Friday, October 31, 2008

Today's Birthday - October 31 - LEE GRANT

Birth Name: Lyova Haskell Rosenthal
Birth Date: October 31, 1927
Birth Place: New York City, New York
Spouses: Arnold Manoff (1951-1960)
Joseph Feury (1962-present)

Absolutely Hilarious!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

In The Mood

Todays Birthday - October 28th - ELSA LANCHESTER

Todays Birthday: ELSA LANCHESTER
Birth Name: Elsa Sullivan Lanchester
Birth Date: October 28th, 1902
Birth Place: Lewisham, London, England
Died: December 26th, 1986 (age 84)
Death Place: Woodland Hills, California
Spouse: Charles Laughton (1929 - 1962)
Role most famous for: "The Bride of Frankenstein"

Favorite Classic Movie Stars - BARBARA LAMARR

Barbara LaMarr was born with the name Reathea Dale Eatson on July 28th, 1896 in Yakima, Washington. She is most known for being an American stage and motion picture actress, cabaret artist and screenwriter.

LaMarr was born to William Wallace and Rosana "Rose" Watson. Her father was an editor of a newspaper and her mother was previously married. Rose had a son Henry and a daughter Violet from her first marriage. Her and William were married in 1884 and they had William Watson Jr. in June of 1886, in Washington. He would later , in the 1920's became a semi-famous vaudeville comedian under the stage name of "Bill Devore".

The Watsons lived in various locations during LaMarr's formative years. By 1900, three year old Reathea was living with her parents in Portland, Oregon with her brother William, her half sister Violet and Violet's husband Arvel Ross.

By 1910, Lamarr was living in Fresno, California with her parents. Sometime after 1911, the family moved to the Los Angeles area and settled in Burbank, California. In January of 1913, LaMarr's half sister Violet (now going by the name of Violet Ake), took her then sixteen year old sister on a three day automobile excursion with a man named C.C. Boxley. They drove up to Santa Barbara, California from Los Angeles, but after a few days LaMarr felt that they were not going to let her return home to Los Angeles. Ake and Boxley finally let LaMarr return home after they realized that there was a warrant out for their arrest, accusing them of abduction. This episode was published in several newspapers and LaMarr even testified against her sister, but nothing came of the case. The District Attorney could not prove that LaMarr was taken against her will.

Having the flair for drama, her name would be kept constantly in newspaper headlines during the next few years. Therefore, at the tender age of sixteen, she had already earned herself a scandalous reputation. In November of 1913, she came back from Arizona and announced that she was the newly widowed wife of a rancher named Jack Lytell, and that they were supposedly married in Mexico. As legend goes Lytell became enamored of LaMarr's devastating beauty as he saw her one day riding in an automobile while he was out on horseback. He rode up to her car and swept her up onto his horse and rode off with her. They were married the next day.

After marrying and moving with her husband to New York City, she found employment writing screenplays and her association with movie makers led her back to Los Angeles and making her film debut as an actress in 1920. Over the next few years she acted frequently in film and was widely publicized as 'The Most Beautiful Girl in the World". With this, she rapidly shot to stardom.

LaMarr's made the successful leap from screenwriting to actress in Douglas Fairbanks "The Nut" in 1921, and appeared in over thirty films, wrote seven successful screenplays for United Artists and Fox Studios and danced in musical comedies on Broadway.

Although her film career flourished, she also embraced the fast paced Hollywood night life, remarking in an interview that she slept no more than two hours a night as life was too short to waste on sleep.

During this time, she became addicted to heroin and her addiction combined with her busy social life and grueling work commitments took a toll on her health. She died suddenly on January 30th, 1926 at the age of 29 from tuberculosis and nephritis in Altadena, California, and was interred in Hollywood Forever Cemetery. The newspapers of the day referred to her as "The Girl too Beautiful to Live".

LaMarr married for the first time at age seventeen and was ultimately married five times. At the time of her death she was married to actor Jack Dougherty.

