Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Baby Peggy

Before there was Shirley Temple, there was Baby Peggy. Debuting at the age of 3 and appearing in more than 150 shorts and films during the silent era.

Baby Peggy was born Peggy-Jean Montgomery on October 29, 1918 in Merced California to Marian and Jack Montgomery.

Her father, Jack Montgomery was a cowboy for several years all over the western states. He ended up in the movies as a stuntman and extra driving stagecoaches. He also served as Tom Mix's stunt double.

Baby Peggy was discovered while visiting the Century Studios lot on Sunset Boulevard with her mother when she was a mere 19 months old. Impressed by Peggy's well-behaved demeanor and willingness to follow directions, director Fred Fishbach hired her to appear in a series of short films with Century's canine star, Brownie the Wonder Dog.

Baby Peggy made her debut in Her Circus Man (1921) at the age of 3.

She went on to appear in nearly 150 shorts between 1920 and 1923 and nine full feature films.

Baby Peggy appeared in such shorts as On With The Show (1921), Playmates (1921), Brownie's Baby Doll (1921), Get Rich Quick Peggy (1921), Circus Clowns (1922), The Kid Reporter (1923), Little Red Riding Hood (1922), Peggy Behave (1922), The Darling of New York (1923), Hansel and Gretel (1923) and Jack and The Beanstalk (1924).

The vast majority of Baby Peggy's films have not survived and records related to their production have been lost.

A handful of Baby Peggy shorts, including Playmates (1921), Miles of Smiles (1923), and Sweetie (1923) have been discovered and preserved in film archives around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Her first full length film was Penrod (1922).

Her full length films The Family Secret, April Fool (1926), Capatin January (1924) and Helen's Babies (1924) have also survived and have been restored.

Many of Baby Peggy's popular comedies were parodies of movies that grown-up stars had made, and she delightfully imitated such legends as Rudolph Valentino, Mary Pickford, Mae Murray and Pola Negri.

Baby Peggy's film career abruptly ended in 1925 when her father had a falling out with Sol Lesser over her salary and cancelled her contract. From 1925 to 1929, Peggy enjoyed a successful career as a vaudeville performer.

Baby Peggy reportedly made at least two million dollars in her early career but her parents' bad management and free spending left her in poverty. This resulted in several nervous breakdowns in young adulthood.

At the age of seventeen, trying to escape the film industry and her parents' plans for her life, Baby Peggy ran away from home and rented an apartment with her sister Louise. She married actor Gordon Ayres in 1938, but the union was not a happy one. She divorced Ayres in 1948 and married Bob Cary (sometimes listed as Bob Carey) in 1954. They are still married today.

She adopted the name Diana Serra Cary and is now a publisher, historian and author. Her books included "What Ever Happened to Baby Peggy: The Autobiography of Hollywood's Pioneer Child Star" and "Jackie Coogan: The World's Boy King: A Biography of Hollywood's Legendary Child Star."

She has also advocated reforms in child performer protection laws, most recently as a member of the organization A Minor Consideration. As a toddler she worked eight hours a day, six days a week. She was generally required to perform her own stunts, which included being held underwater in the ocean until she fainted in Sea Shores Shapes (1921) and escaping alone from a burning room in The Darling of New York (1923).

Jean Arthur

Jean Arthur was born Gladys Georgianna Greene on October 17, 1900 to Johanna Augusta Nelson and Hubert Sidney Greene.

During World War I, Jean Arthur worked as a stenographer on Bond Street in lower Manhatten.

Discovered by Fox Film Studios while she was doing commercial modeling in New York City in the early 1920s, Jean Arthur debuted in the silent film Cameo Kirby (1923) directed by John Ford.

Between 1923 and 1929 she would appear in more than 40 silent films including Spring Fever (1923), The Drug Store Cowboy (1925), The Mad Racer (1926), Lightening Bill (1926), and The Broken Gate (1927).

In 1929, she would appear in her first talkie The Canary Murder Case starring William Powell as Philo Vance.

From 1929 to 1935, she would appear in such films as The Greene Murder Case (1929), The Lawyer's Secret (1931), The Defense Rests (1934), The Whole Towns Talking (1935) and The Public Menance (1935).

Jean Arthur's big break came in 1936 when she was cast in Frank Capra's Mr. Deeds Goes to Town starring Gary Cooper. Jean was now a household name.

