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.