Happy Birthday Ira Gershwin

ira gershwin

NAME: Ira Gershwin
OCCUPATION: Songwriter
BIRTH DATE: December 6, 1896
DEATH DATE: August 17, 1983
EDUCATION: City College of New York
PLACE OF BIRTH: New York, New York
PLACE OF DEATH: Beverly Hills, California

BEST KNOWN FOR: Lyricist Ira Gershwin wrote for popular musicals like Porgy and Bess in the 1920s and ’30s. He was in the first writing team to win a Pulitzer for songwriting.

Lyricist Ira Gershwin was born as Israel Gershowitz in New York, New York, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, on December 6, 1896. The oldest of four children born to Russian Jewis immigrants Rosa Bruskin and Morris Gershovitz, the future lyricist was always a bookish child. Unlike his brother George, whose interests were primarily musical, young Ira’s ran more along literary lines. The family moved frequently throughout Gershwin’s childhood due to his father’s ever-changing job status. In 1914, the word-loving Gershwin enrolled as an English major at City College of New York, but dropped out after only two years.

Gershwin spent the next several years taking after his father, moving from job to job. He worked at various times as a steam room attendant, a photographer’s assistant and a business manager for a carnival. Occasionally, Gershwin would write theater reviews, but otherwise he did not show much promise as a writer. Meanwhile, his brother George was making a name for himself in the music business, composing and arranging, as well as making a brief foray into vaudeville.

At his brother’s prompting, Gershwin took a shot writing lyrics for one of his songs. Their first collaboration came in 1918 with “The Real American Folk Song,” which appeared in Ladies First. Ira Gershwin once said, “I always felt that if George hadn’t been my brother and pushed me, I’d have been contented to be a bookkeeper.” He continued writing lyrics, but often under the pen name Arthur Francis, a playful combination of the names of his younger brother and sister.

Still using his pen name, Ira wrote his first published song, “You May Throw All the Rice You Desire but Please Friends, Throw No Shoes.” He followed up in 1921 with his first stage success, providing lyrics for the show Two Little Girls in Blue. The critically acclaimed show was produced by Abraham Erlanger and co-composed by Vincent Youmans and Paul Lannin.

In 1922, the Gershwin brothers came together again creatively to write the first major hit of their career, I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise. In 1924, they followed up with the hit show Lady, Be Good! The next decade of collaboration would cement the brothers firmly in American musical history; combining their talents, they wrote for Broadway musicals, operettas and even vaudeville. In the 1920s, their big hits included Tip Toes (1925), Oh, Kay (1926) and Funny Face (1927).

On September 14, 1926, Ira Gershwin married Leonore Strunsky. Around the same time, the Gershwin brothers decided to combine their personal lives as well as their professional careers, moving both families into one five-story house in Manhattan. During this time, the house served as a creative nerve center for the brothers; artists, musicians and friends could be seen coming and going at all hours of the day and night.

Soon, however, the frantic pace became too much and Ira Gershwin retreated to spend some time on a farm north of the city. His brother would join him in the spring and summer to work and collaborate. It was there that the two wrote and re-wrote Funny Face and Smarty.

Biographers and music historians note that the brothers’ huge popularity was due, in part, to their innovative new style and combinations. Ira Gershwin in particular was adept at implementing new lyrical styles, playing with timing and unusual word combinations. Charles Schwartz once said that the brothers had “the uncanny knack for coming up with the fresh and the novel ballads appropriate for their time and genre with wonderfully creative lyrics, songs of chivalric love and gallantry.”

In 1928, the Gershwins and their wives went on a trip to Europe that included stops in Vienna, London and Paris. Their journey across the Atlantic ended up becoming the inspiration for the iconic orchestral, “An American in Paris.” Four years later, Ira Gershwin shared the honor of a Pulitzer Prize with writers George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind for the score of the musical comedy, “Of Thee I Sing.” The award gave the men the distinction of the first ever Pulitzer Prize for songwriting.

