A comedian. Improvisation, Sketch and Stand-up comedy are his forte.
Todd Joseph Miller was born in Denver, Colorado, to Leslie, a clinical psychologist, and Kent Miller, an attorney. He went to East High School, and college in Washington, D.C. There, he performed with the group receSs for 4 years, being the only person in his class out of 100 to audition and be accepted into the group. He remained the sole member of receSs until his junior year, when he was joined by Michael "Tuck The Ruckus" Tokaruk, an acclaimed comedian and equestrian, who taught T.J. how to ride a horse, a pastime he calls "droll." He met his future wife, Kate Gorney, when they performed in "A Chorus Line" in university production of the musical. She played The Ballerina (being an accomplished ballerina herself) and he played Richie, the African American character. He credits the casting to East High School, which was a primarily black and Latino high school, and also that no black people auditioned for the part.
During his Time in the nation's capital, he studied classical acting at B.A.D.A in Oxford, England and circus arts at Frichess Theatre Urbain. He was outstanding in the field of Stilt Walking, but was never able to execute any trick, at all, on Trapeze. He is an accomplished Clown and Juggler, having mastered 5 ball juggling, over fifty 3-ball tricks, clubs, torches, knives, and his specialty (which garnered him a Magician Membership to The Magic Castle in Hollywood, CA) Cigar Boxes.
After graduating with honors (a bachelor's degree in Psychology with a concentration in Persuasion Theory and Social Influence) he moved to Chicago where he began performing with independent improvisation teams such as the group Chuckle Sandwich, the i.o. house team Bullet Lounge, The sketch group Heavy Weight (with Mark Raterman, Nick Vatterott & Brady Novak). He toured with Second City for almost 2 years (though he was never a company member of the MainStage), and during that time he missed over 15 flights to various cities the company toured to. During his time in Chicago, he performed Standup every night for almost 4 years, never taking a night off even on Holidays. He became a regular at Chicago's famed alternative room The Lincoln Lodge, and only performed at Chicago's Zanies Comedy Club 3 times in 4 years, apparently because they had an aversion to his absurdist style.
Miller's first appearance on television was on The Standard Deviants, a PBS show aimed at providing educational DVDs and programming for schools. He played a knight and a dinosaur detective.
Proficient in every medium of comedy (he considers even 'acting' simply another medium of comedy) he is also a Voice Over Artist, having worked for Old Style, Mucinex, Cars.com among other brands as well as in feature films & animated television shows.
In 2011 he produced a 42 track E.P. entitled "The Extended Play E.P." with Comedy Central Records, a Folk/Pop/Hip Hop concept album, which he describes as satirical; aimed at celebrities that cross over into other mediums they have no business being in simply because of their brand name (he also considers himself "a proponent of the semicolon, "it is underused and feared for no particular reason"). He then remixed this album with Illegal Art, a legitimate music label, enlisting the roster of artists on the label (including the godfather of sampling, "Steinski") the same year. According to him, this was to prove that the album, when given to actual musicians, became superior to the original, in addition to satirizing artists that remix one song and sell it to listeners multiple times.
He considers his greatest performance to be his portrayal of Ranger Jones, in Yogi Bear 3D, which filmed in New Zealand and wrapped shortly before his seizure that led to the discovery of an AVM (which he alleges confirmed rather than initiated his Absurdist Philosophy). He has stated multiple times that it was the pinnacle of his artistic career, and that "it's in some ways comforting to have reached the pinnacle of his career so early on" and that is has been all downhill since that point.
Aside from being a major proponent of Denver, his hometown, he has done extensive charity work and continues to visit East High School, where he did his first stand-up performance in drama class. He credits his teacher, Melody Duggan, for much of his success and thanked her specifically in his speech when he won a Critic's Choice Award for best supporting actor in a comedy series (For HBO's Silicon Valley).
He frequently cites his compulsive and almost pathologically driven work ethic as an altruistic effort to distract people from the tragedy that permeates everyday life, and believed that comedy would be more of a contribution than psychology, since instead of affecting only at most a few hundred people dramatically, he can affect millions of people in small increments.
He has publicly stated he believes "Comedians are the new philosophers" and that academic philosophers are no longer relevant. However, he is a student of philosophy and subscribes to the ethical philosophy of John Stuart Mill (Utilitarianism), which states that one should make the most amount happiness for the most amount of people, which he cites as one of the reasons he made the his decision to be a comedian. His stand-up (as of 2015) is aimed at "discussing Time and the release of the death anxiety." By the age of 33 he had read all of Nietzsche's works, and considers himself an Absurdist with philosophical roots in Nihilism.
He resides in Los Angeles, where he struggles to make meaning in an uncertain world.
Selena Marie Gomez was born and raised in Grand Prairie, Texas, to Mandy Teefey, who is of part Italian descent, and Ricardo Gomez, who is of Mexican descent and originally from New Mexico. Her parents divorced in 1997. Giving birth to Selena at 16, her mom Mandy recalls living "paycheck-to-paycheck". Selena started out on Barney & Friends as "Gianna" in 2001 where she really discovered her talent. Unfortunately, they dropped her from the series after just two years. In 2003, she had a very small role in the movie Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over and a bit part in 2005 when she played "Julie" in Walker, Texas Ranger: Trial by Fire with Mitchel Musso and in 2006 as "Emily Grace Garcia" in Brain Zapped when she recorded a song for the movie. She she guest starred as "Gwen" in The Suite Life of Zack and Cody and as Hannah's rival, the 'evil' "Mikayla", in Hannah Montana. Selena's amazing talent landed her roles in two Disney series, both spin-offs. Unfortunately, neither show was picked up until 2007 when she got the role of "Alex Russo" in the magical series Wizards of Waverly Place which she auditioned for three times. In March 2008, she made her first animated movie Horton Hears a Who! and later starred in Another Cinderella Story with Disney Channel star Drew Seeley for ABC Family. Her two Disney Channel Original Movies Princess Protection Program, with real-life BFF Demi Lovato, and Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie will both air Summer 2009.
Christian Charles Philip Bale was born in Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK on January 30, 1974, to English parents Jennifer "Jenny" (James) and David Charles Howard Bale. His mother was a circus performer and his father, who was born in South Africa, was a commercial pilot. The family lived in different countries throughout Bale's childhood, including England, Portugal, and the United States. Bale acknowledges the constant change was one of the influences on his career choice.
His first acting job was a cereal commercial in 1983; amazingly, the next year, he debuted on the West End stage in "The Nerd". A role in the 1986 NBC mini-series Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna caught Steven Spielberg's eye, leading to Bale's well-documented role in Empire of the Sun. For the range of emotions he displayed as the star of the war epic, he earned a special award by the National Board of Review for Best Performance by a Juvenile Actor.
Adjusting to fame and his difficulties with attention (he thought about quitting acting early on), Bale appeared in Kenneth Branagh's 1989 adaptation of Shakespeare's Henry V and starred as Jim Hawkins in a TV movie version of Treasure Island. Bale worked consistently through the 1990s, acting and singing in Newsies, Swing Kids, Little Women, The Portrait of a Lady, The Secret Agent, Metroland, Velvet Goldmine, All the Little Animals, and A Midsummer Night's Dream. Toward the end of the decade, with the rise of the Internet, Bale found himself coming one of the most popular online celebrities around, though he, with a couple notable exceptions, maintained a private, tabloid-free mystique.
Bale roared into the next decade with a lead role in American Psycho, director Mary Harron's adaptation of the controversial Bret Easton Ellis novel. In the film, Bale played a murderous Wall Street executive obsessed with his own physicality - a trait for which Bale would become a specialist. Subsequently, the 10th Anniversary issue for "Entertainment Weekly" crowned Bale one of the "Top 8 Most Powerful Cult Figures" of the past decade, citing his cult status on the Internet. EW also called Bale one of the "Most Creative People in Entertainment", and "Premiere" lauded him as one of the "Hottest Leading Men Under 30".
Bale was truly on the Hollywood radar at this time, and he turned in a range of performances in the remake Shaft, Captain Corelli's Mandolin, the balmy Laurel Canyon, and Reign of Fire, a dragons-and-magic commercial misfire that has its share of defenders.
Two more cult films followed: Equilibrium and The Machinist, the latter of which gained attention mainly due to Bale's physical transformation - he dropped a reported 60+ pounds for the role of a lathe operator with a secret that causes him to suffer from insomnia for over a year.
Bale's abilities to transform his body and to disappear into a character influenced the decision to cast him in Batman Begins, the first chapter in Christopher Nolan's definitive trilogy that proved a dark-themed narrative could resonate with audiences worldwide. The film also resurrected a character that had been shelved by Warner Bros. after a series of demising returns, capped off by Batman and Robin's massive commercial and critical failure. A quiet, personal victory for Bale: he accepted the role after the passing of his father in late 2003, an event that caused him to question whether he would continue performing.
Bale segued into two indie features in the wake of Batman's phenomenal success: The New World and Harsh Times. He continued working with respected independent directors in 2006's Rescue Dawn, Werner Herzog's feature version of his earlier, Emmy-nominated documentary, Little Dieter Needs to Fly. Leading up to the second Batman film, Bale starred in The Prestige, the remake of 3:10 to Yuma, and a reunion with director Todd Haynes in the experimental Bob Dylan biography, I'm Not There..
Anticipation for The Dark Knight was spun into unexpected heights with the tragic passing of Heath Ledger, whose performance as The Joker became the highlight of the sequel. Bale's graceful statements to the press reminded us of the days of the refined Hollywood star as the second installment exceeded the box-office performance of its predecessor.
Bale's next role was the eyebrow-raising decision to take over the role of John Connor in the Schwarzenegger-less Terminator Salvation, followed by a turn as federal agent Melvin Purvis in Michael Mann's Public Enemies. Both films were hits but not the blockbusters they were expected to be.
For all his acclaim and box-office triumphs, Bale would earn his first Oscar in 2011 in the wake of The Fighter's critical and commercial success. Bale earned the Best Supporting Actor award for his portrayal of Dicky Eklund, brother to and trainer of boxer "Irish" Micky Ward, played by Mark Wahlberg. Bale again showed his ability to reshape his body with another gaunt, skeletal transformation.
Bale then turned to another auteur, Yimou Zhang, for the epic The Flowers of War, in which Bale portrayed a priest trapped in the midst of the Rape of Nanking. Bale earned headlines for his attempt to visit with Chinese civil-rights activist Chen Guangcheng, which was blocked by the Chinese government.
Bale capped his role as Bruce Wayne/Batman in The Dark Knight Rises; in the wake of the Aurora, Colorado tragedy, Bale made a quiet pilgrimage to the state to visit with survivors of the attack that left theatergoers dead and injured. He also starred in the thriller Out of the Furnace with Crazy Heart writer/director Scott Cooper, and the drama-comedy American Hustle, reuniting with David O. Russell.
In his personal life, he devotes time to charities including Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Foundation. He lives with his wife, Sibi Blazic, and their daughter, Emmeline.
Willard Carroll "Will" Smith, Jr. (born September 25, 1968) is an American actor, comedian, producer, rapper, and songwriter. He has enjoyed success in television, film, and music. In April 2007, Newsweek called him "the most powerful actor in Hollywood". Smith has been nominated for five Golden Globe Awards, two Academy Awards, and has won four Grammy Awards.
In the late 1980s, Smith achieved modest fame as a rapper under the name The Fresh Prince. In 1990, his popularity increased dramatically when he starred in the popular television series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The show ran for six seasons (1990-96) on NBC and has been syndicated consistently on various networks since then. After the series ended, Smith moved from television to film, and ultimately starred in numerous blockbuster films. He is the only actor to have eight consecutive films gross over $100 million in the domestic box office, eleven consecutive films gross over $150 million internationally, and eight consecutive films in which he starred open at the number one spot in the domestic box office tally.
Smith is ranked as the most bankable star worldwide by Forbes. As of 2014, 17 of the 21 films in which he has had leading roles have accumulated worldwide gross earnings of over $100 million each, five taking in over $500 million each in global box office receipts. As of 2014, his films have grossed $6.6 billion at the global box office. He has received Best Actor Oscar nominations for Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness.
Smith was born in West Philadelphia, the son of Caroline (Bright), a Philadelphia school board administrator, and Willard Carroll Smith, Sr., a refrigeration engineer. He grew up in West Philadelphia's Wynnefield neighborhood, and was raised Baptist. He has three siblings, sister Pamela, who is four years older, and twins Harry and Ellen, who are three years younger. Smith attended Our Lady of Lourdes, a private Catholic elementary school in Philadelphia. His parents separated when he was 13, but did not actually divorce until around 2000.
Smith attended Overbrook High School. Though widely reported, it is untrue that Smith turned down a scholarship to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); he never applied to college because he "wanted to rap." Smith says he was admitted to a "pre-engineering [summer] program" at MIT for high school students, but he did not attend. According to Smith, "My mother, who worked for the School Board of Philadelphia, had a friend who was the admissions officer at MIT. I had pretty high SAT scores and they needed black kids, so I probably could have gotten in. But I had no intention of going to college."
Smith started as the MC of the hip-hop duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, with his childhood friend Jeffrey "DJ Jazzy Jeff" Townes as producer, as well as Ready Rock C (Clarence Holmes) as the human beat box. The trio was known for performing humorous, radio-friendly songs, most notably "Parents Just Don't Understand" and "Summertime". They gained critical acclaim and won the first Grammy awarded in the Rap category (1988).
Smith spent money freely around 1988 and 1989 and underpaid his income taxes. The Internal Revenue Service eventually assessed a $2.8 million tax debt against Smith, took many of his possessions, and garnished his income. Smith was nearly bankrupt in 1990, when the NBC television network signed him to a contract and built a sitcom, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, around him.
The show was successful and began his acting career. Smith set for himself the goal of becoming "the biggest movie star in the world", studying box office successes' common characteristics.
Smith's first major roles were in the drama Six Degrees of Separation (1993) and the action film Bad Boys (1995) in which he starred opposite Martin Lawrence.
In 1996, Smith starred as part of an ensemble cast in Roland Emmerich's Independence Day. The film was a massive blockbuster, becoming the second highest grossing film in history at the time and establishing Smith as a prime box office draw. He later struck gold again in the summer of 1997 alongside Tommy Lee Jones in the summer hit Men in Black playing Agent J. In 1998, Smith starred with Gene Hackman in Enemy of the State.
He turned down the role of Neo in The Matrix in favor of Wild Wild West (1999). Despite the disappointment of Wild Wild West, Smith has said that he harbors no regrets about his decision, asserting that Keanu Reeves's performance as Neo was superior to what Smith himself would have achieved, although in interviews subsequent to the release of Wild Wild West he stated that he "made a mistake on Wild Wild West. That could have been better."
In 2005, Smith was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records for attending three premieres in a 24-hour time span.
He has planned to star in a feature film remake of the television series It Takes a Thief.
On December 10, 2007, Smith was honored at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. Smith left an imprint of his hands and feet outside the world-renowned theater in front of many fans. Later that month, Smith starred in the film I Am Legend, released December 14, 2007. Despite marginally positive reviews, its opening was the largest ever for a film released in the United States during December. Smith himself has said that he considers the film to be "aggressively unique". A reviewer said that the film's commercial success "cemented [Smith's] standing as the number one box office draw in Hollywood." On December 1, 2008, TV Guide reported that Smith was selected as one of America's top ten most fascinating people of 2008 for a Barbara Walters ABC special that aired on December 4, 2008.
In 2008 Smith was reported to be developing a film entitled The Last Pharaoh, in which he would be starring as Taharqa. It was in 2008 that Smith starred in the superhero movie Hancock.
Men in Black III opened on May 25, 2012 with Smith again reprising his role as Agent J. This was his first major starring role in four years.
On August 19, 2011, it was announced that Smith had returned to the studio with producer La Mar Edwards to work on his fifth studio album. Edwards has worked with artists such as T.I., Chris Brown, and Game. Smith's most recent studio album, Lost and Found, was released in 2005.
Smith and his son Jaden played father and son in two productions: the 2006 biographical drama The Pursuit of Happyness, and the science fiction film After Earth, which was released on May 31, 2013.
Smith starred opposite Margot Robbie in the romance drama Focus. He played Nicky Spurgeon, a veteran con artist who takes a young, attractive woman under his wing. Focus was released on February 27, 2015. Smith was set to star in the Sci-Fic thriller Brilliance, an adaptation of Marcus Sakey's novel of the same name scripted by Jurassic Park writer David Koepp. But he left the project.
Smith played Dr. Bennet Omalu of the Brain Injury Research Institute in the sports-drama Concussion, who became the first person to discover chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in a football player's brain. CTE is a degenerative disease caused by severe trauma to the head that can be discovered only after death. Smith's involvement is mostly due to his last-minute exit from the Sci-Fi thriller-drama Brilliance. Concussion was directed by Peter Landesman and-bead filmed in Pittsburgh, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. It received $14.4 million in film tax credits from Pennsylvania. Principal photography started on October 27, 2014. Actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw played his wife. Omalu served as a consultant.
As of November 2015, Smith is set to star in the independent drama Collateral Beauty, which will be directed by David Frankel. Smith will play a New York advertising executive who succumbs to an deep depression after a personal tragedy.
Nobel Peace Prize Concert December 11, 2009, in Oslo, Norway: Smith with wife Jada and children Jaden and Willow Smith married Sheree Zampino in 1992. They had one son, Trey Smith, born on November 11, 1992, and divorced in 1995. Trey appeared in his father's music video for the 1998 single "Just the Two of Us". He also acted in two episodes of the sitcom All of Us, and has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and on the David Blaine: Real or Magic TV special.
Smith married actress Jada Koren Pinkett in 1997. Together they have two children: Jaden Christopher Syre Smith (born 1998), his co-star in The Pursuit of Happyness and After Earth, and Willow Camille Reign Smith (born 2000), who appeared as his daughter in I Am Legend. Smith and his brother Harry own Treyball Development Inc., a Beverly Hills-based company named after Trey. Smith and his family reside in Los Angeles, California.
Smith was consistently listed in Fortune Magazine's "Richest 40" list of the forty wealthiest Americans under the age of 40.
At 16 years of age, Melanie Lynskey captivated audiences with her explosive debut in Peter Jackson's Academy Award-nominated Heavenly Creatures, scooping a Best Actress prize at the New Zealand Film and TV Awards for her portrayal of an outcast teen whose relationship with her best friend (Kate Winslet) spirals dangerously out of control.
Following a three-year hiatus spent studying at university and re-locating from New Zealand to Los Angeles, Lynskey made a welcome return to the silver screen when she was cast opposite Drew Barrymore in Ever After: A Cinderella Story.
In recent years, Lynskey has worked her scene-stealing magic in a variety of projects, such as Sam Mendes's Away We Go, Best Picture Oscar nominee Up in the Air, Steven Soderbergh's The Informant!, Win Win, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Prolific supporting roles - opposite the likes of George Clooney, Edward Norton and Matt Damon - aside, central parts in Hello I Must Be Going, Happy Christmas, We'll Never Have Paris, Goodbye to All That and The Intervention - for which she scooped a Special Jury Award at the Sundance Film Festival - have proved that she is also a capable and charismatic leading lady.
In addition to an impressive body of film work, Lynskey has appeared regularly on the small screen since her television debut in Stephen King's Rose Red, which was followed by roles in Drive and Comanche Moon, as well as guest stints on The Shield, The L Word, and House M.D..
However, she's probably best known to TV audiences for her frequent appearances as Rose - Charlie Sheen's delightfully deranged stalker - on the Emmy Award-winning Two and a Half Men, and her portrayal of Michelle Pierson on HBO's Togetherness, for which she received a Critics' Choice Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
Woody Allen was born Allan Stewart Konigsberg on December 1, 1935 in Brooklyn, New York, to Nettie (Cherrie), a bookkeeper, and Martin Konigsberg, a waiter and jewellery engraver. His father was of Russian Jewish descent, and his maternal grandparents were Austrian Jewish immigrants. As a young boy, he became intrigued with magic tricks and playing the clarinet, two hobbies that he continues today.
Allen broke into show business at 15 years when he started writing jokes for a local paper, receiving $200 a week. He later moved on to write jokes for talk shows but felt that his jokes were being wasted. His agents, Charles Joffe and Jack Rollins, convinced him to start doing stand-up and telling his own jokes. Reluctantly he agreed and, although he initially performed with such fear of the audience that he would cover his ears when they applauded his jokes, he eventually became very successful at stand-up. After performing on stage for a few years, he was approached to write a script for Warren Beatty to star in: What's New Pussycat and would also have a moderate role as a character in the film. During production, Woody gave himself more and better lines and left Beatty with less compelling dialogue. Beatty inevitably quit the project and was replaced by Peter Sellers, who demanded all the best lines and more screen-time.
