Jim Carrey, Canadian-born and a U.S. citizen since 2004, is an actor and producer famous for his rubbery body movements and flexible facial expressions. The two-time Golden Globe-winner rose to fame as a cast member of the Fox sketch comedy In Living Color but leading roles in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Dumb & Dumber and The Mask established him as a bankable comedy actor.
James Eugene Carrey was born on January 17, 1962 in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada, and is the youngest of four children of Kathleen (Oram), a homemaker, and Percy Carrey, an accountant and jazz musician. The family surname was originally "Carré", and he has French-Canadian, Scottish, and Irish ancestry. Carrey was an incurable extrovert from day one. As a child, he performed constantly, for anyone who would watch, and even mailed his résumé to The Carol Burnett Show at age 10. In junior high, he was granted a few precious minutes at the end of each school day to do stand-up routines for his classmates (provided, of course, that he kept a lid on it the rest of the day).
Carrey's early adolescence took a turn for the tragic, however, when the family was forced to relocate from their cozy town of Newmarket to Scarborough (a Toronto suburb). They all took security and janitorial jobs in the Titan Wheels factory, Jim working 8-hour shifts after school let out (not surprisingly, his grades and morale both suffered). When they finally deserted the factory, the family lived out of a Volkswagen camper van until they could return to Toronto.
Carrey made his stand-up debut in Toronto after his parents and siblings got back on their feet. He made his (reportedly awful) professional stand-up debut at Yuk-Yuk's, one of the many local clubs that would serve as his training ground in the years to come. He dropped out of high school, worked on his celebrity impersonations (among them Michael Landon and James Stewart), and in 1979 worked up the nerve to move to Los Angeles. He finessed his way into a regular gig at The Comedy Store, where he impressed Rodney Dangerfield so much that the veteran comic signed him as an opening act for an entire season. During this period Carrey met and married waitress Melissa Womer, with whom he had a daughter (Jane). The couple would later go through a very messy divorce, freeing Carrey up for a brief second marriage to actress Lauren Holly. Wary of falling into the lounge act lifestyle, Carrey began to look around for other performance outlets. He landed a part as a novice cartoonist in the short-lived sitcom The Duck Factory; while the show fell flat, the experience gave Carrey the confidence to pursue acting more vigorously.
Carrey also worked on breaking into film around this time. He scored the male lead in the ill-received Lauren Hutton vehicle Once Bitten, and had a supporting role in Peggy Sue Got Married, before making a modest splash with his appearance as the alien Wiploc in Earth Girls Are Easy. Impressed with Carrey's lunacy, fellow extraterrestrial Damon Wayans made a call to his brother, Keenen Ivory Wayans, who was in the process of putting together the sketch comedy show In Living Color. Carrey joined the cast and quickly made a name for himself with outrageous acts (one of his most popular characters, psychotic Fire Marshall Bill, was attacked by watchdog groups for dispensing ill- advised safety tips).
Following his time on In Living Color, Carrey's transformation from TV goofball to marquee headliner happened within the course of a single year. He opened 1994 with a starring turn in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, a film that cashed in on his extremely physical brand of humor (the character's trademark was talking out his derrière). Next up was the manic superhero movie The Mask, which had audiences wondering just how far Carrey's features could stretch.
Finally, in December 1994, he hit theaters as a loveable dolt in the Farrelly brothers' Dumb & Dumber (his first multi-million dollar payday). Now a box-office staple, Carrey brought his manic antics onto the set of Batman Forever, replacing Robin Williams as The Riddler. He also filmed the follow-up to his breakthrough, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, and inked a deal with Sony to star in The Cable Guy (replacing Chris Farley) for a cool $20 million--at the time, that was the biggest up-front sum that had been offered to any comic actor. The movie turned out to be a disappointment, both critically and financially, but Carrey bounced back the next year with the energetic hit Liar Liar. Worried that his comic shtick would soon wear thin, Carrey decided to change course.
In 1998, he traded in the megabucks and silly grins to star in Peter Weir's The Truman Show playing a naive salesman who discovers that his entire life is the subject of a TV show, Carrey demonstrated an uncharacteristic sincerity that took moviegoers by surprise. He won a Golden Globe for the performance, and fans anticipated an Oscar nomination as well--when it didn't materialize, Carrey lashed out at Academy members for their narrow-minded selection process. Perhaps inspired by the snub, Carrey threw himself into his next role with abandon. After edging out a handful of other hopefuls (including Edward Norton) to play eccentric funnyman Andy Kaufman in Man on the Moon, Carrey disappeared into the role, living as Kaufman -- and his blustery alter-ego Tony Clifton -- for months (Carrey even owned Kaufman's bongo drums, which he'd used during his audition for director Milos Forman). His sometimes uncanny impersonation was rewarded with another Golden Globe, but once again the Academy kept quiet.
An indignant Carrey next reprised his bankable mania for the Farrelly brothers in Me, Myself & Irene, playing a state trooper whose Jekyll and Hyde personalities both fall in love with the same woman (Renée Zellweger). Carrey's real-life persona wound up falling for her too--a few months after the film wrapped, the pair announced they were officially a couple. By then, Carrey had already slipped into a furry green suit to play the stingy antihero of Ron Howard's How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
Although Carrey maintains a foothold in the comedy world with films such as Bruce Almighty and Mr. Popper's Penguins, he is also capable of turning in nuanced dramatic performances, as demonstrated in films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and the drama/comedy Yes Man. In 2013, he costars with Steve Carell in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.
Benjamin Edward Meara Stiller was born on November 30, 1965, in New York City, New York, to legendary comedians Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara. His father is of Austrian Jewish and Polish Jewish descent, and his mother was of Irish ancestry (she converted to Judaism).
It's not surprising that Ben has followed in his family's footsteps: his parents made no real effort to keep their son away from the Hollywood lifestyle and he grew up among the stars, wondering just why his parents were so popular. At a young age, he and his sister Amy Stiller would perform plays at home, wearing Amy's tights to perform Shakespeare. Ben also picked up an interest in being on the other side of the camera and, at age 10, began shooting films on his Super 8 camera. The plots were always simple: someone would pick on the shy, awkward Stiller...and then he would always get his revenge. This desire for revenge on the popular, good-looking people may have motivated his teen-angst opus Reality Bites later in his career. He both directed and performed in the film, which costarred Winona Ryder and Ethan Hawke.
Before he even got his start in Hollywood, Ben put in several consistently solid years in the theater. After dropping out of UCLA, he performed in the Tony Award winner, "The House of Blue Leaves". While working on the play, Stiller shot a short spoof of The Color of Money starring him (in the Tom Cruise role) and his The House of Blue Leaves costar John Mahoney (in the Paul Newman role). The short film was so funny that Lorne Michaels purchased it and aired it on Saturday Night Live. This led to Ben spending a year on the show in 1989.
Ben made his big screen debut in Steven Spielberg's Empire of the Sun in 1987. Demonstrating early on the multifaceted tone his career would take, he soon stepped behind the camera to direct Back to Brooklyn for MTV. The network was impressed and gave Stiller his own show, The Ben Stiller Show. He recruited fellow offbeat comedians Janeane Garofalo and Andy Dick and created a bitingly satirical show. MTV ended up passing on it, but it was picked up by Fox. Unfortunately, the show was a ratings miss. Stiller was soon out of work, although he did have the satisfaction of picking up an Emmy for the show after its cancellation.
For a while, Ben had to settle for guest appearance work. While he was doing this, he saved up his cash and in the end was able to scrape enough together to make Reality Bites, now a cult classic which is looked upon favorably by the generation it depicted. Ben continued to work steadily for a time, particularly in independent productions where he was more at ease. However, he never quite managed to catch a big break. His first big budget directing job was Jim Carrey's The Cable Guy. Although many critics were impressed, Jim Carrey's fans were not.
In 1998, There's Something About Mary had propelled Ben into the mainstream spotlight. With his wince-inducing turn in the Farrelly brothers' gross-out film, Ben really "struck a nerve" with mainstream America. Ben has starred in such hit movies as Keeping the Faith and Meet the Parents. Ben excels at cerebral comedy, but he knows how to get down and lowbrow when he needs to, making him one of America's most popular performers.
Eli Raphael Roth was born in Newton, Massachusetts, to Cora (Bialis), a painter, and Sheldon H. Roth, a psychoanalyst, psychiatrist, and clinical professor. His family is Jewish (from Austria, Hungary, Russia, and Poland). He began shooting Super 8 films at the age of eight, after watching Ridley Scott's Alien and vomiting, and deciding he wanted to be a producer/director. With his brothers and friends, ketchup for blood and his father's power tools, he made over fifty short films before attending film school at N.Y.U., where he won a student Academy Award and graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1994.
Eli worked in film and theater production in New York City for many years, doing every job from production assistant to assistant editor to assistant to the director. At the age of 20 Roth was development head for producer Fred Zollo, a position he soon left to write full time. To earn a living, Roth did budgets and schedules for the films A Price Above Rubies and Illuminata and often worked as a stand-in, where he could watch directors work with the actors. In 1995, Roth co-wrote the script that would eventually become Cabin Fever with friend Randy Pearlstein, and the two spent many years unsuccessfully trying to get the film financed. Roth left New York in 1999 to live in Los Angeles, and within four months got funding for his animation series Chowdaheads. Roth and friend Noah Belson (Cabin Fever's Guitar Man) wrote and voiced the episodes, which Roth produced, directed and designed. The episodes were due to run on W.C.W.'s #1 rated series WCW Monday Nitro but the C.E.O. was fired a day before they were scheduled to air, and the episodes never ran. Roth used the episodes to set up a stop motion series called The Rotten Fruit which he produced, directed and animated, as well as co-wrote and voiced with friend Belson. Between the two animated series, Roth worked closely with director David Lynch, producing content for the website davidlynch.com.
In 2001, Roth filmed Cabin Fever on a shoestring budget of $1.5 million, with private equity he and his producers raised from friends and family. The film was the subject of a bidding war at the 2002 Toronto Film Festival, eventually won by Lion's Gate, instantly doubling their investors' money. It went on to not only be the highest grossing film for Lion's Gate in 2003, but the most profitable horror film released that year, garnering critical acclaim from The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Empire Magazine, and such filmmakers as Peter Jackson, Quentin Tarantino and Tobe Hooper. Roth used the film's success to launch a slew of projects, including The Box, a horror thriller he co-wrote with Richard Kelly. In May of 2003, Roth joined forces with filmmakers Boaz Yakin, Scott Spiegel, and Greenestreet Films in New York to form Raw Nerve, LLC, a horror film production company.
In 2014, Eli married Chilean model and actress Lorenza Izzo.
Conan was born and raised in Australia of combined British/German blood. Conan studied Drama at the University of Newcastle where his academic studies took 2nd place to his joining the University Regiment (infantry) and winning the record for the Bachelor Of Inebriation and holding that record for several years until his flatmate took the title.
He first achieved some measure of fame by appearing in the "Super Hubert Cancer Fund Raiser" comedy show that aired on local TV, not long after Conan Appeared on stage with Camp British comedian Julian Cleary.
Several years later Conan had a chance meeting with Graeme Murphy, Director and choreographer of the Sydney Dance Company, Graeme and Conan had a few drinks and Graeme asked Conan to come in and try out for a new modern ballet that Graeme was producing. Conan did, passed the audition and then worked in the smash hit "Berlin" that played six return seasons at the prestigious Sydney Opera House.
During his time with Sydney Dance Company Conan also won the Australian Professional Wrestling Championship - both Tag team and Heavyweight titles.
A crushing nerve injury sidelined Conan's muscle building endeavors and smashed his hopes of getting a WCW contract in Atlanta, Georgia. this also led him to give up his hopes of becoming an action movie star.
But not forever...
5 years later Conan moved to Thailand on the chance he might get 3 days work on the Thai childrens movie "Powerkids", Conan got the part and in the initial meeting talked his way into playing a support role as the end fight in the movie Som Tam, fighting against "the other" 7 foot Australian wrestler Nathan Jones.
Over the next few years Conan appeared in 5 Thai movies, several large budget Indian and Chinese movies and set himself as an active participant in the Asian movie industry, but his greatest success was the movie Bangkok Adrenaline.
Conan wrote the script in 30 days, helped in pre-production and co-starred in this action/comedy movie that was made wholly "So we can showcase our skills". Bangkok Adrenaline had a successful 7 week run in Thai cinemas and successfully released on DVD internationally. Not bad for a first attempt by a couple of mates getting together over a few beers.
All the time this was happening Conan was recording his slow climb to fame in Thailand and beyond via his website.
After several near misses, Conan was eventually able to land a role in the HBO TV series "A Game Of Thrones" by utilizing his programming and Internet marketing skills. And of course passing the acting audition...
... and that is where we find Conan today (Aug 2010).
Prematurely white-haired character star who began as a supporting player of generally vicious demeanor, then metamorphosed into a star of both action and drama projects, Lee Marvin was born in New York City to Lamont Waltman Marvin, an advertising executive, and his wife Courtenay Washington Davidge, a fashion writer. The young Marvin was thrown out of dozens of schools for incorrigibility. His parents took him to Florida, where he attended St. Leo's Preparatory School near Dade City. Dismissed there as well, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps at the beginning of World War II. In the battle of Saipan in June 1944, he was wounded in the buttocks by Japanese fire which severed his sciatic nerve. He received a medical discharge and got menial work as a plumber's apprentice in Woodstock, NY. While repairing a toilet at the local community theater, he was asked to replace an ailing actor in a rehearsal. He was immediately stricken with a love for the theater and went to New York City, where he studied and played small roles in stock and Off-Broadway. He landed an extra role in Henry Hathaway's You're in the Navy Now, and found his role expanded when Hathaway took a liking to him. Returning to the stage, he made his Broadway debut in "Billy Budd", and after a succession of small TV roles, moved to Hollywood, where he began playing heavies and cops in roles of increasing size and frequency. Given a leading role in Eight Iron Men, he followed it with enormously memorable heavies in The Big Heat and The Wild One. Now established as a major screen villain, Marvin began shifting toward leading roles with a successful run as a police detective in the TV series M Squad. A surprise Oscar for his dual role as a drunken gunfighter and his evil, noseless brother in the western comedy Cat Ballou placed him in the upper tiers of Hollywood leading men, and he filled out his career with predominantly action-oriented films. A long-term romantic relationship with Michelle Triola led, after their breakup, to a highly publicized lawsuit in which Triola asked for a substantial portion of Marvin's assets. Her case failed in its main pursuit, but did establish a legal precedent for the rights of unmarried cohabitors, the so-called "palimony" law. Marvin continued making films of varying quality, always as a star, until his sudden death from a heart attack in 1987.
In a career spanning more than four decades, James MacArthur developed a body of work which is wonderfully dynamic in both scope and range. Portraying everything from crazed killer to stalwart defender of law and order, frustrated teenager to cynical senior supervisor, he has appeared in numerous films, television programs, and stage productions since his career officially began back in 1955. Although he had been performing in parts during summer stock productions since 1949, making his stage debut in "The Corn Is Green", his real acting career did not begin until he starred as the complex and misunderstood teenager in John Frankenheimer's "Deal a Blow". Broadcast live on the Climax! television anthology series, the program told the story of "Hal Ditmar", a relatively ordinary youngster on the verge of manhood who finds himself caught up in a snowballing world of trouble with his parents, the law, and virtually everyone in authority after a minor infraction of the rules at a movie theater. The story was so well-crafted and MacArthur's performance so compelling that a year later it was remade by Frankenheimer into his first theatrical release, The Young Stranger. The movie received much critical acclaim and earned its star a BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) Film Award nomination as Most Promising Newcomer (1958) and won a film festival in Switzerland. Next up was the Disney movie of Conrad Richter's novel, The Light in the Forest. Set in the late 18th century in the burgeoning United States, it told the tale of a young man who had been kidnapped by Indians as a baby and raised as the son of a chief. A respected and accepted member of the tribe, the boy, known as "True Son", is ripped away from the only life he has ever known and forced to return to his biological parents due to a treaty signed by people of whom he has no knowledge and who cannot possibly have any interest in his individual welfare. His subsequent struggles to find out exactly where he fits in and to gain the trust and sanction of his new community are told in a way which is as wrenching and relevant to today's society as it was then. The corollaries between this story and the custody battles which seem to occur with alarming frequency in our own time are strong and thought provoking. It seems the question regarding when in a child's life his biological parentage begins to be outweighed by the environment in which he is being raised is one which has yet to be answered. The depth with which MacArthur imbued the role makes his performance both truthful and unforgettable. Before its release in theaters, The Light in the Forest was preceded by three more appearances in live teleplays, including another outstanding performance in the Studio One in Hollywood production of "Tongues of Angels" as "Ben Adams", a young man with a devastating stuttering problem who pretends to be a deaf/mute in order to hide his infirmity. A string of meaty roles quickly followed, including the Disney classic films Kidnapped, Third Man on the Mountain and Swiss Family Robinson; television programs such as The Untouchables, Bus Stop and Wagon Train; and two more live teleplays. As sociopathic killer and racketeer "Johnny Lubin" in The Untouchables episode "Death for Sale", MacArthur for the first time portrayed an unsympathetic character. The heart-stopping realism of his performance provided definitive proof of his abilities as a multifaceted and talented actor. In what he described in one interview as his first "mature" role, he then appeared as a doctor-in-the-making in The Interns, turning in a fine performance as a somewhat naive young man who grows up rather quickly when presented with several tough choices and life-defining situations. After that came more television, the underrated yet stirring film, Cry of Battle, and Spencer's Mountain, the highly successful precursor to the popular television series The Waltons. Once again, in both films, MacArthur played young men whose lives are changed by circumstances beyond their control and who must dig deep within themselves to find the inner strength and fortitude to deal with those events. Having by now amassed an impressive list of film and television credits in addition to stage performances on Broadway and other venues, MacArthur then turned to the pivotal role of "Ensign Ralston" in the tense and nerve-wracking Cold War yarn, The Bedford Incident. His performance as the eager to-please and earnest young officer carried a subtlety and intensity hard to believe of someone not yet thirty years old. The role of "William Ashton" in the light-hearted romance, The Truth About Spring came next, almost immediately followed by yet another coming-of-age performance as "Lt. Weaver" in the blockbuster WWII saga, Battle of the Bulge. Westerns and war dramas predominated the next phase of MacArthur's career with appearances in television programs such as Branded, 12 O'Clock High, Gunsmoke, Combat!, Hondo, Bonanza, and Death Valley Days, in addition to the films Ride Beyond Vengeance, "Mosby's Marauders" (1966) and Hang 'Em High. It was his appearance in this last movie that would ultimately lead him into the role of "Dan Williams" on Hawaii Five-O. When Leonard Freeman found himself looking for a replacement to play the complex sidekick to Jack Lord's powerful "Steve McGarrett", he went looking for the young actor he remembered from just two or three days' work on his low-budget spaghetti Western. The juxtaposition of MacArthur's still-boyish good looks with his ability to bring a convincing toughness and sincerity to the role made him one of the best-remembered and well-admired actors of 1960s and 1970s popular television. Even today, more than twenty years after the program stopped production, it is broadcast in syndication in markets all over the world. Its "Book 'im, Danno" catchphrase is still as much a part of our popular culture as that famed line from another show of the same era: "Beam me up, Scotty". Departing "Five-O" prior to its 12th and final season, MacArthur's appearances became less frequent, yet still memorable. He was featured in such popular television shows as The Love Boat, Vega$, Fantasy Island, and Murder, She Wrote and starred in two made-for-television movies: Irwin Allen's The Night the Bridge Fell Down and Alcatraz: The Whole Shocking Story. His poignant portrayal of hapless "Walt Stomer" in the latter provided a fine example that his skills as an actor had not waned in the 25 years since that first television appearance. He concentrated on the stage for a while then, performing in productions such as "Arsenic and Old Lace", "A Bedfull of Foreigners" and "Love Letters", as well as the occasional live appearance at charity and celebrity sporting events. In 1998, after nearly a decade away from television screens, he took up the role of "Frank Del Rio" in the Family Channel movie Storm Chasers: Revenge of the Twister. With the new century, MacArthur returned to a more active professional schedule, continuing to make a number of personal appearances to sign autographs and greet fans, as well as several speaking engagements such as northeast Ohio's "One Book, Two Counties: An Evening With James MacArthur", The Cinema Audio Society Annual Awards Banquet and AdventureCon in Knoxville, Tennessee. In addition, he has been featured in several television specials and interview programs, including Emme & Friends, Entertainment Tonight, Inside TVLand, and Christopher Closeup. The increasing popularity of the DVD market has seen the re-release of Swiss Family Robinson with a new behind-the-scenes documentary narrated by MacArthur and a lengthy on-screen interview covering many aspects of his career. Planned for re-release in July 2003, the 1956 version of Anastasia is expected to include an on-screen interview with MacArthur discussing his mother, Helen Hayes, and her work in that movie. April 2003 marked his return to the stage as "Father Madison" in Joe Moore's original play Dirty Laundry. On 6 November 2003, the Hawaii International Film Festival chose James MacArthur and Hawaii Five-O as the recipient of their annual "Film in Hawaii" award, an honor both well-deserved and especially significant, coming as it did from the people and the State of Hawaii. Plans were being made to feature MacArthur in a new television series set in the Hawaiian Islands, though nothing more definitive had ever been arranged.
