Gina Joy Carano was born under a tornado warning in Dallas, Texas, to parents Dana Joy (Cason) and Glenn Thomas Carano. Her father played for the Super Bowl Champion Dallas Cowboys as a backup quarterback for Roger Staubach and Danny White from 1977-1983. In 1984, he was the starting quarterback for the USFL Pittsburgh Maulers. Gina's parents divorced when she was a child, but her father remained involved in her upbringing and is her biggest fan. Gina is of three sixteenths Italian descent, and her other roots include English, Scottish, Dutch, and German.
The middle child of three close-knit girls, Casey being a year older and Christie, the youngest, Gina is their self-proclaimed bodyguard and highly protective of them. All three girls were star athletes in high school. Growing up in Las Vegas, Gina, a natural born athlete and rambunctious tomboy, studied gymnastics, jazz, tap, ballet, rode horses, whooped up on her male cousins for fun at family gatherings, and wrestled and played football with the neighborhood boys. She graduated from Trinity Christian High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, where she excelled in the volleyball, softball and basketball teams, the latter she helped secure a state title. Her collegiate studies include the University of Nevada, Reno where she attended one year, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas for three where she was offered positions on both the softball and basketball teams. Her academic goal was a degree in psychology, but with only a few credits remaining she dropped everything in order to help her older sister through a crisis. At the age of 21, Gina began training in Muay Thai, a form of Kickboxing, with Master Toddy at the suggestion of then boyfriend Kevin Ross. In pursuit of a life-changing experience he ended up at a local Las Vegas Muay Thai Gym and she tagged along. A trainer approached her, telling her point blank that she was fat and needed to lose weight. She weighed around 175 lbs. and had no direction at that point in her life. She began training and became addicted. Master Toddy saw potential in the way Gina handled herself. She took naturally to fighting with strong punches, deadly elbows and knees, a impressive overhand right, and rib-cracking hard kicks. Immersing herself completely in the sport, she advanced quickly. Months later she found herself in a "fight club" situation in San Francisco where she took on any female fighter plopped down in front of her. Since then, she hasn't looked back.
Initially, because of her pretty face, spectators refused to take her seriously as a fighter. It is a bias that has haunted her throughout her fighting career. Gina, who is openly laughed at, insulted, and ridiculed in front of crowds before fights, realizes she will have to cowgirl up in order to silence her taunters and she lets her fists do the talking. Her Muay Thai career is comprised of an impressive 12 wins, 1 loss, and 1 draw and she becomes the first American woman to win a title in Thailand. The 2005 cult film Ring Girls follows Gina and her trainer, Master Toddy during her early Muay Thai career. Because of her beauty, spunk, and tenacity she developed a significant fan following. In June 2006, Gina's success in Muay Thai brings her to the attention of Jamie Levine of World Extreme Fighting in the world of Mixed Martial Arts. He offers her a fight against Leiticia Pestova who holds a MMA record of 11 wins and 2 losses. It is to be the first-ever sanctioned female MMA bout in the state of Nevada. Levine is impressed with Gina's statuesque size. Standing at 5'8" and 155 lbs., which is the starting weight class for men, she isn't a frail little girl and has power in her kicks comparable to a man. Still in its infancy, and because of its vicious nature, a lot of people were teetering on the fence about women fighting in MMA. Levine believed gender didn't matter and he wanted to give the two women a nationwide platform to show what they could do. Gina, under the moniker "Conviction", trained relentlessly for the history-making bout, weighing in at a muscular 135 pounds. She does not disappoint her fans, winning the fight in explosive ground-and-pound action in the 38th second of the first round. Critics begin to whine that Gina is receiving preferential treatment based on her striking good looks and that her talents as a fighter are less than stellar. She uses these criticisms as fuel for her next bout against British fighter Rosi Sexton. in September 15, 2006. Sexton, a cerebral fighter with a mathematics degree from Cambridge and over 10 years of martial arts experience, possesses a 6-0 MMA record. Many believe Carano will go down in flames but, with six seconds left to go in the second round, Gina knocks Sexton out with a jaw dropping and show stopping overhand right. In December 2006, she faced Elaina Maxwell in what was their second fight against each other, the first time being in a Muay Thai bout. The fight went 3 rounds and showcased Gina's powerful overhand right and improved grappling skills. She won the unanimous decision.
February 10, 2007 -- In what is billed the "Fight of the Night" and the first televised female fight on Showtime, she faced Julie Kedzie. Kedzie, who was once arrested with a group of 300 nuns at a protest, is a feisty brawler known for overpowering her opponents in the clench. She has a record of 8 wins and 4 losses. The exciting fight, an amazing stand-up brawl, goes the distance with Gina knocking Kedzie flat at the end of the second round. Kedzie, a scrappy fighter, refused to give in, taking Carano down in the third round in a submission attempt. Carano rallied, winning the unanimous decision. The appreciative crowd gave both fighters a roaring standing ovation. Julie and Gina became training partners and good friends and remain so to this day. Gina's popularity skyrockets and she is crowned "The Face of Women's MMA" a title she doesn't particularly care for since it detracts from other women in the sport. Her image is everywhere. Critics, some of them other female fighters, complain that she is using sex appeal to further her career, that she is compensating for something she is lacking in the ring, that what she is doing is disrespectful to the sport, but fans can't seem to get enough of the imposing brunette. Men fall in love with her. Little girls and women find her an inspirational combination of beauty, strength, and power. Everyone is taken in by her shy smile and laid back, good-natured personality. Gina, who believes the image of a powerful, feminine woman is something to be celebrated, is baffled by the criticisms and humbled by the attention and support from her fans. She wins her next two fights -- In September 2007 against Tonya Evinger, a wrestling champion, via rear naked choke -- Gina's first submission -- and in May 2008 against Kaitlin Young although Gina had to forfeit a little over 12% of the purse to keep the fight on the card. She failed to make EliteXC's newly created 140 lb. weight class. Most MMA organizations have the featherweight division at 145 lbs. (65.8 kg.) Coming into the fight with only a three-week training camp, Carano weighed in at 144.5 lbs. (65.5 kg.) In spite of everyone's dire predictions, she dominates and the fight is stopped at the end of the second round. Gina wins by TKO. June 2008. More criticism : A sportswriter reporting on the Carano vs. Young fight voices his suspicion that Gina's opponents must be handpicked to make sure of the outcome and that she is too pretty to fight. He finds women fighting in the MMA an unpleasant experience but concludes that she is quite the asset. 2008 -- Gina reluctantly joins the cast of American Gladiators. She had reservations about running around in itty-bitty superhero spandex, but the show's producers pursued her and finally convinced her to sign on. She becomes known as "Crush" and cultivates a whole new fan base. She also appears as "Natasha", a Soviet Commando and Sniper, in the video game "Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3". MMA Legend Randy Couture, who Gina trains with, also appears. Critics are oddly silent on Couture 'going Hollywood', using his sex appeal, or being 'too pretty' to be in the video game. October 2008 -- Gina causes an unintentional frenzy at the weigh-in for the fight against Kelly Kobold. She has only fought once in the past year and there is speculation that she will not be able to make weight. Gina had hired a nutritionist to help with her diet, but at the weigh-in, she failed to make weight on her first two attempts. Gina, who has stated she will never pose naked for "Playboy" or any publication, boldly strips off all her clothes for the third attempt. Photographers shoved and tripped over each other trying to obtain the Holy Grail of photos, a bare naked Gina Carano. Severely dehydrated and towel-shielded from the cameras, she successfully makes weight at 141 pounds. Her father is one of the men holding up towels. October 5, 2008 -- With a 16-2-1 record, 6 wins by knockout and 8 by submission, Kelly Kobold vows to make Gina Carano the broken, bruised and bloodied face of MMA. Instead, it is Gina who bloodied Kobold's face with a severe gash over the right eye. Gina unleashed killer kicks and knees and wins the fight. She remained undefeated and lovingly dedicated the win to her grandfather. 2009 --
She and fellow MMA athletes Kevin 'Kimbo Slice' Ferguson and Maurice Smith dabbled in the Hollywood scene with small but memorable cameos in the Michael Jai White film Blood and Bone. Gina also appears on the cover of "ESPN The Magazine - The Body Issue". Posing mostly topless she shows off an impressive set of abdominals, amazing legs, and invokes more criticism. August 15, 2009 -- Gina makes history again by becoming the first female fighter to earn $100,000 for a fight. She faced Brazilian Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos in the first Women's Championship. The championship was scheduled for 5 rounds, each lasted 5 minutes -- Another first. In a hard fought battle, she loses in a heartbreaker by TKO at the bell at the end of the first round. But on January 6, 2012, revelations come to light. The California State Athletic Commission announced that Santos had tested positive for steroids after a December 2011 fight. It throws suspicion on the legitimacy of all of Cyborg's wins, including her win against Gina. Cyborg is suspended for one year, received a $2,500 fine. Gina, though hurt and disappointed, remained gracious and supportive of her sister fighter. A Carano vs. Cyborg rematch would be a huge MMA event but it is unlikely that Gina will ever return to the sport that made her a superstar. Classified by the Unified Women's MMA Rankings as the third best 145 lb (66 kg.) female fighter in the world, her current MMA record stands at 7 wins and 1 loss.
It was after that devastating loss, black eye and all, that a deflated Gina met with Academy Award winning director Steven Soderbergh for lunch in San Diego. He had seen her fight earlier on CBS and dreamed of building a film around her. Immediately he was struck with her presence and intriguing mix of muscular power and eye-catching femininity. Inspired, he wrote the role of Mallory Kane specifically for her although she is nothing like the unsmiling, structured, alpha female character. Soderbergh assembled an impressive cast and all heaped praise on the fighter and aspiring actress. Channing Tatum, a huge fan of Gina's and the MMA, immediately signed on when he learned she was involved in the project. Ewan McGregor, having no clue who Gina Carano was, studied many of her fights on YouTube. Initially horrified by the violence of the sport, he with met with her and was taken with how quiet, gentle and thoughtful she was out of the ring. He recalls hurting his hand when he accidentally punched Gina in the head during the film's final climatic fight scene. Gina, completely unaffected by the punch and worried she had injured the actor, immediately popped to her feet and asked if he was okay. Antonio Banderas found Gina to be beautiful, natural and real and believes she has a career in front of her. Michael Fassbender, who Gina now considers a mentor, thought her extraordinary and was impressed with her work ethic. Michael Douglas, who topped out the A-list cast, heralded Gina's self-control.
Gina is proud to have been a pioneer in Women's MMA, for kicking down barriers and inspiring and paving the way for the next wave of female fighters. She recently joined the 87Eleven Stunt team, the same team that propelled her to star status with their work on Haywire. With film projects like Fast & Furious 6, In the Blood and rumors of Wonder Woman flying around, Gina Carano has found her niche in the Action Heroine film market. Her newest challenge as an athlete -- To cross over into film successfully.
Lena Headey is a British actress, she was born in Bermuda, to parents from Yorkshire, England, where she was also raised. She is the daughter of Sue and John Headey, a police officer. Headey is best-known for her role as "Cersei Lannister" in Game of Thrones (2011-present) and The Brothers Grimm, Possession, and The Remains of the Day. Headey stars as "Queen Gorgo", a heroic Spartan woman in the period film, 300, by director Zack Snyder.
Headey was born in Hamilton, Bermuda, to British parents Sue and John Headey. Her father, a Yorkshire police cadet, was sent to Bermuda shortly before her birth. She was raised there, living by the ocean until she was five. Back in England, she was brought up in Yorkshire before moving to London in her teens. Headey had not gone to drama school before she became an actress. At the age of 17, Headey's performance in a one-off show in the company of six school friends caught the attention of a casting agent, who took a photo and asked her to audition. Eventually, Headey was cast in Waterland, which became her big-screen debut. She honed her natural acting talent while filming and also took archery classes and horse training. She also took boxing classes in clubs in south London, where a former boxer had been teaching her to spar. During her film career, spanning over 15 years, Headey has shown her range in a variety of roles, playing characters from Amazon-type warriors and action-minded women in The Cave and The Brothers Grimm, to a lesbian florist in Imagine Me & You.
Headey's film career has taken her all over the world. She was in India for the filming of The Jungle Book, then in St. Petersburg, Russia, for filming Onegin, and in Norway for filming of Aberdeen. In 2005 Headey was filming in Romania and in Mexico, then spent four months in Prague, Czech Republic, where a forest was designed and built for filming The Brothers Grimm, with Matt Damon and Heath Ledger. During 2006 Headey was in Canada for the filming of 300, then went to locations in Bulgaria for shooting The Contractor, and Germany and in Czech Republic for the filming of The Red Baron.
She also played Gina McVey in the horror thriller The Broken, and Elizabeth in Tell Tale. In addition to her film-work, Heady appeared as Sarah Connor in a TV spin-off of the popular "Terminator" film franchise, the FOX's television series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
Outside of her acting profession, Headey continued taking boxing lessons in London. She is a vegetarian and also remains loyal to yoga, which she discovered during her work in India. She has never been back to her birthplace in Bermuda; she shares her time between her homes in London, England, and Los Angeles, California.
Travis Fimmel was raised on a 5500-acre farm located in Australia between Melbourne and Sydney. Until the age of 17 his life was spent at school and working on the family farm, morning and night-something he continues to relish on his trips back home.
After high school, higher education called and he was accepted to Melbourne University. It was not long until his intense curiosity led him to begin his global adventures.
While bar-tending in London, giving away almost as much beer as he sold, he met his would-be manager, David Seltzer. David saw a spark in Travis and suggested he move to the United States to become an actor and nurture his talent. Easily enticed by the arts, it was not long before Travis made the move to Los Angeles, and within a week began studying with renowned acting coach Ivana Chubbuck. The teaching veteran, in addition to Travis, has mentored Jake Gyllenhaal, Eva Mendes, Halle Berry, Brad Pitt and Charlize Theron.
Years of struggling and hard work continue to pay off and Travis has chalked up starring roles in several projects including Rocky Point (with Lauren Holly), Southern Comfort (with Madeleine Stowe and Eric Roberts), Restraint (with True Blood's Stephen Moyer), Ivory (with Martin Landau and Peter Stomare), Surfer Dude (with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson), and AE's The Beast (with Patrick Swayze).
Production has taken Travis all over the world but, between roles, he travels back to his family's farm as much as possible. Travis is quick to point out that it is his love for Australian Rules (AKA "No" Rules) Football, the countryside, his two older brothers, and a hard working lifestyle that keeps his feet firmly planted on the ground.
Emma Charlotte Duerre Watson was born in Paris, France, to English parents, Jacqueline Luesby and Chris Watson, both lawyers. She moved to Oxfordshire when she was five, where she attended the Dragon School. From the age of six, Emma knew that she wanted to be an actress and, for a number of years, she trained at the Oxford branch of Stagecoach Theatre Arts, a part-time theatre school where she studied singing, dancing and acting. By the age of ten, she had performed and taken the lead in various Stagecoach productions and school plays.
In 1999, casting began for Harry Potter and the Sorcerers (2001), the film adaptation of British author J.K. Rowling's bestselling novel. Casting agents found Emma through her Oxford theatre teacher. After eight consistent auditions, producer David Heyman told Emma and fellow applicants, Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint, that they had been cast for the roles of the three leads, Hermione Granger, Harry Potter and Ron Weasley. The release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) was Emma's cinematic screen debut. The film broke records for opening-day sales and opening-weekend takings and was the highest-grossing film of 2001. Critics praised the film and the performances of the three leading young actors. The highly distributed British newspaper, 'The Daily Telegraph', called her performance "admirable". Later, Emma was nominated for five awards for her performance in the film, winning the Young Artist Award for Leading Young Actress in a Feature Film.
After the release of the first film of the highly successful franchise, Emma became one of the most well-known actresses in the world. She continued to play the role of Hermione Granger for nearly ten years, in all of the following Harry Potter films: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010), and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011). Emma acquired two Critics' Choice Award nominations from the Broadcast Film Critics Association for her work in Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban and Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire. The completion of the seventh and eight movies saw Emma receive nominations in 2011 for a Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Award, and for Best Actress at the Jameson Empire Awards. The Harry Potter franchise won the BAFTA for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema in February 2011.
2011 saw Emma in Simon Curtis's My Week With Marilyn (2011), alongside a stellar cast of Oscar nominees including Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe and Kenneth Branagh as Sir Laurence Olivier, in addition to Eddie Redmayne, Dame Judi Dench, Dougray Scott, Zoe Wanamaker, Toby Jones and Dominic Cooper. Chronicling a week in Marilyn Monroe's life, the film featured Emma in the supporting role of Lucy, a costume assistant to Colin Clark (Redmayne). The film was released by The Weinstein Company and was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical. In 2012 Emma was seen in Stephen Chbosky's adaptation of his coming-of-age novel The Perks Of Being A Wallflower (2012), starring opposite Logan Lerman and Ezra Miller. This independent drama centered around Charlie (Lerman), an introverted freshman who is taken under the wings of two seniors (Watson and Miller) who welcome him to the real world. The film premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival and received rave reviews. The film won the People's Choice Award for Favourite Dramatic Movie and Emma also picked up the People's Choice Award for Favourite Dramatic Movie Actress. Emma was awarded a second time for this role with the Best Supporting Actress Award at the San Diego Film Critics Society Awards where the film also won the Best Ensemble Performance Award.
In summer 2013, Emma starred in Sofia Coppola's American satirical black comedy crime film, The Bling Ring (2013). The film took inspiration from real events and followed a group of teenagers who, obsessed with fashion and fame, burgled the homes of celebrities in Los Angeles. The film opened the Un Certain Regard section of the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. Emma also appeared in a cameo role as herself in Seth Rogen's apocalypse comedy This Is The End (2013). The film tells the story about what happens to some of Hollywood's best loved celebrities when the apocalypse strikes during a party at James Franco's house.
Emma was most recently seen in Darren Aronofsky's Noah (2014) opposite Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Douglas Booth, Logan Lerman and Anthony Hopkins. The film told the epic, biblical tale of Noah and the ark. Emma plays the role of Ila, a young woman who develops a close relationship with Noah's son, Shem (Booth). Noah has made an outstanding $300m since its release in March. Emma has completed filming her next project, Regression, written and directed by Alejandro Amenábar. Emma will star in the thriller opposite Oscar nominated Ethan Hawke. Set in Minnesota 1990, Regression tells the story of Detective Bruce Kenner (Hawke) who investigates the case of young Angela, played by Emma, who accuses her father of sexual abuse. The film is expected to be released in 2015. Emma will next play Kelsea Glynn in the film adaptation of The Queen Of The Tearling, Erika Johansen's page-turner of a novel about a young woman raised by foster parents in a cottage hidden away in a remote forest. On her 19th birthday, Kelsea is removed from her home to take her rightful place as sovereign of a fictional post-Utopian country that hides dark secrets and is menaced by a neighboring monarch. The screenplay for The Queen Of The Tearling has been written by Mark L. Smith. David Heyman will be producing the film and Emma will also serve as an executive producer. David and Emma worked together on all the Harry Potter films. The producer snapped up the rights to J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series very early, before publication; and he and Warner Bros have done the same thing with the Tearling trilogy. Filming is due to commence next year.
In 2012, Emma was honored with the Calvin Klein Emerging Star Award at the ELLE Women in Hollywood Awards. In 2013, Emma was awarded the Trailblazer Award at the MTV Movie Awards in April and was honored with the GQ Woman of the Year Award at the GQ Awards in September. Further to her acting career, Emma is a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN, promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women. Emma graduated from Brown University in May 2014.
Ed Skrein grew up in North London, graduated with a degree in Fine Arts from Central Saint Martins, and is one of the most highly versatile artists of his generation. He was selected by Screen International as one of their "Stars of Tomorrow" in 2013, which showcases the next generation of talent from the UK.
Most recently, Skrein starred as the villain Ajax in Marvel's and Twentieth Century Fox's box office hit, Deadpool, directed by Tim Miller and alongside Ryan Reynolds. The film shattered box office records, nearing $500 million worldwide. Deadpool chronicles the story of Marvel comic book character Deadpool (Reynolds), a former Special Forces operative turned mercenary who adopts an alter ego after being subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers.
Skrein also recently starred in the Danish drama, The Model, directed by Mads Matthiesen, who won the "World Cinema - Dramatic" award for his film, Teddy Bear at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. The Model follows an emerging fashion model attempting to enter the Parisian fashion scene who develops a deadly obsession for top fashion photographer Shane White (Skrein). Nordisk Film Distribution released the film in Denmark on February 11th.
This year, Skrein will appear in the comedy crime film, Kill Your Friends, directed by Owen Harris (Black Mirror) and alongside Nicholas Hoult and James Corden. Based on John Niven's 2008 novel, the film accounts the story of a 27-year-old A&R man working at the height of the Britpop music craze and going to extremes in order to find his next hit. Kill Your Friends screened at Cannes and was purchased by Well Go USA Entertainment, which will release the film on April 1st.
Last year, Skrein starred in the action crime thriller reboot, The Transporter Refueled, directed by Camille Delamarre and produced by Luc Besson and Mark Gao (Lucy, Taken Trilogy). Skrein portrayed the lead role of Frank Martin, a former special-ops mercenary who now spends his life as a transporter of classified packages for questionable people on the other side of the law.
In 2013, Skrein appeared in the critically-acclaimed and BAFTA and Critics Choice Television Award winning HBO series, Game of Thrones. Skrein portrayed the character Daario Naharis, originally a lieutenant in the "Second Sons," who takes over the company after killing his superiors and aligns with Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke).
In 2012, Skrein starred in Revolver Entertainment's critically-acclaimed drama Ill Manors, written and directed by Ben Drew. The film revolves around the lives of eight characters as they struggle to survive on the streets. It takes place over the course of seven days, each story blending into the others, painting a gritty picture of a world on the brink of destruction.
Other film credits include The Sweeney, Tiger House, Piggy, Northmen: A Viking Saga, Sword of Vengeance and Goldfish. Other television credits include The Tunnel.
Ed Skrein currently resides in London.
Julie Benz was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA on May 1, 1972. Julie's father is a Pittsburgh surgeon and her mother is a figure ice skater. The family settled in nearby Murrysville, when Julie was two, and she started ice skating at age three. She competed in the 1988 U.S. Championships in junior ice dancing with her partner David Schilling, coming in 13th. Her older brother and sister, Jeffrey and Jennifer, were in the 1987 U.S. Junior Champions in ice dancing and competed internationally. When Julie was 14, she had a bad stress fracture and had to take time off.
