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Archive for June, 2015

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John Buckmaster

John Buckmaster
John Buckmaster

John Buckmaster was born on July 18, 1915 in Frinton-On-Sea, Essex, England as John Rodney Buckmaster. He is known for his work on Sherlock Holmes (1954), Sample People(2000) and The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse (1948). He died in 1983 in London, England.   He was the son of Gladys Cooper.

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Jessie Royce Landis

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Kenneth Cope

Kenneth Cope
Kenneth Cope

 

Kenneth Cope was born on June 14, 1931 in Liverpool, England as Kenneth Charles Cope. He is an actor and writer, known for My Partner the Ghost (1969), That Was the Week That Was (1962) and Coronation Street (1960). He has been married to Renny Lister since 1961. They have three children.   He starred in “Carry On at Your Convenience”.

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Jean Wallace

Jean Wallace...
Jean Wallace…
Jean Wallace
Jean Wallace

“New York Times” obituary:

Jean Wallace, a screen actress who had feature parts in a dozen Hollywood productions and was married to two stars, Franchot Tone and Cornel Wilde, died of a gastrointestinal hemorrhage Wednesday at her home in Beverly Hills, Calif. She was 66 years old.

Among Miss Wallace’s films, most of which were made in the 1940’s and 1950’s, were ”You Can’t Ration Love,” ”Song of India,” ”Maracaibo” and ”Lancelot and Guinevere.”

Miss Wallace, born Jean Walasek in Chicago, was a fashion model in her teens and went to Hollywood to get into pictures.

Rescued by Paramount

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer gave her a part in a Hedy Lamarr feature, ”Ziegfeld Girl,” but dropped her upon learning that she was not 19 years old, as she had said she was, but 17, which meant that under state law she could work only four hours a day and had to have a tutor.

Paramount gave her a six-month contract, complete with tutor. She was given a bit part in the 1941 musical ”Louisiana Purchase.” By then she had become a protegee of Franchot Tone, who at 36 was twice her age, and in October 1941 she and the actor eloped to Yuma, Ariz., and were married.

The marriage lasted seven years, during which the couple had two sons, whose custody was awarded to Mr. Tone when they were divorced.

In 1949, after a visit with the chldren, Miss Wallace stabbed herself in the abdomen with a kitchen knife, but quickly recovered.

Early in 1950 she was married to James Randall, a soldier she had met while on a hospital tour. The marriage was annulled after five months. She married Cornel Wilde in 1951 and appeared in several movies made by Theodora Productions, a company she and Mr. Wilde created. They were divorced in 1981.

Miss Wallace is survived by three sons, Pascal Tone of Hamilton, Mass.; Thomas Tone of Ottawa, and Cornel Wallace Wilde of Beverly Hills, a brother, John Wallace of Los Angeles, a sister, Karol Crawford of Los Angeles, and three grandchildren.

The abpve “New York Times” obituary can also be accessed online here.

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Suzanne Cloutier

Suzanne Cloutier
Suzanne Cloutier

 

Ronald Bergan’s 2003 obituary from “The Guardian”:

French-Canadian actor most celebrated as Desdemona


Desdemona is variously depicted by Shakespeare as “a maid that paragons description and wild fame”, “a most exquisite lady” and “a most fresh and delicate creature”. Suzanne Cloutier, who has died of cancer aged 76, certainly lived up to these epithets in Orson Welles’s film version of Othello (1952), her most celebrated part.Welles had begun shooting with the Italian Lea Padovani in the role. However, when Padovani quit the set after a dispute with Welles, the French-Canadian Cloutier was the 11th actor Welles auditioned for the role. According to one commentator: “With her wide-eyed innocence, coupled with a will of iron and a determination to get her own way at all costs, she constituted a strange mixture. Orson, who found her a fascinating psychological study, nicknamed her the Iron Butterfly.”

In reality, Welles had spent months trying to seduce her, but she resisted. Because of that rejection, he could be brutal towards her. Once, at dinner, surrounded by the rest of the cast, he snapped, “You contribute nothing to the conversation unless you talk about yourself.”

