Saturday, 23 May 2009

Natalie Wood

Natalie Wood, the daughter of Russian Immigrants, was born Natalia Zakharenko on July 20, 1938. Natalie got her first role at the age of 4 in a movie called Happy Land (1943).
She continued playing the roles of young girls until the age of 16, where she landed the role of Judy in the legendary film
Rebel Without a Cause (1955).
This role showed Hollywood and the world that she had grown up into a beautiful and very talented young woman.
For this role, she was nominated for her first Academy Award.
As a teenager, Natalie dated many big names in the entertainment business like
Elvis Presley, and Dennis Hopper.
However, on December 28th, 1957, Natalie married the love of her life
Robert Wagner (R.J. as Natalie called him). They divorced in 1962, later to remarry.
Natalie once commented about their divorce saying they were both scared, insecure, and listened to others that their marriage wouldn't work.
In the 1960s, Natalie's career boomed,
and she was nominated for two more Academy Awards, (Splendor in the Grass (1961) and Love with the Proper Stranger (1963).
On May 30, 1969, Natalie married producer Richard Gregson.
They had a daughter, Natasha Gregson Wagner, on September 29, 1970.
She divorced Gregson in 1972 after finding out he was having an affair. R.J. and Natalie remarried on July 16, 1972.
On March 9, 1974, R.J. and Natalie had a daughter Courtney Wagner.
They lived happily as husband and wife until tragically, while sailing on their yacht Splendour, Natalie had an accident trying to board the dinghy belonging to the boat, fell into the water, and, while trying to recover, drowned.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Kirk Douglas

Cleft-chinned, steely-eyed and virile star of international cinema who rose from being "the ragman's son" (the name give to his best-selling 1988 autobiography) of Russian-Jewish ancestry to become a bona fide superstar,
Kirk Douglas was actually born Issur Danielovitch Demsky in Amsterdam, New York, in 1916. Although growing up in a poor ghetto,
Douglas was a fine student and a keen athlete and wrestled competitively during his time at St. Lawrence University.
However, he soon identified an acting scholarship as a way out of his meager existence, and was sufficiently talented to gain entry into the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
He only appeared in a handful of minor
Broadway productions before joining the US Navy in 1941, and then after the end of hostilities in 1945, returned to the theater and some radio work.
On the insistence of ex-classmate
Lauren Bacall movie producer Hal B. Wallis screen-tested Douglas and cast him in the lead role in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946).
His performance received rave reviews and further work quickly followed, including an appearance in the low-key drama I Walk Alone (1948), the first time he worked alongside fellow future screen legend
Burt Lancaster.
Such was the strong chemistry between the two that they appeared in seven films together, including the dynamic western
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), the John Frankenheimer political thriller Seven Days in May (1964) and their final pairing in the gangster comedy Tough Guys (1986).
Douglas once said about his good friend: "I've finally gotten away from Burt Lancaster. My luck has changed for the better. I've got nice-looking girls in my films now".

Douglas remained busy throughout the 1960s, starring in many films,. He played a rebellious modern-day cowboy in Lonely Are the Brave (1962), acted alongside
John Wayne in the World War II story In Harm's Way (1965),
again with The Duke in a drama about the Israeli fight for independence, Cast a Giant Shadow (1966), and once more with Wayne in the tongue-in-cheek western The War Wagon (1967). Additionally,
in 1963 he starred in an onstage production of Ken Kesey's "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest", but despite his keen interest, no Hollywood studio could be convinced to bring the story to the screen.
However, the rights remained with the Douglas clan, and Kirk's talented son
Michael Douglas finally filmed the tale in 1975, starring Jack Nicholson.
Into the 1970s Douglas wasn't as busy as previous years; however,
he starred in some unusual vehicles, including alongside a young
Arnold Schwarzenegger in the loopy western comedy The Villain (1979),
then with Farrah Fawcett in the sci-fi thriller Saturn 3 (1980) and then he traveled to Australia for the horse opera/drama
The Man from Snowy River (1982).

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Ingrid Bergman

Born in Stockholm, Sweden, on August 29, 1915 - Ingrid Bergman was one of the greatest actresses from Hollywood's lamented Golden Era.
Her natural and unpretentious beauty and her immense acting talent made her one of the most celebrated figures in the history of American cinema.
Bergman is also one of the most Oscar-awarded actresses, second only to
Katharine Hepburn.

