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.

Jennifer Jones

Jennifer Jones was born Phylis Lee Isley on March 2, 1919 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The daughter of Flora Mae Suber and Phillip Ross Isley, her parents toured the Midwest in a traveling tent show they owned and operated.

Jennifer Jones attended Monte Cassino Junior College in Tulsa and Northwestern University, where she was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority before transferring to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City in 1938.

Jennifer Jones landed two small roles, first in a 1939 John Wayne western titled New Frontier, followed by a serial entitled Dick Tracy's G-Men. However, she failed a screen test for Paramount Pictures and decided to return to New York City.

When she learned of auditions for the lead role in Claudia, Rose Franken’s hit play, she presented herself to David O. Selznick’s New York office but fled in tears after what she thought was a bad reading. Selznick, however, overheard her audition and was impressed enough to have his secretary call her back. Following an interview, she was signed to a seven-year contract.

Her first role would be Bernadette Soubirous in The Song of Bernadette (1943). She won the Academy Award for Best Actress for this role.

Jennifer Jones next film was Since You Went Away (1944), she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

In 1945, she appeared in Love Letters earning her third Academy Award nomination, this time for Best Actress.

In 1946, she played Pearl Chavez in Duel in the Sun, earning her fourth Academy Award nomination, for Best Actress.

In 1955, she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing.

Jennifer Jones also appeared in Portrait of Jennie (1948), Madame Bovary (1949) Beat the Devil (1953), A Farewell to Arms (1957), and Tender Is the Night (1962).

Jennifer Jones final appearance was in the 1974 blockbuster The Towering Inferno.

Jennifer Jones died of natural causes at her home on December 17, 2009, aged 90.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dorothy Janis

Dorothy Janis was born Dorothy Penelope Jones on February 19, 1910 in Dallas, Texas.

When Dorothy was 15 years old she was visiting her cousin who was working on a film for Fox. The beautiful Dorothy was noticed at once and asked to make a screen test.

She was cast in her first film role in Kit Carson (1928) as Sings-in-the-Clouds. That same year, she played Thurya in Fleetwing (1928).

Within a year, although she was just 16, Dorothy Janis was signed by Metro to a 5-year contract. Metro said publicly that Janis was 18 and half-Cherokee; neither fact was true.

Dorothy's first film for MGM was The Overland Telegraph (1929).

She is best known for playing opposite Ramon Novarro in The Pagan (1929), her second film for MGM and overall her fourth film.

In 1930, she appeared in her final film as Chita in Lummox (1930).

Dorothy Janis was scheduled to appear in one more film entitled The White Captive. In 1930, Dorothy and the film compnay sailed to the for a tour of the Malay Peninsula to make a film to be entitled The White Captive. When the company returned to Hollywood at the end of 1930, however, the studio found that shot footage was virtually unusable, and worse yet, poor Dorothy Janis found herself at the epicenter of a tabloid scandal.

Sidney Lund, a newlywed sound technician who traveled with the White Captive company, apparently formed a crush on Janis during the 6-month trip, inspiring Mrs. Lund, a former vaudeville dancer, to file for divorce and to sue Janis for $25,000 for "alienation of affection."

Mrs. Lund eventually got her divorce and dropped her suit against Dorothy Janis.

Admist the scandal, Dorothy Janis traveled to Chicago to visit an aunt to get away from the Hollywood scandal. During the trip, Dorothy Janis met and fell in love with bandleader Wayne King.

The two were married on March 21, 1932 and were married 53 years until his death on July 16, 1985.

Dorothy Janis was an exotic beauty who made five films: four silents and one talkie. She retired in 1930 and currently resides in Arizona. She has two children and six grandchildren.

Few knew or could even have imagined that the happy housewife and mother of two and grandmother of six once wore a sarong in the Tahitian jungles listening to Ramon Novarro croon the "Pagan Love Song."

Dorothy Janis died on March 10, 2010 at the age of 100.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

George Kennedy

For fifty years, George Kennedy has been one of our favorite character actors playing bullies and thugs or the dependable sidekick.

George Harris Kennedy, Jr. was born on February 18, 1925 in New York City into a show business family. His father, George Harris Kennedy Sr. was a musician and orchestra leader. His mother, Helen Kieselbach was a ballet dancer.

