Photo for Cher
Quote: “I don’t like my voice that much. I think I’m a much better actress than singer. Singing is like going to a party at someone else’s house. Acting is like having the party at your own house. When you go to someone else’s house for a party, it’s not your responsibility at all, but when you have the party at your own house, there’s a lot of responsibility. Everyone has to have a good time. So for me, acting is deeper.”
Mini Bio form IMDb:
The beat goes on … and on … and as strong as ever for this superstar entertainer who has well surpassed the four-decade mark while improbably transforming herself from an artificial, über-glossy “flashionplate” singer into a serious, Oscar-worthy, dramatic actress … and back again! With more ups and downs than the 2008 Dow Jones Industrial Average, Cher managed to rise like a phoenix from the ashes each time she was down and counted out, somehow re-inventing herself with every changing decade and finding herself on top all over again. As a singer Cher is the only performer to have earned “top 10” hit singles in four consecutive decades; as an actress, she and Barbra Streisand are the only two Best Actress Oscar winners to have a #1 hit song on the Billboard charts. At age 62, Cher has yet to decide to get completely off her fabulous rollercoaster ride, although she has threatened to on occasion.
The daughter of an Armenian truck driver, John Sarkisian, and an Arkansas-born mother, Georgia Holt (the former Jackie Jean Crouch), Cher was born in El Centro, California, on May 20, 1946. She and sister Georganne LaPiere are part Cherokee and French. The father deserted the family when both were young and they were raised by their mother who later married Gilbert LaPiere, a banker. Cher’s mother, who had aspirations of being an actress and model herself, paid for Cher’s acting classes despite her daughter having undiagnosed dyslexia, which acutely affected her studies. Frustrated, Cher quit Fresno High School at the age of 16 in search of her dream.
Meeting the quite older (by 11 years) Sonny Bono in 1962 changed the 16-year-old’s life forever. Bono was working for record producer Phil Spector at Gold Star Studios in Hollywood at the time and managed to persuade Spector to hire Cher as a session singer. As such, she went on to record backup on such Spector classics as “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” and “Be My Baby”. The couple’s relationship eventually shifted from soulmates to lovers and she and Sonny married on October 27, 1964.
At first Cher sang solo with Sonny behind the scenes writing, arranging and producing her songs. The records went nowhere. Sonny then decided they needed to perform as a team so they put out two songs in 1964 under the recording names of Caesar and Cleo (“The Letter” and “Baby Don’t Go”). Again, no success. The changing of their names, however, seemed to make a difference and in 1965, they officially took on the music world as Sonny & Cher and earned instant rewards.
The now 19-year-old Cher and 30-year-old Sonny became huge hits following the release of their first album, “Look at Us” (summer, 1965), which contained the hit single “I Got You Babe”. With the song catapulting to #1, they decided to re-release their earlier single “Baby Don’t Go”, and it also raced up the charts to #8. An assembly line of mild hits dotted the airwaves over the next year or two, culminating in the huge smash hit “The Beat Goes On” (#6, 1967). Between 1965 and 1972 Sonny & Cher charted a total of six “Top 10” hits.
The kooky couple became icons of the late ‘60s “flower power” scene, wearing garish garb and outlandish hairdos and makeup. However, they found a way to make it trendy and were embraced around the world. TV musical variety and teen pop showcases relished their contrasting styles — the short, excitable, mustachioed, nasal-toned simp and the taller, exotic, unflappable fashionista. They found a successful formula with their repartee, which became a central factor in their live concert shows, even more than their singing. With all this going on, Sonny still endeavored to promote Cher as a solo success. Other than such hits with “All I Really Want to Do” (#16) and “Bang, Bang” (#2), she struggled to find a separate identity. Sonny even arranged film projects for her but Good Times (1967), an offbeat fantasy starring the couple and directed by future powerhouse William Friedkin, and Cher’s serious solo effort Chastity (1969) both flickered out and died a quick death.
By the end of the 1960s, Sonny & Cher’s career had stumbled as they witnessed the American pop culture experience a drastic evolutionary change. The couple maintained their stage act and all the while Sonny continued to polish it up in a shrewd gamble for TV acceptance. While Sonny on stage played the ineffectual object of Cher’s stinging barbs on stage, he was actually the highly motivated mastermind off stage and, amazingly enough, his foresight and chutzpah really paid off. Although the couple had lost favor with the new 70s generation, Sonny encouraged TV talent scouts to catch their live act.
The network powers-that-be saw potential in the duo as they made a number of guest TV appearances in specials and on variety and talk shows and in what was essentially “auditioning” for their own TV vehicle. “The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour” (1971) was given the green light as a summer replacement series and was an instant sensation when it earned its own time spot that fall season. The show received numerous Emmy Award nominations during its run and the couple became stars all over again. Their lively, off-the-wall comedy sketch routines, her outré Bob Mackie fashions and their harmless, edgy banter were the highlights of the hour-long program. Audiences took strongly to the couple who appeared to have a deep-down sturdy relationship. Their daughter Chastity Bono occasionally added to the couple’s loving glow on the show. Cher’s TV success also generated renewed interest in her as a solo recording artist and she came up with three #1 hits during this time (“Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves,” “Half-Breed” and “Dark Lady”).
Behind the scenes, though, it was a different story. A now-confident Cher yearned to be free of husband Sonny’s Svengali-like control over her life and career. The marriage split at the seams in 1974 and they publicly announced their separation. The show, which had earned Cher a Golden Globe Award, took a fast tumble as the separation and divorce grew more acrimonious. Eventually they both tried to launch their own solo variety shows, but both failed to even come close to their success as a duo. Audiences weren’t interested in Cher without Sonny, and vice versa.
In June of 1975, only three days after the couple’s divorce, Cher married rock musician Gregg Allman of The Allman Brothers Band. That marriage imploded rather quickly amid reports of out-of-control drug use on his part. They were divorced by 1977 with only one bright outcome — son Elijah Allman.
In 1976 Sonny and Cher attempted to “make up” again, this time to the tune of a second “The Sonny and Cher Show” (1976). Audiences, however, did not accept the “friendly” divorced couple after so much tabloid nastiness. After the initial curiosity factor wore off, the show was cancelled amid poor ratings. Moreover, the musical variety show format was on its way out as well. Once again, another decade was looking to end badly for Cher.
Cher found a mild success with the “top 10” disco hit “Take Me Home” in 1979, but not much else. Not one to be counted out, however, the ever resourceful singer decided to lay back and focus on acting instead. At age 36, Cher made her Broadway debut in 1992 in what was essentially her first live acting role with “Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean”. Centering around a reunion of girlfriends from an old James Dean fan club, her performance was critically lauded. This earned her the right to transfer her stage triumph to film alongside Karen Black and Sandy Dennis. Cher earned critical raves for Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982), her first film role since 1969.
With film #2 came a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe win for her portrayal of a lesbian toiling in a nuclear parts factory in Silkwood (1983), starring Meryl Streep and Kurt Russell. This in turn was followed by her star turn in Mask (1985) as the blunt, footloose mother of a son afflicted with a rare disease (played beautifully by Eric Stoltz). Once again Cher received high praise and copped a win from the Cannes Film Festival for her poignant performance.
Fully accepted by this time as an actress of high-caliber, she integrated well into the Hollywood community. Proving that she could hold up a film outright, she was handed three vehicles in 1987 to star in, highlighted by her sparkling, Oscar-winning turn in the romantic comedy Moonstruck (1987). Along with all this newfound Hollywood celebrity came interest in her as a singer and recording artist again. "If I Could Turn Back Time (#3) and the Peter Cetera duet “After All” (#6) placed her back on the Billboard charts.
During the 1990s Cher continued to veer back and forth among films, TV specials and expensively mounted concerts. In January of 1998, tragedy struck when Cher’s ex-husband Sonny Bono, who had forsaken an entertainment career for California politics and became a popular Republican congressman in the process, was killed in a freak skiing accident. That same year the duo received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for their contribution to television. In the meantime an astounding career adrenalin rush came in the form of a monstrous, disco-flavored hit single (“Believe”). The song became a #1 hit and the same-titled album the biggest hit of her career. “Believe” reached #1 in 23 different countries.
Having little to prove anymore to anyone, Cher decided to embark on a “Farewell Tour” in the early part of the millennium and, after much stretching, her show finally closed in 2005 in Los Angeles. It didn’t take long, however, for Cher to return from this self-imposed exile. In 2008 she finalized a deal with Las Vegas’ Caesars Palace for the next three years to play the Colosseum. Never say never.
In other facets of her life, Cher has been involved with many humanitarian groups and charity efforts over the years, particularly her work as National Chairperson and Honorary Spokesperson of the Children’s Craniofacial Association, which was inspired by her work in Mask (1985).
