Happy 78th Birthday Sandy Dennis

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Today is the 78th birthday of the actress Sandy Dennis.  She has filmed some incredible performances, she has received awards, but not enough recognition for her work.  The world is a better place because she was in it and still feels the loss that she has left.

NAME: Sandy Dennis
OCCUPATION: Actress
BIRTH DATE: April 27,1937
PLACE OF BIRTH: Hastings, Nebraska
DATE OF DEATH: March 2, 1992
PLACE OF DEATH: Westport, Connecticut

BEST KNOWN FOR: American theater and film actress. At the height of her career in the 1960s she won two Tony Awards, as well as an Oscar for her performance in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.

Dennis made her television debut in 1956 in The Guiding Light. In 1963, she appeared in the The Fugitive, which starred David Janssen, in the episode “The Other Side of the Mountain.” In 1964, she appeared in the television episode “Don’t Mention My Name in Sheboygan” of Craig Stevens‘s CBS drama, Mr. Broadway. Her film debut was the role of Kay in Splendor in the Grass (1961). However, she was more committed to following a career in the theater. She won consecutive Tony Awards for her performances in A Thousand Clowns (1963) and Any Wednesday (1964). She won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Honey, the fragile, neurotic young wife of George Segal‘s character, in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966). She followed this with well-received performances in Up the Down Staircase (1967), The Fox (1967), Sweet November (1968) and The Out-of-Towners (1970), although her performance in Nasty Habits (1977) drew harsh criticism from Vincent Canby in the New York Times, who wrote: “Miss Dennis, mugging outrageously and badly, gives the kind of performance that, 40 years ago, would have sent her to bed without her supper. It’s rude, show-offy and, worse, it’s incompetent. Watching her do a double-take is like watching a small tug trying to work the QE2 into her Hudson River berth in a gale.”

In 1963, she appeared in the Naked City episode “Carrier”, as the bearer of a rare disease.

In 1974 she played Joan of Arc in the pilot of Witness to Yesterday, Canadian Patrick Watson‘s series of interviews with great figures out of the past.

In 1967 she was voted the 18th biggest star in the US.

A life member of The Actors Studio and an advocate of method acting, Dennis was often described as neurotic and mannered in her performances; her signature style included running words together and oddly stopping and starting sentences, suddenly going up and down octaves as she spoke, and fluttering her hands. Walter Kerr famously remarked that she treated sentences as “weak, injured things” that needed to be slowly helped “across the street”; Pauline Kael said that she “has made an acting style of postnasal drip.” Nonetheless, William Goldman, in his book The Season, referred to her as a quintessential “critics’ darling” who got rave reviews no matter how unusual her acting and questionable her choice of material. During her stint in Any Wednesday, Kerr said the following: “Let me tell you about Sandy Dennis. There should be one in every home.”

Sandy Dennis, along with Anne Bancroft, Zoe Caldwell, Viola Davis, Colleen Dewhurst, Maureen Stapleton, Irene Worth, and Audra McDonald are the only women who have won Tony Awards for both Best Actress in a Play and Best Featured Actress in a Play.

Her last significant film roles were in Alan Alda‘s The Four Seasons (1981) and Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982). In 1991, she played a leading role in the film The Indian Runner, which marked Sean Penn‘s debut as a film director.

Dennis lived with prominent jazz musician Gerry Mulligan from 1965 until they split up in 1974. Although Mulligan often referred to Dennis as his second wife, Dennis later revealed that they had never married. She also lived with actor Eric Roberts from 1980 to 1985.

In an interview with People magazine in 1989, Dennis revealed she and Gerry Mulligan had suffered a miscarriage in 1965 and went on to say, “if I’d been a mother, I would have loved the child, but I just didn’t have any connection with it when I was pregnant … I never, ever wanted children. It would have been like having an elephant.”

Dennis has been identified as a lesbian by a number of Hollywood historians.  According to Dennis’ biographer, Peter Shelley, Eric Roberts, upon being asked if Dennis was bisexual, spoke of her telling him about her many lesbian relationships and said that she, “appreciated the beauty of women. But Sandy also liked and appreciated what a very, very young man could do to a woman, I suppose.”

Sandy Dennis died from ovarian cancer in Westport, Connecticut, at age 54.

