Happy Birthday Greta Garbo

Today is the 109th birthday of Greta Garbo.

NAME: Greta Garbo
OCCUPATION: Actress, Pin-up
BIRTH DATE: September 18, 1905
DEATH DATE: April 15, 1990
EDUCATION: Royal Dramatic Theater
PLACE OF BIRTH: Stockholm, Sweden
PLACE OF DEATH: New York, New York
AKA: Greta Gustafsson
FULL NAME: Greta Lovisa Garbo
NICKNAME: The Mona Lisa of the 20th Century

BEST KNOWN FOR: Greta Garbo is best known for her acting career, in both silent and talking films before World War II.

One of Hollywood‘s most enigmatic stars, Greta Garbo was born Greta Lovisa Gustafson on September 8, 1905, in Stockholm, Sweden. To her parents, Karl and Anna, who already had two children, Greta came as a surprise arrival, further straining the family’s already tight finances.

Greta’s father was an unskilled laborer who was often out of work and in poor health, which forced his family to live with the constant threat of poverty.

At the age of 13, Greta dropped out of school to care for her father, who had fallen deeply ill. He died two years later of kidney failure. The strain her father’s health and subsequent death left on the family deeply affected young Greta, who promised to make a life for herself that was void of financial hardship.

Following her father’s death, Greta landed job as a salesperson at Swedish department store. To help promote the men’s clothing line Greta starred in a pair of advertising shorts, modeling the attire. Her natural instincts in front of the camera soon led her to a role in her first film, a comedy called Peter the Tramp (1922).

A bigger opportunity followed when Greta earned a scholarship at the prestigious Royal Dramatic Theater, Sweden’s premier school for aspiring actors. But Greta cut her education short after just a year after meeting director Mauritz Stiller, Sweden’s leading silent film director, who wanted the young actress to star in his new film, The Legend of Gosta Berling (1924).

The film’s success in both Sweden and Germany made Garbo famous. It also solidified a partnership with Stiller that would change her career and life. Stiller coached her as an actress and convinced her to change her last name to Garbo.

Garbo’s next film, Streets of Sorrow (1925), in which she played a prospective prostitute, furthered Garbo’s standing as a star in Europe. The film also caught the attention of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) production chief Louis B. Mayer. Mayer wanted Stiller, who worked on the film, to work in America. The flamboyant director agreed to a contract with one condition: Garbo was to come with him. Reluctantly, Mayer inked her to a deal, too.

The 19-year-old Garbo arrived in America in 1925. Her arrival had come quietly and from the start, she showed a reluctance to deal with the press or reveal anything about her private her life. During her first interview, she curtly told reporters, “I was born. I had a mother and father. I went to school. What does it matter?”

Garbo’s first American film, The Torrent (1926), cast her as a Spanish peasant who is desperate to become an opera star. But the planned Garbo-Stiller partnership in Hollywood never materialized. Stiller wasn’t hired to direct The Torrent, and after a subsequent blow-up with MGM executives he bolted for Paramount where he again encountered problems with his bosses. He returned to Sweden in 1928 and died a year later.

Garbo, however, proved to be an immediate star. Her next two films, The Temptress (1926) and Flesh and the Devil (1926), were both hits and made the actress an international star.

For MGM, Garbo was their biggest asset. Her first three films amounted to 13 percent of the company’s profits from 1925-26. Garbo, ever mindful of the financial difficulties she’d grown up with, knew she had leverage. After a contract dispute with MGM, Garbo, who’d threatened to return to Sweden, landed a new contract that paid her a record $270,000 per movie and gave her unprecedented control over her roles and the films she starred in.

In so many ways Garbo represented a new kind of Hollywood actress, one whose vulnerabilities, sexuality, passion and mystery swirled together to entice both male and female audiences. In addition, her style changed the course of American fashion, while her reclusiveness (she gave her last American interview in 1927) only fueled the public’s fascination with her.

The advent of sound presented a predicament for MGM. The future of films was clear, but there was real hesitancy to let audiences hear Garbo speak. Executives worried her star power would be diminished by her accent and low, throaty voice.