By 1989, with her figure skating career over, Julie turned to acting and got involved in the local theater where she got a role in the play "Street Law". Her first movie role was a small, credited, speaking part in in the Black Cat episode in the Dario Argento/George A. Romero co-direction horror flick, Two Evil Eyes playing in one scene alongside Harvey Keitel. A year later, she got a role on a TV show called Hi Honey, I'm Home.
After graduating from high school, Julie entered New York University to study acting there. After graduation, Julie moved to Los Angeles to further pursue her career and landed some small roles in movies and TV shows including a guest appearance on Married with Children and in the Aaron Spelling TV pilot Crosstown Traffic.
In 1996, Julie auditioned for the role of "Buffy" in the series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but lost out to Sarah Michelle Gellar. However, she was offered a small role as a vampire girl in which she did such a good job that her part was expanded to a few more episodes in playing the vampire "Darla". With that, Julie Benz's career had finally taken off. She reprised her role as "Darla" in the Buffy spin-off series Angel for two years and has had several small roles in various film productions. She also had a small, but memorable, role playing a receptionist in the movie As Good as It Gets.
Even after her role on Angel wrapped up, Julie continued to find work on television in playing many guest staring roles in numerous popular TV shows from CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, to Supernatural, to playing the lead and supporting roles in various made-for-TV movies. Most recently, she landed another notable role on the TV-cable series Dexter playing "Rita", a troubled divorcée and lover of the title character played by Michael C. Hall. Benz played a leading role in the tv series No Ordinary Family playing Stephanie Powell along with actors Michael Chiklis, Kay Panabaker, Jimmy Bennett, Autumn Reeser, Romany Malco, and Stephen Collins.
McAvoy was born on 21 April 1979 in Glasgow, Scotland, to Elizabeth (née Johnstone), a nurse, and James McAvoy senior, a bus driver. He was raised in Drumchapel, Glasgow by his grandparents after his father abandoned his mother when James was 7. He went to St Thomas Aquinas Secondary in Jordanhill, Glasgow, where he did well enough and started 'a little school band with a couple of mates'.
McAvoy toyed with the idea of the Catholic priesthood as a child but, when he was 16, a visit to the school by actor David Hayman sparked an interest in acting. Hayman offered him a part in his film The Near Room but despite enjoying the experience McAvoy didn't seriously consider acting as a career, although he did continue to act as a member of PACE Youth Theatre. He applied instead to the Royal Navy and had already been accepted when he was also offered a place at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD).
He took the place at the RSAMD (now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) and, when he graduated in 2000, he moved to London. He had already made a couple of TV appearances by this time and continued to get a steady stream of TV and movie work until he came to attention of the British public in 2004 playing car thief Steve McBride in the successful UK TV series Shameless and then to the rest of the world in 2005 as Mr Tumnus, the faun, in Disney's adaptation of C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. In The Last King of Scotland McAvoy portrayed a Scottish doctor who becomes the personal physician to dictator Idi Amin, played by Forest Whitaker. McAvoy's career breakthrough came in Atonement, Joe Wright's 2007 adaption of Ian McEwan's novel.
Since then, McAvoy has taken on theatre roles, starring in Shakespeare's 'Macbeth' (directed by Jamie Lloyd), which launched the first Trafalgar Transformed season in London's West End and earned him an Olivier award nomination for Best Actor. In January 2015, McAvoy returned to the Trafalgar Studios stage to play Jack Gurney, a delusional English earl, in the first revival of Peter Barnes's satire 'The Ruling Class', a role for which he was subsequently awarded the London Evening Standard Theatre Award's Best Actor.
On screen, McAvoy has appeared as corrupt cop Bruce Robertson in Filth, a part for which he received a Scottish BAFTA for Best Actor, a British Independent Film Award for Best Actor, a London Critics Circle Film Award for British Actor of the Year and an Empire Award for Best Actor. He has also reprised his role as Professor Charles Xavier in X-Men: Days of Future Past, and will star in the next film in the franchise: X-Men: Apocalypse. In 2017, McAvoy will appear in Split, M. Night Shyamalan's suspense thriller.
In the vein of musicians-turned-actors, Jared Leto is a very familiar face in recent film history. Although he has always been the lead vocals, rhythm guitar, and songwriter for American band 30 Seconds to Mars, Leto will always be remembered as an accomplished actor for the numerous, challenging projects he has taken in his life.
Jared Leto was born in Bossier City, Louisiana, to Constance "Connie" (Metrejon) and Anthony L. "Tony" Bryant. "Leto" is a stepfather's surname. His ancestry includes English, Cajun (French), as well as Irish, German, Scottish. Jared and his family traveled across the United States throughout Leto's childhood, living in such states as Wyoming, Virginia and Colorado. Leto would continue this trend when he initially dropped a study of painting at Philadelphia's University of the Arts in favor of a focus on acting at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.
In 1992, Leto moved to Los Angeles to pursue a musical career, intending to take acting roles on the side. Leto's first appearances on screen were guest appearances on the short-lived television shows Camp Wilder, Almost Home and Rebel Highway. However, his next role would change everything for Leto. While searching for film roles, he was cast in the show, My So-Called Life (TV Series 1994-1995). Leto's character was "Jordan Catalano", the handsome, dyslexic slacker, but also the main love interest of "Angela" (played by Claire Danes). Leto contributed to the soundtrack of the film, and so impressed the producers initially that he was soon a regular on the show until its end.
Elsewhere, Leto began taking film roles. His first theatrically released film was the ensemble piece, How to Make an American Quilt, based on a novel of the same name and starring renowned actresses Winona Ryder, Anne Bancroft, Ellen Burstyn, Jean Simmons and Alfre Woodard. The film was a modest success and, while Leto's next film, The Last of the High Kings, was a failure, Leto secured his first leading role in Prefontaine, based on long-distance runner Steven Prefontaine. The film was a financial flop, but was praised by critics, notably Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert. He also took a supporting role in the action thriller, Switchback, which starred Dennis Quaid, but the film was another failure.
Leto's work was slowly becoming recognized in Hollywood, and he continued to find work in film. In 1998, everything turned for the better on all fronts. This was the year that Leto founded the band, 30 Seconds to Mars, with his brother, Shannon Leto, as well as Matt Wachter (who later left the group), and after two guitarists joined and quit, Tomo Milicevic was brought in as lead guitarist and keyboardist. As well as the formation of his now-famous band, Leto's luck in film was suddenly shooting for the better. He was cast as the lead in the horror film, Urban Legend, which told a grisly tale of a murderer who kills his victims in the style of urban legends. The film was a massive success commercially, though critics mostly disliked the film. That same year, Leto also landed a supporting role in the film, The Thin Red Line. Renowned director Terrence Malick's first film in nearly twenty years, the film had dozens of famous actors in the cast, including Sean Penn, Woody Harrelson, John Travolta, Nick Nolte and Elias Koteas, to name a few. The film went through much editing, leaving several actors out of the final version, but Leto luckily remained in the film. The Thin Red Line was nominated for seven Oscars and was a moderate success at the box office. Leto's fame had just begun. He had supporting roles in both James Mangold's Girl, Interrupted, and in David Fincher's cult classic, Fight Club, dealing with masculinity, commercialism, fascism and insomnia. While Edward Norton and Brad Pitt were the lead roles, Leto took a supporting role and dyed his hair blond. The film remains hailed by many, but at the time, Leto was already pushing himself further into controversial films. He played a supporting role of "Paul Allen" in the infamous American Psycho, starring Christian Bale, and he played the lead role in Darren Aronofsky's Requiem for a Dream, which had Leto take grueling measures to prepare for his role as a heroin addict trying to put his plans to reality and escape the hell he is in. Both films were massive successes, if controversially received. The 2000s brought up new film opportunities for Leto. He reunited with David Fincher in Panic Room, which was another success for Leto, as well as Oliver Stone's epic passion project, Alexander. The theatrical cut was poorly received domestically (although it recouped its budget through DVD sales and international profit), and though a Final Cut was released that much improved the film in all aspects, it continues to be frowned upon by the majority of film goers. Leto rebounded with Lord of War, which starred Nicolas Cage as an arms dealer who ships weapons to war zones, with Leto playing his hapless but more moral-minded brother. The film was an astounding look at the arms industry, but was not a big financial success. Leto's flush of successes suddenly ran dry when he acted in the period piece, Lonely Hearts, which had Leto playing "Ray Fernandez", one of the two infamous "Lonely Hearts Killers" in the 1940s. The film was a financial failure and only received mixed responses. Leto then underwent a massive weight gain to play "Mark David Chapman", infamous murderer of John Lennon, in the movie, Chapter 27. While Leto did a fantastic job embodying the behavior and speech patterns of Chapman, the film was a complete flop, and was a critical bomb to boot. It was during this period that Leto focused increasingly on his band, turning down such films as Clint Eastwood's World War 2 film, Flags of Our Fathers.
In 2009, however, Leto returned to acting with his most ambitious film yet; Mr. Nobody. Leto's role as "Nemo Nobody" required him to play the character as far aged as 118, even as he undergoes a soul-searching as to whether his life turned out the way he wanted it to. The film was mostly funded through Belgian and French financiers, and was given limited release in only certain countries. Critical response, however, has praised the film's artistry and Leto's acting.
Jared Leto's story is a very charmed one, as he rose from television roles to film roles, to giving head-turning performances in famous projects alongside A-list casts. And all this on the side of his band, 30 Seconds to Mars.
Haley Bennett was born Haley Loraine Keeling in Fort Myers, Florida, to Leilani (Dorsey) Bennett and Ronald Keeling. She was raised in a small town in Ohio, and moved to Los Angeles following high school in 2006. Soon after, Haley was introduced to a small agency, KSA, who sent her on a casting for the film, Music and Lyrics. Haley made her film debut, as pop-diva "Cora Corman", opposite of Drew Barrymore and Hugh Grant. Since then, she continued to pursue film, never music, but has taken on other musical roles in film, such as Shekhar Kapur's Passage and Outlaw Country.
Norman Reedus was born in Hollywood, Florida, to Marianne (Yarber), a teacher, and Norman Reedus. He is of Italian (from his paternal grandmother), English, Scottish, and Irish descent.
Norman's first film was in 1997 the Guillermo del Toro horror thriller film Mimic, where he played the character Jeremy. He has also played roles in the films Floating, Six Ways to Sunday, Deuces Wild, Blade II, Gossip, 8mm, American Gangster, Hero Wanted and Moscow Chill. In 2005 he had a bit-part in the Christian Alvart German film Antibodies as a German Polizist (policeman). In 2008 he starred in the film Red Canyon.
Norman is perhaps best known for playing the role of Murphy MacManus in the 1999 movie The Boondock Saints opposite Sean Patrick Flanery and Willem Dafoe. He also starred opposite Flanery in the sequel 2009 The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day. Reedus at the 2012 Comic-Con in San Diego.
As of 2010 he stars as Daryl Dixon in the AMC television series The Walking Dead. The character was not originally in the comic book series of the same name, but was created specifically for Reedus after his audition for the character of Merle Dixon. The Walking Dead comic creator Robert Kirkman has stated he feels "absolutely blessed [Reedus] has honored the show with his presence, and the way he has come in and taken over that role and defined Daryl Dixon. A lot of Norman's portrayal of the character in the first season inspired all the writers to do what we did with him in the second season. We love writing him and end up doing cool stuff with him."
Analeigh was born in Minnesota, USA, and grew up in Sacramento, California. When she was a child, she was a competitive ice skater. She gave up competing at age 16, but has taken part in charity skating events.
In 2008, Analeigh appeared on cycle 11 of America's Next Top Model. She finished third in the competition. In her modeling career, she was signed with Ford Models.
She is very fond of writing and so decided to turn her back on modeling. She began studying film at Marymount College in Palos Verdes, California. She is writing a zombie movie in her spare time.
As enigmatic as he is talented, Kevin Spacey has always kept the details of his private life closely guarded. As he explained in a 1998 interview with the London Evening Standard, "the less you know about me, the easier it is to convince you that I am that character on screen. It allows an audience to come into a movie theatre and believe I am that person".
There are, however, certain biographical facts to be had - for starters, Kevin Spacey Fowler was the youngest of three children born to Kathleen Ann (Knutson) and Thomas Geoffrey Fowler, in South Orange, New Jersey. His ancestry includes Swedish (from his maternal grandfather) and English. His mother was a personal secretary, his father a technical writer whose irregular job prospects led the family all over the country. The family eventually settled in southern California, where young Kevin developed into quite a little hellion - after he set his sister's tree house on fire, he was shipped off to the Northridge Military Academy, only to be thrown out a few months later for pinging a classmate on the head with a tire. Spacey then found his way to Chatsworth High School in the San Fernando Valley, where he managed to channel his dramatic tendencies into a successful amateur acting career. In his senior year, he played "Captain von Trapp" opposite classmate Mare Winningham's "Maria" in "The Sound of Music" (the pair later graduated as co-valedictorians). Spacey claims that his interest in acting - and his nearly encyclopedic accumulation of film knowledge - began at an early age, when he would sneak downstairs to watch the late late show on TV. Later, in high school, he and his friends cut class to catch revival films at the NuArt Theater. The adolescent Spacey worked up celebrity impersonations (James Stewart and Johnny Carson were two of his favorites) to try out on the amateur comedy club circuit.
He briefly attended Los Angeles Valley College, then left (on the advice of another Chatsworth classmate, Val Kilmer) to join the drama program at Juilliard. After two years of training he was anxious to work, so he quit Juilliard sans diploma and signed up with the New York Shakespeare Festival. His first professional stage appearance was as a messenger in the 1981 production of "Henry VI".
Festival head Joseph Papp ushered the young actor out into the "real world" of theater, and the next year Spacey made his Broadway debut in Henrik Ibsen's "Ghosts". He quickly proved himself as an energetic and versatile performer (at one point, he rotated through all the parts in David Rabe's "Hurlyburly"). In 1986, he had the chance to work with his idol and future mentor, Jack Lemmon, on a production of Eugene O'Neill's "Long Day's Journey Into Night". While his interest soon turned to film, Spacey would remain active in the theater community - in 1991, he won a Tony Award for his turn as "Uncle Louie" in Neil Simon's Broadway hit "Lost in Yonkers" and, in 1999, he returned to the boards for a revival of O'Neill's "The Iceman Cometh".
Spacey's film career began modestly, with a small part as a subway thief in Heartburn. Deemed more of a "character actor" than a "leading man", he stayed on the periphery in his next few films, but attracted attention for his turn as beady-eyed villain "Mel Profitt" on the TV series Wiseguy. Profitt was the first in a long line of dark, manipulative characters that would eventually make Kevin Spacey a household name: he went on to play a sinister office manager in Glengarry Glen Ross, a sadistic Hollywood exec in Swimming with Sharks, and, most famously, creepy, smooth-talking eyewitness Verbal Kint in The Usual Suspects.
The "Suspects" role earned Spacey an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor and catapulted him into the limelight. That same year, he turned in another complex, eerie performance in David Fincher's thriller Se7en (Spacey refused billing on the film, fearing that it might compromise the ending if audiences were waiting for him to appear). By now, the scripts were pouring in. After appearing in Al Pacino's Looking for Richard, Spacey made his own directorial debut with Albino Alligator, a low-key but well received hostage drama. He then jumped back into acting, winning critical accolades for his turns as flashy detective Jack Vincennes in L.A. Confidential and genteel, closeted murder suspect Jim Williams in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. In October 1999, just four days after the dark suburban satire American Beauty opened in US theaters, Spacey received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Little did organizers know that his role in Beauty would turn out to be his biggest success yet - as Lester Burnham, a middle-aged corporate cog on the brink of psychological meltdown, he tapped into a funny, savage character that captured audiences' imaginations and earned him a Best Actor Oscar.
No longer relegated to offbeat supporting parts, Spacey seems poised to redefine himself as a Hollywood headliner. He says he's finished exploring the dark side - but, given his attraction to complex characters, that mischievous twinkle will never be too far from his eyes.
In February 2003 Spacey made a major move back to the theatre. He was appointed Artistic Director of the new company set up to save the famous Old Vic theatre, The Old Vic Theatre Company. Although he did not undertake to stop appearing in movies altogether, he undertook to remain in this leading post for ten years, and to act in as well as to direct plays during that time. His first production, of which he was the director, was the September 2004 British premiere of the play Cloaca by Maria Goos (made into a film, Cloaca). Spacey made his UK Shakespearean debut in the title role in Richard II in 2005. In 2006 he got movie director Robert Altman to direct for the stage the little-known Arthur Miller play Resurrection Blues, but that was a dismal failure. However Spacey remained optimistic, and insisted that a few mistakes are part of the learning process. He starred thereafter with great success in Eugene O'Neill's A Moon for the Misbegotten along with Colm Meaney and Eve Best, and in 2007 that show transferred to Broadway. In February 2008 Spacey put on a revival of the David Mamet 1988 play Speed-the-Plow in which he took one of the three roles, the others being taken by Jeff Goldblum and Laura Michelle Kelly.
In 2013, Spacey took on the lead role in an original Netflix series, House of Cards. Based upon a British show of the same name, House of Cards is an American political drama. The show's first season received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination to include outstanding lead actor in a drama series.
Witt was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, to Diane (Pietro), a high school teacher, and Robert Witt, a photographer and science teacher. Her ancestry includes Irish, Italian, French-Canadian, Polish, and English.
Alicia is an accomplished singer/songwriter. A classically-trained pianist for the past five years, she has been performing her original piano-driven rock all across the world, and has opened for Ben Folds Five, Jimmy Webb and John Fullbright. Her self-titled first EP was released on iTunes in 2009 and her Kickstarter-funded first full length album, "Live at Rockwood", which was recorded at Rockwood Music Hall in NYC, was released following a self-booked national tour in 2012. Witt performed live as the musical guest on CBS' The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.
In 1994, Witt appeared in the critically-acclaimed Fun, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival. The film, directed by Rafal Zielinski, depicts a tale of two disturbed young girls whose quest for fun leads them to murder. Witt received the "Special Jury Recognition" Award at Sundance and a nomination for an Independent Spirit Award. In 1998, she starred in Columbia Tristar's hit horror movie, Urban Legend.
On television, Witt has made guest appearances on the phenomenally successful HBO series, The Sopranos, and the Emmy award- winning Ally McBeal, in which she sang opposite Randy Newman. She previously starred for four seasons, as Cybill Shepherd's daughter "Zoey", on the hit CBS sitcom, Cybill.
Witt combined her acting talents, with her skills as a pianist, in the romantic comedy, Playing Mona Lisa. For this role, she won a Best Actress Award at the US Comedy Arts Festival. Alicia made her film debut in 1984 in David Lynch's Dune, and by age 14, received her high school diploma and moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting full time. Once in Los Angeles, Lynch cast her in his cult classic television series, Twin Peaks, as "Gersten Hayward", a part that he had written specifically for Witt. Following this, Lynch utilized Alicia's talents once again in his HBO trilogy, Hotel Room, in which she portrayed a young woman with a multiple personality disorder, opposite Crispin Glover.
Witt was seen in Paramount's Last Holiday, with Queen Latifah and Timothy Hutton. She also appeared, opposite Joan Allen, Kevin Costner, Erika Christensen, Evan Rachel Wood and Keri Russell in New Line's critically-acclaimed film, The Upside of Anger, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. She is also well-known for her role in the Warner Bros. hit romantic comedy, Two Weeks Notice, opposite Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock.
Witt appeared on-stage in fall 2006 at London's Royal Court Theatre in Terry Johnson's "Piano/Forte". She made her West End debut with Neil LaBute's "The Shape of Things". She was also seen on stage in "Dissonance" at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. In April 2013, Alicia performed in the 24 Hour Musicals off-Broadway, for the 3rd time. She has previously taken the stage in the 24 Hour Plays on Broadway and in the West End.
Alicia made her directorial debut with the short film, 'Belinda's Swan Song', which she also wrote. The film premiered at the 2006 Rhode Island International Film Festival and was screened at 9 additional festivals around the world, including the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival.
She also appeared in Mr. Holland's Opus, opposite Richard Dreyfuss, as clarinet player "Gertrude Lang", as well as Four Rooms (Miramax), with Tim Roth, Madonna, and Lili Taylor, and directed by Quentin Tarantino, Allison Anders, Robert Rodriguez and Alexandre Rockwell. She was also seen in the John Waters film, Cecil B. DeMented, with Stephen Dorff and Melanie Griffith, as well as director Cameron Crowe's Vanilla Sky, opposite Tom Cruise.
Other film credits include Mike Figgis' Liebestraum, starring Kevin Anderson; 'Bodies, Rest and Motion', starring Tim Roth and Bridget Fonda; 'Bongwater' opposite 'Luke Wilson'; 'Peep World' with Sarah Silverman, Michael C. Hall and Rainn Wilson; The Pond with David Morse; and 'Away from Here' opposite Nick Stahl.
Alicia is on Season 5 of the Emmy-award winning FX series, Justified with Timothy Olyphant, in which she is heavily recurring as "Wendy Crowe", the smart and sexy paralegal sister of crime lord "Danny Crowe", played by Michael Rapaport. The season premiere, in which Alicia is introduced, airs January 5, 2014.
She starred, opposite Peter Bogdanovich and Cheryl Hines, in the independent family dramedy 'Pasadena', in limited theatrical release Nov 15, 2013, following its festival run. She also can be heard on the closing credits song, which she wrote and co-performed with Ben Folds. The music video can be seen at themefrompasadena.com. Alicia will appear that same month in her Hallmark film 'A Very Merry Mix-Up', in which she stars as a girl who goes home to spend Christmas with her fiancé for the first time, only to discover that she may or may not be about to marry the wrong guy.
She also appeared in Tyler Perry's feature 'A Madea Christmas', which was released through Lionsgate theatrically worldwide on December 14, 2013. To round out her trio of holiday films, 'A Snow Globe Christmas' premieres on Lifetime December 17. Additionally, she is recurring this year on the ABC series 'Betrayal', as the long-estranged sister of Sara (Hannah Ware). Her first episode aired Nov. 10.
The critically-acclaimed independent feature film 'I Do' opened nationwide in May 2013, after screening at 25 festivals worldwide and winning 10 awards. Alicia has two songs featured in this film as well, including her latest single, 'Do It'.
