Sanoe Lake is a surfer, model and actress. She was born and raised in Kauai, Hawaii. Her name "Sànoe" means " The Mist of the Mountains."
She was a known tomboy and thrill seeker when she was growing up earning herself the nickname "Sanoe boy." Sanoe was discovered at 15 years old by a manager on the beach of Oahu's North Shore when she came in from surfing. Soon after she began internationally modeling
Sanoe was the face used to launch the brand Roxy. The early Roxy campaigns that featured Sanoe were shot by the New York fashion photographer Dewy Nicks. Some of the magazines Sanoe was featured in were Elle, Vogue, Vanity Fair, W, Cosmo, Sports Illustrated, Seventeen and Teen Magazine in her career as a model. She also wrote a book, Surfer Girl. She starred in the music video of Jam & Spoon "Stella" (1999 version) and starred in the music video "If I Could Fall in Love" by Lenny Kravitz (2003)
Sanoe is best known for starring in the movie Blue Crush in 2002. She was nominated for an MTV Movie Award for her role in the film along with actresses Kate Bosworth, Michelle Rodriguez In 2005, she became part of the cast for the film Cruel World starring alongside Edward Furlong and Jaime Pressly. Since she developed a love of acting and show business, she didn't hesitate to accept the role Rain in Rolling when it was offered to her in 2007. In 2008 Lake stars as Gina, alongside Devon Sawa in the Ghost film Creature of Darkness.
She landed the lead role in the 2009 film Half-Life and played the role Pamela Wu. The film premiered in the 2008 Sundance Film Festival and went on to win the Gen Art Acura Grand Jury Prize 2008, the Asian American International Film Festival Best Feature Film Award, the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival Best Narrative Feature Award, and the Visionary Award at Calgary's Fairy Tales International. It was also nominated for the Tokyo Grand Prix at the Tokyo International Film Festival. Sanoe Lake surfing Padang Padang 2009
Sanoe was also the face of Billabong Girls from 2003-2012
Christine Flores (born September 26, 1981), better known as Christina Milian is an American singer, songwriter and actress. At the age of 19, Milian signed a contract with Def Jam. In 2001, Milian released her self-titled debut album, which featured the singles "AM to PM" and "When You Look at Me"; "AM to PM" charted within the Top 40 of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and both peaked in the top three on the UK Singles Chart. In 2004, Milian released her second studio album It's About Time, which provided her first major U.S. hit, "Dip It Low", which reached number five on the U.S. Billboard chart. "Whatever U Want" was released as the album's second single. Both singles charted within the Top 10 of the UK chart.
Janet Damita Jo Jackson was born on May 16, 1966 in Gary, Indiana, to Katherine Jackson (née Katherine Esther Scruse) and Joe Jackson, a musician. She is the youngest of ten children. After her birth, her brothers formed a band later called The Jackson 5. She lived at home with her sisters, while her brothers and father lived an extravagant life in Los Angeles. She later moved in with them while her brothers were making a name for themselves, and signed a deal with Motown. Janet was in the shadow but later also made a name for herself.
As she was touring, and making appearances with her brothers, and the rest of the family, she co-starred with the rest of them in "The Jacksons". In 1977, she got the part of Penny Gordon on "Good Times". That showed her acting abilities early on. She also made a few memorable appearances on the hit TV show "Diff'rent Strokes" as Charlene Dupree. Soon afterwards came her role on "Fame".
She married boyfriend James Debarge, but they divorced just months later. She signed with A&M Records, and recorded her first solo album titled "Janet Jackson". The album did poorly on the music charts. Two years later she recorded "Dream Street" which turned out to be another disaster. A year later she signed on Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis to record a third album, this time called "Control". It was a hit, selling 5 million copies in the U.S. alone, spawning six hits, and the #1 "When I Think of You". Afterwards, she fired her father, her manager to truly gain control.
Janet was determined to make this happen again. She then recorded "Rhythm Nation 1814". This time it sold 9 million copies in the U.S. - a bigger hit than "Control"! She happened to fall in love with a dancer named René Elizondo, Jr. from one of her sister's, LaToya Jackson's music video and later secretly married him in March of 1991. That same year she got a star on the Hollywood walk of fame. Janet went to work on her fifth album simply called "Janet.". It was her biggest hit to date selling over 10 million copies in the U.S. alone and includes her biggest hit single to date, "That's The Way Love Goes". Two years later she released a Greatest Hits album "Design of a Decade" which included two new hits "Runaway", and "Twenty-Foreplay". Her seventh album "The Velvet Rope" clarified her pop culture status.
In the midst of the release of The Velvet Rope, she divorced Rene Elizendo, which is when it emerged they had been secretly married for eight years. Janet recorded her eighth album "All For You". Another hit. She was honored by MTV as an MTV Icon. In 2004, Janet went to work on her next album "Damita Jo" - it was another hit.
|Damon Wayans Jr.
Damon Wayans Jr. was born at his grandmother's home in Vermont, in November 1982, and was raised in Los Angeles. He is the son of Lisa Thorner and actor Damon Wayans.
He made his film debut at age 11 in the 1994 film "Blank Man" playing the role of young Kevin. Later, Damon pursued his early passion for fine arts and animation in High School before admittance to the Otis School for Art and Design. He performed in a few bit roles on "My Wife and Kids" and landed a job as staff writer on the series becoming at 20, the youngest staff writer on television.
In 2005, Damon followed his father's comedic foot steps and braved the world of stand up comedy under the pseudonym Kyle Green. Damon Jr. has appeared performing alongside his father in the Showtime television series, "The Underground" (2006) and also served as a writer on that sketch comedy series. Damon also wrote, directed and starred in a series of innovative internet-based comedy sketches for "Way-Out TV" a website launched in 2007 by his father. In January 2008, Damon Jr. was featured on HBO's "Def Comedy Jam".
This young and talented multi-hyphenate continues honing his stand-up skills, performing in comedy clubs across the country, while further pursuing his crafts of acting and writing.
Lady Gaga, born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, is an American songwriter, singer, actress, philanthropist, dancer and fashion designer.
Gaga was born on March 28, 1986 in Manhattan, New York City, to Cynthia Louise (Bissett) and Joseph Anthony Germanotta, Jr., an internet entrepreneur. Her father is of Italian descent, and her mother is of half Italian and half French-Canadian, English, German, and Scottish ancestry. Gaga was able to sing and play the piano from a young age. She attended the Convent of the Sacred Heart from age 11 where was bullied for her appearance (she was small and plumper than other girls with large front teeth) and eccentric habits.
By the age of 14, Gaga was performing at open mike nights in clubs and bars. By age 17, she had gained early admission to New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. In addition to sharpening her songwriting skills, she composed essays and analytical papers on art, religion, social issues and politics. At the age of 19 Gaga withdrew from her studies and moved out of her parents' home in order to pursue a musical career. During this time she started a band which began to gain local attention.
After a brief partnership with talent scout Rob Fusari, which resulted in the creation of her stage name, Gaga was signed to Def Jam Records in 2006; however she was dropped from the label after just three months. Devastated, Gaga returned home, and became increasingly experimental: fascinating herself with emerging neo-burlesque shows, go-go dancing at bars dressed in little more than a bikini in addition to experimenting with drugs.
Gaga met performance artist Lady Starlight during this time; after a performance at Lollapalooza Festival in 2007 Gaga was signed by Vince Herbert to Streamline Records, an imprint of Interscope Records. Having served as an apprentice songwriter under an internship at Famous Music Publishing, which was later acquired by Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Gaga subsequently struck a music publishing deal with Sony/ATV. As a result, she was hired to write songs for Britney Spears and labelmates New Kids on the Block, Fergie, and the Pussycat Dolls. At Interscope, singer-songwriter Akon recognized her vocal abilities when she sang a reference vocal for one of his tracks in studio; Akon then convinced Interscope-Geffen-A&M Chairman and CEO Jimmy Iovine to form a joint deal by having her also sign with his own label Kon Live, making her his "franchise player."
In 2008 Gaga released her first album 'The Fame' to lukewarm radio play; Gaga toured around Europe and in gay clubs in the US to promote the album - however it was not until her first hit 'Just Dance' came to mainstream attention in 2009 that Gaga exploded onto the music scene.
Since then Gaga has gained numerous awards and nominations for a string of hits; her first album spawned several more smash hits ('Paparazzi' 'LoveGame' and 'Poker Face'); while touring the album Gaga wrote 'The Fame Monster', an EP examining the darker side to her new-found fame. The Fame Monster was released in 2009 and won multiple awards, spawning her most iconic single 'Bad Romance' as well as 'Telephone' and 'Alejandro'. During this time Gaga came under increased public and critical scrutiny for her eccentric and often bizarre style choices. Gaga embarked on her second tour, The Monster Ball; upon finishing in May 2011, the critically acclaimed and commercially accomplished tour ran for over one and a half years and grossed $227.4 million, making it one of the highest-grossing concert tours of all time and the highest-grossing for a debut headlining artist. Concerts performed at Madison Square Garden in New York City were filmed for an HBO television special. The special accrued one of its five Emmy Award nominations and has since been released on DVD and Blu-ray.
In 2011 Gaga released her second full-length album 'Born this Way'; the album was received vastly more critically than her previous two for touching on themes of politics, sexuality, and religion. Despite this, the album's songs were praised critically, and Born This Way sold 1.108 million copies in its first week in the US, debuting atop the Billboard 200, and topping the charts in more than 20 other countries. In addition to exceeding 8 million copies in worldwide sales, Born This Way received 3 Grammy Award nominations, including her third consecutive for Album of the Year. In March 2012, Gaga was ranked fourth on Billboard's list of top moneymakers of 2011, grossing $25,353,039 dollars, which included sales from Born This Way and her Monster Ball Tour.
At the end of April 2012, Gaga's Born This Way kicked off in Korea - the tour would last 2 years and take the singer to every continent of the globe. However in February 2012 the tour was abruptly cancelled; Gaga had a labral tear in her right hip which she had been nursing secretly for several weeks in the hopes that she would be able to continue the tour. After a performance in Toronto left her unable to walk and in considerable pain, she was taken to hospital for surgery and the tour was cancelled. Through to Jan. 17, the tour had grossed $168.2 million and moved 1.6 million tickets to 85 shows, according to Billboard Boxscore, with the Asian, European, and South American legs already completed in 2012. The North American leg, which was to wrap the tour and was almost completely sold out, would have likely put the tour at more than $200 million gross, easily in the top 20 tours of all time and probably in the top 15, according to Billboard. As it stands, Gaga finished sixth among all touring artists in 2012, with a gross of $125 million and attendance of more than 1.1 million, according to Boxscore.
Gaga wrote her third album, ARTPOP, released in 2013. Gaga made her acting debut in Robert Rodriguez's Machete Kills, the sequel to his 2010 film Machete, and also appeared in Rodriguez's sequel Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.
Keith David was born Keith David Williams in New York City's Harlem district, and was raised in East Elmhurst, in the Queens section of the city. He is the son of Dolores (Dickenson), a New York Telephone manager, and Lester Williams, a payroll operations director. As a child, he realized he wanted to act after playing the cowardly lion in his school's production of "The Wizard of Oz." He later enrolled in New York's High School of the Performing Arts and continued his studies at Juilliard. After graduation, he was hired as an understudy for Tullus Aufidius in William Shakespeare's "Coriolanus." In 1992, he received a Tony Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical for his role in the Broadway play "Jelly's Last Jam."
Keith's extraordinary range of talent is evidenced by his body of work. His films include "The Princess and the Frog", "Coraline", and "Crash". Other credits are "Barbershop", "Agent Cody Banks", and "Requiem for a Dream". Prior to that, Keith was featured in "There's Something About Mary", "Armageddon" and "Dead Presidents". Keith has received Emmy Awards for his narration of two Ken Burns documentaries: "The War" and "Unforgivable Blackness", and was nominated for his narration of "Jazz". He received a daytime Emmy nomination for his work in Showtime's "The Tiger Wood's Story". Keith David gained wide attention in 1986 for his role as King in the Oscar winning film "Platoon". Other of his over 75 film credits includes "Men at Work", "Clockers", and "Pitch Black". Keith has also worked with notable directors including Clint Eastwood ("Bird"), Steven Spielberg ("Always") and John Carpenter ("The Thing" and "They Live"). Born in Harlem, New York and raised in East Elmhurst, Queens, Keith sang in the all borough choir as a boy. He knew he wanted to act at the age of nine when he appeared as the cowardly lion in his school's production of "The Wizard of Oz". He later attended New York's famed High School of the Performing Arts and then graduated from Juilliard. There he studied under such voice and speech teachers as Robert Williams and Edith Skinner.
Chloe Suazo (born December 27, 1991), known professionally as Chloe Bridges, is an American actress. She is known for her roles as Zoey Moreno in the sitcom Freddie (2005-06) and as Dana Turner in the Disney Channel original film Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam (2010). She has starred in the films Forget Me Not (2009), Family Weekend (2013), Mantervention (2014), The Final Girls (2015), and Nightlight (2015).
Robyn Rihanna Fenty was born in a parish in Barbados called St. Michael, to Monica (Braithwaite), an accountant, and Ronald Fenty, a warehouse supervisor. Her mother is of Afro-Guyanese descent and her father has Afro-Barbadian and English/Irish/Scottish ancestry (known as "Redlegs" in the Caribbean). Rihanna lived the life of a normal island girl going to Combermere, a top sixth form school. Rihanna won numerous beauty pageants and performed Mariah Carey "Hero" in a school talent show. Her life changed forever when one of her friends introduced her to Evan Rodgers, a producer from New York who was in Barbados for a vacation with his wife, who is a native. Rodgers arranged for her to go to New York to meet Jay Z, CEO of Def Jam Records. He heard her sing and knew she was going to be incredibly successful. She was 16 when she was signed to Def Jam. Since then, she's amassed phenomenal success.
Dancer, cellist, actress -- it's not just "Virtual Reality". Lori Jacqueline Singer was born on November 6, 1957 in Corpus Christi, Texas. Her father Jacques Singer was a symphony conductor, and her mother Leslie a concert pianist. Lori grew up in Texas, Portland, Vancouver and London. Lori always wanted to become a dancer. At age 12, she fell in love with cello music and wanted to study that, too. Lori was a prodigy, because at age 14, she got accepted to the Juilliard Performing Arts School in New York, where she majored in music. Lori became the school's youngest undergraduate student, and only one year after enrolling, she made her debut as a soloist with the Western Washington Symphony. In 1980, Lori won the Bergen Philharmonic Competition. In 1981, Lori married Richard Emery (they would divorce in 1998). This lovely lady (5' 10") also pursued a successful modeling career with the Elite Model Agency.
Inspired by her brother Marc Singer's success in Hollywood, Lori had started taking acting lessons at age 17, and in 1982, she landed a role in the television series Fame. She was a natural to play the tall, beautiful cellist Julie Miller, displaying her dancing and singing skills. Lori portrayed a model in the television movie Born Beautiful, and won a Silver Halo Award for her performance. Lori went on to do movies, her breakout film being Footloose which grossed $80,000,000 (and Lori had beat out Madonna for the part). In 1985, Lori was nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead in Trouble in Mind. Lori had a son, Jacques Rio, in 1991. In 1993, Lori won a Golden Globe Award for her outstanding performance in Short Cuts. In 1995, Lori starred in VR.5 the short-lived sci-fi series. That same year, she was also listed in People magazine as one of the "Most Beautiful People".
Lori still plays the cello regularly, and although she was classically trained, Lori plays rock music as well (sometimes she gathers her friends in her apartment for a jam). Big-hearted Lori also devotes a lot of time and effort to the "DISHES Project" for Pediatric AIDS. (DISHES -- Determined Involved Super-role models Helping to End Suffering) Their mission "is to raise funds and awareness for programs dedicated to direct care, prevention and education, foster care and adoptive services." Lori is one of many generous celebrities (including Cindy Crawford, Heidi Klum, Elle Macpherson, Claudia Schiffer, and many others) who have donated their time, image and money for this noble project. Lori lives with her son in Manhattan. And, as Lori writes occasionally when she signs an autograph: "Stay Footloose!"
Bruce Lee remains the greatest icon of martial arts cinema and a key figure of modern popular media. Had it not been for Bruce Lee and his movies in the early 1970s, it's arguable whether or not the martial arts film genre would have ever penetrated and influenced mainstream North American and European cinema and audiences the way it has over the past four decades.
The influence of East Asian martial arts cinema can be seen today in so many other film genres including comedies, action, drama, science fiction, horror and animation.....and they all have their roots in the phenomenon that was Bruce Lee.
Lee was born "Lee Jun Fan" November twenty-seventh 1940 in San Francisco, the son of Lee Hoi Chuen, a singer with the Cantonese Opera. Approximately one year later the family returned to Kowloon in Hong Kong and at the age of five years, a young Bruce begins appearing in children's roles in minor films including The Birth of Mankind and Fu gui fu yun. At the age of 12 Bruce commenced attending La Salle College. Bruce was later beaten up by a street gang, which inspired him to take up martial arts training under the tutelage of "Sifu Yip Man" who schooled Bruce in wing chun kung fu for a period of approximately five years. This was the only formalized martial arts training ever undertaken by Lee. The talented & athletic Bruce also took up cha-cha dancing and at the age of 18 won a major dance championship in Hong Kong.
However his temper and quick fists got him in trouble with the Hong Kong police on numerous occasions. His parents suggested that he head off to the United States. Lee landed in San Francisco's Chinatown in 1959 and worked in a close relative's restaurant. He eventually made his way to Seattle, Washington where he enrolled at university to study philosophy and found the time to practice his beloved kung fu techniques. In 1963 Lee met Linda Emery (later his wife) and also opened his first kung fu school at 4750 University Way. During the early half of the 1960s Lee became associated with many key martial arts figures in the USA including kenpo karate expert Ed Parker and tae kwon do master Jhoon Rhee. He made guest appearances at notable martial arts events including the Long Beach Nationals. Through one of these tournaments Bruce met Hollywood hair-stylist Jay Sebring who introduced him to T.V. producer William Dozier. Based on the runaway success of "Batman" Dozier was keen to bring the cartoon character of "The Green Hornet" to T.V. and was on the lookout for an East Asian actor to play the Green Hornet's sidekick, "Kato". Around this time Bruce also opened a second kung fu school in Oakland, California and relocated to Oakland to be closer to Hollywood.