One of a spate of teen idols to come out of Philadelphia in the 1950s and 1960s, Frankie Avalon--unlike many of the others--actually had a musical background, having been taught to play the trumpet at a very young age by his father. As a youth Avalon performed in local clubs and theaters. He won a local TV talent contest playing a trumpet solo. In 1951, at age 12, he was in a band called Rocco and the Saints, which included another soon-to-be famous teen singer, Bobby Rydell. In 1952 he was performing at a private party held for singer Al Martino. A talent scout who was also at the party was impressed enough by Avalon to get him an appearance on Jackie Gleason's TV show, which led to more television appearances. In 1954 he made two singles for "X" Records, an RCA Victor subsidiary. Both were instrumentals featuring Avalon playing his trumpet: "Trumpet Sorrento" and ""Trumpet Tarantella." He eventually landed a recording contract with Philadelphia's Chancellor Records, and he recorded "Cupid" and "Teacher's Pet". These records got him his first movie role, a small part in Jamboree! designed to promote "Teacher's Pet." His next record was "DeDe Dinah", a song written by his managers (and one for which he had so little respect that he pinched his nose while recording it, resulting in its extremely nasal sound). After an appearance on Dick Clark's teen dance show New American Bandstand 1965, sales of the record zoomed and it eventually sold more than a million copies. In 1959, after two more big hits ("Ginger Bread" and "I'll Wait for You") he recorded the song he is probably best known for, the million-selling "Venus." However, as 1960 rolled around his career began to wane and his record sales dropped precipitously. He soon began taking small parts in movies, most notably in John Wayne's The Alamo. He began to get somewhat bigger parts and had his first starring role in Drums of Africa. His movie career really took off, however, when he was paired with former Mousketeer Annette Funicello in Beach Party and its string of sequels. These films, with their combination of surfing, low comedy, dancing and "beach bunnies" in bikinis, struck a nerve with teenage audiences, were produced for peanuts and made a fortune. Avalon still recorded songs for Chancellor and other labels, but now he was far better known among younger audiences for his movies than for his records. In 1985 he began touring with fellow teen idols Rydell and Fabian in an oldies show called "The Golden Boys of Bandstand," which was a rousing success. In 1987 he and Funicello were reunited in Back to the Beach, an homage to, and parody of, their earlier "beach" movies. Avalon still makes personal appearances and tours, many with and for his old friend and mentor Dick Clark.
Juliet Landau, the daughter of Martin Landau and Barbara Bain, co-starred in Tim Burton's highly acclaimed Ed Wood as "Loretta King" and starred opposite Whoopi Goldberg and Armin Mueller-Stahl in New Line Cinema's Theodore Rex as "Dr. Veronica Shade". She portrays "Drusilla" in the television dramas Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, and will next be seen co-starring in Henry Jaglom's latest film, Going Shopping. Some of the diverse independent films in which she has starred include "Citizens of Perpetual Indulgence" (2000), Direct Hit, Life Among the Cannibals, Ravager, Carlo's Wake opposite Michael Chiklis, Christopher Meloni and Rita Moreno, and Repossessed, opposite JoBeth Williams. Juliet has received outstanding notices for leading roles in the theatre, including Clifford Odets' "Awake and Sing!" at the Pittsburgh Public Theatre and, in Los Angeles, "Uncommon Women and Others", "The Pushcart Peddlers", "Billy Irish", "We're Talking Today Here", "How to Steal an Election", "Failure of Nerve", the West Coast premiere of "Irish Coffee" and the world premiere of the musical "The Songs of War". She was a professional ballerina and is a member of the Actors Studio.
An only child, Robert Fuller was born as: Buddy Lee in Troy, New York, where his stepfather, Robert Simpson, Sr., was both a dance instructor and a Naval Academy officer, and Betty Simpson, was also a dance instructor. He and his family moved to Key West, Florida, where Lee had been raised.
Between acting and dancing, those were the highlights of his life, especially that his parents owned a dancing school. In actuality, his parents were both the best dancers. They kept having the best chemistry together until one day, his mother suffered a pinch nerve, which ended her dancing career for good, thus, his father had to dance independent, and with his son, at the same time. Obviously, Fuller is a good dancer, too, as he carried on his parents' tradition. After dropping out of the Miami Military Academy in 1948, he traveled to Hollywood with his family, a couple of years later, where Fuller's first job was a stuntman, that he worked for additional hours.
His first small role was 1952's Above and Beyond. This part led to landing in a few small roles such as I Love Melvin, also in 1953, he again had another minor part in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, which starred Marilyn Monroe. Fuller's career came to an abrupt hold when he was drafted into the Korean War. He did some tour of duty in Korea, and came back a couple of years later after the war had ended. At one point, he was going to end his acting career meaning he had absolutely no future for himself. At his parents' suggestion, when Fuller was aged 22, he attended Richard Boone's acting class that changed his life, for the better, at least. At the same time, he also restarted his acting career, after Richard Boone gave Fuller the "thumbs up" of attending his classes. His teacher at the school was Sanford Meisner at New York City's, Neighborhood Playhouse, the college where Fuller studied.
He had yet another small role in Friendly Persuasion, where he worked with his future Laramie co-star John Smith. Director William Wyler suggested to Fuller that he would grow sideburns for the role, when the actor actually had fake sideburns. When Wyner finally saw Fuller's real sideburns, he asked him to play the role and he got the offer he couldn't refused. The following year, his first major movie role was Teenage Thunder. In order to get the role, he would have a stage fight with Chuck Courtney to call the director for the part Fuller wanted to play in. At first, Paul Helmick considered taking Edd Byrnes for the part, but Fuller got the part, after he and Courtney had been longtime friends. That same year, he also starred in the movie The Brain from Planet Arous.
Fuller became a full-fledged star in 1959 for the role of Jess Harper on Laramie, a part that made him something of a sex symbol. When Fuller talked to the vice-president of talent, he thought that he was going to be written out of the show, but as soon as Patrick Kelly told Fuller that he enjoyed the actor's work, just one year ago, and Kelly decided that Fuller would be interested in doing a Western series, and Fuller has had a promising future, but later, tension ran high when Fuller wanted him to star in yet another television series opposite Academy-Award winner Ray Milland called Markham. He was offered the role, but turned down the part, therefore, he came to Laramie. He auditioned for the role, read the script and enjoyed it, however, tensions were still running high when Kelly wanted Fuller to play the role of Slim Sherman, but still, Fuller had never changed his mind in playing the role of Jess Harper, a character he fell in love with, since he auditioned. Already, Kelly told Fuller that the role of Jess Harper had been given to John Smith (who was under contract with Revue). And again, Fuller didn't change his mind, a third time, and the two guys went on their own separate ways without a promise. Also, his co-star from Friendly Persuasion, John Smith had been offered the role of Slim Sherman and hindsight indicated that those were the best roles for both Fuller and Smith. If it hadn't been for the role change, then Laramie wasn't born. During its first season, it was a smash hit, among many other 1960s Western series, and Fuller was the most handsome man on the set, gaining popularity with dozens of fans, all around the world. In fact, Fuller said that it was one of the roles he ever played on television. In one of the episodes, he met a popular singer Julie London, who would later co-star with Fuller on Emergency!, and would become friends until her death, late in 2000. When the show was canceled in 1963, due to low ratings, Fuller moved on to another Western, Wagon Train.
After well-known producer, Jack Webb saw him in the movie, The Hard Ride, Webb strongly insisted Fuller on starring in a brand new medical/crime drama series for NBC titled, Emergency!, opposite his longtime and bestest friends, Julie London and Bobby Troup. Fuller was happy about the deal, and he said to Webb that he didn't want to play a doctor, but Webb fought harder. He besought him on playing the role of head physician, Dr. Kelly Brackett, and Fuller, at the very last minute chose to do it, which was a Jack Webb thing to do. In addition to London and Troup, both newcomers Randolph Mantooth and Kevin Tighe, also starred in the series, who would become best friends for life. During its first season, as a midseason replacement in the 1971-1972 season, it was a smash hit, as the show was seen in over 70 countries as the show also tackled real-life issues that both of Fuller's co-stars would try their best to save lives with, and it was Fuller's along the rest of his co-stars jobs to save them before each one was pronounced dead. On the pilot episode of Emergency!, two of Adam-12 main stars, Martin Milner and Kent McCord guest-starred on one episode to help stir in most of the Emergency! audiences and their ratings, though the show wasn't a popular spin-off of Adam-12. In later years, both Milner and McCord would guest-star in a couple more episodes, during and after Adam-12. Fuller and the rest of his co-stars also guest-starred on Adam-12, for one episode in 1972. Although the show enjoyed its popularity, it was never nominated for Emmies, however, his secondary series' lead and best friend Julie London was nominated for a Golden Globe in 1974, but didn't win. As Fuller continued playing Dr. Kelly Brackett, in later years, both Randolph Mantooth and Kevin Tighe started directing some episodes of the show, Fuller himself never directed any episodes. Also on two separate episodes, his former co-star, John Smith, played a fire captain. In 1977, after a six season run, Emergency! was put on hiatus, despite good ratings. The following year, it revived a second time as a midseason replacement to sign up for six more episodes, until canceling for good in 1979.
As Fuller matured in the 1980s and 1990s, he played 20 more character roles in a lot of groundbreaking television, on both The Fall Guy and Diagnosis Murder, where he was reunited with Emergency! co-star, Randolph Mantooth. Towards the end of his acting career, he had a recurring role as the old, retired ranger, Wade Harper, the great, great, great grandson of Laramie's, Jess, on Walker, Texas Ranger, opposite Chuck Norris and Clarence Gilyard Jr.. He retired from acting and is currently one of the presenters of Festival of The West with his best friend of over 55 years, James Drury.
This wholesome "Chatty Cathy" delight had all the earmarkings of becoming a dithery TV star in the early 70s and a couple of sitcom vehicles were handed to her with silver platter-like enthusiasm. Neither, however, made the best use of her elfin charm and both series died a quick death. Nonetheless, Sandy Duncan went on to become a Disney film lead, a TV commodity pitching crackers and arguably the best Peter Pan Broadway has ever offered. Like Sally Field and Karen Valentine before her, Sandy had a potentially terminable case of the cutes that often did her more harm than good. But also, like the others, her talent won out.
The story goes that this wistful tomboy felt like an outsider growing up in her native Texas because of her desires to be an actress. The elder of two girls born to a gas station owner, she trained in dance and appeared in productions of "The King and I" and "The Music Man" as a teen. Sandra Kay Duncan cast all negativity and self doubt aside and packed her bags for New York upon leaving Lon Morris Junior College (in Texas). She made an enchanting Wendy in "Peter Pan" the following year and soon poised herself as a triple threat on stage (singer/dancer/actress). She married Broadway actor Bruce Scott in 1968 and appeared in the rock musical "Your Own Thing" that same year. Taking her first Broadway curtain call and grabbing a Tony nomination in a bawdy musical version of Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales", she next won the soubrette role of Maisie in the Jazz-age musical "The Boy Friend". She managed to steal the thunder right from under star Judy Carne (who had just left the cast of TV's "Laugh-In" in order to branch out) and earned her second Tony nomination -- this time as "Best Actress".
The toothy strawberry blonde was a sensation and in 1970 Time Magazine named her "the most promising face of tomorrow". All this buildup reached the ears of Disney who decided to take a chance and cast her opposite Disney perennial Dean Jones in the featherweight comedy film The Million Dollar Duck. TV also saw her potential and featured her sparkling mug more and more in commercials. She then took on the title role in the film version of Neil Simon's comedy hit Star Spangled Girl, which turned out to be a major disappointment.
An untried talent on the primetime scene, CBS decided Sandy had enough promise and star quality to be given her own TV sitcom. Replacing Melba Moore at the last minute in the weekly show Funny Face, the storyline had Duncan playing single, independently-minded Sandy Stockton, a corn-fed Midwestern who heads to the big-city (Los Angeles) where she winds up in TV commercials while pursuing a teaching degree at UCLA. The series was a success and was a Top 10 show, but Duncan began experiencing severe headaches on the set and a tumor was discovered on her optic nerve. She had to leave the series and it was consequently pulled from the air. The series' sudden departure led to a misconception among some viewers that it had been canceled. Following a lengthy and delicate operation, the doctors managed to save her eye but she lost all vision in it.
The following year the show was revamped and retitled. Duncan returned as Sandy Stockton. This time she was a single working girl who created chaos at an ad agency. This second incarnation of her series failed to regain the audience that the first incarnation had had. The Sandy Duncan Show was canceled by mid-December. In the meantime, she divorced her first husband in 1972 and married Dr. Thomas Calcateera a year later, whom she met while undergoing her eye operation. They would divorce six years later.
After the demise of her second series, Sandy refocused on her strengths -- musical comedy -- and maintained her profile as a guest star on such variety shows as "The Sonny & Cher Show", "The Flip Wilson Show", "The Tonight Show" and "Laugh-In". She also was seen around the game show circuit as panelist on "What's My Line?" and "Hollywood Squares", among others. In 1979 Sandy retook Broadway by storm. Instead of the role of Wendy, she played the title tomboy in the musical "Peter Pan" and was nominated for a third time for a Tony Award. Born to play this role, she followed this spectacular success by locking arms with a carefree Tommy Tune in the tuneful Broadway show "My One and Only" replacing Twiggy in 1984.
Sandy also appeared again for Disney both co-starring in the lightweight film comedy The Cat from Outer Space opposite fellow hoofer Ken Berry and providing a foxy voice for their popular The Fox and the Hound animated feature. Taking on a more serious tone, she garnered critical respect for her Emmy-nominated role in the epic mini-series Roots, but these dramatic offerings were few and far between.
In the 1980s Sandy became a household name once again with her popular Wheat Thins commercials in which she periodically shared the camera with her two sons, Jeffrey and Michael, her children by Tony-nominated choreographer/dancer Don Correia, whom she married in 1980. In 1987, she returned to prime-time TV, but not in her own tailor-made vehicle. Instead Sandy replaced Valerie Harper in HER tailor-made vehicle after Harper departed in a well-publicized contractual dispute with producers after only one season. The show was simple changed in title from Valerie to "The Hogan Family" and Sandy entered the proceedings as a close relative and new female head of household after Harper's character "died". As a testament to her audience appeal, the show managed to run for four more healthy seasons.
In more recent times the pert, indefatigable Sandy has hosted Thanksgiving Day parades, dance competitions and teen pageants, starred on Broadway as Roxie Hart in "Chicago" (1999), and has headlined touring companies of such Broadway revivals as "Anything Goes" and "The King and I". She has also been a volunteer for the non-profit organization "RFB&D" (Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic) and was a recipient of the National Rehabilitation Hospital Victory Award, which is given to individuals who exhibit exceptional courage and strength in the face of adversity.
Richard Philip Lewis was born on June 29, 1947 in Brooklyn, New York City and raised in Englewood, New Jersey. He went to Dwight Morrow High School (where John Travolta went a few years later). He graduated from Ohio State University in 1969 with a degree in marketing and communications. He wrote an ad copy in New Jersey while also writing jokes for comedians such as Morty Gunty. He finally got the nerve to perform his own jokes in 1971 at New York's Improvisation and Pips. After appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1974, he continued to tour and hone his act with help from David Brenner and Robert Klein. His film Diary of a Young Comic aired in the Saturday Night Live time-slot. His work on cable "I'm in Pain" for Showtime in 1988, "I'm Exhausted" earned a nomination from American Comedy Awards for Funniest Male Performer in a Television Special (for HBO); "I'm Doomed" (HBO) won him a second Ace Nomination for Best Stand-Up Comedy Special. His "Magical Misery Tour" was filmed at New York's "Bottom Line" in December 1996. In December 1989, he performed to an SRO crowd at Carnegie Hall.
Jean-Pierre Léaud is not everybody's cup of tea for sure, but will remain an important name in film history. As an actor he can be adored or hated for exactly the same reasons: he is one of those rare players that directors let improvise his dialogue, which gets on certain viewers' nerves while it fascinates others. The same is true for his very personal staccato diction and elocution and his many mannerisms, the most obvious one being his way to run his hand through his long hair. But there is no denying Léaud is not just another actor, whether you love him or are allergic to him. The son of actress Jacqueline Pierreux and scriptwriter/assistant director Pierre Léaud, Jean-Pierre started acting very early. Indeed, he was only thirteen when he first appeared on a screen, playing a small role in a swashbuckling film directed by veteran Georges Lampin "la Tour, prends garde!" (1957). And he was still only fourteen when he answered an ad placed in a newspaper by François Truffaut, who was seeking a young actor able to play Antoine Doinel, a troubled adolescent, in his first feature film "The 400 blows". Jean-Pierre was tested among a hundred other candidates and proved so amazingly spontaneous and so gifted for improvisation that not only was he hired but he would go on to play the role in four subsequent Truffaut semi-autobiographies concluding with "Love on the run" (1978), a unique experience indeed. Thanks to Truffaut he was introduced to the other stars of the French New Wave, mainly Jean-Luc Godard for whom he would appear in eight films and one TV film, and gradually became their icon. Not too sure about his acting talents, he planned to become a director (which he actually did only once) and worked as an assistant to Truffaut and Godard. But his success both as Truffaut's alter ego and as the leftist movie makers' spokesman encouraged him to go on playing rather than directing. "Masculin Féminin" (1966) by Godard even earned him an Award for Best Actor at the Berlin Film Festival. An ardent leftist militant himself, he worked with equally committed directors, including abroad. He was in Italian Pasolini's "Porcile" (1968), in Polish Skolimovski's "Dialog 20-40-60" (also '68) Brazilian Carlos Diegues' Os herdeiros (1970) and Glauber Rocha's Der Leone have sept cabeças (1971). Bertolucci also hired him for "Last tango in Paris" starring Marlon Brando (who so petrified Léaud that he could not play his scenes alongside him), but this one was filmed in Paris. This busy period ended after an excellent role in a classic art movie in the French style: Jean Eustache's "La maman et la putain". In the late seventies and throughout the eighties Léaud worked irregularly, mainly on television, occasionally giving a crazy performance in a mainstream film, as was the case in Josiane's Balasko crime comedy "Les keufs", for which he got a César nomination. But he made an exciting comeback in the nineties when several "new New Wave" directors hired Léaud to pay homage to their elders. Among them French movie makers such as Olivier Assayas, Danièle Dubroux , Serge Le Péron or Bertrand Bonello and foreigners like Finnish Aki Käurismäki and Taiwanese Tsai Ming-Liang. A second youth for eternally young, rebellious, ill-at-ease, annoyingly romantic,touchingly annoying Jean-Pierre Léaud, whose round face staring at the camera in the last shot of "The 400 blows" will never be forgotten.
Debonair, exceedingly handsome Roger Smith was born in South Gate, California to Dallas and Leone Smith on December 18, 1932. At age 6, his parents enrolled him at a professional school for singing, elocution and dancing lessons. By age 12, the family moved to Nogales, Arizona, a small town on the Mexican border where he appeared in high school theater productions, was made president of the school's acting club and became a star linebacker for his high school football team. While studying at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Roger entered and won several amateur talent prizes as a singer and guitarist which led to a TV appearance with Ted Mack and his Ted Mack & the Original Amateur Hour program. While stationed in Hawaii at a Naval Reserve, Roger had a chance meeting with film legend James Cagney. Cagney, impressed with the boy's clean-cut good looks and appeal, encouraged Roger to give Hollywood a try. Roger did so and it didn't take long for Columbia Pictures to snap him up 1957. While there, he made such films as No Time to Be Young, Operation Mad Ball and Crash Landing. He also played the older "Patrick Dennis" role in the madcap Rosalind Russell farce Auntie Mame. Roger reconnected with Cagney around this time who not only hired him to play his son, "Lon Jr.", in the Lon Chaney biopic Man of a Thousand Faces, but made him his co-star in the musical comedy-drama Never Steal Anything Small. Moving to Warner Bros., Roger won the role of private detective "Jeff Spencer" in the hip TV series 77 Sunset Strip. After a few years of steady employment, doctors discovered a blood clot in his brain, which forced him to leave the show. Wed to budding actress Victoria Shaw in 1956, they had three children, but the marriage crumbled in the mid-60s. He next met singer-actress Ann-Margret and they eventually married in 1967. Roger's health continued to decline after a co-starring role on the TV series Mister Roberts and, when he was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, a muscle/nerve disorder, retired from acting, altogether. He stayed in the background and focused instead on managing and nurturing his wife's career. In the 1970s, he proved instrumental in her successful comeback in Vegas (he produced her stage shows), TV and films while she battled personal tragedy and injuries. A devoted couple married for nearly 50 years, Roger's health began to stabilize in the mid-1980s.