The Gershwin brothers’ biggest triumph came in 1935 with their famous “folk opera,” Porgy and Bess. The characters in the musical are almost exclusively African-Americans hailing from Charleston, South Carolina. The Gershwins insisted on hiring only black singers to play the parts, a progressive move at a time when blackface entertainment was still common. Musically, the composition was the brothers’ most ambitious and successful, and it remains a popular production even today.

After Porgy and Bess, Ira Gershwin began working almost exclusively on motion pictures, spending much of his time in Hollywood. For his work on “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” (1937), “Long Ago and Far Away” (1944) and “The Man That Got Away” (1954), the lyricist was nominated for three Academy Awards.

In 1937, Ira Gershwin’s beloved brother and partner, George Gershwin, died of a brain tumor. Throughout their lives, Ira had functioned as his brother’s business manager and always looked after his finances. After George’s death, Ira devoted himself to organizing his brother’s legacy in the hopes of preserving it for future generations. His work paid off and the Library of Congress now has an extensive Gershwin Collection dedicated to that end.

1940, Ira Gershwin began writing and collaborating again with the likes of Jerome Kern, Kurt Weill and Harold Arlen. The famed lyricist said his goodbye to Broadway in 1946 with his last work for the stage, Park Avenue. He spent the rest of his life working on the family archive with historian Michael Feinstein.

Though he died on August 17, 1983 in Beverly Hills, California, symbols of his legacy and contribution continue to live on. In the Gershwin Room of the Library of Congress, curious visitors can see George’s piano and Ira’s typewriter on display. Despite his more bookish nature, the older brother and lyricist of the famed pair was just as invested in the joy of music, once saying, “Life is one long jubilee.”

Happy Birthday Patrick Nagel

Today is the 69th birthday of the artist Patrick Nagel.  If you grew up in the 80’s or have ever been to a nail salon in a strip mall, you know his work.  You probably didn’t know his story, which is where I come in.  I love the stylized era of his work, it takes me right back to watching music videos on MTV.  I think of Remington Steele, huge brick cell phones, and Duran Duran.  I hope this helps you appreciate his work and gives you a fuller understanding of the man behind the woman in sunglasses.  The world is a better place because Nagel was in it and still feels the loss that Nagel has left.

Name:  Patrick Nagel
Born: 25-Nov-1945
Birthplace: Dayton, OH
Died: 4-Feb-1984
Location of death: Santa Monica, CA

BEST KNOWN FOR:  Illustrator whose work consists of minimal paintings of women with white skin, black hair, and the barest hint of a nose. Recognisable work includes the cover of Duran Duran’s Rio (1984).

Patrick Nagel (November 25, 1945 – February 4, 1984) was an American artist. He created popular illustrations on board, paper, and canvas, most of which emphasize the simple grace of and beauty of the female form, in a distinctive style descended from Art Deco. He is best known for his illustrations for Playboy magazine, and the pop group Duran Duran, for whom he designed the cover of the best selling album Rio.

Nagel was born in Dayton, Ohio in 1945, but was raised and spent most of his life in the Los Angeles area. After serving in the United States Army with the 101st Airborne in Vietnam, Nagel attended the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles in 1969, and in that same year he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from California State University, Fullerton.

In 1971, Nagel worked as a graphic designer for ABC Television, producing graphics for promotions and news broadcasts. The following year, he began work as a freelance artist for major corporations and magazines, including Architectural Digest, Harper’s Magazine, IBM, ITT Corporation, MGM, Oui, Rolling Stone, United Artists, and Universal Studios.
In 1976, Nagel began to regularly contribute images to Playboy magazine, which improved his exposure and the popularity of “the Nagel Woman” image to a huge audience. In 1978, he made his first poster image for Mirage Editions, with whom he would print many Nagel women images.

Nagel’s 1982 painting for the album cover of rock group Duran Duran’s hit album Rio would become one of his best known images.

He also worked for many commercial clients, including Intel, Lucky Strike cigarettes, Ballentine Whiskey, and Budweiser. As his popularity grew he began offering limited edition prints of his work.

Nagel would start with a photograph and work down, always simplifying and removing elements which he felt were unnecessary. The resulting image would look flat, but emphasized those elements which he felt were most important.

