Happy Birthday Oscar Niemeyer

Today is the 107th birthday of Oscar Niemeyer, perhaps the last of the real modernist architects.  His buildings look like film sets of what mid-century designers envisioned how futuristic utopian societies would live.  Except he gave us that utopia in the 1960’s, not requiring the wait.  The first time I saw photos of Brasilia, I was in fascinated and quickly fell in love with it, the whole concept of building a capital city from scratch was enthralling.   That opportunity has only happened once in modern history and Oscar Niemeyer used that chance to create an absolute masterpiece.  The world is a better place because Oscar was in it and still feels the loss that he has left.

niemeyer

NAME: Oscar Ribeiro de Almeida Niemeyer Soares Filho
OCCUPATION: Architect
BIRTH DATE: December 15, 1907
DEATH DATE: December 05, 2012
PLACE OF BIRTH: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
PLACE OF DEATH: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
AKA: Oscar Ribeiro de Almeida Niemeyer
AKA: Oscar Niemeyer

Best Known For:  The work of Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer demonstrates his appreciation for free-flowing design. Examples include the Contemporary Art Museum in Niterói.

Early Career

Oscar Niemeyer was born Oscar Ribeiro de Almeida Niemeyer Soares Filho on December 15, 1907, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He grew up in a wealthy family without any aspirations toward being an architect, though he started drawing at an early age. “When I was very little,” he later recalled, “my mother said I used to draw in the air with my fingers. I needed a pencil. Once I could hold one, I have drawn every day since.” After graduating from Barnabitas College in 1923, Niemeyer wed a woman named Annita Baldo, to whom he would remain married until her death in 2004.

As a young man, Niemeyer worked for his father at a typography house for a short while before entering the Escola Nacional de Belas Artes, from which he graduated in 1934. Shortly before graduation, he joined the offices of Lúcio Costa, an architect from the Modernist school. Niemeyer worked with Costa on many major buildings between 1936 and 1943, including the design for Brazil’s Ministry of Education and Health building, which was part of a collaboration with Bauhaus director Le Corbusier. Costa and Niemeyer also worked together on Brazil’s iconic pavilion in the 1939 New York World’s Fair; legendary Mayor Fiorello La Guardia was so impressed with Niemeyer’s design that he declared him an honorary citizen of New York.

In 1941, Niemeyer launched his solo career by designing a series of buildings in a new suburb of Rio de Janeiro named Pampulha. Here, Niemeyer started developing some of his design trademarks, including the heavy use of concrete and a propensity toward curves. “I consciously ignored the highly praised right angle and the rational architecture of T-squares and triangles,” he said, “in order to wholeheartedly enter the world of curves and new shapes made possible by the introduction of concrete into the building process.”

Foto: Marcel Gautherot/IMS

United Nations Building

Niemeyer’s status as a rising star in the architectural world was confirmed when he was chosen to represent Brazil as part of the team to design the new headquarters of the United Nations in New York City; the final building was based primarily on Niemeyer’s design, with significant elements also taken from his old collaborator, Corbusier. Following the completion of the United Nations building in 1953, Niemeyer won an appointment as dean of Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, but he was refused an American work visa by the United States government due to his membership in Brazil’s Communist Party.

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Brasilia Buildings

In 1956, Juscelino Kubitschek, the president of Brazil and a close friend of Niemeyer, came to the architect with a proposal, asking Niemeyer to become the new chief architect of public buildings in the country’s new capital, Brasilia, a Modernist civic metropolis being built from scratch in the interior of the country. Niemeyer eagerly accepted, designing buildings that went along with his utopian vision of government. “This was a liberating time,” he said. “It seemed as if a new society was being born, with all the traditional barriers cast aside …. when planning the government buildings for Brasilia I decided they should be characterized by their own structures within the prescribed shapes … I tried to push the potential of concrete to its limits, especially at the load-bearing points which I wanted to be as delicate as possible so that it would seem as if the palaces barely touched the ground.”

Niemeyer designed several buildings in Brasilia, including the presidential palace, the Brasília Palace Hotel, the Ministry of Justice building, the presidential chapel and the cathedral. After the inauguration of the new capital city in 1960, Niemeyer resigned from his position as the government’s chief architect and returned to private practice.

Communist Ideology

Niemeyer had become interested in Communist ideology as a youth and joined the Brazilian Communist Party in 1945. This became a serious problem in 1964, when the Brazilian military overthrew the government in a coup; Niemeyer, viewed by the army as an individual with dangerously left-wing sympathies, had his office ransacked. Spooked, the architect left the country of his birth a year later, in 1965, resettling in France and mainly designing buildings in Europe and northern Africa. He also turned to designing furniture, which also included his trademark use of sinuous curves. Niemeyer did not return to Brazil until the end of the military dictatorship in 1985.

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Later Years

Niemeyer received the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1988, the highest award in the profession, for his Cathedral of Brasilia. In his acceptance speech, Niemeyer explained his design philosophy: “My architecture followed the old examples—beauty prevailing over the limitations of the constructive logic. My work proceeded, indifferent to the unavoidable criticism set forth by those who take the trouble to examine the minimum details, so very true of what mediocrity is capable of. It was enough to think of Le Corbusier saying to me once while standing on the ramp of the Congress: ‘There is invention here.'”