Tom Clancy became one of the best-selling writers of the late 20th and early 21st Centuries, starting with the publication of his 1984 thriller, The Hunt for Red October. Born in Baltimore to a U.S. Post Office employee and his wife on April 12, 1947, Clancy graduated from Loyola Blakefield, a Catholic private high school, in 1965 and then attended Loyola College. After graduating with his bachelor's degree in English literature, Clancy went into the insurance business as poor eyesight kept him out of the military. Despite being unable to serve during the Vietnam War, military and Cold War politics remained close to his heart.
While running his own insurance agency in Maryland, he wrote "The Hunt for Red October", which was published by the Naval Institute Press in 1984. Clancy received the princely sum of $5,000 from this most unusual venue for a work of fiction, but the book struck a nerve in the depths of the latter stages of the Cold War. The hardcover from the Naval Institute sold 45,000 copies, an amazing amount for a first novel from a publishing house peddling its first book of fiction, but the paperback -- boosted by a strong recommendation from President Ronald Reagan -- sold two million copies.
The book was very detailed and extremely savvy when it came to the machinations of the military and Cold War politicians. In fact, Clancy's editor at the Naval Institute Press had him eliminate details, which trimmed the novel by 100 pages. In all, he wrote 28 books, mostly fiction but also, military themed non-fiction books. Clancy placed 17 books on the New York Times Best Seller List, many of which hit #1. His oeuvre accounted for sales of 100 million copies, making him one of the all-time most popular writers in history.
Clancy became a media industry onto himself. He was successful lending his name and ideas to video games, and his video game company Red Storm Entertainment was bought out for $45 million in 2000. Clancy-branded video games racked up sales of 76 million units. Movies adapted from Clancy's works racked up $786.5 million at the box office.
Tom Clancy died on October 1, 2013. he was 66 years old.
Enid-Raye Adams was born in 1973 in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. Since then, no one has ever pronounced her name correctly. Kids at school called her Igor and Enid The Peenid. (Those kids were ill-mannered and had gastric intestinal problems.) After two perms in a row in junior high, Enid-Raye bore a striking resemblance to Napoleon Dynamite from the major motion picture of the same name.
Years later, Enid-Raye began her career in theater, performing in some of Shakespeare's classics. In 1993, she made her film debut as a feature extra in the Canadian independent For the Moment opposite Russell Crowe. Her only requirement in the film was to tap Russell Crowe's shoulder in a party scene and smile at him. This was meant to launch her career in film and television and cement her as a leading lady in the minds of directors and studio executives everywhere. Unfortunately, due to a severe case of nerves, Enid-Raye looked like a rabid gopher on camera and her part was cut from the film.
In 1998, she moved to Vancouver to pursue her career and couldn't get arrested. If she jaywalked in front of the cops, they would say, "I'm sorry, we've decided to go another way," or "Jaywalk for us again when you have an agent." It was during this time that she co-wrote and performed in the hilarious one-woman show "Would You Like Fries With That?". She began and promptly finished doing stand-up comedy when she discovered she was much funnier in the privacy of her own home. Finally, she threatened to egg an agent's '87 Dodge Dart if he didn't sign her. Remarkably, he did and she has been working ever since.
Enid-Raye was a host for The 16th Annual Leo Awards and has received two Leo Award nominations for her work: One for her chilling portrayal of the psychotic and highly disturbed Laura Maitland, a recurring character in the acclaimed series Da Vinci's Inquest for Chris Haddock; And the second for her role as a Mom suffering from depression in R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour, opposite Rico Rodriguez (Modern Family). Other select credits include No Men Beyond This Point, iZombie, Backstrom, Lawrence & Holloman, Endgame, Fringe, Psych, Supernatural, Intelligence, Dead Like Me, Jeremiah, and Steven Spielberg's Taken. She can next be seen on her sofa watching Kevin Spacey in House of Cards.
Enid-Raye works regularly in film, television, voice and commercials. She lives in Vancouver where she can be found loitering in front of Lee's Donuts in her chocolate milk mustache and buffet pants.
Born the youngest of 3 children, Andra Fuller spent most of his adolescent years intentionally getting on the nerves and terrorizing his older brother, Quincy, and big sister Demetria. It was during those early years Andra discovered his two loves; Football and Entertainment. When he wasn't outside playing football with the neighborhood kids, he was at home singing, dancing, impersonating celebrities or cracking jokes for anyone who would pay him any attention.
But life wasn't always fun and games. Though he was raised in some of the roughest parts of inner city Houston, Andra's mother used sports as a way of steering him clear of drugs and bad company. She also placed a grand emphasis on the importance of cultivating his mind and convinced him that through education he could capture even the most elusive dreams and accomplishments.
Early in his educational upbringing, Fuller's active imagination, talkative nature, and need for laughs typically lead to him being reprimanded by his teachers and administrators. However, one thing teachers could not deny was his aptitude and ability to grasp knowledge, which eventually lead to Andra being acknowledged as a Gifted and Talented Student and placed into Honor Classes.
The resplendence of GT courses combined with being a Prep Star All-American Football Player led to Andra being recruited by almost every major college football program in the country. His high GPA and the 5th highest ACT score in the Greater Houston Area, also got Fuller academic offers from Ivy League Universities such as Brown, Princeton, Harvard and Pennsylvania University. Fuller sought to follow his life-long dream of playing football for the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame but after an unsatisfactory visit to the campus, signed with a former Notre Dame coach at Baylor University instead.
While at Baylor, Andra excelled as a 4 year starter on the Baylor Football Team, a vital member of the Men's Track Team, and was President of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated. Hard work and steady diligence earned Fuller his undergraduate degrees in Business Administration and Corporate Communication in just 3 years. After graduation, he juggled Graduate School and Athletics, later receiving a Master's Degree in Educational Administration at the age of 23.
While in New York, Andra dabbled in print and runway modeling, appeared in music videos, TV shows, stage plays, and performed stand-up comedy at the world famous Apollo Theater. Faith and perseverance led to him later landing reputable film/TV projects, most noticeable his stint as Trey Morgan on FOX's hit television show, Prison Break. Andra can bee seen playing the menacing Hip-Hop superstar, Kaldrick King, on CW's new hit show, "The L.A. Complex."
Gail Russell was born in Chicago, Illinois, on September 21, 1924. She remained in the Windy City, going to school until her parents moved to California when she was 14. She was an above-average student in school and upon graduation from Santa Monica High School was signed by Paramount Studios.
Because of her ethereal beauty, Gail was to be groomed to be one of Paramount's top stars. She was very shy and had virtually no acting experience to speak of, but her beauty was so striking that the studio figured it could work with her on her acting with a studio acting coach.
Gail's first film came when she was 19 years old with a small role as "Virginia Lowry" in Henry Aldrich Gets Glamour in 1943. It was her only role that year, but it was a start. The following year she appeared in another film, The Uninvited with Ray Milland (it was also the first time Gail used alcohol to steady her nerves on the set, a habit that would come back to haunt her). It was a very well done and atmospheric horror story that turned out to be a profitable one for the studio. Gail's third film was the charm, as she co-starred with Diana Lynn in Our Hearts Were Young and Gay that same year. The film was based on the popular book of the time and the film was even more popular.
In 1945 Gail appeared in Salty O'Rourke, a story about crooked gamblers involved in horse racing. Although she wasn't a standout in the film, she acquitted herself well as part of the supporting cast. Later that year she appeared in The Unseen, a story about a haunted house, starring Joel McCrea. Gail played Elizabeth Howard, a governess of the house in question. The film turned a profit but was not the hit that Paramount executives hoped for.
In 1946 Gail was again teamed with Diana Lynn for a sequel to "Our Hearts Were Young and Gay"--Our Hearts Were Growing Up. The plot centered around two young college girls getting involved with bootleggers. Unfortunately, it was not anywhere the caliber of the first film and it failed at the box-office. With Calcutta in 1947, however, Gail bounced back with a more popular film, this time starring Alan Ladd. Unfortunately, many critics felt that Gail was miscast in this epic drama. That same year she was cast with John Wayne and Harry Carey in the western Angel and the Badman. It was a hit with the public and Gail shone in the role of Penelope Worth, a feisty Quaker girl who tries to tame gunfighter Wayne. Still later Gail appeared in Paramount's all-star musical, Variety Girl. The critics roasted the film, but the public turned out in droves to ensure its success at the box-office. After the releases of Song of India, El Paso, and Captain China, Gail married matinée idol Guy Madison, one of the up-and-coming actors in Hollywood.
After The Lawless in 1950 Paramount decided against renewing her contract, mainly because of Gail's worsening drinking problem. She had been convicted of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, and the studio didn't want its name attached to someone who couldn't control her drinking. Being dumped by Paramount damaged her career, and film roles were coming in much more slowly. After Air Cadet in 1951, her only film that year, she disappeared from the screen for the next five years while she attempted to get control of her life. She divorced Madison in 1954.
In 1956 Gail returned in Seven Men from Now. It was a western with Gail in the minor role of Annie Greer. The next year she was fourth-billed in The Tattered Dress, a film that also starred Jeanne Crain and Jeff Chandler. The following year she had a reduced part in No Place to Land, a low-budget offering from "B" studio Republic Pictures.
By now the demons of alcohol had her in its grasp. She was again absent from the screen until 1961's The Silent Call (looking much older than her 36 years). It was to be her last film. On August 26, 1961, Gail was found dead in her small studio apartment in Los Angeles, California.
Raised in Hellertown, PA, Glenn's proclivity for Horror Films (particularly those of the Universal and Hammer Studios variety) and Sci-Fi/Fantasy imbued him with a ravenous appetite for all things genre related. This passion compelled him to work on various theater projects as both actor and fledgling make-up artist throughout Junior and Senior High School. While working on amusement rides, he was exposed to the various elements that would have such a profound impact upon him; those many and varied colorful personalities mixed with the then burgeoning mid-80's skater punk subculture scene would eventually define his unique personal aesthetic. As an undergrad at York College of Pa., he landed his first acting role in an independent feature... which happened to be a horror film. He moved quickly to secure the Special Effects Make-up Artist position as well, and began creating the multitudinous gags on his first film with a shoestring budget. Many other independent projects in and around New York City followed directly, providing ample opportunity to hone his skills. He graduated from York in 1995 with a Bachelor's Degree in Public Relations and Promotions and went straight back to work on various Independent films in the then bustling New York indie horror scene. He found himself working on an array of projects doing straight make-up for corporate industrials, sculpting masks for Halloween companies and finally collaborating with world renowned musical acts such as Type-O-Negative and horror punk icons the Misfits. That same year saw him make the move from the East Coast to Los Angeles in order to facilitate the progression of his acting, writing and make-up effects career. Upon arriving in Hollywood he found his first foothold at Optic Nerve Studios as a lab technician, fabricator, painter and eventually sculptor and designer - working tirelessly for years on several seasons of Buffy, Angel, and X-files among others. The path of his career led him to opportunities at other studios as well, such as Two Hours in the Dark on Feast and the Pumpkinhead sequels, working with Ve Neil on PitchBlack: Chronicles of Riddick and contributing to XFX on several projects including Blade 2. He continued auditioning and performing as well, landing multiple guest star roles as a character actor in The Shield, Committed, Charmed, Scrubs, and Heroes as well as various other projects including the first Pirates of The Caribbean film. Eventually, he was given the chance to acquire the very first shop he had worked at... Optic Nerve, Inc. Reinventing the Studio ground-up (from both the business and artistic perspectives) his new competitive studio model was built to adapt to today's marketplace. The most distinguishing aspect of his unique model is its focus on cross training core crew so that they can behave as a modular problem solving machine, moving comfortably from one department to another and adapting easily to the constant flux of multiple production schedules. After more than a decade of amazing shows, he partnered with longtime friend and collaborator Neville Page, evolving the shop even further into the newly renamed Alchemy Studios! Expanded services include seamless integration with CGI Visual Effects, 3D Conceptual Design and even cutting-edge 3D Printing Techniques. As the CEO, he personally supervises every effect for his studio's many projects including hundreds of forensically accurate make-ups and corpses for Crossing Jordan, Hugh Jackman's body replicas for The Prestige, all of the make-up illusions and prosthetics that propelled Heroes and CSI:NY, and the surreal effects in Sony's Legion. He constantly continues working as both FX Artist and performer. His resume includes special effects for The Event, custom wardrobe and instruments for Lady Gaga, prosthetic effects and props for Disney's Journey 2: Mysterious Island, Lionsgate's Hunger Games 1, 2, 3 and 4, The Dictator, The Host, Mad Men and a myriad of other projects. Alchemy is currently creating the "Inhumans" characters for MARVEL on Agents of SH.I.E.L.D. and all of the hyper realistic effects for Steven Spielberg's Extant. Simultaneous to his work as an FX Artist, he continues his development work as Producer on both NECROSCOPE and his own Television series based on the EC Comics franchise Tales from the Crypt/Vault of Horror. Marrying his passions for performance and FX, he stars in all 10 Seasons of the on-going Syfy Hit Face-Off! Future plans include franchising his own brand of Live Horror Entertainment in the form of Escape Games and an immersive Cinematic Inspired Haunt Experience for Halloween
Tiny Tim, the ukulele-playing singer of 1920s ditties who was a true icon of the 1960s, was born Herbert Khaury on April 12, 1932, in New York City. The son of a Lebanese father and Jewish mother, the young Khaury grew up in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan. A high school dropout, his interest in the popular music of the 1890s through the 1930s manifested itself early, and his dream was to become a singer. He learned to play guitar and ukulele and began performing professionally as "Larry Love" in the early 1950s, making his debut at a lesbian cabaret in Greenwich Village called Page 3, where he became a regular. Though his parents tried to discourage him, Khaury continued to publicly perform the early mass culture American music that he so loved and collected on 78 records, at small clubs, parties and talent shows under a variety of names.
Khaury had established himself as a cult performer in the Greenwich Village music scene by the early 1960s, singing under the name that he would become famous for, that of the crippled lad in Charles Dickens' novel "A Christmas Carol" (allegedly the stage name was suggested by a manager who used to work with midgets; Khaury himself stood an inch over six feet, but the name helped to reinforce his bizarre persona). After appearing in You Are What You Eat, he made an appearance on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, the smash hit series that was as much a part of the 1960s as Tim would come to be. He was an instant sensation and his career was made. His weird appearance and act (he evinced the polite manners of a bygone era, which stood out in stark contrast to the "Let it All Hang Out!" ethos of the time) touched a nerve and he became a cultural specimen that elucidated the zeitgeist of that era.
Tiny Tim appeared several more times on "Laugh-In" but became better known through his frequent guest spots on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, where audiences were bemused by his eccentric personality. He signed with Frank Sinatra's record label Reprise and issued his debut album, "God Bless Tiny Tim," in 1968, featuring what became his signature song, a falsetto cover of "Tip-Toe Through the Tulips." "Tulips" became a hit, reaching the Top 20, and "God Bless Tiny Tim" sold over 200,000 copies. He followed it up before the year was out with the ingeniously entitled "Tiny Tim's Second Album."
Tiny Tim's wave crested in 1969, in terms of cultural recognition and popularity. In August he released his third LP, an album of children's songs called "For All My Little Friends," while on December 17 of that year he married "Miss Vicki," his 17-year-old girlfriend (Vicki Budinger) on "The Tonight Show." The wedding drew the largest rating ever recorded for an evening talk show, enjoying an incredible 85% share of the audience watching TV at that time. The couple mostly lived apart (as Tim did with his two later wives), and while the union produced a daughter, inevitably named Tulip, he and Miss Vicki divorced after eight years of marriage.
Tiny Tim performed around the country in 1970, enjoying some highly lucrative gigs in Las Vegas, but his business associates fleeced him. A one-trick pony, his popularity began to wane in the early 1970s and the lucrative bookings and TV appearances became a thing of the past. A trouper, Tiny Tim kept performing, eventually traveling the country playing community centers, high school theaters and other less-than-prestigious venues as part of Roy Radin's Vaudeville Revue with the likes of The Five Harmonica Rascals. He continued to record throughout the 1970s and 1980s for small labels, but he never again achieved any real success.
After the Roy Radin Revue, Tim kept on performing. He even joined a circus for its 36-week schedule. In the late 1980s he moved to Des Moines, Iowa, and managed a small comeback of sorts in the mid-'90s, when he appeared on Howard Stern's radio show. However, his comeback suffered a setback after he had a heart attack performing at a ukulele festival in September of 1996. After getting out of the hospital, Tiny Tim the trouper resumed his concert schedule. The schedule proved too taxing, and on November 30 he suffered another heart attack while performing "Tip-Toe Through the Tulips" in Minneapolis, and died an hour later. He was 64 years old.
A rare breed this guy. Paul Douglas became an unlikely middle-aged cinema star by simply capitalizing on his big, burly, brash and boorish appeal to the nth degree.
The 5'11", 200 lb. actor was a bold, unabashed risk taker. He forsook an extremely successful career as one of the country's top radio/sports announcers to prove his value as an actor. The risk paid off when he found immediate award-winning success on the Broadway comedy stage. Later, despite being a raw new talent in Tinseltown, he had the audacity to turn down the Hollywood powers-that-be to revive his Broadway success to film because he felt they had "reduced" his role too much. Somehow again, the risk paid off. Having neither the looks nor polish befitting a true 1950s movie star, Paul defied the odds once again and became an unlikely overnight smash with his very first film(!) Moreover, he went on to prove he was no one trick pony, cementing his stardom in a number of prime vehicles in both broad comedy and melodrama. And, on top of that, the homely actor managed to have many of the top Hollywood dolls falling for his big lug appeal on screen -- Linda Darnell, Judy Holliday, Celeste Holm, Joan Bennett, Jean Peters, Janet Leigh and Ruth Roman among them. It, in fact, would take an early and sudden death to end all this wildly successful risk-taking.
The bombastic, blue-collar persona Paul exhibited naturally on stage and screen was actually quite a contrast to his own family background. He was born in an upperclass section of Philadelphia to a well-to-do doctor on April 11, 1907, and was christened Paul Douglas Fleischer. An interest in acting sparked while he was a student at West Philadelphia High School. Following graduation, his thoughts turned to college. He went on to take entrance examinations at Yale but never attended the college. Instead Paul made a minor dent as a professional football player with Philly's Frankford Yellow Jackets team.
In 1928 Paul parlayed his passion for athletics into a highly successful sportscasting and commentating career and grew in respect as one of the country's top sports announcers and master of ceremonies. He started at the CBS radio station WCAU in Philly and relocated to the CBS headquarters in New York in 1934 where Douglas co-hosted its popular swing music program "The Saturday Night Swing Club" from 1936 to 1939. But it wasn't enough. The acting bug bit again.
After appearing in a few stock and small theatre plays, he made his Broadway acting debut in November of 1936 as a radio announcer in the comedy satire "Double Dummy" at the John Golden Theatre, but it closed the next month and he returned to radio, eventually landing a cozy niche as an announcer and straight man opposite the likes of Jack Benny (he was Benny's first announcer), Fred Allen and the team of George Burns and Gracie Allen in their respective series. He also found work narrating a host of pre-WWII documentary shorts.
Paul became a highly recognized personality by this radio success ($2,500/week), but brashly decided to give it all up and accept a paltry weekly salary ($250 per week) when writer Garson Kanin offered him the lead role as chauvinistic moneybags Harry Brock in his Broadway play "Born Yesterday" in 1946. Co-starring Judy Holliday and Gary Merrill, the show was a huge comedy smash and Paul the toast of New York in a highly unappealing role. He nabbed both the Theatre World and Clarence Derwent acting prizes for his hot-tempered junkman. The relatively unexperienced actor wisely remained with the show through all 1,024 performances before leaving the show and tempting any type of Hollywood offers.
Like a bull out of a chute, Paul exploded onto the Hollywood scene with his very first film, the classic Joseph L. Mankiewicz drama A Letter to Three Wives. There was pure electricity in his scenes with the equally earthy scene-stealing Linda Darnell. The new film star was immediately tapped to host the 22nd annual Academy Awards in March 1950.
In a surprise move, Paul had the nerve to rebuff a Hollywood offer to recreate his Harry Brock role when Born Yesterday was turned into a film starring his Broadway co-star Judy Holliday. After reading the film script, he was put off that his part had been minimalized to the point of favoring his leading lady and to meet the demands of the other male superstar in the picture William Holden. Columbia used their own manic human dynamo, Broderick Crawford, to take over the film role. As brilliant as he was, but as Douglas himself predicted, it was Holliday who received the lion's share of the attention with an Academy Award-winning tour de force.
Unfazed, Paul instead concentrated on his own star vehicles. His chemistry was so good with Linda Darnell in his first film that the pair was signed to co-star in two more film showcases within a short span of time -- Everybody Does It and The Guy Who Came Back. Paul also found a way to pay tribute to his former roots in sports starring in two worthy baseball comedy films -- It Happens Every Spring, and Angels in the Outfield, the latter a delightful fantasy in which he plays as an extremely temperamental, obscenity-spouting Pittsburgh Pirates manager.