According to Elena G. Millie, curator of the poster collection at the Library of Congress:

Like some of the old print masters (Toulouse-Lautrec and Bonnard, for example), Nagel was influenced by the Japanese woodblock print, with figures silhouetted against a neutral background, with strong areas of black and white, and with bold line and unusual angles of view. He handled colors with rare originality and freedom; he forced perspective from flat, two-dimensional images; and he kept simplifying, working to get more across with fewer elements. His simple and precise imagery is also reminiscent of the art-deco style of the 1920s and 1930s- its sharp linear treatment, geometric simplicity, and stylization of form yield images that are formal yet decorative.

Nagel’s figures generally have black hair, bright white skin, full-lipped mouths, and the distinctive Nagel eyes, which are often squared off in the later works. Because of the intense stylization and reduction of facial features into clean lines, generally the figures resemble each other, though Nagel worked with many models, including Playboy Playmates Cathy St. George, Tracy Vaccaro and Shannon Tweed. Nagel also painted several celebrity portraits including those of Joan Collins (whose portrait was subsequently released as a limited edition print) and Joanna Cassidy.

In 1984, at the age of 38, the artist participated in a 15-minute celebrity “Aerobathon” to raise funds for the American Heart Association. Afterwards, he was found dead in his car, and doctors determined by autopsy that he had suffered a heart attack.

Happy Birthday Boris Karloff

Today is Boris Karloff‘s 127th birthday.  I first learned about him through a book I was reading as a kid called “The Three Investigators Mystery of Terror Castle.”  They are a series of books a lot like the Hardy Boys, but set in the Los Angeles area in the 1940’s.  The Terror Castle one is the first in the series and centers around the mysterious goings-on at the abandoned Hollywood mansion of a silent movie monster actor.  Shortly after reading that book, my mom must have shown me one of his movies and I connected them in my head.  The world is a better place because Boris was in it and still feels the loss that Boris has left.

 

NAME: Boris Karloff
OCCUPATION: Film Actor
BIRTH DATE: November 23, 1887
DEATH DATE: February 02, 1969
EDUCATION: London University
PLACE OF BIRTH: London, England
PLACE OF DEATH: England
Originally: William Henry Pratt

Best Known For:  Boris Karloff was an English-born actor whose name became synonymous with horror movies.

Actor. Film star Boris Karloff, whose name became synonymous with the horror genre, was born William Henry Pratt in London, England, on November 23, 1887. He studied at London University, then went to Canada and the United States, aiming become a diplomat like his father, and became involved in acting.

Karloff spent 10 years in repertory companies, went to Hollywood, appearing in forty five silent films for Universal Studios, among them The Last of the Mohicans, Forbidden Cargo and an installment in the popular Tarzan series. When Bela Lugosi refused to take a role in which he would have his face hidden by makeup and have no lines, the role of The Monster in 1931’s Frankenstein went to Karloff. His tender, sympathetic performance received enormous critical praise and he became an overnight sensation.

“The monster was the best friend I ever had.” – Boris Karloff

Apart from a notable performance in a World War I story, The Lost Patrol (1934), his career was mostly spent in popular horror films. His performances frequently transcended the crudity of the genre, bringing, as in Frankenstein, a depth and pathos to the characterization.

He is also well known for providing the voice to the 1966 cartoon version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Karloff was known within the film industry for his great kindness and gentleness of manner; he was also central to the foundation of the Screen Actors Guild. After battling emphysema for a number of years, Boris Karloff died at his home in England on February 2, 1969.

Happy Birthday Sister Mary Corita Kent

Today is the 96th birthday Sister Mary Corita Kent.  Google Doodle is celebrating her birthday today.  You should too.  The world is a better place because she was in it and still feels the loss that she has left.

Name:  Frances Elisabeth Kent
Occupation:  Nun, Artist, Educator
Birth Date: November 20,1918
Death Date:  September 18, 1986
Education:  Columbia University
Place of BirthFort Dodge, Iowa
Also Known As:  Sister Mary Corita Kent

BEST KNOWN FOR:  Sister Mary Corita Kent was an American nun, an artist and an educator who worked in Los Angeles and Boston.

