Saturday, 13 December 2008

White Christmas

May Peace be your gift
And your Blessing all year through!

Bing Crosby & Frank Sinatra
Singing "White Christmas"
Merry Christmas to all.

Laurence Olivier

Laurence Olivier (1907-1989), English actor, producer, and director, noted as one of the most accomplished actors of the 20th century.
Laurence Kerr Olivier was born in Dorking, Surrey, in 1907. Nine years later he made his first stage appearances in amateur performances of plays by English poet and playwright William Shakespeare.
Olivier made his professional debut at Letchworth in 1925. He was a member of the Birmingham Repertory Company from 1926 to 1928.
Olivier made his American theatrical debut in a short-lived melodrama in New York City in 1929. In 1930 and 1931 he appeared in Private Lives, by English playwright Noel Coward, in both London and New York City. In 1937 and 1938 he was a member of the Old Vic Shakespearean repertory company in London.
Olivier was codirector of the Old Vic company from 1944 to 1949; in 1946 he appeared triumphantly with the company in the United States. In the theater Olivier played classical roles ranging from Greek tragedy to Restoration comedy; he also appeared in various contemporary plays.
In 1939 Olivier made his first important film, Wuthering Heights. In 1946 a film version of Shakespeare's Henry V was released; produced, directed by, and starring Olivier, it became a film classic.
He produced, directed, and starred in other film versions of Shakespeare plays, including Hamlet (1948), for which he received Academy Awards for best actor, best director, and best picture of the year; Richard III (1956); and Othello (1965).
Olivier appeared in a wide variety of roles during his film career. Some of his other movies included Rebecca (1940), The Entertainer (1960), Sleuth (1972), Marathon Man (1976), and The Boys from Brazil (1978).
He received Oscar nominations for all five. He won further acclaim for his television performances, playing the role of Lord Marchmain in the Masterpiece Theatre presentation of Brideshead Revisited (1981) and the title role in a production of King Lear (1983).
A theatrical producer and director as well as actor, Olivier was head of the National Theatre of the United Kingdom from 1962 until 1973. He was knighted in 1947 as Baron Olivier in 1970.
After his marriage to actress Vivien Leigh ended in divorce, he married the actress Joan Plowright. Olivier wrote several books, including Confessions of an Actor (1982) and On Acting (1986).

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Ida Lupino

Actress, screenwriter, director. Born on February 4, 1918, in London, England to a show buisness family. Ida Lupino was a popular actress of the 1930s and 1940s as well as a brave, pioneering filmmaker.
Acting ran in her family. Her father was comedian Stanley Lupino and her mother was actress Connie Emerald. A serious performer, she trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London before getting her first big break.
After her film debut in Her First Affair (1932), Ida Lupino got a contract with Paramount. One of her most notable works from this period is the musical Anything Goes (1935) with Bing Crosby and Ethel Merman. Changing over to Warner Brothers in 1939 led to more substantial dramatic fare. Lupino earned high marks from critics for her turn in The Light That Failed (1939) based on the Rudyard Kipling novel.
She also appeared in the crime thriller High Sierra (1941) opposite Humphrey Bogart and The Hard Way (1943), which earned the Best Actress award from the New York Film Critics.
Ida Lupino formed her own film company with Anson Bond called Emerald Productions in 1949, and created films that tackled controversial social themes, such as Not Wanted (1949), which she also directed and wrote.
The film explored the plight of an unwed mother. Other films addressed bigamy and rape. While her films were disregarded at the time, Lupino has come to be seen as one of Hollywood’s pioneering female directors.
After battling cancer, Ida died on August 3, 1995, in Burbank, California.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Charles Chaplin

Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin, Jr. (born April 16, 1889; London – died December 25, 1977; Switzerland), better known as Charlie Chaplin, was an English comedy actor, becoming one of the most famous performers in the early to mid Hollywood cinema era, and also a notable director.
He is considered to be one of the finest mimes and clowns caught on film and his influence on performers in both fields is great. Chaplin was one of the most creative and influential personalities in the silent film era: he acted in, directed, scripted, produced, and eventually even scored his own films.
His working life in entertainment spanned over 70 years, from the British Victorian stage and music hall in England as a child performer, almost until his death at the age of 88. He led one of the most remarkable and colorful lives of the 20th century, from a Dickensian London childhood to the pinnacle of world fame in the film industry and as a cultural icon.
His principal character was "The Tramp" (known as "Charlot" in France and Spain): a vagrant with the refined manners and dignity of a gentleman who wears a tight coat, oversized trousers and shoes, a bowler hat, carries a bamboo cane, and has a signature toothbrush moustache.
Chaplin's high-profile public and private life encompassed highs and lows of both adulation and controversy. In 1999, the American Film Institute named Chaplin among the Greatest Male Stars of All Time, ranking at No. 10.
He was also named Knight Commander of the British Empire in 1975.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Ginger Rogers