In 2012, she was in the Samuel Goldwyn film 'Cowgirls n Angels' with James Cromwell, which premiered at the Dallas Film Festival and opened on May 25, 2012. She appeared in the Emmy award winning series finale of Friday Night Lights on NBC, in which she reprised her Season 4 role as Becky's mom Cheryl, and recurred on CBS' 'The Mentalist' as blind pianist Rosalind. Alicia starred opposite Al Pacino in the feature film '88 Minutes' for director Jon Avnet. Witt played a graduate student and teaching assistant with whom Pacino's character, a forensic psychiatrist, has a complicated relationship. She played Detective Nola Falacci opposite Chris Noth on NBC's 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent' for half a season; she was also featured on the Emmy-award winning CBS comedy 'Two and a Half Men' as a teacher turned stripper in an episode featuring an extended lap dance that has been viewed nearly 2 million times on YouTube.
Mads Mikkelsen is a synonym to the great success the Danish film industry has had since the mid-1990s. He was born in Østerbro, Copenhagen, to Bente Christiansen, a nurse, and Henning Mikkelsen, a banker. Starting out as a low-life pusher/junkie in the 1996 success Pusher, he slowly grew to become one of Denmark's biggest movie actors. The success in his home country includes Flickering Lights, Shake It and the Emmy-winning police series Unit 1. His success has taken him abroad where he has played alongside Gérard Depardieu in I Am Dina as well as in the Spanish comedy Torremolinos 73 and the American blockbuster King Arthur.
Recently named one of Variety's 10 Actors to Watch, 19-year-old Tye Sheridan has emerged as one of Hollywood's most sought after young talents.
Sheridan can next be seen in Bryan Singer's highly anticipated film "X-Men: Apocalypse", set to release May 27, 2016. He will star as young Cyclops alongside a star studded cast including Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Oscar Isaac and Olivia Munn. He will also be seen as the lead in the psychological thriller "Detour" opposite Emory Cohen and Bel Powley, which was acquired by Magnet Releasing shortly after the film premiered at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival.
Sheridan recently wrapped production for Alexandre Moors' film adaptation of Kevin Power's novel "The Yellow Birds" alongside Jennifer Aniston, Alden Ehrenreich and Jack Huston. The film centers around two young soldiers who are taken under the wing of an older sergeant after being deployed to Iraq.
Last year, he had three films at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival: "Stanford Prison Experiment", based on a shocking real-life psychological experiment, Rodrigo Garcia's "Last Days in the Desert" co-starring Ewan McGregor and the indie drama "Entertainment" starring alongside Michael Cera and John C. Reilly. These riveting performances were followed by a starring role opposite John Travolta in the crime thriller "The Forger", Paramount's horror comedy 'Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse", in addition to Gilles Paquet-Brenner's adaptation of Gillian Flynn's mystery novel "Dark Places" alongside Charlize Theron, Chloe Grace Moretz and Nicholas Hoult.
Prior, Sheridan won the 2013 Marcello Mastroianni Award at the Venice Film Festival for his captivating performance in the Southern drama "Joe" opposite Nicolas Cage. That same year, he was recognized by numerous film critics for his starring role in Jeff Nichol's coming-of-age drama "Mud" opposite Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon. He received a 2014 Critics' Choice nomination for Best Young Actor and the cast was honored with the 2014 Robert Altman Award at the Independent Spirit Awards.
A native of Elkhart, Texas, Sheridan had almost no acting experience when he was cast in a breakthrough role for Terrance Malick's "The Tree of Life" opposite Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain. The film won the 2011 Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival and the 2011 Gotham Award for Best Picture, in addition to three Academy Award nominations. He was also featured in IndieWire's "Top 25 Filmmakers and Actors" of 2011.
Marlon Brando is widely considered the greatest movie actor of all time, rivaled only by the more theatrically oriented Laurence Olivier in terms of esteem. Unlike Olivier, who preferred the stage to the screen, Brando concentrated his talents on movies after bidding the Broadway stage adieu in 1949, a decision for which he was severely criticized when his star began to dim in the 1960s and he was excoriated for squandering his talents. No actor ever exerted such a profound influence on succeeding generations of actors as did Brando. More than 50 years after he first scorched the screen as Stanley Kowalski in the movie version of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire and a quarter-century after his last great performance as Col. Kurtz in Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now, all American actors are still being measured by the yardstick that was Brando. It was if the shadow of John Barrymore, the great American actor closest to Brando in terms of talent and stardom, dominated the acting field up until the 1970s. He did not, nor did any other actor so dominate the public's consciousness of what WAS an actor before or since Brando's 1951 on-screen portrayal of Stanley made him a cultural icon. Brando eclipsed the reputation of other great actors circa 1950, such as Paul Muni and Fredric March. Only the luster of Spencer Tracy's reputation hasn't dimmed when seen in the starlight thrown off by Brando. However, neither Tracy nor Olivier created an entire school of acting just by the force of his personality. Brando did.
Marlon Brando, Jr. was born on April 3, 1924, in Omaha, Nebraska, to Marlon Brando, Sr., a calcium carbonate salesman, and his artistically inclined wife, the former Dorothy Julia Pennebaker. "Bud" Brando was one of three children. His ancestry included English, Irish, German, Dutch, French Huguenot, Welsh, and Scottish; his surname originated with a distant German immigrant ancestor named "Brandau". His oldest sister Jocelyn Brando was also an actress, taking after their mother, who engaged in amateur theatricals and mentored a then-unknown Henry Fonda, another Nebraska native, in her role as director of the Omaha Community Playhouse. Frannie, Brando's other sibling, was a visual artist. Both Brando sisters contrived to leave the Midwest for New York City, Jocelyn to study acting and Frannie to study art. Marlon managed to escape the vocational doldrums forecast for him by his cold, distant father and his disapproving schoolteachers by striking out for The Big Apple in 1943, following Jocelyn into the acting profession. Acting was the only thing he was good at, for which he received praise, so he was determined to make it his career - a high-school dropout, he had nothing else to fall back on, having been rejected by the military due to a knee injury he incurred playing football at Shattuck Military Academy, Brando Sr.'s alma mater. The school booted Marlon out as incorrigible before graduation.
Acting was a skill he honed as a child, the lonely son of alcoholic parents. With his father away on the road, and his mother frequently intoxicated to the point of stupefaction, the young Bud would play-act for her to draw her out of her stupor and to attract her attention and love. His mother was exceedingly neglectful, but he loved her, particularly for instilling in him a love of nature, a feeling which informed his character Paul in Last Tango in Paris ("Last Tango in Paris") when he is recalling his childhood for his young lover Jeanne. "I don't have many good memories," Paul confesses, and neither did Brando of his childhood. Sometimes he had to go down to the town jail to pick up his mother after she had spent the night in the drunk tank and bring her home, events that traumatized the young boy but may have been the grain that irritated the oyster of his talent, producing the pearls of his performances. Anthony Quinn, his Oscar-winning co-star in Viva Zapata! told Brando's first wife Anna Kashfi, "I admire Marlon's talent, but I don't envy the pain that created it."
Brando enrolled in Erwin Piscator's Dramatic Workshop at New York's New School, and was mentored by Stella Adler, a member of a famous Yiddish Theatre acting family. Adler helped introduce to the New York stage the "emotional memory" technique of Russian theatrical actor, director and impresario Konstantin Stanislavski, whose motto was "Think of your own experiences and use them truthfully." The results of this meeting between an actor and the teacher preparing him for a life in the theater would mark a watershed in American acting and culture.
Brando made his debut on the boards of Broadway on October 19, 1944, in "I Remember Mama," a great success. As a young Broadway actor, Brando was invited by talent scouts from several different studios to screen-test for them, but he turned them down because he would not let himself be bound by the then-standard seven-year contract. Brando would make his film debut quite some time later in Fred Zinnemann's The Men for producer Stanley Kramer. Playing a paraplegic soldier, Brando brought new levels of realism to the screen, expanding on the verisimilitude brought to movies by Group Theatre alumni John Garfield, the predecessor closest to him in the raw power he projected on-screen. Ironically, it was Garfield whom producer Irene Mayer Selznick had chosen to play the lead in a new Tennessee Williams play she was about to produce, but negotiations broke down when Garfield demanded an ownership stake in "A Streetcar Named Desire." Burt Lancaster was next approached, but couldn't get out of a prior film commitment. Then director Elia Kazan suggested Brando, whom he had directed to great effect in Maxwell Anderson's play "Truckline Café," in which Brando co-starred with Karl Malden, who was to remain a close friend for the next 60 years.
During the production of "Truckline Café", Kazan had found that Brando's presence was so magnetic, he had to re-block the play to keep Marlon near other major characters' stage business, as the audience could not take its eyes off of him. For the scene where Brando's character re-enters the stage after killing his wife, Kazan placed him upstage-center, partially obscured by scenery, but where the audience could still see him as Karl Malden and others played out their scene within the café set. When he eventually entered the scene, crying, the effect was electric. A young Pauline Kael, arriving late to the play, had to avert her eyes when Brando made this entrance as she believed the young actor on stage was having a real-life conniption. She did not look back until her escort commented that the young man was a great actor.
The problem with casting Brando as Stanley was that he was much younger than the character as written by Williams. However, after a meeting between Brando and Williams, the playwright eagerly agreed that Brando would make an ideal Stanley. Williams believed that by casting a younger actor, the Neanderthalish Kowalski would evolve from being a vicious older man to someone whose unintentional cruelty can be attributed to his youthful ignorance. Brando ultimately was dissatisfied with his performance, though, saying he never was able to bring out the humor of the character, which was ironic as his characterization often drew laughs from the audience at the expense of Jessica Tandy's Blanche Dubois. During the out-of-town tryouts, Kazan realized that Brando's magnetism was attracting attention and audience sympathy away from Blanche to Stanley, which was not what the playwright intended. The audience's sympathy should be solely with Blanche, but many spectators were identifying with Stanley. Kazan queried Williams on the matter, broaching the idea of a slight rewrite to tip the scales back to more of a balance between Stanley and Blanche, but Williams demurred, smitten as he was by Brando, just like the preview audiences.
For his part, Brando believed that the audience sided with his Stanley because Jessica Tandy was too shrill. He thought Vivien Leigh, who played the part in the movie, was ideal, as she was not only a great beauty but she WAS Blanche Dubois, troubled as she was in her real life by mental illness and nymphomania. Brando's appearance as Stanley on stage and on screen revolutionized American acting by introducing "The Method" into American consciousness and culture. Method acting, rooted in Adler's study at the Moscow Art Theatre of Stanislavsky's theories that she subsequently introduced to the Group Theatre, was a more naturalistic style of performing, as it engendered a close identification of the actor with the character's emotions. Adler took first place among Brando's acting teachers, and socially she helped turn him from an unsophisticated Midwestern farm boy into a knowledgeable and cosmopolitan artist who one day would socialize with presidents.
Brando didn't like the term "The Method," which quickly became the prominent paradigm taught by such acting gurus as Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio. Brando denounced Strasberg in his autobiography "Songs My Mother Taught Me" (1994), saying that he was a talentless exploiter who claimed he had been Brando's mentor. The Actors Studio had been founded by Strasberg along with Kazan and Stella Adler's husband, Harold Clurman, all Group Theatre alumni, all political progressives deeply committed to the didactic function of the stage. Brando credits his knowledge of the craft to Adler and Kazan, while Kazan in his autobiography "A Life" claimed that Brando's genius thrived due to the thorough training Adler had given him. Adler's method emphasized that authenticity in acting is achieved by drawing on inner reality to expose deep emotional experience
Interestingly, Elia Kazan believed that Brando had ruined two generations of actors, his contemporaries and those who came after him, all wanting to emulate the great Brando by employing The Method. Kazan felt that Brando was never a Method actor, that he had been highly trained by Adler and did not rely on gut instincts for his performances, as was commonly believed. Many a young actor, mistaken about the true roots of Brando's genius, thought that all it took was to find a character's motivation, empathize with the character through sense and memory association, and regurgitate it all on stage to become the character. That's not how the superbly trained Brando did it; he could, for example, play accents, whereas your average American Method actor could not. There was a method to Brando's art, Kazan felt, but it was not The Method.
After A Streetcar Named Desire, for which he received the first of his eight Academy Award nominations, Brando appeared in a string of Academy Award-nominated performances - in Viva Zapata!, Julius Caesar and the summit of his early career, Kazan's On the Waterfront. For his "Waterfront" portrayal of meat-headed longshoreman Terry Malloy, the washed-up pug who "coulda been a contender," Brando won his first Oscar. Along with his iconic performance as the rebel-without-a-cause Johnny in The Wild One ("What are you rebelling against?" Johnny is asked. "What have ya got?" is his reply), the first wave of his career was, according to Jon Voight, unprecedented in its audacious presentation of such a wide range of great acting. Director John Huston said his performance of Marc Antony was like seeing the door of a furnace opened in a dark room, and co-star John Gielgud, the premier Shakespearean actor of the 20th century, invited Brando to join his repertory company.
It was this period of 1951-54 that revolutionized American acting, spawning such imitators as James Dean - who modeled his acting and even his lifestyle on his hero Brando - the young Paul Newman and Steve McQueen. After Brando, every up-and-coming star with true acting talent and a brooding, alienated quality would be hailed as the "New Brando," such as Warren Beatty in Kazan's Splendor in the Grass. "We are all Brando's children," Jack Nicholson pointed out in 1972. "He gave us our freedom." He was truly "The Godfather" of American acting - and he was just 30 years old. Though he had a couple of failures, like Désirée and The Teahouse of the August Moon, he was clearly miscast in them and hadn't sought out the parts so largely escaped blame.
In the second period of his career, 1955-62, Brando managed to uniquely establish himself as a great actor who also was a Top 10 movie star, although that star began to dim after the box-office high point of his early career, Sayonara (for which he received his fifth Best Actor Oscar nomination). Brando tried his hand at directing a film, the well-reviewed One-Eyed Jacks that he made for his own production company, Pennebaker Productions (after his mother's maiden name). Stanley Kubrick had been hired to direct the film, but after months of script rewrites in which Brando participated, Kubrick and Brando had a falling out and Kubrick was sacked. According to his widow Christiane Kubrick, Stanley believed that Brando had wanted to direct the film himself all along.
Tales proliferated about the profligacy of Brando the director, burning up a million and a half feet of expensive VistaVision film at 50 cents a foot, fully ten times the normal amount of raw stock expended during production of an equivalent motion picture. Brando took so long editing the film that he was never able to present the studio with a cut. Paramount took it away from him and tacked on a re-shot ending that Brando was dissatisfied with, as it made the Oedipal figure of Dad Longworth into a villain. In any normal film Dad would have been the heavy, but Brando believed that no one was innately evil, that it was a matter of an individual responding to, and being molded by, one's environment. It was not a black-and-white world, Brando felt, but a gray world in which once-decent people could do horrible things. This attitude explains his sympathetic portrayal of Nazi officer Christian Diestl in the film he made before shooting One-Eyed Jacks, Edward Dmytryk's filming of Irwin Shaw's novel The Young Lions. Shaw denounced Brando's performance, but audiences obviously disagreed, as the film was a major hit. It would be the last hit movie Brando would have for more than a decade.
One-Eyed Jacks generated respectable numbers at the box office, but the production costs were exorbitant - a then-staggering $6 million - which made it run a deficit. A film essentially is "made" in the editing room, and Brando found cutting to be a terribly boring process, which was why the studio eventually took the film away from him. Despite his proved talent in handling actors and a large production, Brando never again directed another film, though he would claim that all actors essentially direct themselves during the shooting of a picture.
Between the production and release of One-Eyed Jacks, Brando appeared in Sidney Lumet's film version of Tennessee Williams' play "Orpheus Descending", The Fugitive Kind which teamed him with fellow Oscar winners Anna Magnani and Joanne Woodward. Following in Elizabeth Taylor's trailblazing footsteps, Brando became the second performer to receive a $1-million salary for a motion picture, so high were the expectations for this re-teaming of Kowalski and his creator (in 1961 critic Hollis Alpert had published a book "Brando and the Shadow of Stanley Kowalski). Critics and audiences waiting for another incendiary display from Brando in a Williams work were disappointed when the renamed The Fugitive Kind finally released. Though Tennessee was hot, with movie versions of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Suddenly, Last Summer burning up the box office and receiving kudos from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, The Fugitive Kind was a failure. This was followed by the so-so box-office reception of One-Eyed Jacks in 1961 and then by a failure of a more monumental kind: Mutiny on the Bounty, a remake of the famed 1935 film.
Brando signed on to Mutiny on the Bounty after turning down the lead in the David Lean classic Lawrence of Arabia because he didn't want to spend a year in the desert riding around on a camel. He received another $1-million salary, plus $200,000 in overages as the shoot went overtime and over budget. During principal photography, highly respected director Carol Reed (an eventual Academy Award winner) was fired, and his replacement, two-time Oscar winner Lewis Milestone, was shunted aside by Brando as Marlon basically took over the direction of the film himself. The long shoot became so notorious that President John F. Kennedy asked director Billy Wilder at a cocktail party not "when" but "if" the "Bounty" shoot would ever be over. The MGM remake of one of its classic Golden Age films garnered a Best Picture Oscar nomination and was one of the top grossing films of 1962, yet failed to go into the black due to its Brobdingnagian budget estimated at $20 million, which is equivalent to $120 million when adjusted for inflation.
Brando and Taylor, whose Cleopatra nearly bankrupted 20th Century-Fox due to its huge cost overruns (its final budget was more than twice that of Brando's Mutiny on the Bounty), were pilloried by the show business press for being the epitome of the pampered, self-indulgent stars who were ruining the industry. Seeking scapegoats, the Hollywood press conveniently ignored the financial pressures on the studios. The studios had been hurt by television and by the antitrust-mandated divestiture of their movie theater chains, causing a large outflow of production to Italy and other countries in the 1950s and 1960s in order to lower costs. The studio bosses, seeking to replicate such blockbuster hits as the remakes of The Ten Commandments and Ben-Hur, were the real culprits behind the losses generated by large-budgeted films that found it impossible to recoup their costs despite long lines at the box office.
While Elizabeth Taylor, receiving the unwanted gift of reams of publicity from her adulterous romance with Cleopatra co-star Richard Burton, remained hot until the tanking of her own Tennessee Williams-renamed debacle Boom!, Brando from 1963 until the end of the decade appeared in one box-office failure after another as he worked out a contract he had signed with Universal Pictures. The industry had grown tired of Brando and his idiosyncrasies, though he continued to be offered prestige projects up through 1968.
Some of the films Brando made in the 1960s were noble failures, such as The Ugly American, The Chase and Reflections in a Golden Eye. For every "Reflections," though, there seemed to be two or three outright debacles, such as Bedtime Story, Morituri, A Countess from Hong Kong, Candy, The Night of the Following Day. By the time Brando began making the anti-colonialist picture Burn! in Colombia with Gillo Pontecorvo in the director's chair, he was box-office poison, despite having worked in the previous five years with such top directors as Arthur Penn, John Huston and the legendary Charles Chaplin, and with such top-drawer co-stars as David Niven, Yul Brynner, Sophia Loren and Taylor.
The rap on Brando in the 1960s was that a great talent had ruined his potential to be America's answer to Laurence Olivier, as his friend William Redfield limned the dilemma in his book "Letters from an Actor" (1967), a memoir about Redfield's appearance in Burton's 1964 theatrical production of "Hamlet." By failing to go back on stage and recharge his artistic batteries, something British actors such as Burton were not afraid to do, Brando had stifled his great talent, by refusing to tackle the classical repertoire and contemporary drama. Actors and critics had yearned for an American response to the high-acting style of the Brits, and while Method actors such as Rod Steiger tried to create an American style, they were hampered in their quest, as their king was lost in a wasteland of Hollywood movies that were beneath his talent. Many of his early supporters now turned on him, claiming he was a crass sellout.
Despite evidence in such films as The Chase, The Appaloosa and Reflections in a Golden Eye that Brando was in fact doing some of the best acting of his life, critics, perhaps with an eye on the box office, slammed him for failing to live up to, and nurture, his great gift. Brando's political activism, starting in the early 1960s with his championing of Native Americans' rights, followed by his participation in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's March on Washington in 1963, and followed by his appearance at a Black Panther rally in 1968, did not win him many admirers in the establishment. In fact, there was a de facto embargo on Brando films in the recently segregated (officially, at least) southeastern US in the 1960s. Southern exhibitors simply would not book his films, and producers took notice. After 1968, Brando would not work for three years.
Pauline Kael wrote of Brando that he was Fortune's fool. She drew a parallel with the latter career of John Barrymore, a similarly gifted thespian with talents as prodigious, who seemingly threw them away. Brando, like the late-career Barrymore, had become a great ham, evidenced by his turn as the faux Indian guru in the egregious Candy, seemingly because the material was so beneath his talent. Most observers of Brando in the 1960s believed that he needed to be reunited with his old mentor Elia Kazan, a relationship that had soured due to Kazan's friendly testimony naming names before the notorious House Un-American Activities Committee. Perhaps Brando believed this, too, as he originally accepted an offer to appear as the star of Kazan's film adaptation of his own novel, The Arrangement. However, after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Brando backed out of the film, telling Kazan that he could not appear in a Hollywood film after this tragedy. Also reportedly turning down a role opposite box-office king Paul Newman in a surefire script, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Brando decided to make Burn! with Pontecorvo. The film, a searing indictment of racism and colonialism, flopped at the box office but won the esteem of progressive critics and cultural arbiters such as Howard Zinn.
Kazan, after a life in film and the theater, said that, aside from Orson Welles, whose greatness lay in filmmaking, he only met one actor who was a genius: Brando. Richard Burton, an intellectual with a keen eye for observation if not for his own film projects, said that he found Brando to be very bright, unlike the public perception of him as a Terry Malloy-type character that he himself inadvertently promoted through his boorish behavior. Brando's problem, Burton felt, was that he was unique, and that he had gotten too much fame too soon at too early an age. Cut off from being nurtured by normal contact with society, fame had distorted Brando's personality and his ability to cope with the world, as he had not had time to grow up outside the limelight.
Truman Capote, who eviscerated Brando in print in the mid-'50s and had as much to do with the public perception of the dyslexic Brando as a dumbbell, always said that the best actors were ignorant, and that an intelligent person could not be a good actor. However, Brando was highly intelligent, and possessed of a rare genius in a then-deprecated art, acting. The problem that an intelligent performer has in movies is that it is the director, and not the actor, who has the power in his chosen field. Greatness in the other arts is defined by how much control the artist is able to exert over his chosen medium, but in movie acting, the medium is controlled by a person outside the individual artist. It is an axiom of the cinema that a performance, as is a film, is "created" in the cutting room, thus further removing the actor from control over his art. Brando had tried his hand at directing, in controlling the whole artistic enterprise, but he could not abide the cutting room, where a film and the film's performances are made. This lack of control over his art was the root of Brando's discontent with acting, with movies, and, eventually, with the whole wide world that invested so much cachet in movie actors, as long as "they" were at the top of the box-office charts. Hollywood was a matter of "they" and not the work, and Brando became disgusted.
