Emily Jean "Emma" Stone was born in Scottsdale, Arizona, to Krista (Yeager), a homemaker, and Jeffrey Charles Stone, a contracting company founder and CEO. She is of Swedish (from her paternal grandfather), English, German, Scottish, and Irish descent. Stone began acting as a child as a member of the Valley Youth Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona, where she made her stage debut in a production of Kenneth Grahame's "The Wind in the Willows". She appeared in many more productions through her early teens until, at the age of 15, she decided that she wanted to make acting her career.
The official story is that she made a PowerPoint presentation, backed by Madonna's "Hollywood" and itself entitled "Project Hollywood", in an attempt to persuade her parents to allow her to drop out of school and move to Los Angeles. The pitch was successful and she and her mother moved to LA with her schooling completed at home while she spent her days auditioning.
She had her TV breakthrough when she won the part of Laurie Partridge in the VH1 talent/reality show In Search of the Partridge Family which led to a number of small TV roles in the following years.
Elizabeth Chase "Lizzie" Olsen (born February 16, 1989) is an American actress. She is known for her roles in the films Silent House (2011), Liberal Arts (2012), Godzilla (2014), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) and Captain America: Civil War (2016). For her role in the critically acclaimed Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011), she was nominated for numerous awards including the Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead. She is the younger sister of actresses and fashion designers Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen.
Olsen was born in Sherman Oaks, California, the daughter of Jarnette "Jarnie", a personal manager, and David "Dave" Olsen, a real estate developer and mortgage banker. She is the younger sister of twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, who became famous as TV and movie stars at an early age.
Her oldest brother is named Trent Olsen, and she has two younger half-siblings as well. In 1996, Olsen's parents were divorced. The Olsens have Norwegian ancestry on their father's side and English ancestry on their mother's side.
As a child, Olsen received ballet and singing lessons. She began acting at a very young age, with appearances in her sisters' films. Before the age of eleven, Olsen had small roles in How the West Was Fun and the straight-to-video series The Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley. Having appeared in her sisters' videos, when she was in the fourth grade, Olsen began to go on auditions for other projects.
She attended Campbell Hall School in North Hollywood, California from kindergarten through grade 12. After graduation, she enrolled at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. In 2009, Olsen spent a semester studying in Moscow, Russia at the Moscow Art Theatre School through the MATS program at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center.
Olsen began acting when she was four years of age and co-starred in six of Mary-Kate and Ashley's productions; she also auditioned for the film Spy Kids. She almost quit acting in 2004 due to the media frenzy surrounding Mary-Kate's eating disorder.
Olsen's breakout role came in 2011, when she appeared in the film Martha Marcy May Marlene. The film, along with Olsen's performance, received critical acclaim. Olsen was nominated for and won numerous critics awards for her portrayal of the titular character Martha, a girl suffering from delusions and paranoia after fleeing her life in a cult and returning to her family. She next appeared in the horror film remake Silent House, in which she played the role of Sarah. The film received mixed reviews, although Olsen's performance was once again praised. Olsen also appeared in the music video "The Queen" by Carlotta. Olsen filmed the movie Red Lights during mid-2011, and it was released in the U.S. on July 13, 2012. She starred in Josh Radnor's film Liberal Arts, which was released on January 22, 2012. She and Dakota Fanning starred in Very Good Girls, a 2013 release. In January 2013, Olsen was nominated for the BAFTA Rising Star Award. She co-starred in the 2013 American remake of the 2003 South Korean film Oldboy; she played Marie, a young social worker who developed a relationship with the protagonist, played by Josh Brolin. She played Edie Parker, Jack Kerouac's first wife and the author of the Beat Generation memoir You'll Be Okay, in Kill Your Darlings.
In 2014, Olsen starred in Legendary's Godzilla a reboot, opposite Bryan Cranston and Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Olsen joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe by playing the character of Scarlet Witch in Avengers: Age of Ultron, the 2015 sequel to The Avengers. She first appeared as the character in a mid-credits scene of the film Captain America: The Winter Soldier, again alongside her Godzilla co-star Taylor-Johnson, who portrayed her brother Quicksilver. She reprized her role as the Scarlet Witch in the 2015 film Avengers: Age of Ultron and the 2016 film Captain America: Civil War.
In September 2014, it was announced that Olsen would portray Audrey Williams, Hank Williams' wife, manager, and duet partner in the upcoming 2015 biopic I Saw the Light directed by Marc Abraham and starring Tom Hiddleston as Hank Williams.
In January 2016, it was announced that Olsen would team up with her Avengers: Age of Ultron co-star Jeremy Renner in Taylor Sheridan's directorial feature film debut, Wind River.
Olsen attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and the Atlantic Theater Company and graduated in March 2013 after six years of intermittent study. Her sisters' clothing line "Elizabeth and James" was named after her and her older brother.
Olsen started dating fellow actor Boyd Holbrook in September 2012 after meeting him on the film Very Good Girls. In March 2014, the couple became engaged but they split and called off their engagement in January 2015.
Joseph Leonard Gordon-Levitt was born February 17, 1981 in Los Angeles, California, to Jane Gordon and Dennis Levitt. Joseph was raised in a Jewish family with his late older brother, Dan Gordon-Levitt, who passed away in October 2010. His parents worked for the Pacifica Radio station KPFK-FM and his maternal grandfather, Michael Gordon, had been a well-known movie director. After working for several years as a child actor, Joseph became better known for starring on the hit television series 3rd Rock from the Sun, for which he earned two Hollywood Reporter Young Star Awards. In addition, the show earned three Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for Outstanding Peformance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series. Prior to his success on television, Joseph had already worked steadily in feature films, debuting in the Robert Redford film A River Runs Through It. He won a Young Artist Award for the latter film. During the 1990s, he also co-starred in the films Angels in the Outfield, The Juror, Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, and 10 Things I Hate About You.
Following his work on 3rd Rock from the Sun, Joseph took time off from acting to attend Columbia University. In the early 2000s, he broke from the mold of his television and film comedy supporting roles by appearing in a string of intense dramatic roles, mostly in smaller, independent films such as Manic, with Don Cheadle; Mysterious Skin, for writer/director Gregg Araki; Rian Johnson's award-winning debut film, Brick; Lee Daniels' Shadowboxer; the crime drama The Lookout, which marked Scott Frank's directorial debut; John Madden's Killshot, with Diane Lane and Mickey Rourke; and the controversial drama Stop-Loss, in which he starred with Ryan Phillippe, under the direction of Kimberly Peirce. By 2009, Joseph was officially established as one of the leading men of indie cinema with his Golden Globe-nominated role in the comedy-drama (500) Days of Summer, for which he also received an Independent Spirit Award nod. He also adapted the Elmore Leonard short story Sparks into a 24-minute short film that he directed (Sundance Film Festival 2009).
In 2010, he headlined the indie drama Hesher and also established himself as a mainstream star in Christopher Nolan's Inception. Balancing both independent and Hollywood film, Joseph scored another Golden Globe nod for the cancer drama 50/50, directed by Jonathan Levine and also starring Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick, and Bryce Dallas Howard. He worked again with director Nolan on The Dark Knight Rises (for which he received a People's Choice Award nomination for Favorite Movie Actor), and snagged leading roles in both Premium Rush, directed by David Koepp, and Looper, for which he reunited with his Brick director, Rian Johnson, and starred opposite Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt. Also in 2012, he played Abraham Lincoln's son Robert in Steven Spielberg's Oscar-nominated Lincoln, with Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field.
In 2013, Joseph Gordon-Levitt starred in his critically-acclaimed feature film directorial debut, Don Jon, from a script he wrote, opposite Scarlett Johansson and Julianne Moore. He was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for "Best First Screenplay" for the film. Gordon-Levitt provided the voice of Jiro Horikoshi in the 2014 English-language version of Hayao Miyazaki's Academy Award-nominated animated feature The Wind Rises, and appeared in Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller's Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, in which he played Johnny, a character Miller created for the film.
Gordon-Levitt founded and directs hitRECord, an open collaborative production. hitRECord creates and develops art and media collectively using their website where anyone with an internet connection can upload their records, download and remix others' records, and work on projects together. When the results of these RECords are produced and make money, hitRECord splits the profits 50/50 with everybody who contributed to the final production. hitRECord has published books, put out records, gone on tour and has screened their work at major festivals including Sundance and TIFF. "RegularJOE" (as he's known on the site) is leading the community of over 300, 000 artists in its biggest collaboration yet, a new take on a variety show called "HitRecord on TV!" The half hour series, which Gordon-Levitt hosts, premiered in January on Participant Media's new cable network, Pivot and has been renewed for a second season.
Katherine McNamara is an accomplished actress, singer, dancer, songwriter, and an avid student. Although now more focused on film and television, McNamara began her career on Broadway, at the age of 13, as "Fredrika Armfeldt" in "A Little Night Music", starring opposite Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury. She was fortunate to continue as "Fredrika" with the second ALNM Broadway cast of Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch, as well. Her other theater roles include "Esther Jane" in the pre-Broadway world premiere of "A Christmas Story, the Musical!", as well as "To Kill a Mockingbird", "The Crucible", "Inherit the Wind", "Annie", "The Secret Garden" and "Galileo". She has also been cast in a number of Equity readings, including "PAN", which was created by the "In the Heights" creative team.
McNamara's love for acting stretches beyond the stage, with credits in television and film productions. Katherine will make her big screen debut this year in the Warner Brothers Picture, New Year's Eve, where she portrays "Lily Bowman". In addition, Katherine will star as "Becky Thatcher" in the re-make of "Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn", alongside Joel Courtney and Jake T. Austin, which will be released late 2012 or early 2013. Television credits include Glee, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Drop Dead Diva, 30 Rock, Late Show with David Letterman, Good Morning America and PBS's "Sondheim! The Birthday Concert".
Kat can be seen this summer in the bullying film, Contest with Kenton Duty. McNamara starred in Disney Channel's Girl Vs. Monster and has a recurring roles on Jessie as "Bryn Breitbart" and on Kickin' It as the mean girl from Swathmore Academy, "Claire". She filmed the new Disney pilot, Madison High, where she portrays "Cherri O'Keefe", resident fashionista and creator of Madison High's popular gossip blog.
McNamara balances acting with her dedication to education. At the age of 14, she graduated with honors from high school, and at 17, graduated with honors from Drexel University's Le Bow School of Business online program with her Bachelor's degree in Business. Kat plans to continue her education and is currently looking at MBA programs.
Kat is also a member of the Actors Equity Young Performers Committee, SAG-AFTRA's Young Performers Committee, a reader for the Blank Theater's New Play Development Reading Committee, an ambassador for Stomp Out Bullying and The Lollipop Theater Network, a Girl Scout, and a volunteer for the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles.
Katherine has a passion for all forms of dance, including ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, lyrical, waltz and hula. She also plays the guitar and piano and enjoys singing and songwriting. Katherine plans to share her passion for music with the world this year and is recording a few original pop songs. She resides in Los Angeles, California and her hometown is Lees Summit, Missouri.
Benjamin Walker was born Benjamin Walker Davis in Georgia, and was raised in Cartersville, GA, the son of Jeannine (Walker), a music teacher, and Greg Davis, who worked in finance and owned a movie rental store. He has one older brother. Walker was educated at Cartersville High School in Georgia and the Interlochen Arts Academy in Traverse City, Michigan, before studying acting at the Juilliard School in New York.
Whilst at Juilliard, Walker got his first experiences of performing for paying audiences as a stand-up comedian. His acting break came in 2007, when he was cast as Bertram Cates in a Broadway production of 'Inherit the Wind'. Further theater roles followed, including playing Andrew Jackson in the rock musical 'Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson', which was critically acclaimed.
Walker first came to film-goers' attention when he played the young Kinsey in Kinsey. Other film and TV roles followed including Harlon Block in Clint Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers, and playing another president, Abraham Lincoln in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
John Wayne was born Marion Robert Morrison in Iowa, to Mary Alberta (Brown) and Clyde Leonard Morrison, a pharmacist. He was of English, Ulster-Scots, and Irish ancestry.
Clyde developed a lung condition that required him to move his family from Iowa to the warmer climate of southern California, where they tried ranching in the Mojave Desert. Until the ranch failed, Marion and his younger brother Robert E. Morrison swam in an irrigation ditch and rode a horse to school. When the ranch failed, the family moved to Glendale, California, where Marion delivered medicines for his father, sold newspapers and had an Airedale dog named "Duke" (the source of his own nickname). He did well at school both academically and in football. When he narrowly failed admission to Annapolis he went to USC on a football scholarship 1925-7. Tom Mix got him a summer job as a prop man in exchange for football tickets. On the set he became close friends with director John Ford for whom, among others, he began doing bit parts, some billed as John Wayne. His first featured film was Men Without Women. After more than 70 low-budget westerns and adventures, mostly routine, Wayne's career was stuck in a rut until Ford cast him in Stagecoach, the movie that made him a star. He appeared in nearly 250 movies, many of epic proportions. From 1942-43 he was in a radio series, "The Three Sheets to the Wind", and in 1944 he helped found the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, a Conservative political organization, later becoming its President. His conservative political stance was also reflected in The Alamo, which he produced, directed and starred in. His patriotic stand was enshrined in The Green Berets which he co-directed and starred in. Over the years Wayne was beset with health problems. In September 1964 he had a cancerous left lung removed; in March 1978 there was heart valve replacement surgery; and in January 1979 his stomach was removed. He received the Best Actor nomination for Sands of Iwo Jima and finally got the Oscar for his role as one-eyed Rooster Cogburn in True Grit. A Congressional Gold Medal was struck in his honor in 1979. He is perhaps best remembered for his parts in Ford's cavalry trilogy - Fort Apache, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and Rio Grande.
|Nicolas Winding Refn
Writer, director, and producer Nicolas Winding Refn was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1970, to Anders Refn, a film director and editor, and Vibeke Winding (née Tuxen), a cinematographer. Just before he turned 11, in 1981, he moved to New York with his parents, where he lived out his teenage years. New York quickly became his city and soon began to shape Nicolas's future.
At 17, Nicolas moved back to his native Copenhagen to complete his high-school Education. After graduation, he swiftly flew back to New York, where he attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. However, this education was cut short when Nicolas threw a desk at a classroom wall and was expelled from the Academy. Consequently, he applied to the Danish Film School and was readily accepted. This education too was to be short-lived, though, as one month prior to the start of the semester, Nicolas dropped out.
A short film Nicolas had written, directed, and starred in was aired on an obscure cable TV channel and lead to the offer of a lifetime. Nicolas was spotted and offered 3.2 million kroners to turn the short into a feature. At only 24, Nicolas had written and directed the extremely violent and uncompromising Pusher, which became a cult phenomenon and won Nicolas instant international critical acclaim. The success of his debut spurred him to push the boundaries of his creative filmmaking further, which resulted in the close-to-the-edge and intricately gritty Bleeder. Highly stylized and focused on introverted reactions to outward situations, this film was a marking point for the shaping of Nicolas's future career. The movie was selected for the 1999 Venice International Film Festival as well as winning the prestigious FIPRESCI Prize in Sarajevo.
Nicolas's fourth feature, the much-anticipated Fear X was also his first foray into English-language movies. Starring the award-winning actor John Turturro, "Fear X" made its world premiere at the Sundance Film festival. However, Fear X divided critics and it flopped, which made Nicolas Winding Refn broke and in debt.
Having to provide for his family and paying his debt, he returned to Denmark to revisit "Pusher." Refn was reluctant to revisit his past success but decided that he could both make commercially viable and artistically pleasing films. In just two years he managed to write, direct and produce the two sequels. With Blood on My Hands: Pusher II and I'm the Angel of Death: Pusher III sealed the box and success of the internationally renowned "Pusher" trilogy. In 2005, the Toronto Film Festival held a "Pusher" retrospective showing all three features cementing its worldwide phenomenon.
In 2006 Nicolas embarked on a second English-language (and first digital) feature called Valhalla Rising, which was inspired by a story his mother read to him at the age of five about a father and son who embark on a trip to the moon. Not recalling the ending of this story has been a long time fascination of Nicolas's with the unknown. During the pre-production on "Valhalla Rising," his long time collaborator and friend, Rupert Preston, urged him into accepting an offer to write and direct Bronson, an ultra-violent, surreal, and escapist film following the real-life landmarks and self-entrapment of Charles Bronson, Britain's most notorious criminal. Before its cinematic release, "Bronson" was making waves inside and outside the film industry. The 2009 Sundance Film Festival selected the blistering film for its World Cinema Dramatic Competition and it soon became the talk of the festival. With such a prestigious premiere, "Bronson" went on to be selected for other major international film festivals and reap strong box-office rewards. But, even with such a buzz surrounding the film, no one could predict how the British press would bite at "Bronson's" bit. The content was close to the knuckle, the subject matter controversial, but Nicolas's take on this was even more inspired leading him to be labeled by the British media as the next great European auteur.
With such critical acclaim, Nicolas's reputation as a producer, writer and director was solidly reaffirmed. Nicolas and his wife Liv Corfixen were the subjects of an acclaimed documentary, Gambler, which premiered at the Rotterdam International Film Festival in 2005. In addition, Nicolas already received two lifetime-achievement awards (one from the Taipei International Film festival in 2006 and the second from the Valencia International Film Festival in 2007), and it was the winner of the Emerging Master Award from the Philadelphia International Film Festival 2005.
Sam Neill was born in Omagh, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland, to army parents, an English-born mother, Priscilla Beatrice (Ingham), and a New Zealand-born father, Dermot Neill. His family moved to the South Island of New Zealand in 1954. He went to boarding schools and then attended the universities at Canterbury and Victoria. He has a BA in English Literature. Following his graduation, he worked with the New Zealand Players and other theater groups. He also was a film director, editor and scriptwriter for the New Zealand National Film Unit for 6 years.
Sam Neill is internationally recognised for his contribution to film and television. He is well known for his roles in Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park and Jane Campion's Academy Award Winning film The Piano. Other film roles include The Daughter, Backtrack opposite Adrian Brody, Deux Ex Machina, F2014, A Long Way Down, The Tomb, The Hunter with Willem Dafoe, Daybreakers, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls Of G'Ahoole, Little Fish opposite Cate Blanchett, Skin, Dean Spanley, Wimbledon, Yes, Perfect Strangers, Dirty Deeds, The Zookeepers, Bicenntial Man opposite Robin Williams, The Horse Whisperer alongside Kristin Scott Thomas, Sleeping Dogs, My Brilliant Career.
He received Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for the NBC miniseries Merlin. He also received a Golden Globe nomination for One Against The Wind, and for Reilly: The Ace of Spies. The British Academy of Film and Television honoured Sam's work in Reilly by naming him Best Actor. Sam received an AFI Award for Best Actor for his role in Jessica.
Other television includes House of Hancock, Rake, Doctor Zhivago, To the Ends of Earth, The Tudors with Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Cruseo, Alcatraz and recently in Old School opposite Bryan Brown, Peaky Blinders alongside Cillian Murphy, The Dovekeepers for CBS Studios.
|Thomas Ian Nicholas
Thomas Ian Nicholas began his career at the age of seven when he was cast to portray a young Tony Danza on Who's the Boss?. Since his debut, he has landed many guest and lead roles on television including a guest-starring story arc on the last season of Party of Five in 2000. He also starred in several family feature films, including Rookie of the Year, A Kid in King Arthur's Court and it's sequel, A Kid in Aladdin's Palace. His most memorable role to date is portraying "Kevin Myers" in the smash hit trilogy of American Pie, American Pie 2 and American Wedding. In 2002, he co-starred in The Rules of Attraction, opposite James Van Der Beek and Clifton Collins Jr., directed by Roger Avary (Pulp Fiction) and Halloween: Resurrection opposite Busta Rhymes, Tyra Banks, Sean Patrick Thomas and Jamie Lee Curtis. In Showtime's Stealing Sinatra, he portrays Frank Sinatra Jr. co-starring with William H. Macy and David Arquette, directed by Ron Underwood. For the film, Thomas pre-recorded his vocals for the two songs he performs as Frank Jr.
L.A. D.J. marks his debut as a director. The story revolves around two talented brothers who live in a smalltown trailer park, and have a dream of becoming world famous club D.J.s. They go to L.A. and try to break into the club scene, but wind up DJing bar-mitzvahs for their uncle.
Thomas also holds a love of music equal to his love of acting. He plays the guitar, sings and writes his own songs. He never stops exploring the music world. So dedicated, he learned the violin for his character "Todd" on Party of Five. In 1998, his band "the T.I.N. men", released their first album "Something More" (which can be found on Amazon.com). Thomas currently has a solo album in the works.
His goal is to continue to entertain us on both the small and the big screen, in front of and behind the camera, and to make music he and the rest of us can enjoy.
Vanessa Lynn Williams is one of the most respected and multi-faceted performers in entertainment today. She has conquered the musical charts, Broadway, music videos, television and motion pictures. She has sold millions of albums worldwide and she has achieved critical acclaim as an actress on stage, in film and on television.
Williams was born in Millwood, New York, to Helen L. (Tinch) and Milton Augustine Williams, Jr., both music teachers. Vanessa and her brother grew up in suburban New York in comfortable surroundings. Vanessa sang and danced in school productions and signed her high school yearbook with a promise to "see you on Broadway". After winning a performing scholarship to Syracuse University, she left school and tried to make it in New York show business. She began entering beauty contests in 1984, eventually winning Miss New York and then becoming the first African-American Miss America. During her reign, some nude girl-girl photos, taken while she was in New York, surfaced in Penthouse magazine. Although the photos were taken before her beauty contest victories, she was forced to resign her crown. Many predicted that her future in show business was over. She landed a recording contract and released several hit albums, including "The Comfort Zone" and "The Sweetest Days".
