tragedy Cyrano De Bergerac, as the song and dance man Cosmo Brown in Singin' in the Rain, the sufferable (middle age) stage director Lloyd Douglas in Noises Off and Puck in Midsummer Night's Dream. For one season Stefan Karl was borrowed by the NT's competitor The Reykjavík City Theatre, to star in Little Shop of Horrors as the formidable Dentist (plus playing ten different supporting roles).
In his relatively short career Stefán Karl has build up a unique range of hilariously funny and eccentric characters, like the singing gay sheep farmer in the popular Icelandic feature comedy Stella Runs for Office, and a huge gallery of diverse comedic characters for the annual New Years Eve Comedy Hour-Variety Show on RUV-TV in Iceland, although it would be quite appropriate to say these had all rolled together into one, in his definitive interpretation of Robbie Rotten.
Stefan Karl is a founder of the reputable nonprofit organisation Rainbow Children in Iceland, a driving force and efficient charity fund raiser for rallying against child bullying, an organization which has now spread to Canada and is currently being introduced to the American public.
Stefan Karl runs his own TV and film production company in Europe, currently developing projects. He is a keen aviation enthusiast with a solo permit as a pilot, a licensed skipper for fishing boats of 30 tons, and during photography of the latest series of Lazy Town, he spent his entire spare time off set as a featured singer, vocal impressionist and youngest member of the popular rock'n roll band Studmenn, a group of celebrated musicians, all over fifty, who's catchphrase is "Lets embrace the oldest teenage rock band in Scandinavia." Stefán Karl currently resides in San Diego with his wife Steinunn Olína, a renowned actress and novelist, and their three daughters and new born baby son.
Denise was born in 1980 to a father who was an electrician - later a fisheries expert - and a mother who "was pregnant for nine and a half years" since Denise is the seventh of twelve children, her younger sister Kelly, born in 1987, also being an actress. At school she had no theatrical aspirations, leaving at age fifteen and moving to London a year later "to follow a boy." After several years in menial jobs she took a Saturday acting class and won a place at the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts in Wandsworth - having borrowed the audition fee - and graduated in 2003. In 2004 she made her television debut in 'Casualty' and has since appeared in many populist series from 'New Tricks' to 'Stella'. However she has attracted more notice as a stage actress, being nominated in 2012 by the Evening Standard Awards for her roles in 'Our New Girl' and 'Desire Under the Elms' and in 2015 winning universal plaudits as the recovering drug addict in 'People, Places and Things' at the National Theatre.
A natural and lovely talent who was discovered for films by Samuel Goldwyn, the always likable Teresa Wright distinguished herself early on in high-caliber, Oscar-worthy form -- the only performer ever to be nominated for Oscars for her first three films. Always true to herself, she was able to earn Hollywood stardom on her own unglamorized terms.
Born Muriel Teresa Wright in the Harlem district of New York City on October 27, 1918, her parents divorced when she was quite young and she lived with various relatives in New York and New Jersey. An uncle of hers was a stage actor. She attended the exclusive Rosehaven School in Tenafly, New Jersey. The acting bug revealed itself when she saw the legendary Helen Hayes perform in a production of "Victoria Regina." After performing in school plays and graduating from Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey, she made the decision to pursue acting professionally.
Apprenticing at the Wharf Theatre in Provincetown, Massachusetts during the summers of 1937 and 1938 in such plays as "The Vinegar Tree" and "Susan and God", she moved to New York and changed her name to Teresa after she discovered there was already a Muriel Wright in Actors Equity. Her first New York play was Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" wherein she played a small part but also understudied the lead ingénue role of Emily. She eventually replaced Martha Scott in the lead after the actress was escorted to Hollywood to make pictures and recreate the Emily role on film. It was during her year-long run in "Life with Father" that Teresa was seen by Goldwyn talent scouts, was tested, and ultimately won the coveted role of Alexandra in the film The Little Foxes. She also accepted an MGM starlet contract on the condition that she not be forced to endure cheesecake publicity or photos for any type of promotion and could return to the theater at least once a year. Oscar-nominated for her work alongside fellow cast members Bette Davis (as calculating mother Regina) and Patricia Collinge (recreating her scene-stealing Broadway role as the flighty, dipsomaniac Aunt Birdie), Teresa's star rose even higher with her next pictures.
Playing the good-hearted roles of the granddaughter in the war-era tearjerker Mrs. Miniver and baseball icon Lou Gehrig's altruistic wife in The Pride of the Yankees opposite Gary Cooper, the pretty newcomer won both "Best Supporting Actress" and "Best Actress" nods respectively in the same year, ultimately taking home the supporting trophy. Teresa's fourth huge picture in a row was Alfred Hitchcock's psychological thriller Shadow of a Doubt and she even received top-billing over established star Joseph Cotten who played a murdering uncle to her suspecting niece. Wed to screenwriter Niven Busch in 1942, she had a slip with her fifth picture Casanova Brown but bounced right back as part of the ensemble cast in the "Best Picture" of the year The Best Years of Our Lives portraying the assuaging daughter of Fredric March and Myrna Loy who falls in love with damaged soldier-turned-civilian Dana Andrews.
With that film, however, her MGM contract ended. Remarkably, she made only one movie for the studio ("Mrs. Miniver") during all that time. The rest were all loanouts. As a freelancing agent, the quality of her films began to dramatically decline. Pictures such as Enchantment, Something to Live For, California Conquest, Count the Hours, Track of the Cat and Escapade in Japan pretty much came and went. For her screenwriter husband she appeared in the above-average western thriller Pursued and crime drama The Capture. Her most inspired films of that post-war era were The Men opposite film newcomer Marlon Brando and the lowbudgeted but intriguing The Search for Bridey Murphy which chronicled the fascinating story of an American housewife who claimed she lived a previous life.
The "Golden Age" of TV was her salvation during these lean film years in which she appeared in fine form in a number of dramatic showcases. She recreated for TV the perennial holiday classic The Miracle on 34th Street in which she played the Maureen O'Hara role opposite Macdonald Carey and Thomas Mitchell. Divorced from Busch, the father of her two children, in 1952, Teresa made a concentrated effort to return to the stage and found consistency in such plays as "Salt of the Earth" (1952), "Bell, Book and Candle" (1953), "The Country Girl" (1953), "The Heiress" (1954), "The Rainmaker" (1955) and "The Dark at the Top of the Stairs" (1957) opposite Pat Hingle, in which she made a successful Broadway return. Marrying renowned playwright Robert Anderson in 1959, stage and TV continued to be her primary focuses, notably appearing under the theater lights in her husband's emotive drama "I Never Sang for My Father" in 1968. The couple lived on a farm in upstate New York until their divorce in 1978.
By this time a mature actress now in her 50s, challenging stage work came in the form of "The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the Moon Marigolds", "Long Day's Journey Into Night", "Morning's at Seven" and "Ah, Wilderness!" Teresa also graced the stage alongside George C. Scott's Willy Loman (as wife Linda) in an acclaimed presentation of "Death of a Salesman" in 1975, and appeared opposite Scott again in her very last play, "On Borrowed Time" (1991). After almost a decade away from films, she came back to play the touching role of an elderly landlady opposite Matt Damon in her last picture, John Grisham's The Rainmaker. Teresa passed away of a heart attack in 2005.
Orson Bean, the American actor, television personality and author, was born Dallas Frederick Burrows on July 22, 1928 in Burlington, Vermont to George Burrows, a policeman who later went on to become the chief of campus police at Harvard University, and the former Marian Pollard. The newborn Dallas Burrows was a second cousin once removed to Calvin Coolidge, who was President of the United States at the time of his birth. The young Dallas, an amateur magician with a taste for the limelight, graduated from Boston's prestigious Latin School in 1946. Too young to see military service during World War II, the future Orson Bean did a hitch in the United States Army (1946-47) in occupied Japan.
After the war, he launched himself onto the nightclub circuit with his new moniker, the "Orson" borrowed from reigning enfant terrible Orson Welles. His comedy act premiered at New York City's Blue Angel nightclub, and the momentum from his act launched him into the orbit of the legitimate theater. He made his Broadway debut on April 30, 1954 in Stalag 17 producer Richard Condon's only Broadway production as a playwright, "Men of Distinction", along with Robert Preston and Martin Ritt. The play flopped and ran only four appearances.
The following year was to prove kinder: he hosted a summer-replacement television series produced at the Blue Angel, and won a Theatre World Award for his work in the 1954 music revue "John Murray Anderson's Almanac", which co-starred Harry Belafonte, Polly Bergen, Hermione Gingold and Carleton Carpenter. It was a hit that ran for 229 performances. He followed this up with an even bigger hit, the leading role in "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter". Next up was a success d'estime as the leading man in Herman Wouk's comic play "Nature's Way", which co-starred Bea Arthur, Sorrell Booke and Godfrey Cambridge. Though the play lasted but 67 performances, Orson Bean had established himself on the Broadway stage.
He enjoyed his greatest personal success on Broadway in the 1961-62 season, in the Betty Comden and Adolph Green musical "Subways Are for Sleeping", which was directed and choreographed by Michael Kidd and featured music by Jule Styne. Bean received a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Musical (his co-star Phyllis Newman won a Tony Award as Best Featured Actress in a Musical. The following season, he was in a bigger hit, the comedy "Never Too Late", which would go on to play for 1,007 performances. After appearing in the flop comedy "I Was Dancing" in November 1964, Bean made his last Broadway appearance in the musical "Illya Darling" in 1967 with Melina Mercouri, directed by fellow blacklister Jules Dassin; it played 320 performances. He also toured in the Neil Simon-Burt Bacharach musical "Promises, Promises".
Bean made an impression as the Army psychiatrist in Otto Preminger's Anatomy of a Murder. But it was as a television personality that he made his biggest inroads into the popular consciousness, as well as the popular culture. He appeared in numerous quiz and talk shows, becoming a familiar face in homes as a regular panelist on To Tell the Truth. He also appeared on Norman Lear's cult favorite Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and its sequel, Forever Fernwood, as "Reverend Brim", and as store owner "Loren Bray" on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. Much of his role as 105-year-old "Dr. Lester" in the cult film Being John Malkovich wound up the cutting room floor, but audiences and critics welcomed back his familiar presence.
Laëtitia EÏDO is a French actress from a mixed background, who can play characters from different ethnicities in several languages. She is starring with a main part in the very successful tv-series "Fauda" - aired worldwide on NETFLIX since December 2016 - which tackles the clichés about the Israel/Palestine conflict. And she will soon be seen on the big screen with a female lead in "Holy Air" feature film by Sh.Srour, at TRIBECA Film Festival in New-York.
Her recent work includes the feature film "A borrowed identity" by Eran RIKLIS ("Lemon tree"), and "Yes I do" French tv-series by E.Blayau for Studio+, the new CANAL+ digital label. She is back on stage in 2017 with the theatrical adaptation of "The 4th wall", a novel by Sorj Chalandon (GONCOURT Lycéens award 2013) directed by A.Stéphan, at Britany National Theatre (TNB - Rennes).
First trained in classical acting techniques in Paris, she attended workshops with Peter BROOK or Jacques LECOQ theatre companies. She then favoured S.MEISNER acting technique, in Paris and New-York. She made her debuts on stage, with various significant parts including "Andromaque", in Racine's Greek tragedy or "Eglé" in Marivaux's French classic "The Dispute". Her career on screen notably started with the role of Cleopatra in the docu-drama "The destiny of Rome" (BEST AUDIENCE, ARTE channel); she was then an Indian super-hero in "Hero Corp" successful Tv-Series, by S.Astier; and was the lead in "Limply, a Saturday morning", short film by S.Djama (BEST FIRST FICTION, Clermont-Ferrand Film Fest). Her "ambiguous ethnicity" opened horizons for her in England and in the US, with the action tv-series "Strike Back" (Cinemax/HBO); and the movie "The land of nothing" by A.Kouider, with the "Maharishi University Master in Films" run by David LYNCH.
Laëtitia has been awarded in 2016 with the BEST ACTRESS award at the "Views of the world" Festival in Montréal and at "Fespaco" Film Festival, for her lead part in "Fadhma n'Soumer" historical feature film by B.Hadjadj. She was a BERLINALE TALENTS Alumna in 2015. And a JURY MEMBER in prestigious film festivals (Jerusalem, Oran or Cannes for the special "Queer Palm" award).
She is represented in PARIS by Time Art, Elizabeth Tanner's agency and in LONDON by KP Management.
Lola Lane, born Dorothy Mullican, grew up Indianola, Iowa. Small-town life was not to her taste and she yearned to be in show business. She was also a bit of a rebel. At one time, in her teens, she 'scandalized' the townsfolk by dancing a particularly suggestive Charleston right in front of the church--which was emptying after Sunday service.
She secured her first job playing piano accompaniment to silent films in the local movie theater for seven dollars a week. She then worked briefly in an ice cream factory, but soon had enough and quit, leaving for Des Moines (in accordance with her mother's dictates) to study music. She spent two years at the local conservatory, Simpson College, but--still the rebel--cut classes and was expelled, much to her joy. There are several versions as to what happened next: according to one, her sister Leota Lane was "discovered" by vaudevillian Gus Edwards (who was always scouting for talented youngsters) singing in an Iowa theater. Dorothy then chaperoned Leota on her trip to New York and both girls subsequently appeared in "Greenwich Village Follies" on Broadway. According to the New York Times obit of Lola Lane (June 25, 1981), Edwards discovered her "singing in a flower shop in Des Moines". Dorothy herself claimed that she wrote Edwards in New York, borrowed $200 and went to his house for an audition.
Whichever story is true, Dorothy ended up with a $450-a-week vaudeville contract. Around this time, she and her other sisters (Leota, Martha, Rosemary and Priscilla) changed their surname. Dorothy Mullican became Lola Lane. She toured with Gus Edwards in "Ritz Carlton Nights" and in 1928 appeared in "The War Song" on Broadway. During one of her performances, she was spotted by Benjamin Stoloff who was conducting auditions for a part in his movie Speakeasy. Needless to say, she got the part.
While never becoming as big a star as her sister Priscilla Lane, Lola had a fairly successful career in the movies. She won critical acclaim for her performance in Marked Woman as a hard-boiled night club hostess and was rewarded with a contract at Warner Brothers. She continued to play similar characters in films like Gangs of Chicago, as well as appearing in occasional "potboilers" like Zanzibar. Lola also played female reporter Torchy Blane (Torchy Blane in Panama), which served as inspiration for Superman's girlfriend Lois Lane. Lola retired from the screen in 1946.
Colm McCarthy is a director best known for his work on Peaky Blinders, Sherlock and Endeavour. He was born in Edinburgh and has lived there as well as in Dublin and London. He is happily married and plays a grand total of eight musical instruments all appallingly badly.
He did not formally train in film making, instead he just watched loads of films, read a bunch of books and then started shooting stuff with friends. They borrowed film stock and filmed short films, music videos and random "cool shots" to go into montage sequences
Tom Conway played "The Falcon" in ten of that series' entries. He starred in three Val Lewton horror classics. He appeared in comedies, musicals, two Tarzan films and even science fiction films.
He was early television's Detective Mark Saber, but Conway will probably be best remembered as George Sanders' brother.
Born into a wealthy family in pre-Bolshevik Revolution Russia, Thomas Charles Sanders might have followed his father as a rope manufacturer and inherited several estates. Had the family not been forced to flee to England, the brothers Sanders may never have added their names to the Hollywood saga.
But the Russian Revolution came, and Tom (age 13), George (age 11), sister Margaret (age 5), together with their parents, fled to England, leaving most of their wealth in the hands of the Bolsheviks.
The brothers attended Dunhurst and Bedales, private schools, and eventually Brighton College.
After college, Tom went to Northern Rhodesia where he worked in gold, copper and asbestos mines and even attempted ranching. Frustrated and "pretty well fed up to the teeth" with his failures, he borrowed passage home. In England, Conway worked as an engineer in a carburetor company and later sold safety glass.
He was discovered by a representative from a little theater group who persuaded him to join them. Conway eventually worked for the Manchester Repertory Company and toured with them in over twenty-five plays. He also appeared in BBC radio broadcasts.
Brother George persuaded him to come to Hollywood. To prevent confusion on the part of the public, they tossed a coin to see who would have to change his name. Tom lost, thereby becoming Tom Conway.
Conway began work at MGM, eventually appearing as a contract player in twelve films there, including a bit part in Mrs. Miniver.
Brother George, tiring of B-film appearances in RKO's Falcon series and with better roles at two studios looming on the horizon, offered Tom his first big break. In The Falcon's Brother, George was conveniently eliminated by a Nazi sniper so that Tom, as Tom Lawrence, could inherit the role. Conway played the role with even greater success than that of his brother in the next ten installments, concluding with The Falcon's Adventure.
During those years, he also appeared in Val Lewton's Cat People, I Walked with a Zombie and The Seventh Victim. These led to two major film appearances, Universal's One Touch of Venus, with Ava Gardner and Eve Arden and Warner Brothers' Painting the Clouds with Sunshine.
Amidst the collapse of the studio system, Tom found his opportunities shrinking. There were to be no further major roles for him. His next film was Bride of the Gorilla.
Alert to new possibilities for work, he accepted the part of homicide detective Mark Saber in the television series, Mark Saber. Conway also made several mystery films in England during the same period. He played a cameo role as a bearded and be-wigged Sir Kay in Prince Valiant with two brief lines.
In October, 1957, Tom turned in a brilliant performance as ventriloquist Max Collodi in Alfred Hitchcock Presents chilling tale "The Glass Eye". He appeared regularly as the boyfriend on the The Betty Hutton Show.
Failing eyesight and prolonged bouts with alcohol took their toll on Conway in his last years. His second wife, Queenie Leonard divorced him in 1963. George Sanders broke off all contact with him over his drinking.
Conway underwent cataract surgery during the winter of 1964/65. In September of 1965 Tom briefly returned to the headlines when he was discovered living in a $2-a-day room in a Venice, California flophouse. Gifts, contributions and offers of aid poured in - for a time. Conway, still standing tall and trim, his hair now white, peered owl-like through thick-lensed glasses at the newspaper cameras.
His last years were marked with further visits to the hospital. It was there that former sister-in-law Zsa Zsa Gabor visited him one day and gave him $200. "Tip the nurses a little bit so they'll be good to you," she told him. The following day, the hospital called her to say that Conway had left with the $200, gone to his girlfriend's and died in her bed.
Coming from a theatrical family (although not related to the famous Edwardian actor Sir Charles Hawtrey, he did "borrow" his last name), Charles Hawtrey made his stage debut at age 11 after having spent several years in a prestigious acting school. A string of stage roles followed, and by 1929 his success led him to move into radio. His success in that medium led to his entry into films, often working alongside noted comedian Will Hay. He continued his stage, radio and film work, although he scored more success on stage.
In 1958 he began work in the series for which he would achieve his greatest fame, the "Carry On" comedies. His stringy build, birdlike features, what has been described as his "outrageously posh" voice and his somewhat fey character's eccentricities made him one of the most popular of the "Carry On" gang. However, that very popularity indirectly led to his exit from the series. He believed that his character's prominence, and the fact that he had more experience in the business than most of his co-stars, entitled him to receive a higher billing in the series than he was getting. The producers didn't see it that way, and after Carry on Abroad, he departed the series. Hawtrey was, by most accounts, almost as eccentric in real life as his character in the "Carry On" series was; one of his characteristics was to speak in an unintelligible language of his own making, which was only understood by a few of his closest friends. After he left the series he semi-retired from the business, making an occasional appearance in a movie or TV show. He had suffered from arthritis for a long time, and by 1988 his doctors told him that the condition had become so serious that his legs would have to be amputated in order to save his life. He refused, and died almost a month later. He was 73.
For Michèle Mercier, the role of Angélique, "the Marquise of the Angels", was both a blessing and a curse. It catapulted her to almost instant stardom, rivalling Brigitte Bardot in her celebrity and popularity, but ruined her acting career. The character of Angélique made to forget the other aspects of the career of Mercier, but it is true that general public discovered her only in "Angélique", and made her a real star of the French cinema of that time. By the end of the 1960s, the names Angélique and Michèle Mercier were synonymous, and to escape type-casting, Mercier was compelled to leave France and try to re-start her career in United States, unfortunately without any success.
Daughter of Nice's pharmacists, born on January 1st, 1939 and named as Jocelyne Yvonne Renée, she initially wanted to be a dancer. Wartime, no money to buy food, but little Jocelyne wept all week, cadging father, wellknown pharmacist in Nice, to buy her balletskirts and points. In return she promised to work in drug-store. Father took this only as childish whim. But little girl got her wish through: of "small ballet-rat", as they call little dancers, who participate in stageshows, she grew up to soloist in Opera of Nice. Then came Paris. First she was engaged to the troupe of Roland Petit, then she danced in the company of the "Ballets of the Eiffel tower". At 15, she met Maurice Chevalier, who predicted her success and glory. They did arrive, but by another way that the dance. Parallel to her career as dancer, Jocelyne followed courses of dramatic art in the class of Solange Sicard. Her début in French cinema was for Mercier another compromise: her birthname seemed too long and too old-fashioned for movie credits. What, if she'll take a name Michèle? She winced - this was name of her little sister, who died at the age of five by the fever typhoide, but she agreed. And it was also as in testimony of admiration for her partner Michèle Morgan, as she borrowed her name to her. After some romantic comedies and a small role in François Truffaut's "Shoot the pianist" (1960; her favorite role), she approaches the Sixties mainly in the cinema of district. She also worked in England and made then mainly small-budget films in Italy, always in the same register of easy girl. To this moment Michèle already competed with Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida, continuously shooting in Italy. She needed a role, which could make her a star. Only in 1963, when was decided to make movie by sensational novel "Angélique", Michèle got this kind of chance.
