Saturday, January 30, 2010

Happy 80th Birthday Gene Hackman!

The winner of three Golden Globes, two Academy Awards and the Cecil B. DeMille Award, Gene Hackman along with Dustin Hoffman were voted "Least Likely to Succeed" by their classmates at the Pasadena Playhouse in California.

Eugene Allen "Gene" Hackman was born on January 30, 1930 in San Bernardino, California, the son of Lyda Gray and Eugene Ezra Hackman.

At age 16, Gene Hackman left home to join the U.S. Marine Corps (lying about his age), where he served four-and-a-half years as a field radio operator. After the Marines, he moved to New York, working in several minor jobs before studying journalism and television production on the G.I. Bill at the University of Illinois.

Gene Hackman began his acting career performing in several off Broadway plays.

In 1963 he made his Broadway debut in 1963 in Children From Their Games. Roles followed in A Rainy Day in Newark, Any Wednesday, Poor Richard, and The Natural Look. Gene Hackman returned to Broadway in 1992 to star in Death and the Maiden.

In 1961, Gene made his film debut in an uncredited role in Mad Dog Coll. Gene's first credited role was as Norman in Lilith (1964).

Gene Hackman's big break came in 1967 when he was cast to play Buck Barrow in Bonnie and Clyde. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

In 1970, Gene Hackman would receive his second Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as Gene Garrison for I Never Sang for My Father.

Gene Hackman would win the Academy Award for Best Actor and the Golden Globe for Best Actor for his role as Detective Popeye Doyle in The French Connection (1971).

During the 1970s and 1980s, Gene Hackman appeared in The Poseidon Adventure (1972), The Conversation (1974), The French Connection II (1974), Young Frankenstein (1975), A Bridge Too Far (1977), Reds (1981), Under Fire (1983) and Hoosiers (1986).

He also played Lex Luthor in Superman I, Superman II and Superman IV.

In 1988, he would receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for the role of Agent Rupert Anderson in Mississippi Burning.

During the 1990s, Gene Hackman appeared in Loose Cannons (1990), Postcards From the Edge (1990), The Firm (1993), Crimson Tide (1995), Get Shorty (1995), The Birdcage (1996),

In 1992, he would win his second Academy Award, this time for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Little Bill Daggett in Unforgiven.

During the 2000s, he appeared in The Replacements (2000), The Royal Tenebaums (2001) and Runaway Jury (2003). His final film was Welcome to Mooseport (2004).

Gene Hackman is now retired and lives in New Mexico. He devotes his time to writing.

Together with undersea archaeologist Daniel Lenihan, Hackman has written three novels: Wake of the Perdido Star (1999), Justice for None (2004), and Escape from Andersonville (2008).

A little trivia about Gene Hackman: he was the first choice to play Mike Brady on "The Brady Bunch" (1969).

Friday, January 29, 2010

Happy 92nd Birthday John Forsythe!

John Forsythe was born John Lincoln Freund on January 29, 1918 in Penns Grove, New Jersey. The son of Samuel Jeremiah Freund, a stockbroker and Blance Materson. John grew up in Brooklyn, New York.

During World War II, John Forsythe served with the US Army Corps. During World War II he also worked with injured soldiers who had developed speech problems.

After World War II, he became a baseball announcer and a drama teacher. Joan Collins would co-star opposite him on Dynasty (1981), was one of his drama students.

In 1943, he signed a contract with Warner Brothers and made his film debut in Northern Pursuit (1943) and his second film was Destination Tokyo (1943). During the 1940s and 1950s he also appeared in The Captive City (1952), The Glass Web (1953), Escape from Fort Bravo (1953), The Trouble With Harry (1955), and The Ambassador's Daughter (1956).

During the 1950s, John Forsythe was a familiar face on television appearing in episodes of Robert Montgomery Presents, Suspense, Kraft Television Theater, and Studio One.

In 1957, John Forsythe was cast to play single father Bentley Gregg in the sitcom Bachelor Father. The show would run for 157 episodes and four seasons ending in 1962.

During the 1960s, John appeared in such films as Madame X (1966), In Cold Blood (1967) and Topaz (1969). He also frequently appeared on television, making appearances in Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre, The Dick Powell Show and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.

In 1965, John Forsythe starred in the short lived The John Forsythe Show.

The 1970s brought John Forsythe one of his most famous roles, as the unseen millionaire Charles Townsend on the 1970s crime drama Charlie's Angels (1976–1981).

The 1980s brought John Forsythe another famous role, as patriarch Blake Carrington in Dynasty (1981-1989). This role would bring Forsythe three Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. He was also nominated six times for a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Drama Series, winning in 1983 and 1984. In 1984, he also won a Soap Opera Digest Award for his performance as Blake Carrington.

During the 1990s, he appeared as Sen. William Franklin Powers in the short lived series The Powers That Be.