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Liljeberg’s mother was relatively young when Rebecka was born, and Liljeberg’s parents divorced when she was one year old. At the age of 9 (1991), Liljeberg began her acting career when she won a role in the series Sunes jul. Between 1993 and 1997, she became involved in amateur theatre, which she continued with until gaining a role in the film Närkontakt later in 1997. However, it was the following year when she won her breakthrough role in the Lukas Moodysson film Show Me Love. She also quit high school to take up the role, which ultimately won her the 1999 Guldbagge Award for Best Actress, together with Alexandra Dahlström.
After her roles in Show Me Love and Sherdil, Liljeberg began an adult education course in order to graduate from high school. While studying, she also starred in the relatively successful arthouse film Bear’s Kiss, and voiced a character in the Swedish version of IMAX film T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous. In 2002, she completed the adult education course, and then went on to study medicine at the Karolinska Institute. She graduated in 2009.
Liljeberg is known to enjoy working with computers, and has been working at a small computer firm for some years while studying. However, she has suggested that this is not something she wants to do in the long-term.
She wrote a semi-regular column for Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet for some time. Liljeberg also contributed to UNESCO’s Utrymme anthology of twenty works from young writers around the world.
She now lives in Stockholm with her boyfriend Alexander Skepp. They have three children: Harry Teodor, born in June 2002, Vera, born on January 1, 2005 and Kerstin born June 2009. While she has suggested that she aims to concentrate on a medical career, Liljeberg has not ruled out the prospect of acting in more films if she receives the right offer. She has also expressed a desire to work with director Lukas Moodysson again.
Photo for Anna Wintour
Quote: “If you look at any great fashion photograph out of context, it will tell you just as much about what’s going on in the world as a headline in The New York Times.”
Anna Wintour, OBE (born November 3, 1949) is a British fashion editor and the editor-in-chief of American Vogue, a position she has held since 1988. She became interested in fashion as a teenager. Her father, Charles, editor of the Evening Standard, often consulted with her on how to make the newspaper’s coverage relevant to the youth of mid-1960s London. After dropping out of school at 16, she began a career in fashion journalism. Her career took her across the Atlantic, with stints at New York and House & Garden. She returned home for a year to turn around British Vogue, and later assumed control of the franchise’s magazine in New York. She revived a stagnant publication, earning her wide acclaim in the industry.
Like one of her predecessors, Diana Vreeland, she has become a fashion icon. Her pageboy bob haircut and frequently-worn sunglasses have become a common sight in the front row of many fashion shows. Away from the cameras, she has become as much an institution in the fashion world as her magazine. Widely praised for her eye for fashion trends and support for younger designers, her aloof and demanding persona has earned her the nickname “Nuclear Wintour” and alienated some associates. She has also drawn both praise and criticism for her willingness to use the magazine and its cachet to shape the industry as a whole. Animal rights activists have also singled her out for her continued promotion of fur, and other critics have charged her with using the magazine to promote elitist views of femininity and beauty, focusing on rich and thin women.
A former personal assistant, Lauren Weisberger, wrote the 2003 bestselling roman à clef The Devil Wears Prada, later made into a successful film starring Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly, a fashion editor widely believed to be based on Wintour. In 2009 she was herself the focus of a film, R.J. Cutler’s documentary The September Issue, a documentary about the making of the magazine’s landmark issue in September 2007. The film chronicles her work on the five-pound (2 kg) 840-page issue, the largest issue Vogue ever sent to press.
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Photo for Holly Hunter
Quote: “Acting, for me, is the last vestige of doing something that I would like to feel really naive about.”
Holly Hunter was born in Conyers, Georgia, the youngest of seven children whose father was a part-time sporting goods company representative and part-time farmer with a 250 acre farm. Her parents encouraged in her talent at an early age, and her first acting part was as Helen Keller in a fifth-grade play. In 1976 she went to Pittsburgh to pursue a degree in drama from Carnegie Mellon University. After graduating in 1980, she went to New York City, where she met playwright Beth Henley in a stalled elevator. Hunter went on to get roles in a number of Henley’s southern gothic plays, including Crimes of the Heart and The Miss Firecracker Contest. In 1982 the actress went to Los Angeles. She landed her first starring role in the movies in the Coen brothers’ Raising Arizona (1987), a part that is said to have been written with her in mind. She gained stardom in 1987 when she played the driven TV news producer Jane Craig in James L. Brooks’ Broadcast News (1987). In 1993 she earned an Academy Award and worldwide acclaim with her performance as a mute bride to a New Zealand planter in The Piano (1993).
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Photo for Zero Mostel
Quote: [Commenting on Jim Henson’s Muppets:] “He has the best possible actors. If you have a disagreement with them, you can always use them to wash your car.”
IMDb Mini Bio:
Zero Mostel was born Samuel Joel Mostel on February 28, 1915 in Brooklyn, New York, one of eight children of an Orthodox Jewish family. Raised in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the young Zero, known as Sammy, developed his talent for painting and drawing at art classes provided by the Educational Alliance, an institution serving Jewish immigrants and their children. Sammy often would go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to copy the paintings.
Sam Mostel matriculated at the City College of New York, then entered a master’s program in art at New York University after graduating from CCNY in 1935. He dropped out after a year and worked at odd jobs before being hired by the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project to teach drawing and painting at the 92nd Street “Y”, the famous Young Men and Young Women’s Hebrew Association located on Manhattan’s 92nd St., in 1937.
Mostel married Clara Sverd, a CCNY classmate, in 1939, but the marriage was troubled due to personality conflicts. The couple separated in 1941 and divorced in 1944. While still teaching, Mostel supplemented his income by providing gallery lectures at various museums under the aegis of the WPA. His lectures were full of jokes as Mostel personally was a clown, and subsequently he was hired to perform at private parties.
Mostel auditioned as a comedian at the downtown nightclub Cafe Society in late 1941, a jazz club. Initially rejected, owner Barney Josephson hired Mostel after Pearl Harbor, figuring his patrons, now at war, could use some laughs. It was Ivan Black, the club’s press agent, who gave Sam Mostel the nickname Zero, explaining, “Here’s a guy who’s starting from nothing.”
Debuting at the Cafe Society on February 16, 1942, Zero was a hit with audiences and the critics, Simultaneously, Zero began appearing in the play “Cafe Crown” at the Cort Theatre, which opened on January 23, 1942 and played through May 23rd, closing after 141 performances. Zero made some impromptu appearances on stage, but he wasn’t officially part of the cast of the play, which was staged by Elia Kazan and starred Morris Carnovsky, Sam Jaffe (a future blacklistee), Whit Bissell, and Sam Wanamaker. Zero made his formal Broadway debut in “Keep ’em Laughing” on April 24, 1942 at the 44th Street Theatre. The show ran for 77 performances.
Within a year, he was touring the national nightclub circuit and appearing on radio. He had a brief stint in the Army in 1943, but was quickly discharged due to an unspecified physical disability. Zero spent the rest of the war entertaining the troops overseas.
Zero married Kathryn Harkin, a former Radio City Music Hall Rockette, on July 2, 1944, an act that ruined his relationship with his Orthodox Jewish parents as his new wife was a gentile. The two remained a married couple until his death and produced two sons: Josh Mostel, who was born in 1946, and Tobias, who was born in 1949.
In the post-war years, Zero began to branch-out as a straight actor. On October 19, 1948, he made his television debut in the series “Off the Record,” which was broadcast on the DuMont network, following it up with an appearance on October 26, 1948. He later appeared in the “The Ford Theatre Hour” (1948) episode “The Man Who Came to Dinner,” which was broadcast on January 16, 1949 on NBC. He was reunited with his “Cafe Crown” director Elia Kazan in the Oscar-winner’s movie Panic in the Streets (1950) (1950). In the movies, Zero often played heavies due to his physique, roles that downplayed his unique gift for comedy.
Zero had long been a leftist politically, and had made contributions to progressive causes. His nightclub act lampooned the red-baiters rampant at the time, and featured the character of a pompous senator called Polltax T. Pellagra. When he and the wife of his good friend ‘Jack Gilford’ were named by Jerome Robbins before the House Un-American Activities Committee as being communists, Zero was subpoenaed to testify by HUAC.
Mostel testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee on October 14, 1955. In a playful mood, he told the Committee that he was employed by “19th Century-Fox.” Zero denied he was a Communist, but refused to name names. He told the Committee that he would gladly discuss his own conduct but was prohibited by religious convictions from naming others. Consequently, he was blacklisted during the 1950s. Shut-out from the movies, he also lost many lucrative nightclub gigs, and he had to make due by playing gigs for meager salaries and by selling his paintings.
In the 1950s, Mostel bumped into Elia Kazan on the street in New York City, and the two reminisced. Kazan said Mostel chided him for putting Mostel through the paces in “Panic in the Streets,” forcing him to run more than he ever had. The two retired to a bar, and as they began to drink, s Mostel kept muttering, in reference to Kazan’s naming names before HUAC, “Ya shouldn’t a done that. Ya shouldn’t a done that.”
