The still for Ballets Russes is actually a crop of the poster. Actual screenshot:
The Saga of Gosta Berling deserves a better still than that blurry, in the moment one….
Wow those stills of Gosta Berling are very tempting…sold!
Info for Rudolph Valentino
Quote: “Women are not in love with me but with the picture of me on the screen. I am merely the canvas upon which the women paint their dreams.”
Though the phrase “Latin Lover” has been applied to many actors over the years, to some film buffs the designation truly fits only one individual: Rudolph Valentino. The son of an Italian army veterinarian, Valentino attended the Royal School of Agriculture in Genoa after his career at a prestigious military academy came a-cropper. At age 17 he moved to Paris and the following year he emigrated to New York, supporting himself as a landscape gardener, dishwasher, and tango dancer, among other occupations. Unfortunately he also occasionally ran afoul of the law when he turned to petty crimes to make ends meet. Through the kindness of his actress friend Alla Nazimova, he was hired to dance in a musical which died aborning in Utah but paid his way to the West Coast. Another friend, actor Norman Kerry, helped Valentino land a few minor roles in films and by 1919 the young Italian was typecast as a shifty-eyed Latino villain. During this period he married another aspiring film performer, Jean Acker, but the union didn’t last long. Finally in 1921, Valentino’s star potential was realized by screenwriter June Mathis, who convinced director Rex Ingram to cast the actor in the important role of Julio in Metro’s The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse. Valentino’s unique brand of sexual charisma scored an immediate hit with the public, but Metro failed to capitalize on their new personality, prompting him to accept a better offer at Paramount. Here he co-starred with Agnes Ayres in The Sheik (1922), a tatty, unsophisticated adaptation of E.M. Hull’s exotic novel. Despite the film’s shortcomings, Valentino’s magnetic personality permeated every frame, firmly establishing him as a star of the first rank.
As was its custom, Paramount rushed their new sensation from one film to another and before long the law of diminishing returns exercised its usual prerogative. So dissatisfied was Valentino with his substandard vehicles that he took a two-year sabbatical from films, devoting his time to writing and publishing poetry. When he returned to the screen, it was under the heavy-handed influence of his second wife, set designer Natacha Rambova (born Winifred Hudnut), who talked him into playing epicene dandies in such overblown productions as Monsieur Beaucaire (1924) and Cobra (1925). The Rambova-inspired effeminization of Valentino’s screen personality provoked outrage from “100 percent red-blooded” males, one of whom, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune, characterized the actor as a “pink powder puff” and cast libelous aspersions upon his manhood. Valentino angrily responded by challenging the writer to a fistfight, but the waspish scrivener refused to give him the satisfaction. Many of Valentino’s friends and associates rushed to his defense during this period, affirming that he was not the “painted pansy” he was accused of being, adding for good measure that he was a loyal, considerate, and trustworthy friend. Even the acerbic essayist H.L. Mencken stated in print that Valentino was not only a certified he-man but an all-around nice fellow. Hoping to alter the public’s perception of him, he purged the troublesome Rambova from his life and formed his own production company, playing virile leading roles in The Eagle (1925) and Son of the Sheik (1926), two of his best films. Though he was able to salvage his career, he was unable to enjoy the fruits of his labors: a few months after completing Son of the Sheik, he was hospitalized in New York with a perforated ulcer. Complications quickly set in, and on August 23, 1926, the 31-year-old actor died of peritonitis and septic endocarditis. Almost immediately, the Valentino “death cult” entrenched itself: nearly 80,000 hysterical women (including his most recent lover, actress Pola Negri) crowded into Campbell’s Funeral Parlor in New York to catch a glimpse of his body, while in other parts of the world several of the actor’s more impressionable devotees committed suicide (as if anticipating the similar mass hysteria surrounding the death of Elvis Presley in 1977, rumors persisted well into the 1930s that Valentino had not died at all, but had gone into hiding under an assumed name). In addition to the dozens of biographical books on Valentino, there have been several filmed treatments of his life, starring actors as diverse as Anthony Dexter and Rudolph Nureyev. None of these worthies could approach the special appeal of the real Rudolph Valentino, whose best films still retain their magic even after eight decades.
Photo for Alexander Korda
Photo for Anthony Asquith
Info for Richard Attenborough
Quote: "I do care about style. I do care, but I only care about style that serves the subject. "
One of England’s most respected actors and directors, Sir Richard Attenborough has made numerous contributions to world cinema both in front of and behind the camera. The son of a Cambridge school administrator, Attenborough began dabbling in theatricals at the age of 12. While attending London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1941, he turned professional, making his first stage appearance in a production of Eugene O’Neill’s Ah, Wilderness! He made his screen debut as the Young Sailor in Noel Coward and David Lean’s In Which We Serve (1943), before achieving his first significant West End success as the punkish, cowardly, petty criminal Pinkie Brown in Brighton Rock.