At age 82, he would once again play Charles Townsend in the movie Charlie's Angels (2000) and would reprise the role in Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003).

John Forsythe owned and bred Thoroughbred racehorses for many years and was a member of the Board of Directors of Hollywood Park Racetrack. He was the recipient of the 1988 Eclipse Award of Merit for his contibution in promoting the sport of Thoroughbred racing.

John Forsythe has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for television.

Happy 70th Birthday Katherine Ross!

Katharine Juliet Ross was born on January 29, 1940 in Hollywood, California. Her father was in the US Navy and was away when she was born. His navy career shuttled the family around to Virginia, then Palo Alto and finally to Walnut Creek, outside of San Francisco, where Ross grew up.

Katherine Ross made her debut in an episode of Sam Benedict in 1962. She appeared on episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Ben Casey, The Virginian, Wagon Train and Gunsmoke before making her movie debut in 1965.

In 1965, she was cast to play James Stewart's daughter-in-law in the film Shenandoah.

She next appeared in The Singing Nun in 1966 an Mister Buddwing (1966) before getting her big break.

In 1967, she played Elaine Robinson in The Graduate. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance. She won the Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer.

In 1969, she would play Etta Place in Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid.

She also appeared in The Stepford Wives (1975) as Joanna Eberhart.

In 1976 she would win the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Voyage of the Damned.

During the 1980s, she was Francesca "Frankie" Colby on the drama The Colbys.

Katherine Ross is an accomplished author of children's books. Her books include
"The Baby Animals' Party," "Mama Loves," "Bear Island," "The Little Ballerina,"
and "My Favorite Things."

Katherine Ross currently resides in Malibu, California with her husband of 24 years, Sam Elliot.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Happy 93rd Birthday Ernest Borgnine!

Ernest Borgnine's career has spanned over five decades. He is known for his gruff, but gentle voice. At the age of 93, Ernest Borgnine is still active in both films and television.

Ernest Borgnine was born Ermes Effron Borgnine on January 24, 1917 in Hamden, Connecticut. The son of Charles Borgnine and Anna Boselli who had emigrated from Carpi (near Modena) Italy.

As an only child, Ernest enjoyed most sports, especially boxing, but took no real interest in acting. At 18, after graduating from high school in New Haven, and undecided about his future career, he joined the navy, where he stayed for ten years until leaving in 1945. During World War II he reached the rank of Gunner's Mate 1st Class. Ernest's military decorations included the American Campaign Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the American Defense Service Medal with Fleet Clasp, and the World War II Victory Medal.

In 2004, Borgnine received the honorary rank of Chief Petty Officer from the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Terry D. Scott—the US Navy's highest ranking enlisted sailor at the time—for Borgnine's support of the Navy and naval families worldwide.

After leaving the Navy, Ernest Borgnine worked a variety of factory jobs. His mother suggested that his forceful personality could make him suitable for a career in acting, and Borgnine promptly enrolled at the Randall School of Drama in Hartford. After completing the course he joined Robert Porterfield's famous Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia, staying there for four years, undertaking odd jobs and playing every type of role imaginable.

Ernest Borgnine's big break came in 1949, when he made his acting debut on Broadway playing a male nurse in "Harvey".

In 1951 Ernest Borgnine moved to Los Angeles to pursue a movie career, and made his film debut as Bill Street in The Whistle at Eaton Falls (1951).

Ernest Borgnine's big movie break came when he was cast in the role of Sgt. "Fatso" Judson in From Here to Eternity (1953).

Ernest Borgnine's film credits include Johnny Guitar (1954), Vera Cruz (1954), Bad Day at Black Rock (1955), Marty (1955), The Last Command (1955), The Catered Affair (1956), The Badlanders (1958), Torpedo Run (1958), The Flight of the Phoenix (1965), The Dirty Dozen (1967), Ice Station Zebra (1968), The Wild Bunch (1969), The Revengers (1972), The Poseidon Adventure (1972), Law and Disorder (1974), Convoy (1978), Escape from New York (1981), Moving Target (1988), The Long Ride Home (2003) and Another Harvest Moon (2008).

Ernest Borgnine won the Academy Award for Best Actor and the Golden Globe for Best Actor for his performance in Marty (1955).

On television, he is best known for playing Quinton McHale in the 1962-66 series McHale's Navy and the mid 1980s action series Airwolf.

He also provided the voice of the character Mermaid Man in the series, SpongeBob SquarePants and the voice of Carface in All Dogs Go to Heaven.

He has also appeared on A Grandpa For Christmas, 7th Heaven, Touched by an Angel, Walker, Texas Ranger, JAG and Murder She Wrote.

In 2009, at the age of 92 he was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his performance on ER.

Ernest Borgnine was the very first "center square" on "The Hollywood Squares" (1965).

Ernest Borgnine is an active Freemason and is presently the Honorary Chairman of the Scottish Rite RiteCare Program, which sponsors 175 Scottish Rite Childhood Language Disorders Clinics, Centers, and Programs nationwide.