 

Happy 98th Birthday I. M. Pei

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Today is the 98th birthday of the architect I.M. Pei.  I first witnessed his work in person with the I. Magnin on Pine, the store is long gone and windows have been chopped into the previously clean and sleek white stone facade, but you can still see a hint of his vision.  You just have to know where to look.  I have gone on to appreciate and become a fan of his work.  Anyone who takes the time and effort to make ordinary things into beautiful things to see is a bit of all right in my book.  The world is a better place because he is in it.impei 4

Name: I. M. Pei
Born: April 26, 1917 Guangzhou, China
Spouse: Eileen Loo (m. 1942)
Children: Li Chung Pei, Chien Chung Pei, Liane Pei, T’ing Chung
Awards: Pritzker Architecture Prize, More
Education: Harvard Graduate School of Design (1942–1946)

Best Known For: Ieoh Ming Pei, commonly known as I. M. Pei, is a Chinese American architect often called the master of modern architecture. Born in Guangzhou and raised in Hong Kong and Shanghai, Pei drew inspiration at an early age from the gardens at Suzhou.

Ieoh Ming Pei was born in China in 1917, the son of a prominent banker. At age 17 he came to the United States to study architecture, and received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from MIT in 1940. Upon graduation he was awarded the Alpha Rho Chi Medal, the MIT Traveling Fellowship, and the AIA Gold Medal. In 1942, Pei enrolled in the Harvard Graduate School of Design where he studied under Walter Gropius; six months later, he volunteered his services to the National Defense Research Committee in Princeton. Pei returned to Harvard in 1944 and completed his M.Arch in 1946, simultaneously teaching on the faculty as an assistant professor (1945–48). Awarded the Wheelwright Traveling Fellowship by Harvard in 1951, he traveled extensively in England, France, Italy and Greece. I. M. Pei became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1954.

In 1948, William Zeckendorf invited Mr. Pei to accept the newly created post of Director of Architecture at Webb & Knapp, a real estate development corporation, resulting in many large-scale architectural and planning projects across the country. In 1955 he formed the partnership of I. M. Pei & Associates, which became I. M. Pei & Partners in 1966, and Pei Cobb Freed & Partners in 1989. The partnership received the 1968 Architectural Firm Award of the American Institute of Architects.

Mr. Pei’s personal architectural style blossomed with his design for the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado (1961–67). He subsequently gained broad national attention with the East Building of the National Gallery of Art in Washington (1968–78) and the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library in Boston (1965-79) — two of some thirty institutional projects executed by Mr. Pei. Others include churches, hospitals, and municipal buildings, as well as schools, libraries, and over a dozen museums. His most recent works include the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, the Grand Louvre in Paris, the Miho Museum in Shiga, Japan, the Schauhaus at the German Historical Museum in Berlin, and the Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean in Luxembourg. Among Mr. Pei’s skyscraper designs are the 72-story Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong and the Four Seasons Hotel in midtown Manhattan. He has completed two projects in his native China: the Fragrant Hill Hotel in Beijing (1982) and the Suzhou Museum in Suzhou (2006), each designed to graft advanced technology onto the roots of indigenous building and thereby sow the seed of a new, distinctly Chinese form of modern architecture.

Mr. Pei’s deep interest in the arts and education is evidenced by his numerous memberships on Visiting Committees at Harvard and MIT, as well as on several governmental panels. He has also served on the AIA Task Force on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol. A member of the AIA National Urban Policy Task Force and of the Urban Design Council of the City of New York, he was appointed to the National Council on the Humanities by President Lyndon Johnson in 1966, and to the National Council on the Arts by President Jimmy Carter in 1980. In 1983, Mr. Pei was chosen the Laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize: he used the $100,000 award to establish a scholarship fund for Chinese students to study architecture in the United States (with the strict proviso that they return to China to practice their profession). Among the many academic awards bestowed on Mr. Pei are honorary doctorates from Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, New York University, Brown University, the University of Colorado, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and the American University of Paris. Most recently he was awarded the Laura Honoris Causa by the University of Rome, in 2004.

Mr. Pei is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and a Corporate Member of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and has also been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Design, and the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. In 1975 he was elected to the American Academy itself, which is restricted to a lifetime membership of fifty. Three years later he became Chancellor of the Academy, the first architect to hold that position, and served until 1980. Mr. Pei was inducted a “Membre de l’Institut de France” in 1984, and decorated by the French government as a Commandeur in the “Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” in 1985. On July 4, 1986, he was one of twelve naturalized American citizens to receive the Medal of Liberty from President Ronald Reagan. Two years later French president François Mitterrand inducted I. M. Pei as a Chevalier in the Légion d’Honneur, and in November 1993 he was raised to Officier. Also in 1993 he was elected an Honorary Academician of the Royal Academy of Arts in London. In 1997 the Académie d’Architecture de France elected him Foreign Member.

