Deaf actress Marlee Matlin found out about her Oscar nomination for Children of a Lesser God (1986) from her interpreter Jack Jason while she was in rehab at the Betty Ford Clinic for twenty-six days. She was seeking help because of her drug problems and did not wish to field questions from the press about her nomination, not wanting them to know that she was in recovery, so she responded to Jack’s news with the words, ‘I’ll scream later.’ The phrase would later become the title for her 2009 memoir, in which she credited her ex-boyfriend, actor William Hurt, with helping her to seek professional help with her drug abuse. Even so, their relationship was physically abusive on both sides; their fights being alcohol and drug-fueled.
MGM star ANN MILLER
Elderly residents of San Francisco will no doubt remember Dolfina, the famous ‘Girl in the Fishbowl’, always on display at the Bal Tabarin restaurant in North Beach. The Bal Tabarin would later become Bimbo’s 365 Club, where Rita Hayworth danced in the chorus. Singer/dancer Ann Miller was discovered dancing there at the ripe old age of thirteen!
German star HARDY KRUGER
It has been claimed that Hollywood created the story that actor Hardy Kruger had refused to take part in an ambush of American soldiers in March 1945, when he was serving in the SS during WW2. According to the story he was promptly sentenced to death for cowardice, but a higher ranking SS officer revoked the death sentence and put him to work as a front line messenger. We know that Kruger definitely received a special education at an elite Adolf Hitler School before being assigned as a sixteen year-old to the SS in 1944. Prior to that he was compulsorily inducted into the Hitler Youth at thirteen. In 1962, while shooting the John Wayne film Hatari! he fell in love with Africa and purchased the Momella Farm, where much of the picture was shot, and opened it up as a tourist lodge. He died of undisclosed causes in January 2022, aged ninety-three.
If you have ever wondered why a TV series as popular as Batman (1966-7) ended after just two seasons, the answer may well surprise you. Officially, the ABC network cited high production costs and falling ratings as their reasons for killing the show halfway through its third season, but that was only part of the story. Producers were hoping that another network would pick up the series and NBC was more than willing to do so, but unfortunately, nobody told the guys with the bulldozers to hold fire for a few weeks before destroying the sets. Once NBC became aware that replacing all the destroyed sets would cost the network hundreds of thousands of dollars, they opted not to pick up the series.
DALLAS star PATRICK DUFFY
Why exactly did the writers of the TV series Dallas choose to write off all of Season 9 (1985-6)? The explanation is mind-boggling. Back in Season 8, star Patrick Duffy decided he was too big for the series – so he quit. The writers needed to remove him from the show so they had him killed by a speeding car. Following his demise in the show, however, prima donna Patrick experienced a change of heart. He wanted back in! In fact, he even told the Huffington Post that he went back because he was asked to. Few pundits believed him, but this left producers with the dilemma of explaining the return of a man who had been killed right before viewers’ eyes. They chose to tell audiences that the entire ninth season was someone’s dream. It did not happen at all! Most fans could not stomach such a stupid plot twist and the ratings reflected this. Within two years Dallas was no more.
After billionaire Howard Hughes died in 1976, actress Terry Moore claimed that the pair had secretly married on a yacht in international waters off the coast of Mexico in 1949. According to Terry, the couple never divorced. Over the years leading up to his death she married three other men despite being still ‘married’ to the billionaire. She married others in 1951, 1956 and 1959. Incredibly, Hughes’ estate paid her an undisclosed settlement in 1984 anyway.
Lovely actress Janet Munro arrived in this world via Blackpool, Lancashire, England in 1934. At twenty-five she was signed by Walt Disney to a contract and appeared in Darby O’Gill and the Little People (1959), Third Man on the Mountain (1959) and Swiss Family Robinson (1960). She even picked up a Golden Globe for ‘most promising newcomer’. As she outgrew Disney, however, and began chasing more mature, spicier roles, the public failed to respond and her career plateaued. By the time she wed actor Ian Hendry in 1963 her life, both professionally and personally was starting to unravel. She soon developed an acute alcohol problem as she endeavoured to keep pace with her husband’s drinking. Janet passed away in 1972, aged just thirty-eight. It was reported that she choked to death at a London hotel whilst drinking tea, but the immediate cause of death was listed as acute myocarditis; the underlying cause being chronic ischemic heart disease. The movie world had lost a genuinely lovable actress far too soon.
Sidney Poitier was a native of Cat Island in the Bahamas, although he was born two months prematurely in Miami, Florida, during a visit by his parents. In 1963, he became the first black man to win an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Lead Role, when his performance as Homer Smith in Lilies of the Field (1963) was honoured. It should be noted, however, that he was not the first black man to ever win an Oscar. That distinction went to James Baskett when he received an Honorary Award for his performance in the 1946 film Song of the South.
Being a citizen of the Bahamas, part of the British Commonwealth, saw Poitier awarded an honorary knighthood of the Order of the British Empire in 1974. As an honorary knight, he was not entitled to call himself or to be known as ‘Sir Sidney Poitier’, but could use the letters ‘KBE or K.B.E.’, should he have chosen to do so. He was appointed Ambassador of the Bahamas to Japan in the 1990s. Sidney passed away in January 2022, just six weeks shy of his ninety-fifth birthday.