Some years after her death it was revealed that she had mothered an illegitimate son by a man whose name has never been revealed. The child; Marvin Carville LaMarr was adopted after her death by the actress ZuSu Pitts and her husband, film executive, Tom Gallery. The child was renamed Don Gallery and grew up to become an actor and a sometime boyfriend of Elizabeth Taylor. He now lives in Puerto Vallerta, Mexico.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Today's Birthday - October 26

Born today was the silent film child actor who grew up to play "Uncle Fester" on th "Adams Family" television show. Jackie Coogan was born on October 26th, 1914 as John Leslie Coogan Jr., in Woburn Massachusettes. He passed away on March 1st, 1984 at the age of 69. Coogan was married four times to the following; Betty Grable (1937-1939), Flower Parry (1941-1943), Ann McCormack (1946-1954) and Dorothea Lamphere (1954-1984).

Famous Classic Movie Star Quotes.......

"If I had my career over again? Maybe I'd say to myself, speed it up a little" - James Stewart

"I always told Hitch that it would have been better to put seats around the set and sell tickets" - James Stewart

" I'd like to do Harvey again. I did it two years ago with Helen Hayes in New York. It was a joy. I was so glad to do it again because I never thought I did it right the first time" - James Stewart

"A rich man is nothing but a poor man with money" - W.C. Fields

"Don't worry about your heart, it will last you as long as you live" - W.C. Fields

"I am free of all prejudices. I hate everyone equally" - W. C. Fields

"I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food" - W. C. Fields

"I drink, therefore, I am" - W.C. Fields

"I don't p;ay at collecting. No cigar anywhere was safe from me" - Edward G. Robinson

"I know I'm not much on face value, but when it comes to stage value, I'll deliver for you" - Edward G. Robinson

"I had the advantage of reading the book, and when the script was first submitted to me, it was just another gangster story. The east side taking over the west side and all that" - Edward G. Robinson

"In those days I would go for an interview and find myself competing with the other chap who would always be much younger and taller and much more handsome than I" - Edward G. Robinson

"I don't care what is written about me as long as it isn't true" - Katherine Hepburn

"I never lose dight of the fact that just being is fun" - Katherine Hepburn

"I've never realized until lately that woman were supposed to be the inferior sex" - Katherine Hepburn

"If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased" - Katherine Hepburn

"To succeed with the opposite sex, tell her you're impotent. She can't wait to disprove you" - Cary Grant

"Ah, beware of snobbery; it is the unwelcome recognition of one's own past failings" - Cary Grant

I think that making love is the best form or exercise" - Cary Grant

"When people tell you how young you look, they are telling you how old you are" - Cary Grant

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Friday, October 24, 2008

Famous Classic Movie Star Quotes.......

"We movie stars all end up by ourselves. Who knows? Maybe we want to" - Bette Davis

"The key to life is accepting challenges. Once someone stops doing this, he's dead" - Bette Davis

"The best time I ever had with Joan Crawford was when I pushed her down the stairs in "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" - Bette Davis

"I survived because I was tougher than anybody else" - Bette Davis

"Old age is no place for sissies" - Bette Davis

"A face is like the outside of a house, and most faces, like most houses, gives you an idea of when we can expect to find inside" - Loretta Young

Fashion should not be expected to serve in the stead of courage or character" - Loretta Young

"Giving credit where credit is due is a very rewarding habit to form, it's rewards are inestimable" - Loretta Young

"Gratitude isn't a burdening emotion" - Loretta Young

"I couldn't bear it if anyone knew I had hardly any self confidence at all" - Loretta Young

"A woman in love can't be reasonable - or she probably wouldn't be in love" - Mae West

"An ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises" - Mae West

"Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before" - Mae West

"Don't keep a man guessing too long - he's sure to find the answer somewhere else" - Mae West

"I believe it's better to be looked over than it is to be overlooked" - Mae West

"I am big, it's the pictures that got small" - Gloria Swanson

"If you're 40 years old and you've never had a failure, you've been deprived" - Gloria Swanson

"My mother and I could always look out the same window without ever seeing the same thing" - Gloria Swanson

"Nobody gets anything for nothing" - Gloria Swanson

"Writing a story of your own life is a bit like drilling your own teeth" - Gloria Swanson

"Create your own visual style - let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others" - Orson Welles

"Every actor in his heart believes everything bad that's printed about him" - Orson Welles

"Gluttony is not a secret vice" - Orson Welles

"I don't pray because I don't want to bore God" - Orson Welles

"I hate television. I hate it as much as peanuts. But I can't stop eating peanuts" - Orson Welles