Charlton Heston, who participated in Martin Luther King's 1963 March on Washington with Brando, believes that Marlon was the great actor of his generation. However, noting a story that Brando had once refused a role in the early 1960s with the excuse "How can I act when people are starving in India?", Heston believes that it was this attitude, the inability to separate one's idealism from one's work, that prevented Brando from reaching his potential. As Rod Steiger once said, Brando had it all, great stardom and a great talent. He could have taken his audience on a trip to the stars, but he simply would not. Steiger, one of Brando's children even though a contemporary, could not understand it. When James Mason' was asked in 1971 who was the best American actor, he had replied that since Brando had let his career go belly-up, it had to be George C. Scott, by default.
Paramount thought that only Laurence Olivier would suffice, but Lord Olivier was ill. The young director believed there was only one actor who could play godfather to the group of Young Turk actors he had assembled for his film, The Godfather of method acting himself - Marlon Brando. Francis Ford Coppola won the fight for Brando, Brando won - and refused - his second Oscar, and Paramount won a pot of gold by producing the then top-grossing film of all-time, The Godfather, a gangster movie most critics now judge one of the greatest American films of all time. Brando followed his iconic portrayal of Don Corleone with his Oscar-nominated turn in the high-grossing and highly scandalous Last Tango in Paris ("Last Tango in Paris"), the first film dealing explicitly with sexuality in which an actor of Brando's stature had participated. He was now again a Top-Ten box office star and once again heralded as the greatest actor of his generation, an unprecedented comeback that put him on the cover of "Time" magazine and would make him the highest-paid actor in the history of motion pictures by the end of the decade. Little did the world know that Brando, who had struggled through many projects in good faith during the 1960s, delivering some of his best acting, only to be excoriated and ignored as the films did not do well at the box office, essentially was through with the movies.
After reaching the summit of his career, a rarefied atmosphere never reached before or since by any actor, Brando essentially walked away. He would give no more of himself after giving everything as he had done in "Last Tango in Paris," a performance that embarrassed him, according to his autobiography. Brando had come as close to any actor to being the "auteur," or author, of a film, as the English-language scenes of "Tango" were created by encouraging Brando to improvise. The improvisations were written down and turned into a shooting script, and the scripted improvisations were shot the next day. Pauline Kael, the Brando of movie critics in that she was the most influential arbiter of cinematic quality of her generation and spawned a whole legion of Kael wanna-bes, said Brando's performance in Last Tango in Paris had revolutionized the art of film. Brando, who had to act to gain his mother's attention; Brando, who believed acting at best was nothing special as everyone in the world engaged in it every day of their lives to get what they wanted from other people; Brando, who believed acting at its worst was a childish charade and that movie stardom was a whorish fraud, would have agreed with Sam Peckinpah's summation of Pauline Kael: "Pauline's a brilliant critic but sometimes she's just cracking walnuts with her ass." Probably in a simulacrum of those words, too.
After another three-year hiatus, Brando took on just one more major role for the next 20 years, as the bounty hunter after Jack Nicholson in Arthur Penn's The Missouri Breaks, a western that succeeded neither with the critics or at the box office. Following The Godfather and Tango, Brando's performance was disappointing for some reviewers, who accused him of giving an erratic and inconsistent performance. In 1977, Brando made a rare appearance on television in the miniseries Roots: The Next Generations, portraying George Lincoln Rockwell; he won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for his performance. In 1978, he narrated the English version of Raoni, a French-Belgian documentary film directed by Jean-Pierre Dutilleux and Luiz Carlos Saldanha that focused on the life of Raoni Metuktire and issues surrounding the survival of the indigenous Indian tribes of north central Brazil.
Later in his career, Brando concentrated on extracting the maximum amount of capital for the least amount of work from producers, as when he got the Salkind brothers to pony up a then-record $3.7 million against 10% of the gross for 13 days work on Superman. Factoring in inflation, the straight salary for "Superman" equals or exceeds the new record of $1 million a day Harrison Ford set with K-19: The Widowmaker. He agreed to the role only on assurance that he would be paid a large sum for what amounted to a small part, that he would not have to read the script beforehand, and his lines would be displayed somewhere off-camera. Brando also filmed scenes for the movie's sequel, Superman II, but after producers refused to pay him the same percentage he received for the first movie, he denied them permission to use the footage.
Before cashing his first paycheck for Superman, Brando had picked up $2 million for his extended cameo in Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now in a role, that of Col. Kurtz, that he authored on-camera through improvisation while Coppola shot take after take. It was Brando's last bravura star performance. He co-starred with 'George C. Scott' and 'John Gielud' in _The Formula_, but the film was another critical and financial failure. Years later though, he did receive an eighth and final Oscar nomination for his supporting role in A Dry White Season after coming out of a near-decade-long retirement. Contrary to those who claimed he now only was in it for the money, Brando donated his entire seven-figure salary to an anti-apartheid charity. He then did an amusing performance in the comedy The Freshman, winning rave reviews. He portrayed Tomas de Torquemada in the historical drama 1492: Conquest of Paradise, but his performance was denounced and the film was a box office failure. He made another comeback in the Johnny Depp romantic drama Don Juan DeMarco, which co-starred Faye Dunaway as his wife.
Brando had first attracted media attention at the age of 24, when "Life" magazine ran a photo of himself and his sister Jocelyn, who were both then appearing on Broadway. The curiosity continued, and snowballed. Playing the paraplegic soldier of The Men, Brando had gone to live at a Veterans Administration hospital with actual disabled veterans, and confined himself to a wheelchair for weeks. It was an acting method, research, that no one in Hollywood had ever heard of before, and that willingness to experience life.
In his second collaboration with Academy Award-winning Quentin Tarantino, Walton Goggins stars in the writer/director's THE HATEFUL EIGHT. He plays the integral role of 'Chris Mannix,' a southern renegade who claims to be the new sheriff.
In the last few years Goggins has had pivotal roles in films by two of Hollywood's most important auteurs: Quentin Tarantino, in DJANGO UNCHAINED; and Steven Spielberg in LINCOLN. He has also appeared in such diverse films as AMERICAN ULTRA, G.I. JOE: RISE OF THE COBRA, Robert Rodriguez's PREDATORS and MACHETTE KILLS, Jon Favreau's COWBOYS & ALIENS, and Rod Lurie's STRAW DOGS.
Goggins next stars opposite Danny McBride in the upcoming HBO series "Vice Principals." Created by McBride and Jody Hill, who also created "Eastbound & Down," "Vice Principals" is a dark comedy about a high school and the two people who almost run it, the vice principals. McBride and Goggins star as the V.P.'s who are in an epic power struggle, vying for the top spot: to be school principal. The half-hour series is slated for 18 episodes to air over two seasons.
For more than a decade, Goggins has been one of the most magnetic and intense actors on television. He received an Emmy® nomination and four Critics Choice Award nominations for his mesmerizing portrayal of 'Boyd Crowder' on FX's Peabody Award-winning Drama series "Justified," which ran for five seasons. Goggins' 'Boyd' was the long-time friend, yet ultimate nemesis to U.S. Marshal 'Raylan Givens' (Timothy Olyphant). Elmore Leonard, executive producer and writer of the short story "Fire in the Hole" on which the show is based, says of 'Boyd,' "There has never been a more poetic bad guy on television in the way that he sees the world." "Justified" completed its fifth and final season earlier this year.
Goggins' critical turn as the complex transgender prostitute 'Venus Van Dam' on the FX drama series "Sons of Anarchy" earned him two Critics Choice Award nominations and helped shed a fresh light on the transgender community. The role reunited Goggins with series creator Kurt Sutter, who was also a writer on "The Shield."
He previously garnered much acclaim for his complex and edgy portrayal of 'Detective Shane Vendrell' on FX's gritty, award-winning drama series "The Shield." He was nominated for a Television Critics Association (TCA) Award in the category of "Individual Achievement in Drama."
In the last ten years, Goggins has also taken his turn behind the camera. He recently collaborated with writer Adam Fierro ("The Shield") on the pilot "Gringo" which sold to FOX. Goggins' prior collaborations with his partners at Ginny Mule Pictures include winning an Academy Award® for their short film, THE ACCOUNTANT, which he produced and starred in. The team produced, directed and starred in their first feature, CHRYSTAL, starring Billy Bob Thornton, which was accepted into the 2005 Sundance Film Festival's Dramatic Competition.
For their third collaboration, Goggins produced and starred in the feature RANDY AND THE MOB, which won the Audience Award for Best Feature at the 2007 Nashville Film Festival.
Goggins and his Ginny Mule partners completed their fourth feature, THAT EVENING SUN, starring Hal Holbrook and Goggins. The film made its world premiere at the South By Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival in Austin, TX in March 2009, where it won the Narrative Feature Audience Award and received the Special Jury Award for "Best Ensemble Cast." The film continued winning awards at over 14 film festivals, culminating with the honor of the "Wyatt Award" from the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) and two Independent Spirit Award nominations.
Goggins also takes time to lend a hand to various non-profit organizations and has joined forces with City Hearts, whose focus is bringing the arts to underfunded schools. He has also worked closely with Global Green USA, which is committed to sustainable development and the legislation to support it.
He enjoys traveling the world and has spent time in Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Central America, Morocco and India last spring. Goggins is an avid photographer and has captured many of his journeys on film.
Will Poulter is an English actor, recognized for his performances as Lee Carter in Son of Rambow, Eustace Scrubb in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and Kenny Rossmore in We're the Millers. Will was born in Hammersmith, London, the son of Caroline (Barrah), a nurse, and Neil Poulter, a professor of cardiology. His mother was raised in an Anglo family in Kenya, where her own father was a prominent game warden at the Maasai Mara wildlife sanctuary.
Poulter was educated at The Harrodian School, where he participated in drama. He said in an interview that his drama teacher (Laura Lawson) encouraged his audition for the Hammer and Tongs film, Son of Rambow, by knocking on his English class window and mouthing "auditions" while pointing at a flier. He was later cast as the spiky-haired delinquent "Lee Carter". Laura Lawson was also responsible for the E4 comedy sketch show, School of Comedy, in which Poulter appears portraying various roles, such as "Mr. Mills" and a South African security guard. Beginning as an after-school club, School of Comedy involves children parodying the world of adults. The show was taken to The Edinburgh Festival Fringe and, in 2009, it was adapted into a 6-part television series for E4. The show has, so far, run for two seasons. In 2008, Poulter was cast as "Eustace Clarence Scrubb" in the third film of the "Narnia" franchise, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. "Dawn Treader" was filmed in Queensland, Australia. During his almost six-month stay in Australia, Poulter was accompanied by his mother and younger sister. His father was not able to stay the entire time because of work, and his older siblings were able to stay for about two weeks, until they had to return to England. Poulter noted that, though it was hard to be separated from his family, they were able to keep in touch through phone calls and emails. More recently, Poulter appeared in the British independent film Wild Bill, directed by Dexter Fletcher, and played Kenny Rossmore, his first American film character, in the comedic We're the Millers, a major box office hit in the United States. His upcoming roles include The Maze Runner, opposite Dylan O'Brien, and the lead in iBoy.
Sigourney Weaver was born Susan Alexandra Weaver in Leroy Hospital in New York City. Her father, TV producer Sylvester L. Weaver Jr., originally wanted to name her Flavia, because of his passion for Roman history (he had already named her elder brother Trajan). Her mother, Elizabeth Inglis (née Desiree Mary Lucy Hawkins), was an English actress who had sacrificed her career for a family. Sigourney grew up in a virtual bubble of guiltless bliss, being taken care of by nannies and maids. By 1959, the Weavers had resided in 30 different households. In 1961, Sigourney began attending the Brearley Girls Academy, but her mother moved her to another New York private school, Chapin. Sigourney was quite a bit taller than most of her other classmates (at the age of 13, she was already 5' 10"), resulting in her constantly being laughed at and picked on; in order to gain their acceptance, she took on the role of class clown.
In 1962, her family moved to San Francisco briefly, an unpleasant experience for her. Later, they moved back east to Connecticut, where she became a student at the Ethel Walker School, facing the same problems as before. In 1963, she changed her name to "Sigourney", after the character "Sigourney Howard" in F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" (her own birth name, Susan, was in honor of her mother's best friend, explorer Susan Pretzlik). Sigourney had already starred in a school drama production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream", and, in 1965, she worked during the summer with a stock troupe, performing in "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "You Can't Take It With You" (she didn't star in the latter because she was taller than the lead actor!). After graduating from school in 1967, she spent some months in a kibbutz in Israel. At that time, she became engaged to reporter Aaron Latham, but they soon broke up.
In 1969, Sigourney enrolled in Stanford University, majoring in English Literature. She also participated in school plays, especially Japanese Noh plays. By that time she was living in a tree house, alongside a male friend, dressed in elf-like clothes! After completing her studies in 1971, she applied for the Yale School of Drama in New Haven. Despite appearing at the audition reading a Bertolt Brecht speech and wearing a rope-like belt, she was accepted by the school but her professors rejected her, because of her height, and kept typecasting her as prostitutes and old women (whereas classmate Meryl Streep was treated almost reverently). However, in 1973, while making her theatrical debut with "Watergate Classics", she met up with a team of playwrights and actors and began hanging around with them, resulting in long-term friendships with Christopher Durang, Kate McGregor-Stewart and Albert Innaurato.
In 1974, she starred in such plays as Aristophanes' "Frogs" and Durang's "The Nature and Purpose of the Universe" and "Daryl and Carol and Kenny and Jenny", as "Jenny". After finishing her studies that year, she began seriously pursuing a stage career, but her height kept being a hindrance. However, she continued working on stage with Durang (in "Titanic" ) and Innaurato (in "Gemini" ). Other 1970s stage works included "Marco Polo Sing a Song", "The Animal Kingdom", "A Flea in Her Ear", "The Constant Husband", "Conjuring an Event" and others. However, the one that really got her noticed was "Das Lusitania Songspiel", a play she co-wrote with Durang and in which she starred for two seasons, from 1979 to 1981. She was also up for a Drama Desk Award for it. During the mid-70s, she appeared in several TV spots and even starred as "Avis Ryan" in the soap opera Somerset.
In 1977, she was cast in the role Shelley Duvall finally played in Annie Hall, after rejecting the part due to prior stage commitments. In the end, however, Woody Allen offered her a part in the film that, while short (she was on-screen for six seconds), made many people sit up and take notice. She later appeared in Madman and, of course, Alien. The role of the tough, uncompromising "Ripley" made Sigourney an "overnight" star and brought her a British Award Nomination. She next appeared in Eyewitness and The Year of Living Dangerously, the latter being a great success in Australia that won an Oscar and brought Sigourney and co-star Mel Gibson to Cannes in 1983. The same year she delivered an honorary Emmy award to her father, a few months before her uncle, actor Doodles Weaver, committed suicide. That year also brought her a romance with Jim Simpson, her first since having broken up two years previously with James M. McClure. She and Simpson were married on 1 October 1984. Sigourney had, meanwhile, played in the poorly received Deal of the Century and the mega-hit Ghostbusters. She was also nominated for a Tony Award for her tour-de-force performance in the play "Hurly Burly". Then followed One Woman or Two, Half Moon Street and Aliens. The latter was a huge success, and Sigourney was nominated for both a Golden Globe and an Oscar.
She then entered her most productive career period and snatched Academy Award nominations, in both Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress categories, for her intense portrayal of Dian Fossey in Gorillas in the Mist and her delicious performance as a double-crossing, power-hungry corporate executive in Working Girl. She ended up losing in both, but made up for it to a degree by winning both Golden Globes. After appearing in a documentary about fashion photographer Helmut Newton, Helmut Newton: Frames from the Edge, and reprising her role in the sequel Ghostbusters II, she discovered she was pregnant and retired from public life for a while. She gave birth to her daughter, Charlotte Simpson, on 13 April 1990, and returned to the movies as a (now skinhead) Ripley in Alien³ and a gorgeous "Queen Isabella of Spain" in 1492: Conquest of Paradise, her second film with director Ridley Scott. She starred in the political comedy Dave alongside Kevin Kline, and then a Roman Polanski thriller, Death and the Maiden.
In 1995, she was seen in Jeffrey and Copycat. The next year, she "trod the boards" in "Sex and Longing", yet another Durang play. She hadn't performed in the theater in many years before that play, her last stage performances occurring in the 1980s in "As You Like It" (1981), "Beyond Therapy" (1981), "The Marriage of 'Bette and Boo'" (1985) and "The Merchant of Venice" (1986). In 1997, she was the protagonist in Grimm's Snow White: A Tale of Terror, The Ice Storm and Alien: Resurrection. Her performance in The Ice Storm got her a BAFTA prize and another Golden Globe nod. She also gave excellent performances in A Map of the World and the sci-fi spoof Galaxy Quest. Her next comedy, Company Man, wasn't quite so warmly welcomed critically and financially, however. She next played a sexy con artist in Heartbreakers and had a voice role in Big Bad Love. Her father died at the age of 93. Sigourney herself has recently starred in Tadpole and is planning a cinematic version of The Guys, the enthralling September 11th one-act drama she played on stage on late 2001. At age 60, she played a crucial role in Avatar, which became the top box-office hit of all time. The film reunited her with her Aliens director James Cameron. Her beauty, talent, and hard-work keeps the ageless actress going, and she has continued to win respect from her fans and directors.
Heather Joan Graham was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Joan (Bransfield), a schoolteacher and children's book author, and James Graham, an FBI agent. She and her sister, actress Aimee Graham, were raised by their strictly Catholic parents. They relocated often, as a result of their father's occupation, and Heather became increasingly shy. Surprisingly, she had a passion for acting from an early age and despite being labeled a 'theater geek' by her peers, she was voted Most Talented by her high school senior class. Unfortunately, her love of acting created a tension between Heather and her family although her mother obligingly drove her to auditions in Hollywood throughout her adolescence.
After high school Heather moved to Los Angeles and received small roles in a variety of films including Drugstore Cowboy. When her career did not take off as quickly as was hoped, Heather enrolled in the University of California at Los Angeles to get her degree in drama. It was at UCLA that she was noticed by actor James Woods and received a subsequent part in a film Woods starred in, Diggstown. Heather dropped out of UCLA after two years to pursue her acting career on a full time basis. Aside from gaining a modeling contract with Emanuel Ungaro Liberte, Heather has risen to star in such films as Swingers, a role she received after being taken out swing dancing by Jon Favreau, to blockbusters like Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, and Boogie Nights.
Elizabeth Stamatina Fey was born in 1970 in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, just west of Philadelphia, to Xenobia "Jeanne" (Xenakes), a brokerage employee, and Donald Henry Fey, who wrote grant proposals for universities. Her mother is Greek, born in Piraeus, while her father had German, Northern Irish, and English ancestry. Going by the name of Tina, Fey considered herself a "supernerd" during her high school and college years. She studied drama at the University of Virginia, and after graduating in 1992, she headed to Chicago, the ancestral home of American comedy. While working at a YMCA to support herself, she started Second City's first set of courses. After about nine months, a teacher told her to just skip ahead and audition for the more selective Second City Training Center. She failed but about eight weeks later, she re-auditioned and got into the year-long program. She ended up spending many years at The Second City in Chicago where many SNL cast members first started out. Then in 1995, Saturday Night Live came to The Second City's cast, including Fey's friend, Adam McKay, as a writer, searching for new talent. What they found was Tina Fey. When Adam was made Head writer, he suggested Fey should send a submission packet over the summer with six sketches, 10 pages each. Tina took the advice and sent them. After Lorne Michaels met her and saw her work she was offered a job a week later. She admitted that she was extremely nervous working in the legendary Studio 8H; being a foot shorter than everyone else, younger, and being one of the only female writers at the time. After a few years, Tina made history by becoming the first female head writer in the show's history. Tina also made her screen debut as a featured player during the 25th season by co-anchoring Weekend Update with Jimmy Fallon. Since Tina and Jimmy have taken over Weekend Update it has been considered the best ever. This year she made it to full fledged star by becoming a regular cast member, though she is hardly on the show, besides Update. And during the past two summers, Tina and Rachel Dratch performed their two-woman show to critical acclaim in both Chicago (1999) and New York (2000) and made their Aspen Comedy Festival Debut. Tina is married to Jeff Richmond, a Second City director and lives in New York City.
Six foot six inches tall, with brown eyes and dark hair, Rory McCann from Glasgow began his working life at the top - as a painter on the Forth Bridge in Scotland. He came to notice in a television commercial for Scotts' Porridge Oats, in which he appeared as a scantily-clad hunk in a vest and kilt and little else wandering snowbound streets but warmed by the inner glow of the porridge. He claims that as a consequence he was often approached by people demanding that he "lift his kilt." In 2002 he was seen in the TV comedy-drama 'The Book Group' playing a wheelchair-bound lifeguard, a part for which he won a Scottish BAFTA award for the best television performance of 2002. Since then he has taken television roles as Peter the Great and a priest in 'Shameless'. He made his Hollywood debut in Oliver Stone's 'Alexander'. He divides his time between homes in London and Glencoe, Scotland, where he aims to have his own castle. He is an accomplished singer, pianist and harmonica-player as well as an all-round sportsman. From 2012 to 2014 he was part of the international television block-buster 'Game of Thrones'.
Juliette Lewis has been recognized as one of Hollywood's most talented and versatile actors of her generation since she first stunned audiences and critics alike with her Oscar-nominated performance as "Danielle Bowden" in Cape Fear. To date, she has worked with some of the most revered directors in the industry, including Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Lasse Hallström, Oliver Stone and Garry Marshall. Whether lending dramatic authenticity or a natural comedic flair to her roles, Lewis graces the screen with remarkable range and an original and captivating style.
Lewis was born in Los Angeles, Californa, to Glenis (Duggan) Batley, a graphic designer, and Geoffrey Lewis, an actor. By the age of six, she knew she wanted to be a performer. At twelve, Lewis landed her first leading role in the Showtime miniseries Home Fires. After appearing in several TV sitcoms including The Wonder Years, she made her move to film, starring with Chevy Chase in National Lampoon's National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and with Jennifer Jason Leigh in the drama Crooked Hearts. At 16, Lewis starred opposite Brad Pitt in the critically acclaimed television movie Too Young to Die?, catching the attention of Martin Scorsese, who cast her in his thriller Cape Fear. Her powerful scenes with Robert De Niro captured the quiet complexities of adolescence and earned her an Oscar nomination and Golden Globe nomination for "Best Supporting Actress". Her auditorium scene with De Niro went down in movie history as one of cinema's classic scenes.
