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Archive for January, 2014

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Jonathan Newth

Jonathan Newth
Jonathan Newth

Wikipedia entry:

Jonathan Newth (born 6 March 1939 in Devon) is a British actor, best known for his performances in television.

Credits include: Emergency Ward 10The Six Wives of Henry VIIIAce of WandsThe TroubleshootersZ-CarsCallanVan der ValkThe BrothersSoftly, SoftlyPoldarkDoctor WhoNotorious WomanSecret Army (Barsacq), The ProfessionalsThe Nightmare ManThe Day of the TriffidsTenko (Colonel Clifford Jefferson), TriangleAngelsJuliet BravoAfter HenryBoonBugs,The BillAgatha Christie’s Poirot (Dumb Witness)Peak PracticeHeartbeat and The Spire (Play at Sailsbury Cathedral).

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Roy Marsden

Roy Marsden
Roy Marsden

Roy Marsden
Roy Marsden

 

IMDB entry{

2 sons – Joe (born 1982) & Billy (born 1987)
Became an Associate Member of RADA.
Graduated from RADA.
Working full time in the theatre. Roy has chosen to devote his full attention to acting and directing on stage. His latest effort was his own production of “A Christmas Carol” that he not only directed but also played Scrooge. His days as Commander Adam Dalgliesh are surely over as the new BBC production of PD James’ latest book “Death in Holy Orders” will star Martin Shaw as Dalgliesh. [March 2003]
On his television series “Airline”: It was one of the most enjoyable programmes I ever made. Learning to fly those old DC-3s was terrific. And I enjoyed playing Ruskin enormously because he had hope. Of course, he was a pain up the tushie most of the time, but then you’d see that youthful desire to actually get out and triumph against enormous odds. I identified with that character the most.
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Susan Hayward

Susan Hayward
Susan Hayward

“It is easier for a man.   For women to have a long career in films requires superhuman energy, guts and determination.   The longest surviving ladies usually betray in their performances something of their off screen battles: impossible not to believe  that Joan Crawford had not browbeaten producers the same way she harried her leading men.   Susan Hayward was a small-scale Crawford.   The final effect is less of domination than of pugnacity.   Ability is not lacking, though it did not have the individuality of Bette Davis at her peak.   Like Crawford, and to a lesser degree Barbara  Stanwyck, Hayward was an entirely predictable actress.   It was the aggressive, meaty roles of these actresses that she tried to inherit and in the 50’s she had the field to herself.   She was lucky.   Fans with a faiblesse for the grand manner liked her, but of she is at her peak in “I’ll Cry To-Morrow (she won an acting award at Cannes for it) she still is not good.   Whenever she is on screen with Jo Van Fleet – playing her screen mother – you do not notice her.   She is colourless in a plastic part, wrapped in cellophane.   Whereas Van Fleet, if not exactly flesh and blood, at least does her job in an interesting way (for instance no reference is made to their being Jewish, but Van Fleet’s intonation and mannerisms suggest it).   Later in the film, Hayward has to play an alcoholic – admittedly without help from either script or direction – and she just cannot supply what they lack.   Davis, Stanwyck and even Crawford were given equally difficult tasks – their villainesses – but they could always suggest some motivation for their actions” – David Shipman – “The Great Movie Stars – The International Years” (1972).

TCM overview:

Pretty, exuberant leading lady who began her Hollywood career in 1937 as a bit player and was a star by the mid-1940s. Talented and tempestuous, with a penchant for playing ripe melodrama with all the stops out, Hayward reached her peak in the early 1950s in such enjoyably sudsy vehicles as “My Foolish Heart” (1950), “With a Song in My Heart” (1952) and “I’ll Cry Tomorrow” (1955). She was often cast as the brassy, defiant heroine, as in her Oscar-winning role “I Want to Live!” (1958), where she splendidly played the real-life Barbara Graham, a woman who was wrongly sentenced to death. Hayward’s stardom petered out by the mid-60s, but she continued playing occasional leads and character roles (including a part as a past-her-prime film star in the abysmal “Valley of the Dolls” 1969) on film and TV until shortly before her death of a brain tumor in 1975.