Jean Arthur would go on to star in The Ex Mrs. Bradford (1936), You Can't Take it With You (1938), Only Angels Have Wings (1939), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), Arizona (1940), The Devil and Miss Jones (1941), The Talk of the Town (1942), The More the Merrier (1943) and The Impatient Years (1944).

Jean quit movies at the height of her career in 1944, she would appear in only two more films for Oscar winning directors Billy Wilder in A Foreign Affair (1948) and George Stevens in Shane (1953).

Jean also had a successful career on Broadway starring in Peter Pan, Foreign Affairs, The Curtain Rises, The Man Who Reclaimed His Head, The Bridge of Torozko, Twenty Five Dollars an Hour, and Count Me In.

In 1954, she was to star as Joan or Arc in George Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan but left the play after a nervous breakdown and battles with director Harold Clurman.

In 1966, the extremely reclusive Arthur tentatively returned to show business, playing Patricia Marshall, an attorney in her own television sitcom, The Jean Arthur Show. However, the show was cancelled mid season after only twelve episodes.

In 1967, she was coaxed back to Broadway to appear as a midwestern spinster who falls in with a group of hippies in the play The Freaking Out of Stephanie Blake.

Now officially retired from acting, Jean Arthur taught drama first at Vassar College and then the North Carolina School of the Arts. Her students at Vassar included the young Meryl Streep.

While living in North Carolina she made front page news by being arrested and jailed for trespassing on a neighbor's property to console a dog she felt was being mistreated. An animal lover her entire life, Jean Arthur said she trusted them more than people.

During her 30 year film career she would appear in more than 90 movies.

Jean Arthur was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for The More The Merrier (1943) and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for motion pictures.

Jean Arthur was married twice and had no children. Her first marriage to Julian Anker in 1928 was annulled after one day. She next married producer Frank Ross Jr. in 1932 and they divorced in 1949.

Jean Arthur died from heart failure at the age of 90 on June 19, 1991.

Montgomery Clift

Montgomery Clift was born October 17, 1920 in Omaha, Nebraska. The son of William Brooks Clift, a vice-president of Omaha National Bank, and Ethel Fogg. Montgomery had a fraternal twin sister, Roberta (aka Ethel), and a brother, William Brooks Jr.

Montgomery Clift and his siblings were raised as if they were aristocrats. Home-schooled by their mother as well as by private tutors in the United States and Europe, they did not attend a regular school until they were in their teens. Montgomery was educated in French, German, and Italian.

Montgomery Clift began his acting career on Broadway, appearing in Fly Away Home at the age of 13. Montgomery achieved success on the Broadway stage and during the next 10 years appeared in such productions as Jubilee, Dame Nature, There Shall Be No Night, Our Town, and You Touched Me.

In 1947, Montgomery Clift moved to Hollywood and made his film debut in Red River (1948) opposite John Wayne.

From 1947 to 1956, Montgomery Clift starred in such classics as The Search (1948), A Place in the Sun (1951), I Confess (1951), and From Here to Eternity (1953). During this period, he was receiving so many offers of roles that friends had to squeeze past stacks of them in order to walk up the stairs. He turned down roles in Sunset Boulevard, High Noon, and East of Eden.

Montgomery Clift would earn Academy Award nominations for Best Actor for The Search (1948), A Place in the Sun (1951), and From Here to Eternity.

On May 12, 1956. Montgomery's life would take a tragic turn. While filming Raintree Country, he was leaving a party thrown by co-star and close friend Elizabeth Taylor and crashed his car into a telephone pole. Actor and friend Kevin McCarthy witnessed the accident and alerted Taylor. Elizabeth rushed to Clift's side and manually pulled his tongue out of his throat when he began to choke and save his life. Montgomery suffered a broken jaw, broken nose, fractured sinus and several facial lacerations which required plastic surgery.

After a long recovery, he returned to the set to finish the film. However, the pain of the accident led him to rely on alcohol and pills and Clift's health and looks deteriorated considerably.

Montgomery Clift's post-accident career has been referred to as the "longest suicide in Hollywood history" because of his alleged substance abuse. However, Clift continued to work over the next 10 years. His next three films were Lonelyhearts (1958), The Young Lions (1958) and Suddenly Last Summer (1959).