Ginger Rogers (1911-1995), American motion-picture actor, singer, and dancer, best remembered for her graceful ballroom dancing as the partner of Fred Astaire in classic musical comedies of the 1930s. Born Virginia Katherine McMath in Independence, Missouri, she began dancing professionally at the age of 14 and toured the vaudeville circuit until 1929, when she was cast as the second lead in the popular Broadway musical Top Speed.
She began her film career while still starring on the New York City stage and in 1931 went to Hollywood, where she shot a series of minor comedies and dramas for the Pathé, Paramount, and Radio-Keith-Orpheum (RKO) studios.
Rogers was first matched with Astaire in the 1933 film Flying Down to Rio. Although they danced together in only one scene, their elegance, agility, and obvious chemistry stole the show. Subsequently, RKO paired them in vehicles of their own, including the legendary musicals Top Hat (1935), Swing Time (1936), and Follow The Fleet (1936). Their ten feature films together perfectly exemplified the refined and light-hearted charm of Hollywood’s so-called Golden Age (from about 1920 to about 1950).
Astaire was considered the better dancer of the duo, but Rogers had far greater acting range, as she proved with an Academy Award-winning performance in Kitty Foyle (1940). She was equally effective in the bubbly romantic farce The Major and the Minor (1942).
Rogers appeared regularly on screen throughout the 1940s and 1950s and returned briefly to the Broadway stage in 1965, replacing Carol Channing in Hello Dolly! In later years she made occasional television appearances and served as a fashion consultant for the J.C. Penney stores. Her autobiography, Ginger: My Story, was published in 1991.

Swing Time~Rogers and Astair

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Christopher Plummer

Christopher Plummer, (born December 13, 1929) is a Canadian theatre, film and television actor. In a career that spans over five decades and includes substantial roles in film, television, and theater, Plummer is perhaps best known for the iconic role of Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music.
He was also a leading member of Britain's National Theatre under Sir Laurence Olivier, the Royal Shakespeare Company under Sir Peter Hall where he won London’s best actor Evening Standard Theatre Award. In its formative years, he played at the Stratford Festival of Canada under Sir Tyrone Guthrie and Michael Langham. He has played most of the great roles in the classic repertoire.
He also appeared in a lauded production of King Lear, directed by Jonathan Miller and performed at Lincoln Center. Plummer's performance as Lear garnered him his sixth Tony nomination. He returned to Broadway in 2007 as Henry Drummond in a revival of Inherit the Wind, winning a Drama Desk Award nomination as well as his seventh Tony nomination.
Owing to the box office success and continued popularity of The Sound Of Music, Plummer is perhaps best known for his portrayal of Captain Von Trapp.

The Sound of Music~Edelweiss!

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Lana Turner

Lana Turner (1920–1995), American actress,born Julia Jean Mildred Frances Turner on February 8, 1920, in Wallace, Idaho. According to legend, she was discovered at a Hollywood soda fountain at the age of 16 by a journalist, who recommended her to director Mervyn LeRoy. LeRoy immediately placed her under contract and gave her a small but telling role in his film They Won't Forget (1937).
After two more unremarkable Warner Brothers films—The Great Garrick (1937) and Four's a Crowd (1938)—Turner, known for her lazy, carnal look, moved to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer with LeRoy. Her new studio promoted her as “The Sweater Girl,” nearly always blonde, a trifle vulgar, and sexily clad in a clinging top. Posed in a tight-fitting sweater, she became a popular pinup girl during World War II (1939-1945).
Turner’s career in films spanned over 30 years, and although she was an actress with a limited range, she made good use of her gifts as the murderous wife in The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) and as the emotional heroine of Homecoming (1948). Another memorable role was as a film star (inspired by the life of Diana Barrymore) in The Bad and the Beautiful (1952), directed by Vincente Minnelli. But more often her films were trivial, until she began working at Twentieth Century Fox and was interestingly cast as a repressed mother in Peyton Place (1957).
In 1958, Turner’s real-life teenage daughter, Cheryl Crane, killed Turner’s gangster lover, Johnny Stompanato, in the belief that her mother’s life was in danger. The death was ruled justifiable homicide. Afterward, Turner was snapped up by Universal Studios and skillfully cast in the melodramatic Imitation of Life (1959), directed by Douglas Sirk, as an actress who has a difficult relationship with her daughter. The scandal was exploited to the hilt, and the film proved a great success. Thereafter, although Turner continued to make the occasional film until the early 1970s, she never achieved anything like a comeback. In the 1980s, however, she had a role in the television melodrama Falcon Crest.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Grace Kelly

