Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Donald Pleasance

Donald Pleasance was born on October 3, 1919 in Nottinghamshire, England, the son of Alice Armitage and Thomas Stanley Pleasance, a stationmaster.

Donald Pleasance began his acting career on the London Stage in 1939, in a production of Wuthering Heights.

However, his acting career was interrupted by World War II. He joined the Royal Air Force and served with the 166 Squadron, RAF Bomber Command. His Avro Lancaster was shot down on August 31, 1944 during a raid on Agenville. He was taken prisoner of war and placed in a German prisoner-of-war camp, Stalag Luft I near the Baltic Sea. While a prisoner of war, he organized a theatre company in order to pass the time. His productions included The Petrified Forest.

In the movie The Great Escape (1963), he played prisoner of war Flight Lt. Colin Blythe "The Forger." He was the only star of The Great Escape to actually have been a World War II prisoner of war. Hannes Messemer who played Col. Lugo, the camp commander, was a German soldier in WWII and was captured by the American troops and held in a POW camp until the end of the war.

When he kindly offered advice to director John Sturges, he was politely asked to keep his "opinions" to himself. Later, when another star from the film informed Sturges that Pleasence had actually been an RAF officer in a World War II German POW camp, Sturges requested Pleasance's technical advice and input on historical accuracy from that point forward.

After World War II, Donald Pleasance returned to acting.

He portrayed Ernst Stavor Blofeld in James Bond's You Only Live Twice (1967).

He would also play Dr. Sam Loomis in six of the Halloween movies.

Donald Pleasance other notable movie roles include A Tale of Two Cities (1958), Killers of Kilimanjaro (1959), Suspect (1960), The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), Arthur, Arthur (1969), Escape to Witch Mountain (1975), Oh, God (1977), Dracula (1979) and Escape from New York (1981).

Donald Pleasance also had a successful career on Broadway appearing in Wise Child, The Man in a Glass Booth, Poor Bitos, The Caretaker, Antony and Cleopatra, and Caesar and Cleopatra.

He received four Tony award nominations for Wise Child, The Man in the Glass Booth, Poor Bitos and The Caretaker.

Donald Pleasance also appeared frequently on televison. His television appearances include Mrs. Columbo, Centennail, Columbo, Hawaii Five 0, The Fugitive and The Defenders.

Donald Pleasance in his 42 year career appeared in more than 200 movies and televison shows.

Donald Pleasance died on February 2, 1995 from complications after a heart valve replacement.

Our Gang "Little Rascals"

Our Gang was a series of American comdey short films about a group of poor neighborhood children and the adventures they had together.

In the mid 1950s, the shorts were syndicated for television under the name Little Rascals.

A total of 220 shorts and one feature film, General Spanky, were produced, featuring over forty one child actors. There were 93 silent shorts and 127 talkie shorts.

The very first Our Gang short premiered in September 10, 1922, entitled One Terrible Day.

One Terrible Day starred Peggy Cartwright, Jackie Condon, Mickey Daniels, Jack Davis, Weston Doty, Winston Doty, Allen Hoskins (Farina), Ernie Morrison (Sunshine Sammy), and Lincoln Stedman (Secretary).

The last Our Gang short was Dancing Romeo and premiered April 29, 1944.

Dancing Romeo starred Billy Laughlin (Froggy), Robert Blake (Mickey), Billie Thomas (Buckwheat), Janet Burston (Janet), Valerie Lee (Marylin), and Bobby Browning (Gerald).

Small Talk (1929) was the first Our Gang talkie.

Small Talk starred Wheezer (Bobby Hutchins), Mary Ann Jckson, Allen Hoskins (Farina), Joe Cobb, Jean Darling, Pete the Pup, and Harry Spear.

The most popular Our Gang stars were Wheezer (Robert Hutchins), Waldo (Darwood Kaye), Stymie (Matthew Beard), Spanky (George McFarland), Scotty Beckett, Darla Hood, Porky (Gordon Lee), Pete the Pup, Mickey (Robert Blake), Mickey Daniels, Jackie Cooper, Froggy (William Robert Laughlin), Farina (Allen Hoskins), Dorothy DeBorba, Dickie Moore, Chubby (Norman Chaney), Butch (Tommy Bond), Buckwheat (William Thomas), Brisbane (Kendal McComas), Bouncy (Harold Wertz), and Alfalfa (Carl Switzer).

Several Our Gang alumni, including Alfalfa (Carl Switzer), Scotty Beckett, Chubby (Norman Chaney), Froggy (Billy Laughlin) and Wheezer (Bobby Hutchins) met with untimely deaths before the age of 40. This led to rumors of an Our Gang curse. However, the majority of Our Gang members lived long healthy lives.