Lewis next worked with Woody Allen in Husbands and Wives, playing a self-assured college coed with a penchant for older men and, particularly, her married professor. She quickly followed suit with a succession of starring roles in a variety of blockbusters and critically acclaimed projects including Kalifornia, Romeo Is Bleeding, What's Eating Gilbert Grape and Natural Born Killers, Oliver Stone's controversial media satire about two mass murderers who become legendary folk heroes. Lewis's other credits include the Nora Ephron comedy Mixed Nuts, with Steve Martin and Adam Sandler; the sci-fi action film Strange Days with Ralph Fiennes and Angela Bassett; Quentin Tarantino's vampire tale From Dusk Till Dawn with George Clooney; The Evening Star with Shirley MacLaine; the Garry Marshall-directed The Other Sister, and Todd Phillips' Old School, co-starring opposite Luke Wilson, Vince Vaughn, and Will Ferrell as well as Starsky & Hutch. In addition to her film career, Lewis has continued to add roles to her growing list of television credits with a performance in Showtime's My Louisiana Sky, for which she secured an EMMY nomination, and a starring role in the Mira Nair-directed HBO's film Hysterical Blindness, alongside Uma Thurman and Gena Rowlands.
After a six-year hiatus from film to pursue her burgeoning music career exclusively, Lewis announced her return to acting with a handful of upcoming movies. Juliette starred alongside Ellen Page, Marcia Gay Harden, Kristen Wiig and Jimmy Fallon in the comedy Whip It. The film was released by Fox Searchlight on October 2nd, 2009. Directed by Drew Barrymore, the film tells the story of an ex-beauty pageant contestant that leaves her crowns behind after joining a roller derby team. Lewis plays "Iron Maven", the star of a top derby team. Next, she joined the cast of the acclaimed European animated thriller Metropia, as the voice of "Nina". She also appeared in the romantic comedy The Switch, opposite Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman and Patrick Wilson. The film tells the story of a single mother (Aniston) who decides to have a child using a sperm donor. Juliette plays "Debbie Epstein", the best friend of Aniston's character. Lewis also appears in Sympathy for Delicious, Mark Ruffalo's directorial debut. The film follows a paralyzed DJ, struggling to survive on the streets of LA who turns to faith healing and mysteriously develops the ability to cure the sick. Juliette plays "Ariel", costarring alongside Orlando Bloom, Mark Ruffalo and Laura Linney. The film took home the US Dramatic Special Jury Prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. Most recently, Juliette Lewis appears in the indie-drama Conviction, which stars Hilary Swank, Melissa Leo, Minnie Driver and Sam Rockwell. She plays "Roseanna Perry" in the true story of an unemployed single mother (Swank) who saw her brother begin serving a life sentence in 1983 for murder and robbery. The role has won Lewis praise from audiences and critics, alike, for her performance, with USA Today saying, "Juliette Lewis has an indelible role" and the San Francisco Chronicle saying "Her character work should be studied in schools. Just remarkable". In addition to Conviction, Lewis also makes a cameo in Todd Phillips' comedy, Due Date, starring Robert Downey Jr., Michelle Monaghan and Zach Galifianakis.
Beginning in 2004, Juliette took a hiatus from acting to embark on a musical journey. After six years, two full length albums and countless high profile tours and festival gigs with her band, 'Juliette & the Licks', Juliette set out on a solo career. Releasing "Terra Incognita" last fall, the album has taken her all across the world from Europe to Japan to Turkey, Australia, North America and Canada. For more information on Juliette Lewis' music, please visit her MySpace page. Juliette Lewis resides in Los Angeles.
Proclaimed by many critics as one of the best young actors of his generation, Benjamin John Whishaw was born in Clifton, Bedfordshire, to Linda (Hope), who works in cosmetics, and Jose Whishaw, who works in information technology. He has a twin brother, James. He is of French, German, Russian (father) and English (mother) descent.
Ben attended Samuel Whitbread Community College where his interest in theatre grew and he became a member of the Bancroft Players Youth Theatre at Hitchin's Queen Mother Theatre. During his time there he rose to prominence in many productions, most notably If This Is a Man, based on the book of the same name by Primo Levi, a survivor of Nazi World War II prisoner of war camp. The play was taken to the Edinburgh Festival in 1995 where it garnered five-star reviews and great critical acclaim with Ben Whishaw getting rave reviews for his portrayal of Levi.
Ben then enrolled in, RADA from where he graduated in 2004 and soon landed the role of Hamlet in Trevor Nunn's 2004 production making him one of the youngest actors to portray Hamlet on-stage. Hamlet opened to rave reviews with many critics hailing Ben as the next Laurence Olivier and applauding his portrayal of Hamlet with leading critics haling the birth of a star. Whishaw's film and TV credits include Layer Cake and Christopher Morris 2005 sitcom Nathan Barley, in which he played a character called Pingu. He was named "Most Promising Newcomer" at the 2001 British Independent Film Awards (for My Brother Tom) and, in 2005, nominated as best actor in four award ceremonies for his Hamlet. He also played Keith Richards in the Stephen Woolley biopic Stoned. Whishaw played in Perfume: The Story of a Murderer as Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, a perfume maker whose craft turns deadly getting raves once again for his stunning portrayal. Whishaw appeared in 2007's I'm Not There. as one of the Bob Dylan reincarnations and in 2008 in Criminal Justice a TV series. He appears in the forthcoming films The Tempest and Bright Star.
Liv Tyler was born in New York City, New York. She is the daughter of Steven Tyler of the band Aerosmith and Bebe Buell, former model (and Playboy Playmate of the Month) and stalwart of the backstage rock scene of the 1970s. Liv grew up thinking that rock star Todd Rundgren was her father. But as she was growing up, Tyler began dropping by to visit, and Liv noticed that his daughter Mia Tyler looked enough like her to be her twin. She confronted her mother, and was told the truth; by the time she was 12, she had taken her father's name. At 14, she and her mother left Portland, Maine, for New York, where she got her start as a model. A year was enough of the modeling grind, and she decided to become an actress. She was offered the part of "Callie" in Heavy after a single reading and, only three weeks later, was cast in Silent Fall; James Mangold, director of Heavy, decided to delay shooting until Liv was available. With seven films in the 1993-96 period, her career took off.
Liv is of Italian, German, Polish, English, Welsh, and Scottish descent.
Jessy Schram has been a natural performer since early childhood. At the age of 10, her "intangible star quality" was recognized by the Stewart Talent Agency in Chicago, which signed her as both an actress and fashion model. She immediately established herself as one of Chicago's most successful child models by booking numerous commercials, print campaigns, voice-overs, and television work.
Jessy's success in the entertainment industry continues to grow. After moving to LA at the age of 18, Jessy quickly began to fill a long list of credits for film and TV. She has been a recurring role on nationally televised shows such as Veronica Mars, "Jane Doe", Life, Crash and Medium, where shes taken on the role of the young Patricia Arquette; as well as been featured on House M.D., CSI: Miami, Without a Trace, Boston Legal, Hawthorne and more. Jessy also starred in Universal's feature film The Naked Mile as well as played a supporting role in independent films such as I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With and Keith. Most recently, Jessy has completed a new pilot for TNT and Dreamworks as well as a role in Tony Scott's feature film Unstoppable.
In addition to acting, Jessy discovered her groove for music as a singer/song-writing solo artist, as well as touring with Joan Baby's soul band, performing at places like The Knitting Factory, Hard Rock Cafe, Tweeter Center, Soldier Field, Navy Pier, Hancock Music Center, and many more. In addition to performing, Jessy has spent time fine-tuning her talents with various producers, songwriters, musicians, vocal coaches and choreographers. Over the years, she has had the privilege to collaborate with Jim Peterik of The Ides of March and Survivor, and Suave of Hip Hop Connxion. In addition to her singing and song-writing skills, Jessy continues to learn guitar and explore percussion developing her own unique style. Growing from pop/rock, R&B, to finding a voice in styles that meet the likes of Marc Broussard and K.T. Tunstall.
Jessy's passion and dedication has helped fulfill her dreams and goals. Not only is she a role model for other aspiring performers, but Jessy is actively involved in working with different charities. She is committed in heart and frequently visits orphaned children in Baja, Mexico through a group called Corazon De Vida. As well as visiting Project Angel Food in Los Angeles and her church's local soup kitchen when time allows.
Jessy's success in the entertainment industry continues to grow at a rapid pace. Her ability to touch others through the roles she plays brings a freshness and truth that men and women alike adore. She has been "incredibly blessed" and plans to grow in her talents and share all that's been given.
Stanley Kubrick was born in Manhattan, New York City, to Sadie Gertrude (Perveler) and Jacob Leonard Kubrick, a physician. His family were Jewish immigrants (from Austria, Romania, and Russia). Stanley was considered intelligent, despite poor grades at school. Hoping that a change of scenery would produce better academic performance, Kubrick's father sent him in 1940 to Pasadena, California, to stay with his uncle, Martin Perveler. Returning to the Bronx in 1941 for his last year of grammar school, there seemed to be little change in his attitude or his results. Hoping to find something to interest his son, Jack introduced Stanley to chess, with the desired result. Kubrick took to the game passionately, and quickly became a skilled player. Chess would become an important device for Kubrick in later years, often as a tool for dealing with recalcitrant actors, but also as an artistic motif in his films.
Jack Kubrick's decision to give his son a camera for his thirteenth birthday would be an even wiser move: Kubrick became an avid photographer, and would often make trips around New York taking photographs which he would develop in a friend's darkroom. After selling an unsolicited photograph to Look Magazine, Kubrick began to associate with their staff photographers, and at the age of seventeen was offered a job as an apprentice photographer.
In the next few years, Kubrick had regular assignments for "Look", and would become a voracious movie-goer. Together with friend Alexander Singer, Kubrick planned a move into film, and in 1950 sank his savings into making the documentary Day of the Fight. This was followed by several short commissioned documentaries (Flying Padre, and (The Seafarers, but by attracting investors and hustling chess games in Central Park, Kubrick was able to make Fear and Desire in California.
Filming this movie was not a happy experience; Kubrick's marriage to high school sweetheart Toba Metz did not survive the shooting. Despite mixed reviews for the film itself, Kubrick received good notices for his obvious directorial talents. Kubrick's next two films Killer's Kiss and The Killing brought him to the attention of Hollywood, and in 1957 he directed Kirk Douglas in Paths of Glory. Douglas later called upon Kubrick to take over the production of Spartacus, by some accounts hoping that Kubrick would be daunted by the scale of the project and would thus be accommodating. This was not the case, however: Kubrick took charge of the project, imposing his ideas and standards on the film. Many crew members were upset by his style: cinematographer Russell Metty complained to producers that Kubrick was taking over his job. Kubrick's response was to tell him to sit there and do nothing. Metty complied, and ironically was awarded the Academy Award for his cinematography.
Kubrick's next project was to direct Marlon Brando in One-Eyed Jacks, but negotiations broke down and Brando himself ended up directing the film himself. Disenchanted with Hollywood and after another failed marriage, Kubrick moved permanently to England, from where he would make all of his subsequent films. Despite having obtained a pilot's license, Kubrick was rumored to be afraid of flying.
Kubrick's first UK film was Lolita, which was carefully constructed and guided so as to not offend the censorship boards which at the time had the power to severely damage the commercial success of a film. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb was a big risk for Kubrick; before this, "nuclear" was not considered a subject for comedy. Originally written as a drama, Kubrick decided that too many of the ideas he had written were just too funny to be taken seriously. The film's critical and commercial success allowed Kubrick the financial and artistic freedom to work on any project he desired. Around this time, Kubrick's focus diversified and he would always have several projects in various stages of development: "Blue Moon" (a story about Hollywood's first pornographic feature film), "Napoleon" (an epic historical biography, abandoned after studio losses on similar projects), "Wartime Lies" (based on the novel by Louis Begley), and "Rhapsody" (a psycho-sexual thriller).
The next film he completed was a collaboration with sci-fi author Arthur C. Clarke. 2001: A Space Odyssey is hailed by many as the best ever made; an instant cult favorite, it has set the standard and tone for many science fiction films that followed. Kubrick followed this with A Clockwork Orange, which rivaled Lolita for the controversy it generated - this time not only for its portrayal of sex, but also of violence. Barry Lyndon would prove a turning point in both his professional and private lives. His unrelenting demands of commitment and perfection of cast and crew had by now become legendary. Actors would be required to perform dozens of takes with no breaks. Filming a story in Ireland involving military, Kubrick received reports that the IRA had declared him a possible target. Production was promptly moved out of the country, and Kubrick's desire for privacy and security resulted in him being considered a recluse ever since.
Having turned down directing a sequel to The Exorcist, Kubrick made his own horror film: The Shining. Again, rumors circulated of demands made upon actors and crew. Stephen King (whose novel the film was based upon) reportedly didn't like Kubrick's adaptation (indeed, he would later write his own screenplay which was filmed as The Shining.)
Kubrick's subsequent work has been well spaced: it was seven years before Full Metal Jacket was released. By this time, Kubrick was married with children and had extensively remodeled his house. Seen by one critic as the dark side to the humanist story of Platoon, Full Metal Jacket continued Kubrick's legacy of solid critical acclaim, and profit at the box office.
In the 1990s, Kubrick began an on-again/off-again collaboration with Brian Aldiss on a new science fiction film called "Artificial Intelligence (AI)", but progress was very slow, and was backgrounded until special effects technology was up to the standard the Kubrick wanted.
Kubrick returned to his in-development projects, but encountered a number of problems: "Napoleon" was completely dead, and "Wartime Lies" (now called "The Aryan Papers") was abandoned when Steven Spielberg announced he would direct Schindler's List, which covered much of the same material.
While pre-production work on "AI" crawled along, Kubrick combined "Rhapsody" and "Blue Movie" and officially announced his next project as Eyes Wide Shut, starring the then-married Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. After two years of production under unprecedented security and privacy, the film was released to a typically polarized critical and public reception; Kubrick claimed it was his best film to date.
Special effects technology had matured rapidly in the meantime, and Kubrick immediately began active work on A.I. Artificial Intelligence, but tragically suffered a fatal heart attack in his sleep on March 7th, 1999.
After Kubrick's death, Spielberg revealed that the two of them were friends that frequently communicated discretely about the art of filmmaking; both had a large degree of mutual respect for each other's work. "AI" was frequently discussed; Kubrick even suggested that Spielberg should direct it as it was more his type of project. Based on this relationship, Spielberg took over as the film's director and completed the last Kubrick project.
How much of Kubrick's vision remains in the finished project -- and what he would think of the film as eventually released -- will be the final great unanswerable mysteries in the life of this talented and private filmmaker.
Blessed with a piercing, blue-eyed glint, brawny looks, cocky "tough guy" stance and effortless charisma, TV's Christopher Meloni has grabbed audiences' attention, male and female alike, finding breakthrough small screen stardom playing both sides of the law. Audiences first were taken in by his sexually arresting portrayal of a sociopathic killer in the gripping prison drama Oz on cable TV. Although his small screen roots were in 90s situation comedy, the network powers-that-be wisely discovered his power and allure as a dramatic star and quickly handed him his own prime-time crime series, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, as a not-quite-by-the-book crime detective. This one-two punch of "Oz" and "Law & Order: SVU" put Meloni, who seems to grow sexier with age, on the map and well on top, where he remains today.
Christopher Peter Meloni was born on April 2, 1961, in Washington, D.C., the son of Cecile (Chagnon) and Robert Meloni, an endocrinologist. Of Italian and French-Canadian parentage, he attended St. Stephen's School and played quarterback for his high school team. Developing an interest in acting rather early in life, he attended the University of Colorado at Boulder following high school graduation. He initially majored in acting but wound up earning a degree in history in 1983. Acting won out in the long run, however, and Chris relocated to New York where he studied with acting guru Sanford Meisner at the renowned Neighborhood Playhouse. Supplementing his income during these lean years by taking advantage of his powerful physique (as construction worker, bouncer, personal trainer), Meloni worked his way up the acting ladder via parts in commercials.
With a full head of hair in the early days, he broke into series TV in 1989, the first being the already-established cable football comedy 1st & Ten: The Championship. In this sitcom, which was HBO's very first back in 1984, Chris played ex-con quarterback Vito Del Greco (aka "Johnny Gunn"). The series' star Delta Burke had already left the cast by the time Chris came aboard in its final season. A second sitcom arrived almost immediately with the stereotypical Italian family sitcom The Fanelli Boys featuring Chris as dim-eyed, skirt-chasing Frankie Fanelli, one of the four "dees, dem and dos" sons of Brooklynite widow Theresa Fanelli (Ann Morgan Guilbert). Despite a strong, boisterous cast, the show was painfully obvious and met an early demise. True to nature, Chris gave voice and added to the fun as a cocky, mooching high school teen who knows the "how to's" of attracting pretty girl dinos in the animated prehistoric series Dinosaurs.
He also made a manly mark in mini-movies with co-starring roles in such "women" dramas as In a Child's Name starring Valerie Bertinelli, Something to Live for: The Alison Gertz Story, which top-lined Molly Ringwald, Without a Kiss Goodbye as the caring husband of Lisa Hartman, and the Connie Sellecca starrer A Dangerous Affair. An interchangeable ability to convey both heartfelt sympathy and virile menace did not go by unnoticed. After minor parts on the big screen with Clean Slate, Junior and Twelve Monkeys, Chris drew strong notices in the featured role of gangster Johnnie Marzzone in the classic neo-noir Bound, which earned cult status for its sexually-charged lesbian sub-storyline.
A tough recurring part on "NYPD Blue", a typical mafia role in the mini-series The Last Don and another short-lived comedic series lead (Leaving L.A.) finally led to a big payoff in the brutal and brilliant cable series Oz. Christopher's introduction to the Oz prison as bisexual psychopath Chris Keller was powerhouse casting and he drew immediate notice and critical applause into the show's second season. Unflinching in its blood-soaked presentation of life behind bars, Chris' raw animal magnetism was unparalleled on the show and his steamy, erotic couplings with another male prisoner on screen promoted him swiftly to gay icon status. Undaunted by the possible career-damaging effects that could occur, Chris' frank acceptance and acknowledgment was admirable indeed and his outright support of human rights causes earned him high marks.
The father of two (daughter Sophia Eva Pietra (born March 23, 2001), and son Dante Amadeo (born January 2, 2004), he has been married since 1995 to production designer 'Sherman Williams' (The Dark Backward). Chris' sudden burst of cable notoriety earned him his own prime time NBC series. With the veteran "Law & Order" program developing a sister spin-off, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Meloni raised the bar with his trenchant pairing with co-star Mariska Hargitay as partners of a special victims crime unit. Despite the show's reality-driven approach, Meloni and Hargitay's dynamite chemistry carried the show to a new level. Allowing their characters' more serious flaws to surface, Meloni, in particular, managed to convey Detective Stabler's private pain and personal turmoil with a raw poignancy. Both he and Hargitay have been honored with Emmy award nominations for their work here (she has won). Occasionally appearing on stage, Chris' theater credits include "The Rainmaker" (as Starbuck) (1998) and "Comers" (1998), both at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. He earned standout reviews as Eddie Carbone in Arthur Miller's "A View from the Bridge," which he performed at Dublin's Gate Theatre in 2005. In 2006 he joined the campy proceedings at an Actors' Fund of America Benefit of the soap opera spoof "Die, Mommie Die!" starring drag illusionist and "Oz" alumnus Charles Busch.
Going well over a decade's worth of service to the series that made him a household name, Meloni finally retired his TV detective in 2011. Throughout the show's run he continued to flaunt his humorous side, showing up on such parody shows as "Mad TV" and cracking up on the various night time TV haunts. On film he continues to shatter his dramatic image in such fare as The Souler Opposite, Wet Hot American Summer, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle and its sequel Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay. While he has not found outright stardom on the big screen (he has nominally played "other man" roles in such popular films as Runaway Bride and Nights in Rodanthe), Chris has more than proved his staying power since he left the popular series.
More recently, he moved forward as a writer/producer/director/star of the comedy film Dirty Movie, which also has in its cast "L&O: SVU" co-star Diane Neal. In addition, Chris supplied the voice of DC Comics classic character Hal Jordan (aka Green Lantern) in the animated movie Green Lantern: First Flight. He also has held regular roles on the series True Blood in 2012 and Surviving Jack as well as strong cinematic parts in the Superman film Man of Steel and in Small Time.
Lady Gaga, born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, is an American songwriter, singer, actress, philanthropist, dancer and fashion designer.
Gaga was born on March 28, 1986 in Manhattan, New York City, to Cynthia Louise (Bissett) and Joseph Anthony Germanotta, Jr., an internet entrepreneur. Her father is of Italian descent, and her mother is of half Italian and half French-Canadian, English, German, and Scottish ancestry. Gaga was able to sing and play the piano from a young age. She attended the Convent of the Sacred Heart from age 11 where was bullied for her appearance (she was small and plumper than other girls with large front teeth) and eccentric habits.
By the age of 14, Gaga was performing at open mike nights in clubs and bars. By age 17, she had gained early admission to New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. In addition to sharpening her songwriting skills, she composed essays and analytical papers on art, religion, social issues and politics. At the age of 19 Gaga withdrew from her studies and moved out of her parents' home in order to pursue a musical career. During this time she started a band which began to gain local attention.
After a brief partnership with talent scout Rob Fusari, which resulted in the creation of her stage name, Gaga was signed to Def Jam Records in 2006; however she was dropped from the label after just three months. Devastated, Gaga returned home, and became increasingly experimental: fascinating herself with emerging neo-burlesque shows, go-go dancing at bars dressed in little more than a bikini in addition to experimenting with drugs.
Gaga met performance artist Lady Starlight during this time; after a performance at Lollapalooza Festival in 2007 Gaga was signed by Vince Herbert to Streamline Records, an imprint of Interscope Records. Having served as an apprentice songwriter under an internship at Famous Music Publishing, which was later acquired by Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Gaga subsequently struck a music publishing deal with Sony/ATV. As a result, she was hired to write songs for Britney Spears and labelmates New Kids on the Block, Fergie, and the Pussycat Dolls. At Interscope, singer-songwriter Akon recognized her vocal abilities when she sang a reference vocal for one of his tracks in studio; Akon then convinced Interscope-Geffen-A&M Chairman and CEO Jimmy Iovine to form a joint deal by having her also sign with his own label Kon Live, making her his "franchise player."