Grace Kelly Actress and Princess of Monaco.1947 Grace enrolled in the American Academy of Dramatic Art in New York City,1949 She made her professional debut on Broadway.
1951 She moved to Hollywood and appeared in the film Fourteen Hours which was her debut in the big screen.
1954 Grace Kelly acted with Bing Crosby in the film The Country Girl and she was awarded an Oscar for best actress.She was also invited to the Film Festival in Cannes, where she met Prince Rainier.She also acted in several Hitchcock’s movies such as Dial M for Murder, Rear Window and To Catch a Thief .1956 She married Prince Rainier, and became a princess. She quit acting.
1957 Grace gave birth to her first daughter, Princes Caroline.1958 Prince Albert was born.
1982 Princess Grace died on September 14th, after a car accident that occured when she and her daughter Stephanie were driving along the Nice – Monaco highway. She is buried at the Cathedral of Monaco.

True Love~Trailer from the movie~High Society!

Friday, 7 November 2008

Ronald Colman

British leading man of primarily American films, one of the great stars of the Golden Age.
Born to middle-class British parents (his father was an import merchant), actor Ronald Colman was raised to be as much a gentleman as any "high born" Englishman, and strove to maintain that standard both on and off screen all his life. Acting was merely a hobby to Colman while he attended the Hadley School at Littlehampton, Sussex, but after a few years' drudgery as a bookkeeper with the British Steamship Company, the theatre seemed a more alluring (if not more lucrative) life's goal.He went in to acting full time making his debut in a tiny role in the play The Maharanee of Arakan (1916). A subsequent better role in a production of Damaged Goods led to Colman's being hired to star in a two-reel film drama, The Live Wire. The film was never released, which is why Colman's "official" debut is often listed as his first feature film The Toilers (1919).
He later went to New York City making his American movie debut in Handcuffs or Kisses? (1920). His next film was also his Big Break: The White Sister (1923), directed in Italy by Henry King, in which Colman was co-starred opposite prestigious actress Lillian Gish. The association with King and Gish was Colman's entry into Hollywood, and by 1925 he'd begun his nine-year association with producer Sam Goldwyn. Most of Colman's silent films were lush romantic costume dramas, in which he usually co-starred with the lovely Vilma Banky.
This sort of glorious nonsense was rendered anachronistic by the advent of talking pictures, but Goldwyn wisely cast Colman in a sophisticated up-to-date adventure, Bulldog Drummond (1929), for the actor's talkie debut. Colman scored an instant hit with his beautifully modulated voice and his roguishly elegant manner, and was one of the biggest and most popular screen personalities of the 1930s. A falling out with Goldwyn in 1934 prompted Colman to avoid long-term contracts for the rest of his career.
As good as his pre-1935 films were, Colman was even more effective as a free-lancer in such films as Tale of Two Cities (1935), Lost Horizon (1937), The Prisoner of Zenda (1937), The Light That Failed (1939) and Talk of the Town (1942). The actor also began a fruitful radio career during this period, first as host of an intellectual celebrity round-robin discussion weekly The Circle in 1939; ten years later, he and his actress wife Benita Hume starred in a witty and well-written sitcom about a college professor and his spouse, The Halls of Ivy, which became a TV series in 1954.
Perhaps the most famous of Colman's radio appearance were those he made on The Jack Benny Program as Jack's long-suffering next door neighbor. Colman won an Academy Award for his atypical performance in A Double Life (1947) as an emotionally disturbed actor who becomes so wrapped up in his roles that he commits murder. Curtailing his film activities in the 1950s, Colman planned to write his autobiography, but was prevented from doing so by ill health -- and in part by his reluctance to speak badly of anyone. Colman died shortly after completing his final film role as the Spirit of Man in The Story of Mankind (1957), a laughably wretched extravaganza from which Colman managed to emerge with his dignity and reputation intact.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Ava Gardner

Born on a tobacco farm, where she got her lifelong love of earthy language and going barefoot, Ava grew up in the rural South. At age 18, her picture in the window of her brother-in- law's New York photo studio brought her to the attention of MGM, leading quickly to Hollywood and a film contract based strictly on her beauty.
With zero acting experience, her first 17 film roles, 1942-5, were one-line bits or little better. After her first starring role in B-grade Whistle Stop (1946), MGM loaned her to Universal for her first outstanding film, The Killers (1946). Few of her best films were made at MGM which, keeping her under contract for 17 years, used her popularity to sell many mediocre films. Perhaps as a result, she never believed in her own acting ability, but her latent talent shone brightly when brought out by a superior director, as with John Ford in Mogambo (1953) and George Cukor in Bhowani Junction (1956).
After 3 failed marriages, dissatisfaction with Hollywood life prompted Ava to move to Spain in 1955; most of her subsequent films were made abroad. By this time, stardom had made the country girl a cosmopolitan, but she never overcame a deep insecurity about acting and life in the spotlight. Her last quality starring film role was in The Night of the Iguana (1964), her later work being (as she said) strictly "for the loot". In 1968, tax trouble in Spain prompted a move to London, where she spent her last 22 years in reasonable comfort. Her film career did not bring her great fulfillment, but her looks may have made it inevitable; many fans still consider her the most beautiful actress in Hollywood history.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Al Jolson