George (Spanky) McFarland starred in 95 Our Gang shorts, more than any Little Rascal. Buckwheat (William Thomas) starred in 83 Our Gang shorts, the second most featured member.

Most of the Our Gang stars have passed away. However, a few are still alive.

Jean Darling was born August 23, 1922 and is now 87 years old and is the only surviving member from the Silent period of the Our Gang shorts.

Jackie Cooper was born September 15, 1922 and is now 87 years old.

Dickie Moore was born September 12, 1925 and is now 85 years old.

Robert Blake (Mickey) was born September 18, 1933 and is now 74 years old.

Dorothy DeBorba was born March 28, 1925 and is now 84 years old.

The Marx Brothers

The Marx Brothers were an American family comdedy act that enjoyed success in vaudeville, on Broadway and in motion pictures from the early 1900s to the 1950s.

2009 is the 80th anniversary of the first Marx Brothers' film.

The Marx Brothers were born in New York City and were the sons of Jewish immigrants from Germany and France. Their mother, Minni Schonberg was from Dornum in East Frisia and their father Simon Marx (nicknamed Frenchie) was a native of Alsace. The family lived on New York's upper east side.

Five of the Marx Brothers' thirteen films were selected by the American Film Institute as among the top 100 comedies of all time, with two of them (Duck Soap and A Night at the Opera) being in the top twelve.

The core of the act was the three elder brothers, Chico, Harpo and Groucho. Zeppo appeared in the first five Marx Brothers' films and left to pursue other adventures. Gummo, the youngest brother, was a member of the vaudeville act but left the group before motion pictures.

Chico Marx was the oldest brother born March 22, 1887 and originally named Leonard.

Harpo Marx was the second oldest brother born November 23, 1888, originally named Adolph (however he changed his name to Arthur in 1911).

Groucho Marx was the middle child born October 2, 1890 and originally named Julius Henry.

Gummo Marx was the fourth child born October 23, 1893 and originally named Milton.

Zeppo Marx was the youngest born February 25, 1901 and originally named Herbert.

There was a fifth brother, Manfred, the first child of Sam and Minnie, born in 1886, however he died in infancy.

There first film was Humor Risk (1921) and was previewed once and never released, no copy exists today. It starred Groucho, Harpo, Zeppo and Chico.

Harpo, Chico, Groucho and Zeppo starred in The Cocoanuts (1929), Animal Crackers (1930), Monkey Business (1931), Horse Feathers (1932) and Duck Soup (1933).

Harpo, Chico and Groucho starred in A Night at the Opera (1935), A Day at the Races (1937), Room Service (1938), At the Circus (1939), Go West (1940), The Big Store (1941), A Night in Casablanca (1946), Love Happy (1949) and The Story of Mankind (1957).

Groucho would appear in the most movies without his brothers including Copacabana (1947), Mr. Music (1951), Double Dynamite (1951), A Girl in Every Port (1952), Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter (1957), and Skido (1968).

Harpo would do two sole ventures in the movies in Too Many Kisses (1925) and Stage Door Canteen (1943).

After the last Marx brother's movie, Harpo made many appearances on television shows including I Love Lucy, The Red Skelton Show, General Electric Theater, and Playhouse 90.

Zeppo left acting after five Marx Brothers' movies and joined a a talent management company in Hollywood. In 1969, Zeppo Marx patented a wristwatch for cardiac patients, which sounded an alarm if the wearer went into cardiac arrest. He also developed clamping devices which were used in the first atomic bomb raids over Japan in 1945.

Gummo Marx became a talent agent after leaving the vaudeville act. He was also the only Marx brother to be drafted and fight in WWI in the U.S. Army.

Groucho Marx was the most known of the Marx Brothers and had the most successful solo career. In the 1950s he hosted You Bet Your Life, which ran for eleven seasons.

Groucho Marx is also the only Marx Brothers to receive an Honorary Lifetime Achievement Academy Award and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He also won an Emmy award in 1951 for Outstanding Television Personality.

Chico Marx died on October 11, 1961 at the age of 74.

Harpo Marx died on September 28, 1964 at the age of 75.

Gummo Marx died on April 21, 1977 at the age of 83.

Groucho Marx died on August 19, 1977 at the age of 86.

Zeppo Marx died on November 30, 1979 at the age of 78.

George "Spanky" McFarland

George "Spanky" McFarland was born George Robert Phillips McFarland on October 2, 1928 in Dallas, Texas. His parents were Robert Emmett and Virginia McFarland. He had three siblings, Thomas ("Tommy," who himself appeared in a few Our Gang episodes as "Dynamite"), Amanda, and Roderick ("Rod").

