Birthdays Archives

Gene Roddenbery Birthday August 19, 1921

 

 

 

 

Gene Roddenberry

Gene Roddenberry

 

 

 

Eugene Wesley “Gene” Roddenberry (August 19, 1921 – October 24, 1991) was an American screenwriter and producer. He is best known as the creator of Star Trek, an American sci-fi series known for its influence on popular culture.

Roddenberry was sometimes referred to as the “Great Bird of the Galaxy” in reference to his founding role in Star Trek.   He was one of the first people to have his ashes “buried” in space.

Roddenberry developed his idea for Star Trek in 1964 when he thought of combining Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon. Star Trek was picked up by Desilu Studios when Roddenberry sold the premise as a “Wagon Train to the Stars.” The original $500,000 pilot received only minor support from NBC and its production went over budget, but the network commissioned an unprecedented second pilot. The series, a Norway Corporation production, premiered on September 8, 1966, and ran for three seasons. Although it was canceled due to low ratings, the series gained wide popularity in syndication. In the third and final season of Star Trek, Roddenberry offered to demote himself to the position of line producer in a final attempt to rescue the show by giving it a desired time slot. He resigned when this was not approved and accepted a staff producer position with MGM.

Beginning in 1975, the go-ahead was given by Paramount for Roddenberry to develop a new Star Trek television series, with many of the original cast to be included. It was originally called Phase II. This series would be the anchor show of a new network (the ancestor of UPN, which later became part of The CW Television Network), but plans by Paramount for this network were scrapped and the project was reworked into a feature film. The result, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, received a lukewarm critical response, but it performed well at the box office and saved Norway Corporation. As a result, several motion pictures and a new television series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, were created in the 1980s.

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When it came time to produce the obligatory theatrical sequel, Roddenberry’s story submission of a time-traveling Enterprise crew involved in the John F. Kennedy assassination was rejected. He was removed from direct involvement—effectively hobbling the power of Norway Corporation—and replaced by Harve Bennett. He continued, however, as executive consultant for the next four films: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, and Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. As consultant, Roddenberry was allowed to view and comment on all scripts and dailies emanating from the production, but the creative team was free to disregard Roddenberry’s advice.

star trek next generation

Roddenberry was deeply involved with creating and producing Star Trek: The Next Generation, although he only had full control over the show’s first season. The WGA strike of 1988 prevented him from taking an active role in production of the second season, and forced him to hand control of the series to producer Maurice Hurley. While Roddenberry was free to resume work on the third season, his health was in serious decline, and over the course of the season, he gradually ceded control to Rick Berman and Michael Piller. Star Trek also spawned the television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, and Star Trek: Enterprise.

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, the last film with the cast from the original Star Trek series, was dedicated to Roddenberry; he reportedly viewed an early version of the film a few days before his death.

In addition to his film and TV work, Roddenberry also wrote the novelization of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. It was published in 1979 and was the first of hundreds of Star Trek-based novels to be published by the Pocket Books unit of Simon & Schuster, whose parent company also owned Paramount Pictures Corporation. Because Alan Dean Foster wrote the original treatment of the Star Trek: The Motion Picture film, there was a rumor that Foster was the ghostwriter of the novel. This has been debunked by Foster on his personal website. (Foster, however, ghostwrote the novelization of George Lucas’s Star Wars.) Roddenberry talked of writing a second Trek novel based on his rejected 1975 script of the JFK assassination plot, but he died before he was able to do so.

Trivia:

During WWII he had a friend named Kim Noonien Singh; after the war Kim disappeared, and Gene used his name for some characters in the Star Trek series (Khan Noonien Singh from Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan (1982) and Noonien Soong from “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (1987)) in hopes that Kim might recognize his name and contact him.

Some of his ashes sent up in a rocket, launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Might have died in a house fire when still a toddler along with Bob, Doris, and their mother, but a milkman came along and woke them in time.

In 1943 while a US Army Air Corps pilot, he flew B-17 bombers during World War II, his plane crashed on takeoff due to a mechanical failure, killing two crew members.

On 19 June 1947 he was deadheading (traveling while not on duty) on a Pan Am plane when it crashed in the Syrian desert, killing 7 of 9 crew and 7 of 26 passengers on board. He rescued the Maharani of Pheleton from the wreck. Rescue came in hours, but too late to save most of the luggage, and the victims’ possessions, from local tribesmen and villagers.

During the war he wrote a song lyric “I Wanna Go Home”, which became popular.

His first TV script sale, in 1953, was the episode “Defense Plant Gambling” for the show “Mr. District Attorney” (1954). It was broadcast 2 March 1954. In the science-fiction field, his first was “The Secret Weapon of 117″, broadcast 6 March 1956 on the anthology series “Chevron Hall of Stars”.

He had many lovers and was sometimes overt about it. He and Majel Barrett had been lovers for years when he decided it was time to marry her and asked her to join him — although he happened to be visiting Japan at the time. Gene did not adhere to any particular religion and since they were in Japan they chose to have a Shinto-Buddhist wedding on 6 August 1969. They regarded this as their real wedding, but his divorce was not yet final and they made it legal with a civil ceremony on 29 December 1969.

Majel and Gene Roddenberry

Majel and Gene Roddenberry

His old pseudonym Robert Wesley was used in the “Star Trek” (1966) episode “The Ultimate Computer” as the name of a character, played by Barry Russo.

Served on the Los Angeles Police Force from 1949 – 1956, badge number 6089. This information from “Star Trek Creator” by David Alexander.

Died within 48 hours of screening Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), the last Trek that revolved around his original characters.

Shared the same birthday as “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (1987) star Jonathan Frakes.

He has a building named in his honor on the Paramount Studio lot.

Father of actress Dawn Roddenberry and Darleen Roddenberry-Bacha who died on 29-Oct-1995 in an auto accident.

