Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Nina Foch

Nina Foch was born Nina Consuelo Maud Fock on April 20, 1924 in Leiden, Holland. Her mother was American actress and singer Consuelo Flowertown and her father was Dutch classical music conductor Dirk Fock.

Nina Foch's made her film debut in Wagon Wheels West (1943).

During the 1940s and 1950s, she frequently played cool, aloof, and often foreign women of sophistication.

She appeared in films such as A Song to Remember (1945), The Dark Past (1948), Johnny Allegro (1949), An American in Paris (1951), The Ten Commandments (1956), and
Spartacus (1960).

In 1954, Nina Foch played Erica Martin in the boardroom drama Executive Suite starring William Holden. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance.

From the late 1960s and until her death, Nina Foch was a familiar face on television. She appeared in over 100 television shows and made for television movies. Her television credits include Columbo, Hawaii Five-O, Barnaby Jones, Lou Grant, Trapper John M.D., Murder She Wrote, Hunter, L.A. Law and Dharma & Greg.

In 2000, she gave a delightful performance as Nina Van Horn's former agent in an episode of Just Shoot Me in which she seduces David Spade's character and tries to get Nina's character to kill her so she can have a highly publized death.

One of Nina Foch's final roles as Dr. Ducky Mallard's elderly mother on N.C.I.S.

Nina Foch also had an active career on Broadway appearing in John Loves Mary, Twelfth Night, King Lear, and The Taming of the Shrew.

Nina Foch has a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for motion pictures.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Bette Davis

She had a reputation for being forthright and demanding. She was the first person to be nominated for a record ten Academy Awards. She was nominated for Academy Awards four decades straight. She was nominated for an Academy Award five straight years in a row. She was the first female president of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She was a co-founder of the Hollywood Canteen.

Since Bette Davis's arrival in Hollywood on December 13, 1930, things have never been the same again.

Ruth Elizabeth Davis was born on April 5, 1908 in Lowell, Massachusetts, the daughter of Ruth Favor and Harlow Davis, a patent attorney.

Young Bette was inspired to become an actress after seeing Rudolph Valentino in The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921) and Mary Pickford in Little Lord Fauntleroy (1921).

In 1926, she saw a production of Henrik Ibsen's The Wild Duck with Blanche Yurka and Peg Entwistle. Bette Davis later recalled that it inspired her full commitment to acting, and said, "Before that performance I wanted to be an actress. When it ended, I had to be an actress.."

Bette Davis auditioned for admission to Eva LeGallienne's Manhattan Civic Repertory, but was rejected by LeGallienne who described her attitude as "insincere" and "frivolous". She next auditioned for the John Murray Anderson School of Theatre where she was accepted.

She auditioned for George Cukor's stock theater company, and although he was not very impressed, he gave Bette Davis her first paid acting assignment anyway – a one-week stint playing the part of a chorus girl in the play Broadway. She was next chosen to play Hedwig, the character she had seen in The Wild Duck.

In 1929, she made her Broadway debut in Broken Dishes and followed it with Solid South. A Universal Studios talent scout saw her perform and invited her to Hollywood for a screen test. She would abandon Broadway for Hollywood in 1930. She would later return to Broadway in the 1950s and 1960s to star in Two's Company and Night of the Iguana.

Bette Davis failed her first several screen tests and Universal Studios was considering letting her go. However, Cinematographer Karl Freund told Universal Studios she had "lovely eyes" and would be suitable for The Bad Sister (1931), in which she subsequently made her film debut.

Roles soon followed in films such as Waterloo Bridge (1931), Seed (1931), Hell's House (1932), The Menace (1932), 20,000 Years in Sing Sing (1932) and Fashions of 1934 (1934).

After more than 20 film roles, Bette Davis had her big break. She was cast in the role of the vicious and slatternly Mildred Rogers in Of Human Bondage (1934).

When Bette Davis was not nominated for an Academy Award for Of Human Bondage, The Hollywood Citizen News questioned the omission and Norma Shearer, herself a nominee, joined a campaign to have Bette Davis nominated.

This prompted an announcement from the Academy president, Howard Estabrook, who said that under the circumstances "any voter ... may write on the ballot his or her personal choice for the winners", thus allowing, for the only time in the Academy's history, the consideration of a candidate not officially nominated for an award.

