Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Vivien Leigh

Vivien Leigh was born Vivian Mary Hartley on November 5, 1913 in Darjeeling, India to Ernest Hartley, a British Officer in the Indian Cavalry and Gertude Robinson Yackje.

Vivien made her first stage appearance at the age of three, reciting "Little Bo Beep" for her mother's amateur theatre group.

Vivien was sent to the Convent of the Sacred Heart in England where she became best friends with future actress Maureen O'Sullivan. At the age of six and a half, Vivian told Maureen she desired to become a great actress.

Vivien later enrolled at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.

In late 1931, she met Herbert Leigh Holman, a barrister 13 years her senior. Despite his disapproval of "theatrical people" they were married on December 20, 1932. Upon their marriage, she terminated her studies at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

Bored with domestic life and upon her friends sugesstion, Vivien auditioned for a part in the film Things are Looking Up (1935). She won the part and made her film debut. Vivien hired an agent, John Gliddon.

John Gliddon believed that the name Vivian Holman was not suitable for an actress and suggested "April Morn" which she hated. Vivien decided on Vivien Leigh, using her husband's middle name as her last name.

From 1935 to 1939, Vivien Leigh appeared in such movies as Gentlemen's Agreement (1935) and A Yank at Oxford (1938). She also frequently appeared on the London Stage in such productions as The Green Sash, Henry VIII, THe Mask of Virtue and Hamlet.

In 1939, Vivien Leigh would become one of the most popular actresses in the world, when she was cast to play Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind. Vivien won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance.

During the 1940s, Vivien Leigh alternated her time between the silver screen at the stage. Her movies would include Waterloo Bridge (1940), Ceasar and Cleopatra (1945) and Anna Karenina (1948). Her stage work would include Romeo and Juliet (Broadway), The Doctor's Dilemna, The Skin of Our Teeth, Richard III, and A Street Car Named Desire.

In 1951, Vivien Leigh was cast to play Blanche DuBois, a role she originated on stage, in the movie version of A Street Car Named Desire. Vivian Leigh would earn her second Academy Award for Best Actress.

During the 1950s, Vivian Leigh spent her time on the stage. She appeared in such productions as Caesar and Cleopatra, Antony and Cleopatra, and Duel of Angels.

In 1963, Vivien Leigh won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for Tovarich.

Vivien Leigh's final silver screen performance was in Ship of Fools (1965).

After Vivian's divorce from her first husband, she married Laurence Olivier, they divorced after 20 years of marriage.

Vivien Leigh sufferd from manic depression. Vivien needed shock therapy to control her manic depression. Sometimes she would go on stage just hours after her treatments, without missing a beat in her performance.

Vivien Leigh was the first British actress to win an Academy Award.

Her favorite role was that of Myra Lester, in Waterloo Bridge (1940).

A lover of cats, especially Siamese, she frequently had 10 kitties at one time. When she passed away her Siamese, Poo Jones, was with her.

Vivien Leigh passed away July 7, 1967 of chronic pulmonary tuberculosis at the age of 53.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Burt Lancaster

Burt Lancaster was born Burton Stephen Lancaster on November 2, 1913 in New York City, the son of Elizabeth Roberts and James Henry Lancaster, who was a postman.

Burt Lancaster grew up in East Harlem and spent much of his time on the streets, where he developed great interest and skill in gymnastics. Later he performed as a circus acrobat, until an injury forced him to give up the profession.

During World War II, Lancaster joined the United States Army and there he developed an interest in acting performing with the USO.

After the war, he auditioned for the Broadway play A Sound of Hunting and won the part. Later he would appear on Broadway in Separate Tables. In 1946, he won the Theatre World Award.

