Jay Baruchel was born in Ottawa, Ontario, and was raised in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He is the son of Robyne (Ropell), a freelance writer, and Serge Victor Baruchel, an antiques dealer. He has a younger sister who also acts. He started acting in 1995 when he made his first of three appearances on the hit show Are You Afraid of the Dark?. He was also in more localized shows such as My Hometown and Popular Mechanics for Kids.
Baruchel had spent some downtime and finally got a chance to be in a classic film called Almost Famous in 2000. He played "Vic", a devout fan of Led Zeppelin. Judd Apatow soon had a show in the works and Baruchel played "Steven Karp" on Undeclared. He also had the chance to star alongside actors such as Ian Somerhalder and James Van Der Beek as "Harry" in The Rules of Attraction. Things began to slow down a bit after a couple more failed shows.
Soon enough, Baruchel came back as the courageous "Danger Barch" in Million Dollar Baby. Bringing life to a role that could have been ruined so easily, Baruchel made "Danger" a well-loved character. The best part about this actor is his loyalty to his home country. He loves to be able to work in Canada as often as possible. He has been in many fantastic independent films such as Fetching Cody, Just Buried and Real Time. All three of those films appeal to sides of a person that are never known to exist until it's too late.
He was also in many successful American comedy films. He was the lead in She's Out of My League and played one of Seth Rogen's best friends (which he really is) in the movie Knocked Up. He's also made his mark in family-friendly films such as How to Train Your Dragon, playing the unlikely "Viking Hiccup" and also played the title role in The Sorcerer's Apprentice alongside his newly-found kindred spirit, actor Nicolas Cage.
It is no secret that while he enjoys acting, it truly is a means to an end. He lived his dream as he worked on the hockey comedy Goon, and is working on many other films that are what he considers to be passion projects. Now he is making films that he has been preparing for all of his life and nothing can slow him down.
Marlon Brando is widely considered the greatest movie actor of all time, rivaled only by the more theatrically oriented Laurence Olivier in terms of esteem. Unlike Olivier, who preferred the stage to the screen, Brando concentrated his talents on movies after bidding the Broadway stage adieu in 1949, a decision for which he was severely criticized when his star began to dim in the 1960s and he was excoriated for squandering his talents. No actor ever exerted such a profound influence on succeeding generations of actors as did Brando. More than 50 years after he first scorched the screen as Stanley Kowalski in the movie version of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire and a quarter-century after his last great performance as Col. Kurtz in Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now, all American actors are still being measured by the yardstick that was Brando. It was if the shadow of John Barrymore, the great American actor closest to Brando in terms of talent and stardom, dominated the acting field up until the 1970s. He did not, nor did any other actor so dominate the public's consciousness of what WAS an actor before or since Brando's 1951 on-screen portrayal of Stanley made him a cultural icon. Brando eclipsed the reputation of other great actors circa 1950, such as Paul Muni and Fredric March. Only the luster of Spencer Tracy's reputation hasn't dimmed when seen in the starlight thrown off by Brando. However, neither Tracy nor Olivier created an entire school of acting just by the force of his personality. Brando did.
Marlon Brando, Jr. was born on April 3, 1924, in Omaha, Nebraska, to Marlon Brando, Sr., a calcium carbonate salesman, and his artistically inclined wife, the former Dorothy Julia Pennebaker. "Bud" Brando was one of three children. His ancestry included English, and smaller amounts of Irish, German, Dutch, French Huguenot, Welsh, and Scottish; his surname originated with a distant German immigrant ancestor named "Brandau". His oldest sister Jocelyn Brando was also an actress, taking after their mother, who engaged in amateur theatricals and mentored a then-unknown Henry Fonda, another Nebraska native, in her role as director of the Omaha Community Playhouse. Frannie, Brando's other sibling, was a visual artist. Both Brando sisters contrived to leave the Midwest for New York City, Jocelyn to study acting and Frannie to study art. Marlon managed to escape the vocational doldrums forecast for him by his cold, distant father and his disapproving schoolteachers by striking out for The Big Apple in 1943, following Jocelyn into the acting profession. Acting was the only thing he was good at, for which he received praise, so he was determined to make it his career - a high-school dropout, he had nothing else to fall back on, having been rejected by the military due to a knee injury he incurred playing football at Shattuck Military Academy, Brando Sr.'s alma mater. The school booted Marlon out as incorrigible before graduation.
Acting was a skill he honed as a child, the lonely son of alcoholic parents. With his father away on the road, and his mother frequently intoxicated to the point of stupefaction, the young Bud would play-act for her to draw her out of her stupor and to attract her attention and love. His mother was exceedingly neglectful, but he loved her, particularly for instilling in him a love of nature, a feeling which informed his character Paul in Last Tango in Paris ("Last Tango in Paris") when he is recalling his childhood for his young lover Jeanne. "I don't have many good memories," Paul confesses, and neither did Brando of his childhood. Sometimes he had to go down to the town jail to pick up his mother after she had spent the night in the drunk tank and bring her home, events that traumatized the young boy but may have been the grain that irritated the oyster of his talent, producing the pearls of his performances. Anthony Quinn, his Oscar-winning co-star in Viva Zapata! told Brando's first wife Anna Kashfi, "I admire Marlon's talent, but I don't envy the pain that created it."
Brando enrolled in Erwin Piscator's Dramatic Workshop at New York's New School, and was mentored by Stella Adler, a member of a famous Yiddish Theatre acting family. Adler helped introduce to the New York stage the "emotional memory" technique of Russian theatrical actor, director and impresario Konstantin Stanislavski, whose motto was "Think of your own experiences and use them truthfully." The results of this meeting between an actor and the teacher preparing him for a life in the theater would mark a watershed in American acting and culture.
Brando made his debut on the boards of Broadway on October 19, 1944, in "I Remember Mama," a great success. As a young Broadway actor, Brando was invited by talent scouts from several different studios to screen-test for them, but he turned them down because he would not let himself be bound by the then-standard seven-year contract. Brando would make his film debut quite some time later in Fred Zinnemann's The Men for producer Stanley Kramer. Playing a paraplegic soldier, Brando brought new levels of realism to the screen, expanding on the verisimilitude brought to movies by Group Theatre alumni John Garfield, the predecessor closest to him in the raw power he projected on-screen. Ironically, it was Garfield whom producer Irene Mayer Selznick had chosen to play the lead in a new Tennessee Williams play she was about to produce, but negotiations broke down when Garfield demanded an ownership stake in "A Streetcar Named Desire." Burt Lancaster was next approached, but couldn't get out of a prior film commitment. Then director Elia Kazan suggested Brando, whom he had directed to great effect in Maxwell Anderson's play "Truckline Café," in which Brando co-starred with Karl Malden, who was to remain a close friend for the next 60 years.
During the production of "Truckline Café", Kazan had found that Brando's presence was so magnetic, he had to re-block the play to keep Marlon near other major characters' stage business, as the audience could not take its eyes off of him. For the scene where Brando's character re-enters the stage after killing his wife, Kazan placed him upstage-center, partially obscured by scenery, but where the audience could still see him as Karl Malden and others played out their scene within the café set. When he eventually entered the scene, crying, the effect was electric. A young Pauline Kael, arriving late to the play, had to avert her eyes when Brando made this entrance as she believed the young actor on stage was having a real-life conniption. She did not look back until her escort commented that the young man was a great actor.
The problem with casting Brando as Stanley was that he was much younger than the character as written by Williams. However, after a meeting between Brando and Williams, the playwright eagerly agreed that Brando would make an ideal Stanley. Williams believed that by casting a younger actor, the Neanderthalish Kowalski would evolve from being a vicious older man to someone whose unintentional cruelty can be attributed to his youthful ignorance. Brando ultimately was dissatisfied with his performance, though, saying he never was able to bring out the humor of the character, which was ironic as his characterization often drew laughs from the audience at the expense of Jessica Tandy's Blanche Dubois. During the out-of-town tryouts, Kazan realized that Brando's magnetism was attracting attention and audience sympathy away from Blanche to Stanley, which was not what the playwright intended. The audience's sympathy should be solely with Blanche, but many spectators were identifying with Stanley. Kazan queried Williams on the matter, broaching the idea of a slight rewrite to tip the scales back to more of a balance between Stanley and Blanche, but Williams demurred, smitten as he was by Brando, just like the preview audiences.
For his part, Brando believed that the audience sided with his Stanley because Jessica Tandy was too shrill. He thought Vivien Leigh, who played the part in the movie, was ideal, as she was not only a great beauty but she WAS Blanche Dubois, troubled as she was in her real life by mental illness and nymphomania. Brando's appearance as Stanley on stage and on screen revolutionized American acting by introducing "The Method" into American consciousness and culture. Method acting, rooted in Adler's study at the Moscow Art Theatre of Stanislavsky's theories that she subsequently introduced to the Group Theatre, was a more naturalistic style of performing, as it engendered a close identification of the actor with the character's emotions. Adler took first place among Brando's acting teachers, and socially she helped turn him from an unsophisticated Midwestern farm boy into a knowledgeable and cosmopolitan artist who one day would socialize with presidents.
Brando didn't like the term "The Method," which quickly became the prominent paradigm taught by such acting gurus as Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio. Brando denounced Strasberg in his autobiography "Songs My Mother Taught Me" (1994), saying that he was a talentless exploiter who claimed he had been Brando's mentor. The Actors Studio had been founded by Strasberg along with Kazan and Stella Adler's husband, Harold Clurman, all Group Theatre alumni, all political progressives deeply committed to the didactic function of the stage. Brando credits his knowledge of the craft to Adler and Kazan, while Kazan in his autobiography "A Life" claimed that Brando's genius thrived due to the thorough training Adler had given him. Adler's method emphasized that authenticity in acting is achieved by drawing on inner reality to expose deep emotional experience
Interestingly, Elia Kazan believed that Brando had ruined two generations of actors, his contemporaries and those who came after him, all wanting to emulate the great Brando by employing The Method. Kazan felt that Brando was never a Method actor, that he had been highly trained by Adler and did not rely on gut instincts for his performances, as was commonly believed. Many a young actor, mistaken about the true roots of Brando's genius, thought that all it took was to find a character's motivation, empathize with the character through sense and memory association, and regurgitate it all on stage to become the character. That's not how the superbly trained Brando did it; he could, for example, play accents, whereas your average American Method actor could not. There was a method to Brando's art, Kazan felt, but it was not The Method.
After A Streetcar Named Desire, for which he received the first of his eight Academy Award nominations, Brando appeared in a string of Academy Award-nominated performances - in Viva Zapata!, Julius Caesar and the summit of his early career, Kazan's On the Waterfront. For his "Waterfront" portrayal of meat-headed longshoreman Terry Malloy, the washed-up pug who "coulda been a contender," Brando won his first Oscar. Along with his iconic performance as the rebel-without-a-cause Johnny in The Wild One ("What are you rebelling against?" Johnny is asked. "What have ya got?" is his reply), the first wave of his career was, according to Jon Voight, unprecedented in its audacious presentation of such a wide range of great acting. Director John Huston said his performance of Marc Antony was like seeing the door of a furnace opened in a dark room, and co-star John Gielgud, the premier Shakespearean actor of the 20th century, invited Brando to join his repertory company.
It was this period of 1951-54 that revolutionized American acting, spawning such imitators as James Dean - who modeled his acting and even his lifestyle on his hero Brando - the young Paul Newman and Steve McQueen. After Brando, every up-and-coming star with true acting talent and a brooding, alienated quality would be hailed as the "New Brando," such as Warren Beatty in Kazan's Splendor in the Grass. "We are all Brando's children," Jack Nicholson pointed out in 1972. "He gave us our freedom." He was truly "The Godfather" of American acting - and he was just 30 years old.
In the second period of his career, 1955-62, Brando managed to uniquely establish himself as a great actor who also was a Top 10 movie star, although that star began to dim after the box-office high point of his early career, Sayonara (for which he received his fifth Best Actor Oscar nomination). Brando tried his hand at directing a film, the well-reviewed One-Eyed Jacks that he made for his own production company, Pennebaker Productions (after his mother's maiden name). Stanley Kubrick had been hired to direct the film, but after months of script rewrites in which Brando participated, Kubrick and Brando had a falling out and Kubrick was sacked. According to his widow Christiane Kubrick, Stanley believed that Brando had wanted to direct the film himself all along.
Tales proliferated about the profligacy of Brando the director, burning up a million and a half feet of expensive VistaVision film at 50 cents a foot, fully ten times the normal amount of raw stock expended during production of an equivalent motion picture. Brando took so long editing the film that he was never able to present the studio with a cut. Paramount took it away from him and tacked on a re-shot ending that Brando was dissatisfied with, as it made the Oedipal figure of Dad Longworth into a villain. In any normal film Dad would have been the heavy, but Brando believed that no one was innately evil, that it was a matter of an individual responding to, and being molded by, one's environment. It was not a black-and-white world, Brando felt, but a gray world in which once-decent people could do horrible things. This attitude explains his sympathetic portrayal of Nazi officer Christian Diestl in the film he made before shooting One-Eyed Jacks, Edward Dmytryk's filming of Irwin Shaw's novel The Young Lions. Shaw denounced Brando's performance, but audiences obviously disagreed, as the film was a major hit. It would be the last hit movie Brando would have for more than a decade.
One-Eyed Jacks generated respectable numbers at the box office, but the production costs were exorbitant - a then-staggering $6 million - which made it run a deficit. A film essentially is "made" in the editing room, and Brando found cutting to be a terribly boring process, which was why the studio eventually took the film away from him. Despite his proved talent in handling actors and a large production, Brando never again directed another film, though he would claim that all actors essentially direct themselves during the shooting of a picture.
Between the production and release of One-Eyed Jacks, Brando appeared in Sidney Lumet's film version of Tennessee Williams' play "Orpheus Descending", The Fugitive Kind which teamed him with fellow Oscar winners Anna Magnani and Joanne Woodward. Following in Elizabeth Taylor's trailblazing footsteps, Brando became the second performer to receive a $1-million salary for a motion picture, so high were the expectations for this re-teaming of Kowalski and his creator (in 1961 critic Hollis Alpert had published a book "Brando and the Shadow of Stanley Kowalski). Critics and audiences waiting for another incendiary display from Brando in a Williams work were disappointed when the renamed The Fugitive Kind finally released. Though Tennessee was hot, with movie versions of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Suddenly, Last Summer burning up the box office and receiving kudos from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, The Fugitive Kind was a failure. This was followed by the so-so box-office reception of One-Eyed Jacks in 1961 and then by a failure of a more monumental kind: Mutiny on the Bounty, a remake of the famed 1935 film.
Brando signed on to Mutiny on the Bounty after turning down the lead in the David Lean classic Lawrence of Arabia because he didn't want to spend a year in the desert riding around on a camel. He received another $1-million salary, plus $200,000 in overages as the shoot went overtime and over budget. During principal photography, highly respected director Carol Reed (an eventual Academy Award winner) was fired, and his replacement, two-time Oscar winner Lewis Milestone, was shunted aside by Brando as Marlon basically took over the direction of the film himself. The long shoot became so notorious that President John F. Kennedy asked director Billy Wilder at a cocktail party not "when" but "if" the "Bounty" shoot would ever be over. The MGM remake of one of its classic Golden Age films garnered a Best Picture Oscar nomination and was one of the top grossing films of 1962, yet failed to go into the black due to its Brobdingnagian budget estimated at $20 million, which is equivalent to $120 million when adjusted for inflation.
Brando and Taylor, whose Cleopatra nearly bankrupted 20th Century-Fox due to its huge cost overruns (its final budget was more than twice that of Brando's Mutiny on the Bounty), were pilloried by the show business press for being the epitome of the pampered, self-indulgent stars who were ruining the industry. Seeking scapegoats, the Hollywood press conveniently ignored the financial pressures on the studios. The studios had been hurt by television and by the antitrust-mandated divestiture of their movie theater chains, causing a large outflow of production to Italy and other countries in the 1950s and 1960s in order to lower costs. The studio bosses, seeking to replicate such blockbuster hits as the remakes of The Ten Commandments and Ben-Hur, were the real culprits behind the losses generated by large-budgeted films that found it impossible to recoup their costs despite long lines at the box office.
While Elizabeth Taylor, receiving the unwanted gift of reams of publicity from her adulterous romance with Cleopatra co-star Richard Burton, remained hot until the tanking of her own Tennessee Williams-renamed debacle Boom!, Brando from 1963 until the end of the decade appeared in one box-office failure after another as he worked out a contract he had signed with Universal Pictures. The industry had grown tired of Brando and his idiosyncrasies, though he continued to be offered prestige projects up through 1968.
Some of the films Brando made in the 1960s were noble failures, such as The Ugly American, The Chase and Reflections in a Golden Eye. For every "Reflections," though, there seemed to be two or three outright debacles, such as Bedtime Story, A Countess from Hong Kong and The Night of the Following Day. By the time Brando began making the anti-colonialist picture Burn! in Colombia with Gillo Pontecorvo in the director's chair, he was box-office poison, despite having worked in the previous five years with such top directors as Arthur Penn, John Huston and the legendary Charles Chaplin, and with such top-drawer co-stars as David Niven, Yul Brynner, Sophia Loren and Taylor.
The rap on Brando in the 1960s was that a great talent had ruined his potential to be America's answer to Laurence Olivier, as his friend William Redfield limned the dilemma in his book "Letters from an Actor" (1967), a memoir about Redfield's appearance in Burton's 1964 theatrical production of "Hamlet." By failing to go back on stage and recharge his artistic batteries, something British actors such as Burton were not afraid to do, Brando had stifled his great talent, by refusing to tackle the classical repertoire and contemporary drama. Actors and critics had yearned for an American response to the high-acting style of the Brits, and while Method actors such as Rod Steiger tried to create an American style, they were hampered in their quest, as their king was lost in a wasteland of Hollywood movies that were beneath his talent. Many of his early supporters now turned on him, claiming he was a crass sellout.
Despite evidence in such films as The Chase, The Appaloosa and Reflections in a Golden Eye that Brando was in fact doing some of the best acting of his life, critics, perhaps with an eye on the box office, slammed him for failing to live up to, and nurture, his great gift. Brando's political activism, starting in the early 1960s with his championing of Native Americans' rights, followed by his participation in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's March on Washington in 1963, and followed by his appearance at a Black Panther rally in 1968, did not win him many admirers in the establishment. In fact, there was a de facto embargo on Brando films in the recently segregated (officially, at least) southeastern US in the 1960s. Southern exhibitors simply would not book his films, and producers took notice. After 1968, Brando would not work for three years.
Pauline Kael wrote of Brando that he was Fortune's fool. She drew a parallel with the latter career of John Barrymore, a similarly gifted thespian with talents as prodigious, who seemingly threw them away. Brando, like the late-career Barrymore, had become a great ham, evidenced by his turn as the faux Indian guru in the egregious Candy, seemingly because the material was so beneath his talent. Most observers of Brando in the 1960s believed that he needed to be reunited with his old mentor Elia Kazan, a relationship that had soured due to Kazan's friendly testimony naming names before the notorious House Un-American Activities Committee. Perhaps Brando believed this, too, as he originally accepted an offer to appear as the star of Kazan's film adaptation of his own novel, The Arrangement. However, after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Brando backed out of the film, telling Kazan that he could not appear in a Hollywood film after this tragedy. Also reportedly turning down a role opposite box-office king Paul Newman in a surefire script, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Brando decided to make Burn! with Pontecorvo. The film, a searing indictment of racism and colonialism, flopped at the box office but won the esteem of progressive critics and cultural arbiters such as Howard Zinn.
Kazan, after a life in film and the theater, said that, aside from Orson Welles, whose greatness lay in filmmaking, he only met one actor who was a genius: Brando. Richard Burton, an intellectual with a keen eye for observation if not for his own film projects, said that he found Brando to be very bright, unlike the public perception of him as a Terry Malloy-type character that he himself inadvertently promoted through his boorish behavior. Brando's problem, Burton felt, was that he was unique, and that he had gotten too much fame too soon at too early an age. Cut off from being nurtured by normal contact with society, fame had distorted Brando's personality and his ability to cope with the world, as he had not had time to grow up outside the limelight.
Truman Capote, who eviscerated Brando in print in the mid-'50s and had as much to do with the public perception of the dyslexic Brando as a dumbbell, always said that the best actors were ignorant, and that an intelligent person could not be a good actor. However, Brando was highly intelligent, and possessed of a rare genius in a then-deprecated art, acting. The problem that an intelligent performer has in movies is that it is the director, and not the actor, who has the power in his chosen field. Greatness in the other arts is defined by how much control the artist is able to exert over his chosen medium, but in movie acting, the medium is controlled by a person outside the individual artist. It is an axiom of the cinema that a performance, as is a film, is "created" in the cutting room, thus further removing the actor from control over his art. Brando had tried his hand at directing, in controlling the whole artistic enterprise, but he could not abide the cutting room, where a film and the film's performances are made. This lack of control over his art was the root of Brando's discontent with acting, with movies, and, eventually, with the whole wide world that invested so much cachet in movie actors, as long as "they" were at the top of the box-office charts. Hollywood was a matter of "they" and not the work, and Brando became disgusted.
Charlton Heston, who participated in Martin Luther King's 1963 March on Washington with Brando, believes that Marlon was the great actor of his generation. However, noting a story that Brando had once refused a role in the early 1960s with the excuse "How can I act when people are starving in India?", Heston believes that it was this attitude, the inability to separate one's idealism from one's work, that prevented Brando from reaching his potential. As Rod Steiger once said, Brando had it all, great stardom and a great talent. He could have taken his audience on a trip to the stars, but he simply would not. Steiger, one of Brando's children even though a contemporary, could not understand it. When James Mason' was asked in 1971 who was the best American actor, he had replied that since Brando had let his career go belly-up, it had to be George C. Scott, by default.
Paramount thought that only Laurence Olivier would suffice, but Lord Olivier was ill. The young director believed there was only one actor who could play godfather to the group of Young Turk actors he had assembled for his film, The Godfather of method acting himself - Marlon Brando. Francis Ford Coppola won the fight for Brando, Brando won - and refused - his second Oscar, and Paramount won a pot of gold by producing the then top-grossing film of all-time, The Godfather, a gangster movie most critics now judge one of the greatest American films of all time. Brando followed his iconic portrayal of Don Corleone with his Oscar-nominated turn in the high-grossing and highly scandalous Last Tango in Paris ("Last Tango in Paris"), the first film dealing explicitly with sexuality in which an actor of Brando's stature had participated. He was now again a Top-Ten box office star and once again heralded as the greatest actor of his generation, an unprecedented comeback that put him on the cover of "Time" magazine and would make him the highest-paid actor in the history of motion pictures by the end of the decade. Little did the world know that Brando, who had struggled through many projects in good faith during the 1960s, delivering some of his best acting, only to be excoriated and ignored as the films did not do well at the box office, essentially was through with the movies.
After reaching the summit of his career, a rarefied atmosphere never reached before or since by any actor, Brando essentially walked away. He would give no more of himself after giving everything as he had done in "Last Tango in Paris," a performance that embarrassed him, according to his autobiography. Brando had come as close to any actor to being the "auteur," or author, of a film, as the English-language scenes of "Tango" were created by encouraging Brando to improvise. The improvisations were written down and turned into a shooting script, and the scripted improvisations were shot the next day. Pauline Kael, the Brando of movie critics in that she was the most influential arbiter of cinematic quality of her generation and spawned a whole legion of Kael wanna-bes, said Brando's performance in Last Tango in Paris had revolutionized the art of film. Brando, who had to act to gain his mother's attention; Brando, who believed acting at best was nothing special as everyone in the world engaged in it every day of their lives to get what they wanted from other people; Brando, who believed acting at its worst was a childish charade and that movie stardom was a whorish fraud, would have agreed with Sam Peckinpah's summation of Pauline Kael: "Pauline's a brilliant critic but sometimes she's just cracking walnuts with her ass." Probably in a simulacrum of those words, too.
After another three-year hiatus, Brando took on just one more major role for the next 20 years, as the bounty hunter after Jack Nicholson in Arthur Penn's The Missouri Breaks, a western that succeeded neither with the critics or at the box office. From then on, Brando concentrated on extracting the maximum amount of capital for the least amount of work from producers, as when he got the Salkind brothers to pony up a then-record $3.7 million against 10% of the gross for 13 days work on Superman. Factoring in inflation, the straight salary for "Superman" equals or exceeds the new record of $1 million a day Harrison Ford set with K-19: The Widowmaker. Before cashing his first paycheck for Superman, Brando had picked up $2 million for his extended cameo in Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now in a role, that of Col. Kurtz, that he authored on-camera through improvisation while Coppola shot take after take. It was Brando's last bravura performance, though he did receive an eighth and final Oscar nomination for A Dry White Season after coming out of a near-decade-long retirement. Contrary to those who claimed he now only was in it for the money, Brando donated his entire seven-figure salary to an anti-apartheid charity.
Brando had first attracted media attention at the age of 24, when "Life" magazine ran a photo of himself and his sister Jocelyn, who were both then appearing on Broadway. The curiosity continued, and snowballed. Playing the paraplegic soldier of The Men, Brando had gone to live at a Veterans Administration hospital with actual disabled veterans, and confined himself to a wheelchair for weeks. It was an acting method, research, that no one in Hollywood had ever heard of before, and that willingness to experience life.
Peter Jackson was born as an only child in a small coast-side town in New Zealand in 1961. When a friend of his parents bought him a super 8 movie camera (because she saw how much he enjoyed taking photos), the then eight-year-old Peter instantly grabbed the thing to start recording his own movies, which he made with his friends. They were usually short, but they already had the trademark that would make Jackson famous: impressive special effects, made at a very low cost. For example, for his film "World War Two" which he made as a teenager, he used to simulate a firing gun by punching little holes into the celluloid, so that, once projected, the gun gave the impression of displaying a small fire. Jackson's first step towards more serious film-making came with an entry in a local contest to stimulate amateur and children's films. For this film, he used stop-motion animation to create a monster that ruins a city in the style of Ray Harryhausen. Unfortunately, he didn't win. At twenty-two, he embarked on a movie-making adventure that would change his life. This film, Bad Taste, was begun as any other Jackson film, in an amateur style, at a low budget and using friends and local people to star in his film. Jackson himself did nearly everything in the movie; he directed, produced, filmed and starred in it, in a number of roles, amongst them that of the hero, "Derek". And everything was filmed on a second-hand, $250 camera. It took Jackson and his friends four years to complete the movie. What had started as a joke in a group of friends, then became a cult classic. A friend of Jackson who was working in the movie industry convinced him the film had commercial prospects and arranged for it to be shown at the Cannes film festival, where it won a lot of acclaim, as well as a number of prizes. The movie soon became a hit because of its bizarre humor and overdose of special effects, some realistic, some comedically amateur. After the success of Bad Taste, Jackson became recognized as a director and the door to fame and fortune was opened. He gave up his job at a local photographer's shop and became a well-known director of horror-movies, after the success of his first professionally made movie, Dead Alive.
He breathed life into Batman. Adam West was born Billy (William) West Anderson in Walla Walla, Washington, to parents Otto West Anderson and his wife Audrey. At age 10 Adam had a cache of comic books, and "Batman" made a big impression on him--the comic hero was part bat-man (a la Count Dracula) and part world's greatest detective (a la Charlie Chan and Sherlock Holmes). When his mom remarried to a Dr. Paul Flothow, she took Adam and his younger brother, John, to Seattle. At 14 Adam attended Lakeside School, then went to Whitman College, where he got a degree in literature and psychology. During his last year of college he also married 17-year-old Billie Lou Yeager.
Adam got a job as a DJ at a local radio station, then enrolled at Stanford for post-grad courses. Drafted into the army, he spent the next 2 years starting military TV stations, first at San Luis Obispo, CA, then at Fort Monmouth, NJ. Afterwards, Adam and his wife toured Europe, visiting Germany, Switzerland and Italy's Isle of Capri. When the money ran out, he joined a childhood and college buddy, Carl Hebenstreit, who was starring in the kiddie program "The Kini Popo Show" in Hawaii. Adam would eventually replace Carl but not the other star, Peaches the Chimp. In 1956 he got a divorce and married a beautiful girl, originally from Tahiti, named Ngatokoruaimatauaia Frisbie Dawson (he called her "Nga" for short). They had a daughter, Jonelle, in 1957 and a son, Hunter, in 1958. In 1959 Adam came to Hollywood. He adopted the stage name "Adam West", which fit his roles, as he was in some westerns.
After 7 years in Tinseltown, he achieved fame in 1966 in his signature role as Batman, in the wildly popular ABC-TV series Batman (though he has over 60 movie and over 80 TV guest appearance credits, "Batman" is what the fans remember him for). The series, which lasted three seasons, made him not just nationally but internationally famous. The movie version, Batman: The Movie, earned Adam the "Most Promising New Star" award in 1967. The downside was that the "Batman" fame was partly responsible for ruining his marriage, and he would be typecast and almost unemployable for a while after the series ended (he did nothing but personal appearances for 2 years).
In 1972 he met and then married Marcelle Tagand Lear, and picked up two stepchildren, Moya and Jill. In addition, they had two children of their own: Nina West in 1976 and Perrin in 1979. You can't keep a good actor down -- Adam's career took off again, and he has been in about 50 projects since then: movies, TV-movies and sometimes doing voices in TV series. Adam wrote his autobiography "Back to the Batcave" in 1994. One of his most prized possessions is a drawing of Batman by Bob Kane with the inscription "To my buddy, Adam, who breathed life into my pen and ink creation".
Kris Kristofferson was born in Brownsville, Texas, to Mary Ann (Ashbrook) and Lars Henry Kristofferson. His paternal grandparents were Swedish, and his father was a United States Air Force general who pushed his son to a military career. Kris was a Golden Gloves boxer and went to Pomona College in California. From there, he earned a Rhodes scholarship to study literature at Oxford University. He ultimately joined the United States Army and achieved the rank of captain. He became a helicopter pilot, which served him well later. In 1965, he resigned his commission to pursue songwriting. He had just been assigned to become a teacher at USMA West Point. He got a job sweeping floors in Nashville studios. There he met Johnny Cash, who initially took some of his songs but ignored them. He was also working as a commercial helicopter pilot at the time. He got Cash's attention when he landed his helicopter in Cash's yard and gave him some more tapes. Cash then recorded Kristofferson's "Sunday Morning Coming Down", which was voted the 1970 Song of the Year by the Country Music Association. Kris was noted for his heavy boozing. He lost his helicopter pilot job when he passed out at the controls, and his drinking ruined his marriage to singer Rita Coolidge, when he was reaching a bottle and half of Jack Daniels daily. He gave up alcohol in 1976. His acting career nose-dived after making Heaven's Gate. In recent years, he has made a comeback with his musical and acting careers. He does say that he prefers his music, but says his children are his true legacy.
Ringo Starr is a British musician, actor, director, writer, and artist best known as the drummer of The Beatles who also coined the title 'A Hard day's Night' for The Beatles' first movie.
He was born Richard Starkey on July 7, 1940, in a small two-storey house in the working class area of Liverpool, Merseyside, England. His father, Richard Starkey, was a former dockworker turned baker; his mother, Elsie Starkey, was a bakery worker. His parents divorced when he was three and he and his mother, Elsie, moved to another home in Liverpool. While attending Silas Infants' Schools he suffered from many afflictions that basically ruined his education: he had constant abdominal pains, was once diagnosed with a ruptured appendix that led to an inflamed peritoneum, which also led to one of his first surgeries. Ringo was in a coma, and his recovery took a couple of months, during which more operations were performed, and he was known to be accident-prone. Shortly after he came out of the coma, he was trying to offer a toy bus to another boy in an adjoining bed, but fell and suffered from a concussion. When he finally was able to go back to school, he learned that he was far behind in his studies. At age 13 he caught a cold that turned into chronic pleurisy, causing him another stay at a hospital in Liverpool. A few lung complications followed, which resulted in a treatment in yet another children's hospital, this time until 1955. Meanwhile, Richard's mother Elsie had married Harry Graves, the man who her son referred to as a "step-ladder".
At the age of 15 he could barely read or write, although he had aptitude for practical subjects such as woodwork and mechanics. At that time he dropped out of school and got his first job was as a delivery boy for British Rail. His second job was a barman on a ferry to New Brighton, and his next was as a trainee joiner at Henry Hunt & Sons. Ringo injured his finger on the first day of his new job, and then he decided to become a drummer. His dream came true, when his stepfather bought him a new drum kit, and Richard promised to be the best drummer ever.
In 1957, together with Eddie Miles, he started his own band called 'Eddie Clayton Skiffle Group'. At that time he became known as Ritchie, and eventually became caught in the Liverpool's Skiffle craze. Although he was self-taught, he was a good time-keeper, and developed an original beat with his signature accentuations, due to his left-handed manner of playing on the right-handed drum set. He traveled from band to band, but he eventually landed a spot with "Raving Texans", which was a backing band for Rory Storm, later known as "Rory Storm & The Hurricanes", a popular band at that time Liverpool. Rory Storm encouraged Richard to enhance his career by legally changing his name to Ringo Starr. The Hurricanes topped the bill at one of Liverpool's clubs, where The Beatles also had a gig. Ringo's group was at times sharing popularity with The Beatles and Gerry and the Pacemakers. He wanted to leave The Hurricanes to join another group called "The Seniors."
