Happy Birthday George C. Scott

Today is the 87th birthday of the actor George C. Scott. I remember seeing The Changeling (entire movie below) on TV when I was a kid and being so scared, but not being able to stop watching because it was filmed in Seattle. His film There Might Be Giants is honestly funny and quirky and about half the time, you feel like you are either not in on the joke or it just wasn’t a joke, but you aren’t sure, but you wish you were in on the joke it it was in fact a joke. I am sure that is why it is loved and hated, but rarely anything in-between.

NAME: George C. Scott
OCCUPATION: Film Actor
BIRTH DATE: October 18, 1927
DEATH DATE: September 22, 1999
EDUCATION: University of Missouri
PLACE OF BIRTH: Wise, Virginia
PLACE OF DEATH: Westlake Village, California

BEST KNOWN FOR: American actor George C. Scott starred in films and on Broadway during his 40-year career. In 1970, he won an Oscar for his portrayal of George S. Patton.

George C. Scott was born on October 18, 1927, in a small Virginia town in the Appalachian Mountains. At the age of 2, Scott’s family moved to Detroit, Michigan, where his father took a job at an automobile plant. His mother, a poet, died when he was 8.

In 1945, Scott joined the Marines and was posted to Arlington National Cemetery. His subsequent four-year tour was marked with heavy drinking and a raft of nose-breaking barroom brawls. After being discharged from the military, he studied journalism under the G.I. Bill at the University of Missouri. While there, Scott auditioned for a role in a campus production of Terence Rattigan’s play The Winslow Boy. He won the role, marking the beginning of his career in acting.

Acting jobs did not come easy at first. In fact, it would be years before Scott landed his first big role: as the lead in the New York Shakespeare Festival’s production of Richard III. His intense stage presence won acclaim by critics and would garner him a lifetime of notable roles on the stage, on television and in film.

In 1959, Scott starred opposite James Stewart in Anatomy of a Murder, and was awarded an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor. Despite all of his praise, however, he would gain even more attention for his over-the-top portrayal of General “Buck” Turgidson in Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 film Dr. Strangelove.

Scott once again turned to his military roots in order to play his most iconic role: General George Patton in the 1970 film Patton. His ability to dominate the screen once again won rave reviews from critics, as well as an Academy Award for his performance. The actor, however, defiantly refused to accepted the honor. Months earlier, Scott had sent a telegram to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences rejecting his nomination as best actor, citing his disapproval of the voting process and his disdain for competition among actors. His win at the award ceremony came as a shock to the audience, and led award presenter Goldie Hawn to famously announce, “Oh my God. It’s George C. Scott!”

Less controversial was Scott’s 1984 performance in the CBS television production of A Christmas Carol. As Ebenezer Scrooge, Scott played the role with a visceral intensity that evoked associations with Reagan and Thatcher. He even played the Dickensian role of the cliché penny-pincher with an American accent.

Throughout the 1980s and ’90s, Scott continued to appear in film, on television and on stage. In 1981, he starred with Tom Cruise, Timothy Hutton and Sean Penn in the drama Taps. He also appeared in television remakes of the films 12 Angry Men (1997) and Inherit the Wind (1999).

In the mid-1990s, however, the actor’s health began to fade. In April 1996, he walked off the stage in the middle of a Broadway performance of Inherit the Wind. One month later, news reports revealed that Scott had been suffering from an aortic aneurysm. Three years later, on September 22, 1999, the actor died in Westlake Village, California, when the aneurysm ruptured. He was reportedly working on his memoirs at the time.

George C. Scott left behind his wife, actress Trish Van Devere, whom he starred alongside in the 1980 film The Changeling, as well as five children. He had daughter Victoria with his first wife, Carolyn Hughes; son Matthew and daughter Devon Scott with his second wife, Patricia Reed; and sons Alexander and Campbell, an actor, from his marriage to Colleen Dewhurst.