Lancaster's film debut was in The Killers (1946). His next picture was Brute Force (1947). Roles would follow in Sorry, Wrong Number (1948), Criss Cross (1949), Mister 880 (1950), Come Back, Little Sheba (1952), From Here to Eternity (1953), Vera Cruz (1954), The Kentuckian (1955), Trapeze (1956), The Rainmaker (1956), The Sweet Smell of Success (1957), Run Silent, Run Deep (1958), Separate Tables (1958), The Unforgiven (1960), Elmer Gantry (1960), The Young Savages (1961), Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), Birdman of Alcatraz (1962), The Train (1964), Airport (1970), Atlantic City (1980), and Field of Dreams (1989).

A frequent co-star of Kirk Douglas, they appeared together in six films: Tough Guys (1986), Seven Days in May (1964), The List of Adrian Messenger (1963), I Walk Alone (1948), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957) and The Devil's Disciple (1959).

Burt Lancaster was nominated for four Academy Awards for Best Actor for Atlantic City (1980), Birdman of Alcatraz (1962), Elmer Gantry (1960) and From Here to Eternity (1953). He won the Academy Award for Elmer Gantry.

He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for motion pictures.

Burt Lancaster's first television role was on Sesame Street in 1969, reciting the alphabet.

Known for his liberal political sympathies, he was one of several Hollywood movie stars, along with Marlon Brando, Sammy Davis Jr., Sidney Poitier, and Paul Newman who participated in Martin Luther King's March on Washington in August 1963.

His production company, Hecht-Hill-Lancaster, produced the such films as Marty (1955) and The Catered Affair (1956).

Burt Lancaster is the father of writer Bill Lancaster who wrote the Bad News Bears (1976). The Bad News Bears was based on Bill's own experiences being coached by his father and the coach played by Walter Matthau was based on Burt Lancaster, who was known for his grumpiness.

Burt Lancaster died on October 20, 1994 of a heart attack.

Burt Lancaster will always be remembered for his smile, the way he laughed and the unforgettable characters he played.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Rita Hayworth

Rita Hayworth was born Margarita (Rita) Carmen Cansino on October 17, 1918 in Brooklyn, New York.

Rita was the daughter of Spanish flamenco dancer Eduardo Cansino, Sr. and Ziegfeld girl Volga Hayworth. Her father wanted her to become a dancer while her mother hoped she would become an actress. Rita's grandfathers Antonio Cansino was most renowned in Spain's classical dances and made the bolero famous.

Rita began dancing on stage at the age of four and by age six was a member of The Cansinos, a famous family of Spanish dancers working in vaudeville.

When Rita was a teengager, she became her father's dancing partner. She was dancing 20 shows a week in nightclubs in California and at the Foreign Club in Tijuana, Mexico.

Rita made her film debut at the age of eight in La Fiesta (1926) under the name Rita Cansino. She would appear in thirteen films from 1926 to 1937 under the name of Rita Cansino including Charlie Chan in Egypt (1935), Dante's Inferno (1935) and Human Cargo (1936).

Rita's first film as Rita Hayworth was Criminals of Air (1937). It was at this time she signed a seven year contract with Columbia Studios who changed her name and ordered her to dye her dark brown hair to red.

Rita Hayworth and Glenn Ford appeared in five movies together: The Lady in Question (1940), Gilda (1946), The Loves of Carmen (1948), Affair in Trinidad (1952) and The Money Trap (1965).

During the film Gilda (1946), Rita accidently knocked out two of Glenn Ford's teeth during their fight scene.

Rita Hayworth's most notable film credits include Convicted (1938), Only Angels Have Wings (1939), Angels over Broadway (1940), Pal Joey (1957), Separate Tables (1958) and Circus World (1964).

Rita's final film appearnce was The Wrath of God (1972).

Despite appearing in 61 films over 37 years, including leading roles in successful, classic films like Gilda, she never received an Academy Award nomination.

She did receive one Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress for Circus World (1964) and was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for motion pictures.

Despite being an incredible dancer, Rita never appeared on Broadway. In 1962, when she was 42, her planned Broadway debut in Step on a Crack was cancelled for health reasons.

Rita Hayworth was married five times, all ending in divorce and each one lasting less than five years.

