1-50 of 138 names.

Vincent D'Onofrio

Vincent Phillip D'Onofrio was born on June 30, 1959 in Brooklyn, New York, to Phyllis, a restaurant manager and server, and Gene D'Onofrio, a theater production assistant and interior designer. He is of Italian descent and has two older sisters. He studied at the Actors Studio and the American Stanislavski Theatre. Vincent D'Onofrio is known as an "actor's actor". The wide variety of roles he has played and the quality of his work have earned him a reputation as a versatile talent.

His first paid role was in Off-Broadway's "This Property Is Condemned". He continued appearing in plays and worked as a bouncer, a bodyguard and a delivery man. In 1984, he made his Broadway debut in "Open Admissions", followed by work in numerous other stage plays. In 2012, D'Onofrio returned to teach at the Lee Strasberg Theater & Film Institute. As a film actor, D'Onofrio's career break came when he played a mentally unbalanced recruit in Full Metal Jacket, directed by the renowned Stanley Kubrick. For this role D'Onofrio gained nearly 70 pounds. He had a major role in Dying Young, and appeared prominently in the box-office smash Men in Black as the bad guy (Edgar "The Bug").

Other films of note in which he has appeared are Mystic Pizza, JFK, The Player, Ed Wood, The Cell, The Break-Up and Jurassic World. In 1996, D'Onofrio garnered critical acclaim along with co-star Renée Zellweger for The Whole Wide World, which he helped produce. He also made a guest appearance in The Subway, where he played an accident victim who could not be rescued and was destined to die. For this performance he won an Emmy nomination. In 2000, he both produced and starred in Steal This Movie, a biopic of radical leader Abbie Hoffman.

In 2001, D'Onofrio took the role which has likely given him his greatest public recognition: Det. Robert Goren, the lead character in the TV series Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Goren is based on Sherlock Holmes but, instead of relying upon physical evidence like Holmes, D'Onofrio's character focuses on psychology to identify the perpetrators, whom he often draws into confessing or yielding condemning evidence. He played the part for 10 years.

In his career D'Onofrio's various film characters have included a priest, a bisexual former porn star, a hijacker, a serial killer, Orson Welles, a space alien, a 1960s radical leader, a pulp fiction writer, an ingenious police investigator and Stuart Smalley's dope-head brother. His on-screen love interests have included Julia Roberts, Cameron Diaz, Renée Zellweger, Marisa Tomei, Tracey Ullman, Rebecca De Mornay and Lili Taylor. One of his latest roles is in Marvel's Daredevil as Daredevil's nemesis, Wilson Fisk. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

Elijah Wood

Elijah Wood is an American actor best known for portraying Frodo Baggins in Peter Jackson's blockbuster Lord of the Rings film trilogy. In addition to reprising the role in The Hobbit series, Wood also played Ryan in the FX television comedy Wilfred and voiced Beck in the Disney XD animated television series TRON: Uprising.

Born Elijah Jordan Wood on 28 January, 1981, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Wood is the son of Debbie (Krause) and Warren Wood, who ran a delicatessen. He has an older brother, Zack, and a younger sister, Hannah Wood. He is of English, German, Austrian, and Danish descent. Demonstrating a gift for performing at a young age, Wood's natural talent inspired his mother to take him to an International Modeling and Talent Association annual convention in Los Angeles. Soon after, he began to get bookings for small parts on television.

Although he has a small credit in Back to the Future Part II, Wood's first major film role was in the 'Barry Levinson' historical family drama Avalon. Following that, Wood became an in-demand child actor, appearing in a number of major films such as Paradise, Radio Flyer and The Good Son, in which he co-starred with Macaulay Culkin. This was followed by the first role for which he received top-billing, North. Although the film was widely condemned and a disaster at the box office, Elijah was praised as the only good thing to come out of it.

In 1996 Elijah starred in a movie remake of an old TV show, Flipper. Many critics wondered if his ability as a child actor to capture an audience was wearing thin, as had many child actors', but Wood deftly transitioned into a versatile performer with roles such as the endlessly curious Mikey Carver in Ang Lee' ensemble film The Ice Storm, as well as parts in popcorn flicks like Deep Impact and The Faculty. In 1999, Elijah was in three movies that never made it into wide release: The Bumblebee Flies Anyway (released on satellite TV), Black & White (released on home video) and Chain of Fools.

Wood's work in Peter Jackson's film adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, provided a major boost to his career. The actor followed his work in the astronomically successful trilogy with a broad range of interesting screen roles and voice work, including a supporting role in Michel Gondry's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, as well as the part of a sinister mute sociopath in Sin City. His voice work has been featured in such animated films as Happy Feet and 9, as well as on television series including American Dad! and Robot Chicken. Wood also played Ad-Rock in the Beastie Boys' comedic video for Fight for Your Right Revisited.

An avid music fan, Wood founded Simian records and released its first album, New Magnetic Wonder by The Apples in Stereo, in 2007.

Manu Bennett

Gracing international covers such as Muscle and Fitness and Men's Health Manu Bennett is capturing the attention of filmmakers and fans with his extraordinary presence and talent.

Of Maori, Irish and Scottish descent and born in Rotorua, New Zealand to singer Ted Bennett and bikini model Jean Bennett, Manu's family relocated to Australia soon after his birth. During high school Manu played representative rugby and studied classical ballet and piano, before attending University of NSW to study Drama.

Manu is best known for his portrayal of powerful gladiator Crixus on Starz hit series Spartacus. Manu can also be seen in the CW network hit, Arrow, playing legendary comic book character, Slade Wilson.

On the big screen, Manu stars as Azog, king of the Orcs, in The Hobbit trilogy, a role which won him exceptional praise from Director Peter Jackson who stated that he was "the Breakout performance" of the film.

Manu appeared on various TV dramas before landing his first feature film, multiple award winning "Lantana," opposite Anthony La Paglia. His feature credits include major supporting roles in 20th Century Fox's "The Marine" opposite Robert Patrick, Sony's "30 Days of Night" opposite Josh Hartnett and produced by Sam Raimi; the Japanese film "Tomoko" opposite award-winning Japanese actress Rumiko Koyangi and a lead role in Lionsgate's "The Condemned" alongside Vinnie Jones and Stone Cold Steve Austen.

Previous TV credits include starring roles in successful New Zealand productions "Shortland Street," "Street Legal," "Mataku," "Creature Of Quest," "Going Straight," and as Marc Antony opposite his "Spartacus" co-star Lucy Lawless in Tapert and Raimi's hit series "Xena: Warrior Princess."

Erica Cerra

Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Erica Cerra discovered her love of acting by her 8th birthday. After appearing in numerous commercials Erica decided to take a break from acting. Returning to the business at 22, she decided to dedicate herself whole-heartedly to living as a professional actor. She has since committed herself to extensive study with the likes of Matthew Harrison and top acting coaches Larry Moss and Gina Chiarelli.

Erica has worked alongside the likes of Lolita Davidovich, Luis Guzman, and Hank Azaria. Her most recent credits include: New Line Cinema's Blade III; Showtime's The L Word; Adam Druxman's The Condemned; and MGM's Dead Like Me. In addition to appearances on Jake 2.0, The Collector, Dead Zone and Long Weekend.

Vanessa Redgrave

On January 30, 1937, renowned theatre actor Michael Redgrave was performing in a production of Hamlet in London. During the curtain call, the show's lead, Laurence Olivier, announced to the audience: "tonight a great actress was born". This was in reference to his co-star's newborn daughter, Vanessa Redgrave.

Vanessa was born in Greenwich, London, to Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson, both thespians. Three quarters of a century after her birth (despite numerous ups and down) this rather forward expectation has definitely been lived up to with an acclaimed actress that has won (among many others) an Academy Award, two Emmys, two Golden Globes, two Cannes Best Actress awards, a Tony, a Screen Actors Guild award, a Laurence Olivier theatre award and a BAFTA fellowship.

Growing up with such celebrated theatrical parents, great expectations were put on both herself, her brother Corin Redgrave and sister Lynn Redgrave at an early age. Shooting up early and finally reaching a height just short of 6 foot, Redgrave initially had plans to dance and perform ballet as a profession. However she settled on acting and entered the Central School of Speech and Drama in 1954 and four years later made her West End debut. In the decade of the 1960s she developed and progressed to become one of the most noted young stars of the English stage and then film. Performances on the London stage included the classics: 'A Touch of Sun', 'Coriolanus', 'A Midsummer's Night Dream', 'All's Well that Ends Well', 'As You Like It', 'The Lady from the Sea', 'The Seagull' and many others. By the mid 1960s, she had booked various film roles and matured into a striking beauty with a slim, tall frame and attractive face. In 1966 she made her big screen debut as the beautiful ex-wife of a madman in an Oscar nominated performance in the oddball comedy Morgan!, as well as the enigmatic woman in a public park in desperate need of a photographer's negatives in the iconic Blow-Up and briefly appeared in an unspoken part of Anne Boleyn in the Best Picture winner of the year A Man for All Seasons.

She managed to originate the title role in "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" the same year on the London stage (which was then adapted for the big screen a few years later, but Maggie Smith was cast instead and managed to win an Oscar for her performance). Her follow up work saw her play the lead in the box office hit adaptation Camelot, a film popular with audiences but dismissed by critics, and her second Academy Award nominated performance as Isadora Duncan in the critically praised Isadora.

Her rise in popularity on film also coincided with her public political involvement, she was one of the lead faces in protesting against the Vietnam war and lead a famous march on the US embassy, was arrested during a Ban-the-Bomb demonstration, publicly supported Yasar Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and fought for various other human rights and particularly left wing causes. Despite her admirably independent qualities, most of her political beliefs weren't largely supported by the public. In 1971 after 3 films back to back, Redgrave suffered a miscarriage (it would have been her fourth, after Natasha Richardson, Joely Richardson and Carlo Gabriel Nero) and a break up with her then partner and father of her son, Franco Nero. This was around the same time her equally political brother Corin introduced her to the Workers Revolutionary Party, a group who aimed to destroy capitalism and abolish the monarchy. Her film career began to suffer and take the back seat as she became more involved with the party, twice unsuccessfully attempting to run as a party member for parliament, only obtaining a very small percentage of votes.

In terms of her film career at the time, she was given probably the smallest part in the huge ensemble who-dunnit hit, Murder on the Orient Express and given another thankless small part as Lola Deveraux in the Sherlock Holmes adventure The Seven-Per-Cent Solution.

After a celebrated Broadway debut, she created further controversy in 1977 with her involvement in two films, firstly in Julia where she acted opposite Jane Fonda as a woman fighting Nazi oppression and narrated and featured in the documentary The Palestinian where she famously danced holding a Kalashnikov rifle. She publicly stated her condemnation of what she termed "Zionist hudlums", which outraged Jewish groups and as a result a screening of her documentary was bombed and Redgrave was personally threatened by the Jewish Defense League (JDL). Julia happened to be a huge critical success and Redgrave herself was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar, but Jewish support groups demanded her nomination to be dropped and at the event of the Academy Awards burned effigies of Redgrave and protested and picketed. Redgrave was forced to enter the event via a rear entrance to avoid harm and when she won the award she famously remarked on the frenzy causes as "Zionist hoodlums" which caused the audience to audibly gasp and boo. The speech reached newspapers the next morning and her reputation was further damaged.

It came as a surprise when CBS hired her for the part of real life Nazi camp survivor Fania Fenelon in Playing for Time, despite more controversy and protesting (Fenelon herself didn't even want Redgrave to portray her) she won an Emmy for the part and the film was one of the highest rating programs of the year. Her follow up film work to her Oscar had been mostly low key but successful, performances in films such as Yanks, Agatha, The Bostonians, Wetherby and Prick Up Your Ears further cemented her reputation as a fine actress and she received various accolades and nominations.

However mainly in the 1980s, she focused on TV films and high budget mini-series as well as theatre in both London and New York. She made headlines in 1984 when she sued the Boston Symphony Orchestra for $5 million for wrongful cancellation of her contract because of her politics (she also stated her salary was significantly reduced in Agatha for the same reason). She became more mainstream in the 1990s where she appeared in a string of high profile films but the parts often underused Redgrave's abilities or they were small cameos/5-minute parts. Highlights included Howards End, Little Odessa, Mission: Impossible and Cradle Will Rock, as well as her leading lady parts in A Month by the Lake and Mrs Dalloway.

In 2003 she finally won the coveted Tony award for her performance in 'The Long Day's Journey Into Night' and followed up with another two Tony nominated performances on Broadway, her one woman show 'The Year of Magical Thinking' in 2007 and 'Driving Miss Daisy' in 2010 which not only was extended due to high demand, but was also transferred to the West End for an additional three months in 2011.

Vanessa continues to lend her name to causes and has been notable for donating huge amounts of her own money for her various beliefs. She has publicly opposed the war in Iraq, campaigned for the closure of Guantanamo Bay, supported the rights of gays and lesbians as well as AIDs research and many other issues. She released her autobiography in 1993 and a few years later she was elected to serve as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. She also famously declined the invitation to be made a Dame for her services as an actress. Many have wondered the possible heights her career could have reached if it wasn't for her outspoken views, but being a celebrity and the artificial lifestyle usually attached doesn't seem to interest Redgrave in the slightest.

Vanessa has worked with all three of her children professionally on numerous occasions (her eldest daughter, Natasha Richardson tragically died at the age of 45 due to a skiing accident) and in her mid 70s she still works regularly on television, film and theatre, delivering time and time again great performances.

Francis Ford Coppola

Francis Ford Coppola was born in 1939 in Detroit, Michigan, but grew up in a New York suburb in a creative, supportive Italian-American family. His father, Carmine Coppola, was a composer and musician. His mother, Italia Coppola (née Pennino), had been an actress. Francis Ford Coppola graduated with a degree in drama from Hofstra University, and did graduate work at UCLA in filmmaking. He was training as assistant with filmmaker Roger Corman, working in such capacities as sound-man, dialogue director, associate producer and, eventually, director of Dementia 13, Coppola's first feature film. During the next four years, Coppola was involved in a variety of script collaborations, including writing an adaptation of "This Property is Condemned" by Tennessee Williams (with Fred Coe and Edith Sommer), and screenplays for Is Paris Burning? and Patton, the film for which Coppola won a Best Original Screenplay Academy Award. In 1966, Coppola's 2nd film brought him critical acclaim and a Master of Fine Arts degree. In 1969, Coppola and George Lucas established American Zoetrope, an independent film production company based in San Francisco. The company's first project was THX 1138, produced by Coppola and directed by Lucas. Coppola also produced the second film that Lucas directed, American Graffiti, in 1973. This movie got five Academy Award nominations, including one for Best Picture. In 1971, Coppola's film The Godfather became one of the highest-grossing movies in history and brought him an Oscar for writing the screenplay with Mario Puzo The film was a Best Picture Academy Award-winner, and also brought Coppola a Best Director Oscar nomination. Following his work on the screenplay for The Great Gatsby, Coppola's next film was The Conversation, which was honored with the Golden Palm Award at the Cannes Film Festival, and brought Coppola Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay Oscar nominations. Also released that year, The Godfather: Part II, rivaled the success of The Godfather, and won six Academy Awards, bringing Coppola Oscars as a producer, director and writer. Coppola then began work on his most ambitious film, Apocalypse Now, a Vietnam War epic that was inspired by Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Released in 1979, the acclaimed film won a Golden Palm Award at the Cannes Film Festival, and two Academy Awards. Also that year, Coppola executive produced the hit The Black Stallion. With George Lucas, Coppola executive produced Kagemusha, directed by Akira Kurosawa, and Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, directed by Paul Schrader and based on the life and writings of Yukio Mishima. Coppola also executive produced such films as The Escape Artist, Hammett The Black Stallion Returns, Barfly, Wind, The Secret Garden, etc.

He helped to make a star of his nephew, Nicolas Cage. Personal tragedy hit in 1986 when his son Gio died in a boating accident. Francis Ford Coppola is one of America's most erratic, energetic and controversial filmmakers.

Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo was born Greta Lovisa Gustafsson on September 18, 1905, in Stockholm, Sweden, to Anna Lovisa (Johansdotter), who worked at a jam factory, and Karl Alfred Gustafsson, a laborer. She was fourteen when her father died, which left the family destitute. Greta was forced to leave school and go to work in a department store. The store used her as a model in its newspaper ads. She had no film aspirations until she appeared in short advertising film at that same department store while she was still a teenager. Erik A. Petschler, a comedy director, saw the film and gave her a small part in his Luffar-Petter. Encouraged by her own performance, she applied for and won a scholarship to a Swedish drama school. While there she appeared in at least one film, En lyckoriddare. Both were small parts, but it was a start. Finally famed Swedish director Mauritz Stiller pulled her from the drama school for the lead role in The Saga of Gösta Berling. At 18 Greta was on a roll.

Following The Joyless Street both Greta and Stiller were offered contracts with MGM, and her first film for the studio was the American-made Torrent, a silent film in which she didn't have to speak a word of English. After a few more films, including The Temptress, Love and A Woman of Affairs, Greta starred in Anna Christie (her first "talkie"), which not only gave her a powerful screen presence but also garnered her an Academy Award nomination as Best Actress (she didn't win). Later that year she filmed Romance, which was somewhat of a letdown, but she bounced back in 1931, landing another lead role in Mata Hari, which turned out to be a major hit.

Greta continued to give intense performances in whatever was handed her. The next year she was cast in what turned out to be yet another hit, Grand Hotel. However, it was in MGM's Anna Karenina that she gave what some consider the performance of her life. She was absolutely breathtaking in the role as a woman torn between two lovers and her son. Shortly afterwards, she starred in the historical drama Queen Christina playing the title character to great acclaim. She earned an Oscar nomination for her role in the romantic drama Camille, again playing the title character. Her career suffered a setback the following year in Conquest, which was a box office disaster. She later made a comeback when she starred in Ninotchka, which showcased her comedic side. It wasn't until two years later she made what was to be her last film, Two-Faced Woman, another comedy. But the film drew controversy and was condemned by the Catholic Church and other groups and was a box office failure, which left Garbo shaken.

