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Archive for October, 2010

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Loretta Young

Loretta Young has had one of the longest cinema careers in the history of movies.   She made her first film as a child in the silent  “The Primrose Ring” in 1917 and her final movie was the television film “Lady in a Corner” in 1989.     She was born in 1913 in Salt Lake City, Utah.   In the 1930’s she made several films with Tyrone Power while both were under contract with 20th Century Fox.   Among those films were “Cafe Metropole” and “Suez”.   In the 1940’s she made such high profile movies as “The Bishop’s Wife” with Cary Grant and David Niven, “China” with Alan Ladd and “The Stranger” with Orson Welles and Edward G. Robinson.   She won an Academy Award in 1947 for her performance in “The Farmer’s Daughter”.   In the early fifties she became of the first major movie stars to go into television with the long running “Letter to Loretta”.    One of her children is Tom Lewis a musician with the rock group Moby Grape.   Loretta young was the widow of the movie fashion designer Jean Louis.   She died in 2000 at the age of 87.

“The Guardian” obituary by Ronald Bergan on Loretta Young:

At the Academy Award ceremony of 1947, it seemed a foregone conclusion that Rosalind Russell would win the Oscar for best actress, for Mourning Becomes Electra. But when the envelope was opened, out came the name of Loretta Young. There was a gasp from the audience.

Nobody was more surprised than Young, then aged 35, as she made her way up to the stage. All she could say, on receiving the Oscar for her part in The Farmer’s Daughter, was “At long last”, an understandable comment from a woman who had been in the business so long: she made her first screen appearance at the age of four.

Young, who has died aged 87, was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and was three when her parents separated and her mother moved with her five children to Hollywood, where she opened a boarding house. A year later, the child appeared in The Only Way (1917), paid $3.50 a day for playing a patient weeping on the operating table. At eight, she and her siblings were Arab children in the Rudolph Valentino film, The Sheik (1921). Her three sisters had acting ambitions too; one became the actress Sally Blane.

At 14, while at convent school, Young returned to the screen in a supporting role in Naughty But Nice (1927). She got the part by default. Director Mervyn LeRoy wanted one of her sisters, but Young asked if she might do. This led to a contract with First National, and a change of name. The studio thought her real name, Gretchen, “sounded too Dutchy”, and changed it to Loretta, the favourite saint of the star of the film, Coleen Moore.

Young often took herself for her saintly namesake, irritating her colleagues. While working on The Stranger (1945), there was a scene where she was supposed to walk off with Orson Welles instead of attending Sunday morning mass. But as a devout Catholic, she refused to be shown on screen dodging church. Reluctantly, Wells changed it to another day of the week. She always objected to casts and crews swearing, and would set up a “swear box”, giving the fines to Catholic charities.

But saint she was not. She was married three times and divorced twice, and had affairs with, among others, George Brent, Clark Gable (said to be the father of her “adopted” daughter), David Niven, Joseph Mankiewicz, William Wellman and Spencer Tracy. Wellman and the married Tracy came to blows over her. Young and Tracy had played down-and-outs sharing a shanty in Frank Borzage’s Man’s Castle (1933). Though it pre-dated the Hays Code, it was censored because of the character’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy. Of their off-screen romance, Young remarked, “Since Spence and I were both Catholic, and can never be married, we have agreed not to see each other any more.”

In 1930, she had eloped with co-star Grant Withers in imitation of the plot of the film Too Young To Marry. The marriage was annulled the following year, with Withers describing Young as “a steel butterfly”.

She was determinedly litigious. In 1966, she sued NBC for $2.5m when they used the introductions to her old TV shows, because the 1950s fashions dated her; she sued them again in 1972, and won $600,000 for their unlawful exhibition of her TV shows abroad. In 1969, she sued 20th Century-Fox for $54,000 because the movie Myra Breckinridge contained clips from her films, used without her permission. The studio cut them out.

Thirty years before, Young had left Fox, which had labelled her too difficult; then she found that few studios would meet her price of $150,000 a picture, and was advised to lower it. When Columbia mogul Harry Cohn refused to pay $300 for a dress she had bought for her role in Bedtime Story (1942), she made herself available only for night-time fittings, adding to the budget.