After three years of service with the Royal Air Force, Attenborough rose to film stardom in the 1947 film version of Brighton Rock — a role that caused him to be typecast as a working-class misfit over the next few years. One of the best of his characterizations in this vein can be found in The Guinea Pig (1948), in which the 26-year-old Attenborough was wholly credible as a 13-year-old schoolboy. As the ‘50s progressed, he was permitted a wider range of characters in such films as The Magic Box (1951), The Ship That Died of Shame (1955), and Private’s Progress (1956). In 1959, he teamed up with director Bryan Forbes to form Beaver Films. Before the partnership dissolved in 1964, Attenborough had played such sharply etched personalities as Tom Curtis in The Angry Silence (1960) and Bill Savage in Séance on a Wet Afternoon (1964); he also served as producer for the Forbes-directed Whistle Down the Wind (1962) and The L-Shaped Room (1962).
During the ‘60s, Attenborough exhibited a fondness for military roles: POW mastermind Bartlett in The Great Escape (1963); hotheaded ship’s engineer Frenchy Burgoyne in The Sand Pebbles (1966); and Sgt. Major Lauderdale in Guns at Batasi (1964), the performance that won him a British Academy Award. He also played an extended cameo in Doctor Dolittle (1967), and sang “I’ve Never Seen Anything Like It in My Life,” a paean to the amazing Pushmi-Pullyu. This boisterous musical performance may well have been a warm-up for Attenborough’s film directorial debut, the satirical anti-war revue Oh, What a Lovely War (1969). He subsequently helmed the historical epics Young Winston (1972) and A Bridge Too Far (1977), then scaled down his technique for the psychological thriller Magic (1978), which starred his favorite leading man, Anthony Hopkins. With more and more of his time consumed by his directing activities, Attenborough found fewer opportunities to act. One of his best performances in the ’70s was as the eerily “normal” real-life serial killer Christie in 10 Rillington Place (1971).
In 1982, Attenborough brought a 20-year dream to fruition when he directed the spectacular biopic Gandhi. The film won a raft of Oscars, including a Best Director statuette for Attenborough; he was also honored with Golden Globe and Director’s Guild awards, and, that same year, published his book In Search of Gandhi, another product of his fascination with the Indian leader. All of Attenborough’s post-Gandhi projects have been laudably ambitious, though none have reached the same pinnacle of success. Some of the best of his latter-day directorial efforts have been Cry Freedom, a 1987 depiction of the horrors of apartheid; 1992’s Chaplin, an epic biopic of the great comedian; and Shadowlands (1993), starring Anthony Hopkins as spiritually motivated author C.S. Lewis.
Attenborough returned to the screen during the ‘90s, acting in avuncular character roles, the most popular of which was the affable but woefully misguided billionaire entrepreneur John Hammond in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park (1993), a role he reprised for the film’s 1997 sequel. Other notable performances included the jovial Kriss Kringle in Miracle on 34th Street (1994) and Sir William Cecil in Elizabeth (1998). The brother of naturalist David Attenborough and husband of actress Sheila Sim, he was knighted in 1976 and became a life peer in 1993. Attenborough has chaired dozens of professional organizations and worked tirelessly on behalf of Britain’s Muscular Dystrophy Campaign.
Info for Richard Burton
Quote: “The only thing in life is language. Not love. Not anything else.”
The 12th of 13 children of a Welsh miner, actor Richard Burton left his humble environs by winning a scholarship to Oxford. Blessed with a thrillingly theatrical voice, Burton took to the stage, and, by 1949, had been tagged as one of Britain’s most promising newcomers. Director Philip Dunne, who later helmed several of Burton’s Hollywood films, would recall viewing a 1949 London staging of The Lady’s Not for Burning and watching in awe as star John Gielgud was eclipsed by juvenile lead Richard Burton: “He ‘took’ the stage and kept a firm grip on it during every one of his brief appearances.” A few years after his film debut in The Last Days of Dolwyn (1949), the actor was signed by 20th Century Fox, which had hopes of turning him into the new Lawrence Olivier — although Burton was not quite able to grip films as well as he did the stage.
Aside from The Robe (1953), most of Burton’s Fox films were disappointments, and the actor was unable to shake his to-the-rafters theatricality for the smaller scope of the camera lens. Still, he was handsome and self-assured, so Burton was permitted a standard-issue 1950s spectacle, Alexander the Great (1956). His own film greatness would not manifest itself until he played the dirt-under-the-nails role of Jimmy Porter in Look Back in Anger (1959). In this, he spoke the vernacular of regular human beings — rather than that of high-priced, affected Hollywood screenwriters — and delivered a jolting performance as a working-class man trapped by the system and his own personal demons. Following a well-received Broadway run in the musical Camelot, Burton was signed in 1961 to replace Stephen Boyd on the benighted film spectacular Cleopatra (1963). It probably isn’t necessary to elaborate on what happened next, but the result was that Burton suddenly found himself an international celebrity, not for his acting, but for his tempestuous romance with co-star Elizabeth Taylor.