Finally, MGM relented and in 1930 Garbo made her debut in sound in a film adaption of Eugene O’Neill’s, Anna Christie. Despite MGM’s concerns, Garbo’s star did not fade. In 1931, she teamed up with Clark Gable in Susan Lenox: Her Fall and Rise, then co-starred with Melvyn Douglas in 1932’s As You Desire Me. That same year she was part of an all-star cast that included John and Lionel Barrymore, Joan Crawford and Wallace Beery in Grand Hotel. The film won a 1932 Academy Award for Best Picture.

In 1933, Garbo took on her perhaps most ambitious role as a fictional Swedish monarch in Queen Christina. Other films followed, such as Anna Karenina (1935), Camille (1936) and Conquest (1937).

In the late 1930s, however, Garbo’s box office appeal began to diminish. With America in the midst of The Depression, the actress’ cosmopolitan style didn’t resonate with audiences like it once had. Europe, meanwhile, where she had enjoyed incredible success, the continent was heading to war.

In an effort to remake herself, Garbo was cast in a pair of comedies, Ninotchka (1939) and Two Faced Woman (1941), neither of which matched her previous successes. After another contract dispute with MGM, Garbo retired from acting.

Away from the glare of Hollywood, Garbo retreated to a world she let few enter into. While she had several romantic partners, including, it seems, at least one woman, she never married.

During World War II, while much of Hollywood rallied the country around the war effort, Garbo remained largely silent, which earned her criticism. Over the last half century of her life, in fact, Garbo proved to be an ever-increasing mystery. On the advice of a friend, she invested heavily in real estate and art. At the time of her death she was estimated to be worth more than $55 million.

Eventually Garbo left California and settled into a new life in New York City, where she loved to window shop and periodic Greta Garbo spottings were reported like UFO sightings. Her friends during this last period of her life included the English photographer Cecil Beaton and ventriloquist and fellow Swede, Edgar Bergen.

In the late 1980s her kidneys began to fail, forcing her to stop her walks, which only further cut her off from the outside world. She died on April 15, 1990, at a New York City hospital.

FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Two-Faced Woman (Nov-1941) · Karin
Ninotchka (6-Oct-1939) · Ninotchka
Conquest (22-Oct-1937) · Countess Marie Walewska
Camille (12-Dec-1936) · Marguerite
Anna Karenina (30-Aug-1935) · Anna Karenina
The Painted Veil (23-Nov-1934) · Katrin
Queen Christina (26-Dec-1933) · Christina
As You Desire Me (28-May-1932) · Zara
Grand Hotel (12-Apr-1932) · Grusinskaya, the Dancer
Mata Hari (26-Dec-1931) · Mata Hari
Susan Lenox (Her Rise and Fall) (10-Oct-1931) · Susan Lenox
Anna Christie (27-Mar-1931) · Anna
Inspiration (31-Jan-1931) · Yvonne
Romance (22-Aug-1930) · Rita Cavallini
Anna Christie (21-Feb-1930) · Anna
The Kiss (15-Nov-1929) · Irene
The Single Standard (27-Jul-1929) · Arden Stuart
Wild Orchids (23-Feb-1929) · Lillie Sterling
A Woman of Affairs (15-Dec-1928) · Diana
The Mysterious Lady (4-Aug-1928) · Tania
The Divine Woman (14-Jan-1928)
Love (29-Nov-1927) · Anna Karenina
Flesh and the Devil (25-Dec-1926) · Felicitas
The Temptress (3-Oct-1926) · Elena
Torrent (8-Feb-1926) · Leonora
The Joyless Street (18-May-1925)
The Saga of Gosta Berling (9-Mar-1924)

Happy Birthday Roddy McDowall

Today is the 86th birthday of Roddy McDowall. I think I first recognized him in a very late night movie called The Legend of Hell House, a not great mid-70’s supernatural horror film. Satanism, the whole bit, but great.

NAME: Roddy McDowall
OCCUPATION: Film Actor
BIRTH DATE: September 17, 1928
DEATH DATE: October 3, 1998
PLACE OF BIRTH: Herne Hill, London, England
PLACE OF DEATH: Studio City, California
AKA: Roddy McDowall
FULL NAME: Roderick Andrew Anthony Jude McDowall

BEST KNOWN FOR: Actor Roddy McDowall had a recurring role on the Batman television series, and played Cornelius in the film and TV versions of Planet of the Apes.

Actor and photographer Roddy McDowall was born Roderick Andrew Anthony Jude McDowall was born on September 17, 1928, in London, England. He was the only son of Thomas McDowall, a merchant seaman, and his wife, Winifred. As a child, Roddy appeared in a slew of British films, including Yellow Sands (1938) and Just William (1939).

