Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year 2010, Milestone Birthdays

In 2010, we will celebrate several milestone Birthdays:

Turning 100 years old!

January 12 – Luise Rainer

July 4 – Gloria Stuart

Turning 90 years old!

August 17 – Maureen O'Hara

September 23 – Mickey Rooney

November 2 – Ann Rutherford

Turning 80 years old!

January 13 – Mickey Mouse

January 30 – Gene Hackman

February 10 – Robert Wagner

February 27 - Joanne Woodward

May 31 - Clint Eastwood

August 9 – Betty Boop

August 25 - Sean Connery

Turning 70 Years Old!

February 20 – Tom and Jerry

March 2 – Elmer Fudd

April 25 – Al Pacino

July 27 – Bugs Bunny

August 3 – Martin Sheen

September 5 – Raquel Welch

Turning 60 Years Old!

February 18 - Cybill Shepherd

April 12 - David Cassidy

October 2 – The Peanuts Gang

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

70 Years Ago, Gone With The Wind

On December 15, 1939, following three days of festivites, in Atlanta, Georgia, Gone With The Wind premiered at Loew's Grand Theater.


Ann Rutherford, who played Carreen O'Hara, was the first to arrive in Atlanta on December 13, 1939.

On December 14, 1939, was the "Gone With The Wind" Ball, hosted by the Junior Chamber of Commerce. The ball was serenaded by the Ebenezer Baptrist Church Choir, an all African American boys choir directed by Martin Luther King Sr., and included a six year old Martin Luther King Jr. among its members.

December 15, 1939, was declared a State holiday by the Governor of Georgia.

Ticket prices for the premiere were 40 times the usual going rate.

Hattie McDaniel (Mammy), and the other African American actors in the film were unable to attend the premiere in the racially segregrated Atlanta.

Leslie Howard (Ashley Wilkes) did not attend the premiere.


The only four actors David Selznick ever seriously considered for the role Rhett Butler were Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, Errol Flynn and Ronald Colman.

Gary Cooper turned down the role of Rhett Butler and is quoted as saying "Gone With the Wind is going to be the biggest flop in Hollywood history and I am just glad it will be Clark Gable who's falling on his face and not Gary Cooper."

1,400 actresses were interviewed for the part of Scarlett O'Hara. Only 400 were asked to do readings.

Among the many famous actress considered for the part of Scarlett were Jean Arthur, Lucille Ball, Tallulah Bankhead, Bette Davis, Claudette Colbert, Joan Crawford, Paulette Goddard, Katharine Hepburn, Olivia de Havilland, Carole Lombard, Norma Shearer, Barbara Stanwyck and Margaret Sullavan.

Judy Garland was the leading contender for the role of Scarlett's sister Carreen before her "Andy Hardy" series co-star Ann Rutherford was cast.

Priscilla Lane was considered for the role of Melanie Wilkes.

Louise Beavers, Etta McDaniel, Ruby Dandridge, and Hattie Noel were considered for the role of Mammy before Hattie McDaniel was casted.

Vincent Price and Melvyn Douglas tested for the part of Ashley Wilkes.


First color film to receive the Best Picture Academy Award.

At nearly four hours long, this is longest running of all movies to win the Best Picture Academy Award.

Nominated for 13 Academy Awards, the most nominations for any movie, a record it held for 20 years.

Sidney Howard's Academy Award for Best Screen Writing was the Academy's first posthumous award. Howard died in an accident in August 1939 while the Civil War epic was still being filmed.

Won 8 Academy Awards:

Best Actress in a Leading Role, Vivian Leigh

Best Supporting Actress, Hattie McDaniel

Best Art Direction, Lyle R. Wheeler

Best Cinematography, Color, Ernest Haller and Ray Rennahan

Best Director, Victor Fleming

Best Film Editing, Hal Kern and James Newcom

Best Picture

Best Writing, Screenplay. Sidney Howard

Nominations for Academy Award:

Best Actor, Clark Gable

Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Olivia de Havilland

Best Effects, Special Effects, Jack Cosgrove, Fred Albin and Arthur Johns

Best Music, Original Score, Max Steiner

Best Sound Recording, Thomas Moulton


1) First African American to be nominated for an Academy Award

2) First African American to win an Academy Award, won Best Supporting Actress

3) First African American to attend the Academy Award's ceremony


The movie's line "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." was voted as the #1 movie quote by the American Film Institute.

