1-50 of 533 names.

Jena Malone

Jena Malone was born in Sparks, Nevada, to Deborah Malone and Edward Berge. Her grandfather owned a casino, Karl's Silver Club, in Sparks. She was raised by her mother and her mother's partner. Beginning as a child actress, and then stepping up to roles as a young adult, Malone's career path has been compared to that of Jodie Foster, herself a former child actress and who has co-starred with Malone in two movies. Jena is often described as having a maturity beyond her years and, in her career thus far, she has often tackled roles that are difficult and are not standard fare for actors her age.

Malone's first claim to fame was in performing the title role in Bastard Out of Carolina for which she won the Young Artist Award, and which she filmed when she was merely ten years old. This movie dealt with issues of child abuse, violence and sex. Jena has said in later interviews that this movie and her participation in it continue to influence her life substantially.

Showing self-assurance and a clear vision of personal goals from an early age, Jena, at age 14, was encouraged to try out for Air Force One, a movie that was virtually guaranteed to be a success since box-office king Harrison Ford was cast in the lead, but Jena said she'd prefer to seek other roles that were of more interest to her.

In the following years, Malone appeared in several made-for-TV movies for which she won or was nominated for many awards. In 1997, she lucked in to being cast in the blockbuster Contact where she portrayed the child version of Jodie Foster's lead character. Foster stated that she built her character by mimicking Jena. And, in 1998, Jena was cast in the major film Stepmom where she co-starred with Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon and Ed Harris. Jena was given what was likely the best line in that movie where her character, bitter over her parents' divorce, confronts her father who has returned home briefly; at a moment of crisis, her dad tells her "You do NOT run out on your mother", and the rueful Malone exclaims "No -- that's YOUR job".

Also, in 1998, Malone appeared in a two-part episode of the critically acclaimed TV series Homicide: Life on the Street. Contrary to what might usually be expected of a teenage actress, in this episode, Jena played the complex role of the perpetrator of a crime, which she portrayed with subtlety.

At age 15, Jena was legally emancipated and thus took direct control of her finances and her career. Malone began getting more attention and acclaim in her next set of films: the artistic cult film Donnie Darko; the teenage journey The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys where she again co-starred with Jodie Foster; and the satirical Saved! which debuted Jena as the lead in a movie.

Jena has expressed an interest in directing some day, and so she is preparing for roles behind the camera as well as in front. In 2002, she co-produced American Girl while also starring in it. And, in 2003, she undertook a formal study of photography.

In early 2006, Malone debuted on the Broadway stage in the play "Doubt". A review by Broadway.com characterized her performance as "astonishing".

Many people in Hollywood have jobs as actors. Watch for Jena Malone. She is an artist.

Sean Connery

Sean Connery is best known for portraying the character James Bond, starring in seven Bond films between 1962 and 1983. In 1988, Connery won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Untouchables. His film career also includes such films as Marnie, The Name of the Rose, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Hunt for Red October, Highlander, Murder on the Orient Express, DragonHeart and The Rock. Connery has been polled as "The Greatest Living Scot" and "Scotland's Greatest Living National Treasure". In 1989, he was proclaimed "Sexiest Man Alive" by People magazine, and in 1999, at age 69, he was voted "Sexiest Man of the Century".

Thomas Sean Connery was born on August 25, 1930 in Fountainbridge, Edinburgh, Scotland. His mother, Euphemia McBain (née McLean), was a cleaning lady, and his father, Joseph Connery, was a factory worker and truck driver. He has a brother, Neil Connery, who works as a plasterer in Edinburgh. He is of Irish and Scottish descent. Before going into acting, Sean had many different jobs, such as a milkman, lorry driver, a laborer, artist's model for the Edinburgh College of Art, coffin polisher and bodybuilder. He also joined the Royal Navy, but was later discharged because of medical problems. At the age of 23, he had a choice between becoming a professional footballer or an actor, and even though he showed much promise in the sport, he chose acting and said it was one of his more intelligent moves.

No Road Back was Sean's first major movie role, and it followed by several Tv-movies such as Anna Christie, Macbeth and Anna Karenina and guest appearances on TV-series, and also films such as Hell Drivers, Another Time, Another Place, Darby O'Gill and the Little People, The Frightened City. In 1962 he appeared in The Longest Day with a host of other stars.

Connery's breakthrough came in the role of secret agent James Bond. He was reluctant to commit to a film series, but understood that if the films succeeded his career would greatly benefit. He played the character in the first five Bond films: Dr. No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, and You Only Live Twice - then appeared again as Bond in Diamonds Are Forever and Never Say Never Again. All seven films were commercially successful. James Bond, as portrayed by Connery, was selected as the third-greatest hero in cinema history by the American Film Institute. Connery's selection for the role of James Bond owed a lot to Dana Broccoli, wife of producer "Cubby" Broccoli, who is reputed to have been instrumental in persuading her husband that Connery was the right man. James Bond's creator, Ian Fleming, originally doubted Connery's casting, saying, "He's not what I envisioned of James Bond looks", and "I'm looking for Commander Bond and not an overgrown stunt-man," adding that Connery (muscular, 6' 2", and a Scot) was unrefined. Fleming's girlfriend told him that Connery had the requisite sexual charisma, and Fleming changed his mind after the successful Dr. No premiere. He was so impressed, he created a half-Scottish, half-Swiss heritage for Bond in the later novels. Connery's portrayal of Bond owes much to stylistic tutelage from director Terence Young, polishing the actor while using his physical grace and presence for the action. Lois Maxwell, who played Miss Moneypenny, related that, "Terence took Sean under his wing. He took him to dinner, showed him how to walk, how to talk, even how to eat." The tutoring was successful; Connery received thousands of fan letters a week, and the actor became one of the great male sex symbols of film. During the filming of Thunderball, Connery's life was in danger in the sequence with the sharks in Emilio Largo's pool. He had been concerned about this threat when he read the script. Connery insisted that Ken Adam build a special Plexiglas partition inside the pool, but, despite this, it was not a fixed structure and one of the sharks managed to pass through it. He had to abandon the pool immediately. Connery was forced to wear a toupee during each of the Bond movies because he had started balding at the age of 17. This didn't prevent Connery from being cast in roles, although it became more noticeable in his later years. In 2005, From Russia with Love was adapted by Electronic Arts into a video game, titled From Russia with Love, which featured all-new voice work by Connery as well as his likeness, and those of several of the film's supporting cast.

After and during the success of the Bond-films he has maintained a successful career as an actor and has appeared in films, including Alfred Hitchcock's Marnie, The Hill, Murder on the Orient Express, The Man Who Would Be King, The Wind and the Lion, Time Bandits, Highlander, The Name of the Rose, The Untouchables (which earned him an Oscar for best actor in a supporting role), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Hunt for Red October, Rising Sun, The Rock, Finding Forrester, and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Sean married actress Diane Cilento in 1962 and they had a son, Jason Connery, born on January 11, 1963, he followed in his father's footsteps and also became an actor. The marriage ended in divorce in 1973. In 1975 he married Micheline Roquebrune and they have stayed married, they have no children together. He is also a grandfather. His son, Jason and his ex-wife, actress Mia Sara had a son, Dashiell Quinn Connery, in 1997.

Timothy Olyphant

From Timothy Olyphant's first screen appearances, such as his two-minute bit in The First Wives Club, to "Nicko", whose presence at times dwarfed the island in A Perfect Getaway, he has been a force to be reckoned with.

Born in Hawaii, Timothy David Olyphant was raised in Modesto, California. He is the son of Katherine Lyon (Gideon) and John Vernon Bevan Olyphant, a college teacher who was also an executive at E & J Gallo Winery. He has an older brother, Andy, who is in A&R for Warner Bros. Records, and a younger brother, Matt Olyphant, who was the lead singer for the punk rock group, Fetish, and is also an artist. He is a descendant of the prominent Vanderbilt and Olyphant families of businesspeople, and his ancestry includes Russian Jewish (from a maternal great-grandfather), English, German, Scottish, Dutch, and Irish. Timothy quickly became Modesto's favorite son, competing as a pro swimmer and excelling at drawing. It was, by chance, that he enrolled in an acting course as an elective and decided to pursue an acting career. He took his family and headed to New York City, where he studied the craft and began auditioning for roles. From the beginning, he tried to choose diversified roles and take chances with every genre and always approached everything he did with commitment, humor and grace. Timothy is married to his college sweetheart, Alexis Knief, and, together, they raise three children, one son and two daughters in California. He has managed to keep his personal life out of the tabloids. He obviously has his priorities straight, as this is no easy task in Hollywood.

Highlights of Olyphant's career include his riveting portrayal of "Sheriff Seth Bullock" in HBO's hit drama, Deadwood. He now personifies intensity as complex Kentucky Marshal, "Raylan Givens", in FX's Justified. On the big screen, in 2010's The Crazies, he had the chance to infuse his character with doubts, fears and humaneness in an inhumane situation. Mr. Olyphant proved he could carry a major movie on his talent, alone. He recently appeared in I Am Number Four, a Steven Spielberg sci-if thriller, in which Tim provided the adult mentorship, taking a back seat to the teen cast.

C. Thomas Howell

After an eye-catching performance in the teen coming-of-age epic The Outsiders, ex-child rodeo star C. Thomas Howell was one of the most promising young actors in the mid 1980s.

Christopher Thomas Howell was born in Los Angeles, California, to Candice (Webb) and Chris Howell, a professional bull rider turned stuntman. He started working in the film industry at the age of seven. In 1981, he was cast as Tyler in Steven Spielberg's E.T. The Extra Terrestrial. Shortly thereafter, he nabbed the lead in Francis Ford Coppola's classic The Outsiders, starring opposite the likes of Diane Lane, Patrick Swayze, Matt Dillon, and Tom Cruise. It was Howell's gripping performance as the tough, yet vulnerable Ponyboy Curtis that made him a household name virtually overnight. Earmarked as an up-and-coming actor, Howell's career soon skyrocketed with roles in films including the comedy Grandview, U.S.A., alongside Jamie Lee Curtis, and the violent Cold War invasion drama Red Dawn. His career was not helped by the controversial racial comedy Soul Man, which was not well-received. However, he did meet and fall in love with his co-star from that movie, Rae Dawn Chong, whom he later married.

Whilst superstardom has eluded him, there's no doubting that Howell has been in consistent demand with film producers. He has notched up in excess of 90 feature film appearances. including starring roles in Side Out, Gettysburg, Baby Face Nelson, Fatal Affair, Asylum Days and Hoboken Hollow.

He played unpredictable Officer Bill "Dewey" Dudek in the TNT smash drama Series Southland and as the serial killer "The Reaper" on CBS' Criminal Minds. His recent television appearances include The Glades on A&E as well as Torchwood on the Starz Channel. He also appeared in Sony's The Amazing Spider-Man. A budding film director, he has directed a number of films, including The Big Fall, Pure Danger and Edgar Rice Burroughs The Land That Time Forgot.

Outside of his acting career, Howell is an accomplished team roper. Known as a friendly and likable person to fans, he lives with his wife Sylvie, and their three children Isabelle, Dashiell and Liam.

Dianna Agron

Dianna Elise Agron was born in Savannah, Georgia, to parents Ronald and Mary Agron. She grew up in a middle class family, in Savannah, before moving to Texas, and later, San Francisco, California, due to her father's career as a general manager for Hyatt. Dianna and her brother, Jason, were raised Jewish, and she graduated from Burlingame High School with honors.

While Dianna was growing up, she spent much of her time performing. She began dancing at the age of three, focusing mainly on jazz and ballet, and she later began hip-hop dancing as well. Dianna also spent much of her time performing on stage, appearing in many local musical theater productions when she was younger.

After graduating from high school, Dianna decided to pursue acting as a career and began appearing in several commercials and television shows including CSI: NY, Numb3rs, Veronica Mars, and Heroes. In 2009, Dianna won the role of high school cheerleader, Quinn Fabray, on the FOX television series, Glee. Since the premiere of the hit television show on May 19th, 2009, Dianna, as well as her fellow cast mates, have received critical praise for their incredible work on the show. In addition, to her work on Glee, Dianna has begun to venture into films, such as Burlesque, where she had the opportunity to star alongside Christina Aguilera, Cher, and Stanley Tucci, and the action thriller I Am Number Four. There is no doubt that due to Dianna's beautiful gift and talent, we will continue to see her shine on the silver screen.

Michael Douglas

An actor with over forty years of experience in theatre, film, and television, Michael Douglas branched out into independent feature production in 1975 with the Academy Award-winning One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Since then, as a producer and as an actor-producer, he has shown an uncanny knack for choosing projects that reflect changing trends and public concerns. Over the years, he has been involved in such controversial and politically influential motion pictures as One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, The China Syndrome and Traffic, and such popular films as Fatal Attraction and Romancing the Stone.

Michael Douglas was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, to actors Diana Douglas (Diana Love Dill) and Kirk Douglas (born Issur Danielovitch). His paternal grandparents were Belarusian Jewish immigrants, while his mother was born in Bermuda, the daughter of a local Attorney General, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Melville Dill; Diana's family had long been established in both Bermuda and the United States. Douglas's parents divorced when he was six, and he went to live with his mother and her new husband. Only seeing Kirk on holidays, Michael attended Eaglebrook school in Deerfield, Massachusetts, where he was about a year younger than all of his classmates.

Douglas attended the elite preparatory Choate School and spent his summers with his father on movie sets. Although accepted at Yale, Douglas attended the University of California, Santa Barbara. Deciding he wanted to be an actor in his teenage years, Michael often asked his father about getting a "foot in the door". Kirk was strongly opposed to Michael pursuing an acting career, saying that it was an industry with many downs and few ups, and that he wanted all four of his sons to stay out of it. Michael, however, was persistent, and made his film debut in his father's film Cast a Giant Shadow.

After receiving his B.A. degree in 1968, Douglas moved to New York City to continue his dramatic training, studying at the American Place Theatre with Wynn Handman, and at the Neighborhood Playhouse, where he appeared in workshop productions of Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author (1976) and Thornton Wilder's Happy Journey (1963). A few months after he arrived in New York, Douglas got his first big break, when he was cast in the pivotal role of the free-spirited scientist who compromises his liberal views to accept a lucrative job with a high-tech chemical corporation in the CBS Playhouse production of Ellen M. Violett's drama, The Experiment, which was televised nationwide on February 25, 1969.

Douglas' convincing portrayal won him the leading role in the adaptation of John Weston's controversial novel, Hail, Hero!, which was the initial project of CBS's newly organized theatrical film production company, Cinema Center Films. Douglas starred as a well-meaning, almost saintly young pacifist determined not only to justify his beliefs to his conservative parents but also to test them under fire in the jungles of Indochina. His second feature, Adam at Six A.M. concerned a young man's search for his roots. Douglas next appeared in the film version of Ron Cowen's play Summertree, produced by 'Kirk Douglas'' Bryna Company, and then Napoleon and Samantha, a sentimental children's melodrama from the Walt Disney studio.

In between film assignments, he worked in summer stock and off-Broadway productions, among them "City Scenes", Frank Gagliano's surrealistic vignettes of contemporary life in New York, John Patrick Shanley's short-lived romance "Love is a Time of Day" and George Tabori's "Pinkville", in which he played a young innocent brutalized by his military training. He also appeared in the made-for-television thriller, "When Michael Calls", broadcast by ABC-TV on February 5, 1972 and in episodes of the popular series "Medical Center" and "The FBI".

Impressed by Douglas' performance in a segment of The F.B.I. (1965), producer 'Quinn Martin' signed the actor for the part of Karl Malden's sidekick in the police series "The Streets of San Francisco", which premiered September of 1972 and became one of ABC's highest-rated prime-time programs in the mid-1970s. Douglas earned three successive Emmy Award nominations for his performance and he directed two episodes of the series.

During the annual breaks in the shooting schedule for The Streets of _San Francisco (1972)_, Douglas devoted most of his time to his film production company, Big Stick Productions, Ltd., which produced several short subjects in the early 1970s. Long interested in producing a film version of Ken Kesey's grimly humorous novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Douglas purchased the movie rights from his father and began looking for financial backing. After a number of major motion picture studios turned him down, Douglas formed a partnership with Saul Zaentz, a record industry executive, and the two set about recruiting the cast and crew. Douglas still had a year to go on his contract for "The Streets of San Francisco", but the producers agreed to write his character out of the story so that he could concentrate on filming "Cuckoo's Nest".

A critical and commercial success, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor and Best Actress, and went on to gross more than $180 million at the box office. Douglas suddenly found himself in demand as an independent producer. One of the many scripts submitted to him for consideration was Mike Gray's chilling account of the attempted cover-up of an accident at a nuclear power plant. Attracted by the combination of social relevance and suspense, Douglas immediately bought the property. Deemed not commercial by most investors, Douglas teamed up with Jane Fonda and her own motion picture production company, IPC Films.

A Michael Douglas-IPC Films co-production, The China Syndrome starred Jack Lemmon, Jane Fonda, and 'Michael Douglas' and received Academy Award nominations for Lemmon and Fonda, as well as for Best Screenplay. The National Board of Review named the film one of the best films of the year.

Despite his success as a producer, Douglas resumed his acting career in the late 1970s, starring in Michael Crichton's medical thriller Coma with Genevieve Bujold, Claudia Weill's feminist comedy It's My Turn starring Jill Clayburgh, and Peter Hyams' gripping tale of modern-day vigilante justice, "The Star Chamber" (1983). Douglas also starred in Running, as a compulsive quitter who sacrifices everything to take one last shot at the Olympics, and as Zach the dictatorial director/choreographer in Richard Attenborough's screen version of the Broadway's longest running musical A Chorus Line.

Douglas' career as an actor/producer came together again in 1984 with the release of the tongue-in-cheek romantic fantasy "Romancing the Stone". Douglas had begun developing the project several years earlier, and with Kathleen Turner as Joan Wilder, the dowdy writer of gothic romances, Danny DeVito as the feisty comic foil Ralphie and Douglas as Jack Colton, the reluctant soldier of fortune, "Romancing" was a resounding hit and grossed more than $100 million at the box office. Douglas was named Producer of the Year in 1984 by the National Association of Theater Owners. Douglas, Turner and DeVito reteamed in 1985 for the successful sequel The Jewel of the Nile.

It took Douglas nearly two years to convince Columbia Pictures executives to approve the production of Starman, an unlikely tale of romance between an extraterrestrial, played by 'Jeff Bridges', and a young widow, played by Karen Allen. Starman was the sleeper hit of the 1984 Christmas season and earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actor for 'Jeff Bridges'. In 1986 Douglas created a television series based on the film for ABC which starred 'Robert Hays'.

After a lengthy break from acting, Douglas returned to the screen in 1987 appearing in two of the year's biggest hits. He starred opposite Glenn Close in the phenomenally successful psychological thriller, "Fatal Attraction", which was followed by his performance as ruthless corporate raider Gordon Gekko in 'Oliver Stone''s Wall Street, earning him the Academy Award for Best Actor.

Douglas next starred in Ridley Scott's thriller Black Rain and then teamed up again with 'Kathleen Turner' and Danny DeVito in the black comedy The War of the Roses which was released in 1989.

In 1988 Douglas formed Stonebridge Entertainment, Inc. which produced Flatliners, directed by Joel Schumacher and starred Kiefer Sutherland, 'Julia Roberts', 'Kevin Bacon' and 'William Baldwin' and Radio Flyer starring Lorraine Bracco and directed by Richard Donner. Douglas followed with David Seltzer's adaptation of Susan Issac's best-selling novel, "Shining Through", opposite Melanie Griffith. In 1992 he starred with Sharon Stone in the erotic thriller from 'Paul Verhoeven' Basic Instinct, one of the year's top grossing films.

Douglas gave one of his most powerful performances opposite Robert Duvall in Joel Schumacher's controversial drama Falling Down. That year he also produced the hit comedy "Made in America" starring Whoopi Goldberg, Ted Danson and Will Smith. In 1994/95 he starred with Demi Moore in Barry Levinson's "Disclosure,." based on the best seller by Michael Crichton. In 1995 Douglas portrayed the title role in Rob Reiner's romantic comedy The American President opposite Annette Bening, and in 1997, starred in The Game directed by David Fincher and co-starring 'Sean Penn'.

Douglas formed Douglas/Reuther Productions with partner Steven Reuther in May 1994. The company, under the banner of Constellation Films, produced, The Ghost and the Darkness, starring Douglas and Val Kilmer, and John Grisham's The Rainmaker, based on John Grisham's best selling novel, directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Matt Damon,Claire Danes, Danny DeVito, Jon Voight, Mickey Rourke, Mary Kay Place, Virginia Madsen, Andrew Shue, 'Teresa Wright', Johnny Whitworth and 'Randy Travis'.

Michael Douglas and Steve Reuther also produced John Woo's action thriller Face/Off starring 'John Travolta' and Nicolas Cage, which proved to be one of '97's major hits.

In 1998, ' Michael Douglas' starred with Gwyneth Paltrow and Viggo Mortensen in the mystery thriller A Perfect Murder, and formed a new production company, 2000 was a milestone year for Douglas. "Wonder Boys" opened in February 2000 to much critical acclaim. Directed by Curtis Hanson and co-starring Tobey Maguire, Frances McDormand, Robert Downey Jr. and 'Katie Holmes', Douglas starred in the film as troubled college professor Grady Tripp. Michael was nominated for a Golden Globe and a BAFTA Film award for his performance.