There was no blacklist in the theater, and his friend Burgess Meredith, a noted liberal, offered Zero the lead role in his 1958 Off-Broadway production of “Ulysses in Nighttown,” based on the Nighttown episode of James Joyce’s novel “Ulysses,” that Meredith was directing. Mostel’s performance as Leopold Bloom, Joyce’s Jewish Everyman, was a great hit with audiences and critics alike, and he won an “Obie,” the Off-Broadway equivalent of a Tony. Zero also starred in productions of “Nighttown” in London and Paris.
By the end of 1959, Zero again was appearing on television, cast in the “Play of the Week” episode “The World of Sholom Aleichem,” which was broadcast on December 14, 1959 in syndication. He also was cast in a Broadway play, “The Good Soup.”
Zero never opened in the play as he was hit by a bus on January 13, 1960. His left leg was severely injured, and required four operations. Zero was in the hospital for five months but regained the use of the leg.
He made a triumphant return to Broadway in the fall of 1960, starring in Ionesco’s absurdist tour-de-force “Rhinoceros,” for which he won a Tony award. He was cast in another “Play of the Week” episode, this time in Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot,” which was broadcast on April 3, 1961 in syndication.
Zero and his friend Jack Gilford, who had also been blacklisted due to Jerome Robbins having named names and hadn’t worked for many years, were both cast in the Broadway musical “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.” However, the show, under director George Abbott, was troubled. When Stephen Sondheim pitched Robbins to producer Harold Prince as the savior of “Forum,” which was floundering in its out-of-town tryouts, Prince phoned Mostel to ask whether he would be prepared to work with Robbins.
“Are you asking me to eat with him?” asked Mostel.
“I’m just asking you to work with him,” Prince replied.
“Of course I’ll work with him,” Mostel said. “We of the left do not blacklist.”
When Robbins showed up at his first rehearsal, everyone was terrified of him because of his reputation as a tough taskmaster and perfectionist. Robbins made the rounds of the cast, shaking hands. When he got to Mostel, there was silence. Then Mostel boomed, “Hiya, Loose Lips!”
Everyone burst out laughing, including Robbins, and the show went on. Robbins was uncredited for staging and choreographing “Forum,” which opened at the Alvin Theatre on May 8, 1962. “Forum” was a great hit, running for 964 performances at the Alvin and at the Mark Hellinger Theatre and later at the Majestic, closing on August 29, 1964. “Forum” won six Tony awards, including Best Musical and Best Director for George Abbott. Mostel won his second Tony and Gilford was nominated for the Tony for Best Featured Actor.
Zero followed up this triumph with his legendary turn as Tevye, the milkman with marriageable daughters in “Fiddler on the Roof,” based on the stories of Sholom Aleichem. With direction and choreography credited to Jerome Robbins, “Fiddler on the Roof” opened at the Imperial Theatre on September 22, 1964 and did not close until almost eight years later, at the Broadway Theatre on July 2, 1972, with a stop at the Majestic in between during the late ‘60s. After seven previews, “Fiddler” racked up a total of 3,242 performances, making it one of the greatest Broadway smashes ever. After wining nine Tony awards in 1965, including Best Musical, Best Director, and Best Actor in A Musical (Zero’s third Tony), the show was awarded a 10th Tony, a Special Award in 1972 when “Fiddler” became the longest-running musical in Broadway history.
Zero was cast in the 1966 movie version of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966), and then concentrated on movies and television for the rest of his career. Most of his projects, with the exception of Mel Brooks’ The Producers (1968), did not fully utilize his talents. It was a major blow when director Norman Jewison cast the Israeli actor Topol as Tevye in his movie adaptation of Fiddler on the Roof (1971), passing over the legend who had created the role. Topol got an Oscar nomination, but faded quickly out of American movies. The movie of “Fiddler,” a huge roadshow hit in 1971, also faded out of American consciousness. One wonders if with Zero in the role, the movie would now be considered a classic and constantly revived on television.
In 1974, Zero reprised his Leopold Bloom in a Broadway production of “Ulysses in Nighttown,” again directed by Burgess Meredith, which netted him a Tony Award nomination as Best Actor in a Play. He turned in an affecting performance as a blacklisted comedian in Martin Ritt’s movie about the blacklist, The Front (1976). He also had a success with a Broadway revival of “Fiddler on the Roof” in December 1976.
Zero was cast as Shylock in Arnold Wesker’s “The Merchant,” a pro-Jewish reimagining of ‘William Shakespeare’’s “The Merchant of Venice.” Mostel had great hopes that his Shylock would be the crowning achievement of his career and put him back on top. His huge talent and larger-than-life persona seemed to do better on stage.
This was not to come to pass. He fell ill after a tryout performance in Philadelphia in September and was hospitalized. On September 8, 1977, Zero Mostel died from an aortic aneurysm at the age of sixty-two. One of the greatest, most unique, and definitely irreplaceable talents to grace the American stage and movies had passed away. We are unlikely to look on his likes again.
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Photo for Mariel Hemingway
Quote: “I enjoy making things that are different. It makes for a better career. I don’t want to do the same thing twice. I love the different roles I’ve played. I don’t ever want to be pigeonholed! That’s the great thing about acting — all these different people I can play, as long as audiences are willing to see them. The more different roles I do, the more different roles I will get.”
As the granddaughter of illustrious author Ernest Hemingway, Mariel appeared predestined to be well known and publicly recognized. However, at the tender age of 13, Mariel became famous in her own right when she made her silver screen debut in “Lipstick.” Four years later, her work in Woody Allen’s “Manhattan” earned her an Oscar nomination. She has since made 30 films as well as numerous television appearances in series and as a host of environmental and humanitarian documentaries.
Now 47, Mariel is the mother of two daughters: Dree, 22 and Langley, 20. She is also the fond caretaker of anywhere from two to six delightful dogs at a time. For over 20 years, Mariel has been pursuing her passion for yoga and health and is now seen as a voice of holistic and balanced health and well-being. As part of that role she has lead wellness retreats all over America, sharing her insights about movement, home, silence, and nutrition. In 2003, Mariel published her powerful bestselling memoir, Finding My Balance, the insightful and inspiring story of her life’s journey as viewed through a lens honed by yoga and meditation. Her highly successful second book, Mariel Hemingway’s Healthy Living from the Inside Out (Harper Collins, San Francisco, 2007), is a how-to guide for finding and enhancing personal balance and health through the utilization of self-empowering lifestyle techniques. The book is a valuable boon for those who incorporate Mariel’s sage and thoughtful advice. Most recently, Mariel published her third book, Mariel’s Kitchen: Simple Ingredients for a Delicious and Satisfying Life, in which she offers you ways to easily and deliciously turn your kitchen into the heart of your home. Read more about Mariel’s latest book here.
Her latest exciting project is Mariel’s Kitchen… a company that will produce real food products with a real life message! Mariel believes that caring for the health of the body, mind and spirit is the first step in becoming conscious of the health and well-being of the environment that surrounds us. Eating real food, grown organically and locally, may help us get more in touch with who we are and how we interact with our communities. Begin educating yourself about Mariel’s message and her mission in the pages of this site and begin to build a bridge between how you care for yourself and your world.
Photo for Larry David
Quote: “Anyone can be confident with a full head of hair. But a confident bald man – there’s your diamond in the rough.”
Producer, writer, actor. Born July 2, 1947 in Brooklyn, New York. David attended the University of Maryland and started doing stand-up comedy in New York night clubs in 1974. In 1979, he was hired to write and perform for the comedy variety show Fridays, which was modeled after Saturday Night Live. He stayed with the show until 1982 when he was hired as a writer for Saturday Night Live, where he worked for a year.
In 1989, David received a call from fellow New York comedian Jerry Seinfeld who was working with NBC to develop a comedy pilot. Together, they developed the legendary “show about nothing” starring Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards and Jason Alexander. Though not initially successful, Seinfeld would become one of the most successful and influential shows in television history. With a talented cast and daring storylines, the show won legions of loyal fans. According to David, the character of George Costanza was modeled after himself, a cheap, neurotic and ultimately selfish bald man.
David wrote and produced Seinfeld until 1996, when he left the show to pursue feature screenwriting. He returned for the season finale in 1998 and made frequent guest appearances throughout the show’s run. David also acted in bit roles in Woody Allen’s Radio Days (1987) and New York Stories (1989). In 1998, David wrote and directed the feature film Sour Grapes, an irreverent look at the pitfalls of wealth and greed.
