Happy Birthday Victor Mature

Today is the 102nd birthday of the movie actor Victor Mature.  His fame and popularity rivaled any other male actor of the time.  He starred in every genre of film, then retired to a ranch.  The world is a better place because he was in it and still feels the loss that he has left.

NAME: Victor Mature
OCCUPATION: Film Actor, Theater Actor
BIRTH DATE: January 29, 1913
DEATH DATE: August 4, 1999
PLACE OF BIRTH: Louisville, Kentucky
PLACE OF DEATH: Rancho Santa Fe, California

BEST KNOWN FOR: Victor Mature was a film actor who became a sex symbol in the 1940s with hordes of adoring female fans.

Actor. Born on January 29, 1913, in Louisville, Kentucky. The son of an Austrian scissors grinder, Mature left school at the age of 15. He then took on a string of odd jobs to support himself, including selling candy. Four years later, he headed out to Hollywood.

Mature started his acting career at the Pasadena Community Playhouse, appearing in more than 60 plays. He got a small role in 1939’s The Housekeeper’s Daughter, making his first on-screen appearance. He graduated to a more substantial part in the movie One Million B.C. (1940). The film made him a star and was the first of many roles that showcased his good looks and muscular physique.

In the early 1940s, Mature appeared in several different types of films – comedy, adventure, drama, and suspense. He even appeared in such musicals as No, No, Nanette (1940), Seven Days’ Leave (1942) with Lucille Ball, and My Gal Sal (1942) with Rita Hayworth. Mature starred in a number of films opposite Betty Grable, including I Wake Up Screaming (1941) and Footlight Serenade (1942). Sometimes called “the Hunk,” he became a very popular film idol and had many adoring female fans.

Putting acting on hold, Mature joined the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II. After the war, Mature returned to Hollywood and turned in arguably two of his best performances. In the John Ford-directed western My Darling Clementine (1946), Mature played the legendary Dr. John “Doc” Holliday alongside Henry Fonda as Wyatt Earp. In the crime drama Kiss of Death (1947), he starred as Nick Bianco, an ex-con who tries to go straight, but is menaced by someone from his criminal past.

Two years later, Mature took on one of his most famous roles as the long-haired hero in the biblical epic Samson and Delilah (1949). He starred opposite Hedy Lamarr as the legendary temptress. Mature continued to be to a in-demand leading man in the 1950s and appeared in several more epic films, such as The Robe (1953), The Egyptian (1954), and Hannibal (1960).

At the age of 46, Mature retired from Hollywood. He moved to Rancho Santa Fe, California, and spent his time playing golf and pursuing his hobbies. He was lured back into acting a few times over the years, appearing such films as After the Fox (1966) with Peter Sellers and Every Little Crook and Nanny (1972) with Lynn Redgrave. He made his television debut in Samson and Delilah (1984) as Samson’s father. This role turned out to be his last.

Mature died after battling cancer on August 4, 1999, in Rancho Santa Fe, California. He married five times, but his first two were very brief. Mature married for third time in 1948 but got divorced in 1955. His fourth marriage to Adrienne Joy Urwick in 1959 lasted a decade. In 1974, he married Lorey Sabena, and they had a daughter named Victoria. Besides his many marriages, Mature was romantically linked to co-star Rita Hayworth and other several other actresses.

FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Samson and Delilah (1-Apr-1984)
Firepower (27-Apr-1979)
Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood (26-May-1976)
Every Little Crook and Nanny (14-Jun-1972)
Head (6-Nov-1968) · The Big Victor
After the Fox (8-Sep-1966) · Tony Powell
The Tartars (1961)
Hannibal (21-Dec-1959)
The Big Circus (5-Jul-1959) · Henry Jasper Whirling
The Bandit of Zhobe (Apr-1959)
Timbuktu (31-Mar-1959) · Mike Conway
Escort West (2-Nov-1958) · Ben Lassiter
China Doll (8-Jun-1958) · Capt. Cliff Brandon
Tank Force (22-Apr-1958)
The Long Haul (27-Aug-1957)
Pickup Alley (2-Apr-1957) · Charles Sturgis
Zarak (Dec-1956)
Safari (20-Jun-1956) · Ken
The Sharkfighters (1956)
The Last Frontier (7-Dec-1955) · Jed Cooper
Violent Saturday (Apr-1955)
Chief Crazy Horse (Apr-1955) · Crazy Horse
Betrayed (7-Sep-1954) · The Scarf
The Egyptian (24-Aug-1954)
Demetrius and the Gladiators (18-Jun-1954) · Demetrius
Dangerous Mission (6-Mar-1954) · Matt Hallett
Veils of Bagdad (7-Oct-1953)
The Robe (16-Sep-1953) · Demetrius
Affair with a Stranger (20-Jun-1953)
The Glory Brigade (20-May-1953) · Lt. Sam Pryor
Million Dollar Mermaid (4-Dec-1952) · James Sullivan
Androcles and the Lion (Dec-1952)
Something for the Birds (Oct-1952)
The Las Vegas Story (1-Jan-1952) · Dave Andrews
Gambling House (17-Mar-1951)
Stella (20-Jul-1950)
Wabash Avenue (31-Mar-1950)
Samson and Delilah (31-Oct-1949) · Samson
Red, Hot and Blue (19-Oct-1949)
Easy Living (8-Oct-1949) · Pete Wilson
Cry of the City (29-Sep-1948)
Fury at Furnace Creek (30-Apr-1948)
Kiss of Death (27-Aug-1947) · Nick Bianco
Moss Rose (30-May-1947)
My Darling Clementine (3-Dec-1946)
Seven Days’ Leave (13-Nov-1942) · Johnny Grey
Footlight Serenade (1-Aug-1942)
My Gal Sal (30-Apr-1942) · Paul Dresser
Song of the Islands (5-Feb-1942) · Jefferson Harper, Jr.
The Shanghai Gesture (25-Dec-1941) · Dr. Omar
I Wake Up Screaming (14-Nov-1941) · Frankie Christopher
No, No, Nanette (13-Dec-1940)
Captain Caution (9-Aug-1940) · Dan Marvin
One Million B.C. (26-Apr-1940) · Tumak
The Housekeeper’s Daughter (1-Sep-1939)

Happy Birthday Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Today is the 259th birthday of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  His birthday, especially the mile-marker ages, is celebrated around the world with festivals and special concerts.  I have included a clip of his Eine kleine Nachtmusik to remind you that you know about him than you may think. The world is a better place because he was in it and still feels the loss that he has left.

Wolfgang-amadeus-mozart

NAME: Wolfgang Mozart
OCCUPATION: Songwriter, Pianist
BIRTH DATE: January 27, 1756
DEATH DATE: December 05, 1791
PLACE OF BIRTH: Salzburg, Austria
PLACE OF DEATH: Vienna, Austria
FULL NAME: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
AKA: Wolfgang Mozart

BEST KNOWN FOR: A prolific artist, Austrian composer Wolfgang Mozart created a string of operas, concertos, symphonies and sonatas that profoundly shaped classical music.

Today is the birthday of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, born in Salzburg, Austria. By the age of five, he was proficient at the violin and piano and had begun composing. In his short lifetime, he composed more than 600 works in almost every genre of the day. Joseph Haydn is said to have told Mozart’s father, “Before God and as an honest man I tell you that your son is the greatest composer known to me either in person or by name.” He later wrote of Mozart that “posterity will not see such a talent again in 100 years.”

Mozart’s premature death has been a matter of great interest over the years. He died suddenly at the age of 35, and people seem to want his death to be as remarkable as his life. His death certificate reads only “fever and rash,” which are not so much causes of death as they are symptoms. Because there’s so little data to go on, rumors have been rife: he was poisoned by a jealous rival; he accidentally poisoned himself with mercury, trying to treat a case of syphilis; he contracted parasites; he was murdered by Jews, or Catholics, or Freemasons. There was no evidence of foul play. He had been productive in his career and was in good health in the months leading up to his death, but two days after his last public performance, he came down quite suddenly with a high fever, headache, muscle pain, and vomiting. His body exuded a foul-smelling odor. Two weeks later, he suffered a seizure, fell into a coma, and died.

Mozart himself started the rumor that he was poisoned, because after he fell ill, he told his wife, “My end will not be long in coming; for sure, someone has poisoned me!” There’s a theory that Mozart was having an affair with a married woman whose husband found out and murdered him. In his play Mozart and Salieri (1830), Aleksandr Pushkin speculated that rival composer Antonio Salieri poisoned Mozart, but he would have had no reason to; although they were rivals, the two composers were friendly, and Salieri’s position and income were far superior to Mozart’s at that time.

A letter written by Mozart not long before he became ill refers to a hearty meal of pork cutlets, one of his favorite foods. It’s possible the pork was infested by Trichinella parasites, which cause trichinosis, the symptoms of which are fever, vomiting, swelling, and muscle and joint pain.

In 2009, a paper published in The Annals of Internal Medicine speculated that the great composer was brought down by a common streptococcal infection — like strep throat — that caused his kidneys to fail. Researchers studied death certificates in Vienna around that time, and there were many reports of deaths involving excessive swelling, which can be a sign of renal failure. In his last days, Mozart’s swelling was so severe that he was unable even to turn over in bed.

