Happy Birthday Pablo Picasso

Today is Picasso’s 133rd birthday.  He died 41 years ago at the impressive age of 91.  A long life only matched by his long long full name:  Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Clito Ruiz y Picasso.  He was part of that group of friends back in the 20’s that I became madly fascinated with, that lost generation.  Only, he managed to get through it and continue.  Take some time to view his work today (phone-google images-picasso) and remember that life is more vibrant than you think and perspective is different for everyone.  Jump start your weekend and recharge yourself and remember, beauty is everywhere as long as you don’t rush past it.

picasso

NAME: Pablo Picasso
OCCUPATION: Painter
BIRTH DATE: October 25, 1881
DEATH DATE: April 08, 1973
EDUCATION: La Llotja, Royal Academy of San Fernando
PLACE OF BIRTH: Málaga, Spain
PLACE OF DEATH: Mougins, France

Best Known For:  Spanish expatriate Pablo Picasso was one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century, and the co-creator of Cubism.

The Wiki:

Artist. Born October 25, 1881 in Málaga, Spain. Picasso’s gargantuan full name, which honors a variety of relatives and saints, is Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Clito Ruiz y Picasso. Picasso’s mother was Doña Maria Picasso y Lopez and his father was Don José Ruiz Blasco, a painter and art teacher. A serious and prematurely world-weary child, the young Pablo Picasso possessed a pair of piercing, watchful black eyes that seemed to mark him out for greatness. He remembered, “When I was a child, my mother said to me, ‘If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general. If you become a monk you’ll end up as the pope.’ Instead I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.”

Although he was a relatively poor student, Picasso displayed a prodigious talent for drawing from a very young age. According to legend, his first words were “piz, piz,” his childish attempt at lápiz, the Spanish word for pencil. Picasso’s father began teaching him to draw and paint from early childhood, and by the time he was 13 years old his paintings were already better executed than his father’s. He lost all desire to do any schoolwork and instead spent the school days doodling in his notebook. Picasso recalled, “for being a bad student, they would send me to the ‘cells’& I loved it when they sent me there, because I could take a pad of paper and draw nonstop.”

In 1895, when Picasso was fourteen years old, his family moved to Barcelona and he immediately applied to the city’s prestigious School of Fine Arts. Although the school typically only accepted students several years his senior, Picasso’s entrance exam was so extraordinary that the school made an exception and admitted him immediately. Nevertheless, Picasso chafed at the strict rules and formalities and began skipping class to roam the streets of Barcelona, sketching the city scenes he observed.

In 1897, a 16-year-old Picasso moved to Madrid to attend the Royal Academy of San Fernando. However, he again grew frustrated at the school’s singular focus on classical subjects and techniques. He wrote to a friend, “They just go and on& about the same old stuff: Velazquez for painting, Michelangelo for sculpture.” Again he started skipping class to wander the city and paint what he observed: gypsies, beggars, prostitutes.

In 1899, Picasso moved back to Barcelona and fell in with a crowd of artists and intellectuals who made their headquarters at a café called El Quatre Gats, the four cats. Inspired by the anarchists and radicals he met there, Picasso made his decisive break with the classical methods in which he had been trained and began a lifelong process of experimentation and innovation.

At the turn of the twentieth century, Picasso moved to Paris, the cultural center of European art,  to open his own studio. Art critics and historians typically break Picasso’s adult career into distinct periods and the first of these, which lasted from 1901-1904, is called his Blue Period after the color that dominated nearly all of Picasso’s paintings during these years. Lonely and deeply depressed over the death of his close friend Carlos Casagemas, he painted scenes of poverty, isolation and anguish using almost exclusively blues and greens. The critic Charles Morice wondered, “Is this frighteningly precocious child not fated to bestow the consecration of a masterpiece on the negative sense of living, the illness from which he more than anyone else seems to be suffering?” Picasso’s most famous paintings from the Blue Period include Blue Nude, La Vieand The Old Guitarist, all three completed in 1903.

By 1905, Picasso had largely overcome his depression of the previous years. He was madly in love with a beautiful model named Fernande Olivier and newly prosperous thanks to the generous patronage of the art dealer Ambroise Vollard. The artistic manifestation of Picasso’s improved spirits was the introduction of warmer colors beiges, pinks and reds in what is known as his Rose Period. His most famous paintings from this time include Family at Saltimbanques (1905), Gertrude Stein (1905-1906) and Two Nudes (1906).

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In 1907, Picasso produced a painting unlike anything he or anyone else had ever painted before, a work that would profoundly influence the direction of art in the twentieth century: Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, a chilling depiction of five beige figures, prostitutes, abstracted and distorted with sharp geometric features and stark blotches of blues, greens and grays. Les Demoiselles d’Avignon is considered the precursor and inspiration of Cubism, an artistic style pioneered by Picasso and Georges Braque.