TELEVISION
East Side/West Side Neil Brock (1963-64)
Mr. President President Samuel A. Tresch (1987-88)

FILMOGRAPHY AS DIRECTOR
The Savage is Loose (1974)
Rage (22-Nov-1972)
The Andersonville Trial (17-May-1970)

FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Inherit the Wind (29-May-1999)
Rocky Marciano (15-May-1999)
Gloria (22-Jan-1999) · Ruby
12 Angry Men (17-Aug-1997)
Titanic (17-Nov-1996)
Angus (15-Sep-1995) · Ivan
Tyson (29-Apr-1995)
The Whipping Boy (31-Jul-1994) · Blind George
Malice (29-Sep-1993)
Deadly Currents (27-Jun-1993)
Descending Angel (25-Nov-1990)
The Rescuers Down Under (16-Nov-1990) [VOICE]
The Exorcist III (17-Aug-1990) · Kinderman
The Ryan White Story (16-Jan-1989)
Pals (28-Feb-1987)
The Murders in the Rue Morgue (7-Dec-1986) · Auguste Dupin
The Last Days of Patton (14-Sep-1986)
The Indomitable Teddy Roosevelt (3-Jun-1986) · Narrator [VOICE]
Choices (17-Feb-1986)
A Christmas Carol (Nov-1984) · Ebenezer Scrooge
Firestarter (11-May-1984) · John Rainbird
China Rose (18-Oct-1983)
Oliver Twist (23-Mar-1982)
Taps (11-Dec-1981)
The Formula (19-Dec-1980)
The Changeling (28-Mar-1980)
Hardcore (9-Feb-1979)
Movie Movie (Nov-1978)
Crossed Swords (17-Mar-1978)
Islands in the Stream (8-Aug-1977)
Beauty and the Beast (3-Dec-1976) · The Beast
The Hindenburg (25-Dec-1975) · Ritter
Fear on Trial (2-Oct-1975)
Bank Shot (Jul-1974) · Walter Upjohn Ballantine
The Savage is Loose (1974)
The Day of the Dolphin (19-Dec-1973) · Jake Terrell
Oklahoma Crude (3-Jul-1973)
Rage (22-Nov-1972)
The New Centurions (3-Aug-1972)
The Hospital (14-Dec-1971) · Dr. Bock
The Last Run (7-Jul-1971) · Harry Garmes
They Might Be Giants (9-Jun-1971)
Jane Eyre (24-Mar-1971)
Patton (4-Feb-1970) · Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.
This Savage Land (1-Jul-1969) · Jud Barker
Petulia (10-Jun-1968) · Archie
The Flim-Flam Man (22-Aug-1967)
Not With My Wife, You Don’t! (2-Nov-1966) · Tank Martin
The Bible (28-Sep-1966)
The Yellow Rolls-Royce (31-Dec-1964) · Paolo Maltese
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (29-Jan-1964) · Gen. Buck Turgidson
The List of Adrian Messenger (29-May-1963)
The Power and the Glory (29-Oct-1961)
The Hustler (25-Sep-1961) · Bert Gordon
Anatomy of a Murder (1-Jul-1959) · Claude Dancer
The Hanging Tree (11-Feb-1959) · Dr. George Grubb

Happy Birthday Jean Arthur

Today is the 114th birthday of Jean Arthur.

NAME: Jean Arthur
OCCUPATION: Academic, Film Actress
BIRTH DATE: October 17, 1900
DEATH DATE: June 19, 1991
PLACE OF BIRTH: Plattsburgh, New York
PLACE OF DEATH: Carmel, California
FULL NAME: Gladys Georgianna Greene

BEST KNOWN FOR: Jean Arthur was an American actress best known for her roles in films such as Mr. Smith Goes To Washington and The More The Merrier.

American actress Jean Arthur was born on October 17, 1900 in Plattsburgh, New York. She started as a model before working in film. Born Gladys Georgianna Greene, she formed her stage name from her two heroes: Joan of Arc (Jeanne d’Arc) and King Arthur. She appeared in small roles in silent films, and broke through when film began to incorporate sound. Her husky trademark voice in The Whole Town’s Talking (1935) won her fans and admirers. Arthur appeared in notable films such as You Can’t Take It With You (1938), Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (1939) and The More The Merrier (1943) which earned her an Oscar nomination. In later years, Arthur starred in her own television series and taught drama at Vassar College. She died June 19, 1991 in Carmel, California.

FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Shane (24-Apr-1953) · Marian Starrett
A Foreign Affair (7-Jul-1948) · Phoebe Frost
The Impatient Years (7-Sep-1944)
A Lady Takes a Chance (19-Aug-1943)
The More the Merrier (26-Mar-1943) · Connie Milligan
The Talk of the Town (20-Aug-1942) · Nora Shelley
The Devil and Miss Jones (15-May-1941) · Mary
Arizona (25-Dec-1940) · Phoebe Titus
Too Many Husbands (7-Mar-1940) · Vicky Lowndes
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (17-Oct-1939) · Saunders
Only Angels Have Wings (12-May-1939) · Bonnie Lee
You Can’t Take It with You (23-Aug-1938) · Alice Sycamore
Easy Living (7-Jul-1937)
History Is Made at Night (5-Mar-1937) · Irene Vail
The Plainsman (1-Jan-1937) · Calamity Jane
More Than a Secretary (10-Dec-1936)
Adventure in Manhattan (8-Oct-1936) · Claire Peyton
The Ex-Mrs. Bradford (13-May-1936) · Paula Bradford
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (12-Apr-1936) · Babe Bennett
If You Could Only Cook (25-Dec-1935) · Joan Hawthorne
Public Menace (24-Sep-1935) · Cassie
Diamond Jim (2-Sep-1935)
Public Hero #1 (16-May-1935) · Maria Theresa O’Reilly
Party Wire (27-Apr-1935)
The Whole Town’s Talking (22-Feb-1935) · Miss Clark
The Most Precious Thing in Life (5-Jun-1934)
Whirlpool (10-Apr-1934) · Sandy
The Silver Horde (25-Oct-1930) · Mildred Wayland
Danger Lights (21-Aug-1930)
The Return of Dr. Fu Manchu (2-May-1930)
Paramount on Parade (22-Apr-1930)
The Saturday Night Kid (25-Oct-1929) · Janie
The Greene Murder Case (11-Aug-1929)
The Mysterious Dr. Fu Manchu (10-Aug-1929)
The Canary Murder Case (16-Feb-1929)

Happy Birthday Linda Darnell

Today is the 89th birthday of Linda Darnell, a woman who’s success was at times overshadowed by her personal life.

NAME: Monetta Eloyse Darnell
BORN:  October 16, 1923
BIRTHPLACE: Dallas, TX
DIED: April 10, 1965
LOCATION OF DEATH: Chicago, IL

Linda Darnell was born Monetta Eloyse Darnell in Dallas, Texas, one of five children of a post office worker and his wife. It was evident at an early age that she would be a ravishing beauty, and her mother encouraged her to model. By age 11 she was modeling clothes for an area department store. She had no trouble getting modeling jobs even at such a young age, mainly because her beauty was so striking that potential clients, agencies and even government officials would think she was five or six years older than she actually was–something that neither she nor her mother did anything to discourage.

By the time Linda was 13 she was acting in local theater companies and her talent was already becoming apparent. There was no doubt that Linda had a rare gift for someone so young. When the Hollywood studios sent scouts to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, her mother thought it would be a good idea to take Linda to a tryout. The talent scouts took one look at her and her acting abilities and arranged for a screen test. She made the trek to Hollywood, but when her real age became known she was sent home. After two years and more local theater appearances, Linda returned to California and her career was off and running.

Linda made her film debut in 1939 in the role of Marcia Bromley in Hotel for Women (1939). She was all of 16 at the time and became the youngest leading lady in Hollywood history. Her next film was Day-Time Wife (1939). Her third film was Star Dust (1940) made in 1940, in which she played Carolyn Ayres. Linda quickly ascended the ladder of stardom, and she began appearing in more expensive and better quality films, making a stunningly beautiful leading lady in the swashbuckling The Mark of Zorro (1940) opposite Tyrone Power. She worked with Power again in the hit Blood and Sand (1941) and held her own with Jack Oakie in the hilarious football comedy Rise and Shine (1941). In 1945 she played Netta Longdon in Hangover Square (1945), which proved to be a box-office bonanza. The following year Linda appeared with the legendary Lillian Gish in Centennial Summer (1946). Later that same year she co-starred with Henry Fonda and Victor Mature in My Darling Clementine (1946). It was another hit and garnered Linda some of the best reviews of her career. She scored another hit opposite Cornel Wilde in 1947’s Forever Amber (1947), in which she survived the notorious Great London Fire. In 1952 she starred in Blackbeard, the Pirate (1952) along with Irene Ryan, Robert Newton and William Bendix.