The following year, David proved his Midas touch once again when he created the hugely successful semi-scripted series Curb Your Enthusiasm for HBO. Originally airing as a special, the show featured David playing himself as a nervous stand-up comic returning to do a television special after a long absence from the stage. The popularity of the special resulted in a weekly HBO series. Partially improvised, the show proved to be another groundbreaking television experiment winning a Golden Globe in 2003 for Best Comedy Series.
David married Laurie Lennard in 1993. The couple has two daughters.
Photo for Ben Kingsley
Quote: “All the great writers root their characters in true human behavior.”
Kingsley began his acting career on stage, but made a transition to film roles early on. Despite this focus on film, he continued to act on the stage, playing Mosca in Peter Hall’s 1977 production of Ben Jonson’s Volpone for the Royal National Theatre, and in Peter Brook’s acclaimed production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. At about this time, he changed his name from Krishna Bhanji to Ben Kingsley, fearing that a foreign name would hamper his career; he took his stage surname from his paternal grandfather’s nickname, “King Clove”.
Kingsley’s first film role was a supporting turn in Fear Is the Key, released in 1972. Kingsley continued starring in bit roles in both film and television, including a role as Ron Jenkins on the soap opera Coronation Street from 1966 to 1967 and regular appearances as a defence counsel in the long-running British legal programme Crown Court. In 1975 he starred as Dante Gabriel Rossetti in the BBCs historical drama The Love School. He found fame only years later, starring as Mohandas Gandhi in the Academy Award-winning film Gandhi in 1982, his best-known role to date. The audience agreed with the critics, and Gandhi was a box-office success. Kingsley won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal.
Kingsley has since appeared in a variety of roles. His credits included the films Turtle Diary, Maurice, Pascali’s Island, Without a Clue (as Dr. Watson alongside Michael Caine’s Sherlock Holmes), Suspect Zero, Bugsy, which led to an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor, Sneakers, Dave, Searching for Bobby Fischer, Schindler’s List, Silas Marner, Death and the Maiden, Sexy Beast, for which he received another Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor, and House of Sand and Fog, which led to yet another Oscar nomination for Best Actor. He won a Crystal Globe award for outstanding artistic contribution to world cinema at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 2001.
In 1997, he provided voice talent for the video game Ceremony of Innocence. In July 2006, he received an Emmy nomination for his performance in the made-for-TV film Mrs. Harris, in which he played famed cardiologist Herman Tarnower, who was murdered by his jilted lover, Jean Harris. Later that year, Kingsley appeared in an episode of The Sopranos entitled “Luxury Lounge”, playing himself. In the show, Christopher Moltisanti and Carmine Lupertazzi offer him a role in the fictional slasher film “Cleaver”, which he turns down. Lupertazzi offers him the role on the basis of Kingsley’s real-life performance in Sexy Beast. In 2007, Kingsley appeared as a Polish American mobster in the Mafia comedy You Kill Me, and a Middle Eastern oil minister in War, Inc. In 2010, Kingsley starred alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in Shutter Island, directed by Martin Scorsese.
Kingsley’s SBK-Pictures has been planning to bring the story of the Native American Conley Sisters to the big screen in Whispers Like Thunder, with Kingsley playing the role of Charles Curtis, the first part-Native American to become vice-president of the United States.
Profile information for Franco Nero
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“Every western I did and will do; I will do it for the never ending young kid inside of me.”
Blue-eyed well-built Italian actor Franco Nero, once was a painting photographer, when he was discovered as an actor by director John Huston. Grew up in provincial northern Italian town in the family of a strict police sergeant, Nero got on the scene at six-years-old. Studied economics and trade in Milan University and, during that time, he was appearing in popular Italian photo-novels. This gave him a chance to gain a little role in Carlo Lizzani’s La Celestina P… R… (1965). Year later, the handsome face of Nero was noticed by John Huston who chose him for the role of “Abel” in The Bible: In the Beginning… (1966) (aka La Bibbia). But success came after he got the role of the lonely gunfighter, dragging a coffin in one of the best spaghetti-westerns; Sergio Corbucci’s Django (1966). Nero then filmed a few other westerns of that style as Ferdinando Baldi’s Texas, addio (1966) and Lucio Fulci’s Tempo di massacro (1966) and furthered his career by filming in all genres of the cinema and TV. During filming of Joshua Logan’s Camelot (1967), he met actress Vanessa Redgrave, who become his long-time partner. Played with Catherine Deneuve in Luis Buñuel’s Tristana (1970) and with Sergei Bondarchuk in the war drama Bitka na Neretvi (1969). Later, director Bondarchuk cast Nero for the role of famous American reporter “John Reed” in two-part “Krasnye kolokola II” (1982). In the late 60s and during the 70s, Nero played many different roles, but most of them connected with political and criminal genre, criticized Italian justice system. In the early 80s, Nero was chosen for the role of the white ninja, “Cole”, in Enter the Ninja (1981) and in 1990 as terrorist “Gen. Esperanza”, opposite Bruce Willis in Renny Harlin’s Die Hard 2 (1990). Being a personage from more than 25 different nationalities; from Russian to American, from Egyptian to Israeli, with 150 roles. He worked with the top European directors from Carlo Lizzani, Damiano Damiani, Luigi Zampa, Luis Buñuel, Elio Petri, Mihalis Kakogiannis, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Claude Chabrol, ‘Vatroslav Mimica’, Marco Bellocchio, etc. At the beginning of the 80s, he also began producing, writing and directing. Between films, he participates in various theatrical events. Apart from his cinematographic work, Nero also works for charitable organizations. —IMDb
Profile information for Mads Mikkelsen:
“(On his Casino Royale character, LeChiffre): Every good character, if it’s good or bad, they have to have that dualism inside of them. If you play the baddie, you have to find something likeable about them, and that goes with the good guy as well, find something unlikable and that’s what we tried to do with this one as well.”
“I would really like to jump out of a helicopter one day (as a stunt). In Denmark you can’t make these big action movies, so I hope I get to do it somewhere else someday.”
Mikkelsen was born in the Østerbro area of Copenhagen, the son of a cab driver. After attending Århus Theatre School, he made his film debut in the movie Pusher. He has starred in popular Danish movies such as Flickering Lights (Danish: Blinkende Lygter) and The Green Butchers (Danish: De Grønne Slagtere). Arguably, Mikkelsen’s most famous role was as a cop in the Danish television series Unit One (Danish: Rejseholdet). He also starred as Tristan in the Jerry Bruckheimer production of King Arthur, as well as playing the villain Le Chiffre in the 21st James Bond film, Casino Royale. In 2006 he took the lead role in the Oscar nominated “After the Wedding”. —Wikipedia
Profile information for Bruce Lee:
“Ever since I was a child I have had this instinctive urge for expansion and growth. To me, the function and duty of a quality human being is the sincere and honest development of one’s potential.”
“To know oneself is to study oneself in action with another person.”
“Man, the living creature, the creating individual, is always more important than any established style or system.”
“It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.”
“Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.”
The greatest icon of martial arts cinema, and a key figure of modern popular culture. Had it not been for the amazing Bruce Lee and his incredible movies in the early 1970s, it’s arguable whether or not the martial arts film genre would have ever penetrated and influenced mainstream western cinema & audiences the way it has over the past three decades.
The influence of Asian martial arts cinema can be seen today in so many other film genres including comedies, action, drama, science fiction, horror and animation, and they all have their roots in the phenomenon that was Bruce Lee.
Bruce Lee was born “Lee Juan Fan” in November 1940 in San Francisco, the son of Lee Hoi Chuen, a singer with the Cantonese Opera. Approximately, one year later the family returned to Kowloon in Hong Kong and at the age of 5, a young Bruce begins appearing in children’s roles in minor films including The Birth of Mankind (1946) and Fu gui fu yun (1948). At the age of 12, Bruce commenced attending La Salle College, and was later beaten up by a street gang, which inspires him to take up martial arts training under the tuition of “Sifu Yip Man” who schools Bruce in wing chun kung fu for a period of approximately five years (this was the only formalized martial arts training ever undertaken by Lee). The talented & athletic Bruce also took up cha-cha dancing, and at the age of 18 won a major dance championship in Hong Kong.
However, his temper and quick fists saw him fall foul of the HK police on numerous occasions, and his parents suggested that he head off to the United States. Lee landed in San Francisco’s Chinatown in 1959 and worked in a relative’s restaurant, however he eventually made his way to Seattle, Washington where he enrolled at university to study philosophy, and found the time to practice his beloved kung fu techniques. In 1963, Lee met Linda Emery (later his wife) and in addition he opened his first kung fu school at 4750 University Way. During the early half of the 1960s, Lee became associated with many key martial arts identities in the USA including kenpo karate expert Ed Parker and tae kwon do master Jhoon Rhee. He made guest appearances at notable martial arts events including the Long Beach Nationals. Through one of these tournaments, Bruce met Hollywood hair stylist Jay Sebring who introduced him to TV producer William Dozier. Based on the runaway success of “Batman”, Dozier was keen to bring the cartoon character of “The Green Hornet” to TV and was on the lookout for an Oriental actor to play the Green Hornet’s sidekick, “Kato”. Around this time, Bruce also opened a second kung fu school in Oakland, California and relocated to Oakland to be closer to Hollywood.
