Category Archives: Movies

Rosalind Russell

Catherine Rosalind Russell (June 4, 1907 – November 28, 1976) was an American actress of stage and screen, known for her role as fast-talking newspaper reporter Hildy Johnson in the Howard Hawks screwball comedy His Girl Friday (1940), as well as for her portrayals of Mame Dennis in Auntie Mame (1958) and Rose in Gypsy (1962). A noted comedian, she won all five Golden Globes for which she was nominated. Russell won a Tony Award in 1953 for Best Performance by an Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Ruth in the Broadway show Wonderful Town (a musical based on the film My Sister Eileen, in which she also starred). She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress four times throughout her career.

In addition to her fame as a comedian, Russell was known for playing character roles, especially wealthy, dignified, ladylike women, as well as for being one of the few actresses of her time who regularly played professional women, such as judges, reporters, and psychiatrists. She had a wide career span from the 1930s to the 1970s, and attributed her long career to the fact that, although usually playing classy and glamorous roles, she never became a sex symbol.

Early years

Catherine Rosalind Russell was one of seven children born in Waterbury, Connecticut, to James Edward, a lawyer, and Clara A. (née McKnight) Russell, a teacher. The Russells were an Irish-American Catholic family. She was named after a ship on which her parents had traveled. She attended Catholic schools, including Rosemont College in Rosemont, Pennsylvania, and Marymount College in Tarrytown, New York, before attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. Her parents thought Russell was studying to become a teacher, and were unaware that she was planning to become a comedic actress. Upon graduation from the performing arts school, Russell acted in summer stock and joined a repertory company in Boston.

Career

Russell started her career as a fashion model and was in many Broadway shows. Against parental objections, she took a job at a stock company for seven months at Saranac Lake and then Hartford, Connecticut. Afterwards, she moved to Boston, where she acted for a year at a theater group for Edward E. Clive. Later, she appeared in a revue in New York (The Garrick Gaieties). There, she took voice lessons and built a career in the opera, which was short-lived due to her difficulty in reaching high notes.

In the early 1930s, Russell went west to Los Angeles, where she was hired as a contract player for Universal Studios. When she first arrived on the lot, she was ignored by most of the crew and later told the press she felt terrible and humiliated at Universal, which affected her self-confidence. Unhappy with Universal’s leadership, and second-class studio status at the time, Russell set her sights on Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and was able to get out of her Universal contract on her own terms. When MGM first approached her for a screen test, Russell was wary, remembering her experience at Universal. When she met MGM’s Benny Thau and Ben Piazza, she was surprised, as they were “the soul of understanding.” Her screen test was directed by Harold S. Bucquet, and she later recalled that she was hired because of a closeup he took of her.

Under contract to MGM, Russell debuted in Evelyn Prentice (1934). Although the role was small, she received good notices, with one critic saying that she was “convincing as the woman scorned.” She starred in many comedies such as Forsaking All Others (1934) and Four’s a Crowd (1938), as well as dramas, including Craig’s Wife (1936) (which would be the film’s second of three remakes; Joan Crawford did the third) and The Citadel (1938). Russell was first acclaimed when she co-starred with Robert Young in the MGM drama West Point of the Air (1935). One critic wrote: “Rosalind Russell as the ‘other woman’ in the story gives an intelligent and deft handling to her scenes with Young.” She quickly rose to fame, and by 1935, was seen as a replacement for actress Myrna Loy, as she took many roles for which Loy was initially set.

In her first years in Hollywood, Russell was characterized, both in her personal life and film career, as a sophisticated lady. This dissatisfied Russell, who claimed in a 1936 interview:

Being typed as a lady is the greatest misfortune possible to a motion picture actress. It limits your characterizations, confines you to play feminine sops and menaces and the public never highly approves of either. An impeccably dressed lady is always viewed with suspicion in real life, and when you strut onto the screen with beautiful clothes and charming manners, the most naive of theater goers sense immediately that you are in a position to do the hero no good. I earnestly want to get away from this. First, because I want to improve my career and professional life and, secondly because I am tired of being a clothes horse – a sort of hothouse orchid in a stand of wild flowers.

Russell approached director Frank Lloyd for help changing her image, but instead of helping her, Lloyd cast her as a wealthy aristocrat in Under Two Flags (1936). In 1939, she was cast as catty gossip Sylvia Fowler in the all-female comedy The Women, directed by George Cukor. The film was a major hit, boosting her career and establishing her reputation as a comedian.

Russell continued to display her talent for comedy in the classic screwball comedy His Girl Friday (1940), directed by Howard Hawks. In the film, a reworking of Ben Hecht’s story The Front Page, Russell played quick-witted ace reporter Hildy Johnson, who was also the ex-wife of her newspaper editor Walter Burns (Cary Grant). Russell had been, as she put it, “Everyone’s fifteenth choice” for the role of Hildy in the film. Prior to her being cast, Howard Hawks had asked Katharine Hepburn, Irene Dunne, Claudette Colbert, Jean Arthur, Margaret Sullavan, and Ginger Rogers if they would like to play the brash, fast-talking reporter in his film. All of them refused. Russell found out about this while riding on a train to New York, when she read an article in the New York Times saying that she had been cast in the film and listing all the actresses who had turned the part down.

In the 1940s, she made comedies such as The Feminine Touch (1941) and Take a Letter, Darling (1942), dramas including Sister Kenny (1946), and Mourning Becomes Electra (1947), and a murder mystery: The Velvet Touch (1948).

Over the course of her career, Russell earned four Academy Award nominations for Best Actress: My Sister Eileen (1942); Sister Kenny (1946); Mourning Becomes Electra (1947); and the movie version of Auntie Mame (1958). She received a Special Academy Award, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, in 1972, which came with an Oscar statuette.

Russell scored a big hit on Broadway with her Tony Award-winning performance in Wonderful Town (1953), a musical version of her successful film of a decade earlier, My Sister Eileen. Russell reprised her starring role for a 1958 television special.

Perhaps her most memorable performance was in the title role of the long-running stage hit Auntie Mame and the subsequent 1958 movie version, in which she played an eccentric aunt whose orphaned nephew comes to live with her. When asked with which role she was most closely identified, she replied that strangers who spotted her still called out, “Hey, Auntie Mame!” She received a Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Play in 1957 for her performance. Patrick Dennis dedicated his second Auntie Mame book,  Around the World with Auntie Mame, to “the one and only Rosalind Russell” in 1958.

She continued to appear in movies through the mid-1960s, including Picnic (1955), A Majority of One (1961), Five Finger Exercise (1962), Gypsy (1962), and The Trouble with Angels (1966). Russell was the logical choice for reprising her role as Auntie Mame when its Broadway musical adaptation Mame was set for production in 1966, but she declined for health reasons. In addition to her acting career, Russell also wrote the story (under the name C. A. McKnight) for the film The Unguarded Moment (1956), a story of sexual harassment starring Esther Williams.

 

Personal life

On October 25, 1941, Russell married Danish-American producer Frederick Brisson, son of actor Carl Brisson. Cary Grant was responsible for the couple’s having met, and was the best man at Frederick and Rosalind’s wedding. Brisson had been traveling from England to the United States by ship in 1939, and The Women was playing on an endless loop during the voyage. After hearing the audio for the film day after day while traveling, Brisson decided he had better sit down and watch the whole film. He became so enamoured with Russell’s performance as Sylvia Fowler that he turned to his friends and proclaimed: “I’m either gonna kill that girl, or I’m gonna marry her.” (Or so he liked to say.)

Brisson stayed with Cary Grant in his guest house while Grant was filming His Girl Friday. Upon hearing that Grant was making the movie with Russell, Brisson asked his friend if he could meet her. Cary Grant then spent weeks greeting Russell each morning on set with the question, “Have you met Freddie Brisson?” in an effort to pique the actress’s curiosity. One night, when Russell opened her door to let Grant in before they went dancing, as they often did, she found him standing next to a stranger. Grant sheepishly explained that the odd fellow was Freddie Brisson, the man who he had mentioned so often, and they set off for dinner, with Freddie in tow.

Russell and Brisson’s marriage lasted 35 years, ending with her death. They had one child, in 1943, a son, Carl Lance Brisson.

Russell was a Roman Catholic, a member of the Good Shepherd Parish and the Catholic Motion Picture Guild in Beverly Hills, California.

Russell supported Richard Nixon in two of his early, unsuccessful campaigns.

 

Death

Russell died of breast cancer on November 28, 1976. She was survived by her husband and her son. She is buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.

Rosalind Russell has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 1708 Vine Street.

Her autobiography, Life Is a Banquet, written with Chris Chase, was published a year after her death. The foreword (written by her husband) states that Russell had a mental breakdown in 1943. She made no films in 1944. Details are scant, but the book indicates that health problems and the deaths of a sister and a brother were major factors leading to her breakdown. Russell had rheumatoid arthritis, and the UCSF Arthritis Research Center currently bears her name.

In 2009, a documentary film Life Is a Banquet: The Life of Rosalind Russell, narrated by Kathleen Turner, was shown at film festivals across the U.S. and on some PBS stations.

Edmond O’Brien

Edmond O’Brien (September 10, 1915 – May 9, 1985) was an American actor who appeared in more than 100 films from the 1940s to the 1970s, often playing character parts. He received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and the corresponding Golden Globe for his supporting role in The Barefoot Contessa (1954), as well as a second Golden Globe and another Academy Award nomination for Seven Days in May (1964). His other notable films include The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939), The Killers (1946), White Heat (1949), D.O.A. (1950), Julius Caesar (1953), 1984 (1956), The Girl Can’t Help It (1956), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1961), and The Wild Bunch (1969).

 

Early years

O’Brien was born Eamon Joseph O’Brien in Brooklyn, New York, of English and Irish stock, the seventh and last child of Agnes and James O’Brien. When he was four years old, O’Brien’s father died.

He put on magic shows for children in his neighborhood with coaching from a neighbor, Harry Houdini. He performed under the title, “Neirbo the Great” (“neirbo” being “O’Brien” spelled backwards). An aunt who taught high school English and speech took him to the theatre from an early age and he developed an interest in acting. O’Brien began acting in plays at school.

After attending Fordham University for six months, he went to Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre on a scholarship. He studied for two years under such teachers as Sanford Meisner; his classmates included Betty Garrett.

“It was simply the best training in the world for a young actor, singer or dancer,” said O’Brien. “What these teachers encouraged above all was getting your tools ready – your body, your voice, your speech.”

In addition to studying at the Playhouse, O’Brien took classes with the Columbia Laboratory Players group, which emphasized training in Shakespeare.

 

Theatre

O’Brien began working in summer stock in Yonkers. He made his first Broadway appearance at age 21 in Daughters of Atreus.

He played a grave digger in Hamlet, went on tour with Parnell, then appeared in Maxwell Anderson’s The Star Wagon, starring Lillian Gish and Burgess Meredith.

 

Film Actor

O’Brien’s theatre work attracted the attention of Pandro Berman at RKO, who offered him a role as the romantic lead in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939).

He returned to Broadway to play Mercutio opposite Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh in Romeo and Juliet.

RKO offered O’Brien a long term contract. His roles included A Girl, a Guy, and a Gob (1941) and Parachute Battalion (1941). The latter starred Nancy Kelly who O’Brien would later marry, although the union lasted less than a year.

O’Brien made Obliging Young Lady with Eve Arden, and Powder Town. He was loaned to Universal to appear opposite Deanna Durbin in The Amazing Mrs. Holliday (1943), after which he joined the armed services.

 

World War II

During World War II, O’Brien served in the U.S. Army Air Force and appeared in the Air Forces’ Broadway play Winged Victory by Moss Hart. He appeared alongside Red Buttons, Karl Malden, Kevin McCarthy, Gary Merrill, Barry Nelson and Martin Ritt. When the play was filmed in 1944, O’Brien reprised his stage performance, co-starring with Judy Holliday. He toured in the production for two years, appearing alongside a young Mario Lanza.

 

Warner Bros

In 1948, O’Brien signed a long term contract with Warner Bros, who cast him in the screen version of Lillian Hellman‘s Another Part of the Forest. This starred Fredric March who also appeared with O’Brien in An Act of Murder (1948).

He was then cast as the undercover cop in White Heat (1949) opposite James Cagney.

“He [Cagney] said he had only one rule,” O’Brien noted. “He would tap his heart and he would say, “Play it from here, kid.” He always did and I believe it’s the best rule for any performer. He could play a scene 90 ways and never repeat himself. He did this to keep himself fresh. I try to do this whenever possible.”

In 1949, 3,147 members of the Young Women’s League of America, a national charitable organization of spinsters, voted that O’Brien had more “male magnetism” than any other man in America today. “All women adore ruggedness,” said organization president Shirley Connolly. “Edmund O’Brien’s magnetic appearance and personality most fully stir women’s imaginative impulses. We’re all agreed that he has more male magnetism than any of the 60,000,000 men in the United States today. (Runners up were Ezio Pinza, William O’Dwyer and Doak Walker.)

Following an appearance in Backfire (1950) his contract with Warner Bros terminated.

 

Freelance

O’Brien then made one of his most famous movies, D.O.A. (1950 film), where he plays a man investigating his own murder. He followed this with 711 Ocean Drive (1950). However, his career then hit a slump. According to TCM, “In the early ’50s, O’Brien started struggling with his weight, which could change significantly between films. He had no problems if that relegated him to character roles, but for a few years, it was hard to come by anything really first rate.”

“The funny thing about Hollywood is that they are interested in having you do one thing and do it well and do it ever after,” said O’Brien. “That’s the sad thing about being a leading man – while the rewards may be great in fame and finances, it becomes monotonous for an actor. I think that’s why some of the people who are continually playing themselves are not happy.”

He made some notable movies including two for Ida Lupino, The Hitch-Hiker and The Bigamist. He also played Casca in Joseph L. Mankiewicz‘s film of Julius Caesar (1953).

O’Brien worked heavily in television on such shows as Pulitzer Prize Playhouse, Lux Video Theatre and Schlitz Playhouse of Stars. He announced plans to direct his own films.

In 1951 he was in a well publicized brawl with Serge Rubinstein at a cafe.

From 1950 to 1952, O’Brien starred in the radio drama Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar, playing the title role. His other work in radio included Philip Morris Playhouse on Broadway.

O’Brien was cast as press agent Oscar Muldoon in The Barefoot Contessa. He won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for that role.

 

O’Brien followed this with a number of important roles, including Pete Kelly’s Blues, 1984, A Cry in the Night (1956), and The Girl Can’t Help It.

TV

O’Brien appeared extensively in television, including the 1957 live 90-minute broadcast on Playhouse 90 of The Comedian, a drama written by Rod Serling and directed by John Frankenheimer in which Mickey Rooney portrayed a television comedian while O’Brien played a writer driven to the brink of insanity.

In 1958 he directed and starred in a TV drama written by his brother, “The Town That Slept With the Lights On,” about two Lancaster murders that so frightened the community that residents began sleeping with their lights on.

From 1959–60 O’Brien portrayed the title role in the syndicated crime drama Johnny Midnight, the story of a New York City actor-turned-private detective. The producers refused to cast him unless he shed at least 50 pounds, so he went on a crash vegetarian diet and quit drinking.

“I seldom get very far away from crime,” he recalled. I’ve found it pays . . . I tried non-crime films like Another Part of the Forest . . . good picture, good cast, but no good at the box office . . . But you just put a gun in your hands and run through the streets during cops and robbers and you’re all set.”

O’Brien also had his own production company, O’Brien-Frazen.

O’Brien had roles on many television series, including an appearance on Target: The Corruptors!, The Eleventh Hour, Breaking Point and Mission: Impossible.

O’Brien walked off the set of The Last Voyage in protest at safety issues during the shoot. He later came back and found out he had been written out of the film. He was cast as a reporter in Lawrence of Arabia (1962) but had a heart attack during filming and was replaced by Arthur Kennedy.

O’Brien recovered to direct his first feature, Man Trap (1961).

He continued to receive good roles: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) and The Birdman of Alcatraz (1962).

In the mid-’60s O’Brien co-starred with Roger Mobley and Harvey Korman in the “Gallegher” episodes of NBC‘s Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color. From 1963–65 he co-starred in the NBC legal drama Sam Benedict.

O’Brien had a choice role in Seven Days in May (1964) which saw him receive a second Oscar nomination.

“I’ve never made any kind of personality success,” he admitted in a 1963 interview. “People never say ‘that’s an Eddie O’Brien part.’ They say, ‘That’s a part Eddie O’Brien can play.’

“I’d like to be able to say something important,” he added. “To say something to people about their relationship with each other. If it touches just one guy, helps illustrate some points of view about living, then you’ve accomplished something.”

He had a role in another TV series, The Long Hot Summer but left after 12 episodes due to creative differences. He was replaced by Dan O’Herlihy.

 

Later career

O’Brien worked steadily throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s. However, his memory problems were beginning to take their toll. A heart attack meant he had to drop out of The Glass Bottom Boat.

“It would be awfully hard to do a series again,” he said in a 1971 interview. “I wouldn’t go for an hour show again. They don’t have much of a chance against the movies.”

In 1971 he was hospitalized with a “slight pulmonary condition.”

His last film would be 99 and 44/100% Dead.

 

Recording

In 1957 O’Brien recorded a spoken-word album of The Red Badge of Courage (Caedmon TC 1040). Billboard said, “Edmond O’Brien brings intensity in the narrative portions and successfully impersonates the varied characters in dialog.”

 

Personal life

O’Brien was divorced from actresses Nancy Kelly 1941–1942 and Olga San Juan. San Juan was the mother of his three children, including television producer Bridget O’Brien and actors Maria O’Brien and Brendan O’Brien.

 

Final Years and Death

O’Brien fell ill with Alzheimer’s Disease. In a 1983 interview, his daughter Maria remembers seeing her father in a straitjacket at a Veterans’ Hospital.

“He was screaming. He was violent. I remember noticing how thin he’d gotten. We didn’t know, because for years he’d been sleeping with all his clothes on. We saw him a little later and he was walking around like all the other lost souls there.”

He died May 9, 1985, at St. Erne’s Sanitorium in Inglewood, California, of Alzheimer’s disease. He was survived by his wife and three children.

Walk of Fame

For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Edmond O’Brien has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1725 Vine Street, and a second star at 6523 Hollywood Blvd. for his contribution to the television industry. Both were dedicated on February 8, 1960.

 

 

Gary Busey

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William Gary Busey (born June 29, 1944) is an American actor. A prolific character actor, Busey has appeared in over 150 films, including Lethal Weapon (1987), Predator 2 (1990), Point Break (1991), Under Siege (1992), The Firm (1993), Carried Away (1996), Black Sheep (1996), Lost Highway (1997), Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998), The Gingerdead Man (2005) and Piranha 3DD (2012). Busey has also made guest appearances on television shows such as Gunsmoke, Walker, Texas Ranger, Law & Order, Scrubs, and Entourage.

For portraying Buddy Holly in The Buddy Holly Story (1978), Busey was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor and won the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor. In 2014, he lampooned his public image through a series of advertisements for Amazon Fire TV.

 

Early life

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Busey was born in Goose Creek, Texas, the son of Sadie Virginia (née Arnett), a homemaker, and Delmer Lloyd Busey, a construction design manager. He graduated from Nathan Hale High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1962. While attending Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas, on a football scholarship, he became interested in acting. He then transferred to Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma, where he quit school just one class short of graduation.