Regardless of the cause of death, the end result was the same, and Mozart died on December 5, 1791, at the age of 35. It’s a persistent myth that Mozart was buried in a pauper’s grave. While it’s true that he was buried in a communal plot, that was common practice in Vienna at the time. Only members of the aristocracy received individual burials as we think of them today; people of Mozart’s status and below were sewn, naked, into a linen sack, and placed into a pit with four or five other bodies. Quicklime was sprinkled over the corpses to speed their decomposition. After about seven years, the remains were exhumed and dispersed so that the grave could be reused. As a result, Mozart’s body is lost to us, and scientists have never been able to examine it using modern technology.

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Happy Birthday Paul Newman

Today is the 90th birthday of Paul Newman.  I think (at least hope) that we all have a similar desire for our life, a sort of State Park approach to humanity and the world:  to leave it better than we found it.  Paul Newman absolutely did.  The work he did on film has made the world a more beautiful place and the work his charities continue to do is a legacy that we will all benefit from for generations.  The world is a better place because he was in it and still feels the loss that he has left it.

NAME: Paul Newman
OCCUPATION: Film Actor, Theater Actor, Television Actor, Race Car Driver, Entrepreneur
BIRTH DATE: January 26, 1925
DEATH DATE: September 26, 2008
EDUCATION: Kenyon College, Yale School of Drama
PLACE OF BIRTH: Cleveland, Ohio
PLACE OF DEATH: Westport, Connecticut

BEST KNOWN FOR: Paul Newman came to be known as one of the finest actors of his time. He also started the Newman’s Own food company, which donates all profits to charity.

Paul Leonard Newman was born on January 26, 1925 in Cleveland, Ohio. Newman grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, with his older brother Arthur and his parents, Arthur and Teresa. His father owned a sporting-goods store and his mother was a homemaker who loved the theatre. Newman got his first taste of acting while doing school plays, but it was not his first love at the time. In high school, he played football and hoped to be a professional athlete.

Graduating high school in 1943, Newman briefly attended college before enlisting in the U.S. Navy Air Corps. He wanted to be a pilot, but he was told that he could never fly a plane as he was colorblind. He ended up serving as a radio operator and spent part of World War II serving in the Pacific.

After leaving the military in 1946, Paul Newman attended Kenyon College in his home state of Ohio. He was on an athletic scholarship and played on the school’s football team. But after getting into some trouble, Newman changed course. “I got thrown in jail and kicked off the football team. Since I was determined not to study very much, I majored in theater the last two years,” he told Interview magazine in 1998.

After finishing college in 1949, Newman did summer stock theater in Wisconsin where he met his first wife, actress Jacqueline Witte. The couple soon married, and Newman continued to act until his father’s death in 1950. He and his wife moved to Ohio to run the family business for a time. Their first child, a son named Scott, was born there. After asking his brother to take over the business, Newman and his family relocated to Connecticut, where he studied at the Yale School of Drama.

Running out of money, Newman left Yale after a year and tried his luck in New York. He studied with Lee Strasberg at the famed Actor’s Studio alongside Marlon Brando, James Dean and Geraldine Page.

Newman made his Broadway debut in William Inge’s Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy Picnic in 1953. During rehearsals he met actress Joanne Woodward, who was serving as an understudy for the production. While they were reportedly attracted to each other, the happily-married Newman did not pursue a romantic relationship with the young actress.

Around this time, Newman and his wife welcomed their second child together, a daughter named Susan. Picnic ran for 14 months, helping Newman support his growing family. He also found work on the then-emerging medium of television.

In 1954, Paul Newman made his film debut in The Silver Chalice for which he received terrible reviews. He had better success on Broadway in the Tony Award-winning The Desperate Hours (1955), in which he played an escaped convict who terrorizes a suburban family. During the run of the hit play, he and his wife added a third child — a daughter named Stephanie — to their family.

A winning turn on television helped pave the way for Newman’s return to Hollywood. Working with director Arthur Penn, he appeared in an episode of Philco Playhouse, “The Death of Billy the Kid,” written by Gore Vidal. Newman teamed up with Penn again for an episode of Playwrights ’56 for a story about a worn-down and battered boxer. Two projects became feature films: Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956) and The Left-Handed Gun (1958).

In Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956), Newman again played a boxer. This time he took on the role of real-life prizefighter Rocky Graziano — and demonstrated his considered acting talents to movie-goers and critics alike. His reputation was further magnified with Penn’s The Left-Handed Gun, an adaptation of Gore Vidal’s earlier teleplay about Billy the Kid.