Al Jolson (1886-1950),most noted for his role in the motion picture The Jazz Singer.
He was born Asa Yoelson in Seredzius, Russia (now in Lithuania). As a child he sang in the synagogue where his father was a cantor.
At the age of 13 he made his first stage appearance in Children of the Ghetto in New York City. He became a circus performer and café entertainer. Then he toured in vaudeville and with a company known as Dockstader's Minstrels; minstrel-style singing in blackface makeup became Jolson's trademark. In 1911 he made his musical comedy debut in La Belle Paree.
Jolson achieved wide popularity starring on Broadway in many musicals tailored to his talents; these included Robinson Crusoe, Jr. (1916), Sinbad (1918), Big Boy (1925), and Wonder Bar (1931). In 1927 he starred in The Jazz Singer, the first important motion picture with synchronized sound and the first of many successful films for the star. He was also a popular radio and recording artist.

Trailers from the movie "The Jazz Singer"
"Blue Skies" Toot Toot Tootsie" "My Mammy"

Blue Skies

Toot Toot Tootsie

My Mammy

Friday, 31 October 2008

Your an Amazing Blogger Award

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Judy Garland-Over the Rainbow

Katharine Hepburn

Katharine Hepburn (1907-2003), American actor, winner of four Academy Awards for best actress, noted for her unique combination of timeless beauty, wit, and fiery passion. Hepburn had a rich stage and screen career that lasted more than 60 years.
Born in Hartford, Connecticut, Hepburn became fascinated with acting at an early age. She appeared in student productions at Bryn Mawr College and pursued a professional stage career after graduating. She scored a notable success on Broadway in 1932 in The Warrior's Husband and was offered a motion-picture contract from the RKO studio.
Hepburn demanded $1,500 a week, considered an outrageous sum for a young actor at the time, but the studio agreed. She made her screen debut in the hit A Bill of Divorcement (1932), won her first Academy Award for best actress for Morning Glory (1933), and also appeared in the box-office smash Little Women (1933).
Other prominent Hepburn roles included Alice Adams (1935), Sylvia Scarlett (1935), Stage Door (1937), Holiday (1938), Bringing Up Baby (1938), The Philadelphia Story (1940, after appearing in the stage version and buying the film rights), Woman of the Year (1942), State of the Union (1948), Adam's Rib (1949), The African Queen (1951), Pat and Mike (1952), Summertime (1955), and The Rainmaker (1956). She appeared in a number of these films (such as Woman of the Year, Adam’s Rib, and Pat and Mike) with leading man Spencer Tracy, who became her longtime companion.
Hepburn received some of her biggest accolades after the age of 50, earning an Academy Award nomination for the screen version of the Eugene O’Neill play Long Day's Journey into Night (1962), and winning back-to-back Oscars for Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) and The Lion in Winter (1968, shared with American actor Barbra Streisand).
Later films included The Trojan Women (1972), Rooster Cogburn (1975), and On Golden Pond (1981), for which she won her fourth Academy Award. Her final film role came in Love Affair (1994). Hepburn's autobiography, Me: Stories of My Life, was published in 1991 and became a bestseller.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Clark Gable

William Clark Gable was born on February 1, 1901 in Cadiz, Ohio. Later that year his mother died, and his father sent him to live with his maternal aunt and uncle in Pennsylvania, where he stayed until he was two.
His father then returned to take him back to Cadiz. When Clark was 16 he dropped out of school and worked at many odd jobs before joining a traveling theater company. After working as an extra in various movies, he was offered a small part in the The Painted Desert (1931) in 1931.
From this point, his acting career flourished, and in 1934 he won an Academy Award for his performance in Frank Capra's classic It Happened One Night (1934).The next year saw a starring role in The Call of the Wild (1935) with Loretta Young, with whom he had an affair (resulting in the birth of a daughter, Judy Lewis). Divorced in 1939, he later that same year starred in Gone with the Wind (1939).
In March 1939 Clark married Carole Lombard, but tragedy struck in January 1942 when the plane in which Carole and her mother were flying crashed into Table Rock Mountain, Nevada, killing them both.Clark then volunteered to be drafted and served in Europe for several years. After the war he continued with his film career and married Silvia Ashley, the widow of Douglas Fairbanks, in 1949. Unfortunately this marriage was short-lived and they divorced in 1952.
In July 1955 he married a former sweetheart, Kathleen Williams Spreckles (a.k.a. Kay Williams) and became stepfather to her two children, Joan and Adolph ("Bunker") Spreckels III.
On November 16, 1959, Gable became a grandfather when Judy Lewis, his daughter with Loretta Young, gave birth to a daughter, Maria. In 1960, Gable's wife Kay discovered that she was expecting their first child. In early November 1960, he had just completed filming The Misfits (1961), when he suffered a heart attack, and died later that month.
Gable was buried shortly afterwards in the shrine that he had built for Carole Lombard and her mother when they died. In March 1961, Kay Gable gave birth to a boy whom she named John Clark Gable after his father.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Shirley Temple "On the Good Ship Lollipop

"On The Good Ship Lollipop"~Trailer

I know I did a mini biography on Shirley Temple but just wanted to share this clip with you all!