In Cubist paintings, objects are broken apart and reassembled in an abstracted form, highlighting their composite geometric shapes and depicting the object from multiple viewpoints at once to create physics-defying, collage-like effects. At once destructive and creative, Cubism shocked, appalled and fascinated the art world. “It made me feel as if someone was drinking gasoline and spitting fire,” Braque said. The French writer and critic Max Jacob reflected, “It was really the harbinger comet of the new century.” Picasso’s early Cubist paintings, known as his Analytic Cubist works, include Three Women (1907), Bread and Fruit Dish on a Table (1909) and Girl with Mandolin (1910). Picasso’s later Cubist paintings are distinguished as Synthetic Cubism because they go further toward creating vast collages out of a great number of tiny individual fragments.  These include Still Life with Chair Caning (1912), Card Player (1913-1914), and Three Musicians (1921).

The outbreak of World War I ushered in the next great change in Picasso’s art. He grew more somber and once again preoccupied with the depiction of reality. Picasso’s works between 1918-1927 are considered his Classical Period,  a brief return to realism in a career otherwise dominated by experimentation. His most interesting and important works from this period include Three Women at the Spring (1921), Two Women Running on the Beach/The Race (1922) and The Pipes of Pan (1923).

Then, from 1927 onward, Picasso became caught up in a new philosophical and cultural movement, Surrealism, whose artistic manifestation was an offspring of his own Cubism. Picasso’s greatest surrealist painting, one of the great paintings of all time, was completed in 1937, in the midst of the Spanish Civil War. On April 26, 1937, German bombers supporting Francisco Franco’s Nationalist forces, carried out a devastating aerial attack on the Basque town of Guernica. Outraged by the bombing and the inhumanity of war, Picasso painted Guernica shortly thereafter, a surrealist testament to the horrors of war in black, white and grays, featuring a Minotaur and several human-like figures in various states of anguish and terror. Guernica remains one of the most moving and powerful antiwar paintings in history.

In the aftermath of World War II, Picasso became more overtly political. He joined the Communist Party and was twice honored with the International Lenin Peace Prize, once in 1950 and again in 1961. By this point in his life, Picasso was also an international celebrity, the world’s most famous living artist. However, while paparazzi chronicled his every move, few paid attention to his art during this time. In contrast to the dazzling complexity of Synthetic Cubism, Picasso’s later paintings use simple imagery and crude technique. Upon passing a group of school kids in his old age Picasso remarked, “When I was as old as these children, I could draw like Raphael, but it took me a lifetime to learn to draw like them.” The epitome of his later work is his Self Portrait Facing Death, drawn with pencil and crayon a year before he passed away. The autobiographical subject, who appears as something between a human and an ape, with a green face and pink hair, is drawn with the crude technique of a child. Yet the expression in his eyes, capturing a lifetime of wisdom, fear and uncertainty, is the unmistakable work of a master at the height of his powers.

Picasso was an incorrigible womanizer who had countless relationships with girlfriends, mistresses, muses and prostitutes over the course of his long life. However, he had only two wives. He married a ballerina named Olga Khokhlova in 1918, and they remained together for nine years before parting ways in 1927. He married his second wife, Jacqueline Roque, at the age of 69 in 1961. Picasso had four children: Paul, Maya, Claude and Paloma.

He passed away on April 8, 1973 at the age of 91.

Pablo Picasso stands alone as the most celebrated and influential painter of the twentieth century. His technical mastery, visionary creativity and profound empathy distinguish him as a revolutionary artist. Picasso was also endlessly reinventing himself, switching between styles so radically different that his life’s work seems the product of five or six great artists rather than just one. Discussing his penchant for radical shifts in style, Picasso insisted that his career was not an evolution or progression. Rather, the diversity of his work was the result of freshly evaluating for each piece the form and technique best suited to achieve his desired effects. “Whenever I wanted to say something, I said it the way I believed I should,” Picasso said. “Different themes inevitably require different methods of expression. This does not imply either evolution or progress; it is a matter of following the idea one wants to express and the way in which one wants to express it.”

FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
The Mystery of Picasso (5-May-1956) · Himself

Wrote plays:
Desire Caught by the Tail (1941)

Selected paintings:
The First Communion (1896)
The Absinthe Drinker (1901)
Garçon à la pipe (1905)
The Family of Saltimbanques (1905)
Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907)
Guernica (1937)
Dora Maar au Chat (1941)
Massacre in Korea (1951)
Las Menina (1957)

 

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Happy Birthday Johnny Carson

Today is the 89th birthday of Johnny Carson.

johnny carson 2

NAME: Johnny Carson
OCCUPATION: Talk Show Host
BIRTH DATE: October 23, 1925
DEATH DATE: January 23, 2005
EDUCATION: University of Nebraska
PLACE OF BIRTH: Corning, Iowa
PLACE OF DEATH: Los Angeles, California
Full Name: Johnny Carson
Full Name: John William Carson

Best Known For:  One of television’s best known personalities, Johnny Carson hosted “The Tonight Show” for 30 years. His farewell show in 1992 drew 50 million viewers.