In 2008 Gaga released her first album 'The Fame' to lukewarm radio play; Gaga toured around Europe and in gay clubs in the US to promote the album - however it was not until her first hit 'Just Dance' came to mainstream attention in 2009 that Gaga exploded onto the music scene.
Since then Gaga has gained numerous awards and nominations for a string of hits; her first album spawned several more smash hits ('Paparazzi' 'LoveGame' and 'Poker Face'); while touring the album Gaga wrote 'The Fame Monster', an EP examining the darker side to her new-found fame. The Fame Monster was released in 2009 and won multiple awards, spawning her most iconic single 'Bad Romance' as well as 'Telephone' and 'Alejandro'. During this time Gaga came under increased public and critical scrutiny for her eccentric and often bizarre style choices. Gaga embarked on her second tour, The Monster Ball; upon finishing in May 2011, the critically acclaimed and commercially accomplished tour ran for over one and a half years and grossed $227.4 million, making it one of the highest-grossing concert tours of all time and the highest-grossing for a debut headlining artist. Concerts performed at Madison Square Garden in New York City were filmed for an HBO television special. The special accrued one of its five Emmy Award nominations and has since been released on DVD and Blu-ray.
In 2011 Gaga released her second full-length album 'Born this Way'; the album was received vastly more critically than her previous two for touching on themes of politics, sexuality, and religion. Despite this, the album's songs were praised critically, and Born This Way sold 1.108 million copies in its first week in the US, debuting atop the Billboard 200, and topping the charts in more than 20 other countries. In addition to exceeding 8 million copies in worldwide sales, Born This Way received 3 Grammy Award nominations, including her third consecutive for Album of the Year. In March 2012, Gaga was ranked fourth on Billboard's list of top moneymakers of 2011, grossing $25,353,039 dollars, which included sales from Born This Way and her Monster Ball Tour.
At the end of April 2012, Gaga's Born This Way kicked off in Korea - the tour would last 2 years and take the singer to every continent of the globe. However in February 2012 the tour was abruptly cancelled; Gaga had a labral tear in her right hip which she had been nursing secretly for several weeks in the hopes that she would be able to continue the tour. After a performance in Toronto left her unable to walk and in considerable pain, she was taken to hospital for surgery and the tour was cancelled. Through to Jan. 17, the tour had grossed $168.2 million and moved 1.6 million tickets to 85 shows, according to Billboard Boxscore, with the Asian, European, and South American legs already completed in 2012. The North American leg, which was to wrap the tour and was almost completely sold out, would have likely put the tour at more than $200 million gross, easily in the top 20 tours of all time and probably in the top 15, according to Billboard. As it stands, Gaga finished sixth among all touring artists in 2012, with a gross of $125 million and attendance of more than 1.1 million, according to Boxscore.
Gaga wrote her third album, ARTPOP, released in 2013. Gaga made her acting debut in Robert Rodriguez's Machete Kills, the sequel to his 2010 film Machete, and also appeared in Rodriguez's sequel Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.
David William Duchovny was born on August 7, 1960, in New York City, New York, USA. His father, Amram Ducovny, was a writer and publicist who was from a family of Jewish immigrants (from Ukraine and Poland), and worked for the American Jewish Committee. His mother, Margaret (Miller), was a Scottish-born school teacher. David has a sister, Laurie, and an older brother, Daniel Ducovny, an award-winning director of commercials, as well as a director of photography.
David earned an undergraduate degree from Princeton University, and also attended Yale University, where he undertook a Master's Degree in English Literature. A keen poet and writer, David's work was well recognized by his peers and teachers while he was in attendance at Yale. He was even nominated for a college prize by the Academy of American Poets for his outstanding work within the literary field. While at Yale, he began commuting to New York to study acting and was soon appearing in off-Broadway plays. In 1987, he abandoned his doctoral studies at Yale to pursue acting full time.
Like any actor or celebrity, David began his career on the bottom, by acting in numerous commercials in the late-eighties. He crossed over into films with bit parts in low key films such as New Year's Day and Bad Influence. Although these parts were small and somewhat insignificant, it was a start and David was able to get his foot in the door.
In 1991, David got offered the role of DEA Dennis Bryson on the acclaimed TV series, Twin Peaks. He only appeared in three episodes, but at that early stage, it was his biggest claim to fame yet, as Twin Peaks was watched by millions of people worldwide. Needless to say, David's talents as an actor would finally be recognized and he would get the acknowledgment that he so richly deserved.
In the early 1990s, he got more bit parts in films, this time, however, the films weren't "low key", but hits, such as Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead and the family favorite comedy, Beethoven. David's role in Beethoven was small, but it was hard to forget the poor guy who was dragged across the lawn by the giant St. Bernard!
A year later, in 1993, David got the lead role in the independent film Kalifornia. The film also starred another up-and-coming young actor, Brad Pitt. In Kalifornia, David played a journalist who goes on a cross-country tour of famous murder sites with his girlfriend as research for a book he is writing about serial killers. He takes Pitt's character along to help pay the bills, unaware that Pitt's character is in fact a serial killer himself. Although it did not do much business at the box office, it is still a great film and has become somewhat of a cult favorite among fans.
That same year, David was offered the role of FBI Agent Fox "Spooky" Mulder on the long-running TV series The X-Files. The show was a tremendous international success and propelled David (and his co-star Gillian Anderson) into super-stardom. His character of Mulder has become somewhat of a pop culture legend and is renowned the world over for his satirical wit and dry sense of humor. Fans loved the fact that he could keep a straight face and still crack and joke in the face of extreme danger. David improvised a lot of his own lines of dialogue while on the show and even penned and directed a few episodes. The series ended in 2002 and still has a strong, dedicated following. To date, David has reprised his role of Fox Mulder in two "X Files" feature films: The X Files and The X Files: I Want to Believe.
During the initial run of The X-Files, David kept busy and made several films, such as: Return to Me, alongside actress Minnie Driver and the comedy favorite Evolution, with Julianne Moore, Seann William Scott and Orlando Jones. He even had a hysterical cameo as a self-obsessed, simple-minded hand model in the comedy-smash Zoolander.
In 2007, after a few years out of the limelight, David struck gold again after landing the plum role of Hank Moody in Californication. The raunchy series follows the life of womanizing writer Hank Moody (Duchovny) as he tries to juggle his career and his relationship with his daughter and his ex-girlfriend. The show has become a hit for its off-the-wall humor and Duchovny's ability to always turn in a brilliant performance.
It may have taken a while, but David has worked his way to the top and notched up an impressive resume along the way. We can expect to see a lot more of him in the future.
|Michael Clarke Duncan
Michael Clarke Duncan was born on December 10, 1957 in Chicago, Illinois. Raised by his single mother, Jean, a house cleaner, on Chicago's South Side, Duncan grew up resisting drugs and alcohol, instead concentrating on school. He wanted to play football in high school, but his mother wouldn't let him, afraid that he would get hurt. He then turned to acting, dreaming of becoming a famous actor.
After graduating from high school and attending community college, he worked digging ditches at People's Gas Company in Chicago. When he quit his job and headed to Hollywood, he landed small roles while working as a bodyguard. Duncan's role in the movie Armageddon led to his breakthrough performance in The Green Mile, when his Armageddon co-star Bruce Willis called director Frank Darabont, suggesting Duncan for the part of convict John Coffey. He landed the role, getting critical acclaim as well as many other Awards and Nominations, including an Academy Award Nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.
After suffering a heart attack on July 13, 2012, he was taken to a Los Angeles hospital in which his girlfriend Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth tried to save his life with CPR. Unfortunately, on September 3, 2012, Michael Clarke Duncan died at age 54 from respiratory failure.
The very lovely, vivacious and smart-looking Joanna Cassidy was born in Camden, New Jersey, and raised in nearby Haddonfield, a borough located in Camden County. She grew up in a creative environment as the daughter and granddaughter of artists. At an early age she engaged in painting and sculpture and went on to major in art at Syracuse University in New York. During her time there she married Kennard C. Kobrin in 1964, a doctor in residency, and found work as a fashion model to help work his way to a degree. The couple eventually moved to San Francisco, where her husband set up a psychiatric practice; Joanna continued modeling and gave birth to a son and daughter. Following their divorce ten years later, she decided to move to Los Angeles in a bid for an acting career.
In between modeling chores and occasional commercial gigs, the reddish-haired beauty found minor, decorative work as an actress in such action fare as Steve McQueen's thriller Bullitt, the Jason Robards drama Fools, The Laughing Policeman starring Walter Matthau and The Outfit with Robert Duvall. Her first co-starring role came opposite George C. Scott in the offbeat comedy caper Bank Shot.
Television became an important medium for her in the late 1970s, with guest parts on all the popular shows of the time, both comedic and dramatic, including Dallas. Trapper John, M.D., Taxi, Starsky and Hutch, Charlie's Angels, Lou Grant and a recurring role on Falcon Crest. A regular on the sketch/variety show Shields and Yarnell, which showcased the popular mime couple, Joanna languished in three failed series attempts--The Roller Girls, 240-Robert and The Family Tree--before hitting the jackpot with the sitcom Buffalo Bill opposite Dabney Coleman, in which she finally had the opportunity to demonstrate her flair for offbeat comedy. The show became that's season's critical darling, with Coleman playing a vain, sexist, obnoxious talk show host (a variation of his popular Nine to Five film character) and Joanna received a Golden Globe for her resourceful portrayal of Jo Jo White, the director of his show and romantic foil for Coleman, who stood toe-to-toe with his antics.
The 1980s also brought about positive, critical reception for Joanna on film as well, especially in a number of showy portrayals, notably her snake-dancing replicant in the futuristic sci-fi thriller Blade Runner, her radio journalist involved with Nick Nolte and Ed Harris in the political drama Under Fire and her co-starring role in a wacky triangle with Bob Hoskins and a hyperkinetic hare in the highly ambitious part toon/part fantasy film Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Back on the TV front she was seen in recurring roles on L.A. Law, Diagnosis Murder, The District and Boston Legal.
Since then Joanna has juggled a number of quality film and TV assignments, a definitive highlight being her Emmy-nominated recurring role as a quirky, capricious mother/psychiatrist in the cult cable series Six Feet Under. More recently she has taken part in more controversial film work that contain stronger social themes such as Anthrax, a Canadian political thriller whose storyline feeds on the fear of terrorism; The Virgin of Juarez, which chronicled the murders of hundreds of Mexican women; and the gay-themed pictures Kiss the Bride and Anderson's Cross.
Off-camera Joanna is devoted to her art (painting, sculpting) and is a dedicated animal activist as well as golfer and antique collector. She presently resides in the Los Angeles area with her dogs.
Alan Ritchson has carved a space for himself on both the large and small screens since he made the trek from a small town in Florida to Los Angeles.
Alan Michael Ritchson was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota, to Vickie (Harrell), a high school teacher, and David Ritchson, a U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sergeant. He is of Czech, English, and German descent. Frequently relocating as the middle son of a military family, Alan learned to adapt and entertain in order to build friendships in new and unfamiliar environments. Certainly this has been a key ingredient in his success so far in the industry.
Alan's early credits include portraying Aquaman in the long running series Smallville. This marked the first portrayal of the superhero in an officially licensed live-action production.
Ritchson has also taken on grittier leading man roles in the independent film market with the modern-day western "Rex" and the dramatic love story of "Steam" alongside Ally Sheedy.
In contrast, he also made quite a comedic impression with his love-to-hate-him character of Thad Castle on the football comedy Blue Mountain State. He parlayed his comedic skills to work with Rebel Wilson in her CBS pilot Super Fun Night.
In addition to his acting repertoire, Alan also writes, produces and is a singer/songwriter.
Most recently Alan has can be seen as the District 1 victor, Gloss, in Catching Fire; the second installment of the hugely successful Hunger Games franchise. He also portrayed the cool-but-crude Raphael in the Michael Bay produced reboot of TMNT.
Drayton graduated from the Arts Educational School in Chiswick.
In 2013 Drayton was cast in her first major role in the Hallmark Channel television movie pilot for When Calls the Heart, in which she played Elizabeth Thatcher (a role that was taken over by Erin Krakow in the subsequent television series). This was followed by a role in the 2013 Downton Abbey Christmas special.
The following year Drayton was cast as Amberle Elessedil, one of the lead roles in the MTV fantasy drama series The Shannara Chronicles; the series premiered on 5 January 2016.
Drayton has also done stage work, appearing in The Green Bay Tree at the Jermyn Street Theatre in London in 2014.
The towering presence of Canadian actor Donald Sutherland is often noticed, as are his legendary contributions to cinema. He has appeared in almost 200 different shows and films. He is also the father of renowned actor Kiefer Sutherland, among others.
Donald McNichol Sutherland was born in Saint John, New Brunswick, to Dorothy Isobel (McNichol) and Frederick McLea Sutherland, who worked in sales and electricity. He has Scottish, as well as German and English, ancestry. Sutherland worked several different jobs - he was a radio DJ in his youth - and was almost set on becoming an engineer after graduating from the University of Toronto with a degree in engineering. However, he also graduated with a degree in drama, and he chose to abandon becoming an engineer in favour of an actor.
Sutherland's first roles were bit parts and consisted of such films as the horror film Dr. Terror's House of Horrors which starred Christopher Lee. He was also appearing in episodes of TV shows such as "The Saint" and "Court Martial". Sutherland's break would come soon, though, and it would come in the form of a war film in which he was barely cast.
The reason he was barely cast was because he had been a last-minute replacement for an actor that had dropped out of the film. The role he played was that of the dopey but loyal Vernon Pinkley in the war film The Dirty Dozen. The film also starred Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson, and Telly Savalas. The picture was an instant success as an action/war film, and Sutherland played upon this success by taking another role in a war film: this was, however, a comedy called MASH which landed Sutherland the starring role alongside Elliott Gould and Tom Skerritt. This is now considered a classic among film goers, and the 35-year old actor was only getting warmed up.
Sutherland took a number of other roles in between these two films, such as the theatrical adaptation Oedipus the King, the musical Joanna and the Clint Eastwood-helmed war comedy Kelly's Heroes. It was Kelly's Heroes that became more well-known, and it reunited Sutherland with Telly Savalas. 1970 and 1971 offered Sutherland a number of other films, the best of them would have to be Klute. The film, which made Jane Fonda a star, is about a prostitute whose friend is mysteriously murdered. Sutherland received no critical acclaim like his co-star Fonda (she won an Oscar) but his career did not fade.
Moving on from Klute, Sutherland landed roles such as the lead in the thriller Lady Ice, and another lead in the western Alien Thunder. These films did not match up to "Klute"'s success, though Sutherland took a supporting role that would become one of his most infamous and most critically acclaimed. He played the role of the murderous fascist leader in the Bernardo Bertolucci Italian epic 1900. Sutherland also gained another memorable role as a marijuana-smoking university professor in Animal House among other work that he did in this time.
Another classic role came in the form of the Robert Redford film, Ordinary People. Sutherland portrays an older father figure who must deal with his children in an emotional drama of a film. It won Best Picture, and while both the supporting stars were nominated for Oscars, Sutherland once again did not receive any Academy Award nomination. He moved on to play a Nazi spy in a film based on Ken Follett's book "Eye of the Needle" and he would star alongside Al Pacino in the commercial and critical disaster that was Revolution. While it drove Al Pacino out of films for four years, Sutherland continued to find work. This work led to the dramatic, well-told story of apartheid A Dry White Season alongside the legendary actor Marlon Brando.
Sutherland's next big success came in the Oliver Stone film JFK where Sutherland plays the chilling role of Mister X, an anonymous source who gives crucial information about the politics surrounding President Kennedy. Once again, he was passed over at the Oscars, though Tommy Lee Jones was nominated for his performance as Clay Shaw. Sutherland went on to appear in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Shadow of the Wolf, and Disclosure.
The new millennium provided an interesting turn in Sutherland's career: reuniting with such former collaborators as Clint Eastwood and Tommy Lee Jones, Sutherland starred in Space Cowboys. He also appeared as the father figure to Nicole Kidman's character in Cold Mountain and Charlize Theron's character in The Italian Job. He has also made a fascinating, Oscar-worthy performance as the revolutionist Mr. Thorne in Land of the Blind and also as a judge in Reign Over Me. Recently, he has joined forces with his son Rossif Sutherland and Canadian comic [error] with the new comedy The Con Artist, as well as acting alongside Jamie Bell and Channing Tatum in the sword-and-sandal film The Eagle. Sutherland has also taken a role in the remake of Charles Bronson's film The Mechanic.
Donald Sutherland has made a lasting legacy on Hollywood, whether portraying a chilling and horrifying villain, or playing the older respectable character in his films. A true character actor, Sutherland is one of Canada's most well-known names and will hopefully continue on being so long after his time.
Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor was considered one of the last, if not the last, major star to have come out of the old Hollywood studio system. She was known internationally for her beauty, especially for her violet eyes, with which she captured audiences early on in her youth and kept the world hooked on with since.
Taylor was born on February 27, 1932 in London, England. Although she was born an English subject, her parents, Sara Sothern (née Sara Viola Warmbrodt) and Francis Lenn Taylor, were Americans, art dealers from St. Louis, Missouri (her father had gone to London to set up a gallery). Her mother had been an actress on the stage, but gave up that vocation when she married. Elizabeth lived in London until the age of seven, when the family left for the US when the clouds of war began brewing in Europe in 1939. They sailed without her father, who stayed behind to wrap up the loose ends of the art business.
The family relocated to Los Angeles, where Mrs. Taylor's own family had moved. Mr. Taylor followed not long afterward. A family friend noticed the strikingly beautiful little Elizabeth and suggested that she be taken for a screen test. Her test impressed executives at Universal Pictures enough to sign her to a contract. Her first foray onto the screen was in There's One Born Every Minute, released when she was ten. Universal dropped her contract after that one film, but Elizabeth was soon picked up by MGM.
The first production she made with that studio was Lassie Come Home, and on the strength of that one film, MGM signed her for a full year. She had minuscule parts in her next two films, The White Cliffs of Dover and Jane Eyre (the former made while she was on loan to 20th Century-Fox). Then came the picture that made Elizabeth a star: MGM's National Velvet. She played Velvet Brown opposite Mickey Rooney. The film was a smash hit, grossing over $4 million. Elizabeth now had a long-term contract with MGM and was its top child star. She made no films in 1945, but returned in 1946 in Courage of Lassie, another success. In 1947, when she was 15, she starred in Life with Father with such heavyweights as William Powell, Irene Dunne and Zasu Pitts, which was one of the biggest box office hits of the year. She also co-starred in the ensemble film Little Women, which was also a box office huge success.
Throughout the 1950s, Elizabeth appeared in film after film with mostly good results. She won an Oscar nomination for her role in the George Stevens film A Place in the Sun, co-starring her good friend Montgomery Clift. The following year, she co-starred in Ivanhoe, one of the biggest box office hits of the year. Her busiest year was 1954. She had a supporting role in the box office flop Beau Brummell, but later that year starred in the hits The Last Time I Saw Paris and Elephant Walk. She was 22 now, and even at that young age was considered one of the world's great beauties. In 1955 she appeared in the hit Giant with James Dean.
Sadly, Dean never saw the release of the film, as he died in a car accident in 1955. The next year saw Elizabeth co-star with Montgomery Clift in Raintree County, an overblown epic made, partially, in Kentucky. Critics called it dry as dust. In addition, Clift was seriously injured during the film, with Taylor helping save his life. Despite the film's shortcomings and off-camera tragedy, Elizabeth was nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal of Southern belle Susanna Drake. However, on Oscar night the honor went to Joanne Woodward for The Three Faces of Eve.
In 1958 Elizabeth starred as Maggie Pollitt in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. The film received rave reviews from the critics and Elizabeth was nominated again for an Academy Award for best actress, but this time she lost to Susan Hayward in I Want to Live!. She was still a hot commodity in the film world, though. In 1959 she appeared in another mega-hit and received yet another Oscar nomination for Suddenly, Last Summer. Once again, however, she lost out, this time to Simone Signoret for Room at the Top. Her Oscar drought ended in 1960 when she brought home the coveted statue for her performance in BUtterfield 8 as Gloria Wandrous, a call girl who is involved with a married man. Some critics blasted the movie but they couldn't ignore her performance. There were no more films for Elizabeth for three years. She left MGM after her contract ran out, but would do projects for the studio later down the road. In 1963 she starred in Cleopatra, which was one of the most expensive productions up to that time--as was her salary, a whopping $1,000,000. The film took years to complete, due in part to a serious illness during which she nearly died.
This was the film where she met her future and fifth husband, Richard Burton (the previous four were Conrad Hilton, Michael Wilding, Michael Todd--who died in a plane crash--and Eddie Fisher). Her next handful of films were lackluster at best, including The V.I.P.s and The Sandpiper, which were shredded by most critics but were financially successful. Elizabeth was to return to fine form, however, with the role of Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. Her performance as the loudmouthed, shrewish, unkempt Martha was easily her finest to date. For this she would win her second Oscar and one that was more than well-deserved. The following year, she and Burton co-starred in another box office hit, The Taming of the Shrew, again giving winning performances and being nominated for an Oscas, but losing. However, her films afterward were box office failures, including Reflections in a Golden Eye, Boom! (again co-starring with Burton), Secret Ceremony, The Only Game in Town, X, Y and Zee, Hammersmith Is Out (with Burton again), Ash Wednesday, The Driver's Seat (considered by many to be her worst), The Blue Bird, A Little Night Music, and Winter Kills (a controversial film which was never given a full release and in which she only had a small role). Since then, she has appeared in some movies, both theatrical and made-for-television, and a number of television programs. In February 1997, Elizabeth entered the hospital for the removal of a brain tumor. The operation was successful. As for her private life, she divorced Burton in 1974, only to remarry him in 1975 and divorce him, permanently, in 1976. She had two more husbands, U.S. Senator John Warner and construction worker Larry Fortensky, whom she met in rehab.
In 1959, Taylor converted to Judaism, and continued to identify herself as Jewish throughout her life, being active in Jewish causes. Upon the death of her friend, actor Rock Hudson, in 1985, she began her crusade on the behalf of AIDS sufferers. In the 1990s, she also developed a successful series of scents. In her later years, her acting career was relegated to the occasional TV-movie or TV guest appearance.