Douglas was one of those talents who could never give a "bad" performance if he tried, nor did he appear in any truly "bad" films during his high-powered decade on the screen. Saddled with a paunchy frame and homely, potato-nosed, bushy-browed mug that triggered a delightfully humble, self-deprecating humor, he endeared himself easily to the masses. His string of hits continued with the cop thriller Panic in the Streets in which he partnered with Richard Widmark and Fourteen Hours in which he and Richard Basehart display tense and brilliant chemistry as, respectively, a police officer trying to talk a suicidal man out of jumping off a building ledge. Elsewhere he gave a sympathetic performance as the naive fisherman husband of adulterous Barbara Stanwyck in Clash by Night; and reteamed with "Born Yesterday" co-star Judy Holliday successfully in a different vehicle, the comedy The Solid Gold Cadillac in which he again plays a gruff, self-made businessman.
In other media, Paul gave himself the chance to recreate his Harry Brock to video with a Hallmark Hall of Fame episode of Born Yesterday opposite Mary Martin and Arthur Hill. Douglas also made a return to Broadway with the moderate 1957 hit "A Hole in the Head" co-starring David Burns, Lee Grant and Kay Medford and again directed by his playwright/friend Garson Kanin. In between he continued to find work here and there as a radio announcer (for Ed Wynn)) and was the first host of NBC Radio's "Horn & Hardart Children's Hour". He also provided sterling voice work in documentaries.
Divorced from non-professionals Sussie Welles, Elizabeth Farnesworth and Geraldine Higgins, Paul's final two marriages were to actresses with each one producing a child. In early 1942 he married fourth wife/actress Virginia Field. Separated in December 1945, they divorced the following year. He later met actress Jan Sterling and married her on June 22, 1950. This marriage proved happy and lasted until his death.
Paul's final movie was another in a career of comedy highlights as the fun-loving bucolic in The Mating Game co-starring with Debbie Reynolds and Tony Randall. In April 1959, Douglas enjoyed a special guest star turn on the highly popular "Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour" as the dingy redhead's TV morning show boss in a Connecticut episode entitled "Lucy Wants a Career".
Douglas had just completed filming an episode of "The Twilight Zone" called "The Mighty Casey," an umpire role specifically written for him by Rod Serling based on Paul's memorable "Angels in the Outfield" role when tragedy happened. On the morning of November 11, 1959, the 52-year-old Douglas collapsed and died of a massive heart attack as he got out of bed. With Serling unable to reshoot parts in which Douglas looked especially drawn and haggard, the entire episode had to be refilmed (at Serling's expense) with Jack Warden taking over the lead part. In addition, Billy Wilder had recently cast Paul as Jack Lemmon's philandering boss Sheldrake in the hit film The Apartment. The film, which was about set to film, recast Fred MacMurray in the role.
And thus, instead of Paul starting a brand new decade of acting work on a high note ("The Apartment" went on to win the 1960 Academy Award for Best Picture), Hollywood instead had to mourn the loss of a wonderfully gruff and robust talent way before its time.
Jennifer Prediger is a New York City/Los Angeles-based actress, writer, and director known for the films 'Uncle Kent' (2011), 'Red Flag' (2012), and 'Apartment Troubles' (2014)-her directorial debut with collaborator Jess Weixler.
Prediger starred in 'Uncle Kent', a film directed by Joe Swanberg that premiered at Sundance in 2011 and was purchased by IFC. She has also gone to Sundance with 'The Foxy Merkins' in 2014 (dir. Madeleine Olnek) and 'A Teacher' in 2013 (dir. Hannah Fidell). She has a co-starring role as love interest and obsessed fan in the Gotham Award nominated comedy 'Red Flag' (dir. Alex Karpovsky), released by Tribeca Film. Prediger also has leading roles in microbudget films 'Richard's Wedding' (dir. Onur Tukel) and 'Pollywogs' (dir. Karl Jacob with co-star Kate Lyn Shiel).
She has supporting roles in 'The Strange Eyes of Dr. Myes' (dir. Nancy Andrews) and 'Valedictorian' (dir. Matthew Yeager) premiering at the Rotterdam Film Festival January 2015.
She also appears in 'Uncle Kent 2' (dir. Todd Rohal) and '7 Chinese Brothers' (dir. Bob Byington) starring Jason Schwartzman, both of which premiered at this year's SXSW festival. Earlier this year, The New York Times called her a "busy indie actress". She plays opposite Max Casella in Applesauce (dir. Onur Tukel) which premiered at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival.
'Apartment Troubles' (formerly Trouble Dolls) is her first feature film as a director and writer, co-directed and written with Jess Weixler. The film stars Prediger and Weixler and features Megan Mullally, Will Forte and Jeffrey Tambor, and was released by Gravitas in spring 2015.
As a journalist, Prediger wrote for and produced videos for Newsweek.com, Nerve.com, Grist.org, Current TV and Washingtonpost.com. She's been a commentator on NPR's All Things Considered and was a contributed some jokes to The Onion and voice overs to Onion Radio News. She wrote and was the on-line personality for a workplace advice column called HEY PENNY for Slate V. Prediger also played the character and wrote and directed 'Ask Umbra', the "world's most trusted eco advice columnist," on Grist.org.
Rudy Vallee started his career as a saxophone player and singer and later became a band leader. In the 1920s and early 30s he had a hit radio program, The Fleishmann's Yeast Hour (where he was hated by his cast and crew due to his explosive ego-driven personality). In the early 1930's he was ranked with the likes of Bing Crosby and the tragic Russ Columbo in the Hit Parade. A huge hit on radio in 1933 with his program, initially known as 'The Fleischmann's Yeast Hour,' Vallee was considered a slave driver by his staff. He was known to instigate fist fights with virtually anyone who got on his nerves. During the run of his show he slugged photographers, threw sheet music in the faces of pianists' heads and if provoked, would sock hecklers in the nose. While audiences loved him, he was hated by most of his staff. As a very popular star in night clubs and on records, as well as in movies, he helped other singers like Alice Faye - who was for a while his band singer - and Frances Langford to start their careers. In his early movies he often played the romantic lead, but he switched later to stuffy and comic parts. He also appeared on Broadway. The mid-60's Broadway hit "How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" was filmed in 1967 with him in his original Broadway role.
Deanna Meske is an award winning actress and director. She grew up with 4 brothers and one other sister in a small town in Northern CA. Known for NCIS New Orleans, Elsa & Fred, Awarded best actress in Sunset Strip Crime, Extinction Event, #1 Cheerleader Camp, Here Comes Rusty & Entourage. She graduated from Sacramento State University then moved then New Orleans before getting a 2nd home in LA. She plays roles ranging from ages 29-40 in a variety of characters types of jobs. After her 1st audition in Florida which took her to New Orleans, which she booked, she knew that there wasn't anything else she could do in her life, that she had to pursue acting all costs so she set out to learn the business and learn how to act. She lives between New Orleans and Tampa, FL and works all over the South East region. One of her biggest dreams is to land a great role in the UK or Ireland as that is where her ancestors are from and she fell in love with those Countries on one of her many trips across the pond. When she booked the role of Elsa & Fred, she had no idea she would have the honor of playing opposite Shirley Maclaine, Christopher Plummer and Scott Bakula, it was a nerve wracking and exciting experience on set with those top performers!
After graduating with two degrees (Arts and Music) from Mather College (Western Reserve) in Cleveland, Ohio in 1935, Janis headed to New York with aspirations of embarking on a musical career in opera. Supporting herself by waitressing, singing in churches, modeling (Conover) and writing radio scripts, an audition with the Met came along. However, a case of nerves assured her failure and an end to that ambition. Landing on her feet, she got a part in the Broadway musical, I Married An Angel. DuBarry Was A Lady soon followed and then Panama Hattie in which she had a solo number. Darryl Zanuck of 20th Century Fox attended the opening night and was impressed enough with Janis to offer her a contract. She arrived in Hollywood in February, 1941, and stayed for 12 years making more than 30 movies for 20th Century Fox, MGM, Columbia, and RKO. After leaving Hollywood for good, Janis headed back to New York and began a career working in television. She acted in numerous shows, both drama and comedy, and in 1954 became the hostess of the NBC quiz show, Feather Your Nest, working with Bud Collyer. In 1956, Janis married Julius Stulman and retired from show business. With the same enthusiasm she had shown in other areas of her life, she involved herself in cultural activities of her community serving in various capacities throughout the years, primarily in Sarasota, Florida.
Cole Porter was born June 9, 1891, at Peru, Indiana, the son of pharmacist Samuel Fenwick Porter and Kate Cole. Cole was raised on a 750-acre fruit ranch. Kate Cole married Samuel Porter in 1884 and had two children, Louis and Rachel, who both died in infancy. Porter's grandfather, J.G. Cole, was a multi-millionaire who made his fortune in the coal and western timber business. His mother introduced him to the violin and the piano. Cole started riding horses at age six and began to studying piano at eight at Indiana's Marion Conservatory. By age ten, he had begun to compose songs, and his first song was entitled "Song of the Birds".
He attended Worcester Academy in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1905, an elite private school from which he graduated in 1909 as class valedictorian. That summer he toured Europe as a graduation present from his grandfather. That fall, he entered Yale University and lived in a single room at Garland's Lodging House at 242 York Street in New Haven, CT, and became a member of the Freshman Glee Club. In 1910, he published his first song, "Bridget McGuire". While at Yale, he wrote football fight songs including the "Yale Bulldog Song" and "Bingo Eli Yale," which was introduced at a Yale dining hall dinner concert. Classmates include poet Archibald Macleish, Bill Crocker of San Francisco banking family and actor Monty Woolley. Dean Acheson, later to be U.S. Secretary of State, lived in the same dorm with Porter and was a good friend of Porter. In his senior year he was president of the University Glee club and a football cheerleader.
Porter graduated from Yale in 1913 with a BA degree. He attended Harvard Law school from 1913 to 1914 and the Harvard School of Music from 1915 to 1916. In 1917 he went to France and distributed foodstuffs to war-ravaged villages. In April 1918 he joined the 32nd Field Artillery Regiment and worked with the Bureau of the Military Attache of the US. During this time he met the woman who would become his wife, Linda Lee Thomas, a wealthy Kentucky divorcée, at a breakfast reception at the Ritz Hotel in Paris. He did not, as is often rumored, join the French Foreign Legion at this time, nor receive a commission in the French army and see combat as an officer.
In 1919 he rented an apartment in Paris, enrolled in a school specializing in music composition and studied with Vincent D'indy. On December 18, 1919, married Linda Lee Thomas, honeymooning in the south of France. This was a "professional" marriage, as Cole was, in fact, gay. Linda had been previously married to a newspaper publisher and was described as a beautiful woman who was one of the most celebrated hostesses in Europe. The Porters made their home on the Rue Monsieur in Paris, where their parties were renowned as long and brilliant. They hired the Monte Carlo Ballet for one of their affairs; once, on a whim, they transported all of their guests to the French Riviera.
In 1923 they moved to Venice, Italy, where they lived in the Rezzonico Palace, the former home of poets Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning. They built an extravagant floating night club that would accommodate up to 100 guests. They conducted elaborate games including treasure hunts through the canals and arranged spectacular balls.
Porter's first play on Broadway featured a former ballet dancer, actor Clifton Webb. He collaborated with E. Ray Goetz, the brother-in-law of Irving Berlin, on several Broadway plays, as Goetz was an established producer and lyricist.
His ballad "Love For Sale" was introduced on December 8, 1930, in a revue that starred Jimmy Durante and was introduced by Kathryn Crawford. Walter Winchell, the newspaper columnist and radio personality, promoted the song, which was later banned by many radio stations because of its content. In 1934, his hit "Anything Goes" appeared on Broadway. During the show's hectic rehearsal Porter once asked the stage doorman what he thought the show should be called. The doorman responded that nothing seemed to go right, with so many things being taken out and then put back in, that "Anything Goes" might be a good title. Porter liked it, and kept it. In 1936, while preparing for "Red, Hot and Blue" with Bob Hope and Jimmy Durante, Ethel Merman was hired to do stenographic work to help Porter in rewriting scripts of the show. He later said she was the best stenographers he ever had.
Porter wrote such classic songs as "Let's Do It" in 1928, "You Do Something To Me" in 1929, "Love For Sale" in 1930, "What Is This Thing Called Love?" in 1929, "Night and Day" in 1932, "I Get A Kick Out Of You" in 1934, "Begin the Beguine" in 1935, "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" in 1938, "Don't Fence Me In" in 1944, "I Love Paris" in 1953, "I've Got You Under My Skin", In the Still of The Night", "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To", "True Love", "Just One Of Those Things", "Anything Goes", "From This Moment On", "You're The Top", "Easy to Love" and many, many more.
On October 24, 1937, taking a break from a re-write of what would be his weakest musical, "You Never Know", visiting as a guest at a countess' home, Piping Rock Club in Locust Valley, New York, he was badly injured in a fall while horseback-riding. Both of his legs were smashed and he suffered a nerve injury. He was hospitalized for two years, confined to a wheelchair for five years and endured over 30 operations to save his legs over the next 20 years. During his recuperation he wrote a number of Broadway musicals.
On August 3, 1952, his beloved mother died of a cerebral hemorrhage. His wife, Linda, died of cancer on May 20, 1954. On April 3, 1958, he sustained his 33rd operation, and still suffering from chronic pain, his right leg was amputated. He refused to wear an artificial limb and lived as a virtual recluse in his apartment at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. He sought refuge in alcohol, sleep, self-pity and sank into despair. He even refused to attend a "Salute to Cole Porter" at the Metropolitan Opera on May 15, 1960, and the commencement exercises at Yale University in June of 1960 when he was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, or his 70th birthday party arranged by his friends at the Orpheum Theater in New York City in June 1962.
After what appeared to be a successful kidney stone operation at St. John's hospital in Santa Monica, California, he died very unexpectedly on October 15, 1964. His funeral instructions were that he have no funeral or memorial service and he was buried adjacent to his mother and wife in Peru, Indiana.
Adam Pearson, is one of the Developers and Junior Researcher and Strand Presenter on Beauty and the Beast also The Ugly Face of Prejudice. His disfigurement is as a result of Neurofibromatosis, a genetic condition that causes excess body tissue to grow on nerve ending, causing non cancerous tumors (called fibromas) to occur.
Malcolm Freberg has been a huge fan of Survivor since he was a boy. In it's 25th season, Malcolm made his Survivor debut on Survivor: Philippines. At final four, in the final immunity challenge his nerves got the best of him and he dropped out of the challenge. He was voted out later that night, placing 4th. He was also on Survivor: Caramoan Fans vs. Favorites. This season he placed 9th, being the first voted out of his "Three Amigos" alliance. On May 1, 2013, it is the first Survivor he hasn't been on after 25 straight episodes.
Robert Harmon attended film school at Boston University and worked for many years as a still photographer prior to embarking on a film career. Harmon worked as a still photographer on the movies "Roller Boogie," "Fade to Black," and "Hell Night." He was a second unit camera operator on "They Call Me Bruce?". Robert was the cinematographer for both the offbeat vampire feature "The Black Room" and the documentary "The Jupiter Menace." He made his directorial debut with the short thriller "China Lake." Harmon achieved his greatest enduring cult popularity with the intense, harrowing and genuinely terrifying "danger on the road" psycho horror knockout "The Hitcher." Robert then directed the touching drama "Eyes of An Angel" and the exciting Jean-Claude Van Damme action vehicle "Nowhere to Hide." In addition, Harmon has directed a bunch of made-for-TV movies which include the excellent biopics "Gotti" and "Ike: Countdown to D-Day." Robert made a welcome return to the horror genre with the spooky "They" and contributed another worthy addition to the "danger on the road" sub-genre with the brutal and nerve-wracking "Highwaymen." More recently Robert Harmon has directed several gritty and superior made-for-TV crime mystery dramas starring Tom Selleck as tough, but worn-out Police Chief Jesse Stone.
|Anita Nicole Brown
Anita Nicole Brown is an aspiring actress who caught the acting bug late. Although cast in many independent films, Brown still considers herself aspiring because she feels that with acting (as with anything in life) one should always look to grow and learn more. And that is what she is doing.
Coming late into the field, Brown feels she has been blessed with many life experiences that have prepared her for each and every character she has and will be cast in. She has played the gamut of characters that include an action fighter (Crisis Function), detective (Wages of Sin: Special Tactics - still filming), prostitute (Sister of the Wolf), attorney (Paper Heart) and even a mother pushed to the edge (A Woman And A Gun)!
But Brown has yet to accomplish her goal: Showing the world that a Type One Diabetic (T1D) can and will accomplish anything they desire and change the perception of diabetics in this industry. After almost 17 years as a T1D, Brown has overcome so much with her diabetes especially regaining the ability to walk after fighting diabetic nerve damage in her legs and feet almost nine years ago. And now, Brown wears her diabetes each and every day. Literally! She has an insulin pump and for some productions, the thought of having an actress with such a visible device for treatment has been a bit unnerving. But in the past few years, Brown has seen a change in which production companies are writing her character in as a diabetic who is strong and determined OR they allow the pump to be worn and shown without feeling the need to address it because it does not take away from Brown's ability to deliver the character.
It is a slow change but it is one Brown is excited about accomplishing! Look out world, Anita Nicole Brown has much more to show you!
This distinguished theatrical tragedienne will be remembered forever if only for the fact George Bernard Shaw wrote his classic "Saint Joan" work specifically for her. Her over six-decade career allowed for a gallery of sterling, masterful portrayals, both classic and contemporary, performing all over the world including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India and both Western and Eastern Europe. She was created a Dame of the British Empire in 1931, when her career was not quite half over, and in 1970 was made Companion of Honor to Queen Elizabeth.
Born Agnes Sybil Thorndike on October 24, 1882 in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, she was the daughter of a minor canon of Rochester Cathedral. She was the eldest of four children. One younger brother, Frank, was killed in WWI action, a tragedy that left her father inconsolable. He himself would die a few months later. Sybil first became a concert pianist until nerve injuries in her hands quickly altered her destiny. She, at brother Russell Thorndike's suggestion, decided upon acting. Russell would later become a novelist and his sister's biographer.
Not a classic beauty by any stretch, Dame Sybil had sharp features, prominent cheek bones and a pronounced chin that gave her a rather severe look. At age 21 she and her brother began professionally in a touring company guided by actor-manager Ben Greet. She performed as Portia in a production of The Merchant of Venice in 1907 while touring in New York. The following year she met playwright George Bernard Shaw while understudying the role of Candida in a tour which was being directed by the writer himself. It was also during this tour that Sybil met and married actor Sir Lewis Casson and solidified one of the most respected personal and professional relationships the acting realm has known. She stayed with The Old Vic for five years (1914-1919) and in 1924 earned stardom as Shaw's Joan of Arc.
Sybil's film career, unlike that of her esteemed contemporary Edith Evans, fell far short of expectations. Silent films recreated some of her finest theatrical experiences, including Lady Macbeth and, of course, Joan of Arc, but she would not evolve into a film star. She was sporadically utilized in later years as a flavorful character support and played a number of queens, dowagers and old crones with equal finesse. Such classic costumed fare would include Major Barbara, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Stage Fright, Gone to Earth, The Lady with a Lamp, Melba, as Queen Victoria, and The Prince and the Showgirl in which she managed to grab focus during her scenes with Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe. In 1969, Sybil lent her name to the new theatre in Leatherhead, Surrey, which became The Thorndike. Despite her 87 years, she performed in the new play There Was An Old Woman in its first season. It was to be her final theatrical performance. Always a healthy, vigorous woman, she died of a heart attack on June 9, 1976 at the ripe young age of 93. She was survived by four children and a number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Anthony Katagas is one of the most prolific producers working in American independent film. Winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture for his role in producing "12 Years a Slave," he has produced nearly 35 films in the last twelve years. He has worked with a variety of innovative and award-winning filmmakers, including James Gray, John Hillcoat, Steve McQueen, Andrew Dominik, Paul Haggis, Brad Pitt, John Singleton, Wes Craven, Vadim Perelman, Lasse Hallstrom, Ben Younger, Nanette Burstein, Denys Arcand, and Sofia Coppola.
Along with his Oscar, Katagas' awards include a BAFTA, Golden Globe, Broadcast Critics' Choice Award, Independent Spirit Award and the coveted Darryl F. Zanuck PGA Award for Best Picture. He has had four films nominated for the Palme d'Or and two films nominated for César Awards. Additionally, his films have garnered nominations or awards from the DGA, SAG, National Board of Review, Gotham Awards, New York Film Critics, Los Angeles Film Critics and appeared on the prestigious AFI list for achievement in film.
In 1999 Katagas started Keep Your Head Productions, geared towards producing independent films in his hometown of New York City. Through Keep Your Head Productions, he has produced films by visionary filmmaker Michael Almereyda: "Happy Here and Now" (IFC Films, 2001), "This So-Called Disaster" (IFC Films, 2002), "William Eggelston in the Real World" (Palm Pictures, 2005) and "Cymbeline" (Benaroya Pictures, 2014). He also produced James Gray's, "The Immigrant" (The Weinstein Company, 2013), which competed for the Palme d'Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. Next up for Keep Your Head is James Gray's "The Lost City Of Z."