Among Mr. Pei’s many professional honors are The Arnold Brunner Award of the National Institute of Arts and Letters (1963); The Medal of Honor of the New York Chapter of The American Institute of Architects (1963); The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Medal “for distinguished contribution to the field of architecture” (1976); The Gold Medal for Architecture of the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1979); The Mayor’s Award of Honor for Art and Culture (New York City, 1981); and The Gold Medal of Alpha Rho Chi, the national professional fraternity of architects (1981). In 1979, I. M. Pei received The AIA Gold Medal—the highest architectural honor in the United States. Three years later he received the Grande Médaille d’Or from the Académie d’Architecture de France. In 1989, the Japan Art Association awarded him the Praemium Imperiale for lifetime achievement in architecture, and in the following year UCLA bestowed the University’s Gold Medal. In 1991, Mr. Pei received the Excellence 2000 Award and the Colbert Foundation’s First Award for Excellence. He was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President George H. W. Bush (1993); the Medal of Arts by the National Endowment for the Arts (1994); the Jerusalem Prize for Arts & Letters by The Bezalel Academy of Arts & Design of Jerusalem (1994); and the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Medal by the Municipal Art Society of New York City (1996). Of the many honors extended, Mr. Pei has accepted the Independent Award of Brown University (1997), the Edward MacDowell Medal of the MacDowell Colony (1998), and the American Philosophical Society’s Thomas Jefferson Medal for distinguished achievement in the arts (2001). Most recently he was awarded the Henry C. Turner Prize for Innovation in Construction Technology awarded by the National Building Museum (2003); the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum (2003); and the Erwin Wickert Foundation Orient und Okzident Preis (2006).

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Happy 75th Birthday Giorgio Moroder

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Today is the 75th birthday of the music producer Giorgio Moroder. One word: LONGEVITY. He worked with Donna Summer in the 70s and Kylie Minogue two months ago. He is the living/breathing example of doing what you love and continuing to grow and learn and create for your entire life. The world is a better place he is in it.

NAME: Giorgio Moroder
OCCUPATION: Music Producer, Guitarist, Songwriter, Bassist
BIRTH DATE: April 26, 1940
PLACE OF BIRTH: Ortisei, Italy

BEST KNOWN FOR: Giorgio Moroder is a dance-music producer/songwriter known for his hits with singer Donna Summer as well as his Academy Award-winning soundtrack work.

Producer Giovanni Giorgio Moroder was born on April 26, 1940, in the multicultural village of Ortisei, Italy. Taking up the guitar before leaning more heavily on the bass, he played with bands across Europe before entering the German discotheque scene and settling in Munich in the early 1970s. He also began to hone his craft as a songwriter and producer, penning the Chicory Tip tune “Son of My Father,” a No. 1 hit in the United Kingdom.

Moroder had teamed with British song-man Pete Bellotte when they met performing artist Donna Summer, with whom they recorded vocals for a demo. The trio hit it off, and eventually shaped the album that would become Summer’s full-length debut, 1974’s Lady of the Night.

The following year, playing with Summer’s idea of creating a musical landscape around a particular phrase, the three crafted a historical opus to sensuality, “Love to Love You Baby.” With a pioneering vision, Moroder modified and expanded the hit Top 5 track to around 17 minutes for placement on the 1975 album of the same name.

The Summer/Bellote/Moroder team crafted albums from the mid-to-late ’70s that defined much of disco, with Summer becoming an icon of the times. They released concept albums with lush instrumentation such as Four Seasons of Love (1976), focusing on romance’s permutations as seasonal change, and Once Upon a Time… (1977), a contemporary take on the Cinderella fairytale.

For the album I Remember Yesterday (1977), which featured music representing different eras, Moroder wanted to create a sound for the future. Hence he utilized the Moog synthesizer to come up with a bassline for the ethereal “I Feel Love,” a huge influence on electronic dance music for decades to come.

With his trademark moustache, Moroder crafted his own albums as well, releasing Knights in White Satin (1976), From Here to Eternity (1977) and E=MC² (1980), with the latter two offerings made completely with synthesizers. He also continued to score big with Summer as seen on the double-platinum Bad Girls (1979), featuring the No. 1 title track as well as “Hot Stuff” and “Dim All the Lights.” After the 1980 album The Wanderer, the trio parted ways on good terms.

By this time Moroder had turned to soundtracks with award-winning results. He won an Academy Award for his score to Midnight Express (1978) and received another Oscar for co-writing the tune “What a Feeling,” co-written by singer Irene Cara and Keith Forsey from the 1983 film Flashdance. Moroder won two Grammys for his Flashdance work as well, and received another Oscar for the song “Take My Breath Away,” from Top Gun (1986).