Michael MacLiammoir, who played Iago, wrote of Cloutier: “She is indestructible. She will discuss herself tirelessly for hours in French or English, in a faintly gilded clipped drawl (like sunshine on snow) without pausing for breath – even when she is silent you know that, like a cat, an immense activity is in progress.”

Welles spent hours trying to get a good performance from her. In a scene in which Othello (Welles) strikes Desdemona across the face, the director wanted her not to flinch from the blow, yet every time his hand moved, she (understandably) looked terrified.

David Thomson considered “she had no equal in standing still and looking beautiful”, and suggests the reason Welles picked her was because “the lady is a stooge to his Othello, not nearly as married to the Moor as Iago”. Actually, Cloutier gives a finely honed, poignant performance, despite some of the crude sound and editing. Several of her lines were dubbed by Gudrun Ure, and instead of reshooting long and medium shots which he had done with Padovani, he simply included them in the finished film, hoping the audience would not notice.

Mischievously, Welles contemplated dubbing her whole role. “I can’t wait to see what Cloutier’s reaction will be when she attends the premiere and finds out it’s not really her, at least not her voice, and in many shots, not her body, on the screen.”

Yet Welles must have thought highly enough of her, because he cast her in his one-act play The Unthinking Lobster, staged in English in Paris in 1950, about a female saint who appears in a corrupt Hollywood. Later she helped him find financing for his aborted film projects, The Other Side Of The Wind and Don Quixote.

Born in Ottawa, Cloutier became a Powers Model in New York at the age of 18, after running away the day after her wedding to an eminent Canadian doctor. As the marriage was not consummated, it was annulled. She was soon offered a small role in Temptation (1946), a “woman’s picture” starring Merle Oberon, and then joined Charles Laughton’s stage company for one season in New York.

During a period in Paris, she was a member of Jean Dasté’s Comédie Française touring company and appeared in two prestigious films: Julien Duvivier’s Au royaume des cieux (The Sinners, 1947), opposite Serge Reggiani, and Marcel Carne’s Juliette ou la clef des songes (Juliette Or The Key Of Dreams, 1950) in which she had the title role of the mysterious girl whom Gérard Philipe, in a prison cell, meets in his dreams.

Immediately after making Othello, Cloutier was in London to play in Herbert Wilcox’s Derby Day (1950), a four-part picture with Cloutier as a film fan winning a star (Peter Graves!) in a raffle. At the same time, she met Peter Ustinov. Coincidentally, Ustinov had seen a photograph of the “strikingly beautiful girl” on a French magazine cover three days before his French agent introduced them backstage during a production of his play The Love Of Four Colonels. She told him she was on the run from Welles, who was searching for her to fulfil a contract for which she had not been paid. She also told him that her mother was a German Jew and that her father was descended from an Indian chief, neither of which turned out to be true.

“People were enchanted by her freshness,” explained Ustinov in his autobiography, “her extraordinary capacity for invention, and her acumen in pursuing her ends, and I must admit, I was among them.”

They appeared together in Ustinov’s play No Sign Of The Dove at the Piccadilly Theatre (1953), and were married a year later. Except for a role in Doctor In The House (1954), Cloutier was busy during the decade bringing up their three children, Pavla, Igor and Andrea, all of whom survive her.

In 1961, she resumed her acting career briefly with Ustinov in his play Romanoff And Juliet. Gradually the marriage broke down; Cloutier disliked England and the English, and Ustinov became disenchanted with her ever-increasing Québecois nationalism. They divorced in 1971.

Cloutier no longer worked as an actor, but she remained busy as an artistic adviser to various film festivals in addition to producing two musical documentary films. She returned to Canada in 1988, living in Montreal.

· Suzanne Cloutier, actor, born July 10 1927; died December 2 2003

The above “Guardian” obituary can also be accessed online here.

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Shazad Latif

Shazad Latif
Shazad Latif

 

Shazad Latif is an actor, known for Salting the Battlefield (2014), The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015) and We are Monster (2014).