After World War II Greta, by her own admission, felt that the world had changed perhaps forever and she retired, never again to face the camera. She would work for the rest of her life to perpetuate the Garbo mystique. Her films, she felt, had their proper place in history and would gain in value. She abandoned Hollywood and moved to New York City. She would jet-set with some of the world's best-known personalities such as Aristotle Onassis and others. She spent time gardening and raising flowers and vegetables. In 1954 Greta was given a special Oscar for past unforgettable performances. She even penned her biography in 1990.

On April 15, 1990, Greta died of natural causes in New York and with her went the "Garbo Mystique". She was 84.

Luke Pegler

Luke Pegler is an Australian actor who began his career in 2001. His early screen appearances were mostly on television and in film shorts before larger screen projects followed. The first of these was the World War II drama, The Great Raid (2005) starring Benjamin Bratt and James Franco. Next, he had a somewhat-leading role as an unlikely hero among a group of juvenile delinquents sent to an old hotel haunted by the menacing psychopath played by WWE wrestler Kane (Glen Jacobs) in the WWE Films production "See No Evil" (2006). He would again appear consecutively in his second WWE Films project as a minor henchman against WWE's wrestling legend "Stone Cold" Steve Austin in "The Condemned" (2007). Going into the late 2000s, Pegler saw his share of screen time on television series such as "Packed to the Rafters" (2008-2009) and more notably, "Rescue Special Ops" (2010) "Neighbours" (2011) and the Roman gladiatorial drama "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena" (2011) and its spin-off series "Spartacus: Vengeance" in 2012.

Asghar Farhadi

Asghar Farhadi was born in 1972 in Iran. He became interested in cinema in his teenage years and started his filmmaking education by joining the Youth Cinema Society of Esfahan in 1986 where he made 8mm and 16mm short films. He received his Bachelors in Theater from University of Tehran's School of Dramatic Arts in 1998 and his Masters in Stage Direction from Tarbiat Modarres University a few years later. During these formative years, Farhadi made six shorts and two TV series for Iran's National Broadcasting Corporation (IRIB) of which "A Tale of a City" is most noteworthy.

In 2001, he debuted in professional cinema by co-writing the script for Low Heights (Ertefae Past), a post-911 political farce chronicle of Southwest Iran, with famed war film director, Ebrahim Hatamikia. The film was met with both critical and public success. The following year, Farhadi made his directorial debut, Dancing in the Dust (Raghs dar Ghobar), about a man forced to divorce his wife and go hunting snakes in the desert in order to repay his debts to his in-laws. The film earned recognition at Fajr and Moscow International Film Festivals and a year later, Beautiful City (Shahr-e-Ziba), a grave work about a young man condemned to death at the age of sixteen, received awards from Fajr and Warsaw International Film Festivals. His third film, Fireworks Wednesday (Chaharshambe Soori), won the Gold Hugo at the 2006 Chicago International Film Festival. His fourth film, About Elly (Darbareye Elly) was called "a masterpiece" by film critic David Bordwell and won the Silver Bear for Best Director at 59th Berlin International Film Festival as well as Best Picture at Tribeca Film Festival. It was also Iran's official submission for the Foreign Language Film competition of Academy Awards in 2009. His most recent film, A Separation (Jodaeiye Nader az Simin), became a sensation. It got critical acclaim inside and outside of Iran; Roger Ebert called it "the best picture of the year," and it was awarded the Crystal Simorgh from Fajr Film Festival, Golden Bear and Prize of the Ecumenical Jury from Berlin International Film Festival, and also won Best Foreign Language Film from The Boston Society of Film Critics, Chicago and Los Angeles Film Critics Association, New York Film Critics Circle, National Board of Review, Golden Globes, César Award, Independent Spirit Award, and ultimately the Academy Award in the 'Best Foreign Language Film of the Year,' making him the first Iranian filmmaker ever to win an Oscar. His Oscar acceptance speech at the 84th Academy Awards, a message of peace in tens political times in his country, made him an instant hero amongst Iranians. His film also received nomination for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Award in the best 'Film Not in the English Language' category and for an Academy Award in the 'Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen' category. A few days after receiving an Oscar, Farhadi signed with the United Talent Agency (UTA).

Kim Novak

Kim Novak was born in Chicago, Illinois on February 13, 1933 with the birth name of Marilyn Pauline Novak. She was the daughter of Joseph Novak, a former teacher turned transit clerk and his wife, Blanche Kral Novak, also a former teacher. Throughout elementary and high school, Kim did not get along well with teachers. She even admitted that she didn't like being told what to do and when to do it. Her first job, while in high school, was modeling teen fashions for a local department store. Kim, an avid painter, won a scholarship to the Art Institute of Chicago, but ended up going to Wright Junior College instead. While on a break from school, Kim and two of her classmates decided to go to Los Angeles and stand in line to be an extra in a movie called The French Line. An agent took notice of Kim's striking beauty arranged for a screen test with Columbia Pictures, and Kim was signed to a contract. After taking some acting lessons, Kim made her film debut in the detective drama Pushover with Fred MacMurray, followed by the comedy Phffft with Jack Lemmon and Judy Holliday. These two films set the tone for her career, and she had so much poise that most people had no idea she was only 21. As a result, the studio continued to pair Kim with fatherly older actors. Kim received a Golden Globe nomination for "Most Promising Newcomer" in 1955, and had big parts in three films released that year, first appearing as "Kay Greylek" in 5 Against the House. Her next role was in the controversial Otto Preminger film The Man with the Golden Arm, which was a big hit. Then came Picnic, Kim's breakthrough film. Kim did a superb job of acting in the film as did her costars, and now fans were eager to see more of this bright and beautiful new star. In 1957, Kim played "Linda English" in the hit movie Pal Joey with Frank Sinatra and Rita Hayworth. The film did well at the box-office, but was condemned by the critics. Kim really didn't seem that interested in the role. She even said she couldn't stand people such as her character. In 1958, Kim appeared in the Alfred Hitchcock film Vertigo, which, though poorly received at the time of its release, is now considered a classic. The film was one in which a retired detective, played by James Stewart, follows a suicidal blonde half his age (Kim), only to find out Kim was only masquerading as that person and is actually a brunette shop girl who duped him as part of an elaborate scheme. Kim's other film that year, the supernatural comedy Bell Book and Candle, was a modest success, but her follow-up, Middle of the Night, was not in spite of drawing good reviews.

Unfortunately, the hype that Columbia generated for Kim never materialized, and her career began to fade in the early 1960s as the studio system came to an end. She was being overpowered by the rise of new stars or stars that were remodeling their status within the film community. Kim said she didn't have it in herself to campaign for good roles like other actors did, so she took the best of what she was offered. She starred in the ensemble romantic drama Strangers When We Meet, which moderately successful. With a few more nondescript films between 1960 and 1964, she landed the role of "Mildred Rogers" in the remake of Of Human Bondage opposite Laurence Harvey. The film debuted to mostly negative reviews and was not a success. Later that same year, she co-starred in the Billy Wilder sex satire Kiss Me, Stupid with Dean Martin, but the film drew intensely hostile reviews and condemned by many civic groups, causing its studio to distance itself from the film. In 1965, Kim played the title role in the comedy The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders, and married her co-star, Richard Johnson. The marriage only lasted 13 months, but they remained friends. Kim stepped away from the cameras for a while, returning in 1968 to star in The Legend of Lylah Clare. The film only had a limited release and was a resounding flop. Though still young, Kim said she basically didn't see herself as having a career after that. Following The Great Bank Robbery, Kim took another four-year hiatus until 1973, when she was seen in a television film called The Third Girl from the Left, a romantic drama, and appeared in a segment of the British horror anthology film Tales That Witness Madness. Kim's next appearances on the screen were a leading role in the television film Satan's Triangle and a cameo in the Charles Bronson western The White Buffalo. Kim ended the 1970s by appearing in Just a Gigolo with David Bowie. The film was a critical and commercial failure.

Opening the 1980s, Kim did gain some attention for the mystery/thriller The Mirror Crack'd, but it did nothing for her career. For the rest of the decade, Kim was out of movies and only had a few television gigs. In 1983, Kim appeared in the ensemble TV movie, Malibu. She had a cameo role in the pilot episode of the short-lived Alfred Hitchcock Presents redux in 1985. From 1986 to 1987, Kim played the mysterious "Kit Marlowe" in 19 episodes of the TV series Falcon Crest. In 1990, Kim starred in The Children, and gave a great performance in a leading role opposite Ben Kingsley. However, the film had a very limited release. Kim's last film to date was 1991's Liebestraum, in which she played a terminally ill woman with a past. The film was a major disappointment in every aspect, and making it was an especially unhappy experience for Kim, who clashed with director Mike Figgis over how to play her character. Kim hasn't acted since then, and admittedly never reached her potential. Although she has regrets about her career, she has ruled out any plans for a comeback. Kim says she just isn't cut out for a Hollywood life.

Fortunately, Kim's personal life has been the contrary to her career. Since 1976, Kim has been happily married to Robert Malloy, a veterinarian who shares her passion for animals and nature. Kim and her husband live on a ranch in Oregon where they raise llamas and horses, and frequently go canoeing. Kim is also an accomplished artist who expresses herself in oil paintings and sculptures.

Boris Karloff

Along with fellow actors Lon Chaney, Bela Lugosi and Vincent Price, Boris Karloff is recognized as one of the true icons of horror cinema, and the actor most closely identified with the general public's perception of the "monster" from the classic Mary Shelley book, "Frankenstein". William Henry Pratt was born on November 23, 1887, in Camberwell, London, England, the son of Edward John Pratt Jr., the Deputy Commissioner of Customs Salt and Opium, Northern Division, Indian Salt Revenue Service, and his third wife, Eliza Sarah Millard.

He was educated at London University in anticipation that he would pursue a diplomatic career; however, he emigrated to Canada in 1909 and joined a touring company based out of Ontario and adopted the stage name of "Boris Karloff." He toured back and forth across the USA for over ten years in a variety of low-budget theater shows and eventually ended up in Hollywood with very little money to his name. Needing cash to support himself, Karloff secured occasional acting work in the fledgling silent film industry in such pictures as The Deadlier Sex, Omar the Tentmaker, Dynamite Dan and Tarzan and the Golden Lion, in addition to a handful of serials (the majority of which sadly haven't survived). Karloff supplemented his meager film income by working as a truck driver in Los Angeles, which allowed him enough time off to continue to pursue acting roles.

His big break came in 1931 when he was cast as "the monster" in the Universal production of Frankenstein, directed by James Whale, one of the studio's few remaining auteur directors. The aura of mystery surrounding Karloff was highlighted in the opening credits, as he was listed as simply "?." The film was a commercial and critical success for Universal, and Karloff was instantly established as a hot property in Hollywood. He quickly appeared in several other sinister roles, including Scarface (filmed before Frankenstein), the black-humored The Old Dark House, as the namesake Oriental villain of the Sax Rohmer novels in The Mask of Fu Manchu, as undead Im-Ho-Tep in The Mummy and the misguided Prof. Morlant in The Ghoul. He thoroughly enjoyed his role as a religious fanatic in John Ford's The Lost Patrol, although contemporary critics described it as a textbook example of overacting.

He donned the signature make-up, neck bolts and asphalt spreader's boots again to play Frankenstein's monster in the sensational Bride of Frankenstein and the less thrilling Son of Frankenstein. Karloff, on loan to Fox, appeared in one of the best of the Warner Oland Chan entries, Charlie Chan at the Opera, before beginning his own short-lived Mr. Wong detective series. He was a wrongly condemned doctor in Devil's Island, shaven-headed executioner "Mord the Merciless" in Tower of London, another misguided scientist in The Ape, a crazed scientist surrounded by monsters, vampires and werewolves in House of Frankenstein, a murderous cabman in The Body Snatcher and a Greek general fighting vampirism in the superb atmospheric Val Lewton thriller Isle of the Dead.

While Karloff continued appearing in a plethora of films, many of them were not up to the standards of his previous efforts, including appearances in two of the hokey Bud Abbott and Lou Costello monster movies (he had appeared with them in an earlier superior effort, Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff, which theater owners often added his name to the marquee), the low point of the Universal-International horror movie cycle. During the 1950s he was a regular guest on many high-profile TV shows including Texaco Star Theatre, Tales of Tomorrow, The Veil, The Donald O'Connor Show, The Red Skelton Hour and The Dinah Shore Chevy Show, to name but a few, and he appeared in a mixed bag of films including Sabaka and Voodoo Island. On Broadway he appeared as the murderous Brewster brother in the hit, "Arsenic and Old Lace" (his role, or the absence of him in it, was amusingly parodied in the film version) and a decade later he enjoyed a long run in "Peter Pan," perfectly cast as "Captain Hook."

His career experienced something of a revival in the 1960s thanks to hosting the TV anthology series Thriller and indie director Roger Corman, with Karloff contributing wonderful performances in The Raven, The Terror, the ultra-eerie Black Sabbath and the H.P. Lovecraft-inspired Die, Monster, Die!. Karloff's last great role was as an aging horror movie star confronting a modern-day sniper in the Peter Bogdanovich film Targets. His TV career was capped off by achieving Christmas immortality as the narrator of Chuck Jones's perennial animated favorite, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!. Three low-budget Mexican-produced horror films starring an ailing Karloff were released in the two years after his death; however, they do no justice to this great actor. In retrospect, he never took himself too seriously as an actor and had a tendency to downplay his acting accomplishments. Renowned as a refined, kind and warm-hearted gentleman, with a sincere affection for children and their welfare, Karloff passed away on February 2, 1969 from emphysema. He was cremated at Guildford Crematorium, Godalming, Surrey, England, where he is commemorated by a plaque in Plot 2 of the Garden of Remembrance.

Lydia Hearst

Actress and Supermodel Lydia Hearst is the great-granddaughter of publishing scion William Randolph Hearst. Lydia is currently residing between Los Angeles and New York City working full time in both film and fashion. Born in New Haven, Connecticut, Lydia has also lived and worked in London and Paris.

As a child she spent time on the set of John Waters' films with her mother, Patricia Hearst. This inspired Lydia in her decision to pursue a career in entertainment. She began to write at a young age, which has in turn lead her to launch and write a successful fashion/lifestyle blog in late 2013 LoveLydiaHearst.com

After graduating from Wilton High School, she enrolled in Sacred Heart University where she majored in Communications and Technology until being discovered by fashion photographer Steven Meisel in 2003 and put on the cover of Vogue Italia in April 2004.

Hearst has covered countless fashion magazines in Italy, France, Korea, Japan, Latin America and the United States. She has worked with the greatest photographers in the world including Steven Meisel, Patrick DeMarchelier, Ellen Von Unwerth, Mario Testino, Paulo Roversi, Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin, Bettina Rheims, Mark Abrams, Peter Lindbergh and Terry Richardson.

At the 2008 Michael Awards, Lydia was recognized as "Supermodel of the Year," as well as acknowledged and given the award for Best International Supermodel at the Madrid Glamour Awards on November 12, 2008.

At present, Lydia is seriously focusing on her acting and becoming a rising star in Hollywood. Her 5'7" stature and doll like face has made her the perfect match for on-screen roles and print-work alike. Since stepping into the limelight, she has set runways, editorials, magazine covers, advertisements and film sets ablaze with a sophisticated, style and a dedicated no-nonsense attitude.

Hearst can be seen in supporting roles in Gossip Girl (2009), Two Jacks (2011), Mistresses (2013), Cabin Fever: Patient Zero (2014) with Sean Astin, Desire (2014) with Johnny Knoxville, #Horror (2015) with Natashia Lyonne and Balthazar Getty premiering November 18, 2015 at the MoMA, and Two For One (2016) with Jonny Abrahams and Jason Biggs, and starring in recent films such as Automobile Waltz (2014) with Anton Yelchin, Condemned (2015) with Dylan Penn premiering at ScreamFest October 18, 2015, Guys Reading Poems (2015) with Alexander Dreymon, Downside of Bliss (2015) with Jillian Murray and Judd Nelson and Stealing Chanel (2015) with Carol Alt and Adam LaVorgna premiering on LMN fall 2015. Lydia can also be seen regularly guest-starring in the new network series from Eli Roth and Blumhouse premiering November 27, 2015, South of Hell.

William Shockley

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.

Mike Tyson

One of the most frightening human beings ever to step into the boxing ring, Mike Tyson was the model of the supreme gladiator - unbeaten and unbeatable. Never before had one individual captured the attention of the wider world via sport except Muhammad Ali.

Michael Gerard Tyson was born in Brooklyn, New York, and was raised by his mother, Lorna Mae (Smith). From 1987-1990, he was the undisputed world heavyweight champion conducting a reign of terror in the prize-fighting ring and earning millions of dollars whilst doing it. He had won the WBC title in November 1986 at the tender age of twenty becoming the youngest heavyweight champion ever. Soon after he claimed the WBA crown from James "Bonecrusher" Smith before beating Tony Tucker for the IBF championship. Brutal victories against the likes of Pinklon Thomas, Tony Tubbs, Larry Holmes, Tyrell Biggs and Michael Spinks confirmed his status as the best in the world.

However, his life outside the ring was as engrossing as his life in it. A short-lived marriage to actress Robin Givens was followed by a catalogue of personal misfortune that ultimately resulted in him losing his world championship to James "Buster" Douglas in Tokyo in February 1990. He was jailed for rape in 1992 and released in 1995. A comeback later that same year saw him beat two opponents before regaining the WBC heavyweight crown in March 1996. He added the WBA crown to his tally by beating Bruce Seldon before getting stopped by the unheralded Evander Holyfield in November 1996. A rematch in June 1997 saw him bite a chunk of Holyfield's ear off - an act that earned him worldwide condemnation. He has continued to fight on and off; a title challenge in 2002 saw him lose in 8 rounds to Lennox Lewis whilst a routine assignment in July 2004 saw him beaten by another British talent, Danny Williams, in 4 rounds. His final fight was a loss to Irishman Kevin McBride in 2005, although to most observers it was clear Tyson had absolutely nothing left, including the desire to fight.