Bruce's screen test was successful, and "The Green Hornet" starring Van Williams aired in 1966 with mixed success. His fight scenes were sometimes obscured by unrevealing camera angles, but his dedication was such that he insisted his character behave like a perfect bodyguard, keeping his eyes on whoever might be a threat to his employer except when the script made this impossible. The show was surprisingly terminated after only one season (twenty-six episodes), but by this time Lee was receiving more fan mail than the show's nominal star. He then opened a third branch of his kung fu school in Los Angeles and began providing personalized martial arts training to celebrities including film stars Steve McQueen and James Coburn as well as screenwriter Stirling Silliphant. In addition he refined his prior knowledge of wing chun and incorporated aspects of other fighting styles such as traditional boxing and Okinawan karate. He also developed his own unique style "Jeet Kune Do" (Way of the Intercepting Fist). Another film opportunity then came his way as he landed the small role of a stand over man named "Winslow Wong" who intimidates private eye James Garner in Marlowe. Wong pays a visit to Garner and proceeds to demolish the investigator's office with his fists and feet, finishing off with a spectacular high kick that shatters the light fixture. With this further exposure of his talents, Bruce then scored several guest appearances as a martial arts instructor to blind private eye James Franciscus on the TV series Longstreet.
With his minor success in Hollywood and money in his pocket, Bruce returned for a visit to Hong Kong and was approached by film producer Raymond Chow who had recently started "Golden Harvest" productions. Chow was keen to utilize Lee's strong popularity amongst young Chinese fans, and offered him the lead role in _Tang sha da xiong (1971)_ (A.K.A. "The Big Boss"). The film was directed by Wei Lo, shot in Thailand on a very low budget and in terrible living conditions for cast and crew. However, when it opened in Hong Kong the film was an enormous hit. Chow knew he had struck box office gold with Lee and quickly assembled another script entitled The Chinese Connection (A.K.A. "The Chinese Connection", A.K.A. "Fist of Fury"). The second film (with a slightly bigger budget) was again directed by Wei Lo and was set in Shanghai in the year 1900, with Lee returning to his school to find that his beloved master has been poisoned by the local Japanese karate school. Once again he uncovers the evil-doers and sets about seeking revenge on those responsible for murdering his teacher. The film features several superb fight sequences and, at the film's conclusion, Lee refuses to surrender to the Japanese law and seemingly leaps to his death in a hail of police bullets.
Once more Hong Kong streets were jammed with thousands of fervent Chinese movie fans who could not get enough of the fearless Bruce Lee, and his second film went on to break the box office records set by the first! Lee then set up his own production company, Concord Productions, and set about guiding his film career personally by writing, directing and acting in his next film, _Meng long guojiang (1972)_ (A.K.A. "Way of the Dragon", A.K.A. "Return of The Dragon"). A bigger budget meant better locations and opponents, with the new film set in Rome, Italy and additionally starring hapkido expert Ing-Sik Whang, karate legend Robert Wall and seven-time U.S. karate champion Chuck Norris. Bruce plays a seemingly simple country boy sent to assist at a cousin's restaurant in Rome and finds his cousins are being bullied by local thugs for protection.
By now Lee's remarkable success in East Asia had come to the attention of Hollywood film executives and a script was hastily written pitching him as a secret agent penetrating an island fortress. Warner Bros. financed the film and also insisted on B-movie tough guy John Saxon starring alongside Lee to give the film wider appeal. The film culminates with another show-stopping fight sequence between Lee and the key villain, Han, in a maze of mirrors. Shooting was completed in and around Hong Kong in early 1973 and in the subsequent weeks Bruce was involved in completing over dubs and looping for the final cut. Various reports from friends and coworkers cite that he was not feeling well during this period and on July twentieth 1973 he lay down at the apartment of actress Betty Ting Pei after taking a head-ache tablet and was later unable to be revived. A doctor was called and Lee was taken to hospital by ambulance and pronounced dead that evening. The official finding was death due to a cerebral edema, caused by a reaction to the head-ache tablet.
Fans world-wide were shattered that their virile idol had passed at such a young age, and nearly thirty thousand fans filed past his coffin in Hong Kong. A second, much smaller ceremony was held in Seattle, Washington and Bruce was laid to rest at Lake View Cemetary in Seattle with pall bearers including Steve McQueen, James Coburn and Dan Inosanto. Enter the Dragon was later released in the mainland United States, and was a huge hit with audiences there, which then prompted National General films to actively distribute his three prior movies to U.S. theatres... each was a box office smash.
Fans throughout the world were still hungry for more Bruce Lee films and thus remaining footage (completed before his death) of Lee fighting several opponents including Dan Inosanto, Hugh O'Brian and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was crafted into another film titled Game of Death. The film used a look-alike and shadowy camera work to be substituted for the real Lee in numerous scenes. The film is a poor addition to the line-up and is only saved by the final twenty minutes and the footage of the real Bruce Lee battling his way up the tower. Amazingly this same shoddy process was used to create Game of Death II (A.K.A. "Game of Death II"), with a look-alike and more stunt doubles interwoven with a few brief minutes of footage of the real Bruce Lee.
Bruce Lee was not only an amazing athlete and martial artist but he possessed genuine superstar charisma and through a handful of films he left behind an indelible impression on the tapestry of modern cinema.
Keke Palmer was born Lauren Keyana Palmer in Robbins, Illinois--a small town 20 miles south of Chicago-- to Sharon and Larry Palmer, both former actors. Palmer showed vocal promise as a five-year-old, when she belted out "Jesus Loves Me" in her church choir. A year later the singer-actress had a solo in her kindergarten play but, to her mom's dismay, the mike had not been adjusted to suit her daughter's height. Without missing a beat, Palmer lowered the mike and moved the crowd with her heavenly voice. At that very moment, her family knew there was something special about Keke (a nickname given to her by her sister).
Although music was still her passion, Palmer's first big break came via her acting skills, making her big-screen debut in Barbershop 2: Back in Business as Queen Latifah's niece. Immediately recognizing her star potential, the film's producers encouraged her parents to take their daughter to California to explore other acting opportunities. Relocating required that Palmer's parents leave behind the security of their jobs, a newly purchased home and uproot their other three children. However, it didn't diminish the family's support of Palmer's aspirations.
Once settled on the West Coast, Palmer did not waste any time. Within six weeks she had booked an episode of the critically acclaimed CBS series Cold Case, a national K-Mart commercial and was chosen from a nationwide search to play opposite William H. Macy in a TNT movie, The Wool Cap. Her performance was so amazing that it earned her a Screen Actors Guild nomination--to date, she is the youngest actress (then at age ten) ever to receive a nomination in a Lead Actress Category.
In 2006 Palmer appeared as the lead character "Akeelah Anderson" in the critically acclaimed, award-winning film Akeelah and the Bee. The film, about a young South Los Angeles girl who attempts to win a national spelling bee, won the hearts of audiences everywhere. Her breakthrough performance has received praise from many film critics and organizations. Among the list of nominations received, "Akeelah and the Bee" was listed as one of NBR's 2006 Top Independent Films of the Year, as well as four nominations from the NAACP Image Awards. Palmer, alone, won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Motion Picture, as well as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Motion Picture by the Black Movie Awards. She has also received nominations for Most Promising Newcomer by the Chicago Film Critics, Best Actress by the Black Reel Awards, and Best Young Actress by the Broadcast Film Critics Association. Keke held her own in scenes with veteran co-stars Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne.
That very same year, Palmer appeared in Tyler Perry's Madea's Family Reunion, which was #1 at the box office for two consecutive weeks. Palmer went on to win a 2007 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture for her breakout role in "Akeelah and the Bee". She also received a ShoWest Award for Rising Star of the Year. Shortly after, Palmer lit up the small screen starring in the Disney Channel's hit movie, Jump In!. This one-two punch of big-screen success coupled with small screen ratings power made Keke Palmer a household name in Hollywood.
Palmer contributed her first recording, which was featured on the "Akeelah and the Bee" soundtrack, titled "All My Girlz", and followed it up with the ever popular "My Turn Now" on the "Jump In!" soundtrack. As if two soundtracks were not enough, she was also asked to sing "Tonight", an end title song from the smash-hit Ben Stiller movie, Night at the Museum. Her Atlantic Records debut album, "So Uncool", is jammed with up-tempo R&B tracks, inspirational moments, and love songs. In 2008, Palmer starred in the Weinstein Co. feature, The Longshots. The film was based on the true story of a young female quarterback, played by Palmer, that makes Pop Warner history; she starred opposite Ice Cube, for first time director and Limp Bizkit front man, Fred Durst.
Palmer also starred as the title character in the hit Nickelodeon series, True Jackson, VP, for 68 episodes, she played a high-school student who becomes the head of a major fashion label. In the fall of 2008, "True Jackson" bowed with over 4.8 million viewers, setting a record for Nickelodeon's largest audience for a live-action premiere. She has received four NAACP Awards for Best Actress in Children's Television for her role as "True Jackson".
Keke starred in the movie, Abducted: The Carlina White Story, for the Lifetime Network. She had a voice role in the 20th Century Fox animated film, Ice Age: Continental Drift, as the character "Peaches". Her co-stars include Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Jennifer Lopez and Queen Latifah.
Palmer was seen on the big screen in the Alcon/Warner Bros movie, Joyful Noise, singing alongside legendary Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton, however, it was Palmer who the critics singled out for her "young and inspiring" rendition of the Michael Jackson song, "Man in the Mirror".
Palmer resides in Los Angeles, CA.
|LL Cool J
L.L. Cool J was born James Todd Smith on January 14, 1968, in Bay Shore, Long Island, New York, the son of Ondrea Griffith and James Louis Smith, Jr. Todd, as he was called, did not have a very happy childhood. At the age of four, he saw his mother and grandfather shot by his own father. After they recovered from their injuries, his mother began to date a young physical therapist she met while in the hospital. The therapist treated Ondrea kindly, but for years he abused Todd physically and verbally, which resulted in Todd becoming a bully himself. It was during this period that he started wearing hats all the time (one of L.L. Cool J's trademarks is the fact that people never see him without a hat on--until recently). Fortunately, Ondrea finally discovered what this man was doing to her son and left him. As he grew older, Todd found a way to escape the effects of his abuse and his bullying attitude: hip-hop music. He fell in love with it at the age of nine, and by 11 he was writing lyrics and making his own songs with some DJ equipment his grandfather gave him. At 15, he and one of his best friends came up with his present stage name, L.L. Cool J, which means "Ladies Love Cool James." In 1984, when L.L. was 16, he met Rick Rubin, a student at NYU, who gave him his big break in music. Rick really liked L.L.'s music and decided to try to get him a record deal. Together, they made the single "I Need a Beat" and sent it to an artist manager named Russell Simmons. Simmons loved the single, and, in the same year, Rick and Russell co-founded the famous Def Jam Recordings; L.L.'s debut album, "Radio," released in 1985, after securing a distribution deal for Def Jam with Columbia/CBS Records, was the label's first long-playing release. Even today, L.L. is considered one of Def Jam's most prized possessions. 1985 was also the year L.L. started his acting career. He first appeared in Krush Groove, which is a semi-biographical account of the early days of Def Jam Recordings. L.L. had a cameo appearance in the film. In 1986, L.L. also had a cameo appearance in the movie Wildcats and also wrote that movie's theme song. After that, L.L. took a break from film and concentrated more on his first love: music. His career took off, and after every one of his albums hit platinum-selling status, he was (and still is) regarded as one of the greatest hip-hop artists of all time. After a few years, he had small roles in a few other films, but was still better known for his music. All this changed in 1995. By this time he was a happily married 27-year-old with three children. His first starring film, Out-of-Sync, had also been released. It didn't do very well at the box office, but it got him noticed by executives at NBC-TV, who wanted to give him a part in a sitcom they were going to air. This sitcom was In the House, which showed L.L.'s acting ability; the show stayed on the air until 1999. He had been offered several films roles during the run of the show and decided to accept a part in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later. Its success resulted in L.L. being cast in bigger and better film roles, and he has acted alongside actors such stars Whoopi Goldberg, Samuel L. Jackson, Jamie Lee Curtis, James Woods, Al Pacino, Omar Epps, Pam Grier, Stanley Tucci, and Dennis Quaid, to name a few. In 2000, he was finally rewarded for his acting talent. That year he won a Blockbuster Entertainment Award for the best supporting actor in the action film Deep Blue Sea. Even though his film career has taken off, he hasn't forgotten his love of hip-hop music. In 1998, he was planning to retire from hip-hop and just concentrate on his film career, but he later decided to keep dividing his time between both fields. L.L. is not only known as one of the greatest MCs of all time, but he is also known as a great actor.
Ratner grew up in Miami Beach, the only child of a famous Jewish socialite mother. He attended Miami Beach Senior High and was President of the Leo Club in 1986. He was also a member of the "fraternity" Royal Palm. He attended NYU film school currently lives in a $3.6 M house in Beverly Hills. Ratner is also a good friend of Def Jam mogul Russell Simmons, and has directed music videos for many rap stars.
Tonya Pinkins attended Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she studied theater, music and dance. Leaving school, she moved to New York after landing a role in Stephen Sondheim's "Merrily We Roll Along", then went on to appear in "An Ounce Of Prevention", "Just Say No", "Caucasian Chalk Circle" and "Little Shop of Horrors" on the New York stage. Pinkins' portrayal of Sweet Anita in the Broadway musical "Jelly's Last Jam" earned her a Tony Award, a Drama Desk Award and the Clarence Derwent Award. In the summer of 1994, during a hiatus from All My Children, she starred as Mistress Ford in the New York Shakespeare Festival's production of "The Merry Wives of Windsor". Pinkins, who is divorced, is the mother of four children.
Radiating the screen with her engaging presence and captivating talent, Amy Davidson has quickly become one of Hollywood's most intriguing young actresses.
Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Davidson discovered her love for entertaining when her parents enrolled her in dance classes as a young child. As a member of the award-winning dance production company, "Dance Motion", Davidson sharpened her skills for ballet, point, hip hop and modern dancing. After years of captivating audiences at national dance competitions and annual "Dance Motion" productions, the seasoned performer developed an affinity for acting.
During her last years in high school, Davidson was introduced to an agent and soon began doing commercial work. She also began mentoring with acting coach Gene Fowler, who recognized her talent and encouraged her to move to Hollywood to further her acting career. Davidson took his advice and, without having any connections in the entertainment industry, she packed her belongings and headed west.
Upon arriving in Los Angeles, Davidson continued to study her craft with a variety of coaches, each offering their own unique acting style. As a result of her perseverance and discipline, Davidson soon landed a recurring role as "Cammie Morton" in the Mary-Kate Olsen-Ashley Olsen series, So Little Time, for ABC Family. She also guest-starred on the drama series, Judging Amy, and appeared in Lifetime's original movie, The Truth About Jane, prior to landing 8 Simple Rules.
Despite her active schedule, Davidson finds time to enjoy a variety of activities that keep her physically fit, such as running, weight training, hiking, boxing and snow skiing. She continues to keep her spirit of dance alive by attending classes at "Cardio Barre", a workout studio where exercisers can experience a high energy, aerobic class done at a ballet barre. In order to improve her "jam sessions" in the car, she recently began taking voice lessons. Davidson recently wrapped production in a starring role opposite television veterans Betty White and Richard Thomas in Annie's Point, a Hallmark Channel original movie. Davidson portrayed "Ella Eason", a 19-year-old college dropout who agrees to travel cross country with her grandmother (White) in order to spread her grandfather's ashes in a significant spot - "Annie's Point".
She co-starred on ABC's family comedy "8 Simple Rules" from 2002 to 2005, with an ensemble cast that included James Garner, Katey Sagal and David Spade. She played the cute middle child, "Kerry Hennessy", who is a confident and intelligent teenager who knows that she does not need to pretty herself up in order to succeed. In its second season, the Hennessy family faced the heart-wrenching task of moving on with their lives after the tragic death of "Paul", their beloved patriarch (John Ritter).
Davidson currently resides in Los Angeles, where's she recently purchased a new home.
Few entertainers today are as accomplished or versatile as Ben Vereen. His legendary performances transcend time and have been woven into the fabric of this country's artistic legacy. His first love and passion is and always will be the stage. "The theater was my first training ground. It taught me discipline, dedication and appreciation of hard work and values that will stay with me a lifetime. The stage sharpens the creative instrument and encourages you to go deeper inside and try new things," states Ben.
On Broadway, Ben Vereen has appeared in Wicked, Fosse, I'm Not Rappaport, Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, Pippin,Grind, Jelly's Last Jam and A Christmas Carol. His role in Pippin garnered him both the prestigious Tony Award and the Drama Desk Award for "Best Actor in a Musical."
For over 40 years, Ben has showcased his versatility and creativity, performing countless one-man shows not only in the United States, but also Europe, Asia and the Caribbean. He was the first simultaneous winner of the "Entertainer of the Year," "Rising Star," and "Song and Dance Star" awards from the American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA). He also earned a coveted spot in the Casino Legends Hall of Fame. Ben and his band are currently touring his one man shows, "Ben Sings a Tribute to Sammy Davis Jr. featuring the music of Sammy Davis Jr." and "Brooklyn to Broadway" at top performing arts centres. He also performs with symphonies around the country.
While performing worldwide, Ben's acting credits continue to give us memorable roles that stand the test of time such as the unforgettable Chicken George in Roots and Louis Armstrong in Louis Armstrong - Chicago Style.Ben's television guest appearances include How I Met Your Mother, Grey's Anatomy, for which he won the Prism Award, House of Payne, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, OZ, Touched By An Angel, Second Noah, New York Undercover, The Nanny, Star Trek - The Next Generation, The Jamie Fox Show, The Promised Land, and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as well as recurring roles on Silk Stalkings, Webster, J.J. Starbuck and Booker. For Nickelodeon, Ben provided voice-overs on the show Wonder Pets! Additional credits include: Anne Rice's Feast of All Saints(Showtime), Intruders They Are Among Us (Emmy nomination), Zoobilee Zoo, Faerie Tale Theatre's Puss N' Bootswith Gregory Hines, The Jesse Owens Story, Ellis Island (Golden Globe Nomination), Lost in London, and Salute to Liberty Special. His own network television shows are Ben Vereen: His Roots (Seven Emmy Awards), Tenspeed and Brownshoe and You Write the Songs. In the early 90's, he released a number of well-received children's Sing-Along musical videos.
