Lillian Gish – An Eight Decade Career in Entertainment
Lillian Gish, whom George Jean Nathan the eminent critic, has termed “the finest actress in motion pictures”, has again scored a signal triumph by her characterization of “Romola” in the Inspiration company’s production of George Eliot’s celebrated novel of the same name. Miss Gish spent a year in Florence, Italy making this picture, under the direction of Henry King. Photoplay reviewers have classed her work in “Romola” as fine as that of “The White Sister”. “Romola is a Metro-Goldwyn release. October 20, 1925
For longevity there are few stars that can rival Lillian Gish (October 14, 1893 – February 27, 1993).
The star of D. W. Griffith’s legendary Birth of a Nation (1915), Gish made her stage debut in 1898 and her final movie The Whales of August in 1987. In between those many years, Gish alternated between the stage, movies and television.
In 1914 theatrical producer David Belasco was quoted as saying that Lillian Gish “is the most beautiful blond he had ever seen.”
George Jean Nathan the critic who provided the quote in the news caption above was in love with Lillian Gish and the two dated for many years. In April 1925, Variety, the weekly theatrical paper, reported that the two were engaged to be married. Similar reports emerged in 1927. Gish and Nathan never married and no reason or announcement was ever provided except that they were just “good friends.” Continue reading →
Judy Garland and Future Husband Vincente Minnelli At The Stork Club In New York 1945
Judy is altar bound again
Hollywood, CA – Screen actress Judy Garland has announced that she and director Vincente Minnelli will be married in New York City, at the Little Church Around The Corner, in June. The exact date has not been set, but it will be soon after June 7th when Judy’s divorce from composer Dave Rose becomes becomes final. The couple is shown together during a recent visit to the Stork Club, in New York. (4-23-45) credit: Acme
Garland, age 23 and Minnelli age 42 had worked together on Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) and The Clock (1945). The couple wedded on June 15, 1945 not in New York, but at Judy’s mother Ethel’s home 750 South Ogden Drive in Los Angeles. It was Garland’s second of an eventual five marriages. Continue reading →
Abbott & Costello With Edgar Bergen & Charlie McCarthy
When I was growing up there were only seven television channels to choose from in New York City. Many weekend mornings I found myself laughing at the antics of Abbott and Costello on WPIX, channel eleven. A lot of other kids at that time shared that love for the fast-talking comedy duo.
Not just their movies were shown, but also the Abbott and Costello TV show was broadcast regularly as well. If today’s generation knows anything about Abbott and Costello, it is almost certainly their famous “Who’s On First” baseball skit. Unfortunately Abbott and Costello and their wordplay humor are fading into history.
But if Abbott and Costello have faded, then ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his puppet Charlie McCarthy are forgotten. Continue reading →
Born in Tunis on April 15, 1938, Claudia Cardinale won a beauty contest in the late 1950s. After much resistance she began her film career with three films all released in 1958.
By age 26, the five foot six inch, 123 pound knockout with the curvy 37 ½ -24 – 37 ½ figure was on her way to becoming one of the world’s most popular movie stars.
Give the people what they want. Obviously the people want more of the alluring Claudia Cardinale.
The quotes below the photographs are from interviews with Cardinale.
“When I was 15 it was fashionable to dress like a beatnik – you know with the black pull-over, black skirt, pony tail, and all that. But Mother refused to buy me black things, so I solved the problem by secretly dyeing a plaid skirt black and wearing it with a pull-over which I also dyed.” 1963
“I never wanted to be an actress. I wanted to teach in Africa. People offered me film contracts and I kept saying no. I thought they were crazy. They thought I was too. ‘This funny girl from Africa,’ they said. ‘She refuses to make money She is stupid.'” 1965
“I don’t think everybody can be an actress, it’s a strange kind of life. You have to have a mind very clear. The love scenes are always the most difficult.” 1967 Continue reading →
Gladys Cooper, The Beautiful Actress With Amazing Hair – circa 1910
If there was a Hall-of Fame for best hair, Gladys Cooper would be a member.
British theatre and screen star Gladys Cooper (1888 – 1971) made her stage debut in 1905. As you can see she photographed exquisitely and was constantly in demand as a model. From about 1905 through the 1920s postcard manufacturers churned out hundreds of different images of the popular actress.
Gladys Cooper, Robert Redford – Twilight Zone
Gladys had a 70 year career as an actress, though most people would not recognize her name or face today. If they did know her, it would probably be because of a memorable 1962 Twilight Zone television episode in which she plays an old woman who fears death, co-starring a very young Robert Redford.
Modern movie and television audiences would never have realized Gladys was once absolutely gorgeous .
In 1914, when asked by a newspaper columnist who was the most beautiful star on the London stage, fellow actress Ethel Levey replied, “It depends upon the type. As to the blond type I should say Gladys Cooper. She is as beautiful a woman I have ever seen.”
Sari Petrass, a famous Austrian actress appearing at the time in The Marriage Market agreed with Levey about Gladys’s looks and said, “She is the most beautiful woman I have ever met. And you have some very beautiful women in London.’
Paulette Goddard, Can I Have Your Autograph, Please?
In this undated photograph taken at the Hollywood Canteen sometime during World War II, a throng of servicemen crowd around film star Paulette Goddard trying to get her autograph.
Though Paulette Goddard had a fairly successful film career and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in So Proudly We Hail (1943), she is not well remembered today. She may be best known for co-starring with her husband Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times (1936) and The Great Dictator (1940). Chaplin and Goddard were married in secret in 1936 on a trip to China.