After leaving boxing as a fighter he continued to remain in the public eye both for the right & wrong reasons, including further brushes with the law. In 2009 he appeared as a fictional version of himself in the hit film 'The Hangover' & its subsequent sequel in 2011 as well as a number of WWE events. Tyson returned to boxing some years later as a promoter, guiding the next generation of contenders to the top under his promotional banner 'Iron Mike Productions' & now seems to be a man at peace, settled with a young family & enjoying life. But his legacy as the youngest world heavyweight champion of all time, and the impact he had on both sport & popular culture in the late '80s and early '90s, will forever remain.

Murray Hamilton

Murray Hamilton was one of those character actors whose face would be familiar to most movie buffs at an instant, yet his name may not. That's a shame, because Hamilton was one of the most versatile and prolific of performers who was never anything less than completely convincing in any role he took on, from priests to gangsters, soldiers to politicians, ordinary men to aliens. His characters would rarely fail to evoke emotion, whether that be sympathy or dislike. He particularly excelled at hard-edged, street-wise tough guys on either side of the law. His own dictum was to be always 'true to the part as it is written'.

Born and schooled in Washington, North Carolina, Murray originally studied graphic design but had an early yearning for the acting profession. Barely out of his teens, he took a bus to Los Angeles, eventually arriving in Hollywood with just $50 to his name. He gained a foothold at Warner Brothers (his favorite studio) through the back door, as a messenger boy, earning $22 a week. He soon found work as an extra in films, but by 1945, returned to New York making his debut on Broadway as 'a mill hand' in 'Strange Fruit', directed by 'Jose Ferrer (I)'. His breakthrough came three years later, when he appeared with Henry Fonda in the long-running play 'Mister Roberts' (1948-51), first playing the role of a shore patrol officer, later taking over from David Wayne in the key part of Ensign Pulver. Over the years, Murray became quite comfortable with playing more comedic roles on stage and made good impressions as the over-zealous director Dion Kapakos in 'Critic's Choice' (1960-61) and as Otis Clifton in his Tony Award-nominated performance in 'Absence of a Cello' (1964-65), co-starring with Fred Clark and Charles Grodin. Of his enactment as Robert E. Lee Prewitt in the short-lived military drama 'Stockade' (1954), critic Brooks Atkinson remarked: "Modest of manner, pleasant of voice, he has a steel-like spirit that brings Prewitt honestly to life" (New York Times,September 17 1986).

Murray began in films properly as a credited screen actor from 1951, alternating with guest starring roles on television (by the end of his life he had appeared in more than 100 TV shows). His expressive face and gravelly voice became an adaptable combination for playing surly gangsters (Perry Mason), authority figures with integrity (James Stewart's ill-fated colleague in The FBI Story), or without (pompous mayor Larry Vaughn in Jaws. He was particularly good as Irving Blanchard in the comedy No Time for Sergeants, giving an excellent drunk impersonation; as obtuse barkeeper Al Paquette in Anatomy of a Murder, the key witness to the crime who keeps mum out of misguided loyalty; cocky Kentuckian millionaire Findley who thinks he can take Fast Eddie in The Hustler; and Anne Bancroft's husband, Mr.Robinson, in The Graduate, a role for which Marlon Brando was at one time considered. Of Murray's performance as Robinson, Bosley Crowther wrote "Murray Hamilton is piercing...a seemingly self-indulgent type who is sharply revealed as bewildered and wounded in one fine, funny scene" (New York Times,December 22 1967).

On the small screen, he was memorable as Mr.Death in the 'One for the Angels' episode of Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone, who is sweet-talked by salesman Lew Bookman (Ed Wynn) to remain on earth just long enough to make his big pitch. As Lewis Dunn in the episode 'The Condemned', he essayed one of the more sinister alien individuals among The Invaders. In addition to numerous portrayals of harassed or cynical cops, he is also remembered for his recurring TV role, Captain Rutherford T. Grant, in B.J. and the Bear.

Unlike other busy actors, Murray Hamilton was not a part of the established Hollywood set, preferring to spend his life in his home state, North Carolina, and in Manhattan. He counted George C. Scott, Jason Robards and Walter Matthau among his close friends. When the actor was suffering from the effects of cancer and found film roles harder to come by, Scott helped out by getting him a part in the made-for-television movie The Last Days of Patton. Murray Hamilton died too soon, aged 63, in September 1986.

Ki-duk Kim

He studied fine arts in Paris in 1990-1992. In 1993 he won the award for Best Screenplay from the Educational Institute of Screenwriting with "A Painter and A Criminal Condemned to Death". After two more screenplay awards, he made his directorial debut with Crocodile. Then he went on to direct Wild Animals, Birdcage Inn ("Birdcage Inn"), _Seom (2000)_ ("The Isle") and the highly experimental Real Fiction ("Real Fiction"), shot in just 200 minutes. In 1999, Address Unknown was selected by the Pusan Film Festival's Pusan Promotion Plan (PPP) for development.

Glenda Jackson

Few in modern British history have come as far or achieved as much from humble beginnings as Glenda Jackson has. From acclaimed actress to respected MP (Member of Parliament), she is known for her high intelligence and meticulous approach to her work. She was born to a working-class household in Birkenhead, where her father was a bricklayer and her mother was a cleaning lady. When she was very young, her father was recruited into the Navy, where he worked aboard a minesweeper. She graduated from school at 16 and worked for a while in a pharmacy. However, she found this boring and dead-end and wanted better for herself. Her life changed forever when she was accepted into the prestigious Royal Acadamy of Dramatic Art (RADA) at the age of 18. Her work impressed all who observed it. In addition, she married Roy Hodges at 22.

Her first work came on the stage, where she won a role in an adaptation of "Separate Tables", and made a positive impression on critics and audiences alike. This led to film roles, modest at first, but she approached them with great determination. She first came to the public's notice when she won a supporting role in the controversial film Marat/Sade, and is acknowledged to have stolen the show. She quickly became a member of Britian's A-List. Her first starring role came in the offbeat drama Negatives, in which she out-shone the oddball material. The following year, controversial director Ken Russell gave her a starring role in his adaptation of the 1920s romance Women in Love, in which she co-starred with Oliver Reed. The beautifully photographed film was a major success, and Jackson's performance won her an Academy Award for Best Actress. In the process, she became an international celebrity, known world-wide, yet she didn't place as much value on the status and fame as most do. She did, however, become a major admirer of Russell (who had great admiration for her in return) and acted in more of his films. She starred in the controversial The Music Lovers, even though it required her to do a nude scene, something that made her very uncomfortable. The film was not a success, but she agreed to do a cameo appearance in his next film, The Boy Friend. Although her role as an obnoxious actress was very small, she once again performed with great aplomb.

1971 turned out to be a key year for her. She took a risk by appearing in Sunday Bloody Sunday, as a divorced businesswoman in a dead-end affair with a shallow bisexual artist, but the film turned out to be another major success. Also, she accepted the starring role in the British Broadcasting Corporation's much anticipated biography of Queen Elizabeth I, and her performance in the finished film, Elizabeth R, was praised not only by critics and fans, but is cited by historians as the most accurate portrayal of the beloved former queen ever seen. The same year, she successfully played the role of Queen Elizabeth I again in the historical drama Mary, Queen of Scots. That same year, she appeared in the popular comedy series The Morecambe & Wise Show in a skit as Queen Cleopatra, which is considered on of the funniest TV skits in British television, and also proof that she could do comedy just as well as costume melodrama. One who saw and raved about her performance was director Melvin Frank, who proceeded to cast her in the romantic comedy A Touch of Class, co-starring George Segal. The two stars had a chemistry which brought out the best in each other, and the film was not only a major hit in both the United States and Great Britian, but won her a second Academy Award. She continued to impress by refusing obvious commercial roles and seeking out serious artistic work. She gave strong performances in The Romantic Englishwoman and The Incredible Sarah, in which she portrayed the legendary actress Sarah Bernhardt. However, some of her films didn't register with the public, like The Triple Echo, The Maids, and Nasty Habits. In addition, her marriage fell apart in 1976. But her career remained at the top and in 1978 she was named Commander of the Order of the British Empire. That year, she made a comeback in the comedy House Calls, co-starring Walter Matthau. The success of this film which led to a popular television spin-off in the United States the following year. In 1979, she and Segal re-teamed in Lost and Found, but they were unable to overcome the routine script. She again co-starred with Oliver Reed in The Class of Miss MacMichael, but the film was another disappointment.

During the 1980s, she appeared in Hopscotch also co-starring Walter Matthau, and HealtH with Lauren Bacall, with disappointing results, although Jackson herself was never blamed. Her performance in the TV biography Sakharov, in which she played Yelena Bonner, devoted wife of imprisoned Russian nuclear scientist Andrei Sakharov opposite Jason Robards, won rave reviews. However, the next film Turtle Diary, was only a modest success, and the ensemble comedy Beyond Therapy was a critical and box office disaster and Jackson herself got some of the worst reviews of her career.

As the 1980s ended, Jackson continued to act, but became more focused on public affairs. She grew up in a household that was staunchly supportive of the Labour Party. She had disliked the policies of Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, even though she admired some of her personal attributes, and strongly disapproved of Thatcher's successor, John Major. She was unhappy with the direction of British government policies, and in 1992 ran for Parliament. Although running in an area (Hampstead and Highgate) which was not heavily supportive of her party, she won by a slim margin and immediately became its most famous newly elective member. However, those who expected that she would rest on her laurels and fame were mistaken. She immediately took an interest in transportation issues, and in 1997 was appointed Junior Transportation Minister by Prime Minister Tony Blair. However, she was critical of some of Blair's policies and is considered an inter-party opponent of Blair's moderate faction. She is considered a traditional Labour Party activist, but is not affiliated with the faction known as The Looney Left. In 2000, she ran for Mayor of London, but lost the Labour nomination to fellow MP Frank Dobson, an ally of Blair's, who then lost the election to an independent candidate, Ken Livingstone. In 2005, she ran again and won the nomination, but lost to Livingstone, winning 38% of the vote. When Blair announced he would not seek reelection as Prime Minister in 2006, Jackson's name was mentioned as a possible successor, although she didn't encourage this speculation. In 2010, she sought reelection to parliament and was almost defeated, winning by only 42 votes. In 2013, she responded to the death of Margaret Thatcher by strongly denouncing her policies, which was condemned by many as graceless. In 2015, elections for parliament were called again but she didn't seek reelection. She was succeeded in Parliament by Chris Philip, a Conservative Party member who had been Jackson's opponent in 2010.

Bob Dylan

Robert Allen Zimmerman was born 24 May 1941 in Duluth, Minnesota; his father Abe worked for the Standard Oil Co. Six years later the family moved to Hibbing, often the coldest place in the US, where he taught himself piano and guitar and formed several high school rock bands. In 1959 he entered the University of Minnesota and began performing as Bob Dylan at clubs in Minneapolis and St. Paul. The following year he went to New York, performed in Greenwich Village folk clubs, and spent much time in the hospital room of his hero Woody Guthrie. Late in 1961 Columbia signed him to a contract and the following year released his first album, containing two original songs. Next year "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" appeared, with all original songs including the 1960s anthem "Blowin' in the Wind." After several more important acoustic/folk albums, and tours with Joan Baez, he launched into a new electric/acoustic format with 1965's "Bringing It All Back Home" which, with The Byrds' cover of his "Mr Tambourine Man," launched folk-rock. The documentary Dont Look Back was filmed at this time; he broke off his relationship with Baez and by the end of the year had married Sara Dylan (born Sara Lowndes). Nearly killed in a motorcycle accident 29 July 1966, he withdrew for a time of introspection. After more hard rock performances, his next albums were mostly country. With his career wandering (and critics condemning the fact), Sam Peckinpah asked him to compose the score for, and appear in, his Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid - more memorable as a soundtrack than a film. In 1974 he and The Band went on tour, releasing his first #1 album, "Planet Waves". It was followed a year later by another first-place album, "Blood on the Tracks". After several Rolling Thunder tours, the unsuccessful film Renaldo and Clara and a divorce, he stunned the music world again by his release of the fundamentalist Christrian album "Slow Train Coming," a cut from which won him his first Grammy. Many tours and albums later, on the eve of a European tour May 1997, he was stricken with histoplasmosis (a possibly fatal infection of the heart sac); he recovered and appeared in Bologna that September at the request of the Pope. In December he received the Kennedy Center Award for artistic excellence.

Felissa Rose

Felissa Rose Esposito grew up in New York always wanting to perform. At the age of 13, she landed the role of Angela in the cult film Sleepaway Camp. At the age of 17, she applied for early admission to New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and was admitted that fall. Attending The Lee Strasberg institute, she began formal training as a serious actress.

Performing in plays around Manhattan put her hard work to the test. Felissa played Denise Savage in Savage in "Limbo," Karen in "Phone Sex," Renée in David Henry Hwang's "M.Butterfly," Willie in "This Property is Condemned," Desdemona in William Shakespeare's "Othello," and many more. Film work includes Woody Allen's Another Woman, Pain and Suffering, The Night We Never Met, and MTV's The Party Phone Series opposite Adam Sandler. She is currently working with NY Dinner Theater and plays Louise in Disorganized Crime as well as pursuing TV and film work.

Steve Railsback

Noted for his dangerous, chameleon-like portrayals while possessing the scariest-looking pair of eyes in the business, leathery-looking Steve Railsback has mesmerized us over the years with a number of weird, often warped roles both on film and television. While never achieving the degree of stardom deserved, he, like the equally infamous and unpredictable Dennis Hopper, always commands interest whether the material is good or inferior. Born on Nevember 16, 1945 in Dallas, Texas, he was raised in Wichita Falls. Participation in a local college production of "Cinderella" at the age of 7 spurred his interest in acting. After graduating from high school, he took a job as a shoe salesman and eventually made enough money to leave his native Texas and relocate to New York in order to pursue acting in 1967.

As a student of Lee Strasberg and the Actors Studio, Railsback was forced to work menial jobs in order to initially survive, but he eventually became a regular fixture in the New York theatre scene in the late 1960s/early 1970s, appearing in such stage productions as "The Bluebird", "Orpheus Descending" and "This Property Is Condemned". While working out at the Studio, he caught the attention of renowned director Elia Kazan, who noticed his strong potential, and offered the fledgling actor a showy role in the low-budget film The Visitors. However, he returned to the theatre with roles in "The Petrified Forest", "One Sunday Afternoon" and "The Cherry Orchard" before making his Broadway debut in the short-lived José Quintero-directed production of "The Skin of Our Teeth" starring Elizabeth Ashley in 1975.

Following a second film role with James Woods in Cockfighter and the title role in the PBS piece Charlie Siringo, Steve delivered one of the most shockingly vivid lead roles ever present in a miniseries with his all-consuming reincarnation of cult leader and mass murderer Charles Manson in Helter Skelter. While the new guy on the block was unjustly ignored at Emmy time, Hollywood could not help but pay attention to this electrifying performer. Thanks primarily to Railsback, the miniseries was the highest-rated television movie at the time until Roots came along the following year.

Eager to avoid the threat of being typecast in "psycho" parts, Steve complemented this infamous role with a much more humane performance in the miniseries From Here to Eternity, tackling the role of Pvt. Robert E. Lee Pruitt (made memorable on screen by the late Montgomery Clift) and making it completely his own. His next big movie role, as a fugitive who happens upon a film set in the bizarre and brilliant black comedy The Stunt Man with the equally compelling Peter O'Toole, assured Hollywood that his stunning Charlie Manson portrayal was no fluke. More cutting-edge parts in a variety of genres came his way throughout the 1980s, but without the quality of production to back them up. Such films as the mystery Deadly Games; the Australian sci-fi thriller Turkey Shoot; the horror film Trick or Treats; the animal adventure The Golden Seal; the cocaine abuse drama Torchlight; the bizarre British sci-fi horror film Lifeforce; the John Candy/Eugene Levy action comedy Armed and Dangerous; the rock-and-roll drama Scenes from the Goldmine; and the ho-hum thriller dramas Distortions, The Survivalist and Nukie more often than not wasted his unique gifts.

While falling into quirky low-budget or direct-to-video fare for some time, Railsback has also dabbled in writing, producing and directing on occasion, such as the Vietnam POW story The Forgotten. At the turn of the century, Steve came to attention once again with a showy role as he delved inside the complex mind of another schizophrenic madman. Ed Gein, about infamous serial killer/cannibal Ed Gein (in which he also served as executive producer) once again showed Hollywood that the actor was a master at the game of weird.

Into the millennium, Railsback has appeared in mostly minor films, with roles in Zigs, Slash, Neo Ned, King of the Lost World, Plaguers, Ready or Not and Follow the Prophet. On television, he has had occasional roles tailored to his off-beat talents, guesting on such series as The Practice, The District, Family Law and Supernatural.