Vanessa made her film debut in 1986 in Under the Gun and appeared in the films The Pick-up Artist, Another You and Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man. She starred opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in Eraser, opposite Laurence Fishburne and Andy Garcia in Hoodlum and the box office hit, Soul Food. She also starred in Dance with Me, Light It Up, Shaft, opposite Samuel L. Jackson and Johnson Family Vacation. She starred recently in the independent features, My Brother and And Then Came Love (aka "Somebody Like You"). On television, Vanessa starred in such movies and mini-series as Stompin' at the Savoy, The Kid Who Loved Christmas, The Jacksons: An American Dream, ABC's revival of Bye Bye Birdie, Nothing Lasts Forever, The Odyssey, Don Quixote and Keep the Faith, Baby, and she executive-produced and starred in Lifetime's The Courage to Love for Lifetime and the VH1 Original Movie, A Diva's Christmas Carol.
Her albums "The Right Stuff", "The Comfort Zone and "The Sweetest Days" earned multiple Grammy nominations and have yielded such classic hits as "Save the Best For Last", "Dreamin", "Work To Do" and "Love Is", and the Academy Award-winning single "Colors of the Wind", from Disney's Pocahontas: The Musical Tradition Continues, among many others. Her recordings also include two holiday albums, "Star Bright" and "Silver & Gold", "Vanessa Williams Greatest Hits: The First Ten Years" and "Everlasting Love", a romantic collection of love songs from the 1970's. In 1994, Vanessa took Broadway by storm when she replaced Chita Rivera in "Kiss of the Spider Woman", winning the hearts of critics and becoming a box-office sensation. She garnered rave reviews and was nominated for a Tony Award for the 2002 revival of "Into the Woods". She also headlined a limited special engagement of the classic, "Carmen Jones", at the Kennedy Center and starred in the Encore! Series staged concert production of "St. Louis Woman".
She stars in ABC's critically-acclaimed hit series, Ugly Betty, for which she has won or been nominated for numerous individual and ensemble awards, including the Emmy, SAG Award, Golden Globe and NAACP Image Awards. Vanessa achieved a career pinnacle, with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her accomplishments as a performer. Her charitable endeavors are many and varied, embracing and supporting such organizations as Special Olympics and many others.
One cool, eternally classy lady, Candice Bergen was elegantly poised for trendy "ice princess" stardom when she first arrived on the screen, but she gradually reshaped that débutante image both on- and off-camera. A staunch, outspoken feminist with a decisive edge, she went on to take a sizable portion of these contradicting qualities to film and, most particularly, to late 1980s television.
Candice Patricia Bergen was born in Beverly Hills, California, to famed ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and former actress and "Chesterfield Girl" Frances Bergen (née Westerman). Her paternal grandparents were Swedish, and her mother was of German and English descent. Bergen was surrounded by Hollywood glitter and glamor from day one. At the age of 6, she made her radio debut on her father's show. Of extreme privilege, she attended Westlake School for Girls in Los Angeles, the Cathedral School in Washington, D.C., and then went abroad to the Montesano (finishing) School in Switzerland.
Although she began taking art history and creative drawing at the University of Pennsylvania, she did not graduate due to less-than-stellar grades. In between studies, she also worked as a Ford model in order to buy cameras for her new passion--photography. Her Grace Kelly-like glacial beauty deemed her an ideal candidate for Ivy League patrician roles, and Candice made an auspicious film debut while still a college student portraying the Vassar-styled lesbian member of Sidney Lumet's The Group in an ensemble that included other lovely up-and-comers including Joan Hackett, Jessica Walter and Joanna Pettet. The film drew positive reviews and was the 25th highest grossing picture of the year. Candice's second film in 1966, The Sand Pebbles, was a also a commercial hit and was nominated for several Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Film offers started coming her way, both here and especially abroad (spurred on by her love for travel).
Other than her top-notch roles as the mistress of an unhappily married newscaster in the French romantic drama Live for Life and as the co-ed who comes between Jack Nicholson and Art Garfunkel in Carnal Knowledge her performances were deemed a bit too aloof to really stand out among the crowd. During this time, she found a passionate second career as a photographer and photojournalist. A number of her works went on to appear in an assortment of magazines including Life, Playboy and Esquire. Most of Candice's other late 1960s and 1970s films were either unmemorable or dismissed altogether, including the bizarre futuristic comedy The Day the Fish Came Out; the confusing and panned mystery The Magus; the epic-sized bomb The Adventurers; the campus comedy Getting Straight; the disturbingly violent Soldier Blue; the universally condemned The Hunting Party, the boring Stanley Kramer thriller The Domino Principle, Lina Wertmüller's long-winded and notoriously long-titled Italian drama A Night Full of Rain; and the soapy, inferior sequel to Love Story, Oliver's Story.
However, things picked up toward the end of the decade when the seemingly humorless Candice took a swipe at comedy. She made history as the first female guest host of Saturday Night Live and then showed an equally amusing side of her in the dramedy Starting Over as Burt Reynolds tone-deaf ex-wife, enjoying a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination in the process. In 1980, Candice married Louis Malle, the older (by 14 years) French director. They had one child, a daughter named Chloe, in 1985. She and Jacqueline Bisset co-starred in George Cukor's Rich and Famous, in which her mother Frances Bergen could be glimpsed in a Malibu party scene, but the film was not a success. She reunited with former co-star Burt Reynolds in the police thriller _Stick_, but the film was a critical and financial flop. Candice also made her Broadway debut in 1985 replacing Sigourney Weaver in David Rabe's black comedy Hurlyburly. In the late 1980s, Candice hit a new career plateau on comedy television as the spiky title role on Murphy Brown, giving great gripe as the cynical and competitive anchor/reporter of a television magazine show.
With a superlative supporting cast around her, the CBS sitcom went the distance (ten seasons) and earned Candice a whopping five Emmy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards. Television movie roles also came her way as a result with colorful roles ranging from the evil Arthurian temptress "Morgan Le Fey" to an elite, high-classed madam -- all many moons away from her initial white-gloved debutantes of the late 1960s. Malle's illness and subsequent death from cancer in 1995 resulted in Candice maintaining a very low profile for quite some time. Since then, however, she has returned with a renewed vigor (or should I say vinegar) on television, with many of her characters enjoyable extensions of her "Murphy Brown" curmudgeon. After years of working exclusively in television, she returned to the big screen, playing a former beauty queen who attempts to foil Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality, and Reese Witherspoon's pretentious would-be mother-in-law in Sweet Home Alabama.
She has continued chomping at the comedy bit, appearing in The In-Laws, The Women, and Bride Wars. In 2005, she joined the cast of Boston Legal playing a brash, no-nonsense lawyer while trading barbs with a much less serious William Shatner. She played this role for five seasons, receiving nominations for two Emmys, a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award. Since 2000, she has been married to her second husband, Marshall Rose, who is a Manhattan real estate developer.
Kevin Pollak was born in San Francisco in 1957, to Elaine (Klein) and Robert Pollak. A stand-up comedy performer at age 10, he turned professional comedian a decade later and was puttering around from city to city when film roles beckoned. Pollak refocused thereafter on acting in what would be a wise and profitable career move. Landing his first film role in George Lucas' Willow, directed by Ron Howard, became the wind beneath his wings, and he has been sailing ever since. Critically noticed for his role in Avalon, it was Rob Reiner's A Few Good Men that shot him up the credit's list. Adept at displaying smarmy and/or shady, smug characters, such showy roles in The Usual Suspects and Casino were his reward. He co-created and co-executive produced The Underworld along with actress/writer/partner/wife Lucy Webb. They also appeared together in the movies The Don's Analyst and Outside Ozona. Not only starring in two of his own HBO stand-up comedy specials, Pollak returned to the live stand-up stage in 2001, headlining a sold out 20 city tour. Most recently, he co-starred with Bruce Willis and Matthew Perry in The Whole Ten Yards, a sequel to the hit comedy The Whole Nine Yards.
Priscilla Presley was born Priscilla Ann Wagner on May 24, 1945 in Brooklyn, New York City, to Anna Lillian (Iversen) and James Frederick Wagner, a US Navy pilot. Her stepfather, Paul Beaulieu, was an Air Force officer stationed in West Germany. There, as a teenager, Priscilla met Elvis Presley in 1959, then four years into his meteoric career in rock and roll and serving with the United States Army. After an eight-year courtship, she married him on May 1, 1967. As their marriage was winding down, she began studying karate and acting. After his death, she went into business and began work in movies and television, notably playing the part of Jenna Wade (1983-88) in the successful soap opera Dallas. She more recently established herself as Jane Spencer in the "Naked Gun" movies (The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!).
As one of the best known, awarded, and financially successful composers in US history, John Williams is as easy to recall as John Philip Sousa, Aaron Copland or Leonard Bernstein, illustrating why he is "America's composer" time and again. With a massive list of awards that includes over 41 Oscar nominations (five wins), twenty-odd Gold and Platinum Records, and a slew of Emmy (two wins), Golden Globe (three wins), Grammy (18 wins), National Board of Review (including a Career Achievement Award), Saturn (six wins), and BAFTA (seven wins) citations, along with honorary doctorate degrees numbering in the teens, Williams is undoubtedly one of the most respected composers for Cinema. He's led countless national and international orchestras, most notably as the nineteenth conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra from 1980-1993, helming three Pops tours of the US and Japan during his tenure. He currently serves as the Pop's Conductor Laureate. Also to his credit is a parallel career as an author of serious, and some not-so-serious, concert works - performed by the likes of Mstislav Rostropovich, André Previn, Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Gil Shaham, Leonard Slatkin, James Ingram, Dale Clevenger, and Joshua Bell. Of particular interests are his Essay for Strings, a jazzy Prelude & Fugue, the multimedia presentation American Journey (aka The Unfinished Journey (1999)), a Sinfonietta for Winds, a song cycle featuring poems by Rita Dove, concerti for flute, violin, clarinet, trumpet, tuba, cello, bassoon and horn, fanfares for the 1984, 1988 and 1996 Summer Olympics, the 2002 Winter Olympics, and a song co-written with Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman for the Special Olympics! But such a list probably warrants a more detailed background...
Born in Long Island, New York on February 8, 1932, John Towner Williams discovered music almost immediately, due in no small measure to being the son of a percussionist for CBS Radio and the Raymond Scott Quintet. After moving to Los Angeles in 1948, the young pianist and leader of his own jazz band started experimenting with arranging tunes; at age 15, he determined he was going to become a concert pianist; at 19, he premiered his first original composition, a piano sonata.
He attended both UCLA and the Los Angeles City College, studying orchestration under MGM musical associate Robert Van Eps and being privately tutored by composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, until conducting for the first time during three years with the U.S. Air Force. His return to the states brought him to Julliard, where renowned piano pedagogue Madame Rosina Lhevinne helped Williams hone his performance skills. He played in jazz clubs to pay his way; still, she encouraged him to focus on composing. So it was back to L.A., with the future maestro ready to break into the Hollywood scene.
Williams found work with the Hollywood studios as a piano player, eventually accompanying such fare such as the TV series Peter Gunn, South Pacific, Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, and To Kill a Mockingbird, as well as forming a surprising friendship with Bernard Herrmann. At age 24, "Johnny Williams" became a staff arranger at Columbia and then at 20th Century-Fox, orchestrating for Alfred Newman and Lionel Newman, Dimitri Tiomkin, Franz Waxman, and other Golden Age notables. In the field of popular music, he performed and arranged for the likes of Vic Damone, Doris Day, and Mahalia Jackson... all while courting actress/singer Barbara Ruick, who became his wife until her death in 1974. John & Barbara had three children; their daughter is now a doctor, and their two sons, Joseph Williams and Mark Towner Williams, are rock musicians.
The orchestrating gigs led to serious composing jobs for television, notably Alcoa Premiere, Checkmate, Gilligan's Island, Lost in Space, Land of the Giants, and his Emmy-winning scores for Heidi and Jane Eyre. Daddy-O and Because They're Young brought his original music to the big theatres, but he was soon typecast doing comedies. His efforts in the genre helped guarantee his work on William Wyler's How to Steal a Million, however, a major picture that immediately led to larger projects. Of course, his arrangements continued to garner attention, and he won his first Oscar for adapting Fiddler on the Roof.
During the '70s, he was King of Disaster Scores with The Poseidon Adventure, Earthquake and The Towering Inferno. His psychological score for Images remains one of the most innovative works in soundtrack history. But his Americana - particularly The Reivers - is what caught the ear of director Steven Spielberg, then preparing for his first feature, The Sugarland Express. When Spielberg reunited with Williams on Jaws, they established themselves as a blockbuster team, the composer gained his first Academy Award for Original Score, and Spielberg promptly recommended Williams to a friend, George Lucas. In 1977, John Williams re-popularized the epic cinema sound of Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Franz Waxman and other composers from the Hollywood Golden Age: Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope became the best selling score-only soundtrack of all time, and spawned countless musical imitators. For the next five years, though the music in Hollywood changed, John Williams wrote big, brassy scores for big, brassy films - The Fury, Superman, 1941, Raiders of the Lost Ark ... An experiment during this period, Heartbeeps, flopped. There was a long-term change of pace, nonetheless, as Williams fell in love with an interior designer and married once more.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial brought about his third Oscar, and The River, Empire of the Sun, The Accidental Tourist and Born on the Fourth of July added variety to the 1980s, as he returned to television with work on Amazing Stories and themes for NBC, including NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt. The '80s also brought the only exceptions to the composer's collaboration with Steven Spielberg - others scored both Spielberg's segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie and The Color Purple.
Intending to retire, the composer's output became sporadic during the 1990s, particularly after the exciting Jurassic Park and the masterful, Oscar-winning Schindler's List. This lighter workload, coupled with a number of hilarious references on The Simpsons actually seemed to renew interest in his music. Two Home Alone films (1990, 1992), JFK, Nixon, Sleepers, Seven Years in Tibet, Saving Private Ryan, Angela's Ashes, and a return to familiar territory with Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace recalled his creative diversity of the '70s.
In this millennium, the artist shows no interest in slowing down. His relationships with Spielberg and Lucas continue in A.I. Artificial Intelligence, the remaining Star Wars prequels (2002, 2005), Minority Report, Catch Me If You Can, and a promised fourth Indiana Jones film. There is a more focused effort on concert works, as well, including a theme for the new Walt Disney Concert Hall and a rumored light opera. But one certain highlight is his musical magic for the world of Harry Potter (2001, 2002, 2004, etc.), which he also arranged into a concert suite geared toward teaching children about the symphony orchestra. His music remains on the whistling lips of people around the globe, in the concert halls, on the promenades, in album collections, sports arenas, and parades, and, this writer hopes, touching some place in ourselves. So keep those ears ready wherever you go, 'cause you will likely hear a bit of John Williams on your way.
Deborah Harry was born Angela Tremble on July 1, 1945 in Miami, Florida. At three months, she was adopted by Catherine (Peters) and Richard Smith Harry, and was raised in Hawthorne, New Jersey. In the 1960s, she worked as a Playboy Bunny and hung out at Max's Kansas City, a famous Warhol-inhabited nightspot. Her professional singing career started in 1968 with a folk band called The Wind in the Willows. She sang backup on their first (and only) album. The band broke up shortly after failing to achieve commercial success or critical acclaim. In 1973, she met Chris Stein, who became her longtime boyfriend. They created Blondie in 1974 after they both were in the Stilletoes, a theatrical "girl group" band. Blondie struggled for a few years, then went on to be one of the most successful bands of the late 1970s and early 1980s, but the group broke up in 1982.
Harry has released five solo albums, acted in several movies and television series and a few commercials (Gloria Vanderbilt Jeans, Sara Lee, Revlon). She has done many benefit shows in support of AIDS charities, a Broadway show ("Teaneck Tanzi"), poetry readings, and been one of the most notorious characters in the New York downtown scene. As of 1995, she was doing shows in the United States and Europe with the Jazz Passengers and Elvis Costello, filming two new movies (Heavy with Liv Tyler and Evan Dando and Drop Dead Rock with Adam Ant) and topping the dance charts with two newly remixed Blondie singles ("Rapture" and "Atomic"). Several Blondie tribute albums have been released and a Blondie remix album titled "Remixed, Remade, Remodeled" came out in 1995.
Ron Yuan becomes new series regular on the hit Netflix/ The Weinstein Company's "Marco Polo" created by John Fusco. Yuan Will play Prince Nayan, a fiery eyed descendant of Genghis Khan. Nayan is a converted Christian that rules all of Manchuria and whose closely watched actions will affect Kublai's control of Asia.
Yuan has been a force in front of and behind camera. Hollywood's secret weapon. Yuan is filming Roland Emmerich's Independence Day sequel (IDR) playing Yeong, the main weapons engineer. Before that, Yuan was on the "The Accountant" with Ben Affleck,JK Simmons and Anna Kendrick playing a reluctant Silat Master for "Warrior" director Gavin O'Connor. You can also see Yuan on Jon Bokenkamp's hit show "The Blacklist" as mysterious Blacklister Quon Zhang.
Yuan was also seen in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy" as the intense and unpredictable Ryu Tom. Yuan cameos in Martin Scorsese's "Revenge of the Green Dragons" directed by Andrew Lau (Infernal Affairs) and Andrew Loo, playing the feared leader of the notorious BTK. Yuan played hard-nosed Lt. Peter Kang in the short lived CBS series "Golden Boy" from Nicholas Wootton and Greg Berlanti. Yuan also had recent cameo special guest appearances on"Castle" and "Justified".
Yuan joins Francesca Eastwood and Annie Q in "Cardinal X" produced by Richard Bosner (Fruitvale Station) and Cassian Elwes in a semi- autobiographical film from first time director Angie Wang based on a college freshman in the 1980's who becomes an expert manufacturer and dealer of ecstasy. Yuan also played the iconic Japanese character Scorpion for Warner Bros' secret Mortal Kombat X "Generations"
Yuan designed the fight sequences as well as going behind camera as Action Director for Steve Chasman/ Jason Statham's "Wild Card" scripted by William Goldman and directed by Simon West. Yuan just finished designing and directing the action on the popular Taiwanese/ Chinese/ International action franchise "PiZi Ying Xiong 2"(Black&White 2) shot all in Taiwan.
In the past, Yuan was cast in a leading role on HBO pilot "All Signs of Death" opposite Ben Whishaw, directed by Alan Ball (True Blood). Yuan recently had character arcs on FOX's "Touch" opposite Keifer Sutherland created by Tim Kring (Heroes), NBC's "Awake" opposite Jason Issacs and FOX pilot "Exit Strategy" with Ethan Hawke directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day).
Yuan also had memorable turns on hit series and films (Prison Break, CSI:NY, 24, Burn Notice, NCIS:LA, Pushing Daisies, Entourage, Art of War, Fast and Furious, Cradle 2 the Grave, Blood and Bone, Red Dawn) as well as being the voice behind major gaming campaigns (Call of Duty-Black Ops 2, Halo, Star War's Old Republic, Resident Evil, World of Warcraft, Medal of Honor, Army of Two, Guild Wars 2, Deus Ex, Drake's Uncharted, and many more).
Yuan's MiniFlix Films with Sony Television (SPE) co-produced three edgy graphic novel stylized films(Three Bullets, Tea and Remembrance, Lollipops) in which Yuan wrote, produced and directed. Yuan's award winning work in short film and features has premiered in over 30 festivals worldwide (including Toronto, Sundance, Tribeca, Greece, Egypt, Beijing, Macao, Newport, Texas, Seattle, Kansas City, Los Angeles and Comic Con).
In development are Yuan's "Wind and Water" "Unspoken" "Cold" and twisted post-apocalyptic martial arts western "Forgotten 8" in which the latter pairs Alex Tse(Watchmen) as producer.
Actor Burt Ward had to endure one of the toughest setbacks ever to befall a TV star once his camp-styled antics as the "Boy Wonder" superhero ended on the one-time hit series Batman. Irreparably typecast, he was out of commission for much of his "post-Robin" career with the cult star eventually becoming a frequent participant at TV nostalgia conventions. He was born Bert John Gervis, Jr, the oldest of three children. His father, Bert Sr. was the owner of a traveling ice show called "Rhapsody On Ice." By age two, young Bert was billed as the youngest professional ice skater and his name was even featured in the book Strange As It Seems, a predecessor to the popular Guinness Book of Records. Eventually Bert's family migrated to Los Angeles where his father sold real estate. Bright and athletically inclined, Bert Jr. was active on the high school track and field, wrestling, and golf teams. He was also a chess champion at school and took up karate.
Following graduation in 1963, Bert met Bonney Lindsey, whose father was the well-known musical conductor Mort Lindsey. Through Mr. Lindsey's contacts, Bert and Bonney apprenticed at the Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, Pennsylvania, where he worked behind the scenes building sets and assisting with props. It was enough to pique his interest and, after attending the University of California at Santa Barbara where he worked part time as a deejay at the local college station, he transferred to UCLA and became a motion picture and theater major, supplementing his income during that time in real estate.
After college, Bert ventured on with his work as a broker and actually made his first sale to producer Saul David who introduced the young hopeful to an agent. In 1965 ABC started its search for a "new face" to appear on an upcoming comic strip series. Bert lucked out and managed a screen test with Adam West for the role of Dick ("Robin") Grayson opposite West's caped crusader. Bert's compact build, slightly awkward sense of humor, and assured athletic skills (he was a brown belt in karate at the time) were instrumental in his winning the role. He adopted the last name of Ward for his moniker, which was his mother's last name, and changed the spelling of his first name to "Burt."
Without any professional acting experience at all, Burt was suddenly thrust into the limelight big time. Batman premiered in January of 1966 and caught on instantly. It became a ratings smash. The kitschy, tongue-in-cheek humor combined with the colorful sets, gimmicky props ("Batmobile") and heroes' catchy phrases (including Burt's "holy (whatever), Batman!") all added tremendously to the cartoon fun and triggered huge profits for ABC. Popular guest stars villains such as Frank Gorshin, Julie Newmar, Cesar Romero, Burgess Meredith, Vincent Price, Victor Buono and even Tallulah Bankhead joined in on the outrageousness. Faithful to Bob Kane's original comic strip, fans could not get enough of the Dynamic Duo or the show. Adam and Burt made frequent personal appearances and appeared everywhere in numerous magazine articles.