The versatile Moroder had also displayed his rock chops with his song “Call Me” from the film American Gigolo (1980), which became a big hit for the band Blondie, featuring lead singer Debbie Harry. Additional soundtrack work could be heard with Cat People (1982), Scarface (1983) and The Neverending Story (1984). Moroder also collaborated with the likes of David Bowie, Chaka Khan, Freddie Mercury and Pat Benatar; the last two artists were featured on his 1984 soundtrack for the Fritz Lang sci-fi film Metropolis (1926).

Moroder had won another Grammy for his ’90s reunion with Donna Summer on the song “Carry On.” Having becoming increasingly quiet on the music scene, focusing on his skills as a visual artist and designer, he came back into the spotlight with 2013’s Random Access Memories by electronica/dance duo Daft Punk (Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo). On the album, the producer talked about his personal history and creating new dance music forms on the aptly titled track “Giorgio by Moroder.” He has subsequently done live DJ work.

Happy 141st Birthday Guglielmo Marconi

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Today is the 141st birthday of the inventor Guglielmo Marconi. If you are reading this, you can thank him for it. His work created the foundation for everything you cannot live without in your life today: connectivity. He is on money. I rest my case. The world is a better place because he was in it and still feels the loss that he has left.

Guglielmo_MarconiNAME: Guglielmo Marconi
OCCUPATION: Physicist, Scientist, Inventor
BIRTH DATE: April 25, 1874
DEATH DATE: July 20, 1937
PLACE OF BIRTH: Bologna, Italy
PLACE OF DEATH: Rome, Italy

BEST KNOWN FOR: Through his experiments in wireless telegraphy, Nobel Prize-winning physicist/inventor Guglielmo Marconi developed the first effective system of radio communication.

Born on April 25, 1874, in Bologna, Italy, into a wealthy family, and educated largely at home, Guglielmo Marconi began experimenting with electromagnetics as a student at the Livorno Technical Institute. Incorporating the earlier findings of H.R. Hertz, he was able to develop a basic system of wireless telegraphy, for which he received his first patent in England.

Marconi founded the London-based Marconi Telegraph Company in 1899. Though his original transmission traveled a mere mile and a half, on December 12, 1901, Marconi sent and received the first wireless message across the Atlantic Ocean, from Cornwall, England, to a military base in Newfoundland. His experiment was significant, as it disproved the dominant belief of the Earth’s curvature affecting transmission.

Beginning in 1902, Marconi worked on experiments that stretched the distance that wireless communication could travel, until he was finally able to establish transatlantic service from Glace Bay in Nova Scotia, Canada, to Clifden, Ireland. For his work with wireless communication, Marconi shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with Karl Braun in 1909. Not long after, Marconi’s wireless system was used by the crew of the RMS Titanic to call for assistance.

Marconi held several positions in the Italian Army and Navy during World War I, starting the war as a lieutenant in 1914 and finishing as a naval commander. He was sent on diplomatic missions to the United States and France. After the war, Marconi began experimenting with basic short wave radio technology. On his beloved yacht, Elettra, he conducted experiments in the 1920s proving the efficacy of the “beam system” for long-distance communication. (The next step would lead to microwave transmission.) By 1926, Marconi’s “beam system” had been adopted by the British government as a design for international communication.

In addition to his groundbreaking research in wireless communication, Marconi was instrumental in establishing the British Broadcasting Company, formed in 1922. He was also involved in the development of radar.

marconiMarconi continued to experiment with radio technology in his native Italy until his death, on July 20, 1937, in Rome, from heart failure.

In 1943, the U.S. Supreme Court declared Marconi’s radio patent invalid because work by other scientists, including Nikola Tesla, predated some of his findings.

Marconi married for the first time in 1905, to Beatrice O’Brien, the daughter of Edward Donough O’Brien, 14th Baron Inchiquin. He and Beatrice had three children—a son, Giulio, and two daughters, Degna and Gioia—before their union was annulled in 1927. That same year, Marconi wed Countess Bezzi-Scali of Rome, with whom he had one daughter, Elettra, named after his yacht.

Happy 111th Birthday Willem de Kooning

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Today is the 111th birthday of the artist Willem de Kooning. He is one of the major influencers of abstract expressionism. The world is a better place because he was in it and still feels the loss that he has left.

NAME: Willem de Kooning
OCCUPATION: Painter
BIRTH DATE: April 24, 1904
DEATH DATE: March 19, 1997
EDUCATION: Rotterdam Academy of Fine Arts and Techniques
PLACE OF BIRTH: Rotterdam, Netherlands
PLACE OF DEATH: East Hampton, New York

BEST KNOWN FOR: Willem de Kooning was a Dutch-born American painter who was one of the leading proponents of abstract expressionism.