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Lee Evans

Lee Evans
Lee Evans

 

Lee Evans was born on February 25, 1964 in Avonmouth, Bristol, England. He is an actor and writer, known for There’s Something About Mary (1998), The Fifth Element (1997) andMousehunt (1997). He has been married to Heather Nudds since September 22, 1984. They have one child.

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Thora Hird

Dame Thora Hird
Dame Thora Hird

 

“Guardian” obituary:

An interviewer from the Guardian once spent four hours recording Dame Thora Hird, who has died aged 91, stopping only because he ran out of tapes. “Listen to this,” he enthused afterwards, and turned up the sound of her singing a rude ditty about “balls” (rhymed with “orchestra stalls”) that she had written 60 years earlier. The journalist had interrogated Hollywood’s top brass across their studio desks, but they never fired him up as did this octagenarian in a wheelchair, talking about God and Morecambe Co-op.He was responding to a national institution, venerable yet rorty, both Queen Mum and a Donald McGill seaside postcard. She was 86 in the year of that interview, and had just won the second of her three Bafta awards as best television actress – this time for Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads monologue, Waiting For The Telegram, playing a centenarian who wept on remembering that she had not bedded her sweetheart the night before he left to die in the trenches.

Hird was not, she would sharply remind those who confused life and art, as old as the character – “It’s not actually me, love, it’s acting. That’s what I’m paid for, it’s pretending” – although she could just recall the first world war wounded convalescing in Morecambe. But then she could recall everything, even the names of her classmates at the Misses Nelson’s prep school: Vera Muff, Madge Peel, Ada Lob and Maudie Poles.

The Morecambe of Madge and Ada was home to Hird. Her dad, James Henry Hird, was manager of the Royalty theatre, and later of the entertainments on the pier, where a weekly ticket admitted holidaymakers to a pocket opera company and Madame Rosa Vere, who dived off in red tights every high tide, after which her mother passed the hat. Thora’s own mother, Mary, had carried her daughter on stage at eight weeks old; mam was acting a lass who had been done wrong by the squire’s son, and the bundled baby played the result. Theatre then was a reliable local business, like undertaking or clog repairs.

On leaving school, Hird worked for 10 years behind the Co-op cash desk, storing away the look of Mrs Edale, “who always sucked a split pea”, and Mrs Bradley, trying to feed 10 kids on nowt, and practised their mannerisms by night in the Royalty rep, while dad coached her timing and checked her inflections.

George Formby spotted her in 1939, wanted her to play his mother and sent up a casting director from Ealing Studios to peer through his monocle at her. She was too young for the role, but was put under film contract anyway -£10 a week between parts and £10 a day in work. They gave her a £5 note to cover the fare, and she arrived at the studios to the sound of the first air raid siren of the second world war.

Hird had sworn to her mam that she would, one day, wear a sequin-spangled frock, fur coat and orchids, and her mam had said she hoped it would keep fine for her; but on the wartime day when the beginnings of West End success financed a £50-fur, second-hand gown and slightly passé orchids, it poured down. She remained mindful of her dad’s exactitude about timing. The night before he died, he told her: “You’re a wonderful artist. I’ve lived to see you perform like you did tonight.”

Hird had her own family by then. In Morecambe, she had fancied James Scott, a drummer in the Winter Gardens orchestra, and they had courted decorously for four years, with him coming round to her mam’s for supper every night until they married in 1937 (the wedding photos were all teeth and arum lilies). They returned from honeymoon with 3s 8d left. He believed in her: “You will get on,” he said when they were broke, “and when you do, we’ll go round the world.” They laughed for an hour at that.

Scott put down £25 on the plot of land which eventually became their house at Prompt Corner, complete with the luxury of a built-in kitchen cabinet. He said he wished he could give Hird more on their first anniversary than a bunch of chrysanths, and she said, you can, you can give me a baby: in 1938, their daughter Janette pulled into the world, with fish servers in lieu of forceps. When Hird did get on, Scotty became her house-husband, cook and chaffeur, and manager to both Hird and Janette, who had a movie career as a child and teenage actor. Scotty served his war as a bedpan-wallah with the RAF – his wife’s description.

