Happy Birthday Elizabeth Short

Today is the 90th birthday of Elizabeth Short.

ELIZABETH SHORTNAME: Black Dahlia
BIRTH DATE: July 29, 1924
DEATH DATE: c. January 15, 1947
PLACE OF BIRTH: Boston, Massachusetts
PLACE OF DEATH: Los Angeles, California
AKA: Beth Short, ”The Black Dahlia”, Bette Short, Betty Short
FULL NAME: Elizabeth Short

BEST KNOWN FOR: Nicknamed “the Black Dahlia,” Elizabeth Short was brutally murdered in Los Angeles in 1947, her body cut in half and severely mutilated. The Black Dahlia’s killer was never found, making her murder one of the oldest cold case files in L.A. to date, and the city’s most famous.

Elizabeth Short, best known as “the Black Dahlia,” was born on July 29, 1924, in Boston, Massachusetts, the third of five daughters born to Cleo and Phoebe Mae (Sawyer) Short. Cleo Short abandoned the family when Elizabeth was 5 years old. At a young age, Short developed a strong affinity for cinema. By her teens, she had set her sites on becoming an actress.

By the mid-1940s, Elizabeth Short was living in Los Angeles, California, working as a waitress to support herself while dreaming of catching her big break into Hollywood’s acting scene. Her chance at stardom, however, would never come. In January 1947, a horrific tragedy occurred: At the age of 22, Short was brutally murdered in Los Angeles, her body cut in half and severely mutilated. Her body was found, nude and posed, by a local female resident on January 15, 1947, in a vacant lot near Leimert Park, on the 3800 block of L.A.’s South Norton Avenue. “It was pretty gruesome,” Brian Carr, a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department who has long worked on the Dahlia case, later said. “I just can’t imagine someone doing that to another human being.” In addition to dissecting and mutilating her body, Short’s killer had drained her corpse of blood and scrubbed it clean.

The case quickly became heavily covered by the media (her moniker, “Black Dahlia,” became widely known shortly thereafter, as it was used more frequently than her real name by the press). “The case itself took on a life of its own,” Carr said. “Early on, I think for two months it was front-page news in all the local papers every day.”

An in-depth, lengthy investigation by the L.A.P.D. ensued, leading to a number of false reports—including several false murder confessions—and ultimately leaving detectives grasping at straws. The sole witness of the murder had reported seeing a black sedan parked in the area in the early morning hours, but could provide police with little else. The combination of faulty witnesses and a lack of hard evidence surrounding the case greatly hindered its progress, and, despite numerous allegations and leads over the years, the Black Dahlia’s killer was never found. Today, the Black Dahlia murder remains one of the oldest cold case files in L.A., as well as the city’s most famous.

In early 2013, the Black Dahlia case returned to the headlines. An article in the San Bernardino Sun detailed a more recent investigation of the case that was conducted by retired police seargant Paul Dostie, author Steve Hodel, and a police dog named Buster with a keen sense of smell—specifically that of decomposing flesh, which he was trained to detect. According to the Sun, the investigative team has uncovered incriminating evidence against Hodel’s father, Dr. George Hill Hodel, who the younger Hodel has long believed to be the Black Dahlia killer. In February 2013, the team conducted an extensive search of the doctor’s home, where Buster had previously detected the scent of human decomposition in several areas of the basement, according to reports. Following their search, soil samples taken from Dr. Hodel’s home were reportedly submitted for lab testing.

Other evidence against George Hodel, according to his son, includes an old recording of a conversation between the doctor and an unknown person, during which Dr. Hodel allegedly stated, “Supposin’ I did kill the Black Dahlia. They couldn’t prove it now. They can’t talk to my secretary because she’s dead.”

Happy Birthday Clara Bow

Today is the 109th birthday of Clara Bow.

NAME: Clara Bow
OCCUPATION: Film Actor/Film Actress
BIRTH DATE: July 29, 1905
DEATH DATE: September 27, 1965
PLACE OF BIRTH: Brooklyn, New York
PLACE OF DEATH: Los Angeles, California

BEST KNOWN FOR: American motion-picture actress Clare Bow was a major box-office draw during the silent-film era, having starred in dozens of projects.

Clara Bow was born on July 29, 1905 in the Bay Ridge area of Brooklyn, NY. She was the youngest of three siblings and the only one to survive past childhood. Her father was sexually abusive and left the home for long periods of time while her mother suffered from severe mental disorders, later threatening her adolescent daughter’s life.