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Joan Crawford

Joan Crawford was a bubbly ingenue of silent films during the "flapper era" of the late 1920s.
As her bubbly years passed she reinvented herself as a more glamorous Hollywood star of the 1930s and 40s, winning an Oscar for her role as a housewife-turned-businesswoman in Mildred Pierce (1945). Despite these successes Crawford is often remembered for an even later persona -- a severe and neurotic former beauty in heavy makeup -- based on the horror and suspense films she made in the 1960s.
Among those films was the hit Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (1962), in which she appeared with her real-life rival Bette Davis. Crawford's reputation was tarnished by Mommie Dearest, a 1978 biography by her adopted daughter Christina, which described Crawford as a harshly abusive alcoholic.
(Christina's allegations of being beaten with a wire coat hanger gained particular fame.) The book was made into a 1981 movie starring Faye Dunaway as Crawford.
Crawford's first husband was actor Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.... Her fourth husband was Alfred Steele, chairman of the board of soft drink maker Pepsi Cola; after Steele's 1959 death, Crawford herself served on the Pepsi board... Crawford was directed by a young Steven Spielberg in a 1969 episode of the TV series Night Gallery.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Gene Kelly

Screen legend Gene Kelly is best known for dancing through movie musicals of the 1940s and '50s, especially An American in Paris (1951) and Singin' in the Rain (1952).
He got his start on Broadway in the late 1930s, first as a dancer, then as a choreographer and actor. His star turn in My Pal Joey led to a Hollywood contract, and he first appeared in 1942's For Me and My Gal (opposite Judy Garland. Over the next decade he became a major star, thanks especially to musicals: Anchors Aweigh (1945, famous for his scene dancing with Jerry, the cartoon mouse from Tom and Jerry); Take Me Out to the Ball Game (1949); and three movies he made with director Stanley Donen, On the Town (1949), Singin' in the Rain (1952) and It's Always Fair Weather (1955). Buoyant and athletic, Kelly became the screen's most famous dancer since Fred Astaire.
An ambitious perfectionist who produced, choreographed, acted and directed, Kelly won a special Oscar in 1951. Although his career after the mid-1950s fizzled and he never made much of a mark as a dramatic actor, Kelly's place in cinema history is secure because of the innovations he brought to choreography.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Susan Hayward

The youngest of three children, Edythe Marrenner was born in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, New York. Her father and mother, who were of Irish and Swedish descent respectively, endowed her with the milky complexion and ruby mane that would become her trademark. She grew up in poverty in the shadow of her older sister Florence who was her mother's favorite. Edythe would nurse a life-long grudge over what she perceived as her mother's neglect.
As a teenager Edythe was brought to Hollywood as one of the hundreds of girls who had won a chance to screen test for the part of Scarlet O'Hara in Gone with the Wind (1939). The test was abysmal. It would take several years of studio subsidized acting and voice lessons before her talent would emerge and she would be renamed Susan Hayward. Susan's personality is usually described as cold, icy, and aloof. She did not like socializing with crowds. She disliked homosexuals and effeminate men. Her taste in love ran strictly to the masculine, and both of her husbands were rugged Southerners. She loved sport fishing, and owned three ocean going boats for that purpose. Movie directors enjoyed Susan's professionalism and her high standards. She was considered easy to work with, but she was not chummy after the cameras stopped. Her greatest roles were in I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955) and I Want to Live! (1958). The latter won her an Academy Award for best actress. A two-pack a day smoker with a taste for drink, Susan was diagnosed with brain cancer in March of 1972. On 14 March 1975 after a three year struggle against the disease, Susan died at her Hollywood home. Susan Hayward was laid to rest in a grave adjacent that of her husband Eaton Chalkley in the peace of Carrollton, Georgia where they had spent several happy years together in life.