Born in Corning, Iowa on October 23, 1925 to Ruth and Homer R. Carson, a power company manager, Johnny Carson learned how to reel in audiences at a young age. He fell in love with magic when he was 12 years old, and after purchasing a magician’s kit through the mail, began performing magic tricks in public, as “The Great Carson.”

Following high school, in 1943, an 18-year-old Carson joined the U.S. Navy as an ensign, and then decoded encrypted messages as a communications officer. Serving aboard the USS Pennsylvania, he continued performing magic, mainly for his fellow shipmates. He later said that one of the fondest memories from his service was performing magic for James Forrestal, U.S. Secretary of the Navy. Though assigned to combat in the summer of 1945, Carson never went into battle — WWII ended in 1945, following the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, and Carson was sent back to the United States.

In the fall of 1945, Carson began studying at the University of Nebraska, and received a bachelor’s degree in radio and speech four years later. After college, he had a short stint as television writer for The Red Skelton Show in Los Angeles, and then moved to New York City in pursuit of bigger audiences.

In October of 1962, Carson replaced Jack Paar as host of The Tonight Show—a counterpart to NBC’s Tonight show—and, following wavering ratings his first year, Carson became a prime-time hit.

Audiences found comfort in Carson’s calm and steady presence in their living rooms each evening. Revered for his affable personality, quick wit and crisp interviews, he guided viewers into the late night hours with a familiarity they grew to rely on year after year. Featuring interviews with the stars of the latest Hollywood movies or the hottest bands, Carson kept Americans up-to-date on popular culture, and reflected some of the most distinct personalities of his era through impersonations, including his classic take on President Ronald Reagan.

Carson created several recurring comedic characters that popped up regularly on his show, including Carnac the Magnificent, an Eastern psychic who was said to know the answers to all kinds of baffling questions. In these skits, Carson would wear a colorful cape and featured turban and attempt to answer questions on cards before even opening their sealed envelopes. Carson, as Carmac, would demand silence before answering questions such as “Answer: Flypaper.” “Question: What do you use to gift wrap a zipper?”

Carson was The Tonight Show’s host for three decades. During that time, he received six Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Carson’s final appearance as host in 1992 attracted an estimated 50 million viewers.

Carson was in and out of relationships throughout his life, marrying four separate times. He married Jody Wolcott in 1948, and they had three sons, Charles (Kit), Cory and Richard. Richard died in an auto accident in 1991.

Carson and Jody divorced in 1963, and only months later, Carson married his second wife, Joanne Copeland. That relationship ended in 1972, following a grueling legal battle that ended with Copeland receiving a settlement of nearly $500,000 and annual alimony from Carson. That same year, Carson married third wife Joanna Holland—from whom he filed for divorce in 1983.

For the first time in 35 years, Carson lived life as an unmarried man from 1983 to 1987. He married for the final time in June of 1987; Carson and Alexis Maas remained together until Carson’s death, nearly eighteen years later.

At age 74, in 1999, Carson suffered a severe heart attack while he was sleeping at his Malibu, California home. Soon after, he underwent quadruple-bypass surgery. In January of 2005, at age 79, Carson died of respiratory failure caused by emphysema.

Carson, considered to be one of the most popular stars of American television, has been praised by several mainstream comics—including Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon—for helping them launch their careers. Today, he is regarded worldwide as a televison legacy.

Happy Birthday Joan Fontaine

Today is Joan Fontaine‘s 97th birthday.  If nothing else, watch The Women (1939) (and Rebecca and Suspicion and and and…), it is one of the best all time ensemble casts ever created.  You will not be disappointed.

NAME: Joan Fontaine
OCCUPATION:
Film Actress
BIRTH DATE:
October 22, 1917
DEATH DATE:
December 16, 2013
PLACE OF BIRTH:
Tokyo, Japan
PLACE OF DEATH:
Carmel, California
AKA: Joan Burfield,
Joan Fontaine
ORIGINALLY:
Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland

Best Known ForAcademy Award-winning actress Joan Fontaine has appeared in such films as Rebecca (1940), Suspicion (1941), Jane Eyre (1944) and Othello (1952).

The Wiki:

Born in Tokyo, Japan, on October 22, 1917, actress Joan Fontaine was a sickly child. Her mother Lillian moved the family to California when she was young to help improve her health. Her parents split up around this time. Fontaine and her older sister, Olivia (de Havilland), seemed to have a difficult relationship from the start, with the pair fighting for their mother’s attention and affection. According to some reports, Lillian favored Olivia.