In 1940, Roddy moved to America, with his mother and sister, to escape the World War II bombing of London. Thomas McDowall joined his family shortly thereafter. They settled in Hollywood, where Roddy was immediately contracted by 20th Century-Fox. In 1941, he gave a remarkable performance as the juvenile lead in John Ford’s Oscar-winning drama How Green Was My Valley. McDowall followed the film’s success with equally impressive roles in the children’s classics My Friend Flicka and Lassie Come Home (both 1943).

Like many child stars, McDowall found it hard to transition into adult film roles. Frustrated with dwindling opportunities in Hollywood, he turned to stage acting. He toured in vaudeville and in summer stock before moving to New York in 1954. He was featured in a succession of memorable Broadway productions, including Compulsion (1957) and The Fighting Cock (1959). For the latter, McDowall earned a Supporting Actor Tony Award.

In 1963, McDowall returned to film acting in the more mature role of Octavian in the extravagant feature Cleopatra, costarring with Richard Burton and longtime friend Elizabeth Taylor. Shortly after, he made his mark in television with a recurring role—as the miscreant Bookworm—on the 1966 Batman series, opposite Adam West. His role as The Bookworm, one of Batman’s nemeses—others included Julie Newmar’s Catwoman, Cesar Romero’s Joker and Vincent Price’s Egghead—made McDowall a household name with younger viewers.

In 1968, McDowall starred as the sympathetic scientist Cornelius in the seminal science fiction film Planet of the Apes. With undeniable camp appeal, the film spawned a number of sequels and earned McDowall a cult following. He reprised his role as Cornelius in the third installment, Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971). In the two subsequent releases, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972) and Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973), McDowall assumed the role of Cornelius’ son Caesar.

McDowall made a transition to the small screen with the Planet of the Apes TV series, appearing in a number of episodes in 1974. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, he continued to direct his efforts toward television work. He acted in the TV movies The Rhineman Exchange (1977), The Martian Chronicles (1980) and Hollywood Wives (1985). During this period, McDowall’s most notable film credit was as a washed-up movie star in the acclaimed horror film Fright Night (1985).

Toward the end of his prolific career, McDowall lent his voice to a number of animated series, including the Darkwing Duck (1992) and The Adventures of Batman and Robin (1994). In 1998, he provided the voice of Mr. Soil in the Disney/Pixar animated feature A Bug’s Life, which marked his final film role.

McDowall was also an accomplished portrait photographer whose pictures of Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy and Mia Farrow appeared in Look and Life magazines. He published a series of books: Double Exposure (1966), Double Exposure, Take Two (1989), Double Exposure, Take Three (1992) and Double Exposure, Take Four (1993). An active and respected member of the Hollywood community, McDowall served on the executive boards of the Screen Actors Guild and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

McDowall died on October 3, 1998, in Studio City, California, after a long battle with cancer. He was 70 years old.

TELEVISION
The Pirates of Dark Water Niddler (1991-93)
Tales of the Gold Monkey Bon Chance Louie (1982-83)
The Fantastic Journey Dr. Jonathan Willoway (1977)
Planet of the Apes Galen (1974)

FILMOGRAPHY AS DIRECTOR
The Devil’s Widow (Dec-1970)

FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
A Bug’s Life (14-Nov-1998) [VOICE]
Something to Believe In (8-May-1998)
The Second Jungle Book: Mowgli & Baloo (16-May-1997)
Unlikely Angel (17-Dec-1996)
Dead Man’s Island (5-Mar-1996)
It’s My Party (11-Jan-1996)
Last Summer in the Hamptons (13-Sep-1995) · Thomas
The Grass Harp (10-Sep-1995)
Star Hunter (1995)
The Color of Evening (1994)
Double Trouble (14-Feb-1992) · Philip Chamberlain
Deadly Game (10-Jul-1991)
Shakma (1990) · Sorenson
Going Under (1990)
The Big Picture (15-Sep-1989)
Cutting Class (Jul-1989)
Around the World in 80 Days (16-Apr-1989)
Fright Night Part II (11-Jan-1989)
Doin’ Time on Planet Earth (1988)
Overboard (16-Dec-1987) · Andrew
Dead of Winter (6-Feb-1987)
GoBots: War of the Rock Lords (21-Mar-1986) [VOICE]
Alice in Wonderland (9-Dec-1985)
Fright Night (2-Aug-1985)
Class of 1984 (20-Aug-1982)
Mae West (2-May-1982)
Evil Under the Sun (5-Mar-1982) · Rex Brewster
Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen (Feb-1981)
The Return of the King (11-May-1980) [VOICE]
The Martian Chronicles (27-Jan-1980)
Scavenger Hunt (21-Dec-1979)
Circle of Iron (14-Dec-1978)
The Thief of Baghdad (23-Nov-1978)
The Cat from Outer Space (9-Jun-1978)
Rabbit Test (9-Apr-1978)
Laserblast (1-Mar-1978) · Dr. Mellon
Sixth and Main (1977)
Flood! (24-Nov-1976)
Embryo (21-May-1976)
Mean Johnny Barrows (Jan-1976)
Funny Lady (15-Mar-1975) · Bobby
Arnold (16-Nov-1973)
Battle for the Planet of the Apes (15-Jun-1973) · Caesar
The Legend of Hell House (15-Jun-1973) · Ben Fischer
The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (18-Dec-1972)
The Poseidon Adventure (12-Dec-1972) · Acres
Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (29-Jun-1972) · Caesar
Bedknobs and Broomsticks (11-Nov-1971)
A Taste of Evil (12-Oct-1971)
Escape from the Planet of the Apes (21-May-1971) · Cornelius
Pretty Maids All in a Row (28-Apr-1971)
Angel, Angel, Down We Go (19-Aug-1969)
Hello Down There (25-Jun-1969)
Midas Run (7-May-1969)
5 Card Stud (31-Jul-1968)
Planet of the Apes (8-Feb-1968) · Cornelius
The Cool Ones (12-Apr-1967) · Tony
The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin (3-Mar-1967)
It! (Nov-1966)
The Defector (20-Oct-1966) · Adams
Lord Love a Duck (21-Feb-1966) · Alan Musgrave
Inside Daisy Clover (17-Feb-1966) · Baines
That Darn Cat! (2-Dec-1965)
The Loved One (11-Oct-1965) · D. J. Jr.
The Third Day (4-Aug-1965)
The Greatest Story Ever Told (15-Feb-1965) · Matthew
Shock Treatment (22-Jul-1964) · Martin Ashley
Cleopatra (12-Jun-1963) · Octavian
The Longest Day (Sep-1962) · Pvt. Morris
The Power and the Glory (29-Oct-1961)
Midnight Lace (13-Oct-1960) · Malcolm
The Subterraneans (23-Jun-1960)
The Tempest (3-Feb-1960)
Killer Shark (19-Mar-1950) · Ted
Tuna Clipper (10-Apr-1949)
Kidnapped (28-Nov-1948) · David Balfour
Macbeth (1-Oct-1948)
Holiday in Mexico (15-Aug-1946) · Stanley Owen
Molly and Me (25-May-1945) · Jimmy Graham
Thunderhead: Son of Flicka (15-Mar-1945) · Ken McLaughlin
The Keys of the Kingdom (15-Dec-1944) · Francis Chisholm
The White Cliffs of Dover (11-May-1944) · John Ashwood II
Lassie Come Home (10-Oct-1943) · Joe Carraclough
My Friend Flicka (26-May-1943)
The Pied Piper (8-Jul-1942)
Son of Fury (29-Jan-1942) · Benjamin
Confirm or Deny (19-Nov-1941)
How Green Was My Valley (28-Oct-1941) · Huw
Man Hunt (13-Jun-1941) · Vaner
Saloon Bar (2-Nov-1940)
Just William (20-Jul-1940)

Happy Birthday Anne Bancroft

Today is the  83rd birthday of Anne Bancroft.  Her list of performances is impressively long and impressively impressive.  Her performance in Great Expectations stole the movie.  I watched it in the movie theater in Seattle and again in London.  She was brilliant.

NAME: Anne Bancroft
OCCUPATION: Film Actress, Theater Actress, Television Actress
BIRTH DATE: September 17, 1931
DEATH DATE: June 6, 2005
EDUCATION: American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Actors Studio, Christopher Columbus High School, Bronx, University of California, Los Angeles
PLACE OF BIRTH: The Bronx, New York
PLACE OF DEATH: New York, New York
ORIGINALLY: Anna Maria Louisa Italiano

BEST KNOWN FOR: Anne Bancroft was an Oscar Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress famous for her roles in The Miracle Worker and The Graduate. She was married to comedian and film director Mel Brooks.