It was from this experience that Woody realized that he could not work on a film without complete control over its production. Woody's theoretical directorial debut was in What's Up, Tiger Lily?; a Japanese spy flick that he dubbed over with his own comedic dialogue about spies searching for the secret recipe for egg salad. His real directorial debut came the next year in the mockumentary Take the Money and Run. He has written, directed and, more often than not, starred in about a film a year ever since, while simultaneously writing more than a dozen plays and several books of comedy.
While best known for his romantic comedies Annie Hall and Manhattan, Woody has made many transitions in his films throughout the years, transitioning from his "early, funny ones" of Bananas, Love and Death and Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask; to his more storied and romantic comedies of Annie Hall, Manhattan and Hannah and Her Sisters; to the Bergmanesque films of Stardust Memories and Interiors; and then on to the more recent, but varied works of Crimes and Misdemeanors, Husbands and Wives, Mighty Aphrodite, _Celebrity_ and Deconstructing Harry; and finally to his films of the last decade, which vary from the light comedy of Scoop, to the self-destructive darkness of Match Point and, most recently, to the cinematically beautiful tale of Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Although his stories and style have changed over the years, he is regarded as one of the best filmmakers of our time because of his views on art and his mastery of filmmaking.
Sarah is originally from Cork and trained in Dublin where she graduated from the Gaiety School of Acting in 2006.
Sarah played Helen McCormick (Slippy Helen) opposite Daniel Radcliffe as Billy Claven in Martin McDonaghs's The Cripple of Inishmaan, directed by Michael Grandage at the Cort Theatre on Broadway,NYC. Sarah was nominated for a TONY award (Best Actress in a Featured Role) 2014 for her performance in this show, one for which she was already nominated for an Olivier Award in 2013 during it's West End run and for which she was awarded the 2014 World Theater Award for Outstanding Broadway Debut.
Other theatre includes Rough Magic's production of PEER GYNT for Dublin Theatre Festival 2011 her acclaimed performance as Alice in thisispopbaby's and the Abbey Theatre's hugely successful production ALICE INFUNDERLAND in 2012. She also appeared in ELLEMENOPE JONES both directed by Wayne Jordan at The Project Arts Centre, Dublin in 2011. Sarah appeared as Sorcha in Paul Howard's play BETWEEN FOXROCK AND A HARDPLACE at the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin and Cork Opera House. She played Ismene in Rough Magic's production of PHAEDRA by Hilary Fannin, directed by Lynne Parker as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival. Sarah appeared as Amber in Guna Nua's award winning and highly acclaimed production of LITTLE GEM which won the Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and led to a remounting of the production in New York as well as tours across the UK and Ireland. Other previous productions have included: Danti Dan for Galloglass, The Death of Harry Leon for Ouroboros, The Year of the Hiker and The Playboy of The Western World, The Empress of India, and most recently Big Maggie, all with Druid Theatre Company and directed by Garry Hynes.
Sarah stars as Christina Noble alongside Deirdre O'Kane, Liam Cunnigham and Brendan Coyle in Stephen Bradley's feature NOBLE and has already won awards Jury and Audience awards at the Boston Film Festival, Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Newport Beach Festival, Nashville and Dallas Festivals.
In 2014, Sarah was cast alongside Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller in The Weinstein's 'Untitled John Wells Project' and joined the cast of Showtime's Penny Dreadful playing Hecate Poole.
Other film and television includes: RAW RTE/Ecosse Films, EDEN/Samson Films, SPEED DATING/RTE, BACHELOR'S WALK/Samson Films/RTE. She played the leading role of Cathleen in the Canadian/Irish feature LOVE AND SAVAGERY directed by John N. Smith. MY BROTHERS (Treasure Films) and THE GUARD (Element) opposite Brendan Gleeson. She most recently appeared as Judith in three episodes of VIKINGS (History Channel/MGM).
AnnaSophia Robb was born on the 8th December 1993 in Denver, Colorado, USA, to Janet, an interior designer, and Dave Robb, an architect. She has Danish, English, Irish, Scottish, and Swedish ancestry.
Robb started off life with a dream to act, and began by performing on a church stage in her home town in front of 500 people when she was just 5 years old. She began taking various acting classes and courses at the age of 8, and was scouted at the age of 9 by an agency in Los Angeles. She drove down to LA with her mom, during the pilot season. 42 auditions later, AnnaSophia booked her first national commercial, advertising Bratz dolls. The second time out to Los Angeles was a big one for AnnaSophia; she auditioned for the lead role of Opal in a movie called Because of Winn-Dixie opposite Jeff Daniels. Three months, three auditions and one screen test later, AnnaSophia booked her first role in a major motion picture.
Subsequently, AnnaSophia appeared as the title role in An American Girl Holiday, a TV movie for Warner Bros, and as Liza in an episode of Drake & Josh. One of her most notable roles is playing the gum-chewing Violet Beauregarde in Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, in which she stars opposite Johnny Depp. She then starred in the magical fantasy Bridge to Terabithia in which she plays Leslie Burke, and horror/thriller The Reaping in which she plays Loren McConnell, and stars opposite Hilary Swank. She also had a supporting role in Jumper.
In her spare time AnnaSophia enjoys dancing (Jazz, Hip-hop, break dancing and Irish dancing), swimming, skiing, running and modeling. She is also a talented singer and recorded a song for the Bridge to Terabithia soundtrack.
Edgar Ramirez Arellano is a Venezuelan actor, born on March 25, 1977 in the city of San Cristobal (Tachira State, southwest Venezuela). He is the son of Soday Arellano, an attorney, and Filiberto Ramírez, a military officer.
Being the son of a soldier and living abroad with his family, he learned several languages, like English, German, Italian and French, as well as his mother tongue, Spanish. He studied Journalism (Comunicación Social) at the Andres Bello Catholic University, in Caracas. He began exploring his acting vocation, playing on several school made films.
He was recognized as an actor after portraying "Cacique" in the popular venezuelan soap opera "Cosita Rica", aired through 2003 and 2004, lasting over 270 episodes. His debut as an international Hollywood actor was playing Choco, Domino Harvery's love interest in Tony Scott's Domino.
His next major feature film was Vantage Point directed by Pete Travis. In this high-budgeted Sony Pictures political thriller, Ramírez joined an all-star international cast including Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox, William Hurt, Forest Whitaker, Eduardo Noriega and Ayelet Zurer. Ramírez plays Javier, an ex-special forces soldier forced to kidnap the American President. Later on he starred in the title role of Alberto Arvelo's Cyrano Fernández, based on the French play Cyrano de Bergerac.
Ramírez also appears in La Hora Cero (The Magic Hour) (Venezuela), a short film directed by Guillermo Arriaga, the acclaimed screenwriter of Amores Perros, 21 Grams and Babel (Mexico); Plan B, directed by Alejandro García Wiederman (Venezuela); Yotama se va volando (Yotama Flies Away), directed by Luis Armando Roche (Venezuela/France); and Punto y Raya (Step Forward), directed by Elia Schneider (a Venezuela, Spain, Chile and Uruguay co-production), submitted by Venezuela for Oscar consideration for 2004 Best Foreign Film, in which he played the role of Pedro, a Colombian soldier.
David Fincher was born in 1962 in Denver, Colorado, and was raised in Marin County, California. When he was 18 years old he went to work for John Korty at Korty Films in Mill Valley. He subsequently worked at ILM (Industrial Light and Magic) from 1981-1983. Fincher left ILM to direct TV commercials and music videos after signing with N. Lee Lacy in Hollywood. He went on to found Propaganda in 1987 with fellow directors Dominic Sena, Greg Gold and Nigel Dick. Fincher has directed TV commercials for clients that include Nike, Coca-Cola, Budweiser, Heineken, Pepsi, Levi's, Converse, AT&T and Chanel. He has directed music videos for Madonna, Sting, The Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, Aerosmith, George Michael, Iggy Pop, The Wallflowers, Billy Idol, Steve Winwood, The Motels and, most recently, A Perfect Circle.
Jeffrey Leon Bridges was born on December 4, 1949 in Los Angeles, California, the son of well-known film and TV star Lloyd Bridges and his long-time wife Dorothy Dean Bridges (née Simpson). He grew up amid the happening Hollywood scene with big brother Beau Bridges. Both boys popped up, without billing, alongside their mother in the film The Company She Keeps, and appeared on occasion with their famous dad on his popular underwater TV series Sea Hunt while growing up. At age 14, Jeff toured with his father in a stage production of "Anniversary Waltz". The "troublesome teen" years proved just that for Jeff and his parents were compelled at one point to intervene when problems with drugs and marijuana got out of hand.
He recovered and began shaping his nascent young adult career appearing on TV as a younger version of his father in the acclaimed TV-movie Silent Night, Lonely Night, and in the strange Burgess Meredith film The Yin and the Yang of Mr. Go. Following fine notices for his portrayal of a white student caught up in the racially-themed Halls of Anger, his career-maker arrived just a year later when he earned a coming-of-age role in the critically-acclaimed ensemble film The Last Picture Show. The Peter Bogdanovich- directed film made stars out off its young leads (Bridges, Timothy Bottoms, Cybill Shepherd) and Oscar winners out of its older cast (Ben Johnson, Cloris Leachman). The part of Duane Jackson, for which Jeff received his first Oscar-nomination (for "best supporting actor"), set the tone for the types of roles Jeff would acquaint himself with his fans -- rambling, reckless, rascally and usually unpredictable).
Owning a casual carefree handsomeness and armed with a perpetual grin and sly charm, he started immediately on an intriguing 70s sojourn into offbeat filming. Chief among them were his boxer on his way up opposite a declining Stacy Keach in Fat City; his Civil War-era conman in the western Bad Company; his redneck stock car racer in The Last American Hero; his young student anarchist opposite a stellar veteran cast in Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh; his bank-robbing (also Oscar-nominated) sidekick to Clint Eastwood in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot; his aimless cattle rustler in Rancho Deluxe; his low-level western writer who wants to be a real-life cowboy in Hearts of the West; and his brother of an assassinated President who pursues leads to the crime in Winter Kills. All are simply marvelous characters that should have propelled him to the very top rungs of stardom...but strangely didn't.
Perhaps it was his trademark ease and naturalistic approach that made him somewhat under appreciated at that time when Hollywood was run by a Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino-like intensity. Neverthless, Jeff continued to be a scene-stealing favorite into the next decade, notably as the video game programmer in the 1982 science-fiction cult classic TRON, and the struggling musician brother vying with brother Beau Bridges over the attentions of sexy singer Michelle Pfeiffer in The Fabulous Baker Boys. Jeff became a third-time Oscar nominee with his highly intriguing (and strangely sexy) portrayal of a blank-faced alien in Starman, and earned even higher regard as the ever-optimistic inventor Preston Tucker in Tucker: The Man and His Dream.
Since then Jeff has continued to pour on the Bridges magic on film. Few enjoy such an enduring popularity while maintaining equal respect with the critics. The Fisher King, American Heart, Fearless, The Big Lebowski (now a cult phenomenon) and The Contender (which gave him a fourth Oscar nomination) are prime examples. More recently he seized the moment as a bald-pated villain as Robert Downey Jr.'s nemesis in Iron Man and then, at age 60, he capped his rewarding career by winning the elusive Oscar, plus the Golden Globe and Screen Actor Guild awards (among many others), for his down-and-out country singer Bad Blake in Crazy Heart. Bridges next starred in TRON: Legacy, reprising one of his more famous roles, and received another Oscar nomination for Best Actor for his role in the Western remake True Grit. In 2014, he co-produced and starred in an adaptation of the Lois Lowry science fiction drama The Giver.
Jeff has been married since 1977 to non-professional Susan Geston (they met on the set of Rancho Deluxe). The couple have three daughters, Isabelle (born 1981), Jessica (born 1983), and Hayley (born 1985). He hobbies as a photographer on and off his film sets, and has been known to play around as a cartoonist and pop musician. His ancestry is English, as well as some Irish, Swiss-German, and German.
Tom Felton was born in Epsom, Surrey, to Sharon and Peter Felton. He has been acting since he was 8 years old at the suggestion of an actress friend of his family who recognized Felton's theatrical qualities. Felton met with an agent, and two weeks later, after auditioning with over 400 other children, he landed an international commercial campaign and went abroad to work.
A talented singer, he started singing in a church choir at the age of 7 and has been a member of four choirs at school. He declined an offer to join the Guildford Cathedral Choir. He is a keen sportsman enjoying football (soccer), ice skating, roller blading, basketball, cricket, swimming, and tennis.
After working on Anna and the King with Jodie Foster, Tom received his big break in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone as Draco Malfoy, school boy rival to the titular character as played by Daniel Radcliffe. Tom managed to film the part of Draco in all eight "Harry Potter" movies while also having an active life outside the magical world it created. In between shoots he filmed independent horror movies The Disappeared, Night Wolf, and The Apparition with Twilight's Ashley Greene. It was directly after completing his filming on "Harry Potter" that he landed his roles in Rise of the Planet of the Apes and From the Rough. His newest projects are In Secret, Fangs of War (????) and Attachment.
In between acting gigs, Tom still manages times with his music. He is one of the founding owners and talent of Six String Productions, a recording company devoted to signing young musical artists overlooked by the major recording industry.
George Walton Lucas, Jr. was raised on a walnut ranch in Modesto, California. His father was a stationery store owner and he had three siblings. During his late teen years, he went to Downey High School and was very much interested in drag racing. He planned to become a professional race-car driver. However, a terrible car accident just after his high school graduation ended that dream permanently. The accident changed his views on life. He decided to attend Modesto Junior College before enrolling in the University of Southern California film school. As a film student, he made several short films including THX-1138: 4EB (Electronic Labyinth) which won first prize at the 1967-68 National Student Film Festival. In 1967, he was awarded a scholarship by Warner Brothers to observe the making of Finian's Rainbow which was being directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Lucas and Coppola became good friends and formed American Zoetrope in 1969. The company's first project was Lucas' full-length version of THX 1138. In 1971, Coppola went into production for The Godfather, and Lucas formed his own company, Lucasfilm Ltd. In 1973, he wrote and directed the semiautobiographical American Graffiti which won the Golden Globe and garnered five Academy Award nominations. This gave him the clout he needed for his next daring venture. From 1973 to 1974, he began writing the screenplay for Star Wars. He was inspired to make this movie from Flash Gordon and the Planet of the Apes films. In 1975, he established I.L.M. (Industrial Light and Magic) to produce the visual effects needed for the movie. Another company called Sprocket Systems was established to edit and mix Star Wars and later becomes known as Skywalker Sound. His movie was turned down by several studios until 20th Century Fox gave him a chance. Lucas agreed to forego his directing salary in exchange for 40% of the film's box-office take and all merchandising rights. The movie went on to break all box office records and earned seven Academy Awards. It redefined the term "blockbuster". The rest is history. Lucas made the other Star Wars films and along with Steven Spielberg created the Indiana Jones series which made box office records of their own. From 1980 to 1985, Lucas was busy with the construction of Skywalker Ranch, built to accommodate the creative, technical, and administrative needs of Lucasfilm. Lucas also revolutionized movie theatres with the T.H.X. System which was created to maintain the highest quality standards in motion picture viewing. He went on to make several more movies that have introduced major innovations in film-making technology. He is chairman of the board of The George Lucas Educational Foundation. In 1992, George Lucas was honored with the Irving G. Thalberg Award by the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his life-time achievement.
Mara Elizabeth Wilson was born on Friday, July 24th, 1987 in Los Angeles, California. She is the oldest daughter of Michael and Suzie Wilson with three elder brothers - Danny (b. 1979), Jon (b. 1981) and Joel (b.1983) - and a younger sister Anna (b. 1993). When Mara was 5 years old, her eldest brother Danny started acting in television commercials and she wanted to follow in his footsteps. Her parents refused to let her act at first. After her continuous persistence from Mara Elizabeth, her parents reluctantly agreed to let her give acting a try. She went on to appear in a number of commercials including those advertising Texaco and the Bank of America. She also appeared in Mrs. Doubtfire starring Robin Williams and Sally Field, as the divorced parents. In her role, Mara proved herself to be a talented young actress, who was mature for her tender years, and her acting career went from strength-to-strength as she quickly became a favorite among cinema-goers. The following year, Mara played a small girl whose mother had suffered a major stroke in "A Time to Heal". But her big break came with the remake of "Miracle on 34th Street" as the little, intelligent, cynical girl who learned the magic of Santa Claus. Ironically, Mara was not raised to believe in Santa Claus but this was a bonus in some ways since she was able to empathize with her character's stance that there was no Santa. At the age of nine, Mara was cast in the lead role in the film adaptation of Roald Dahls book, "Matilda". Sadly, during filming, Mara lost her beloved mother to breast cancer but she bravely pushed ahead with the film much to the amazement and admiration of her adult co-stars. Mara starred in three films over the following three years, the last of which was in "Thomas and the Magic Railroad". Unfortunately, the film did not do well in the theatres of American box office, but it did very well in the UK box office. This signaled an end to Mara's film career as she wanted to focus on school and to enjoy her teenage years. In June 2005, Mara graduated from Idyllwild School of Music & Arts and went on to attend New York University. In a March 2012 blog post, she revealed she has no desire to return to acting in films. Today, Mara Wilson is a stage actress, a voice actress, a writer, and a playwright. Mara now lives a quiet life in "The Big Apple", a nickname of New York City, New York.
Two-time Emmy Award winner Sarah Silverman is one of the most versatile talents in entertainment, with credits including that of actress, creator, writer, executive producer, comedian, and author. Silverman will next be seen in both The Book of Henry and The Lonely Island's Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, both of which are set for release later this year. Silverman also continues to lend her voice to the Emmy-nominated Fox animated series Bob's Burgers and has a recurring role on the Golden Globe-nominated Showtime series Masters of Sex, which will return for its fourth season this year. Additionally, she is a part of JASH, a comedy collective on YouTube featuring original content by Silverman and friends Michael Cera, Tim & Eric, and Reggie Watts.
Silverman was most recently seen as the star of I Smile Back, the film adaptation of the Amy Koppelman novel. The drama premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival to critical acclaim and was later released in theaters by Broad Green Pictures. Silverman received much praise for her role as "Laney Brooks," culminating in a 2016 Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for "Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role." Her additional film credits include Ashby, A Million Ways to Die in the West, Take This Waltz, Gravy, Peep World, I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With, The School of Rock, There's Something About Mary, The Way of The Gun, and the Oscar-nominated smash hit Wreck It Ralph.
On stage, Silverman continues to cement her status as a force in stand up comedy. In 2013, she debuted her hour-long, critically-acclaimed HBO stand up special Sarah Silverman: We Are Miracles, which earned her the 2014 Primetime Emmy Award for "Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special." The special received an additional Primetime Emmy Awards nomination that year for "Outstanding Variety Special" in addition to a Writers Guild Awards nomination. In September 2014, Silverman released the special as an audio album through Sub Pop Records, which went on to receive a 2015 Grammy Awards nomination for "Best Comedy Album." Previously, Silverman made an impressive splash with her concert-meets-comedy film Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic, which garnered major attention at the Toronto Film Festival.
In 2010, she released her first book, a memoir called The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee. The book went on to become a New York Times Bestseller.
Silverman was nominated for a 2009 Primetime Emmy Award for "Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series" for her portrayal of a fictionalized version of herself in her Comedy Central series The Sarah Silverman Program. This marked Comedy Central's first ever Emmy nomination in a scripted acting category. Silverman also received a Writers Guild Award nomination for her work on the show. In 2008, Silverman won a Primetime Emmy Award for "Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics" for her musical collaboration with Matt Damon. Additionally, she was honored with a Webby Award for "Best Actress" for her online video "The Great Schlep," in which she persuaded young kids to encourage their grandparents in Florida to vote for President Obama prior to the 2008 Presidential Election.
Silverman has made memorable guest appearances on a number of acclaimed and notable television shows, including Monk, which earned her a 2008 Primetime Emmy Awards nomination for "Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series." Her additional television work includes The Good Wife, The Larry Sanders Show, Seinfeld, and Mr. Show with Bob and David. Silverman has also hosted a number of major awards shows, including the 2007 MTV Movie Awards and the Independent Spirit Awards.
Silverman grew up in New Hampshire and attended one year of New York University. In 1993 she joined Saturday Night Live as a writer and feature performer and has not stopped working since.
Ethan Suplee has established himself over the past decade as an actor of considerable talent and accomplishment. His diverse and eclectic resume ranges from hilarious roles in such comedies as Mallrats and Without a Paddle to hauntingly dramatic performances in intense features such as American History X, Blow and Cold Mountain. His breakthrough performance as a young football player in Disney's Remember the Titans with Denzel Washington garnered him critical acclaim and led to another role opposite Washington in director Nick Cassavetes' thriller, John Q.
Born in New York and raised in Los Angeles, Suplee is the son of actors Debbie and Bill Suplee. He landed his first role at the age of 16 on the popular television series Boy Meets World. He had a recurring role as the reluctant bully "Frankie" for three seasons. Most recently for television, he made a powerful guest-starring appearance on NBC's Third Watch as a disturbed young man who filmed a video journal about his obsession with a girl.