In 1932, Fontaine moved to Japan to live with her father. Their reunion proved to be short-lived, however, and she returned the United States after about a year. Before long, Fontaine began her acting career, following in the footsteps of her older sister. She reportedly studied with Max Reinhardt, just as her sister had done before her.

Using the name Joan Burfield, Fontaine made her film debut in 1935’s No More Ladies, starring Joan Crawford. She eventually took the last name “Fontaine” after her stepfather. Continuing to work in movies, Fontaine appeared alongside Fred Astaire in the musical A Damsel in Distress in 1937. She was better suited to dramatic roles, however, made apparent by her performances in films like Gunga Din (1939), with Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Cary Grant; and The Women (1939), with Joan Crawford and Rosalind Russell. She reportedly also missed out another great role that year, turning down the part of Melanie in Gone With the Wind—a role eventually won by her sister, Olivia de Havilland, and for which Olivia earned great acclaim.

Fontaine’s career reached new heights in 1940 with her starring role in Rebecca, Alfred Hitchcock’s adaptation of the popular Daphne du Maurier novel. She played the title character, starring opposite Laurence Olivier. The following year, Fontaine reteamed with Hitchcock for the thriller Suspicion, co-starring with Cary Grant. She received Academy Award nominations for her performances in Rebecca and Suspicion, taking home the golden statue for Suspicion. This win became the latest flare-up in the feud between Fontaine and Olivia de Havilland, who had been nominated as well.

In 1943, Fontaine picked up her third and final Academy Award nomination (best actress) for her performance in The Constant Nymph. She went on to co-star with Orson Welles in 1944’s classic romantic tale Jane Eyre. The pair worked together again in 1952’s Shakespearean tragedy Othello. That same year, Fontaine had another hit with Ivanhoe, co-starring with Robert Taylor and Elizabeth Taylor.

By the 1960s, the once-busy Fontaine saw her career slow down. She made only a handful of films in her later years, and played a number of television roles. She made guest appearances on such shows as Wagon Train, Hotel and The Love Boat. She also had a recurring role on the daytime soap opera Ryan’s Hope in the early 1980s.

Fontaine has been married and divorced four times: In 1939, she married actor Brian Aherne. The couple divorced in 1945. The following year, she wed producer and actor William Dozier. Dozier and Fontaine had one child together, a daughter named Deborah, before splitting up in 1951. In 1952, she married Collier Young, a writer, and their union lasted until 1961. Her final marriage to journalist Alfred Wright Jr. lasted from 1964 to 1969.

In 1978, Fontaine released her autobiography, No Bed of Roses. She wrote about her long, troubled relationship with sister Olivia, much to Olivia’s dismay. Their final straw between the two siblings reportedly came with their mother’s death around the same time. Fontaine has said that she was not invited to the funeral, and has threatened to talk to the press about being omitted from the service. The date of the funeral was changed so that Fontaine and her daughter could attend, but Joan and Olivia have allegedly not spoken since their mother’s funeral.

Happy Birthday Gummo Marx

gummo marx

Marx brothers (L to R) Harpo Marx, Zeppo Marx, Chico Marx, Groucho Marx, and Gummo Marx (circa 1957)

Marx brothers (L to R) Harpo Marx, Zeppo Marx, Chico Marx, Groucho Marx, and Gummo Marx (circa 1957)

NAME: Gummo Marx
OCCUPATION: Actor, Comedian, Inventor
BIRTH DATE: October 21, 1892
DEATH DATE: April 21, 1977
PLACE OF BIRTH: New York, New York
PLACE OF DEATH: Palm Springs, California
Full Name: Milton Marx
AKA: Gummo Marx

Best Known For:  Often referred to as the “forgotten” Marx brother, Gummo Marx was the first to leave the act to enlist in World War I and become a businessman.

Everyone thinks of Harpo as the silent one (not with that horn!), but Gummo Marx was acgtually the quiet one. Born Milton Marx on October 21, 1892, in New York City, Gummo, like his brothers, was a first-generation American, the fifth of six boys born to Sam and Minnie Marx, who left Europe and met in New York. The first of their six sons, Manfred, died in infancy.

There are related versions as to how Gummo acquired his nickname, all revolving around shoes: Legend has it that he was stealthy backstage, sneaking up on people like a gumshoe (detective), so monologist Art Fisher dubbed him Gummo. However, it has also been reported that Gummo actually wore rubber-soled shoes because frequent illnesses required that his feet be protected from damp.

Gummo was actually the first Marx brother on stage, appearing early on in his Uncle Julius’s ventriloquism act. Then, Minnie Marx organized a vaudeville singing troupe called the Three Nightingales in 1909, with Groucho, Gummo and singer Mabel O’Donell, to tour the circuit. When Harpo was brought in, they became the Four Nightingales, and Minnie occasionally joined in the act along with the boys’ aunt, Hannah Schickler, making them the Six Mascots. When Chico joined the act, they became the Four Marx Brothers.