Before Ringo, The Beatles tried several other drummers. At one point they were so desperate, that they even invited strangers from the audience to fill the position. Then came Pete Best who was not considered by the other band members to be the greatest drummer, and they were keen to recruit Ringo as his replacement. On June 6, 1962, at the Abbey Road studios, The Beatles passed Martin's audition with the exception of Pete Best. George Martin liked them, but recommended the change of a drummer. Being asked by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison; Epstein fired Pete Best. After a mutual decision the band was completed with Ringo Starr. Ringo contributed to their first hit in September of 1962, when The Beatles recorded Love Me Do, which charted in UK, and reached the top of the US singles chart.
Ringo's steady and reliable drumming became essential in their studio sessions, as well as in their numerous and exhausting live performances across the world. Ringo's positive disposition as well as his drumming style played the pivotal role in shaping the famous image and music style of The Beatles as they are now known to the world, under the management of Brian Epstein and music producer George Martin. Ringo filled the position of a drummer for The Beatles in the most critical time of the band's formation. He quickly connected with the other three members of The Beatles, and contributed to their music and creativity with his easy-going personality, light humour, reliable drumming and inventive musicianship. All four members were charismatic and individually talented artists, they sparked each other from the beginning. Eventually they made a much better group effort under the thorough management by Brian Epstein whose coaching helped consolidate their talents and mutual stimulation into beautiful teamwork.
Starr had dreamed of becoming a professional actor since his younger years. He wanted to be in movies probably more so than the other members of The Beatles. In 1964, during the first months of Beatlemania, Ringo coined the phrase 'A Hard Day's Night' which soon became the official title of the Beatles' first movie, in replacement for the working title 'Beatlemania'. Ringo received great reviews for his performance in A Hard Day's Night and Help!. At first, Ringo did not have a songwriting career, although he had no problem with his name recognition, however, he had a problem with getting his songs noticed. At that time he got help from his friends; John and Paul wrote a song or two for him to sing on their albums, such as "Boys", "I Wanna Be Your Man", "Honey Don't", and "Yellow Submarine". During his eight-year career with The Beatles, Ringo wrote two original songs: "Don't Pass Me By" and "Octopus' Garden" for which he also sang the lead vocals. Besides his drumming, Ringo's voice was recorded on many of the most popular Beatle's songs, contributing to their unique sound and tight harmonies.
He had a hectic solo career during the 1970s, after the breakup of The Beatles. However, Ringo eventually emerged as a steady performer, and sustained a very popular solo career, turning out a dozen chart-topping hit songs and eight best-selling albums. He made a famous appearance together with George Harrison, Ravi Shankar, and other popular musicians in the landmark 'Concert for Bangladesh' in 1971. His 1973 solo release "Ringo" was the last album to feature all four living Beatles, although not on the same song. He also appeared in various TV shows, including his own special, Ringo, and a TV mini-series, Princess Daisy, with his wife Barbara. In 1984 he did narration for the children's series Thomas & Friends. During the 1980s, after having a long period of troubles with alcohol, Ringo and his wife attended a rehabilitation clinic, and came back to the scene sober. He made the All-Starr Band tour of America and Japan. The tour was so popular that he formed another All-Starr Band lineup in 1992, and began an American and European tour in June of that year. Since then Ringo Starr has been enjoying a continuous career as the leader of the All-Starr Band. In 1994, along with George Harrison and Paul McCartney, the three surviving members of The Beatles, reunited and produced Lennon's previously unknown song 'Free as a Bird'. It was preserved by 'Yoko Ono' on a tape recording made by John Lennon in 1977. The song was re-arranged and re-mixed with the voices of three surviving members, and became an international hit. 'Free as a Bird' was also included in The Beatles Anthology TV documentary which was watched by 420 million people in 1995. Ringo, Paul and George sang their new songs, in addition to mixing their voices and music arrangements to John Lennon demos.
Ringo's old friend and band-mate George Harrison passed away on November 29, 2001, after a long battle against lung cancer. The following year, on the anniversary of Harrison's death, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney and Eric Clapton appeared in a Concert For George, to raise money for the support of Harrison's legacy in exploration of alternative lifestyles, views and philosophies. Starr also supported charitable organizations with consideration to those who have special needs.
Ringo Starr updated the role of a drummer in popular music, he made drummer an equal partner to the lead musicians, thus changing the whole paradigm in how the public saw drummers. His original performing style evolved from adjusting his natural left-handed manner of playing to the right-handed drum set, and allowing his left hand lead in weaving a pattern tightly intertwined with the music of other players, and adding such enhancements as unusual accents and stops. Ringo's musical originality as well as his inventive drumming patterns, time signatures and accentuations became essential to the sound of The Beatles. His on-stage presence and acting talent as well as his humor and musicianship was the essential part in formation and remarkable career of The Beatles.
He was married to his long-time girlfriend, Maureen Cox, from 1965 - 1975, and they had three children: Zak Starkey, Jason, and Lee. The couple broke up in July of 1975, and he married actress Barbara Bach. Ringo Starr divides his time between his residences in England, in Switzerland and his home in Los Angeles, California.
The son of immigrants fleeing the Nazis--his father was a Serbian painter and pianist and his mother was descended from a rich Jewish Austrian family--Peter Bogdanovich was conceived in Europe but born in America. He originally was an actor in the 1950s, studying his craft with legendary acting teacher Stella Adler and appearing on television and in summer stock. In the early 1960s he achieved notoriety for programming movies at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. An obsessive cinema-goer, sometimes seeing up to 400 movies a year in his youth, Bogdanovich prominently showcased the work of American directors such as John Ford, about whom he subsequently wrote a book based on the notes he had produced for the MOMA retrospective of the director, and the then-underappreciated Howard Hawks. Bogdanovich also brought attention to such forgotten pioneers of American cinema as Allan Dwan.
Bogdanovich was influenced by the French critics of the 1950s who wrote for Cahiers du Cinema, especially critic-turned-director François Truffaut. Before becoming a director himself, he built his reputation as a film writer with articles in Esquire Magazine. In 1968, following the example of Cahiers du Cinema critics Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol and Eric Rohmer who had created the Nouvelle Vague ("New Wave") by making their own films, Bogdanovich became a director. Working for low-budget schlock-meister Roger Corman, Bogdanovich directed the critically praised Targets and the not-so-critically praised Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women, a film best forgotten.
Turning back to journalism, Bogdanovich struck up a lifelong friendship with the legendary Orson Welles while interviewing him on the set of Mike Nichols' film adaptation of Catch-22 from the novel by Joseph Heller. Subsequently, Bogdanovich has played a major role in elucidating Welles and his career with his writings on the great actor-director, most notably his book "This is Orson Welles" (1992). He has steadily produced invaluable books about the cinema, especially "Who the Devil Made It: Conversations with Legendary Film Directors," an indispensable tome that establishes Bogdanovich, along with Kevin Brownlow, as one of the premier English-language chroniclers of cinema.
The 32-year-old Bogdanovich was hailed by a critics as a Wellesian wunderkind when his most famous film, The Last Picture Show was released. The film received eight Academy Award nominations, including Bogdanovich as Best Director, and won two of them, for Cloris Leachman and "John Ford Stock Company" veteran Ben Johnson in the supporting acting categories. Bogdanovich, who had cast 19-year-old model Cybill Shepherd in a major role in the film, fell in love with the young beauty, an affair that eventually led to his divorce from the film's set designer Polly Platt, his longtime artistic collaborator and the mother of his two children.
Bogdanovich followed up The Last Picture Show with a major hit, What's Up, Doc?, a screwball comedy heavily indebted to Hawks' Bringing Up Baby and His Girl Friday, starring Barbra Streisand and 'Ryan O'Neal'. Despite his reliance on homage to bygone cinema, Bogdanovich had solidified his status as one of a new breed of A-list directors that included Academy Award winners Francis Ford Coppola and William Friedkin, with whom he formed The Directors Company. The Directors Company was a generous production deal with Paramount Pictures that essentially gave the directors carte blanche if they kept within strict budget limitations. It was through this entity that Bogdanovich's next big hit, the critically praised Paper Moon, was produced.
Paper Moon, a Depression-era comedy starring Ryan O'Neal that won his ten-year-old daughter Tatum O'Neal an Oscar as Best Supporting Actress, proved to be the highwater mark of Bogdanovich's career. Forced to share the profits with his fellow directors, Bogdanovich became dissatisfied with the arrangement. The Directors Company subsequently produced only two more pictures, Francis Ford Coppola's critically acclaimed The Conversation which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture of 1974 and garnered Coppola an Oscar nod for Best Director, and Bogdanovich's Daisy Miller, a film that had a quite different critical reception.
An adaptation of the Henry James novella, Daisy Miller spelled the beginning of the end of Bogdanovich's career as a popular, critically acclaimed director. The film, which starred Bogdanovich's lover Cybill Shepherd as the title character, was savaged by critics and was a flop at the box office. Bogdanovich's follow-up, At Long Last Love, a filming of the Cole Porter musical starring Cybill Shepherd, was derided by critics as one of the worst films ever made, noted as such in Harry Medved and Michael Medved's book "The Golden Turkey Awards: Nominees and Winners, the Worst Achievements in Hollywood History" (1980). The film also was a box office bomb despite featuring Burt Reynolds, a hotly burning star who would achieve super-nova status at the end of the 1970s.
Once again beholden to the past, Bogdanovich insisted on filming the musical numbers for At Long Last Love live, a process not used since the early days of the talkies, when sound engineer Douglas Shearer developed lip-synching at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The decision was widely ridiculed, as none of the leading actors were known for their singing abilities (Bogdanovich himself had produced a critically panned album of Cybill Shepherd singing Cole Porter songs in 1974). The public perception of Bogdanovich became that of an arrogant director hamstrung by his own hubris.
Trying to recapture the lightning in the bottle that was his early success, Bogdanovich once again turned to the past, his own and that of cinema, with Nickelodeon. The film, a comedy recounting the earliest days of the motion picture industry, reunited Ryan O'Neal and 'Tatum O'Neal' from his last hit, Paper Moon with Burt Reynolds. Counseled not to use the unpopular (with both audiences and critics) Cybill Shepherd in the film, Bogdanovich instead used newcomer Jane Hitchcock as the film's ingénue. Unfortunately, the magic of Paper Moon could not be repeated and the film died at the box office. Jane Hitchcock, Bogdanovich's discovery, would make only one more film before calling it quits.
After a three-year hiatus, Bogdanovich returned with the critically and financially underwhelming Saint Jack for Hugh M. Hefner's Playboy Productions Inc. Bogdanovich's long affair with Cybill Shepherd had ended in 1978, but the production deal making Hugh M. Hefner the film's producer was part of the settlement of a lawsuit Shepherd had filed against Hefner for publishing nude photos of her pirated from a print of The Last Picture Show in Playboy Magazine. Bogdanovich then launched the film that would be his career Waterloo, They All Laughed, a low-budget ensemble comedy starring Audrey Hepburn and the 1980 Playboy Playmate of the Year, Dorothy Stratten. During the filming of the picture, Bogdanovich fell in love with Stratten, who was married to an emotionally unstable hustler, Paul Snider, who relied on her financially. Stratten moved in with Bogdanovich, and when she told Snider she was leaving him, he shot and killed her, sodomizing her corpse before committing suicide.
They All Laughed could not attract a distributor due to the negative publicity surrounding the Stratten murder, despite it being one of the few films made by the legendary Audrey Hepburn after her provisional retirement in 1967 (the film would prove to be Hepburn's last starring role in a theatrically released motion picture). The heartbroken Bogdanovich bought the rights to the negative so that it would be seen by the public, but the film had a limited release, garnered weak reviews and cost Bogdanovich millions of dollars, driving the emotionally devastated director into bankruptcy.
Bogdanovich turned back to his first avocation, writing, to pen a memoir of his dead love, "The Killing of the Unicorn: Dorothy Stratten (1960-1980)" that was published in 1984. The book was a riposte to Teresa Carpenter's "Death of a Playmate" article written for The Village Voice that had won the 1981 Pulitzer Prize. Carpenter had lambasted Bogdanovich and Hugh M. Hefner, claiming that Stratten was as much a victim of them as she was of Paul Snider. The article served as the basis of Bob Fosse's film Star 80, in which Bogdanovich was portrayed as the fictional director "Aram Nicholas".
Bogdanovich's career as a noted director was over, and though he achieved modest success with Mask, his sequel to his greatest success The Last Picture Show, Texasville, was a critical and box office disappointment. He directed two more theatrical films in 1992 and 1993, but their failure kept him off the big screen until 2001's The Cat's Meow. Returning once again to a reworking of the past, this time the alleged murder of director Thomas H. Ince by Welles' bete noir William Randolph Hearst, The Cat's Meow was a modest critical success but a flop at the box office. In addition to helming some television movies, Bogdanovich has returned to acting, with a recurring guest role on the cable television series The Sopranos as Dr. Jennifer Melfi's analyst.
Bogdanovich's personal reputation suffered from gossip about his 13-year marriage to Dorothy Stratten's 19-year-old-kid sister Louise Stratten, who was 29 years his junior. Some gossip held that Bogdanovich's behavior was akin to that of the James Stewart character in Alfred Hitchcock's necrophiliac masterpiece Vertigo, with the director trying to remold Stratten into the image of her late sister. The marriage ended in divorce in 2001.
Now in his mid-60s, Bogdanovich clearly has imitated his hero Orson Welles, but in an unintended fashion, as a type of monumental failure much beloved by the mythmakers of Hollywood. However, unlike the widely acclaimed master Welles, the orbit of Bogdanovich's reputation has never recovered from the apogee it reached briefly in the early 1970s.
There has been speculation that Peter Bogdanovich's ruin as a director was guaranteed when he ditched his wife and artistic collaborator 'Polly Platt' for Cybill Shepherd. Platt had worked with Bogdanovich on all his early successes, and some critics believe that the controlling artistic consciousness on The Last Picture Show was Platt's. Parting company with Platt after Paper Moon, Bogdanovich promptly slipped from the heights of a wunderkind to a has-been pursuing epic folly, as evidenced by Daisy Miller and At Long Last Love.
In 1998 the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress named The Last Picture Show to the National Film Registry, an honor awarded only to the most culturally significant films. Viewing Daisy Miller alongside The Last Picture Show should be a standard part of film school curriculum, as it tends to debunk the auteur theory. Bogdanovich's career gives truth to the contention that film is an industrial process and each movie has many "authors," not just one (the director). If the auteur theory were true, Bogdanovich arguably would have returned to form eventually and produced more good films, if not another masterpiece.
He didn't - he didn't even come close. Thus, Bogdanovich will remain a footnote in cinema history, more valuable for his contributions to the literature of film than to the medium itself.
Dreamy Tab Hunter stands in film history as one of the hottest teen idols of the 1950s era. With blond, tanned, surfer-boy good looks, he was artificially groomed and nicknamed "The Sigh Guy" by the Hollywood studio system, yet managed to continue his career long after his "golden boy" prime.
Hunter was born Arthur Kelm on July 11, 1931 in New York City, to Gertrude (Gelien) and Charles Kelm. His mother was a German (Catholic) immigrant, and his father was Jewish. Following his parents' divorce, Hunter grew up in California with his mother, older brother Walter, and maternal grandparents, Ida (Sonnenfleth) and John Henry Gelien. His mother changed her sons' surnames to her maiden name, Gelien. Leaving school and joining the Coast Guard at age 15 (he lied about his age), he was eventually discharged when the age deception was revealed. Returning home, his life-long passion for horseback riding led to a job with a riding academy.
Hunter's fetching handsomeness and trim, athletic physique eventually steered the Californian toward the idea of acting. An introduction to famed agent Henry Willson had Tab signing on the dotted line and what emerged, along with a major career, was the stage moniker of "Tab Hunter." Willson was also responsible with pointing hopeful Roy Fitzgerald towards stardom under the pseudonym Rock Hudson. With no previous experience Tab made his first, albeit minor, film debut in the racially trenchant drama The Lawless starring Gail Russell and Macdonald Carey. His only line in the movie was eventually cut upon release. It didn't seem to make a difference for he co-starred in his very next film, the British-made Island of Desire co-starring a somewhat older (by ten years) Linda Darnell, which was set during WWII on a deserted, tropical South Seas isle. His shirt remained off for a good portion of the film, which certainly did not go unnoticed by his ever-growing legion of female (and male) fans.
Signed by Warner Bros., stardom was clinched a few years later with another WWII epic Battle Cry, based on the Leon Uris novel, in which he again played a boyish soldier sharing torrid scenes with an older woman (this time Dorothy Malone, playing a love-starved Navy wife). Thoroughly primed as one of Hollywood's top beefcake commodities, the tabloid magazines had a field day initiating an aggressive campaign to "out" Hunter as gay, which would have ruined him. To combat the destructive tactics, Tab was seen escorting a number of Hollywood's lovelies at premieres and parties. In the meantime he was seldom out of his military fatigues on film, keeping his fans satisfied in such popular dramas as The Sea Chase, The Burning Hills and The Girl He Left Behind--the last two opposite the equally popular Natalie Wood. At around this time, Hunter managed to parlay his boy-next-door film celebrity into a singing career. He topped the charts for over a month with the single "Young Love" in 1957 and produced other "top 40" singles as well.
Like other fortunate celebrity-based singers such as Shelley Fabares and Paul Petersen, his musical reign was brief. Out of it, however, came the most notable success of his film career top-billing as baseball fan Joe Hardy in the classic Faustian musical Damn Yankees! opposite Gwen Verdon and Ray Walston, who recreated their devil-making Broadway roles. Musically Tab may have been overshadowed but he brought with him major star power and the film became a crowd pleaser. He continued on with the William A. Wellman-directed Lafayette Escadrille as, yet again, a wholesome soldier, this time in World War I. More spicy love scenes came with That Kind of Woman, an adult comedy-drama which focused on soldier Hunter and va-va-voom mistress Sophia Loren demonstrating some sexual chemistry on a train.
Seldom a favorite with the film critics, the 1960s brought about a career change for Tab. He begged out of his restrictive contract with Warners and ultimately paid the price. With no studio to protect him, he was at the mercy of several trumped-up lawsuits. Worse yet, handsome Troy Donahue had replaced him as the new beefcake on the block. With no film offers coming his way, he starred in his own series The Tab Hunter Show, a rather featherweight sitcom that centered around his swinging bachelor pad. The series last only one season. On the positive side he clocked in with over 200 TV programs over the long stretch and was nominated for an Emmy award for his outstanding performance opposite Geraldine Page in a Playhouse 90 episode. Following the sparkling film comedy The Pleasure of His Company opposite Debbie Reynolds, the quality of his films fell off drastically as he found himself top-lining such innocuous fare as Operation Bikini, Ride the Wild Surf (1965), City in the Sea [aka War-Gods of the Deep], and Birds Do It both here and overseas. As for stage, a brief chance to star on Broadway happened in 1964 alongside the highly volatile Tallulah Bankhead in Tennessee Williams's "The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore." It lasted five performances. He then started to travel the dinner theater circuit. Enduring a severe lull, Tab bounced back in the 1980s and 1990s -- more mature, less wholesome, but ever the looker. He gamely spoofed his old clean-cut image by appearing in delightfully tasteless John Waters' films as a romantic dangling carrot to heavyset transvestite "actress" Divine. Polyester was the first mainstream hit for Waters and Tab went on to team up with Allan Glaser to co-produce and co-star a Waters-like western spoof Lust in the Dust.
He is still working as a film producer at age 70+ in Southern California. Tab also "came out" with a tell-all memoir on his Hollywood years in October of 2005.
A fascinating aura of mystery seemed to surround the characters portrayed by blue-eyed blonde actress Susan Oliver, whose trademark high cheekbones, rosebud lips and heart-shaped face kept audiences intrigued for nearly three decades. While her career didn't play out as well as it should have, she nevertheless left a fine legacy of work on stage, film and TV.
Born Charlotte Gercke on February 13, 1932 (some sources incorrectly list years as early as 1929 or late as 1937), in New York City, she was the daughter of well-to-do George Gercke, a political reporter and journalist for the New York World, and his astrology practitioner wife, Ruth Oliver (aka Ruth Hale Oliver), both of whom divorced while Susan was still quite young (age 3). As a privileged adolescent, she went to various public and boarding schools. As a teenager, she lived with her father and traveled with him overseas to Japan, where he maintained a news post. While there (1948-1949) she studied at the Tokyo International College and developed an interest in Japan's deep obsession with the American pop culture. Much later in her career (1977), in fact, Susan would write and direct Cowboysan, a short film which told of Japanese actors performing in an American western.
In the spring of 1949, Susan briefly rejoined her mother, who was now remarried, living in Los Angeles, and gaining a solid reputation as Hollywood's astrologer to the stars. By that fall, however, Susan was back East, studying drama at Pennsylvania's Swarthmore College (for four years). She then continued her training at New York City's Neighborhood Playhouse, while finding stage work in both summer stock and regional theaters. Commercials and daytime/prime-time TV work started coming Susan's way and, by that time, she had already changed her stage moniker to the more flowing name of Susan Oliver.
The year 1957 began with a debut ingénue role as a Revolutionary War-era daughter in the Broadway comedy, "Small War on Murray Hill", which opened and closed at the Ethel Barrymore Theater after only nine days. A far more potent and substantial role fell her way in October of that same year, when she replaced British actress Mary Ure as "Allison Porter" in the superior "kitchen sink" drama, "Look Back in Anger". Susan continued to find extensive dramatic work in live East coast TV plays, with roles on The Kaiser Aluminum Hour, The United States Steel Hour, Studio 57 and Matinee Theatre. At this juncture, she decided to migrate back to Los Angeles for more on-camera opportunities and attained guest roles on such popular prime-time series as Wagon Train, Father Knows Best, The Millionaire and The Lineup.
Susan made her cinematic debut as the tough, ill-fated title role in Warner Bros.' low-budget melodrama, The Green-Eyed Blonde. The film was shot in black and white, so it didn't matter that Susan's eyes were blue. Topbilled, she played the rebellious delinquent leader at a girls' reformatory and lent class to the rather exploitative material, which was written by blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo. Two years later, Susan returned to the big screen as another tough cookie in the better-received biopic, The Gene Krupa Story, as a jazz singer who lures the renowned drummer (played by Sal Mineo) down the road to drugs and near ruin. A brief return to the Broadway stage, with the comedy "Patate" starring Tom Ewell and Lee Bowman, would last only four days but Susan earned great notices and won New York's Theatre World Award World for her "outstanding breakout performance".
On early 1960s TV, Susan continued to offer a number of striking and often showy, neurotic performances on episodes of Bonanza, Wanted: Dead or Alive, 77 Sunset Strip, Wagon Train, The Virginian, Adventures in Paradise, Route 66, Dr. Kildare and The Fugitive. Filmwise, she found a few lead and support roles in the Elizabeth Taylor-starred BUtterfield 8; as a psychiatric nurse in the all-star hospital melodrama, The Caretakers; in the tailored-for-the-teens romp, Looking for Love, as a pal to Connie Francis; and in the hilarious Jerry Lewis slapstick vehicle, The Disorderly Orderly, in which she added rather heavy drama as a depressed hospital patient. Her most challenging role, during this time, was as the ambitious wife of doomed country music legend Hank Williams (George Hamilton, in offbeat casting) in Your Cheatin' Heart.
Susan's name remained active particularly on TV, where she graced such programs as The Andy Griffith Show, The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters, Burke's Law, Dr. Kildare, Ben Casey, Gomer Pyle: USMC, My Three Sons, The Invaders and Mannix. Classic TV showcases includes the 1960 Twilight Zone episode, People Are Alike All Over, in which she plays beautiful martian, "Teenya", who encounters astronaut Roddy McDowall, and the unsold 1964 Star Trek pilot, The Cage, as "Vina", the sole survivor of a crashed spaceship who charms "Commander Christopher Pike" (Jeffrey Hunter, the captain subsequently replaced by William Shatner's "Captain Kirk", when the show became a series). Footage from that pilot was later incorporated into the two-part episode, "The Menagerie". In 1966, Susan made bittersweet news, when her regular role as "Ann Howard" in the prime-time hit soaper, Peyton Place, was pushed off a cliff to her death. Written out after only five months of a year-long planned role, audiences (as well as Susan) were saddened by the loss of a character they had grown to care about. Susan, subsequently, starred in her own pilot for a new series, "Apartment in Rome", but it didn't sell.
Unfortunately, Susan's late 1960s work in a variety of film genres and opposite a number of formidable leading men were ultimately too few and did not help to advance her career. These included the LSD-induced drama, The Love-Ins, with Richard Todd and James MacArthur; the western, A Man Called Gannon, starring Anthony Franciosa; and the sci-fiers, Change of Mind with Raymond St. Jacques and The Monitors with Guy Stockwell. The 1970s, too, hardly fared better with standard roles in Ginger in the Morning (donning a black wig), the Spanish-made drama Nido de viudas, and Hardly Working, in which she reunited with Jerry Lewis in what was supposed to be his come-back attempt. That film was ultimately shelved, before earning scant release a couple of years later.
Susan appeared as a regular for one season (1975-76) on Days of Our Lives and received a "Supporting Actress" Emmy nomination for the made-for-TV movie, Amelia Earhart, playing aviatrix Neta "Snookie" Snook, friend and mentor to the title character, played by Emmy-nominated Susan Clark. The role of "Snook" was tailor-made for Susan, who, by this time, had merited attention as a licensed commercial pilot and skilled flying ace.
Susan's passion for flying had been compromised a decade earlier after a dramatic 1966 commercial plane scare. The near-death experience kept the actress on solid ground for well over a year, before she managed to overcome her paralyzing fear. In 1970, fully recovered, she co-piloted a single-engine Piper Comanche to victory in the Powder Puff Derby racing event, a victory that earned her the name, "Pilot of the Year". [Amelia Mary Earhart was the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean]. In her attempt to fly to Moscow, however, the Soviet government denied her entrance to their air space and she was forced to end her journey in Denmark. Susan would later write about her flying exploits in her autobiography, "Odyssey: A Daring Transatlantic Journey" (1983).
Susan's last years were focused on the small screen, with roles in the TV-movies, Tomorrow's Child and International Airport, and standard guesting on The Love Boat, Murder, She Wrote, Simon & Simon and Freddy's Nightmares. She also moved behind the camera a few times, directing episodes of M*A*S*H and Trapper John, M.D.. A long-time smoker, the never-married Susan was diagnosed with lung cancer and died at the Motion Picture and Television Hospital in Woodland Hills, California at age 58 -- an untimely end for such a beautiful lady and strong talent.
Cherie Ann Currie was born on November 30, 1959 in Los Angeles, California. She rose to major rock stardom as the teenage lead vocalist for the now-legendary all female rock band, The Runaways, which also included Joan Jett, Lita Ford, Sandy West and Jackie Fox. After three albums with The Runaways, ("The Runaways", "Queens of Noise" and "Live in Japan"), Cherie left the group to pursue her solo recording and acting interests. She starred in numerous films including Foxes with Jodie Foster, Parasite with Demi Moore, Wavelength with Robert Carradine, and guest-starred on such major prime time television series as Murder, She Wrote and Matlock.
Cherie also wrote a memoir called "Neon Angel: The Cherie Currie Story". The book chronicles her painful descent into drug addiction which eventually ruined her very promising acting career. Cherie currently continues to perform in the entertainment industry on a part-time basis and it's for the fans and on her own terms. One of the highlights of her adventures has been working as a drug counselor, something she knows all too well about. Recently, she added the role of record producer to her impressive resume, and opened her own Chainsaw Art Gallery in Chatsworth, California. One of the blazing images of the 1970s even though they never experienced major American success, The Runaways have influenced the likes of Courtney Love and The Donnas and paved the way for The Go-Go's and The Bangles.
Cherie has a twin sister, Marie Currie, and is the younger sister of actress Sondra Currie. Her mother is Republic Studios' contract player, Marie Harmon. Her brother is a mortgate banker, Don A. Currie, and her brother-in-law is film and television director/producer, Alan J. Levi. The Currie sisters have yet to do a film project together, through, the twins did record an album entitled "Cherie & Marie Currie". They appeared together in the cult film The Rosebud Beach Hotel.
What do the classic and near-classic films I Was a Male War Bride, Scarface, Twentieth Century, Bringing Up Baby, Only Angels Have Wings, His Girl Friday, Sergeant York, Ball of Fire, Air Force, To Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep, Red River and Rio Bravo have in common with such first-rate entertainments as I Was a Male War Bride, Monkey Business, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Land of the Pharaohs, Hatari!, Man's Favorite Sport? and El Dorado? Aside from their displays of great craftsmanship, the answer is director Howard Hawks, one of the most celebrated of American filmmakers, who ironically, was little celebrated by his peers in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences during his career.
Although John Ford--his friend, contemporary, and the director arguably closest to him in terms of his talent and output--told him that it was he, and not Ford, who should have won the 1941 Best Director Academy Award (for Sergeant York), the great Hawks never won an Oscar in competition and was nominated for Best Director only that one time, despite making some of the best films in the Hollywood canon. The Academy eventually made up for the oversight in 1974 by voting him an honorary Academy Award, in the midst of a two-decade-long critical revival that has gone on for yet another two decades. To many cineastes, Howard Hawks is one of the faces of American film and would be carved on any film pantheon's Mt. Rushmore honoring America's greatest directors, beside his friend Ford and Orson Welles (the other great director who Ford beat out for the 1941 Oscar). It took the French "Cahiers du Cinema" critics to teach America to appreciate one of its own masters, and it was to the Academy's credit that it recognized the great Hawks in his lifetime.
Hawks' career spanned the freewheeling days of the original independents in the 1910s, through the studio system in Hollywood from the silent era through the talkies, lasting into the early 1970s, with the death of the studios and the emergence of the director as auteur, the latter a phenomenon that Hawks himself directly influenced. He was he most versatile of all American directors, and before his late career critical revival, he earned himself a reputation as a a first-rate craftsman and consummate Hollywood professional who just happened, in a medium that is an industrial process, to have made some great movies. Recognition as an influential artist would come later, but it would come to him before his death.
He was born Howard Winchester Hawks in Goshen, Indiana, on Decoration Day, May 30, 1896, the first child of Frank Winchester Hawks and his wife, the former Helen Howard. The day of his birth the local sheriff killed a brawler at the town saloon; the young Hawks was not born on the wild side of town, though, but with the proverbial silver spoon firmly clenched in his young mouth. His wealthy father was a member of Goshen's most prominent family, owners of the Goshen Milling Co. and many other businesses, and his maternal grandfather was one of Wisconsin's leading industrialists. His father's family had arrived in America in 1630, while his mother's father, C.W. Howard, who was born in Maine in 1845 to parents who emigrated to the U.S. from the Isle of Man, made his fortune in the paper industry with his Howard Paper Co.
Ironically, almost a half-year after Howard's birth, the first motion picture was shown in Goshen, just before Christmas on December 10, 1896. Billed as "the scientific wonder of the world," the movie played to a sold-out crowd at the Irwin Theater. However, it disappointed the audience, and attendance fell off at subsequent showings. The interest of the boy raised a Presbyterian would not be piqued again until his family moved to southern California.
Before that move came to pass, though, the Hawks family relocated from Goshen to Neenah, Wisconsin, when Howard's father was appointed secretary/treasurer of the Howard Paper Co. in 1898. Howard grew up a coddled and spoiled child in Goshen, but in Neenah he was treated like a young prince. His grandfather C.W. lavished his grandson with expensive toys. C.W. had been an indulgent father, encouraging the independence and adventurousness of his two daughters, Helen and Bernice, who were the first girls in Neenah to drive automobiles. Bernice even went for an airplane ride (the two sisters, Hawks' mother and aunt, likely were the first models for what became known as "the Hawksian women" when he became a director). Brother Kenneth Hawks was born in 1898, and was looked after by young Howard. However, Howard resented the birth of the family's next son, William B. Hawks, in 1902, and offered to sell him to a family friend for ten cents. A sister, Grace, followed William. Childbirth took a heavy toll on Howard's mother, and she never quite recovered after delivering her fifth child, Helen, in 1906. In order to aid her recovery, the family moved to the more salubrious climate of Pasadena, California, northeast of Los Angeles, for the winter of 1906-07. The family returned to Wisconsin for the summers, but by 1910 they permanently resettled in California, as grandfather C.W. himself took to wintering in Pasadena.
C. W. Howard eventually sold his paper company and retired. He continued to indulge his grandson Howard, though, buying him whatever he fancied, including a race car when the lad was barely old enough to drive legally. C.W. also arranged for Howard to take flying lessons so he could qualify for a pilot's license, an example followed by Kenneth.
The young Howard Hawks grew accustomed to getting what he wanted and believed his grandfather when C.W. told him he was the best and that he could do anything. Howard also likely inherited C.W.'s propensity for telling whopping lies with a straight face, a trait that has bedeviled many film historians ever since. C.W. also was involved in amateur theatrics and Howard's mother Helen was interested in music, though no one in the Hawks-Howard family ever was involved in the arts until Howard went to work in the film industry.
Hawks was sent to Philips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire, for his education, and upon graduation attended Cornell University, where he majored in mechanical engineering. In both his personal and professional lives Hawks was a risk-taker and enjoyed racing airplanes and automobiles, two sports that he first indulged in his teens with his grandfather's blessing.
The Los Angeles area quickly evolved into the center of the American film industry when studios began relocating their production facilities from the New York City area to southern California in the middle of the 1910s. During one summer vacation while Howard was matriculating at Cornell, a friend got him a job as a prop man at Famous Players-Lasky (later to become Paramount Pictures), and he quickly rose trough the ranks. Hawks recalled, "[I]t all started with Douglas Fairbanks, who was off on location for some picture and phoned in to say they wanted a modern set. There was only one art director . . . and he was away on another location. I said, 'Well, I can build a modern set.' I'd had a few years of architectural training at school. So I did, and Fairbanks was pleased with it. We became friends, and that was really the start."
