Handsome Ricardo Montalban was the epitome of continental elegance, charm and grace on film and television and in the late 1940s and early 1950s reinvigorated the Rudolph Valentino / Ramon Novarro "Latin Lover" style in Hollywood without achieving top screen stardom. Moreover, unlike most minority actors of his time, he fought to upscale the Latin (particularly, Mexican) image in Hollywood. His noted militancy may have cost him a number of roles along the way, but he gained respect and a solid reputation as a mover and shaker within the acting community while providing wider-range opportunities for Spanish-speaking actors via Los Angeles theater.
He was born in Mexico City on November 25, 1920, the youngest of four children to Castilian Spanish immigrants, Ricarda Merino and Jenaro Montalbán. His father was a dry goods store owner. Montalbán moved to Los Angeles as a teen and lived with his much older brother Carlos Montalbán, who was then pursuing show business as both an actor and dancer. Ricardo attended Fairfax High School in Hollywood and was noticed in a student play but passed on a screen test that was offered. Instead, he traveled with his brother to New York, where he earned a bit part in the Tallulah Bankhead stage vehicle "Her Cardboard Lover" in 1940, and won subsequent roles in the plays "Our Betters" and "Private Affair".
Returning to Mexico to care for his extremely ill mother, his dark good looks and magnetic style helped propel him into the Spanish-language film industry. After nearly a dozen or so films, he was on the verge of stardom in Mexico when MGM took an interest in him and he relocated back to Los Angeles. Making his Hollywood leading debut as a robust bullfighter and twin brother of MGM star Esther Williams in the "B"-level musical Fiesta, he attracted immediate attention. His second film with Williams, On an Island with You, led to a contract with the studio, where he routinely ignited "Latin Lover" sparks opposite such prime female stars as Cyd Charisse, Shelley Winters, Anne Bancroft, Pier Angeli, Laraine Day and (once again) Esther Williams, this time in Neptune's Daughter (one of his MGM extravaganzas opposite gorgeous Lana Turner was actually called Latin Lovers). His strongest Hispanic competition in films at the time was Argentine-born fellow MGM player Fernando Lamas, who wound up eventually marrying Esther Williams after divorcing another MGM beauty, Arlene Dahl.
Although Montalban was the epitome of the "Latin lover" type, it actually damaged his cinematic career, pigeonholing him and hurting his momentum. He was seldom able to extricate himself from the usual portrayals of gringos, bandidos and gigolos, although he did manage to find an interesting film from time to time, such as his turn as a Mexican undercover cop in the gritty Border Incident, Mystery Street, the classic war film Battleground and the hard-edged boxing drama Right Cross. Occasionally, he was handed ethnic roles outside the Latino realm, such as his villainous Blackfoot Indian chief in Across the Wide Missouri starring Clark Gable, his heroic, bare-chested rebel warrior in the steamy Italian sword-and-sandals costumer The Queen of Babylon alongside Rhonda Fleming and his Japanese Kabuki actor in the Oscar-winning feature Sayonara. It was during the filming of Across the Wide Missouri that he suffered a serious injury to his spine after he slipped and fell off a running horse, which resulted in a permanent limp.
Well established by this time, Montalban returned to the stage in 1954 with varied roles in such fare as "Can-Can", "The Inspector General", "South Pacific" and "Accent on Youth", before making his 1955 Broadway debut as Chico in the original musical "Seventh Heaven" with Gloria DeHaven, Kurt Kasznar and Bea Arthur. He then earned a Tony nomination as the only non-African-American actor in the tropical-themed musical "Jamaica" (1957) co-starring Lena Horne. He also toured as the title role in "Don Juan in Hell" in the 1960s, returning to Broadway with it in 1973 with Agnes Moorehead, Paul Henreid and Edward Mulhare, and touring once again with the show in 1991.
His strong work ethic and reservoir of talent enabled him to continue on television long after his exotic beefcake status in films had waned. He had married Loretta Young's half-sister Georgiana Young in 1944, and appeared on his sister-in-law's television series (The New Loretta Young Show) several times. He also showed up in a number of television dramatic anthologies (Playhouse 90 and Colgate Theatre) and made guest appearances on the popular series of the day, such as Death Valley Days, Bonanza, Burke's Law, Dr. Kildare, The Defenders and, more notably, a 1967 Star Trek episode in which he memorably portrayed galaxy arch-villain Khan Noonien Singh. He resurrected this character memorably in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
Over the years, he continued to appear occasionally on the big screen, typically playing continental smoothies, in such films as Love Is a Ball, Madame X and Sweet Charity, but it was television that finally made him a household name. Montalban captivated audiences as the urbane, white-suited concierge of mystery Mr. Roarke in the Aaron Spelling series Fantasy Island. He stayed with the series for six seasons, buoyed by his popular "odd couple" teaming with the late Hervé Villechaize, who played Mr. Roarke's diminutive sidekick, and fellow greeter, Tattoo. While it may have seemed a somewhat lightweight and undemanding role for the talented Montalban, it nevertheless became his signature character. The series faltered after Villechaize, who had become erratic and difficult on the set, was fired from the series in 1983. Corpulent Britisher Christopher Hewett, as Lawrence, replaced the Tattoo character but to little avail and the series was canceled one season later. The troubled Villechaize committed suicide in 1993.
An Emmy winner for his role in the miniseries How the West Was Won and a noteworthy villain in the Dynasty spin-off soap series The Colbys, Montalban was also famous for a series of television commercials in which he returned somewhat to his "Latin lover" persona, primarily in a series of slick commercials for Chrysler's Cordoba automobile, pitching the elegant auto with its "rich, Corinthian leather" (it later came to light that this phrase had been conjured up as a marketing tool, and that there was no such product from Corinth or anywhere else!). As for film and television work in his later years, he good-naturedly spoofed his Hollywood image in a number of featured parts, including a hilarious send-up of himself in The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!. Two of his final, larger-scaled film roles were as the grandfather in the two "Spy Kids" sequels: Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams and Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over. His deep, soothing, confident tones could also be heard in animated features and television series.
Frustrated at Hollywood's portrayal of Mexicans, he helped to found, and gave great support, attention and distinction to, the image-building "Nosotros" organization, a Los Angeles theatre-based company designed for Latinos working in the industry. Nosotros and the Montalban foundation eventually bought the historic Doolittle Theater in Hollywood and renamed the theatre in his honor in 2004. It became the first major theater facility (1200 seats) in the United States to carry the name of a Latino performing artist. In 1980 he, along with Bob Thomas, published his memoir, entitled "Reflections: A Life in Two Worlds".
A class act who was beloved in the industry for his gentle and caring nature, the long-term effects of his spinal injury eventually confined him to a wheelchair in his later years. He died in his Los Angeles home of complications from old age on January 14, 2009 at age 88. His wife having died in 2007, he was survived by their two daughters and two sons: Laura, Anita, Victor and Mark.
On the cast list of The Magnificent Seven, you will find several names that doubtless you know well: Charles Bronson, Steve McQueen, and Yul Brynner. But there is one name that you will have difficulty pronouncing, let alone identifying as an actor you have seen before. That man is Horst Buchholz, and he was one of the few German actors to have a considerable success in both Hollywood and in Europe. One would hardly guess that he was sought out to act in one of the most famous films of all time, only to have to turn it down.
Horst Buchholz was born in Berlin, Germany, in the year 1933. His father was a German shoemaker, while his mother was born to Danish parents. Buccholz was put in a foster home in Czecheslovakia when World War II broke out in Europe, but he returned to Berlin the moment he had the chance. Realizing his talent in acting, Buchholz dropped out of school to perfect his acting skills. After moving from East Berlin to West Berlin, he became well-known for his work in theatre and on the radio. In 1952 he turned to film, and after a series of small roles, he found a larger one in the Julien Duvivier film Marianne of My Youth. He won a Best Actor award at Cannes for his role in the romantic/drama film Sky Without Stars by Helmut Käutner. However, it was the lead role in the comedic Confessions of Felix Krull that made him an established German actor.
He followed this breakthrough role with the romantic film Two Worlds and the thriller Wet Asphalt, where the handsome young actor plays a former criminal who associates himself with a journalist. Now a familiar face in his country, Buchholz pursued making foreign films. His first non-German film was the British film Tiger Bay. The film is about a girl who witnesses a seaman named Korchinsky (Buchholz) murder his girlfriend. The film won praise in both Germany and Britain, but it was Buchholz' next foreign film that secured his name in the history of classic films. This film was the epic western The Magnificent Seven directed by John Sturges. Buchholz played Chico, the inexperienced Mexican youth that wants to be a gunman and abandon his past. Buchholz starred alongside such legends as Charles Bronson and Yul Brynner. both of whom had strong European roots. The film was a hit, first in Europe, then was re-distributed in the States to a much higher profit. The film gained massive popularity, and even now is treasured as a classic.
Buchholz could now find good and steady work nationally and internationally, which is something few actors could do at the time. He worked on the romantic film Fanny, which is based on a trilogy of plays written by legendary writer Marcel Pagnol. Buchholz plays the role of Marius, a passionate but unsure youth who must choose between the girl he loves, and the life at sea he has always wanted. The film was a fine success, nominated for five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Charles Boyer (who plays Buchholz' onscreen father).
It was at this point in his film career where he was sought as the first choice to play the role of Sherif Ali in David Lean's legendary film Lawrence of Arabia. However, Buchholz had to turn it down, as he had already signed up for another film, which turned out to be the Oscar-nominated comedy One, Two, Three (directed by Billy Wilder). The film was once again a fine success to add to Buchholz' career, but ultimately gained nowhere near as much of a status as David Lean's film. Buchholz also made the Italian film The Empty Canvas in which he plays an untalented artist who begins a love affair with a young model. Throughout his in the early 60s, Buchholz had made a name for himself, acting in one Oscar-nominated film after another and showing off his talent as an actor. However, the success he had reached was not to last.
Buchholz continued with film, including the James Bond spoof That Man in Istanbul and the crime film Johnny Banco. He starred in the B-movie failure that was Young Rebel. Buchholz rebounded with the fiery film The Savior in which he plays a man who claims to be organizing resistance against the Nazis. He also played Johann Strauss in the Golden Globe-nominated musical The Great Waltz. which was sadly another failure.
The rest of the 1970s and the early 1980s were spent mostly on television and movies released for televison, whether it be foreign (Dead of Night (1977), Return to Fantasy Island (1978)) or German (Derrick). Buchholz found mild success again when he returned to the big screen with the WW II espionage film Code Name: Emerald in which he plays alongside such stars as Ed Harris and Max von Sydow. After this film, Buchholz returned to European movies, such as And the Violins Stopped Playing in which a group of gypsies flee Nazi persecutors. After taking a supporting role in the fantasy film Faraway, So Close!, Buchholz acted in one of his most well known films: the Oscar-winning Italian film Life Is Beautiful which was directed by and starred Roberto Benigni. Buchholz played the role of a doctor who befriends Benigni's character and frequently duels with him in riddles. This choice of role proved to be an echo of Buchholz' taste in choosing his projects in earlier years; the film won best foreign film that year, and was also nominated for Best Picture. Thanks to his gift for languages, Buchholz was able to dub himself in the foreign releases of the film.
Buchholz continued making films and television appearances until 2002, by which time he was sixty-eight years old. He died the next year, in Berlin, of pneumonia. Berlin had been the city of his heart, and was buried there in honour of that fact. Horst Buchholz had been a renowned German actor, and had gained credibility in the United States and other countries. He was a varied performer, acting all kinds of roles in his life, but was always a proud German to the last.
Raul Julia was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Olga Arcelay, a mezzo-soprano singer, and Raúl Juliá, an electrical engineer. He graduated from Colegio San Ignacio de Loyola High School in San Juan. Here he studied the rigorous classical curriculum of the Jesuits and was always active in student dramatics. Julia was discovered while performing in a nightclub in San Juan by actor Orson Bean who inspired him to move to the mainland to pursue other projects. Julia moved to Manhattan, New York City in 1964 and quickly found work by acting in small and supporting roles in off-Broadway shows. In 1966, Julia began appearing in Shakespearean roles, creating a deliciously conniving Edmund in "King Lear" in 1973 and a smoldering Othello in 1979. Julia also made his mark on the musical stage playing one of the "Two Gentlemen of Verona" during its run in 1971, and a chilling role of Mack the Knife in "The Threepenny Opera" in 1976 and as a Felliniesque film director in "Nine" in 1982. The stage successes led to his movie works where he is better known.
One of his best movie roles is a passionate political prisoner in Kiss of the Spider Woman. Julia also appeared as dramatic heroes and memorable villains in a number of films and made-for-TV-movies. His later roles included the crazy macabre Gomez Addams in two Addams Family movies. With his health declining from 1993 onward after he underwent a surgical operation for stomach cancer, Julia kept on acting, where he traveled to Mexico during the winter of 1993-1994 to play the Brazilian Amazon forest activist Chico Mendes in The Burning Season: The Chico Mendes Story, for which he posthumously won a Golden Globe and an Emmy Award. His last theatrical movie was filmed shortly after The Burning Season: The Chico Mendes Story when he traveled to Australia to shoot all of his scenes for Street Fighter, based on the popular video game where he played the villainous General M. Bison. His last role was a supporting part in another made-for-TV movie titled Down Came a Blackbird.
On October 16, 1994, the weakened and gaunt Raul Julia suffered a stroke in New York City where he fell into a coma a few days later and was put on life support. He was transferred to a hospice in nearby Manhasset, Long Island where his weakened body finally gave up the struggle on October 24, at age 54. His body was flown back to Puerto Rico for burial where thousands turned out for his state funeral to remember him. Two honoring ceremonies were held at Colegio San Ignacio de Loyola High School, and at the Headquarters of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture prior to his burial.