In 1961, he costarred in John Huston's The Misfits which turned out to be Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable's final film. Marilyn Monroe, who was also having emotional problems at the time, once said that Montgomery is "The only person I know who is in worse shape than I am."

In 1962, Montgomery Clift would play Rudolph Petersen in Judgement at Nurmberg and receive his fourth Academy Award nomination.

On July 22, 1966, Montgomery Clift spent most of the day in his bedroom at his New York City townhouse. Ironically, The Misfits was on television that night and Montgomery's final words to anyone were "absolutely not" when asked if he wished to watch the movie. The next morning, Montgomery Clift was found deceased, the official cause of death was listed as heart attack brought on by occlusive coronary artery disease. Montgomery Clift was 45 years old.

June Allyson

June Allyson was born Eleanor Geisman on October 7, 1917 in The Bronx, New York. Her parents were Clara Provost and Robert Geisman.

In 1925, when she was eight years old, a dead tree branch fell on her while she was bicycling. Several bones were broken, and doctors said she would never walk again. She underwent months of swimming exercises, however, and ultimately regained her ability to walk. After graduating from a wheelchair to crutches to braces, she was inspired to dance by obsessively watching Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire movies.

In 1938, fully recovered, she tried out for a chorus job in the Broadway show Sing Out The News. The choreographer gave her a job and a new name: Allyson, a family name, and June, for the month.

Like other musical performers in New York, the 5'1" (1.55 m) June Allyson found work in movie short subjects that were filmed there. She starred in Swing For The Prisoner of Swing (1938), The Knight is Young (1938), and All Girl Revue (1940).

June Allyson would make her official movie debut in Best Foot Forward (1943).

Some of her most notable movies include Thousands Cheer (1943), The Three Musketeers (1948), Little Women (1949), The Stratton Story (1949), Too Young to Kiss (1951), The Glen Miller Story (1953), Executive Suite (1954), Strategic Air Command (1955), The McConnell Story (1955), and The Opposite Sex (1956).

June won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress for To Young to Kiss (1951).

She played James Stewart's wife in three films: The Stratton Story, The Glen Miller Story and Strategic Air Command.

In 1950, June Allyson had been signed to appear opposite her idol Fred Astaire in Royal Wedding, but had to leave the production due to pregnancy.

Like many movie stars of the 1940s and 1950s, June frequently appeared in television shows. Her television credits include Burke's Law, Airwolf, Murder She Wrote, Hart to Hart, The Love Boat, Simon & Simon, and Vega$. She also did Depends commercials throughout the 1990s.

From 1959 to 1961 she hosted and occassionally starred in her own series, The DuPont Show with June Allyson.

On August 14, 1945, June Allyson married actor Dick Powell and would have two children. They remained married until his death on January 2, 1963.

June next married Alfred Glenn Maxwell on October 13, 1963 and they would divorce in 1965, to remarry in 1966 and divorce again in 1970.

June Allyson married David Ashrow on October 30, 1976 and they would be married 29 years until her death.

June Allyson died on July 8, 2006 from pulmonary respiratory failure and acute bronchitis at the age of 88.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mary Badham

Mary Badham is one of our most loved child actors, capturing our hearts as Scout Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962).

Mary Badham was born on October 7, 1952 in Birmingham, Alabama. Her father was was a retired army officer who, by the time of her birth, had become president of Bessemer Steel Co. Her English-born mother had been an actress before her marriage.

She is also the younger sister (by 14 years) of director John Badham (Saturday Night Fever, 1977 & Wargames, 1983).

Mary had no prior acting experience when she was cast to play Scout Finch in 1962's To Kill a Mockingbird. She was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Supporting Actress category but lost to child actress Patty Duke (The Miracle Worker, 1962).

Mary remained close to fellow To Kill a Mocking Bird co-stars Brock Peters and Gregory Peck, until their deaths in 2003 and 2005. She still keeps in touch with Phillip Alford, who played her brother in the movie (who is now a successful businessman and consultant in Birmingham, Alabama).

Mary is currently married to a school teacher with two children. She is an art restorer and a college testing coordinator. She also travels around the world recalling her wonderful experiences making To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) while expounding on the book's messages of tolerance and compassion.

Mary retired from acting in 1966 at the age of 14.