A hot property at last, Burton apparently signed every long-term contract thrust in front of him, while television networks found themselves besieged with requests for screenings of such earlier Burton film “triumphs” as Prince of Players (1955) and The Rains of Ranchipur (1956). In the midst of the initial wave of notoriety, Burton appeared in a Broadway modern-dress version of Hamlet directed by John Gielgud, which played to standing-room-only crowds who were less interested in the melancholy Dane than in possibly catching a glimpse of the Lovely Liz. Amidst choice film work like Becket (1964) and The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (1966), Burton was also contractually obligated to appear with Taylor in such high-priced kitsch as The V.I.P.s, (1963) The Sandpiper (1965), and Boom! (1968). A few of the Burton/Taylor vehicles were excellent — notably Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (she won an Oscar; he didn’t, but should have) — but the circus of publicity began to erode the public’s ability to take Burton seriously. It became even harder when the couple divorced, remarried, and broke up again. Moreover, Burton was bound by contract to appear in such bland cinematic enterprises as Candy (1968), Villain (1971), The Assassination of Trotsky (1972), The Klansman (1974), and that rancid masterpiece Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977). So low had Burton’s reputation sunk that when he delivered an Oscar-caliber performance in Equus (1977), it was hailed as a “comeback,” even though the actor had never left. (Once again he lost the Oscar, this time to Richard Dreyfuss.) Burton managed to recapture his old performing fire in his last moviemaking years, offering up one of his best performances in his final picture, 1984 (1984). He died later that year.
アナスタシア, those are some great additions, I particularly love that Richard Burton quote!
Thanks. Mr. Burton has so many great quotes, but I thought that one was perfect. :)
~ Profile Info for Manuel Mozos
~ Profile Picture
Manuel Mozos (born June 1959, Lisbon) is a Portuguese film director.
He studied History and Philosophy before enrolling the School of Theatre and Cinema, where he specialized himself as an editor. Was responsible for the edition of several films until, in 1989, he directed Um Passo, Outro Passo e Depois… and, in 1992, his first feature, Xavier. Since then he also directed several documentaries and video clips. Diana, produced and released by Rosa Filmes, is his most recent film.
( wiki )
Photo for René Clair
P.S.: Finding photos of directors is really hard…
Missing still for All Along The Great Divide
Missing still for Action in the North Atlantic
Across The Pacific
The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse
Missing still for Abe Lincoln in Illinois
A better still for King-Size Canary (it isn’t great, but better than the current one)
A missing still for American Boy: A Profile of Steven Prince
Info for Yukio Mishima
Quote: “There is no virtue in curiosity. In fact, it might be the most immoral desire a man can possess.”
Yukio Mishima was born in Tokyo in 1925. He attended the University of Tokyo. His first work of fiction, a short story, was published when he was a first-year student. For the rest of his life he wrote – to enormous popular and critical acclaim – plays, poetry, essays, and novels. His first full-length novel, the autobiographical “Confessions of a Mask,” is considered a classic of modern Japanese fiction. In it, a young man grapples with his homosexuality, the intensity of his inner states, the ways he must conceal himself, and the difficulties of not conforming to Japanese society. Mishima, educated in Japan and deeply influenced by European and Russian literature, developed his consuming obsession: a longing for unvanquished, imperial Japan; its samurai traditions, and heroic ideals of beauty, nationalism, and honor, including the traditionally enviable fate of dying for one’s country. Mishima led by example. Along with writing energetically and passionately, he founded an elite right-wing organization for 100 males, the Shield Society, dedicated to ‘Bushido,’ the Samurai code of honor. Mishima became an expert in traditional martial arts, despaired of modern Japan and bemoaned the post-war suppression of its traditional past. Control – of the self, of art and of society – was of the utmost importance to Mishima. On travel, Mishima wrote in “Mask” : “…at no time are we ever in such complete possession of a journey, down to its last nook and cranny, as when we are busy with preparations for it. After that, there remains only the journey itself, which is nothing but the process by which we lose our ownership of it. This is what makes travel so utterly fruitless.” Twenty-six years later, Mishima, intense and disturbed as ever, and in complete ‘possession’ of his life, committed suicide in a shocking and internationally-reported public event. He was forty-five.
Photo for Fred Zinnemann
A better image for the film Lemonade Joe
Info for John Wayne
Quote: “I want to play a real man in all my films, and I define manhood simply: men should be tough, fair, and courageous, never petty, never looking for a fight, but never backing down from one either.”