Ben was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for his performance in the Hallmark movie An Accidental Friendship. He appears in two soon to be released features, 21 and a Wake-Up starring Faye Dunaway andMama, I Want to Sing! in which Ben co-starred opposite Ciara and Patti LaBelle. While filming Idlewild with the award winning group Outkast, Ben also served as the acting coach for both Andre 3000 and Big Boy. In addition, Ben has been coaching the singing sensation Usher both as an entertainer and an actor. Ben was featured in the movie, On The One - Preaching to the Choir directed by Charles Randolph-Wright. Other film credits include Sweet Charity, All That Jazz, Funny Lady (Golden Globe nomination), Why Do Fools Fall in Love,And Then Came Love starring Vanessa Williams, the animated movie Once Upon a Forest, Christmas in Washingtonand The Painting which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. In 2004, Ben was nominated for a "Career Achievement Award" by the Le Prix International Film Star Awards Organization.
The lecture circuit has become an integral part of Ben's career, as he has become one of the Nations' most requested speakers among audiences of all ages. His strong sense of social consciousness has enabled him to reach out to his audiences and convey to them a deep feeling of understanding. His topics range from overcoming adversity, arts in education, Black history, motivational topics, recovery through physical and occupational therapy and the importance of continuing education - to name a few.
Ben's gift of time has benefited many organizations. He has served on Ballet Florida's Board of Directors, the American Red Cross and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Association. In addition, he has served as chairman of several renowned organizations including the American Heart Association and the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Association. In 1989, he spearheaded his own organization, "Celebrities for a Drug Free America," which raised more than $300,000 for drug rehabilitation centres, educational programs and inner city community-based projects. The Community Mental Health Council awarded Ben with their 2004 Lifeline Celebration Achievement Award. For his humanitarian contributions, he has received a number of awards including Israel's Cultural and Humanitarian Awards, three NAACP Image Awards, an Eleanor Roosevelt Humanitarian Award and a Victory Award. He has received honorary doctorates from the University of Arizona, Emerson College, St. Francis College, and Columbia College in Chicago. In 2001, Medgar Evers College created the Ben Vereen Scholarship for the Performing Arts, and in 2004, he received an Achievement in Excellence Award from his alma mater, the High School of the Performing Arts.
Ben celebrated Eartha Kitt's 80th birthday in concert at Carnegie Hall to multiple standing ovations and in front of the Armed Forces for those men and women who have served in Iraq, truly a major highlight of his career. In 2009, he performed at the Inaugural Ball and entertained at the reopening of the Ford Theatre in Washington, D.C., which was attended by President Obama. Last year Ben entertained at the Friar's Club gala honouring CBS president Leslie Moonves. Ben is leading an ongoing diabetes awareness campaign called "S.T.A.N.D." in partnership with sanofi-aventis pharmaceuticals. Ben recently starred in the world premier of Fetch Clay, Make Man directed by Des McAnuff (Jersey Boys) at the McCarter Theatre. Below are some of Ben's reviews from the show:
"A seething resentment can be sensed underneath the wary cool with which Fetchit negotiates with Fox. In brief snippets from the routines that made Fetchit famous (and infamous), Mr. Vereen also reveals the glowing pride of an entertainer whose gifts sometimes managed to transcend the offensive uses to which they were put." -New York Times
"The dramatic center is Ben Vereen's role as Lincoln Perry,the vaudeville performer who made his fortune in silent films and Depression-era talkies playing screen persona Stepin Fetchit, the quintessential negative stereotype of the shuffling, smiling, work-shirking Negro...Tapping all the undiminished charisma and limber body language of a veteran song-and-dance man, Vereen effortlessly sells the now-reviled representation of the black flunky while slyly asserting the cultured, savvy negotiator beneath; it's a performance of enormous charm and intelligence." -Variety
"As Fetchit, Ben Vereen creates a man who comports himself with dignity in hopes of negating all that he did before. In one scene, after Fetchit has been forced to acknowledge what he'd been, Vereen blinks three times, and actually manages to make a statement with each blink: The first acknowledges the charge, the second shows his pain at being reminded, and the third hopes to push away the memory." -The Star-Ledger
Additionally, Ben has a recurring role on the CBS comedy How I Met Your Mother, playing Wayne Brady's father. In February of 2011, he released his CD Steppin' Out Live with Ben Vereen and staged a triumphant return to Broadway with his concert "BEN VEREEN ON BROADWAY AT TOWN HALL" . One review from Ben's show is featured below:
"Ben Vereen's performance at The Town Hall on February 18th was a lesson in performance energy.....a tour de force ....Without a single synthesizer, with no voice tuner, with only an acoustic band, Vereen displayed shocking innovation."....." He flirted with off notes and inventive runs during classics such as "My Funny Valentine." This is always a dangerous idea, because it risks alientating the audience who wants to hear the melody of a familiar tune, but Vereen not only pulled it off, he left the audience wanting him to do more...The lasting impression was of a man who loves life, wants you to love life, and has mastered both his medium and his message. At age 65, he is the youngest man performing today. - The Newark Examiner
Ben remains the consummate actor, singer, and all around entertainer with a storied and legendary career.
Khleo Thomas has a definite passion for acting. Khleo recently made the outstanding "Black Stars Rising: 10 young African-Americans to Watch" by AOL's Film Fixation joining the ranks of Joy Bryant, Meagan Good, and Kerry Washington to name a few. From digging holes as Zero with Sigourney Weaver and Jon Voight in Walt Disney's Holes to MGM's Walking Tall opposite Dwayne Johnson, this promising young actor proves that he has what it takes to take Hollywood by storm. In fact, from the words of Holes co-star, Jon Voight, a long-lasting Hollywood star and one of the men who recognize Khleo's talent as an incredible "teen" actor, Voight admits, "He is a great one and I'll be watching him all the way."
Khleo played the lead male role in the feature film Hurricane Season. A story of a High school basketball team brought together a year after Hurricane Katrina by Al Collins, played by Academy Award Winner Forest Whitaker a high school basketball coach in Marrero, Louisiana who assembles a team of players who had previously attended five different schools before the disaster and leads them on the path to the state championship. An all star cast of actors such as Bonnie Hunt, Isiah Washington, Shad Moss and Lil' Wayne. Directed by Tim Story.
Khleo was featured in Remember the Daze opposite Alexa PenaVega and Brie Larson. He plays the role of 'Dylan,' a troubled teen who is much involved with alcohol, sex, and drugs. The story revolves around a group of affluent suburban kids on the last day of school. The film won the Critics Choice Awards at the Los Angeles Film Festival.
In addition, Khleo can be seen as 'Splooge' in Sony Pictures' Dirty, opposite Academy-Award Winning Actor, 'Cuba Gooding, Jr.', and Clifton Collins Jr. The film is an edgy, suspenseful and action-packed story about a day in the life of two corrupt cops going for one final score. Dirty cuts through the thin blue line between police corruption, gang violence and street justice. The film was released in February 2006. Khleo also recently starred opposite an all star cast of young actors including Shad Moss in 20th Century Fox's Roll Bounce, a roller skating comedy set in the late 70's.
Demonstrating his diversity in the past, Khleo has been playing roles as a bad boy in Ice Cube and New Line Cinema's Friday After Next, a bully in John Singleton's short film Time Out, to a dramatic role as a young Mario Van Peebles in Sony Pictures Classics' Baadasssss!. Based on a true story, this film earned its accolades in 2004 as "Best Picture and Audience" in festivals across the world including the Philadelphia Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, and Toronto Film Festival. Additionally, it received Two Big Thumbs Up as "One of the Best Movies of the Year" by Richard Roeper of the acclaimed duo, Ebert & Roeper.
Also honoring his skill for television, Khleo was featured in a starring role in Disney Channel's original movie, Going to the Mat, opposite Wayne Brady and Andrew Lawrence. Additional television credits include popular shows, such as the NBC's Emmy Award-Winning drama series ER, CBS' CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, NBC's Teachers., Family Law, _The Bernie Mac Show_, City Guys and House M.D. to name a few.
A force of many talents, Khleo is pursuing a career as a hip-hop artist, and performed for audiences across the country, including "Disney Jingle Jam 2003", "2004 Black Expo," and "The Scream IV Tour 2005" a thirty-one city tour taking the stage with artist like Shad Moss, Chris Brown, Ciara, Omarion Grandberry and T-Pain just to name a few. Following that up with a twenty-one city Holiday Tour. Khleo has performed on MTV Asia in Tokyo, Japan. In fact, he is no stranger to chart topping success as he co-wrote and performed "Dig It" which was featured on the Holes soundtrack and maintained its spot at #1 on Radio Disney for 12 consecutive weeks in 2003. Khleo is working on his album under his own independent label ZERO Unlimited Inc. which has partnered up with Plus Records to form ZERO Unlimited/Plus with a release date to be announced.
Khleo remains humble and attributes his success on the big screen to his fans who give him the motivation to keep doing what he is doing. "The love that I get from people all over the world is amazing," says Khleo. He spends his spare time with his family, in the studio and responding to emails from kids all over the world. He enjoys traveling to schools to speak to youth on issues, such as peer pressure, drugs, and violence.
Chicago native Sufe Bradshaw was born into a family of nine siblings, learning early on the value of hard work and dedication from her Sicilian dad and her mother of Ghanain roots. She began her acting odyssey at the Los Angeles City Theatre Academy, where she earned a degree in Theatre. Soon after her intensive study at The Academy, she went on to train with Ben Guillory at The Robey Theatre, as well as Lee Strasberg's prestigious Actor's Studio, moderated by Martin Landau. Bradshaw continued to refine her craft with The Meisner Technique, along with intensive sessions in cold reading with Jimmy DiStefano, Allan Miller's rehearsal workshop, and Wallace Audition Techniques.
Bradshaw has been featured in stage productions around Los Angeles including The Nat Turner Rebellion, A Raisin in the Sun, Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, The Glass Menagerie, Hamlet, Summer and Smoke, and Burn This. Bradshaw's first network television appearance was on the CBS drama Cold Case, and made appearances on Carlos Mencia's sketch comedy series Mind of Mencia (Comedy Central), and MTV's The Hard Times of RJ Burger.
Soon after, she booked her first feature film in the 2006 independent drama "Speechless," followed by the 2007 television movie "Mr. Jackson's Neighborhood." She also appeared in Paramount Pictures J.J. Abram's blockbuster "Star Trek," as well as the Wayans Brothers "Dance Flick."
Those exciting roles led to a string of projects, including a role in the Hallmark movie "Fixing Pete." The spirited actress' career soon turned the corner and she began booking roles on a variety of popular television shows, including: ER (NBC), Bones (FOX), Prison Break, FlashForward (ABC), and Trust Me (TNT).
Now, Bradshaw stars alongside Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Anna Chlumsky, and Tony Hale in the upcoming comedy Veep on HBO, playing the no-nonsense character Sue.
In addition to VEEP, Bradshaw is in development on a documentary titled "New Leaves" about troubled youth and the choices they make to either do the right thing or not. Coming from a family of seven siblings, Bradshaw has taken a personal interest in this subject matter.
In her spare time, Bradshaw is also a community activist, having worked for the last five years volunteering for Humanity for the Homeless. For the last six years, she has been participating in the Humanitarian Day event in Downtown Los Angeles where people get together and gather clothes and food for the homeless as well as volunteering at local soup kitchens. She has also mentored teens for an acting and dance program called Voices Unheard at Fairfax High School, and is a founding member of The Actor's Lounge, an open mic project for recently relocated actors who need a place to perform.
She has also found creative fulfillment practicing the art of spoken word for the last 10 years, reading alongside some of America's premiere poets, including many from Russell Simon's "Def Poetry Jam." In addition to this, Bradshaw does spoken word performances at the Greenway Court Theatre, which is part of the Greenway Art Alliance - a non-profit organization that offers visual and performing arts education for public high school students in Los Angeles.
On a more personal note, one of Bradshaw's favorite hobbies is yoga, which she has been practicing for the last year under her teacher, Brent Laffoon. She says that it has changed her life and loves the idea that "it is not about what you are doing, but who you are being."
Sufe currently resides in Los Angeles.
Michael Peter Balzary was born on the sixteenth of October 1962, in Melbourne, Australia. When he was four, his parents divorced and Michael, his sister Karen and his mother Patricia headed for New York; they didn't stay long and soon ended up in L.A. (in 1972), where his step-father, a jazz musician named Walter Urban Jr., intended to start a career. Flea would often sit in on weekly jam sessions with his stepfather and the constant flow of musicians who trucked through. High school was not always an easy road for young Michael. He was a misfit because of his unusual musical taste. While most of the kids were into disco and dance music, Flea preferred jazz artists like Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie. Flea's first musical instrument was the drums, but soon he also began playing the trumpet. After school he would race home to listen to his Gillespie records and play along with his idol. He counts as his greatest childhood memory the time his mother got him back-stage to meet Gillespie after one of his concerts. He also played with the Los Angeles Junior Philarmonic Orchestra. Influenced by some of his friends from school who shared the same passion for music - among them, Jack Irons and Hillel Slovak, who would later play in the Red Hot Chili Peppers with him - his musical interests then diversified: he discovered funk music, and Jimi Hendrix became his new idol. At the end of 1977, he met Anthony Kiedis. For some reason, Michael was holding a young schoolmate named Tony Sherr in a headlock, when Kiedis, who was Tony's best friend at the time, came to rescue him; they almost had a fight. After this meeting, they soon became aware they were made to be friends, and have been inseparable since. The two became known for their mischievous antics, which often got them into trouble. This is also when he gained the nickname Flea, while he was joking with some friends about calling each other a cartoon name. Around 1979, due to Flea's obvious musical talent, he was sought out as a recruit for a band formed by his school-mates, Anthym, with Jack Irons (drums), Hillel Slovak (guitar) and Alain Johannes (vocals and guitar) as members. Flea picked up the bass, which he had never played before, and became so good that within a few months he had forged his very own style, which later would make him one of the most famous and talented bass players in the world. After a shaky start the band got a few club gigs but no major breaks. Anthony Kiedis, who was always there to support them, became the presenter of their shows which he opened with a few jokes or improvised poems of his own. In 1982, Flea joined the L.A. punk band Fear. He also landed a small role in the Penelope Spheeris film Suburbia (1984). John Lydon of PIL asked Flea to join his band when he left Fear in 1984, but Flea instead decided to rejoin his friends. With Kiedis, Slovak and Irons, they started another band together, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, which soon earned a good reputation in the Los Angeles underground music scene. Flea was married in 1985 to Loesha Zeviar, whose first name he got tattooed above his left nipple - close to his heart. They have since divorced, but still share daughter Clara, born on September 16, 1988. Clara sometimes goes on the road with her dad, and has done artwork for the Chili Peppers' t-shirts and promotional material. In 2001, along with friends Pete Weiss and Keith Barry, Flea founded the Silverlake Conservatory Of Music, an organization whose aim is to provide affordable music lessons to everyone and to encourage children's musical education.
Greta Garbo was born Greta Lovisa Gustafsson on September 18, 1905, in Stockholm, Sweden, to Anna Lovisa (Johansdotter), who worked at a jam factory, and Karl Alfred Gustafsson, a laborer. She was fourteen when her father died, which left the family destitute. Greta was forced to leave school and go to work in a department store. The store used her as a model in its newspaper ads. She had no film aspirations until she appeared in short advertising film at that same department store while she was still a teenager. Erik A. Petschler, a comedy director, saw the film and gave her a small part in his Luffar-Petter. Encouraged by her own performance, she applied for and won a scholarship to a Swedish drama school. While there she appeared in at least one film, En lyckoriddare. Both were small parts, but it was a start. Finally famed Swedish director Mauritz Stiller pulled her from the drama school for the lead role in Gösta Berlings saga. At 18 Greta was on a roll.
Following The Joyless Street both Greta and Stiller were offered contracts with MGM, and her first film for the studio was the American-made Torrent, a silent film in which she didn't have to speak a word of English. After a few more films, including The Temptress, Love and A Woman of Affairs, Greta starred in Anna Christie (her first "talkie"), which not only gave her a powerful screen presence but also garnered her an Academy Award nomination as Best Actress (she didn't win). Later that year she filmed Romance, which was somewhat of a letdown, but she bounced back in 1931, landing another lead role in Mata Hari, which turned out to be a major hit.
Greta continued to give intense performances in whatever was handed her. The next year she was cast in what turned out to be yet another hit, Grand Hotel. However, it was in MGM's Anna Karenina that she gave what some consider the performance of her life. She was absolutely breathtaking in the role as a woman torn between two lovers and her son. Shortly afterwards, she starred in the historical drama Queen Christina playing the title character to great acclaim. She earned an Oscar nomination for her role in the romantic drama Camille, again playing the title character. Her career suffered a setback the following year in Conquest, which was a box office disaster. She later made a comeback when she starred in Ninotchka, which showcased her comedic side. It wasn't until two years later she made what was to be her last film, Two-Faced Woman, another comedy. But the film drew controversy and was condemned by the Catholic Church and other groups and was a box office failure, which left Garbo shaken.
After World War II Greta, by her own admission, felt that the world had changed perhaps forever and she retired, never again to face the camera. She would work for the rest of her life to perpetuate the Garbo mystique. Her films, she felt, had their proper place in history and would gain in value. She abandoned Hollywood and moved to New York City. She would jet-set with some of the world's best-known personalities such as Aristotle Onassis and others. She spent time gardening and raising flowers and vegetables. In 1954 Greta was given a special Oscar for past unforgettable performances. She even penned her biography in 1990.
On April 15, 1990, Greta died of natural causes in New York and with her went the "Garbo Mystique". She was 84.
Lance Guest's family lived on an 11 acre prune ranch in the then-rural Saratoga, Ca for most of the 1950's. More than 10 years younger than his boomer siblings, Lance was born in 1960, when his father, a Navy fighter pilot, moved the family to a larger house with running water. At a young age, he was memorizing the comedy records of Bill Cosby, Stan Freberg, Allan Sherman, and Mel Brooks, as well as all the early 60's Bob Dylan records. He learned to play guitar at age 10, and was performing plays in junior high school. At 15, his friend Michael Gurley asked him to join his garage band, Stillwater, for their first and only gig in the summer of 1975. He was cast in plays all throughout high school, his first being Nathan Detroit, and knowing nothing of New York, other than TV detectives, performed the entire role as Mel Brooks. He then trained in the summers at an intensive workshop created by former members of ACT in San Francisco. Planning to attend ACT and work at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, his acting teacher convinced him to attend college at UCLA instead.