She came out of retirement in 2005 to play Mrs. Nutbush (in a cameo appearance) in Our Very Own, starring Keith Carradine.

Attended the 2006 "Twilight Zone" Convention at the Hilton Hasbrouck Heights, Hasbrouck Heights, NJ, August 12-13, 2006.

Although she only appeared in two movies (To Kill a Mockingbird & This Property is Condemned, 1966) and appeared in two television shows (The Twilight Zone & Dr. Kildare) she is one of the most loved child actors of all time.

Peter Finch

Peter Finch will best be remembered for his role as Howard Beale and uttering the words "'I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!" in the 1976 movie Network.

Peter Finch was born Frederick George Peter Ingle-Finch on September 28, 1912 in London, England to George Ingle-Finch, an Australian born mountaineer and Alicia Ingle-Finch. Later it was learned that Peter's biological father was Wentworth Edward Dallas "Jock" Campbell, a Scottish Military officer. The adultery was the cause of his parent's divorce. George gained custody of Peter and he was raised by his grandmother Laura Finch. Peter was raised in France, India and Australia. Peter Finch was 45 years old before met his biological father.

Peter Finch made his film debut in Dad and Dave Come to Town (1938). He made his stage debut in 1939 in Australia and was spotted by Laurence Olivier and Olivier persuaded Finch to return to Britain to perform classic roles on the stage. Peter Finch spent the next 25 years alternating his time between the stage and movies.

Peter Finch's movies include The Power and the Glory (1941), A Son is Born (1946), The Miniver Story (1950), The Story of Gilbert and Sullivan (1953), The Dark Avenger (1955), Robbery Under Arms (1957), The Nun's Story (1959), The Sins of Rachel Cade (1961), The Flight of the Phoenix (1965), The Greatest Mother of Them All (1969), Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971), Lost Horizon (1973) and Network (1976).

Peter Finch received both a Golden Globe and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for playing a homosexual Jewish doctor in Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971).

Peter Finch won both the Golden Globe and the Academy Award for Best Actor for the mad prophet of the airwaves Harold Beale in Network (1976).

Peter Finch died January 14, 1977, and received the Oscar posthumously. He and Heath Ledger are the only two people to receive an Academy Award in an acting category, posthumously.

Peter Finch's final appearance was on January 13, 1977, the day before his death. He appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson entertaining the audience and Carson with tales of his youth and his psychic grandmother.

Peter Finch died January 14, 1977 from a heart attack.

Lauren Bacall

Lauren Bacall was born Betty Joan Perske on September 16, 1924 in New York, New York. The daughter of middle class parents, her father worked as a salesman and her mother as a secretary.

When Lauren was young, she aspired to be a dancer but later became interest in acting. She studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York.

Lauren Bacall began her career as a model and appeared on the cover of Harper's Bazaar. The wife of director Howard Hawks spotted the picture and arranged with her husband to have Lauren take a screen test.

Lauren was then cast as Marie Browning in Hawk's To Have and Have Not (1944) opposite Humphrey Bogart. This film not only set the stage for Bacall's career but also was the beginning of one of Hollywood's greatest love stories.

Humphery Bogart and Lauren Bacall were married on May 21, 1945 and remained married until his death in 1957.

During the 1940s, Lauren Bacall appeared in such classics as The Confidential Agent (1945), The Big Sleep (1946), Dark Passage (1947), and Key Largo (1948). She starred opposite Humphrey Bogart in all but The Confidential Agent in which she starred opposite Charles Boyer.

The 1950s brought Lauren Bacall roles in such films Young Man With A Horn (1950), How To Marry A Millionaire (1953), Designing Women (1957), and The Gift of Love (1958).

On January 14, 1957, Humphrey Bogart died of throat cancer. A grief stricked Bacall moved back to New York City and appeared in several Broadway plays.

In 1964, she returned to the silver screen to appear in Shock Treatment and Sex and The Single Girl. During the 1960s she also appeared in Harper (1966), opposite Paul Newman and Julie Harris.

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Lauren alternated her time between the stage and television appearances. She appeared in such television classics as Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre and Applause (1973). Her role in television's Applause would earn her an emmy nomination for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role.

She would win the Tony Award for the Broadway production of Applause.

In 1974, Lauren returned once again to the silver screen in Murder on the Orient Express. Two years later she co-starred opposite John Wayne in The Shootist (1976).