Actress Anne Bancroft was born Anna Maria Louisa Italiano was born on September 17, 1931, in the Bronx , New York. An award-winning actress for her work on film, stage and television, Bancroft is best remembered for her role as the dedicated teacher in The Miracle Worker (1962) and as the mature seductress in The Graduate (1967). She grew up in the Bronx and studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in 1948.

Initially, Bancroft found work on television in the early 1950s. She appeared on such shows as Studio One and used the stage name Anne Marno. In 1952, she got a film contract with 20th Century Fox and the head of the studio, Darryl F. Zanuck, renamed Anne Bancroft. She made her film debut opposite Marilyn Monroe in 1952’s Don’t Bother to Knock. Over the next few years, Bancroft appeared in several other, largely forgettable films, which failed to advance her career.

Returning to New York in the late 1950s, Bancroft found success on the Broadway stage. She co-starred with Henry Fonda in William Gibson’s Two for the Seesaw, which was directed by Arthur Penn. Her portrayal of a bohemian dancer netted her a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play in 1958. Again showing her talent for transformation, Bancroft tackled another challenging role in The Miracle Worker the next year. Again working with Penn, she played Annie Sullivan, a teacher of the blind, who tries to help Helen Keller (played by Patty Duke), a young blind and deaf girl, learn to communicate. Bancroft won another Tony Award for her convincing performance as the devoted and determined educator.

Reprising their roles, Bancroft and Duke starred in the 1962 film adaptation of The Miracle Worker. They each won an Academy Award for their performances—Bancroft in the Best Actress category and Duke in Best Supporting Actress category. Bancroft’s next major film role had her as a woman trapped in a loveless marriage in The Pumpkin Eater (1964), which brought her an Academy Award nomination. Around this time, she married the multitalented Mel Brooks, known as a comedic actor, director and writer. The two formed one of Hollywood’s greatest love stories and remained devoted to each other throughout her life. Bancroft had been previously married to Martin May in the 1950s, but their union ended in divorce.

In 1967, Bancroft took on her signature role of Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate. Playing an elegant, but bitter and manipulative wife and mother, her character seduced her daughter’s boyfriend, Benjamin, played by Dustin Hoffman. Ironically, Bancroft was only about six years older than Hoffman when the film was made. She was widely praised for her work on the film and earned an Academy Award nomination for her performance.

Winning her first Emmy Award in 1970, Bancroft starred in Annie, The Women in the Life of a Man (1970), which also featured her husband Mel Brooks. She took some time off from acting after the birth of their son, Max, in 1972. Showing her range as a performer, she returned to the big screen in the Neil Simon comedy, The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1975), with Jack Lemmon, and in the historical drama, The Hindenburg (1975), with George C. Scott. Starring an aging ballerina, Bancroft starred opposite Shirley MacLaine in the drama The Turning Point (1977). That same year, she played the first female prime minister of Israel, Golda Meir, on Broadway in Golda, which reunited her with director Arthur Penn. Bancroft received a Tony Award nomination for her portrait of this famed world leader.

In addition to co-starring on the film, Bancroft directed the 1980 comedy Fatso featuring Dom DeLuise. The rest of the decade was filled with memorable comedic and dramatic performances by Bancroft. In To Be or Not To Be (1983), she and her real-life husband played a husband-wife acting team in this underrated World War II comedy. Taking on much darker material, she played the mother superior in Agnes of God (1985), which led to her final Academy Award nomination. Bancroft went on to play the mother in the suicide drama ‘Night, Mother (1986) with Sissy Spacek.

In the 1990s, Bancroft took on a lot of supporting roles in films and on television. For her television work, she received several Emmy Award nominations for her work and won the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie for Deep In My Heart in 1999. In the television movie, she played a woman who has a daughter as a result of being raped. On the big screen, Bancroft appeared as Ms. Dinsmoor in the modern adaptation of the Charles Dickens’ classic, Great Expectations (1998), with Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Continuing to work, Bancroft appeared on television in Haven (2001). Based on a true story, she played Ruth Gruber, an American woman who helped hundreds of Jewish people escape Nazi Germany. Bancroft received an Emmy Award nomination for her work. Her last completed performance was in the television adaptation of the Tennessee Williams’ play The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone, which earned her a final Emmy Award nomination.