During other summer vacations from Cornell, Hawks continued to work in the movies. One story Hawks tells is that the director of a Mary Pickford film Hawks was working on, The Little Princess, became too inebriated to continue working, so Hawks volunteered to direct a few scenes himself. However, it's not known whether his offer was taken up, or whether this was just one more of his tall tales.
During World War I, Hawks served as a lieutenant in the Signal Corps and later joined the Army Air Corps, serving in France. After the Armistice he indulged in his love of risk, working as an aviator and a professional racing car driver. Drawing on his engineering experience, Hawks designed racing cars, and one of his cars won the Indianapolis 500. These early war and work experiences proved invaluable to the future filmmaker.
He eventually decided on a career in Hollywood and was employed in a variety of production jobs, including assistant director, casting director, script supervisor, editor and producer. He and his brother Kenneth shot aerial footage for motion pictures, but Kenneth tragically was killed during a crash while filming. Howard was hired as a screenwriter by Paramount in 1922 and was tasked with writing 40 story lines for new films in 60 days. he bought the rights for works by established authors like Joseph Conrad and worked, mostly uncredited, on the scripts for approximately 60 films. Hawks wanted to direct, but Paramount refused to indulge his ambition. A Fox executive did, however, and Hawks directed his first film, The Road to Glory in 1926, also doubling as the screenwriter.
Hawks made a name for himself by directing eight silent films in the 1920s, His facility for language helped him to thrive with the dawn of talking pictures, and he really established himself with his first talkie in 1930, the classic World War I aviation drama The Dawn Patrol. His arrival as a major director, however, was marked by 1932's controversial and highly popular gangster picture Scarface, a thinly disguised bio of Chicago gangster Al Capone, which was made for producer Howard Hughes. His first great movie, it catapulted him into the front rank of directors. Scarface remained Hawks' favorite film, and under the aegis of the eccentric multi-millionaire Hughes, it was the only movie he ever made in which he did not have to deal with studio meddling. Scarface leavened its ultra-violence with comedy in a potent brew that has often been imitated by other directors.
Though always involved in the development of the scripts of his films, Hawks was lucky to have worked with some of the best writers in the business, including his friend and fellow aviator William Faulkner. Screenwriters he collaborated with on his films included Leigh Brackett, Ben Hecht, John Huston and Billy Wilder. Hawks often recycled storylines from previous films, such as when he jettisoned the shooting script on El Dorado during production and reworked the film-in-progress into a remake of Rio Bravo.
The success of his films was partly rooted in his using first-rate writers. Hawks viewed a good writer as a sort of insurance policy, saying, "I'm such a coward that unless I get a good writer, I don't want to make a picture." Though he won himself a reputation as one of Hollywood's supreme storytellers, he came to the conclusion that the story was not what made a good film. After making and then remaking the confusing The Big Sleep (1945 and 1946) from a Raymond Chandler detective novel, Hawks came to believe that a good film consisted of at least three good scenes and no bad ones--at least not a scene that could irritate and alienate the audience. He said, "As long as you make good scenes you have a good picture - it doesn't matter if it isn't much of a story."
It was Hawks' directorial skills, his ability to ensure that the audience was not aware of the twice-told nature of his films, through his engendering of a high-octane, heady energy that made his films move and made them classics at best and extremely enjoyable entertainments at their "worst." Hawks' genius as a director also manifested itself in his direction of his actors, his molding of their line-readings going a long way toward making his films outstanding. The dialog in his films often was delivered at a staccato pace, and characters' lines frequently overlapped, a Hawks trademark. The spontaneous feeling of his films and the naturalness of the interrelationships between characters were enhanced by his habit of encouraging his actors to improvise. Unlike Alfred Hitchcock, Hawks saw his lead actors as collaborators and encouraged them to be part of the creative process. He had an excellent eye for talent, and was responsible for giving the first major breaks to a roster of stars, including Paul Muni, Carole Lombard (his cousin), Lauren Bacall, Montgomery Clift and James Caan. It was Hawks, and not John Ford, who turned John Wayne into a superstar, with Red River (shot in 1946, but not released until 1948). He proceeded to give Wayne some of his best roles in the cavalry trilogy of Fort Apache, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and Rio Grande, in which Wayne played a broad range of diverse characters.
During the 1930s Hawks moved from hit to hit, becoming one of the most respected directors in the business. As his fame waxed, Hawks' image replaced the older, jodhpurs-and-megaphone image of the Hollywood director epitomized by Cecil B. DeMille. The new paradigm of the Hollywood director in the public eye was, like Hawks himself, tall and silver-haired, a Hemingwayesque man of action who was a thorough professional and did not fail his muse or falter in his mastery of the medium while on the job. The image of Hawks as the ultimate Hollywood professional persists until this day in Hollywood, and he continues to be a major influence on many of today's filmmakers. Among the directors influenced by Hawks are Robert Altman, who used Hawksian overlapping dialog and improvisation in MASH and other films. Peter Bogdanovich, who wrote a book about Hawks, essentially remade Bringing Up Baby as What's Up, Doc?. Brian De Palma remade Scarface in 1983. Other directors directly indebted to Hawks are John Carpenter and Walter Hill.
Hawks was unique and uniquely modern in that, despite experiencing his career peak in an era dominated by studios and the producer system in which most directors were simply hired hands brought in to shoot a picture, he also served as a producer and developed the scripts for his films. Hawks was determined to remain independent and refused to attach himself to a studio, or to a particular genre, for an extended period of time. His work ethic allowed him to fit in with the production paradigms of the studio system, and he eventually worked for all eight of the major studios. He proved himself to be, in effect, an independent filmmaker, and thus was a model for other director-writer-producers who would arise with the breakdown of the studio system in the 1950s and 1960s and the rise of the director as auteur in the early 1970s. Hawks did it first, though, in an environment that ruined or compromised many another filmmaker.
Hawks was not interested in creating a didactic cinema but simply wanted to tell give the public a good story in a well-crafted, entertaining picture. Like Ernest Hemingway, Hawks did have a philosophy of life, but the characters in his films were never intended to be role models. Hawks' protagonists are not necessarily moral people, but they tend to play fair, according to a personal or professional code. A Hawks film typically focuses on a tightly bound group of professionals, often isolated from society at large, who must work together as a team if they are to survive, let alone triumph. His movies emphasize such traits as loyalty and self-respect. Air Force, one of the finest propaganda films to emerge from World War II, is such a picture, in which a unit bonds aboard a B-17 bomber, and the group is more than the sum of the individuals.
Aside from his interest in elucidating human relationships, Hawks' main theme is Hemingwayesque: the execution of one's job or duty to the best of one's ability in the face of overwhelming odds that would make an average person balk. The main characters in a Hawks film typically are people who take their jobs with the utmost seriousness, as their self-respect is rooted in their work. Though often outsiders or loners, Hawksian characters work within a system, albeit a relatively closed system, in which they can ultimately triumph by being loyal to their personal and professional codes. That thematic paradigm has been seen by some critics and cinema historians as being a metaphor for the film industry itself, and of Hawks' place within it.
In a sense, Hawks' oeuvre can be boiled down to two categories: the action-adventure films and the comedies. In Hawks' action-adventure movies, such as Only Angels Have Wings, the male protagonist, played by Cary Grant (a favorite actor of his who frequently starred in his films between 1947 and 1950), is both a hero and the top dog in his social group. In the comedies, such as Bringing Up Baby, the male protagonist (again played by Grant) is no hero but rather a victim of women and society. Women have only a tangential role in Hawks' action films, whereas they are the dominant figures in his comedies. In the action-adventure films, society at large often is far away and the male professionals exist in an almost hermetically sealed world, whereas in the comedies are rooted in society and its mores. Men are constantly humiliated in the comedies, or are subject to role reversals (the man as the romantically hunted prey in "Baby," or the even more dramatic role reversal, including Cary Grant in drag, in I Was a Male War Bride). In the action-adventure films in which women are marginalized, they are forced to undergo elaborate courting rituals to attract their man, who they cannot get until they prove themselves as tough as men. There is an undercurrent of homo-eroticism to the Hawks action films, and Hawks himself termed his A Girl in Every Port "a love story between two men." This homo-erotic leitmotif is most prominent in The Big Sky.
By the time he made Rio Bravo, over 30 years since he first directed a film, Hawks not only was consciously moving towards parody but was in the process of revising his "closed circle of professionals" credo toward the belief that, by the time of its loose remake, El Dorado, he was stressing the superiority of family loyalties to any professional ethic. In Rio Bravo, the motley group inside the jailhouse eventually forms into a family in which the stoical code of conduct of previous Hawksian groups is replaced by something akin to a family bond. The new "family" celebrates its unity with the final shootout, which is a virtual fireworks display due to the use of dynamite to overcome the villains who threaten the family's survival. The affection of the group members for each other is best summed up in the scene where the great character actor Walter Brennan, playing Wayne's deputy Stumpy, facetiously tells Wayne that he'll have tears in his eyes until he gets back to the jailhouse. The ability to razz Wayne is indicative of the bond between the two men.
The sprawl of Hawks' oeuvre over multiple genres, and their existence as high-energy examples of film as its purest, emphasizing action rather than reflection, led serious critics before the 1970s to discount Hawks as a director. They generally ignored the themes that run through his body of work, such the dynamics of the group, male friendship, professionalism, and women as a threat to the independence of men. Granted, the cinematic world limned by Hawks was limited when compared to that of John Ford, the poet of the American screen, which was richer and more complex. However, Hawks' straightforward style that emphasized human relationships undoubtedly yielded one of the greatest crops of outstanding motion pictures that can be attributed to one director. Hawks' movies not only span a wide variety of genres, but frequently rank with the best in those genres, whether the war film (The Dawn Patrol), gangster film (Scarface), the screwball comedy (His Girl Friday); the action-adventure movie (Only Angels Have Wings), the noir (The Big Sleep), the Western (Red River and Rio Bravo), the musical-comedy (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes) and the historical epic (Land of the Pharaohs). He even had a hand in creating one of the classic science-fiction films, The Thing from Another World, which was produced by Hawks but directed by Christian Nyby, who had edited multiple Hawks films and who, in his sole directorial effort, essentially created a Hawks film (though rumors have long circulated that Hawks actually directed the film rather than Nyby, that has been discounted by such cast members as Kenneth Tobey and James Arness, who have both stated unequivocally that it was Nyby alone who directed the picture).
Though Howard Hawks created some of the most memorable moments in the history of American film a half-century ago, serious critics generally eschewed his work, as they did not believe there was a controlling intelligence behind them. Seen as the consummate professional director in the industrial process that was the studio film, serious critics believed that the great moments of Hawks' films were simply accidents that accrued from working in Hollywood with other professionals. In his 1948 book "The Film Till Now," Richard Griffin summed this feeling up with "Hawks is a very good all rounder."
Serious critics at the time attributed the mantle of "artist" to a director only when they could discern artistic aspirations, a personal visual style, or serious thematic intent. Hawks seemed to them an unambitious director who, unlike D.W. Griffith or the early Cecil B. DeMille, had not made a major contribution to American film, and was not responsible for any major cinematic innovations. He lacked the personal touch of a Charles Chaplin, a Hitchcock or a Welles, did not have the painterly sensibility of a John Ford and had never matured into the master craftsman who tackled heavy themes like the failure of the American dream or racism, like George Stevens. Hawks was seen as a commercial Hollywood director who was good enough to turn out first-rate entertainments in a wide variety of genre films in a time in which genre films such as the melodrama, the war picture and the gangster picture were treated with a lack of respect.
One of the central ideas behind the modernist novel that dominated the first half of the 20th-century artistic consciousness (when the novel and the novelist were still considered the ultimate arbiters of culture in the Anglo-American world) was that the author should begin something new with each book, rather than repeating him-/herself as the 19th century novelists had done. This paradigm can be seen most spectacularly in the work of James Joyce. Of course, it is easy to see this thrust for "something new" in the works of D.W. Griffith and C.B. DeMille, the fathers of the narrative film, working as they were in a new medium. In the post-studio era, a Stanley Kubrick (through Barry Lyndon, at least) and Lars von Trier can be seen as embarking on revolutionary breaks with their past. Howard Hawks was not like this, and, in fact, the latter Hawks constantly recycled not just themes but plots (so that his last great film, Rio Bravo, essentially was remade as El Dorado and Rio Lobo). He did not fit the "modernist" paradigm of an artist.
The critical perception of Hawks began to change when the auteur theory--the idea that one intelligence was responsible for the creation of superior films regardless of their designation as "commercial" or "art house"--began to influence American movie criticism. Commenting on Hawks' facility to make films in a wide variety of genres, critic Andrew Sarris, who introduced the auteur theory to American movie criticism, said of Hawks, "For a major director, there are no minor genres." A Hawks genre picture is rooted in the conventions and audience expectations typical of the Hollywood genre. The Hawks genre picture does not radically challenge, undermine or overthrow either the conventions of the genre or the audience expectations of the genre film, but expands it the genre by revivifying it with new energy. As Robert Altman said about his own McCabe & Mrs. Miller, he fully played on the conventions and audience expectations of the Western genre and, in fact, did nothing to challenge them as he was relying on the audience being lulled into a comfort zone by the genre. What Altman wanted to do was to indulge his own artistry by painting at and filling in the edges of his canvas. Thus, Altman needed the audience's complicity through the genre conventions to accomplish this.
As a genre director, Hawks used his audience's comfort with the genre to expound his philosophy on male bonding and male-female relationships. His movies have a great deal of energy, invested in them by the master craftsman, which made them into great popular entertainments. That Hawks was a commercial filmmaker who was also a first-rate craftsman was not the sum total of his achievement as a director, but was the means by which he communicated with his audience.
While many during his life-time would not have called Hawks an artist, Robin Wood compared Hawks to William Shakespeare and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, both of whom created popular entertainments that could also appeal to elites. According to Wood, "The originality of their works lay not in the evolution of a completely new language, but in the artist's use and development of an already existing one; hence, there was common ground from the outset between artist and audience, and 'entertainment' could happen spontaneously without the intervention of a lengthy period of assimilation."
The great French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard, who began his cinema career as a critic, wrote about Hawks, "The great filmmakers always tie themselves down by complying with the rules of the game . . . Take, for example, the films of Howard Hawks, and in particular Rio Bravo. That is a work of extraordinary psychological insight and aesthetic perception, but Hawks has made his film so that the insight can pass unnoticed without disturbing the audience that has come to see a Western like all the others. Hawks is the greater because he has succeeded in fitting all that he holds most dear into a well-worn subject."
A decade before Godard's insight on Hawks, in the early 1950s, the French-language critics who wrote for the cinema journal "Cahier du Cinema" (many of whom would go on to become directors themselves) elevated Howard Hawks into the pantheon of great directors (the appreciation of Hawks in France, according to Cinématheque francaise founder Henri Langlois, began with the French release of Only Angels Have Wings). The Swiss Eric Rohmer, who would one day become a great director himself, in a 1952 review of Hawks' The Big Sky declared, "If one does not love the films of Howard Hawks, one cannot love cinema". Rohmer was joined in his enthusiasm for Hawks by such fellow French cineastes as Claude Chabrol, François Truffaut and Jacques Rivette. The Cahiers critics claimed that a handful of commercial Hollywood directors like Hawks and Alfred Hitchcock had created films as artful and fulfilling as the masterpieces of the art cinema. 'Andre Bazin' gave these critics the moniker "Hitchcocko-Hawksians".
Jacques Rivette wrote in his 1953 essay, "The Genius of Howard Hawks," that "each shot has a functional beauty, like a neck or an ankle. The smooth, orderly succession of shots has a rhythm like the pulsing of blood, and the whole film is like a beautiful body, kept alive by deep, resilient breathing." Hawks, however, considered himself an entertainer, not an "artist." His definition of a good director was simply "someone who doesn't annoy you." He was never considered an artist until the French New Wave critics crowned him one, as serious critics had ignored his oeuvre. He found the adulation amusing, and once told his admirers, "You guys know my films better than I do."
Commenting on this phenomenon, Sarris' wife Molly Haskell said, "Critics will spend hours with divining rods over the obviously hermetic mindscape of Bergman, Antonioni, etc., giving them the benefit of every passing doubt. But they will scorn similar excursions into the genuinely cryptic, richer, and more organic terrain of home-grown talents."
Hawks' visual aesthetic eschews formalism, trick photography or narrative gimmicks. There are no flashbacks or ellipses in his films, and his pictures are usually framed as eye-level medium shots. The films themselves are precisely structured, so much so that Langlois compared Hawks to the great modernist architect Walter Gropius. Hawks strikes one as an Intuitive, unselfconscious filmmaker.
Hawks' definition of a good director was "someone who doesn't annoy you." When Hawks was awarded his lifetime achievement Academy Award, the citation referred to the director as "a giant of the American cinema whose pictures, taken as a whole, represent one of the most consistent, vivid, and varied bodies of work in world cinema." It is a fitting epitaph for one of the greatest directors in the history of American, and world cinema.
Stanley Lloyd Kaufman never really wanted to make movies, but wanted to work in Broadway musicals. During his years in Yale, though, he got introduced to "B" pictures and the works of Roger Corman. Lloyd later got the opportunity to executive-produce a short movie made by a fellow student. The film, called "Rappacini", got him even more interested in movies. He bought his own camera and took it with him to Chad, Africa, were he spent his summer. There, he shot a 15-minute film of a pig being slaughtered. That was his first movie, and was the birth of what was later to become known as Troma Films. He showed the footage of the squealing pig being killed to his family, and their shocked reaction to it made him wonder if making movies that shocked audiences would keep them in their seats to see what would happen next.
He wanted to be a director right then and there, so he got a couple of friends at Yale and made his second movie, The Girl Who Returned. People loved it, and he went straight to work on other films, helping out on projects like Joe, Rocky and Saturday Night Fever.
Lloyd put in a lot of long, hard hours in the film business, just to be in the credits and to get money for his next project, a full-length feature. It was a tribute to Charles Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and the classic era of silent-film comedy. Even though Lloyd hated the movie when it was finally completed, people seemed to love it. He formed a studio called 15th Street Films with friends and producers Frank Vitale and Oliver Stone. Together, they made Sugar Cookies and Cry Uncle, directed by John G. Avildsen. A friend from Yale, Michael Herz, saw Lloyd in a small scene in "Cry Uncle" and contacted him to try to get into the film business, too. Kaufman took Herz in, as the company needed some help after Oliver Stone quit to make his own movies. Michael invested in a film they thought would be their biggest hit yet, Schwartz: The Brave Detective (aka "Big Gus, What's the Fuss?"). It turned out to be a huge flop and 15th Street Films was ruined. Lloyd and Michael owed thousands of dollars to producers and friends and family members who had invested in the picture.
Lloyd, trying to find a quick way to pay off the bills, made The Divine Obsession, and with Michael formed Troma Studios, hoping to make some decent movies, since they only owned the rights to films they thought were poor. They were introduced to Joel M. Reed, who had an unfinished movie called "Master Sardu and the Horror Trio". The film was re-edited and completed at Troma Studios (which actually consisted of just one room) during 1975, re-titled and released in 1976 as Bloodsucking Freaks (aka "Bloodsucking Freaks"). It was enough of a success to enable them to pay the rent so they wouldn't lose the company.
Lloyd later got a call from a theater that wanted a "sexy movie" like The Divine Obsession, but about softball (!). The resulting film, Squeeze Play, used up all the money Troma had earned from "Bloodsucking Freaks" and, as it turned out, no one wanted to see it--not even the theater owner who wanted it made in the first place (he actually wanted a porno movie). Just when things looked their darkest, they got a call from another theater which was scheduled to show a film, but the distributor pulled it at the last minute. Troma rushed "Squeeze Play" right over, and it turned out to be a huge hit. Lloyd, Michael and Troma eventually made millions from it, and had enough money to buy their own building (which still remains as Troma Headquarters). Troma then turned out a stream of "sexy" comedies--i.e., Waitress!, The First Turn-On!!, Stuck on You!--but there was a glut of "T&A" films on the market. Troma noticed that a lot of comedies were being made, and decided to make one, too, but much different than the rest. After reading an article that claimed horror movies were dead, Lloyd got the idea to combine both horror and comedy, and Troma came up with "Health Club Horror"--later retitled and released as The Toxic Avenger, a monster hit that finally put Troma on the map.
Lloyd Kaufman and Troma have become icons in the cult-movie world, and Troma has distributed over 1000 films. Lloyd has continued his career as a director in addition to producing, and Troma has turned out such films as Monster in the Closet, Class of Nuke 'Em High, Combat Shock, Troma's War, and Fortress of Amerikkka: The Mercenaries, and Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead, which follows an army of undead chickens as they seek revenge on a fast food palace.
Zero Mostel was born Samuel Joel Mostel on February 28, 1915 in Brooklyn, New York, one of eight children of an Orthodox Jewish family. Raised in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the young Zero, known as Sammy, developed his talent for painting and drawing at art classes provided by the Educational Alliance, an institution serving Jewish immigrants and their children. Sammy often would go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to copy the paintings.
Sam Mostel matriculated at the City College of New York, then entered a master's program in art at New York University after graduating from CCNY in 1935. He dropped out after a year and worked at odd jobs before being hired by the Works Progress Administration's Federal Art Project to teach drawing and painting at the 92nd Street "Y", the famous Young Men and Young Women's Hebrew Association located on Manhattan's 92nd St., in 1937.
Mostel married Clara Sverd, a CCNY classmate, in 1939, but the marriage was troubled due to personality conflicts. The couple separated in 1941 and divorced in 1944. While still teaching, Mostel supplemented his income by providing gallery lectures at various museums under the aegis of the WPA. His lectures were full of jokes as Mostel personally was a clown, and subsequently he was hired to perform at private parties.
Mostel auditioned as a comedian at the downtown nightclub Cafe Society in late 1941, a jazz club. Initially rejected, owner Barney Josephson hired Mostel after Pearl Harbor, figuring his patrons, now at war, could use some laughs. It was Ivan Black, the club's press agent, who gave Sam Mostel the nickname Zero, explaining, "Here's a guy who's starting from nothing."
Debuting at the Cafe Society on February 16, 1942, Zero was a hit with audiences and the critics, Simultaneously, Zero began appearing in the play "Cafe Crown" at the Cort Theatre, which opened on January 23, 1942 and played through May 23rd, closing after 141 performances. Zero made some impromptu appearances on stage, but he wasn't officially part of the cast of the play, which was staged by Elia Kazan and starred Morris Carnovsky, Sam Jaffe (a future blacklistee), Whit Bissell, and Sam Wanamaker. Zero made his formal Broadway debut in "Keep 'em Laughing" on April 24, 1942 at the 44th Street Theatre. The show ran for 77 performances.
Within a year, he was touring the national nightclub circuit and appearing on radio. He had a brief stint in the Army in 1943, but was quickly discharged due to an unspecified physical disability. Zero spent the rest of the war entertaining the troops overseas.
Zero married Kathryn Harkin, a former Radio City Music Hall Rockette, on July 2, 1944, an act that ruined his relationship with his Orthodox Jewish parents as his new wife was a gentile. The two remained a married couple until his death and produced two sons: Josh Mostel, who was born in 1946, and Tobias, who was born in 1949.
In the post-war years, Zero began to branch-out as a straight actor. On October 19, 1948, he made his television debut in the series "Off the Record," which was broadcast on the DuMont network, following it up with an appearance on October 26, 1948. He later appeared in the The Ford Theatre Hour episode "The Man Who Came to Dinner," which was broadcast on January 16, 1949 on NBC. He was reunited with his "Cafe Crown" director Elia Kazan in the Oscar-winner's movie Panic in the Streets (1950). In the movies, Zero often played heavies due to his physique, roles that downplayed his unique gift for comedy.
Zero had long been a leftist politically, and had made contributions to progressive causes. His nightclub act lampooned the red-baiters rampant at the time, and featured the character of a pompous senator called Polltax T. Pellagra. When he and the wife of his good friend 'Jack Gilford' were named by Jerome Robbins before the House Un-American Activities Committee as being communists, Zero was subpoenaed to testify by HUAC.
Mostel testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee on October 14, 1955. In a playful mood, he told the Committee that he was employed by "19th Century-Fox." Zero denied he was a Communist, but refused to name names. He told the Committee that he would gladly discuss his own conduct but was prohibited by religious convictions from naming others. Consequently, he was blacklisted during the 1950s. Shut-out from the movies, he also lost many lucrative nightclub gigs, and he had to make due by playing gigs for meager salaries and by selling his paintings.
In the 1950s, Mostel bumped into Elia Kazan on the street in New York City, and the two reminisced. Kazan said Mostel chided him for putting Mostel through the paces in "Panic in the Streets," forcing him to run more than he ever had. The two retired to a bar, and as they began to drink, s Mostel kept muttering, in reference to Kazan's naming names before HUAC, "Ya shouldn't a done that. Ya shouldn't a done that."
There was no blacklist in the theater, and his friend Burgess Meredith, a noted liberal, offered Zero the lead role in his 1958 Off-Broadway production of "Ulysses in Nighttown," based on the Nighttown episode of James Joyce's novel "Ulysses," that Meredith was directing. Mostel's performance as Leopold Bloom, Joyce's Jewish Everyman, was a great hit with audiences and critics alike, and he won an "Obie," the Off-Broadway equivalent of a Tony. Zero also starred in productions of "Nighttown" in London and Paris.
By the end of 1959, Zero again was appearing on television, cast in the "Play of the Week" episode "The World of Sholom Aleichem," which was broadcast on December 14, 1959 in syndication. He also was cast in a Broadway play, "The Good Soup."
Zero never opened in the play as he was hit by a bus on January 13, 1960. His left leg was severely injured, and required four operations. Zero was in the hospital for five months but regained the use of the leg.
He made a triumphant return to Broadway in the fall of 1960, starring in Ionesco's absurdist tour-de-force "Rhinoceros," for which he won a Tony award. He was cast in another "Play of the Week" episode, this time in Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot," which was broadcast on April 3, 1961 in syndication.
Zero and his friend Jack Gilford, who had also been blacklisted due to Jerome Robbins having named names and hadn't worked for many years, were both cast in the Broadway musical "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum." However, the show, under director George Abbott, was troubled. When Stephen Sondheim pitched Robbins to producer Harold Prince as the savior of "Forum," which was floundering in its out-of-town tryouts, Prince phoned Mostel to ask whether he would be prepared to work with Robbins.
"Are you asking me to eat with him?" asked Mostel.
"I'm just asking you to work with him," Prince replied.
"Of course I'll work with him," Mostel said. "We of the left do not blacklist."
When Robbins showed up at his first rehearsal, everyone was terrified of him because of his reputation as a tough taskmaster and perfectionist. Robbins made the rounds of the cast, shaking hands. When he got to Mostel, there was silence. Then Mostel boomed, "Hiya, Loose Lips!"
Everyone burst out laughing, including Robbins, and the show went on. Robbins was uncredited for staging and choreographing "Forum," which opened at the Alvin Theatre on May 8, 1962. "Forum" was a great hit, running for 964 performances at the Alvin and at the Mark Hellinger Theatre and later at the Majestic, closing on August 29, 1964. "Forum" won six Tony awards, including Best Musical and Best Director for George Abbott. Mostel won his second Tony and Gilford was nominated for the Tony for Best Featured Actor.
Zero followed up this triumph with his legendary turn as Tevye, the milkman with marriageable daughters in "Fiddler on the Roof," based on the stories of Sholom Aleichem. With direction and choreography credited to Jerome Robbins, "Fiddler on the Roof" opened at the Imperial Theatre on September 22, 1964 and did not close until almost eight years later, at the Broadway Theatre on July 2, 1972, with a stop at the Majestic in between during the late '60s. After seven previews, "Fiddler" racked up a total of 3,242 performances, making it one of the greatest Broadway smashes ever. After wining nine Tony awards in 1965, including Best Musical, Best Director, and Best Actor in A Musical (Zero's third Tony), the show was awarded a 10th Tony, a Special Award in 1972 when "Fiddler" became the longest-running musical in Broadway history.
Zero was cast in the 1966 movie version of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and then concentrated on movies and television for the rest of his career. Most of his projects, with the exception of Mel Brooks' The Producers, did not fully utilize his talents. It was a major blow when director Norman Jewison cast the Israeli actor Topol as Tevye in his movie adaptation of Fiddler on the Roof, passing over the legend who had created the role. Topol got an Oscar nomination, but faded quickly out of American movies. The movie of "Fiddler," a huge roadshow hit in 1971, also faded out of American consciousness. One wonders if with Zero in the role, the movie would now be considered a classic and constantly revived on television.
In 1974, Zero reprised his Leopold Bloom in a Broadway production of "Ulysses in Nighttown," again directed by Burgess Meredith, which netted him a Tony Award nomination as Best Actor in a Play. He turned in an affecting performance as a blacklisted comedian in Martin Ritt's movie about the blacklist, The Front. He also had a success with a Broadway revival of "Fiddler on the Roof" in December 1976.
Zero was cast as Shylock in Arnold Wesker's "The Merchant," a pro-Jewish reimagining of 'William Shakespeare''s "The Merchant of Venice." Mostel had great hopes that his Shylock would be the crowning achievement of his career and put him back on top. His huge talent and larger-than-life persona seemed to do better on stage.
This was not to come to pass. He fell ill after a tryout performance in Philadelphia in September and was hospitalized. On September 8, 1977, Zero Mostel died from an aortic aneurysm at the age of sixty-two. One of the greatest, most unique, and definitely irreplaceable talents to grace the American stage and movies had passed away. We are unlikely to look on his likes again.
Character actor Jay Robinson owned a pair of the narrowest, cruelest-looking eyes in 1950s Hollywood. To compliment them was an evil-looking sneer, crisp and biting diction and a nefarious-sounding cackle. These were all draped upon a lean, bony physique that could slither about menacingly like a ready-to-pounce cobra. With that in mind, he made an auspicious film debut as Caligula in The Robe, stealing much of the proceedings from the movie's actual stars Richard Burton, Jean Simmons and Victor Mature. Though many complained that Jay's interpretation bordered dangerously on outrageous camp, his depraved Roman emperor nevertheless remains the most indelible image when reminded of the epic costumer.
Born on April 14, 1930 in New York City, Jay came from a fine upbringing, tutored at private schools both here and in Europe. His background in summer stock and repertory companies eventually attracted Broadway work in the Shakespeare classics "As You Like It" (1950) and "Much Ado About Nothing" (1952). He also appeared in and produced the play, "Buy Me Blue Ribbons", in 1951, which was short-lived. After his movie bow, Jay went on to reprise the scene-chewing character Caligula in Demetrius and the Gladiators with Mature and Susan Hayward, and offered typically eye-catching supporting turns in The Virgin Queen, starring Bette Davis, and My Man Godfrey, with David Niven and June Allyson.
However, it was at this juncture that things started going horribly wrong for Jay. His new-found celebrity reportedly went to his head and he became extremely difficult to work with. In addition, the volatile actor began experimenting recklessly with drugs. In 1958, he was booked for possession of narcotics (methadone) and sentenced to a year in jail. Free on bail, the incident and resulting notoriety ruined his career. After scraping up work outside the entertainment industry as a cook and landlord, he recovered from his drug addiction and married. Resuming work in obscure bit parts, he had another career relapse when he was forced to spend 15 months in jail after an old warrant was served on him.
In the late 1960s, Jay started appearing again on television. He even prodded the memory of his own character Caligula character by playing an impertinent Julius Caesar on an episode of Bewitched. However, it took a huge star like Bette Davis, who had always recognized and appreciated his talent, to help him regain a footing in movies again when she insisted he take a prime role in her movie, Bunny O'Hare. The movie failed miserably, deservedly so, but Jay prevailed and managed to repair his status with a number of delightfully flamboyant and hammy performances. Jay played fun parts along the way in Woody Allen's Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask, Warren Beatty's Shampoo and even Paul Reubens' Big Top Pee-wee. While he played the delightfully eccentric Dr. Shrinker on The Krofft Supershow for one season, he somewhat balanced this silliness with made-for-video Shakespearean performances of Macbeth, The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice and Richard II. Some horror roles fell his way as well with Train Ride to Hollywood, in which he played Dracula, Transylvania Twist and Bram Stoker's Dracula. In 1997, Jay proved an ideal host for the Discovery Channel's Beyond Bizarre.
Jay Robinson died at age 83 of congestive heart failure in his home in Sherman Oaks, California on September 27, 2013.
Actor, singer and dancer Michael Callan started life out as Martin Harris Calinieff in Philadelphia on November 22, 1935. A dark-haired charmer, he was taking voice and dance lessons by age 11, with the intentions of becoming the next Gene Kelly. He had the dark, smirking, surly good looks and confident swagger that fit in with the James Dean 50s rebel-like era. He began his professional career as a comic and dancer in Philly night clubs while billing himself as "Mickey Calin". Eventually, he entertained at such hot spots as the Copacabana and in Las Vegas showrooms.
His move to New York was a wise choice. Given a dancing part in his first Broadway show, "The Boyfriend" (1954), starring Julie Andrews, he followed it with another musical, "Catch a Star" (1955). This, in turn, led to his biggest break of all, the role of "Riff" in the original New York production of "West Side Story" (1957). While the show made virtual theater stars out of its leads Carol Lawrence and Larry Kert, Michael, on the other hand, attracted the interest of Columbia Pictures.