Rita was first married to Edward Charles Judson (1937–1942). Her second marriage was to Orson Welles (1943-1948) and they had one daugher Rebecca. Her third marriage was to Prince Aly Khan (1949 - 1953) and they had one daughter Princess Yasmin. Her fourth marriage was to Dick Haymes (1953-1955) and her fifth marriage to James Hill (1958-1961).

In fact, Rita Hayworth, not Grace Kelly was the first American movie star to become a Princess when she married Prince Aly Khan on May 27, 1949.

She was a cousin of Ginger Rogers by marriage, Rita Hayworth's uncle married Ginger Rogers' aunt.

On May 14, 1987 at the age of 68, Rita Hayworth died of Alzheimer's disease.

Angela Lansbury

Angela Lansbury was born October 16, 1925 in London, England to Belfast born actress Monya MaGill and Edgar Lansbury, a politician and prominent businessman. Her mother would appear with Angela in The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) and Kind Lady (1951).

Just prior to the German bombing campaign of London, Angela's mother was given the opportunity to take her children to North American and under the cover of darkness they fled and sailed for Montreal and from there headed to New York City. Her mother settled in Hollywood following a fund-raising Canadian tour of a Noel Coward play and Angela and her brothers joined her there.

Angela Lansbury worked at the Bullocks Wilshire department store in Los Angeles. At one of her mother's frequent parties, she met would be actor Michael Dyne who arranged for her to meet Mel Ballerino. Ballerino was the casting director for upcoming films The Picture of Dorian Gray and Gaslight. He offered Angela roles in both movies.

She made her film debut in Gaslight (1944), playing the role of the impertinent and slightly malevolent maid, Nancy. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her film debut.

She would earn her second Academy Award nomination for The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945).

Angela Lansbury's most popular films include National Velvet (1944), The Harvey Girls (1946), State of the Union (1948), The Three Musketeers (1948), Sampson and Deliah (1949), The Court Jester (1956), The Long Hot Summer (1958), Blue Hawaii (1961), The Manchurian Candidate (1962), The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971), Death on the Nile (1978), Beauty and The Beast (1991), Anastasia (1997).

She would also earn an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for The Manchurian Candidate (1962).

She won the Golden Globe award for Best Supporting Actress for The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) and The Manchurian Candidate (1962).

Angela Lansbury also has had a successful career on Broadway earning five Tony Awards. Her Broadway credits include Hotel Paradiso (her debut), Mame (won Tony), Prettybelle, Gypsy (won Tony), The King and I, Sweeney Todd (won Tony), Dear World (won Tony) and Blithe Spirit (won Tony).

On television, Angela Lansbury played Jessica Fletcher on Murder She Wrote (1984 -1996) which would earn her four Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress in a Drama Series and 13 Emmy nominations for Best Actress in a Drama Series. Her other television credits include Law & Order, Trial by Jury, Law & Order, SVU, Touched By an Angel, Magnum P.I., The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Playhouse 90, and Your Show of Shows.

She has been nominated for an Emmy 18 times, holding the record for the most nominations without a win.

In 1994, Queen Elizabeth II appointed Angela her Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

In 1995, Angela Lansbury was named a Disney Legend.

In 1997, Angela received the Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award.

In 2000, she was a Kennedy Honor recipient.

She has a two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame one for televison and one for motion pictures.

Angela Lansbury is also a vegetarian and a longtime animals rights activist.

Angela Lansbury was first married to Richard Cromwell (1945 - 1946, divorced). Angela Lansbury would marry Peter Shaw on August 12, 1949 and remained married until his death in 2003. Peter and Angela had two children, Diedre and Anthony.

Her son Anthony Shaw directed several of the Murder She Wrote episodes and television movies.

Angela Lansbury is currently active on Broadway. She just completed starring in Blithe Spirit and in December 2009 will play Madame Armfeldt in A Little Night Music.

Angela Lansbury accepting her fifth Tony Award for Blithe Spirit at the 63rd Annual Tony Awards June, 2009.

