Friday, June 27, 2014

Ava Gardner (1922-1990)

Birth name: Ava Lavinia Gardner
Birthdate: Sunday, December 24th, 1922
Location: Smithfield, North Carolina, USA

Died: Thursday, January 25th, 1990
Location: Westminster, London, UK
Cause of death: Broncho-pneumonia

Best known for: Lead actress in Hollywood films from the 1950s to 1970s, and often considered one of the most beautiful women ever to appear in cinema. Her greatest films were The Killers (1946), Show Boat (1951), Mogambo (1953, for which she was Oscar-nominated; beaten by Audrey Hepburn), The Barefoot Contessa (1954) and Bhowani Junction (1956). Her husbands included Hollywood legends Mickey Rooney (1942-43) and Frank Sinatra (1951-57).

Lucille Ball (1911-1989)

Updated and expanded September 16th, 2015

Birth name: Lucille Desiree Ball
Birthdate: Sunday, August 6th, 1911
Location: Jamestown, New York, USA

Died: Wednesday, April 26th, 1989
Location: Beverly Hills, California, USA
Cause of death: Heart failure

Best known for: Comedy performer who started out as a serious actress in the 1930s and 40s before embracing her talent for comedy, particularly physical comedy, in her own ground-breaking sitcom, I Love Lucy (1951-57), co-starring her then husband Desi Arnaz. Later TV work included The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour (1957-60), The Lucy Show (1962-68) and Here's Lucy (1968-74).

Lucille Ball revolutionised television comedy the world over with her 1950s sitcom I Love Lucy, and practically invented the template for the next half-century. The fact you feel you've seen it all done before is forgetting the fact you're probably seeing it done for the first time on television, copied and adapted from the best slapstick silent comedians, such as Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy and Keaton.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Fred Astaire (1899-1987)

Updated and expanded September 16th, 2015

Birth name: Frederick Austerlitz
Birthdate: Wednesday, May 10th, 1899
Location: Omaha, Nebraska, USA

Died: Monday, June 22nd, 1987
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA
Cause of death: Pneumonia

Best known for: Acting and dancing in, and choreographing, musical films, often with Ginger Rogers, with most success in the 1930s, 40s and 50s, including Top Hat (1935), Holiday Inn (1942), Easter Parade (1948), The Band Wagon (1953), Funny Face (1957), Finian's Rainbow (1968) and The Towering Inferno (1976).