Bruce’s screen test was successful, and “The Green Hornet” starring Van Williams went to air in early 1966 to mixed success. However, the show was surprisingly terminated after only one season (30 episodes), but by this time he was receiving more fan mail than the show’s star. He then opened a third branch of his kung fu school in Los Angeles, and began providing personalized martial arts training to film stars including Steve McQueen and James Coburn. In addition, he refined his prior knowledge of wing chun, plus incorporating aspects of other fighting styles such as traditional boxing and okinawan karate. He also developed his own unique style “Jeet Kune Do” (Way of the Intercepting Fist). Another film opportunity then comes his way, as he landed the small role of a stand over man named “Winslow Wong” intimidating private eye James Garner in Marlowe (1969). Wong paid a visit to Garner and proceeded to demolish the investigator’s office with his fists and feet, finishing off with a spectacular high kick that shattered the light fitting. With this further exposure of his talents, Bruce then scored several guest appearances as a martial arts instructor to blind private eye James Franciscus on the TV series “Longstreet” (1971).
With his minor success in Hollywood and money in his pockets, Bruce returned for a visit to Hong Kong and was approached by film producer Raymond Chow who had recently started “Golden Harvest” productions. Chow was keen to utilize Lee’s strong popularity amongst young Chinese fans, and offered him the lead role in Tang sha da xiong (1971) ( aka “Fists of Fury”, aka “The Big Boss”). The film was directed by Wei Lo, shot in Thailand, on a very low budget and in terrible living conditions for cast and crew. However when it opened in Hong Kong, the film was an enormous hit! Young Chinese flocked in their thousands to see this ground breaking film starring a tough, athletic Chinese hero who dispensed justice with his fists and feet. Chow knew he had struck box office gold with Lee, and quickly assembled another script entitled Jing wu men (1972) (aka “The Chinese Connection”, aka “Fist of Fury”). The second film (with a slightly improved budget) was again directed by Wei Lo and was set in Shanghai in the year 1900, with Lee returning to his school to find his beloved master has been poisoned by the local Japanese karate school. Once again, he uncovered the evil doers and set about seeking revenge on those responsible for murdering his teacher. The film featured several superb fight sequences, and at the film’s conclusion, Lee refuses to surrender to the Japanese law and seemingly leaps to his death in a hail of police bullets.
Once more, Hong Kong streets were jammed back with thousands of fervent Chinese movie fans who could not get enough of the fearless Bruce Lee, and his second film went on to break the box office records set by the first! Lee then set up his own production company, Concord Productions, and set about guiding his film career personally by writing, directing and acting in his next film, Meng long guojiang (1972) (aka “Way of the Dragon”, aka “Return of The Dragon”). A bigger budget, meant better locations and opponents, with the new film set in Rome, Italy and additionally starring hapkido expert Ing-Sik Whang, karate legend Robert Wall and seven times US karate champion Chuck Norris. Bruce played a seemingly simple country boy sent to assist at a cousin’s restaurant in Rome, and finds his cousins are being bullied by local thugs for protection.
By now, Lee’s remarkable success in the Orient had come to the attention of Hollywood film executives and a script was hastily written pitching him as a secret agent penetrating an island fortress. Warner Bros. financed the film, and also insisted on B-movie tough guy John Saxon co-starring alongside Lee to give the film more Western appeal. The film culminated with another show stopping fight sequence between Lee and the key villain, Han, in a maze of mirrors. Shooting was completed in and around Hong Kong in early 1973 and in the subsequent weeks, Bruce was involved in completing over dubs and looping for the final cut. Various reports from friends and co-workers cite how he was not feeling well during this period, and on July 20th 1973 he lay down at the apartment of actress Betty Ting Pei after taking a headache tablet, and was later unable to be revived. A doctor was called, and he was then taken to hospital by ambulance and pronounced dead that evening. The official finding was death was due to a cerebral edema, caused by a reaction to the headache tablet. In other words, death by misadventure.
Chinese movie fans were absolutely shattered that their virile idol, had passed away at such a young age, and nearly 30,000 fans filed past his coffin in Hong Kong. A second, much smaller ceremony was held in Seattle, Washington and Bruce was laid to rest at Lake View Cemetary in Seattle with pall bearers including Steve McQueen, James Coburn and Dan Inosanto. Enter the Dragon (1973) was later released in the mainland United States, and was a huge hit with American audiences, which then prompted National General films to actively distribute his three prior movies to US theaters. Each of them was a box office smash. Bruce Lee was an international film star after he had died.
Fans worldwide were still hungry for more Bruce Lee films, and thus remaining footage (completed before his death) of Lee fighting several opponents including Dan Inosanto, Hugh O’Brian and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was crafted into another film titled Game of Death (1978). The film used a look alike actor and shadowy camera work to be substituted for the real Lee in numerous scenes. The film is a poor addition to the line up, and is only saved by the final twenty minutes and the footage of the real Bruce Lee battling his way up the tower. Amazingly, this same shoddy process was used to create Si wang ta (1981) (aka “Game of Death II”), with more look alike and stunt doubles interwoven with a few brief minutes of footage of the real Bruce Lee.
Tragically, his son Brandon Lee, an actor and martial artist like his father, was killed in a freak accident on the set of The Crow (1994).
Bruce Lee was not only an amazing athlete and martial artist, but he possessed genuine superstar charisma and through a handful of films he left behind an indelible impression on the tapestry of modern cinema. —IMDb
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Max and Augusto you both Rule!
Wow! That was fast!
Profile information for Michael Caine:
“A lot of my best parts I’ve been the second choice for, so you never get too egotistical about anything.”
“I’ll always be there because I’m a skilled professional actor. Whether or not I’ve any talent is beside the point.”
“I wouldn’t make an anti-American film. I’m one of the most pro-American foreigners I know. I love America and Americans.”
Icon of British cool in the 1960s, leading action star in the late ’70s, and knighted into official respectability in 1993, Michael Caine has enjoyed a long, varied, and enviably prolific career. Although he played a part in some notable cinematic failures, particularly during the 1980s, Caine remains one of the most established performers in the business, serving as a role model for actors and filmmakers young and old.
The son of a fish-porter father and a charwoman mother, Caine’s beginnings were less than glamorous. Born Maurice Micklewhite in 1943, in the squalid South London neighborhood of Bermondsey, Caine got his first taste of the world beyond when he was evacuated to the countryside during World War II. A misfit in school, the military (he served during the Korean War), and the job pool, Caine found acceptance after answering a want ad for an assistant stage manager at the Horsham Repertory Company. Already star struck thanks to incessant filmgoing, Caine naturally took to acting, even though the life of a British regional actor was one step away from abject poverty. Changing his last name from Micklewhite to Caine in tribute to one of his favorite movies, The Caine Mutiny (1954), the actor toiled in obscurity in unbilled film bits and TV walk-ons from 1956 through 1962, occasionally obtaining leads on a TV series based on the Edgar Wallace mysteries.
Caine’s big break occurred in 1963, when he was cast in a leading role in the epic, star-studded historical adventure film Zulu. Suddenly finding himself bearing a modicum of importance in the British film industry, the actor next played Harry Palmer, the bespectacled, iconoclastic secret agent protagonist of The Ipcress File (1965); he would go on to reprise the role in two more films, Funeral in Berlin (1966) and The Billion Dollar Brain (1967). After 12 years of obscure and unappreciated work, Caine was glibly hailed as an “overnight star,” and with the success of The Ipcress Files, advanced to a new role as a major industry player. He went on to gain international fame in his next film, Alfie (1966), in which he played the title character, a gleefully cheeky, womanizing cockney lad. For his portrayal of Alfie, Caine was rewarded with a Golden Globe award and an Oscar nomination. One of the most popular action stars of the late ‘60s and early ’70s, Caine had leading roles in films such as the classic 1969 action comedy The Italian Job (considered by many to be the celluloid manifestation of all that was hip in Britain at the time); Joseph L. Manckiewicz’s Sleuth (1972), in which he starred opposite Laurence Olivier and won his second Oscar nomination; and The Man Who Would Be King (1976), which cast him alongside Sean Connery.