Lillian Gish

Lillian Gish was a was an American stage, screen and television actress whose film acting career spanned 75 years, from 1912 to 1987.

Lillian Gish was born October 14, 1893 in Springfield, Ohio. The older sister of actress Dorothy Gish and the daugher of Mary Robinson McConnell and James Lee Gish.

After her father abandoned the family, he mother began acting in order to support the family. When Lillian and Dorothy were old enough, they joined the theatre and took modeling jobs.

In 1912, Lillian's friend Mary Pickford introduced her to director D.W. Griffith and helped them get contracts with Biograph Studios.

Lillian Gish made her film debut in An Unseen Enemy (1912).

From 1912 to 1930, Lillian Gish would appear in over 70 silent films including The Rebellion of Kitty Belle (1914), Birth of a Nation (1915), Intolerance (1916), The Children Pay (1916), The Greatest Thing in Life (1918), Broken Blossums (1919), Way Down East (1920), The White Sister (1923), Ben-Hur (1925) and the Scarlett Letter (1926).

In 1930, she appeared in her first talkie, One Romantic Night (1930).

With her debut in talkies only moderately successful, she acted on the stage for the most part in the 1930s and early 1940s, appearing in roles as varied as Opelia in Hamlet and Marguerite in La Dame aux Camelias.

In 1942, after a nine year absence from the silver screen, she appeared in Commandos Strike at Dawn. Roles would follow in Duel in the Sun (1942), The Night of the Hunter (1955) and The Unforgiven (1960).

Her final film appearance was The Whales of August (1987) at the age of 93 with Vincent Price, Bette Davis and Ann Sothern.

Lillian Gish also frequently appeared on television in such shows as The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, The Love Boat, The Defenders, and Robert Montgomery Presesents.

Lillian Gish was nominated for one Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1946 for Duel in the Sun.

She was awarded an Honorary Academy Award in 1971 for Lifetime Achievement.

In 1982, she received a Kennedy Center Honor.

In 1984, she received the AFI Life Achievement Award.

She also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for motion pictures.

The First Lady of the Silent Screen, Lillian Gish became one of the leading advocates on the lost art of the silent film often giving speeches and touring to screenings of classic works. In 1975, she hosted The Silent Years, a PBS film program of silent films.

Lillian Gish never married nor had children. She left her entire estate to Helen Hayes (who died a month later) which was valued at several million dollars. Her estate went to provide for prizes for artistic excellence.

Lillian Gish died in her sleep of natural causes on February 27, 1993 at the age of 99.

Boris Karloff

Boris Karloff is recognized as one of the true icons of horror cinema.

Boris Karloff was born William Henry Pratt on November 23, 1887 in London, England. His father was Edward John Pratt, Jr. and his mother was Eliza Sarah Millard.

His paternal great aunt was Anna Leonowens, whose tales about life in the royal court of Siam (now Thailand) were the basis of the musical The King and I.

Karloff's first goal in life was to join the foreign service. However, he turned to acting upon immigrating to Canada in 1909 where he changed his name to "Boris Karloff".

In 1912, while appearing in a play in Regina, Saskatchewan, a devasting tornado hit killing 28 people. He volunteered as a rescue worker and also organized a concert that raised funds for the city.

Once Karloff arrived in Hollywood, he made dozens of silent films but work was sporadic, and he often had to take up manual labor, such as digging ditches and driving a cement truck, to pay the bills.

Karloff's first film was The Dumb Girl of Portici (1916). Some of his silent films include The Lightning Raider (1919), The Prisoner (1923), Cheated Hearts (1921), The Woman Conquers (1922), The Prairie Wife (1925) and Two Arabian Knights (1927).

He even had an uncredited role as a Union General in Buster Keaton's classic film The General (1926).

In 1928, Boris Karloff appeared in his first talkie, Behind that Curtain.

From 1928 to 1931, he appeared in such films as The Utah Kid (1930), Cracked Nuts (1931) and Young Donovan's Kid (1931).