According to Robert Preston, her co-star in The Lady From Cheyenne, “she worked with a full-length mirror beside the camera. I didn’t know which Loretta to play to – the one in the mirror or the one that was with me.” Virginia Field, with whom she worked on Eternally Yours, commented, “She was and is the only actress I really dislike. She was sickeningly sweet, a pure phony. Her two faces sent me home angry and crying.”

But Young was physically exquisite, and had a genuine touch of class. She started as a Hollywood leading lady in Laugh Clown, Laugh (1928), playing a tightrope walker. The director Herbert Brenon, who had tested 48 other girls for the role, told Loretta, 15: “Your legs can be padded. Likewise your body. It’s your eyes that are getting you the part.”

She remembered that “my first director taught me not to take myself seriously, but to take my work seriously, never to be satisfied unless I was doing my very best.” She first did her best in minor melodramas and comedies. After acting a miscast Jean Harlow off the screen in Frank Capra’s Platinum Blonde (1931) at Columbia, she was given meatier parts at Warner Bros in Taxi and The Hatchet Man.

When she moved to Fox in 1934, the head of the studio, Darryl F Zanuck decided she was ideal for period pieces. She played Robert Clive’s wife in Clive Of India (1935) and the Empress Eugenie in Suez (1938). She was touching as the deaf girl in The Story of Alexander Graham Bell (1938), in which her sisters also had parts.

The Farmer’s Daughter was originally intended for Ingrid Bergman. In a blonde wig and Swedish accent, Young was convincing as a headstrong farm girl whose homespun ideas earn her a seat in Congress in a contest against the man she loves. This was followed by the title roles in the comedy The Bishop’s Wife (1947) and as the 1820 bondswoman in Rachel And The Stranger (1948).

Her career petered out in the early 1950s, to be revived by her long-running TV show. Each 30-minute drama was introduced by the star. “After the audience has seen me well groomed, I can wear horrible clothes and ugly makeup or even a false nose, without anyone wondering whether I’ve aged overnight.”

After her divorce in 1968 from producer/writer Thomas Lewis, with whom she had two children, Young wrote a syndicated lonely-hearts column in Catholic newspapers, and worked as a consultant for the wedding dress firm, Brides Showcase International. At 81 she married costume designer Jean Louis (he did her famous TV show frocks), who died three years ago.

She devoted herself to Catholic charities in the 1980s, selling her Hollywood home and jewels to finance her work. “They are the luxuries of life … If selling a bracelet will help feed children, that is what I want to do,” she explained. She might have been making some progress at last towards her canonisation.

• Loretta (Gretchen Michaela) Young, actress, born January 6, 1913; died August 12 2000

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

Loretta Young
Loretta Young
Loretta Young
Loretta Young
Loretta Young
Loretta Young
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Danny Dyer

Danny Dyer is a brilliant British actor who seems to have cornered the market in playing hard young urban types with a penchant for violence.   It would be good to see him in a different role, perhaps a university college professor with left-wing tendencies who is launching a campaign to save the trees in the New Forest.   He was born in 1977 in Canning Town in London.   He began his career at the age of sixteen in televisions “Prime Suspect 3” in 1993.   His first film role was in 1999 in “Human Traffic”.   Other film roles include “The Mean Machine”, “The Football Factory” and “The Borstal Boy,   He has enormous screen presence and he should become one of the leading lights of cinema.

Interview with Danny Dyer here.

TCM Overview:

Football fanatic and working-class lad, Danny Dyer is also one of the most recognizable young actors in Britain. He began his career at the age of 16 after being scouted by a talent agent, appearing on numerous television shows during the â¿¿90s. His breakthrough role came in 1999 as Moff in Justin Kerriganâ¿¿s film romp through British club culture, “Human Traffic.” The following year, Dyer found himself among some of the most highly regarded British actors with a role in the prison comedy “Greenfingers.” In 2001, Dyer began his collaboration with Nick Love, the drama “Goodbye Charlie Bright” appeared in “The Football Factory,” about football hooligans. The latter allowed Dyer to express his personal fandom, making him one of football cultureâ¿¿s most recognized fanatics. Capitalizing on this successful role, Dyer became the host of the Bravo documentary series “The Real Football Factories” and “Football Hooligans International” in 2007. Interestingly, his next film with Love, gangster flick “The Business,” was followed by another Bravo documentary series, “Danny Dyerâ¿¿s Deadliest Men,” about the British crime underworld.

The above TCM Overview can also be accessed online here.