After two years of back to back college theatre, and garnering the school's Shakespeare award in 1980, Guest, upon discovering that they made films and TV shows in LA, made a plan to acquire an agent by his senior year, and moved out of the dorm and into a 2 bedroom apartment with 5 other roommates, including fellow students and future screenwriters Ed Solomon and Shane Black. He worked two part time jobs, attended UCLA, and began rehearsals for " Transgressor", an original play developed the previous year at school. Within weeks he had attended his first open call for the TV show "Fame", and though not initially cast, received a call from an agent the next day inviting him to come in for a meeting. Guest was then sent out on auditions so much over the next few months that he had to quit UCLA by the end of fall term to pursue acting full time.
Within the next year, he had a recurring role on "Lou Grant", a pilot, 2 screen tests, an after school special, some episodic TV, and a role opposite Jamie Lee Curtis in the horror cult classic "Halloween 2". The Writer/producer of Halloween 2, John Carpenter, was going over the film before it's release and Carpenter's friend, Nick Castle, took note of the young actor, and remembered him for his current project in development, "Centauri's Recruit", later to be called. "The Last Starfighter".
More television movies, recurring roles (St. Elsewhere) and small film roles followed, and Guest visited NYC for the first time. He came back to LA , inspired by the theater, and ready to move back east, when he was called in by Castle for what became "The Last Starfighter". Principal photography was completed in the spring of 1983, a couple months shy of his 23rd birthday. He was then cast as the protagonist in "The Roommate", an American Playhouse production, also starring Barry Miller and John Cameron Mitchell, based on a John Updike short story, which later won the grand prize at the LA Film Festival (1985). After wrapping "The Roommate", Guest escaped to New York and lived there for the first half of 1984 seeking theatre roles. He was working at the Santa Fe Festival theatre when The Last Starfighter opened in July of 1984. He was then cast in a TV drunk driving cautionary tale with Val Kilmer, Mare Winningham, and Michele Pfeiffer. Back in LA, he turned down a couple of subsequent offers in favor of a $3MIL indie about bluegrass musicians in the Blue Ridge mountains. When that project fell apart, he starred in another TV movie,"My Father, My Rival" for HBO, alongside Wendy Crewson.
He was told that Starfighter reportedly made no money on it's initial release, so he returned to the theatre, this time in LA for the West coast premiere of Chris Durang's "Baby With the Bathwater" with Jennifer Tilly, which ran for 5 months at the Coronet Theatre. More regional theatre over the next year, "Key Exchange" with Anthony Edwards and Jennifer Beals, and "Look Homeward Angel" at Playmakers Rep in NC. Later that year he was offered the part of Michael Brody in 1987's "Jaws: The Revenge." with Michael Caine. Wrapping "Jaws" in July, he was then cast in what he calls his favorite film, "The Wizard of Loneliness", a small WWII era piece about a 12 year old growing up in Vermont, with Lukas Haas, Lea Thompson, Dylan Baker and the late John Randolph.
Over the next decade, it was mostly TV, co-starring with Robert Loggia as FBI agents in the political thriller miniseries "Favorite Son", a year as a bitter, ex-con photojournalist in "Knot's Landing", recurring on "Life Goes On" as an environmental metal-sculptor and street musician, McGoverns campaign manager on the '72 election episode of " The Wonder Years", a computer geek, a fireman, a high school teacher, another sculptor, an enviro-terrorist in "The X-Files", and back to the independent film "Plan B" with Jon Cryer, playing a regular-guy pilot who tries with his wife to conceive a child.
Guest has continued to work in LA small theatre developing strictly original works, as well as touring for two and a half years('97-2000) with the satirical folk-group The Foremen, playing guitar and banjo. He also began planting vineyards in different locations in Northern California, and making wine.
A handful of indie films: a wrongfully defrocked priest in "The Least of These", a gitmo-type interrogator in "Shadowbox", a hippie political adviser in "Mach 2 ", a MASH type ER doctor in "21 and a Wake-Up" with Amy Acker, a recurring role as a no-nonsense Navy pilot on JAG, a couple of Disney Channel movies: one as wacky alien Cosmo Cola in "Stepsister from Planet Weird", and chimp-adopting primatologist Hugo Archibald in "The Jenny Project", episodic roles on" Becker", "NYPD Blue"('05),"House",('06) TV movie now called "Alibi", starring Famke Jahnsen ('07) and a cynical journalist on "Jericho".('07)
After the birth of his, and partner Danna Hyams' son Jack in 2004, Guest started preliminary readings and workshops for a new musical created by Floyd Mutrux about an historic 1956 reunion at Sun Records in Memphis of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis. Based on the actual jam session these four attended, and hosted by legendary producer Sam Phillips, "Million Dollar Quartet" had two full tryout productions in Daytona Beach('06) and Issaquah, Wa. ('07) before moving to Chicago in 2008, where it still is running. The original production then moved to The Nederlander Theater on Broadway in March of 2010 and ran for 15 months (over 500 performances) before moving to the New World Stages Off-Broadway where it played for almost another year, closing in June of 2012.
Guest created the role of Johnny Cash and has been in all productions since it's inception excluding London and now Las Vegas, choosing to stay in NY with his family rather than go out on the tour, which is set for it's third incarnation. The unique aspect of this play is that all the actors play their own instruments; they ARE the orchestra, and the show features blockbuster renditions of rockabilly and traditional hits, covered by the four main characters. It also tells the story of Sam Phillips' relationship to all the artists, and his particular contribution to pop culture and history in general. Guest received great reviews in particular as Cash, as well as a Distinguished Performance Award Nomination by the Drama League of New York. The show was also nominated for Best Musical in 2010.
Guest completed filming indie thriller "Late Phases" in June 2013.
Was 1/3 of the Hip Hop group Onyx, the group debuted in 1993, Onyx won Soul Train's 1993 Best Rap Album of the year over Dr. Dre's The Chronic. Fredro has offically retired from rap. He is now only concentrating on his budding acting career which spans a total of 10 years. His last 2 solo albums were received with little or any good reviews. Was discovered by Run DMC and the late Jam Master Jay back in 1989.
Sir Paul McCartney is a key figure in contemporary culture as a singer, composer, poet, writer, artist, humanitarian, entrepreneur, and holder of more than 3 thousand copyrights. He is in the "Guinness Book of World Records" for most records sold, most #1s (shared), most covered song, "Yesterday," largest paid audience for a solo concert (350,000+ people, in 1989, in Brazil). He is considered one of the most successful entertainers of all time.
He was born James Paul McCartney on June 18, 1942, in Liverpool General Hospital, where his mother, Mary Patricia (Mohin), was a medical nurse and midwife. His father, James "Jim" McCartney, was a cotton salesman and a pianist leading the Jim Mac's Jazz Band in Liverpool. He has Irish and English ancestry. Young McCartney was raised non-denominational. He studied music and art, and had a happy childhood with one younger brother, Michael. At age 11, he was one of only four students who passed the 11+ exam, known as "the scholarship" in Liverpool, and gained a place at Liverpool Institute for Boys. There he studied from 1953 to 1960, earning A level in English and Art.
At the age of 14, Paul McCartney was traumatized by his mother's sudden death from breast cancer. Shortly afterward, he wrote his first song. In July 1957 he met John Lennon during their performances at a local church fête (festival). McCartney impressed Lennon with his mastery of guitar and singing in a variety of styles. He soon joined Lennon's band, The Quarrymen, and eventually became founding member of The Beatles, with the addition of George Harrison and Pete Best. After a few gigs in Hamburg, Germany, the band returned to Liverpool and played regular gigs at the Cavern during 1961.
In November 1961, they invited Brian Epstein to be their manager, making a written agreement in January 1962. At that time McCartney and Harrison were under 21, so the paper wasn't technically legal, albeit it did not matter to them. What mattered was their genuine trust in Epstein. He improved their image, secured them a record deal with EMI, and replaced drummer Best with Ringo Starr. With a little help from Brian Epstein and George Martin, The Beatles consolidated their talents and mutual stimulation into beautiful teamwork, launching the most successful career in the history of entertainment.
The Beatles contributed to music, film, literature, art, and fashion, made a continuous impact on entertainment, popular culture and the lifestyle of several generations. Music became their ticket to ride around the world. Beatlemania never really ended since its initiation; it became a movable feast in many hearts and minds, a sweet memory of youth, when all you need is love and a little help from a friend to be happy. Their songs and images carrying powerful ideas of love, peace, help, and imagination evoked creativity and liberation that outperformed the rusty Soviet propaganda and contributed to breaking walls in the minds of millions, thus making impact on human history.
All four members of The Beatles were charismatic and individually talented artists, they sparked each other from the beginning. Paul McCartney had the privilege of a better musical education, having studied classical piano and guitar in his childhood. He progressed as a lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, as well as a singer-songwriter. In addition to singing and songwriting, Paul McCartney played bass guitar, acoustic and electric guitars, piano and keyboards, as well as over 40 other musical instruments.
McCartney wrote more popular hits for the Beatles than other members of the band. His songs Yesterday, Let It Be, Hey Jude, Blackbird, All My Loving, Eleanor Rigby, Birthday, I Saw Her Standing There, I Will, Get Back, Carry That Weight, P.S. I Love You, Things We Said Today, "Hello, Goodbye," Two of Us, Why Don't We Do It in the Road?, Helter Skelter, Honey Pie, When I'm 64, Lady Madonna, She's a Woman, Maxwell's Silver Hammer, "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da," Mother Nature's Son, Long And Winding Road, Rocky Raccoon, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Fool on the Hill, You Never Give Me Your Money, Your Mother Should Know, The End, Yellow Submarine, and many others are among the Beatles' best hits. Yesterday is considered the most covered song in history with over three thousand versions of it recorded by various artists across the universe.
Since he was a teenager, McCartney honored the agreement that was offered by John Lennon in 1957, about the 50/50 authorship of every song written by either one of them. However, both were teenagers, and technically, being under 21, their oral agreement had no legal power. Still, almost 200 songs by The Beatles are formally credited to both names, regardless of the fact that most of the songs were written individually. The songwriting partnership of John Lennon and Paul McCartney was really working until the mid-60s, when they collaborated in many of their early songs. Their jamming on a piano together led to creation of their first best-selling hit 'I Want to Hold Your Hand' in 1963.
In total, The Beatles created over 240 songs, they recorded many singles and albums, made several films and TV shows. Thousands of memorable pictures popularized their image. In their evolution from beginners to the leaders of entertainment, they learned from many world cultures, absorbed from various styles, and created their own. McCartney's own range of interests spanned from classical music and English folk ballads to Indian raga and other Oriental cultures, and later expanded into psychedelic experiments and classical-sounding compositions. His creative search has been covering a range of styles from jazz and rock to symphonies and choral music, and to cosmopolitan cross-cultural and cross-genre compositions.
Epstein's 1967 death hurt all four members of The Beatles, as they lost their creative manager. Evolution of each member's creativity and musicianship also led to individual career ambitions, however, their legacy as The Beatles remained the main driving force in their individual careers ever since. McCartney and The Beatles made impact on human history, because their influence has been liberating for generations of nowhere men living in misery beyond the Iron Curtain.
Something in their songs and images appealed to everybody who wanted to become free as a bird. Their songs carrying powerful ideas of real love, peace, help, imagination and freedom evoked creativity and contributed to breaking chains and walls in the minds of millions. The Beatles expressed themselves in beautiful and liberating words of love, happiness, freedom, and revolution, and carried those messages to people across the universe. Their songs and images helped many freedom-loving people to come together for revolutions in Prague and Warsaw, Beijing and Bucharest, Berlin and Moscow. The Beatles has been an inspiration for those who take the long and winding road to freedom.
McCartney was 28 when he started his solo career, and formed his new band, Wings. His first solo album, "McCartney," was a #1 hit and spawned the evergreen ballad "Maybe I'm Amazed", yet critical reaction was mixed. He continued to release music with Wings, that eventually became one of the most commercially successful groups of the 70s. "Band on the Run" won two Grammy Awards and remained the Wings' most lauded work. The 1977 release "Mull of Kintyre" stayed at #1 in the UK for nine weeks, and was highest selling single in the UK for seven years. In 1978 McCartney's theme "Rockestra" won him another Grammy Award. In 1979, together with Elvis Costello, he organized Concerts for the People of Kampuchea. In 1979, McCartney released his solo album "Wonderful Christmastime" which remained popular ever since.
In 1980 McCartney was arrested in Tokyo, Japan, for marijuana possession, and after a ten-day stint in jail, he was released to a media firestorm. He retreated into seclusion after the arrest, and was comforted by his wife Linda. Yet he had another traumatic experience when his ex-band-mate, John Lennon, was shot dead by a crazed fan near his home in New York City on December 8, 1980. McCartney did not play any live concerts for some time because he was nervous that he would be "the next" to be murdered.
After almost a year of absence from the music scene, McCartney returned in 1982 with the album "Tug of War," which was well received by public and enjoyed great critical acclaim. He continued a successful career as a solo artist, collaborated with wife Linda McCartney, and writers such as Elvis Costello. During the 80s, McCartney released such hits as 'No More Lonely Nights' and his first compilation, "All the Best." In 1989, he started his first concert tour since the John Lennon's murder.
In 1994, the three surviving members of The Beatles, McCartney, Harrison, and Starr, reunited and produced Lennon's previously unknown song "Free as a Bird." It was preserved by Yoko Ono on a tape recording made by Lennon in 1977. The song was re-arranged and re-mixed by George Martin at the Abbey Road Studios with the voices of three surviving members. The Beatles Anthology TV documentary series was watched by 420 million people in 1995.
During the 1990s McCartney concentrated on composing classical works for the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society, such as "The Liverpool Oratorio" involving a choir and symphony, and "A Leaf" solo-piano project, both released in 1995. That same year he was working on a new pop album, "Flaming Pie," when his wife Linda was diagnosed with breast cancer, and caring for his wife during her illness meant only sporadic public appearances during that time. The album was released in 1997 to both critical and commercial success, debuting at #2 on both the UK and US pop charts. That same year he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II as Sir Paul McCartney for his services to music.
In April 1998, Linda McCartney, his beloved wife of almost 30 years, mother of their four children, and his steady partner in music, died of breast cancer. McCartney suffered from a severe depression and undergone medical treatment. He spent much of the next year away from the public eye, emerging only to campaign on behalf of his late wife for animal rights and vegetarian causes.
He eventually returned to the studio, releasing an album of rock n'roll covers in 1999. "Run Devil Run" made both Entertainment Weekly and USA Today's year-end top ten lists. McCartney also slowly returned to the public spotlight with the release of his another classical album, "Working Classical" in November 1999, in recording by the London Symphony Orchestra. His 2000 release "A Garland for Linda" was a choral tribute album, which raised funds to aid cancer survivors.
In 2000 he was invited by Heather Mills, a disabled ex-model, to her 32nd birthday. McCartney wrote songs dedicated to her, he and Mills developed a romantic relationship and became engaged in 2001. However, the year brought him a cascade of traumatic experiences. On September 11, 2001, Paul McCartney was sitting on a plane in New York when the World Trade Center tragedy occurred in front of his eyes, and he was able to witness the events from his seat. Yet there was another sadness, as his former band-mate George Harrison died of cancer in November, 2001.
Recouperating from the stressful year, McCartney received the 2002 Academy Award-nomination for the title song to the movie Vanilla Sky, and also went on his first concert tour in several years. In June, 2002, Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills married in a castle in Monaghan, Ireland. Their daughter, Beatrice Milly McCartney, was born in October 2003. Four years later, the high profile marriage ended in divorce, after a widely publicized litigation. "Whenever you're going through difficult times, I'm at the moment, it's really cool to be able to escape into music" says Paul McCartney.
In 2003 Paul McCartney rocked the Red Square in Moscow with his show "Back in USSR" which was attended by his former opponents from the former Soviet KGB, including the Russian president Vladimir Putin himself, who invited McCartney to be the guest of honor in the Kremlin. In 2004 Paul McCartney received a birthday present from the Russian president. In June 2004, he and Heather Mills-McCartney stayed as special guests at suburban Royal Palaces of Russian Tsars in St. Petersburg, Russia. There he staged a spectacular show near the Tsar's Winter Palace in St. Petersburg where the Communist Revolution took place, just imagine.
In 2005 the Entertainment magazine poll named The Beatles the most iconic entertainers of the 20th Century. In 2006, the guitar on which Paul McCartney played his first chords and impressed John Lennon, was sold at an auction for over $600,000.
On June 18, 2006, Paul McCartney celebrated his 64th birthday, as in his song "when I'm Sixty-Four." McCartney's celebrity status, made it a cultural milestone for a generation of those born in the baby-boom era who grew up with the music of The Beatles during the 1960s. The prophetic message in the song has been intertwined with McCartney's personal life and his career.
In 2007 McCartney left his longtime label, EMI, and signed with Los Angeles based Hear Music. He learned to play mandolin to create a refreshing feeling for his latest album "Memory Almost Full," then appeared in Apple Computer's commercial for iPod+iTunes to promote the album. In June 2007 McCartney appeared together with Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono, Olivia Harrison and Guy Laliberté in a live broadcast from the "Revolution" Lounge at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
His 3-DVD set "The McCartney Years" with over 40 music videos and hours of Historic Live Performances was released in November 2007. His classical album "Ecco Cor Meum" (aka.. Behold My Heart), recorded with the Academy of St. Martin of the Fields and the boys of King's college Choir, was voted Classical Album of the Year in 2007. That same year, Paul McCartney began dating Nancy Shevell. The couple married in 2011, in London. Sir Paul's "On the Run Tour" once again took him flying across world from July through December 2011 giving sold out concerts in the USA, Canada, UK, United Arab Emirates, Italy, France, Germany, Sweden, Finland and Russia.