In 1931, at the age of 44, Boris Karloff got his big break in a role that would forever be associated with his name, Frankenstein. He would resume his role in Bride of Frankenstein (1935) and Son of Frankenstein (1939). In 1958, in Frankenstein 1970, he would play Dr. Baron Victor von Frankenstien II, the grandson of the original inventor.

In Son of Frankenstein (1939), he also was the demented Igor.

Boris Karloff also appeared in such films as The Mummy (1932), Scarface (1932), The Black Cat (1934), The Walking Dead (1936), Devil's Island (1939), Black Friday (1940), The Body Snatcher (1945), The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947), Abbot and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff (1949), and Abbot and Costelle Meet Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde (1953).

Boris Karloff's final film was The Incredible Invasion (1971) which was released after his death.

In addition to Karloff's sucessful film career, he also had a successful career on Broadway. He appeared in the Broadway productions of Peter Pan, Arsenic and Old Lace, The Shop at Sly Corner and The Lark. He was nominated for a Tony award for The Lark.

Boris Karloff also appeared on such classic television shows as The Red Skelton Show, Playhouse 90, General Electric Theatre, Route 66, The Wild Wild West, and I Spy.

Karloff was bow-legged had a lisp, and stuttered as a young boy. He conquered his stutter, but not his lisp, which was noticeable all through his career.

In contrast to the sinister characters he played on screen, Karloff was known in real life as a very kind gentleman who gave generously, especially to children's charities. Every year beginning in 1940, Boris dressed up as Santa Claus and handed out presents to physically disabled children at a Baltimore hospital.

Boris Karloff was also a charter member of the Screen Actors Guild and was outspoked regarding hazardous working conditions on the sets.

Boris Karloff was married six times and had one daughter by his fifth wife.

Boris Karloff has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for television and one for motion pictures.

Boris Karloff died on February 2, 1969 at the age of 81 due to complications of emphysema.

Helen Hayes

Helen Hayes was an American actress whose career spanned almost 80 years on the stage, Broadway, in film and television. She was nicknamed the "First Lady of the American Theatre."

She was the second person and one of only twelve people who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award.

Helen Hayes was born Helen Hayes Brown on October 10, 1900 in Washington D.C. She was the daughter of Catherine Estelle Hayes, an aspiring actress who worked in touring companies and Francis van Arnum Brown, a clerk at the Washington Patent Office.

Helen Hayes began her career on the stage at the age of five, appearing in Miss Hawke's May Ball and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

By the time she was eighteen, she had appeared in 36 stage productions including A Royal Family (1908), The Seven Sisters (1911), The Prince and the Pauper (1913), and Rich Man, Poor Man (1917).

She would make her Broadway debut in 1909 in Old Dutch, at the age of nine. She would perform in over 50 Broadway productions in her 80 year career including Golden Days, Dancing Mothers, Caeser and Cleopatra, Ziegfeld Follies of 1927, Mary of Scotland, The Country Wife, Twefth Night, The White House, The Front Page and Harvey.

She was a four time Tony award winner, two for Best Actress for Happy Birthday (1947), Time Remembered (1958), one Drama Desk Award for The Show Off (1968) and the 1980 Lawrence Langer Memorial Award. She was also nominated for a Tony for Best Actress for Harvey (1970).

She made her movie debut in 1917 in The Weavers of Life.

Her sound movie debut was The Sin of Madelon Claudet (1931) for which she won the Best Actress Academy Award.

She would win her second Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 1970 for Airport where she played the delightful elderly stowaway on the airplane.

She would appear in such films as Arrowsmith (1931), A Farewell to Arms (1932), The White Sister (1933), What Every Woman Knows (1934), and Anatasia (1956).

Helen Hayes television credits include Highway to Heaven, The Love Boat, Hawaii Five O (which she earned an Emmy nomination), Here's Lucy, Tarzan and Playhouse 90. In 1953 she received the Emmy for Best Actress.

The Helen Hayes Award for theater in the Washington D.C. area is named in her honor.

In 1953, she was the first-ever recipient of the Sarah Siddons Award for her work in Chicago Theatre, repeating as the winner in 1969.