 

Career

Early career

Busey began his show business career as a drummer in The Rubber Band. He appears on several Leon Russell recordings, credited as playing drums under the names “Teddy Jack Eddy” and “Sprunk,” a character he created when he was a cast member of a local television comedy show in Tulsa, Oklahoma, called The Uncanny Film Festival and Camp Meeting on station KTUL (which starred fellow Tulsan Gailard Sartain as “Dr. Mazeppa Pompazoidi”). For his skits on Uncanny Film Festival, Busey drew on his American Hero, belligerent, know-it-all character. When he told Gailard Sartain his character needed a name, Sartain replied, “Take three: Teddy, Jack ,and Eddy.”

He played in a band called Carp, which released one album on Epic Records in 1969. Busey continued to play several small roles in both film and television during the 1970s. In 1975, as the character “Harvey Daley,” he was the last person killed on the series Gunsmoke (in the third-to-last episode, No. 633 – “The Busters”).

 

Rise to prominence

In 1974, Busey made his major film debut with a supporting role in Michael Cimino‘s buddy action caper Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, starring Clint Eastwood and Jeff Bridges.

In 1976, he was hired by Barbra Streisand and her producer-boyfriend Jon Peters to play Bobby Ritchie, road manager to Kris Kristofferson‘s character in the remake film A Star is Born. On the DVD commentary of the film, Streisand says Busey was great and that she had seen him on a TV series and thought he had the right qualities to play the role.

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In 1978, he starred as rock legend Buddy Holly in The Buddy Holly Story with Sartain as The Big Bopper. For his performance, Busey received the greatest critical acclaim of his career and the movie earned Busey an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor and the National Society of Film CriticsBest Actor award.

screenshot-2017-03-03-12-03-51In the same year he also starred in the small yet acclaimed drama Straight Time and the surfing movie Big Wednesday, which is now a minor cult classic.

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screenshot-2017-03-03-12-06-10In the 1980s, Busey’s roles included the critically acclaimed western Barbarosa, the comedies D.C. Cab and Insignificance, and the Stephen King adaptation Silver Bullet. He played one of the primary antagonists opposite Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in the action comedy Lethal Weapon.

In the 1990s, he had prominent supporting roles in successful action films such as Predator 2, Point Break and Under Siege. He also appeared in Rookie of the Year, The Firm, Black Sheep, Lost Highway, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Busey sang the song “Stay All Night” on Saturday Night Live in March 1979 (season 4, episode 14), and on the Late Show with David Letterman in the 1990s.

 

2000s–present

screenshot-2017-03-03-12-04-44In 2003, Busey starred in a Comedy Central reality show, I’m with Busey. In 2005, he also voiced himself in an episode of The Simpsons and appeared in the popular miniseries Into the West. Busey controversially appeared in the 2006 Turkish nationalist film Valley of the Wolves: Iraq, (Kurtlar Vadisi: Irak, in Turkish), which was accused of fascism, anti-Americanism, and anti-Semitism.

In 2007, he appeared as himself in a prominent recurring role on HBO‘s Entourage, in which he parodied his eccentric image, ultimately appearing on three episodes of the show.

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In 2008, he joined the second season of the reality show Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. Busey returned to reality television in Celebrity Apprentice 4, which premiered in March 2011, and appeared again in Celebrity Apprentice 6. There, he briefly reprised his role as Buddy Holly by performing “Not Fade Away”.

In a series of 2010 YouTube advertisements for Vitamin Water, Busey appeared as Norman Tugwater, a lawyer who defends professional athletes’ entitlements to a cut from Fantasy Football team owners.

In 2014, he became a celebrity spokesperson for Amazon Fire TV. That August, he appeared in, and became the first American winner of the fourteenth series of the UK version of Celebrity Big Brother.

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On September 1, 2015, it was announced that he would be competing on the 21st season of Dancing with the Stars. He was paired with professional dancer Anna Trebunskaya. Busey and Trebunskaya made it to Week 4 of competition but were then eliminated and finished in 10th place.

 

Personal life

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In 1971, Busey’s wife Judy Helkenberg gave birth to their son, William Jacob “Jake” Busey. Busey and Helkenberg divorced when Jake was 19 years old. Busey has a daughter named Alectra from a previous relationship. In February 2010, Busey’s fiancee Steffanie Sampson gave birth to their son, Luke Sampson Busey.

On December 4, 1988, Busey was severely injured in a motorcycle accident in which he was not wearing a helmet. His skull was fractured, and doctors feared he suffered permanent brain damage. During the filming of the second season of Celebrity Rehab in 2008, Busey was referred to psychiatrist Dr. Charles Sophy. Sophy suspected that Busey’s brain injury has had a greater effect on him than realized. He described it as essentially weakening his mental “filters” and causing him to speak and act impulsively. Sophy recommended Busey take valproic acid (Depakote), with which Busey agreed.

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In 1996, Busey publicly announced that he was a Christian, saying: “I am proud to tell Hollywood I am a Christian. For the first time I am now free to be myself.” This return to Christianity occurred as a result of his motorcycle accident, as well as a 1995 cocaine overdose.

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In 2011, Busey supported Donald Trump‘s 2012 presidential bid saying, “For the American people, vote for Donald Trump come election night.” In 2015, he again endorsed Trump for president.

Mary Tyler Moore

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Mary Tyler Moore (December 29, 1936 – January 25, 2017) was an American actress, known for her roles in the television sitcoms The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970–1977), in which she starred as Mary Richards, a thirty-something single woman who worked as a local news producer in Minneapolis, and The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961–1966), in which she played Laura Petrie, a former dancer turned Westchester homemaker, wife and mother. Her notable film work includes 1967’s Thoroughly Modern Millie and 1980’s Ordinary People, in which she played a role that was very different from the television characters she had portrayed, and for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress.

Moore was active in charity work and various political causes, particularly the issues of animal rights and diabetes mellitus type 1. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes early in the run of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. She also suffered from alcoholism, which she wrote about in her first of two memoirs. In May 2011, Moore underwent elective brain surgery to remove a benign meningioma. She died from cardiopulmonary arrest because of pneumonia at the age of 80 on January 25, 2017.

Early life

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Moore was born in the Brooklyn Heights section of Brooklyn, New York, to Marjorie (née Hackett) (1916–92) and George Tyler Moore (1913–2006), a clerk. The oldest of three children (her siblings are John and Elizabeth), Moore and her family lived in Flushing, Queens. Her paternal great-grandfather, Lieutenant Colonel Lewis Tilghman Moore, owned the house which is now Stonewall Jackson’s Headquarters Museum. When she was eight years old, Moore moved with her family to Los Angeles. She was raised Catholic, and attended St. Rose de Lima Parochial School in Brooklyn, Saint Ambrose School in Los Angeles, and Immaculate Heart High School in Hollywood.

Career

Television

Moore decided at age 17 that she wanted to be a dancer. Her television career began with her first job, as “Happy Hotpoint”, a tiny elf dancing on Hotpoint appliances TV commercials during the 1950s series Ozzie and Harriet. After appearing in 39 Hotpoint commercials in five days, she received approximately $6,000. After she became pregnant while still working as “Happy,” Hotpoint ended her stint when it became too difficult to conceal her pregnancy beneath the elf costume. Moore modeled anonymously on the covers of a number of record albums and auditioned for the role of the older daughter of Danny Thomas for his long-running TV show but was turned down. Much later, Thomas explained that “no daughter of mine could have that [little] nose.”

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Moore’s first regular television role was as a mysterious and glamorous telephone receptionist on Richard Diamond, Private Detective. On the show, Moore’s voice was heard, but only her shapely legs appeared on camera, adding to the character’s mystique. About this time, she guest-starred on John Cassavetes‘s NBC detective series Johnny Staccato. She also guest-starred in Bachelor Father in the episode titled “Bentley and the Big Board.” In 1960, she guest-starred in two episodes, “The O’Mara Ladies” and “All The O’Mara Horses,” of the William BendixDoug McClure NBC western series, Overland Trail. Several months later, she appeared in the first episode, entitled “One Blonde Too Many,” of NBC’s The Tab Hunter Show, a sitcom starring the former teen idol as a bachelor cartoonist. In 1961, Moore appeared in several big parts in movies and on television, including Bourbon Street Beat, 77 Sunset Strip, Surfside Six, Wanted: Dead or Alive, Steve Canyon, Hawaiian Eye, Thrillerand Lock-Up.

 

The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961–1966)

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screenshot-2017-02-18-14-59-33In 1961, Carl Reiner cast Moore in The Dick Van Dyke Show, an acclaimed weekly series based on Reiner’s own life and career as a writer for Sid Caesar‘s television variety show, telling the cast from the outset that it would run no more than five years. The show was produced by Danny Thomas‘s company, and Thomas himself recommended her. He remembered Mary as “the girl with three names” whom he had turned down earlier. Moore’s energetic comic performances as Van Dyke’s character’s wife, begun at age 24 (11 years Van Dyke’s junior), made both the actress and her signature tight Capri pants extremely popular, and she became internationally famous. When she won an Emmy award for her portrayal of Laura Petrie, she said, “I know this will never happen again.”

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The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970–1977)

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In 1970, after having appeared earlier in a pivotal one-hour musical special called “Dick Van Dyke and the Other Woman,” Moore and husband Grant Tinker successfully pitched a sitcom centered on Moore to CBS. The Mary Tyler Moore Show is a half-hour newsroom sitcom featuring Ed Asner as her gruff boss Lou Grant, a character that would later be spun off into an hour-long dramatic series. Moore’s show proved so popular that two other regular characters, Valerie Harper as Rhoda Morgenstern and Cloris Leachman as Phyllis Lindstrom, were also spun off into their own series. The premise of the single working woman’s life, alternating during the program between work and home, became a television staple.

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After six years of ratings in the top 20, the show slipped to number 39 during season seven. Producers argued for its cancellation because of falling ratings, afraid that the show’s legacy might be damaged if it were renewed for another season. To the surprise of the entire cast including Mary Tyler Moore herself, it was announced that they would soon be filming their final episode. After the announcement, the series had a strong finish and the final show was the seventh most watched show during the week it aired. The 1977 season would go on to win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series, to add to the awards it had won in 1975 and 1976. All in all, during its seven seasons, the program held the record for winning the most Emmys – 29. That record remained unbroken until 2002 when the NBC sitcom Frasier won its 30th Emmy. The Mary Tyler Moore Show became a touch-point of the Women’s Movement because it was one of the first to show, in a serious way, an independent working woman.

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Later projects

During season six of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Moore appeared in a musical/variety special for CBS titled Mary’s Incredible Dream, which featured Ben Vereen. In 1978, she starred in a second CBS special, How to Survive the ’70s and Maybe Even Bump Into Happiness. This time, she received significant support from a strong lineup of guest stars: Bill Bixby, John Ritter, Harvey Korman and Dick Van Dyke. In the 1978–79 season, Moore attempted to try the musical-variety genre by starring in two unsuccessful CBS variety series in a row: Mary, which featured David Letterman, Michael Keaton, Swoosie Kurtz and Dick Shawn in the supporting cast. CBS canceled the series. In March 1979, the network brought Moore back in a new, retooled show, The Mary Tyler Moore Hour, which was described as a “sit-var” (part situation comedy/part variety series) with Moore portraying a TV star putting on a variety show. Michael Keaton was the only cast member of Mary who remained with Moore as a supporting regular in this revised format. Dick Van Dyke appeared as her guest for one episode. The program was canceled within three months.

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In the 1985–86 season, she returned to CBS in a series titled Mary, which suffered from poor reviews, sagging ratings, and internal strife within the production crew. According to Moore, she asked CBS to pull the show as she was unhappy with the direction of the program and the producers. She also starred in the short-lived Annie McGuire in 1988. In 1995, after another lengthy break from TV series work, Moore was cast as tough, unsympathetic newspaper owner Louise “the Dragon” Felcott on the CBS drama New York News, her third series in which her character worked in the news industry. As with her previous series Mary (1985), Moore quickly became unhappy with the nature of her character and asked to be written out of New York News; the series, however, was canceled before the writers could remove her.

In the mid-1990s, Moore had a cameo and a guest-starring role as herself on two episodes of Ellen. She also guest-starred on Ellen DeGeneres‘s next TV show, The Ellen Show, in 2001. In 2004, Moore reunited with her Dick Van Dyke Show cast-mates for a reunion “episode” called The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited.

In August 2005, Moore guest-starred as Christine St. George, a high-strung host of a fictional TV show, on three episodes of Fox sitcom That ’70s Show. Moore’s scenes were shot on the same soundstage where The Mary Tyler Moore Show was filmed in the 1970s. Moore made a guest appearance on the season 2 premiere of Hot in Cleveland, which starred her former co-star Betty White. This marked the first time that White and Moore had worked together since The Mary Tyler Moore Show ended in 1977. In the fall of 2013, Moore reprised her role on Hot in Cleveland in a season four episode which not only reunited Moore and White, but also former MTM cast members Cloris Leachman, Valerie Harper and Georgia Engel as well. This reunion coincided with Harper’s public announcement that she had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and was given only a few months to live.

Theater

Moore appeared in several Broadway plays. She starred in Whose Life Is It Anyway with James Naughton, which opened on Broadway at the Royale Theatre on February 24, 1980, and ran for 96 performances, and in Sweet Sue, which opened at the Music Box Theatre on January 8, 1987, later transferred to the Royale Theatre, and ran for 164 performances. She was the star of a new musical version of Breakfast at Tiffany’s in December 1966, but the show, titled Holly Golightly, was a flop that closed in previews before opening on Broadway. In reviews of performances in Philadelphia and Boston, critics “murdered” the play in which Moore claimed to be singing with bronchial pneumonia.

Moore appeared in previews of the Neil Simon play Rose’s Dilemma at the off-Broadway Manhattan Theatre Club in December 2003 but quit the production after receiving a critical letter from Simon instructing her to “learn your lines or get out of my play.” Moore had been using an earpiece on stage to feed her lines to the repeatedly rewritten play.

During the 1980s, Moore and her production company produced five plays: Noises Off, The Octette Bridge Club, Joe Egg, Benefactors, and Safe Sex.

 

Films

 Moore made her film debut in 1961’s X-15. She subsequently appeared in a string of 1960s films (after signing an exclusive contract with Universal Pictures), including 1967’s Thoroughly Modern Millie with Julie Andrews, and the 1968 films What’s So Bad About Feeling Good? with George Peppard, and Don’t Just Stand There! with Robert Wagner.

In 1969, she starred opposite Elvis Presley as a nun in Change of Habit. Moore’s future television cast-mate Ed Asner also appeared in that film (as a cop). After that film’s disappointing reviews and reception at the box office, Moore returned to television, and did not appear in another feature film for eleven years. She received her only nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in the 1980 coming-of-age drama Ordinary People, in which she portrayed a grieving mother unable to cope with the drowning death of one of her sons and unable to cope with the other son for his attempted suicide. Other feature film credits include Six Weeks (1982), Just Between Friends (1986) and Flirting with Disaster (1996).

She appeared in a number of television movies, including Like Mother, Like Son, Run a Crooked Mile, Heartsounds, The Gin Game (based on the Broadway play; reuniting her with Dick Van Dyke), Mary and Rhoda, Finnegan Begin Again, and Stolen Babies for which she won an Emmy Award in 1993.

 

Author

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Moore wrote two memoirs. In the first, After All, released in 1995, she acknowledged that she was a recovering alcoholic. The next, Growing Up Again: Life, Loves, and Oh Yeah, Diabetes, was released on April 1, 2009, and focuses on living with Type 1 diabetes.

MTM Enterprises

 Moore and her husband Grant Tinker founded MTM Enterprises, Inc. in 1969; Moore later commented that he had named the entity after her in much the same fashion that someone might name a boat after a spouse. This company produced The Mary Tyler Moore Show and several other television shows and films. It also included a record label, MTM Records MTM Enterprises produced a variety of American sitcoms and drama television series such as Rhoda, Lou Grant and Phyllis (all spin-offs from The Mary Tyler Moore Show), The Bob Newhart Show, The Texas Wheelers, WKRP in Cincinnati, The White Shadow, Friends and Lovers, St Elsewhere and Hill Street Blues, and was later sold to Television South, an ITV Franchise holder during the 1980s. The MTM logo is very similar to the Metro Goldwyn Mayer logo, but features Moore’s cat Mimsie instead of the lion.

Personal life

Family

 In 1955, at age 18, Moore married Richard Carleton Meeker, whom she described as “the boy next door.” and within six weeks she was pregnant with her only child, Richard Jr. (born July 3, 1956). Meeker and Moore divorced in 1961. Moore married Grant Tinker, a CBS executive (later chairman of NBC), in 1962, and in 1970 they formed the television production company MTM Enterprises, which created and produced the company’s first television series, The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

On October 14, 1980, at the age of 24, Moore’s son Richard died of an accidental gunshot to the head while handling a sawed off shotgun. The model was later taken off the market because of its “hair trigger.” Moore and Tinker divorced in 1981.

Moore married Dr. Robert Levine on November 23, 1983, at the Pierre Hotel in New York City. They met when her mother was treated by him in New York City on a weekend house call, after Moore and her mother returned from a visit to the Vatican where they had had a personal audience with Pope John Paul II.

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Health

Moore was diagnosed with Type I diabetes when she was 33. In 2011, she had surgery to remove a meningioma, a benign brain tumor. In 2014 friends reported that she had heart and kidney problems and was nearly blind. In October 2015, Moore’s former co-star Dick Van Dyke said on an episode of Larry King Now, “[Diabetes] has taken a toll on her; she’s not well at all.” She died on January 25, 2017, after she had been placed on a respirator the previous week.

Charity work

In addition to her acting work, Moore was the International Chairman of JDRF (formerly the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation). In this role, she used her celebrity to help raise funds and awareness of diabetes mellitus type 1.

In 2007, in honor of Moore’s dedication to the Foundation, JDRF created the “Forever Moore” research initiative which will support JDRF’s Academic Research and Development and JDRF’s Clinical Development Program. The program works on translating basic research advances into new treatments and technologies for those living with type 1 diabetes.

A long-time animal rights activist, Moore worked with Farm Sanctuary to raise awareness about the process involved in factory farming and to promote compassionate treatment of farm animals. Moore appeared as herself in 1996 on an episode of the Ellen DeGeneres sitcom Ellen. The storyline of the episode includes Moore honoring Ellen for trying to save a 65-year-old lobster from being eaten at a seafood restaurant. She was also a co-founder of Broadway Barks, an annual animal adopt-a-thon held in New York City. Moore and friend Bernadette Peters worked to make it a no-kill city and to encourage adopting animals from shelters.

In honor of her father, George Tyler Moore, a lifelong American Civil War enthusiast, in 1995 Moore donated funds to acquire an historic structure in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, for Shepherd College (now Shepherd University) to be used as a center for Civil War studies. The center, named the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War, is housed in the historic Conrad Shindler House (c. 1795), which is named in honor of her great-great-great-grandfather, who owned the structure from 1815 to 1852. Moore also contributed to the renovation of the house used as headquarters during 1861–62 by Confederate Major General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson. Use of the house had been offered to Jackson by its owner, Lieutenant Colonel Lewis Tilghman Moore, commander of the 4th Virginia Infantry and a great-grandfather of Mary Tyler Moore.