Many actresses were approached to play the role of Angélique. The Producer Francis Cosne absolutely wanted Brigitte Bardot for the part. She refused, but later judged Michèle Mercier to be fantastic in it. Annette Stroyberg was considered next, but judged not to be sufficiently well-known. Catherine Deneuve was too pale, Jane Fonda spoke French with an American accent, and Virna Lisi was busy in Hollywood. The most serious actress considered was Marina Vlady. She almost sign a contract, but Michèle Mercier won the role after trying out for it - which she did not appreciate very much since she was being treated like a beginner while she was already a big star in Italy. At the time she was contacted to play Angélique, she had already acted in over twenty movies. During four years she made five Angélique-movies, enjoying the real success. Nevertheless the moment came, when she finally wanted to interrupt with this aggravating character. Michèle played with Jean Gabin in "The Thunder of God" of Denys de la Patellière. Then with Robert Hossein in "La seconde vérité" of Christian-Jaque... But the time has gone. That was also confirmed by Mercier's flop in Hollywood... What life didn't taught her, that's the skill how to dominate men. Every time Michèle captivated regardlessly. She was deceived, betrayed. She suffered. "Men in their way, shattered my life. What I wanted from them? Real, mutual love. What they wanted - no hard to guess," candidly confessed Michèle after sensational story with a shah, who overwhelmed actress with diamonds and bouquets of flowers, and then tryed to rape her. Press enjoyed Michèle's love affairs and divorces. For some reason or other, in real life this beautiful and kind woman met only rascals, without exception. First husband turned out to be alcoholic. With well known racer Claude Bourillot she lived together 12 years. And she was shocked, when in one day she found out that he vanished with her jewels. Full of dramatism was story of her romance with Italian prince N., who after many years of courtship got intimate with Michèle and at the end betrayed her, refusing to marry her. Incidentally, all these failures even more hardened the character of Michèle Mercier. After a very long eclipse, she decided to return to the cinema. In 1998, the actress made in Cuba and in Italy "La Rumbera", a feature film by Italian director Piero Vivarelli. In 1999, swindled of several million francs in a business venture, Mercier had serious financial problems. She even planned to sell famous wedding gown of the Marquise of the Angels. The actress confessed in Nice Matin: "I am ruined, I'll be obliged to sell part of my paintings, my furnitures, my properties, my jewels and the costumes of Angélique". In 2002, she presented at the Cannes Film Festival her second book of memories in which she affirms in the cover that "she's not Angélique!", entrusting her irritation to be summarized to this glamour-image of the Sixties. In this book Mercier also tells about how Italian actor Vittorio Gassman tried to take her by force, but remembers also the gentility of Marcello Mastroianni and the suppers of Bettino Craxi, former Prime Minister, and Silvio Berlusconi. In the end she admits: "All the men who have made the court of me, tried to seduce Angélique... not me. But then one day I understood that Angelique could not make more harm to me, therefore I have learned to consider she's like a little sister, with whom I had to live hand in hand".
Charmaine Clarice Relucio Pempengco, better known as Charice, was born in San Pedro, Laguna, Philippines. When she was three years old, she witnessed her abusive father point a gun at her mom during an episode of domestic violence. Along with her mother and younger brother Carl, they left their father in search of a better life.
Charice was very young when her mother noted that Charice's rendition of Happy Birthday was very high-pitched and on-key. When Charice was four years old, her mother Raquel came home to discover Charice standing on top of the kitchen table singing Celine Dion's My Heart Will Go On. She initially thought the radio was on and Celine was singing. Charice had learned to operate the karaoke machine by observing her mother, who was a singer in a band, practice with her band mates. It was then that Charice's singing talent was discovered.
At the age of seven, with money hard to come by and with little food to put on the table, Charice urged her mother to teach her how to sing and let her join singing contests to help support their family. She went around the provinces of Laguna and Batangas, joining amateur singing contests in town fiestas and later, on little-known shows on television. She started winning most of the contests she joined, often borrowing money from friends and neighbors for the bus fare then paying them back after she had won. She estimates she joined 80-100 singing contests all in all.
In 2005 when she was twelve years old, she joined Little Big Star, a singing contest for children on TV network ABS-CBN, loosely patterned after American Idol. She was eliminated after the first round, but was called back as a wild card contestant later on in the show. From there she was a consistent top scorer in the elimination rounds but only wound up as a third placer in the finals due to low text votes. Dejected as she was really counting on winning the grand prize of P1 million pesos ($20,000) for her family, she wanted to give up on singing. She made minor appearances on TV shortly after Little Big Star, dancing backup and singing in the background on variety shows, but she had basically fallen off the radar. She eventually decided to just give it all up and return to regular schooling.
Little did she know that David Dueñas (a.k.a FalseVoice), a fan of hers, was so in awe of her powerful vocals and performances on Little Big Star that he started uploading them on YouTube. Her videos were racking up millions of hits online and one of her videos caught the eye of StarKing, a Korean variety show. In 2007, StarKing invited then 15-year old Charice to come to South Korea to perform. Dressed in pink and wearing pigtails, Charice blew the roof off the set as she performed a hair-raising and powerful rendition of And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going from the Dreamgirls soundtrack. The studio audience were floored to hear such a big voice coming out of such a small girl.
The video of that StarKing performance went viral on YouTube, garnering millions of views until the producers of The Ellen Degeneres Show took notice. Ellen aired an on-air invitation for Charice to come to her show. A month later, on December 2007, Charice and her mother flew to America for the first time to appear on the show, where Charice sang And I Am Telling You and Whitney Houston's I Will Always Love You. The audience was blown away, giving Charice the first two standing ovations she had ever received in her life. Charice went home to the Philippines an instant celebrity.
In May 2008, Charice was invited to guest on Oprah, for a themed show called World's Smartest Kids. She sang I Have Nothing by Whitney Houston and bought the audience to their feet, giving her another standing ovation. No one was more impressed than Oprah Winfrey herself though, incredulously asking her, "Girl, that was fantastic! Who are you?!"
The next day, Charice and her mother were already on a plane waiting to take off for the Philippines when Oprah called to stop the plane and bring them back to her office. Oprah had been so impressed with the girl and couldn't get her off her mind. She listened to Charice's story and told her, "Don't lose hope. I promise you something big will happen." She then called legendary music producer David Foster who took Charice on under his wing.
Charice, as David Foster's protégé, suddenly found herself singing duets with Andrea Bocelli in Italy and with her idol Celine Dion in Madison Square Garden. She also shared the stage with other big names such as Michael Buble and Josh Groban. She performed at three of President Barack Obama's pre-inauguration galas and made a cameo appearance as herself in 2009's Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. She also went on to appear on the Oprah show three more times after her initial appearance, the most recent one being last May 11, 2010, a day after her 18th birthday, to debut her self-titled international album CHARICE. Her single Pyramid with singer Iyaz topped the Billboard Dance chart at #1. Her album sales during its first week landed her in the #8 spot on the US Billboard Hot 200 chart, making her the first ever Asian artist in history to enter the Billboard top 10.
In June 2010, it was announced that Charice landed a recurring guest role on the hit TV series Glee, playing the character of Sunshine Corazon, a Filipino foreign exchange student to rival actress Lea Michele's character, Rachel Berry.
Andrea Jane Corr is a member of the Irish pop/rock/Celtic musical group The Corrs. In her younger years, Andrea was the best student among all her siblings. She began her life with the band as soon as she graduated from secondary school. The Corrs' parents were musicians who strongly encouraged each of their children to pursue music. Andrea learned the piano, as did all of her siblings. In the Corrs' band, Andrea is the lead singer and is their main lyricist when the group writes songs. Andrea also plays the tin whistle, which when combined with her sister Sharon's fiddle playing gives the group its distinctively Irish sound. The Corrs music shows strong influences from traditional Celtic but also modern pop such as the Eagles and the Carpenters.
The Corrs first performed as a band when they auditioned to play in the musical film The Commitments. Andrea landed a speaking role in the film. The movie's musical director John Hughes saw potential in the band and became their manager. In 1994 The Corrs landed a recording contract with producer David Foster of Atlantic Records (USA). Their debut album was "Forgiven, Not Forgotten" (1995), followed by "Talk on Corners" (1997), "In Blue" (2000) and "Borrowed Heaven" (2004). To date they have sold some 30 million albums. The Corrs have performed on tour with musical acts U2, Celine Dion, and the Rolling Stones. Mick Jagger has commented "They blew us, the Stones, off our own stage". The Corrs have also appeared on Sunday Night Live, 'The Tonight Show with Jay Leno', and have made an MTV-sponsored "Unplugged" video. Andrea is also an aspiring actress, and in addition to being featured in "The Commitments" she also played opposite Madonna in a singing role in Evita.
Adam Green is an American screenwriter, director, producer, and actor known for his success within the horror genre with films like the "Hatchet" franchise, "Frozen," and "Digging Up The Marrow." He is also the creator, writer, director, star, and show runner of the television comedy series "Holliston."
Born and raised in the small town of Holliston, Massachusetts, Green grew up performing leading roles in school plays and hosting his own morning radio program "Coffee & Donuts" on the town's local radio station. He graduated from Holliston High School in 1993. Upon graduating from Hofstra University in New York with a Bachelor of Science in film and television production in 1997, Green landed a job producing and directing local and regional cable television commercials at Time Warner Cable Advertising back in his hometown of Boston. While working at Time Warner he met cinematographer Will Barratt and in 1998 the two formed their own production company ArieScope Pictures and began making short films together under the ArieScope banner. During this time period Green was also the lead singer for the hard rock/metal band "Haddonfield" which amassed a large and loyal following as they headlined weekly club shows in Salam, MA and other large venues around Boston's north shore in the late 90's. In 1999 at the age of 24, Green wrote, directed, and starred in his first feature film "Coffee & Donuts" which was based on his own life and his experiences chasing his career dreams while trying to get over the break-up with his first girlfriend/childhood love. The autobiographical comedy was made for only $400 by "borrowing" Time Warner's commercial production equipment after hours and ultimately gained the attention of United Talent Agency (UTA) in Los Angeles when it won "Best Picture" in (what was then called) The Smoky Mountain Film Festival. Signed by UTA as an official client, Green moved to Los Angeles in February of 2000 with the intention of turning "C&D" into a sit-com.
Though reactions were positive and interest in "Coffee & Donuts" was strong within the industry, Green's first three years in Los Angeles were a major struggle and he survived by doing any odd job that would pay or feed him. Though he was able to find occasional paid work as everything from an on-set production assistant, to performing as a stand-up comic, to working as a writer's/show runner's assistant, to performing as an extra/background, to writing, shooting, and editing local cable commercials, to ghost writing jokes for other stand-up comics, Green's main occupation from 2000 to 2003 was working as the DJ in the upstairs nightclub at the world famous Rainbow Bar and Grill where he survived off of the left-over food off of customer's plates or by eating out of the restaurant's trash at the end of each night. He performed stand-up comedy at various Hollywood night clubs including monthly comedy shows at the Rainbow with his regular troupe of comedians/friends that included comics Andy Sandberg, Chris Romano, and Eric Falconer whom had also all yet to be discovered at that time. In 2003 Green sold "Coffee & Donuts" as a sit-com to Touchstone/UPN with Tom Shadyac producing. However, the week after Green delivered the final draft of his pilot script for "Coffee & Donuts", UPN announced a merger with the WB (creating the CW network) and all of UPN's pilot development was scrapped, tying up the rights to Green's dream project and life story for a further 5 years. ("C&D" would wind up going through thirteen years of development and false starts due to random corporate mergers at various networks and studios before eventually coming to fruition as the television series "Holliston" in 2012.)
Green first gained worldwide recognition with his independent slasher comedy "Hatchet", a story and character ("Victor Crowley") that he had first come up with while at summer sleep away camp in 1983 when he was just 8 years old in an effort to scare the other children in his cabin. Written in 2003 while Green was spinning heavy metal records in the DJ booth at the Rainbow, "Hatchet" was filmed independently in May/June of 2005 and had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 27, 2006. Green spent the next 18 months traveling the world with his gruesome slasher/comedy as it played dozens of film festivals, winning a multitude of awards and accumulating incredibly positive reviews from critics and fans along the way. "Hatchet" received a US theatrical release through Anchor Bay on September 7, 2007 and introduced the world to the iconic villain "Victor Crowley." A worldwide success, "Hatchet" has spawned two sequels to date. Green wrote and directed "Hatchet 2" which arrived in US theaters on October 1, 2010 and he also wrote and produced "Hatchet 3" (2013) which opened in US theaters on June 14, 2013. "Hatchet" also earned Green his place in the "Splat Pack", a term coined by esteemed UK film critic Alan Jones to describe a core group of new genre filmmakers who brought practical effects and extreme violence/gore back to the horror genre in the mid 2000's. Heralded by Jones as "the next wave of genre filmmakers," his original article about the "Splat Pack" ran in Total Film magazine in April of 2006 and by October both Time Magazine and the New York Post had also published stories about the "Splat Pack." Green appeared in the 2010 documentary "The Splat Pack" that also featured extensive interviews with his fellow "Splat Pack" members Eli Roth, Neil Marshall, Darren Bousman, Alex Aja, and Greg McLean. (Missing from the documentary were "Splat Pack" members James Wan and Rob Zombie.) Various merchandise based on "Hatchet" and its iconic villain "Victor Crowley" continues to sell more and more each year and in August of 2015 the first widely distributed "Victor Crowley" Halloween mask hit retail shelves across America, selling out of stock nationwide long before the Halloween holiday had arrived. In 2011 "Victor Crowley" first appeared in comic book form in "Hatchet/Slash", a crossover comic between Green's "Hatchet" films and Tim Seeley's long-running "Hack/Slash" comic series. An upcoming series of stand alone "Hatchet" comics will hit retail stores in late 2016.
After the first "Hatchet" film was massively censored by the Motion Picture Association of America for its 2007 theatrical release, Green made international headlines in 2010 by standing up to the MPAA's archaic and secretive ratings system and refusing to accept the organization's arbitrary NC-17 rating for "Hatchet 2" which the filmmaker stated was completely unfair given the comedic tone of his film and in comparison to the serious torture porn style films of the time, many of which featured sequences of rape and mean spirited, realistic violence but which also happened to be distributed by major studios. After offering cuts and re-submitting "Hatchet 2" to the MPAA numerous times to no avail in an effort to try and find a compromise for an "R" rating, Green and distributor Dark Sky ultimately opted to release the "Hatchet 2" uncut through an arrangement with AMC cinemas, making it the first genre film in almost 30 years to be released in mainstream multiplexes without an MPAA rating. Though the unrated release of "Hatchet 2" was endorsed and conducted exclusively through AMC theaters, the chain immediately began pulling the film from all screens upon its midnight opening and within just 48 hours of its release the film had mysteriously disappeared from all AMC screens nationwide. Though journalists in the media pointed to outside pressure from the MPAA on AMC to pull the film, no explanation was ever given on official record by a proper representative of AMC and the MPAA refused to comment on the matter. With "Hatchet 3" being green-lit almost immediately after "Hatchet 2" arrived on home video, "Victor Crowley" still succeeded despite the AMC/MPAA debacle.
Aside from "Hatchet" (2007) and its two sequels (2010 and 2013), Green continued and diversified his filmmaking legacy by directing the award winning Hitchcockian psycho-drama "Spiral" (2008), by producing the Sundance shocker and critically acclaimed "Grace" (2009), by writing and directing another Sundance darling and global success the very next year with his snowy suspense thriller "Frozen" (2010), by producing, writing, and directing the comedy "The Diary of Anne Frankenstein" which was included as part of the drive-in anthology film "Chillerama" (2011), and by writing, directing, and starring in the genre bending and highly praised successful pseudo-documentary "Digging Up The Marrow" (2015). In between his feature films Green also continued to write and direct various short films for his ArieScope website just for fun, several of which went on to become full blown viral hits with millions of views on-line including "Jack Chop," "Fairy Tale Police," and "Saber." Written, directed, and edited by Green, "Saber" received two awards in Lucasfilm's annual Star Wars Fan Film Awards at San Diego Comic-Con in 2009 ("Best Action" and "Audience Choice") and also spawned two sequels that were released to huge success in 2012 and 2014.
Meanwhile, after thirteen years of development and setbacks due to network mergers, Green's ultimate passion project "Coffee & Donuts" was finally brought to fruition as the sit-com "Holliston." In its new form, Green was not only "Holliston's" creator but also the series' show-runner, writer, director, and main star. Licensed for broadcast by the FEARnet cable network, "Holliston" had its world television premiere on April 3, 2012 and quickly found a loyal audience. A second season was announced the morning after only the second episode had aired. An hour-long "Holliston Christmas Special" premiered later that same year on December 18th and is still considered by most fans to be their favorite episode of the series with its unexpected amount of emotion including a tear-jerking final scene between "Adam" and "Corri" that was revealed on the Blu-ray commentary track to have been largely improvised by actors Adam Green and Corri English. Season 2 of "Holliston" premiered on June 4, 2013 and further solidified the series as a hit despite FEARnet's extremely limited broadcast accessibility. However, just as Green was beginning to write Season 3, "Holliston" suffered the tragic death of main ensemble cast member Dave Brockie who passed away in what was eventually reported to be a drug overdose. Brockie not only played "Oderus Urungus" on "Holliston" (Green's character's imaginary alien friend and ulterior conscience), he had also performed as the lead singer for the heavy metal band GWAR for 30 years and was one of Green's closest friends in real life. To make matters even worse, just three weeks after Brockie's death, the FEARnet television network was suddenly dissolved in yet another unforeseen corporate merger between Comcast and Time Warner. In August of 2014 Green delivered a eulogy for Brockie at a public memorial in Virginia attended by several thousand GWAR and "Holliston" fans. During his speech, Green's played back the final voice mail Brockie had left for him and concluded by asking the thousands of fans that were present to all hold their hands together in the air. "This is your metal family," Green reminded the grieving fans. "And your metal family will always be here for you." The memorial concluded with a traditional viking style burning of Brockie's "Oderus Urungus" costume in Richmond's Haddad Lake. Overcome with grief, Green stepped away from "Holliston" for over a year and a half without any word if he would return to his show again.
During Green's indefinite hiatus from "Holliston," he continued to do a weekly podcast with fellow director, co-star, and real-life best friend Joe Lynch called "The Movie Crypt" on the GeekNation digital network. Named after the fictitious cable access program that Green and Lynch's character's host on "Holliston", "The Movie Crypt" was originally designed to merely be a spin-off and companion piece to the sit-com and the two filmmakers only planned to do the podcast for the ten weeks that Season 2 was airing. However, their weekly program began pulling in extraordinarily high numbers and quickly became one of the most popular entertainment industry behind the scenes podcasts on the internet due to Green and Lynch's enjoyable on-air chemistry and the duos unfiltered honesty about their real-life experiences as working artists in the Hollywood system. Focusing on a different guest artist's entire career journey each week, "The Movie Crypt" showcases all sides of the industry from filmmakers to actors to costumers to agents to studio executives to musicians and beyond. Guests have included Chris Columbus, Slash, Joe Dante, Jordan Peele, James Gunn, Penelope Spheeris, Bobcat Goldthwait, and Rob Cohen. By January of 2015 "The Movie Crypt" was averaging over 500,000 worldwide listeners a week and the podcast was listed in Entertainment Weekly's January 9th issue as one of "The Top 20 Podcasts You Should Be Listening To" out of over 285,000 podcasts in existence. In addition to their candid and compelling weekly artist interviews, Green and Lynch have also produced special stand out episodes of "The Movie Crypt" such as the November 2015 "Addiction" episode that tackled substance abuse and addiction within the industry, the December 2014 "Holliston Reunion" episode where the cast performed a new original "Holliston" episode designed as a radio play, and their December 2015 "Christmas Special" which featured a sincere and moving 2-hour interview with Santa Claus that remains the podcast's most popular episode to date. Green and Lynch have never missed a single week since the podcast first launched on May 6, 2013. It was "The Movie Crypt's" unplanned and unexpected success that would ultimately set the stage for the return of "Holliston."
In August of 2015 Entertainment Weekly made the announcement that "Holliston" would indeed continue on with Season 3. No longer under license by FEARnet, the existing seasons of the series would now be carried along with "The Movie Crypt" podcast on the GeekNation digital network where it would be available to stream worldwide for the first time ever. In February of 2016 the "Holliston" cast appeared on a live Periscope session where they answered questions from fans after completing their first ever read through of two of Green's new scripts for Season 3. During the Q&A with fans Green stated that "Oderus" would not be recast or replaced and that when "Holliston" returns he would acknowledge the loss of Brockie and then move on with the show, keeping his character's closet door permanently closed for as long as the series may continue. As of the time of this writing, Season 3 of "Holliston" is expected to begin shooting at the end of 2016 when the cast's individual production schedules are next expected to all line-up together. The first official "Holliston" comic book (titled "Friendship Is Tragic") was announced and previewed on March 17, 2016 at Chicago's C2E2 comic book expo and pop culture convention. The comic book is set to hit retail shelves in the Fall of 2016.
In 2015 Green brought their ArieScope website to a new level by offering free weekly original programming. With over 100 free short films and original series' episodes to watch, Green's personal blog, and an on-line merchandise store, ArieScope.com has become a destination site for original content to millions of fans worldwide. Original on-line series such as "Adam Green's Scary Sleepover" and "Horrified" proved to be extremely popular with fans and ArieScope.com also released the award winning series "20 Seconds To Live" which was helmed by filmmaker Ben Rock, an artist that Green personally believes in and wanted to expose his own audience to. Green's original on-line series and various short films are also carried on ArieScope's YouTube channel which has received over 3.6 million individual views to date.
A celebrated leader and inspirational personality in the horror genre, Adam Green has amassed an enormous following worldwide through his down to earth and extraordinarily kind demeanor at personal appearances, by his accessibility to his fans on social networking, by performing improv comedy and original live "Holliston" episodes for fans on the convention circuit, by never charging his fans for his autograph or photo, by consistently putting out new entertainment for his audience on such a frequent schedule, and by inspiring and encouraging his own fans that they too can achieve their dreams so long as they don't let the world's negativity change or disenchant their spirit. Green organized and personally lead a three-night fundraiser in his home town of Boston in May of 2013 where he held theatrical screenings of the "Hatchet" films, a preview screening of select Season 2 episodes of "Holliston", and a silent auction of celebrity donated genre memorabilia in which he raised over $15,000.00 to help the victims of the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. In April of 2015 Green also helped raise $7,000.00 for the "Save The Yorkies" rescue in New Jersey by auctioning himself off for a date with a fan and auctioning off a screen-used prop hatchet to benefit the local dog shelter. While on stage during the auction event, Green stated that it was the companionship of his own Yorkie "Arwen" that got him through the various personal tragedies he underwent in 2014. "You're not just saving the lives of these wonderful dogs, you're also very likely saving the lives of the people who will adopt them."