Born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in 1904, Willem de Kooning embraced the artistic path at a young age, dropping out of school when he was 12 to begin an apprenticeship in commercial design and decorating. During this period, de Kooning took night classes at the Rotterdam Academy of Fine Arts and Techniques, and in the midst of his education, at age 16, he landed his first job in the industry, working with the art director of a large department store.

In 1926, de Kooning stowed away on a ship bound for the United States, where he jumped from various jobs in the Northeast until he eventually settled in New York City. While he worked for several years in commercial art and was not able to dedicate himself to his creative pursuits, de Kooning did find a like-minded group of artists in New York who encouraged him to paint for himself.

Around 1928, de Kooning began painting still lifes and figures, but it wasn’t long before he was dabbling in more abstract works, clearly influenced by the likes of Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró. As a young artist, he would have an unbeatable opportunity in 1935, when he became an artist for the federal art project for the WPA (Works Progress Administration), through which he created a number of murals and other works.

In 1936, de Kooning’s work was part of a Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) exhibit titled New Horizons in American Art, an early career highlight, but the following year his job with the WPA came to an abrupt end, when he was forced to resign because he was not an American citizen. Soon after, de Kooning began a series of male figures, including Seated Figure (Classic Male) and Two Men Standing. Also during this period, de Kooning hired an apprentice, Elaine Fried, and she would sit as a female subject for such works as Seated Woman (1940). That would be the artist’s first major painting of a woman, and he would go on to be chiefly known for his decades-long work in depicting women in his paintings. Married in 1943, de Kooning and Fried would have a fiery, alcohol-soaked life together before separating in the late 1950s for nearly 20 years. In the mid-1970s, they would reunite and remain together until her 1989 death.

Artistically, de Kooning kept on with his figure work while branching out into more abstract work as well, a notable example of which is The Wave. The abstract works began to reveal the presence of human forms within them, and his two artistic approaches merged in 1945’s Pink Angels, one of his first significant contributions to abstract expressionism. He he would quickly become a central figure in the movement.

In 1948, de Kooning would have his first solo show, at the Charles Egan Gallery. Also during this period, he joined academia, briefly teaching at Black Mountain College in North Carolina and at the Yale School of Art.

In the 1950s, de Kooning turned his abstract sights to landscape painting, and the series Abstract Urban Landscapes (1955-58), Abstract Parkway Landscapes (1957-61) and Abstract Pastoral Landscapes (1960-66) would help define an era in his artistic life.

In 1961, de Kooning became an American citizen and settled in East Hampton, New York. He continued working through the 1980s, but the onset of Alzheimer’s disease destroyed his memory and impaired his ability to work. After his wife died in 1989, de Kooning’s daughter cared for him until his death in 1997, at age 92.

Happy 81st Birthday Shirley MacLaine

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Today is Shirley MacLaine’s 81st birthday .I love her in “Trouble With Harry” and “Sweet Charity” and “Postcards from the Edge” and “Terms of Endearment” and “Steel Magnolias” and “Downton Abbey”.  The world is a better place because she is in it.

NAME: Shirley MacLaine
OCCUPATION: Film Actress, Theater Actress, Television Actress, Ballet Dancer, Singer, Journalist
BIRTH DATE: April 24, 1934
PLACE OF BIRTH: Richmond, Virginia
ORIGINALLY: Shirley MacLean Beaty

BEST KNOWN FOR: American actress Shirley MacLaine is well known for leading role in the 1983 film Terms of Endearment, as well as her beliefs in reincarnation.

Shirley MacLean Beaty (known professionally as Shirley MacLaine; April 24, 1934) is an American film and theater actress, singer, dancer, activist and author, well-known for her beliefs in New Age spirituality and reincarnation. She has written a large number of autobiographical works, many dealing with her spiritual beliefs as well as her Hollywood career. In 1983, she won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Terms of Endearment. She was nominated for an Academy Award five times before her win. Her younger brother is Warren Beatty but they have never appeared in the same film.

MacLaine made her film debut in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Trouble with Harry (1955), for which she won the Golden Globe Award for New Star Of The Year – Actress. In 1956, she had roles in Hot Spell and Around the World in Eighty Days. At the same time she starred in Some Came Running, the film that gave her her first Academy Award nomination – one of five that the film received – and a Golden Globe nomination.

Her second nomination came two years later for The Apartment, starring with Jack Lemmon. The film won five Oscars, including Best Director for Billy Wilder. She later said, “I thought I would win for The Apartment, but then Elizabeth Taylor had a tracheotomy”. She starred in The Children’s Hour (1961) also starring Audrey Hepburn, based on the play by Lillian Hellman. She was again nominated, this time for Irma la Douce (1963), for which she reunited with Wilder and Lemmon. Don Siegel, her director on Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970), in which she starred opposite Clint Eastwood, once said, “It’s hard to feel any great warmth to her. She’s too unfeminine and has too much balls. She’s very, very hard.”