In 1976, she won a Grammy award.

Helen Hayes also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor, from President Ronald Reagan in 1986.

Helen retired from the Broadway stage in 1970, retired from movies in 1974 and from televison in 1985. She spent most of her last years writing and raising money for organizations that fight asthma.

Helen Hayes died on St. Patrick's Day (March 17) 1993 from congestive heart failure.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Carole Lombard

Carole Lombard was born Jane Alice Peters on October 6, 1908 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Her parents were Frederick C. Peters and Elizabeth Knight. Carole was the youngest of three siblings, having two older brothers. She moved to Los Angeles in 1914 after her parents divorce.

Carole Lombard made her film debut at the age of twelve after she was seen playing baseball in the street by director Allan Dwan. He cast her as a tomboy in A Perfect Crime (1921).

It would be three more years before Carole's next film, Gold Heels (1924). Between 1924 and her big break in 1934, her films include Ben Hur (1925), My Best Girl (1927), High Voltage (1929), The Arizona Kid (1930), No More Orchids (1932) and The Eagle and the Hawk (1933).

In 1934, she got her big break when Howard Hawks (her second cousin) cast her in a starring role opposite John Barrymore in Twentieth Century (1934).

Twentieth Century made her a household name. She would go on the star in such films as The Gay Bride (1924), Hands Across the Table (1935), My Man Godfrey (1936), Nothing Sacred (1937), Made for Each Other (1939), In Name Only (1939), Mr & Mrs Smith (1941) and To Be or Not to Be (1942).

In October 1930, Lombard met William Powell. They worked together in the films Man of the World (1931) and Ladies' Man (1931). Unlike many of Carole's suitors at the time, William Powell was sophisticated and showed her a side of life she had not seen before. William Powell admired her blunt personality and her sense of humor. They married June 26, 1931.

Carole Lombard was extroverted and William Powell was reserved, plus Powell was sixteen years her senior. There different personalities lead to their divorce on August 16, 1933. However, they remained very good friends and worked together well, most notably in My Man Godfrey (1936).

While on a date with another man, Carole Lombard met crooner Russ Columbo. They began a serious relationship and Columbo proposed marriage. Tragically, Columbo died while he was visiting a friend. Columbo was admiring an antique pistol which accidently went off and the bullet ricocheted and killed Russ instantly. He died September 2, 1934.

Carole Lombard had previously met Clark Gable when they worked together in No Man of Her Own (1932). Carole was still happily married to William Powell at the time and Clark had many girlfriends. They were indifferent to each other on the set and did not keep in touch.

In 1936, Clark Gable came to the Mayfair Ball that Carole Lombard had planned. That evening their romance took off and they began a serious relationship. However, Clark was still married to Ria Langham at the time and a divorce would have cost him a fortune.

Then a scandalous article called "Hollywood's Unmarried Husbands and Wives" was printed in a fan magazine. Chief censor of the time, Will H. Hays went to Louis B. Mayer and demanded something be done about contract stars such as Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, as well as Robert Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck. Robert Taylor and Clark Gable (as well as many others) were give a choice, marry the women or end their relationships. Both choose the marriage route.

Clark Gable and Carole Lombard were married on March 29, 1939.

When the United States entered World War II, Carole Lombard traveled to her home state of Indiana for a war bond rally. After the war bond rally, on January 16, 1942, Carole and her mother boarded a Transcontintal and Wester Airlines DC-3 airplane to return to California. After refueling in Las Vegas, TWA Flight 3 took off and 23 mintues later crashed into Double Up Peak near Mount Potosi southwest of Las Vegas. All aboard, 19 passengers and three crew were killed. Carole Lombard was only 43 years old.

Carole Lombard's final film, To Be or Not To Be, was in post production at the time of her death. The film also starring Jack Benny, was a satire about Zazism and World War II. The film's producers cut a part of the film in which Lombard's character asks "What can happen on a plane?" As they felt it was in very poor taste, given the circumstances of her death.