At the time of this posting, Green is writing and developing Season 3 of "Holliston" while simultaneously shooting his next feature film. According to ArieScope.com and IMDB the new film will be released in 2017 but there are no specific details about it available at this time. Green cites much of the success of 2015's "Digging Up The Marrow" to the project's extreme secrecy and has stated on "The Movie Crypt" podcast that he hopes to keep as many details of his upcoming productions quiet whenever possible. Though fans have passionately expressed their hopes that Green will one day bring them a new "Hatchet" film, it is highly unlikely that the current film he is making will be a new chapter in the "Hatchet" franchise. Though the filmmaker has never definitively stated that "Victor Crowley" will stay dead forever, he has very clearly used the term "trilogy" in describing his 3-film "Hatchet" series. Green is also attached to direct the big budget children's adventure movie "Killer Pizza" (based on the novel by Greg Taylor) which he wrote the screenplay for. The film is being produced by Chris Columbus' 1492 Pictures.
Adam Green lives in Los Angeles with his dog "Arwen" and his cat "Tyler." An avid music fan he has been known to follow bands on tour such as Aerosmith, Metallica, Guns N Roses, Twisted Sister, GWAR, and Marilyn Manson when time allows for him to do so. 1982's "E.T. The Extra Terrestrial" remains his favorite film of all time and he is a devoted animal lover and collector of horror and science fiction toys. He is consistently active on Twitter and Instagram at @Adam_Fn_Green and he also personally responds to his fans on his public Facebook page: Facebook.com/AdamFnGreen.
Biography submitted to IMDB in May 2016.
Usually sized up as an erudite gent, advice-spouting father or uptight, pompous neighbor, the acting talents of Conrad Bain were best utilized on stage and on TV. Born in Lethbridge, Alberta, on February 4, 1923, Conrad Stafford Bain was a twin son (the other was named Bonar) born to Stafford Harrison Bain, a wholesaler, and Jean Agnes (née Young). He enjoyed Canadian sports growing up (ice hockey, speed skating), but picked up an interest in acting while in high school.
Electing to train at Alberta's Banff School of Fine Arts after graduating, he met Monica Marjorie Sloan, an artist, while there. His acting pursuit was interrupted by WWII when he subsequently joined the Canadian army. Picking up here he left off following his discharge, he studied at New York's American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He also married Ms. Sloan in 1945 and became a naturalized U.S. citizen the following year. The couple went on to have three children -- Jennifer, Mark and Kent.
Making his stage debut in a Connecticut production of "Dear Ruth" in 1947, Bain also appeared in "Jack and the Beanstalk" and a tour of "The Barretts of Wimpole Street" before making his off-Broadway debut in a 1956 Circle-in-the-Square revival of Eugene O'Neill's "The Iceman Cometh," a production that made a star out of Jason Robards. Following an inauspicious Broadway bow in "Sixth Finger in a Five Finger Glove", which closed after only one day, he joined the Stratford (Ontario) Shakespeare Festival for their 1958 season, appearing in "A Winter's Tale," "Much Ado About Nothing" and "Henry IV, Part I."
Fair in complexion and exceedingly genial in demeanor, the wry and witty blond actor graduated into other Broadway work, particularly drama, with strong roles in "Candide," "Advise and Consent," "An Enemy of the People," "Twigs" and "Uncle Vanya." He also built up his regional and repertory credits during the early 1960s with parts in "King Lear," "The Firebugs," "Death of a Salesman" and "The Shadow of Heroes" at Seattle Rep. Later in the decade he began to focus more intently on TV, usually playing cerebral, white-collar types (district attorneys, stock brokers, doctors, politicos).
Bain eventually found an "in" with daytime drama, which included a recurring role on Dark Shadows (as an innkeeper), and a part on The Edge of Night in 1970. He broke completely away, however, from his trademark dramatics when the 49-year-old actor was "discovered" for prime-time TV by Norman Lear and offered a supporting role opposite Bea Arthur and Bill Macy in Norman Lear's landmark, liberally-sliced comedy series Maude, a spin-off of Lear's equally landmark All in the Family sitcom. Conrad was cast as Rue McClanahan's stuffy, conservative doctor/husband, Arthur Harmon, who usually was at political odds with free-wheeling feminist Maude Finlay.
The role moved Bain into the prime TV comedy character ranks. Following the show's lengthy run (1972-1978), he was given the green light by Lear to move into his own comedy series with Diff'rent Strokes as the wealthy father of a girl and adoptive father of two African-American children. While young Gary Coleman, the compact, precocious, mouthy dynamo, may have stolen the show, the good-humored Bain remained a strong center and voice of reason until the show's demise in 1986. Three was not a charm when Bain went into a third new comedy series, Mr. President, with Conrad as a loyal aide-de-camp to "President" George C. Scott. The show, created not by Lear but by Johnny Carson, lasted only 24 episodes.
During and after his lengthy 70s and 80s TV success, Conrad would continue to return to his first love, the stage, in such productions as "Uncle Vanya," "The Owl and the Pussycat," "On Golden Pond," "The Dining Room" and "On Borrowed Time", the last being a 1992 return to Broadway after nearly two decades. Films, on the other hand, were a non-issue at this point. Earlier minor turns included Clint Eastwood's Coogan's Bluff, Gene Hackman's I Never Sang for My Father, Woody Allen's Bananas, Sean Connery's The Anderson Tapes and Barbra Streisand's Up the Sandbox. His last stop in films was an engaging part as a befuddled grandpa opposite the perennially crusty Mary Wickes in Postcards from the Edge starring Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine. One of Bain's last on-camera appearances was recreating his Phillip Drummond role from Diff'rent Strokes on a 1996 episode of "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air".
Other than a stage role in "Ancestral Voices" in 2000, Conrad turned for a time to screen-writing but later comfortably retired to the Brentwood area of Los Angeles. Moving to a Livermore California retirement home in 2008, wife Monica died a year later. Bain passed away there quietly of natural causes on January 14, 2013, less than a month short of his 90th birthday. His twin brother Bonar died in 2005.
The name "Melville" is not immediately associated with film. It conjures up images of white whales and crackbrained captains, of naysaying notaries and soup-spilling sailors. It is the countersign to a realm of men and their deeds, both heroic and villainous. It is the American novel, with its Ishmaels and its Claggarts a challenge to the European canon. It is Herman Melville. And yet, for over three decades, it was also worn by one of the French cinema's brightest lights, Jean-Pierre Melville, whose art was as revolutionary as that of the eponymous author.
Jean-Pierre Grumbach was born on October 20, 1917, to a family of Alsatian Jews. In his youth he studied in Paris, where he was first exposed to great films, among them Robert J. Flaherty's and W.S. Van Dyke's silent documentary White Shadows in the South Seas. It left so deep a mark upon the pubescent Grumbach that he became a regular at the cinema, an obsession that would benefit him in adulthood. His own earliest efforts, 16mm home movies, were made with a camera given to him by his father in this period. In 1937, however, his career was forestalled when he began obligatory service in the French army. He was still in uniform when the Nazis invaded in 1940; under the nom de guerre of Melville, he aided the Resistance and was eventually forced to flee to England. There he joined the Free French forces and took part in the Allies' liberation of continental Europe. After the war, despite a desire to revert to Grumbach, he found that pseudonym had stuck.
Eager to earn his place in the movie industry, Melville applied to the French Technicians' Union but was denied membership. Undaunted by what he regarded as party politics, he set up his own production company in 1946 and started releasing films outside the system. The first, a low-budget short titled 24 heures de la vie d'un clown, was a success, inspired by his boyhood love for the circus. His feature-length debut, Le Silence de la Mer, was highly innovative. An intimate piece on the horrors of World War II, it starred unknown actors and was filmed by a skeleton crew. Its schedule was unusual: It was shot over 27 days in the course of a year. Its production was unusual: it incorporated "on-location" scenes--rarities in that era--done without vital permits. Its provenance was unusual: it was adapted from a book before the author's consent was obtained. Above all, its style was unusual. Its dark, claustrophobic sets and bottom-lit close-ups signaled a departure from the highly cultured cinema of René Clair, Marcel Pagnol, Abel Gance and Jacques Feyder. It was neither comedietta nor costume drama nor avant-garde "cinéma pur." Where its roots may have been in Jean Renoir's La Grande Illusion, it was clearly something new.
Over the following 12 years Melville continued to create films that would influence the auteurs of La Nouvelle Vague (i.e., the French New Wave.) In 1950 he collaborated with Jean Cocteau on an unsatisfying version of Les Enfants Terribles, the tale of a strange, incestuous relationship between siblings. When You Read This Letter, with French and Italian backing, was his first commercial project. While it was unprofitable, the fee he received allowed him to establish a studio outside of Paris. His next work, Bob le Flambeur, featured Roger Duchesne, a popular leading man of the 1930s who had drifted into the underworld during the war. As such, he was a uniquely apt choice for the role of the fashionable, self-immolating Bob. His supporting cast included Daniel Cauchy as toadying sidekick Paolo and newcomer Isabelle Corey as the temptress Anne. Although the picture was not a hit, it was a favorite of the aficionados that frequented Henri Langlois' Cinémathèque Français. Among them were the young savants Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut, the latter of whom used Guy Decomble of "Bob le flambeur" in his The 400 Blows that ushered in the "New Wave" era. They adored the hip, new rendering of a tired scenario, much of it shot in the streets with hidden cameras. They viewed it as fresh and daring, a "freeing up" through the rejection of high-minded literary adaptations and the embracing of pop culture. Simply put, Melville refused to play by the rules, and they followed suit.
In retrospect, "Bob le flambeur" seems straightforward: A reformed mobster turned high-stakes gambler comes out of retirement to pull one last job. Its genius lies in its simplicity. Melville admired American culture, as his alias indicated. He drove around Paris in an enormous Cadillac, sporting a Stetson hat and aviator sunglasses. He drank Coca-Cola and listened to American radio. The works of American directors John Ford and Howard Hawks were appealing to him, as they were ageless sagas of heroes and villains. Melville strove to build his own pantheon by blending the American ethos with his postwar sensibilities. As he perceived it, it was America that had valiantly rescued France from German occupation. Still, for a young man with Alsatian roots, the line separating good guys and bad guys had been breached, and one can see this disillusionment from Le Silence de la Mer onward. Thus, while he borrowed from the American noir's revolt against the dichotomous Hollywood creations of the 1930s, the artist was forging his own apocryphal brand of dark tragedy. In his paradigm, a criminal could be a kind of hero within his milieu, so long as he stuck by his word and his allegiances. It was his personal style and his adherence to the code of honor that defined a "good guy"; obversely, it was his faith in others that was his downfall. It is a universe without the possibility for salvation, in which love and friendship are brief interludes in the cat-and-mouse games that lead to certain destruction. In that sense, Bob is a crucial link between Julien Duvivier's Pépé le Moko and Godard's Breathless, in which Melville gave a brilliant cameo performance.
Jean-Pierre Melville is often regarded as the godfather of the Nouvelle Vague. Nonetheless, it is worth mentioning that had it not been for his aforementioned passion for American film, he might have shown us a very different "Bob le flambeur". Originally conceived as a hard-boiled gangster flick about the step-by-step plotting of a heist, Melville was forced to rethink its narrative after watching John Huston's remarkably similar The Asphalt Jungle. It was only then that he had the idea to turn Bob into the comedy of manners that so delighted the cinephiles of the day. For this and other debts of gratitude, his next picture, Two Men in Manhattan, was "a love letter to New York" and the America he revered. It was also his third straight box-office flop, however, and it caused Melville to break away from a New Wave movement that he felt catered to the cognoscenti. He later said, "If . . . I have consented to pass for their adopted father for a while, I do not wish it anymore, and I have put some distance in between us."
The first step in this split came with Léon Morin, Priest, a wartime piece about a priest's endeavors to bring redemption to the inhabitants of a small town. Produced by Carlo Ponti, it was a big-budget affair with Jean-Paul Belmondo and Emmanuelle Riva, both household names by then. On the strength of its favorable reception, Melville released four consecutive cops-and-robbers movies, the most notable of which were Le Doulos and Le Samouraï. Belmondo again headlined in "Le Doulous", not as a clergyman but as the fingerman Silien, whose loyalty to his old mob cronies entangles him in a web of intrigue and disaster. During the making of "Le Samouraï", a hauntingly minimalist film about a doomed assassin, Melville's studio burned to the ground and the project was completed in rented facilities. Regardless, it was a critical and commercial success. Presenting Alain Delon as ultra-cool assassin Jef Costello, it was considered one of the most meticulously-crafted pictures in the history of the cinema. Delon would later star in a second masterpiece, Le Cercle Rouge, featuring the ultimate onscreen jewel heist. His Charles Bronson-cum-Jack Lord sang-froid toughness served as a counterpoint in Melville's oeuvre to the lighter and less predictable Belmondo. Another memorable production was Army of Shadows, an austere portrait of perfidy within the ranks of the French Resistance.
It is trite to say that a particular artist is "not for everyone." In Melville's case, this statement could not be more fitting. Despite a round belly and an unattractive face, he was a notorious womanizer, and his chauvinism is painfully obvious in his movies. They are cynical, male-driven works in which women are devoid of nobility, merely functioning as beautiful chess pieces. His men also lack spiritual depth, diligently playing out their roles toward the final showdown. A "profound moment" inevitably occurs before a mirror, a cliché for which many critics do not share the creator's enthusiasm. As a result of these peccadilloes, as well as its lack of back-stories and character motivations, Melville's later output has been accused of stiffness, with its wooden troupe of cops, crooks and general mauvais sujets. Further, well-structured plots notwithstanding, Melville films are methodically paced with tremendous attention paid to time and place. Hollywoodphiles often find them slow, with an overemphasis on tone and style.
Some have gone as far as to claim that the réalizateur's genius was outstripped by his importance to the development of the medium. They look to him as a sort of Moses figure, helping to guide the Nouvelle Vague to the promised land without partaking in its fruits. At his death by heart attack in 1973, the 55-year-old had directed just 14 projects, at least six of which are acknowledged classics. Aside from Godard and Truffaut, luminaries such as John Woo, Quentin Tarantino, Michael Mann, Volker Schlöndorff, Johnnie To and Martin Scorsese have pointed to him as an key influence. If a man's legacy is best measured not only by its quality but by the respect of his colleagues, Jean-Pierre Melville's contribution to cinema surely ranks with the greatest.
|The Notorious B.I.G.
Christopher Wallace, a.k.a. Biggie Smalls, was born in Brooklyn, New York, May 21, 1972. He was the son of Jamaican parents, Voletta Wallace, a pre-school teacher, and George Latore, a welder and small-time politician. He was raised in the poor Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant as the son of a preschool teacher. Dropping out of high school at the age of seventeen, Biggie became a crack dealer, which he proclaimed was his only source of income. Hustlin' one's way was a common life for a young Black man trying to make a living in the ghetto. His career choices involved certain risks. However, a trip to North Carolina for a routine drug exchange ended being the soon-to-be MC a nine-month stay behind bars. Once released, Biggie borrowed a friend's four-track tape recorder and laid down some hip-hop tracks in a basement. The tapes were then passed around and played at local radio station in New York.
Not extremely attractive, Wallace named himself Biggie, for his weight. Biggie was a Black man who was overweight, extremely dark skinned, and had a crook in his eye, yet he was a charmer. A young impresario and sometime producer by the name of Sean Combs heard Biggie's early tapes. Impressed, Puffy went to sign Biggie to his new label, Bad Boy Records.
Puffy and Biggie worked on the artist's first album, and the Notorious B.I.G. was born. Biggie was first heard on a remix of a Mary J. Blige song and a track on the Who's the Man? (1991) soundtrack. After these successes, the album worked on earlier went through its final touches and was released in 1994, titled "Ready to Die." The record was certified platinum quickly, and the Notorious B.I.G. was named MC of the Year at the 1995 Billboard Music Awards. After the quick success of the album, Biggie went back to get his friends, some who didn't even rhyme. He had several run-ins with the law, on charges that ranged from beatings, to drugs and to weapons, while all claimed that Biggie was a gentle person. He soon met a rapper from the west coast named Tupac Shakur, and the two became friends. Tupac supported Biggie and was often giving him advice. However, their friendship turned into the most violent era of hip-hop music on November 30, 1994. While Biggie and Puffy were at a recording session at Quad Recording Studios in Manhattan, Tupac went there to record with another rapper for his third studio album, "Me Against The World" at the same time, but in the lobby, Tupac was held at gunpoint and robbed of $40,000 worth of jewelry. Tupac was shot five times. Biggie rushed down just in time to see Tupac being loaded into an ambulance. Extending a middle finger, Pac blamed Biggie for the shooting and said that Biggie knew about it and failed to warn him. This sparked the East Coast, West Coast rivalry. Tupac later recovered from his injuries. During this encounter, Biggie admitted that he was scared for his life. Biggie never responded to any of Tupac's disses. Tupac attacked Biggie in every way he could, even starting strong rumors that there was a love affair between Tupac and Biggie's wife, Faith Evans.
Later, The entire country became divided into two groups, the west side and the east side, which became Death Row Records versus Bad Boy Records, Marion 'Suge' Knight versus Puff Daddy, and Tupac versus Biggie. The two of them finally met again late in 1995, and Tupac secretly said to Biggie, "I'm just tryin' to sell some records." Unfortunately, it became very real when on September 7, 1996, Tupac was shot multiple times in a drive-by shooting off the Las Vegas strip after he left a fight he was involved in inside of the MGM Grand Hotel after a Mike Tyson boxing match. He died six days later on September 13, 1996 as a result of those gun shot wounds at the age of 25. The case is still unsolved. Biggie was scared for his life, but he wanted to put an end to the rivalry between the two coasts. Biggie went to the west coast for several events, to support for his next release album, "Life After Death," but also to make a statement that the rivalry was over. On March 7, 1997, he attended the Soul Train Music Awards and went to the after party hosted by Vibe magazine and Qwest Records on March 8. On March 9, Biggie was sitting in an SUV on the street when he was shot multiple times by an unknown assailant. He died almost instantly. Hip-Hop faced its greatest tragedy when both Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G. were killed. Biggie was only 24 years old.
Barry Duffield was born in 1962, Billingham, UK. He immigrated to Australia with his family in 1969 and they eventually settled in the Bauxite mining town of Nhulunbuy, Northern Territory.
His first foray into film was when he "borrowed" his fathers super-8mm-camera and created the all singing, all dancing, stop-motion Salt'N'Pepper shaker show. There was a guest appearance by a partially consumed milkshake in a frosty glass, which still remains uncredited to this day.
He was taught to run the projection booth of the Gove cinema after being caught stealing movie posters from the foyer and given a choice, police, parents, or honest work.It wasn't long before Barry was splicing film, changing out carbon rods, and managing reel changes like a pro.
His passion for all things film grew and he eventually went to South Seas Film and Television School in Auckland, New Zealand, where he majored in screenwriting and directing.
Barry began his acting career in Darwin with a Kawasaki TVC, and then Brisbane with work on Australia's Most Wanted, and Escape From Absolom. He followed this up with a move to New Zealand where he appeared on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena, Young Hercules, Jack of all Trades, Shortland Street, Street Legal, Field Punishment #1, The Monster of Treasure Island, and Spartacus playing Lugo.
Barry has two successful graphic novels on Amazon and is moving into producing.
Luke was born in Manhassett, New York and grew up in Westport, Connecticut.
He's best known for creating films that are unpredictable and surprising to audiences such as his film, "The Girl Next Door." His films tend to have high-concept ideas that combine drama and comedy, or comedy and suspense. Luke writes and directs with a major emphasis on character and utilizes the power of music to help create emotional moments.
He began making movies at the age of 10 when his uncle gave him an old Super-8mm movie camera. As a kid, he was either making movies or watching them. He was brought up on the films of Francis Coppola, Marty Brest, John Hughes, Oliver Stone, Milos Forman and of course, Steven Spielberg. At age 13, Luke's dream was to become a filmmaker.
Luke's mother was concerned about this dream. They didn't know anyone or anything about the movie industry. So without Luke's knowing, his mother wrote a passionate letter to Steven Spielberg, Luke's filmmaking idol. In the letter she asked Spielberg if Luke had what it took and included two of Luke's high school short films.
Miraculously, the letter reached Steven Spielberg, and not only did he watch Luke's high school films, but he was so impressed, he wrote Luke a 2-page handwritten letter.
Spielberg encouraged Luke to continue making films and gave Luke some very telling advice about how to truly "reach" audiences. (Advice Luke claims he still uses today.) At the end of the letter Spielberg wrote: "Maybe someday our paths will cross - your raw beginnings are so similar to my own that I know you'll make it." His letter was the beginning of a story that would come full-circle years later.
Before Luke had graduated high school, he was accepted as an undergraduate to the USC School of Cinema-Television. There he made several student films including "Alive & Kicking," which won awards at many film festivals and Luke signed with his first agent, Jeff Robinov at ICM, at the age of 21. In 1994, Luke graduated from the USC Film School.
In 1999, Luke co-wrote and directed the short film, "The Right Hook." Adam Sandler and producers, Todd Garner and Greg Silverman, saw an early cut of the short and gave Luke his first opportunity to direct a studio feature called "The Animal" starring Rob Schneider. It was also Luke's first experience to direct a film he didn't co-write or write the screenplay himself.
Immediately after "The Animal," Luke went back to creating and directing his own material with the edgy coming-of-age film, "The Girl Next Door." The film was a breakout surprise for audiences and the studios as well. It was a teen comedy that transformed into a character journey combining comedy with realistic danger and poignant emotional moments. The film struck a chord with audiences and demonstrated the types of films Luke wanted to make. It also launched the careers of such new faces as Emile Hirsch, Olivia Wilde, Timothy Olyphant, Paul Dano, Chris Marquette and Elisha Cuthbert.
With the success of "The Girl Next Door," Luke's relationship with his childhood idol, Steven Spielberg, came full-circle. Spielberg happened to be a fan of "The Girl Next Door" and was surprised to discover Luke was the same kid he had written to 16 years earlier encouraging him to be a filmmaker. The two finally sat down together and discussed Luke's ultimate passion projects he's always wanted to make. But Luke was contractually under a first-look deal with 20th Century Fox and New Regency. This prevented Luke from setting up any of his passion projects with Spielberg and DreamWorks at the time.
In 2004, Luke created his film & TV production company, WideAwake, Inc., which gave Luke his first foray into television. He directed the critically acclaimed television pilot, "Aliens in America" for NBC/Universal Studios and the CW Network.
At New Regency, Luke created a few of his passion projects, including the comedy, "Role Models," which he produced for Universal Pictures.
Luke was then approached by producer Molly Smith to direct the film adaptation of the best-selling novel, "Something Borrowed." It was a bit out of his wheelhouse, but Luke was intrigued by the book and wanted to work with Molly Smith. The film was released by Warner Brothers in May 2011. The film became a cult hit and the studio is now developing the sequel.