In July 2012, Paul McCartney rocked the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. He delivered a live performance of The Beatles's timeless hit "Hey Jude" and engaged the crowd of people from all over the world to join his band in a sing along finale. The show was seen by a live audience of close to 80000 people at the Olympic Park Stadium in addition to an estimated TV audience of two billion people worldwide.
On the long and winding road of his life and career, Sir Paul McCartney has been a highly respected entertainer and internationally regarded public figure.
|Billie Joe Armstrong
Billie Joe Armstrong was born in Piedmont, California, a small town surrounded by the city of Oakland, and was raised in Rodeo, California, the youngest of six children of Ollie (Jackson) and Andrew "Andy" Marsicano Armstrong. His father worked as a jazz musician and truck driver for Safeway Inc. to support his family. He died of esophageal cancer on September 10, 1982. The song "Wake Me Up When September Ends" is a memorial to his father. He has five older siblings: David, Alan, Marci, Hollie, and Anna. His mother worked at Rod's Hickory Pit restaurant in El Cerrito. Armstrong and Mike Pritchard's first live performance was at Rod's Hickory Pit in 1987; their first performance under the name Green Day was in Davis, a college town approximately an hour's drive northeast of San Francisco Bay.
Armstrong's interest in music started at a young age. He attended Hillchest Elementary School in Rodeo, where a teacher encouraged him to record a song titled "Look for Love" at the age of five on the Bay Area label Fiat Records. After his father died, his mother married a man whom her children disliked, which resulted in Armstrong's further retreat into music. At the age of 10, Armstrong met Mike Dirnt in the school cafeteria and they immediately bonded over their love of music. He became interested in punk rock after being introduced to punk rock by his brothers. Armstrong has also cited Minneapolis-based bands The Replacements and Husker Du as major musical influences.
Armstrong attended John Swett High School, also in Crockett, and later Pinole Valley High School in Pinole, California, but then dropped out to pursue his musical career.
In 1987, aged 15, Armstrong formed a band called Sweet Children with his childhood friend Mike Pritchard. In the beginning, Pritchard and Armstrong both played guitar, with John Kiffmeyer on drums, and Sean Hughes on bass. After a few performances, Hughes left the band in 1988; Pritchard then began playing bass and they became a three-piece band. They changed their name to Green Day in April 1989, choosing the name because of their fondness for marijuana. That same year, they released their debut EP 1,000 Hours through Lookout Records. They recorded their debut studio album 39/Smooth and the extended play Slappy in 1990, which were later combined with 1,000 Hours into the compilation 1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours in 1991. Frank Edwin Wright III eventually became Green Day's drummer in late 1990 when Sobrante left Green Day in order to go to college. California punk band Rancid's lead singer Tim Armstrong asked Armstrong to join his band, but he refused owing to the progress with Green Day. Wright made his debut on Green Day's second album, Kerplunk. With their next album, Dookie (1994), the band broke through into the mainstream, and have remained one of the most popular rock bands of the 1990s and 2000s with over 60 million records sold worldwide. In 2009, their hit American Idiot became a musical on Broadway.
Apart from working with Green Day and side-band Pinhead Gunpowder, Armstrong has collaborated with many artists over the years. He has co-written for The Go-Go's ("Unforgiven") and former Avengers singer Penelope Houston ("The Angel and The Jerk" and "New Day"), co-written a song with Rancid ("Radio"), and sung backing vocals with Melissa Auf der Maur on Ryan Adams' "Do Miss America" (where they acted as the backing band for Iggy Pop on his Skull Ring album ("Private Hell" and "Supermarket"). Armstrong has produced an album for The Riverdales. He has also been confirmed to be part of a side project called The Network, which released an album called Money Money 2020. Money Money 2020 was released on Adeline Records, a record label co-owned by Armstrong. Armstrong also provided lead guitar and backing vocals on 3 songs for The Lookouts' final extended play IV (1989).
Hoping to clear his head and develop new ideas for songs, Armstrong traveled to New York City alone for a few weeks, renting a small apartment in the East Village of Manhattan. He spent much of this time taking long walks and participating in jam sessions in the basement of Hi-Fi, a bar in Manhattan. However, the friends he made during this time drank too much for his liking, which was the catalyst for Armstrong's return to the Bay Area. After returning home, Armstrong was arrested on DUI charges on January 5, 2003, and released on $1,200 bail.
In 2010, Armstrong joined the cast of American Idiot, which won two Tonys, for one week in the role of St. Jimmy. He replaced the original Broadway cast member Tony Vincent from September 28 to October 3. (American Idiot is an adaption of Green Day's concept album of the same name). Armstrong returned to the role of St. Jimmy for 50 performances beginning January 1, 2011.
On Thursday, July 26, 2012 it was announced he joined Season 3 of NBC's The Voice as a mentor for Christina Aguilera. He will mentor the artists on Aguilera's team where she serves as a coach.
In 1990, Armstrong met Adrienne Nesser at one of Green Day's early performances in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They married on July 2, 1994, and the day after their wedding, Adrienne discovered she was pregnant. Their first child, Joseph Marciano Armstrong, who was born on February 28, 1995, now plays drums in a Berkeley-based band named Emily's Army. Their second child, Jakob Danger Armstrong, was born on September 12, 1998. Billie Joe is the co-owner of Adeline Records, along with his wife.
Jeffrey Weissman has been performing as an actor since taking to the stage in 1972. He started in film in 1977, Jeffrey has co-starred in dozens of film and television productions. He had been screen testing for leads in various films during the early 1980's, and landed his first co-star role in 1982 in George Miller's "Nightmare at 30,000 Feet" episode of Twilight Zone the Movie. Jeffrey is best known for playing Teddy Conway in Clint Eastwood's Pale Rider (1985) and taking over the George McFly role in the "Back to the Future" sequels. His recent working indie films have garnered him raves from his comedic turn in "corked!" as an ocd wine maker, and his dramatic work in several features.
Jeffrey guest starred on many television shows, such as Scarecrow and Mrs King, Max Headroom, Dallas, Wallace and Ladmo, Saved By The Bell, Diagnosis Murder and the Man Show.
Jeffrey has continued in theater and film while venturing into theme parks, trade shows, improv and sketch shows with a great deal of success.
He has developed characters and shows at renaissance fairs since 1973. In 1987 he became "Stan Laurel" for Universal Studios, Hollywood. While at Universal, he wrote shows for the parks, and promotional copy for hundreds of appearances. Jeffrey developed accurate portrayals of Chaplin's "Little Tramp", Groucho Marx and other characters. He's entertained at Six Flags, Disneyland, conventions, trade shows, television and radio appearances around the world (he can greet in over a dozen different languages).
In 2000, Jeffrey directed three shows for the billion dollar Universal Theme Park in Osaka. He also trained the "walk around" entertainers to meeting the challenges of directing a multinational cast for an international audience. Jeffrey is writing, directing and producing film. He mentors writers for their scripts to resonate truth and Jeffrey has taught classes, seminars and lectures on "the art of making it as an actor" at universities, city colleges, high schools and fine-arts schools. He coaches and trains professionals and non-professionals in the art of improvisation, clowning, developing characters, stage, television, film and environmental acting and entertainment.
Jeffrey was founder and artistic director of the Flying Penguins (formerly the Comedy Omelet) improv troupe, and he helped develop Los Angeles Theater Sports, now known as "Impro Theater" in its 21th year. He performed in the Second City Alumni jams at the Ashgrove, and performed for a year with the Laugh Factory All-star Improv Jam (aka "Wrought Irony").
He was a varsity member of Los Angeles Theater Sports, performing and directing with LATS and KIDPROV. Jeffrey co-wrote and directed the Laurel and Hardy Music and Magic Show that had an extensive run on the Star Cruise Line in the South China Sea, et all. He is an honorary member of four international "Sons of the Desert" tents, the official Laurel & Hardy fan club. He has become the #1 Chaplin for the Niles Essenay Studios Museum's "Chaplin Days", where Chaplin made a handful of films early in his career.
|Beau Casper Smart
The years 2014 and 2015 have proven to be banner years for actor Beau "Casper" Smart, completing roles in eight projects portraying distinctive characters ranging from an embattled UFC fighter to an ego maniacal youth soccer coach.
His growing body of acting roles includes four feature films - Perfect Match, Restored Me, Street, and Wild for the Night; the lead role in the FIFA-released short Pepsi's Beats of the Beautiful Game and co-starring/guest roles on USA network's Benched, NBC's Shades of Blue and television's number-one comedy CBS's Big Bang Theory.
Summer 2015, Smart brought his unique sense of style and brand of humor to truTV's Fake Off, serving as one of four judges on the second season of the pop culture reality competition show.
Starting his career as a professional dancer, Smart's explosive, high-energy dance skills quickly translated into requests for stand-out choreography ultimately landing him highly sought after creative director spots for multi-platinum, multiple award-winning artists and corporate brands.
Smart's early credits included roles on the FOX's hit phenomenon Glee, How I Met Your Mother, Def Comedy Jam, Disney's Step Up: 3D, Honey 2 and Dance Flick.
Born and raised in Orange County, CA, Smart played played saxophone - alto, tenor and baritone in High School and at the age of 18 he got his first taste of dance - krumping, an offshoot of the hip-hop scene that features exaggerated, aggressive movements and a freestyle spirit. A year later, Smart won a dance contest held by choreographer Debbie Allen and took home a $1,000 cash prize. He continued to hone his skills and became part of the world-renowned Tommy the Clown crew performing to sold out crowds worldwide.
Smart currently resides in the greater Los Angeles area and in spare time enjoys boxing, Muay Thai, Ju Jitsu, & all forms of outdoor recreational activities including wake-boarding, snowboarding and is an avid motorcycle enthusiast.
Born in 1965 in the Icelandic capital city of Reykjavik, the daughter of Gudmundur Gunnarsson (an electrician) and Hildur Hauksdóttir who divorced before her second birthday, Björk grew up in a hippie-type community with her mother and her seven siblings. She started to study classical music at the age of 5 and released her first album in 1977 (mainly traditional Icelandic folk songs and international hits translated to Icelandic) when she was only 11. During her teenage years Björk became involved in several bands, most of them punk: Spit & Snot (1977), Exodus (1979-80), Jam 80 (1980), Tappi Tíkarrass (1981-83) (featured the documentary Rock in Reykjavik) and Kukl (1984-86). She then formed the pop group The Sugarcubes with Einar Örn Benediktsson and Sigtryggur Baldursson and eventually other members Þór Eldon (with whom she had a son in 1986), Margrét Örnólfsdóttir and Bragi Ólafsson. The band released its first single in 1986 and its first album, "Life's Too Good", in 1988, and discovered international success, especially in UK. During her Sugarcubes years, Björk also collaborated with the Icelandic jazz group Gudmundar Ingólfssonar Trio for the album "Gling-Glo" in 1990, and featured 808 State's "Ooops", which was the start of her electronic music interest. The Sugarcubes eventually split after a few albums in 1992 and in 1993. Björk released her first solo album, "Debut", in collaboration with producer Nellee Hooper. The worldwide success of the album (nearly 3 million copies sold) made possible her second album, "Post", in 1995, also with help of not only Nellee Hooper but techno gurus Graham Massey (from 808 State), Howie B. and Tricky, followed by the remix album "Telegram" the year after. After some problems in the UK, where she lived, she decided to go to Spain to record her third album, "Homogenic", released in 1997. Her main collaborators were the 'Icelandic String Octet', Mark Bell (from LFO), Mark Stent and again Howie B, and the album may be her most electronic. After Danish director Lars von Trier discovered her in the music video of "It's Oh So Quiet", he asked her to play the main role and to compose the music for his new movie Dancer in the Dark. She won the Best Actress Prize in the Cannes Festival, and said that it would be her only cinema performance (although she'd already acted in the Icelandic movie The Juniper Tree) because it was too painful for her and because she considered herself a music artist and not a cinema artist. The original soundtrack was re-worked by her before being released as an album under the title "Selmasongs" in September 2000 (including a new version of the duet song "I've Seen it All" with Thom Yorke). Her fourth album, probably the most quiet, "Vespertine", featured a chamber orchestra, an Icelandic choir and harpist Zeena Parkins, and was also a successful collaboration with Matmos. She then successively released a book of photos and texts, series of DVD, a Greatest Hits album and two special boxes ("Family Tree" and "Björk Box"). She also took time to marry artist Matthew Barney, with whom she had a daughter in 2002. In August 2004 she composed and sang "Oceania" for the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games in Athens. This song was featured on her fifth album, "Medúlla", released about two weeks after the ceremony. It is mostly made with vocals and some titles are close to experimental music, featuring choirs, Inuit singer Tanya Tagaq, Japanese artist Dokaka, Robert Wyatt, Rahzel and Mike Patton, but also collaborating again with programmers Matmos, Mark Bell and Mark "Spike" Stent.
|Jillian Shea Spaeder
Born with an excellent sense of pitch, Jillian has been singing since early childhood. At age 9, she began making guest appearances with her parents' cover band, belting out songs from Adele and Alicia Keys in her cool, raspy style, and lending a soulful groove to hits from artists like Billy Joel, Sam Cooke and Christina Aguilera.
A Philadelphia-area native, Jillian started her career with several roles in regional musical theatre. In July 2014, while in Hollywood for an international meet for performers, she was discovered by L.A. talent manager Susie Mains, who quickly signed her, encouraging her and her family to consider making a move to CA and a jump to the film and television industry. Coming out for just eight weeks during the 2015 pilot season, Jillian booked several segments for DreamWorksTV on YouTube, a guest role on a Nickelodeon show, and, ultimately, a series regular role on a Disney XD pilot. The show was picked up in the fall, and Jillian loves her role as Bailey on "Walk the Prank."
In her free time, Jillian can usually be found practicing back handsprings, curled up with her guitar playing and singing, or jamming with her musical family.
Saul Hudson, mainly known as Slash, was born on July 23, 1965, and was raised in Stoke-on-Trent. Both his parents worked in the entertainment business, his mother being a clothing designer (she did some of David Bowie's costumes) and his father being an art director for a record company. When Slash was 11 he moved with his mother to Los Angeles, leaving his father behind in England, although he eventually joined them in L.A. years later. Slash became sort of an outsider at school since he didn't really fit in with other kids. In the mid 70s his parents separated and Slash moved in with his grandmother. During this time Slash got interested in BMX riding, and went on to win several awards and money in competitions. When he was 15 he got his first guitar, and his schoolwork started to go downhill as he skipped class to sit playing guitar all day. Slash eventually got so tired of school that he dropped out in 11th grade. As he lived in Los Angeles, a city flourishing with new, young rock bands, he quickly got in touch with people to jam with. After meeting Steven Adler the two of them formed a band called Road Crew. Then he met Izzy Stradlin who played in a band with Axl Rose, and after hearing Axl sing live, he was set on getting him in his band. Soon a bass player answered one of Slash's ads in the paper, and Slash (guitar), Steven (drums), Izzy (guitar), Axl (vocals) and Duff McKagan (bass) formed Guns N' Roses in 1986. Soon enough, GNR were known across the globe as the new rock n' roll sensation. Album sales went sky high and the band was having a blast on their world tours, and during this time Slash worked with artists like Michael Jackson on the Dangerous album and Lenny Kravitz, just to name two. But after the Use Your Illusion tour, GNR decided to take a break. Slash however, needed to play music and so he formed his own band Slash's Snakepit. With the success of this bands album It's Five O'Clock Somewhere (1995), Slash told the public that Slash's Snakepit would be back again. During this time Slash and Axl were having some heated arguments about Guns N' Roses and what would happen next. Guns N' Roses as we knew them then, was terminated by the result as Slash decided to leave the band, handing all rights of the band name over to Axl. After this Slash did a few gigs here and there, formed a band called Blues Ball who played blues covers, and even brought back Slash's Snakepit as he said he would, although they didn't last very long this time either. In 2000, Slash met Perla Ferrar and on October 15, 2001, married her. It's not surprising that he wore black leather pants, a white shirt and his faithful black leather jacket to the wedding! His new status as a married man didn't slow him down, though. In 2003, Velvet Revolver was formed by the former members of Guns N' Roses; Slash, Duff and Matt (who replaced Steven in 1990), Scott Weiland (vocals) from Stone Temple Pilots and Dave Kushner (guitar) from Wasted Youth. Velvet Revolver's debut album Contraband (2004) was long-awaited and sold incredibly well. They are now going to show up on the second Live Aid concert along with many other huge artists, which will be held in London. Velvet Revolver's plans to become a rock band of great magnitude are definitely in the works, and Slash himself has earned his title as one of the greatest rock n' roll guitar players in history.
|Anna Maria Perez de Tagle
Anna Maria Perez de Tagle, is one of today's hottest triple threats with an extensive list of accomplishments including acting, singing, and dancing. The talented rising star opened for the Jonas Brothers Asia 2012 tour. She also concluded her starring role in Godspell on Broadway, the beloved classic from Stephen Schwartz alongside Hunter Parrish and Corbin Bleu. Anna Maria and her fellow cast mates have been featured on the Late Show with David Letterman, The View, The Rosie Show and The 2012 Tony Awards. Anna Maria was also featured in a full capacity concert on May 7, 2012 on board the Hornblower Hybrid in New York City, benefiting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Anna Maria was voted the "Best Featured Female Artist in a Musical" at the 2012 Broadway World Awards.
Anna Maria guest starred in ABC family's hit TV series Baby Daddy as "Jenna". She starred in the hit Disney movies, Camp Rock and Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam, where she portrayed the role of Ella alongside Demi Lovato and the Jonas Brothers. She also had a recurring role as Ashley Dewitt in the Disney hit show "Hannah Montana".
In 2009 Anna Maria stole the screen in MGM/Lakeshore's re-invention of FAME as Joy, the aspiring actress. No stranger to music, in 2010 she toured with the Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato in North and South America as an opener and performer throughout the show.
At the Ronald Reagan Centennial Birthday Celebration, Anna Maria was requested by the former first lady Mrs. Nancy Reagan to perform two of her favorite Broadway songs, "I Dreamed A Dream" from Les Miserables and "Someone Like You" from Jekyll and Hyde in front of hundreds of dignitaries at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California.
She enjoys working with the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, Saint Judes Research Hospital and the American Diabetes Association. She enjoys singing, dancing, working out and reading.
Anna Maria resides in New York City and Los Angeles.