"Traffic" was released by USA Films on December 22, 2000 in New York and Los Angeles went nationwide in January 2001. Douglas played the role of Robert Wakefield, a newly appointed drug czar confronted by the drug war both at home and abroad. Directed by Steven Soderbergh and co-starring Don Cheadle, Benicio del Toro, Amy Irving, Dennis Quaid and Catherine Zeta-Jones, "Traffic" was named Best Picture by New York Film Critics, won Best Ensemble Cast at the SAG Awards, won four Academy Awards (Best Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actor for Benicio del Toro) and has been recognized over on over 175 top ten lists.

In 2001, Douglas produced and played a small role in USA Films' outrageous comedy "One Night at McCool's" starring Liv Tyler, Matt Dillon, John Goodman, Paul Reiser, and was directed by Harald Zwart. "McCool's" was the first film by Douglas' company Furthur Films. Also in 2001, Douglas starred in "Don't Say A Word" for 20th Century Fox. The psychological thriller, directed by Gary Fleder, also starred Sean Bean, Famke Janseen and Brittany Murphy.

In 2002, Douglas appeared in a guest role on the hit NBC comedy "Will & Grace", and received an Emmy Nomination for his performance.

Douglas starred in two films in 2003. MGM/BVI released the family drama "It Runs in the Family", which Douglas produced and starred with his father Kirk Douglas, his mother Diana Douglas and his son Cameron Douglas, Rory Culkin and Bernadette Peters. He also starred in the Warner Bros. comedy "The-In Laws", with Albert Brooks, Candice Bergen Ryan Reynolds.

In 2004 Douglas, along with his father Kirk, filmed the intimate HBO documentary "A Father, A Son... Once Upon a Time in Hollywood". Directed by award-winning filmmaker Lee Grant, the documentary examines the professional and personal lives of both men, and the impacts they each made on the motion picture industry.

In summer 2005, Douglas produced and starred in "The Sentinel", which was released by 20th Century Fox in spring 2006. Based on the Gerald Petievich novel and directed by Clark Johnson, "The Sentinel" is a political thriller set in the intriguing world of the Secret Service. Douglas stars with Keifer Sutherland, Eva Longoria and Kim Bassinger. Douglas filmed "You, Me & Dupree", starring with Owen Wilson, Kate Hudson and Matt Dillon. The comedy is direct by Anthony and Joe Russo, and was released by Universal Pictures during the summer of 2006. In 2007 he made "King of California", co-starring Evan Rachel Wood and is written and directed by Michael Cahill, and produced by Alexander Payne and Michael London.

Michael had two films released in early '09, "Beyond A Reasonable Doubt" directed by Peter Hyams and "Ghosts of Girlfriend's Past" starring Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner directed by Mark Waters. He followed with the drama "Solitary Man" directed by Brian Koppelman and David Levien, co-starring Susan Sarandon, Danny DeVito, Mary Louise-Parker, and Jenna Fischer, produced by Paul Schiff and Steven Soderbergh and in Fall '10 starred in "Wall Street 2 - Money Never Sleeps" reprising his Oscar winning role as Gordon Gekko and once again was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance. Again directed by Oliver Stone, he co-starred with Shia Labeouf, Cary Mulligan, Josh Brolin, Frank Langella and Susan Sarandon.

Douglas had a cameo role in Steven Soderbergh's action thriller "Haywire." "Behind the Candelabra" based on the life of musical '70's/80's icon Liberace and his partner Scott Thorson, directed by Steven Soderbergh costarring Matt Damon, premiered on HBO in May 2013. Douglas won an Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG Award as Best Actor in a television movie or mini series for his performance as the famed entertainer. He followed with the buddy comedy "Last Vegas" directed by John Turtletaub co-starring Robert DeNiro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline and the romantic comedy "And So It Goes" co-starring Diane Keaton directed by Rob Reiner.

Douglas recently starred in and producing the thriller "Beyond The Reach" directed by Jean-Baptiste Leonetti costarring Jeremy Irvine and portrays Dr. Hank Pym in Marvel's "Ant Man" opposite Paul Rudd. It will be his first venture into the realm of comic book action adventure. Most recently he completed a spy thriller "Unlocked" co-starring Noomi Rapace, Orlando Bloom, John Malkovich and is directed by Michael Apted. In 1998 Douglas was made a United Nations Messenger of Peace by Kofi Annan. His main concentrations are nuclear non-proliferation and the control of small arms. He is on the Board of Ploughshares Foundation and The Nuclear Threat Initiative.

Michael Douglas was recipient of the 2009 AFI Lifetime Achievement as well as the Producers Guild Award that year. In Spring '10 he received the New York Film Society's Charlie Chaplin Award.

Douglas has hosted 11 years of "Michael Douglas and Friends" Celebrity Golf Event which has raised over $6 million for the Motion Picture and Television Fund. Douglas is very passionate about the organization, and each year he asks his fellow actors and to come out and show that "we are an industry that takes care of own".

Douglas is married to Catherine Zeta-Jones. The couple has one son, Dylan, and one daughter, Carys. Douglas also has one son, Cameron, from a previous marriage.

Kim Basinger

Kim Basinger was born December 8, 1953, in Athens, Georgia, the third of five children. Both her parents had been in entertainment, her dad had played big-band jazz, and her mother had performed water ballet in several Esther Williams movies. Kim was introspective, from her father's side. As a schoolgirl, she was very shy. To help her overcome this, her parents had Kim study ballet from an early age. By the time she reached sweet sixteen, the once-shy Kim entered the Athens Junior Miss contest. From there, she went on to win the Junior Miss Georgia title, and traveled to New York to compete in the national Junior Miss pageant. Kim, who had blossomed to a 5' 7" beauty, was offered a contract on the spot with the Ford Modeling Agency. At the age of 20, Kim was a top model commanding $1,000 a day. Throughout the early 1970s, she appeared on dozens of magazine covers and in hundreds of ads, most notably as the Breck girl. Kim took acting classes at the Neighborhood Playhouse, performed in various Greenwich Village clubs, and she sang under the stage name Chelsea. Kim moved to Los Angeles in 1976, ready to conquer Hollywood. Kim broke into television doing episodes of such hit series as Charlie's Angels. In 1980, she married Ron Snyder (they divorced in 1989). In movies, she had roles like being a Bond girl in Never Say Never Again and playing a small-town Texan beauty in Nadine. Her breakout role was as photojournalist Vicki Vale in the blockbuster hit Batman. There was no long-orchestrated campaign on her part to snag this plumb role, Kim was a last-minute replacement for Sean Young. This took her to a career high.

With perhaps too much disposable income, Kim headed up an investment group that purchased the entire town of Braselton, in her native Georgia, for $20 million (she would later have to sell it). In 1993, Kim married Alec Baldwin, and in 1995 they had a daughter, Ireland Eliesse. Kim took some time off to stay at home with her child. Kim, who loves animals and is a strict vegetarian, devoted energy to animal rights issues, and PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), even posing for some ads. In 1997, Kim gave an Oscar-winning performance in the film noir classic L.A. Confidential. Kim's salary for I Dreamed of Africa was $5,000,000, putting her firmly in the category of big-name movie star. And no doubt there are still many great things ahead, in the career of cover girl turned Oscar-winning actress Kim Basinger.

Alexa Davalos

Alexa Davalos was born in Paris, France, to American parents, Jeff Dunas, a photographer, and Elyssa Davalos, an actress. Her father's family were Jewish immigrants (from Russia and Lithuania). After a quintessentially bohemian childhood that found her straddling New York, Paris, Italy and Los Angeles, Alexa Davalos headed to Manhattan. In the Big Apple, she instantly snagged lucrative assignments as a photographer's model for the likes of Peter Lindbergh, then discovered an inborn passion for acting and decided to make it the focus of her life.

Born into a family of performers - her grandfather Richard Davalos starred alongside James Dean in East of Eden - in 2002, Davalos turned her focus to acting and migrated to Los Angeles and began signing for guest parts on series such as Angel and Undeclared. Her big break arrived when producers selected her to play "Kyra", the heroine in the 2004 futuristic fantasy vehicle The Chronicles of Riddick, starring Vin Diesel. Davalos next took on a prominent role as "Samantha" on the high-concept mystery-period series Reunion. When the highly-touted series failed to catch on with viewers and was canceled after half a season, Davalos bounced back with a convincing portrayal as Diane Keaton's daughter in the well-received made-for-television feature Surrender, Dorothy. The following year, Davalos stepped up several notches with a lead role in Robert Benton's much-anticipated drama Feast of Love -- an ensemble piece about a free-spirited woman who arrives in a small Northwestern town and recolors the life of everyone she meets. Also, in 2007, Davalos appeared in the Stephen King horror adaptation The Mist.

Alexa continued her ascent in Hollywood by being cast in Edward Zwick's Defiance, released in 2008, as "Lilka", Daniel Craig's love interest. Her haunting beauty and spirited performance garnered raves from critics. In 2009, Alexa was cast in the much coveted lead role of "Andromeda" in Louis Leterrier's Clash of the Titans, alongside Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes. Alexa is, without a doubt, one of Hollywood's fastest rising young stars.

Paul Thomas Anderson

Anderson was born in 1970. He was one of the first of the "video store" generation of film-makers. His father was the first man on his block to own a V.C.R., and from a very early age Anderson had an infinite number of titles available to him. While film-makers like Spielberg cut their teeth making 8 mm films, Anderson cut his teeth shooting films on video and editing them from V.C.R. to V.C.R.

Part of Anderson's artistic D.N.A. comes from his father, who hosted a late night horror show in Cleveland. His father knew a number of oddball celebrities such as Robert Ridgely, an actor who often appeared in Mel Brooks' films and would later play "The Colonel" in Anderson's Boogie Nights. Anderson was also very much shaped by growing up in "The Valley", specifically the suburban San Fernando Valley of greater Los Angeles. The Valley may have been immortalized in the 1980s for its mall-hopping "Valley Girls", but for Anderson it was a slightly seedy part of suburban America. You were close to Hollywood, yet you weren't there. Would-bes and burn-outs populated the area. Anderson's experiences growing up in "The Valley" have no doubt shaped his artistic self, especially since three of his four theatrical features are set in the Valley.

Anderson got into film-making at a young age. His most significant amateur film was The Dirk Diggler Story, a sort of mock-documentary a la This Is Spinal Tap, about a once-great pornography star named Dirk Diggler. After enrolling in N.Y.U.'s film program for two days, Anderson got his tuition back and made his own short film, Cigarettes & Coffee. He also worked as a production assistant on numerous commercials and music videos before he got the chance to make his first feature, something he liked to call Hard Eight, but would later become known to the public as "Hard Eight". The film was developed and financed through The Sundance Lab, not unlike Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs. Anderson cast three actors whom he would continue working with in the future: Altman veteran Philip Baker Hall, the husky and lovable John C. Reilly and, in a small part, Philip Seymour Hoffman, who so far has been featured in all four of Anderson's films. The film deals with a guardian angel type (played by Hall) who takes down-on-his-luck Reilly under his wing. The deliberately paced film featured a number of Anderson trademarks: wonderful use of source light, long takes and top-notch acting. Yet the film was reedited (and retitled) by Rysher Entertainment against Anderson's wishes. It was admired by critics, but didn't catch on at the box office. Still, it was enough for Anderson to eventually get his next movie financed. "Boogie Nights" was, in a sense, a remake of "The Dirk Diggler Story", but Anderson threw away the satirical approach and instead painted a broad canvas about a makeshift family of pornographers. The film was often joyous in its look at the 1970s and the days when pornography was still shot on film, still shown in theatres, and its actors could at least delude themselves into believing that they were movie stars. Yet "Boogie Nights" did not flinch at the dark side, showing a murder and suicide, literally in one (almost) uninterrupted shot, and also showing the lives of these people deteriorate, while also showing how their lives recovered.

Anderson not only worked with Hall, Reilly and Hoffman again, he also worked with Julianne Moore, Melora Walters, William H. Macy and Luis Guzmán. Collectively, Anderson had something that was rare in U.S. cinema: a stock company of top-notch actors. Aside from the above mentioned, Anderson also drew terrific performances from Burt Reynolds and Mark Wahlberg, two actors whose careers were not exactly going full-blast at the time of "Boogie Nights", but who found themselves to be that much more employable afterwards.

The success of "Boogie Nights" gave Anderson the chance to really go for broke in Magnolia, a massive mosaic that could dwarf Altman's Nashville in its number of characters.

Anderson was awarded a "Best Director" award at Cannes for Punch-Drunk Love.

Charisma Carpenter

Born July 23, 1970, in Las Vegas, Charisma Carpenter was named after an Avon perfume (a fact that did not sit well with her). She studied classical ballet from age five. Her family moved around often. As a youngster, she entered many local beauty contests, and attended Gorman High School in Las Vegas. At 15 the family moved to Rosarita City, Mexico, and then to Bonita (a suburb of San Diego, CA), where she attended Bonita High. Charisma finally transferred to Chula Vista School of Creative and Performing Arts, where she graduated in 1988. In high school she was a cheerleader, and did the typical teen things: sneaking out and having boys over when mom wasn't home. Charisma's nature tends to be pensive, which some classmates unfortunately misinterpreted as being snooty.

After graduating she traveled throughout Europe, then went on to college. She also worked as an aerobics instructor and in property management. In 1991 she was picked to be a cheerleader for the San Diego Chargers football team. The next year she moved to Los Angeles to break into the entertainment business. She audited classes at Playhouse West and was cast in over 20 major commercials, including a long stint for Secret deodorant. She also performed in a number of theater productions, including "No, No, Nanette" and "Welcome Home, Soldier." This tall (5'7") beauty with the striking looks, brunette hair with chestnut highlights and hazel eyes was a natural for TV; she started in an episode of Baywatch in October of 1994. Because of that appearance, Aaron Spelling personally auditioned her for the role of Ashley in Malibu Shores, which had a brief run from March to June of 1996. Despite its short run, TV Guide noticed her and said she was beguiling and had the most fleshed-out character on the show. Charisma auditioned for the title role in Buffy the Vampire Slayer but wound up being cast as Cordelia. She had doubts about this and did not want to play a bitchy character again, but her agent reminded her that she couldn't be typecast until people knew her. She is quick to point out she is nothing like her TV persona, noting, "People might think I'm this awful person, but I'm not--I'm a nice girl". Fans and producers liked the character enough that she was transferred to a bigger role on the spin-off series Angel. A long career in TV now seems assured for Charisma. Her hobbies include horseback riding, roller blading, hiking and rock climbing (for her 26th birthday, she had gone skydiving. When the folks at WB heard about this, they made her sign a clause that she would refrain from that for the length of her contract). She has prudently switched to writing poetry instead.

Jesse Metcalfe

Jesse Eden Metcalfe was born in Carmel Valley, California, to Nancy (DeMaio) and Jeff Metcalfe. He has Italian, Portuguese, English, French, and Irish ancestry. He was raised in Southeastern Connecticut. Metcalfe attended the Williams School, a private high school in New London, Connecticut. He pursued his higher education at New York University where he studied acting and film at the prestigious Tisch School of the Arts.

Metcalfe first appeared on the small screen in NBC's daytime drama, 'Passions', but rose to fame on the mega-hit series, 'Desperate Housewives' playing teenage boy-toy, John Rowland. He's since been the lead in both studio and independent features. Best known for carrying Twentieth Century Fox's successful teen-comedy "John Tucker Must Die" and starring opposite Michael Douglas in "Beyond A Reasonable Doubt".

2011 saw Jesse cast in TNT's reboot of the iconic series, 'Dallas'. Playing the Christopher Ewing, son of Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy).

Metcalfe is an avid art enthusiast and collector, plays both guitar and piano, enjoys basketball, boxing and weight training.

Aaron Sorkin

Aaron Sorkin grew up in Scarsdale, a suburb of New York City where he was very involved in his high school drama and theater club. After graduating from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater, Sorkin intended to pursue a career in acting. It took him only a short time to realize that his true love, and his true talent, lay in writing. His first play, "Removing All Doubt", was not an immediate success, but his second play, "Hidden in This Picture", debuted in 1988 at the West Bank Cafe Downstairs Theater Bar. A longer version of "Hidden in This Picture", called "Making Movies", opened at the Promenade Theater in 1990. Despite his youth and relative inexperience, Sorkin was about to break into the spotlight. In 1989, he received the prestigious Outer Critics Circle award as Outstanding American Playwright for the stage version of A Few Good Men, which was later nominated for a Golden Globe. The idea for the plot of "A Few Good Men" came from a conversation with his older sister, Deborah. Deborah was a Navy Judge Advocate General lawyer sent to Guantanamo Bay on a case involving Marines accused of killing a fellow Marine. Deborah told Aaron of the case and he spent the next year and a half writing a Broadway play, which later led to the movie. Sorkin has gone on to write for many movies and TV shows. Besides A Few Good Men, he has written The American President and Malice, as well as cooperating on Enemy of the State, The Rock and Excess Baggage. In addition, he was invited by Steven Spielberg to "polish" the script of Schindler's List. Sorkin's TV credits include the Golden Globe-nominated The West Wing and Sports Night.

John Leguizamo

Fast-talking and feisty-looking John Leguizamo has continued to impress movie audiences with his versatility: he can play sensitive and naive young men, such as Johnny in Hangin' with the Homeboys; cold-blooded killers like Benny Blanco in Carlito's Way; a heroic Army Green Beret, stopping aerial terrorists in Executive Decision; and drag queen Chi-Chi Rodriguez in To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar. Arguably, not since ill-fated actor and comedian Freddie Prinze starred in the smash TV series Chico and the Man has a youthful Latino personality had such a powerful impact on critics and fans alike.

Leguizamo was born July 22, 1964, in Bogotá, Colombia, to Luz and Alberto Leguizamo. He was four when his family emigrated to the United States. He was raised in Queens, New York, attended New York University and studied under legendary acting coach Lee Strasberg for only one day before Strasberg passed away. The extroverted Leguizamo started working the comedy club circuit in New York and first appeared in front of the cameras in an episode of Miami Vice. His first film appearance was a small part in Mixed Blood, and he had minor roles in Casualties of War and Die Hard 2 before playing a liquor store thief who shoots Harrison Ford in Regarding Henry. His career really started to soar after his first-rate performance in the independent film Hangin' with the Homeboys as a nervous young teenager from the Bronx out for a night in brightly lit Manhattan with his buddies, facing the career choice of staying in a supermarket or heading off to college and finding out that the girl he loves from afar isn't quite what he thought she was.

The year 1991 was also memorable for other reasons, as he hit the stage with his show Mambo Mouth, in which he portrayed seven different Latino characters. The witty and incisive show was a smash hit and won the Obie and Outer Circle Critics Award, and later was filmed for HBO, where it picked up a CableACE Award. He returned to the stage two years later with another satirical production poking fun at Latino stereotypes titled John Leguizamo: Spic-O-Rama. It played in Chicago and New York, and won the Drama Desk Award and four CableACE Awards.

In 1995 he created and starred in the short-lived TV series House of Buggin', an all-Latino-cast comedy variety show featuring hilarious sketches and comedic routines. The show scored two Emmy nominations and received positive reviews from critics, but it was canceled after only one season. The gifted Leguizamo was still keeping busy in films, with key appearances in Super Mario Bros., Romeo + Juliet and Spawn. In 1998 he made his Broadway debut in John Leguizamo: Freak, a "demi-semi-quasi-pseudo-autobiographical" one-man show, which was filmed for HBO by Spike Lee.

Utilizing his distinctive vocal talents, he next voiced a pesky rat in Doctor Dolittle before appearing in the dynamic Spike Lee-directed Summer of Sam as a guilt-ridden womanizer, as the Genie of The Lamp in the exciting Arabian Nights and as Henri DE Toulouse Lautrec in the visually spectacular Moulin Rouge!. He also voiced Sid in the animated Ice Age, co-starred alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in Collateral Damage and directed and starred in the boxing film Undefeated. Afterward, Leguizamo starred in the remake of the John Carpenter hit Assault on Precinct 13 and George A. Romero's long-awaited fourth "Dead" film, Land of the Dead. There can be no doubt that the remarkably talented Leguizamo has been a breakthrough performer for the Latino community in mainstream Hollywood, in much the same way that Sidney Poitier crashed through celluloid barriers for African-Americans in the early 1960s. Among his many strengths lies his ability to not take his ethnic background too seriously but also to take pride in his Latino heritage. He has opened many doors for his countrymen. A masterly and accomplished performer, movie audiences await Leguizamo's next exciting performance.

Danica Curcic

Danica Curcic is a Danish actress born in Serbia. Curcic graduated from the Danish National School of Theatre in 2012 and was immediately hired to be part of the ensemble at the Royal Danish Theatre. In her very first season Curcic was cast in two major roles: in the title role as Lulu in director Katrine Wiedemann's version of Frank Wedekinds scandalous tragedy from 1894, for which she received a 'Reumert' nomination for Best Actress, and as the leading female in the monstrous music performance Frankenstein Reborn, featuring some of the most renowned Danish actors and musicians.

Before graduating Curcic appeared in the TV2 crime series Those who Kill (2011) and landed her first feature role as Veronika in Munch-Petersen's thriller Over the Edge (2012). In 2013 she appeared in two highly acclaimed Swedish produced TV-series: The Bridge ll (SVT1) and Wallander lll (SVT1).