Arguably the most popular — and certainly the busiest — movie leading man in Hollywood history, John Wayne entered the film business while working as a laborer on the Fox lot during summer vacations from U.S.C., which he attended on a football scholarship. He met and was befriended by John Ford, a young director who was beginning to make a name for himself in action films, comedies, and dramas. Wayne was cast in small roles in Ford’s late-‘20s films, occasionally under the name Duke Morrison. It was Ford who recommended Wayne to director Raoul Walsh for the male lead in the 1930 epic Western The Big Trail, and, although it was a failure at the box office, the movie showed Wayne’s potential as a leading man. During the next nine years, be busied himself in a multitude of B-Westerns and serials — most notably Shadow of the Eagle and The Three Mesquiteers series — in between occasional bit parts in larger features such as Warner Bros.’ Baby Face, starring Barbara Stanwyck. But it was in action roles that Wayne excelled, exuding a warm and imposing manliness onscreen to which both men and women could respond.
In 1939, Ford cast Wayne as the Ringo Kid in the adventure Stagecoach, a brilliant Western of modest scale but tremendous power (and incalculable importance to the genre), and the actor finally showed what he could do. Wayne nearly stole a picture filled with Oscar-caliber performances, and his career was made. He starred in most of Ford’s subsequent major films, whether Westerns (Fort Apache 1948, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon 1949, Rio Grande 1950, The Searchers 1956); war pictures (They Were Expendable 1945); or serious dramas (The Quiet Man 1952, in which Wayne also directed some of the action sequences). He also starred in numerous movies for other directors, including several extremely popular World War II thrillers (Flying Tigers 1942, Back to Bataan 1945, Fighting Seabees 1944, Sands of Iwo Jima 1949); costume action films (Reap the Wild Wind 1942, Wake of the Red Witch 1949); and Westerns (Red River 1948). His box-office popularity rose steadily through the 1940s, and by the beginning of the 1950s he’d also begun producing movies through his company Wayne-Fellowes, later Batjac, in association with his sons Michael and Patrick (who also became an actor). Most of these films were extremely successful, and included such titles as Angel and the Badman (1947), Island in the Sky (1953), The High and the Mighty (1954), and Hondo (1953). The 1958 Western Rio Bravo, directed by Howard Hawks, proved so popular that it was remade by Hawks and Wayne twice, once as El Dorado and later as Rio Lobo. At the end of the 1950s, Wayne began taking on bigger films, most notably The Alamo (1960), which he produced and directed, as well as starred in. It was well received but had to be cut to sustain any box-office success (the film was restored to full length in 1992).
During the early ‘60s, concerned over the growing liberal slant in American politics, Wayne emerged as a spokesman for conservative causes, especially support for America’s role in Vietnam, which put him at odds with a new generation of journalists and film critics. Coupled with his advancing age, and a seeming tendency to overact, he became a target for liberals and leftists. However, his movies remained popular. McLintock!, which, despite well-articulated statements against racism and the mistreatment of Native Americans, and in support of environmentalism, seemed to confirm the left’s worst fears, but also earned more than ten million dollars and made the list of top-grossing films of 1963-1964. Virtually all of his subsequent movies, including the pro-Vietnam War drama The Green Berets (1968), were very popular with audiences, but not with critics. Further controversy erupted with the release of The Cowboys, which outraged liberals with its seeming justification of violence as a solution to lawlessness, but it was successful enough to generate a short-lived television series.
Amid all of the shouting and agonizing over his politics, Wayne won an Oscar for his role as marshal Rooster Cogburn in True Grit, a part that he later reprised in a sequel. Wayne weathered the Vietnam War, but, by then, time had become his enemy. His action films saw him working alongside increasingly younger co-stars, and the decline in popularity of the Western ended up putting him into awkward contemporary action films like McQ (1974). Following his final film, The Shootist (1976) — possibly his best Western since The Searchers — the news that Wayne was stricken ill with cancer (which eventually took his life in 1979) wiped the slate clean, and his support for the Panama Canal Treaty at the end of the 1970s belatedly made him a hero for the left.
Wayne finished his life honored by the film community, the U.S. Congress, and the American people as had no actor before or since. He remains among the most popular actors of his generation, as evidenced by the continual rereleases of his films on home video.
Info for Peter O’Toole
Quote: “When did I realize I was God? Well, I was praying and I suddenly realized I was talking to myself.”
The legendary Irish-born thespian Peter O’Toole proves that when an actor is faced with a bitter personal crisis and struggles with addiction, spirit and determination can often lead to a forceful “third act” in that performer’s career that rivals anything to have preceded it. Blessed with an immensity of dramatic power, the fair-haired, blue-eyed, flamboyant, and virile O’Toole chalked up one of the most formidable acting resumes of the 20th century during the 1950s and ‘60s, before experiencing an ugly bout of self-destruction in the mid-’70s that led to serious health problems, several disappointing and embarrassing roles, and the destruction of his marriage, and threatened (in the process) to bury his career. By 1980, however, O’Toole overcame his problems and resurfaced, triumphantly, as a box-office star.