The sudden thrust of celebrity eventually took its toll on Burt's young marriage to Bonney and they divorced around the beginning of the show's second season. He then married lovely actress Kathy Kersh whom he met when she appeared as a guest on the show. This marriage too fell apart after only a couple of years. Kersh went on to marry actor Vince Edwards. An untried talent at the time he started the show, he made, as such, only $350 a week during the first season. He did not fare much better in the subsequent seasons ($450 for the second; $500 for the third). Moreover, by 1968 audiences lost interest and, after two-and-a-half years, his "fifteen minutes of fame" was over. Like a new dance craze, the novelty wore off and all the hoopla surrounding it disappeared. The show went into the ratings tank. Towards the end they tried adding a sexy Batgirl (lovely Yvonne Craig) to spice up the proceedings but it didn't help.
With the demise of the series, Burt had no prior acting credits and nothing sound to fall back on. Both he and Adam West, who once had a serious reputation as an actor, would pay dearly for the characters that turned them into overnight sensations. They did wind up providing the animated voices to their superheroes on Saturday morning cartoons. Burt put aside the acting business and used his smarts in other suitable ways. He used a bit of his savvy and organized fan clubs, seeing that all his fan mail was given responses. He also launched a fund-raising business to help schools and hospitals raise money. During the late 1980's, Burt created an early education program for children aged 3-8 that taught social values, good health and safety rules, and critical thinking skills. It was called the Early Bird Learning Program.
It was through this education program that Burt met fourth wife Tracy Posner. They married on July 15, 1990, and had daughter Melody Lane Ward the following year. He also has an older daughter, Lisa, from his first marriage. Together Burt and Tracy organized Great Dane Rescue which rescues and finds homes for this special breed. Unlike others who have suffered similar career fallouts, Burt has ventured on productively with his life. He also went on to make a game comeback of sorts in low-budget films in the late 80s with such dubious titles as Virgin High (with Tracy), Hot Under the Collar and Karate Raider leading the pack.
Hedy Lamarr, the woman many critics and fans alike regard as the most beautiful ever to appear in films, was born Hedwig Eva Kiesler in Vienna, Austria. She was the daughter of Gertrud (Lichtwitz), from Budapest, and Emil Kiesler, a banker from Lviv. Her parents were both from Jewish families. Hedwig had a calm childhood, but it was cinema that fascinated her. By the time she was a teenager, she decided to drop out of school and seek fame as an actress, and was a student of theater director Max Reinhardt in Berlin. Her first role was a bit part in the German film Geld auf der Straße (aka "Money on the Street") in 1930. She was attractive and talented enough to be in three more German productions in 1931, but it would be her fifth film that catapulted her to worldwide fame. In 1932 she appeared in a German film called Ecstasy (US title: "Ecstasy") and had made the gutsy move to be nude. It's the story of a young girl who is married to a gentleman much older than she, but she winds up falling in love with a young soldier. The film's nude scenes created a sensation all over the world. The scenes, very tame by today's standards, caused the film to be banned by the US government at the time.
Hedy soon married Fritz Mandl, a munitions manufacturer and a prominent Austrofascist. He attempted to buy up all the prints of "Ecstasy" he could lay his hands on (Italy's dictator, Benito Mussolini, had a copy but refused to sell it to Mandl), but to no avail (there are prints floating around the world today). The notoriety of the film brought Hollywood to her door. She was brought to the attention of MGM mogul Louis B. Mayer, who signed her to a contract (a notorious prude when it came to his studio's films, Mayer signed her against his better judgment, but the money he knew her notoriety would bring in to the studio overrode any moral concerns he may have had). However, he insisted she change her name and make good, wholesome films.
Hedy starred in a series of exotic adventure epics. She made her American film debut as Gaby in Algiers. This was followed a year later by Lady of the Tropics. In 1942, she played the plum role of Tondelayo in the classic White Cargo. After World War II, her career began to decline, and MGM decided it would be in the interest of all concerned if her contract were not renewed. Unfortunately for Hedy, she turned down the leads in both Gaslight and Casablanca, both of which would have cemented her standing in the minds of the American public. In 1949, she starred as Delilah opposite Victor Mature's Samson in Cecil B. DeMille's epic Samson and Delilah. This proved to be Paramount Pictures' then most profitable movie to date, bringing in $12 million in rental from theaters. The film's success led to more parts, but it was not enough to ease her financial crunch. She made only six more films between 1949 and 1957, the last being The Female Animal.
Hedy retired to Florida. She died there, in the city of Casselberry, on January 19, 2000.
Usher Raymond IV was born in Dallas, Texas, to Jonetta Patton (née O'Neal) and Usher Raymond III. He began singing when he was six years old, joining the local church choir at the behest of his mother who acted as choir director. Jonetta, a single mom, raised Usher and his younger brother, James, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, before moving the family to Atlanta, Georgia, when Usher was 12 years old. Cited by the singer as his best friend, Usher's mother continues to guide the teen star's career as his manager, a duty she assumed after quitting her full-time office job several years ago. Upon moving to Atlanta, Usher began participating in various local talent shows. It was at one such exhibition, in 1992, that he was spotted by Bryant Reid, brother of L.A. Reid, the famed R&B producer and co-president (with 'Kenneth Babyface' Edmonds') of LaFace Records. Bryant arranged for Usher to audition for his brother, and the popular producer was immediately taken with the young singer's precocious talent--legend has it that Reid offered Usher a contract on the spot. Usher recorded and released his debut album on LaFace in 1994. The record, which was co-executive-produced by Reid and Sean 'P. Diddy' Combs, generated the minor hit "Think of You". Usher was only 14 when he worked on the album, and puberty proved somewhat of an impediment to the process. As a result, the producers brought in several vocal coaches in order to help him complete the record. Their efforts were not in vain, as the album captured Usher's youthful exuberance and native singing prowess, not to mention the interest of many listeners. After graduating from high school, he entered the studio to record his sophomore effort, "My Way", which was produced by Jermaine Dupri of So So Def Records, and was released in October of 1997, around the time of Usher's 19th birthday. The record was already highly anticipated based on the success of its first hit single, "You Make Me Wanna", an impassioned love song in the classic R&B tradition. The song was an instant juggernaut, hovering at or near the top of Billboard's R&B singles chart from the moment of its release, and it eventually spent considerable time in the # 2 position on the pop singles chart, second only to Elton John's wildly popular "Candle in the Wind '97." The success of "My Way" proved that the teenage crooner had won over the hearts of legions of listeners. It also illustrated the artistic maturation he had undergone since his debut recording. This time around, Usher wrote his own songs, penning five of the album's nine tracks. The remaining four songs were contributed by such R&B heavyweights as Babyface, Teddy Riley and producer Dupri. Usher spent six months living at Dupri's house while recording the album; the time together, he says, helped them understand each other, and helped Dupri realize the genuine growth Usher was experiencing in his life. "My Way" yielded a second smash, "Nice & Slow", that also put a chokehold on the singles charts upon its release, and the video for the song garnered a fair share of critical acclaim. Shot by famed hip-hop director Hype Williams, the video, which was filmed in Paris, features a dramatic romantic storyline that almost rivals the song itself. Usher was recognized for the strength of his recent work when he won the 1997 Soul Train Award for Best R&B Single by a Male, for "You Make Me Wanna" He also earned a Grammy nomination, though one of the few blemishes on his young career came during the awards telecast when he inadvertently introduced Album of the Year award winner Bob Dylan as "Bill" before an international television audience. For the most part, though, TV has been kind to the kid. In addition to numerous appearances on programs like The Oprah Winfrey Show, Usher has also been a recurring character on the syndicated TV show Moesha, which stars pop songstress Brandy Norwood. Usher appeared on several episodes as Jeremy Davis, a boarding-school student romantically involved with the show's title character. For the foreseeable future, however, Usher is concentrating on taking his musical abilities to the next level by perfecting his skills as a live performer. He's had plenty of practice, touring on P. Diddy's No Way Out spectacular, and with Mary J. Blige on her national tour.
Award-winning Greek-American actor Michael Constantine (born 22 May 1927) is best known for his portrayal of the Windex bottle-toting family patriarch "Gus Portokalos" in the sleeper hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Before his appearance in that movie and the subsequent TV series based on it, he was primarily known for his portrayal of principal "Seymour Kaufman" in the series Room 222, for which he won a 1970 Emmy Award as Best Supporting Actor (in 1971, he also received a second Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe nomination as Best Supporting Actor for the role).
Michael Constantine was born Constantine Joanides in Reading, Pennsylvania, to Greek parents, Andromache (Fotiadou) and Theoharis Ioannides, a steel worker. He made his Broadway debut as part of the ensemble of the hit play "Inherit the Wind", which made its bow at the National Theatre on April 21, 1955, and closed on June 22, 1957, after 806 performances. During the run of the play, Constantine managed to work his way up into the part of "Conklin". His next appearance on the Great White Way was in "Compulsion", a dramatization of the Leopold & Loeb trial, in which he played three parts: speakeasy owner "Al", defense attorney "Jonathan Wilk" and "Dr. Ball". The show had a modest run of 140 performances in the 1957-58 season at the Ambassador Theatre.
On October 19, 1959, Constantine was part of the opening-night cast of the hit play "The Miracle Worker", appearing in the role of "Anagnos". It ran for 719 performances at the Playhouse through July 1, 1961, but his next play, "The Egg", was a flop, lasting but one week (eight performances) at the Cort in January 1962. His last turn on Broadway was in Tony Richardson's staging of Bertolt Brecht's mediation on the rise of Adolf Hitler, "Arturo Ui" (a.k.a. "The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui"). Constantine played the character "Dogsborough" in support of the great Broadway star Christopher Plummer's "Arturo Ui". It, too, was a one-week flop, lasting but eight performances at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in November 1963. Constantine's Broadway career was at an end.
He had made his motion picture debut in The Last Mile in support of Mickey Rooney, but had already begun appearing in the medium in which he made his reputation, television, the year before. He appeared in teleplays on the omnibus television anthologies Armstrong Circle Theatre and Play of the Week and made numerous guest appearances on TV series, where his ethnic look made him valuable as heavies on such programs as The Untouchables. In film, he appeared in such productions as Robert Rossen's classic The Hustler, If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium and the film version of Woody Allen's play, Don't Drink the Water, the latter two films revealing his flair for comedy.
Constantine was a regular on the series Hey, Landlord. His stint on Room 222 was followed by his star-turn in the short-lived series Sirota's Court, for which he received his second Golden Globe nomination, this time as Best Leading Actor in a Musical or Comedy TV Series, in 1976. After that, he remained steadily employed but his career remained rather quiet until cast he was cast in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
In 1960, a young 7-year-old named Patrick Lilley went on an Amos Carr photo shoot with his little sister. She was the subject but it was "Butch's" head shot that would wind up in the Hollywood Blvd. window! Utilizing his nickname and real first name, his agent Mary Grady and his mom Patti created the stage name, Butch Patrick, which he still uses 50 plus years later. Butch started out, quick, with landing his first three auditions. First was a very cool B movie, starring Eddie Albert and Jane Wyatt, called The Two Little Bears. Also starring Soupy Sales and a 15-year-old Brenda Lee! A series came next in the form of GH. That's right, General Hospital's first year had Butch mixing with John Beradino. To round out the group, a Kellogg's award-winning Corn Flakes commercial. Butch continually worked in the early 60s on the most popular TV programs of the time: Mister Ed, My Favorite Martian, The Untouchables, The Detectives, Ben Casey, Rawhide, Gunsmoke, Bonanza and many, many more. A second series came his way with the reboot of the classic The Real McCoys. Working with Oscar winner Walter Brennan and Richard Crenna was a huge treat for Butch. All this time, he was working in over 20 commercials and a dozen movies. Starring the likes of Burt Lancaster, Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Jo Van Fleet, Sal Mineo, Don Murray, Edward G. Robinson, to name a few. Now, we enter to 1964. The Beatles are all the rage and Butch gets a call to fly from Illinois and go to CBS Studio Center for a screen test. Very hush hush as they have a part in mind for him. It will become a life-changing day for sure!! His screen test is with the famous movie star Yvonne De Carlo and his character is "Edward Wolfgang Munster". From that day on, Butch would always be known, worldwide, as the iconic TV character, "Eddie Munster". The third series for Butch was the charm for sure. The Munsters are still one of the most popular series in history. Merchandised still and a huge family favorite, 50 years later! His character's hairline is the most recognizable, ever, and the Munster address is the most famous on TV, bar none. "1313 Mockingbird Lane" still is a favorite trivia question for the masses, worldwide. After a two-year stint, Butch set off to Disney for a few "World of Colors". The Young Loner, with Edward Andrews and Kim Hunter, was a gem. Way Down Cellar another two part special was shot the same summer. A few features followed and then he became a semi-regular on My Three Sons, doing 10 episodes. In between, Butch was busy with Adam 12's, the pilot episode of Marcus Welby M.D. Ironside, more westerns and movies too. In the summer of 1969, Butch left the country to film in Brazil for three months. A feature based on an award-winning novel, The Sandpit Generals. Then, in 1971, Sid Krofft took Butch to lunch and convinced him to star in their new show for Sid and Marty's World Lidsville. He worked with Charles Nelson Reilly and Billie Hayes of Puf n Stuff fame. What a trip that summer turned out to be. Afterwards, Metromedia Records signed Butch to a contract and American Bandstand and the Dating Game were the new high-profile shows Butch was seen on. Not to mention the teen heartthrob tears from 1971 to 1973. After Butch turned 19, he decided this career really wasn't he yearned for and left Hollywood to drive fast cars and catch up on his surfing. In 1983, with MTV on the air, Butch formed a band, "Eddie and the Monsters", on Rocshire records and aired a video on the upstart cable powerhouse. They were actually the first unsigned act ever to be seen. This led to the show the basement tapes that led to the discovery of many new unsigned bands with videos. So there you have his older accomplishments. Today, Butch receives scripts and works the indie movie circuit, giving back to the industry that served him well. He's a cancer survivor and works with people with addiction issues, as well. He had his own issues with his life and, after 40 years of alcohol and drug abuse, he's been clean and sober nearly 3 1/2 years.
Helen Shaver has built a lasting legacy, both behind and in front of the camera. She has directed hundreds of hours of television ranging from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to Castle, from The Unit to The Outer Limits. Her film, Summer's End, a Showtime feature starring James Earl Jones, won multiple Emmy awards for Outstanding Children's Special, Outstanding Performer in a Children's Special and Helen was nominated for her direction. Her producing credits include Judging Amy for CBS, Showtime's Due East starring Cybill Shepherd and Robert Forster and the independent feature We All Fall Down, for which she also received a Best Supporting Actress award.
It was Martin Scorsese who first suggested Helen direct. Working with him and other such greats as Steven Spielberg, Robert Rodriguez, Sam Peckinpah, Brian De Palma, Helen amassed a wealth of knowledge and experience in the collaborative world of cinematic storytelling.
Helen first appeared on the silver screen at 22 years old, starring in a series of award-winning Canadian films; Best Supporting Actress for Who Has Seen The Wind and Best Actress for In Praise of Older Women. Hollywood took note and in 1977 she co-starred in The Amityville Horror directed by Stuart Rosenberg. Larry Gelbart's United States, Martin Scorsese's, The Color of Money, John Schlesinger's The Believers, Donna Deitch's Desert Hearts, Andrew Fleming's The Craft, and a trip to China with Donald Sutherland to realize Bethune: The Making of a Hero broadened her education.
MAWD (Mother Actress Wife Director), Helen's production company, has three theatrical features in development, as well as a feature-length documentary. MAWD continues to expand becoming an umbrella for young filmmakers who Helen has mentored.
An eccentric rebel of epic proportions, this Hollywood titan reigned supreme as director, screenwriter and character actor in a career that endured over five decades. The ten-time Oscar-nominated legend was born John Marcellus Huston in Nevada, Missouri, on August 5, 1906. His ancestry included English, Scottish, and Scots-Irish. The age-old story goes that the small town of his birth was won by John's grandfather in a poker game. John's father was the equally magnanimous character actor Walter Huston, and his mother, Rhea Gore, was a newspaperwoman who traveled around the country looking for stories. The only child of the couple, John began performing on stage with his vaudevillian father at age 3. Upon his parents' divorce at age 7, the young boy would take turns traveling around the vaudeville circuit with his father and the country with his mother on reporting excursions. A frail and sickly child, he was once placed in a sanitarium due to both an enlarged heart and kidney ailment. Making a miraculous recovery, he quit school at age 14 to become a full-fledged boxer and eventually won the Amateur Lightweight Boxing Championship of California, winning 22 of 25 bouts. His trademark broken nose was the result of that robust activity.
John married his high school sweetheart, Dorothy Harvey, and also took his first professional stage bow with a leading role off-Broadway entitled "The Triumph of the Egg." He made his Broadway debut that same year with "Ruint" on April 7, 1925, and followed that with another Broadway show "Adam Solitaire" the following November. John soon grew restless with the confines of both his marriage and acting and abandoned both, taking a sojourn to Mexico where he became an officer in the cavalry and expert horseman while writing plays on the sly. Trying to control his wanderlust urges, he subsequently returned to America and attempted newspaper and magazine reporting work in New York by submitting short stories. He was even hired at one point by mogul Samuel Goldwyn Jr. as a screenwriter, but again he grew restless. During this time he also appeared unbilled in a few obligatory films. By 1932 John was on the move again and left for London and Paris where he studied painting and sketching. The promising artist became a homeless beggar during one harrowing point.
Returning again to America in 1933, he played the title role in a production of "Abraham Lincoln," only a few years after father Walter portrayed the part on film for D.W. Griffith. John made a new resolve to hone in on his obvious writing skills and began collaborating on a few scripts for Warner Brothers. He also married again. Warners was so impressed with his talents that he was signed on as both screenwriter and director for the Dashiell Hammett mystery yarn The Maltese Falcon. The movie classic made a superstar out of Humphrey Bogart and is considered by critics and audiences alike--- 65 years after the fact--- to be the greatest detective film ever made. In the meantime John wrote/staged a couple of Broadway plays, and in the aftermath of his mammoth screen success directed bad-girl 'Bette Davis (I)' and good girl Olivia de Havilland in the film melodrama In This Our Life, and three of his "Falcon" stars (Bogart, Mary Astor and Sydney Greenstreet) in the romantic war picture Across the Pacific. During WWII John served as a Signal Corps lieutenant and went on to helm a number of film documentaries for the U.S. government including the controversial Let There Be Light, which father Walter narrated. The end of WWII also saw the end of his second marriage. He married third wife Evelyn Keyes, of "Gone With the Wind" fame, in 1946 but it too lasted a relatively short time. That same year the impulsive and always unpredictable Huston directed Jean-Paul Sartre's experimental play "No Exit" on Broadway. The show was a box-office bust (running less than a month) but nevertheless earned the New York Drama Critics Award as "best foreign play."
Hollywood glory came to him again in association with Bogart and Warner Brothers'. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, a classic tale of gold, greed and man's inhumanity to man set in Mexico, won John Oscars for both director and screenplay and his father nabbed the "Best Supporting Actor" trophy. John can be glimpsed at the beginning of the movie in a cameo playing a tourist, but he wouldn't act again on film for a decade and a half. With the momentum in his favor, John hung around in Hollywood this time to write and/or direct some of the finest American cinema made including Key Largo and The African Queen (both with Bogart), The Asphalt Jungle, The Red Badge of Courage and Moulin Rouge. Later films, including Moby Dick, The Unforgiven, The Misfits, Freud, The Night of the Iguana and The Bible: In the Beginning... were, for the most part, well-regarded but certainly not close to the level of his earlier revered work. He also experimented behind-the-camera with color effects and approached topics that most others would not even broach, including homosexuality and psychoanalysis.
An ardent supporter of human rights, he, along with director William Wyler and others, dared to form the Committee for the First Amendment in 1947, which strove to undermine the House Un-American Activities Committee. Disgusted by the Hollywood blacklisting that was killing the careers of many talented folk, he moved to St. Clerans in Ireland and became a citizen there along with his fourth wife, ballet dancer Enrica (Ricki) Soma. The couple had two children, including daughter Anjelica Huston who went on to have an enviable Hollywood career of her own. Huston and wife Ricki split after a son (director Danny Huston) was born to another actress in 1962. They did not divorce, however, and remained estranged until her sudden death in 1969 in a car accident. John subsequently adopted his late wife's child from another union. The ever-impulsive Huston would move yet again to Mexico where he married (1972) and divorced (1977) his fifth and final wife, Celeste Shane.
Huston returned to acting auspiciously with a major role in Otto Preminger's epic film The Cardinal for which Huston received an Oscar nomination at age 57. From that time forward, he would be glimpsed here and there in a number of colorful, baggy-eyed character roles in both good and bad (some positively abysmal) films that, at the very least, helped finance his passion projects. The former list included outstanding roles in Chinatown and The Wind and the Lion, while the latter comprised of hammy parts in such awful drek as Candy and Myra Breckinridge.
Directing daughter Angelica in her inauspicious movie debut, the thoroughly mediocre A Walk with Love and Death, John made up for it 15 years later by directing her to Oscar glory in the mob tale Prizzi's Honor. In the 1970s Huston resurged as a director of quality films with Fat City, The Man Who Would Be King and Wise Blood. He ended his career on a high note with Under the Volcano, the afore-mentioned Prizzi's Honor and The Dead. His only certifiable misfire during that era was the elephantine musical version of Annie, though it later became somewhat of a cult favorite among children.
Huston lived the macho, outdoors life, unencumbered by convention or restrictions, and is often compared in style or flamboyancy to an Ernest Hemingway or Orson Welles. He was, in fact, the source of inspiration for Clint Eastwood in the helming of the film White Hunter Black Heart which chronicled the making of "The African Queen." Illness robbed Huston of a good portion of his twilight years with chronic emphysema the main culprit. As always, however, he continued to work tirelessly while hooked up to an oxygen machine if need be. At the end, the living legend was shooting an acting cameo in the film Mr. North for his son Danny, making his directorial bow at the time. John became seriously ill with pneumonia and died while on location at the age of 81. This maverick of a man's man who was once called "the eccentric's eccentric" by Paul Newman, left an incredibly rich legacy of work to be enjoyed by film lovers for centuries to come.