His film career began engagingly enough -- not as a singer or dancer, but as a dramatic leading man. Columbia placed him in two fairly strong films in the hopes of promoting and developing his obvious teen-idol promise. The first film was a western soap opera in support of Gary Cooper and Rita Hayworth. In They Came to Cordura, Michael co-starred in this film alongside another male dreamboat, Tab Hunter. His second film was a "B"-level starring role in The Flying Fontaines, in which he plays a circus Romeo whose caddish cavortings under the "big top" accelerate the melodramatic story line. This role pretty much set the tone for what, more or less, would become his screen image -- a notorious womanizer and charming, though sometimes, spineless opportunist. His lovely co-star in the movie, Evy Norlund, was a formerly-crowned Miss Denmark (1958). This movie was her only one, since she abruptly gave up her young aspirations when she married singer James Darren and raise a big family.
One of Michael's biggest disappointments, during this time, was losing the role of "Riff" in the film version of West Side Story, due to contractual restrictions with Columbia. Russ Tamblyn received the honors and the glory. But he did continue to rack up callow, trouble-making co-leads in youth-oriented films, paired up with Hollywood's loveliest of newcomers, including Tuesday Weld in Because They're Young, Dolores Dorn in 13 West Street and Deborah Walley in both Gidget Goes Hawaiian and Bon Voyage!. In The Interns, he continued to perpetuate his slick image as a roving medical resident who juggles gorgeous Anne Helm and Katharine Bard for his own selfish purposes. In the sequel of sorts, The New Interns, he made his customary moves on Barbara Eden (I Dream of Jeannie) and Dawn Wells) ("Mary Ann" on Gilligan's Island).
Although he managed to show off his dancing skills in Pepe and in the afore-mentioned "Gidget" film, Michael never capitalized on it. The era of the movie musicals was in a backslide at the time and he focused completely on acting. He was among the international cast of the war epic, The Victors, and was the best-looking marooned member in the British-made Jules Verne fantasy-adventure, Mysterious Island. Interestingly, his last films of real note were in comedies -- opposite Jane Fonda, in the freewheeling cult western, Cat Ballou, and a scene-stealing Lionel Jeffries in the British satire, You Must Be Joking!. Perhaps his characters were too unsympathetic for their own good; for whatever reason, Michael never managed to hit the cinematic "bad boy" stardom he seemed geared up for.
In the late 60s, he found a venue better-suited for his talents -- TV sitcoms. His skirt-chasing characters seemed to have more appeal when played lightly for laughs. His best chance came in the form of Occasional Wife. An ideal showcase, Michael played the lead role of "Peter Christopher", an up-and-coming executive of a company that strongly pushes the husband/father image. Perennial playboy Callan decides to take on an "occasional wife" (Patricia Harty) for appearances' sake while trying to conceal his wily ways from the workplace. The show fit Callan like a glove and he and Harty displayed great chemistry, so much so that they married in real-life during the series' run. Perhaps the true-life marriage ruined the show's illusion, as the series limped away after only one season. Patricia, the second of Michael's three wives, divorced him a few years later.
Surprisingly, Michael never starred in another sitcom that got off the ground. He ventured on finding guest appearances on such sitcoms as That Girl, Hazel and Mary Tyler Moore and became a favorite player in the extremely popular Love, American Style sketches, playing (what else?) guys with girl troubles. His TV career eventually took the Fantasy Island, The Love Boat and Murder, She Wrote route and, in an effort to jumpstart things, both produced and starred in his own film, Double Exposure, but to little notice. He also returned, occasionally, to the stage in both legit plays and musicals to keep his name alive, including "Absurd Person Singular" and "The Music Man".
The father of two daughters (from his first marriage), he has been glimpsed only here and there, since the mid-90s. Recent movie credits include Stuck on You and The Still Life. He's also been spotted, occasionally, at various signings and conventions. While perhaps not climbing the height of heights expected, Michael reached an enviable plateau and merits strong attention for his fine contributions to 60s and 70s film and TV.
Born in Buchard, Nebraska, USA to Elizabeth Fraser and 'J. Darcie 'Foxy' Lloyd' who fought constantly and soon divorced (at the time a rare event), Harold Clayton Lloyd was nominally educated in Denver and San Diego high schools and received his stage training at the School of Dramatic Art (San Diego). Lloyd grew up far more attached to his footloose, chronically unemployed father than his overbearing mother.
He made his stage debut at age 12 as "Little Abe" in "Tess of d'Ubervilles" with the Burwood Stock company of Omaha. Harold and his father moved to California as a result of a fortuitous accident settlement in 1913. Foxy bought a pool hall (that soon failed) while Harold attended high school. The pair were soon broke when his father suggested he try out for a job on a movie being shot at San Diego's Pan American Exposition by the Edison Company. On the set he first met Hal Roach who would be the most influential person in his professional life. Roach (admittedly a poor actor) told Lloyd that someday he'd be a movie producer and he'd make him his star.
Soon afterward, Roach inherited enough money to begin a small production company (Phun Philms, quickly renamed Rolin, with a partner who he soon bought out) and contacted Lloyd to star in the kinds of films he wanted to make: comedies. On the basis of a handful of self-produced shorts starring Lloyd, he managed to land a production contract with the U.S. branch of the French firm, Pathe, who literally paid Road by the exposed foot of film on what films were accepted. Things were touch and go in the beginning, with improvised scenarios, outdoor shoots meaning Pathe rejected several of their first efforts, resulting in missed paydays. During his first contract with Roach he appeared in "Will E. Work" and then "Lonesome Luke" comedies, essentially cheap variations of Charles Chaplin's Little Tramp character. He abandoned the character in disgust in late 1917, adopting his "glasses" persona, an average young man capable of conquering any obstacle thrown at him. He began cementing his new image with Over the Fence, that ushered in a prolific number of shorts through late 1921, often releasing 3 per month. In his "glasses" personification, Lloyd's popularity grew exponentially with each new release, but Lloyd rapidly grew dissatisfied with his relationship with his producer. Roach and Lloyd fought constantly; it's not so much that he didn't want to work for Roach, he didn't want to work for anyone - a trait he himself recognized from early on. To be fair, Roach was increasingly preoccupied with other stars (The "Our Gang" series was launched to huge success in 1922 and he also produced ''Snub' Pollard' shorts, among others) and although he would always resent Lloyd's attitude and ultimate defection to Paramount, the loss of his major star wouldn't financially cripple him. Lloyd had his own quirks; he fell in love with his first co-star Bebe Daniels, who left him after it became apparent he was unable to make a commitment (however the two would remain lifelong friends). Lloyd, in his own way was decidedly complex: he could be professionally generous (often allowing debatably deserving directorial credit to members of his crew) while being notoriously cheap. Yet he practiced little financial self control in anything that concerned himself. Wildly superstitious, he engaged in strict rituals about dressing himself, leaving through the same doors as he entered, and expected his chauffeurs to know which streets were unlucky to traverse. As his finances improved with age he happily indulged himself with a myriad of hobbies that would include breeding Great Danes, amassing cars, bowling, photography, womanizing, and high-fidelity stereo systems. He was open minded about homosexuals while being practically Victorian in his ideas about raising his daughters. He had an enormous libido and rumors abounded about illegitimate children and according to Roach, chronic bouts with VD. Most traumatically, he suffered the loss of his right thumb and forefinger in an accidental prop bomb explosion on August 14, 1919, just as his career was starting to take off. Lloyd would go to great lengths to hide his disability, spending thousands on flesh-colored prosthetic gloves and hiding his right hand whenever knowingly photographed, even long after his career ended. Upon his recovery he completed work on Haunted Spooks and successfully renegotiated his contract with Pathe, which began a career ascent that would rival Chaplin's (indeed, Lloyd was more successful, considering grosses on total output as Chaplin's output soon dwindled by comparison). Lloyd began feature film production with the 4-reel A Sailor-Made Man. It began as a 2-reel short but contained, in his words, "so much good stuff we were loathe to take any of it out." It became a huge hit and continued to release hit features with ever increasing grosses but split with Hal Roach (who retained lucrative re-issue rights to his earlier films) after completing The Freshman, one of his finest films. Pathe's U.S. operations quickly unraveled after their U.S. representative, Paul Brunet returned to France, and Lloyd made a decisive move (Roach himself would also leave Pathe, opting for a distribution deal with MGM - Mack Sennett, also distributed by Pathe, would be financially ruined). After weighing various attractive offers, Lloyd signed an advantageous contract with Paramount and racked up another hit with For Heaven's Sake, one of his weakest silent features, yet it grossed an incredible $2.591 million, nearly equaling "The Freshman" and astonishing even himself.
Lloyd could do no wrong throughout the 1920s, he consistently earned at or near $1.5 million per film with his Paramount contract, and seemed invincible. He married his second co-star Mildred Davis on February 10, 1923 and she retired from acting (replaced by Jobyna Ralston). He built a huge 32-room mansion he christened, "Greenacres" that took over 3 years to complete and the couple eventually had 3 children. His final silent film, Speedy, shot on location in New York, was one of the few major hits of the sound transition period and remains (as do most of Lloyd's films) thoroughly enjoyable today. The advent of sound proved problematic for the comedian. His films were gag-driven and his writing team was wholly unaccustomed to converting their type of comedy into dialog. While his first sound effort (began as a silent), Welcome Danger grossed nearly $3 million, by any standard it's a bad film, and marked a serious decline in Lloyd's screen persona; he became a talking comedian. Ironically, as bad as the film is, it would prove to be the last solid hit of his career. His next talkie, Feet First, included a climb reminiscent (but technically superior to that) of his hit Safety Last!, only being in sound, it contained every grunt and groan and proved painful to watch. With a gross of less that $1 million, Lloyd would see slightly over $300,000, his smallest feature paycheck to date, and it became clear he was in trouble. Lloyd fought back with Movie Crazy. Generally regarded as his finest talkie, it grossed even less than "Feet First." Lloyd left Paramount for Fox and suffered his first outright flop with his next feature, The Cat's-Paw, which grossed $693,000 against a negative cost of $617,000 ---resulting in red ink on a net basis. The miracle Harold Lloyd needed to salvage his career would never happen, but he refused to go down without a fight. Amazingly, the public was oblivious to his decline, and he was widely considered as one of the few silent comedy stars to have made a successful transition through the first decade of sound. But to those within the industry, the numbers didn't add up. Back at Paramount on a 2-movie deal, Lloyd starred in The Milky Way, a better-than-average comedy that pulled a world-wide gross of $1.179 million, but it had production budget exceeding $1 million, resulting in a $250,000 loss for the studio. Paramount was livid, demanding a personal guarantee from Lloyd on anything over $600,000 for his next film, Professor Beware. The comedian soon discovered he couldn't complete the film within the required budget and did something unprecedented --for him at least-- he invested his own money. The final production cost was $820,275 - and it grossed a mere $796,385 - and as a result of a complex payment deal, Lloyd ended up personally losing $119,400 on its initial release (he would eventually recoup the bulk of his losses over the next 35 years). At the relatively young age of 45, Harold Lloyd's Hollywood career was effectively over. Still immensely wealthy from a conservative investment strategy, and always hyperactive, he sought out ways to occupy his time, dragging his kids on marathon movie nights all across Los Angeles and falling back on his many hobbies. Foxy, who had handled the bulk of his correspondence (almost all Lloyd's pre-1938 autographs were actually signed by Foxy) and had carefully documented his press clippings since his acting career had began, retired to Palm Springs in 1938, leaving a void in Lloyd's life. He produced two pictures for RKO, A Girl, a Guy, and a Gob, and a Kay Kyser vehicle, My Favorite Spy which must have looked good on paper but went nowhere at the box office. This ended his career as a producer. He would sign a $25,000 deal with Columbia in 1943 for a comeback project that never materialized. In 1944, Lloyd was approached by director Preston Sturges who envisioned a first-rate vehicle for him entitled, The Sin of Harold Diddlebock. The production launched Sturges' new California Pictures, was financed by Howard Hughes, and initially released by United Artists. It which proved to be a nightmare for everyone concerned. Its $1.7 million production cost proved to be an insurmountable obstacle preventing it from profitability and the eccentric Hughes withdrew it from circulation, later retitling it "Mad Wednesday," re-editing and re-releasing it as an RKO feature in 1951 to an even more dismal box office. Lloyd would also zealously protect ownership of his material and was quite litigious. He successfully sued MGM over their unauthorized poaching of his gags on a Joan Davis vehicle, She Gets Her Man (sadly an action that put the final nail in the professional coffin of the hopelessly alcoholic Clyde Bruckman). With his career at an end, Harold renewed his interest in photography and became involved with color film experiments. Some of the earliest 2 color Technicolor tests had been shot at Greenacres in 1929. In the late 1940s he became fascinated with color 3D still photography and often visited friends on film sets. Throughout the late 40s and well into the 1960s Lloyd indulged himself with glamor models. At his death, his collection of 3D stills numbered 250,000 (the vast majority of which are nudes). Recently his granddaughter published an elaborate book of photos carefully excised from the collection. In the late 1940s Lloyd became an active member of the Shriner's (he'd joined originally in 1924) and an effective administrator for their Los Angeles crippled children's hospital. Harold is reported to be the only actor that owned most of the films he appeared in (sadly many of the earliest ones were destroyed in a nitrite fire in a vault at Greenacres in 1943). This ownership gave him the ability to withhold his films from being shown on television; Lloyd feared incorrect projection speed and commercials would damage his reputation. As a result, a generation of film fans saw very few of his films and his reputation was diminished. He did release 2 compilation films, of which the first, World of Comedy was very successful. Mildred descended into alcoholism in the 1950s and died in 1969. Lloyd occupied his time with extensive travel (he thoroughly enjoyed speaking engagements where he could interact with students on the subject of silent film) and continued his pathological passion for his hobbies through the end of his life. He became interested in high fidelity stereo systems and habitually ordered several record companies' entire annual catalogs, eventually amassing an LP collection rivaling most record stores. He enjoyed cranking music to volumes that caused the inlaid gold leaf on Greenacres' ceilings to rain down on anyone below. Conversely, he balked at modernizing anything inside the mansion, seeing improvements and redecorating as things that would survive him, and thus a complete waste of money. Lloyd was diagnosed with a recurrence of cancer by his brother-in-law, Dr. John Davis (Jack Davis, who starred in early "Our Gang" shorts) and died on March 8, 1971. His son, Harold Lloyd Jr. was an alcoholic homosexual and died soon afterward. Although Lloyd left an estate valued at $12 million (in 1971 dollars), he failed to make a provision for the maintenance of Greenacres, a blunder that would seriously complicate his estate. His granddaughter Suzanne Lloyd has been largely responsible for restoring his reputation of late, working to preserve his surviving films; many have been issued on HBO Video, Thames Video. Several have been superbly restored with new musical accompaniments and are shown periodically on TCM.
In the world of sports and sports entertainment, few promoters have been as successful as Vincent K. McMahon. Born August 24, 1945, to second- generation wrestling promoter Vincent J. McMahon, the young Vince eventually transformed his father's regional wrestling promotion, the northeastern U.S.'s World-Wide Wrestling Federation (later World Wrestling Federation, or WWF), into a worldwide success. Vince, who attended Fishborne Military School as a youth, was a star wrestler in high school. He eventually graduated from East Carolina University with a degree in marketing. By the early 1970s, the younger Vince convinced his father to hire him as promoter for his company, Capitol Wrestling Corp. (which promoted wrestling events as the WWF) He promoted his first WWF wrestling card in 1971 (in Bangor, Maine); the event was a rousing success, and started Vince Jr.'s rise to professional wrestling glory. In 1972, the then 27-year-old McMahon began providing play-by-play commentary for the WWF's weekly syndicated program; at the same time, he helped increase market clearances for the WWF's syndicated programs from nine northeastern U.S. stations (in 1972) to more than triple that by 1980. In 1982, the younger Vince purchased the Capitol Wrestling Corp. from his ailing father (he died in 1984), and began planning a vision to become the world's largest and most successful wrestling enterprise by giving the WWF a much broader audience. McMahon accomplished that through combining the traditional sport of wrestling with elements from the entertainment world (hence the term, sports entertainment); and giving the promotion a national audience (by promoting WWF events and selling airtime to local stations nationwide; airing weekly programs and pay-per-view events on cable and satellite TV). He also initiated one of the first successful major wrestling events, 1985's WrestleMania. However, McMahon's ride to success hasn't always been smooth -- in the early 1990s, allegations of steroid use among top superstars and other misconduct within the WWF nearly ruined Vince and his company. Also, ventures into the realms of bodybuilding (the World Bodybuilding Federation) and professional football (the XFL) failed miserably. For years, McMahon was engaged in a bitter ratings and promotions war with Ted Turner's wrestling ventures (the last being World Championship Wrestling (WCW); it was a battle Turner commanded at one point. McMahon eventually won the battle and today enjoys one of the world's most successful entertainment dynasties. His family -- wife, Linda; son, Shane, and daughter-in-law Marissa; and daugher Stephanie -- all play key roles in the family venture. McMahon is recognized today by many -- supporters and foes alike -- as a fearless and visionary promoter who turned the regional wrestling promotion WWF into a global sensation.
Lionel Atwill was born into a wealthy family and was educated at London's prestigious Mercer School to become an architect, but his interest turned to the stage. He worked his way progressively into the craft and debuted at age 20 at the Garrick Theatre in London. He acted and improved regularly thereafter, especially in the plays of Henrik Ibsen and George Bernard Shaw. Atwill came to the US in 1915 and would appear in some 25 plays on Broadway between 1917 and 1931, but he was already trying his hand in silent films by 1918. He had a sonorous voice and dictatorial British accent that served him well for the stage and just as well for sound movies. He did some Vitaphone short subjects in 1928 and then his first real film role in Silent Witness (also titled "The Verdict").
That voice and his bullish demeanor made Atwill a natural for a spectrum of tough-customer roles. As shady noblemen and mad doctors, but also gruff military men and police inspectors (usually with a signature mustache), he worked steadily through the 1930s. He had the chance to show a broader character as the tyrannical but unforgettable Col. Bishop in Captain Blood. It's hard to forget his Inspector Krogh in Son of Frankenstein, wherein he agrees to a game of darts with Basil Rathbone and proceeds to impale the darts through the right sleeve of his uniform (the character sported a wooden right arm). And he sends himself up with rolling and blustering dialogue as the glory-hog ham stage actor Rawitch in the classic To Be or Not to Be with Jack Benny. However, Atwill effectively ruined his burgeoning film career in 1943 after he was implicated in what was described as an "orgy" at his home, naked guests and pornographic films included--and a rape perpetrated during the proceedings. Atwill "lied like a gentleman," it was said, in the court proceedings to protect the identities of his guests and was convicted of perjury and sentenced to five years' probation.
He was thereafter kept employed on Poverty Row with only brief periods of employment by Universal Pictures, while the rest of Hollywood turned its collective back on him. He is more remembered for the horror films generally than for better efforts, but they have fueled his continued popularity and a bid by the Southern California Lionel Atwill Fan Club to petition for a Hollywood Blvd. star (he never received one).
Born in the sprawling city of Lagos. Was also raised in Paris and Brazil..Speaks fluent portuguese, french, yoruba. Arrived in New York alone as a teenager and quickly made it home. Worked as a bouncer in hot spots like Joe's Pub while studying acting with various teachers like Anthony Abeson,former Tennessee Williams' personal assistant John Uecker, Often told he looks like the great Miles Davis..Has often worked with Nigerian-British filmmaker and photographer Andrew Dosunmu.He played the menacing commander in a 2011 critically acclaimed production (Helen Hayes Award-Best Play) of Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer Prize winner Ruined at Arena Stage in Washington DC... Babs is a 2nd degree Black belt in Brazilian JiuJitsu under Fabio Clemente.Decorated competitor - 2-Time Pan American Champion. His likeness and voice are used in the recently released blockbuster video game Max Payne 3.
Jason Done was born and raised in Salford, England. His love for acting began at an early age after watching the Ken Loach film, Kes. Aged eight, he entered a talent competition, and won first prize for his stand up comedy.
At sixteen Jason won his schools drama prize, and was awarded a place at the National Youth Theatre's summer school, where he worked with acclaimed playwright John Burrows. Jason gained a Foundation Diploma in Performing Arts with distinction from Salford University, whilst studying he co-wrote comedy sketches inspired by Monty Python and performed them in venues around the North of England. He made his professional stage debut in Hull Trucks production of A Hard Days Night, and soon after began work on ITV's _"Mothers Ruin" (1994)_, a six part comedy series. He followed this with Martin Sadofski's drama Blood and Peaches, a gritty tale of four young people growing up in Bradford, England against a backdrop of racial unrest.
It was at this time that Jason realized his passion for dramatic work. This led him back to the theatre for his role as Stubbs in the London premiere of Sam Shepherds play, States of Shock, where he debuted his American accent. Jason received outstanding notices, and followed the play with a role in Anthony Minghella's The English Patient, opposite Academy Award winner Juliette Binoche. Jason returned to the small screen for Wokenwell where he played PC Brian Rainford, in England's answer to Northern Exposure. The show gained a cult following.
Next came The Barber of Siberia directed by Oscar winner Nikita Mikhalkov, where he played an American army cadet stationed at West Point. Described as "deliciously evil" for his role as Mordred in NBC's Merlin, Jason worked alongside a star studded ensemble including Sam Neill, Isabella Rossellini and Helena Bonham Carter, in what was NBC's highest rating drama in twelve years.
Always willing to try new accents, Jason played a tormented student from Cornwall in The Passion (BBC 1). He then joined the cast of the popular ITV series, Where the Heart Is for two years. The Emmy award winning Dreamworks/HBO production Band of Brothers saw Jason's return to US television. His role of BAFTA winner Julie Walters' son in BBC's critically acclaimed Murder, had Jason working with director Beeban Kidron and writer Abi Morgan. Having earlier worked on the short film the King and Us, Jason spread his wings to write, produce and star in his own short film Shooting from the Lip, a commentary on lost love. Jason most recently starred as Sean Denning, a malevolent gangster manipulating the police, in a two part TV film of the popular series In Deep.
Alexis Georgoulis was born in the Greek town Larissa. In 1993, he started studying at the National Technical University of Athens to become a Civil Engineer. In 1997, after graduating from the prestigious Jasmine Drama School, Alexis would go on to star in several stage productions. During this time, he teamed up with the dance group "Heresis" in the performance "Carmen 33" (1997) and "The Return" (1998).
Looking toward a career in front of the camera, Alexis took part in the TV series "Alice in Wonderland" (1997 ET channel), and "Death Agony" (1998 ET channel), and also in the short cut film "No One's Rose". In 2001, he co-starred in the sitcom "You Are My Mate", which became a huge success and made him one of Greece's most sought after leading men. Alexis would go on to appear in the Greek TV series "Oneiro Itan" (2003), "Erastis Ditikon Proastion" (2004) and "Oi Istories Tou Astynomou Beka" (2007).
In 2002, Alexis would star in back to back feature films, the comedy "The Bubble" and the crime drama "Too Late Tomorrow". Following the success of these films, Alexis starred in "Oxygono" (2003), which won the Fipresci Prize at the Thessaloniki Film Festival. Taking advantage of his big screen success, Alexis went on to direct the play "Good Luck" written by the rewarded Greek writer Bill Katsikonouris for the Progressive Stage of the National Theatre. The following year at the Kivotos Theatre (2004), he directed the black comedy "The Shape of Things", written by Neil Labute.
In 2005, Alexis returned to feature films playing the lead role of Dimitris Georgiou in "Liubi". In 2009, Alexis was given the opportunity to bring his talents overseas, playing the lead role in Fox Searchlight's "My Life in Ruins" also starring Nia Vardalos and Richard Dreyfuss. The film, produced by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, extended Alexis appeal and has since made him an international star extending far beyond Europe. Alexis can next be seen in "A Green Story" starring opposite Shannon Elizabeth.
Georgoulis is managed by Sages Entertainment Group.
Arguably one of the best singers of the twentieth century, Dick Haymes was born in Argentina to a Scots/Irish father and Irish mother, but brought to the U.S. as an infant. Dick inherited his vocal gift from his mother who made ends meet during the Depression as a singer and voice teacher. A music gig in 1931 caught the eye of a local band leader and soon Dick was moving up, but it was slow-going. In 1939, while Dick was trying to pitch his songwriting talents to band leader Harry James, he ended up his featured vocalist, instead. During the war years Dick hooked up with the Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey orchestras before deciding to go solo. Nabbing his own radio program in addition to a Decca recording contract, Twentieth Century Fox soon expressed interest in his musical talents. Among his many film leads were State Fair opposite Jeanne Crain and Vivian Blaine, Diamond Horseshoe and The Shocking Miss Pilgrim both paired with Betty Grable, One Touch of Venus with Ava Gardner, and All Ashore, a second string version of On the Town, with Mickey Rooney and Ray McDonald as his shore-leave buddies. For such a pleasant and unassuming man, Dick's personal life certainly was a shambles aggravated by alcoholism and financial debt. Five marriages came and went (including actresses Joanne Dru, Nora Eddington, Rita Hayworth, and Fran Jeffries) before his sixth one finally stuck. By the 1960s, his life was all but ruined. He managed to travel to Europe and picked up the remnants of his career. His reputation had not tarnished there, and he enjoyed some renewed popularity; he never regained, however, the foothold in the business that he once had. Dick died of lung cancer in 1980. Though not as well remembered as other crooners of his time (Frank Sinatra, Tony Martin, Vic Damone), and not a particularly charismatic performer on film, this rich baritone's legacy IS his music. Some of Dick's more popular recordings include "The More I See You," "How Blue the Night," "For You, For Me, Forever More," "Speak Low," and "Another Night Like This."
Faten Hamama (known as "The Lady of the Arabic Screen") has become an icon and the most important actress of Egyptian and Arabic cinema. She is also the most honored actress in the Middle East. Every decade of her life represents a new era of acting and witnessed the reshaping and progression of Egyptian cinema. The progress in her different characters when she started as a child in 1938 until today parallels the progress that modern Egyptian women have made during the 20th century and their interaction with the public, culture or political life. During the celebration of 100 years of Egyptian cinema on 1996, she was chosen as the country's most important actress, and 18 of her films were selected as among the best 150 made to that time. It was no surprise that in 2000 the Egyptian Organization of Critics and Writers named her the Star of the Century.
She was born in 1931 in Elmansoura, Egypt, the daughter of Ahmed Hamama, an employee of the Egyptian Ministry of Knowledge. Her legendary journey started as a secret statement between a six-year-old girl and her father after they watched a film in their neighborhood theater, at which leading actress and producer Assia Dagher was present. Faten told her father that she felt the audience was applauding for her as the leading actress, and her father gave her a hug with a vision of helping his daughter to become a movie star. She won a contest for the most beautiful child in Egypt, and her dad sent her picture to director Mohammed Karim (a pioneer of Egyptian cinema). Karim was looking for a child for his new film with Egyptian musician Mohamed Abdel Wahab. Faten auditioned for and got a role in this movie, A Happy Day ("A Happy Day"). She impressed the filmmakers so much during shooting that she was actually given more lines and scenes in the picture than were originally scripted for her. Karim put her under contract, and four years later he gave her a role in a film with Mohamed Abdel Wahab again, A Bullet in the Heart ("A Bullet in the Heart"). With her third movie with Karim, Dunia, Faten showed filmmakers and audiences alike that she was was an actress ready for bigger roles. Her father, along with her family, moved to Cairo to help her in her career. She also began studying her craft at the High Institute of Acting in 1946.
With actor and director Youssef Wahby (known as the dean of Egyptian theater), Faten started a new stage of her career, in melodramas. Yousef saw her talent in Karim's movies and was able to showcase it to even better advantage in his next film, The Angel of Mercy ("The Angel of Mercy"), in which she played his daughter. Although only 15 years old at the time, it was generally agreed that she stole the film. This teenager was soon the talk of the Egyptian cinema, and her star hasn't set since then. She made more films with Wahby, such as The Secret of the Confessional ("The Chair of Confession"), in which she played a lover of the cardinal's brother who mistakenly goes to jail for her father's murder. She had another box-office hit with The Two Orphans ("The Two Orphans"), followed by a successful comedy of the travails of a wife and her mother in law in The Lady of the House ("The Lady of the House"). She was the favorite of novelists because she could attract the best writers and directors to a project, and it wasn't soon before her name alone would pretty much guarantee success for whatever film she was in.
The 1950s brought new directors to Egyptian cinema and was the beginning of what was to become known as "The Golden Age of Egyptian Cinema". Faten appeared in a number of films by these new directors, such as Salah Abouseif's first realism picture, Your Day Will Come ("Your Day Will Come"), which was a box-office hit and was shown at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival in France. She appeared in such successful films as The Barred Road ("The Barred Road") and won a Best Actresss award for her performance in the romantic political movie No Time for Love ("No Time for Love"). She also supported director Youssef Chahine in his first movie, Father Amine, then again in his even more successful Siraa Fil-Wadi, a realistic work that was also featured at the Cannes Film Festival (Youssef is on record as saying that Faten is his favorite actress and the best Egyptian actress of all time).
She also worked with director Kamal El Sheikh in his first movie, which introduced the mystery genre to Egyptian cinema, House No. 13 ("House No. 13"), and again in I Will Not Confess ("I Will Not Confess"). Their film Last Night ("Last Night") captured at least 10 awards in the 1965 national competition and was also shown at the Cannes festival. She excelled at comedy, as evidenced by her astonishing role in The Lawyer Fatma as lawyer Fatma. She also worked closely with two other directors of this period, Ezzel Dine Zulficar and Henry Barakat, and made successful films with both. In fact, she married Zulficar in 1947 while shooting Abu Zeid el Hilali. He was known as the king of "romantic" movies and together they worked to further that vision, as in Immortality ("Immortality"). They formed a production company and made Appointment with Life ("Appointment with Life"), which was voted movie of the year and received both critical and box-office success (it was this film that caused critics to name her the "Lady of the Arabic Screen", a title she has kept to this day). Faten soon became the highest-paid actress in Egyptian cinema, and remained so until her final feature, Land of Dreams ("Land of Dreams") and TV series, Wagh el qamar ("Face of the Moon"). More successful romantic roles with Ezzel Dine followed, such as Appointment with Happiness ("ppointment with Happiness"). It was during this period that Dine made his famous quote about Faten: "The distance between Faten and the next runner-up is like the distance between 1 and 10". Although they were divorced in 1954, and Faten married Omar Sharif in 1955, she and Dine continued to make films together, many of which are considered classics of Egyptian romantic cinema, such as Among the Ruins ("Among the Ruins") and what many consider their masterpiece, tt0366810 ("The River of Love"), their version of Leo Tolstoy's great story "Anna Karenina", opposite Omar Sharif, and the two became one of the classic romantic couples of Egyptian cinema, appearing again in Our Best Days ("Our Best Days"), Lady of the Castle ("Lady of the Castle"), No Tomorrow ("Sleepless") and Siraa Fil-Wadi ("Struggle in the Valley"). Sharif and Faten divorced on 1974. He made what became a famous statement about Faten, that he only married once because he only loved once, and that was Faten.
Director Henry Barakat specialized in musical romantic movies, social commentary and women's rights in society. During the making of Immortal Song ("Immortal Song"), they developed a close professional bond, and Barakat used Faten to explore all his talent and all his visions. The success of the romantic musical Immortal Song that became the movie of the year challenged both of them to make more successful musical romantic films, which they did with such pictures as With You Forever ("With You Forever") and Appointment with Love ("Appointment with Love"). IT was with Barakatg that Fatan made her most famous and beloved picture, with her role as Ammna in The Curlew's Cry ("The Nightingale's Prayer"), which describes differences between revenge and culture through a romantic story. It was nominated for Best Film at Berlin's International Film Festival and almost made it to the Oscars in the US. This film was chosen as one of best ten movies ever made in Egypt. After this picture Faten made several more films that promoted women's rights in society and created more cultural awareness, such as The Open Door ("The Open Door"), for which she received the Best Actress award at the Jakarta (Indonesia) International Film Festival. One year later they did it again in The Sin ("The Sin"), which was shown at the Cannes festival that year and was chosen as one of best five movies ever made in Egypt. Faten and Barakat continued their journey together through decades for more outstanding roles as Kheit al rafeigh, -al ("The Thin Thread"), Afwah wa araneb ("Mouths and Rabbits"); Faten won Best Actress awards from two international festival for her role in this movie, and it was the highest-grossing Egyptian film ever made until that time. Their last picture together was a remarkable hit, Leilet al quabd al Fatma ("The Night of Fatma's Arrest"). Their journey was crowned by a lifetime achievement award for their films together from the Montpellier International Film Festival on 1993. Barakat's was quoted as saying, "If I could get Faten in my films, I will guarantee us the best picture".
Faten left Egypt from 1966-1971 because she resisted political pressure that was applied to her. She divided her time between Lebanon and London, England. During this period Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser asked some prominent critics and writers to try to persuade her to return to Egypt, saying that "Faten Hamama is a national treasure". Her return to Egypt on 1971 breathed life back into Egyptian cinema. She insisted that her films reflect the values of the society through the family relationships. Her role in Emberatoriet meem ("Empire M") as a widow with six children and the struggles she endured to raise them made the film a success both critically and financially, and she earned a special award from an organization of Soviet Union women when the film was shown at the Moscow International Film Festival. Her film I Want a Solution ("Need a Solution") was not only a big hit but resulted in changes to Egyptian marriage and divorce laws. Faten won the Best Actress award at the Cairo International Film Festival and a Prize of Recognition at the Teheran (Iran) Film Festival. She continued to make films that commented on society, such as Oghneyat elmoot ("The Song of Death"), Ualla azae lel sayedat ("No Condolences for Ladies"), Yom mor... yom helw ("Bitter Days, Sweet Days") and her last feature, Land of Dreams ("Land of Dreams"), and her TV series, Dameer abla Hekmat ("The Consciousness of Teacher Hekmat") and Wagh el qamar ("The Face of the Moon"), which was shown in 23 countries in the Middle East.