Semi-retired since the mid-1980s, at the age of 103 Oscar Niemeyer still goes into his office every day to work on designs and oversee projects. Having outlived most of his old friends, intellectual sparring partners and his wife of 60 years, though he remarried in 2006, to his longtime assistant Vera Lucia Cabreira—Niemeyer continues to press for a better world through better design. “It is important,” he once said, “that the architect think not only of architecture but of how architecture can solve the problems of the world. The architect’s role is to fight for a better world, where he can produce an architecture that serves everyone and not just a group of privileged people.”

Niemeyer died in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on December 5, 2012. He was 104 years old. A funeral service was held in Brasilia, at the presidential palace he designed more than 50 years earlier.

Happy Birthday Dick Van Dyke

DICK-VAN-DYKENAME: Dick Van Dyke
OCCUPATION: Writer, Talk Show Host, Television Actor, Comedian, Television Producer
BIRTH DATE: December 13, 1925
PLACE OF BIRTH: West Plains, Missouri

BEST KNOWN FOR: Dick Van Dyke is an American actor and comedian best known for hosting The Dick Van Dyke Show. He’s also known for starring on Diagnosis Murder and for roles in films like Mary Poppins, Dick Tracy and Night at the Museum.

By high school Dick Van Dyke knew he wanted to be on stage, but he was unsure whether he wanted to be an actor or a Presbyterian minister. After a stint in the Army Air Corps, he worked in advertising, then became a radio announcer, and within a few years he was hosting a TV talk show in New Orleans. His big break came when he was hired to replace Johnny Carson as host of CBS’s Monday-Friday The Morning Show in 1955.

The Morning Show was of course flattened in the ratings by Dave Garroway‘s Today Show. After the program was cancelled Van Dyke was still under contract to CBS, but the network was unsure what to do with him. He found himself hosting CBS Cartoon Theater for kids, then playing sidekick to singer Andy Williams in The Chevy Showroom, and he was a frequent panelist on To Tell the Truth while it was on CBS. Van Dyke’s best early reviews came for two appearances onThe Phil Silvers Show in 1957 and 1958.

When his CBS contract ended, Van Dyke hosted two quickly-cancelled game shows, Mother’s Dayand the comedy-themed Laugh Line, which featured regular panelists Mike Nichols and Elaine May. On Broadway, he appeared in the musical review The Girls Against the Boys with an ancientBert Lahr and a young Nancy Walker. The play ran only two weeks, but Van Dyke won a Theater World Award for his performance. In 1960, he won a Tony starring in the hit Bye Bye Birdie, as a rock’n’roll singer drafted into the military.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Van Dyke, comedian Carl Reiner had created, written and starred in a pilot for an autobiographical sitcom, Head of the Family. Reiner had scripted comedy for TV pioneer Sid Caesar, and in the pilot he played a comedy writer for a Caesar-like TV star. Network executives liked the script and concept, but thought Reiner was wrong for the role of, basically, himself. So the show was retooled with Van Dyke as comedy writer Rob Petrie, the young Mary Tyler Moore as his wife, Rose Marie and Morey Amsterdam as Van Dyke’s fellow comedy writers, and a small supporting role for Reiner as the Van Dyke character’s obnoxious boss. Of course, Van Dyke was perfect in the role, sometimes tripping over the ottoman and sometimes sidestepping it, as The Dick Van Dyke Show became one of America’s most enduring comedies.

His first film was an adaptation of his Broadway hit Bye Bye Birdie, but with the script rewritten to shortchange his character and instead spotlight Ann-Margret. His most successful film was Mary Poppins with Julie Andrews, but his attempt at a British cockney accent was so awful, the term “Van Dyke accent” is still used to describe failed American attempts to sound British. His other films include The Comic, a drama about comedy with Mickey Rooney; Cold Turkey, a comedy about nicotine withdrawal with Edward Everett Horton; the charming children’s musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (based on Ian Fleming‘s non-Bond novel); and Warren Beatty‘s Dick Tracy, where Van Dyke played a delightfully corrupt district attorney.

He made several attempts to recapture the magic of his Dick Van Dyke Show on TV, and occasionally came close. In the early 1970s he starred in The New Dick Van Dyke Show with Hope Lange as his wife, and the program had its moments — most hilariously in an episode where Van Dyke’s character was in a quandary about attending an awards dinner at a whites-only nightclub. He hosted a short-lived variety show in 1976, Van Dyke and Company, with the expected skits and songs, but the show also featured Van Dyke’s endearing and genuinely funny pantomime segments, and provided Americans’ first prime time glimpse of Andy Kaufman, who stole every segment he was in. In the late-1980s comedy The Van Dyke Show, he played a retired Broadway star who amusingly made life miserable for his son, played by Van Dyke’s real-life son Barry Van Dyke.

Van Dyke has often said that his favorite comic was Stan Laurel, and like Laurel he had exquisite timing, an innate likability on-screen, a rubber face, and a mastery of pratfalls and slapstick. Van Dyke rarely wrote his own material while Laurel wrote more than a dozen of Laurel & Hardy‘s best films, but as a performer Van Dyke may have been Laurel’s equal. Van Dyke and Laurel once met, in the early 1960s, while The Dick Van Dyke Show was growing very popular. Shaking his hero’s hand, he told Laurel his work had inspired him, and that he had honed his comedy technique from watching Laurel’s films. According to Van Dyke, Laurel chuckled and said, “I’ve noticed that.”

