Thomas Sean Connery was born on August 25, 1930 in Fountainbridge, Edinburgh. His mother, Euphamia McBain (Maclean), was a cleaning lady, and his father, Joseph Connery, was a factory worker and truck driver. He also has a brother named Neil Connery, who works as a plasterer in Edinburgh. He is of Irish and Scottish descent. Before going into acting, Sean had many different jobs, such as a Milkman, lorry driver, a laborer, artist's model for the Edinburgh College of Art, coffin polisher and bodybuilder. He also joined the Royal Navy, but was later discharged because of medical problems. At the age of 23, he had a choice between becoming a professional footballer or an actor, and even though he showed much promise in the sport, he chose acting and said it was one of his more intelligent moves.
No Road Back was Sean's first major movie role, and it followed by several Tv-movies such as Anna Christie, Macbeth and Anna Karenina and guest appearances on TV-series, and also films such as Hell Drivers, Another Time, Another Place, Darby O'Gill and the Little People, The Frightened City. In 1962 he appeared in The Longest Day with a host of other stars,
His big breakthrough came in 1962 when he starred as secret agent James Bond in Dr. No. He played James Bond in six more films: From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, Diamonds Are Forever, and Never Say Never Again.
After and during the success of the Bond-films he has maintained a successful career as an actor and has appeared in films, including Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece Marnie, The Hill, Murder on the Orient Express, The Man Who Would Be King, The Wind and the Lion, Time Bandits, Highlander, The Name of the Rose, The Untouchables (which earned him an Oscar for best actor in a supporting role), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Hunt for Red October, Rising Sun, The Rock, Finding Forrester, and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
Sean married actress Diane Cilento in 1962 and they had a son, Jason Connery, born on January 11, 1963, he followed in his father's footsteps and also became an actor. The marriage ended in divorce in 1973. In 1975 he married Micheline Roquebrune and they have stayed married, they have no children together. He is also a grandfather. His son, Jason and his ex-wife, actress Mia Sara had a son, Dashiell Quinn Connery, in 1997.
Pierce Brosnan was born in Navan, County Meath, Ireland, to May (Smith), a nurse, and Thomas Brosnan, a carpenter. He lived in Navan, County Meath, until he moved to England, UK, at an early age (thus explaining his ability to play men from both backgrounds convincingly). His father left the household when Pierce was a child and although reunited later in life, the two have never had a close relationship. His most popular role is that of British secret agent James Bond. The death, in 1991, of Cassandra Harris, his wife of eleven years, left him with three children - Christopher and Charlotte from Cassandra's first marriage and Sean from their marriage. Since her death, he has had two children with his second wife, Keely Shaye Smith.
A new reigning 1960s international sex symbol took to the cinematic throne as soon as Raquel Welch emerged from the sea in her purposely depleted, furry prehistoric bikini. Tantalizingly wet with her garb clinging to all the right amazonian places, One Million Years B.C., if nothing else, captured the hearts and libidos of modern men (not to mention their teenage sons) while producing THE most definitive and best-selling pin-up poster of that time. After a major dry spell following the death of Marilyn Monroe in 1962, the auburn-maned Ms. Welch effortlessly assumed Marilyn's place and forever wiped away the notion that enduring sex goddesses came only in one form -- bottled blonds.
She was born Jo Raquel Tejada on September 5, 1940 in Chicago, Illinois, the first of three children born to Bolivian Armando Carlos Tejada Urquizo, an aerospace engineer, and his Irish-American wife Josephine Sarah Hall, who was the daughter of American architect Emery Stanford Hall (1869-1939) and his wife Clara Louise Adams. The family moved to San Diego, California (her father was transferred) when Raquel was only two. Taking dance lessons as a youngster, she grew up to be quite a knockout and nailed a number of teen beauty titles ("Miss Photogenic," "Miss La Jolla," "Miss Contour," "Miss Fairest of the Fair" and "Miss San Diego"). With her sights set on theater arts, she studied at San Diego State College on a scholarship starting in 1958 and married her first husband, high school sweetheart James Welch, the following year. They had two children Damon Welch (born 1959) and Tahnee Welch (born 1961). Tahnee went on to take advantage of her own stunning looks as an actress, most notably a prime featured role in Cocoon.
Off campus Raquel became a local TV weather girl in San Diego and eventually quit college. Following the end of her marriage in 1961 (she and Welch didn't divorced until 1965), she packed up her two children and moved to Dallas, Texas, where she modeled for Neiman-Marcus and worked as a barmaid for a time. Regrouping, she returned to California, migrated to Los Angeles, and made the rounds of film/TV auditions. Providing minor but sexy set decoration on the small screen (Bewitched, McHale's Navy and The Virginian) as well as the large (Elvis Presley's Roustabout and Doris Day's Do Not Disturb). Caught in the midst of the "beach party" craze, it's not surprising to find out that her first prime film role was A Swingin' Summer, which concentrated more on musical guests The Righteous Brothers and Gary Lewis & The Playboys than on Raquel's outstanding contributions. But 20th Century Fox certainly took notice and signed her up.
With her very first film under contract (actually, she was on loan out to Britain's Hammer Studios at the time), she took on the remake of One Million B.C. in the Carole Landis role and the rest is history. Raquel remained an international celebrity in her first few years of stardom. In England, she was quite revealing as the deadly sin representing "lust" for the comedy team of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore in their vehicle Bedazzled, and as the title secret agent in the sexy spy spoof Fathom. In Italy, she gained some exposure in primarily mediocre vehicles opposite such heartthrobs as Marcello Mastroianni. Back in the U.S., however, she caused quite a stir in her ground-breaking sex scenes with black athlete Jim Brown in the "spaghetti western" 100 Rifles, and as the transgendered title role in the unfathomable Myra Breckinridge. Adapted from Gore Vidal novel, she created some unwelcome notoriety by locking horns with aging diva Mae West on the set. The instant cult movie was a laughingstock to all concerned and certainly didn't help Raquel's attempt at being taking seriously as an actress.
Box office bombs abounded. Try as she might in such films as Kansas City Bomber and The Wild Party, which drew some good reviews for her, her sexy typecast gave her little room to breathe. With determination, however, she partly offset this with modest supporting roles in larger ensemble pieces. She showed definite spark and won a Golden Globe for the swashbuckler The Three Musketeers, and appeared to good advantage in the mystery thriller The Last of Sheila. She planned on making a comeback in Cannery Row, even agreeing to appear topless (which she had never done before), but was suddenly fired during production without notice. She sued MGM for breach of contract and ultimately won a $15 million settlement, but it didn't help her film career and only helped to label her as trouble on a set. TV movies became a positive milieu for Raquel as she developed sound vehicles for herself such as The Legend of Walks Far Woman and Right to Die. She also found a lucrative avenue pitching beauty products in infomercials and developing exercise videos à la Jane Fonda.
Raquel took advantage of her modest singing and dancing abilities by performing in splashy Las Vegas showrooms and starring in such plausible stage vehicles as "Woman of the Year" and "Victor/Victoria." Still a dazzler broaching age 70, Raquel continues to show up here and there and still can turn heads. She has even spoofed her own diva image on occasion, most memorably on "Seinfeld". More recently she has co-starred in the Hispanic-oriented TV series American Family and in the short-lived comedy Welcome to the Captain, and appeared in the movies Tortilla Soup, Legally Blonde and Forget About It. She is separated from her fourth husband Richard Palmer, who is 15 years her junior.
Robert Anthony Rodriguez was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, USA, to Rebecca (Villegas), a nurse, and Cecilio G. Rodríguez, a salesman. His family is of Mexican descent.
Of all the people to be amazed by the images of John Carpenter's 1981 sci-fi parable, Escape from New York, none were as captivated as the 12-year-old Rodriguez, who sat with his friends in a crowded cinema. Many people watch films and arrogantly proclaim "I can do that." This young man said something different: "I WILL do that. I'm gonna make movies." The young man in question is Robert Rodriguez and this day was the catalyst of his dream career. Born and raised in Texas, Robert was the middle child of a family that would include 10 children. While many-a-child would easily succumb to a Jan Brady-sense of being lost in the shuffle, Robert always stood out as a very creative and very active young man. An artist by nature, he was very rarely seen sans pencil-in-hand doodling some abstract (yet astounding) dramatic feature on a piece of paper. His mother, not a fan of the "dreary" cinema of the 1970s, instills a sense of cinema in her children by taking them on weekly trips to San Antonio's famed Olmos Theatre movie house and treats them to a healthy dose of Hollywood's "Golden Age" wonders, from Sergio Leone to the silent classic of Charles Chaplin and Buster Keaton.
In a short amount of time, young Robert finds the family's old Super-8 film camera and makes his first films. The genres are unlimited: action, sci-fi, horror, drama, stop-motion animation. He uses props from around the house, settings from around town, and makes use of the largest cast and crew at his disposal: his family. At the end of the decade, his father, a salesman, brings home the latest home-made technological wonder: a VCR, and with it (as a gift from the manufacturer) a video camera. With this new equipment at his disposal, he makes movies his entire life. He screens the movies for friends, all of whom desperately want to star in the next one. He gains a reputation in the neighbourhood as "the kid who makes movies". Rather than handing in term papers, he is allowed to hand in "term movies" because, as he himself explains, "[the teachers] knew I'd put more effort into a movie than I ever would into an essay." He starts his own comic strip, "Los Hooligans". His movies win every local film competition and festival. When low academic grades threaten to keep him out of UT Austin's renowned film department, he proves his worth the only way he knows how: he makes a movie. Three, in fact: trilogy of short movies called "Austin Stories" starring his siblings. It beats the entries of the school's top students and allows Robert to enter the programme. After being accepted into the film department, Robert takes $400 of his own money to make his "biggest" film yet: a 16mm short comedy/fantasy called Bedhead.
Pouring every idea and camera trick he knew into the short, it went on to win multiple awards. After meeting and marrying fellow Austin resident Elizabeth Avellan, Robert comes up with a crazy idea: he will sell his body to science in order to finance his first feature-length picture (a Mexican action adventure about a guitarist with no name looking for work but getting caught up in a shoot-'em-up adventure) that he will sell to the Spanish video market and use as an entry point to a lucrative Hollywood career. With his "guinea pig" money he raises a mere $7,000 and creates El mariachi. But rather than lingering in obscurity, the film finds its way to the Sundance film festival where it becomes an instant favourite, wins Robert a distribution deal with Columbia pictures and turns him into an icon among would-be film-makers the world over. Not one to rest on his laurels, he immediately helms the straight-to-cable movie Roadracers and contributes a segment to the anthology comedy Four Rooms (his will be the most lauded segment).
His first "genuine" studio effort would soon have people referring to him as "John Woo from south-of-the-border". It is the "Mariachi" remake/sequel Desperado. More lavish and action-packed than its own predecessor, the movie--while not a blockbuster hit--does decent business and single-handedly launches the American film careers of Antonio Banderas as the guitarist-turned-gunslinger and Salma Hayek as his love interest (the two would star in several of his movies from then on). It also furthers the director's reputation of working on low budgets to create big results. In the year when movies like Batman Forever and GoldenEye were pushing budgets past the $100 million mark, Rodriguez brought in "Desperado" for just under $7 million. The film also featured a cameo by fellow indie film wunderkind, Quentin Tarantino. It would be the beginning of a long friendship between the two sprinkled with numerous collaborations. Most notable the Tarantino-penned vampire schlock-fest From Dusk Till Dawn. The kitschy flick (about a pair of criminal brothers on the run from the Texas Rangers, only to find themselves in a vamp-infested Mexican bar) became an instant cult favourite and launched the lucrative film career of ER star George Clooney.
After a two-year break from directing (primarily to spend with his family, but also developing story ideas and declining Hollywood offers) he returned to "Dusk till Dawn" territory with the teen/sci-fi/horror movie The Faculty, written by Scream writer, Kevin Williamson. Although it's developed a small following of its own, it would prove to be Robert's least-successful film. Critics and fans alike took issue with the pedestrian script, the off-kilter casting and the flick's blatant over-commercialization (due to a marketing deal with clothing designer Tommy Hilfiger). After another three-year break, Rodriguez returned to make his most successful (and most unexpected) movie yet, based on his own segment from Four Rooms. After a string of bloody, adult-oriented action fare, no one anticipated him to write and direct the colourful and creative Spy Kids, a movie about a pair of prepubescent Latino sibs who discover that their lame parents (Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino) are actually two of the world's greatest secret agents. The film was hit among both audiences and critics alike.
After quitting the Writers' Guild of America and being introduced to digital filmmaking by George Lucas, Robert immediately applied the creative, flexible (and cost-effective) technology to every one of his movies from then on, starting with an immediate sequel to his family friendly hit: Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams which was THEN immediately followed by the trilogy-capper Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over. The latter would prove to be the most financially-lucrative of the series and employ the long-banished movie gimmick of 3-D with eye-popping results. Later the same year Rodriguez career came full circle when he completed the final entry of the story that made brought him to prominence: "El Mariachi". The last chapter, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, would be his most direct homage to the Sergio Leone westerns he grew up on. With a cast boasting Antonio Banderas (returning as the gunslinging guitarist), Johnny Depp (as a corrupt CIA agent attempting to manipulate him), Salma Hayek, Mickey Rourke, Willem Dafoe and Eva Mendes, the film delivered even more of the Mexican shoot-'em-up spectacle than both of the previous films combined.
Now given his choice of movies to do next, Robert sought out famed comic book writer/artist Frank Miller, a man who had been very vocal of never letting his works be adapted for the screen. Even so, he was wholeheartedly convinced and elated when Rodriguez presented him with a plan to turn Miller's signature work into the film Sin City. A collection of noir-ish tales set in a fictional, crime-ridden slum, the movie boasted the largest cast Rodriguez had worked with to that date. Saying he didn't want to mere "adapt" Miller's comics but "translate" them, Rodriguez' insistence that Miller co-direct the movie lead to Robert's resignation from the Director's Guild of America (and his subsequent dismissal from the film John Carter as a result). Many critics cited that Sin City was created as a pure film noir piece to adapt Miller's comics onto the screen. Co-directing with Frank Miller and 'Quentin Tarantino' (who guest-directed in That Yellow Bastard) allowed Rodriquez to again shock Hollywood with his talent.
In late 2007, Rodriquez again teamed up with his friend Tarantino to create the double-episode film, The Grindhouse featuring Rodriquez's offering of Planet Terror. Planet Terror was a film shot in the specific genre of "hardcore, extreme, sex-fueled, action packed." Rodriguez flirts with his passion to make a showy film exploiting all of his experience to make an extremely entertaining thrill ride. The film is encompassed around Cherry (Rose McGowan), a reluctant go-go dancer who is found wanting when she meets her ex-lover El Wray (played by Freddy Rodríguez) who turns up at a local BBQ grill. They then, after a turn of events, find themselves fending off brain-eating zombies whilst trying to flee to Mexico (here we go off to Mexico again). Apart from directing, Rodriquez also involves himself in camera work, editing and composing music for his movies sound tracks (he composed the Planet Terror main theme). He also shoots a lot of his own action scenes to get a direct idea from his eye as the director into the film. In El mariachi, Rodriquez spent hours in front of a pay-to-use, computer editing his film. This allowed him to capture the ideal footage exactly as he wanted it. Away from the filming aspect of Hollywood, Rodriguez is an expert chef who cooks gourmet meals for the cast and crew. Rodriquez is also known for his ability to turn a low-budgeted film with a small crew into an example of film mastery. El mariachi was "the movie made on seven grand" and still managed to rank as one of Rodriguez' best films (receiving a rating of 92% on the Rotten Tomatoes film review site).
Because Rodriquez is involved so deeply in his films, he is able to capture what he wants first time, which saves both time and money. Rodriguez's films share some similar threads and ideas, whilst also having differences. In El mariachi, he uses a hand-held camera. He made this decision for several reasons. First, he couldn't afford a tripod and secondly, he wanted to make the audience more aware of the action. In the action sequences he is given more mobility with a hand-held camera and also allows for distortion of the unprofessional action sequences (because the cost of all special effects in the film totaled $600). However, in Sin City and Planet Terror, the budget was much greater, and Rodriquez could afford to spend more on special affects (especially since both films were filmed predominately with green screen) and, thus, there was no need to cover for error.
Playing by his own rules or not at all, Robert Rodriguez has redefined what is and is not for a film-maker to do. Shunning Hollywood's ridiculously-high budgets, multi-picture deals and the two most powerful unions for the sake of maintaining creative freedom are decisions that would (and have) cost many directors their careers. Rodriguez has turned these into his strengths, creating some of the most imaginative works the big-screen has ever seen.
Bruce Lee remains the greatest icon of martial arts cinema and a key figure of modern popular media. Had it not been for Bruce Lee and his movies in the early 1970s, it's arguable whether or not the martial arts film genre would have ever penetrated and influenced mainstream North American and European cinema and audiences the way it has over the past four decades.
The influence of East Asian martial arts cinema can be seen today in so many other film genres including comedies, action, drama, science fiction, horror and animation.....and they all have their roots in the phenomenon that was Bruce Lee.
Lee was born "Lee Jun Fan" November twenty-seventh 1940 in San Francisco, the son of Lee Hoi Chuen, a singer with the Cantonese Opera. Approximately one year later the family returned to Kowloon in Hong Kong and at the age of five years, a young Bruce begins appearing in children's roles in minor films including The Birth of Mankind and Fu gui fu yun. At the age of 12 Bruce commenced attending La Salle College. Bruce was later beaten up by a street gang, which inspired him to take up martial arts training under the tutelage of "Sifu Yip Man" who schooled Bruce in wing chun kung fu for a period of approximately five years. This was the only formalized martial arts training ever undertaken by Lee. The talented & athletic Bruce also took up cha-cha dancing and at the age of 18 won a major dance championship in Hong Kong.