Faten Hamama is the fourth Pyramid in Egyptian cinema, a legend in her platinum anniversary, the diamond that remained shining and kept its glowing over the decades on the silver screen.
Edward Dmytryk grew up in San Francisco, the son of Ukrainian immigrants. After his mother died when he was 6, his strict disciplinarian father beat the boy frequently, and the child began running away while in his early teens. Eventually, juvenile authorities allowed him to live alone at the age of 15 and helped him find part-time work as a film studio messenger. Dmytryk was an outstanding student in physics and mathematics and gained a scholarship to the California Institute of Technology. However, he dropped out after one year to return to movies, eventually working his way up from film editor to director. By the late 1940s, he was considered one of Hollywood's rising young directing talents, but his career was interrupted by the activities of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), a congressional committee that employed ruthless tactics aimed at rooting out and destroying what it saw as Communist influence in Hollywood. A lifelong political leftist who had been a Communist Party member briefly during World War II, Dmytryk was one of the so-called "Hollywood Ten" who refused to cooperate with HUAC and had their careers disrupted or ruined as a result. The committee threw him in prison for refusing to cooperate, and after having spent several months behind bars, Dmytryk decided to cooperate after all, and testified again before the committee, this time giving the names of people he said were Communists. He claimed to believe he had done the right thing, but many in the Hollywood community--even those who came along long after the committee was finally disbanded--never forgave him, and that action overshadowed his career the rest of his life. In the 1970s, as his directing career ground to a halt, Dmytryk recalled some advice once given him by Garson Kanin, and returned to academic life, this time as a teacher. From 1976 to 1981 he was a professor of film theory and production at the University of Texas at Austin, and in 1981, was appointed to a chair in filmmaking at the University of Southern California, a position he held until about two years before his death. During his teaching career, he also authored several books on various aspects of filmmaking, as well as two volumes of memoirs.
John Anthony Frusciante was born on March 5, 1970, in New York. He became interested in rock music at an early age. After his parents divorced, John and his mother moved to California when he was seven. When he was nine, his stepfather offered him his first acoustic guitar.
John taught himself how to play guitar, and for the next several years he would spent all his time practicing. In California his interest in music grew and grew as he discovered bands such as The Germs. While at school it was clear that John was an outsider, mainly because he would rather concentrate on music and that was his life.
In school he heard many artists who influenced what he played on his guitar, such as Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa, among others. John became a big fan of a local band called Red Hot Chili Peppers when he heard them at 15 years of age. At this time original guitarist Hillel Slovak was still in the band. At the age of 16 John left school and home to become a full-time musician. He had even auditioned to be a guitarist for Frank Zappa but "chickened out" at the last minute. At a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert, John met Hillel Slovak. Over the years John also met Anthony Kiedis and Flea, and began to come in contact with them regularly. When Hillel Slovak died of a heroin overdose on June 27, 1988, Jack Irons, the Chili Peppers' drummer at the time, also left, as he and Slovak were best friends and Slovak's death was a huge shock to Irons. Flea and Kiedis did not want to quit the band, however, because they knew that it hadn't reached its full capability.
Flea had jammed with John many times after Hillel's death and told Anthony that John was right for the Chili Peppers. The instrumental "Pretty Little Ditty" (the riff of which was sampled for Crazy Town's smash hit "butterfly") that appeared on the album "Mother's Milk" was born through the numerous jams that Flea and John had. A little while later, John auditioned to be a guitarist for the band Thelonious Monster. The band was about to offer him the job, but Flea jumped in just in time and offered the guitarist position in the Chili Peppers to John, which he gladly accepted.
Flea and others close to the band recalled that John was very much like Hillel, not only in the way he played guitar but the way he stood and moved like him. In 1989, "Mother's Milk", John and new drummer Chad Smith's first album for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, peaked at #59 on the Billboard charts and with the hit "Higher Ground" originally written by Stevie Wonder.
The Chili Peppers were becoming more popular every day while their fan base grew. Years earlier, when John was at a Chili Peppers concert, Hillel asked John, "Would you still like the Chilis if they got so popular that they played the L.A. Forum?". John responded, "No, because it would ruin the whole thing."
With the success of the band's fifth album and John's second with them, "Blood Sugar Sex Magik" (1991), what Hillel said bothered John and he began loathing the popularity of the band. During the Blood Sugar Sex Magik world tour, John's relationship with Kiedis started falling apart, even though they were once the closest in the band. After a while they stopped talking. John would retaliate at shows by playing quiet parts loudly and loud parts quietly. Flea even recalled that John started playing angrily. He knew John wasn't happy.
At a hotel room in Japan in 1992, John did not want to play one night. He angrily slammed his arm on a table, trying to injure it in some way that would prevent him from playing, but it didn't do any damage. He rang the Chili Peppers' tour manager and said he wanted to quit the band. After a band meeting, the rest of the Chili Peppers' convinced John to play that night and he did so. After the show, he took a plane home to California with one more date in Japan still to go. On May 7 1992, John left the Peppers and went home and stayed on the couch for roughly a year.
As the Chili Peppers began the search for another guitarist, John became addicted to drugs such as heroin and cocaine. He discovered his love for painting. After his friends Perry Farrell, Steven T. Perkins, Gibby Haynes, Flea and River Phoenix convinced him to record a solo album because there was "no good music anymore," he completed "Niandra LaDes & Usually Just A T-shirt". Warners was to have the rights to the album, as there was a "leaving artist" clause in the Chili Peppers' contract, but since John did not want to do any promotion or interviews for the album, they gladly handed over the rights to Rick Rubin's (producer of Blood Sugar Sex Magik) American Recordings. The album didn't shift many units, as it was only restricted to the American market. It sold roughly 15,000 copies.
After his friend River Phoenix died in October 1993, John became more depressed. He stopped playing guitar, stopped painting and became a full-time drug addict. He went broke after spending all his money on drugs and was expelled from his house because he wasn't paying the rent for it anymore. During those years John moved to different places. If no one had heard from him for a while, some would assume that he was probably dead. He never ate regularly and liked his new stick-like body shape, because it looked like David Bowie's during the "Ziggy Stardust" days.
After a suggestion from a friend for another solo album, John agreed to do one to pay for his drug habit. In 1997 "Smile from the Streets you Hold" was released. It sold better then "Niandra LaDes & Usually Just a T-shirt".
In 1999 John took the album off the market because he was ashamed of his motives for doing it. He was urged by friends to give rehab another try. This time it was successful. He began playing again and played at the Viper Room on the 20th January 1997, where only a few years earlier his friend River Phoenix had died. Then in the beginning of 1998, rumors spread that Dave Navarro (John's replacement in the Chili Peppers) was leaving the band.
Flea, who had jammed with John numerous times during this period, proposed him to join the band again. It wasn't until April 1998 that his return within the Chili Peppers became official. It made the band and the fans alike happy. He and the rest of the Chili Peppers jammed numerous times and kept composing and practicing during the following months. Anthony Kiedis had recovered from his addictions as well and he and John were able to forgive and forget and form a bond once more.
He has since recorded two more albums with the Chili Peppers, "Californication" (1999) and "By The Way" (2002), both commercial successes. He also released two more solo albums, "To Record Only Water For Ten Days" (2001) and "Shadows Collide With People" (2004). He will be releasing a new album "Will To Death" on June 22 on the Record Collection label.
Dorothy Comingore earned a place in motion picture history for her role as the second Mrs. Kane (the Marion Davies to Orson Welles's William Randolph Hearst) in Citizen Kane. It was an extraordinary performance, justifiably praised by critics and public alike. She was apparently slated to be on the short list for an Academy Award. However, there was to be no stardom in films for this talented actress.
Dorothy was discovered by Charles Chaplin while performing with the Carmel Little Theater in Monterey County. He was enchanted by her and his praise won her a Hollywood contract. That contract was unaccountably dropped after just three months without even a screen test. At Warner Brothers, she was utilised purely for publicity stills and as a clothes model. She would have none of it. Having already acquired a reputation as a firebrand, she walked out on the studio, having been relegated to what amounted to nothing more than a crowd scene. She was determined to be appreciated for her acting ability, not to be wasted as an extra. Columbia signed her on. However, between 1938 and 1940, most of her roles (in which she was often billed as 'Linda Winters') still turned out to be uncredited bits and walk-ons. There were also westerns and 'Three Stooges' comedy shorts, but certainly nothing of substance. Her turning point came courtesy of an introduction to Orson Welles at a party. Welles came to think of her as ideal casting for the part of brash, feather-brained would-be diva Susan Alexander Kane. A successful screen test followed and then came the role that brought Dorothy Comingore at once fame and ruin.
Soon after its release, the wrath of Citizen Hearst descended upon everyone associated with the picture. In particular, he never forgave Dorothy for playing a part so obviously (and effectively) modelled on his mistress. Dorothy Comingore was already well known for her leftist sympathies. Her father had been a high profile unionist and her first husband had died fighting Franco's fascists in the Spanish Civil War. The newspaper magnate had ample ammunition to orchestrate a nationwide smear campaign, using prominent columnists Hedda Hopper and Walter Winchell to branding her a 'subversive', a member of the Communist Party. Though devoid of substantiating evidence, the spurious allegation stuck. Dorothy had associations and friends in Hollywood (not to mention her husband, the screenwriter Richard Collins, who had been an active party member of the Hollywood chapter in the 1930's), who had communist affiliations or were party members. She had also made enemies by following in her father's footsteps, canvassing for and supporting civil rights causes and union solidarity. Refusing to cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) made her an 'unfriendly witness'. Not only was she blacklisted in Hollywood, but her phone was tapped, her mail opened and her home ransacked. Collins, by now Dorothy's ex, did not have the same moral fortitude. To escape blacklisting, he recanted his previous testimony and fully cooperated with HUAC's inquisitors.
Dorothy's career effectively ended in 1951, her acting swansong in films being a small part in an indifferent drama of teenage angst, The Big Night. Her personal life, meanwhile, continued to spiral out of control. She became an alcoholic. In October 1952, she was arrested by vice squad officers on a solicitation charge, another likely frame-up as payback for her "red" affiliations. Having lost custody of her children, she agreed to have the charges against her dropped in exchange for being committed to the Camarillo State Mental Hospital. There she spent two years (not 'a little time', as she had promised in court) 'undergoing treatment'. Not much is known of her final years, except, that she spent most of it in seclusion, married to a postman in Connecticut in a home with two dogs and ten cats. She died in December 1971 of pulmonary disease, likely the result of long-term alcohol abuse, at the age of 58.
"Daily Variety", many publications and critics called Judy Pace one of the most beautiful women to ever appear on screen. In the 1970s she was the personification of black beauty, but restricting her to just being a "black" beauty is a slap in the face because she's a beauty, period. Most importantly, however, she was a fine actress. She became a familiar face in the 1970s on the big and little screens, appearing in the most popular blaxploitation movies and popular television shows like Batman, Bewitched, The Flying Nun, I Spy, The Young Lawyers, Mod Squad, Brian's Song, That's My Mama, Sanford and Son and What's Happening!!, among others. Her presence was always welcoming, warm, sexy but innocent. She was truly graceful and a vision of loveliness. But don't make the mistake of knowing her for just beauty. She was truly a grand actress. Her dark-brown complexion is always mentioned because she was the first dark-complected beauty on-screen. She proved to whites and blacks alike that beauty doesn't discriminate and a woman with dark skin can be a beauty, too.
Judy Pace was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She came from a humble upbringing. After graduating from high school, she attended Los Angeles City College, where she majored in sociology. Always striking, she was taught modeling by her sister, then got an offer to join the prestigious Ebony Fashion Fair; she auditioned and became the youngest model for the show. Modeling was something new and adventurous for Judy. She went on to model in many leading publications that catered to both black and white audiences. Judy had no aspirations to be a movie or TV star until director William Castle saw her pictures in "Ebony" magazine and chose her for a part in his film, 13 Frightened Girls!. She received favorable reviews and showed great potential as an actress. She realized that she was meant to be an actress so she began taking acting classes and performing in L.A. theater. Small parts on television and films started coming her way, leading to bigger and better roles, such as Three in the Attic, in which she played one of three femme fatales who band together to turn the tables on a white gigolo by loving him to death. This film was one of Hollywood's first interracial love/sex movies. Judy played her part so daringly, enticingly and erotically that you forgot her race and color and were hypnotized by her powerful aura.
Judy had nothing but success from then on. After losing out to Diahann Carroll for the lead role in Julia that seemed meant for her, Judy found TV success in the nighttime soap opera Peyton Place. She played "Vickie Fletcher", television's first black female antagonist. Judy was excellent as the manipulative, lying, cheating, backstabber who ruins the life of everyone who crosses her path. When the series was canceled, others found it hard to find work but Judy didn't. She was given the lead in a made-for-TV movie called The Young Lawyers. Judy played one of three young lawyers who took on cases dealing with the poor and oppressed. The film would later be turned into a weekly series, with Judy reprising her role.
The 1970s was the start of a new, exciting, experimental era that'll never be seen again. It was the era of black power and black beauty. Judy, more than anyone, exemplified that era of thinking. She was black and beautiful, truly. She was the "new" black woman--confident, strong, sweet, sexy, vivacious and beautiful. She was referred to as "The Black Babydoll" or "The Black Barbie" because she looked just like a perfect doll.
Judy became the ultimate favorite of the 1970s on the big and little screens. She was one of many gorgeous black leading ladies of blaxploitation films of the 1970s. Cotton Comes to Harlem was her big break and the film was the start of the blaxploitation era. It was about a black leader who plans to steal poor blacks' money with a bogus "back to Africa" movement, basically a remake of The Black King. It was an all-star cast, with Godfrey Cambridge, Raymond St. Jacques, Redd Foxx, Cleavon Little and Calvin Lockhart, directed by the legendary Ossie Davis.
She never acted "black" or "white", she simply just acted and her portrayals were moving to anyone watching her; she made you become deeply involved in her roles. Even as a bad lady, she made you hate her but love her a little. Judy was a natural, versatile actress; she could play the sweet, innocent girl next door or an evil femme fatale. She could also play the "dumb" beauty and make it believable. She made you understand her and have a little heart for her. That's an actress! No one else of the screen of her time was so versatile; other black actresses were monotonous.
"Cotton Comes to Harlem" should have made Judy an iconic blaxploitation movie star, as it did the black male actors, but it didn't. Pam Grier was the only black female to enjoy major success in blaxploitation films. Perhaps Judy was too much of a lady for blaxploitation, though. There was no sign of stopping for her. Roles followed in movies and TV. She had guest appearances on such hit shows as Sanford and Son, Good Times, That's My Mama and What's Happening!!, where she had significant parts and left a lasting impression on viewers. She always was the most popular TV guest star. Judy was in her 30s during the 1970s, which was her prime, but she still flaunted youthful beauty and zest.
Judy Pace went on to conquer the stage. She was in the well-acclaimed Las Vegas production of "Guys and Dolls" that had a successful run. It was a black version, in which she played "Adelaide". Judy's first marriage was to actor Don Mitchell, who had success on Ironside. She had two children from that union and, later, she married baseball legend Curt Flood. Since Flood's death in 1997, Judy has been a major spokesperson for her husband's role in establishing free agency in professional sports. Judy is also the founder and supporter of the Kwanzaa Foundation with "Star Trek" legend, Nichelle Nichols. Judy's sister, singer Jean Pace, was married to music legend Oscar Brown Jr..
Throughout her career Judy broke the color line in TV and Hollywood. She was the first to do many things that helped future black actresses. Not many, as of yet, have filled her shoes. Judy appeared on many successful TV shows and had parts in movies where she was the only appealing presence. It's also historic to mention she was one of the first black bachelorettes on the legendary The Dating Game.
Judy Pace is starting to get her well-deserved recognition with the help of loyal fans. She's been honored through the years also. People who are becoming fans are surprised at the fact that they hadn't known of her earlier.
For Michèle Mercier, the role of Angélique, "the Marquise of the Angels", was both a blessing and a curse. It catapulted her to almost instant stardom, rivalling Brigitte Bardot in her celebrity and popularity, but ruined her acting career. The character of Angélique made to forget the other aspects of the career of Mercier, but it is true that general public discovered her only in "Angélique", and made her a real star of the French cinema of that time. By the end of the 1960s, the names Angélique and Michèle Mercier were synonymous, and to escape type-casting, Mercier was compelled to leave France and try to re-start her career in United States, unfortunately without any success.
Daughter of Nice's pharmacists, born on January 1st, 1939 and named as Jocelyne Yvonne Renée, she initially wanted to be a dancer. Wartime, no money to buy food, but little Jocelyne wept all week, cadging father, wellknown pharmacist in Nice, to buy her balletskirts and points. In return she promised to work in drug-store. Father took this only as childish whim. But little girl got her wish through: of "small ballet-rat", as they call little dancers, who participate in stageshows, she grew up to soloist in Opera of Nice. Then came Paris. First she was engaged to the troupe of Roland Petit, then she danced in the company of the "Ballets of the Eiffel tower". At 15, she met Maurice Chevalier, who predicted her success and glory. They did arrive, but by another way that the dance. Parallel to her career as dancer, Jocelyne followed courses of dramatic art in the class of Solange Sicard. Her début in French cinema was for Mercier another compromise: her birthname seemed too long and too old-fashioned for movie credits. What, if she'll take a name Michèle? She winced - this was name of her little sister, who died at the age of five by the fever typhoide, but she agreed. And it was also as in testimony of admiration for her partner Michèle Morgan, as she borrowed her name to her. After some romantic comedies and a small role in François Truffaut's "Shoot the pianist" (1960; her favorite role), she approaches the Sixties mainly in the cinema of district. She also worked in England and made then mainly small-budget films in Italy, always in the same register of easy girl. To this moment Michèle already competed with Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida, continuously shooting in Italy. She needed a role, which could make her a star. Only in 1963, when was decided to make movie by sensational novel "Angélique", Michèle got this kind of chance.
Many actresses were approached to play the role of Angélique. The Producer Francis Cosne absolutely wanted Brigitte Bardot for the part. She refused, but later judged Michèle Mercier to be fantastic in it. Annette Stroyberg was considered next, but judged not to be sufficiently well-known. Catherine Deneuve was too pale, Jane Fonda spoke French with an American accent, and Virna Lisi was busy in Hollywood. The most serious actress considered was Marina Vlady. She almost sign a contract, but Michèle Mercier won the role after trying out for it - which she did not appreciate very much since she was being treated like a beginner while she was already a big star in Italy. At the time she was contacted to play Angélique, she had already acted in over twenty movies. During four years she made five Angélique-movies, enjoying the real success. Nevertheless the moment came, when she finally wanted to interrupt with this aggravating character. Michèle played with Jean Gabin in "The Thunder of God" of Denys de la Patellière. Then with Robert Hossein in "La seconde vérité" of Christian-Jaque... But the time has gone. That was also confirmed by Mercier's flop in Hollywood... What life didn't taught her, that's the skill how to dominate men. Every time Michèle captivated regardlessly. She was deceived, betrayed. She suffered. "Men in their way, shattered my life. What I wanted from them? Real, mutual love. What they wanted - no hard to guess," candidly confessed Michèle after sensational story with a shah, who overwhelmed actress with diamonds and bouquets of flowers, and then tryed to rape her. Press enjoyed Michèle's love affairs and divorces. For some reason or other, in real life this beautiful and kind woman met only rascals, without exception. First husband turned out to be alcoholic. With well known racer Claude Bourillot she lived together 12 years. And she was shocked, when in one day she found out that he vanished with her jewels. Full of dramatism was story of her romance with Italian prince N., who after many years of courtship got intimate with Michèle and at the end betrayed her, refusing to marry her. Incidentally, all these failures even more hardened the character of Michèle Mercier. After a very long eclipse, she decided to return to the cinema. In 1998, the actress made in Cuba and in Italy "La Rumbera", a feature film by Italian director Piero Vivarelli. In 1999, swindled of several million francs in a business venture, Mercier had serious financial problems. She even planned to sell famous wedding gown of the Marquise of the Angels. The actress confessed in Nice Matin: "I am ruined, I'll be obliged to sell part of my paintings, my furnitures, my properties, my jewels and the costumes of Angélique". In 2002, she presented at the Cannes Film Festival her second book of memories in which she affirms in the cover that "she's not Angélique!", entrusting her irritation to be summarized to this glamour-image of the Sixties. In this book Mercier also tells about how Italian actor Vittorio Gassman tried to take her by force, but remembers also the gentility of Marcello Mastroianni and the suppers of Bettino Craxi, former Prime Minister, and Silvio Berlusconi. In the end she admits: "All the men who have made the court of me, tried to seduce Angélique... not me. But then one day I understood that Angelique could not make more harm to me, therefore I have learned to consider she's like a little sister, with whom I had to live hand in hand".
Silvia Busuioc was born September 7, 1989 in Chisinau, Moldova. Her artistic career started from an early age through dancing. At the age of 7 she started studying modern dance, latino, jazz, tango, progressing in her teenage years to hip-hop and belly dancing. By the age of 12 she was performing in many dance shows on Moldavian National TV and at numerous theaters and cultural institutions in Moldova and Ukraine.
In 2002, whilst attending national state school studying foreign languages, she also began studying in the private school of performing arts in Chisnau where she took her first acting classes, as well as photography, arts, fashion, aesthetics.
In 2006 Silvia Busuioc won her first beauty competition at national level in Moldova and was on the cover page of the national Moldavian magazine Jurnal de Chisinau. In the same year she began studying Radio Journalism at Centru Media Pentru Tineri (Moldavian Youth Cultural Center) and started her collaboration with national Radio Moldova, hosting youth radio programs.
In 2008 she was selected to be part of a young theater group based in the Italian medieval city Cittadella. From collaboration with the group she secured the role of Gertrude in the comic parody of Hamlet and acted for two years in the play "Amletie" in Italian theaters in Province of Padua. In the same period she started collaborating with a student radio station, Radio Bue, writing and hosting her own radio program, where the main topic was to discuss youth problems through acting them out in Radio Drama pieces.
In 2009 Silvia Busuioc started her studies in performing arts at the State University of Milan, where she studied history of theater, arts, acting, cinema and television and from which she graduated in March 2012 with the graduation thesis titled "From Nabokov to Kubrick: 'Lolita' through literature, cinema, theater and music". She then won the role of Alda Merini, a famous Italian poetess, in the theater play dedicated to the poetess and based on her biography and poems "DiVerso...Amore" (Different ...Love). Silvia played a young Alda Merini unjustly detained in a psychiatric asylum by her husband. The play received great reviews and gave Silvia the opportunity to express her outstanding acting skills in a very difficult role.
In 2010 Silvia Busuioc starts an important collaboration with Italian National Television Productions, starting with Telelombardia, Antena 3, SKY, La7, Canale5, where she acted in and hosted the TV Shows, some of which based on Italian comedy, dance and music. This collaboration continued till the end of 2012 and contributed to her success in Italy.
In 2011 Silvia started to work with an established Italian director, writer and actor Rocco Ricciardulli for an important play "Animelle! Un euro al chilo", where she got the lead role of Lilia. The main topic of the play is human trafficking, violence towards women and prostitution. The play was on European Tour participating at Fringe Festival and was also picked up by the Italian Embassy in Romania, where the play was shown in the country's main theaters gaining great reviews and success. Silvia became part of the theater group, based in Milan and later went on to become part of the cast in the short film "Occhi", which deals with the problem of woman's image ruined by advertising and mass media, where 'woman' considered only as a sexual object. With the same group in 2012 she was casted for the play "La Verità sul Amore! Vi prego..." (Truth about love! Please...) a romantic play directed also by Rocco Riciardulli, where Silvia gets the lead role of Katja; as well as the co-star role for the play "Sete! Allarme oro blu", a debate on the protection of "water" as a resource essential for human survival.
Between 2011 and 2012 Silvia played in numerous theatrical plays based on social problems and cultural differences, as in the play "Gli incubi del geco", a play written by Madagascar writer Jean-Luc Raharimanana, about African wars, suffering and genocide as a result of cultural differences and backgrounds.
Whilst maintaining a busy theater schedule Silvia continued working with Italian TV Shows, continuously being called back to act on the famous "Striscia la Notizia" satiric show on National Italian TV Chanel 5, the "Gene Gnocchi" comedy show on National Chanel RAI and the "G'Day" show on La 7 National Chanel.
In 2013 she was cast as a lead role for the second season of the TV series "Fuoriclasse" directed by Riccardo Donna. The series was shot in Turin during the Summer of 2013 and will be broadcasted in February 2014 on National TV Chanel Rai Uno. Silvia express her extraordinary acting abilities in each episode and speaks four different languages in the story, as required by her role in the series.
This handsome, eloquent and highly charismatic actor became one of the foremost interpreters of Eugene O'Neill's plays and one of the most treasured names in song during the first half of the twentieth century. He also courted disdain and public controversy for most of his career as a staunch Cold War-era advocate for human rights. While the backlash of his civil rights activities and left-wing ideology left him embittered and practically ruined his career, he remains today a durable symbol of racial pride and consciousness.
Born in Princeton, New Jersey, on April 9, 1898, Paul LeRoy Bustill Robeson and his four siblings (William, Benjamin, Reeve, Marian) lost their mother, a schoolteacher, in a fire while quite young (Paul was only six). Paul's father, a humble Presbyterian minister and former slave, raised the family singlehandedly and the young, impressionable boy grew up singing spirituals in his father's church. Paul was a natural athlete and the tall (6'3"), strapping high school fullback had no trouble earning a scholarship to prestigious Rutgers University in 1915 at age 17 -- becoming only the third member of his race to be admitted at the time. He excelled in football, baseball, basketball, and track and field, graduating as a four-letter man. He was also the holder of a Phi Beta Kappa key in his junior year and was a selected member of their honorary society, Cap and Skull. Moreover, he was the class valedictorian and in his speech was already preaching idealism.
Paul subsequently played professional football to earn money while attending Columbia University's law school, and also took part in amateur dramatics. During this time he met and married Eslanda Cardozo Goode in 1921. She eventually became his personal assistant. Despite the fact that he was admitted to the New York bar, Paul's future as an actor was destined and he never did practice law. His wife persuaded him to play a role in "Simon the Cyrenian" at the Harlem YMCA in 1921. This was followed by his Broadway debut the following year in the short-lived play "Taboo", a drama set in Africa, which also went to London. As a result, he was asked to join the Provincetown Players, a Greenwich Village theater group that included in its membership playwright Eugene O'Neill. O'Neill personally asked Paul to star in his plays "All God's Chillun Got Wings" and "The Emperor Jones" in 1924. The reaction from both critics and audiences alike was electrifying...an actor was born.
In 1925 Paul delivered his first singing recital and also made his film debut starring in Body and Soul, a rather murky melodrama that nevertheless was ahead of its time in its depictions of black characters. Although Robeson played a scurrilous, corrupt clergyman who takes advantage of his own people, his dynamic personality managed to shine through. Radio and recordings helped spread his name across foreign waters. His resonant bass was a major highlight in the London production of "Show Boat" particularly with his powerful rendition of "Ol' Man River." He remained in London to play the role of Shakespeare's "Othello" in 1930 (at the time no U.S. company would hire him), and was again significant in a highly controversial production. Paul caused a slight stir by co-starring opposite a white actress, Peggy Ashcroft, who played Desdemona. Around this time Paul starred in the landmark British film Borderline, a silent film that dealt strongly with racial themes, and then returned to the stage in the O'Neill play "The Hairy Ape" in 1931. The following year he appeared in a Broadway revival of "Show Boat" again as Joe. In the same production, the noted chanteuse Helen Morgan repeated her original 1927 performance as the half-caste role of Julie, but the white actress Tess Gardella played the role of Queenie in her customary blackface opposite Robeson.
Robeson spent most of his time singing and performing in England throughout the 1930s. He also was given the opportunity to recapture two of his greatest stage successes on film: The Emperor Jones and Show Boat. In Britain he continued to film sporadically with Sanders of the River, Song of Freedom, King Solomon's Mines, Jericho and The Proud Valley in important roles that resisted demeaning stereotypes.
During the 1930s he also gravitated strongly towards economics and politics with a burgeoning interest in social activism. In 1934 he made the first of several trips to the Soviet Union and outwardly extolled the Russian way of life and their lack of racial bias. He was a popular figure in Wales where he became personally involved in their civil rights affairs, notably the Welsh miners. Developing a marked leftist ideology, he continued to criticize the blatant discrimination he found so prevalent in America.
The 1940s was a mixture of performance triumphs and poignant, political upheavals. While his title run in the musical drama "John Henry" (1940), was short-lived, he earned widespread acclaim for his Broadway "Othello" in 1943 opposite José Ferrer as Iago and Uta Hagen as Desdemona. By this time, however, Robeson was being reviled by much of white America for his outspoken civil rights speeches against segregation and lynchings, particularly in the South. A founder of the Progressive Party, an independent political party, his outdoor concerts sometimes ignited violence and he was now a full-blown target for "Red Menace" agitators. In 1946 he denied under oath being a member of the Communist Party, but steadfastly refused to refute the accusations under subsequent probes. As a result, his passport was withdrawn and he became engaged in legal battles for nearly a decade in order to retrieve it. Adding fuel to the fire was his only son's (Paul Jr.) marriage to a white woman in 1949 and his being awarded the Stalin Peace Prize in 1952 (he was unable to receive it until 1958 when his passport was returned to him).
Essentially blacklisted, tainted press statements continued to hound him. He began performing less and less in America. Despite his growing scorn towards America, he never gave up his American citizenship although the anguish of it all led to a couple of suicide attempts, nervous breakdowns and a dependency on drugs. Europe was a different story. The people continued to hold him in high regard as an artist/concertist above reproach. He had a command of about 20 languages and wound up giving his last acting performance in "Othello" on foreign shores -- at Stratford-on-Avon in 1959.
While still performing in the 1960s, his health suddenly took a turn for the worse and he finally returned to the United States in 1963. His poet/wife Eslanda Robeson died of cancer two years later. Paul remained in poor health for pretty much the rest of his life. His last years were spent in Harlem in near-total isolation, denying all interviews and public correspondence, although he was honored for speaking out against apartheid in South Africa in 1978.
Paul died at age 77 of complications from a stroke. Among his many honors: he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1995; he received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998; was honored with a postage stamp during the "Black Heritage" series; and both a Cultural Center at Penn State University and a high school in Brooklyn bear his name. In 1995 his autobiography "Here I Stand" was published in England in 1958; his son, Paul Robeson Jr., also chronicled a book about his father, "Undiscovered Paul Robeson: An Artist's Journey" in 2001.
Caroline Cossey (whose professional name is Tula) was born on August 31, 1954 in Brooke, England, United Kingdom, with male sex organs, under the name Barry Cossey. Throughout her teenage years, even though anatomically she was a male, she was extremely feminine, tall, very thin, and often was mistaken for being female (even before transitioning). Later tests would prove that her chromosomes were in fact XXXY, which make her genetic makeup sexually ambiguous...in other words her genetics are more female than male, which gave her the extremely female appearance naturally, no facial surgery altering. She was not "just a male" as many have implicated. Original reports in this biography have said she had XY chromosomes, which is incorrect. Later, in her late teens (17), she moved to a part of town where other transgendered women helped her transition to the female gender, and she began living entirely as a female, underwent breast augmentation surgery, and in the early 1970s worked as a topless dancer to raise money for sex-reassignment surgery (completely concealing her "male" parts in custom-made (very uncomfortable) underwear. Ms. Cossey posed topless for several well-known adult magazines still as a pre-operative transsexual, the photographers completely unaware of her "addition". In 1974 she had her (long-awaited) sex-reassignment surgery performed at Charing Cross Hospital in London, England. Her career then took off as a fashion model because her Amazon Goddess height of 6 feet was in strong demand, and her beauty attracted photographers from everywhere. She modeled for various agencies, advertisements, and appeared on numerous well-known magazine covers, as well as countless spreads, including the glamourous Vogue.
She was cast in the 1981 James Bond movie "For Your Eyes Only", credited only as "Girl At Pool". Major scandal erupted following the release of "For Your Eyes Only" when she was outed as a transsexual by the Sunday tabloid, "The News Of The World". She was hounded by the press, persecuted by tabloid journalists and photographers asking incredibly ignorant questions. Caroline fell into a deep depression, and contemplated suicide, feeling her professional career was in ruins and completely over. In 1982, she wrote an autobiography titled "Tula: I Am A Woman", which was told in straight-forward terms to defuse the situation by telling the full story, in her words. She eventually returned to modeling, in 1983 was the star/model of the music video "Rio" by Duran Duran, then in 1986 was featured as the model in the music video "Some Like It Hot" by Power Station. She has done several pictorials in Playboy magazine, the first (out) post-op transsexual to appear in the publication. In 1990, she published a second autobiography "My Story". Unfortunately she had a failed engagement with Count Glauco, an Italian national, in 1983, for his family forbid him to marry a transsexual. Caroline has worked hard and endlessly for transsexual equal rights, and on attempting to have the British Government recognize transsexual marriages. In 1989 she had a brief marriage to Elias Fattal that only lasted a couple weeks. She re-married in 1992 to Canadian-born David Finch, and as of 2003, she is still successfully married to David; both reside in Atlanta, Georgia, and are both actively involved in the transsexual community in USA, England, and around the world. They are living happily ever after.