Through the 1950s in British cinema, Hird was one of the company of what you might call the Real National Theatre – actors always present because they represented the familiar and the true. On screen and stage, in more than 700 roles, she drew on those customers she had shelved in her memory at the Co-op. Until the 1960s, she was usually cast condescendingly – from a gawky maid named Eunice Sidebottom up to about middling dragon landlady. As she said later, she had not been at the front of the queue when the looks were given out, so she was always a character – yes, she played the nurse in Romeo And Juliet.

Yet she was John Osborne’s favourite actor – cast, at his request, in The Entertainer (1960) – both because of her ability to turn moods on a sixpence and because one of her specialities was Osborne’s pet hate, the narrow-minded mother-in-law with pretensions. Her best in that line was in John Schlesinger’s A Kind Of Loving (1962), with Alan Bates as her angry young son-in-law: Hird shoved in your face the power in that vernacular adjective “interfering”. She could do the dismissive mother of a floppy lad, too – Alan Bennett wrote her one in his television play Me, I’m Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1978), in which she tells him that being called Trevor is no bar to greatness; there had been a Trevor who had done well for himself in Northern Gas.

Hird was a natural for television. Long before her alliance with Bennett, there had been a clutch of amiable series: Meet The Wife; her matriarch of an undertaker’s family in In Loving Memory; The First Lady, in which her county councillor owed much to her own Auntie Nellie, who had hissed an aspirational “Yice” for “yes”, and never proffered a plate of biscuits ungraced by a doiley. What seemed eccentricity in her work was really extreme precision about the concerns of a local world. She set the tone of the women in The Last Of The Summer Wine.

Hird’s conversation shared with Bennett’s writing the exactly-placed names – a cup of Horlicks, a tumbler of dandelion and burdock – and a sense of a vast, lost innocence, of a world where knobbly knees were life’s norm. They also shared a certain humour – “Dear Thora, Just come up to change the lavatory seat, love Alan” read one of his postcards from Yorkshire – and a disdain for approximation: “That’s an ‘if’, not a ‘but’, and when you do a Bennett it is an ‘if’, not a ‘but’,” she remarked about memorising his scripts.

The first solo he created for her, A Cream Cracker Under The Settee, in the original Talking Heads series, won her first Bafta award in 1988. Her character faced a lonely death after a fall in the isolation of home. Bennett forced Hird towards her core toughness – no mawkishness permitted – as did Derec Longden in Lost For Words, his 1999 play about the last weeks of his mother’s life. “Do you want to be buried, mum, or cremated?” asks the son. “Oh, I don’t know, love,” Hird answers; then, after a pause timed to a nanosecond: “Surprise me.”

An easier side of her was visible for decades in television religious broadcasts, including her own series, Praise Be! Her chapel Christianity could come over comfy, although her relationship with “me pal oopstairs” clearly sustained her as the eventide fell. She used to say she had done a deal with him – no pain, when she was filming, in exchange for bearing whatever hurt when resting. Osteoarthritis demanded repeated hip replacements, she had a heart bypass and angina, and was immobilised after a kitchen fall too close to a Bennett script: “I was taking the little strings off the French beans, and I sat off the chair.”

After Scotty died of a stroke in 1994, Hird hired professional help, and worked on to pay their wages. There was still family, Janette and the grandchildren. It is a curious fact that her son-in-law was the singer Mel Torme (obituary, June 7 1999); she had visited the family in Beverly Hills 24 times – “It’s perfect for a holiday, but there’s no corner shop, love.”

Her autobiography, Scene And Hird, appeared in 1976. She was made an OBE in 1983, got an hon DLitt from Lancaster University in 1989, and became a dame in 1993. She met Princess Diana nine times and the Queen repeatedly, but it did not modify her memory of who she had been. “Never forget,” she told an awed reporter, “I scrubbed my mother’s steps when I was younger… Will you fetch me mink?”