Born in Hays, Kansas and growing up in Omaha, Nebraska, Rebecca had a 4.0 GPA in both high school and college, and placed in the top 6 in the Miss USA pageant as Miss Nebraska.
After three years as a professional model based in Paris, and working all over the world accumulating covers and international campaigns, she moved on to New York and continued working with the Ford Modeling agency, while starting her acting career as punk-rocker "Cecelia Thompson" on ABC's "Loving" (still one of her favorites, mostly because she never gets to play punk-rockers, any more), followed by the series regular "good girl", "Jessie Matthews", on "The Guiding Light" .
Some of Rebecca's other series regular roles include the sex-crazed anchorwoman "Sherry Beck" on the newsroom drama, _"Live Shot"; innocent vampire "Daphne Collins" on _"Dark Shadows"; the first lesbian television character "Ellen Sommers" on _"Trade Winds"; and the billionaire widow/vampire/fashion designer "Elizabeth Barrington" on "Port Charles" .
Not every girl gets the chance to be a Marvel Comic superhero, but Rebecca starred in the original film version of The Fantastic Four as "Susan Storm, The Invisible Girl". She is enthusiastically remembered by many fans of the film,[i] Love Potion No. 9[/i], for her famous "verbally castrating" bar room scenes with 'Tate Donovan'. And is also recognized frequently for the "top funniest commercials of the year" TAG body spray, as the Mrs. Robinson-esque mother who seduces her daughter's boyfriend.
Rebecca played the title role in Indy film A House on a Hill, starring with Philip Baker Hall, and, recently completed work on the critically-acclaimed film, A Perfect Ending.
Most recently seen on Masters of Sex, Dexter, Glee, Fairly Legal, Criminal Minds, The Mentalist, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CSI: NY, NCIS and Nip/Tuck. Rebecca has enjoyed working on other network series, from Cheers, Seinfeld, Ellen, The Wonder Years, Columbo, Beverly Hills, 90210, The Drew Carey Show, Dharma & Greg and Las Vegas, to name a few.
An avid traveler, Rebecca has been from Russia to Costa Rica, Italy to Bali, Japan to Austria, France to Singapore, Estonia to Kauai, Crete to Zihuatanejo, Istanbul to Hong Kong, Helsinki to the Canary Islands, Tunisia to St. Barts, Tahiti to Tulum, and most places in between! She personally enjoy every outdoor adventure sport - her garage looks like a miniature "Sports Chalet". She actually has a scuba-dive site named after her -- when the boat she was being transported on for a dive off the coast of Gili Trawangen, Bali, sank in a mid-day storm, Rebecca and the dive master swam to safety. The sunken boat became a dive site named "Rebecca's Wreck."
Another passion of Rebecca's is architectural restoration -- hands on, she just completed a top-to-bottom inside-out year-long project of restoring a 100 year old home from a "haunted crack house" to the historic jewel it deserves to be appreciated as. She is always looking for the next restoration project! Rebecca also applies her construction and handiwork skills to projects for Habitat for Humanity.
She and her boyfriend are very active in dog rescue. They foster quite a few furry friends who were slated for euthanasia, rehabilitate them, and find them qualified forever homes. They presently have three dogs of their own, but always have an extra one or two in transition. They live in a registered historic home in the Hollywood Hills.
Nick Wechsler has been building a quality career as an actor since he was a teen. Currently and most notably, he plays series regular, Jack Porter, on the ABC's Critics' Choice nominated series "Revenge," premiering soon for season two. Nick quickly became a fan favorite on the series for his brooding, dramatic but surprisingly funny personality, which has been compared to that of James Franco.
Nick was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico with seven brothers. Following his high school graduation, he set off for Los Angeles to pursue his dream of acting. Shortly after arriving in LA, he was cast as Kevin "Trek" Sanders, a child prodigy conceived at a Star Trek convention, in the syndicated series "Team Knight Rider." Building off his success, he landed his breakout Teen Choice Nominated role as Kyle Valenti in the series "Roswell."
After wrapping "Roswell," Nick went on to land recurring roles in such series as "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," "Without a Trace" and "Vanished," as well as guest starring roles in "Chase," "Past Life," "The Sarah Connor Chronicles," "Crossing Jordan," "Cold Case," "Tru Calling," "Malcolm in the Middle" and in the made-for-television movie "Perfect Game."
In addition to his impressive work in television, Nick has an substantial experience in film. His work on the big screen including roles in the feature film "Fling," directed by John Stewart Muller and the independent film "Chick's Man."
As a thespian truly dedicated to his craft, Nick has a vast experience in theatre. His work on stage includes roles in stage productions of "Rebel Without a Cause," "A Midsummer Night's Dream," "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," "Waiting for Godot," "Hansel and Gretel," "Pippin," "Asleep on the Wind," "Harvey," "You Can't Take it with You" and "The Actor's Nightmare."
With versatile experiences, a passion for acting, and a captivating personality, Nick will continue to be one of Hollywood's leading men for years to come.
Nick currently resides in Los Angeles.
Fred MacMurray was likely the most underrated actor of his generation. True, his earliest work is mostly dismissed as pedestrian, but no other actor working in the 1940s and 50s was able to score so supremely whenever cast against type.
Frederick Martin MacMurray was born in Kankakee, Illinois, to Maleta Martin and Frederick MacMurray. His father had Scottish ancestry and his mother's family was German. His father's sister was vaudeville performer and actress Fay Holderness. When MacMurray was five years old, the family moved to Beaver Dam in Wisconsin, his parents' birth state. He graduated from Beaver Dam High School (later the site of Beaver Dam Middle School), where he was a three-sport star in football, baseball, and basketball. Fred retained a special place in his heart for his small-town Wisconsin upbringing, referring at any opportunity in magazine articles or interviews to the lifelong friends and cherished memories of Beaver Dam, even including mementos of his childhood in several of his films. In "Pardon my Past", Fred and fellow GI William Demarest are moving to Beaver Dam, WI to start a mink farm.
MacMurray earned a full scholarship to attend Carroll College in Waukesha, Wisconsin and had ambitions to become a musician. In college, MacMurray participated in numerous local bands, playing the saxophone. In 1930, he played saxophone in the Gus Arnheim and his Coconut Grove Orchestra when Bing Crosby was the lead vocalist and Russ Columbo was in the violin section. MacMurray recorded a vocal with Arnheim's orchestra "All I Want Is Just One Girl" -- Victor 22384, 3/20/30. He appeared on Broadway in the 1930 hit production of "Three's a Crowd" starring Sydney Greenstreet, Clifton Webb and Libby Holman. He next worked alongside Bob Hope in the 1933 production of "Roberta" before he signed on with Paramount Pictures in 1934 for the then-standard 7-year contract (the hit show made Bob Hope a star and he was also signed by Paramount). MacMurray married Lillian Lamont (D: June 22, 1953) on June 20, 1936, and they adopted two children.
Although his early film work is largely overlooked by film historians and critics today, he rose steadily within the ranks of Paramount's contract stars, working with some of Hollywood's greatest talents, including wunderkind writer-director Preston Sturges (whom he intensely disliked) and actors Humphrey Bogart and Marlene Dietrich. Although the majority of his films of the 30's can largely be dismissed as standard fare there are exceptions: he played opposite Claudette Colbert in seven films, beginning with The Gilded Lily. He also co-starred with Katharine Hepburn in the classic, Alice Adams, and with Carole Lombard in Hands Across the Table, The Trail of the Lonesome Pine -- an ambitious early outdoor 3-strip Technicolor hit, co-starring with Henry Fonda and Sylvia Sidney directed by Henry Hathaway -- The Princess Comes Across, and True Confession. MacMurray spent the decade learning his craft and developing a reputation as a solid actor. In an interesting sidebar, artist C.C. Beck used MacMurray as the initial model for a superhero character who would become Fawcett Comics' Captain Marvel in 1939.
The 1940s gave him his chance to shine. He proved himself in melodramas such as Above Suspicion and musicals (Where Do We Go from Here?), somewhat ironically becoming one of Hollywood's highest-paid actors by 1943, when his salary reached $420,000. He scored a huge hit with the thoroughly entertaining The Egg and I, again teamed with Ms. Colbert and today largely remembered for launching the long-running Ma and Pa Kettle franchise. In 1941, MacMurray purchased a large parcel of land in Sonoma County, California and began a winery/cattle ranch. He raised his family on the ranch and it became the home to his second wife, June Haver after their marriage in 1954. The winery remains in operation today in the capable hands of their daughter, Kate MacMurray. Despite being habitually typecast as a "nice guy", MacMurray often said that his best roles were when he was cast against type by Billy Wilder. In 1944, he played the role of "Walter Neff", an insurance salesman (numerous other actors had turned the role down) who plots with a greedy wife Barbara Stanwyck to murder her husband in Double Indemnity -- inarguably the greatest role of his entire career. Indeed, anyone today having any doubts as to his potential depth as an actor should watch this film. He did another stellar turn in the "not so nice" category, playing the cynical, spineless "Lieutenant Thomas Keefer" in the 1954 production of The Caine Mutiny, directed by Edward Dmytryk. He gave another superb dramatic performance cast against type as a hard-boiled crooked cop in Pushover.
Despite these and other successes, his career waned considerably by the late 1950s and he finished out the decade working in a handful of non-descript westerns. MacMurray's career got its second wind beginning in 1959 when he was cast as the dog-hating father figure (well, he was a retired mailman) in the first Walt Disney live-action comedy, The Shaggy Dog. The film was an enormous hit and Uncle Walt green lighted several projects around his middle-aged star. Billy Wilder came calling again and he did a masterful turn in the role of Jeff Sheldrake, a two-timing corporate executive in Wilder's Oscar-winning comedy-drama The Apartment, with Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon -- arguably his second greatest role and the last one to really challenge him as an actor. Although this role would ultimately be remembered as his last great performance, he continued with the lightweight Disney comedies while pulling double duty, thanks to an exceptionally generous contract, on TV.
MacMurray was cast in 1961 as Professor Ned Brainerd in Disney's The Absent Minded Professor and in its superior sequel, Son of Flubber. These hit Disney comedies raised his late-career profile considerably and producer Don Fedderson beckoned with My Three Sons debuting in 1960 on ABC. The gentle sitcom staple remained on the air for 12 seasons (380 episodes). Concerned about his work load and time away from his ranch and family, Fred played hardball with his series contract. In addition to his generous salary, the "Sons" contract was written so that all the scenes requiring his presence to be shot first, requiring him to work only 65 days per season on the show (the contract was reportedly used as an example by Dean Martin when negotiating the wildly generous terms contained in his later variety show contract). This requirement meant the series actors had to work with stand-ins and posed wardrobe continuity issues. The series moved without a hitch to CBS in the fall of 1965 in color after ABC, then still an also-ran network with its eyes peeled on the bottom line, refused to increase the budget required for color production (color became a U.S. industry standard in the 1968 season). This freed him to pursue his film work, family, ranch, and his principal hobby, golf.
Politically very conservative, MacMurray was a staunch supporter of the Republican Party; he joined his old friend Bob Hope and James Stewart in campaigning for Richard Nixon in 1968. He was also widely known one of the most -- to be polite -- frugal actors in the business. Stories floated around the industry in the 60s regarding famous hard-boiled egg brown bag lunches and stingy tips. After the cancellation of My Three Sons in 1972, MacMurray made only a few more film appearances before retiring to his ranch in 1978. As a result of a long battle with leukemia, MacMurray died of pneumonia at the age of eighty-three in Santa Monica on November 5, 1991. He was buried in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City.
Adam Savage started his varied career as a child actor. His father worked on Sesame Street as a Muppeteer and he learned very early on about 'behind the scene' work on a television show. He appeared in some episodes of Sesame Street. Later on, as a teenager, he starred in the Billy Joel video for "Second Wind" and a Charmin toilet paper commercial with Mr. Whipple as Jimmy the stock boy.
Adam has worked as an interior designer, a set designer for the Fool's Fury playhouse in San Francisco, and an artist. His artwork has been displayed in San Francisco, New York and Charleston, West Virginia. He also worked in toy prototyping, working in research and development for Zoob toys, and designing several displays and a large "Zoob Dude" model for them. Adam has worked on many TV commercials for Pizza Hut, Burger King and Coca-Cola, among others. He designed his own robot for Battlebots, "Claymore".
However, Adam is best known for his work in Sci-Fi movies and of course, MythBusters. He was employed by George Lucas' special effects shop, Industrial Light and Magic, working with Tory Belleci and Grant Imahara. He has worked on Space Cowboys, Galaxy Quest, Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions and Bicentennial Man, among others. In 2002, Adam and Jamie Hyneman, long time collaborators on various projects, including the BattleBots robot Blendo, got together to film 3 pilot episodes for Mythbusters. The rest is history. Adam plays around with heavy machinery, indulges in building elaborate rigs, and gets to blow stuff up - always putting his body on the line for the show. He has donated every body fluid imaginable for scientific testing in the course of the show, and has taken many hits for the team. He provides much of the 'comic relief' to co-host Hyneman's 'straight-man' persona.
Adam is the father of twin sons!
On stage, television or the movie theatre screen Sebastian Koch is undeniably one of Germany s most multi-faceted and successful actors. Born in Karlsruhe, Germany, May 31, 1962, he spent his childhood and youth in Stuttgart, southwestern Germany. He planned to become a musician, but in the late seventies a Stuttgart theater production by director Claus Peymann, inspired him to change his professional direction and choose a career as an actor. He graduated in 1985 from the renowned Otto Falckenberg School of Acting in Munich. Initial career performances at Munich´s Theater der Jugend were followed by roles including Schiller s "Die Raeuber", Goethe s "Iphigenie", and "Dirty Dishes" from Nick Whitby in engagements at the Staedtischen Buehnen Ulm, the Staatstheater Darmstadt and the Staatlichen Buehnen Berlin. In 1986 he commenced his television career debuting on the side of Commissioner Helmut Fischer in the famous long-running German television Sunday night crime series "Tatort"-- "Die Macht des Schicksals." Innumerable crime stories and thrillers followed but it was in 1997 when director Heinrich Breloer cast Koch as Andreas Baader in the highly-acclaimed movie-of-the week two-parter "Todesspiel" which overnight changed his career. Five years later in 2002 Sebastian Koch achieved a feat not achieved in over 30 years of German television, he was awarded the coveted Grimme Prize for the leading roles in two television films, "Der Tanz mit dem Teufel - Die Entfuehrung des Richard Oetker", the story of the abduction of the heir to the Oetker fortune, as well as for his role in the three-part historical family drama "The Manns". The production "The Manns" was awarded Germany's esteemed honor as the "Television Event of the Year 2002". Koch received additional accolades for his role as Klaus Mann, including the Bavarian Television Prize. His international breakthrough came with the historical mini-series "Napoleon," alongside prominent colleagues including Gerard Depardieu, John Malkovich and Isabella Rossellini, and his role as Cathereine Deneuve's young lover, Rodolphe Loewenstein in "MARIE AND FREUD". Koch' s continued choice of roles in his career have provided an extremely intense examination of many personalities and themes pertaining to German history. Beginning theatrically in Constantin Costa-Gavras adaptation of Rolf Hochhuth's "AMEN" released in 2002, and then in successive German television events including the 2001 production of "The Tunnel", a two-part movie-of-the-week from Roland Suso Richter about the underground tunnel built from west to east Berlin which succeeded in enabling 100 people to flee the GDR; followed in 2003 with director Peter Keglevic's historical drama "Zwei Tage Hoffnung" about the infamous strike in the former GDR on June 17, 1953; and, the next year, in "Operation Valkryrie", the spectacular docu-drama from Jo Baier, awarded the German Television Prize, about the aristocratic soldier Clemens von Stauffenberg's perfect plot in 1944 to murder Hitler by smuggling a bomb into Hitler's bunker. In 2005 Koch collaborated for the third time with director Heinrich Breloer in "Speer and Hitler", the story of Hitler and his architect Albert Speer, garnering Koch both the German Television Prize and Bavarian Television Prize for Best Actor. Sebastian Koch was awarded the Bambi Award for Best Male German Actor 2006. Sebastian Koch is drawn to complex, flawed characters with rough edges. A particular loneliness and/or reclusiveness surrounds Koch's characters, even a certain sadness through which he finds the energy and tension for his roles. In 2006 his stunning performance as GDR dramatist/playwright Georg Dreymann in Florian Henkel von Donnermarck's Oscar-winning theatrical success, the Stasi-drama, "THE LIVES OF OTHERS" earned him the 2007 Italian Foreign Press Award, the Globo d'Oro for Best European Actor. In Paul Verhoeven s film "BLACK BOOK", which celebrated in 2006 premieres in Venice and Toronto and was nominated from the Netherlands for the 2007 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, Koch played the lead role as a Nazi officer in German-occupied Holland who falls in love with a Jewish Resistance Fighter (Carice van Houten). Under the direction of Hermine Huntgeburth ("The White Massai") alongside Julia Jentsch, Koch was most recently shooting EFFIE in the role of Geert von Instetten in the novel adaptation of "Effi Briest" by Theodor Fontane. Following the productions in Winter 2007/2008 of "Gegen den Strom" (Against the Current) and "The Interrogation of Harry Wind," Koch will travel to Canada for the lead role in the international coproduction of Jack London s classic "The Sea Wolf." The English language TV production, written by Nigel Williams ("Elizabeth I.") is being directed by Brit Mike Barker. Koch s German and international theatrical successes include the 2003 remake of Erich Kaestner s children s classic "DAS FLIEGENDE KLASSENZIMMER" from director Tomy Wiegand and "GLOOMY SUNDAY" from Rolf Schuebel (1999). In Spring 2007 Warner Brothers Germany released the family comedy sequel "RENNSCHWEIN RUDI RUESSEL 2" from Peter Timm. Sebastian Koch is alongside his theatrical and television activity a sought after reader for literary and musical audio books and the live performances of these productions. He returned to the theatre stage in 2006 after a long absence, performing the role of Lord Goring in Oscar Wildes "An Ideal Husband" under the direction of Armin Holz, a celebrated critical and audience success at the distinguished Schauspielhaus Bochum.
Sebastian Koch makes his home in Berlin and has a daughter.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Andreas was a cross between apple pie and baklava, coming from a working-class Greek-American family. Attracted from early childhood to being on stage when at 4 his mother took him to see a community theater performance, he took theatre as an extra-curricular activity in high school. He then majored in it at St. Louis University, where he worked his way through school doing things like waiting on tables. Next, after earning a drama fellowship, Katsulas received a Master's Degree in Theater Arts from one of the nation's top schools for the genre, Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.
With never a doubt or hesitation, Andreas jumped right into the professional theater world, performing in plays in his native St. Louis with the Loretto-Hilton Repertory Theater. This was followed by work with the Theatre Company of Boston. After that, Katsulas moved to New York to some challenging off-off-Broadway theater at La Mama. This was followed by a fifteen-year heart and soul involvement with Peter Brook's International Theatre Company in Paris, performing around the world with a challenging combination of improvisational theater in every imaginable circumstance and space, and "prepared" theater pieces in traditional, as well as unconventional, theatrical spaces. Katsulas trod the boards from Lincoln Center in New York and The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., to the "mean streets" of Brooklyn and marketplaces in remote African Villages. There were performances from elite Theater Festivals in Iran, Avignon and Belgrade: in prisons & mental institutions; at rock quarries in Australia; on barrios in Venezuela; in sewage plants in Switzerland; winding through the streets of Venice, Italy; in the fields with farm workers in California, near the lakes of Minnesota with Native Americans, in sometimes extreme conditions like snow, rain, and intensive heat.
During a hiatus from the stage, a part in Michael Cimino's The Sicilian brought Andreas to Los Angeles, after which he was immediately cast as Joey Venza in Ridley Scott's Someone to Watch Over Me, then as Arthur, the chauffeur, in Blake Edwards's Sunset.
In early 2005, Andreas was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer; he passed away a year later, in Los Angeles. He had lived there since 1986, and had hoped to return to working in the theater before his far-too-early death, just over three months shy of his 60th birthday.
Sir Paul McCartney is a key figure in contemporary culture as a singer, composer, poet, writer, artist, humanitarian, entrepreneur, and holder of more than 3 thousand copyrights. He is in the "Guinness Book of World Records" for most records sold, most #1s (shared), most covered song, "Yesterday," largest paid audience for a solo concert (350,000+ people, in 1989, in Brazil). He is considered one of the most successful entertainers of all time.
He was born James Paul McCartney on June 18, 1942, in Liverpool General Hospital, where his mother, Mary Patricia (Mohin), was a medical nurse and midwife. His father, James "Jim" McCartney, was a cotton salesman and a pianist leading the Jim Mac's Jazz Band in Liverpool. He has Irish and English ancestry. Young McCartney was raised non-denominational. He studied music and art, and had a happy childhood with one younger brother, Michael. At age 11, he was one of only four students who passed the 11+ exam, known as "the scholarship" in Liverpool, and gained a place at Liverpool Institute for Boys. There he studied from 1953 to 1960, earning A level in English and Art.
At the age of 14, Paul McCartney was traumatized by his mother's sudden death from breast cancer. Shortly afterward, he wrote his first song. In July 1957 he met John Lennon during their performances at a local church fête (festival). McCartney impressed Lennon with his mastery of guitar and singing in a variety of styles. He soon joined Lennon's band, The Quarrymen, and eventually became founding member of The Beatles, with the addition of George Harrison and Pete Best. After a few gigs in Hamburg, Germany, the band returned to Liverpool and played regular gigs at the Cavern during 1961.