However his temper and quick fists got him in trouble with the Hong Kong police on numerous occasions. His parents suggested that he head off to the United States. Lee landed in San Francisco's Chinatown in 1959 and worked in a close relative's restaurant. He eventually made his way to Seattle, Washington where he enrolled at university to study philosophy and found the time to practice his beloved kung fu techniques. In 1963 Lee met Linda Emery (later his wife) and also opened his first kung fu school at 4750 University Way. During the early half of the 1960s Lee became associated with many key martial arts figures in the USA including kenpo karate expert Ed Parker and tae kwon do master Jhoon Rhee. He made guest appearances at notable martial arts events including the Long Beach Nationals. Through one of these tournaments Bruce met Hollywood hair-stylist Jay Sebring who introduced him to T.V. producer William Dozier. Based on the runaway success of "Batman" Dozier was keen to bring the cartoon character of "The Green Hornet" to T.V. and was on the lookout for an East Asian actor to play the Green Hornet's sidekick, "Kato". Around this time Bruce also opened a second kung fu school in Oakland, California and relocated to Oakland to be closer to Hollywood.
Bruce's screen test was successful, and "The Green Hornet" starring Van Williams aired in 1966 with mixed success. His fight scenes were sometimes obscured by unrevealing camera angles, but his dedication was such that he insisted his character behave like a perfect bodyguard, keeping his eyes on whoever might be a threat to his employer except when the script made this impossible. The show was surprisingly terminated after only one season (twenty-six episodes), but by this time Lee was receiving more fan mail than the show's nominal star. He then opened a third branch of his kung fu school in Los Angeles and began providing personalized martial arts training to celebrities including film stars Steve McQueen and James Coburn as well as screenwriter Stirling Silliphant. In addition he refined his prior knowledge of wing chun and incorporated aspects of other fighting styles such as traditional boxing and Okinawan karate. He also developed his own unique style "Jeet Kune Do" (Way of the Intercepting Fist). Another film opportunity then came his way as he landed the small role of a stand over man named "Winslow Wong" who intimidates private eye James Garner in Marlowe. Wong pays a visit to Garner and proceeds to demolish the investigator's office with his fists and feet, finishing off with a spectacular high kick that shatters the light fixture. With this further exposure of his talents, Bruce then scored several guest appearances as a martial arts instructor to blind private eye James Franciscus on the TV series Longstreet.
With his minor success in Hollywood and money in his pocket, Bruce returned for a visit to Hong Kong and was approached by film producer Raymond Chow who had recently started "Golden Harvest" productions. Chow was keen to utilize Lee's strong popularity amongst young Chinese fans, and offered him the lead role in _Tang sha da xiong (1971)_ (A.K.A. "The Big Boss"). The film was directed by Wei Lo, shot in Thailand on a very low budget and in terrible living conditions for cast and crew. However, when it opened in Hong Kong the film was an enormous hit. Chow knew he had struck box office gold with Lee and quickly assembled another script entitled The Chinese Connection (A.K.A. "The Chinese Connection", A.K.A. "Fist of Fury"). The second film (with a slightly bigger budget) was again directed by Wei Lo and was set in Shanghai in the year 1900, with Lee returning to his school to find that his beloved master has been poisoned by the local Japanese karate school. Once again he uncovers the evil-doers and sets about seeking revenge on those responsible for murdering his teacher. The film features several superb fight sequences and, at the film's conclusion, Lee refuses to surrender to the Japanese law and seemingly leaps to his death in a hail of police bullets.
Once more Hong Kong streets were jammed with thousands of fervent Chinese movie fans who could not get enough of the fearless Bruce Lee, and his second film went on to break the box office records set by the first! Lee then set up his own production company, Concord Productions, and set about guiding his film career personally by writing, directing and acting in his next film, _Meng long guojiang (1972)_ (A.K.A. "Way of the Dragon", A.K.A. "Return of The Dragon"). A bigger budget meant better locations and opponents, with the new film set in Rome, Italy and additionally starring hapkido expert Ing-Sik Whang, karate legend Robert Wall and seven-time U.S. karate champion Chuck Norris. Bruce plays a seemingly simple country boy sent to assist at a cousin's restaurant in Rome and finds his cousins are being bullied by local thugs for protection.
By now Lee's remarkable success in East Asia had come to the attention of Hollywood film executives and a script was hastily written pitching him as a secret agent penetrating an island fortress. Warner Bros. financed the film and also insisted on B-movie tough guy John Saxon starring alongside Lee to give the film wider appeal. The film culminates with another show-stopping fight sequence between Lee and the key villain, Han, in a maze of mirrors. Shooting was completed in and around Hong Kong in early 1973 and in the subsequent weeks Bruce was involved in completing over dubs and looping for the final cut. Various reports from friends and coworkers cite that he was not feeling well during this period and on July twentieth 1973 he lay down at the apartment of actress Betty Ting Pei after taking a head-ache tablet and was later unable to be revived. A doctor was called and Lee was taken to hospital by ambulance and pronounced dead that evening. The official finding was death due to a cerebral edema, caused by a reaction to the head-ache tablet.
Fans world-wide were shattered that their virile idol had passed at such a young age, and nearly thirty thousand fans filed past his coffin in Hong Kong. A second, much smaller ceremony was held in Seattle, Washington and Bruce was laid to rest at Lake View Cemetary in Seattle with pall bearers including Steve McQueen, James Coburn and Dan Inosanto. Enter the Dragon was later released in the mainland United States, and was a huge hit with audiences there, which then prompted National General films to actively distribute his three prior movies to U.S. theatres... each was a box office smash.
Fans throughout the world were still hungry for more Bruce Lee films and thus remaining footage (completed before his death) of Lee fighting several opponents including Dan Inosanto, Hugh O'Brian and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was crafted into another film titled Game of Death. The film used a look-alike and shadowy camera work to be substituted for the real Lee in numerous scenes. The film is a poor addition to the line-up and is only saved by the final twenty minutes and the footage of the real Bruce Lee battling his way up the tower. Amazingly this same shoddy process was used to create Game of Death II (A.K.A. "Game of Death II"), with a look-alike and more stunt doubles interwoven with a few brief minutes of footage of the real Bruce Lee.
Bruce Lee was not only an amazing athlete and martial artist but he possessed genuine superstar charisma and through a handful of films he left behind an indelible impression on the tapestry of modern cinema.
If there had to be an image for cool, the man to fit it would be Dean Martin.
Martin was born Dino Paul Crocetti in Steubenville, Ohio, to Angela (Barra) and Gaetano Alfonso Crocetti, a barber. His father was an Italian immigrant, and his mother was of Italian descent. He spoke only Italian until age five. Martin came up the hard way, with such jobs as a boxer (named Kid Crochet), a steel mill worker, a gas station worker and a card shark.
In 1946, he got his first ticket to stardom, as he teamed up with another hard worker who was also trying to hit it big in Hollywood: Jerry Lewis. Films such as At War with the Army sent the team toward superstardom. The duo were to become one of Hollywood's truly great teams. They lasted 11 years together, and starred in 16 movies. They were unstoppable, but personality conflicts broke up the team. Even without Lewis, Martin was a true superstar.
Few thought that Martin would go on to achieve solo success, but he did, winning critical acclaim for his role in The Young Lions with Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift, and Some Came Running, with Shirley MacLaine and Frank Sinatra. Movies such as Rio Bravo brought him international fame. One of his best remembered films is in Ocean's 11, in which he played Sam Harmon alongside the other members of the legendary Rat Pack: Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford. Martin proved potent at the box office throughout the 1960s, with films such as Bells Are Ringing and Robin and the 7 Hoods, again with Rat Pack pals Sammy Davis Jr. and Sinatra. During much of the 1960s and 1970s, Martin's movie persona of a boozing playboy prompted a series of films as secret agent Matt Helm and his own television variety show. Airport followed, featuring Martin as a pilot. He also played a phony priest in The Cannonball Run.
In 1965, Martin explored a new method for entertaining his fans: Television. That year he hosted one of the most successful TV series in history: The Dean Martin Show, which lasted until 1973. In 1965 it won a Golden Globe Award. In 1973 he renamed it "The Dean Martin Comedy Hour", and from 1974 to 1984 it was renamed again, this time "The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts". It became one of the most successful TV series in history, skewering such greats as Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball, James Stewart, George Burns' Milton Berle, Don Rickles Phyllis Diller, and Joe Namath.
His last public role was a return to the stage, for a cross-country concert tour with Davis and Sinatra. He spoke affectionately of his fellow Rat Packers. "The satisfaction that I get out of working with these two bums is that we have more laughs than the audience has", Martin said.
After the 1980s, Martin took it easy--that is, until his son, Dean Paul Martin died in a plane crash in 1987. Devastated by the loss, from which he never recovered, he walked out on a reunion tour with Sinatra and Davis. Martin spent his final years in solitude. He died on Christmas Day, 1995.
Though born in America, Irish actor Patrick McGoohan rose to become the number-one British TV star in the 1950s to 1960s era. His parents moved to Ireland when he was very young and McGoohan acquired a neutral accent that sounds at home in British or American dialogue. He was an avid stage actor and performed hundreds of times in small and large productions before landing his first TV and film roles. McGoohan is one of few actors who has successfully switched between theater, TV, and films many times during his career. He was often cast in the role of Angry Young Man. In 1959, he was named Best TV Actor of the Year in Britain. Shortly thereafter, he was chosen for the starring role in the Secret Agent TV series (AKA 'Secret Agent in the US), which proved to be an immense success for three years and allowed the British to break into the burgeoning American TV market for the first time. By the series' 3rd year, McGoohan felt the series had run it's course and was beginning to repeat itself. McGoohan and Lew Grade - the president of ITC (the series production company), had agreed that McGoohan could leave Danger Man to begin work on a new series, and turned in his resignation right after the first episode of the fourth year had been filmed ("Koroshi"). McGoohan set up his own production company and collaborated with noted author and script editor George Markstein to sell a brand new concept to ITC's Lew Grade. McGoohan starred in, directed, produced, and wrote many of the episodes, sometimes taking a pseudonym to reduce the sheer number of credits to his name. Thus, the TV series The Prisoner came to revolve around the efforts of a secret agent, who resigned early in his career, to clear his name. His aim was to escape from a fancifully beautiful but psychologically brutal prison for people who know too much. The series was as popular as it was surreal and allegorical and its mysterious final episode cause such an uproar that McGoohan was to desert England for more than 20 years to seek relative anonymity in LA, where celebrities are "a dime a dozen."
During the 1970s, he appeared in four episodes of the TV detective series "Columbo," for which he won an Emmy Award. His film roles lapsed from prominence until his powerful performance as King Edward I (Longshanks) in Mel Gibson's production of Braveheart. As such, he has solidified his casting in the role of Angry Old Man.
Robert Conrad was a graduate of Northwestern University, spending his first few years out of school supporting himself and his family by driving a milk truck and singing in a Chicago cabaret. Conrad befriended up-and-coming actor Nick Adams during this period, and it was Adams who helped Conrad get his first Hollywood work in 1957. A few movie bit parts later, Conrad was signed for a comparative pittance by Warner Bros. studios, and in 1959 was cast as detective Tom Lopaka on the weekly adventure series Hawaiian Eye. Upon the 1963 cancellation of this series, Conrad made a handful of Spanish and American films and toured with a nightclub act in Australia and Mexico City. Cast as frontier secret agent James West in The Wild Wild West in 1965, Conrad brought home $5000 a week during the series' first season and enjoyed increasing remunerations as West remained on the air until 1969. There are those who insist that Wild Wild West would have been colorless without the co-starring presence of Ross Martin, an opinion with which Conrad has always agreed. The actor's bid to star in a 1970 series based on the venerable Nick Carter pulp stories got no further than a pilot episode, while the Jack Webb-produced 1971 Robert Conrad series The D.A. was canceled after 13 episodes. When Roy Scheider pulled out of the 1972 adventure weekly Assignment: Vienna, Conrad stepped in--and was out, along with the rest of Assignment: Vienna, by June of 1973. Conrad had better luck with 1976's Baa Baa Black Sheep, aka Black Sheep Squadron, a popular series based on the World War II exploits of Major "Pappy" Boyington. Cast as a nurse on this series was Conrad's daughter Nancy, setting a precedent for nepotism that the actor practiced as late as his tenth TV series, 1989's Jesse Hawkes, wherein Conrad co-starred with his sons Christian and Shane.
Though few of his series have survived past season one, Conrad has enjoyed success as a commercial spokesman and in the role of G. Gordon Liddy (whom the actor admired) in the 1982 TV movie Will: The Autobiography of G. Gordon Liddy. As can be gathered from the Liddy assignment, Conrad's politics veered towards conservatism; in 1981, he and Charlton Heston were instrumental in toppling Ed Asner and his liberal contingent from power in the Screen Actors Guild.
As virile and athletic as ever in the 1990s, Robert Conrad has continued to appear in action roles both on TV and in films; he has also maintained strong ties with his hometown of Chicago, and can be counted upon to show up at a moment's notice as a guest on the various all-night programs of Chicago radio personality Eddie Schwartz.
Tall, slim and exceedingly good-looking American leading man Robert Culp, a former cartoonist in his teen years, appeared off-Broadway in the 1950s before settling into polished, clean-cut film leads and "other man" supports a decade later. Hitting the popular TV boards in the hip, racially ground-breaking espionage program I Spy, he made a slick (but never smarmy), sardonic name for himself during his over five-decade career with his sly humor, casual banter and tongue-and-cheek sexiness. Though he had the requisite looks and smooth, manly appeal (not to mention acting talent) for superstardom, a cool but cynical and somewhat detached persona may have prevented him from attaining it full-out.
He was born Robert Martin Culp on August 16, 1930, in Oakland California. The son of attorney Crozie Culp and his wife, Bethel Collins, who was employed at a Berkeley chemical company, he offset his only-child loneliness by playacting in local theater productions. Culp also showed a talent for art while young and earned money as a cartoonist for Bay Area magazines and newspapers in high school, but the fascination with becoming an actor proved much stronger. He attended Berkeley High School and graduated in 1947. The athletically-inclined Culp dominated at track and field events and, as a result, earned athletic scholarships to six different universities. He selected the relatively minor College of the Pacific in Stockton, California primarily because of its active theater department. Transferring to various other colleges of higher learning (including San Francisco State in 1949), he never earned a degree. After performing in some theatre in the San Francisco area, he moved to Seattle and then New York in 1951.
Studying under famed teacher Herbert Berghof and supporting himself during this time teaching speech and phonetics, Bob eventually found work on the theatre scene, making his 1953 Broadway debut (as Robert M. Culp) in "The Prescott Proposals" with Katharine Cornell. He eventually returned to Broadway with "Diary of a Scoundrel" starring Blanche Yurka and Roddy McDowall in 1956 and with a strong role in "A Clearing in the Woods" (alongside Kim Stanley) a year later. He earned an off-Broadway Obie Award for his very fine work in "He Who Gets Slapped" in 1956, and also appeared in the plays "Daily Life" and "Easter".
Gracing a few live-TV dramas during his New York days, he returned to his native California for his first major TV role. It was an auspicious one as post-Civil War Texas Ranger "Hoby Gilman" in the western series Trackdown. He earned widespread attention in the series that based many of its stories from actual Texas Ranger files, and the show itself received the official approval not only of the Rangers themselves but by the State of Texas. The series led to a CBS spin-off of its own: Wanted: Dead or Alive, which made a TV star out of Steve McQueen.
From there, Culp guested on a number of series dramas: Bonanza, The Rifleman, Rawhide, The Detectives, Ben Casey, The Outer Limits, Naked City and Combat!. He also starred in the two-part Disney family-styled program "Sammy the Way Out Seal" (1962), which was subsequently released as a feature in Europe. He and Patricia Barry played the hapless parents of precocious Bill Mumy and Michael McGreevey whose "adopted" pet animal unleashes major chaos in their suburban neighborhood.
During this time, Bob began to seek lead and supporting work in films. Despite his co-starring with Cliff Robertson, Rod Taylor and the very perky Jane Fonda (as her straight-laced boyfriend) in the sparkling Broadway-based sexcapade Sunday in New York; playing Robertson's naval mate in the popular John F. Kennedy biopic PT 109; recreating the legendary "Wild Bill" Hickok in the western tale The Raiders; and heading up the adventurous cast of the Ivan Tors' African yarn Rhino! (which included Harry Guardino and the very fetching British import Shirley Eaton), Culp wasn't able to make a serious dent in the medium.
TV remained his best arena and gave him more lucrative offers, professionally. It rewarded him quite richly in 1965 with the debonair series lead "Kelly Robinson", a jet-setting, pro-circuit tennis player who leads a double life as an international secret agent in I Spy. Running three seasons, Culp co-starred with fellow secret agent Bill Cosby, who, as "Alexander Scott", posed as Culp's tennis trainer. The role was tailor-made for the suave, Ivy-League-looking actor. He looked effortlessly cool posing in sunglasses amid the posh continental settings and remained handsomely unflinching in the face of danger. It was the first U.S. prime-time network drama to feature an African-American actor in a full-out starring role and the relationship between the two meshed perfectly and charismatically on screen. Both were nominated for acting Emmys in all three of its seasons, with Cosby coming out the victor each time. Filmed on location in such cities as Hong Kong, Acapulco and Tokyo, Culp also wrote and directed certain episodes of the show He also met his third wife, the gorgeous Eurasian actress France Nuyen, while on the set. They married in 1967 but divorced three years later. At this stage, the actor already had four children (by second wife, sometime actress Nancy Ashe).
Following the series' demise, Culp took on perhaps his most-famous and controversial film role as Natalie Wood's husband "Bob" in the titillating but ultimately teasing "flower power" era film Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, with Elliott Gould and Dyan Cannon as the other-half couple who examine the late 60s "free love" idea of wife-swapping. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards (two went to supporting actors Gould and Cannon). The movie did not reignite Culp's popularity on the large screen, but it did lead to his rather strange pairing with buxom Raquel Welch in the violent-edged western Hannie Caulder and a reunion with his I Spy pal Cosby in the far-more entertaining Hickey & Boggs, which reestablished their great tongue-in-cheek rapport as two weary-eyed private eyes. Culp also directed the film while his real-life wife, actress Sheila Sullivan, played his screen wife as well.