When Gummo left the brother act to join the war effort in 1917, youngest brother Zeppo took over his role as straight man.

Gummo’s military service in the U.S. Army didn’t require him to go overseas, but he didn’t return to the stage after World War I, deciding to start a raincoat business instead. He later became a successful talent agent, especially after Zeppo joined him in the business when he, too, left the act.

Gummo ended up representing brother Groucho as well as other top talent of the time, including Glenn Ford, and helped develop the television series Life of Riley. He also held a patent for a packing rack he’d invented.

Gummo married Helen von Tilzer in 1929 and their son, Robert, was born the following year.

Gummo Marx died of a cerebral hemorrhage on April 21, 1977, at his home in Palm Springs, California. He is buried next to wife Helen at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California. His three grandsons all went into show business.

In The Marx Brothers Scrapbook, Groucho expressed his affection for Gummo, with some unkind words for Zeppo. But Zeppo, too, felt closest to Gummo. In his last interview, Zeppo told the BBC, “Gummo was a love. He didn’t like show business but I think he felt, same as I did, that he was inadequate, that he wasn’t doing his share. I miss Gummo very much.”

Happy Birthday Harris Glenn Milstead

Today is the 69th birthday of Harris Glenn Milstead, known the world over as the drag queen/performance artist/actor/personality called “Divine.”  I was first introduced to Divine through the subscription of Interview Magazine I had while I was in high school.  This lead to renting the early John Waters movies and so forth.  I adore anyone who is fearless, who is in on the joke, and who plows forward.  Divine had all of those qualities and many more.

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NAME: Harris Glenn Milstead
BORN: October 19, 1945
BIRTHPLACE: Towson, MD
DIED: March 7, 1988
LOCATION AT DEATH: Los Angeles, CA
CAUSE OF DEATH: Respiratory failure
REMAINS: Buried, Prospect Hill Cemetery, Towson, MD

Divine (October 19, 1945 – March 7, 1988), born Harris Glenn Milstead, was an American actor, singer and drag queen. Described by People magazine as the “Drag Queen of the Century”, Divine often performed female roles in both cinema and theater and also appeared in women’s clothing in musical performances. Even so, he considered himself to be a character actor and performed male roles in a number of his later films. He was often associated with independent filmmaker John Waters and starred in ten of Waters’s films, usually in a leading role. Concurrent with his acting career, he also had a successful career as a disco singer during the 1980s, at one point being described as “the most successful and in-demand disco performer in the world.”

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, into a conservative, upper middle class family, he became involved with John Waters and his acting troupe, the Dreamlanders, in the mid-1960s and starred in a number of Waters’s early films such as Mondo Trasho (1969), Multiple Maniacs (1970), Pink Flamingos (1972) and Female Trouble (1974). These films became hits on the midnight movie and underground cinema circuit in the U.S., and have since become cult classics, with Divine becoming particularly renowned for playing the role of Babs Johnson in Pink Flamingos, during which he had to perform a series of extreme acts including eating dog excrement. In the 1970s, Milstead made the transition to theater and appeared in a number of productions, including Women Behind Bars and The Neon Woman, while continuing to star in such films as Polyester (1981), Lust in the Dust (1985) and Hairspray (1988). Meanwhile, in 1981 Divine had embarked on a disco career, producing Hi-NRG tracks, most of which had been written by Bobby Orlando, and went on to achieve chart success with hits like “You Think You’re A Man”, “I’m So Beautiful” and “Walk Like a Man.” Having struggled with obesity throughout his life, Divine died from cardiomegaly in 1988.

The New York Times said of Milstead’s ’80s films: “Those who could get past the unremitting weirdness of Divine’s performance discovered that the actor/actress had genuine talent, including a natural sense of comic timing and an uncanny gift for slapstick.” He was also described as “one of the few truly radical and essential artists of the century… [who] was an audacious symbol of man’s quest for liberty and freedom.” Since his death, Divine has remained a cult figure, particularly with those in the LGBT community, of which he was a part, being openly gay.

Due to Divine’s portrayal of Edna Turnblad in the original comedy-film version of Hairspray, later musical adaptations of Hairspray have commonly placed male actors in the role of Edna, including Harvey Fierstein and others in the 2002 Broadway musical and John Travolta in the 2007 musical film.

A 12 foot tall statue in the likeness of Divine by Andrew Logan can be seen on permanent display at The American Visionary Art Museum in Divine’s home town of Baltimore, Maryland.

FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Out of the Dark (5-May-1989)
Hairspray (16-Feb-1988)
Trouble in Mind (Dec-1985)
Lust in the Dust (1-Mar-1985)
Polyester (29-May-1981)
Female Trouble (4-Oct-1974)
Pink Flamingos (17-Mar-1972)
Multiple Maniacs (10-Apr-1970)
Mondo Trasho (14-Mar-1969)

Is the subject of books:
My Son Divine, 2001, BY: Frances Milstead, DETAILS: Alyson Publications:with Kevin Heffernan and Steve Yeager
Not Simply Divine, 1994, BY: Bernard Jay, DETAILS: Fireside:by Divine’s personal manager

Happy Birthday Rita Hayworth

Today is Rita Hayworth’s 96th birthday.  If you have not seen any of her films, start with “Gilda,” it is by far my favorite and you will fall in love with her.

 

NAME: Rita Hayworth
OCCUPATION: Film Actress, Dancer, Pin-up
BIRTH DATE: October 17, 1918
DEATH DATE: May 14, 1987
PLACE OF BIRTH: Brooklyn, New York
PLACE OF DEATH: New York, New York
Full Name: Margarita Carmen Cansino

Best Known For:  American film actress Rita Hayworth is best known for her stunning explosive sexual charisma on screen in films throughout the 1930s and 1940s.

A legendary Hollywood actress whose beauty catapulted her to international stardom in the 1940s and 1950s, Rita Hayworth was born Margarita Carmen Cansino on October 17, 1918, in New York City. She changed her last name to Hayworth early on in her acting career on the advice of her first husband and manager, Edward Judson.

Hayworth hailed from show business stock. Her father, the Spanish-born Eduardo Cansino, was a dancer, and her mother, Volga, had been a Ziegfeld Follies girl. Soon after their daughter was born, they shortened her name to Rita Cansino. By the time Rita was 12 she was dancing professionally.

Still a young girl, Rita moved with her family to Los Angeles and eventually joined her father on the stage in nightclubs both in the United States and in Mexico. It was on a stage in Agua Caliente, Mexico, that a Fox Film Company producer spotted the 16-year-old dancer and inked her to a contract.

Rita Cansino, as she was still known, made her film debut in 1935 with Under the Pampas Moon, which was followed by a string of other films including Dante’s Inferno (1935) with Spencer Tracy, Charlie Chan in Egypt (1935), Meet Nero Wolfe (1936), and Human Cargo (1936).

In 1937 she married Judson, a man 22 years older than her, who would set the stage for his young wife’s future stardom. On his advice, Rita not only changed her last name, but also dyed her hair auburn. Judson worked the phones and managed to get Hayworth plenty of press in newspapers and magazines, and eventually helped her get a seven-year contract with Columbia Pictures.

After a few disappointing roles in several mediocre films, Hayworth landed an important role as an unfaithful wife opposite Cary Grant in Only Angels Have Wings (1939). Critical praise came Hayworth’s way. So did more movie offers.

Just two years after the relatively unknown actress shared the screen with Grant, Hayworth was a star herself. Her stunning, sensual looks greatly helped, and that year Life magazine writer Winthrop Sargeant nicknamed Hayworth “The Great American Love Goddess.”

The moniker stuck, and only helped further her career and the fascination many male movie fans had with her. In 1941 Hayworth took the screen opposite James Cagney in Strawberry Blonde. That same year she shared the dance floor with Fred Astaire in You’ll Never Get Rich. Astaire later called Hayworth his favorite dance partner.

The following year Hayworth starred in three more big films: My Gal Sal, Tales of Manhattan, and You Were Never Lovelier.

Hayworth’s high-voltage power of seduction was affirmed in 1944 when a photograph of her in Life magazine wearing black lace became the unofficial pin-up photo for American servicemen serving overseas in World War II.

For her part, Hayworth didn’t shy away from the attention. “Why should I mind?” she said. “I like having my picture taken and being a glamorous person. Sometimes when I find myself getting impatient, I just remember the times I cried my eyes out because nobody wanted to take my picture at the Trocadero.”

Her stardom peaked in 1946 with the film Gilda, which cast her opposite Glenn Ford. A favorite of film noir fans,  the film was chock-full of sexual innuendo, which included a controversial (tame by today’s standards) striptease by Hayworth.

The following year she starred in another film noir favorite, The Lady From Shanghai, which was directed by her then-husband, Orson Welles.

Hayworth’s marriage to Welles in 1943 and subsequent divorce from the director and actor in 1948 garnered plenty of press. It was Hayworth’s second marriage, and with Welles she had a daughter, Rebecca.

It was during the filming of The Lady From Shanghai that Hayworth filed for divorce from Welles. In court documents she claimed, “he showed no interest in establishing a home. When I suggested purchasing a home, he told me he didn’t want the responsibility. Mr. Welles told me he never should have married in the first place; that it interfered with his freedom in his way of life.”