Carole Lombard received one Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for My Man Godfrey (1936).

She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Carole 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."

During World War II, after her death, a Liberty ship was named after her.

She was posthumously awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as the first woman killed in the line of duty in WWII. Roosevelt greatly admired her work for the war effort, and ironically she was returning from an engagement selling War Bonds when her plane crashed.

Bob Hope

Bob Hope was born Leslie Townes Hope on May 29, 1903. He made his official film debut in The Big Broadcast of 1938 singing "Thanks for the Memories", which became his signature tune. I saw official because he had bit parts (usually uncredited) in movies starting in 1934.

In partnership with long time friend Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour he appeared in the highly successful "Road to ..." comedies. He also starred in The Facts of Life (1960), Alias Jesse James (1959), My Favorite Spy (1951), My Favorite Blonde (1942), The Ghost Breakers (1940) and many more films.

He entertained the troops overseas in World War II, The Korean War, The Vietnam War and the Gulf War. In 1997, Congress named Hope an honorary U.S. veteran, citing his decades of entertaining troops around the world. He is the only person to receive that distinction.

He entertained 11 different Presidents, beginning withFranklin D. Roosevelt and ending with Bill Clinton.

Awarded an honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II.

He won over 1500 awards as a actor, singer, entertainer, humanitarian, and comedian.

Bob Hope passed away at the age of 100 on July 27, 2003.

There will never be another Bob Hope, he was one of a kind.

John Huston

John Huston was born on August 5, 1906 in Nevada, Missouri to Walter Huston and Rhea Gore.

John Huston's career spanned five decades as a director, actor and screenwriter. In fact he is one of the few people to receive at least one Oscar nomination in five consecutive decades.

John began performing on stage with his vaudevillian father at age 3.

He quit school at age 14 to become a full-fledged boxer and eventually won the Amateur Lightweight Boxing Championship of California, winning 22 of 25 bouts.

John Huston's screenplay writing credits include Jezebel (1938), High Sierra (1941), Sergeant York (1941), The Maltese Falcon (1941), The Treasure of the Sierre Madre (1948), Key Largo (1948), The Asphalt Jungle (1950), The African Queen (1951), and the Night of the Iguana (1964).

John Huston's directing credits include The Maltese Falcon (1941), The Treasure of the Sierre Madre (1948), Key Largo (1948), The Asphalt Jungle (1950), The African Queen (1951), The Misfits (1961), The Night of the Iguana (1964), Annie (1982) and Prizzi's Honor (1985).

Huston appeared in cameo roles in some of his films. In Treasure of the Sierre Madre he is the American in the white suit that Bogart's character hits up for money twice. In The Misfits, he is an extra playing blackjack.

In Chinatown (1974) he played Noah Cross.

John Huston was married five times including once to Evelyn Keyes of Gone With the Wind, and had four children including his daughter Angelica Huston.

Huston received 15 Academy Award nominations in the course of his career. In fact, he is the oldest person ever to be nominated for the Best Director Oscar when, at 79 years old, he was nominated for Prizzi's Honor (1985). He also has the unique distinction of directing both his father Walter and his daughter Anjelica in Oscar winning performances (The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and Prizzi's Honor, respectively), making the Hustons the first family to have three generations of Academy Award winners. He received the Academy Award for Best Director and Best Writing Screenplay for Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

John Huston's interests included painting, hunting, sculpting, and flying.

He passed away on August 28, 1987 in Rhode Island of emphysema.

Ruth Gordon

Ruth Gordon was born October 30, 1896 in Quincy, Massachusettes, the only child of Annie Ziegler Jones and Clinton Jones, a factory foreman who had been a ship's captain.

She came to New York in 1914 and studied acting at American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She made both her broadway and film debut in 1915.

Her Broadway debut was in "Peter Pan" and she spent the next 20 years on stage, even appearing at the Old Vic in London in the successful run of "The Country Wife" in 1936. She also appeared in Seventeen, The First Year, Ethan Frome, A Doll's House, and Saturday's Children. While appearing in Seventeen, she met her first husband, Gregory Kelly. They were married in 1921 and remained married until his death in 1927.