That same year, Paul Newman starred as Brick in the film version of Tennessee Williams‘ play, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), opposite Elizabeth Taylor. He gave another strong performance as a hard-drinking former athlete and disinterested husband who struggles against different types of pressures exerted on him by his wife (Taylor) and his overpowering father (Burl Ives). Once dismissed as just another handsome face, Newman showed that he could handle the challenges of such a complex character. He was nominated for his first Academy Award for this role.

The Long Hot Summer (1958) marked the first big-screen pairing of Newman and Joanne Woodward. The two had already become a couple off-screen while he was still married to his first wife, and they wed in 1958 soon after his divorce was finalized. The next year, Newman returned to Broadway to star in the original production of Tennessee Williams’ Sweet Bird of Youth. The production saw Newman acting opposite the great Geraldine Page, and was directed by Elia Kazan.

Newman continued to thrive professionally. He starred in Otto Preminger’s Exodus (1960) about the founding of the state of Israel. The following year, he took on one of his most famous roles. In The Hustler (1961), Newman played Fast Eddie, a slick, small-time pool shark who takes on the legendary Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason). For his work on the film, Paul Newman received his second Academy Award nomination.

Taking on another remarkable part, Newman played the title character — an arrogant, unprincipled cowboy — in Hud (1963). The movie posters for the film described the character as “the man with the barbed wire soul,” and Newman earned critical acclaim and another Academy Award nomination for his work as yet another on-screen antihero.

In Cool Hand Luke (1967), Newman played a rebellious inmate at a southern prison. His convincing and charming portrayal led audiences to cheer on this convict in his battle against prison authorities. No matter how hard they leaned on Luke, he refused to bend to their will. This thoroughly enjoyable and realistic performance led to Paul Newman’s fourth Academy Award nomination.

The next year, Newman stepped behind the cameras to direct his wife in Rachel, Rachel (1968). Woodward starred as an older schoolteacher who dreams of love. A critical success, the film earned four Academy Award nominations, including one for Best Picture.

A lesser-known film from this time helped trigger a new passion for the actor. While working on the car racing film, Winning (1969), Newman went to a professional driving program as part of his preparation for the role. He discovered that he loved racing and started to devote some of his time to the sport.

That same year, Newman starred alongside Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). He played Butch to Redford’s Sundance, and the pairing was a huge success with audiences, bringing in more than $46 million domestically. Recapturing their on-screen camaraderie, Newman and Redford played suave con men in The Sting (1973), another hit at the box office.

During the 1980s Newman continued to amass critical praise for his work. In Sydney Pollack’s Absence of Malice (1981), he played a man victimized by the media. The following year he starred as a down-and-out lawyer as The Verdict (1982). Both films earned Newman Academy Award nominations.

While he was widely considered one of the finest actors of his time, Paul Newman had never won an Academy Award. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences decided to correct this error by giving Newman an honorary award for his contributions to film in 1985. With his trademark sense of humor, Newman said in his acceptance speech that “I am especially grateful that this did not come wrapped in a gift certificate to Forest Lawn [a famous cemetery].”

He returned to the character of Fast Eddie from The Hustler in 1986’s The Color of Money. This time around, his character was no longer the up-and-coming hustler, but a worn-out liquor salesman. He is drawn back in the world of pool by mentoring a young upstart (Tom Cruise). For his work on the film, Paul Newman finally won the Academy Award for Best Actor.

Approaching his seventies, Newman continued to delight audiences with more character-driven roles. He played an aging, but crafty rascal who struggles with renewing a relationship with his estranged son in Nobody’s Fool (1994).

Newman played a crime boss in Road to Perdition (2002), which starred Tom Hanks as a hit man who must protect his son from Newman’s character. This role brought him another Academy Award nomination — this time for Best Supporting Actor.

In his later years, Paul Newman took fewer acting roles, but was still able to deliver impressive performances. He earned an Emmy Award for his nuanced depiction of a lay-about father in the television miniseries Empire Falls (2005), which was adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning Richard Russo novel. The miniseries also provided him the opportunity to work with his wife, Joanne Woodward.

Around this time, Paul Newman scored his first racing victory at a Connecticut track in 1972. He went on to win a national Sports Car Club of America title four years later. In 1977, Newman made the leap and became a professional racer. In 1995, Newman served as part of the winning team at the Rolex 24 at Daytona. With his victory, Newman became the oldest driver to win this 24-hour-long race.

Newman started his own food company in the early 1980s. He started out the business by making bottles of salad dressing to give out as gifts for Christmas one year with his friend, writer A. E. Hotchner. Newman then had an unusual idea as to what to do with the leftovers — he wanted to try selling the dressing to stores. The two went on to found Newman’s Own, whose profits and royalties are used for educational and charitable purposes. The company’s product line now extends from dressings to sauces to snacks to cookies. Since the inception of Newman’s Own, over $250 million has been donated to thousands of charities worldwide.