The late 1970s produced a flood of routine mini-movies and B-pictures, the latter including Inside Out, Sky Riders, Breaking Point, The Great Scout & Cathouse Thursday, Flood!, Goldengirl and Hot Rod. While he remained a sturdy and standard presence in such mini-movies as Houston, We've Got a Problem, Spectre and Calendar Girl Murders, his better TV-movie roles were in A Cold Night's Death, Outrage, A Cry for Help and as "Lyle Pettyjohn" in the acclaimed mini-series sequel Roots: The Next Generations.
Bob returned to series TV as stern "CIA Chief Bill Maxwell", whose job was to protect handsome Robert Redford lookalike William Katt, who starred as an ersatz The Greatest American Hero. The show lasted three seasons. Other series guest spots, both comedic and dramatic, included Hotel, Highway to Heaven, The Golden Girls and an episode of his old buddy's show The Cosby Show. He was also a guest murderer in three of the "Columbo" episodes. Although he was relegated to appearing in such film fodder as Turk 182!, Big Bad Mama II and Pucker Up and Bark Like a Dog, the 1990s offered him one of his best film roles in years as the ill-fated President in the Denzel Washington/Julia Roberts political thriller The Pelican Brief. A year later, he again reteamed with Cosby in the TV-movie I Spy Returns.
Culp became very active in the 1960s Civil Rights movement and later became a prominent face in local civic causes, joining in a lawsuit to cease construction of an elephant exhibit at the Los Angeles Zoo and accusing officials there of mistreatment. In the long run, however, the construction was given the green light. Culp also married a fifth time to Candace Faulkner and, by her, had daughter Samantha Culp in 1982. Older sons Jason Culp (born 1961) and Joseph Culp (born 1963) became actors, while another son, Joshua Culp (born 1958), entered the visual effects field. Daughter Rachel, an outré clothing designer for rock stars, was born in 1964.
In later years, Culp could be seen occasionally as Ray Romano's father-in-law on the hugely popular Everybody Loves Raymond. His last film, the family drama The Assignment, was unreleased at the time of his death. On March 24, 2010, the 79-year-old Culp collapsed from an apparent heart attack while walking near the lower entrance to Runyon Canyon Park, a popular hiking area in the Hollywood Hills. Found by a hiker, Culp was transported to a nearby hospital where he died from the head injuries he sustained in the fall. Five grandchildren also survive.
Song Kang-ho never professionally trained as an actor, beginning his career in social theater groups after graduating from Kimhae High School. Later, he joined Kee Kuk-seo's influential theater company with its emphasis on instinctive acting and improvisation, which proved to be Song's training ground. Although regularly approached to act in films, he always turned down the opportunity until taking a role as an extra in Hong Sang-soo's The Day a Pig Fell Into the Well. In the following year, after portraying one of the homeless in Sun-Woo Jang's docu-drama Timeless Bottomless Bad Movie, he gained cult notoriety for his scene-stealing performance in Neung-han Song No. 3 as a gangster training a group of young recruits, winning his first Best Actor award.
Since that time he was cast in several supporting roles before his high-profile role as Suk-kyu Han's secret-agent partner in Je-kyu Kang's blockbuster thriller Swiri. In early 2000, Song became a star with his first leading role in the box office smash The Foul King, for which he reputedly did most of his own stunts. But it was with his award-winning role as a North Korean sergeant in J.S.A.: Joint Security Area that Song has come to the forefront as one of Korea's leading actors. Song also starred in Chan-wook Park's Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, which centers around a father's pursuit of his daughter's kidnappers.
In 2002 Song starred in another major production by Myung Film titled YMCA Baseball Team, about Korea's first baseball team, which formed in the early 20th century. He came to international attention with the film The Host, which reunited him with director Joon-ho Bong. With Snowpiercer, his third collaboration with Bong, he made his debut in an English-language film with international theatrical distribution.
Dena Kaplan was born in South Africa and moved to Melbourne, Australia, in 1996. Dena is an actress and dancer who may be best known for her role as Abigail Armstrong in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation television series 'Dance Academy' (2010-2012). Kaplan attended high school in Melbourne and had dance training at numerous schools; Australian Ballet School, Jane Moore Academy of Ballet and City Dance Centre. Her first stage appearance came alongside David Campbell in the Production Company's Carousel, where she played Louise, a non-singing solo ballet part in the second act of the show. Her second major public appearance was as a dancer/singer in the Disney production of the musical of "Lion King." Dena moved to New York to study at the Ailey School and Broadway Dance Center, and was cast in a Broadway musical, but was unable to accept the offer. Dena Kaplan's first television role was in 2005 on the Network Ten spy series "Scooter: Secret Agent" as one of the party girls. In 2007, she appeared as Deborah Statesman in an episode of Australian police drama "City Homicide." In 2009, she played Keli in an episode of "Flight of the Conchords" and starred in the film "In Her Skin" alongside Guy Pearce and Rebecca Gibney. Besides her role in the series "Dance Academy" in 2010, Dena was cast as Stephanie Wolfe in "City Homicide."
With looks that resemble those of Robert Redford the blond-haired, blue-eyed Wagner was a soap opera favorite as secret agent Frisco Jones in his on-again, off-again appearances on General Hospital. Wagner is a credible actor who doesn't rest on just having good looks. Wagner is just as likely to be found singing as acting. He hit the top 40 pop charts with the song "All I Need" and starred in the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera production of "They're Playing Our Song".
Don Adams was born in New York, to a father of Hungarian Jewish descent, and a mother of German and Irish ancestry. He had a sister, Gloria, and a brother, Dick Yarmy. He served in the U.S. Marines in World War II and contracted malaria during the fighting on Guadalcanal island. After the war he began a career as a stand-up comic. He married singer Adelaide Adams and adopted her last name as his stage surname. He had seven children altogether, (four with his first wife, two with his second, one with his third): Caroline Adams, Christine, Catherine, Cecily Adams, Stacey Adams, Sean, Beige. His television career began when he won the Ted Mack & the Original Amateur Hour talent contest. His most famous role, of course, is as bumbling, incompetent, clueless yet endearing secret agent Maxwell Smart in the classic sitcom/spy spoof Get Smart, although he also had a career as a television director and a Broadway and theatrical dramatic actor.
Forever and fondly remembered as Don Adams' foil on the popular Mel Brooks/Buck Henry spy series Get Smart, character actor Ed Platt (also billed as Edward C. Platt) had been around for two decades prior to copping that rare comedy role. Born in Staten Island, New York, he inherited an appreciation of music on his mother's side. He spent a part of his childhood in Kentucky and in upstate New York where he attended Northwood, a private school in Lake Placid, and was a member of the ski jump team. He majored in romantic languages at Princeton University but left a year later to study at the Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati after his thoughts turned to a possible operatic career. He later was accepted into Juilliard.
Instead of opera, however, Ed first became a band vocalist with Paul Whiteman and Orchestra. He then sang bass as part of the Mozart Opera Company in New York. With the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company in 1942, he appeared in the operettas "The Mikado," "The Gondoliers" and "The Pirates of Penzance".
WWII interrupted his early career. Ed served as a radio operator with the army and would find himself on radio again in the post-war years where his deep, resonant voice proved ideal. A number of musical comedy roles also came his way again. In 1947, he made it to Broadway with the musical "Allegro." Star José Ferrer took an interest in Ed while they both were appearing in "The Shrike" on Broadway in 1952. Around 1953, Edward moved to Texas to be near his brother and began anchoring the local news and kiddie birthday party show called "Uncle Eddie's Kiddie Party." Ferrer remembered Platt and invited him to Hollywood where Ferrer was starring in the film version of The Shrike. Ed recreated his stage role. He also earned fine notices as James Dean's understanding juvenile officer in the classic film Rebel Without a Cause. This led to a plethora of film and TV support offers where the balding actor made fine use of his dark, rich voice, stern intensity and pragmatic air, portraying a slew of professional and shady types in crime yarns, soap dramas and war pictures -- everything from principals and prosecutors to mobsters and murderers.
After years of playing it serious, which included stints on the daytime drama General Hospital, Ed finally was able to focus on comedy as "The Chief" to Don Adams klutzy secret agent on Get Smart, a show that inevitably found a cult audience. Picking up a few occasional guest spots in its aftermath, he later tried producing. He was married twice and the father of four. He died in 1974 at the age of 58.
Robert Donat's pleasant voice and somewhat neutral English accent (a byproduct of being raised in northern England) were carefully honed as a boy because he had a stammer and took elocution lessons starting at age 11 to overcome the impediment. It was not too surprising that freedom from such a vocal embarrassment was encouragement to act. His other handicap, acute asthma, did not deter him. At the age of 16 he began performing Shakespeare and other classic roles in a number of repertory and touring companies throughout Britain. In 1924 he joined Sir Frank Benson's repertory company, and later he was with the Liverpool Repertory Theater.
His work was finally noticed by Alexander Korda, who gave him a three-year film contract. Three minor films were followed by his role as Katherine Howard's lover, Thomas Culpepper, in the hit The Private Life of Henry VIII.. Donat's style of acting, whether comic or dramatic, was usually reserved, with the subtleties of face and voice being his talents to complement the role. A top draw in Britain, he went to Hollywood for The Count of Monte Cristo, but he did not care for the Hollywood scene--the fishbowl lifestyle of the movie star. "Cristo" gave him the opportunity for Captain Blood (1935), but he eventually declined. (With a nod to hindsight, it is hard to think of anyone but a fresh-faced Flynn doing the role.) Although he would have contracts with MGM, Warner Bros. and RKO through the remainder of the 1930s, he begged off many a film role or broke commitments, ostensibly because of health problems, though, along with being finicky about roles, he was also such a conscientious actor that lack of confidence sometimes stymied his forward progress.
Hollywood usually had to shoot in England if it wanted him badly enough. And that was not a problem after the box office reception given The 39 Steps (1935), the big hit for Alfred Hitchcock. There was a hint of whimsy in Donat's face that worked especially well with the sophisticated comedic elements that crept into several of his dramatic roles. His portrayal of individualist Canadian Richard Hannay--which registered with North Americans both above and below the 49th parallel--in "Steps" was the first of such popular characters. Some of Hitch's famous on-the-set practical jokes ensued on the first day of shooting "Steps." The first scene was the escape on the moors from the master spy's henchmen by Donat and Madeleine Carroll handcuffed together. Donat and Carroll had not met before this, and Hitchcock handcuffed them together hours before filming so that they could get very well acquainted. He insisted he had misplaced the key when in fact he had slipped it to a studio security officer for safekeeping.
Hitchcock attempted to land Donat for three other roles, Sabotage and Secret Agent in 1936 and Rebecca in 1940, but illness, commitments, and more illness, respectively, supposedly kept Donat from accepting each. Hollywood would be treated in kind, for Donat was more dedicated to stage work. Hollywood did get him for The Citadel, for which he was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar. He won the Oscar the next year for perhaps his best known role in Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939) (MGM's with Greer Garson). Since 1939 was one of the most competitive film years in Hollywood history, Donat's reward for his mild Mr. Chipping was something of a stunner. This was the year of Gone with the Wind, and Clark Gable as Rhett Butler seemed a shoo-in for best actor. But there is something of a myth that since both pictures were from MGM and "Wind" had so many nominations (including best actor, actress, and picture), MGM head and strongman Louis B. Mayer used his weight to spread the wealth toward "Chips".
Unlike other British actors who came to work in America during World War II, Donat stayed in Britain. He did mostly theater but also some British films--only four--with one for Korda and one for Carol Reed. Only six more films were allotted Donat after the war and into the 1950s, all but one British productions. He starred, directed and co-wrote The Cure for Love and starred in The Magic Box, a well-crafted and delightful (if a bit fictionalized) salute to the history of the British film industry. By 1955, all of Donat's acting efforts required a bottle of oxygen kept off stage and at the ready as his health continued to turn toward the worse. The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, a Twentieth Century Fox production shot in the UK, was Donat's final film. His fragility was poignantly obvious on screen, and he died shortly after the film was finished. He received a posthumous Special Citation from the USA National Board of Review and was nominated for a Best Actor Golden Globe. It was a career for Robert Donat that should have gone on, yet it was filled with many notable screen memories just the same.
Easily the best known actor/martial artist during the 1980s ninja cinema craze, Kosugi was a proficient martial artist & skilled weapons performer which was highlighted in his several starring roles.
Kosugi grew up as the youngest child and only son of a Tokyo fisherman, and began his martial arts training at the age of five studying karate at a local dojo. Sho expanded upon his martial arts studies, also learning judo & kendo, and by his 18th birthday he had achieved the status of All Japan Karate Champion. Intent on entering the world of international finance, Sho left Japan at only 19 years old to study and reside in Los Angeles, USA where he achieved a Bachelor's Degree in Economics, yet he also remained focused on constantly improving his martial arts skills. Throughout the early 1970s, Sho competed in hundred's of martial arts tournaments & demonstrations including winning the L.A. Open in 1972, 1973 & 1974. In addition, he also met a young Chinese woman named Shook, who was eventually to become his wife and mother of his children, plus Sho had his first foray into the cinema with part's in a minor Taiwanese film titled "The Killers", and then in a Korean production, shot in Los Angeles known as "The Stranger From Korea".
Sho's big break came in 1981 when karate legend Mike Stone pitched a screenplay under the title of "Dance of Death" to Cannon Films. Cannon was at the time, a lackluster production house that had two years prior been purchased by film producer cousins Menahem Golan & Yoram Globus. The innovative cousins quickly turned Cannon into a profitable key player in the independently produced film market by latching onto topics popular to the youth market, having rapid shooting schedules, relatively unknown casts and tight budgets. Menehem Golan once remarked that he believed it was impossible to lose money on a film shot for the US market with a budget of under $5 million!!
Cannon Films backed Stone's screenplay and the title was changed to _Enter The Ninja (1981)_ starring Franco Nero, Christopher George & Susan George with filming completed in the Phillipines in early 1981. Sho's role was as the evil black ninja "Hasegawa", and his icy screen presence and martial arts skills grabbed the attention of martial arts film fans, and ignited the huge fascination with ninjitsu that engulfed martial arts for the next decade. With the financial success of their first "ninja" film, Cannon readily backed a further ninja movie, only this time Sho was elevated to being the star of the film and had become a good guy!! Revenge of the Ninja was shot in Salt Lake City, Utah in late 1982 and featured Sho as a ninja master forced to flee from Japan to America with his only surviving son, after the rest of his family are butchered by opposing ninjas's. Launching into an art importing business with an American business partner, Sho finds out too late that his partner is also a ninja, importing drugs hidden in Sho's Japanese dolls. The second film outstripped the first on box office takings, and Sho Kosugi was now the hottest star in martial arts cinema!
Based on those booming ticket sales, Cannon were once again happy to back another ninja movie, and in late 1983 shooting commenced in Phoenix, Arizona on Ninja III: The Domination. The plot line however, was a rather strange affair, with the spirit of dead ninja possessing the body of dance instructor Christie (played by Solid Gold dancer Lucinda Dickey)......it was a misguided attempt by Cannon to combine ninjutsu with the 80s break dancing craze and horror movies about possession. None the less, fans didn't seem to mind, and the third installment in Cannon's ninja trilogy did reasonable business at the box office.
Kosugi then starred in the short lived action TV series _"The Master" (1984)_ alongside legendary screen bad guy 'Lee van Cleef', before going onto star in several more ninja films, including taking on Mafia thugs in the bloody Pray for Death, stopping terrorists as a ninja commando in Nine Deaths of the Ninja and as a ninja secret agent taking on "the Muscles from Brussels" Jean-Claude Van Damme in the military adventure Black Eagle.
However, by 1990 the US movie going public had grown tired of a decade of black clad ninja's hurling shuriken's and swords at each other, and Sho Kosugi left Hollywood to venture back to Japan where he became involved in numerous TV productions again centered around martial arts. In 1992, Kosugi starred in his biggest budgeted movie to date, a samurai epic titled _Journey of Honor (1992)_ also featuring screen legends Toshirô Mifune and Christopher Lee. Since then, Kosugi has remained very active in Japanese TV, was involved in contributing martial arts choreography for the highly popular Sony Playstation game "Tenchu; Stealth Assassins", plus he returned to Hollywood in the late 1990s to set up the Sho Kosugi Institute to assist Asian actors wishing to break into the mainstream US film market.
Undeniably, many of the ninja films featuring Sho Kosugi were marred by low budgets & cheap production....however his superb martial arts skills and captivating on screen presence have assured him a unique place in the history of martial arts cinema, and his name has become synonymous with the art of ninjitsu.
Born in 1939, British actress Sue Lloyd trained in dance as a child, studying at the Sadler's Wells School at age 11. Since her height (5' 8") decreased her chances of a ballet career, the statuesque Sue instead became a chorus girl and showgirl. After some modeling assignments, she broke into television in the early 60s (The Saint and The Avengers), which, in turn, propelled her into a spy series (The Baron) and other espionage tales on film, notably The Ipcress File starring Michael Caine as Harry Palmer, No. 1 of the Secret Service and the comedy spoof Revenge of the Pink Panther. She even played a sexy secret agent in a stage version of "The Avengers", playing Hannah Wild, John Steed's partner. For the next decade or so Sue alternated between film and TV assignments, not really making much of a dent anywhere but providing nice set decoration. After co-starring in a couple of Joan Collins vehicles, The Stud and The Bitch, her career pretty much fell away. In 1991 she married actor Ronald Allen but he died shortly after of cancer. Glimpsed here and there, she came full circle in film intrigue by making a cameo appearance in Bullet to Beijing, which again starred Michael Caine as private eye Harry Palmer. Sue wrote her own biography "It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time" in 1998.