James Dunn worked on the stage, in vaudeville and as an extra in silent movies before he was signed by Fox in 1931. His first movie with Fox was 1931's Sob Sister. While at Fox, he appeared with Shirley Temple in her first three features: Baby Take a Bow, Stand Up and Cheer! and Bright Eyes. Dunn's screen character was usually the boy next door or the nice guy. In 1935 musicals at the new 20th Century-Fox were out and Dunn would move to the "B" list, from which he would never return. In The Payoff he plays the nice guy newspaper columnist whose wife ruins his career. By the late 1930s he was drinking heavily and became unemployable. He would appear in small roles in films during the early 1940s, but those parts were few and far between. In 1945 he was able to make a comeback and won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, but his rejuvenated career would not continue. By 1951 he would again be unemployed and bankrupt. Television would later supply some work and he would be a regular on the series It's a Great Life.
Born in a convent in Ireland, schooled by the nuns and brothers.In New York he trained with acting teacher Wynn Handman. He has worked in NY in various theatre companies mostly working on new works. venues include The Public Theatre,Symphony Space,The Ohio Theatre,Nada, The Actors Studio,The Cultural Project,59E59th to name but a few.Internationally he has performed at The Edinburgh Festival,The Gdansk Theatre Festival,The Manitoba Theatre Company where he played Ferdinand in The Tempest. He starred in the LA premiere of Howie The Rookie Playing the role of Howie Lee. His film work includes Ruin with Don Baker, directed by Ronan O Sullivan, it follows the story of one man's revenge in short film format, nominated for John Fox's Cinematography by Neilsen. The unreleased Bloody Banjo directed by Gerard Hurley,Carla directed by Eli Hershko. And the recent TV movie Talent Agents.He divides his time between LA, NY and Europe.
|Band of Horses
"Now it's hard to remember it any other way." Band of Horses singer Ben Bridwell's compellingly evasive lyrical style will never let the listener on to the exact intent of this line as it appears in "Neighbor," the expansive Infinite Arms album closer, but taken out of the context of the song it becomes a sentiment of currency. The present state of the band is as close to ideal as rock n' roll can be. Having assembled a true creative and personal collective, designed and signed the record deal of his dreams, and made a fantastic new album free of any influence other than his onstage brothers in arms, it's hard to imagine that Bridwell cares to dwell on any time but the present. It took nearly 2 years, virtual bankruptcy, five states and a dead falcon to get there, but Infinite Arms is the product of a band doing things on their own terms and finally learning to enjoy the results.
The songs on Infinite Arms project the essence of the different locales across America that became the setting for the recording and songwriting process behind the album. The serene woods of Northern Minnesota and the band's native Carolinas inspired the songwriting, lending the compositions an air of comfort and familiarity. While those locations helped the songs come to life, the sounds were influenced by the recording settings. The rich musical heritage of Muscle Shoals, AL, the sublime beauty of Asheville's Blue Ridge Mountains, the glamorous Hollywood Hills and the vast Mojave desert helped yield the group's most focused and dynamic recordings to date.
Infinite Arms was a group effort in the truest sense of the phrase. Trading song ideas remotely and then joining in the studio to work through arrangements led to writing credits for all five band members throughout the record, making the album a reflection of the taste and style of each Horse. Bridwell is the lone constant member since Everything All the Time, the band's 2006 debut, but if you ask him he might tell you that Infinite Arms is just that: a debut in the sense that he entered the studio for the first time with a group of musicians working together as a cohesive force. All members made invaluable contributions to the inimitable sound that Bridwell has crafted since the band's inception.
Band of Horses is Bridwell, Creighton Barrett, Ryan Monroe, Tyler Ramsey and Bill Reynolds. The quintet have long standing ties: Monroe and Bridwell played baseball together in grade school, Ramsey and Reynolds cut their teeth in the same Asheville, NC music scene, and Barrett met Bridwell at a party as teenagers, where they bonded instantly over a mutual obsession with Dinosaur Jr. Over the course of a few years, they gradually synched up. Barrett appeared behind the kit on Cease to Begin, while Monroe joined the band on keys toward the end of the writing process of that record. Reynolds came into the fold almost by accident as he happened upon a recording session with the band at his friend's Echo Mountain Studios and joined the touring lineup soon after. Ramsey, already an established solo artist, joined after Reynolds introduced him to the band in 2007, starting to tour just prior to the release of Cease to Begin and opening the shows with a set of his own material.
The novelty of and high hopes for these new members demanded a completely uninhibited recording process. Anything less would have been disservice, and recognizing the most important element used to exert influence, Bridwell decided the only way to insure creative control was to finance the record himself. The result was liberating, the only dictator the creative muse . The band obeyed its every order. Strings and horns were brought in, guitar players played percussion, vocals were run through the same reverb tanks that treated the Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations" and a backyard amphibian chorus sang the title tracks' outro. Studios, engineers, pizza and whiskey are not cheap however, and near bankruptcy from recording costs prolonged the albums completion as the band had to spend time on the road to afford the next session. The resulting shows were among the best in the bands history. A sold out Carnegie Hall, epic festival sets, the now customary New Years Eve shows in Atlanta, and performances with musical idols Neil Young, Willie Nelson and Roger McGuinn kept things fresh and vibrant. The touring also helped combat studio malaise, and allowed the band to enter each recording session recharged and armed with new ideas. The thrill of honing the new material in a live setting gave the songs an edge that is difficult to capture when sedentary.
While the band initially enlisted their long time producer Phil Ek to take the helm, scheduling conflicts led to a band decision to produce the majority of the record on their own. This unexpected occurrence added another dimension to the credence of freedom that seeped into every aspect of Infinite Arms.
The freedom was not limited to the music. The band was looking at landscape of the business with a fresh perspective as their contract with Sub Pop had expired. Armed with their finest work to date, the band began entertaining suitors in the search for the one who would understand Bridwell's vision for a new record deal. Perhaps ironically, part of this deal involved Bridwell returning in a certain fashion to his first role in the business - a label president. Predating any foray into musicianship, and completely oblivious to his talent at the time, Bridwell started Brown Records while living in Seattle. "Brown Records came about thanks to two major factors. I had talented friends and I hated my job." he says. Those talented friends were a band called Carissas Wierd."I always considered myself their biggest fan and supporter so around this time I decided it was up to me to see that these recordings were available to any local set of ears willing to listen. I had moved up from my dishwashing position to line cook now and was making good tips, but held tons of resentment for a lot of the management, promoters, and even some bands that I was feeding every night that I felt treated me like a second class citizen, only there to cook for them and deal with their sometimes devilish moods. I retaliated by saving every tip I got at the end of the night and stuffing it into a dead space in a stereo speaker. I'd have to crack the thing open like a piggy bank one day and ruin my listening environment to get it out, but for good reason. There was little doubt in my mind that the plan would work. I just didn't figure how well it would work. "
"I finally cracked my speaker open one day to reveal what I would think was probably around five or six hundred dollars. This was hardly enough to press a batch of 1,000 cds at the time, so I weaseled a loan out of my father for the rest of the cash. With a wonderful crackpot team of art director Jeff Montano and mastering engineer Joe Crawford (RIP) we got all the specifics together and pulled off the remarkable feat that was BROWN 001 Carissa's Wierd 'Ugly But Honest: 1996-1999'" A label boss was born. Bridwell continued to release records by Carissas Wierd and other local acts including S and Aveo, and eventually joined Carissas Wierd as the band's drummer, leading the way to the discovery of his musical talent, a fortunate occurrence for his fans.
Brown eventually became a distant priority behind Bridwell's new day job as a professional musician, but his passion for discovering and nurturing talent never left. When it came time to haggle with label suitors, he insisted on resurrecting Brown as an imprint to release the Band of Horses record through in conjunction with Fat Possum and Columbia, and to ultimately discover, nurture and release new talent , with his friends at Fat Possum handling marketing and distribution.
Infinite Arms continues the collaboration between the band and their aesthetic director Christopher Wilson. Bridwell and Wilson have a long standing friendship that dates back to their meeting in Tucson, AZ and subsequent days of washing dishes together at famed Seattle club The Crocodile. They added a professional element to their relationship when Wilson began designing Band of Horses album artwork beginning with the first record, and going on the road with the band as their photographer, while also running the projections that appear on the backdrop behind the band at each gig. An extremely talented photographer of natural landscapes, Wilson's view of the world has added the perfect visual accompaniment to the band's sound. Wilson's photographs and drawings will grace all versions of Infinite Arms, including the stunning deluxe edition which consists of the 180 gram vinyl, LP, CD, DVD featuring HD videos for every song created by Wilson and synched to a 5.1 surround sound mix by Elliot Scheiner, all packaged together in a 100 plus page coffee table book featuring Wilson's nature photographs.
The title of the record is another Bridwellian play on words. He'll never let on to what it means, the only hint that it's a phrase possibly misheard by thousands of people every day. Dwell on that one if you want to drive yourself nuts. Or, subscribe to Bridwell's philosophy of celebrating the present and embracing the future, both of which will find Band of Horses trotting the globe as they share the fruits of their labor with the world.
Lauren Green is the youngest of five children born to a welder/janitor and teacher's assistant. They lived in a three bedroom house in south Minneapolis. At a young age, Lauren developed an interest in music and art through her older siblings studies in everything from painting to piano. Although the family lacked monetary resources, there was an emphasis on all areas of learning. As a teenager, Lauren Green used her height and disarming good looks to model for local department stores and earn a little spare change. In high school, this classic beauty was a tomboy and became a member of the school's gymnastic team.
In college, Lauren majored in Music with an emphasis in piano performance. After college, she was content to make no career plans and traveled to Los Angeles using her modeling money to try her hand at being an actress. She had some success, but decided to return to Minneapolis in 1984 to compete in the Miss Minnesota competition. Ms. Green won the title over a blond-haired blue-eyed contestant to become the state's first black Miss Minnesota. Lauren went on to the Miss America competition, taking first in the swimsuit and talent competition. She was third runner up. At times, she has thanked and blamed actress Vanessa Williams for "ruining" the competition for black women. However, she also credits Ms. Williams because, without losing the competition, Lauren might not have attended graduate school.
Lauren studied at the prestigious Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and then became an intern at KSTP. In Minneapolis, she was called on by old friend and high school classmate, Prince, to act with actress Kirstie Alley for his "My Name Is Prince" video in which he wore a lamp shade-type hat. After earning an on-air position, Lauren went on to Chicago's WBBM and then became the first talent to be hired through the then-new Fox News Channel.
Although Lauren Green is famous for her beauty, she is equally famous for her kindness and giving spirit. During her career as a journalist, she always strives to give viewers the whole story "straight with no chaser". In the Fox News Family, Ms. Green is its brightest jewel.
Michel Bouquet is an actor born in the 14th arrondissement of Paris on the 6 November 1925. His father, Georges Bouquet, was a World War One veteran and a wine-maker. His mother Marie was a milliner. He had three older brothers: Georges, Bernard and Serge. Michel's father was always a shadowy figure in his life: having been deeply affected by the war, he used to talk very little and developed a very distant and estranged relationship with his sons. When he was 7 years old, Michel was sent to the "École Privée Catholique Fénelon", a Catholic boarding school located inside a 17th century hunting lodge in Vaujours. He would keep very unpleasant memories of this period his entire life, describing it as "seven years of darkness and loneliness". Being used to receive corporal punishment or other cruel and unusual forms of penalty for absurd reasons -like keeping his arms crossed in a supposedly insolent way- and to be bullied by older boys, Michel chose to withdraw into himself and dream of exciting, picaresque adventures far away from the school. This approach to life would help him developing his trademark interiorized acting style. Repelled by studying, he actually used to enjoy being put in detention, so that he didn't have to mingle with the other boys: the adult Bouquet would later call his younger self "a sweet kid with an anarchic touch". In 1939, Michel came home for the summer with a mediocre school study certificate. He would however never return to the boarding school, since France and England declared war to Germany on the 3rd September. Georges Senior was immediately sent to the front and made a prisoner in Pomerania shortly after. Bernard went to war as well while Georges Jr. had already been sent to a religious school in Carthage. On the 14th June 1940 the German troops entered Paris and Marie soon decided to relocate to Lyon with her two remaining sons. They moved with Michel's paternal aunt, Marguerite. Marie didn't want to be a weight for her sister-in-law, so she spurred her sons to find some work to do. Michel became an errand boy in a bakery: having been toughened by his stay at the boarding school, he now felt ready to help his mother facing the adversities of life and raising the family. When the armistice between France and Germany was signed, Marie and her sons returned to Paris. Michel tried several new jobs in this period, including warehouseman, dental laboratory technician and delivery man in a bank. He was soon, however, to find his real vocation in life. Marie was a great theatre lover and had the habit to bring Michel to see operas, comic operas or great classic plays. He immediately realized that he wanted to be an actor when he saw the legendary Comédie-Française luminary Maurice Escande playing Louis XV in a stage production of "Madame Quinze". So, in May 1943, he decided to look Escande's address on the phone book and, on a Sunday morning, he went to visit him at his place while Marie was attending church. Young Bouquet introduced himself to the actor by telling him that he wanted to work on the stage. Escande asked him if he had memorized a piece to recite. Michel tried the nose monologue from "Cyrano", but the theatre veteran asked him if he hadn't learnt any other thing that suited his physical appearance better. So he started to recite a few verses from Alfred de Musset's "La Nuit de Décembre" instead. After hearing a couple lines only, Escande realized that the young man standing before him possessed enormous gifts and decided to immediately bring him to one of his classes at the Edouard-VII Theatre. There, Michel was allowed to finish the "Nuit de Décembre" monologue in a room full of people. Many students were ready to leave the class with a look of indifference, but Escande reproached them, telling them that they should have better listened to Michel and learnt a lesson from him. Although moved to tears, Michel managed to finish his piece. The great Maurice Escande had named him an actor. At the end of the lesson, Escande brought Michel home and convinced Marie that he had to pursue a stage career.
Bouquet began to learn scenes from many important plays in order to be admitted to the CNSAD (the Paris Conservatoire). When the day of the exam at the Théâtre de l'Odéon finally came, he already knew that only 7 students out of 300 would have been accepted. For his test, he had studied the monologue from Alfred de Vigny's "Chatterton" and one of Smerdiakov's dialogues from Jacques Copeau's "The Brothers Karamazov". The same day, someone else was going to audition in front of the same jury: it was an elegant young man wearing camel, who possessed, in Bouquet's eyes, a certain charm à la Gary Cooper. It was the soon to become legendary Gérard Philipe, who had already made a couple of appearances in acclaimed stage productions and completed his first screen role in Les petites du quai aux fleurs. He was going to play a scene from De Musset's "Fantasio". Bouquet immediately noticed that Philipe projected a great sense of self-confidence, something he himself had always lacked, since he had many perplexities about his physical appearance (he was skeletal at the time) and modest cultural background. At the exam, Philipe and Bouquet managed to scrape through as sixth and seventh respectively. Michel can't even remember who were the five students that were admitted before them, since their careers never went anywhere. He became the pupil of the accomplished stage actress Béatrix Dussane, who had heard some great things about him from Escande and used all of her powers to have him getting admitted.
Bouquet's first stage roles were Damis in Molière's "Tartuffe" and Robespierre in Romain Rolland's "Danton". It was an interesting and indicative starting point to his career, considering that Molière is the author he will always be most associated with and that he would play "The Incorruptible" on several future occasions. After having played roles in "Première Étape" and "Le Voyage de Thésée", he made his first important professional encounter: writer and playwright Albert Camus had witnessed many of his auditions at the "Théâtre de l'Odéon" and he had been so impressed by his skills to offer him the role of Scipio in his upcoming production of "Caligula", which starred Philipe in the title role. Bouquet said that he could do 30 shows only, as he had already signed on to appear in a production of "La Celestine" under Jean Meyer's direction. Camus accepted his conditions since he wanted him to play the role so much. "Caligula" was the only Philipe-Bouquet collaboration, but Michel would go on to see Gérard on stage many times and always kept huge admiration for him along with very fond memories of their relationship. Bouquet's next stage credits were three Jean Anouilh plays directed by André Barsacq (who had personally recommended him to the author): the moderately successful, Shakespeare-inspired "Romeo and Jeannette", "Le Rendez-Vous de Senlis" and "L'Invitation au château". In the first one, Bouquet provided support to stage legends Jean Vilar and María Casares and the "Combat" critic wrote that he towered on the entire cast. Although he was initially irritated by a negative comment made by Michel about the pacing of the play, Anouilh went on to work with the actor on many other occasions. After having made his screen debut as an assassin in the obscure Criminal Brigade, Bouquet was given the role of a tubercular patient in the acclaimed Monsieur Vincent, which was scripted by the author. And a couple of years later, he found his first memorable screen role in another Anouilh-penned movie: Maurice, the twisted (but not evil at heart) brother of the title character in the suggestive and atmospheric Pattes blanches, another remarkable entry by the talented, but often neglected Jean Grémillon. As his character is first seen walking the docks at night, one can already feel a great leading man "allure" à la Jean-Louis Barrault around the emaciated young actor. Interviewed in 2013, Bouquet still remembers this role as one of his favourites. The same year he appeared in Henri-Georges Clouzot's Manon, which was diminished by Cécile Aubry's performance as the title heroine.
For the rest of the 40's and entire 50's, Bouquet mainly kept collaborating on the stage with Anouilh, Camus and his former "Romeo and Jeannette" co-star Jean Vilar, who directed him in several productions, notably Shakespeare's "Henry IV" (as Prince Hal) and "Richard II" (as the Duke of Aumerie), Molière's "Dom Juan" (as Pierrot) and Georg Büchner's "Danton's Death" (as another prominent figure of the French Revolution, Saint-Just). Bouquet really liked Vilar for his talent to pick up his actors. He actually thought that an actor's director should be a person with a great eye for spotting talent and the skill to cast the right person in the right role, but that his input should end there. He didn't enjoy to have his directors telling him to play a part or trying to over-impose their view on the character upon his own. That never happened with Vilar. Anouilh wrote another great role for Bouquet in 1956: the title character in "Pauvre Bitos ou le Dîner de têtes". Bitos is a poor man's Robespierre, a little politician in Post-war France who wants to obtain power even if he doesn't possess the means to do it. The author had created the role specifically for the actor because he had expressed the interest to play "the Incorruptible" once more. In 1951, Bouquet was also seen as Dany Robin's opportunistic brother (again called Maurice) in Anouilh's second (and final) directed feature, Two Pennies Worth of Violets, a (mostly) cynical, anti-bourgeois drama. His other film roles from this period include the dim-witted King Louis X in the Dumas adaptation Tower of Nesle and a Russian revolutionary in the Romy Schneider vehicle Adorable Sinner. He also borrowed his incredible voice to Alain Resnais's hugely acclaimed Holocaust documentary Night and Fog. On the Parisian stage, he tried his hand at directing: first it was a production of "Chatterton" (where he starred with his wife of the time, Ariane Borg), then a revival of George Bernard Shaw's "Heartbreak house" (where Borg was co-director). The shows weren't lauded and he never tried to follow this path again. In TV, he was finally allowed to play Robespierre again in an episode of Stellio Lorenzi's historical series, La caméra explore le temps. The program was focused on the trial of Marie Antoinette and Bouquet's screen time was consequently limited, but there's still enough ground to make a case about the actor being the definitive incarnation of the complex French politician. Bouquet had always been fascinated with the character, imagining him as constantly living in a state of great anguish and anxiety since he probably thought not to possess the cunning of a Mirabeau or the orator skills of a Danton and knew that everyone in those times was expendable. Sympathizing with what "the Incorruptible" must have been feeling in his short, turbulent life, Bouquet created a well-rounded and appropriately indecipherable figure, finding the perfect balance between the cover of impassibility and the neurotic nature of the character. In addition to this, he played the ill-fated King Charles I and Napoleon's jailer, Sir Hudson Lowe, in his two other appearances in Lorenzi's program.
Bouquet's stage work kept offering him a lot of professional satisfactions in the 60's: he expanded his repertoire to 'Eugene Ionesco''s Theatre of the Absurd (his association with the author will also be career-defining) and to several other authors. He was now living an important phase in the history of French theatre, as it was during those years that the stars of the Parisian stage were beginning to discover the great English-language playwrights. In 1965, productions of Harold Pinter's "The Lover" and "The Collection" were staged simultaneously and featured the same, exceptional trio of stars, as Bouquet was teamed up with the brilliant Jean Rochefort and the sublime Delphine Seyrig. Still, it was rare for Michel to feel completely fulfilled, neither in his professional or personal life. His marriage with Ariane had been a mistake (as she had proved, according to his recollections, to be a gold-digging harpy) and he had never managed to re-establish any emotional connection with his father since he had returned from the front. A great perfectionist, he also used to have an unreasonable lot of quarrels with his own performances: he felt that his rather ordinary appearance and modest height didn't give him enough 'gravitas' to be a great dramatic actor, was equally skeptical about the quality of his comedic turns and believed that his talents were probably better suited to a genre in the middle, "the dramatic comedy". He often helped himself to get past these dark moments with big quantities of alcohol. One day, after a performance of "The Collection", a single meeting would make his existence change for the better: stage actress Juliette Carré approached him to pay a lot of sincere and heartfelt compliments to his acting in the play. Shortly after, Michel put an end to his marriage with Ariane and, even if it would take years to get an official divorce, he immediately started a family with Juliette and the two sons she had from a previous relationship, Frédéric and Sylvie. Juliette proved to be the perfect mate for Michel in life- as she could understand his introverted nature and accept that he was a solo player- and ideal sparring partner on the stage. He stated himself that he never felt so much at ease at playing opposite anyone as he did with her. In 1965, Bouquet played both on stage and TV a third important member of the French Revolution: Fouquier-Tinville in L'accusateur public. But his golden period as a film actor was about to start. His juicy role as a perverse abbey in This Special Friendship had already raised his interest in cinema. Now, two of the most representative directors of the French New Wave were to cross their paths with his. His performance as the chief villain in Le Tigre se parfume à la dynamite marked his first collaboration with Claude Chabrol. Unfortunately the film belongs to the long list of bad titles the director did for rather obscure reasons. Bouquet and Chabrol's next journey together was equally unexciting as the thespian's comedic skills were wasted in the supposedly ironic spy story Who's Got the Black Box?, a sub-par product not much dissimilar from the silliest episodes of The Avengers and The Man from U.N.C.L.E.. Luckily, the two men would soon team up again for a better cause. In the mean time, Bouquet kept himself busy by appearing in a couple movies made by the way more consistent François Truffaut. In 1968 he played the role of Coral in The Bride Wore Black opposite the great Jeanne Moreau in one of her signature roles. The unforgettable masterpiece that would inspire Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill" movies sees Moreau's Julie Kohler eliminating with extreme prejudice all the men responsible for the death of her husband. As the second target, Bouquet is the male actor who shines the most. Truffaut enjoyed mocking the actor's melancholic/tormented characterization of Coral, thinking that he should have been more casual and less serious. So he decided to play a mean prank on him when he called him back one year later to support Jean-Paul Belmondo and a mono-expressive Catherine Deneuve in the fine Mississippi Mermaid. Bouquet has a couple of scenes in the film as the implacable sleuth Comolli. On the morning of the shooting, he found out that Truffaut had completely changed all his dialogue, something that took him completely off guard. This didn't prevent him from making the most of his little screen time anyway. The same year, he would also find one of his most iconic roles in one of Chabrol's best movies, The Unfaithful Wife. It was the first time he was paired with the director's glacial wife and muse, Stéphane Audran. Like in the case of every other Chabrol-Bouquet-Audran collaboration, Michel provided the acting, while Stéphane just added her very beautiful (but equally motionless) face to the proceedings. Known for his explosive presence on the stage, Bouquet favoured, as a film actor, a performing style all about subtleties and psychological introspection: he once said that "stage acting is like the work of an ascensionist; screen acting is like the work of a speleologist". Belonging to that rare breed of actors à la Jean-Louis Trintignant, able to express a world of emotions by simply raising an eyebrow, Bouquet gave a superlative performance as cuckolded husband Charles Desvallees in Chabrol's classic, making his transaction from boring bourgeois type to passionate murderer well-timed, impeccably constructed and absolutely believable and managing at the same time to inject enough humour into his characterization to make the role somehow sympathetic. Chabrol had written the role specifically for him and Bouquet got to admire his working method enormously, later calling him a great actor's director and crediting him for having offered him the possibility to give one of his best performances. Audran's ice maiden act proved somewhat functional to the nature of her character (the bored and adulterous Hélène) and she didn't ruin the movie this time around. The same can't unfortunately be said about the trio's next collaboration, the uneven The Breach. As ex-dancer Hélène Régnier, Stéphane gave one of her very worst performances, walking through the movie without showing any trace of emotion not even when witnessing her little son being thrown around the room by her mentally deranged husband or waiting for the doctors to tell her about his condition. Michel (as Hélène's father-in law Ludovic, a despicable man ready to do everything to prevent her from getting custody of the child), Jean-Pierre Cassel (in the thankless, psychologically absurd role of private eye Paul Thomas) and frequent Chabrol collaborators and great actors Jean Carmet and Michel Duchaussoy formed the rescue team that should have made up for the huge void at the centre of the movie, but the flawed screenplay was conspiring against the success of 'La Rupture' as much as Audran's performance and the end result was rather disappointing.
Bouquet's film career had now taken full flight and, between 1970 and 71, he found several roles that truly showcased his talents. He played a ruthless inspector avenging the death of his partner in The Cop and a mobster lawyer in the Jean-Paul Belmondo-Alain Delon collaboration Borsalino (although his role was largely left in the editing room when the movie was originally released, something that made him very distrustful of commercial cinema). One year later, he played a slimy sycophant in Harry Kümel's authorial horror Malpertuis and found an even better role in another remarkable revenge movie, Reckonings Against the Grain. The movie is centered around Serge Reggiani's character, a criminal who, after his release from prison, plans to get revenge on his former associates for having betrayed him. The spectacular supporting cast includes Bouquet, Jeanne Moreau, Simone Signoret and Charles Vanel. Michel got to play the lion's role as a one-eyed villain, constantly wearing black, involved in a mental game of chess with Reggiani for the entire movie. Similarities with 'La Mariée était en noir' are strong and made even more evident by the presence of Moreau and Bouquet. Michel rounded off the year by giving outstanding performances in two Molière plays for TV, Tartuffe (where he was perfectly matched scene by scene by Delphine Seyrig) and Le malade imaginaire, and playing another of his best film roles, Charles Masson in the vintage Chabrol Just Before Nightfall. The movie is arguably the director's deepest and most complex reflection about the twisted, dark urges hidden in the meanders of human psyche, as repressed bourgeois Charles kills his lover for apparently no reason. Bouquet was simply mesmerizing in the part and owned every celluloid frame of the movie, making the viewer feel the character's torment on every moment and perfectly follow his inner path (from his sense of guilt to his desire to be punished): all of this in the subtlest, least showy way as possible. As his wife Hélène, Audran did near to nothing in the film: in the scene where Bouquet confesses his crime to her, Chabrol just filmed her reaction from behind (therefore releasing her from any acting duty) and, when he has his thrilling final monologue about his wish to atone, she just listens to him, completely frozen, and restricts herself to put a hand on her mouth once he announces his intention to give himself up. "Juste avant la nuit" was released in the UK only in 1973 and BAFTA hit an all-time low by ignoring Bouquet's performance, but bestowing a Best Actress Award to Audran for her minimal work in the movie added to her supporting turn in The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (where she was easily the least talented main player).
Galvanized by the quality of his recent body of film work, Bouquet took a 5 years break from the stage (the longest he ever did) to do more movies. Unfortunately, most of the roles he found in this period proved totally unworthy of his skill: Kisses Till Monday (one of Michel Audiard's several dismal attempts at directing) was particularly unremarkable. Nadine Trintignant's Défense de savoir put together such wonderful performers as Bouquet, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Bernadette Lafont, Juliet Berto and Charles Denner and couldn't make an interesting use of any of them. It was clear to Michel that things couldn't go on like this and that's the reason he headed back to theatre so soon. His other film roles that stand out in the 70's are a detestable policeman in Two Men in Town with Delon and Jean Gabin, a ruthless newspaper director and unsentimental father in The Toy, a sculptor pretending to go blind in Vincent mit l'âne dans un pré (et s'en vint dans l'autre) and particularly a drug lord in Alain Corneau's bizarre, but ultimately involving sci-fi feature, France Inc.. Despite having always publicized his lack of athletic skills, he gave a great lesson in physical acting in the latter. He also started to direct his talents towards the small screen and Gabriel Axel offered him the possibility of giving two particularly memorable performances. The first was as painter Rembrandt van Rijn in La ronde de nuit. The second was in the Balzac adaptation Le curé de Tours as the backstabbing Abbey Troubet, a vile man who ruins the life of Jean Carmet's passive title character with the help of a deliciously serpentine Suzanne Flon. He also appeared in Les nuits révolutionnaires (a mini-series set during the French Revolution) and played Ebenezer Scrooge in a 1984 version of "A Christmas Carol", winning a 7 d'or (a French Emmy) for his performance. His stage work from the 80's include playing Harpagon in "the Miser"- which invited the comment 'Whoever hasn't seen Bouquet in The Miser hasn't seen The Miser'- and appearing in a Chabrol-directed production of Strindberg's "The Dance of Death", which was later filmed. A stage production of "Macbeth" opposite his wife was very unsuccessful and he bode farewell to Shakespeare for good. Bouquet's most important film achievement from this decade is undoubtedly playing the immortal role of Inspector Javert in Robert Hossein's Les Misérables (released both as a 4 part mini-series and feature film). Although this version (like nearly every other) couldn't completely do justice to the spirit of Hugo's novel, the portrayals of the main characters are arguably definitive, from Lino Ventura's interpretation of Jean Valjean to Jean Carmet's César-winning performance as Thénardier and of course Bouquet's ascension to King of Javerts. Michel was fiercer and more menacing than Charles Vanel in the 1934 version, possessed the "physique du rôle" that the larger than life Charles Laughton lacked in the 1935 film, was infinitely subtler than the likes of Hans Hinrich and Robert Newton were in their respective outings, had more scope to express himself than the well-cast Anthony Perkins and Geoffrey Rush had in their mediocre vehicles and any comparison between his work and Russell Crowe's acting/singing performance in the 2012 musical would almost be sadistic. Many people in France strictly associate Bouquet with this part. His second most notable film role from the 80's is a creepy notary in Chabrol's poorly paced and constructed Poulet au vinaigre, which was Jean Poiret's first outing as Inspector Lavardin. Apart from acting, Bouquet was very busy teaching the craft at the CNSAD during those years. Despite his modest studies, he had gradually become an immensely cultured man within the decades, having traveled a lot and grown a great interest towards literature, music and the figurative arts. These interests were also the reason that lead him to play real-life artists on several occasions.
Bouquet was seldom seen on the silver screen in the 90's, but, when he was, he most certainly lingered in memory. In 1991 he appeared in the much lauded Toto the Hero as the oldest incarnation of the title character. The movie starts with little Thomas dealing with all the adversities of life by dreaming of an alter ego living all kinds of exciting adventures (something reminiscent of what Michel himself had gone through during his childhood) to eventually see him turning into an unhappy, disenchanted man ready to do the most extreme and unimaginable thing to get even with the rival of a lifetime. Bouquet also borrowed his voice to actor Jo De Backer, who played his younger adult self. His performance helped him cementing his status as a crucial figure of European cinema and won him the EFA (European Film Award) for Best Actor. The same year he also played painter Laubin Baugin in Corneau's best movie, Tous les matins du monde, while in 1993 he narrated Chabrol's well-made documentary L'oeil de Vichy (a compilation of official newsreels originally broad casted in Nazi-occupied France). Bouquet's theatre highlights from this period include playing for the first time King Bérenger I in Ionesco's "Exit the King" (his portrayal of the character remains one of his most celebrated triumphs) and appearing alongside the great Philippe Noiret in Bertrand Blier's "Les Côtelettes". His performance in this play won him his first Molière (France's prestigious stage award founded in 1987).