Katagas' credits include: Ray McKinnon's "Chrystal" (First Look, 2004), Adam Rapp's "Winter Passing" (Focus Features, 2005), Ben Younger's "Prime" (Universal, 2005), Lasse Hallström's "The Hoax" (Miramax, 2006), Vadim Perelman's "The Life Before Her Eyes" (Magnolia Pictures, 2007), James Gray's two Palme d'Or and César-nominated films "We Own the Night" (Columbia Pictures, 2007) and "Two Lovers" (2929 Productions, 2008), Marc Lawrence's "Did You Hear About the Morgans?" (Columbia, 2009), Wes Craven's "My Soul To Take" (Universal, 2010), Paul Haggis' "The Next Three Days" (Lionsgate, 2010) and John Singleton's "Abduction" (Lionsgate, 2011).
Most recently Katagas produced Andrew Dominik's "Killing Them Softly" (The Weinstein Company, 2012) starring Brad Pitt; James Gray's "The Immigrant" (The Weinstein Company, 2013) starring Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Renner and Marion Cotillard; Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave" (New Regency, 2013) starring Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender and Chiwetel Ejiofor; Rupert Goold's "True Story" (New Regency, 2014) starring Jonah Hill and James Franco; and Ken Scott's "Unfinished Business" (New Regency, 2014) starring Vince Vaughn, Tom Wilkinson and Sienna Miller.
To be released in 2016, Katagas is producing John Hillcoat's "Triple 9" (Open Road) starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kate Winslet, Woody Harrelson and Casey Affleck and "Nerve" (Lionsgate), which was directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman and stars Dave Franco and Emma Roberts.
Currently, Katagas is in production on his 4th collaboration with James Gray, "The Lost City of Z."
Born on November 1, 1942, Larry Flynt was raised in Lakeville, a small isolated community in the hills of Magoffin County in eastern Kentucky. He had a sister named Judy who died in 1951 from leukemia at age five, and a brother, Jimmy, born in 1948. His parents separated when he was ten, and he moved with his mother and brother to Hamlet, Indiana.
Flynt ran away from home at age 16 in 1958 and enlisted in the U.S. Army. Discharged a year later, he took odd jobs as a farm picker, dishwasher and manual laborer. Moving on to Dayton, Ohio, he enlisted in the US Navy in 1960 and worked as a radar operator on the USS Enterprise until October 1962. After his discharge in 1964, he was married for a time while trying to open his own bar in Dayton, selling his own moonshine whiskey; he also opened another bar that same year. His next experiment in strip clubs proved more of a success, in particular the Hustler Club which opened in 1968.
By 1971 Flynt owned a string of Hustler strip clubs all over Ohio, in Dayton, Columbus, Cleveland, Toledo, Cincinnati and Akron. During that period he had affairs with three strippers, resulting in a child by each of them. By 1973 he owned eight Hustler clubs with annual incomes between $75,000 and $100,000 each. Wanting to expand his empire, he decided to publish his own girlie magazine, "Hustler", named after his clubs. The first issue came out in July 1974 and was instantly a hit, owing to its detailed pornographic descriptions of women. After a few months, however, sales dipped to a low point, resulting in bankruptcy by 1975, although candid photographs of a nude Jacqueline Kennedy--at that time Jackie Kennedy Onassis--published in August 1975 put Hustler back in the national spotlight.
Flynt's controversial and unconventional ways earned him both respect and hatred from a broad spectrum of individuals and organizations, including many feminists who found the articles in Hustler misogynist, offensive and demeaning. He continued having affairs with various women, including a model named Althea Leasure (1953-1987), whom he married in August 1976. Charged in February of 1977 with obscenity and organized crime ties, he was tried in Cincinnati and convicted of all charges, although the verdict was later overturned on appeal due to allegations of prosecutorial misconduct and judicial and jury bias.
Flynt's legal hassles brought him to the attention of Ruth Carter Stapleton, sister of President Jimmy Carter, who inspired him to make a career turn. Becoming a born-again Christian, Flynt soon included religion in his Hustler issues, which infuriated Christian and religious fundamentalist groups. He abandoned his faith in March 1978 when he was shot by a sniper outside a courthouse in Lawrenceville, Georgia, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down (as it turned out, the shooter--a neo-Nazi white supremacist named Joseph Paul Franklin took offense at several photo spreads in Hustler depicting black men having simulated sex with white women and stalked Flynt until he had a chance to shoot him). With daily death threats against him, and the police both unwilling and unable to protect him, Flynt moved his publishing company from Ohio to Los Angeles at the end of 1978, living in a huge mansion in Bel Air with Althea. Wracked by constant back pain from internal injuries as a result of the gunshot wounds, and confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life, he lived almost as a recluse, seldom venturing outside his house unless accompanied by several burly, armed-to-the-teeth bodyguards.
Addicted to painkillers, Flynt took Valium, Percodan, Percocette, Librium, Demerol, morphine and Dialdud pills and injections on a daily basis. In 1980 he suffered a near-fatal stroke caused by one of several overdoses of his analgesic medications; he recovered but has had speech pronunciation difficulties since. In 1983 he underwent the first of a series of DREZ laser surgeries on his back to repair the damage to the nerve center around his bullet wounds (the second was in 1987, the third in 1994), which slowly cured him of his back pain and his painkiller addiction.
Flynt continued his practice of bringing lawsuits against various parties, one of which, in November 1983, involved his ownership of a videotape showing the real nature of the arrest and entrapment of car entrepreneur John DeLorean for drug trafficking. Flynt then (and to this day) refused to disclose how he came to acquire the videotape and was sentenced to 15 months in a mental hospital for contempt of court. During his stay in the hospital, he was clinically diagnosed as having bipolar disorder, which is responsible for his unpredictable verbal outbursts and fits of rage in which he remains on medication to this day. That same month Hustler magazine published an article lampooning Christian fundamentalist televangeliswt Jerry Falwell, a longtime opponent of Flynt's polices; the article portrayed Falwell as a drunkard who had committed incest with his mother. Flynt was flown to Virginia in December 1984 after Falwell filed a $45-million civil suit against him. After a week-long trial, a jury ruled that Flynt was not liable for the article, but published it deliberately to cause emotional distress, and awarded Falwell $200,000. Flynt took his appeal against the verdict all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in December 1987, and the verdict was overturned two months later.
Flynt's marriage to Althea deteriorated when she was diagnosed with AIDS in 1983, aggravated by her drug addiction. She died in June 1987 at age 33 from drowning in her bathtub following a heroin overdose. Flynt continues running his publishing company, Flynt Publications, in Los Angeles, and to this day is both hated and admired by many.
Jeanne Eagels, one of the most intriguing stars of late silent films and the early talkies, was born Amelia Jean Eagles on June 26, 1890 in Kansas City, Missouri, to Edward and Julia Sullivan Eagles. Young Jean was part of an impoverished family of eight, with three brothers and two sisters. She likely stopped going to school when she was 11 years old.
As a girl, she decided to become an actress after appearing in a Shakespearen play. Of that performance, she said, "I played the grave-digger in 'Hamlet,' first, at the age of seven. They gave me the chance to play Shakespeare because nobody else of the tender age of seven would do so. They wouldn't say the rather amazing words...the other kiddies. I took it all quite seriously and said ALL the words without a quiver. Once I had begun I could not be stopped. I was ill when I was not on the stage. It seemed to me I couldn't breathe in any other atmosphere."
She followed up the experience up by playing bit parts in local theatrical productions. When she was 12 years old, she became a member of the Dubinsky Brothers' traveling stock company, appearing at first as a dancer, but eventually working her way into speaking roles. Eagels soon was playing leading roles in the stock company's repertory, including "Camille," "Romeo and Juliet," and "Uncle Tom's Cabin." Later, a myth arose that Eagels' began her career as a circus performer. The 1957 biographical film "The Jeanne Eagels Story" erroneously depicts Eagels' beginning as a hootchie-kootchie dancer in a carnival. The Dubinsky Brothers did use a tent to put on their shows, but they did not present carnival acts but performed popular comedies, musicals, and dramas. The tent was only used during the spring and summer months, while during the colder months, the company performed in theaters and halls in the Midwest.
Jeanne Eagels married the scion of the Dubinsky family, Morris, the oldest of the brothers. She was likely in her teens, and probably had a baby by Morris. Stories about Eagels' past diverge, and in one account, the child was adopted by family friends, while in another, Eagels' baby boy died in infancy, triggering a nervous breakdown for the bereft mother. Eagels and Dubinky separated, likely due to his infidelity. Jeanne eventually left the Dubinksy company and joined another touring stock company, which eventually brought her to New York City.
Eagels decided to make herself over in New York as she fought her way up in the fiercely competitive theatrical world. A brunette, Eagels dyed her hair blonde and said that she was of Spanish and Irish lineage, and that her surname was originally "Aguilar," which loosely translates into English as "eagle." She changed the spelling of her name from "Eagles" to "Eagels," reputedly as she thought it looked better on a marquee. Eliminating her past, she presented herself as an ingénue rather than as a divorced woman and mother of a dead infant. She also adopted an English accent as David Belasco, the legendary theatrical impresario, had commented that she spoke like an "earl's daughter."
She began her climb up the greasy pole of Broadway stardom by appearing as a chorus girl. She even served a stint as a Ziegfield girl, but Eagels was determined to establish herself as a dramatic roles, wining bit parts in the plays "Jumping Jupiter" and "The Mind the Paint Girl."
Eagels took a trip to Paris, where she likely studied acting with Beverly Sitgreaves, an expatriate American actress who had appeared with Sarah Bernhardt, Eagels' idol. After Jeanne Eagels' death, there arose a myth that she was a "raw," untrained talent who just happened to have the spark of genius on stage. This is demonstrably false as she had a thorough grounding in technique in her six-year apprenticeship in regional stock companies. She also studied acting with Sitgreaves and with acting coaches in New York. The myth likely is rooted in the biography of Eagels' stage co-star Leslie Howard that was written by his children. Howard was of the opinion that Eagels was untrained, but that likely was rooted in English snobbery vis-à-vis America actors as he had the same opinion of the great Bette Davis. What Howard likely meant that the emotionally erratic Eagels was undisciplined rather than untrained. George Arliss, considered one of the great stage actors at the time he appeared on Broadway with Eagels, would hardly have chosen her to appear in three of his productions if she were not trained and up to giving a fine performance. Arliss was full of praise for Eagels.
In Paris, Eagels attracted the attention of Julian Eltinge, the famous Broadway female impersonator, though they were not introduced. Ironically, when he returned to New York, Eltinge found out that Eagels was to be his co-star in what turned out to be a long tour of the play "The Crinoline Girl." The two became good friends.
Eagels won the role of a prostitute who becomes a faith-healer in the touring company of the play "Outcast" by modeling herself after the play's star, Elsie Ferguson, for her audition. She won the part, and also won great reviews during the tour's swing through the South. When the touring company returned to New York for an off-Broadway engagement, some critics were there to see if Eagels actually did live up to the road reviews of her "Outcast" performance. She did, and the critics were suitably impressed.
The Thanhouser Film Co. cast Eagles in the film of "Outcast" in 1916, which was entitled The World and the Woman upon its release. Eagels was working during the daytime in films and at night on the stage. Suffering from fatigue and insomnia, she sought treatment and likely became hooked on drugs during this period. With the aid of physician-prescribed dope, Jeanne Eagels continued her hectic dual-career of making movies during the day while acting on stage at night. The routine continued until 1920. Suffering from chronic sinusitis and other maladies, Eagels descended the slippery slope of self-medicating her ills, an unfortunate situation exacerbated by her fondness for drink.
Eagels received great reviews when she starred with George Arliss in the Broadway hit "The Professor's Love Story" in 1917. She followed up their joint triumph with two more co-starring ventures with Arliss, "Disraeli" and the even-more-popular play "Hamilton." Of his co-star, Arliss said that each of the three distinctly different parts she acted were "played with unerring judgment and artistry."
In 1918, she appeared in Belasco's production of "Daddies," an original play about the plight of war orphans starring George Abbott. She quit the hit show either due to exhaustion or because, as rumor had it, she was fed up with Belasco's sexual harassment, though she praised him as a producer.
"Often in the theater there is a feeling of commercialism in every detail; it may not touch one directly, but it is there, and the consciousness that the financial success of the play is perhaps of first importance is decidedly unpleasant. Now, Mr. Belasco puts acting, like every other element of a production, upon an artistic basis. He makes you feel that a thing is important artistically or not at all. Money seems never to be a consideration, yet the making of it follows as a result of making the production as nearly perfect as possible.... That point of view on the producer's part means a great deal to the actor; it leaves him free to do so much, and is an incentive to work toward a faithful portrayal of character. To me everything about Mr. Belasco's theater points toward that one ideal of his -- perfection."
She next appeared in the comedy "A Young Man's Fancy" (1919), followed up by "The Wonderful Thing" (1920). By the time she appeared in the latter, a modest success that played for 120 performances, she had become a true Broadway diva, having to wait for the applause to die down after her entrance before she could deliver her lines. She had her own distinctive ideas on how to give a fresh impression to the audience for each performance:
"Audiences mean as much to an actress as the acoustics of a concert hall mean to a musician. The musician must vary his playing according to his acoustics--according to the sort of room in which his concert is given.... A sort of sixth sense enables me to discern the character of an audience within a few minutes after I have begun to play, and it is only the people for whom I am making this lovable girl live at that one performance that matter. Former audiences are swept from my thought as though they had never been. As far as the audience of the moment is concerned others have never been. What I have done, or have not done, for them doesn't matter to the folk who have come to see the play to-night. I am so very conscious of this that I am able to play to them as though I were creating the part for the first time... I do wrong in speaking of 'playing to an audience,' however. A true artist never 'plays to the audience.' Rather he or she keeps his or her own vision true, and the creation evolves itself."
Her next Broadway appearance, "In the Night Watch" (1921), was another modest success, but she soon was to appear in the play that would make her lasting reputation. The opportunity came her way when another actress turned down the role of the prostitute Sadie Thompson in the theatrical adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham's short story "Rain."
On the road in Philidelphia, the play received discouraging reviews, necessitating a rewrite of the second act. By the time the rewritten "Rain" debuted on Broadway on November 7, 1922, at Maxine Elliott's Theatre, all the kinks had been worked out, and the play was a smash, running for 256 performances. When the company returned to Broadway after the road show, re-opening at the Gaiety Theatre on September 1, 1924, "Rain" starring Jeanne Eagels ran for another 648 performances, transferring to the New Park Theatre on December 15, 1924. "Rain" elevated Jeanne Eagels into the pantheon of American theater greats.
John D. Williams, the director of "Rain" said, "In my score of years in the theater Miss Eagels was one of the two or three highest types of interpretive acting intelligences I have met. To work with her on a play was once more to feel one's self in the theater when it was in its finest estate; when a play was not a 'show,' nor even a performance, but a work, which because it had something to say that might clarify life, was a living thing and simply demanded to be heard. It was then that somebody, known or unknown, wrote something that deserved fanatically true fulfillment--and somebody else of magic touch acted it.... Miss Eagels had that touch of magic in character interpretation- the quick exchange of ideas as to the sense of the scene. And then would come the superbly tragic entrance, for example, of Sadie Thompson in the last act of 'Rain,' with its flawless blend of bitter disillusionment, irony, revenge, terror."
Eagels' great performance was acknowledged as responsible for the great success of the play, and although Gloria Swanson had some success playing Sadie in the silent movie version of the play in 1928, Joan Crawford did less well in the role in the 1931 talkie version. Both Swanson and particularly Crawford were upstaged by their leading men, Lionel Barrymore and Walter Huston, respectively. Rita Hayworth's version in 1953, opposite José Ferrer, is barely remembered. Sadie Thompson belonged to Jeanne Eagels, and the touring company of "Rain" toured for four years.
In 1917, Eagels had said, "I am timid and afraid of men and far too busy to become well acquainted with them. My work fills my life, and I should not care to fall in love or marry before I am very, very old -- about thirty-five -- because a woman gives too much of herself when she loves, and that would interfere with her career."
By the time Eagels married her second husband, the stockbroker Edward H. Coy, in 1925 at the age of 35, she had developed a reputation as a temperamental actress who was a hard drinker. Coy had achieved Ivy League gridiron immortality as a 6-foot, 195-pound fullback at Yale, where he was named an All-American in 1908 and 1909 but had turned to the sauce for solace now that the cheers had faded. The incompatibility between the two did nothing to ameliorate her problems with her mood swings or with drink.
After "Rain," she took time off, either turning down offers such as the role of Roxie Hart in "Chicago" (1926) or quitting plays she did sign up for during rehearsals. Finally, she made her Broadway return in the George Cukor-directed light comedy "Her Cardboard Lover" (1926) opposite Leslie Howard. Broadway critics and audiences had grown accustomed to Eagels in more substantial fare, and on opening night, it was Leslie Howard whom the audience cheered, calling for Howard to take curtain calls. Controversially, Eagels took Howard's curtain calls, thanking the audience "on behalf of my Cardboard Lover." The critics, too, wound up praising Howard rather than Eagels.
Eagels fondness for medicating herself and for drink caused problems during the run of the show. Her on-stage behavior could be egregious, as when she stepped out of character and, thirty for the sauce, asked Howard's character for a drink of "water." This caused the stage manager more than once to bring down the curtain during a performance, and Howard left the stage in a huff at one point.
About bad acting, Eagels blamed it on "...[N]ot being a good listener. So few people are. For instance, when you and I are talking here and I say 'no' very deeply and quietly, your reply will be 'yes' with something of a rising inflection, a lighter modulation. You have listened to me and have made a correct tonal reply. On the stage, most of the actors and actresses know their cue words and take their cues, but they haven't listened to the speech preceding their own. The result is a correct enough answer as to word, but not as to tone. There is not tonal intelligence in the reply. Good listeners...so rare."
John D. Williams, her director in "Rain," attributed her greatness on the stage to her great ability to listen while on stage.
"First off, she knew to perfection, and adhered to as to a religion, the art of listening in acting. At every performance, whether the first, or the hundredth, the speeches of the character addressing her were not merely heard but listened to. Hence there was always thought and belief and conviction behind every speech and scene of her own-- the essence of theater illusion."
The drink and drugs apparently were eroding that greatness. However, despite her on-stage antics, "Her Cardboard Lover" was another modest success, playing for 152 performances. After shooting the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film Man, Woman and Sin with John Gilbert, she toured with the play in the large cities.
Eagels' behavior during the filming of Man, Woman and Sin was atrocious. Gilbert, whom she reportedly had an affair with, said Eagels was the most temperamental actress he had ever worked with. She would appear late at the studio, and once, she disappeared for several days. The Hollywood trade press credited Eagels disappearance to a drink binge, and at one point, she took off on a two-week vacation to Santa Barbara without informing her director, Monta Bell. Bell asked studio management to terminate Eagels' contract, which they did. Fortunately, there was enough footage so Bell could salvage the film without re-shooting.
John Gilbert said of Eagels, "She seemed to hate the movies for a popularity they could not give her....[The] blind, unreasoning adulation of the movie fans was a type of popularity she spurned. Fundamentally, Jeanne was much superior to us. Movie actors are crazy to be worshiped. Jeanne Eagels wanted to be understood and appreciated."
When the film was released, Eagels' performance received mixed reviews, but the picture was a failure primarily due to the poor reviews garnered by Gilbert. Critics rejected the great lover playing a naive mama's boy in this film. Gilbert's career was salvaged shortly thereafter by the release of his second film with Great Garbo, Love, which was a smash hit at the box office.
When Eagels began touring the East Coast in "Her Cardboard Lover," the Boston engagement was cut in half to one week as Eagels reportedly was ill. After the play moved to Chicago with a revivified Eagels, she divorced Coy in 1928, citing physically abuse and accusing him of breaking her jaw. Eagels claimed that Coy had threatened to wreck her budding movie career by ruining her face. Coy, a heavy boozer like his soon-to-be ex-wife, pleaded no contest and the divorce was granted.
The Mid-Western tour of "Her Cardboard Lover" moved on to Milwaukee, but Eagels was a no-show at both the Milwaukee and the subsequent St. Louis performances. She claimed that she was suffering from ptomaine poisoning, but eye-witness accounts placed her in Chicago on a long boozing binge when she was supposed to have been in Milwaukee. Her indefensible and unprofessional behavior brought her an 18-month suspension from Actor's Equity, which banned her from performing on stage with any other Equity actor for the length of the suspension. The ban essentially ended her stage career in New York and the rest of the country, although it could not stop her from appearing by herself on stage in non-Equity venues. Eagels hit the vaudeville circuit, performing scenes from "Rain." She also appeared in movies as producers were desperate for trained stage people with the advent of sound, and she eventually made more money from the film industry and vaudeville than she ever had from the "legitimate" stage.