The uproar led to a change in Academy voting procedures the following year, whereby nominations were determined by votes from all eligible members of a particular branch, rather than by a smaller committee, with results independently tabulated by the accounting firm Price Waterhouse.

Following Human Bondage (1934), Bette Davis appeared in films such as Housewife (1934), The Girl from 10th Avenue (1935), and Special Agent (1935).

In 1935, she was cast to play Joyce Heath in Dangerous (1935). She won the Academy Award for Best Actress for the performance.

Roles followed in The Petrified Forest (1936), Marked Woman (1937), Kid Galahad (1937) and That Certain Woman (1937).

In 1938, she was cast to play Julie Marsden in Jezebel. She won her second Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance.

The next year she appeared as Judith Traherne in Dark Victory (1939). She would be nominated for her third Academy Award for Best Actress.

After starring in Juarez (1939), The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939), and All This, and Heaven Too (1940), Bette Davis starred as Leslie Crosbie in The Letter (1940) which earned Bette her fourth Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.

The four time nominee and two time Academy Award winner was one of the top box office stars. She starred in films such as The Great Lie (1941), The Shining Victory (1941) and The Bride Came C.O.D. (1941).

In 1941, she would earn her fifth Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for her performance of Regina Giddens in The Little Foxes (1941).

Bette Davis next appeared in The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942) before starring in Now, Voyager (1942) which earned Bette Davis her sixth Academy Award Nomination for Best Actress.

She next appeared in Watch on the Rhine (1942) before earning her record seventh Academy Award nomination for Mr. Skeffington (1944).

The later part of the 1940s, Bette Davis appeared in The Corn Is Green (1945), A Stolen Life (1946), Deception (1946), June Bride (1948), and Beyond the Forest (1949).

In 1950, Bette Davis received her eighth Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for her performance as Margo Channing in All About Eve. Her nighth Academy Award nomination for Best Actress would occur two years later for her performance in The Star (1952).

The 1950s and early 1960s brought Bette Davis roles in The Catered Affair (1956), The Virgin Queen (1955), and Pocketful of Miracles (1961).

In 1962, Bette Davis would receive her tenth Academy Award nomination for Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. This movie also marked the first time she was cast opposite arch enemy Joan Crawford.

In 1964, Bette Davis appeared in Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964).

Following Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte, Bette Davis devoted most of her time to made for television movies. In 1979 she won a Best Actress Emmy for Strangers: The Story of a Mother and Daughter (1979) (TV).

In 1974, Bette Davis was awarded the Cecil B. DeMille Award. She also has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: one for motion pictures and one for television.

Bette Davis died on October 6, 1989 of breast cancer.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Doris Day

Doris Day was born Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff on April 3, 1922 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her parents were Alma Sophia Welz and Wilhelm von Kappelhoff, a music teacher. She was named after silent movie actress Doris Kenyon, whom her mother admired.

Doris Day developed an early interest in dance, and in the mid-1930s formed a dance duo that performed locally in Cincinnati. A car accident on October 13, 1937 damaged her legs and curtailed her prospects as a professional dancer. While recovering, Doris Day took singing lessons, and at 17 she began performing locally.

While singing with the Les Brown band and briefly with Bob Hope, Doris Day toured extensively across the United States. Her popularity as a radio performer and vocalist, which included a second hit record My Dreams Are Getting Better All The Time, led directly to a career in films.

Doris Day made her film debut as Miss Georgia Garrett in Romance on the High Seas (1948).

The next twenty years she appeared in films such as Young Man with a Horn (1950),
Lullaby of Broadway (1951), Calamity Jane (1953), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956),
The Pajama Game (1957), Teacher's Pet (1958), Pillow Talk (1959), Please Don't Eat the Daisies (1960), That Touch of Mink (1962), Send Me No Flowers (1964), The Glass Bottom Boat (1966), and With Six You Get Eggroll (1968).

From 1968 to 1973, Doris Day starred in her own television show The Doris Day Show.

After The Doris Day Show, she retired from the entertainment industry and devoted her time to animal rights.

Doris Day's interest in animal welfare and related issues apparently dates to her teen years when she was recovering from an automobile accident and took her dog Tiny for a walk without a leash. Tiny ran into the street and was killed by a passing car. Then tt was during the location filming of The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), when she saw how camels, goats and other "animal extras" in a marketplace scene were being treated, that Doris Day began her lifelong commitment to preventing animal abuse.