George Kennedy made his stage debut at the age of two and later became a radio performer as a young adult.

George Kennedy put aside show business during World War II. He spent sixteen years in the United States Army, seeing combat and serving directly under General Patton. During his military career, he worked in the Armed Forces radio. He was involved with the opening of the first Army Information Office, which provided technical assistance to films and TV shows. After retiring from the military George Kennedy found his way back to the entertainment industry.

George Kennedy originally was a technical advisor for the television series Sergeant Bilko.

In 1956, he made his acting debut in an episode of The Phil Silvers Show. Roles soon followed in episodes of Cheyenne, Lawman, Wanted Dead or Alive, Peter Gunn and Maverick.

In 1960, he made his film debut as a slave in Spartacus. In 1961, he appeared in his first credited film role as Nathan Dillon in The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come.

During the 1960s, he appeared in such television shows as Route 66, Bat Masterson, The Untouchables, Rawhide, Have Gun Will Travel, The Andy Griffith Show, McHale's Navy, and Bonanza.

During the 1960s he appeared films such as Lonely Are The Brave (1962), Charade (1963), McHale's Navy (1964), Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964), In Harm's Way (1965), Shenandoah (1965), The Sons of Katie Elder (1965), The Flight of the Phoenix (1965), The Dirty Dozen (1967), and The Boston Strangler (1968).

In 1967, George Kennedy was cast as Dragline, a chain gang convict, in Cool Hand Luke. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

During the 1970s, George Kennedy appeared in films such as Airport (1970), Dirty Dingus Magee (1970), Fools' Parade (1971), Lost Horizon (1973), Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974), Airport 1975 (1974), Earthquake (1974), Airport '77 (1977), Death on the Nile (1978) and The Concorde ... Airport '79 (1979).

The 1980s brought George Kennedy roles in films such as Chattanooga Choo Choo (1984) The Delta Force (1986), Creepshow 2 (1987) and Nightmare at Noon (1988). On television he appeared in episodes of Love Boat, Fantasy Island, and the made for televison movie The Jesse Owens Story (1984).

Just when George Kennedy career seemed to be on a downward spiral, he appeared as Captain Ed Hocken opposite Leslie Nielsen's comical cop Frank Drebin in The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988). He would reprise the role in two sequels: The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear (1991) and Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (1994). George Kennedy was back on top.

On television, George Kennedy portrayed Carter McKay in the CBS prime time serial Dallas and several made for television Dallas movies during the 1990s.

In 1998, George Kennedy retired and moved to Idaho with his wife. But retirement life was not for George Kennedy.

He most recently protrayed Judge Duke in The Man Who Came Back (2008).

In 2010, George Kennedy will be Mad Mad Wagon Party (2010) and Six Days in Paradise (2010).

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

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Percy Kilbride

Percy Kilbride, best known for his role as Pa Kettle in the popular film series began his career in the theater and did not make his movie debut until age 45.

Percy Kilbride was born on July 16, 1888 in San Francisco, California, the son of Irish immigrants.

Percy Kilbride began working in the theater at the age of 12, playing hundreds of roles, mostly rustic bumpkins, in stage and stock.

In 1928, he made his Broadway debut in The Buzzard. He would appear in approximately a dozen Broadway productions before being cast as Mr. Kimber in the Broadawy production George Washington Slept Here.

In 1933, he made his film debut in Jakey in White Woman (1933).

In 1941, production began on the movie version of George Washington Slept Here. Percy Kilbride was the only member of the Broadway cast to be casted in the movie.

Roles followed in Keeper of the Flame (1942), The Adventures of Mark Twain (1944)and State Fair (1945).

In 1947, Percy Kilbride appeared as Pa Kettle in The Egg and I starring Fred MacMurry and Claudette Colbert.

Percy Kilbride and Margorie Main were such a hit as Ma and Pa Kettle in The Egg and I, seven feature films followed about Ma and Pa Kettle all starring Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride.

Percy Kilbride retired from acting after the seventh film: Ma and Pa Kettle at Waikiki (1955) due to injuries sustained in an automobile accident.