In 1975, she received a nomination for Best Documentary Feature for her documentary film The Other Half of the Sky: A China Memoir. Two years later, she was once again nominated for The Turning Point co-starring Anne Bancroft, in which she portrayed a retired ballerina much like herself. In 1978, she was awarded the Women in Film Crystal Award for outstanding women who, through their endurance and the excellence of their work, have helped to expand the role of women within the entertainment industry. In 1980, she starred in A Change of Seasons alongside Anthony Hopkins. The pair famously didn’t get along and Hopkins said “she was the most obnoxious actress I have ever worked with.” In 1983, she won an Oscar for Terms of Endearment. The film won another four Oscars; one for Jack Nicholson and three for director James L. Brooks. In 1988, MacLaine won a Golden Globe for Best Actress (Drama) for Madame Sousatzka.

She continued to star in major films, such as Steel Magnolias with Julia Roberts and many other stars. She made her feature-film directorial debut in Bruno, MacLaine starred as Helen in this film, which was released to video as The Dress Code. In 2007, she completed Closing the Ring, directed by Richard Attenborough and starring Christopher Plummer. Other notable films in which MacLaine has starred include Sweet Charity (1968), Being There (1979) with Peter Sellers, Postcards From the Edge (1990) with actress Meryl Streep, playing a fictionalized version of Debbie Reynolds with a screenplay by Reynolds’s daughter, Carrie Fisher, Used People with Jessica Tandy and Kathy Bates, Guarding Tess (1994) with Nicolas Cage, Mrs. Winterbourne (1996), with actress and talk show host, Ricki Lake and actor Brendan Fraser, Rumor Has It… (2005) with Kevin Costner and Jennifer Aniston and In Her Shoes with Cameron Diaz.

MacLaine has also appeared in numerous television projects including an autobiographical miniseries based upon the book Out on a Limb, The Salem Witch Trials, These Old Broads written by Carrie Fisher and co-starring Elizabeth Taylor, Debbie Reynolds, and Joan Collins, and Coco, a Lifetime production based on the life of Coco Chanel. She also had a short-lived sitcom called Shirley’s World. She will be appearing in the third series of the British drama Downton Abbey as Martha Levinson, mother to Cora, Countess of Grantham.

MacLaine has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1165 Vine Street.

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Happy 83rd Birthday Halston

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Today is the 83rd birthday of Halston.  He is one of the first luxury designers to produce a mainstream main street line that let everyone woman in America feel glamorous.  His townhouse at 101 East 63 Street is one of my not so secret obsessions (photos below).  The world is a better place because he was in it and still feels the loss that he has left.

NAME: Roy Halston Frowick
OCCUPATION: Fashion Designer
BIRTH DATE: April 23, 1932
DEATH DATE: March 26, 1990
PLACE OF BIRTH: Des Moines, Iowa
PLACE OF DEATH: San Francisco, California
AKA: Halston

BEST KNOWN FOR: Roy Halston Frowick, best known as Halston, was an iconic clothing designer of the 1970s. His sexy, yet elegant dresses became a staple in American discos.

Halston was born on April 23, 1932 in Des Moines, Iowa. The son of a Norwegian-American accountant and his wife, Halston was originally given the name Roy Halston Frowick. He later dropped his first and last names, preferring the moniker. As a boy, Halston loved to alter and make clothes for his mother and sister. He studied at Indiana University and then at the Art Institute of Chicago. While attending night courses at the Art Institute, he worked as a fashion merchandiser at the upscale chain department store Carson Pirie Scott. Soon after, he met André Basil, a hairdresser who owned a prestigious salon at the Ambassador Hotel. Taken by both the man and his work, Basil set up a display of Halston’s hats in his salon. When Basil opened his Boulevard Salon on North Michigan Avenue, he offered Halston half the space for display. In 1959 their personal relationship ended, and Halston moved to New York to take a design position with the respected milliner Lily Daché.

Halston’s hat designs brought the fantastic to whimsy; he used all manner of jewels, flowers and fringe to decorate hoods, bonnets and coifs. Within a year, he was hired to serve as head milliner for the luxury retailer Bergdorf Goodman. In 1961, Jacqueline Kennedy made his work famous when she wore a pillbox hat of his design to her husband’s presidential inauguration. Halston’s friends and clients soon included some of the most alluring and well-known women in the world, including Rita Hayworth, Liza Minnelli, Marlene Dietrich and Diana Vreeland.