Before she came to Hollywood in 1939, she was already an established actress in Sweden. She had completed 11 Swedish films when producer David O. Selznick invited her to come to Hollywood to reprise her role in the American version of her biggest hit,
Intermezzo: A Love Story (1939) opposite Leslie Howard.
Her performance in her American debut captured America's heart.
She later appeared in Adam Had Four Sons(1941), Rage in Heaven (1941) and
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941).
However, it was
Casablanca (1942) that launched her to superstardom, establishing her as a romantic leading lady.
The pairing with
Humphrey Bogart made them one of the best romantic cinema couples of all time and the film still vows audiences, more than 60 years after its release.
In 2002 the American Film Institute named
Casablanca (1942) as the top American love story of all time, beating such favorites as Gone with the Wind (1939) and West Side Story (1961). Ironically enough, both Bogart and Bergman tried to quit the film during shooting, feeling that the story was ridiculous and unbelievable.
Bergman herself said at the time that she hoped it would never be shown again after she died.

After Casablanca (1942), she became Hollywood's top box-office draw. All of her films became smash hits; she starred opposite
Gary Cooper in Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943), which she cited as her personal favorite film.
She also gave an Oscar-winning performance as the persecuted wife of Charles Boyer in George Cukor's Gaslight (1944) and Leo McCarey's very popular
The Bells of St. Mary's (1945).
Later, she worked with the master himself, Alfred Hitchcock in Spellbound (1945), Notorious (1946) with
Cary Grant and the less successful Under Capricorn (1949).

Ingrid Bergman will always be remembered as Bogart's lost love Ilsa Lund in Casablanca (1942). It's sad because she also gave spectacular performances as Maria in For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943), Paula Alquist in Gasligt (1944), Dr. Constance Peterson in Spellbound (1945),
Alicia Huberman in Notorious (1946),
the title role in Anastasia (1956), Gladys Aylward in The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958) and Charlotte in Höstsonaten (1978).
She worked in films, television and on the stage in New York, London, Paris, Rome and Stockholm.
She worked right up to her death. In 1999 she was ranked #4 in the American Film Institute's list of greatest female screen legends. As
Humphrey Bogart said, "Here's looking at you kid", and until this day, we are still looking at you, Ingrid!

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Interesting Blog Award

Thank you so much blue for this amazing award,its very much appreciated

Monday, 11 May 2009

Sophia Loren

A child of the Neapolitan slums, Sophia Loren rose from a sea of troubles to become one of the cinema's great sex symbols.
In her, the world found an enticing, quintessentially European woman, who was also warm, earthy, even maternal.
As her fellow Italians might say, she was esuberante, radiating enough enthusiasm to fill the Colosseum.
But perhaps her greatest achievement has been the sheer longevity of this allure.

Sophia Loren was born Sofia Scicolone in a Roman charity ward to Romilda Villani, a poverty-stricken woman whose lover refused to marry her - although he later allowed Sophia and her younger sister Maria to use his last name.
Branded by Italian society as illegitimate, the four-year-old Sophia moved with her mother to Pozzuoli, a rundown suburb of Naples, where Romilda played piano in seedy cafes to keep bread on the table.
Work was not plentiful; Sophia was so skinny that her Catholic school classmates nicknamed her Stuzzicadente, the toothpick.

When the war and its deprivations came to Naples - the most frequently bombed city in Italy - Sophia lived a ragged existence that left indelible marks.
There was never enough food, and when the bombs rained down, the family sought shelter in train tunnels. Death and ruin were all around.
The absence of even such a scoundrel of a father as Riccardo Scicolone also left her vulnerable to the taunts of other children.

As her adolescence progressed, Sophia's waif-like form metamorphosed into traffic-stopping curves.
Her tall, lush body and exotically beautiful face became her ticket out of penury, her escape from the nightmare.
Those huge liquid eyes, that pillowy mouth and extravagant body, wrapped in a pink dress her mother had sewn from a window curtain, earned her second place in a beauty contest. Abandoning her teacher-training studies,
the fifteen-year-old journeyed to Rome with Romilda, herself a frustrated actress, to try for a movie career.
The two found minuscule parts in the 1951 epic Quo Vadis, but the thirty-three dollars they earned did not last very long.
Denied a modeling job by the very attributes that would later make her an international star, Sophia turned to 'acting' in the fumetti photo magazines with comic-strip-style stories featuring soap-opera plots and balloon dialogue.
Her character was most often that of a gypsy vamp, and her poses on one occasion earned her the attentions of the Italian police censor.
Still attempting to break into more legitimate show business, Sophia placed as a runner-up in the 1950 Miss Italy contest.
Later that year she took second place in the Miss Rome competition, but won a much bigger prize than the official one, for film producer Carlo Ponti was one of the judges.
Instantly struck by her quirky beauty,
he remained undaunted by her disastrous screen tests.
He did suggest, however, that perhaps something might be done about her oversized nose and hips. But the supremely confident teen ignored him.
"Everything I have,” she later boasted playfully to the American press, "I owe to spaghetti."