A native of Toronto, Canada, Dara Tomanovich's career as a model and actress started thanks to a fateful trip to visit a friend working in Paris. While abroad, Ms. Tomanovich happened to meet with the internationally renowned German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld who, after recognizing her talents, cast her as the new lead model for the fashion house, Chloe, at the age of 18. As the face of Chloe, Dara Tomanovich's career began to take off. She was able to book a campaign with the cosmetic line L'Oreal, in which she had the opportunity to work with photographer Patrick Demarchelier. Ms. Tomanovich lived in Paris working as a model for five years, during which time the highlights of her career included gracing the cover of the French edition of Marie Claire, and appearing in advertisements for the British edition of Vogue.
After moving to New York from Paris, Dara Tomanovich began studying acting at The William Esper Studio in Manhattan. At the Esper Studio, Ms. Tomanovich learned to act using the Meisner technique, a technique of method acting that focuses on personal interaction. At this time, she appeared with Academy Award winner George Clooney in a television campaign for the Italian car manufacture, Fiat. Once her studies were complete, Ms. Tomanovich moved to Los Angeles and received a role in the Pauly Shore comedy, Bio-Dome. Ms. Tomanovich would go on to appear in a variety of television shows, including Highlander, The Practice, Family Affair, Just Shoot Me, and Secret Agent Man.
Natasha Blasick was born in the former USSR in the city of Odessa on the Black Sea. Her first language is Russian, She grew up in a Soviet style apartment that housed two families. She made her debut as a lead actress in the film Death of Evil. She is the oldest daughter of Sergei and Ludmilla and has a younger sister, Marina. Natasha is the first member of her family to pursue a career in acting.
Life in the USSR saw Natasha wearing homemade clothes and attending Young Pioneers of the Soviet Union camp. Interested in studying English from the age of six Natasha waited many winter hours for the most affordable public transportation to ferry her to and from her language classes. At the age of 14 she and her father, Sergei, were visited by a UFO. Natasha studied dance, acted in many plays and competed in several beauty contests. Eventually earning a masters degree in marketing Natasha bid farewell to family and Odessa on a voyage of love, to marry her American husband Martin Blasick.
Natasha immediately embraced both Los Angeles and the craft of acting where she studied technique with several coaches, melding the training into her own acting style. Her leading role in Notes from the New World, based on Dostoevsky's Notes From The Underground screened in festivals across Europe. In The Black Russian Natasha traveled to India to shoot the title role of the multi-layered Francesca, a Russian ex-patriot caught up in a deadly game of love. Mockbuster Paranoid Activity 2 starred Natasha in a battle against an Alaskan poltergeist.
She was the swimsuit winner in the Mrs. World contest and appeared as Sasha the secret agent on Days of Our Lives. She also appeared in Meet the Spartans and (as herself) in Battle of the Bods. She had the chance show her comedic talents doings sketches for a season of Spike TV's MDN and on Jimmy Kimmel Live!.
Athena Massey continues to show her range and versatility as an actress through her many roles in both film and television. Proving that she is not just a "pretty face", Massey has played roles ranging from a secret agent in the film "Termination Man" to a clairvoyant alien in the highly-acclaimed television series "Star Trek: Voyager." She made her film debut opposite Don "The Dragon" Wilson in "Virtual Combat." Massey's physically demanding role garnered a lot of attention and respect. Skilled in Martial Arts and Krav Maga, Massey performed her own stunts in the film. She continued to impress audiences and critics with her kickboxing skills in "Cybertracker 2." Massey also played a Southern soap opera star in MGM's "Molly" and a detective in "Shadow of a Scream" -- once again proving her diversity as an actress. Her other film credits include "Harold Robbins' Body Parts" starring opposite Richard Grieco, and "Poison Ivy: The New Seduction." Massey demonstrated her comedic skills in Universal Pictures' hilarious comedy, "The Nutty Professor" starring Eddie Murphy. She has also had guest-starring appearances on the Emmy Award-winning television shows "Seinfeld" and "The Larry Sanders Show." Massey also had recurring roles on the Sci-Fi Channel series "Black Scorpion" and on the CBS series "Nash Bridges." Other television credits include: "Murder One", "LA Heat", "Young and the Restless" and "Red Shoe Diaries." Massey has also successfully crossed over into the CD Rom interactive world. She portrayed a GDI Pilot in "Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun" and played Lieutenant Eva Lee in "Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2" and "Red Alert 2: Yuri's Revenge." She is currently producing a self-titled comic book with her writing partner, Brooks Wachtel. "Athena: Warrior Eternal" is a story of a warrior goddess who comes to present-day Earth and takes over the body of a mortal woman to stop Ares, God of War, from destroying the planet. Massey promoted her comic book at the famous International Comic Book Convention held in San Diego. Massey also launched her own official website, athenamassey.com, which highlights interviews, upcoming television appearances, film roles, photo shoots and fan mail. It is part of the official celebrity website, safesearching.com. Massey was a presenter at the 32nd Annual Academy of Magical Arts Awards held at the Wilshire Ebel Theatre. She was also among a select group of actors featured in the "Costume & Couture: Dressing TV's Hottest Stars" fashion spread in the 2000 issue of Emmy magazine. Massey resides in Los Angeles where she enjoys her other passions: cycling, flying trapeze, Krav Maga, kickboxing, meditation and interior design.
Dashiell Hammett was born May 27, 1894, in St. Mary's County, Maryland, to Richard Hammett and Mary Bond. He joined the Baltimore branch of the Pinkerton Detective Agency in 1915. He enlisted in the US Army's Ambulance Corps in June 1918 and was posted to a camp 20 miles from Baltimore, where he caught the flu, which developed into tuberculosis. He was invalided out of the army in July 1919 and returned to Pinkerton's. Hammett entered the veterans hospital near Tacoma, Washington, with tuberculosis in 1920. Upon his release he worked at Pinkerton's Spokane branch. Hospitalized again with tuberculosis, he met and courted a nurse, Josephine Dolan. In February 1921 he was moved to an army hospital near San Diego. After he was released he married a now-pregnant Josie in San Francisco. Hammett worked for the San Francisco branch of Pinkerton's, but left the agency in 1921 or 22 due to ill health. He took a writing course and sold droll vignettes to "The Smart Set" magazine during 1922, and some short stories to other magazines. He began to sell detective stories to "The Black Mask" from 1923. After the birth of the couple's second daughter in 1926, Hammett gave up freelance writing and became an advertising copy writer for the jeweler Albert Samuels, but left after six months due to ill health. Forced by his tuberculosis to live apart from Jose and the children, the marriage eventually broke up. Hammett supported himself through writing, chiefly for "The Black Mask", now under editor Joe Shaw. Hammett's long short stories were republished in novel form by Alfred Knopf. In 1929 Hammett moved to New York. After the success of his novel "The Maltese Falcon", he was engaged as a screenwriter by Paramount Pictures and moved to Hollywood, where he met Lillian Hellman. He returned to New York in 1931, where he wrote "The Glass Key". "The Thin Man" was published as a magazine serial in 1933. Hammett was encouraged by Hearst to write the "Secret Agent X9" comic strip, which ran from 1934-35, his last original work. In 1942 he re-enlisted in the army and was posted to the Aleutian Islands off of Alaska, where he edited The Adakian. When discharged in 1945, he returned to New York and became President of the NY Civil Rights Congress. In July 1951 Hammett was subpoenaed to testify on the Civil Rights Congress' bail fund, and was jailed for refusing to answer questions. Upon his release from jail, he was presented with a bill by the Internal Revenue Service for $111,000 in back taxes. In failing health, h lived off and on with Hellman. In 196 he was admitted to New York's Lenox Hill Hospital, New York, where he died on January 10.
Probably one of the greatest adventure novelists of our time. When his novel "Raise the Titanic" was bought for $840,000 by Viking Publishing in 1976, it put him on the map after 11 years of hard work. Before his success with RTT, he previously had written "Pacific Vortex", which wasn't published until after his successes, "The Mediterranean Caper" and "Iceberg". Originally in advertising, first as an award-winning copy writer, and then as creative director for two of the nation's largest agencies. He started his writing career when his wife, Barbara, got a night job for the local police station as a clerk. At night after putting his kids to bed, he had hardly anything to do and no one to talk to. So out of solitude he decided to write a book. After a few nights of thinking of an idea on what to write about he thought it would be fun to produce a little paperback series. The thought of a best-seller never crossed his mind. Thanks to his marketing experience, he began researching and analyzing all the series heroes, beginning with Edgar Allan Poe's Inspector Dumas. Next came Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes and all the other fiction detectives and spies. Like the likes of Bulldog Drummond, Sam Spade, Phillip Marlowe, Mike Hammer, Matt Helm, James Bond. Whatever he could find, he studied them all. With his experience in creative advertising under his belt, he started to wonder what he could conceive that was totally different. He didn't want to compete with already-famous authors. He was determined not to write about a detective, secret agent or undercover investigator or deal in murder mysteries. He then decided his hero's adventure would be based on and under water. And thus, the basic concept for Dirk Pitt the marine engineer with the National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA) was born. He found it interesting that almost no authors were writing pure, old-fashioned adventure. It seemed to him, a lost genre. After taking a refresher course in English, he launched his first book that introduced Pitt and most all of his characters who appeared in the upcoming novels to follow afterwards. The first book was named "Pacific Vortex". Dr. Cussler, leaned heavily on Alistair McLean on his first two books and was quite flattered when critics told him they were quite similar. But by his third book, he began to drift into his own style with a myriad of sub-plots. And because of that, "Iceberg", to this day, has and always will be a sentimental favorite of his because it never ended where it began. After completing "Pacific Vortex", he was about to launch a second book when he was offered a position at a large advertising agency. It would have been a wonderful opportunity with a well-paid salary, but his wife challenged him. She knew that if he wanted to write sea stories, why didn't he take a job as a clerk at the local dive shop who at the time was hiring. He wasted little time and in 1968 he started working for the Aquatic Center Dive ship in Newport Beach as a behind-the-counter-salesman. Never being a certified diver, it took him just a few weeks. Once he was certified, Dr. Cussler started bringing in his typewriter in the morning and wrote at a card table behind the counter when business was slow which was usually in the afternoons. A little over a year later, Dr. Cussler finished his second novel, "Mediterranean Caper". That's when he decided to leave the shop and return to advertising. With constant rejection letters on his first novel, Pacific Vortex, Dr. Cussler had decided that it would be a smart decision to find himself a literary agent. With a little cunning and ingenuity, he soon met Peter Lampack, who was with the William Morris Agency in Manhattan. With Peter liking his second novel, "Mediterranean Caper", Dr. Cussler now had a contract. With the contract promptly signed and mailed, he started working on his third novel, "Iceberg". Now that he had an agent and with renewed inspiration, Dr. Cussler left the advertising agency, and decided to write full time. Fed up with Southern California and wanting to change his family's lifestyle, he sold his boat, house and car. He bought a new family sedan and a tent trailer. After a wonderful summer, he and his family relocated to Estes Park, Colorado. Once settled in, he started to work on his third novel, Iceberg. After a year he finished Iceberg and with his agent having no success finding an editor to take "Mediterranean Caper" and now, "Iceberg" and with his savings about depleted, Dr. Cussler went back to advertising. Once he got himself a job with a very small agency and started to prove to them his value, Dr. Cussler moved his family to the suburb of Arvada just outside of Denver. It wouldn't be long before he was given the pink slip again. Taking a once broken down and small firm and making it into multi-million company, Dr. Cussler vowed to never work in the advertising agency again. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Because that's when he started to work on "Raise The Titanic!" in one corner of his unfinished basement. By then his agent, Peter Lampack, had found a small publisher to take Mediterranean Caper. Printing fifty-thousand copies and selling thirty-two thousand, Pyramid Publishing paid him five thousand dollars and sold the novel for seventy-five cents a piece. Less then a year later, Dr. Cussler sold his novel, Iceberg to Dodd Mead Publishing for five-thousand dollars. The novel sold thirty-two thousand copies with an initial intent of only printing five thousand. Once he finished Raise The Titanic, Dr. Cussler sent it off to his agent. Once approved, it was relayed to Dodd Mead. It was rejected within ten days. His agent decided to sent the renounced manuscript to Putnam but they wanted a massive rewrite which Dr. Cussler refused to do. And what Dr. Cussler would later say, "Out of the blue, Viking Press bought it, asked for very few changes and paid me seventy-five hundred dollars." And that's when "strange forces" went to work. A London editor from Macmillan Publishing was visiting a friend at Viking and heard about the Dr. Cussler manuscript. Since the Titanic was a British ship, he asked for a copy of the manuscript to read on his plane back to England. He ended up wanting to buy it. But his agent had already sold "Iceberg" to Sphere Publishing, a small publishing house in London, for four hundred dollars. Since Sphere had the first option, they put in a bid for the manuscript that was promptly topped by Macmillan. Once the dust settled from the bidding war, Sphere owned the book, paying twenty-two thousand dollars, a high price for England in those days. Getting the feeling that things were suddenly falling into place, Dr. Cussler called his agent and got his rights back for Mediterranean Caper. At the same time, Dodd Mead Publishing notified his agent that Playboy Publications had offered four thousand dollars for the paperback right to Iceberg. Still with that "gut" feeling, Dr. Cussler told his agent that he would buy back Mediterranean Caper from Dodd Mead Publishing for five thousand dollars. The deal was done two weeks later. With the buzz and interest about Raise The Titanic over in Britain, it didn't take long for American paperback publishers to take notice. It soon went to auction with Viking Press winning the rights for $840,000. Once the auction was over and finding out that "Raise The Titanic" was the third Dirk Pitt novel, Viking Press bought them both for forty thousand dollar a piece. "Raise The Titanic" was Cussler's first novel to have several plots going on at the same time and to have them all converge at the end. Since then, Dr. Cussler has sold over 100 million copies of his Dirk Pitt Adventures. He continues to write Dirk Pitt adventures while living a life that nearly parallels that of his action hero. Like Pitt, Dr. Cussler enjoys discovering and collecting things of historical significance. With NUMA (National Underwater & Marine Agency, a non profit group begun by Cussler) he has had an amazing record of finding over 60 shipwrecks, one of which was the long-lost Confederate submarine Hunley. And recently discovered the rescue ship Carpathia who picked up the Titanic survivors. Dr. Cussler also has a renowned and extensive classic car collection, which features over 80 examples of custom coachwork. Along with being Chairman of NUMA, he is also a fellow of the Explorers Club (which honored him with the Lowell Thomas Award for outstanding underwater exploration), the Royal Geographical Society and the American Society of Oceanographers. Married to Barbara Knight for 40 years, with three children and two grandchildren, he divides his time between the mountains of Colorado and the deserts of Arizona. He is represented by the Bartholomeaux Agency.
|W. Somerset Maugham
Popular British novelist, playwright, short-story writer and the highest-paid author in the world in the 1930s, Somerset Maugham graduated in 1897 from St. Thomas' Medical School and qualified as a doctor, but abandoned medicine after the success of his first novels and plays. During World War I he worked as a secret agent and in 1928 settled in Cap Ferrat in France, from where he made journeys all over the world. Maugham's spy novel "Ashenden; or The British Agent" (1928) is partly based on his own experiences in the secret service. In making the transition from secret agent to writer, Maugham carried on in the tradition of such classic writers as Christopher Marlowe, Ben Johnson and Daniel Defoe to such contemporary writers as Graham Greene, John le Carré, John Dickson Carr, Alec Waugh and Ted Allbeury. Maugham's skill in handling plot is compared by critics to that of Guy de Maupassant. In many of Maugham's novels the surroundings are international and the stories are told in a clear, economical style with a cynical or resigned undertone. Although Maugham was successful as an author he was never knighted and his relationship with Gerald Haxton, his secretary, has been subject to speculation.
|Kenneth J. Warren
Balding (later shaven-headed) Australian character actor Kenneth J. Warren (the "J" stands for John) was a reliable performer on both stage and films, his imposing, beefy frame and darting, sliver-eyed presence almost a tell-tale sign of peril yet to come. Born in New South Wales in 1929 (some sources indicate 1926), he was best known for his sinister heavies yet was quite comfortable playing moral-minded men. He began his theatrical career in his native Australia during the early 1950s and also found an obscure film part to play in the Robert Newton classic of - Treasure Island. Catching fire after appearing on the London stage with a superb performance in an Australian touring production of "Summer of the Seventeenth Doll," he made a major career move by settling in England. A wise choice in the end for his film career started up almost immediately with able supports in Hell, Heaven or Hoboken starring John Mills, Concrete Jungle with Stanley Baker, Underworld Informers with Nigel Patrick, and A High Wind in Jamaica opposite Anthony Quinn and James Coburn.
Billed early in the game as Kenneth Warren (without the middle initial), the actor returned to the stage from time to time in such plays as "Luther" (1963) and "Canterbury Tales" (1968). On TV he was a worthy antagonist in a number of popular spy series such as "The Avengers," "Secret Agent" and "The Saint." An emphatic presence in horror films, his gallery of films in this genre included _Dr. Blood's Coffin (1961)_, I, Monster, Demons of the Mind and The Creeping Flesh. One of Warren's final roles came in another typical form, that of a military hi-ranker, in the comedy Digby, the Biggest Dog in the World. His untimely death in 1973 robbed the acting community of a vital character support. His film S*P*Y*S, which reunited M*A*S*H cohorts Elliott Gould and Donald Sutherland, was released posthumously. In his private life, Warren belied his on-camera tough-guy image as he was a talented artist and gourmet cook. His son Damian Warren is also an actor.
