Category Archives: Classic Hollywood

Series: Photographs of Hollywood’s Cinema Stars

Classic Hollywood #80 – Lee Van Cleef

The Man With A Name, The Menacing Lee Van Cleef

Lee Van Cleef in Return of Sabata

For nearly 40 years Lee Van Cleef was typecast. He made a living at playing villains. But as he observed, “I didn’t much care if I got out of that bad guy role. I fell in love with the characters. I could do things I couldn’t do in real life, and generally a bad guy is a more colorful part. It’s always more fun to be nasty.”

A Fistful of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, a trio of “spaghetti westerns” made by Italian director Sergio Leone from 1964-1967 established Clint Eastwood “the man with no name” as a major film star.

The second and third films of the Eastwood- Leone films, also brought Lee Van Cleef from mid-level billing status to international stardom.

For 15 years with hawk-like looks, penetrating gaze and low voice, the lean six foot two Lee Van Cleef toiled in films and television, almost always cast as a bad guy. He struggled to make ends meet.

The Breakthrough Role

But on April 10, 1965 Lee signed a contract for 30 percent more than he had ever previously made to co-star as bounty hunter Colonel Mortimer in For A Few Dollars More.

Up until the signing, Lee and his wife Joan had been living on residuals from television appearances, unemployment checks and her salary as a secretary. Prior to committing to the film Lee had not appeared in a film since 1962. Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #79 – Dana Andrews, Harry Morgan & B.S. Pully

At A Nightclub Dana Andrews and B.S. Pully Start To Shave Harry Morgan (Sans Shaving Cream)

Harry Morgan Dana Andrews BS Pully at nightclub 1946 photo Nat Dallinger King Features

Attending a night club with a full beard which he wears for a current film role, actor Henry Morgan, was quickly spotted by fellow actors B.S. Pully, left, and Dana Andrews who proceeded to attempt a dry-shave to the delight of other patrons. Many film actors prefer to raise their own beards rather than spend hours in studio makeup rooms having false whiskers applied. Furthermore it adds a touch of realism to the actions of the wearer. photo Nat Dallinger for King Features Syndicate.

Although undated this photograph was probably taken sometime in 1944. Andrews, Morgan and Pully all appeared together in the film Wing and a Prayer. Morgan was bearded for his role as Ensign Malcom Brainard. Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #78 – Marilyn Monroe and Alan Ladd

Marilyn Monroe’s First Public Appearance In Hollywood After Her Marriage To Joe DiMaggio – 1954

Alan Ladd Marilyn Monroe

Hollywood – March 9 – Marilyn Wows Movie Crowd – Marilyn Monroe made her first public appearance in Hollywood last night since her marriage to Joe DiMaggio and her trip to Japan and Korea, and promptly stole the show. She showed up with a new platinum-blonde hairdo and wearing a low-cut white satin sheath gown. The occasion was Photoplay magazine’s annual awards dinner at which she and Alan Ladd, with whom she’s pictured, were named Hollywood’s most popular actress and actor. (AP wirephoto 1954)

Marilyn Monroe and Alan Ladd may have been Hollywood’s most popular actress and actor, yet neither was ever nominated for an Academy Award. Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #77 – Margaret Sullavan, Ernst Lubitsch & James Stewart – 1939

Margaret Sullavan, Ernst Lubitsch & James Stewart On The Set of The Shop Around The Corner – 1939

James Stewart Margaret Sullavan Ernst Lubitsch on set Shop Around The Corner 1939

The Shop Around The Corner wasn’t a very big hit for James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan when it was released in 1940. The “Lubitsch Touch,” director Ernst Lubitsch’s flare for sophisticated comedy, did not translate to a box office smash, domestically grossing $2.4 million ($76.9 million adjusted) according to Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #76 – Silent Movie Stars Reunite

A 1936 Gathering Of Silent Movie Stars

Silent films were virtually eradicated in 1929 with all the major film studios converting from silents to talkies. So it is kind of funny to see this 1936 news photo labeled “Old Time Film Notables.”

Most of the silent stars pictured above are not well known today, but they were “big” in their day. Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #75 – Child Star Jackie Cooper

Young Jackie Cooper Signs A Big Contract With MGM – 1931

Jackie Cooper child star signs contract with MGM Louis B MayerYoungest Long-Termer

Hollywood, Calif – Jack Cooper, seven-year-old hero of “Skippy” and the most promising youngster in Hollywood is earning the distinction of being the youngest star to have a long term contract as he prepares to put his “John Hancock” on the important looking document being held by Luis B. Mayer, vice-president of a leading motion picture company. While the salary was not disclosed it is believed there was an unprecedented number of naughts after the first figure to make him the highest paid youngster in the United States. His first thought after walking around the movie lot following the signing was to organize a football team. – (credit: International Newsreel Photo,  June 9, 1931

Being a minor Jackie Cooper could not legally sign his contract, his parents were the real signers. Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #73 – Mystery Celebrity

Va-Va-Voom. Can You Guess Who This Is?

I did not recognize this well known celebrity when I first saw this photograph.

Do you know who it is?

Here are some clues to who our mystery celebrity is:

  1. She appeared regularly on a television show which had a long run in the 1950s.
  2. Two of her co-stars on the show were Jack Larson and John Hamilton.
  3. She was never attired like this on the show, but wore a pillbox hat and business suit.
  4. She was born in 1920 in Minnesota and died in 2016 in Arizona at the age of 95.
  5. She began making films in 1940 and had a contract with Paramount Pictures.
  6. Her final film was in 2016 Surge of Power: Revenge of the Sequel.

Do you give up?

Or is this someone you’ll have to look up?

In the sky. Not in the cloud.

Okay, that was a terrible pun of a clue.

The answer is:

Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #72 – Outtake Photo Of The Legends Of Comedy

Outtake Photo of  The Legends of Comedy

Just before posing for a formal photograph, an unnamed Globe photographer captured this informal moment. This photograph was unpublished until now. Flanking the seated Lucille Ball are (l-r) Milton Berle, George Burns, Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Groucho Marx and longtime Lucy co-star Gale Gordon.

The only one who seems ready for this photo is Lucy. Everyone else is completely distracted.

The photo below Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #71 – Clint Is “Dirty Harry” Again

Clint Eastwood Reprises His Role As “Dirty Harry” For The Fourth Time – 1983

Megastar Clint Eastwood is soon to be seen again in his hard-hitting role as Dirty Harry. He will be starring in an explosive new thriller called “Sudden Impact”,  that will mark the 4th film about tough, unconventional detective Harry Callahan. This time, in a change of situation, Dirty Harry finds himself the target of an assassination attempt while working on a particularly nasty murder case. The first film built upon the character was “Dirty Harry”, and came to the screen in 1971. This was followed by “Magnum Force” in 1974, and “The Enforcer” in 1977. Shot mainly on location in San Francisco, the film is described as an action-packed thriller. Clint Eastwood, who also directs this production, holds the distinction in the film industry as being the biggest box-office grosser throughout the world.  He is seen here disrupting a robbery attempt in the new film. photo: Bandphoto 1983

Sudden Impact was the only time Clint Eastwood undertook directorial duties in the Dirty Harry franchise. The movie spawned one of the most memorable quotations Continue reading