Luke went back to directing his own material with the action-comedy, "Let's Be Cops," a film he developed from scratch which he co-wrote, directed and produced at 20th Century Fox. Like he successfully did with "The Girl Next Door," Luke cast newer faces such as Jake Johnson, Damon Wayans Jr., Keegan-Michael Key (from "Key & Peele"), Nina Dobrev, Rob Riggle and a pivotal role by Andy Garcia.
20th Century Fox released "Let's Be Cops" on August 13th, 2014. The film was made for a total of $17 million and grossed over $137 million worldwide, becoming one of the most profitable films for Fox in 2014.
In January 2015, Luke sold his passion project, "Destiny," to Steven Spielberg and Amblin Partners. Luke has co-written the screenplay with Dana Stevens and will direct it. He will produce with Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis. "Destiny" has been the one film Luke has wanted to make since 1997.
Luke is currently attached to direct and produce the film, "The Holiday Club" at 20th Century Fox with Chernin Entertainment, and the films, "Slingshot," "Pop," and "The Last Bachelor."
In television, Luke is currently creating series specifically for cable. He co-created and co-wrote "The Greener Grass," which he will direct and executive produce.
|Wren T. Brown
A fourth generation Angeleno, Mr. Brown is also a fourth generation theatrical. He is very proud to be in his third decade as an Actor, Producer, and Director. Among Wren's film appearances are: Waiting To Exhale, Heart & Souls, Under Siege II, The Dinner, Hollywood Shuffle, Biker Boyz, The Importance of Being Earnest, Midnight Clear and David Mamet's Edmond. On television, Wren co-starred as Whoopi Goldberg's brother and comic foil in NBC's Whoopi was a regular in the new adventures of Flipper, as well as CBS's Bless This House. He has also guest starred or recurred on: The West Wing, The Practice, Touched By An Angel, Frasier, Seinfeld, Charmed, Star Trek: Voyager and as Professor Wilkins on Half & Half. Wren additionally starred opposite John Larroquette in Hallmark's McBride 5: Tune in for Murder. Most recently, Wren has also been seen on Eli Stone, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Women's Murder Club, Everybody Hates Chris, The Game, Grey's Anatomy (recurring), and as the voice of Virgil Simpson, on The Simpsons. Some of his theatre credits include: Shakespeare's As You Like It (Drama-Logue award winner), On Borrowed Time, Burning Hope and his NAACP Image Award-nominated performance in Jeffrey's Plan. Wren has a broad range of commercial, voice-over and spoken word projects including being tapped by acclaimed pianist Billy Childs to recite the classic Langston Hughes poem The Negro Speaks of Rivers on his Grammy-nominated album I've Known Rivers. His voice has been heard narrating The History Channel's U.S.S. Constellation: Battleground Freedom, The Learning Channel series Scene of the Crime, the E! True Hollywood Story on the life of Diana Ross as well as providing the voice of Disney's Brer Rabbit. It was in this arena that Wren also made his directorial debut, directing over thirty-five actors and actresses in their performances in Inspired By . . . The Bible Experience, winner of the 2006 Audio Book of the Year. For that project, Wren also narrated the book of Matthew. In 1999, Wren made his debut as a producer with the critically acclaimed feature film, Boesman & Lena starring Danny Glover and Angela Bassett, followed by Dianne Reeves' concert film of her Grammy winning CD, In the Moment. He also produced the play, Confessions of Stepin Fetchit and evenings celebrating, Mr. Lloyd Richards, Complexions Cotemporary Ballet as well as an array of short films for new directors. In addition, Mr. Brown is the Founder of the award winning Ebony Repertory Theatre, the first African American professional (Actors' Equity Contract) theatre company in Los Angeles history. Ebony Repertory Theatre, Inc., is the resident company and operator of the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, where Wren serves as the company's Producer.
In retrospect, actor Paul Kelly may have had more high drama in his off-camera life than he did in his rich stage and screen life. How many Broadway and/or Hollywood actors have survived career-wise after serving a prison term for manslaughter? Kelly, whose drive, ambition and talent were undeniably strong, managed to do just that.
Lean, reddish-haired, athletically-inclined Irish-Catholic Paul Michael Kelly grew up on the tough streets of Brooklyn, New York, born August 9, 1899, the ninth of ten children. Father Michael owned a bar called Kelly's Cafe. He died while Paul was still quite young and the entire clan was required to pitch in financially. Young Paul, who wound up making his Broadway debut at age 8 in "The Grand Army Man", did quite well for his family. His father's establishment was located very close to the Vitagraph Studios and the studio used to borrow furniture from the saloon for their sets. As partial repayment (at the request of his mother), the studio would use Paul for some of their one-reel silents. The boy eventually became the resident moppet at the studio (from 1911 on), appearing with such top matinée heavyweights as Maurice Costello and Constance Talmadge. He went on to play the son in "The Jarr Family" series of one-reel adventures starring Harry Davenport as the patriarch.
Paul managed to transition into teen and young adult roles alternating between theater and movie assignments. Hit Broadway shows included "Little Women" (1916), Booth Tarkington's "Seventeen" (1918) and the highly popular "Penrod" starring Helen Hayes (also 1918). On celluloid he was romantically paired with Mary Miles Minter in the silent classic Anne of Green Gables and the success of that film moved him into even higher contention. The early 20s continued to be fruitful for Paul especially behind the theater footlights where he joined such esteemed leading ladies as Doris Kenyon in "Up the Ladder" (1922) and Blanche Yurka in "The Sea Woman" (1925). Movies also beckoned with The Great Adventure, The New Klondike, Slide, Kelly, Slide and Special Delivery. Paul was certainly on the right track as he broached out-and-out stardom.
It was the love of a woman in the form of actress Dorothy Mackaye, however, that temporarily proved his undoing. Paul met Dorothy and her husband, Ziegfeld Follies song-and-dance man Ray Raymond (1888-1927), while playing in New York and the three became fast friends and party-hearty cronies. They reconnected again years later when all had moved to Hollywood to pursue film. Dorothy's shaky marriage, primarily due to Raymond's chronic drinking and prone to violence, put Paul in a sympathetic mode with the battered Dorothy, which abruptly evolved into a torrid love affair. By April 16, 1927, the couple's cover had been blown wide open and, on that day, escalated into violence when the two men duked it out for the affections of Dorothy. The inebriated Ray came out the definite loser in the fight and died a few days later of a brain hemorrhage reportedly from his pummeling; his acute alcoholism was later figured in as a contributing factor to his death. The tabloids had a field day. Paul was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to one to ten years in prison; Dorothy was also sentenced as an accessory after the fact and for alleged concealment of facts involving her husband's death (she tried to convince police that he died of "natural causes"). She was eventually released on bond after serving ten months; Paul was paroled in August of 1929 for "good behavior" after serving 25 months.
Paul and Dorothy's strong bond survived the entire ordeal and in 1931 they married after Paul's parole board permitted it. Surprisingly, Paul was not shunned by Broadway. He took his first post-prison Broadway curtain call in a 1930 musical revue and went on to appear in the short-lived play "Bad Girl" (1930) opposite Sylvia Sidney. Within the next two years he appeared in "Hobo", "Just to Remind You", "Adam Had Two Sons", and "The Great Magoo". Although none were hits, he was firmly establishing himself once again. Hollywood didn't desert him either although he was now relegated to "B" supporting roles with an occasional starring part thrown in for good measure. The virile, thin-lipped actor with trademark jut jaw and iron resolve received consistently good notices for his hard-boiled parts, including Broadway Thru a Keyhole, The President Vanishes and Song and Dance Man.
More high drama entered the picture when wife Dorothy was killed in a car accident in January of 1940. The grieving widower with one child in tow (he adopted Dorothy's child, Valerie Raymond, whose name was changed to Mimi Kelly) and became quite a workaholic to quell the pain. In such films as The Flying Irishman, The Roaring Twenties, Invisible Stripes, Queen of the Mob, The Howards of Virginia, Wyoming, Mystery Ship, Mr. and Mrs. North, Tarzan's New York Adventure, The Story of Dr. Wassell, San Antonio, The Cat Creeps and Crossfire, Paul gave a number of sharp, potent portrayals, freelancing often as either an unyielding police official or sadistic bad guy. He found love again on the film set of Flight Command and married one of the film's bit part players Claire Owen (née Zona Mardelle Zwicker) in January of 1941. She subsequently retired from acting and went on to survive him.
Career satisfaction came with his work on Broadway. During the 1947-1948 season, he was nominated and won a Tony Award (tying with Henry Fonda and Basil Rathbone) for his performance in "Command Decision", and earned the Donaldson and Variety Critic's awards to boot. In 1950 he went on to earn further acclaim for originating the part of Frank Elgin, the alcoholic actor in Clifford Odets' classic drama "The Country Girl" also starring Uta Hagen. Not a big enough movie draw, he lost both of these prestigious parts on film to Clark Gable and Bing Crosby, respectively. Paul made do by also finding plentiful work on standard TV drama in the 1950s. After suffering a heart attack in 1953, the 57-year-old character actor was stricken again on Election Day, November 6, 1956, this time fatally, just after returning home from voting.
Born to a huge, poor family in Soho in London's West End, Jessie Matthews became a big stage star in the late 1920s and 1930s, enjoying some crossover success in musical films. Her career never quite relaunched after the war, though, but she staged a comeback when she replaced the lead actress in the radio soap "Mrs Dale's Diary" in the 1960s. Her life was blighted by breakdowns of relationships and her own struggles with bad health and insecurity, and she wound up, amazingly, buried in an unmarked grave (only rectified after a TV documentary in the late 1980s brought this to light--beg, steal or borrow a copy of BBC's Timewatch documentary series episode "Catch A Fallen Star"). An amazing life.
Don Messick is a legendary voice actor who spent his entire adult-hood in entertainment. He started out wanting to be a ventriloquist. Thankfully for cartoon lovers that career didn't pan out. How do you think his potential career would've stacked up against Edgar Bergen and later, Paul Winchell? No matter, Messick made his way to the hallowed halls of MGM in the early '50s on the recommendation of another voice actor, Daws Butler. At the time, MGM/Tex Avery were doing the theatrical "Droopy" cartoons. Bill Thompson, known for his hilarious voices on the radio show 'Fibber McGee and Molly', borrowed his Wallace Wimple voice and applied it to Droopy. Whenever Thompson couldn't make it to a session, MGM would ask Daws Butler to fill-in. Daws had been working for MGM since the mid '40s. Later, Daws apparently grew tired of the role and suggested Don Messick be Bill Thompson's fill-in. Butler, it's been said, literally squeezed his cheeks together to try and get that sound for Droopy while Messick simply thickened his tongue and loosened his jaws. Messick made the rounds and did every voice-over role large and small in this era. In 1957 Hanna-Barbera started their own company after departing from MGM...Daws Butler and Don Messick were the two voice actors the animation titans employed during the early days. Don was always heard as the "second banana" character or a walk-on. At various times he was the villain. His voice was heard as the 'narrator' on all of the early Hanna-Barbera cartoons. On "Ruff and Reddy", the duo's first made-for-TV cartoon series, Don was heard as "Ruff" the cat and as the Droopy-sounding "Professor Gizmo". Messick was also the narrator who interracted with the duo and got caught up in the action much like a soap opera announcer on radio. Daws was "Reddy", the dog, among other nameless characters in the show. In this 1957-1966 time span, Don Messick was cast as Daws Butler's voice partner and as the cartoon narrator. "Boo-Boo" was the little friend of "Yogi Bear" who lived in Jellystone Park. Yogi stole "pic-a-nic" baskets while Boo-Boo always tried, unsuccessfully, to steer Yogi to a more safer life always reminding him "the Ranger isn't going to like it, Yogi". The Ranger in question was "Ranger Smith", the park ranger who always chased and stopped Yogi's latest schemes. Messick gave voice to the Ranger. Daws was Yogi. In other programs, Messick was heard as "Pixie Mouse" to Daws Butler's "Dixie Mouse" and "Mr. Jinx". On "Snagglepuss", Messick was always heard as the villain, mostly the befuddled "Major Minor". Daws was Snagglepuss. In Huckleberry Hound, Daws was the star character while Messick usually did the narration as well as played a villain. Messick would later provide the voices of "Astro" and "RUDI" on the Jetsons. As a versatile voice actor, Messick performed a dozen wacky space aliens on the space cartoons of the mid '60s. The gibberish of "Gloop" and "Gleep" on the Herculoids cartoon was Messick. "Blip", "Igoo", "Zorak", "Tundra", and "Zoc" are just a few of the characters that Messick groaned or grunted for in the outer space cartoons...his most famous non-verbal voice is the snickering dog, "Muttley"...later called "Mumbley". "Richochet Rabbit", "Vapor Man", "Falcon 7", "Dr. Benton Quest", and "Multi-Man" are other voices from Messick in that era. In 1969 he provided the voice for his most famous role, "Scooby-Doo". Throughout the '70s and beyond, Messick gave voice to this cowardly great dane. In 1980 he became the voice of nephew, "Scrappy-Doo", while in later versions Daws Butler was on hand as "Scooby-Dum". On the 1977 Laff-a-Lympics cartoon, Messick not only announced the show but he performed some of the characters too. "Papa Smurf" became Messick's biggest original character in the '80s but he remained busy providing voices for his older characters in new Hanna-Barbera productions. Daws Butler and Mel Blanc were also living off their famed characters by reprising the voices in numerous made-for-TV cartoon movies and Saturday morning TV in the late '70s on into the next decade. Messick remained a much-used voice actor and in 1988 ABC announced "A Pup Named Scooby-Doo". Messick was back in the role and voiced the character until it's demise in 1990. His friend and voice partner, Daws Butler, passed away in 1988. In 1989 Mel Blanc passed away leaving Don Messick, June Foray, Stan Freberg, and Paul Winchell as the remaining link to the classic era. In 1989 The Smurfs went out of production. On the new Tiny Toon Adventures, Messick was heard as "Hamton Pig", a role he remained with until his mysterious retirement in 1996 at the age of 69 which was later revealed to be a result of a stroke. Don Messick died in 1997, closing a chapter in animation history in the process.
Well-remembered at Stanford for his many pranks and practical jokes. Was an occasional guest on Rudy Vallee radio program and Kraft Music Hall in the late 1930s and early 40s. Performed in clubs nationwide. He specialized in manic comic sports narrations, often using his friends' names as characters. Narrated Disney cartoon "Hocky Homicide" and others. Joined Spike Jones' troup in 1946, recording his horse and auto race routines ("William Tell Overture" and "Dance of the Hours". Developed a spoonerizing character for the Spike Jones Radio Show ("Professor Feitlebaum"), 1947-1949 borrowing heavily from 1930s comic "Joe Twerp". Toured with Jones' stage revue until 1951. Returned to Jones for various record and television projects thru 1964. Was early TV guest in 1940s. Also made many "Day with Doodles" silent comedy shorts for color TV in the early 1960s. Was very dogmatic that his famous horse character was "Feitlebaum" (not Beetlebaum). Was very approachable in later years, and loved to chat with his fans, even listing his home phone number in the Los Angeles directory.
"Too Much, Too Soon" was the story of Diana's life, and the title of her autobiography. Her father was stage and screen legend John Barrymore; and her mother was Blanche Oelrichs (who wrote under the masculine pseudonym Michael Strange), who had just divorced Mr. Thomas and had 2 children (Leonard and Robin) from that marriage. Diana's parents got married on August 15, 1920, and Diana was born 7 months later, on March 3, 1921. At age 6, Diana was attending school in Paris; she rarely saw her father, he was romancing Dolores Costello (whom he'd later marry) and divorcing Diana's mother. Next year she was back in the USA, and by 1929 her mom had married Harrison Tweed. By age 14, Diana hadn't seen her father in years, nor much of her mother since Diana was in boarding school. In 1934, when her father did come for one rare visit, he took Diana and an older schoolmate friend of hers to dinner and a movie; he got drunk and hit on Diana's 17-year-old schoolmate. In rebellion against years of getting no attention from her parents, Diana attended a dance wearing a "lurid red satin dress with a plunging neckline and hardly any back," and a pair of borrowed high heels; she was the life of the party. She had decided to stop feeling miserable, and stop being a victim of her parents who had ignored her since her earliest recollections, and make her own success. By 1937, Diana was enrolled in the American Academy of Dramatic Art in New York, and vacationing summers in Europe, on her $500 a month (a fortune in those days) allowance. In November 1938, David Selznick gave Diana a screen test for playing Scarlett O'Hara in "Gone With the Wind." Although she didn't get the part, next year Diana was doing summer stock in Maine for $10 a week. By 1940, her salary had increased to $150 per week when she appeared in "Outward Bound" in the Harris Theatre in Chicago, right next door to where John Barrymore was performing "My Dear Children" at the Selwyn Theatre, his first theatrical work in 15 years (he had exclusively made movies since 1925). At 19 years of age, Diana made her Broadway debut playing Caroline Bronson in "Romantic Mr. Dickens." Later, helping the War effort, she also campaigned for "Bundles for Britain." In January 1942, Diana left the stage for Hollywood; producer Walter Wanger had promised to cast her in movies at $1,000 a week, and she would appear in two of his films: Eagle Squadron with screen legend Robert Stack and later Ladies Courageous. Actor Van Heflin proposed to Diana, and introduced her to producer Joe Pasternak, who had collaborated with director Henry Koster on many films; Koster was set to direct Between Us Girls. Diana got the role, but not Van Heflin--two days later he married Frances Neal. Diana visited the hospital the night her father died on May 29, 1942 (of cirrhosis of the liver, from decades of too much alcohol). She let years of pent-up emotions out when she wrote, "Damn mother for her indifference and disdain of me, and damn daddy for the crazy, mixed-up life he led." Diana quickly married Bramwell Fletcher, who was 18 years older than her, on July 30, 1942 (they would divorce in 1947). Diana gave a standout performance in the starring role in the film noir classic Nightmare costarring Oscar-nominated veteran actor Brian Donlevy. But problems started with the filming of Fired Wife; even though her salary was now raised to $2,000 per week, and Universal had advertised her as "1942's Most Sensational New Screen Personality"; it seemed it was all too much, too soon. The box office was down. Counting on her Barrymore name, the studio had wanted to cash in on her instantly, instead of grooming her for roles, and finding suitable vehicles. When Universal, clutching at straws, asked if she'd work with Abbott and Costello, Diana refused and was put on unpaid suspension. The suspension lasted 6 months, and when Diana was cast in "Ladies Courageous" it was in a secondary role, the lead had been reassigned to Loretta Young. December 1943, Diana and her husband headed back to New York; despite achieving some recognition in movies, her film career was over, and Diana considered herself a has-been before her 23rd birthday. The couple took the Theatre Guild production of "Rebecca" on the road to Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Cincinnati. By the summer of 1945, Diana returned to Hollywood, but not movies--she was offered $1,000 a week to be on Jack Carson's NBC radio show. In 1947, Diana divorced her husband, and married again on the rebound. John R. Howard was a 6'2" tennis pro (5th ranked in the nation) whom Diana met, married (January 17, 1947), and divorced after living with him as man and wife for 6 months; he was 2 years younger than her. John was broke, sponged off Diana's money, and got them both arrested one night in June in his hometown of Louisville, KY, for drunk driving--and he'd assaulted the policemen. After only 6 months of marriage, Diana asked for a divorce; John said he'd give it to her for a large sum of money. Diana never paid, but got the divorce anyway, it took her 3 years. Diana went to Salem, MA, to do summer stock, and the producer introduced her to actor Robert Wilcox, who would become husband #3. Wilcox had been in about 2 dozen B-movies, was 11 years older than Diana, and a recovered alcoholic--they celebrated his release from the rehab clinic by drinking martinis. Summer stock became a winter tour in Atlanta, with Diana earning $750 a week, and Wilcox $250. Because of Wilcox's drinking, nobody wanted to hire him, but it was a package deal: if they wanted Diana Barrymore, they'd have to hire him as her leading man. After summer stock in 1948, they returned to New York and jobs ran out; they were broke and living on the trust fund John Barrymore had set up for her. Early in 1950, CBS offered Diana a new opportunity: television. They offered her a live talk show, "The Diana Barrymore Show" at 11:00 p.m., and had guests like Earl "the Pearl" Wilson lined up. Diana showed up the first night, too drunk to work, and the show was canceled before it aired. (To make matters worse, the show became "The Faye Emerson Show" which launched the former movie actress' television career into almost a dozen TV series.) When the FBI threw husband #2 in jail (for white slavery), he no longer contested the divorce, and Diana married Robert Wilcox on October 17, 1950. Diana's mother, Michael Strange, died on November 5, 1950. As the year 1951 started, Diana was at an all-time low point: she'd been drinking steadily for weeks, got the DTs, and had gone through all her money ($250,000 from her Hollywood earnings, and almost $50,000 she'd inherited when her half-brother Robin had died). Diana hocked all her jewelry (diamond bracelets, pins, etc.) and took a job in Vaudeville; it was demeaning, but at least she was making $1,000 a week again. Rather than face humiliation in New York ("a Barrymore following a juggling act!"), Diana and Robert got booked for 3 weeks in the Celebrity Club in Sydney, Australia in the autumn of 1951--and stayed in Australia for 6 months, mainly doing stage performances at the Princess Theatre in Melbourne. Whereas she'd been shunned in New York, she was a big celebrity in Australia, for a while. But Diana's drinking got her in trouble; scraping the bottom of the barrel, Diana even got fired for her drinking in Brisbane, while booked into a vaudeville house with a girlie show called "the Nudie-Cuties." By March 1952, Diana and Robert were working in half empty houses in Tasmania. Back in Hollywood later that year, they were so flat broke they got locked out of their hotel room because the rent was 2 weeks overdue; Diana mooched money from old friends like Tyrone Powers. In November 1952 came the shocking news that her late mother's estate, the once Barrymore millions, came to a mere $8,000-- decades of lavish spending had spent it all. Diana and Robert tried to get help at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting; however, they "fortified" themselves with drinks before the meeting, and made straight for a bar after it was over. Wilcox never worked, he just sat around the hotel room all day getting drunk, and sponging off Diana. She, in turn, started a love affair with Tom Farrell. Before it was all over, Robert had cracked both their skulls, leaving them bloodied; Diana needed stitches from a doctor, and then she announced she was divorcing Robert. Even though Tom Farrell had been "the other man" only a few weeks before, when Tom spotted Diana having a drink with an old friend, he went berserk. In their hotel room, in a jealous rage, he beat Diana to a bloody pulp, breaking her nose while he hit her with fists until she fell, and then kicking her repeatedly when she was on the floor. Again, a doctor had to patch up Diana. For 3 months, Diana stayed holed up in her apartment, drinking heavily and taking pills; her weight dropped from a healthy 130 pounds to a skeletal 97. Being close to death, with cirrhosis, Diana took Robert back. Diana Barrymore, once from the enormously rich family, was so broke she shopped for supermarket sales, getting beef liver for 33 cents a pound. When the electricity was turned off in their apartment (they hadn't paid the electric bill in months), they didn't even have money to buy candles. They finally got summer stock work, and then a 6-month tour; Robert also had another colic attack of pancreatitis, his 4th, which proved almost fatal. In November 1954, Diana was in a French bedroom farce "Pajama Tops," the posters showed a half-naked actress; she felt humiliated, but needed the money, and she had been blacklisted by 3/4 of the theatres in the country. On June 11, 1955, after Diana told him in a phone conversation that she wanted a divorce, Robert Wilcox spent hours drinking at a bar; he died of a heart attack on a train to Rochester. Diana checked herself into rehab at Towns Hospital in New York for 8 weeks, to get treatment for her alcoholism and barbiturate dependence. She returned to work on the stage sober. In 1957, Diana wrote her autobiography (along with Gerold Frank), and the 300+ page book was turned into a whitewashed, vague movie Too Much, Too Soon. Diana died January 25, 1960; she was only 38. In her book, she had lamented: "So much has been dreamed, so little done; there was so much promise and so much waste."