O’Toole began life in Connemara, Ireland, in either 1932 or 1933 (most sources list his birthdate as August 2, 1932, though the year is occasionally disputed). His family moved to Leeds, England in the early ‘30s, where O’Toole’s father earned his keep as a racetrack bookie. Around 1946, 14-year-old O’Toole dropped out of secondary school and signed on with The Yorkshire Evening Post as copy boy, messenger, and eventually, a cub reporter. Within three years, he dropped the newspaper gig and joined the Leeds Civic Theatre as a novice player; this paved the way for ongoing parts at the much-revered Old Vic (after O’Toole’s military service in the Royal Navy as a signalman and decoder), beginning around 1955. A half-decade of stage roles quickly yielded to screen parts in the early ‘60s. O’Toole actually debuted (with a bit role) in 1959, in The Savage Innocents, but international fame did not arrive for a few years, with several enviable back-to-back characterizations in the 1960s: that of the gallant, inscrutable T.E. Lawrence in Sir David Lean’s 1962 feature Lawrence of Arabia (for which he received his first Best Actor Oscar nomination); Henry II in Peter Glenville’s 1964 Becket (starring longtime friend Richard Burton), for which he received his second Best Actor Oscar nomination; the title character in Lord Jim (1965), and philandering fashion editor Michael James in the popular Clive Donner-Woody Allen sex farce What’s New Pussycat? (1965). O’Toole’s success continued, unabated, with yet another appearance as Henry II alongside Katharine Hepburn in Anthony Harvey’s The Lion in Winter (1968), which netted him a third Best Actor Oscar nod. Unfortunately, O’Toole lost yet again, this time (in a completely unexpected turn of events) to Cliff Robertson in Charly, though a fourth nomination was only a year away, for the actor’s work in 1969’s Goodbye, Mr. Chips.
The early 1970s were equally electric for O’Toole, with the highlight undoubtedly being his characterization of a delusional mental patient who thinks he’s alternately Jesus Christ and Jack the Ripper in The Ruling Class (1972), Peter Medak’s outrageous farce on the “deific” pretensions of British royalty. That gleaned O’Toole a fifth Oscar nomination; Jay Cocks, of Time Magazine called his performance one “of such intensity that it will haunt memory. He is funny, disturbing, and finally, devastating.” Unfortunately, this represented the last high point of his career for many years, and the remainder of the ‘70s were marred by a series of disappointing and best-forgotten turns — such as Don Quixote in Arthur Hiller’s laughable musical Man of La Mancha (1972), covert CIA agent Larry Martin in Otto Preminger’s spy thriller Rosebud (1975), and a Romanian émigré and refugee in Arturo Ripstein’s soaper Foxtrot (1976). Meanwhile, O’Toole’s off-camera life hit the nadir to end all nadirs. Though long known as a carouser (with friends and fellow Brits Burton, Richard Harris, Peter Finch, and others), O’Toole now plunged into no-holds-barred alcoholism, pushing himself to the very edge of sanity and death. The drinking necessitated major stomach surgery, and permanently ended his 20-year-marriage to Welsh actress Sian Phillips (best known as Livia in I, Claudius). Career-wise, O’Toole scraped the bottom of the gutter (and then some) when he made the foolish decision (around 1976 or 1977) to appear alongside Malcolm McDowell and Helen Mirren in the Bob Guccione/Tinto Brass Penthouse mega-production Caligula (released 1980) — a period film wall-to-wall with hardcore sex and visceral, graphic violence that led celebrity critic Roger Ebert to echo another viewer’s lament: “This movie is the worst piece of s*** I have ever seen.” It did not help matters when O’Toole returned to The Old Vic not long after, and was roundly booed off the stage for his uncharacteristically wretched portrayal of Macbeth.