On December 4 1964, Percy Kilbride and Ralph Belmont were taking their morning constitutional walk. Both were struck by a speeding car. Belmont died instantly at the scene.

On December 11, 1964, Percy Kilbride died as a result of his injuries, he was 76 years old.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Tim Holt

Tim Holt was a child actor who graduated to starring his own series of 1940's "B" westerns and to playing solid supporting roles in higher-budget A films.

Tim Holt was born Charles John Holt III on February 5, 1919 in Beverly Hills, California. The son of actor Jack Holt and Margaret Woods.

Tim Holt appeared in three films with his father: The Vanishing Pioneer (1928), The Arizona Ranger (1948) and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948).

Tim Holt made his film debut at age 8 in an uncredited role in French Dressing (1927). He next appeared in The Vanishing Pioneer (1928).

He was sent to study at Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana, from which he graduated in 1936. He immediately went to work in the Hollywood film business.

After his return to Hollywood he was cast in History Is Made at Night (1937).

Tim Holt's first big break was when he was cast to play Richard 'Dick' Grosvenor III in Stella Dallas (1937) starring Barbara Stanwyck.

Tim Holt next appeared in Gold Is Where You Find It (1938) as Lanceford 'Lance' Ferris which starred Olivia de Havilland.

In 1939, he played Lieutenant Blanchard in Stagecoach.

From 1939 to 1942, he appeared in more than a dozen B Western films including Wagon Train (1940), Robbers of the Range (1941), and Land of the Open Range (1942).

In 1942 he won critical aclaim for his role George in The Magnificent Ambersons.

In 1946 he played Virgil Earp in My Darling Clementine.

Tim Holt's most famous role was as Curtin in John Huston's The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948).

In 1991, Tim Holt was inducted posthumously into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

At the peak of his career in the 1940s "B" westerns, he was the "fastest draw" in the movies with the ability to draw his revolver in slightly over one-sixth of a second.

Tim Holt died February 15, 1973 at 54 years old of bone cancer.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Ida Lupino

Ida Lupino was an actress, director and writer.

In her forty eight year career, Ida Lupino appeared in fifty nine films and fifty eight television episodes. She directed nine films and fifty television episodes. She also wrote screenplays for five films and four television episodes.

Ida Lupino was born February 4, 1914 in London, England. She was born into a family of performers. He father, Stanley Lupino was a music hall comedian and her mother Connie Emerald, was an actress.

As a young girl, she was encouraged to enter show business by both her parents and her uncle, Lupino Lane. Ida Lupino made her movie deput in 1931 in The Love Race.

She would spend the next several years playing minor roles in films such as The Ghost Camera (1933), Come on Marines (1934), Anything Goes (1936) and The Gay Desperado (1936).

In 1939 she appeared in The Light That Failed and it was then she was taken seriously as a dramatic actress.

Major starring roles soon followed in films such as They Drive by Night (1940), Ladies in Retirement (1941), Out of the Fog (1941), The Sea Wolf (1941) and High Sierra (1941).

She also appeared in The Hard Way, Deep Valley (1947), On Dangerous Ground (1952), While the City Sleeps (1956) and Junior Bonner (1972). Her final film was My Boys Are Good Boys (1978).

Ida Lupino was also a frequent guest star on televison, being nominated for three prime time Emmy awards. She appeared in such classics as Four Star Playhouse, Mr. Adams and Eve, The Twilight Zone, Bonanza, Burke's Law, Batman, Family Affair, The Streets of San Francisco and Charlie's Angels.

As a director, Ida Lupino was the second woman to be admitted to the Director's Guild. She directed classic television shows as Have Gun - Will Travel, The Rifleman, The Untouchables, The Fugitive, Bewitched, and Gilligan's Island.

As a writer, Ida Lupino wrote episodes for Four Star Playhouse and screenplays for Outrage (1950) and Never Fear (1949).

Ida Lupino has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contributions to the fields of television and motion pictures.

Ida Lupino died on August 3, 1995 after suffering a stroke, she was 81 years old.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Clark Gable

William Clark Gable was born on February 1, 1901 in Cadiz, Ohio. The son of William Henry Gable and Adeline Hershelman.