He made his feature film debut in 1995 (alongside My Name Is Earl co-star Jason Lee) in writer/director Kevin Smith's Mallrats. where he played the memorable 'Willam Black,' a young man determined to crack the mystery behind the mall's magic eye poster. Smith went on to cast Suplee in Chasing Amy and as the voice of 'Norman the Golgothan' in _Dogma (1998)_. More recent comedy credits include "Without A Paddle" with Seth Green and Matthew Lillard, director Todd Phillips Road Trip and Evolution for director Ivan Reitman.
Suplee showcased his impressive acting chops with a powerful and compelling performance in 1998 in director Tony Kaye's "American History X." He played a carelessly violent racist skinhead who tries to convince his friend (Edward Norton) to "come back to his roots" in their gang of white supremacists.
His role of high school football lineman "Louie" in Disney's "Remember the Titans" exposed Suplee to a larger audience, and he was singled out by many critics as a fresh and welcome screen presence, with the Hollywood Reporter calling his performance "scene-stealing."
More recently, Suplee played a pivotal role of a young soldier in Miramax and Anthony Minghella's period piece "Cold Mountain," with Jude Law and Nicole Kidman. He also co-starred with Ashton Kutcher in New Line's The Butterfly Effect.
Suplee co-stars opposite Jason Lee in NBC and Twentieth Century-Fox TV's half-hour comedy, "My Name is Earl." He plays "Randy", the brother of Lee's "Earl" who, following an epiphany, embarks on a mission to right all the wrongs he has inflicted on people.
For the big screen, Suplee will next be seen starring in Art School Confidential for director Terry Zwigoff (Ghost World), and he recently completed work for director Darren Aronofsky on Warner Bros.' The Fountain with Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz.
In his spare time, Suplee enjoys reading, cooking and playing chess. He has also recently starting taking Muay Thai kick-boxing classes three times a week. Muay Thai is a form of martial arts boxing using full contact sparring, kicks, punches, kick blocks and shadow boxing learned under professional instruction.
Kyle Gallner was born in West Chester, Pennsylvania. He started his career by following his sister along to one of her auditions.
Perhaps best know for his role as Cassidy "Beaver" Casablancas on the CW's lone hit series, "Veronica Mars" (2004- ), actor Kyle Gallner had been appearing in films and on television since his early adolescence. Born on Oct. 22, 1986 and originally from Philadelphia, PA, Gallner made his first screen appearance on an episode of "Third Watch" (NBC, 1999-2005). After making his feature debut with a small role in the bizarre Michael Showalter comedy, "Wet Hot American Summer" (2001), he returned to television with episodes of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (NBC, 1999- ) and "Touched By an Angel" (CBS, 1994-2003). He next appeared in the series finale of "The District" (CBS, 2000-04) before playing his first recognizable role - that of Bart Allen (a.k.a. "The Flash") on "Smallville" (CW, 2001- ) during the 2004-05 season.
In 2005, Gallner joined the cast of "Veronica Mars" for the last three episodes of the first season, giving him the opportunity to carry over his role of Beaver into the next season. During his run on "Veronica Mars," Gallner continued making guest spots, appearing in episodes of "Jack & Bobby" (WB, 2004-05), "Cold Case" (CBS, 2003- ), "CSI: New York" (CBS, 2004- ) and "Bones" (FOX, 2005- ). Gallner began a recurring role as a devout Mormon in the controversial HBO series, "Big Love" (2006- ). Meanwhile, Gallner revived his "Smallville" role in early 2007, returning as Impulse rather than The Flash - due to a feature film with the same character being developed by Warner Bros. Made acting debut in an episode of NBC s Third Watch. Made his film debut in the comedy cult film Wet Hot American Summer. Had a recurring role as superhero Bart Allen in Smallville (The WB, 2001-2006; The CW, 2006-2009).
Appeared in two episodes of The WB s Jack & Bobby.
Joined the cast of UPN s Veronica Mars as Cassidy Casablancas; became a regular during the show s second season.
Had a recurring role as Reed Garrett, the son of Detective Taylor s (Gary Sinise) late wife on CSI: NY (CBS)
Played Jason Embry, best friend of Ben Henrickson, on the critically-acclaimed HBO drama Big Love.
Featured in the independent film Sublime.
Appeared in three episodes of The Shield (FX).
Had a supporting role in the Diablo Cody penned dark comedy Jennifer's Body.
Played the lead role in the horror film The Haunting in Connecticut.
Cast as the lead male, Quentin, in the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street.
Gallner has in his filmography acclaimed Independents films as Gardens of the Night (2008), Beautiful Boy (2010), Red State (2011), Little Birds (2011), Magic Valley (2011) and Smashed (2011).
In 2013, Gallner appeared in the film Beautiful Creatures, directed by Richard LaGravenese.
Bill Nighy is an award-winning British character actor. He was born on December 12, 1949 in Caterham, Surrey, England, to Catherine Josephine (Whittaker), a psychiatric nurse from Glasgow, and Alfred Martin Nighy, who was English-born and managed a garage in Croydon.
At school, he gained 'O'-levels in English Language and English Literature and enjoyed reading, particularly Ernest Hemingway. On leaving school he wanted to become a journalist but didn't have the required qualifications. He eventually went on to work as a messenger boy for the Field magazine. He stayed in Paris for a while because he wanted to write "the great novel", but he only managed to write the title. When he ran out of money, the British consul shipped him home.
Nighy wound up training at Guildford School of Dance and Drama in London, and has since then worked consistently in film, television, and on stage.
Nighy is perhaps best-known to international audiences for his memorable performance as washed-up pop singer Billy Mack in Love Actually, which won him a BAFTA for best supporting actor. He has also made appearances in major franchises: he played vampire leader Viktor in Underworld, Underworld: Evolution and Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, did the performance capture and voice for Davy Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, and made a brief appearance as Minister of Magic Rufus Scrimgeour in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.
Nighy's recent film credits include roles in I Capture the Castle, Shaun of the Dead, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Constant Gardener, Notes on a Scandal, Hot Fuzz, Valkyrie and Pirate Radio. He has also provided voice work for many animated movies in the past few years including Flushed Away, Astro Boy, Rango and Arthur Christmas.
With supporting turns in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Wrath of the Titans and Total Recall, 2012 was a busy year for Nighy. There are no signs of slowing down either, as he will next been seen in I, Frankenstein, Jack the Giant Slayer and About Time.
Nighy has also had an active career on the small screen, beginning with Agony, and his first widely-recognized role was in 1991 mini-series The Men's Room. He has also made a habit of working on television with Harry Potter director David Yates: projects together include State of Play, The Young Visiters, The Girl in the Café and Page Eight. Nighy won a Golden Globe for his performance in Gideon's Daughter.
Nighy actually began his career on the stage, and has earned acclaim for his work in numerous plays including "The Vertical Hour," "Pravda" "A Map of the World", Tom Stoppard's Arcadia in 1993, and David Hare's Skylight. He received an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actor for his performance in 2001 play "Blue/Orange."
Bill's partner was actress Diana Quick (he asked her to marry him but she said: "don't ask me again"; he called her his wife because anything else would have been too difficult). They have a daughter, Mary Nighy, who is studying at university and contemplating an acting career. She has already begun to appear on TV dramas and radio programs.
One of the brightest, most tragic movie stars of Hollywood's Golden Era, Judy Garland was a much-loved character whose warmth and spirit, along with her rich and exuberant voice, kept theatre-goers entertained with an array of delightful musicals.
She was born Frances Ethel Gumm on 10 June 1922 in Minnesota, the youngest daughter of vaudevillians Ethel Marion (Milne) and Francis Avent Gumm. She was of English, along with some Scottish and Irish, descent. Her mother, an ambitious woman gifted in playing various musical instruments, saw the potential in her daughter at the tender age of just 2 years old when Baby Frances repeatedly sang "Jingle Bells" until she was dragged from the stage kicking and screaming during one of their Christmas shows and immediately drafted her into a dance act, entitled "The Gumm Sisters", along with her older sisters Mary Jane Gumm and Virginia Gumm. However, knowing that her youngest daughter would eventually become the biggest star, Ethel soon took Frances out of the act and together they traveled across America where she would perform in nightclubs, cabarets, hotels and theaters solo.
Her family life was not a happy one, largely because of her mother's drive for her to succeed as a performer and also her father's closeted homosexuality. The Gumm family would regularly be forced to leave town owing to her father's illicit affairs with other men, and from time to time they would be reduced to living out of their automobile. However, in September 1935 the Gumms', in particular Ethel's, prayers were answered when Frances was signed by Louis B. Mayer, mogul of leading film studio MGM, after hearing her sing. It was then that her name was changed from Frances Gumm to Judy Garland, after a popular '30s song "Judy" and film critic Robert Garland.
Tragedy soon followed, however, in the form of her father's death of meningitis in November 1935. Having been given no assignments with the exception of singing on radio, Judy faced the threat of losing her job following the arrival of Deanna Durbin. Knowing that they couldn't keep both of the teenage singers, MGM devised a short entitled Every Sunday which would be the girls' screen test. However, despite being the outright winner and being kept on by MGM, Judy's career did not officially kick off until she sang one of her most famous songs, "You Made Me Love You", at Clark Gable's birthday party in February 1937, during which Louis B. Mayer finally paid attention to the talented songstress.
Prior to this her film debut in Pigskin Parade, in which she played a teenage hillbilly, had left her career hanging in the balance. However, following her rendition of "You Made Me Love You", MGM set to work preparing various musicals with which to keep Judy busy. All this had its toll on the young teenager, and she was given numerous pills by the studio doctors in order to combat her tiredness on set. Another problem was her weight fluctuation, but she was soon given amphetamines in order to give her the desired streamlined figure. This soon produced the downward spiral that resulted in her lifelong drug addiction.
In 1939, Judy shot immediately to stardom with The Wizard of Oz, in which she portrayed Dorothy, an orphaned girl living on a farm in the dry plains of Kansas who gets whisked off into the magical world of Oz on the other end of the rainbow. Her poignant performance and sweet delivery of her signature song, 'Over The Rainbow', earned Judy a special juvenile Oscar statuette on 29 February 1940 for Best Performance by a Juvenile Actor. Now growing up, Judy began to yearn for meatier adult roles instead of the virginal characters she had been playing since she was 14. She was now taking an interest in men, and after starring in her final juvenile performance in Ziegfeld Girl alongside glamorous beauties Lana Turner and Hedy Lamarr, Judy got engaged to bandleader David Rose in May 1941, just two months after his divorce from Martha Raye. Despite planning a big wedding, the couple eloped to Las Vegas and married during the early hours of the morning on 28 July 1941 with just her mother Ethel and her stepfather Will Gilmore present. However, their marriage went downhill as, after discovering that she was pregnant in November 1942, David and MGM persuaded her to abort the baby in order to keep her good-girl image up. She did so and, as a result, was haunted for the rest of her life by her 'inhumane actions'. The couple separated in January 1943.
By this time, Judy had starred in her first adult role as a vaudevillian during WWI in For Me and My Gal. Within weeks of separation, Judy was soon having an affair with actor Tyrone Power, who was married to French actress Annabella. Their affair ended in May 1943, which was when her affair with producer Joseph L. Mankiewicz kicked off. He introduced her to psychoanalysis and she soon began to make decisions about her career on her own instead of being influenced by her domineering mother and MGM. Their affair ended in November 1943, and soon afterward Judy reluctantly began filming Meet Me in St. Louis, which proved to be a big success. The director Vincente Minnelli highlighted Judy's beauty for the first time on screen, having made the period musical in color, her first color film since The Wizard of Oz. He showed off her large brandy-brown eyes and her full, thick lips and after filming ended in April 1944, a love affair resulted between director and actress and they were soon living together.
Vincente began to mold Judy and her career, making her more beautiful and more popular with audiences worldwide. He directed her in The Clock, and it was during the filming of this movie that the couple announced their engagement on set on 9 January 1945. Judy's divorce from David Rose had been finalized on 8 June 1944 after almost three years of marriage, and despite her brief fling with Orson Welles, who at the time was married to screen sex goddess Rita Hayworth, on 15 June 1945 Judy made Vincente her second husband, tying the knot with him that afternoon at her mother's home with her boss Louis B. Mayer giving her away and her best friend Betty Asher serving as bridesmaid. They spent three months on honeymoon in New York and afterwards Judy discovered that she was pregnant.
On 12 March 1946 in Los Angeles, California, Judy gave birth to their daughter, Liza Minnelli, via caesarean section. It was a joyous time for the couple, but Judy was out of commission for weeks due to the caesarean and her postnatal depression, so she spent much of her time recuperating in bed. She soon returned to work, but married life was never the same for Vincente and Judy after they filmed The Pirate together in 1947. Judy's mental health was fast deteriorating and she began hallucinating things and making false accusations toward people, especially her husband, making the filming a nightmare. She also began an affair with aspiring Russian actor Yul Brynner, but after the affair ended, Judy soon regained health and tried to salvage her failing marriage. She then teamed up with dancing legend Fred Astaire for the delightful musical Easter Parade, which resulted in a successful comeback despite having Vincente fired from directing the musical. Afterwards, Judy's health deteriorated and she began the first of several suicide attempts. In May 1949, she was checked into a rehabilitation center, which caused her much distress.
She soon regained strength and was visited frequently by her lover Frank Sinatra, but never saw much of Vincente or Liza. On returning, Judy made In the Good Old Summertime, which was also Liza's film debut, albeit via an uncredited cameo. She had already been suspended by MGM for her lack of cooperation on the set of The Barkleys of Broadway, which also resulted in her getting replaced by Ginger Rogers. After being replaced by Betty Hutton on Annie Get Your Gun, Judy was suspended yet again before making her final film for MGM, entitled Summer Stock. At 28, Judy received her third suspension and was fired by MGM, and her second marriage was soon dissolved.
Having taken up with Sidney Luft, Judy traveled to London to star at the legendary Palladium. She was an instant success and after her divorce to Vincente Minnelli was finalized on 29 March 1951 after almost six years of marriage, Judy traveled with Sid to New York to make an appearance on Broadway. With her newfound fame on stage, Judy was stopped in her tracks in February 1952 when she became pregnant by her new lover, Sid. At the age of 30, she made him her third husband on 8 June 1952; the wedding was held at a friend's ranch in Pasadena. Her relationship with her mother had long since been dissolved by this point, and after the birth of her second daughter, Lorna Luft, on 21 November 1952, she refused to allow her mother to see her granddaughter. Ethel then died in January 1953 of a heart attack, leaving Judy devastated and feeling guilty about not reconciling with her mother before her untimely demise.
After the funeral, Judy signed a film contract with Warner Bros. to star in the musical remake of A Star Is Born, which had starred Janet Gaynor, who had won the first-ever Academy Award for Best Actress in 1929. Filming soon began, resulting in an affair between Judy and her leading man, British star James Mason. She also picked up on her affair with Frank Sinatra, and after filming was complete Judy was yet again lauded as a great film star. She won a Golden Globe for her brilliant and truly outstanding performance as Esther Blodgett, nightclub singer turned movie star, but when it came to the Academy Awards, a distraught Judy lost out on the Best Actress Oscar to Grace Kelly for her portrayal of the wife of an alcoholic star in The Country Girl. Many still argue that Judy should have won the Oscar over Grace Kelly. Continuing her work on stage, Judy gave birth to her beloved son, Joey Luft, on 29 March 1955. She soon began to lose her millions of dollars as a result of her husband's strong gambling addiction, and with hundreds of debts to pay, Judy and Sid began a volatile, on-off relationship resulting in numerous divorce filings.
In 1961, at the age of 39, Judy returned to her ailing film career, this time to star in Judgment at Nuremberg, for which she received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress, but this time she lost out to Rita Moreno for her performance in West Side Story. Her battles with alcoholism and drugs led to Judy's making numerous headlines in newspapers, but she soldiered on, forming a close friendship with President John F. Kennedy. In 1963, Judy and Sid finally separated permanently, and on 19 May 1965 their divorce was finalized after almost 13 years of marriage. By this time, Judy, now 41, had made her final performance on film alongside Dirk Bogarde in I Could Go on Singing. She married her fourth husband, Mark Herron, on 14 November 1965 in Las Vegas, but they separated in April 1966 after five months of marriage owing to his homosexuality. It was also that year that she began an affair with young journalist Tom Green. She then settled down in London after their affair ended, and she began dating disk jockey Mickey Deans in December 1968. They became engaged once her divorce from Mark Herron was finalized on 9 January 1969 after three years of marriage. She married Mickey, her fifth and final husband, in a register office in Chelsea, London, on 15 March 1969.
She continued working on stage, appearing several times with her daughter Liza. It was during a concert in Chelsea, London, that Judy stumbled into her bathroom late one night and died of an overdose of barbiturates, the drug that had dominated her much of her life, on the 22nd of June 1969 at the age of 47. Her daughter Liza Minnelli paid for her funeral, and her former lover James Mason delivered her touching eulogy. She is still an icon to this day with her famous performances in The Wizard of Oz, Meet Me in St. Louis, Easter Parade, and A Star Is Born.
Martial artist and Hong Kong action star Donnie Yen was born to newspaper editor Klyster Yen and martial arts master Bow Sim Mark. At the age of four Yen started taking up martial arts from his mother, who taught him wushu and tai chi until the age of eleven when his family emigrated to Boston, MA. From there he continued mastering wushi and tai chi. But after developing a huge interest in martial arts he eventually began getting into various others martial art styles, such as taekwondo, kick-boxing, boxing, karate etc. When Yen was sixteen his parents sent him to Beijing Wushu Academy so he could train Chinese martial arts under Master Wu Bin, well known as the coach of Jet Li. He underwent intensive training for three years.
After three years Yen was about to leave back to the US but made a side trip to Hong Kong. There he was accidentally introduced to famous Hong Kong action film-maker Woo-Ping Yuen, who was responsible for bringing Jackie Chan to super stardom and was looking for someone new to star in his films. Yen was offered a screen test - which he passed - and thereafter a 4-picture deal. Yen started out with stunt doubling duty on the magical martial arts film The Miracle Fighters. From there he starred in his first film, Drunken Tai Chi at the age of 19. He continued his early film career working independently with Woo-Ping Yuen and also applied for acting lessons as well as roles in TV series at TVB to gain more acting experience. He started getting a bit of attention in the late 1980s and mid 1990s, after he was offered a contract by D&B Films Co's Dickson Poon. Poon gave Yen major roles in the action films Tiger Cage, In the Line of Duty 4 and Tiger Cage 2, which became cult classics after their initial releases. These films eventually spread outside the Hong Kong film circuit and gave Yen a good reputation as a formidable onscreen action performer. But after a while, the company did not do well and in the end went bankrupt. This left Yen with no choice but to go back to TVB as well as venture into low-budget film-making making films, such as Crystal Hunt and Revenge of the Cheetah.
But the misfortune didn't last long. Famous director Hark Tsui had just made a successful attempt to revive the kung fu genre with Once Upon a Time in China which starred Jet Li. For the sequel Once Upon a Time in China II Hark was looking for someone to play the new nemesis. Through Yen's early films and his rep as one of the most effective pound-for-pound on-screen fighters in Hong Kong, Hark became fascinated and decided to approach, discuss, and eventually cast him in the role of General Lan. The film became a turning point in Yen's career and his two fight scenes with Jet Li revolutionized the standards of Hong Kong martial arts choreography at the time, and are still regarded as among the best fight scenes ever created in Hong Kong film history. Another acclaim by critics and movie goers was Yen's acting performance. It was so outstanding that he was nominated for "Best Supporting Actor" at the 1992 Hong Kong Film Awards.
After the excellent showcase, Yen starred in other successful and classic films, such as Dragon Inn for director Raymond Lee and Butterfly and Sword by Michael Mak. But he still continued to work with Woo-Ping Yuen on films including Heroes Among Heroes, Iron Monkey and Wing Chun. But after creative differences between them became apparent, both of them decided it was best to work on their own so they ended up going separate ways and haven't collaborated with each other ever since.
During this period Yen got into TV and worked on a couple of series for ATV as actor and action director. The first was The Kung Fu Master which depicted the life of martial arts legend Hung Hei-Kwan. The TV series was a big success and Yen continued the success by action directing and starring in the second successful series; Fist of Fury. It retold the story of Chen Zhen, the character made famous by Bruce Lee in the original 1972 film classic with the same title. Aside the TV work, he was offered roles by prolific director/producer Jing Wong in films such as The Saint of Gamblers and got other offers which includes Circus Kids where he co-starred with action star Biao Yuen, and Asian Cop: High Voltage which was shot in the Philippines.