The Macbeth calamity, however, masked a slow return to triumph, for O’Toole had since resolved to clean himself up; he moved in with Kate and Pat O’Toole, his two actress daughters from his marriage to Phillips, both of whom were teenagers in the late 1970s, and both of whom cared for him. And in 1979, he signed on to play one of the most esteemed roles of his career — that of the sadistic, tyrannical director Eli Cross in Richard Rush’s wicked black comedy The Stunt Man (1980) — a role for which O’Toole received a sixth Oscar nomination. O’Toole again lost the bid, this time to Robert De Niro in Raging Bull. Not one to be daunted, however, the actor continued down the path to full professional and personal recovery by beginning an ongoing relationship with California model Karen Brown, and fathering a child by her in 1983. O’Toole then signed on for many fine roles throughout the 1980s and ‘90s: that of Alan Swann, a hard-drinking, hard-loving, has-been movie star, in Richard Benjamin’s delightfully wacky 1982 film My Favorite Year (which drew the thesp yet another nomination for Best Actor — his seventh); and as Professor Harry Wolper, a scientist obsessively trying to re-clone his deceased wife, in Ivan Passer’s quirky, underrated romantic fantasy Creator (1985). Despite occasional lapses in taste and quality, such as 1984’s Supergirl and 1986’s Club Paradise, O’Toole was clearly back on top of his game, and he proved it with an admirable turn as Reginald Johnston in Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1987 Best Picture winner, The Last Emperor. That same year, O’Toole signed on to co-star in High Spirits (1988), fellow Irishman Neil Jordan’s whimsical, spiritual ghost story with Shakespearean overtones. At the time, this looked like a solid decision, but neither Jordan nor O’Toole nor their co-stars, Steve Guttenberg, Liam Neeson, and Daryl Hannah, could have anticipated the massive studio interference that (in the words of Pauline Kael) “whacked away at the film, removing between 15 and 25 percent of the footage” and turned it into one of that year’s biggest flops. Ditto with Alejandro Jodorowsky’s 1990 comedy fantasy The Rainbow Thief, where studio interference again all but destroyed the work.
O’Toole remained active throughout the 1990s, largely with fine supporting roles, such as Willingham in King Ralph (1991), Welsh nobleman Lord Sam in Rebecca’s Daughters (1992), Bishop Cauchon in the made-for-television Joan of Arc (1999), and Von Hindenburg in the telemovie Hitler: The Rise of Evil (2003). In late 2006, O’Toole hit another career peak with a fine turn as a wily old thesp who enjoys a last-act fling with a twentysomething admirer, in the Roger Michell-directed, Hanif Kureishi-scripted character-driven comedy Venus. The effort reeled in an eighth Best Actor Oscar nomination for the actor.
Info for Gregory Peck
Quote: “They say the bad guys are more interesting to play but there is more to it than that – playing the good guys is more challenging because it’s harder to make them interesting.”
One of the postwar era’s most successful actors, Gregory Peck was long the moral conscience of the silver screen; almost without exception, his performances embodied the virtues of strength, conviction, and intelligence so highly valued by American audiences. As the studios’ iron grip on Hollywood began to loosen, he also emerged among the very first stars to declare his creative independence, working almost solely in movies of his own choosing. Born April 5, 1916, in La Jolla, CA, Peck worked as a truck driver before attending Berkeley, where he first began acting. He later relocated to New York City and was a barker at the 1939 World’s Fair. He soon won a two-year contract with the Neighborhood Playhouse. His first professional work was in association with a 1942 Katherine Cornell/Guthrie McClintic ensemble Broadway production of The Morning Star. There Peck was spotted by David O. Selznick, for whom he screen-tested, only to be turned down. Over the next year, he played a double role in The Willow and I, fielding and rejecting the occasional film offer. Finally, in 1943, he accepted a role in Days of Glory, appearing opposite then-fiancée Tamara Toumanova.
While the picture itself was largely dismissed, Peck found himself at the center of a studio bidding war. He finally signed with 20th Century Fox, who cast him in 1944’s The Keys of the Kingdom – a turn for which he snagged his first of many Oscar nods. From the outset, he enjoyed unique leverage as a performer; he refused to sign a long-term contract with any one studio, and selected all of his scripts himself. For MGM, he starred in 1945’s The Valley of Decision, a major hit. Even more impressive was the follow-up, Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound, which co-starred Ingrid Bergman. Peck scored a rousing success with 1946’s The Yearling (which brought him his second Academy Award nomination) and followed this up with another smash, King Vidor’s Duel in the Sun. His third Oscar nomination arrived via Elia Kazan’s 1947 social drama Gentleman’s Agreement, a meditation on anti-Semitism which won Best Picture honors. For the follow-up, Peck reunited with Hitchcock for The Paradine Case, one of the few flops on either’s resumé. He returned in 1948 with a William Wellman Western, Yellow Sky, before signing for a pair of films with director Henry King, Twelve O’Clock High (earning Best Actor laurels from the New York critics and his fourth Oscar nod) and The Gunfighter.
After Captain Horatio Hornblower, Peck appeared in the Biblical epic David and Bathsheba, one of 1951’s biggest box-office hits. Upon turning down High Noon, he starred in The Snows of Kilimanjaro. To earn a tax exemption, he spent the next 18 months in Europe, there shooting 1953’s Roman Holiday for William Wyler. After filming 1954’s Night People, Peck traveled to Britain, where he starred in a pair of features for Rank — The Million Pound Note and The Purple Plain — neither of which performed well at the box office; however, upon returning stateside he starred in the smash The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit. The 1958 Western The Big Country was his next major hit, and he quickly followed it with another, The Bravados. Few enjoyed Peck’s portrayal of F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1959’s Beloved Infidel, but the other two films he made that year, the Korean War drama Pork Chop Hill and Stanley Kramer’s post-apocalyptic nightmare On the Beach, were both much more successful.