Halston began designing women’s wear in 1966, offering a perfect look for the international jet set of his era. His line was renowned for sexy, yet elegant pieces. In the fall of 1972, he introduced a simple shirtwaist dress made from “Ultra suede,” a fabric that was washable, durable and beautiful. Two years later, he offered the world his most iconic design, the halter dress. It was instant hit in America’s discotheques, giving women a narrow, elongated silhouette. Halston’s trademark sunglasses, worn both day and night, completed the look.

Halston was known as the first designer to fully license himself as a brand onto itself; his influence went beyond style to reshape the business of fashion. Through a licensing agreement with JC Penney, he created designs that were accessible to women at a variety of income levels. He also became influential in uniform design, changing the entire feel of Braniff International Airways’ staff uniforms.

In spite of his achievements, his increasing drug use and failure to meet deadlines undermined his success. In 1984, he was fired from his own company and lost the right to design and sell clothes under his own name in. However, he continued to design costumes for his friends Liza Minnelli and Martha Graham. He was a long-time and central figure in the nightlife scene of New York’s Studio 54 disco. He died of lung cancer and complications of AIDS in San Francisco, California, in 1990.

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Happy 92nd Birthday Bettie Page

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Today (not last month on the 22nd like I had originally posted) is the 92nd birthday of Bettie Page.  Finding a G-rated photograph of her is more difficult than I had originally thought, so I decided to post some of the amazing Bettie Page inspired art that is out there.  The world is a better place because she was in it and still feels the loss that she has left.

NAME: Bettie Page
OCCUPATION: Pin-up
BIRTH DATE: April 22, 1923
DEATH DATE: December 11, 2008
EDUCATION: Peabody College
PLACE OF BIRTH: Nashville, Tennessee
PLACE OF DEATH: Los Angeles, California

BEST KNOWN FOR: Bettie Page was a Playboy pin-up model and sex symbol of the 1950s. Her straight black bangs and innocent, playful attitude made her a fashion icon.

Bettie Mae Page was born on April 22, 1923, in Nashville, Tennessee. The second of six children, Page was frequently placed in an orphanage with her sisters while her single mother worked to save money. A hard-working student, Page graduated at the top of her high school class at Peabody College. She married Billy Neal in 1943, and the couple moved to San Francisco, California, where Page launched her modeling career.

After divorcing Billy in 1947 and moving to New York, Bettie Page worked with a photographer to produce the first of many pin-up calendars. Within months, she was posing for national magazines, including the centerfold of January 1955’s Playboy.

With her deep blue eyes and raven black hair with signature short bangs, Page became more than a model—she was a living icon. She dabbled in acting, but her success was primarily in modeling. She moved to Florida to work with several influential photographers and married her second husband, Armond Walterson, in 1958. A third marriage to Harry Lear would also end in divorce.

In the 1960s, Bettie Page mysteriously disappeared from the limelight and was said to have suffered from severe mental problems. Two films have been created about her life: 2004’s Bettie Page: Dark Angel starring Paige Richards and 2005’s The Notorious Bettie Page, with Gretchen Mol.

The 1950s pin-up queen died on December 11, 2008, in Los Angeles, California. Though she retreated from the public eye to live a private life with her family, Bettie Page’s legend remains as strong as ever.

Rear View Mirror – My Week In Review

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First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you. ― F. Scott Fitzgerald

It has been a long time since I have had any alcohol, maybe once in the last 10 or so months. That one time was one drink. There is no reason or incident that prompted my teetotalism. I just didn’t and don’t want to drink alcohol.  I am in a constant state of self-diagnosis, asking myself if the choices I make are active or simply route, making certain I am choosing them to keep me headed in the right direction.  It seems that alcohol, for me, just slows the process.

If I had to have a reason or reasons, they would be that I don’t have the time for a hangover and I have seen others spend so much time trying to escape something only to spend even more time trying to recover from that failed escape.

That’s it. I don’t want to drink, so I don’t.

This week on Waldina, I celebrated the birthdays of Joan Miro, Edie Sedgwick, Jayne Mansfield, Dick Sargent, William Holden, Elizabeth Montgomery, Chalres Willson Peale, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Hart Benton, Gloria Jean, Samuel Beckett, Beverly Cleary, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Mary Pickford, James Garner, confessed my obsession with the 80s film My Science Project, completed the Proust Questionnaire, I posted my personal connection to the Holstee Manifesto, and added Born Yesterday to the Required Viewing film list.

The Stats:

Visits This Week: 1,890
Total Visits: 182,111
Total Subscribers: 397
Total Posts: 1,538
Most Popular Post Last Week: Happy 143rd Birthday Piet Mondrian

This week on Wasp & Pear over on Tumblr, I posted a lot of photographs of things that inspire me. You should just take a look…

The Stats:

Posts This Week: 71
Total Posts: 4,716
Total Subscribers: 312

Over on @TheRealSPA part of Twitter, I noticed that my fitbit step-tracking bracelet tweets out my daily steps.