In 2014 Danica Curcic was appointed Shooting Star at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival for her role as the female lead in Christian E. Christiansen's feature On The Edge. In Oktober 2014 she starred as the female lead Kimmie in the highly expected The Absent One, the sequel to The Keeper of Lost Causes, opposite names as Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Pilou Asbæk and Fares Fares. As well as Oscar winning director Bille August new feature film Silent Heart, which she has a leading role in. Also, Curcic appeared in Hella Joof's comedy All Inclusive. In this year Danica will be seen in the feature film Lang Historie Kort directed by May El - Toukhy, where she plays opposite Trine Dyrholm. And also director Daniel Dencik's new film The Gold Coast.

In the fall 2014 Danica played Juliet in Romeo and Juliet on the Royal Danish Theatre. For this portrait she received very positive response. Without a doubt Danica Curcic has had her great breakthrough in 2014 and she is with her professionalism and great personality a high respected actress in the Danish film industry already.

Carolyn Jones

Carolyn Jones was born April 28, 1930, in Amarillo, Texas. Her mother was Jeannette and her sister was Bette (Moriarty). She was an imaginative child, much like her mother. In 1934, her father abandoned the family and her mother moved them in with her parents, also in Amarillo. As a child Carolyn suffered from severe asthma. Although she loved movies, she was often too sick to attend, so she listened to her favorites, Danny Kaye and Spike Jones and read as many movie fan magazines as she could. She dreamed of attending the famed Pasadena Playhouse and received many awards at school for speech, poetry, and dramatics. In 1947, she was accepted as a student at the Pasadena Playhouse, and her grandfather agreed to pay for her classes. She worked in summer stock to supplement her income, graduating in 1950. She gave herself a complete head-to-toe makeover, including painful cosmetic nose surgery to make herself ready for movie roles. Working as an understudy at the Players Ring Theater, she stepped in when the star left to get married. She was seen by a talent scout from Paramount and given a screen test, which went well. She made her first appearance in The Turning Point. She did some other work during her 6-month contract, but when it ended, Paramount, suffering from television's impact, let it lapse. She quipped, "They let me and 16 secretaries go!"

She started working in television but kept busy on stage as well. There she met Aaron Spelling, and they became a couple. She made a breakthrough in the 3-D movie House of Wax and garnered excellent reviews. Aaron was still struggling, so he felt he wasn't able to propose to Carolyn; she finally proposed to him. They were married in April 1953. Neither was earning much, but they really enjoyed each other and their life. Many saw them as an ideal couple. Carolyn decided against children, since she felt she could not juggle the demands of both a career and a family.

Columbia Pictures saw her and wanted to test her for the part of prostitute Alma Burke in From Here to Eternity, but she got extremely sick with pneumonia and the part went to Donna Reed, who won an Academy Award. She did, however, achieve success in the science-fiction classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers, a subtle allegory of the times (McCarthyism). And the famous filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock cast her in The Man Who Knew Too Much opposite James Stewart and Doris Day. Meanwhile, Aaron had little success as an actor and Carolyn pushed him to become a writer, even threatening to leave him. She constantly promoted his scripts whenever she could and he was ultimately hired by Dick Powell. Carolyn meanwhile was successful once more in The Bachelor Party (famous line, "Just say you love me--you don't have to mean it!"). For this role, she surprised cast members by dying her hair black and cutting it short. This stunning look served her well for a number of roles. For her eight minutes on screen, she received glowing reviews and was nominated for an Academy Award but lost. However, she did win the Golden Globe Award and the Laurel Award for Marjorie Morningstar. She followed this with an impressive appearance in King Creole, generally regarded as Elvis Presley's best film. She then gave arguably her best performance ever in Career, but the film was not commercially successful. She played a serious role in this, leaving the kooky role she might have played to Shirley MacLaine.

As Aaron's career soared, the marriage started to fail. They separated in October 1963 and were amicably divorced in August 1964, with Carolyn asking for no alimony. They remained friends. She worked at various roles including two episodes of Burke's Law for which she received a Golden Globe nomination. Soon, she got the part for which she will best be remembered, that of Morticia Addams in The Addams Family. She spent two years in this role. Her costume was designed to copy the cartoon drawings and no doubt inspired such imitators as Cassandra Peterson (Elvira, Mistress of the Dark). The show went head-to-head with The Munsters and Bewitched. The quite blatant sexual chemistry between Morticia and her husband Gomez (John Astin was shocking for the time, perhaps only matched by the sexuality displayed in "Bachelor Party" and "King Creole."

The show was a big hit and she received all the fame she had craved. However, the network decided to cancel the show, despite its success, after only two years. Typecast as Morticia but without the income that a few more years would have provided, she found life difficult and roles few. While acting on the road, she married her voice coach, Herbert Greene, a well-known and respected Broadway conductor and musical director, and they moved together to Palm Springs, California. After seven years, she left him and returned to Hollywood, determined to try to restart her career. She was surprisingly successful and performed in several shows, including Wonder Woman, where she played Wonder Woman (Lynda Carter) and Wonder Girl's (Debra Winger) mother Hippolyta. She also appeared in the landmark miniseries Roots. She did four episodes of Fantasy Island and one episode of The Love Boat, two shows on which Aaron was the producer. She played Myrna Clegg on the soap Capitol from 1982 to 1983, despite having been diagnosed with colon cancer in 1981. She had aggressive treatment for the cancer, but it returned during her time on the show and she was told it was terminal.

She played some scenes despite being confined to a wheelchair and working in great pain. Although they knew she was dying, she married her boyfriend of five years, Peter Bailey-Britton, in September 1982. She died on August 3, 1983. Carolyn told her sister that she wanted her epitaph to be "She gave joy to the world." She certainly had many friends who loved her greatly, and many fans who enjoyed her wonderful performances.

Meg Tilly

Meg Tilly was set on being a dancer, and at 17 connected to the Connecticut Ballet Company and later Throne Dance Theatre. It was in this capacity that she had her screen debut in Alan Parker's Fame. Unfortunately, an injury to her back cut short her plans for a dance career, and a small appearance in the TV series Hill Street Blues turned her towards acting (her dancing skills were not all forgotten, as was evident in The Big Chill and Psycho II). She received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for Agnes of God, and nobody doubted that she was on her way to stardom. One step on the road to that status was her being cast in Milos Forman's Amadeus as Constanza, but again her body interfered, and seven weeks into the production with her foot in a cast were more than the producers could accept, and she was replaced. Her "consolation", was a role in Forman's next project Valmont, didn't do her career much good. Since then she has averaged a movie a year, and with the exception of Leaving Normal, none have tapped the enormous reservoir of talent she has.

Brenda Blethyn

After twenty years of hard work on stage and both television and film, there are not many other actresses who deserved the success, recognition and stardom which Brenda Blethyn has now achieved.

Born in 1946 in Ramsgate, Kent, England, she started her career at British Rail in the 1960s. Saving money during her time there, she took a risk and enrolled herself at the at The Guildford School of Acting in Guildford, Surrey, England and then left her British Rail years behind. Her risk had paid off, by the mid-1970s she was working on stage, eventually joining the National Theatre Company in 1975.

It was the 1980s, however that saw Brenda move onto the small screen when she appeared in a BBC2 Playhouse presentation called Grown-Ups, playing the character Gloria. Other work in television quickly followed and this kept her working throughout the 1980s.

She still remained relatively unknown with the viewing public during the 1980s, despite her consistent work and superb acting abilities. It was not until the dawn of the 90s that her career took off. In 1990, she played the supporting cast member role of Mrs Jenkins in film based on the Roald Dahl novel The Witches, with Anjelica Huston, Jane Horrocks and Mai Zetterling. Film work now became the order of the day in the early 90s, appearing in both A River Runs Through It and the television film The Bullion Boys. It was then back to a TV series in 1994, with Outside Edge, working on this production for its two-year run.

It is without a doubt that 1997 will be remembered as her biggest year to date. She was cast by her old friend Mike Leigh in the film Secrets & Lies as Cynthia Rose Purley, opposite highly talented Marianne Jean-Baptiste. The film received storming reviews and Blethyn won a BAFTA Film Award and subsequently received an Academy Award nomination for her role, along with Jean-Baptiste.

Although Brenda came home from the Oscars empty handed, her profile in Hollywood and Britain soared as a result of the nomination and her appearance on The 69th Annual Academy Awards.

Film roles then came thick and fast following Secrets & Lies. Brenda was nothing short of superb in Little Voice. A second Academy Award nomination followed but once again she was the bridesmaid rather than the bride at the Oscars. Since 1996, she has found a new home in film and she has worked consistently in the medium.

Alice Krige

Alice Maud Krige was born on June 28, 1954 in Upington, South Africa where her father, Dr. Louis Krige, worked as a young physician. The Kriges later moved to Port Elizabeth where Alice grew up in what she describes as a "very happy family", a family that also included two brothers (both of whom became physicians) and her mother, Pat, a clinical psychologist. Interestingly, Alice also grew up without television, something which the actress calls a "huge black hole in my education" (South Africa did not start getting television until 1976, a year after Alice left the country to pursue an acting career in London).

While growing up, she had no dreams or aspirations of pursuing an acting career, in fact as a child she had wanted to become a dancer, but her father disapproved. Instead, she prepared to follow in the footsteps of her mother by attending Rhodes University in Grahamstown where she pursued an undergraduate degree in psychology and literature (graduating in 1975). However, as luck or fate would have it, Alice decided to "take up a bit of timetable" by enrolling in a drama class in order to make use of a free credit. This decision would prove to be a life-altering one, resulting in an honors degree in drama from Rhodes, a move to London and a new career path. As Alice explains, "I really got into it and it took over my life... it became my life-calling, all consuming."

After arriving in England, she began three years of study at London's Central School of Speech and Drama. Her first professional acting performance was a tiny television role in a 1979 BBC Play for Today. In 1980, Alice made her feature film debut as Sybil Gordon in the Academy Award winning Best Picture, Chariots of Fire. She then appeared in the television adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities, which was followed by her memorable, dual role as the avenging spirit in Ghost Story. Also in 1981, she debuted in a West End theatre production of Bernard Shaw's Arms and the Man, for which she received the honors of both a Plays and Players Award and a Laurence Olivier Award for Most Promising Newcomer. It was this early success in theatre that she decided to focus her career on next by spending some time working with the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company.

During her two seasons with the RSC (1982-83), Alice performed in such productions as "King Lear", "The Tempest", "The Taming of the Shrew" and "Cyrano de Bergerac". After her stint with the Royal Shakespeare Company, she returned to work in film and television. Her career could best be described as an eclectic mix of both mediums. She appeared in a diverse range of films, such as King David, Barfly, Haunted Summer, Spies Inc. and See You in the Morning. Her work in television included critically acclaimed miniseries, such as Ellis Island and Wallenberg: A Hero's Story, as well as a healthy dose of what Alice herself calls, "kitchen sink dramas".

This eclectic trend continued into the 1990s. In addition to numerous roles in television (including appearances on Beverly Hills, 90210 and Becker, Alice also appeared in the films Sleepwalkers, Institute Benjamenta, or This Dream That One Calls Human Life, Donor Unknown, Amanda, Twilight of the Ice Nymphs, Habitat, The Commissioner and Molokai. However, one notable standout was the film Star Trek: First Contact for which she won a 1997 Saturn Award for her portrayal of the Borg Queen. This is without a doubt the most commercial, mainstream film with which she has been involved. However, due to the amount of make-up and prosthetics that the role required, Alice claims that even today she is still most recognized from her role in Ghost Story.

One obvious and lasting impact of her experience with Star Trek: First Contact has been her initiation into the world of Star Trek/sci-fi conventions. These weekend-long conventions take place all over the United States and Europe (primarily in the United Kingdom and Germany). They feature "guests", such as Alice, who give presentations, sign autographs, etc. The new millennium finds her with several new projects to her credit, which include such works as The Little Vampire, the Star Trek: Voyager series finale "Endgame", Attila, Dinotopia, Reign of Fire, Children of Dune, The Mystery of Natalie Wood and a recurring guest role in the HBO series Deadwood. Current projects include a film about the life of Julius Caesar, the horror film Silent Hill, Lonely Hearts and The Contract. In addition, she continues to make sporadic convention appearances and was recently awarded an honorary doctorate in literature from Rhodes University.

Alice Krige is married to writer/director Paul Schoolman, and lives what she describes as an "itinerant" lifestyle. Although she and her husband maintain a permanent home in the United States, they spend much of their time living and working abroad.

Torrey DeVitto

Torrey Joël DeVitto stars in the NBC drama, Chicago Med. From the same creators of Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D., the latest spin-off focuses on the day-to-day chaos of the team of doctors running the ER. Torrey plays "Natalie Manning", doctor in the ER Pediatrics division. Natalie is your typical America's sweetheart, girl-next-door who is reserved and very focused on her career. The new series premiered Fall 2015 and has been renewed for a second season.

On the film front, Torrey was recently cast in the upcoming film, Amy Makes Three as "Carla Forrest", a happily-married wife who loses her child after giving birth, prematurely. The film takes a twisted turn after Carla and her husband, played by Mike Doyle, discover the ghost of their former child.

Torrey was most recently seen in the final season of Lifetime's popular drama, Army Wives. She played the drop-dead gorgeous "Maggie Hall", a smart ex-Army Airboune. Torrey is best-known for her role in the CW television series, The Vampire Diaries as "Dr. Meredith Fell", and continues to have a popular recurring role as "Melissa Hastings" on ABC Family's hit show, Pretty Little Liars. However, she is most notable for her chilling recurring role as "Carrie" on The CW drama series, One Tree Hill.

Born and raised in Huntington, New York, to Mary Devitto & Liberty DeVitto, from the time Torrey was born, she was surrounded by the entertainment industry. For 28 years, her father played the drums for Billy Joel. She spent most of her early years traveling on the road with her parents. By the time Torrey could walk, her heart was in the music and acting world. She began violin lessons at age six and was in the 4th grade when she had already earned her place as the 4th chair violinist in a New York high school orchestra. From 1995 to 1997, she played in the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra; from 1998 to 1999, she played in the Florida Youth Artist Orchestra, traveling with the orchestra to Austria; at age 12, she played a solo violin piece at the wedding of Christie Brinkley and Peter Cook; and, in 1997, Torrey played on stage with her father at a Terri Binion show in Orlando, earning her first standing ovation.

Torrey later studied dance with the Kings Park Dance Center in New York. She began taking acting classes at Zoe & Company in Orlando, Florida. At 15, she started working in commercials, modeling, and print ads. Torrey's first break in acting came in 1999, when she participated in the Spelling Production, Safe Harbor. One year later, she booked the Nickelodeon pilot, "Noah Knows Best". In her junior year of high school, she enrolled in the Crenshaw Performing Arts School, where she graduated 6 months early and at the top of her class. During the summer after high school graduation, Torrey stayed in Japan working for Avenue One Modeling Agency. Her break came in 2002, when she earned the lead in playwright Lee Blessing's three-woman play, "Eleemosynary", which was performed at the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre. Her performance won her rave reviews in the Orlando Sentinel.

After graduating high school, Torrey moved to Los Angeles, where her career as an actress began to take off. Her work includes: playing "Alexandra" on the MTV pilot, "Alexandra the Great"; guest-starring on the FBC pilot, "One Big Happy"; guest-starring in "The Untitled Michael Jacobs Pilot" for FBC; as well as guest-starring on episodes of Scrubs, Dawson's Creek, Jack & Bobby, The King of Queens, Drake & Josh, CSI: Miami and Castle. Torrey booked her first lead on the ABC Family series, Beautiful People as aspiring model "Karen Kerr". On the film front, her film debut was in Starcrossed, and she has appeared in the 2006 movie sequel, I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer, The Rite with Anthony Hopkins, Green Flash, Killer Movie, and Heber Holiday and Evidence, starring Stephen Moyer.

Staying true to her love of music, in 2002, she played violin with the Tommy Davidson Band at the Sunset Room in Hollywood. Her solo performance earned her another standing ovation. She also played violin on Raphael Saadiq's CD, "Ray Ray", in 2004, and in 2011, she played on Stevie Nicks' album, "In Your Dreams".

Outside work, Torrey dedicates much of what free time she has to philanthropy. She is a Hospice Ambassador going on five years (www.caringinfo.org/torrey), and also supports PETA and The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). She shares, "To most, death is an incredibly scary and taboo idea. Hospice provides a shoulder to lean on... and the important duty of easing the fears and doubts that naturally reside in our minds as we approach the end of our lifetime. There is nothing I am more proud or passionate about than being a part of this work. It is a life-long commitment for me. A passion that I find to be more gratifying than anything I have ever known. My hope is to inspire others to join me in this fulfilling journey."

Torrey also makes time to dote on her dogs Beau and Homie, which were adopted at Much Love, a pet adoption agency in Los Angeles.

Amanda Peterson

Amanda Peterson was born on July 8, in Greeley, Colorado. With a natural beauty, powerful charm and a strong personality this talented and truly gifted actress began her career in film industry at age "nine-and-a-half", with the feature film Annie, directed by Academy Award-winner John Huston. To participate in "Annie", she had to persuade her mother and then compete in a casting which included more than 8000 girls. She is the last born in a family of three children, she has a sister, Ann-Marie Peterson, and a brother, Rev. Jim Peterson. Her mother, Sylvia Peterson, is a full-time mother and housewife and her father, James Peterson, is a doctor. After 1981, Amanda had important roles in television series such as Father Murphy, Silver Spoons and Boone. In 1985, she played alongside with Oscar nominee River Phoenix and Ethan Hawke, a four-time Oscar nominee, in Joe Dante fantasy-fable Explorers. At 14 years of age this young prodigy, born and raised in Greeley, had already participated in over 50 television commercials, three television series and four movies. She was also an active member of the Greeley Saddle Club, because horses has become one of her passions since childhood. She met her greatest internationally success in 1987 with the comedy movie Can't Buy Me Love, directed by Steve Rash. Amanda received lavish praise from critics worldwide and she proved all her magnificent talent. In 1987, in Chile, Amanda acted with her elder sister, Ann-Marie Peterson, Jsu Garcia and Xander Berkeley in the post-apocalyptic movie The Lawless Land, directed by Jon Hess and produced by Academy Award-winner Roger Corman. In 1988, for her outstanding acting in the Emmy Award-winning television series A Year in the Life, Amanda Peterson won the Young Artist Award in the category of Best Young Actress Starring in a Television Drama Series. These awards are considered the Young Oscars. A year after the award, she opposite Roy Scheider, a two-time Oscar nominee, in the profound and moving drama Listen to Me, a motion picture directed by Oscar nominee Douglas Day Stewart. No less impressive is her performance in the excellent thriller Fatal Charm, directed by Fritz Kiersch. In 1994, after participating in the memorable contemporary drama film Windrunner, she decided to leave the entertainment industry. Amanda's work involves several films genres, from western to romance, science fiction to thrillers, and from dramas to comedies. Amanda left admirers in all parts of the world, that continues to be amazed and delighted by her work. She is pure, honest, vulnerable and emotional in her acting. She holds a strong presence and gives herself to acting, she is not protecting herself, she is exposing herself. She can be another person and play a role and yet remain herself, an attribute that only the best actors have. Amanda in a Perfect World, would have delivered many more qualities interpretations, whether in film or on television. With her acting career she achieved immortality in the hearts of all who witnessed her work since her childhood. As Leonard Maltin, the most respected and recognized historian and film critic in America, once said - "Amanda Peterson is excellent". There is no doubt about that. After all, Amanda Peterson is one of the most talented and beautiful actress of her time and considered by many a legend. On July 3, 2015, Amanda Peterson died at her home in Greeley, Colorado. At the age 43.

Lisa Joyce

Born and raised in Chicago, Lisa Joyce received her BFA in Acting from the Theater School at DePaul University. She received a Joseph Jefferson nomination for her performance in Adam Rapp's "Red Light Winter", which premiered at the Steppenwolf Theater Company before transferring off-Broadway and being named a finalist for The Pulitzer Prize.

Lisa made her West End/Broadway debut in "La Bete", starring Mark Rylance and David Hyde Pierce, and toured nationally, alongside Cherry Jones in the Tony Award-winning production of "Doubt".

Some of her favorite off-Broadway credits include: Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron's beloved production of "Love, Loss and What I Wore" and Soho Rep.'s "The Ugly One", for which she earned a Drama Desk nomination. Lisa has also appeared in productions at The Public, New York Theater Workshop, The Signature, Classic Stage Company, Rattlestick, Transport Group, StageFARM, Williamstown and The Studio Theater in D.C., where she received a Helen Hayes Award for her role in "Blackbird". Lisa is a member of the LAByrinth Theater Company.

Edward Burns

Edward Fitzgerald Burns was born January 29, 1968 in Woodside, Queens, New York. He is the second of three children of Molly (McKenna), who worked for the Federal Aviation Administration at Kennedy Airport, and Edward J. Burns, a police sergeant and active spokesperson for the New York Police Dept. He was raised Catholic, and is of Irish, and one eighth Swedish, descent. Edward, along with his older sister, Mary, and brother, Brian, were raised in Long Island. He attended Catholic Chaminade High School before transferring to a public high school. He went on to attend The State University of New York at Albany and Oneonta College in New York to major in English literature. During his junior year he transferred to Hunter College in Manhattan, studied filmmaking and began writing the first of many short films.