Corita Kent, also known as Sister Corita, gained international fame for her vibrant serigraphs during the 1960s and 1970s. A Sister of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, she ran the Art Department at Immaculate Heart College until 1968 when she left the Order and moved to Boston. Corita’s art reflects her spirituality, her commitment to social justice, her hope for peace, and her delight in the world that takes place all around us.

Corita was born Frances Kent in 1918 in Fort Dodge, Iowa. She grew up in Los Angeles and joined the Order of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1936, taking the name Sister Mary Corita.

She graduated from Immaculate Heart College in 1941 and then taught grade school in British Columbia. In 1946 she returned to Immaculate Heart College to teach art. In 1951, she received a master’s degree in art history from the University of Southern California; it is also the year she exhibited her first silkscreen print. Corita’s earliest works were largely iconographic; known as “neo-gothic” they borrowed phrases and depicted images from the Bible.

By the 1960s, she was using popular culture (such as song lyrics and advertising slogans) as raw material for her meaning-filled bursts of text and color. Corita’s cries for peace in the era of Vietnam were not always welcome. In 1965 her “Peace on Earth” Christmas exhibit in IBM’s New York show room was seen as too subversive and Corita had to amend it. However, her work continued to be an outlet for her activism—in Corita’s words:
“I am not brave enough to not pay my income tax and risk going to jail. But I can say rather freely what I want to say with my art.”

By then Corita was the chairman of the famous Immaculate Heart College Art Department. Buckminster Fuller described his visit to the department as “among the most fundamentally inspiring experiences of my life.” Other influential friends of hers included Charles Eames , Ben Shahn, Harvey Cox and the Berrigan brothers.

August was Corita’s time for her own art making. During the three weeks between semesters, she and her students would work round the clock printing new serigraph designs by the hundreds. Corita’s chronic insomnia no doubt made some of this possible, but it was often accompanied by a bleak depression. In 1968 Corita decided to devote herself entirely to making art. She left the Order and Los Angeles, and moved to Boston’s Back Bay. She made numerous commissioned works (Westinghouse Group W ads, book covers and murals) and continued to create her own serigraphs (over 400) in the next 18 years. Still using exuberant splashes of color, the tone of her work became more generally spiritual and introspective. Watercolor “plein air” paintings and great floral silk screens dominated her later works.Corita remained active in social causes and designed posters and billboards for Share, the International Walk for Hunger, Physicians for Social Responsibility and Amnesty International.

The Boston Gas tank on the Southeast Expressway still bears her famous 150-foot rainbow swash, which is a similar to her design for the 1985 Love Stamp. On Sept. 18, 1986 Corita finally lost her battle with cancer and died at a friend’s home.

Happy Birthday Isabella Blow

Today is the 56th birthday of the fashion visionary Isabella Blow.  The world is a better place because she was in it and still feels the loss that she has left.

Name:  Isabella Blow
Occupation:  Editor
Birth Date: November 19, 1958
Death Date:  May 7, 2007
Education:  Columbia University
Place of BirthLondon, England
Place of Death:  Gloucester, England

BEST KNOWN FOR:  Isabella Blow was a British fashion director and style icon known for wearing flamboyant hats, many by designer Philip Treacy.

“Fashion is a vampiric thing, it’s the hoover on your brain. That’s why I wear the hats, to keep everyone away from me. They say, ‘Oh, can I kiss you?’ I say, ‘No, thank you very much. That’s why I’ve worn the hat. Goodbye.’ I don’t want to be kissed by all and sundry. I want to be kissed by the people I love.”

Born Isabella Delves Broughton in 1958, Blow was a fashion editor, consultant, muse and nurturer of young fashion talent. She was renowned for her extrovert dress sense, which sometimes involved little more than a fur coat, red lipstick and a hat. To many she was the embodiment of the English eccentric, but her life was marred by tragedy, depression and unhappiness.

Part of an aristocratic family, Blow grew up on the family’s estate in Doddington, Cheshire, with her parents, two sisters and brother, John, who drowned in the family’s half-full swimming pool at the age of two. The tragedy had a great impact upon the family, fracturing her parents’ marriage and leading to their divorce when Isabella was aged 14. Blow later recalled that her mother left offering her nothing more than a goodbye handshake, attributing this to the beginning of her lifelong battle with depression.