The 1981 Manila International Film Festival was designed by First Lady Imelda Marcos as an elaborate showcase of Filipino culture. To everyone's horror, the only film that sold to the world was a midget spy film - a miniature mockery of Western pop iconography, and a joyously naïve celebration of Filipino Goon Cinema - called For Y'ur Height Only. Its star, a two-foot nine primordial dwarf named Weng Weng, became the most famous Filipino celebrity of his generation both inside the Philippines and abroad, yet curiously, less than 30 years later, the real Weng Weng story has all but been forgotten even by those who worked alongside him. Blame faulty or selective memories, or a fad-driven culture that never pauses long enough to ask "who?", "what?" or "why?" - truth is, the story of Weng Weng has become one of the Philippines' greatest urban legends, and the wildest and woolliest of stories fill in the gaps. Stand-up comedian married to a porn actress, real-life secret agent, hit karaoke chanteur with Imelda, the flow is endless. Once the horsecrap hardens, it's almost impossible to extricate truth from fiction, the right from the rot.
It's taken me over a year, three visits to the Philippines and more than 40 interviews with the people closest to him, including his only surviving relative, brother Celing de la Cruz, to glean the following information. There are still enormous gaps, but this is the most detailed portrait of Weng Weng I am able to put together; my documentary The Search For Weng Weng is as complete as it ever will be.
Weng Weng was born Ernesto de la Cruz, the youngest of five brothers, on 7th September 1957 in Balacaran, a district of Pasay City (now part of the sprawling 17-city Metro Manila). A condition known as primordial dwarfism caused him to be born, in the words of his brother Celing, "no bigger than a coke bottle", and he spent the first 12 months of his life in an incubator. He was not expected to live. Naturally, it was declared a miracle when he did, and in a country that venerates miraculous acts of faith, it is no surprise that Weng Weng was dressed as the Christ-child figure at the head of Baclaran's yearly Santo Nino parade.
A cheerfully mischievous child, his family nicknamed him Weng Weng, an epithet usually reserved for toy dogs. He was obsessed with martial arts and trained almost daily, until his instructor contacted film producer Peter Caballes and said, "You just have to see THIS." Peter and his wife, the successful businesswoman Cora Ridon Caballes, took Weng Weng on the rounds of film producers, including Bobby A. Suarez, whose novelty kiddie films The Bionic Boy (1977) and Dynamite Johnson: The Bionic Boy Part 2 (1978) were already international hits. Suarez turned down the idea of Weng Weng as a midget Superman, but successful indie producer/director Luis San Juan, who specialized in kung fu films for the export market, cast Weng Weng in a cameo in a film whose name is now lost to the sands of time. Peter Caballes then introduced Weng Weng to the King of Philippines Comedy, Dolphy, who cast him as his kung-fu kicking sidekick in his spy caper The Quick Brown Fox (1980) and western parody Da Best In Da West (1981).
Weng Weng, meanwhile, was a frequent visitor of the Marcos family at the Presidential Palace, where he was made an honorary Secret Agent by future President General Ramos, and was presented with a badge and a 25-callibre pistol. This act may have been the direct inspiration for Weng Weng's first starring role as Agent OO in the James Bond parody For Y'ur Height Only, produced by Peter and written by Cora Caballes for their company Liliw Productions. Eddie Nicart, renowned stunt director for the SOS Daredevils, trained Weng Weng every day for three months to be a professional stuntman, and was given his first opportunity to direct.
It's hard to pin down the appeal of For Y'ur Height Only - whether it's the inadvertently genius deconstruction of both Western action films and their Pinoy counterparts, surreal pot-addled dubbing by American expats (and Apocalypse Now survivors) Jim Gaines and Nick Nicholson, or inspired casting of every Bad Guy (or "Goon") still alive at the time, and the James Bond of the Philippines himself, Tony Ferrer aka Agent X44, as Weng Weng's boss. It all adds up to an absurdist masterpiece of gloriously bad cinema, one which was sold all over the world and became one of the Philippines' most successful exports.
Weng Weng became an instant superstar, appearing on TV and at parties, film festivals, movie openings. Liliw Productions quickly cranked out a much less successful Agent OO sequel, The Impossible Kid (1982), and a modern Pinoy western D'Wild Wild Weng (1982), starring Weng Weng as a government agent known as "Mr Weng", which doesn't appear to have made it beyond the Philippines borders. There may be other Weng Weng film appearances, including a starring role in Agent OO (c.1981) and a guest cameo alongside the stick-thin Palito's character "James Bone", but even in the Philippines information is sketchy at best, if not non-existent.
As the profits diminished, Cora Caballes moved on to a political career and Liliw Productions folded. As a result, Weng Weng found himself no longer flavour of the month and without a film career. According to his brother, his family was poor before he became famous, and afterwards remained as poor as ever. In a bizarre twist of fate, General Ramos decided to put Weng Weng through paratrooper training; this time he was given a genuine Agent badge and was sent on infiltration missions where his size would been used to its maximum advantage. Thanks to the Caballes' connections at Manila Airport, Weng Weng was seen patrolling the Arrivals Lounge in the mid-Eighties in his blue uniform as the unlikeliest "Welcome To Manila" banner.
He continued to live in the family home in Baclaran, gained weight and, according to some reports, drank heavily, and developed hypertension after a severe reaction to eating crabmeat. His health declined steadily over the next twelve to eighteen months, and he died of heart failure on 29th August 1992, just short of his 35th birthday.
The Philippines' tiniest film icon is buried in a modest white marble tomb with his parents, grandparents and great-grandmother in Pasay City Cemetary.
Born in the city of Madrid , capital of Spain. He is the son of two entrepreneurs, the second of four children. His father started working at the age of thirteen and from there, he built a remarkably successful textile company in the center of the capital with his mother.
After finishing school, he decided to enroll in a degree in Sociology at the University Complutense of Madrid, to please a part of his family that frowned upon his dream of being part of such an unstable world. It didn't take too long for him to get into the university theatre group, where he met his soon to be mentor, Antonio Malonda. After two years and several theatrical productions, Malonda urges Gil to audition for the RESAD (Royal Consevatory of Dramatic Art of Madrid). One of 50 chosen from over 1700 applicants, Gil began his first year at the RESAD combining it with his third and final year of Sociology.
In 1997 Gil made his debut in the film "Resultado Final", directed by Juan Antonio Bardem (Honorary Goya winner).
In his second to last year at the RESAD, Gil was chosen by David Ottone, director of Yllana, a theatre company specializing in physical slapstick humor. Interested by the impressive academic results of the actor in the conservatory, Yllana, along with Gil, began a close collaboration that started with a two year tour in more than 20 countries around the world.
Gil then decided to leave the road to try his luck in television and landed a role in the TV show "Hospital Central" (2002/04). At the same time he was hired by the National Theater Company (Centro Dramático Nacional) for plays such as: "The Visit" by Dürrenmatt, "Story of a Stairway" by Antonio Buero Vallejo and many classic works including "Justice Without Revenge" by Lope de Vega.
His career really started to take off when he encarnated the legendary character of "Don Juan Tenorio" by Zorrilla at the Festival of Alcala de Henares before crowds of 40,000 spectators per show.
Success followed in 2005 when he played the lead in the hilarious comedy "Monty Python's Flying Circus", touring all of Spain. He was cast simultaneously in the TV show "Noche H" in which he played an eccentric journalist. There he had the opportunity to act alongside celebrities such as Tim Robbins, Penélope Cruz, Bruce Willis, Hilary Swank, Pedro Almodóvar, Steve Martin and Ralph Fiennes.
In the following years he played all kinds of characters in TV shows and in films including: Cuéntame Cómo Pasó (2006), Muchachada Nui (2007/08), La Tira (2008/09), Spanish Movie (2009), La que se Avecina (2010), Los Quién (2011) and Felipe y Letizia (2011), to name a few. In the latter film he starred as Felipe de Borbón and became the first actor ever to portray the Prince of Spain.
During these years he combined his work in film and television with theater and was involved in over a dozen productions, including Monty Python's musical, Spamalot, where he played several characters and was awarded the 2009 "Grand Vía" for Best Actor in a Musical Comedy.
In 2012 Fernando was selected by the Fundación Siglo de Oro Company to encarnate Henry VIII in The Shakespeare Globe to Globe Festival in London. This made Gil the first spanish actor ever to play a main character in The Globe Theatre. He received great reviews in leading newspapers such as The Guardian, where they praised his truthfulness on stage.
He has also portrayed another king, this time starring as the actual King of Spain, Juan Carlos I de Borbón, in the upcoming TV Movie "El Rey" (Tele 5).
He was awarded with the "Biznaga de Plata" for Best Supporting Actor at the 2013 Malaga Film Festival for his most recent film "Casting" by Jorge Naranjo.
Gil is presently shooting for the TV show "El Principe", where he plays a secret agent who is investigating a terrorist cell in Marocco. It is due to be released in 2014.
He recently returned from Los Angeles (California) where he performed Henry VIII at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica, garnering great reviews in newspapers such as the LA Times. There he met a renowned Hollywood agent who now manages Fernando Gil's career in the United States.
He has produced, directed and written many short films, for wich he also composed and recorded the music, being an avid guitar player. These shorts have brought him to over 16 film festivals and have been nominated for many awards. He won Best Short Film for his eccentric comedy "Vuelta y Vuelta" in the 2004 Iberoamerican Film Festival of Madrid.
Mickey Spillane, the king of the pulp novelists in the post-WW II period, sold an estimated 200 million copies globally. He was born Frank Morrison Spillane in Brooklyn, NY. Young Frank's mother was a Protestant who bestowed on him his middle name "Morrison", but his Irish Catholic father, barkeep John Joseph Spillane, allegedly had his son baptized with the middle name "Michael", a traditional name for Irishmen (so common, in fact, that the nickname derived from it, "Mick", served as a derogatory term for Irishmen in both the US and England). "Women liked the name Mickey", Spillane said, explaining why he chose the moniker that eventually became one of the world's best-selling novelists. In 1980 seven of the top 15 all-time bestselling fiction books published in the U.S. had been written by Spillane.
Despite the fact that his books were international bestsellers, as a writer Spillane was almost universally reviled by literary critics. He and his novels were attacked not only for their alleged illiteracy but were denounced by the U.S. Senate's Kefauver Commission as promoting juvenile delinquency. Explaining the extraordinary appeal of his novels, Spaillane simply said, "People like them." He countered his critics by saying they were jealous of his success. "I'm a writer, not an author," was Spillane's mantra all through his literary life. "The difference is a writer makes money." As late as 1999 Spillane told an audience at London's National Film Theatre, "Authors write, writers get paid." When he was asked about his literary influences, Spillane replied, "Dollars".
Spillane was brought up in the grimy industrial town of Elizabeth, NJ, in what he described as a "very tough" neighborhood. His mother provided him with balance inside the confines of the home, where he became a voracious reader, devouring all of the works of Alexandre Dumas père and Herman Melville by the time he was 11 years old. While still a high school student, he "went professional" at the age of 14, writing for the Elizabeth Daily Journal. In 1935 he began submitting his work to magazines before aiming lower and learning his craft by writing for comic books, including such popular titles as "Batman", "Captain Marvel", "Captain America" and "Superman". "[It was] a great training ground for writers," Spillane explained. "You couldn't beat it."
After high school Spillane went to Kansas State College on a football scholarship before dropping out. He joined the Army Air Corps the day after Pearl Harbor, but never left the US, spending the war years flying fighter planes and teaching air cadets how to fly. Still a civil pilot after the war, Spillane claimed he had put in 11,000 hours in the air by 1999. In 1945 he married Mary Ann Pearce, the first of his three wives. The couple had two sons and two daughters.
After leaving the military, he briefly worked in the Barnum and Bailey Circus as a trampoline artist and adept knife-thrower (his novel "The Girl Hunters"--later made into a movie, The Girl Hunters, uses a circus setting). Subsequently he worked for the FBI as an undercover operative to crack a narcotics ring (the subject of the novel "Kiss Me, Deadly", not the atomic bomb plot of the movie). He claimed in interviews that he had been shot twice and had been knifed once. Eventually he went back to writing.
Influenced by Carroll John Daly, the pulp writer who created the seminal private eye Race Williams, Spillane made the P.I. genre his own. His work was in the vein of the "hard-boiled" Black Mask school of pulp fiction of the 1930s. As a pulp writer, Spillane's mantra was "violence will outsell sex every time." By combining them he created a formula for success that begat a book publishing phenomenon.
Spillane's innovation was to inject gory violence into P.I. stories for a generation of 16 million men who had just been through the most violent war in history. After the war, the popularity of slick magazines was eroding due to the booming market in paperbacks, pulp fiction that sold for 25 cents a copy. These new mass-market novels featured lurid covers that would attract a customer at what became the ubiquitous steel-wire racks filled with paperbacks that sprouted up at bus stations, lunch counters, shops and newsstands all over the world.
Spillane's style was perfect for the new post-war fiction market. He attributed his success to Roscoe Fawcett of Fawcett Gold Medal Books, who envisioned a market for original novels instead of the reprints of classic works that dominated the paperback market during World War II. Gold Medal started to market novels written directly for paperback, and by injecting gore into the PI genre, both Fawcett and Spillane won a gold medal for their staggering sales.
Second wife Sherri Malinou was a model who Spillane noticed when she was featured on the cover of one of his books.
Raymond Chandler said of Spillane, "Pulp writing at its worst was never as bad as this stuff." Spillane's books always featured a great hook in the opening pages, as he believed that "the first page sells the book". His narratives are first-person spoken monologues, directly addressed to the reader. Hammer is less a detective in the guise of Dashiell Hammett's Continental Op or Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe than he is a vigilante, always ready to partake in a bit of the old ultra-violence.
Spillane published his first Mike Hammer pulp, the infamous "I, the Jury', in 1947. Written in nine days, the book introduces Hammer as a tough-talking, hard-drinking bruiser.
Other Hammer books with the same formula of murderous mugs and even more dangerous, double-crossing malevolent dames followed: "Vengeance in Mine" (1950), "My Gun is Quick" (1950), "The Big Kill" (1951), and "Kiss Me, Deadly" (1952). Hammer was not only a two-fisted he-man, but each of those mailed fists typically clutched a large-caliber automatic. No dainty .32 Colts--the pistol of choice for the sophisticated detectives of the '20s and '30s--for Mike Hammer. His hirsute ham-fist sported a .45 ACP, the service pistol of the GI generation.
Mike Hammer was a true bellwether of the times, for rather than just go after criminals or garden-variety gangsters like self-respecting operatives of the '30s, he went after "Reds" and "Commies", the nation's bogeymen, and women who were stealing atomic secrets, adulterating Hollywood films with Red propaganda. In the potboiler "One Lonely Night" (1951), hammer wields a "Chicago typewriter" - a submachine gun - to tap out one-way tickets to heaven for 40 Commie heavies and fellow-travelers.
Though he eschewed politics in real life, he regarded himself as a patriot and was admired by prominent right-wingers for his anti-Communist stand. Ayn Rand extolled Spillane to her disciples of logical positivism, while movie cowboy John Wayne gave him a Jaguar XK140 roadster in 1956, a car he still had a half-century later (and in top working order). While Cold War critics often tried to make a link between Spillane and notorious Red-baiter Sen. Joseph McCarthy, when asked in 1999 if he approved of what McCarthy had done, Spillane replied, "McCarthy was a nit-head. He didn't know what was going on. He was a slob."
Spillane stopped writing for nearly a decade after converting to the Jehoavah's Witnesses in 1952. At this point he didn't need to write, as the royalties from the millions of copies of his books earned him a substantial income. In 1961 he returned to writing with "The Deep", arguably the best of the Mike Hammer novels. With the "Day of the Guns" in 1964 Spillane created a new series featuring secret agent Tiger Mann, a globetrotting spy who was America's answer to James Bond. Like Hammer, Mann was anti-Communist in the extreme and wiped out Reds with relish during the Cold War years of the 1960s. However, during Spillane's absence during the 50s, Ian Fleming (whom Spillane dismissed as "a gourmet") and other writers had stolen his thunder: the Tiger Mann series and Spillane's other non-series novels did not enjoy the vast sales of the '50s. The second part of Spillane's formula - sex - had lost its steam in the 1960s, after the collapse of censorship led to a proliferation of raw pornography and the availability of much more graphic, though serious, novels for the more thoughtful reader.
The Hammer novels did well in the visual media: there were two television series and multiple movies. The only distinguished film made from Spillane's works was Robert Aldrich's late noir Kiss Me Deadly, now a cult classic. Spillane hated the film, which transmogrified the narcotics dealer plot of the novel into the theft of an atomic bomb (a true Cold War plot), which he found ludicrous.
Spillane took another hiatus from writing novels between 1973 and 1989, although he did write at two well-reviewed children's books, "The Day the Sea Rolled Back" (1979) and "The Ship That Never Was" (1982). He wrote the novels from the point of view of a child, he said, which explained their success. Though no longer a best-selling author, Spillane retained his fame during the 1970s due to his appearances in Miller Lite beer TV commercials. Although not a teetotaler, Spillane did not drink much, preferring an occasional beer over hard liquor, and he never smoked. He revived the Hammer franchise with "The Killing Man" in 1989, but Spillane, now in his 70s, was not a big seller. His last novel, "Black Alley" (1996), was published in 1996.
In retirement Spillane reportedly suffered a stroke. He lived, until his death, in Myrtle Beach, SC, with third wife Jane Rodgers Johnson, whom he married in 1983. He was an active Jehovah's Witness into his 80s, going from house to house to spread his faith and distribute copies of the "The Watchtower." He died on July 17, 2006, in Myrtle Beach from cancer. He was 88 years old.
Caitlin was born on August 16, 1953 in Whitefish Bay, Milwakee, Wisconsin. Growing up there, she and her two older sisters turned their garage into a theatre. She made her formal stage debut at eight, when her mother, a drama teacher, cast Caitlin as Peter Pan in a Cumberland School summer production. Caitlin admits there may have been some bias at that audition, but none was evident when she joined the North Shore Children's Theatre, a local professional touring company, at age 11. She played clarinet in the band at Whitefish Bay High School, where she was also a member of the choir. At 17, she won a scholarship at the prestigious Julliard School of Drama in New York City.