Spanky began his career modeling children's clothing for a Dallas department store and also was seen around Dallas on highway billboards and in print advertsidements for Wonder Bread.

In January 1931, in response to a trade magazine advertisement from Hall Roach Studios, requesting photographs of "cute kids," Spanky's Aunt Dottie sent pictures from his portfolio. An invitation for a screen test soon arrived, which happened that spring, leading to his acting career in the Our Gang series (Later named the Little Rascals).

Spanky was three years old when he made his film debut in Free Eats (1932). He would continue to appear in more than 100 Our Gang films, the last being in 1942.

Spanky's famous double and triple-takes were taught to him by Stan Laurel, while a lot of his mannerisms (rolling of eyes, hands on hips, and his trademark exasperated expression) were inspired by Oliver Hardy.

In 1952, at age 24, McFarland joined the U.S. Air Force. Upon his return to civilian life, he was typecast in the public's mind as Spanky from Our Gang and was unable to find work in show business.

He took less glamorous jobs inclduing working at a soft drink plant, hamburgery stand and a posicle factory.

In the late 1950's, when the Our Gang Comedies were once again sweeping the nation on television, Spanky hosted an afternoon children's show "Spanky's Clubhouse" in Tulasa, Oklahoma. The Show included a studio audience and appearances by celebrities such as James Arness. It also ran the Little Rascals shorts.

After Spanky's Clubhouse, he continued at odd jobs selling wine, operating a restraurant and night club, and selling appliances, electronics and furniture. He was selling for Philco-Ford Corporation where he advanced to national sales director.

Spanky loaned his name and celebrity to help raise money for charities, primarily by participating in golf tournaments. Spanky also had his own namesake charity golf classic for 16 years, held in Marion, Indiana.

He wasl also an ardent golfer who, in his later years, could be frequently seen on the pro-am circuit.

George Spanky McFarland continued to do personal appearances and cameo roles in films and television, including an appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

Spanky's final television performance was in 1993 in an introductory vignette at the beginning of the Cheers episode "Woody Gets An Election".

Spanky was the only member of Our Gang to ever receive on-screen and poster billing. He received on-screen billing in Choo-Choo (1932) and the Pooch (1932). Most of the Our Gang posters during the mid-1930s were billed: "Our Gang, featuring 'Spanky' McFarland, in..."

Spanky was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, he and Our Gang co-star Jackie Cooper being the only other one to be honored with a star.

Spanky's star is located in front of the Labrea Plaza strip mall, at 7095 Hollywood Blvd on the North side of Hollywood Blvd, between the two closest cross streets of N. Labrea Ave and El Cerrito Place and his star is near the stars belonging to Actor Efrem Zimbalist Jr and composer Irving Berlin.

George Spanky McFarland died on June 30, 1993.

Walter Matthau

Walter Matthau was born on October 1, 1920 in New York, New York, the son of Jewish immigrants Rose Berolsky, a sweatshop worker and Milton Matthau, an electrician.

During World War II, Matthau served in the U.S. Army Air Forces with the Eighth Air Force in England as a B-24 liberator radioman-gunner in the same 453rd Bombardment Group as James Stewart. Walter achieved the rank of staff sergeant.

After the war, Matthau became interested in acting. He took classes in the acting at the Dramatic Workshop of the New School in New York under German director Erwin Piscator.

Walter Matthau began his acting career on the broadway stage in 1948 in Anne of the Thousand Days. He would also star on Broadway in The Liar (1950), Twilight Walk (1951), Fancy Meeting You Again (1952), One Bright Day (1952), In Any Language (1952), The Grey-Eyed People (1952), The Ladies of the Corridor (1953), The Burning Glass (1953), Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter (1955), Guys and Dolls (1955), Once More, with Feeling (1958), Once There Was a Russian (1961), A Shot in the Dark (1961), My Mother, My Father and Me (1963) and The Odd Couple (1965).

He won the 1962 Tony Award for Best Actor in a play for A Shot in the Dark and in 1965 the Tony for Best Actor for The Odd Couple. He also received a Tony nomination in 1959 for Best Supporting or Featured Actor (Dramatic) for "Once More, with Feeling."

In 1955, Walter Matthau made his film debut as a whip-wielding bad guy in The Kentuckian opposite Burt Lancaster.