Newman’s other charitable foundations include the Scott Newman Center, which he founded in 1978, after his only son died of an accidental overdose of alcohol and prescription drugs. The group seeks to stop drug abuse through educational programs. He also established the Hole in the Wall Camps to give children with life-threatening illnesses a memorable, free holiday. In 1988, the first residential summer camp was opened in Ashford, Connecticut. There are now eight camps in the United States, Ireland, the United Kingdom and France. Some of the funds raised by Newman’s Own have gone to support the Hole in the Wall Camps.

Known for his love of race cars, Newman lent his distinctive voice to the 2006 animated film Cars, playing the part of Doc Hudson — a retired racecar. He also served as the narrator for the 2007 documentary The Price of Sugar, which explored the work of Father Christopher Hartley and his efforts to help the workers in the Dominican Republic’s sugar cane fields.

That same year, Newman announced that he was retiring from acting. “I’m not able to work anymore as an actor at the level I would want to,” he said during an appearance on Good Morning America. “You start to lose your memory, your confidence, your invention. So that’s pretty much a closed book for me.”

Newman, however, wasn’t going to leave the business entirely. He was planning on directing Of Mice and Men at the Westport Country Playhouse the following year. But he ended up withdrawing from the production because of health problems, and rumors began to circulate that the great actor was seriously ill. Statements from the actor and his representatives simply said he was “doing nicely” and, reflective of Newman’s sense of humor, being treated “for athlete’s foot and hair loss.”

A private man, Newman chose to keep the true nature of his illness to himself. He succumbed to cancer at his Westport, Connecticut home on September 26, 2008. This is where he and his wife had lived for numerous years to get away from the spotlight and where they chose to raise their three daughters, Nell, Melissa and Clea.

As the news of his death spread, praise and tributes began pouring in. “There is a point where feelings go beyond words. I have lost a real friend. My life — and this country — is better for his being in it,” friend Robert Redford said after learning about Newman’s death.

Paul Newman will be long remembered for his great films, his vibrant lifestyle and his extensive charitable works, and his relationship with Joanne Woodward will always be regarded as one of the most successful and enduring love stories in Hollywood history.

 

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Night of the Comet – Not So Secret Obsession

I love everything about this movie.  It had zombies before all you bacon-loving clown-fearing hipsters were all about them.  The fashion, the music, the dialog, all perfection, all 80s.  I have even included the entire film at the bottom of this post.  You should at least watch the first 15 minutes.  I love the poster for Red Dust on the inside of the backstage door.  First 15 minuted, I promise.  You’ll want to stay for the dancing sequence in an abandoned shopping mall, it is one of the best music montages ever.

Directed by: Thom Eberhardt

Produced by: Andrew Lane, Wayne Crawford

Written by: Thom EberhardtRelease date: November 16, 1984

Night of the Comet is a 1984 film directed by Thom Eberhardt and starring Catherine Mary Stewart, Robert Beltran, and Kelli Maroney. It has elements of such diverse genres as science fiction, horror, zombie apocalypse, comedy, and romance. The film was voted number 10 in Bloody Disgusting’s Top 10 Doomsday Horror Films in 2009.

The Earth is passing through the tail of a rogue comet, an event which has not occurred in 65 million years, the last time coinciding with the extinction event that wiped out the dinosaurs. On the night of the comet’s passage, large crowds gather to watch and celebrate the event.

18 year old Regina “Reggie” Belmont (Catherine Mary Stewart) is an employee at a movie theater in southern California. Annoyed that her #6 high score on the arcade game Tempest was beaten by someone with the initials “DMK“, she decides to have sex with her boyfriend, the theater projectionist, in the steel-lined projection booth. Meanwhile, Reggie’s 16 year old sister Samantha “Sam” (Kelli Maroney) argues with their stepmother, and she gets punched in the face.

The next morning, a reddish haze covers everything. There is also not one sign of life, only small piles of red dust and empty clothes. Reggie and her boyfriend wake up, unaware that anything strange has happened. Her boyfriend steps outside behind the theater and is immediately killed by a zombie. When Reggie comes looking for her boyfriend, she finds the zombie eating him. The zombie tries to attack, but she escapes. Finding herself in an empty world, Reggie goes home to find her sister. Sam had spent the night in a metal yard shed after the fight and is also alright.