There are more than 50 speaking roles and 2,400 extras in the film.

All four principal characters (Ashley, Melanie, Rhett, and Scarlett) appear together in the same scene only once, after the raid on Shantytown, when Rhett tells the anxious group of the fate of Scarlett's second husband, Frank Kennedy.

The first scene to be shot was the burning of the Atlanta Depot, filmed on 10 December 1938

The horse that Thomas Mitchell (Gerald O'Hara) rode was later Silver of "The Lone Ranger" (1949) fame.

The first line of the movie is spoken by Fred Crane (Brent Tarleton).


Ann Rutherford (Carreen O'Hara)

Mickey Kuhn (Beau Wilkes)

Mary Anderson (Maybelle Merriwether)

Cammie King (Bonnie)

Patrick Curtis (“Baby Beau Wilkes”)

Greg Giese (Baby Bonnie and Baby Beau)

Olivia de Havilland (Melanie)

Alicia Rhett (India Wilkes)

Back Left: Mickey Kuhn
Back Right: Patrick Curtis
Front Left: Ann Rutherford
Front Right: Cammie King
May 2009

Ann Rutherford and Cammie King

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Happy 93rd Birthday Kirk Douglas!

Kirk Douglas was born Issur Danielovitch on December 9, 1916 in Amsterdam, New York. The son of Bryna Sanglel and Herschel "Harry" Danielovitch, a businessman.

Coming from a poor family, as a boy, Kirk Douglas sold snacks to mill workers to earn enough to buy milk and bread. Later, he delivered newspapers and claims to have worked at more than forty jobs before becoming an actor.

During high school, he acted in school plays, and discovered "The one thing in my life that I always knew, that was always constant, was that I wanted to be an actor."

Kirk Douglas talked his way into St. Lawrence University and received a loan, which he paid back by working part-time as a gardener and a janitor. He was a standout on the wrestling team.

Kirk Douglas's acting talents were noticed at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City, and he received a special scholarship. One of his classmates was Betty Joan Perske (better known as Lauren Bacall), who would play an important role in launching his film career.

Graduating from drama school, Douglas made his Broadway debut as a singing telegraph boy in Spring Again. He would later appear in Broadway productions of The Three Sisters, Alice in Arms, Kiss and Tell, and Woman Bites Dog.

Kirk Douglas enlisted in the United States Navy in 1941, shortly after the United States entered World War II. He was medically discharged for war injuries in 1944.

After the war, Douglas returned to New York City and found work in radio theatre and commercials. Kirk Douglas had planned to remain a stage actor but Lauren Bacall helped him get his first screen role in the film The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946), starring Barbara Stanwyck.

Kirk Douglas most notable film roles include Out of the Past (1947), A Letter to Three Wives (1949), A Letter to Three Wives (1949), Champion (1949), Young Man with a Horn (1950), The Bad and the Beautiful (1952), 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954), Lust for Life (1956), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), Strangers When We Meet (1960), Spartacus (1960), Lonely Are the Brave (1962), Seven Days in May (1964), A Gunfight (1971), Posse (1975), and The Man from Snowy River (1982).

Kirk Douglas was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for Lust of Life (1956), Champion (1949) and The Bad and the Beautiful (1952).

In 1996 he received an Honorary Oscar for Life Time Achievement. He also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for motion pictures, which was stolen and later replaced.

Kirk Douglas received the AFI Life Achievement Award in 1991.

A frequent co-star of Burt Lancaster, they appeared in six movies: Tough Guys (1986), Seven Days in May (1964), The List of Adrian Messenger (1963), I Walk Alone (1948), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957) and The Devil's Disciple (1959).

Kirk Douglas married twice, first to Diana Dill, on November 2, 1943. The couple had two sons, actor Michael Douglas and producer Joel Douglas. They divorced in 1951. He then married Anne Buydens on May 29, 1954. They had two sons, producer Peter Douglas and actor Eric Douglas. Kirk and Anne have been married 55 years.