Sunday, November the 20th is the anniversary of Marcel Dalio's death in 1983. It was the end of a serendipitous life. You know him. He was a citizen of the world. Born Israel Moshe Blauschild, in Paris, in 1900, he became a much sought-after character actor. His lovely animated face with its great expressive eyes became familiar across Europe. He appeared in Jean Renoir's idiosyncratic "Rules of the Game" (The Rules of the Game) and "Grand Illusion" (La Grande Illusion), arguably the greatest of all films. True to his Frenchman's heart, he married the very young, breathtaking beauty Madeleine Lebeau. He worked with von Stroheim and Pierre Chenal. He had it all.
But then the Germans crushed Poland, swept across Belgium and pressed on toward Paris. He waited until the last possible moment and finally, with the sound of artillery clearly audible, with Madeleine, fled in a borrowed car to Orleans and then, in a freight train, to Bordeaux and finally to Portugal. In Lisbon, they bribed a crooked immigration official and were surreptitiously given two visas for Chile. But on arriving in Mexico City, it was discovered the visas were rank forgeries. Facing deportation, Marcel and Madeleine found themselves making application for political asylum with virtually every country in the western hemisphere. Weeks passed until Canada finally issued them temporary visas, and they left for Montreal.
Meanwhile, France had fallen and, in the process of subjugating the country, the Germans had found some publicity stills of Dalio. A series of posters were produced and were then displayed throughout the city with the caption 'a typical Jew' so that citizens could more easily report anyone suspected of unrepentant Jewishness. The madness continued. The Curtain Rises, a popular film, was ordered re-edited so that Dalio's scenes could be deleted and re-shot with another, non-Jewish, actor.
After a short time, friends in the film industry arranged for them to arrive in Hollywood. Nearly broke, Marcel was immediately put to work in a string of largely forgettable films. Madeleine, a budding actress in her own right, was ironically cast in Hold Back the Dawn, a vehicle for Charles Boyer with a plot driven by the efforts of an émigré (Boyer) trying desperately to cross into the United States from Mexico. But the real irony was waiting at Warner Brothers.
In early 1942, Jack L. Warner was driving production of a film based on a one act play, 'Everybody Comes to Rick's' but had no screenplay. What he had was a mishmash of treatments loosely based on the play and two previous movies. But he had a projected release date and a commitment to his distributors to have a movie for that time slot and little else. Warner Brothers started to wing it.
Shooting started without a screenplay and little plot. Principal players were cast and a director hired but casting calls for supporting roles and bit players continued, and sometime in the early spring Marcel Dalio and Madeleine Lebeau were cast as, respectively, a croupier and a romantic entanglement for the male lead. Veteran screen-writers were hired to produce a running screenplay, sometimes delivering pages of dialogue one day, for scenes to be shot the following day. No one knew exactly where the plot would go or how the story would turn out. No one was sure of the ending. And, of course, they produced a classic, perhaps the finest, American movie.
They produced a screenplay of multiple genres, rich with characterizations, perfectly in tune with the unfolding events in Europe and loaded with talent from top to bottom. Oh, and they changed the title to Casablanca.
It is so well known, that many lines of long-memorized dialogue have passed into the slang idiom. 'We'll always have Paris', 'I was misinformed', 'Here's looking at you, kid', ' I am shocked! Shocked! To find that there's gambling going on in here!', 'Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship', 'Oh he's just like any other man, only more so', 'I don't mind a parasite. I object to a cut-rate one', 'Round up the usual suspects', and, of course, the iconic 'Play it, Sam,' often misquoted as 'Play it again, Sam,' the title of the Woody Allen movie.
Madeleine Lebeau plays Yvonne, the jilted lover of Humphrey Bogart, who is seen drowning her sorrows at the bar early in the film and who later, to get back at Rick and looking for solace takes up with a German officer finding only self-hatred. She is luminous.
And when Claude Rains delivers the signature line, 'I'm shocked! Shocked! To find that there's gambling going on in here!' the croupier, Emil, played by Marcel Dalio, approaches from the roulette table and says simply, 'Your winnings, sir.' It is a delicious moment ripe with scripted irony, one among many in this film, but one made all the more so, knowing where Dalio came from and what he and his wife had endured to arrive at that line.
Alas, they separated and divorced the next year, both going on to long successful careers. Dalio never remarried.
Late in his career, when Mike Nichols was looking for a vaguely familiar face to deliver a long and worldly, near-monologue in Catch-22, he turned to Dalio. Faced with a hopelessly idealistic young American pilot, Dalio in tight close-up, delivers a discourse on practical people faced with impractical circumstances, of the virtues of expedience in the face of amorality. Using his wonderful plastic features, now beginning to sag, in a voice full of melancholy, the old man reassures the young man that regardless of what 'grand themes' may be afoot in the world, in the end, little matters but survival.
Although François Truffaut has written that the New Wave began "thanks to Rivette," the films of this masterful French director are not well known. Rivette, like his "Cahiers du Cinéma" colleagues Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol and Éric Rohmer, did graduate to filmmaking but, like Rohmer, was something of a late bloomer as a director. He made two shorts (Aux quatre coins and Le quadrille, starring Jean-Luc Godard); in the mid-1950s he served as an assistant to Jean Renoir and Jacques Becker; and in 1958 he was, along with Chabrol, the first of the five to begin production on a feature-length film. Without the financial benefit of a producer, Rivette took to the streets with his friends, a 16mm camera, and film stock purchased on borrowed money. It was only, however, after the commercial success of Truffaut's The 400 Blows, Resnais' Hiroshima Mon Amour and Godard's Breathless that the resulting film, the elusive, intellectual, and somewhat lengthy (135 minutes) Paris Belongs to Us, saw its release in 1960. In retrospect, Rivette's debut sketched out the path which all his subsequent films would follow; PARIS NOUS APPARTIENT was a monumental undertaking for the critic-turned-director, with some 30 actors (including Chabrol, Godard and Jacques Demy), almost as many locations, and an impenetrably labyrinthine narrative. His next film, the considerably more commercial The Nun, was an adaptation of the Diderot novel which Rivette had staged in 1963. The least characteristic of all his features, it was also his first and only commercial success, becoming a succèss de scandal when the government blocked its release for a year. Rivette's true talents first made themselves visible during the fruitful period, 1968-74. During this time he directed the 4-hour L'amour fou, the now legendary 13-hour Out 1 (made for French TV in 1970 but never broadcast; edited to a 4-hour feature and retitled Out 1: Spectre), and the 3-hour Celine and Julie Go Boating, his most entertaining and widely seen picture. In these three films, Rivette began to construct what has come to be called his "House of Fiction"--an enigmatic filmmaking style influenced by the work of Louis Feuillade and involving improvisation, ellipsis and considerable narrative experimentation. Unfortunately, Rivette seems to have no place in contemporary cinema. On the one hand, his work is considered too inaccessible for theatrical distribution; on the other, although his revolutionary theories have influenced figures such as Jean-Marie Straub & Danièle Huillet and Chantal Akerman, he is deemed too commercial to be accepted by the underground cinema; he still employs a narrative and uses "name" actors such as Jean-Pierre Léaud, Juliet Berto, Anna Karina and Maria Schneider. Since CÉLINE AND JULIE, Rivette's career has been as mysterious as one of his plots. In 1976 he received an offer to make a series of four films, "Les Filles du Feu." Duelle, the first entry, received such negative response that the second, Noroît--which some critics call his greatest picture--was held from release. The final two installments (one of which was due to star Leslie Caron and Albert Finney) were never filmed. The 1980s proved no kinder. He made five films, but only one of them, Love on the Ground, opened in the US (it received disastrous reviews). Although he continues to be an innovative and challenging artist, Rivette has failed to find the type of audience that has contributed to the commercial success of his New Wave compatriots.
Character actress Beulah Bondi was a favorite of directors and audiences and is one of the reasons so many films from the 1930s and 1940s remain so enjoyable, as she was an integral part of many of the ensemble casts (a hallmark of the studio system) of major and/or great films, including The Trail of the Lonesome Pine, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Our Town and Penny Serenade. Highly respected as a first-tier character actress, Bondi won two Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominations, for The Gorgeous Hussy and Of Human Hearts, and an Emmy Award in 1976 for her turn in the television program The Waltons.
She was born Beulah Bondy on May 3, 1888, in Chicago, and established herself as a stage actress in the first phase of her career. She made her Broadway debut in Kenneth S. Webb's "One of the Family" at the 49th Street Theatre on December 21, 1925. The show was a modest hit, racking up 238 performances. She next appeared in another hit, Maxwell Anderson's "Saturday's Children," which ran for 326 performances, before appearing in her first flop, Clemence Dane's "Mariners" in 1927. Philip Barry's and Elmer Rice's "Cock Robin" was an extremely modest hit in 1928, reaching the century mark (100 performances), but it was Bondi's performance in Rice's "Street Scene," which opened at the Playhouse Theatre on Jamuary 10, 1929, that made her career. This famous play won Rice the 1929 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and was a big hit, playing for 601 performances. Most importantly, though, it brought Bondi to the movies at the advanced age of 43. She made her motion picture debut in 1931 in the movie adaptation (Street Scene), recreating the role she had originated on the Broadway stage. The talkies were still new, and she had the talent and the voice to thrive in Hollywood.
Bondi appeared in four more Broadway plays from 1931 to 1934, only one of which, "The Late Christopher Bean", a comedy by Sidney Howard, was a hit. Her last appearance on Broadway for a generation was in a flop staged by Melvyn Douglas, "Mother Lode" (she made two more appearances on the Great White Way, in "Hilda Crane" (1950) and "On Borrowed Time" in 1953; neither was a success). For the rest of her professional life, her career lay primarily in film and television.
She was typecast as mothers and, later, grandmothers, and played James Stewart's mother four times, most famously as "Ma Bailey" in It's a Wonderful Life. Her greatest role is considered her turn in Leo McCarey's Depression-era melodrama Make Way for Tomorrow, in which she played a mother abandoned by her children.
Beulah Bondi died on January 1, 1981, from complications from an accident, when she broke her ribs after falling over her cat. She was 92 years old.
Olivia is the daughter of real estate developer, of Italian descent, Douglas Palermo and interior designer Lynn Hutchings. Palermo grew up between the Upper East Side, New York and Greenwich, Connecticut where she attended Nightingale-Bamford School, and then St. Luke's School, where she was on the field hockey team. She attended the American University of Paris for a year and studied media at The New School in New York. Palermo's father filed for bankruptcy in 2007 after failing to pay $2.75 million to a creditor. However, it was overturned when the judge discovered he had used multiple fake organizations to obscure his actual worth to borrow money and join private clubs and send his children to expensive schools.
She interned at Quest. Photographer Patrick McMullan spotted her at an auction, then took pictures of her about town. Palermo began taking part in the charity event circuit in New York, becoming a member of the Friends Committee of New Yorkers For Children and joining the committee of Operation Smile. Palermo found herself at the center of a controversy when she was reported to have sent out a letter to fellow socialites pleading for acceptance. This letter was forwarded to the owners of the social website, Socialite Rank.com who promptly published it. Palermo immediately denied the authenticity of the letter and filed a lawsuit against the website. The website was eventually shut down and in May 2007, Palermo appeared on the cover of New York Magazine in a story about the incident.
Palermo has been dating model Johannes Huebl since 2008.
|Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe was born on January 19, 1809, in Boston, Massachusetts. His father, named David Poe Jr., and his mother, named Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins Poe, were touring actors. Both parents died in 1811, and Poe became an orphan before he was 3 years old. He was adopted by John Allan, a tobacco merchant in Richmond, Virginia, and was sent to a boarding school in London, England. He later attended the University of Virginia for one year, but dropped out and ran up massive gambling debts after spending all of his tuition money. John Allan broke off Poe's engagement to his fiancée Sarah Royster. Poe was heartbroken, traumatized, and broke. He had no way out and enlisted in the army in May of 1827. At the same time Poe published his first book, "Tamerlane and Other Poems" (1827). In 1829, he became a West Point cadet, but was dismissed after 6 months for disobedience. By that time he published "Al Aaraf" (1929) and "Poems by Edgar A. Poe" (1831), with the funds contributed by his fellow cadets. His early poetry, though written in the manner of Lord Byron, already shows the musical effects of his verses.
Poe moved in with his widowed aunt, Maria Clemm, and her teenage daughter, Virginia Eliza Clemm, whom he married before she was 14 years old. He earned respect as a critic and writer. In his essays "The Poetic Principle" and "The Philosophy of Composition," Poe formulated important literary theories. But his career suffered from his compulsive behavior and from alcoholism. He did produce, however, a constant flow of highly musical poems, of which "The Raven" (1845) and "The Bells" (1849) are the finest examples. Among his masterful short stories are "Ligeia" (1838), "The Fall of the House of Usher"(1839) and "The Masque of the Red Death". Following his own theory of creating "a certain unique or single effect", Poe invented the genre of the detective story. His works: "The Murder in the Rue Morgue" (1841) is probably the first detective story ever published.
Just when his life began to settle, Poe was devastated by the death of his wife Virginia in 1847. Two years later he returned to Richmond and resumed a relationship with his former fiancée, Sarah Royster, who, by that time, was a widow. But shortly after their happy reconciliation he was found unconscious on a street in Baltimore. Poe was taken to the Washington College Hospital where Doctor John Moran diagnosed "lesions on the brain" (the Doctor believed Poe was mugged). He died 4 days later, briefly coming in and out of consciousness, just to whisper his last words, "Lord, help my poor soul." The real cause of his death is still unknown and his death certificate has disappeared. Poe's critic and personal enemy, named Rufus Griswold, published an insulting obituary; later he visited Poe's home and took away all of the writer's manuscripts (which he never returned), and published his "Memoir" of Poe, in which he forged a madman image of the writer.
The name of the woman in Poe's poem "Annabel Lee" was used by Vladimir Nabokov in 'Lolita' as the name for Humbert's first love, Annabelle Leigh. Nabokov also used in 'Lolita' some phrases borrowed from the poem of Edgar Allan Poe. "The Fall of the House of Usher" was set to music by Claude Debussy as an opera. Sergei Rachmaninoff created a musical tribute to Poe by making his favorite poem "The Bells" into the eponymous Choral Symphony.
Austin James was born Austin Wojciechowski, on January 5, 1994 in Ocala Florida. As an infant, Austin's family, which included four siblings, moved to a horse and cattle ranch in the very small town of Tarpley Texas. Austin attended school in the town of Utopia Texas, class size of 19 children. Needless to say there was not much to do in either Tarpley or Utopia. Austin spent a good amount of his time tending to the Horses on the ranch. He competed in the youth Rodeo and was on his way to becoming nationally ranked in steer wrestling. Austin was also very athletic participating in track and field. He was a competitive cross country runner as well as a pole-vaulter. When Austin was not riding, wrestling, or running, he found himself immersed in any book he could get his hands on. He loved reading and would imagine himself playing the role. At age 16 the acting bug bit him. He convinced his parents to borrow some money in order to enter a competition showcase. Not only did he enter, but also he won the competition, which garnered him a $10,000.00 dollar prize, and many a call from agents in Hollywood At 17 years old, Austin left Tarpley for Hollywood and has not looked back. He landed representation and soon after booked several commercials. In the winter of 2013 Austin landed one of the lead roles in the Feature Film "The Ultimate Life", which was directed by Michael Landon, Jr. The Ultimate Life will be released in theaters in September of 2013.
Bernadette Lafont was born at the Protestant Health Home of Nîmes in Gard, the only child of a pharmacist and a housewife from the Cévennes. Her mother always wanted a boy to name Bernard and, once she gave birth to a girl, she enjoyed to hold this against all the catholics she knew as the proof that their God either was blind or didn't exist. Often dressed as a boy and nicknamed Bernard, Bernadette nevertheless had a great relationship with her parents. Having spent part of her childhood in Saint-Geniès-de-Malgoirès, she returned to Nîmes where she took ballet lessons at the local Opera House. She proved to be a gifted student and she did three little tours and about twenty galas there. An extroverted girl with a fervent imagination, she used to spend her holidays at the Cévennes family mansion playing dress-up with her friend Annie, along whom she used to pretend to be an actress from an imaginary West End Club, working in Italian cinema: doing this started to win her a lot of male attention. She also began to develop a passion for film from an early age, adopting Brigitte Bardot and Marina Vlady as role models.
On the summer of 1955, the "Arènes" of Nîmes hosted a Festival of Dramatic Arts for the second time: 40 actors came from Paris while 50 regional aspiring thespians and 30 dancing students were recruited on the place. The main attraction was a production of "La Tragédie des Albigeois", a new play which featured music by Georges Delerue and starred, in the leading roles, the acclaimed stage veteran Jean Deschamps and a talented young actor called Jean-Louis Trintignant, who would go a long way from there. The play also offered bit parts to future directing genius Maurice Pialat, Trintignant's then wife Colette Dacheville (the future Stéphane Audran), and the skilled Gérard Blain, who, by then, had already appeared in a handful of movies, although usually in uncredited roles. Having seen Gérard on his way to a rehearsal at the "Arènes", Bernadette was immediately won over by his "bad boy" charm and decided to walk around the place (which had ironically been the spot of her parents' first encounter) to catch his attention: she did. Already separated from wife Estelle Blain, Gérard immediately developed a great interest in Bernadette, stating that he was willing to bring her to Paris to introduce her to certain people at the Opera House and stating how glad he was that she didn't have any interest in pursuing an acting career, something he regarded, in a woman's case, as a road to perdition. After she finished her studies, Bernadette's parents gave her permission to marry Gérard and she did so in 1957.
Blain found his first relevant film role in Julien Duvivier's brilliant thriller Deadlier Than the Male and Bernadette spent a lot of time with him on the movie's set, something that made her fascination with cinema grow even bigger. The film opened to positive reviews and was also lauded (quite an oddity for a Duvivier feature) by the ruthless "Cahiers du Cinéma" critics, including the young François Truffaut, who called Blain "the French James Dean". Gérard decided to give the critic a phone call to thank him for the kind words and, after the two had a couple lunches together, Truffaut ended up making him a work offer. It's always been very hard for film critics to point at a specific work as the undisputed start of the French New Wave: for many people it's Agnès Varda's La Pointe Courte , but the director herself never wanted to be bestowed this honor and prefers to be considered a godmother to the movement. Others think that the roots of this new school of cinema can be found in the early shorts of Jacques Rivette, Jean-Luc Godard and Truffaut. The latter's The Mischief Makers is certainly one of the most significant of these ground-breaking works and happens to be the project for which Blain was recruited. Truffaut wanted to shoot the short in Nîmes and, with the exception of Gérard, he hired only non-professional actors: this included several local children and, of course, Bernadette. The mini-feature is centered around two lovers, Gérard (Blain) and Bernadette Jouve (Lafont), who are spied on by a group of children and are separated forever once he leaves for a mountain excursion from which he will never return. The character of Bernadette, a head-turner who becomes a great object of attention wherever she goes, was very much based on the real-life Lafont, just like her relationship with her beau Gérard (who has to leave Nîmes for three months, promising to marry her at his return) was very much reminiscent of her engagement to Blain. The two actors stayed at the house of Bernadette's parents for the entire shooting of the short. She chose to act in bare feet the whole time to make a homage to Ava Gardner in The Barefoot Contessa and, at the same time, a favour to Blain, not exactly a man of exceptional height. When he had married Bernadette, Gérard had sworn to himself that his new wife would have never stolen the spotlight from him like Estella had previously done: unfortunately for his plans, he was soon going to be sorely disappointed. Truffaut managed to get the best out of the young actress through rather unorthodox methods at times (like threatening to slap her hadn't she cried convincingly), but they established a great chemistry in the end and he taught her not to look at someone like Bardot as a source of inspiration, since the big star didn't possess any gift Bernadette should have been jealous of. "Les Mistons" turned out to be a little gem which already contained all the best elements of the great director's cinema. During the shooting, Bernadette got to know many other key figures of the upcoming French New Wave, including Rivette, Paul Gégauff and Claude Chabrol. The latter had already asked her to appear in his debut feature film by the time Truffaut had proposed her to star in "Les Mistons": she had accepted both offers simultaneously and, once the shooting of the short movie was over, she immediately embarked on another adventure.
Chabrol's atmospheric Le Beau Serge is now officially considered the movie that kickstarted the French New Wave: it was shot in Sardent, where the director had spent many of his childhood years. The main cast was formed by Bernadette, Gérard and another young actor called Jean-Claude Brialy, who would soon become a cornerstone of French cinema in general and an assiduous presence in New Wave movies in particular. The movie takes place in a community of drunkards and is centered around the relationship between the rebellious Serge (Blain) and his better balanced friend François (Brialy). Bernadette got the juicy role of Serge's slutty sister-in-law and lover, Marie. This role of a very impudent and provocative woman of slightly vulgar charms allowed her to introduce the French audience to a new female image that was very much different from the ones usually found in the cinema of the period and worked as a prototype to the unforgettable gallery of "bad girl" types her cinematic work will forever be strictly associated to. The movie was very much praised along with the great performances of its actors. Bernadette was immediately featured on the cover of a recent edition of "The Cahiers du Cinéma" along with Brialy. Her rise in popularity had predictably an immediate negative impact on her relationship with Blain. The two male stars of "Le Beau Serge" were paired again in Chabrol's subsequent feature, the least interesting Les Cousins, but, this time, the leading female role was given to an absolutely unremarkable Juliette Mayniel. Bernadette started to grow more and more bored as Gérard was away from home to shoot the movie and even tried to contact him on the set asking for a divorce.
