Saturday, April 17, 2010

William Holden

William Holden was born William Franklin Beedle Jr on April 17, 1918 in O'Fallon, Illinois. He was the son of Mary Blanche Ball, a school teacher and William Franklin Beedle, Sr., an industrial chemist. When William was three years old the family moved to South Pasadena, California.

After graduating from South Pasadena High School, William Holden attended Pasadena Junior College, where he became involved in local radio plays. He was spotted by a talent scout from Paramount Pictures in 1937 while appearing as an old man in a play at the Playbox. This led to his first film role in Prison Farm (1938).

William Holden's first starring role was in Golden Boy (1939), in which he played a violinist turned boxer. It was at Barbara Stanwyck's insistance he got the role. He was so grateful to Barbara Stanwyck for her insistence on casting him that he reportedly sent her flowers every year on the anniversary of the first day of the filming.

Roles followed in films such as Invisible Stripes (1939), Our Town (1940), Arizona (1940), and The Fleet's In (1942).

From 1943 to 1947, William Holden took a break from motion pictures and served as a 2nd lieutenant in the United States Army Air Forces where he acted in training films.

In 1948, William Holden returned to motion pictures in The Man from Colorado. Roles followed in films such as Rachel and the Stranger (1948), Apartment for Peggy (1948) and Miss Grant Takes Richmond (1949).

In 1950, William Holden played Joe Gillis in Sunset Boulevard and earned his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.

He next appeared in Union Station (1950), Born Yesterday (1950), Submarine Command (1951) and Boots Malone (1952).

In 1953, William Holden played Sgt. J.J. Sefton in Stalag 17 and won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance.

The 1950s and 1960s, William Holden was one of the hottest actors in Hollywood. He appeared in films such as Executive Suite (1954), Sabrina (1954), The Country Girl (1954), The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954), Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955), Picnic (1955), The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), The Horse Soldiers (1959), The World of Suzie Wong (1960), Paris, When It Sizzles (1964), The Devil's Brigade (1968) and
The Wild Bunch (1969).

During the 1970s, William Holden's career began to slow down in part to his health. He showed he still had what it takes in The Towering Inferno (1974) and Network (1976). He would earn his third Academy Award Nomination for Best Actor for his performance in Network.

William Holden was married to actress Brenda Marshall from 1941 until their divorce (after many long separations) in 1971. They had two sons, Peter Westfield and Scott Porter. He also adopted his wife's daughter Virginia from her first marriage.

William Holden also had a long relationship with Audrey Hepburn but the two broke up because he could no longer father children.

William Holden spent much of his spare time working for wildlife conservation as a managing partner in an animal preserve in Africa, The Mount Kenya Safari Club in Nanyuki, Kenya, (founded 1959).

In 1974, he began a relationship with actress Stefanie Powers which sparked her interest in animal welfare. After his death, Powers set up the William Holden Wildlife Foundation at Holden's Mount Kenya Game Ranch.

William Holden died on November 16, 1981 of injuries sustained from a fall. He was cremated and his ashes scattered in the Pacific Ocean.

William Holden's final film was Blake Edwards S.O.B. (1981).

In 1974, William Holden was a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor – Miniseries or a Movie Award for The Blue Knight.

William Holden has a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for motion pictures.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Walter Huston

Walter Huston was one of the most popular character actors of the 1930s and 1940s. In twenty one years, he appeared in more than fifty films.

Walter Huston was born Walter Houghston on April 6, 1884 in Toronto, Ontario.

He was the father of actor and director John Huston and the grandfather of actress Anjelica Huston. The Hustons became the first family to have three generations to win Academy Awards. The Coppolas have since also achieved this accomplishment.

Walter Huston was a vaudeville performer who had studied engineering. When his son John was born, he left vaudeville and became a fulltime engineer. However, Walter's acting skills were much better than his engineering skills and Walter returned to acting.

Walter Huston stayed busy throughout the late 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, both on stage and screen.

In 1924, Walter Huston made his Broadway debut in Mr. Pitt. Roles followed with Desire Under the Elms, Dodsworth, Othello and Knickerbocker Holiday (where he performed "September Song").

In 1929, Walter Huston made his film debut in Carnival Man. However, his big break was when he was cast opposite Gary Cooper in The Virginian (1929).