It is sad, then, that younger audiences probably know Van Dyke only from his last long-running series, Diagnosis: Murder. Abandoning comedy, he played it straight as Dr Mark Sloan, a folksy doctor who solved murders in his spare time. He had first played Sloan in a 1991 episode of Jake and the Fatman, and the character was resurrected in three made-for-TV movies before the series was launched in 1993. A rather stilted clone of Angela Lansbury‘s Murder, She Wrote, Diagnosis: Murder inexplicably ran for eight seasons, co-starring Van Dyke’s son Barry as Dr Sloan’s son Steve, supposedly an LAPD detective.

Van Dyke has spent his recent years in the company of Michelle Triola, who was famous for suing her former lover Lee Marvin, demanding and winning alimony — “palimony” — although they had never married. His brother is comedic actor Jerry Van Dyke, a sitcom staple who starred in the anti-classic My Mother the Car and had a supporting role on Coach with Craig T. Nelson. Van Dyke’s son, as noted above, is wooden actor Barry Van Dyke, whose best-known work withoutsharing the screen with his father was Galactica 1980, a short-lived revival of Battlestar Galacticawith Lorne Greene.

Emmy 1964 for The Dick Van Dyke Show
Emmy 1965 for The Dick Van Dyke Show
Emmy 1966 for The Dick Van Dyke Show
Emmy 1977 for Van Dyke and Company (shared)
Grammy Mary Poppins soundtrack
Hollywood Walk of Fame 1992 at 7021 Hollywood Blvd.
Tony for Bye-Bye Birdie
Endorsement of Kodak 1978
unknown detox facility
Visited Disneyland Candlelight Procession (Dec-1965, Dec-2005)
Dutch Ancestry
Risk Factors: Alcoholism, Smoking

TELEVISION
Diagnosis Murder Dr. Mark Sloan (1993-2001)
The Carol Burnett Show various (1977)
The New Dick Van Dyke Show Dick Preston (1971-74)
The Dick Van Dyke Show Rob Petrie (1961-66)

FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
The Boys: The Sherman Brothers’ Story (24-Apr-2009) · Himself
Murder 101: New Age (14-Jan-2008)
Murder 101: If Wishes Were Horses (9-Aug-2007)
Murder 101: College Can Be Murder (29-Jan-2007)
Night at the Museum (21-Dec-2006)
Curious George (10-Feb-2006) [VOICE]
Murder 101 (7-Jan-2006)
The Gin Game (4-May-2003)
Dick Tracy (15-Jun-1990) · D.A. Fletcher
Drop-Out Father (27-Sep-1982)
The Runner Stumbles (16-Nov-1979)
The Morning After (13-Feb-1974)
Cold Turkey (19-Feb-1971) · Rev. Clayton Brooks
The Comic (19-Nov-1969)
Some Kind of a Nut (1-Oct-1969) · Fred
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (16-Dec-1968) · Caractacus Potts
Never a Dull Moment (26-Jun-1968)
Fitzwilly (20-Dec-1967) · Fitzwilliam
Divorce American Style (21-Jun-1967) · Richard Harmon
Lt. Robin Crusoe, U.S.N. (29-Jun-1966)
The Art of Love (30-Jun-1965)
Mary Poppins (27-Aug-1964)
What a Way to Go! (12-May-1964) · Edgar Hopper
Bye Bye Birdie (4-Apr-1963) · Albert Peterson

Happy Birthday Frank Sinatra

Today is the 99th birthday of Frank Sinatra.  For some reason, I have always been fond of his version of “Stormy Weather” above all others.  It is from the decade he was with Columbia Records in 40’s and early 50’s and just so perfect.  The world is a better place because Frank was in it and still feels the loss that he has left.

NAME: Frank Sinatra
OCCUPATION: Film Actor, Singer
BIRTH DATE: December 12, 1915
DEATH DATE: May 14, 1998
PLACE OF BIRTH: Hoboken, New Jersey
PLACE OF DEATH: Los Angeles, California
NICKNAME: The Voice, The Sultan of Swoon, Ol’ Blue Eyes, The Chairman of the Board

BEST KNOWN FOR:  Frank Sinatra was one of the most popular entertainers of the 20th century, forging a career as an award-winning singer and film actor.

Francis Albert “Frank” Sinatra was born December 12, 1915, in Hoboken, New Jersey. The only child of Sicilian immigrants, a teenaged Sinatra decided to become a singer after watching Bing Crosby perform. He dropped out of high school, where he was a member of the glee club, and began to sing at local nightclubs. Radio exposure brought him to the attention of bandleader Harry James, with whom Sinatra made his first recordings, including “All or Nothing at All.” In 1940, Tommy Dorsey invited Sinatra to join his band. After two years of chart-topping success with Dorsey, Sinatra decided to strike out on his own.

Between 1943 and 1946, Sinatra’s solo career blossomed as the singer charted 17 different Top 10 singles. The mobs of bobby-soxer fans Sinatra attracted with his dreamy baritone earned him such nicknames as “The Voice” and “The Sultan of Swoon.” “It was the war years, and there was a great loneliness,” recalled Sinatra, who was unfit for military service due to a punctured eardrum. “I was the boy in every corner drugstore who’d gone off, drafted to the war. That was all.”