Bow took to watching movies as an escape from the horrors of home and dropped out of school. At 16, she entered a magazine’s beauty contest and won a small part in the film Beyond the Rainbow (1922), though her scenes were initially cut. Even while facing resistance, Bow persevered in continuing to audition at New York studios and eventually received a part in Down to the Sea in Ships (1922). The new actress also contended with the institutionalization and death of her mother.

Bow made her way to Hollywood and signed with Preferred Pictures under honcho B.P. Schulberg, with the actress also working with other studios. She starred in an array of silent films such as Grit (1924), The Plastic Age (1925) and Dancing Mothers (1926); the latter was filmed by Paramount Studios, which Schulberg joined after Preferred’s bankruptcy.

Bow became wildly popular after 1927’s It, a film adapted from a Elinor Glyn novella. The project proved to be a tremendous box office success and lent the actress the nickname the “It” Girl. Bow’s imagery and electric, sexy performances spoke to the flapper persona of the times. She was a style icon as well, with her particular look taken on by women across the country.

The actress made cinematic history with her 1927 co-starring role in Wings, which went on to receive the first Best Picture Oscar. She later made the transition to talking movies with 1929’s The Wild Party. Bow ultimately starred in dozens of films over the course of her career, though rigorous shooting demands and industry exploitation took its toll.

Known for having a fun and affable personality with a winning Brooklyn accent, Bow nonetheless still suffered from an overloaded work schedule, celebrity scrutiny and the lingering traumas of her upbringing. She had been associated with a number of men off-screen and her romantic life became the object of much hurtful speculation and gossip, including a pamphlet put forth by an assistant with stories of Bow’s relationships. In 1931 she had a breakdown and entered a sanitarium.

While recovering, Bow met fellow actor and future politician Rex Bell, and the two married in 1931, going on to have two children. Bow starred in a couple of other films with Fox Studios before retiring from acting in 1933. Over time she still struggled deeply with her emotional and mental health, attempting suicide in the mid-1940s and undergoing a score of examinations.

A widower after her husband’s death in 1962, Clara Bow died at the age of 60 on September 27, 1965 in Los Angeles, California from a heart attack. Decades later, her trailblazing role in shaping film and general culture has continued to be explored. A biography was published in 1988, Clara Bow Runnin’ Wild by David Stenn, while 1999 saw the release of a documentary, Clara Bow: Discovering the It Girl, directed by Hugh M. Neely and narrated by Courtney Love.

Happy Birthday Aldous Huxley

Today is the 120th birthday of Aldous Huxley.

aldous huxley

NAME: Aldous Huxley
OCCUPATION: Author
BIRTH DATE: July 26, 1894
DEATH DATE: November 22, 1963
EDUCATION: Eton, Balliol College
PLACE OF BIRTH: Godalming, United Kingdom
PLACE OF DEATH: Los Angeles, California

BEST KNOWN FOR: Author Aldous Huxley expressed his deep distrust of 20th-century politics and technology in his sci-fi novel Brave New World, a nightmarish vision of the future.

Aldous Huxley, was a British writer. He was born on July 26, 1894 and died on November 22, 1963. He would become most specifically known to the public for his novels, and especially his fifth one, Brave New World, written in 1931 and published in 1932. Aldous Huxley was born on July 26th 1894 in Godalming in the Surrey county in southern England. He would be the son of the English schoolteacher and writer Leonard Huxley (1860 – 1933) and of Julia Arnold (1862 – 1908). More than literature, however, Aldous Huxley would in fact be born into a family of renowned scientists, with two of his three brothers, Julian and Andrew, who would be eminent biologists and a grandfather, Thomas Henry Huxley, who would be a famous, controversial naturalist in his time, nicknamed as “Darwin’s Bulldog”.

Aldous Huxley would come to be known mostly as a novelist and essayist but he would also write some short stories, poetry, travelogues and even film scripts. In his novels and essays Aldous Huxley would always play the role of a critical observer of accepted traditions, customs, social norms and ideals. Importantly, he would be concerned in his writings with the potentially harmful applications of so-called scientific progress to mankind.

At the age of 14 Aldous Huxley would lose his mother and he himself would subsequently become ill in 1911 with a disease that would leave him virtually blind. As if all of this was note enough, his other brother, Noel, would kill himself in 1914. Because of his sight he would not be able to do the scientific research that had attracted him earlier. Aldous Huxley would then turn himself to literature. It is important to note that in spite of a partial remission, his eyesight would remain poor for the rest of his life. This would not, however prevent him from obtaining a degree in English literature with high praises.