Roles followed in films such as Abraham Lincoln (1930), The Star Witness (1931), The Beast of the City (1932), Rain (1932), Gabriel Over the White House (1933), and The Prizefighter and the Lady (1933).

In 1936, Walter Huston was cast to play Sam Dodsworth in the film version of the hit broadway play Dodsworth (a role Huston originated on Broadway). This performance earned Walter Huston is first Academy Award nomination (Best Actor).

Following his Academy Award nomination, Walter Huston appeared in Of Human Hearts (1938), The Light That Failed (1939) and The Maltese Falcon (1941).

In 1941, Walter Huston was cast to play the Devil in the film The Devil and Daniel Webster. One of Walter Huston's best and most memorable performances earned him his second Academy Award nomination (Best Actor).

The following year, Walter Huston was cast to play Jerry Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942). Walter Huston would earn his third Academy Award nomination (Best Supporting Actor).

Now in his late 50s, Walter Huston continued work steadily with roles in The North Star (1943), Mission to Moscow (1943), And Then There Were None (1945) and Duel in the Sun (1946).

In 1949, at the age of 65, Walter Huston won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance of Howard in The Treasure of the Sierre Madre (1948).

The Treasure of the Sierre Madre was one of Walter Huston's last films. He would appear in only three more films (his final being The Furies (1950)).

Walter Huston died on April 7, 1950 (one day after his 66th Birthday) from an aortic aneurysm.

Walter Huston has one Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Motion Pictures.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Jerry Lewis

Jerry Lewis is an American comedian, actor, film producer, writer, film director and singer.

Jerry Lewis was born Joseph Levitch on March 16, 1926 in Newark, New Jersey. Jerry Lewis parents were Daniel Levitch (stage name of Danny Lewis), a Master of Ceremonies and vaudeville entertainer and Rachel Brodsky, a piano player.

When Jerry Lewis was five years old, he made his debut in New York's Borscht Circuit singing "Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?" By the time he was fifteen, he had perfected a comic routine "Record Act" in which he exaggeratedly mimed the lyrics to songs on a phonograph.

In 1946, Jerry Lewis teamed with Dean Martin. Dean Martin served as straight man to Jerry Lewis's zany antics in the Martin and Lewis comedy team. They began in popular nightclubs, then had their own radio program, made numerous television appearances and then became popular in films.

Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis made 17 films together beginning with My Friend Irma (1949). A few of their films include At War with the Army (1950), Sailor Beware (1952), Jumping Jacks (1952), Scared Stiff (1953), Money From Home (1953), and Hollywood or Bust (1956).

After Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis comedy team ended in 1956, Jerry Lewis went on to a successful solo career.

Jerry Lewis starred in films such as Rock-A-Bye Baby (1958), The Bellboy (1960), The Ladies Man (1961), It's Only Money (1962), The Nutty Professor (1963), The Disorderly Orderly (1964), Three on a Couch (1966), Hook, Line, & Sinker (1969), Which Way to the Front? (1970), Cracking Up (1983) and Funny Bones (1995).

In 1995, Jerry Lewis won the Theatre World Special Award for his performance in the Broadway musical Damn Yankees.

Jerry Lewis made his directoral debutin How to Smuggle a Hernia Across the Border (1949). Jerry Lewis has also directed films such as The Ladies Man (1961), The Nutty Professor (1963), The Family Jewels (1965), The Big Mouth (1967), and The Day the Clown Cried (1972).

Jerry Lewis is also a successful writer. He has written screenplays for How to Smuggle a Hernia Across the Border (1949), The Bellboy (1960), The Nutty Professor (1963), The Patsy (1964) and Hardly Working (1980).

As a producer, Jerry Lewis produced such classic films as The Delicate Delinquent (1957), The Bellboy (1960), Three on a Couch (1966), and The Nutty Professor (1996).

Jerry Lewis has appeared on episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Mad About You, Wiseguy, The Red Skelton Show and Ben Casey.

In 1950, Jerry Lewis became the national chairman for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), a position he still holds today. Beginning in 1966, Jerry Lewis has hosted the nationwide telethon it holds on Labor Day each year.

In 1997, Jerry Lewis was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his work with the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

In 2009, Jerry Lewis received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the 81st Academy Awards for his work with MDA.