After figuring out what has happened, they hear a radio disc jockey and race to the station, only to find it is automated and just a recording. They do find another survivor there, Hector Gomez (Robert Beltran), who spent the night in the back of his steel semi truck. When Sam interrupts the recorded show and makes an announcement, the broadcast is heard by government researchers in an underground think tank. They call the station, telling the survivors that a rescue team is on the way. The scientists note that the zombies, though less exposed to the comet, will soon disintegrate into dust themselves. Reggie tells Hector that, as military brats, she and Sam were taught how to use firearms by their father. Hector then leaves to see if any of his family survived, while Reggie and Sam go foraging at a local mall. After a surprise firefight with some zombie ex-stock boys, the girls are taken prisoner but are saved by the rescue team from the think tank.
Reggie is immediately taken back to their base. Audrey White (Mary Woronov), a dying, disillusioned scientist, offers to remain behind with Sam to wait for Hector. Another scientist who stays with them believes Sam has been exposed and should be executed. However, Audrey realizes that Sam is actually healthy. After purportedly euthanizing Sam, she then kills the other scientist. When Hector returns, Audrey provides enough information for him and Sam to try to rescue Reggie. Audrey then gives herself a lethal injection.

The researchers had suspected and prepared for the comet’s effects, but inadvertently left their ventilation system open during the comet’s passage allowing the comet’s deadly dust to permeate their base. Meanwhile, Reggie has become suspicious, escapes, and discovers that the dying scientists have hunted down healthy survivors and rendered them brain-dead, so they can harvest their untainted blood to look for a cure.
Hector and Sam find Reggie, along with a young boy and a young girl Reggie has rescued. Some of the researchers are killed in the escape, while the rest presumably perish from the comet’s after-effects.

Eventually, rain washes away the red dust and the world is left in a pristine condition. The group becomes a conventional family unit, except for Sam who feels left out. When she ignores Reggie’s warning and crosses a deserted street against the still-operating signal light, she is almost run over by a sports car driven by Danny Mason Keener, a teenager her own age. After apologizing, he invites her to go for a ride. As they drive off, the car is shown sporting the initials “DMK” on the vanity plate.

Happy Birthday Malcolm McLaren

Today is the 69th birthday of Malcolm McLaren.  He did a little bit of everything and was exceptionally successful at it.  The world is a better place because he was in it and still feels the loss that he has left.

MALCOLM MCLARENNAME: Malcolm McLaren
OCCUPATION: Fashion Designer, Artist
BIRTH DATE: January 22, 1946
DEATH DATE: April 8, 2010
EDUCATION: Harrow Art School, Croydon College of Art, Goldsmiths College
PLACE OF BIRTH: London, United Kingdom
PLACE OF DEATH: Switzerland

BEST KNOWN FOR: Recording artist and fashion designer Malcolm McLaren came to fame as manager of the Sex Pistols. Later, he recorded several albums of his own material.

Artist, musician, band manager. One of the creative forces behind English punk rock and the Sex Pistols in particular, Malcolm Robert Andrew McLaren was born January 22, 1946, in London, England. The son of a Scottish engineer, he was raised primarily by his maternal grandmother, whom he later credited with fostering his well-regarded subversive spirit.

As such, school was not a perfect fit for the creative McLaren. He attended more than half a dozen different art schools, including Harrow Art School, where he befriended Jamie Reid, who would later serve as the brains behind the Sex Pistols’ provocative graphics. His struggles in school led one institution to expel him and another, Croydon College of Art, to try to have him committed to a mental institution.

In 1971 McLaren dropped out of school for good and opened a boutique shop in Chelsea. Initially called Let It Rock and later renamed Too Fast to Live Too Young to Die, the store specialized in 1950s “Teddy boy” fashions.

McLaren’s world changed when the New York Dolls, a glam-rock band that performed in high heels, visited his shop one day. McLaren and the musicians quickly hit it off and eventually he followed the band back to the United States, where he worked as its manager. McLaren brought an unusual approach to his job, pushing the band to shock its American audiences as much as possible. In one instance he had the Dolls perform in Maoist Red Guard uniforms and play in front of a hammer-and-sickle flag.

But the Dolls’ run was short-lived, and after the group broke up, McLaren returned to London intent on trying to ramp up what he’d tried to do in the States.

He found his new cause in a group of musicians headed up by lead singer John Lydon, later renamed Johnny Rotten due to the condition of his teeth. In every shape and form, the Sex Pistols was the product of McLaren’s imagination. He put the band together and orchestrated the outrage that made them the toast of the English punk rock scene. Rotten called McLaren “the most evil person on earth.”

With singles like “Anarchy in the U.K.” and “God Save the Queen,” the Pistols climbed the charts in Britain. The group’s short run consisted of just one album, the 1977 release Never Mind the Bollocks: Here’s the Sex Pistols. In 1978 the group embarked on its first and only American tour. It quickly concluded when Rotten walked off the stage at a performance in San Francisco, leaving the band behind and marking the end of the Pistols as a group.