Sinatra made his movie acting debut in 1943, in Higher and Higher. In 1945, he won a special Academy Award for The House I Live In, a 10-minute short made to promote racial and religious tolerance on the home front. Sinatra’s popularity began to slide in the postwar years, however, leading to a loss of his recording and film contracts in the early 1950s. In 1953, he made a triumphant comeback, winning an Oscar for his portrayal of the Italian-American soldier Maggio in From Here to Eternity. Although this was his first non-singing role, Sinatra quickly found a vocal outlet when he received a new recording contract with Capitol Records in the same year. In his music, the Sinatra of the 1950s brought a more mature sound with jazzier inflections in his voice.

Having regained stardom, Sinatra enjoyed continued success in both film and music for years to come. He received critical acclaim for his performance in the original film of The Manchurian Candidate (1962) and an Academy Award nomination for his work in The Man with the Golden Arm (1955). Meanwhile, he continued to chart Top 10 singles. When his record sales began to dip by the end of the 1950s, Sinatra left Capitol to establish his own record label, Reprise. In association with Warner Bros., which later bought Reprise, Sinatra also set up his own independent film production company, Artanis.

By the mid-1960s, Sinatra was back on top again. He received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and headlined the 1965 Newport Jazz Festival with Count Basie’s Orchestra. This period also marked his Las Vegas debut, where he continued on for years as a main attraction at Caesars Palace. As a founding member of the “Rat Pack,” alongside Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop, Sinatra came to epitomize the hard-drinking, womanizing, gambling swinger—an image constantly reinforced by the popular press and Sinatra’s own albums. With his modern edge and timeless class, not to mention hits like 1968’s iconic “My Way,” even the radical youth had to pay Sinatra his due. As Jim Morrison of the Doors once said, “No one can touch him.”

After a brief retirement in the early 1970s, Sinatra returned to the music scene with the album “Ol’ Blue Eyes Is Back” (1973) and also became more politically active. Having first visited the White House in 1944 while campaigning for Franklin D. Roosevelt in his bid for a fourth term in office, Sinatra worked eagerly for John F. Kennedy’s election in 1960 and later supervised JFK’s inaugural gala in Washington. The relationship between the two soured, however, after the president canceled a weekend visit to Sinatra’s house due to the singer’s connections to Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana. By the 1970s, Sinatra had abandoned his long-held Democratic loyalties and embraced the Republican Party, supporting first Richard Nixon and later his close friend Ronald Reagan, who presented Sinatra with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, in 1985.

Frank Sinatra married his childhood sweetheart, Nancy Barbato, in 1939. They had three children together—Nancy (born in 1940), Frank Sinatra Jr. (born in 1944) and Tina (born in 1948)—before their marriage unraveled in the late 1940s.

In 1951, Sinatra married actress Ava Gardner; after they split, Sinatra remarried a third time, to Mia Farrow, in 1966. That union, too, ended in divorce (in 1968), and Sinatra married for a fourth and final time in 1976, to Barbara Blakely Marx, the widow of comedian Zeppo Marx. The two remained together until Sinatra’s death more than 20 years later.

In October 2013, Mia Farrow, made headlines after stating that Sinatra could be the father of her 25-year-old son, Ronan, in an interview with Vanity Fair. Ronan is Farrow’s only official biological child with Woody Allen. Also during the interview, she called Sinatra the love of her life, saying, “We never really split up.” In response to the buzz surrounding his mother’s comments, Ronan jokingly tweeted: “Listen, we’re all *possibly* Frank Sinatra’s son.”

In 1987, author Kitty Kelley published an unauthorized biography of Sinatra, accusing the singer of relying on mob ties to build his career. Such claims failed to diminish Sinatra’s widespread popularity. In 1993, at the age of 77, Sinatra gained legions of new, younger fans with the release of Frank Sinatra Duets, a collection of 13 Sinatra standards that he rerecorded alongside the likes of Barbra Streisand, Bono, Tony Bennett and Aretha Franklin.

Sinatra performed in concert for the last time in 1995 at the Palm Desert Marriott Ballroom in California. On May 14, 1998, Frank Sinatra died of a heart attack at Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He was 82 years old and had, at last, faced his final curtain. With a show business career that spanned more than 50 years, Sinatra’s continued mass appeal can best be explained in the man’s own words: “When I sing, I believe. I’m honest.”

Happy Birthday Ellen Burnstyn

Today is the 82nd birthday of Ellen Burnstyn.

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NAME:  Ellen Burstyn
OCCUPATION:  Actress
BIRTH DATE:  December 7, 1932
PLACE OF BIRTH:  Detroit, Michigan
ORIGINALLY:  Edna Rae Gillooly

BEST KNOWN FOR: Actress Ellen Burstyn played the mother in The Exorcist and earned an Oscar for her role in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.

Actress. Born Edna Rae Gillooly, on December 7, 1932, in Detroit, Michigan. Burstyn left home at the age of 18 to work as a model. In the late 1950s, she landed her first regular acting gig, as a dancer on television’s The Jackie Gleason Show, billed as Erica Dean. She made her Broadway debut in 1957 in Fair Game, using the stage name Ellen McRae. She would keep that name for the next 10 years, while working steadily on television (the daytime drama The Doctors in 1964 and the western-themed series The Iron Horse from 1966-68) and in minor film roles (1964’s Goodbye, Charlie).