Danny Dyer
Danny Dyer
Danny Dyer.
Danny Dyer.
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Pauline Stroud

Pauline Stroud
Pauline Stroud

Pauline Stroud
Pauline Stroud
Pauline Stroud

Pauline Stroud has one major role to her credit.   “Lady Godiva Rides Again” released in 1951 had an array of British female talent supporting Stroud.   There was Joan Collins, Kay Kendall, Diana Dors, Dana Wynter and Anne Heywood.   Pauline Stroud was born in 1931 in London.   “Lady Godiva Rides Again” was her first film and she had the major role.   After completing the movie she enrolled in RADA but left after a year.   Her other credits include “Passport to Shame” and “Life in Emergency Ward 10”.   Her last credit was television’s “Dead of Night” series in 1972.   She spent many years in walk on parts and give an interview to “The Stage” in 2001.

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Stuart Whitman

Stuart Whitman
Stuart Whitman

Stuart Whitman
Stuart Whitman

 

Stuart Whitman was a major leading man in Hollywood and international films of the early to mid 1960’s.   He was born in 1928 in San Francisco.   During his time in the Army he became very proficent in boxing.   He played small parts in films from 1951 on.   In 1958 he was featured with Gary Cooper, Geraldine Fitzgerald and Suzy Parker in “10 North Frederick”.   In 1960, 20th Century Fox gave him his first leading role in “Murder Incorporated”.   He starred with John Wayne and Ina Balin in “The Commacharos”, “Francis of Assisi” with Dolores Hart and “Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines” with Sarah Miles.   He was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in “The Mark”.   He had a successful TV series, “Cimarron Strip” which ran from 1967 for a season.   He became a very successful investor in real estate and gradually wound down his acting career.   Interview here.

TCM Overview:

Dark-haired and rugged with sensitive eyes, Stuart Whitman never became a superstar, but, particularly in the late 1950s and through the 60s, was an action hero of motion pictures and TV, thriving in “The Mark” (1961), for which he earned an Academy Award nomination as Best Actor, and in “Cimarron Strip” (CBS, 1967-1971), one of the last of the successful TV Westerns. Although reportedly worth more than $100 million thanks to investments, Whitman has continued to act, perhaps out of a genuine love of his craft, although the quality of his projects has varied.

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Ricardo Montalban

Ricardo Montalban
Ricardo Montalban

Ricardo Montalban flew the flaw for Hispanic actors in the Hollywood of the 1950’s where both he and Fernando Lamas were under contract to MGM.   Montalban was born in Mexico in Mexico City in 1920.   As a teenager he came to live in California with his older brother.   He made his first film in 1941, “He’s a Latin from Staten Island”.  He made two excellent film noir’s.   In 1949 he starred in “Border Incident” and the following year he played a Boston cop in “Mystery Street”.   Throughout the 50’s he was the latin lover in many MGM films opposite such leading ladies as Lana Turner.   In 1958 he was cast against type as a Japanese man in “Sayonara”.   He had a popular television success with “Fantasy Island” and had a major film success with “Star Trek 2 : the Wrath of Kahn” in 1982.   His last film was “The Ant Bully” in 2006.   He died in 2009 at the age of 88.   He was married to Georgiana Young the sister of Loretta Young.

His “Guardian” obituary by Ronald Bergan:

In 1969, the Mexico-born actor Ricardo Montalban, who has died aged 88, helped found Nosotros, an organisation dedicated to removing negative Hispanic stereotypes from the film and television industry. Montalban, whose own career had its fair share of stereotyping, eventually managed to overcome his “Latin lover” tag and enter the American mainstream, especially as the enigmatic, white-suited Mr Roarke in the TV series Fantasy Island (1977-82), every week granting the wishes of several people on screen and vicariously, those of millions of TV viewers.

Born in Mexico City, Montalban dreamed of becoming an engineer, but he was encouraged to go on the stage by his older sister and two brothers. He had sung and acted for them in childhood. After school he made for New York, where he got a few small roles on Broadway as gigolos in Somerset Maugham’s Our Betters and Jacques Deval’s Her Cardboard Lover, with Tallulah Bankhead, before returning to Mexico. There, the dark and handsome 22-year-old played the romantic leads in four movie melodramas, until he was discovered by the MGM producer Jack Cummings, who got him a screen test.