Bernadette teamed up again with Chabrol in the director's third released feature , Leda, which didn't work as well as a thriller rather than as an ironic spoof on the clichés of the genre and actor piece. The film's acting laurels go undoubtedly to Bernadette as a saucy waitress, Jean-Paul Belmondo as a cheeky young man with an alcohol problem and the glorious Madeleine Robinson (rightly awarded with a Volpi Cup at Venice Film Festival) as a troubled wife and mother. By the end of the year, Bernadette had eventually divorced from Blain and gotten into a relationship with a Hungarian sculptor she had known on her 20th birthday, Diourka Medveczky. 1960 was a turning point for her, as the work she did helped cementing her status as the female face of the New Wave. L'eau à la bouche was the first and most famous feature of Jacques Doniol-Valcroze, another critic of the Cahiers who wanted to follow the same path of his colleagues turned directors and decided to call Bernadette after seeing "Le Beau Serge". The superb Les Bonnes Femmes was Chabrol's fourth movie and remains one of his masterworks. The film follows four girls (Bernadette, Stéphane Audran, Clotilde Joano and Lucile Saint-Simon) who are bored with their lives and waiting for a positive change to arrive, whether it's the coming of true love or the fulfillment of a dream. With many scenes set in the shop where the four characters work (a surreal place where time seems to have stopped), Chabrol was able to create something that seemed to come out of Sartre, managing to perfectly spread to the viewer the sense of loneliness and boredom weighing down the girls, seemingly trapped in the antechamber of hell. One of the film's strongest assets were three performances: tragic actress Joano gave a delicate and poetic portrayal of the ill-fated Jacqueline, Italian veteran Ave Ninchi added a lot of authority to her Madame Louise and, of course, Bernadette did the usual splendid job lending her energetic screen persona to Jane, the obvious haywire of the group, but, at the same time, a character more vulnerable and less gutsy than her usual creations. The movie allowed the actress to stretch her range and gave her a lot of good memories, such as pushing journalists on a swimming pool (which is at the heart of a key scene) along with Stéphane, somehow managing to galvanize the normally extremely shy girl. To appear in the movie, Bernadette had to decline the role of prostitute Clarisse (eventually played by Michèle Mercier) in Truffaut's masterpiece Shoot the Piano Player, but it was a worthy sacrifice. The same year she gave birth to her first daughter with her now husband Diourka, the future actress Élisabeth Lafont, in the same health house where she was born. Bernadette's next collaboration with Chabrol was the remarkable Wise Guys, where she got her most memorable role so far as Ambroisine, a girl who gets recruited by Jean-Claude Brialy's Ronald to create trouble in an old-fashioned environment with her modern, liberated persona, but eventually becomes impossible for him to control because of her mean-spirited nature. Her anarchic side was used to full potential for the first time, something that lead to one of the best portrayals of dark lady in a New Wave movie. But, like the other characters in the film weren't ready for a new type of woman such as Ambroisine, the movie-goers of the period seemed unwilling to fall for the charms of this revolutionary type of woman Bernadette was bringing to the screen and "Les godelureaux" was a box office flop, just like "Les Bonnes Femmes" had been. The latter, now regarded as one of Chabrol's best, was also a critical disaster, although Bernadette got positive reviews for her performance. Watched today, it's clear that both movies outclass several entries from the director's most celebrated noir cycle from the late 60's to the early 70's. But considering the tepid impact that her movies used to have with the big public, Bernadette was seen just as a half-star and icon of niche cinema exclusively and her agent used to have much trouble in finding her roles at the time. Producer Carlo Ponti once offered her to come to Italy to do some movies: now that his wife Sophia Loren was moving to Hollywood (not exactly to electrifying results), he thought there was a void in Italian cinema that needed to be filled by a feisty, curvaceous actress. This proposal lead to nothing. A project with Godard never saw the light of the day. Rivette never bothered to answer a letter by Bernadette where she had asked him to cast her in his debut feature film, Paris Belongs to Us. She was offered her ticket to major stardom with Jacques Demy's Lola, but she had to decline the title role in the movie because she was pregnant with her second child, David. The part eventually went to the limited Anouk Aimée, who gave the best acting she could ever be capable of, but it goes without saying that, had Bernadette played the part, she would have elevated the movie to entirely new levels.
The 60s, for most of the time, didn't prove to be a very happy decade for Bernadette as she got to face both a personal and professional crisis. Immediately after "Les Godelureaux", her talents were wasted in several obscure movies and shorts. In 1962 she appeared in And Satan Calls the Turns, which boosted a high-profile cast, but was scripted by Roger Vadim, something that predictably sealed the movie's fate. Although officially directed by one-shot filmmaker Grisha Dabat, the film contained all the worst elements of Vadim's cinema and Bernadette was given such a thankless role that not even she could elevate it. One year later she was without an agent and took a break from acting, also to give birth to her third daughter, the future actress Pauline Lafont. The passion between her and Diourka had cooled down by now and the main reason they stayed together for a few years more was their common love for cinema: he was indeed planning to make his directorial debut. For the time being, they tried to make it work by opting for an open marriage where both enjoyed plenty of extra-conjugal affairs. Bernadette's friends Truffaut and Chabrol couldn't really come to her rescue either. The first sent her a letter which read: "You chose life. I chose cinema. I don' think our paths will ever cross again". The second was now engaged to Audran and was soon to enter a second phase of his career, one where he regularly did films whose central female characters weren't witty, animated provincial girls, but frozen, humourless bourgeoisie ladies that were tailor-made for Stéphane. In 1964, Bernadette had a rather unhappy "rentrée" with Male Hunt , a very disappointing comedy made by the talented Édouard Molinaro on an utterly unfunny script by Michel Audiard. Her role as a prostitute was hardly one minute long, but she had little money and a ton of debts at the time, so she had to accept everything she was offered. During the decade, she found work in a few more resonant projects such as Louis Malle's The Thief of Paris, Costa-Gavras's Compartiment tueurs and Jean Aurel's Lamiel, but she was given very indifferent roles in all of them. Once again, going after unusual projects by new, alternative auteurs was the decisive factor that helped her putting her career back on track. In Diourka's remarkable first work, the short Marie et le curé, she shined as a provocative young woman who seduces a priest to nefarious consequences for both. Shortly after, she appeared in the silent movie Le révélateur, which was directed by her love interest of the time, Philippe Garrel, and co-starred Laurent Terzieff, opposite whom she had always dearly desired to act. The film was shot in Spain and Bernadette helped funding it thanks to a loan from Chabrol. At around the same time, she also shot the "conjoined" shorts Prologue and Piège, which were written and directed by Jacques Baratier and co-starred the great Bulle Ogier. Having seen Bulle in her most acclaimed film role in Rivette's titanic achievement L'amour fou, Bernadette had been astonished by the actress' monstrous amount of talent and was a bit scared by the thought of having to cross blades with her. As two thieves locked in a mysterious house by a vampiresque entity, the two actresses went on to gave a great lesson in metaphysical acting. Closer to an example of visual arts or Noh theatre than a cinematic work, Barratier's double short may feel too extreme even to some New Wave purists, but is nevertheless a fascinating watch and a must-see for the fans of the two ladies, equally impressive in the acting department and perfectly suited to create the needed physical contrast, with the taller brunette adding an earthy element and the petite blonde providing an ethereal quality. Bernadette and Bulle developed a beautiful friendship which lead to several other collaborations. In 1969, Diourka made his first feature film, Paul. Jean-Pierre Léaud, a cult actor if there ever was one, had loved the Hungarian sculptor's previous shorts and sent him a letter asking to work with him, so that he would add another unique title to his genial filmography. He so earned the honour to play title character in Diourka's (only) film, as a little bourgeois who escapes from his family, joins a group of sages and meets temptation in Bernadette's form. None of these works really gave the actress a major popularity boost, however. Unlike fellow female standouts of the New Wave such as Ogier, Edith Scob, Delphine Seyrig, Jeanne Moreau and Emmanuelle Riva, Bernadette didn't have theatrical roots, but this didn't prevent her from appearing in stage productions of Turgenev's "A Month in the Country" and Picasso's surrealist play "Le désir attrapé par la queue" in this period. The official start of her career renaissance came, however, at the end of the decade with Nelly Kaplan's A Very Curious Girl, a retelling of sorts of Michelet's "La Sorcière". Conceived as a monument to her talents, the transgressive movie stars Bernadette as Marie, a village girl who becomes a prostitute to settle a score with society (winning male and female hearts alike) and eventually gets revenge on all her men clients. The vendetta bit had been inspired by an off-screen feud between director Kaplan (an angry feminist) and actor Michael Constantin, who had refused to recite the line 'they were very happy and didn't have children" because he was a family man and opted for a more prudish "they were very happy and had children" instead. Bernadette's fearless performance had such a huge impact that, after the film's release, she got offers to star in porn features along with obscene proposals from the more misguided moviegoers. Once again, the public had proved not to have understood what kind of woman she represented, but auteur cinema was now going to welcome her back to a fuller extent.
The 70's were definitely a more successful decade for Bernadette. She was still seen as an alternative actress and was hardly ever offered traditional roles in conventional movies, but she didn't care about it, since she felt more at home in unique experiments such as La ville-bidon, Valparaiso, Valparaiso or Sex-Power. Moshé Mizrahi's feminist dramedy Sophie's Ways offered her one of her best parts as the rebellious wife of an excellent Michel Duchaussoy in one of his least charming roles. Jean Renoir himself was knocked out by her performance. In 1971, Bernadette finally got to work with Rivette for the first time in the director's epic Out 1, originally conceived as an 8 part mini-series to sell to French TV. The movie is centered around 12 main characters that work as pieces of an intricate puzzle and Bernadette was teamed up with several acting heavyweights such as Michael Lonsdale, Françoise Fabian, Juliet Berto and her former co-stars Léaud and Ogier. She played the role of Lonsdale's ex-girlfriend, a writer he tries to recruit for his mysterious dancing group. The actress, unlike other cast members, wasn't used to Rivette's working method, which involved little explanations and a lot of room for improvisation. Since it took her a lot of time to adapt to this style, she was reproached by the director, who harshly accused her of having chosen not to do anything, therefore hurting her feelings. Eventually these words helped Bernadette to find a way to incorporate her "handicap" into the character, imagining that Marie was experimenting writer's block like she had found herself unable to act. A scene where she and Léaud kept just staring at each other because they didn't know what to say was kept by Rivette because he liked the authentic feeling about it. Eventually French TV never bought "Out 1". Rivette also cut it down to 4 hours in the form of Out 1: Spectre, but both versions were hardly released outside of festival circuits. One year later, Bernadette got to play her best remembered and most iconic role: Camille Bliss in Truffaut's underrated black comedy A Gorgeous Girl Like Me. As a girl who's released from prison so that she can be analyzed by a student of criminology, the actress got to play a role that exemplified her career (being 'one of a kind') and felt like the summation and sublimation of all the naughty ladies she had played before: of coarse manners and vulgar laughter, indomitable, unstoppable, irreverent, incandescent and more of a destructive force that she had ever been in any of her previous movies, including "Marie et le Curé" , "La fiancée du pirate" and "Les godelureaux". Her performance won her the "Triomphe du Cinéma Français" and was stellarly received in the US, with "Newsweek" and the "New York Magazine" giving it such phenomenal praise that a French journalist wrote this comment: "Bernadette Lafont, historical monument to the U.S.A.". After bringing the female type she so often personified to its definitive cinematic form, Bernadette gradually started her image makeover. The first example was in Jean Eustache's supreme masterpiece The Mother and the Whore, where she would have been the logical choice to play the title "whore" Veronika, but was actually given the touching role of the title "mother" Marie. Eustache, another former critic of the Cahiers had known her for about ten years and given her the script in 1971. After reading a couple pages she had been immediately won over and realized how much she desired to do it. The director's towering 4 hour achievement is centered around a love triangle formed of Eustache's screen alter-ego Alexandre (Léaud in his very best performance), slutty nurse Veronika (non-professional actress Françoise Lebrun, whose angelic appearance provided the perfect contrast with the nature of the character) and Bernadette's Marie, Alexandre's patient girlfriend who enjoys a very open relationship with him. Managing to convey an entire era in the characters' long, sublime dialogues, Eustache easily made one of the greatest and most significant movies of the French New Wave. Bernadette's portrayal of Marie showed a vibrant, affecting sensitivity that she had hardly done before, giving further demonstration of her talent and versatility. The film was shown in competition at the 1973 Cannes film festival, where it predictably got a mixed reception: some, including Jury President Ingrid Bergman, hated it, while others worshiped it as the future of cinema. In the end, Eustache was given the Grand Prize of the Jury. The same year, Bernadette also appeared in Nadine Trintignant's Défense de savoir, which was no great shakes, but also starred two of the nation's top actors, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Michel Bouquet, both of which she greatly admired. She teamed up with the two again, respectively in The Probability Factor and Vincent mit l'âne dans un pré (et s'en vint dans l'autre). She was particularly entertaining in the second as an eccentric rich lady, proving that she could be also very convincing at playing very chic and sophisticated characters. The movie ends on a high note with the actress giving an unforgettable, sexy laugh. Daughters Élisabeth and Pauline were also given roles in the movie. The final great role Bernadette played in this period was in Rivette's misunderstood masterpiece Noroît: Giulia, daughter of the Sun. Centred, like many of the director's works, on the dichotomy between light and shadow and day and night, the movie sees Geraldine Chaplin's Morag ending up on a mysterious island ruled by an Amazon-like society where males are either enslaved or, like in her brother's case, murdered. A great revenge tale not without its 'steampunk' element, the film is certainly highlighted by the transforming performance of Bernadette as a ruthless, modern day Pirate queen, cutting one of her female minions' throat with one of the most frighteningly icy expressions ever recorded by a camera and eventually facing Chaplin in a climatic knife duel on the ramparts. Unfortunately, Rivette's previous feature Duelle had been so unsuccessful that "Noroît " wasn't even released and, to this day, it remains the director's least popular work, which means that many people aren't familiar with Bernadette's sinister, against type performance, which ranks with her very best and is undoubtedly one of the great villainous turns in New Wave cinema. By 1978 there had been another change of muse in Chabrol's movies, as an astounding 24 years old Isabelle Huppert headlined the cast of one of his best works, Violette, the first of a series of successful collaborations which included the director's number one masterpiece, La Cérémonie. Bernadette was given a brief, but memorable cameo as Violette's cellmate. This 1969-1978 period easily represents the zenith of her career. After that, it was a bit difficult for her to deal with the changing times.
By the end of the 70's, most of the New Wave auteurs had moved on to more conventional projects and French cinema was entering a far less creative phase. Bernadette's desire to constantly challenge herself and look for different, ground-breaking projects often lead her to be part of totally unremarkable movies. Her nadir was probably represented by her two collaborations with Michel Caputo, arguably the worst French director to ever work with name actors (before he exclusively moved on to do porn under several aliases): Qu'il est joli garçon l'assassin de papa and Si ma gueule vous plaît..., two supposed comic works that would make Michel Audiard's comedies look like Bringing Up Baby in comparison. But, although the modern viewer can hardly believe the existence of such detrimental works, they actually weren't unusual products of their time, but clear evidence of a scary change of taste on the public's part. Actresses like Bernadette, who used to mainly work for an audience of intellectuals, had to struggle hard to keep afloat after this change of tide and, in the early 80's, she had to lend her talents to a dozen of movies that weren't worth it. The Lee Marvin vehicle Dog Day was the second occasion she found herself working with a mega-star in an international production since her cameo opposite the legendary Kirk Douglas in Dick Clement's Swinging London abomination Catch Me a Spy. Although she was given a bit more to do this time around, this title didn't add anything to her filmography either. Luckily, this wasn't the case of Claude Miller's An Impudent Girl a.k.a. "Impudent Girl". It's very ironic -and certainly not coincidental - that a movie going by this title and starring a 14 years old Charlotte Gainsbourg as a gutsy rebel would also feature Bernadette, who had, by all means, every maternity right on this type of character which had grown more and more diffused on the French screen thanks to her work. But the film had a much different flavour from the actress' vehicles from the 60's-70's: Gainsbourg's stubborn but ultimately good-hearted Charlotte is actually nothing like "Les Godelureaux"'s Ambroisine or "Une belle fille comme moi"'s Camille Bliss and Bernadette's Léone, the new love interest of Charlotte's father and mother of an asthmatic girl, is a very likable and moving character. Having moved on to more accessible projects, Bernadette naturally started to receive more award consideration as well, and her sweet, beautiful performance in Miller's movie was honored with a Best Supporting Actress César, one of the best and most inspired choices ever in the category. Her next project was Inspecteur Lavardin, the second and best movie centered around Jean Poiret's unconventional police inspector and her first collaboration with Chabrol since "Violette". Wearing the most recurring name of the director's heroines, Hélène, she also dyed her hair blond for the first time on his wishes, so that she would have taken a step further in changing her screen persona. She liked the idea and would keep blond hair for the rest of her life. She worked with Chabrol for a seventh (and last) time only one year later in one of the director's most gothic-like works, the underrated Masques, which stars the great Philippe Noiret as a villainous TV presenter worthy of the pen of Ann Radcliffe, Christian Legagneur, who keeps an innocent Anne Brochet imprisoned in his imposing manor and wishes to kill her to get his hands on her fortune. The juicy role of Legagneur's masseuse won Bernadette a second nomination for the Supporting Actress César.
In 1988, Bernadette's life was sadly affected by a horrible personal tragedy. In August, she was spending a holiday in the Cévennes family mansion, La Serre du Pomaret, along with son David, daughter Pauline and painter Pierre De Chevilly, her new life mate. On the 11th day of the month, Pauline left the house early in the morning to have a long walk to lose weight. By midday she hadn't come back yet. The family began to worry and David started to look for her. Bernadette was unfortunately committed to appear in a TV show in Nice and she left with her heart in her throat, hoping that, in the mean time, David or Pierre would have found Pauline. That wasn't to be. The family lived many weeks in a state of anguish, using the TV show "Avis de Recherche" to diffuse some photos of Pauline in the hope that someone could have shed some light on the mystery. There were several false reports from people who claimed to have seen her and Bernadette kept fooling herself for a long time, wanting to believe that the quest would have been greeted with success. Tragically, on the 21st November, Pauline's body was found in a ravine. Her death was officially called a hiking accident, although its circumstances are still mysterious to this day and some people considered the suicide theory. Bernadette dealt with her devastating grief by throwing herself into her job: always an extremely prolific actress, she got to work more and more and, as a result, she added a lot of unremarkable titles to her resume. She would still find a few good parts in the following decades.
Between 1990 and 2013, the actress added over 70 titles to her film and TV resume. Her talents were rather wasted in Raoul Ruiz's uneven Genealogies of a Crime and in Pascal Bonitzer's delightfully cynical Nothing About Robert. She shined much more as an alcoholic mother in Personne ne m'aime (where she teamed up with Ogier and Léaud once more), a former teacher who almost ends up abducting her grandchildren in Stolen Holidays, an antique shop dealer who still has a great ascendancy over younger men in Bazar and a family matriarch in the comedy I Do opposite Alain Chabat and successor Gainsbourg. Her performance in this movie won her a third nomination for the Best Supporting Actress César. Her massive body of TV work from this period was highlighted by her performances in La très excellente et divertissante histoire de François Rabelais and La femme du boulanger. She also did more stage work than ever in the 2000s. Starting from 2010, she was again employed for a few projects that had a bigger impact. First she borrowed her wonderful, husky voice to a treacherous nanny in the lovely animated feature A Cat in Paris, which was Oscar-nominated. This nasty lady role felt like a homage to the characters that had made her famous. The following year, Bernadette and fellow New Wave legend Emmanuelle Riva were unfortunately the latest victims of Julie Delpy's game of playing director, as they were cast in the actress' catastrophic vanity project Skylab. Delpy's latest directorial feature contained all the typical elements that she thinks are enough to make a movie: a seemingly endless family reunion, characters talking about hot hair around a table and a few off-colour gags here and there. The two glorious veterans, sadistically mortified by the granny look they had to sport, did the best they could with the material they were given, but it was just too little to begin with and, consequently, they can't possibly be considered a real redeeming factor of the terribly written, lacklusterly directed and otherwise insipidly acted film. In 2012, Bernadette got her best role in years as the title character in Jérôme Enrico's black comedy Paulette. Enrico's pensioner version of Breaking Bad sees Bernadette's Paulette, a penniless, xenophobic widow, finding herself in a Walter White type of situation as she gets into drug dealing to make a living and begins to smuggle hashish right under the nose of her son-in-law, a coloured cop. The actress was immediately won over by the script, finding it modern and socially significant and decided to give a strong characterization to her character. Getting inspiration from Charles Chaplin's heroes and Giulietta Masina's performance in La Strada, she provided Paulette with a clown side which came complete with a funny walk and her leading turn proved absolutely irresistible. The film opened to positive reviews and got more visibility outside France than Bernadette's latest vehicles and many were foreseeing another career renaissance for her. Sadly, it wasn't to be.
In early July 2013, Bernadette was on her way to her family mansion in Saint-André-de-Valborgne (Gard) when she was the victim of a stroke. Forced to stay in Grau-du-Roi for a while, she had a second one on the 22nd and was quickly moved to the University Hospital centre of Nîmes, where she tragically died three days later. Her funeral took place at the Protestant temple of Saint-André-de-Valborgne on the 29th. Her passing was a cause of great grief for an enormous number of people, as she had gradually become a huge favourite of the French audience and a cornerstone of their cinema, and her colleagues had always adored her on both a professional and personal level. The admiration she had earned through the years had been repeatedly proved by several career tributes, including an Honorary César, the title of Officer of the French Legion of Honour and medals from the "National Order of Merit" and the "Order of Arts and Letters".