Jerry Lewis has also received the Lifetime Achievement Award, American Comedy Awards
(1997), Governors Award Primetime Emmy Awards (2005) and two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for motion pictures and television.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Peter Graves

Peter Graves was born Peter Aurness on March 18, 1926 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The son of Ruth Duesler, a journalist and Rolf Cirkler Aurness, a business man. Peter Graves was the younger brother of actor James Arness (Gunsmoke).

Peter Graves appeared in more than seventy films, TV series and TV movies. Peter Graves' film debut was in Winning Your Wings (1942).

In 1953, Peter Graves played Price, a hot-shot German spy placed among allied POWs in the movie Stalag 17.

In 1955, Peter Graves was cast as Jim Newton in the televison show Fury (1955-1960).

In 1955, Peter Graves played Ben Harper, the father on the run from the law in the film Night of the Hunter.

In 1967, Peter Graves was hired to replace Steven Hill as the lead actor on Mission: Impossible. Peter Graves played Jim Phelps, the sometimes gruff leader of the Impossible Missions Force or IMF, for the remaining six seasons of the series.

He won a Golden Globe Award in 1971 for his role as Jim Phelps in the series Mission: Impossible

Peter Graves played Captain Clarence Oveur in the comedies Airplane! (1980) and Airplane II: The Sequel (1982).

Peter Graves played Colonel John Camden on the WB Network TV series 7th Heaven (1997 - 2007).

Peter Graves also appeared in films such as Beneath the 12-Mile Reef (1953), The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell (1955), The Long Gray Line (1955), Beginning of the End (1957), A Rage to Live (1965), The Ballad of Josie (1967), The Five Man Army (1969), The Guns and the Fury (1981), Number One with a Bullet (1987), Addams Family Values (1993) and Men in Black II (2002).

Peter Graves also appeared in television episodes of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Cold Case, Diagnosis Murder, Burke's Law, The Golden Girls, The Love Boat, Murder She Wrote, Fantasy Island, and Simon & Simon.

In 1997, Peter Graves was an Emmy Award for Outstanding Informational Series
for: Judy Garland: Beyond the Rainbow.

Peter Graves married Joan Endress on December 16, 1950, they were married 59 years until his death.

Peter Graves died of natural causes on March 14, 2010 at the age of 83.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Jean Harlow

Jean Harlow was born Harlean Harlow Carpenter on March 3, 1911 in Kansas City, Missouri. She was the daughter of Mont Clair Carpenter, a dentist and Jean Poe Harlow.

In 1927, at the age of 16, she ran away from home to marry a young businessman named Charles McGrew, who was 23. The couple moved to Los Angeles in 1928, settling into a home in Beverly Hills, where the future Jean Harlow thrived as a wealthy socialite.

One day, Jean Harlow befiended Rosalie Roy, a young aspiring actress. Rosalie aksed Jean to drive her to Fox Studios for an appointment. While Jean was sitting in the car, she was noticed by Fox studio executives. Approached by the executives, Jean stated she was not interested, but was given dictated letters of introduction to Central Casting.

Rosalie Roy made Jean a bet that she did not have the nerve to go back and audition for roles. Unwilling to lose a wager and pressed by her mother, Jean drove to Central Casting and signed in under her mother's maiden name, Jean Harlow.

In 1928, Jean Harlow appeared in her first film, Honor Bound as an uncredited extra. Her salary was $7 a day. Uncredited roles followed in Moran of the Marines (1928), Chasing Husbands (1928), Fugitives (1929), The Unkissed Man (1929), Double Whoopee (1929) and Masquerade (1929).

In 1929, Jean Harlow and her husband Chuck McGrew separated and divorced.

She continued to work as an extra in several movies including The Saturday Night Kid (1929), The Love Parade (1929), Weak But Willing (1929) and New York Nights (1929).

In 1930, Jean Harlow had her big break when she was cast as Helen in Hell's Angels.

The role in Hell's Angels came by chance. During filming of Weak But Willing (1929) she was spotted by James Hall, an actor filming Hell's Angels for Howard Hughes. Hughes was re-shooting the film from silent into sound and needed a new actress because the original actress had a Norwegian accent that proved undesirable for a talkie. Jean Harlow made a test and got the part.