Even greater things were waiting for Bouquet in the 2000s: he accepted very few roles, but they were the best any actor could dream of. Having seen a performance of "Les Côtelettes" on the Parisian stage, Italian novelist and occasional director Roberto Andò chose him to play the role of writer Tomasi di Lampedusa in his very interesting feature The Prince's Manuscript. Having now reached the apex of his acting technique and maturity, Bouquet gave the first of a series of absolutely essential performances. Although he somehow regretted that he couldn't cast an Italian actor in the role, Andò stated that he couldn't possibly imagine the Lampedusa role played by anyone else. In 2001, Bouquet was given the complex, multi-dimensional role of estranged father Maurice in Anne Fontaine's noteworthy How I Killed My Father. Michel had a great understanding of the central relationship between his own character and Charles Berling's bitter son as it mirrored in some ways the one he had with his own father, to whom he had started to feel a bit closer long after his death. Inspired by Fontaine's direction (he credits her for having taught him a more relaxed approach to characters), the actor gave life to a rather sinister, but eventually very poignant figure. At age 76 he was nominated for his first César and won it. In 2003, Blier turned his stage success into a major feature with Les côtelettes and recast Noiret and Bouquet in their original roles, a man who has trouble defecating and a mysterious character who must help him doing it. Although the movie is pretentious and often off-colour, the central performances of the two acting giants are all to be savored. Michel's next film appearance was as the title role in The Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas, an adaptation of the Marguerite Duras novel by the same name. He was already familiar with the text, but he had always found it to be a bit unclear, albeit impressive. He had, however, far less difficulties in penetrating the deeper meanings of the story once he read the script by the movie's director, Michelle Porte, who had started her career as a second assistant director to Duras herself in Baxter, Vera Baxter. The film follows Monsieur Andesmas, who has just bought a house for his daughter, as he waits for the arrival of a mysterious businessman, Michel Arc, who never shows up. This shadowy character can be interpreted as a representation of many things: Bouquet saw him as an emissary of death as he imagined Monsieur Andesmas' afternoon to be his last one. The actor had all the vital characteristics of the quintessential Duras protagonist, being multi-layered, introvert and provided with the impeccable diction and thousand vocal inflections that are indispensable to give power to the great author's affecting, literary lines of dialogue. Aided by an excellent Miou-Miou as Michel Arc's wife, he gave one of his most touching performances and one that appears to follow a recent pattern: all his latest movies seem to deal with the theme of the end of life, either in an explicit or a veiled way. He carried on this tradition when he next appeared in Le promeneur du champ de Mars, playing President Mitterrand when death's approaching him. An unusually good biopic, the film showed a more private dimension and different image of Mitterrand, so that Bouquet didn't really have to live up to people's common perception of the President: consequently, he managed to give a very complex and involving portrayal of a man opposed to the sheer exercise in mimicry and acting virtuosity that one usually expects from this kind of picture. Again he was heart-breaking, again he received a César nomination and again he won. After this new triumph, Bouquet grew more and more selective of film roles, basically declining every script that was sent to him. Like in the case of Mesdames Fontaine and Porte, it was again a duo of female directors, Swiss actresses Stéphanie Chuat and Véronique Reymond, to win his attention. Having eventually managed to find Bouquet's phone number (he doesn't have an agent), the two girls offered him the leading male role in their debut feature film, the little gem The Little Bedroom. Bouquet adored the script and was pleasantly surprised that such young ladies could have written a story that was such a beautiful reflection on old age. He consequently played the role of Edmond, a sad, lonely man who gets treated with neglect by his son and progressively develops a warm relationship with his carer (Florence Loiret Caille). He again put body and soul in a project meant to give dignity to the last days on earth of a common man. During the course of the decade, Bouquet also kept to assiduously work on the stage, notably in revivals of "Exit the King", "The Imaginary Invalid" and the "Miser", all directed by Jacques Werler. He received splendid support by wife Juliette in the first two, which were filmed. His incredible performance as Bérenger in the Ionesco play will forever help people who never had the honor of seeing him on the stage to understand what kind of chameleon he was as a theatrical actor. He won his second Molière for his work in this production.
Still going strong, Bouquet was last seen on the silver screen as Pierre-Auguste Renoir in Renoir, an account of the relationship between the great painter and his son Jean, the future genius of cinema. Michel thought that Gilles Bourdos's script possessed the necessary grace to speak about some rather obscure themes. He had always considered painting the most sublime of arts and, while studying the Renoir character, he found himself relating to his "nature-immersed" side above all. Although not as Bouquet-centered as one would have wished it to be, the film still offered the great thespian the possibility to shine and won him a third César nomination for Best Actor. In addition to this, director Élie Chouraqui recently announced his intention to adapt for the screen Fabrice Humbert's novel 'L'Origine de la Violence' with Bouquet in the role of the protagonist's grandfather. It's certainly something to look forward.
Despite having announced his retirement from the stage world in 2011, Bouquet couldn't keep his word, as his bond to the theatre in general and 'Exit the King' in particular proved to be just too strong: in 2013 he did a special performance of the play during the prestigious Ramatuelle festival and, in early 2014, brought the production back to the Parisian stage for a limited season.
Now a veritable national treasure of France, Michel Bouquet can consider himself proud and satisfied of his career like very few can. Probably no other actor of his generation could find equally memorable film roles in the new millennium. Having appeared in at least one play a year in the 70 years period between 1944 and 2014 (with very few breaks in between), he has put together one of the most impressive stage resumes ever. And not many can say to be as respected as he is by the public, the critics and their peers. Those who never had the possibility to see the master thespian on the stage will probably be left with a bitter regret, but, considering that he still doesn't appear ready to say goodbye to the planches for good, they may still have a chance.
Shawn Stevens (born April 5, 1958) is an American film, television and stage actor, singer and entrepreneur.
Life Overview Shawn Stevens was born Shawn Perry Stevens in Morristown, New Jersey April 5, 1958, the first child of Gary Kieth Stevens, a carpenter, pilot and construction contractor, and Gladys Edna (Chich) Smith, a homemaker. Stevens lived in Morristown, New Jersey until his family moved to Burbank, Ca. in 1969. Stevens is the oldest of 3 children. He has a sister Jodi Beth (Blatz. b/1961) and brother Gary Kieth Jr. (b/1963). Stevens was raised Church of Christ and converted to Mormonism at age 19. Stevens married Kaylene McLaws in 1984 and together they have 4 children, Tauren-Ashlee (Tucker b. 1985), Shawn Kory (b. 1989), Perry Christian (b. 1981) and Vince Kayson (b. 1993). Shawn has 1 grandson and is expecting a 2nd in the summer of 2014. Shawn is uncle to actor/musician Kelly Blatz (One Square Mile, Aaron Stone, April Showers, and Prom Night).
Jersey Boy Stevens' parents were very young and still in high school (Bernard's High, Bernardsville, New Jersey) when he was born and Shawn attended his parents' high school graduation. In his infancy Shawn spent a great deal of time with his maternal and paternal grandparents and extended family who all lived in the vicinity. From his paternal grandmother (Stevens' father's father passed away in 1961 when Shawn was 3 years old) and great-grandparents, Stevens developed a deep abiding faith in God. Stevens' great grandfather, Eddie Grindley, was a Church of Christ minister who founded several Christian summer camps (Camp Shiloh in Mendham, N.J and Camp Hunt near Hubbardsville, New York) primarily for inner-city youth from the boroughs of New York City. The singer/actor Pat Boone was a close family friend during these years. Through his maternal grandparents, who were Methodists, Stevens was schooled in music and the arts. Stevens' grandmother Alberta May (Trebilcock), or Nana, was a piano player while his grandfather Vince William Smith (a U.S. Navy Veteran of WW2) was a Wall Street banker, violinist and painter. Stevens' first exposure to live theater came when his Nana would take him to the nearby Papermill Playhouse in Milburn New Jersey to see children's plays and musicals, his favorite being The Frog Prince. Stevens also remembers seeing Raymond Burr in a live stage production and his first trip into New York City to see the world premiere of The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964 starring Debbie Reynolds who Shawn would later meet while in high school) at Radio City Music Hall with The Rockettes opening the show.
As a child, Stevens remembers his first performance opportunity came in kindergarten (at South Street Elementary in Morristown New Jersey) as a clown in a school variety show. Shawn noticed that the older boy who was playing the "strong man" had left his bar bells on the stage. Not wanting to see the show ruined by the prop being left on stage, Shawn rushed out to center stage and retrieved the fake weights with one hand. To his amazement the audience broke out in laughter and applause. Stevens bowed and 'a ham was born'. Shawn knew that this was what he wanted to do with his life. Stevens would follow up his New Jersey elementary school acting "career" with portrayals of The Mighty Oak in The Oak and the Reed and as a Dwarf in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Stevens also developed a love for singing and would enjoy singing holiday and patriotic songs when prompted by his teachers. Stevens remembers singing America the Beautiful in front of his 2nd grade class. When funding was cut for music instruction in school Shawn jumped in and prevailed on the teacher to let him take over. Shawn remembers teaching his classmates songs like Born Free and Edelweiss. Stevens would also conduct acapella hymn singing (Church of Christ does not have instrumental music) in his church congregation as early as 10 years of age.
The Wonder Full Years When Stevens was 10 his family moved to California so his father could pursue career opportunities. Stevens felt that this was fortuitous for his desire to have a performing career as well. (Shawn remembers his parting words to his friends when driving away from his home as "watch for me on TV!"). Within months of landing in Burbank, California (home of Walt Disney, Universal, Warner Bros. and NBC Studios) Shawn had hand written a letter to Walt Disney introducing himself, and with the help of a friend's father (who worked at Disney) delivered the letter to Mr. Disney's office. Although this didn't lead to a personal meeting with Mr. Disney, the letter was passed off to the head of the Disney children's casting office and a meeting was granted. He was told to get some more experience and to be in every local and school production possible and that the time would come. That's all Shawn needed to hear. That summer, Shawn's elementary school, Thomas Jefferson Elementary, was making a film as a summer activity of The Wizard of Oz. Shawn wanted to play his favorite character, The Cowardly Lion, and the audition criteria was whoever made the best costume got the part. Shawn and his mom set about dyeing pajamas, attaching fake nails to socks and fashioning yarn to make a wig and mane. Their efforts paid off and Shawn was in his glory that summer hamming it up in front of the 16 mm camera. Through another family friend that year Shawn heard about a local theater, The Glendale Centre Theatre, in neighboring Glendale, California that was casting a production of Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Shawn auditioned and was cast as The Spirit of Christmas Past, a role generally played by an adult. This production played to a sold out house of 350+ patrons nightly for 6 weeks. Shawn had found a home! Stevens remained the resident young male actor at GCT through his adolescence and teens, oft times taking the bus to and from the theater, performing in every play possible including The Remarkable Mister Pennypacker, I Remember Mama, Up the Down Staircase, Turn 'Round West Wind and the annual A Christmas Carol, maturing into multiple roles (Shawn's wife and children would later appear in the production making it a family affair. Life would come full circle!) Stevens was simultaneously highly involved in his junior high school (John Muir Jr. High) and senior high school (Burbank Senior High, class of 1976) drama, choral music and, even, band departments (Shawn took up playing the bass drum) where he sang barbershop, men's, mixed, and madrigal music (Shawn was awarded Best Male Vocalist for 4 straight years), played in marching band, and played leads in such plays as Barefoot in the Park, Bad Seed, David and Lisa (directed by classmate Tim Burton) and, his personal favorite, portrayed Prof. Harold Hill in Meredith Wilson's The Music Man. Other high school musical highlights including Shawn receiving a vocal scholarship to Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts, where Shawn won the coveted opportunity to sing the school Alma Mater at commencement, and participation in the Southern California and All-State Honor Choirs, the latter directed by Roger Wagner (of the world famous Roger Wagner Choral). Not one to waste time during his summer breaks from high school, Shawn participated in the Teenage Drama Workshop at California State, Northridge where he would study musical theater. Another alum from this program, who would become a great friend, is the award winning actress Mare Winningham (Amber Waves, Hatfields and McCoys).
Adversity and Opportunity At age 13 Shawn had back to back removal of his tonsils and appendix and, when his mother offered him a treat for having endured going under the knife, asked if he could have voice lessons. He began taking voice lessons, with an emphasis on musical theater. (He would later study with Seth Riggs, Nolan Van Way and David Craig.) As a side note, Shawn had several illnesses during his teen years and was forced to miss school for extended periods of time. Although he did keep up with his schoolwork from home he also used this time to watch the many classic movies that used to play on television during the daytime and evenings. He would develop a deep respect and admiration for the great actors from the golden age of film and would put many of the great scenes and monologues to memory. Henry Fonda, Orson Welles and Jimmy Stewart were among his favorites and he was overjoyed at the prospects of meeting and perhaps working with them someday, which he was able to accomplish. He even met Debbie Reynolds by whom he had been mesmerized as a youth while watching her onscreen at the Radio City Music Hall in The Unsinkable Molly Brown. Again, his young life had come full circle!
On The Road During his senior year of high school, Stevens auditioned for and was invited to join the singing group "The Young Americans' where he participated in their summer repertory group "Torchlite Musical Theater" in Petosky, Michigan. During his first summer away from home he played a variety of roles in the musicals George M., Oklahoma, GODSPEL, and The Music Man. Stevens was also invited to tour with the group in a 9 month, 165 city, 48 state tour which he says was one of the most grueling experiences of his life.
(Shawn's only post high school educational experience came in the form of a semester at Los Angeles Valley College where he participated in the musical Fiddler on the Roof in the role of Perchik.)
After landing back in L.A., Stevens auditioned for a role which was to change the course of his life. A family friend knew of a director who was looking for a young man to play the lead in a low-budget independent feature. The film was called "No Place to Ride" and was a thriller about 3 friends being terrorized by a crazed killer while dirt biking in the southeastern badlands of Utah. Shawn was offered the part and was off to Utah (Kanab) for 6 weeks. It was while in Utah that Stevens had the opportunity to witness Mormonism at work and where he developed the desire to investigate the LDS Church further when he returned to Los Angeles. This led to his becoming a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) in 1977 at age 19. (About this time Shawn also signed with personal manager, Bonnie Larson (also LDS), who would groom Shawn and place him with noted theatrical agent Arnold Soloway at The Artist Group.) Shortly after becoming a Mormon and setting out on his new faith journey Shawn was offered the leading role of Jimmy in the LDS landmark musical "Saturday's Warrior", with which he toured the western United States for the next year.
Big Break Stevens' big break into television came in the summer of 1978 when he landed the leading role in the William Blinn (Brian's Song, Roots, 8 is Enough, Starsky and Hutch) penned and produced series "The Mackenzies of Paradise Cove" for ABC. The series was filmed entirely in Hawaii and co-starred Clu Gulager (The Virginian), Sean Marshall (Pete's Dragon) and Keith Coogan (Adventures in Babysitting). Although the series only lasted 1 season, it was enough to catapult Stevens into the spotlight. Shawn was quickly picked up by the teen magazines and in 1980, at the non-teen age of 20, was named the most popular "Teen Idol" by Laufer Publications (Tiger Beat, Teen Beat) due to the tremendous amount of fan mail he received at their offices. Shawn would continue to dominate the covers and pages of teen targeted publications through the mid 80's.
Career Stevens continued to work on television and in films (see filmography) continuously throughout the early and mid '80's. He appeared in a wide variety of genres and acting styles including soaps, sit-coms, afterschool specials, episodic, and mini-series' and would appear as himself on game shows, talk shows, and telethons. Shawn would eagerly use his "celebrity" status to participate in charitable causes such as being a national spokesman for the March of Dimes' Walk America and also serving as host for 4 years of the Miss Teen USA Pageant. One of Shawn's most rewarding experiences was when he was invited to be the guest of honor and perform at a fundraiser for the Morristown N.J. chapter of Birthright. He was surprised to have the date proclaimed "Shawn Stevens Day" in his hometown and to be given the Key to the City by the mayor. In addition to acting, Shawn was simultaneously pursuing a singing career. He was featured as a singer in numerous live events across the country and on television. It was while singing on the soap opera Search for Tomorrow (Shawn's character sang live 2 to 3 times a week) that Shawn caught the attention of iconic record producer Michael Lloyd (Shaun Cassidy, Debbie Boone, Leif Garrett, and The Osmonds) and was signed to a recording contract with Warner/Curb Records. Not one to rest on his laurels, Shawn always had the dream of giving back and starting a children's theater like the one that had inspired him as a child. In 1983 Shawn turned the dream into a reality when he founded The Children's Theater of Los Angeles with the assistance of Magic Castle founder Milt Larsen. Mr. Larsen also owned the historic Variety Arts Theater in downtown Los Angeles which became the home of the CTLA. The inaugural production of the CTLA was an original musical called I Will which followed a group of children into the Tudorian world of William Shakespeare. Although a critical success, the show lost money and the support of backers and Shawn was forced to reconsider his foray into the world of children's theater. The theater company closed after it's second production, Big Time.
Focus on Family In 1983 Shawn met the love of his life, Kaylene McLaws, (a fashion designer within the garment industry) at church and after a year's courtship they were married June 16, 1984. Together they have 4 children (Tauren-Ashlee b. 1985 (married Dylan Tucker 2012), Shawn Kory Albert b. 1989 (married Mallory Peterson 2011), Perry Christian Garack b. 1991, Vince Kayson Clark b. 1993) and have one grandchild, Shawn Jeremiah, and are expecting a second, Jack Dylan, in the summer of 2014. In 1987 Shawn participated in an LDS missionary film called "Our Heavenly Father's Plan" and, after searching his conscience, decided to voluntarily put his professional career on the shelf so as to allow the film to serve its purpose worldwide. Shawn also took this as an opportunity to pursue other interests and focus on his family and personal growth.
Second Act In 2012, after 25 years offstage, Shawn was given the opportunity to audition for the legendary 50's and 60's doo wop group The Diamonds (Li'l Darlin', The Stroll) and was invited to perform with them during a 4 month engagement headlining the world famous Palm Springs Follies. During this experience Shawn remembered how much he missed and loved performing and, with the love and support of his family, decided to set about returning to his passion. Shawn will be appearing in the T.C. Christensen penned and directed feature The Cokeville Miracle to be filmed the summer of 2014 and has several other projects in development including reality show concepts and theatrical productions.
Born in New Zealand, Emma Harrison was raised in Australia. She attended St. Hilda's School for Girls in Southport, Queensland. There, she was a House Captain and a Senior School Prefect. Emma started modeling at the age of 15, when she was spotted in the audience of a beauty contest and immediately signed by a local agency. She began her career with numerous television commercials including Palmolive Soap and Kentucky Fried Chicken. This was the first step in a career that has made her a household name in more than 50 countries around the world. Shortly after Emma left for college, she attracted the attention of several prominent casting agents, who persuaded her to embark on an acting career. Her striking looks and unique qualities caught the attention of established directors. In short order, she landed parts in television productions of Time Trax and Mission: Impossible. Emboldened by these early successes, Emma felt ready to pursue acting in earnest and made the move to Sydney. Her career exploded after she was discovered by the casting director of the popular 'soap' series Neighbours. Taken with her talent, charisma, and sensational looks, the team behind the number-one show decided to write her into the program as part of the starring cast. For three seasons, Emma took the viewing public by storm playing Joanna Hartman, resulting in a nomination for Best New Talent at the Australian Logie Awards. Fresh from her conquest of Australia, Emma traveled to England in 1998 where she was already a celebrity thanks to Neighbours. While in the UK, she hosted two television programs, appeared on the covers of dozens of magazines such as FHM, Loaded, Maxim, and Inside Sport and was selected as a presenter for the prestigious BAFTA Awards. In 2000 Emma took some time off from her acting and modeling work and went backpacking. She took a trip through the South American rainforest and hiked the Inca Trail up to the ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru. Fresh from her sabbatical, Emma relocated to the United States in 2002.
Dimitri Baveas (born June 29, 1988) is an Australian actor, best known for his roles as; "Dimitri" in the Dreamworks production The Ruins produced by Ben Stiller, and the killer in the Underbelly tele-movie, "Tell Them Lucifer Was Here" which aired in February 2011.
Dimitri first began acting at the age of 15 when he was awarded a scholarship to the Australian Acting Academy out of over 1000 applicants. He then moved on to the Queensland Actors Playhouse and performed in several theatre productions. He also continued training with Emmy Award Winning casting director Tom McSweeney.
Dimitri attended Anglican Church Grammar School, and has completed a degree in pharmacy from the University of Queensland.
Jeanne Eagels, one of the most intriguing stars of late silent films and the early talkies, was born Amelia Jean Eagles on June 26, 1890 in Kansas City, Missouri, to Edward and Julia Sullivan Eagles. Young Jean was part of an impoverished family of eight, with three brothers and two sisters. She likely stopped going to school when she was 11 years old.
As a girl, she decided to become an actress after appearing in a Shakespearen play. Of that performance, she said, "I played the grave-digger in 'Hamlet,' first, at the age of seven. They gave me the chance to play Shakespeare because nobody else of the tender age of seven would do so. They wouldn't say the rather amazing words...the other kiddies. I took it all quite seriously and said ALL the words without a quiver. Once I had begun I could not be stopped. I was ill when I was not on the stage. It seemed to me I couldn't breathe in any other atmosphere."
She followed up the experience up by playing bit parts in local theatrical productions. When she was 12 years old, she became a member of the Dubinsky Brothers' traveling stock company, appearing at first as a dancer, but eventually working her way into speaking roles. Eagels soon was playing leading roles in the stock company's repertory, including "Camille," "Romeo and Juliet," and "Uncle Tom's Cabin." Later, a myth arose that Eagels' began her career as a circus performer. The 1957 biographical film "The Jeanne Eagels Story" erroneously depicts Eagels' beginning as a hootchie-kootchie dancer in a carnival. The Dubinsky Brothers did use a tent to put on their shows, but they did not present carnival acts but performed popular comedies, musicals, and dramas. The tent was only used during the spring and summer months, while during the colder months, the company performed in theaters and halls in the Midwest.
Jeanne Eagels married the scion of the Dubinsky family, Morris, the oldest of the brothers. She was likely in her teens, and probably had a baby by Morris. Stories about Eagels' past diverge, and in one account, the child was adopted by family friends, while in another, Eagels' baby boy died in infancy, triggering a nervous breakdown for the bereft mother. Eagels and Dubinky separated, likely due to his infidelity. Jeanne eventually left the Dubinksy company and joined another touring stock company, which eventually brought her to New York City.
Eagels decided to make herself over in New York as she fought her way up in the fiercely competitive theatrical world. A brunette, Eagels dyed her hair blonde and said that she was of Spanish and Irish lineage, and that her surname was originally "Aguilar," which loosely translates into English as "eagle." She changed the spelling of her name from "Eagles" to "Eagels," reputedly as she thought it looked better on a marquee. Eliminating her past, she presented herself as an ingénue rather than as a divorced woman and mother of a dead infant. She also adopted an English accent as David Belasco, the legendary theatrical impresario, had commented that she spoke like an "earl's daughter."
She began her climb up the greasy pole of Broadway stardom by appearing as a chorus girl. She even served a stint as a Ziegfield girl, but Eagels was determined to establish herself as a dramatic roles, wining bit parts in the plays "Jumping Jupiter" and "The Mind the Paint Girl."
Eagels took a trip to Paris, where she likely studied acting with Beverly Sitgreaves, an expatriate American actress who had appeared with Sarah Bernhardt, Eagels' idol. After Jeanne Eagels' death, there arose a myth that she was a "raw," untrained talent who just happened to have the spark of genius on stage. This is demonstrably false as she had a thorough grounding in technique in her six-year apprenticeship in regional stock companies. She also studied acting with Sitgreaves and with acting coaches in New York. The myth likely is rooted in the biography of Eagels' stage co-star Leslie Howard that was written by his children. Howard was of the opinion that Eagels was untrained, but that likely was rooted in English snobbery vis-à-vis America actors as he had the same opinion of the great Bette Davis. What Howard likely meant that the emotionally erratic Eagels was undisciplined rather than untrained. George Arliss, considered one of the great stage actors at the time he appeared on Broadway with Eagels, would hardly have chosen her to appear in three of his productions if she were not trained and up to giving a fine performance. Arliss was full of praise for Eagels.
In Paris, Eagels attracted the attention of Julian Eltinge, the famous Broadway female impersonator, though they were not introduced. Ironically, when he returned to New York, Eltinge found out that Eagels was to be his co-star in what turned out to be a long tour of the play "The Crinoline Girl." The two became good friends.
Eagels won the role of a prostitute who becomes a faith-healer in the touring company of the play "Outcast" by modeling herself after the play's star, Elsie Ferguson, for her audition. She won the part, and also won great reviews during the tour's swing through the South. When the touring company returned to New York for an off-Broadway engagement, some critics were there to see if Eagels actually did live up to the road reviews of her "Outcast" performance. She did, and the critics were suitably impressed.
The Thanhouser Film Co. cast Eagles in the film of "Outcast" in 1916, which was entitled The World and the Woman upon its release. Eagels was working during the daytime in films and at night on the stage. Suffering from fatigue and insomnia, she sought treatment and likely became hooked on drugs during this period. With the aid of physician-prescribed dope, Jeanne Eagels continued her hectic dual-career of making movies during the day while acting on stage at night. The routine continued until 1920. Suffering from chronic sinusitis and other maladies, Eagels descended the slippery slope of self-medicating her ills, an unfortunate situation exacerbated by her fondness for drink.
Eagels received great reviews when she starred with George Arliss in the Broadway hit "The Professor's Love Story" in 1917. She followed up their joint triumph with two more co-starring ventures with Arliss, "Disraeli" and the even-more-popular play "Hamilton." Of his co-star, Arliss said that each of the three distinctly different parts she acted were "played with unerring judgment and artistry."
In 1918, she appeared in Belasco's production of "Daddies," an original play about the plight of war orphans starring George Abbott. She quit the hit show either due to exhaustion or because, as rumor had it, she was fed up with Belasco's sexual harassment, though she praised him as a producer.
"Often in the theater there is a feeling of commercialism in every detail; it may not touch one directly, but it is there, and the consciousness that the financial success of the play is perhaps of first importance is decidedly unpleasant. Now, Mr. Belasco puts acting, like every other element of a production, upon an artistic basis. He makes you feel that a thing is important artistically or not at all. Money seems never to be a consideration, yet the making of it follows as a result of making the production as nearly perfect as possible.... That point of view on the producer's part means a great deal to the actor; it leaves him free to do so much, and is an incentive to work toward a faithful portrayal of character. To me everything about Mr. Belasco's theater points toward that one ideal of his -- perfection."
She next appeared in the comedy "A Young Man's Fancy" (1919), followed up by "The Wonderful Thing" (1920). By the time she appeared in the latter, a modest success that played for 120 performances, she had become a true Broadway diva, having to wait for the applause to die down after her entrance before she could deliver her lines. She had her own distinctive ideas on how to give a fresh impression to the audience for each performance:
"Audiences mean as much to an actress as the acoustics of a concert hall mean to a musician. The musician must vary his playing according to his acoustics--according to the sort of room in which his concert is given.... A sort of sixth sense enables me to discern the character of an audience within a few minutes after I have begun to play, and it is only the people for whom I am making this lovable girl live at that one performance that matter. Former audiences are swept from my thought as though they had never been. As far as the audience of the moment is concerned others have never been. What I have done, or have not done, for them doesn't matter to the folk who have come to see the play to-night. I am so very conscious of this that I am able to play to them as though I were creating the part for the first time... I do wrong in speaking of 'playing to an audience,' however. A true artist never 'plays to the audience.' Rather he or she keeps his or her own vision true, and the creation evolves itself."
Her next Broadway appearance, "In the Night Watch" (1921), was another modest success, but she soon was to appear in the play that would make her lasting reputation. The opportunity came her way when another actress turned down the role of the prostitute Sadie Thompson in the theatrical adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham's short story "Rain."
On the road in Philidelphia, the play received discouraging reviews, necessitating a rewrite of the second act. By the time the rewritten "Rain" debuted on Broadway on November 7, 1922, at Maxine Elliott's Theatre, all the kinks had been worked out, and the play was a smash, running for 256 performances. When the company returned to Broadway after the road show, re-opening at the Gaiety Theatre on September 1, 1924, "Rain" starring Jeanne Eagels ran for another 648 performances, transferring to the New Park Theatre on December 15, 1924. "Rain" elevated Jeanne Eagels into the pantheon of American theater greats.
John D. Williams, the director of "Rain" said, "In my score of years in the theater Miss Eagels was one of the two or three highest types of interpretive acting intelligences I have met. To work with her on a play was once more to feel one's self in the theater when it was in its finest estate; when a play was not a 'show,' nor even a performance, but a work, which because it had something to say that might clarify life, was a living thing and simply demanded to be heard. It was then that somebody, known or unknown, wrote something that deserved fanatically true fulfillment--and somebody else of magic touch acted it.... Miss Eagels had that touch of magic in character interpretation- the quick exchange of ideas as to the sense of the scene. And then would come the superbly tragic entrance, for example, of Sadie Thompson in the last act of 'Rain,' with its flawless blend of bitter disillusionment, irony, revenge, terror."
Eagels' great performance was acknowledged as responsible for the great success of the play, and although Gloria Swanson had some success playing Sadie in the silent movie version of the play in 1928, Joan Crawford did less well in the role in the 1931 talkie version. Both Swanson and particularly Crawford were upstaged by their leading men, Lionel Barrymore and Walter Huston, respectively. Rita Hayworth's version in 1953, opposite José Ferrer, is barely remembered. Sadie Thompson belonged to Jeanne Eagels, and the touring company of "Rain" toured for four years.
In 1917, Eagels had said, "I am timid and afraid of men and far too busy to become well acquainted with them. My work fills my life, and I should not care to fall in love or marry before I am very, very old -- about thirty-five -- because a woman gives too much of herself when she loves, and that would interfere with her career."
By the time Eagels married her second husband, the stockbroker Edward H. Coy, in 1925 at the age of 35, she had developed a reputation as a temperamental actress who was a hard drinker. Coy had achieved Ivy League gridiron immortality as a 6-foot, 195-pound fullback at Yale, where he was named an All-American in 1908 and 1909 but had turned to the sauce for solace now that the cheers had faded. The incompatibility between the two did nothing to ameliorate her problems with her mood swings or with drink.
After "Rain," she took time off, either turning down offers such as the role of Roxie Hart in "Chicago" (1926) or quitting plays she did sign up for during rehearsals. Finally, she made her Broadway return in the George Cukor-directed light comedy "Her Cardboard Lover" (1926) opposite Leslie Howard. Broadway critics and audiences had grown accustomed to Eagels in more substantial fare, and on opening night, it was Leslie Howard whom the audience cheered, calling for Howard to take curtain calls. Controversially, Eagels took Howard's curtain calls, thanking the audience "on behalf of my Cardboard Lover." The critics, too, wound up praising Howard rather than Eagels.
Eagels fondness for medicating herself and for drink caused problems during the run of the show. Her on-stage behavior could be egregious, as when she stepped out of character and, thirty for the sauce, asked Howard's character for a drink of "water." This caused the stage manager more than once to bring down the curtain during a performance, and Howard left the stage in a huff at one point.
About bad acting, Eagels blamed it on "...[N]ot being a good listener. So few people are. For instance, when you and I are talking here and I say 'no' very deeply and quietly, your reply will be 'yes' with something of a rising inflection, a lighter modulation. You have listened to me and have made a correct tonal reply. On the stage, most of the actors and actresses know their cue words and take their cues, but they haven't listened to the speech preceding their own. The result is a correct enough answer as to word, but not as to tone. There is not tonal intelligence in the reply. Good listeners...so rare."
John D. Williams, her director in "Rain," attributed her greatness on the stage to her great ability to listen while on stage.
"First off, she knew to perfection, and adhered to as to a religion, the art of listening in acting. At every performance, whether the first, or the hundredth, the speeches of the character addressing her were not merely heard but listened to. Hence there was always thought and belief and conviction behind every speech and scene of her own-- the essence of theater illusion."
The drink and drugs apparently were eroding that greatness. However, despite her on-stage antics, "Her Cardboard Lover" was another modest success, playing for 152 performances. After shooting the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film Man, Woman and Sin with John Gilbert, she toured with the play in the large cities.
Eagels' behavior during the filming of Man, Woman and Sin was atrocious. Gilbert, whom she reportedly had an affair with, said Eagels was the most temperamental actress he had ever worked with. She would appear late at the studio, and once, she disappeared for several days. The Hollywood trade press credited Eagels disappearance to a drink binge, and at one point, she took off on a two-week vacation to Santa Barbara without informing her director, Monta Bell. Bell asked studio management to terminate Eagels' contract, which they did. Fortunately, there was enough footage so Bell could salvage the film without re-shooting.
John Gilbert said of Eagels, "She seemed to hate the movies for a popularity they could not give her....[The] blind, unreasoning adulation of the movie fans was a type of popularity she spurned. Fundamentally, Jeanne was much superior to us. Movie actors are crazy to be worshiped. Jeanne Eagels wanted to be understood and appreciated."
When the film was released, Eagels' performance received mixed reviews, but the picture was a failure primarily due to the poor reviews garnered by Gilbert. Critics rejected the great lover playing a naive mama's boy in this film. Gilbert's career was salvaged shortly thereafter by the release of his second film with Great Garbo, Love, which was a smash hit at the box office.
When Eagels began touring the East Coast in "Her Cardboard Lover," the Boston engagement was cut in half to one week as Eagels reportedly was ill. After the play moved to Chicago with a revivified Eagels, she divorced Coy in 1928, citing physically abuse and accusing him of breaking her jaw. Eagels claimed that Coy had threatened to wreck her budding movie career by ruining her face. Coy, a heavy boozer like his soon-to-be ex-wife, pleaded no contest and the divorce was granted.
The Mid-Western tour of "Her Cardboard Lover" moved on to Milwaukee, but Eagels was a no-show at both the Milwaukee and the subsequent St. Louis performances. She claimed that she was suffering from ptomaine poisoning, but eye-witness accounts placed her in Chicago on a long boozing binge when she was supposed to have been in Milwaukee. Her indefensible and unprofessional behavior brought her an 18-month suspension from Actor's Equity, which banned her from performing on stage with any other Equity actor for the length of the suspension. The ban essentially ended her stage career in New York and the rest of the country, although it could not stop her from appearing by herself on stage in non-Equity venues. Eagels hit the vaudeville circuit, performing scenes from "Rain." She also appeared in movies as producers were desperate for trained stage people with the advent of sound, and she eventually made more money from the film industry and vaudeville than she ever had from the "legitimate" stage.