While filming Spanglish with Adam Sandler, Bancroft was forced to drop out of the project because of illness. She died of uterine cancer on June 6, 2005, at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York. She was survived by her husband, their son, Max, and their grandson.

Happy Birthday Peter Falk

Today is the 87th birthday of Peter Falk.  I have often mentioned that, if left to my own devices, I would have an almost the identical TV watching habit of my grandfather circa 1978-84:  The Rockford Files, Remington Steele, and Columbo.  There is something about Columbo that I find so very comforting.

NAME: Peter Falk
OCCUPATION: Film Actor, Theater Actor, Television Actor
BIRTH DATE: September 16, 1927
DEATH DATE: June 23, 2011
EDUCATION: Howard University, Syracuse University, New School for Social Research, University of Wisconsin
PLACE OF BIRTH: New York, New York
PLACE OF DEATH: Beverly Hills, California

BEST KNOWN FOR: American actor Peter Falk is best known for his role as the television detective Lieutenant Columbo in the television series Columbo.

Actor. Born Peter Michael Falk on September 16, 1927, in New York City. While he had many roles on stage and on the big screen, Peter Falk is probably best remembered for his portrayal of Lieutenant Columbo on television. He played the rumpled and quirky detective for more than 30 years in numerous television movies.

Growing up in Ossining, New York, Falk lost his right eye to cancer at the age of three. He wore a glass eye in its place, which gave him his trademark squint. After high school and a brief stay at college, Falk became a merchant marine, working as a cook. He later went back to school, eventually earning a master’s degree from Syracuse University in public administration.

Falk discovered acting in his twenties while working in Hartford. At the age of 29, he abandoned public service for the stage. Falk moved to New York City and made his off-Broadway debut in 1956 in a production of Don Juan. In 1958, he made the leap to film, appearing in the drama Wind Across the Everglades with Christopher Plummer and Gypsy Rose Lee. Falk soon became a notable character actor, often playing shady criminals. For Murder Inc. (1960), he picked up an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of notorious thug Abe “Kid Twist” Reles. Falk received another Best Supporting Actor nod the following year for Pocketful of Miracles for his comic turn as a mobster.

In 1967, Falk won his most famous part after Bing Crosby turned down the role. He first appeared as Lieutenant Columbo in the 1968 television movie Prescription: Murder. In 1971, Columbo became a regular feature on the NBC Sunday Mystery Movie. Falk received four Emmy Awards for his work on the television movies. With his disheveled appearance and tattered trenchcoat, Columbo came across as the perennial underdog. “He looks like a flood victim,” Falk once said. “You feel sorry for him. He appears to be seeing nothing, but he’s seeing everything.”

In addition to Columbo, Falk enjoyed some success on the stage and in film. He starred on Broadway in Neil Simon’s The Prisoner of Second Avenue in 1971. Working with director John Cassavetes, Falk played Gina Rowland’s husband in the critically acclaimed A Woman Under the Influence (1976). He also appeared in several popular comedies, including Murder by Death (1977) and The In-Laws in 1981.

Falk continued to work over the next two decades, often in small supporting roles. He made his last appearance as Columbo in a 2003 television movie. In recent years, Falk’s health began to decline. He suffered from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. On the night of June 23, 2011, Falk died peacefully at his Beverly Hills home, according to a statement from his family. No cause of death was released. He was 83 years old.

Falk is survived by his second wife Shera and his two daughters from his first marriage to Alyce Mayo.

Happy Birthday Lauren Bacall

NAME: Lauren Bacall
OCCUPATION: Film Actress, Theater Actress, Television Actress, Pin-up
BIRTH DATE: September 16, 1924 (Age: 87)
PLACE OF BIRTH: New York City, New York
ORIGINALLY: Betty Joan Perske

BEST KNOWN FOR: Lauren Bacall is an American actress known for her distinctive husky voice and sultry looks. She is best remembered for portrayals of provocative women.

Lauren Bacall (born Betty Joan Perske, September 16, 1924) is an American film and stage actress and model, known for her distinctive husky voice and sultry looks.