Still, 1961’s World War II adventure The Guns of Navarone topped them all — indeed, it was among the highest-grossing pictures in film history. A vicious film noir, Cape Fear, followed in 1962, as did Robert Mulligan’s classic adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird; as Atticus Finch, an idealistic Southern attorney defending a black man charged with rape, Peck finally won an Academy Award. Also that year he co-starred in the Cinerama epic How the West Was Won, yet another massive success. However, it was to be Peck’s last for many years. For Fred Zinneman, he starred in 1964’s Behold a Pale Horse, miscast as a Spanish loyalist, followed by Captain Newman, M.D., a comedy with Tony Curtis which performed only moderately well. When 1966’s Mirage and Arabesque disappeared from theaters almost unnoticed, Peck spent the next three years absent from the screen. When he returned in 1969, however, it was with no less than four new films — The Stalking Moon, MacKenna’s Gold, The Chairman, and Marooned — all of them poorly received.
The early ‘70s proved no better: First up was I Walk the Line, with Tuesday Weld, followed the next year by Henry Hathaway’s Shootout. After the failure of the 1973 Western Billy Two Hats, he again vanished from cinemas for three years, producing (but not appearing in) The Dove. However, in 1976, Peck starred in the horror film The Omen, an unexpected smash. Studio interest was rekindled, and in 1977 he portrayed MacArthur. The Boys From Brazil followed, with Peck essaying a villainous role for the first time in his screen career. After 1981’s The Sea Wolves, he turned for the first time to television, headlining the telefilm The Scarlet and the Black. Remaining on the small screen, he portrayed Abraham Lincoln in the 1985 miniseries The Blue and the Grey, returning to theater for 1987’s little-seen anti-nuclear fable Amazing Grace and Chuck. Old Gringo followed two years later, and in 1991 he co-starred in a pair of high-profile projects, the Norman Jewison comedy Other People’s Money and Martin Scorsese’s remake of Cape Fear. Fairly active through the remainder of the decade, Peck appeared in The Portrait (1993) and the made-for-television Moby Dick (1998) while frequently narrating such documentaries as Wild Bill: Hollywood Maverick (1995) and American Prophet: The Story of Joseph Smith (2000).
On June 12, 2003, just days after the AFI named him as the screen’s greatest hero for his role as Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, Gregory Peck died peacefully in his Los Angeles home with his wife Veronique by his side. He was 87.
Oops, double post, will fix in a sec…
Wow, those are some pretty essential people I’m surprised they hadn’t been added already. Good catch!
Oh, but the Peter O’Toole quote isn’t really his, his character says it in the Ruling Class…
Oh thanks for pointing that out. I watched that film so long ago, I totally forgot. Let me see if I can find a different quote….
Maybe this is more suitable?
Better Peter O’Toole quote:
“Films were never in my budget. Didn’t occur to me till much later. I hoped for a long, good life, which I`ve had and I`m having as an actor. I didn`t expect the rest.”
A lot of his quotes are strange out of context, so this seems fitting.
Info for Henry Fonda
Quote: “If there is something in my eyes, a kind of honesty in the face, then I guess you could say that’s the man I’d like to be, the man I want to be.”
One of the cinema’s most enduring actors, Henry Fonda enjoyed a highly successful career spanning close to a half century. Most often in association with director John Ford, he starred in many of the finest films of Hollywood’s golden era. Born May 16, 1905, in Grand Island, NE, Fonda majored in journalism in college, and worked as an office boy before pursuing an interest in acting. He began his amateur career with the Omaha Community Playhouse, often performing with the mother of Marlon Brando. Upon becoming a professional performer in 1928, Fonda traveled east, tenuring with the Provincetown Players before signing on with the University Players Guild, a New England-based ensemble including up-and-comers like James Stewart, Margaret Sullavan, and Joshua Logan. Fonda’s first Broadway appearance followed with 1929’s The Game of Life and Death. He also worked in stock, and even served as a set designer.
In 1931, Fonda and Sullavan were married, and the following year he appeared in I Loved You Wednesday. The couple divorced in 1933, and Fonda’s big break soon followed in New Faces of ‘34. A leading role in The Farmer Takes a Wife was next, and when 20th Century Fox bought the film rights, they recruited him to reprise his performance opposite Janet Gaynor, resulting in his 1935 screen debut. Fonda and Gaynor were slated to reunite in the follow-up, Way Down East, but when she fell ill Rochelle Hudson stepped in. In 1936 he starred in The Trail of the Lonesome Pine (the first outdoor Technicolor production), the performance which forever defined his onscreen persona: Intense, insistent, and unflappable, he was also extraordinarily adaptable, and so virtually impossible to miscast. He next co-starred with Sullavan in The Moon’s Our Home, followed by Wings of the Morning (another Technicolor milestone, this one the first British feature of its kind).