"You never heard of a comedy team that didn't fight, did you?" - Bud Abbott

"It gets so boring at home. After all, how many reruns of Abbot & Costello movies can a guy watch on television?" - Bud Abbott

"God makes stars. I just produce them" - Samuel Goldwyn

"A career is born in public, talent in privacy" - Marilyn Monroe

"A sex symbol becomes a thing. I hate being a thing" - Marilyn Monroe

"Dogs never bite me, just humans" - Marilyn Monroe

"I made more lousy pictures than any actor in history" - Humphrey Bogart

"A hot dog at the ball park is better than a steak at the Ritz" - Humphrey Bogart

"Things are never so bad they can't be made worse" - Humphrey Bogart

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Favorite Classic Film Stars - BILLIE BURKE

Billie Burke, was born on August 7th, 1884 in Washington, D.C. as Mary William Ethelbert Appleton Burke (how's that for a mouthful!)

This Oscar nominated American actress is primarily known to modern audiences for her unforgettable role as Glinda the Good Witch of the North in the musical film "The Wizard of Oz".

Known as Billie Burke, she toured the United States and Europe with a circus because her father, Billy Burke was employed with them as a singing clown. Her family ultimately settled in London where she was fortunate to see plays in London's historic West End.

Burke wanted to be a stage actress. In 1903, she began acting on stage, making her debut in London and eventually returning to America to become the toast of Broadway as a musical Broadway star. She was praised by the New York Times for her charm and her brightness. Thanks to her representation by famed producer Charles Frahman, Burke went on to play leads on Broadway in "Mrs. Dot", "The Runaway", "The Mind-the Paint-Girl" and "The Land of Promise" from 1910 through 1913.

There she caught the eye of producer Lorenz Ziegfeld, marrying him in 1914. In 1916 they had one daughter - Patricia Ziegfeld Stephenson (1916-2008). Burke was quickly signed for the movies, making her film debut in the title role of "Peggy" (1916). She continued to appear on stage and sometimes she starred on the screen, but she loved the stage more than the movie business, not only because it was her first love, but also because it allowed her to have speaking parts (impossible in silent films). But when the family's savings were wiped out in the Crash of 1929 she had no choice but to return to the screen.

In 1932, Burke made her Hollywood comeback on "A Bill of Divorcement" directed by George Cukor. Thought the film is more famous for the film debut of Katherine Hephburn (Burke played her mother). Despite the death of Lorenz Ziegfeld during the films production, Burke resumed filming shortly after his funeral.

In 1936, MGM filmed a biopic of her deceased husband (The Great Ziegfeld), a film that won Oscars for Best Picture and Best Actress (Luis Rainer as Ziegfelds common law wife Anna Held). Burke was herself a character in the film, but she was not cast as herself. Myrna Loy portrayed the role of Burke.

In 1933 Burke was cast as Mrs. Millicent Jordan, a scatterbrained high-society woman hosting a dinner party in the comedy "Dinner at Eight", directed by George Cukor and starring, Lionel Barrymore, Marie Dressler, John Barrymore, Jean Harlow and Wallace Berry. The movie was a great success and revived Burkes career. She subsequently starred in many comedies and musicals typecast as a ditzy, fluffy and feather brained upper class matron, due to her helium-filled voice.

In 1937, Billie appeared in the first of the "Topper" series of films, about a man haunted by two socialite ghosts (Cary Grant and Constance Bennett), in which she played the tremulous and daffy Clara Topper. Her performance as Emily Kilbourne in "Merrily we Live" (1938), resulted in her only Oscar nomination.

In 1938, at the age of fifty three, Burke was chosen to play Glinda "The Good Witch of the North" in the Oscar winning seminal 1939 musical film "The Wizard of Oz", followed by "Father of the Bride" in 1950 and "Father's Little Dividend" in 1954.

Billie Burke died in Los Angeles of dementia thought to be Alzheimer's at age eighty five on May 14 in 1970, and was interred at Kensico Cemetary, Vahalla, Westchester County, NY. She was survived by her daughter and her four grandchildren.

Quote from Billie Burke: "Age is something that doesn't matter, unless you are a cheese".

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Carolynn's Favorite Quotes ...