While continuing his education at Balliol College, one of the institutions at Oxford University in England, Aldous Huxley would not longer be financially supported by his father, which would make him having to earn living. For a brief period in 1918, he would be employed as a clerk of the Air Ministry, which would convince him that he does not want a career in either administration or business. As result, his need for money would lead him to apply his literary talents. It is around those days that he would become friends with the famous writer D.H. Lawrence (1885 – 1930) at Oxford.

Aldous Huxley would finish his first novel, which he would never publish, at the age of seventeen, and he would decisively turn to writing at the age of twenty. At that point he would publish poems and also become a journalist and art critic. This would allow him to frequently travel and mingle with the European intelligentsia of the time. He would meet surrealists in Paris and would as a result of all of this write many literary essays. Aldous Huxley were to be deeply concerned about the important changes occurring at the time in Western civilization. They would prompt him to write great novels in the 1930s about the serious threats posed by the combination of power and technical progress, as well as about what he identified as a drift in parapsychology: behaviorism (as in his Brave New World). Additionally he would write against war and nationalism, as in Eyeless in Gaza (1936), for example.

One of his most known novels, and arguably his most important, would be Brave New World. Aldous Huxley would write it in only four months. It is important to note that at that time Adolf Hitler (1889 – 1945) was not yet in power in Germany and that the Stalinist purges had not yet begun. Aldous Huxley had therefore not been able to tap into the reality of his time the dictatorial future he would have the foresight to write about before it had happened. Indeed here Aldous Huxley imagined a society that would use genetics and cloning in order to condition and control individuals. In this future society all children are conceived in test tubes. They are genetically conditioned to belong to one of the five categories of populations, from the most intelligent to the stupidest.
Brave New World would also delineate what the perfect dictatorship would look like. It would have the appearance of a democracy, but would basically be a prison without walls in which the prisoners would not even dream of escaping. It would essentially be, as Aldous Huxley tells us, a system of slavery where, through entertainment and consumption the slaves “would love their servitude”. To many this would and still does resonate with the contemporary status quo. The title of the book comes from Shakespeare’s The Tempest (1610 – 1611), Act 5 Scene 1. Aldous Huxley’s novel would in fact eventually be made into a film in 1998. Although this one contains many elements from the book, the film would however portray a rather different storyline.

In 1937 he would write a book of essays entitled Ends and Means: an Enquiry Into the Nature of Ideals and Into the Methods Employed for Their Realization in which he would explore some of the same themes:

“A democracy which makes or even effectively prepares for modern, scientific war must necessarily cease to be democratic. No country can be really well prepared for modern war unless it is governed by a tyrant, at the head of a highly trained and perfectly obedient bureaucracy.”

In 1958 Aldous Huxley would publish Brave New World Revisited, a collection of essays in which he would think critically about the threats of overpopulation, excessive bureaucracy, as well as some hypnosis techniques for personal freedom. While Aldous Huxley’s early works would clearly be focused on defending a kind of humanism, he would become more and more interested in spiritual questions. He would particularly become interested in parapsychology and mysticism, which would be a subject matter on which he would also write a lot about. It is not really surprising, therefore, that in 1938 Aldous Huxley would become a friend of religious philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895 – 1986), considered by some to be a mystique himself, largely because of his early association with the Theosophical Society, from which he would powerfully break away from. In any case, Huxley would become a great admirer of this one’s teachings and would encourage him to put his insights in writings. Aldous Huxley would even write the forward for Jiddu Krishnamurti’s The First and Last Freedom (1954). Tellingly, Huxley would state after having listened to one of Krishnamurti’s talks:

“… the most impressive thing I have listened to. It was like listening to a discourse of the Buddha – such power, such intrinsic authority…”

In 1937, the writer would move to California and became a screenwriter for Hollywood. At the same time he would continue writing novels and essays, including the satirical novel After Many a Summer (1939) and Ape and Essence (1948). In 1950 the American Academy of Arts and Letters would award him the prestigious Award of Merit for the Novel, a prize that had also been bestowed to illustrious writers such as Ernest Hemingway (1899 – 1961) and Thomas Mann (1875 – 1955). Aldous Huxley would also be the author of an essay on the environment that would greatly inspire future ecological movements.