Upon graduating, and through his father's connections, he secured a job at Entertainment Tonight (1981) (TV) in 1993 working at as a "go-fer". There he was able to finance and begin working on The Brothers McMullen, a comedy focusing on the trials and tribulations facing three Irish-Catholic siblings. It was shot primarily in his parents' Long Island home with a cast of unknowns including Burns himself and his then-girlfriend Maxine Bahns. The feature was filmed over eight months' time with a reported budget of only $ 30,000. Rejected by a series of distributors, The Brothers McMullen bowed at Sundance, after Burns had given Robert Redford a copy of the film while working on ET. In 1995 his film won the festival's Grand Jury Prize, becoming one of the most successful independent efforts of the year. He then sold the film to 20th Century Fox's Searchlight Pictures.

For his follow-up Burn's wrote and directed She's the One, which retained much of McMullen's cast and crew, including girlfriend Maxine. He was also able to cast up-and-coming stars Jennifer Aniston and Cameron Diaz in pivotal roles, with original music from rocker Petty, Tom. Filmed with a larger budget of almost $3 million, the romantic comedy successfully premiered during the summer of 1996 . Burns soon began work on his third feature, _No Looking Back_, a romantic drama set in a coastal town's working-class community. Burn's career seemed to be flourishing, but his personal relationship with Bahns, to whom he became engaged, ended after eight years. During filming of No Looking Back, there were reported romantic sightings with Burns and his co-star Lauren Holly. The relationship seemed to end when the film was released in 1998. That same year, Burns co-starred in the Steven Spielberg World War II epic Saving Private Ryan. After that pivotal role in one of the greatest films of all time, Burns continued a good year, and a new relationship with Heather Graham. In an interview with USA Weekly Magazine, Heather stated they met in a bar in LA, exchanged numbers and had numerous conversations. Burns then flew back to New York and she flew to east to see him a month later. Soon after Burns and Heather were seen at many premieres and events. It was also reported that couple was living together. But their relationship ended after two years. Although they were dating during the filming of his next project 15 Minutes starring along side Robert De Niro, Burns attended the premiere with none other than Christy Turlington. While his next few films did not make much of a dent in the box office including his film Sidewalks of New York, which co-starred Heather Graham. His relationship with Christy was getting hot and heavy. The couple got engaged in 2001. It was then reported their engagement was called off, but the couple reunited after a 7-month split. Burns and Christy finally married on June 7, 2003 and welcomed their first child Grace, later that year Grace, on October 25. Burns' most recent projects include writing and directing The Groomsmen and Purple Violets. He welcomed his second child, son Finn, (Feb/2006) with wife Christy.

Burns is committed to writing and directing his own films. He's not affected by his futile work and continues his own projects with poise. Tackling touchy relationship subjects and pioneering real-life matters. With his panoply of Woody Allen -like films, there is no doubt Edward Burns will continue to dazzle us with his undeniable talent while gaining the recognition he deserves as a great writer and director.

Pruitt Taylor Vince

Vince first started to get noticed for his excellent performances at the start of his career in Shy People and Mississippi Burning. In both these films he played something of a blathering redneck idiot, although there was a streak of pathos in both performances which made it impossible to dismiss his characters as just 'bad' people. In 'David Lynch''s Wild at Heart and Adrian Lyne's Jacob's Ladder, he put in performances which showed he was merely biding his time before his next great role came along. Well, as luck would have it, two great roles came along in two years. As Rub Squeers, Paul Newman's emotional work partner in Nobody's Fool, he put in an excellent performance. However, this performance was nothing compared to the acting powerhouse which was Heavy. In this tender indie film, also marking Liv Tyler's first proper film role, Vince practically carries the whole film, and does so with style. Watching him gradually lose grip of his life breaks your heart, and it is without doubt one of the most underrated performances of the 90s.

Vince has not really had a film role to touch this since, but he has been in the cult hit crime show, Murder One: Diary of a Serial Killer, as Clifford Banks. It was a rare opportunity for Vince to flex his acting muscles as a slightly different type of character. Vince undoubtedly has the ability to be a major star; he just needs to be given the opportunity.

Cicely Tyson

Cicely Tyson was born in Harlem, New York City, where she was raised by her devoutly religious parents, from the Caribbean island of Nevis. Her mother, Theodosia, was a domestic, and her father, William Tyson, was a carpenter and painter. She was discovered by a fashion editor at Ebony magazine and, with her stunning looks, she quickly rose to the top of the modeling industry. In 1957, she began acting in Off-Broadway productions. She had small roles in feature films before she was cast as Portia in The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. Four years later, Cicely was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her sensational performance in the critically acclaimed film Sounder. In 1974, she went on to portray a 110-year-old former slave in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, which earned her two Emmy Awards. She also appeared in the television miniseries Roots, King and A Woman Called Moses. While Cicely has not appeared steadily onscreen because of her loyalty to only portray strong, positive images of Black women, she is without a doubt one of the most talented, beautiful actresses to have ever graced the stage and screen.

Fred MacMurray

Fred MacMurray was likely the most underrated actor of his generation. True, his earliest work is mostly dismissed as pedestrian, but no other actor working in the 1940s and 50s was able to score so supremely whenever cast against type.

Frederick Martin MacMurray was born in Kankakee, Illinois, to Maleta Martin and Frederick MacMurray. His father had Scottish ancestry and his mother's family was German. His father's sister was vaudeville performer and actress Fay Holderness. When MacMurray was five years old, the family moved to Beaver Dam in Wisconsin, his parents' birth state. He graduated from Beaver Dam High School (later the site of Beaver Dam Middle School), where he was a three-sport star in football, baseball, and basketball. Fred retained a special place in his heart for his small-town Wisconsin upbringing, referring at any opportunity in magazine articles or interviews to the lifelong friends and cherished memories of Beaver Dam, even including mementos of his childhood in several of his films. In "Pardon my Past", Fred and fellow GI William Demarest are moving to Beaver Dam, WI to start a mink farm.

MacMurray earned a full scholarship to attend Carroll College in Waukesha, Wisconsin and had ambitions to become a musician. In college, MacMurray participated in numerous local bands, playing the saxophone. In 1930, he played saxophone in the Gus Arnheim and his Coconut Grove Orchestra when Bing Crosby was the lead vocalist and Russ Columbo was in the violin section. MacMurray recorded a vocal with Arnheim's orchestra "All I Want Is Just One Girl" -- Victor 22384, 3/20/30. He appeared on Broadway in the 1930 hit production of "Three's a Crowd" starring Sydney Greenstreet, Clifton Webb and Libby Holman. He next worked alongside Bob Hope in the 1933 production of "Roberta" before he signed on with Paramount Pictures in 1934 for the then-standard 7-year contract (the hit show made Bob Hope a star and he was also signed by Paramount). MacMurray married Lillian Lamont (D: June 22, 1953) on June 20, 1936, and they adopted two children.

Although his early film work is largely overlooked by film historians and critics today, he rose steadily within the ranks of Paramount's contract stars, working with some of Hollywood's greatest talents, including wunderkind writer-director Preston Sturges (whom he intensely disliked) and actors Humphrey Bogart and Marlene Dietrich. Although the majority of his films of the 30's can largely be dismissed as standard fare there are exceptions: he played opposite Claudette Colbert in seven films, beginning with The Gilded Lily. He also co-starred with Katharine Hepburn in the classic, Alice Adams, and with Carole Lombard in Hands Across the Table, The Trail of the Lonesome Pine -- an ambitious early outdoor 3-strip Technicolor hit, co-starring with Henry Fonda and Sylvia Sidney directed by Henry Hathaway -- The Princess Comes Across, and True Confession. MacMurray spent the decade learning his craft and developing a reputation as a solid actor. In an interesting sidebar, artist C.C. Beck used MacMurray as the initial model for a superhero character who would become Fawcett Comics' Captain Marvel in 1939.

The 1940s gave him his chance to shine. He proved himself in melodramas such as Above Suspicion and musicals (Where Do We Go from Here?), somewhat ironically becoming one of Hollywood's highest-paid actors by 1943, when his salary reached $420,000. He scored a huge hit with the thoroughly entertaining The Egg and I, again teamed with Ms. Colbert and today largely remembered for launching the long-running Ma and Pa Kettle franchise. In 1941, MacMurray purchased a large parcel of land in Sonoma County, California and began a winery/cattle ranch. He raised his family on the ranch and it became the home to his second wife, June Haver after their marriage in 1954. The winery remains in operation today in the capable hands of their daughter, Kate MacMurray. Despite being habitually typecast as a "nice guy", MacMurray often said that his best roles were when he was cast against type by Billy Wilder. In 1944, he played the role of "Walter Neff", an insurance salesman (numerous other actors had turned the role down) who plots with a greedy wife Barbara Stanwyck to murder her husband in Double Indemnity -- inarguably the greatest role of his entire career. Indeed, anyone today having any doubts as to his potential depth as an actor should watch this film. He did another stellar turn in the "not so nice" category, playing the cynical, spineless "Lieutenant Thomas Keefer" in the 1954 production of The Caine Mutiny, directed by Edward Dmytryk. He gave another superb dramatic performance cast against type as a hard-boiled crooked cop in Pushover.

Despite these and other successes, his career waned considerably by the late 1950s and he finished out the decade working in a handful of non-descript westerns. MacMurray's career got its second wind beginning in 1959 when he was cast as the dog-hating father figure (well, he was a retired mailman) in the first Walt Disney live-action comedy, The Shaggy Dog. The film was an enormous hit and Uncle Walt green lighted several projects around his middle-aged star. Billy Wilder came calling again and he did a masterful turn in the role of Jeff Sheldrake, a two-timing corporate executive in Wilder's Oscar-winning comedy-drama The Apartment, with Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon -- arguably his second greatest role and the last one to really challenge him as an actor. Although this role would ultimately be remembered as his last great performance, he continued with the lightweight Disney comedies while pulling double duty, thanks to an exceptionally generous contract, on TV.

MacMurray was cast in 1961 as Professor Ned Brainerd in Disney's The Absent Minded Professor and in its superior sequel, Son of Flubber. These hit Disney comedies raised his late-career profile considerably and producer Don Fedderson beckoned with My Three Sons debuting in 1960 on ABC. The gentle sitcom staple remained on the air for 12 seasons (380 episodes). Concerned about his work load and time away from his ranch and family, Fred played hardball with his series contract. In addition to his generous salary, the "Sons" contract was written so that all the scenes requiring his presence to be shot first, requiring him to work only 65 days per season on the show (the contract was reportedly used as an example by Dean Martin when negotiating the wildly generous terms contained in his later variety show contract). This requirement meant the series actors had to work with stand-ins and posed wardrobe continuity issues. The series moved without a hitch to CBS in the fall of 1965 in color after ABC, then still an also-ran network with its eyes peeled on the bottom line, refused to increase the budget required for color production (color became a U.S. industry standard in the 1968 season). This freed him to pursue his film work, family, ranch, and his principal hobby, golf.

Politically very conservative, MacMurray was a staunch supporter of the Republican Party; he joined his old friend Bob Hope and James Stewart in campaigning for Richard Nixon in 1968. He was also widely known one of the most -- to be polite -- frugal actors in the business. Stories floated around the industry in the 60s regarding famous hard-boiled egg brown bag lunches and stingy tips. After the cancellation of My Three Sons in 1972, MacMurray made only a few more film appearances before retiring to his ranch in 1978. As a result of a long battle with leukemia, MacMurray died of pneumonia at the age of eighty-three in Santa Monica on November 5, 1991. He was buried in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City.

Rosalind Russell

The middle of seven children, she was named after the S.S. Rosalind at the suggestion of her father, a successful lawyer. After receiving a Catholic school education, she went to the American Academy of Dramatic Art in New York, having convinced her mother that she intended to teach acting. In 1934, with some stock company work and a little Broadway experience, she was tested and signed by Universal. Simultaneously MGM tested her and made her a better offer. When she plead ignorance of Hollywood (while wearing her worst-fitting clothes), Universal released her and she signed with MGM for seven years.

For some time she was used in secondary roles and as a replacement threat to limit Myrna Loy's salary demands. Knowing she was right for comedy, she tested five times for the role of Sylvia Fowler in The Women. George Cukor told her to "play her as a freak." She did and got the part. Her "boss lady" roles began with the part of reporter Hildy Johnson in His Girl Friday, through whose male lead, Cary Grant, she met her future husband, Grant's houseguest at the time.

In her forties, she returned to the stage, touring "Bell, Book and Candle" in 1951 and winning a Tony for "Wonderful Town" in 1953. Columbia, worried the public would think she had the female lead in Picnic, billed her "co-starring Rosalind Russell as Rosemary." She refused to accept an Oscar nomination as supporting actress for the part, an Oscar she would no doubt have won had she relented. "Auntie Mame" kept her on Broadway for two years followed by the movie version.

Oscar nominations: My Sister Eileen, Sister Kenny, Mourning Becomes Electra, and Auntie Mame. In 1972, she received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for contributions to charity.

Joan Fontaine

Born Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland on October 22, 1917, in Tokyo, Japan, in what was known as the International Settlement. Her father was a British patent attorney with a lucrative practice in Japan, but due to Joan and older sister Olivia de Havilland's recurring ailments the family moved to California in the hopes of improving their health. Mrs. de Havilland and the two girls settled in Saratoga while their father went back to his practice in Japan. Joan's parents did not get along well and divorced soon afterward. Mrs. de Havilland had a desire to be an actress but her dreams were curtailed when she married, but now she hoped to pass on her dream to Olivia and Joan. While Olivia pursued a stage career, Joan went back to Tokyo, where she attended the American School. In 1934 she came back to California, where her sister was already making a name for herself on the stage. Joan likewise joined a theater group in San Jose and then Los Angeles to try her luck there. After moving to L.A., Joan adopted the name of Joan Burfield because she didn't want to infringe upon Olivia, who was using the family surname. She tested at MGM and gained a small role in No More Ladies, but she was scarcely noticed and Joan was idle for a year and a half. During this time she roomed with Olivia, who was having much more success in films. In 1937, this time calling herself Joan Fontaine, she landed a better role as Trudy Olson in You Can't Beat Love and then an uncredited part in Quality Street. Although the next two years saw her in better roles, she still yearned for something better. In 1940 she garnered her first Academy Award nomination for Rebecca. Although she thought she should have won, (she lost out to Ginger Rogers in Kitty Foyle), she was now an established member of the Hollywood set. She would again be Oscar-nominated for her role as Lina McLaidlaw Aysgarth in Suspicion, and this time she won. Joan was making one film a year but choosing her roles well. In 1942 she starred in the well-received This Above All. The following year she appeared in The Constant Nymph. Once again she was nominated for the Oscar, she lost out to Jennifer Jones in The Song of Bernadette. By now it was safe to say she was more famous than her older sister and more fine films followed. In 1948, she accepted second billing to Bing Crosby in The Emperor Waltz. Joan took the year of 1949 off before coming back in 1950 with September Affair and Born to Be Bad. In 1951 she starred in Paramount's Darling, How Could You!, which turned out badly for both her and the studio and more weak productions followed. Absent from the big screen for a while, she took parts in television and dinner theaters. She also starred in many well-produced Broadway plays such as Forty Carats and The Lion in Winter. Her last appearance on the big screen was The Witches and her final appearance before the cameras was Good King Wenceslas. She is, without a doubt, a lasting movie icon.

George C. Scott

George C. Scott was an immensely talented actor, a star of screen, stage and television. He was born on October 18, 1927 in Wise, Virginia, to Helena Agnes (Slemp) and George Dewey Scott. At the age of eight, his mother died, and his father, an executive at Buick, raised him. In 1945, he joined the United States Marines and spent four years with them, no doubt an inspiration for portraying General George S. Patton years later. When Scott left the Marines, he enrolled in journalism classes at the University of Missouri, but it was while performing in a play there that the acting bug bit him. He has said it "clicked, just like tumblers in a safe."

It was in 1957 that he landed a role in "Richard III" in New York City. The play was a success and brought the young actor to the attention of critics. He soon began to get work on television, mostly in live broadcasts of plays, and he landed the role of the crafty prosecutor in Anatomy of a Murder. It was this role that got him his first Oscar nomination, for Best Supporting Actor.

However, George and Oscar wouldn't actually become the best of friends. In fact, he felt the whole process forced actors to become stars and that the ceremony was little more than a "meat market." In 1962, he was nominated again for Best Supporting Actor, this time opposite Paul Newman in The Hustler, but sent a message saying "No, thanks" and refused the nomination.

However, whether he was being temperamental or simply stubborn in his opinion of awards, it did not seem to stop him from being nominated in the future. "Anatomy" and "The Hustler" were followed by the clever mystery The List of Adrian Messenger, in which he starred alongside Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum and cameos by major stars of the time, including Burt Lancaster and Frank Sinatra. It's a must-see, directed by John Huston with tongue deeply in cheek.

The following year, Scott starred as General "Buck" Turgidson in Stanley Kubrick's comical anti-war film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. This became one of his favorites and he often said that he felt guilty getting paid for it, as he had so much fun making it. Another comedy followed, The Flim-Flam Man, with Scott playing a smooth-talking con artist who takes on an apprentice whom he soon discovers has too many morals.

Three years followed, with some smaller television movies, before he got the role for which he will always be identified: the aforementioned General Patton in Patton. This was a war movie that came at the end of a decade where anti-war protests had rocked a nation and become a symbol of youth dissatisfied with what was expected of them. Still, the actor's portrayal of this aggressive military icon actually drew sympathy for the controversial hero. He won the Oscar this time, but stayed at home watching hockey instead.

A pair of films that he made in the early 1980s were outstanding. The first of these was The Changeling, a film often packaged as a horror movie but one that's really more of a supernatural thriller. He plays John Russell, a composer and music professor who loses his wife and daughter in a tragic accident. Seeking solace, he moves into an archaic mansion that had been unoccupied for 12 years. However, a child-like presence seems to be sharing the house with him and trying to share its secrets with him. From learning of the house's past, he discovers its horrific secret of long ago, a secret that the presence will no longer allow to be kept.

Then he starred -- along with a young cast of then largely unknowns, including Timothy Hutton, Sean Penn and Tom Cruise -- in the intense drama Taps. He played the head of a military academy that's suddenly slated for destruction when the property is sold to local developers who plan to build condos. The students take over the academy when they feel that the regular channels are closed to them.

Scott kept up in films, television and on stage in the later years of his life (Broadway dimmed its lights for one minute on the night of his death). Among his projects were playing Ebenezer Scrooge in a worthy television update of A Christmas Carol, an acclaimed performance on Broadway of "Death of a Salesman", the voice of McLeach in Disney's The Rescuers Down Under and co-starring roles in television remakes of two classic films, 12 Angry Men and Inherit the Wind, to name just a few. After his death the accolades poured in, with Jack Lemmon saying, "George was truly one of the greatest and most generous actors I have ever known," while Tony Randall called him "the greatest actor in American history".

John Waters

Growing up in Baltimore in the 1950s, John Waters was not like other children; he was obsessed by violence and gore, both real and on the screen. With his weird counter-culture friends as his cast, he began making silent 8mm and 16mm films in the mid-'60s; he screened these in rented Baltimore church halls to underground audiences drawn by word of mouth and street leafleting campaigns. As his filmmaking grew more polished and his subject matter more shocking, his audiences grew bigger, and his write-ups in the Baltimore papers more outraged. By the early 1970s he was making features, which he managed to get shown in midnight screenings in art cinemas by sheer perseverance. Success came when Pink Flamingos - a deliberate exercise in ultra-bad taste - took off in 1973, helped no doubt by lead actor Divine's infamous dog-crap eating scene.

Waters continued to make low-budget shocking movies with his Dreamland repertory company until Hollywood crossover success came with Hairspray, and although his movies nowadays might now appear cleaned up and professional, they retain Waters' playfulness, and reflect his lifelong obsessions.

Ann Blyth

The dark, petulant beauty of this petite American film and musical star worked to her advantage, especially in her early dramatic career. Ann Marie Blyth was born of Irish stock to Harry and Nan Blyth on August 16, 1928, in Mt. Kisco, New York. Her parents split while she was young and she, her mother and sister moved to New York City, where the girls attended various Catholic schools. Already determined at an early age to perform, Ann attended Manhattan's Professional Children's School and was already a seasoned radio performer, particularly on soap dramas, while in elementary school. A member of New York's Children's Opera Company, the young girl made an important Broadway debut as Paul Lukas' and Mady Christians' daughter in the classic Lillian Hellman WWII drama "Watch on the Rhine" (1941), billed as Anne (with an extra "e"). She stayed with the show for two years.

While touring with the play in Los Angeles, the teenager was noticed by director Henry Koster at Universal and given a screen test. Signed on as Ann (without the "e") Blyth, the pretty, photographic colleen displayed her warbling talent in her debut film Chip Off the Old Block, a swing-era teen musical starring Universal song-and-dance favorites Donald O'Connor and Peggy Ryan. She followed it pleasantly enough with other "B" tunefests such as The Merry Monahans and Babes on Swing Street. It wasn't until Warner Bros. borrowed her to make self-sacrificing mother Joan Crawford's life pure hell as malicious, spiteful daughter Veda in the classic, Oscar-winning wallow Mildred Pierce that she really clicked with viewers and set up her dramatic career. With murder on her young character's mind, Hollywood stood up and took notice of this fresh-faced talent.