But Hayworth had also met and fallen in love with Prince Aly Khan, whose father was the head of the Ismaili Muslims. A statesman and a bit of a playboy, Khan eventually served as Pakistan’s representative to the United Nations.

Hayworth and Khan married in 1949 and had a daughter together, Princess Yasmin Aga Khan. After divorcing Khan after just two years of marriage, Hayworth later married and divorced the singer Dick Haymes. Her fifth and final marriage was to movie producer James Hill.

As her personal life was dogged by turmoil, her acting career sputtered. Periodic film roles did come her way, but they failed to capture magic and project the kind of star power her earlier work once had. In all, Hayworth appeared in more than 40 films, the last of which was the 1972 release The Wrath of God.

In 1971 she briefly attempted a stage career, but it was quickly halted when it was apparent that Hayworth was unable to memorize her lines.

Hayworth’s diminished skills as an actress were largely chalked up to what many believed was a severe alcohol problem. Her deteriorating state made headlines in January 1976 when the actress, appearing disheveled and out of sorts, was escorted off a plane.

That same year a California court, citing Hayworth’s alcohol issues, named an administrator for her affairs.

But alcohol was only one of the factors ruining her life. Hayworth was also suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, which doctors diagnosed her as having in 1980. A year later she was placed under the care of her daughter, Princess Yasmin, who used her mother’s condition as a catalyst for increasing awareness of Alzheimer’s disease. In 1985, Yasmin helped organize Alzheimer’s Disease International, and eventually helmed the group as its president.

After years of struggle Hayworth died on May 14, 1987, in the apartment she shared with her daughter in New York City. Her passing elicited an outpouring of appreciation from fans and fellow actors.

“Rita Hayworth was one of our country’s most beloved stars,” President Ronald Reagan said upon hearing of Hayworth’s death. “Glamorous and talented, she gave us many wonderful moments on the stage and screen and delighted audiences from the time she was a young girl. Nancy and I are saddened by Rita’s death. She was a friend whom we will miss.”

Happy Birthday Carole Lombard

Today is the 108th birthday of Carole Lombard.  “My Man Godfrey” is on of my favorite movies and part of that reason is because of Carole Lombard. She is perfection. Her life story is one of those that even Hollywood couldn’t make up and have people believe it.

NAME: Carole Lombard
OCCUPATION: Film Actress, Pin-up
BIRTH DATE: October 06, 1908
DEATH DATE: January 16, 1942
PLACE OF BIRTH: Fort Wayne, Indiana
PLACE OF DEATH: Las Vegas, Nevada
ORIGINALLY: Jane Alice Peters

BEST KNOWN FOR: Carole Lombard starred in comedic films during the 1930s. She married actor Clark Gable in 1939, but died in a tragic plane accident a few years later.

Carole Lombard (October 6, 1908 – January 16, 1942) was an American actress. She is particularly noted for her comedic roles in the screwball comedies of the 1930s. She is listed as one of the American Film Institute’s greatest stars of all time and was the highest-paid star in Hollywood in the late 1930s, earning around US $500,000 per year[citation needed] (more than five times the salary of the US President). Lombard’s career was cut short when she died at the age of 33 in a plane crash while returning from a World War II Bond tour.

Queen of the 1930s screwball comedies, she personified the anxiety of a nervous age. Graham Greene praised the “heartbreaking and nostalgic melodies” of her faster-than-thought delivery. “Platinum blonde, with a heart-shaped face, delicate, impish features and a figure made to be swathed in silver lamé, she wriggled expressively through such classics of hysteria as Twentieth Century and My Man Godfrey.”

In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Lombard 23rd on its list of the 50 greatest American female screen legends. She received one Academy Award for Best Actress nomination, for My Man Godfrey. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 6930 Hollywood Blvd.

Lombard’s Fort Wayne childhood home has been designated a historic landmark. The city named the nearby bridge over the St. Mary’s River the Carole Lombard Memorial Bridge.

Personal Quotes:

“I can’t imagine a duller fate than being the best dressed woman in reality. When I want to do something I don’t pause to contemplate whether I’m exquisitely gowned. I want to live, not pose!” – Carole Lombard

Carole Lombard’s Golden Rules:

1. Play Fair.

“You’ll find that men usually play fair,” Carole said. “It’s all very well to say that you want to back out of a bargain because you’ve changed your mind. That’s supposed to be a woman’s privilege. But men don’t play the game that way. A man who says he’ll do a thing and then reneges, is soon put where he belongs, out in the cold.

“If I say I’ll do something, I make it stick.”

2. Don’t Brag.

“Men can brag,” Carole points out, “but that’s where a woman can’t do what men do, and still be feminine. No man will endure listening to a girl boast about how smart she is.”