Anthony Higgins

Higgins was born May 9, 1947 in East Northamptonshire, England to parents who had emigrated from Ireland just before World War II in search of economic opportunity. His parents lived in London during the Blitz. Eventually, they left London for Northamptonshire so that his father could obtain work as a builder for American army bases. Young Anthony completed his studies at a state school and then intended to be a journalist. He worked as a butcher in Bedford and then as a "navvy," a builder's helper, in the small town of Grendon, near Northampton. At the age of 16, he obtained a job on a local paper but, by law, he had to be over 17 before he could work so he spent the time learning shorthand and typing. Then, a friend took him to a weekend drama course run by the distinguished Shavian actress, Margaretta Scott. She encouraged him to consider a career as an actor. He said, "It felt right so I decided to pursue it." Higgins won a scholarship to the Birmingham School of Speech and Dramatic Arts in 1964 and studied there for three years. He made his first professional appearance at the Birmingham Repertory Theater Company in Shakespeare's "A Winter's Tale" as a walk-on while still at school. He then joined the company full time and was assigned principal roles nearly at once. His portrayal of Romeo, opposite Anna Calder-Marshall as Juliet, received rave reviews throughout England. He also played Cassio in "Othello," and Louis Debedat in "The Doctor's Dilemma." He then worked onstage in classics and contemporary plays in Chichester and London. However, it was a theatrical portrayal of Edmund Tyrone in Eugene O'Neill's, "A Long Day's Journey Into Night" in Birmingham that led to Higgins' cinema debut for director John Huston under the name, Anthony Corlan, (his mother's maiden name), in "A Walk with Love and Death" (1969). The film takes place during Europe's 100 Years War and was shot in Vienna and the Vienna Woods. The film is notable for the debut of Huston's daughter, Angelica. Corlan plays Robert, a nobleman, wearing authentic looking armor. It was Huston who taught him how to ride horses. Higgins rides with style in many subsequent films. Later, he would own a racehorse in Ireland.

After appearing in "A Walk with Love and Death," the actor was in several television plays for the BBC, including an original drama, "The Blood of the Lamb," for "The Wednesday Play" and "Mary, Queen of Scots" for "Play of the Month." He then made two films for television, one an episode of "Journey to the Unknown" with Janice Rule, and the other, a segment of "Strange Report," with Anthony Quayle. His next feature film role was in "Something for Everyone," also known as "The Cook," (1970), after auditioning for director Hal Prince and producer John Flaxman in London. This was stage director Prince's first flirtation with film, with a script by Hugh Wheeler, author of "Sweeney Todd." Higgins plays a quiet, sheltered young German royal, Helmuth, with Angela Lansbury as his mother. Helmut is forced into an arranged marriage with Annaliese, played by German actress, Heidelinde Weis. He discovers the darker motives that lurk beneath Michael York's gleaming blonde appearance against brilliant cinematography in the shadow of King Ludwig's Castle, in Neuschwanstein, Germany. In 1972, Higgins acted in "Vampire Circus" as a circus performer who changes into a panther-vampire. The film has become a cult classic. It was banned in Britain (because of its bestiality). The actor has said that it is the last of the great vampire films produced under the Hammer banner. There is a badly edited version for sale in the United States; an uncut edition has been seen in Europe that is much clearer. "Flavia, the Moslem Nun," (1974), with Brazilian born Florinda Bolkan, gave Higgins an opportunity to work in Italy. The DVD is a great piece of cinema history rescued by high technology and enhanced by a recent interview with Ms. Bolkan, who became an international screen legend in her own time. The story is derived from actual events in the 1400s that culminated in "The Martyrdom of the 800" in Otranto. The exotic soundtrack is by Academy Award winning composer, Nicola Piovani ("Life is Beautiful"). If one can get past the explicit physical mutilation of animals and humans and the insults to the Catholic Church, the script can be seen as supportive of feminism. Director Gianfranco Mingozzi's vision is representative of the wild cinema of the sexual revolution of the 70s in which auteurs were bursting to break free from the establishment. "Flavia" has haunting performances by Bolkan, Maria Casares, (the princess in Cocteau's "Orpheus") and Higgins. He is dazzling as the Moslem commander with no name who initiates Flavia as a sexual being, encourages her to carry out a bloody revenge and then disillusions her. That Higgins does not speak much is of no consequence. He communicates some of his best acting with movements and facial expressions, particularly, with his eyes. He can say volumes with one mesmerizing gaze.

The actor flourished on stage, television and screen throughout the 70s. Notably, he starred as a Roman soldier looking for his vanished father in Caledonia, in BBC Scotland's miniseries, "Eagle of the Ninth" with Patrick Malahide in 1977. However, Higgins has said that he is most proud to have been a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company's original London cast of "Piaf," a biography of the French singer, Edith Piaf, written by Pam Gems, which starred Jane Lapotaire in 1979. The play was resurrected to rave reviews in London in 1994 but without any of the original players. Higgins won Best Actor of 1979 from Time Out magazine for his work with The Royal Shakespeare Company that year. He acted in mainly new work with the RSC but he also played Lucentio in "The Taming of the Shrew" opposite Zoe Wanamaker as his sweet Bianca. Older London stage audiences may discern that among his many stage to television appearances in the 80s was the role of Camille in "Danton's Death." The play by George Buechner ran at the National Theater in London for a year and was then produced for television by the BBC. Zoe Wanamaker played opposite him once more. As the actor matured in his thirties, his persona grew more interesting with more unusual works. Higgins' face is often recognized for his having played the artist in "The Draughtsman's Contract," (1982), opposite the brilliant Shakespearean actress, Janet Suzman. The film is suggestive of classical restoration drama with a mysterious plot, elegant landscape shots of England's County Kent and a Purcell-like soundtrack by Michael Nyman. Director Peter Greenaway has said that he cast Higgins in the lead because he best expressed a combination of arrogance and innocence. Higgins gives a subtle depiction of the outcast, the son of a tenant farmer, who turns out to be too trusting and is tragically deceived. After Draughtsman's initial release, many viewers wondered what the lead actor would do next but Higgins does not generally pursue publicity. Although he appeared at the Edinburgh Festival with the cast, he did not do many interviews. "Draughtsman" experienced resurgence in 1994 and the actor's face was plastered on larger than life posters across the high walls of London's underground tube stops. His face has often been well utilized to represent a variety of ethnic origins. It is an oval face with a long thin nose and high, almost oriental cheekbones. It is usually framed by dark, wavy hair, sometimes ending at his collar. His balanced brows can look calm but lying dormant behind his deeply inset, hazel eyes is a prospective fire. Behind the face lies great inventiveness that has not always been allowed to surface but when it does, the effect can be striking. Higgins seems to have unlocked a storeroom of intensity by taking on the role of Stephan, a hard-luck Polish immigrant to 1920s Paris in the Merchant-Ivory film, "Quartet" (1981). The film, based on the novel by Jean Rhys, is sharply directed by James Ivory and has a heart-felt script by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala ("Le Divorce"). Isabelle Adjani garnered a Cannes Film Festival award for Best Actress for her gut-wrenching performance as Stephan's defenseless wife. Stephan is an impetuous man, who takes the dishonest road to acquiring wealth, with a small amount of shiftiness and a large amount of charm. Higgins infuses the role with detailed mannerisms such as holding his cigarette by cupping the end with his fingers, as many Slavic men do.

Higgins' height (6' 2"), dark looks and air of moral strength have frequently rendered him romantic roles. He sometimes appears to be aloof but a warmth sneaks out. The tough guy who softens for a vulnerable female might be what he is all about. Thus, it seems only natural that an actor whom he greatly admires is Robert Mitchum. Indeed, in another era, Higgins himself might have fit nicely into film noir. Higgins stars in a dark mystery film, "Sweet Killing," (1993), which was filmed in Montreal and also features F. Murray Abraham. Female admiration of Higgins became universal with his winsome portrayal of Abdullah, in "Lace," (1984-5), a cleverly written television miniseries by Elliot Baker, based on the popular English novel by Shirley Conran. Angela Lansbury, Brooke Adams and Arielle Dombasle are outstanding. Most critics condemned Phoebe Cates for her unconvincing acting but unanimously praised Higgins' persuasive performance as an Arabian prince, who is the lynch pin of the plot. The film also captures glamorous scenery of the French Alps, Chamonix and other jet-set locales; it has wonderful women's fashions, particularly hats, by Barbara Lane; it is the ultimate "chick flick." Higgins, astonished to hear that it is frequently repeated on cable in the U.S., has reacted, "It was great fun to do, actually. It has no pretense to be Strindberg. It is glamorous trash. Still, we had great character actors in it like Anthony Quayle, an old friend, who is now dead; and the director, Billy Hale, and I hit it off in a big way." Far from charming in "Reilly, Ace of Spies," (1983), the actor plays a cold Communist assassin in the British miniseries with Sam Neill in the title role; Higgins' innocence seen in previous roles is totally obscured here. In 1986, he acted with Jeanne Moreau in Agatha Christie's mystery, "The Last Séance," for Granada TV. "Max, Mon Amour," a feature film for the daring director Nagisa Oshima ("Realm of the Senses") followed in 1986. It has an outrageous plot about a bored wife (Charlotte Rampling) with a chimpanzee as her lover. Higgins plays her British diplomat husband who invites the ape to live with them in Paris.

Higgins continued to work in France to play Napoleon's elder brother in "Napoleon and Josephine," with Armand Assante and Jacqueline Bisset in the title roles in 1987. It gave Higgins the opportunity to work again with Jane Lapotaire as mother Bonaparte. After Napoleon cuts up Europe for his family, Joseph satirically delivers a memorable aside, "Louis gets Holland and all I get is disease-ridden Naples." Lavishly photographed in Europe and North Africa, the television miniseries has subtle humor; it airs occasionally on cable in the U.S. A tendency of Higgins' style has been to hold something back, compelling the viewer to wonder what else he has stored up, adding mystery to his character. In "Darlings of the Gods," an Australian television film, (1991), he may have held back a bit much in the lead as Laurence Olivier, opposite Mel Martin as Vivien Leigh, to the disappointment of some critics. Still, the film aired around the world, received good ratings and repeated several times. In spin offs of the Sherlock Holmes legend, Higgins is the only actor besides Orson Welles to have played both Moriarty ("Young Sherlock Holmes" 1985) and Holmes ("Sherlock Holmes Returns" 1993). Both works display his skills in fencing and oration of long monologues; both versions proved popular in several countries, among them Germany. Higgins is fluent in German. German artist and photographer, Heide Lausen, whom he met while working on "Something for Everyone" in Germany, widows him. He has one daughter, who was born in 1974 and raised in Bavaria. He is often recognized for having played a stereotypical Nazi villain in Stephen Spielberg's, "Raiders of the Lost Ark," (1981). However, of the television film, "One Against the Wind," also known as "Mary Lindell," (1991), starring Judy Davis, Higgins has said that he enjoyed playing a non-typical German SS officer, who had been classically educated in England, because it was not a hackneyed image. "The Bridge," (1992), based on the Whitbread award winning novel by Maggie Hemingway, is an engaging film that takes place in the 19th century with actress Saskia Reeves struggling against sociological constraints. Here, his power simmers rather than explodes, as he plays a husband, who makes a shrewd move to eliminate his wife's lover. In a scene with his daughters at the breakfast table, one can sense that his character might do anything to prevent his family from breaking apart.

A family role that Higgins took on enthusiastically was that of Johann Strauss, Sr. in "The Strauss Dynasty," (1991). The award winning television miniseries, which was filmed in Austria and Hungary over eight months, contains a cast of hundreds. The scope covers the entire Strauss family and the music and politics of their time. The twelve-hour program aired successfully in Europe and Australia in the 90s. The actor shows great range in this role, growing from young adored "Waltz King" conductor of Vienna to world weary, exhausted composer. The series shines with many international stars, enlightening history and music by the Strausses. Higgins grew up in a large musical and creative family of five brothers and one sister in Northamptonshire. Before Higgins was born, his father sang with a band in Cork in the 1930s. His mother was the local church organist and would sometimes accompany him on piano. Later, his father went to New York and studied opera but he returned to Ireland after six years. Anthony plays flugelhorn; he had an instrument especially crafted for him in Germany. He has said that his mother taught him to read even before he went to school. He is a voracious reader; he writes, having used an old manual typewriter prior to the computer era. He also has a penchant for classical music, jazz and fine art; when in New York, he likes to visit the Frick Museum and the Pierpont Morgan Library. He has always had a passion for athletics, having played rugby in his youth, then cricket and now it is golf. The actor's search for cutting-edge productions led him to "Nostradamus" (1994), an eccentric version of the 16th century visionary filmed in Romania. Tcheky Karyo plays the title role and Higgins brings up the ranks as King Henry II of France. Diana Quick (Higgins' mistress in "Max, Mon Amour") plays Diane de Poitier alongside Amanda Plummer as his quirky queen, Catherine de Medici. Higgins plays Henry as extremely effective politically and a great athlete. Higgins' research found that jousting was his other great love as evidenced from the time, effort and money that went into his armor, which is embossed with exquisite scenes from classical history and still exists as an extraordinary artifact.

One of Higgins' best moments onscreen is as Korah, a Hebrew in "Moses" (1996), a television miniseries that aired internationally with Ben Kingsley in the title role. After initial skepticism, Korah silently communicates religious rapture as manna slowly falls from heaven on his ecstatic face, revealing a believer in the end. In the middle 1990s, it seems that there was a chic rush for heterosexual male stars to play roles as HIV-stricken patients, i.e., witness Jeremy Irons in "Stealing Beauty." Higgins brings an understated dignity to the role of a Cuban choreographer in the AIDS-related film, "Alive and Kicking," also known as "Indian Summer" (1996). The film stars Jason Flemyng as his student and has a hopeful conclusion by author Martin Sherman ("Bent"). Higgins returned to the stage in November 1996 with the title role in "Max Klapper - A Life in Pictures." He received excellent notices as a post WWII German film director opposite Emily Lloyd as the actress whom he regards as his creation. The event marked the reopening as a live theater of the Electric Cinema in London, where, curiously, during WWII the theater's manager was suspected of sending messages to German Zeppelins from the roof. Higgins fervently plays Marcel, a Hungarian archaeologist in the Irish feature film, "The Fifth Province," (1997), with Ian Richardson, with whom he previously appeared in "Danton's Death" on British television. Higgins has been particularly commended for the scene where he digs furiously for treasure that was buried by the high kings of Ireland. The script is by the Irish Times-Aer Lingus prize winning, hilarious novelist, Nina Fitzpatrick (Fables of the Irish Intelligentsia). The film sometimes surfaces on Sky TV. In the late 90s, Higgins continued to appear on British television in various roles and slipped into the snakeskins of seriously degenerated criminals in the television crime dramas, "The Governor I," "Supply and Demand I," and "Trial and Retribution III" (now available on DVD in Region 2). All were written by Lynda LaPlante ("Prime Suspect"), who was, coincidentally, an extra in "The Draughtsman's Contract." However, the actor becomes orderly again in 2001, as he plays a talent agent of dubious trust in "The Last Minute," directed by Stephen Norrington ("League of Extraordinary Gentlemen"). The theme is the unworthiness of fame in trendy London. The hero, labeled as "the next big thing," rebels against the agent and descends into hell before finding out how to value his life.

One key to understanding Higgins' personality might be to recognize that his true love is the horn. In 2000, he commissioned British trumpeter Guy Barker, ("Great Expectations" 1998), to write a jazz soundtrack for a short film that Higgins wrote and directed, starring himself and British actress, Frances Barber, "Blood Count." It has been playing at European Film Festivals. In March 2003, Higgins lent his deep, but mellifluous, voice to narrate "Sounds in Black and White," Barker's homage concert to film noir, with the 60 piece London Metropolitan Orchestra at the Barbican Theater in London. In 2004, American television viewers can look forward to seeing him in an "Inspector Lynley Series II" episode on PBS' "Mystery Theater." A large part of Higgins' charisma is due to his voice, mannerisms and unique style that remain unruffled as he ages. He is not on the celebrity A list, the B list or even the Z list but he is high on many viewers' lists of interesting actors to watch because of his magnetism, intensity and unpredictability. The first decade of the new millennium has presented several new interesting British actors on the screen. However, many do not seem to have a strong classical stage training, which is Higgins' rock, and they often throw their lines away. Although not all of his roles have grandeur, people invariably comment about Higgins what he has said of Robert Mitchum, "Even in terrible movies, he is always good." Higgins' light may have reached millions of viewers but he never sold out for money. Some have called him a "career actor" but he has yet to receive the recognition of which his talent is worthy. Where is he? He is building a legacy as a character actor. Film history will show that he is a noteworthy one.

Leni Riefenstahl

Leni Riefenstahl's show-biz experience began with an experiment: she wanted to know what it felt like to dance on the stage. Success as a dancer gave way to film acting when she attracted the attention of film director Arnold Fanck, subsequently starring in some of his mountaineering pictures. With Fanck as her mentor, Riefenstahl began directing films.

Her penchant for artistic work earned her acclaim and awards for her films across Europe. It was her work on Triumph of the Will, a documentary commissioned by the Nazi government about Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich, that would come back to haunt her after the atrocities of World War II. Despite her protests to the contrary, Riefenstahl was considered an intricate part of the Third Reich's propaganda machine. Condemned by the international community, she did not make another movie for over 50 years.

Omar Sharif Jr.

Born on November 28, 1983 to a Jewish mother and Muslim father, Omar Sharif Jr. was given his name by his iconic grandfather. With maternal grandparents who were Holocaust survivors and paternal grandparents who were famous actors, Omar was assured a colorful life. As a child, he shuttled frequently between his birthplace of Montreal, and Paris and Cairo. Omar obtained a Master's Degree in Comparative Politics from The London School of Economics at Queen's University, by the age of 23.

Omar balanced his studies with living the life of an irresponsible socialite. He garnering considerable attention from international ad and spokesperson campaigns for Calvin Klein and Coca Cola, as well as from his celebrity relationships. He was offered a role in a hit Egyptian TV series in 2007, which piqued his interest in "the family business".

At the 83rd Annual Academy Awards, he was invited to be the sole male trophy presenter, and performed a memorable comedic sketch with screen legend Kirk Douglas.

In 2013, shortly after the Muslim Brotherhood was elected to parliament in Egypt, Omar published an open letter in The Advocate, in which he came out as gay and half-Jewish and questioned the new Egyptian government's commitment to basic human rights and diversity. He is the first public personality to ever come out as openly gay in the Arab World. He immediately faced a barrage of condemnation, criticism and threats of violence.