The 1950s would be a time of experiences with psychedelic drugs for him, especially LSD and mescaline, from which he would write the collection of essays The Doors of Perception (1954), which would become a narrative worshipped by hippies. The book would also inspire the famous singer Jim Morrison (1943 – 1971), to call his band “The Doors”. Aldous Huxley himself had found the title of the book in William Blake’s (1757 – 1827) The Marriage of Heaven and Hell:

“If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.”

By the end of his life Aldous Huxley would be considered by many as a visionary thinker. The so-called “New Age” school of thought would often quote his mystical writings and studies of hallucinogens, and in fact it continues to do so today. Considered one of the greatest English writers having written 47 books, Aldous Huxley would die at the age of 69 in Los Angeles on November 22 1963, the same day as President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Aldous Huxley would be cremated and his ashes would be buried in the family vault in the UK.

Happy Birthday Louis B. Mayer

Today is the 130th birthday of the first movie mogul, Louis B. Mayer.

Mayer

NAME: Louis B. Mayer
OCCUPATION: Business Leader, Producer
BIRTH DATE: c. July 12, 1884
DEATH DATE: October 29, 1957
PLACE OF BIRTH: Minsk, Russia
PLACE OF DEATH: Los Angeles, California
Full Name: Louis Burt Mayer
AKA: Louis Mayer
Originally: Eliezer Mayer

Best Known For:  Louis B. Mayer was a film mogul and the most influential person in Hollywood from the mid-1920s to the late-1940s.

Film producer and executive Louis Burt Mayer was born to an Eastern European Jewish family in Minsk, Russia. Though he was reportedly born on July 12, 1884, Mayer would claim throughout his life that he was born on the Fourth of July; he was similarly unclear about the exact location of his birth. The future mogul was the middle child of five siblings, with two sisters and two brothers, all of whom grew up in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada.

At the age of 12, Mayer quit school to help his father run the family scrap metal business. When he was 19, he moved to Boston, expanding the father-son scrap enterprise into the United States. Soon after he arrived, Mayer met and married a butcher’s daughter, Margaret Shenberg. The couple had two daughters, Edith Mayer (1905-1987) and Irene Mayer (1907-1990), who would both go on to marry movie executives.

It wasn’t long before Mayer grew tired of the family business and began to look for a less gritty line of work. Luckily, a friend in the know tipped him off to a burlesque theater for sale in Haverhill, Massachusetts, a joint known derisively as the “Garlic Box.” It was a rundown theater with a bad reputation, but the enterprising young Mayer smartly chose to premiere a religious film at the establishment’s opening, immediately currying favor with community skeptics.

The budding businessman soon got a taste for success and began to acquire more and more old theaters in the area, rebuilding their reputations and facades in equal measure. After taking over all five of Haverhill’s theaters, he partnered with Nathan Gordon to gain control of a large theater chain in New England.

In 1914, Mayer made his first foray into film distribution when he bought exclusive rights to the landmark picture The Birth of a Nation with the money he earned pawning his wife’s wedding ring. He would also start a distribution agency in Boston and a talent-booking agency in New York. However, the siren song of Hollywood couldn’t be ignored for long; in 1918, Mayer moved to Los Angeles to form Louis B. Mayer Pictures Corporation.

By then the producer had gained a reputation for his hunger, audacity and ability to spot talent. Far from a hands-off studio honcho, Mayer cultivated a specialty for acquiring talent and roaming the back lots looking for his next glamorous lead. Some of Mayer’s landmark discoveries included Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Katharine Hepburn, Clark Gable and Fred Astaire.

The producer’s watershed moment would come when Marcus Loew came knocking on his door. Recently having merged his company with Samuel Goldwyn’s studios to give birth to Metro-Goldwyn, Loew found himself without a head executive for the company. Soon Metro-Goldwyn became Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and the iconic MGM Studios was born. Over the next 25 years, Mayer built the studio’s reputation on a string of glamorous and mostly uncontroversial films. Some of the biggest hits of Mayer’s era were Ben-Hur (1925), Grand Hotel (1932),  Dinner at Eight (1933) and The Good Earth (1937).

At its height MGM, was Hollywood’s kingmaker (and queenmaker), churning out more films and stars than any other studio. The MGM lot itself was legendary—over 150 acres and as self-sufficient as a town, complete with its own opium den, barbershop and 24-hour dining establishment. Also housed on the property was none other than the iconic MGM lion, whose digs amounted to an onsite zoo.