Ironically, it was Monta Bell, now working at Paramount's Astoria Studios in New York, who hired Jeanne Eagels for her film comeback. In 1929, Bell announced that even though Equity didn't want Eagels, he wanted her, for she had been the consummate professional during the making of Man, Woman and Sin. The man who had urged the MGM brass to fire her now told the press that he had actually urged MGM to sign Eagels to long-term contract for more pictures.
The first movie Eagels made for Paramount was the Monta Bell-produced The Letter, which reunited Eagels with W. Somerset Maugham. Katharine Cornell had had a Broadway hit with Maugham's play as the murderous adulteress, and Eagels delivered an electrifying, legendary performance in the role on film. After Eagels received rave reviews for her The Letter, Paramount took Bell's advice and signed her to a contract for two more pictures, Jealousy and The Laughing Lady.
She began shooting "Jealousy" (1929) with the English actor Anthony Bushnell, whom she had hand-picked to be her leading man, but during filming it was apparent that Bushnell's voice was not registering well on the sound equipment. Bushnell was replaced by the up-and-coming star Fredric March, who later said Eagels was "great" to work with, but that the movie they made together was a "stinker." There were rumors that Eagels had suffered a nervous breakdown while filming "Jealousy", but Paramount denied there had been any trouble with their new diva. However, Eagels asked to be let out of her contract for "The Laughing Lady" on the grounds that she was either ill or because she didn't like the script, and the studio obliged, replacing her with Ruth Chatterton.
About her management of her personal affairs, Eagels said, "I cannot bear to transact any of my own business or make any of my own professional arrangements. I have an aversion to it I cannot overcome. I can't read the papers, either. Mention of my personal life, even tho I expect it, acts terribly on my nerves. I suppose I'm an odd person."
It was reported that now that the Actors Equity ban was due to expire in the fall of 1929, Eagels was preparing to return to Broadway. In September, Eagles underwent successful surgery to treat ulcers on her eyes, a condition was caused by her sinusitis. Two weeks after surgery, on the night of October 3, 1929, as Eagels was preparing for a night out on the town, she fell ill and was taken to a private 5th Avenue hospital. In the hospital waiting room, she suffered a convulsion and died.
Three autopsies were conducted over the following three months and reached three different conclusions as to the cause of her death, which was variously attributed as an overdose of alcohol, the tranquilizer chloral hydrate, and heroin in the successive autopsy reports. All three substances likely were in her system when she died, and it was suggested that the unconscious Eagels had received a sedative from the first doctor to treat her, and that subsequently a second doctor, not knowing she had already been sedated, had unknowingly given the unconscious actress a second shot, thus causing the overdose that killed her.
When her estate went through probate, it was worth an estimated $52,000 (approximately $562,000 in 2005 dollars) after her debts and funeral costs were deducted. Dying intestate, the estate went to her mother. A wake was held at Campbell's funeral home in New York City, the same establishment that had handled Rudolph Valentino's funeral. Reportedly, her movie "Jealousy" was playing across the street from the funeral home as she lay in her casket, finally at peace. Her body was sent to Kansas City, where a Catholic mass and requiem was held, and she was laid to rest with her father and a brother.
Eagels was posthumously nominated for a 1929 Best Actress Academy Award for her role in "The Letter," the first actor to be so honored. She lost out to superstar Mary Pickford, one of the founders of the Academy, who took the Oscar home to Pickfair for her performance in "Coquette," her first talkie.
Jeanne Eagels' life was limned in the 1957 film _Jeanne Eagels_, which starred Kim Novak. This film is fictionalized biography that whitewashed the truth about Eagels' life. In recent years, there have been rumors that Eagels enjoyed same-sex relationships with other women, but the rumors remain unsubstantiated. In her lifetime, she was romantically linked to many famous men, including the conductor Arthur Fiedler, the gambler "Nick the Greek" Dandalos, and the theater critic Ward Morehouse. She was pursued by producer David Belasco, theater owner Lee Shubert, and the Prince of Wales, the future Duke of Windsor.
About actors, Jeanne Eagels was quoted as saying, "We are glorious, unearthly people, set above all others because of our genius, our capacity to sway others, to make them laugh and cry, or make them live a romance we but play." In the Academy Award-winning All About Eve, writer-director Joseph L. Mankiewicz has the critic Addison DeWitt tell the great fictional diva Margo Channing (played by Leslie Howard's other great "untrained" co-star, Bette Davis), "Margo, as you know, I have lived in the theater as a Trappist monk lives in his faith. I have no other world, no other life -- and once in a great while I experience that moment of revelation for which all true believers wait and pray. You were one. Jeanne Eagels another."
The actor playwright Noël Coward said, "Of all the actresses I have ever seen, there was never one quite like Jeanne Eagels," while actress-playwright-Academy Award-nominated-screenwriter Ruth Gordon, a friend of Eagels, said of her, "Jeanne Eagels was the most beautiful person I ever saw and if you ever saw her, she was the most beautiful person YOU ever saw."
Kathleen Kennedy, her co-star in "Rain," said, "I sincerely doubt if Jeanne Eagels really knew, in spite of her pretensions, that she was a great actress. She was. Many times backstage I'd be waiting for my entrance cue and suddenly Jeanne would start to build a scene, and [we] would look up from our books at once. Some damn thing- some power, something- would take hold of your heart, you senses, as you listened to her, and you'd thrill to the sound of her."
John D. Williams, the director of "Rain," called her an acting genius. "Acting genius--that is, the power of enhancing a written character to a plane that neither author nor director can lay claim to -- Miss Eagels had at her beck and call, whether in tragedy or in comedy."
Hal Roach was born in 1892 in Elmira, New York. After working as a mule skinner, wrangler and gold prospector, among other things, he wound up in Hollywood and began picking up jobs as an extra in comedies, where he met comedian Harold Lloyd in 1913 in San Diego. By all accounts, including his own, he was a terrible actor, but he saw a future in the movie business and in Harold Lloyd. Roach came into a small inheritance and began producing, directing and writing a series of short film comedies, under the banner of Phun Philms (soon changed to Rolin, which lasted until 1922), starring Lloyd in early 1915. Initially these were abysmal, but with tremendous effort, the quality improved enough to be nominally financed and distributed by Pathe, which purchased Roach's product by the exposed foot of film. The Roach/Lloyd team morphed through two characters. The first, nominally tagged as "Will E. Work", proved hopeless; the second, "Lonesome Luke," an unabashed imitation of Charles Chaplin, proved more successful with each new release. Lloyd's increasing dissatisfaction with the Chaplin clone character irritated Roach to no end, and the two men engaged in a series of battles, walkouts and reconciliations. Ultimately Lloyd abandoned the character completely in 1917, creating his now-famous "Glasses" character, which met with even greater box-office success, much to the relief of Roach and Pathe. This new character hit a nerve with the post-war public as both the antithesis and complement to Chaplin, capturing the can-do optimism of the age. This enabled Roach to renegotiate the deal with Pathe and start his own production company, putting his little studio on a firm financial foundation. Hal Roach Productions became a unique entity in Hollywood. It operated as a sort of paternalistic boutique studio, releasing a surprising number of wildly popular shorts series and a handful of features. Quality was seldom compromised and his employees were treated as his most valuable asset.
Roach's relationship with his biggest earner was increasingly acrimonious after 1920 (among other things, Lloyd would bristle at Roach's demands to appear at the studio daily regardless of his production schedule). After achieving enormous success with features (interestingly, his only real feature flop of the 1930s was with General Spanky, a very poorly conceived vehicle for the property), Lloyd had achieved superstar status by the standards of "The Roaring Twenties" and wanted his independence. The two men severed ties, with Roach retaining re-issue rights for Lloyd's shorts for the remainder of the decade. While both men built their careers together, it was Lloyd who first recognized his need for creative freedom, no longer needing Roach's financial support. This realization irked Roach, and from this point forward he found it difficult, if not impossible, to offer unadulterated praise for his former friend and star (while Lloyd himself was far more generous in his later praise of Roach, he, too, could be critical, if more accurate, in his recollections). Lloyd went on to much greater financial success at Paramount.
Despite facing the prospect of losing his biggest earner, Roach was already preoccupied with building his kiddie comedy series, Our Gang, which became an immediate hit with the public. By the time he turned 25 in 1917, Roach was wealthy and increasingly spending time away from his studio. He traveled extensively across Europe. By the early 1920s he had eclipsed Mack Sennett as the "King of Comedy" and created many of the most memorable comic series of all time. These included the team of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, Charley Chase, Edgar Kennedy, 'Snub' Pollard and especially the long-running Our Gang series (AKA "The Little Rascals" in TV distribution). Pathe, which distributed his films, shut down its U.S. operations after its domestic representative, Paul Brunet, returned to France in 1927. But Roach was able to secure an even better deal with MGM (his key competitor, Mack Sennett, was also distributed by Pathe, but he was unable to land a deal, ultimately declaring bankruptcy in 1933). For the next eleven years Roach shored up MGM's bottom line, although the deal was probably more beneficial to Roach. In the mid-'30s Roach became inexplicably enamored of 'Benito Mussolini', and sought to secure a business alliance with the fascist dictator's recently completed film complex, Cinecitta. After Roach asked for (and received) assurances from Mussolini that Italy wasn't about to seek sanctions against the Jews, the two men formed RAM ("Roach And Mussolini") Productions, a move that appalled the powers at MGM parent company, Leow's Inc. These events coincided with Roach selling off "Our Gang" to MGM and committing himself solely to feature film production. In September 1937, Il Duce's son, Vittorio Mussolini, visited Hollywood and Roach's studio threw a lavish party celebrating his 21st birthday. Soon afterward the Italian government took on an increasingly anti-Semitic stance and, in retribution, Leow's chairman Nicholas Schenck canceled his distribution deal. Roach signed an adequate deal with United Artists in May 1938 and redeemed his previous record of feature misfires with a string of big hits: Topper (and its lesser sequels), the prestigious Of Mice and Men and, most significantly, One Million B.C., which became the most profitable movie of the year. Despite the nearly unanimous condemnation by his industry peers, Roach stubbornly refused to re-examine his attitudes over his dealings with Mussolini, even in the aftermath of World War II (he proudly displayed an autographed portrait of the dictator in his home up until his death). His tried-and-true formula for success was tested by audience demands for longer feature-length productions, and by the early 1940s he was forced to try his hand at making low-budget, full-length screwball comedies, musicals and dramas, although he still kept turning out extended two-reel-plus comedies, which he tagged as "streamliners"; they failed to catch on with post-war audiences. By the 1950s he was producing mainly for television (My Little Margie, Blondie and The Gale Storm Show: Oh! Susanna, for example). His willingness to delve into TV production flew in the face of most of the major Hollywood studios of the day. He made a stab at retirement but his son, Hal Roach Jr., proved an inept businessman and drove the studio to the brink of bankruptcy by 1959. Roach returned and focused on facilities leasing and managing the TV rights of his film catalog.
In 1983 his company developed the first successful digital colorization process. Roach then became a producer for many TV series on the Disney Channel, and his company still produces most of their films and videos. He died peacefully just shy of his 101st birthday, telling stories right up until the end.
Matthew Ross is an award-winning director, screenwriter and journalist from New York City.
Ross made his feature-length debut as writer-director with Frank & Lola, a "psychosexual noir love story" starring Michael Shannon, Imogen Poots, Michael Nyqvist, Justin Long, Emmanuelle Devos, and Rosanna Arquette. The film made its world premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, where the critical reaction was overwhelmingly positive, including a 4-star review in The Guardian. Two days after its first public screening, Universal announced that it acquired worldwide rights to Frank & Lola, with a theatrical release planned for later that year.
His other writing and directing work includes the festival shorts Lola, Red Angel, and Curtis and Clover; the 2010 viral video Inspired by Bret Easton Ellis, commissioned by Ellis and Random House, commissioned by Ellis and Random House and described by film critic Roger Ebert described as "one terrific video"; as well as more than 50 episodes of FIGHT! Life, an online documentary series about professional fighters, which has logged over 6 million YouTube views.
Ross was a story consultant for Larry David's HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm, including contributing plotlines to the DGA award-winning episode "Palestinian Chicken", which Vanity Fair called "the crowing achievement of the entire series." He has also written and rewritten screenplays for Anonymous Content, Radical Studios, Palmister Entertainment, Sundial Pictures, and Infinity Media, among other companies.
As a journalist, he has held staff editor/writer positions at a number of print and online publications, including Variety, Filmmaker, Indiewire, FIGHT!, and The Aesthete. His freelance articles about film, culture, sports, and politics have appeared in Playboy, The Village Voice, Nerve, Humanity magazine, and the Criterion Collection, among others. In October, 2013, Playboy published his first longform investigative feature, "Inside El Rodeo," an 8,000 story about a young American documentary filmmaker's imprisonment in Venezuela. His 2006 Filmmaker article on Steven Soderbergh's Bubble was included in the 2015 edition of Interviews: Steven Soderbergh (University Press of Mississippi).
Ross was a Directing Fellow at the Sundance Institute's Feature Filmmaking Labs and a board member of the IFP's Program Advisory Board. He has also hosted the Independent Film Channel's IFC in Theaters series, and appeared as a commentator/panelist for CNBC's Independent Spirit Awards coverage and HDNet's Inside MMA. He has also moderated panels and served on the jury at dozens of film festivals and events, including the Sundance Film Festival, the Sundance Institute at BAM series, IFP's Independent Film Week and No Borders programs, among others.
He graduated Cum Laude with Honors from Harvard University. He is represented by the William Morris Endeavor agency and MGMT management. He lives in Brooklyn.
Before the tragic legacies of songbird icons Édith Piaf, Billie Holiday and Judy Garland took hold, there was the one...the original...lady who sang the blues and started the whole "bawl" rolling. Like her successors, Helen Morgan lived the sad songs she sang...and more.
She started her life fittingly enough on August 2, 1900 in very humble surroundings. Her father was an Illinois dirt farmer and school master. She moved to Chicago while young and worked a number of menial blue-collar jobs -- manicurist, cracker-packager, counter clerk. But her passion was music and, at the age of 18, decided to leave and pursue her dream as a cabaret singer. Within a few years, she was working under the Broadway lights with the George White Scandals. In between. she studied music at the Metropolitan Opera and performed in vaudeville shows.
Helen was the antithesis of the freewheeling "Jazz Age" baby as her deep, dusky voice seemed born to weave tales of sadness and lament rather than focusing on fun and frolic. The Chicago mobsters and underground bootleggers bawled like burly babies and really took to Helen's "torch song" renditions while glamorously propped on a piano with trademark scarf in hand (originally used to disguise nerves). Prohibition-era gangsters even bankrolled her clubs which became very popular...and frequently raided.
Helen conquered Broadway in the late 1920s with her quintessential role as the tragic mulatto, "Julie", in the landmark smash musical, "Show Boat", in 1927. Introducing the standards "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" and "Bill", Helen earned more success with the musical "Sweet Adeline" in 1929 in which she introduced another favorite "Why Was I Born?". Her fragile mind and heart, however, couldn't handle the problems that started surfacing in the 1930s.
A broken marriage, emotional instability and a deep passion for the demon drink quickly did her in. She couldn't hold jobs and her health worsened by the year. After spiraling badly for a half-decade, she tried sobering up and made a huge splash in 1936 with the screen version of Show Boat starring Irene Dunne, Allan Jones and Paul Robeson. She also began to redeem herself in clubs again but it was ultimately too late. Years of abuse did its damage and she died of liver cirrhosis in 1941 at age 41. In 1957, a glossy, somewhat fictitious movie was made chronicling her life and troubled times. The Helen Morgan Story, starred a game Ann Blyth as the sultry, ill-fated songstress, with Gogi Grant a spectacular choice for dubbing in the vocals to all of Helen's best known standards.
Yes, before there was a Garland, there was Morgan, and although Garland seems to have her beat these days as THE musical icon of despair, Helen was the original tear-stained blueprint.
|The Velvet Underground
The Velvet Underground had its origins, oddly enough, in the world of manufactured pop music, around 1965. Long Island native songwriter/singer/guitarist Lou Reed had gone from college at Syracuse University to a day job as a staff composer and musician for Pickwick Records, whose specialities (besides budget reissues and compilations) were 'sound-alikes' and knockoffs of the latest musical trends. Reed could turn out songs to order in any number, and with days spent writing in an office, and evenings making quickie singles and albums in Pickwick's small studio, he learned his way around the record-making process.
When Reed's dance-craze parody The Ostrich became a surprise hit in New York (for the non-existent Primitives; Reed played guitar and sang with Pickwick studio musicians), a band was quickly assembled to perform the song at local dances and shows. The bassist for the new Primitives was Welsh-born John Cale, classically trained and already experienced in avant-garde and performance art (including playing piano in a relay with John Cage). Reed and Cale hit it off, and as The Ostrich lost its plume and the Primitives disbanded, they started to consider more serious musical work, beginning when Reed played Cale a selection of songs they'll never publish, including the unapologetic Heroin. (Reed had never tried the drug; he'd drawn from others' experiences and descriptions.) As Reed and Cale began to write together, one afternoon they bumped into a college friend of Reed's; fellow guitarist and anti-authoritarian Sterling Morrison, in Manhattan. Morrison soon joined in, and somewhere along the line they began referring to their group, which had no regular name as yet. With the addition of 'Angus MacLean' as drummer, the Falling Spikes, Warlocks, etc., began making song demos, and playing locally.
One day another college friend, Jim Tucker, came to visit the group at their loft, carrying a paperback book he'd found in the street en route; a sexual exposé by Michael Leigh titled The Velvet Underground. The name was ideal and was adopted right away. Not long after, work picked up for the Velvet Underground, and the prospect of actually getting paid to perform proved too much for Angus MacLean, who soon quit the band. With a show pending, someone luckily remembered Jim's sister Maureen Tucker played drums, had her own set, and didn't already belong to a band. Mo immediately accepted the chance to play, and within days had become a permanent member... even when her no-frills drum set was stolen. (She carried on with a set of trash cans, hauled in from outside.)
By Christmas 1965 the Velvet Underground had a residency at a New York café, and thoroughly hated it, being roped into playing during the holidays for next to nothing. One evening their audience included artist Andy Warhol, who'd come to meet the band Gerard Malanga had been telling him about. Warhol had been looking for an underground rock group to use in his multimedia shows, was intrigued by their name and persona (though he soon re-christened them the Velvets), and was impressed enough to want them to start right away, although they were booked to play through to the end of the year at the same locale. The band got out of this easily enough; having been told if they played their The Black Angel's Death Song one more time, they'd be fired, they opened their very next set with it, to Warhol's amusement. The Velvet Underground was instantly let go, and soon after showed up at Warhol's Factory. They were put to work not only as musicians, but sometime subjects and helpers for Warhol's film and art projects. Cale and Reed also developed close personal relationships with Warhol, and Tucker sometimes joined him when he attended Mass.
Warhol soon brought another great talent to meet the Velvets; European beauty 'Nico', who'd been a model and actress (appearing in _Dolce Vita, La (1960)_), and more recently a chanteuse, singing at the Blue Angel Lounge in New York. Warhol wanted Nico to sing with the band, play along if she could (harmonium and percussion), and otherwise just stand around looking beautiful. Reed began writing songs for Nico, like I'll Be Your Mirror and Femme Fatale, and Nico attached herself to Reed, Cale and others, as and when the occasion demanded. The overall band situation looked promising, but there was already noticeable friction between the band members and the Warhol circle, which included Gerard Malanga, Edie Sedgwick, Ondine, Mary Woronov, and Betsey Johnson (who later married John Cale, with photos appearing in a fashion magazine). The Velvets and Nico hit the road in 1966, as part of Warhol's pop-art roadshow, the Exploding Plastic Inevitable, and by the end of the year Warhol's name had finally procured a record deal with MGM's Verve label, and with Warhol expected to produce their debut album.
Appearing in January 1967 (with a unique peelable-banana cover, which was Warhol's main contribution to the record; his studio involvement was as minimal as much of his art, while producer's duties were mostly filled by Lou Reed and 'Tom Wilson'), the first Velvet Underground album seemed condemned to instant obscurity. Advertising was cancelled or declined in most of the usual places, mostly because of the stark, matter-of-fact content and subject matter of its songs (drugs including speed and heroin, the club scene, unconventional sex and relationships and life on the fringes of the pop-art world). Alongside the usual photos and band information ran both good and bad reviews of their music, reprinted from the press. None of the usual adjectives fit the band, with Reed's overloud, tremolo-crazed guitar, Cale's electric viola, bass and keyboards, Morrison's raw-nerve fuzz guitar and bass, the tomboyish Tucker pounding her drums with mallets, from a standing position... and Nico, alternately beckoning and icing things up with her voice. The Velvets were hard to classify, and harder to understand, for most pop music followers. To add to the downside of things, a lawsuit brought against MGM by a Warhol associate whose image appeared in a back-cover photo stopped distribution of the album, until the cover could be retouched and reprinted, at considerable cost and delay. A ripple on the bottom of Billboard's LP chart was as far as they got, the first time.