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Owen Moore

Owen Moore
Owen Moore

 

Oweb Moore was born in Fordstown Crossroads, County Meath, Ireland, and along with his brothers Tom, Matt, and Joe (1895–1926), and sister Mary (1890–1919), he emigrated to the United States as a steerage passenger on board the S.S. Anchoria and was inspected on Ellis Island in May 1896. All went on to successful careers in motion pictures in Hollywood, California.  He died in 1939 in Beverly Hills, California at the age of 52.

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Barbara Steele

Barbara Steele
Barbara Steele

TCM Overview:

Dark-eyed British actress Barbara Steele had the perfect face for horror. Though the Rank Organization starlet had been imported to the United States by 20th Century Fox to play Elvis Presley’s love interest in “Flaming Star” (1960), Steele proved an ill-fit for the Hollywood cookie cutter and was replaced after a week of shooting. An actor’s strike drove Steele back to Europe, where her haunting beauty was used to good effect in a string of Gothic horror films, beginning with Mario Bava’s “Black Sunday” (1960). In the ensuing years, Steele skulked through such lurid chillers as “The Horrible Dr. Hichcock” (1962), “Castle of Blood” (1964) and “Terror-Creatures from Beyond the Grave” (1965), in which she brought sex appeal to characters of both pure and dark motives. Federico Fellini found a place for the slinky actress in his masterful “8-1/2” (1963) while German New Wave director Volker Schlöndorff offered Steele one of her better roles in “Young Törless” (1966), but the glut of cheap European fright flicks in which she found herself mired drove Steele back to North America. No longer an ingénue, she married a Hollywood screenwriter and cashed in on her cult credibility with meaty roles in Jonathan Demme’s “Caged Heat” (1974), David Cronenberg’s “Shivers” (1975) and Joe Dante’s “Piranha” (1978). Finding a measure of artistic satisfaction behind the camera, Steele won an Emmy as the producer of the 1988 miniseries “War and Remembrance” while learning to enjoy her lifetime association as horror cinema’s reigning scream queen.

The above TCM overview can also be accessed online here.

Barbara Steele
Barbara Steele
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Jody Lawrance

Jody Lawrance
Jody Lawrance

 

IMDB entry:

The entrancing and exotic-eyed “B”-level leading lady Jody Lawrance, whose 1950’s career was spotty at best, provided lovely diversion from the manly adventure movies she helped bring to the screen. Personal turmoil and studio conflicts, however, ultimately hurt her career and the remainder of her life was spent out of the limelight.

She was born Nona Josephine Goddard in Fort Worth, Texas, on October 19, 1930. Her childhood was troubled and disruptive. Parents Ervin S. (“Doc”) and Eleanor (née Roeck) Goddard divorced while Jody was a child. Ervin, nicknamed “Doc” although he was not one, was an amateur inventor and research engineer at the Adel Precision Products Company at one point. Moving to Caliornia, he eventually married Grace McGee in 1937. Jody subsequently migrated to California and lived with her father and stepmother in their Van Nuys bungalow. Marilyn Monroe (then Norma Jeane Baker) was a foster child of her stepmother Grace, who knew Norma Jeane’s mother when both worked for Columbia — Grace as a film librarian and and Gladys as a film cutter. Jody and Norma Jeane lived together briefly in 1941-1942.

Jody went on to attend Beverly Hills High School (studying under Benno Schneider and his wife) and the Hollywood Professional School. Excelling as a swimmer, Jody’s first shot was appearing in a water show operated by Larry Crosby, who was also a publicity manager for famous younger brother Bing Crosby.

The teenager was awarded her first on-camera professional part on the TV show “The Silver Theatre” in 1949. Because her real name, Nona Goddard, lacked glamor, she changed it to Jody (short for Josephine, her middle name) Lawrance (her maternal grandmother’s maiden name). Jody’s drama teacher Schneider managed to get her an introduction to Columbia. The studio took an immediate interest in the 19-year-old beauty and signed her to a 7-year contract at $250 per week.