Bernadette's legacy could never be extinguished, but, in addition to everything she had already bequeathed to cinema, she graced the silver screen for a last time even after her death through her final completed movie, Sylvain Chomet's Attila Marcel. The movie, recently showed at Toronto film festival and released in French theatres, was greeted with positive reviews where big kudos were reserved to Bernadette's portrayal of the eccentric adoptive aunt of Guillaume Gouix's protagonist. With the film's upcoming release in many more countries, plenty of others will have the bitter honour to see her eventually taking leave. Since the 25th October 2013, the Municipal Theatre of Nîmes has been renamed the Bernadette Lafont Theatre to honour the memory of the great actress. A once unforeseeable and absolutely logical reaching point for the barefoot girl biking in the city's streets in "Les Mistons".
|William S. Burroughs
William S. Burroughs, one of the three seminal writers of the Beat Generation (the other two being his friends Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg), was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on February 5, 1914, to the son of the founder of the Burroughs Adding Machine Co. He grew up in patrician surroundings and attended private school in Los Alamos, New Mexico, chosen due to the climate as he suffered from sinus trouble (the school was later used to house the Manhattan Project during World War II)). Burroughs took his undergraduate degree at Harvard College (Class of 1936) but rebelled inwardly against the life that the upper-class Harvard man was supposed to lead during the pre-war period (outwardly he dressed the part of a patrician, with three-piece suit, necktie, black homburg and chesterfield overcoat being his standard wardrobe. His political options generally were also of his class, i.e., right-wing).
Planning to become a physician, Burroughs moved to Germany to study medicine. The plight of the Jews under the Nazis was desperate, and in 1937 Burroughs agreed to marry Ilse Herzfeld Klapper, a German Jewish woman, so she could leave Germany and eventually become a U.S. citizen. The two remained friends for many years after they moved back to the U.S., meeting often for lunch when Burroughs eventually settled in New York City in the early 1940s. They never lived together, and Burroughs formally divorced her in 1946 so he could marry his second wife, Joan.
Perhaps it was his exposure to National Socialism in Adolf Hitler's Germany that raised Burroughs' interest in his lifelong fascination: control mechanisms used by the state against its citizens. Burroughs left Germany for the United States without completing his studies, bringing along Ilse.
A homosexual in an extremely homophobic age, back in the U.S. he drifted from job to job while continuing his education as an autodidact. He lived in Chicago, where he was an exterminator, which he claimed was the best job he ever had. While in Chicago he met the young Lucien Carr (later to be the father of best-selling novelist Caleb Carr, author of "The Alienist") and David Kammerer. Kammerer was a homosexual 14 years Carr's senior who had been his private school tutor and had stalked Carr obsessively afterward, following him from city to city. While Carr was disturbed by Kammerer's behavior, he was also immature and flattered by the attention, a moth attracted to the flame. When the moth got singed, he would fly away. Carr dropped out of the University of Chicago to attend Columbia in New York in order to escape Kammerer, and when Kammerer inevitably followed, Burroughs tagged along.
Through Carr, Burroughs made the connections that would change his life: Columbia drop-out Kerouac, then in the Merchant Marine, and Columbia undergrad Ginsberg, then studying pre-law with the idea of becoming a labor lawyer. Intrigued by what he heard from Carr and Kammerer of Kerouac, he dropped in to see him at the apartment of Kerouac's girlfriend Edie Kerouac Parker, who shared the flat with Burroughs' future wife Joan.
Before the momentous meet-up, Burroughs had begun experimenting with morphine when he acquired a stash of the drug to sell, and he subsequently became hooked. Long fascinated by "low lifes" and the vitality they retained while the rest of "normal" Americans seemed wan and dessicated (this was the Great Depression, after all), Burroughs began conducting field "research" into New York's demimonde, aided and abetted by Herbert Huncke, a junkie and thief whom Burroughs befriended and let share his apartment in lower Manhattan. With Huncke playing Virgil to his Dante, Burroughs met the "low-lifes" who would become part of his fiction as he journeyed through the rings of hell that was World War II New York. "Sailor", who showed up as a character in Naked Lunch, was a thief and drug dealer who once borrowed Burroughs' pistol and went out and shot a storekeeper to death (Sailor later hanged himself in jail after being arrested for an unrelated crime. He was known as an informer and had turned in a rival narcotics dealer--he was facing beatings, torture and possibly murder when he decided to take his own life). Soon Burroughs began to deal drugs in earnest in order to keep up with his own habit and fence merchandise himself, becoming part of a den of thieves that spilled over into Edie and Joan's apartment. The patrician Burroughs, with his high standards, prided himself on giving the best "cut" of heroin available, with personal home delivery to boot.
Jack Kerouac first urged Burroughs to write. Burroughs spent a lot of time at the apartment Kerouac shared with Edie and Joan. He particularly liked to psychoanalyze Kerouac and Ginsburg, and enjoyed having them act out scenarios, little dramas in which they would play roles: Burroughs an old queen/con artist, Ginsburg her pimp, and Kerouac as the gullible young American, mouth agape in a foreign land, ripe for the plucking. Their imaginations were quite fertile, and it fed Kerouac and Ginsberg's writing. Burroughs had never really had any inclination to write until he met Kerouac, but he and Jack collaborated on a mystery novel they eventually entitled "And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks," after the last sentence of a BBC-Radio report on a fire at the London Zoo. Each wrote alternating chapters, and after the book was complete, the manuscript was passed around among New York publishers. There were no takers, and for the time, Burroughs lost interest in writing.
In 1945 Lucien Carr stabbed David Kammerer to death during a stroll along the bank of the Hudson River below Morningside Heights that was a notorious gay cruising area. After holding the dying man in his arms, Carr weighted down the body of his former tutor with rocks and disposed of it in the Hudson. In bloodied clothes, Carr sought out Burroughs, soliciting advice. Ignoring the elder's wise counsel to get a good lawyer and turn himself in, Carr then went to see Kerouac, who helped him dispose of the murder weapon and Kammerer's glasses. Both Burroughs and Kerouac were arrested (Burroughs as a material witness; Kerouac as an accessory after the fact), but eventually both were released without being prosecuted. Carr pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sent off to the Elmira Reformatory, where he was incarcerated for two years.
New York City became increasingly untenable as Burroughs became known to the police, so -- after he and Joan married -- they moved to Louisiana to become farmers. Their crop was marijuana, and eventually they moved on to Mexico, where living was cheaper and drugs easier to come by (and there was less hassle from police). In 1951, at a party in which they both were drunk, an exhibitionistic Burroughs shot and killed Joan in an alleged accident where he reportedly attempted to mimic the "apple on the son's head" scene from "William Tell". As the story is told, Joan put a glass of liquor on top of her head after Burroughs beseeched her to perform their William Tell trick for the guests. There had never been a William Tell trick, Burroughs later ruefully admitted, and Joan wound up with a .32 ACP slug in her head. Accounts of the death, which the Mexican police ruled a misadventure caused by a mistake in judgment, have never been entirely satisfactory. Like Lucien Carr before him, Burroughs may have consciously or subconsciously rid himself of a lover whom he no longer had any use for, or was piqued at. Burroughs at the time of the shooting was in love, involved in a heavy gay affair.
After the death of Joan, Burroughs spent time journeying through Central and South America, looking for the drug called "Yage", which like peyote was rumored to offer a key to opening the doors of perception and heightening consciousness. He found it and distributed it among friends. In 1953 Allen Ginsburg managed to get Burroughs into print under the pen name "William Lee." His autobiographical novel, "Junkie", was published by Ace Books (the son of the owner, Carl Solomon, was one of Ginsburg's friends) as a 35-cent paperback original (its formal title was "Junkie: Confessions of an Unredeemed Drug Adict", and it was published as "Two Books in One" back-to-back with another paperback original in the same volume). Returning to Mexico City, in the mid-'50s he began writing in earnest while keeping up with his drug habit, living off the small trust fund he received as a scion of the Burroughs family. It was in Mexico City that he began writing the sketches that would turn into his major book, "Naked Lunch". In 1956 he left Mexico City for Tangiers, Morocco, as the living was even cheaper than it was in Mexico City (as were the drugs). He eventually returned to the US in the 1960s.
"Naked Lunch" has the distinction of being the last major book to be prosecuted for obscenity in the United States. The novel was written in Mexico City and Tangiers, crafted from fragments he wrote while addicted to heroin. After it was published in Paris by the Olympia Press in 1959, it quickly became notorious for its graphic descriptions of sexual encounters, sadism and murder, as well as its no-holds-barred use of language. Many stalwart defenders of the First Amendment drew the line at "Naked Lunch", stating that they did not fight the good fight to get James Joyce's "Ulysses" and the works of D.H. Lawrence and Henry Miller before the American public so that something like "Naked Lunch" could be published. Grove Press acquired the rights to the book, but it was not published until 1962, as the publishing house awaited the outcome of other obscenity trials, including one involving Allen Ginsberg's epic poem "Howl", which featured Burroughs as one of its hipsters searching for "an angry fix". Guided by Justice William J. Brennan, the U.S. Supreme Court starting in the late 1950s had relaxed censorship standards to protect literature that had redeeming social value, no matter that passages in the works were accused of being obscene. To be banned, a work had to be utterly without redeeming social value. Undaunted, the Comonwealth of Massachusetts successfully prosecuted the book as obscene.
For the initial trial, Grove Press had gathered together an impressive list of "experts" such as Norman Mailer to defend the book, but Burroughs' modern classic initially lost, was declared obscene, and was banned in Massachusetts (a banned book would be destroyed, the copies already having been confiscated by the police). However, in 1966 the Massachusetts Supreme Court (in Memoirs v. Massachusetts) found that "Naked Lunch" was "not without social value, and therefore, not obscene." With this ruling an era that began in the 1870s when anti-smut crusader Anthony Comstock led the charge for stricter enforcement of obscenity laws by the federal and state governments came to an end.
By the late 1970s Burroughs had lived long enough to be hailed by critics and the public as a major American writer. He was embraced by punk rockers in New York and became an iconic figure by the 1980s. He died in 1997 at the age of 83.
|Sugar Ray Robinson
Born Walker Smith, Jr., he borrowed the name of a fighter named Ray Robinson to box as an amateur so his mother wouldn't find out. Undefeated as an amateur boxer, 85-0, with 69 knockouts, 42 of them in the first round. Turned pro in 1940 and won his first 40 fights. Lost his first fight by decision to Jake LaMotta. Robinson would defeat LaMotta five out of six times. He joined the U.S. Army and boxed countless exhibitions alongside World Heavyweight Champ Joe Louis. Robinson won his next 93 straight fights. He was a six-time world champion, winning the Welterweight Title and then the Middleweight Title five times. His career lasted 25 years. He defeated many of the greatest boxing champions of his day, among them LaMotta, Kid Gavilan, Gene Fullmer, Carmen Basilio, Randolph Turpin and Carl "BoBo" Olsen. Only stopped once in over 200 fights. Scored over 100 knockout victories. Lost his last fight to Joey Archer in 1965. Friends with Frank Sinatra. Once owned an entire city block in Harlem. Spent millions on a jet-setting lifestyle.
His father was the actor Reginald Sheffield who began as a child star and later turned to character acting. Johnny appeared at age seven on Broadway in the original cast of "On Borrowed Time". When Maureen O'Sullivan wanted out of her Jane role in the Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan series, it was decided that she and Tarzan would adopt a son (they had to adopt, according to the Legion of Decency, because they weren't married) before she died. Weissmuller personally chose Sheffield for the part of Boy, a part inspired by Bobby Nelson's portrayal in Tarzan the Mighty; athletic by nature, he was taught to swim by swimming Olympian Weissmuller. Tarzan Finds a Son! was such a success that MGM signed Sheffield to six more films as Tarzan's Boy. By the time of Tarzan and the Mermaids, he was too big for the part; the film merely said he was away at school. When Monogram Studios learned he had been dropped, they picked him up for the series of movies based on the Roy Rockwood Bomba, the Jungle Boy movies. He made twelve of these between 1949 and 1955.
|Lash La Rue
He looked so much like superstar Humphrey Bogart that character actress Sarah Padden asked if the two were related. LaRue said he didn't think so. After a long pause studying the young actor's face, she asked, "Did your mother ever meet Humphrey Bogart?"
Alfred "Lash" LaRue was born in Louisiana (although some records indicate Michigan). His father was a traveling salesman, and young Alfred spent his formative years moving all across the country. His family finally settled in Los Angeles and he attended St. John's Military Academy and began college at College of the Pacific, intending to study law. At some point he took an acting class there in an attempt to overcome a speech impediment. After college he followed his father into sales and became a real estate agent. Unsatisfied, he switched to hairdressing before falling into acting. In 1945 he was interviewed by veteran low-budget producer / director Robert Emmett Tansey, who was looking for a bullwhip-cracking anti-hero to co-star in a production at lowly Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC). That studio had been around since 1940, rising out of the ashes of Ben Judell's failed dream, and had quickly earned a reputation--entirely justified--of being the worst studio among the denizens of "Poverty Row", that grouping of cheapjack independent producers and ultra-low-budget production companies that composed the bottom rung of the Hollywood food chain, at least since the days of equally shoddy Syndicate Pictures a decade before. LaRue, with his remarkable resemblance to Bogart, certainly looked the part and was cast after claiming he'd worked a bullwhip since childhood. In fact he had never handled one, so after he was cast he ran out and borrowed a whip. He spent the next several days trying to learn to use it, but wound up beating himself senseless and bloody, and was finally forced to admit to Tansey that he didn't know what he was doing. Impressed by LaRue's sincerity and laughing at his injuries, Tansey arranged for personalized bullwhip instruction, a rather lavish expense for penny-pinching PRC. Al had appeared in a handful of walk-on roles at Universal, but after realistically gauging his chances at becoming a star at a major studio, he decided it was better to be a bigger fish in a small pond (or, in PRC's case, a mud puddle). His PRC debut, Song of Old Wyoming, headlined singing cowboy Eddie Dean and co-starred the beautiful Jennifer Holt, veteran actor Jack Holt's daughter. This picture was also unique as being PRC's first western to be shot in color, albeit in Cinecolor, a process favored by low-budget producers because it was much cheaper than the better known (and more garish) Technicolor, even though it was decidedly inferior and gave films shot in it an anemic, washed-out look.
Although he wasn't the star, and billed as "the Cheyenne Kid," LaRue received a relatively large amount of fan mail and it dawned on the powers-that-be at PRC that they had a potential star on their hands. Not wanting to mess with a good thing, the studio paired the whip-cracking LaRue with the singing Dean two more times before splitting them off into their own pictures. LaRue quickly adopted an all-black wardrobe and rode a jet black horse to accentuate his image as a bad guy / good guy, sort of an early western anti-hero. He was assigned a sidekick, the hard-drinking, middle-aged Al St. John--a former Keystone Kop for Mack Sennett--beginning with Law of the Lash and the two gradually became good friends. At PRC he became "King of the Bullwhip" and a solid staple of Saturday-afternoon matinées. LaRue remained with the company after it morphed into Eagle-Lion in 1948, usually playing a character named Cheyenne Davis, before adopting the "Lash" moniker he'd been using for years in screen credits. In private life LaRue loved booze, women and flashy--preferably custom-tailored--clothes. He was married so often it was hard to keep track of his wives, but most sources agree that the number ranged from 10 to 12, two of his more notable ones being actresses Reno Browne, a blonde beauty who co-starred in a few of his films, and Barbra Fuller. Aside from a penchant for marrying pretty much anyone he became attracted to, he also acquired an alcohol problem (which he would battle, with varying degrees of success, for the rest of his life) and after his acting career waned in the early '50s he ran into financial problems. Despite having one of the more recognizable names in B-westerns, he never ranked among the top stars in popularity polls, probably attributable less to his screen persona or acting ability and more to his films' awful scripts and deplorable lack of production values due to PRC's legendary cheapness, a factor that hurt the careers of many of the studio's western stars (had he been signed to a less penurious studio like Republic or Columbia, his career might have risen to far greater heights). LaRue almost always performed his own stunts--mainly because PRC was loathe to spend money on professional stunt men, who in those days demanded higher pay than the stars they were doubling for--a fact he took pride in and made sure that he "conveniently" lost his hat during action scenes so his audience could see that it was actually him in the fray and not a stunt double.
It's interesting to note that although he was never a top-ranked cowboy star during his heyday, he rated his own comic book series that lasted until 1960. After riding out a particularly rough period of his life in the 1960s, he began appearing at Hollywood memorabilia and western shows where he cheerfully greeted fans, happily signed autographs and gained a reputation of being pleasantly accessible. He died in 1996.
Autumn Federici was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. When she was a teenager, Autumn took the leap and moved to Hollywood to make a name for herself in the industry. Fast forward ten years later and Autumn is a successful model, actress and producer. She has appeared in film and TV, Murder Eleven, and The Blackout most recently. Aside from acting, Autumn has produced two films and a pilot in the last year: Borrowed Moments (2013), Haunting of the Innocent, and Toasted. Her latest project, teaming up with teen pop sensation Girl Radical created by musical artist JC Chasez and Jimmy Harry, has allowed Autumn to work in the music industry as well as in film.
Michel Bouquet is an actor born in the 14th arrondissement of Paris on the 6 November 1925. His father, Georges Bouquet, was a World War One veteran and a wine-maker. His mother Marie was a milliner. He had three older brothers: Georges, Bernard and Serge. Michel's father was always a shadowy figure in his life: having been deeply affected by the war, he used to talk very little and developed a very distant and estranged relationship with his sons. When he was 7 years old, Michel was sent to the "École Privée Catholique Fénelon", a Catholic boarding school located inside a 17th century hunting lodge in Vaujours. He would keep very unpleasant memories of this period his entire life, describing it as "seven years of darkness and loneliness". Being used to receive corporal punishment or other cruel and unusual forms of penalty for absurd reasons -like keeping his arms crossed in a supposedly insolent way- and to be bullied by older boys, Michel chose to withdraw into himself and dream of exciting, picaresque adventures far away from the school. This approach to life would help him developing his trademark interiorized acting style. Repelled by studying, he actually used to enjoy being put in detention, so that he didn't have to mingle with the other boys: the adult Bouquet would later call his younger self "a sweet kid with an anarchic touch". In 1939, Michel came home for the summer with a mediocre school study certificate. He would however never return to the boarding school, since France and England declared war to Germany on the 3rd September. Georges Senior was immediately sent to the front and made a prisoner in Pomerania shortly after. Bernard went to war as well while Georges Jr. had already been sent to a religious school in Carthage. On the 14th June 1940 the German troops entered Paris and Marie soon decided to relocate to Lyon with her two remaining sons. They moved with Michel's paternal aunt, Marguerite. Marie didn't want to be a weight for her sister-in-law, so she spurred her sons to find some work to do. Michel became an errand boy in a bakery: having been toughened by his stay at the boarding school, he now felt ready to help his mother facing the adversities of life and raising the family. When the armistice between France and Germany was signed, Marie and her sons returned to Paris. Michel tried several new jobs in this period, including warehouseman, dental laboratory technician and delivery man in a bank. He was soon, however, to find his real vocation in life. Marie was a great theatre lover and had the habit to bring Michel to see operas, comic operas or great classic plays. He immediately realized that he wanted to be an actor when he saw the legendary Comédie-Française luminary Maurice Escande playing Louis XV in a stage production of "Madame Quinze". So, in May 1943, he decided to look Escande's address on the phone book and, on a Sunday morning, he went to visit him at his place while Marie was attending church. Young Bouquet introduced himself to the actor by telling him that he wanted to work on the stage. Escande asked him if he had memorized a piece to recite. Michel tried the nose monologue from "Cyrano", but the theatre veteran asked him if he hadn't learnt any other thing that suited his physical appearance better. So he started to recite a few verses from Alfred de Musset's "La Nuit de Décembre" instead. After hearing a couple lines only, Escande realized that the young man standing before him possessed enormous gifts and decided to immediately bring him to one of his classes at the Edouard-VII Theatre. There, Michel was allowed to finish the "Nuit de Décembre" monologue in a room full of people. Many students were ready to leave the class with a look of indifference, but Escande reproached them, telling them that they should have better listened to Michel and learnt a lesson from him. Although moved to tears, Michel managed to finish his piece. The great Maurice Escande had named him an actor. At the end of the lesson, Escande brought Michel home and convinced Marie that he had to pursue a stage career.
Bouquet began to learn scenes from many important plays in order to be admitted to the CNSAD (the Paris Conservatoire). When the day of the exam at the Théâtre de l'Odéon finally came, he already knew that only 7 students out of 300 would have been accepted. For his test, he had studied the monologue from Alfred de Vigny's "Chatterton" and one of Smerdiakov's dialogues from Jacques Copeau's "The Brothers Karamazov". The same day, someone else was going to audition in front of the same jury: it was an elegant young man wearing camel, who possessed, in Bouquet's eyes, a certain charm à la Gary Cooper. It was the soon to become legendary Gérard Philipe, who had already made a couple of appearances in acclaimed stage productions and completed his first screen role in Les petites du quai aux fleurs. He was going to play a scene from De Musset's "Fantasio". Bouquet immediately noticed that Philipe projected a great sense of self-confidence, something he himself had always lacked, since he had many perplexities about his physical appearance (he was skeletal at the time) and modest cultural background. At the exam, Philipe and Bouquet managed to scrape through as sixth and seventh respectively. Michel can't even remember who were the five students that were admitted before them, since their careers never went anywhere. He became the pupil of the accomplished stage actress Béatrix Dussane, who had heard some great things about him from Escande and used all of her powers to have him getting admitted.
Bouquet's first stage roles were Damis in Molière's "Tartuffe" and Robespierre in Romain Rolland's "Danton". It was an interesting and indicative starting point to his career, considering that Molière is the author he will always be most associated with and that he would play "The Incorruptible" on several future occasions. After having played roles in "Première Étape" and "Le Voyage de Thésée", he made his first important professional encounter: writer and playwright Albert Camus had witnessed many of his auditions at the "Théâtre de l'Odéon" and he had been so impressed by his skills to offer him the role of Scipio in his upcoming production of "Caligula", which starred Philipe in the title role. Bouquet said that he could do 30 shows only, as he had already signed on to appear in a production of "La Celestine" under Jean Meyer's direction. Camus accepted his conditions since he wanted him to play the role so much. "Caligula" was the only Philipe-Bouquet collaboration, but Michel would go on to see Gérard on stage many times and always kept huge admiration for him along with very fond memories of their relationship. Bouquet's next stage credits were three Jean Anouilh plays directed by André Barsacq (who had personally recommended him to the author): the moderately successful, Shakespeare-inspired "Romeo and Jeannette", "Le Rendez-Vous de Senlis" and "L'Invitation au château". In the first one, Bouquet provided support to stage legends Jean Vilar and María Casares and the "Combat" critic wrote that he towered on the entire cast. Although he was initially irritated by a negative comment made by Michel about the pacing of the play, Anouilh went on to work with the actor on many other occasions. After having made his screen debut as an assassin in the obscure Criminal Brigade, Bouquet was given the role of a tubercular patient in the acclaimed Monsieur Vincent, which was scripted by the author. And a couple of years later, he found his first memorable screen role in another Anouilh-penned movie: Maurice, the twisted (but not evil at heart) brother of the title character in the suggestive and atmospheric Pattes blanches, another remarkable entry by the talented, but often neglected Jean Grémillon. As his character is first seen walking the docks at night, one can already feel a great leading man "allure" à la Jean-Louis Barrault around the emaciated young actor. Interviewed in 2013, Bouquet still remembers this role as one of his favourites. The same year he appeared in Henri-Georges Clouzot's Manon, which was diminished by Cécile Aubry's performance as the title heroine.