After changing her name yet again, this time to Ellen Burstyn, she landed what would become her breakthrough role, that of Lois Farrow in The Last Picture Show (1971), costarring Jeff Bridges and Cybill Shepherd. Her performance earned Burstyn her first Academy Award nomination, for Best Supporting Actress. She earned a second Oscar nod this time for Best Actress, two years later, for her role as the middle-aged actress whose daughter (Linda Blair) is possessed by demonic forces in The Exorcist, directed by William Friedkin.

In 1974, Burstyn produced and starred in Martin Scorsese’s emotional drama Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, winning an Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of a single mother struggling to support herself and her young son. In addition to her triumphs on screen, Burstyn took home a Tony Award in 1975 for her performance opposite Charles Grodin in Same Time, Next Year. She later reprised her role in the 1978 film version, co-starring Alan Alda, and garnered another Oscar nomination in the lead actress category. Her fourth Best Actress nod came just two years later, for Resurrection (1980).

A respected member of both the film and theater community, Burstyn served as the first female president of the Actor’s Equity Association from 1982 to 1985. Also in 1982, she succeeded Lee Strasberg as the co-artistic director (with Al Pacino) of the Actors Studio. Burstyn would serve in the Actors Studio post for the next six years (Pacino stepped down in 1984). Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, she also built up a considerable resume of acclaimed television features and series, beginning in 1981 with her Emmy-nominated performance in the fact-based miniseries The People vs. Jean Harris. In addition to such dramatic TV movies as Surviving (1985), Into Thin Air (1985), and the Emmy-nominated Pack of Lies (1987), Burstyn tried her hand at comedy with her own series, The Ellen Burstyn Show (1986-87).

Burstyn went on to play a number of small, if memorable, performances in a variety of more films, including How to Make an American Quilt (1995), starring Winona Ryder, and The Spitfire Grill (1996). In 1998, she was featured as part of the impressive ensemble cast of Playing By Heart, also featuring Sean Connery, Gena Rowlands, and Angelina Jolie. Burstyn plays a woman dealing with her grown son’s battle with AIDS in the film.

In 2000, Burstyn played to a decidedly younger audience with her costarring role opposite teen heartthrob Jonathan Taylor Thomas in the little-seen Walking Across Egypt. She was also featured in a small role in the crime drama The Yards, starring Mark Wahlberg, James Caan, and Joaquin Phoenix. On the small screen, she was a regular on the new comedy series That’s Life, playing the busybody mother of a grown woman who decides to go back to college to get her degree. By far her crowning achievement of that year, however, was her harrowing portrayal of a woman addicted to diet pills in the edgy, disturbing drama Requiem for a Dream, directed by Darren Aronofsky. The performance earned Burstyn a sixth overall Academy Award nomination, her fifth for Best Actress.

Burstyn continued to juggle film and television projects. She had a recurring role on the cable hit Big Love and earned an Emmy Award in 2009 for her guest appearance on the crime drama Law & Order: SVU. On the big screen, Burstyn has enjoyed roles in such films as Main Street (2010) and Another Happy Day (2011).

In recent years, Burstyn has thrived on the small screen. She appeared in the 2012 television miniseries Political Animals with Sigourney Weaver and Carla Gugino. She won an Emmy Award for her work on the miniseries the following year. In 2014, Burstyn had a supporting role in the television movie Flowers in the Attic, based on the novel by V.C. Andrews. Her unsettling turn as a disturbed grandmother netted her an Emmy Award nomination. That same year, Burstyn had a recurring role on the sitcom Louie.

Burstyn has been married and divorced three times – to poet William C. Alexander (1950-55), director Paul Roberts (1957-59), and actor Neil Burstyn (1960-1971). She and Neil Burstyn adopted a son, Jefferson. Burstyn serves as the co-president of the Actors Studio alongside Harvey Keitel and Al Pacino. She is also the artistic director for the studio’s New York location.

AWARDS
Oscar for Best Actress 1975 for Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore
Golden Globe 1979 for Same Time, Next Year
Tony 1975 for Same Time, Next Year
Actors’ Equity Association President (1982-85)
Jefferson Awards Board of Selectors
Obama for America
Abortion (Mar-1950)
Raped by husband Neil
Tonsillectomy
Irish Ancestry Maternal
Risk Factors: Vegetarian, Psilocybin, Marijuana, Yoga, Tuberculosis

TELEVISION
Big Love Nancy Davis Dutton (2007-11)
The Book of Daniel Dr. Beatrice Congreve (2006)
That’s Life Dolly DeLucca (2000-02)
The Ellen Burstyn Show Ellen Brewer (1986-87)
The Iron Horse Julie Parsons (1966-67)

FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Interstellar (26-Oct-2014)
The Calling (5-Aug-2014)
Draft Day (11-Apr-2014)
Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You (2-Nov-2011)
Another Happy Day (23-Jan-2011)
Main Street (21-Oct-2010)
The Mighty Macs (17-Oct-2009)
According to Greta (13-May-2009) · Katherine
PoliWood (1-May-2009) · Herself
The Velveteen Rabbit (27-Feb-2009) · Swan
W. (16-Oct-2008)
The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond (12-Sep-2008) · Addie
Lovely, Still (5-Sep-2008) · Mary Malone
For One More Day (9-Dec-2007)
The Stone Angel (12-Sep-2007) · Hagar
The Fountain (4-Sep-2006) · Dr. Lillian Guzetti
The Wicker Man (31-Aug-2006)
Mrs. Harris (16-Sep-2005)
Our Fathers (11-May-2005)
The Five People You Meet in Heaven (5-Dec-2004)
Brush with Fate (2-Feb-2003)
A Decade Under the Influence (19-Jan-2003) · Herself
Easy Riders, Raging Bulls (18-Jan-2003) · Herself
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (3-Jun-2002) · Vivi
Dodson’s Journey (10-Jan-2001)
Mermaid (21-May-2000)
Requiem for a Dream (14-May-2000) · Sara Goldfarb
The Yards (27-Apr-2000) · Val Handler
Walking Across Egypt (17-Dec-1999)
You Can Thank Me Later (23-May-1999)
Night Ride Home (7-Feb-1999)
Playing by Heart (30-Dec-1998)
The Patron Saint of Liars (5-Apr-1998)
Flash (21-Dec-1997)
Deceiver (31-Aug-1997) · Mook
A Deadly Vision (21-Apr-1997)
Timepiece (22-Dec-1996)
Our Son, the Matchmaker (8-May-1996)
The Spitfire Grill (24-Jan-1996) · Hannah Ferguson
How to Make an American Quilt (6-Oct-1995) · Hy
The Baby-Sitters Club (18-Aug-1995)
Roommates (3-Mar-1995)
Getting Gotti (10-May-1994)
When a Man Loves a Woman (29-Apr-1994) · Emily
The Color of Evening (1994)
The Cemetery Club (3-Feb-1993)
Grand Isle (9-Sep-1991)
Picture This: The Times of Peter Bogdanovich in Archer City, Texas (7-Sep-1991) · Herself
Dying Young (21-Jun-1991) · Mrs. O’Neil
When You Remember Me (7-Oct-1990)
Hanna’s War (11-Nov-1988)
Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam (Oct-1987) [VOICE]
Act of Vengeance (21-Apr-1986)
Into Thin Air (29-Oct-1985)
Twice in a Lifetime (9-Sep-1985)
Surviving (10-Feb-1985)
The Ambassador (23-May-1984)
Silence of the North (23-Oct-1981)
Resurrection (6-Sep-1980) · Edna
Same Time, Next Year (22-Nov-1978) · Doris
A Dream of Passion (Aug-1978)
Providence (25-Jan-1977)
Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (9-Dec-1974) · Alice Hyatt
Harry and Tonto (12-Aug-1974) · Shirley
Thursday’s Game (14-Apr-1974)
The Exorcist (26-Dec-1973) · Chris MacNeil
The King of Marvin Gardens (12-Oct-1972) · Sally
The Last Picture Show (3-Oct-1971) · Lois Farrow
Alex in Wonderland (17-Dec-1970)
Pit Stop (14-May-1969)
Goodbye Charlie (18-Nov-1964)
For Those Who Think Young (Jun-1964) · Dr. Pauline Thayer

Happy Birthday Agnes Moorehead

Today is Agnes Moorehead‘s 114th birthday.  Everyone loves her amazing over-the-top scenery-chewing performance as Endora on Bewitched. She was fierce before fierce was fierce. You should also watch Citizen Kane and pay attention to her character:  simply perfection. Then, she stole focus in every scene in What’s the Matter With Helen? and Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte, she made you want to watch her every move, to not miss a second of her. She was in Pollyanna and Rain Tree County and Dark Passage (have you seen Dark Passage?  Amazing.)  She carved out a bigger-that-life life that no one has replicated.  The world is a better place because Agnes was in it and still feels the loss that she has left.

 

Born: December 6, 1900 Clinton, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died: April 30, 1974 (aged 73) Rochester, Minnesota, U.S.
Occupation: Actress

Agnes Robertson Moorehead (December 6, 1900 – April 30, 1974) was an American actress. Although she began with the Mercury Theatre, appeared in more than seventy films beginning with Citizen Kane and on dozens of television shows during a career that spanned more than thirty years, Moorehead is most widely known to modern audiences for her role as the witch Endora in the series Bewitched.

While rarely playing leads in films, Moorehead’s skill at character development and range earned her one Emmy Award and two Golden Globe awards in addition to four Academy Award and six Emmy Award nominations. Moorehead’s transition to television won acclaim for drama and comedy. She could play many different types, but often portrayed haughty, arrogant characters.

Moorehead died of uterine cancer on April 30, 1974 in Rochester, Minnesota. Her mother, Mary M. Moorehead (August 25, 1883 – June 8, 1990) survived her by 16 years, dying at the age of 106 in 1990.

Moorehead appeared in the movie The Conqueror (1956), which was shot near St. George, Utah — downwind from the Yucca Flat, Nevada nuclear test site. She was one of over 90 (of 220) cast and crew members–including costars Susan Hayward, John Wayne, and Pedro Armendariz, as well as director-producer Dick Powell — who, over their lifetimes, all developed cancer; at least 46 from cast and crew have since died from cancer, including all of those named above. No bombs were tested during the actual filming of The Conqueror, but 11 explosions occurred the year before. Two of them were particularly “dirty,” depositing long-lasting radiation over the area. The 51.5-kiloton shot code-named “Simon” was fired on April 25, 1953, and the 32.4-kiloton blast “Harry” went off May 19. (In contrast, the bomb dropped on Hiroshima was 13 kilotons.) “Fallout was very abundant more than a year after Harry,” says Dr. Pendleton, a former AEC researcher. “Some of the isotopes, such as strontium 90 and cesium 137, would not have diminished much.” Pendleton points out that radioactivity can concentrate in “hot spots” such as the rolling dunes of Snow Canyon, a natural reservoir for windblown material. It was the place where much of The Conqueror was filmed. Pendleton also notes that radioactive substances enter the food chain. By eating local meat and produce, the Conqueror cast and crew were increasing their risk. Says Dr. Robert C. Pendleton, director of radiological health at the University of Utah stated, “With these numbers, this case could qualify as an epidemic. The connection between fallout radiation and cancer in individual cases has been practically impossible to prove conclusively. But in a group this size you’d expect only 30-some cancers to develop. With 91, I think the tie-in to their exposure on the set of The Conqueror would hold up even in a court of law.”