In 1991, he survived a helicopter crash in which two people died. This sparked a search for meaning, which led him, after much study, to embrace the Judaism in which he was raised. He documented this spiritual journey in his book Climbing the Mountain: My Search for Meaning (2001).

Now retired, Kirk Douglas blogs regularly on his MySpace account. At 93, he is the oldest celebrity blogger.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Happy 94th Birthday Eli Wallach

Eli Wallach is one of Hollywood's finest character "Method" actors. He has been acting on stage, televison and in film for over 50 years.

At the age of 94, Eli Wallach is still active. His most recent appearance was on an episode of Nurse Jackie. In 2010, he will appear in the film The Ghost.

Eli Wallach was born in Brooklyn, New York, on December 7, 1915. The son of Bertha Schorr and Abraham Wallach. His parents owned Bertha's, a candy store.

Eli Wallach graduated from the University of Texas at Austin and received a Masters of Arts from the City College of New York. However, he gained his first method acting experience at the Neighborhood Playhouse. It was while attending the University of Texas that Wallach performed in a play with fellow students Ann Sheridan and Walter Cronkite. Eli Wallach also took classes in acting at the Dramatic Workshop of the New School in New York with the influential German director Erwin Piscator.

During World War II, Eli Wallach served as a staff sergeant in Hawaii in a military hospital in the United States Army. However, he was soon sent to Officer Candidate School in Texas to undergo training to become a medical administrative officer. He graduated as a Second Lieutenant.

In 1945, Eli Wallach made his Broadway debut in Skydrift. In 1951, he won the Tony Award for his performance in the Tennessee Williams play The Rose Tattoo. He also appeared in the Broadway productions of Mister Roberts, The Teahouse of the August Moon, Camino Real, Major Barbara, Luv, Alice in Wonderland, and Staircase.

Eli Wallach's film debut was in Elia Kazan's controversial Baby Doll(1956). He also appeared in films such as The Misfits (1961), How The West Was Won (1962), How to Steal a Million (1966), The Deep (1977), The Hunter (1980), Nuts (1987) and The Godfather Part III (1990).

He is best known for his role as Mexican bandit Calvera in The Magnificent Seven (1960) and Tuco in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966).

Eli Wallach's television credits include Batman, ER, Murder She Wrote, 100 Centre Street, Law & Order, LA Law, and Highway to Heaven. In 1966 he won the Emmy for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Drama for Poppies Are Also Flowers.

Eli Wallach married Anne Jackson on March 5, 1948 and have one of the longest marriages in Hollywood, 61 years. They have three children: Peter, Katherine and Roberta.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Hollywood Walk of Fame

The Hollywood Walk of fame is embedded with more than 2300 five pointed stars featuring the names of human celebrities, fictional characters and animal celebrities for their contributions to the entertainment industry.

There are five categories on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: Motion Pictures, Radio, Television, Live Theater and Recording.

The Walk of Fame runs west on Hollywood Boulevard from Gower Avenue to La Brea Avenue and south to north on Vine Street between Yucca and Sunset Boulevard. The Walk of Fame is nearly a three-and-a-half round-trip walk.

Nominations are submitted annually by May 31, and the Walk of Fame committee meets the following month to pick the next year's group of honorees.

On February 9, 1960, Joanne Woodward became the first performer to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 6801 Hollywood Blvd.

Gene Autry is the only person to have been honored with all five possible stars, for his contribution in each of the five categories.

Three animals have been honored with stars (all dogs): Strongheart, Lassie and Rin Tin Tin.

Mickey Mouse became the first fictional character to be honored with a star on November 18, 1978. The other fictional characters honored with stars are The Simpsons, Kermit the Frog, Bugs Bunny, Rugrats, Winnie the Pooh, and Snow White.

One time actor Ronald Reagan is the only President of the United States to have a star.

In February 2006, Judithg Sheindin (Judge Judy) became the first television judge to be awarded a star.

On November 12, 2009, Judge Joseph A. Wapner became the second television judge to be awarded a star.

Four stars have been stolen from the Walk of Fame: James Stewart, Kirk Douglas, Gregory Peck and Gene Autry.

The most honored Family on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: The Barrymores with Drew, Ethel, John, John Drew and Lionel (2) with a total of six stars.