Blow was sent to Heathfield School in Ascot, Surrey, where she remained until she was 18. After finishing her education she moved into a London squat and took odd jobs to earn money. In 1979 she moved to New York to study ancient Chinese art at Columbia University, where she became friends with many prominent artists such as Andy Warhol, Jean-Michael Basquiat and Roy Lichenstein.

In 1980, she moved briefly to West Texas to work for the designer Guy Laroche, but returned to New York a year later. It was then that she was first introduced to Anna Wintour, then-creative director of American Vogue, and soon after she became her assistant. In 1981 she married her first husband, Nicholas Taylor, although the marriage ended in divorce two years later.

Blow moved back to London in 1986 and began working at Tatler magazine, assisting the then-fashion editor Michael Roberts. In 1988, she met her second husband Detmar Blow. They were wed at Gloucester Cathedral a year later, with Isabella wearing a hat created by milliner Philip Treacy – then an unknown student at the Royal College of Art whom she had recently discovered. Treacy was to become a lifelong friend and confidante of Blow’s, and Blow was almost never seen without one of Treacy’s hats upon her head. “I don’t use a hat as a prop, I use it as a part of me. If I am feeling really low, I go and see Philip, cover my face, and feel fantastic. Although, if I’m on a real low it requires going to the doctor for a prescription,” Blow once said.

Renowned for her unique ability to spot and nurture design talent, she discovered many of the fashion industry’s leading figures. Three years after discovering Treacy, she attended the Central Saint Martins MA graduate show where she spotted the work of then-student Alexander McQueen. Blow famously bought McQueen’s entire graduate collection for £5,000, and began supporting him and his talent in any way she could. After McQueen became famous across the world – and his label was bought by the Gucci Group – Blow expressed bitterness that he did not employ her in an official capacity within his brand, despite her efforts to make him a success. “She was upset that Alexander McQueen didn’t take her along when he sold his brand to Gucci. Once the deals started happening, she fell by the wayside. Everybody else got contracts, and she got a free dress,” said her friend Daphne Guinness in an interview with Cathy Horyn in 2007.

She was also credited with discovering the models Sophie Dahl, who she spotted crying on Kensington street corner, and Stella Tennant.

Blow left Tatler in 1997 to work at the Sunday Times, only to return to the publication as fashion director in 2001. During her tenure at Tatlers he became notorious for her risqué shoots, once featuring herself topless in a 2004 shoot entitled See nipples and die.

In the years leading up to Blow’s death in 2007 she attempted suicide numerous times, once shattering both her ankles after jumping from the Hammersmith flyover. She died in hospital on May 7 2007 after drinking the weed killer Paraquat. At the time of her death she was also suffering from ovarian cancer.

Blow’s funeral took place at Gloucester Cathedral on May 15 2007 – the same place she had married her husband almost 20 years earlier. Philip Treacy created a hat resembling a black sailing ship which was placed atop her coffin, and she was buried in a red-and-gold brocade dress designed by McQueen. McQueen, Treacy and Blow’s sister Julia helped dress the body.

Rupert Everett, a long time friend of Blow’s, read the eulogy at her funeral. “For someone who was suicidal, she was constantly dazzled by life and life was constantly dazzled by her,” he said. “You were a one-off, a genius friend, your own creation in a world of copycats and I will miss you for the rest of my life.”

Alexander McQueen dedicated his spring/summer 2008 show to Blow, collaborating with Treacy to create ambitious head pieces.  The show space was sprayed with Isabella’s favourite Robert Piguet scent and the invitations were illustrations which depicted a triumphant Blow in a McQueen dress and Philip Treacy headdress, aboard a horse-drawn carriage ascending to heaven.

In 2010, Bryan Ferry dedicated his album Olympia to Blow. Blow was godmother to his son, Otis.

In May 2010, Philip Treacy confirmed that a film was set to be made about Blow’s life.