She first emerged as leading lady in the Humphrey Bogart film To Have And Have Not (1944) and continued on in the film noir genre, with appearances in Bogart movies The Big Sleep (1946) and Dark Passage (1947), as well as a comedienne in How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) with Marilyn Monroe and Designing Woman (1957) with Gregory Peck. Bacall has also worked on Broadway in musicals, gaining a Tony Awards for Applause in 1970 and Woman of the Year in 1981. Her performance in the movie The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996) earned her a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award nomination.

In 1999, Bacall was ranked #20 of the 25 actresses on the AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Stars list by the American Film Institute. In 2009, she was selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to receive an Academy Honorary Award “in recognition of her central place in the Golden Age of motion pictures.”

She campaigned for Democratic candidate Adlai Stevenson in the 1952 Presidential election and for Robert Kennedy in his 1964 run for Senate.

In a 2005 interview with Larry King, Bacall described herself as “anti-Republican… A liberal. The L-word.” She went on to say that “being a liberal is the best thing on earth you can be. You are welcoming to everyone when you’re a liberal. You do not have a small mind.”

 

Rear View Mirror – My Week In Review

Sometimes, I just go into my ever-growing blog photo files and type in the date and see what comes up.  I almost exclusively do that when posting the daily picture to the Big Inflatable Crayon facebook group.  I like the randomness of it, of not everything being thought out and in my control.  Here is what we get for the 14th:

Here is what happened this week out in the world:

Kanye West urges wheelchair-bound fan to stand…  U.S. government threatened to fineYahoo $250,000 a day if it failed to turn over customer data to intelligence agencies … Vancouverfails to appreciate naked, erect Satan sculpture … Michigan pranksters face prosecution for using weed killer to depict male genitalia on a high school’s football field … Pia Zadora is seriously injured in golf cart accident … US Rep. Mark Sanford (R-South Carolina) breaks up with “Appalachian trail” mistress in an epic Facebook rant … Every U.S. President in the past quarter-century has gone on television during prime time to announce the bombing of Iraq …  Family of former Gov.Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) involved in party brawl …  US Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) gets booed by ChristiansBurger King offers a blackcheeseburger, but only in JapanFloyd Mayweather, Jr. thinks National Football League‘s penalty for wife-beating player is too harsh …  Cop says National Football League has had video of wife-beating player formonths … Former FBI Director Louis Freeh forced three cars off the road before driving his SUV into a treePennsylvania teenager is prosecuted for prank photo with statue of JesusPrice Waterhouse Coopers crunches the numbers and concludes that we’re approaching a climate change disaster …  Mike Tyson doesn’t want to talk about his conviction for rape …  National Football League never asked to see video of Ravens player beating the hell out of his fiancée …  NCAA to Penn State: All is forgiven for Jerry Sandusky‘s child molesting …  Should reporters explain that Karl Rove‘s campaign ads are lies, or does it go without saying? …

No, it’s not all great stuff, but it is what happened.

This week, youtube thought I would like to view a video of a man creeping around Grey Gardens:

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
I fitbit at fitbit.com/user/2W4RHZ
I google+ at plus.google.com/u/0/+SPAghettiBatman/about

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday Margaret Sanger

Tomorrow is the 135th birthday of Margaret Sanger.

margaret sangerNAME: Margaret Sanger
BIRTH DATE: September 14, 1879
DEATH DATE: September 6, 1966
EDUCATION: Claverack College, Hudson River Institute
PLACE OF BIRTH: Corning, New York
PLACE OF DEATH: Tucson, Arizona

BEST KNOWN FOR: Margaret Sanger was an early feminist and women’s rights activist who coined the term “birth control” and worked towards its legalization.

Activist, social reformer. Born Margaret Higgins on September 14, 1879, in Corning, New York. She was one of 11 children born into a Roman Catholic working-class Irish American family. Her mother, Anne, had several miscarriages, and Margaret believed that all of these pregnancies took a toll on her mother’s health and contributed to her early death at the age of 40 (some reports say 50). The family lived in poverty as her father, Michael, an Irish stonemason, preferred to drink and talk politics than earn a steady wage.

Seeking a better life, Sanger attended Claverack College and Hudson River Institute in 1896. She went on to study nursing at White Plains Hospital four years later. In 1902, she married William Sanger, an architect. The couple eventually had three children together.