The Velvet Underground continued to work with Andy Warhol and Nico into 1967, with diminishing levels of satisfaction; plainly Nico and Warhol were each more concerned with their own careers than the Velvets', and over the next year, they parted ways with both. The Velvets acquired a full-time manager, and while most of the world celebrated the Summer of Love in London and California, they prepared their second album, back in New York: White Light/White Heat, released in early 1968, with a black-on-black cover photo of friend Billy Name's arm tattoo. Most of the album's sound was distorted and noisy, with the band preferring to play at high decibels in the studio as onstage, and often only allowing one take per song. (According to legend, the album was recorded in a single day; Maureen Tucker recalled a series of sessions, years later.) With Warhol out of the picture, the band found it hard to get work in New York, and began appearing more in Boston, where they found acceptance. They also began regular cross-country touring, in the manner of most major-label bands of the time.
Growing tensions between Reed and Cale ultimately drove Reed to force Morrison and Tucker to decide: either Cale was out, or the group was over. Cale departed, and was replaced by guitarist/bassist/singer 'Doug Yule', whose presence and softer vocal style altered the Velvets' sound considerably. The third Velvet Underground album, eponymously titled and appearing in 1969 (this time not on Verve, but the MGM label itself), was largely acoustic, with Reed and Yule sharing lead vocals, and for the American market, mixed by Reed with almost no echo or reverb. (For the worldwide market, an alternate mix was prepared by 'Val Valentin', with standard reverb and echo.)
Between 1969 and early 1970, the Velvets continued to tour, and prepare material for a fourth album, recording both in the studio and live on the road. With their next album nearly ready to go, the band was abruptly dropped by MGM, who nonetheless insisted on keeping the studio tapes. (On the one hand, the band didn't mind leaving MGM/Verve, who offered little in the way of promotion or distribution; nobody knew what to say to fans who asked why they couldn't get copies of the Velvets' records, while the music press and radio mostly ignored them, even with faked track timings for lengthy singles. On the other hand, they'd continued to record expecting the tapes to be sold to their next label.) Ahmet Ertegun of Atlantic Records came to the rescue, and the band was signed to their subsidiary label Cotillion (fresh from its success with the Woodstock film soundtrack), remaking many of the last year's songs. Tucker became pregnant, and had to gradually back away from performing and recording until the baby (her daughter Kerri) was born; Yule's brother 'Billy Yule', who was still in high-school, filled in on drums.
The strain of being in the spotlight, of having to put on a show at the insistence of their manager, of trying to make a more commercial than original album this time, and of having nothing but notoriety for years of hard work, was becoming too much for Lou Reed, who found his singing voice failing more and more often as the months went on, coupled with a mounting sense of exhaustion. As Yule pressed for more of a leading role in the band, Reed let him take it, and as the Velvets wound up the recording of Loaded in 1970, and their summer residency back in New York at Max's Kansas City, Reed decided he'd had enough. One night after the last set at Max's, Reed's parents picked him up; he briefly introduced them to his band-mates, and headed home, leaving it to the next day to tell anyone he was out.
With Reed gone, and Morrison not interested, Doug Yule became front man for the Velvets, who were still under contract to tour and record. Willie Alexander took Doug Yule's place, while Yule became something of an imitation Lou Reed, writing and singing in Reed's style; before long the new line-up was being derided as the Velveteen Underground. When Morrison and Tucker saw opportunities to leave, they took them, with Morrison ditching the band on the road when he learned he'd been offered a position teaching English at Texas A&M, and Tucker deciding to go when changing the band's name became a topic of discussion. Yule ended up being the only member to arrive in England during 1971, to record the album Squeeze (not released in the US), which he completed with help from Deep Purple's Ian Paice. The band was able to fulfil their Atlantic contract with the first bootleg recording ever accepted by a major record label; Velvets fan 'Brigid Polk' had brought her new cassette recorder to Max's Kansas City on the last night Lou Reed had appeared, and the (mono) tape turned out surprisingly well. Another live album, compiled from 1969 tour dates, followed on the Mercury label a couple years later.
As the Velvet Underground appeared to settle into the dust of the 1960s, Lou Reed emerged at last as a real pop star, making the music he wanted to make; after more than a year of self-imposed retirement doing simple office work for his parents' company, he began venturing out again, in time landing a solo contract with RCA Records. Long-time Velvets fan David Bowie encouraged RCA (which he also recorded for) to support Reed, and threw himself into the production of Reed's breakout album Transformer, which included Reed's signature hit, A Walk On The Wild Side. John Cale, Nico, and later Maureen Tucker also recorded successful solo albums, while Sterling Morrison occasionally jammed on guitar with his students, and sometimes allowed access to his personal Velvets archives. (Doug Yule traded his guitars for carpentry tools at the end of the 1970s, becoming a cabinetmaker until he resumed his musical career in the 1990s, this time also playing violin.)
It wasn't until the late Seventies, with Lou Reed's career firmly established and the beginnings of punk rock, that the Velvet Underground finally began to get the recognition they deserved, for their originality and their dedication to the spirit of rock-n-roll. New artist after new artist, when asked to name their influences, would include the Velvet Underground, while the first Velvets album eventually earned (but didn't receive) a Gold Record award, with half a million sales. Reed was interested enough to go to court, confirming that he'd written the lion's share of the band's songs (even those credited to the whole band originally), and that he would be so listed on every new release of the old material. The other band members, in turn, sued for back payments for their touring days, and along with a settlement came the formation of an all-group partnership.
With the advent of digital remastering and improved studio technology in the early 1980s, the three Velvet Underground albums from the 1960s were prepared for reissue by PolyGram, which had bought out the MGM label. The search for master tapes turned up the lost recordings from the never-completed fourth Velvets album, and a selection of these and other unreleased masters (some bootlegged to death over the years, from acetate test-discs) was compiled as a new release. As an experiment, the tapes were mixed not to 60s, but to 80s standards; the results demonstrated that the Velvet Underground had been considerably ahead of their time, musically at least. Both the collection VU and its follow-up, Another View, sold well, and interest in the band was regenerated.
After Andy Warhol's death in 1987, Lou Reed found himself stumped in trying to write a tribute to his old friend and mentor, and contacted the one person he knew understood Warhol the way he did; his old bandmate John Cale. Cale, as it turned out, hadn't been getting far in his own Warhol tribute, and when the two met again to match ideas, things dovetailed as well as they ever had. Songs for Drella, their joint Warhol tribute released in 1989, was a triumph, and Reed and Cale began performing the album live on tour, with selections on television.
By 1992, continued interest in the Velvet Underground prompted the best line-up (Reed, Cale, Morrison and Tucker) to re-form for a possible tour, with Tucker and Morrison moving back to New York to join Reed and Cale. Beginning with an afternoon's rehearsal in a rented space, and with the forces that had pulled them apart long since gone, the Velvets were able to rediscover what they'd enjoyed most about making music together; the sheer fun they'd had doing it. A highly successful tour was followed by an equally successful live album and video release, while their reissued earlier catalog continued to sell, better than the first time around. New generations of fans (and budding musicians) discovered their music, now considered classic, and proto-punk; finally, an apt description.
In 1996, the Velvet Underground was given some long-awaited official acclaim, with their entrance into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Unfortunately Sterling Morrison wasn't able to see this happen, having died of lymph cancer only months earlier (and just a month after its diagnosis), but his widow appeared with the band members, to accept on his behalf.
Scott Steiner has been a mainstay in professional wrestling for over 15 years. When he started out in the business, he was a singles wrestler, wrestling in some smaller federations before coming to the NWA (WCW) to team with his older brother, Rick. It was at this time that Steiner became world famous as one half of the greatest tag team of the 1990's. The two brothers wreaked havoc on anyone who dared get in the ring with them. Known for their amazing wrestling arsenal of suplexes, the two won the WCW tag team titles on many occasions throughout a ten year time period. Steiner, especially, bacame well-schooled in the art of the suplex, as he would use many varieties of this devastating wrestling move to render his foes senseless. He also invented the Frankensteiner, a wrestling move that involves jumping up onto your opponents shoulders from their front, letting your body fall upside-down so you head is between their legs, and then using your stomach and leg muscles to power them forward onto the mat. This move was perfected by Steiner, who could perform the maneuver from a standing position, while his opponent was running at him, or to an opponent sitting on the top rope.
After several years in WCW, which saw him win his first singles title (WCW TV title) in a brief singles push for a couple of months, The Steiner brothers went off to the WWF in early 1993. For the next year, the two continued their assault on every tag team in their path, winning the WWF Tag Team titles on two occasions before leaving in early 1994.
The next stop for the tag team tandem was Japan, where the two continued to prove why they were the best in the business. When WCW came calling in 1996, the Steiner Brothers headed back home. Once again they became the best tag team in WCW's ranks, taking on famous tag teams like Harlem Heat, the Road Warriors, and the Outsiders. They became a huge force in WCW against the nWo uprising in 1996-97. Their feud with The Outsiders (Scott Hall & Kevin Nash) in 1997 saw the tag team belts change hands between the two several times.
By early 1998, Scott did not even resemble the Steiner of old. He had cut his hair short (it had always been shoulder length), had beefed up his always-impressive physique even more to look like a bodybuilder, and had grown quite a mean streak. Even with his changing appearance, fans were still completely shocked when he turned on his brother at WCW's Superbrawl VIII pay-per view in February of 1998. Steiner joined the ranks of the nWo and became one of its lead men, taking on the moniker "Big Poppa Pump". He spent most of the year feuding with his brother and helping the nWo in their war against the newly formed Wolfpack.
By early 1999, the nWo had joined with the Wolfpack and WCW was in disarray. Steiner did not let this chaos get to him, as he won the TV and the US titles in the first couple months of the year. He also reunited with his brother in the summer of that year, as the he and Rick held the US and TV titles, respectively. By 2000, Steiner was a main event star who was on his way to win the World Title. He did just that in the fall of that year, defeated Booker T to become the World Heavyweight Champion. He took on all comers in his four-month title reign and became one of the most dominant WCW Champions in history before WCW folded and was bought out by the WWF in March of 2003. He lost the WCW Title to Booker T on the very last edition of WCW Nitro. Steiner decided to take things easy for a while to recover from some back problems that he had been having, along with a severe nerve problem in his left leg. He did wrestle several times for the internation-touring WWA, winning their version of the Championship. He finally showed up in WWE in fall of 2002, immediately getting into a feud with then-champion HHH. After headlining two straight pay-per-views in early 2003, Steiner began a partnership and then a feud with fellow WWE superstar Test. This lasted for most of the year. He again was forced to take some time off from action due to a groin injury. He has yet to return to action as of April 2004, but knowing Steiner, he will return with a vengeance, so watch out.
Petter Næss was born in Oslo, Norway, in 1960. Originally he worked as a writer, director and actor for the theatre, staging close to 30 productions. In 1997 he was appointed director of Oslo Nye Teater (Oslo New Theatre) and he quickly made a mark for himself promoting contemporary Norwegian plays and focusing on works for young audiences. At the theatre he realized the first staging of "Elling", based upon Ingvar Ambjørnsen's popular book "Brødre i blodet" (Brothers in Blood). The show was a huge success and gained rave reviews from critics and audiences alike.
In 1999 Næss made his debut as a film director, with his dark comedy "Absolutt Blåmandag" (Absolute Hangover). Both leads of the movie ended up winning the Amanda Award (at the International Norwegian Film Festival) for best actor and actress in 1999. After the huge success of "Elling" it was just a question of time before it was turned into a feature film, and when "Elling" the movie saw the light of day in 2001 the result was the one of the biggest blockbusters in Norwegian cinema history (roughly 800,000 Norwegians saw the movie - for comparison: there are only 4,2 million people in Norway). "Elling" became an instant favorite and somewhat a modern classic with Norwegian movie-goers and it became the fourth Norwegian film in history to be nominated for the best foreign film Oscar (Academy Award).
Academy Award-winning actor Kevin Spacey soon after bought the rights to re-make "Elling" for American theatres, and the Norwegian original became somewhat a cult hit with audiences around the globe. With "Elling" the "feel-good film" had finally come to Norway, and it struck a nerve with international audiences as well.
In 2003 the success of "Elling" led to Næss signing a deal with 20th Century Fox to direct 3 movies for the traditional production company. Before he began production on the first of these ("Mozart & the Whale" with Josh Hartnett) he proved he also had a rare talent for youth-films, with his Norwegian youth-drama "Bare Bea" (opening in January of 2004). Again the critics were impressed, and with three critical and commercial successes in a row, Petter Næss proved without a shadow of a doubt he was one of the greatest Norwegian filmmakers of his generation.
Michael McKiddy was seen at the age of 5 in his first television appearance on the "The Uncle Al TV Show" in Cincinnati, Ohio. Shortly after that his parents took him to see "Back to the Future," and from that moment on, he told everyone he met that he wanted to be an actor.
Growing up in Springboro, Ohio, Michael spent every spare moment of his teenage years writing and filming movies and skits with his childhood friends, stating this was "an incredible acting/filmmaking class in itself." But it took him 5 years after relocating with his family to Sterling Heights, Michigan, during his senior year at Utica High School, to gather enough nerve to audition for the school's Fall musical "Oklahoma!" He successfully landed a role, and was overwhelmed by the camaraderie involved in putting a show together.
Officially bitten by the acting bug, Michael spent the next 8 years studying acting and performing in front of sold out audiences in theaters throughout Southeastern Michigan, as he starred in over 40 plays and musicals. He won numerous awards, like the Gypsy Robe for his portrayal of Ellard Simms, a slow minded Southern boy, in Larry Shue's "The Foreigner." He also took home three different awards at Grosse Pointe Theatre for: Best Featured Male as Vinnie Bavasi in Neil Simon's "Proposals"; Best Supporting Male as Stanley in "Brighton Beach Memoirs"; and Best Leading Male as Nick in "Over the River and Through the Woods."
In addition to his onstage performances, Michael was involved in various local films in the Detroit area; having roles that would place him in front of and behind the camera, satisfying his eagerness to continue learning all aspects of filmmaking. At age 19, he landed the lead role of Patrick Hill, a recovering heroin addict who learns he has contracted AIDS, in the gritty feature film "After April."
After being cast in 4 additional local features, Michael was chosen to play the character Brad, a supporting role opposite Shanti Lowry ("The Game"), Melissa Schuman ("Love Don't Cost a Thing"), and Scott Vickaryous ("Get Real") in the film "Silent Scream", produced by Bob Brown (Jeff Daniel's partner at Purple Rose Films), which was picked up by Lionsgate, and can be found at all online retailers.
He can also be seen as the lead role in the hilarious feature film "Deadheads" (which was released in the US on March 6th, and can be seen all over the world as well; the film sold out two screenings at the 2011 Newport Beach Film Festival, a third show was even added; then also in July 2011 it sold out a 530 seat theater at Michael Moore's Traverse City Film Festival; "DeadHeads" was screened to sold out audiences at the 2011 Albuquerque Film Festival, then at UK's Film4 FrightFest in Liecester Square; Screamfest in LA; and then Toronto After Dark and the Austin Film Festival - where all three screenings sold out - among many other festivals).
Michael also starred in a short film called "Suck" (directed by Ben Ketai - "30 Days of Night: Dark Days") which screened at Screamfest 2007 at the Chinese Theatre in LA; Michael also played the lead in a pilot written and directed by Ketai titled "Infection Hour"; as well as written/acted in/produced/directed numerous short films (including "The Men's Room," which was a finalist in the "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" short film contest) and a web series called "Paranormal, Burbank" (a loose spoof of the hit Sci Fi channel show "Ghost Hunters"), which can be seen all over the Internet.
Also a writer, Michael watched his first full length play "The Scene with the Large Man" (which he also produced and directed), come to life when it premiered in Michigan in June 2005. Later in that same month, "Aisle Two" - a one act play he wrote - was produced off Broadway at the Sargent Theatre in New York City. In September 2011 his one act play "Evidence" was produced at the Manhattan Repertory Theatre in NYC.
He has completed the screenplays: "Reenactment," "Mulher," "In Between Fading," "Shooting Blanks" - which he co-wrote with USC grad and former FX's "Justified" writer Ryan Farley - and "Aurora" - also with Ryan Farley - which is repped by CAA; as well as the stage plays "Love(HATE)," "Fake," and "Hilarity Ensues."
Michael was also the producer of the critically acclaimed World Premiere of Keith Huff's (author of "A Steady Rain," which ran on Broadway and starred Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig) "Pursued By Happiness" at The Road Theatre Company from March-June 2011.
Outside of the film business, Michael is a singer/songwriter and has recorded his music with his band Right on Wagner (three ROW songs are featured in his film "DeadHeads," especially the song "Say Hi" which plays throughout the last ten minutes of the film and into the credits). ROW's music can be found on iTunes (including an LP that will be released Summer 2012).
Michael lives in Glendale, California; is a proud member of The Road Theatre Company, and an equally proud member of the Screen Actor's Guild, Actor's Equity, and AFTRA.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Dick Emery was one of the most successful comics on the box. He was voted BBC TV Personality of the Year, thanks to creations such as his toothy vicar, sex-starved spinster Hettie, crusty old Lampwick, outrageously camp Clarence, who coined the phrase: "Hallo honky tonks". Perhaps the most memorable of all was Mandy, a busty middle-aged woman whose repressed nature was usually betrayed by a sudden affectionate slap and a cry of: "Ooh, you are awful. But I like you!".
While his creations left millions howling, in private Emery was a man with a terrible fear of failure. He was often sick before performances and would sleep to escape stage nerves prior to a performance. Bob Monkhouse once incurred his wrath by accidentally waking him before a Royal Variety Performance. Emery exploded in a torrent of abuse as Monkhouse recalled in his book 'Over the Limit'. Emery used to spend hours in analysis, was hypnotised, tried many sedatives and drugs to cure his tension - though the pills scared him as much as the fear of failure.
He once told friend and co-star Roy Kinnear: "I don't just envy the confidence that other comics seem to have, I resent it. I hate them for it, just like my dad did. If there's such a thing as a chip off the old block, it's on my shoulder."
Emery married five times and left his last wife to live with a showgirl 30 years younger than him. His BBC show was axed after 12 years in 1979 and he died four years later.
A delightfully irksome, viper-tongued presence who usually played older than she was, actress Cora Witherspoon began her five-decade career in New York playing an elderly lady in the 1910 production of "The Concert". She was 20 years old at the time. Born in 1890, the brown-haired, Louisiana-born character player continued on the Broadway stage after her successful debut and became a generally unsympathetic audience favorite in such popular shows as "Daddy Long Legs," "Lillies of the Field" and "The Awful Truth" for the next two decades.
She began dividing her time between theater and film in the early 1930s wreaking havoc and rattling the nerves of many a male and female star with her imperious gallery of class-conscious matrons, haranguing wives, acidulous spinsters and aggressive busybodies. Notable film contributions were her cryptic socialites in the quality comedies Libeled Lady and Personal Property, both starring Jean Harlow. She was equally unpleasant in such dramatic fare as Dark Victory, and played her patented society snoot to perfection in the Shirley Temple vehicle Just Around the Corner. A particular standout, and the movie role she is probably best remembered for, was her untidy, henpecking wife Agatha Sousé in the comedy classic The Bank Dick, the prime source of W.C. Fields' misery.
Though her home base was in New York City where she continued to perform in the theater, she made her living commuting to Hollywood in the post-war years, ending her career with brief appearances on TV. She died in 1957 at age 67 in New Mexico.
Gerald (Gerry) Garrett Garcia, born 16 March 1995 in Salt Lake City Utah is an American actor, writer, athlete, martial-artist and musician. His family is of Spanish, Italian and Sephardic Jewish heritage. He was born to a family of athletes and musicians. His parents, Adon and Tilly Garcia were national and international karate champions. They trained under big names such as Fumio Demura, Yoshi Yamazaki, Hirokazu Kanazawa, and Osamu Ozawa. As soon as he started running at 8 months of age, his parents quickly saw his athletic potential and introduced him to soccer and martial arts.
By age three, he was showing great promise and he began training karate-do, iaido (drawing a live sword), kendo (sword fencing), and aikido with his parents. At this age, he went to the piano one day and plunked out "twinkle little star" and "Mary had a little lamb" without prior lessons. His parents recognized his many talents at an early age and quickly decided to invest in piano lessons for him despite their unfortunate financial situation due to a special needs sister.
Two years before Gerry's birth, his mother was prescribed a harsh medication that damaged his sister Ariel, mentally, before her birth. When the doctors said she only had 24 hours to live, all that was left for them to do was to ask their family and friends to pray for her. His parents did whatever they could to keep her alive which made it difficult for them financially. Before this, his parents had a karate studio and were making good money. With his sister's past and present medical bills, and moving from their custom built house, the family has struggled to make ends meet but still found the money to invest in the betterment of their children. The family believes that it is because of the power of prayer, that Ariel is still alive today.