During the 1980s, she would earn her second emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for The Rockford Files. In 1988, she would earn her third emmy nomination for Outstanding Informational Special for Bacall on Bogart.

Her film credits of the 1980s include The Fan (1981), Mr. North (1988) and Tree of Hands (1989).

In 1981, she would earn her second Tony Award for the Broadway production of Woman of the Year.

During the 1990s, Lauren Bacall would receive her one and only Academy Award nomination. This was for her role in The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996). Although she did not win the Oscar, she did win the Golden Globe and the Screen Actors Guild award for this performance.

Lauren's film credits of the 1990s include such films as Misery (1990), The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996), My Fellow Americans (1996), and Presence of Mind (1999).

Lauren Bacall is still active in the entertainment industry. She has appeared in such recent ventures as Birth (2004), Manderlay (2005), These Foolish Things (2006) and Eve (2008).

In 2010, three more productions featuring Lauren Bacall are scheduled to be released. She will provide the voice of Porsche in Firedog, play May in Wild Blue Yonder, and provide the voice of The Grand Witch in Scooby Doo and the Globin King.

Jackie Cooper

Jackie Cooper was one of the most talented child actors of the silver screen and managed the transistion from child actor to a successful adult career as a television director, producer and executive.

Jackie Cooper was born John Cooper Jr. in Los Angeles, California on September 15, 1922. His father left the family when Jackie was two years old. His mother, Mabel Leonard Bigelow was a stage pianist and former child actress. Cooper's maternal uncle, Jack Leonard, was a screenwriter, and his maternal aunt, Julie Leonard, was an actress married to director Norman Taurog. Cooper's stepfather was C. J. Bigelow, a studio production manager.

Born into a show business family, it was only natural that Cooper would make his film debut at the age of nine in the short Boxing Gloves (1929), one of the Our Gang comedies.

Jackie Cooper would go on to appear in 12 Our Gang comedies from 1929 to 1931 before the role that would catapult young Cooper into stardom.

In 1931, Jackie Cooper would play Skippy Skinner in the movie Skippy. This role would earn him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role. At the age of nine, he became the youngest actor ever to receive a Best Actor nomination, a record he still holds today.

Jackie Cooper would go on to appear in such films as The Champ (1931), The Bowery (1933), The Choices of Andy Purcell (1933), Treasure Island (1934), O'Shaughnessy's Boy (1935), Boy of the Streets (1937), Streets of New York (1939), Life with Henry (1941), and Kilroy was Here (1947).

With the invention of television, Jackie Cooper appeared in such classics as Your Show of Shows, Kraft Television Theatre, General Electric Theater, Robert Montgomery Presents, Hennesey, Dick Powell Presents, Police Story, Ironside, Kojak, Columbo, The Rockford Files, and Murder She Wrote.

Jackie Cooper's last appearance as an actor was as J. Nash Hawkins in the television series For Jenny with Love (1989).

Jackie Cooper also appeared in Superman I, Superman II, Superman III and Superman IV.

As an adult, Cooper turned his attention towards directing and producing.

He directed such shows as Cagney & Lacey, Jake and The Fatman, Magnum P.I., The Rockford Files and Mary Tyler Moore.

Jackie Cooper would earn two emmy awards for directing, one for M*A*S*H and one for The White Shadow.

His last work as a director was in 1989 directing two episodes of Simon & Simon.

During World War II, Jackie Cooper served as a Captain in the US Navy.

From 1964-1969, Jackie Cooper was vice president of program development at Columbia Pictures Screen Gems television division. He was responsbile for packaging series such as Bewitched and selling them to the networks.

In 1981 wrote an autobiographical account of his traumatic years as a child star "Please Don't Shoot My Dog." The title based on his Uncle Norman Taurog, the director, threatened to shoot his dog to make him do the crying scene on the set of Skippy (1931).

Jackie Cooper is now retired and spends his time with his wife of fifty-four years, Barbara.

Sean Connery

Sean Connery was born Thomas Sean Connery on August 25, 1930 in Edinburgh, Scotland. His mother, Euphamia C. Maclean, was a cleaning lady, and his father, Joseph Connery, was a factory worker and truck driver.