For the rest of the 40's and entire 50's, Bouquet mainly kept collaborating on the stage with Anouilh, Camus and his former "Romeo and Jeannette" co-star Jean Vilar, who directed him in several productions, notably Shakespeare's "Henry IV" (as Prince Hal) and "Richard II" (as the Duke of Aumerie), Molière's "Dom Juan" (as Pierrot) and Georg Büchner's "Danton's Death" (as another prominent figure of the French Revolution, Saint-Just). Bouquet really liked Vilar for his talent to pick up his actors. He actually thought that an actor's director should be a person with a great eye for spotting talent and the skill to cast the right person in the right role, but that his input should end there. He didn't enjoy to have his directors telling him to play a part or trying to over-impose their view on the character upon his own. That never happened with Vilar. Anouilh wrote another great role for Bouquet in 1956: the title character in "Pauvre Bitos ou le Dîner de têtes". Bitos is a poor man's Robespierre, a little politician in Post-war France who wants to obtain power even if he doesn't possess the means to do it. The author had created the role specifically for the actor because he had expressed the interest to play "the Incorruptible" once more. In 1951, Bouquet was also seen as Dany Robin's opportunistic brother (again called Maurice) in Anouilh's second (and final) directed feature, Two Pennies Worth of Violets, a (mostly) cynical, anti-bourgeois drama. His other film roles from this period include the dim-witted King Louis X in the Dumas adaptation Tower of Nesle and a Russian revolutionary in the Romy Schneider vehicle Adorable Sinner. He also borrowed his incredible voice to Alain Resnais's hugely acclaimed Holocaust documentary Night and Fog. On the Parisian stage, he tried his hand at directing: first it was a production of "Chatterton" (where he starred with his wife of the time, Ariane Borg), then a revival of George Bernard Shaw's "Heartbreak house" (where Borg was co-director). The shows weren't lauded and he never tried to follow this path again. In TV, he was finally allowed to play Robespierre again in an episode of Stellio Lorenzi's historical series, La caméra explore le temps. The program was focused on the trial of Marie Antoinette and Bouquet's screen time was consequently limited, but there's still enough ground to make a case about the actor being the definitive incarnation of the complex French politician. Bouquet had always been fascinated with the character, imagining him as constantly living in a state of great anguish and anxiety since he probably thought not to possess the cunning of a Mirabeau or the orator skills of a Danton and knew that everyone in those times was expendable. Sympathizing with what "the Incorruptible" must have been feeling in his short, turbulent life, Bouquet created a well-rounded and appropriately indecipherable figure, finding the perfect balance between the cover of impassibility and the neurotic nature of the character. In addition to this, he played the ill-fated King Charles I and Napoleon's jailer, Sir Hudson Lowe, in his two other appearances in Lorenzi's program.
Bouquet's stage work kept offering him a lot of professional satisfactions in the 60's: he expanded his repertoire to 'Eugene Ionesco''s Theatre of the Absurd (his association with the author will also be career-defining) and to several other authors. He was now living an important phase in the history of French theatre, as it was during those years that the stars of the Parisian stage were beginning to discover the great English-language playwrights. In 1965, productions of Harold Pinter's "The Lover" and "The Collection" were staged simultaneously and featured the same, exceptional trio of stars, as Bouquet was teamed up with the brilliant Jean Rochefort and the sublime Delphine Seyrig. Still, it was rare for Michel to feel completely fulfilled, neither in his professional or personal life. His marriage with Ariane had been a mistake (as she had proved, according to his recollections, to be a gold-digging harpy) and he had never managed to re-establish any emotional connection with his father since he had returned from the front. A great perfectionist, he also used to have an unreasonable lot of quarrels with his own performances: he felt that his rather ordinary appearance and modest height didn't give him enough 'gravitas' to be a great dramatic actor, was equally skeptical about the quality of his comedic turns and believed that his talents were probably better suited to a genre in the middle, "the dramatic comedy". He often helped himself to get past these dark moments with big quantities of alcohol. One day, after a performance of "The Collection", a single meeting would make his existence change for the better: stage actress Juliette Carré approached him to pay a lot of sincere and heartfelt compliments to his acting in the play. Shortly after, Michel put an end to his marriage with Ariane and, even if it would take years to get an official divorce, he immediately started a family with Juliette and the two sons she had from a previous relationship, Frédéric and Sylvie. Juliette proved to be the perfect mate for Michel in life- as she could understand his introverted nature and accept that he was a solo player- and ideal sparring partner on the stage. He stated himself that he never felt so much at ease at playing opposite anyone as he did with her. In 1965, Bouquet played both on stage and TV a third important member of the French Revolution: Fouquier-Tinville in L'accusateur public. But his golden period as a film actor was about to start. His juicy role as a perverse abbey in This Special Friendship had already raised his interest in cinema. Now, two of the most representative directors of the French New Wave were to cross their paths with his. His performance as the chief villain in Le Tigre se parfume à la dynamite marked his first collaboration with Claude Chabrol. Unfortunately the film belongs to the long list of bad titles the director did for rather obscure reasons. Bouquet and Chabrol's next journey together was equally unexciting as the thespian's comedic skills were wasted in the supposedly ironic spy story Who's Got the Black Box?, a sub-par product not much dissimilar from the silliest episodes of The Avengers and The Man from U.N.C.L.E.. Luckily, the two men would soon team up again for a better cause. In the mean time, Bouquet kept himself busy by appearing in a couple movies made by the way more consistent François Truffaut. In 1968 he played the role of Coral in The Bride Wore Black opposite the great Jeanne Moreau in one of her signature roles. The unforgettable masterpiece that would inspire Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill" movies sees Moreau's Julie Kohler eliminating with extreme prejudice all the men responsible for the death of her husband. As the second target, Bouquet is the male actor who shines the most. Truffaut enjoyed mocking the actor's melancholic/tormented characterization of Coral, thinking that he should have been more casual and less serious. So he decided to play a mean prank on him when he called him back one year later to support Jean-Paul Belmondo and a mono-expressive Catherine Deneuve in the fine Mississippi Mermaid. Bouquet has a couple of scenes in the film as the implacable sleuth Comolli. On the morning of the shooting, he found out that Truffaut had completely changed all his dialogue, something that took him completely off guard. This didn't prevent him from making the most of his little screen time anyway. The same year, he would also find one of his most iconic roles in one of Chabrol's best movies, The Unfaithful Wife. It was the first time he was paired with the director's glacial wife and muse, Stéphane Audran. Like in the case of every other Chabrol-Bouquet-Audran collaboration, Michel provided the acting, while Stéphane just added her very beautiful (but equally motionless) face to the proceedings. Known for his explosive presence on the stage, Bouquet favoured, as a film actor, a performing style all about subtleties and psychological introspection: he once said that "stage acting is like the work of an ascensionist; screen acting is like the work of a speleologist". Belonging to that rare breed of actors à la Jean-Louis Trintignant, able to express a world of emotions by simply raising an eyebrow, Bouquet gave a superlative performance as cuckolded husband Charles Desvallees in Chabrol's classic, making his transaction from boring bourgeois type to passionate murderer well-timed, impeccably constructed and absolutely believable and managing at the same time to inject enough humour into his characterization to make the role somehow sympathetic. Chabrol had written the role specifically for him and Bouquet got to admire his working method enormously, later calling him a great actor's director and crediting him for having offered him the possibility to give one of his best performances. Audran's ice maiden act proved somewhat functional to the nature of her character (the bored and adulterous Hélène) and she didn't ruin the movie this time around. The same can't unfortunately be said about the trio's next collaboration, the uneven The Breach. As ex-dancer Hélène Régnier, Stéphane gave one of her very worst performances, walking through the movie without showing any trace of emotion not even when witnessing her little son being thrown around the room by her mentally deranged husband or waiting for the doctors to tell her about his condition. Michel (as Hélène's father-in law Ludovic, a despicable man ready to do everything to prevent her from getting custody of the child), Jean-Pierre Cassel (in the thankless, psychologically absurd role of private eye Paul Thomas) and frequent Chabrol collaborators and great actors Jean Carmet and Michel Duchaussoy formed the rescue team that should have made up for the huge void at the centre of the movie, but the flawed screenplay was conspiring against the success of 'La Rupture' as much as Audran's performance and the end result was rather disappointing.
Bouquet's film career had now taken full flight and, between 1970 and 71, he found several roles that truly showcased his talents. He played a ruthless inspector avenging the death of his partner in The Cop and a mobster lawyer in the Jean-Paul Belmondo-Alain Delon collaboration Borsalino (although his role was largely left in the editing room when the movie was originally released, something that made him very distrustful of commercial cinema). One year later, he played a slimy sycophant in Harry Kümel's authorial horror Malpertuis and found an even better role in another remarkable revenge movie, Reckonings Against the Grain. The movie is centered around Serge Reggiani's character, a criminal who, after his release from prison, plans to get revenge on his former associates for having betrayed him. The spectacular supporting cast includes Bouquet, Jeanne Moreau, Simone Signoret and Charles Vanel. Michel got to play the lion's role as a one-eyed villain, constantly wearing black, involved in a mental game of chess with Reggiani for the entire movie. Similarities with 'La Mariée était en noir' are strong and made even more evident by the presence of Moreau and Bouquet. Michel rounded off the year by giving outstanding performances in two Molière plays for TV, Tartuffe (where he was perfectly matched scene by scene by Delphine Seyrig) and Le malade imaginaire, and playing another of his best film roles, Charles Masson in the vintage Chabrol Just Before Nightfall. The movie is arguably the director's deepest and most complex reflection about the twisted, dark urges hidden in the meanders of human psyche, as repressed bourgeois Charles kills his lover for apparently no reason. Bouquet was simply mesmerizing in the part and owned every celluloid frame of the movie, making the viewer feel the character's torment on every moment and perfectly follow his inner path (from his sense of guilt to his desire to be punished): all of this in the subtlest, least showy way as possible. As his wife Hélène, Audran did near to nothing in the film: in the scene where Bouquet confesses his crime to her, Chabrol just filmed her reaction from behind (therefore releasing her from any acting duty) and, when he has his thrilling final monologue about his wish to atone, she just listens to him, completely frozen, and restricts herself to put a hand on her mouth once he announces his intention to give himself up. "Juste avant la nuit" was released in the UK only in 1973 and BAFTA hit an all-time low by ignoring Bouquet's performance, but bestowing a Best Actress Award to Audran for her minimal work in the movie added to her supporting turn in The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (where she was easily the least talented main player).
Galvanized by the quality of his recent body of film work, Bouquet took a 5 years break from the stage (the longest he ever did) to do more movies. Unfortunately, most of the roles he found in this period proved totally unworthy of his skill: Kisses Till Monday (one of Michel Audiard's several dismal attempts at directing) was particularly unremarkable. Nadine Trintignant's Défense de savoir put together such wonderful performers as Bouquet, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Bernadette Lafont, Juliet Berto and Charles Denner and couldn't make an interesting use of any of them. It was clear to Michel that things couldn't go on like this and that's the reason he headed back to theatre so soon. His other film roles that stand out in the 70's are a detestable policeman in Two Men in Town with Delon and Jean Gabin, a ruthless newspaper director and unsentimental father in The Toy, a sculptor pretending to go blind in Vincent mit l'âne dans un pré (et s'en vint dans l'autre) and particularly a drug lord in Alain Corneau's bizarre, but ultimately involving sci-fi feature, France Inc.. Despite having always publicized his lack of athletic skills, he gave a great lesson in physical acting in the latter. He also started to direct his talents towards the small screen and Gabriel Axel offered him the possibility of giving two particularly memorable performances. The first was as painter Rembrandt van Rijn in La ronde de nuit. The second was in the Balzac adaptation Le curé de Tours as the backstabbing Abbey Troubet, a vile man who ruins the life of Jean Carmet's passive title character with the help of a deliciously serpentine Suzanne Flon. He also appeared in Les nuits révolutionnaires (a mini-series set during the French Revolution) and played Ebenezer Scrooge in a 1984 version of "A Christmas Carol", winning a 7 d'or (a French Emmy) for his performance. His stage work from the 80's include playing Harpagon in "the Miser"- which invited the comment 'Whoever hasn't seen Bouquet in The Miser hasn't seen The Miser'- and appearing in a Chabrol-directed production of Strindberg's "The Dance of Death", which was later filmed. A stage production of "Macbeth" opposite his wife was very unsuccessful and he bode farewell to Shakespeare for good. Bouquet's most important film achievement from this decade is undoubtedly playing the immortal role of Inspector Javert in Robert Hossein's Les Misérables (released both as a 4 part mini-series and feature film). Although this version (like nearly every other) couldn't completely do justice to the spirit of Hugo's novel, the portrayals of the main characters are arguably definitive, from Lino Ventura's interpretation of Jean Valjean to Jean Carmet's César-winning performance as Thénardier and of course Bouquet's ascension to King of Javerts. Michel was fiercer and more menacing than Charles Vanel in the 1934 version, possessed the "physique du rôle" that the larger than life Charles Laughton lacked in the 1935 film, was infinitely subtler than the likes of Hans Hinrich and Robert Newton were in their respective outings, had more scope to express himself than the well-cast Anthony Perkins and Geoffrey Rush had in their mediocre vehicles and any comparison between his work and Russell Crowe's acting/singing performance in the 2012 musical would almost be sadistic. Many people in France strictly associate Bouquet with this part. His second most notable film role from the 80's is a creepy notary in Chabrol's poorly paced and constructed Poulet au vinaigre, which was Jean Poiret's first outing as Inspector Lavardin. Apart from acting, Bouquet was very busy teaching the craft at the CNSAD during those years. Despite his modest studies, he had gradually become an immensely cultured man within the decades, having traveled a lot and grown a great interest towards literature, music and the figurative arts. These interests were also the reason that lead him to play real-life artists on several occasions.
Bouquet was seldom seen on the silver screen in the 90's, but, when he was, he most certainly lingered in memory. In 1991 he appeared in the much lauded Toto the Hero as the oldest incarnation of the title character. The movie starts with little Thomas dealing with all the adversities of life by dreaming of an alter ego living all kinds of exciting adventures (something reminiscent of what Michel himself had gone through during his childhood) to eventually see him turning into an unhappy, disenchanted man ready to do the most extreme and unimaginable thing to get even with the rival of a lifetime. Bouquet also borrowed his voice to actor Jo De Backer, who played his younger adult self. His performance helped him cementing his status as a crucial figure of European cinema and won him the EFA (European Film Award) for Best Actor. The same year he also played painter Laubin Baugin in Corneau's best movie, Tous les matins du monde, while in 1993 he narrated Chabrol's well-made documentary L'oeil de Vichy (a compilation of official newsreels originally broad casted in Nazi-occupied France). Bouquet's theatre highlights from this period include playing for the first time King Bérenger I in Ionesco's "Exit the King" (his portrayal of the character remains one of his most celebrated triumphs) and appearing alongside the great Philippe Noiret in Bertrand Blier's "Les Côtelettes". His performance in this play won him his first Molière (France's prestigious stage award founded in 1987).
Even greater things were waiting for Bouquet in the 2000s: he accepted very few roles, but they were the best any actor could dream of. Having seen a performance of "Les Côtelettes" on the Parisian stage, Italian novelist and occasional director Roberto Andò chose him to play the role of writer Tomasi di Lampedusa in his very interesting feature The Prince's Manuscript. Having now reached the apex of his acting technique and maturity, Bouquet gave the first of a series of absolutely essential performances. Although he somehow regretted that he couldn't cast an Italian actor in the role, Andò stated that he couldn't possibly imagine the Lampedusa role played by anyone else. In 2001, Bouquet was given the complex, multi-dimensional role of estranged father Maurice in Anne Fontaine's noteworthy How I Killed My Father. Michel had a great understanding of the central relationship between his own character and Charles Berling's bitter son as it mirrored in some ways the one he had with his own father, to whom he had started to feel a bit closer long after his death. Inspired by Fontaine's direction (he credits her for having taught him a more relaxed approach to characters), the actor gave life to a rather sinister, but eventually very poignant figure. At age 76 he was nominated for his first César and won it. In 2003, Blier turned his stage success into a major feature with Les côtelettes and recast Noiret and Bouquet in their original roles, a man who has trouble defecating and a mysterious character who must help him doing it. Although the movie is pretentious and often off-colour, the central performances of the two acting giants are all to be savored. Michel's next film appearance was as the title role in The Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas, an adaptation of the Marguerite Duras novel by the same name. He was already familiar with the text, but he had always found it to be a bit unclear, albeit impressive. He had, however, far less difficulties in penetrating the deeper meanings of the story once he read the script by the movie's director, Michelle Porte, who had started her career as a second assistant director to Duras herself in Baxter, Vera Baxter. The film follows Monsieur Andesmas, who has just bought a house for his daughter, as he waits for the arrival of a mysterious businessman, Michel Arc, who never shows up. This shadowy character can be interpreted as a representation of many things: Bouquet saw him as an emissary of death as he imagined Monsieur Andesmas' afternoon to be his last one. The actor had all the vital characteristics of the quintessential Duras protagonist, being multi-layered, introvert and provided with the impeccable diction and thousand vocal inflections that are indispensable to give power to the great author's affecting, literary lines of dialogue. Aided by an excellent Miou-Miou as Michel Arc's wife, he gave one of his most touching performances and one that appears to follow a recent pattern: all his latest movies seem to deal with the theme of the end of life, either in an explicit or a veiled way. He carried on this tradition when he next appeared in The Last Mitterrand, playing President Mitterrand when death's approaching him. An unusually good biopic, the film showed a more private dimension and different image of Mitterrand, so that Bouquet didn't really have to live up to people's common perception of the President: consequently, he managed to give a very complex and involving portrayal of a man opposed to the sheer exercise in mimicry and acting virtuosity that one usually expects from this kind of picture. Again he was heart-breaking, again he received a César nomination and again he won. After this new triumph, Bouquet grew more and more selective of film roles, basically declining every script that was sent to him. Like in the case of Mesdames Fontaine and Porte, it was again a duo of female directors, Swiss actresses Stéphanie Chuat and Véronique Reymond, to win his attention. Having eventually managed to find Bouquet's phone number (he doesn't have an agent), the two girls offered him the leading male role in their debut feature film, the little gem The Little Bedroom. Bouquet adored the script and was pleasantly surprised that such young ladies could have written a story that was such a beautiful reflection on old age. He consequently played the role of Edmond, a sad, lonely man who gets treated with neglect by his son and progressively develops a warm relationship with his carer (Florence Loiret Caille). He again put body and soul in a project meant to give dignity to the last days on earth of a common man. During the course of the decade, Bouquet also kept to assiduously work on the stage, notably in revivals of "Exit the King", "The Imaginary Invalid" and the "Miser", all directed by Jacques Werler. He received splendid support by wife Juliette in the first two, which were filmed. His incredible performance as Bérenger in the Ionesco play will forever help people who never had the honor of seeing him on the stage to understand what kind of chameleon he was as a theatrical actor. He won his second Molière for his work in this production.
Still going strong, Bouquet was last seen on the silver screen as Pierre-Auguste Renoir in Renoir, an account of the relationship between the great painter and his son Jean, the future genius of cinema. Michel thought that Gilles Bourdos's script possessed the necessary grace to speak about some rather obscure themes. He had always considered painting the most sublime of arts and, while studying the Renoir character, he found himself relating to his "nature-immersed" side above all. Although not as Bouquet-centered as one would have wished it to be, the film still offered the great thespian the possibility to shine and won him a third César nomination for Best Actor. In addition to this, director Élie Chouraqui recently announced his intention to adapt for the screen Fabrice Humbert's novel 'L'Origine de la Violence' with Bouquet in the role of the protagonist's grandfather. It's certainly something to look forward.
Despite having announced his retirement from the stage world in 2011, Bouquet couldn't keep his word, as his bond to the theatre in general and 'Exit the King' in particular proved to be just too strong: in 2013 he did a special performance of the play during the prestigious Ramatuelle festival and, in early 2014, brought the production back to the Parisian stage for a limited season.
Now a veritable national treasure of France, Michel Bouquet can consider himself proud and satisfied of his career like very few can. Probably no other actor of his generation could find equally memorable film roles in the new millennium. Having appeared in at least one play a year in the 70 years period between 1944 and 2014 (with very few breaks in between), he has put together one of the most impressive stage resumes ever. And not many can say to be as respected as he is by the public, the critics and their peers. Those who never had the possibility to see the master thespian on the stage will probably be left with a bitter regret, but, considering that he still doesn't appear ready to say goodbye to the planches for good, they may still have a chance.
Mark Dymond began his professional on-screen acting career in 1997. Born in Wimbledon, London, England in 1974, Dymond's career includes a fair balance of film and television works. His first major film project was in the James Bond franchise titled Die Another Day as the courier Van Bierk, whose identity promptly gets borrowed by Pierce Brosnan's James Bond. While most of the early 2000's saw Mark Dymond in mostly modest roles of a more standing-by or supporting nature, 2005 lent him the opportunity for a breakthrough from that stream of casting. In 2005, Mark Dymond was the lead for the adventure/fantasy sequel Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God, sharing the screen with Bruce Payne reprising his villainous role of Damodar and Clemency Burton-Hill as Dymond's on-screen wife. Along with Clemency Burton-Hill and several other cast and crew members, he also appeared in the video documentary titled Rolling the Dice: Adapting the Game to the Screen sharing his enthusiasm and experience of portraying a hero from a popular game franchise. Going into the mid to late 2000's, Mark Dymond had a recurring role as Dr. Lorcan O'Brien during the last three seasons of the UK-produced drama series The Clinic. He also shared the screen with martial arts movie star Jean-Claude Van Damme in the action movie Until Death. More recent projects included work in the Sci-Fi creature film Rage of the Yeti and a 2012 film short titled The Living and the Dying. This film short is the first project for which Mark Dymond has written, produced and starred in.