Ernest Borgnine has a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for motion pictures.

Ernest Borgnine is still active and will be in two movies debuting in 2010: Red and Snatched.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Happy 84th Birthday Patricia Neal!

Patricia Neal was born Patsy Louise Neal on January 20, 1926 in Packard, Kentucky.

She grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee and studied drama at Northwestern University.

After moving to New York, she accepted her first job as understudy in the Broadway production of The Voice of the Turtle.

She made her Broadway debut in Another Part of the Forest (1946), winning a Tony Award as Best Featured Actress in a Play. She also appeared in the Broadway productions of The Miracle Worker, A Roomful of Roses, and The Children's Hour.

She often appears on the Tony Awards telecast, as she is the only surviving winner from the very first ceremony.

In 1949, Patricia Neal made her film debut in John Loves Mary. She next appeared in The Fountainhead (1949). Her film credits include The Hasty Heart (1949), The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), Operation Pacific (1951), Washington Story (1952), A Face in the Crowd (1957), Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), Hud (1963), In Harm's Way (1965) and The Subject Was Roses (1968).

In 1963, Patricia Neal won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Hud, co-starring Paul Newman.

She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for The Subject Was Roses.

Patricia Neal was offered the role of "Mrs. Robinson" in The Graduate (1967), but turned it down, feeling it had come too soon after her strokes.

She later starred as Olivia Walton in the television movie The Homecoming: A Christmas Story (1971), which was the pilot episode for The Waltons. She was nominated for an Emmy Award for her performance and won the Golden Globe.

In 1975, Patricia Neal played a dying widowed mother trying to find a home for her three children in a moving episode of NBC's Little House on the Prairie.

In 1978, Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center in Knoxville dedicated the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center in her honor.

Patricia Neal's most recent role was Margie in Flying By (2009).

Patricia Neal was married to Roald Dahl from July 2, 1953 until their divorce on November 17, 1983, they had five children. She also has seven grandchildren.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Happy 100th Birthday Luise Rainer!

Luise Rainer was born on January 12, 1910 in Düsseldorf, Germany. The daughter of Heinz Rainer and Emmy Koenigsberger.

As a young girl, Luise was a terrific athlete, becoming a champion runner and an intrepid mountain climber.

Luise's training began in Germany from the age of 16 by leading stage director Max Reinhardt. After a few years, she became recognized as a "distinguished Berlin stage actress", acting with Reinhardt's Vienna theater ensemble. Critics "raved" at her stage and film acting quality.

She made her first appearance on the stage at the Dumont Theater in Düsseldorf in 1928, followed by appearances at various theaters in Jacques Deval's play Mademoiselle, Kingsley's Men in White, George Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan, Measure for Measure, and Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author.

She later appeared in several German language films before being discovered in 1935 by MGM talent scout Phil Berg. Her first American role was in the film Escapade (1935).

She next appeared in a relatively small part in the musical biopic The Great Ziegfeld (1936). Despite her limited appearances in the film, she "so impressed audiences" that she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. For her dramatic telephone scene in the film, she was later dubbed "the Viennese teardrop".

In her next role, producer Irving Thalberg was convinced, despite the studio's disagreement, that she could play the part of a poor uncomely Chinese peasant in The Good Earth (1937), based on Pearl Buck's novel about hardship in China. She won her second Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance as O-Lan.

Luise Rainer also appeared in The Emperor's Candlesticks (1937) Big City (1937) The Toy Wife (1938) The Great Waltz (1938) and Hostages (1943). Her final film appearance was in The Gambler (1997).

Luise Rainer also appeared in the Broadway productions of The Lady from the Sea (1950) and A Kiss for Cinderella (1942).

Luise has a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for motion pictures.

Luise Rainer accomplished several Academy Award firsts:

1) She was the first actress/actor to win consecutive Oscars.

2) She was the first actress/actor to win two Academy Awards.

3) She was the first actor to achieve the perfect Oscar track record (two nominations-two wins).

4) She was the first and to date only German actress to win an Academy Award.

5) She was the first actress to win an Academy Award for portraying a real-life person (The Great Ziegfeld (1936).

Of all the living winners of a competitive Oscar she has had hers the longest, 74 years.

Currently lives in Eaton Square, London, in an apartment once occupied by Vivien Leigh.

She will be appearing at the Royal National Theatre in London on Monday February 1st, to talk about her extraordinary life and career.

A non-conformist to the MGM star-system, she used to parade around Hollywood untidily dressed, usually with no make-up and wearing pants. Her non-conformist style of behavior cost her contract with MGM in the late '30s

Luise Rainer has been married twice. First to Clifford Odets (January 8, 1937 to May 14, 1940, divorced) and to Robert Knittel (July 12, 1945 to June 15, 1989, his death). She has a daughter, Francesca Knittel-Bowyer, with Robert Knittel.