Award-winning actor Esai Morales is a graduate of New York's High School for the Performing Arts, began his acting career on the stage, firstly appearing in El Hermano at the Ensemble Theatre Studio and at New York's Shakespeare Festival In The Park in The Tempest. He had his feature film debut in Bad Boys and his breakthrough role in La Bamba made him a star, contributing to making the film the most commercially successful Latino-themed Rock biopic of all time. To this day, his role as Bob Morales continues to uptrend in major social media sites.
In 1997 Esai Morales co-founded the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, created to advance the presence of Latinos in the media, telecommunications and entertainment industries. The NHFA has provided scholarships to hundreds of Hispanic students in excess of 1 million dollars. Theater performances include Oscar Wilde's Salome with Al Pacino (Broadway) Joe Papp's production of The Tempest with Raul Julia (New York's Shakespeare in the Park Festival) Tamer of Horses (Los Angeles Theater Center) The Exonerated, directed by Bob Balaban and his musical theater debut on The Mambo Kings. Film credits include Bad Boys, La Bamba, Rapa Nui, Mi Familia, Fast Food Nation, Paid in Full, The Line, Atlas Shrugged: Part II, Jarhead II: Field of Fire, The Disappearance of Garcia Lorca and Gun Hill Road a film he starred and executive produced. The film was a grand Jury Nominee at the Sundance Film Festival in 2011. Television credits comprise the Emmy award-winning series NYPD BLUE (ABC) Resurrection Blvd (Showtime) American Family (PBS) Miami Vice (NBC) Fame (NBC) Law and Order: SVU (NBC) The Burning Season: The Chico Mendes Story (HBO) Vanished (FOX) Burn Notice (USA) Jericho (CBS) Caprica (Syfy) Fairly Legal (USA) Criminal Minds (CBS) Major Crimes (TNT) and Saving Westbrook High. Currently, Morales plays the role of President of The United States on The Brink, HBO's new dark comedy about a geo-political crisis.
Freddie Prinze was born Frederick Karl Pruetzel in New York City, New York, to a Puerto Rican mother, Aurea Elena Ruiz, and a German immigrant father, Edward Karl Pruetzel. Freddie grew up in the Washington Heights section of New York City. As a chubby child, he was often bullied, but was quite creative and bright in his extracurricular activities (he was known to have handmade a ham radio, which he used regularly). Early on, he aspired to become famous, and, after enrolling at Fiorella LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts, he obtained a job at the Improv Club, in New York, where people started to take notice of his comedic talent (but the long hours he worked at night, balanced by increasing absences in school, caused him to drop out of high school to pursue comedy full-time). He changed his name to Freddie Prinze (to indicate that he was "The Prince of Comedy"). In December 1973, he was invited to perform on "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson", which proved to be a breakthrough performance, as he was invited to chat with Johnny after his performance (only two other comedians have enjoyed that privilege). Soon afterwards, he won the role of "Chico Rodriquez" in an NBC-produced TV series called Chico and the Man(he and co-star Jack Albertson forged a great friendship while working on the show). In 1975, he released a comedy album, titled "Looking Good", and further boosted his popularity with appearances on various TV talk shows (such as the "Tony Orlando & Dawn" show). In Las Vegas in August 1975, he married Katherine Cochran, with whom he had a son, Freddie Prinze, Jr. (born on March 8, 1976 in Albuquerque, New Mexico). He loved his role as a father, and his growing popularity. But all the fame had a downside to it: Freddie developed an addiction to drugs (namely Quaaludes and cocaine), and was subsequently arrested in Nov. 1976 for DUI. Also, his marriage to Kathy was dissolving, and they separated. Things were unraveling quickly for him, and he started to mention thoughts of suicide to many of his close friends and family (including his best friends: singer 'Tony Orlando' and comedian David Brenner). In January 1977, following his final public appearance (at the Inaugural Ball for President Jimmy Carter), 22-year-old Freddie called his mother, friends and manager and announced that he was committing suicide. While his manager tried to stop him, he placed a .32 caliber pistol against his temple and pulled the trigger. Miraculously, he did not die right away, and was rushed to UCLA Medical Center with a massive head wound. He was kept on life support until January 29, 1977, when his family and friends decided to turn off the life support, to let him rest in peace. On his TV show, his death resulted in his "Chico" character being replaced by a young child; the show was canceled soon afterwards. He was buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, and his funeral was attended by many who had known him (Jack Albertson, his co-star and friend, Tony Orlando, Sammy Davis, Jr., etc.). He left behind a wife and infant son. On a positive note, more than two decades after his death, his only son, 'Freddie Prinze, Jr.', has carried on the Prinze name and become a star in his own right.
American actress, Stephanie Drapeau, was born in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, but grew up in Chico, California where she fell in love with acting at an early age.
Drapeau earned her BA in psychology, Masters degree in Social Work at CSU, Chico, graduating with honors, whereafter she ventured into both corporate and philanthropic fields. In spite of her success, she quickly returned to her original love of the arts and made her way to Los Angeles.
She has since performed in over 30 film and television productions including Medium (2009), Cabin Fever 2 (2009) The Third Rule (2010) with Anthony Hopkins, Cross (2011) with Michael Clarke Duncan, Castle (2013), Wish Wizard (2014) with Morgan Freeman, The Leftovers (2015), Scout (2015) with Danny Glover, Tim Timmerman (2015) and The Catch (2015).
Drapeau still has her heart in philanthropy as co-founder of the One World Foundation, which focuses efforts mainly with Baan Unrak, a children's home in Thailand.
Elmer Figueroa de Arce, better known as Chayanne, was born in Puerto Rico, the third of five siblings. He is married to Venezuelan Mariana Elizabeth "Marilisa" Maronesa de Figueroa, with whom he has a son, Lorenzo Valentino and a daughter, Isadora Sofia. Chayanne debuted as a singer at ten years of age, becoming a part of a Menudo-type group "Los Chicos." His recording career includes 14 albums/CDs, 5 of these with Los Chicos and 9 others as a solo performer; all in Spanish. As an actor for television he worked on the popular soap opera "Pobre Juventad, " he was also the star of "Tormento," "Sombras del Pasado," "Provocame" and "Gabriel". As an actor in films he was featured in the Jacobo Morales film Linda Sara, opposite ex-Miss Universe Dayanara Torres. "Dance With Me" was his first English acting job where his undeniable charm and expertise on the dance floor served him well. Additionally, he guest-starred in various episodes of "Ally McBeal."
|Roger C. Carmel
Roger C. Carmel, who was born September 27, 1932, was named after his grandfather, Roger Charles, who carved the horses for the carousel in New York's Central Park. He became an actor and won television immortality by appearing as Harry Mudd in two classic "Star Trek" episodes, "I, Mudd" and "Mudd's Women." Carmel was one of the few actors, other than the regulars, to appear in two episodes of "Star Trek" as the same character.
After appearing on stage, Carmel began working steadily on television in the early 1960s as a character actor, appearing on both dramas ("Route 66") and situation-comedies ("The Dick Van Dyke Show"). The highlight of Carmel's non "Star Trek" acting career came in 1967, when he was cast as Kay Ballard's husband in the TV situation comedy "The Mothers in Law" by Desi Arnaz, the Cuban-born actor and entertainment impresario's first production since I Love Lucy.
The network, NBC, was disappointed by the mediocre ratings of "The Mothers-in-Law" and almost canceled it. It picked the show up for a second season after rival network ABC expressed interest in the show, but the network informed Arnaz that they would not give any additional money for the show. Traditionally, salaries are increased when a TV show is picked up for a new season, and all the actors' contracts specifically called for raises in the event of renewal.
Show creator Arnaz, who was also producer, director, and writer, called together the cast and crew and told them that although the series had been renewed, there was no money for salary increases. According to Carmel's own recollection, Arnaz was already drawing down multiple salaries on the program, and would shortly cast himself as a supporting character in the series, thus drawing another salary, although Carmel didn't know that at the time. Arnaz elicited a promise from the creative people, the crew and the actors to forgo salary increases to keep the show on the air. All the actors had agreed but one: Roger Carmel. He told Arnaz he would quit unless he received a raise, as per his contract.
In a contemporaneous account of the incident, Carmel said, "Desi called me and put it on a personal basis. I didn't feel it should be done that way - it was very unfair of him. Then Desi and the Morris Agency threatened I would be replaced. Kaye Ballard and Eve Arden also called me and asked me to go along, but I wouldn't."
Arnaz's response to Carmel's ultimatum was dismissive. "Where else is he going to make two thousand dollars a week?" the producer asked rhetorically. If Arnaz's Desilu production company gave in to Carmel, it would be faced with giving all the cast members a raise, which was financially unviable with the money on offer from NBC. Arnaz was forced to terminate Carmel, who was replaced by fellow "Dick Van Dyke Show" alumnus Richard Deacon for the second season. The show had poor ratings and was canceled after its second season.
After being fired from "The Mothers-in-Law,", Carmel's acting career suffered. Other than his Harry Mudd appearances, Carmel's most memorable gig on TV was as Colonel Gumm on "Batman" in 1967. He made regular appearances on the syndicated quiz TV show "Stump The Stars" from 1968 to 1970. Carmel even reprised his most famous role, that of Harry Mudd, in an episode of the animated version of "Star Trek" (1973-75), an indicator of the direction of his future career. However, during the 1970s, he could not secure another regular role as an ongoing character on a TV series, though he continued to appear regularly on sitcoms, mostly in ethnic roles, including appearances on "All In The Family," "Chico and The Man," and "Three's Company." He also appeared in B-movie bombs, including the Jerry Lewis flop "Hardly Working" (1981).
At the dawn of the new decade of the 1980s, Carmel finally got another opportunity for the first time in a dozen years, when he was cast as a regular on the network program "Fitz and Bones." An hour-long drama starring the TV comedy-musical duo The Smothers Brothers as investigative reporters, the show was a ratings failure, lasting only one month. After this monumental flop ("Fitz and Bones" was the lowest-rated series for the entire 1981-82 season), character parts dried up and Carmel was reduced to doing voice-over work for children's cartoons, including "The Transformers."
Carmel's last triumph as an actor was in commercials. Carmel was a huge hit in advertising playing Senor Naugles, a faux-Mexican Colonel Sanders clone, for the West Coast region Mexican fast food chain Naugles. The commercials were a success and the chain began expanding rapidly. However, both the renewed success of Roger C. Carmel and the fresh success of the chain were, sadly, to prove short-lived.
According to acquaintances, Carmel was struck by chest pains on the night he died and called a cab to take him to the hospital. When the cab showed up at his Hollywood high-rise but Carmel did not come down to get it, the doorman sent the cab away, never inquiring why he failed to appear. Carmel was found dead on the floor of his apartment the next morning, November 11, 1986. While there were rumors that he committed suicide (he was rumored to be a recreational drug user), the official cause of death was listed as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle in which the organ becomes enlarged. The condition leads to congestive heart failure, which apparently is what struck down Carmel. He was only 54 years old.
Roger C. Carmel's body was interred in Glendale, New York.
After Carmel's death, Naugles failed to come up with another successful ad campaign, and eventually, its financial fortunes changed. It was eventually acquired by rival Del Taco.
|The Marx Brothers
The Marx Brothers, Groucho, Chico, Harpo and Zeppo are a group of actors known for Duck Soup (1933), Animal Crackers (1930) Horse Feathers (1932) A Night in Casablanca (1946) A Day at the Races (1937) and A Night at the Opera (1935). They began their careers in Vaudeville, before becoming stars in the movies.
Otto Sanchez is a native New Yorker. Growing up in Jackson Heights, Queens, he was raised by his mother, Violeta Carbajal. He is the youngest of four (an older brother and two older sisters). Otto's passion for painting was his first connection into the arts. After pursuing Advertising Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City from 1987-1989, and then at the Columbus College of Art and Design, in Columbus, Ohio, on a fine arts scholarship, his passion shifted and he dove into acting. Returning to New York in 1991, he studied acting under Jeanne Kaplan and Austin Pendleton at HB Studio. In 1996, He landed the role of Chico Guerra on the acclaimed HBO series Oz. Chico Guerra put him on the map, landing him roles in film and television. His film credits range from Indies to commercially successful studio features: Carlos in Bad Boys II, Negrito in Kill the Poor." Others include, Ping Pong in "Double Whammy" by Tom Dicillo, and Paul Diaz in "Push" by David Rodriguez.
Otto is no stranger to the stage. In 2004 he co-starred opposite John Ventimiglia (The Sopranos) in the critically acclaimed three man Off-Broadway play "Ponies", produced by Michael Imperioli at the Studio Dante in New York City. He played the role of Wallace.
The extraordinary, easy-listening crooning talents of Andy Williams were first unveiled when he was 8 years old and inducted into the Williams Brothers Quartet as its youngest member. Born in Wall Lake, Iowa on December 3, 1927, Andy started singing with his three older brothers (Bob Williams, Dick Williams and Don Williams) in his hometown's Presbyterian church choir. The quartet became instant local news and made its professional singing debut when Andy was in the third grade. A bonafide hit, they went on to become a staple on radio in nearby big city Des Moines. From there, the harmonizing siblings found widespread popularity on wartime radio, including Chicago and Cincinnati. Andy graduated from high school in Cincinatti. They eventually caught the attention of crooning king Bing Crosby, who included the boys on his mammoth 1944 hit single "Swinging on a Star". Bing, of course, was keen on the boys' combined talents, having his own singing quartet of sons at home. Speciality film appearances in musicals were also a rage and the boys appeared in such film fare as Janie, Kansas City Kitty, Something in the Wind and Ladies' Man. They then joined singer/personality Kay Thompson in 1947 with her eclectic nightclub act and stayed with the popular show until they disbanded in 1951. Andy was the only Williams brother who ventured out to the East Coast to seek a solo singing career.