Politics

 During the 1960s and 1970s, Moore had a reputation as a liberal or moderate liberal and endorsed President Jimmy Carter for re-election in a 1980 campaign television ad. In 2011, friend and former co-star Ed Asner claimed during an interview on the O’Reilly Factor that Moore “has become much more conservative of late.” Bill O’Reilly, host of the O’Reilly Factor, has previously stated that Moore had been a viewer of his show and her political views had leaned conservative in recent years. In a Parade magazine article from March 22, 2009, Moore identified herself as a “libertarian centrist” who watches Fox News. She stated, “…when one looks at what’s happened to television, there are so few shows that interest me. I do watch a lot of Fox News. I like Charles Krauthammer and Bill O’Reilly…If McCain had asked me to campaign for him, I would have.” In an interview for the 2013 PBS series Pioneers of Television, Moore says that she was “recruited” to join the feminist movement of the 1970s by Gloria Steinem but did not agree with Steinem’s views. Moore said she believed that women have an important role in raising children and that she did not believe in Steinem’s view that “women owe it to themselves to have a career.”

Awards

In 1980, Moore was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in the drama film Ordinary People, but lost to Sissy Spacek for her role in Coal Miner’s Daughter.

Moore received a total of six Emmy Awards. Five of those awards (1964, 1966, 1973, 1974, 1976) tie her with Candice Bergen and Julia Louis-Dreyfus for the most wins for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.

On Broadway, Moore received a special Tony Award for her performance in Whose Life Is It Anyway? in 1980, and was nominated for a Drama Desk Award as well. In addition, as a producer, she received nominations for Tony Awards and Drama Desk Awards for MTM’s productions of Noises Off in 1984 and Benefactors in 1986, and won a Tony Award for Best Reproduction of a Play or Musical in 1985 for Joe Egg.

In 1986, she was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame. Then, in 1987, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award in Comedy from the American Comedy Awards.

Moore’s contributions to the television industry were recognized in 1992 with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The star is located at 7021 Hollywood Boulevard.

On May 8, 2002, Moore was present when cable network TV Land and the City of Minneapolis dedicated a statue in downtown Minneapolis of the television character she made famous on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. The statue, by sculptor Gwendolyn Gillen, was located in front of the Dayton’s department store – now Macy’s – near the corner of 7th Street South and Nicollet Mall. It depicts the iconic moment in the show’s opening credits where Moore tosses her Tam o’ Shanter in the air, in a freeze-frame at the end of the montage. While Dayton’s is clearly seen in the opening sequence, the store in the background of the hat toss is actually Donaldson’s, which was, like Dayton’s, a locally based department store with a long history and which was cater-cornered from Dayton’s. In late 2015 the statue was placed in storage during renovations to the mall, and in December it was relocated to the city’s visitor center, where it will remain until the renovation is complete in 2017, after which it is planned to be returned to its original location.

Moore was awarded the 2011 Screen Actors Guild’s lifetime achievement award. In New York City in 2012, Moore and Bernadette Peters were honored by the Ride of Fame and a double-decker bus was dedicated to them.

Buddy Hackett

Buddy Hackett (born Leonard Hacker; August 31, 1924 – June 30, 2003) was an American comedian and actor. His best remembered roles include Marcellus Washburn in The Music Man (1962), Benjy Benjamin in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), Tennessee Steinmetz in The Love Bug (1968), and Scuttle in The Little Mermaid (1989).

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Early life

Hackett was born in Brooklyn, New York to Anna (née Geller) and Philip Hacker, an upholsterer and part-time inventor. He grew up on 54th and 14th Ave in Borough Park, Brooklyn, across from Public School 103 (now a yeshiva). He graduated from New Utrecht High School in 1942.

While still a student, he began performing in nightclubs in the Catskills Borscht Belt resorts as “Butch Hacker.” He appeared first at the Golden Hotel in Hurleyville, New York, and he claimed he did not get a single laugh. He enlisted in the United States Army during World War II, and served for three years in an anti-aircraft battery.

 

Career

 Early career

Hackett’s first job after the war was at the Pink Elephant, a Brooklyn club. It was here he changed his name from Leonard Hacker to Buddy Hackett. He made appearances in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and continued to perform in the Catskills. He acted on Broadway, in Lunatics and Lovers, where Max Liebman saw him and put him in two television specials.

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Hackett’s movie career began in 1950 with a 10-minute “World of Sports” reel for Columbia Pictures called King of the Pins. The film demonstrated championship bowling techniques, with expert Joe Wilman demonstrating the right way and Hackett (in pantomime) exemplifying the wrong way. Hackett would not return to movies until 1953, after one of his nightclub routines attracted attention. With a rubber band around his head to slant his eyes, Hackett’s “The Chinese Waiter” lampooned the heavy dialect, frustration, and communication problems encountered by a busy waiter in a Chinese restaurant: “No, we no have sprit-pea soup … We gotta wonton, we got eh-roll … No orda for her, juss orda for you!” The routine was such a hit, Hackett made a recording of it, and was hired to reprise it in the Universal-International musical Walking My Baby Back Home (1953), in which he was third-billed under Donald O’Connor and Janet Leigh.

Hackett was an emergency replacement for the similarly built Lou Costello in 1954. Abbott and Costello were set to make a feature-length comedy Fireman, Save My Child, featuring Spike Jones and His City Slickers. Several scenes had been shot with stunt doubles when Lou Costello was forced to withdraw due to illness. Universal-International salvaged the project by hiring Hugh O’Brian and Hackett to take over the Abbott and Costello roles, using already shot footage of the comedy duo in some long shots; Jones and his band became the main attraction.

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Hackett became known to a wider audience when he appeared on television in the 1950s and ’60s as a frequent guest on variety talk shows hosted by Jack Paar and Arthur Godfrey, telling brash, often off-color jokes, and mugging at the camera. Hackett was a frequent guest on both the Jack Paar and the Johnny Carson versions of The Tonight Show. According to the board game Trivial Pursuit, Hackett has the distinction of making the most guest appearances in the history of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.

screenshot-2017-01-15-15-50-04During this time, he also appeared as a panelist and mystery guest on CBS-TV’s What’s My Line? and filled in as emcee for the game show Treasure Hunt. He made fifteen guest appearances on NBC-TV’s The Perry Como Show between 1955 and 1961.

Stanley

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Hackett starred as the title character on NBC-TV’s Stanley, a 1956-57 situation comedy which ran for 19 weeks on Monday evenings at 8:30 pm EST. The half hour series also featured a young Carol Burnett and the voice of Paul Lynde. The Max Liebman produced program aired live before a studio audience and was one of the last sitcoms from New York to do so. Stanley revolved around the adventures of the titular character (Hackett) as the operator of a newsstand in a posh New York City hotel. On September 30, 1960, he appeared as himself in an episode of NBC’s short-lived crime drama Dan Raven, starring Skip Homeier, set on the Sunset Strip of West Hollywood.

screenshot-2017-01-15-15-53-29After starring on Broadway in I Had a Ball, Hackett appeared opposite Robert Preston in the film adaptation of The Music Man (1962). In It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), Hackett was paired with Mickey Rooney, with whom he had also recently made Everything’s Ducky (1961), in which they played two sailors who smuggle a talking duck aboard a Navy ship. Children became familiar with him as lovable hippie auto mechanic Tennessee Steinmetz in Disney‘s The Love Bug (1969).

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He appeared many times on the game show Hollywood Squares in the late 1960s. In one episode, Hackett was asked which was the country with the highest ratio of doctors to populace; he answered Israel, or in his words, “The country with the most Jews.” Despite the audience roaring with laughter (and Hackett’s own belief that the actual answer was Sweden), the answer turned out to be correct. Hackett’s regular guest shots on Jack Paar’s Tonight Show in the early 1960s were rewarded with a coveted appearance on his final program on March 29, 1962.

Later career

Hackett continued to appear on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show until Carson left the series in 1992.

screenshot-2017-01-15-16-07-25In 1978, Hackett surprised many with his dramatic performance as Lou Costello in the television movie Bud and Lou opposite Harvey Korman as Bud Abbott. The film told the story of Abbott and Costello, and Hackett’s portrayal was widely praised. He and Korman did a memorable rendition of the team’s famous “Who’s on First?” routine. In 1979, Hackett was the voice of the groundhog “Pardon Me Pete,”,and the narrator of the Rankin/Bass Christmas special Jack Frost (1979). He starred in the 1980 film Hey Babe!. That same year, he hosted a syndicated revival of the 1950-61 Groucho Marx quiz show You Bet Your Life which lasted for one year. Throughout the 1970s Hackett appeared regularly in TV ads for Tuscan Dairy popsicles and yogurt. But his most famous television campaign was for Lay’s potato chips (“Nobody can eat just one!”) which ran from 1968–71; Hackett had succeeded Bert Lahr as Lay’s spokesman. He guest-starred in the Space Rangers episode, “To Be Or Not To Be,” as has-been comedian Lenny Hacker, a parody of his stage persona. The character’s name was Hackett’s own real name.

 

Other

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For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Hackett was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2000, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars was dedicated to him.

In April 1998, Hackett guest starred in an episode of LateLine called “Buddy Hackett.” The episode focused on a news broadcast paying tribute to Hackett following his death, only to discover that the report of his death was a mistake. Robert Reich and Dick Gephardt also appeared in the episode, paying tribute to Hackett.

In his final years, Hackett had a recurring spot called “Tuesdays with Buddy” on The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn in which he shared stories of his career and delivered some of his comedic routines.

 

Personal life

screenshot-2017-01-15-16-05-36On June 12, 1955, Hackett married Sherry Cohen. They lived in Leonia, New Jersey in the late 1950s. In August 1958, they bought the house previously owned by deceased crime boss Albert Anastasia in Fort Lee, New Jersey. After renovations, they moved in and lived there through most of the 1960s. In 2003, Hackett and his wife established the Singita Animal Sanctuary in California’s San Fernando Valley.

He was an avid firearms collector and owned a large collection that he sold off in his later years due to declining health.

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Death

Hackett died on June 30, 2003 at his beach house in Malibu, California at the age of 78. His son, comedian Sandy Hackett, said his father had been suffering from diabetes for several years and suffered a stroke nearly a week before his death which may have contributed to his demise. Two days later, on July 2, 2003, he was cremated and his ashes were given to family and friends.

 

 

 

Charles Bronson

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Charles Bronson (born Charles Dennis Buchinsky; November 3, 1921 – August 30, 2003) was a Lithuanian-American film and television actor.

He starred in films such as Once Upon a Time in the West, The Magnificent Seven, The Dirty Dozen, The Great Escape, Rider on the Rain, The Mechanic, and the Death Wish series. He was often cast in the role of a police officer, gunfighter, or vigilante in revenge-oriented plot lines. He had long collaborations with film directors Michael Winner and J. Lee Thompson. In 1965, he was featured as Major Wolenski in Battle of the Bulge.

 

Early life and World War II service

Bronson was born Charles Dennis Buchinsky in Ehrenfeld in Cambria County in the  coal region of the Allegheny Mountains north of Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

He was the 11th of 15 children born to a Lithuanian immigrant father and a Lithuanian-American mother. His father, Walter Bunchinski (who later adjusted his surname to Buchinsky to sound more “American”), hailed from the town of Druskininkai. Bronson’s mother, Mary (née Valinsky), whose parents were from Lithuania, was born in the coal mining town of Tamaqua, Pennsylvania. He learned to speak English when he was a teenager; before that, he spoke Lithuanian and Russian.

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Bronson was the first member of his family to graduate from high school. When Bronson was 10 years old, his father died. Young Charles went to work in the coal mines, first in the mining office and then in the mine. He later said he earned one dollar for each ton of coal that he mined. He worked in the mine until he entered military service during World War II. His family was so poor that at one time, he said, he had to wear his sister’s dress to school because of his lack of clothing.

screenshot-2016-11-09-11-43-49In 1943, Bronson enlisted in the US Army Air Force. He served in the 760th Flexible Gunnery Training Squadron, and in 1945 as a Boeing B-29 Superfortress aerial gunner with the Guam-based 61st Bombardment Squadron within the 39th Bombardment Group, which conducted combat missions against the Japanese home islands. Bronson, a corporal, flew 25 missions and received a Purple Heart for wounds received in battle.

 

Acting career

Early roles, 1951–1959

After the end of World War II, Bronson worked at many odd jobs until joining a theatrical group in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He later shared an apartment in New York City with Jack Klugman while both were aspiring to play on the stage. In 1950, he married and moved to Hollywood, where he enrolled in acting classes and began to find small roles.

screenshot-2016-11-09-11-52-50Bronson’s first film role — an uncredited one — was as a sailor in You’re in the Navy Now in 1951. Other early screen appearances were in Pat and Mike, Miss Sadie Thompson and House of Wax (as Vincent Price‘s mute henchman, Igor). In 1952, Bronson boxed in a ring with Roy Rogers in Rogers’ show Knockout. He appeared on an episode of The Red Skelton Show as a boxer in a skit with Skelton playing “Cauliflower McPugg.” He also had a part credited as Charles Buchinsky in a western named Riding Shotgun, starring Randolph Scott. In 1954, Bronson made a strong impact in Drum Beat as a murderous Modoc warrior, Captain Jack, who relishes wearing the tunics of soldiers he has killed.

In 1954, during the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) proceedings, he changed his surname from Buchinsky to Bronson at the suggestion of his agent, who feared that an Eastern European surname might damage his career. He reportedly took his inspiration from the Bronson Gate at the studios of Paramount Pictures, situated on the corner of Melrose Avenue and Bronson Street.

He made several appearances on television in the 1950s and 1960s, including a 1952 segment, with fellow guest star Lee Marvin, of Biff Baker, U.S.A., an espionage series on CBS starring Alan Hale, Jr., and played a killer named Crego in Gunsmoke (1956). Bronson had the lead role of the episode “The Apache Kid” of the syndicated crime drama Sheriff of Cochise, starring John Bromfield; Bronson was subsequently cast twice in 1959 after the series was renamed U.S. Marshal. He guest-starred in the short-lived CBS situation comedy, Hey, Jeannie! and in three episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents: And So Died Riabouchinska (1956), There Was an Old Woman (1956), and The Woman Who Wanted to Live (1962). In 1957, Bronson was cast in the Western series Colt .45 as an outlaw named Danny Arnold in the episode “Young Gun.” He also scored the lead in his own ABC detective series, Man with a Camera (from 1958 to 1960), in which he portrayed Mike Kovac, a former combat photographer freelancing in New York City. In 1959, he played Steve Ogrodowski, a naval intelligence officer, in two episodes of the CBS military sitcom/drama, Hennesey, starring Jackie Cooper. Bronson starred alongside Elizabeth Montgomery in The Twilight Zone episode “Two” (1961). He appeared in five episodes of Richard Boone‘s Have Gun – Will Travel (1957–1963).

In 1958, he was cast in his first lead film role in Roger Corman‘s Machine-Gun Kelly, followed by the lead role in the WWII film, When Hell Broke Loose later the same year.

 

Success, 1960–1968

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Bronson was cast in the 1960 episode “Zigzag” of Riverboat, starring Darren McGavin. That same year, he was cast as “Dutch Malkin” in the 1960 episode “The Generous Politician” of The Islanders. In 1960, he garnered attention in John SturgesThe Magnificent Seven, in which he was cast as one of seven gunfighters taking up the cause of the defenseless. During filming, Bronson was a loner who kept to himself, according to Eli Wallach. He received $50,000 for a role that made him a favorite actor of many in the since disbanded Soviet Union, such as Vladimir Vysotsky.

Two years later, Sturges cast him in another Hollywood production, The Great Escape, as claustrophobic Polish prisoner of war Flight Lieutenant Danny Velinski, nicknamed “The Tunnel King” (coincidentally, Bronson was really claustrophobic because of his childhood work in a mine).

In 1961, he was nominated for an Emmy Award for his supporting role in an episode entitled “Memory in White” of CBS’s General Electric Theater, hosted by Ronald Reagan. In 1962, he played alongside Elvis Presley as his loyal trainer, Lew Nyack, in Kid Galahad. In 1963, Bronson co-starred in the NBC Western series Empire. In the 1963–1964 television season he portrayed Linc, the stubborn wagon master in the ABC western series, The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters. In the 1965–1966 season, he guest-starred in an episode of The Legend of Jesse James. In 1965, Bronson was cast as a demolitions expert in an episode of ABC’s Combat!.

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Thereafter, in The Dirty Dozen (1967), he played an Army death row convict conscripted into a suicide mission. In 1967, he guest starred as Ralph Schuyler, an undercover government agent in the episode “The One That Got Away” on ABC’s The Fugitive.

 

European roles and rise with United Artists, 1968–1973

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Bronson made a serious name for himself in European films. In 1968, he starred as Harmonica in Once Upon a Time in the West. The director, Sergio Leone, once called him “the greatest actor I ever worked with,” and had wanted to cast Bronson for the lead in 1964’s A Fistful of Dollars. Bronson turned him down and the role launched Clint Eastwood to film stardom. In 1970, Bronson starred in the French film Rider on the Rain, which won a Hollywood Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The following year, this overseas fame earned him a special Golden Globe Henrietta Award for “World Film Favorite – Male” together with Sean Connery. In 1972 he began a string of successful action films for United Artists, beginning with Chato’s Land, although he had done several films for UA before this in the 1960s. One film UA brought into the domestic mainstream was Violent City, an Italian-made film originally released overseas in 1970.

 

Death Wish series and departure from UA, 1974–1980

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Bronson’s most famous role came when he was age 52, in Death Wish (Paramount, 1974), the most popular film of his long association with director Michael Winner. He played Paul Kersey, a successful New York architect who turns into a crime-fighting vigilante after his wife is murdered and his daughter sexually assaulted. This successful movie spawned various sequels over the next two decades, all starring Bronson.

In 1974, he had the title role in the Elmore Leonard film adaptation Mr. Majestyk, as an army veteran and farmer who battles local gangsters. For Walter Hill‘s Hard Times (1975), he starred as a Depression-era street fighter making his living in illegal bare-knuckled matches in Louisiana. He earned good reviews. Bronson reached his pinnacle in box-office drawing power in 1975, when he was ranked 4th, behind only Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand, and Al Pacino. His stint at UA came to an end in 1977 with The White Buffalo.

 

Cannon Films era and final roles, 1981–1994

He was considered for the role of Snake Plissken in Escape from New York (1981), but director John Carpenter thought he was too tough looking and too old for the part, and decided to cast Kurt Russell instead. In the years between 1976 and 1994, Bronson commanded high salaries to star in numerous films made by smaller production companies, most notably Cannon Films, for whom some of his last films were made. Many of them were directed by J. Lee Thompson, a collaborative relationship that Bronson enjoyed and actively pursued, reportedly because Thompson worked quickly and efficiently. Thompson’s ultra-violent films such as The Evil That Men Do (TriStar Pictures, 1984) and 10 to Midnight (1983) were blasted by critics, but provided Bronson with well-paid work throughout the 1980s. Bronson’s last starring role in a theatrically released film was 1994’s Death Wish V: The Face of Death.

 

Personal life

screenshot-2016-11-09-11-47-01His first marriage was to Harriet Tendler, whom he met when both were fledgling actors in Philadelphia. They had two children before divorcing in 1965. She wrote in her memoir that she “was an 18-year-old virgin when she met the 26-year-old Charlie Buchinsky at a Philadelphia acting school in 1947. Two years later, with the grudging consent of her father, a successful, Jewish dairy farmer, Tendler wed Bunchinsky, the Catholic Lithuanian and former coal miner. Tendler supported them both while she and Charlie pursued their acting dreams. On their first date, he had four cents in his pocket — and went on, now as Charles Bronson, to become one of the highest paid actors in the country.”