· Thora Hird, actor, born May 28 1911; died March 15 2003

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Billy Murray

Billy Murray
Billy Murray

 

Born in 1941 in London.

IMDB entry:

Billy Murray has entertained British Television audiences for over thirty years.   He is perhaps best known for his role as DS Don Beech in ITV series The Bill (1984), and has also appeared in EastEnders (1985) as the crime boss “Johnnie Allen”. His on-screen presence is very much underrated and thanks to his charismatic manner Murray has always given convincing edge and depth to the characters he portrays.   He was set to play Derek “Del Boy” Trotter in Only Fools and Horses…. (1981) but was replaced at the last minute by David Jason due to conflicting production schedules.   Pick any popular mainstream long lived British drama or comedy over the past two decades and you will probably find that Billy Murray has had guest-starring roles in most of them at one time or another.   He is the father of actress Jaime Murray, who plays the gorgeous Stacie in the runaway hit drama _Hustle_ on BBC 1.

– IMDb Mini Biography By: A J Lewis

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Johnny Briggs

Johnny Briggs
Johnny Briggs

IMDB entry:

Born in South London on Sept 5, 1935, to Ernest and Rose Briggs, Johnny had a younger sister, Barbara, who died in 1955 at age 15. As a boy, he sang soprano in a church choir and during World War II he was evacuated to the safety of the English countryside. Back in London he won a scholarship, at age 12, to the Italia Conti Stage Academy. Among his classmates were Nanette Newman and Anthony Newley. A scattering of parts followed in movies, stage plays and TV shows. In 1953 Johnny began two years of service in Germany with the Royal Tank Regiment. He then resumed his acting career.

In 1961 he married Caroline Sinclair and they had two children, Mark and Karen, before divorcing in 1975. In 1975 Johnny married schoolteacher Christine Allsop and they’ve had four children: Jennifer, Michael, Stephanie, and Anthony. British audiences know him best as ‘Mike Baldwin’, the part he played on the Coronation Street (1960) TV series for more than 20 years beginning in 1976. American audiences are more likely to remember him as the young sailor who was stripped to the waist and flogged in 1962’s Damn the Defiant!(1962)! Though working less frequently these days, Johnny remains an avid golfer.

– IMDb Mini Biography By: dinky-4 of Minneapolis

Johnny Briggs

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Josephine Griffin

Josephine Griffin
Josephine Griffin

Ms Griffin was a beautiful English actress of Irish parentage who starred in some major films of the 1950’s.  She was born in London in 1928.   Her film debut was in “The House of the Arrow” in 1953.   Her major movies include “The Purple Plain” with Gregory Peck  and in 1956 “The Spanish Gardner” with Dirk Bogarde and “The Man Who Never Was” with Gloria Grahame and Stephen Boyd.   She made only one more movie after her wedding in 1956,   “Portrait of Alison” in 1958.   She died in 2005.  Gentle-faced British leading lady of the 1950’s. After marrying the producer Patrick Filmer-Sankey, she retired from acting and in 1966 published a book about the Bayeux Tapestry (as ‘Josephine Filmer-Sankey’).

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Richard Dreyfuss

Richard Dreyfuss
Richard Dreyfuss

 

The great Richard Dreyfuss is in Dublin soon to be honoured at the Jameson Film Festival. He was born in 1947 in Brooklyn, New York. He starred in some of THE major movies of the 1970’s including “American Graffiti”, “Jaws”, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”, “The Goodbye Girl” for which he won an Oscar, and of course “Jaws”. More recent successes include “Mr Holland’s Opus”.