After her death Blow’s sisters arranged an auction of Isabella’s clothes at Christie’s, which included over 90 McQueen dresses, 50 Treacy hats and portraits of Blow by photographer Mario Testino and Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld. The auction was later cancelled after Blow’s friend Daphne Guinness bought the entire lot. “The planned sale at Christie’s could only result in carnage, as souvenir seekers plundered the incredible body of work Issie had created over her life,” said Guinness. “Indeed, in many ways, the auction would not be merely a sale of clothes; it would be a sale of what was left of Issie, and the carrion crows would gather and take away her essence forever.”

In July 2010, Blow’s sister Julie Broughton was presented with a rose that had been named after Isabella by Alexander McQueen, before his death. It was named Alexander’s Issie. “My sister, Isabella, was passionate and totally dedicated to fashion – but only her closest friends knew of her love of gardens, and in particular, roses,” said Broughton. “Their unique colour and beauty combined with their thorny nature greatly appealed to her and to her distinctive eye. She would have been extremely honoured to receive this wonderful gift from her most beloved friend, Alexander.” Alexander’s Issie was selected after the designer had trawled through hundreds of flower pictures. He thought the rose reflected Blow’s bright personality – heralding her love of fashion and famous sense of style.

In September 2010, Detmar Blow released a memoir based on the life of his late wife – entitled Blow By Blow. In the book he recalled the first time he saw his wife at a wedding in Salisbury. “I couldn’t take my eyes off her. After the service, I waited for an opportunity to speak to her – and we immediately connected. Despite the brevity of our meeting, I knew I had fallen in love with her, and sat with her after dinner.”

Detmar Blow also spoke of his wife’s friendship with Treacy. “In Philip Treacy she had found not only the creator of her wedding headdress, but her best friend for life and the greatest discovery of her career so far,” Detmar wrote. “They quickly developed an intense and creative relationship that he later likened to ‘having an affair with no sex.”

Philip Treacy has said that Blow’s life should not be looked back upon with sadness. “Nothing about her was tragic. She was triumphant,” he said in September 2010.

In October 2010, Detmar Blow said in an interview with London’s Evening Standard that he believed Alexander McQueen betrayed Isabella. “Money changed him and then drugs changed him. I remember reading of how he had flown his boyfriend somewhere for £130,000,” recalled Blow. “What did Issie get? Some clothes. I find that quite shocking.”

In the March 2011 issue of American Vogue, Lady Gaga attributed some of her success to her similarities with Blow. “The fashion community in general got me much earlier than everyone else. But actually, I felt truly embraced by this London cultural movement, the McQueen, Isabella [Blow], Daphne Guinness wing of the English crowd. I remember when I first started doing photo shoots people would say, ‘My God, you look so much like Isabella Blow, it scares me.’ And McQueen used to say, ‘Oh, my God, your boobs!’ He actually grabbed both of them and said, ‘Even your boobs are like hers!'”

In September 2011, Tom Ford spoke about the Philip Treacy hat worn by Princess Beatrice at the wedding of Catherine Middleton and Prince William. “I’ll probably get in trouble for saying this, but at the royal wedding, one of the princesses wore a now-very-famous (or infamous),  Philip Treacy hat – that hat wore her,” Ford said. “Now, Isabella Blow, a woman those of us in fashion knew well – had she worn the same hat, it would have looked great. She would have worn the hat. She knew what she was about, what she wanted to express in fashion.” The hat sold for over £81,000 on ebay, with all proceeds going to charity.

In October 2011, a double portrait of Blow and McQueen taken by David LaChapelle went on public display for the first time. The picture, entitled Burning Down The House, was taken in December 1996 at Hedingham House in Essex, and first appeared in Vanity Fair. At the time the picture was taken McQueen was just 27 years old and was still working at Givenchy. Both wear creations by the designer himself, with Blow sporting a Philip Treacy hat. The image was bought by the National Portrait Gallery with the financial help of McQueen and Blow’s long-term friend Daphne Guinness, The Marrakech Gallery Foundation and artist management company Fred Torres.

 

Happy Birthday Jean Seberg

I do love that a girl from Iowa can become so beloved by the French.  Her story reads like a Greek tragedy:  fame, three husbands, suicide at 40.  Breathless is available on NetFlix/Hulu, you should watch it.  The world is a better place because she was in it and still feels the loss that she has left.