"I think your whole life shows in your face and you should be proud of that" - Lauren Becall

"A sure way to lose happiness, I found, is to want it as the expense of everything else" - Bette Davis

"The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind" - Humphrey Bogart

"Everyone wants to be Cary Grant, even I want to be Cary Grant" - Cary Grant

"It's well done if you can do a part and not have the acting show" - Jimmy Stewart

"Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners" - Jimmy Stewart

"Know your lines and don't bump into the furniture" - Spencer Tracey

Favorite Classic Film Stars - GEORGE RAFT

George Raft, one of my favorite gangster actors was born on September 26, 1895 in Hell's Kitchen in New York City. His birth name was George Ranft and his fathers name was Conrad Ranft and his mothers name was Eva Glockner. Raft quickly adopted the "tough guy" image he would later go on to use in films.

Initially interested in dancing, as a young man he showed great aptitude for it and this combined with his elegant fashion sense, allowed him to work as a dancer in some of New York's most fashionable nightclubs.

In early 1929 Raft moved to Hollywood and took small roles in films. His success came in "Scarface" (1932), and Raft's convincing portrayal led to speculation that Raft himself was a gangster. He was a close friend in real life to several organized crime figures, including Bugsy Siegel, Owneg Madden and Siegel's suspected killer Meyer Lansky.

Raft was considered one of Hollywood's most dapper and stylish dressers and he achieved a level of celebrity not entirely commensurate with the quality or popularity of his films. He became a pop culture icon in the thirties matched by few other film stars.

Raft was definitely one of the three most popular gangster actors of the thirties along with James Cagney, and Edward G. Robinson (Humphrey Bogart never matched Rafts stardom during that decade). Raft and Cagney worked together in "Each Dawn I Die" (1939) as fellow convicts in prison. His 1932 film "Night after Night" launched the career of Mae West with a supporting part as well as providing Raft's first leading role. (Raft and West would die two days of each other forty eight years later and their bodies would wind up in the same morgue at the same time!).

Some of Raft's other films include "If I had a Million" (1932), "Bolero" (1934), "The Glass Key" (1935), "Souls at Sea" (1937), Invisible Stripes" (1939) and "They Drive by Night" both with Humphrey Bogart with whom he was supposed to be bitter enemies with off screen.

1940-1941 proved to be Raft's career height. He went into a period of decline over the next decade though and achieved the unenviable place in Hollywood folklore as the actor who turned down some of the best roles in screen history. Most notable were "High Sierra" ( He didn't want to die at the end), and "The Maltese Falcon". Both roles which would go on to transform Humphrey Bogart from a supporting actor into a major force in Hollywood in 1941.

Approached by Billy Wilder, he also refused the lead role in "Double Indemnity" (1944). which led to the casting of Fred MacMurray in the towering classic that would have undoubtedly revived Raft's career. His lack of judgement (probably grounded in the fact that he was more or less illiterate, which made judging scripts more problematic than usual), combined with the public growing distaste for his apparent gangster lifestyle effectively ended his career as a leading man in mainstream movies. His final film was in "Sextette" in 1978 with Mae West in an amusing cameo.

George Raft died from Leukemia at the age of 85 on November 24th, 1980 in Los Angeles, California and is interred in Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles California.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Todays Birthday - October 20 - BELA LUGOSI

Bela Lugosi was born on October 20, 1882 as Bela Ferenc Dezso Blasko in Lugos, Austria-Hungary (now Lugoj, Romania).

Lugosi was an iconic Hungarian stage and film actor who was best know for his portrayal of Count Dracula in the American Broadway stage production in 1927, and subsequent film in 1931 of Bran Stoker's "Dracula".

Lugosi was the youngest of four children to Paula De Vojenich and Istvan BLasko, a banker. He and his sister Vilma were raised in a Roman Catholic family. Lugosi started his acting career in Hungary in several Shakespearean plays and in other major roles. He began appearing in Hungarian silent films under the stage name Arisztid Olt. During World War I, he served as an infantry lieutenant in the Austro- Hungarian Army.

Lugosi got married for the first time in 1917 to Ilona Szmick, but the marriage ended in divorce in 1920 reputedly over political differences with Szmick's parents.

Lugosi's first film appearance was in 1917, he would make twelve films in Hungary between 1917 and 1918, before leaving for Germany in 1920. He than entered the United States illegally at New Orleans in December of 1920. He finally got legally inspected at Ellis Island in March of 1921.