From 2013 to 2015, Omar served as the Eastern National Spokesperson for GLAAD; an organization which serves to promote LGBT equality by ensuring positive media portrayals of the gay, lesbian and trans community.

Omar is fluent in English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Hebrew and Yiddish.

Timothy Carey

Timothy Carey had one of the most unusual careers of all Hollywood character actors, obtaining full cult status for his portrayals of the doomed, the psychotic and the plain crazy. Carey's career was an "Only in America" type of story, and he retains his status as a Great American Original a decade after his death.

As a 22-year-old acting school graduate, he made his film debut in 1951 as a corpse in a Clark Gable western, but it was his brief, uncredited part as Chino, a member of Lee Marvin's motorcycle gang The Beetles in The Wild One that made an impression and was a harbinger of the unsavory things to come. Prone to improvising, it was the fearless Carey who came up with the idea of squirting beer in Marlon Brando's face, even though the Great Method Actor himself had expressed reservations about what Carey was up to. He also registered that year as the bordello bouncer who threatens James Dean in East of Eden, making his face, if not his name (he was uncredited in both parts), known to the mass audience.

Carey followed this up with superb acting jobs in two Stanley Kubrick films, The Killing and Paths of Glory. In the former he played the sociopath Nikki Arane, who is contracted to shoot a race horse, which he does with great glee. In "Paths of Glory" Carey had an atypically sympathetic role as French soldier Pvt. Ferol, unjustly condemned to be shot to atone for the stupidities of his generals during World War I. However, it was in Bayou that Carey reached his apotheosis as an actor: as the psychotic Cajun Ulysses, he crafted an indelible performance that went beyond the acceptable limits of cinema scenery-chewing. He became Ulysses, on-screen, the mad Cajun who epitomized evil, his insanity perfectly encapsulated in the psychotic jig Carey danced to more fully limn his character's madness. This classic exploitation film was re-cut and re-released as "Poor White Trash" (1961), and became a grindhouse Gone with the Wind, playing to crowds until the 1970s (and becoming, retrospectively, one of the top-grossing films of 1957).

Carey's career as a Hollywod heavy was thus established, though many directors saw the talent lurking within his physically forbidding, 6'4" frame. His former co-star Brando directed him in One-Eyed Jacks (Brando's sole directorial effort), a film Kubrick originally was scheduled to direct, gunning down the shotgun-wielding heavy in the process. Francis Ford Coppola tried to hire him for The Godfather and The Godfather: Part II, but Carey was working on his own project during the shooting of the first classic and turned down the opportunity to appear in the second. He did agree to appear in Coppola's The Conversation, yet another classic, but walked off the set during filming. John Cassavetes gave him a prominent role in Minnie and Moskowitz and cast him as the second lead in The Killing of a Chinese Bookie.

Carey's penchant for improvising (in the execution scene for "Paths of Glory," his character was supposed to remain silent, but Carey began moaning "I don't what to die," and Kubrick kept it in the film) coupled with his eccentric behavior gave him a reputation as difficult to work with in the 1960s. During that tumultuous decade, Carey spoofed his psycho screen image in Beach Blanket Bingo, playing South Dakota Slim, who--like villains of old flickers--straps the second female lead to a buzzsaw. As the heavy Lord High-and-Low, he menaced The Monkees in the Jack Nicholson-penned Head. Nicholson was one of his biggest fans.

Carey's greatest role was in a film he produced, wrote and directed himself, The World's Greatest Sinner, in which he played a rock 'n roll-singing evangelist who, in a burst of hubris, names himself "God," runs for President and is struck down by God himself at the film's climax. As Clarence Hilliard, the insurance salesman who drops out of straight society, starts his own evangelical religion (using rock 'n roll music played by himself and a band featuring a woman saxophone player to whip up the crowds and manipulate the masses) and eventually runs for president, Carey fully realized his talent, a grindhouse, exploitation circuit John Gielgud assaying his Hamlet. Filmed fitfully between 1958 and 1961 for a total cost of approximately $100,000 (the shooting was sporadic because the production kept running out of money), it remains one of the most notorious works in grindhouse cinema--even Elvis Presley himself asked Carey for a copy! (Carey, always in character as The Jester, refused The King's request).

Carey's last film was Echo Park. A favorite actor of cineaste/video store clerk Quentin Tarantino, he tested for the role of crime boss Joe Cabot in Tarantino's debut film, Reservoir Dogs, but the tyro director didn't think he was right for the role. Instead, he cast Lawrence Tierney (equally great in the movie heavy and eccentricity departments) and dedicated the film to Carey.

Timothy Carey taught acting in his later years. This true American Original died of a stroke on May 11, 1994, at the age of 65. He is sorely missed, as his like will not be seen again.

Priscilla Pointer

Though character actress Priscilla Pointer may be better known as the mother of Amy Irving, she has enjoyed a major stage, film and TV career herself for over four decades. The New York-born performer was trained on the stage and appeared in several tours and Broadway shows, including "A Streetcar Named Desire", "The Country Wife" and "The Condemned of Altona". Many of these were under the direction of husband Jules Irving, a former actor, whom she married in 1947. Together, they co-founded the San Francisco Actor's Workshop along with Herbert Blau and Beatrice Manley. Forsaking her career for a time to raise her children, Pointer returned full time and, at the age of 40+, decided to set her sights on film and TV. She seemed to be everywhere in the 1970s and 1980s as somebody's mom, both brittle and resilient. She also proved to be dependable as a stern, no-nonsense teacher, doctor or judge. She played the mother of daughter Amy Irving in the cult shocker Carrie, Diane Keaton in Looking for Mr. Goodbar, Sean Penn in The Falcon and the Snowman and Kyle MacLachlan in Blue Velvet. On the nighttime soap hit Dallas, she played mom to Victoria Principal's character. In 1979, her husband Jules passed away and, two years later, she married actor Robert Symonds. They have appeared together quite frequently on stage, including the plays "Voices" and "The Road to Mecca".

Tom Everett

Graduate of The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts on an ITT International Fellowship in the Fulbright Competition, Tom is an accomplished country singer-songwriter (RCA album - "Porchlight on in Oregon" and the independently released "Still Waters - (A collection of Years)), a Lifetime Member of The Actors Studio, and a first-rate chameleon character actor playing everything from white collar professionals to starring as Brian David Mitchell in the CBS television movie "The Elizabeth Smart Story," to receiving glowing notices for his comedic work as a dweeb/nerd/gofer in "Winning Isn't Everything" at New York's Hudson Guild Theatre directed by legendary comedic director George Abbot, to playing southern white trash Alfredo in "Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3." High profile roles include, but are not limited to, the scruffy 'George 'Gabby' Hayes'-like Sgt. Pepper in Dances with Wolves, the straight-laced National Security Officer Jack Doherty in Air Force One, and the black stovepipe-hatted Mosley Baker in The Alamo. Everett has also created a whole host of other memorable, idiosyncratic characterizations, albeit in, perhaps, lesser known films: Assistant Coach to James Earl Jones in Best of the Best, Rabbitt in Prison starring Viggo Mortensen, etc.. He's had the pleasure of working with directors and producers more than once including three films with Michael Bay ("Pearl Harbor, "Transformers," and "The Island"), three films with John Lee Hancock (including John Lee's first film "Hard Time Romance," starring alongside Tom's friend Leon Rippy), several projects with Alex Graves, Kevin Falls, Jeff Burr, Michael Pressman, Kevin Costner, Frank Von Zerneck & Bob Sertner, Ian Sander, Jeff Morton, Renny Harlin, Peter Segal & Michael Ewing. Television audiences have seen him in many projects doing a variety of roles including as Rory Carmichael, the condemned Alabama death row inmate in the pilot episode of _"The Beast" (2001) directed by Mimi Leder, as the recurring character Charles Frost on "West Wing"_, and most recently as the recurring character Dr. Elliot Langley on "Journeyman." He's also a cellist, guitarist and little-known humorist; in that last vein, and as a closet comedian, he recently had the pleasure of working with Judd Apatow and Paul Rudd in "This Is Forty." He received scholarships to Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, NYU School of the Arts where he received an MFA, Perry-Mansfield School of Drama and Dance, and is a native of Oregon, and the son of Viennese parents. Tom spent 12 years in New York honing his craft and acting in five Broadway plays, many off-Broadway & off-off Broadway & regional theatre ones too (including his being a Resident Member of The American Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, Connecticut.

Patric Knowles

Fourteen-year-old Reginald Lawrence Knowles was being readied to take his place with other relatives in the family bookbinding business (in Leeds) when he ran off to become an actor. He was inevitably brought back home, but he made good his second escape a few years later - his willful Knowles Yorkshire origin would not be denied. What stage experience he had amounted to a few seasons in regional theater, but he started in British sound films early (1932), calling himself Patric Knowles. He was the proverbial tall, dark and handsome type and headed for romantic lead roles. He rose slowly rose up the ranks of featured players in an array of 14 British films that included one of director Michael Powell's early successes, The Girl in the Crowd. The last of his British efforts was Crown v. Stevens which, being a British Warner Bros. production, was scouted for the studio's Hollywood home base. This and a few previous films that year were lead vehicles for Knowles, and for this last he was recommended for a Hollywood contract. His first American effort was the big-screen soap opera Give Me Your Heart with notable Warner players, in which he played a noble cad. His chance for a more romantic introduction came later in the year with The Charge of the Light Brigade, where he joined an already popular new Angle face, Errol Flynn. Knowles played his younger brother in this well received bit of revisionist historical drama.

Through the remainder of the 1930s Knowles had a few leads with second-tier featured stars, but more often he was second lead as strait-laced but engaging in comedies as well as dramas. There were other films with Flynn, most notably the classic The Adventures of Robin Hood in which he played Will Scarlett (in bright red jerkin). Knowles was a licensed private pilot and during free time provided some white-knuckle moments for Flynn, whose on-screen derring-do cloaked several phobias including vertigo. Knowles preferred freelancing to the confinement of long contract associations--one means of dodging the pitfall of being typecast. He was at RKO to play - with great verve - the shallow and rich playboy on the ill-fated plane of Five Came Back. At Twentieth Century-Fox he played - very effectively - one of the big brothers of the Morgan family in the classic How Green Was My Valley. Of course, freelancing could also lead to typecasting. Knowles parked himself at Universal in 1943, condemned to play clean-up hero in its formula horror films, such as The Wolf Man and the less engaging Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man. He also had to endure straight man duty to the insipid antics of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, among other indignities suffered as a utility player at Universal.

He continued through the 1940s to 1951 with a mix of capable first and second lead roles with other studios, but that somewhat bored and deepening grimness on his face perhaps reflected frustration with typecast characters, as well as the realization that big fame would never come his way. He continued to be game, though, and fairly leaped at the new live playhouse theater phenomenon of early television. Along with one or two movies a year, he worked in this pioneering small screen theater starting in 1951. He also embraced episodic TV and made the rounds of the popular western and private eye shows of the period. Big- and small-screen work gradually tapered off for him through the 1960s. In the late part of the decade he was playing dignified military officers, such as Lord Mountbatten in the hit The Devil's Brigade. He spent time doing college lecturing, commercials, and wrote a novel called "Even Steven." Retiring to the north end of the San Fernando Valley in Woodland Hills, Knowles was close to the Motion Picture Country Home in Calabasas, where he spent much time volunteering to help with the various functions provided for the many elderly show business people, many of whom had not been as fortunate as Knowles to have graced nearly 125 film efforts.

David Brian

New Yorker who, after schooling at City College, found work as a doorman before entering show business with a song-and-dance routine in vaudeville and in night clubs. He did a wartime stint with the Coast Guard and returned to acting on the New York stage after the war. Persuaded by Joan Crawford to try his hand at film acting, he joined her in Hollywood and, in 1949, signed a contract with Warner Brothers. In his feature debut, Flamingo Road, he played a political boss infatuated with Crawford's carnival girl. Brian's most critically acclaimed performance was as the fair-minded, resourceful Southern lawyer defending condemned but innocent Juano Hernandez from a vicious, bigoted lynch mob in Intruder in the Dust. For this role, he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award as Best Supporting Actor.

Brian portrayed a powerful gang leader in The Damned Don't Cry, again opposite Crawford. In spite of his commanding presence in the film, his performance was somewhat compromised by a cliche-laden script. In This Woman Is Dangerous, it was Crawford who played the criminal and Brian the role of her insanely jealous paramour. For the remainder of the decade and into the 1960s, Brian played an assortment of western heavies on the big screen--notably raider leader Austin McCool in Springfield Rifle and saloon owner Dick Braden in Dawn at Socorro--and did the same with equal verve on television, in Gunsmoke. An incisive actor with sardonic looks and a hard edge to his voice, Brian was more often than not typecast as ruthless or manipulating types. Somewhat against character, he essayed a weakling in the ground-breaking airborne drama The High and the Mighty.

On the right side of the law, he starred as crusading D.A. Paul Garrett in his own courtroom drama series, Mr. District Attorney, reprising his earlier role on radio. In 1968, he also made a contribution to Star Trek as John Gill, a Federation cultural observer on the planet Ekos whose experiment in creating a government based on National Socialist principles goes disastrously wrong.

In private life, Brian was a noted fundraiser for the Volunteers of America, a well-known nonprofit charitable organisation.

Perry Yung

Perry Yung is an American actor and musician from Oakland, CA best known for his role as Ping Wu on Steven Soderbergh's The Knick on Cinemax. He has guest starred on TV shows such as Gotham, The Blacklist and Royal Pains and enjoyed principle roles in the films Condemned, Jade Pendant and John Wick:Chapter 2. Perry is a founder of the SLANT Performance Group and repertory member of La Mama's Great Jones theater Company of New York City.

Kea Ho

Kea is an actress and model renowned for her multi-ethnic exotic look and scorching screen presence. A rising star in the film world, Kea is paving the way for an impressive film career, appearing as "Xiomara," the iconic femme fatale of this year's "URGE" starring Pierce Brosnan.

Kea was handpicked by Robert Rodriguez to be featured in his sequel to Sin City, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba and Mickey Rourke. Kea showed off her versatility and range playing "Lola" in the comedy Flock of Dudes starring Chris D'Elia, Hilary Duff, Skylar Astin, Ray Liotta, Bryan Greenberg and comedy powerhouses Jeffrey Ross, Marc Maron, Eric André and Brett Gelman. Kea made a special appearance as a heightened version of herself in Eli Morgan Gesner's horror comedy, "Condemned" starring Dylan Penn, Lydia Hearst, Johnny Messner, Michael Gill and Jon Abrahams. Kea is a lifelong connoisseur of classic films which she discovered through her love of actresses such as Sophia Loren, Rita Hayworth, Anita Ekberg, and Angelina Jolie. Next Kea will be appearing in her first starring vehicle which is prepping for a Spring 2017 start.

Kea hails from Hawaii where she started her entertainment career at the age of 4 on stage with her father, legendary Hawaiian Superstar Don Ho. Kea's experience growing up in such a prestigious showbiz family gave her an opportunity to hone her skills on-stage as well as work behind-the-scenes producing and refining the world-renowned show.

Kea has studied method acting at the Lee Strasberg Institute and resides in NYC.

Maggie McNamara

Maggie McNamara -- with her brown hair in a ponytail -- arrives in Rome in Three Coins in the Fountain expecting great things to happen. Petite and slender, she looks almost like a schoolgirl in her prim blue suit. She is bright and vivacious and goes for what she wants -- a proposal from "Prince Dino De Cessi" played by Louis Jourdan. She was in her mid-20s, then, and at the height of her career as she made her second film. One of four children of Irish-American parents, Maggie had come a long way since attending Textile High in New York to prepare for a modeling career. Pert as well as petite, she must have reminded people of the young Debbie Reynolds. Both had a look that was popular in the late 1940s. Maggie's picture appeared twice on the cover of Life Magazine and people were saying she too ought to be in movies. She started taking lessons with a dramatic coach and, at the age of 23, she was discovered by Otto Preminger. He signed her to play the role of a proper young lady who lets herself be lured to a bachelor's apartment in the Chicago production of a play of F. Hugh Herbert. She played the ingénue role in "The Moon Is Blue" in the national company for 18 months. Then, in 1951, she made it to Broadway in "The King of Friday's Men". Brooks Atkinson, drama critic for the New York Times, said of her performance in that play that she was "remarkably pretty and has a gift for acting". Then Maggie was offered the female lead in the Otto Preminger's film version of The Moon Is Blue with William Holden and David Niven. Theater patrons in New York and Chicago had found the stage version of the story amusing. The Catholic Legion of Decency was not amused when it previewed the film. It was stamped "C" for Condemned. The New York Times noted in 1978: "The Moon Is Blue aroused a storm of controversy because of what some observers regarded as 'indecent' discussion of sex, and the ridicule of the rules of parental protection. By current standards, it was, in fact, a prim and proper work". Maggie was supporting herself as a typist when she died in 1978. The New York Times obituary appeared four weeks after her death. It said she was 48. The relative who confirmed that she had died did not give the newspaper the date of her birth. The relative said Maggie had been doing some writing recently and a film script, "The Mighty Dandelion", had been accepted by a new film producing company.

Arletty

Before Arlette-Leonie Bathiat went to the movies she was a secretary and had posed several times as a model for different painters and photographers. In 1920 she debuted on stage at a theatre. She only began to work in movies after 1930. After World War II she was condemned to prison for having been the lover of a German official during the ocupation of France. In 1963 she had an accident which left her almost blind. Her most important movies were filmed and directed by Marcel Carné ("Hotel du Nord (1938)" or "Enfants du Paradis, Les (1945)").

Viva

Viva was born Janet Susan Mary Hoffmann in Syracuse, New York, to Mary Alice (McNicholas) and Wilfred Ernest Hoffmann, a well-to-do lawyer. She is the first child of a devout Catholic family, and is of German, Irish, English, and one eighth Italian, ancestry. Her parents had eight more children. She told her mentor, Andy Warhol, that her father was a religious fanatic and her mother worshiped the Irish-Catholic Witch-Finder General Joseph McCarthy, insisting that the children watch the televised Army-McCarthy hearings of 1954.