In 1966, Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau would make there first movie together, The Fortune Cookie and they became life long friends. They would go on to star in nine more movies together: The Odd Couple (1968), The Front Page (1974), Buddy, Buddy (1981), JFK (1991), Grumpy Old Men (1993), Grumpier Old Men (1995), The Grass Harp (1995), Out to Sea (1997), and The Odd Couple II (1998).

Walter Matthau also appeared in movies such as A Face in the Crowd (1957), King Creole (1958), Charade (1963), Fail Safe (1964), A Guide for the Married Man (1967), Hello Dolly (1969), Cactus Flower (1969), Plaza Suite (1971), Kotch (1971), Charley Varrick (1973), The Sunshine Boys (1975), The Bad News Bears (1976), California Suite (1978), Little Miss Marker (1980), and Hopscotch (1980).

He would receive Academy Award nominations for Best Actor for Kotch (1971) and The Sunshine Boys (1975). He did with the Golden Globe for The Sunshine Boys.

Walter Matthau won the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for The Fortune Cookie (1966). He was visibly banged up, having been involved in a bicycle accident shortly before the awards show. He scolded nominated actors who were perfectly healthy and had not bothered to come to the ceremony, especially three of the other four major award winners: Elizabeth Taylor, Sandy Dennis and Paul Scofield.

Walter also commonly appeared on television in such programs as The DuPont Show of the Week, Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre, The Evelenth Hour, Naked City, General Electric Theater, Route 66, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. He was nominated for an Emmy for The Dupont Show of the Week.

Walter Matthau was married twice. First to Grace Geraldine Johnson (1948-1958, divorced) and they had two children, Jenny and David. His second wife was Carol Marcus (1959 to his death) and they had a son Charlie.

Walter Matthau died July 1, 2000.

Mickey Rooney

Mickey Rooney has the longest movie career in history, totally 83 years. He made his first film appearance in 1926 in the film Not To Be Trusted. His next movie is scheduled to be released in 2010 entitled Johnny Blue.
Mickey Rooney was born Joseph Yule Jr. on September 23, 1920 in Brooklyn, New York to Joseph Yule and Nellie Carter. His parents were in vaudeville and were appearing in a Brooklyn production of A Gaiety Girl when Mickey was born. He began preforming at the age of 17 months as part of his parent's routine.
The Yules separated in 1924 and in 1925, Nellie Yule moved with her son to Hollywood, where she managed a tourist home. Mickey Rooney originally audtioned for the Our Gang series but was not selected.
After seeing an advertisement for a dark haired child to play the role of Mickey McGuire in a series of short films, Nellie took her son to the audition. Mrs. Yule could not afford to have her son's hair dyed so she applied burnt cork to his scalp. It worked, he got the part and appeared in 78 short films from 1927 to 1936. The first being Mickey's Circus released on September 4, 1927.
In 1937, Mickey Rooney was selected to portray Andy Hardy in A Family Affair starring Lionel Barrymore (although Lewis Stone would play the role of Judge Hardy in later films.) The film was a success and this led to thirteen more Andy Hardy films between 1937 and 1958.

Also in 1937, Mickey Rooney made his first film with Judy Garland in Thoroughbred's Don't Cry. Garland and Rooney became close friends and a successful song and dance team. They would appear in numerous movies together.
Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney were like brother and sister. Liza Minnelli wanted Mickey Rooney to do the eulogy at the funeral for her mother, Judy Garland, but the parties decided against it because Rooney felt he might not be able to get through it without breaking down.

In 1939, Mickey Rooney appeared with Judy Garland in Babes in Arms, this would earn Mickey Rooney his first Academy Award nomination, the category being Best Actor.
Known for his musical and comedy abilities, Mickey Rooney's breakthrough role as a dramatic actor came in 1938's Boys Town opposite Spencer Tracy.

In 1939, 1940, and 1941, Mickey Rooney was the biggest box office draw. In 1941, Tex Avery did a Warner Brother's Cartoon entitled Hollywood Steps Out which featured numerous celebrity caricatures. Mickey Rooney is the only surviving entertainer depicted in the cartoon.
In 1939, he received the Honorary Juvenile Academy Award.
During the 1930s and 1940s, Mickey Rooney appeared in such classics (in addition to the Andy Hardy films) as Manhatten Melodrama (1934), Reckless (1935), Captains Courageous (1937), The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1939), Strike Up The Band (1940), Girl Crazy (1943), The Human Comedy (1943), National Velvet (1944), and Summer Holiday (1948).
Mickey Rooney would receive an Academy Award nomination (his second) for Best Actor in a Leading Role for The Human Comedy (1943).
During the 1940s, Mickey Rooney took a break from films to enter World War II. He served for 22 months in the U.S. Army, five months of which were with Patton's 3rd Army. He was award a Bronze Star among other decorations, raising to the rank of Sergeant.