TCM overview:

At one time, the youngest actor ever to win the coveted Best Actor Oscar, Richard Dreyfuss – at age 29 – was propelled to stardom with his complex performance in “The Goodbye Girl” (1977). Thanks to his uncanny ability to make annoyingly vain, pompous, whiny or supercilious characters seem both heroic and likable, he rose to the top of the Hollywood heap with memorable turns in “American Graffiti” (1973), “Jaws” (1975) and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977). Though he was the epitome of cockiness on screen, there was always something reassuring about his presence, though he did gain the dubious off-screen reputation for being exceedingly arrogant. On top of the world at the end of the 1970s, Dreyfuss was poised to become one of the major superstars of the next decade. Instead, Dreyfuss blew his movie-star career sky-high through a cocktail of cocaine, booze and pills; yet another example of too much, too fast, too soon. After a period of recovery, Dreyfuss rebounded, both chastened and wiser with “Down and Out in Beverly Hills” (1986), “Stakeout” (1987) and “What About Bob?” (1991), reclaiming his mantle as one of Hollywood’s most gifted comedic and dramatic actors.

Born Oct. 29, 1947 in Brooklyn, NY, Dreyfuss was raised in Bayside, Queens by his father, Norman, an attorney who later became a restaurateur, and his mother, Gerry, a peace activist. When he was nine, the Dreyfuss family moved from the East Coast and settled in Los Angeles, where he began acting in plays at the Beverly Hills Jewish Center. He later attended Beverly Hills High School alongside the likes of Rob Reiner and Albert Brooks, and continued to pursue acting, particularly at the Gallery Theater in L.A. After graduating high school, Dreyfuss went to San Fernando Valley State College to continue his studies, but was kicked out for demanding a theater professor to apologize to the class for criticizing Marlon Brando’s performance as Marc Antony in a production of “Julius Caesar.” He spent the next two years working as a clerk in a Los Angeles hospital and managed to slip out of serving during the Vietnam War in 1967 by convincing the military that he was a conscientious objector. Soon after Dreyfuss landed an agent, he began appearing in episodes of “Gidget” (ABC, 1965-66) and “Bewitched” (ABC, 1964-1972) while performing both on and off-Broadway.

It was only a matter of time until Dreyfuss made his feature debut, which he did “in the last 40 seconds of the worst film ever made” – the campy show business melodrama, “Valley of the Dolls” (1967). Following a small, one-line role in “The Graduate” (1967), Dreyfuss attracted notice for playing a cocky, draft-dodging car thief in “The Young Runaways” (1968). After spending time in New York on Broadway in “But Seriously ” (1969) and off-Broadway as Stephen in Israel Horowitz’s “Line” (1971), Dreyfuss exploded onto the scene as Baby Face Nelson in John Milius’ “Dillinger” (1973), then had a career-marking turn in “American Graffiti” (1973), playing the ambivalent college-bound Curt Henderson, who spends the last night of summer with his friends trying to find a mysterious blonde (Suzanne Somers), which ultimately leads to the discovery of Wolfman Jack’s secret radio station. Dreyfuss put himself on the map for good with a star-making performance in “The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz” (1974), playing an ambitious kid from Montreal’s Jewish ghetto in the 1940s whose dreams of becoming successful eventually lead to drug smuggling, alienation and misery.

By the mid-1970s, Dreyfuss bypassed playing twentysomethings in favor of more adult roles. He further established himself in two of the decade’s top-grossing films – both directed by Steven Spielberg. His first collaboration with the director was on “Jaws” (1975), the first feature to break the $100 million mark at the box office and establish the concept of the summer blockbuster. Dreyfuss was memorable in a supporting role, playing an excitable ichthyologist whose warnings about a great white shark attacking vacationers at an Atlantic Ocean beach go unheeded by everyone except the town’s police chief (Roy Scheider). Dreyfuss followed with perhaps his two most important films, starting with his second effort with Spielberg, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977). In the director’s acclaimed epic sci-fi adventure, Dreyfuss played an Indiana power company technician bedeviled by an enigmatic obsession triggered from an encounter with aliens. His obsessive building of anything resembling what would be revealed later as Wyoming’s Devil’s Tower – specifically sculpting the tower with a plate of mashed potat s – amused audiences who connected with the everyman touched by something he could not understand and frustrated with a family who had no sympathy for his otherworldly predicament.