In 1996 - after fulfilling his contract deal with Wong Jing and returning deposit money to refuse making more films for him - Yen signed with the independent film company My Way Film Co. This became another turning point in his career in that he started learning directing and experimenting with film cameras. In 1997, he finally made his directorial debut with Legend of the Wolf and had created a different style of martial arts choreography. The film made a huge impact within fan communities around the world for its' daring, braving, and fresh attempt of accomplishing something new for the then dying martial arts action genre in Hong Kong. There was and still is a mixture of people both admiring and looking down on this particular style. Yen continued to work as lead actor/director/action director on films such as Ballistic Kiss, Shanghai Affairs. In 1999, he decided to try something different and ended up flying to Germany to work on the local TV film Der Puma - Kämpfer mit Herz and its' TV series counterpart.
In 2000, things took a turn for Yen once again when US-based film company Dimension Films called and offered him a major role in Highlander: Endgame as the immortal Jin Ke, making it his US debut. But sadly the film didn't perform well at the box-office and many fans consider it to be a part of its' own franchise. Nevertheless, Yen's fan-base consider his action scenes to be highlights of the film; especially his duel with Adrian Paul. To Dimension Films' credit though, offers followed shortly afterward. Yen was invited to work behind the camera on The Princess Blade for Japanese director Shinsuke Sato and Blade II by Guillermo del Toro, the latter of which he also appeared in as the mute vampire Snowman.
In 2002 and 2003 respectively, Yen's career further progressed after he took on two memorable roles. Firstly, highly acclaimed Chinese director Yimou Zhang offered Yen the part of assassin Sky in Hero starring Jet Li and resulted in one of the most anticipated Chinese films of 2002 which eventually became a mega hit around Asia. Secondly, director David Dobkin casted him alongside Jackie Chan as the traitorous Wu Chow in Shanghai Knights, the sequel to Shanghai Noon. This film marked the first time Yen worked with Chan in his career. Both of these collaborations gave Yen more recognition in the US and in Hong Kong, which in turn gave him more opportunities as an actor and action director.
In the same year Yen decided to put hold of pursuing a career in Hollywood and flew back to Hong Kong to find quality work. Through his good friend and Hong Kong cinema expert Bey Logan he signed up as action director for Vampire Effect, produced by Emperor Multimedia Group Co. (EMG) and starring the pop stars Gillian Chung and Charlene Choi with in a cameo appearance by Jackie Chan. The film earned him a nomination for "Best Action Design" at the 2003 Hong Kong Film Awards as well as the 2003 Golden Horse Awards, both of which he won prices for. He continued to work on few films after that, including Black Rose Academy as director and action director, and The Twins Effect II as actor where he once again worked with Jackie Chan on an anticipated fight scene which was satisfying enough for fans to see.
Later on in 2004 Yen's career took a totally different turn when Hark Tsui offered him a leading role in Seven Swords which was an adaptation of a lengthy novel written by Liang Yu-Sheng about seven warriors and their mystical swords. Despite the disappointing box-office reception when it was released locally, the film was nonetheless a great showcase for Yen as an actor and action performer unlike anything he did previously in his career. Around the same time, Yen also teamed up with acclaimed Hong Kong director Wilson Yip and together they made the highly anticipated crime drama SPL: Kill Zone. The film was remarkable in that it successfully combined strong acting and unique storytelling/visuals with groundbreaking martial arts action. This concept went on to become favored by action film fans and Hong Kong Cinema fans in general after its' release. Yen's way of shooting martial arts action - which was nothing like people had already seen - earned him a nomination and a price at the 2005 Hong Kong Film Awards for "Best Action Design". The movie also led to a trend of similar Hong Kong action films where storytelling/visuals along with hard-hitting action scenes were to be highlighted as much as possible.
After the success, Yen and Yip teamed up immediately for more projects which includes the comic book adaptation Dragon Tiger Gate and the hard-hitting action drama Flash Point, both of which were very successful at the box-office and within fan communities globally. These accomplishments made people regard Yen as the new pinnacle of Hong Kong martial arts/action films. Yen both earned the "Best Action Design" nomination at the 2006 Hong Kong Film Awards as well as the "Best Action Direction" nomination at 2006 Golden Bauhinia Awards for Dragon Tiger Gate. He won a price for the latter while he was awarded for his action design on Flash Point at both the 2007 Golden Bauhinia Awards and the 2007 Hong Kong Film Awards.
From there on Yen continued to work as a lead actor and also developed an interest in improving his acting skills. He got a leading role in the battle epic An Empress and the Warriors, directed by acclaimed Hong Kong action director Siu-Tung Ching, which was a big success in Mainland China. He continued work starring in the supernatural romance film Painted Skin by Gordon Chan. Then he starred in the martial arts biopic Ip Man helmed by Wilson Yip. This film was based on the life of one of Bruce Lee's wing chun teachers, Yip Man. The film became a sensational mega success all over Asia and people within the Hong Kong film industry started taking note after Wilson Yip's matured style of film-making, Sammo Hung's fresh martial arts choreography which many action film fans consider to be a redefinition of Hung's career as action director. But most impressive about the film for the audiences and critics was Yen's acting performance. During production, people had been very skeptical about Yen being the choice for the Yip Man role. But when the film was released, all pressure from the cast and crew were gone and people eventually went on to praise Yen for his portrayal of Yip Man. The success of the film also led to other successful directors and producers approaching Yen and giving him offers to work in front of the camera.
Through his progression in the Hong Kong film industry from the start - when he was just like other action performers in Hong Kong trying to make a name for themselves - to nowadays as arguably among the most offering leading Hong Kong actors and the most promising action director, as long as Donnie Yen is still active in film-making (whether working in front of or behind the camera), he will almost certainly break new grounds and create more innovative concepts of action choreography for the martial arts action genre.
Multi-talented Kathleen Doyle Bates was born on June 28, 1948, and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. She is the youngest of three girls born to Bertye Kathleen (Talbot), a homemaker, and Langdon Doyle Bates, a mechanical engineer. Her grandfather was author Finis L. Bates. Kathy has English, as well as Irish, Scottish, and German, ancestry, and one of her ancestors, an Irish emigrant to New Orleans, once served as President Andrew Jackson's doctor.
Kathy discovered acting appearing in high school plays and studied drama at Southern Methodist University, graduating in 1969. With her mind firmly set, she moved to New York City in 1970 and paid her dues by working everything from a cash register to taking lunch orders. Things started moving quickly up the ladder after giving a tour-de-force performance alongside Christopher Walken at Buffalo's Studio Arena Theatre in Lanford Wilson's world premiere of "Lemon Sky" in 1970, but she also had a foreshadowing of the heartbreak to come after the successful show relocated to New York's off-Broadway Playhouse Theatre without her and Walken wound up winning a Drama Desk award.
By the mid-to-late 1970s, Kathy was treading the boards frequently as a rising young actress of the New York and regional theater scene. She appeared in "Casserole" and "A Quality of Mercy" (both 1975) before earning exceptional reviews for her role of Joanne in "Vanities". She took her first Broadway curtain call in 1980's "Goodbye Fidel," which lasted only six performances. She then went directly into replacement mode when she joined the cast of the already-established and highly successful "Fifth of July" in 1981.
Kathy made a false start in films with Taking Off, in which she was billed as "Bobo Bates". She didn't film again until Straight Time, starring Dustin Hoffman, and that part was not substantial enough to cause a stir. Things turned hopeful, however, when Kathy and the rest of the female ensemble were given the chance to play their respective Broadway parts in the film version of Robert Altman's Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean. It was a juicy role for Kathy and film audiences finally started noticing the now 34-year-old.
Still and all, it was the New York stage that continued to earn Kathy awards and acclaim. She was pure textbook to any actor studying how to disappear into a role. Her characters ranged from free and life-affirming to downright pitiable. Despite winning a Tony Award nomination and Outer Critic's Circle Award for her stark, touchingly sad portrait of a suicidal daughter in 1983's "'night, Mother" and the Obie and Los Angeles Drama Critics Award for her powerhouse job as a romantic misfit in "Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune," Kathy had no box-office pull and was hardly a strong consideration when the roles finally went to film.
Kathy Bates was forever losing out when her award-winning stage characters transferred to the screen. First Sissy Spacek took on her potent role as the suicidal Jessie Cates in 'night, Mother, then Michelle Pfeiffer seized the moment to play her dumpy lover character in Frankie and Johnny. It would take Oscar glory to finally rectify the injustice.
It was her fanatical turn as the drab, chunky, porcine-looking psychopath Annie Wilkes, who kidnaps her favorite author (James Caan) and subjects him to a series of horrific tortures, that finally turned the tide for her in Hollywood. With the 1990 shocker Misery, based on the popular Stephen King novel, Bates and Caan were pure box office magic. Moreover, Kathy captured the "Best Actress" Oscar and Golden Globe award, a first in that genre (horror) for that category. To add to her happiness she married Tony Campisi, also an actor, in 1991.
Quality film scripts now started coming her way and the 1990s proved to be a rich and rewarding time for her. First, she and another older "overnight" film star, fellow Oscar winner Jessica Tandy, starred together in the modern portion of the beautifully nuanced, flashback period piece Fried Green Tomatoes. She then outdid herself as the detached and depressed housekeeper accused of murdering her abusive husband (David Strathairn) in Dolores Claiborne. Surprisingly, she was left out of the Oscar race for these two excellent performances. Not so, however, for her flashy political advisor Libby Holden in the movie Primary Colors and her quirky, liberal mom in About Schmidt, receiving "Best Supporting Actress" nominations for both. She also turned in a somewhat brief but potent turn as Gertrude Stein in Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris.
Kathy has continued to work prolifically on TV as a multiple Emmy winner and nominee. She has also taken to directing a couple of TV-movies on the sly. She was nominated for a DGA award after helming an episode of "Six Feet Under," in which she also had a recurring role. While some of her more recent movie parts have been unworthy of her talents, she has more than made up for it on TV playing everything from cruel-minded caricatures (Little Orphan Annie's Miss Hannigan) to common, decent every day folk in mini-movies. More recently she has done some eye-catching, offbeat turns on regular series such as The Office, Harry's Law and especially American Horror Story for which she won an Emmy as Ethel Darling.
Divorced from her husband since 1997, Kathy has been the Executive Committee Chair of the Actors Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Board of Governors.
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.
His father was a well-to-do inventor, his mother a beautiful concert pianist; Orson Welles was gifted in many arts (magic, piano, painting) as a child. When his mother died (he was seven) he traveled the world with his father. When his father died (he was fifteen) he became the ward of Chicago's Dr. Maurice Bernstein. In 1931, he graduated from the Todd School in Woodstock, Illinois; he turned down college offers for a sketching tour of Ireland. He tried unsuccessfully to enter the London and Broadway stages, traveling some more in Morocco and Spain (where he fought in the bullring). Recommendations by Thornton Wilder and Alexander Woollcott got him into Katherine Cornell's road company, with which he made his New York debut as Tybalt in 1934. The same year, he married, directed his first short, and appeared on radio for the first time. He began working with John Houseman and formed the Mercury Theatre with him in 1937. In 1938, they produced "The Mercury Theatre on the Air", famous for its broadcast version of "The War of the Worlds" (intended as a Halloween prank). His first film to be seen by the public was Citizen Kane, a commercial failure losing RKO $150,000, but regarded by many as the best film ever made. Many of his next films were commercial failures and he exiled himself to Europe in 1948. In 1956, he directed Touch of Evil; it failed in the United States but won a prize at the 1958 Brussels World's Fair. In 1975, in spite of all his box-office failures, he received the American Film Institute's Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 1984, the Directors Guild of America awarded him its highest honor, the D.W. Griffith Award. His reputation as a filmmaker has climbed steadily ever since.
Danny Huston is an American actor and director who has worked with Academy award-nominated actors from the very start of his career. No surprise for a man who was born into a legendary Hollywood family whose most noted members included his half-sister, his father, his grandfather, his nephew, and of course, himself.
Born in Rome, Huston's parents were Zoe Sallis and John Huston. Sallis was an established author in her own right. John Huston was, by that point, famous for his many high caliber films, and notorious for his personal life, which included five marriages, two children, another adopted child, and many affairs, one of which resulted in Danny's conception.
Like his half-sister, Anjelica Huston, Danny Huston chose to follow his father into the world of film. His birthright served as a blessing, so that his first film appearance as an actor was in The 'Human' Factor, a revenge film directed by and starring men who already had Oscar nominations under their belts. Following that small appearance, Huston turned to directing for the next few years. It wasn't until the late 1980s that Huston directed his first made-for-television film, Mister Corbett's Ghost. Based on a novella by Leon Garfied, the film starred such screen legends as Paul Scofield and Burgess Meredith. It is also notable for being the final acting project of Huston's father John, who spent his final years assisting his children in their own budding film careers. Shortly before his death, John helped produce his son's first feature length film, Mr. North. The film was directed by Huston, and included his half-sister Anjelica in the cast, as well as Virginia Madsen, whom Huston would marry for a few years.
Huston followed this up with the sexual drama Becoming Colette, starring Klaus Maria Brandauer, and the horror film The Maddening, starring Burt Reynolds. Neither film made a huge impact, and it was around this time, twenty years after his last acting role, that Huston returned to appearing in front of the camera. Starting modestly as a barman in the highly acclaimed Leaving Las Vegas, Huston followed up with a supporting role in Anna Karenina, alongside such would-be thespians as Sean Bean, Sophie Marceau, and Alfred Molina. The film was unfortunately a flop, as were Huston's next few film roles. In 2000, however, the tide finally turned, and Huston was able to break out as an established character actor.
Re-uniting with his Anna Karenina director, Bernard Rose, Huston starred in the small-budget film Ivansxtc, which was an adaptation of a book by Leo Tolstoy. While not a financial triumph, the film received very positive reactions from critics. The same fate awaited the film Hotel, which included Huston in a diverse cast which included Lucy Liu, Rhys Ifans, Salma Hayek, and John Malkovich. It was also around this time that Huston met and married his second wife, Katie Jane Evans, though this marriage would end in great tragedy several years later.
For now, though, Huston's career as an actor was just getting started. It was 21 Grams which secured Huston his first bona fide financial and critical success. Starring such names as Sean Penn and Benicio Del Toro, the film follows a non-linear storyline dealing with the lives of several people who are affected by an automobile accident. Huston followed up this success by appearing in John Sayle's Silver City, the controversial feature film Birth, and Martin Scorsese's wildly successful film about Howard Hughes known as The Aviator. Nominated for many awards, the film was also a success financially. But nothing Huston had done up to this point would equal to what he did next.
John Hillcoat's Australian western The Proposition is a very dark film set mostly in a small community in the Australian Outback during the 19th century. A criminal is dispatched by the local law enforcement to hunt down his older brother, Arthur Burns, and kill him. As played by Huston, Burns is a psychopath who cares nothing for the various rapes and murders that he has committed. He does, however, find some chasm of his heart to enjoy music, poetry, and the glorious beauty of the Australian sunsets. This layered performance as the film's villain arguably ranks as Huston's greatest performance to date. That same year, Huston played in the highly acclaimed film The Constant Gardener, which tackled corruption, love, and humanitarian efforts by the West in Africa.
Huston moved from Oscar-winning film to Oscar-winning film the following year with the films Marie Antoinette and Children of Men. In the former, Huston portrays the Holy Roman Emperor, Joseph II, as a cautious and thoughtful monarch who warns Marie Antoinette of her excessive lifestyle. He proves to be prophetic when the French mobs storm the Bastille and launch a revolution. In the latter film, set in a dystopian world of global human infertility, Huston portrays Nigel, a government official who uses his position to preserve famous artwork. Both films were highly successful, and further cemented Huston as a noted actor.
Huston proceeded to play Orson Welles in the thriller Fade to Black, and also acted in the financially successful war film The Kingdom and the poorly received The Number 23. From this point onward, Huston would appear in many films, portraying characters of various importance. Among the more noted examples would be the superhero film X-Men Origins: Wolverine, where Huston played the villainous role of William Stryker, the man who imprisons Wolverine and is responsible for his experimentation with adamantium. Huston also portrayed the Greek god Poseidon in Clash of the Titans, as well as its sequel two years later. Whether the crime film Edge of Darkness, the historical epic Robin Hood, the biographical Hitchcock, or the comedy 2 Jacks (which was another adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's work, again directed by Bernard Rose and also starred Huston's nephew Jack Huston ), Huston has constantly showed his range of accents, characters, and genres.
More recently, Huston has continued to appear in films, including the upcoming Tim Burton -directed biopic Big Eyes and "Frankenstein", which will once again reunite him with Bernard Rose. Huston has also moved into the world of television with such series as "Magic City" (which earned him a Golden Globe nomination), "American Horror Story", and "Masters of Sex". As busy and talented as he always has been through nearly four decades of work in the film industry, Danny Huston continues to work as one of Hollywood's veteran character actors.
If a film were made of the life of Vivien Leigh, it would open in India just before World War I, where a successful British businessman could live like a prince. In the mountains above Calcutta, a little princess is born. Because of the outbreak of World War I, she is six years old the first time her parents take her to England. Her mother thinks she should have a proper English upbringing and insists on leaving her in a convent school - even though Vivien is two years younger than any of the other girls at the school. The only comfort for the lonely child is a cat that was in the courtyard of the school that the nuns let her take up to her dormitory. Her first and best friend at the school is an eight-year-old girl, Maureen O'Sullivan who has been transplanted from Ireland. In the bleakness of a convent school, the two girls can recreate in their imaginations the places they have left and places where they would some day like to travel. After Vivien has been at the school for 18 months, her mother comes again from India and takes her to a play in London. In the next six months Vivien will insist on seeing the same play 16 times. In India the British community entertained themselves at amateur theatricals and Vivien's father was a leading man. Pupils at the English convent school are eager to perform in school plays. It's an all-girls school, so some of the girls have to play the male roles. The male roles are so much more adventurous. Vivien's favorite actor is Leslie Howard, and at 19 she marries an English barrister who looks very much like him. The year is 1932. Vivien's best friend from that convent school has gone to California, where she's making movies. Vivien has an opportunity to play a small role in an English film, Things Are Looking Up. She has only one line but the camera keeps returning to her face. The London stage is more exciting than the movies being filmed in England, and the most thrilling actor on that stage is Laurence Olivier. At a party Vivien finds out about a stage role, "The Green Sash", where the only requirement is that the leading lady be beautiful. The play has a very brief run, but now she is a real actress. An English film is going to be made about Elizabeth I. Laurence gets the role of a young favorite of the queen who is sent to Spain. Vivien gets a much smaller role as a lady-in-waiting of the queen who is in love with Laurence's character. In real life, both fall in love while making this film, Fire Over England. In 1938, Hollywood wants Laurence to play Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights. Vivien, who has just recently read Gone with the Wind, thinks that the role of Scarlett O'Hara is the first role for an actress that would be really exciting to bring to the screen. She sails to America for a brief vacation. In New York she gets on a plane for the first time to rush to California to see Laurence. They have dinner with Myron Selznick the night that his brother, David O. Selznick, is burning Atlanta on a backlot of MGM (actually they are burning old sets that go back to the early days of silent films to make room to recreate an Atlanta of the 1860s). Vivien is 26 when Gone with the Wind makes a sweep of the Oscars in 1939. So let's show 26-year-old Vivien walking up to the stage to accept her Oscar and then as the Oscar is presented the camera focuses on Vivien's face and through the magic of digitally altering images, the 26-year-old face merges into the face of Vivien at age 38 getting her second Best Actress Oscar for portraying Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire. She wouldn't have returned to America to make that film had not Laurence been going over there to do a film, Carrie based on Theodore Dreiser's novel "Sister Carrie". Laurence tells their friends that his motive for going to Hollywood to make films is to get enough money to produce his own plays for the London stage. He even has his own theater there, the St. James. Now Sir Laurence, with a seat in the British House of Lords, is accompanied by Vivien the day the Lords are debating about whether the St James should be torn down. Breaking protocol, Vivien speaks up and is escorted from the House of Lords. The publicity helps raise the funds to save the St. James. Throughout their two-decade marriage Laurence and Vivien were acting together on the stage in London and New York. Vivien was no longer Lady Olivier when she performed her last major film role, The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone.
Peter Henry Fonda was born in New York City, to legendary screen star Henry Fonda and New York socialite Frances Seymour Brokaw. He is the brother of actress Jane Fonda and the father of actress Bridget Fonda. His ancestry includes Dutch, English, Scottish, and distant French and Italian.
Fonda made his professional stage debut on Broadway in 1961 in Blood, Sweat and Stanley Poole, for which he received rave reviews from the New York Critics, and won the Daniel Blum Theater World Award and the New York Critics Circle Award for Best New Actor. He began his feature film career in 1963, playing the romantic lead in Tammy and the Doctor and joined the ensemble cast of the World War II saga The Victors. Shortly thereafter, Fonda began what would become a famous association with Roger Corman, starring in Wild Angels, as the ultra-cool, iron-fisted leader of a violent biker gang, opposite Nancy Sinatra, Bruce Dern, and Diane Ladd. Fonda also starred in Corman's 1967 psychedelic film The Trip, also starring Dern and Susan Strasberg.