Janet Hoffman was educated in parochial schools and attended a Catholic college, Marymount, in Tarrytown, New York. She spent her junior year in college abroad, studying art at the Sorbonne in Paris, boarding at a convent. Hers was a life that made her ache for rebellion, and rebel the young Ms. Hoffman eventually did. She became the first non-anonymous performer to perform an act of sexual intercourse on screen, in Warhol's Blue Movie, at the end of the turbulent decade that was the 1960s.

Reportedly, she had had a nervous breakdown and was institutionalized by her parents when she stayed in Paris to try to become a painter, supporting herself by modeling. She moved to New York City in the early 1960s, intent on becoming a fashion illustrator. Living with a photographer, she remained involved with the arts, and one night at a gallery opening circa 1963, she introduced herself to Warhol. They did not click then, nor did they the second time their forking paths brought Warhol into contact with his future movie queen.

It was a different story in 1965, when they met again and engaged in conversation at a party thrown by fashion designer Betsey Johnson. Not lacking in courage, Hoffman soon went over to Warhol's loft-living/work space, "The Factory", to solicit Warhol for money to pay her rent at the Chelsea Hotel, where she lived with her sister in a room that cost $16.00 a week. Of the encounter, Warhol wrote in his memoir "Popism". "She'd done it with all the nonchalance of somebody asking for their paycheck - except that I didn't even know her! What she essentially said was 'I need twenty dollars and you can afford it.'" It was an attitude that would lead to the break-up of their professional and social relationship four years later.

Warhol's movies were always transgressive, and he had decided to move into pornographic production, "nudies" as he called him. (Hard-core porn would come later in the decade). He became entranced with Viva, as he believed he could use the striking, well-educated women in his films (which were pointedly homo-erotic and featured male "flesh" in abundance).

Andy Warhol thought Viva's tedious voice could work to his advantage in dealing with the censors. Warhol was concerned about the "without redeeming social value" phrase in the legal definition of obscenity under the Warren Court in the 1960s. Many decisions finding a film "pornographic," and thus not legally protected by the First Amendment, hinged on whether there was or was not redeeming social value. One of Russ Meyer's nudies had been condemned as obscene and withdrawn from exhibition by the courts as its attempt at inserting redeeming social value had been too transparent and obvious and was felt, by the judges, to be a cynical ploy to make an otherwise objectionable film legally acceptable.

Confronted with Hoffman, Warhol the avant-garde filmmaker had a brainstorm that would make her famous for slightly more than 15 minutes: the Machiavellian Warhol became convinced that he might be able to outfox the censors if he used a woman who "could look beautiful, take off her clothes, step into a bathtub, and talk as intellectually as Viva did".

"Redeeming social value" was the legal fiction that Warhol enlisted Viva to provide in order to make genuinely pornographic movies without getting busted for obscenity. Viva's reflection was beautiful in Warhol's bloodshot eyes and - ever the Catholic rebel - she was willing to go fully nude on screen and even do the nasty.

Warhol's directorial method was to encourage improvisation among his actors while his cinematographic technique entailed aiming a camera at them and shooting continuously for the entire length of a 1,200-ft. reel of 16-mm film, approximately 33 minutes of running time. (Joe Dallesandro once saw Warhol direct a film by reading a newspaper with his back to the unmanned camera that was shooting the actors!) He believed that Viva, with her continuous stream of intellectual babble, would provide him with the legal fig leaf of "socially redeeming value" that would enable him to become a profitable pornographer.

Viva made her debut in The Nude Restaurant, though another movie she had made for Warhol, Bike Boy, was screened first. Playing a waitress in a restaurant patronized by only men (including a bemused Taylor Mead and real-life Army deserter Julian Burroughs), Viva wore only a G-string throughout the entire movie, as did all the male patrons. (A first version of the film, featuring an all-male cast completely in the buff, has been lost.)

But it was Blue Movie that made Viva infamous for 15 minutes - at least. It was shot in October 1968 at David Bourdon's apartment in Greenwich Village. Although Viva and Louis Waldon actually do have sexual intercourse in the film, they spend more time involved in social intercourse to give Warhol that fig leaf of "socially redeeming value." For 33 minutes, the length of one uninterrupted 1,200 foot 16-mm reel of film stock, Viva and Waldon made love. For the rest of the 132-minute movie (three more reels worth of film shown at the pubic premiere), they spend time talking about the war in Vietnam, cooking food and taking a shower. (The blue tint that gave the alternate title of the film its punning quality was not planned but actually was the result of an error. Warhol had correctly used tungsten film for shooting indoors, but he did not compensate with a blue filter for the sunlight streaming into Bordon's apartment, resulting in the blue tint on the exposed negative.)

Viva was cast in a speaking part in John Schlesinger's Midnight Cowboy, as "Gretel McAlbertson", the woman throwing the party with her "brother" who invites "Joe Buck" to her soirée. The party scenes -- which featured other Warhol regulars -- were filmed in late June 1968, two weeks after Valerie Solanas's unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Warhol.

In November 1968, Viva wanted to go to Europe, and Warhol provided her with a round-trip plane ticket to Paris. In January of the following year, she sent Warhol a nasty letter from Paris that threatened that she would turn on him unless he sent her money. Her disappointed mentor decided to ignore her. She followed up with new threats in February 1969, in a telegram. Again she was ignored, as Warhol had more pressing concerns on his mind. He had to have an operation related to complications from his June 1968 shooting, and when he was in the hospital, Viva sent another telegram to "The Factory", announcing her marriage.

Viva had met and married Michel Auder, a French filmmaker whom she brought back with her to the States. While in New York, she telephoned Warhol to tell him she had signed a contract with the prestigious publishing house G.P. Putnam to write an autobiographical novel. She informed Warhol that she was taping their conversation for use in her book, which she intended to call "Superstar", an expose of the New York demimonde.

Thus, Viva and Warhol parted ways, and she signed up to star in Agnès Varda's Lions Love (... and Lies), which was shot in Los Angeles. She went off to California with her new hubby in tow. She eventually made 13 movies in addition to the Varda picture, including such films as the Kris Kristofferson vehicle Cisco Pike, the non-Woody Allen-directed Woody Allen movie Play It Again, Sam, Dino De Laurentiis's megalithic Flash Gordon, and Wim Wenders' Paris, Texas, but they were just bit parts. She never made another film with Warhol after the break-up, and never achieved anything close to the notoriety she did as one of his superstars.

In addition to her 1970 memoir "Superstar", she wrote a book about giving birth,"The Baby", which was published in 1975 by Alfred A. Knopf.

Isabel Sarli

Isabel Sarli was discovered by filmmaker Armando Bo and became the star of his films, starting with El trueno entre las hojas in 1956. Her nude scenes in this drama --a first in Argentinian cinema-- and their subsequent soft-porn movies were highly criticized and condemned in Argentina. In spite of censorship and persecution, she became an international star, filming in Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Mexico, Panama and Venezuela, and films like Fuego and Fever reached the American and European markets. Although she was very funny in sex comedies like La mujer del zapatero, Bo insisted in casting her in naturalistic melodramas. After his death in 1981, Isabel Sarli retired and only appeared sporadically in other directors' films.

Franklin Pangborn

Franklin Pangborn - a name more befitting a fictionalized bank president rather than a great comedic actor - was a singular character actor but little is known of his early years. He spent some time in developing acting talent prior to appearing on Broadway by March of 1911, and would do six plays until mid-1913. He was noticeably absent afterward and corresponding with the early years of World War I. He was in the US Army after America entered the war in 1917. Pangborn did one more play on Broadway in 1924. Interestingly, for someone immediately identified with comedy, Pangborn's roles were for the most part dramatic and included Armand Duval in "Camille", a role in a play adaptation of "Ben Hur", and two parts in "Joseph and His Brethren". Two years later, Pangborn turned to silent films. And although he would play some villains and romantic leads, that droopy pudding-face of his was bound for comedy. In all these early roles from his debut in 1926, his first talkie (On Trial), and on through most of 1932 (when he made 24 appearances on film), Pangborn was playing comedic roles, many of which were for short films (many by Mack Sennett) where the players usually had no on-screen persona and no billing credit. His many appearances in shorts tapered off and ended through 1935.

These roles were quite varied and continued as such into the later 1930s. He played the compromised husband in two Bing Crosby vehicles (1933); no fewer than three photographers, reporters, radio announcers, bartenders, and much more, including a character meant to parody his own name: 'Mr. Pingboom' (Turnabout). But through the same period he was piling up a lot of clerk, floorwalker, and, perhaps most of all, hotel manager roles. These latter were the basis for Pangborn typed as the straight-laced, nervous minor official or service provider or manager of whatever whose smug self-assurance in his orderly world is sorely tested.

The term 'sissy' (so prominent a condemnation from childhood memories) was used in early film (and still used today by some film historians) as a catchall name for a spectrum of rather gentle and nebulous male personalities; a simpering voice of any kind would be an instant label that also implied the taboo of homosexuality. Pangborn is often first on the list of actors noted as typed in this general category with Edward Everett Horton with his dignified but slightly simpering New England drawl a close second. Animator Robert Clampett at Warner Bros. in the late 1940s patterned his Goofy Gophers, Mac and Tosh, with their polite and flowery speech after both men. Pangborn had a mellow, lyrical voice which he could ramp up to a staccato, rapid-fire rhythm when perturbed. Indeed, the face and the voice fit well with characters of convention and control, as well as the fastidious to the point of being another slang term of many faces: 'prissy'. And maybe that does not include effeminate - he was not quite that - though the term is indelibly tagged to the character type. His characters were the sort of proper and snobby figures who the easygoing American public would find suspicious - and thus all the funnier on screen when they get their comeuppance. Yet Pangborn never implied 'gay' in his portrayals despite all the gender revisionism of today that might reinterpret his work as such. In real life, people are more complex; on the mainstream screen - as opposed to the shadowy blue one - of the 1930s and 40s, characters were more generally defined within usual convention.

By the later 1930s, Pangborn had perfected a wonderful sense of timing of demeanor, manner, and voice to fit the control freak who is gradually dragged into his worst nightmare of relative chaos by hapless situation. By this time his characterizations were such a fixture of guaranteed laughs that the movie-going public expected to see him. Pangborn was in great demand to do what he did best. And having already worked from the silent era with great stars and directors, he continued to do so. W.C. Fields was a great fan of him and used him in several movies. He was a constant in smart comedy from Frank Capra and Gregory La Cava to the more extreme screwball comedies of Preston Sturges, though frequently upstaged with such a company of funny men as Sturges gathered around him. The Pangborn progression from very funny to uproarious is seen evolved, for example, from De Cava's My Man Godfrey to Sturges's Hail the Conquering Hero. In the first he is the volunteer swell who coordinates store-keeping for the scavenger hunt of his fellow - if downright silly - affluent crust of New York society. As the flow of items brought to him for registering turns into a flood (including a live goat kid), his demeanor, mannerisms, and vocal speed display increasing irritation. Head spinning, he is in defensive mode as he fends off shouting, grabbing participants. The role perhaps was his defining moment as established celebrity comedian. In Sturges's movie, and Pangborn appeared in most of his best efforts, he is the committee chairman of the reception for false hero Eddie Bracken, trying to coordinate festivities and caught in a literal battle of bands at the beginning of the film. Converged upon by various hokey town bands who all want to play the featured pieces, Pangborn attempts order but is methodically carried away as people out of the blue arrive to suggest other songs, and the bands continue to assail him with arguments, and finally all play all the songs - and all at once - to prove the most deserving. It is musical chaos with Pangborn finally reduced to desperate blasts on a whistle and jumping up and down, yelling "Not yet! Not yet!" It is one of the actor's finest pieces.

Yet Pangborn's usual stock of characters could fit drama as well. Actually, in "Hero", his coordinator also has some straight scenes as well. In Now, Voyager as the cruise tourist director, his only problem is that Bette Davis has not arrived on deck to be partnered for the land touring of Rio. As an accomplished stage actor, he did miss the boards. Friend of Edward Horton, he was able to exchange his quirky screen characters for dramatic ones, participating in Horton's Los Angeles-based Majestic Theatre productions. But times changed for Pangborn's specialties. Movies were more diverse and updated as the 1950s ensued. But he was immediately adaptable to the small screen which would re-introduce him. He was right at home as a guest star on TV comedy shows, playing his beloved characters as cameo celebrations of his matter-of-fact stardom.

There were a handful of film roles in his last decade with perhaps the overambitious and black-and-white dull but star-studded The Story of Mankind a bit of a showcase. Also in 1957 he had the singular distinction of being honored as guest announcer - a familiar enough role - and first guest star on the premiere of the "Tonight Show" with its first host Jack Paar. To pass away after surgery seems such a disordered way to go for one such as Franklin Pangborn whose on-screen characters struggled for order above all else. There is no order in the frailty of life by definition, but Pangborn's legacy, rich in comedic gems, has and surely will continue to endure.

Aaron McGruder

An unlikely firestorm was ignited on the 19th of April, 1999. The Universal Press Syndicate made the largest launch ever of a single comic strip in the history of the printed page when it debuted an off-beat work in more than 160 newspapers that day (and 40 more by year's end). The strip, centering on two prepubescent Black youths transplanted from the inner-city of South Chicago to the lily-white fictional suburb of Woodcrest, immediately set off controversy with its daily skewerings of race, politics, music and every other slice of Americana considered taboo to the "funnies". And yet both the success and controversy of the comic happened so fast that few knew about the man behind it all. The strip is "The Boondocks", brainchild of Aaron McGruder.

Born in Chicaco, Illinois in 1974 under the sign of Gemini, Aaron and his parents soon moved to from their largely-Black neighbourhood to a mostly-white suburb in Baltimore, Maryland when Aaron was about to start school. Spending the majority of his life there, young Aaron got a first-hand education on race relations; often feeling like an outsider as a minority. Yet, he was never unhappy. It was during his productive and highly influential youth that McGruder would come in contact with the things that would change his life forever. The first was Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. After his first viewing of George Lucas' galaxy far, far away, McGruder become one of many children his generation to have a life-long obsession with the film (not unlike Jersey-borne filmmaker Kevin Smith). The second was Hip-Hop. The uniquely African-American musical style became to new generations what jazz and the British invasion had been years before. As the civil rights movement ended and Reaganomics took over, Hip-Hop became the only viable, uncensored outlet for Black youth to express themselves unchallenged. The third was comics. Not just the "funny books" containing the adventures of Superman and Spider-Man, but comic strips. Aaron's tastes over the years ranged from the funny-yet-true child's POV as shown by Charles M. Schulz with "Peanuts" to, eventually, the irreverent humour of Berkeley Breathed and Bill Waterson "Bloom County" and "Calvin & Hobbes" (respectively) to the biting political satire of Garry Trudeau's "Doonesbury."

After graduating high school, McGruder enrolled in the University of Maryland where the budding artist found his first widespread outlet for his creativity. After fellow UofM student Frank Cho (author of the cult comic "Liberty Meadows") graduated in the mid-90s, the school newspaper, The DiamondBack, was left without a leading comic strip. The paper's lead editor, Jayson Blair (who would later court his own controversy with his infamous run at The New York Times), doubted that anything would grab as much attention as Cho's work. Aaron gladly volunteered for the job, creating a strip that would combine elements of his own life with an all-around "Hip-Hop perspective" of world events as told through the eyes of young Black children wise beyond their years. With that, "The Boondocks" premiered in The Diamondback and became an instant hit, introducing UofM students to Huey Freeman, an afro-sporting, self-appointed revolutionary (named after Huey P. Newton, co-founder of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense); Riley Freeman, Huey's unapologetic "gangsta"-wannabe younger brother; and Jazmine DuBois, a bi-racial girl with little more control over her racial identity than her own fussy hair.

With the help of fellow student and aspiring DJ, Rhome Anderson, McGruder began showing the strip on the internet. The strip achieved enough popularity to the point where in 1998 it received its first national print publication in the pages of the Hip-Hop magazine "The Source" for three months straight (details of why it was removed vary). After graduating UofM with degrees in Afro-American studies, McGruder and Anderson courted several offers to publish the strip in national newspapers before finding an agreeable one with Universal Press Syndicate. The strip made its national premiere April of 1999 with the largest debut for a new comic in a record 160 papers nation-wide. The strip immediately caused controversy. Everything from the characters' (anime-influenced) designs to the handling of the bi-racial Jazmine seemed to stir the ire of someone no matter where the strip was published. Some Blacks claimed it was stereotypical and derogatory; many whites claimed it was outright racist, hurtful and divisive. Parents found such common strip activities like the boys being spanked by their Grandfather and young Riley's bullying of other children undeserving of print space alongside such veteran "G"-rated fare as "Garfield" and "Peanuts". Even fellow UofM alum Frank Cho--whose strip "Liberty Meadows" was taking heat for its blatant sexual content and toilet humour--called McGruder's strip "racist and hateful."

Yet for all the angry resentment, the positive response to the strip was equally-strong. In fact, many papers struggled with whether or not to drop the strip because of strong following. Many fans celebrated its genuine Hip-Hop references and championed it as a long-silent voice for the Black community now having the opportunity to be heard. The characters were championed for the way Aaron had the characters ask questions from "Why are there no good Black TV shows?" to "Why is Black History Month in the shortest month of the year?" McGruder himself seemed to take it all in stride frequenting the late-night rounds on such series as Politically Incorrect, BET Tonight with Ed Gordon, and 20/20 among others.

Over the years, the strip's controversy and popularity have only continued to grow. McGruder has had his characters speak on everything from exploitative rap videos, the NRA, Black conservatives, and inter-racial marriage to such trivial pursuits as lawn-mowing as a form of illegal child labour and the surge of rappers as movie stars over the past ten years. The strip is constantly a hot topic with several paper often moving it out of the "comics" section to "Editorials" and some removing it from the paper altogether. Recognizable personas from BET founder Robert L. Johnson to conservative columnist Ward Connerlly have publicly condemned the strip (and have often found themselves the subjects of its jibes). Right-wing "avengers" often criticise the strip's constant "attacks" on George W. Bush.