Linda’s final screen appearance was in the low-budget western Black Spurs (1965). She was married and divorced three times: to cinematographer J. Peverell Marley from 1944-1952, to Phillip Liebmann (a New York brewer) from 1954-1955 and to Merle Roy Robertson (an airline pilot) from 1957-1962. On April 10, 1965, Linda died from burns she received in a fire at the house of her former secretary. Ironically, she had been watching Star Dust (1940) on television, which was one of the films that set her career in motion, when the house caught fire. She had appeared in a total of 46 films. Often described as the “girl with the perfect face”, Linda Darnell died at the age of 41.

Happy Birthday Ed Wood

Today is the 90th birthday of Ed Wood. The phrase ‘before their time’ was coined for people like him. He is often referenced by widely popular and hugely successful current film directors as one of their major influences. Do yourself a favor and watch one of his films, you may see the films of John Waters and Quentin Tarantino in a different light.   Calling an Ed Wood script illogical is like saying dreams make no sense:  images and word went straight from his mind to the page.  His stream of consciousness dialog was like a ransom note pasted together from word randomly cut out of a Korean electronics manual.

NAME: Ed Wood
OCCUPATION: Director
BIRTH DATE: October 10, 1924
DEATH DATE: December 10, 1978
PLACE OF BIRTH: Poughkeepsie, New York
PLACE OF DEATH: Hollywood, California
FULL NAME: Edward Davis Wood
BEST KNOWN FOR: Filmmaker and novelist Ed Wood is famous for his low-budget films of the 1950s like Plan 9 From Outer Space, which are celebrated today as sheer camp.

Movie Director, screenwriter, actor, and producer. Edward Davis Wood, Jr. was born on October 10, 1924 in Poughkeepsie, New York to Edward Sr., a postal worker and Lillian. It is said that Lillian always wanted a girl and until Ed, Jr., was 12-years-old she dressed him in girls’ clothing. Young Ed loved movies and eventually found a job as a cinema usher. He also learned several musical instruments and formed a singing quartet called Eddie Wood‘s Little Splinters. Ed Wood received his first movie camera on his 17th birthday and his first “film” records the crash of an airplane. When he was 17, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and Wood enlisted in the Marines.

Upon his discharge from the Marines, Ed Wood pursued his love of the bizarre by joining the freak show of a carnival. At times, he played the part of the bearded lady and created his own prosthetic breasts. During the 1950s, he wrote, produced, and acted in a number of very low-budget science fiction, horror, and cowboy films. These films are celebrated today for their many obvious errors, cheap special effects, strange dialogue, miscasting, and crazy plots. Wood often struggled to make ends meet and was sometimes forced to churn out film scripts in one night to keep to schedules.

When his movie career began to wane, mostly from lack of funding, Ed Wood turned his prolific creative nature to the printed page, turning out sex novels, pulp fiction, and horror stories. The lack of money took its toll and Wood struggled with health issues, including an alcohol addiction. Eventually kicked out of their apartment, Wood and his wife, Kathleen O’Hara, moved in with a friend in North Hollywood. It was there that Wood died of a heart attack on December 10, 1978 at the age of 54.

Wood’s legacy and cult following lives on with, for example, the University of Southern California holding an annual “Ed Wood Film Festival” for which students are charged with writing, filming, and editing an Ed Wood-esque short film based on a predetermined theme. His movies has been spoofed on Mystery Theater 3000 and many have been remade as pornographic movies. Additionally, many of his bizarre transvestite-themed sex novels have been republished.

FILMOGRAPHY AS DIRECTOR
The Sinister Urge (8-Dec-1960)
Night of the Ghouls (1959)
Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)
Bride of the Monster (11-May-1955)
Jail Bait (1954)
Glen or Glenda (1953)

FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Fugitive Girls (13-Jul-1974)
Glen or Glenda (1953) · Glen

Happy Birthday Buster Keaton

Today is the 119th birthday of Buster Keaton.  I absolutely adore his expressionlessness in everything.  And then, have you seen Sunset Boulevard?  I have put the clip below.  So great.

NAME: Buster Keaton
OCCUPATION: Film Actor, Comedian
BIRTH DATE: October 4, 1895
DEATH DATE: February 1, 1966
PLACE OF BIRTH: Piqua, Kansas
PLACE OF DEATH: Woodland Hills, California
NICKNAME: Great Stone Face
ORIGINALLY: Joseph Frank Keaton IV

BEST KNOWN FOR: Comedian and director Buster Keaton was popular for his pioneering silent comedies in the 1920s.