Fonda's next project was the seminal 1969 anti-establishment film Easy Rider which he produced and co-scripted, receiving an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
Fonda's acting credits also include the feature films Outlaw Blues, an expose of the country music business; Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry; Race with the Devil; Robert Rossen's Lilith; Split Image; Robert Wise's Two People; and the cult films Love and a .45 and Nadja. He appeared in Grace of My Heart, directed by Alison Anders, and John Carpenter's Escape from L.A., starring Kurt Russell. He also made a cameo appearance in Bodies, Heat & Motion, which starred his daughter Bridget.
Fonda wowed audiences and won critical acclaim for his portrayal of Ulee Jackson, the taciturn beekeeper in the 1997 film Ulee's Gold, earning him both a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor and the New York Film Critics Award, as well as an Oscar nomination. Following this, he published his autobiography, Don't Tell Dad, and was then seen in the NBC movie The Tempest, for which he had been nominated for another Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Mini-Series. Fonda then appeared with Helen Mirren in the Showtime telefilm The Passion of Ayn Rand, where he won the Golden Globe for outstanding supporting actor in a mini-series or movie made for television and was nominated for both an Emmy and SAG Award.
Fonda co-starred in Steven Soderbergh's 1997 film The Limey, which also starred Terrence Stamp and Lesley Ann Warren. Following this he appeared in Thomas and the Magic Railroad for director Britt Allcroft, starring Alec Baldwin.
Fonda directed his first feature film, The Hired Hand, in 1971. A critically acclaimed western in which he also starred, the film debuted with a restored version at the 2001 Venice Film Festival; it then screened at the Toronto Film Festival before reopening in theaters in 2003. Other directing credits include the science fiction feature Idaho Transfer, starring Keith Carradine and Wanda Nevada in which he starred as a gambler who wins Brooke Shields in a poker game.
Fonda co-starred in HBO's The Laramie Project, based on the true story of openly gay college student Matthew Shepard, killed in an act of senseless violence and cruelty, which attracted national attention. Fonda starred in The Maldonado Miracle directed by Salma Hayek for Showtime Networks, and was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for his role. Fonda also starred opposite Kris Kristofferson in Wooly Boys, which was released in March 2004, and the television drama Back When We Were Grownups, opposite Blythe Danner and Faye Dunaway. Fonda was seen in Soderbergh's Ocean's Twelve and can be seen in Mark Steven Johnson's Ghost Rider, opposite Nicolas Cage.
Fonda's other projects include director Ron Maxwell's Civil War-era drama Copperhead, alongside actors Billy Campbell and Angus MacFadyen and The Ultimate Gift directed by Michael Landon Jr. Up next, Fonda can be seen in John McNaughton's The Harvest with Samantha Morton and Michael Shannon.
Byrne was the first of six children, born in Dublin, Ireland. His father was a cooper and his mother a hospital worker. He was raised Catholic and educated by the Irish Christian Brothers. He spent five years of his childhood in a seminary training to be a Catholic priest. He later said, "I spent five years in the seminary and I suppose it was assumed that you had a vocation. I have realized subsequently that I didn't have one at all. I don't believe in God. But I did believe at the time in this notion that you were being called." He attended University College Dublin, where he studied archeology and linguistics, and became proficient in Irish. He played football (soccer) in Dublin with the Stella Maris Football Club.
Byrne worked in archeology after he left UCD but maintained his love of his language, writing Draíocht (Magic), the first drama in Irish on Ireland's national Irish television station, TG4, in 1996.
He discovered his acting ability as a young adult. Before that he worked at several occupations which included being an archaeologist, a cook, a bullfighter, and a Spanish schoolteacher. He begin acting when he was 29. He began on stage at the Focus Theatre and the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, later he joined the Royal Court Theatre and the Royal National Theatre in London.
Byrne came to prominence on the final season of the Irish television show The Riordans, later starring in the spin-off series, Bracken. He made his film début in 1981 as Lord Uther Pendragon in John Boorman's King Arthur epic, Excalibur.
Byrne is featured as therapist Dr. Paul Weston in the critically acclaimed HBO series In Treatment (2008).
In his return to theater in 2008, he appeared as King Arthur in Lerner and Loewe's Camelot with the New York Philharmonic which was featured in a PBS broadcast in the Live From Lincoln Center series in May of 2008.
Byrne did not visit America until he was 37. In 1988, Byrne married actress Ellen Barkin with whom he has two children. The couple separated amicably in 1993 and divorced in 1999. Byrne resides in Brooklyn, New York.
In November 2004, Byrne was appointed a UNICEF Ireland Ambassador.
In 2007 Byrne was presented with the first of the newly created Volta awards at the 5th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival. This was for lifetime achievement in acting. He also received the Honorary Patronage of the University Philosophical Society, of Trinity College, Dublin on February 20, 2007. He was awarded an honorary degree in late 2007 by the National University of Ireland, Galway, in recognition of Byrne's "outstanding contribution to Irish and international film".
Will Estes returned to prime-time television with a starring role in the successful CBS drama Blue Bloods. Now entering it's 7th season, Will stars as NYPD police officer Jamie Reagan opposite Tom Selleck. Throughout his career Will Estes has amassed a diverse body of film and television work, challenging himself with each role. On the small screen, Estes received critical acclaim for his performance as JJ Pryor in American Dreams. His additional television credits include Law and Order: SVU, The Cleaner, In Plain Sight, The 11th Hour, and many others. Major motion picture credits include his role in the two-time Academy Award-winning WWII film U-571 and the final installment of Christopher Nolan's Batman franchise The Dark Knight Rises, portraying 'Officer Simon Jansen'. Highlights of Estes' independent film credits include the noir thriller Automotive, Line of Duty, See You In My Dreams with Marcia Gay Harden, and Magic Valley with Scott Glenn which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. His humanitarian efforts include advocating renewable energy, conservation of wild lands and humane treatment of animals.
Californian Charlyne Yi has many strings to her bow as an actress, comedian, writer, musician and artist. She was born in Los Angeles, to Lydia and Luciano Yi. After attending the University of California, Riverside, she left and began a career as a comedian. Her innovative routine includes jokes, music, magic and crowd participation.
She made her movie debut with a supporting turn in the hit Knocked Up. In 2009, she wrote, produced and starred in Paper Heart, alongside Michael Cera. In 2011, she landed the role of Dr. Chi Park in the popular series "House".
Yi also has a musical career. She performed in a band called 'The Glass Beef' with Paul Rust, and now performs as a solo artist and in the band 'Old Lumps'.
Sam Shepard was born Samuel Shepard Rogers in Fort Sheridan, Illinois, to Jane Elaine (Schook), a teacher, and Samuel Shepard Rogers, a teacher and farmer who was also in the army. As the eldest son of a US Army officer (and WWII bomber pilot), Shepard spent his early childhood moving from base to base around the US until finally settling in Duarte, California. While at high school he began acting and writing and worked as a ranch hand in Chino. He graduated high school in 1961 and then spent a year studying agriculture at Mount San Antonio Junior College, intending to become a vet.
In 1962, though, a touring theater company, the Bishop's Company Repertory Players, visited the town and he joined up and left home to tour with them. He spent nearly two years with the company and eventually settled in New York where he began writing plays, first performing with an obscure off-off-Broadway group but eventually gaining recognition for his writing and winning prestigious OBIE awards (Off-Broadway ) three years running.
He flirted with the world of rock, playing drums for the Holy Modal Rounders, then moved to London in 1971 where he continued writing.
Back in the US by 1974, he became playwright in residence at San Francisco's Magic Theater and continued to work as an increasingly well respected playwright throughout the 1970s and into the '80s.
Throughout this time he had been dabbling with Hollywood having, most notably in the early days, worked as one of the writers on Zabriskie Point, but it was his role as Chuck Yeager in 1983's The Right Stuff that brought him fully to the attention of the wider, non-theater audience.
Since then he has continued to write, act and direct, both on screen and in the theater.
Emma Fuhrmann is an up and coming young talent with a deep body of work seldom seen in someone of her age. At just 9 years old she worked opposite Morgan Freeman in the Rob Reiner directed feature, "The Magic of Belle Isle", playing a girl who just wanted to learn more about imagination and where it comes from. She went on to star in a Warner Brothers/Happy Madison feature film, "Blended", with Drew Barrymore & Adam Sadler playing the quirky, deeply emotional middle daughter, Espn.
Emma's first big break came when award winning director, David Nutter, hired her for the role of "Sissy Peele" in the pilot episode of NBC/Bruckheimer's "Chase." From there, she booked the film "Are We Listening?" in which she was nominated as best actress in a short by the Gideon Film Festival. Soon followed a heavy guest star role in an episode of NBC's "Prime Suspect" as Amanda Patterson, the only witness to her parent's murder. Emma then took that huge leap in her career, booking the lead role in Rob Reiner's film, "The Magic Of Belle Isle" starring alongside Morgan Freeman & Virginia Madsen. She then went on to play a lead role in the Warner Brothers/Happy Madison film "Blended" as Espn, the emotional middle child of Adam Sandler. The movie filmed for 7 weeks in South Africa and released in May of 2014. The indie film "Lost in the Sun" starring Josh Duhamel and Lynn Collins released in the fall of 2015. Emma continues to pursue other film and television projects under the skilled direction of her team at Paradigm and Untitled Entertainment.
Emma has made it her personal endeavor to encourage and support non-profit organizations tied to under-privileged youth, military families, and animals both domestic and international. She has partnered with Gentle Barn, The Humane Society of the United States, the Alzheimer's Association, Swim Today/USA Swimming, Brat Pack 11 and has been a part of several DoSomething.org campaigns.
As one of the best known, awarded, and financially successful composers in US history, John Williams is as easy to recall as John Philip Sousa, Aaron Copland or Leonard Bernstein, illustrating why he is "America's composer" time and again. With a massive list of awards that includes over 41 Oscar nominations (five wins), twenty-odd Gold and Platinum Records, and a slew of Emmy (two wins), Golden Globe (three wins), Grammy (18 wins), National Board of Review (including a Career Achievement Award), Saturn (six wins), and BAFTA (seven wins) citations, along with honorary doctorate degrees numbering in the teens, Williams is undoubtedly one of the most respected composers for Cinema. He's led countless national and international orchestras, most notably as the nineteenth conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra from 1980-1993, helming three Pops tours of the US and Japan during his tenure. He currently serves as the Pop's Conductor Laureate. Also to his credit is a parallel career as an author of serious, and some not-so-serious, concert works - performed by the likes of Mstislav Rostropovich, André Previn, Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Gil Shaham, Leonard Slatkin, James Ingram, Dale Clevenger, and Joshua Bell. Of particular interests are his Essay for Strings, a jazzy Prelude & Fugue, the multimedia presentation American Journey (aka The Unfinished Journey (1999)), a Sinfonietta for Winds, a song cycle featuring poems by Rita Dove, concerti for flute, violin, clarinet, trumpet, tuba, cello, bassoon and horn, fanfares for the 1984, 1988 and 1996 Summer Olympics, the 2002 Winter Olympics, and a song co-written with Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman for the Special Olympics! But such a list probably warrants a more detailed background...
Born in Long Island, New York on February 8, 1932, John Towner Williams discovered music almost immediately, due in no small measure to being the son of a percussionist for CBS Radio and the Raymond Scott Quintet. After moving to Los Angeles in 1948, the young pianist and leader of his own jazz band started experimenting with arranging tunes; at age 15, he determined he was going to become a concert pianist; at 19, he premiered his first original composition, a piano sonata.
He attended both UCLA and the Los Angeles City College, studying orchestration under MGM musical associate Robert Van Eps and being privately tutored by composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, until conducting for the first time during three years with the U.S. Air Force. His return to the states brought him to Julliard, where renowned piano pedagogue Madame Rosina Lhevinne helped Williams hone his performance skills. He played in jazz clubs to pay his way; still, she encouraged him to focus on composing. So it was back to L.A., with the future maestro ready to break into the Hollywood scene.
Williams found work with the Hollywood studios as a piano player, eventually accompanying such fare such as the TV series Peter Gunn, South Pacific, Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, and To Kill a Mockingbird, as well as forming a surprising friendship with Bernard Herrmann. At age 24, "Johnny Williams" became a staff arranger at Columbia and then at 20th Century-Fox, orchestrating for Alfred Newman and Lionel Newman, Dimitri Tiomkin, Franz Waxman, and other Golden Age notables. In the field of popular music, he performed and arranged for the likes of Vic Damone, Doris Day, and Mahalia Jackson... all while courting actress/singer Barbara Ruick, who became his wife until her death in 1974. John & Barbara had three children; their daughter is now a doctor, and their two sons, Joseph Williams and Mark Towner Williams, are rock musicians.
The orchestrating gigs led to serious composing jobs for television, notably Alcoa Premiere, Checkmate, Gilligan's Island, Lost in Space, Land of the Giants, and his Emmy-winning scores for Heidi and Jane Eyre. Daddy-O and Because They're Young brought his original music to the big theatres, but he was soon typecast doing comedies. His efforts in the genre helped guarantee his work on William Wyler's How to Steal a Million, however, a major picture that immediately led to larger projects. Of course, his arrangements continued to garner attention, and he won his first Oscar for adapting Fiddler on the Roof.
During the '70s, he was King of Disaster Scores with The Poseidon Adventure, Earthquake and The Towering Inferno. His psychological score for Images remains one of the most innovative works in soundtrack history. But his Americana - particularly The Reivers - is what caught the ear of director Steven Spielberg, then preparing for his first feature, The Sugarland Express. When Spielberg reunited with Williams on Jaws, they established themselves as a blockbuster team, the composer gained his first Academy Award for Original Score, and Spielberg promptly recommended Williams to a friend, George Lucas. In 1977, John Williams re-popularized the epic cinema sound of Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Franz Waxman and other composers from the Hollywood Golden Age: Star Wars became the best selling score-only soundtrack of all time, and spawned countless musical imitators. For the next five years, though the music in Hollywood changed, John Williams wrote big, brassy scores for big, brassy films - The Fury, Superman, 1941, Raiders of the Lost Ark ... An experiment during this period, Heartbeeps, flopped. There was a long-term change of pace, nonetheless, as Williams fell in love with an interior designer and married once more.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial brought about his third Oscar, and The River, Empire of the Sun, The Accidental Tourist and Born on the Fourth of July added variety to the 1980s, as he returned to television with work on Amazing Stories and themes for NBC, including NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt. The '80s also brought the only exceptions to the composer's collaboration with Steven Spielberg - others scored both Spielberg's segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie and The Color Purple.
Intending to retire, the composer's output became sporadic during the 1990s, particularly after the exciting Jurassic Park and the masterful, Oscar-winning Schindler's List. This lighter workload, coupled with a number of hilarious references on The Simpsons actually seemed to renew interest in his music. Two Home Alone films (1990, 1992), JFK, Nixon, Sleepers, Seven Years in Tibet, Saving Private Ryan, Angela's Ashes, and a return to familiar territory with Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace recalled his creative diversity of the '70s.
In this millennium, the artist shows no interest in slowing down. His relationships with Spielberg and Lucas continue in A.I. Artificial Intelligence, the remaining Star Wars prequels (2002, 2005), Minority Report, Catch Me If You Can, and a promised fourth Indiana Jones film. There is a more focused effort on concert works, as well, including a theme for the new Walt Disney Concert Hall and a rumored light opera. But one certain highlight is his musical magic for the world of Harry Potter (2001, 2002, 2004, etc.), which he also arranged into a concert suite geared toward teaching children about the symphony orchestra. His music remains on the whistling lips of people around the globe, in the concert halls, on the promenades, in album collections, sports arenas, and parades, and, this writer hopes, touching some place in ourselves. So keep those ears ready wherever you go, 'cause you will likely hear a bit of John Williams on your way.
Fred Gwynne was an enormously talented character actor most famous for starring in the television situation comedies Car 54, Where Are You? (as Officer Francis Muldoon) and The Munsters (as the Frankenstein clone Herman Munster). He was very tall and had a resonant, baritone voice that he put to good use in Broadway musicals.
Born Frederick Hubbard Gwynne in New York City on July 10, 1926, to a wealthy stockbroker father, he attended the exclusive prep school Groton, where he first appeared on stage in a student production of William Shakespeare's "Henry V". After serving in the United States Navy as a radioman during World War II, he went on to Harvard, where he majored in English and was on the staff of the "Harvard Lampoon". At Harvard, he studied drawing with artist R.S. Merryman and was active in dramatics. A member of the Hasty Pudding Club, he performed in the dining club's theatricals, appearing in the drag revues of 1949 and 1950. After graduating from Harvard with the class of 1951, Gwynne acted in Shakespeare with a Cambridge, Massachusetts repertory company before heading to New York City, where he supported himself as a musician and copywriter. His principal source of income for many years came from his work as a book illustrator and as a commercial artist. His first book, "The Best in Show", was published in 1958.
On February 20, 1952, he made his Broadway debut as the character "Stinker", in support of Helen Hayes, in the comic fantasy "Mrs. McThing". The play, written by "Harvey" author Mary Chase, had a cast featuring Ernest Borgnine, the future "Professor" Irwin Corey and Brandon De Wilde, the young son of the play's stage manager, Frederick DeWilde. The play ran for 320 performances and closed on January 10, 1953. He next appeared on Broadway in Burgess Meredith's staging of Nathaniel Benchley's comedy "The Frogs of Spring", which opened at the Broadhurst Theatre on October 21, 1953. The play flopped, closing on Halloween Day after but 15 performances. He did not appear on Broadway again for almost seven years.
Gwynne made his movie debut, unbilled, as one of Johnny Friendly's gang of thugs who menace Marlon Brando in Elia Kazan's classic On the Waterfront. From 1956 - 1963, he appeared on the television dramatic showcases Studio One in Hollywood, The Kaiser Aluminum Hour, Kraft Theatre, The DuPont Show of the Month, The DuPont Show of the Week and The United States Steel Hour. But it was in situation comedies that he made his name and his fame.
In 1955, he made a memorable guest appearance as Private Honigan on The Phil Silvers Show. He played a soldier with an enormous appetite that Phil Silvers' Sgt. Bilko entered into a pie-eating contest, only to discover he could only eat like a trencherman when he was depressed. The spot led to him coming back as a guest in more episodes. While appearing on Broadway as the pimp Polyte-Le-Mou in the Peter Brook-directed hit "Irma La Douce" (winner of the 1961 Tony Award for Best Musical), "Bilko" producer-writer Nat Hiken cast him in one of the lead roles in the situation comedy Car 54, Where Are You?. The series, in which he revealed his wonderful flair for comedy, had Gwynne appearing as New York City police officer Francis Muldoon, who served in a patrol car in the Bronx with the dimwitted Officer Gunther Toody, played by co-star Joe E. Ross ("Oooh! Oooh!"). Car 54, Where Are You? lasted only two seasons, but it was so fondly remembered by Baby Boomers, it inspired a feature film version in 1994. He also served as Lamb Chop's doctor on another Baby Boomer classic, The Shari Lewis Show.
Another one of his "Car 54, Where Are You?" co-stars, Al Lewis, not only became a lifelong friend, he appeared as Gwynne's father-in-law in his next situation comedy. Gwynne was cast as the Frankenstein's monster-like paterfamilias in The Munsters, which also lasted two seasons. In addition to wearing heavy boots with four-inch lifts on them, Gwynne had to wear 40 - 50 lbs of padding and makeup for the role and he reportedly lost ten pounds in one day of filming under the hot lights. He made guest appearances as Herman Munster, most notably on The Red Skelton Hour, appearing on April 27, 1965, along with Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, a pop band from The Beatles' native Liverpool. Gwynne appeared in character as Herman Munster in a "Freddie the Freeloader" comedy sketch.
When "The Munsters" was canceled after the 1965-1966 season, Gwynne returned to the theatre to escape television typecasting, although he did return for a featured appearance in the televised version of Arsenic and Old Lace, playing the psychotic Jonathan Brewster in an all-star cast, including with his "Mrs. McThing" co-star Helen Hayes, Lillian Gish, Bob Crane, Sue Lyon, Jack Gilford and David Wayne. He appeared twice on television in Mary Chase's "Harvey" (1950), the first time in 1958 on the "Dupont Show of the Month" version broadcast by CBS, in which he appeared in support of Art Carney as Elwood P. Dodd. Others in the cast included Elizabeth Montgomery, Jack Weston and Larry Blyden. He appeared as the cab driver in the 1972 version, Harvey, in which James Stewart reprised his role as Elwood P. Dodd, in which he was reunited with his Broadway co-star Helen Hayes.
In 1968, he made a television series pilot for Screen Gems, "Guess What I Did Today?", co-starring Bridget Hanley, who later played Candy Pruit on Here Come the Brides. The pilot, which was made for NBC, was not picked up by the network. Gwynne had trouble making producers forget his character Herman Munster and he started refusing to have anything to do with or even to speak of the show. One of the few visual productions to utilise his beautiful singing voice was The Littlest Angel, a musical produced as part of the Hallmark Hall of Fame.