Father, with Majel Barrett, of Rod Roddenberry.

While meeting with George Takei about a role on “Star Trek” (1966), Gene accidentally pronounced George’s last name ‘Ta-kei’, which is similar to the word expensive in Japanese “takai” . He remembered the pronouncation by rhyming it with “OK”.

Died on 24 October 1991, exactly ten years after Marina Sirtis’s father.

During his years in the LAPD, he was the spokesman of LAPD Chief W.H. Parker.

Was a close friend of Jack Webb.

Biography in: “American National Biography”. Supplement 1, pp. 521-522. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

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Julie Newmar Birthday August 16

 

 

Julie Newmar

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Julie Newmar (born August 16, 1933) is an American actress, dancer and singer. Her most famous role is Catwoman in the Batman television series.

Her first major role, for which she was billed as “Julie Newmeyer”, was as one of the brides in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954). Her 3 minute Broadway appearance as the leggy “Stupefyin’ Jones” in the musical Li’l Abner in 1956 led to a reprise in the 1959 film version. Also in 1959, she was the female lead in the low-budget comedy The Rookie.

julie_newmar_

Newmar first appeared on Broadway in 1955 in Silk Stockings which starred Hildegarde Neff and Don Ameche; she also appeared on Broadway in the 1961 play, The Marriage-Go-Round, which starred Charles Boyer and Claudette Colbert. She re-developed the role of the Swedish vixen and won a Tony Award for Best Supporting Actress. Later she appeared on stage with Joel Grey in the national tour of Stop the World – I Want to Get Off and as “Lola” in Damn Yankees! and “Irma” in Irma La Douce.

Much of Newmar’s fame stems from her television career, especially her roles in certain well-remembered television series. Newmar starred as “Rhoda the Robot” in the short-lived TV series My Living Doll (1964-1965). She is best known for her 12-episode recurring role in the 1966-67 TV series Batman as the “purrfect” villainess, Catwoman (portrayed in the related 1966 feature film by Lee Meriwether and in the series’ final season by Eartha Kitt).

JulieNewmar

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In 1962, Newmar appeared twice as motorcycle-riding, free-spirited heiress Vicki Russell in the TV series Route 66, filming on location in Tucson, Arizona (“How Much a Pound is Albatross”) and in Tennessee (“Give the Old Cat a Tender Mouse”). She also guest-starred on iconic TV shows The Twilight Zone, F Troop, The Beverly Hillbillies and Get Smart. In 1967, she guest-starred as April Conquest in the most popular episode of The Monkees and as a pregnant princess in the Star Trek episode “Friday’s Child”. She had guest roles in 1970s series Columbo and The Bionic Woman.

julienewmar2In the 1980s and early 1990s, Newmar appeared in several low-budget films. She also guest-starred on TV shows including The Love Boat, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Hart to Hart, CHiPs and Fantasy Island. She was seen in George Michael’s video clip Too Funky in 1992 as well as appearing as herself in a 1996 episode of Melrose Place.

The 1995 film To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar pays homage to the actress; Newmar herself makes a cameo appearance near the film’s end. Fashion designer Thierry Mugler, selected her as his model-muse for the catwalk of his 20 year couture celebration in Paris.

Julie_NewmarShe holds three U.S. patents: 3,914,799 and 4,003,094 for “Pantyhose with shaping band for Cheeky derriere relief” and 3,935,865 for “Brassiere.” After further education at UCLA in the early 1980s, Newmar began investing in Los Angeles real estate. As an article about the actress has noted, “Newmar is partly responsible for improving the Los Angeles neighborhoods on La Brea Avenue and Fairfax Avenue near the Grove.”

Trivia:

I.Q. of 135. Graduated high school (Los Angeles’ John Marshall High School) at age 15.

Invented and marketed her own brand of pantyhose in the 1970s & 1980s

Gave birth to her only child, a son, while she was in her late 40s.

Holds three U.S patents: 3,914,799 and 4,003,094 for “Pantyhose with shaping band for Cheeky derriere relief” and 3,935,865 for “Brassiere.”

Now circa 2008 - Then circa 1953

Now circa 2008 - Then circa 1953

Measurements: 37-23-37 (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)

Has 37″ legs (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)

Graduated from John Marshall High School in Los Angeles in 1951

Has her name mentioned in the title of the comedy To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar (1995), while the plot revolves, partly, around an autographed publicity photograph of her.

In November 2004, the former “Catwoman” had a different type of cat fight on her hands. Her next-door neighbor, actor James Belushi, sued her for $4 million alleging harassment and defamation of character. Their openly hostile neighborhood feud has been supposedly going on for years. Newmar, an avid community advocate who once fought restrictions against noisy leaf-blowers, once threw an egg at Belushi’s house in retaliation for a noisy air conditioner. The suit includes vandalism and spying.

Her son John is deaf and has Downs Syndrome.

Was a friend of New York Mets pitcher Tracy Stallard, the man who as a member of the Boston Red Sox gave up Roger Maris’ record-breaking 61st home run in 1961.

 

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Accepted Worst Picture for Catwoman (2004) at the 25th Annual RAZZIE Awards.

Was the first actress to portray the DC comics character Catwoman in a live action adaptation of the Batman series.

Won the 1959 Tony Award (New York City) for Supporting or Features Actress in a Drama for “The Marriage-Go-Round”.

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James Cameron Birthday August 16

 

 

 

James Cameron

James Cameron

 

 

 

 

James Francis Cameron (born August 16, 1954) is a Canadian-American film director, producer and screenwriter. He has written and directed films as disparate as Aliens and Titanic. To date, his directorial efforts have grossed approximately US$1.1 billion domestically, unadjusted for inflation. After a string of landmark feature films, Cameron turned his focus to documentary filmmaking and the co-development of the digital 3-D Fusion Camera System. He is currently working on a return to feature filmmaking with the science fiction film Avatar, which will make use of the Fusion Camera System technology. Avatar is scheduled for release in December 2009.