Louis B. Mayer himself had gained a reputation of leonine proportions not long after his arrival in Hollywood. Characterized by his strong will and tell-it-straight relationships, Mayer once told Robert Young, “Put on a little weight and get more sex, we have a whole stable of girls here.” Clearly, the approach worked; MGM was the most successful studio in Hollywood, even managing to stay profitable through the Great Depression. For almost a decade Mayer held the rank of highest paid man in America, a far cry from his days diving in the Bay of Fundy for scrap metal.

By 1948, the heyday of the Hollywood studio era had begun to fade. MGM had gone years without an Oscar and relations between Mayer and other executives began to fray as profit margins thinned. In 1951, Mayer left MGM after 27 years at the helm. Six years later, on October 29, 1957, the legendary producer and executive died of leukemia.

One of Hollywood’s first true moguls, there is no denying his influence on the early years of the film industry’s boom, but as Mayer himself once said, “The sign of a clever auteur is to achieve the illusion that there is a sole individual responsible for magnificent creations that require thousands of people to accomplish.”

Happy Birthday George Cukor

Today is the 115th birthday of George Cukor.  He is responsible for almost all of my favorite classic films: Holiday, The Women, Gone With The Wind, The Philadelphia Story, Adam’s Rib, Born Yesterday, It Should Happen To You, etc. His teaming with Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Judy Holliday, Clark Gable, Jack Lemmon, and Joan Crawford made countless of hours of perfection.

Born: July 7, 1899 New York City, New York, U.S.
Died: January 24, 1983 (aged 83) Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Resting place: Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California
Occupation: Director

George Dewey Cukor (July 7, 1899 – January 24, 1983) was an American film director. He mainly concentrated on comedies and literary adaptations. His career flourished at RKO and later MGM, where he directed What Price Hollywood? (1932), A Bill of Divorcement (1932), Dinner at Eight (1933), Little Women (1933), David Copperfield (1935), Romeo and Juliet (1936) and Camille (1936).

He was replaced as the director of Gone with the Wind (1939), but he went on to direct The Philadelphia Story (1940), Adam’s Rib (1949), Born Yesterday (1950), A Star Is Born (1954) and My Fair Lady (1964). He continued to work into the 1980s.

Cukor’s friends were of paramount importance to him and he kept his home filled with their photographs. Regular attendees at his famed soirées included Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, Joan Crawford and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart, Claudette Colbert, Marlene Dietrich, Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, actor Richard Cromwell, Stanley Holloway, Judy Garland, Gene Tierney, Noël Coward, Cole Porter, director James Whale, costume designer Edith Head, and Norma Shearer, especially after the death of her first husband, Irving Thalberg. He often entertained literary figures like Sinclair Lewis, Theodore Dreiser, Aldous Huxley, Ferenc Molnár, and close friend Somerset Maugham, as well.

Cukor died of a heart attack on January 24, 1983, and was interred in an unmarked grave at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.Records in probate court indicated his net worth at the time of his death was $2,377,720.

Happy Birthday Peg Entwistle

Today is the 106th birthday of the woman who’s ghost is said to be seen around Griffith Park, recognized by her attractiveness, her sadness and the strong scent of gardenia perfume.  

Peg Entwistle
AKA Lillian Millicent Entwistle

Born: 1-Jul-1908
Birthplace: Port Talbot, Wales
Died: 18-Sep-1932
Location of death: Hollywood, CA
Cause of death: Suicide
Remains: Cremated, Oak Hill Cemetery, Glendale, OH

Executive summary: Starlet, suicided off Hollywood sign

Born Millicent Lilian Entwistle in Port Talbot, Wales to English parents, Robert Symes and Emily (née Stevenson) Entwistle, she spent her early life in West Kensington, London. It is often reported that her mother Emily died when she was very young, however, there is no documented evidence supporting this. There is, however, a Last Will and Testament dated 15 December 1922, in the Entwistle family archives, in which Robert Entwistle specifically ordered that “Millicent Lilian Entwistle is the daughter of my first wife whom I divorced and the custody of my said daughter was awarded to me. I do not desire my said daughter to be at any time in the custody or control of her said mother.” Reportedly, Peg Entwistle emigrated to America via Liverpool aboard the SS Philadelphia and settled in New York. However, documents and photographs made available by the Entwistle family for a biography show Peg Entwistle and her father were in Cincinatti, Ohio, and New York City, in early Spring of 1913. This information is also backed-up in the Internet Broadway Data Base, and the New York Times, where Robert S. Entwistle is listed in the cast of several plays in 1913. A close examination of the reported 1916 ship’s manifest show that Peg Entwistle and her father were returning to the United States, not emigrating. In 1921 Robert Entwistle’s second wife, Lauretta Amanda Entwistle died and in 1922, after being the victim of a hit-and-run. She and her two younger half-brothers were taken in by their uncle, who had come with them to New York and was the manager of Broadway actor Walter Hampden.