His movie and television appearances were sporadic throughout the 1970s as he worked on- and off-Broadway. He had used his singing voice again to great effect in Meredith Wilson's musical "Here's Love", which opened at the Shubert Theatre on October 20, 1963 and played for 334 performances, closing on July 25, 1964. Exactly nine years from the "Here's Love" opening, he appeared at the Plymouth as "Abraham Lincoln" in the Broadway play "The Lincoln Mask", a flop that lasted but one week of eight performances.
His most distinguished performance on Broadway (and the favourite of all of his theatrical roles, was as Big Daddy in the 1974 Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams' "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof". Though not as cutting as Burl Ives had been in the original production, his Big Daddy was lyrical and powerful, so much so that he overpowered Keir Dullea in the role of "Brick". However, Elizabeth Ashley won a Tony Award for playing Maggie the Cat in the production, which gave Tennessee Williams his first big success in a decade, albeit in a revival.
Gwynne also was memorable as the elderly Klansman in the first two parts of "The Texas Trilogy" in 1977 season. His last appearance on Broadway was in Anthony Shaffer's "Whodunnit", which opened at the Biltmore Theatre on December 30, 1983 and closed May 15, 1983 after 157 total performances. Before saying goodbye to the Broadway stage in a hit, he had appeared on the Great White Way in two flops in 1978: "Angel", the musical version of Thomas Wolfe's "Look Homeward, Angel" (which lasted but five performances) and the Australian professional football club drama "Players" (which lasted 23 performances). For the Joseph Papp Public Theatre/New York Shakespeare Festival, he had appeared in Off-Broadway in "More Than You Deserve" in the 1973-1974 season and, in "Grand Magic", during the 1978-1979 season, for which he won an Obie Award. On the radio, Gwynne appeared in 79 episodes of "The CBS Radio Mystery Theatre" between 1975 and 1982.
With time, his characterisation of Herman Munster began to fade and he began establishing himself as a film character actor of note in the 1980s with well-reviewed appearances in The Cotton Club, Ironweed, Disorganized Crime and Pet Sematary, in which his character, Jud Crandall, was based on author Stephen King, who himself is quite tall. Gwynne also made a memorable turn as the judge who battles with the eponymous My Cousin Vinny, his last film. Critic and cinema historian Mick LaSalle cited Gwynne's performance as Judge Chamberlain Haller in his August 2003 article "Role call of overlooked performances is long", writing: "Half of what made Joe Pesci funny in this comedy was the stream of reactions of Gwynne, as the Southern Judge, a Great Dane to Joe Pesci's yapping terrier."
Gwynne sang professionally, painted, sculpted, wrote & illustrated children's books, including: "The King Who Rained" (1970); "A Chocolate Moose for Dinner" (1976); "A Little Pigeon Toad" (1988) and "Pondlarker" (1990). He wrote 10 books in all and "The King Who Rained", "A Chocolate Moose for Dinner" and "A Little Pigeon Toad", which all were published by the prestigious house Simon & Schuster, are still in print. In the first part of his professional life, Gwynne lived a quiet life in suburban Bedford, New York and avoided the Hollywood and Broadway social scenes. He married his first wife Foxy in 1952. They had five children and divorced in 1980. He and his second wife Deb, whom he married in 1981, lived in a renovated farmhouse in rural Taneytown, Maryland. His neighbors described him as a good friend and neighbor who kept his personal and professional lives separate.
Fred Gwynne died on July 2, 1993, in Taneytown, Maryland, after a battle with cancer of the pancreas. He was just eight days shy of turning 67 years old. He is sorely missed by Baby Boomers who grew up delighted by his Officer Francis Muldoon and Herman Munster and were gratified by his late-career renaissance on film.
His low-keyed intensity, deep-voiced somberness, pale skin, puffy-eyed baby face and crop of carrot-red hair are all obvious and intriguing trademarks of TV star David Caruso. A hugely popular item in the 1990s as a result of a smash crime series, he got way too caught up in all the hoopla surrounding him. Those working with him on the innovative cop series were not exactly unhappy when he decided to abandon ship after only one season in order to pursue movie star fame. Despite his own predictions, the show prospered quite well after the loss of his focal character...but it would be a major understatement to state that Caruso did not fare as well.
TV to film crossover fame is tricky and David did not have the right formula to pull it off. Bad judgment calls, bad publicity after his departure from his TV series, a couple of poor film vehicles, and virtual unemployment in its wake eventually led him back to the small screen again a somewhat humbler person. Not many are given a second chance but Caruso, the enigmatic talent that he is, found gold a second time as (again) a wan, brooding lead in a hip, unconventional cop series.
David Stephen Caruso was born in Forest Hills, Queens, New York, the son of Charles Caruso, a magazine and newspaper editor, and Joan, a librarian. The Irish Catholic youngster attended elementary and middle school at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs and then Archbishop Molloy High School, both in Queens.
Following high school graduation in 1974, he toyed with some commercial work. A few years later he began to make a slight dent in films. He first appeared in Getting Wasted and Without Warning, which led to a succession of secondary roles in such 80s movies as An Officer and a Gentleman, First Blood (as a sheriff's deputy), Thief of Hearts, Blue City, China Girl and Twins. But the break into full-fledged TV stardom proved elusive. It was argued that the thin and lanky actor was not handsome enough to become a leading man in film and didn't have the charisma credentials to carry a big movie.
Making his unbilled debut in a daytime episode of "Ryan's Hope", TV proved to be a more inviting medium and police stories seemed to be the name of the game for him. He had a strong recurring role as a gang leader on Hill Street Blues and showed to good advantage in the series Crime Story. This sudden notoriety on police TV gave way to some even stronger stuff in streetwise film crimers such as King of New York as a cop gone bad, and Mad Dog and Glory, in which he earned excellent marks as a cynical urban cop. But his star-making role came via TV and his portrayal of Detective John Kelly the critically-acclaimed series NYPD Blue. Audience adoration was immediate.
His volatile but principled character on the gritty, boldly-written, unconventional show earned him impressive and sexy notices with a Golden Globe Award and Emmy nomination placed in his hands. Confident now that he could be a magnetic force in front of a movie camera, stories began to circulate that the instant fame had gone to his head, that he was moody, demanding and difficult on the set, and that he was quickly alienating not only his co-stars but the show's directors and writers.
Ready to prove all those naysayers wrong about his chances in film, Caruso made tabloid headlines when he announced his decision to leave the highly-rated show after only one season (and only four episodes into the second season) to pursue film stardom. Rumors also bounced around that he left following unresolved salary negotiations. For whatever reason, he wasted no time in scouting out movie vehicles for himself. Again, he focused on his specialty -- crime thrillers. The first, Kiss of Death, in which he played a petty thief trying to go straight, did not go over well box-office-wise despite its good reviews, and the second, Jade, in which he portrayed a homicide detective, was a grisly, unappetizing thriller that was given the thumbs down almost immediately. As a comeuppance for coming up short, he was nominated for the dubious "Razzie" award as the "Worst New Star" of those two films. With no movie releases at all in 1996, by the time Cold Around the Heart was released, in which he played a jewel thief who is betrayed by his sexy partner-in-crime (Kelly Lynch), the TV star had lost all of his movie star momentum.
In 1997, Caruso made an inauspicious return to the small screen as the placid title prosecutor Michael Hayes, a law series, but it was a very short-lived experience. Audiences had become fickle and indifferent to his "heralded comeback". Finding a serious lack of offers, he returned to supporting others in films such as Russell Crowe in Proof of Life, and copped a couple of leads for himself in such low-budgeted films as Session 9 and the Canadian film Black Point.
But in 2002, he found TV magic once again behind a badge as Lt. Horatio Caine in the popular CSI spin-off series CSI: Miami. Strongly anchoring the show, which focuses more on crime methodology and whodunnit twists than character development, Caruso has nevertheless earned cult fame for his slick demeanor and deliberately slow speech patterns, reminding one of William Shatner's heady, methodical approach to Captain Kirk. Known for his deep, dry tones and parade of droll one-liners, many of which include him slipping on his dark shades during mid-sentence, he has been the subject of many a late-nite parody and satire.
A difficult interviewee who has admitted to keeping his monumental ego in check since his return to TV, David has been married and divorced three times, which includes a brief 1980s union to actress Rachel Ticotin. He has a daughter, Greta, from that union. On the sly, Caruso was a co-owner of now long-defunct Steam, a clothing and furniture store in Miami, Florida. He and his current girlfriend (since 2005), Liza Marquez, have two children -- son Marquez Anthony and and daughter, Paloma Raquel.
A Dutch South African, Musetta Vander was raised without that most basic of modern conveniences--television! Radio programming, childhood books and weekend trips to the drive-in introduced her to the magical world of movies. It was not until the mid-'70s that South Africa finally got television, and the big black box in the family living room "miraculously" sprang to life.
However, as the daughter of a ballet teacher, Musetta was no stranger to the entertainment world and debuted on stage at the age of four. Her childhood was filled with numerous dance performances including "Giselle", "Coppelia", "The Student Prince" and "Showboat", and, shortly after completing school, she qualified as a ballet teacher herself.
After earning a BA in Communications and Psychology, she landed the plum job as anchor host for an MTV-like television show in South Africa. One day, a handsome visiting American, Jeff Celentano, spotted her on television, made her his bride, and whisked her off to the very place she had always dreamed of--Hollywood.
Shortly after her arrival, she became part of the very world she used to host, appearing as the "dream girl" in more than 20 music videos for such top recording artists as Rod Stewart, Tina Turner, Elton John and Chris Isaak.
It was her critically acclaimed stage performance in the original South African play "Soweto's Burning", about the trials of an interracial friendship in that racially segregated country, that provided her transition to the big screen. Musetta has since performed in numerous feature films, including collaborating with her husband on Under the Hula Moon and Gunshy. She has also worked alongside such screen veterans as Kevin Kline, Kenneth Branagh and Will Smith in Wild Wild West, George Clooney and John Turturro in O Brother, Where Art Thou? and John Hurt and Louis Gossett Jr. in Monolith. She's also added a slew of television credits to her arsenal, including guest appearances on the hit shows Star Trek: Voyager, Stargate SG-1 and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Recently Musetta made a return to the stage, combining both her dance and acting background in an extremely successful adaptation of Molière's "The Bourgeois Gentleman" at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.
Mickey Rooney was born Joe Yule Jr. on September 23, 1920 in Brooklyn, New York. He first took the stage as a toddler in his parents vaudeville act at 17 months old. He made his first film appearance in 1926. The following year, he played the lead character in the first Mickey McGuire short film. It was in this popular film series that he took the stage name Mickey Rooney. Rooney reached new heights in 1937 with A Family Affair, the film that introduced the country to Andy Hardy, the popular all-American teenager. This beloved character appeared in nearly 20 films and helped make Rooney the top star at the box office in 1939, 1940 and 1941. Rooney also proved himself an excellent dramatic actor as a delinquent in Boys Town starring Spencer Tracy. In 1938, he was awarded a Juvenile Academy Award.
Teaming up with Judy Garland, Rooney also appeared in a string of musicals, including Babes in Arms the first teenager to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor in a leading role, Strike Up the Band, Babes on Broadway, and Girl Crazy. He and Garland immediately became best of friends. "We weren't just a team, we were magic," Rooney once said. During that time he also appeared with Elizabeth Taylor in the now classic National Velvet. Rooney joined the service that same year, where he helped to entertain the troops and worked on the American Armed Forces Network. He returned to Hollywood after 21 months in Love Laughs at Andy Hardy, did a remake of a Robert Taylor film, The Crowd Roars called Killer McCoy and portrayed composer Lorenz Hart in Words and Music. He also appeared in Breakfast at Tiffany's, starring Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard. Rooney played Hepburn's Japanese neighbor, Mr. Yunioshi. A sign of the times, Rooney played the part for comic relief which he later regretted feeling the role was offensive. He once again showed his incredible range in the dramatic role of a boxing trainer with Anthony Quinn and Jackie Gleason in Requiem for a Heavyweight. In the late 1960s and 1970s Rooney showed audiences and critics alike why he was one of Hollywood's most enduring stars. He gave an impressive performance in Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 film The Black Stallion, which brought him an Academy Award nomination as Best Actor in a Supporting Role. He also turned to the stage in 1979 in Sugar Babies with Ann Miller, and was nominated for a Tony Award. During that time he also portrayed the Wizard in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz with Eartha Kitt at New York's Madison Square Garden, which also had a successful run nationally.
Rooney appeared in four television series': The Mickey Rooney Show (1954-1955), a comedy sit-com in 1964 with Sammee Tong called Mickey, One of the Boys in 1982 with Dana Carvey and Nathan Lane, and The New Adventures of the Black Stallion from 1990-1993. In 1981, Rooney won an Emmy Award for his portrayal of a mentally challenged man in Bill. The critical acclaim continued to flow for the veteran performer, with Rooney receiving an honorary Academy Award "in recognition of his 60 years of versatility in a variety of memorable film performances". More recently he has appeared in such films as Night at the Museum with Ben Stiller and The Muppets with Amy Adams and Jason Segel.
Rooney's personal life, including his frequent trips to the altar, has proved to be just as epic as his on-screen performances. His first wife was one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood, actress Ava Gardner. Mickey permanently separated from his eighth wife Jan in June of 2012. In 2011 Rooney filed elder abuse and fraud charges against stepson Christopher Aber and Aber's wife. At Rooney's request, the Superior Court issued a restraining order against the Aber's demanding they stay 100 yards from Rooney, as well as Mickey's other son Mark Rooney and Mark's wife Charlene. Just prior, Rooney mustered the strength to break his silence and appeared before the Senate in Washington D.C. telling of his own heartbreaking story of abuse in an effort to live a peaceful, full life and help others who may be similarly suffering in silence.
Rooney requested through the Superior Court to permanently reside with his son Mark Rooney, who is a musician and Marks wife Charlene, an artist, in the Hollywood Hills. He legally separated from his eighth wife in June of 2012. Ironically, after eight failed marriages he never looked or felt better and finally found happiness and peace in the single life. Mickey, Mark and Charlene focused on health, happiness and creative endeavors and it showed. Mickey Rooney had once again landed on his feet reminding us that he was a survivor. Rooney died on April 6th 2014. He was taking his afternoon nap and never woke. One week before his death Mark and Charlene surprised him by reunited him with a long lost love, the racetrack. He was ecstatic to be back after decades and ran into his old friends Mel Brooks and Dick Van Patten.
Born in Albany, New York, Ashton Holmes was struck by the magic of theater and film at age 4 when his mother took him to see "Peter Pan", and it was clinched by a desire to play Luke Skywalker when he saw Star Wars. He subsequently took acting lessons at age 6 and began appearing in community theater. He also attended the Albany Academy.
The entertainment world has enjoyed a five-decade love affair with comedienne/singer Carol Burnett. A peerless sketch performer and delightful, self-effacing personality who rightfully succeeded Lucille Ball as the carrot-topped "Queen of Television Comedy," it was Burnett's traumatic childhood that set the stage for her comedy.
Carol's rags-to-riches story started out in San Antonio, Texas, on April 26, 1933, where she was born to Jodie and Louise Burnett, both of whom suffered from acute alcoholism. As a child, she was left in the care of a beloved grandmother, who shuttled the two of them off to Hollywood, California, where they lived in a boarding house and shared a great passion for the Golden Age of movies. The plaintive, loose-limbed, highly sensitive Carol survived her wallflower insecurities by grabbing attention as a cut-up at Hollywood High School. A natural talent, she attended the University of California and switched majors from journalism to theater. Scouting out comedy parts on TV and in the theater, she first had them rolling in the aisles in the mid-1950s performing a lovelorn novelty song called "I Made a Fool of Myself Over John Foster Dulles" (then Secretary of State) in a nightclub act. This led to night-time variety show appearances with Jack Paar and Ed Sullivan and where the career ball really started rolling.
Carol's first big TV breaks came at age 22 and 23 as a foil to a ventriloquist's dummy on the already-established The Paul Winchell Show in 1955, and as Buddy Hackett's gawky girlfriend on the short-lived sitcom Stanley. She also developed an affinity for game shows and appeared as a regular on one of TV earliest, Stump the Stars in 1958. While TV would bring Carol fans by the millions, it was Broadway that set her on the road to stardom. She began as the woebegone Princess Winnifred in the 1959 Broadway musical "Once Upon a Mattress" which earned her first Tony Award nomination. [She would later appear in three TV adaptations - Once Upon a Mattress, Once Upon a Mattress and Once Upon a Mattress.] This, in turn, led to the first of an armful of Emmy Awards as a repertoire player on the popular variety series The Garry Moore Show in 1959. Burnett invented a number of scene-stealing characters during this time, most notably her charwoman character. With the phenomenal household success of the Moore show, she moved up quickly from second banana to headliner and appeared in a 1962 Emmy-winning special Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall co-starring close friend Julie Andrews. She earned the Outer Critics Circle Award for the short-lived musical "Fade Out, Fade In" (1964); and made her official film debut opposite Bewitched star Elizabeth Montgomery and Dean Martin in the lightweight comedy Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed?.
Not surprisingly, fellow redhead Lucille Ball, who had been Carol's treasured idol growing up, subsequently became a friend and mentor to the rising funny girl. Hilarious as a guest star on The Lucy Show, Carol appeared as a painfully shy (natch) wallflower type who suddenly blooms in jaw-dropping fashion. Ms. Ball was so convinced of Carol's talent that she offered Carol her own Desilu-produced sitcom, but Burnett had her heart set on fronting a variety show. With her own team of second bananas, including character crony Harvey Korman, handsome foil Lyle Waggoner, and lookalike "kid sister" type Vicki Lawrence, the The Carol Burnett Show became an instant sensation, and earned 22 Emmy Awards during its 11-year run. It allowed Carol to fire off her wide range of comedy and musical ammunition--whether running amok in broad sketch comedy, parodying movie icons such as Gloria Swanson, Shirley Temple, Vivien Leigh or Joan Crawford, or singing/gushing alongside favorite vocalists Jim Nabors, Steve Lawrence, Peggy Lee, Sammy Davis Jr., Ella Fitzgerald and Mel Tormé. She managed to bring in huge stars not known at all for slapstick comedy, including Rock Hudson and even then-Governor Ronald Reagan while providing a platform for such up-and-coming talent as Bernadette Peters and The Pointer Sisters In between, Carol branched out with supporting turns in the films Pete 'n' Tillie, The Front Page and Robert Altman's A Wedding.
Her program, whose last episode aired in March of 1978, was the last truly successful major network variety show to date. Carol took on new challenges to display her unseen dramatic mettle, and accomplished this amazingly in TV-movie showcases. She earned an Emmy nomination for her gripping portrayal of anti-Vietnam War activist Peg Mullen in Friendly Fire, and convincingly played a woman coming to terms with her alcoholism in Life of the Party: The Story of Beatrice. Neither character bore any traces of the usual Burnett comedy shtick. Though she proved she could contain herself for films, Carol was never able to acquire crossover success into movies, despite trouper work in The Four Seasons, Annie (as the hammy villainess Miss Hannigan), and Noises Off.... The last two roles had been created onstage by Broadway's Dorothy Loudon.
Carol would return from time to time to the stage and concert forums with productions of "Plaza Suite", "I Do! I Do", "Follies", "Company" and "Putting It Together". A second Tony nomination came for her comedy work in "Moon Over Buffalo" in 1995. Carol has made frequent appearances on her own favorite TV shows too, such as Password All-Stars (along with Elizabeth Montgomery, Carol was considered one of the show's best players) and the daytime soaper, All My Children.
During the early 1990s, Carol attempted a TV comeback of sorts, with a couple of new variety formats in Carol & Company and The Carol Burnett Show, but neither could recreate the magic of the original. She has appeared, sporadically, on various established shows such as "Magnum, P.I.," "Touched by an Angel," "Mad About You" (for which she won an Emmy), "Desperate Housewives," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (Emmy nomination), "Hawaii Five-0," "Glee" and "Hot in Cleveland." Befitting such a classy clown, she has received a multitude of awards over time, including the 2003 Kennedy Center Honors and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005. She was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1985. Her personal life has been valiant--tears in between the laughs. Married three times, her second union with jazz-musician-turned-variety-show-producer Joe Hamilton produced three daughters. Eldest girl, Carrie Hamilton, an actress and former teen substance abuser, tragically died of lung and brain cancer at age 38. Shortly before Carrie's death, mother and daughter managed to write a play, together, entitled "Hollywood Arms", based on Carol's 1986 memoir, "One More Time". The show subsequently made it to Broadway.
Today, at age 80 plus, Carol has been seen less frequently but still continues to make appearances, especially on TV. Most recently she has guested on the shows "Hot in Cleveland" and the new "Hawaii Five-0". As always she signs off a live appearance with her signature ear tug (acknowledging her late grandmother), reminding us all, between the wisecracks and the songs, how glad and lucky we all are to still have some of "this time together".