On his arrival, the 6'1", 180lb. Bela worked for some time as a laborer, than entered the theater in New York City's Hungarian Immigrant Colony. His first major American film came in 1923 called "The Silent Command".

In 1929, Lugosi took his place in Hollywood Society and scandal when he married wealthy San Francisco widow Beatrice Weeks, but divorced three days later. Weeks cited "Clara Bow" as the other woman.

Lugosi was approached to star in a stage production of Dracula. He was very successful, but despite his critical acclaimed performance on stage he was not Universal Studio's first choice for the roll of Dracula. A persistent rumor asserts that Lon Chaney was Universal's first choice for the role and Lugosi was chosen only due to Chaney's death shortly before production.

Following the success of Dracula in 1931, Lugosi received a studio contract with Universal. On June 26, 1931 he became a naturalized citizen of the United States. In 1933, he married Lillian Arch. They had a child who was named Bela G. Lugosi. They divorced twenty years later in 1953.

Though his association with the Dracula character, Lugosi found himself typecast as a horror villain in such movies as "The Rue Morgue", The Raven" and "Son of Frankenstein". These were all for Universal Studios. His accent while a part of his image limited the roles he could play.

Lugosi married his fourth wife in 1955 and her name was Hope Linniger.

Bela Lugosi died of a heart attack on August 16th, 1956 while lying on a couch in his Los Angeles home. He was seventy three.

Lugosi was buried wearing one of the Dracula stage play costumes as per the request of his son and his forth wife. He is interred at the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City California. Contrary to popular belief he never requested to be buried in his Dracula cape. He son and forth wife has ascertained that many times.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Favorite Classic Film Stars - EUGENE PALLETTE

Eugene Pallette was a great character actor who was born in Winfield, Kansas on July 8th, 1889. He was born into a theatrical family and toured the US with them and eventually following in his parents footsteps himself. He did work stints as both a streetcar conductor and a jockey before beginning his career in silent films in 1912 as a leading man. He worked with D.W. Griffith on such famous films as "The Birth of a Nation" (1915) and "Intolerance" (1916). At the time he made these films though he had a slim, athletic figure, a far cry from the portly build that would gain him fame later in his career. World War I interrupted his career and when he returned to the screen, he was a bit heavier, which made him better suited for his character actor roles. His trademarks were his squat stature, dark piercing eyes and above all, his gravelly. bullfrog voice.

After gaining a substantial amount of weight, Pallette's status as a recognizable character actor rose. In 1927 he signed on as a regular for Hal Roach Studios and was a reliable comic foil in several early Laurel and Hardy films before the advent of talkies. Sound was the second career boost for Pallette. His inimitable rasping gravel voice (described as "half an octave below anyone else in the cast") made him one of Hollywood's most sought after character actors in the 1930's and 1940's/

The typical Pallette role was the comically exasperated head of the family (as in "My Man Godfrey" and "The Lady Eve"), the cynical backroom sharpy (as in "Mr. Smith goes to Washington"), or the gruff detective. However, his best known role may be as Friar Tuck in "The Adventures of Robin Hood".

After World War II, Pallettes ultra-right wing political views fueled his "bomb" paranoia and he bought a property in Oregon which he turned into a well-stocked compound in case the Russians attacked. Many of his old Hollywood friends including Clark Gable visited him there (some came to hunt and fish), but the property was later sold.

With his weight eventually topping out at three hundred pounds Pallette was in poor health by his late fifties. He made fewer and fewer movies and for lesser studios. His final film, "Suspense" was released in 1946. He died on September 3rd, 1954 at the age of 65 of cancer. and is buried in Grenola, Kansas in an unmarked grave.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Born Today - for October 18th

George C. Scott - birth name: George Campbell Scott
Born: October 18, 1927 in Wise, Virginia
Died: September 22, 1999 (age 71) in Westlake Village, California

Famous Hollywood Ghosts.....

As we get nearer to Halloween, I thought it fitting to mention a few of the most legendary of the ghosts that apparently still hang around Hollywood to "haunt" their old hang-outs. And while, I myself, do not believe in ghosts, who knows? There really may be some truth to these stories???

1) Montgomery Cliff supposedly haunts the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel at 700 Hollywood Blvd. He had stayed there for three months while rehearsing for the 1953 film "From Here to Eternity". His ghost now allegedly haunts room number 928 on the 9th floor of the hotel, playing a trumpet and pacing up and down the hallways while reciting his old lines.