In 1910, the Sangers moved to New York City, settling in the Manhattan neighborhood of Greenwich Village. The area was a bohemian enclave known for its radical politics at the time, and the couple became immersed in that world. They socialized with the likes of writer Upton Sinclair and anarchist Emma Goldman. Sanger joined the Women’s Committee of the New York Socialist Party and the Liberal Club. A supporter of the Industrial Workers of the World union, she participated in a number of strikes.

Sanger started her campaign to educate women about sex in 1912 by writing a newspaper column called “What Every Girl Should Know.” She also worked as a nurse on the Lower East Side, at the time a predominantly poor immigrant neighborhood. Through her work, Sanger treated a number of women who had undergone back-alley abortions or tried to self-terminate their pregnancies. Sanger objected to the unnecessary suffering endured by these women, and she fought to make birth control information and contraceptives available. She also began dreaming of a “magic pill” to be used to control pregnancy. “No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother,” Sanger said.

In 1914, Sanger started a feminist publication called The Woman Rebel, which promoted a woman’s right to have birth control. The monthly magazine landed her in trouble, as it was illegal to send out information on contraception through the mail. The Comstock Act of 1873 prohibited the trade in and circulation of “obscene and immoral materials.” Championed by Anthony Comstock, the act included publications, devices, and medications related to contraception and abortion in its definition of obscene materials. It also made mailing and importing anything related to these topics a crime.

Rather than face a possible five-year jail sentence, Sanger fled to England. While there, she worked in the women’s movement and researched other forms of birth control, including diaphragms, which she later smuggled back into the United States. She had separated from her husband by this time, and the two later divorced. Embracing the idea of free love, Sanger had affairs with psychologist Havelock Ellis and writer H. G. Wells.

Sanger returned to the United States in October 1915, after charges against her had been dropped. She began touring to promote birth control, a term that she coined. In 1916, she opened the first birth control clinic in the United States. Sanger and her staff, including her sister Ethel, were arrested during a raid of the Brooklyn clinic nine days after it opened. They were charged with providing information on contraception and fitting women for diaphragms. Sanger and her sister spent 30 days in jail for breaking the Comstock law. Later appealing her conviction, she scored a victory for the birth control movement. The court wouldn’t overturn the earlier verdict, but it made an exception in the existing law to allow doctors to prescribe contraception to their female patients for medical reasons. Around this time, Sanger also published her first issue of The Birth Control Review.

In 1921, Sanger established the American Birth Control League, a precursor to today’s Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She served as its president until 1928. In 1923, while with the league, she opened the first legal birth control clinic in the United States. The clinic was named the Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau. Also around this time, Sanger married for her second husband, oil businessman J. Noah H. Slee. He provided much of the funding for her efforts for social reform.

Wanting to advance her cause through legal channels, Sanger started the National Committee on Federal Legislation for Birth Control in 1929. The committee sought to make it legal for doctors to freely distribute birth control. One legal hurdle was overcome in 1936, when the U.S. Court of Appeals allowed for birth control devices and related materials to be imported into the country.

For all of her advocacy work, Sanger was not without controversy. She has been criticized for her association with eugenics, a branch of science that seeks to improve the human species through selective mating. As grandson Alexander Sanger, chair of the International Planned Parenthood Council, explained, “She believed that women wanted their children to be free of poverty and disease, that women were natural eugenicists, and that birth control, which could limit the number of children and improve their quality of life, was the panacea to accomplish this.” Still Sanger held some views that were common at the time, but now seem abhorrent, including support of sterilization for the mentally ill and mentally impaired. Despite her controversial comments, Sanger focused her work on one basic principle: “Every child should be a wanted child.”

Sanger stepped out of the spotlight for a time, choosing to live in Tucson, Arizona. Her retirement did not last long, however. She worked on the birth control issue in other countries in Europe and Asia, and she established the International Planned Parenthood Federation in 1952. Still seeking a “magic pill,” Sanger recruited Gregory Pincus, a human reproduction expert, to work on the problem in the early 1950s. She found the necessary financial support for the project from Katharine McCormick, the International Harvester heiress. This research project would yield the first oral contraceptive, Enovid, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1960.

Sanger lived to see another important reproductive rights milestone in 1965, when the Supreme Court made birth control legal for married couples in its decision on Griswold v. Connecticut. She died a year later on September 6, 1966, in a nursing home in Tucson, Arizona. Across the nation, there are numerous women’s health clinics that carry the Sanger name—in remembrance of her efforts to advance women’s rights and the birth control movement.