Although Ann lost the Best Supporting Actress Oscar that year to another Anne (Anne Revere), she was borrowed again by Warner Bros. to film Danger Signal. During filming, Ann suffered a broken back in a sledding accident while briefly vacationing in Lake Arrowhead and had to be replaced in the role. After a long convalescence (over a year and a half in a back brace) Universal used her in a wheelchair-bound cameo in Brute Force.

Her first starring role was an inauspicious one opposite Sonny Tufts in Swell Guy, but she finally began gaining some momentum again. Instead of offering her musical gifts, she continued her serious streak with Killer McCoy and a dangerously calculated role in Another Part of the Forest, a prequel to The Little Foxes in which Ann played the Bette Davis role of Regina at a younger age. Her attempts at lighter comedy were mild at best, playing a fetching creature of the sea opposite William Powell in Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid and a teen infatuated with much-older movie star Robert Montgomery in Once More, My Darling.

At full-throttle as a star in the early 1950s, Ann transitioned easily among glossy operettas, wide-eyed comedies and all-out melodramas, some of which tended to be overbaked and, thereby, overplayed. When not dishing out the high dramatics of an adopted girl searching for her birth mother in Our Very Own or a wrongly-convicted murderess in Thunder on the Hill, she was introducing classic standards as wife to Mario Lanza in The Great Caruso or playing pert and perky in such light confections as Katie Did It. A well-embraced romantic leading lady, she made her last film for Universal playing a Russian countess courted by Gregory Peck in The World in His Arms.

MGM eventually optioned her for its musical outings, having borrowed her a couple of times previously. She became a chief operatic rival to Kathryn Grayson at the studio during that time. Grayson, however, fared much better than Ann, who was given rather stilted vehicles.

Catching Howard Keel's roving eye while costumed to the nines in the underwhelming Rose Marie and his daughter in Kismet, she also gussied up other stiff proceedings like The Student Prince and The King's Thief will attest. Unfortunately, Ann came to MGM at the tail end of the Golden Age of musicals and probably suffered for it. She was dropped by the studio in 1956.

She reunited with old Universal co-star Donald O'Connor in The Buster Keaton Story, but both were oddly cast with Ann playing a totally fictional love interest to O'Connor's Keaton. Ann ended her career on a high note, however, playing the tragic title role in the The Helen Morgan Story opposite a gorgeously smirking Paul Newman. Ann has a field day as the piano-sitting, kerchief-holding, liquor-swilling torch singer whose train wreck of a personal life was destined for celluloid. Disappointing for Ann personally, no doubt, was that her singing voice had to be dubbed (albeit superbly) by the highly emotive, non-operatic songstress Gogi Grant.

Through with films, Ann's later concentration (besides family life) was the musical stage, with dramatic TV guest appearances thrown in now and then. Over the years a number of classic songs have been tailored to suit Ann's glorious lyric soprano both in concert form and on the civic light opera/summer stock stages. "The Sound of Music", "The King and I", "Carnival", "Bittersweet", "South Pacific", "Show Boat" and "A Little Night Music" are but a few of her stage credits. During this time Ann appeared as the typical American housewife for Hostess in its Twinkie, cupcake and fruit pie commercials, a job that lasted well over a decade.

She made the last of her sporadic TV guest appearances on Quincy M.E. and Murder, She Wrote in the mid-'80s. Married since 1953 to Dr. James McNulty, the brother of late Irish tenor Dennis Day, she is the mother of five. Ann continues to be seen occasionally at social functions and conventions.

Joseph Cotten

Joseph Cheshire Cotten, Jr. was born in Petersburg, Virginia, into a well-to-do Southern family. He was the eldest of three sons born to Sally Whitworth (Willson) and Joseph Cheshire Cotten, Sr., an assistant postmaster.

Jo (as he was known) and his brothers Whit and Sam spent their summers at their aunt and uncle's home at Virginia Beach. And there and at an early age he discovered a passion for story-telling, reciting, and performing acts for his family. Cotten studied acting at the Hickman School of Expression in Washington, D.C. and worked as an advertising agent afterward. But by 1924 tried to enter acting in New York. His money opportunities were limited to shipping clerk, and after a year of attempting stage work, he left with friends, heading for Miami. There he found a variety of jobs: lifeguard, salesman, a stint as entrepreneur -- making and selling 'Tip Top Potato Salad' - but more significantly, drama critic for the Miami Herald. That evidently led to appearance in plays at the Miami Civic Theater. Through a connection at the Miami Herald he managed to land an assistant stage manager job in New York. In 1929 he was engaged for a season at the Copley Theatre in Boston, and there he was able to expand his acting experience, appearing in 30 plays in a wide variety of parts. By 1930 he made his Broadway debut. In 1931 Cotten married Lenore LaMont (usually known as Kipp), a pianist, divorced with a four-year-old daughter.

To augment his income as an actor in the mid-30s, Cotten took on radio shows in addition to his theatre work. At one audition he met an ambitious, budding actor/writer/director/producer with a mission to make his name-Orson Welles. Cotten was 10 years his senior, but the two found a kindred spirit in one another. For Cotten, Welles association would completely redirect his serious acting life. Their early co-acting attempts boded ill for employment in formal acting vehicles. At a rehearsal for CBS radio the two destroyed a scene taking place on a rubber tree plantation. One or the other was supposed to say the line: "Barrels and barrels of pith...." They could not overcome uncontrolled laughter at each attempt. The director berated them as acting like 'school-children' and 'unprofessional', and thereafter both were considered unreliable. Welles's ambition put that quickly behind them when he formed The Mercury Theatre Players. Coming on board were later Hollywood stalwarts: Everett Sloane, Agnes Moorehead, Ruth Warrick, and Ray Collins. In 1937, Cotten starred in Welles's Mercury productions of "Julius Caesar" and "Shoemaker's Holiday". And he made his film debut in the Welles-directed short Too Much Johnson, a comedy based on William Gillette's 1890 play. The short was occasionally screened before or after Mercury productions, but never received an official release. Cotten returned to Broadway in 1939, starring as C.K. Dexter Haven in the original production of Philip Barry's "The Philadelphia Story". The uproar over Welles's "War of the Worlds" radio broadcast, was rewarded with an impressive contract from RKO Pictures. The two-picture deal promised full creative control for the young director, and Welles brought his Mercury players on-board in feature roles in what he chose to bring to the screen. But after a year, nothing had germinated until Welles met with writer Herman J. Mankiewicz, resulting in the Citizen Kane idea - early 1940. The story of a slightly veiled William Randolph Hearst with Welles as Kane and Cotten, in his Hollywood debut, as his college friend turned confidant and theater critic, Jed Leland, would become film history, but at the time it caused little more than a ripple. Hearst owned the majority of the country's press outlets and so forbade advertisements for the film. The film was nominated for nine Academy Awards in 1942 but was largely ignored by the Academy, only winning for Best Screenplay for Welles and Mankiewicz.

The following year Cotten and Welles collaborated again in The Magnificent Ambersons, acclaimed but again ignored at Oscar time, and the next year's Nazi thriller Journey Into Fear. Cotten, along with some Welles ideas, wrote the screenplay. Welles with his notorious overrunning of budgeting was duly dropped by RKO thereafter. Later in 1943 Cotten's exposure and acquaintance with young producer David O. Selznick resulted in a movie contract and the launching of his mainstream and very successful movie career as a romantic leading man. Thereafter he appeared with some of the most leading of Hollywood leading ladies - a favorite being Jennifer Jones, Selznick's wife with the two of them being his most intimate friends. Cotten got the opportunity to play a good range of roles through the 1940s - the darkest being the blue beard-like killer in Alfred Hitchcock thriller Shadow of a Doubt with Teresa Wright. Perhaps the most fun was The Farmer's Daughter with a vivacious Loretta Young. Cotten starred with Jennifer Jones in four films: the wartime domestic drama Since You Went Away, the romantic drama Love Letters, the western Duel in the Sun, and later in the critically acclaimed Portrait of Jennie, from the haunting Robert Nathan book. Cotten is thoroughly convincing as a second-rate, unmotivated artist who finds inspiration from a chance acquaintance budding into love with an incarnation of a girl who died years before. Welles and Cotten did not work again until The Third Man, directed by Carol Reed. For Cotten, the role as the hapless boyhood friend and second-rate novel writer Holly Martins would be a defining moment in a part both comedic and bittersweet, its range making it one of his best performances. Unfortunately, he was again overlooked for an Oscar.

Cotten was kept in relative demand into his mature acting years. Into the 1950s, he reunited with "Shadow Of A Doubt" co star Thereas Wright, to do the memorable bank caper "The Steel Trap"(1952).He co stared with Jean Peters in "Blueprint For A Murder"(1953). For the most part, the movie roles were becoming more B than A. He had a brief role as a member of the Roman Senate, reuniting with lifelong friend Welles in his Othello. There were a few film-noir outings along with the usual fare of the older actor with fewer roles. However, he was much more successful in returning to theater roles in the new television playhouse format. He also did some episodic TV and some series ventures, as with On Trial, which was later called The Joseph Cotten Show. He had a memorable role in an Alfred Hitchcock Presents, "Breakdown", where he was a man in a lone and isolated car accident, trapped and unable to speak. He voices over and shows his great acting skill simply through facial expressions. His one last stint with Welles was uncredited and sort of Jed Leland-revisited as the hokey coroner early in Welles's over-the-top Touch of Evil. Of his association with Welles, Cotten said: "Exasperating, yes. Sometimes eruptive, unreasonable, ferocious, yes. Eloquent, penetrating, exciting, and always - never failingly even at the sacrifice of accuracy and at times his own vanity - witty. Never, never, never dull."

With the passing of his first wife in 1960 Cotten met and married British actress Patricia Medina. The 1960s found him equally busy in TV and film. He made the circuit of the most popular detective and cowboy series of the period. By 1964 he returned to film with the money making old-Hollywood-dame- horror-movie genre hit Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte with other vintage Hollywood legends Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, and Agnes Moorehead. His other films of that decade were of the quick entertainment variety along with some foreign productions, and TV movies. There were also more TV series and guests appearances, especially The Ed Sullivan Show, a popular stop during its long run. In the 1970s Cotten was still in demand-for even more of the curiosity-appeal of the populace for an older star. Along with the new assortment of TV series, he anchored himself at Universal with small parts in forgettable movies, the sluggish Universal epic dud Tora! Tora! Tora! for instance, and the steady diet of TV series being cranked out there. Though older actors have laughed in public about their descent into cheap horror movies, one can only wonder at the impetus to do them -- by such greats, as Claude Rains -- besides a can't-pass-up alluring salary.

Cotten did the campy The Abominable Dr. Phibes with Vincent Price and about that time two second rate Italian horror outings where he was Baron Blood and Baron Frankenstein. Then again there was better exposure in the Universal minor sci-fi classic Soylent Green. And in yet another Universal sequel, where the profit-logic was to gather a cast of veterans from the Hollywood spectrum in any situation spelling disaster and watch the ticket sales skyrocket, Cotten joined the all-star cast of Airport '77. He rounded out the decade with the ever faddish Fantasy Island and more Universal TV rounds. This contributor met and worked with Joseph Cotten during this latter evolution of one of Hollywood's greats. He wore his own double-breasted blue blazer and tan slacks in several roles - no need for wardrobe. His pride and joy was a blue 1939 Jaguar SS, something of a fixture on the Universal lot.

Cotten was not ready to turn his back on Hollywood until the beginning of the 1980s when he managed to appear in the epic flop Heaven's Gate. After a Love Boat episode (1981), Cotten joined his wife and his love of gardening and entertaining friends in retirement. He also had the time to write an engaging autobiography Vanity Will Get You Somewhere (1987). Cotten's somewhat matter-of-fact and seemingly gruff acting voice served him well. Certainly his command of varied roles deserved more than the snub of never being nominated for an Academy Award. He was not the only actor to suffer being underrated, but that is largely forgotten in those memorable roles that speak for him. And for what it is worth, the Europeans had the very good sense to award him the Venice Film Festival Award for Best Actor for Portrait of Jennie, one of his favorite roles.

Todd Stashwick

Stashwick was born in Chicago and raised in the suburbs right outside of the city. As a child, he always loved making people laugh, and he aspired to one day perform at Chicago's famous The Second City. Soon after graduating from Illinois State University with a degree in Theatre, he began performing at several local improvisational theaters, and his dream came true when he was hired in 1992 to tour nationally with The Second City.

Following productions at The Second City Detroit and The Second City Northwest, he moved to New York. There, he formed a company of improvisers and began staging the underground critically acclaimed "Burn Manhattan" all over the city. Other performers included Kate Walsh, Jeremy Piven and Spencer Kayden.

Aside from his work in improvisational theatre, Stashwick worked for several years in late 1997 through Spring 2000 on "Late Night With Conan O'Brien," performing as part of their rotating stable of comedy actors.

Work in television and film ultimately drew him to Los Angeles where he soon landed roles in pilots and series and film.

Stashwick remains true to his improvisational roots, and he produces, performs and teaches at his own improvisational theatre that he co-founded in North Hollywood called "The Hothouse". In addition he performs annually with the Macabre improv cabaret The Doubtful Guests who just celebrated their ten year anniversary. He has also taught and performed his unique style of avant-garde improvisation internationally. He directed a show in Liverpool called "Hoof!," which still tours throughout Europe.

He is also the writer and co-creator of the online action/horror web comic Devil Inside. He publishes a new free episode weekly on his website www.toddstashwick.com. The comic has brought him to comic book conventions across the country with his collaborator, comic book artist Dennis Calero.

Stashwick resides in Los Angeles with his wife Charity, whom he married in 1997 in the middle of Times Square in front of twenty close family members and friends, as well as all of New York City. The couple has two children. Their household also includes two dogs, two cats and a Conure (small parrot).

In his spare time, Stashwick enjoys surfing, noodling on the ukulele, writing screenplays and pilots. He's an avid TV (his current favorites are Breaking Bad, Walking Dead and Doctor Who) and a huge Film buff (Star Wars, There Will be Blood and Hedwig and the Angry Inch are among his favorites) . A shameless geek he can be found playing video games with his son or with his nose buried in a comic book. He's been a vegetarian since 1988. He loves traveling overseas as often as his hectic schedule permits. A self-professed Anglophile, Stashwick loves English comedy, music and television.

Lana Turner

Lana Turner had an acting ability that belied the "Sweater Girl" image MGM thrust upon her, and even many of her directors admitted that they knew she was capable of greatness (check out The Postman Always Rings Twice). Unfortunately, her private life sometimes overshadowed her professional accomplishments.

Lana Turner was born Julia Jean Mildred Francis Turner in Wallace, Idaho. There is some discrepancy as to whether her birth date is February 8, 1920 or 1921. Lana herself said in her autobiography that she was one year younger (1921) than the records showed, but then this was a time where women, especially actresses, tended to "fib" a bit about their age. Most sources agree that 1920 is the correct year of birth. Her parents were Mildred Frances (Cowan) and John Virgil Turner, a miner, both still in their teens when she was born. In 1929, her father was murdered and it was shortly thereafter her mother moved her and the family to California where jobs were "plentiful". Once she matured into a beautiful young woman, she went after something that would last forever: stardom. She wasn't found at a drug store counter, like some would have you believe, but that legend persists. She pounded the pavement as other would-be actors and actresses have done, are doing and will continue to do in search of movie roles.

In 1937, Lana entered the movie world, at 17, with small parts in They Won't Forget, The Great Garrick and A Star Is Born. These films didn't bring her a lot of notoriety, but it was a start. In 1938 she had another small part in Love Finds Andy Hardy starring Mickey Rooney. It was this film that made young men's hearts all over America flutter at the sight of this alluring and provocative young woman--known as the "Sweater Girl"--and one look at that film could make you understand why: she was one of the most spectacularly beautiful newcomers to grace the screen in years. By the 1940s Lana was firmly entrenched in the film business. She had good roles in such films as Johnny Eager, Somewhere I'll Find You and Week-End at the Waldorf. If her career was progressing smoothly, however, her private life was turning into a train wreck, keeping her in the news in a way no one would have wanted.

Without a doubt her private life was a threat to her public career. She was married eight times, twice to Stephen Crane. She also married Ronald Dante, Robert Eaton, Fred May, Lex Barker, Henry Topping and bandleader Artie Shaw. She also battled alcoholism. In yet another scandal, her daughter by Crane, Cheryl Crane, fatally stabbed Lana's boyfriend, gangster Johnny Stompanato, in 1958. It was a case that would have rivaled the O.J. Simpson murder case. Cheryl was acquitted of the murder charge, with the jury finding that she had been protecting her mother from Stompanato, who was savagely beating her, and ruled it justifiable homicide. These and other incidents interfered with Lana's career, but she persevered. The release of Imitation of Life, a remake of a 1934 film (Imitation of Life), was Lana's comeback vehicle. Her performance as Lora Meredith was flawless as an actress struggling to make it in show business with a young daughter, her housekeeper and the housekeeper's rebellious daughter. The film was a box-office success and proved beyond a doubt that Lana had not lost her edge.

By the 1960s, however, fewer roles were coming her way with the rise of new and younger stars. She still managed to turn in memorable performances in such films as Portrait in Black and Bachelor in Paradise. By the next decade the roles were coming in at a trickle. Her last appearance in a big-screen production was in Witches' Brew. Her final film work came in the acclaimed TV series Falcon Crest in which she played Jacqueline Perrault from 1982-1983. After all those years as a sex symbol, nothing had changed--Lana was still as beautiful as ever. She died June 25, 1995, in Culver City, California, after a long bout with cancer. She was 75 years old.

Victoria Tennant

Victoria Tennant trained for eight years at the Elmhurst Ballet School and for two years at the Central School for Speech and Drama in London. In her first film, she starred in the title role of The Ragman's Daughter, written by Alan Sillitoe and directed by Harold Becker. Extensive television work began with Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for the fifteen hour miniseries, The Winds of War. For the thirty-hour miniseries War and Remembrance, she received her second Emmy nomination.

She also wrote and co-produced the film Edie & Pen for HBO and produced Sister Mary Explains It All for Showtime with her producing partner and husband, Kirk Stambler.

Ms. Tennant's work in the theatre includes the Santa Barbara Theatre Company's production of "Doubt" by John Patrick Shanley, for which she won the Santa Barbara Independent's Indie award, The Vagina Monologues at the Canon Theatre and the Napa Valley Opera House, The Misalliance at LA Theatreworks, Love Letters at Steppenwolf in Chicago, Getting Married at Circle-in-the-Square on Broadway, and The Taming of the Shrew at the Westport Playhouse.

Peter Finch

Despite being one of the finest actors of his generation, Peter Finch will be remembered as much for his reputation as a hard-drinking, hell-raising womanizer as for his performances on the screen. He was born in London in 1916 and went to live in Sydney, Australia, at the age of ten. There, he worked in a series of dead-end jobs before taking up acting, his film debut being in the mediocre comedy The Farmer Goes to Town. He made his stage debut as a comedian's stooge in 1939. Laurence Olivier spotted him and persuaded him to return to Britain to perform classic roles on the stage. Finch then had an affair with Olivier's wife, Vivien Leigh. Despite being married three times, Finch also had highly-publicized affairs with actresses Kay Kendall and Mai Zetterling. Finch soon switched to film after suffering appalling stage fright. As a screen actor, he won five BAFTA awards and his talent was beyond doubt. His two finest roles, the only two for which he received Oscar nominations, were as the homosexual Jewish doctor in Sunday Bloody Sunday and as the "mad prophet of the air-waves" in Network. He died a couple of months before being awarded the Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in Network and was the first actor to have won the award posthumously.

Ciera Payton

Those who know Ciera Payton would describe her as a deeply creative and powerful individual with an unwavering dedication to the arts. An accomplished actor, writer and social activist, there is no doubt Ms. Payton has earned the respect of her peers and established herself as a well-respected pillar of the entertainment industry.

Acting has always been Ciera's true calling. As a girl growing up in the vibrant city of New Orleans, Ciera was accustomed to being an artistically creative person. She would observe the street performers blowing their horns, take in the strokes of the impressive murals scattered throughout the city, taste the love in every spoon full of gumbo, and love moving to the percussive rhythms of the brass bands. These daily experiences fed Ciera's passion to becoming a successful working actor.

Drawing inspiration from her idols Dr. Maya Angelou, Lena Horne, and Sophia Loren, Ciera knew she wanted to tell stories and give her voice to dynamic, strong, complex characters; bringing them to life from her own experiences.

Her pursuit to be a highly-sought after actress led her to learn everything about the craft of acting. For high school, Ciera attended the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) and graduated a full year early ahead of her peers. With an extra year in her hand, Ciera went on to obtain a BFA in Drama from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA). In her sophomore year in college, Ciera auditioned for and landed the female lead in the action-packed feature Flight of Fury starring opposite Steven Seagal.

Equally as comfortable in front of the lens as she is in being a student of the theater, Ciera's natural acting ability has allowed her to share screen time with well-known actors including Nicholas Cage, Josh Brolin, Viola Davis and Kevin Hart.

While ever committed to her acting career, Ciera manages to find time to give back to her local community. With a dedication to arts education and community service, Ciera created the Michael's Daughter Project; an annual theater and media arts summer camp in Panorama City, California serving the youth in underprivileged communities. Ciera teaches and empowers the youth to use their voice and tell their story through theater and short films.