Profiting from President Roosevelt’s “good neighbour” policy towards central and south America, Montalban was given an MGM contract, making a striking American film debut in Fiesta (1947), in which he and the bathing beauty Esther Williams played the twin son and daughter of a retired bullfighter. The father dreams of his son becoming a matador, but Ricardo only wants to compose music, while Esther strikes a blow for señoritas’ lib by triumphing in the ring. Montalban not only composes Aaron Copland’s El Salón México, but dances a couple of vigorous Mexican routines with Cyd Charisse.

This was followed by another Esther Williams musical, On an Island With You (1948), in which Montalban again dances with Charisse. The same dancing team, plus Ann Miller, enlivened the weak Frank Sinatra vehicle The Kissing Bandit (1948) with the excitingly staged Dance of Fury, which was added after the film’s completion.

Montalban really came into his own in Neptune’s Daughter (1949) as José O’Rourke, a south American polo player, making advances to Williams by crooning Baby, It’s Cold Outside and My Heart Beats Faster.

In the same year, he appeared on the cover of Life magazine as “Hollywood’s new romantic star”. But he never really got beyond second league status in the next few years at MGM, playing the token Latino in William Wellman’s excellent second world war drama Battleground (1949), and the exotic older man whom adolescent Jane Powell falls for in the delightful musical Two Weeks With Love (1950). Yet, there were meatier, socially conscious roles such as the Mexican immigration agent trying to smash the exploitation of farm workers smuggled into the US in Anthony Mann’s gripping Border Incident (1949).

In Right Cross (1950), Montalban played a Mexican boxer who feels discriminated against because of his race, and in Mystery Street (1950), he was a cop called Morales, who demands respect from a patrician suspect, even though “my family hasn’t been here 100 years”. Montalban once said, “Let’s face it, I have an accent. I think it’s better to enact roles in which an accent, no matter what kind, is introduced.”

He then appeared in a couple more Wellman movies, playing a Native American in Across the Wide Missouri (1951) and a sympathetic Mexican handyman in My Man and I (1952).

His last two films under his MGM contract (both 1953) were the lively Sombrero and the dull Latin Lovers, where he provided American heiress Lana Turner with romance in Rio.

As a freelance, he made use of his pleasant baritone voice in the Broadway musicals, The King and I, Can-Can and Jamaica (with Lena Horne), toured the US playing the apotheosis of the Latin lover in Shaw’s Don Juan in Hell, starred in a number of forgettable B movies, and turned up in supporting roles such as a Kabuki actor in Sayonara (1957), a drug-dealing gangster (his first unsympathetic part) in Let No Man Write My Epitaph (1960), another Native American, with pigtails and a bowler hat, in John Ford’s Cheyenne Autumn (1964) and a Belgian priest in The Singing Nun (1966). He had a slightly better role in Sweet Charity (1969) as a dashing Italian movie star who picks up dance-hall hostess Shirley MacLaine.

After further mediocre parts, Montalban’s career was rescued by Fantasy Island. He was superbly suave as the owner and manager of a luxury, tropical island where, with the assistance of a dwarf (Hervé Villechaize), he offered the rich, for $10,000 a weekend, the possibility of having their wishes granted.

He won an Emmy for the TV mini-series How the West Was Won in 1978 and returned to the big screen as the eponymous genetically engineered evil genius in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), one of the most memorable villains that Captain Kirk and his crew ever had to combat. It was the role Montalban had played 15 years earlier on TV in an early Star Trek episode, Space Seed, in which, in a costume designed to show off his physique, he was a tyrant who controls a quarter of the Earth.

In 1980, Montalban wrote an autobiography, Reflections: A Life in Two Worlds, justifiably claiming to have bridged the gap between the Hispanic world and Hollywood. He also became known for a witty anecdote, his five stages of Hollywood: 1 Who is Ricardo Montalban?; 2 Get me Ricardo Montalban; 3 Get me a Ricardo Montalban type; 4 Get me a young Ricardo Montalban; 5 Who is Ricardo Montalban?

He is survived by two sons and two daughters by his wife, Georgiana (the younger sister of Loretta Young), who died in 2007.

• Ricardo Montalban, actor, born 25 November 1920; died 14 January 2009

His “Guardian” obituary can also be accessed online here.