Agnes was one of the first members of the company to make a connection between the film and the fallout. Her close friend Sandra Gould, who was featured with her on Bewitched, recalls that long before Moorehead developed the uterine cancer that killed her in 1974, she recounted rumors of “some radioactive germs” on location in Utah, observing:

“Everybody in that picture has gotten cancer and died.” As she was dying, she reportedly said: “I should never have taken that part.”

AWARDS

Emmy 1967 for The Wild Wild West “Night of the Vicious Valentine”
Golden Globe 1945 for Mrs. Parkington
Golden Globe 1965 for Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte
Hollywood Walk of Fame 1719 Vine St. (motion pictures)
St. Louis Walk of Fame

TELEVISION

Bewitched Endora (1964-72)

FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR

Frankenstein: The True Story (30-Nov-1973)
Charlotte’s Web (22-Feb-1973) [VOICE]
Dear Dead Delilah (1972)
What’s the Matter with Helen? (30-Jun-1971) · Sister Alma
The Ballad of Andy Crocker (18-Nov-1969)
The Singing Nun (17-Mar-1966) · Sister Cluny
Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte (15-Dec-1964) · Velma
Who’s Minding the Store? (28-Nov-1963) · Mrs. Phoebe Tuttle
How the West Was Won (1-Nov-1962) · Rebecca Prescott
Jessica (19-Apr-1962) · Maria Lombardo
Bachelor in Paradise (1-Nov-1961) · Judge Peterson
Twenty Plus Two (13-Aug-1961)
Pollyanna (19-May-1960)
The Bat (9-Aug-1959) · Cornelia Van Gorder
Night of the Quarter Moon (4-Mar-1959)
Tempest (1-Dec-1958)
The Story of Mankind (8-Nov-1957) · Queen Elizabeth I
Raintree County (4-Oct-1957) · Ellen Shawnessy
Jeanne Eagels (2-Aug-1957)
The True Story of Jesse James (Feb-1957) · Mrs. Samuel
The Opposite Sex (26-Oct-1956) · Countess
Pardners (25-Jul-1956)
The Revolt of Mamie Stover (11-May-1956)
The Swan (26-Apr-1956) · Queen Maria Dominika
Meet Me in Las Vegas (9-Mar-1956) · Miss Hattie
The Conqueror (21-Feb-1956)
All That Heaven Allows (7-Jan-1956) · Sara Warren
The Left Hand of God (21-Sep-1955) · Beryl Sigman
Untamed (1-Mar-1955)
Magnificent Obsession (4-Aug-1954)
Those Redheads from Seattle (16-Oct-1953) · Mrs. Edmonds
Main Street to Broadway (13-Oct-1953)
Scandal at Scourie (17-May-1953) · Sister Josephine
The Story of Three Loves (5-Mar-1953)
The Blue Veil (26-Oct-1951)
Show Boat (13-Jul-1951) · Parthy Hawks
Adventures of Captain Fabian (21-Mar-1951)
Fourteen Hours (6-Mar-1951)
Caged (19-May-1950) · Ruth Benton
Captain Blackjack (1950)
Without Honor (26-Oct-1949)
The Great Sinner (29-Jun-1949) · Emma Getzel
The Stratton Story (12-May-1949)
Johnny Belinda (14-Sep-1948) · Aggie McDonald
Station West (1-Sep-1948)
The Woman in White (7-May-1948) · Countess Fosco
Summer Holiday (23-Feb-1948) · Cousin Lily
The Lost Moment (21-Nov-1947) · Juliana Borderau
Dark Passage (5-Sep-1947) · Madge Rapf
Our Vines Have Tender Grapes (6-Sep-1945) · Bruna Jacobson
Her Highness and the Bellboy (11-Jul-1945) · Countess Zoe
Keep Your Powder Dry (8-Mar-1945) · Lt. Col. Spottiswoode
Tomorrow, the World! (29-Dec-1944) · Jessie Frame
Mrs. Parkington (12-Oct-1944) · Aspasia Conti
The Seventh Cross (24-Jul-1944) · Mme. Marelli
Since You Went Away (20-Jul-1944) · Emily Hawkins
Dragon Seed (18-Jul-1944) · Third Cousin’s Wife
Jane Eyre (7-Apr-1944) · Mrs. Reed
Government Girl (5-Nov-1943) · Adele
The Youngest Profession (26-Feb-1943) · Miss Featherstone
The Big Street (13-Aug-1942) · Violette Shumberg
Journey Into Fear (7-Aug-1942) · Mrs. Mathews
The Magnificent Ambersons (10-Jul-1942) · Fanny
Citizen Kane (1-May-1941) · Mary Kane

Happy Birthday Diane Ladd

Today is the 82nd Birthday of the amazing actress Diane Ladd.  Wiki and IMDB say her birth year is 1932 and Biography.com says it’s 1942.  It doesn’t matter.  She has has a long career full of amazing work, but if you only see one film, see “Wild at Heart.”  You will want to see everything she has ever done.