His career received a major boost when he co-starred with Chico Marx on the short lived television show called The College Bowl (1950 - 1951). On the show he acted, sang, and danced along with others. The show lasted for 26 weeks. After College Bowl was cancelled Andy Williams was offered regular singing duties on Steve Allen's Tonight! show, which led to Andy's first recording contract with Cadence Records in 1956 and his first album. A "Top 10" hit came with the lovely ballad "Canadian Sunset". This, in turn, was followed by "Butterfly" (#1), "Lonely Street", "I Like Your Kind of Love", "Are You Sincere" and "The Hawaiian Wedding Song", the last tune earning him five Grammy Award nominations. An ingratiating presence on television, he was handed a musical show co-hosting with June Valli and a summer replacement series of his own. In the meantime, he developed into a top nightclub favorite.
In 1962, Andy made a lucrative label change to Columbia Records, which produced the "Top 10" pop hit "Can't Get Use to Losing You" and a collaboration with Henry Mancini, which inspired Andy's signature song, "Moon River," the Oscar-winning tune from the popular Audrey Hepburn film Breakfast at Tiffany's. Andy had the honor of singing the song during the Oscar ceremony. Other major chartbusters for Andy came with the movie theme songs Days of Wine and Roses, Dear Heart and Love Story.
An attempt to parlay his singing fame into a film career was one of Andy's few missteps in a hugely successful career. He co-starred in the light, screwy Ross Hunter comedy soufflé I'd Rather Be Rich starring Sandra Dee and enjoyably squared off with fellow singing suitor Robert Goulet. Andy and Robert also sang in the picture (including sharing the title song), which was a tepid remake of It Started with Eve starring Deanna Durbin. It was an artificial role to be sure and is only significant in that it was Andy's sole legit acting experience on film.
What truly put Andy over the top was the phenomenal success of his weekly variety show The Andy Williams Show. Andy was a natural in front of the television camera and his dueting with such singing legends as Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland and Peggy Lee kept audiences enthralled week after week. What goes around comes around for Andy would often invite his brothers to sing with him and also introduced another talented harmonizing boy group--the seven "Osmond Brothers". The series, which concluded in 1971, won three Emmy Awards for "Best Musical/Variety Series". Andy himself picked up a couple of nominations as performer.
In 1961, Andy married a stunning, whispery-voiced French chanteuse named Claudine Longet (born in Paris in 1942), who was 15 years younger. The couple had three children. She made a mild hit of the song "Love Is Blue" and enjoyed slight celebrity status. Like the Crosby family, Andy's clan became an integral part of his annual classic Christmas television specials. Despite the fact that the couple separated in 1969, Claudine continued to appear in these specials in the early 1970s.
In tandem with his famous television show, Andy opened Caesar's Palace in 1966 and went on to headline there for 20 years. Following the demise of his television success, Andy continued to tour both here and abroad. He laid low for a time to protect his children through a tragic crisis when his ex-wife Claudine (since 1975) became enmeshed in a tabloid-styled shooting in March of 1976. The 1970s also deemed the cardigan-wearing Andy as too square and clean-cut to prod younger audiences. Nevertheless, he hosted the Grammy Awards a few times and returned to a syndicated series format in 1976, which was short-lived. Andy remarried happily in 1991 to non-professional Debbie Haas.
Inspired by singer/friend Ray Stevens, Andy had built a $12 million state-of-the-art theater, which opened in 1992 and was christened the Andy Williams Moon River Theater. Andy became the first non-country star to perform there and other theme shows have since been inspired to populate the small town--now considered the live music capital of the world. At age 70+, he continued to perform in Branson, Missouri, where he and his wife reside, and in Europe. Andy Williams died at age 84 of bladder cancer in Branson, Missouri on September 25, 2012.
Actor/stuntman Douglas Chapman is a member of Stunts Canada. He attended California State University, Chico, graduating in 1994 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Information and Communication Design in Media Arts. He began both his acting and stunt work career in 1996 with the film Street Gun. Since then, he worked continuously throughout film and television series, including Smallville, Fantastic Four and Stargate: Atlantis. Douglas has performed stunts for actors such as Kurt Russell and Robert Englund. He has been involved with movies such as Freddy vs. Jason, X-Men 2, 300 and Watchmen among a countless heap of credits. In addition to acting and stunt performing, Douglas has worked as a second unit director and stunt coordinator.
As a kid trying to negotiate his way through various gang territories to a floating crap game or a new pool hall where he was not yet known as a hustler, Leonard (Chico) Marx learned to fake several accents. Because he later employed an Italian accent in the Marx Brothers' act, people assumed his name was pronounced "Cheeko." Instead, Leonard was dubbed "Chicko" for his other consuming passion, women (or "chicks"), at which he was more successful than gambling, but when a typesetter dropped the "k" out of his name, the brothers let it stay as Chico. Chico was the brother who guided the Marxes to stardom. He took over the act's managment (amicably) from their mother, Minnie, and through audacity and charm, Chico secured the Brothers their first international (London) booking, their first Broadway show and their MGM contract with Irving Thalberg, among other successes.
Peter grew up in Morristown, New Jersey and received a bachelors degree from The University of Michigan School of Music as a piano performance major. He competed in piano competitions before attending The Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theatre in New York City where he studied with Sanford Meisner, Phillip Gushee, and Richard Pinter. Soon, after two years of Meisner, he got a lead role in the Broadway show "On Your Toes" written and directed by the legendary George Abbott, then 95 years old. 2 years later he joined the Manhattan Rhythm Kings and toured with Tommy Tune before landing the Donald O'Connor part, Cosmo Brown, in "Singin' in the Rain" on Broadway at the Gershwin Theatre directed and choreographed by Twyla Tharp.
After that he starred in "No Way to Treat a Lady" off-Broadway at the Hudson Guild, directed by Jack Hofsiss. Then he performed opposite Jack Wagner at Goodspeed in "Butterfly". "Animal Crackers" was next, playing Chico at the Huntington in Boston and the Alliance in Atlanta, followed by the role of Aldo in John Patrick Shanley's "Italian-American Reconciliation" at The Cleveland Playhouse. He moved to Los Angeles where his TV career started with "Murphy Brown". While in LA he starred in "Stardust" at the Wilshire Theatre with Toni Tenille and Sean Young and then went on to create roles in the American premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Sunset Boulevard" at the Shubert in LA starring Glenn Close and directed by Trevor Nunn. Susan Stroman and Hal Prince stole him from Sunset to play Frank in "Showboat" for them and after a year he was asked to play Chico Marx again, but this time in the first ever Broadway revival of "The Cocoanuts" in New York City. He got an actual 'sign' to change his name from Slutsker to Marx and did so in '98.
Then came the role of Charlie Davenport in "Annie Get Your Gun" with Bernadette Peters and Tom Wopat at the Marquis Theatre. Peter stayed the entire 3 year run and then was asked to be in Nora Ephron's and Marvin Hamlisch's "Imaginary Friends" at The Barrymore Theatre directed by Jack O'Brien. After that he went into "42nd Street" playing Andy Lee opposite Tom Wopat again. Finally, Daniel Sullivan asked him to be in Elaine May's "After the Night and the Music" at The Biltmore.
Becoming a single dad, Peter left the biz to be home nights and weekends with his two teenage daughters. He went into the world of IT staff augmentation but when his younger daughter goes off to college, he will consider returning to showbiz.
Benza was born June 2, 1962 in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. His father, Al, and his mother, Lillian, moved Benza and his two sisters, Rosalie and Lorraine, to West Islip, New York (Long Island) shortly after his birth. Benza graduated from West Islip High School in 1980 and attended C.W. Post College in Brookville, New York where he became a journalism major and showed an affinity for horticulture.
During his college days, he spent most of his time studying and pursuing dramatic theatre. Being a huge Hall and Oates fan, In 1983 he started a rock band with three childhood friends, Whitey, Chico and Fred; they called the band: "Fred can wait." Benza, a harmonica wizard, dazzled many college crowds with his lightning lipwork and crashing crescendos.
Benza left the band for a part-time job at Newsday, a newspaper on Long Island. He wrote high school sports and freelanced as a bouncer on the weekends at a club called Illusions in Mahwah, New Jersey. He quickly quit the club and was hired full-time to write gossip for the Daily News.
Benza wrote through the early 90s, then was scooped away to L.A. to host "Mysteries and Scandals" on the E! channel.
A.J. has been the co-host with fellow poker commentator Gabe Kaplan on High Stakes Poker since 2004.
Now he writes freelance, performs the harmonica at open mics and still makes appearances in films and television. He currently lives in Los Angeles.
|Mary Alexandra Stiefvater
Mary Alexandra Stiefvater was born in Chico, California and grew up in Stockton, where she was first introduced to theater and dance at a young age. Educated at The University of California at Los Angeles, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Theater, she also studied French cinema and philosophy abroad at the Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris III) and Le Centre Parisien d'Études Critiques. After graduation, she moved to England to train at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
Five days after graduating from LAMDA, she packed her suitcase for New York to pursue work in theater, film, television and modeling. As well as being a skilled dancer, Mary Alexandra received her stage combat certificate from the British Academy of Dramatic Combat. She is trained in a variety of different weapons and unarmed combat.
Her first break came on The Late Show with David Letterman where she regularly appeared in comedy skits. At the same time, did motion capture work for the character of Mona Sax in Max Payne 2 with Rockstar Games. The collaboration with Rockstar Games continued on Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and The Warriors.
Later, she moved to Los Angeles, where further success came in television (The Mentalist, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, The Wedding Bells & Happy Hour). Known mainly for her work in independent films (Supergator, Bear, Speed-Dating, Driving By Braille, Loveless in Los Angeles, The Perfect Boyfriend, Easy Rider: The Ride Back, & Four Lane Highway), she has also appeared in numerous print ads (Verizon, Babies-R-Us, Fera Skiwear, Quenchwear, Cargo magazine, Stuff magazine & The San Francisco Embarcadero Christmas Catalog), commercials (Bud Light, Volvo, Lupus PSA, Red Bull Sugar-free, Style Network, 1-800-Collect & TGIFriday's) and web-series (Playdate & Rules of the League).
In order to sustain longevity in the ever-changing entertainment industry, she started producing and writing. In 2006 she produced the award-winning short film, Bad Habits, with the production company she helped found, Habit Forming Films. Stiefvater then produced Wedding for One and 11-44, both directed by Kristina Lloyd. The two met in acting class at UCLA and have collaborated on several projects together. After many years of co-writing, her first, solo, full-length script, Squaw, was nominated for Best Screenplay in two festivals. In 2012, her first books, In My Contrary Garden and Cocoa For Saturdays were published. Her sophomore effort, On The Merry-Go-Round was released in 2013 with The Sun She Sets and Fair The Rose following in 2014.
Mary Alexandra continues to work as a producer, actress, model, screenwriter, photographer and poet.
Intense, mysterious, talented, handsome and bilingual - Julio Perillán was born in Washington into a Spanish family. He is graduated in Physics. After his father's death Julio went on moto to Hollywood "to learn a little cinema". In 1998 he was began acting in a play Masque of Poe ( Sacred Fools )directed by Bradley Warden (review Backstage West). Step by step, from casting to casting Julio tried himself as actor, producer, screenwriter (Besame Cuba), director of casting, coordinator of post-production etc...etc... In 2003 he returned to his roots, arrived to Spain to take care of his grandparents. He was playing a few small roles in two TV Series (Los 80, Ceuntame) and few very interesting shorts (Otra vida, Chico meets chica, La Carta). At the same time Juanma Bajo Ulloa looked for unknowns and interestings actors for his new movie "Fragil". By chance, he saw Julio in an independent American story (probably his great performance in Eden's Curve) and offered him the lead lead part in Fragil. Now Julio is working on set of La hora fria - new movie Elio Quiroga - as one of the leads. He lives in Madrid and L.A. where plays many in theatre.
Director and producer Neema Barnette has engaged audiences with a body of socially compelling and politically charged work that defies the narrow stereotypes of African-Americans usually depicted in entertainment. Working in both television and film, Barnette has earned the respect of peers and critics alike by winning countless accolades.
Barnette recently directed the feature Woman Thou Art Loosed On the 7th Day. The film stars Pam Grier, Blair Underwood, Nicole Jarbari and Sharon Leal and is produced by Neema, Bishop TD Jakes of Jumpin the Broom and Sparkle, and Code Black Entertainment. The movie is a dramatic thriller that explores problems in modern day marriage and the abduction of a little girl. The AMC theater chain theatrically released the feature on April 13th on 129 screens. It premiered as number one for per screen average opening weekend, beating out The Hunger Games. In January 2013, the film was one of three pictures nominated for "Best Independent Feature" by the NAACP Image Awards.
Known for her creativity, in 2010 Neema directed a gospel musical film, Heaven Ain't Hard to Find, starring Kim Whitley, Cliff Powell & Reed McCants. Neema developed a new format for gospel plays by shooting actual locations and combined theater with cinema. The picture aired on paid preview, HBO and BET. In 2008, Neema executive produced Cuttin Da Mustard, an independent feature written and directed by Reed McCants. The film is a comedy but deals seriously with young adult illiteracy and stars Brandon T. Jackson, Sinbad, Charles Dutton, Adrienne Bailon, Keisha Knight Pulliman, Lil Zane, Jonathan Wesley and Chico Benyman. Barnette began 2007 by directing the film My Super Sweet 16: the Movie for MTV Paramount. The picture stars rockers Aly & AJ and singer Ciara. In July 2006, Neema directed the feature film All You've Got for MTV Paramount Films starring Laila Ali and Faizon Love.
For the mini-series Miracle's Boys produced in 2005 for the Noggin network by filmmaker Spike Lee, Neema was the only female director invited to join Spike's directing team along with Laver Burton, Ernest Dickerson and Bill Duke. The project aired in February of that year to rave reviews.
Barnette, a native of Harlem New York, began her career as a stage actress while attending New York's High School for the Performing Arts. After earning a BA from The City College of New York, and an MFA from NYU School of The Arts, she subsequently took a position in Vinnette Carroll's prestigious "Urban Arts Corps" as an actress and directed inner city kids in plays designed to enhance their reading skills. It was then that Neema fell in love with directing. At twenty-one, Neema made her directing debut at Joseph Papps' Public Theatre with THE BLUE JOURNEY by Oyamo. Finding cinema in her work, Papp suggested she enroll in a Third World Cinema program. After graduating from the program, Neema produced an after school special titled TO BE A MAN for ABC Television, for which she won her first Emmy Award.