Fred Astaire

Fred Astaire (1899-1987), American dancer and actor, known for his graceful, sophisticated dance style and for his musical comedy films. Born Fred Austerlitz in Omaha, Nebraska, Astaire appeared in vaudeville at the age of seven with his sister Adele. From 1917 to 1932 they were a noted Broadway dancing team, appearing in such musicals as Over the Top (1917), Lady Be Good (1925), and Funny Face (1927). After Adele Astaire retired from the stage, Fred Astaire began a career in films. His first film was Dancing Lady (1933). His films with the dancer Ginger Rogers, beginning with Flying Down to Rio (1933), include Roberta (1935), Top Hat (1935), Shall We Dance? (1937), and The Barkleys of Broadway (1949). Astaire and Rogers developed an elegant dance style, noted for its technical excellence and intimacy. Astaire's other films include Easter Parade (1948), with Judy Garland; Daddy Long Legs (1955), with Leslie Caron; Funny Face (1957), with Audrey Hepburn; and Silk Stockings (1957), with Cyd Charisse.
Perhaps the greatest popular dancer of his time, Astaire combined a technical mastery with a sense of ease and good humor. In 1949 his film work was recognized with a special Academy Award. The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences recognized Astaire with a posthumous Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1989. His autobiography is titled Steps in Time (1959).

Friday, 20 June 2008

Vivien Leigh

Vivian Mary Hartley was born on November 5, 1913.Her parents wanted to go home to England but because of World War I they opted to stay in India. At the end of the war the Hartleys headed back to their home country, where Vivien's mother wanted her daughter to have a convent education. She was one of the youngest in attendance, and it was not a happy experience for her. One of the few consolations was her friendship with a classmate who also became a successful actress, Maureen O'Sullivan While there her mother came for a visit and took her to a play on London's legendary West Side.It was there that Vivien decided to become an actress. At the end of her education, she met and married Herbert Leigh in 1932 and together had a child named Suzanne in 1933. Though she enjoyed motherhood, it did not squelch her ambition to be an actress. Her first role in British motion pictures was as Rose Venables in 1935's The Village Squire (1935). That same year Vivien appeared in Things Are Looking Up (1935), Look Up and Laugh (1935) and Gentlemen's Agreement (1935). In 1938, Vivien went to the US to see her lover, Laurence Olivier, who was filming Wuthering Heights (1939) (she had left Herbert Leigh in 1937). While visiting Olivier, Vivien had the good luck to happen upon the Selznick brothers, who were filming the burning of Atlanta for the film, Gone with the Wind (1939), based on Margaret Mitchell's novel. The role of Scarlett O'Hara had yet to be cast and she was invited to take part in a screen test for the role. There had already been much talk in Hollywood about who was to be cast as Scarlett. Some big names had tried out for the part, such as Norma Shearer, Katharine Hepburn and Paulette Goddard. In fact, most in the film industry felt that Goddard was a sure bet for the part. However, four days after the screen test, Vivien was informed that she had landed the coveted slot. Although few remember it now, at the time her casting was controversial, as she was British and many fans of the novel it was based on felt the role should be played by an American. In addition, the shoot wasn't a pleasant one, as she didn't get along with her co-star, Clark Gable. The rest, as they say, is history. The film became one of the most celebrated in the annals of cinema. Not only did it win Best Picture during the Academy Awards, but Vivien won for Best Actress. Already she was a household name. In 1940, she made two films, Waterloo Bridge (1940) and 21 Days (1940), though neither approached the magnetism of GWTW. That same year saw Vivien marry Olivier and the next year they appeared together in That Hamilton Woman (1941).

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Rita Hayworth

Spanish dancer Eduardo Cansino's daughter Margarita trained as a dancer from early childhood. At age 12, mature-looking Rita joined Eduardo's stage act, in which she was spotted three years later by Fox studio head Winfield R. Sheehan, leading to her first studio contract and film debut at age 16 in Dante's Inferno (1935). Fox dropped her after five small roles, but expert, exploitative promotion by first husband Edward Judson soon brought Rita a new contract at Columbia Pictures, where studio head Harry Cohn changed her name to Hayworth and approved raising her hairline by electrolysis. After 13 mainly minor roles, Columbia lent her to Warner Bros. for her first big success, The Strawberry Blonde (1941); her splendid dancing with Fred Astaire in You'll Never Get Rich (1941) made her a star.In person Rita was shy, quiet and unassuming; only when the cameras rolled did she turn on the explosive sexual charisma that in Gilda (1946) made her a superstar. To Rita, though, domestic bliss was a more important, if elusive, goal, and in 1949 she interrupted her career for marriage--unfortunately an unhappy one almost from the start--to playboy Prince Aly Khan. Her films after her divorce from Khan include perhaps her best straight acting performances, Miss Sadie Thompson (1953) and They Came to Cordura (1959). From 1960 (age 42), early onset of Alzheimer's disease (undiagnosed until 1980) limited Rita's powers; the last few roles in her 60-film career were increasingly small. Almost helpless by 1981, Rita was cared for by daughter Yasmin Khan until her death at age 68.