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Bronson  then married English actress Jill Ireland. They remained together from October 5, 1968, until her death in 1990. He had met her in 1962, when she was married to Scottish actor David McCallum. At the time, Bronson (who shared the screen with McCallum in The Great Escape) reportedly told him, “I’m going to marry your wife.”

The Bronsons lived in a grand Bel Air mansion in Los Angeles with seven children: two by his previous marriage, three by hers (one of whom was adopted) and two of their own (another one of whom was adopted). After they married, she often played his leading lady, and they starred in fourteen films together.

In order to maintain a close family, they would load up everyone and take them to wherever filming was taking place, so they could all be together. They spent time in a colonial farmhouse on 260 acres in West Windsor, Vermont. Ireland raised horses and provided training for their daughter Zuleika so that she could perform at the higher levels of horse showing. Their Vermont farm was named after her, the only natural child between them. During the late 1980s through the mid-1990s Bronson regularly spent winter holidays vacationing with his family in Snowmass, Colorado.

On May 18, 1990, aged 54, after a long battle with the disease, Jill Ireland died of breast cancer at their home in Malibu, California. In December 1998, Bronson was married a third time. to Kim Weeks, a former employee of Dove Audio who had helped record Ireland in the production of her audiobooks. The couple were married for five years until Bronson’s death in 2003.

 

Death

Bronson’s health deteriorated in later years, and he retired from acting after undergoing hip-replacement surgery in 1998. He suffered from Alzheimer’s disease in his final years. Bronson died of pneumonia at age 81 on August 30, 2003 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was interred at Brownsville Cemetery in West Windsor, Vermont.

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Clint Eastwoood

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Clinton “Clint” Eastwood Jr. (born May 31, 1930) is an American actor, filmmaker, musician, and political figure. After earning success in the Western TV series Rawhide, he rose to international fame with his role as the Man with No Name in Sergio Leone‘s Dollars trilogy of spaghetti Westerns during the 1960s, and as antihero cop Harry Callahan in the five Dirty Harry films throughout the 1970s and 1980s. These roles, among others, have made Eastwood an enduring cultural icon of masculinity.

For his work in the Western film Unforgiven (1992) and the sports drama Million Dollar Baby (2004), Eastwood won Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Picture, as well as receiving nominations for Best Actor. Eastwood’s greatest commercial successes have been the adventure comedy Every Which Way But Loose (1978) and its sequel, the action comedy Any Which Way You Can (1980), after adjustment for inflation.

Other popular films include the Western The Good, The Bad, The Ugly (1966), Hang ‘Em High (1968), the psychological thriller Play Misty for Me (1971), the crime film Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974), the Western The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), the prison film Escape from Alcatraz (1979), the action film Firefox (1982), the suspense thriller Tightrope (1984), the Western Pale Rider (1985), the war films Where Eagles Dare (1968) and Heartbreak Ridge (1986), the action thriller In the Line of Fire (1993), the romantic drama The Bridges of Madison County (1995), and the drama Gran Torino (2008).

In addition to directing many of his own star vehicles, Eastwood has also directed films in which he did not appear, such as the mystery drama Mystic River (2003) and the war film Letters from Iwo Jima (2006), for which he received Academy Award nominations, and the drama Changeling (2008). The war drama biopic American Sniper (2014) set box office records for the largest January release ever and was also the largest opening ever for an Eastwood film.

Eastwood received considerable critical praise in France for several films, including some that were not well received in the United States. Eastwood has been awarded two of France’s highest honors: in 1994 he became a recipient of the Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and in 2007 he was awarded the Legion of Honour medal. In 2000, Eastwood was awarded the Italian Venice Film Festival Golden Lion for lifetime achievement.

Since 1967, Eastwood has run his own production company, Malpaso, which has produced all except four of his American films. From 1986–88, Eastwood served as Mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, a non-partisan office.

 

Early Life

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Eastwood was born in San Francisco, California, the son of Clinton Eastwood Sr. (1906–1970) and his wife, Margaret Ruth (née Runner) Eastwood (1909–2006). He was nicknamed “Samson” by the hospital nurses because he weighed 11 pounds 6 ounces (5.2 kg) at birth. He has a younger sister, Jeanne (born 1934). Eastwood’s widowed mother later married a retired lumber executive, John Belden Wood (1913–2004), who became stepfather to Clint and Jeanne.

Eastwood is of English, Irish, Scottish, and Dutch ancestry, and was raised in a  working class environment. Eastwood is descended from Mayflower passenger William Bradford, and through this line is the 12th generation of his family born in North America and the 13th generation to live in North America.

His family moved often as his father worked at jobs along the West Coast. They finally settled in Piedmont, California, where Eastwood attended Piedmont Junior High School. Shortly before he was to enter Piedmont High School, he rode his bike on the school’s sports field and tore up the wet turf; this resulted in his being asked not to enroll. Instead, he attended Oakland Technical High School, where the drama teachers encouraged him to take part in school plays. However, Eastwood was not interested. He worked at a number of jobs, including lifeguard, paper carrier, grocery clerk, forest firefighter, and golf caddy.[23]

In 1951, Eastwood enrolled at Seattle University but was then drafted into the United States Army and assigned to Fort Ord in California, where he was appointed as a lifeguard and swimming instructor. While returning from a weekend visit to his parents in Seattle, Washington, he was a passenger on a Douglas AD bomber that ran out of fuel and crashed into the ocean near Point Reyes. Escaping from the sinking aircraft, he and the pilot swam three miles (5 km) to safety.

 

Career

1950s: Early career struggles

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 According to the CBS press release for Rawhide, the Universal (known then as Universal-International) film company was shooting in Fort Ord when an enterprising assistant spotted Eastwood and invited him to meet the director. According to Eastwood’s official biography, the key figure was a man named Chuck Hill, who was stationed in Fort Ord and had contacts in Hollywood. While in Los Angeles, Hill became reacquainted with Eastwood and managed to sneak Eastwood into a Universal studio, where he showed him to cameraman Irving Glassberg. Glassberg arranged for an audition under Arthur Lubin, who, although very impressed with Clint’s appearance and stature at 6’4″ (193 cm), disapproved initially of his acting skills, remarking, “He was quite amateurish. He didn’t know which way to turn or which way to go or do anything.” Lubin suggested that he attend drama classes and arranged for Eastwood’s initial contract in April 1954, at $100 per week. After signing, Eastwood was initially criticized for his stiff manner and delivering his lines through his teeth, a lifelong trademark.

In May 1954, Eastwood made his first real audition for Six Bridges to Cross but was rejected by Joseph Pevney. After many unsuccessful auditions, he was eventually given a minor role by director Jack Arnold in Revenge of the Creature (1955), a sequel to the recently released The Creature from the Black Lagoon. In September 1954, Eastwood worked for three weeks on Arthur Lubin’s Lady Godiva of Coventry, won a role in February 1955, playing “Jonesy”, a sailor in Francis in the Navy and appeared uncredited in another Jack Arnold film, Tarantula, where he played a squadron pilot.

In May 1955, Eastwood put four hours’ work into the film Never Say Goodbye and had a minor uncredited role as a ranch hand (his first western film) in August 1955 with Law Man, also known as Star in the Dust. Universal presented him with his first television role on July 2, 1955, on NBC‘s Allen in Movieland, which starred Tony Curtis and Benny Goodman. Although he continued to develop as an actor, Universal terminated his contract on October 23, 1955.

Eastwood joined the Marsh Agency, and although Lubin landed him his biggest role to date in The First Traveling Saleslady (1956) and later hired him for Escapade in Japan, without a formal contract Eastwood was struggling. Upon the advice of Irving Leonard, his financial advisor, he changed talent agencies to the Kumin-Olenick Agency in 1956 and Mitchell Gertz in 1957. He landed several small roles in 1956 as a temperamental army officer for a segment of ABC‘s Reader’s Digest series, and as a motorcycle gang member on a Highway Patrol episode. In 1957, Eastwood played a cadet in West Point series, played a suicidal gold prospector in Death Valley Days. In 1958, he played a Navy lieutenant in a segment of Navy Log and in early 1959 made a notable guest appearance on Maverick opposite James Garner as a cowardly villain intent on marrying a rich girl for money. Eastwood had a small part as an aviator in the French picture Lafayette Escadrille and played a major role as an ex-renegade of the Confederacy in Ambush at Cimarron Pass, a film which Eastwood viewed disastrously and professes to be the lowest point of his career.

In 1958, Eastwood was cast as Rowdy Yates for the CBS hour-long western series Rawhide, the breakthrough in his career he had long been searching for. However, Eastwood was not especially happy with his character; Eastwood was almost 30, and Rowdy was too young and too cloddish for Clint to feel comfortable with the part. Filming began in Arizona in the summer of 1958. It took just three weeks for Rawhide to reach the top 20 in TV ratings and although it never won an Emmy, it was a major success for several years, and reached its peak at number six in the ratings between October 1960 and April 1961. The Rawhide years (1959–65) were some of the most grueling of Eastwood’s career, often filming six days a week for an average of twelve hours a day, yet he still received criticism by some directors for not working hard enough.

By late 1963 Rawhide was beginning to decline in popularity and lacked freshness in the script; it was canceled in the middle of the 1965–66 television season. Eastwood made his first attempt at directing when he filmed several trailers for the show, although he was unable to convince producers to let him direct an episode. In the show’s first season Eastwood earned $750 an episode. At the time of Rawhide‘s cancellation, he received $119,000 an episode as severance pay.

 1960s

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In late 1963, Eastwood’s co-star on Rawhide, Eric Fleming, rejected an offer to star in an Italian-made western called A Fistful of Dollars, to be directed in a remote region of Spain by the then relatively unknown Sergio Leone. Richard Harrison suggested Eastwood to Leone because Harrison knew Eastwood could play a cowboy convincingly. Eastwood thought the film would be an opportunity to escape from his Rawhide image. Eastwood signed a contract for $15,000 in wages for eleven weeks’ work, with a bonus of a Mercedes automobile upon completion.

Eastwood later spoke of the transition from a television western to A Fistful of Dollars: “In Rawhide I did get awfully tired of playing the conventional white hat. The hero who kisses old ladies and dogs and was kind to everybody. I decided it was time to be an anti-hero.” Eastwood was instrumental in creating the Man with No Name character’s distinctive visual style and, although a non-smoker, Leone insisted Eastwood smoke cigars as an essential ingredient of the “mask” he was attempting to create for the loner character.

A Fistful of Dollars proved a landmark in the development of spaghetti Westerns, with Leone depicting a more lawless and desolate world than traditional westerns, and challenging American stereotypes of a western hero with a morally ambiguous antihero. The film’s success made Eastwood a major star in Italy and he was re-hired to star in For a Few Dollars More (1965), the second of the trilogy. Through the efforts of screenwriter Luciano Vincenzoni, the rights to For a Few Dollars More and the final film of the trilogy (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) were sold to United Artists for about $900,000.

In January 1966, Eastwood met producer Dino De Laurentiis in New York City and agreed to star in a non-Western five-part anthology production named Le Streghe (“The Witches”) opposite De Laurentiis’ wife, actress Silvana Mangano. Eastwood’s nineteen-minute installment took only a few days to shoot, but his performance did not please the critics, one writing that “no other performance of his is quite so ‘un-Clintlike’.” Two months later Eastwood began work on the third Dollars film, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, again playing the mysterious Man with No Name. Lee Van Cleef returned as a ruthless fortune seeker, with Eli Wallach portraying the cunning Mexican bandit Tuco Ramirez. The storyline involved the search for a cache of Confederate gold buried in a cemetery. During the filming of a scene in which a bridge was blown up, Eastwood urged Wallach to retreat to a hilltop. “I know about these things,” he said. “Stay as far away from special effects and explosives as you can.” Minutes later confusion among the crew over the word “Vaya!” resulted in a premature explosion that could have killed Wallach.

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“I wanted to play it with an economy of words and create this whole feeling through attitude and movement. It was just the kind of character I had envisioned for a long time, keep to the mystery and allude to what happened in the past. It came about after the frustration of doing Rawhide for so long. I felt the less he said, the stronger he became and the more he grew in the imagination of the audience.”

— Eastwood, on playing the Man with No Name character

The Dollars trilogy was not released in the United States until 1967, when A Fistful of Dollars opened in January, followed by For a Few Dollars More in May, and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly on December 29, 1967. All the films were commercially successful, particularly The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, which eventually earned $8 million in rental earnings and turned Eastwood into a major film star. All three films received bad reviews, and marked the beginning of a battle for Eastwood to win American film critics’ respect. Judith Crist described A Fistful of Dollars as “cheapjack,” while Newsweek considered For a Few Dollars More as “excruciatingly dopey.”

Renata Adler of The New York Times said The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was “…the most expensive, pious and repellent movie in the history of its peculiar genre.” Time magazine drew attention to the film’s wooden acting, especially on the part of Eastwood, though a few critics such as Vincent Canby and Bosley Crowther of The New York Times praised Eastwood’s coolness in playing the tall, lone stranger. Leone’s cinematography was widely acclaimed, even by critics who disparaged the acting in the film.

Stardom brought more roles for Eastwood. He signed to star in the American revisionist western Hang ‘Em High (1968), featured alongside Inger Stevens, Pat Hingle, Dennis Hopper, Ed Begley, Alan Hale, Ben Johnson, Bruce Dern, and James MacArthur, playing a man who takes up a Marshal’s badge and seeks revenge as a lawman after being lynched by vigilantes and left for dead. The film earned Eastwood a fee of $400,000 and 25 percent of its net box-office takings. Using money earned from the Dollars trilogy, accountant and Eastwood advisor Irving Leonard helped establish Eastwood’s own production company, Malpaso Productions, named after Malpaso Creek on Eastwood’s property in Monterey County, California. Leonard arranged for Hang ‘Em High to be a joint production with United Artists; when it opened in July 1968, it had the largest opening weekend in United Artists’ history. Hang ‘Em High was widely praised by critics, including Archer Winsten of the New York Post, who described it as, “a western of quality, courage, danger and excitement.”

Before the release of Hang ‘Em High, Eastwood had already begun working on Coogan’s Bluff, about an Arizona deputy sheriff tracking a wanted psychopathic criminal (Don Stroud) through the streets of New York City. He was reunited with Universal Studios for it after receiving an offer of $1 million—more than double his previous salary. Jennings Lang arranged for Eastwood to meet Don Siegel, a Universal contract director who later became Eastwood’s close friend, forming a partnership that would last more than ten years and produce five films. Shooting began in November 1967, before the script had been finalized. The film was controversial for its portrayal of violence. Coogan’s Bluff also became the first collaboration with Argentine composer Lalo Schifrin, who would later compose the jazzy score to several Eastwood films in the 1970s and 1980s, including the Dirty Harry films.

Eastwood was paid $750,000 in 1968 for the war epic Where Eagles Dare, about a World War II squad parachuting into a Gestapo stronghold in the alpine mountains. Richard Burton played the squad’s commander, with Eastwood as his right-hand man. Eastwood was also cast as Two-Face in the Batman television show, but the series was canceled before filming began.

Eastwood then branched out to star in the only musical of his career, Paint Your Wagon (1969). Eastwood and Lee Marvin play gold miners who buy a Mormon settler’s less favored wife (Jean Seberg) at an auction. Bad weather and delays plagued the production, while the film’s budget eventually exceeded $20 million, which was extremely expensive for the time. The film was not a critical or commercial success, although it was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.

 1970s

In 1970, Eastwood starred with Shirley MacLaine in the western Two Mules for Sister Sara, directed by Don Siegel. The film follows an American mercenary, who gets mixed up with a prostitute disguised as a nun, and ends up helping a group of Juarista rebels during the reign of Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico. Eastwood once again played a mysterious stranger—unshaven, wearing a serape-like vest, and smoking a cigar. Although it received moderate reviews, the film is listed in The New York Times Guide to the Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made. Later the same year, Eastwood starred as one of a group of Americans who steal a fortune in gold from the Nazis, in the World War II film Kelly’s Heroes, with Donald Sutherland and Telly Savalas. Kelly’s Heroes was the last film Eastwood appeared in that was not produced by his own Malpaso Productions.

Filming commenced in July 1969 on location in Yugoslavia and in London. The film received mostly a positive reception and its anti-war sentiments were recognized. In the winter of 1969–70, Eastwood and Siegel began planning his next film, The Beguiled, a tale of a wounded Union soldier, held captive by the sexually repressed matron (played by Geraldine Page) of a Southern girls’ school. Upon release the film received major recognition in France and is considered one of Eastwood’s finest works by the French. However, it grossed less than $1 million and, according to Eastwood and Lang, flopped due to poor publicity and the “emasculated” role of Eastwood.

Eastwood’s career reached a turning point in 1971. Before Irving Leonard died, he and Eastwood had discussed the idea of Malpaso producing Play Misty for Me, a film that was to give Eastwood the artistic control he desired, and his debut as a director. The script was about a jazz disc jockey named Dave (Eastwood), who has a casual affair with Evelyn (Jessica Walter), a listener who had been calling the radio station repeatedly at night, asking him to play her favorite song – Erroll Garner‘s Misty. When Dave ends their relationship, the unhinged Evelyn becomes a murderous stalker. Filming commenced in Monterey in September 1970 and included footage of that year’s Monterey Jazz Festival. The film was highly acclaimed with critics, such as Jay Cocks in Time magazine, Andrew Sarris in the Village Voice, and Archer Winsten in the New York Post all praising the film, as well as Eastwood’s directorial skills and performance. Walter was nominated for a Golden Globe Best Actress Award (Drama), for her performance in the film.

“I know what you’re thinking – Did he fire six shots or only five? Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I’ve kinda lost track myself. But, being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do you, punk?”

— Eastwood, in Dirty Harry

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Dirty Harry (1971), written by Harry and Rita Fink, centers on a hard-edged New York City (later changed to San Francisco) police inspector named Harry Callahan who is determined to stop a psychotic killer by any means. Dirty Harry has been described as being arguably Eastwood’s most memorable character, and the film has been credited with inventing the “loose-cannon cop” genre. Author Eric Lichtenfeld argues that Eastwood’s role as Dirty Harry established the “first true archetype” of the action film genre. His lines  are regarded by firearms historians, such as Garry James and Richard Venola, as the force that catapulted the ownership of .44 Magnum revolvers to new heights in the United States; specifically the Smith & Wesson Model 29 carried by Harry Callahan. Dirty Harry achieved huge success after its release in December 1971, earning $22 million in the United States and Canada alone. It was Siegel’s highest-grossing film and the start of a series of films featuring the character Harry Callahan. Although a number of critics praised Eastwood’s performance as Dirty Harry, such as Jay Cocks of Time magazine who described him as “…giving his best performance so far, tense, tough, full of implicit identification with his character,” the film was also widely criticized as being fascistic.

Following Sean Connery‘s announcement that he would not play James Bond again, Eastwood was offered the role but turned it down because he believed the character should be played by an English actor. He next starred in the loner Western Joe Kidd (1972), based on a character inspired by Reies Lopez Tijerina, who stormed a courthouse in Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico in June 1967. During filming, Eastwood suffered symptoms of a bronchial infection and several panic attacks. Joe Kidd received a mixed reception, with Roger Greenspun of The New York Times writing that it was unremarkable, with foolish symbolism and sloppy editing, although he praised Eastwood’s performance.