Nothing seemed to escape the wrath of the Freeman brothers, not even McGruder's beloved "Star Wars". In the weeks leading up to the highly-anticipated released of Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, Huey and Riley were shown lining up in eager anticipation. After the film was released, the boys expressed reactions felt by many life-long fans when they skewered the movie and its supposedly racist character Jar-Jar Binks. Ironically, the strip found one of its biggest fans in that film's co-star, Samuel L. Jackson. In late 2001/early 2002, the strip found itself with more controversy than usual (if that's at all possible) when, after the attacks of 9/11, McGruder swayed away from mainstream opinions of the country and had his characters criticise every thing from the mainstream media's cheerleader-like support of war and Bush to the false patriotism of flag-wavers in light of the attacks. The strip was pulled from several major papers (particularly in New York). Rather than back down from this position, McGruder satirized his "banning" by pretending the strip was being replaced with mock characters in the form of a US flag and ribbon. Many assumed that the strip has actually been canceled and that the new "patriotic" comic was permanent, unknowing that McGruder himself was proving his point all the more.

In the years since its introduction, the strip has gone through minor changes: Rhome Anderson is no longer involved with the strip; several new characters have been added; McGruder has compiled two books of collected strips (with a third due late 2003); he's gotten the opportunity to meet his influential heroes, including Garry Trudeau and he is currently teaming up with filmmaker Reginald Hudlin in an attempt to get an animated version of "The Boondocks" off the ground. Love him or hate him, Aaron McGruder finds himself in that great pantheon of classic satirists: his opinion may not be yours, but he has a basis from which he speaks that makes his a voice worth listening to. Were his strip nothing more than senseless rambling (something he himself has often joked about), it wouldn't have nearly gotten the amount of attention it has. It is a sharp perspective from someone whose generation is constantly said to have none. You needn't agree, but you'd do best to give it a listen.

Charles Manson

Charles Manson is one of the most notorious convicted murderers in American history, though ironically, there is no evidence that he ever killed anyone himself. In 1971, Los Angeles prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi used his "Helter Skelter" theory to successfully convict Manson and several of his female compatriots of seven murders: the Tate-LaBianca killings that shocked America and the world (the victims included heavily-pregnant movie star Sharon Tate). Manson was subsequently convicted of two other murders: Donald "Shorty" Shea, a hand at the Spahn Ranch where Manson and his cronies and female groupies congregated, who Charlie may have believed snitched on him to the police after the Tate-LaBianca murders; and the earlier murder of music teacher and small-time drug dealer Gary Hinman by Bobby Beausoleil.

Although Manson never did any of the actual killing, under the rules of accomplice liability, he was deemed as responsible for the killings as the actual perpetrators who caused the deaths of the nine people. Condemned to death upon conviction, his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment by the State of California after a 1972 Supreme Court decision struck down extant death penalties in the various states. It is highly unlikely that Manson will ever be paroled.

Eva Röse

After making the children's TV show 'Disneyklubben' she began to study acting at Teaterhögskolan in Stockholm. She graduated with a performance in Lars Norén's play 'Munich-Aten'. She has done a lot of roles for both radio and television. She is currently under contract with The Royal Dramatic Theatre, where she has starred in Bertolt Brecht's 'Puntila' and Tennessee Williams' 'This Property Is Condemned'.

Joseph Stalin

Joseph Stalin (a code name meaning "Man of Steel") was born Iosif (Joseph) Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili in 1879 in Gori, Georgia, the Transcaucasian part of the Russian Empire. His father was a cobbler named Vissarion Dzhugashvili, a drunkard who beat him badly and frequently and left the family when Joseph was young. His mother, Ekaterina Gheladze, supported herself and her son (her other three children died young and Jopseph was effectively an only child) by taking in washing. She managed, despite great hardship, to send Joseph to school and then on to Tiflis Orthodox Theological Seminary in Tbilisi, hoping he would become a priest. However, after three years of studies he was expelled in 1899, for not attending an exam and for propagating communist ideas and the books of Karl Marx.

Since 1898, Stalin became active in the Communist underground as the organizer of a powerful gang involved in a series of armed robberies. After robbing several banks in southern Russia, Stalin delivered the stolen money to V.I. Lenin to finance the Communist Party. Stalin's gang was also involved in the murders of its political opponents; Stalin himself was arrested seven times, repeatedly imprisoned, and twice exiled to Siberia between 1902 and 1913. During those years he changed his name twice and became more closely identified with revolutionary Marxism. He escaped many times from prison and was shuttling money between Lenin and other communists in hiding, where his intimacy with Lenin and Bukharin grew, as did his dissatisfaction with fellow Communist leader Leon Trotsky. In 1912 he was co-opted on to the illegal Communist Central Committee. At that time he wrote propaganda articles, and later edited the Communist paper, "Pravda" (Truth). As Lenin's apprentice he joined the Communist majority (Bolsheviks), and was responsible for the consolidation of several secret communist cells into a larger ring. Stalin's Communist ring in St. Petersburg and across Russia played the leading role in the Russian Revolution of 1917. After the revolution the Bolsheviks Communists grabbed the power, then Communists murdered the Tsar and the Russian royal family. Stalin and Lenin took over the Tsar's palaces and used the main one in Kremlin as their private residence.

Lenin appointed Stalin the People's Commissar for Nationalities in the first Soviet government and a member of the Communist Politburo, thus giving him unlimited power. Stalin led the "Reds" against anti-Communist forces known as the "Whites" and also in the war with Poland. He also organized "Red Terror" in Tsaritsin (later renamed Stalingrad). With his appointment as General Secretary to the Party Central Committee in 1922, a post he held for the next 30 years, until his death, he consolidated the power that would ensure his control of the country after Lenin's death in 1924. He also took, or gave himself, other key positions that enabled him to amass total power in the Party and Soviet government.

Stalin was known for his piercing eyes and terrifying stare, which he used to cow his opponents into submission during private discussions. In 1927 Stalin requested medical help for his insomnia, anger and severe anxiety disorder. His doctors diagnosed him as having "typical clinical paranoia" and recommended medical treatment. Instead, Stalin became angry and summoned his secret service agents. The next day the chief psychiatrist, Dr. Bekhterev, and his assistants died of poisoning. In addition, before the doctors' diagnosis about Stalin's mental condition could become known, he ordered the executions of intellectuals, resulting in the murders of hundreds of thousands of doctors, professors, writers, and others.

Stalin's policy of amassing dictatorial power under the guise of building "socialism in the country" resulted in brutal extermination of all real and perceived anti-Communist opposition. His purges of the Soviet military brought about the execution of tens of thousands of army officers, many of them experienced combat veterans of the Revolution, the Civil War, the Polish campaigns and other military operations (this decimation of the Russian officer corps would result in the Soviet Union's initial defeats at the hands of Nazi invaders at the beginning of World War II). He also isolated and disgraced his political rivals, notably Trotsky. Stalin's economic policies of strict centralized planning (i.e., the "five-year plans") resulted in the near ruination of the Soviet economy and mass famines in many areas of the Soviet Union, notably in Central Russia and the Ukraine. Popular resistance to Stalin's policies, such as nationalization of private lands and collective farming, by independent farmers ("kulaks"), brought about brutal retaliation, in which millions of kulaks were either forced off their land or executed outright. Altogether Stalin's economic and political policies resulted in the deaths of up to 10 million peasants during 1926-1934. Between 1934 and 1939 he organized and led massive purge (known as "The Great Terror") of the party, government, armed forces and intelligentsia, in which millions of so-called "enemies of the Soviet people" were imprisoned, exiled or executed. In the late 1930s, Stalin sent some Red Army forces and material to support the Spanish Republican government in its fight against the rebels led by Gen. Francisco Franco and aided by troops and material from Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.

Stalin made the Non-Aggression Pact with Adolf Hitler in 1939, which bought the Soviet Union two years' respite from involvement in World War 2. After the German invasion in 1941, the USSR became a member of the Grand Alliance and Stalin, as war leader, assumed the title of Generalissimus. He had no formal military training and scorned the advice of his senior officers, due to suspicion and his rising paranoia, actions that resulted in horrific losses to the Russian military in both men and material (not to mention civilian losses). He rejected military plans made by such experienced officers as Marshal Georgi Zhukov, and insisted they be replaced by his own plans, which led to even more horrific losses. Towards the end of WWII he took part in the conferences of Teheran, Yalta and Potsdam with Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Harry S. Truman. The agreements reached in those conferences resulted in Soviet military and political control over the liberated countries of postwar Castern and Central Europe.

From 1945 until his death Stalin resumed his repressive measures at home, resulting in censorship of the arts, literature and cinema, forced exiles of hundreds of thousands and the executions of intellectuals and other potential "enemies of the state". At that time he conducted foreign policies that contributed to the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the West. Stalin had little interest in family life, although he was married twice and had several mistresses. His first wife (Ekaterina Svanidze, married c. 1904) died three years after their marriage and left a son, Jacob (also known as Yacov), an officer in the Russian army during World War II who was captured by the Nazis and died in a POW camp (his father refused German offers to exchange him for captured German officers). His second wife (Nadezhda Alliluyeva, married 1919) attempted to moderate his politics, but she died by suicide, leaving a daughter, Svetlana Alliluyeva, and an alcoholic son, Vasili Stalin, who later died in exile. Increasingly paranoid, Stalin launched attacks on such intellectuals as Osip Mandelstam, Vsevolod Meyerhold, Anna Akhmatova, Dmitri Shostakovich, Sergei Prokofiev, Boris Pasternak, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and many other cultural luminaries. Stalin personally intervened in the fate of "counterrevolutionary" Yiddish writers and changed their sentences from exile to execution. Thirteen of them were executed by the Soviet secret police; their leader, Perets Markish, was executed in the typical KGB manner by a single gunshot to the head on August 12, 1952, in Moscow.

Stalin died suddenly on March 5, 1953, under somewhat mysterious circumstances, after announcing his intention to arrest Jewish doctors, whom he believed were plotting to kill him. The "official" cause of death was announced as brain hemorrhage. Stalin's apprentice, Georgi Malenkov, took the power, but was soon ousted by Nikita Khrushchev. Three years after death, Stalin was posthumously denounced by Nikita Khrushchev at the 20th Party Congress in 1956 for crimes against the Party and for building a "cult of personality." In 1961 Stalin's body was removed from Lenin's Mausoleum, where it had been displayed since his death, and buried near the Kremlin wall. In 1964 Leonid Brezhnev dismissed Khrushchev and brought back some of Stalin's hard-line policies. After 1986 Mikhail Gorbachev initiated a series of liberal political reforms known as "glasnost" and "perstroika", and many of Stalin's victims were posthumously rehabilitated, and the whole phenomenon of "Stalinism" was officially condemned by the Russian authorities.

John Cromwell

Actor / director John Cromwell was born December 23, 1887, in Toledo, OH. He made his Broadway debut on October 14, 1912, in Marian De Forest's adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women" at the Playhouse Theatre. The show was a hit, running for a total of 184 performances. Cromwell appeared in another 38 plays on Broadway between February 24, 1914--when he appeared in Frank Craven's "Too Many Cooks" at the 39th Street Theatre (a hit show he co-directed with Craven that ran for a total of 223 performances)--and October 31, 1971, when he closed with "Solitaire/Double Solitaire" at the John Golden Theatre after 36 performances. In addition to "Cooks", Cromwell directed or staged 11 plays and produced seven plays on Broadway. Among the highlights of his Broadway acting career were his multiple appearances as a Shavian actor. He was "Charles Lomax" in the original Broadway production of George Bernard Shaw's "Major Barbara" in 1915 (Guthrie McClintic, who married Katharine Cornell in 1921 and became a notable Broadway director, played a butler) and as "Capt. Kearney" in the revival of "Captain Brassbound's Conversion" the following year (McClintic played "Marzo"). He also appeared as "Brother Martin Ladvenu" in Katharine Cornell's 1936 "Saint Joan", directed by McClintic, and played "Freddy Eynsford Hill" in Cedric Hardwicke's 1945 revival of "Pygmalion", starring Gertrude Lawrence as "Eliza Doolittle" and Raymond Massey as "Henry Higgins".

As for William Shakespeare, he played "Paris" to Katharine Cornell's "Juliet" and Maurice Evans' "Romeo" in McClntic's "Rome and Juliet" in 1935, and appeared as "Rosenkrantz" in McClintic's 1936 Broadway staging of "Hamlet", with John Gielgud in the title role, Lillian Gish as "Ophelia" and Judith Anderson as "Gertrude". He also appeared as "Lennox" in the 1948 revival of Shakespeare's "Scottish Play", with Michael Redgrave as "Macbeth" and Flora Robson as "Lady Macbeth" (young actors also featured in the play who went on to renown were Julie Harris, Martin Balsam and Beatrice Straight). Cromwell won a Tony Award as Best Featured Actor in a Play in 1952 for "Point of No Return", in which he supported Henry Fonda, and appeared as the father, "Linus Larabee Sr.", in "Sabrina Fair" the next year.

With the advent of sound pictures, Cromwell went "Hollywood" in 1929, appearing in The Dummy in support of Ruth Chatterton and Fredric March. He also co-directed two talkies with A. Edward Sutherland that year, Close Harmony and The Dance of Life (he had a bit part as a doorman in the latter). After learning the craft of directing, he directed The Mighty with George Bancroft, in which he made innovative use of sound. He also directed Jackie Coogan in Tom Sawyer the next year. He made his name with Ann Vickers in 1933 and Of Human Bondage in 1934, two films he shot for RKO based on novels by the preeminent writers Sinclair Lewis and W. Somerset Maugham. Both movies ran into censorship trouble. Lewis' "Ann Vickers" featured Irene Dunne as a reformer and birth control advocate who has a torrid extramarital affair. The novel had been condemned by the Catholic Church, and the proposed movie adaptation proved controversial. The Studio Relations Committee, headed by James Wingate (whose deputy was future Production Code Administration head Joseph Breen, a Roman Catholic intellectual) condemned the script as "vulgarly offensive" before production began. The SRC, which oversaw the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors Association's Production Code, refused to approve the script without major modifications, but RKO production chief Merian C. Cooper balked over its excessive demands. Though studio head B.B. Kahane protested the SRC's actions to MPPDA President Will Hays, the studio agreed to make "Ann Vickers" an unmarried woman at the time of her affair, thus eliminating adultery as an issue, and the film received a Seal of Approval. The battle over "Ann Vickers" was one of the reasons the more powerful PCA was created in 1934 to take the place of the SRC.

Joseph Breen, now head of the PCA, warned that the script for W. Somerset Maugham's "Of Human Bondage" was "highly offensive" because the prostitute "Mildred", whom the protagonist, medical student "Philip Carey", falls in love with, comes down with syphilis. Breen demanded that Mildred be turned into less of a tramp, that she be afflicted with tuberculosis rather than syphilis and that she be married to Carey's friend whom she cheats on him with. RKO gave in on every point, as the PCA, unlike the SRC, had the ability to levy a $25,000 fine for violations of the Production Code. Despite the changes, chapters of the Catholic Church's Legion Of Deceny condemned the film in Chicago, Detroit, Omaha and Pittsburgh. Despite a picket line manned by local priests in Chicago, Cromwell's film broke all records at the Hippodrome Theater when it played there in August 1934. Five hundred people had to be turned away opening night. It seemed that wherever the Legion of Decency had condemned the film, it played to capacity crowds. In 1935 Breen ruled that "Of Human Bondage" would have to be changed if RKO wished to re-release it.

Other major films Cromwell directed include Little Lord Fauntleroy, The Prisoner of Zenda, Algiers, Abe Lincoln in Illinois, Since You Went Away and Anna and the King of Siam. In 1951 he directed The Racket starring Robert Mitchum, Lizabeth Scott, and Robert Ryan; he had appeared in the original staging of the Broadway play by Bartlett Cormack on which the movie was based back in 1927.

Busy on Broadway in the 1950s, it was seven years before he directed another film, The Goddess, with a screenplay by Paddy Chayefsky and starring Kim Stanley. He directed two more minor films before calling it quits as a movie director in 1961. As a director, Cromwell eschewed flashy camera work, as he felt it detracted from both the story and the actors' performances. Late in his life director Robert Altman cast Cromwell as an actor in two of his films, 3 Women and A Wedding.

John Cromwell died on September 26, 1979, in Santa Barbara, CA.

John Reynolds

Born February 12, 1972 in Wellington, New Zealand, John and his sister Sharon were raised by their Mother Helen in the sunny climes of Nelson until they migrated to Brisbane, Australia in 1984. His passion for sport and performance were perfectly suited for the stunt industry where his 190 cm, 100+ kilo physique excelled in the action/war genres. With doubling roles on the WWE films 'The Marine" and 'The Condemned' and international experience on 'Alexander and 'Legend of Zorro', the love of acting began to flourish. Comfortable on both sides of the industry department fence, John is attracting roles that combine his physicality and acting talents with roles on 'I, Frankenstein, 'San Andreas', Pirates of the Caribbean' and the Australian thriller 'Red Billabong'.

Philip Ahn

Korean-American character actor Philip Ahn played hundreds of Chinese and Japanese characters during a long career. He was born in Los Angeles in 1905 (though 1911 is the year usually given, U.S. government records confirm that Ahn was born in 1905), the son of a Korean diplomat. He attended the University of Southern California at Los Angeles. Ahn got his first film acting job in 1935 and quickly made a place for himself playing Asians of many ethnicities. Although his kindly demeanor made him perfect for sympathetic roles, he could excel in the occasional villainous "Yellow Peril"-type role. Condemned, like most Asian actors of the period, to stereotypical roles, Ahn nevertheless brought a dignity to even the most subservient of characters. In his later years he achieved his greatest fame as the wise Master Kan on the television series Kung Fu. Ahn was also a successful Los Angeles restaurateur. He died in 1978. Not to be confused with his brother, actor Philson Ahn.