Mickey Rooney

Born in 1920, American actor, born Joe Yule, Jr., in Brooklyn, New York. The versatile Rooney has had one of Hollywood’s longest and most prolific careers.Rooney began his career at age two working in his parents' vaudeville act. He made his motion-picture debut in the short film Not To Be Trusted (1926) and had a small part in the silent feature film Orchids and Ermine (1927). Rooney also played comic-book character Mickey McGuire in a series of about 50 silent comedies from 1927 to 1933. From 1937 to 1947 he played Andy Hardy in the Hardy family series of low-budget films, starring opposite Judy Garland in some of these movies and also in several musicals, including Babes in Arms (1939). Rooney is also known for his performances in A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935), Boys Town (1938), and the title role of Baby Face Nelson (1957).Other films that Rooney has appeared in include Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962), and Pete’s Dragon (1977), as well as voice-only roles for children’s animated movies and many television specials. Rooney has won two special Academy Awards during his career, one in 1939 that he shared with actress Deanna Durbin for their “personification of youth” and another in 1983 honoring Rooney’s 50 years of memorable performances.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Excellent Site Award

I would like to thank with my Award Bluedreamer who is a great support to my site!

Bette Davis

Ruth Elizabeth Davis was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, on April 5, 1908. Her parents divorced when she was 10. Her early interests were in dance. To Bette, dancers led a glamorous life, but then she discovered the stage. She gave up dancing for acting. To her, it presented much more of a challenge. She studied drama in New York City and made her debut on Broadway in 1929. In 1930, she moved to Hollywood where she hoped things would get better for her in the world of acting. They did indeed. She would become known as the actress that could play a variety of very strong and complex roles. She was first under contract to Universal Studios, where she made her first film, called Way Back Home (1931). After the unsuccessful film The Bad Sister (1931), made the same year, she was fired, which was wildly unpopular. She then moved on to Warner Brothers. Her first film with them was Seed (1931). More fairly successful movies followed, but it was the role of Mildred Rogers in Of Human Bondage (1934) that would give Bette major acclaim from the film critics. Warner Bros. felt their seven-year deal with Bette was more than justified. They had a genuine star on their hands. With this success under her belt, she began pushing for stronger and more meaningful roles. In 1935, she received her first Oscar for her role in Dangerous (1935) as Joyce Heath. In 1936, she was suspended without pay for turning down a role that she deemed unworthy of her talent. She went to England, where she had planned to make movies, but was stopped by Warner Bros. because she was still under contract to them. They did not want her to work anywhere. Although she sued to get out of her contract, she lost. Still, they began to take her more seriously after that. In 1938, Bette received a second Academy Award nomination for her work in Jezebel (1938) opposite the soon-to-be-legendary Henry Fonda. Bette would receive six more nominations, including one for her role as Margo Channing in All About Eve (1950). While she was a genuine star in the '30s and '40s, the '50s and early '60s saw her in the midst of films that all lost money. Then came What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) in which she played a deranged former child star and a rather spooky one at that. This brought about a new round of super-stardom for generations of fans who were not familiar with her work. Two years later she starred in Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964). Bette was married four times. Her last marriage, to actor Gary Merrill, lasted ten years, longer than any of the previous three. In 1985, her daughter Barbara Davis ("B.D.") Hyman published a scandalous book about Bette called "My Mother's Keeper." Sadly, Bette Davis died on October 6, 1989, of metastasized breast cancer.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Gene Kelly

M-G-M was the largest and most powerful studio in Hollywood when Gene Kelly arrived in town in 1941. He came direct from the hit 1940 original Broadway production of "Pal Joey" and planned to return to the Broadway stage after making the one film required by his contract. His first picture for M-G-M was For Me and My Gal (1942) with Judy Garland. What kept Kelly in Hollywood were "the kindred creative spirits" he found behind the scenes at M-G-M. The talent pool was especially large during World War II, when Hollywood was a refuge for many musicians and others in the performing arts of Europe who were forced to flee the Nazis. After the war, a new generation was coming of age. Those who saw An American in Paris (1951) would try to make real life as romantic as the reel life they saw portrayed in that musical, and the first time they saw Paris, they were seeing again in memory the seventeen-minute ballet sequence set to the title song written by George Gershwin and choreographed by Kelly. The sequence cost a half million dollars (U.S.) to make in 1951 dollars. Another Kelly musical of the era, Singin' in the Rain (1952), was one of the first 25 films selected by the Library of Congress for its National Film Registry. Kelly was in the same league as Fred Astaire, but instead of a top hat and tails Kelly wore work clothes that went with his masculine, athletic dance style.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Shirley Temple

Shirley Temple was easily the most popular and famous child star of all time. She got her start in the movies at the age of three and soon progressed to super stardom. Shirley could do it all: act, sing and dance and all at the age of five! Fans loved her as she was bright, bouncy and cheerful in her films and they ultimately bought millions of dollars worth of products that had her likeness on them. Dolls, phonograph records, mugs, hats, dresses, whatever it was, if it had her picture on there they bought it. Shirley was the box-office champion for three straight years, 1936-37-38, beating out such great grown up stars as Clark Gable, Bing Crosby, Robert Taylor, Gary Cooper and Joan Crawford. By 1939, her popularity declined. Although she starred in some very good movies like Since You Went Away (1944) and the The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947), her career was nearing its end. Later, she served as an ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia. It was once guessed that she had more than 50 golden curls on her head.