In 1973, Eastwood directed his first western, High Plains Drifter, in which he also starred. The film had a moral and supernatural theme, later emulated in Pale Rider. The plot follows a mysterious stranger (Eastwood) who arrives in a brooding Western town where the people hire him to protect them against three soon-to-be-released felons. There remains confusion during the film as to whether the stranger is the brother of the deputy, whom the felons lynched and murdered, or his ghost. Holes in the plot were filled with black humor and allegory, influenced by Leone. The revisionist film received a mixed reception, but was a major box office success. A number of critics thought Eastwood’s directing was “as derivative as it was expressive,” with Arthur Knight of the Saturday Review remarking that Eastwood had “…absorbed the approaches of Siegel and Leone and fused them with his own paranoid vision of society.” John Wayne, who had declined a role in the film, sent a letter to Eastwood soon after the film’s release in which he complained that, “The townspeople did not represent the true spirit of the American pioneer, the spirit that made America great.”

Eastwood next turned his attention towards Breezy (1973), a film about love blossoming between a middle-aged man and a teenage girl. During casting for the film Eastwood met Sondra Locke for the first time, an actress who would play major roles in six of his films over the next ten years and would become an important figure in his life. Kay Lenz got the part of Breezy because Locke, at age 29, was considered too old. The film, shot very quickly and efficiently by Eastwood and Frank Stanley, came in $1 million under budget and was finished three days ahead of schedule. Breezy was not a major critical or commercial success and it was only made available on video in 1998.

Once filming of Breezy had finished, Warners announced that Eastwood had agreed to reprise his role as Callahan in Magnum Force (1973), a sequel to Dirty Harry, about a group of rogue young officers (among them David Soul, Robert Urich and Tim Matheson) in the San Francisco Police Department who systematically exterminate the city’s worst criminals. Although the film was a major success after release, grossing $58.1 million in the United States (a record for Eastwood), it was not a critical success. The New York Times critic Nora Sayre panned the often contradictory moral themes of the film, while the paper’s Frank Rich called it “the same old stuff.”

In 1974, Eastwood teamed up with Jeff Bridges and George Kennedy in the buddy action caper Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, a road movie about a veteran bank robber Thunderbolt (Eastwood) and a young con man drifter, Lightfoot (Bridges). On its release, in spring 1974, the film was praised for its offbeat comedy mixed with high suspense and tragedy but was only a modest success at the box office, earning $32.4 million. Eastwood’s acting was noted by critics, but was overshadowed by Bridges who was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Eastwood reportedly fumed at the lack of Academy Award recognition for him and swore that he would never work for United Artists again.

Eastwood’s next film The Eiger Sanction (1975) was based on Trevanian‘s critically acclaimed spy novel of the same name. Eastwood plays Jonathan Hemlock in a role originally intended for Paul Newman, an assassin turned college art professor who decides to return to his former profession for one last “sanction” in return for a rare Pissarro painting. In the process he must climb the north face of the Eiger in Switzerland under perilous conditions. Mike Hoover taught Eastwood how to climb during several weeks of preparation at Yosemite in the summer of 1974 before filming commenced in Grindelwald, Switzerland on August 12, 1974. Despite prior warnings about the perils of the Eiger the film crew suffered a number of accidents, including one fatality. Despite the danger, Eastwood insisted on doing all his own climbing and stunts. Upon release in May 1975 The Eiger Sanction was a commercial failure, receiving only $23.8 million at the box office, and was poorly received by most critics. Joy Gould Boyum of the Wall Street Journal dismissed the film as “brutal fantasy.” Eastwood blamed Universal Studios for the film’s poor promotion and turned his back on them to make an agreement with Warner Brothers, through Frank Wells, that has lasted to the present day.

The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), a western inspired by Asa Carter‘s 1972 novel of the same name, has lead character Josey Wales (Eastwood) as a pro-Confederate guerilla who refuses to surrender his arms after the American Civil War and is chased across the old southwest by a group of enforcers. Eastwood’s costars were Locke (for the first time) and Chief Dan George. Director Philip Kaufman was fired by producer Bob Daley under Eastwood’s command, resulting in a fine reported to be around $60,000 from the Directors Guild of America—who subsequently passed new legislation reserving the right to impose a major fine on a producer for discharging and replacing a director. The film was pre-screened at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts and Humanities in Idaho during a six-day conference entitled Western Movies: Myths and Images. Invited to the screening were a number of esteemed film critics, including Jay Cocks and Arthur Knight; directors such as King Vidor, William Wyler, and Howard Hawks; and a number of academics.

Upon release in the summer of 1976 The Outlaw Josey Wales was widely acclaimed, with many critics and viewers seeing Eastwood’s role as an iconic one that related to America’s ancestral past and the destiny of the nation after the American Civil War. Roger Ebert compared the nature and vulnerability of Eastwood’s portrayal of Josey Wales with his Man with No Name character in the Dollars westerns and praised the film’s atmosphere.] The film would later appear in Time‘s “Top 10 Films of the Year.”

Eastwood was then offered the role of Benjamin L. Willard in Francis Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, but declined as he did not want to spend weeks on location in the Philippines. He also refused the part of a platoon leader in Ted Post‘s Vietnam War film, Go Tell the Spartans and instead decided to make a third Dirty Harry film, The Enforcer. The film had Callahan partnered with a new female officer (Tyne Daly) to face a San Francisco Bay area group resembling the Symbionese Liberation Army. The film, culminating in a shootout on Alcatraz island, was considerably shorter than the previous Dirty Harry films at 95 minutes, but was a major commercial success grossing $100 million worldwide to become Eastwood’s highest-grossing film to date.

In 1977, he directed and starred in The Gauntlet opposite Locke, Pat Hingle, William Prince, Bill McKinney, and Mara Corday. Eastwood portrays a down-and-out cop assigned to escort a prostitute from Las Vegas to Phoenix to testify against the mafia. Although a moderate hit with the viewing public, critics had mixed feelings about the film, with many believing it was overly violent. Ebert, in contrast, gave the film three stars and called it “… classic Clint Eastwood: fast, furious, and funny.”

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The following year, he starred in Every Which Way But Loose in an uncharacteristic offbeat comedy role. He played Philo Beddoe, a trucker and brawler who roams the American West searching for a lost love (Locke) accompanied by his brother (played by Geoffrey Lewis) and an orangutan called Clyde. The film proved surprisingly successful upon its release and became Eastwood’s most commercially successful film up to that time. Panned by critics, it ranked high among the box office successes of his career and was the second-highest-grossing film of 1978.

Eastwood starred in Escape from Alcatraz in 1979, the last of his films directed by Siegel. It was based on the true story of Frank Lee Morris who, along with John and Clarence Anglin, escaped from the notorious Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary in 1962. The film was a major success; Stanley Kauffmann of The New Republic praised it as “crystalline cinema” and Frank Rich of Time described it as “cool, cinematic grace.”

1980s

In 1980, Eastwood directed and played the title role in Bronco Billy alongside Locke, Scatman Crothers, and Sam Bottoms. Eastwood has cited Bronco Billy as being one of the most relaxed shoots of his career and biographer Richard Schickel has argued that Bronco Billy is Eastwood’s most self-referential character. The film was a rare commercial disappointment in Eastwood’s career, but was liked by critics. Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote that film was “…the best and funniest Clint Eastwood movie in quite a while”, and praised Eastwood’s directing, intricately juxtaposing the old West and the new West. Later that year, Eastwood starred in Any Which Way You Can, the sequel to Every Which Way But Loose. The film received a number of bad reviews from critics, although Maslin described it as “funnier and even better than its predecessor.” Released over the Christmas season of 1980, Any Which Way You Can was a major box office success and ranked among the top five highest-grossing films of the year.

In 1982, Eastwood directed and starred in Honkytonk Man, based on the eponymous Clancy Carlile‘s depression-era novel. Eastwood portrays a struggling western singer Red Stovall who suffers from tuberculosis, but has finally been given an opportunity to make it big at the Grand Ole Opry. He is accompanied by his young nephew (played by real-life son Kyle) to Nashville, Tennessee, where he is supposed to record a song. Only Time gave the film a good review in the United States, with most reviewers criticizing its blend of muted humor and tragedy. Nevertheless, the film received critical acclaim in France, where it was compared to John Ford‘s The Grapes of Wrath, and it has since acquired the very high rating of 93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. In the same year Eastwood directed, produced, and starred in the Cold War-themed Firefox. Based on a 1977 novel with the same name written by Craig Thomas, the film was shot before but released after Honkeytonk Man. Russian filming locations were not possible due to the Cold War, and the film had to be shot in Vienna and other locations in Austria to simulate many of the Eurasian story locations. With a production cost of $20 million, it was Eastwood’s highest budget film to date. People magazine likened Eastwood’s performance to “Luke Skywalker trapped in Dirty Harry’s Soul.”

Eastwood directed and starred in the fourth Dirty Harry film, Sudden Impact, which was shot in the spring and summer of 1983 and is considered the darkest and most violent of the series. By this time Eastwood received 60 percent of all profits from films he starred in and directed, with the rest going to the studio. Sudden Impact was his final on-screen collaboration with Locke. She plays an artist who, along with her sister, was gang-raped a decade before the story takes place and seeks revenge for her sister’s now-vegetative state by systematically murdering the rapists. The line Go ahead, make my day (uttered by Eastwood during an early scene in a coffee shop) has been cited as one of cinema’s immortal lines. It was quoted by President Ronald Reagan in a speech to Congress, and used during the 1984 presidential elections. The film was the second most commercially successful of the Dirty Harry films, after The Enforcer, earning $70 million. It received very positive reviews, with many critics praising the feminist aspects of the film through its explorations of the physical and psychological consequences of rape.

Tightrope (1984) had Eastwood starring opposite Geneviève Bujold in a provocative thriller, inspired by newspaper articles about an elusive Bay Area rapist. Set in New Orleans to avoid confusion with the Dirty Harry films, Eastwood played a divorced cop drawn into his target’s tortured psychology and fascination for sadomasochism.

Tightrope was a critical and commercial hit and became the fourth highest-grossing R-rated film of 1984. Eastwood next starred in the crime comedy City Heat (1984) alongside Burt Reynolds, a film about a private eye and his partner who get mixed up with gangsters in the prohibition era of the 1930s. The film grossed around $50 million domestically, but was overshadowed by Eddie Murphy‘s Beverly Hills Cop.

“Westerns. A period gone by, the pioneer, the loner operating by himself, without benefit of society. It usually has something to do with some sort of vengeance; he takes care of the vengeance himself, doesn’t call the police. Like Robin Hood. It’s the last masculine frontier. Romantic myth, I guess, though it’s hard to think about anything romantic today. In a Western you can think, Jesus, there was a time when man was alone, on horseback, out there where man hasn’t spoiled the land yet.”

— Eastwood, on the philosophical allure of portraying western loners

Eastwood made his only foray into TV direction with the 1985 Amazing Stories episode Vanessa in the Garden, which starred Harvey Keitel and Locke. This was his first collaboration with Steven Spielberg, who later co-produced Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima. He would revisit the Western genre when he directed and starred in Pale Rider (1985), a film based on the classic 1953 western Shane and follows a preacher descending from the mists of the Sierras to side with the miners during the California Gold Rush of 1850. The title is a reference to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, as the rider of the pale horse is Death, and shows similarities to Eastwood’s 1973 western High Plains Drifter in its themes of morality and justice as well as its exploration of the supernatural. Pale Rider became one of Eastwood’s most successful films to date. It was hailed as one of the best films of 1985 and the best western to appear for a considerable period, with Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune remarking, “This year (1985) will go down in film history as the moment Clint Eastwood finally earned respect as an artist.”

In 1986, Eastwood co-starred with Marsha Mason in the military drama Heartbreak Ridge, about the 1983 United States invasion of Grenada. He portrays an United States Marine Gunnery Sergeant veteran of the Korean War and Vietnam War who realizes he is nearing the end of his military service. Production and filming were marred by internal disagreements between Eastwood and long-time friend and producer Fritz Manes, as well as between Eastwood and the United States Department of Defense who expressed contempt for the film. At the time, the film was a commercial rather than a critical success, and has only come to be viewed more favorably in recent times. The film grossed $70 million domestically.

Eastwood starred in The Dead Pool (1988), the fifth and final film in the Dirty Harry series. It co-starred Patricia Clarkson, Liam Neeson, and a young Jim Carrey who plays Johnny Squares, a drug-addled rock star and the first of the victims on a list of celebrities drawn up by horror film director Peter Swan (Neeson) who are deemed most likely to die, the so-called “Dead Pool.” The list is stolen by an obsessed fan who, in mimicking his favorite director, makes his way through the list killing off celebrities, of which Dirty Harry is also included. The Dead Pool grossed nearly $38 million, relatively low receipts for a Dirty Harry film. It is generally viewed as the weakest film of the series, though Roger Ebert thought it was as good as the original.

Eastwood began working on smaller, more personal projects and experienced a lull in his career between 1988 and 1992. Always interested in jazz, he directed Bird (1988), a biopic starring Forest Whitaker as jazz musician Charlie “Bird” Parker. Alto saxophonist Jackie McLean and Spike Lee, son of jazz bassist Bill Lee and a long time critic of Eastwood, criticized the characterization of Charlie Parker remarking that it did not capture his true essence and sense of humor.

Eastwood received two Golden Globes for the film, the Cecil B. DeMille Award for his lifelong contribution, and the Best Director award. However, Bird was a commercial failure, earning just $11 million, which Eastwood attributed to the declining interest in jazz among black people. Carrey would appear with Eastwood again in the poorly received comedy Pink Cadillac (1989). The film is about a bounty hunter and a group of white supremacists chasing an innocent woman (Bernadette Peters) who tries to outrun everyone in her husband’s prized pink Cadillac. The film failed both critically and commercially, earning barely more than Bird and marking a low point in Eastwood’s career.

1990s

 Eastwood directed and starred in White Hunter Black Heart (1990), an adaptation of Peter Viertel‘s roman à clef, about John Huston and the making of the classic film The African Queen. Shot on location in Zimbabwe in the summer of 1989, the film received some critical attention but with only a limited release earned just $8.4 million. Later in 1990, Eastwood directed and co-starred with Charlie Sheen in The Rookie, a buddy cop action film. Critics found the film’s plot and characterization unconvincing, but praised its action sequences. An ongoing lawsuit, in response to Eastwood allegedly ramming a woman’s car, resulted in no Eastwood films being shown in cinemas in 1991. Eastwood won the suit and agreed to pay the complainant’s legal fees if she did not appeal.

“…if possible, he looks even taller, leaner and more mysteriously possessed than he did in Sergio Leone’s seminal Fistful of Dollars a quarter of a century ago. The years haven’t softened him. They have given him the presence of some fierce force of nature, which may be why the landscapes of the mythic, late 19th-century West become him, never more so than in his new Unforgiven…. This is his richest, most satisfying performance since the underrated, politically lunatic Heartbreak Ridge. There’s no one like him.”

— Vincent Canby of The New York Times, on Eastwood’s performance in Unforgiven

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In 1992, Eastwood revisited the western genre in his film Unforgiven, which he directed and in which he starred as an aging ex-gunfighter long past his prime. Scripts existed for the film as early as 1976 under titles such as The Cut-Whore Killings and The William Munny Killings but Eastwood delayed the project because he wanted to wait until he was old enough to play his character and to savor it as the last of his western films. Unforgiven was a major commercial and critical success; Jack Methews of the Los Angeles Times described it as “the finest classical western to come along since perhaps John Ford’s 1956 The Searchers. The film was nominated for nine Academy Awards, (including Best Actor for Eastwood and Best Original Screenplay for David Webb Peoples) and won four, including Best Picture and Best Director for Eastwood. In June 2008 Unforgiven was ranked as the fourth-best American western, behind Shane, High Noon, and The Searchers, in the American Film Institute‘s “AFI’s 10 Top 10” list.

Eastwood played Frank Horrigan in the Secret Service thriller In the Line of Fire (1993), directed by Wolfgang Petersen and co-starring John Malkovich and Rene Russo. Horrigan is a guilt-ridden Secret Service agent haunted by his failure to save John F. Kennedy‘s life. The film was among the top 10 box office performers in that year, earning $102 million in the United States alone.

Later in 1993, he directed and co-starred alongside Kevin Costner in A Perfect World. Set in the 1960s, Eastwood plays a Texas Ranger in pursuit of an escaped convict (Costner) who hits the road with a young boy (T.J. Lowther). Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote that the film marked the highest point of Eastwood’s directing career, and the film has since been cited as one of his most underrated directorial achievements.

At the May 1994 Cannes Film Festival Eastwood received France’s Ordre des Arts et des Lettres medal, and on March 27, 1995, he was awarded the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award at the 67th Academy Awards. His next film appearance was in a cameo role as himself in the 1995 children’s film Casper. Later that same year he expanded his repertoire by playing opposite Meryl Streep in The Bridges of Madison County. Based on the novel by Robert James Waller, the film relates the story of Robert Kincaid (Eastwood), a photographer working for National Geographic, who has an affair with a middle-aged Italian farm wife, Francesca (Streep). Despite the novel receiving unfavorable reviews and a subject deemed potentially unsuitable for film, The Bridges of Madison County was a commercial and critical success. Roger Ebert wrote, “Streep and Eastwood weave a spell, and it is based on that particular knowledge of love and self that comes with middle age.” The film was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Picture and won a César Award in France for Best Foreign Film. Streep was also nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe.

In 1997, Eastwood directed and starred in the political thriller Absolute Power, alongside Gene Hackman (with whom he had appeared in Unforgiven). Eastwood played the role of a veteran thief who witnesses the Secret Service cover up of a murder. The film received a mixed reception from critics. Later in 1997, Eastwood directed Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, based on the novel by John Berendt and starring John Cusack, Kevin Spacey, and Jude Law. The film met with a mixed critical response.

“The roles that Eastwood has played, and the films that he has directed, cannot be disentangled from the nature of the American culture of the last quarter century, its fantasies and its realities.”

— Author Edward Gallafent, commenting on Eastwood’s impact on film from the 1970s to 1990s

Eastwood directed and starred in True Crime (1999). He plays Steve Everett, a journalist and recovering alcoholic, who has to cover the execution of murderer Frank Beechum (played by Isaiah Washington). True Crime received a mixed reception, with Janet Maslin of The New York Times writing, “his direction is galvanized by a sense of second chances and tragic misunderstandings, and by contrasting a larger sense of justice with the peculiar minutiae of crime. Perhaps he goes a shade too far in the latter direction, though.” The film was a box office failure, earning less than half its $55 million budget and was Eastwood’s worst-performing film of the 1990s aside from White Hunter Black Heart, which had a limited release.

2000s

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 In 2000, Eastwood directed and starred in Space Cowboys alongside Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland and James Garner. Eastwood played one of a group of veteran ex-test pilots sent into space to repair an old Soviet satellite. The original music score was composed by Eastwood and Lennie Niehaus. Space Cowboys was critically well received and holds a 79 percent rating at Rotten Tomatoes, although Roger Ebert wrote that the film was, “too secure within its traditional story structure to make much seem at risk.” The film grossed more than $90 million in its United States release, more than Eastwood’s two previous films combined. In 2002, Eastwood played an ex-FBI agent chasing a sadistic killer (Jeff Daniels) in the thriller Blood Work, loosely based on the 1998 novel of the same name by Michael Connelly. The film was a commercial failure, grossing just $26.2 million on an estimated budget of $50 million and received mixed reviews, with Rotten Tomatoes describing it as, “well-made but marred by lethargic pacing.” Eastwood did, however, win the Future Film Festival Digital Award at the Venice Film Festival for the film.