In her four years at Julliard, Caitlin studied under Oscar-winning actor John Houseman, and performed such classic roles as Masha in "The Seagull," Doreen in "Tartuffe," Juliet in "Romeo and Juliet," Mary Boyle in "Juno and the Paycock," Maryanne in "Measure for Measure," and Esmeralda in "Camino Reef."
Jake and SarahAfter graduation, Caitlin made her off-Broadway debut as Loretta in "Hot House" at the Chelsea Theatre. She remained at Chelsea to play Finkel in "Yentl" and to understudy Tovah Feldshuh in the title role. She moved to Broadway to understudy the role of Elizabeth in "A Matter of Gravity," starring Katherine Hepburn, then to Seattle to appear as Celia in "As You Like It," Gwendolyn in "Travesties," and Eylie in "Ladyhouse Blues."
Caitlin next appeared in "Gogol" at the New York Shakespeare Festival, and played the double roles of Belle and Mrs. Cratchit in "A Christmas Carol" at Playwrights Horizon. On closing night she made a trial move to Los Angeles and in five weeks was cast as Anna Marie Hollyhock in an ABC comedy series, "Apple Pie." The series introduced Caitlin to tap dancing, an interest she still pursues.
Caitlin remained in Los Angeles to play fourteen-year old Bianca in "White Marriage" at the Odyssey Theatre, which earned her a Drama-Logue award for best actress. She also appeared in two television movies, "Mark Twain's America" and "The Seeding of Sarah Burns."
She returned to the East to star as Ersilla Drei in Pirandello's "Naked" at the Syracuse Stage, and as Amy in the horror feature "He Knows You're Alone." Performances in "Ape Watch" at the Mark Taper Forum Lab, "The Brides" at the Lenox Art Centre, and off-Broadway as Olive Lashbrook in the 40s classic "The Voice of the Turtle" and "Scenes and Revelations" soon followed. She also appeared as waitress Lurleen Hamett in ABC's "One Life to Live."
Caitlin played 1930's Hollywood actress Dolores Farrar in Woody Allen's film "A Midsummer's Night Sex Comedy" (1982). Allen would cast her in two more films: "Zelig" (1983) and "The Purple Rose of Cairo" (1985). She also acted in "Three O'Clock High" (1987), which was executive-produced by Steven Spielberg.
She was best known to TV viewers for her performances as Sarah Stickney White in "Tales From The Gold Monkey" (1982) and as the first Snow White in "Charmings" (1987). As Sarah, she was an American secret agent who poses as a singer to cover her activities as an American agent operating in the South Pacific. And as Snow White, she played the fairytale character surviving in the modern world to perfection.
She has also created a company called "Caitlin" which markets perfumes that she personally created.
Caitlin continues to act, her recent feature film was Brooklyn Lobster (2005), where she played Aunt Fran.
She lives on a horse farm outside New York City, with her many pets, including dogs and horses.
|Larry J. Blake
Larry Blake was born in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn, New York on April 24, 1914. At the age of 18, his talent at impersonations and dialects grew into an vaudeville act. Blake eventually became a headliner, playing the Orpheum circuit, as well as the Roxy Theatre and the Rainbow Room in Rockerfeller Center.
In 1936 he was signed a contract with Universal studios, and his first job was in the serial Secret Agent X-9 (1937). Right after that he was chosen for a featured role in James Whale's The Road Back (1937), a sequel to All Quiet On the Western Front. He appeared in other films for Universal, including Trouble at Midnight, Air Devils, The Nurse From Brooklyn and The Jury's Secret (all 1938).
With the outbreak of WWII, Blake joined the U.S. Navy serving in the Atlantic and Pacific. He was mustered out and treated at a Naval hospital for his alcoholism. A Catholic priest helped Blake join Alcoholics Anonymous, and in 1946 he help start the first A.A. group for members of the motion picture industry.
Blake returned to acting in 1946, working steadily in supporting and bit parts throughout the 1950s. He is best known for his roles in Sunset Boulevard (1950) and High Noon (1952). In Sunset Boulevard he plays the first finance man who comes to repossess William Holden's car. In High Noon, Blake played Gillis, the owner of the saloon who is punched by Gary Cooper.
As television's popularity began, Blake found plenty of work from westerns, crime dramas to comedies. He was a regular in Pride of the Family (1953-54) television series, as well as the recurring part of the friendly jailer in Yancy Derringer (1958-59).
His last role was as the museum security guard in Time After Time (1979), when he was forced to retire due to emphysema. Until his death in 1982, Blake continued helping others in the A.A. program.
Writer-director Abraham Lincoln Polonsky, one of the most prominent victims of the Hollywood blacklisting of communists and social progressives in the post-World War II period, was born on December 5, 1910, in New York, New York. An unreconstructed Marxist, Polonsky never hid his membership in the Communist Party. (Indeed, it was known by the federal government during World War II, when he was a member of the O.S.S. working in France with the Resistance, given credence to the charge that the House Un-American Activities Committee wasn't interested so much in "ferreting out" communists and fellow-travelers as in making progressives of the F.D.R. coalition publicly repudiate their beliefs in a form of public penance.) After being named by former fellow O.S.S. member Sterling Hayden, Polonsky himself was arraigned before HUAC in 1951. After defying the committee by refusing to name names, he was blacklisted for 17 years by the U.S. film industry.
As director and screenwriter, Polonsky was an "auteur" of three of the great film noirs made in the last century: Body and Soul (screenplay; directed by fellow CPUSA member Robert Rossen, who kept his career by "naming names"), Force of Evil (which he wrote and directed), and Odds Against Tomorrow (which he wrote using a front).
Polonsky studied English at City College of New York (CCNY) and, after briefly shipping out as a merchant seaman, went to Columbia Law School. Polonsky's father wanted him to have a profession, and he preferred the law over medicine. The young Polonsky had wanted to be a writer, and he taught English at CCNY while matriculating at Columbia Law, but the law was his first career. After graduation from Columbia Law, he became a practicing attorney, which ironically, led to his career in screenwriting.
Gertrude Berg, the creative force behind the popular radio show "The Goldbergs" (which later made the transition to TV), was a client of his firm. Needing background for an episode that would feature the machinations of the law, Polonsky was assigned to Berg as an expert. Berg was so impressed when Polonsky dictated a scene to his secretary, she hired him as one of her writers. Thus, in 1937, by a serendipitous route charted originally by his father, who wanted his son to be a professional, not a writer, Polonsky was on his way to becoming a hot, Oscar-nominated screenwriter and writer-director.
Polonsky eventually left Berg and became a labor organizer. In 1939, after organizing autoworkers at a General Motors plant near his home in Briarcliff, New York, he became the educational director of the Congress of Industrial Organization, the major labor federation for skilled workers, in upstate New York. While working as a labor organizer, Polonsky wrote his first novel, "The Discoverers", a novel dealing with New York City bohemians, radicals, and frustrated intellectuals. The book was optioned by a publisher that unfortunately went out of business; it remains unpublished to this day. However, he began to thrive as a novelist: Simon and Schuster published a novel he co-wrote, "The Goose Is Cooked," in 1942, and Little Brown published his sea-adventure story "The Enemy Sea," which originally had been serialized in "Colliers Magazine".
Paramount became interested in Polonsky and offered him a contract. However, as a dedicated anti-Nazi, Polonsky was determined to serve in the war despite being turned down for military service due to poor eyesight. Recruited by the O.S.S. (likely because of his communist background; it was said that during World War II, communists made the best secret agents due to their propensity for secrecy and their dedication to their ideology). He signed a contract with Paramount guaranteeing him a job after the war, and then was shipped off to London before serving in France as a liaison with the French underground.
Back from World War II, Polonsky alienated Paramount's head writer when he complained that his nominal boss had kept him waiting too long for their initial meeting. The peeved head writer gave him the Marlene Dietrich potboiler Golden Earrings as his first screenwriting assignment, and although he received a screen credit, he claimed that nothing he wrote made it to the screen. He quit Paramount to take a job with John Garfield's Enterprise Productions, which had a collectivist philosophy akin to the old Group Theater on Broadway, of which the former Julius Garfinkle (Garfield) had been a member. Garfield was a leftist, though not a member of the Communist Party, though he did employ director Robert Rossen, who was a member of CPUSA, as was Polonsky, who had joined during the Depression.
Working from Polonsky's script, Rossen shot the classic boxing drama Body and Soul. Polonsky actually was allowed on the set (not a common occurrence for the film industry) and actively gave Rossen advice. Some critics see Polonsky as a "co-director," a claim Polonsky rejected as "no one," he said, "co-directs a Robert Rossen Picture." However, in the collectivist atmosphere of the studio, he was able to prevail over Rossen's conception of a "happy ending," ensuring that his own ending was part of the picture. Polonsky won an Oscar nomination for his screenplay for the film that was hailed as a classic by cineastes not long after its release. Garfield encouraged Polonsky to become a director, a development the screenwriter relished as it would give him more control over his screenplay and enable him to bring his vision to the screen just as he saw it. Adapting a 1940 crime novel "Tucker's People," Polonsky wrote and directed Force of Evil, which has been hailed as the greatest low-budget film noir ever.
By the time production had wrapped, Enterprise had gone bankrupt, and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was impressed enough to pick up the picture, though its hard-hitting indictment of big business, capitalism and political corruption was not Louis B. Mayer's cup of tea. MGM essentially dumped the picture as the bottom half of a double bill released for the Christmas season. This classic noir, with its indictment of capitalist society, was not exactly Christmas fare, and as Turner Classic Movies' Robert Osborne has said, it was quickly forgotten until rediscovered in the early 1960s. It has been considered a classic for at least a generation and had a big influence on Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather, whose equation of crime with business, and business with criminal behavior had been aired 24 years before in Polonsky's debut. In a huge loss to American cinema, Polonsky's debut was to be his last directorial effort for 20 years.
Both Body and Soul and Force of Evil are about the deleterious effects of materialism on the soul, as both protagonists (both played by John Garfield operating at the peak of his talent) face the loss of their soul due to the temptation of big money. Indeed, it is easy to see why conservatives would be offended by Force of Evil as it arguably is the most radical film to have come out of mainstream Hollywood, and definitely is informed by Marxism.
Blacklisted after his uncooperative appearance before HUAC in April 1951, Polonsky did not get a chance to direct another film until 1968, when he helmed the production of the revisionist Western Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here, which he turned into an indictment of genocide. Although he wrote screenplays and marketed them through fronts (most famously, with the indictment of racism Odds Against Tomorrow, directed by Robert Wise, it wasn't until 1968 that he was credited on a film, for the screenplay for Don Siegel's exegesis of police corruption, Madigan. After the release of the well-reviewed "Willie Boy," Polonsky enter4ed into "Fiddler on the Roof" territory and helmed the more light-hearted Romance of a Horsethief. After that, he was told by his physician that his heart could not take the strain of movie directing, so he retired from that part of his work, though he continued to write screenplays until the end of his life.
After the tide of public opinion turned against the HUAC informers after Victor Navasky's 1980 history "Naming Names," Polonsky was rediscovered by scholars of the cinema. However, he proved a frustrating subject to those that wanted to ferret out the films that had been produced from his fronted-work screenplays. Similarly to his stand 40 years earlier, when he had refused to "name names," Polonsky refused to cite the pictures he had ghostwritten or to name the fronts he had used for his fronted screenplays during the days of the blacklist. He said he had given the men his word that he would not betray their confidence, and indeed, he refused to cite his anonymous work as he felt it would have gone back on his pledge to the men who had helped him through a tough period, as it would have resulted in them being denied credit for the work. Polonsky had bargained with them in good faith, and a man of principle, he refused to go back on his pledge to them.
An unrepentant Marxist until his death, Polonsky publicly objected when director Irwin Winkler sanitized his script for Guilty by Suspicion to make the character played by Robert De Niro a liberal rather than a communist. He also was prominent in objecting to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences awarding an honorary Academy Award to director Elia Kazan, who was the most prominent of the people who "named names" before HUAC.
Abraham Polonsky died of a heart-attack in Beverly Hills, California, on October 26, 1999, convinced that he had been exonerated by history. As the auteur of three classic films that will live on in cinema history, he was right.
Singer, songwriter, guitarist and record producer Johnny Rivers has lent his smooth, reedy and soulful voice to a diverse array of songs in such music genres as blues, folk, rhythm and blues and inspired covers of rock-and-roll oldies. Moreover, Rivers has recorded a slew of singles and albums that have sold over 30 million copies, and he has had nine Top 10 hits as well as 17 other songs in the Top 40 charts throughout his career. He was born as John Henry Ramistella on November 7, 1942, in New York City and grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Rivers first began playing the guitar at age eight; he was taught how to play guitar by his father. Rivers formed his own group called The Spades while still in junior high school in 1956 and even recorded a few songs on the Suede label. Following brief abortive stints in both New York -- where legendary rock'n'roll disc jockey Alan Freed suggested that Johnny change his last name to Rivers -- and Nashville, Johnny settled in Los Angeles. He soon became a popular headliner at the famous nightclub The Whisky-a-Go-Go. His 1964 album "Johnny Rivers Live at the Whisky-a-Go-Go" peaked at #12 on the album charts and beget a #2 hit single with Rivers' cover of Chuck Berry's "Memphis." Johnny followed with a steady succession of hit covers of "Maybelline," "Midnight Special," and "Seventh Son." Rivers scored his only #1 hit with the elegiac "Poor Side of Town" (he also co-wrote this particular song), which was followed by the exciting "Secret Agent Man." Johnny's covers of "Baby I Need Your Lovin'" and "The Tracks of My Tears" were likewise very successful. In addition, he started his own record company, Soul City Records; this label was instrumental in launching the career of the vocal group The 5th Dimension. He also gave then burgeoning songwriter Jimmy Webb a big break by recording the Webb composition "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" on his album "Changes." Johnny continued to churn out hit singles in the '70s; his covers of "Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu," "Blue Suede Shoes" and "Help Me Rhonda" all did well. Rivers' last top 10 hit was the soothing and sensuous "Swayin' to the Music (Slow Dancin')." Although his career waned a bit in the '80s, Johnny Rivers continues to both tour and record the occasional new album to this day.
Another of a group of scene-stealing character actors who came to the fore during the early years of television, Marcel built a 40-year long career in Hollywood playing the archetypal French gendarme, maitre d' or small time crook. In fact, the balding, steely-eyed little actor was born Erwin Ottmar Hiller, son of music journalist and opera singer Paul Hiller, in Cologne, Germany. He appeared there on stage under the name Harry Furster in order to disguise his Jewish ancestry, but was eventually put in jail by the Nazis, somehow escaped, making his way to America. He began to act in television from 1952, later making his bow on Broadway in "The Heavenly Twins", followed by "Silk Stockings" in 1955. From there on he quickly settled on his French impersonations which were to become his stock-in-trade.
Marcel was at his best in comical portrayals of stereotypical characters. He was memorably larger-than-life in his first motion picture, the romantic comedy Sabrina as 'the professor', vainly attempting to teach budding cordon bleu chef Audrey Hepburn how to break an egg. During most of the 1960's, Marcel worked on the MGM lot European section, particularly active in the spy spoof genre, notably The Man from U.N.C.L.E. , Get Smart and I Spy, often as well-meaning, but bumbling secret agents . He was also popularly employed for science fiction, appearing twice on Twilight Zone and at the beginning and end of the third season of Lost in Space, as two different characters.
One of Marcel's quirkiest caricatures was that of 'Fritz' , from the brilliantly inventive Woody Allen comedy Take the Money and Run. 'Fritz' was the once-famous German film director hired by would-be bank robber Virgil Starkwell (Allen) to shoot a scene of a bank heist as a cover for the real bank job (eventually frustrated by a rival gang getting in on the act). Marcel played the part, in what was one of the funniest scenes in the film, with a jaundiced eye towards the behavioral idiosyncrasies of real-life German director Fritz Lang. For the next decade, Marcel continued to appear on the small screen, though he rarely had the same opportunities to shine that he did in the swinging 60's. Never married, he spent his remaining life in Los Angeles, where he died during complications from surgery in January 1988, aged 79.
Dell made his national TV debut opposite Academy Award-winning actress Halle Berry on the hit Cosby spin-off TV series A Different World. He starred as the complex, hard-kicking secret agent "Dobrinksy" in the widely syndicated action series John Woo's Once A Thief. Recent credits include guest and co-starring roles in: Navy NCIS, Malcolm And Eddie, That '70s Show, PSI Factor, Mean Streak, First Wave and Queer As Folk. He also guest starred in Full House, Jack's Place, The Joe Torre Story and L.A. Heat. Film credits include Totally Blonde, Doomsday Rock and Panic In The Sky.
In 2005 Dell began playing the continuing role of Detective Troy Hawkins on the award winning day time soap "The Young & The Restless". Early in 2005 Dell makes his reality show debut as the host of Making It Big, a new television series premiering on the Oxygen Network in the US and Life Network in Canada. Dell handholds ambitious young participants as they navigate the challenges that, each week, pits three up-and-comers against each other. They are vying for a once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity, and a reward that money can't buy: personal mentoring by high-profile industry leaders who have the power to launch their careers into the stratosphere.
Born and raised in Canada, Dell works around North America while maintaining a home-base in Orange County, California. Early in his performing career he starred in the Canadian stage hit, The Black And Gold Review, where his vocal range, ready wit and transcending charm captivated sold-out audiences and garnered rave reviews. In his spare time he indulges this life-long passion for music with composing and informal nightclub performances as a pianist and singer in his favorite local hangout.
As a medal-winning athlete and pro football player in both Canada and the U.S, Dell has a deep understanding of what it takes, emotionally and physically, to excel in the elite sports world. He imparts that knowledge through a thriving consulting business, which he juggles with his demanding acting career. Moving easily from on-camera work to projects as a film and television sports advisor, he also trains top North American and European athletes in tennis, track, football and basketball. He is currently translating his hard-won hands-on knowledge about nutrition for health and vitality into a book, Eating Left Because Right Didn't Work, written for anyone who wants to feel and look better.