Elizabeth Taylor died on March 23, 2011 in Los Angeles, from congestive heart failure. Her final resting place is Forest Lawn Memorial Park, in Glendale, California.
Laura Fraser was born on 24th July 1976 and brought up in Glasgow. Her father, Alister, used to run a small building company but is now an aspiring scriptwriter; her mother, Rose, used to be a nurse but is now a college lecturer. She has an older brother who works with computers, a younger sister who is studying philosophy at university, and a younger brother who hasn't yet decided what he wants to do. Laura describes her family as a pretty close bunch.
Alister Fraser was instrumental in getting his daughter into acting when she was at school. He wrote a play for the youth club in which she played the female lead. After completing High School, Laura did a drama foundation course at Glasgow's Langside College, and than went to the prestigious Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.
During her time there, she got a supporting role in Gillies MacKinnon's film Small Faces. This was on top of a couple of other minor roles she had taken (such as 'Big Day for the Bad Guys). The college authorities took a pretty dim view of the amount of professional work she had been taking on, questioning her commitment to the course.
Having not been enjoying her time at the Academy, and encouraged by her parents, she dropped out after a year and moved to London. She landed the starring female role in the BBC adaptation of Neil Gaiman's _"NeverWhere" (1996) (mini)_ series, and then moved to several small or supporting roles in films (Cousin Bette, Man in the Iron Mask), as well as a lead in the short film 'Paris Brixton'. She also appeared as a minor character in single TV dramas, such as 'The Investigator' and 'The Tribe'). Her role in the movie Left Luggage was more substantial and led to her getting one of the main character roles in the black comedy Divorcing Jack (at least in the first half). And her highest profile performance as the lead female in the comedy Virtual Sexuality in 1998.
From here she has appeared in a number of films, mainly in supporting roles, but always noticeable. Her performance as Lavinia in the offbeat version of Titus has particularly been singled out for praise. All these roles have demonstrated her versatility in characterization and style to the full. From the fantasy of 'Neverwhere', comedy of 'Virtual Sexuality', Shakespearean drama of 'Titus', emotional drama of 'Forgive and Forget' and slapstick of 'Kevin and Perry', Laura cannot be typecast. She effortlessly adapts to all the genres (and accents where needed; she has rarely appeared acting using her own Glasgow accent).
Laura moved to America after completing Coney Island Baby. She landed a role in the well regarded HBO drama Iron Jawed Angels, and also met up with Karl Geary, her co-star in 'Coney Island Baby'. They lived together in Brooklyn, and subsequently married in New York in 2003. They moved to Ireland in mid 2004.
In early 2005, Laura returned to live in Glasgow with her husband and stepdaughter, and a desire to start a family and focus on local work. She found she was pregnant in late 2005, and spent time working as a choreographer on a pantomime written by her father 'Oh Yes He Is!' for the charity Sense Scotland. In May 2006 she and Karl became proud parents of a baby girl. Laura intended to not work for 12 months and be a full-time mum, but by September 2006 she was back making a film for the BBC.
Paul Reubens was born Paul Rubenfeld on August 27, 1952 in Peekskill, New York, to Judy (Rosen), a teacher, and Milton Rubenfeld, a car salesman who had flown for the air forces of the U.S., U.K., and Israel, becoming one of the latter country's pioneering pilots. Paul grew up in Sarasota, Florida, where his parents owned a lamp store. During winters, The Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus called Sarasota home, and young Paul counted such big-top families as the Wallendas and the Zacchinis among his neighbors. When he was 11-years-old, he joined the local Asolo Theater, and during the next six years, he appeared in a variety of plays. After graduating from Sarasota High School in 1970, he attended Boston University for one year before deciding to seek his fortune as Paul Reubens in Hollywood, where he enrolled as an acting major at the California Institute of the Arts and accepted a string of pay-the-rent jobs ranging from pizza chef to Fuller Brush salesman.
In the mid 1970s, his acting career grew slowly and steadily with small roles in theater productions, gigs at local comedy clubs and four guest appearances on The Gong Show. During this time of education/employment, he joined an improvisational comedy troupe called The Groundlings. The popular gang of yuksters, whose roster has included Conan O'Brien, Lisa Kudrow, the late Phil Hartman, Jon Lovitz, and Julia Sweeney, wrung laughs from audiences with skits starring scads of imaginative, self-created characters. Among Reubens's contributions to this comedic community were a philandering husband named Moses Feldman, an Indian chief named Jay Longtoe, and the now fallen Pee-Wee Herman, who debuted in 1978.
Pee-Wee was a funny man-child of indeterminate age and sexuality who created a sarcastic enthusiasm for the popular culture of the '50s and '60s. The geeky character's wardrobe consisted of a gray suit, a white short-sleeved shirt accessorized with a red clip-on bow tie, and white patent-leather loafers. He wore his jet-black hair military short with a defiant tuft in front, and he accentuated his lily-white complexion with pink cheeks and red lipstick. Reubens drew inspiration for Pee-Wee's geeky behavior from a youth he had attended summer camp with, and derived his creation's boyish voice from a character he played as a child actor. Pee-Wee appeared for only 10 minutes of The Groundlings show, but he nonetheless built up a considerable following and turned out to be a star of the '80s and early '90s. The Pee Wee Herman Show, ran for five sellout months at the Los Angeles's Roxy nightclub, and HBO taped the performance and aired it as a special.
Now a genuine comedy-circuit star, he became a frequent guest of David Letterman and a favorite at Caroline's in New York. In 1984, he sold out Carnegie Hall. He later auditioned for the cast of Saturday Night Live, but when that didn't turn out as planned, he started writing a feature-length screenplay for Pee-Wee to star in, and asked friend Tim Burton to direct. Released to wildly divergent reviews, Pee-wee's Big Adventure, followed its star cross-country in a madcap search for his beloved, stolen bike. The $7 million picture ended up grossing $45 million. That following year, CBS which had been losing children's audiences to cable programming, was interested in finding something to shore up its Saturday Morning lineup. The network company signed him to act/produce and to direct its live-action children's program called Pee-wee's Playhouse. They doled out an eye-popping budget of $325,000 per episode - the same price as a prime- time sitcom. Reubens received complete creative control, albeit with three minor exceptions. During its five-year-run on CBS, he never appeared in general as himself. He even granted printed interviews in full Pee-Wee regalia.
The image of Pee-Wee was broken on July 26, 1991. On his summer vacation, Reubens was visiting his parents in Sarasota and sought escape from boredom by catching a showing of the X-rated film, Nurse Nancy. He fell victim to a police sting operation and was arrested for sex charges when detectives allegedly saw him playing with his private parts. He was released on $219 bail and nobody realized what had happened until somebody recognized him beneath his long hair and goatee. The media went berserk: 'Kids show star arrested for indecent exposure'. Because of his behavior, CBS dropped the Playhouse and related merchandise was released from its shelves. He agreed to pay a $50 fine plus $85 in court costs to Sarasota County, and he produced a 30 second public service message for the Partnership For Drug-Free America commercial. As part of the deal, the county sealed all legal papers relating to the actor's arrest and didn't leave Reubens with a criminal record. The scandal marked the virtual death of Pee-Wee Herman. Reubens appeared as his favorite character for the last time at that Autumn's MTV Music Video Awards. The enthusiastic reception was not surprising, as he had received 15 thousand supportive letters during his arrest. Regardless, he had recently made a promise not to play Pee-Wee anymore and used his arrest as an chance to portray other roles. A new feature length film by Netflix available beginning March 18, 2016 will allow Reubens to show Pee-Wee fans his character again in Pee-wee's Big Holiday.
Reubens has landed a series of offbeat character roles. One year after he was taken into custody, he appeared in Burton's Batman Returns as the Penguin's unloving father, and as a vampire henchman in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Subsequent jobs have included a voice over for Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas, a healthy stint as Andrew J. Lansing III on Murphy Brown, and roles in the feature films, Dunston Checks In, Matilda, Buddy and Mystery Men. He also signed to emcee a new game show based on the popular 'You Don't Know Jack' CD-ROM version.
Katherine Elizabeth Upton was born in St. Joseph, Michigan, to Shelley Fawn (Davis), a state tennis champion from Texas, and Jefferson Matthew Upton, a high school athletics director. Her uncle is Michigan congressman Fred Upton. Upton always knew she wanted to be a model. Since signing with IMG Models in 2010, Kate has taken the world by storm. For the past two years, Kate has graced the cover of the legendary Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, which has led to an onslaught of media buzz about the 21-year-old. Kate's stardom was elevated to an even higher level with her June 2013 American Vogue cover shot by Mario Testino, whose byline proclaims "American Dream Girl: How Kate Upton Became the Hottest Supermodel on Earth." She has appeared on Jimmy Kimmel, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Ellen Show, The Late Show, Saturday Night Live, The Dan Patrick Show, and Le Grand Journal, and continues to be one of the most searched-for names on Google.
Beyond Sports Illustrated, Kate has been featured on the covers of Vogue Italia, British Vogue, CR Fashion Book, Cosmopolitan, French ELLE, GQ, Italian GQ, German GQ, Jalouse, Sunday Times Style, Esquire, The Daily, and Muse Magazine. She has appeared in fashion editorials for American Vogue, Vogue Spain, V Magazine, Harper's Bazaar, and Russian Interview, and has worked with photographers such as Mario Testino, Steven Meisel, Terry Richardson, Alasdair McLellan, Bruce Weber, Sebastian Kim, Guy Aroch, Matt Jones, Miguel Reveriego, Norman Jean Roy, Josh Olins, Gilles Bensimon, Yu Tsai, Sebastian Faena, Walter Iooss, Ellen von Unwerth, and Stewart Shining. A favorite of high-fashion notables such as Stephen Gan, Tonne Goodman, Carlyne Cerf, Carine Roitfeld, and Katie Grand, Kate was also shot for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's "Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations" Exhibition Catalogue in 2012. Models.com exclaims, "The sexy market just got a little more competitive thanks to the meteoric rise of Kate Upton. The Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition was a major coup, but the momentum keeps building with cover after cover. We can't remember the last time a newbie made such a splash!"
Kate's YouTube video of her dancing to Cali Swag District's "Teach Me How to Dougie" last year was the number one watched video on Twitter and Google for multiple weeks. She has an enterprising reputation for creating viral hits, and the clip has over 8 million views.
Known for her vivacious personality and incredible physique, Kate has been the face for Sam Edelman, Accessorize, Guess Lingerie, Guess Jeans, Guess Accessories, Liverpool, Dylan George, and Dooney & Burke. She has also worked with Gillette, Skullcandy Headphones and Beach Bunny Swimwear, even designing a Beach Bunny Swimwear collection herself. She has starred in commercials for Mercedes-Benz, Carl's Junior and Sobe, and starred in The Other Woman, by director Nick Cassavetes.
Kate resides in New York City. Kate is a five-time world champion equestrian, and she enjoys hanging out at the barn, horseback riding, and is an avid sportsfan.
Bateman was born in Rye, New York. Her younger brother is actor/director Jason Bateman.
Bateman played the role of superficial Mallory Keaton on the television sitcom Family Ties from 1982 to 1989, for which she was nominated for two Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award. Bateman hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live during its 13th season in 1988. That same year, she starred in the lead role in Satisfaction, a film about an all-girl band that also starred Julia Roberts and Liam Neeson. Bateman starred as the lead vocalist and also performed the vocals on the soundtrack. Bateman co-starred in the 1996-97 NBC sitcom version of the British TV comedy Men Behaving Badly with Rob Schneider and Ron Eldard. She has appeared in several made-for-TV movies, indie films and plays.
Taking a break from the entertainment business, Bateman established a clothing design company, Justine Bateman Designs, and ran it from 2000 until 2003. She was known for her unique one-of-a-kind hand knits and sold to BendelsNY, Saks, and Fred Segal. Justine returned to acting with Out of Order, a Showtime series with Eric Stolz, Felicity Huffman, and Bill Macy. In the third season Arrested Development episode, "Family Ties", her character is initially believed to be Michael Bluth's sister, but she turns out to be a prostitute taken advantage of by his father and pimped by his brother. Michael Bluth was played by Justine Bateman's real-life brother, Jason Bateman. In 2006, she guest starred in the tenth episode of Men in Trees as Lynn Barstow; this turned into a recurring role for the following eight episodes. She also starred as Terry in Still Standing. In 2008, she portrayed a drug dealer who rents a room from Carlos and Gabrielle Solis, in a guest role on Desperate Housewives. That same year, Bateman appeared on an episode of Showtime's Californication. In 2009, she took on the role of Lassiter's ex-wife in USA Network's Psych. Also she was in the third episode of Criminal Minds:Suspect Behavior. The actress made her first script sale to Disney's Wizards of Waverly Place.
Digital career: In the Fall of 2007, Justine helped produce the very successful Speechless campaign in support of the Writers Guild of America strike. Justine began a digital production company, FM78.tv, at this time and her digital future was secured. To accommodate demand, she soon after replaced FM78 with the production and consulting company SECTION 5. Since then she has been sought after as an authority in the space for various panels including The Cannes Lion Int'l Ad Festival, Digital Hollywood, NATPE, and The Branded Content Summit and has been involved creatively in a multitude of digital projects. She acted in John August's (Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) web-series Remnants, Illeana Douglas' (Cape Fear, Good Fellas) IKEA-sponsored web-series Easy to Assemble (for which she won the 2010 Streamy Award for "Best Ensemble Cast" and was nominated for a 2010 Streamy Award for Best Actress in a Comedy Web-Series, and Anthony Zuiker's (CSI creator) digi-novel series Level 26: Dark Prophecy. Bateman served as a producer on Easy to Assemble, created Digital Components for Level 26, is currently writing an adaptation of The Clique for a Warner Bros web-series, producing the film short "Z", and is in talks with various Brands to produce a selection of her scripts. Justine also Co-Produces and Co-stars with fashion maven, Kelly Cutrone, in their internet talk show, Wake Up And Get Real. Personal life: She served on the National Board of Directors of the Screen Actors Guild, until July 2009, when she resigned just prior to the end of her initial 3-year term. In 2008, Bateman testified before the United States Senate Commerce Committee in support of net neutrality. A dedicated advocate for Net Neutrality, Justine serves as an Advisor to FreePress.com
One of America's most prolific actresses was born Doris Mary Ann Von Kapplehoff on April 3, 1922, in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Alma Sophia (Welz), a housewife, and William Joseph Kappelhoff, a music teacher and choir master. Her grandparents were all German immigrants. She had two brothers, Richard, who died before she was born and Paul, a few years older.
Her parents divorced while she was still a child and she lived with her mother. Like most little girls, Doris liked to dance. At fourteen, she formed a dance act with a boy, Jerry Doherty, and they won $500 in a local talent contest. She and Jerry took a brief trip to Hollywood to test the waters. They felt they could succeed, so she and Jerry returned to Cincinnati with the intention of packing and making a permanent move to Hollywood. Tragically, the night before she was to move to Hollywood, she was injured riding in a car hit by a train, ending the possibility of a dancing career.
It was a terrible setback, but after taking singing lessons she found a new vocation, and at age 17, she began touring with the Les Brown Band. She met trombonist Al Jorden, whom she married in 1941. Jorden was prone to violence and they divorced after two years, not long after the birth of their son Terry. In 1946, Doris married George Weidler, but this union lasted less than a year. Day's agent talked her into taking a screen test at Warner Bros. The executives there liked what they saw and signed her to a contract (her early credits are often confused with those of another actress named Doris Day, who appeared mainly in B westerns in the 1930s and 1940s).
Her first starring movie role was in Romance on the High Seas. The next year, she made two more films, My Dream Is Yours and It's a Great Feeling. Audiences took to her beauty, terrific singing voice and bubbly personality, and she turned in fine performances in the movies she made (in addition to several hit records). She made three films for Warner Bros. in 1950 and five more in 1951. In that year, she met and married Martin Melcher, who adopted her young son Terry, who later grew up to become Terry Melcher, a successful record producer.
In 1953, Doris starred in Calamity Jane, which was a major hit, and several more followed: Lucky Me, Love Me or Leave Me, The Man Who Knew Too Much and what is probably her best-known film, Pillow Talk. She began to slow down her filmmaking pace in the 1960s, even though she started out the decade with a hit, Please Don't Eat the Daisies.
In 1958, her brother Paul died. Around this time, her husband, who had also taken charge of her career, had made deals for her to star in films she didn't really care about, which led to a bout with exhaustion. The 1960s weren't to be a repeat of the previous busy decade. She didn't make as many films as she had in that decade, but the ones she did make were successful: Do Not Disturb, The Glass Bottom Boat, Where Were You When the Lights Went Out? and With Six You Get Eggroll. Martin Melcher died in 1968, and Doris never made another film, but she had been signed by Melcher to do her own TV series, The Doris Day Show. That show, like her movies, was also successful, lasting until 1973. After her series went off the air, she made only occasional TV appearances.
By the time Martin Melcher died, Doris discovered she was millions of dollars in debt. She learned that Melcher had squandered virtually all of her considerable earnings, but she was eventually awarded $22 million by the courts in a case against a man that Melcher had unwisely let invest her money. She married for the fourth time in 1976 and since her divorce in 1980 has devoted her life to animals.
Today, she runs the Doris Day Animal League in Carmel, California, which advocates homes and proper care of household pets.
Anne-Marie Duff is an English actress, born on 8 October 1970 in Southall, London. Her parents, Brendan and Mary (née Doherty), are from Donegal, Ireland.
She first came to the attention of the British public for her role as Margaret in The Magdalene Sisters and as Fiona Gallagher in the successful TV series Shameless, where she met her future husband, James McAvoy. She went on to play Queen Elizabeth I opposite Tom Hardy's Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester in the four-part miniseries The Virgin Queen.
In Nowhere Boy, Duff played John Lennon's mother, Julia, a role for which she won British Independent Film Award for Best Supporting Actress. She played Violet Miller in Suffragette, a working-class woman who introduces Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan) to the fight for women's rights in east London. "Violet is extraordinary, she's a firebrand - a tornado that comes into Maud's life and changes it forever. I found her thrilling," says Duff. In 2017, she will appear as Hyzenthlay in a new BBC animated miniseries of Watership Down.
Duff has also taken on many theatre roles, including Joan of Arc in George Bernard Shaw's "Saint Joan" in 2007 and Alma Rattenbury in Terence Rattigan's "Cause Célèbre" at The Old Vic, London in 2011.
She has been married to McAvoy since 11 November 2006. They have one child, a son named Brendan after Duff's father. On 13 May 2016, Duff and McAvoy announced their decision to divorce.
One of the brightest, most tragic movie stars of Hollywood's Golden Era, Judy Garland was a much-loved character whose warmth and spirit, along with her rich and exuberant voice, kept theatre-goers entertained with an array of delightful musicals.
She was born Frances Ethel Gumm on 10 June 1922 in Minnesota, the youngest daughter of vaudevillians Ethel Marion (Milne) and Francis Avent Gumm. She was of English, along with some Scottish and Irish, descent. Her mother, an ambitious woman gifted in playing various musical instruments, saw the potential in her daughter at the tender age of just 2 years old when Baby Frances repeatedly sang "Jingle Bells" until she was dragged from the stage kicking and screaming during one of their Christmas shows and immediately drafted her into a dance act, entitled "The Gumm Sisters", along with her older sisters Mary Jane Gumm and Virginia Gumm. However, knowing that her youngest daughter would eventually become the biggest star, Ethel soon took Frances out of the act and together they traveled across America where she would perform in nightclubs, cabarets, hotels and theaters solo.
Her family life was not a happy one, largely because of her mother's drive for her to succeed as a performer and also her father's closeted homosexuality. The Gumm family would regularly be forced to leave town owing to her father's illicit affairs with other men, and from time to time they would be reduced to living out of their automobile. However, in September 1935 the Gumms', in particular Ethel's, prayers were answered when Frances was signed by Louis B. Mayer, mogul of leading film studio MGM, after hearing her sing. It was then that her name was changed from Frances Gumm to Judy Garland, after a popular '30s song "Judy" and film critic Robert Garland.
Tragedy soon followed, however, in the form of her father's death of meningitis in November 1935. Having been given no assignments with the exception of singing on radio, Judy faced the threat of losing her job following the arrival of Deanna Durbin. Knowing that they couldn't keep both of the teenage singers, MGM devised a short entitled Every Sunday which would be the girls' screen test. However, despite being the outright winner and being kept on by MGM, Judy's career did not officially kick off until she sang one of her most famous songs, "You Made Me Love You", at Clark Gable's birthday party in February 1937, during which Louis B. Mayer finally paid attention to the talented songstress.
Prior to this her film debut in Pigskin Parade, in which she played a teenage hillbilly, had left her career hanging in the balance. However, following her rendition of "You Made Me Love You", MGM set to work preparing various musicals with which to keep Judy busy. All this had its toll on the young teenager, and she was given numerous pills by the studio doctors in order to combat her tiredness on set. Another problem was her weight fluctuation, but she was soon given amphetamines in order to give her the desired streamlined figure. This soon produced the downward spiral that resulted in her lifelong drug addiction.
In 1939, Judy shot immediately to stardom with The Wizard of Oz, in which she portrayed Dorothy, an orphaned girl living on a farm in the dry plains of Kansas who gets whisked off into the magical world of Oz on the other end of the rainbow. Her poignant performance and sweet delivery of her signature song, 'Over The Rainbow', earned Judy a special juvenile Oscar statuette on 29 February 1940 for Best Performance by a Juvenile Actor. Now growing up, Judy began to yearn for meatier adult roles instead of the virginal characters she had been playing since she was 14. She was now taking an interest in men, and after starring in her final juvenile performance in Ziegfeld Girl alongside glamorous beauties Lana Turner and Hedy Lamarr, Judy got engaged to bandleader David Rose in May 1941, just two months after his divorce from Martha Raye. Despite planning a big wedding, the couple eloped to Las Vegas and married during the early hours of the morning on 28 July 1941 with just her mother Ethel and her stepfather Will Gilmore present. However, their marriage went downhill as, after discovering that she was pregnant in November 1942, David and MGM persuaded her to abort the baby in order to keep her good-girl image up. She did so and, as a result, was haunted for the rest of her life by her 'inhumane actions'. The couple separated in January 1943.