This award would launch the director onto a path of award-winning work and industry achievement. After graduating from CCNY in 1985, Barnette was awarded acceptance into the American Film Institute's Directing Workshop for Women, where she wrote, produced and directed her first film, Sky Captain, a surrealistic fantasy drama about an urban Peter Pan from the Bronx who was suicidal. This incredibly unique work earned the notice of many among the Hollywood film and television community, and led to One More Hurdle an NBC dramatic special for which Barnette won her first NAACP Image Award. Barnette also lent her vision to a network documentary on domestic violence for NBC, The Silent Crime, which received four local Emmy nominations and won an American Women in Radio & Television award for directing.
In 1986, with a flair for the lighthearted as well as the dramatic, Barnette directed an episode of What's Happening Now which earned her an NAACP image awards nomination. More significantly, the job made Neema the first African American woman in the history of television to direct a sitcom. This critical breakthrough resulted in subsequent directing stints on Hooperman, the royal family, china beach (Peabody award), franks place (Emmy award), the sinbad show, diagnosis murder, multiples of a different world, the Cosby show (Emmy award) and the Cosby mysteries (Emmy nomination, Peabody nomination), and seventh heaven and the Gilmore girls.
On the heels of work on an episode of Cosby, Barnette mounted a new play by Richard Wesley at the Manhattan Theatre Club, The Talented Tenth. The success of the workshop production propelled Lynn Meadows to open her off Broadway season with the play with Neema as director. That year the play won 10 Adelco Awards, including Best Director. Also that year, Barnette won an International Monitor Award for Best Director for The Cosby Show episode, 'The Day the Spores Landed.'
Barnette went on to direct several other movies for television, most noteworthy among them, ZORA IS MY NAME (American Playhouse production starring Ruby Dee which won a Lilly Award for Exceptional Representation of African American Images in Film); DIFFERENT WORLDS: AN INTERRACIAL LOVE STORY (four Daytime Emmy nominations, Directors Guild of America nomination for Best Directing); BETTER OFF DEAD (Lifetime Television production starring Mare Winningham and Tyra Ferrell which earned a Cable Ace award nomination); RUN FOR THE DREAM: THE GAIL DEVERS STORY (Showtime Network production starring Lou Gossett Jr. which earned Barnette her fifth NAACP Image Award nomination); SCATTERED DREAMS (for CBS Television Network, starring Tyne Daly and Alicia Silverstone); SIN & REDEMPTION (also for CBS; executive produced by Dick Berg), among others.
The critical acclaim and success of the pictures catapulted Neema into the ranks of a handful of sought after directors whose telefilms brought in high ratings. It also garnered the attention of Frank Price, then chairman of Sony Pictures, who gave Barnette a two-year housekeeping deal to produce, write and direct Listen for the Fig Tree, an original screenplay. This was the second time Neema made history. She became the first African American woman to receive a production DEAL at a major motion picture studio. Neema's three-year deal included developing film and television projects for the studio.
In September of 2000, Barnette signed on as the director and producer of the feature film Civil Brand starring LisaRaye, Mos Def, Da Brat, N'Bushe Wright, Monica Calhoun, MC Light, Reed McCants and Clifton Powell. The film was shot in fifteen days and was completed in May 2002. In June 2002, the film won the Blockbuster Award at the Black Audience Film Festival in Miami. In August 2002, CIVIL BRAND also won the Audience Award and was given a Special Jury Award at the Urban World Film Festival in New York City. The American Film Institute's prestigious International Film Festival selected Civil Brand in November of 2002 in Los Angeles where it was featured in the American Directions division. Also in November of 2002, Civil Brand was chosen as an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival and is featured in their American Spectrum Division. The film opened for the Pan African International film festival and won the Festival Award.
Producer Gilbert Cates hired Barnette as a Professor at UCLA's School of Film & Television in 1999, where she teaches a master filmmaking class to the under graduate film students and has created a syllabus and teaches for the MFA Theater department. Neema has been teaching at UCLA for fifteen years and still teaches there. In September of 2002 Neema also became an associate professor at the USC School of Cinema where she taught film production, television development and directing to undergraduate students for seven years while continuing her professional directing and producing career.
In February 2004, Women in Film honored Neema along with Diane Carroll and Delores Robinson at their Breaking Ground Breakfast in Beverly Hills. On November 30, 2009 in New York City, Congressman Charles Rangel declared Neema Barnette Day in her hometown of Harlem. Neema has been featured in American Film, Dga Magazine, Los Angeles Times, Vogue, Business Weekly, Hollywood Reporter and other periodicals.
Barnette serves on the Executive Board of the DGA African American Steering Committee and is a member of The Black Filmmakers Foundation since its inception. She is also an active AFI alumnus and serves on the panel of the AFI Independent Film committee. Barnette has operated her own production company, Hope Entertainment since 1990 and is Executive Director of Live Theatre Gang, an urban theatre and performance company. She lives between New York and Los Angeles with her husband Reed R. McCants and their daughter.
Russell "Lucky" Hayden was born as Hayden Michael Lucid, the son of Francis Lucid and Minnie Harvey Lucid on June 12, 1912 in Chico, California. In his early Hollywood career, he worked primarily behind the scenes as a film cutter, assistant cameraman, and sound recorder. In 1937 he began his acting career, taking on the name Russell Hayden to honor his friend, cameraman Russell Harlan. That year, he made his screen debut in Paramount's 10th Hopalong Cassidy film, Hills of Old Wyoming, replacing his friend James Ellison as the youthful sidekick to William Boyd in the wildly successful series. Hayden played the role of Lucky Jenkins in a total of 27 Hoppy films. His acting and producing career spanned 26 years, playing in 80 films and television shows. In 1947, he was in a film called Trail of the Mounties, playing the heroic lead and the villain. In 1950, he and James Ellison starred together in a series of 11 films in which he and Ellison played lawmen of the west. The same year, he appeared in multiple episodes of The Marshall of Gunsight Pass, and also appeared in one episode of The Gene Autry Show. Between 1952 and 1953, he and Jackie Coogan starred in a short running western series called, Cowboy G-Men, making 39 episodes. While working in Hollywood, he teamed up with fellow actor Dick Curtis to help create Pioneertown, a western movie set that has been used in many western movies. Russell Hayden was married twice, first to actress Jan Clayton (aka Jane Clayton) in 1938. They met during the filming of Sunset Trail, one of three Hopalong films in which they played together. The two had a child in 1940, naming her Sandra. After the couple's divorce in 1943, Hayden married actress Lillian Porter in 1946. The two remained married until his death in 1981.
In a career spanning six decades plus, the ever-vital and ever-versatile Carmen Zapata stands as one of the most respected and diversified Hispanic-American figures in the performing arts. The much-admired veteran actress has worn many hats over the years: teacher, producer, translator, lecturer and narrator.
Born in New York City on July 15, 1927, the daughter of a Mexican father and Argentine mother, she started entertaining on the musical stage. Making her Broadway debut in the chorus of "Oklahoma" in 1946, she continued in the same vein with regional and summer stock roles in "Bloomer Girl", Bells Are Ringing", "Guys and Dolls" "Carnival" (with Liza Minnelli), "Bye Bye Birdie", "No Strings" and "Stop the World, I Want to Get Off". In 1956 she appeared on Broadway in the 'Jose Quintero' directed dramatic piece "The Innkeepers" starring Geraldine Page, but it closed within a few days. For years Carmen was active on the stand-up comedy circuit performing in clubs and hotels across the country while billing herself as "Marge Cameron" in order to encourage non-discriminatory employment.
She returned late to acting in the early 1960s (as Carmen Zapata) and the subsequent search for ethnic support roles proved both difficult and unfulfilling. It was impossible to steer clear of the severe stereotypes imposed on her, yet she managed to establish a name for herself on 1970s TV. As a series regular, she had supporting duties alongside Mayor Anthony Quinn in the drama The Man and the City; played matriarch Sophia Valdez in the ethnic family sitcom Viva Valdez opposite Rodolfo Hoyos Jr.; appeared as Arthur Hill's housekeeper in the detective drama Hagen starring Chad Everett; and had flavorful recurring roles in The New Dick Van Dyke Show and Flamingo Road. Unfortunately, the series' run of all these shows was too short-lived to earn top TV stardom for herself.
Always striving for dignity, intelligence and positiveness in her work, she was often defeated by token appearances that underused her vast talents. When afforded the opportunity she could be quite touching and heartfelt. Dramatic and comedic performances included roles in such popular shows as "The Bold Ones", "Bonanza", "Marcus Welby, M.D.", "Owen Marshall", "Medical Center", "Adam 12", "Mod Squad", "The Rookies", "Love, American Style", "Wonder Women", "The Streets of San Francisco", "McMillan and Wife", "Trapper John, M.D.", "Chico and the Man", "Matt Houston", "Falcon Crest", "Married with Children", "The Trials of Rosie O'Neil", "L.A. Law", "Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman", and many, many others. She was seen sporadically in the late 1980s and early 1990s on the daytime soap Santa Barbara as Carmen Castillo. Less visible on film, negligible roles included Sol Madrid, Hail, Hero!, Portnoy's Complaint, Rabbit Test, Boulevard Nights, How to Beat the High Co$t of Living, the campy horror flick Vultures, and, more recently as one of the choir nuns in the box-office bonanza Sister Act and its sequel.
More significantly, Ms. Zapata established herself as a prominent benefactor to the Los Angeles-area performing arts. In 1973 she co-founded the Bilingual Foundation of the Arts (BFA), a resident theater company and organization dedicated to bringing the Hispanic experience and culture to the Southern California community via the medium of bilingual stage productions. Serving as its president and producing director, many honors have been bestowed upon her for her selfless contributions. Establishing a durable relationship with the Los Angeles Unified School District to bring the works of great Hispanic authors to public school students, she has produced over 80 plays on BFA's mainstage. On TV, she starred as the town mayor for nine seasons on the PBS' bilingual children's television show Villa Alegre.
As a teacher of drama, Carmen has offered her talents and services to the Academy of Stage and Cinema Arts and the East Los Angeles College Theatre Arts, among others venues. Moreover, a BFA facility was set up as an extension of UCLA. Since 1976, Carmen has been co-translating the groundbreaking plays and poems of such renowned Hispanic figures as 'Federico Garcia Lorca'. These important translations have included Garcia Lorca's "Blood Wedding", "The House of Bernarda Alba" and "Yerma" (the last work mentioned won a Dramalogue Award in 1980). In return, she portrayed the small role of Garcia Lorca's mother in the film Death in Granada starring Andy Garcia as the maverick Spanish poet and playwright who was executed by firing squad for his political stoicism.
A narrator for the Oscar-nominated documentary Las madres de la Plaza de Mayo, Carmen's later focus has been as a lecturer at universities and theater conferences across the country. At age 80, Ms. Zapata's unwavering dedication in preserving Hispanic-American culture continues to be a source of pride to the Los Angeles community and her profound influence has extended itself nationwide. At various times, she has been the recipient of several L.A. industry awards as well, including the "Ovation", the Dramalogue and Nosotros Awards for her excellence in theatre. In 2003 she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
One fearless and feisty beauty, Michelle Betts, just completed filming the daring dramatic role of Tami in the feature, America Is Still The Place (2014), starring, Dylan Baker. Exercising her comedic chops, Betts most recently can be seen in her prime time recurring role in ABC's, Back InThe Game (2013), where she worked with legendary James Caan and newcomer Maggie Lawson.
Armed with a degree in Broadcasting from California State University Chico, Michelle headed to Hollywood. Her boisterous enthusiasm got her quickly noticed by renowned acting coach, Ivana Chubbuck. Under her coveted tutelage at The Ivana Chubbuck Studio, in Los Angeles, Michelle worked diligently to hone her acting skills. Specialized study at Lesly Kahn studios provided the forum for Ms.Betts to master her natural gift of comedic timing.
Michelle's animated expressiveness clinched her first national booking for a McDonald's commercial campaign. Her winning smile was showcased in a national campaign for Sonicare. Betts' movie debut was realized when she landed a lead role as a fierce, sexy, bounty hunter opposite Stacy Keach, in the Showtime sci-FYI thriller, Galaxy Hunter. In 2011 Betts signed on for a thirteen episode run as a standout cast member of the successful Vh1 franchise, Tough Love. Michelle additionally gave colorful appearances in NBC's, Ready For Love, and Bravo's, Real Housewives of Orange County. Trending on the web, Michelle adds her own brand of sizzle performing in the racy comedic web series, Party Girl Plus One, and Yahoo's widely popular web series, The Flip Side.
This fitness magazine cover-girl not only keeps her slim athletic build in top-notch shape, but, inspires a select roster of other actors she professionally trains. Certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine, Michelle is highly sought after for her expertise in maintaining a camera ready body. She boldly incorporates her advanced talents in pole dancing, yoga, and Pilate's in her unique fitness routines. It is no wonder why she was handpicked by director McG to be Demi Moore's body double in the film, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle. A lover of skydiving, horseback riding, and trapeze flying, her dream roles would include doing her own stunts.
Theresa Harris appeared with more stars of the Golden Era of Hollywood than anyone else. She sang, she danced, appeared in films and TV. She graced the screen with her magnetic presence and most times stole scenes from the top stars of the day every chance she got and made a lot of dull movies worthwhile. Although stereotyped by receiving only maid roles, Theresa stepped outside the stereotype any chance she got, to show she was glamorous, classy, beautiful, and a true actress. While she often played maids, she always showed dignity, grace, and demanded respect. Theresa didn't exactly fit the mammy/maid stereotype fore she was a beauty and petite, a stark contrast from Hattie McDaniel and Louise Beavers, and Theresa was one of the very few black women to not fit that stereotype on screen.