Confirmed now as a major talent, Dreyfuss went on to win an Academy Award for his first romantic role, playing an out-of-work actor who is forced to share an apartment with an ex-Broadway dancer (Marsha Mason) and her daughter (Quinn Cummings) in “The Goodbye Girl” (1977). Benefiting from arguably the best screenplay Neil Simon ever wrote, Dreyfuss ran the gamut in his performance, displaying both hilarious charm as an actor forced to play a flamboyant Richard III and poignant vulnerability as a – surprisingly – romantic lead. His hilarious staccato delivery of the line “and. I. don’t. like. the. panties. drying. on. the. rod” became a classic in the annals of famous movie lines. At age 29, Dreyfuss became the youngest performer to win an Oscar for Best Leading Actor. There was no denying that 1977 was, indeed, a good year for the quirky actor.

After his Oscar win, Dreyfuss was flying high over Hollywood – in more ways than one. By 1978, Dreyfuss had been fully indulging in cocaine, though his habit failed to affect his polished performances in “The Big Fix” (1978), a comedy thriller in which he played an aging 1960s radical-turned-private detective, and “The Competition” (1980), a romantic drama that saw him as a piano prodigy falling in love with his rival (Amy Irving). Both films, however, failed to perform at the box office unlike his last few mega-hits. He made several more inauspicious appearances, including in “Whose Life Is It Anyway?” (1981), a film that later caused him to remark, “Whatever it was that I accomplished in that film, I’m not very proud of myself. It’s really the only film that I’ve ever done that I feel uncomfortable taking credit for.” Then tragedy struck in 1982, when Dreyfuss crashed his Mercedes into a tree, leading to a trip to the hospital, and his arrest for possession of cocaine and prescription drugs. Ordered by the court to enter rehabilitation, Dreyfuss successfully completed the program and had both felony charges against him dropped. He then met his second wife, Jeramie, whom he married in March 1983.

Despite his personal recovery, Dreyfuss suddenly found his career in trouble. After all but vanishing from the screen for five years, he returned clean and sober to co-star in Paul Mazursky’s popular “Down and Out in Beverly Hills” (1986), playing a philandering businessman who saves a homeless man (Nick Nolte) from downing in his pool. He provided the opening and closing narration for the timeless Rob Reiner-helmed classic “Stand by Me” (1986), then played a struggling lawyer who tries to prove that a high-class call girl (Barbra Streisand) is fit to stand trial for murder in “Nuts” (1987). Dreyfuss was at his comedic best as a wisecracking Seattle detective tasked with his partner (Emilio Estevez) to keep watch on the girlfriend (Madeline Stowe) of an escaped thug (Aidan Quinn) in the surprise box office hit, “Stakeout” (1987). In Barry Levinson’s “Tin Men” (1987), later said to have been Dreyfuss’ personal favorite, the actor played a disgruntled aluminum siding salesman butting heads with a colleague (Danny DeVito) after getting involved in a traffic accident, leading to an all-out war of harassment against each other. Dreyfuss continued to work steadily, giving strong performances in “Moon Over Parador” (1988), “Always” (1989) and in his good friend and fellow drug addict Carrie Fisher’s autobiographical dramedy, “Postcards From the Edge” (1990).

Once the 1990s were ushered in, Dreyfuss was once again firing on all cylinders, but this time without the aid of cocaine. After playing the leader of a wandering actors troupe in “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” (1990), he was both charming and obnoxious as a big shot salesman who sweeps an aimless Boston woman (Holly Hunter) off her feet, only to run afoul with her family in the underappreciated romantic comedy, “Once Around” (1991). In “What About Bob?” (1991), Dreyfuss was in top form as an arrogant psychotherapist whose dismissive treatment of a highly neurotic, but ingratiating patient (Bill Murray) eventually drives him over the edge. Following an unnecessary and unwanted sequel, “Another Stakeout” (1993), Dreyfuss starred in the film version of Neil Simon’s “Lost in Yonkers” (1993), then played a child psychologist brought out of retirement to coax an uncommunicative autistic child (Ben Faulkner) into revealing his parents’ murders in “Silent Fall” (1994). He gave another amazing performance in “Mr. Holland’s Opus” (1995), playing to perfection a musician who puts aside his own ambitions in order to dedicate his life to teaching music to high school students and try to connect to his deaf son. Such was his touching performance, Dreyfuss earned his second Academy Award nomination for Best Leading Actor.