Name:  Jean Dorothy Seberg
Born: November 13, 1938 Marshalltown, Iowa, U.S.
Died:  August 30, 1979 (aged 40) Paris, France

Jean Dorothy Seberg was an American actress. She starred in 37 films in Hollywood and in France, including Breathless (1960), the musical Paint Your Wagon (1969) and the disaster film Airport (1970).

One month before her 18th birthday, this blonde actress landed the title role in Otto Preminger‘s Saint Joan (1957) after a much-publicized contest involving some 18,000 hopefuls. The failure of that film and the only moderate success of her next, Bonjour tristesse (1958), combined to stall Seberg’s career, until her role in Jean-Luc Godard‘s landmark feature, Breathless (1960), brought her renewed international attention. Seberg gave a memorable performance as a schizophrenic in the title role of Robert Rossen‘s Lilith (1964), costarring Warren Beatty. Her two most famous films in America were back to back. The first was the western-musical Paint Your Wagon (1969). The second was Airport (1970), which became the trend setter for “disaster films” of the 1970s.

During this time Seberg became involved in anti-war politics and was the target of an undercover campaign by the FBI to discredit her because of her association with several members of the Black Panther party. Bad press and several personal problems nearly ruined her career, and she only acted in foreign films from then on.  She was found dead of a barbiturate overdose in a Paris suburb on August 30, 1979. She was 40 years old.

Seberg was survived by both of her parents, two younger siblings, three ex-husbands, and a 16-year old son named Diego. In 1970 she gave birth to a daughter named Nina, who was the product of an extramarital affair she had with a college student named Carlos Navarra; Nina died two days after her birth as a result of Jean overdosing on sleeping pills during her pregnancy.

Happy Birthday Edith Head

Today is the 117th birthday of the woman who made more influence on mid-century fashion than all the fashion designers of the time combined:  Edith Head.  If you are a fan of classic movies and pay attention to scenery and costuming, you already know her. She had THE influence on American style before clothing designers were known. A quick search for her on IMDB will soon have you realizing that her touch was added to most of the films that you know and love.

 

NAME: Edith Head
OCCUPATION: Fashion Designer
BIRTH DATE: October 28, 1897
DEATH DATE: October 24, 1981
PLACE OF BIRTH: San Bernardino, California
PLACE OF DEATH: Hollywood, California

Best Known For:  Edith Head was one of the most prolific costume designers in 20th century film, winning a record eight Academy Awards.

Edith Head (born October 28, 1897) became chief designer at Paramount Pictures in 1933 and later worked at Universal. Hollywood’s best-known designer, her costumes ranged from the elegantly simple to the elaborately flamboyant. She won a record eight Academy Awards for her work in films such as All About Eve (1950), Roman Holiday (1953), and The Sting (1973).

She became chief designer at Paramount Pictures in 1933 and later worked at Universal. Hollywood’s best-known designer, she was noted for the wide range of her costumes, from the elegantly simple to the elaborately flamboyant. She won a record eight Academy Awards for her work in films such as All About Eve (1950), Roman Holiday (1953), and The Sting (1973).

“Your dresses should be tight enough to show you’re a woman and loose enough to show you’re a lady.” – Edith Head

As part of a series of stamps issued by the U.S. Postal Service in February 2003, commemorating the behind-the-camera personnel who make movies, Head was featured on one to honor costume design.

The band They Might Be Giants recorded the song “She Thinks She’s Edith Head,” which was included in the 1999 album Long Tall Weekend and the 2001 album Mink Car. The song is about a girl from the singer’s past, who had changed her persona to be more sophisticated, and compares her new attitude to Head and longtime Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Helen Gurley Brown.

“You can have whatever you want if you dress for it.” ― Edith Head

To many viewers of the 2004 Pixar/Disney computer-animated film The Incredibles, the personality and mannerisms of the film’s fictional superhero costume designer Edna Mode suggest a colorful caricature of Edith Head. Edna Mode’s sense of style, round glasses, and assertive no-nonsense character are very likely a direct homage to Head’s legendary accomplishments and personal traits. But the film’s director, Brad Bird, has not yet confirmed or denied this.