Gloria O'Brien-Fontenot, started her career with her first commercial at the age of 6. She performed professionally through her entire childhood and teenage years as singer and actress in over 100 films, television shows and commercials, seven Disney Albums, and a solo album. Seven years of Ballet, including performing with the New York Ballet as a child led her into competitive gymnastics where she found a new love for more aggressive sports and athletics.
Gloria started her stunt career using her background as a gymnast and martial artist, and her lifetime of professional entertainment experience. Although initially a fight specialist, she became one of the most well rounded and experienced stunt women in the business, with extensive skills in motorcycles, cars and tucks, Rescue, SCUBA Divemaster, underwater safety, fire work, high falls, and just about everything needed in all aspects of stunts. Her passion for Road Bikes, trick riding, motocross and car work have brought a whole new dimension to an already successful career. She has raced both motocross and sport-bikes, and raced the Baja 1000 fully sponsored in the stock truck category. She has been a member of the Screen Actor's Guild and AFTRA since the age of six. She is a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the Taurus World Stunt Awards.
Never losing touch with her roots, Gloria has continued her career as an actress and singer, and in recent years had parts on Criminal Minds, a Superbowl Commercial artistic short films. She has written and produced music and can be heard singing for Feld Entertainment (Clear Channel/Live Nation) at some of their biggest arena events such as Monster Jam World Championships and Supercross events.
Gloria comes from a family of entertainers. Her uncle, Cubby O'Brien was an original Mousekateer and is now a drummer on Broadway. Both Grandfathers were also professional musicians. Gloria is a mother of two children who have also performed in movies, Michael, in "Bad Santa" and Megan in "The Hulk". Michael, now working in production and acting as well, has run camera for production companies and worked as crew in many types of productions. Her daughter also sings and plays guitar.
His parents were divorced, and at a young age, he lost his mother to cancer. He grew up hunting, playing guitar, and was an ordinary quiet kid. Lars Ulrich put out an ad in 1981 in a newspaper asking somebody to jam out and listen to rock music with him and he replied. Lars and James hooked up, and started the band, Metallica.
Adam Yauch, an only child, was born on August 5, 1964 in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Frances and Noel Yauch, who is a painter and architect. His father was Catholic (of Irish, German, and French descent) and his mother was Jewish. Adam attended Edward R. Murrow High School in the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn. In high school, he taught himself to play the bass guitar. He formed Beastie Boys with John Berry, Kate Schellenbach, and Mike D. On his seventeenth birthday, they played their first show, then still a hardcore punk band in the vein of Reagan Youth. Adam attended Bard College for two years before dropping out.
Beastie Boys added Adam Horovitz to the group, and released their first album, Licensed to Ill, on Def Jam Records, now performing as a hip hop trio. They went on to open for Madonna on her famous "Like a Virgin" tour. The group gained huge success with numerous genius albums and tours, and founded their own label "Grand Royal Records" in 1993.
Under the pseudonym "Nathanial Hörnblowér", Yauch directed many of the Beastie Boys' music videos. In 2002, Yauch built a recording studio in New York City called Oscilloscope Laboratories. He began an independent film distributing company called Oscilloscope Pictures. Yauch directed the 2006 Beastie Boys concert film, although in the DVD extras for the film, the title character in "A Day in the Life of Nathanial Hörnblowér" is played by David Cross. He also directed the 2008 film Gunnin' For That #1 Spot about eight high school basketball prospects at the Boost Mobile Elite 24 Hoops Classic at Rucker Park in Harlem, New York City. Yauch produced Build a Nation, the comeback album from hardcore/punk band Bad Brains. Oscilloscope Laboratories also distributed Adam Yauch's directorial film debut, basketball documentary Gunnin' For That #1 Spot (2008) as well as Kelly Reichardt's Wendy and Lucy (2008) and Oren Moverman's The Messenger (2009).
Yauch was a practicing Buddhist. Inspired by his own extensive travels as well as the The Dalai Lama, Yauch became publicly passionate about the destructive, violent situation in Tibet, and created "The Milarepa Fund" in 1994 to help promote awareness and generate support around the world. He organized the first "Tibetan Freedom Concert" in San Francisco in 1996, which he followed with years of a similar series in the United States and worldwide. His Milarepa Fund has raised large sums of money for the Tibetan cause and its nonviolent Buddhist struggle to maintain an actual state of existence on the planet. In May of 1998, Adam married Dechen Wangdu, and they have a daughter named Tenzin Losel Yauch. Yauch has influenced an entire generation of human souls to look deep within themselves in search of a greater truth and a peaceful, compassionate understanding of all that surrounds us.
In 2009, Yauch was diagnosed and treated for a cancerous parotid gland and a lymph node, and underwent surgery and radiation therapy, delaying the release of Hot Sauce Committee Part Two and the subsequent tour. He was unable to appear in music videos for the album. Yauch became a vegan under the recommendation of his Tibetan doctors.
Beastie Boys had sold 40 million records worldwide by 2010. In 2011, Yauch received the Charles Flint Kellogg Award in Arts and Letters from Bard College, the college he attended for two years. In April 2012, the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Yauch was inducted in absentia due to his illness. His bandmates paid tribute to Yauch, and a letter from him was read to the crowd.
Adam Yauch died from cancer on May 4, 2012, in New York City. He was survived by his wife and son.
The 14th of 16 children born to an air conditioning repairman, Henry Richard Hall (he got the name "Huntz" from a brother who said his large nose made him look German) was anything but the tough street kid he played in the East Side Kids/Bowery Boys films. He made his stage debut at the age of 1 in a play called "Thunder on the Left"; after graduating from a Catholic grammar school, he attended New York's famous Professional Children's School, was a boy soprano with the Madison Square Quintette, and appeared in an experimental 1932 television broadcast. Actor/director Martin Gabel got him an audition for the play "Dead End", and Hall got the part because he could imitate a machine gun to playwright Sidney Kingsley's satisfaction. Hall appeared in a total of 81 East Side Kids/Bowery Boys features and serials, more than any other actor. In 1940 he married 18-year-old dancer Elsie May Anderson (they divorced in 1944). During WWII Hall enlisted in the Army, and after his discharge returned to Hollywood, where his first jobs were in war films playing soldiers (for his impressive work in A Walk in the Sun he received the New York Theatre Critics Circle Blue Ribbon Award).
In 1948 Hall found himself in the same kind of jam as did Robert Mitchum -- getting arrested for possession of marijuana, but he was acquitted by a jury. After the trial Hall married showgirl Leslie Wright. In the early 1950s, Hall and former Bowery Boys actor Gabriel Dell teamed up and for a "Hall and Dell" nightclub act that was so successful it cost both men their marriages; in 1953 Hall's and Dell's wives both sued for divorce, claiming the men thought more of the act than they did of them. In 1954 Hall was arrested for fighting with the manager of a building where he was attending a party; apparently the party was too noisy and the manager told the occupants to quiet down. Hall took offense at this, a fight ensued and Hall was arrested for assault, for which he paid a $50 fine and was put on probation. In 1959 he was arrested on a drunk driving charge. Having stayed out of trouble for quite some time now, Hall has been content in retirement, with occasional film and television work (not that he needed the money; in addition to owning 10% of the Bowery Boys pictures, Hall made some wise oil and gas investments that paid off handsomely).
Obba Babatundé is one of the busiest actors in Hollywood, juggling careers in film, television and stage.
Babatundé recently appeared in Paramount Pictures' The Manchurian Candidate, as well as the critically acclaimed film The Notebook, while continuing to star as the father on the UPN sitcom Half & Half, which began its fifth season this fall. Other recent projects include a scene-stealing role in the New Line feature film After the Sunset, which opened November 12, 2004, opposite Pierce Brosnan. He next stars in the highly anticipated feature film The Celestine Prophecy, based on the top-selling book, which is scheduled for release in 2006.
He recently wrapped production on a co-starring role in the 'Martha Coolidge'-directed feature film comedy, Material Girls, opposite Hilary Duff and Haylie Duff, which is also slated for a 2006 release. In March 2006, he filmed a recurring role in the pilot for the new HBO Studios' Untitled Kevin Brennan series for NBC.
Babatundé's acting portfolio includes the blockbuster motion pictures, John Q, Universal Pictures' How High, a memorable role as Lamar in That Thing You Do!, Philadelphia, The Silence of the Lambs, the role of Berry Gordy in The Temptations, and The Visit among others. The talented artist earned Emmy and Cable ACE Award nominations for his role as Willie Johnson in HBO's Miss Evers' Boys, and a NAACP Image Award nomination for his portrayal of Harold Nicholas in HBO's Introducing Dorothy Dandridge. His additional television credits include the title role in the USA Network's film Redeemer and a role in the award-winning Showtime drama series Soul Food, portraying Kenny's father.
Babatundé's ability to live a part so flawlessly contributes to his memorable character portrayals. In the comedy How High, Babatundé gives a hilarious delivery as the Dean of Freshman at Harvard University. In John Q, he portrays the cool, unflappable SWAT team captain out to get his man. As the narrator and fellow convict to Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence's characters in the motion picture Life, Babatundé exhibited great diversity as his character aged forty years over the course of the picture.
While his film and television credits loom exemplary, Babatundé is no stranger to the stage. With multiple Broadway credits, he is probably best known for his Tony-nominated role as C.C. White in the original Broadway production of Dreamgirls. Other unforgettable stage performances include Harold Prince's Grind and he originated the role of the legendary jazz artist 'Ferdinand 'Jelly Roll' Morton' in the world premiere of Jelly's Last Jam. In the summer of 2005, Obba toured Japan, starring as Billy Flynn in Chicago, reprising the role he performed in the original tour of the classic musical. The show ran four weeks in Tokyo and one week in Osaka. In early January 2006, he was asked to return for a week of special engagements and also performed select dates on the U.S. National Tour in February. He is currently scheduled to return to Broadway on April 17, 2006, for a four-month starring run as "Billy Flynn" at the legendary Ambassador Theatre.
In addition to his mentorship program, Babatundé enjoys doing his seminar "show-BUSINESS' at universities throughout the country.
An MIT grad, Masamune played "Shredder" in Michael Bay's "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" (2014). He has had lead stage roles directed by Tony Award Winner Mary Zimmerman (Goodman Theatre) and Tony Award Winner Dan Sullivan (Williamstown Theatre Festival). He has worked with playwrights A.R. Gurney (Williamstown Theatre Festival) and Tony Award. Nominee Irene Mecchi (American Conservatory Theatre). He also was a member of the nationally recognized troupe, Theatre of Yugen, performing classical Japanese theatre (Noh/Kyogen).
He starts off the Christopher Nolan film "Inception" with the first line of the movie playing opposite Leo DiCaprio and Ken Watanabe.
He also played "Haruto Yakimura" in Marvel's Agents of S,H.I.E.L.D.
He appears in the role of "Martin Takagi" as in the upcoming paranormal Thriller feature "Chatter".
He is also the voice of "Kira" in an episode of Dreamworks/Nickelodeon "Kung Fu Panda - Legends of Awesomeness".
He is the voice of "Sensei" in Disney's Club Penguin online shorts.
He also appeared in a lead role (Ozu) in the SyFy channel original movie, "Warbirds", and will also appear in the upcoming feature film "Baby-O" directed by Charlie Matthau. He has made guest appearances on several TV shows which include "No Ordinary Family", "iCarly",Young and the Restless (recurring), "Bigshots","Heroes" (recurring as Mr. Egami), "24", "Without a Trace","Chicago Hope", "Providence", "The Practice" and "Mad About You","The Cape" (where he first worked with Emmy award winning director Jon Cassar). His first gig was on the film "Pacific Heights" directed by the late Oscar winner, John Schlesinger.
His father, Satoru Masamune was a top research professor at MIT, and his grandfather Testuo Nozoe, too was a world-renown scientist (in Japan).
Other notable ancestors include Hakucho Masamune (novelist/playwright), Atsuo Masamune (poet/lit scholar), Tokusaburo Masamune (painter), Isao Masamune (banker-former president of Industrial Bank of Japan) and Juichi Nozoe (politician-House of Representatives in Japan)
During college, Tohoru also was involved in the contemporary art world, working on technical crews for internationally renown installations artists, Nam Jun Paik, Brian Eno, and Bill Viola.
He was born in Madison, Wisconsin, and grew up in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. His family eventually settled in Newton (suburb of Boston), Massachusetts.
He has been a principal in numerous national commercial campaigns including Mercedes Benz, Coor's Light, Volvo, Yo-Plus (Yoplait), Nissan,Maxima, Ikea, Ford Trucks, Subaru, Oldsmobile, Northwest Airlines. He has done 2 commercials with director, Zack Snyder ("300", "Watchmen").
He enjoys playing Ice Hockey and jamming on his Alesis keyboard.
Eric Clapton was born in Ripley, Surrey, England, on March 30, 1945. His real father was a Canadian pilot but he didn't find that out until he was 53. When he was 2 his mother felt she was unable to look after him, so Eric then went to live with his grandparents. When he was 14 he took up the guitar, having been influenced by blues artists such as B.B King, Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker. In 1963, after he was chucked out of art college, he joined Paul Samwell-Smith, as he was in art school with Keith Relf. He stayed for about 18 months before beginning a stint with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. Eric became known as "god", as he impressed the whole English music scene with his amazing guitar playing. After about a year Eric had had enough of impersonating his blues idols and decided to form a group of his own, so in 1966 he formed a band with bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker (who had the idea) that became known as Cream. This band was not a purist blues group but a hard-driving rock and blues trio. They first performed together at a jazz and blues festival in Surrey before signing a record contract. In November 1966 their debut single, "Wrapping Paper", hit UK #34, but their next single, "I Feel Free", made more of an impression, hitting UK #11 the following January. At the same time they released their debut album "Fresh Cream", which was a top-ten hit, going to UK #6 and went on to make US #39 later in the year. Cream spent most of 1967 either touring or writing, recording and producing "Disreali Gears", which was to be one of their finest efforts. The first single that confirmed the group as a mainstream success was "Strange Brew", which went to #17 in the UK. After a hectic worldwide tour, their second album "Disreali Gears" was released and became an enormous worldwide hit, rising to UK #5 and US #4. The album's success r4esulted in one of its tracks, "Sunshine Of Your Love", a hit in the US, going to #36. In February 1968 Cream set out on a six-month US tour, the longest time that a British band ad ever been in America. The tour took in hundreds of theaters, arenas and stadiums, but in April 1968 the band was exhausted and decided to take a short break from touring. However, during their break disaster struck. While Cream was in America Eric had given an interview to the magazine "Rolling Stone" which had Eric the editor make critical points about his guitar playing. This led to an eruption within the band, which was the beginning of the end. Despite this setback, the band's US tour carried on until June, during which they had been recording their most popular project, "Wheels Of Fire", a double album that was released in August 1968; the live album shot to UK #3 and the studio effort to UK #7, but both went directly to US #1 for four weeks. Despite the fact that the band had sold so many records, had sold out nearly every concert, had made millions and even managed to boost "Sunshine Of Your Love" to hit US #5 and UK #25, they decided that after a farewell tour of America Cream would split. The band toured North America in October, played two concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in London in November and then Cream was no more - as Clapton explained, "The Cream has lost direction." In the winter of 1969 Eric began jamming with former Traffic front man Steve Winwood, with Ginger Baker also joining in Eric's mansion in Surrey. With bassist Ric Grech added to the lineup, the band became Blind Faith and started rehearsing and recording material. In June 1969, after the band finished a recording session for their first and only album, they made their live debut in Hyde Park to a crowd of over 200,000 fans. Despite the fact that Baker and Grech felt that the concert was a triumph, Clapton and Winwood, however, were more or less convinced that Blind Faith had blown it first time round. However, despite their feelings, Blind Faith set out on a summer sellout tour of the US, playing in arenas and stadiums all over the country. The tour itself earned the band a fortune, but the band members were convinced that the music itself was unsatisfying. After the tour was over their only album, "Blind Faith", was released, and it topped the charts worldwide. Despite the success of the album and tour Blind Faith still decided to disband, though, and Clapton went on tour with Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, who were Blind Faith's support act on the tour, and also performed at times with The Plastic Ono Band. In March 1970 Eric launched his highly successful solo career, by releasing a first solo album, which featured Delaney & Bonnie.
The Beatles were an English rock band that became arguably the most successful act of the 20th century. They contributed to music, film, literature, art, and fashion, made a continuous impact on popular culture and the lifestyle of several generations. Their songs and images carrying powerful ideas of love, peace, help, and imagination evoked creativity and liberation that outperformed the rusty Soviet propaganda and contributed to breaking walls in the minds of millions, thus making impact on human history.
In July of 1957, in Liverpool, 'Paul McCartney (I)' met John Lennon. Both were teenagers. Paul impressed John with his mastery of acoustic guitar, and was invited to join Lennon's group, The Quarrymen. George Harrison joined them in February of 1958. In 1959 they played regular gigs at a club called The Casbah. They were joined by vocalist Stuart Sutcliffe, and by drummer Peter Best, whose mother owned The Casbah club. Early incarnations of the band included The Quarrymen, Johnny & the Moon Dogs, and The Silver Beetles. John Lennon dreamed up the band's final name, The Beatles, a mix of beat with beetle. In 1960 The Beatles toured in Hamburg, Germany. There they were joined by Ringo Starr, who previously played with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. In Hamburg, The Beatles made their first studio work as a backing band for singer Tony Sheridan's recordings for the German Polydor label, however, in the credits the band's name was changed to The Beat Brothers. From February 1961 to August 1963, The Beatles played a regular gig at the Cavern. They were paid five pounds for their first show, rising to three hundred pounds per show in 1963. In two and a half years The Beatles gave 262 shows at the Cavern in Liverpool.
Brian Epstein was invited to be the manager of the Beatles in November 1961. His diplomatic way of dealing with the Beatles and with their previous manager resulted in a December 10, 1961, meeting, where it was decided that Epstein would manage the band. A 5-year management contract was signed by four members at then-drummer Pete Best's home on January 24, 1962. Epstein did not put his signature on it, giving the musicians the freedom of choice. At that time McCartney and Harrison were under 21, so the paper wasn't technically legal. None of them realized this and it did not matter to them. What mattered was their genuine trust in Epstein. He changed their early image for the good. Brian Epstein made them wear suits and ties, classic shoes, and newer haircuts. They were advised to update their manners on stage and quit eating and drinking in public. Brian Epstein worked hard on both the Beatles' image and public relations. He improved their image enough to make them accepted by the conservative media. Most if not all of their communication off-stage was managed by Brian Epstein.