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Johnny Weissmuller

Johnny Weissmuller will forever be remembered as the greatest film Tarzan of all.   He was born in 1904 in Austria.   He arrived with his parents in the U.S. the following year.   At the age of ine he contracted polio and his doctors advised swimming as a form of therapy.   He became so proficint at the sport that by his teens he had achieved a degree of fame as a sports athlete.   He competed and won gold medals for swimming at the 1924 Paris and 1928 Amsterdam Olympic Games.   In all he won five medals.   He signed a contract with MGM to make the Tarzan films in 1932.   The first film was “Tarzan the Ape Man” which featured Maureen O’Sullivan as Jane.   It is generally recogn ised that they were the test of the many whoo played the roles.   They made six Tarzan films together finishing with “Tarzan’s New York Adventure” in 1942.   O’Sullivan left to rear her family and Weissmuller continued the films with Brenda Joyce as the new Jane.   He also made a series Jungle Jim films.   Johnny Weissmuller died in Mexico in 1984 at the age of 79.

His mini biography by Ed Stephen:

Johnny Weissmuller was born in Timisoara, Romania, then a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, though he would later claim to have been born in Windber, Pennsylvania, probably to ensure his eligibility to compete as part of the US Olympic team.

A sickly child, he took up swimming on the advice of a doctor. He grew to be a 6′ 3″, 190-pound champion athlete – undefeated winner of five Olympic gold medals, 67 world and 52 national titles, holder of every freestyle record from 100 yards to the half-mile. In his first picture, Glorifying the American Girl (1929), he appeared as an Adonis clad only in a fig leaf. After great success with a jungle movie, MGM head Louis B. Mayer, via Irving Thalberg, optioned two of Edgar Rice Burroughs‘ Tarzan stories. Cyril Hume, working on the adaptation of Tarzan the Ape Man (1932), noticed Weissmuller swimming in the pool at his hotel and suggested him for the part of Tarzan. Weissmuller was under contract to BVD to model underwear and swimsuits; MGM got him released by agreeing to pose many of its female stars in BVD swimsuits. The studio billed him as “the only man in Hollywood who’s natural in the flesh and can act without clothes”. The film was an immediate box-office and critical hit. Seeing that he was wildly popular with girls, the studio told him to divorce his wife and paid her $10,000 to agree to it. After 1942, however, MGM had used up its options; it dropped the Tarzan series and Weissmuller, too. He then moved to RKO and made six more Tarzans. After that he made 16 Jungle Jim (1948) programmers for Columbia. He retired from movies to run private business in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

– IMDb Mini Biography By: Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

This IMDB entry can also be accessed on lone here.

Johnny Weissmuller
Johnny Weissmuller
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Brenda de Banzie

Brenda de Banzie starred in several major films in Britain in the 1950’s and 60’s but biographical information on her seems very scarce.   She was born in Manchester in 1909.   She did not begin a career on film until she was in her mid 40’s.   Her film debut was in “The Yellow Balloon” with Kathleen Ryan and Kenneth More in 1953.   She had the female lead opposite John Mills and Charles Laughton in “Hobson’s Choice”.   Her other major films include “The Purple Plain”, “The Man Who Knew too Much”, “A Kid for Two Farthings”, “Doctor at Sea” , “The Entertainer” and “The Pink Panter”.      Her last film was “Pretty Polly” as the aunt of Hayley Mills in 1967.   She died in 1981 at the age of 71.   She never seemed to play tender roles.   It would have been interesting to see her in such parts.

Her IMDB mini biography:

The daughter of a musical conductor, fair-haired, slightly plump Brenda de Banzie appeared in just a handful of films. As the result of two outstanding performances, she became an unexpected star when well into her middle age. Brenda first came to public notice as a sixteen year old chorine on the London stage in “Du Barry Was a Lady”, in 1942. By that time, she had already been treading the boards in repertory for some seven years. The theatre was, first and foremost, her preferred medium. In the early 1950’s, she had an excellent run of top-billed performances at the West End, which included “Venus Observed” with Laurence Olivier, and “Murder Mistaken”, as a wealthy hotel owner whose husband is plotting to bump her off for her money. For this, she won the coveted Clarence Derwent Award as Best Supporting Actress.