In 1956 she was nominated for a Tony for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play for her portrayal of Dolly Levi in The Matchmaker.

In 1915, Gordon appeared as an extra in the silent film The Whirl of Life, a film based on the lives of Veron and Irene Castle. Nearly twenty five years after her film debut, she returned to movies. She went on to star in such films as Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940), Two Faced Woman (1941), Edge of Darkness (1943), Inside Daisy Clover (1965), Rosemary's Baby (1968), and Harold and Maude (1971). She also played the mother of Orville Boggs in the Every Which Way Films.

She received an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Rosemary's Baby (1968). She was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Inside Daisy Clover (1965).

In 1942, she married Garson Kanin. Together they collaborated and wrote screenplays such as A Double Life (1947), Adam's Rib (1949), and Pat and Mike (1952), all of which earned the couple Academy Award nominations for Best Writing, Story and Screenplay.

In 1978 she won an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for Taxi in an episode entitled "Sugar Mama" in which her character tries to solicit the services of a taxi driver, played by series star Judd Hirsch, as a male escort.

In 1975, she became the oldest person to host Saturday Night Live at the age of 79.

A small theater in Westboro, Massachusetts was named in her honer, as was an outdoor amphitheater in Quincy, Massachusetts.

Ruth Gordon passed away at the age of 88 on August 28, 1985 from complications of a stroke.

Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo was a Swedish actress during Hollywood's silent film and Golden Age of movies. She said to be one of the most beautiful movies stars of all time. She made trenchcoats and berets popular in the 1930s.

Greta Garbo was born Greta Lovisa Gustafsson on September 18, 1905 in Stockholm, Sweden, the daughter of Karl and Anna Gustafson.

When Greta was 14, her father died leaving the family destitude. Greta left school and went to work as a soap-latherer in a barber's shop in Sweden. Her next job was in a department store. While working at the department store, she modeled for newspaper ads. She then appeared in an advertising short while a teenager. This film short ran in local theaters in Stockholm.

From 1922 to 1924, Garbo studied at the prestigious Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm. While there, she met director Mauritz Stiller. He trained her in cinema acting technique, gave her the stage name Greta Garbo and cast her in a major role in the silent film Gosta Berlings Saga (1924). She appeared in about a dozen European films before MGM brought her to the United States.

Her first American film was The Temptress (1936). She would go on to star in such silent films as Flesh and The Devil (1927), Love (1927), The Mysterious Lady (1928), A Woman of Affairs (1928), and Wild Orchads (1929).

In 1930, Greta Garbo appeared in her first talking film Anna Christie and uttered the lines "Gif me a visky, ginger ale on the side, and don' be stingy, baby."

Greta Garbo's most notable films are Romance (1930), Mata Hari (1931), Grand Hotel (1932), Queen Christina (1933), Anna Karenina (1935), Camille (1936), and Ninotchka (1939). Her final film appearnce before retiring was Two Faced Women (1941).

During her career, Garbo was nominated for four Academy Awards for Best Actress for Anna Christie (1930), Romance (1930), Camille (1937), and Ninotchka (1939). She did receive an Honorary Academy Award in 1955.

Her all time personal favorite movie of her own was Camille (1936).

In the mid 1950s, Greta Garbo bought a seven-room-apartment in New York City (450 East 52nd Street) and lived there until she died in absolute seclusion, although she could be seen taking daily walks in New York City.

She was as secretive about her relatives as she was about herself, and, upon her death, the names of her survivors could not immediately be determined. Except at the very beginning of her career, she granted no interviews, signed no autographs, attended no premieres, and answered no fan mail.

Greta Garbo never married although she did have a long term relationship with John Gilbert. It is said she left him standing at the altar in 1926, when she changed her mind about getting married.

Greta Garbo died on April 15, 1990 at the age of 84 due to complications of pneumonia.