His international status was further confirmed with his role in the much-acclaimed California Suite (1978), in which he headlined a cast including Jane Fonda, Maggie Smith, Walter Matthau, Bill Cosby, and Elaine May. During the 1980s, Caine gained additional acclaim with an Oscar nomination for Educating Rita (1983) and a 1986 Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Hannah and Her Sisters. Occasional poor choices during this period (1984’s smarmy Blame it On Rio, 1987’s godawful Jaws: The Revenge) failed to hamper Caine’s ability to land coveted roles. He had a dastardly turn as an underworld kingpin in Neil Jordan’s small but fervently praised Mona Lisa (also 1986), and two years later once again proved his comic talents with the hit comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, in which he and Steve Martin starred as scheming con artists. Although Caine was no less prolific during the 1990s, his career began to falter with a series of lackluster films. Among the disappointments were Steven Seagal’s environmental action flick On Deadly Ground (1994) and Blood and Wine, a 1996 thriller in which he starred with Jack Nicholson and Judy Davis. In the late ‘90s, Caine began to rebound, appearing in the acclaimed independent film Little Voice (1998), for which he won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of a seedy talent agent. In addition, Caine — or Sir Michael, as he was called after receiving his knighthood in 2000 — got a new audience through his television work, starring in the 1997 miniseries Mandela and de Klerk. The actor, who was ranked 55 in Empire Magazine’s 1997 Top 100 Actors of All Time list, also kept busy as the co-owner of a successful London restaurant, and enjoyed a new wave of appreciation from younger filmmakers who praised him as the film industry’s enduring model of British cool. This appreciation was further evidenced in 2000, when Caine was honored with a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his portrayal of an abortionist in The Cider House Rules.
After launching the new millennium with both a revitalized career momentum and newfound popularity among fans who were too young to appreciate his early efforts, Caine once again scored a hit with the art-house circuit as the torturous Dr Royer-Collard in director Phillip Kaufman’s Quills. Later paid homage by Hollywood icon Sylvester Stallone when the muscle-bound actor stepped into Caine’s well-worn shoes for a remake of Get Carter (in which Caine also appeared in a minor role) the actor would gain positive notice the following year for his turn as a friend attempting to keep a promise in Last Orders. As if the Get Carter remake wasn’t enought to emphasize Caine’s coolness to a new generation of moviegoers, his turn as bespectacled super-spy Austin Powers’ father in Austin Powers in Goldfinger proved that even years beyond The Italian Job Caine was still at the top of his game. Moving seamlessly from kitsch to stirring drama, Caine’s role in 2002’s The Quiet American earned the actor not only some of the best reviews of his later career, but another Oscar nomination as well.
Caine had long demonstrated an unusual versatility that made him a cult favorite with popular and arthouse audiences, but as the decade wore on, he demonstrated more box-office savvy by pursuing increasingly lucrative audience pleasers, almost exclusively for a period of time. The thesp first resusciated the triumph of his Muppet role with a brief return to family-friendly material in Disney’s Secondhand Lions, alongside screen legend Robert Duvall (Tender Mercies, The Apostle). The two play quirky great-uncles to a maladjusted adolescent boy (Haley Joel Osment), who take the child for the summer as a guest on their Texas ranch. The film elicited mediocre reviews (Carrie Rickey termed it “edgeless as a marshmallow and twice as syrupy”) but scored with ticket buyers during its initial fall 2003 run. Caine then co-starred with Christopher Walken and Josh Lucas in the family issues drama Around the Bend (2004). In 2005, perhaps cued by the bankability of Goldfinger and Lions, Caine landed a couple of additional turns in Hollywood A-listers. In that year’s Nicole Kidman/Will Ferrell starrer Bewitched, he plays Nigel Bigelow, Kidman’s ever philandering warlock father. Even as critics wrote the vehicle off as a turkey, audiences didn’t listen, and it did outstanding business, doubtless helped by the weight of old pros Caine and Shirley Maclaine. That same year’s franchise prequel Batman Begins not only grossed dollar one, but handed Caine some of his most favorable notices to date, as he inherited the role of Bruce Wayne’s butler, Alfred Pennyworth, from Michael Gough.
Caine contributed an elegiac portrayal to Gore Verbinski’s quirky late 2005 character drama The Weatherman, as Robert Spritz, the novelist father of Nic Cage’s David Spritz, who casts a giant shadow over the young man. Roger Ebert praised the thesp’s performance, observing, “[Caine] turns Robert into a man who wounds with a thousand little cuts, who is urbane and articulate and whose words are a rebuke not so much because of what he says, as by the tender regret with which he says them.”
In 2006, Caine joined the cast of the esteemed Alfonso Cuaron’s dystopian sci-fi drama Children of Men, and lent a supporting role to Memento helmer Christopher Nolan’s psychological thriller The Prestige. The studios scheduled both efforts for release in fall of that year. —allmovie.com
Photo for Larenz Tate
Quote: “What I look for in a script is the plot point and whether they’re strong, obviously, or not, whether the characters are rich or not, and if I can do justice to the character or not. Some movies you look at and the script is so bad that no one can do anything with the script. I mean, that’s probably why Denzel Washington turns down so much. It’s like why go through all of the ups and downs of trying to have a phenomenal performance when the movie is just bad all around?”
Following appearances in such television series as 21 Jump Street and The Wonder Years, Tate was cast in the television movie The Women of Brewster Place before receiving a recurring role in the family comedy series Family Matters (1989). He was also a cast member on the CBS series The Royal Family, starring Redd Foxx and Della Reese, which ended prematurely when Redd Foxx suddenly died. In the video game 187 Ride or Die, Tate voices the main character, Buck.
Following numerous small-screen roles, offers began pouring in for Tate, and in late 1992, collaborative filmmaking siblings Albert and Allen Hughes approached him to star in their debut feature Menace II Society. A jarring vision of inner-city desperation and decay, the film found Tate channeling his substantial energy into creating “O-Dog”, a trigger-happy teenager. Following up with the little-seen but often-praised television series South Central, Tate would later appear in the family comedy-drama The Inkwell (1994) before re-teaming with the Hughes brothers for Dead Presidents (1995) and taking on the role of a love-stricken young poet in the romantic drama Love Jones (1997). Larenz Tate also played the role of Kenny in “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” in the episode: That’s no Lady That’s my Cousin.
There followed roles in The Postman (as the automotively monikered Ford Lincoln Mercury), the Frankie Lymon biopic Why Do Fools Fall in Love (1998, with Tate as Lymon), and 2000’s Love Come Down. Though a big theatrical release had eluded Tate for the first few years of the millennial turnover, Tate would soon turn up opposite Laurence Fishburne in the high-octane but critically derided Biker Boyz (2003) A Man Apart (2003), Crash (2004), as music legend Quincy Jones in Ray (2004), and Waist Deep (2006). Larenz was also featured in R&B singer Ashanti’s 2003 released music video Rain on Me, where he played the jealous, abusive spouse of Ashanti. The video touched on the subject of domestic abuse. He currently can be seen in the latest season of FX Network’s Rescue Me.
Please add John Amos to Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song
Photo for John Amos
Quote: “There are three stages in an actor’s career: Who is John Amos? Get me John Amos. Get me a young John Amos.”
Amos is perhaps best known for playing characters Gordy Howard the weatherman on The Mary Tyler Moore Show from 1970 until 1973 and James Evans, Sr. the sporadically-employed husband of Florida Evans appearing three times on the sitcom Maude before continuing the role in 59 episodes of Good Times from 1974 to 1976. While playing a chronically unemployed middle aged father of three on the show, in real life Amos was only 34 when the show began, only eight years older than the actor who played his oldest son: Jimmie Walker, and nearly 19 years younger than his screen wife, Esther Rolle. Amos, much like series’ co-star Rolle, wanted to portray a positive image of an African American family, struggling against the odds in the ghetto of Chicago, but saw the premise slighted by lighter comedy, and expressed dissatisfaction. Unhappy with the scripts and tension with producers, he quit the show after the third season. His character James Evans died in a car accident in the first episode of the fourth season, and the series continued without him.
Amos was part of the Emmy award winning cast on the miniseries Roots, playing the adult Kunta Kinte in 1977. He also portrayed Captain Dolan on television show Hunter from 1984 to 1985. He co-starred in the CBS police drama The District, and guest-starred on a number of other television programs including The Cosby Show, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, In the House, The A-Team, and Martin as Sgt. Hamilton Strawn (Tommy’s father). He was a frequent guest on The West Wing, portraying Admiral Percy Fitzwallace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He played a pilot, Buzz Washington, in a remote Alaskan town in the ABC series, Men in Trees. He also appeared in a Season 1 episode of “Touched by An Angel,” although he was credited as Jon (not John) Amos. Most recently, he guest starred on USA Network’s original drama/comedy Psych. Amos costarred with Anthony Anderson in the TV series All About the Andersons in 2003 and made an appearance on My Name Is Earl in September 2008. In 2010, Amos also appeared as recurring character “Ed” on Two and a Half Men.
Amos is the writer and producer of Halley’s Comet, a critically acclaimed one-man play that he performs around the world.