In November 1961, they invited Brian Epstein to be their manager, making a written agreement in January 1962. At that time McCartney and Harrison were under 21, so the paper wasn't technically legal, albeit it did not matter to them. What mattered was their genuine trust in Epstein. He improved their image, secured them a record deal with EMI, and replaced drummer Best with Ringo Starr. With a little help from Brian Epstein and George Martin, The Beatles consolidated their talents and mutual stimulation into beautiful teamwork, launching the most successful career in the history of entertainment.
The Beatles contributed to music, film, literature, art, and fashion, made a continuous impact on entertainment, popular culture and the lifestyle of several generations. Music became their ticket to ride around the world. Beatlemania never really ended since its initiation; it became a movable feast in many hearts and minds, a sweet memory of youth, when all you need is love and a little help from a friend to be happy. Their songs and images carrying powerful ideas of love, peace, help, and imagination evoked creativity and liberation that outperformed the rusty Soviet propaganda and contributed to breaking walls in the minds of millions, thus making impact on human history.
All four members of The Beatles were charismatic and individually talented artists, they sparked each other from the beginning. Paul McCartney had the privilege of a better musical education, having studied classical piano and guitar in his childhood. He progressed as a lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, as well as a singer-songwriter. In addition to singing and songwriting, Paul McCartney played bass guitar, acoustic and electric guitars, piano and keyboards, as well as over 40 other musical instruments.
McCartney wrote more popular hits for the Beatles than other members of the band. His songs Yesterday, Let It Be, Hey Jude, Blackbird, All My Loving, Eleanor Rigby, Birthday, I Saw Her Standing There, I Will, Get Back, Carry That Weight, P.S. I Love You, Things We Said Today, "Hello, Goodbye," Two of Us, Why Don't We Do It in the Road?, Helter Skelter, Honey Pie, When I'm 64, Lady Madonna, She's a Woman, Maxwell's Silver Hammer, "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da," Mother Nature's Son, Long And Winding Road, Rocky Raccoon, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Fool on the Hill, You Never Give Me Your Money, Your Mother Should Know, The End, Yellow Submarine, and many others are among the Beatles' best hits. Yesterday is considered the most covered song in history with over three thousand versions of it recorded by various artists across the universe.
Since he was a teenager, McCartney honored the agreement that was offered by John Lennon in 1957, about the 50/50 authorship of every song written by either one of them. However, both were teenagers, and technically, being under 21, their oral agreement had no legal power. Still, almost 200 songs by The Beatles are formally credited to both names, regardless of the fact that most of the songs were written individually. The songwriting partnership of John Lennon and Paul McCartney was really working until the mid-60s, when they collaborated in many of their early songs. Their jamming on a piano together led to creation of their first best-selling hit 'I Want to Hold Your Hand' in 1963.
In total, The Beatles created over 240 songs, they recorded many singles and albums, made several films and TV shows. Thousands of memorable pictures popularized their image. In their evolution from beginners to the leaders of entertainment, they learned from many world cultures, absorbed from various styles, and created their own. McCartney's own range of interests spanned from classical music and English folk ballads to Indian raga and other Oriental cultures, and later expanded into psychedelic experiments and classical-sounding compositions. His creative search has been covering a range of styles from jazz and rock to symphonies and choral music, and to cosmopolitan cross-cultural and cross-genre compositions.
Epstein's 1967 death hurt all four members of The Beatles, as they lost their creative manager. Evolution of each member's creativity and musicianship also led to individual career ambitions, however, their legacy as The Beatles remained the main driving force in their individual careers ever since. McCartney and The Beatles made impact on human history, because their influence has been liberating for generations of nowhere men living in misery beyond the Iron Curtain.
Something in their songs and images appealed to everybody who wanted to become free as a bird. Their songs carrying powerful ideas of real love, peace, help, imagination and freedom evoked creativity and contributed to breaking chains and walls in the minds of millions. The Beatles expressed themselves in beautiful and liberating words of love, happiness, freedom, and revolution, and carried those messages to people across the universe. Their songs and images helped many freedom-loving people to come together for revolutions in Prague and Warsaw, Beijing and Bucharest, Berlin and Moscow. The Beatles has been an inspiration for those who take the long and winding road to freedom.
McCartney was 28 when he started his solo career, and formed his new band, Wings. His first solo album, "McCartney," was a #1 hit and spawned the evergreen ballad "Maybe I'm Amazed", yet critical reaction was mixed. He continued to release music with Wings, that eventually became one of the most commercially successful groups of the 70s. "Band on the Run" won two Grammy Awards and remained the Wings' most lauded work. The 1977 release "Mull of Kintyre" stayed at #1 in the UK for nine weeks, and was highest selling single in the UK for seven years. In 1978 McCartney's theme "Rockestra" won him another Grammy Award. In 1979, together with Elvis Costello, he organized Concerts for the People of Kampuchea. In 1979, McCartney released his solo album "Wonderful Christmastime" which remained popular ever since.
In 1980 McCartney was arrested in Tokyo, Japan, for marijuana possession, and after a ten-day stint in jail, he was released to a media firestorm. He retreated into seclusion after the arrest, and was comforted by his wife Linda. Yet he had another traumatic experience when his ex-band-mate, John Lennon, was shot dead by a crazed fan near his home in New York City on December 8, 1980. McCartney did not play any live concerts for some time because he was nervous that he would be "the next" to be murdered.
After almost a year of absence from the music scene, McCartney returned in 1982 with the album "Tug of War," which was well received by public and enjoyed great critical acclaim. He continued a successful career as a solo artist, collaborated with wife Linda McCartney, and writers such as Elvis Costello. During the 80s, McCartney released such hits as 'No More Lonely Nights' and his first compilation, "All the Best." In 1989, he started his first concert tour since the John Lennon's murder.
In 1994, the three surviving members of The Beatles, McCartney, Harrison, and Starr, reunited and produced Lennon's previously unknown song "Free as a Bird." It was preserved by Yoko Ono on a tape recording made by Lennon in 1977. The song was re-arranged and re-mixed by George Martin at the Abbey Road Studios with the voices of three surviving members. The Beatles Anthology TV documentary series was watched by 420 million people in 1995.
During the 1990s McCartney concentrated on composing classical works for the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society, such as "The Liverpool Oratorio" involving a choir and symphony, and "A Leaf" solo-piano project, both released in 1995. That same year he was working on a new pop album, "Flaming Pie," when his wife Linda was diagnosed with breast cancer, and caring for his wife during her illness meant only sporadic public appearances during that time. The album was released in 1997 to both critical and commercial success, debuting at #2 on both the UK and US pop charts. That same year he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II as Sir Paul McCartney for his services to music.
In April 1998, Linda McCartney, his beloved wife of almost 30 years, mother of their four children, and his steady partner in music, died of breast cancer. McCartney suffered from a severe depression and undergone medical treatment. He spent much of the next year away from the public eye, emerging only to campaign on behalf of his late wife for animal rights and vegetarian causes.
He eventually returned to the studio, releasing an album of rock n'roll covers in 1999. "Run Devil Run" made both Entertainment Weekly and USA Today's year-end top ten lists. McCartney also slowly returned to the public spotlight with the release of his another classical album, "Working Classical" in November 1999, in recording by the London Symphony Orchestra. His 2000 release "A Garland for Linda" was a choral tribute album, which raised funds to aid cancer survivors.
In 2000 he was invited by Heather Mills, a disabled ex-model, to her 32nd birthday. McCartney wrote songs dedicated to her, he and Mills developed a romantic relationship and became engaged in 2001. However, the year brought him a cascade of traumatic experiences. On September 11, 2001, Paul McCartney was sitting on a plane in New York when the World Trade Center tragedy occurred in front of his eyes, and he was able to witness the events from his seat. Yet there was another sadness, as his former band-mate George Harrison died of cancer in November, 2001.
Recouperating from the stressful year, McCartney received the 2002 Academy Award-nomination for the title song to the movie Vanilla Sky, and also went on his first concert tour in several years. In June, 2002, Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills married in a castle in Monaghan, Ireland. Their daughter, Beatrice Milly McCartney, was born in October 2003. Four years later, the high profile marriage ended in divorce, after a widely publicized litigation. "Whenever you're going through difficult times, I'm at the moment, it's really cool to be able to escape into music" says Paul McCartney.
In 2003 Paul McCartney rocked the Red Square in Moscow with his show "Back in USSR" which was attended by his former opponents from the former Soviet KGB, including the Russian president Vladimir Putin himself, who invited McCartney to be the guest of honor in the Kremlin. In 2004 Paul McCartney received a birthday present from the Russian president. In June 2004, he and Heather Mills-McCartney stayed as special guests at suburban Royal Palaces of Russian Tsars in St. Petersburg, Russia. There he staged a spectacular show near the Tsar's Winter Palace in St. Petersburg where the Communist Revolution took place, just imagine.
In 2005 the Entertainment magazine poll named The Beatles the most iconic entertainers of the 20th Century. In 2006, the guitar on which Paul McCartney played his first chords and impressed John Lennon, was sold at an auction for over $600,000.
On June 18, 2006, Paul McCartney celebrated his 64th birthday, as in his song "when I'm Sixty-Four." McCartney's celebrity status, made it a cultural milestone for a generation of those born in the baby-boom era who grew up with the music of The Beatles during the 1960s. The prophetic message in the song has been intertwined with McCartney's personal life and his career.
In 2007 McCartney left his longtime label, EMI, and signed with Los Angeles based Hear Music. He learned to play mandolin to create a refreshing feeling for his latest album "Memory Almost Full," then appeared in Apple Computer's commercial for iPod+iTunes to promote the album. In June 2007 McCartney appeared together with Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono, Olivia Harrison and Guy Laliberté in a live broadcast from the "Revolution" Lounge at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
His 3-DVD set "The McCartney Years" with over 40 music videos and hours of Historic Live Performances was released in November 2007. His classical album "Ecco Cor Meum" (aka.. Behold My Heart), recorded with the Academy of St. Martin of the Fields and the boys of King's college Choir, was voted Classical Album of the Year in 2007. That same year, Paul McCartney began dating Nancy Shevell. The couple married in 2011, in London. Sir Paul's "On the Run Tour" once again took him flying across world from July through December 2011 giving sold out concerts in the USA, Canada, UK, United Arab Emirates, Italy, France, Germany, Sweden, Finland and Russia.
In July 2012, Paul McCartney rocked the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. He delivered a live performance of The Beatles's timeless hit "Hey Jude" and engaged the crowd of people from all over the world to join his band in a sing along finale. The show was seen by a live audience of close to 80000 people at the Olympic Park Stadium in addition to an estimated TV audience of two billion people worldwide.
On the long and winding road of his life and career, Sir Paul McCartney has been a highly respected entertainer and internationally regarded public figure.
Sidney Lumet was a master of cinema, best known for his technical knowledge and his skill at getting first-rate performances from his actors -- and for shooting most of his films in his beloved New York. He made over 40 movies, often complex and emotional, but seldom overly sentimental. Although his politics were somewhat left-leaning and he often treated socially relevant themes in his films, Lumet didn't want to make political movies in the first place. Born on June 25, 1924, in Philadelphia, the son of actor Baruch Lumet and dancer Eugenia Wermus Lumet, he made his stage debut at age four at the Yiddish Art Theater in New York. He played many roles on Broadway in the 1930s and also in the film ...One Third of a Nation.... After starting an off-Broadway acting troupe in the late 1940s, he became the director of many television shows in the 1950s. Lumet made his feature film directing debut with 12 Angry Men, which won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival and earned three Academy Award nominations. The courtroom drama, which takes place almost entirely in a jury room, is justly regarded as one of the most auspicious directorial debuts in film history. Lumet got the chance to direct Marlon Brando in The Fugitive Kind, an imperfect, but powerful adaptation of Tennessee Williams' "Orpheus Descending". The first half of the 1960s was one of Lumet's most artistically successful periods. Long Day's Journey Into Night, a masterful, brilliantly photographed adaptation of the Eugene O'Neill play, is one of several Lumet films about families. It earned Katharine Hepburn, Ralph Richardson, Dean Stockwell and Jason Robards deserved acting awards in Cannes and Hepburn an Oscar nomination. The alarming Cold War thriller Fail-Safe unfairly suffered from comparison to Stanley Kubrick's equally great satire Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, which was released shortly before. The Pawnbroker, arguably the most outstanding of the great movies Lumet made in this phase, tells the story of a Holocaust survivor who lives in New York and can't overcome his experiences in the Nazi concentration camps. Rod Steiger's unforgettable performance in the title role earned an Academy Award nomination. Lumet's intense character study The Hill about inhumanity in a military prison camp was the first of five films he did with Sean Connery. After the overly talky but rewarding drama The Group about young upper-class women in the 1930s, and the stylish spy thriller The Deadly Affair, the late 1960s turned out to be a lesser phase in Lumet's career. He had a strong comeback with the box-office hit The Anderson Tapes. The Offence was commercially less successful, but artistically brilliant - with Connery in one of his most impressive performances. The terrific cop thriller Serpico, the first of his films about police corruption in New York City, became one of his biggest critical and financial successes. Al Pacino's fascinating portrayal of the real-life cop Frank Serpico earned a Golden Globe and the movie earned two Academy Award nominations (it is worth noting that Lumet's feature films of the 1970s alone earned 30 Oscar nominations, winning six times). The love triangle Lovin' Molly was not always convincing in its atmospheric details, but Lumet's fine sense of emotional truth and a good Blythe Danner keep it interesting. The adaptation of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express, an exquisitely photographed murder mystery with an all-star cast, was a big success again. Lumet's complex crime thriller Dog Day Afternoon, which Pauline Kael called "one of the best "New York" movies ever made", gave Al Pacino the opportunity for a breathtaking, three-dimensional portrayal of a bisexual man who tries to rob a bank to finance his lover's sex-change operation. Lumet's next masterpiece, Network, was a prophetic satire on media and society. The film version of Peter Shaffer's stage play Equus about a doctor and his mentally confused patient was also powerful, not least because of the energetic acting by Richard Burton and Peter Firth. After the enjoyable musical The Wiz and the interesting but not easily accessible comedy Just Tell Me What You Want, Sidney Lumet won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for his outstanding direction of Prince of the City, one of his best and most typical films. It's about police corruption, but hardly a remake of Serpico. Starring a powerful Treat Williams, it's an extraordinarily multi-layered film. In his highly informative book "Making Movies" (1995), Lumet describes the film in the following way: "When we try to control everything, everything winds up controlling us. Nothing is what it seems." It's also a movie about values, friendship and drug addiction and, like "Serpico", is based on a true story. In Deathtrap, Lumet successfully blended suspense and black humor. The Verdict was voted the fourth greatest courtroom drama of all time by the American Film Institute in 2008. A few minor inaccuracies in legal details do not mar this study of an alcoholic lawyer (superbly embodied by Paul Newman) aiming to regain his self-respect through a malpractice case. The expertly directed movie received five Academy Award nominations. Lumet's controversial drama Daniel with Timothy Hutton, an adaptation of E.L. Doctorow's "The Book of Daniel" about two young people whose parents were executed during the McCarthy Red Scare hysteria in the 1950s for alleged espionage, is one of his underrated achievements. His later masterpiece Running on Empty has a similar theme, portraying a family which has been on the run from the FBI since the parents (played by Christine Lahti and Judd Hirsch) committed a bomb attack on a napalm laboratory in 1971 to protest the war in Vietnam. The son (played by River Phoenix in an extraordinarily moving, Oscar-nominated performance) falls in love with a girl and wishes to stay with her and study music. Naomi Foner's screenplay won the Golden Globe. Other Lumet movies of the 1980s are the melancholic comedy drama Garbo Talks; the occasionally clichéd Power about election campaigns; the all too slow thriller The Morning After and the amusing gangster comedy Family Business. With Q & A Lumet returned to the genre of the New York cop thriller. Nick Nolte shines in the role of a corrupt and racist detective in this multi-layered, strangely underrated film. Sadly, with the exception of Night Falls on Manhattan, an imperfect but fascinating crime drama in the tradition of his own previous genre works, almost none of Lumet's works of the 1990s did quite get the attention they deserved. The crime drama A Stranger Among Us blended genres in a way that did not seem to match most viewers' expectations, but its contemplations about life arouse interest. The intelligent hospital satire Critical Care was unfairly neglected as well. The courtroom thriller Guilty as Sin was cold but intriguing. Lumet's Gloria remake seemed unnecessary, but he returned impressively with the underestimated courtroom comedy Find Me Guilty and the justly acclaimed crime thriller Before the Devil Knows You're Dead. In 2005, Sidney Lumet received a well-deserved honorary Academy Award for his outstanding contribution to filmmaking. Sidney Lumet tragically died of cancer in 2011.
She has a wonderful, extremely engaging "feel good" quality about her, an innate warmth that makes you root for her whether she's playing a stubborn single mom, brittle prostitute, or strung-out alcoholic. Marsha Mason was a resoundingly respected and popular film actress of the 1970s and 1980s whose career skyrocketed in the bittersweet comedies/dramas of award-winning Neil Simon. Earning a string of leading lady Oscar nominations within a short span of time (three of them, courtesy of husband Simon), Marsha's movie career suffered a major fall-out when the famed couple parted ways in 1983 -- most probably due to her almost exclusive, amazingly successful association with him.
The elder of two sisters born to James Joseph Mason and Jacqueline Helena (Rachowsky) Mason in St. Louis, Missouri, on April 3, 1942, Marsha was raised, for a time, in Crestwood, Missouri, before moving to Webster Groves (a suburb of St. Louis) and graduating from Nerinx Hall High School. There, she attended Webster University and, after receiving her degree, moved to New York where she began taking acting classes and finding some work in TV commercials in-between regular job-hunting.
Marrying fellow struggling actor Gary Campbell in 1965, Marsha made an inauspicious movie debut with the forgettable Hot Rod Hullabaloo. Focusing intently on stage work, she made her professional debut in 1967 with "The Deer Park" at the Theatre de Lys and, the next year, joined the cast as a replacement in the established hit comedy, "Cactus Flower", at the Royale Theatre. Subsequent work came her way both on- and off-Broadway ("It's Called the Sugar Plum", "The Indian Wants the Bronx", "Happy Birthday, Wanda June", "Richard III"). She later hooked up with San Francisco's prestigious American Conservatory Theatre and appeared in an enviable number of their productions ("The Merchant of Venice", "Private Lives", "You Can't Take It With You", "A Doll's House", "Cyrano de Bergerac", "The Crucible"). Daytime soaps played a vital part during this period of time (1969-1972), playing a hooker-turned-vampire on the popular Dark Shadows series and winning regular roles on Where the Heart Is and Love of Life. Divorced in 1970, the pert-nosed, dark-haired beauty met Neil Simon, a recent widower, when he cast her in his 1973 original Broadway production of "The Good Doctor". They had a whirlwind romance and married with a few weeks. 1973 was an excellent year in other ways in that she won the second femme lead in Blume in Love, starring George Segal and Susan Anspach, and then beat out such stars as Barbra Streisand for the coveted role of the hooker opposite James Caan's sailor in the realistic drama Cinderella Liberty. The chemistry was electric between the two and Mason earned her first Oscar nod. Following a leading stage role in "The Heiress" (1975) and playing "Roxane" in a TV version of Cyrano de Bergerac, Marsha earned two more Neil Simon-driven Oscar nominations with The Goodbye Girl, opposite Oscar winner Richard Dreyfuss, and Chapter Two, which reunited her with James Caan and was based on Mason and Simon's own relationship.
Simon would offer his wife Oscar-worthy material one more time with Only When I Laugh, as an alcoholic trying to stay on the wagon for daughter Kristy McNichol. This would be her fourth and final Academy Award nod. The couple's last film project together came in the form of Max Dugan Returns, which was a major misfire. Marsha's divorce that same year from Simon took the wind right out of her sails as her film product decreased rapidly in quantity as well as quality. With the exception of the Clint Eastwood vehicle, Heartbreak Ridge, she made no other films in the 1980s. While her film output did increase in the 1990s, none of them -- Stella, Drop Dead Fred, I Love Trouble, Nick of Time and 2 Days in the Valley -- did anything to jump-start her waning cinematic career.
Over the years, Marsha maintained by focusing on TV and stage work. More recent theatre credits have included "The Night of the Iguana", "The Prisoner of Second Avenue" (another popular Simon work in which she appeared opposite Richard Dreyfuss in London), "Wintertime", "Steel Magnolias", "I Never Sang for My Father", "All's Well that Ends Well" and the Simon play "California Suite", some of which played Broadway. On the small screen, she starred in her own short-lived series Sibs and appeared in an Emmy-nominated recurring role on the series, Frasier, as a love interest for Martin Crane. She has also appeared in a number of TV-movies, including one as Judy Garland's mother, "Ethel Gumm", in Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows, and has guest-starred on such series as Seinfeld, Lipstick Jungle, Army Wives and The Middle. On a rare occasion, she has directed in both of these mediums. Feeling out of sorts in Hollywood at one stage, Marsha strongly pursued her spiritual side, primarily as a disciple of Swami Muktananda. She later moved to New Mexico in 1993 and she became an owner of an organic farm where she raised herbs and operated a wellness line of bath and body products. She also enjoyed professional race car driving at one point. An insightful, highly revealing autobiography came out in the form of "Journal: A Personal Odyssey" in 2000.
Best recalled as the eldest son and first member of the "Bonanza" Cartwright clan to permanently leave the Ponderosa in the hopes of greener acting pastures, dark, deep-voiced and durably handsome Pernell Roberts' native roots lay in Georgia. Born Pernell Elvin Roberts, Jr. on May 18, 1928, in North Carolina and moved to Waycross as an infant, he was singing in local USO shows while still in high school (where he appeared in plays and played the horn). He attended both Georgia Tech and the University of Maryland but flunked out of both colleges, with a two-year stint as a Marine stuck somewhere in between. He eventually decided to give acting a chance and supported himself as a butcher, forest ranger, and railroad riveter during the lean years while pursuing his craft.