Critical plaudits tempted her to try her luck on screen, so Brenda eventually made her celluloid debut in Anthony Bushell‘s murder mystery The Long Dark Hall (1951). Her performance, as a rather vulgar and dowdy boarding house landlady, drew good notices – including one from Bosley Crowther of The New York Times. In 1954, director David Leancast Brenda in her defining role as Maggie Hobson, a middle-aged, temperamental spinster, opposite Charles Laughton and John Mills in Hobson’s Choice (1954). She pretty much stole every scene from her illustrious co-stars. Rather surprisingly, a BAFTA, eluded her. In 1958, Brenda landed the prize role of Phoebe Rice, the bitter, alcoholic wife of a second-rate music hall performer (played superbly by Olivier) in John Osborne‘s The Entertainer (1960). She recreated her performance for Broadway and for the film version in 1960 and received a Tony Award nomination. Sadly, little else came along which did much justice to Brenda’s intelligence and acting skills. During the 1960’s, she appeared primarily in matronly character roles and passed away during surgery for a non-malignant brain tumor in March 1981.

– IMDb Mini Biography By: I.S.Mowis

Interesting article on Brenda de Banzie here.

Brenda De Banzie
Brenda De Banzie
Brenda de Banzie
Brenda de Banzie
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John Alderton

John Alderton was born in 1940 in Gainsborough in England.   He has had many successful British television series including “Emergency Ward 10”,  “Please Sir”, “Upstairs, Downstairs”, “Thomas and Sarah” , “My Wife Next Door”,and “Forever Green”.   His films include “Duffy” in 1969 and more recently “Calender Girls”.   He is long married to actress Pauline Collins.   Interview here.

“Wikipedia” entry:

John Alderton was born in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, the son of Ivy (née Handley) and Gordon John Alderton. He grew up in Hullwhere he attended Kingston High School.

Alderton first became familiar to television viewers in 1962, when he played Dr Moone in the ITV soap opera, Emergency – Ward 10. He married his co-star, Jill Browne, but they later divorced. After appearing in British films such as The System (1964), Assignment K(1968), Duffy (1968) and Hannibal Brooks (1969), he played the lead in the comedy series Please Sir!, as hapless teacher Mr Hedges, which later resulted in him also playing the character in the 1971 feature film of the same name. In 1972 he appeared with Hannah Gordon in the BBC comedy series My Wife Next Door which ran for 13 episodes, and for which he won a Jacob’s Award in 1975. He then transferred to another top-rated ITV series when he played Thomas Watkins, the chauffeur, in Upstairs, Downstairs, opposite his wife, Pauline Collins. They had a daughter (the actress Kate Alderton) and two sons and also acted together in spin-off series, Thomas & Sarah, and another sitcom, No, Honestly, as well as in Wodehouse Playhouse (1975–78), a series that featured adaptations of short stories by P. G. Wodehouse (primarily the Mr. Mulliner stories.) In the meantime, he appeared on the big screen against-type as ‘Friend’ in John Boorman‘s cult sci-fi film Zardoz (1974), before returning to more familiar territory, as 1930s Yorkshire vet James Herriot in the 1976 film, It Shouldn’t Happen to a Vet.

He made his first stage appearance with the repertory company of the Theatre Royal, York in August 1961, in Badger’s Green by R.C. Sherriff. After a period in repertory, made his first London appearance at the Mermaid, November, 1965, as Harold Crompton in Spring and Port Wine, later transferring with the production to the Apollo. At the Aldwych, March 1969, played Eric Hoyden in the RSC’s production of Dutch Uncle. At the Comedy Theatre, July 1969, played Jimmy Cooper in The Night I Chased the Women with an Eel. At the Howff, October, 1973, played Stanley in Punch and Judy Stories, and played the same part in “Judies” at the Comedy, January, 1974. At the Shaw, January 1975, played Stanley in Pinter’s The Birthday Party. At the Apollo, May 1976, played four parts in Ayckbourn’s Confusions.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Alderton had few roles, but he narrated the children’s original animated series ‘Little Miss‘ in 1983 (with his wife Pauline Collins) and, from 1987 to 1994, he narrated and voiced all the characters in the original series of Fireman Sam. From 1989 to 1992, he starred in the series Forever Green as the character Jack Boult, and appeared in the film Clockwork Mice in 1995.

Alderton played against his wife Pauline in Mrs Caldicot’s Cabbage War in 2002 and made something of a comeback in the 2003 film, Calendar Girls. Then, in 2004 he played a role in the BBC series of Anthony Trollope‘s He Knew He Was Right. Also in 2004 Alderton starred in the first series of ITV 1’s Doc Martin in an episode entitled “Of All The Harbours In All The Towns” as sailor John Slater, a friend and former lover of Aunt Joan. He played Christopher Casby in the 2008 BBC adaptation of Charles DickensLittle Dorrit.    In 1969, he married actress Pauline Collins and they had three children, a daughter and two sons, and a step daughter.