On January 1, 1962, The Beatles came to London and recorded fifteen songs at the Decca Records. They were not hired, but the material helped them later. During the year 1962, they made several trips to London and auditioned for various labels. In May of 1962 Epstein canceled the group's contract with Tony Sheridan and the German label. Brian Epstein was persistent in trying to sign a record deal for the Beatles, even after being rejected by every major record label in UK, like Columbia, Philips, Oriole, Decca, and Pye. Epstein transferred a demo tape to disc with HMV technician Jim Foy, who liked their song and referred it to Parlophone's George Martin. On June 6, 1962, at the Abbey Road studios, they passed Martin's audition with the exception of Pete Best. George Martin liked them, but recommended the change of a drummer. Being asked by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison; Epstein fired Pete Best. After a mutual decision the band was completed with Ringo Starr, who duly became the fourth Beatle. In September of 1962 The Beatles recorded their first hit Love Me Do, which charted in UK, and reached the top of the US singles chart.
London became their new home since 1963. On February 11, 1963, The Beatles recorded the entire album 'Please, Please me' in one day, working non-stop during ten-hour studio session. In May and June, 1963, the band made a tour with Roy Orbison. In August of 1963, their single She Loves You became a super hit. Their October 1963 performance at the London Palladium made them famous in Great Britain and initiated the Beatlemania in the UK. The show at the London Palladium was broadcast live and seen by twelve million viewers. Then, in November 1962, The Beatles gave a charity concert at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London. There, performing for the rich and famous, John Lennon made his famous announcement: Would the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands? And the rest of you, if you'll just rattle your jewelry.
In early performances the Beatles included popular songs from the 40s and 50s. They played rock-n-roll and R&B-based pop songs while they gradually worked on developing a style of their own. Their mixture of rock-n-roll, skiffle, blues, country, soul, and a simplified version of 1930s jazz resulted in several multi-genre and cross-style sounding songs. They admitted their interest in the music of Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, Little Richard and other entertainers of the 40s, 50s and early 60s. Beatles' distinctive vocals were sometimes reminiscent of the Everly Brothers' tight harmonies. By 1965 their style absorbed ethnic music influences from India and other Oriental cultures, and later expanded into psychedelic experiments and classical-sounding compositions. Their creative search covered a range of styles from jazz and rock to a cosmopolitan cross-cultural and cross-genre compositions.
Initially the Beatles were a guitars and drums band. In the course of their career every member became a multi-instrumentalist. George Harrison played the lead guitar and also introduced such exotic instruments as ukulele, Indian sitars, flutes, tabla, darbouka, and tampur drums. John Lennon played a variety of guitars, keyboards, harmonicas and horns. Paul McCartney played bass guitar, acoustic and electric guitars, piano and keyboards, as well as over 40 other musical instruments. The Beatles were the first popular band that used a classical touch of strings and keyboard instruments; their producer George Martin scored Baroque orchestrations in several songs, such as Yesterday, Eleanor Rigby, In My Life, and a full orchestra in Sgt. Pepper. John Lennon and Paul McCartney played piano in many of their songs. Their jamming on a piano together led to creation of their best-selling hit I Want to Hold Your Hand in 1963.
At first the Beatles were rejected by Dick Clark after testing a recording of their song on his show. Then Brian Epstein approached Ed Sullivan, who discussed them with Walter Cronkite after seeing them on his CBS Evening News in 1963. Brian Epstein also managed to get their music played by influential radio stations in Washington and New York. The US consumer reaction was peaking, a single 'I Want to Hold Your Hand' was released in December 1963 by the Capitol Records. Their sensational tour in the USA began with three TV shows at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York, in February of 1964. After that The Beatles endured several years of extremely intensive recording, filming, and touring. They stopped public performances after 1966, but continued their recording contracts. By 1985 The Beatles had sold over one billion records. Music became their ticket to ride around the world. Beatlemania never really ended since its initiation. It still lives as a movable feast in many hearts and minds, as a sweet memory of youth, when all you need is love and a little help from a friend to be happy.
The Beatles' first two feature films, A Hard Day's Night (1964) and Help (1965), were made in collaboration with an American director, Richard Lester. Their humorous, ironic, and farcical film performances are reminiscent of the Marx Brothers' comedies. Later The Beatles moved into the area of psychedelic innovations with the animated film Yellow Submarine (1966). Their surrealistic TV movie The Magical Mystery Tour (1967) became the cause for the first major criticism of their work in the British press. Their film music was also released as studio albums. Original music by The Beatles as well as re-makes of their songs has been also used, often uncredited, in music scores of feature films and documentaries. Some of The Beatles concert and studio performances were filmed on several occasions and were later edited and released after the band's dissolution. In 1999 the remastered and remixed film The Beatles Yellow Submarine Adventure delighted a younger audience with incredible animation and songs.
All four members were charismatic and individually talented artists, they sparked each other from the beginning. Eventually they made a much better group effort under the thorough management by Brian Epstein. His coaching helped consolidate their talents and mutual stimulation into beautiful teamwork. Paul McCartney had the privilege of a better musical education, having studied classical piano and guitar in his childhood. He progressed as a lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, as well as a singer-songwriter. McCartney wrote more songs for the Beatles than other members of the band. His songs Yesterday, Eleanor Rigby, Blackbird, When I'm 64, Let It Be are among the Beatles' best hits. Yesterday is considered the most-covered song in history with over three thousand versions of it recorded by various artists. McCartney accepted the agreement that was offered by John Lennon in 1957, about the 50/50 authorship of every song written by either one of them. Most of The Beatles' songs are formally credited to both names, regardless of the fact that many of the songs were written individually.
On June 25, 1967, The Beatles made history becoming the first band globally transmitted on TV to an estimated 400 million people worldwide. The Beatles were a segment in the first-ever worldwide satellite hook-up and their new song "All You Need Is Love" was broadcast live during the show. Two months later The Beatles lost their creative manager Brian Epstein, whose talent for problem-solving was unmatched. "That was it, the beginning of the end", said Lennon. Evolution of each member's creativity and musicianship also led to individual career ambitions.
John Lennon was experimenting with psychedelic poetry and art. His creativity was very unique and innovative. Lennon wrote Come Together, Girl, Revolution, Strawberry Fields and many other Beatles' hits. An out-of-context reprinting of Lennon's remarks on the Beatlemania phenomenon caused problems in the media. His comparison of Beatles' popularity to that of Jesus Christ was used to attack them publicly, causing cancellations of their performances and even burning of their records. Lennon had to apologize several times in press and on TV, including at a Chicago press conference. In 1967 John Lennon met Japanese artist Yoko Ono, whom he later married. George Harrison was the lead guitar player and also took sitar lessons from Ravi Shankar. Harrison had his own inner light of creativity and spirituality, he wrote Something, Taxman, I me mine, and other hits. Ringo Starr sang 'Yellow Submarine' and a few other songs. He has made a film career and also toured with his All Stars Band and released several solo albums. His 1973 release "Ringo" was the last album to feature all four living Beatles, although not on the same song.
The Beatles created over 240 songs, they recorded many singles and albums, made films and TV shows. Thousands of memorable pictures popularized their image. In their evolution from beginners to the leaders of entertainment, they learned from many world cultures, absorbed from various styles, and created their own. Their cross-style compositions covered a range of influences from English folk ballads to Indian raga; absorbing from Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Elvis Presley, Everly Brothers, Little Richard, and others. The songwriting and performing talents of Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, fused in the Beatles' music. Lennon and McCartney initiated changes in music publishing industry by breaking the Tin Pan Alley monopoly of songwriting. Their legacy became possible due to highly professional work by Brian Epstein and George Martin. In 1994 three surviving members reunited and produced Lennon's previously unknown song 'Free as a Bird'. It was preserved by Yoko Ono on a tape recording made by Lennon in 1977. The song was re-arranged and re-mixed with the voices of three surviving members. The Beatles Anthology TV documentary was watched by 420 million people in 1995.
The Beatles represent the collective consciousness of several generations. Millions of viewers and listeners across the universe became conditioned to the sounds and images of The Beatles. Their influence on the modern world never stopped. Numbers may only show the tip of the iceberg (record sales, shows admissions, top hits, etc.). As image-makers and role models they pushed boundaries in lifestyle and business, affecting customers behavior and consumption beyond the entertainment industry by turning all life into entertainment. A brilliant blend of music and lyrics in their songs made influence on many minds by carrying messages like: give peace a chance and people working it out. A message more powerful than political control, it broke through second and third world censorship and regulations and set many millions free.
Steve Jobs, being a big fan of Paul McCartney and The Beatles, referred to them on many occasions and also was interviewed on a showing of a Paul McCartney concert. When asked about his business model, Steve Jobs replied: My model for business is The Beatles: They were four guys that kept each other's negative tendencies in check; they balanced each other. And the total was greater than the sum of the parts. Great things in business are never done by one person, they are done by a team of people.
The Beatles made impact on human history, because their influence has been liberating for generations of nowhere men living in misery beyond the Iron Curtain. Something in their songs and images appealed to everybody who wanted to become free as a bird. Their songs carrying powerful ideas of real love, peace, help, and imagination evoked creativity that outperformed the rusty Soviet propaganda and contributed to breaking chains and walls in the minds of millions. The Beatles expressed themselves in beautiful and liberating words of love, happiness, freedom, and revolution, and carried those messages to people across the universe. Their songs and images helped many freedom-loving people to come together for revolutions in Prague and Warsaw, Beijing and Bucharest, Berlin and Moscow. The Beatles has been an inspiration for those who take the long and winding road to freedom.
Even after The Beatles had gone, the individual members continued to spread their message; from the concert for Bangladesh by George Harrison and Ringo Starr in 1971, to 2003 "Back in USSR" concert by Paul McCartney on the Red Square in Moscow, and his 2004 show near the Tsar's Winter Palace in St. Petersburg where the Communist Revolution took place, just imagine.
In 2005 the Entertainment magazine poll named The Beatles the most iconic entertainers of the 20th Century. In July of 2006, the guitar on which Paul McCartney played his first chords and impressed John Lennon, was sold at an auction for over $600,000.
In July 2012, Paul McCartney rocked the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. He delivered a live performance of The Beatles's timeless hit "Hey Jude" and engaged the crowd of people from all over the world to join his band in a sing along finale. The show was seen by a live audience of 80000 people at the Olympic Park Stadium in addition to an estimated TV audience of two billion people worldwide.
Damon Dash sent himself to boarding school because he wanted a better education than he was receiving at the time. As a result, his "street credibility" was initially questioned at the onset of his career.
Dash received his official start in the music industry when he produced 90's rap group, Original Flavor's first album. One of the members of Original Flavor, Tone Hooker, later became a member of the Roc-A-Fella staff.
Damon has two children; Damon Dash II aka Boogie by a previous relationship and his daughter, Ava, by his wife, designer Rachel Roy. Both of his children are featured in State Property 2.
Damon Dash is the man behind the acquisitions of Armadale Vodka and Pro Keds during his ownership of Roc-A-Fella Records. He used his artists and his label as a means of marketing his other brands.
Dash was also responsible for Cam'ron having been signed to Roc-A-Fella. It was Cam'ron's controversial signing to the label that signaled the beginning of the end of Damon's relationship with longtime friend and business associate Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter. Jay-Z has also publicly stated that he had no interest in being a part of the Hollywood movie scene, unlike Dash.
Since the sale of Roc-A-Fella Records to Def Jam, Damon started the Damon Dash Music Group. Nicole Wray, formerly of Missy Elliot's Gold Mind label, was signed to DDMG. She recently left the label.
Damon Dash sold his interest in Roc-A-Wear Clothing to Jay-Z and is no longer involved with the line. Dash was instrumental in creating the line's image by hiring high profile friends/models such as Naomi Campbell and Omahyra Mota. Campbell still models for the brand.
Dash stays very active as an actor, movie director, music producer and CEO. He recently produced singles for the likes of Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham.
From the impressionable age of eleven, Milton "Lil Rel" Howery set out to make the world laugh. With influential comedians like Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence, and Louie Anderson in their prime, Lil Rel spent the early 90's tuned into classic programs like Def Comedy Jam and Raw. While other young adolescents in his West Side Chicago neighborhood were doing typical juvenile things, he was studying and mastering the art of comedy. Now as a well-respected comedian, actor and writer, Lil Rel has become a comedic staple in Chicago and a rising star nationally.
As a teen who sought worldwide fame and success, Lil Rel wanted much more than to tell jokes to his family and loved ones. He was immediately drawn to the production and performance aspects of entertaining. At seventeen years old, Lil Rel wrote original comedic scenes for one of the most critical audiences he'd face: his high school peers. After starring in the school play and effortlessly delivering side-cramping laughs, his impact was undeniable. His peers and teachers offered enthusiastic approval that left Lil Rel humbled and reflective.
After finishing high school, Lil Rel set out in search of the comedy spot that would offer him a chance to perform. He found that opportunity at The Lion's Den in Chicago's East Side. Too young to get in, he arrived earlier than most in hopes that the owner would bend the rules. He did. After walking out on to the stage, Lil Rel delivered his routine. An apparent hit, Lil Rel became a weekly regular at The Lion's Den before continuing on to become one of Chicago's most prominent comedians and hosts at an innumerable amount of comedy clubs and showcases.
As Lil Rel's fan base grew, so did his opportunities. He submitted a performance tape to BET's Comic View casting department and was offered his first paid television spot in 2001. Proving to be a natural comedian with an undeniable stage presence, he was invited to perform again on the following season. With Comic View at its peak of popularity, the exposure launched him to the next phase of his career. By earning the respect of powerful show executives through his hilarious story-telling and knowledgeable off-stage demeanor, Lil Rel became a regularly featured comedian all over television and the nation.
With small appearances like his national film debut in MGM Studio's "Barbershop 2" along with featured roles in urban hits like TV One's "Bill Bellamy's: Who Got Jokes" and HBO's "Diddy's Bad Boys of Comedy," Lil Rel has been a welcome guest in inner-city homes for years. One of Lil Rel's most valuable television appearances was NBC's Last Comic Standing. Though he did not win the show, his memorable characters (including the infamous "neighborhood hoodrat") resonated well with at-home viewers. His crossover appeal landed him a spot on NBC's Diversity Showcase, as well as his hometown's second largest comedy experience, the "Just for Laughs Chicago Festival."
In 2009, Lil Rel began his first business, The Lil Rel Company. Initially launched as the holding company for his stand-up comedy material, The Lil Rel Company now houses the entire Lil Rel brand. Lil Rel continues to perform at comedy clubs, showcases, and colleges around the country. In July of 2010, he appeared on Comedy Central's "Russell Simmons Presents: Stand-up at the El Rey." His new CD, "I Know You Hear Me, But Are You Listening," is available on iTunes.
Morrow grew up in Miami, Florida. She made her television debut appearance in 1992 as Wendy Mallow on the popular television program, Baywatch. From 1995 to 1996, she portrayed Rachel Gannon on the ABC soap opera One Life to Live. Morrow also had a recurring appearance on the sitcom, Family Matters as Darius McCrary (Eddie)'s girlfriend and then ex-girlfriend, Oneisha, from 1992 to 1997. Other television and film appearances include, Living Single, Soul Food, Conan, The Parkers, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and The Jamie Foxx Show and appearances in films such as: Uninvited Guest, Children of the Corn III, Book of Love, Restraining Order, Def Jam's How to Be a Player, Traci Townsend, National Security and Today You Die (2005).
Morrow is also a real estate agent in Los Angeles, California
Bikovic made his acting debut on television, in the popular RTS series The Dollars Are Coming, Serbian: "Stizu dolari". He then came to further prominence with the comedy series White Ship "Bela ladja", in which he acted from 2006 to 2011. In 2008, Bikovic had a supporting role in the B92 drama series The Storks Will Return (Vratice se rode). He would subsequently appear in two short films, Assignment: Ten Minutes "Zadatak: 10 minuta" in 2009, and Plus in 2010.
In 2010, Bikovic was cast to portray Serbian footballer Aleksandar "Tirke" Tirnanic in Montevideo, God Bless You! (Montevideo, Bog te video!). Directed by Dragan Bjelogrlic, Montevideo, God Bless You! is a true story of the Yugoslavia national football team qualifying for the 1930 FIFA World Cup. Bikovic and his cast fellows had to learn to play football for the film. Montevideo, God Bless You! premiered on 20 December 2010, and became the highest-grossing film in Serbia and the region. It was also selected as the Serbian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th Academy Awards. The film brought Bikovic MTV Adria Movie Award and Nis Film Festival for Best Actor, as well as a "FIPRESCI" Serbia Award for Best Actor nomination. It also made him a household name in Serbia, and earned him the Hello! Magazine Award for the Personality of the Year in 2011. The television series adapted from Montevideo, God Bless You!, which features some scenes and characters that do not appear in the original film, premiered on the RTS on 13 February 2012.
The following year, Bikovic had an episode appearance in the television series Mixed Meat "Mesano meso". He also made his stage debut in the Atelje 212 production Goodbye SFRY "Zbogom SFRJ", inspired by Wolfgang Becker's film Good Bye, Lenin!. In 2012, Bikovic portrayed Serbian scientist Mihajlo Petrovic Alas in The Hat of Professor Kosta Vujic "Sesir profesora Koste Vujica", a film adaptation of the novel of the same name by Milovan Vitezovic directed by Zdravko Sotra. The film has been both critically acclaimed and commercially successful.
In 2013, Bikovic starred the RTS series Ravna Gora that takes place in Yugoslavia during the World War II and tells story of the resistance movement Chetniks, the National Theatre production of The Lady of the Camellias, and the German independent short film Great. The following year, he starred the sequel to Montevideo, God Bless You!, the box-office hit See You in Montevideo "Montevideo, vidimo se!" and its eponymous spin-off series, and the film and television adaptation of Mir-Jam's novel Single in a Marriage "Samac u braku", titled, respectively, When Love Is Late "Kad ljubav zakasni" and Single in a Marriage.