On Sunday, 18 September 1932, an anonymous woman telephoned the police and said that while hiking she had found a body below the Hollywoodland sign (now known as the Hollywood sign) and then, according to a police transcript of the call, “wrapped a jacket, shoes and purse in a bundle and laid them on the steps of the Hollywood Police Station.” A detective and two radio car officers found the body of a moderately well-dressed, blonde-haired, blue-eyed woman in the 100-foot ravine below the sign. Entwistle remained unidentified until her uncle connected her two-day absence with the description and initials P.E. on a suicide note which had been found in the purse and published by the newspapers. He said that on Friday the 16th she had told him she was going for a walk to a drugstore and see some friends. The police surmised that instead, she made her way from his Beachwood Drive home up the nearby southern slope of Mount Lee to the foot of the Hollywoodland sign, climbed a workman’s ladder to the top of the “H” and jumped. The cause of death was listed by the coroner as “multiple fractures of the pelvis.”

The suicide note as published read:

“I am afraid, I am a coward. I am sorry for everything. If I had done this a long time ago, it would have saved a lot of pain. P.E.”

Entwistle’s death brought wide and often sensationalized publicity. Her funeral was held in Hollywood and the body was cremated, with the ashes later sent to Glendale, Ohio for burial next to her father in Oak Hill Cemetery, where they were interred on 5 January 1933.

It’s also worth noting that Peg’s ex-husband, Robert Keith, had had a son, Brian, from a prior marriage. Peg’s stepson Brian Keith grew up to become a famous actor, best known for his role as “Uncle Bill” on the hit TV show, “Family Affair.” Brian Keith also committed suicide in 1997.

In the years following Peg’s suicide, hikers and park rangers in Griffith Park have reported some pretty strange happening in the vicinity of the Hollywood sign. Many have reported sightings of a woman dressed in 1930’s era clothing who abruptly vanishes when approached. She has been described as a very attractive, blond woman, who seems very sad. Could this be Peg’s ghost, still making her presence known? Could she also be linked to the pungent smell of gardenia perfume which has been known to overwhelm sight-seers in the park? Perhaps it is, as the gardenia scent was known to be Peg’s trademark perfume.

It Should Happen to You – Required Viewing

It Should Happen To You really has everything you could ever want in a film:  Judy Holliday, Jack Lemmon and George Cukor.  As far as I know, those three didn’t ever make a bad movie on their own, so their combined forces makes magic.  I have said it before and I will exclaim it again:  Judy Holliday Is EVERYTHING!  Do yourself a favor and watch It Should Happen To You soon. You deserve it.it-should-happen-to-you-trailer-title

The Wiki:

It Should Happen to You (1954) is a romantic comedy film starring Judy Holliday, and notable as the first major screen appearance of Jack Lemmon, who was then an aspiring young actor. The film was directed by George Cukor and filmed on location in New York City. Screenwriter Garson Kanin originally intended the script as a vehicle for Danny Kaye, but Kanin’s wife, Ruth Gordon, suggested casting Judy Holliday instead. The title was initially A Name for Herself.

Lemmon had a contentious meeting with studio boss Harry Cohn, who feared that critics might use jokes about the name “Lemmon” in headlines panning the film. He wanted Lemmon to change his name to “Lennon.” Lemmon countered that if he did that people might confuse his name with “Lenin” and associate his name with Communism, a very real concern in the 1950s. He decided to keep the name Lemmon and went on to become a Hollywood legend.

Happy Birthday Billy Wilder

Billy Wilder was born 108 years ago tomorrow.  Do yourself a favor and throw a few of his films on your Netflix queue.  There are so many movies that you should watch, quite a few of them are directed by Billy Wilder. See “Sunset Boulevard,” Wilder’s tale of the true Hollywood that no one had dared to tell before. Make sure you watch the making of the film portion of the DVD, it is brilliant.