The above TCM Overview can also be accessed online here.

John Alderton
John Alderton
John Alderton
John Alderton
John Alderton & Pauline Collins
John Alderton & Pauline Collins
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Carol Kane

Carol Kane
Carol Kane

Carol Kane was born in Cleaveland, Ohio in 1952.   Her best known work on television was as Andy Kaufman’s wife in “Taxi”.   Her film credits include “Carnal Knowledge”,  “Annie Hall”, “Hester Street”, ” and “When A Stranger Calls” in 1979.   Her most recent film was “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend” in 2010.

IMDB entry:

Carol Kane was born Carolyn Laurie Kane on June 18, 1952 in Cleveland, Ohio, to Elaine Joy (Fetterman), a jazz singer and pianist, and Michael Myron Kane, an architect. Her family is Ashkenazi Jewish (from Russia, Poland, and Austria). Due to her parents’ divorce, Carol spent most of her childhood in boarding schools, starting at age 12 when she attended the Cherry Lawn School a progressive boarding school in Darien, Connecticut, until 1965, followed by enrollment at the Professional Children’s School in New York City.

She made her professional theater debut in a 1966 production of “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie”. She worked prolifically in several successful received films of the 1970s,Carnal Knowledge (1971) (her film film debut), Dog Day Afternoon (1975), Hester Street(1975) (for which she earned an Oscar nomination for her performance), Annie Hall(1977) and When a Stranger Calls (1979). From 1981-1983 she played the part of what is considered to be her most memorable role. Simka Dahblitz-Gravas, the wife of Latka Gravas (played by ‘Andy Kaufman), on the American television series _Taxi_. For her performance in the series, she earned two Emmy Awards. Other notable credits include:Pandemonium (1982), Racing with the Moon (1984), Transylvania 6-5000 (1985), Jumpin’ Jack Flash (1986), Ishtar (1987), The Princess Bride (1987), Scrooged (1988), The Lemon Sisters (1989) and Addams Family Values (1993). Carol is first and foremost an actress of the stage and is known for her portrayal of the evil headmistress Madame Morrible in the Broadway musical “Wicked”. She played in various productions from 2005-2009.

– IMDb Mini Biography By: Anthony Ronald Vario

  Interview clip here.

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Robert Urich

Robert Urich
Robert Urich

Robert Urich was a talented, likable American actor whose greatest success was on television.   He was born in Ohio in 1946.   His aprents were from Eastern Europe.   His first film was “Endangered Species” and in 1977 his first television series was “S.W.A.T.”   His major successes included “Spencer for Hire”, “Vegas” and “Princess Daisy”.   Robert Urich was married to actress Heather Menzies.   He died in 2002 at the age of 55.

His obituary in “People” magazine:

Emmy-winning “Vega$” and “Spenser: For Hire” star Robert Urich, 55, died of cancer on Tuesday morning at a hospital in Thousand Oaks, Calif., his publicist, Cindy Guagenti, told the Associated Press. He was surrounded by family members (wife Heather Menzies and children Ryan, Emily and Allison) and friends, she said. Urich, an Ohio native, was first diagnosed with synovial cell sarcoma, a rare cancer that attacks the body’s joints, in 1996 when doctors discovered a tumor in his groin. Urich eventually went into remission following chemotherapy, radiation treatments and two operations. Last November, Urich told Variety columnist Army Archerd that some new tumors had been discovered over the summer, but that “a wonder drug cleared them up.” Urich was in the process of writing his memoirs, “An Extraordinary Life” (with David Dalton), when his health took a turn for the worse, Archerd reported earlier this week. Urich and his wife had established the Heather and Robert Urich Fund for Sarcoma Research at the University of Michigan to accelerate research into sarcoma, and he recently had costarred in the short-lived NBC sitcom “Emeril.” His best-known roles were as private eye Dan Tanna in “Vega$,” which ran on ABC from 1978-81, and then as the title character in “Spenser: For Hire,” which ABC aired from 1985-88. A memorial service in Los Angeles is set for Friday.

His “People” obituary can also be accessed here.