Dell consistently makes time to speak out on behalf of various charities. A former national spokesperson for Multiple Sclerosis, he has also donated his talents to the Canadian Cancer Society and the Alberta Lung Association. A passionate advocate for non-violence and anti-drug programs, he dreams of one day establishing a basketball camp for kids. He is also currently developing several children's book ideas.
Dell's favorite quote is from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. "Now is the time to make real the promises of your potential." It is a maxim he lives by.
|Scott Christian Sava
Over the last twenty years, Scott Christian Sava's work has brought some of the world's most beloved characters to life in film, television, comics, and games. From Casper the Friendly Ghost to the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers to Star Trek and Spider-Man. Scott's unique talents and vision have been called upon by Disney, Universal Studios, Nickelodeon, and more.
Even before graduating from the Academy of Art in San Francisco, Scott was hand picked to become one of a handful of elite artists founding Sega of America in the early 90's. Before his 25th birthday, Scott was designing arcade games for Atari during the day, and illustrating Star Trek comics by night.
In 1995, Scott became one of the youngest artists ever to be inducted into the prestigious New York Society of Illustrators. Shortly after, he worked on his first feature film (Casper the Friendly Ghost).
In 2000, Scott's animation was in such demand that he formed Blue Dream Studios, pioneering the concept of Virtual Studios where artists from all over the world would contribute through the internet. Star Wars, X-Files, Aliens vs. Predator, Spider-Man, and so many more franchises became a part of this emerging studio within the first few years. But even bigger things were developing for Scott... in the form of publishing.
By 2002, Blue Dream Studios began publishing its own content. Hyperactive, Pet Robots, My Grandparents are Secret Agents, and almost a dozen other books became instant critical and financial successes world wide. In 2006, Disney purchased the rights to produce Pet Robots as a feature film. Since then, 4 other studios have done the same and several more are in development.
That same year, Scott began putting one of his projects, The Dreamland Chronicles, online for the world to read. A single page of the story every day would appear on the website. Now, over 29 Million readers have come to the site and over 500,000 hits a day are generated.
Scott's first movie, Animal Crackers, is now in full production and he's "living the dream" in his hometown of Franklin, TN.
Alexander Gillespie Raymond was born on October 2, 1909 in New Rochelle, New York, to Beatrice Wallazz (Crossley) and Alexander Gillespie Raymond, a civil engineer and road builder, who encouraged his drawing from an early age. His sister, Beatrice, was the paternal grandmother of actors Matt Dillon and Kevin Dillon. He was of Irish, Scottish, and German descent.
Raymond studied art and illustration at the Grand Central School of Art in New York City. In the 1930s, he began a series of illustrating jobs "ghosting" such comic strips as "Tillie the Toiler" and "Blondie". In 1933, Raymond and writer Don Moore were asked to develop a comic strip to compete with the popular character "Buck Rogers". Their creation, "Flash Gordon", was an immediate success, spawning a number of Saturday morning serials, television series and feature films.
Raymond also created a strip with mystery writer Dashiell Hammett, "Secret Agent X-9", and worked on both strips simultaneously. During this period, Raymond's style improved dramatically, and his work was very influential on such future artists as Frank Frazetta, Al Williamson and Wayne Boring. Raymond left both strips in 1944, when he joined the United States Marine Corps. He served in the Pacific theatre during World War II, and left the Marines in 1946, with the rank of Major. After the war, Raymond developed one more comic strip, "Rip Kirby", about a detective/scientist. On September 6, 1956, Alex Raymond died at age 46 in an automobile accident in Westport, Conneticut.
|Ramona Von Pusch
Ramona Von Pusch is a performer of stage, screen and film, and is a graduate of the Actors Centre Australia's (ACA) full time program, and the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA). She was also accepted into Landscape Architecture at the prestigious, The University of Melbourne.
Australian by birth and German by blood, Ramona was born on January 16 in Sydney. She has dual citizenship, and valid passports for both Australia and Germany (European Union).
In 2012, Ramona toured Australia and New Zealand with the professional production of "Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap", and in 2013 she appeared in the exclusive Melbourne season of "The Graduate" with Jerry Hall.
She has had a wide range of experience including television roles in "Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries", "Neighbours", "Winners & Losers", "Scooter: Secret Agent" and "Last Man Standing", lead roles in several short films, the lead in "4.48 Psychosis" for NIDA Directors, The Fox in "The Tortoise, The Fox, Where it all Begins" (Griffin Theatre Company), and as Candy Starr in "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" (Human Sacrifice Theatre).
With past roles in the musicals "The Wild Blue" for St Martin's Theatre and "Joseph And the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" (Catchment Players), Ramona is a versatile performer and is also part of renowned Australian theatre director Rodney Fisher's "Wild in the Heart - A Dorothy Hewett Anthology" for ABC Radio National. She will next appear as the lead in the Australian feature film "Under The Bridge".
Valerie Garcia, much known as Bangs Garcia is a Filipino actress / painter. Born in May 26,1988.She loves to dance,sing,host,cook and travel.She's an adventurer and a foodie.
She studied in Ateneo de Davao University from 1993-2005.She was an honor student and she participated in clubs such as dance club,teatro and science and art. She won in a regional inter school talent show called "Campus Idols" which was produced by Gatchi Gatchalian and sponsored by Close Up in 2004.
She became a regional tv host in a teen variety show "KSP"(Kapamilya Sabado Party) in ABS-CBN Davao after winning. In 2005 she joined ABS-CBN'S national model search "Close Up to Fame" and was sent to Manila to compete with the other contenders. In 2006,she became the Philippines Youth Ambassador and officially became a tv actress in ABS-CBN Corp. ; started on her first first tv show which is a youth-oriented sitcom "Let's Go" where she played as an "animated like" rocker chic whose face was literally covered with bangs.In 2008, she was given her first big break in a primetime action/romance tv series "Palos" where she played as one of the lead secret agents (Alias type). in 2009,she was part of several projects- she was borrowed by TV 5(a competitor network) to play as a leading lady in a horror/comedy tv series "Midnight Dj" for a few months then went back to her mother network ABS-CBN to play her first villain role in "Kambal sa Uma", then she became part of "Katorse" and "Precious Heart's: My Cheating Heart". In 2010, she had her first lead role in "Magkano ang iyong Dangal" directed by Chito Rono; followed by another tv series "Precious Heart's:Kristine' in 2011. in 2012, she played her first lead role in MMK (the flagship tv show of ABSCBN) as a country girl who fell in love with two men,then she played a very challenging role derived from Glen Close's "Fatal Attraction", a psychotic mistress in "Kung Ako'y Iiwan Mo" (shot some scenes in Dubai&Qatar),story inspired by the Filipino workers in the middle east. in 2013,she took a break from tv shows after playing her second lead role in MMK as a goofy ghetto and focused on doing films.In 2014, on her third time in MMK she played as a geeky martyr who fell in love with a playboy, she's also going to play as a villain in Dyesebel( a mermaid show) this coming March.
|George Harrison Marks
George Harrison Marks was a British glamour photographer active in the sex industry from the mid 1950s till his death in the late 1990s. As a photographer he founded the Kamera group of magazines with his then 'supposed' wife, the model and actress Pamela Green, although they were never actually married.
In 1958, as an offshoot of his magazines, Marks began making short films for the 8mm market of his models undressing and posing topless, popularly known as "glamour home movies". A recent episode of BBC's Balderdash and Piffle program attributed the earliest use of the word "glamour" as a euphemism for nude modeling/photography to Marks' 1958 publicity materials. One of Marks' most popular 8mm glamour films was The Window Dresser (1961), starring Pamela Green as a cat-burglar who hides from the law by posing as a lingerie shop dummy. Marks does a character turn as the shop's exaggeratedly gay owner, but the short's obvious raison d'etre remained Pam's show stopping shop window striptease. After a judge threw out an obscenity charge against The Window Dresser (according to legend remarking "I'll buy a copy for my son, case dismissed"), Marks continued to make more 8mm glamour films throughout the 1960s. Marks' background as a music hall performer is evident in the "little stories" he would devise for his 8mm glamour films, as well as the occasional bit parts he would write for himself and his onetime comedy partner Stuart Samuels (a.k.a. Sam Stuart).
Of the more notable 8mm glamour films, "Witches Brew" (1960) features Pamela Green as a Witch casting spells and a brief appearance by Marks as her hunchback assistant. "Model Entry" (1965) sees a cat burglar breaking into Marks' studio, then stripping and leaving him her address. While "Danger Girl" stars June Palmer as a stripping secret agent who is put into bondage by a Russian Spy, only for her to break free and throw him onto a circular saw in the grisly finale. In an even more macabre vein is "Perchance to Scream" (1967) in which Marks model Jane Paul is transported to a medieval torture chamber where Stuart Samuels plays an evil inquisitor who sentences topless women to be whipped and beheaded by a masked executioner.
After directing The Nine Ages of Nakedness, Marks endured a particularly turbulent time in the early seventies when he was made bankrupt (in 1970), was the subject of an obscenity trial at the Old Bailey (in 1971) and his drinking began to become more heavy. Ironically a segment of The Nine Ages of Nakedness had ended with Marks' alter-ego 'The Great Marko' being brought up before a crooked Judge (Cardew Robinson) on obscenity charges. Marks made ends meet during this period by continuing to shoot short films for the 8mm market and releasing them via his Maximus films company.
While his earlier 8mm films largely consisted of nothing more explicit than the models posing topless, late sixties titles like Apartment 69 and The Amorous Masseur were generally soft core sex affairs. One Maximus short 'The Ecstasy of Oral Love', even adopts a pseudo-sex education front, showing a couple frantically licking each other, ending with some relatively graphic oral sex scenes which are inter-cut with supposedly socially redeeming title cards issuing advice to 'young married couples'.
The Maximus films also provided some notable discoveries. Sue Bond, later in sitcoms and The Benny Hill Show, began her career in Marks soft core sex shorts of this period like 'First You See It', 'Hot Teddy' and 'Coitus-An Experiece in Motion and Emotion', today Mrs. Bond claims never to have met Marks and refuses to acknowledge the existence of these films. Marks' short 'The Naked Face' (late 60's/early 70s) gave some early exposure to Nicola Austine, a ubiquitous nude model/actress in the 1970s thanks to regular appearances in films, Titbits magazine and Top of the Pops record covers. While the Collinson Twins (Mary Collinson and Madeleine Collinson) had appeared as saucy maids in the period dress Maximus short 'Halfway Inn', prior to starring in Hammer's Twins of Evil.
Unbeknownst to the actors/actresses who appeared in the Maximus films, Marks would also publish stills taken during their making in short lived magazines like Impact 70, under the guise of the film stills being 'romantic photo stories' without getting their permission or issuing further payment. The editorial notes of Impact 70- which features the Collinsons in stills taken from Halfway Inn and Sue Bond in stills taken from First You See It- ironically state "neither said photos nor words used to describe them are meant to depict the actual conduct or personality of the models". This sideline only came to light when a "malicious" person connected to the Top of the Pops music program was reading a Marks magazine and recognized two people (in stills taken from Maximus shorts) in it, as being part of the TOTP crew and had them fired from their long standing jobs as crowd controllers and musical stand-ins.
In the mid seventies Marks had begun selling explicit photo sets to porn publisher David Sullivan's top shelf magazines, such as "Latent Lesbian Fantasy" featuring Cosey Fanni Tutti, which appeared in the first issue of Sullivan's Ladybirds magazine in August 1976. Evidently Marks had also sold Sullivan the rights to some of his 8mm sex films as well, as adverts by Kelerfern (a Sullivan mail order company) carried Marks directed sex shorts like ''Hole in One'', ''Nymphomania'', ''King Muff'' and ''Doctor Sex'' for sale around this period. Sullivan is also believed to have been behind a mysterious company calling itself the "Ultimate Film Club", who advertised in the back pages of magazines like Cinema Blue and Sullivan's own Playbirds, and sold several of Marks' late 60s/early 70s Maximus films. The Ultimate Film Club was based out of an Essex P.O. Box, but claimed to have bases in Copenhagen, Stockholm and Hamburg. The descriptions of the Marks films they were selling left little to the imagination, Santa's Coming stars "the biggest Father Christmas you have ever seen", Anna's Manor is a "tale of rape and lust", The Danish Maid "features a 9 ½" male- interesting point for the ladies", while the blurb for Goodnight Nurse claims "see the girls in complete nurses uniform sexually arouse their patient- and his response. His 8" weapon soon whips into action". The Danish Maid was in fact a remake of an older Marks 8mm film called The French Maid (1961), in which a chap orders a maid from a newspaper, falls asleep and dreams of a sexy girl, only to be woken up by a maid who turns out to be anything but. The Danish Maid adds soft core sex to the proceedings and a variation on the joke punch line; in The French Maid the real maid turns out to be a old, unattractive woman, while in The Danish Maid it turns out to be a man in drag who arrives at the luckless protagonists door. As well as mail order, The Ultimate Film Club claimed these films could be also be purchased at the porn shop of their "London Agents", G&B Books based at 130 Godwin Road in London, which was in fact yet another company run by David Sullivan. Sullivan also used the same address for his companies "Subdean Publishing" (in 1972) and "K.G Imports" which advertised in the same magazines and claimed to offer "Hard Scandinavian" magazines.
A further Kelerfern Advert for Marks films available on super 8mm, that appeared in Rustler Vol. 3 No 3 (circa 1978), also listed for sale the titles; ''Inferno'', ''Lesson For Lolita'', ''Blow Job'', ''Pussy Lovers'', ''Sex Crazy'', ''Morning Lust'', ''Any Way You Like'', ''Cum Lay with Me'', ''Hot Ass'', ''Gym Slip Rampage'' and ''Bottoms Up!''. A more historically important Marks film, that was shot for his Maximus company circa 1974, but later sold by Kelerfern was Sex is My Business (a.k.a. Sex Shop), notable for starring a pre-fame Mary Millington. Sex is My Business was shot late on a Saturday night at a sex shop, located on London's Coventry Street. The storyline concerns a powerful aphrodisiac being dropped by a customer, whose potency renders the shops' staff and customers sex crazy. Millington is the films main focus of attention, playing a member of staff who drags a customer into the back room for some multi-position sex, thoughtfully turning on the shops CCTV camera so others can watch. Marks' wife Toni, also has a small, non-sex role in the film. Harrison Marks' involvement in the film was not well known, and was only discovered when a super 8mm print of the film was privately transferred to DVD in 2008. Curiously Marks claimed never to have worked with Millington prior to making Come Play With Me in 1977, and he would appear to have forgotten about making the film.
While the Marks films offered in UK porn magazines throughout the 1970s appear to have been softcore, and their pornographic nature greatly exaggerated by the Ads (a familiar trait of David Sullivan's), since the early 1970s onwards Marks had begun dabbling in more explicit material, the extent of which has rarely been acknowledged. He made short films for a British hardcore pornographer known only as "Charlie Brown", and began making hardcore versions of his own Maximus short films which were released overseas on the Color Climax and Tabu labels. "Unaccustomed as I Am", a black and white Maximus short starring Marks 1970s discovery Clyda Rosen, for instance, was also filmed in a colour hardcore version called Die Lollos (a.k.a The Customs). The two versions of these films were generally filmed on alternate weeks, with the hardcore version usually shot a week before the soft one. Marks had a peculiar repertory company for his hardcore films, which included big bust models like Clyda Rosen and Nicky Stanton for the female leads. Ex-bodybuilder Howard "Vanderhorn" Nelson in non-sex character parts, usually wearing elaborate disguises so people wouldn't recognize him. A diminutive man with long ginger hair, who played one of the hippies in Die Lollos and other bit parts, who was the boyfriend of one of Marks' models and like Howard only ever did non-sex roles. The regular male lead in Marks hardcore films was a well endowed actor who later had a legit role in the BBC's TV adaptation of [[The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy]]. In later years Marks was reluctant to discuss these hardcore short films and claimed 'not to remember' their names, some titles are however now known including Dolly Mixture (1973) a horror themed short sex film in which a Frankenstein like mad doctor puts together a female creation (Clyda Rosen), who ends up having a threesome with a passing insurance investigator and the doctor's hunchback assistant. Dolly Mixture was shot in a hardcore version and then a soft one during which Clyda and the male lead got "carried away" and inconveniently began to have real sex on camera.
Other hardcore Marks shorts include, ''Autograph Hunter'', ''Tea and Crumpet'', ''The Tunnel of Love'', ''Duty Free'', ''Big N' Busty'', ''Bistro Bordello'' (1973) starring Ava Cadell, ''Arabian Knights'' and ''Busty Baller'' (1979). The latter, a Color Climax production, was shot in an apartment overlooking Bond Street Station in Oxford Street, and features Nicky Stanton seducing a passing Window Cleaner, who ends up filling more than just his bucket. A soft version of the film called ''Busty Ravers'' was also made as a free gift for the porn magazine 'Peaches'.
Arabian Knights' (filmed for Color Climax in 1979) was shot at the Hotel Julius Caesar in Queens Gardens in Bayswater and is notable for featuring the only known hardcore performance of Jada Smith (later known as Rosemary England) and for starring mainstream actor Milton Reid in a non-sex role. Arabian Knights was shot during the winter months, a cast member later recalled the surreal experience of acting out the film's middle eastern slave auction scenario, then in-between takes staring out of one of the Julius Caesar's windows to discover it had began snowing. During filming several of the actresses trashed their rooms and abused a member of the hotel staff, who went on to tip the press off about a blue movie being filmed on the premises. As a result an undercover journalist hid on the Julius Caesar Hotel's roof observing the filming of Arabian Knights through a spy hole, and the story was subsequently reported in The Sunday People the following weekend. The bad publicity caused by the Sunday People's piece meant ''Arabian Knights'' would turn out to be Milton Reid's last film, ostracized by the film community, he never acted again.