During filming of Hell's Angels, Jean Harlow met her second husband MGM executive Paul Bern.

Hell's Angels made Jean Harlow an international star and a sensation with audiences, but critics were less than enthusiastic about her.

Jean Harlow next appeared in The Secret Six (1931) with Clark Gable. She would make five more pictures with Clark Gable: Red Dust (1932), Hold Your Man (1933), China Seas (1935), Wife vs. Secretary (1936), and Saratoga (1937).

In 1931, Jean Harlow appeared in The Public Enemy opposite James Cagney.

Her next film was Platinum Blonde (1931) with Loretta Young. Howard Hughes convinced the producers of Platinum Blonde to rename it from its original title of Gallagher in order to promote Jean Harlow's image, for whom the tag had just been invented by Hughes's publicity director. Many of Jean Harlow's female fans were dyeing their hair platinum to match hers.

Roles soon followed in Three Wise Girls (1932), Red-Headed Woman (1932), Dinner at Eight (1933), Bombshell (1933), Riffraff (1936), Suzy (1936), and Libeled Lady (1936).

During the filming of Red Dust, Jean Harlow's second husband, MGM producer Paul Bern, was found dead at their home, creating a scandal. Initially, the Hollywood community whispered that Harlow had killed Bern herself, though this was just rumor, and Bern's death was officially ruled a suicide.

After Paul Bern's death, Jean Harlow began an indiscreet affair with boxer Max Baer (father of Max Baer Jr, Jethro from the Beverly Hillbillies). Although Max Baer was separated from his wife, Dorothy Dunbar, at the time of their affair, Dunbar threatened divorce proceedings, naming Jean Harlow as a correspondent for "alienation of affection", a legal term for adultery.

MGM defused the situation by arranging a marriage between Jean Harlow and cinematographer Harold Rosson. Still feeling the aftershocks of Bern's mysterious death, the studio didn't want another Harlow scandal on its hands. Rosson and Harlow were friends, and Rosson went along with the plan. They quietly divorced seven months later.

In 1935, Jean Harlow was cast opposite William Powell in Reckless. The two clicked on screen and off screen. They fell in love and became engaged.

In the spring of 1937, Harlow began filming Saratoga with Clark Gable. On May 29, 1937, Harlow collapsed on set and the director sent her home to rest.

What happened thereafter is essentially still a mystery. It is widely believed that Jean Harlow spent an entire week of vomiting in bed while her mother, a Christian Scientist, refused to call a doctor. Another account claims that Jean Harlow resisted hospitalization and a surgical procedure. On June 3, 1937, her mother told the press that Jean Harlow was "better".

On June 6, 1937, under orders from Louis B. Mayer and William Powell, a gravely ill Jean Harlow was rushed to Los Angeles' Good Samaritan Hospital. Jean Harlow died the following morning at 11:37 a.m. of uremic poisoning at age 26.

By the mid-1930s, Jean Harlow was one of the biggest stars in America and the foremost female star at MGM. Jean Harlow has a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for motion pictures.

On the day Hollywood canine superstar Rin Tin Tin died at age of 16, Jean Harlow, who lived across the street from his master, Lee Duncan, went over to cradle the dog's head in her lap as the famous canine died.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ron Howard

For over fifty years, Ron Howard has captivated audiences first as a child star, then as a young adult actor, then as a writer, producer and director.

Ron Howard began acting at the age of two. He is the perfect example of how a child actor can successfully make the transition to an adult actor, director, producer, writer and successful family man.

In his 54 years in the entertainment business, Ron Howard has won two Academy Awards, two Primetime Emmy Awards, one Daytime Emmy award, one Golden Globe Award and two Director Guild of America awards.

Ronald William "Ron" Howard was born on March 1, 1954 in Duncan, Oklahoma, the son of Jean Speegle Howard, an actress, and Rance Howard, a director, writer, and actor.

Ron Howard's younger brother, is Clint Howard, star of Gentle Ben and frequently appears in Ron Howard's movies.

Ron Howard made his acting debut at the age of two in an uncredited part in Frontier Woman (1956).

When he was four years old, he was cast as Billy Rhinelander in The Journey (1959).