There were quite a few films in which Theresa got a chance to let her light shine and make you forget her maid costume and see her as a talented actress. In the Pre-Code classic "Babyface," she and Barbara Stanwyck had equal time on screen, which was rare between black and white actresses at that time. Playing Chico, Stanwyck's friend than maid, Harris gave a moving and memorable performance that contributed to the film becoming one of the essentials of the classic genre. Theresa was allowed to be sexy, glamorous, and her own person, not simply a servant who jumped at her employer's every beck and call, a rarity for a black actress in a maid role in the 1930s, and a true friendship was shared between Stanwyck and Harris's characters, another rarity. In "Professional Sweetheart," starring Ginger Rogers, Harris played a spunky, sexy maid who teaches Ginger a thing or two about being "hot," and ends up replacing Rogers as a singer, and sings a hot song on the radio that turns on the white male listeners, another shocker and rarity at the time for a black actress. But, Pre-Code films always push the envelope, which shows in both "Babyface" and "Professional Sweetheart." Though Theresa played maid parts most of her movie career, she had showed moments of excellence in many roles such as "Professional Sweetheart" "Hold Your Man" "Babyface" "Black Moon" "Gangsters on the Loose" "Jezebel" "The Toy Wife" "Tell No Tales" "Buck Benny Rides Again" "Love Thy Neighbor" "Blossoms in the Dust" "I Walked With A Zombie" "Cat People" and others.
Theresa was a versatile talent, besides acting, she could sing beautifully and dance divinely, when she had the chance in such films as "Thunderbolt" "Babyface" "Professional Sweetheart" "Banjo on the Knees" "Buck Benny Rides Again" "What's Buzzin' Cousin" and "The French Line." When Theresa got the chance to show her beauty and sex appeal, it was often with her screen boyfriend, Eddie Rochester Anderson, they were dynamic on screen together in "Buck Benny Rides Again" and "What's Buzzin' Cousin." In "Buck Benny Rides Again," Theresa and Eddie "Rochester" Anderson sing and dance a musical number, "My, My," that is the most memorable scene, where they sing and dance tap, classical, Spanish, and swing.
Theresa Harris was perhaps the hardest-working woman in Hollywood, appearing in close to 90 films, working at every major studio with most of the big stars. She was respected by studio executives, producers, directors, and co-workers alike, who sometimes went out of their way to get her more lines and screen time. Harris married a doctor and retired from the movies in the late 1950s, living comfortably after having carefully invested the money she made during her career in the movies. She was a patient woman who never gave up hope that there would come a time when she would be able to play more than just maid roles. Nevertheless, in every role, she displayed class, dignity, beauty, and true acting talent, not simply the old stereotypes associated with black actors and actresses at that time.
|Esther Elise Johnson
Esther Elise Johnson is a graduate of the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles. Before attending Film School, she received two BA's and two minors from California State University, Chico in Northern California. She obtained a degree in Communications with an emphasis in Media Arts with a minor in Broadcasting and a second degree in Spanish with a minor in Italian. After graduation and a long way from her Memphis roots, Johnson was accepted into the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles where she actively pursued a degree in filmmaking. While attending NYFA, Johnson wrote, produced and directed several short films including her award winning thesis film entitled "Montana", a dramatic script which Johnson intends to develop into a feature length psychological thriller. "Montana" has been well-received by audiences around the country and won just last year at Sandpoint's own Lakedance film festival. Other films, most notably, of various genres written, produced and directed by Johnson include "Mitout Skin" and "Snuff", both comedic shorts, "Lone" a short psychological thriller, "In the Rough", a dramatic short, various other independent films, multiple music videos of different genres, and local commercials. Most recently Johnson directed an elaborate trailer for the Civil War story entitled "Taps" produced by K County Productions, scheduled to be shot in Spring 2009. Since her recent arrival in Northern Idaho, Johnson has worked on multiple independent production crews in various capacities and has plans to produce some more projects of her own. She serves on the board of Sandpoint Films as Co-Chair, is a member of KNIFVES and most recently was elected Vice President of production at K County Productions.
Vanessa Viola, the daughter of a Filipino, Irish, and German father and Filipina mother, is the fourth child of five. Their loving and very protective father moved his family onto a ten acre farm in a small town in Northern California. Living out in the "boondocks" left a lot of time for Vanessa's imagination and creativity to flourish and having two older brothers turned her into a tough little girl. Vanessa was scouted by a model agent. At 16, she was chosen as a model in the Macy's Passport Show in San Francisco where she shared the runway with supermodels Vendetta, Rebecca Romign, and Marcus Schenkenberg. That summer she graduated from high school and went on to get her degree in Media Arts from CSU, Chico. While in college she learned the "behind the scenes" of film making. Although she tried to hide it, her true passion was in acting. She moved to Los Angeles to pursue her dream. Determined to hone the craft she immediately started taking acting classes and six months later was signed by a manager. A National TV commercial for Verizon Wireless quickly followed before Vanessa booked roles on ABC's General Hospital, MTV's The Andy Dick Show, and ABC's short lived sitcom My Adventures in Television. Later, she branched out into film booking her first supporting role in the short, "Liquid Confidence," produced by Brett Ratner. Her first short film to circulate the festivals, "Frame of Mind," directed by Simon Joeker, was recently picked up by HBO Latin. Most recently she booked her first lead role in an independent feature, "Against the Grain," directed by Tyronne Laforrest. She can also be found in ads for Nike Women, Yamaha Speakers, Suzuki, and countless commercials with major brands such as Jack in the Box, Motorola, Burger King, Toyota, and Right Guard.
|Stan-Lee Ray Baker
Character Actor, Director and Production Design Artist, Stan-Lee Ray Baker is a Native Texan hailing from the quaint small town of Chico Texas. Stan grew up within a large multi-racial family. Being the fifth child of Elston and Edith Baker he swiftly learned the significance of his natural quick witted ripostes as well as the deployment of his inherited "Southern Charm" allowing him to capture the attention of his family and yet escape the wrath of his mischievous antics. From the age of four Stan knew he yearned to be the center of attention. His resourceful and supportive parents promptly channeled his 'energy' throughout his formative years with Dance classes, Acting classes and Private Voice Lessons from influential Professionals from across the United States. This tutelage helped him in endeavors through High School, College, Stage productions, touring theatre roles(based out of NYC), Commercials and Independent Film work.
After a long "intermission" from the Artistic World to pursue his Career in the Psychology/Social Work & Behavioral Health (HIV and SACD) Fields, Stan has once again begun to perform in Film and Stage.
Stan also creating behind the camera/scenes as well. He has worked as Director, Co-Director with several Award Winning Directors/Producers in various Independent Films, and has collaborated with fellow artist in the fields of Art Department, Set Décor, and Production Design. In 2015 Stan was nominated for Best Production Design in the prestigious Hollywood 168 Film Festival.
His imaginative visuals and nurturing manner has allowed him to be successful with directing numerous productions such as: "Respect The Pillow", "Always Patsy Cline", "Left", "Nunsense", "The Odd Couple" and "Suburb".
In Front of the Camera or Behind the Camera, Stan-Lee Ray Baker is a source of creative energy that is constantly striving to bring The Story to Life.
Nick Loren is one of the entertainment industry's most versatile talents, including a successful career as longtime Stand-in and Stunt double for film icon John Travolta, that has evolved into acting, and his new role as host of the highly rated daily morning talk show "First Coast Living," which has landed Nick an Emmy Award nomination and airs on WTLV (NBC) and WJXX (ABC) in Florida.
Nick moved to Florida from Los Angeles with the launch of Gannett Television's "First Coast Living," which features Northeast Florida's hottest personalities, news and events, in January, 2011. Since the show's debut, Nick's engaging on-screen presence as host has helped rocket the show to high ratings, airing twice a day on two major networks in the area.
Nick started out in the entertainment business in 1996, when he was an aspiring music artist who had gotten his first Hollywood gig as a stand-in for Nicolas Cage in "Face/Off," which also starred John Travolta. When Travolta's stand-in on the movie dropped out, Loren assumed the position as well. Since then, the two have become great friends and Loren literally became Travolta's shadow as his official stand-in, double and (often banged up!) Stunt double on over 18 films, including donning a fat suit for "Hairspray!" Loren developed a dual career, also appearing in roles in Travolta-starrers "The General's Daughter," "Swordfish," "Wild Hogs," "Hairspray" , "Old Dogs" and "From Paris with Love."
While continuing his 14-year and 18 film professional relationship with Travolta, where he has had the opportunity to work with many of the top directors in film including Adam Shankman ("Hairspray!,"), Pierre Morel ("From Paris With Love,"), and Walt Becker ("Wild Hogs," "Old Dogs"), among others, Loren also enjoys working behind the cameras - and behind the scenes creating and producing several projects for television and film, with new projects to be announced soon.
Nick was most recently cast for a role in the highly-anticipated feature "Rock of Ages," where he will work again with "Hairspray!" director Adam Shankman, in the film based on the Broadway hit musical. He joins a star-studded cast including Tom Cruise, Russell Brand, Julianna Hough, Alec Baldwin, Catherine Zeta-Jones and others. The project is scheduled to begin production in Miami in May, with a scheduled 2012 release.
A talented singer, in 2009, Nick scored a FMQB Top 10 single, "Forever Be Cool," produced by Chico Bennett, which received wide acclaim.
Nick and his wife Denise, a production manager for HGTV's "The Antonio Project," reside in Florida with their two children.
Emeson Nwolie is a singer-songwriter, actor, producer, remixer and writer.
Manchester born, Nottingham raised and heavily influenced by music and his father's vinyl record collection, his music memories include playing eight-track cartridges in his dad's Volkswagen Hatchback and listening to the sound systems along the streets. His musical influences are as varied as Jimmy Cliff, the Upsetters, Pioneers and James Brown right through to Hot Chocolate, Exile, The Jam, The Police, Hi-Tension, Janet Kay, Don Williams, Steely Dan, Booker T & the MG's, The Jackson 5, The Sylvers, Stevie Wonder, The Beatles and Miles Davis. Further influences include the likes of John Foxx, Kraftwerk, Seawind, Leon Sylvers, Loose Ends, Eddy Grant, Kleeer and the legendary Curtis Mayfield. Emeson sang and performed in his school and church choirs and was part of music groups and further collaborations after studying music production and going on to study drama and improvisation. He also studied Music and Arts teaching at the Brady Arts Centre.
He started out DJing in the soul filled days of Easy Street in Nottingham, house parties, blues parties before landing in the capital city of London. He would DJ under the moniker 'DJ Ed Nice' at various spots or promote his own themed nights. (The Spot, HQ Camden, Dingwalls Over the years as a DJ he has been a DJ resident and guest in many quarters, alongside 'keepers of the sound' Bobby & Steve, Norman Jay, Touch of Class, Mark One, DJ Chris Rocka, Andy Vier, Heather Pearson, MCD and many other DJ luminaries. The DJ work and several jobs in-between would go on to finance his studio equipment and fuel his desire to perform and emulate his musical heroes and peers.
He first appeared professionally as a lead vocalist and singer-songwriter of the London based left field soul group Lifesize, alongside producer and lead singer-songwriter Uzo Madu (Beya Records) and jazz/soul musician Chris Jerome (Julian Joseph, Courtney Pine) Lifesize were subsequently signed to Gangster Records with notable singles 'Awake' and 'Is This The World We Live In?'
Emeson's solo ventures, The Bittersoul EP (2004), Audiocentricities DL (2006) , Connect EP and Equilibrium CD (2008) were all self-financed and born within his South London Lab Soulphonica studio hideout. An accomplished remixer, these musical excursions have led Emeson to either produce, guest, remix, feature and / or write for artists such as the one and only legendary Peter Gabriel (Shock the Monkey Emeson Remix), the colossal jazz great Chico Hamilton (Language Universal) and several international artists including percussionist Don Cuco (Sundrop), hip hop artist Drum Drama (Misery) and feature and tour as lead singer-songwriter for the electronic soul band, The One (Double Life EP, Who Are You? CD) supporting the likes of Quadron and playing live at Ronnie Scott's, Shunt, Catch, Cargo, Old Blue Last and many more venues.
The One's subliminal classic 'Let's Get It Straight' was also given a remix by the legendary Legowelt earning them many plaudits after a London and North Eastern tour to promote their album ' Who Are You?'
Emeson went on to release a double download album entitled extrasolar* on 24thCenturyRecords in 2012 featuring the tracks 'Supernova, Sun-Ra and 'I Have Come To Love You'. In 2013, he collaborated with hip hop veteran Skandouz' on his #Fearless Vol 1 album on the 'Soldier' track. In 2014, Emeson returned with a solo Bespoke EP which went to feature in numerous articles and shows such as Deeper The Beats, Music Sanctuary, Kev Beedle's Mind Fluid Show, Solar Radio, and Fresh Taste Show (Brooklyn)
Known as quite a prolific singer-songwriter, musician and collaborator, Emeson has been part of the Saturn's Children ensemble as singer-songwriter with the producer Karmasound, he also works collaboratively as singer-songwriter with producer K15 for the Profusion group and is also a singer-songwriter contributor to the Carla Duke music project which includes acclaimed Swedish singer-songwriter Roselie.
Emeson has also appeared on numerous compilations such as Freeness, Tokyo Dawn's The Heart 3, BBE BamaLoveSoul, Jazz Cafe Volume 10 both solo and collaboratively.
Emeson's interest in films, movies and such was borne from a love of sci-fi, action, suspense and drama films. An avid comic collector as a youngster he followed the many worlds of Marvel, DC comics and of course the original Star Wars and Star Trek franchises.