The 1950s brought the invention of television and like many movie actors of the time, Mickey Rooney branched his talents out to the television medium. He would star in The Mickey Rooney Show in the 1950s and in the 1960s he had his own series Mickey. His guest star credits include Playhouse 90, Alcoa Theatre, Wagon Train, Rawhide, and The Twilight Zone.

He would be nominated for two Emmys during the 1950s, one for Best Single Performance by an Actor (1959) for Alcoa Theatre and a second Best Single Performance by an Actor for The Comedian (1958). In 1964, he won a Golden Globe for Best TV Star Male for Mickey.
The 1950s and 1960s, in addition to his television appearances, Mickey Rooney also appeared in such classic films as The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954), A Slight Case of Larceny (1953), The Bold and the Brave (1956), Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) and 80 Steps to Jonah (1969).
He would receive his third Academy Award Nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for The Bold and The Brave (1956).
During the 1970s and 1980s, Mickey Rooney's television credits included The Red Skelton Show, Night Gallery, The Year Without a Santa Claus, Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July, Bill, The Love Boat and The Golden Girls.

He would receive an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Special for Bill: On His Own (1983).
Mickey Rooney would receive both the Golden Globe and the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Ator in a Mini Series for Bill (1981).
During the 1970s and 1980s, Mickey Rooney continued to appear in films such as Santa Claus is Comin' to Town (1970), Pulp (1972), Rachel's Man (1974), Journey Back to Oz (1974), The Magic of Lassie (1978), The Black Stallion (1979), The Fox and the Hound (1981), The Care Bears Movie (1985), and Lightning, the White Stallion (1986).
In 1979, Mickey Rooney would receive his fourth Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for The Black Stallion. He is quoted as saying he is most proud of his performance in The Black Stallion.
In 1983, he received the Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement.
The 1980s also brought a new venture for Mickey Rooney, Broadway. He would be nominated for the 1980 Tony Award for Best Actor (Musical) for Sugar Babies.
As Mickey Rooney was entering his 70s, he continued to be active in both television and movies. During the 1990s, his television credits include The Black Stallion, Murder She Wrote, Full House, Boys will be Boys and ER. His movie credits include Maximum Force (1992), The Legend of Wolf Mountain (1992), Revenge of the Red Baron (1994), Killing Midnight (1997) and Babe: Pig in the City (1998).

Mickey Rooney now in his 80s and his ninth decade in films and his sixth decade in television continues to be a major person in the entertainment industry. In this past decade he has appeared in such television productions as The Greatest Show Ever (2007). His movie credits include Internet Love (2000), Night at the Museum (2006) and Paradise (2004).
In 2009, Mickey Rooney has two films yet to be released: Now Here and Driving Me Crazy.
Mickey Rooney has four stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: Movies, Television, Live Theatre, and Radio.
According to the Internet Movie Data Base he has 325 film and televison credits to his name. He is one of the most recognized actors in the world.
Mickey Rooney's personal life has had its ups and downs. He has been married eight times. His first marriage was to Ava Garnder but they divorced after 18 months. He was also married to and divorced Betty Jane Rase, Martha Vickers, Elaine Devry, Marge Lane, and Carolyn Hockett. His fifth marriage to Carolyn Mitchell end when she was killed in a murder/suicide.
Mickey Rooney is the father of nine children. Two of his children (Jimmy and Jonelle) with Carolyn Hockett; four of his children are from his marriage to Carolyn Mitchell (Kimmy Sue, Kerry Yule Rooney, Kelly Ann, and Michael); one child (Teddy) with Martha Vickers and two children (Tim and Mickey Jr.) with Betty Jane Rase.
His son Teddy Rooney appeared with him in Andy Hardy Comes Home (1958) as Andy Hardy Jr.
Mickey Rooney has been married to Jan Chamberlin for 31 years and in addition to appearing together in television commericals and movies, they also are outspoken advocates for veterans and animal rights.

David McCallum

To a younger generation, he is Doctor "Ducky" Mallard on the hit television series NCIS.

To an older generation, he is Illya Kuryakin from the hit television series and movies, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

But to classic movie lovers he is Lt. Commander Eric Ashley-Pitt "Dispersal" in The Great Escape (1963) and Judas Iscariot in The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965).

David McCallum Jr. was born in Glasgow, Scotland on September 19, 1933 to David McCallum Sr, a violinist for the London Philharmonic and Dorothy Dorman, a cellist.

David McCallum began his career in music, playing the oboe and studied at the Royal Academy of Music. He became the Assistant Stage Manager of the Glyndebourne Opera Company in 1951. He began his career as a bit-part actor in British films of the 1950s.