Bikovic is set to appear in Sunstroke, an upcoming film directed by Nikita Mikhalkov, based on Ivan Bunin's works Sunstroke and Cursed Days. It was also confirmed he would appear in the sequel to the Russian film "Soulless".
|Joe E. Brown
Joe E. Brown happily claimed that he was the only youngster in show business who ran way from home to join the circus with the blessings of his parents. In 1902, the ten-year-old Brown joined a circus tumbling act called the Five Marvellous Ashtons, which toured various circuses and vaudeville theaters. Joe later began adding comedy bits into his vaudeville act and added more as it became popular. In 1920 he debuted on Broadway in an all-star review called "Jim Jam Jems". As he developed skits and comedy routines throughout the 1920s, he built up his confidence and his popularity soared. The same could not be said for his debut in movies. Hired for a non comedy role in The Circus Kid, he played a lion tamer whose fate is death. He didn't register with the public until he signed with Warner Brothers in 1929 to do comedy roles in the film adaptations of Broadway shows such as Sally and Top Speed. Joe would be well known for his loud yell, his infectious grin and his cavernous mouth. Since many of his films revolved around sports, his natural athletic ability, combined with the physical comedy, made them hits. In Local Boy Makes Good, Joe played a botanist who becomes a track star. As he had briefly played semi-pro baseball, he was a natural for films like Fireman, Save My Child, in which he played a pitcher who was also a fireman. Two of his biggest hits involved the game of baseball, Elmer, the Great and Alibi Ike. In his contract with Warners, he had it written that he would have his own baseball team at the studio to play when he was able. Joe was one of the top ten moneymaking stars for 1933 and 1936. In 1937, he left Warners to make films for David L. Loew, and it was a disaster. Most of the films were cheaply made with poor production values, and only a few were successful. Two of the better ones were Riding on Air and The Gladiator. Brown always called signing with Loew his biggest professional mistake and with Loew his popularity fell. By the end of the 1930's he was working in "B" material which would have been unimaginable less than five years earlier. With the advent of World War II, Joe worked tirelessly to entertain the troops while his film career floundered. Their enthusiastic response enabled Joe to overcome the death of his son, Captain Donald Brown, on a training flight. In 1947 Joe was back in the biz and back on stage in a road company tour of the comedy "Harvey". His first movie role in three years was as a small-town minister in the drama The Tender Years. Even though he gave a good performance, it would be another three years before he was again on the big screen, in the big-budget 1951 remake of Show Boat, in which he played Captain Hawks. When his film career became almost nonexistent, Joe worked on radio and in television. He starred as the clown in the drama The Buick Circus Hour from 1952 to 1953 and made guest appearances on a number of other shows in the 1950s and early 1960s. His peers regarded him as one of the few truly nice people in Hollywood (a short list of his contemporaries would include Jean Hersholt and Jack Benny). After a few small movie roles in the 1950s, he was discovered by a new generation as the millionaire Osgood Fielding III in Billy Wilder's classic Some Like It Hot, uttering the last immortal line of the film, "Well, nobody's perfect."
|Robert Palmer Watkins
Robert Palmer Watkins currently plays "Dillon Quartermaine" on ABC's daytime series GENERAL HOSPITAL. He is an actor and musician committed to the work. Robert is having a great time bringing truth and fresh nuances to "Dillon", while respecting GH's iconic legacy.
Robert's professional journey began after graduating from the prestigious American Musical and Dramatic Academy (Hollywood), quickly building an impressive list of credits. He sought roles that would not only challenge him as a performer, but also allow him to experience working in different mediums, including: TV series, TV movies, features, shorts, web series, and a documentary. Throughout this time, Robert continued to hone his craft with some of the finest acting coaches in the industry. His dedication paid off when he auditioned for, and landed his current, coveted GH role.
When he's not on set, you'll find Robert in the gym, in jam sessions with buddies, hiking, or at the beach.
Born in Salisbury, NC, Robert grew up in Winston-Salem, later moving with his family to Richmond, Virginia where he was involved in theater at both Henrico Center for the Performing Arts and Douglas Southall Freeman High School. Robert was also very active in the YMCA teen leaders program where he volunteered with fellow teens to help give back to the community. Kids and the arts remain important causes for him. Robert lives in Los Angeles.
As frequent lead vocalist for New Kids On The Block, Jordan Knight toured the world's stages, belting out a pop-R&B rap hybrid that climbed to the Top 20 ten times in half as many years, sparked a revolution in merchandising, and endeared five young men to millions of crazed fans. His fame endures as evidenced by the tens of thousands of fans that visit his web page every week.
Knight was just shy of 15 when he joined what would become New Kids On The Block. At 16, he began teaching himself keyboards. By 17, Knight had begun writing songs. But Maurice Starr, the New Kids' producer, who also wrote much of the New Kids material, was reluctant to add the teenager's work to the band's repertoire. Knight offered his composition "I'll Be Your Everything" to a young singer named Tommy Page. Page's version of the track, which Knight produced, went all the way to #1 and spent 13 weeks on the Billboard charts.
The New Kids On The Block's fourth album, Step by Step, hit #1 in the U.S. and the U.K. The New Kids also had merchandise, record selling dolls, the debut of New Kids cartoon series and milestones on top of bestselling books, video collections and comic strips. Five of their albums were charting simultaneously on the Billboard 200. At the peak of the band's popularity, their recorded telephone message line received 100,000 calls a week. Conservative estimates of the New Kids' 1990 income topped $850 million.
As a solo artist, Knight enlisted the help of veteran producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. As it turns out, Jam and Lewis were intrigued by Knight's concepts for his first solo album and quickly took the gig. The album turned out to be a success. In 1999/2000, Knight enjoyed Top 10 status in Asia, England and Germany as well as the rest of Europe with his debut single "Give It To You." In America, the single went platinum and the album went gold.
With his first solo album under his belt, Knight has been in the studio non stop continually expanding his repertoire and is currently preparing the next solo project with a scheduled release in 2005. Knight feels that this project, judging from the countless letters from fans that subscribe to his website, is being eagerly awaited. As seen on VH-1's "The Surreal Life," Knight is ready to embark upon the new phase of his already impressive recording career.
Karan Ashley has had a career that has span over 20 years.. She was born in Odessa, Texas and raised in Dallas, Texas. She began her entertainment career as a child singer in the girl group KRUSH. They were signed to Perspective, A&M Records and had their first single, "Let's Get Together" on the Mo Money soundtrack. They worked under the world famous Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis as their exclusive artists. She has an extensive background in dancing and was able to choreograph KRUSH's dance routines alongside the world famous Tina Landon. With the group they earned a platinum record and had a hit dance song, Let's Get Together (So Groovy Now) and worked with such artists as Janet Jackson, Johnny Gill, Karen White, Lo-Key and Mint Condition.
After 5 years in KRUSH, Karan decided to dive head first and begin an acting career. She did several national commercials for such companies as Southwest Airlines, TGI Fridays, Chevrolet and AT&T.
Her big break came when she went to an open call audition and beat out over 10 thousand hopefuls and landed the role of Aisha the Yellow Power Rangers on the #1 kids show in America, Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. She was able to do over 80 episodes and star in the hit movie "Power Rangers the Movie" that was released by 20th Century Fox.
Not stopping there she has beat the pavement for years and has been on many different TV shows and films such as, Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, The Steve Harvey Show, One on One, The Parkers, Kenan & Kel, Chat Room, The Opposite Sex, Taylor's Wall, Wicked Weekend, Jazz Scene, The Encounter and many other projects. She has worked with many successful companies such as MTV, BET, ABC, Nickelodeon, Disney, The WB, 20th Century Fox, Asiatic Productions and formed the production company GAG Order films.
Although acting is her passion, while with GAG Order Films, she ventured into producing, writing and has starred in two feature films, Unto Thee and Devon's Ghost. In both films she served as lead actress, writer and producer. Both films did well in film festivals and sold in over 17 countries in DVD sales. She worked as a producer for BET and did exclusive work with their BET on Jazz channel.
Last year she branched out on her own to form her very own production company and produced two television pilots. Her production company, KASH Pictures and Entertainment produced, created and wrote, A Day in the Life. A Day, paired Karan and Kel Mitchell as co-hosts to a reality based talk show. She also produced, created and wrote a show called Turning Point which she submitted to the OWN network and received over 14 thousand votes in one week.
Even though Karan Ashley has worn many hats she still has the desire to take her career to an all new level and studies with BANG Improv. She is first and foremost an actress and never wants to stop honing her craft. She also makes several personal appearances at conventions who host thousands who still want to meet their childhood hero from Power Rangers. She never forgets the original audience that supported her. With a hit show under her belt and a platinum album, she still considers herself a beginner in this business and is excited at the possibilities to come.
Chris Cornell was born Christopher John Boyle in Seattle, Washington on July 20th 1964. Chris is the second youngest of Karen and Ed Boyle's 6 children. His father was a pharmacist and his mother worked as an accountant. He is of Irish (father) and English, Scottish, and Northern Irish (mother) descent, with many of his mother's ancestors coming from Canada. His parents divorced when Chris was in his early teens. After his parents marriage ended, Chris and his siblings changed their surnames from Boyle to his mother's maiden name, Cornell. Chris rebelled against his Catholic upbringing and was on the verge of being expelled from the parochial school he attended when his mother pulled him out. As an adolescent, he experimented with drugs and stealing. Among the things he stole were a collection of Beatles records from his neighbour's basement which sparked an interest in songwriting. Though his parents had given him piano lessons from early on, Chris said his mother saved his life when she bought him a snare drum. A week later he bought himself an entire drum kit and thus began his forage into rock n roll.
Cornell dropped out of school at the age of 15 for two reasons: one was because he had problems with authority, the other was that he wanted to work to help his mother support the family. He waited tables and later on became a cook. He honed his skills as a songwriter and musician by playing in bands on the side. He experienced his first bouts of depression during his teens. His condition became so severe he didn't leave his home for almost a year. Fortunately, he was able to check his use of recreational drugs. He later earned his GED.
He formed Soundgaren with Hiro Yamamoto, Kim Thayil and Matt Cameron in the mid-eighties. Yamamoto left the band was replaced by Ben Shepherd. Soundgarden were the first of the Seattle grunge bands to get signed by a major label during the late 80s and would eventually go on to become on of the most successful bands of the 1990s. He also enjoyed success with several side projects, among them Temple Of The Dog with Eddie Vedder. He married his long-time girlfriend, Alice In Chains manager Susan Silver. Silver, at the request of Cornell's band, had also taken on the management duties of Soundgarden. After achieving multi-platinum status and earning 2 Grammy awards, Soundgarden amicably disbanded in 1997.
Cornell decided to go it alone and released 'Euphoria Morning', a solo album that showed his amazing versatility as a vocalist and songwriter. His songs shocked his grunge fanbase by boldly exploring folk, R&B and melding a variety of genres. 'Euphoria Morning' earned Cornell a Grammy nomination in the catagory of Best Male Rock Performance. However Cornell was dissatisfied with the commercial performance of his solo album and severely disillusioned by the deaths of several close friends. Plagued for many years by social phobias and alcohol abuse, it all came to head and he plunged into a deep depression. Once again he began to use drugs.
In June of 2000. Chris and Susan welcomed their first child, a daughter, Lillian Jean. In a turn of fortune, this was also the year producer Rick Rubin suggested Cornell jam with the remaining members of Zach de la Rocha's abandoned band, Rage Against The Machine. The collaboration was so successful, Cornell along with guitar virtuoso Tom Morello, innovative bassist Tim Commerford and powerhouse drummer Brad Wilk formed Audioslave.
Cornell also checked himself into rehab and rebuilt his life. Now drug and alcohol free, he is fronting the first supergroup of the new millennium. Audioslave dominate the rock charts and have rapidly achieved platinum status despite the soft market for rock music. They've built a reputation as a live act that is second to none. Already halfway through recording their second album, the band are set to head back in to the studio after they wrap up the summer 2003 Lollapalooza tour.
Jimi Hendrix was born on November 27, 1942 in Seattle, Washington, to African-American parents Lucille (Jeter) and James Allen Hendrix. His mother named him John Allen Hendrix and raised him alone while his father, Al Hendrix, was off fighting in World War II. When his mother became sick from alcoholism, Hendrix was sent to live with relatives in Berkeley, California. When his father returned from Europe in 1945 he took back Hendrix, divorced his wife, and renamed him James Marshall Hendrix. When Jimi was 13 his father taught him to play an acoustic guitar. In 1959 Jimi dropped out of high school and enlisted in the U.S. Army, but soon became disenchanted with military service. After he broke his ankle during a training parachute jump, he was honorably discharged. He then went to work as a sideman on the rhythm-and-blues circuit, honing his craft but making little or no money. Jimi got restless being a sideman and moved to New York City hoping to get a break in the music business. Through his friend Curtis Knight, Jimi discovered the music scene in Greenwich Village, which left indelible impressions on him. It was here that he began taking drugs, among them marijuana, pep pills and cocaine. In 1966, while Jimi was performing with his own band called James & the Blue Flames at Cafe Wha?, John Hammond Jr. approached Jimi about the Flames playing backup for him at Cafe Au Go Go. Jimi agreed and during the show's finale, Hammond let Jimi cut loose on Bo Diddley's "I'm the Man." Linda Keith, girlfriend of The Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, was one of Jimi's biggest fans and it was she who told friend Chas Chandler, a band manager, about Jimi. When Chandler heard Jimi play, he asked him to come to London to form his own band, and while there Chandler made the simple change in Jimi's name by formally dropping James and replacing it with Jimi. Having settled in England with a new band called the Jimi Hendrix Experience, which consisted of Jimi as guitarist and lead singer, bass player Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell, Jimi took the country by storm with the release of his first single "Hey, Joe." In the summer of 1967 Jimi performed back in the USA at the Monterey Pop Festival, a mix-up backstage forced Jimi to follow The Who onstage, where after a superb performance Jimi tore up the house by trashing his guitar in a wild frenzy. Afterwards, Jimi's career skyrocketed with the release of the Experience's first two albums, "Are You Experienced?" and "Axis: Bold as Love," which catapulted him to the top of the charts. However, tensions, possibly connected with Jimi's drug use and the constant presence of hangers-on in the studio and elsewhere, began to fracture some of his relationships, including Chas Chandler, who quit as manager in February 1968. In September 1968 the Experience released their most successful album, "Electric Ladyland." However, in early 1969 bassist Redding left the Experience and was replaced by Billy Cox, an old army buddy who Jimi had jammed with. Jimi began experimenting with different musicians. For the Woodstock music festival Jimi put together an outfit called the Gypsies, Sun and Rainbows, with Mitchell and Cox as well as a second guitarist and two percussionists. Their one and only performance in August 1969 at Woodstock took place near Bethel, New York, where Hendrix and his band were to be the closing headline act. Because of the delay getting there and the logistical problems, Jimi performed on the morning of the fourth and final day. Only 25,000 people of the original 400,000 stayed to watch Jimi and his band as the closing music number, where Jimi's searing rendering of "The Star-Spangled Banner" became the anthem for counterculture. After Woodstock, Jimi formed a new band with Cox on bass and Buddy Miles on drums with the May 1970 release of the album "The Band of Gypsys." Jimi's last album, "Cry of Love", featured Cox on bass and former Experience drummer Mitchell on drums. However, Jimi's drug problem finally caught up with him. On the night of September 17, 1970, while living in London, Jimi took some sleeping pills, which were prescribed for his live-in girlfriend Monika Danneman. Sometime after midnight, Jimi threw up from an apparent allergic reaction to the pills and then passed out. Danneman, thinking him to be all right, went out to get cigarettes for them. When she returned, she found him lying where he collapsed, having inhaled his own vomit, and and she couldn't wake him. Danneman called an ambulance, which took him to a nearby hospital, but Jimi Hendrix was pronounced dead a short while later without regaining consciousness. He was 27 years old. Jimi Hendrix's life was short, but his impact on the rock guitar is still being heard which set the course for a new era of rock music.
Bodie James Olmos was was named after a ghost town in California his mother, Kaija Keel, visited as a girl. He was only seven years old when he made his first acting appearance in The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez. Once a triathlon athlete (swimming, biking, running) and cross country runner, Bodie still runs, but surfing has remained his favorite sport for nearly twenty years. He is also musically inclined and is an accomplished drummer. He and his brother enjoy getting together to jam and sing. Bodie likes to play traditional blues but says that his listening enjoyment is more diverse and that Carlos Santana is one of his favorite artists. Bodie attended and graduated in 2000 from UCLA School of Theatre in Los Angeles. He took additional courses in acting and received a degree from the Sanford Meisner Center. He enjoys live theatre and has performed in a revival of the Luis Valdez play "Zoot Suit". He also performed in "War" at the Latino Theatre Company in the Los Angeles Theatre Center. In 2001, he joined the cast of American Family in the role of the young "Jess Gonzales". Bodie has also completed several short film including the UCLA Graduate short film "Capped". He recently finished another short movie entitled "Manejar" which has been accepted for competition by the 9th annual Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival in October 2005.
Born Margaret Baker in Plymouth, Devon, in 1946, Maggie Steed studied drama with the Old Vic Theatre School in Bristol, graduating in the late 1960s. However, her first professional engagements were as an assistant stage manager, working behind the scenes in a somewhat lowly capacity, because, she says, she was not considered conventionally pretty enough to be an actress. She does, however, recall that the eccentric English puppeteer Harry Corbett praised her for assisting him with his creation Sooty the Bear. Maggie left theatrical life after only a few months and for several years worked as a secretary. An interest in Theatre in Education lured her back to the stage, this time as an actress, with Sue Johnston and Clive Russell at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry. Since then she has worked on stage with both the Royal Shakespeare and National Theatre Companies, and in 2002 was a commanding Lady Bracknell in a revival of 'The Importance of Being Earnest'. A lady of political awareness, she was a founder member of the Campaign Against Racism in the Media, and in the early 1980s visited Nicaragua with actor Andy de la Tour to view the plight of its citizens, and in 1983, helped stage the televised Concert for Nigaragua. She is, however, best remembered for her television roles, chiefly comical ones, beginning in the early 1980s with 'Shine On Harvey Moon', through 'A Bit of a Do' and 'Pie In the Sky' as the wife of cop-turned-chef Richard Griffiths to, in the mid-2000s. 'Jam and Jerusalem' as the dim but well-meaning Women's Institute leader, a sitcom filmed in her native Devon and reuniting her with her early stage co-star Sue Johnston.