In 1917, when Clark Gable was in high school, his father had financial difficulties and the family moved to Ravenna, Ohio. Despite his father's insistence that he work the family farm, Clark Gable left to work in Akron's B.F. Goodrich tire factory.

At seventeen, Gable was inspired to be an actor after seeing the play The Bird of Paradise, but he was not able to make a real start due to financial difficulties.

Clark Gable instead toured in stock companies and worked the oil fields and as a horse manager. He found work with several second-class theater companies and worked his way across the Midwest to Portland, Oregon, where he found work as a necktie salesman in the Meier & Frank department store. While there, he met actress Laura Hope Crews, who encouraged him to go back to the stage and into another theater company.

His acting coach was a theater manager in Portland, Oregon, Josephine Dillon (seventeen years his senior and would become his first wife). Dillon paid to have his teeth repaired and his hair styled. She taught him better body control and posture. She spent considerable time training his naturally high-pitched voice, which Gable slowly managed to lower, and gain better resonance and tone. After the long period of rigorous training, she eventually considered him ready to attempt a film career.

In 1924, with Dillon's financial aid, the two went to Hollywood, where she became his manager and first wife. He changed his stage name from W. C. Gable to Clark Gable.

He began his career as an extra in such silent films as He found work as an extra in such silent films as Fighting Blood (1923), Forbidden Paradise (1924), The Plastic Age (1925) and Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925).

In 1928, he made his Broadway debut in Machinal. Roles would follow in Hawk Island and Love, Honor and Betray.

In 1931, he returned to Hollywood and was cast in his first credited role as Rance Brett in The Painted Desert.

In 1931, he was cast opposite Jean Harlow in The Secret Six. They would go on to make five more films together: Red Dust (1932), Hold Your Man (1933), China Seas (1935), Wife vs. Secretary (1936), and Saratoga (1937).

During the 1930s, Clark Gable and Myrna Loy were crowned the King and Queen of Hollywood. They made eight movies together: Night Flight (1933), Manhattan Melodrama (1934), Men in White (1934) , Wife vs. Secretary (1936), Parnell (1937), Too Hot to Handle (1938), Test Pilot (1938), and Northward, Ho! (1940).

In 1934, Clark Gable refused an assignment and MGM thought they would punish him by loaning him out to Columbia Pictures. That film was Frank Capra's It Happened One Night (1934). Clark Gable won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance.

The next year Clark Gable starred as Fletcher Christian in Mutiny on the Bounty. He would be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor.

During the 1930s, Clark Gable also starred in Night Nurse (1931), Possessed (1931), No Man of Her Own (1932), The Call of the Wild (1935), San Francisco (1936), and Idiot's Delight (1939).

In 1939, Clark Gable would be cast as Rhett Butler in his most famous role in the epic Gone With The Wind. He would receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.

During the 1940s and 1950s, Clark Gable appeared in Strange Cargo (1940), Boom Town (1940), Comrade X (1940), The Hucksters (1947), Command Decision (1948), Mogambo (1953), Run Silent Run Deep (1958) and Teacher's Pet (1958).

In 1961, Clark Gable would appear in his final film: The Misfits as Gay Langland.

During World War II, Clark Gable joined the Army Air Corps. He rose to the rank of Captain.

In March 1939, Clark Gable married actress Carole Lombard who he had previously worked with in No Man of Her Own (1932). Tragedy struck in January 1942 when the plane in which Carole and her mother were flying crashed into Table Rock Mountain, Nevada, killing them both.

In July 1955, Clark Gable married a former sweetheart, Kathleen Williams Spreckles. A few months after his death, she gave birth to his son John Clark Gable.

On November 16, 1959, Clark Gable became a grandfather when Judy Lewis, his daughter with Loretta Young, gave birth to a daughter, Maria.

Clark Gable died on November 16, 1960 of a heart attack, the day his granddaughter turned one.

A little trivia about Clark Gable:

Clark Gable's first screen test was made by director Mervyn LeRoy for Warner Bros. The powers that be said they wasting their money on that big "ape" with those "huge floppy taxi-cab ears". Years later when Gable made it big, LeRoy used to tease Warner and say, "How would you like to have him and those huge floppy ears now?".

He was mistakenly listed as a female on his birth certificate.