James_Cameron

Trivia:

According to Cameron, he got his big break while doing pick-up shots for Galaxy of Terror (1981) as 2nd unit director. He was shooting scenes of a dismembered arm teeming with maggots (actually mealworms). In order to make them move, he hooked up an AC power cord to the arm, and an unseen assistant would plug it in when the film was rolling. Two producers were strolling through, and when Cameron yelled “Action!” the worms began to writhe on cue. When he yelled “Cut!” the worms stopped. The producers were so amazed at his directing prowess that they began talking with him about bigger projects.

His production company is ‘Lightstorm Entertainment’.

One of the founders of visual effects company ‘Digital Domain’.

While editing Titanic (1997), Cameron had a razor blade taped to the side of the editing computer with the instructions written underneath: “Use only if film sucks!”.

Jokingly refers to Titanic (1997) as his 190 Million Dollar “Chick Flick”.

First director to film both a $100 million (Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)) and a $200 million (Titanic (1997)) movie.

Cameron is in talks with RKK Energia and MirCorp to pay his way on board the Mir space station (or the ISS, should Mir be deorbited). He has been given the medical green light, and has already ridden aboard the Ilushin-76 jet used to train cosmonauts for space missions. [September 2000]

Lost a plagiarism lawsuit brought by Harlan Ellison involving the movie The Terminator (1984). Newer prints of the film acknowledge Ellison.

Went to elementary school in Chippawa, Ontario.

First wife Sharon Williams got just $1,200 from Cameron in their divorce settlement.

He and Suzy Amis are owners of Childspot!, an early childhood center in Wichita, Kansas which is operated by Suzy’s sister, Rebecca Amis.

Wrote a screenplay for Spider-Man (2002) movie, but was turned down by the studios, due to the fact that his version of Spider-Man was “too violent”. Sam Raimi’s version got the green light instead.

Married one of his producers and two of his actresses.

His practice of testing his DPs by darkening the film originated on Aliens (1986). Cameron wanted to use a particular type of film stock, but cinematographer Dick Bush ignored him and used a different type. The end result being that the footage shot ended up being unusably dark. After Bush was fired due to an unrelated incident and Adrian Biddle took over, Cameron found some of the film in a storage cupboard and had the camera operators use it instead of the film Biddle had told them to use. Biddle noticed what was going on after the first take, and compensated with extra lighting, hoping to hide his “mistake” from Cameron, who owned up at the end of the day. Cameron later did the same to Mikael Salomon on The Abyss (1989) and to Russell Carpenter on True Lies (1994).

He is a huge Japanese anime fan, and the releasing studios often uses his opinion about the film on the DVD and VHS covers.

On the 14 March 2004 episode of “Inside the Actors Studio” (1994), Kate Winslet claimed her nude portrait for Leonardo DiCaprio in the Titanic (1997) was drawn by Cameron. She also said the artist’s hand shown in a close-up was Cameron’s.

The mandibles of the Predator from Predator (1987) were his idea.

One of only two people to have both written and directed an Alien movie. The other is Paul W.S. Anderson.

Co-created the newly high-definition video system with cinematographer Vince Pace that was recently used to film Ghosts of the Abyss (2003).

A magazine article written about him in the 1980s described how he had three desks set up in his house. At one desk, he was writing the script to The Terminator (1984), on another, he was finishing the script to Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985) and on the third, he was writing Aliens (1986).

When he wrote an early script treatment for Spider-Man (2002), he had the idea of organic web-shooters. This was later included in Sam Raimi’s film.

He has developed a new generation stereo imaging camera called “The Fusion Camera”

The titles of his two current theatrical documentaries contain the titles of two of his previous films; the title of his documentary “Ghosts of the Abyss” contains the title of his previous film “The Abyss”, and the title of his other documentary “Aliens of the Deep” contains the title of another one of his previous films, “Aliens”.

Member of the American Cinema Editors (ACE).

The October 1987 draft of the screenplay for Alien Nation (1988) credits a rewrite to James Cameron. He is not credited in the final film.

Drew the picture of Rose (Kate Winslet) in the movie, Titanic (1997). The image was flipped so it would appear that Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) was drawing it with his right hand.

Was interested in remaking Planet of the Apes (1968), but his script was turned down. Another script was then developed and eventually made by Tim Burton in 2001.

Considered directing “Solaris” (2002) but opted to produce instead. Job went to Steven Soderbergh.

2007- Ranked #3 on EW’s The 50 Smartest People in Hollywood.

After seeing the film Star Wars in 1977, Cameron quit his job as a truck driver to enter the film industry.

Received a star at Canada’s Walk of Fame in Toronto. Says he’s too cheap to pay for a star at the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Halle Berry Birthday August 14

Halle Berry

Halle Berry


Halle Berry ( born August 14, 1966) is an American actress, former fashion model, and beauty queen. Berry has received Emmy and Golden Globe awards for Introducing Dorothy Dandridge and an Academy Award for Best Actress in 2001 for her performance in Monster’s Ball, becoming the first and, as of 2009, only woman of African American descent to have won the award for Best Actress. She is one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood and also a Revlon spokeswoman. She has also been involved in the production side of several of her films.Halle Berry

Before becoming an actress, Berry entered several beauty contests, finishing runner-up in the Miss USA (1986), and winning the Miss USA World 1986 title.Her breakthrough feature film role was in the 1991 Jungle Fever. This led to roles in The Flintstones (1994), Bulworth (1998), X-Men (2000) and its sequels, and as Bond Girl Jinx in Die Another Day (2002). She also won a worst actress Razzie Award in 2005 for Catwoman and accepted the award in person.