Amos has had roles in several films, such as Coming to America, Vanishing Point, The Beastmaster and Die Hard 2. He also starred in Let’s Do It Again (1975) as Kansas City Mack with Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier. Amos was also featured in the movie The World’s Greatest Athlete with Tim Conway and Jan-Michael Vincent. He was also in Ice Cube’s and Dr. Dre’s video for Natural Born Killaz and played a police officer in The Players Club. Amos also co-starred with Sylvester Stallone in the 1989 movie Lock Up. In 2006 he played Jud in Dr. Dolittle.
Photo for LeVar Burton
Bio from Who2 via answers.com:
LeVar Burton was still an acting student at USC when he won the role of Kunta Kinte in the 1977 TV miniseries Roots. Based on Alex Haley’s book of the same name, Roots became one of the top-rated TV events ever, and Burton won raves for his portrayal of the young African tribesman captured and sold into slavery in America. Ten years later Burton landed a second signature role as Geordi LaForge, the blind starship engineer in the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994, with Marina Sirtis and Jonathan Frakes). Burton had directed various Star Trek TV episodes and played LaForge in several Star Trek movies, including Generations (1994, with James Doohan of the original Star Trek cast) and First Contact (1996). He also produced and hosted the long-running PBS children’s show Reading Rainbow (1983-2009), and is the author of the futuristic 1997 novel Aftermath.
Ben Vereen, who played Kunta Kinte’s descendant Chicken George in Roots, also played Geordi LaForge’s father in episodes of ST: TNG… Burton was born in Germany during his father’s U.S. military service there.
Photo for Louis Gossett, Jr.
Quote: “If a role isn’t different, it’s not worth doing.”
Gossett stepped into the world of cinema in the Sidney Poitier vehicle A Raisin in the Sun in 1961. However, in 1953 he made Broadway history appearing as a star in “Take a Giant Step,” which was selected by the New York Times drama critics as one of the 10 best shows of the year. He was 19, and still a student at Abraham Lincoln High School, with no formal drama training. He had been delayed in graduating by a bout with polio. He entered NYU in 1954, declining a basketball scholarship to participate in their theater arts program.
Since his film debut, Gossett has starred in numerous film productions such as The Deep, An Officer and a Gentleman, Jaws 3-D (as SeaWorld manager Calvin Bouchard), Enemy Mine, the Iron Eagle series, Toy Soldiers and The Punisher. His role as Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley in the 1982 film An Officer and a Gentleman (opposite Richard Gere) showcased his talent and won him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. In 1986, he starred in another role as a military man in the film Iron Eagle. It was followed by three sequels.
Gossett’s Broadway theatre credits include A Raisin in the Sun (1959), Golden Boy (1964), and Chicago (2002).
He also has performed in other media, including television productions. His Emmy Award-winning role of Fiddler in the 1977 groundbreaking television miniseries Roots first brought Gossett to the audience’s attention. In 1983, he was cast in the title role in Sadat, a miniseries which chronicled the life and assassination of Anwar Sadat. While filming An Officer and a Gentleman, Gossett was also starring in the 1982–1983 science fiction series, The Powers of Matthew Star. He plays the role of fictional US President Gerald Fitzhugh in the movie Left Behind: World at War.
Gossett is the voice of the Vortigaunts in the video game Half-Life 2 (but he did not reprise the role in Half-Life 2: Episode Two) and is the Free Jaffa Leader Gerak in Season 9 of the sci-fi television series Stargate SG-1. He provides the voice of Lucius Fox in The Batman animated series. He recorded several commercials for a Nashville-based diabetic company, AmMed Direct, LLC. In 2008 he filmed the “Keep It Real” series of commercials for the Namibian lager Windhoek.3
In 1997, Gossett presented When Animals Attack! 4, a one hour special on Fox. Gossett also co-wrote the antiwar folk song “Handsome Johnny” with Richie Havens.
Gossett portrayed John in the Word of Promise audio bible.
Photo for Dorothy Dandridge
Quote: “It [prejudice] is such a waste. It makes you logy and half-alive. It gives you nothing. It takes away.”
Dorothy Dandridge was born on November 9, 1922 in Cleveland, Ohio, to Cyril Dandridge (October 25, 1895 – July 9, 1989),[ a cabinetmaker and minister, and to Ruby Dandridge (née Butler), an aspiring entertainer. Dandridge’s parents separated shortly before her birth. Ruby Dandridge soon created an act for her two young daughters, Vivian and Dorothy, under the name of “The Wonder Children.” The daughters toured the Southern United States for five years while Ruby worked and performed in Cleveland. During this time, they toured almost non-stop and rarely attended school.
At the onset of the Great Depression, work virtually dried up for the Dandridges, as it did for many of the Chitlin’ circuit performers. Ruby Dandridge moved to Hollywood, California, where she found steady work on radio and film in small parts as a domestic servant. “The Wonder Kids” were renamed “The Dandridge Sisters” and booked into such venues as the Cotton Club and the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York City.
Dorothy Dandridge’s first screen appearance was a bit part in a 1935 Our Gang short. In 1937, she appeared in the Marx Brothers feature film, A Day at the Races. In 1940, Dandridge played a murderer in the race film, Four Shall Die. All of her early parts were stereotypical African-American roles, but her singing ability and presence brought her popularity in nightclubs nationwide. During this period, she starred in several “soundies” – film clips designed to be displayed on juke boxes including “Paper Doll” by the Mills Brothers, “Cow Cow Boogie”, “Jig in the Jungle”, “Mr. & Mrs. Carpenter’s Rent Party.”
In 1954, director and writer Otto Preminger cast Dandridge, along with Harry Belafonte, Pearl Bailey, Brock Peters, Diahann Carroll, Madame Sul-Te-Wan (uncredited), and Joe Adams in his production of Carmen Jones. However, Dandridge’s singing voice was dubbed by opera singer, Marilyn Horne.
Upon release in 1955, Carmen Jones grossed $60,000 during its first week and $47,000 in its second week. The film received favorable reviews, and Dandridge was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress, becoming only the third African American to receive a nomination in any Academy Award category (after Hattie McDaniel and Ethel Waters). Grace Kelly won the award for her performance in The Country Girl. At the awards ceremony, Dandridge presented the Academy Award for Film Editing to Gene Milford for On the Waterfront.
Photo for Cicely Tyson
Quote: “One lady told me that before she saw ‘Sounder’, she didn’t believe black people could love each other, have deep relationships in the same way as white people.”
Tyson was discovered by a photographer for Ebony magazine, and became a popular fashion model. Her first film was an uncredited role in Carib Gold in 1957, but she went on to do television – the celebrated series East Side/West Side and the long-running soap opera The Guiding Light. In 1961, Tyson appeared in the original cast of French playwright Jean Genet’s The Blacks, the longest running Off-Broadway non-musical of the decade, running for 1,408 performances. The original cast also featured James Earl Jones, Roscoe Lee Browne, Louis Gossett, Jr., Godfrey Cambridge, Maya Angelou and Charles Gordone. She appeared with Sammy Davis, Jr. in the film A Man Called Adam (1966) and starred in the film version of Graham Greene’s The Comedians (1967). Tyson had a featured role in The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1968) and was in a segment of the movie Roots.
In 1972, she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in the critically acclaimed Sounder. In 1974, she won two Emmy Awards for The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. Other acclaimed television roles included Roots, King, in which she portrayed Coretta Scott King, The Marva Collins Story, When No One Would Listen and Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All for which she received her third Emmy Award. In her 1994-1995 television series Sweet Justice, Tyson portrayed a feisty, unorthodox Southern attorney named Carrie Grace Battle, a character she shaped by consulting with and shadowing the legendary Washington, D.C. civil rights and criminal defense lawyer Dovey Johnson Roundtree. In 2005, Tyson co-starred in the movies Because of Winn-Dixie and Diary of a Mad Black Woman. The same year she was honored by Oprah Winfrey at her Legends Ball.
The Cicely Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts, a magnet school in East Orange, New Jersey, was renamed in her honor. She plays an active part in supporting the school, which serves one of New Jersey’s most underprivileged African-American communities.
Photo for Angela Bassett
Quote: “I would have to say honestly I was very pleased to be in a film whether it was good or bad with De Niro, Norton and Brando even if I don’t have any scenes with them, I thought it was pretty good company to keep.”
In 1985, Bassett made her first television appearance as a prostitute in the TV movie Doubletake. However, she made her official film debut as a news reporter in F/X (1986). Bassett moved to Los Angeles and gained recognition in the films Boyz n the Hood (1991) and Malcolm X (1992). For her portrayal of Betty Shabazz, she earned an Image Award.
In 1992, Bassett played Michael Jackson’s mother Katherine in the mini series The Jacksons: An American Dream. Later that year Bassett was cast as Tina Turner in the feature film What’s Love Got to Do with It (1993). Bassett won a Golden Globe and earned an Academy Award nomination for her portrayal of Turner. She was the first African-American to win the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.