He started work in film and television as an extra or background support in film and was subsequently cast in featured roles. His further studies and experience have led him to play lead and / or support in further roles. On the big screen , Emeson has been in box office films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers 2 - Age of Ultron, Kingsman : The Secret Service, US television drama documentaries such as Manhunt : Kill or Capture and Suspicion (Slaughter on the Schuylkill) He played Detective Inspector Faulkner in HKB Finn's 'NiNA' and is set to feature in award winning director Kamil Iwanowicz's forthcoming film, Wake. Emeson is one of the actors in the Marvel Cinematic Universe who has portrayed different characters. (Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers 2 and Dr Strange) His latest TV and feature film work includes Will, Damilola Our Loved Boy, Assassin's Creed and Rogue One : A Star Wars Story.
Tim Taylor was born in Philadelphia, PA and grew up in Southern California. He was active in sports, music and theater and went to college in Chico, CA to major in Art and Chemistry. After getting an MA in Art at Claremont Grad School he went to medical school and returned to the stage in his forth year of med school at George Washington University in DC. He did a residency in psychiatry at UC Irvine and has remained a part time doctor ever since, taking time to enjoy theater, film and TV, and painting and sculpture. Tim Taylor was Taft Hartley'd in 1989, and appeared on over 75 Film and TV show episodes in his early career before returning to the stage. The highlight of his theatrical experience was playing Tom in "The Glass Menagerie" directed by the late Robert Gist, who had retired in Paradise California and gave back to the community by producing such an unlikely event. In 2009 and 2010 Taylor was in the Micronesian Islands sculpting 4 "Artifacts" - large cement sculptures left in the jungle to be overgrown by nature, possibly appreciated in a later time. (Pictures of these sculptures are available at ArtSlant under Tim Taylor). He has been published in several art books within the last year and has a porcelain sculpture in Latvia at the Riga Museum of Small Porcelain Art. In 2012, Taylor received an MFA in Acting for Film at the New York Film Academy but he still loves to do set work and regional theater.
Jed Bernard was born in Yuba City, California on July 28, 1979. He grew up playing Basketball and soccer,and graduated from Gridley Union High School, located in Gridley, California in 1997. The next year he was recruited to play Basketball by a local Junior College. He opted out of a future in sports, and instead took an academic scholarship to Amsterdam, Holland to study Dutch & International Business. After the year abroad in Europe, he then studied at the University of California, Santa Barbara to major in Political Science/International Relations. Realizing International politics wasn't for him, Jed then transfered universities and graduated in 2003 with a degree in Business Administration at California State Univeristy, Chico.
He turned down a career as a model in New York, and headed south after college and turned to acting. As luck would have it, Jed landed a TV role on 24 and was cast as the Collegiate Dr. Troy character on the FX Hit Nip/Tuck.
After making his film debut in the independent flick, Adult Actors' School (2004) as the high energy character, Nervous Paul, Jed has commanded respect within the industry as a character actor as well as a young leading man. The future is looking bright, Jed needs to wear shades.
|The Ritz Brothers
They followed in the huge clown shoes of the Marx Brothers and stumbled a bit in doing so, but the Ritz Brothers slapstick trio (comprised of Al Ritz, Jimmy Ritz and Harry Ritz) were troupers all the way as they did their part in helping American audiences forget about the Depression and World War II. All three brothers were born in Newark, New Jersey (Al in 1901, Jimmy in 1903 and Harry in 1906), the sons of an Austrian haberdasher whose last name was Joachim. Raised in Brooklyn, the boys developed an early interest in show business and pursued solo careers at the onset -- with rather lackluster success. Following Harry's graduation from high school, they decided to band together (1925) and put together a song-and-dance act they could take out on the road. Building up their reputation in various night clubs and vaudeville houses, they appeared in the George White and Earl Carroll revues to great success. Their act remained fairly constant for all four decades, which included precision dancing, tongue-twisting patter songs, ethnic humor and physical schtick. They managed to break into films in the mid-30s and earned a contract with 20th Century-Fox as specialty items in Alice Faye and Sonja Henie musicals. Slowly evolving into stars of their own, some of their better known vehicles would be The Three Musketeers (1939), The Gorilla (1939) and Argentine Nights (1940), which also featured the Andrews Sisters. Their hyperbolic style and unsubtle brand of insanity, however, were not always complemented in their films. They were an acquired taste (or an acquired lack of taste) and their critically-drubbed clowning never achieved the box-office distinction of Groucho, Chico and Zeppo. Discontented at Fox for not promoting them into an "A" film attraction, they left and tried their hand at Universal in 1940. Things not only didn't improve, their films grew even more inferior in quality. In the end, their forte would be as supper club headliners and once their film career was finished in 1943, they went back to the nitery circuit, occasionally finding work on TV. Eldest brother Al's death of a heart attack in 1965 put a serious cog in the team wheel. Harry and Jimmy continued for a time but floundered and eventually settled into semi-retirement, appearing on talk shows or in cameos for Mel Brooks (Brooks was a huge fan of their work). Jimmy died of heart failure and Harry of cancer within a year of each other in the mid-1980s. Though they remained in the comic shadow of the Marx Brothers, Al, Jimmy and Harry certainly made their broad mark in comedy and have found new legions of fans with every passing year.
|Robert B. Shepard
Robert B. Shepard
Childhood, Family & Music: Bob Shepard was born on April 28, 1927, in Phoenix Arizona, to Chester and Dorothy Shepard. He was raised in Riverside, California, from the time of his birth to 1945. He was the eldest of four boys (Bob, Phil, Gilbert and Wayne). His father, Chester, died when Bob was 8 years old. The family was a talented musical family and Bob loved music from a very young age. His mother told how he would, as a little boy, go to the back yard where there was an orchard. He would stand on a crate with a stick and pretend the trees were an orchestra or choir and he was their conductor. As a boy he learned to play the trombone and piano.
Bob's mother, Dorothy, played the piano by ear. She sang as a soloist at church, weddings and clubs. During the silent movie era, she was hired to play the piano in the back of the theater while the movie played. In the early 1940's she sang and played with the Mason Bell Ringers and traveled all over California to different churches to entertain and share the gospel. She taught Bob's brothers, Gil and Wayne, to play hand bells. In 1945, at the age of 12 and 14, they performed at various women's and men's groups like the Elks and Eastern Star. In 1946 they participated in the Horace Heidt Talent Show. They came in first place for 13 straight weeks. They then traveled with the Horace Heidt Show and USO throughout the U.S. and Europe. After high school they performed at fairs and TV shows like Bandstand Revue, Polka Parade, Pinky Lee, Red Skelton and Ed Sullivan.
Sports & Service: Bob was very athletic. He played baseball, football and basketball in high school and college. He loved all sports but especially baseball. As a teen he attended a baseball game at the Tustin, CA Marine Base and saw Joe DiMaggio play. He was so inspired that he taught himself to pitch by practicing against the backstop in the local park's baseball field. In 1945, during his senior year of high school, he was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds. But, he enlisted in the Navy and served on the U.S.S. Sargent Bay aircraft carrier until 1946. Bob continued to be active in sports throughout his life. He particularly enjoyed fast pitch softball. He was an elite pitcher and continued pitching into his 60's. Through the years he belonged to many leagues both in the Burbank and Chico areas and went on numerous softball mission trips to Mexico with Athletes in Action. He also loved golf, had a single digit handicap and played until he was physically unable in his 70's.
Education & Work: From 1946 to 1950, Bob attended Southern California Bible College "SCBC", in Pasadena (now Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, CA). He studied music and Bible. After college he continued his music education by attending L.A. City College, and L.A. Pierce College. While at Pierce College, he studied under an African-American professor, where he was introduced to the sound and history of Black Spirituals, which became one of his favorite music genres. He also studied for six years under private tutor, Professor Roy Reid Brignall, FTCL (Trinity College of Music, London). He became good friends with Ralph Carmichael at SCBC. This started a musical collaboration that would continue for several years. Bob worked together with Ralph Carmichael on the TV show, Campus Christian Hour, the first religious show on television. The show won an Emmy in 1949. In the 1940's Bob also worked for Bob Bowman at Far East Broadcasting Company. He also led the music at the Long Beach Youth for Christ working alongside Louie Zamperini.
Music Directing: In 1953, Bob organized the Bob Shepard Chorale. His chorale group performed in churches all over southern California. They also performed on the Phil Kerr Monday night musicals in the Civic Auditorium, Pasadena, CA, as well as Men and Women's clubs, touring up and down the west coast. In 1957 Bob put out his first album, "Songs of the Shepherd". In 1959 he made his second album, A Cappella". His chorale and brass ensemble took a 3 week trip to Winona Lake, Indiana to perform at a Youth for Christ conference. In 1960-1961 he worked for 6 months as a music director at the Bible conference grounds in Boca Raton, FL. In 1970 he made his third album, "Bob Shepard and the Blue Meadows". He worked as a music director in the 1960's at Eagle Rock Baptist Church and Village Church in Burbank, CA. In 1979 the family moved to Chico, CA, where Bob worked as the music director at Chico Neighborhood Church. Bob gave singing lessons throughout his career.
Arranger: Bob was a talented arranger and did work for churches, universities, producers and various musicians and Christian artists from the 1950's up until he passed away. In his later years he arranged for the groups, The Diamonds, The Chordettes and Deja vu. He arranged at his piano and hand wrote all his arrangements until the age of computers in the 2000's when he began to arrange using software.
Hollywood: In 1961 Bob joined SAG and AFTRA and began working as a studio musician singing back up on album recording sessions and movies. His friend, Jay Meyer, helped him get into the industry. Bob had a beautiful tenor voice. He performed with the Ray Coniff Singers and Anita Kerr Quartet, on albums, at concerts and the Lawrence Welk show). He also performed with the Kay Starr Quartet at Harrah's in Lake Tahoe and on a John Wayne TV special "Swing Out, Sweet Land-Tribute to America". He performed as a caroler on the Ozzie and Harriet 1956 Christmas Special. On Easter Sunday in 1971, at the Greek Theater in Hollywood, Bob conducted the orchestra and Pat Boon the vocals, for a Rock production by Ray Ruff called 'Truth of Truths'. He also sang backup on albums with Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Fred Waring, Elvis Presley, Doris Day, Frankie Laine, Lorne Greene, Petula Clark, Dean Martin, John Williams, Nelson Riddle, Bobby Darin, Glen Campbell and more.
Movies: Bob sang on many movie soundtracks including Hawaii (Julie Andrews & Richard Harris), Hallelujah Trail (Burt Lancaster & Lee Remick), Finian's Rainbow (Fred Astaire), Green Berets (John Wayne), Hurry Sundown (Michael Caine & Jane Fonda), Extraordinary Seaman (David Niven & Faye Dunaway), Trouble with Girls (Elvis Presley), Summer Magic (Hayley Mills), How to Save a Marriage (Dean Martin), and Taras Bulba (Tony Curtis & Yul Brynner). He sang and acted as a soldier in the movie Camelot (Richard Harris & Vanessa Redgrave).
His own Family: Bob married Clarice Mack in 1951. She grew up in San Gabriel, CA. They met in high school while attending a church camp together. They began dating in college at SCBC. They raised 3 children, (Corinne, Rand and Brett), while living in California, first in Burbank and the foothills of the San Fernando Valley and later in Northern California. Bob and Clarice were married for 53 years. Bob was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma Cancer in 1994. After receiving treatment he went into remission for 10 years. The internet became available during this time and he was able to reconnect with many of his past musician friends. Thankfully, one friend had the equipment to transfer much of Bob's music from his original reel to reel tapes onto a digital format. CD's were created of all Bob's albums just a short time before Bob's death on January 17, 2004. We are fortunate to be able to still listen to his beautiful voice, trombone playing and music he created. He was a talented man and very much missed by his family and friends.
|Richy B. Jacobs
Richy B. Jacobs was born in Los Angeles County to Parents Alberte T. Jacobs, Retired Registered Nurse, and Richard B. Jacobs, Retired Computer Programmer. He has one sister named Raina Briana Jacobs, who is a Lawyer for Los Angeles County. Mr.Jacobs graduated from California State University, Chico with a Bachelor Of Science Degree in Recreation Administration. He also earned The Special Teams Player Of The Year Award as a Kickoff and Punt Returner his senior year for the Chico State Wildcat Football Team. Mr. Jacobs is a Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor. Now, Retired Army Reservist, He Received The Distinguished Soldier Of The Cycle award during his Boot Camp Training at Ft. LeanordWood Missouri. The Award is given to the Top Soldier in The Training Company, which consisted of over 400 other Soldiers from all over the country. Richy Jacobs who he likes to be called, "without the b", first appeared on Television in the children's series Goosebumps, and Sweet Valley High. He has also appeared on The Dating Game with Chuck Woolery, and on one of The Pioneer shows of Reality T.V., Blind Date with Roger Lodge. Richy B. Jacobs loves and supports all animals and has given to Kitty Crusaders Charity. He is also a Team Member for Walk For Kids, A Ronald McDonald House Southern California Charity.