“Clint is a true artist in every respect. Despite his years of being at the top of his game and the legendary movies he has made, he always made us feel comfortable and valued on the set, treating us as equals.”

— Tim Robbins, on working with Eastwood.

Eastwood directed and scored the crime drama Mystic River (2003), a film dealing with themes of murder, vigilantism and sexual abuse and starring Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon and Tim Robbins. The film was praised by critics and won two Academy Awards – Best Actor for Penn and Best Supporting Actor for Robbins – with Eastwood garnering nominations for Best Director and Best Picture. The film grossed $90 million domestically on a budget of $30 million. In 2003 Eastwood was named Best Director of the Year by the National Society of Film Critics.

The following year Eastwood found further critical and commercial success when he directed, produced, scored and starred in the boxing drama Million Dollar Baby, playing a cantankerous trainer who forms a bond with a female boxer (Hilary Swank), whom he is persuaded to train by his longtime friend and employee (Morgan Freeman). The film won four Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (Swank) and Best Supporting Actor (Freeman). At age 74 Eastwood became the oldest of eighteen directors to have directed two or more Best Picture winners. He also received a nomination for Best Actor, as well as a Grammy nomination for his score, and won a Golden Globe for Best Director, which was presented to him by daughter Kathryn, who was Miss Golden Globe at the 2005 ceremony. A. O. Scott of The New York Times lauded the film as a “masterpiece” and the best film of the year.

In 2006, Eastwood directed two films about World War II’s Battle of Iwo Jima. The first, Flags of Our Fathers, focused on the men who raised the American flag on top of Mount Suribachi and featured the film debut of Eastwood’s son Scott. This was followed by Letters from Iwo Jima, which dealt with the tactics of the Japanese soldiers on the island and the letters they wrote home to family members. Letters from Iwo Jima was the first American film to depict a war issue completely from the view of an American enemy. Both films received praise from critics and garnered several nominations at the 79th Academy Awards, including Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Original Screenplay for Letters from Iwo Jima. At the 64th Golden Globe Awards Eastwood received nominations for Best Director in both films. Letters from Iwo Jima won the award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Eastwood next directed Changeling (2008), based on a true story set in the late 1920s. Angelina Jolie stars as a woman reunited with her missing son only to realize he is an impostor. After its release at several film festivals the film grossed over $110 million, the majority of which came from foreign markets. The film was highly acclaimed, with Damon Wise of Empire describing Changeling as “flawless.” Todd McCarthy of Variety magazine described it as “emotionally powerful and stylistically sure-handed” and that the film’s characters and social commentary were brought into the story with an “almost breathtaking deliberation.” For the film Eastwood received nominations for Best Original Score at the 66th Golden Globe Awards, Best Direction at the 62nd British Academy Film Awards and director of the year from the London Film Critics’ Circle.

Eastwood ended a four-year “self-imposed acting hiatus” by appearing in Gran Torino, which he also directed, produced and partly scored with his son Kyle and Jamie Cullum. Biographer Marc Eliot called Eastwood’s role “an amalgam of the Man with No Name, Dirty Harry, and William Munny, here aged and cynical but willing and able to fight on whenever the need arose.” Gran Torino grossed almost $30 million during its opening weekend release in January 2009, the highest of his career as an actor or director. Gran Torino eventually grossed over $268 million in theaters worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing film of Eastwood’s career so far (without adjustment for inflation).

Eastwood’s 30th directorial outing came with Invictus, a film based on the story of the South African team at the 1995 Rugby World Cup, with Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela, Matt Damon as rugby team captain François Pienaar and Grant L. Roberts as Ruben Kruger. The film met with generally positive reviews; Roger Ebert gave it three and a half stars and described it as a “…very good film… with moments evoking great emotion,” while Variety‘s Todd McCarthy wrote, “Inspirational on the face of it, Clint Eastwood’s film has a predictable trajectory, but every scene brims with surprising details that accumulate into a rich fabric of history, cultural impressions and emotion.” For the film Eastwood was nominated for Best Director at the 67th Golden Globe Awards.

 2010s

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In 2010, Eastwood directed Hereafter, again working with Matt Damon, who portrayed a psychic. The film had its world premiere on September 12, 2010 at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival and had a limited release later in October. Hereafter received mixed reviews from critics, with the consensus at Rotten Tomatoes being, “Despite a thought-provoking premise and Clint Eastwood’s typical flair as director, Hereafter fails to generate much compelling drama, straddling the line between poignant sentimentality and hokey tedium.” In the same year, Eastwood served as executive producer for a Turner Classic Movies (TCM) documentary about jazz pianist Dave Brubeck, Dave Brubeck: In His Own Sweet Way, to commemorate Brubeck’s 90th birthday.

In 2011, Eastwood directed J. Edgar, a biopic of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, with Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role. The film received mixed reviews, although DiCaprio’s performance as Hoover was widely praised. The Rotten Tomatoes consensus was, “Leonardo DiCaprio gives a predictably powerhouse performance, but J. Edgar stumbles in all other departments.”

Roger Ebert wrote that the film is “fascinating,” “masterful,” and praised DiCaprio’s performance. David Edelstein of New York Magazine, while also praising DiCaprio, wrote, “It’s too bad J. Edgar is so shapeless and turgid and ham-handed, so rich in bad lines and worse readings.”

In January 2011, it was announced that Eastwood was in talks to direct Beyoncé Knowles in a third remake of the 1937 film A Star Is Born; however, the project was delayed due to Beyoncé’s pregnancy. Eastwood then starred in the baseball drama Trouble with the Curve (2012), as a veteran baseball scout who travels with his daughter for a final scouting trip. Robert Lorenz, who worked with Eastwood as an assistant director on several films, directed the film.

“Everybody wonders why I continue working at this stage. I keep working because there’s always new stories…. And as long as people want me to tell them, I’ll be there doing them.”

— Eastwood, reflecting on his later career

During Super Bowl XLVI, Eastwood narrated a halftime advertisement for Chrysler titled “It’s Halftime in America.” The advertisement was criticized by several U.S. Republicans, who claimed it implied that President Barack Obama deserved a second term. In response to the criticism, Eastwood stated, “I am certainly not politically affiliated with Mr. Obama. It was meant to be a message about job growth and the spirit of America.”

Eastwood next directed Jersey Boys, a musical biography based on the Tony Award-winning musical Jersey Boys. The film told the story of the musical group The Four Seasons, and was released on June 20, 2014.

Eastwood directed American Sniper, a film adaptation of Chris Kyle‘s eponymous memoir, following Steven Spielberg’s departure from the project. The film was released on December 25, 2014. American Sniper has grossed more than $350 million domestically and over $547 million globally, making it one of Eastwood’s biggest movies commercially.

 

Directing

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 Beginning with the thriller Play Misty for Me, Eastwood has directed over 30 films, including Westerns, action films, and dramas. He is one of few top Hollywood actors to have also become a critically and commercially successful director. The New Yorker wrote that, unlike Eastwood, John Ford appeared in just a few  films; Howard Hawks never acted in movies. Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, Spencer Tracy, James Stewart, Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart, William Holden, Steve McQueen, and Sean Connery never directed a feature. John Wayne directed only twice, and badly; ditto Burt Lancaster. Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty, Robert Redford, Robert De Niro, and Sean Penn have directed a few movies each, with mixed commercial and artistic success.

From the very early days of his career Eastwood was frustrated by directors’ insistence that scenes be re-shot multiple times and perfected, and when he began directing in 1970, he made a conscious attempt to avoid any aspects of directing he had been indifferent to as an actor. As a result, Eastwood is renowned for his efficient film directing and ability to reduce filming time and control budgets. He usually avoids actors’ rehearsing and prefers to complete most scenes on the first take.

Eastwood’s rapid filmmaking practices have been compared to those of Woody Allen, Ingmar Bergman, Jean-Luc Godard, and the Coen brothers. When acting in others’ films he sometimes takes over directing, such as for The Outlaw Josey Wales, if he believes production is too slow. In preparation for filming Eastwood rarely uses storyboards for developing the layout of a shooting schedule. He also attempts to reduce script background details on characters to allow the audience to become more involved in the film, considering their imagination a requirement for a film that connects with viewers. Eastwood has indicated that he lays out a film’s plot to provide the audience with necessary details, but not “so much that it insults their intelligence.”

According to Life magazine, “Eastwood’s style is to shoot first and act afterward. He etches his characters virtually without words. He has developed the art of underplaying to the point that anyone around him who so much as flinches looks hammily histrionic.” Interviewers Richard Thompson and Tim Hunter note that Eastwood’s films are “superbly paced: unhurried; cool; and [give] a strong sense of real time, regardless of the speed of the narrative” while Ric Gentry considers Eastwood’s pacing “unrushed and relaxed.” Eastwood is fond of low-key lighting and back-lighting to give his movies a “noir-ish” feel.

Eastwood’s frequent exploration of ethical values has drawn the attention of scholars, who have explored Eastwood’s work from ethical and theological perspectives, including his portrayal of justice, mercy, suicide and the angel of death.

 

Personal Life

Relationships

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Eastwood married Margaret Neville “Maggie” Johnson (then working for an auto parts suppliers company) on December 19, 1953 in Pasadena. They had met six months earlier on a blind date in Los Angeles, although Eastwood subsequently had a serious relationship with a young woman in Seattle that summer, before Johnson announced her engagement to him in October. The marriage would not prove altogether smooth, Eastwood telling biographer Richard Schickel in the only authorized book ever written about him that he was “too young, not well enough established.” A decade later, an ongoing affair Eastwood was involved in (said to have lasted 14 years) with dancer and Rawhide stuntwoman Roxanne Tunis (who was also married yet separated) produced his earliest confirmed child, daughter Kimber Eastwood (born Kimber Tunis; June 17, 1964), whose existence was kept secret from the public until July 1989, when the National Enquirer revealed her identity. Biographer Marc Eliot wrote of Johnson, “It is difficult to say for sure that she actually knew about the baby, although it would have been nearly impossible for her not to. Everyone on the set knew … and it is simply too difficult to keep a secret like that when the mother and the illegitimate child live in the same small town, especially when that small town is Hollywood.” Actress Barbara Eden, a onetime Rawhide guest star and witness to the affair with Tunis, said of Eastwood’s relationship with Johnson: “They conducted a somewhat open marriage.”

According to biographer Patrick McGilligan, Eastwood had many other affairs, including with co-stars Inger Stevens (Hang ‘Em High), Jean Seberg (Paint Your Wagon) and Jo Ann Harris (The Beguiled), as well as actresses Jill Banner, Catherine Deneuve, and Susan St. James, columnist Bridget Byrne, competitive swimmer Anita Lhoest,] and singer Keely Smith during his marriage to Johnson, who, after a trial separation and lingering bout of hepatitis in the mid-1960s, expressed her desire to reconcile and start a family. They had two children together: Kyle Eastwood (born May 19, 1968) and Alison Eastwood (born May 22, 1972). At some point in 1972, Eastwood met married actress (later director) Sondra Locke. The two began living together while filming The Outlaw Josey Wales in the autumn of 1975, by which time, according to Locke, “He had told me that there was no real relationship left between him and Maggie.” Locke wrote in her autobiography, “Clint seemed astonished at his need for me, even admitting that he’d never been faithful to one woman — because he’d “never been in love before,” he confided. He even made up a song about it: “She made me monogamous.” That flattered and delighted me. I would never doubt his faithfulness and his love for me.” Locke moved into the Sherman Oaks house Eastwood had once shared with Johnson (who by then lived full-time in Pebble Beach), but felt uncomfortable there because “psychologically, it would always be Maggie’s.”

“Finally I told Clint that I couldn’t live there any longer,” writes Locke. The couple moved to Bel-Air in a fixer-upper. Locke spent three years renovating. She underwent two abortions and a tubal ligation in the late 1970s and was most reluctant about the second abortion, noting “I couldn’t help but think that that baby, with both Clint’s and my best qualities, would be extraordinary.” Johnson made no secret of her dislike for Locke, even though the two women never met. “Maggie placed severe rules on my relationship with the kids. Apparently, she never forgave me … after she learned that Clint had taken me onto her property to show me a baby deer that had just been born there, she laid down a rule that I was never to be allowed there again. I was not even allowed to phone the Pebble Beach house.” In 1978 Johnson filed for legal separation from Eastwood, but did not officially divorce him until May 1984, receiving a reported cash settlement of $25 million. Locke never divorced her legal husband, homosexual sculptor Gordon Anderson, who resided with his male companion in a West Hollywood home purchased by Eastwood.

Eastwood and Locke went on to star in The Gauntlet, Every Which Way But Loose, Bronco Billy, Any Which Way You Can and Sudden Impact. According to former longtime associate Fritz Manes, as quoted by author McGilligan, Eastwood was devoted to her between 1976 and 1980 at the least, but discreetly kept up several “maintenance relationships” (such as with Tunis) during that period. McGilligan claims Eastwood returned to his “habitual womanizing” in the early 1980s, becoming involved with story analyst Megan Rose, actress Jamie Rose (who played a bit part in Tightrope), animal rights activist Jane Brolin (who had intermittent liaisons with Eastwood between the early 1960s and late 1980s) and Jacelyn Reeves, a stewardess he met at the Hog’s Breath Inn, among others. He was still living with Locke when he conceived two children with Reeves: a son Scott Eastwood (born Scott Reeves; March 21, 1986) and daughter Kathryn Eastwood (born Kathryn Reeves; February 2, 1988), whose birth certificates both said “Father declined.” The affair with Reeves was not reported anywhere until an exposé article was published in the Star tabloid in 1990, though the children still went unmentioned by mainstream news sources for more than a decade thereafter. Eastwood’s relationship with Locke (at the time unaware of his infidelities) ended acrimoniously in April 1989, and the post-breakup litigation dragged on for years. Locke filed a palimony lawsuit against him after he changed the locks on their home and moved her possessions into storage when she was away filming her second directorial effort Impulse. In court, Eastwood downplayed the intensity of their relationship. He described Locke as a “roommate” before quickly re-describing her as a “part-time roommate.” Locke’s estranged brother told The Tennessean that Eastwood still truly loved her, but could no longer take her “addiction” to husband Gordon Anderson. Anticipating that Eastwood was going to misrepresent the marriage, Locke asked Anderson to surrender all claims on any of her assets that as her legal spouse he was entitled to. “In an extraordinary gesture of love and faith in me, Gordon signed away everything without hesitation.” During the trial, an investigative journalist contacted Locke and informed her of Eastwood’s other family. “I spoke with the nurse in the delivery room, and she confirmed that they are Clint’s children. I’ll send copies of the birth certificates to you and a photo of Jacelyn, if you want them,” Locke quotes the informant. “My mind was still searching to get all his actions lined up. For at least the last four years of our relationship, Clint had been living this double life, going between me and this other woman, and having children with her. Two babies had been born during the last three years of our relationship, and they weren’t mine.” Locke dropped the suit in 1990 in exchange for a directing deal at Warner Bros., but sued Eastwood again for fraud in 1994 when she became convinced the deal was a sham, finally settling out of court in September 1996. Since then, Locke has made discrediting comments about Eastwood.

In 1990, actress Frances Fisher, whom Eastwood had met on the set of Pink Cadillac in late 1988, moved in with him. Fisher said of dating Eastwood, “I simply felt that this was it, the big one. I had no idea that every woman he meets probably feels as I did.” They co-starred in Unforgiven, and had a daughter, Francesca Eastwood (born Francesca Fisher-Eastwood; August 7, 1993). The birth of Francesca marked the first time Eastwood was present for one of his children being born. Eastwood and Fisher ended their relationship in early 1995, after which Fisher said it took two years to complete what she called the grieving process for her shattered dreams.[307] Before she had moved out of Eastwood’s home, he was said to already be dating Dina Ruiz, a television news anchor 35 years his junior whom he had first met when she interviewed him in 1993. They married on March 31, 1996, when Eastwood surprised her with a private ceremony at a home on the Shadow Creek Golf Course in Las Vegas. The marriage was noted for the fact that it was only Eastwood’s second legal union in spite of his many long-term romances over the decades. Eastwood said of his bride, “I’m proud to make this lady my wife. She’s the one I’ve been waiting for.” Ruiz commented, “The fact that I’m only the second woman he has married really touches me.” The couple has one daughter, Morgan Eastwood (born December 12, 1996). Ruiz made cameos in two of Eastwood’s films, Blood Work and True Crime (in which Fisher even appeared). In the summer of 2012, Dina, Morgan and Francesca starred with the band Overtone in a reality show for the E! network titled Mrs. Eastwood & Company, on which Eastwood appeared only occasionally.

In August 2013, Dina Eastwood announced that she and her husband had been living separately for an undisclosed length of time. On October 23, 2013, Dina filed for divorce after she withdrew her request for legal separation, citing irreconcilable differences. She asked for full custody of their 16-year-old daughter, Morgan, as well as spousal support. The divorce was finalized in December 2014. Eastwood has since been publicly linked with photographer Erica Tomlinson-Fisher (no relation to Frances), 41 years his junior, and restaurant hostess Christina Sandera, 33 years his junior. He and Sandera went public with their relationship at the 87th Academy Awards in February 2015.

 

Leisure

Despite smoking in some of his films, Eastwood is a lifelong non-smoker, has been conscious of his health and fitness since he was a teenager, and practices healthful eating and daily Transcendental Meditation.

He opened an old English-inspired pub called the Hog’s Breath Inn in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California in 1971. Eastwood sold the pub and now owns the Mission Ranch Hotel and Restaurant in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

He is an avid golfer and owns the Tehàma Golf Club. He is an investor in the world-renowned Pebble Beach Golf Links west of Carmel and donates his time to charitable causes at major tournaments. Eastwood is a certified pilot and often flies his helicopter to the studios to avoid traffic.

 

Music

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Eastwood favors jazz (especially bebop), blues, classic rhythm and blues, classical, and country-and-western music; his favorite musicians include saxophonists Charlie Parker and Lester Young, pianists Thelonious Monk, Oscar Peterson, Dave Brubeck, and Fats Waller, and Delta bluesman Robert Johnson. He is also a pianist and composer. Jazz has played an important role in Eastwood’s life from a young age and, although he never made it as a professional musician, he passed on the influence to his son Kyle Eastwood, a successful jazz bassist and composer. Eastwood developed as a boogie-woogie pianist early on and had originally intended to pursue a career in music by studying for a music theory degree after graduating from high school. In late 1959 he produced the album Cowboy Favorites, released on the Cameo label.

Eastwood has his own Warner Bros. Records-distributed imprint Malpaso Records, as part of his deal with Warner Brothers, which has released all of the scores of Eastwood’s films from The Bridges of Madison County onward. Eastwood co-wrote “Why Should I Care” with Linda Thompson and Carole Bayer Sager, which was recorded by Diana Krall.

Eastwood composed the film scores of Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, Flags of Our Fathers, Grace Is Gone, Changeling, Hereafter, J. Edgar, and the original piano compositions for In the Line of Fire. He wrote and performed the song heard over the credits of Gran Torino.