Even with the band’s demise, McLaren continued to stay heavily involved in the music scene. He went on to manage several other acts, and in 1983 issued an album of his own, Duck Rock, which featured a combination of world music and hip-hop. Several other albums followed, including Fans (1984), Waltz Darling (1989), and Paris (1994).

Over the last several years of his life, McLaren stayed busy with several film, television and radio projects. He was one of the producers of the docu-drama Fast Food Nation (2006) and oversaw the production of a pair of BBC2 radio presentations, Malcolm McLaren’s Musical Map of London and Malcolm McLaren’s Life and Times in L.A.. McLaren fathered a son with his first partner, designer Vivienne Westwood, and was in a relationship with another partner, Young Kim, at the time of his death. He’d been battling cancer for several months and passed away at a clinic in Switzerland on April 8, 2010.

His varied, bombastic career was driven, he once said, by some advice an old art school teacher had given him. “We will all be failures,” the educator told the young McLaren. “But at least be a magnificent, noble failure. Anyone can be a benign success.”

Happy Birthday Barbara Stanwyck

Today is the 108th birthday of Barbara Stanwyck.  Born Ruby Stevens, reinvented herself into an internationally-known actress, and stayed in the public eye for 60 years.  Absolutely amazing.  The world is a better place because she was in it and still feels the loss that she has left.

NAME: Barbara Stanwyck
OCCUPATION: Film Actress, Television Actress, Dancer, Pin-up
BIRTH DATE: July 16, 1907
DEATH DATE: January 20, 1990
PLACE OF BIRTH: Brooklyn, New York
PLACE OF DEATH: Santa Monica, California
ORIGINALLY: Ruby Stevens

BEST KNOWN FOR: Barbara Stanwyck was an American actress who had a 60-year career in film and TV. Usually playing strong-willed women, Stanwyck defined the femme fatale.

Film, television and theatre actress Barbara Stanwyck was born Ruby Stevens on July 16, 1907, in Brooklyn, New York. She had a troubled childhood, having become an orphan at the age of 4 after her mother was pushed off of a moving streetcar and killed. Her father failed to cope with the loss of his wife and abandoned his five children.The young Stanwyck—who was raised by her sister, a showgirl—was forced to grow up quickly. She was basically left to fend for herself. At the age of 9, Stanwyck took up smoking. She ended up quitting school five years later. By age 15, she made her way into the entertainment industry after becoming a chorus girl and later made her Broadway debut in 1926 as a cabaret dancer in The Noose. This was shortly after she changed her name to Barbara Stanwyck.
Stanwyck, along with Golden Age actresses like Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, helped to redefine the typical role of women in film. Unlike the damsels in distress and happy housewives often shown in films during this era, Stanwyck a wide range of women, all having their own set of motives and ideals. Some examples of her landmark roles were in Ladies They Talk About (1932) and Annie Oakley (1935)—in which she played the titular role.In 1937, Stanwyck’s talent as an actress was recognized on a grander scale as she was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in Stella Dallas(1937). She would come to be nominated three more times for the films Ball of Fire (1941), Double Indemnity (1944) and Sorry, Wrong Number (1948)—each time for best actress in a leading role—however, she never won the award. In addition to the recognition she received from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Double Indemnity, she was lauded by critics for having what’s considered one of her greatest roles as seductress and murderer Phyllis Dietrichson in the popular noir film. She did, however, receive an honorary Oscar in 1982. In total she filmed more than 80 films.
As Stanwyck got older, she began making more appearances in television and fewer on film. In the 1952, she made her first television appearance onThe Jack Benny Program (1932-55). She followed with more steady work on TV in series such as Goodyear Theater (1957-60), Zane Grey Theater (1956-61) and The Barbara Stanwyck Show (1960-61), for which she received a Primetime Emmy Award. One of her most memorable roles on TV was in The Big Valley (1965-69), in which she played the lead role as Victoria Barkley.In the 1980s, Stanwyck made several memorable television appearances. She played Mary Carson in the 1983 hit miniseries The Thorn Birds with Richard Chamberlain and Rachel Ward. For portrayal of Ward’s strong-willed grandmother, Stanwyck won both a Golden Globe and an Emmy Award. She returned to prime time two years later with a role on Dynasty and then appeared on the popular drama’s spin-off The Colbys.Stanwyck was a reclusive person outside of acting, much different than the outgoing female characters that she so often played. After marrying comedian Fay, the couple adopted a son together, Dion Anthony Fay in 1932, before they got divorced in 1935 after it was reported that he had a drinking problem. She then married actor Robert Taylor in 1939, and the couple stayed together for a little more than a decade before they got divorced in 1951. She lived the rest of her life alone, preferring work as opposed to social interaction, during her later years.