Before going into acting, Sean Connery had many different jobs, for example he was a milkman, laborer, coffin polisher, and bodybuilder. He was also a nude model for Edinburgh art students. He joined the Royal Navy, but was discharged because of medical problems. In 1953, he entered the Mr. Universe contest, finishing third in the tall man's division. He also trained as a dancer for 11 years under Swedish dancer Yat Malmgren.

At the age of 23, he had a choice between becoming a professional footballer or an actor, and even though he showed much promise as an athlete, he chose acting and said later said it was one of his more intelligent moves.

Sean Connery's first film appearnce was an uncredited role in Lilacs In the Spring (aka Let's Make Up) in 1954. For the next several years he would have bit parts in both movies and televison before getting his big break in 1962.

In the early 1960's, Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, wanted Cary Grant for the title role. However, Cary Grant turned the role down. Fleming did not like the idea of Sean Connery as James Bond, feeling he was too unrefined. Despite Fleming's concerns he went with Connery and later said Connery was ideally cast in the role.

Sean Connery found fame and fortune as the suave, sophisticated British agent, James Bond 007. His first James Bond role was in Dr. No (1962). He would play James Bond in six more films: From Russia With Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), You Only Live Twice (1967) and Diamonds are Forever (1971). He would reprise his role in 1983 in Never Say Never Again.

Sean Connery said his favorite Bond film was From Russia With Love (1963).

In addition to the James Bond films, Sean Connery also starred in such films as Marnie (1964), The Longest Day (1962), Murder on The Orient Express (1974), The Man Who Would Be King (1975), The Untouchables (1987), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), The Hunt For Red October (1990), A Bridge to Far (1977) and the Great Train Robbery (1979).

Sean Connery turned down the title role in the original The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), which he later admitted was a huge mistake on his part. (the role went to Steve McQueen instead).

He also turned down the role of Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings series because he didn't want to film down in New Zealand for 18 months, and could not understand the novels.

Sean Connery earned an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor for playing Chicago cop, Jimmy Malone in The Untouchables (1987).

He was voted Sexiest Man of the Century in 1999 by People Magazine.

In 1999, he received the award for lifetime achievement award at the Kennedy Center Honors.

He was awarded Knighthood of the British Empire in the 2000 Queen's Millennium Honors List for his services to Film Drama. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II on July 5, 2000.

In 2006, he received the American Film Institute's Lifetime Achievement Award.

Sean Connery married actress Diane Cilento in 1962 and they had one son, Jason Connery. The marriage ended in divorce in 1973. In 1975, he married his current spouse Micheline Roquebrune. He became a grandfather in 1997.

Sean Connery is one of the most talented actors of the past 50 years and left us with lines as "Bond, James Bond" and "shaken, not stirred."

Rhonda Fleming

She was born Marilyn Louis on August 10, 1923 in Hollywood, California.

She was nicknamed the "Queen of Technicolor" because her fair complexion and flaming red hair photographed exceptionally well in Technicolor.

Rhonda made her first film appearance as an uncredited dance hall girl in 1943 in the film In Old Oklahoma.

She has appeared in over 40 films, including Spellbound (1945), Out of the Past (1947), Spiral Staircase (1946), A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1949), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), While the City Sleeps (1956) and The Big Circus (1959). Her most recent film was Waiting for the Wind in 1990.

During the 1950s and into the '60s, Fleming frequently appeared on television with guest-starring roles on The Red Skelton Show, The Investigators, The Dick Powell Show, Wagon Train, The Virginian, Police Woman, McMillan and Wife and the Love Boat.

In retirement, Fleming has worked for several charities, especially in the field of cancer care, and hsd served on the committees of many related organizations.

Joan Fontaine

Joan Fontaine was born Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland on October 22, 1917 in Tokyo, Japan.

The youngest daughter of Walter Augustus de Havilland and Lilian Augusta Ruse. Her father was a British patent attorney with a practice in Japan. Her mother was a British stage actress. She is the younger sister of actress Olivia de Havilland from who she has been estranged for decades.

Joan was a sickly child and upon the advise of a physician, Joan's mother moved her and her sister to the United States where they settled in California. Joan's health improved dramatically.

Joan is an extremely intelligent woman, scoring a 160 on an intelligence test when she was three.

Joan Fontaine made her stage debut in the West Coast production in Call it a Day in 1935 and soon signed an RKO contract.

Her film debut was a small role in No More Ladies (1935) starring Joan Crawford and Robert Montgomery.