On stage from the early 1950s, he gained experience in such productions as "The Adding Machine," "The Firebrand" and "Faith of Our Fathers" before spending a couple of years performing the classics with the renowned Arena Stage Company in Washington, DC. Productions there included "The Taming of the Shrew" (as Petruchio), "The Playboy of the Western Word," "The Glass Menagerie," "The Importance of Being Earnest," and "Twelfth Night." He made his Broadway debut in 1955 with "Tonight in Samarkind" and that same year won the "Best Actor" Drama Desk Award for his off-Broadway performance as "Macbeth," which was immediately followed by "Romeo and Juliet" as Mercutio. Other Broadway plays include "The Lovers" (1956) with Joanne Woodward, "A Clearing in the Woods" (1957) with Kim Stanley, a return to Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew" (1957) and "The Duchess of Malfi" (1957). He returned to Broadway fifteen years later as the title role opposite Ingrid Bergman in "Captain Brassbound's Conversion" (1972).
Pernell then headed for Hollywood and found minor roles in films before landing the pivotal role of Ben Cartwright's oldest and best-educated son Adam in the Bonanza series in 1959. The series made Roberts a bona fide TV star, while the program itself became the second longest-running TV western (after "Gunsmoke") and first to be filmed in color. At the peak of his and the TV show's popularity, Pernell, displeased with the writing and direction of the show, suddenly elected not to renew his contract and left at the end of the 1964-1965 season to the utter dismay of his fans. The show continued successfully without him, but a gap was always felt in the Cartwright family by this abrupt departure. The story line continued to leave open the possibility of a return if desired, but Pernell never did.
With his newfound freedom, Roberts focused on singing and the musical stage. One solo album was filled with folks songs entitled "Come All Ye Fair and Tender Ladies." Besides such standard roles in "Camelot" and "The King and I," he starred as Rhett Butler to Lesley Ann Warren's Scarlett O'Hara in a musical version of "Gone with the Wind" that did not fare well, and appeared in another misguided musical production based on the life of "Mata Hari." During this period he became an avid civil rights activist and joined other stalwarts such as Dick Gregory, Joan Baez and Harry Belafonte who took part in civil rights demonstrations during the 60s, including the Selma March.
The following years were rocky. He never found a solid footing in films with roles in rugged, foreign films such as The Kashmiri Run [The Kashmiri Run], Four Rode Out, making little impression. He maintained a viable presence in TV, however, with parts in large-scale mini-series and guest shots on TV helping to keep some momentum. In 1979 he finally won another long-running series role (and an Emmy nomination) as Trapper John, M.D. in which he recreated the Wayne Rogers TV M*A*S*H role. Pernell was now heavier, bearded and pretty close to bald at this juncture (he was already wearing a toupee during his early "Bonanza" years), but still quite virile and attractive. The medical drama co-starring Gregory Harrison ran seven seasons.
The natural-born Georgia rebel was a heavily principled man and spent a life-time of work fighting racism, segregation, and sexism, notably on TV. He was constantly at odds with the "Bonanza" series writers of his concerns regarding equality. He also kept his private life private. Married and divorced three times, he had one son, Jonathan Christopher, by first wife Vera. Jonathan was killed in a motorcycle crash in 1989. In the 1990s, Pernell starred in his last series as host of FBI: The Untold Stories. It had a short life-span.
Retiring in the late 1990s, Roberts was diagnosed with cancer in 2007 and died about two years later at age 81 on January 24, 2010, survived by fourth wife Eleanor Criswell. As such, the rugged actor, who never regretted leaving the "Bonanza" series, managed to outlive the entire Cartwright clan (Dan Blocker died in 1972; Lorne Greene in 1987); and Michael Landon in 1991).
Rudy Youngblood is Native American of Comanche and Cree decent. Growing up, he never called one place home, but went to school and graduated in the small town of Belton,Texas. He is proud of his roots. Prior to making his on-screen debut in Mel Gibson's Oscar nominated film, "Apocalypto"(2006), Youngblood worked as a laborer in a variety of fields. For instance, he toured for three seasons with Peter Buffet's Native American Dance/Theatrical Production, "Spirit-The Seventh Fire", as a warrior protector. Rudy was also part of the Native American Dance Theatre. However, in 2005, Youngblood decided to move to Los Angeles to create his own theatrical production. It was at this point he was cast for the lead role of 'Jaguar Paw' in Apocalypto. Youngblood spent weeks preparing for the filming of the movie, for which he had less than a month to learn the Yucatan Mayan language. In addition, due to his natural athleticism, he performed all his own stunts, including a death-defying 175 ft free fall during the waterfall scene and running in front of a live two hundred pound jaguar. According to stunt coordinator Mic Rodgers, "Rudy is the purest athlete I've ever met. He has his head together and is totally on top of his game. If he wasn't an actor, he could very well be a stuntman." Youngblood also starred in other films, including the lead role as 'Brandon' in the 2010, MMA film, "Beatdown", a natural role for Youngblood considering he was no stranger to the world of mixed martial arts. (As of May 2016) When it comes to cinema, Youngblood is currently working on several up coming pictures, side by side with the best in the business. Rudy recently had the pleasure of working with director Russell Friedenberg for the upcoming movie release Wind Walkers. Also debuting this year is Crossing Point by Daniel Zirrilli. He is currently attached to several other pictures, including The Dance of the Blue Tattoo. He is executive producer, and also starring in the upcoming film Say Something. Rudy is also co-producer and leading role in upcoming film AG-1 Adrift. Rudy is very talented and is one of the few mainstream Native American actors of his generation. He has endured many struggles in his life and prevailed hardships as a child and young adult. Many would have faltered and taken a different direction when faced with the obstacles that life placed on his path. He loves being able to speak and motivate youth across the country when given the opportunity. To Youngblood, youth are the future, so he feels obligated and privileged to share his knowledge with them. He hopes his struggles are one example which will motivate youth to strive for success, have a positive outlook on life, and encourage individual personal growth.
Monte Markham- Actor, Director, Filmmaker
While enjoying a substantial career as a versatile, award winning actor/director/writer in feature motion pictures, television, and on Broadway, in 1992, Monte, with his son Jason Markham and wife Klaire Markham, founded their independent production company, "Perpetual Motion Films". The rest is history.
With innovative style and high production quality, they immediately hit the ground running, producing 26 hours of programming for US News and the A&E Network. Quickly evolving as a multi-disciplined "can-do" company, they expanded production and were soon filming multi-hour documentaries and series programming on locations all over the world. Monte has produced, directed, narrated, and appeared as on-camera host for over 150 hours of documentary films for network television, launching The History Channel with their 35-hour series, The Great Ships, and 10 premiere "Epic" Biographies that inaugurated A&E's landmark Biography series. Today, with over 2,000 biographies on Amazon, his Michelangelo remains among the all time best sellers.
From the Amazon to the Arctic, filming on every kind of commercial and military machine that floats, flies, races, or dives, Monte's producer/director assignments have taken him from carrier landings and launches, ground zero at the World Trade Center, 30 below on the Greenland Icepack, to the most intimate levels of culture, peoples, and governments in China, Japan, the UK, Europe, Russia, Brazil, India, Africa, and the US.
He was the first Westerner to use an all-Chinese crew for his 2,000 mile journey up the Yangtze for China's Great Dam, filming the Dam construction, the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, and the Forbidden City. For The Imperial Japanese Navy, with an all- Japanese crew,he achieved unprecedented access to historical, sacred, and controversial locations, and was invited to film on board the 75 ship Grand Review with Premier Koizumi. For The Russian Navy, Monte was the first American to film the Russian Typhoon Class Submarine - the world's largest - at its secret base in the Arctic Circle.
With Prince Andrew as Host, Prince Phillip at Greenwich, on locations at Windsor, Portsmouth, and throughout the UK, he produced and directed the 4 hour Royal Navy.
Throughout his years of non-stop world-wide production, Monte found little opportunity to accept acting offers. In 2009, deciding it was time to wind down a full time, aggressive production schedule, he resumed his acting career - and has found a whole new world of opportunity.
|Yayaying Rhatha Phongam
Born Rhatha Phongam, Thai actress and pop star Yayaying (Ying for short) is the daughter of famed comedic actor Noi Phongam. Yayaying has recorded with some of Thailand's top talents, and released her debut album when she was only 16. She is also an excellent dancer, and has studied ballet since she was 6 years old.
An international talent- fluent in both Thai and English, Yayaying has stared in productions in Thailand Germany, and most notably in acclaimed director Nicolas Winding Refn's "Only God Forgives", along with Hollywood star Ryan Gosling.
Yayaying is now filming as the headed cast of "Jan Dara" the erotic Thai movie base on the novel by Utsana Phleungtham about the sexual rivalry between a Thai nobleman and his illegitimate son directed by ML Pantewanop Devakula on September 2012 release in Thailand.
As rugged as he is genteel, 6'2", 220-lb. Patrick Kilpatrick has been one of the finest screen/television character actors and villains of his generation, playing against a spectrum of Hollywood's leading action heroes while occasionally delivering the redemptive, even sensitively challenged, hard-edged heroic role.
After nearly dying in a car crash as a teenager, he rehabilitated to the point where he could largely do his own stunts in his more than 100 films and TV projects. His action film appearances span a multitude of genres and embrace an international Who's Who of leading men: The Replacement Killers against Yun-Fat Chow; Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Caan in Eraser; Last Man Standing opposite Bruce Willis; Under Siege 2: Dark Territory opposite Steven Segal; The Presidio opposite Sean Connery and Mark Harmon; two award-winning and highly rated original cable westerns opposite Tom Selleck, Last Stand at Saber River and Crossfire Trail; one western opposite Sam Elliot and Kate Capshaw, HBO's Premiere Films adaptation of Louis L'Amour's The Quick and the Dead; and the ever-popular action mainstay Death Warrant opposite Jean-Claude Van Damme, as "The Sandman". He has even done battle with the largest mammal on earth in Free Willy 3: The Rescue.
The versatile Kilpatrick has played leads in everything from American Playhouse to Nicolas Roeg's masterwork Insignificance (his film debut) to William Shakespeare's "Antony and Cleopatra" at the Los Angeles Theater Center in the hands of Academy Award-winning director Tony Richardson. His resume includes recurring roles on such hit television shows as Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and Tour of Duty, Dark Angel, Stephen King's popular miniseries The Stand, HBO's Arli$$ and many, many more. It was his work on James Cameron's "Dark Angel" series that led Steven Spielberg to seek him out for Minority Report.
In a whirlwind 18-month period Kilpatrick did five major studio films, two independents and 27 television guest star spots on 18 different shows. The pace continues to the present with appearances on Boomtown, Las Vegas, Blind Justice, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, 24 as Secret Service Agent Dale Spaulding--the man who "killed" Jack Bauer"--Criminal Minds and James Woods Shark.
Kilpatrick, president and CEO of Uncommon Dialogue Films, Inc. (UDF), is the writer/producer/director of the upcoming film "Vain Attempt." In addition to "Vain Attempt" UDF has a dynamic slate of arresting movies including "Naked Warriors" set in the Pacific in 1943, "Lady Pirates", "The End of the Onslaught" set in WWII Germany and "Nine Heroes in the Rape of Nanking" set in 1937 China, plus two documentaries and a television series "Natural Laws" concerning US Fish and Wildlife Special Agents amidst global threat of illegal wildlife traffic and ecological calamity. He travels the world organizing film, ecological business development and acting. UDF recently hosted the Entertainment Conservation Summit in northern California, a first-time assemblage of Hollywood heavyweights and representatives of global outdoor sports and ecological groups. The UDF series "Natural Laws" was presented there.
A single father, Kilpatrick has two sons, Ben and Sam. His interests range from politics to fashion, veterans' affairs to solar/wind energy application, gun ownership to Mohandas K. Gandhi. He has traveled to Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates and Kyrgyzstan with the USO, entertaining troops as part of the Henry Rollins/Patrick Kilpatrick South West Asia Tour and is active with the Coalition to Salute Americas' Heroes, Brooke Army Medical Center (San Antonio, TX) and California Paralyzed Veterans. Patrick, trained as an actor by Navy Seals and the LAPD, is a member of the Sons of The American Revolution, and cam trace his ancestors back to the American colonies in the 1640s. His father received the Silver Star for his actions at the battle of Okinawa in World War II as a member of an Underwater Demolition Team (UDT), a predecessor of the Navy SEALS--the inspiration for "Naked Warriors". He has a strong appreciation of linguistics and global ecological development, has been known to utilize dialects while acting and has been a gastronome of organic, elegant food and beverage for 35 years.
Sylvia Sidney was born in New York City, in the Bronx borough, on August 8, 1910 with the birth name of Sophia Kosow. Her father was Russian born and her mother was born in Romania. They divorced not long after her birth. Her mother subsequently remarried and Sylvia was adopted by her stepfather, Sigmund Sidney.
Sylvia was a shy child and her parents tried to encourage her to be more outgoing and gregarious. As an early teen, Sylvia had decided that she wanted a stage career. While most parents would have looked down on such an announcement, Sylvia was encouraged to pursue the dream she had made. She was enrolled in the Theater Guild's School for Acting. Sylvia later admitted that when she decided to become a stage actress at 15, it wasn't being starstruck that occurred to her, but the expression of beauty that encompassed acting. All she wanted was to be identified with good productions. One school production was held at a Broadway theater and in the audience there was a critic from the New York Times who had nothing but rave reviews for the young Miss Sidney. On the strength of her performance in New York, Sylvia appeared in a play at the famed Poli Theater in Washington, D.C. More stage productions followed, each better than the last and it wasn't long before the film moguls were at the doorstep.
Sylvia was appearing in the stage production of "Crime" when she made her first appearance on the silver screen in 1927. The film in question was "Broadway Nights" which was dealt with stage personalities of which Sylvia was one. After the film she returned to the stage where she appeared in creations which were, for the most part, forgettable.
With the plays drying up, Sylvia moved to Colorado to tour with a stock company. She later returned to Broadway for a series of other plays. By 1929, Sylvia was on the big screen with "The Different Eyes" as Valerie Briand. There was another film, "Five Minutes From The Station" the following year. Sylvia was slowly leaving the stage for the production studios of Paramount. 1931 saw her appear in five films, of which, "City Streets" made her a star. She was very aware that she was replacing the great Clara Bow, who by now was suffering from severe depression. The contrast between the two actresses was very great indeed and the movie was a hit. The sad-eyed Sylvia made a tremendous impact and her screen career was off a running. Her next film was "Ladies of The Big House" later in '31. Sylvia played Kathleen Storm, part of a couple framed for a murder they didn't commit. The film made huge profits at the box-office. Co-starring with Fredric March, she then made "Merrilly We Go To Hell" in 1932. The results of the film was, again, an unqualified success. Later she made "Madame Butterfly" as geisha girl, Cho-Cho San. Here she played in one of the worst productions to date. Most critics agreed that Miss Sidney's performance saved the film from total disaster. In 1933, Sylvia starred in "Jeannie Gerhardt" in the role of the same name. Yet another doom and gloom picture, she played a girl beset with poverty and the death of her young husband before their child could be born. This turned out to be one fine performance and one fine motion picture. Sylvia received the star spotlight in 1934's "Good Dame". Despite her grand performance, the film failed miserably at the box-office, due in part to the miscast of co-star Fredric March. Sylvia scored big with the film critics with "Mary Burns", "Fugitive" (1935). Here she played a law abiding restaurant owner who falls for a big time gangster. Her performance was overshadowed by the appearance of Alan Baxter who gave an outstanding portrayal as the gangster. That film was quickly followed by "Accent On Youth" where she played Linda Brown, a young lady who was fascinated by older men. In 1938, Sylvia played in "You and Me" opposite George Raft. The film critics gave it mixed reviews and because of that it didn't do well at the box-office. Afterwards, the roles began to dissipate. Sylvia filmed "One Third of a Nation" and then wasn't seen again until "The Wagons Roll at Night"(1941).
There was a four year hiatus before "Blood On The Sun". In 1946, Sylvia starred in "The Searching Wind" where she played Cassie Bowman. The movie was based on a Broadway play but it just didn't transfer well onto the big screen. The film was widely considered to be too serious and flopped with the movie fans. After 1947's "Love From A Stranger" she didn't appear again until "Les Miserables" in 1952. Only three more films followed that decade. There were no films throughout the 1960s. After appearing in a made for television movie, Sylvia returned to the big screen in "Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams". With a few movie appearances, here and there, she appeared in several made for TV flicks. In 1988, she appeared as Juno in the mega hit "Beetlejuice". Her last film for the silver screen was "Mars Attacks"! in 1996. In 1998 she was Clia in the TV series "Fantasy Island". Sylvia died on July 1, 1999, of throat cancer. To the end, she proved to be a very adept actress.
In 1986, while doing theatre in Dallas, Texas, Shockley was cast by Paul Verhoeven in the genre defining classic, Robocop. His next decision was simple. Sell everything and make the move. With a SAG card in his pocket, a few dollars in his wallet, and three boxes and a suitcase in his car, Shockley drove the long and winding road from Texas to California, arriving in Los Angeles the night before the Robocop premiere. The journey had begun.
Within a month, Shockley landed an agent and was soon cast in his first TV guest role on Houston Knights. His work burgeoned, amassing a career defined by an array of sui generis characters. With standout performances in Showgirls, Dream Lover and Madison, Shockley also won over audiences for six years as Hank Lawson, the antihero saloonkeeper in CBS' highly regarded drama, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, starring Jane Seymour. As evidence to his character's popularity, Shockley was given a development deal by CBS and starred in his own series, a Dr. Quinn spin-off series, California.
Having spent his youth writing poetry and lyrics, Shockley's appreciation for the written word evolved. After reading countless scripts as an actor, he began focusing on scriptwriting. His first feature script to get made was Welcome to Paradis (2007), co-written with Brent Huff, a family film about a 'left of center' female preacher with a struggling congregation, needing her help as much as she needed them, starring Crystal Bernard and Brian Dennehy.
He followed that effort with Cat City (2008), co-written with Brent Huff, a film noir thriller about the underbelly of greed, passion and revenge in a Palm Springs real estate investment scam gone terribly wrong, starring Rebecca Pidgeon and Julian Sands.
Momentum grew when Shockley met writer/director Dustin Rikert. To date, they have co-written and produced six films together, starting with The Gundown (2011), a western about one man's quest to exact revenge for the death of his family, starring Peter Coyote and Sheree J. Wilson.
The duo then wrote Dug Up (2015), a redneck-stoner-zombie-comedy about three small town dimwits on a mission to find hidden gold, but instead unleash the undead.
Shockley and Rikert then scripted Born Wild (2014), a story about a man from a broken family with a troubled past, and the path leading to reconciliation, starring Shockley, Barry Corbin and Tanya Clarke. Additional firepower was added when Kix Brooks was cast in his acting debut. Brooks had recently left the iconic country music duo, Brooks & Dunn, and the timing was perfect.
Shockley, Rikert and Brooks enjoyed working together, so they teamed up again on the Rikert-Shockley project, Ambush at Dark Canyon (2014), a western about a lawman falsely accused of murder and his journey to find the killer, starring Kix Brooks and Ernie Hudson.
Shockley, Rikert and Brooks then decided to create a film production company together, bringing Kix's son, Eric Brooks, into the company, and the four founded, Team Two Entertainment.
Shockley, Rikert and Eric Brooks then wrote A Country Christmas (2013), a family story about Santa Claus losing his magical powers, and how two little kids help save him before Christmas is abandoned altogether, starring Joey Lauren Adams, Abraham Benrubi and Kevin Pollack, with Kix Brooks serving as Executive Producer.
Shockley and Rikert were then hired to write Hot Bath 'an a Stiff Drink (2015) along with Matthew Gratzner, a western about identical twins separated at birth and their unlikely reunion 30-years later, starring Rex Linn, Ronnie Blevins and Grainger Hines.
In addition to writing and producing, Shockley will appear in two more upcoming films, Reaper (2014), a horror film about a man who survives a prison electric chair, escapes, and then organizes a massive killing spree, starring Danny Trejo, Vinnie Jones and Jake Busey, and Finding Harmony (2015), a tale about a famous country singer separated from his family and how tragedy brings them back together, starring Billy Zane and Allison Eastwood.
Born in Lawrence, Kansas, Shockley was raised in a gypsy lifestyle, moving twenty times in nearly as many years. Settling in Texas, he attended the University of Texas in Austin and graduated from Texas Tech University.
After moving to Los Angeles and landing a slew of episodic and movie-of-the-week roles, Shockley won a lead role in the feature film Howling: Rebirth (1989), then appeared in The Adventures of Ford Fairlane (1990), starring Andrew Dice Clay, Street Asylum (1990), Switch (1991), starring Ellen Barkin, Girl in the Cadillac (1995), starring Erika Elaniak, and The Joyriders (1999), starring Martin Landau and Kris Kristofferson.
Other past films include Last Will (2011), starring Tatum O'Neal and James Brolin, Treasure Raiders (2007), filmed on location in Moscow, Russia, starring David Carradine and Sherilyn Fenn, Madison (2005), starring Jim Caviezel and Bruce Dern, and Suckers (2001), starring Lori Loughlin.
Having first worked with Paul Verhoeven on Robocop (1987), Shockley was cast again by Verhoeven in the controversial film, Showgirls (1995), starring Elizabeth Berkley and Gina Gershon. Shockley played rock star Andrew Carver, described by British Premiere magazine as 'a prince of darkness', and lauded by The New York Times as 'breathtakingly crude.
He also appeared in the Nicholas Kazan film, Dream Lover (1993), starring James Spader and Madchen Amick. Shockley's memorable performance was singled out by Janet Maslin of The New York Times as 'scene stealing'.
In television, Shockley starred opposite Whoopi Goldberg in the CBS sitcom, Bagdad Cafe, and then starred opposite Teri Garr in the critically acclaimed ABC series, Good & Evil.