The Stats:

Total Tweets: 537 (tweets over 31 days old are automatically deleted to preserve freshness)
Total Followers: 656
Total Following: 691

This week on @TheRealSPA Instagram, I posted photos of most of the people whose birthdays I celebrated on Waldina and a photo of a dog made out of recycled newspapers from work.

The Stats:

Total Posts: 434
Total Followers: 179
Total Following: 247

come find me, i’m @

I chronicle what inspires me at Waldina.com
I faceplace at facebook.com/parkeranderson
I store my selfies at instagram.com/therealspa#
I tumblr at waspandpear.tumblr.com/
I tweet at twitter.com/TheRealSPA

Happy 122nd Birthday Joan Miro

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Today is the 122nd birthday of the artist Joan Miro.  I was first introduced to his work in the college library.  I did take Art History classes, so it could have actually been course-related, instead of my usual library extra curricular “studying.”  I was drawn to his vibrant colors and primitive and almost abstract characters.  His work has influenced generations of artist and empowered them to depict the world a bit differently.  The world is a better off place because he was in it and still feels the loss that he has left.miro 2

NAME: Joan Miró
OCCUPATION: Painter, Sculptor
BIRTH DATE: April 20, 1893
DEATH DATE: December 25, 1983
PLACE OF BIRTH: Barcelona, Spain
PLACE OF DEATH: Palma, Spain

Best Known For:  Catalan painter Joan Miró combined abstract art with Surrealist fantasy to create his lithographs, murals, tapestries, and sculptures for public spaces.

Born to the families of a goldsmith and a cabinet-maker, he grew up in the Barri Gòtic neighborhood of Barcelona.[2] His father was Miquel Miró Adzerias and his mother was Dolores Ferrà. He began drawing classes at the age of seven at a private school at Carrer del Regomir 13, a medieval mansion. In 1907 he enrolled at the fine art academy at La Llotja, to the dismay of his father. He studied at the Cercle Artístic de Sant Lluc and he had his first solo show in 1918 at the Dalmau Gallery, where his work was ridiculed and defaced. Inspired by Cubist and surrealist exhibitions from abroad, Miró was drawn towards the arts community that was gathering in Montparnasse and in 1920 moved to Paris, but continued to spend his summers in Catalonia.

He said, “The painting rises from the brushstrokes as a poem rises from the words. The meaning comes later.”

After overcoming a serious bout of typhoid fever in 1911, Miro decided to devote his life entirely to painting by attending the school of art taught by Francesc Galí. He studied at La Lonja School of Fine Arts in Barcelona, and in 1918 set up his first individual exhibition in the Dalmau Galleries, in the same city. His works before 1920 (the date of his first trip to Paris) reflect the influence of different trends, like the pure and brilliant colors used in Fauvism, shapes taken from cubism, influences from folkloric Catalan art and Roman frescos from the churches.

His trip to Paris introduced him to and developed his trend of surrealist painting. In 1921, he showed his first individual exhibition in Paris, at La Licorne Gallery. In 1928, he exhibited with a group of surrealists in the Pierre Gallery, also in Paris, although Miró was always to maintain his independent qualities with respect to groups and ideologies.

From 1929-1930, Miró began to take interest in the object as such, in the form of collages. This was a practice which was to lead to his making of surrealist sculptures. His tormented monsters appeared during this decade, which gave way to the consolidation of his plastic vocabulary. He also experimented with many other artistic forms, such as engraving, lithography, water colors, pastels, and painting over copper. What is particularly highlighted from this period, are the two ceramic murals which he made for the UNESCO building in Paris (The Wall of the Moon and the Wall of the Sun, 1957-59).
Joan Miro UNESCO Mural- “The Moon and The Sun”

It was at the end of the 60´s when his final period was marked and which lasted until his death. During this time, he concentrated more and more on monumental and public works. He was characterized by the body language and freshness with which he carried out his canvasses, as well as the special attention he paid to material and the stamp he received from informalism. He concentrated his interest on the symbol, not giving too much importance to the representing theme, but to the way the symbol emerged as the piece of work. Miro had a very eccentric style that is the embodiment of his unique approach to his artwork.

In 1976 the Joan Miró Foundation Centre of Contemporary Art Study was officially opened in the city of Barcelona and in 1979, four years before his death, he was named Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Barcelona.

He said, “For me an object is something living. This cigarette or this box of matches contains a secret life much more intense than that of certain human beings. “

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