In addition to her creative endeavors, Ciera is the owner of Sincerely Ciera Payton Cosmetics, an all natural mineral based cosmetic company which caters to health conscious women who deal with sensitive skin. In the little free time she has, Ciera enjoys sewing, painting, cooking, and most importantly dancing!

A passionate desire for life and ability to communicate with people from any background, Ciera embraces her daily role as a creative storyteller. She continues to have an unwavering commitment to always be her best, challenge the limits of everything she does, while always remaining true to her creative motivations.

Sandy Duncan

This wholesome "Chatty Cathy" delight had all the earmarkings of becoming a dithery TV star in the early 70s and a couple of sitcom vehicles were handed to her with silver platter-like enthusiasm. Neither, however, made the best use of her elfin charm and both series died a quick death. Nonetheless, Sandy Duncan went on to become a Disney film lead, a TV commodity pitching crackers and arguably the best Peter Pan Broadway has ever offered. Like Sally Field and Karen Valentine before her, Sandy had a potentially terminable case of the cutes that often did her more harm than good. But also, like the others, her talent won out.

The story goes that this wistful tomboy felt like an outsider growing up in her native Texas because of her desires to be an actress. The elder of two girls born to a gas station owner, she trained in dance and appeared in productions of "The King and I" and "The Music Man" as a teen. Sandra Kay Duncan cast all negativity and self doubt aside and packed her bags for New York upon leaving Lon Morris Junior College (in Texas). She made an enchanting Wendy in "Peter Pan" the following year and soon poised herself as a triple threat on stage (singer/dancer/actress). She married Broadway actor Bruce Scott in 1968 and appeared in the rock musical "Your Own Thing" that same year. Taking her first Broadway curtain call and grabbing a Tony nomination in a bawdy musical version of Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales", she next won the soubrette role of Maisie in the Jazz-age musical "The Boy Friend". She managed to steal the thunder right from under star Judy Carne (who had just left the cast of TV's "Laugh-In" in order to branch out) and earned her second Tony nomination -- this time as "Best Actress".

The toothy strawberry blonde was a sensation and in 1970 Time Magazine named her "the most promising face of tomorrow". All this buildup reached the ears of Disney who decided to take a chance and cast her opposite Disney perennial Dean Jones in the featherweight comedy film The Million Dollar Duck. TV also saw her potential and featured her sparkling mug more and more in commercials. She then took on the title role in the film version of Neil Simon's comedy hit Star Spangled Girl, which turned out to be a major disappointment.

An untried talent on the primetime scene, CBS decided Sandy had enough promise and star quality to be given her own TV sitcom. Replacing Melba Moore at the last minute in the weekly show Funny Face, the storyline had Duncan playing single, independently-minded Sandy Stockton, a corn-fed Midwestern who heads to the big-city (Los Angeles) where she winds up in TV commercials while pursuing a teaching degree at UCLA. The series was a success and was a Top 10 show, but Duncan began experiencing severe headaches on the set and a tumor was discovered on her optic nerve. She had to leave the series and it was consequently pulled from the air. The series' sudden departure led to a misconception among some viewers that it had been canceled. Following a lengthy and delicate operation, the doctors managed to save her eye but she lost all vision in it.

The following year the show was revamped and retitled. Duncan returned as Sandy Stockton. This time she was a single working girl who created chaos at an ad agency. This second incarnation of her series failed to regain the audience that the first incarnation had had. The Sandy Duncan Show was canceled by mid-December. In the meantime, she divorced her first husband in 1972 and married Dr. Thomas Calcateera a year later, whom she met while undergoing her eye operation. They would divorce six years later.

After the demise of her second series, Sandy refocused on her strengths -- musical comedy -- and maintained her profile as a guest star on such variety shows as "The Sonny & Cher Show", "The Flip Wilson Show", "The Tonight Show" and "Laugh-In". She also was seen around the game show circuit as panelist on "What's My Line?" and "Hollywood Squares", among others. In 1979 Sandy retook Broadway by storm. Instead of the role of Wendy, she played the title tomboy in the musical "Peter Pan" and was nominated for a third time for a Tony Award. Born to play this role, she followed this spectacular success by locking arms with a carefree Tommy Tune in the tuneful Broadway show "My One and Only" replacing Twiggy in 1984.

Sandy also appeared again for Disney both co-starring in the lightweight film comedy The Cat from Outer Space opposite fellow hoofer Ken Berry and providing a foxy voice for their popular The Fox and the Hound animated feature. Taking on a more serious tone, she garnered critical respect for her Emmy-nominated role in the epic mini-series Roots, but these dramatic offerings were few and far between.

In the 1980s Sandy became a household name once again with her popular Wheat Thins commercials in which she periodically shared the camera with her two sons, Jeffrey and Michael, her children by Tony-nominated choreographer/dancer Don Correia, whom she married in 1980. In 1987, she returned to prime-time TV, but not in her own tailor-made vehicle. Instead Sandy replaced Valerie Harper in HER tailor-made vehicle after Harper departed in a well-publicized contractual dispute with producers after only one season. The show was simple changed in title from Valerie to "The Hogan Family" and Sandy entered the proceedings as a close relative and new female head of household after Harper's character "died". As a testament to her audience appeal, the show managed to run for four more healthy seasons.

In more recent times the pert, indefatigable Sandy has hosted Thanksgiving Day parades, dance competitions and teen pageants, starred on Broadway as Roxie Hart in "Chicago" (1999), and has headlined touring companies of such Broadway revivals as "Anything Goes" and "The King and I". She has also been a volunteer for the non-profit organization "RFB&D" (Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic) and was a recipient of the National Rehabilitation Hospital Victory Award, which is given to individuals who exhibit exceptional courage and strength in the face of adversity.

Gary Coleman

Without a doubt Gary Coleman was THE child TV star of the late 1970s and early 1980s. A refreshingly confident little tyke with sparkling dark, saucer-like eyes and an ingratiating, take-on-anyone burst of personality, the boy charmed the pants right off of TV viewers the minute he was glimpsed in national commercials. Amazed by how mature he came across, Gary was in truth older than he looked, which was brought upon by a congenital kidney condition. Sadly, the pint-sized phenomena outgrew his chubby-cheeked welcome and found the course of his grown-up Hollywood career brutally rough and patchy. The fragile condition of his health coupled with this lack of adult career acceptance, sparked an aggressively defensive behavior mechanism in his adult years and led to great personal unhappiness, chronic legal/financial hassles and early death.

He was born Gary Wayne Coleman on February 8, 1968, to a homeless woman, and was adopted by a fork-lift operator and his nurse practitioner wife from a Chicago hospital when he was just a few days old. Raised in Zion, Illinois, it was discovered that little Gary had severe health issues before the age of 2. Born with one atrophied kidney and an endangering weak second one, he had two kidney transplants by the time he reached age 16 and the effects of his dialysis medication permanently stunted his growth (to 4'8").

A highly precocious comedy cut-up on-camera, Gary proved a natural in local Chicago commercials. As his commercials spread nationwide, audiences began wondering just who this diminutive dynamo was. Norman Lear's talent scout spotted him in a Chicago bank commercial (he was 9 at the time) and decided to reveal to the world who the little guy was. Brought in to brighten up such Lear sitcoms as "The Jeffersons" and "Good Times" (the latter as a friend of little Janet Jackson's character), NBC quickly recognized the boy's comedy prowess and handed the 10-year-old his own prime-time sitcom playground to mug in.

While Diff'rent Strokes's underlying approach was to preach racial and social tolerance (it revolved around two lower-class African-American brothers from Harlem who are taken in and adopted by a wealthy, debonair Park Avenue white man after their housekeeper mother dies), the show's powers-that-be smartly deduced that it was the wisecracking gifts of young Coleman, who played the youngest brother, Arnold Jackson, that gave the show its spark. Deemed "NBC's Littlest Big Man," Gary's sly, pouty-lipped delivery of, "What'chu talkin' about, Willis?" soon became a popular American catchphrase. In truth, the comedy program was weak and should probably have faded after a mere season or two, but the public's fascination with young Coleman extended its tepid life to an amazing eight seasons.

Legendary comics such as Bob Hope and Lucille Ball absolutely gushed about the little boy's comedy genius and Gary soon became a hit on the talk show circuit, trading clever banter with the likes of Johnny Carson among others. The boy was also outfitted with a series of lightweight TV-movie showcases which included The Kid from Left Field, Scout's Honor, The Kid with the Broken Halo, The Kid with the 200 I.Q., The Fantastic World of D.C. Collins and Playing with Fire. All of them wisely centered around Gary's adorable persona. Modest film comedies also came his way with On the Right Track and Jimmy the Kid. Topping it all off, the Hanna-Barbera-produced series The Gary Coleman Show produced an animated version of the child star. Little Gary would make close to $18 million during his nearly decade-long TV reign.

Like many others in his shoes, however, the aging Coleman felt trapped and pigeonholed by his stifling juvenile image and begged to get out from under it. The 18-year-old was truly thankful when the series ended in 1986. Coleman found, however, that a very fickle public was not as receptive to seeing him grow up. Like fellow TV star Emmanuel Lewis, Coleman began aging in appearance but remained trapped in the body of a young boy and the contrast proved too strange for audiences. As a result, Hollywood had little resources as to what to do with Gary Coleman the man. It wasn't long before Coleman was reduced to making weird guest appearances and small parts in even smaller films.

This crash course in reality triggered an increasingly erratic and aggressive behavior in Gary Coleman as he became increasingly angry and bitter about his lack of work when he was so used to be on top of everything. The subsequent tragedies suffered by all three young stars from the "Diff'rent Strokes" show, in fact, was sold out as a jinx package known as the "Diff'rent Strokes curse". While distaff co-star Dana Plato fell heavily into drug addiction, petty crime and pornography before taking her own life in 1999, Todd Bridges, who played Coleman's older brother, battled major cocaine abuse and was later charged (but acquitted of) attempted murder in the late 1980s.

In addition to his life-long health issues, Gary's adult problems came in the form of scattered financial and legal entanglements, as well as scrapes with the law. He was once arrested in 1999 for punching a persistent female autograph fan, in which he was fined and ordered to take anger-management classes. He also had many disorderly conduct and reckless driving charges brought up against him at various times. He would admit that the tally of his life problems led to more than a few feigned suicide attempts. In 1989, Coleman successfully sued his adopted parents and business manager after they allegedly pilfered his youthful fortune for their own self interest totaling $3.8 million in losses, and he won $1,280,000. Despite the large settlement, all of the money was soon spent on taxes, legal fees, as well as his increasingly high medical bills for his continuing dialysis treatments. As a result by 1999 (with no steady acting work) Coleman had to declare bankruptcy, finding work outside the Hollywood industry as a security guard. For self-preservation, he went the reality-show route and became the object of self-mocking cameos to help bring in some cash. As a gag, he ran for California's 2003 governorship during its recall election.

In 2007, he married the much younger actress Shannon Price, whom he met on the set of the low budget film Church Ball, but the quickly marriage dissolved quickly into domestic squabbles that put him in front of the court system yet again on domestic abuse charges. He later moved and settled in Utah.

In early 2009, Coleman managed to star in his very last film, the crude independent comedy Midgets Vs. Mascots filmed in Dallas, Texas before the end came. After undergoing heart surgery complicated by pneumonia in the fall of 2009, he later suffered a heart seizure the following February 2010 while performing on a Hollywood set, the 42-year-old actor died of a brain hemorrhage on May 28, 2010, after suffering an epidural hematoma from a fall at home. A sad end to a very bright and talented, but very troubled and bitter, child star who, at his peak, brought such joy to TV audiences.

Andreas Katsulas

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Andreas from a working-class Greek-American family. Attracted from early childhood to being on stage when at 4 his mother took him to see a community theater performance, he took theatre as an extra-curricular activity in high school. He then majored in it at St. Louis University, where he worked his way through school doing things like waiting on tables. Next, after earning a drama fellowship, Katsulas received a Master's Degree in Theater Arts from one of the nation's top schools for the genre, Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.

With never a doubt or hesitation, Andreas jumped right into the professional theater world, performing in plays in his native St. Louis with the Loretto-Hilton Repertory Theater. This was followed by work with the Theatre Company of Boston. After that, Katsulas moved to New York to some challenging off-off-Broadway theater at La Mama. This was followed by a fifteen-year heart and soul involvement with Peter Brook's International Theatre Company in Paris, performing around the world with a challenging combination of improvisational theater in every imaginable circumstance and space, and "prepared" theater pieces in traditional, as well as unconventional, theatrical spaces. Katsulas trod the boards from Lincoln Center in New York and The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., to the "mean streets" of Brooklyn and marketplaces in remote African Villages. There were performances from elite Theater Festivals in Iran, Avignon and Belgrade: in prisons & mental institutions; at rock quarries in Australia; on barrios in Venezuela; in sewage plants in Switzerland; winding through the streets of Venice, Italy; in the fields with farm workers in California, near the lakes of Minnesota with Native Americans, in sometimes extreme conditions like snow, rain, and intensive heat.

During a hiatus from the stage, a part in Michael Cimino's The Sicilian brought Andreas to Los Angeles, after which he was immediately cast as Joey Venza in Ridley Scott's Someone to Watch Over Me, then as Arthur, the chauffeur, in Blake Edwards's Sunset.

In early 2005, Andreas was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer; he passed away a year later, in Los Angeles. He had lived there since 1986, and had hoped to return to working in the theater before his far-too-early death, just over three months shy of his 60th birthday.

Robert Taylor

Born Spangler Arlington Brugh, Robert Taylor began displaying a diversity of talents in his youth on the plains of Nebraska. At Beatrice High School, he was a standout track athlete, but also showed a talent for using his voice, winning several oratory awards. He was a musician and played the cello in the school orchestra. After graduating he thought of music as a vocation and started studying music at Doane College in Crete, Nebraska. In the early 1930s he decided to follow in his father's footsteps and study medicine. He enrolled at Pomona College but also joined the campus theater group and found himself in many lead roles because of his handsome features. He was inspired to go on to the Neely Dixon Dramatic School, but about a year after graduating from Pomona, he was spotted by an MGM talent scout and given a contract in 1934. That same year, he appeared in his first movie, on loan-out to Fox for a Will Rogers entry, Handy Andy. He also did an MGM short, Buried Loot, for its "Crime Does Not Pay" series, which provided good exposure. However, the next year he did even better by being cast as the lead, again on loan-out, this time to then struggling Universal Pictures, in Magnificent Obsession with Irene Dunne, the story of a happy-go-lucky party guy who inadvertently causes blindness to the young lady he wishes to impress and then becomes a doctor in order to cure her. The movie was a big hit, and Taylor had a taste of instant box-office stardom. Along with his good looks, Taylor already showed solid dramatic skill. However, critics viewed of him as a no-talent flash-in-the-pan getting by on his looks (a charge levied at his closest contemporary comparison, Tyrone Power over at Fox). He had to endure some brutal reviews through his first years in Hollywood, but they would soon fade away. In 1935 alone, he appeared in seven films, and by the end of the year, he was at the top of his form as a leading man and being offered substantial scripts. The next year he appeared with Greta Garbo in Camille, and for the remainder of the decade MGM's vehicles for him--not to mention a pantheon of top actresses--clicked with audiences. On a personal level, despite his impressive family background and education, Taylor would often strike those who met him as a mental lightweight. Intellectually inclined actress Luise Rainer was shocked when she struck up a conversation with him at a studio function in 1937 when, after asking him what his goals were, he sincerely replied that his most important goal was to accumulate "a wardrobe of ten fine custom-tailored suits." That he usually comes across on screen as having a confident, commanding presence is more of a testimony to his acting talent than his actual personality. He held rigid right-wing political beliefs that he refused to question and, when confronted with an opposing viewpoint, would simply reject it outright. He rarely, if ever, felt the need to be introspective. Taylor simply felt blessed to be working behind the walls of MGM. His affection for the studio would blind him to the fact that boss Louis B. Mayer masterfully manipulated him for nearly two decades, keeping Taylor's salary the lowest of any major Hollywood star. But this is also indicative of how much trust he placed in the hands of the studio's leaders. Indeed, Taylor remained the quintessential MGM company man and would be rewarded by remaining employed there until the demise of the studio system in the late 1950s, outlasting its legend, Clark Gable. Though not quite considered treasures to be locked away in film vaults, Taylor's films during the first five years of his career gave him the opportunity to explore a wide spectrum of romantic characters, playing young officers or doctors more than once. Some noticeable examples of the variety of roles he took over a year's time were his chip-on-the-shoulder Lee Sheridan in A Yank at Oxford, ladies' man/boxer Tommy McCoy in The Crowd Roars and cynical southern gentleman Blake Cantrell in Stand Up and Fight. Taylor would truly become a first-rate actor in the following decade. By the 1940s, he was playing edgier and somewhat darker characters, such as the title roles in Billy the Kid and smooth criminal Johnny Eager. With the arrival of the war, Taylor was quick to make his contribution to the effort. As an actor, he made two memorable combat movies: Stand by for Action and the better known (and for the time, quite graphic) Bataan. From 1943 to 1946, he was in the US Naval Air Corps as a lieutenant, instructing would-be pilots. He also found time to direct two flight instruction training films (1943) and other training films for the Navy. Rather didactic in his ultra-conservative political beliefs, he became involved in 1947 as a "friendly witness" for the House Un-American Activities Committee investigating "Communist subversion" in the film industry. Anyone who knew Taylor knew he was an arch conservative but doubted that he could articulate why. He publicly stated that his accepting a role in Song of Russia was bad judgment (in reality, it was against his nature to balk at any film assignment while at MGM) and that he considered the film "pro-Communist." He also--rather unwittingly--fingered fellow actor Howard Da Silva as a disruptive force in the Screen Actors Guild. Although he didn't explicitly accuse Da Silva of being a Communist, his charges of "disruption" had the same effect, and the veteran actor found himself blacklisted by the studios for many years. After the war and through the remainder of the decade, Taylor was getting action roles to match his healthy box office draw, but there were fewer of them being offered. He was aging, and though he had one of his best known roles as the faith-challenged Gen. Marcus Vinicius in the monster hit Quo Vadis, he was now being seen more as a mature lead. MGM, now under the aegis of Dore Schary, made the decision to move a significant amount of production to England to cut costs and opted to film several big-budget costume epics there starring Taylor. With Walter Scott's Ivanhoe, he was back (as once before in 1949) with the dazzling young Elizabeth Taylor pining for him as the exotic young Jewish woman Rebecca, effectively pulling off a role ideally suited for an actor a decade younger. With a great script and lots of action (forget about the mismatch of some matte backdrops!), the movie was a smash hit. He had a new look--rakish goatee and longer hair--that fit the youthful illusion. The movie did so well that MGM opted for a follow-up film based on the King Arthur legend, Knights of the Round Table. It was not quite as good, but Taylor had the same look, and it worked. To his credit, Taylor continued to push for challenging roles in his dramatic output; the old "pretty face" stigma still seemed to drive him. He played an intriguing and most unlikely character in Devil's Doorway--an American Indian (dark-stained skin with blue eyes!) who wins a Medal of Honor for heroism in the Civil War but comes home to his considerable land holdings to encounter the continued racial bigotry and envy of his white neighbors. It contained pushing-the-envelope dialog with many thought-provoking scenes dealing with the social plight of the Indian. Taylor did several noteworthy pictures after this film (e.g., the edgy Rogue Cop) and was even more swashbuckling in one of the lesser known of Sir Walter Scott's romantic novels, Quentin Durward, again successful in a younger-man role. Though his contract with MGM expired in 1958, he accepted a few more films into the 1960s. He put on some weight in his 50s, and the effects of heavy chain smoking began to affect his looks, but Taylor successfully alternated between starring film roles and television, albeit at a somewhat reduced pace. He founded his own production company, Robert Taylor Productions, in 1958 and moved comfortably into TV work. From 1959 to 1962, he was the star of the TV series The Detectives, and when Ronald Reagan bowed out of TV's popular western anthology Death Valley Days for a political career, Taylor took over as host and sometime actor (1966-1968) until his death from lung cancer at the age of only 57.

Dorothy Dandridge

Dorothy Jean Dandridge was born on November 9, 1922 in Cleveland, Ohio, to Ruby Dandridge (née Ruby Jean Butler), an entertainer, and Cyril H. Dandridge, a cabinet maker and minister. Under the prodding of her mother, Dorothy and her sister Vivian Dandridge began performing publicly, usually in black Baptist churches throughout the country. Her mother would often join her daughters on stage. As the depression worsened, Dorothy and her family picked up and moved to Los Angeles where they had hopes of finding better work, perhaps in film. Her first film was in the Marx Brothers comedy, A Day at the Races. It was only a bit part but Dorothy had hopes that it would blossom into something better. But because she was a black woman in a very prejudiced society, she didn't land the roles that were readily available to her white counterparts. She did not appear in another film until 1940 in Four Shall Die. The role was nothing great other than to establish the fact that she was very beautiful and talented. Her next few roles in the early forties included films such as Bahama Passage, Drums of the Congo and Hit Parade of 1943. There were others in between, of course, but they were the usual black stereotypical films for women such as Dorothy. Not only was she a talented actress but she could also sing which was evident in films such as Atlantic City and Pillow to Post. This helped to showcase her talents as a singer and brought her headline acts in the nation's finest hotel nightclubs in New York, Miami, Chicago and Las Vegas. She may have been allowed to sing in these fine hotels but, because of racism, she couldn't stay there. It was reported that one hotel drained its swimming pool to keep her from enjoying that little amenity. In 1954, Dorothy appeared in the all-black production of Carmen Jones in the title role. She was so superb in that picture that she garnered an Academy Award nomination but lost out to Grace Kelly in The Country Girl. Despite the nomination for her performance, Dorothy did not get another movie until she appeared in Tamango, which was an Italian film. She was to make six more motion pictures, of which Island in the Sun and Porgy and Bess were worthy of mention. Once again, she was a standout. The last movie she would ever play would be in 1961's The Murder Men. Dorothy faded quickly after that with a poor second marriage to Jack Denison (her first was to Harold Nicholas), poor investments, other financial woes, and a problem with alcohol. She was found dead in her West Hollywood apartment on September 8, 1965, the victim of a barbiturate poisoning. She was only 42. Had she been born 20 years later, Dorothy Dandridge would no doubt be one of the most well-known actresses in film history.