Cleo Pires had her television debut at the age of eleven in a role in "Memorial de Maria Moura" (1994) (Maria Moura's Memorial). In the miniseries, she portrayed the protagonist Maria Moura as a child. The character in adulthood was played by her mother, Gloria Pires. Nine years later, she met director Monique Gardenberg by chance and was invited to star in the movie "Benjamin" (2004) whose screenplay was based on the book by Chico Buarque. Cleo won the award for Best Actress at the Rio Film Festival for her performance, this was an incentive for her to pursue acting. Her next role was Lurdinha, in "America" (2005), a soap-opera produced by Globo Television, written by Gloria Perez. The role gave her international recognition, and for this Cleo received the award for "Best New Actress" from Contigo! Magazine. Lurdinha was a sensual and spontaneous girl who won the heart of Glauco (Edson Celulari), a much older man. In the same year, she played Cleopatra in the children's' special "Clara e o Chuveiro do Tempo" (2005) (Claire and the Time Shower). In the following year, 2006, she played the rebellious Leticia in the soap-opera "Cobras e Lagartos" (2006) (Snakes and Lizards), a role for which she received the "Best of the Year" award from TV Globo. She presented the "Cineview" program on channel Telecine Premium, a show about the cinematic universe and its backstage. Her second role in a feature film was on "Meu Nome Não e Johnny" (2008) (My Name is Not Johnny), she played Sofia, girlfriend of the protagonist Joao (Selton Mello). The film, directed by Mauro Lima, was based on Guilherme Fiuza's book with the same title. In 2008, Cleo gave life to the young teacher Margarida in the remake of "Ciranda de Pedra" (Rock Ciranda). In the following year, she was in the cast of the soap-opera "Caminho das Indias" (2009) (India - A Love Story), she portrayed the indian Surya, her first villain. When that soap-opera ended, she worked on the movie "Lula, o filho do Brasil" (2010) (Lula, son of Brazil), based on the biography of the President Lula, written by Denise Parana. In the movie, Cleo played Lula's first wife, Lourdes. Between 2010 and 2011, she played the native brazilian Estela, protagonist of the soap-opera "Araguaia"(Destiny River). She also filmed the romantic comedy "Qualquer gato vira-lata" (2010) (Any Stray Cat), directed by Tomas Portella and adapted, by Daniela Carlo, from a play written by Juca de Oliveira. In the following year, she starred in the episode "O Anjo de Alagoas" (The Angel from Alagoas), from the series "As Brasileiras" (The Brazilians), directed by Daniel Filho. In her last soap-opera, "Salve Jorge" (2013) (Brave Woman), she played urban and free Bianca. Her latest character in cinema was Ana Terra, heroine of the first part of Erico Verissimo's work "O Tempo e o Vento" (The Time and the Wind), directed by Jayme Monjardim. In 2014, she returned to television in the series "O Cacador" (The Hunter), directed by Jose Alvarenga. In this police drama, she plays Katia, an emotionally unstable woman who lives a love triangle with her husband Alexandre (Alejandro Claveaux) and his brother Andre (Caua Reymond). She has just finished working on the movie "Boletim de Ocorrencia" (Police Report), in which she plays the leading role of Francis. The film is directed by Tomas Portella.
Celeste McMillan was Born in Hamburg, Germany on an American military base on September 5th, 1990. She was raised in Chico, California with four younger sisters and also has a younger brother.
Celeste has been pursuing acting since the age of fourteen. -Originally spending most of her time studying Theatre.
After moving to Los Angeles to go to college, Celeste quickly found herself working in the modeling, TV & Film industries. So far she's already had a great amount of success as a model and actress and plans to further her acting career in particular, as time goes on.
Since moving to LA, Celeste has also become involved in the Electronic Music scene, working as a DJ under the name "Celestial" in both Hollywood clubs and large outdoor festivals.
"B"-picture cowboy star Bill Cody was born William Joseph Cody, Jr., on January 5, 1891, in St. Paul, Minnesota (some sources list his place of birth as Manitoba, Canada). He was no relation to William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody. He was educated at Saint Thomas Military Academy in Minneapolis and later attended St. Johns University in New York. After graduating, he became an actor with the Metropolitan Stock Company, which toured the US and Canada. He wound up in Hollywood in 1922 and got employment as a stuntman, eventually working his way up to bit parts as an actor.
As an actor using the pseudonym "Paul Walters," Cody appeared in two movies for producer'Jesse Goldburg''s Independent Pictures. In 1924, Goldburg decided to star Cody, under his own name, in a series of eight B-Western features, beginning with Dangerous Days (1924). Though he was short, Cody handled himself well in fight scenes, where he usually took on villains bigger than himself. As was typical of the genre, Cody's horse "Chico" was featured as a co-star, though he also rode a horse named "King."
Goldburg dropped Cody after the series, which wound up in 1925. He moved on to producer Pat Powers' Associated Exhibitors to make two films in 1926, then starred in The Arizona Whirlwind for Myron Selznick, which was released through Pathe Pictures. Possibly influenced by Selznick, who became a talent agent who pioneered the production of motion pictures by their stars, Cody created his own production company, making B-Westerns released by Pathe. Pathe terminated its relationship with Cody in 1928, and he signed with with Universal to star in three detective movies that proved to be his last silent pictures. In 1929, Cody went on tour with the Miller Bros. 101 Ranch Show.
He made the transition to sound, and was back in the saddle in Under Texas Skies in 1930 for W. Ray Johnston's Syndicate Pictures. He subsequently signed with Monogram and made a series of eight B-westerns co-starring Andy Shuford in the popular Bill and Andy Series. In 1932, Monogram decided to replace Cody and its other western star, Tom Tyler, signing Bob Steele and Rex Bell to take their place.
It was back to touring with his Wild West show, this time with the Bostock Wild Animal Circus. He saddled up again for the silver screen in 1934, making three westerns for Robert Horner's Awyon Pictures, one of the poorest of the Poverty Row studios. His Awyon Picture The Border Menace has been called "the worst B-Western ever made". After fulfilling his contract, Cody went back on tour as the star of the Downie Bros. Circus.
Bill Cody and his wife Regina had two sons, Bill, Jr. and Frank. Cody signed up with producer Ray Kirkwood to make a series of Westerns in late 1934, and his son, Bill Cody, Jr. co-starred in four of them, beginning with _Frontier Days_ (1934). Bill Cody's last movie for Kirkwood was Outlaws of the Range, which also co-starred Bill, Jr. Spectrum, which released most of his Kirkwood pictures, announced that Bill Cody Sr. and Jr. would star in a series of B-westerns released by Spectrum the 1936-37 season, but it was never made.
He took time out from touring with his Wild West Show to star in one final picture, _Fighting Cowboy, The (1939). Cody's last hurrah on the screen were bit parts as a rancher in John Ford's classic Stagecoach and as a sheriff in the George O'Brien western The Fighting Gringo. He appeared in the serial The Masked Marvel and also had an uncredited bit part in Walter Wanger's production Joan of Arc. It is likely that he appeared in bit parts in other movies in the 1940s, but no credits currently exist.
Bill Cody died at Santa Monica, California, Jan. 24, 1948. He was 57 years old.
Troy is a San Diego-based writer and TV host. He attended Chico State University, graduating with a degree in Speech Communications and a minor in poetry. That earned him the western regional award of "Most Unemployable College Graduate" in 1997.
Professionally, he's a former rock critic-turned-food writer. His music-writing career was semi-successful. He was the music editor of CityBeat (2002-2007) and wrote bits and pieces for Rolling Stone, Spin, Mojo, Paper and Paste (along with Surfer mag). He also hosted and wrote an indie-rock TV show in San Diego called "Fox Rox" (2001-2007). The name of that show was forced upon him by tragic rhyming Americans. It did win two regional Emmys, however. And provided a live, in-studio outlet for Troy's favorite bands, including TV on the Radio, Blonde Redhead, The Fiery Furnaces, M. Ward, Calexico, Peaches, Low, The Buzzcocks, Badly Drawn Boy (aka "Badly Drawn Boy"), Drive-By Truckers, The Hold Steady and many more (plus the first-ever TV performance by Maroon 5).
Troy also hosted a short-lived TV show, for the San Diego Padres, called "Outta Left Field" (2006-2007). It was alternately "awkward", "killer" and "just kinda there". In 2007, he switched to writing about food for Modern Luxury Media's "Riviera" magazine, under the tutelage of James Beard award-winner, Brad Johnson. He thought food writing was narcoleptic purple prose written by cardigan jockeys who care about proper stemware. But he fell in love with it, and studied it like a kid hopped up on Adderall. He won some awards. In 2008, Arcade Publishing released his comedic memoir about growing up with a gay parent before it was cool to do so. ("Family Outing"). Again, that title was forced upon him. He lobbied for "Son of a Butch". Food Network tapped him to host, write and narrate a new travelogue series called Crave. He likes the title. It premieres August 29, 2011.
Troy currently lives in San Diego, where he's responsible for approximately 1 percent of the city's napkin usage. He's often spotted surfing Black's Beach, one of America's best surf breaks and notorious hangout of naked old men.
|Melissa Scott Clark
Melissa Biggs spent the first nine years of her life in a log cabin with her family outside of a small town in Oregon. Her father was a general contractor and her mother was a legal secretary. After the family left that rural existence they moved frequently, and Melissa attended 14 grammar schools before finally settling down at Chico State University, where she studied English and drama. She had done some modeling work in Portland, Oregon, as a child, but it wasn't until high school that she decided that her dream was to become an actress, and she was encouraged in that pursuit by an English teacher who was impressed by her exceptional reading and speaking skills. She has since appeared in such TV shows as Baywatch, made-for-TV films as The Disappearance of Nora and films including Rush Hour 2.
Cher was born in Queens, New York. She has been a contributing member of The Actor's Lab since 1999, and she has taught the intermediate acting course at their Los Angeles location. Her first major breakthrough in Hollywood was being cast as Loca, one half of the tag team Caged Heat for the WOW Women of Wrestling television show. The program was founded by David McLane, and co-founded by LA Lakers President, Jeannie Buss. The program reached various international markets and eventually caught the attention of the UPN Network. The show lasted one season on UPN from 2000 to 2001. Cher managed to capture the WOW World Tag Team Championships alongside her partner Delta Lotta Pain (Jwaundace Candece). After WOW, Cher returned to acting and coaching while continuing with wrestling on occasion. She is perhaps best known as Fern Delgado on the CW's Veronica Mars. She has done stage work for the likes of Chico's Angels, and she has worked as a talent assistant at The Oscars and Emmys. She has recently made television guest appearances for Southland, Weeds, Shameless, The Mentalist, and The Game.
Dan Claudino was born on October 07, 1996 in Santo André, São Paulo, Brazil as Daniel Claudino Batista, to Rita Claudino and Claudio Francisco Batista.
Claudino began his artistic career at 12 years old, attending a workshop for theater interpretation acting in some school plays.
In 2014, directed by Rômulo Villela and Maurício Galera, Claudino participated in the third episode of the television series "Extremos da Cidade", from TV Gazeta, with his twin brother Davi Claudino, where they talked about being an artist in the outskirts of São Paulo.
Dan also sings and has released a video clip with Grupo Aspas, called "Come Change Your Future (In Brazil it is called: Vem Mudar o Teu Futuro)".
In the theater, he participated in theatrical performances as "Mystery in the Rehearsal Room and Other Stories (Mistério na sala de ensaio e outras histórias)" based on the book of Sergio Roveri; "Take-Muggle-Of-Small-Chat (Pega-Trouxa-De-Papo-Furado)" as the hillbilly Chico Goiaba; "Young oppressor (Jovens Opressores)" directed by Robson Alfieri; "Tales of fools, big fools and little fools (Histórias de bobos, bocós, burraldos e paspalhões)", where he played again Chico Goiaba and Mané Bocó.
Besides acting, Dan wrote a horror story titled "The Killer Corner (O Assassino da Esquina)".
Andersen Gabrych grew up in Chico, California, where he went by the name of Andy. He was active in drama at Chico Senior High School and graduated in 1991.
Kurt Koehler grew up in Haddon Twp., New Jersey as Curtis Joseph Koehler. He attended AMDA in New York City in 1992 and 1993.
Graduated Marymount Manhattan College 1996 with a BFA in Acting and a Minor in Directing.
He's been an avid Musical Theater Player with roles ranging from Danny Zuko in Grease, Leading Player in Pippin and Mark in A Chorus Line. In 1992 he performed at New London Barn Summer Stock with actor Taye Diggs.
His Los Angeles stage directing debut was a critically acclaimed revival of "Vampire Lesbians Of Sodom" in 1998. The LA Times called Koehler's direction and production "hilarious"!
Koehler started collaborating with Oscar Quintero in 2003 on an underground cult classic Chico's Angels...a Latino spoof of Charlie's Angels.
Brian Sampson was born in Los Angeles, but grew up in Northern California. His parents were both musicians and public educators when he began writing, shooting, directing and acting in his own video productions at an early age. His first science-fiction movie, "A Game of Power," won the California State Media Festival in 1983. His second production, "Dark Star of Eden," also won awards at state and local media festivals the following year. Brian continued to study filmmaking and acting during college. In 1990, he visited Los Angeles for a UCLA summer session in the M.P.T.A. program and was hired as a stand-in for the movie, "The Howling VI." Having learned much from that experience, he worked next as a production assistant on the HBO movie, "The Water Engine." Sampson returned to Northern California to finish college and produced two more independent productions for public access television, "Border Patrol II" and "The Knight Warrior." During his senior year at CSU, Chico, he worked as a camera operator and weekend reporter at KCPM Channel 24 before moving to Los Angeles where he was hired as a photographer at an extras casting company in 1996. He worked there for a year, photographing new clients, before trying extra-work as a means to earn his SAG card. He joined the Screen Actor's Guild in 1999 after being featured on season #9, Episode 11 of 90210, (The original series) and went on to play a uniformed policeman on several episodes of the television series Nash Bridges. He continues to act and work on film and television projects in Northern and Southern California.
Ashley Albert was born in 1973 in Miami Shores, Florida. She is an American voice actress and singer who has done multiple voices throughout the course of her career. She was the voice of both Tiffany Blum-Deckler and Janet Barch for the MTV animated series Daria. The job of voicing Tiffany and Ms. Barch was Ashley's first major job in voiceover work. While voicing Tiffany and Mrs. Barch, Ashley was sometimes credited with the single names "Echo" and "Petunia" in the voiceover credits.She voiced Melissa Chowder, the host of Breathing World on Liberty City Free Radio in Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories and Audrey, the DJ for Self-Actualization FM in The Ballad of Gay Tony. She appeared in TV shows such as Hey Joel, Courage the Cowardly Dog, The Wrong Coast and Bubble Guppies. She also appeared in films such as Daria in 'Is It College Yet?, Merry F#%$in' Christmas, Epic, Chico & Rita, Daria in 'Is It Fall Yet? and Ice Age: Continental Drift.
After leaving Daria, her focus switched to commercial voiceover work. She has voiced advertisements for Nutella, Skittles, Kraft, Payless Shoes and Gatorade. She also produced a short drama called Door Number Two in 2008.