2) Also haunting the same hotel, is none other than Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn supposedly has been seen several times in a full length mirror which was originally in her pool side suite 1200, where she often stayed. The mirror in which her image appears is now located next to the elevator on the lower level.

3) Harry Houdini is said to roam the remains of his former home in the Hollywood Hills, at 2398 Laurel Canyon Blvd.

4) Clifton Webb supposedly haunts both the Abbey of the Psalms mausoleum at Hollywood Memorial Park Cemetery next to Paramount Studios, and his home as well. The star who played Mr. Belvedere has been seen in both places, and cigarette ashes have been found in the library of his former home in unusual places.

5) Rudolph Valentino who died suddenly at the age of 31 in 1924 is a very prolific ghost. His spirit has been sighted at some of his former residences, such as Valentino Place, his beach house in Oxnard, and at the Santa Maria Inn. His last home in Beverly Hills is Falcons Lair, and is claimed to be haunted by him. Previous owners have seen his ghost in the bedroom and a overnight guest claims to have been chased by his ghost. A caretaker saw him in the stable with the horses. Passers by have seen him peering out of windows as well. Others have heard footsteps and have heard doors opening and closing for no reason.

6) George Reeves, of Superman fame died of gunshot wounds at his home in 1959. Located on Benedict Canyon Drive. His death was officially ruled a suicide, but there is still speculation of murder. His ghost has been seen in the bedroom where he died and he is in his Superman costume. There have been gunshots heard in the house and lights going on and off for no reason. Noises in the bedroom and the room has been ram sacked when no one was there. Neighbors have seen him standing on his front lawn as well.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Favorite Film Stars - ALAN MOWBRAY

As I tend to have an affinity for lesser famous actors and actresses and character actors as well, I could not let today go by after watching "Topper" without mentioning that great character actor Alan Mowbray. A wonderful character who appeared in over one hundred and forty films.

Alan was born Alfred Ernest Allen, on August 18th, 1896 in London, England. and died of a heart attack at the age of seventy two on March 25th, 1969.

Alan was a real typical British man, tall, rigid posture, well groomed and with an aristocratic air about him and excellent diction. He served with distinction in the British Army in World War One, reaching the rank of major and being awarded the Military Medal for bravery.

He began as a stage actor, made his way to the US and appeared in Broadway plays and toured the country as part of a theater troupe from 1923-1929/

He took the stage name of Alan Mowbray from a letter he had seen written by Robert Lewis Stevenson to his cousin; Robert Alan Mowbray Stevenson. And he liked the look and sound of the name so much that he kept it for himself.

Mowbray was most often cast as British or European gentlemen, butlers, doctors, aristocrats and royalty.

He was married in 1927 to Lorayne Carpenter and had two children. And was a founding member of the Screen Actors Guild as well..

Monday, October 13, 2008

American Film Institutes Top Five Male Stars

Classic Movie Tribute

William Powell Quotes....

"My friends have stood by me marvelously in the ups and downs of my career. I don't believe there is anything more worthwhile than friendship. Friendship is a far better thing than love, as it is commonly acceptable" - William Powell

"Unfortunately, or perhaps it is fortunate that I have always been forced to stand by my acting ability. I haven't a personality such as Jack Gilberts, for instance, that attracts woman and make them like me for myself. When I am on the screen, I must make them forget me entirely and think only of my acting" - William Powell

"Dessert is probably the most important stage of the meal, sine it will be the last thing your guests remember before they pass out all over the table" - William Powell

"I highly recommend worrying. It is much more effective than dieting" - William Powell

"Cultivate solitude and quiet and a few sincere friends, rather than mob merriment, noise and thousands of nodding acquaintances" - William Powell

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Some Fun! - "The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer" 1947, Cary Grant, Myrna Loy and Shirley Temple

Favorite Classic Movie Stars - HEDY LAMARR

Hedy Lamarr was born in Vienna, Austria, on November 9th, 1913 by the name of Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler. Although she is primarily know for her great beauty and acting, she was also an inventor and co-invented an early form of spread spectrum communications technology - a key to modern wireless communication. Below, please find a more detailed description of what this invention entailed:

Did you know that the original idea and patent that led to cellular phone technology comes from the movie star, Hedy Lamarr?