For the great Fritz Lang, Fonda starred in 1937’s You Only Live Once, and the following year co-starred with Bette Davis in William Wyler’s much-celebrated Jezebel. His next critical success came as the titular Young Mr. Lincoln, a 1939 biopic directed by John Ford. The film was not a commercial sensation, but soon after Fonda and Ford reunited for Drums Along the Mohawk, a tremendous success. Ford then tapped him to star as Tom Joad in the 1940 adaptation of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, a casting decision which even Steinbeck himself wholeheartedly supported. However, 20th Century Fox’s Darryl Zanuck wanted Tyrone Power for the role, and only agreed to assign Fonda if the actor signed a long-term contract. Fonda signed, and Zanuck vowed to make him the studio’s top star — it didn’t happen, however, and despite the success of The Grapes of Wrath (for which he scored his first Best Actor Academy Award nomination), his tenure at Fox was largely unhappy and unproductive.
The best of Fonda’s follow-up vehicles was the 1941 Preston Sturges comedy The Lady Eve, made at Paramount on loan from Fox; his co-star, Barbara Stanwyck, also appeared with him in You Belong to Me. After a number of disappointing projects, Fox finally assigned him to a classic, William Wellman’s 1943 Western The Ox-Bow Incident. Studio executives reportedly hated the film, however, until it won a number of awards. After starring in The Immortal Sergeant, Fonda joined the navy to battle in World War II. Upon his return, he still owed Fox three films, beginning with Ford’s great 1946 Western My Darling Clementine. At RKO he starred in 1947’s The Long Night, followed by Fox’s Daisy Kenyon. Again at RKO, he headlined Ford’s The Fugitive, finally fulfilling his studio obligations with Ford’s Fort Apache, his first unsympathetic character. Fonda refused to sign a new contract and effectively left film work for the next seven years, returning to Broadway for lengthy runs in Mister Roberts, Point of No Return, and The Caine Mutiny Court Martial.
Outside of cameo roles in a handful of pictures, Fonda did not fully return to films until he agreed to reprise his performance in the 1955 screen adaptation of Mister Roberts, one of the year’s biggest hits. Clearly, he had been greatly missed during his stage exile, and offers flooded in. First there was 1956’s War and Peace, followed by Alfred Hitchcock’s The Wrong Man. In 1957, Fonda produced as well as starred in the Sidney Lumet classic Twelve Angry Men, but despite a flurry of critical acclaim the film was a financial disaster. In 1958, after reteaming with Lumet on Stage Struck, Fonda returned to Broadway to star in Two for the Seesaw, and over the years to come he alternated between projects on the screen (The Man Who Understood Women, Advise and Consent, The Longest Day) with work on-stage (Silent Night, Lonely Night, Critic’s Choice, Gift of Time). From 1959 to 1961, he also starred in a well-received television series, The Deputy.
By the mid-‘60s, Fonda’s frequent absences from the cinema had severely hampered his ability to carry a film. Of his many pictures from the period, only 1965’s The Battle of the Bulge performed respectably at the box office. After 1967’s Welcome to Hard Times also met with audience resistance, Fonda returned to television to star in the Western Stranger on the Run. After appearing in the 1968 Don Siegel thriller Madigan, he next starred opposite Lucille Ball in Yours, Mine and Ours, a well-received comedy. Fonda next filmed Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West; while regarded as a classic, the actor so loathed the experience that he refused to ever discuss the project again. With his old friend, James Stewart, he starred in The Cheyenne Social Club before agreeing to a second TV series, the police drama Smith, in 1971. That same year, he was cast to appear as Paul Newman’s father in Sometimes a Great Notion.
After a pair of TV movies, 1973’s The Red Pony and The Alpha Stone, Fonda began a series of European productions which included the disastrous Ash Wednesday and Il Mio Nome è Nessuno. He did not fare much better upon returning to Hollywood; after rejecting Network (the role which won Peter Finch an Oscar), Fonda instead appeared in the Sensurround war epic Midway, followed by The Great Smokey Roadblock. More TV projects followed, including the miniseries Roots — The Next Generation. Between 1978 and 1979, he also appeared in three consecutive disaster movies: The Swarm, City on Fire, and Meteor. Better received was Billy Wilder’s 1978 film Fedora. A year later, he also co-starred with his son, Peter Fonda, in Wanda Nevada. His final project was the 1981 drama On Golden Pond, a film co-starring and initiated by his daughter, Jane Fonda; as an aging professor in the twilight of his years, he finally won the Best Actor Oscar so long due him. Sadly, Fonda was hospitalized at the time of the Oscar ceremony, and died just months later on August 12, 1982.
In the next couple days I’ll be updating these more….there’s so many essential people missing, its crazy!
Just a reminder: Profile images should be 400 × 475.
Think Cast Profiles on 11 & 12 are up to date now.