Doris Day founded the Doris Day Animal League which was merged into The Humane Society of the United States in 2006. She also founded the annual Spay Day USA which is a one day spay/neuter event now managed by the Humane Society of the United States.

Doris Day was awarded The Presidential Medal of Freedom for improving conditions for animals throughout the US and beyond.

Doris Day was two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for Recording and one for Motion Pictures.

Doris Day was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
for: Pillow Talk (1959).

In 1989 she won the Cecil B. DeMille Award.

An accomplish singer and Grammy award winner, she has recorded over 650 songs. Doris Day is most known for her song "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)", which she introduced in the 1956 film, The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956).

Sentimental Journey and Secret Love were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Other notable songs of Doris Day include Love Somebody, It's Magic, A Guy is A Guy, Tea for Two, Young Man with a Horn, On Moonlight Bay, My Dreams Are Getting Better All The Time, Ain't We Got Fun, Autumn Leaves, and Imagination.

At the 50th Grammy Awards in 2008, she was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Joan Crawford

Joan Crawford starred in more than 100 films during her 45 year career. From silent films to box office queen to box office poision to Academy Award winner, Joan Crawford was of our most talented and top female actresses of the silver screen.

Joan Crawford was born Lucille Fay LeSueur on March 23, 1905 in San Antonio, Texas, the third child of Thomas E. LeSueur and Anna Bell Johnson.

As a child, she was nicknamed "Billie." She loved watching vaudeville acts and desired to become a professional dancer.

Under the name Lucille LeSueur, Joan Crawford began dancing in the choruses of traveling revues and was spotted dancing in Detroit by producer Jacob J. Shubert.

Jacob Shubert put her in the chorus line for his 1924 show Innocent Eyes at the Winter Garden Theatre on Broadway in New York City. She was next cast in the Broadway show The Passing Show of 1924.

In 1925, as Lucille LeSueur, her first film was Pretty Ladies in 1925, which starred ZaSu Pitts.

MGM publicity head Pete Smith recognized her ability but felt that her name sounded fake. Smith organized a contest in conjunction with a fan magazine named Movie Weekly to allow readers to select her new name. Joan Crawford was born.

Joan Crawford appeared in more than 30 silent films. Her first credited role was in Sally, Irene and Mary (1925) in which she played Irene, a struggling chorus girl. However, it was her role as Diana Medford in Our Dancing Daughters (1928) that catapulted her to stardom. The role established her as a symbol of modern 1920s-style femininity.

Joan Crawford also appeared in silent films such as The Merry Widow (1925), Old Clothes (1925), Tramp, Tramp, Tramp (1926), The Taxi Dancer (1927) and The Unknown (1927).

In 1929, Joan Crawford appeared in The Hollywood Revue of 1929 (1929) which was the first audible tap dance on the screen.

In 1929, Joan Crawford and Robert Montgomery starred in Untamed, her first talkie.

From 1929 to 1938, Joan Crawford was one of the leading female stars of film. In 1937 she was named First Queen of the Movies.

During this period her films included Possessed (1931), Grand Hotel (1932), Rain (1932), Dancing Lady (1932), Sadie McKee (1934), No More Ladies (1935), Love on the Run (1936), The Last of Mrs. Cheyney (1937), and The Bride Wore Red (1937).

In 1938 the Independent Film Journal named her and several other stars (like Katharine Hepburn) as "box office poison" based on their supposed lack of popular appeal.

Joan Crawford quickly overcame this label of "box office poison." In 1939, Joan Crawford made a comeback with her role as home-wrecker Crystal Allen in director George Cukor's comedy The Women. She also broke from the label by taking the unglamorous role of Julie in Strange Cargo (1940). Joan Crawford then starred as a facially disfigured blackmailer in A Woman's Face (1941). While the film was only a moderate box office success, her performance was hailed by many critics.

In 1945, Joan Crawford starred in Mildred Pierce, earning her first Academy Award Nomination for Best Actress and her one and only Academy Award.

After Mildred Pierce, Joan Crawford was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for Possessed (1947) and Sudden Fear (1952).

During the 1940s and 1950s, Joan Crawford appeared in films such as Humoresque (1946), Daisy Kenyon (1948), Flamingo Road (1949), Johnny Guitar (1952), Autumn Leaves (1956), and The Best of Everything (1959).