The music in Grace Is Gone received two Golden Globe nominations by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for the 65th Golden Globe Awards. Eastwood was nominated for Best Original Score, while the song “Grace is Gone” with music by Eastwood and lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager was nominated for Best Original Song. It won the Satellite Award for Best Song at the 12th Satellite Awards. Changeling was nominated for Best Score at the 14th Critics’ Choice Awards, Best Original Score at the 66th Golden Globe Awards, and Best Music at the 35th Saturn Awards. On September 22, 2007, Eastwood was awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree from the Berklee College of Music at the Monterey Jazz Festival, on which he serves as an active board member. Upon receiving the award he gave a speech claiming, “It’s one of the great honors I’ll cherish in this lifetime.”

 

Awards and Honors

Eastwood has been recognized with multiple awards and nominations for his work in film, television, and music. His widest reception has been in film work, for which he has received Academy Awards, Directors Guild of America Awards, Golden Globe Awards, and People’s Choice Awards, among others. Eastwood is one of only two people to have been twice nominated for Best Actor and Best Director for the same film (Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby) the other being Warren Beatty (Heaven Can Wait and Reds). Along with Beatty, Robert Redford, Richard Attenborough, Kevin Costner, and Mel Gibson, he is one of the few directors best known as an actor to win an Academy Award for directing. On February 27, 2005, he became one of only three living directors (along with Miloš Forman and Francis Ford Coppola) to have directed two Best Picture winners. Aged 74, he was the oldest to date recipient of the Academy Award for Best Director. Eastwood has directed five actors in Academy Award–winning performances: Gene Hackman in Unforgiven, Tim Robbins and Sean Penn in Mystic River, and Morgan Freeman and Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby.

On August 22, 1984, Eastwood was honored at a ceremony at Grauman’s Chinese theater to record his hand and footprints in cement. Eastwood received the AFI Life Achievement Award in 1996, and received an honorary degree from AFI in 2009. On December 6, 2006, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver inducted Eastwood into the California Hall of Fame located at The California Museum for History, Women, and the Arts.

In early 2007, Eastwood was presented with the highest civilian distinction in France, Légion d’honneur, at a ceremony in Paris. French President Jacques Chirac told Eastwood that he embodied “the best of Hollywood.” In October 2009, he was honored by the Lumière Award (in honor of the Lumière Brothers, inventors of the Cinematograph) during the first edition of the Lumière Film Festival in Lyon, France. This award honors his entire career and his major contribution to the 7th Art. In February 2010, Eastwood was recognized by President Barack Obama with an arts and humanities award. Obama described Eastwood’s films as “essays in individuality, hard truths and the essence of what it means to be American.”

Eastwood has also been awarded at least three honorary degrees from universities and colleges, including an honorary degree from the University of the Pacific in 2006, an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Southern California on May 27, 2007, and an honorary Doctor of Music degree from the Berklee College of Music at the Monterey Jazz Festival on September 22, 2007.

On July 22, 2009, Eastwood was bestowed by Emperor Akihito of Japan with the Order of the Rising Sun, 3rd class, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon for his contributions to the enhancement of Japan–United States relations.

Eastwood won the Golden Pine lifetime achievement award at the 2013 International Samobor Film Music Festival, along with Ryuichi Sakamoto and Gerald Fried.

 

Filmography

Eastwood has contributed to over 50 films over his career as actor, director, producer, and composer. He has acted in several television series, including his starring role in Rawhide. He started directing in 1971, and made his debut as a producer in 1982, with Firefox, though he had been functioning as uncredited producer on all of his Malpaso Company films since Hang ‘Em High in 1968. Eastwood also has contributed music to his films, either through performing, writing, or composing. He has mainly starred in western, action, and drama films. According to the box office–revenue tracking website Box Office Mojo, films featuring Eastwood have grossed a total of more than $1.68 billion domestically, with an average of $37 million per film.

 

Footnotes

 It is not clear how many children Eastwood has fathered. When Steve Kroft asked him “How many do you have?” in a November 16, 1997 segment on 60 Minutes, he said, without further elaboration, “I have a few.” In a January 14, 2009 interview on Late Show with David Letterman, David Letterman said to Eastwood, “You have seven, seven children?” to which he replied “At least.” Furthermore, Eastwood’s daughter Alison stated in an August 7, 2011 article in The Sunday Times, “My dad has eight children by six women.” However, only seven children by five women are accounted for.

Lonely Are the Brave

Poster

 Lonely Are the Brave is a 1962 film adaptation of the Edward Abbey novel The Brave Cowboy. The film was directed by David Miller from a screenplay by Dalton Trumbo.

It stars Kirk Douglas as cowboyJack Burns, Gena Rowlands as his best friend’s wife, and Walter Matthau as a sheriff who sympathizes with Burns but must do his job and chase him down. It also features an early score by composer Jerry Goldsmith. Douglas stated this was his favorite film.

 

Plot

John W. “Jack” Burns works as a roaming ranch hand, much as the cowboys of the old West did, refusing to join mainstream society, underscored by his lack of both a driver’s license and draft card. He has no permanent address — he simply sleeps wherever and whenever he chooses.

Riding into Town

As Burns crosses a highway into a town in New Mexico to visit Jerry (Gena Rowlands) the wife of an old friend, his horse Whiskey has a difficult time crossing the road, confused and scared by the traffic. Jerry’s husband, Paul (Michael Kane) has been jailed for giving aid to illegal immigrants. In a conversation with Jerry, Jack expresses his disdain of a society that tells a man where he can or can’t go, what he can or can’t do.

Gena Rowlands

Determined to break Bondi out of jail, Burns decides he needs to get himself arrested. After a violent barroom fight against a one-armed man (Bill Raisch) in which he is forced to use only one arm himself, Burns is arrested.

One-armed Fight

When the police decide to let him go, he deliberately punches a cop to get himself re-arrested. He is immediately sentenced to a year in jail, which allows him to see Bondi, with the intention of helping him escape. The jail is located in a sleepy border town, staffed by bored personnel, occasionally dealing with minor offenses. The Sheriff, Morey Johnson (Walter Matthau), has to compel them to pay attention to their duties at times. During the course of the narrative, the seemingly unrelated progress of a truck carrying toilets, driven by Carroll O’Connor, is inter-cut with the film’s principal events.

In Jail

Joining Bondi in jail, Burns tries to persuade him to escape. He tells Bondi if he has to spend a year locked up, he’ll likely kill someone. Burns defends Bondi from the attention of sadistic Deputy Sheriff Gutierrez (George Kennedy), who then picks Burns as his next target. During the night the inmates saw through one of the jail’s bars using two hacksaw blades Burns had hidden in his boot. The deputy summons Burns in the middle of the night and beats him. Upon returning to his cell, Burns tries to persuade Bondi to join him in escaping, but Bondi, nearing the end of his sentence, with a family and too much at stake to become a fugitive, decides to remain. Burns breaks out by himself and returns to Bondi’s house, where he picks up his horse and some food from Bondi’s wife. After the jail break, the sheriff learns that Burns served in the military during the Korean War, including seven months in a disciplinary training center for striking a superior officer. He also received a Purple Heart and a Distinguished Service Cross with oak leaf clusters for his valor during battle.

Matthau and George Kennedy

Burns heads for the mountains on horseback with the goal of crossing the border into Mexico. The police mount an extensive search, with Sheriff Johnson and his Deputy Sheriff Harry (William Schallert) following him in a jeep. A military helicopter is brought in, and when the air crew locates Burns, they relay his location to the sheriff. Whiskey is repeatedly spooked by the helicopter, so Burns shoots the tail rotor, damaging it and causing the pilot to lose control and crash land.

Horse, rider and chopper

Deputy Gutierrez is also involved in the chase. He comes upon Whiskey, and is preparing to shoot the horse when Burns sneaks up on him, knocking him unconscious with his rifle butt. Burns then leads his horse up impossibly difficult, rocky slopes to escape his pursuers, but the lawmen keep on his trail, forcing him to keep moving. Surrounded on three sides, Burns’ horse refuses at first to climb a steep slope. They finally surmount the crest of the Sandia Mountains and escape to the east, into a broad expanse of heavy timber, with the lawmen on his tail and shooting at him. The sheriff acknowledges Burns has evaded their attempts to capture him, unaware Burns was shot through the ankle during his dash into the forest.

Burns appears to have successfully escaped. Then, late that night as he attempts to cross Highway 66 in Tijeras Canyon during a heavy rainstorm, disaster strikes. Whiskey is spooked, confused by traffic noise and blinded by oncoming headlights. The truck driver hauling the load of toilets, his vision obscured by the rain, strikes Burns and his horse as they are attempting to cross the road. The sheriff arrives at the accident scene, and when asked by the state police if the injured Burns is the man he has been looking for, replies he can’t identify him, because he’s never seen the man he is looking for up close. The viewer is led to believe the sheriff suspects the man to be Burns, but has chosen to not take him into custody. Whiskey, who is seriously hurt, is euthanized. The sheriff and his deputy Harry head home as Burns is transported from the scene in an ambulance. It is left unclear whether he will survive his injuries. The film closes with a shot of Burns’ cowboy hat, swamped by rain in the middle of the highway.

 

Cast

 

Production

Lonely Are the Brave was made after star Kirk Douglas read Edward Abbey’s novel The Brave Cowboy and insisted that Universal film it as a vehicle for him to star in. Douglas assembled the cast and crew through his production company, Joel Productions, recruiting ex-blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo, who had written Spartacus several years before, to write the screenplay.

The movie was filmed in the area in and around Albuquerque, New Mexico: the Sandia Mountains, the Manzano MountainsTijeras Canyon and Kirtland Air Force Base.

The working title for the film was “The Last Hero,” but the release title of the film was a matter of contention between Douglas, who wanted to call it “The Brave Cowboy,”  and the studio. Douglas wanted the film to open in art houses and build an audience, but Universal chose to market the film as a Western, titling it “Lonely Are the Brave” and opening it widely without any particular support. Despite this, the film developed a cult following, and is often listed as one of the best Westerns ever made.

Video box — cult film

Miller crafted the picture with an eloquent reverence for the stunning Southwestern landscape, complementing the story’s depiction of a lone and principled individual, tested by tragedy and driven by his fiercely independent conscience.

Lonely Are the Brave premiered in Houston on 24 May 1962. President John F. Kennedy watched the movie in the White House in November, 1962. In his memoir Conversations with Kennedy, Ben Bradlee wrote, “Jackie read off the list of what was available, and the President selected the one [film] we had all unanimously voted against, a brutal, sadistic little Western called Lonely Are the Brave.”

 

Soundtrack

Jerry Goldsmith poster

The score to Lonely Are the Brave was composed by Jerry Goldsmith. Goldsmith’s involvement in the picture was the result of a recommendation by veteran composer Alfred Newman who had been impressed with Goldsmith’s score for the television show Thriller, and took it upon himself to recommend Goldsmith to the head of Universal Pictures’ music department, despite having never met him.

 

Cast Notes

Bill Bixby has a small role as an airman in a helicopter, his first film appearance. It was also one of Carroll O’Connor’s first film appearances.

Bill Raisch is the one-armed man who fights with Douglas in a barroom brawl scene. The following year Raisch began appearing with David Janssen in the TV series The Fugitive.

 

Awards

Kirk Douglas was nominated for a 1963 BAFTA Award as “Best Foreign Actor” for his work in Lonely Are the Brave, and placed third in the Laurel Awards for “Top Action Performance.” The Motion Picture Sound Editors gave the film a “Golden Reel Award” for “Best Sound Editing” (Waldon O. Watson, Frank H. Wilkinson, James R. Alexander, James Curtis, Arthur B. Smith), in a tie with Mutiny on the Bounty.

 

Quotes from the Film

  • Jerry Bondi (Gena Rowlands): “Believe you me, if it didn’t take men to make babies I wouldn’t have anything to do with any of you!”
  • Jack Burns (Kirk Douglas): “Know what a loner is? He’s a born cripple. He’s a cripple because the only person he can live with is himself. It’s his life, the way he wants to live. It’s all for him. A guy like that, he’d kill a woman like you. Because he couldn’t love you, not the way you are loved.”
  • Jack Burns: “A westerner likes open country. That means he’s got to hate fences. And the more fences there are, the more he hates them.” Jerry Bondi: “I’ve never heard such nonsense in my life.” Jack Burns: “It’s true, though. Have you ever noticed how many fences there’re getting to be? And the signs they got on them: no hunting, no hiking, no admission, no trespassing, private property, closed area, start moving, go away, get lost, drop dead! Do you know what I mean?”
  • Jack Burns: “I don’t need [identification] cards to figure out who I am, I already know.” This line was used by the fugitive sailor in The Death Ship, the 1926 novel by Traven.

 

The Manchurian Candidate

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The Manchurian Candidate (1959), by Richard Condon, is a political thriller about the son of a prominent U.S. political family who is brainwashed into being an unwitting assassin for a Communist conspiracy.

The novel has been adapted twice into a feature film by the same title, in 1962 and again in 2004.

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Plot summary

Major Bennett Marco, Sergeant Raymond Shaw, and the rest of their infantry platoon are kidnapped during the Korean War in 1952. They are taken to Manchuria, and are brainwashed to believe that Shaw saved their lives in combat – for which Congress awards him the Medal of Honor.

Years after the war, Marco, now back in the United States working as an intelligence officer, begins suffering the recurring nightmare of Shaw murdering two of his comrades, all while clinically observed by Chinese and Soviet intelligence officials. When Marco learns that another soldier from the platoon also has been suffering the same nightmare, he sets to uncovering the mystery and its meaning.

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It is revealed that the Communists have been using Shaw as a sleeper agent, a guiltless assassin subconsciously activated by seeing the “Queen of Diamonds” playing card while playing solitaire. Provoked by the appearance of the card, he obeys orders which he then forgets. Shaw’s KGB handler is his domineering mother, Eleanor, a ruthless power broker working with the Communists to execute a “palace coup d’état” to quietly overthrow the U.S. government, with her husband, McCarthy-esque Senator Johnny Iselin, as a puppet dictator.

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Marco discovers the trigger of the “Queen of Diamonds” and meets with Shaw at the Central Park Zoo shortly before Iselin’s party’s national convention. He uses the card to interrogate Shaw as to his final plan; Shaw is to shoot the presidential candidate during the convention in order to win overwhelming support for Senator Iselin, the vice-presidential candidate, and trigger the dictatorial powers he’ll request following the assassination. Marco reprograms Shaw, although the reader is unsure until the final pages if it worked. At the convention, Shaw instead shoots his mother and Senator Iselin. Marco is the first of the authorities to reach Shaw’s sniper’s nest just after Shaw kills himself.


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Plagiarism

In 1998, software developer C.J. Silverio noted that several long passages of the novel seemed to be adapted from Robert Graves‘ 1934 novel, I, Claudius. Forensic linguist John Olsson judged that, “There can be no disputing that Richard Condon plagiarized from Robert Graves.” Olsson went on to state that, “As plagiarists go, Condon is quite creative, he does not confine himself to one source and is prepared to throw other ingredients into the pot.” Jonathan Lethem, in his influential essay, The Ecstasy of Influence: A Plagiarism, has identified The Manchurian Candidate as one of a number of “cherished texts that become troubling to their admirers after the discovery of their ‘plagiarized’ elements,” which make it “apparent that appropriation, mimicry, quotation, allusion, and sublimated collaboration consist of a kind of sine qua non of the creative act, cutting across all forms and genres in the realm of cultural production.”

Film adaptations

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The Manchurian Candidate has been adapted twice into a feature film by the same title. The first film, released in 1962, is considered a classic of the political thriller genre. It was directed by John Frankenheimer and starred Laurence Harvey as Shaw, Frank Sinatra as Marco, and Angela Lansbury as Eleanor in an Academy Award-nominated performance.

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The second film, released in 2004, was directed by Jonathan Demme, and starred Liev Schreiber as Shaw, Denzel Washington as Marco, and Meryl Streep as Eleanor. It was generally well received by critics, and moderately successful at the box office. The film updated the conflict (and brainwashing) to the Persian Gulf War in 1991, emphasized the science fiction aspects of the story by setting the action in a dystopian near-future (implied to be 2008), had a U.S. corporation (called “Manchurian Global”) as the perpetrator of the brainwashing and conspiracy instead of foreign Communist groups, and dropped the Johnny Iselin character in favor of making both Shaw and his mother elected politicians. The movie adaptations also omit the novel’s portrayal of incest between Raymond and his mother, only hinting at it with a mouth-to-mouth kiss.

Both adaptations discard several elements of the book. The book spends more time describing the brain-washers and the facility in Manchuria where the Americans were held. The head of the project grants Raymond a “gift”; after his brainwashing, he becomes quite sexually active, in contrast to his reserved nature beforehand, where he hadn’t even kissed his love interest, Jocelyn Jordan.

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In the novel, Mrs. Iselin and her son travel abroad, where she uses him to kill various political figures and possibly Jocelyn Jordan’s first husband. Rosie, Marco’s love interest, is also the ex-fiance of one of his associates handling the Shaw case for Army Intelligence, making things between them tense.

As a child, Mrs. Iselin was sexually abused by her father but fell in love with him and idolized him after his early death. Toward the end of the book, as Raymond is hypnotized by the Queen of Diamonds, he reminds her of her father and she sleeps with him.

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The 1962 version does not state outright the political affiliation of Senators Iselin and Jordan, although in the 2004 film the equivalent characters are Democrats. According to David Willis McCullough, Senator Iselin is modelled on Republican senator Joseph McCarthy and, according to Condon, Shaw’s mother is based on McCarthy’s counsel, Roy Cohn.

The Longest Day

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Introduction 

The Longest Day is a 1962 epic war film based on Cornelius Ryan’s book, The Longest Day (1959), about the D-Day landings at Normandy on June 6, 1944, during World War II. The film was produced by Darryl F. Zanuck, who paid author Ryan $175,000 for the film rights. The screenplay was by Ryan, with additional material written by Romain Gary, James Jones, David Pursall, and Jack Seddon. It was directed by Ken Annakin (British and French exteriors), Andrew Marton (American exteriors), and Bernhard Wicki (German scenes).

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The Longest Day, which was made in black and white, features a large ensemble cast including John Wayne, Kenneth More, Richard Todd, Robert Mitchum, Richard Burton, Steve Forrest, Sean Connery, Henry Fonda, Red Buttons, Peter Lawford, Eddie Albert, Jeffrey Hunter, Stuart Whitman, Tom Tryon, Rod Steiger, Leo Genn, Gert Fröbe, Irina Demick, Bourvil, Curt Jürgens, George Segal, Robert Wagner, Paul Anka and Arletty. Many of these actors played roles that were essentially cameo appearances. In addition, several cast members — including Fonda, Genn, More, Steiger and Todd — saw action as servicemen during the war, with Todd actually being among the first British officers to land in Normandy in Operation Overlord — in fact he participated in the assault on Pegasus Bridge.

The film employed several Axis and Allied military consultants who had been actual participants on D-Day. Many had their roles re-enacted in the film. These included Günther Blumentritt (a former German general), James M. Gavin (an American general), Frederick Morgan (Deputy Chief of Staff at SHAEF), John Howard (who led the airborne assault on the Pegasus Bridge), Lord Lovat (who commanded the 1st Special Service Brigade), Philippe Kieffer (who led his men in the assault on Ouistreham), Pierre Koenig (who commanded the Free French Forces in the invasion), Max Pemsel (a German general), Werner Pluskat (the major who was the first German officer to see the invasion fleet), Josef “Pips” Priller (the hot-headed pilot), and Lucie Rommel (widow of German Gen. Erwin Rommel).