Ironically, it was Monta Bell, now working at Paramount's Astoria Studios in New York, who hired Jeanne Eagels for her film comeback. In 1929, Bell announced that even though Equity didn't want Eagels, he wanted her, for she had been the consummate professional during the making of Man, Woman and Sin. The man who had urged the MGM brass to fire her now told the press that he had actually urged MGM to sign Eagels to long-term contract for more pictures.
The first movie Eagels made for Paramount was the Monta Bell-produced The Letter, which reunited Eagels with W. Somerset Maugham. Katharine Cornell had had a Broadway hit with Maugham's play as the murderous adulteress, and Eagels delivered an electrifying, legendary performance in the role on film. After Eagels received rave reviews for her The Letter, Paramount took Bell's advice and signed her to a contract for two more pictures, Jealousy and The Laughing Lady.
She began shooting "Jealousy" (1929) with the English actor Anthony Bushnell, whom she had hand-picked to be her leading man, but during filming it was apparent that Bushnell's voice was not registering well on the sound equipment. Bushnell was replaced by the up-and-coming star Fredric March, who later said Eagels was "great" to work with, but that the movie they made together was a "stinker." There were rumors that Eagels had suffered a nervous breakdown while filming "Jealousy", but Paramount denied there had been any trouble with their new diva. However, Eagels asked to be let out of her contract for "The Laughing Lady" on the grounds that she was either ill or because she didn't like the script, and the studio obliged, replacing her with Ruth Chatterton.
About her management of her personal affairs, Eagels said, "I cannot bear to transact any of my own business or make any of my own professional arrangements. I have an aversion to it I cannot overcome. I can't read the papers, either. Mention of my personal life, even tho I expect it, acts terribly on my nerves. I suppose I'm an odd person."
It was reported that now that the Actors Equity ban was due to expire in the fall of 1929, Eagels was preparing to return to Broadway. In September, Eagles underwent successful surgery to treat ulcers on her eyes, a condition was caused by her sinusitis. Two weeks after surgery, on the night of October 3, 1929, as Eagels was preparing for a night out on the town, she fell ill and was taken to a private 5th Avenue hospital. In the hospital waiting room, she suffered a convulsion and died.
Three autopsies were conducted over the following three months and reached three different conclusions as to the cause of her death, which was variously attributed as an overdose of alcohol, the tranquilizer chloral hydrate, and heroin in the successive autopsy reports. All three substances likely were in her system when she died, and it was suggested that the unconscious Eagels had received a sedative from the first doctor to treat her, and that subsequently a second doctor, not knowing she had already been sedated, had unknowingly given the unconscious actress a second shot, thus causing the overdose that killed her.
When her estate went through probate, it was worth an estimated $52,000 (approximately $562,000 in 2005 dollars) after her debts and funeral costs were deducted. Dying intestate, the estate went to her mother. A wake was held at Campbell's funeral home in New York City, the same establishment that had handled Rudolph Valentino's funeral. Reportedly, her movie "Jealousy" was playing across the street from the funeral home as she lay in her casket, finally at peace. Her body was sent to Kansas City, where a Catholic mass and requiem was held, and she was laid to rest with her father and a brother.
Eagels was posthumously nominated for a 1929 Best Actress Academy Award for her role in "The Letter," the first actor to be so honored. She lost out to superstar Mary Pickford, one of the founders of the Academy, who took the Oscar home to Pickfair for her performance in "Coquette," her first talkie.
Jeanne Eagels' life was limned in the 1957 film _Jeanne Eagels_, which starred Kim Novak. This film is fictionalized biography that whitewashed the truth about Eagels' life. In recent years, there have been rumors that Eagels enjoyed same-sex relationships with other women, but the rumors remain unsubstantiated. In her lifetime, she was romantically linked to many famous men, including the conductor Arthur Fiedler, the gambler "Nick the Greek" Dandalos, and the theater critic Ward Morehouse. She was pursued by producer David Belasco, theater owner Lee Shubert, and the Prince of Wales, the future Duke of Windsor.
About actors, Jeanne Eagels was quoted as saying, "We are glorious, unearthly people, set above all others because of our genius, our capacity to sway others, to make them laugh and cry, or make them live a romance we but play." In the Academy Award-winning All About Eve, writer-director Joseph L. Mankiewicz has the critic Addison DeWitt tell the great fictional diva Margo Channing (played by Leslie Howard's other great "untrained" co-star, Bette Davis), "Margo, as you know, I have lived in the theater as a Trappist monk lives in his faith. I have no other world, no other life -- and once in a great while I experience that moment of revelation for which all true believers wait and pray. You were one. Jeanne Eagels another."
The actor playwright Noel Coward said, "Of all the actresses I have ever seen, there was never one quite like Jeanne Eagels," while actress-playwright-Academy Award-nominated-screenwriter Ruth Gordon, a friend of Eagels, said of her, "Jeanne Eagels was the most beautiful person I ever saw and if you ever saw her, she was the most beautiful person YOU ever saw."
Kathleen Kennedy, her co-star in "Rain," said, "I sincerely doubt if Jeanne Eagels really knew, in spite of her pretensions, that she was a great actress. She was. Many times backstage I'd be waiting for my entrance cue and suddenly Jeanne would start to build a scene, and [we] would look up from our books at once. Some damn thing- some power, something- would take hold of your heart, you senses, as you listened to her, and you'd thrill to the sound of her."
John D. Williams, the director of "Rain," called her an acting genius. "Acting genius--that is, the power of enhancing a written character to a plane that neither author nor director can lay claim to -- Miss Eagels had at her beck and call, whether in tragedy or in comedy."
Jack London was the best-selling, highest paid and most popular American author of his time.
He was born John Griffith Chaney, on January 12, 1876, in San Francisco. He was raised by his mother Flora Wellman and his stepfather John London (he didn't know who his father was until his adulthood). After graduation from a grammar school he worked 12 to 18 hours a day at a cannery. Jack had a special relationship with his black foster mother, Virginia (Jenny) Prentiss. She loaned him some money and in 1891 he bought a sloop and became an oyster pirate. A few months later he joined the California Fish Patrol. In 1893 he joined the crew of a sealing schooner, bound for Japan. His first story, "Typhoon off the Coast of Japan", based on his sailing experiences, was published in November of 1893. Still unemployed, he became a tramp and hoboed around the country. In 1894 he was arrested for vagrancy and spent a month in jail, where he was a witness to "awful abysses of human degradation." His entire life, after these events, became a race to erase the traumatizing memories of his childhood and youth.
He continued his self-education at the Oakland Public Library. Among his readings were works by Gustave Flaubert and Leo Tolstoy. In 1896 he was admitted to the University of California, but after a year was forced to leave due to financial reasons. In 1897 he went to the Canadian Yukon and joined the Klondike Gold Rush. There he experienced all the hardships of uncivilized life and suffered from--among other things--severe frostbite, scurvy, malaria and dysentery. This left his health seriously impaired. London's struggles for survival inspired "To Build a Fire" (1902), which is considered his best short story. Writing became his ticket out of poverty; a way, in his words, to "sell his brains". His first marriage to Bess Maddern began as a friendship, not love, and ended 3 years later, leaving her with two daughters. His second marriage to Charmian Kittrdge, an editor, lasted until his death.
"The Call of the Wild" (1903) was his biggest success. "The Sea-Wolf" (1904) was turned into the first full-length American movie. Later came "The Iron Heel" (1908), a premonition of the Orwellian world, and the autobiographical "Martin Eden" (1909). The highest-paid writer of his time, he earned over $2 million yet he was always broke. In 1905 he bought a ranch in California, where he designed the first concrete silo in the state. His books provided operating income. He once said, "I would write a book for no other reason than to add three or four hundred acres to my magnificent estate." His ecological approach and effort to adapt the ideas of Asian sustainable agriculture was ahead of his time. In 1913 his Big House was ruined by a devastating fire and Jack was financially and mentally hurt. He built a small cottage and made big plans, but he lived only 3 more years. His 1400-acre ranch is now a National Historic Landmark, named Jack London State Historic Park. The writer's cottage was preserved by his wife Charmian, who lived there until her death in 1955.
His changing views and philosophy were often misunderstood as he grew out of his own mistakes. At one time he wrote, "I have been more stimulated by [Friedrich Nietzsche] than by any other writer in the world." Later London disregarded the "superman" theory of Nietzsche, calling himself Nietschze's "intellectual enemy." His readings of Carl Jung contributed to his complex philosophy. His other influences ranged from Rudyard Kipling and Robert Louis Stevenson to Charles Darwin, Aldous Huxley and Karl Marx. While sympathizing with the Mexican revolution in "The Mexican", he wrote differently about it when he was sent to Mexico as a reporter in 1914. By age 40, somewhat disillusioned, he resigned from the Socialist party and from various clubs. During his last years London was in extreme pain, caused by complications from kidney failure (uremia is recorded on his death certificate). He was laid to rest at his ranch according to his will: "And roll over me a red boulder from the ruins of the Big House."
Petite, sultry leading lady of the 1920's and 30's, who was born and schooled in Tampa, Florida, until the age of ten when she lost her mother. She moved to New York with her dad and started modelling while still in her teens. Her original intention was to go into the teaching profession. Instead, she became enamored with acting during a school visit to the Popular Plays and Players Studio in Ft.Lee, New Jersey, a production cooperative for distributors World Film, Pathe and Metro. Before long, Evelyn had a job as an extra for $3 a week, using her original name, Betty Riggs. Between 1914 and 1920, she appeared in featured film roles with stars like Olga Petrova and John Barrymore (who hand-picked her as his leading lady for 'Raffles' in 1917), then took a sabbatical for health reasons and went to England.
By making the acquaintance of American playwright Oliver Cromwell, she was able to land a good role in the George Bernard Shaw comedy 'The Ruined Lady' on the London stage. This, in turn, led to her being cast as leading lady in several British films and, in 1922, she even went to Spain as star of The Spanish Jade, distributed in America by Paramount. Upon her return to the United States in 1924, she was briefly under contract to Fox, then joined Associated Authors, and, finally, Paramount-Famous Players-Lasky (1926-30). At the height of her career in silent films, the dark-haired, aquiline Evelyn became a matinee idol with performances as exotic temptresses and vamps, particularly in films by Austrian director Josef von Sternberg. She was notable as the gangster's moll, Feathers, in Underworld (the proverbial 'tough broad with the heart of gold'); and as a self-sacrificing Russian girl in love with an exiled Czarist general (Emil Jannings) in The Last Command. She had another good part in Paramount's first all-talking picture, Interference, as a blackmailer.
While Evelyn's voice proved no detriment to her success in talking pictures, the declining quality of her films did. Her Alaskan epic The Silver Horde, in which she played another disreputable character named Cherry Malotte, was described in critical review as 'dull and trivial' (New York Times,October 25). Her performances as gang molls in Framed and The World Gone Mad, and her unlikely mission worker in Madonna of the Streets, engendered lukewarm write-ups like 'satisfactory' or 'competent', which did nothing to elevate Evelyn's post-Paramount career. By the end of the decade, she had moved down the cast list from second leads to supporting roles, finally appearing in westerns and 'quota quickies' for poverty row studios, such as Monogram and PRC. In the 'cheap and cheerful' category, she seemed to enjoy herself in the Columbia serial Holt of the Secret Service, as Kay Drew, partner of tough agent Jack Holt. She was memorable, in one of her last roles, as a one-armed satanist in the eerie Val Lewtonhorror flic about devil-worshippers in Greenwich Village, The Seventh Victim.
After making her last film in 1950, Evelyn found work as an actor's agent with the Thelma White Agency in Hollywood. After the death of her third husband, Harry Fox (who gave the Foxtrot its name) in 1959, Evelyn made a final screen appearance as a guest star on Wagon Train. She left the limelight for good in 1960 and lived her remaining years in retirement in Westwood Village, California.
Kestrin Pantera lives in Los Angeles. She wrote and directed the feature film, "Let's Ruin It With Babies."
Fluent in English and Mandarin, she has performed voice-overs for 100+ companies in the US and Southeast Asia. In LA, she developed characters for Nickelodeon's Emmy nominated animated series, "Ni Hao, Kai Lan."
A classically trained cellist, Kestrin was shanghaied into rock and roll when one of her stoner-dude-guitar friends realized she played cello. She was then invited to join the bands of more dudes; a lifestyle ensued.
She has performed with Los Angeles indie bands you probably haven't heard of-- like his Orchestra, with Douglas Smith (Big Love) & Raviv Ullman, and with some you probably have heard of, like Weezer and Beck.
She does stuff at the Upright Citizens Brigade and The Groundlings, alongside the many suicidal cellist roles.
Hailing from Tulsa OK, Hanson the band arrived on the radio in 1997 with a #1 hit - "MMMBop" - which helped them sell more than 12 million copies of their debut album. Energizing a new wave of bubblegum pop, by virtue of their youth at the time (Isaac was 16, Taylor 14 & Zac 11), they were blamed for ruining the radio landscape yet were ironically over shadowed by the very acts that stole away the youthful fans they had awakened.
Originally known as The Hanson Brothers (later becoming just "Hanson" to avoid confusion with the hockey players), they began writing and singing as young as six years old, and first performed as a band when they were six, nine and eleven. They produced two independent albums which included originial compositions before signing with Mercury Records in 1996.
Since then they have impressed music critics and industry insiders with their talents including a signature sound with Rock-n-roll influences, a well grounded mature attitude and a wise business savvy. By using the internet, stategic public appearances (including a couple of movie and TV cameos which have landed them on this site), and a recent tour playing acoustic only shows in intimate club venues, they have been chipping away at a public image which has misunderstood them.
Now at ages 18, 21 & 23, their latest endeavors include a live concert which was released to theaters in a one day event, a 2004 CD, starting their own record label (3cG Records) and a documentary on the record industry which may be shown in some film festivals before being released to DVD.
A graduate of Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, Walter Wanger was among the more literate and socially conscious American film producers of his time. At the peak of his career, his salary was exceeded only by that of Louis B. Mayer at MGM. Wanger had served in the air force on the Italian front during World War I. He joined the staff of President Woodrow Wilson as an attaché after the armistice, attending the peace conference in Paris. Having already staged theatricals at college and briefly directed on Broadway, he began in the film industry at Paramount as assistant to studio vice president Jesse L. Lasky in 1921. He worked his way up to a senior executive position, with the power to hire and fire writers, directors and stars. A disagreement with Lasky brought about his departure, but he was re-hired after having success in England as a theatrical producer and agent.
In 1923, he was appointed head of Paramount's Long Island Studio. Shortly after, he was made chief of production, holding that position until 1931. After leaving the company due to personality clashes with new senior management, he had brief spells with Columbia and MGM, producing several big hits, such as The Bitter Tea of General Yen and Queen Christina. Nonetheless, he didn't get on particularly well with either Harry Cohn or L.B. Mayer and decided to turn independent, releasing his films through Paramount and United Artists. By 1936, Walter Wanger's own production company had the most substantial star roster of any independent filmmaker in Hollywood, including Madeleine Carroll, Charles Boyer, Henry Fonda and Sylvia Sidney.
Wanger's first major success as an independent was The Trail of the Lonesome Pine, the first Technicolor feature for Paramount, and also the first to be shot primarily outdoors. In between solid black & white action films and dramas like You Only Live Once and Algiers, Wanger also produced several expensive all-colour extravaganzas, not all of which paid off at the box office (point in case, Vogues of 1938, which failed to recoup its cost of $1.4 million). This rather forced United Artists to keep a closer reign on his future expenditure. However, by the end of the decade, Wanger's reputation increased, with films like Stagecoach and The Long Voyage Home (for John Ford) and Foreign Correspondent (for Alfred Hitchcock). Between 1946 and 1949, Wanger succeeded both in strengthening his own production company and in establishing a distribution network (in conjunction with the independent owners of Film Classics), the Wanger-Nassour Releasing Organisation.
Inevitably, the financial vagaries of independent production were beginning to take their toll. Already hamstrung by the financial woes of one of his subsidiaries, Diana Productions (formed in partnership with his wife Joan Bennett, screenwriter Dudley Nichols and director Fritz Lang),Wanger badly overextended himself in his financing of the 145-minute studio-bound Technicolor epic Joan of Arc, starring Ingrid Bergman. The venture effectively bankrupted another of his production companies (Sierra Pictures), set up with Bergman exclusively for the making of the expensive fiasco. "Joan of Arc" ended up being shunned by audiences (who found it long and boring) and critics (who thought it naïve and altogether missing its spiritual mark) alike. Wanger's financial miscalculation was further compounded in 1951, by his shooting of his wife's paramour. It landed him in jail for four months for attempted murder.
That notwithstanding, Wanger bounced back, finagling a $5 million deal with Allied Artists. After his release from jail, he produced a socially conscious prison film, Riot in Cell Block 11, on a relatively modest budget. He followed this with one of the most iconic science fiction films ever made, the marvellous Invasion of the Body Snatchers, directed by Don Siegel. On the flipside, Wanger's last throw of the dice, Cleopatra , with its excessive cost and production difficulties, almost ruined 20th Century Fox and brought about his own premature retirement. After his death from a heart attack in November 1968, a mere $18,000 remained of his estate.
In spite of its highs and lows, the career of Walter Wanger had been nothing but amazing. During his early days at Paramount (then Famous Players Lasky), he had bought the rights to The Sheik, which made a star out of Rudolph Valentino. At the time of his second spell with the studio, he introduced headliners like Claudette Colbert, Hedy Lamarr, and The Marx Brothers to the screen. As a man of strong intellectual inclinations, he recognised the value of good writing. Indeed, many of his films combine a socio-political message with good entertainment. James Mason thought, Wanger had always longed 'to be European'.
In later years, Wanger openly criticised the established Hollywood hierarchy for being over-reliant on star power. His own self-proclaimed rebelliousness also engendered the enmity of practically every major studio boss and his liberal leanings got him into trouble during the HUAC witch hunts of the early 1950's. Nonetheless, Wanger was twice elected as president of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and, at the height of his influence, he was able to successfully lobby the Academy to introduce Best Foreign Film and Best Documentary as categories to the Oscars.
One of the workhorses in Warner Brothers' stable of directors in the 1930s, Lloyd Bacon didn't have a career as loaded with classic films as many of his more famous contemporaries. What few "classics" he had his hand in (42nd Street, Footlight Parade) are so overshadowed by the dazzling surrealistic choreography of Busby Berkeley that casual film buffs today often forget they were actually directed by Bacon. While his resume lacks the drama of failed productions and tales of an unbridled ego, he consistently enriched the studio's coffers, directing a handful of its biggest hits of the late 1920s and 1930s. Bacon's career amounts to that of a competent--and at times brilliant--director who did the best with the material handed to him in assembly-line fashion.
Lloyd Bacon was born in San Jose, California, on January 16, 1890, into a theatrical family (his father was Frank Bacon, a playwright and stage actor). His parents enlisted all the Bacon children onto the stage. Despite having a strong interest in law as a student at Santa Clara College, Lloyd opted for an acting career after appearing in a student production of "The Passion Play." In 1911 he joined David Belasco's Los Angeles Stock Company (with Lewis Stone), touring the country and gaining good notices in a Broadway run of the hit "Cinderella Man", and gaining further experience during a season of vaudeville. He switched gears in 1915 and took a stab at silent Hollywood, playing the heavy in several of Gilbert M. 'Broncho Billy' Anderson's shorts and pulling double duty as a stunt man. With America's entry into World War I in 1917, Bacon enlisted in the Navy and was assigned to the Photo Department. This began a lifelong admiration for the service and might explain the Navy being a favorite recurring theme in many of his films.
After the war's end Bacon moved from Mutual (Charles Chaplin's studio at the time) to Triangle as a comedy actor. It was at this point that he got his first taste of directing-- he had let everyone at the studio know he had an interest in helming a picture, and when the director of a now forgotten Lloyd Hamilton comedy short fell ill, Bacon was given his chance. Constantly moving, he joined tightwad producer Mack Sennett as a gag writer. Sennett, sensing a bargain, happily accommodated Lloyd's desire to become a full-time director by early 1921. The Sennett studio was already in an irreversible decline during Bacon's tenure there but it allowed the novice director to gain a wealth of experience. He apprenticed for Sennett until joining Warner Brothers in 1925, an association that would last a remarkable 18 years and begin when the working-man's studio was building a strong stable of contract directors that included Michael Curtiz, Alan Crosland, John G. Adolfi and Mervyn LeRoy.
Although Lloyd never became known for a particular style other than a well-placed close up, his ability to bring in an entertaining film on time and within budget earned him such enormous respect from the five Warner Brothers that he was soon handed control over important projects, including The Singing Fool, Al Jolson's follow-up to The Jazz Singer, which grossed an unheard-of (for Warners, at least) $4,000,000 in domestic receipts alone-- the studio's #1 hit for 1928. Bacon was rewarded by becoming the highest paid director on the studio lot, earning over $200,000 a year throughout the Depression. He was called upon to direct the studio's big-budget production of Moby Dick, which garnered good notices, but it's a version that's barely remembered today.
The 1930s saw Bacon assigned to the assembly line; aside from the Busby Berkeley-choreographed films, he directed many of James Cagney's crowd-pleasing two-week wonders, including Picture Snatcher (Cagney once remarked that the schedule on that picture was so tight that, one time after he and the cast had rehearsed a particular scene, Cagney said, "OK, Lloyd, are you ready to shoot?" Bacon grinned and said, "I just did!") and The Irish in Us. As a reward, he was occasionally afforded more time and money on productions such as Here Comes the Navy and Devil Dogs of the Air. He also directed Cagney's return effort after his ill-advised move to cheapjack Grand National Pictures after one of his periodic salary disputes with studio head Jack L. Warner-- the badly miscast if frenetic Boy Meets Girl. This was one of Cagney's least critically acclaimed Warner Brothers films of the 1930s, but a smash hit for the studio.
During his years at Warners, Bacon gained a reputation as a clothes horse, the dapper director arriving on the set dressed to the nines, wearing expensive hats that he would hurl around the set when expressing his dissatisfaction (he ruined a lot of hats) at an actor's performance or missed cue. Bacon continued to turn out profitable films for the studio until moving to 20th Century-Fox in 1944 (a logical move, since the recently discharged Darryl F. Zanuck knew Bacon from his early days at Warners). He stayed at Fox until 1949, then bounced among Columbia, Fox, Universal and finally the chaotically-run RKO in 1954.
He worked virtually until his death from a cerebral hemorrhage at age 65.
Gary Graver was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. In high school he produced and starred in his own weekly radio show. Moving into acting, he studied and performed at the Portland Civic Theatre and Grant High School as well as being a child circus clown and magician. He built a theater in his basement, showing 16mm films and producing plays for the neighborhood kids.
At age 20 he moved to Hollywood to continue his studies. He studied with Jeff Corey, Douglas Fowley, Lee J. Cobb and Lucille Ball. Finding acting jobs hard to come by, he switched to production work and produced and directed a short film and a feature. He was soon drafted into the military and shipped overseas, where he became a member of the U.S. Navy Combat Camera Group. Not really being a cameraman, he went to all the camera rental houses in Hollywood and picked up as much knowledge as he could to prepare for his two-year tour of duty in the Far East, including Vietnam, Japan and the Philippines.
After leaving the military, he worked in documentaries for a year before getting into feature productions. After photographing such "classics" as Satan's Sadists and Dracula vs. Frankenstein, he decided to call on Orson Welles--whom he did not know nor had ever met--because he read that Welles was in town. Welles explained that only one other cameraman had just called him up and said he wanted to work with him--Gregg Toland, who photographed Citizen Kane. Welles and Graver immediately embarked on a series of half-hour shows for the Sears department store chain. It was called "An Evening with Orson Welles". It consisted of six stories told on film by Orson and then to be transferred to a new, up-and-coming medium--videotape.
It was the beginning of a close friendship and creative filmmaking partnership. In 1970 Graver, Welles and his collaborator, Oja Kodar, started filming a feature project, The Other Side of the Wind. The production of this movie was to take place over a period of five years. Shooting was completed in Los Angeles in 1975 at the home of Peter Bogdanovich, after a marathon schedule that took the project to Arizona, France, Spain, Belgium, New York, Hollywood, Yugoslavia, Italy and England. Because of a series of legal entanglements the film was never brought through post-production, although Welles left an edited 45-minute version and editing notes.
During this period, in 1973, Welles, Kodar and Graver made a feature in Europe titled F for Fake. After that, Welles and Graver worked on many projects, including The Orson Welles Show for TV syndication with Burt Reynolds, Angie Dickinson and The Muppets. Other projects included Orson Welles' Magic Show and the essay film Filming 'Othello'.
On the morning of Welles' death, he and Graver were to begin filming "Julius Caesar" with Orson playing all of the parts. Two days previously the stage had been pre-lit at the UCLA Theatre Arts Department. Between times, in the midst of all the Welles projects, Graver maintained his professional status as a first-rate Hollywood cinematographer and shot many feature films for Roger Corman: Moonshine County Express, Deathsport with David Carradine and Grand Theft Auto, directed by Ron Howard. He also photographed The Toolbox Murders, The Attic with Carrie Snodgress and Ray Milland, Mortuary, Chattanooga Choo Choo and the remake of Stagecoach with Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings.
For Disney Gary shot Love Leads the Way: A True Story starring Timothy Bottoms, Patricia Neal, Eva Marie Saint, Ernest Borgnine, Ralph Bellamy and Arthur Hill. In 1981 he directed "The Boys" from his own screenplay, starring Cameron Mitchell and his son, Cameron Mitchell Jr.. This film was subsequently ruined by the producer and distributor. The solid, hard-hitting drama, as originally shot using the director's screenplay, emerged as a stupid comedy released by Film Ventures International as Texas Lightning.
In 1982 Graver wrote, produced and directed a film called Trick or Treats. It featured his son Chris Graver along with David Carradine, Carrie Snodgress, Steve Railsback, Jacqueline Giroux, Paul Bartel and Jillian Kesner. In the 1980s Gary photographed five TV "movies of the week" starring Gary Coleman for NBC.
In 1986 he photographed Party Camp for Vestron, which had a limited theatrical release before going to video. The next year was spent mostly on directing, photographing and editing Moon in Scorpio for Trans World Entertainment. This supernatural thriller set on the high seas with a vampire and astrological plot involving several decadent characters was re-edited many times by the producers and then released only on video, where it made money. Graver directed John Phillip Law, Britt Ekland, William Smith, Lewis Van Bergen, Jillian Kesner and April Wayne. In 1988 he directed a comedy farce, Nerds of a Feather, featuring Pat McCormick and female impersonator Charles B. Pierce, producer Mario Milano and a cast of midgets. Following this he produced and photographed Jaded. Set in Venice, California, this offbeat psycho-drama was written and directed by Oja Kodar. It starred Jillian Kesner and Elisabeth Brooks. Welles also appears in a cameo from the unseen clip of "Merchant of Venice", playing Shylock. Also in 1988 Graver photographed B.O.R.N., "Deadly Revenge" (1988), Night Children, Alienator, L.A. Bounty and Wizards of the Demon Sword.
After photographing many shorts, TV movies, commercials and documentaries (on Billy Wilder, Douglas Sirk, NASA, The Carradines Together, the Harlem Globetrotters, among others) and music videos (Kool & The Gang, The Gap Band, Warlock, Hiroshima and others) Gary concentrated on developing his own projects for production and is planning to complete the unfinished Welles film, "The Other Side of the Wind".
Langdon first performed when he ran away from home at the age of 12-13 to join a travelling medicine show. In 1903 he scored a lasting success in vaudeville with an act called "Johnny's New Car" which he performed for twenty years. In 1923, he signed with Principal Pictures as a series star, but transferred to Keystone when Mack Sennett bought the contract. Early in his film career, he had the good fortune to work regularly with the young Frank Capra. The two developed a unique character of an innocent man-child who found himself in dramatic and hazardous circumstances with only providence and good luck making him come out on top. This character clicked with the public and Langdon enjoyed a streak of artistic and commercial successes using it with Capra's direction. Unfortunately, he began to take the praise of his talent too seriously and broke with Capra so he could hog all the glory himself with his films. This proved to be a disasterous mistake as his first film "Three's a Crowd", a sickeningly sentimental film that plainly showed that he did not even approach the talent and skill of Capra which was needed to keep his character style viable. It has been also speculated the public was getting tired of Langdon's character, which contributed to Langdon's first solo film being an artistic and commericial failure. That film was the first in a series of bombs that ruined Langdon's career and relegated him to minor films from third string companies for the rest of his life.
She was born in January, in Italy, from a French mother and an Italian father. Angelique came into her talent at an early age, in fact she begins her career as a theater actress already at the age of 14. She is Italian and French native speaker and she also speaks very good English. She is soon very independent, and she manages her life already at a very young age, working between theater, cinema, fashion, sports and philosophy. She plays agonistic volleyball for years as well as dance and athletics, in the meantime she continues her acting studies in Turin, takes part in fashion shows in Milan and starts to work in the major theaters in Italy.
She decided to expand her view and took part in different workshops like the one by Przemek, of the school of Grotowski (Poland), and the one with Judith Malina of the Living Theatre (American avant-garde theater). She will later work in theaters, with several plays on tour in Italy, starting her professional career as an actress. She was directed by Andrea Battistini, with "The Trial" by Kafka, and by Maurizio Donadoni in " The true Friend" by Goldoni. Soon we find her in the cinema in the main role of the first time director film "Dancing the Consciousness" directed by Luca Bronzi .
At the age of 23 she decided to work between Turin and Rome in Italy, continuing her film career playing in the short film "Citroen Pluriel" directed by Gigi Roccati (Filmmaster Production), and various appearances in films such as "So things are going "directed by Francesco Bovino (Blue Film Production), and more.
She goes on with different experiences in the field of haute couture as a model, contemporary dance, pyrotechnics, saber weapon. She also starts working in contemporary art as a Performer, where she experience a totally different language from film and theatre. She participates in various performing arts events in Europe. She uses her voice to work on different projects: she is the voiceover of a documentary screened at the 2010 Venice film festival "Indesiderabili" directed by Chiara Cremaschi (Fabbrichetta Productions) and for France Culture in the documentary "Tallin" playing different characters .
In the last years she decided to devote herself and give absolute priority to Cinema. She works in the film "Cado dalle Nubi", (Medusa Home Entertainement) directed by Gennaro Nunziante. In one of her last films, "The Novel", she plays the role of the sister of Edgar Allan Poe. The film was shot in English and directed by Paolo Licata (Panoramic production) and won awards in New York Los Angeles International Film Festival 2013, Hollywood film festival and numerous other festivals in the U.S. and "Fantasticherie di un passeggiatore solitaire"co-starring role, playing the muse and the wife of writer Jean Jacques Rouesseu with the actor Luca Lionello, this film is directed by Paolo Gaudio (Reverie production). Angélique is also playing the main role in" La pluie " directed by Stefano Odoardi, where she is the only actress playing four different roles. These last two films mentioned are currently in postproduction. In 2012 she worked as an actress for the Binger Director Lab in Amsterdam.
In 2013 she has been directed by the mainstream Italian director Daniele Luchetti in his last film "Those happy years" "( aka "Storia mitologica della mia famiglia") playing the role of Michelle, together with the international stars: Kim Rossi Stuart, Micaela Ramazzotti and Martina Gedeck (world premiere in Tiff- Toronto Film Festival 2013)
Angelique also played the main role of the last film directed by Stefano Odoardi, "Mancanza-Inferno" (Lack-Hell)the first part of a Trilogy (Heaven, Purgatory, Hell). In this film she plays the role of an Angel inspired on the Duino Poems by R. M. Rilke, and she wanders through the ruins of a contemporary city destroyed by a earthquake. (World Premiere in Official Spectrum selection of 43°International Film Festival Rotterdam)
Angelique lives between Paris and Italy.
Alexandr Kajdanovsky, Russian actor, director and screenwriter, now best remembered for his work in Andrei Tarkovsky's films. Kajdanovsky left Junior High School to enroll in technical college where he was training to become a welder. Apparently a prospect of becoming a worker did not appeal to him and in 1965 he started studying acting at The Shchukhin Theatre School in Moscow. Before completing the course he took his first part in the film Tainstvennaya stena (A Mysterious Wall), and upon graduation in 1969, he worked as stage actor. Still unsatisfied with his work Kajdanovsky joined the army in 1973 spending some years in cavalry.
It was a famous film director Nikita Mikhalkov who discovered Kajdanovsky and gave him the lead in his civil war drama At Home Among Strangers, a Stranger Among His Own (At Home among Strangers, Stranger at Home). By the late 1970s Kajdanovsky had had credits in some noted films, including adventure stories Propavshaya ekspeditsiya (The Lost Expedition), Zolotaya rechka (Golden River), a fantasy Test pilota Pirxa (Pilot Pirks Tested). The greatest twist in his career came with Andrei Tarkovsky giving him the lead in Stalker. Kajdanovsky attended Tarkovsky's writing seminar and under his teacher's influence he wrote and directed A Simple Death (An Ordinary Death) - an adaptation of one of Leo Tolstoy's stories - the film won honour at the Malaga film festival. Kajdanovsky's starring role in Spanish film El aliento del diablo (The Devil's Breath) and in Hungarian Magic Hunter (Magic Hunter) made him an international celebrity and resulted in him having been invited to become the juryman of the 1994 Cannes Film Festival. Unfortunately alcohol ruined his life, he could hardly maintain his career between the bouts of drinking, he died on December 3, 1995, 3 months short of 50.