Jody made four relatively strong films in 1951. She provided damsel-in-distress duty in her screen debut between up-and-coming screen hero John Derek and established villainAnthony Quinn in the spirited swashbuckler Mask of the Avenger (1951). This was followed by The Family Secret (1951) playing the altruistic fiancée to a murder suspect (again, John Derek. Things looked even more promising when she co-starred an exotic love interest to robust Burt Lancaster in the Eastern adventure yarn Ten Tall Men (1951). Her final film that year was a horror opus portraying the fiancée to Louis Hayward as theThe Son of Dr. Jekyll (1951).

She started the following year off with the adventure film The Brigand (1952) opposite handsome, sliver-eyed Anthony Dexter, better known for his captivating Valentino-like looks than for his acting ability. In 1953 career problems surfaced when the studio assigned Jody, who had now completed six film projects, to a lackluster role in one of its minor musicals, a poor man’s version of “On the Town” entitled All Ashore (1953) which starred sailors-on-leave Mickey RooneyDick Haymes and Ray McDonaldPeggy Ryan,Barbara Bates and Jody were cast as their the love interests. Set this time on California’s Catalina Island instead of New York, Jody balked at the assignment while citing a lack of confidence in her singing and dancing abilities. She ask the studio to replace her but Columbia refused and the actress begrudgingly filmed the movie. Her “difficulty” with the studio on this assignment ultimately led to a break of her contract. Feeling overlooked by the studio at the time, she supposedly did not regret her release too much.

On her own, however, the quality of Jody’s films declined markedly with her the “Poverty Row” independent film, the subpar and highly distorted biographical piece Captain John Smith and Pocahontas (1953) again starring Anthony Dexter. It was revealed that Jody suffered a frightening allergic reaction on the set after dying her lighter hair jet black for the role. Among many other problems, the 23-year old, blue-eyed actress was quite miscast in the role of the much younger Indian maiden. The released film was a dismal failure and Jody’s career suffered as a result.

Finding almost no offers in 1954-1955 and in order to make ends meet, Jody took on employment as an ice cream shop waitress near the UCLA campus in Los Angeles. The story goes that one day one of her customers was her former co-star Burt Lancaster. He came to her aid by introducing her to his friend, director Michael Curtiz, who reignited her career with his minor film noir The Scarlet Hour (1956) which starred Tom Tryon and had Jody playing a second femme role behind Carol Ohmart, who was being built up as Paramount’s supposed answer to a difficult Marilyn Monroe at the time. Jody was promoted as one of the “Deb Stars of 1955” along with other hopefuls including Cathy CrosbyAnita EkbergMara CordayMarisa Pavan and Lori Nelson, among other lesser knowns.

Back on the boards again, Jody revived her look on screen as a blonde again. Things looked hopeful when Paramount Studios signed her to a contract, earning $300 a week. In the spiritual drama The Leather Saint (1956), she plays a platinum-blonde nightclub singer (and even sings a bit of “I’m in the Mood for Love” in the film) and temptress to (once again) John Derek whose Episcople minister agonizes over his decision to box for money in order help medically finance church/community projects for special needs children.

Things fell apart once more, however, when Paramount released her the following year. It seems that the studio was perturbed when, while promoting her to the public as a sexy single, Jody resisted the cheesecake angle and also secretly married Bruce Tilton (1930-2007), an airplane parts company executive, in Las Vegas on April 7, 1956. A daughter, Victoria, was born a year later.

She remained unproductive career-wise during this period of new marriage and more family. By April of 1958, however, the Tilton marriage had dissolved and a bitter custody suit ensued (in the end, Jody lost). While she returned to the screen, the pickings were slim. She landed minor parts in the Shirley Booth vehicle Hot Spell (1958) and Barry Sullivan film The Purple Gang (1959), and found isolated work on TV in such dramatic fare as “Perry Mason,” “The Loretta Young Show” and “The Rebel”. Her last screen role of any substance was the minor western Stagecoach to Dancers’ Rock (1962) starringMartin Landau.

Jody met second husband Robert Wolf Herre and they married in November of 1962. Two children, Robert Jr. and Abigail (“Chrissy”) were born from this relationship. Other than an isolated TV appearance on “The Red Skelton Show” in 1968, little was heard of Jody following this period until it was learned that she had died in Ojai, California on July 10, 1986, at age 55.

– IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

The above IMDB entry can also be accessed online here.