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Get This Pin-Up Here!

Trivia:

Is type 1 diabetic.

Her parents, Judith Ann Hawkins & Jerome Jesse Berry, divorced when she was 4 years old. She was then raised by her mom. When researching for her role of Dorothy Dandridge, she discovered that she and Dorothy were both born in the same Cleveland, Ohio hospital.

One of People Magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People.” [1998]

Miss USA; first runner-up to Christy Fichtner who was on the first season of “Who Wants to Marry My Dad?” (2004). [1986]

Miss Ohio USA. [1986]

Miss Teen All American. [1985]

Attended Cuyahoga Community College, Cleveland, Ohio.

Turned down the role of Annie in Speed (1994/I).

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Is named after the grand old Halle Building in Cleveland, Ohio, which originally housed the Halle Brothers department store. The building is now an office building and the fictional setting for the Winfred-Louder department store on “The Drew Carey Show” (1995).

STORM2

In high school, was an honor society member, editor of the school paper, and class president. Was also crowned prom queen.

Lost some hearing in one of her ears due to a physical encounter with a boyfriend in the early 90s.

Attended Heskett Middle School in Bedford Heights, Ohio.

Halle_Berry3First African American actress to win the Oscar for Best Actress.

Portrayed Dorothy Dandridge in the made for television film Introducing Dorothy Dandridge (1999) (TV). Dorothy Dandridge was the first African- American woman to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress and coincidentally Halle Berry is the first to have won in that category.

Was named one of the “50 Most Beautiful People” by People Magazine in 2002.

Graduate of Bedford High School, Bedford, Ohio

First black American in the Miss World Competition. She didn’t win a prize but her dress did.

She and Kim Basinger are the only “Bond girls” to win Oscars.

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Her dress for the 2002 Oscars ceremony was voted the most popular from the first 75 years.

Bond Girl

Bond Girl

Ranked #96 in Premiere’s 2003 annual Power 100 List.

Named one of the 50 most beautiful people in People Magazine in 2003.

Voted the 10th Sexiest Female Movie Star in the Australian Empire Magazine September 2002.

Starred in four movies with Hugh Jackman: X-Men (2000), Swordfish (2001) and X2 (2003) and X-Men: The Last Stand (2006).

May 2003 – Broke her arm on the set of Gothika (2003), filming in Montreal.

Measurements: 36C-22-37 (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)

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Buy this Title on Blu-ray

Was a Bearcats cheerleader at Bedford High School.

Half British on her mother’s side.

The first actress to star and portray two different comic book characters for two different comic book companies: “Storm” for Marvel’s X-Men (2000) and X2 (2003), and “Catwoman” for D.C Comics’s Catwoman (2004).

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She is currently the highest paid black actress in Hollywood. [2004]

Named one of the “50 Most Beautiful People” in People Magazine in 2004. She has now appeared on this list eight times, tying with Julia Roberts for the most appearances.

Voted as #7 on the “Top 100 Sexiest Women 2004″ in FHM [DK].

Played a character called “Sharon Stone” in The Flintstones (1994). Ten years later she appeared with the real Sharon Stone in Catwoman (2004).

Halle BerryWisely turned down the female lead in box office disaster Gigli (2003), which birthed the relationship of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez.

Adopted a cat (that was originally an extra for Catwoman (2004)) named Playto, to help herself learn about cats. However, she renamed the cat Playdough, because Playto was too serious a name for her.

Her first $1 million salary for a film was for Executive Decision (1996) – a part which she earlier refused…. until she was offered $1 million.

Voted #7 on VH1’s “100 Hottest Hotties.”

Ranked #15 in Stuff magazine’s “102 Sexiest Women in the World” (2002).

The age difference between herself and Rosamund Pike in Die Another Day (2002) – 12 years and 5 months – is the greatest age difference between two Bond girls in one film since Alison Doody and Grace Jones – a difference of 18 years – in A View to a Kill (1985).

On Febuary 26, 2005, she showed up in person to accept the Razzie award for Worst Actress for her role as Catwoman (2004) and became the first actress to do so. Accepting the award, Berry smiled and said “Thank you and I hope to God I never see you guys again.”

One of only three actresses, along with Faye Dunaway and Liza Minnelli, to win both the Academy Award for Best Actress and the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Dunaway shared her award with Bo Derek).

Frequently hailed as one of Hollywood’s best dressed stars.

Was named one of the “50 Most Beautiful People” by People Magazine in 2005

Voted #1 on BET’s “All Shades of Fine: The 25 Hottest Women of the Past 25 Years” (2005)

Her favorite actresses are Dorothy Dandridge, Jodie Foster and Whoopi Goldberg.

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Named #41 on the Maxim magazine Hot 100 of 2005 list.

Harvard University’s Hasty Pudding Theatricals’ 2006 Woman of the Year

Was born in Cleveland but grew up in Oakwood Village, Ohio. She still has family there.

Named #5 in FHM’s “100 Sexiest Women in the World 2005″ special supplement. (2005)

Was featured as #7 in Maxim Magazine’s “Hot 100 of 2002″ supplement. (2002)

Mother is from Liverpool, England.

First actress to star in a “Bond-film” following an Oscar win

Named #6 in FHM magazine’s “100 Sexiest Women in the World 2006″ supplement. (2006).

halle_berryWell known for “living” her roles, she refused to bathe for two weeks in preparation for a role as a crack addict in Jungle Fever (1991).

Her maternal grandmother was English. Also has other English (distantly related to the Baronets Beresford, Viscounts of Tyrone, Earls of Tyrone and Marquesses of Waterford, to Barons Decies and to Baron Beresford, and to the Marquess of Campo-Maior Count of Trancoso in Portugal), Irish, German and remote Dutch ancestry.