 

Plot

The movie is filmed in the style of a docudrama. Beginning in the days leading up to D-Day, it concentrates on events on both sides of the Channel, such as the Allies waiting for the break in the poor weather and anticipating the reaction of the Axis forces defending northern France. The film pays particular attention to the decision by Gen. Eisenhower, supreme commander of SHAEF, to go after reviewing the initial bad-weather reports as well as reports about the divisions within the German High Command as to where an invasion might happen or what the response to it should be.

Numerous scenes document the early hours of June 6, when Allied airborne troops were sent to take key locations inland from the beaches. The French resistance is also shown reacting to the news that an invasion has started. The Longest Day chronicles most of the important events surrounding D-Day, from the British glider missions to secure Pegasus Bridge, the counterattacks launched by American paratroopers scattered around Sainte-Mère-Église, the infiltration and sabotage work conducted by the French resistance and SOE agents, to the response by the Wehrmacht to the invasion and the uncertainty of German commanders as to whether it was a feint in preparation for crossings at the Pas de Calais (see Operation Fortitude), where the senior German staff had always assumed it would occur.

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Set-piece scenes include the parachute drop into Sainte-Mère-Église, the advance inshore from the Normandy beaches, the US Ranger Assault Group’s assault on the Pointe du Hoc, the attack on Ouistreham by Free French Forces and the strafing of the beaches by two lone Luftwaffe pilots.

The film concludes with a montage showing various Allied units consolidating their beachheads before the advance inland.

 

Actors

American

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 Eddie Albert               Colonel Thompson, 29th Infantry Division

Paul Anka                   Private, 2nd Ranger Battalion

Richard Beymer        Private Arthur ‘Dutch’ Schultz, 82nd Airborne Division

Red Buttons               Private John Steele, 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment

Gary Collins               Officer on destroyer bridge (uncredited)

John Crawford          Colonel Eugene Caffey, Commander, 1st Engineer Special Brigade 

Mark Damon              Private Harris (uncredited)

Ray Danton                Captain Frank, 29th Infantry Division

Fred Dur                      Major, 2nd Ranger Battalion

Fabian                          Private, 2nd Ranger Battalion

Mel Ferrer                Major General Robert Haines, (SHAEF)

Henry Fonda           Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.

Steve Forrest              Captain Harding, 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment

Henry Grace              General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander, SHAEF

Peter Helm                 Young private, 29th Infantry Division

Jeffrey Hunter           Sergeant John H. Fuller, combat engineer, 29th Infantry Division

Alexander Knox        Lieutenant General Walter Bedell Smith, Chief of Staff, SHAEF

Dewey Martin             Private Wilder

Roddy McDowall      Private Morris, 4th Infantry Division

John Meillon              Rear Admiral Alan G. Kirk, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces (uncredited)

Sal Mineo                   Private Martini, 82nd Airborne Division

Robert Mitchum       Brigadier General Norman Cota, Assistant Commander, 29th Infantry

Tony Mordente         Cook, 82nd Airborne Division (uncredited)

Bill Nagy                     Major, 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment

Edmond O’Brien       Major General Raymond O. Barton, Commander, 4th Infantry Division

Ron Randell               Joe Williams, war correspondent

Robert Ryan               Brigadier General James M. Gavin, Assistant Commander, 82nd Airborne Division

Tommy Sands             Private, 2nd Ranger Battalion

George Segal               Private, 2nd Ranger Battalion

Bob Steele                    Paratrooper, 82nd Airborne Division (uncredited)

Rod Steiger                   Destroyer commander, United States Navy

Nicholas Stuart           Lieutenant General Omar N. Bradley, Commander, First Army

Tom Tryon                   Lieutenant Wilson, 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment

Robert Wagner         Private, 2nd Ranger Battalion

Joe Warfield              Army medic (uncredited)

John Wayne              Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin H. Vandervoort

Stuart Whitman        Lieutenant Sheen, 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment

 

British

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Patrick Barr                      Group Captain James Stagg, Chief Meteorological Adviser, SHAEF

Lyndon Brook                    Lieutenant Walsh

Richard Burton                Flying Officer David Campbell, Royal Air Force fighter pilot

Bryan Coleman               Ronald Callen, war correspondent (uncredited)

Sean Connery                  Private Flanagan, 3rd Infantry Division

Richard Dawson             British soldier (uncredited)

Jack Hedley                     6th Airborne Division briefing officer (uncredited)

Leslie de Laspee            Piper Bill Millin, 1st Special Service Brigade (uncredited)

Frank Finlay                    Private Coke (uncredited)

Harry Fowler                    Soldier, 6th Airborne Division (uncredited)

Bernard Fox                     Lance-Corporal Hutchinson, Royal Armoured Corps (uncredited)

Leo Genn                         Major-general at SHAEF

Harold Goodwin             Soldier in glider (uncredited)

John Gregson                  Padre, 6th Airborne Division

Walter Horsbrugh          Rear-Admiral George Creasy

Donald Houston             RAF fighter pilot in mess

Patrick Jordan                 British officer (uncredited)

Simon Lack                        Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory

Harry Landis                    British soldier (uncredited)

Peter Lawford                  Brigadier Lord Lovat, Commander, 1st Special Service Brigade

Neil McCallum                Canadian medical officer (uncredited)

Victor Maddern               Cook (uncredited)

H. Marion-Crawford      Major Jacob Vaughan, Medical Officer

Michael Medwin            Private Watney, Universal Carrier driver, 3rd Infantry Division

Kenneth More                 Acting Captain Colin Maud, Royal Navy Beachmaster, Juno Beach

Louis Mounier                 Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder

Leslie Phillips                  RAF officer with French Resistance

Siân Phillips                   Wren assistant to Stagg (uncredited)

Trevor Reid                      General Sir Bernard Montgomery

John Robinson                Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay, Allied Naval Commander-in-Chief

Norman Rossington       Lance-Corporal Clough, 3rd Infantry Division

Richard Todd                    Major John Howard, OC

Richard Wattis                Major, 6th Airborne Division

 

French

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Arletty                               Madame Barrault, resident of Sainte-Mère-Église

Jean-Louis Barrault     Father Louis Roulland, parish priest of Sainte-Mère-Église

Yves Barsacq                   French Resistance man, Caen (uncredited)

André Bourvil                  Alphonse Lenaux, Mayor of Colleville-sur-Mer

Pauline Carton                Louis’s housekeeper

Jean Champion               French Resistance man, Caen (uncredited)

Irina Demick                   Janine Boitard, French Resistance, Caen

Bernard Fresson             Fusilier Marin Commando (uncredited)

Clément Harari               Arrested man (uncredited)

Fernand Ledoux              Louis, elderly farmer

Christian Marquand      Capitaine de Corvette Philippe Kieffer

Maurice Poli                    Jean, French Resistance, Caen (uncredited)

Madeleine Renaud       Mother superior in Ouistreham

Georges Rivière              Second-Maître Guy de Montlaur, 1er Bataillon de Fusiliers Marins 

Jean Servais                    Contre-amiral Robert Jaujard

Alice Tissot                     Lenaux’s housekeeper (uncredited)

Georges Wilson             Alexandre Renaud, Mayor of Sainte-Mère-Église

Dominique Zardi            Spitfire pilot (uncredited)

 

German

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Hans Christian Blech     Major Werner Pluskat, 352nd Artillery Regiment

Wolfgang Büttner           Generalleutnant Dr. Hans Speidel, Chief of Staff, Army Group B

Eugene Deckers              Major in church (uncredited)

Robert Freitag                 Meyer’s aide (uncredited)

Gert Fröbe                       Unteroffizier “Kaffeekanne” (“coffee pot”)

Walter Gotell                  German soldier (uncredited)

Paul Hartmann              Generalfeldmarschall Gerd von Rundstedt, Commander, OB West

Ruth Hausmeister         Lucie Rommel, Rommel’s wife (uncredited)

Michael Hinz                   Manfred Rommel, Rommel’s son (uncredited)

Werner Hinz                    Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel, Commander, Army Group B

Karl John                          Generalleutnant Wolfgang Häger, Luftwaffe Kommando West

Curt Jürgens                    General der Infanterie Günther Blumentritt, Chief of Staff, OB West

Til Kiwe                              Hauptmann Helmuth Lang, ADC to Rommel (uncredited)

Wolfgang Lukschy         Generaloberst Alfred Jodl

Kurt Meisel                        Hauptmann Ernst Düring (uncredited)

Richard Münch                General der Artillerie Erich Marcks, Commander, LXXXIV Army Corps

Rainer Penkert                Leutnant Fritz Theen, 352nd Artillery Regiment

Wolfgang Preiss             Generalleutnant Max Pemsel, Chief of Staff, 7th Army

Hartmut Reck                  Oberfeldwebel Bernhard Bergsdorf, pilot, Jagdgeschwader 26

Heinz Reincke                 Oberstleutnant Josef Priller, Kommodore, Jagdgeschwader 26 

Paul Edwin Roth             Oberst Schiller (uncredited)

Dietmar Schönherr         Häger’s aide (uncredited)

Ernst Schröder                 Generaloberst Hans von Salmuth, Commander, 15th Army

Hans Söhnker                 Pemsel’s staff officer (uncredited)

Heinz Spitzner                Oberstleutnant Helmuth Meyer, Chief of Intelligence, 15th Army (uncredited)

Peter van Eyck                 Oberstleutnant Ocker, 352nd Artillery Regiment

Vicco von Bülow             Pemsel’s adjutant (uncredited)

 

Production

Development

 

French producer Raoul Lévy signed a deal with Simon & Schuster to purchase the filming rights to Cornelius Ryan’s novel The Longest Day: 6 June 1944 D-Day, on March 23, 1960.

After finishing The Truth, Lévy set up a deal with the Associated British Picture Corporation and got director Michael Anderson attached. Ryan would receive $100,000, plus $35,000 to write the adaptation’s screenplay.

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Lévy intended to start production in March 1961, filming at Elstree Studios and the English and French coasts. But the project went into a halt once ABPC could not get the $6 million budget Lévy expected. Eventually former 20th Century Fox mogul Darryl F. Zanuck learned about the book while producing The Big Gamble, and in December purchased Lévy’s option for $175,000. Zanuck’s editor friend Elmo Williams wrote a film treatment, which piqued the producer’s interest and made him attach Williams to The Longest Day aa associate producer and coordinator of battle episodes. Ryan was brought in to write the script, but had conflicts with Zanuck as soon as the two met. Williams was forced to act as a mediator; he would deliver Ryan’s script pages to Zanuck, then return them with the latter’s annotations.

While Ryan developed the script, Zanuck also brought in other writers for cleanups, including James Jones and Romain Gary. As their contributions to the finished screenplay were relatively minor, Ryan managed to get the screenplay credit after an appeal to the Writers Guild arbitration, but the four other writers are credited for “additional scenes” in the closing credits.

During pre-production, producer Frank McCarthy, who had worked for the United States Department of War during World War II, arranged for military collaboration with the governments of France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Zanuck also realized that with eight battle scenes, shooting would be accomplished more expediently if multiple directors and units worked simultaneously. He contacted with German directors Gerd Oswald and Bernhard Wicki, the British Ken Annakin, and the American Andrew Marton. Zanuck’s son Richard D. Zanuck was reluctant about the project, particularly the high budget.

 

Filming

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The film was shot at several French locations including the Île de Ré, Saleccia beach in Saint-Florent, Haute-Corse, Port-en-Bessin-Huppain filling in for Ouistreham, Les Studios de Boulogne in Boulogne-Billancourt and the actual locations of Pegasus Bridge near Bénouville, Calvados, Sainte-Mère-Église and Pointe du Hoc.

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During the filming of the landings at Omaha Beach, the extras appearing as American soldiers did not want to jump off the landing craft into the water because they thought it would be too cold. Robert Mitchum, who played Gen. Norman Cota, became disgusted with their trepidation. He jumped in first, at which point the extras followed his example.

The Rupert paradummies used in the film were far more elaborate and lifelike than those actually used in the decoy parachute drop (Operation Titanic), which were simply canvas or burlap sacks filled with sand. In the real operation, six Special Air Service soldiers jumped with the dummies and played recordings of loud battle noises to distract the Germans.

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With a budget of $10,000,000, this was the most expensive black-and-white film made until 1993, when Schindler’s List was released. In the scenes where the paratroopers land, the background noise of frogs croaking “ribbit ribbit” was incorrect for northern French frog species and showed that the film probably used an American recording of background night noises.

Darryl Zanuck hired several former military personnel to aid in direction. The director of American exteriors was Andrew Martin, director of British exteriors was Ken Annakin, director of German exteriors was Gerd Oswald. This was to ensure the most authentic military procedures.

The film stayed on Sight and Sound’s “A Guide to Current Films” for almost two years after being released. The Guide is a list of films of special interest to the journal and usually suggest that readers should view the film because of its high quality.

Colin Maud loaned Kenneth More the shillelagh he carried ashore in the actual invasion (More had served as an officer in the Royal Navy during WWII, albeit not as a Beachmaster); similarly, Richard Todd wore the D-Day helmet worn by his character, Maj. John Howard. In the film, three Free French Special Air Service paratroopers jump into France before British and American airborne landings. This is accurate. Thirty-six Free French SAS (4 sticks) jumped into Brittany (Plumelec and Duault) on June 5 at 23:30, (operation Dingson). The first Allied soldiers killed in action were Lt. Den Brotheridge of the 2nd Ox & Bucks Light Infantry as he crossed Pegasus Bridge at 00:22 on June 6 and Corporal Emile Bouétard of the 4th Free French SAS battalion, at the same time in Plumelec, Brittany.

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The United States Sixth Fleet extensively supported the filming and made available many amphibious landing ships and craft for scenes filmed in Corsica, though many of the ships were of (then) modern vintage. The Springfield and Little Rock, both World War II light cruisers (though extensively reconfigured into guided missile cruisers) were used in the shore bombardment scenes, though it was easy to tell they did not resemble their wartime configurations.

Gerd Oswald was the uncredited director of the parachute drop scenes into Sainte-Mère-Église. Darryl F. Zanuck said that he himself directed some uncredited pick-ups with American and British interiors. Elmo Williams was credited as associate producer and coordinator of battle episodes. He later produced another historical WWII film, Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970), for Zanuck. Like The Longest Day, it used a docudrama style, although it was in color. It depicted the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

 

Casting

  • Charlton Heston actively sought the role of Lt. Col. Benjamin H. Vandervoort, but the last-minute decision of John Wayne to take the role prevented Heston’s participation. At 55 Wayne was 28 years older than Vandervoort at the time of action (and 10 years older in real life). While everyone else accepted $25,000 as payment, Wayne insisted on $250,000 to punish producer Zanuck for referring to him as “poor John Wayne,” regarding Wayne’s problems with his lavish movie The Alamo.
  • Zanuck hired more than 2,000 legitimate soldiers for the film as extras.
  • Kaffeekanne (played by Gert Fröbe)’s name is German for “coffee pot”, which he always carries.
  • Richard Todd, who played Maj. John Howard, leader of the British airborne assault on the Pegasus Bridge, took part in the real bridge assault on D-Day. He was offered the chance to play himself but took the part of Maj. Howard instead. In the film, shortly after the British have captured the Orne bridge (later renamed Horsa Bridge), one of the soldiers tells Todd, playing Howard, that all they have to do now is sit tight and await the arrival of the 7th Parachute Battalion, to which Todd’s character replies dismissively: “the Paras are always late”. This was a private joke, as Todd had been the adjutant of the 7th Parachute Battalion on D-Day.
  • Former US President Dwight D. Eisenhower was considered for the role of himself in the film, and he indicated his willingness. However, it was decided that makeup artists couldn’t make him appear young enough to play his World War II self. The role of Gen. Eisenhower went to Henry Grace, a set decorator with no acting experience but who had been in the film industry since the mid-1930s. He was a dead ringer for the younger Eisenhower, though his voice differed.
  • Mel Ferrer was originally signed to play the role of Gen. James M. Gavin but withdrew from the role due to a scheduling conflict.
  • According to the 2001 documentary Cleopatra: The Film That Changed Hollywood, Richard Burton and Roddy McDowall were so bored having not been used for several weeks while filming in Rome that they phoned Zanuck begging to do “anything” on his film. They flew themselves to the location and each did a day’s filming for their cameo-performances for free.

 

Release

The film premièred in France on 25 September 1962, followed by the United States on 4 October and 23 October for the United Kingdom. Given Fox was suffering with the financial losses from Cleopatra, the studio was intending for The Longest Day to have a wide release to reap quick profits. Zanuck forced them to do a proper Roadshow theatrical release, even threatening to sell distribution to Warner Bros. if Fox refused to do so. The Longest Day eventually became the box office hit Fox needed, with $30 million in worldwide rentals on a $7.5 million budget.

There were special-release showings of the film in several United States cities. Participants in D-Day were invited to see the film with their fellow soldiers—in Cleveland, Ohio, this took place at the Hippodrome Theater.

Unique for British- and American-produced World War II films of the time, all French and German characters speak in their own languages with subtitles in English. Another version, which was shot simultaneously, has all the actors speaking their lines in English (this version was used for the film’s trailer, as all the Germans deliver their lines in English). However, this version saw limited use during the initial release. It was used more extensively during a late 1960s re-release of the film. The English-only version has been featured as an extra on older single disc DVD releases.

 

The Book

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The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan, published in 1959, tells the story of the main D-Day invasion as well as details of Operation Deadstick, the coup de main operation by glider-borne troops to capture both Pegasus Bridge and Horse Bridge before the main assault on the Normandy beaches. It sold tens of millions of copies in eighteen different languages.

The book is not a dry military history, but rather a story about people, and reads at times like a novel. It is based on interviews with a cross-section of participants, including U.S., Canadian, British, French and German officers and civilians.

The book begins and ends in the village of La Roche-Guyon. The book refers to the village as being the most occupied village in occupied France and states that for each of the 543 inhabitants of La Roche-Guyon there were more than three German soldiers in the village and surrounding area. Field Marshal Erwin Rommel commander-in-chief of Army Group B had his headquarters in the castle of the village which was the seat of the Duc de La Rochefoucauld.

Ryan’s book is divided into three parts: the first part is titled The Wait, the second The Night , and the third The Day. The book includes a section on the casualties of D-Day and also lists the contributors including their service details on the day of the invasion and their occupations at the time the book was first published.

Researchers spent almost three years locating survivors of D-Day and over 3,000 interviews were undertaken in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, France, and Germany. 383 accounts of D Day were used in the text of the book.

Senior Allied officers who assisted the author included General Maxwell D. Taylor, Lieutenant General James Gavin, Lieutenant General Sir Frederick E. Morga,n and General Sir Richard Nelson Gale. German officers who assisted with the book included Generaloberst Franz Halder, Hauptmann Hellmuth Lang, and General der Infanterie Günther Blumentritt. The author also used Allied and German post action reports, war diaries, histories and official records.

Cornelius Ryan dedicated his book to all the men of D Day.

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The book takes its name from a comment made by Erwin Rommel to his aide Hauptmann Helmuth Lang on April 22, 1944: “…the first 24 hours of the invasion will be decisive… the fate of Germany depends on the outcome… for the Allies, as well as Germany, it will be the longest day.”