1940s & 50s – When singers could sing.

September 8, 2017 // 3 Comments

THE ANDREWS SISTERS – L to R Maxene (1916 – 95), Patty (1916 – 2013) & LaVerne (1911-67)  Whichever way you look at it the Andrews Sisters were a uniformly unattractive trio, yet they were a phenomenally successful singing group, especially during World War Two. Maxene was the dominant one handled most of the group’s bookings and business dealings with their manager Lou Levy. [...]

Suzan Ball – A sad tale.

September 6, 2017 // 2 Comments

  SUZAN BALL (1934 – 55)  There have been many sad stories come out of Hollywood and Suzan Ball’s is one of the saddest. She had only made eight movies (and in two of those she was ‘uncredited), when suddenly her career and her life were over. Fate chose to allocate her a lot of pain and anguish in her brief life, a life that began in Jamestown, New York in 1934 and ended just 21 [...]

Sessue Hayakawa – Japan’s Hollywood superstar.

September 4, 2017 // 0 Comments

  HAYAKAWA, Sessue (1889 – 1973)                       Other than die-hard fans of The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), very few modern movie buffs would even have heard of Sessue Hayakawa, much less be familiar with his career. His performance as Colonel Saito in David Lean’s masterly film made him known to millions around the world over half a century ago, but silent movie [...]

B – LIST BEAUTIES – Pt 1.

September 2, 2017 // 0 Comments

B – LIST BEAUTIES OF THE STUDIO SYSTEM’S FINAL DAYS – PT 1 For the final 15 years of the studio system, from the end of World War Two until about 1960, an enormous number of starlets were signed to five and seven year contracts by the large and small lots. Many did not make it to the big screen before their options expired, a few went on to become major players and the rest had [...]

GOLDIE HAWN (1945- ) – a self-made star.

August 31, 2017 // 0 Comments

  GOLDIE HAWN (1945 – )                           Goldie Hawn is a direct descendent of the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence, one William Rutledge. If you have seen the musical 1776, Rutledge is the southern gentleman whose portrayer sings what is arguably the best song in the picture – Molasses to Rum. Mr. Rutledge went on to fight courageously in the [...]

PIER ANGELI (1932-71) – A casualty of stardom, adulation and the high life.

August 29, 2017 // 2 Comments

  PIER ANGELI (1932-71)                                      Anna Maria Pierangeli was born in Sardinia in 1932 and would one day evolve into Hollywood movie star Pier Angeli. Her twin sister, Maria Luisa, would also change her name and achieve limited screen success as Marisa Pavan. The family moved to Rome when the girls were three, and then to California in 1950. [...]

Barbara Stanwyck (1907-90).

August 27, 2017 // 2 Comments

  BARBARA STANWYCK                        Barbara Stanwyck was one of those actresses whose performances ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous. From brilliant to lousy. Admittedly, most performers have roles they are extremely proud of and others that make them cringe, but Stanwyck was a bit different in that her best ever performance (in my opinion) and her worst ever [...]

What happened to Glenn Miller?

August 25, 2017 // 0 Comments

  Major Glenn Miller 1944 Bernie Woods was the Music Editor of Variety during the Big Band Era. In that capacity he got to know all the bandleaders, singers and musicians. His 1994 memoir titled ‘When the Music Stopped’ pulls no punches when he discusses individuals, and he had little time for the legendary Glenn Miller. To quote Bernie, ‘Miller was a cold, calculating man very [...]

The Divine Dinah Shore (1916-94).

August 23, 2017 // 2 Comments

  DINAH SHORE                                     She was born Frances Rose Shore in Winchester, Tennessee in 1916. Friends called her ‘Fanny’, but to the music-loving world she was known as Dinah Shore. She altered her Christian name after success with a song of the same name early in her career. The divine Dinah arrived on the recording scene in the late thirties. And [...]

SNAPSHOTS

August 21, 2017 // 6 Comments

           PIPER LAURIE (1932 – )                with Ronald Reagan in Louisa (1950)   with Paul Newman in The Hustler My favourite Piper Laurie performance was in The Hustler (1961), where she played Paul Newman’s lame girlfriend Sarah Packard. In her highly readable memoir she made no bones about her disdain for former US President Ronald Reagan. Of course, he [...]
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