Received the 2,333rd star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on April 3, 2007.

Is one of four African-American actresses to win an Oscar in a competitive category. In chronological order the others are: Hattie McDaniel for Gone with the Wind (1939), Whoopi Goldberg for Ghost (1990) and Jennifer Hudson for Dreamgirls (2006).

Ranked #55 on the Maxim magazine Hot 100 of 2007 list.

Saved from choking on a fig by Pierce Brosnan during shooting of the love scene on Cuba for Die Another Day (2002).

Is one of only 7 African-American actresses to be nominated for the Best Actress Oscar. The others in chronological order are: Dorothy Dandridge, Diana Ross, Cicely Tyson, Diahann Carroll, Whoopi Goldberg and Angela Bassett.

Early in her career she auditioned for the role of Tina Turner in What’s Love Got to Do with It (1993), but lost out to Angela Bassett who went on to receive a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her performance.

Was given her Oscar-winning role of Leticia Musgrove in Monster’s Ball (2001) after both Angela Bassett and Vanessa Williams turned the role down.

Was named “Sexiest Woman Alive” by Esquire magazine in 2008.

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Alfred Hitchcock Birthday August 13, 1899

alfred_hitchcockSir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, KBE (13 August 1899 – 29 April 1980)was a British filmmaker and producer who pioneered many techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres. After a successful career in his native United Kingdom in both silent films and early talkies, Hitchcock moved to Hollywood. In 1956 he became an American citizen while retaining his British citizenship.

Hitchcock directed more than fifty feature films in a career spanning six decades. He remains one of the most popular and most recognised filmmakers, and his works are still popular today. Often regarded as the greatest British filmmaker of all time, in 2007 Hitchcock was ranked #1 by film critics in The Telegraph‘s list of 21 greatest British directors, which writes: “Unquestionably the greatest filmmaker to emerge from these islands, Hitchcock did more than any director to shape modern cinema, which would be utterly different without him. His flair was for narrative, cruelly withholding crucial information (from his characters and from us) and engaging the emotions of the audience like no one else.”

Hitchcock with Janet Leigh

Hitchcock with Janet Leigh

His image has endured partly due to cameo appearances in his own films and the series of television dramas he hosted, the eponymous Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

Hitchcock seemed to delight in the technical challenges of film making. In the film Lifeboat, Hitchcock stages the entire action of the movie in a small boat, yet manages to keep the cinematography from monotonous repetition (his trademark cameo appearance was a dilemma, given the limitations of the setting; so Hitchcock appears in a fictitious magazine for a weight loss product). Similarly, the entire action in Rear Window either takes place in or is seen from a single apartment. In Spellbound, two unprecedented point-of-view shots were achieved by constructing a large wooden hand (which would appear to belong to the character whose point of view the camera took) and out sized props for it to hold: a bucket-sized glass of milk and a large wooden gun. For added novelty and impact, the climactic gunshot was hand-colored red on some copies of the black-and-white print of the film.

hitchcockRope (1948) was another technical challenge: a film that appears to have been shot entirely in a single take. The film was actually shot in 10 takes ranging from four and a half to 10 minutes each; 10 minutes being the maximum amount of film that would fit in a single camera reel. Some transitions between reels were hidden by having a dark object fill the entire screen for a moment. Hitchcock used those points to hide the cut, and began the next take with the camera in the same place.

alfred-hitchcock

Hitchcock’s 1958 film Vertigo contains a camera technique developed by Irmin Roberts that has been imitated and re-used many times by filmmakers, wherein the image appears to “stretch”. This is achieved by moving the camera in the opposite direction of the camera’s zoom. It has become known as the Dolly zoom.

Gillian Anderson Birthday August 9

 

Gillian Anderson

Gillian Anderson

Gillian Leigh Anderson (born August 9, 1968) is an Emmy, Golden Globe, and SAG winning American actress, best known for her roles as FBI Special Agent Dana Scully in the American TV series The X-Files, Moro in the English dub of Princess Mononoke, Lily Bart in The House of Mirth and Lady Dedlock in the BBC TV series Bleak House.

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Anderson moved to New York when she was 20 years old. To support herself when she started her career, Anderson worked as a waitress. She began her career in Alan Ayckbourn’s play, Absent Friends at the Manhattan Theatre Club alongside Brenda Blethyn; she won the 1990-91 Theatre World “Newcomer” Award for her role. Her next theatrical role was in Christopher Hampton’s The Philanthropist at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut.

x-files third season DVDAnderson moved to Los Angeles in 1992, spending a year auditioning. Although she had once vowed she would never do TV, being out of work for a year changed her mind. Anderson did Home Fires Burning for a cable station, as well as the audio book version of Exit to Eden. She broke into mainstream television in 1993, with a guest appearance on the collegiate drama, Class of ’96, on the fledgling Fox Network.

As a result of her guest appearance in Class of 96, Anderson was sent the script for The X Files at the age of 24. She decided to audition because “for the first time in a long time, the script involved a strong, independent, intelligent woman as a lead character.” Producer Chris Carter wanted to employ her, but Fox wanted someone with previous TV exposure and greater sex appeal. Fox sent in more actresses, but Carter stood by Anderson, and she was eventually cast as Special Agent Dana Scully. Anderson got the part assuming it would run for 13 episodes, the standard minimum order for American TV networks. Filmed in Vancouver and then in Los Angeles, the series would run for nine seasons, and included two films, released in 1998 andx-files fourth season DVD 2008. During her time on The X Files, Anderson won several awards for her portrayal of Special Agent Scully, including an Emmy Award, Golden Globe and two Screen Actors Guild awards for “Best Actress in a Drama Series.” While filming, Anderson met assistant art director Clyde Klotz, whom she would eventually marry.