In 1962, Joan Crawford starred with long time enemy Bette Davis in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane. They would appear together in Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte in 1964.

In 1970, Crawford was presented with the Cecil B. DeMille Award.

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

During World War II, Joan Crawford was active on the home front. She founded a group called America's Women's Volunteer Services which took care of children whose mothers worked in the defense factories. She also raised money to train dogs for the armed forces. She donated her entire salary from They All Kissed the Bride (1942) to the Red Cross who found Carole Lombard's body (Joan took over Carole's role after she was killed). She raised money to buy food and cots for the children left homelesss by the air raids in England. She nitted socks and scarves for soliders.

Joan Crawford was so dedicated to her fans that she always personally responded to her fan mail by typing them responses on blue paper and autographing it. A great deal of her spare time and weekends were spent doing this.

Joan Crawford died on May 10, 1977.

In November 1978, a year and a half after Joan Crawford's death, Christina published an exposé titled Mommie Dearest which contained allegations that Crawford was emotionally and physically abusive to her and her brother Christopher.

Many of Joan Crawford's friends and co-workers, including Van Johnson, Ann Blyth, Marlene Dietrich, Barbara Stanwyck, George Cukor, Robert Young, Myrna Loy, Cesar Romero and many others (including Joan Crawford's other daughters, Cathy and Cindy) denounced the book, categorically denying any abuse. An Add taken out in Variety magazine by her friends stated it was "A Disgusting Portrait of one of Hollywood's Most Generous and Most Talented People."

Although most of Hollywood stated that Mommie Dearest was fiction and revenge by Christina Crawford (who had been cut from her mother's will), some of Hollywood stated there were many truths in the book. For example, Bette Davis and Betty Hutton.

The saddest part of Mommie Dearest, is Joan Crawford never had the opportunity to defend the book. We never hear Joan's side. However, her children Cathy and Cindy and now her grandson Casey speak in support of Joan Crawford.

Unfortunately a younger generation only knows Joan Crawford as Mommie Dearest. Whether Mommie Dearest is true, false or partly true, nothing will ever change the fact that Joan Crawford was one of our most talented actresses whose films are worth watching. She was an actress with spunk and drive who provided audiences with memorable performances for over 45 years.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Edgar Buchanan

Edgar Buchanan was one of the most popular character actors of the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

Edgar Buchanan was born William Edgar Buchanan on March 20, 1903 in Humansville, Missouri. At the age of 7, he moved with his family to Oregon.

Like his father, Edgar Buchanan became a successful dentist. While in dental school, Edgar Buchanan met Mildred Marguerite Spence. The two married on April 14, 1928.

Edgar Buchanan graduated from North Pacific Dental College. From 1929 to 1939 he practiced oral surgery in Eugene, Oregon with his wife. They moved his practice to Altadena, California in 1939.

Edgar Buchanan joined the Pasadena Playhouse as an actor. He appeared in his first film in 1939, My Son Is Guilty at the age of thirty-six, after which he turned his dentistry practice over to his wife.

Edgar Buchanan appeared in more than 100 movies working along side John Wayne, Jean Arthur, Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Alan Ladd, Myrna Loy, William Holden and Barbara Stanwyck.

He appeared in films such as Too Many Husbands (1940), The Sea Hawk (1940), Penny Serenade (1941), You Belong to Me (1941), The Talk of the Town (1942), The Sea of Grass (1947), Cheaper by the Dozen (1950), Shane (1953), Wichita (1955), Donovan's Reef (1963) and McLintock! (1963).

Edgar Buchanan most frequently appeared along side Glenn Ford. They made 12 films together: My Son Is Guilty (1939), Arizona (1940), Texas (1941), The Desperadoes (1943), Destroyer (1943), Framed (1947), The Man from Colorado (1948), Lust for Gold (1949), Human Desire (1954), The Sheepman (1958), It Started with a Kiss (1959)
Cimarron (1960) and The Rounders (1965).

From 1971 to 1972, Edgar Buchanan (J.J. Jackson) and Glenn Ford (Sam Cade) starred in the television show Cade's County.

From 1952 to 1954, Edgar Buchanan played Red Connors in the television show Hopalong Cassidy.

From 1956 to 1957, Edgar Buchanan was Judge Roy Bean in the television show Judge Roy Bean.