From 1935 to 1940, Joan appeared in such films as A Million to One (1937), You Can't Beat Love (1937), Blond Cheat (1938), Gunga Din (1939), and The Women (1939).

One night at a dinner party she was seated next to producer David O. Selznick. She and Selznick began discussing the Daphne du Maurier novel Rebecca and Selznick asked her to adution for the part of the unnamed heronie. She won the part.

In 1940, Rebecca was released and marked Hitchcock's directorial debut in America. The film was a success and Joan was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress.

A year later she would land the role of Lina in Hitchcock's Suspicion (1941) and this time she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. She is th eonly actress to ever win an Academy Award for a performance in a film directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

During the 1940s, Joan starred in such films as The Constant Nymph (1943), Jane Eyre (1944), The Affairs of Susan (1945), Letter From an Unknown Woman (1948), and You Gotta Stay Happy (1948).

She would be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for The Constant Nymph (1943).

During the 1950s and 1960s, Joan starred in Born to Be Bad (1950), Ivanhoe (1952), The Bigamist (1952), Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956), Island in the Sun (1957), A Certain Smile (1958), Voyage to the Bottom of The Sea (1961), and Tender is the Night (1962).

During the 1950's, Joan Fontaine would make her Broadway debut in Tea and Sympathy. Later she would also appear in Forty Carrots during the 1970s.

Joan Fontaine appeared on numerous television shows during the 1950s and 1960s including Letter to Loretta, On Trial (aka The Joseph Cotton Show), General Electric Theater, Wagon Train, and The Alfred Hitchock Hour.

During the 1970s, Joan would appear in two television shows: The Users and Cannon and spent the rest of the decade in theater and stage work.

During the 1980s, Joan Fontaine returned to television appearing in Hotel, The Love Boat, the tv mini series Crossings and on Ryans Hope (for which she was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award).

Joan Fontaine's final appearance was in the television special Good King Wenceslas (1994).

Joan Fontaine and her sister Olivia de Havilland where the first sisters to win Academy Awards and the first ones to be nominated in the same year. In 1941, Joan won the Academy Award for Suspicion beating her sister Olivia for Hold Back the Dawn.

During World War II, Joan worked as a nurses aide and made numerous appearances at the Hollywood Canteen in support of our troops.

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

Joan Fontaine is a licensed pilot, champion balloonist, expert rider, prize-winning tuna fisherman, a hole-in-one golfer, Cordon Bleu chef and licensed interior decorator.

Joan now resides in Carmel, California, in relative seclusion, spending her time in her gardens, and with her dogs.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Claudette Colbert

Claudette Colbert was born Emilie Claudette Chauchoin on September 16, 1903 in Saint-Mande, France.

The daughter of Georges Claude, a banker, and Jeanee Loew Chauchoin, a pastry cook, her family moved to the United States when she was three years old. She was raised in New York City.

Claudette Colbert began her career on Broadway. She took the name of Claudette Colbert for her broadway debut in "The Wild Westcotts" (1923).

From 1925 to 1929, she played mainly ingenue roles on Broadway. She f
ought against being typecast and received critical acclaim in the Broadway production of The Barker (1927) where she played a carnival snake charmer.

She began studying at the Art Students League, however, the Great Depression shut down most of the theaters. Claudette decided to make a go of it in films.

Her first film was For the Love of Mike (1927) directed by Frank Capra, which was a box office disaster.

Claudette Colbert's next film was The Lady Lies (1929) which was a success. Later that year she had another hit with The Hole in the Wall (1929).

In 1930, she starred opposite Fredric March in Manslaughter (1930). She would make five more movies with Fredric March: Honor Among Lovers (1931), Make Me A Star (1932), The Sign of the Cross (1932), Tonight is Ours (1933), and Land of Liberty (1929).

In 1935 she would be paired with her number on leading man, Fred MacMurray in The Gilded Lily (1935). They would go on to make six more movies together: The Bride Comes Home (1935), Maid of Salem (1937), No Time For Love (1943), Pracitally Yours (1944), The Egg and I (1947), and Family Honeymoon (1949).

However, it was the 1934 Frank Capra film, It Happened One Night that ensured she would be forever immortalized. Paired with Clark Gable, the mad cap comedy swept the Academy Awards with Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Picture, and Best Director wins for herself, Frank Capra and Clark Gable.

