Friday, January 29, 2010

Katharine Ross

Katharine Juliet Ross was born on January 29, 1940 in Hollywood, California. Her father was in the US Navy and was away when she was born. His navy career shuttled the family around to Virginia, then Palo Alto and finally to Walnut Creek, outside of San Francisco, where Ross grew up.

Katherine Ross made her debut in an episode of Sam Benedict in 1962. She appeared on episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Ben Casey, The Virginian, Wagon Train and Gunsmoke before making her movie debut in 1965.

In 1965, she was cast to play James Stewart's daughter-in-law in the film Shenandoah.

She next appeared in The Singing Nun in 1966 an Mister Buddwing (1966) before getting her big break.

In 1967, she played Elaine Robinson in The Graduate. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance. She won the Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer.

In 1969, she would play Etta Place in Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid.

She also appeared in The Stepford Wives (1975) as Joanna Eberhart.

In 1976 she would win the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Voyage of the Damned.

During the 1980s, she was Francesca "Frankie" Colby on the drama The Colbys.

Katherine Ross is an accomplished author of children's books. Her books include
"The Baby Animals' Party," "Mama Loves," "Bear Island," "The Little Ballerina,"
and "My Favorite Things."

Katherine Ross currently resides in Malibu, California with her husband of 24 years, Sam Elliot.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Patricia Neal

Patricia Neal was born Patsy Louise Neal on January 20, 1926 in Packard, Kentucky.

She grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee and studied drama at Northwestern University.

After moving to New York, she accepted her first job as understudy in the Broadway production of The Voice of the Turtle.

She made her Broadway debut in Another Part of the Forest (1946), winning a Tony Award as Best Featured Actress in a Play. She also appeared in the Broadway productions of The Miracle Worker, A Roomful of Roses, and The Children's Hour.

She often appears on the Tony Awards telecast, as she is the only surviving winner from the very first ceremony.

In 1949, Patricia Neal made her film debut in John Loves Mary. She next appeared in The Fountainhead (1949). Her film credits include The Hasty Heart (1949), The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), Operation Pacific (1951), Washington Story (1952), A Face in the Crowd (1957), Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), Hud (1963), In Harm's Way (1965) and The Subject Was Roses (1968).

In 1963, Patricia Neal won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Hud, co-starring Paul Newman.

She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for The Subject Was Roses.

Patricia Neal was offered the role of "Mrs. Robinson" in The Graduate (1967), but turned it down, feeling it had come too soon after her strokes.

She later starred as Olivia Walton in the television movie The Homecoming: A Christmas Story (1971), which was the pilot episode for The Waltons. She was nominated for an Emmy Award for her performance and won the Golden Globe.

In 1975, Patricia Neal played a dying widowed mother trying to find a home for her three children in a moving episode of NBC's Little House on the Prairie.

In 1978, Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center in Knoxville dedicated the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center in her honor.

Patricia Neal's most recent role was Margie in Flying By (2009).

Patricia Neal was married to Roald Dahl from July 2, 1953 until their divorce on November 17, 1983, they had five children. She also has seven grandchildren.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Luise Rainer

Luise Rainer was born on January 12, 1910 in Düsseldorf, Germany. The daughter of Heinz Rainer and Emmy Koenigsberger.

As a young girl, Luise was a terrific athlete, becoming a champion runner and an intrepid mountain climber.

Luise's training began in Germany from the age of 16 by leading stage director Max Reinhardt. After a few years, she became recognized as a "distinguished Berlin stage actress", acting with Reinhardt's Vienna theater ensemble. Critics "raved" at her stage and film acting quality.

She made her first appearance on the stage at the Dumont Theater in Düsseldorf in 1928, followed by appearances at various theaters in Jacques Deval's play Mademoiselle, Kingsley's Men in White, George Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan, Measure for Measure, and Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author.

She later appeared in several German language films before being discovered in 1935 by MGM talent scout Phil Berg. Her first American role was in the film Escapade (1935).

She next appeared in a relatively small part in the musical biopic The Great Ziegfeld (1936). Despite her limited appearances in the film, she "so impressed audiences" that she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. For her dramatic telephone scene in the film, she was later dubbed "the Viennese teardrop".