Albert is also a vocalist for the band "The Jimmies", a band that plays children's music. A creator of twitter jewelry for "Survival of the Hippest", and the co-owner of a shuffle board club in Brooklyn, "The Royal Palms".
Born and raised in Rio de Janerio, Larissa Vereza is an award-winning actress, producer, director and writer.
Larissa's musical talents as a drummer brought her early success as a teen in a punk rock band, but it wasn't long before she switched her performing focus to acting. She studied at the respected The Estacio in Brazil, where she graduated with a degree in Performing Arts.
Since then, Larissa has built a solid international fan base for her television work. She made her American television debut in 2014, starring opposite Charles S. Dutton and Michael Jai White in SyFy Channel's "Android Cop." Previously, she appeared in her home country as a series regular on Rede Globo's "Amor Eterno Amor" and "Paraiso"; and worked with some of Brazil's best, including Daniel Filho, director and producer of "Chico Xavier," one of the most profitable films in the country.
Larissa won the Top of Business Award for "Amor Eterno Amor" and Best Actress for her adaptation of "War of Troy" at the Bookmakers Theatre Festival. Her TV pilot "Dreaming Around the World," which she created and stars-in based on her 40 day journey through South America, earned her Best Actress at the International Television Festival and represented Brazil at the New York Television Festival.
She founded the production company Pipoca Films and has written screenplays, directed and acted in numerous original projects under the banner. Her short film "Night of Ashes," about the sexual trafficking trade, earned screenings at the "Short Film Corner" in Cannes, "CCIFF" in Los Angeles, "CortoCircuito" in Spain and on Channel Brazil.
This multi-talented creative artist also sings, plays several musical instruments and speaks English, French and Spanish fluently.
Marc Samuelson was formally a Director of the Association of Independent Producers and of the Edinburgh International Television Festival, and MD of Umbrella Films, producers of "White Mischief" and "1984". He is an ex-Board Member of the UK Film Council and Governor of the NFTS and is Deputy Chairman of the British Screen Advisory Council and Chair of Pact film policy group.
From 1990 to 2006 he worked as an independent film producer, partnered in Samuelson Productions Ltd with his LA-based brother, Peter Samuelson and produced films such as "Tom & Viv", "Wilde", "Arlington Road", "Gabriel & Me", "The Gathering", "Things To Do Before You're 30", and "Stormbreaker", and executive produced "The Libertine", "Keeping Mum" and "Chromophobia".
In August 2007 Marc became a director of CinemaNX, the film investment company backed by the Isle of Man Government. Marc produced "Me and Orson Welles", "TT3D: Closer to the Edge" and executive produced "The Disappearance of Alice Creed", "A Bunch of Amateurs", "Heartless", Oscar nominated "Chico & Rita", "Wild Target", "Albatross", "The Shadow Line", "The Decoy Bride", "Ashes" and "Honour".
Marc departed his position with CinemaNX in the middle of 2012 to relaunch his company Samuelson Productions and has a slate of film and television projects in various stages of packaging and development.
Chico Díaz was born in Mexico, but due to his Paraguayan father's diplomatic career, spent his childhood in Peru and went to Brazil in 1969, where he has remained ever since. He was a young stage actor when he was cast in his first movie.
Oscar-nominated Hollywood screenwriter Jo Swerling, who also was a Tony Award-winning Broadway writer and lyricist, was born in Berdichev, Ukraine in what was then the Russian Empire. His family emigrated from Czarist Russia and he grew up on the Lower East Side in New York City.
From a youthful job peddling newspapers, he worked his way up to becoming a journalist, working on newspapers and magazines in the 1920s, including the prestigious "Vanity Fair". He became a playwright, like other famous journalists of the era (most notably Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur of The Front Page fame). Swerling wrote the stage show "Street Cinderella" for the The Marx Brothers and the screenplay for their first film, the 1921 comedy short Humor Risk, starring Chico, Groucho, Harpo and Zeppo. Groucho supposedly hated it so much, he burned the negative. The movie was never released.
Swerling's first legitimate production on the Great White Way was the musical-revue "The New Yorkers", which ran for a then-respectable 52 performances in March and April 1927. Swerling wrote the book and the lyrics for the songs. His next foray on Broadway was the more successful "Kibitzer", an original comedy he co-wrote with Edward G. Robinson (who also co-starred in the show). It ran for 120 performances in February through June 1929.
Wall Street famously laid an egg in October 1929, and Swerling would not be back on Broadway for 21 years. Hollywood beckoned.
In 1929, Universal adapted his play "The Understander" into the movie Melody Lane while Paramount released The Kibitzer the following year (without the participation of Edward G. Robinson). Columbia Pictures, the premier studio on Hollywood's "Poverty Row", hired Swerling, and his first screen credit was for the screenplay for Frank Capra's Ladies of Leisure. He would received screen credit on Capra's next five films in the period 1930-32, before Capra turned to Robert Riskin as his main collaborator. (Jo would work on the screenplay for Capra's classic It's a Wonderful Life, providing additional scenes.)
Swerling worked on scores of films before he received his last screen credit for King of the Roaring 20's: The Story of Arnold Rothstein in 1961. He received his sole Oscar nomination for The Pride of the Yankees (1941). He was one of the many screenwriters, including Ben Hecht, who worked uncredited on the Oscar-winning Gone with the Wind screenplay (won by Sidney Howard).
Swerling's greatest professional success came when he returned to Broadway, co-writing the book for the classic musical Guys and Dolls with Abe Burrows, for which he shared the Tony and the New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards for Best Musical. The show was a smash, running from November 1950 to November 1953 for a total of 1,200 performances. The screenplay for the 1955 movie adaptation was written by director Joseph L. Mankiewicz, whose brother Herman J. Mankiewicz shared an Oscar nod for Best Screenplay in 1943 with Swerling.
Jo Swerling died in Los Angeles, California on October 23, 1964. He was 71 years old.
Songwriter ("Pennsylvania Polka", "Blue Gardenia"), composer and author educated at Manual Trades High School. (Some sources list his birth year as 1905.) He wrote many musical-production tunes, and signed his contract with a Hollywood film studio in 1943. From 1945, he wrote special material for radio. Joining ASCAP in 1942, his chief musical collaborators were Ned Washington, Allan Roberts, Zeke Manners and Bob Russell. His numerous other popular-song compositions include "All For Love", "Ambition", "And It's Yours", "Anyone But You", "Anyone For Love?", "At the Mardi Gras", "Away Aye Ay Aye O", "Baby Sitter", "A Bachelor's Life", "The Barn Dance Polka", "Baseball Is Your Game", "Be Careful, It's June", "The Bells in Her Earrings", "Blow the Whistle", "Bread and Butter Woman", "Bride and Groom Polka", "Bugle Blues", "The Call of the Wild", "Camp Potta Wotta Motta", "Chico's Love Song", "Christmas Dreaming", "The Christmas Season", "Cole Porter Thomas", "Come to California", "Cometo Where My Love Lies Dreaming", "Commercial College Writer", "Consumer's Lament", "Dahhling", "Darlene", "De La Hickory Room", "Do I Care? No, No", "Dreamer's Cloth", "Dreamer With a Penny", "Endlessly", "Every Baby Needs a Da-Da-Daddy", "Fair-Weather Friends", "Farewell", "Fifi From the Follies", "Fightin' Love", "Fire Down Below", "Fortune Teller Song", " Georgi", "Gimme a Man Who Makes Music", "Ginny Buys an Automobile", "Guy in the Middle", "Ha Ha Hacienda", "He Never Looked Better in His Life", "Hear No Evil, See No Evil", "The Heat is On", "Hello, Africa", "Hello, Hello the Riviera", "Hello, Students", "Here We Are, Tokyo", "Hillbilly from Piccadilly", "Hip-Hip Hooray", "His Honor, the Musician", "Horses Are a Hobby", "How Did It Happen?", "How Do I Know It's Real?", "Humphrey Bogart Rhumba", "I'd Rather Be Me", "I Fear Nothing", "I Keep Telling Myself", "I'll Never Say I Love You", "I'm Available", "I'm Phoning From the Jungle", "I've Been Kissed Before", "I Want to Learn About Love", "I Wish I Knew the Name", "If I Were a Colonel", "If the World Were a Theatre", " I'm Gonna Picket Your Heart", "Inflation", "Isn't This Divine?", "It's A Sad, Sad Day", "It Was Great While It Lasted", "Jack and the Beanstalk", "June", "Just Because", "Lady Love", "Lament of a Laundry Girl", "The Last Frontier", "Let's Do It Again", "Little Old Cape Cod Cottage", "Lonesome Little Money Clip", "Love and Learn", "Love Can Be Crazy", "Love is This", "Love, Love, Love", "Mademoiselle", "Man From Laramie", "Margie is the Girl for Me", "A Marine, a Marine, a Marine", "Meet Captain Kidd", "Merry Christmas to Everybody", "Mexican Disc Jockey", "Miss In-Between Blues", "Missouri", "Music of Love", "Mustang", "My Baby's Bored", "My Big Boy", "My Christmas Wish", "My Name is Marilyn", "My Old American Home", "Naughty Angeline", "No Time for Nothin' But You", "North of Nowhere", "Now's the Time", "O'Connor the Lover", "Old Magnolia Tree", "The Old Piano Polka", "The Old Professor", "On Santa's List", "Ooh Ah Oh", "Peace on Earth", "Poor Lil", "Prize of Gold", "Run to Me, My Love", "Sadie Thompson's Song", "Samba Sam", "Shave and a Haircut Shampoo", "She'll Drink Her Milk", "Showmanship", "Speak to Me of the Tall Pines", "Sweetheart Polka", "Take It Big", "Take Me to Town", "Takin' a Slow Burn", "Taxes", "Teahouse", "That's All There Is", "There Was a Time", "They Never Serve Tea", "They're Out to Trap You", "Today's the Day", "Town and Country Polka", "Trinidad Lady", "Under the Campus Moon", "Vacation Time", "We'll Build a Home", "We Sail Tonight", "When a Man's In the Army", "When Birds Want Romance", "When I Was Just a Little Lad", "When Prices Were Fixed", "Where Can We Do the Mambo?", "Which One?", "Words", "You Are So Different", "You'll Be Sorry Bye and Bye", and "You're Too Much for Me".
The Spanish born ventriloquist Senor Wences was one of the highest paid vaudeville acts in the world. Hugely popular with American TV audiences Wences was also a top nightclub favorite.
Born Wenceslao Moreno in Peñaranda de Bracamonte, Salamanca (Spain), Wences began performing ventriloquism as a child An early career in bullfighting proved unsuccessful so he took up ventriloquism and juggling professionally. Wences toured Europe in the 1920s before coming to America in 1935 where he made his New York debut at the Club Chico.
He became an overnight sensation on "The Milton Berle Show" and later made appearances on "The Ed Sullivan Show" and TV specials with Jack Benny and Perry Como. In 1947 he had stand-out cameo in the film comedy Mother Wore Tights, starring Dan Dailey and Betty Grable.
Among his famous vent characters were 'Johnny', ingeniously formed by one of Wences's hands and 'Pedro', a torso-less head in a box. In the middle of a routine Wences would lift the lid of the box and say "Are you alright?" to which Pedro would reply "S'alright". "S'alright" - which became a classic catchphrase.
In 1986 Wences toured America with Mickey Rooney and Ann Miller in the musical Sugar Babies. He also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Comedy Hall of Fame which was inscribed "For his devotion to entertaining generations of audiences and bringing countless hours of joy and happiness to millions throughout the world."
Carlos Arrechea Moreno was born in Playa, Havana, Cuba, under the sign of Capricorn. He is an actor and model. From childhood his life has been linked to the world of acting. His career began at age 6, with its foray into various programs such as starring in his native country, among which are "Haciendo Caminos", "Hablemos de Salud" and "La Virgen de la Milagrosa". Also belonged to the theater group "Los chicos de altura." Successfully played the lead role of "Abdala" in the Theatre Alba, written by Jose Marti. The young actor immigrated to Miami in 2002 with his mother and grandfather, who became his father figure after the death of his father, Carlos 17 days after birth. The family was sympathetic to his passion for art. To please them, Carlos began studying psychology, but still wanting to materialize his dream and realized that his future was acting. He dropped out of psychology and began to study acting full time to profile his talent professionally and delivered to large like Roberto Huicochea, Hector Zavaleta, Vivian Ruiz, Max Ferra, Anna Silvetti, and Sebastian Ligarde. In 2009 he got to the stage and was part of "A la Diestra de Dios padre" directed by Max Ferra at Miami Dade College North Campus. After its first staging in Miami, Carlos' career began to shift extraordinary and very successfully, to participate in several novels as "Mas sabe el diablo", "El Cartel 2" and a cameo in "Alguien Te Mira" which aired on Telemundo. Carlos has worked on 6 plays in Miami. In 2010 he starred in his first short film "Fate's Decree" directed by Michael Ruiz. People en Espanol posted a mention of the young actor and presented as "new face". He was also part hispanosenmiami.com team where we could see his versatility and talent as a TV Host. The 2011 began with great strides in this handsome and talented actor and his participation in a super film production with director Sam Bradley nortamericano where he starred in the short film "El Manantial" with the role of "Diego", a young conqueror of the 1520 . In February, he signed with Nickelodeon and joined the series "Grachi" a Nickelodeon Latin teen telenovela fantasy and adventure where personifies "Sebastian", one of the most popular kids at school "Escolarium" it belongs to the swimmer and swim team called "The Shark". Grachi is viewed internationally and has been sold to over 52 countries, including warning signs in Italy, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela, and 36 French-speaking territories, including France, Belgium and Switzerland. In 2012 it will continue to watch the second season of the series, where his character "Sebastian" is even more fun, dreamy, and discover why he is nicknamed "Shark Danger". Similarly it can see the most recent production of Univision, El Talisman, embodying the role of "Juancho". This young Cuban is capturing the attention of all for his great talent and simplicity.