Described in the press as the heir apparent to James Stewart and Jack Lemmon, Jim Hutton broke out of the pack with his funny, awkward TV Thompson in Where the Boys Are. Son of Col. Thomas R. Hutton and Helen Ryan, his parents divorced when he was an infant. Jim recalled seeing his father only twice before his death, and moved to Albany, New York, in 1938. A bright but troublesome child (claiming to have been in five high schools and a boarding school), he excelled as a writer and won a journalism scholarship when he began writing sports for his high school newspaper. At Syracuse University, he lost his position in the school of journalism (& scholarship) when he was bitten by the acting bug. He subsequently lost academic ambition and failed three classes as a freshman. He used his summers to train in summer stock, but his intentions to continue academic pursuits were ended when he was expelled from Syracuse as a sophomore and again at Niagara College as a junior.
He lived in Greenwich Village for almost a year to pursue a career on the stage, but when out of money and unable to pay his rent or buy food, he joined the army and was assigned to special services to act in training films. He was later stationed in Berlin, where he founded the American Community Theater, by renovating an abandoned theater for a GI production of the play "Harvey" (which he starred in). Receiving high praise from officers including official commendation, his superior officer agreed to assign Hutton to manage the theater as part of his official duties and he produced, directed, and acted in five productions over two years, receiving the European Theater Award for Best GI Theater. One of his productions, The Caine Mutiny, received the attention of director Douglas Sirk, who offered him the significant role of "Hirschland" in A Time to Love and a Time to Die as a young Nazi who commits suicide. Using his entire military leave to film for 22 days, Universal was so impressed they offered him a contract, but he still had 18 months of service. Within five days of his military discharge, he had married and moved to Hollywood to pursue a career, but by then the offer was off the table from Universal. He eventually landed at MGM. The first role of significance to get attention (and use his new stage name of Jim Hutton) was the first season The Twilight Zone episode, And When the Sky Was Opened, which earned the newbie good notice within the industry. Eventually, he landed his breakout role of "TV Thompson" in Where the Boys Are, paired with newcomer Paula Prentiss. He came in third in 1960's Golden Laurel Awards Top Male New Personality, was named one of Motion Picture Herald's Stars of Tomorrow, was a Photoplay Favorite Male Newcomer nominee, and Screen World Award winner for Most Promising Personality.
Prentiss and Jim Hutton were immediately paired into three other films, The Honeymoon Machine, Bachelor in Paradise, and The Horizontal Lieutenant. But despite their likable personalities and on screen chemistry, none of the films captured the magic of the first film. Frustrated, Hutton campaigned for the lead in Period of Adjustment and then refused jobs for 15 months until MGM agreed give him better roles or dissolve their exclusive contract. He agreed to appear with Connie Francis in the film, Looking for Love if he were let go to pursue work independently.
Once free from contracts, he was selected by Sam Peckinpah for the role of the young Lieutenant in Major Dundee. Dundee's turbulent production was the primary subject of reviews, yet the subsequent reassessment of the flawed film (particularly by Peckinpah scholars) has garnered Hutton posthumous praise for his youthful and exuberant performance. "Dundee" was followed by several acting veterans taking an interested in the underused actor's career, including Burt Lancaster, in The Hallelujah Trail, Cary Grant in Walk Don't Run, and John Wayne in The Green Berets. Like his later appreciated performance in "Dundee", his role in The Green Berets was overlooked, due to the film's controversial political stance on Vietnam. Yet, it has become common to see Hutton's performance as one of the bright spots in the film, thanks to his ability to incorporate his natural comic skills and cocky swagger into the role of wartime cynical scavenger, who becomes the heroic adoptive father of a Vietnamese orphan. His work in these films, and leading roles in the underrated heist farce, Who's Minding the Mint?, showed his growth as an actor. However, when all three of his 1965 releases flopped at the box-office, his Hollywood stock took a major tumble, particularly when Gene Kelly dropped him from the lead in of A Guide for the Married Man, one month before production started.
Film roles dried up and he was relegated to TV work, which coincided with what he called an eight-year depression. It wasn't until 1975 that he experienced a career comeback with the cult detective series, Ellery Queen, which coincided with an upturn of theater work and reunion with his son, actor Timothy Hutton, who moved in with him at this time at 15-years-old. Tragically, his comeback didn't last long, as he died of liver cancer in 1979, two days after his 45th birthday.
Jodi Benson, a native of Rockford, Illinois, has received worldwide recognition and critical acclaim as the voice of "Ariel" in the Academy Award-winning Walt Disney animated feature film, The Little Mermaid, as well as the bubbly voice of "Tour Guide Barbie" in Disney's Toy Story 2, winner of the Golden Globe Award for Best Picture. She also gave life to the spirited "Weebo" in Disney's live action Flubber, starring Robin Williams. For Warner Brothers, she created the spirited voice of "Thumbelina", a Don Bluth animated feature, Thumbelina, with songs by Barry Manilow. Jodi's recent projects include The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning, The Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea as "Ariel", Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure as "Lady", 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure as "Anita", Dreamwork's animated movie Joseph: King of Dreams as his wife "Asenath" starring Ben Affleck and in Balto: Wolf Quest and Balto III: Wings of Change as "Jenna" for Universal Studios. She appears as "Sam" (Patrick Dempsey's assistant) in Disney's feature film Enchanted as a real person - with legs!
Ms. Benson received a Tony Award and a Helen Hayes Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical for creating the starring role of "Polly Baker" in the Tony Award-winning Broadway Ira Gershwin musical, "Crazy For You". Other Broadway credits include: creating the starring role of "Doria Hudson" in the Howard Ashman-Marvin Hamlisch musical, "Smile", "Betty Bursteter" in Cy Coleman's "Welcome to the Club" and "Virginia" in Kenny Ortega's Marilyn: An American Musical". Internationally, Ms. Benson has had the honor of sharing the stage with her husband, Ray Benson, in the European premiere of Ira Gershwin's "My One and Only", starring as "Miss Edythe Herbert". In Los Angeles, Ms. Benson starred in the critically-acclaimed Reprise/UCLA production of "Babes in Arms" as "Bunny", "Nellie Forbush" in "South Pacific" (Pasadena Civic), "Flora the Red Menace" (Pasadena Playhouse), "Ado Annie" in "Oklahoma!" (Dorothy Chandler Pavillion), "Eliza Doolittle" in "My Fair Lady" (Alex Theater) and as "Florence Vassey" in "Chess" (Long Beach Civic Light Opera) for which she won the Drama-Logue Award for Best Actress.
Jodi can be heard on over a dozen recordings and has a 6-part DVD series entitled "Baby Faith" from the creators of "Baby Einstein". Her animated-TV series include the hit, Camp Lazlo!, for the Cartoon Network, The Little Mermaid, Batman Beyond, "The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy", The Wild Thornberrys, "Barbie", Hercules: Zero to Hero and P.J. Sparkles, as well as many others. On the concert stage, Ms Benson has performed as a concert soloist with symphonies all over the world: The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, The National Symphony, Cleveland, Dallas, Tokyo Philharmonic, San Francisco and Chicago, to name a few. She has starred in the Kennedy Center Honors for Ginger Rogers, The 25th Anniversary of Walt Disney, Central Park Disney Spectacular and Disney's 100 Years of Magic. Ms. Benson is honored to be the resident guest soloist for the Walt Disney Company/Disney Cruise Line and ambassador for feature animation. Jodi gives thanks and praise to the Lord for her family, friends, for her loving and amazing husband, 'Ray Benson (I)' , and her precious children; son McKinley Benson and daughter Delaney Benson.
Josie Bissett is recognized internationally for her role as the popular 'Jane Mancini' on FOX-TV's "Melrose Place," which ended its successful seven-year run in May 1999. To date, she has graced over 50 magazine covers, including such publications as TV Guide, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Shape's Fit Pregnancy and New Woman.
She appeared for five seasons on ABC Family Channel's hit breakout teen-pregnancy drama series "The Secret Life of the American Teenager," created and executive produced by Brenda Hampton ("7th Heaven"). Josie played 'Kathleen Bowman,' mother to good girl 'Grace' (Megan Park).
Josie recently starred as 'Sonia Clifton,' a veterinarian who discovers that her husband is having an affair, in telefilm "Pregnant at 17." She also had a starring role in "A Mother's Instinct," both for Lifetime.
She previously starred opposite James Brolin in Hallmark Movie Channels' first-ever original holiday movie, "Christmas with Tucker," which premiered in late 2013 as part of their "Most Wonderful Movies of Christmas" new holiday initiative. "Christmas with Tucker" is the Most Watched Hallmark Movie Channel Original Premiere among HH's and W25-54 in network history! Josie also starred opposite Matthew Settle in the original Christmas film "Paper Angels," which premiered on UP TV in November 2014.
Her first children's book, "Tickle Monster," became a national sensation which got kids and parents to laugh, laugh, laugh! "Tickle Monster" is an inspiring and beautifully illustrated storybook for kids, based on a treasured family tradition that Josie has continued with her own kids. Fuzzy 'Tickle Monster' mitts, an interactive companion piece to the book, are available and packaged in an adorable gift set. Parents can wear the gloves to tickle their children while reading along to the clever text.
"Tickle Monster" and publisher Compendium, Inc. were awarded the PTPA (Parent Tested Parent Approved) Media Inc.'s Seal of Approval for excellence in parenting products. "Tickle Monster" earned the Publisher's Choice Award from the Family Magazine Group, and Josie was named Celebrity Mom of the Year" by the Mom's Choice Awards (MCA), an annual awards program that recognizes authors, inventors, companies and parents for their efforts in creating quality family-friendly media, products and services. Josie and her children were also featured on the cover of MCA's Entro magazine. Josie's ability to offer parenting advice and bring laughter in the lives of families, along with her mission to live life as a whole team and balanced person, made her the perfect choice for the Mom's Choice Team.
As a follow up to the highly successful "Tickle Monster," Josie has written her second children's book, "Boogie Monster," and both titles are currently available in major book stores. With a loveable new character from Planet Boogie whose only mission is to inspire kids to dance, dance, dance, "Boogie Monster" teaches kids that there's no right or wrong way to dance. In the process, kids build confidence and have fun exercising. Also available is a complete dance kit (packaged in a colorful, reusable keepsake gift box with magnetic closure), which includes a "Boogie Monster" book, a pair of Boogie Monster Legs Leggings and a full-length Boogie Monster music CD by Recess Monkey. The "Boogie Monster" Dance Kit was the recipient of the prestigious Mom's Choice Award, honoring excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. In addition, the Dance Kit won the Moonbeam Gold Medal at the Moonbeam Children's Book Awards.
Josie's first book, "Little Bits Of Wisdom," was inspired by the birth of her first child in 2001 and is now in its third printing. It is a heart-warming collection of parenting wisdom and child-rearing "tricks of the trade" gathered from more than 1,000 parents and grandparents throughout the world. Two years later, she completed a second book, "Making Memories," which featured over 200 ways for parents to create rich family memories with their children that last a lifetime. Tens of thousands of parents have already embraced this magical book, the premise of which is so simple and powerful: The moments with our children pass so quickly, but the memories we create today will last forever.
The Seattle native began her career in front of the camera at the age of 12 as a model in print advertisements and television commercials. At 16, she left home and moved to Japan to further her career and at 17 headed to Hollywood to make her mark.
Josie soon landed the role of 'Cara' on "The Hogan Family," where she spent two seasons. Within two years of her arrival in Los Angeles, Josie was cast on "Melrose Place" and quickly became one of television's most recognizable actors. In recent years, she has had the opportunity to explore many diverse and interesting characters in such projects as the ABC movies "The Fire Above" and "Dare to Love," the FOX telefilm "Deadly Vows" and the USA cable film "Baby Monitor: Sound of Fear." She starred in the ABC Family Channel original film "I Do, They Don't," a romantic comedy about two widowed parents whose spontaneous marriage thrusts them into the position of having to blend two families into one. In addition, Josie starred in the Lifetime Television original film "The Other Woman," based on the best-selling novel by Joy Fielding and directed by Jason Priestley. She has also made numerous guest-starring appearances including NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."
On the big screen, she made her feature film debut in Oliver Stone's "The Doors," in which she played the wife of Doors' guitarist Robbie Krieger. Her subsequent films include the coming-of-age comedy "Book of Love" and the psychological thriller "Mikey."
In addition to acting, Josie has hosted numerous shows. She most recently co-hosted Lifetime Television's morning talk show, "The Balancing Act." She previously hosted "Parenting & Beyond," a show that offered parents creative solutions to everyday problems, so that they can have more quality time to enjoy their family and watch their children growing up. She also hosted the PBS educational special, "Teach More, Love More," which followed four families, each with a child in one of the four critical stages of early childhood development -- newborn, infancy, toddlerhood and preschool. As host, Josie guided viewers through the program which explores the joys, fears and a myriad of questions that accompany the beginning of life. "Teach More, Love More" included interviews with nationally renowned experts such as Dr. T. Berry Brazelton.
Josie has been the face of several national commercial campaigns, including Neutrogena's skin care line and Dr. Scholl's Pedicure Essentials, an entire line of 14 different products designed to pamper the feet. Additionally, she was a spokesperson for Murad Skin Care's Resurgence® Regimen, the first comprehensive line of products formulated exclusively to help revitalize and rebuild hormonally aging skin.
Josie resides in Seattle with her children, 16-year-old son Mason and 13-year-old daughter Maya. She is working on her next children's book.
Michael Jeffrey Jordan was born in Brookyln, New York on February 17, 1963. He was the fourth of five children born to James and Deloris. James Jordan was a mechanic and Deloris Jordan was a bank teller. Soon after Michael's birth, James and Deloris felt that the streets of Brooklyn were unsafe to raise a family, so they moved the family to Wilmington, North Carolina.
As a youngster, Michael immediately became interested in sports. However, it was baseball not basketball that was his first love. He would play catch in the yard with his father, who loved baseball. He soon started to play basketball to try and follow in the footsteps of his older brother, Larry, whom he idolized growing up.
At Laney High School, as a sophomore, he decided to try out for the varsity team but was cut because he was raw and undersized. The following summer, he grew four inches and practiced tirelessly. The hard work paid off as he averaged 25 points per game in his last two years and was selected to the McDonald's All-American Team as a senior.
Following high school, he earned a basketball scholarship from North Carolina University where he would play under legendary coach Dean Smith. In his first year, he was named ACC Freshman of the Year. He would help lead the Tarheels to the 1982 NCAA Championship, making the game-winning shot.
After winning the Naismith College Player of the Year award in 1984, Jordan decided to leave North Carolina to enter the NBA draft. Although he decided to leave college early, he would later return to the university in 1986 to complete his degree in geography.
In the 1984 NBA draft, he was selected with the third overall pick by the Chicago Bulls. As a rookie for the Bulls, he made an immediate impact, averaging an amazing 28.2 points a game, including six games where he scored 40+ points. He was selected to the NBA All-Star Game and named Rookie of the Year. This would just be the beginning of a career filled with awards and accolades. In the upcoming years, he would go on to win five regular season MVP awards, six NBA championships, six NBA finals MVP awards, three All-Star game MVP awards, and a defensive player of the year award.
In 1993, tragedy struck Jordan's seemingly perfect life. On July 23, 1993, his father, James, was murdered off Interstate 95 in North Carolina. Two locals had robbed him, shot him in the chest and threw his body in a swamp.
Three months later on October 6, 1993, following a run of three consecutive NBA championships, Jordan announced his retirement from basketball citing that "he no longer had the desire to play." Now "retired" at age 33, it was uncertain what Jordan would do next. Would he take a year off out of the public eye to grieve and then come back to the Bulls? Would he go out and look for a white collar job in the field of geography, his college major? Or would he take up a completely different hobby like golf?
In early 1994, Jordan decided to take up a new hobby alright. However, it wasn't golf. It was baseball. Despite not playing baseball since high school some 13 years ago, he signed a minor league contract with the Chicago White Sox in 1994. He played one unspectacular season for the Double-A Birmingham Barons.
On March 18, 1995, Jordan, a man of few words since his retirement, sent two important words to media sources everywhere: "I'm Back". He celebrated his return to the NBA by doing what he always did best: winning. Although the Bulls would lose in the playoffs to the Orlando Magic, it was obvious that Jordan was still the same superstar player. He would go on to lead the Bulls to three more consecutive NBA championships and etch his place in the history as the "NBA's greatest player of all-time".
On January 13, 1999, Jordan re-announced his retirement, saying that "he was 99.9 percent sure that he would never play again". Soon after, Jordan became part owner of the Washington Wizards.
Near the start of the 2001-02 season, there were hints that Jordan may try another comeback to the NBA. On September 25, 2001, Jordan confirmed those rumors, announcing that he would once again return to the NBA as a member of the Wizards. His two seasons in Washington were mediocre at best. His statistics were solid and he showed some flashes of his old self but he could not lead the Wizards to the playoffs and missed several games due to injury. He retired for good following the 2002-03 season and was subsequently dismissed as president of the Washington Wizards.
In June 2006, he became part owner of the Charlotte Bobcats. Later that year, he filed for divorce from Juanita, his wife of 17 years. They have three children together.
Shaquille O'Neal is regarded as one of the most dominant athletes and arguably the most gregarious personality in sports history. He wrote an autobiography (Shaq Talks Back), preserves an online presence for his fan base and produced a number of albums (Biological Didn't Bother, Shaq-Fu: Da Return, etc.), and starred in select movies (Steel, Kazaam, Blue Chips). He has played for 4 NBA teams: the Orlando Magic, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Miami Heat, the Phoenix Suns, and currently the Cleveland Cavaliers.
O'Neal graduated from Louisiana State University and is the only current NBA player with an MBA (Master of Business Administration). Shaq is also one of the few NBA players in history to reach the NBA Finals with three different teams. His charisma on and off the court helped create a worldwide reputation as "Godfather of the NBA."
As a result of his father's influence and military background, Shaq has made public service a priority in his life, ranging from donations to charities and organizations across the country to working as a reserve police officer in Los Angeles, Miami, and Phoenix. He intends to pursue a career in politics and/or sports ownership upon retiring from the NBA.
For someone who has made an award-winning impact in all three mediums (stage, film and TV), actress Kathy Baker has been strangely denied all-out stardom, yet continues to demonstrate her versatility in whatever material comes her way.
The comely blonde was born Katherine Whitton Baker in Midland, Texas, the daughter of parents John Seawand Baker, a geologist and educator who taught at both the University of Paris and at Princeton, and Helene Andree Baker (née Whitton). Raised in New Mexico, she first took to the stage at age 10. Influenced by her French-born mother, Kathy attended the University of California at Berkeley and instead received her Bachelor of Arts degree in French in 1977. From there she went to Paris to study haute cuisine at the famed Cordon Bleu. She returned to the States originally to work as a pastry chef, but still discovered a smouldering desire to act and eventually joined San Francisco's Magic Theatre. There she appeared in the play "The Man Who Killed the Buddha" and gave a performance that drew the immediate attention of playwright Sam Shepard.
1983 was a banner year for Kathy. At the Magic Theatre, wherein she used the stage name of Kathy Whitton Baker, Shepard cast her in a leading role in one of his new plays, "Fool for Love." The premiere garnered exceptional notices and the play (and Kathy) went to New York. She and co-star Ed Harris, won 1984 Obie Awards for their rich performances, as did playwright Shepard for directing. The production itself won the Obie for "Best New American Play." That same year Kathy made a strong movie debut co-starring in The Right Stuff as the wife of astronaut Alan Shepard (played by Scott Glenn).
Displaying an attractive intelligence in her performances, Kathy continued to make strides on the New York stage both in 1984's "Desire Under the Elms" and as a replacement for the Lemon character in the Obie-winning "Aunt Dan and Lemon" at Joseph Papp's Shakespeare Festival in 1986. Later in the decade, both Kathy and Morgan Freeman stole the thunder right from under star Christopher Reeve in the tense film drama Street Smart with Kathy delivering a grim, heartfelt performance as an ill-fated hooker to Freeman's feral pimp. Both perfs delivered a one-two punch and were applauded for their shocking realism. Each received their share of awards and plaudits; Kathy nabbed both the National Society of Critics and Boston Society of Critics awards, but was shamefully snubbed when it came to the Oscar race (Freeman was nominated, but lost).
Throughout the rest of the decade Kathy continued to give spot-on performances in such quality films as Clean and Sober, as a recovering addict; Permanent Record, as a wife whose son commits suicide; Jacknife, in which she was reunited with Ed Harris as the put-upon, plain-Jane sister of an alcoholic Vietnam vet; and Edward Scissorhands as a seemingly model housewife who has an uncontrollably flirtatious nature. Top-flight stardom seemed to be almost a given.
With the new decade, however, the movie roles tendered out to her became less frequent or noteworthy so Kathy decided to focus outside her medium of choice and actively search for TV roles. The results were customarily expert. In the slightly quirky Picket Fences, Kathy found a perfect fit taking on the role of small town mother and doctor Jill Brock. Running for four seasons, she was nominated for an Emmy each year and took home the trophy three of those four times for "Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series".