Her other notable films include The Phantom President (1932) with Jimmy Durante, Cleopatra (1934), Inimitation of Life (1934), Private Worlds (1935) with Charles Boyer, Drums Along the Mohawk (1939) with Henry Fonda, It's a Wonderful World (1939) with James Stewart, The Palm Beach Story (1942) with Joel McCrea, and Since You Went Away (1944) with Joseph Cotton.

She received three Academy Award nominations for Best Actress during her career. The first being for It Happened One Night (1934) for which she won her only Academy Award. She was also nominated for Since You Went Away (1944) and Private Worlds (1935).

During the 1950s, Claudette Colbert turned to televsion roles. Appearing in such classics as General Electric Theater and Robert Montgomery Presents.

Claudette Colbert's final silver screen performance was in 1961 in the movie Parrish starring Troy Donahue and Karl Malden.

During her retirement, Claudette Colbert divided her time between her apartment in Manhattan and her summer home in Barbados. After suffering a series of strokes, she passed away on July 30, 1996 at the age of 92.

She would retire from acting until 1978 when she would make one last performance in television's The Two Mrs. Grenvilles. This role earned her an Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Special and won her the Golden Globe award for this performance.

In 1928, she married actor Norman Foster, although they never lived together and they divorced after seven years. She next married surgeon Dr. Joel Pressman and they remained married until his death in 1968.

Irene Dunne

Irene Dunne was born Irene Marie Dunn on December 20, 1898 in Louisville, Kentucky. She was the daughter of Joseph Dunne, a steamship inspector, and Adelaide Henry, a musician.

Irene took an early interest in acting appearing at the age of five in a local production of A Midsummer Night's Dream in Louisville, Kentucky.

Irene began her career following in her mothers footsteps in music. In 1917 she studied at a music conservatory in Indianapolis. She also accepted a teaching post as a music and art instructor in East Chicago, Indiana. However, she never made it to the school. While on her way to East Chicago, she saw a newspaper ad in the Indianapolis Star and News for an annual scholarship contest run by the Chicago Music College. Irene won the contest, which enabled her to study there for a year.

She next headed for New York City, at that time it was the entertainment capital of the world. She auditioned at the Metropolitan Opera Company. However, she was rejected for being too young and inexperienced.

Irene next turned her attention to musical theater and Broadway, making her Broadway debut in 1922 in The Clinging Vine.

Her big break in musical theater came by chance. She had a chance meeting with Florenz Ziegfeld in an elevator the day after she returned from her honeymoon. She was cast as Magnolia Hawks in Show Boat.

Her performance in Show Boat caught the attention of Hollywood. In 1930 she signed with RKO Pictures. Her first film was Leathernecking (1930). However, her big Hollywood break came the next year when she appeared in Cimarron (1931) receiving her first Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.

In 1936, she was cast as Magnolia in the movie Show Boat. Due to her comic skits in Show Boat, she was persuaded to star in her first comedy, Theodora Goes Wild (1936), this performance earned her second Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.

Irene would earn three more Academy Award nominations for her performances in The Awful Truth (1937), Love Affair (1939) and I Remember Mama (1948).

Some of Irene's other most notable movies include My Favorite Wife (1940), Penny Serenade (1941), A Guy Named Joe (1943), Anna and the King of Siam (1946), and Life with Father (1947).

Of all of Irene's films her only color production was Life with Father (1947).

Her last film appearance was in It Grows on Trees (1952).

After retiring from the silver screen, Irene Dunne devoted her time to civic, philanthropic, and Republican political causes.

In 1957 she was appointed as a special US delegate to the United Nations during the 12th General Assembly by President Eisenhower.

In 1965 she was the first woman elected to Technicolor's board of directors.

Irene Dunne once said that her favorite film was Love Affair (1939) with Charles Boyer.

Irene was married only once to a dentist from New York named Francis Dennis Griffin. She remained with Dr. Griffin until his death in 1965. They have one adopted daughter together.

Nominated five times for an Academy Award and having never received a much deserved Honorary Award from the Acadamy, she did receive a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1985 at the Kennedy Center Honors for her three decade career covering musical theater, Broadway, radio, television and the silver screen.

Irene Dunne passed away on September 4, 1990 of heart failure