NAME: Billy Wilder
OCCUPATION: Director, Producer
BIRTH DATE: June 22, 1906
DEATH DATE: March 27, 2002
EDUCATION: University of Vienna
PLACE OF BIRTH: Sucha, Poland
PLACE OF DEATH: Beverly Hills, California
ORIGINALLY: Samuel Wilder

BEST KNOWN FOR: Billy Wilder is best known for the many films he directed and produced, like Some Like It Hot.

Billy Wilder (22 June 1906 – 27 March 2002) was an Austro-Hungarian born American filmmaker, screenwriter, producer, artist, and journalist, whose career spanned more than 50 years and 60 films. He is regarded as one of the most brilliant and versatile filmmakers of Hollywood’s golden age. Wilder is one of only five people to have won Academy Awards as producer, director, and writer for the same film (The Apartment).

He said, “The only pictures worth making are the ones that are playing with fire.”

Wilder became a screenwriter in the late 1920s while living in Berlin. After the rise of Nazi Party, Wilder, who was Jewish, left for Paris, where he made his directorial debut. He relocated to Hollywood in 1933, and in 1939 he had a hit when he co-wrote the screenplay to the screwball comedy Ninotchka. Wilder established his directorial reputation after helming Double Indemnity (1944), a film noir he co-wrote with mystery novelist Raymond Chandler. Wilder earned the Best Director and Best Screenplay Academy Awards for the adaptation of a Charles R. Jackson story The Lost Weekend, about alcoholism. In 1950, Wilder co-wrote and directed the critically acclaimed Sunset Boulevard.

From the mid-1950s on, Wilder made mostly comedies. Among the classics Wilder created in this period are the farces The Seven Year Itch (1955) and Some Like It Hot (1959), satires such as The Apartment (1960), and the drama comedy Sabrina (1954). He directed fourteen different actors in Oscar-nominated performances. Wilder was recognized with the American Film Institute (AFI) Life Achievement Award in 1986. In 1988, Wilder was awarded the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award. In 1993, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts. Wilder has attained a significant place in the history of Hollywood censorship for his role in expanding the range of acceptable subject matter.

Wilder holds a significant place in the history of Hollywood censorship for expanding the range of acceptable subject matter. He is responsible for two of the film noir era’s most definitive films in Double Indemnity and Sunset Boulevard. Along with Woody Allen and the Marx Brothers, he leads the list of films on the American Film Institute’s list of 100 funniest American films with 5 films written and holds the honor of holding the top spot with Some Like it Hot. Also on the list are The Apartment and The Seven Year Itch which he directed, and Ball of Fire and Ninotchka which he co-wrote. The American Film Institute has ranked four of Wilder’s films among their top 100 American films of the 20th century: Sunset Boulevard (no. 12), Some Like It Hot (no. 14), Double Indemnity (no. 38) and The Apartment (no. 93). For the tenth anniversary edition of their list, the AFI moved Sunset Blvd. to #16, Some Like it Hot to #22, Double Indemnity to #29 and The Apartment to #80.

Spanish filmmaker Fernando Trueba said in his acceptance speech for the 1993 Best Non-English Speaking Film Oscar: “I would like to believe in God in order to thank him. But I just believe in Billy Wilder… so, thank you Mr. Wilder.” According to Trueba, Wilder called him the day after and told him: “Fernando, it’s God.” French filmmaker Michel Hazanavicius also thanked Billy Wilder in the 2012 Best Picture Oscar acceptance speech for The Artist by saying “I would like to thank the following three people, I would like to thank Billy Wilder, I would like to thank Billy Wilder, and I would like to thank Billy Wilder.” Wilder’s 12 Academy Award nominations for screenwriting were a record until 1997 when Woody Allen received a 13th nomination for Deconstructing Harry.

Rear View Mirror – My Week In Review

Dude, I swear, I don't know those people.
“Dude, I swear, I never said that and I don’t know those people.” – Jesus

 

Some things I have been thinking about this week:

1. Your Facebook “friends” are not really your friends. Facebook is not a real thing. You may know some of them in real life and are actually friends with them, but just because you agreed to connect with them on the internet does not mean you owe anybody anything.

2. Why aren’t parents vaccinating their kids? Are these the same crazy religious weirdoes that also don’t give their kids medicine because it’s “God’s will”?  Those parents end up going to jail for child abuse when their kids die.