Actor, director. Considered one of the groundbreaking comedians of the early film era, Joseph Frank Keaton IV was born October 4, 1895 in Piqua, Kansas. His parents, Joe and Myra, were both veteran vaudevillian actors and Keaton himself first began performing at the age of three when he was incorporated into their act.

As legend has it, he earned the name of “Buster” at the age of six months, after falling down a flight of stairs. Magician Harry Houdini scooped up the child and turning to the boy’s parents quipped, “What a buster.”

Keaton quickly grew used to being knocked around a bit. Working with his parents in an act that prided itself on being as rough as it was funny, Keaton was tossed around by his father frequently. During these performances Keaton would learn to display the deadpan look that would later become a hallmark of his comedy career.

“It was the roughest knockout act that was ever in the history of the theater,” he later said of the performances he did with his parents.

Even in Keaton’s first film, a 1917 two-reeler called “The Butcher Boy” starring Roscoe (“Fatty”) Arbuckle, Keaton was extreme slapstick, with the young actor getting subjected to range of abuses, from being submerged in molasses to getting bit by a dog.

Still, film called to Keaton and for the next two years he continued to work closely with Arbuckle for $40 a week. It was an apprenticeship of sorts and through it, Keaton was given full access to the movie making process.

In 1920 Keaton struck out on his own as a filmmaker, first with a series of two-reelers that included now classics such as The Cameraman, Steamboat Bill, Jr., and The Passionate Plumber. In 1923 Keaton started making full features such as The Three Ages (1923) and Sherlock, Jr. (1924). The line up also included perhaps his finest creation, The General (1927), which starred Keaton as a train engineer in the Civil War. Keaton was the full force behind the film, writing and directing it. But while movie proved initially to be a commercial disappointment it was later hailed as a pioneering piece of filmmaking.

Woven into his films of course, was Keaton’s trademark comedy, brilliant timing and patented facial expressions. In his early two-reelers the laughing making included a mastery of the slapstick pie.

His work also included Keaton’s penchant for doing his own stunts. He became somewhat of a Hollywood legend not just for his falls but his lack of injuries.

At the height of his career, which was in the mid 1920s, Keaton experienced some of the same kind of celebrity as another silent film star, Charlie Chaplin. His salary reached $3,500 a week and he eventually built a $300,000 home in Beverly Hills.

In 1928 Buster Keaton made the move that would later call the mistake of his life. With the advent of talkies, Keaton signed on with MGM, where he proceeded to make a string of new sound comedies that fared decently at the box office but lacked the kind of Keaton punch the filmmaker had come to expect from his work.

The reason for that largely stemmed from the fact that in signing in the deal, Keaton had forked over part of the filmmaking control to his bosses. His life quickly spiraled downward. His marriage to actress Natalie Talmadge, with whom he had two sons, fell apart and he became plagued with issues related to alcoholism and depression.

In 1934, with his contract with MGM now terminated, Keaton filed for bankruptcy. His listed assets totaled just $12,000. One year later he divorced his second wife, Mae Scribbens.

In 1940 Keaton’s life started to move upward again. He got married for a third time, to a 21-year-old dancer named Eleanor Morris, who many credited with bring him stability. The two would remain together until Keaton’s death in 1966.

A return to fame came in the 1950s, a revival that was sparked by British television, where the aging comedian appeared on a string of English programs. In the States, too, American audiences became reacquainted with Keaton after he played himself in Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard (1950) and then in Chaplin’s Limelight (1952).

He also raised his profile through a string of American programs and commercials. In 1956 he was paid $50,000 by Paramount for the film rights to The Keaton Story, which follows the performer’s life from his vaudeville days through his work in Hollywood.

During this time film fans also rediscovered Keaton’s work from the silent film era. In 1962, Keaton, who’d retained full rights to his older films, reissued The General and watched with awe as it drew praise from fans and critics from all over Europe.

In October 1965 the Keaton comeback reached its height after he was invited to the Venice Film Festival, where he showed his latest project, Film, a 22-minute silent movie based on a Samuel Becket screenplay. Keaton had made movie the year before in New York. When the film concluded, Keaton received a five-minute standing ovation from the audience.