One of her closest friends was her co-star from the series The Big Valley,Linda Evans. Evans said that after her mother passed, Stanwyck stepped in and took on that absent mother role in her life while they were filming. Stanwyck died a pioneering and often overlooked actress in Santa Monica, California, on January 20, 1990, from congestive heart failure. At her request, no funeral or memorial service was held.Stanwyck made the transition from Broadway to the silver screen in the late-1920s, trying her hand at acting in the film Broadway Nights (1927) as a dancer. The following year, she married comedian Frank Fay and in 1929 she took on a part in the film The Locked Door (1929) before she finished her stage run on Broadway and moved to Hollywood to pursue a career in film. Although Stanwyck’s career in film almost ended before it began with two unrecognized film roles under her belt, she managed to convince director Frank Capra to have a role in his film 1930 film Ladies of Leisure. The film garnered Stanwyck the attention that she desired.
Stanwyck’s role as a woman whose priorities revolved around money first and foremost was only the first in a string of performances that showed a progressive, stronger side of women. After her acting chops were put on display, she was signed to a contract with Columbia and appeared in the filmIllicit (1931). She soon followed with several popular films, including Ten Cents a Dance (1931), Night Nurse (1931) and Forbidden (1932), a film that took Stanwyck to Hollywood’s A-list.

Happy Birthday George Burns

Today is the 119th birthday of George Burns.  We all keep track or at least know a few people that we share a birthday with and am please to share one with him as well as David Lynch and Federico Fellini.  I admire George’s longevity, career-wise and life in general.  I have quite a few of his radio shows on my computer and listen to them from time to time and always stop flipping channels when I come across his TV show he did with his wife Gracie Allen.  Absolutely brilliant.  The world was a better place because he was in it and still feels the loss that he has left.

NAME: George Burns
OCCUPATION: Film Actor, Theater Actor, Television Actor, Comedian, Radio Personality, Television Personality.

BIRTH DATE: January 20, 1896
DEATH DATE: March 09, 1996
PLACE OF BIRTH: New York City, New York
PLACE OF DEATH: Beverly Hills, California
ORIGINALLY: Nathan Birnbaum

BEST KNOWN FOR: George Burns was a comedian who worked in vaudeville, radio, film and television. His long-time performance partner and wife was comedienne Gracie Allen. Burns lived until age 100.

George Burns was born Nathan Birnbaum in New York City on January 20, 1896. One of 12 children in a Romanian-Jewish family, Burns made money by singing in saloons as a child. He began teaching dance while still very young, performing regularly in New York and New Jersey in his 20s.

It was during a performance in Newark that Burns met a fellow performer, Gracie Allen, who would become his lifelong partner. They developed an act together in which Burns played the straight man to Allen’s flighty, silly character. The pair was well known on the vaudeville circuit by the time they married in 1926. Their colleagues on the circuit included Al Jolson, Milton Berle and Fanny Brice. Many of these performers—including Burns and Allen—made a transition to radio and film during the 1920s and 1930s. Burns and Allen debuted on radio in 1929, landing a regular show that ran from 1932 to 1950. The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show drew 40 million listeners or more in the late 1930s. Their star power vaulted them onto the screen as well as the airwaves. The couple played themselves in a number of films, including International House (1933), Many Happy Returns (1934), A Damsel in Distress (1937) and College Swing (1938).

In 1950, The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show debuted on CBS television, immediately becoming one of the top-rated shows of the decade. Burns and Allen remained popular and prominent until Allen’s retirement in 1959. She died of a heart attack in 1964. Burns had his wife buried with Episcopal rites, although she was a Catholic, so that he could eventually be buried beside her. Burns experienced heart trouble in the 1970s, undergoing major surgery in 1975.

After recovering from his heart troubles, Burns returned to the film industry. He won am Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the film adaptation of Neil Simon’s play The Sunshine Boys (1975). He played God in the film Oh God! (1977) and its sequels, Oh God! Book II (1980) and Oh God! You Devil (1984)—in which he appeared as both God and the Devil.

Burns won a lifetime achievement award from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 1988. He wrote two best-selling autobiographical books: Gracie: A Love Story (1988) and All My Best Friends (1989), along with eight other works chronicling and reflecting on his experiences in the entertainment industry.

George Burns died in Beverly Hills, California on March 9, 1996. He was 100 years old. Burns and Allen had two children, a son and a daughter, both of whom died between 2007 and 2010.

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