NAME: Diane Ladd
OCCUPATION: Film Actress
BIRTH DATE: November 29, 1932
EDUCATION: Louisiana State University
PLACE OF BIRTH: Laurel, Mississippi
ORIGINALLY: Rose Diane Ladnier

BEST KNOWN FOR: Diane Lane is a Golden Globe–winning actress of films and TV and the mother of actress Laura Dern.

Diane Ladd  is an American actress, film director, producer and published author. She has appeared in over 120 roles, on television, and in miniseries and feature films, including Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974), Wild at Heart (1990), Rambling Rose (1991), Ghosts of Mississippi, Primary Colors, 28 Days (2000), and American Cowslip (2008). Twice divorced and currently married, Ladd is the mother of actress Laura Dern by ex-husband actor Bruce Dern.

Ladd was born Rose Diane Ladner in Meridian, Mississippi in 1932, the only child of Mary Bernadette (née Anderson; August 15, 1912 – May 23, 2002), a housewife and actress, and Preston Paul Ladner (August 14, 1906 – April 1982), a poulterer. Ladd is a second cousin of playwright Tennessee Williams and is also related to poet Sidney Lanier.  Ladd was raised in the Roman Catholic faith of her mother.

Ladd was formerly married to actor and one-time co-star Bruce Dern from 1960–1969; the couple had two children, Diane Elizabeth Dern and actress Laura Elizabeth Dern. Diane died at 18 months from head injuries caused by falling into a swimming pool.  Ladd and Laura Dern co-starred in the films Wild at Heart and Rambling Rose.  They also appeared together in Inland Empire, another film by David Lynch.  They currently co-star on the HBO series Enlightened. Ladd is now married to Robert Charles Hunter.

In 1971, Ladd joined the cast of the CBS soap opera, The Secret Storm.  She was the second actress to play the role of Kitty Styles on the long-running daytime serial.  She later had a supporting role in Roman Polanski’s 1974 film Chinatown, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her role as Flo in the film Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.  That film inspired the TV series Alice, in which Flo was portrayed by Polly Holliday.  When Holliday left the TV series, Ladd succeeded her as waitress Isabelle “Belle” Dupree.  In 1993, Ladd appeared in the episode “Guess Who’s Coming to Chow?” of the CBS comedy/western series Harts of the West in the role of the mother of co-star Harley Jane Kozak. The 15-episode program, set on a dude ranch in Nevada starred Beau Bridges and Lloyd Bridges.

In 2004, Ladd played psychic Mrs. Druse in the television miniseries of Stephen King’s Kingdom Hospital. In April 2006, Ladd released her first book entitled: Spiraling Through The School Of Life: A Mental, Physical, and Spiritual Discovery. In 2007, she co-starred in the Lifetime Television film Montana Sky.

In addition to her Academy Award nomination for Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, she was also nominated (again in the Best Actress in a Supporting Role category) for both Wild at Heart and Rambling Rose, both of which she starred alongside her daughter Laura Dern.  Dern received a nomination for Best Actress for Rambling Rose. The dual mother and daughter nominations for Ladd and Dern in Rambling Rose marked the first time in Academy Award history that such an event had occurred.  They were also nominated for dual Golden Globe Awards in the same year.

Ladd has worked in the theatre as well. She made her Broadway debut in the play Carry Me Back to Morningside Heights in 1968. In 1976 she starred in the play, A Texas Trilogy: Lu Ann Hampton Laverty Oberlander, for which she received a Drama Desk Award nomination.

Give me Five Dollars

ipr logoI am not going to tell you which charity to choose, I chose Interlochen Center For The Arts because I have a strong connection to it, support the Interlochen Public Radio station already and want my money to work as hard as I worked for it.  You can do this through installing Amazon Smile to your Amazon.com account.  When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization. You can choose from nearly one million organizations to support.  To shop at AmazonSmile simply go to smile.amazon.com from the web browser on your computer or mobile device. You may also want to add a bookmark to smile.amazon.com to make it even easier to return and start your shopping at AmazonSmile.

InterlochenNow that I have given you a free tool to support your favorite charity at absolutely no cost to you, give me five dollars.  OK, you don’t have to give it to me, but give that five dollars to an organization you care about.

My family has nearly 60 years of history at Interlochen Center For The Arts.  I don’t have a lot of money, but I use AmazonSmile to support the school and donate directly to the public radio station in honor of my family members.  The recent deaths of two aunts with Interlochen connections, an uncle’s death a year ago, and another uncle’s death before that have kept my donations to Interlochen Public Radio consistent.

So, when you are out collecting your doorbuster flat screen TVs and whatever else they make you stand outside at 5:00am for, remember to donate some money to somewhere important to you.

You can donate to IPR HERE.  Need a name to add to the recognition field?  Use one of these:  Erik Anderson, Waldie Anderson, Ed Banghart, Pat Banghart, Carolyn Bridger.  Actually, you can copy+paste all of them in the field.  It’s $5.