“This is the first time I’ve been invited to a film festival,” a teary-eyed Keaton proclaimed. “But I hope it won’t be the last.”

A survivor to the end, the hard working Keaton was, toward the end of his life making more than $100,000 a year just from doing commercials. In all, Keaton, who was honored in 1959 with a special Academy Award, claimed he had more work than he could handle.

Keaton, who suffered from cancer, passed away in his sleep in his home in Hollywood Hills, California, on February 1, 1966.

FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (16-Oct-1966) · Erronius
War Italian Style (20-Apr-1966)
Film (4-Sep-1965)
Sergeant Deadhead (18-Aug-1965)
How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (14-Jul-1965) · Bwana
The Railrodder (20-Jun-1965)
Beach Blanket Bingo (14-Apr-1965) · Buster
Pajama Party (11-Nov-1964) · Chief Rotten Eagle
It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (7-Nov-1963) · Jimmy
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (17-Jun-1960) · Lion Tamer
Around the World in Eighty Days (17-Oct-1956) · Train Conductor
Limelight (23-Oct-1952) · Calvero’s Partner
In the Good Old Summertime (29-Jul-1949) · Hickey
You’re My Everything (29-Jun-1949) · Butler
The Lovable Cheat (11-May-1949)
San Diego I Love You (29-Sep-1944)
Forever and a Day (21-Jan-1943)
Li’l Abner (1-Nov-1940)
The Villain Still Pursued Her (11-Oct-1940)
Hollywood Cavalcade (13-Oct-1939) · Himself
An Old Spanish Custom (1935)
Allez Oop (25-May-1934)
What! No Beer? (10-Feb-1933)
Speak Easily (13-Aug-1932) · Professor Timoleon Post
The Passionate Plumber (6-Feb-1932)
Sidewalks of New York (26-Sep-1931) · Homer Van Dine Harmon
Parlor, Bedroom and Bath (28-Feb-1931)
Doughboys (30-Aug-1930)
Free and Easy (22-Mar-1930)
The Hollywood Revue of 1929 (14-Aug-1929) · Himself
Spite Marriage (6-Apr-1929) · Elmer Gantry
The Cameraman (22-Sep-1928) · Buster
Steamboat Bill, Jr. (12-May-1928) · William Canfield, Jr.
College (10-Sep-1927) · A Son
The General (5-Feb-1927) · Johnny Gray
Battling Butler (19-Sep-1926)
Go West (1-Nov-1925) · Friendless
Seven Chances (11-Mar-1925) · James Shannon
The Navigator (13-Oct-1924)
Sherlock, Jr. (21-Apr-1924) · Sherlock, Jr.
Our Hospitality (19-Nov-1923) · Willie McKay
The Three Ages (24-Sep-1923) · The Boy
The Balloonatic (22-Jan-1923)
Daydreams (Nov-1922) · The Young Man
The Blacksmith (21-Jul-1922)
My Wife’s Relations (May-1922)
The Paleface (Jan-1922) · Paleface
The Boat (10-Nov-1921)
The Goat (15-May-1921)
The High Sign (18-Apr-1921) · Buster
Neighbors (22-Dec-1920)
The Scarecrow (22-Dec-1920)
The Saphead (18-Oct-1920)
One Week (1-Sep-1920)
The Garage (15-Dec-1919)
The Cook (15-Sep-1918)
The Bell Boy (18-Mar-1918)
Out West (20-Jan-1918)
Oh Doctor! (30-Sep-1917)
The Butcher Boy (23-Apr-1917)

Happy Birthday Paul Muni

Today is the 119th birthday of Paul Muni.  He has probably one of the best ‘before’ names in Hollywood History.

NAME: Paul Muni
OCCUPATION: Film Actor, Television Actor
BIRTH DATE: September 22, 1895
DEATH DATE: August 25, 1967
PLACE OF BIRTH: Lviv, Poland
PLACE OF DEATH: Montecito, California
ORIGINALLY: Meshilem Meier Weisenfreund

BEST KNOWN FOR: American actor Paul Muni is best known for his film and stage portrayals of noted historical figures. He was nominated five times for the Academy Awards.

Paul Muni was born on September 22nd, 1895 in Lenberg, Galicia in Austria-Hungary with the birth name Meshilem Meier Weisenfreund to parents Salli and Phillip Weisenfreund, both of whom were actors.