By this time, Judy had starred in her first adult role as a vaudevillian during WWI in For Me and My Gal. Within weeks of separation, Judy was soon having an affair with actor Tyrone Power, who was married to French actress Annabella. Their affair ended in May 1943, which was when her affair with producer Joseph L. Mankiewicz kicked off. He introduced her to psychoanalysis and she soon began to make decisions about her career on her own instead of being influenced by her domineering mother and MGM. Their affair ended in November 1943, and soon afterward Judy reluctantly began filming Meet Me in St. Louis, which proved to be a big success. The director Vincente Minnelli highlighted Judy's beauty for the first time on screen, having made the period musical in color, her first color film since The Wizard of Oz. He showed off her large brandy-brown eyes and her full, thick lips and after filming ended in April 1944, a love affair resulted between director and actress and they were soon living together.
Vincente began to mold Judy and her career, making her more beautiful and more popular with audiences worldwide. He directed her in The Clock, and it was during the filming of this movie that the couple announced their engagement on set on 9 January 1945. Judy's divorce from David Rose had been finalized on 8 June 1944 after almost three years of marriage, and despite her brief fling with Orson Welles, who at the time was married to screen sex goddess Rita Hayworth, on 15 June 1945 Judy made Vincente her second husband, tying the knot with him that afternoon at her mother's home with her boss Louis B. Mayer giving her away and her best friend Betty Asher serving as bridesmaid. They spent three months on honeymoon in New York and afterwards Judy discovered that she was pregnant.
On 12 March 1946 in Los Angeles, California, Judy gave birth to their daughter, Liza Minnelli, via caesarean section. It was a joyous time for the couple, but Judy was out of commission for weeks due to the caesarean and her postnatal depression, so she spent much of her time recuperating in bed. She soon returned to work, but married life was never the same for Vincente and Judy after they filmed The Pirate together in 1947. Judy's mental health was fast deteriorating and she began hallucinating things and making false accusations toward people, especially her husband, making the filming a nightmare. She also began an affair with aspiring Russian actor Yul Brynner, but after the affair ended, Judy soon regained health and tried to salvage her failing marriage. She then teamed up with dancing legend Fred Astaire for the delightful musical Easter Parade, which resulted in a successful comeback despite having Vincente fired from directing the musical. Afterwards, Judy's health deteriorated and she began the first of several suicide attempts. In May 1949, she was checked into a rehabilitation center, which caused her much distress.
She soon regained strength and was visited frequently by her lover Frank Sinatra, but never saw much of Vincente or Liza. On returning, Judy made In the Good Old Summertime, which was also Liza's film debut, albeit via an uncredited cameo. She had already been suspended by MGM for her lack of cooperation on the set of The Barkleys of Broadway, which also resulted in her getting replaced by Ginger Rogers. After being replaced by Betty Hutton on Annie Get Your Gun, Judy was suspended yet again before making her final film for MGM, entitled Summer Stock. At 28, Judy received her third suspension and was fired by MGM, and her second marriage was soon dissolved.
Having taken up with Sidney Luft, Judy traveled to London to star at the legendary Palladium. She was an instant success and after her divorce to Vincente Minnelli was finalized on 29 March 1951 after almost six years of marriage, Judy traveled with Sid to New York to make an appearance on Broadway. With her newfound fame on stage, Judy was stopped in her tracks in February 1952 when she became pregnant by her new lover, Sid. At the age of 30, she made him her third husband on 8 June 1952; the wedding was held at a friend's ranch in Pasadena. Her relationship with her mother had long since been dissolved by this point, and after the birth of her second daughter, Lorna Luft, on 21 November 1952, she refused to allow her mother to see her granddaughter. Ethel then died in January 1953 of a heart attack, leaving Judy devastated and feeling guilty about not reconciling with her mother before her untimely demise.
After the funeral, Judy signed a film contract with Warner Bros. to star in the musical remake of A Star Is Born, which had starred Janet Gaynor, who had won the first-ever Academy Award for Best Actress in 1929. Filming soon began, resulting in an affair between Judy and her leading man, British star James Mason. She also picked up on her affair with Frank Sinatra, and after filming was complete Judy was yet again lauded as a great film star. She won a Golden Globe for her brilliant and truly outstanding performance as Esther Blodgett, nightclub singer turned movie star, but when it came to the Academy Awards, a distraught Judy lost out on the Best Actress Oscar to Grace Kelly for her portrayal of the wife of an alcoholic star in The Country Girl. Many still argue that Judy should have won the Oscar over Grace Kelly. Continuing her work on stage, Judy gave birth to her beloved son, Joey Luft, on 29 March 1955. She soon began to lose her millions of dollars as a result of her husband's strong gambling addiction, and with hundreds of debts to pay, Judy and Sid began a volatile, on-off relationship resulting in numerous divorce filings.
In 1961, at the age of 39, Judy returned to her ailing film career, this time to star in Judgment at Nuremberg, for which she received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress, but this time she lost out to Rita Moreno for her performance in West Side Story. Her battles with alcoholism and drugs led to Judy's making numerous headlines in newspapers, but she soldiered on, forming a close friendship with President John F. Kennedy. In 1963, Judy and Sid finally separated permanently, and on 19 May 1965 their divorce was finalized after almost 13 years of marriage. By this time, Judy, now 41, had made her final performance on film alongside Dirk Bogarde in I Could Go on Singing. She married her fourth husband, Mark Herron, on 14 November 1965 in Las Vegas, but they separated in April 1966 after five months of marriage owing to his homosexuality. It was also that year that she began an affair with young journalist Tom Green. She then settled down in London after their affair ended, and she began dating disk jockey Mickey Deans in December 1968. They became engaged once her divorce from Mark Herron was finalized on 9 January 1969 after three years of marriage. She married Mickey, her fifth and final husband, in a register office in Chelsea, London, on 15 March 1969.
She continued working on stage, appearing several times with her daughter Liza. It was during a concert in Chelsea, London, that Judy stumbled into her bathroom late one night and died of an overdose of barbiturates, the drug that had dominated her much of her life, on the 22nd of June 1969 at the age of 47. Her daughter Liza Minnelli paid for her funeral, and her former lover James Mason delivered her touching eulogy. She is still an icon to this day with her famous performances in The Wizard of Oz, Meet Me in St. Louis, Easter Parade, and A Star Is Born.
Matthew Robert Smith was born and raised in Northampton, the son of Lynne (Fidler) and David Smith. He was educated at Northampton School For Boys. He studied Drama and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. He got into acting through the National Youth Theatre and performed with the Royal Court and the National Theatre.
Smith made his television debut in The Ruby in the Smoke and won several further roles on television but was largely unknown when he was announced as the surprise choice for the role of the Eleventh Doctor in Doctor Who. He was younger than any other actor to have taken the role (Peter Davison was previously the youngest, aged 29 when he was cast in 1981). Smith starred in 49 episodes of Doctor Who (three short of his predecessor, David Tennant). He left in the momentous 50th anniversary year of the Doctor Who legend in 2013, which included starring in the 50th anniversary special, The Day of the Doctor and acting with Tennant, guest star John Hurt and the oldest living and longest-serving actor to play the Doctor, Tom Baker.
Since leaving Doctor Who, Smith has launched himself into a film career.
Christopher Chace Crawford was born in Lubbock, Texas, the son of Dana (Plott), a teacher, and Chris Wayne Crawford, a dermatologist. He grew up in Plano, Texas, and has a younger sister, Candice Crawford, who studied broadcast journalism and won the Miss Missouri USA title in 2008. Chace played football and golf in high school, and is a talented artist. He graduated from Trinity Christian Academy in 2003. Although he worked as a model in Dallas, he never pursued acting. He moved to Malibu, California, to attend Pepperdine University after high school where he was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity. He struggled to identify a career path, vacillating between advertising, business and communications majors. Midway through his second year, his mother encouraged him to pursue acting. He credits her for initiating this move. She stated that "it was a practical move," based on a career aptitude test he had taken in high school, which revealed he was best suited for a career in the performing arts. He was signed by the first talent agent that interviewed him and then committed full-time to acting studies.
In 2006, Chace appeared in Lifetime's television movie Long Lost Son, where he plays the son of Gabrielle Anwar's character. That same year, he starred alongside Steven Strait, Taylor Kitsch, Sebastian Stan and Toby Hemingway in the horror/thriller movie, The Covenant. The year 2007 was a big break for Chace. He became one of the leads in CW's drama, Gossip Girl. Among his cast members on the show are Penn Badgley, Leighton Meester & Ed Westwick. In the year 2008, Chace was seen in the movie Loaded, opposite Jesse Metcalfe. He also got involved in the independent movie, The Haunting of Molly Hartley with Haley Bennett. His other guest appearance includes a stint on the Family Guy episode The Former Life of Brian. Other than being involved in more acting projects, the year 2008 proved to be an even better year for Chace as he won the Choice TV Breakout Star Male at the Teen Choice Award.
Brigitte Bardot was born on September 28, 1934 in Paris, France. Her father had an engineering degree and worked with his father in the family business. Brigitte's mother encouraged her daughter to take up music and dance, and she proved to be very adept at it. By the time she was 15, Brigitte was trying a modeling career, and found herself in the French magazine "Elle". Her incredible beauty readily apparent, Brigitte next tried films. In 1952, she appeared on screen for the first time as Javotte Lemoine in Crazy for Love. Two more films followed and it was also the same year she married Roger Vadim. She wanted to marry him when she was 17, but her parents quashed any marriage plans until she turned 18. The union lasted less than four years.
Capitalizing on her success in French films, Brigitte made her first American production in Act of Love with Kirk Douglas, but she continued to make films in France. Brigitte's explosive sexuality took the United States by storm, and the effect she had on millions of American men who had not seen a woman like her in a long, long time--if ever--was electric. Rise to the phrase "sex kitten" and fascination of her in the United States consisted of magazines photographs and dubbed over French films--good, bad or indifferent, her films drew audiences--mainly men--into theaters like lemmings. In 1965, she appeared as herself in the American-made Dear Brigitte with James Stewart (she only appeared in one scene).
Just before she turned 40, Brigitte retired from movies after filming The Edifying and Joyous Story of Colinot. She prefers life outside of stardom. While it enabled her to become internationally famous, it also carried with it annoyances. It was not anything for her to have "fans" enter her house or wander around the grounds of her home in the hopes of getting a glimpse of her or to take something that belonged to her. Paparazzi constantly hounded her with their cameras. She has been so soft-hearted that some people even have taken advantage of her generosity. After her life in the spotlight, Brigitte went on to become a leading spokesperson for animal rights and started the "Foundation Brigitte Bardot" dedicated solely to that cause. Her work in that realm is, perhaps, far greater than any film she could have made. Brigitte has been married to her fourth husband Bernard d'Ormale since 1992 and they reside in St. Tropez.
Multi-talented Kathleen Doyle Bates was born on June 28, 1948, and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. She is the youngest of three girls born to Bertye Kathleen (Talbot), a homemaker, and Langdon Doyle Bates, a mechanical engineer. Her grandfather was author Finis L. Bates. Kathy has English, as well as Irish, Scottish, and German, ancestry, and one of her ancestors, an Irish emigrant to New Orleans, once served as President Andrew Jackson's doctor.
Kathy discovered acting appearing in high school plays and studied drama at Southern Methodist University, graduating in 1969. With her mind firmly set, she moved to New York City in 1970 and paid her dues by working everything from a cash register to taking lunch orders. Things started moving quickly up the ladder after giving a tour-de-force performance alongside Christopher Walken at Buffalo's Studio Arena Theatre in Lanford Wilson's world premiere of "Lemon Sky" in 1970, but she also had a foreshadowing of the heartbreak to come after the successful show relocated to New York's off-Broadway Playhouse Theatre without her and Walken wound up winning a Drama Desk award.
By the mid-to-late 1970s, Kathy was treading the boards frequently as a rising young actress of the New York and regional theater scene. She appeared in "Casserole" and "A Quality of Mercy" (both 1975) before earning exceptional reviews for her role of Joanne in "Vanities". She took her first Broadway curtain call in 1980's "Goodbye Fidel," which lasted only six performances. She then went directly into replacement mode when she joined the cast of the already-established and highly successful "Fifth of July" in 1981.
Kathy made a false start in films with Taking Off, in which she was billed as "Bobo Bates". She didn't film again until Straight Time, starring Dustin Hoffman, and that part was not substantial enough to cause a stir. Things turned hopeful, however, when Kathy and the rest of the female ensemble were given the chance to play their respective Broadway parts in the film version of Robert Altman's Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean. It was a juicy role for Kathy and film audiences finally started noticing the now 34-year-old.
Still and all, it was the New York stage that continued to earn Kathy awards and acclaim. She was pure textbook to any actor studying how to disappear into a role. Her characters ranged from free and life-affirming to downright pitiable. Despite winning a Tony Award nomination and Outer Critic's Circle Award for her stark, touchingly sad portrait of a suicidal daughter in 1983's "'night, Mother" and the Obie and Los Angeles Drama Critics Award for her powerhouse job as a romantic misfit in "Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune," Kathy had no box-office pull and was hardly a strong consideration when the roles finally went to film.
Kathy Bates was forever losing out when her award-winning stage characters transferred to the screen. First Sissy Spacek took on her potent role as the suicidal Jessie Cates in 'night, Mother, then Michelle Pfeiffer seized the moment to play her dumpy lover character in Frankie and Johnny. It would take Oscar glory to finally rectify the injustice.
It was her fanatical turn as the drab, chunky, porcine-looking psychopath Annie Wilkes, who kidnaps her favorite author (James Caan) and subjects him to a series of horrific tortures, that finally turned the tide for her in Hollywood. With the 1990 shocker Misery, based on the popular Stephen King novel, Bates and Caan were pure box office magic. Moreover, Kathy captured the "Best Actress" Oscar and Golden Globe award, a first in that genre (horror) for that category. To add to her happiness she married Tony Campisi, also an actor, in 1991.
Quality film scripts now started coming her way and the 1990s proved to be a rich and rewarding time for her. First, she and another older "overnight" film star, fellow Oscar winner Jessica Tandy, starred together in the modern portion of the beautifully nuanced, flashback period piece Fried Green Tomatoes. She then outdid herself as the detached and depressed housekeeper accused of murdering her abusive husband (David Strathairn) in Dolores Claiborne. Surprisingly, she was left out of the Oscar race for these two excellent performances. Not so, however, for her flashy political advisor Libby Holden in the movie Primary Colors and her quirky, liberal mom in About Schmidt, receiving "Best Supporting Actress" nominations for both. She also turned in a somewhat brief but potent turn as Gertrude Stein in Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris.
Kathy has continued to work prolifically on TV as a multiple Emmy winner and nominee. She has also taken to directing a couple of TV-movies on the sly. She was nominated for a DGA award after helming an episode of "Six Feet Under," in which she also had a recurring role. While some of her more recent movie parts have been unworthy of her talents, she has more than made up for it on TV playing everything from cruel-minded caricatures (Little Orphan Annie's Miss Hannigan) to common, decent every day folk in mini-movies. More recently she has done some eye-catching, offbeat turns on regular series such as The Office, Harry's Law and especially American Horror Story for which she won an Emmy as Ethel Darling.
Divorced from her husband since 1997, Kathy has been the Executive Committee Chair of the Actors Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Board of Governors.
Lisa Edelstein began her professional acting career while studying theater at N.Y.U.'s Tisch School of the Arts. After performing in a wide range of productions off and on Broadway, authored and performed the AIDS-related musical "Positive Me" at Ellen Stuart's La Mama, in Manhattan. It was one one of the earliest AIDS-related theater productions.
Lisa gained her first television experience as a host of the cable series Awake on the Wild Side. In the last several years, she has fearlessly taken on a wide variety of roles for television. She played a call-girl girlfriend on The West Wing, David Conrad's sister on Relativity, the transgender girlfriend of James Le Gros on Ally McBeal and an Orthodox Jewish woman on Family Law. She also played James Spader's love interest on The Practice, and has had numerous other TV roles and guest appearances.
From 2004-2011, she played the hospital administrator Dr. Lisa Cuddy on the hit medical drama House M.D..
The archetypal screen tough guy with weatherbeaten features--one film critic described his rugged looks as "a Clark Gable who had been left out in the sun too long"--Charles Bronson was born Charles Buchinsky, one of 15 children of struggling parents in Pennsylvania. His mother, Mary (Valinsky), was born in Pennsylvania, to Lithuanian parents, and his father, Walter Buchinsky, was a Lithuanian immigrant coal miner.
He completed high school and joined his father in the mines (an experience that resulted in a lifetime fear of being in enclosed spaces) and then served in WW II. After his return from the war, Bronson used the GI Bill to study art (a passion he had for the rest of his life), then enrolled at the Pasadena Playhouse in California. One of his teachers was impressed with the young man and recommended him to director Henry Hathaway, resulting in Bronson making his film debut in You're in the Navy Now.
He appeared on screen often early in his career, though usually uncredited. However, he made an impact on audiences as the evil assistant to Vincent Price in the 3-D thriller House of Wax. His sinewy yet muscular physique got him cast in action-type roles, often without a shirt to highlight his manly frame. He received positive notices from critics for his performances in Vera Cruz, Target Zero and Run of the Arrow. Indie director Roger Corman cast him as the lead in his well-received low-budget gangster flick Machine-Gun Kelly, then Bronson scored the lead in his own TV series, Man with a Camera. The 1960s proved to be the era in which Bronson made his reputation as a man of few words but much action.
Director John Sturges cast him as half Irish/half Mexican gunslinger Bernardo O'Reilly in the smash hit western The Magnificent Seven, and hired him again as tunnel rat Danny Velinski for the WWII POW big-budget epic The Great Escape. Several more strong roles followed, then once again he was back in military uniform, alongside Lee Marvin and Ernest Borgnine in the testosterone-filled The Dirty Dozen.
European audiences had taken a shine to his minimalist acting style, and he headed to the Continent to star in several action-oriented films, including Guns for San Sebastian (aka "Guns for San Sebastian"), the cult western Once Upon a Time in the West (aka "Once Upon a Time in The West"), Rider on the Rain (aka "Rider On The Rain") and, in one of the quirkier examples of international casting, alongside Japansese screen legend Toshirô Mifune in the western Red Sun (aka "Red Sun").
American audiences were by now keen to see Bronson back on US soil, and he returned triumphantly in the early 1970s to take the lead in more hard-edged crime and western dramas, including The Valachi Papers and the revenge western Chato's Land. After nearly 25 years as a working actor, he became an 'overnight" sensation. Bronson then hooked up with British director Michael Winner to star in several highly successful urban crime thrillers, including The Mechanic and The Stone Killer. He then scored a solid hit as a Colorado melon farmer-done-wrong in Richard Fleischer's Mr. Majestyk. However, the film that proved to be a breakthrough for both Bronson and Winner came in 1974 with the release of the controversial Death Wish (written with Henry Fonda in mind, who turned it down because he was disgusted by the script).
The US was at the time in the midst of rising street crime, and audiences flocked to see a story about a mild-mannered architect who seeks revenge for the murder of his wife and rape of his daughter by gunning down hoods, rapists and killers on the streets of New York City. So popular was the film that it spawned four sequels over the next 20 years.
Action fans could not get enough of tough guy Bronson, and he appeared in what many fans--and critics--consider his best role: Depression-era street fighter Chaney alongside James Coburn in Hard Times. That was followed by the somewhat slow-paced western Breakheart Pass (with wife Jill Ireland), the light-hearted romp (a flop) From Noon Till Three and as Soviet agent Grigori Borsov in director Don Siegel's Cold War thriller Telefon.
Bronson remained busy throughout the 1980s, with most of his films taking a more violent tone, and he was pitched as an avenging angel eradicating evildoers in films like the 10 to Midnight, The Evil That Men Do, Assassination and Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects. Bronson jolted many critics with his forceful work as murdered United Mine Workers leader Jock Yablonski in the TV movie Act of Vengeance, gave a very interesting performance in the Sean Penn-directed The Indian Runner and surprised everyone with his appearance as compassionate newspaper editor Francis Church in the family film Yes Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus.
Bronson's final film roles were as police commissioner Paul Fein in a well-received trio of crime/drama TV movies Family of Cops, Breach of Faith: A Family of Cops II and Family of Cops III: Under Suspicion. Unfortunately, ill health began to take its toll; he suffered from Alzheimers disease for the last few years of his life, and finally passed away from pneumonia at Los Angeles' Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in August 2003.
Bronson was a true icon of international cinema; critics had few good things to say about his films, but he remained a fan favorite in both the US and abroad for 50 years, a claim few other film legends can make.
Alicia was raised in Kailua, on the beautiful island of Oahu. Her mom, Cecelia, was a ballerina and an artist. While her father, Armando, was also an artist, he had his own landscaping company and was one of the top magicians on the island. Having two artistic parents, Alicia and her two younger sisters(Nicole and Marissa) were put into gymnastics and dance at a very young age. Coached by Joe Rapp of the Hawaiian Island Twisters, Alicia became a competitive level 9 gymnast. It wasn't until her sophomore year of high school when she was told by doctors that she had to quit gymnastics because of an elbow injury. Being told you cant do something that you love was very hard on her. But because of this Alicia turned her main focus to dance. She then became a member of Marcelo Pacleb's famous 24-VII Danceforce Company in Kaneohe, and thus found her passion for dance. At the age of 21, she was called in to audition to stunt double for Milla Jovovich in the film Ultraviolet. After booking the job, Alicia spent four months in Hong Kong and two months in Shanghai. It was her very first movie experience, and her first time doing stunts and martial arts. A performance which earned her two nominations for a Taurus World Stunt Award in 2007. After the film was completed, thinking nothing of what could be as a stunt career, Alicia went back to Hawaii to continue dancing and to teach dance. It wasn't until after the passing of her father, Alicia decided to make the move to Los Angeles to pursue her dance and modeling career. She seemed to have all the right moves because she ended up booking her very first dance audition, which was to be a Pussycat Doll. Being a Pussycat Doll, she was required to relocate to Las Vegas for the show, which took place in Caesar's Palace. She worked there for 8 months, before getting a call to audition for James Cameron's film, Avatar. Growing up watching many of Cameron's movies, she new what a big deal it would be to work with one of the top directors in the biz, and didn't want to let this amazing opportunity pass her by. She ended up landing the role of Zoe Saldana's stunt double, for the character of Neytiri. Along with stunt doubling on this film, Alicia also played many different Navi characters. After working on Avatar for 3 years, Alicia's stunt career has taken off! Having doubled many A-list actresses like Kate Beckinsale, Milla Jovovich, Charlize Theron and Jennifer Lawerence, just to name a few. She works full time now as a highly sought after stuntwoman, and loves every minute of it! She still dances when she can, but the stunt and acting life has taken over for her.