Friday, September 30, 2016

Marlon Brando (1924-2004)

Birth name: Marlon Brando Jr
Birthdate: April 3rd, 1924
Location: Omaha, Nebraska, USA

Died: July 1st, 2004
Location: Westwood, California, USA
Cause of death: Respiratory failure

Best known for: Legendary American performer often cited as the greatest actor of all time, and an influence on generations of performers to come. He was nominated eight times for an Oscar, winning two - for On the Waterfront in 1955 and The Godfather in 1973 (although Marlon refused this award due to the poor treatment of American Indians in the entertainment industry). He also won five Golden Globes, a Primetime Emmy and three BAFTAs. His iconic status as a legend in film history will last forever, thanks to films such as A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), The Wild One (1953), On the Waterfront (1954), The Godfather (1972) and Apocalypse Now (1979).

Everybody knows how great Marlon was in his prime in the 1950s and 60s, his legendary status as a principal icon of American film history meaning that most people know something about his career when it was at its height. And most people know that Marlon put on a great deal of weight as he entered old age. But what exactly did this Hollywood icon do in his latter years?

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Hattie Jacques (1922-1980)

Birth name: Josephine Edwina Jaques
Birthdate: February 7th, 1922
Location: Sandgate, Kent, UK

Died: October 6th, 1980
Location: Kensington, London, UK
Cause of death: Heart attack

Best known for: Larger than life comedy actress who is most famous for being part of the repertory company of actors who made up the Carry On film franchise team, in particular playing Matron in the various hospital-themed installments. Between 1949-1965 Hattie was married to fellow actor John Le Mesurier (best known as Sergeant Wilson in the BBC sitcom Dad's Army).

Hattie had enjoyed a successful career almost constantly since the late 1940s, both as part of the Carry On team and outside of it. Although she appeared in a total of 14 Carry On films between 1958-1974, she also had great success alongside comedy actor and writer Eric Sykes in his various TV shows, including 59 episodes of Sykes and a... (1960-65), The Plank (1967) and 68 episodes of Sykes (1972-79). She also worked with Tony Hancock and Frankie Howerd, and appeared in 26 episodes of a now largely forgotten sitcom called Our House (1960-62), co-starring the likes of Norman Rossington and Charles Hawtrey.

Clark Gable (1901-1960)

Birth name: William Clark Gable
Birthdate: February 1st, 1901
Location: Cadiz, Ohio, USA

Died: November 16th, 1960
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA
Cause of death: Coronary thrombosis

Best known for: Oscar-winning actor who was a matinee idol of both the silent and sound era, starting out in small parts in the 1920s before securing roles in classic films such as It Happened One Night (1934), Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) and Saratoga (1937). It is his iconic role as Rhett Butler in 1939's Gone with the Wind which secured his legendary status, after which he appeared in various war and Western films. He won an Oscar for Best Actor for It Happened One Night (beating Frank Morgan and William Powell) and was nominated for a further two (for Mutiny on the Bounty and Gone with the Wind). He was also nominated for two Golden Globes. He was married five times, most famously to the actress Carole Lombard, who died in an airplane crash in 1942.

In the 1950s, times were hard at Clark's home studio, MGM, thanks to the advent and success of television, and plummeting movie revenues. Many MGM execs were fired (including Louis B Mayer in 1951), and a number of stars considered to have excessive salaries were let go too, including Judy Garland and Greer Garson. Although Clark was not one of these stars, his salary was deemed excessive, and when his contract came up for renewal in 1953, he decided to go his own, independent way.