In her next role, producer Irving Thalberg was convinced, despite the studio's disagreement, that she could play the part of a poor uncomely Chinese peasant in The Good Earth (1937), based on Pearl Buck's novel about hardship in China. She won her second Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance as O-Lan.

Luise Rainer also appeared in The Emperor's Candlesticks (1937) Big City (1937) The Toy Wife (1938) The Great Waltz (1938) and Hostages (1943). Her final film appearance was in The Gambler (1997).

Luise Rainer also appeared in the Broadway productions of The Lady from the Sea (1950) and A Kiss for Cinderella (1942).

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

Luise Rainer accomplished several Academy Award firsts:

1) She was the first actress/actor to win consecutive Oscars.

2) She was the first actress/actor to win two Academy Awards.

3) She was the first actor to achieve the perfect Oscar track record (two nominations-two wins).

4) She was the first and to date only German actress to win an Academy Award.

5) She was the first actress to win an Academy Award for portraying a real-life person (The Great Ziegfeld (1936).

Of all the living winners of a competitive Oscar she has had hers the longest, 74 years.

Currently lives in Eaton Square, London, in an apartment once occupied by Vivien Leigh.

She will be appearing at the Royal National Theatre in London on Monday February 1st, to talk about her extraordinary life and career.

A non-conformist to the MGM star-system, she used to parade around Hollywood untidily dressed, usually with no make-up and wearing pants. Her non-conformist style of behavior cost her contract with MGM in the late '30s

Luise Rainer has been married twice. First to Clifford Odets (January 8, 1937 to May 14, 1940, divorced) and to Robert Knittel (July 12, 1945 to June 15, 1989, his death). She has a daughter, Francesca Knittel-Bowyer, with Robert Knittel.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sal Mineo

Sal Mineo was born Salvatore Mineo, Jr. on January 10, 1939 in The Bronx. The son of Josephine and Sal Sr., Sicilian coffin makers.

Sal Mineo was enrolled by his mother in dancing and acting school at the age of three. Sal was thrown out of parochial school and, by age eight, was a member of a street gang in a tough Bronx neighborhood. After being arrested for robbery at age 10, he was given a choice of juvenile confinement or professional acting school.

In 1951, Sal Mineo made his Broadway debut in The Rose Tattoo. He next appeared in The King and I with Yul Brynner. Yul took a liking to Sal and helped Sal better himself as an actor.

Sal Mileno's film debut was in Six Bridges to Cross (1955) and his next film was The Private War of Major Benson (1955).

Sal Mileno's breakthrough film was Rebel Without a Cause (1955) in which he played John Plato Crawford. This role would earn him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

During the 1950s, Sal Mileno appeared in such films as Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956), Giant (1956), Crime in the Streets (1956), The Young Don't Cry (1957) and A Private's Affair (1959).

The 1960s brought Sal roles in The Exodus (1960), The Longest Day (1962), Cheyenne Autumn (1964), and The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965). He would be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and won the Golden Globe for his role in The Exodus.

A small role in Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971) as chimpanzee Dr. Milo would be Mineo's last movie appearance.

Sal Mileno's career also included frequent television roles. In 1948, he was nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Single Performance by an Actor for Studio One.

He also appeared on television shows as Columbo, Hallmark Hall of Fame, Kraft Television Theatre, The Ann Sothern Show, Dr. Kildare, My Three Sons, Hawaii Five-O, and Police Story.

In 1957, Sal Mileno recorded a handful of sons and an album. Two of his singles reached the Top 40 pop charts.

In addition to acting and singing, Sal Mileno also directed theater productions of Fortune and Men's Stages, The Medium, and The Children's Mass.

In 1976, Sal Mineo was playing the role of a gay burglar in the stage comedy P.S. Your Cat Is Dead in which he received substantial publicity from many positive reviews.

On February 12, 1976, Sal Mileno was arriving home after a rehearsal when he was stabbed to death in the alley behind his West Hollywood apartment building. He was 37years old. Sal Mineo was stabbed just once, but the blade struck his heart, leading to immediate and massive internal bleeding.

A pizza deliveryman, Lionel Ray Williams, was sentenced to in 1979 to 57 years in prison for killing Mineo and committing 10 robberies in the same vicinity. He was paroled in 1990.