David's film debut was in Ill Met by Moonlight (1957) in an uncredited role. Credited roles soon followed in These Dangerous Years (1957), Violent Playground (1957) and Robbery Under Arms (1957).

David McCallum's movie credits include A Night to Remember (1958), Billy Budd (1962), The Great Escape (1963), The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), Around the World Under the Sea (1966), King Solomon's Treasure (1977), The Watcher in the Woods (1980), Hear My Song (1991), Fatal Inheritance (1993) and Batman: Botham Knight (2008) as the voice of Alfred.

In addition to starring in The Man from U.N.C.L.E., David McCallum has also appeared in such television classics as Law & Order, Sex in the City, Babylon 5, Murder She Wrote, Father Dowling Mysteries, Matlock, Heart to Heart, As The World Turns, The Six Million Dollar Man, Perry Mason and The Outer Limits.

In 1994, McCallum narrated the acclaimed documentaries Titanic: Death of a Dream and Titanic: The Legend Lives On for A&E television networks.

David McCallum has been nominated for three Emmys, two for his role on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and one for Teacher, Teacher (1969).

He has also appeared on Broadway in The Flip Side, California Suite, and Amadeaus.

In the 1960s, McCallum recorded albums for Capitol Records. David did not sing on these records, but used the opportunity to make a different statement. As a classically trained musician, he conceived a blend of oboe, french horn, and strings with guitar and drums, and presented instrumental interpretations of hits of the day.

David McCallum was married to actress Jill Ireland from 1957 to 1967. He introduced Ireland to Charles Bronson when they were both filming The Great Escape. A few years later, she left McCallum and married Bronson. He later married Katherine Carpenter and they are still married.

Vera Miles

Vera Miles was born Vera June Ralston on August 23, 1929 in Boise City, Oklahoma.

Vera Miles took her husband's last name because Republic Pictures' resident leading lady Vera Ralston got to Hollywood first.

In 1948, Vera Miles was crowned Miss Kansas which soon lead to small roles in Hollywood films and television roles. Her first appearance being in 1950 in John Ford's When Willie Comes Marching Home which she plays a girl next to the laughing sergeant.

Her first big movie break was in The Searchers (1956) where she played Laurie Jorgensen, Martin Pawley (Jeffrey Hunter) spirited love interest.

Vera Miles next success was in 23 Paces to Baker Street (1956) with Van Johnson and Autumn Leaves (1956) with Joan Crawford and Cliff Robertson.

She also appeared opposite Henry Fonda in Hitchcock's The Wrong Man (1956). Hitchock who put her under contract hailed her the new Grace Kelly.

A favorite of John Ford, she went on to star in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) opposite John Wayne and James Stewart.

She also appeared in such films as Beau James (1957) opposite Bob Hope; The FBI Story (1959) opposite James Stewart; Back Street (1961) opposite Susan Hayward; and Sergeant Ryker (1968) opposite Lee Marvin.

She also appeared in hundreds of television shows including Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Twilight Zone, The Fugitive, My Three Sons, Bonanza, Ironside, Columbo, Murder She Wrote, Hawaii Five-0, Hotel and Simon & Simon.

Her final appearance before retiring was in the 1995 movie Seperate Lives in which she played Dr. Ruth Goldin.

One of her most famous movies is Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) in which she plays Lila Crane, sister to Janet Leigh's Marion Crane. In 1982, she reprised her role as Lila Crane Loomis in the film sequel Psycho II.

Vera Miles had both talent and beauty but she is one of those underrated actresses who does not get the credit she deserves.

Maureen O'Hara

Maureen O'Hara was born Maureen FitzSimons in Dublin, Ireland on August 17, 1920.

Maureen's first film appearance was in Kicking the Moon Around (1938) in which she played a secretary. Maureen's first starring role was in Hitchcock's Jamica Inn (1939).

Maureen was brought to Hollywoood by actor Charles Laughton who was mesmerized by her beautiful eyes. Laughton was so pleased with O'Hara's performance in Jamica Inn, he cast her in the role of Esmeralda opposite him in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939).

Known for her on screen chemistry with John Wayne, they made five movies together: Rio Grande (1950), The Quiet Man (1952), The Wings of Eagles (1957), McLintock (1963) and Big Jake (1971).

Maureen O'Hara's other film credits include Miracle on 34th Street (1947); How Green Was My Valley (1941); The Parent Trap (1961); and A Bill of Divorcement (1940).

She is the only surviving credited cast member of Miracle on 34th Street who is still alive.