Rock Hudson

He was the son of an auto mechanic and a telephone operator who divorced when he was eight years old. He failed to obtain parts in school plays because he couldn't remember lines. After high school he was a postal employee and during WW II served as a Navy airplane mechanic. After the war he was a truck driver. His size and good looks got him into movies. His name was changed to Rock Hudson, his teeth were capped, he took lessons in acting, singing, fencing and riding. One line in his first picture, Fighter Squadron (1948), needed 38 takes. In 1956 he received an Oscar nomination for Giant (1956) and two years later Look magazine named him Star of the Year. He starred in a number of bedroom comedies, many with Doris Day, and had his own popular TV series "McMillan & Wife" (1971). He had a recurring role in TV's "Dynasty" (1981) (1984-5). He was the first major public figure to announce he had AIDS, and his worldwide search for a cure drew international attention. After his death his long-time lover Marc Christian successfully sued his estate, again calling attention to the homosexuality Rock had hidden from most throughout his career.

Julie Andrews

Born Julia Elizabeth Wells in England in 1935, it was discovered when she was a child that she had a freakish but undeniably lovely four-octave singing voice. her mother and stepfather, both vaudeville performers, immediately got her into a singing career, and she performed in music halls throughout her childhood and teens, always immensely popular. At age 20, she performed in a London Palladium production of "Cinderella;" this launched her stage career. She came to Broadway in 1954 with "The Boy Friend." It was a hit, and Julie Andrews became a bona fide star two years later, in 1956, in the role of Eliza Doolittle in the unprecedented hit "My Fair Lady." Her star status continued in 1957, when she starred in the hit TV-production of Cinderella (1957) (TV) and through 1960, when she played Guenevere in "Camelot." She also starred in many TV-specials, notably one with Carol Burnett. In 1963, Walt Disney asked if she would like to star in his upcoming production, a lavish musical fantasy that combined live-action and animation. Julie said she would do it if she did not get to play Eliza in the pending film production of "My Fair Lady." She didn't, and so she made an auspicious film debut in Disney's Mary Poppins (1964), a huge hit which got her the Academy Award for Best Actress. (Audrey Hepburn, who played Eliza in the My Fair Lady film, wasn't even nominated.) Now Julie was a MOVIE STAR in capital letters, and it was her star power that helped make her third film, The Sound of Music (1965), the highest-grossing movie of its day and one of the highest-grossing of all time. The only problem was that now audiences identified her only with singing, sugary-sweet nannies and governesses. Therefore, they could not accept her in dramatic roles (The Americanization of Emily (1964), and definitely not in a Hitchcock thriller (Torn Curtain (1966). However, the musicals Julie subsequently made were casualties of the boom in musical film she helped to create. Throughly Modern Millie (1967), Star(1968), and Darling Lilli (1970) all bombed at the box office. However, Julie did not let this keep her down. She did work in nightclubs and hosted a TV variety series in the 1970s. Then she made a comeback to movies with an appearence in 10 (1979), directed by husband Blake Edwards. He helped continue to keep her on the rise by directing her in subsequent roles that were entirely different than anything she had been seen in before.

James Dean

James Dean was raised on a farm by his aunt and uncle in Fairmount, Indiana. He received rave reviews for his work as the blackmailing Arab boy in the New York production of Gide's "The Immoralist", good enough to earn him a trip to Hollywood. His early film efforts were strictly bit parts: a sailor in the Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis overly frantic musical comedy Sailor Beware (1952); a GI in Samuel Fuller's moody study of a platoon in the Korean War, Fixed Bayonets! (1951) and a youth in the Piper Laurie-Rock Hudson comedy Has Anybody Seen My Gal? (1952). He had major roles in only three movies. In the Elia Kazan production of John Steinbeck's East of Eden (1955) he played Caleb, the "bad" brother who couldn't force affection from his stiff-necked father. His true starring role, the one which fixed his image forever in American culture, was that of the brooding red-jacketed teenager Jim Stark in Nicholas Ray's Rebel Without a Cause (1955). George Stevens' filming of Edna Ferber's Giant (1956), in which he played the non-conforming cowhand Jett Rink, was just coming to a close when Dean, driving his Porsche Spyder, collided with another car in Cholame, California. He had received a speeding ticket just two hours before. His very brief career, violent death and highly publicized funeral transformed him into a cult object of apparently timeless fascination.