3. Obey the Boss.

“A career girl who competes with men has to learn that rule — or else. If she won’t accept discipline, or bow to the rules of the institution and take orders, she can’t succeed. I know that the picture director knows best. I remember when I was making ‘My Man Godfrey’ with William Powell. Gregory La Cava was directing. One day he was ill, but he insisted that work go on while he rested.

“‘You know what to do,’ he told us. ‘Just pretend I’m there and go ahead.’

“Well, it didn’t work. Bill and I were used to taking orders because it’s part of the discipline of the studio. It was a simple scene, we knew what to do, but the director wasn’t there and we felt lost. Somebody has to be the boss in every big enterprise, and if the boss is absent the business soon comes to a halt.”

4. Take Criticism.

“Men have learned to take criticism, that is, the successful men. The ones who flare up and go home mad are the kind who never get the last installment paid on the radio.

“Here again the movies have taught me. I have learned to take criticism and stand up to it like a man. Yet a woman will simply burn if you hint that the hat she’s got on doesn’t look quite perfect, or that she might, just might, have led from the queen, jack, ten instead of tossing in an eight spot.

“I went to a showing of the first rough cut of ‘Swing High, Swing Low,’ in a small college town.

“In the tragic scene, where I screwed up my face to cry (I can’t help it if I look that way when I cry), the audience laughed. When I really turned it on and emoted, they howled. It was heartbreaking. I felt like crawling under the seats and losing myself among the gum and other useless things.

“But I had to take it. If you’re playing according to masculine rules, which is required of any girl with a career, you’ve got to accept criticism and profit by it. Otherwise how could you become a singer, decorator, painter or private secretary? I learned something from that experience, too. I’m best if I top off tears with a laugh. A star who is too big for criticism sooner or later loses out. That goes for working women, too.”

5. Love is Private.

“When it comes to your personal life, such as love and romance, girls should take a tip from the men and keep their affairs to themselves. Any man worth his salt regards his private life as his own. To kiss a girl and run and tell would mark him as a cad. Why doesn’t that apply to girls also?”

6. Work — And Like It!

All women should have something worthwhile to do,” says Carole, “and cultivate efficiency at it, whether it’s housekeeping or raising chickens.

Working women are interesting women. And they’re easier to live with. Idle women who can think of nothing to do with their time are dangerous to themselves and to others. The only ‘catty’ women I’ve known were idlers, with nothing to do but gossip and make trouble.”

7. Pay Your Share.

“Nobody likes a man who is always fumbling when it’s time to pay the check,” Carole points out. “I think the woman who assumes that the man can afford to pay for everything is making a mistake. More and more the custom of the Dutch treat is coming in vogue, particularly among working men and women. You don’t have to surrender your femininity if you pay your share of the bills.”

8. The Cardinal Virtue

“–Is a sense of humor,” says Carole. “Do you laugh in the right places? Then, you’ll get along, in fair weather or foul. Humor is nothing less than a sense of the fitness of things. Something that’s out of proportion, like an inflated ego, should strike you funny, particularly if it’s your own inflated ego. Otherwise you are pathetic and quite hopeless.”

9. Be Consistent.

“By that,” remarks Carole, “I mean you should take a hint from the men. They are terribly consistent, as a rule. You can tell what they’ll do in any given circumstance.

“If a girl puts her best foot forward at the office, she shouldn’t change steps when she gets home. A career girl must be neatly turned out, even-tempered and willing to take orders at work, and there’s no reason why she must check these virtues with her hat and coat when she leaves her place of business.

“I manage to add enough inconsistency to my behavior at the studio so that I’m the same there as at home; inclined to blow off steam at odd moments or be very demure and sweet-tempered — just to keep ‘em guessing. In fact I’ve got myself guessing. I don’t quite know which way I am. That’s being consistently inconsistent, anyway.

“Men are about the same at home as they are at work. Don’t say it’s because they lack the imagination to be otherwise — just take the hint. Men are creatures of habit and comfort, and they are puzzled and disturbed by change. That’s why so many of them marry their stenographers; it’s in hope of finding the same efficiency at home as at the office. They are supreme optimists.

“If you go into the business world to meet male competition, then you’ve got to play the game more or less according to their rules.

“By doing that, I’ve found that any intelligent girl can get along very well. About the only important difference I’ve noticed is in the problem of travel; men can travel alone easier than women. However, old habits of transportation are changing and the comfort of women is more and more the concern of air, railroad and bus travel.”
10. Be Feminine.

“All of this,” Carole declares, “does not keep you from preserving your femininity. You can still be insane about a particular brand of perfume, and weep when you get a run in your favorite pair of stockings.

“You can still have fits when the store sends out the very shade of red drapes you did not order, and which swear horribly at the red in the davenport. But when you go down to complain, be a man about it.

“All of which sums up to this. Play fair and be reasonable. When a woman can do that, she’ll make some man the best manager he ever found, or wind up running a whole department store. And being a woman, thank heaven you still have that choice!”