In 1963, Edgar Buchanan was cast in the role he is most famous for: Uncle Joe on the hit sitcom Petticoat Junction. He would play Uncle Joe in 222 episodes from 1963 to 1970. He would also play Uncle Joe in guest appearances on Green Acres and The Beverely Hillbillies.

Edgar Buchanan made his final appearance in the 1974 film Benji with his Petticoat Junction co-star Higgins. Higgins had a close rapport with the actor Edgar Buchanan. The two actors had an obvious fondness for one another, which is especially clear in Benji.

Edgar Buchanan died on April 4, 1979 due to complications of a stroke.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Claire Bloom

Claire Bloom was born Patricia Claire Blume on February 15, 1931 in London, England. She is the daughter of Elizabeth Grew and Edward Max Blume.

Claire Bloom began her training at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and the Central School of Speech and Drama.

Claire Bloom made her debut on BBC radio programmes. She made her stage debut in 1946, when she was 15, with the Oxford Repertory Theatre. Her London stage debut was in 1947 in the hit Christopher Fry play The Lady's Not For Burning.

Claire Bloom made her film debut in The Blind Goddess (1948).

In 1951, she was chosen by Charlie Chaplin to appear in his film Limelight. She received excellent reviews for her performance and this role made her a star.

Claire Bloom appeared in The Man Between (1953), Richard III (1955), Alexander the Great (1956), The Brothers Karamazov (1958), The Buccaneer (1958), The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (1962), The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965), and Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989).

In 1981, she provided the voice of Beauty in Beauty and the Beast.

Claire Bloom's Broadway debut was in King Richard II. She also appeared in Electra, A Doll's House, Hedda Gabler, and Romeo and Juliet. She was nominated for a Tony for Electra. She has won two Drama Desk Awards.

Claire Bloom received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or a Special for Brideshead Revisited (1981).

As with other maturing actress during the 1970s, Claire looked toward classy film roles in TV-movies like Backstairs at the White House (1979).

From 1993 to 1995, she played Orlena Grimaldi on the CBS soap opera As the World Turns.

Claire Bloom continues to appear in movies, television and on the stage. Her most recent role was on Doctor Who.

Friday, February 5, 2010

John Carradine

One of our most prolific character actor, during his 57 year career, John Carradine earned more than 300 film and television credits. It is dispute whether he or Donald Crisp appeared in more films than any other actor.

John Carradine was born Richmond Reed Carradine on February 5, 1906 in New York City, the son of of Genevieve Winifred, a surgeon, and William Reed Carradine, a correspondent for the Associated Press.

John Carradine made his film debut in 1930 in Bright Lights.

A favorite of director John Ford, John Carradine appeared in eleven of Ford's films: The Prisoner of Shark Island (1934), Mary of Scotland (1936), The Hurricane (1937) Submarine Patrol (1938), Four Men and a Prayer (1938), Stagecoach (1939), Drums Along the Mohawk (1939), The Grapes of Wrath (1940), The Last Hurrah (1958), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) and Cheyenne Autumn (1964).

A few of John Carradine's most notable film credits include The Invisible Man (1933),Captains Courageous (1937), Jesse James (1939), The Three Musketeers (1939), The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939), Five Came Back (1939), The Return of Frank James (1940), Man Hunt (1941), The Adventures of Mark Twain (1944), The Court Jester (1955), The Ten Commandments (1956), and Around the World in Eighty Days (1956).

Four of John Carradine's five sons became actors: David Carradine, Robert Carradine, Keith Carradine, and Bruce Carradine.

John Carradine appeared in several episodes of Kung Fu with son David Carradine.

In The Long Riders (1981) he appeared with sons Keith, Robert and David.

John Carradine was known for playing dark evil sinister characters. However, in a very different role, John Carradine won a Daytime Emmy in 1985 for Outstanding Performer in a Children's Program for "Young People's Specials" for the episode "Umbrella Jack".

John Carradine also had a significant Broadway career. He made his Broadway debut in The Duchess of Malfi. His Broadway credits include Galileo, Volpone, Frankenstein, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Time of Your Life,
The Madwoman of Chaillot, The Leading Lady, and The Cup of Trembling.

For his contribution to the motion picture industry, John Carradine has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In 2003, he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

On November 27, 1988, John Carradine died of natural causes in Milan, Italy at age 82. His final words were: "Milan: What a beautiful place to die".