From 1956 to 1960, Ron Howard (then known as Ronny Howard) appeared on episodes of The Twilight Zone, The DuPont Show with June Allyson, Dennis the Menance and The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.

In 1960, Ron Howard was cast as Opie Taylor in The Andy Griffith Show (1960 to 1968).

While appearing on The Andy Griffith Show, Ron Howard continue to appear in movies such as Five Minutes to Live (1961), The Music Man (1962), and The Courtship of Eddie's Father (1963). He also appeared in episodes of the television shows The F.B.I., Gunsmoke and Daniel Boone.

In 1970, Ron Howard appeared in The Wild Country (1970) but soon returned to televison as Bob Smith in The Smith Family (1971-1972).

In 1972, he was cast as Richie Cunningham in Love, American Style.

In 1972, Ron Howard gave a memorable performance as Private Walter, an underage solider in an episode of M*A*S*H.

In 1973, Ron Howard starred as Steve in the classic film American Graffiti.

In 1974, Ron Howard reprised his role of Richie Cunningham for Happy Days (1974-1984).

During Happy Days, Ron Howard continued to appear in films such as Grand Theft Auto (1977), The Shootist (1976), and Eat My Dust (1976).

Ron Howard career as a director began in 1960 when he directed Old Paint. He has directed such classics as Grand Theft Auto (1977), Night Shift (1982), Splash (1984), Cocoon (1985), Gung Ho (1986), Parenthood (1989), Backdraft (1991), Apollo 13 (1995), A Beautiful Mind (2001), Cinderella Man (2005), and Frost/Nixon (2008).

Ron Howard is also a successful producer. He produced the television series Arrested Development and films like The Da Vinci Code (2006) and Changeling (2008).

Ron Howard is also a successful writer. He wrote the story for Far and Away (1992), Parenthood (1989) and Grand Theft Auto (1977).

Ron Howard is a four time Academy Award nominee and won the Academy Award for Best Director and Best Picture for a A Beautiful Mind (2001).

Ron Howard has been nominated for three Daytime Emmys winning once for Outstanding Children's Animated Program for "Curious George" (2006).

Ron Howard has been nominated for six primetime Emmy awards winning twice for Outstanding Miniseries for: "From the Earth to the Moon" (1998) and Outstanding Comedy Series for: "Arrested Development" (2003).

Ron Howard has been nominated for five Golden Globe Awards, winning once for Best TV Actor - Musical/Comedy for: "Happy Days" (1974).

In addition, Ron Howard has won two Directors Guild of America awards for Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind.

Ron Howard has a Star on the Walk of Fame for Television.

On June 7, 1975, Howard wed his high-school sweetheart, Cheryl Alley and they have four children: daughters Bryce, Jocelyn, Paige and son Reed. In February 2007, Ron Howard became a grandfather.

Ron Howard is truely one of the most gifted and talented persons in the entertainment industry.

Kathryn Grayson

Kathryn Grayson was born Zelma Kathryn Elisabeth Hedrick on February 9, 1922 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

At the age of 12, Kathryn Grayson discovered singing on the empty stage of the St. Louis Municipal Opera House by a janitor, who introduced her to Frances Marshall of the Chicago Civic Opera, who gave the twelve-year-old girl voice lessons.

In 1940, she was discovered by an MGM talent scout and was cast in her first film appearance in Andy Hardy's Private Secretary (1941) as the character's secretary Kathryn Land.

Kathryn Grayson's films included The Vanishing Virginian (1942), Thousands Cheer (1943), Anchors Aweigh (1945), The Kissing Bandit (1948), The Toast of New Orleans (1950), Show Boat (1951), Kiss Me Kate (1953), and The Vagabond King (1956).

In 1962, Kathryn Grayson appeared on Broadway in Camelot, her one and only Broadway performance.

On televison, Kathryn Grayson appeared in episdoes of Murder She Wrote, Baretta, Playhouse 90 and General Electric Theater.

Originally trained as an Opera singer, Kathryn Grayson appeared in Madame Butterfly (1959), La Traviata (1960), La Boheme (1960), and Orpheus in the Underworld (1983).

Kathryn Grayson has a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for motion pictures.

Kathryn Grayson died on February 17, 2010 of natural causes, she was 88 years old.