Born Marion Levy in New York on June 3, 1910, Paulette took her mother’s maiden name when she took up acting professionally. In 1926 Goddard became a Ziegfeld girl and a movie career followed soon afterwards.
Her waif-like beauty attracted men like moths to a flame. Goddard went to the alter four times.
Previous to Chaplin, Goddard was married in 1927 at the age of 17 to wealthy businessman Edgar James. That marriage was over by 1930. After her divorce from Chaplin in 1942, Goddard tied the knot with actor Burgess Meredith (The Penguin in the 1960s Batman TV show and Mickey in Rocky). After that marriage ended in 1949, Goddard found happiness in 1959 with writer Erich Maria Remarque (All Quiet on the Western Front) and remained married to him until his death in 1970. Continue reading →
Jayne Mansfield Gives A Kiss To A Young Fan – 1957
If this happened today, you can be sure some hyper-politically correct maniacs would accuse Jayne Mansfield of being a child molester for planting a kiss square on the lips of an underage boy. But this was 1957 and Jayne was merely fulfilling a a young man’s request. Continue reading →
Shirley Temple Does A Long Distance Interview 1935
“Miss Temple, Please!! London Calling”
Hollywood, Calif – Pictured between scenes during her recent picture, “The Littlest Rebel,” Shirley Temple, tiny 20th Century-Fox Star is interviewed by The London Illustrated News over trans-Atlantic telephone. 11-21-35 International News Photos
When 20th Century-Fox signed Shirley Temple to a contact in December of 1933 they were on the brink of bankruptcy, $44 million in debt. By 1934 Fox was out of bankruptcy, due almost single handedly to Temple who would go on to become the world’s number one box office star. Through the 1930s, Shirley Temple’s films earned more money for 20th Century-Fox than any of their other stars.
There was the long held belief that Shirley Temple was the first choice to play Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz (1939). This is only partially true.
If Fox studio chief Daryl F Zanuck had acquired the rights to the film the story, Temple almost certainly would have been the first choice to play Dorothy. But independent producer Samuel Goldwyn had acquired the Wizard of Oz’s film rights. In 1938 Goldwyn sold those right to MGM, not to Fox.
Fox discussed loaning out Temple to MGM to make the film. In exchange MGM would loan out Clark Gable, their biggest star to Fox. But MGM producer Mervyn LeRoy thought Judy Garland, with her superior singing voice, would be the better choice for Dorothy than Temple. Continue reading →
Cary Grant Never Won An Academy Award For Best Actor
The Academy Awards were held February 26, 2017. Millions of people watched. Millions more did not. The Oscars have been declining in TV viewership steadily over the years. It’s true that there are more choices to divert your entertainment time. But could it be that today’s stars don’t measure up to the stars of yesteryear and many people like myself could care less about the Academy Awards?
There are movie stars and then there are Movie Stars. Cary Grant was a Movie Star. Women fantasized about being with him and men wanted to be him.
In 1952 Cary Grant starred with Ginger Rogers (seen above) in Monkey Business, a zany comedy about a scientist (Grant) discovering a potion that when consumed will make you young again. An escaped chimpanzee is responsible for concocting the “successful” potion. The film also had Marilyn Monroe playing a sexy secretary. Monkey Business was made right before Marilyn’s breakthrough film Niagara.
4/7/70 Hollywood – As singer Frank Sinatra claps for him, actor Cary Grant holds his hands as he accepts a special achievement award at the 42nd annual Academy award presentation at the Music Center. The Board of Governors of the Academy voted the special award for Grant. photo: UPI Telephoto
Cary Grant was nominated only twice for Best Actor in a leading role; Penny Serenade (1941) and None But The Lonely Heart (1944), neither of which are among his best films. Continue reading →
Three Things You Didn’t Know About The Cinema’s Most Famous Tarzan
Tarzan Takes Off
Johnny Weissmuller better known as Tarzan of the Apes flies through the air with the greatest of ease, as he rehearses at Marshall Street Baths today (Monday) for his forthcoming Aquashow with Belita as his mate. February 16, 1948 (photo: Paramount)
Olympic multi gold-medal winner Michael Phelps is arguably the most famous swimmer in the world today.
If you had asked anyone living during the 1920s or 30s to name a male swimmer, Johnny Weissmuller (1904-1984)would have been the answer 99 times out of 100. In 1950 the Associated Press named Weissmuller the greatest swimmer of the first half of the 20th century.
Before Weismuller gained film stardom playing Tarzan of the Apes, he was setting swimming speed records during the 1920s. Weissmuller won five gold medals in the Olympics and 52 national championships. Weissmuller’s most amazing accomplishment as an amateur swimmer is that he never lost a race.
Weissmuller went on to play Tarzan a dozen times in films from 1932 – 1948.
Here are three things you might not have known about Johnny Weissmuller and Tarzan.
1 – How did Weissmuller get the role of Tarzan?
In 1932 screen writer Cyril Hume was working on a script called “Tarzan the Ape Man.” Hume had seen footage of Weissmuller that had been deleted from the film Glorifying The American Girl. Weissmuller had appeared in that film wearing nothing but a fig leaf and holding actress Mary Eaton on his shoulder.
Without realizing he was being asked to do a screen test Weissmuller was talked into into seeing director W.S. Van Dyke and producer Bernard Hyman by Cyril Hume. At the meeting Weissmuller was told to strip. Continue reading →