Throughout his career, Dreyfuss was an outspoken advocate for media reform and freedom of speech, while actively speaking out against the erosion of individual rights. In an ironic turn, he convincingly played a cunning Republican senator who tries to smear an unabashedly liberal president (Michael Douglas) in “The American President” (1995). Meanwhile, throughout the majority of his career, Dreyfuss was a presence on the stage, performing in numerous plays over the years – most notably opposite Christine Lahti in Jon Robin Baitz’s “Three Hotels” (1995). After receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1996, he was cast by director Sydney Lumet in his moody courtroom drama, “Night Falls on Manhattan” (1997), playing a contentious lawyer who defends a drug dealer (Shiek Mahmud-Bey) after a shootout with the police leaves several officers dead. He next co-starred in a Disney production of “Oliver Twist” (ABC, 1997), then took a few steps back with the mind-numbingly dumb comedy “Krippendorf’s Tribe” (1998). Returning to the small screen, he gave a sterling performance in “Lansky” (HBO, 1999), playing the famed Jewish gangster Meyer Lansky, who rose from being a petty gambler to one of the most powerful mobsters in history. He then portrayed a mobster for laughs in “The Crew” (2000), playing one of four aging gangsters looking to save their retirement complex by pretending to take a job executing a Miami mob boss.

Without a substantial hit under his belt for several years, feature roles slowly became less available to Dreyfuss, making television a more viable outlet. He turned in a fine performance as the U.S. president in Stephen Frears live broadcast remake of the tense Cold War drama, “Failsafe” (CBS, 2000), then was convincing as former Secretary of State Alexander Haig in “The Day Reagan Was Shot” (Showtime, 2001). Meanwhile, he landed his first regular series role in the short-lived drama, “The Education of Max Bickford” (CBS, 2001-02), playing a troubled college history professor battling inter-office politics while dealing with an equally difficult family life. In “Coast to Coast” (Showtime, 2004), he played a husband trying to mend his marriage by taking a road trip with wife (Judy Davis), which he followed with a return to the big screen, appearing in “Silver City” (2004), John Sayles’ sharp satire about small town politics. In 2006, he joined the ensemble cast of “Poseidon,” a flawed remake of the 1972 original, in which he played a suicidal gay man who struggles to escape a capsized ocean liner with a ragtag group of passengers who must rely on and trust one another despite their differences. In a bit of inspired casting, director Oliver Stone tapped Dreyfuss and all his intensity to play Vice President Dick Cheney in “W” (2008), a look at the charmed life and troubled presidency of George W. Bush (Josh Brolin).

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Ryan’s Daughter

 

Ryan’s Daughter was made in Dingle in the South-West of Ireland in late 1968 and during 1969.   The great film director David Lean had a resounding commercial success in 1965 with “Dr Zhivago” and expectations were high for this movie.   When it was released in the U.S. in 1970, it was met with dire critical reviews which resulted in David Lean not making a movie again for another fourteen years, until “A Passage to India”.   However in retrospect, Ryan’s Daughter”  is now regarded as a masterpiece albeit a slightly flawed one.

Sarah Miles gives one of her  great performances in the title role.   She had played another beguiling Irish girl in 1965 in “I Was Happy Here” which is another film work seeking out.   Robert Mitchum was cast against type as the placid dedicated teacher.   Although John Mills won an Oscar for his performance, I do not like it.   He is a good actor but here he seems to be doing too much mugging about.   Leo McKern and Trevor Howard give solid performances as does Christopher Jones.   Jones did not make another film for nearly 25 years.   The scenery is absolutely awesome as is the colour photography.   Definitely a film to see and appreciate.