She knew a great deal about weaponry by listening to her first husband, Fritz Mandl, an armament manufacturer. She left her husband when he became increasingly involved in deals with the Nazis and made her way to London, then on to Hollywood.

She'd kept her mind active on what she'd heard about the problems of radio controlled missiles and how easy it was to block the simple signal. She realized that if the signal jumped from frequency to frequency quickly (like changing channels on a TV or radio) and both sender and receiver changed in the same order, then the signal could never be blocked by someone "listening in" who didn't know how the frequency was changing.

In those days before the transistor was invented it was difficult to design a way for this to be accomplished. Composer George Antheil suggested using something similar to piano rolls, from player pianos, to keep both sides in sync. Together, he and Lamarr patented the "Secret Communication System" in 1942. At that time the idea of using the paper rolls was too cumbersome to be practical.

When the transistor did become available the Navy used the idea in secure military communications and when transistors became really cheap the idea was used in cellular phone technology. By the time the Navy used the idea, the original patent had expired and Lamarr and Antheil never received any royalty payments for their idea.

In 1997 she was honored with an award at the Computers, Freedom, and Privacy conference for "blazing new trails on the electronic frontier." Hedy Lamarr died on January 19, 2000.

Source: The Associated Press, March, 1997

Lamarr was born the daughter of Jewish parents, Getrude who was a pianist and a Budapest native who came from the Jewish "Haute Bourgeoisie", and Lemberg born Emil Kiesler, a successful bank director. Growing up, Hedy studied ballet and piano. When working with Max Reinhardt in Berlin, he called her the "most beautiful woman in Europe". Soon, the teenage girl played major roles in German movies.

In early 1933, she starred in "Symphonie der Liebe" or "Ecstacy" a Czechoslovak film made in Prague in which she played a love hungry young wife of an indifferent old husband. Closeups of her face showed her in supposedly orgasm and long shots showed her running nude through the woods...both of which gave the film notoriety and caused it to be banned in much of the world, including the U.S.

On August 10th, 1933, Hedy married Friedrich Mandl, a Vienna based arms manufacturer who was thirteen years her senior. The Austrian fascist bought up as many copies of the film that she had made as he could possible find, as he objected to her nudity and "The expression on her face", (Lamarr later claimed that the looks of passion were the result of the director poking her in the bottom with a safety pin). Mandl prevented Hedy from pursuing her acting career, and instead took her to meetings with technicians and business partners of his. In these meetings, the mathematically-talented Lamarr learned about military technology. Otherwise she had to stay at castle "Schwarzenau". She later related that even though Mandl was part Jewish he was consorting with Nazi industrialists which infuriated her. In 1937, she convinced him to allow her to attend a party wearing all her expensive jewelry. She later drugged him with the help of her maid and made her escape out of the country with the jewelry.

First she went to Paris, then met Louis B. Mayer in London. After he hired her, at his insistence, she changed her name to Hedy Lamarr, Choosing the surname in homage to a beautiful film star of the silent era named Barbara Lamarr, who had died in 1926 from drug addiction.

In Hollywood, Hedy was usually cast as a glamorous and seductive woman. Her american debut was in the film "Algiers" in 1938. Her many films included "Boom Town" in 1940, "White Cargo" in 1942, "Tortilla Flat" also in 1942 (which was based on the novel by John Steinbach).

Lamarr made 18 films between the years of 1940 and 1949, even though she had two children during that time as well, one in 1945 and one in 1947. She left MGM in 1945. Her biggest success came as playing Delihah in Cecil B. DeMille's 1949 epic, Samson & Delilah, opposite Victor Mature. However, her comedic turn opposite Bob Hope in "My Favorite Spy" in 1951) was when her career started into decline. She appeared only sporadically in film after 1950.

The publication of her autobiography entitled "Ecstasy and Me" in 1967 took place about a year after accusations of shoplifting and a year after Andy Warhol's short film "Hedy" in 1966, also know as "The Shoplifter". The controversy surrounding the shoplifting charges coincided with an aborted return to the screen in "Picture Mommy Dead" in 1966. But the role was ultimately filled by Zza Zza Gabor.

One of Hedy Lamarr's quotes:
"Hope and curiosity about the future seemed better than guarantees. That's the way I was. The unknown was always so attractive to me...and still is.