Anderson had roles in a handful of films during the run of The X-Files and starred in The House of Mirth, an adaptation of the Edith Wharton novel of the same name.

In 1999, Anderson had a supporting role in the English-language release of Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke, where she voiced the character of Moro. Anderson is a proclaimed lover of Miyazaki’s work. She also took part in Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues.

x-files poster

When The X-Files ended, Anderson performed in several stage productions and worked on various film projects. She has participated in narrative work for documentaries on scientific topics. In 2005, she appeared as Lady Dedlock in the BBC television adaptation of Charles Dickens’ novel Bleak House, had a starring role in the Irish film The Mighty Celt (for which she won an IFTA award for Best International Actress) and performed in A Cock and Bull Story, a film version of the novel Tristram Shandy.

gillian_andersonIn 2006, Anderson was nominated for a British Academy Television Award (BAFTA) for Best Actress and won the Broadcasting Press Guild Television and Radio Award for Best Actress for her role in Bleak House. Anderson also received an Emmy nomination for “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie” for her performance as Lady Dedlock. Furthermore, she was nominated for a Golden Satellite Award and Golden Globe for her performance in Bleak House and came in second place in the Best Actress category of the 2005 BBC Drama website poll for her performance as Lady Dedlock (Billie Piper came in first and Anna Maxwell Martin came in third).

During 2006 and 2007, Anderson appeared in two British films: The Last King of Scotland (2006) and Straightheads (2007).

In December 2007, it was announced that Anderson will host PBS’ Masterpiece Theatre during the Jane Austen series.

On December 10, 2007, Anderson began filming for The X-Files: I Want to Believe. Filming concluded on March 11, 2008. The movie was released on July 25, 2008, with a DVD released on December 2, 2008.

Gillian will portray Nora in Ibsen’s A Doll’s House at the Donmar Warehouse in London’s West End for a limited engagement running from May 14, 2009 until July 18, 2009.

Trivia:

Chosen by “People” magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World. [1997]

27"x40" Gillian Anderson Posing in Bed

27"x40" Gillian Anderson Posing in Bed

Says her favorite film is Wallace & Gromit in The Wrong Trousers (1993). [1996]

Was voted “Most Likely to be Arrested” by her classmates in high school, and was, in fact, arrested on graduation night for trying to glue the locks shut at her high school.

In high school, was voted “Class Clown” and “Most Bizarre Girl”.

Lived in London, England, from age 2 to age 11, then moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she was teased for her English accent.

Went to the Goodman Theater School of Drama at DePaul University in Chicago, where she earned a degree in fine arts. One of her classmates was Nina Siemaszko.

Gained her first real break when she replaced Mary-Louise Parker in the play “The Philanthropist.”

Told “The X Files” (1993) executives that she was 27 so that she would appear more credible as an FBI agent with a medical degree.

“The X Files” (1993) writer, Chris Carter, is the godfather of her daughter, Piper Maru.

Kept her daughter, Piper, completely hidden from the public until they both appeared in Joan Ostin’s book, “Celebrity Moms” and the April 2001 issue of “In Style Magazine”.

Graduated from City High School, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Piper Maru, her daughter, was the inspiration for the title of an “The X Files” (1993) episode introducing the famous black oil in the series.

gillian andersonStanding at just 5′ 3″, she has to stand on an apple box to shoot many scenes in “The X Files” (1993).

As a teen, her favorite bands included Skinny Puppy and Dead Kennedys.

In 2003, she won the Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Choice Best Actress Award for her West End debut in Michael Weller’s two-hander, What the Night Is For.

Presented the best designer award at the 51st Evening Standard Theatre Awards (2005).

Is an avid art collector. Her collection includes work from such artists as Diane Arbus, Francesco Clemente and Kiki Smith.

Parents left US for London when she was 2. The family moved back to the US when she was 11. She relocated to London again, as an adult, in 2002. As of May 2006, she still lives there with her daughter.

Of the 5 actresses nominated for an Emmy as “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie” in 2006, she was the only one who hasn’t been nominated for an Oscar

Chosen by Australian men magazine Zoo weekly as one of the “Top 50 Hottest Babes Ever”. [March 2006]

x-files: resist or serve gameYoungest actress – at the age of 29 years old in 1997 – to win Outstanding Lead Actress in a Primetime Drama Series Emmy Award since Lindsay Wagner won at the age of 28 in 1977.

Was the first woman to host Masterpiece which began in 1971.

Ranked #23 on Wizard magazine’s Sexiest Women of TV list (March 2008).

In 1996, Anderson was voted the “Sexiest Woman in the World” by FHM’s “100 Sexiest Women” poll.

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David Duchovny Birthday August 7

david-duchovny-picture-profileDavid William Duchovny (born August 7, 1960) is an American actor. He has won Golden Globe awards for his work as FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder on The X-Files and as Hank Moody on Californication.

Duchovny appeared in an advertisement for Löwenbräu beer in 1987. He appears in two scenes in Working Girl (1988). He had a recurring role as a transvestite DEA agent on the series Twin Peaks and played the narrator/host in the long-running Showtime erotica/softcore TV series Red Shoe Diaries. In 1993, Duchovny began starring in the sci-fi series The X-Files as FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder, a conspiracy theorist who believed his sister was abducted by aliens. The show emerged as a cult hit and quickly became one of The FOX Network’s first major hits. During the show’s run, in between the fifth and sixth seasons, Duchovny co-starred alongside Gillian Anderson in a 1998 motioncalifornication second season picture that continued the X-Files storyline, titled The X-Files: Fight the Future. He remained with the series until quitting in 2001, partly due to a contract dispute that occurred after season seven finished filming. Duchovny appeared in half of the season eight episodes, but did not appear in season nine until the series finale in 2002. He also provided the voice for a parody of his Fox Mulder character in an episode of The Simpsons, entitled The Springfield Files.