In the late 1970's Marks was hired as photographer for Janus magazine- which specialized in spanking material- even managing to get his bodybuilder friend Howard Nelson on the front cover of issue two (as a "spanking milkman"). Marks also began making short films on the subject for the 8mm market. Two of the earliest appear to have been ''Rawhide'', sold by Kelerfern circa 1977, in which according to the ad "the ageing headmaster really gives two naughty schoolgirls some punishment", and Late for School copyrighted 'Janus Publications 1977'. These shorts featured actresses recognizable from soft core films of the period like Come Play With Me's Lisa Taylor and Sonia Svenberger.
In 1982 Marks left the Janus stable to set up his own magazine Kane on the same subject. Corporal punishment would now become Marks' big theme for the final act of his career. Making the transition from 8mm to videotape, Marks made around 80 videos of this nature with titles like The Prefect's Lesion (1981), Five of the Best (1988), The Spanking Academy of Dr. Blunt (1992), Schoolgirl Fannies on Fire (1994), Spanked Senseless (1995) and Stinging Stewardesses (1996). As with the 8mm striptease films and ''Naked As Nature Intended'', the spanking videos clearly existed solely for the purpose of titillation yet at the same time adopted an asexual stance, bringing Marks career curiously full circle. Marks died of bone cancer on the 27th June 1997.
Dick Randall was a jolly and colorful film producer who specialized in blithely trashy low-budget exploitation pictures. Randall was born as Irving Reuben on March 3, 1926, in the Catskill Mountains, New York. He started his show-business career as a writer: he penned gags for Milton Berle and contributed to various 1950s television quiz shows. Randall initially got into films as a distributor, then began producing his own features. Dick made a slew of movies all over the world in such diverse genres as mondo documentaries (Mondo Inferno The Wild, Wild World of Jayne Mansfield), low-rent horror (King of Kong Island, The Mad Butcher, Terror! Il castello delle donne maledette, Crocodile), giallo murder mystery thrillers (The Girl in Room 2A, The French Sex Murders), martial-arts action (Master with Cracked Fingers, Bruce, King of Kung Fu, Challenge of the Tiger), secret agent action thrillers (Death Dimension, For Y'ur Height Only), soft-core sleaze (Le journal érotique d'une Thailandaise, The Daughter of Emanuelle, The Erotic Adventures of Robinson Crusoe) and slasher schlock (Pieces, Don't Open Till Christmas, Slaughter High). Moreover, Randall also either wrote the story or co-wrote the scripts for several of his films and occasionally appeared in quirky small roles. He was married to singer Corliss Randall, who appeared in a few of his pictures and worked behind the scenes on several of them as well. His last film was the twisted horror black comedy Living Doll. Dick Randall died from a stroke at age 70 on May 14, 1996, in London, England.
|Robert D. Hanna
Robert D. Hanna has been a creative writer, producer and 3D Artist for more than 25 years. He is also a songwriter/producer with over 50 songs placed in feature films and television shows annually. His feature length screenplays and films have won several awards and opened doors with talent and literary agencies.
Robert's multimedia production company has been going strong for over 20 years. He created Prevalent Entertainment, Inc. as an encompassing entity for a comprehensive array of production ventures in Film, Television, Animation and Music. Prevalent Entertainment was born in the mid 1990's as a music production company when Robert signed on as a music composer for the Universal Music Group (UMG). To this day, UMG annually generates hundreds of placements for Robert's songs in film and television.
Around that time, Robert became an integral part of the animation technology team at DreamWorks SKG. For 7 years, he worked on such animated features as Shrek, Shrek 2, and Over the Hedge. He has played a crucial role for the story departments in the areas of storyboard development, computer enhanced visual development, computer generated animation and digital audio production. It is here that he first developed skills in 3D animation and visual effects. He was also a Project Manager for Walt Disney Studios, developing technology to manage their CG animation production pipeline from pre-production through post.
Most recently, Robert is the Head of Previs Animation at Fotocomics Productions, producing Previs Animation and 3D visual effects shots for the film Whiteshoe by acclaimed film director Mauro Borelli.
Through Prevalent, Robert was contracted to produce and direct Life's a Jungle, a 3D animated family film that was released worldwide by Phase 4 Films on May 15, 2012. It is a follow up to Robert's 2009 animated feature film The Prodigy, another successful production for the worldwide distributor.
In the music arena, Robert Hanna has made his mark as a talented songwriter and owner of Prevalent Records, a subsidiary of Prevalent Music Publishing BMI and MacroCosmic Music Publishing, ASCAP. As a composer/producer, his songs have been placed in the following feature films: Stealing Harvard, Scary Movie 2, Bedazzled, Next Friday, Drive Me Crazy, Unconditional Love, Monster and on the following TV shows: CSI, Frasier, ER, West Wing, Boomtown, Las Vegas, Law & Order, The Agency, ED, MD's, NYPD Blue, The Tonight Show, Push Nevada, Still Standing, Yes Dear, 20/20, Survivor, The District, King Of Queens, Jack & Jill, Third Watch, Secret Agent Man, Sabrina, Profiler, The Cosby Show, Arli$$, Sex In The City, Oz, Promised Land and many more. Over the last 8 years, MTV has used dozens of Robert's coolest songs in a majority of its programming, on shows like: The Osbournes, Punk'd, Room Raiders, Wanna Come In, Pimp My Ride, and Undressed.
Robert also had the honor to score music in The Pursuit Of Happiness, a film by the great director, Robert Zemeckis.
Founded Backyard Productions with brother, Mark Scales and friend Edwin Hollingsbee. Later founded Lukesfilm with wife Sandra. Created several short sketches with Backyard Productions including "Premium Bond Secret Agent" before directing first full-length film, a Jurassic Park parody called "Geriatric Park". Went on to direct "Batman Returns Forever", "The Empire Strikes Backyard", and "Doom Raiders" with BYP.
|Kerry Berry Brogan
With over 50 feature film and television appearances to her credit, Kerry Berry Brogan is the most sought-after and recognizable American actress in the Chinese film industry today. Over the course of her career, she has played a diverse range of comedic, dramatic, starring, supporting and cameo roles, portraying spies and secret agents, students and scientists, orphans and princesses, fictional characters and historical personages.
Notable film roles include presidential daughter Tricia Nixon in The Master Plan (2011); American martial arts student Lucy in Shaolin Kongfu (2010); mermaid Dada in the special-effects blockbuster Empires of the Deep (2010); Mary in the Chinese western/action film Unusual Love (2009); journalist and real-life historical figure Helen Foster Snow in Heart to Heart (2008); and Hannah, the troubled, drug-addicted daughter of an American businessman in the 2008 dark comedy Gasp.
Notable television roles include Sister Eileen, a French nurse caught up in the Chinese Civil War in The Good Hero (2011); Helen, the wife of an American pilot in the Flying-Tigers-themed series The Great Rescue (2010); highly-trained secret agent Laney Pierce in Wilting of a Wildflower (2007); headstrong Russian Princess Sophia in the Huayi-Brothers-produced Qing Dynasty comedy Royal Tramp (2006-7); and Emma, an American orphan raised by a Chinese family in Storm on the River Song (2007).
Having worked with some of China's most outstanding actors, directors and producers, Kerry Brogan has won praise from costars and colleagues alike for her professionalism and dedication to her craft. She continues to expand her knowledge with advanced training in performance, movement and vocal techniques.
Off-screen, Brogan has played an active and important role as a cultural ambassador, bilingual blogger, and promoter of greater artistic and cultural exchange between China and the west. In 2012, she established Lotus Ray Media, a firm that will facilitate co-productions between China, New Zealand and the United States.
Born to an English father and Italian mother, he is bilingual and equally familiar with the cultures of Cambridge and Monza. He graduated from the University of Bologna with first class honours in Film, and has diplomas from both the Campo Teatrale and Tam Tam drama schools in Milan. Starring in I See, winner of the satire category at the 2004 New York International Independent Film&Video Festival, Kadman played a vulnerable, insecure, naïve young man barely out of his youth, visiting a fortune teller. The part earned him a Best Actor nomination. In 2003 he co-starred as an anxious, confused, impressionable young man in the TV docudrama L'uomo dell'argine (The Man of the Embankment) directed by Gilberto Squizzato. Early in 2004, and with the same director, he featured in Sister Jo; in complete contrast now playing a possessed and conniving gang land hard-case. I See was co-written and produced by him with director Vins Blake. The last release from their team work is the short film "Imagined", in which he plays 6 different characters: a business man, a young lover, a secret agent, a robber, a scuba diver and a bored waiter
Born in Amsterdam but raised in Northern California, Alex Baker has been an actor and a musician for most of his 30 odd years. Since graduating from San Francisco State University in 1995, he has been working consistently on the stage and screen. In San Francisco he wrote and starred in the hit one man show "Narcissus Pop: Dadaist Secret Agent." He studied Shakespeare at A.C.T., acted in dinner theater productions, and did voice overs. Since moving to Los Angeles in the spring of 2000 Alex has appeared in approximately 20 commercials. Several times he has put his love of comedy and music to work together. Most notably when he appeared as Carole the hapless Eastern European guitarist in three seasons of Primetime Glick with Martin Short. It was on that show that he met and worked with one of his boyhood idols, Michael McKean of Spinal Tap fame. He also portrayed infamous Kiss bassist Gene Simmons in the 2003 VH-1 pilot "First Person." In 2004 Alex appeared as Martin the Pirate in "Spongebob Squarepants: the Movie." In the spring of 2005 Alex traveled to Minneapolis to play a major role in the independent feature "the Horrible Flowers" directed by Sundance Indie Spirit Award winner, Eric Tretbar. As a musician Alex has enjoyed successful stints in such bands as Dance Hall Crasher, Downtown Kicks and his current project, the Fire Lotus. In addition to his natural musical and comedic ability, Alex is a devoted practitioner of the martial arts. One of his next goals is to bring his fighting skills to life on the screen.
Guy Logan is a film/TV/digital content producer/director based out of Los Angeles. He is the founder and chairman of Royal Interactive Studios. Entering the film world in 1993 as a set lighting technician, he joined the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees union and worked his way up the ranks, working on hundreds of feature films, commercials, and music videos. In 2000, Logan wrote and directed his first feature film entitled Secret Agent 420 - Licensed to Chill, starring Tommy Chong, and numerous action sports legends. The original remains a cult classic and is being re-developed this year to star among others, Snoop Dogg and Wiz Kalifa. In 2005, Logan directed the hard-hitting murder mystery, 2 Turn Tables & a Microphone - The Life And Death of RUN DMC's Jam Master Jay for FUSE TV Networks. Logan received a Certificate of Recognition from City of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, for his work on the documentary. After the release of 2 Turntables, Logan launched Royal Interactive Studios with fellow 2 Turntables producer Mike Marangu and editor Jason Moran. Logan and Royal then embarked on a now 8-year relationship producing content for PGW Experience marketing agency. He helped shape lifestyle campaigns for such clients as Pepsi, Starbucks, Amp Energy Drink, AT&T, T-Mobile, FORD, and Ray Ban. He oversaw production as Royal successfully expanded into a fully-integrated content creative agency delivering campaigns from concept to digital upload. Logan and Royal are beginning production on a multi-year content campaign for AT&T's new prepaid phone brand "Cricket" for 2014-2016. Logan most recently directed/produced a 12-episode digital series for Macy's and Maker studios entitled "The Next Style Star." Royal is now the preferred vendor for all branded content and post-production for Maker Studios. Today Logan and ROYAL are collaborating with Marc Levin to finalize the highly anticipated feature Documentary entitled "Freeway," slated for theatrical release Oct/2014. Royal Studios & Marc Levin's Blowback Productions will continue the fruitful partnership as we collaborate on a slate of projects including documentaries on Kim.com, The Starck CLUB, and The American Venice story, as well as multiple Reality/Scripted TV series, and a slate of feature film projects.
The Plugz are an excellent and exciting Mexican-American punk band from Los Angeles, California. The group first formed in 1977. The original members were: Tito Larriva (guitar/vocals), Charlie Quintana (drums), and Barry McBride (bass/backing vocals). The Plugz have the distinction of being one of the initial Chicano punk outfits. Not surprisingly, their music often reflected the anger and angst of growing up Chicano in the City of Angels, as confirmed by their sardonic sped-up cover of Ritchie Valens' signature hit "La Bamba." They were also one of the first Do-It-Yourself Los Angeles punk bands who released their albums on their own label called Plugz Records. The group played live gigs at the famous Los Angeles punk clubs the Masque and Madame Wong's. The band released their debut album "Electrify Me" in 1979. Their second album "Better Luck" was issued in 1981. The Plugz contributed three songs which include an inspired rapid-fire Spanish cover of Johnny Rivers' smash hit "Secret Agent Man" called "Hombre Secreto" to the soundtrack of the marvelously outré sci-fi punk black comedy cult favorite "Repo Man." Moreover, the group's song "Electrify Me" was featured on the soundtrack to the hugely successful porno classic "New Wave Hookers" and its first sequel "New Wave Hookers 2." In addition, the song "Adolescent" was featured on the soundtrack to the movie "Scarred." On March 22, 1984 the Plugz appeared with legendary singer/songwriter Bob Dylan on an episode of the popular talk show "Late Night With David Letterman." The group broke up in the mid 80s. On November 11, 2007 the three founding members of the Plugz reunited for the Masque 30th Anniversary Party and Book Release show at the Echoplex in the Echo Park district of Los Angeles.
Nick Reynolds is a man of many talents. After working for the Royal Navy Intelligence as a Diver during the Falklands War, he dedicated his life to Art and Music: including Sculpting, specializing in Death Masks, most recently he created one for Director; Ken Russell, and for Punk Impresario; Malcolm McLaren; which resides in Highgate Cemetery near the tomb of Karl Marx. He has also sculpted many of the most notorious British Criminals which resulted in a book called "Cons to Icons".
Nick's early life was the stuff of legend, being the son of Bruce Reynolds, the Mastermind behind the "Great Train Robbery" (8th August 1963), he spent most of his childhood on the run from Scotland Yard and Interpol with his parents, believing his father was a secret agent. His father's life has been the subject of many books and films, including "The Autobiography of a Thief". Bruce sadly passed away during the making of Dragonfly and the film has been dedicated to him.
Arlo Hemphill (born on October 7 in Baltimore, Maryland) is a wilderness conservation advocate.
He is engaged in film and digital media as a producer, writer and scientific consultant for conservation, science and natural history productions.
Arlo has also contributed as an actor and worked consistently on Los Angeles-based productions in 2007. His most notable roles were Adolf Hitler, in 42 Ways to Kill Hitler (2008) (TV), Karl on the 1,000 Ways to Die (TV) episode "Death Gets Busy" (2009) and as a secret agent in the independent short The Secret Adventures of Mr. Grant (2008). He also had a number of featured roles on television shows such as "Saving Grace" (2007), "Medium" (2005), and "Back to You" (2007). He is SAG-eligible.
His experiences in the wild range from work as a forest mapper in the Amazon to exploring river systems in southern Brazil and Paraguay, growing potatoes with traditional farmers in the high Andes, surveying reefs and shipwrecks throughout the Caribbean as a scientific diver, founding a mangrove reserve on the coast of Ecuador, and providing care for animals ranging from endangered sea turtles to Central American monkeys. He dives with great white sharks in South Africa and tiger sharks in Fiji, and has tagged elephant seals in Argentina.
Arlo's professional history includes service as Director within Conservation International's marine program and overseeing communications for Stanford University's Center for Ocean Solutions.
He is a Fellow National of The Explorers Club and has been listed in Nature (Myers et al. 2000) as one of 100+ global biodiversity experts, credited for his expertise pertaining to the Greater Caribbean and the Chocó-Darién-Western Ecuador biodiversity hotspots.
Jacqueline Nearne was a secret agent for the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) in Nazi Occupied France during WWII.
In 1942, she was recruited into the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (the FANYs) alongside her younger sister Eileen "Didi" Nearne, who also became an agent. Her fluency in French quickly brought her to the attention of F Section (F for French), one of the many different branches of the SOE. An early recruit (in the second batch of women to train), she trained as a courier in mid-1942. She was also taught Morse code transmissions using a suitcase radio, which would help her in her work with the French Resistance.
On the evening of January 25th, 1943 she was secretly parachuted into France under the code-name 'Jacqueline' to work for the vast 'Stationer' circuit in central France. Her life as a secret agent was one filled with constant danger, and the threat of being exposed as an agent or betrayed by a comrade. Despite this she would travel by train, often on long and arduous journeys. She had maintained contact with agents, wireless operators and with the neighboring 'Headmaster' circuit, as well as forming a vital link between several other SOE networks operating in-and-around the Paris region. She also carried spare parts for radios and organized reception committees for newly arrived agents.
After fifteen strenuous months in the field, she was finally returned to Britain by means of Lysander for a rest, in April 1944.
Throughout her time in Occupied France she was known as 'Josette Norville', which served as her documentary name in order to protect her true identity and operation.
It was for these actions that she was thus awarded the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in 1945.
|Ted Byron Baybutt
Born in London to father Nicholas and mother Sarah, Ted Byron Baybutt took his first and second name from his great-grandfather Ted Byron Jackson. He grew up in Wimbledon Village with his two brothers James (Recruitment and Life Coaching) and Charles (Music industry). At fifteen, he started as a runner at Ealing Studios working with Mike Stevenson on various productions including The Secret Agent (1996). After a brief stint at Shepperton Studios on Simon Magus (1999), he worked, watched and learned from the various productions coming through the studio, including The Mummy (1999). Afterwards he furthered his film knowledge with a film degree. He enrolled in Southampton Institute (Solent) and was educated by his tutors, including the late Ken Russell - a big influence on his own films. After successful completion of the course he returned to Ealing Studios, working on a number of studio productions in various capacities. He has personally worked on, either producing or directing, over 50 indies and shorts, confident in covering most job roles within the film and corporate industry. Ted also produced a well-received play with a school friend called Auntie and Me. Ted is also proud of having written 5 feature scripts, which he would like to direct if given the chance. He currently runs Chasing The Bear Films.
Ted is married to Keira Baybutt.