Jackie Collins cast him back to back in two of her popular NBC mini-series, Lucky Chances with Nicolette Sheridan and Lady Boss with Kim Delaney. Shockley also starred with Janine Turner in the CBS film, Stolen Women, playing General George Custer. Charleston's The Post & Courier wrote, William Shockley threatens to steal this show with a convincing, condemning portrayal of that narcissistic scourge of the plains.'
In addition to producing films, Shockley and Team Two Entertainment have produced three music videos for Kix Brooks, New To This Town, Moonshine Road and Bring It On Home, and Randy Houser Like A Cowboy. Prior to this, Shockley produced music videos for Megan Mullins Long Past Gone, Ash Bowers Stuck and David St. Romaine That's Love.
Aside from acting, Shockley does extensive voice over work in television and radio advertising. He has been the voice on campaigns for Enterprise, Sony, Sprint, Bausch & Lomb, AT&T, Toyota, Siemens, Cisco Systems, Isuzu, Fruit of the Loom and XM Satellite Radio, to name a few.
In the world of on air radio, Shockley hosted 52 weeks of The Road, a syndicated country music program airing in 200 cities. The program featured live country music concert tracks mixed with interviews with the artists. The Road was nominated by Billboard Magazine as Best Syndicated Radio Program.
Sam Lerner got his start in show business at the age of 9 after he happened to strike up a conversation with actress/director/writer Ellen Gerstein and actress Dot-Marie Jones at a New Year's Eve party he was attending with his family. Thinking Sam a natural for the business, Gerstein offered to introduce Sam to respected Hollywood talent manager, Susan Curtis. Sam's parents initially balked but Sam begged for the opportunity. When, two weeks later, he took the microphone at his sister's bat mitzvah party and began roasting his sister with the assurance and panache of a Vegas emcee, Sam's parents realized that Sam did indeed have the show biz gene and agreed to let him pursue acting. His sister's bat mitzvah photographer snapped Sam's first headshot, Sam met with Curtis and before long, he was alternating auditions with school, baseball, basketball, Hebrew School and skateboarding.
Sam's big break came four months later when Barry Levinson cast him in the movie, "Envy," which starred one of his favorite actors, Ben Stiller, and gave Sam a chance to work with Jack Black, Rachel Weisz, Amy Poehler and Christopher Walken. Soon after, Sam booked his first television pilot, ABC's "My Life With Men." Sam continued to work in television, movies, video games,and plays at his school and synagogue. Sam has been lucky enough to work with such producers as Steven Spielberg, Robert Zemeckis and Michael Bay and for such directors as Levinson, Brett Ratner and Gil Kenan. One of his favorite roles was playing "Chowder" in the motion capture movie, "Monster House:" Having fun with Mitchel Musso and Spencer Locke, craft services and riding around the Culver Studios lot in a golf cart beats school. By a lot.
Sam also had the honor of voicing the character "Zak Saturday" in Jay Stephens' cartoon show, "The Secret Saturdays.' (2013) and had a recurring role on the ABC show "Suburgatory" as the nerdy but cute brainiac "Evan." (2014)
Sam has had the benefit of a live-in acting coach in the form of his father, Ken Lerner, who owns an acting school, is a top teacher for the New York Film Academy, and has a steady acting career of his own. The two played each other at different ages in a Wells Fargo television commercial.
Sam's acting pedigree comes from both sides of the family. His maternal grandmother was an actress off off Broadway and in commercials, his aunt starred in the Steven Sondheim musical, "Merrily We Roll Along" on Broadway and his maternal great-grandmother, Mary Seleznick, was first cousin to American film producer, David O. Selznick and babysat him as a child. Sam's first two movies, coincidentally, were filmed at the studio where Selznick made "Gone With The Wind."
Sam's most recent projects are the low budget movies "Walk of Fame," "Stripped of Innocence" and the Bay-produced Paramount time travel movie, "Project Almanac." Sam has a recurring role on the ABC show, "The Goldbergs" as "Geoff Schwartz."
Charlotte Sophie Kirk was born in Kent, England. Her passion for acting began at the age of 11 when she fell in love with the stage. She has since performed in Greek dramas and plays such as "Agamemnon," "Arturo Ui," "A Christmas Carol," "Oliver Twist," and "Hairspray." Having attended the prestigious Italia Conti School of Acting in London, her skills were further refined at The Miskin Theatre and Jigsaw Performing Arts. While studying theatre arts, she appeared in commercials for Nintendo Wii and UK Orange Telecom.
Charlotte also became sought after and was photographed for magazines internationally, in particular by renowned Vogue photographer Patrick Demarchelier.
In early 2015, Charlotte Kirk landed a starring role in "Vice" opposite Bruce Willis and Thomas Jane, a sci-fi futuristic thriller. Charlotte has completed seven feature films, including "Black Dog Red Dog" with James Franco, "Fractured" with Vinnie Jones, "Seduced and Abandoned," directed by James Toback, and "Tekken: Kazuya's Revenge," where she plays a female assassin.
She will also be starring as Nicole Brown Simpson in the upcoming feature film "An American Mystery".
"Gone With The Wind" is her all-time favorite film, as she admires strong heroines. Charlotte presently resides in Los Angeles and is managed by Endorse Management Group and Headline Talent Agency.
Keesha Sharp's latest role is Trish Murtaugh, wife of the iconic character Roger Murtaugh on the FOX series Lethal Weapon . Coming later this year is also her costarring role opposite Chadwick Boseman in the biopic feature "Marshall" (2016) .
Recently, Keesha played Dale Cochran opposite Courtney B. Vance on the hit series American Crime Story "The People Vs OJ Simpson". Keesha is mostly known for her role as Gigi on the comedy Are We There Yet? (TBS / Syndication), Sheila on Everybody Hates Chris and especially Monica Charles Brooks on the hit series Girlfriends (UPN/CW/Syndication). Her role as "Monica" garnered her a nomination for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.
You've probably seen Keesha on one of her many spirited performances as a guest star including Elementary, Instant Mom , The Exes , Cold Case , Melissa & Joey Detroit 1-8-7, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Still Standing, The Game, The Tracy Morgan Show, As the World Turns, _"Another World" (1990)_ (v), _"Welcome to New York" (2003)_ and Third Watch
She was also on the big screen in the Tyler Perry film Why Did I Get Married? alongside Perry and Janet Jackson, Ernest Dickinson's Never Die Alone, the comedy Malibu's Most Wanted, Pootie Tang with Chris Rock, American Adobo and Shattered
The Boston Herald says in its "Are We There Yet?" review: "As unabashed man-trap Gigi, Keesha Sharp shines as the series' brightest spot".
Keesha was born in Rochester, New York, where she studied the clarinet, piano and cello at the prestigious Hochstein School of Music. Her enthusiasm for school theatre led her to apply to The Boston Conservatory, where she received a scholarship to study theatre. After graduating cum laude with a BFA from the Conservatory, Keesha set her sights on the stage. She performed in the national tour of "Carousel", debuted Off-Broadway in Mike Bradford's "Living in the Wind" and played eight different roles in the interactive comedy "Eat the Runt". Other theatre performances include "Abyssinia", "Aida", "Thunder Knockin'", "Jitney", "The Producers", "Big Street", "Suburb" and "Joe Turner's Come and Gone", in which she read alongside playwright August Wilson himself.
If you have followed Keesha for any amount of time, you'll know how passionate she is about Health, Humanitarianism and Fitness. She and her husband started the health resource Fishers of Health ( http://www.fishersofhealth.com ) and have a web series forthcoming by the same name.
She is also a proud member of the DGA as a Director.
In addition to her work on the screen and stage, Keesha is a talented writer. She has co-written a screenplay with award-winning novelist Thomas F. Monteleone and has several writing projects for TV in the works.
This wholesome "Chatty Cathy" delight had all the earmarkings of becoming a dithery TV star in the early 70s and a couple of sitcom vehicles were handed to her with silver platter-like enthusiasm. Neither, however, made the best use of her elfin charm and both series died a quick death. Nonetheless, Sandy Duncan went on to become a Disney film lead, a TV commodity pitching crackers and arguably the best Peter Pan Broadway has ever offered. Like Sally Field and Karen Valentine before her, Sandy had a potentially terminable case of the cutes that often did her more harm than good. But also, like the others, her talent won out.
The story goes that this wistful tomboy felt like an outsider growing up in her native Texas because of her desires to be an actress. The elder of two girls born to a gas station owner, she trained in dance and appeared in productions of "The King and I" and "The Music Man" as a teen. Sandra Kay Duncan cast all negativity and self doubt aside and packed her bags for New York upon leaving Lon Morris Junior College (in Texas). She made an enchanting Wendy in "Peter Pan" the following year and soon poised herself as a triple threat on stage (singer/dancer/actress). She married Broadway actor Bruce Scott in 1968 and appeared in the rock musical "Your Own Thing" that same year. Taking her first Broadway curtain call and grabbing a Tony nomination in a bawdy musical version of Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales", she next won the soubrette role of Maisie in the Jazz-age musical "The Boy Friend". She managed to steal the thunder right from under star Judy Carne (who had just left the cast of TV's "Laugh-In" in order to branch out) and earned her second Tony nomination -- this time as "Best Actress".
The toothy strawberry blonde was a sensation and in 1970 Time Magazine named her "the most promising face of tomorrow". All this buildup reached the ears of Disney who decided to take a chance and cast her opposite Disney perennial Dean Jones in the featherweight comedy film The Million Dollar Duck. TV also saw her potential and featured her sparkling mug more and more in commercials. She then took on the title role in the film version of Neil Simon's comedy hit Star Spangled Girl, which turned out to be a major disappointment.
An untried talent on the primetime scene, CBS decided Sandy had enough promise and star quality to be given her own TV sitcom. Replacing Melba Moore at the last minute in the weekly show Funny Face, the storyline had Duncan playing single, independently-minded Sandy Stockton, a corn-fed Midwestern who heads to the big-city (Los Angeles) where she winds up in TV commercials while pursuing a teaching degree at UCLA. The series was a success and was a Top 10 show, but Duncan began experiencing severe headaches on the set and a tumor was discovered on her optic nerve. She had to leave the series and it was consequently pulled from the air. The series' sudden departure led to a misconception among some viewers that it had been canceled. Following a lengthy and delicate operation, the doctors managed to save her eye but she lost all vision in it.
The following year the show was revamped and retitled. Duncan returned as Sandy Stockton. This time she was a single working girl who created chaos at an ad agency. This second incarnation of her series failed to regain the audience that the first incarnation had had. The Sandy Duncan Show was canceled by mid-December. In the meantime, she divorced her first husband in 1972 and married Dr. Thomas Calcateera a year later, whom she met while undergoing her eye operation. They would divorce six years later.
After the demise of her second series, Sandy refocused on her strengths -- musical comedy -- and maintained her profile as a guest star on such variety shows as "The Sonny & Cher Show", "The Flip Wilson Show", "The Tonight Show" and "Laugh-In". She also was seen around the game show circuit as panelist on "What's My Line?" and "Hollywood Squares", among others. In 1979 Sandy retook Broadway by storm. Instead of the role of Wendy, she played the title tomboy in the musical "Peter Pan" and was nominated for a third time for a Tony Award. Born to play this role, she followed this spectacular success by locking arms with a carefree Tommy Tune in the tuneful Broadway show "My One and Only" replacing Twiggy in 1984.
Sandy also appeared again for Disney both co-starring in the lightweight film comedy The Cat from Outer Space opposite fellow hoofer Ken Berry and providing a foxy voice for their popular The Fox and the Hound animated feature. Taking on a more serious tone, she garnered critical respect for her Emmy-nominated role in the epic mini-series Roots, but these dramatic offerings were few and far between.
In the 1980s Sandy became a household name once again with her popular Wheat Thins commercials in which she periodically shared the camera with her two sons, Jeffrey and Michael, her children by Tony-nominated choreographer/dancer Don Correia, whom she married in 1980. In 1987, she returned to prime-time TV, but not in her own tailor-made vehicle. Instead Sandy replaced Valerie Harper in HER tailor-made vehicle after Harper departed in a well-publicized contractual dispute with producers after only one season. The show was simple changed in title from Valerie to "The Hogan Family" and Sandy entered the proceedings as a close relative and new female head of household after Harper's character "died". As a testament to her audience appeal, the show managed to run for four more healthy seasons.
In more recent times the pert, indefatigable Sandy has hosted Thanksgiving Day parades, dance competitions and teen pageants, starred on Broadway as Roxie Hart in "Chicago" (1999), and has headlined touring companies of such Broadway revivals as "Anything Goes" and "The King and I". She has also been a volunteer for the non-profit organization "RFB&D" (Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic) and was a recipient of the National Rehabilitation Hospital Victory Award, which is given to individuals who exhibit exceptional courage and strength in the face of adversity.
The indefatigable nonagenarian finally put out an autobiography in 2005 and entitled it "Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse", which pretty much says it all when recalling the misfit life and career of the fabulous, one-of-a-kind Phyllis Diller. It may inspire all those bored, discouraged and/or directionless housewives out there to know that the one-time 37-year-old chief bottle washer and diaper disposer of six started out writing comedy routines for her fellow female laundry mates as a sort of reprieve from what she considered her everyday household doldrums. Little did she know she would wind up an entertainment legend who would share the biggest comedy stages with the likes of Bob Hope, George Burns and Jack Benny.
They said it couldn't be done back then (to be a successful lady comic, that is) but the doyenne of female stand-up did just that -- opened the doors for other odd-duck funny girls who dared to intrude on what was considered a man's profession. Initially, the comedienne whipped up an alter-ego that could have only been created with the aid of hallucinogens. Boldly facing the world as a scrawny, witchy-faced, flyaway haired, outlandishly costumed, cigarette-holding, magpie-cackling version of "Auntie Mame", Phyllis Diller made a virtue out of her weird looks and cashed in on her wifely horror tales and her own idiosyncratic tendencies. Diller's solid fan base has been thriving now for over five decades.
She was born Phyllis Ada Driver on July 17, 1917 in Lima, Ohio to Perry Marcus and Frances Ada (Romshe) Driver. A student at Lima's Central High School, she went on to study for three years at the Sherwood Music Conservatory in Chicago, Illinois, before transferring to Bluffton (Ohio) College where she served as the editor of the school's more humorous newspaper articles. She was a serious student of the piano but was never completely confident enough in her performance level to try and act on it as a possible career.
Before she knew it, Phyllis was married (to Sherwood Anderson Diller at age 22 in November 1939), and had become the mother to a brood of six (one child died in infancy). On the sly, she was an advertising copywriter. During World War II, the family moved to Michigan where her husband found work at the Willow Run Bomber Plant. A natural laughgetter, Phyllis began writing household-related one-liners and the feedback from the fellow wives greatly encouraged her. When the family moved to California for job-related reasons, Phyllis became a secretary at a San Francisco television station. By this time, she had built up the courage to put together a nightclub act. The local television hosts at the station (Willard Anderson and Don Sherwood) thought her act was hilarious and invited her on their show in 1955. Not long after, at age 38, Phyllis made her debut at San Francisco's Purple Onion nightclub. What was to be a two-week engagement was stretched out to more than a year and a half. The widespread publicity she received took her straight to the television talk and variety circuits where she was soon trading banter with Jack Paar, Jack Benny and Red Skelton, among others, on their popular television series. She was even a contestant on Groucho Marx's popular quiz show You Bet Your Life.
Throughout the 1960s, audiences embraced her bold and brazen quirkiness. Chumming up with the best of Hollywood's comedy talent, Diller formed a tight and lasting relationship with Bob Hope, appearing in scores of his television specials and co-starring in three of his broad 1960s comedy films (Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number!, Eight on the Lam and The Private Navy of Sgt. O'Farrell. Diller also joined Hope in Vietnam in 1966 with his USO troupe. She meshed perfectly with the far-out popular cult figures of her era (remember Tiny Tim?) and found the best writers to help her with her material -- Joan Rivers, herself, before she became big, wrote for the wisecracking comedienne.
Phyllis' star celebrity eventually took its toll on her marriage. She separated from and eventually divorced Sherwood (1965), who had, by this time, become a favorite topic and target of her act in the form of husband "Fang". That same year, she married singer, film actor and television host Warde Donovan who appeared with her in the slapstick movie Did You Hear the One About the Traveling Saleslady?. They divorced in 1975.
By this time, Diller was everywhere on the small screen. A special guest on hordes of television series and comedy specials and, especially on such riotfests as Laugh-In and the Dean Martin celebrity series of roasts, she became a celebrity on the game show circuit as well, milking laughs on such established shows as The Hollywood Squares and The Gong Show. She also had best-selling comedy records to her credit and humorous anecdotes to pitch that made it to the bookstore shelves, such as "Phyllis Diller Tells All About Fang". However, stand-up remained her first love. Perhaps way too broad or too much of a schtick artist to sustain her own television series, she did attempt to find a suitable vehicle but came up short. The Phyllis Diller Show had Phyllis pretty much pulling out all the stops (fright wig, garish outfits and all) as a wacky widow invariably scheming to keep up a wealthy front despite being heavily in debt. She had the reliably droll Reginald Gardiner and cranky Charles Lane as foils and even Gypsy Rose Lee was in there pitching, but the show didn't jell. Revamped as "The Phyllis Diller Show", several of comedy's best second bananas (John Astin, Paul Lynde, Richard Deacon, Billy De Wolfe, Marty Ingels) were added to the mix, but the show was canceled after a single season. A second try with The Beautiful Phyllis Diller Show, a comedy/variety show that had the zany star backed by none other than Rip Taylor and Norm Crosby, lasted only three months.
Seldom has Diller managed (or even been offered) to take her funny face off long enough to appear for dramatic effect. Somewhat more straightforward roles came later on episodes of Boston Legal and 7th Heaven. Back in 1961, interestingly enough, she made both her stage and film debuts in the dramas of William Inge. Her theatrical debut came with a production of "The Dark at the Top of the Stairs" and she appeared first on film in the highly dramatic Splendor in the Grass, lightening things up a bit with a cameo appearance as larger-than-life nightclub hostess Texas Guinan. Phyllis later impressed with her harridan role in the film The Adding Machine opposite Milo O'Shea. She also enjoyed a three-month run on Broadway in "Hello, Dolly!" with Richard Deacon co-starring, and has appeared in other delightful shows and musicals over time -- "Wonderful Town" (she met her second husband Warde Donovan in this production), "Happy Birthday", "Everybody Loves Opal" and "Nunsense". In 1993, Phyllis was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame. Her cackling vocals have enhanced animated features, too, what with Mad Monster Party? and A Bug's Life. It took a heart attack in 1999 to finally slow down the comedienne and she eventually announced her retirement in 2002.
Eldest son, Peter Diller died of cancer in 1998, her third child died at two weeks old in 1945, and a daughter, Stephanie Diller, died of a stroke in 2002. Her other children are Sally Diller, Suzanne Sue Diller and Perry Diller. As late as January 2007, Phyllis made an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. She was set to return on her 90th birthday in July but a back injury forced her to cancel. Hopefully, we have not seen the last of this beloved comedy icon tickles the funny bone whenever and wherever she shows up. Phyllis Diller died at age 95 of heart failure on August 20, 2012 in her home in Brentwood, Los Angeles, California.
Some might have easily doled out the phrase "laughing on the outside, crying on the inside" to describe funny lady Marcia Wallace and her many uphill battles, in both life and career, over the past three-and-a-half decades, but the carrot-cropped comedienne, with the ever-toothy smile, remains optimistic to this day as she forges on, displaying her usual grab-bag of comedy tricks on film, TV and in voice-overs. The Iowa-born and bred actress endured a troubled childhood (alcoholism, physical abuse) and headed quickly to New York to pursue her dream, following college graduation. She initially induced laughs because of a weight problem, playing plump, self-deprecating characters in such musicals as "The Music Man". She also supplemented her very modest income at the time, substitute teaching in the Bronx.
Managing to drop much of her excess weight over time, she found, to her delight, that she could still make people laugh. Finding an invaluable training ground with the improvisational comedy group, "The Fourth Wall", in 1968, she appeared with the company off-Broadway for a spell. In between times, she studied with acting guru, Uta Hagen. She fleshed out her on-camera resume at first with bit roles on such shows as Bewitched, Columbo and Love, American Style and received her initial on-camera break with recurring appearances on The Merv Griffin Show. As a direct result, she won the best role of her career as "Carol Kester", the chatty, lovelorn receptionist on The Bob Newhart Show, after only a year or so in Hollywood. For seven years, Marcia won tons of fans as the brash, slightly ditsy co-worker and confidante who was always looking for that "special guy" to walk through the door.
Guesting on all the popular lightweight shows of the day (Murder, She Wrote, Magnum, P.I., Taxi), she also added to the fun on Full House, Charles in Charge and ALF, in which she nabbed recurring roles. Marcia became just as popular as a celebrity game show panelist, particularly The Match Game. On the summer stock and dinner theater circuits, she appeared in such engaging comedies as "Plaza Suite", "Born Yesterday", "The Prisoner of Second Avenue" and "Last of the Red Hot Lovers", as well as the musicals "Gypsy" and "Promises, Promises". Following her "Newhart" success, her career waned and her health began to decline as time went on. She is grateful to be a 15-year survivor of breast cancer and keeps herself quite visible as an advocate for breast cancer awareness. She was also the prime caretaker for her husband, Denny Hawley, when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He passed away in 1992. They have one child.
Nevertheless, Marcia has persevered and gained a second career wind. Today's generations will recognize her Emmy-winning voice-work as Bart's teacher, "Mrs. Edna Krabappel", on The Simpsons, and she, more recently, had a supporting role as "Maggie the housekeeper" on the short-lived, irreverent spoof, That's My Bush!. Marcia has been a regular in commercials for over three decades. On film, she has often played an amusing, unwitting foil to kid-like shenanigans in such films as My Mom's a Werewolf, Teen Witch and Ghoulies Go to College. She has guest-hosted televised comedy clubs and talk shows, and was the actual co-host of a diet show on cable. Marcia remains on the lecture circuit and has published her own memoir, "Don't Look Back, We're Not Going That Way!", which gently and admirably laces her myriad of struggles with wit, humor and a positive outlook.