Mike 'The Miz' Mizanin

Michael "The Miz" Mizanin was born in Cleveland, OH on October 8th, 1980 to Barbara and George Mizanin. He graduated with honors from Normandy High School before attending Miami University of Ohio (where he was a member of the Theta Chi Fraternity).

While in college, he auditioned for The Real World after seeing a casting call on MTV. Despite doubts about his ability to perform on a reality show, Mike went on to become one of the most popular cast members of the show's 10th Season, subtitled "Back to New York." It was on this show where he debuted his wrestling alter ego: "The Miz." In the years following, Mike "The Miz" became a mainstay on MTV, hosting various popular shows on the network and competing on The Real World's sister show, "Real World/Road Rules."

"The Miz" went from alter ego to reality after Mike moved to Los Angeles, where he auditioned for the WWE's "Tough Enough." Despite finishing in second place, Mike's performance impressed the WWE executives enough for them to grant him a developmental contract.

In the 12 years and counting that followed, The Miz has become one of WWE's biggest stars. He has won the WWE, US, Intercontinental, and Tag Team titles (making him the 25th Triple Crown and 14th Grand Slam Champion in the history of the WWE).

In addition to his wrestling stardom, Mike has established a robust film career as well. He is best known for playing Sgt. Jake Carter in "The Marine 3: Homefront" and "The Marine 4: Moving Target." The next film in the series ("The Marine 5: Battleground") is set to be released in 2017.

Howard Hawks

What do the classic films Scarface, Twentieth Century, Bringing Up Baby, Only Angels Have Wings, His Girl Friday, Sergeant York, To Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep, Red River Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Rio Bravo have in common? Aside from their displays of great craftsmanship, the answer is director Howard Hawks, one of the most celebrated of American filmmakers, who ironically, was little celebrated by his peers in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences during his career.

Although John Ford--his friend, contemporary and the director arguably closest to him in terms of his talent and output--told him that it was he, and not Ford, who should have won the 1941 Best Director Academy Award (for Sergeant York), the great Hawks never won an Oscar in competition and was nominated for Best Director only that one time, despite making some of the best films in the Hollywood canon. The Academy eventually made up for the oversight in 1974 by voting him an honorary Academy Award, in the midst of a two-decade-long critical revival that has gone on for yet another two decades. To many cineastes, Hawks is one of the faces of American film and would be carved on any film pantheon's Mt. Rushmore honoring America's greatest directors, beside his friend Ford and Orson Welles (the other great director who Ford beat out for the 1941 Oscar). It took the French "Cahiers du Cinema" critics to teach America to appreciate one of its own masters, and it was to the Academy's credit that it recognized the great Hawks in his lifetime.

Hawks' career spanned the freewheeling days of the original independents in the 1910s, through the studio system in Hollywood from the silent era through the talkies, lasting into the early 1970s with the death of the studios and the emergence of the director as auteur, the latter a phenomenon that Hawks himself directly influenced. He was the most versatile of American directors, and before his late career critical revival he earned himself a reputation as a first-rate craftsman and consummate Hollywood professional who just happened, in a medium that is an industrial process, to have made some great movies. Recognition as an influential artist would come later, but it would come to him before his death.

He was born Howard Winchester Hawks in Goshen, Indiana, on Decoration Day, May 30, 1896, the first child of Frank Winchester Hawks and his wife, the former Helen Howard. The day of his birth the local sheriff killed a brawler at the town saloon; the young Hawks was not born on the wild side of town, though, but with the proverbial silver spoon firmly clenched in his young mouth. His wealthy father was a member of Goshen's most prominent family, owners of the Goshen Milling Co. and many other businesses, and his maternal grandfather was one of Wisconsin's leading industrialists. His father's family had arrived in America in 1630, while his mother's father, C.W. Howard, who was born in Maine in 1845 to parents who emigrated to the U.S. from the Isle of Man, made his fortune in the paper industry with his Howard Paper Co.

Ironically, almost a half-year after Howard's birth, the first motion picture was shown in Goshen, just before Christmas on December 10, 1896. Billed as "the scientific wonder of the world," the movie played to a sold-out crowd at the Irwin Theater. However, it disappointed the audience, and attendance fell off at subsequent showings. The interest of the boy raised a Presbyterian would not be piqued again until his family moved to southern California.

Before that move came to pass, though, the Hawks family relocated from Goshen to Neenah, Wisconsin, when Howard's father was appointed secretary/treasurer of the Howard Paper Co. in 1898. Howard grew up a coddled and spoiled child in Goshen, but in Neenah he was treated like a young prince. His grandfather C.W. lavished his grandson with expensive toys. C.W. had been an indulgent father, encouraging the independence and adventurousness of his two daughters, Helen and Bernice, who were the first girls in Neenah to drive automobiles. Bernice even went for an airplane ride (the two sisters, Hawks' mother and aunt, likely were the first models for what became known as "the Hawksian women" when he became a director). Brother Kenneth Hawks was born in 1898, and was looked after by young Howard. However, Howard resented the birth of the family's next son, William B. Hawks, in 1902, and offered to sell him to a family friend for ten cents. A sister, Grace, followed William. Childbirth took a heavy toll on Howard's mother, and she never quite recovered after delivering her fifth child, Helen, in 1906. In order to aid her recovery, the family moved to the more salubrious climate of Pasadena, California, northeast of Los Angeles, for the winter of 1906-07. The family returned to Wisconsin for the summers, but by 1910 they permanently resettled in California, as grandfather C.W. himself took to wintering in Pasadena. He eventually sold his paper company and retired. He continued to indulge his grandson Howard, though, buying him whatever he fancied, including a race car when the lad was barely old enough to drive legally. C.W. also arranged for Howard to take flying lessons so he could qualify for a pilot's license, an example followed by Kenneth.

The young Howard Hawks grew accustomed to getting what he wanted and believed his grandfather when C.W. told him he was the best and that he could do anything. Howard also likely inherited C.W.'s propensity for telling whopping lies with a straight face, a trait that has bedeviled many film historians ever since. C.W. also was involved in amateur theatrics and Howard's mother Helen was interested in music, though no one in the Hawks-Howard family ever was involved in the arts until Howard went to work in the film industry.

Hawks was sent to Philips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire, for his education, and upon graduation attended Cornell University, where he majored in mechanical engineering. In both his personal and professional lives Hawks was a risk-taker and enjoyed racing airplanes and automobiles, two sports that he first indulged in his teens with his grandfather's blessing.

The Los Angeles area quickly evolved into the center of the American film industry when studios began relocating their production facilities from the New York City area to southern California in the middle of the 1910s. During one summer vacation while Howard was matriculating at Cornell, a friend got him a job as a prop man at Famous Players-Lasky (later to become Paramount Pictures), and he quickly rose trough the ranks. Hawks recalled, "It all started with Douglas Fairbanks, who was off on location for some picture and phoned in to say they wanted a modern set. There was only one art director . . . and he was away on another location. I said, 'Well, I can build a modern set.' I'd had a few years of architectural training at school. So I did, and Fairbanks was pleased with it. We became friends, and that was really the start."

During other summer vacations from Cornell, Hawks continued to work in the movies. One story Hawks tells is that the director of a Mary Pickford film Hawks was working on, The Little Princess, became too inebriated to continue working, so Hawks volunteered to direct a few scenes himself. However, it's not known whether his offer was taken up, or whether this was just one more of his tall tales.

During World War I Hawks served as a lieutenant in the Signal Corps and later joined the Army Air Corps, serving in France. After the Armistice he indulged in his love of risk, working as an aviator and a professional racing car driver. Drawing on his engineering experience, Hawks designed racing cars, and one of his cars won the Indianapolis 500. These early war and work experiences proved invaluable to the future filmmaker.

He eventually decided on a career in Hollywood and was employed in a variety of production jobs, including assistant director, casting director, script supervisor, editor and producer. He and his brother Kenneth shot aerial footage for motion pictures, but Kenneth tragically was killed during a crash while filming. Howard was hired as a screenwriter by Paramount in 1922 and was tasked with writing 40 story lines for new films in 60 days. He bought the rights for works by such established authors as Joseph Conrad and worked, mostly uncredited, on the scripts for approximately 60 films. Hawks wanted to direct, but Paramount refused to indulge his ambition. A Fox executive did, however, and Hawks directed his first film, The Road to Glory in 1926, also doubling as the screenwriter.

Hawks made a name for himself by directing eight silent films in the 1920s, His facility for language helped him to thrive with the dawn of talking pictures, and he really established himself with his first talkie in 1930, the classic World War I aviation drama The Dawn Patrol. His arrival as a major director, however, was marked by 1932's controversial and highly popular gangster picture Scarface, a thinly disguised bio of Chicago gangster Al Capone, which was made for producer Howard Hughes. His first great movie, it catapulted him into the front rank of directors and remained Hawks' favorite film. Unnder the aegis of the eccentric multi-millionaire Hughes, it was the only movie he ever made in which he did not have to deal with studio meddling. It leavened its ultra-violence with comedy in a potent brew that has often been imitated by other directors.

Though always involved in the development of the scripts of his films, Hawks was lucky to have worked with some of the best writers in the business, including his friend and fellow aviator William Faulkner. Screenwriters he collaborated with on his films included Leigh Brackett, Ben Hecht, John Huston and Billy Wilder. Hawks often recycled story lines from previous films, such as when he jettisoned the shooting script on El Dorado during production and reworked the film-in-progress into a remake of Rio Bravo.

The success of his films was partly rooted in his using first-rate writers. Hawks viewed a good writer as a sort of insurance policy, saying, "I'm such a coward that unless I get a good writer, I don't want to make a picture." Though he won himself a reputation as one of Hollywood's supreme storytellers, he came to the conclusion that the story was not what made a good film. After making and then remaking the confusing The Big Sleep (1945 and 1946) from a Raymond Chandler detective novel, Hawks came to believe that a good film consisted of at least three good scenes and no bad ones--at least not a scene that could irritate and alienate the audience. He said, "As long as you make good scenes you have a good picture--it doesn't matter if it isn't much of a story."

It was Hawks' directorial skills, his ability to ensure that the audience was not aware of the twice-told nature of his films, through his engendering of a high-octane, heady energy that made his films move and made them classics at best and extremely enjoyable entertainments at their "worst." Hawks' genius as a director also manifested itself in his direction of his actors, his molding of their line-readings going a long way toward making his films outstanding. The dialog in his films often was delivered at a staccato pace, and characters' lines frequently overlapped, a Hawks trademark. The spontaneous feeling of his films and the naturalness of the interrelationships between characters were enhanced by his habit of encouraging his actors to improvise. Unlike Alfred Hitchcock, Hawks saw his lead actors as collaborators and encouraged them to be part of the creative process. He had an excellent eye for talent, and was responsible for giving the first major breaks to a roster of stars, including Paul Muni, Carole Lombard (his cousin), Lauren Bacall, Montgomery Clift and James Caan. It was Hawks, and not John Ford, who turned John Wayne into a superstar, with Red River (shot in 1946, but not released until 1948). He proceeded to give Wayne some of his best roles in the cavalry trilogy of Fort Apache, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and Rio Grande, in which Wayne played a broad range of diverse characters.

During the 1930s Hawks moved from hit to hit, becoming one of the most respected directors in the business. As his fame waxed, Hawks' image replaced the older, jodhpurs-and-megaphone image of the Hollywood director epitomized by Cecil B. DeMille. The new paradigm of the Hollywood director in the public eye was, like Hawks himself, tall and silver-haired, a Hemingwayesque man of action who was a thorough professional and did not fail his muse or falter in his mastery of the medium while on the job. The image of Hawks as the ultimate Hollywood professional persists to this day in Hollywood, and he continues to be a major influence on many of today's filmmakers. Among the directors influenced by Hawks are Robert Altman, who used Hawksian overlapping dialog and improvisation in MASH and other films. Peter Bogdanovich, who wrote a book about Hawks, essentially remade Bringing Up Baby as What's Up, Doc?. Brian De Palma remade "Scarface" (Scarface). Other directors directly indebted to Hawks are John Carpenter and Walter Hill.

Hawks was unique and uniquely modern in that, despite experiencing his career peak in an era dominated by studios and the producer system in which most directors were simply hired hands brought in to shoot a picture, he also served as a producer and developed the scripts for his films. He was determined to remain independent and refused to attach himself to a studio, or to a particular genre, for an extended period of time. His work ethic allowed him to fit in with the production paradigms of the studio system, and he eventually worked for all eight of the major studios. He proved himself to be, in effect, an independent filmmaker, and thus was a model for other director-writer-producers who would arise with the breakdown of the studio system in the 1950s and 1960s and the rise of the director as auteur in the early 1970s. Hawks did it first, though, in an environment that ruined or compromised many another filmmaker.

Hawks was not interested in creating a didactic cinema but simply wanted to tell, give the public, a good story in a well-crafted, entertaining picture. Like Ernest Hemingway, Hawks did have a philosophy of life, but the characters in his films were never intended to be role models. Hawks' protagonists are not necessarily moral people but tend to play fair, according to a personal or professional code. A Hawks film typically focuses on a tightly bound group of professionals, often isolated from society at large, who must work together as a team if they are to survive, let alone triumph. His movies emphasize such traits as loyalty and self-respect. Air Force, one of the finest propaganda films to emerge from World War II, is such a picture, in which a unit bonds aboard a B-17 bomber and the group is more than the sum of the individuals.

Aside from his interest in elucidating human relationships, Hawks' main theme is Hemingwayesque: the execution of one's job or duty to the best of one's ability in the face of overwhelming odds that would make an average person balk. The main characters in a Hawks film typically are people who take their jobs with the utmost seriousness, as their self-respect is rooted in their work. Though often outsiders or loners, Hawksian characters work within a system, albeit a relatively closed system, in which they can ultimately triumph by being loyal to their personal and professional codes. That thematic paradigm has been seen by some critics and cinema historians as being a metaphor for the film industry itself, and of Hawks' place within it.

In a sense, Hawks' oeuvre can be boiled down to two categories: the action-adventure films and the comedies. In his action-adventure movies, such as Only Angels Have Wings, the male protagonist, played by Cary Grant (a favorite actor of his who frequently starred in his films between 1947 and 1950), is both a hero and the top dog in his social group. In the comedies, such as Bringing Up Baby, the male protagonist (again played by Grant) is no hero but rather a victim of women and society. Women have only a tangential role in Hawks' action films, whereas they are the dominant figures in his comedies. In the action-adventure films society at large often is far away and the male professionals exist in an almost hermetically sealed world, whereas in the comedies are rooted in society and its mores. Men are constantly humiliated in the comedies, or are subject to role reversals (the man as the romantically hunted prey in "Baby," or the even more dramatic role reversal, including Cary Grant in drag, in I Was a Male War Bride). In the action-adventure films in which women are marginalized, they are forced to undergo elaborate courting rituals to attract their man, who they cannot get until they prove themselves as tough as men. There is an undercurrent of homo-eroticism to the Hawks action films, and Hawks himself termed his A Girl in Every Port "a love story between two men." This homo-erotic leitmotif is most prominent in The Big Sky.

By the time he made "Rio Bravo", over 30 years since he first directed a film, Hawks not only was consciously moving towards parody but was in the process of revising his "closed circle of professionals" credo toward the belief that, by the time of its loose remake, "El Dorado" in 1966, he was stressing the superiority of family loyalties to any professional ethic. In "Rio Bravo" the motley group inside the jailhouse eventually forms into a family in which the stoical code of conduct of previous Hawksian groups is replaced by something akin to a family bond. The new "family" celebrates its unity with the final shootout, which is a virtual fireworks display due to the use of dynamite to overcome the villains who threaten the family's survival. The affection of the group members for each other is best summed up in the scene where the great character actor Walter Brennan, playing Wayne's deputy Stumpy, facetiously tells Wayne that he'll have tears in his eyes until he gets back to the jailhouse. The ability to razz Wayne is indicative of the bond between the two men.

The sprawl of Hawks' oeuvre over multiple genres, and their existence as high-energy examples of film as its purest, emphasizing action rather than reflection, led serious critics before the 1970s to discount Hawks as a director. They generally ignored the themes that run through his body of work, such the dynamics of the group, male friendship, professionalism, and women as a threat to the independence of men. Granted, the cinematic world limned by Hawks was limited when compared to that of John Ford, the poet of the American screen, which was richer and more complex. However, Hawks' straightforward style that emphasized human relationships undoubtedly yielded one of the greatest crops of outstanding motion pictures that can be attributed to one director. Hawks' movies not only span a wide variety of genres, but frequently rank with the best in those genres, whether the war film ("The Dawn Patrol"), gangster film ("Scarface"), the screwball comedy (His Girl Friday), the action-adventure movie ("Only Angels Have Wings"), the noir (The Big Sleep), the Western ("Red River") and "Rio Bravo"), the musical-comedy (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes) and the historical epic (Land of the Pharaohs). He even had a hand in creating one of the classic science-fiction films, The Thing from Another World, which was produced by Hawks but directed by Christian Nyby, who had edited multiple Hawks films and who, in his sole directorial effort, essentially created a Hawks film (though rumors have long circulated that Hawks actually directed the film rather than Nyby, that has been discounted by such cast members as Kenneth Tobey and James Arness, who have both stated unequivocally that it was Nyby alone who directed the picture).

Though Howard Hawks created some of the most memorable moments in the history of American film a half-century ago, serious critics generally eschewed his work, as they did not believe there was a controlling intelligence behind them. Seen as the consummate professional director in the industrial process that was the studio film, serious critics believed that the great moments of Hawks' films were simply accidents that accrued from working in Hollywood with other professionals. In his 1948 book "The Film Till Now," Richard Griffin summed this feeling up with "Hawks is a very good all rounder."

Serious critics at the time attributed the mantle of "artist" to a director only when they could discern artistic aspirations, a personal visual style, or serious thematic intent. Hawks seemed to them an unambitious director who, unlike D.W. Griffith or the early Cecil B. DeMille, had not made a major contribution to American film, and was not responsible for any major cinematic innovations. He lacked the personal touch of a Charles Chaplin, a Hitchcock or a Welles, did not have the painterly sensibility of a John Ford and had never matured into the master craftsman who tackled heavy themes like the failure of the American dream or racism, like George Stevens. Hawks was seen as a commercial Hollywood director who was good enough to turn out first-rate entertainments in a wide variety of genre films in a time in which genre films such as the melodrama, the war picture and the gangster picture were treated with a lack of respect.

One of the central ideas behind the modernist novel that dominated the first half of the 20th-century artistic consciousness (when the novel and the novelist were still considered the ultimate arbiters of culture in the Anglo-American world) was that the author should begin something new with each book, rather than repeating him-/herself as the 19th century novelists had done. This paradigm can be seen most spectacularly in the work of James Joyce. Of course, it is easy to see this thrust for "something new" in the works of D.W. Griffith and C.B. DeMille, the fathers of the narrative film, working as they were in a new medium. In the post-studio era, a Stanley Kubrick (through Barry Lyndon, at least) and Lars von Trier can be seen as embarking on revolutionary breaks with their past. Howard Hawks was not like this, and, in fact, the latter Hawks constantly recycled not just themes but plots (so that his last great film, "Rio Bravo", essentially was remade as "El Dorado (1966)" and Rio Lobo). He did not fit the "modernist" paradigm of an artist.

The critical perception of Hawks began to change when the auteur theory--the idea that one intelligence was responsible for the creation of superior films regardless of their designation as "commercial" or "art house"--began to influence American movie criticism. Commenting on Hawks' facility to make films in a wide variety of genres, critic Andrew Sarris, who introduced the auteur theory to American movie criticism, said of Hawks, "For a major director, there are no minor genres." A Hawks genre picture is rooted in the conventions and audience expectations typical of the Hollywood genre. The Hawks genre picture does not radically challenge, undermine or overthrow either the conventions of the genre or the audience expectations of the genre film, but expands it the genre by revivifying it with new energy. As Robert Altman said about his own McCabe & Mrs. Miller, he fully played on the conventions and audience expectations of the Western genre and, in fact, did nothing to challenge them as he was relying on the audience being lulled into a comfort zone by the genre. What Altman wanted to do was to indulge his own artistry by painting at and filling in the edges of his canvas. Thus, Altman needed the audience's complicity through the genre conventions to accomplish this.