Into the millennium Kathy has maintained consistency with quality roles in the more recent releases Cold Mountain and The Jane Austen Book Club. On TV she and Helen Mirren picked up supporting Emmy nods in the bittersweet Door to Door, with Emmy-winning William H. Macy starring as a man with cerebral palsy. In 2001 she joined the cast of Boston Public as a manipulative mom (another Emmy nomination). Some of those episodes were directed by Steven Robman, whom she married in June of 2003. Kathy has two sons from a previous marriage.
Ivan Reitman, as a producer and director, has created many of American cinema's most successful and best loved feature film comedies and has worked with Hollywood's acting elite. Reitman has produced such hits as the ground-breaking sensation National Lampoon's Animal House, which introduced John Belushi to American filmgoers, and the family features Beethoven and Beethoven's 2nd. His directing credits include Meatballs, Stripes and Ghostbusters, films starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis; Dave, which starred Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver, Junior which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny DeVito and Emma Thompson. Reitman also produced the HBO telefilm The Late Shift, based on Bill Carter's non-fiction book about the late-night television wars which received seven Emmy nominations. Other recent producing endeavors include Commandments, starring Aidan Quinn and Courteney Cox, Private Parts, starring Howard Stern, as well as the animation/ live action film Space Jam, starring Michael Jordan and the Looney Tunes characters. With Twins, Reitman created an entirely new comedic persona for action hero Arnold Schwarzenegger -- and forged a personal and professional relationship that continued with Kindergarten Cop and Junior. Acclaimed dramatic actors such as Robert Redford, Debra Winger, Sigourney Weaver, and Emma Thompson have also revealed untapped comic talents under Reitman's direction. In 1984, Reitman was honored as Director of the Year by the National Association of Theater Owners and the next year received a Special Achievement Award at the Canadian Genie awards. In 1979 and again in 1989, for the films Animal House and Twins, Reitman was honored with the People's Choice Award. In November of 1994, Reitman became the third director honored by Variety magazine in a special Billion Dollar Director issue. Reitman was born in Czechoslovakia and fled with his family to Canada at the age of four. He attended Canada's McMaster University, where he produced and directed several television shorts. He followed with a live television show, Greed: The Series, with Dan Aykroyd as its announcer. "Spellbound," which Reitman produced for the live stage, evolved into the Broadway hit "The Magic Show," starring Doug Henning. He continued producing for the stage with the Off-Broadway hit "The National Lampoon Show," and returned to Broadway to produce and direct the musical "Merlin," earning a Tony nomination for directing. Reitman currently heads The Montecito Picture Company, a film and television production company, with partner Tom Pollock. His television credits include the Emmy-nominated children's show The Real Ghostbusters and the Saturday morning animated series Beethoven for CBS. He is presently working on a new animated children's show Mummies Alive! The Legend Begins and has several feature films in development and pre-production under his new deal with DreamWorks.
The son of a sales clerk and a department store owner, Bill Bixby was the sixth-generation Californian born as Wilfred Bailey Bixby, on January 22, 1934, in San Francisco, California. An only child growing up in the 1940s and 1950s, he attended schools in the same area, took ballroom dance lessons, before attending Lowell High School, where he excelled in drama. After his graduation from high school, he attended San Francisco City College, where he majored in drama. He transferred to the University of California-Berkeley, where he majored in the pre-law program, but never stopped falling in love with his interest in acting. After almost graduating, he left his native San Francisco, to travel to Los Angeles, where he became a lifeguard and a bellhop.
Two years later, in 1959, two executives noticed him and hired him immediately for commercial work and modeling, in Detroit, Michigan. At the same time, he auditioned for theater roles. He joined the Detroit Civic Theatre Company and made his professional stage debut in the musical, "The Boy Friend". Long after his trip to Michigan, he continued doing commercial work and made numerous guest appearances on popular TV sitcoms.
He made his TV debut in an episode of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. He also did many other roles, most notably as "Charles Raymond" in The Joey Bishop Show. After many guest and recurring roles, he landed a co-starring role opposite Ray Walston in My Favorite Martian, in which he portrayed a newspaper reporter playing host to a visitor from another planet. After the first season, it became a hit and Bixby became a household name to millions of fans who liked the show. The show was going well until its cancellation in 1966, which left Bixby in the dark, for the time being. However, he finally got the chance to go onto the big screen. The first of the four post-"Martian" 60s movies he played in was the Western, Ride Beyond Vengeance. The following year, he played in Doctor, You've Got to Be Kidding! and, soon after, he was approached by Elvis Presley to appear in both Clambake, and Speedway. Afterwards, he once again returned to series television, this time playing widowed father, "Tom Corbett", on The Courtship of Eddie's Father, based on the popular 1963 movie. After its first season, it became a much bigger hit than his first show and Bixby, heretofore one of Hollywood's most confirmed bachelors, changed his views on marriage and family, subsequently taking actress Brenda Benet as his bride and fathering a son. He also tried his hand at directing an episode of the series, called "Gifts Are For Giving", about Norman's highly treasured gift. After completing its second season, Bixby received an Emmy nomination for Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, but didn't win. By its third season in 1972, the show had bad scripts and ABC decided to pull the plug.
Once again, Bixby was not long out of work and was offered a chance to star in a lead role as "Anthony Dorian/Anthony Blake", on his first and only NBC dramatic series called, The Magician. The show focused on Anthony performing magic tricks which helped people who were in trouble, and in real-life, Bill became a fine magician, performing to both children and adults. But sadly, the show was canceled after one season due to its expensive costs.
After a seven-year absence from the big screen, he co-starred in another western, opposite Don Knotts and Tim Conway, in The Apple Dumpling Gang. Like most of the theatrical movies he did, it was not a blockbuster at the box office, but was still an average hit. In late 1977, he was offered the role of "Dr. David Bruce Banner", in a two-hour pilot called, The Incredible Hulk. About a physician/scientist who turned into a green monster whenever he became angry, the idea appealed to CBS, and several months later, they premiered a new science fiction-dramatic series, called, The Incredible Hulk. When it debuted as a mid-season replacement, it became the #1 show in the United States, and in many other countries. His character became famous for ripping up shirts each time he turned into the Hulk, played by bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno. Bixby had wanted to direct some episodes, but the time he had to spend in the make-up chair for the transformation sequences made that problematical, and he managed to helm only one segment, "Bring Me the Head of the Hulk", in the fourth season. The series was canceled in 1981 (although the last few episodes didn't air until 1982).
Bixby, once again, came back to series television, acting in, producing and directing his last sitcom, Goodnight, Beantown, on which he played "Matt Cassidy". Chosen for the role of "Jennifer Barnes", was one of Bixby's old friends, Mariette Hartley, who had won an Emmy for her guest appearance in The Incredible Hulk as Banner's second wife. The two played co-anchor newscasters of a Boston television station whose sparring on and off the air developed into friendship and respect. Discounting a brief, inconsequential return to the network's schedule in the summer of 1984, the series lasted for less than a year, from April 1983 to January 1984.
Bixby now decided to concentrate on directing and worked on Wizards and Warriors, Goodnight, Beantown and Sledge Hammer!. He also directed the pilot for a New York spy series, "Rockhopper". He also appeared in front of the camera as the host of the daytime anthology series, True Confessions, which dealt with real-life crises of everyday people. Bixby additionally served as host for two shows targeting younger viewers: "Against the Odds", a series of biographies of prominent people, frequently from history, for the Nickelodeon cable channel; and "Once Upon a Classic", a collection of British TV adaptations of literary classics on PBS.
He came back to reprise his role of "Dr. David Banner" from The Incredible Hulk by acting in, producing, and directing the three spin-off movies: The Incredible Hulk Returns, The Trial of the Incredible Hulk and The Death of the Incredible Hulk. He also directed TV movies such as Baby of the Bride and Another Pair of Aces: Three of a Kind.
In April 1991, while directing one of his last movies, he became very ill and was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He underwent surgery and by December, his cancer seemed to be in remission, so he came back to guest star as "Nick Osborne" in a two-hour TV movie/pilot called Diagnosis Murder. In mid-1992, while his cancer continued to be in remission, Bixby returned to work as a director to direct several episodes of the popular NBC sitcom, Blossom, where he became the main director of the show. At first, he hid his illness from the cast and crew, until one of the producers found out, and then he announced publicly that he wanted to continue working until he could no longer do so. Prior to going public with his cancer, he directed a TV movie starring Roseanne Barr and Tom Arnold, The Woman Who Loved Elvis, which was his final directing project.
Unfortunately, the cancer returned by mid-1993 and, on November 21, 1993, six days after directing his last episode on "Blossom" (1991), Bill Bixby died at his home after a two-year battle with cancer at age 59. For over 30 years, he was in great demand and his big roles and directing credits have been a personal testimony to his fans. His life is gone, but his legacy lives on for years to come.
Named after child star Shirley Temple, Shirley Jones started singing at the age of six. She started formal training at the age of 12 and would dream of singing with her idol, Gordon MacRae. Upon graduating from high school, Shirley went to New York to audition for the casting director of Rodgers & Hammerstein. Taken by Shirley's beautifully trained voice, Shirley was signed as a nurse in the Broadway production of "South Pacific". Within a year, she would be in Hollywood to appear in her first film Oklahoma! as Laurey, the farm girl in love with cowboy Gordon MacRae. Oklahoma! would be filmed in CinemaScope and Todd-AO wide-screen and would take a year to shoot. After that, Shirley returned to Broadway for the stage production of "Oklahoma!" before returning to Hollywood for Carousel. But by this time, musicals were a dying art and she would have a few lean years. She would work on television in programs like Playhouse 90. With a screen image comparable to peaches-n-cream, Shirley wanted a darker role to change her image. In 1960, she would be cast as the vengeful prostitute in the Richard Brooks dramatic film Elmer Gantry. With a brilliant performance against an equally brilliant Burt Lancaster, Shirley would win the Oscar for Supporting Actress. But the public wanted the good Shirley so she was cast as "Marion", the librarian, in the successful musical The Music Man. Robert Preston had played the role on Broadway and his performance along with Shirley was magic. Shirley would again work with little Ron Howard in The Courtship of Eddie's Father. But the movies changed in the 60's and Shirley's image did not fit so she would see her movie career stop in 1965. There were always nightclubs, but Shirley would be remembered by another generation as "Shirley Partridge" in the television series The Partridge Family. While the success of the show would do more for her stepson, teen idol David Cassidy, it would keep her name and face in the public view for the four years that the series ran. The show still plays in reruns. After the show ended, Shirley would spend the rest of the 70's in the land of television movies. The television movie The Lives of Jenny Dolan would be made as a pilot for a series that was not picked up. In 1979, Shirley appeared in a comedy show called Shirley, but the show lasted only one season. Shirley would appear infrequently in the 80's and in video's extolling fitness and beauty at the end of the decade.
Scarlett Estevez was born in Los Angeles CA. It became clear at a young age that she had a knack for the performing arts.
Scarlett booked her first national commercial at age 3 and has appeared in more than 25 national commercials. Her first film role was in a short film for the "Make-A-Film Foundation" called The Magic Bracelet. The cast included James Van Der Beek, Hailee Steinfeld, Jackson Rathbone, J.K Simmons, and Bailee Madison. She then went on to shoot her first feature film And Then There Was You staring Garcielle Beauvais. Scarlett co- starred in the pilot Redeeming Dave which was written by Dominic Russo (Workaholics). She co-starred on the Nickelodeon Web Series Junior Eye. Her next project is a supporting lead in the upcoming film Daddy's Home. She plays the daughter of Mark Wahlberg and Linda Cardellini and Step daughter of Will Ferrell. Scarlett can also be seen on Fox's Lucifer as a series regular in early 2016.
Bonnie Morgan is a talented actress, a daring stunt woman and an extraordinary contortionist with an uncanny ability to bend herself to fit any role. The mad-capped redhead is an eccentric comedienne, yet she is most often cast to play dramatic, horrific monsters!
In "The Ring Two," she shocked horror fans with her terrifying and now infamous "spider crawl" performance as 'Samara,' chasing Naomi Watt's character out of the well.
Bonnie has now taken over the iconic role of 'Samara' in the upcoming "Rings 3," where she returns with a familiar video tape to strike terror once again. "Rings 3," the latest in the $400 million horror franchise, will be released by Paramount on April 1st, 2016.
In addition, Bonnie can be seen as 'Tree Witch' in Lionsgate's supernatural action film "The Last Witch Hunter," starring Vin Diesel.
In the 2012 hit Paramount thriller "The Devil Inside," Bonnie terrified audiences as the demonically possessed 'Rosa,' showcasing both her acting and contortionist abilities in a role that was both physically and emotionally demanding.
Bonnie grew up in a castle on a crest of the Hollywood Hills, raised by third-generation circus performers who also have a fantastic horror lineage. Bonnie's father Gary Morgan is an incredible stuntman/actor who played 'Billy' in the sci-fi classic "Logan's Run" and doubled the dog in "Cujo," and her aunt Robbi Morgan played 'Annie,' Jason's first victim in "Friday the 13th."
Before she could walk, Bonnie's dad started teaching her acrobatics, and, as she grew, she showed a remarkable aptitude for trapeze, silks, stilts and tight rope. Expanding on her repertoire, she soon discovered her astounding powers as a contortionist at the tender age of nine.
She began her acting career as a child, doing commercials and guest-starring on such family-favorite series as "Blossom," "The Nanny" and "Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman." She went on to follow in her father's footsteps, augmenting her acting career with stunts and creature characters in such films as "Hellboy II: The Golden Army," where she marauded through the troll market; and "Men in Black II," where a head-like appliance was placed on her behind - hence the moniker 'Jabba the Butt.'
Bonnie's acting and contorting talents have also merged in such features as "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone," marking her third film with Jim Carrey; "National Lampoon's Transylmania"; Steven Spielberg's "Minority Report" with Tom Cruise; and "Piranha 3D" where she was hilariously eaten alive through an inner tube. More recently, she appeared opposite Robert Englund in "Fear Clinic," playing 'Paige,' a patient who perishes during the opening credits, yet haunts Englund's character throughout the story, eventually merging as Evil itself!
Fearless and uniquely agile, Bonnie has also contributed her skills to daring stunts in such films as "How The Grinch Stole Christmas," "Fright Night" and "Peter Pan," also showcasing her acting talents in each film with roles as a Who, a vampire and a fairy, respectively.
For the small screen, she partied on Showtime's "Shameless," was broken and bent as the Terminator Rosie on "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles," and was beaten to a pulp by Michelle Rodriguez in the short "Sorority Pillow Fight." In "Criminal Minds," she had a recurring role as a broken, tortured human marionette doll. She has also appeared on "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "Castle" and "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." Most recently, she contorted for Patrick Stewart in his Starz original series "Blunt Talk."
Bonnie's diverse appearances have ranged from Shakespearean troupes to Los Angeles-based circuses, in addition to opening for the legendary Paul McCartney in his Driving USA Tour. She was the opening act this past year for the Mistress of Darkness' "Elvira's Big Top" show at Knott's Scary Farm. She has performed in numerous Shakespeare productions, including the role of 'Gertrude' in "Hamlet." Her favorite Shakespearean character is the clever, mischievous sprite 'Puck' in "A Midsummer Night's Dream," which she has played in seven productions.
She is also a regular performer at the historic and uber-exclusive Brookledge Theater in Hollywood, owned by the Magic Castle's Larsen Family. Bonnie and her family also perform annually at the Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire, and Bonnie has recently starred in and directed a Commedia del Arte with her family at the Faire, among other venues. Another feather in her cap is a Guinness World Record for her remarkable contortionist abilities!
The Morgan Family is known for throwing legendary, by-invitation-only parties in their eccentric home, known as Morgan Castle, which sits high above Los Angeles on a peak in Laurel Canyon. Recent themes have been "Back to the Future Prom," "Jungle Boogie" and "Beatlemania," as well as the most epic New Year's Eve party to ring in 2015!
Bonnie is also consistently in demand for commercials, becoming such famous characters as FLO-BOT in the Progressive Insurance commercials, the Kia Sock Monkey, the Comcast Robot, The Silk Soy Milk Cow, the Awkward Robot Butler for WINK, and a menacing creature in the #7000 Chemicals campaign.
A marvelously quirky and distinctive 4' 3" character actress, with a larger-than-life presence on film and TV, Zelda Rubinstein gave up a long and stable career in the medical field as a lab technician in order to strive for something more self-fulfilling as middle age settled in. At the age of 45, the feisty lady gave up the comfort of a stable paycheck and attempt an acting career, a daunting task for anyone but especially someone of her stature and type. Within a few years, she had beaten the odds and became a major movie celebrity thanks to one terrific showcase in a Steven Spielberg horror classic. In the process, she served as an inspiration to all the "little people" working in Hollywood who are forced to toil in cruel and demeaning stereotypes.
Zelda May Rubinstein was born on May 28, 1933 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Dolores and George Rubinstein, who were Polish Jewish immigrants. Zelda was the youngest of three children, and the only "little person" in the family. Her childhood and teenage years were decidedly difficult in terms of coping with her "interesting variation," which was caused by a pituitary gland deficiency. With no designs on acting at the time, she went the normal route of college and received a scholarship to study at the University of Pittsburgh. She earned her degree in bacteriology and worked for a number of years as a lab technician in blood banks. In 1978, Zelda, in a pursuit of something more creative in her life, abandoned her cushy but mundane job and threw herself completely into acting. She made her movie debut as one of the little people in the Chevy Chase slapstick comedy Under the Rainbow. It all came together so quickly with her second film Poltergeist in the scene-stealing role of Tangina, the saucy, self-confident, prune-faced "house cleaner" with the whispery, doll-like voice who is brought in to rid a suburban home of demonic possession. Co-writer/producer Spielberg claims he designed the psychic role specifically for a "little person". The film became an instant summertime hit and Zelda created absolute magic and wonderment with the testy role, receiving some of the movie's best reviews. The character actress went on to appear in the two "Poltergeist" sequels. The "Poltergeist" movie projects were eventually dubbed "cursed" due to the untimely deaths of some of its performers, particularly two of the three children of film parents Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams. 22-year-old Dominique Dunne was slain in 1982 by a jealous ex-boyfriend only a few months after the first film's release, and angelic little Heather O'Rourke, age 12, died of an intestinal obstruction just months before Poltergeist III made it to the screen.
Although Zelda would not find a role quite up to the standards and popularity of Tangina, her subsequent career remained surprisingly active with a number of weird parts woven into both comedies and chillers -- often variations of her eccentric Tangina role. She played a mental patient in the Frances Farmer biopic Frances, which showcased Jessica Lange in the Oscar-nominated title role; a squeaky-shoed organist in John Hughes sweet-sixteen comedy classic Sixteen Candles co-starring "Brat Pack"ers Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall; the demented mom in the gruesome, Spanish-made horror-thriller Anguish [aka Anguish], which has since reached cult status; a mentor witch in the comic fantasy Teen Witch; a hermit in a National Lampoon-based slapstick Last Resort; a betting clerk in the sci-fi adventure Timemaster; an ill-fated nun in the thriller Little Witches, and; a theatre director in the flick Critics and Other Freaks.
Into the millennium, she made some odd, slapdash appearances in such minor fare as Maria & Jose, Wishcraft, Cages_, Angels with Angles, Unbeatable Harold and Southland Tales. In her last film, she furthered her horror icon status with a small cameo in the slim-budgeted indie Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon that also featured Robert Englund of "Freddy Krueger" fame. Zelda also found an "in" doing voiceovers, her doll-like tones ideal for cartoons and such, and in commercials promoting such items as Skittles candy. She enjoyed extended popularity on TV with a regular series role on the first couple of seasons of Picket Fences. Her character later was killed off in a freakish accident (fell into a freezer!). In her last years she narrated, and "Exorcist" child star Linda Blair hosted, TV's Scariest Places on Earth. The actress also appeared on stage in such productions as "Deathtrap" (as a psychic, of course), "To Kill a Mockingbird," "Suddenly, Last Summer," "The Slab Boys" and "Black Comedy". She also appeared as Yente in a production of "Fiddler on the Roof".
An outspoken social activist, Zelda was a staunch advocate for the rights of little people who formed the nonprofit Michael Dunn Memorial Repertory Theater Company in Los Angeles in 1985. The actress gained additional attention and respect, if not popularity (her career suffered for a time as a result), as an early and outspoken HIV/AIDS activist. As the poster mom for AIDS awareness, she valiantly appeared in a series of maternal newspaper/billboard advertisements imploring her gay son to practice safe sex. The series of ads ran from the mid-to-late 1980s. Zelda also participated in the first AIDS Project Los Angeles AIDS Walk and attended the 25th Anniversary Walk on October 12, 2009.
A couple of months before her death on January 27, 2010, Zelda suffered a heart attack. Complications set in (kidney and lung failure) and she passed away at age 76 on January 27, 2010, at Barlow Respiratory Hospital in Los Angeles, California.