Hal Roach

Hal Roach was born in 1892 in Elmira, New York. After working as a mule skinner, wrangler and gold prospector, among other things, he wound up in Hollywood and began picking up jobs as an extra in comedies, where he met comedian Harold Lloyd in 1913 in San Diego. By all accounts, including his own, he was a terrible actor, but he saw a future in the movie business and in Harold Lloyd. Roach came into a small inheritance and began producing, directing and writing a series of short film comedies, under the banner of Phun Philms (soon changed to Rolin, which lasted until 1922), starring Lloyd in early 1915. Initially these were abysmal, but with tremendous effort, the quality improved enough to be nominally financed and distributed by Pathe, which purchased Roach's product by the exposed foot of film. The Roach/Lloyd team morphed through two characters. The first, nominally tagged as "Will E. Work", proved hopeless; the second, "Lonesome Luke," an unabashed imitation of Charles Chaplin, proved more successful with each new release. Lloyd's increasing dissatisfaction with the Chaplin clone character irritated Roach to no end, and the two men engaged in a series of battles, walkouts and reconciliations. Ultimately Lloyd abandoned the character completely in 1917, creating his now-famous "Glasses" character, which met with even greater box-office success, much to the relief of Roach and Pathe. This new character hit a nerve with the post-war public as both the antithesis and complement to Chaplin, capturing the can-do optimism of the age. This enabled Roach to renegotiate the deal with Pathe and start his own production company, putting his little studio on a firm financial foundation. Hal Roach Productions became a unique entity in Hollywood. It operated as a sort of paternalistic boutique studio, releasing a surprising number of wildly popular shorts series and a handful of features. Quality was seldom compromised and his employees were treated as his most valuable asset.

Roach's relationship with his biggest earner was increasingly acrimonious after 1920 (among other things, Lloyd would bristle at Roach's demands to appear at the studio daily regardless of his production schedule). After achieving enormous success with features (interestingly, his only real feature flop of the 1930s was with General Spanky, a very poorly conceived vehicle for the property), Lloyd had achieved superstar status by the standards of "The Roaring Twenties" and wanted his independence. The two men severed ties, with Roach retaining re-issue rights for Lloyd's shorts for the remainder of the decade. While both men built their careers together, it was Lloyd who first recognized his need for creative freedom, no longer needing Roach's financial support. This realization irked Roach, and from this point forward he found it difficult, if not impossible, to offer unadulterated praise for his former friend and star (while Lloyd himself was far more generous in his later praise of Roach, he, too, could be critical, if more accurate, in his recollections). Lloyd went on to much greater financial success at Paramount.

Despite facing the prospect of losing his biggest earner, Roach was already preoccupied with building his kiddie comedy series, Our Gang, which became an immediate hit with the public. By the time he turned 25 in 1917, Roach was wealthy and increasingly spending time away from his studio. He traveled extensively across Europe. By the early 1920s he had eclipsed Mack Sennett as the "King of Comedy" and created many of the most memorable comic series of all time. These included the team of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, Charley Chase, Edgar Kennedy, 'Snub' Pollard and especially the long-running Our Gang series (AKA "The Little Rascals" in TV distribution). Pathe, which distributed his films, shut down its U.S. operations after its domestic representative, Paul Brunet, returned to France in 1927. But Roach was able to secure an even better deal with MGM (his key competitor, Mack Sennett, was also distributed by Pathe, but he was unable to land a deal, ultimately declaring bankruptcy in 1933). For the next eleven years Roach shored up MGM's bottom line, although the deal was probably more beneficial to Roach. In the mid-'30s Roach became inexplicably enamored of 'Benito Mussolini', and sought to secure a business alliance with the fascist dictator's recently completed film complex, Cinecitta. After Roach asked for (and received) assurances from Mussolini that Italy wasn't about to seek sanctions against the Jews, the two men formed RAM ("Roach And Mussolini") Productions, a move that appalled the powers at MGM parent company, Leow's Inc. These events coincided with Roach selling off "Our Gang" to MGM and committing himself solely to feature film production. In September 1937, Il Duce's son, Vittorio Mussolini, visited Hollywood and Roach's studio threw a lavish party celebrating his 21st birthday. Soon afterward the Italian government took on an increasingly anti-Semitic stance and, in retribution, Leow's chairman Nicholas Schenck canceled his distribution deal. Roach signed an adequate deal with United Artists in May 1938 and redeemed his previous record of feature misfires with a string of big hits: Topper (and its lesser sequels), the prestigious Of Mice and Men and, most significantly, One Million B.C., which became the most profitable movie of the year. Despite the nearly unanimous condemnation by his industry peers, Roach stubbornly refused to re-examine his attitudes over his dealings with Mussolini, even in the aftermath of World War II (he proudly displayed an autographed portrait of the dictator in his home up until his death). His tried-and-true formula for success was tested by audience demands for longer feature-length productions, and by the early 1940s he was forced to try his hand at making low-budget, full-length screwball comedies, musicals and dramas, although he still kept turning out extended two-reel-plus comedies, which he tagged as "streamliners"; they failed to catch on with post-war audiences. By the 1950s he was producing mainly for television (My Little Margie, Blondie and The Gale Storm Show: Oh! Susanna, for example). His willingness to delve into TV production flew in the face of most of the major Hollywood studios of the day. He made a stab at retirement but his son, Hal Roach Jr., proved an inept businessman and drove the studio to the brink of bankruptcy by 1959. Roach returned and focused on facilities leasing and managing the TV rights of his film catalog.

In 1983 his company developed the first successful digital colorization process. Roach then became a producer for many TV series on the Disney Channel, and his company still produces most of their films and videos. He died peacefully just shy of his 101st birthday, telling stories right up until the end.

Masa Yamaguchi

Born in London, Masa and his family moved to Tokyo when he was three. At the age of 15, his family moved to Melbourne, Australia where he finished school and then attended Australia's National Institute of Dramatic Arts graduating in 2001. By the time he graduated he had already landed multiple roles.

In 2001 he was involved in a TV mini-series that raised his profile opening more opportunities as an actor. Starting in 2005 he landed roles in feature films and TV in Australia, the UK and the USA including Star Wars Episode III - Revenge of the Sith in 2005; The Condemned with Stone Cold Steve Austin in 2007; and in 2013 the supporting role of the Kempei Officer in The Railway Man with Colin Firth and in The Wolverine fighting Hugh Jackman on top of a bullet train. More recently he starred along side Michelle Yeoh in Strike Back in 2015, and in 2016 Marco Polo and a leading role in the TV series Top Knot Detective.

Claudio Fragasso

He began filming the age of 12, involving his teammates oratory. At 16 he was assistant editor, assistant director at 18. At twenty directs, reads and edits his films in Super8: "Paure e Realtà" in 1973 and "Pasaggi" 1977. Debut in 35 mm with "Defendimi dalla Notte" 1981. With his friend Bruno Mattei worked as co-director for several films and other dividing alone, together account for all genres: horror to westerns. In 1989 he directed The Cult Films, Troll2 (born Goblin) In 1993 he returned to Italy with an award-winning political film: "Teste Rasate" good success with audiences and critics. In 1995 he made his most successful action "Palermo Milano Solo Andata" with 20th Century Fox Italy, where he condemns the government-Mafia connection. That will continue in the diptych "Milano Palermo Il Ritorno" in 2007. Great success at the box office with the Buona Vista Italy. The latest political film is "Le Ultime 56 Ore" against depleted uranium weapons with Medusa.

Jesi Rael-Mandagaran

Jesi Rael grew up in a small town, Grants, New Mexico. She grew up as a "tom-boy" playing basketball, softball and volleyball. She graduated from Grants High School. She went on to study a year at Highlands University where a Theatre course sparked an old childhood dream to become an Actress. She later moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico in pursuit of getting involved with New Mexico film. She is known for her work on Longmire(2014/2015), All in a Day's Work(2014) and the Action flick; The Condemned 2 (2015)

Leo Tolstoy

Count Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy was born on September 9, 1828, in his ancestral estate Yasnaya Polyana, South of Moscow, Russia. He was the fourth of five children in a wealthy family of Russian landed Gentry. His parents died when he was a child, and he was brought up by his elder brothers and relatives.

Leo Tolstoy studied languages and law at Kazan University for three years. He was dissatisfied with the school and left Kazan without a degree, returned to his estate and educated himself independently. In 1848 he moved to the capital, St. Petersburg, and there passed two tests for a law degree. He was abruptly called to return to his estate near Moscow, where he inherited 4000 acres of land and 350 serfs. There Tolstoy built a school for his serfs, and acted as a teacher. He briefly went to a Medical School in Moscow, but lost a fortune in gambling, and was pulled out by his brother. He took military training, became an Army officer, and moved to the Caucasus, where he lived a simple life for three years with Cossacs. There he wrote his first novel - "Childhood" (1852), it became a success. With writing "Boyhood" (1854) and "Youth" (1857) he concluded the autobiographical trilogy. In the Crimean War (1854-55) Tolstoy served as artillery commander in the Battle of Sevastopol, and was decorated for his courage. Between the battles he wrote three stories titled "Sevastopol Sketches", that won him wide attention, and a complement from the Czar Aleksandr II.

After the war, Tolstoy returned to St. Petersburg, where he enjoyed the friendship of Ivan Turgenev, Nikolai A. Nekrasov, Ivan Goncharov, and other writers. On his trips to Europe, he had discussions with Gertsen in London, and attended Darwin's lectures. In Brussels he had meetings with philosophers Prudhon and Lelewel. Tolstoy undertook a research of schools in Europe, and later he built and organized over 20 schools for poor people in Russia. At that time the secret police began surveillance, and searched his home. In 1862 he married Sofia Andreevna Bers, and fathered 13 children with his wife. Four of their babies died, and the couple raised the remaining nine children. His wife was also his literary secretary, and also contributed to his best works, "War and Peace" (1863-69) and "Anna Karenina" (1873-77). In his "Confession" (1879) Tolstoy revealed his own version of Christianity, blended with socialism, that won him many followers. Tolstoyan communities sprang up in America and Europe, and he assisted the Russian non-Orthodox Christians (Dukhobors) in migrating to USA and Canada. He split from aristocratic class and developed an ascetic lifestyle, becoming a vegetarian, and a farmer. He sponsored and organized free meals for the poor. He transfered his copyright on all of his writings after 1880 to public domain. In his later age Tolstoy was pursuing the path of a wandering ascetic. He corresponded with Mohandas K. Gandhi, who was directly influenced by Tolstoy's "The Kingdom of God is Within You" (1894), which was praised by many nonviolent movements.

In 1900 Tolstoy criticized the Tsar's government in a series of publications, calling for separation of Chuch and State. Tsar Nicholas II retaliated through the Church, by expulsion of Tolstoy from Orthodox Cristianity as a "heretic". He fell ill, and suffered from a severe depression; he was suicidal and even had to eliminate all hunting guns from his home, because of his suicidal mode. He was treated by the famous doctor Dahl, and was visited by composer Sergei Rachmaninoff and basso Feodor Chaliapin Sr., who performed for Tolstoy on many occasions. Later he went to convalesce in Yalta, in Crimea, where he spent time with Anton Chekhov and Maxim Gorky. Tolstoy was an obvious candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature, but was initially omitted by the Nobel Committee for his views. The omission caused a strong response from a group of Swedish writers and artists. They sent an address to Tolstoy, but the writer answered by declining any future prize nomination.

In 1902 Tolstoy wrote a letter to the Tsar, calling for social justice, to prevent a civil war, and in 1904, during the Russo-Japanese War, Tolstoy wrote a condemnation of war. The Tsar replied by increasing police surveillance on Tolstoy. In November of 1910 he left his estate, probably taking the path of a wandering ascetic, which he had been pursuing for decades. He left home without explanations and took a train, in which he caught pneumonia, and died at a remote station of Astapovo. He was laid to rest in his estate of Yasnaya Polyana, which was made a Tolstoy National Museum.

His youngest daughter, named Alexandra Tolstoy, was the director of the Tolstoy Museum, and was arrested by the Communists five times. She emigrated from Russia to the United States, where she founded the Tolstoy Foundation. She helped many prominent Russian intellectuals, such as Vladimir Nabokov and Sergei Rachmaninoff among many others.

Mark Sivertsen

Mark Sivertsen has been an actor for over 29 years. As an Air Force brat, Mark was raised in Fairfield, California before moving to Los Angeles at 18 years of age. Early on, Mark started out as a stuntman before transitioning into modeling. Acting came next and his screen career took off in 1985. Since then, Mark has appeared in films.

Mark Sivertsen is thrilled to once again be working with director Ric Roman Waugh as a cast member of Shot Caller, currently filming in New Mexico. Mark started as a stuntman and has since built a career in film and television as an actor. Some notable roles include: The Last Stand (2013), Paul (2011), North Country (2005), Love Ranch (2010), Breaking Bad (2010), Castle (2015), Criminal Minds (2014), Dig (2014), Messengers (2015), Drop Dead Diva (2013), and Necessary Roughness (2013).

Mark has appeared in over 300 commercials and has recently been turning up in films at many prominent festivals. Mark has five films that will be released within the next 12 months: Hellbent (2016), Bottom of the World (2015), Big Sky (2015), Kepler's Dream (2015), and The Condemned 2 (2015).

Mark is especially proud of a film that debuted at the Sundance Film Festival: Drunk Town's Finest (2014). After Sundance, the film screened at 36 festivals worldwide. Life in Color (2015) premiered at the SXSW this year, and is making the rounds at many more festivals. Mark is particularly proud of his involvement in director Ric Roman Waugh's Felon (2008).

Trent Sullivan

Trent Sullivan is an Australian movie and television actor, born in Sydney. He received his start in acting at age 4 when he played Rupert in the comedy-drama film Me Myself I.

Trent graduated from Saint Stephens College on the Gold Coast, Queensland in the year 2011.

Sullivan performs in the Channel Ten, Disney and Nickelodeon UK programming H2O: Just Add Water, where he plays Elliot Gilbert, the younger brother of main character Emma. He has also appeared in The Sleepover Club, Jeopardy, The Condemned and Sea Patrol.

Sergei Rachmaninoff

Sergei Rachmaninov (also spelled Rachmaninoff) was a legendary Russian composer and pianist who emigrated after the Communist revolution of 1917, and became one of the highest paid concert stars of his time, and one of the most influential pianists of the 20th century.

He was born Sergei Vasilevich Rachmaninov on April 2, 1873, on a large estate near Novgorod, Russia. He was the fourth of six children born to a noble family, and lived in a family estate, where he enjoyed a happy childhood. He studied music with his mother from age 4; continued at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, and then graduated from the Moscow Conservatory in 1892, winning the Great Gold Medal for his new opera "Aleko."

He was highly praised by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky , who promoted Rachmaninov's opera to the Bolshoi Theater in 1893. But the disastrous premiere of his 1st Symphony, poorly conducted by A. Glazunov, coupled with his distress over the Russian Orthodox Church's pressure against his marriage, caused him to suffer from depression, which interrupted his career for three years until he sought medical help in 1900. He had a three-month treatment by a hypnotherapist, aimed at overcoming his writer's block. Upon his recovery, Rachmaninov composed his brilliant 2nd Piano Concerto, and made a comeback with successful concert performances. From 1904-1906 he was a conductor at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow.

In 1909 Rachmaninov made his first tour of the United States having composed the 3rd Piano Concerto as a calling card. He appeared as a soloist with Gustav Mahler conducting the New York Philharmonic. His further work on merging Russian music with English literature culminated in his adaptation of a poem by Edgar Allan Poe into choral symphony, "The Bells," which Rachmaninov considered to be the best of his works. In 1915 he wrote the choral masterpiece: "All-Night Vigil" (also known as the Vespres), fifteen anthems expressing a plea for peace at a time of war. The Russian Revolution of 1917 and the destruction of his estate forced him to emigrate. On December 23, 1917, Rachmaninov left Russia on an open sledge carrying only a few books of sheet music.

As a pianist, Rachmaninov made over a hundred recordings and gave over one thousand concerts in America alone between 1918 and 1943. His concert performances were legendary, and he was highly regarded as a virtuoso-pianist with unmatched power and expressiveness. Unusually wide chords and deeply romantic melody lines were characteristic of his compositions. Besides his own music, he often performed pieces by Ludwig van Beethoven, Frédéric Chopin , Franz Liszt and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

In 1931, Rachmaninov signed a letter condemning the Soviet regime, that was published in the New York Times. There was retaliation immediately, and his music was condemned by the Soviets as "representative of decadent art." However, the official censorship in the Soviet Union could not stop the popularity of Rachmaninov's music in the rest of the world. During the 1930s and 1940s, he remained one of the highest paid concert stars.

At his home on Elm Drive in Beverly Hills Rachmaninov had two Steinway pianos which he played together with Vladimir Horowitz and other entertainers. His love of fast cars was second to music, and led him to occasional fines for exceeding the speed limit. Since he bought his first car in 1914, Rachmaninov acquired a taste for fast cars, buying himself a new car every year. His generosity was legendary. He gave away 5000 dollars to Igor Sikorsky to start an American helicopter industry. He paid for Vladimir Nabokov and his family relocation from Paris to New York. He sponsored Michael Chekhov and introduced him to Hollywood.

Rachmaninov gave numerous charitable performances, and donated large sums of money to the Russia fighting the Nazis during WWII. He became a US citizen in 1943, just a few days before his death. In his last recital, in February, 1943, Rachmaninov played Chopin's Piano Sonata No. 2, featuring the famous "Funeral march." He died on March 28, 1943, in Beverly Hills, California, and was laid to rest in Kensico Cemetery, New York.

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