Gabriela was born and raised in Dothan, AL. Throughout her childhood, everyone knew she was born to entertain. She recognized her itch for the arts at the age of 9 when she entered her 4th grade reading contest. Instead of just reading from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, she decided to perform as the different characters and won her first award as the reading contest winner by shocking her 4th grade class with her talent. From then, she took acting classes and performed in school plays. During her senior year of high school, she decided to get back to the arts and audition for the lead role at the community theatre. She landed the unforgettable role of Rachel Brown in Inherit the Wind. This experience motivated her to start her career immediately. Gabriela attended Auburn University for a year studying Theatre, signed with an agent in Atlanta and continued her training in acting classes and workshops. Throughout the year, she worked hard at every audition and was devoted to her craft as an actor. This hard work began to shed its light when she booked a lead role as Carlita, in the ABC Family movie, 'Teen Spirit'. Two weeks after shooting the film, she decided to keep up the momentum by moving from Auburn to Los Angeles. Since she can be seen in UPtv movie 'Coffee Shop' alongside Laura Vandervoort, Disney's 'Million Dollar Arm' and plays Lizbeth, the best friend of Cassie Sullivan( Chloe Grace Moretz) in 'The 5th Wave'.
|Rodney A. Grant
Native American actor, Rodney Arnold Grant was born the 9th of March, 1959. After his biological parents abandoned him, his grandparents raised him from 6 months of age, up until 1982. Rodney has three daughters, two of which reside with their mother. He is now married to Lee-Anne, and they have a son, Walter. Over time, Rodney initially has performed in major motion pictures, as well as television appearances. One in particular CBS's Stolen Women, Captured Hearts, opposite Janine Turner and Michael Greyeyes. On the big screen, Rodney is extensively known for his portrayal of "Wind in His Hair" in Dances with Wolves. Inasmuch as Rodney has proven to be eclectic in his acting ability, he can "play the part" in other genus as well.
Rodney has other multitudinous ways in which he contributes to those in "need" -- especially the Native American Youth. For example, The Boys and Girls Club of Cheyenne country, South Dakota, where he is on the Board of Directors. At the present time, Rodney has taken an interim from acting to bestow his time to family, charities, and independent film making.
A master musician, a film producer and actor, best known as the lead guitarist and occasionally lead vocalist of The Beatles, George Harrison was born February 25, 1943, in Liverpool, Merseyside, England. He was also the youngest of four children, born to Harold Harrison and Louise Harrison.
Like his future band mates, Harrison was not born into wealth. Louise was largely a stay-at-home mom while her husband Harold drove a school bus for the Liverpool Institute, an acclaimed grammar school that George attended and where he first met a young classmate, Paul McCartney. By his own admission, Harrison was not much of a student and what little interest he did have for his studies washed away with his discovery of the electric guitar and American rock-'n'-roll.
There were a lot of harmonies in the Harrison household. He had a knack of sorts for it by age 12 or 13, while riding a bike around his neighborhood and hearing Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel", playing from a nearby house. By the age of 14 George--who was a fan of such legends as , Harrison, who grew up in the likes of listening to such rock legends Carl Perkins, Little Richard and Buddy Holly--had purchased his first guitar and taught himself a few chords.
McCartney', who had recently joined up with another Liverpool teenager, John Lennon, in a skiffle group known as The Quarrymen, invited Harrison to see the band perform. Harrison and Lennon had a few things in common, such as the fact that they both attended Dovedale Primary School but didn't know each other. Their paths finally crossed in early 1958. McCartney had been egging the 17-year-old Lennon to allow the 14-year-old Harrison to join the band, but Lennon was reluctant; as legend has it, after seeing McCartney and Lennon perform, George was granted an audition on the upper deck of a bus, where he wowed Lennon with his rendition of popular American rock riffs.
The 17-year-old Harrison's music career was in full swing by 1960. Lennon had renamed the band The Beatles and the young group began cutting its rock teeth in the small clubs and bars around Liverpool and Hamburg, Germany. Within two years, the group had a new drummer, Ringo Starr, and a manager, Brian Epstein, a young record store owner who eventually landed the group a record contract with EMI's Parlophone label.
Before the end of 1962, Harrison and The Beatles recorded a song, "Love Me Do", that landed in the UK Top 20 charts. Early that following year, another hit, "Please Please Me," was released, followed by an album by the same name. "Beatlemania" was in full swing across England, and by early 1964, with the release of their album in the US and an American tour, it had swept across the States as well.
Largely referred to as the "Quiet Beatle" Harrison took a back seat to McCartney, Lennon and, to a certain extent, Starr. Still, he could be quick-witted, even edgy. During the middle of one American tour, the group members were asked how they slept at night with long hair.
From the get-go, Lennon-McCartney were primary lead vocalists. While the two spent most of the time writing their own songs, Harrison had shown an early interest in creating his own work. In the summer of 1963 he spearheaded his first song, "Don't Bother Me," which made its way on to the group's second album. From there on out, Harrison's songs were a staple of all Beatle records. In fact, some of the group's more memorable songs--e.g., "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and "Something," which was the only Beatle song ever recorded by Frank Sinatra--were penned by Harrison.
However, his influence on the group and pop music in general extended beyond just singles. In 1965, while on the set of The Beatles' second film, Help!, Harrison took an interest in some of the Eastern instruments and their musical arrangements that were being used in the film. He soon developed a deep interest in Indian music. He taught himself the sitar, introducing the instrument to many western ears on Lennon's song, "Norwegian Wood"" He soon cultivated a close relationship with renowned sitar player Ravi Shankar. Other groups, including The Rolling Stones, began incorporating the sitar into some of their work. It could be argued that Harrison's experimentation with different kinds of instrumentation helped pave the way for such ground-breaking Beatle albums as "Revolver" and "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band".
Harrison's interest in Indian music soon extended into a yearning to learn more about eastern spiritual practices. In 1968 he led The Beatles on a journey to northern India to study transcendental meditation under Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
Having grown spiritually and musically since the group first started, Harrison, who wanted to include more of his material on Beatle records, was clearly uneasy with the McCartney-Lennon dominance of the group. During the "Let It Be" recording sessions in 1969, Harrison walked out, staying away for several weeks before he was coaxed to come back with the promise that the band would use more of his songs on its records.
However, tensions in the group were clearly high. Lennon and McCartney had ceased writing together years before, and they, too, were feeling the need to go in a different direction. In January of 1970 the group recorded Harrison's "I Me Mine." It was the last song the four would ever record together. Three months later, McCartney announced he was leaving the band and The Beatles were officially over.
After the breakup of The Beatles, Harrison pursued a solo career. He immediately assembled a studio band consisting of ex-Beatle Starr, guitar legend Eric Clapton, keyboardist Billy Preston and others to record all the songs that had never made it on to The Beatles catalog. The result was a three-disc album, "All Things Must Pass". While one of its signature songs, "My Sweet Lord," was later deemed too similar in style to The Chiffons' 1963 hit "He's So Fine," forcing the guitarist to cough up nearly $600,000, the album as a whole remains Harrison's most acclaimed record.
Not long after the album's release, Harrison combined his charitable work and his continued passion for the east when he put together a series of ground-breaking benefit concerts at New York City's Madison Square Garden to raise money for refugees in Bangladesh. Known as the "Concert for Bangladesh", the shows, which featured Bob Dylan, Leon Russell, and Ravi Shankar, would go on to raise some $15 million for UNICEF, produced a Grammy-winning album, a successful documentary film (The Concert for Bangladesh) and laid the groundwork for future benefit shows like "Live Aid" and "Farm Aid".
Not everything about post-Beatle life went smoothly for Harrison, though. In 1974, his marriage to Pattie Boyd, whom he'd married eight years before, ended when she left him for Eric Clapton. His studio work struggled, too, from 1973-77, starting with, "Living in the Material World", "Extra Texture," and "33 1/3," all of which failed to meet sales expectations.
Following the release of that last album, Harrison took a short break from music, winding down his own label, Dark Horse Records--which he had started in 1974, and which had released albums by a number of other bands--and started his own film production company, Handmade Films. The company produced the successful Monty Python film Life of Brian and would go on to make 26 other films before Harrison sold his interest in the company in 1994.
In 1979, he returned to the studio to release his self-titled album. It was followed two years later by, "Somewhere in England," which was still being worked on at the time of John Lennon's assassination in December of 1980. The record eventually included the Lennon tribute track, "All Those Years Ago," a song that reunited ex-Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, along with ex-Wings members Denny Laine and Linda McCartney. While the song was a hit, the album, its predecessor and its successor, "Gone Troppo," weren't. For Harrison the lack of commercial appeal and the constant battles with music executives proved draining and prompted another studio hiatus.
A comeback of sorts came in November 1987, however, with the release of the album "Cloud Nine," produced by Jeff Lynne (of Electric Light Orchestra). The album turned out several top-charting hits, including "Got My Mind Set On You"-- remake of the 1962 song by Rudy Clark--and "When We Was Fab," a song that reflected on the life of Beatlemania, with Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney, who was dressed up as a walrus, but was a camera shy, in February 1988. Later that year Harrison formed The Traveling Wilburys. The group consisted of Harrison, Lynne, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and Bob Dylan, and spawned two successful albums. Buoyed by the group's commercial success, Harrison took to the road with his new bandmates in 1992, embarking on his first international tour in 18 years.
Not long afterwards he was reunited with McCartney and Starr for the creation of an exhaustive three-part release of a Beatles anthology--which featured alternative takes, rare tracks and a John Lennon demo called "Free as a Bird," that the three surviving Beatles completed in the studio. The song went on to become the group's 34th Top 10 single. After that, however, Harrison largely became a homebody, keeping himself busy with gardening and his cars at his expansive and restored home in Henley-on-Thames in south Oxfordshire, England.
Still, the ensuing years were not completely stress-free. In 1997, Harrison, a longtime smoker, was successfully treated for throat cancer. Eighteen months later, his life was again put on the line when a deranged 33-year-old Beatles fan somehow managed to circumvent Harrison's intricate security system and broke into his home, attacking the musician and his wife Olivia with a knife. Harrison was treated for a collapsed lung and minor stab wounds. Olivia suffered several cuts and bruises.
In May 2001, Harrison's cancer returned. There was lung surgery, but doctors soon discovered the cancer had spread to his brain. That autumn, he traveled to the US for treatment and was eventually hospitalized at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA. He died November 29, 2001, at ex-bandmate McCartney's house in Los Angeles, at aged 58, with his wife and son at his side.
Just one year after his death, Harrison's final studio album, "Brainwashed," was released. It was produced by Lynne, Harrison's son Dhani Harrison and Harrison himself, and featured a collection of songs he'd been working at the time of his death. Dhani finished putting the album together and it was released in November of 2002.
Born Stevland Hardaway Judkins in Saginaw, Michigan, United States, to Calvin Judkins and Lula Mae Hardaway. Due to being born six weeks premature, Stevie Wonder was born with a condition called retinopathy of prematurity, which made him blind. Stevie Wonder, even with this disability, made his landmark to be a pioneer and innovator in the music industry.
Stevie Wonder's mother, Lula Mae Hardaway left her husband and moved herself and her children to Detroit. Due to her leaving Lula Hardaway Judkins changed her name to Lula Hardaway and changed Stevie's surname to Stevland Morris. Stevland Morris growing up played various instruments such as the piano, harmonica, drums, and bass. Stevland Morris never played a lot of outdoor activities due to his protective mother. Stevland Morris due to his musical talent was also strongly apart of the church choir. Stevland Morris was originally discovered by Gerald White who often persuaded his brother, soul singer Ronnie White to visit the talented Stevland Morris. Ronnie White after seeing Stevland Morris brought Stevland and his mother to MoTown Records to visit Berry Gordy. Berry Gordy stated he was not impressed by Stevland's singing,or drumming,bongo skills and then he played the harmonica, which astounded Berry Gordy and Stevland Morris in 1961 at the age of eleven signed onto MoTown Records with the stage name, Little Stevie Wonder. The reason why Stevie Wonder had gotten that stage name was because many people were astounded by his ability to play numerous instruments and his ability to sing doing both at the same time, and people called Stevie "A Little Wonder".
Stevie Wonder released his first album called,The Jazz Soul Of Little Stevie at the age of twelve followed by an additional album, Tribute To Uncle Ray dedicated to Ray Charles.
In 1963, Stevie Wonder released a hit-song called, Fingertips Pt(2). The song reached number one on the Billboard Pop Charts. Stevie Wonder became the first singer to have a number one album and single simultaneously. In the song were several percussion instruments played by Stevie Wonder and this song was added to the album,Recorded Live: The Twelve Year Old Genius. Stevie Wonder was then referred to as the child prodigy. Stevie Wonder in 1964 made in film debut in the movie, Muscle Beach Party as well as the sequel Bikini Beach both directed by William Asher. In this movie Stevie Wonder shows off his musical talent singing the songs, Happy Street and Happy Feeling (Dance And Shout).
Stevie Wonder also dropped "Little" from this stage name as his voice started to change and he could no longer sing songs which Clarence Paul had written for him, as they were all written in a higher pitched note. Stevie Wonder then started focusing more on songwriting and came out with genuine hits like Uptight (Everything's Alright),With A Child's Heart, Blowing In The Wind, and a song which he wrote for Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, Tears Of A Clown. Several other songs which were smashing hits in the 60's and 70's were I Was Made To Love Her, Signed Sealed And Delivered I'm Yours, which Stevie stated was an idea he had gotten from his mother,and For Once In My Life.
In 1970 Stevie Wonder left MoTown and recorded two independent albums by himself. Berry Gordy was shocked to hear this by Stevie Wonder and Berry Gord agreed to Stevie Wonder's demand of more independence and full creative control and rights to all his songs. In 1972 Stevie Wonder returned to MoTown records and signed a thirteen million dollar contract with MoTown Records. This entitled Stevie Wonder to a higher royalty rate and more full creative control and the rights to his own songs, which few artists had gotten at that time period. This contract unleashed Wonder's songs to now talk about controversial issues such as poverty,war,drugs, and politics.Stevie is known for writing and performing political songs such as, You Haven't Done Nothing, which took a political stab at Richard Nixon. The first album he had released with his new agreement with MoTown was, Music Of My Mind in 1972. In late 1972 Stevie Wonder released an album which today is known as a historic piece in music,Talking Book. Which included the number one hit-song, Superstition. This song featured the clavinet which Stevie Wonder was credited pioneer of, he later used the electric amplified keyboard instrument in many of his other albums along with the synthesizer. The song Superstition was seen as a significant contribution to the Funk genre. Talking Book also featured, You Are The Sunshine Of My Life which also peaked at number one. Stevie Wonder also toured with The Rolling Stones in 1972 which contributed to his album's success. Stevie Wonder struck a controversial issue with the album, Innervisions in 1973 with singles such as Living For The City which talked about poverty and was credited to African Americans.The album also included singles such as Golden Lady, and All Love Is Fair.
On August,6, 1973 Stevie Wonder was in a car accident. The twenty-three year old Stevie Wonder was in the passenger seat of a 1948 Dodge Flatbed Truck,he was sleeping and had his headphones on, the driver distracted by something, and failed to notice the truck ahead of them and crashed. This sent Stevie Wonder into a coma for several days. In a biography entitled, The Miraculous Journey Of Lula Mae Hardaway she retells the story, "There was a great, grinding screech as metal hit metal and, then, impossibly, as if in some lavishly produced Hollywood action movie, one of the great logs disencumbered itself of the truck and came crashing through the windshield, spearing Stevie square in the forehead." Wonder was sent to a hospital immediately after the accident, and was placed under intensive care, with what they described a "bruise on the head" Wonder then made a successful recovery and in 1974 released Fullfillingness' First Finale and which song topped number one on the Billboard Pop Charts was the political song, You Haven't Done Nothing. By the age of twenty-five he was a multiple Grammy-Award winner, winning Grammies for albums such as Talking Book, Inner Vision, and Fullfillingness' First Finale and at the age of twenty-five with several talent musicians he was on the verge of making what came to be one of this most admirable masterpieces, an album called, Songs In The Key Of Life.
The double-album, Songs In The Key Of Life was released in 1976 and the album became the first of an American artist to debut straight at number one where it remained for fourteen consecutive weeks. The album contained two tracks which rose to number one on the Billboard Charts,I Wish and Sir Duke. The album also contained an extraordinary sentimental song about his daughter Aisha Morris called,Isn't She Lovely". It also contained the song which focused strongly on poverty called, Village Ghetto Land. Rolling Stones listed the album as the 56th Greatest Album Of All Time out of 500.
In 1979, Wonder released a soundtrack album called Journey Through The Secret Life Of Plants. It was featured in the film The Secret Life Of Plants. Wonder also wrote the song,Let's Get Serious for Jermaine Jackson who left The Jacksons and was starting his own solo career. The song was ranked by Billboard to be the number one rhythm and blues song of 1980.
In 1980, Stevie Wonder released the album called Hotter Than July. On this album was a song called Happy Birthday. That song was dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr, and Stevie Wonder was one of the pioneers to getting Martin Luther King Jr a national holiday. Stevie Wonder in 1985 received an Academy Award for his song, I Just Called To Say I Love in the film, The Woman In Red. In 1986, Stevie Wonder made a guest appearance on the hit-show The Cosby Show. It was during this episode in which people were astounded toward what the synthesizer could really do. In 1987 Stevie Wonder made a duet with Michael Jackson on his Bad album with the single, Just Good Friends. In the same year Michael Jackson did a duet on Stevie Wonder's characters album. In 1991, Stevie Wonder recorded a soundtrack album for Spike Lee in his new movie, Jungle Fever. The album was entitled, Jungle Fever and the hit-song on it was entitled Jungle Fever. Other singles that came from this album were Gotta Have You,Feeding Off The Love Of The Land,and These Three Words. Stevie Wonder continued releasing new material throughout the 90's such as Natural Wonder, and Conversation Piece. In 1996 Stevie Wonder's A Song In The Key Of Life album became a documentary subject, and several of the musicians who contributed to the success of the album had a reunion. In 1997 Stevie Wonder collaborated with Babyface on the single, How Come How Long.
In 2000 Stevie Wonder contributed to two sound track songs for Spike Lee's film Bamboozled. The two soundtrack songs were Misrepresented People and Some Years Ago. In 2006, Stevie Wonder's inspiration of his life, his mother, Lula Mae Hardaway died on May,31,2006. Stevie Wonder then in 2007 announced his tour, A Wonder's Summer Night 13 concert tour- this was his first in over ten years, and he states, he wants to take all the sadness he feels,turn it around and celebrate. Stevie Wonder in 2008 was very involved in the Presidential Campaign, and why he thinks Obama will be a great president for America. Stevie Wonder talked at several press conferences about Obama and why America should vote for him. Stevie Wonder in 2009 was named the United Nations Messenger Of Peace.On February 23,2009 Stevie Wonder received the Gershwin Prize For Pop Music awarded to Stevie Wonder by Barack Obama. On June,25,2009 one of his best friends,Michael Jackson had died. Stevie Wonder attended the memorial and performed the song, Never Dreamed You'd Leave In Summer at the Staple's Center. Stevie Wonder recently in 2011 can be heard playing harmonica on Drake Graham's album Take Care.
Stevie Wonder's songs have been sampled by artists such as Jon Gibson,Red Hot Chilli Peppers,Mary J Blige and several other artists were inspired by Stevie's musical talent. Stevie Wonder will forever be known as a pioneer in music a philanthropist, and a messenger of peace addressing controversies in music which very few artists did at that time. Stevie Wonder has touched the hearts of millions through his music and his philanthropic generosity.
Jenn Brown is a two-time Emmy Award winning sports broadcaster and TV personality. A former Division I Collegiate Athlete for the University of Florida, you've seen her on the sidelines of the biggest college football and baseball games for ESPN. Jenn was the first female correspondent for Inside the NFL, and can be regularly seen covering both boxing and the UFC. She spent eight years as a reporter and host for ESPN and recently sidelined the smash-hit show American Ninja Warrior.
Most recently Jenn spent 2 years working for the NFL Network as a studio host and reporter. She hosted A Football Life: Backstory as well as anchored Total Access. Prior to working with NFL Network, Brown spent 8 years as a reporter and host for ESPN. She spent 3 years reporting from the college football sidelines on ESPN's Thursday Night Primetime Game along with ABC and ESPN's Saturday Noon Package. She also served as a reporter for the College World Series, Little League World Series, Summer and Winter X Games, the NFL Draft, National Signing Day and the ESPYS. Jenn was also a Los Angeles based Bureau reporter for ESPN contributing interviews and reports for ESPN's news-gathering operation for SportsCenter, College GameDay and College Football Live. She also co-hosted ESPNU's popular college football show RoadTrip which covered the biggest college football and basketball rivalry games throughout the year.
Jenn attended the University of Florida on a full academic scholarship and played four years on the Florida Gator softball team. Making the team as a freshman walk-on and winding up its senior captain, she finished 3rd all-time in career stolen bases.
Jenn received several academic honors while at the University of Florida. She graduated Summa Cum Laude (with highest honors), was an active member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, as well as a member of the Florida Blue Key. She was named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Academic All-American team, CoSIDA Academic All-District team, was a four- time SEC Academic Honor Roll, a member of the National Society of Collegiate Honors, was a two-time academic President's List, as well as a two-time academic Dean's List. Jenn also started a mentoring program to help teenage girls in foster care.
Jenn applied to 17 law schools with the intention of becoming a Sports Agent, but was offered a job to host a travel show and moved to Los Angeles. To this day, Jenn has not opened any of the potential acceptance letters from law schools, they sit in a box in a closet in her Mother's house in Orlando, Florida.
On October 14th, 2010 Jenn was inducted into Bishop Moore High School's Athletic Hall of Fame, being recognized as an All-Around Athlete. She broke her high school's record by earning the most varsity letters (14), by a male or female athlete.