Bassett starred in three movies in 1995, which were released with varied reactions from critics: Vampire in Brooklyn, Strange Days, and Waiting to Exhale (where she worked with author Terry McMillan). In Strange Days, Bassett plays Lornette “Mace” Mason, a chauffeur and bodyguard. Bassett’s character in Waiting to Exhale, Bernadine Harris, was betrayed by her husband and in revenge she set fire to his entire wardrobe and vehicle, then sold what was left for one dollar.
In 1998, Bassett starred in the film How Stella Got Her Groove Back, once again collaborating with McMillan. She played Stella, a 40-year-old American professional woman who falls in love with a 20-year-old Jamaican man. In 2000, Bassett turned down the lead role in Monster’s Ball due to the script’s sexual content; the role would earn Halle Berry the Academy Award for Best Actress. In 2003 she read from the WPA slave narratives in the HBO film Unchained Memories. In the 1930’s about 100,000 former slaves during the Great Depression of which 2,300 were interviewed part of the Federal Writers’ Project. Transcripts of the Slave Narratives collection of the Library of Congress is a record of slavery, bondage and misery.
Bassett joined the regular cast of the medical drama series ER for the show’s final season (2008-2009). She portrayed Dr. Catherine Banfield, an exacting Chief of the ER who was also working to recover from the death of a son and to bring another child into her family. Bassett’s husband Courtney Vance played her television husband on ER as Russell Banfield.
In 2010, Basset lent her voice to portray First Lady Michelle Obama on an episode of The Simpsons entitled “Stealing First Base”. Bassett was also cast in the superhero film Green Lantern, to be released in 2011, as notable DC Comics character Amanda Waller.
Photo for Melvin van Peebles (332×475 – I didn’t want to distort the image)
Quote: “I make a film like I cook for friends. I hope they like it, but if they don’t, I’m prepared to enjoy it all by myself.”
Van Peebles began writing about his experiences as a cable car driver. What evolved from an initially small article and a series of photographs was Van Peebles’ first book, The Big Heart.
One day, a passenger suggested that Van Peebles should become a filmmaker. He shot his first short film, Pickup Men for Herrick, in 1957. He made two more short films during the same period. According to Van Peebles, “I thought they were features. Each one turned out to be eleven minutes long. I was trying to do features. I knew nothing.” As Van Peebles learned more about the filmmaking process, he found out that “I could make a feature for five hundred dollars. That was the cost of ninety minutes of film. I didn’t know a thing about shooting a film sixteen to one or ten to one or none of that shit. Then I forgot you had to develop film. And I didn’t know you needed a work print. All I can say is that after I did one thing he would say, ‘Well, aren’t you gonna put sound on it?’ and I would go, ‘Oh shit!’ That’s all I could say.”
After Van Peebles completed his first short films, he took them with him to Hollywood in order to try and find work, but was unable to find anyone who wanted to hire him as a director. In New York City, Van Peebles met a man who saw his films and wanted to screen them in France. In 1959 he went to Europe and worked for the Dutch National Theater before being invited to Paris by Henry Langlois, founder of the Cinémathèque Française, on the strength of his short films. In France, Van Peebles learned French, and was hired to translate Mad magazine into French. He began to write plays in French, utilizing the sprechgesang form of songwriting, where the lyrics were spoken over the music. This style carried over to Van Peebles’ debut album, Brer Soul.
He wrote a number of novels and made another short film, Cinq cent balles (1965). It was here that he made his first feature length film, The Story of a Three-Day Pass (La Permission) (1968), which caught the attention of Hollywood producers who mistook him for a French auteur. His first Hollywood film was the 1970 Columbia Pictures comedy Watermelon Man, written by Herman Raucher. The movie told the story of a casually racist white man who suddenly wakes up black and finds himself alienated from his friends, family and job. In 1970 Van Peebles was also to direct filming of the Powder Ridge Rock Festival, which was banned by court injunction.
It was after the resulting bad experience directing Watermelon Man that Van Peebles became determined to have complete control over his next production, which became the groundbreaking Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (1971), privately funded with his own money, and in part by a $50,000.00 loan from Bill Cosby. Van Peebles not only directed, scripted, and edited the film, but wrote the score and directed the marketing campaign. The film, which in the end grossed $10 million, was, among many others, acclaimed by the Black Panthers for its political resonance with the black struggle. His son Mario’s 2004 film BAADASSSSS! tells the story behind the making of Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song.
In 2005, Van Peebles was the subject of a documentary entitled How to Eat Your Watermelon in White Company (and Enjoy It). In 2008, Van Peebles completed the film Confessionsofa Ex-Doofus-ItchyFooted Mutha, and appeared on All My Children as Melvin Woods, the father of Samuel Woods, a character portrayed by his son, Mario.
In 2005 Van Peebles collaborated on a double album with Madlib, to be released on Stones Throw Records. The first disc of the album will was Brer Soul Meets Quasimoto and the second is the Madlib Invazion remix. Madlib had previously sampled Van Peebles heavily on both of his albums under the Quasimoto moniker.
In 2009 Van Peebles became involved with a project to make Sweet Sweetback a musical. A preliminary version of this was staged at the Apollo on April 25–26, 2009. As well, he wrote and performed in a stage musical, Unmitigated Truth: Life, a Lavatory, Loves, and Ladies, which featured some of his previous songs as well as some new material.
Photo for Mario van Peebles
Quote: “History is written by the winners. The books say the Indians were bad guys and the whites just needed a little land. It’s like, Excuse me, let me take your car. I’m discovering it. I’m putting my flag on your windshield.”
Van Peebles was born in Mexico City, Mexico, the son of writer, director and actor Melvin Van Peebles and German actress and photographer Maria Marx. He graduated from Saint Thomas More School in Connecticut in 1974 and from Columbia University in 1978 with a bachelor’s degree in economics.
Over the next 30 years, Van Peebles starred in and directed many television shows & films with Pam Grier , including Lost, Panther, Ali and New Jack City.
His 2004 biopic BAADASSSSS! describes the making of his father’s seminal film, Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song. Van Peebles also directed Malcolm Takes a Shot, a CBS Schoolbreak Special about an aspiring high-school basketball-star whose obstacles include epilepsy and a disparaging attitude towards teamwork. Mario gave himself a cameo in the special, as Malcolm’s doctor.
Van Peebles stars on the television show Damages, as Agent Harrison. Van Peebles was first brought on to the FX series to direct a few Season 1 episodes, and was then cast in a small role as an agent. Now, according to the Hollywood Reporter, Harrison will be back for six more episodes in Season 2 (which begins in early 2009). He is also on board to direct new episodes of FX’s new biker drama Sons of Anarchy. He is good friends with fellow actors, Christopher Lambert and Jean Claude Van Damme. Van Peebles and his family embrace green living in a new eco-reality series, Mario’s Green House, which premiered on TV-One September 27, 2009.
Page 20 and 21 are up to date again.
Quote: “I want to try to make people look at things they think they know about in a new way.” -The Guardian
Bio: Adam Curtis (born 1955) is a British television documentary maker who has during the course of his television career worked as a writer, producer, director and narrator. He currently works for BBC Current Affairs. His programmes express a clear (and sometimes controversial) opinion about their subject, and he narrates the programmes himself.
After attending Sevenoaks School (a member of the ‘art room’ that produced musicians, Tom Greenhalgh, Kevin Lycett and Mark White of The Mekons along with Andy Gill and Jon King of the Gang of Four) Curtis studied for a BA in Human Sciences (which included introductory courses in genetics, psychology, politics, geography and elementary statistics) at the University of Oxford. Curtis taught politics there, but left for a career in television. He obtained a post on That’s Life!, where he learned to find humour in serious subjects.
Curtis makes extensive use of archive footage in his documentaries. An Observer profile said: Curtis has a remarkable feel for the serendipity of such moments, and an obsessive skill in locating them. “That kind of footage shows just how dull I can be,” he admits, a little glumly. “The BBC has an archive of all these tapes where they have just dumped all the news items they have ever shown. One tape for every three months. So what you get is this odd collage, an accidental treasure trove. You sit in a darkened room, watch all these little news moments, and look for connections.”
The Observer adds “if there has been a theme in Curtis’s work since, it has been to look at how different elites have tried to impose an ideology on their times, and the tragi-comic consequences of those attempts.”
Curtis received the Golden Gate Persistence of Vision Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival in 2005. In 2006 he was given the Alan Clarke Award for Outstanding Contribution to Television at the British Academy Television Awards. In 2009 Sheffield Doc/Fest awarded Curtis the inaugural Sheffield Inspiration Award for his inspiration to documentary makers and audiences. -Wikipedia