Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Bette Davis (1908-1989)

Birth name: Ruth Elizabeth Davis
Birthdate: April 5th, 1908
Location: Lowell, Massachusetts, USA

Died: October 6th, 1989
Location: Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
Cause of death: Breast cancer

Best known for: Actress who became one of the most successful and revered in Hollywood history, being nominated for 11 Oscars (and winning two, for Dangerous (1935) and Jezebel (1939)), three Golden Globes (and being awarded the Cecil B DeMille Award in 1974) and four Emmys (winning one, for Strangers: The Story of a Mother and Daughter in 1979). In 1999 the American Film Institute named her the second greatest female actor of the 20th century (after Katharine Hepburn).

By 1980, the year Bette turned 72, big-screen leading roles had all but dried out. As with so many stars of the classic era of Hollywood, Bette turned to television, and made a good many TV movies in her final decade, including the Emmy-nominated White Mama (1980) and A Piano for Mrs Cimino (1982). These projects were almost always well-received, and Bette appeared in an average of one every year until ill-health really took its debilitating effect.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Tarzan - Part 5 (The 1980s)

Character's first film appearance: Tarzan of the Apes (released January 27th, 1918)
Character description: Tarzan - aka John Clayton, Viscount Greystoke - is a fictional character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs in his novel Tarzan of the Apes in 1912. He was a feral child raised in the African jungles by the Mangani great apes after being separated from his parents when their ship was marooned off the African coast by mutineers. As an adult he experiences modern civilisation for the first time, largely rejecting it and choosing to remain in the wild as a heroic adventurer.

This is the fifth in a multi-part entry charting what happened to the various actors who have played Tarzan over the years. Click here for the silent era (1918-1929), click here for the 1930s and 1940s (1932-1948), click here for the 1950s, click here for 1962-72, or read on to find about the Tarzans from the 1980s...

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Myrna Loy (1905-1993)

Birth name: Myrna Adele Williams
Birthdate: August 2nd, 1905
Location: Helena, Montana, USA

Died: December 14th, 1993
Location: New York, USA
Cause of death: Complications following surgery

Best known for: Actress who rose to prominence in the silent era, and consolidated her fame in the 1930s and 40s in films such as The Great Ziegfeld (1936), Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948) and Meet Me in St Louis (1959). She was also known for her role as Nora Charles in the Thin Man film franchise (1934-47). She was never nominated for an Oscar, but did receive an Honorary Award in 1991, at the age of 85, for "her extraordinary qualities both on screen and off, with an appreciation for a lifetime's worth of indelible performances".

Myrna's career was going great guns throughout the 1930s and into the 1940s, with particular success in romantic comedies, but the outbreak of World War Two saw her shift her focus away from making movies and onto the war effort, specifically the Red Cross. Myrna was vociferously outspoken against German Chancellor Adolf Hitler, and as a result was placed on his infamous blacklist (a list of Western names who would be sent to concentration camps if ever they were captured). Myrna helped to run a Naval Auxiliary canteen and toured widely to raise funds for the war coffers.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Charles Hawtrey (1914-1988)

Birth name: George Frederick Joffre Hartree
Birthdate: November 30th, 1914
Location: Hounslow, UK

Died: October 27th, 1988
Location: Deal, UK
Cause of death: Heart disease

Best known for: One of the regular ensemble cast that made up the Carry On team in the UK in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, although Charles had been a star in his own right since the 1930s, starting as a child performer. Charles was known for his horn-rimmed spectacles and his catchphrase "Oh hello", as well as his effeminate manner.

Charles's career as a Carry On regular was long and memorable. His first appearance was as Peter Golightly in the very first film, Carry On Sergeant, in 1958, and he subsequently made appearances in a further 22 movies, as well as the 1969 and 1970 Christmas TV specials. However, his unrepentant alcoholism was what called time on his Carry On career in the end, and what ultimately sounded the death knell for his performing career overall.