His family moved to the United States in 1902, where he attended school in the public school system in Cleveland and in New York. At the young age of twelve he worked on a stage production of, Seven Faces where he portrayed an eighty year old man and played seven different characters.

When he completed high school he joined the Yiddish Art Theatre in New York and studied there for four years. He then went on to work on Yiddish stage plays making his stage debut in 1907. It was not until 1926 that he transferred over to doing American stage plays having his first English language role. In 1928, he was discovered by Fox.

His first screen role in English was on the film, The Valiant (1929) also with Marguerite Churchill and Johnny Mack Brown, in which he was one of only six actors total to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for his first screen appearance. However, this film along with his next were both unsuccessful box office films and therefore, Muni returned back to Broadway to work on stage on the play, Counselor at Law.

In 1932, Muni decided to give films another chance and went back to Hollywood working on two films, Scarface also starring George Raft, Ann Dvorak, Tully Marshall and Boris Karloff and I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (both 1932) starring with Glenda Farrell, Preston Foster and Sally Blane in which for the latter role he received his second Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.

He was soon signed to a long contract with Warner Brothers studios who were so highly impressed with his talents. He became one of their most prestigious actors. They actually allowed him to choose which parts he wanted in various films.

Muni had such an influential impact on Warner Brothers that in 1935, they agreed to produce a historical biography called, The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936) also starring Anita Louise, Akim Tamiroff, Dickie Moore, Donald Woods and Josephine Hutchinson, which was his idea, a huge success and earned Mini an Oscar for his performance.

During the late 30’s and early 40’s, Muni took on a couple more roles in films such as, The Good Earth (1937) also starring Academy Award winner for Best Actress Luise Rainer, A Song to Remember (1945) also starring Cornel Wilde, Merle Oberon and Nina Foch and Angel on My Shoulder (1946) co-starring Anne Baxter and Claude Rains. He was really beginning to fade himself out of the film industry as he was quite dissatisfied with Hollywood.

He focused the remainder of his career working back as a stage actor and won a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play for his role in Inherit the Wind (1956).

Muni retired from acting not by choice, but more due to failing health reasons after his final appearance in, The Last Angry Man (1959) starring alongside David Wayne, Betsy Palmer, Billy Dee Williams and Godfrey Cambridge in which he received an Oscar nomination for. He suffered throughout his entire life from a rheumatic heart.

Muni was married only once to Bella Muni on May 8th, 1921 and they remained together until he passed away on August 25th, 1967 in Montecito, California from heart problems at the age of seventy one. He is interred at Hollywood Memorial Cemetery in Hollywood, California and was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contribution to the Motion Picture Industry.

FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
The Last Angry Man (22-Oct-1959) · Dr. Sam Abelman
Stranger on the Prowl (12-Mar-1952)
Angel on My Shoulder (20-Sep-1946) · Eddie Kagle
Counter-Attack (26-Apr-1945)
A Song to Remember (18-Jan-1945) · Prof. Joseph Elsner
Stage Door Canteen (24-Jun-1943) · Himself
Commandos Strike at Dawn (30-Dec-1942) · Eric Toresen
Hudson’s Bay (9-Jan-1941) · Pierre Esprit Radisson
We Are Not Alone (25-Nov-1939)
Juarez (24-Apr-1939) · Benito Juarez
The Life of Emile Zola (11-Aug-1937) · Émile Zola
The Woman I Love (15-Apr-1937)
The Good Earth (29-Jan-1937) · Wang
The Story of Louis Pasteur (23-Nov-1935) · Louis Pasteur
Dr. Socrates (19-Oct-1935)
Black Fury (18-May-1935) · Joe Radek
Bordertown (23-Jan-1935)
Hi, Nellie! (20-Jan-1934)
The World Changes (25-Nov-1933)
I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang (19-Nov-1932) · James Allen
Scarface (31-Mar-1932) · Tony
The Valiant (12-May-1929) · James Dyke

Happy Birthday Los Angeles

los angeles

Los Angeles was founded on on this day in 1781, by Spanish governor Felipe de Neve. It became a part of Mexico in 1821 following the Mexican War of Independence. In 1848, at the end of the Mexican–American War, Los Angeles and the rest of California were purchased as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, thereby becoming part of the United States. Los Angeles was incorporated as a municipality on April 4, 1850, five months before California achieved statehood.

1928-hollywood-bowl