x-files fourth season DVDDuchovny caused controversy when it became public that he was the primary reason that filming of The X-Files series was moved from Vancouver, British Columbia to Los Angeles in 1998. Many residents of Vancouver were upset with Duchovny over scripted jokes on Conan O’Brien’s late night show about the city’s heavy rainfall; he joked that “Vancouver is a very nice place, if you like 400 inches of rainfall a day.” He also stated, “Of course, I’m tired of the rain. But if I wasn’t married to a woman that lives in L.A. I’d stay in Vancouver. It’s a lovely city.” During the run of The X-Files, he also made several guest appearances in the cult TV satire The Larry Sanders Show, playing himself, but adding a strong attraction to Sanders. In the final episode of the series, he performed a parody of Sharon Stone’s ‘flashing’ scene from Basic Instinct.

Duchovny has guest hosted Saturday Night Live twice (May 13, 1995 and May 9, 1998). Both shows were season finales. In 2000, he starred in the feature film Return to Me, a romantic comedy/drama. Return to Me was directed by Bonnie Hunt and co-starred Minnie Driver andresist or serve game Carroll O’Connor. In 2001, Duchovny played a hand model in the Ben Stiller comedy, Zoolander. He also played the role of Ira Kane in the movie Evolution along side Seann William Scott that same year.

He also appeared in a celebrity edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? in May 2000. He got up to $250,000, but answered his $500,000 question incorrectly and lost $218,000, leaving him with only $32,000.

Duchovny provided the voice of Ethan Cole in the 2005 video game, Area 51, as well as that of the title character “XIII” in the 2003 video game XIII. In 2003, Duchovny starred in the 84th episode of the HBO show Sex And The City. He played the role of Jeremy, Carrie Bradshaw’s high-school ex-boyfriend, who has committed himself to a Connecticut mental health facility. In 2005, Duchovny, who had already made his directorial debut with an episode of The X-Files, wrote, directed and featured in House of D. The film starred Anton Yelchin, Robin Williams and Duchovny’s wife Tea Leoni in a coming-of-age tale. It received mostly poor reviews and little box office success. Duchovny also directed an episode of Bones (Episode 211, “Judas on a Pole”) during its second season.

x-files t-shirt

Duchovny currently plays Hank Moody, a troubled novelist in Showtime’s series Californication. The portrayal landed him a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Television Comedy or Musical in 2007.

Trivia:

Made his film debut in Working Girl (1988), as one of the guests hiding in the bathroom at Tess’s surprise birthday party.

Loves dogs.  [Pedigree Commercial - Oliver Gets Adopted-Duchovny voice over]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADR7GiCdOpo]

Appeared on the Celebrity edition of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire in 2000. He was the first celebrity in the hot seat. He answered 13 questions correctly giving him $250,000 for his charity. However, he then answered his $500,000 incorrectly resulting in a $218,000 loss and he left with $32,000.

His mother taught at Grace Church School in N.Y.C. and had a portion of the building named after her when she retired.

Speaks French and Latin and Hebrew.

californication

He does a very good impersonation of Jeff Goldblum, as demonstrated during his appearance on “Saturday Night Live” (1995).

Was ABD (“All But Dissertation”) when he left Yale, so he never actually received his graduate degree. The title of his uncompleted doctoral thesis was “Magic and Technology in Contemporary Poetry and Prose.”

Has an allergic reaction to metal which prevents him from wearing his wedding ring at times.

He is known to be a sports fan, and has appeared on MTV’s “Rock n’ Jock Softball Game”.

X-Files

X-Files

Is a former vegetarian but does not consume red meat.

Played scholarship-level basketball during some of his high school and college career. He had an accident while playing basketball in high school which damaged his right eye.

Chosen by People (USA) magazine as one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world. [1996]

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M. Night Shyamalan Birthday August 6

 

M. Night Shyamalan

M. Night Shyamalan

M. Night Shyamalan

(pronounced [ˈʃaməˌlan]; (born Manoj Nelliyattu Shyamalan on August 6, 1970) is a two-time Academy Award nominated Indian-American filmmaker and screenwriter who resides and works primarily in the United States, known for making movies with contemporary supernatural plots that usually climax with a twist ending.

The Sixth Sense

The Sixth Sense

He is also known for filming his movies (and staging his plots) in and around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he was raised. Shyamalan released his first film, Praying with Anger, in 1992 while he was a New York University student. His second movie, the major feature film Wide Awake, made in 1996 but not released until three years later, failed to find financial success.

Shyamalan gained international recognition when he wrote and directed 1999’s The Sixth Sense, which was nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.

unbreakableHe followed The Sixth Sense by writing and directing Unbreakable, released in 2000, which received mixed reviews.

Signs

Signs

His 2002 film Signs, where he also played Ray Reddy, gained both critical and financial success, but The Village (2004) was a critical disappointment whose box office fell hard after a strong opening weekend, and Lady in the Water (2006) performed even worse. His latest film, The Happening (2008), did financially better than his previous effort but was also panned by critics; in its entire American run, it grossed only slightly more than Signs made in its opening weekend.

The Village

The Village

Lady in the Water

Lady in the Water

Sign Blue-ray DVD

Signs Blue-ray DVD

 

Sixth Sense Blue-ray DVD

Sixth Sense Blue-ray DVD

John Saxon Birthday August 5

 

John Saxon

John Saxon

John Saxon

(born August 5, 1936) is an American actor.

In his early career, Saxon worked with many notable directors including Vincente Minnelli, Blake Edwards, John Huston, Frank Borzage, and Otto Preminger but, despite this, never developed into a major star. He portrayed Marco Polo in episode 26 of The Time Tunnel(“Attack of the Barbarians”), originally airing March 10, 1967. In films he appeared primarily in supporting roles, and won a Golden Globe Best Supporting Actor nomination for his portrayal of a Mexican bandit in the 1966 film The Appaloosa. He again played a Mexican, this time a revolutionary named Luis Chama, in 1972, supporting Clint Eastwood and Robert Duvall in “Joe Kidd”. He was top-billed in his most famous film Enter the Dragon (1973), although that film’s main actor was Bruce Lee. In 1975, he starred in several episodes of the ABC produced mega-hit series The Six Million Dollar Man playing a number of characters, including the role of Major Frederick Sloan.

John SaxonHis roles also extended into The Bionic Woman. The actor’s likeness was later used for the Kenner action-figure doll called ‘Maskatron’ which was based on the series.

Saxon has also appeared in many Italian films, mainly in the spaghetti western and police thriller genres. He was also the second incarnation of Dylan Hunt from the Gene Roddenberry shows called Planet Earth and Strange New World. More recently, Saxon may be best known as a supporting player in horror films, most notably Bob Clark’s Black Christmas (1974) as the relatively smart leader of a bunch of dumb cops; in Dario Argento’s Tenebrae (1982) as the writer hero’s shifty agent; in Mitchell (1975) as the murderous union lawyer and prostitute provider Walter Deaney; in Battle Beyond the Stars (1980) as Sador, in Cannibal Apocalypse (1980) where he played a vietnam veteran Beyond Eviltormented because his worthless pal bit him and years later, he is starting to get the urge to do the same, in Prisoners of the Lost Universe and in Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) as the heroine’s (Nancy Thompson’s) father.

nightmare_on_elm_streetHe reprised his role in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) and Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994) as he played himself in a dual role. He starred in Maximum Force (1992) as Captain Fuller. He was also a guest star on Bonanza in 1967 (“The Conquistadores”).

He has also starred in Bollywood film Shalimar (1978) co-starring opposite Dharmendra. In recent years, he has been seen in a number of independent films and has appeared in several television series, perhaps most notably CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and more recently the hit Showtime series Masters of Horror.

Trivia:

black christmasJohn attended New Utrecht High School and graduated in 1953 with Stanley Abramson.

Was a celebrity player (along with Betty White) on the final week of the cult-classic gameshow “Whew!” (1979) (when the show was known as “Celebrity Whew!”).

Was discovered by an agent who saw him in a posed shot on the cover of “True Romances” magazine.

Has a black belt in karate.

Wes Craven Birthday August 2

Wes Craven

Wes Craven

Born August 2, 1939 in Cleveland.  In 1963, he took a degree in writing and psychology and in 1964 he took a Masters from J. Hopkins University. Craven briefly served as an English professor at Westminster College and taught humanities at Clarkson University.

Wes left his job as a teacher, and after employment as taxi driver, he became a sound editor for a post-production company in New York. And after the co-direction of Together (1971) with Sean S. Cunningham, Wes made the last-house-on-the-left-posterhorror movie The Last House on the Left (1972). The movie, released in August 1972, was a big success as was his second movie, The Hills Have Eyes (1977), winning the critic’s prize at the Sitges Film Festival.

Wes has gone onto win many more awards, including one for the best movie at the Avoriaz Film Festival for A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). In 1999 he directed Music of the Heart (1999), a change of direction from the horror genre for which he is known.

Trivia:

Lives in Los Angeles. Has a production company with his professional partner Marianne Maddalena, called Craven/Maddalena Films.

A-Nightmare-On-Elm-Street“The” Elm Street is located in Potsdam, NY (a small town just south of the Canadian border). Craven was a Humanities Professor at Clarkson College, also in Potsdam.

Rumoured to have named his onscreen horror creation Freddy Kruger for a boy who used to bully him in high school.

In 1976 he acted in “Tales That Will Tear Your Heart Out,” a project being made under the supervision of friend Roy Frumkes, who was teaching at a state university at that time. Shortly after the filming, the raw stock was mistakingly re-exposed by another student, so both days’ shooting were lost.

He was the disc jockey for the campus radio station at Clarkson College, where he was a humanities professor.

screamHe nearly turned down the option to direct the hit Scream (1996/I) because the first scene with Drew Barrymore reminded him too vividly the climax sequence of The Last House on the Left (1972), his first film.

Former son-in-law, composer Michael Maccini.

When actor-producer Robert Evans suffered a stroke May 6, 1998, Craven was having a drink with him in Evans’ screening room when he collapsed in front of him. Evans later quipped, “I really scared the shit out of the king of horror.”

Co-wrote the screenplay for Pulse (2006/I) with Vince Gilligan. The script was based on Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s original Japanese horror film. Craven and Gilligan scripted the final draft in the fall of 2002 for Miramax’s Dimension Films. The production for this film should have started on October 1, 2002, in Los Angeles. In July 2003, Dimension’s chairman Bob Weinstein announced that Pulse (2006/I) would never be produced because it was too similar to The Ring (2002).

Hills-have-eyes-movie-posterDeveloped the “evil house” premise for the computer game “Wes Craven’s Principles of Fear.” Although the game won About Game’s Bronze Medal award for Interactive Fiction when the prototype was demonstrated at the 1997 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Atlanta, the game was never completed, due to the financial failure of the game’s publisher.

His vision of Freddy Kruger came from a childhood memory. When he was 10 years old, he looked out the window of the apartment he lived in and a drunk man dressed similar to Freddy was looking directly at him and continued to stay there looking at the window for several minutes. This scared him, so, later on, he decided this will be the look for Freddy.

serpentrainbowProfiled in “Hollywood Horror from the Director’s Chair: Six Filmmakers in the Franchise of Fear” by Simon Wilkinson (McFarland, 2008).

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