As a child, Maureen O'Hara loved playing athletic games and excelled in sports, this is shown in her work as she did many of her own stunts in her films.

O'Hara had a soprano voice and described singing as her first love.

Maureen O'Hara was married three times. Her first marriage to George H. Brown was annulled. Her second marriage was to Will Price, to whom she had one child. Her third marriage was the love of her life, General Charles F. Blair.

She became an American citizen on January 25, 1946, but has retained her Irish citizenship. It was the first time in history that the United States government recognized an Irish citizen as Irish. This led to a change in process for all Irish immigrants.

Maureen O'Hara is now retired making her last appearance as Helen Parker in television's The Last Dance (2000).

Roddy McDowell

During his lifetime, Roddy McDowell appeared in over 150 movies and was one of the few child stars who made the transition to adult actor.

Roddy McDowall was born Roderick Andrew Anthony Jude McDowall on September 17, 1928 in London, England. The son of Thomas Andrew McDowall, a merchant mariner, and Winsfriede Corcoran, an aspiring actress.

Roddy was enrolled in elocution courses at age five and by ten had appeared in his first film, Yellow Sands (1938), although it was an uncredited role. His first credited role was in Murder in the Family (1938) where he played the younger brother of Jessica Tandy and Glynis Johns.

He appeared in approximately a dozen British films before the family moved to the United States at the beginning of World War II.

Soon after arriving in the United States, young Roddy got the part of Huw, the youngest child in a family of Welsh coal miners in John Ford's How Green Was My Valley (1941) acting alongside Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O'Hara and Donald Crips. This film made Roddy McDowall a household name.

As a child actor, he appeared in such films as The Pied Piper (1942), My Friend Flicka (1943), Lassie Come Home (1943), and The White Cliffs of Dover (1944).

In 1946, at age 18, he moved to New York, where he played in a number of long successful Broadway plays including Misalliance (1953), No Time for Sergeants (1955), Compulsion (1957) and Camelot (1960).

In 1960, he won a Tony Award as Best Supporting or Featured Actor (Dramatic) for The Fighting Cock.

Roddy McDowall continued his film career as an adult actor, but usually in character roles. His film credits as an adult include The Longest Day (1962), Cleopatra (1963), The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), That Darn Cat (1965), Planet of the Apes (1968), Escape from Planet of the Apes (1971), Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971), Conquest of Planent of the Apes (1972), The Poseidon Adventure (1972), The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972), Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973), The Cat From Outer Space (1978), and Overboard (1987).

His final movie appearance was in 1998 when he provided his voice for the character Mr. Soil in A Bug's Life.

As an adult, Roddy McDowall appeared in numerous television shows including The Twilight Zone, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, The Carol Burnett Show, Fantasy Island, Columbo and Quantum Leap. He also frequently appeared on the Hollywood Squares. His final appearance was on television in Godzilla The Series (1999).

Roddy McDowall won an Emmy for Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role by an Actor or Actress in a Single Program for Sunday Showcase: Our American Heritage: Not Without Honor (1960).

Roddy McDowell had an avid love of photography and published five acclaimed books of his photography.

On October 3, 1998 at the age of 70, Roddy McDowall died of lung cancer.

Final stage appearance was as Ebenezer Scrooge in the New York City production of "A Christmas Carol" in 1997

Edmond O'Brien

Edmond O'Brien was one of the most respected character actors of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.

Edmond O'Brien was born Redmond O'Brien on September 10, 1915 in New York City.

O'Brien began his show business career as a magician, reportedly tutored by Harry Houdini. In high school, was a student of theatrics and later majored in drama at Columbia University.

Edmond O'Brien made his Broadway debut at the age of 12 in 1936, playing in such plays as The Gravedigger, Hamlet, and Romeo and Juliet.

O'Brien made his film debut as Gringoire in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939).

He would later appear in such classics as Brute Force (1947), White Heat (1949), D.O.A. (1950), The Greatest Show on Earth (1952), The Barefoot Contessa (1954), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), The Longest Day (1962), Birdman of Alcatraz (1962), Seven Days in May (1964), and The Wild Bunch (1969).

O'Brien was nominated for an Acadmey Award for Best Supporting Actor for Seven Days In May (1964).

Edmond O'Brien won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Barefoot Contessa (1954).

During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army Air Forces and appeared in the Air Force's Broadway play and film Winged Victory.

Edmond O'Brien died on May 9, 1985 of alzheimer's disease.

Agnes Moorehead

Before she was Endora on Bewitched (1964-1972) Anges Moorehead graced the silver screen.