None of this affected Loren's burgeoning career. Houseboat (1958), with the abashed but still smitten Grant was a solid hit.
Nor did she abandon Europe, making fifteen Italian onscreen romances with Marcello Mastroianni, most notably Marriage Italian Style (1964).
She reached the zenith of her career with her performance in De Sica's 1961 Italian production La Ciociara, known in the States as Two Women.
For her portrayal of a wartime rape victim, she earned an Academy Award.

After several miscarriages, the actress finally bore two sons, Edoardo and Carlo, Jr., and for some time she made only promotional appearances, for her perfume, Sophia, and her line of eyewear.
Her subsequent movies, such as The Cassandra Crossing (1977), declined in quality, but she continued to attract attention. In 1982 she was back in the press when the Italian authorities forced her to serve nineteen days in prison for tax evasion.
Upon her release, 'La Simpatica' went back to work, making more TV movies. In 1994,
she co-starred in Pret-à-Porter - her last comedy with old friend Mastroianni and the next year, in Grumpier Old Men.
Loren was as sexy in both as she had been in her first film, forty years earlier.
She had explained her secret in 1990: "I still like me, inside and out.
Not in a vain way - I just feel good in my skin."

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Alan Bates

Alan Bates decided to be an actor at age 11. After grammar school in Derbyshire, he earned a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London.
Following two years in the Royal Air Force, he joined the new English Stage Company at the Royal Court Theatre.
His West End debut in 1956, at 22, was also the company's first production.
In the same year Bates appeared in
John Osborne's "Look Back in Anger," a play that gave a name to a generation of postwar "angry young men."
It made Bates a star and launched a lifetime of his performing in works written by great modern playwrights -- Harold Pinter,
Simon Gray, Storey, Bennett, Peter Shaffer and Tom Stoppard (as well as such classic playwrights as Anton Chekhov, Henrik Ibsen, August Strindberg and William Shakespeare).
Four years later Bates appeared in his first film, a classic:
The Entertainer (1960), in which he plays one of Laurence Olivier's sons. More than 50 film roles have followed, one of which, The Fixer (1968) (from a novel by Bernard Malamud) earned an Academy Award nomination for Bates.
He married Victoria Ward in 1970. Their twin sons, Benedick and Tristan, were born in 1971. Tristan died during an asthma attack in 1990; Ward died in 1992. Bates threw himself into his work to get through these tragedies, and spoke movingly about the effects of his losses in interviews.
He was the Patron of the Actors Centre in Covent Garden, London; Bates and his family endowed a theatre there in memory of Tristan Bates, who, like his father and brother, was an actor. With few exceptions, Bates performed in premium works, guided by intuition rather than by box office.
For each role he created a three-dimensional, unique person; there is no stereotypical Alan Bates character.
Women appreciate the sensitivity he brought to his romantic roles; gay fans appreciate his well-rounded, unstereotyped gay characters; and the intelligence, humor and detail - the smile that started in the eyes,
the extra pat or squeeze, the subtle nuances he gave to his lines, his beautiful, flexible voice - are Bates hallmarks that made him special to all his admirers.
The rumpled charm of his youth weathered into a softer but still attractive (and still rumpled) maturity.
In his 60s Alan Bates continued to divide his time among films, theatre and television. His 1997 stage portrayal of a travel writer facing life's big questions at the bedside of his comatose wife in Simon Gray's "Life Support" was called "a magnificent performance, one of the finest of his career" (Charles Spencer, Sunday Telegraph, 10 August 97).
His last two roles in New York earned critical praise and all the Best Actor awards
Broadway can bestow. He was knighted in January 2003, and only a few weeks later began treatment for pancreatic cancer.
He was positive that he would beat the disease, and continued to work during its course, only admitting to being "a bit tired."
His courage and strength were remarkable, and even in his final days his humor remained intact. After his death, there was an outpouring of affection and respect.
Ken Russell said in his Evening Standard tribute,
"The airwaves have been heavy with unstinted praise for Alan Bates since his untimely death . . . All the tributes were more than justified for one of the great actors ever to grace the screen and stage."

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Norma Shearer

She won a beauty contest at age fourteen. In 1920 her mother, Edith Shearer, took Norma and her sister Athole Shearer (Mrs. Howard Hawks) to New York. Ziegfeld rejected her for his "Follies" but she got work as an extra in several movies.
She spent much money on eye doctor's services trying to correct her cross-eyed stare caused by a muscle weakness.
Irving Thalberg had seen her early efforts and, when he joined Louis B. Mayer in 1923, gave her a five year contract.
He thought she should retire after their marriage, but she wanted bigger parts. In 1927 she insisted on firing the director
Viktor Tourjansky because he was unsure of her cross-eyed stare. Her first talkie was in The Trial of Mary Dugan (1929); four movies later she won an Oscar in The Divorcee (1930).
She intentionally cut down film exposure during the thirties, relying on major roles in Thalberg's prestige projects:
The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934), Romeo and Juliet (1936) (her fifth Oscar nomination). Thalberg died of second heart attack in September 1936, aged thirty-seven. Norma wanted to retire but MGM more-or-less forced her into a six-picture contract.
David O. Selznick offered her the part of Scarlett O'Hara, but public objection to her cross-eyed stare killed the deal. She starred in The Women (1939), turned down the starring role in Mrs. Miniver (1942), and retired in 1942.
Later that year she married Sun Valley ski instructor Martin Arrouge, twenty years younger than she (he waived community property rights). From then on she shunned the limelight; she was in very poor health the last decade of her life.

Even after retirement, Norma maintained her interest in the film industry. While staying at a ski lodge, she noticed a photo of the receptionist's daughter and recommended her to MGM - that girl, became the star known as
Janet Leigh.
She also discovered a handsome young businessman beside a swimming pool - now actor/producer
Robert Evans.
She is commemorated on one of a set of postage stamps (issued in 2008) honoring prominent Canadians in Hollywood. The other stamps feature
Marie Dressler, Chief Dan George and Raymond Burr.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Errol Flynn

Errol Flynn was born to parents Theodore Flynn, a respected biologist, and Marrelle Young, an adventurous young woman and descendant of a midshipman of HMS Bounty fame.
Young Flynn was a rambunctious child who could be counted on to find trouble.
When the family took up residence in England, Errol managed to have himself thrown out of every school he was enrolled in.
In his late teens he set out to find gold, but instead found a series of short lived odd jobs. Information is sketchy, but the positions of police constable, sanitation engineer, treasure hunter, sheep castrator, shipmaster for hire, fisherman, and soldier seem to be among his more reputable career choices.
Staying one jump ahead of the law and jealous husbands forced Flynn back to England. He took up acting, a pastime he had previously stumbled into when asked to play (ironically) Fletcher Christian in a film called
In the Wake of the Bounty (1933).
Flynn's natural athletic talent and good looks attracted the attention of Warner Brothers and soon he was off to America. His luck held when he replaced
Robert Donat in the title role of Captain Blood (1935).
He quickly rocketed to stardom as the undisputed king of swashbuckler films, a title inherited from
Douglas Fairbanks, but which remains his to this day.
Onscreen, he was the freedom loving rebel, a man of action who fought against injustice and won the hearts of damsels in the process. His off-screen passions; drinking, fighting, boating and sex, made his film escapades seem pale.
His love life brought him considerable fame, three statutory rape trials, and a lasting memorial in the expression "In like Flynn". Serious roles eluded him, and as his lifestyle eroded his youthful good looks, his career declined.
Troubles with lawsuits and the IRS plagued him at this time, eroding what little money he had saved. A few good roles did come his way late in life, however, usually aging alcoholics, almost mirror images of Flynn.
He was making a name as a serious actor before his death.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Greta Garbo

In "Anna Karenina" (1935) the train pulls into the Moscow train station, a cloud of steam envelopes the exit of a first class car and then a woman emerges from the cloud.

The figure is aristocratic, the face is a vision. But it's the eyes that enthrall the viewer and Vronsky who has expected his mother to be the first woman off the train.
Bosley Crowther, New York Times film critic from 1940 to 1967, had this to say about the Garbo eyes: "Set in the face of classic structure were large, sad, luminous eyes that expressed a limited but intense emotional range".

Crowther did not include this film in his short list of Garbo's major artistic achievements. His list: "Anna Christie" (1930) where Garbo "made the role of the cynical dockside ex- prostitute a thing of poetic beauty;" "Camille" (1936) where she played the Paris courtesan who had inspired novels, concertos and an opera with "alabaster loveliness;" "Ninotchka" (1939) where Garbo "demonstrated that she had the wit and flexibility to be a fine comedienne;" "Grand Hotel" (1932) where Garbo, then only 26, played a fading ballerina; and "Queen Christina" (1933) where Crowther was impressed by how she "deftly romped in masculine costumes".

All of Garbo's films were in black and white and black and white enhanced her mystery and romantic allure.
In real life, Garbo knew when to make her exit from Hollywood and the public eye.
Her sense of timing,
when to make her entrance and her exit -- perhaps she learned something from Tolstoy whose "Anna Karenina" must have been based on a woman just as real as Maureen O'Sullivan's Kitty in that film whom a man like Tolstoy won when Kitty lost Vronsky to a woman who could reveal so much through her eyes.

Marlon Brando

Brando was also an activist, lending his presence to many issues, including the American Civil Rights and American Indian Movements. He was named the fourth Greatest Male Star of All Time by the American Film Institute.
Brando's first screen role was as the bitter paraplegic veteran in The Men in 1950. True to his method, Brando spent a month in bed at a veterans' hospital to prepare for the role.

Marlon Brando was purported to be a hero for James Dean, who was said to have idolized him and copied his acting and persona.
Brando claimed in his autobiography Songs My Mother Taught Me that when Elia Kazan introduced him to James Dean on the set of East of Eden,
he remarked that 'He was nervous when we met and made it clear that he was not only mimicking my acting but also what he believed was my lifestyle.
He said he was learning to play the conga drums and had taken up motorcycling, and he obviously wanted my approval of his work.'
He later remarked in his book that 'In retrospect, I realize it's not unusual for people to borrow someone else's form until they find their own, and in time Jimmy did.'
William Bast, a famous screen writer at that time, compared Marlon's acting style to be "heavy as lead" while James was more "mercurial and light".

His performance as Vito Corleone in 1972's The Godfather was a mid-career turning point. Director Francis Ford Coppola convinced Brando to submit to a "make-up" test, in which Brando did his own makeup (he used cotton balls to simulate the puffed-cheek look).
Coppola was electrified by Brando's characterization as the head of a crime family, but had to fight the studio in order to cast the temperamental Brando whose reputation for difficult behavior and demands was the stuff of backlot legend.
However, Paramount studio heads wanted to give the role to Danny Thomas in the hope that Thomas would have his own production company throw in its lot with Paramount.
Thomas declined the role and actually urged the studio to cast Brando at the behest of Coppola and others who had witnessed the screen test.
Brando's "sit down" scene between rival mobsters is generally described as one of the greatest moments in film history. Brando won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Carole Lombard

Oct. 6, 1908
Jan. 16, 1942

Actress. Born Jane Alice Peters in Fort Wayne, Indiana, one of three children, her parents separated and with her mother she moved to California. Her career spanned from the silent era to "talkies." An auto accident almost ended her life as well as acting by inflicting serious scars on her face.
Undaunted, she was able to cover the blemishes with the heavy use of cosmetics. She received her only Oscar nomination for Best Actress in "My Man Godfrey".
"No Man Of Her Own" put her opposite Clark Gable for the first and only time but their marriage was still seven years away when they became the ideal Hollywood couple known for their success in the film industry.
She did not see her final movie "To Be Or Not To Be" released.
With World War II raging in 1942,
Clark Gable journeyed to Nevada to join a search party seeking the wreckage of a TWA twin engine DC-3 airliner flying from Indianapolis to Los Angeles. Aboard were 22 passengers including Carole Lombard Gable and her mother.
She had wound up a war bond drive just before boarding.
There were no survivors.
The blonde film star of the 1930s best remembered for her "Screw Ball comedies" was gone. Clark Gable rode on the train that carried the bodies of his wife and mother-in-law back to Los Angeles. She had left specific instructions for her burial in the event of death.
Clark Gable purchased three crypts at Forest Lawn Cemetery, one for Carole, her mother and a reserve for himself.
She mandated a swift, direct interment in a mausoleum crypt at Forest Lawn with only her immediate family present. In the wake of her death at age 33,
the Army offered to conduct a military funeral to honor the first star to give her life while aiding the war effort.
They were refused and her wishes were carried out as specified.
However, a World War II Liberty Ship was christened in her honor.
She is interred next to Gable and to her mother,
Elizabeth Peters, who also perished in the crash.