Gerry began his competitive soccer career in 2000 with local recreation teams at the age of five and at the age of seven he became a prospect for Utah's most prestigious teams, Sparta United in Sandy, Utah. He has won several golden boot and MVP awards in his years as a striker and was a proud member of the ODP (Olympic Development Program) team. He has trained internationally with teams such as Real Madrid (Spain), Leeds United and Parsley F.C. (England.) He has been a two time state finalist with his High School soccer team, Juan Diego Catholic High School and was nominated for the UHSAA (Utah High School Activities Association) All-State team. Another notable fact about his soccer career was him being clocked at running at an incredible speed of 20 mph at the age of only 14. As he got older his speed increased 22 mph. He has had a lot of obstacles in his soccer career. Shortly after his freshman soccer season, he endured a horrific back injury that almost left him paralyzed. He said "when the injury happened, I was scared and totally helpless...I couldn't feel my legs as I felt myself collapse on the pitch. I almost broke down because I thought it was the end for me at that point. Luckily, I regained feeling back in my legs a few minutes later. At that moment I had a sigh of relief but I was still in excruciating pain." Because of this injury, he had to rehab for almost a year without running, juggling or any activity whatsoever. Surgery for his back was an option, but was highly discouraged by his family and the doctors because of how close to nerve endings in which the injury resided. Despite this almost life-changing obstacle, he recovered miraculously and was able to finish his high school career. The injury did prove to be life changing however. As he got older, the injury hurt worse game after game. He decided, instead of risking his health he would give up playing the game he loved competitively but continue to pursue acting and music, despite being scouted by professional soccer teams in both Spain and England.
Gerry's music career is quite extensive despite his whole life being consumed by soccer. During a music class in elementary school, his music teacher, Vikki Maronick asked him to play a song for the class. When he went to the electric keyboard, he noticed the key he played wasn't playing the note it should have. It was at this moment, he learned something unique about himself; he has perfect pitch. Gerry at the time had no idea how rare this ability is, but his teacher was astounded that she finally had a student with such genius and talent. He began playing the piano for school church services in third grade and he would play concerts on a weekly basis at a retirement home named St. Josephs Villa, where he would many times make up difficult songs all on the spot. The events coordinator began paying young Gerry but he was later laid off and the new events coordinator director asked him to stop coming back and playing. He had a good run of 3 years playing for the elderly. One of his first notable achievements was winning the Chopin Joy Robin competition, held at Juan Diego Catholic High School in 2003. In sixth grade, his school was putting on a production called "The Pirates of Penzance," which was to be directed by the music teacher's brother, Douglas Nagel, who is a renown opera singer for the San Jose Opera. Gerry didn't plan on auditioning for it because he didn't think it would be worthwhile. When it came closer to auditions, his music teacher noticed that he hadn't signed up for them yet. Furiously, she sought out his mother who was waiting to pick him up after school and inquired as to why he hadn't signed up to audition. To Ms. Maronick's surprise, he had not told his mother about the production. When Gerry met both of them outside by his mother's car, he got an earful from both of them. Finally, he decided he would audition anyways after being bribed by his mother, which eventually lead to him landing the lead role as Fredric. This was a turning point in Gerry's drama and music career because this was his first theatre production because his school had little funding for the arts up until that year. He had the most fun working with Mr. Nagel and the rest of the cast and he said "they were moments that I will never forget and I'm glad I did it." As he got older, he was winning more and more piano competitions and festivals. However, when high school came around, it became more difficult to balance between acting, music and soccer. For a couple years he hadn't been doing many piano competitions, just local festivals. People were beginning to think that maybe he was losing his competitive edge and/or losing his abilities. To prove people wrong, he competed in the UHSAA State Solo and Ensemble Competition in 2013. During this competition he scored straight superiors in every round by playing the first movement of Ludwig Von Beethoven's Pathetique Sonate. To the public's astonishment, he made a comeback in his piano career and even more incredible, he was the only pianist to qualify for state in his school's respective region/division and the first pianist to win the competition for his school.
He is currently writing screenplays and he is collaborating with various producers and actors about his upcoming project.
Denise Grayson, who portrays an intellectual property attorney in 'David Fincher''s movie _The Social Network is a perfect example of art imitating life. She is an actress who IS an intellectual property lawyer.
Denise landed her role in The Social Network after being spotted at a party by the film's casting director, Laray Mayfield. Laray asked her if she was an actor. In the presence of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, who were standing nearby, Denise was at first reluctant to admit that she was.
But it was a nerve-wracking four months before she knew the role was hers. At first, she didn't even know she was auditioning for a David Fincher movie.
In her first feature film, 1999's Puppet, Denise played an FBI agent. Next came a short film Gasline, which won the jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival. The writer/director, 'Dave Silver', cast her again in his first full-length feature Corn.
She followed with three movies for the Hallmark Channel. In Though None Go with Me, she aged considerably, playing a sixty-year-old opposite Cheryl Ladd. This was followed by Pandemic and the 2009 movie Citizen Jane, playing a bank manager. Ally Sheedy starred.
Today, Denise divides her time between homes in New York and Los Angeles. She is licensed to practice law in New York and Florida. Although Denise is immersed in her acting career, she generously donates her time in California doing pro bono mediation work. She also coaches stand-up comedians, though there is no apparent connection between the two activities.
While still in her twenties, Denise was in-house counsel for Paine Webber (now UBS) and then for Bankers Trust (now Deutsche Bank) as an intellectual property lawyer with a specialty in technology.
Denise was something of a prodigy, entering college in her hometown of Brooklyn, New York at the age of 16, majoring in accounting and economics. She also took courses in public speaking to overcome her shyness. At twenty, she was already studying at the University of Miami School of Law. In her last year there, she successfully tried six supervised felony cases. Upon graduating, she had the opportunity to work as a state prosecutor, but realized this was not the work she wanted to do when she felt sympathy for the defendant in a major murder case.
Moving back to New York to be near her parents, both teachers and artists, she embarked on a legal career that was far removed from sympathetic murder suspects. She worked in the early days of the technology boom and the beginning of the Internet. Denise soon struck out on her own, representing most of the major banks and financial institutions, including Merrill Lynch, Chase and Prudential. At the same time, she became involved in acting, reigniting her childhood creativity when she played the lead in a number of school plays. She started classes at Uta Hagen's famous HB Studios and continued to study there for years. Juggling two careers, Denise got work as a model and as an actress in commercials while she continued to work as an attorney. Her lawyer friends thought she was nuts, but she quickly found herself in a number of off-off-Broadway plays and low budget movies. Today, she is able to enjoy the fruits of her labors, with her career now moving to a higher level.
Born in 1862, Montague Rhodes James developed a reading habit at an early age, preferring to stay in the library than with friends. He took this with him when he went to study at Eton and then at the King's College, Cambridge, where he became assistant in classical archaeology at the Fitzwilliam museum. After writing a dissertation: "The Apocalypse of St. Peter", he became a Fellow of King's, and then Dean. Although he was renowned in some circles for his biographies, studies into antiques, reviews and palaeography, it was his ghost stories that he would be remembered for. He was keenly engaged in examining the supernatural, and his stories were always written in a way so the reader uses their imagination. The real horror is often kept to the reader's mind. Celebrated cult horror novelist and story writer H.P. Lovecraft was a fan, and wrote a review on his work: "...gifted with an almost diabolic power of calling horror by gentle steps from the midst of prosaic daily life." he says, also adding: "Dr. James has, it is clear, an intelligent and scientific knowledge of human nerves and feelings; and knows just how to apportion statement, imagery, and subtle suggestions in order to secure the best results with his readers." Although largely ignored by filmmakers - Curse of the Demon - is one exception), his work has a dedicated fan base, and the BBC filmed several of his stories in the 1970s, wisely titling them under the series "A Ghost Story for Christmas". In 2000, horror legend Christopher Lee jumped at the chance to read four of James' stories in another Christmas special screened on BBC2. James' most famous works include "Ghost Stories of an Antiquary", "The Five Jars", "A Warning to the Curious and other Ghost Stories" and "The Collected Ghost Stories of M. R. James".
Teddy Wilson began his career in the entertainment industry as a child actor on the internationally syndicated series You Can't Do That On Television. After earning an Honours B.A. in Political Science, Wilson moved to Toronto to work at the Ontario Legislature. Political advisor by day, he started producing live comedy revues at night, including the prestigious Tim Sims Encouragement Award show at The Second City.
After leaving politics Wilson worked as a Talent Booker for The Comedy Network series Popcultured With Elvira Kurt, and in 2005 he joined MTV for the launch of its flagship show MTV Live. While serving as studio producer at MTV, his "former child star" status was often parodied during the popular "after-school special" sketches.
In 2008, Wilson left MTV to join Space. His first assignment was interviewing George Lucas at Skywalker Ranch (nerve-wracking but awesome, it was). Since then, he's been ridiculously fortunate to interview an eclectic range of other folks, including: Sir Anthony Hopkins, Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Christian Bale, Kate Beckinsale, Nicolas Cage, Bryan Cranston, Mark Ruffalo, Martin Sheen, Anderson Cooper, John Malkovich, William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy; Directors David Cronenberg, Robert Zemeckis, and Guillermo del Toro; authors George R.R. Martin and Neil Gaiman; Marvel's Stan Lee; the casts of The Twilight Saga, The Big Bang Theory, Doctor Who, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and many others.
Wilson's writing has appeared in the Toronto Star (Canada's largest newspaper), Toro Magazine, and Metro Newspapers. He appears regularly as a guest on eTalk, CTV News, The Marilyn Denis Show, and CP24. In 2011, Wilson won (along with co-host Ajay Fry) 'Outstanding Contribution to Film or TV' at the Canadian Sci-Fi Awards.
When not busy hosting InnerSpace Wilson goes to a ton of movies, reads comic books, and plays drums in the indie-rock band HUDDLE, whose videos can be seen on MuchMusic and MTV, and whose music can be heard in the hit series 'Teen Mom' and Robert Redford's upcoming film The Company You Keep.
Wilson also appears alongside Norm Sousa as host of the new explosive series Never Ever Do This At Home, which airs on Discovery in Canada and Spike in the U.S.
|Bryan H. Tucker
Bryan Tucker is a stand up comedian and sketch actor, but he's mostly known as a comedy writer. Bryan has written for some of the top TV sketch shows in the past decade including The Chris Rock Show and Chappelle's Show. He is co-head writer on Saturday Night Live.
Bryan is a eight-time Emmy nominee, the recipient of a Peabody Award, and three Writers Guild Awards. A sketch that Bryan wrote for Chappelle's Show ("The Race Draft") was picked as #12 on Nerve and IFC.com's "50 Greatest Sketches of All Time."
Before he broke into TV writing, Bryan was a performer who played over 500 shows around the country as a stand up and as a player in the sketch/ improv group Selected Hilarity. Bryan still does stand up around New York.
Bryan lives in New York City with his wife and two children.
Dean Constantin Gaigani, born on September 30th, in Belgium, the north of Europe, to Hellenic parents, is today living between Paris, Luxembourg and keeps traveling to the USA in order to break the odds. Since his childhood, he was embarked into an unconditional world, having had life's experiences in various North and South European countries but also USA. After a short period spent in Denver, Colorado, at the age of 6, his parents were moving back to Europe in order to pursue an unknown destiny. Feeling lost and without knowing which country's ethics he had to follow, by living on a delirious psychic and wistful dilemma, he pretty soon realized that he was certainly born for the real dramaturgy. The concept of ethnicity has been a central part of social theories but when it comes to his life's theory, we could say that mixing his sweat and blood with all the dusty lands he had the chance of exploring, today, these same lands make of him a real son of the Screen. Since being a little child, he always used to draw pictures and describe experiences into a secret little note book. Thus, while walking, exploring and singing his precious dreams, the murmurs of his heart declared a real passion and love for movie pictures and inexhaustible writings. While being a good student at school, at the age of 15 and with his father's consent and excessively protective mother's protests, he dropped out of home in order to pursue with a professional sport's career in the South of Europe, dreaming about a first successful scenario allowing thus to offer a deserved big gift to his family who was also striving for a better idyllic future. Sadly, this same experience turned into a nightmare, including major injuries pushing him to pack back and continue with his studies and wishful destiny of his heart's pen. After this precocious professional sport's career, at the age of 18, after graduating in Political and Social Sciences at school he entered the Conservatory of Arts in Belgium where he studied Drama and Music in English and French. Dean was a gifted vocalist and comedian and his teachers were seeing a promising talent providing him thus with prosperous embraces. In 1997, at the age of 20, while studying for his Bachelor of Arts and Audiovisual Sciences, he was elected Leader and Presenter of an ultimate challenging act taking place in the historical cities of Nimes in the South of France. Dean had already planned to turn this animation into an apocalyptic and memorable theatre spectacle. His dreams were finally starting to see the horizon as at the same time and after a remarkable audition, his theatre coach was giving him a prosperous chance to lead the role of Don Juan de Marco. At this stage, Dean Constantin Gaigani, was drawing his path, wishing thus upon his return from France to catch a lucky flight for America and start his real acting career. In November 1997, at around of 11.30am, the glory lights turned off and then, a painful nothing for a very long period, as long as infinite months, hitting, smashing and breaking everything. This next chapter was and is something requiring strong nerves indeed. After a serious injury, one more, Dean Constantin was entering the post-traumatic unit in the Hospital of Nimes, leaving his body and heartbeat into science. He was admitted with a serious Occipital wound, a broken neck and Spinal Cord injury. A condition that left him Tetraplegic for a very long nightmare. This was indeed the most scary scenario of his entire life, a scenario were scary movies were scrolling in front of his eyes and inert paralyzed body. From Dr Jeckyl's scary hands to Frankenstein's or Prodigy's haircut, he was truly admitted as one of their brothers. All of his dreams were scrolling deep in his mind and he was unable to shout but only condemned to resist and pray, while his athletic body and weight was dropping down to 92Pounds. But he did not lose his power and his brain was writing the next chapters of a powerful scenario! The rest of the story remains a unique bunch of courageous scenes. Nearly after 9months, Dean Constantin was miraculously back on his feet and seriously back to the industry. His thirst and will was on his peak but his credits were lost and his artistic resume was suffering. After a long period of reeducation and plural writings, Dean Constantin was living the most painful dilemma of his entire life. He was condemned to follow a path that he had not chosen; a path offering an opportunity to re built a life and avoid starving consequences. Landing in the Grand duchy of Luxembourg out of nowhere, he had no better choice than opting for some bureaucratic jobs. He started working as an accountant and progressively climbed the steps before becoming a charismatic Project Manager. Feeling stronger than ever, his heart and passion's tears were somewhere else though! On a parallel way, with the land expanding artistically, he had some minimal opportunities to be auditioned for both European and American features. After some interesting experiences such as De-Lovely, directed and embraced by legendary director Irwin Winkler (Ragging Bull, Goodfellas, Rocky), starring Oscar winner Kevin Klein (A Fish called Wanda), Jonathan Pryce (Pirates of the Caribbean), Ashley Judd ( Heat). Then a brief appearance in Gille's Wife by director Frederic Fonteyne, starring Cesar winner Emmanuelle Devos (In the beginning, Read my Lips) and Clovis Cornillac (The Story of my Life). At this point, with prosperous embraces arising out of fellow co-workers and casting directors, his persistence and willingness was on his peak. Furthermore, he had the opportunity to be auditioned for the Merchant of Venice by director Michael Radford (Il Postino, The Merchant of Venice) in the role of Leonardo, providing him here with a chance to act side by side with one of the greatest actors in Film history, Al Pacino (The GodFather, Scarface, Heat) but also notorious Jeremy Irons (The Lion King, Die Hard, The Man in the Iron Mask) and Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare in Love). After a remarkable audition and a contract signed, Dean Constantin was close to prosperity. Sadly, an unknown decision was mysteriously dropping him out of the cast. Wishing to stay in good terms with the Production, after being offered contract compensation, he gently refused any cent and spent the next six months isolated at his country home, focusing on his scenariography. Working also on his own music compositions he found some precious time to record valuable singles, integral part of his screenplays. He thus continued with a brief appearance as a Journalist in the feature Tempesta by Tim Disney with famous Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange) and Rutger Hauer (Batman Begins, Sin City). He pursued with Starfly by Beryl Koltz, appearing as a unit care doctor, starring eponymous David Bailie (Pirates of the Caribbean). Finally, he spent nearly three months on stage, as Robin Good-fellow alias Puck, through Shakespare's masterpiece Midsummer's Night Dream before moving to Ireland for a bunch of seasons and focus on the development of his writings. After an exodus of crossroads, mesmerized by the lands of Oscar Wilde, Ireland, Dean Constantin entered into a different phase of achievements. He is a gifted screenwriter and charismatic actor, fluent and native in English, French, Greek and able to converse in German, Italian and Spanish. In other terms, he is able to speak the language of the poets, the language of a spirit and mind that requires careful attention. Dean Constantin is considered by many as a unique young talent, a gifted actor and writer, having explored the earth as it could and picture should! A truly charismatic profile and definitely not a ghost waking up a sudden morning and wishing to become a STAR, not that way, but only the one that should make you think that the best creative mind is the one that brings out the genuine and discovers the real wish to be. We could say, a will who kills the demons and dances with life's angels, because analysis paralysis, is a term given to a situation where a dream of well-meaning minds enter into a phase of analysis that only ends when the project is canceled. Then comes, analysis of crisis and ebnefsis, where the term is given to a situation of sunny sparks entering into a phase of achievement! Consequently, he who loses wealth and health one day, loses much, he who loses a friend forever, loses more, but he who loses his will and thirst for a glorious spark in front of a black or empty pattern, loses all. The easiest way remains to keep the will and Dean Constantin's deliriously episodic life, promises to build an unforgettable cinematographic era though his coming achievements. Educated at a high level, he remains a vivid admirer of Humanities. After training hard both in Europe and Hollywood, California, as of today, Dean is only on his 30's, dedicates his life to the industry and travels through the Continents in order to succeed and break the wall. He works and lives between Paris, Luxembourg and Bruxelles and keeps a feet in California, USA, aiming to contribute internationally and built a purposeful legacy. Obtaining a land of adoption remains his daily motto; a kind of gratitude allowing him to built his cinematographic era by sharing his passion and vision with fellow co-workers that create for a meaningful cause. Being seriously back on business, he has since then been spotted in many features by being widely acclaimed. From 2012 to 2013, he has worked with famous directors, such as Eric Rochant (Love without Pity, Les Patriotes) in the new thriller Möbius and made a break through with stars and winners of prestigious Awards such as Tim Roth (Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, Hulk, Rob Roy, The War Zone), multiple times Cesar winner Cecile de France (Russian Dolls, L'Auberge Espagnole), Oscar winner Jean Dujardin (The Artist), John Lynch (Angel Baby). Most recently, co-starred in the upcoming movie of director Nicolas Bary (The Scapegoat) with Oscar nominee and Cesar winner Berenice Bejo (The Artist, The Past), Emir Kusturica (Arizona Dream, Life is a Miracle, Underground), Cesar winner Guillaume de Tonquedec (Le Prénom) and rising star and Cesar nominee Raphaël Personnaz (The Princess of Montpensier).
Laura Bilgeri is a young actress who lives in Los Angeles. She grew up in Austria and Italy. Laura attended the Sacre Coeur Riedenburg High School in Austria. After high school she attended the Abraxas Musical Academy in Munich for one year. There she took acting, singing and dancing classes. Her debut was in the feature film "A Breath Of Heaven" in 2010. Her breakthrough in Austria was in the feature film "The Silent Mountain", where she was working together with international topstars like William Moseley (Great Britain) and Claudia Cardinale (Italy). Accordingly she got a role in a successful Austrian/German Tv series called "Soko Vienna" episode "War Of Nerves". She has also been working as a model in Hong Kong, Milan, Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
Mark Aaron was born in Nashville Tennessee. After playing basketball and volleyball and swimming his way through young adulthood, Mark found a new passion when he enrolled in acting classes at the Nashville Children's Theatre following the capricious audition and booking of an RC Cola television commercial.
Mark was fortunate to be cast in a number of well received shows at the University of Tennesse Knoxville's Clarence Brown Theatre and tallying weeks in the Candidate/Apprentice Program, he eventually earned his AEA card. Upon graduation with a degree in Political Science, a SAG card and a strong desire to travel, Mark drove south to Houma Louisiana and took a job in the offshore oil field, working as a roughneck on a drilling platform. Six months later after heading out to Southern California with a wallet full of oil money, he was initiated into the milieu with a car accident that left him with a broken neck. There was no nerve damage but the C6 fracture left Mark in a healing mode for several years. Determined to make the best of it, he bought an old upright piano and began putting in hours daily, hammering on those 88's and tackling challenging pieces which he continues to work on with great zeal.
In 1988 Mark was accepted into the South Coast Repertory Summer Conservatory in Costa Mesa California where he received his classical theatre training. Feeling healthy and completely recovered from the neck injury, he began performing again and found the beauty of the Pacific Ocean; rediscovering his physical life in surfing.