7 items from 2013
Marta Eggerth: Operetta and film star — a sort of Jeanette MacDonald of Central European cinema — dead at 101 Marta Eggerth, an international star in film and stage operettas who frequently performed opposite husband Jan Kiepura, died on December 26, 2013, at her home in Rye, New York. The Budapest-born Eggerth had turned 101 last April 17. (Photo: Marta Eggerth ca. 1935.) Although best known for her roles in stage musicals such as the Max Reinhardt-directed 1927 Hamburg production of Die Fledermaus, and various incarnations of Franz Lehár’s The Merry Widow, Marta Eggerth was featured in nearly 40 films. The vast majority of those were produced in Austria and Germany in the 1930s, as the Nazis ascended to power. Marta Eggerth films Marta Eggerth films, which frequently made use of her coloratura soprano voice, include Max Neufeld’s drama Eine Nacht im Grandhotel ("A Night at the Grand Hotel," 1931); the Victor Janson-directed musicals Once There Was a Waltz »
- Andre Soares
Viennese operetta and film star of the 30s who fled to America after the Anschluss
Between the two world wars, during the so-called "silver age" of Viennese operetta, the coloratura soprano Marta Eggerth, who has died aged 101, reigned supreme on stage and, above all, on screen. In the films of the 1930s, the blonde, wide-eyed beauty's bright bell-like tones and charming personality provided a welcome relief from ruinous inflation, world depression and the approaching sound of Nazi jackboots.
The leading operetta composers of the day, Franz Lehár, Emmerich Kálmán, Oscar Straus, Robert Stolz and Paul Abraham, all wrote songs for her films. However, by 1938, after the Anschluss, with the exception of Lehár, all of them, being Jewish, had fled Vienna for the Us. Eggerth and her husband, Jan Kiepura, the celebrated Polish tenor, who both had Jewish mothers, also left Austria for America, where they continued their singing careers.
Hitler loved Viennese operetta, »
- Ronald Bergan
With the back-to-back departures of Peter O'Toole and Joan Fontaine I've been really bummed about losing great artists from Hollywood's Golden Age. The Golden Age is roughly considered to be from Hollywood's 1930s through the 1950s. I still hadn't recovered from the loss of Eleanor Parker, an underappreciated actress I had honestly planned a retrospective of but never got around to.
This morning in my movie grief I inadvertently killed dozens of people off on twitter by claiming there were only six stars of the Golden Age still living. So consider this list my penance. In the past I've published a semi-annual list of all living Oscar-vets in any capacity. It ws never meant to be a morbid countdown list but a way for us to honor people while they're still theoretically conscious of our appreciation for their indelible contributions. So though I normally publish such a list on Ms. »
- NATHANIEL R
Miklos Laszlo, a Jewish émigré from Hungary, penned his play Illatszertar in 1936 before he fled Europe in 1938 for New York City. Acquired by producer-director Ernst Lubitsch and brilliantly adapted for the screen as The Shop Around the Corner (1940) by the immortal Samson Raphaelson (who wrote nine screenplays for Lubitsch including Trouble in Paradise, The Merry Widow and Heaven Can Wait), the sublime cast included James Stewart, Margaret Sullavan, Frank Morgan, Joseph Schildkraut and Felix Bressart. It represents perhaps the very pinnacle of transcendent romantic comedy in cinema: precise, subtle, intricately intimate. The material was remade as a
- Myron Meisel
No moss grows under Lady Mary, that's for sure. The Merry Widow may already have a new suitor. British TV heartthrob Tom Ellis reportedly had an impressive audition for the producers of Downton Abbey, to become what is being described as season 4's love interest for Lady Mary, played by Michelle Dockery. According to the U.K. Mirror, an ITV source said of the 33-year-old, married father of three: "He really showed his versatility, and he's also incredibly popular with the female viewers." Born in Wales, Ellis, whose wife is former EastEnders star Tamzin Outhwaite, appears in the comedy series Miranda. »
- Stephen M. Silverman
Musical theatre star known as 'the champagne soprano'
Lizbeth Webb, one of the great forgotten stars of British musical theatre in the 1940s and 1950s, has died aged 86. Known as "the champagne soprano", she was the first to sing one of the BBC's most requested songs of all time, This Is My Lovely Day, written for her by Vivian Ellis and AP Herbert and included in their musical comedy Bless the Bride (1947).
Starting out during the second world war as a teenage singer with dance bands – she worked later with such conductors as Mantovani, Geraldo, Max Jaffa and Vilém Tauský – Webb was discovered by the bandleader Jack Payne and turned into a West End star by the impresario Charles B Cochran in 1946. Over the next 10 years she made her mark as a soprano of great range (often singing in two different registers), vibrancy and vivacity. She was dark, petite and »
- Michael Coveney
The celebrated actress and passionate animal-rights activist is embracing her eighth decade in the business, with a résumé that's overflowing with game shows, talk shows, sitcoms, animated series, hosting duties and one particularly foulmouthed film performance. She currently hosts the NBC reality show "Betty White's Off Their Rockers," which features senior citizens playing practical jokes on their younger counterparts.
"Retirement is not in my vocabulary. They aren't going to get rid of me that way," she told USA Today in 2010.
We aren't arguing otherwise. We fully expect White still to be going strong at 100. In the meantime, here are 10 fun facts about this wonderful woman.
1. Betty White was born in Oak Park, Ill. Her family moved to California during the Great Depression. She discovered her love for performing when she wrote and played the lead in a graduation play in junior high. »
- The Huffington Post
7 items from 2013
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