3. How many people have to die before people stop responding to mass shootings with candle light vigils and posters and ribbons? None of those things are going to stop a bullet. How many more people have to die before people get angry and start holding elected officials accountable? Until we start electing people that will have the courage to address safer gun regulations and mental illness, innocent people will be murdered. Those innocent people may be your friends, family or you. How fucking stupid does lighting a candle seem now?

 

 

This week on Waldina, I celebrated the birthdays of Suzi Quatro, colleen Dewhurst, Rosalind Russell, Carmen Dell’Orefice, Hedda Hopper, and the 125th anniversary of the Great Seattle Fire.

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Most Popular Post This Week:    The Great Seattle Fire

north-by-northwest

This week on Wasp & Pear on Tumblr, I posted photographs of creepy vintage images that will haunt your dreams, Lucy and Ethel, vintage mug shots, classic Hollywood, abandoned places, set design still of the classic sitcom Bewitched, Vintage Seattle and iconic stills from North By Northwest.

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ringo

This week I tweeted from @TheRealSPA “Fucking Enough”.

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Happy Birthday Hedda Hopper

Today is the 124th birthday of Hollywood gossip columnist Hedda Hopper.

NAME: Hedda Hopper
OCCUPATION: Theater Actress, Film Actor/Film Actress
BIRTH DATE: June 2, 1890
DEATH DATE: February 1, 1966
PLACE OF BIRTH: Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania
PLACE OF DEATH: Hollywood, California
ORIGINALLY: Elda Furry

BEST KNOWN FOR: Hedda Hopper, a woman with amazing hats, was an American gossip columnists during the first half of the 1900s. She was also an actress and radio personality.

Gossip columist and actress Elda Furry, better known as Hedda Hopper, was born on June 2, 1890, in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania. One of nine children, Furry studied singing at the Carter Conservatory of Music in Pittsburgh during high school.

At the age of 18, she ran away after her Quaker parents rejected her plans to pursue a career in musical theater. She worked as a chorus girl and appeared in amateur theater productions before making her Broadway debut in 1909 in a small role in The Motor Girl. In 1913, Furry appeared with the popular comedic actor, and notorious womanizer, DeWolf Hopper in the musical comedy A Matinee Idol. Later that same year, she became Hopper’s much-older fifth wife.

She took the name Hedda Hopper in 1919; the first name was reportedly chosen by a numerologist. After making her big screen debut in the 1916 silent film The Battle of Hearts, Hopper found success in Hollywood as a character actress for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), appearing in over 100 films over the next three decades. In 1922, she and DeWolf Hopper divorced.

By the mid-1930s, Hopper was working as a freelance actress (without a studio contract) and her film career had fallen into a slump. Her famous sense of style and outspoken personality led to jobs at Elizabeth Arden cosmetics and as a fashion commentator on a Hollywood radio station. In 1937, the Esquire Feature Syndicate was looking for a Hollywood columnist and found one in Hopper. Untried, her column was sold to 13 papers and a career was launched.

When the column began appearing in the prestigious Los Angeles Times, her status shot upward and her power grew. Her column appeared in 85 metropolitan papers, 3,000 small-town dailies, and 2,000 weeklies. When she replaced John Chapman at The New York Daily News, she picked up an additional audience of 5,750,000 daily and 7,500,000 on Sunday. She appeared on weekly radio shows and wrote two best sellers: From Under My Hat and The Whole Truth and Nothing But.

Hedda’s large, flamboyant hats became her trademarks–she reportedly bought about 150 new hats a year. Hopper also acquired a reputation for journalistic bitchiness, which actually made her more popular. She took on anything or anyone who went against her set of “American” values. She doggedly spoke out against the threat of communism, real or imagined, in Hollywood. During the infamous “blacklisting” era, she destroyed the reputations of many people with hearsay.

She badgered Charlie Chaplin about the way he used women and America. She blasted Louis B. Mayer for lacking generosity. Her 10-year feud with her rival columnist Louella Parsons was legendary.  After publishing a “blind item” on Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy’s relationship, Tracy confronted her at Ciro’s and kicked her in the rear.  Similarly, after she had printed a story about an extramarital affair between Joseph Cotten and Deanna Durbin, Cotten ran into Hopper at a social event and pulled out her chair, only to continue pulling it out from under her when she sat down.

Hopper never remarried and lived to see her son, William (Bill) DeWolf Hopper Jr., achieve success as Paul Drake on the TV drama Perry Mason.

She died of pneumonia in 1966.  She is buried at Rose Hill Cemetery,Altoona, Pennsylvania.

For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Hopper has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6313½ Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood.

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