As a genre director, Hawks used his audience's comfort with the genre to expound his philosophy on male bonding and male-female relationships. His movies have a great deal of energy, invested in them by the master craftsman, which made them into great popular entertainments. That Hawks was a commercial filmmaker who was also a first-rate craftsman was not the sum total of his achievement as a director, but was the means by which he communicated with his audience.

While many during his life-time would not have called Hawks an artist, Robin Wood compared Hawks to William Shakespeare and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, both of whom created popular entertainments that could also appeal to elites. According to Wood, "The originality of their works lay not in the evolution of a completely new language, but in the artist's use and development of an already existing one; hence, there was common ground from the outset between artist and audience, and 'entertainment' could happen spontaneously without the intervention of a lengthy period of assimilation."

The great French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard, who began his cinema career as a critic, wrote about Hawks, "The great filmmakers always tie themselves down by complying with the rules of the game . . . Take, for example, the films of Howard Hawks, and in particular 'Rio Bravo'. That is a work of extraordinary psychological insight and aesthetic perception, but Hawks has made his film so that the insight can pass unnoticed without disturbing the audience that has come to see a Western like all the others. Hawks is the greater because he has succeeded in fitting all that he holds most dear into a well-worn subject."

A decade before Godard's insight on Hawks, in the early 1950s, the French-language critics who wrote for the cinema journal "Cahiers du Cinema" (many of whom would go on to become directors themselves) elevated Howard Hawks into the pantheon of great directors (the appreciation of Hawks in France, according to Cinématheque Francaise founder Henri Langlois, began with the French release of "Only Angels Have Wings". The Swiss Éric Rohmer, who would one day become a great director himself, in a 1952 review of Hawks' "The Big Sky" declared, "If one does not love the films of Howard Hawks, one cannot love cinema". Rohmer was joined in his enthusiasm for Hawks by such fellow French cineastes as Claude Chabrol, François Truffaut and Jacques Rivette. The Cahiers critics claimed that a handful of commercial Hollywood directors like Hawks and Alfred Hitchcock had created films as artful and fulfilling as the masterpieces of the art cinema. André Bazin gave these critics the moniker "Hitchcocko-Hawksians".

Rivette wrote in his 1953 essay, "The Genius of Howard Hawks," that "each shot has a functional beauty, like a neck or an ankle. The smooth, orderly succession of shots has a rhythm like the pulsing of blood, and the whole film is like a beautiful body, kept alive by deep, resilient breathing." Hawks, however, considered himself an entertainer, not an "artist." His definition of a good director was simply "someone who doesn't annoy you." He was never considered an artist until the French New Wave critics crowned him one, as serious critics had ignored his oeuvre. He found the adulation amusing, and once told his admirers, "You guys know my films better than I do."

Commenting on this phenomenon, Sarris' wife Molly Haskell said, "Critics will spend hours with divining rods over the obviously hermetic mindscape of [Ingmar Bergman], [Michelangelo Antonioni], etc., giving them the benefit of every passing doubt. But they will scorn similar excursions into the genuinely cryptic, richer, and more organic terrain of home-grown talents."

Hawks' visual aesthetic eschews formalism, trick photography or narrative gimmicks. There are no flashbacks or ellipses in his films, and his pictures are usually framed as eye-level medium shots. The films themselves are precisely structured, so much so that Langlois compared Hawks to the great modernist architect Walter Gropius. Hawks strikes one as an Intuitive, unselfconscious filmmaker.

Hawks' definition of a good director was "someone who doesn't annoy you." When Hawks was awarded his lifetime achievement Academy Award, the citation referred to the director as "a giant of the American cinema whose pictures, taken as a whole, represent one of the most consistent, vivid, and varied bodies of work in world cinema." It is a fitting epitaph for one of the greatest directors in the history of American, and world cinema.

Rachel Sterling

Comedic actress Rachel Sterling began her training at the Piero Dusa Acting Conservatory in Santa Monica California. Her years at the conservatory laid the foundation that would lead to a love and respect of the fundamentals of theater.

Originally known for being a pin up model and music video vixen, appearing first in Playboy's College girl issue, then appearing in videos for Kid Rock, Dr. Dre, Shaggy, Sugar Ray, Ja Rule, Velvet Revolver, No Doubt, Wyclef Jean, Enrique Iglesias, Nas, Third Eye Blind, Lil Kim, Blink 182, Chief Wakil, Limp Biszket, Saliva, and George Michael. The transition to film and television came with her debut as Cherry in the comedy film TomCats, followed by her series regular role on the Comedy Central series The Man Show staring Jimmy Kimmel and Adam Carolla.

Shortly after a 5 episode run as the On The Red Carpet correspondent for ShowTime, an offer came to join Robin Antin's original Pussycat Dolls live at the Viper Room. This opportunity would change her life forever. After years of working the showgirl circuit before coming to Hollywood, burlesque became second nature to Rachel. It was a dream come true becoming the Dolls burlesque solo artist. Her performance in the bath tube and Champagne glass have been often imitated but never duplicated. Under Jimmy Iovine at Interscope Records, The Pussycat Dolls transformed from a burlesque revue to pop girl band group originally having 12 members including Carmen Electra. The opportunity to appear in a small role in The Wedding Crashers along side Vince Vaughn would guide Rachel back to her original path toward acting. Rachel would leave the Dolls to pursue acting. Returning years later for 6 months as the Headliner at The Pussycat Doll Lounge at Caesars Palace.

The success of The Wedding Crashers coupled with the notoriety of being an original Pussycat Doll landed Magazine features and covers globally for Maxim, FHM, Stuff, Esquire, Front, Frank 151, and in various photography art books. Most notable is her work with Ellen Von Unwerth, Nick & Adam Hayes as well as close friends Estevon Oriol, Patrick Hoelck, and Scott Cann. During this time Rachel toured America and Canada as the burlesque headliner coupled with famous DJs at numerous nightclubs, theaters, events and even Hugh Hefner's famous Playboy Mansion.

After honing her improv chops at Upright Citizens Brigade, Rachel quickly found a place on The Carpet Brothers along side Will Ferrell as Bianca Jaguar, and as Madam Caramel for 2 seasons on Reno 911. It was this role that got Hugh Hefner's attention and the celebrity pictorial for Playboy Magazine. Proving once and for all that personality counts.

Her time studying at the John Rosenfeld Studios was time well spent and, soon after, landed her television roles on Wilfred, How I Met Your Mother, Entourage, Workaholics, House MD, True Blood & 90210. Rachel also makes a cameo along side Chelsea Handler in Fun Size and makes her debut into the horror world in indie film The No Vacancy. This past year Rachel not only posed images with photographer Tibor Glob for clothing companies Want My Look and Stephanie Costello couture, but made a cameo on Australia's Dancing With The Stars with her partner Damian Whitewood ,as well and landing an invitation to appear on NBC's Truth Be Told staring Vanessa Lachey, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Bresha Webb, and comedian Tone Bell.

Adam Bartley

Adam Bartley, a proud Minnesota native, received his acting training from the prestigious Southern Methodist University acting program in Dallas and spent the next decade working on stages in New York, Chicago, Dallas, Colorado, and Alaska. Adam spent 4 years teaching acting to students and directing over 15 productions in the Aspen, CO area with a company he co-owned. He made the move to Los Angeles in 2010, and within a year he landed the iconic role of Deputy Ferguson (The Ferg) on Netflix's hit show Longmire. Adam also recurred as Duke on the hit NBC show This Is Us, and as Carl Brown (the Mole) on CBS's Ncis La. Adam has starred in several movies including Under The Silver Lake, Annabelle 2, and Armed Response as well as TV shows: Justified, Criminal Minds, Bones, Doubt, and many more. Adam is also a professional singer (Jazz, Broadway), a successful acting coach / teacher in Los Angeles, a die hard Minnesota Vikings Fan, a Dad to 2 incredible dogs, and a self proclaimed "ping pong master."

Thelma Todd

Thelma Todd was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, an industrial city near the New Hampshire state line. She was a lovely child with good academic tendencies, so much so that she decided early on to become a schoolteacher. After high school she went on to college but at her mother's insistence entered several beauty contests (apparently her mother wanted her to be more than just a "schoolmarm"). Thelma was so successful in these endeavors that she entered on the state level and won the title of "Miss Massachusetts" in 1925 and went on to the "Miss America" pageant. Although she didn't win, the pageant afforded her a chance to be seen been by talent scouts looking for fresh new faces to showcase in films. She began appearing in one- and two-reel shorts, mostly comedy, which showcased her keen comic timing and aptitude for physical comedy (unusual in such a beautiful woman). She had been making shorts for Hal Roach when she was signed to Paramount Pictures. Her first film--at 21 years of age--was as Lorraine Lane in 1927's Fascinating Youth, a romantic comedy, which was Paramount's showcase vehicle for its new stars. Thelma received minor billing in another film that year, God Gave Me Twenty Cents. The next year she starred with Gary Cooper and William Powell in the western Nevada. That year also saw her in three more films, with The Gay Defender being the most notable. It starred Richard Dix in the role of a man falsely accused of murder.

As the 1920s closed, Thelma began getting parts in more and more films. In 1928 and 1929 alone she was featured in 20 pictures, and not just comedies--she also did dramas and gothic horror films. Unlike many silent-era stars whose voices didn't fit their image or screen persona, Thelma's did. She had a bright, breezy, clear voice with a pleasant trace of a somewhat aristocratic, but not snobbish, New England accent and easily made the transition to sound films. In 1930 she added 14 more pictures to her resume, with Dollar Dizzy and Follow Thru being the most notable. The latter was a musical with Thelma playing a rival to Nancy Carroll for the affections of Buddy Rogers. It was a box-office hit, as was the stage production on which it was based. The following year Thelma appeared in 14 more films, among them Let's Do Things, Speak Easily, The Old Bull and On the Loose. Her most successful film that year, however, was the Marx Brothers farce Monkey Business. While critics gave the film mixed reviews, the public loved it. In 1932 Thelma appeared in another Marx Brothers film directed by Norman Z. McLeod, Horse Feathers. She also starred in This Is the Night, a profitable film which featured Cary Grant in his first major role. In 1934 Thelma made 16 features, but her career would soon soon come to a grinding halt. In 1935 she appeared in such films as Twin Triplets and The Misses Stooge, all showcasing her considerable comic talents. She also proved to be a savvy businesswoman with the opening of "Thelma Todd's Sidewalk Cafe," a nightclub/restaurant that catered to show business people. It also, unfortunately, attracted some shady underworld types as well, and there were rumors that they were trying to take over her club and use it as a gambling establishment in order to fleece the wealthy Hollywood crowd. According to these stories, Thelma and her boyfriend, director Roland West, wouldn't sell their establishment once they found out what the gangsters had in mind, thereby incurring the enmity of people it was not a good idea to become enemies of. Whether the stories were true or not, on December 16, 1935, Thelma was found dead in her car in her garage in Los Angeles. Her death was ruled a suicide owing to carbon monoxide poisoning. She was only 29 years old. At the time, as today, many felt that her death was actually a murder connected to the goings-on at her club, a theory that was lent credence by the fact that no one who knew her had ever seen her depressed or morose enough to worry about her committing suicide. Another factor that aroused suspicion was that her death was given a cursory investigation by the--at the time--notoriously corrupt Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office and the case was quickly and unceremoniously closed. Her death has remained a controversial one even to this day.

Three films she made before her death weren't released until the following year: Hot Money, An All American Toothache, and The Bohemian Girl. The latter saw her quite substantial role cut down so much that she was barely glimpsed in the picture. Thelma had made an amazing 115 films in such a short career, and her beauty and talent would no doubt have taken her right to the top if it hadn't been for her untimely demise.

Donovan W. Carter

Donovan W. Carter II, born on August 12th, 1989 in Washington, D.C. to Donovan E. Carter and Mae Brown, found himself drawn to acting at a very early age. Donovan's early credits are a music video in the wake of the L.A. riots, "Stand and be Proud" at the age of 3, and the play, To Kill A Mockingbird, at the age of 8. Shortly after getting his theatrical feet wet, he discovered a new love: sports.

His advanced talents in football and baseball consumed both his time and efforts, leaving very little time for acting. That effort paid off in the form of a full ride football scholarship at UCLA. While he was incredibly passionate about football, it did not culminate in a spot on an NFL roster. Donovan believes that when one door opens, it is truly because God is opening a window. Interest in entertainment was re-ignited by his stepmother, who acted and performed as a vocalist. His exposure to some successful actors and actresses also served to increase his fascination, particularly his relationships with Vanessa Bell Calloway (Coming to America, Cheaper by the Dozen) and Pam Trotter (Dreamgirls). Even with doubts he pursued a career in acting, finding success almost immediately. Donovan was cast as "Vernon," a starring role on Ballers, premiering June 21, 2015 on HBO. He credits God, UCLA, HBO, and the entire Ballers team for affording him an opportunity. Donovan has come full circle and is more dedicated than ever to find lasting success in the acting world. His best piece of advice is to "Go after your dreams, even when the first step is unknown and scary."

Jonathan LaPaglia

Jonathan is the youngest of three brothers. Older brother, Anthony LaPaglia, is also an actor. Middle brother, Michael, is a car wholesaler in Los Angeles. His parents are, Eddie LaPaglia, an Australian auto dealership owner, and Maria, a secretary. He initially wanted to pursue fine arts as a career, but had doubts about his talent. He graduated from the University of Adelaide, Australia with a degree in medicine. He worked three years as a physician in Adelaide, Sydney and London. Feeling restricted, he decided to follow his brother into acting.In 1994, he moved to New York City where he joined the Circle In The Square Theatre School. He got his first break in 1996, when he joined the cast of the TV series New York Undercover.

Jonno Davies

Jonno Davies is an actor, known for Spotless, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Hollyoaks, Casualty, In the Name of Ben Hur, The Killing of Ada May and Doctors.

He has completed filming the role of Andrew King in the forthcoming British cyber-crime thriller Milk and Honey: The Movie, alongside Mark Wingett, Claire King, Rachel Bright, Vas Blackwood and Nicholas Brendon.

In addition to his TV and film appearances, Jonno played the title role in Dracula at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2014, toured Norway and Singapore in a production of A Clockwork Orange as lead character Alex DeLarge, and was also a cast member of the Olivier Award nominated production of Shakespeare In Love at the Noel Coward Theatre in London's West End in 2015.

He reprised the role of Alex DeLarge to rave reviews in Action To The Word's production of A Clockwork Orange at London's The Park Theatre during February and March 2017. Broadway World described his portrayal as "without doubt this is one of the standout lead performances of the year so far."

In June 2017 it was announced that Jonno would play Alex DeLarge once again, with the success of A Clockwork Orange's London run seeing the show transfer to New York. He made his New York stage debut on 2 September 2017 with the show due to run through to 6 January 2018.

In the edition dated 10 September 2017, The New York Times named Jonno as the only male actor in their list of "Tomorrow's Marquee Names".

Jonno trained at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts, graduating in 2013. He was Italia Conti's nominee at the prestigious Spotlight Prize in his final year.

Lloyd Nolan

It would no doubt be a real shock to most people to discover that the rich baritone Bronx-like accent of great veteran character actor Lloyd Nolan was a product of the San Francisco streets--not the urban jungle of New York City. Nolan was born in the City by the Bay, and his father, James Nolan, was a successful shoe manufacturer of hard-working Irish stock. Lloyd caught the acting bug while at Santa Clara College (at the time, a junior college). He gained as much theatre experience as he could, attaining his AA in the process. Though he continued on to Stanford, he was still focused on acting and soon flunked out of that school, preferring to focus his attention on acting opportunities rather than studies. Forsaking his father and the family shoe business, Nolan went to sea on a freighter, which soon burned, and then headed south to Hollywood.

He continued to hone his acting skills by first taking up residence at the Pasadena Playhouse (1927). With his father's passing he was able to sustain himself on a small inheritance. Continuing at PP and elsewhere in stock for two years, he headed east to Broadway, where he landed a role in a musical revue, "Cape Cod Follies", in late 1929. He continued with two other similar roles through 1932 before breaking out with an acclaimed performance as less-than-wholesome small-town dentist Biff Grimes in the original hit play "One Sunday Afternoon" (1933). He would stay on for two more plays until mid-1934, when he headed back to Hollywood with heightened expectations of success in the movies. His voice and that rock-solid but somehow sympathetic face made Nolan someone with whom audiences could immediately identify, and ahead were over 150 screen appearances. Nolan didn't waste any time; he signed with Paramount and had five roles in 1935, getting the lead role in two and working with up-and-coming James Cagney and George Raft. In the next five years Nolan settled into his niche as a solid and versatile player in whatever he did. His genre was more "B", and he could play good guys and heavies with equal skill. The production values on some B-level efforts were every bit as good as those of "A" pictures. Everybody starting out did at least a few "B" pictures, and Nolan was doing quality work, even in pictures that are little-known--if known at all--today, pictures like King of Gamblers with Claire Trevor and King of Alcatraz. He was a mainstay at Paramount until 1940, competing with Warner Brothers in that studio's popular gangster films. Unlike better known Cagney and Humphrey Bogart across town, Nolan's bad and not-so-bad guys often had more depth, and again it was that face along with his verve and that distinctive voice that helped to bring it out.

The 1940s saw Nolan moving around within the studio system. He was taking on more familiar roles, such as private detective, government agent or police detective--tough and hard-boiled but sympathetic and understanding at the same time--and World War II action heroes. He landed the role of "Mike Shayne" in the private-eye series from 20th Century-Fox--seven of them between 1940 and 1942. Nolan showed a surprising flair for comedy in this series, with a continuing stream of wisecracks along with the fisticuffs. The Shayne series was well received by both critics and audiences, but Nolan is best known during that period as one of the familiar faces of World War II action films. The first is, at least to this observer, the best, but probably least known--Manila Calling. It was a part of Hollywood's concerted effort to boost civilian morale during the war, with the subject being the Japanese invasion of the Philippines, its conquest and liberation, as center stage in the War in the Pacific. Most films dealt with both retreat and return later in the war years; this 1942 film was perhaps the first to deal with the beginning and hope for the future. Nolan is his usual reliable, get-things-done professional here, an ace communications technician trying to keep the radio airways open amid the onslaught of Japanese invaders. Of all the flag-waving messages given in so many WWII films, none is as stirring as Nolan's, who by the way gets the girl, Carole Landis. It's she who stays behind with him while the rest of the radio team escapes with bombs falling. Microphone in hand and in his best hard-boiled monotone, Nolan spits out: "Manila calling, Manila calling - and I ain't no Jap!" Significantly, Nolan appeared in several other films dealing with the struggle in the Pacific, turning in a particularly strong performance in Bataan.

By 1950 Nolan was ready for television (nearly half of his career roles would tally on that side of the ledger). In addition to his series work, television in the 1950s also played a lot of Nolan's action films from the 1930s and 1940s, earning him a whole new generation of fans--kids who would sit for hours in front of the TV, watching not only current shows but "old" movies. Nolan appeared in many different genres on television, and he could be seen in everything from distinguished dramatic productions to variety and game shows, in addition to having his own series, including Martin Kane and Special Agent 7.

After having been away from Broadway for nearly 20 years, Nolan returned in early 1954 in the original production of the hit play "The Caine Mutiny Court Martial", in the pivotal role of the paranoid Captain Queeg. He spent a year in this production, to great critical acclaim. He repeated the role on television in a Ford Star Jubilee production in 1955. His TV roles kept him busy. It must have been fun for him when, at nearly 60 years of age, he played notorious Chicago gangster George Moran, aka "Bugs" Moran--who in real life was much younger than Nolan was at the time--on the popular The Untouchables, as well as appearing in five continuing episodes of the extremely popular 77 Sunset Strip series, and he appeared in other crime dramas playing, in one form or another, the kinds of roles he played on the big screen in the 1930s and 1940s.

In the 1970s, when cameo roles by older stars were becoming a popular means of luring people back to the theaters, Nolan was happy to oblige in box-office hits like Ice Station Zebra, Airport and Earthquake. When the same circumstances spread to episodic TV, Nolan was only too happy to be on hand. Most older actors--even those with good reputations--have a tendency to be a bit difficult, but Nolan was such a professional. His joy at still being able to work at the craft he loved was profound, almost childlike in enthusiasm. He never complained or claimed special privilege.

That was the measure of the man--what had been and what would continue to be. Unconventional in a natural sort of way was the norm for Lloyd Nolan. Call it keeping to one's dignity. He kept no Hollywood secrets, as was the fashion. He was very open about his autistic son. Into the 1980s and entering his 80s, Nolan still deftly handled a few final TV and screen roles, though his noted memory for lines began to fade and cue cards became necessary. He was inspired in his final film role as a retired actor, husband of showy, boozy has-been Maureen O'Sullivan and three individualistic daughters in Hannah and Her Sisters. It's a great role, and probably the most even and satisfying film effort of director Woody Allen.

Nolan's last role was a Murder, She Wrote TV episode with old friend Angela Lansbury. He still had not revealed his final secret--he was dying with lung cancer--which by then revealed itself just the same. Ravaged as he was by the disease, Lloyd Nolan--with the help of his friends and well-wishers--successfully wrapped his 156th professional acting performance before his passing. His was a life of quality, commitment, character and integrity. Were things increasingly rare in Hollywood. But, which described Lloyd Nolan, plain and simple.

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