The four time Academy Award nominee was born Agnes Robertson Moorehead on December 6, 1900 in Clinton, Massachusetts. Her father John Henderson Moorehead was a Presbyterian clergyman and her mother, Mildred McCauley, was a singer.

When the family moved to St. Louis, Agnes joined the chorus of the St. Louis Municipal Opera Company. Later, the family relocated to Ohio.

Agnes Moorehead earned a bachelor's degree in biology from Muskingum College in Ohio. While there she also appeared in a number of college stage plays. She later received an honorary doctorate in literature from Muskingum and served for a year on its board of trustees. When her family moved to Wisconsin, she taught public school for five years. While in Wisconsin, she earned a master's degree in English and public speaking from the University of Wisconsin. She then pursued post-graduate studies at the American Acadmey of Dramatic Arts, graduating with honors in 1929.

Agnes Moorehead met Orson Welles and by 1937 was a member of his Mercury Theatre Group along with Joseph Cotton. She appeared in his radio production of Julius Casear and had a regular role in the serial The Shadow. She was also one of the players in his The War of the Worlds production.

In 1939, Welles moved the Mercury Theatre Group to Hollywood, where he started working for RKO Studios. Several of his radio performers joined him, and Moorehead made her film debut as his mother in Citizen Kane (1941). She also appeared in his films Journey into Fear (1943) and The Magnificent Ambersons (1942).

Agnes Moorehead was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performances in Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964), Johnny Belinda (1948), Mrs. Parkington (1944), and The Magnificent Ambersons (1942).

Agnes Moorehead's other notable films include How The West Was Won (1962), Raintree County (1957), The Conqueror (1956), Magnificent Obsession (1954), Show Boat (1951), Fourteen Hours (1951), Dark Passage (1947), and The Big Street (1942).

In fact, she was the first female to co-host the Academy Awards in 1948.

Agnes never played a leading lady but her skill as a character actor earned her one Emmy Award, two Golden Globe awards and four Academy Award nominations and six Emmy Award nominations.

Agnes Moorehead skillfully portrayed puritanical matrons, neurotic spinsters, possessive mothers, and comical secretaries throughout her career.

Agnes Moorehead passed away on April 30, 1974 from uterine cancer.

Fredric March

Fredric March was born Ernest Frederick McIntyre Bickel on August 30, 1897 in Racine, Wisconsin, the son of the son of Cora Brown Marcher and John F. Bickel.

Fredric March began his career as a banker, but an emergency appendectomy caused him to reevaluate his life, and in 1920 he began working as an extra in movies, first appearing in The Great Adventure (1921).

Frederic March made his Broadway debut in 1926. He would devote as much time to Broadway as to movies. He would eventually win two Tony Awards. One for the play Years Ago (1947) written by Ruth Gordon and his second for his performance in Long Day's Journey Into Night (1957).

His first major break in films came in 1930 in which he played Tony Cavendish in The Royal Family of Broadway. This role would earn March his first Academy award nomination for Best Actor.

In 1931, Fredric March established himself in Hollywood with this performance in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, earning his first Academy Award for Best Actor.

During the 1930s, he starred in many movies including A Star is Born (1937), Death Takes a Holiday (1934), Les Miserables (1935), Anna Karenina (1935) and Anthony Adverse (1936). He earned his third Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for his perfomance in A Star is Born.

The 1940s brought fame with roles in The Adventures of Mark Twain (1944), One Foot in Heaven (1941), I Married A Witch (1942), The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), and An Act of Murder (1948). He received his second Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in The Best Years of Our Lives.

During the 1950s, he starred in Death of a Salesman (1951), Executive Suite (1954), The Bridges at Toko Ri (1954) and The Desperate Hours (1955). He would receive his fifth Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for his performance in Death of a Salesman.

During the 1960s he starred in Inherit the Wind (1960), The Young Doctors (1961), and Hombre (1967). His final role was in 1973, in The Iceman Cometh.

Fredric March was married twice. The first time to Ellis Baker (May 3, 1925 - 1927, divorced). March later married actress Florence Eldridge in 1927, they would remain married until his death. They had two adopted children.

Fredric March and his wife Florence would appear together in The Studio Murder Mystery (1929), Les Miserables (1935), Another Part of the Forest (1948), An Act of Murder (1948), Christopher Columbus (1949) and Inherit the Wind (1960). On televsion, she appeared with him in the Producer's Showcase (1954).

Fredric March passed away on April 14, 1975 from complications of prostate cancer.

Fredric March was one of most talented leading men, in a career that spanned nearly fifty years. He earned Academy Award nominations in three consecutive decades.

Anna Karenina

The Best Years of Our Lives

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde