Reviews, articles, rants & ramblings on the darker side of the media fringe

Biography: ACTORS

Kitty Winn

Kitty-Winn_BannerKitty Winn (born February 21, 1943) is an award-winning American Actress. Katherine Tupper (“Kitty”) Winn was born in Washington, D.C. As the daughter of an army officer she traveled widely during much of her childhood, including, time spent in United States, England, Germany, China, India and Japan.

panic_in_needle_park_PosterHer career has spanned a wide range of drama productions on stage, in motion pictures and on television. She studied acting at Centenary Junior College and Boston University, graduating from the latter in 1966. During her college years Winn acted in student productions at Centenary Junior College, Boston University, and Harvard College and summer stock for two summers at The Priscilla Beach Theatre south of Boston. Shortly after college she joined the company at American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco where she remained for four years.

Panic-in-Needle-Park_Kitty-Winn_Al-Pacino_BTSIn the fall of 1970 Kitty left American Conservatory Theater to play opposite Al Pacino in the film ‘Panic in Needle Park’ for which she won the Best Actress award at the 1971 Cannes Film Festival. The film portrays life among a group of heroin addicts who hang out in “Needle Park” (the nicknames of Verdi Square and Sherman Square on New York’s Upper West Side near 72nd Street and Broadway). The film is a love story between Bobby (Pacino), a young addict and small-time hustler, and Helen (Kitty Winn), a restless woman who finds Bobby charismatic. She becomes an addict, and life goes downhill for them both as their addictions worsen, eventually leading to a series of betrayals.

Kitty-Winn_The-ExorcistTo set the atmosphere, no music was used in the film, much of which features cinéma vérité-style footage. It is believed to be the first mainstream film to feature actual drug injection.

Although she went on to do several more films, such as ‘The Exorcist’, she always returned to her great love, the theatre. In The Exorcist, Kitty played Sharon Spencer, movie actress Chris McNeil’s friend and personal assistant who acts as Regan’s tutor.

The Exorcist_Kitty WinnKitty co-starred in Peeper (1975) with Michael Caine, before returning to the role of Sharon in the Exorcist sequel, Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977).

Kitty retired in 1978 but returned to play Cordelia in “The Tragedy of King Lear” for KCET in 1983. She did not return to the stage again until 2011 when she played the lead in “The Last Romance” at the San Jose Repertory Theatre. For this performance she was nominated for a best actress award by the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle.


John Barrymore

John-Barrymore_Banner_HeaderJohn Sidney Blyth (February 15, 1882 – May 29, 1942), better known as John Barrymore, was an American actor of stage and screen. He first gained fame as a handsome stage actor in light comedy, then high drama and culminating in groundbreaking portrayals in Shakespearean plays Hamlet and Richard III. His success continued with motion pictures in various genres in both the silent and sound eras. Barrymore’s personal life has been the subject of much writing before and since his death in 1942.

John-Barrymore_Dr. Jekyll and Mr. HydeA member of a multi-generation theatrical dynasty, he was the brother of Lionel Barrymore and Ethel Barrymore, and was the paternal grandfather of Drew Barrymore. Barrymore delivered some of the most critically acclaimed performances in theatre and film history and was widely regarded as the screen’s greatest performer during a movie career spanning 25 years as a leading man in more than 60 films.

Barrymore entered films around 1913 with the feature An American Citizen. He or someone using the name Jack Barrymore is given credit for four short films made in 1912 and 1913, but this has not been proven to be John Barrymore. Barrymore was most likely convinced into giving films a try out of economic necessity and the fact that he hated touring a play all over the United States. He could make a couple of movies in the off-season theater months or shoot a film in one part of a day while doing a play in another part. He also may have been goaded into films by his brother Lionel and his uncle Sidney, who had both been successfully making movies for a couple of years. Some of Barrymore’s silent film films included Dr, Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920), Sherlock Holmes (1922), Beau Brummel (1924), played Captain Ahab in The Sea Beast (1926), and Don Juan (1926).

Poster - Dr_ Jekyll and Mr_ HydeWhen talking pictures arrived, Barrymore’s stage-trained voice added a new dimension to his screen work. He made his talkie debut with a dramatic reading of the big Duke of Gloucester speech from Henry VI, part 3 in Warner Brothers’ musical revue The Show of Shows (“Would they were wasted: marrow, bones and all”), and reprised his Captain Ahab role in Moby Dick (1930). His other leads included Svengali (1931), The Mad Genius (1931), Grand Hotel (1932), Dinner at Eight (1933) and Twentieth Century (1934). He worked opposite many of the screen’s foremost leading ladies, including Greta Garbo, Katherine Hepburn, Jean Harlow, Joan Crawford and Carole Lombard.

Barrymore collapsed while appearing on Rudy Vallee’s radio show and died in his hospital room, May 29, 1942. His dying words were “Die? I should say not, dear fellow. No Barrymore would allow such a conventional thing to happen to him.”

John-Barrymore_W.C.FieldsAccording to Errol Flynn’s memoirs, film director Raoul Walsh “borrowed” Barrymore’s body before burial, and left his corpse propped in a chair for a drunken Flynn to discover when he returned home from The Cock and Bull Bar. This was re-created in the movie W.C. Fields and Me. Other accounts of this classic Hollywood tale substitute actor Peter Lorre in the place of Walsh, but Walsh himself tells the story in Richard Schickel’s 1973 documentary The Men Who Made the Movies. However, Barrymore’s great friend Gene Fowler denied the story, stating that he and his son held vigil over the body at the funeral home until the funeral and burial.

He was buried in East Los Angeles, at Calvary Cemetery, on June 2. Surviving family members in attendance were his brother Lionel and his daughter Diana. Ex wife Elaine also attended. Among his pallbearers were Hollywood Legends W.C. Fields, Louis B. Mayer and David O. Selznick. Years later, Barrymore’s son John had the body reinterred at Philadelphia’s Mount Vernon Cemetery.


Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee_BannerBruce Lee (born Lee Jun-fan; 27 November 1940 – 20 July 1973) was a Chinese American actor, martial arts instructor, philosopher, film director, film producer, screenwriter, and founder of the Jeet Kune Do martial arts movement. He is widely considered by many commentators, critics, media and other martial artists to be the most influential martial artist, and a cultural icon.

bruce-lee_enter the dragonLee was born in San Francisco to parents of Hong Kong heritage but was raised in Hong Kong until his late teens. It was in Hong Kong where the largest influence on Lee’s martial arts development was his study of Wing Chun. Lee began training in Wing Chun at the age of 13 under the Wing Chun teacher Yip Man in 1954, after losing a fight with rival gang members. Yip’s regular classes generally consisted of the forms practice, chi sao (sticking hands) drills, wooden dummy techniques, and free-sparring. There was no set pattern to the classes. Yip tried to keep his students from fighting in the street gangs of Hong Kong by encouraging them to fight in organized competitions.

enter_the_dragon_poster_005After a year into his Wing Chun training, most of Yip Man’s other students refused to train with Lee after they learnt of his ancestry (his mother was half Chinese and half Caucasian) as the Chinese generally were against teaching their martial arts techniques to non-Asians. Lee’s sparring partner, Hawkins Cheung states, “Probably fewer than six people in the whole Wing Chun clan were personally taught, or even partly taught, by Yip Man”. However, Lee showed a keen interest in Wing Chun, and continued to train privately with Yip Man and Wong Shun Leung in 1955.

Lee emigrated to the United States at the age of 18 to claim his U.S. citizenship and receive his higher education. It was during this time that he began teaching martial arts, which soon led to film and television roles.

Bruce Lee_Game of Death_posterHis Hong Kong and Hollywood-produced films elevated the traditional Hong Kong martial arts film to a new level of popularity and acclaim and influenced martial arts and martial arts films in Hong Kong and the rest of the world. He is noted for his roles in five feature-length films: Lo Wei’s The Big Boss (1971) and Fist of Fury (1972); Way of the Dragon (1972), directed and written by Lee; Warner Brothers’ Enter the Dragon (1973), directed by Robert Clouse; and Game of Death (1978), directed by Robert Clouse. Extended articles on each of these movies will appear here at a later date.

Lee became an iconic figure known throughout the world. Although he initially trained in Wing Chun, he later rejected well-defined martial art styles, favouring instead to use techniques from various sources in the spirit of his personal martial arts philosophy, which he dubbed Jeet Kune Do (The Way of the Intercepting Fist).

On 10 May 1973, Lee collapsed in Golden Harvest studios while doing dubbing work for the movie Enter the Dragon. Suffering from seizures and headaches, he was immediately rushed to Hong Kong Baptist Hospital where doctors diagnosed cerebral edema. They were able to reduce the swelling.

bruce-lee_game of deathOn 20 July 1973, Lee was in Hong Kong, to have dinner with George Lazenby, with whom he intended to make a film. According to Lee’s wife Linda, Lee met producer Raymond Chow at 2 pm at home to discuss the film Game of Death.  Lee later complained of a headache, and actress Betty Lee Ting gave him an analgesic (painkiller), he went for a nap and never woke up. He died later that day in Kowloon Tong, he was only 32.


Mercedes McCambridge

The Exorcist_Mercedes McCambridgeCarlotta Mercedes McCambridge (March 16, 1916 – March 2, 2004) was an Academy Award-winning and Golden Globe-winning American actress. Orson Welles called her “the world’s greatest living radio actress.”

McCambridge was born in Joliet, Illinois, the daughter of parents Marie and John Patrick McCambridge. She graduated from Mundelin College in Chicago. She began her career as a radio actor during the 1940’s while also performing on Broadway.

Her Hollywood break came when she was cast opposite Broderick Crawford in All the King’s Men (1949). McCambridge won the 1949 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role, while the film won Best Picture for that year. McCambridge also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress and New Star of the Year – Actress for her performance.

In 1954, the actress co-starred with Joan Crawford and Sterling Hayden in the offbeat western drama, Johnny Guitar, now regarded as a cult classic. McCambridge and Hayden publicly declared their dislike of Crawford, with McCambridge labeling the film’s star “a mean, tipsy, powerful, rotten-egg lady.”

McCambridge played the supporting role of ‘Luz’ in the George Stevens epic, Giant (1956), which starred Elizabeth Taylor, and James Dean in his last role. In 1959, McCambridge appeared opposite Katherine Hepburn, Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor in Joseph L. Mankiewicz’ film adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ Suddenly Last Summer. 

Of more interest to casual readers of this site, McCambridge provided the dubbed voice of the demonically possessed child Regan in The Exorcistacted by Linda Blair. McCambridge was promised a screen credit for the film’s initial release, but she discovered at the premiere that her name was absent. Her dispute with director William Friedkin and Warner Bros. over her exclusion ended when, with the help of the Screen Actors Guild, she was properly credited for her vocal work in the film.

In the 1970’s, she toured in a road company production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof as Big Mama, opposite John Carradine as Big Daddy. She appeared as a guest artist in college productions such as El Centro College’s 1979 The Mousetrap, in which she received top billing despite her character being murdered less than 15 minutes into the play.

In the mid-1970’s, McCambridge briefly took a position as director of Livingrin, a Pennsylvania rehabilitation center for alcoholics. She was at the same time putting the finishing touches on her soon-to-be released autobiography, The Quality of Mercy: An Autobiography (Times Books, 1981).

McCambridge died on March 2, 2004 in La Jolla, California, of natural causes.


Christian Bale – Part 2

Christian Bale_movie banner_2In 2004, after completing filming for The Machinist, Bale won the coveted role of Batman and his alter ego Bruce Wayne in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, a reboot of the Batman film series.

public_enemies_poster_02Still fresh off The Machinist, it became necessary for Bale to bulk up to match Batman’s muscular physique. He was given a deadline of six months to do this. Bale recalled it as far from a simple accomplishment: “…when it actually came to building muscle, I was useless. I couldn’t do one push up the first day. All of the muscles were gone, so I had a real tough time rebuilding all of that.” With the help of a personal trainer, Bale succeeded in meeting the deadline, gaining a total of 100 lb (45 kg) in six months. He went from about 130 lbs to 230 lbs. He then discovered that he had actually gained more weight than the director desired, and dropped his weight to 190 lbs by the time filming began.

Bale had initial concerns about playing Batman, as he felt more ridiculous than intimidating in the Batsuit, he dealt with this by depicting Batman as a savage beast. To attain a deeper understanding of the character, Bale read various Batman comic books. He explained his interpretation of the young boy: “Batman is his hidden, demonic rage-filled side. The creature Batman creates is an absolutely sincere creature and one that he has to control but does so in a very haphazard way. He’s capable of enacting violence — and to kill — so he’s constantly having to rein himself in.” For Bale, the most gruelling part about playing Batman was the suit. “You stick it on, you get hot, you sweat and you get a headache in the mask,” he said. “But I’m not going to bitch about it because I get to play Batman.” When promoting the film in interviews and public events, Bale retained an American accent to avoid confusion.

batman-the-dark-knight-trilogy-2012-wallpaper-for-1440x900-widescreen-8-66Batman Begins was released in the U.S. on 15 June 2005 and was a U.S. and international triumph for Warner Bros., costing approximately US$135 million to produce and taking in over US$370 million in returns worldwide. Bale earned the Best Hero award at the 2006 MTV Movie Awards for his performance.

Bale reprised his role as Batman in Nolan’s Batman Begins sequel The Dark Knight. He trained in the Kevsi Fighting Method, and performed many of his own stunts. The Dark Knight was released in the U.S. on 18 July 2008 and stormed through the box office, with a record-breaking $158.4 million in the U.S. in its first weekend. It broke the $300 million barrier in 10 days, the $400 million mark in 18 days and the $500 million mark in 43 days, three new U.S. box office records set by the film. The film went on to gross over $1 billion at the box office worldwide, making it the fourth-highest grossing movie worldwide of all time, before adjusting for inflation.

The Dark Knight Rises_Batman_posterBale reprised his Batman role in The Dark Knight Rises released on 20 July 2012, making Bale the actor who has played Batman the most times in feature film. Bale has given the same opinion as Nolan that, if the latter was forced to bring Robin into the films, he would never again play Batman; even though one of his favorite Batman stories, Batman: Dark Victory, focuses on Robin’s origin.

In 2006, Bale took on four projects: Rescue Dawn, by German film maker Werner Herzog, had him playing U.S. Fighter pilot Dieter Dengler, who has to fight for his life after being shot down while on a mission during the Vietnam War. Bale left a strong impression on Herzog, with the director complimenting his acting abilities: “I find him one of the greatest talents of his generation. We made up our own minds long before he did Batman.

batman_the_dark_knight_rises-wideIn The Prestige, an adaptation of the Christopher Priest novel about a rivalry between two Victorian stage magicians, Bale was reunited with Batman BeginsMichael Caine and director Christopher Nolan. The cast of The Prestige also included Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, and David Bowie. I’m Not There, a film in which Bale again worked alongside Todd Haynes and Heath Ledger (who would go on to play The Joker in The Dark Knight), is an artistic reflection of the life of Bob Dylan. He starred opposite Russell Crowe in a commercially and critically successful Western film, 3:10 to Yuma. Bale played John Connor in Terminator Salvation and FBI agent Melvin Purvis in Michael Mann’s Public Enemies. 

In 2010, Bale portrayed Dicky Eklund in the biopic The Fighter. He received critical acclaim for his role and won several awards, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor and the Screen Actor’s Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role.


Christian Bale – Part 1

Christian Bale_movie banner_1Christian Charles Philip Bale (born 30 January 1974) is an English actor. Best known for his roles in American films, Bale has starred in both big budget Hollywood films and the smaller projects from independent producers and art houses.

Christian_BaleBale first caught the public eye at the age of 13, when he was cast in the starring role of Steven Spielberg’s film version of the J. G. Ballard novel Empire of the Sun (1987). He played an English boy who is separated from his parents and subsequently finds himself lost in a Japanese internment camp during World War II.

The attention the press and his schoolmates lavished upon him after this took a toll on Bale, and he contemplated giving up acting until Kenneth Branagh approached him and persuaded him to appear in Henry V in 1989. In 1990, he played the role of Jim Hawkins opposite Charlton Heston (as Long John Silver) in Treasure Island, an adaptation of the classic book by Robert Louis Stephenson.

Bale was recommended by actress Winona Ryder to star in Gillian Armstrong’s 1994 film Little Women; he provided the voice for Thomas, a young compatriot of Captain John Smith, in Disney’s Pocahontas (1995) and in 1997 played Arthur Stuart in Velvet Goldmone, Todd Hayne’s tribute to 70’s glam rock.

Empire of the Sun_Christian Bale_Steven SpielbergIn 1999, Bale played serial killer Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, director Mary Harron’s adaptation of the controversial novel by Bret Easton Ellis. Bale was briefly dropped from the project in favour of Leonardo DiCaprio, but DiCaprio eventually dropped out to star in The Beach, and Bale was cast once again. He researched his character by studying the novel and prepared himself physically for the role by spending months tanning and exercising in order to achieve the “Olympian physique” of the character as described in the original novel. He went so far as to distance himself from the cast and crew to maintain the darker side of Bateman’s character. American Psycho premiered at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival to much controversy. Roger Ebert condemned the film at first, calling it pornography, and “the most loathed film at Sundance,” but gave it a favourable review, writing that Harron “transformed a novel about bloodlust into a movie about men’s vanity.” Of Bale’s performance, he wrote, “Christian Bale is heroic in the way he allows the character to leap joyfully into despicability; there is no instinct for self-preservation here, and that is one mark of a good actor.”

christian_bale_american_psychoOn 14 April 2000, Lions Gate Films released American Psycho in theatres. Bale was later approached to make a cameo appearance in another Bret Easton Ellis adaptation, The Rules of Attraction, a film loosely connected to American Psycho, but he declined out of loyalty to Harron’s vision of Bateman, which he felt could not be properly expressed by anyone else. In 2000, he again played a wealthy murderer, this time in John Singleton’s remake of Shaft. 

Equilibrium was Bale’s third film of 2002, costing US$20 million to produce but earning just over US$5 million worldwide. In Equilibrium, Bale played John Preston, an elite law enforcer in a dystopian society. Equilibrium featured a fictional martial art called Gun Kata that combined gunfighting with hand-to-hand combat. According to moviebodycounts.com, the character of John Preston has the third most on-screen kills in a single movie ever with 118, exactly half of the movie’s total of 236.

Christian Bale_American PsychoAfter a year’s hiatus, Bale returned in 2004 to play Trevor Reznik, the title character in the psychological thriller The Machinist. Bale gained attention for his devotion to the role and for the lengths to which he went to achieve Reznik’s emaciated, skeletal appearance. He went without proper rest for prolonged periods, and placed himself on a crash diet of generally coffee and apples, which reduced his weight by 63 pounds (4 st 4 lb/27 kg) in a matter of months. By the end of filming Bale weighed only 121 pounds (8 st 9 lb/55 kg), a transformation he described as “very calming mentally” and which drew comparisons to Robert De Niro’s weight-gaining for his role as Jake LaMotta in the 1980 film Raging Bull. Bale claimed that he had not worked for a period of time before he was cast in the film. ” I just hadn’t found scripts that I’d really been interested in. So I was really dying for something to arrive. Then when this one did, I just didn’t want to put it down. I finished it and, upon the kind of revelation that you get at the end, I immediately wanted to go back and re-visit it, to take a look at what clues I could have gotten throughout”. The Machinist was a low-budget production, costing roughly US$5 million to produce, and was given only a limited US release.

Bale, an admirer of Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, was then cast as the voice of the title character, Howl, in the English language dud of the Japanese director’s fantasy anime adventure Howls’ Moving Castle, an adaptation of Diana Wynne Jones’ novel. Its gross in the US was US$4,711,096, a fraction of its worldwide gross (US$235,184,110).


Eileen Dietz

Eileen Dietz_Pazuzu_The ExorcistEileen Dietz (born January 11, 1945, Bayside, New York) is an American actress who is best known for her appearances in many horror films such as the face of the demon in The Exorcist and for her portrayal of characters on the soap operas Guiding Light and General Hospital. 

Exorcising My Demons_Eileen DietzAs a child, Dietz appeared in commercials with her twin sister Marianne, and beginning at the age of 12 she started studying acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse. She made her television debut in 1963 in a small guest role on The Doctors. Shortly thereafter she landed a recurring role on the soap opera Love of Life. She made her film debut starring in the 1966 movie Teenage Gang Debs as Ellie. The following year she portrayed Penny Wohl in the critically acclaimed independent film Holzman’s Diary. The film never got much in the way of theatrical distribution despite having Dietz’s nude scene featured in Life Magazine’s photo spread and in the book of the film. She didn’t recall if she auditioned for the role of Penny but she added, “it was a fun shoot.”

Eileen Dietz_The ExorcistDietz spent much of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s appearing in theatre productions. In 1972, she portrayed an androgynous runaway in the premiere of Joyce Carol Oates’ Ontological Proof of My Existence. Her portrayal in the play led to an invitation to do a screen test for William Friedkin film The Exorcist. She was cast in two memorable roles in the film: The Demon (better known as The Face of Death), for this role, Dietz actually only appeared on film for 8–10 seconds; and the ‘Possessed Regan’ (the Linda Blair character). In The Exorcist Pazuzu appears as a demon who possesses Regan McNeil; Pazuzu a fictional character and the main antagonist in The Exorcist novels and film series created by William Peter Blatty. Blatty derived the character from Assyrian and Babylonian mythology, where Pazuzu was considered the king of the demons and of the wind, and the son of the god Hanbi.

exorcist-original-posterAfter The Exorcist, Dietz had a highly active career on television during the 1970’s, appearing as a guest star on such shows as Planet of the Apes, Korg: 70,000 B.C. and Happy Days among others.

In 1980, Dietz joined the cast of General Hospital as Sarah Abbott, a role she played for several years. She also appeared as a guest star on Trapper John, M.D. (1982) and in the horror film Freeway Maniac (1989). More recent film credits include Naked in the Cold Sun (1997), Hurricane Festival (1997), Bad Guys (2000), Exorcism (2003), The Mojo Cafe (2004), Neighborhood Watch (2005), Constantine (2005), Karla (2006), Creepshow III (2006), Dog Lover’s Symphony (2006), and Tracing Cowboys (2008).

The Exorcist_Dick Smith_Eileen Dietz2009 was a very busy year for Dietz. She had several films coming out, including Stingy Jack, H2: Halloween 2, See How They RunThe Queen of Screams (2009), ButterflySecond Coming of Mary,Legend of the Mountain Witch, and Monsterpiece Theatre Volume 1.


Nastassja Kinski

Nastassja Kinski_movie bannerNastassja Kinski (born 24 January 1961) is an actress who has appeared in more than 60 films, in both her native Europe and the United States. Kinksi’s starring roles include her Golden Globe Award-winning portrayal of the title character in Tess and multi-award winner Paris, Texas, one of a number of films made with German director Wim Wenders. She has also starred in a remake of erotic horror classic Cat People. 

Nastassja KinskiBorn in Berlin as Nastassja Aglaia Nakszynski, Kinski is the daughter of the German actor Klaus Kinski from his marriage to actress Ruth Brigitte Tocki. Her parents divorced in 1968. Kinski rarely saw her father after the age of 10, and she and her mother struggled financially. They eventually lived in a commune in Munich.

Her career began in Germany as a model, during which the German New Wave actress Lisa Kreuzer helped get her the role of the dumb Mignon in Wim Wenders film The Wrong Move. In 1976, while still a teenager, she had her first two major roles: firstly in the Wolfgang Petersen directed feature-length episode Reifezeuanis of German TV crime series Tatort; then in British Hammer Film Productions horror film To the Devil… a Daughter (1976). Directed by Peter Sykes and produced by Terra-Filmkunst, it is based on the novel of the same name by Dennis Wheatley, and stars Richard Widmark, Christopher Lee, Honor Blackman and Denholm Elliott.

Kinski_To the Devil a DaughterShe has stated that, as a child, she felt exploited by the industry, telling a journalist from W Magazine, “If I had had somebody to protect me or if I had felt more secure about myself, I would not have accepted certain things. Nudity things. And inside it was just tearing me apart.”

In 1978 Kinski starred in Italian romance Stay As You Are (Cosi come sei), which New Line Cinema released in the United States in December 1979, helping Kinski to get more recognition there. Time magazine wrote that she was “simply ravishing, genuinely sexy and high-spirited without being painfully aggressive about it.” Director Roman Polanski urged Kinski to study acting with Lee Strasberg in the United States and cast her in his film, Tess (1979).

Richard Avedon - Nastassja Kinski and the Serpent (14 June 1981)In 1981 Richard Avedon photographed Kinski with a Burmese python coiled around her naked body. 

In 1982 she starred in romantic musical One from the Heart and erotic horror movie Cat People (1982),  a remake of the 1942 film of the same name which starred  Simone Simon. Directed by Paul Schrader, it starred Kinski and Malcolm McDowall.

Cat People_Lobby Card_Nastassja Kinski_Malcolm McDowallThe Dudley Moore comedy Unfaithfully Yours and an adaptation of John Irving’s The Hotel New Hampshire followed in 1984. Then, Paris, Texas, her most acclaimed film to date, won the top award at the Cannes. The film focuses on an amnesiac (Harry Dean Stanton) who, after mysteriously wandering out of the desert, attempts to revive his life with his brother (Dean Stockwell) and seven-year-old son, and to track down his former wife (Kinski). At the 1984 Cannes Film Festival, the film unanimously won the Palme d’Or. 

During this period Kinski split her time between Europe and the United States, making big-budget bomb Moon in the Gutter (1983), Harem (1985), Torrents of Spring (1989), Exposed (1983), Maria’s Lovers (1984) and Revolution (1985).

Paris, Texas_Nastassja KinskiIn One from the Heart, director Francis Ford Coppola brought Kinski to the U.S. to act as a “Felliniesque circus performer to represent the twinkling evanescence of Eros”, apparently… The film failed at the box office and was a major loss for Coppola’s new studio, Zoetrope Studios.

Other appearances include Terminal Velocity, One Night Stand, Somebody is Waiting Your Friends & Neighbors, John Landis’ Susan’s Plan, The Lost Son, and Inland Empire for David Lynch.


Rutger Hauer

Rutger Hauer_movies bannerRutger Oelsen Hauer (born 23 January 1944) is a Dutch actor, writer, and environmentalist. His career began in 1969 with the title role in the popular Dutch television series Floris. His film credits include Flesh+Blood, Blind Fury, Blade Runner, The Hitcher, Escape from Sobibor (for which he won a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor), Nighthawks, Sin City, Ladyhawke, Batman Begins, Hobo with a Shotgun, and The Rite. Hauer also founded an AIDS awareness organization, the Rutger Hauer Starfish Association.

Rutger-Hauer-as-Roy-in-Blade-RunnerHauer was born in Breukelen in the Netherlands, the son of drama teachers Arend and Teunke. At the age of 15, Hauer ran off to sea and spent a year scrubbing decks aboard a freighter. Returning home, he worked as an electrician and a joiner for three years while attending acting classes at night school.

Rutger Hauer_Roy Batty_Blade RunnerHauer joined an experimental troupe, with which he remained for five years before Paul Verhoeven cast him in the lead role of the successful 1969 television series Floris, a Dutch medieval action drama. The role made him famous in his native country, and Hauer reprised his role for the 1975 German remake Floris von Rosemund. Hauer’s career changed course when Verhoeven cast him in Turkish Delight (1973). The movie found box-office favour abroad as well as at home, and within two years, Hauer was invited to make his English-language debut in the British film The Wilby Conspiracy (1975), Hauer’s supporting role, however, was barely noticed in Hollywood, and he returned to Dutch films for several years.

Hauer made his American debut in the Sylvester Stallone thriller Nighthawks (1981) as a psychopathic and cold-blooded terrorist named Wulfgar. The following year, he appeared in arguably his most famous and acclaimed role as the eccentric and violent but sympathetic anti-hero Roy Batty in Ridley Scott’s 1982 science fiction thriller Blade Runner, in which role he improvised the famous tears in the rain soliloquy. Hauer went on to play the adventurer courting Theresa Russell in the Nicolas Roeg film Eureka (1983), the investigative reporter opposite John Hurt in Sam Peckinpah’s final film, The Osterman Weekend (1983), the hardened mercenary Martin in Flesh & Blood (1985), and the knight paired with Michelle Pfeiffer in Ladyhawke (1985).

Blade_Runner-Rutger_HauerHe continued to make an impression on audiences in The Hitcher (1986), in which he played a mysterious hitchhiker intent on murdering a lone motorist and anyone else in his way. At the height of Hauer’s fame, he was set to be cast as Robocop though the role went to Peter Weller. That same year, Hauer starred as Nick Randall in Wanted: Dead or Alive as the descendant of the character played by Steve McQueen in the television series of the same name. Phillip Noyce directed Hauer in the martial arts action adventure Blind Fury (1989). Hauer returned to science fiction with The Blood of Heroes (1990), in which he played a former champion in a post-apocalyptic world.

By the 1990s, Hauer was well known for his humorous Guinness commercials as well as his screen roles, which had increasingly involved low-budget films such as Split Second, Omega Doom, and New World Disorder. In the late 1980’s and well into 2000, Hauer acted in several British and American television productions, including Inside the Third Reich, Escape from Sobibor (for which he received a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor), Fatherland, Merlin, The 10th Kingdom, Smallville, Alias,  and Stephen King’s update of Salem’s Lot. In 1999, Hauer was awarded the Dutch “Best Actor of the Century Rembrandt Award”.

Rutger Hauer_Blade Runner_btsHauer played an assassin in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2003), a villainous cardinal with influential power in Sin City (2005) and a devious corporate executive running Wayne Enterprises in Batman Begins (2005). In 2009, his role in avant-garde filmmaker Cyrus Frisch’s Dazzle, received positive reviews. The film was praised in Dutch press as “the most relevant Dutch film of the year”. The same year, Hauer starred in the title role of Barbarossa, an Italian film directed by Renzo Martinelli. In April 2010, he was cast in the live action adaptation of the short and fictitious Grindhouse  trailer Hobo with a Shotgun (2011); The Rite (2011), which is loosely based on Matt Baglio’s book The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist, which itself is based on real events as witnessed and recounted by by then, exorcist-in-training, American Father Gary Thomas. Hauer also played vampire hunter Van Helsing in legendary horror director Dario Argento’s Dracula 3D. 

In April 2007, he published his autobiography All Those Moments: Stories of Heroes, Villains, Replicants, and Blade Runners (co-written with Patrick Quinlan), where he discusses many of his movie roles. Proceeds of the book go to Hauer’s Starfish Association.


Piper Laurie

Carrie_movie postersPiper Laurie (born Rosetta Jacobs; January 22, 1932) is an American actress of stage and screen known for her roles in the television series Twin Peaks and the films The Hustler, Carrie and Children of a Lesser God, all of which brought her Academy Award nominations. In 1991, she won a Golden Globe Award for her portrayal of Catherine Martell in Twin Peaks. 

Carrie_Margaret White_Piper LaurieRosetta Jacobs was born in Detroit, Michigan, the younger daughter of Charlotte Sadie and Alfred Jacobs, a furniture dealer. Alfred Jacobs moved the family to Los Angeles, California in 1938, where she attended Hebrew school, and to combat her shyness her parents provided her with weekly elocution lessons; this activity eventually led her to minor roles at nearby Universal Studios.

In 1949, Rosetta Jacobs signed a contract with Universal, changing her screen name to Piper Laurie, by which she has been known professionally since. Her breakout role was in Louisa, with Ronald Reagan; several other roles followed before, she moved to New York to study acting and to seek work on the stage and in television.

She was again lured to Hollywood by the offer to co-star with Paul Newman in The Hustler, which was released in 1961. She played Newman’s crippled girlfriend, Sarah Packard, and for her performance she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. Substantial movie roles did not come her way after The Hustler, so she moved back to New York State.

Piper Laurie_Carrie_Margaret WhiteShe accepted the role of Margaret White in the film Carrie (1976), and received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in that role. In the original film adaptation by Brian De Palma, Margaret is considerably more attractive than as depicted in the novel.

Her past was not explored as it was in the novel, and her husband Ralph was only mentioned briefly. Margaret claims that Ralph was carried away by the devil, but Carrie (Sissy Spacek) corrects her that he actually left her for another woman. As in the novel, Margaret reveals that she had sex with Ralph twice: once prior to marriage (after which she wanted to kill herself), and once more after they were married, when he was drunk and forced himself on her (she resisted, but confesses she enjoyed the act regardless), leading to the conception of Carrie.

Carrie_Piper Laurie_ Margaret WhiteUpon learning of her daughter’s telekinetic abilities, Margaret becomes convinced that Carrie is a witch, and recalls Exodus 22:18 from the Bible (“Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live”), which interprets as charging her to purify Carrie by killing her. While Carrie is at the prom, Margaret snaps mentally; she is seen pacing in the kitchen, then beginning to chop a carrot with a butcher knife, and continuing to chop the cutting board even after the carrot rolls away. After Carrie returns home, Margaret tells her about the night she was conceived by marital rape, then stabs her in the back with the butcher knife while leading her in the Lord’s Prayer. As Carrie tries to crawl away, Margaret makes a cross motion with the knife and stalks her through the house with a delirious look in her eyes. She corners Carrie and raises the knife to strike again, but Carrie flings various kitchen elements from the drawers at her, impaling her. Margaret dies in the same pose as the frightening statue of Saint Sebastian in Carrie’s “prayer closet”.

Twin Peaks_Piper LaurieAfter her 1981 divorce, Laurie relocated to California. In 1986, she received a third Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Mrs. Norman in Children of a Lesser God. That same year she was awarded an Emmy for her performance in Promise, a television movie, co-starring James Garner and James Woods.

In 1990-91, she starred as the devious Catherine Martell in David Lynch’s television series Twin Peaks. She also appeared in Dario Argento’s first American film Trauma (1993). In 1998, she appeared in the sci-fi thriller The Faculty. She made guest appearances on television shows such as Frasier, State of Grace, Cold Case, and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. She returned to the big screen for independent films such as Eulogy and The Dead Girl, however, she’ll always be remembered as horror fan favourite, Margaret White, Julianne Moore has big shoes to fill in the 2013 remake.


Tippi Hedren

Tippi Hedren_movie bannerNathalie Kay “Tippi” Hedren (born January 19, 1930) is an American actress and former fashion model. She is widely known for her roles in the Alfred Hitchcock films The Birds and Marnie (in which she played the title role), and her efforts in animal rescue at Shambala Preserve, an 80-acre (320,000 m2) wildlife habitat which she founded in 1983.

Tippi Hedren_The BirdsFor over 40 years, Hedren’s year of birth was reported to be 1935, although in 2004, she acknowledged that she was actually born in 1930. Hedren was born in New Ulm, Minnesota, the daughter of Bernard Carl and Dorothea Henrietta Hedren. Her father ran a small general store in the small town of Lafayette, Minnesota, and gave her the nickname “Tippi”.

Hedren had a successful modeling career from 1950 to 1961, appearing on covers of national magazines, such as Life magazine. She was discovered by Alfred Hitchcock, who was watching The Today Show when he saw Hedren in a commercial for a diet drink. Hitchcock was looking for his latest blonde lead in the wake of Grace Kelly’s retirement.

The Birds_Hitchcock_Tippi Hedren_btsHitchcock put Hedren through a then-costly $25,000 screen test, doing scenes from his previous films, such as Rebecca, Notorious and To Catch a Thief. He signed her to a multi-year exclusive personal contract, something he had done in the 1950’s with Vera Miles. Hitchcock’s plan to mould Hedren’s public image went so far as to carefully control her style of dressing and grooming. Hitchcock insisted for publicity purposes that her name should be printed only in single quotes, ‘Tippi’. The press mostly ignored this directive from the director, who felt that the single quotes added distinction and mystery to Hedren’s name. In interviews, Hitchcock compared his newcomer not only to her predecessor Grace Kelly but also to what he referred to as such “ladylike”, intelligent, and stylish stars of more glamorous eras as Irene Dunne and Jean Arthur.

The Birds_Tippi HedrenHitchcock directed Hedren in her debut film, The Birds. For the final attack scene in a second-floor bedroom, filmed on a closed set at Universal-International Studios, Hedren had been assured by Hitchcock that mechanical birds would be used. Instead, Hedren endured five solid days of prop men, protected by thick leather gloves, flinging dozens of live gulls, ravens and crows at her (their beaks clamped shut with elastic bands). Cary Grant visited the set and told Hedren, “I think you’re the bravest lady I’ve ever met.” In a state of exhaustion, when one of the birds gouged her cheek and narrowly missed her eye, Hedren sat down on the set and began crying. A physician ordered a week’s rest, which Hedren said at the time was riddled with “nightmares filled with flapping wings”. In 1964, Hedren received a Golden Globe Award for ‘Most Promising Newcomer – Female’.

Tippi Hedren_Hitchcock_MarnieThat same year, she co-starred with Sean Connery in a second Hitchcock film, Marnie (1964), a romantic drama and psychological thriller from the novel by Winston Graham. She recalls it as her favourite of the two for the challenge of playing an emotionally battered young woman who travels from city to city assuming various guises in order to rob her employers. On release, the film was greeted by mixed reviews and indifferent box-office returns. Although Hitchcock continued to have Hedren in mind for several other films after Marnie, the actress declined any further work with him. Other directors who wanted to hire her had to go through Hitchcock, who would inform them she was unavailable. When Hedren tried to get out of her contract, she recalls Hitchcock telling her he’d ruin her career. “And he did: kept me under contract, kept paying me every week for almost two years to do nothing.”

Tippi Hedren_Alfred HitchcockBy the time Hitchcock sold her contract to Universal and she was fired for refusing work on one of its television shows, Hedren’s career had stalled after just two films.

On April 13, 2011, at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington, NY, Hedren stated in an interview with Turner Classic Movies’ Ben Mankiewitz that because she refused Hitchcock’s sexual advances, Hitchcock effectively stunted her career. These events are the basis for the BBC/HBO film The Girl, featuring Sienna Miller as Hedren and toby Jones as Hitchcock, and which premiered on HBO Saturday, October 20, 2012. It was shown in the UK on Boxing Day 2012 on BBC2.


Leigh Whannell

Leigh Whannell_movie bannerLeigh Whannell (born 17 January 1977) is an Australian screenwriter, producer, and actor, best known for his work on the Saw franchise.

Leigh Whannell_Dying BreedWhannell was born in Melbourne, Australia, and believes that he inherited his love of storytelling from his mother and his fondness of filmmaking from his father (Whannell’s father was a cameraman in the television industry). A writer since childhood, Whannell worked as a reporter and film critic for several Australian television shows, including ABC’s Recovery, a Saturday morning youth-oriented program. Whannell has described the show in a 2011 blog post:

The result was that instead of following the usual MTV ideal of what teenagers want in a TV show—“Hey kids, coming up next we’ve got some seriously WICKED windsurfing moves!!”—Recovery managed to tap into the so-called “alternative” movement that was in full swing at the time by giving teenagers what they actually want: genuine, unpolished anarchy.

Whannell had originally auditioned for the host role, but was later employed as a reporter; Whannell’s first interview was with Jackie Chan and he has stated that “Recovery is the best job I’ve ever had …”

James Wan_Leigh WhannellIn 2003, Whannell appeared in a minor role in The Matrix Reloaded. While in film school, Whannell met James Wan, who would eventually go on to direct the horror film Saw (co-written by Wan and Whannell) in 2004. After making a short film to showcase the intensity of the script, the feature film was made and became a low-budget sleeper hit in late 2004. Whannell played Adam Stanheight in the film, one of the main characters. The popularity of Saw led to a sequel, Saw II, which was directed and co-written by another young horror filmmaker, Darren Lynn Bousman, and on which Whannell co-wrote and revised Bousman’s original script, titled The Desperate. Whannell also served as an executive producer.

Insidious Leigh Whannell and Lin ShayeAround the same time, Whannell returned to collaborate with Wan and they wrote a film called Dead Silence, which Wan directed. It was slated for a 2006 release, but small problems with the title pushed the release date back to March 2007. In 2006, the duo composed the story for Saw III, with Whannell writing the screenplay for the third time. It was again directed by Bousman and was released on 27 October 2006. Whannell has a featured cameo, reprising his role as Adam. Saw III was a huge financial success and raked in $33,610,391 on its opening weekend, making around $129,927,001 worldwide (after 38 days in cinemas) and is currently the most successful Saw film to date.

Whannell’s writing partner, Wan, was chosen to direct the film Death Sentence, the first feature film with their participation that they did not write themselves. Whannell has a small role as Spink in Death Sentence.

Insidious_posterIn 2008, Whannell took off his “writing hat” to perform alongside Nathan Phillips in Dying Breed, a low-budget Australian horror film about a team of zoologists exploring the Tasmanian wilderness to locate a creature thought extinct, the thylacine, aka Tasmanian tiger. Instead, they wander into the domain of cannibals who retain their infamous ancestor Alexander Pearce’s taste for human flesh, and become prey.

Before and during the production of Saw, Whannell sought medical treatment. “I was going through a bit of a tough time healthwise and suffering anxiety,” says Whannell. “The anxiety manifested itself in physical ways. I was suffering headaches everyday for nearly a year. It was serious stuff and really started affecting my life.” Spending time in a hospital inspired him to endow the lead antagonist of the Saw series, Jigsaw/John Kramer, with cancer. “It was weird to be 25 and sitting in a neurological ward and I’m surrounded by people who actually had brain tumors. It was very scary and it was my first proper look at mortality. I really wanted to get my health back and it really hammered home how important good health is. If you’ve got that, you’ve got everything.”

Insidious_demon_wallpaperWhannell wrote the script for and acted in the 2011 paranormal thriller film, Insidiouswhich was directed by Wan and produced by Oren Peli of the Paranormal Activity franchise. A sequel, Insidious, Chapter 2 is due out in late 2013.

In relation to the Saw franchise, Whannell stated, also in 2011: It’s hard to say definitively, because we don’t own the copyright for it. The producers could make 10 more if they wanted to. But, if we’re to take them at face value, they told us that they were definitely done with it. They’re pretty exhausted. They’ve been making one a year every year for the past seven years, so I think they need some time off.


Gemma Arterton

Gemma Arterton_movie bannerGemma Arterton (born 12 January 1986) is an English actress. She played the eponymous protagonist in the BBC adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles, and starred in the feature films St Trinian’s, the James Bond film Quantum of Solace, Clash of the Titans, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and Tamara Drewe. She was nominated for a BAFTA, in the Rising Star category.

The-Disappearance-of-Alice-Creed-gemma-arterton-posterGemma Arterton_Bond GirlHer best, and most controversial role was in the film The Disappearance of Alice Creed (2009) about the kidnapping of a young woman by two ex-convicts. The film was written and directed by J Blakeson and stars Arterton as the captured Alice Creed, with Martin Compston and Eddie Marsan as Danny and Vic, the kidnappers

Arterton will next appear as Gretel in the feature film Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, a modern spin on the children’s tale “Hansel and Gretel”. The character will be an older version of the classic character who works alongside her brother Hansel (Jeremy Renner) as they track down witches for money.


Lee Van Cleef

Lee Van Cleef_Westerns BannerClarence Leroy “Lee” Van Cleef, Jr. (January 9, 1925 – December 16, 1989) was an American film actor who appeared mostly in Westerns and action pictures. His sharp features and piercing eyes led to his being cast as a villain in scores of films, such as High Noon, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. After appearing in the last of these films he was propelled to stardom, becoming the hero in many of his later movies.

Lee Van Cleef_1Van Cleef was born in Somerville, New Jersey, the son of Marion Levinia and Clarence LeRoy Van Cleef, Sr. Both of his parents were of partial Dutch ancestry. Coming of age just in time for World War II, he served in the United States Navy aboard a submarine chaser in the Caribbean, then in the Black and China Seas on a mine sweeper. After the war, he had a brief career as an accountant. In 1952, he began his acting career after friends and family encouraged him to try it because of his unique looks.

Lee Van Cleef_2Although his first acting experiences were in minor productions on stage; his first film was the classic Western High Noon, in which he played a villain. He also had a bit part as the sharpshooter in the climax of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms around the same time. In 1956, he co-starred in the B-grade science fiction movie It Conquered the World.  .

In addition to westerns and the science fiction films, Van Cleef appeared on the children’s syndicated western series, The Adventures of Kit Carson. Van Cleef starred as minor villains and henchmen in the westerns, The Tin Star and Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

Lee Van Cleef_3In 1959, a severe alcohol-related car crash nearly cost Van Cleef his career as a resulting knee injury had doctors telling him he would never ride a horse again. This injury was to plague him for the rest of his life, causing him great pain. His recovery was long and arduous and did take him away from acting for a time. During his time away from acting, Lee began a business in interior decoration with wife Joan, as well as pursuing his talent for painting, primarily of sea and landscapes. It took his career some time to recover from this blow and in contrast to his earlier major roles, he for some years had only occasional small parts. He played one of Lee Marvin’s villainous henchmen in the 1962 John Ford classic The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, with James Stewart and John Wayne. He also had a small, uncredited role as one of the river pirates in 1962’s How the West Was Won.

For a Few Dollars More_Italian PosterHowever, in 1965, there was an opportunity waiting for him that was to change his life. His career revival began when the young Italian director Sergio Leone boldly cast Van Cleef, whose career was still in the doldrums, as one of the two protagonists, alongside Clint Eastwood, in Leone’s second western, For a Few Dollars More. Leone then chose Van Cleef to appear with Eastwood again, this time as the primary villain in the classic The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. With his roles in Leone’s films, Van Cleef became a major star of Spaghetti Westerns, playing central roles in films such as Death Rides a Horse, Day of Anger, The Big Gundown and The Sabata Trilogy. Van Cleef also had a supporting role in the cult film Escape from New York, a 1981 cyberpunk action film co-written, co-scored and directed by John Carpenter. The film is set in the near future in a crime-ridden United States that has converted Manhattan Island in New York City into a maximum security prison. Ex-soldier Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) is given 24 hours to find the President of the United States, who has been captured after the crash of Air Force One in the middle of the island.

Clint+Eastwood+Eli+Wallach+Lee+Van+Cleef_The Good The Bad and the UglyIn 1984, Van Cleef was cast as a ninja master in the NBC adventure series The Master, but it was canceled after 13 episodes. All in all, he is credited with 90 movie roles and 109 other television appearances over a 38-year span.

Lee Van Cleef worked up until his failing health took his life on December 16, 1989 at the age of 64. He collapsed in his home from a heart attack. His wife Barbara called paramedics but they were unable to revive him. He was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills), Los Angeles, California. His gravestone reads: “Lee Van Cleef January 9, 1925 – December 16, 1989 ‘Best of the Bad’ Love and Light.”


Sissy Spacek

Sissy Spacek_movie bannerSissy Spacek (born Mary Elizabeth Spacek; December 25, 1949) is an Academy Award winning American actress and singer. She came to international prominence for her roles as Holly Sargis in Terrence Malick’s 1973 film Badlandsand as Carrie White in Brian De Palma’s 1976 horror film Carrie (based on the first novel by Stephen King) for which she earned her first Academy Award nomination. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role as country star Loretta Lynn in the 1980 film Coal Miner’s Daughter; she also received Oscar nominations for her roles in Missing, The River, Crimes of the Heart and In the Bedroom. 

Sissy Spacek_Carrie_People MagazineSpacek was born on Christmas Day (December 25), 1949, in Quitman, Texas. She is the daughter of Virginia Frances and Edwin Arnold Spacek, Sr., a county agricultural agent. After she graduated from high school she moved to New York City, hoping to become a singer. There, she lived with her first cousin, actor Rip Torn, and his wife, actress Geraldine Page.

Badlands_Sissy Spacek_Martin SheenFor a while, Spacek sang and played guitar in many of the Greenwich Village coffee houses, eventually landing some paying work singing commercial jingles. While singing, Spacek also worked for a time as photographic model, and worked as an extra at Andy Warhol’s Factory, appearing in a non-credited role in his 1970 film Trash. With the help of Rip Torn, she was enrolled in Lee Strasberg’s Actors Studio and then the Lee Strasberg Institute in New York. Her first credited role was in the 1972 cult classic Prime Cut, in which she played a girl sold into sexual slavery. Spacek received international attention after starring in Terrence Malick’s classic Badlands, in which she played Holly, the narrator of the film and 15-year old girlfriend of mass-murderer Kit (Martin Sheen). Spacek has described Badlands as the “most incredible” experience of her career. On the set of Badlands, Spacek met art director Jack Fisk, whom she married.

Sissy Spacek_CarrieSpacek was the set dresser for Brian De Palma’s film Phantom of the Paradise before taking on the iconic and career-defining role in 1976 with De Palma’s Carrie, in which she played Carietta “Carrie” White, a shy, troubled high school senior with telekinetic powers. Spacek had to work hard to persuade director de Palma to engage her for the role.  Rubbing Vaseline into her hair, and donning an old sailor dress her mother made for her as a child, Spacek turned up at the audition with the odds against her, but won the part. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her work in the film (Veteran actress Piper Laurie, who played Carrie’s religious, maniacal mother Margaret White, was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress).

Carrie_1976_Sissy Spacek_mirrorAfter Carrie, Spacek played the small role in the ensemble piece Welcome to L.A. (1976), and cemented her reputation in independent cinema with her performance as Pinky Rose in Robert Altman’s 1977 classic 3 Women. Spacek also helped finance then-brother-in-law David Lynch’s directorial debut, Eraserhead (1976) and is thanked in the credits of the film.

In the 1979 film Heart Beat, Spacek played Carolyn Cassady, before starring in Coal Miner’s Daughter, (1980) in which she played country music star Loretta Lynn, who selected her for the role. Performing her own singing, Spacek was also nominated for a Grammy Award for the film’s soundtrack album. She followed this with her own country album, Hangin’ Up My Heart, in 1983; the album spawned one hit single, “Lonely But Only For You”, which reached No. 15 on the Billboard Country chart.

Carrie_Sissy Spacek_btsAlso in the 1980s, Spacek starred alongside Jack Lemmon in the 1982 political thriller Missing (which was based on the book The Execution of Charles Horman); appeared with Mel Gibson in the rural drama The River (1984), and with Diane Keaton and Jessica Lange in 1986’s Crimes of the Heart. She was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar for all of these roles. Other performances of the decade included star turns in husband Jack Fisk’s directorial debut Raggedy Man (1981) and in the suicide-themed drama Night Mother (1986). Spacek also showed her lighter side by voicing the brain in the Steve Martin comedy The Man with Two Brains (1983).

The 1990’s saw Spacek slowly come back to Hollywood after her self-imposed hiatus. She had a supporting role in Oliver Stone’s JFK (1991), and as the evil Verena Talbo in the 1995 ensemble piece The Grass Harp, which reunited her with both Laurie and Lemmon, as well as a supporting performance in Paul Schrader’s father-son psychodrama Affliction (1997). She also played Rose Straight in David Lynch’s The Straight Story (1999).

Sissy Spacek_Carrie_1976_Prom_BloodIn 2001, she was again Academy nominated for her work in Todd Field’s In the Bedroom. Her performance as Ruth Fowler, a grieving mother consumed by revenge, won extraordinary praise and garnered the New York and Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress.

Other performances of this decade include unfaithful wife Ruth in Nine Lives (2005) and on the HBO drama Big Love, for a multi-episode arc, as a powerful Washington, D.C. lobbyist.

In 2006, she narrated the audiobook of the classic 1960 Harper Lee novel To Kill a Mockingbird. In 2011, she received a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. In 2012, Spacek published a memoir, “My Extraordinary Ordinary Life”, written along with Maryanne Voller.


Lynne Thigpen

Lynne Thigpen_The Warriors_bannerCherlynne Theresa “Lynne” Thigpen (December 22, 1948 – March 12, 2003) was an American stage and television actress. Thigpen was born in Joliet, Ilinois, and obtained a degree in teaching. She taught English in high school briefly while studying theatre and dance at the University of Illinois before moving to New York City in 1971 to begin her work as a stage actress.

Lynne Thigpen_The WarriorsThigpen had a long and prolific theatre career, and appeared in numerous musicals including Godspell, and An American Daughter (for which she won a Tony Award for her portrayal of Dr. Judith Kaufman in 1997) .

Her first feature film role was Godspell (1973), however, to me her most famous role is that of the omniscient Radio DJ in the classic Walter Hill movie, The Warriors. She played an unnamed African American female disc jockey on a New York City radio station, which conveniently, every gang seems to listen too. She reports on gang activity in the city and keeps gang members informed on which gangs have alliances and rivalries, and most importantly, she reports on the progress made by The Warriors. Although Lynne Thigpen played the physical character, the DJ was voiced by Pat Floyd.

The Warriors_movie PosterThigpen played Leonna Barrett, the mother of an expelled student in Lean on Me, a story of famous American principal Joe Louis Clark. She had a role in the Shaft remake alongside Samuel L. Jackson, as the murder victim’s mother. She also played the Second President of the world council in Bicentennial Man (1999). Her last film was Anger Management (2003) which was released only a month following her death and paid tribute to her in the end credits.

Thigpen died of cerebral hemorrhage on March 12, 2003 in her Marina del Rey, California home. Thigpen was interred at Elmhurst Cemetery in her hometown of Joliet, Illinois.


Samuel Leroy Jackson

Samuel L Jackson_movie bannerSamuel Leroy Jackson (born December 21, 1948) is an American film and television actor and film producer. Jackson was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with his mother, Elizabeth Jackson, and his maternal grandparents and extended family. Initially intent on pursuing a degree in marine biology, he attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. After joining a local acting group to earn extra points in a class, Jackson found an interest in acting and switched his major. Before graduating in 1972, he co-founded the “Just Us Theatre”.

Pulp Fiction_Samuel L Jackson movie posterJackson began acting in multiple plays, appeared in several television films, and made his feature film debut in the blaxploitation independent film Together for Days (1972). After these initial roles, Jackson proceeded to move from Atlanta to New York City in 1976 and spent the next decade appearing in stage plays. Throughout his early film career, mainly in minimal roles in films and various television films, Jackson was mentored by Morgan Freeman. After a 1981 performance in the play A Soldier’s Play, Jackson was introduced to director Spike Lee who would later include him in small roles for the films School Daze (1988) and Do the Right Thing (1989). He also played a minor role in the 1990 Martin Scorsese film Goodfellas as real-life Mafia associate Stacks Edwards.

Pulp Fiction_1994_wallpaperAfter gaining critical acclaim for his role in Jungle Fever (1991), he appeared in films such as Patriot Games (1992), True Romance and Jurassic Park (both 1993). In 1994, he was cast as Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction, and his performance received several award nominations and critical acclaim.

Directed in a highly stylized manner by Quentin Tarantino, who co-wrote its screenplay with Roger Avery; the film is known for its rich, eclectic dialogue, ironic mix of humor and violence, nonlinear storyline, and host of cinematic allusions and pop culture references. The film was nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture; Tarantino and Avary won for Best Original Screenplay. It was also awarded the Palme d’Or at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival. A major critical and commercial success, it revitalized the career of its leading man, John Travolta, who with Samuel L. Jackson and Uma Thurman, received Academy Award nominations.

Pulp Fiction_Vincent Vega_Jules Winfield_John Travolta_Samuel L JacksonPulp Fiction connects the intersecting storylines of Los Angeles mobsters, fringe players, small-time criminals, and a mysterious briefcase. Considerable screen time is devoted to conversations and monologues that reveal the characters’ senses of humor and perspectives on life. The nature of its development, marketing, and distribution and its consequent profitability had a sweeping effect on the field of independent cinema (although it is not an independent film itself). Considered a cultural watershed, Pulp Fiction’s influence has been felt in several other media.

The Avengers_movie wallpaperJackson has since appeared in over 100 films including Die Hard with a Vengeance, The 51st State, Jackie Brown, Unbreakable, The Incredibles, Black Snake Moan, Shaft, Deep Blue Sea, Snakes on a Plane, 1408, as well as the Star Wars prequel trilogy and small roles in Tarantinos’ Kill Bill Vol. 2 and Inglourious Basterds. 

The-Avengers-Nick-Fury-posterMore recently, he played Nick Fury in the Marvel films Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, and The Avengers, the first five of a nine-film commitment as the character for the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise. Jackson’s many roles have made him one of the highest-grossing actors at the box office. Jackson has won multiple awards throughout his career and has been portrayed in various forms of media including films, television series, and songs. He is next up in another Tarantino movie, Django Unchained, and in the ever-delayed remake of Robocop.


Lee Remick

The Omen_Lee Remick_bannerLee Ann Remick (December 14, 1935 – July 2, 1991) was an American film and television actress. Among her best-known films are Anatomy of a Murder (1959), Days of Wine and Roses (1962), and The Omen (1976).

The Omen_Lee RemickRemick was born in Quincy, Massachusetts, the daughter of Gertrude Margaret (née Waldo), an actress, and Francis Edwin “Frank” Remick, who owned a department store. Remick attended the Swaboda School of Dance, The Hewitt School and studied acting at Barnard College and the Actors Studio, making her Broadway theatre debut in 1953 with Be Your Age.

Remick made her film debut in Elia Kazan’s A Face in the Crowd (1957). After appearing as Eula Varner, the hot-blooded daughter-in-law of Will Varner (Orson Welles) in 1958’s The Long, Hot Summer, she appeared in These Thousand Hills as a dance hall girl. However, Remick came to prominence as a rape victim whose husband is tried for killing her attacker in Otto Preminger’s classic Anatomy of a Murder. She made a second film with Elia Kazan called Wild River (1960).

THE OMEN GALLERY 200In 1962, she starred in the Blake Edwards suspense-thriller Experiment in Terror. That same year she was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Actress for her performance as the alcoholic wife of Jack Lemmon in Days of Wine and Roses. 

Remick received a Tony Award nomination in 1966 for her role as a blind woman terrorized by drug smugglers in the thriller Wait Until Dark. She featured in some poor movies for the next few years until she co-starred with Gregory Peck in the 1976 horror film The Omen, in which her character’s adopted son, Damien, is revealed to be the Anti-Christ. The American/British suspense horror film was directed by Richard Donner and also featured David Warner, Billie Whitelaw, Patrick Troughton and Leo McKern. Scripted by David Seltzer, who also wrote the novel, it is the first in The Omen series of films, which only became a trilogy when the script’s original ending was changed (and of course the huge box-office take), from Robert Thorn succeeding in killing Damien. Apparently the studio head Alan Ladd, Jr. and the Richard Donner refused to conclude the film with that ending, so Seltzer altered the script to the ending which was filmed with Robert Thorn being shot by the police and Damien surviving.

The Omen_Gregory Peck_Lee RemickThere are of course numerous urban legends surrounding the film, a series of events happened during the making of “The Omen” (October 1975 to January 1976) that caused some speculation as to whether or not the film was “cursed”.

Separate flights for both actor Gregory Peck and executive producer Mace Neufeld were struck by lightning when flying between the USA and England, and producer Harvey Bernhard was barely missed by a lightning bolt in Rome. A restaurant that Neufeld and Peck were to eat at in England was bombed by the IRA.

The Omen_Lee Remick_Gregory PeckA plane hired by the studio to take aerial shots in Israel was switched at the last moment by the airline, and the clients who took the original plane were all killed when it crashed on takeoff. Some time later, a zookeeper who was helping the studio with handling animals was attacked and eaten alive by lions.

And the best one… On Friday, August 13, 1976, special effects artist John Richardson got into an accident in Holland while working on A Bridge Too Far, right after work on The Omen was done. Less than a year after designing the deaths for The Omen, Richardson’s car was involved in a major accident which killed and decapitated his female companion, in a way similar to David Warner’s death in The Omen. It is rumored that upon stumbling out of his car he saw a road sign that said he was 66.6 kilometers from the town of Ommen.

The Omen_posterShe featured in the Don Siegel directed action film Telefon (1977), with Charles Bronson; and The Medusa Touch a 1978 British supernatural thriller directed by Jack Gold, starring Richard Burton.

Remick later appeared in several made-for-TV movies or miniseries (for which she earned seven Emmy nominations). Most were of a historical nature, including two noted miniseries: Ike, in which she portrayed Kay Summersby, alongside Robert Duvall as General Dwight Eisenhower, and Jennie: Lady Randolph Churchill where she portrayed Winston Churchill’s mother.

In 1990, she was awarded the Women in Film Crystal Award. Remick died on July 2, 1991, at the age of 55, at her home in Los Angeles of kidney and liver cancer.


Tony Todd

Tony Todd_movie bannerAnthony T. “Tony” Todd (born December 4, 1954) is an American actor and film producer, known for his height of 6’5″, (1.96 m) and deep voice. He is well known for playing the Candyman in the horror movie franchise of the same name, for playing William Bludworth in Final Destination, for voicing the Fallen in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, for voicing Dreadwing in Transformers: Prime, for playing Reverend Zombie in Hatchet and its sequel Hatchet II, and for guest-starring roles on numerous television shows.

Tony ToddTodd was born in Washington, D.C. He grew up in Hartford, Connecticut, where he attended local schools. He attended the University of Connecticut and studied at the Eugene O’Niell National Theatre Institute.

He has appeared in more than 100 screen and television films, and has played opposite many major stars in Hollywood. His movie credits include: Platoon (1986), Night of the Living Dead (1990), Candyman (1992), The Crow (1994), Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (1995), The Rock (1996), Wishmaster (1997), Candyman: Day of the Dead (1999) the Final Destination series (2000–2011), and Minotaur (2006).

Tony Todd_CandymanCandyman was directed by Bernard Rose and is based on the short story The Forbidden by Clive Barker, though the film’s scenario is switched from England to the Cabrini-Green public housing development on Chicago’s Near North Side. The plot follows a graduate student completing a thesis on urban legends who encounters the legend of “Candyman”, an artist and son of a slave who was murdered and his hand replaced with a hook.

Todd was also in a horror film about Edgar Allan Poe called Poe in 2012. Todd was a special guest of the Weekend of Horror Creation Entertainment on May 23, 2010, and the Screamfest LA. Tony starred in Hatchet 2, which was released in a limited number of theatres on October 1, 2010. As Final Destination 5 returned to the series’ roots, Todd returned as William Bludworth.

Tony_Todd_in_Final_Destination_5_Wallpaper_7_800Todd has also acted on Broadway and television, gaining particular renown for his appearances in popular science fiction/fantasy series.

His other television appearances include a recurring role on Boston Public and guest appearances on Law & Order, Homocide: Life on the Street, Hercules: The Legendary Journey’s, Xena Warrior Princess, The X-Files, Smallville, Angel, 24, Charmed, Stargate SG-1, Andromeda and Criminal Minds. He also played a lead role in the Babylon 5 TV movie A Call to Arms. 

The Graves_Tony ToddMore recently, he starred as General Whitman in the 2010-2011 science fiction television series The Event alongside Candyman co-star Virginia Madsen. He currently plays the voices of the Decepticon named Dreadwing on Transformers: Prime, and Icon in Young Justice. 

Todd is noted in Star Trek fandom for portraying the character of Worf’s brother Kurn on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He also had guest roles as the Alpha Hirogen in an episode of Star Trek: Voyager, and as the adult Jake Sisko in the award-winning Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode The Visitor. 


Lee J. Cobb

Lee J Cobb_movie banner Lee J. Cobb (December 8, 1911 – February 11, 1976) was an American actor. He is best known for his Academy Award-nominated performance in On the Waterfront (1954), as an irate juror in 12 Angry Men (1957), and one of his last films, The Exorcist (1973). He also played the role of Willy Loman in the original Broadway performance of Arhtur Miller’s 1949 play Death of a Salesman under the direction of Elia Kazan.

The Exorcist_Kinderman_KarrasBorn Leo Jacob in New York City, he grew up in The Bronx on Wilkins Avenue, near Crotona Park. His parents were Benjamin (Benzion) Jacob, a compositor for a foreign-language newspaper, and Kate Neilecht. Cobb studied at New York University before making his film debut in The Vanishing Shadow (1934). In 1939 he featured in the serial The Phantom Creeps with Béla Lugosi. During World War II Cobb served in the First Motion Picture Unit of the Army Air Force.

The Exorcist_promo still_Lee J Cobb_Jason Miller_1Cobb entered films in the 1930’s, successfully playing middle-aged and even older men while he was still a youth. He appeared as James Coburn’s supervisor in the spy spoofs In Like Flint and Our Man Flint, he reprised his role of Willy Loman in the 1966 CBS television adaptation of Death of a Salesman, Cobb was nominated for an Emmy Award for the performance. 

Cobb was accused of being a possible Communist in testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee because of his involvement in left-wing political causes and his support of political and charitable organizations alleged to be Communist fronts. He was called to testify before HUAC but refused to do so for two years until, with his career threatened by the blacklist, he relented in 1953 and gave testimony in which he named 20 people as former members of the Communist Party USA. Later, Cobb explained why he “named names” saying:

The Exorcist_promo still_Lee J Cobb_Jason Miller_2When the facilities of the government of the United States are drawn on an individual it can be terrifying. The blacklist is just the opening gambit—being deprived of work. Your passport is confiscated. That’s minor. But not being able to move without being tailed is something else. After a certain point it grows to implied as well as articulated threats, and people succumb. My wife did, and she was institutionalized. The HUAC did a deal with me. I was pretty much worn down. I had no money. I couldn’t borrow. I had the expenses of taking care of the children. Why am I subjecting my loved ones to this? If it’s worth dying for, and I am just as idealistic as the next fellow. But I decided it wasn’t worth dying for, and if this gesture was the way of getting out of the penitentiary I’d do it. I had to be employable again. – Interview with Victor Navasky for the 1982 book Naming Names.

The Exorcist_promo still_Lee J Cobb_1Following the hearing he resumed his career and worked with Elia Kazan and Budd Shulberg, two other HUAC “friendly witnesses”, on the 1954 film On the Waterfront, which is widely seen as an allegory and apologia for testifying.

In 1957 he appeared in Sidney Lumet’s classic 12 Angry Men as the abrasive Juror #3. He featured in noir thriller The Trap (195), Exodus (1960), How the West Was Won (1962), and the Clint Eastwood classic Coogan’s Bluff (1968). In 1968 his performance as King Lear achieved the longest run (72 performances) for the play in Broadway history.

The Exorcist_large posterOne of his final film roles was that of police detective Lt. Kinderman in the 1973 horror film The Exorcist. Lieutenant Kinderman (Cobb), is a close friend of Father Karras (Jason Miller), he is investigating the death of film director Burke Dennings (Jack MacGowan), who after visiting the MacNeil home, died violently, and was found at the bottom of steps that run the full length of the house. Dennings broke his neck upon landing and in a classic scene from the movie, Kinderman  confides in Karras that Dennings’ head was found fully twisted around his shoulders. In the Alternate Ending on the 2000 Extended Director’s Cut, just as Father Dyer (Father William O’Malley) says his goodbyes to Chris and Regan, Kinderman approaches him to also bid farewell, only to learn from Dyer that he just missed them. He invites Dyer to a movie (and then lunch, when Dyer said he had already seen the movie), and the two depart from the house.

Cobb died of a heart attack in February 1976 in Woodland Hills, California, and was buried in Mount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles. He was inducted, posthumously, into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 1981.


Julianne Moore

Julianne Moore_movie bannerJulianne Moore (born Julie Anne Smith; December 3, 1960) is an American actress and a children’s book author. She has been nominated for four Oscars, six Golden Globes, three BAFTA’s, nine Screen Actors Guild Awards, and has won two Emmy Awards.

julianne-moore-1Moore was born at the Fort Bragg army base in North Carolina. Her father, Peter Moore Smith, was a paratrooper in the American army, and later a colonel and military judge. Her mother, Anne McNeil McLean, was a psychiatrist and social worker who emigrated from Scotland to the United States as a child. She is a dual citizen of Britain and America, by way of her Scottish ancestry. Moore applied for British citizenship in 2011 to honor her deceased mother (“it would have meant the world to her”).

Moore frequently moved around the country as a child, due to her father’s profession, and as a consequence, Moore attended nine different schools. When Moore was 16, the family moved to Frankfurt, Germany, where she attended Frankfurt American High School. She appeared in several plays, and upon the encouragement of her English teacher she chose to pursue a theatrical career. She was accepted to Boston University, and graduated with a BFA in Theatre in 1983.

julianne-moore-2Moore moved to New York City after graduating, and worked as a waitress while auditioning for roles. Moore began her acting career in 1983 with minor roles, before joining the cast of the soap opera As the World Turns, for which she won a Daytime Emmy Award in 1988. She began to appear in supporting roles in films during the early 1990’s, her feature debut was a small role in 1990’s Tales from the Darkside: The Movie, which Moore has described as “terrible”. Her visibility increased in 1992 when she was had her first substantial feature film role in The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992). The film was a US box office number one, and Moore caught the attention of several critics with her performance.

She followed up with a role in Robert Altman’s Short Cuts (1993), Vanya on 42nd Street (1994), Safe, Nine Months and Assassins (1995), Jurassic Park 3 (1997) but it was her performance in Boogie Nights (1997) that brought her widespread attention and her first Academy Award nomination.  Director Paul Thomas Anderson was not a well known figure before its production, with only one feature credit to his name, but Moore agreed to the film after being impressed with his script. The ensemble piece features Moore as Amber Waves, a leading porn actress and mother-figure who longs to be reunited with her real son.

Anthony-Hopkins-Julianne-Moore-hannibalHer success continued with such films as The Big Lebowski (1998), Magnolia (1999), and in the huge commercial success Hannibal (2001), a sequel to the Oscar winning film The Silence of the Lambs. After Jodie Foster declined to return as Agent Clarice Starling, director Ridley Scott cast Moore in the lead role. The change in actress received considerable attention from the press. Moore was excited to be given the part but claimed she was not trying to upstage Foster: “Jodie was magnificent… It’s an honor to be asked to repeat something after she’s done it. But I’m not going to be able to do what she did. There’s just no way.”

Academy Award nominations later came for her two 2002 films, The Hours (Best Supporting Actress) and Far From Heaven (Best Actress).

blindness_poster2006 also saw the releasing of three of her films: Freedomland, which opened to mixed reviews, followed by Trust the Man, directed by her husband Bart Freundlich, and the critically acclaimed science fiction feature Children of Men. The following year she appeared in Next, a science fiction film based on a short story by Philip K. Dick; and the controversial film Savage Grace, the story of a high-society mother and son whose Oedipal relationship ends in tragedy.

In 2008, Moore starred alongside Mark Ruffalo in Blindness, a thriller from director Fernando Meirelles. Moore received great reviews, the movie generally, did not. Moore plays as doctor’s wife, the only person immune to the epidemic of blindness. Her sight is kept a secret by her husband and others, though as time goes on, she feels isolated in being the only one with sight. Moore described her character’s responsibility: “Her biggest concern in the beginning is simply her husband. But her ability to see ultimately both isolates her and makes her into a leader.” The director also gave Moore’s character a wardrobe that would match the actor’s skin and dyed blond hair, giving her the appearance of a “pale angel”.

Carrie_posterMoore has since appeared in the well-received American drama A Single Man, for which she received her fifth Golden Globe nomination. Her most recent notable roles include Chloe (2009), The Kids Are All Right (2010), Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011), and the HBO film Game Change (2012), in which she portrayed Sarah Palin.

Moore has several upcoming film projects, including the fantasy film The Seventh Son based on the book series The Wardstone Chronicles, co-starring Jeff Bridges, in which Moore will star as the “most dangerous 1700’s witch” Mother Malkin. In March 2013, she will be seen as Margaret White in the remake of Carrie, an adaptation of the Stephen King horror novel.


Treat Williams

Richard Treat Williams (born December 1, 1951) is a Screen Actors Guild Award–nominated American actor and children’s book author who has appeared on film, stage and television. Williams was born in Rowayton, Connecticut, the son of Marian (née Andrew), an antiques dealer, and Richard Norman Williams, a corporate executive. Williams graduated from the Kent School in Connecticut and Franklin and Marshall College. 

Williams made his film debut in the 1976 thriller Deadly Hero followed by The Eagle Has Landed. He came to world attention when he starred in the Miloš Forman film Hair (1979), based on the Broadway musical of the same name. He has gone on to appear in over 75 films and several television series, including, most notably, 1941 (1979), Once Upon a Time in America (1984), Things to do in Denver When You’re Dead (1995) and Deep Rising (1998).

Williams was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for his part in Hair as George Berger. He got a second Golden Globe nomination for starring in the excellent Sidney Lumet film Prince of the City (1981) and a third for his performance as Stanley Kowalski in the television presentation of A Streetcar Named Desire. In 1996, Williams was nominated for a Best Actor Emmy Award by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for his work in The Late Shift, a HBO movie, in which he portrayed agent Michael Ovitz.

Prince of the City (1981) is an American crime drama film about an NYPD officer who chooses to expose police corruption for idealistic reasons. The character of Daniel Ciello (Treat Williams) was based on real-life NYPD Narcotics Detective Robert Leuci and the script was based on Robert Daley’s 1978 book of the same name.

Originally, Brian De Palma was going to direct with David Rabe adapting the book and Robert De Niro playing Leuci but the project fell through and Sidney Lumet came aboard to direct under two conditions: he did not want a big name movie star playing Leuci because he did not “want to spend two reels getting over past associations,” and the movie’s running time would be at least three hours long.

Lumet cast Treat Williams after spending three weeks talking to him and listening to the actor read the script and then reading it again with 50 other cast members. In order to research the role, the actor spent a month learning about police work, hung out at 23rd Precinct in New York City, went on a drug bust and lived with Leuci for some time. By the time rehearsals started, Williams said, “I was thinking like a cop.”

Lumet had apparently felt guilty about the two-dimensional way he had treated cops in the 1973 film Serpico and said that Prince of the City was his way to rectify this depiction. Prince of the City was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, but lost to the boring On Golden Pond. 

Williams has recently had small roles in Howl and 127 Hours (both 2010), but has generally been seen in lesser quality work, he’s a great character actor, deserving of much better than he’s been given over the last 3 decades.


Ed Harris

Edward Allen “Ed” Harris (born November 28, 1950) is an American actor, writer, and director, known for his performances in Pollock, Appaloosa, The Rock, The Abyss, A Beautiful Mind, A History of Violence, Enemy at the Gates, The Right Stuff, State of Grace, Glengarry Glen Ross, Alamo Bay, Gone Baby Gone, The Hours, and also genre classics such as Coma, Creepshow, and The Stand. He is a three-time nominee of the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performances in Apollo 13, The Truman Show and The Hours, along with a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Actor for the title role in Pollock. 

Harris was born in Englewood Hospital, in Englewood, New Jersey, and raised in Tenafly, the son of Margaret, a travel agent, and Robert L. Harris, who worked at the bookstore of the Art Institute of Chicago. He graduated from Tenafly High School in 1969, where he played on the football team, serving as the team’s captain in his senior year. He was a star athlete in high school, and competed in athletics at Columbia University in 1969. He enrolled at the University of Oklahoma to study drama, and after several successful roles in the local theater, he moved to Los Angeles, and enrolled at the California Institute of the Arts where he spent two years, and graduated with a BFA.

Harris’s wife is actress Amy Madigan, the couple married on 21 November 1983, while they were filming Places of the Heart in which they played an adulterous couple. They have a daughter, Lily Dolores Harris, born in 1993.

Harris’s first important film role was in Borderline with Charles Bronson. After roles in TV series Lou Grant and CHiPs, he had a small role in the Stephen King scripted George A. Romero directed Creepshow (1982). Then in 1983, Harris became well known, playing astronaut John Glenn in The Right Stuff. Twelve years later, a film with a similar theme led to Harris being nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, for his portrayal of NASA flight director Gene Kranz in Apollo 13 (1995). 

His more notable performances came in the excellent Alamo Bay (1985), Jackknife (1989), The Abyss (1989), State of Grace (1990), Glengarry Glen Ross (1992), and a further two Stephen King adaptations in Needful Things (1993) and the TV movie The Stand (1994). He was excellent in The Truman Show (1998) before making his cinema directing debut in 2000, with Pollock (2000) in which he starred as the acclaimed American artist Jackson Pollock.

He has also portrayed such diverse real-life characters as William Walker, a 19th Century American who appointed himself president of Nicaragua, in the film Walker (1987), Watergate figure E. Howard Hunt in the Oliver Stone biopic Nixon (1995), composer Ludwig van Beethoven in the film Copying Beethoven (2006) and more recently as Senator John McCain in HBO’s made-for-television drama Game Change (2012).

Harris also portrayed a German Army sniper, Major  Erwin König, in Enemy at the Gates (2001). He appeared as a vengeful mobster in David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence (2005) and as a police officer alongside Casey Affleck and Morgan Freeman, in Gone, Baby, Gone (2007), directed by Ben Affleck.

Harris has directed a number of theater productions as well as having an active stage acting career. Most notably, he starred in the production of Neil LaBute’s one-man play Wrecks at the Public Theater in New York City and later at the Geffen Theater in Los Angeles. For the LA production, he won the LA Drama Critics Circle Award. Wrecks premiered at the Everyman Theater in Cork, Ireland and then in the US at the Public Theater in New York.

Harris, busy as ever has voiced the game Call of Duty: Black Ops, and currently has 6 projects in post-production including the post-apocalyptic Snowpiercer.


Franco Nero

Franco Nero (born 23 November 1941) is an Italian actor, best known for his roles of the title character in Sergio Corbucci spaghetti western, Django (1966). He also featured in Camelot (1967), Tristana (1970), Force 1o From Navarone (1978), Enter the Ninja (1981), reprised his role again as the title character in Nello Rosatti’s Django 2 (1987), was General Ramon Esperanza in Die Hard 2 (1990), Megiddo: The Omega Code 2 (2001); he also played the narrator in the film Rasputin (2010) and voice the character of Uncle Topolino in the animated film Cars 2 (2011) directed by John Lasseter and co-directed by Brad Lewis.

Nero was born Francesco Sparanero in San Prospero Parmense (province of Parma, Italy), the son of a sergeant in the carabinieri, originally from San Severo. He grew up in Bedonia and in Milan. He studied briefly at the Economy and Trade faculty of the local university, before leaving to study at the Piccolo Teatro di Milano.

Nero’s first film role was a small part in La ragazza in prestito (1964), and he had his first lead role in Sergio Corbucci’s Django (1966) a spaghetti western and one of his best known films. The film earned a reputation as being one of the most violent films ever made up to that point and was subsequently refused a certificate in Britain until 1993. Check out the original 1966 trailer HERE

There are rumored to be over 100 unofficial sequels, though only 31 have been counted. Four were made the same year, in 1966. Most of these films have nothing to do with Corbucci’s original, but copy the look and attitude of the central character. Although the name is referenced in over 30 other movies to capitalize on the success of the original, none of these films were official, featuring neither Corbucci nor Nero. Nero did reprise his role as Django in 1987’s Django 2: Il Grande Ritorno (Django Strikes Again), in the only official sequel to be written by Corbucci.

In 1966 from Django he went on to appear in eight more films released that year including Texas, addio (1967) and Tempo di massacro. In 1967, he appeared in Camelot as Lancelot, where he met his long time romantic partner, and later on in life his wife, Vanessa Redgrave. Following this he appeared in the mafia film Il giorno della civetta opposite Claudia Cardinale released in 1968.

A lack of proficiency in English tended to limit these roles, although he also appeared in other English language films including The Virgin and the Gypsy (1970), Force 10 from Navarone (1978), Enter the Ninja (1981) and Die Hard 2 (1990).

Although often typecast in films like Los amigos (1972) or Keoma (1976) he has attempted an impressive range of characters, such as Abel in John Huston’s epic The Bible: In the Beginning (1966), the humiliated engineer out for revenge in Street Law, the gay lieutenant in Querelle (1982) and Serbian mediaeval hero in Banović Strahinja (1983). He has appeared in over 150 films, and has written, produced and starred in one: Jonathan degli orsi (1993).

More recently, he starred in Hungarian director Gábor Koltay’s Honfoglalás (Conquest) in 1996, in Li chiamarono… briganti! (1999) by Pasquale Squitieri and subsequently in Koltay’s Sacra Corona (Holy Crown) in 2001.

In 2009 he played an eccentric author called “Mario Puzzo” in Mord ist mein Geschäft, Liebling (“Murder is my trade, darling”, Italian title “Tesoro, sono un killer”). German critics found his performance was the best part of the film: “Having Franco Nero playing in this film is really a great joy – it is only regrettable that after his appearances there is still so much film left.”

In 2011, he received a star on the Italian Walk of Fame in Toronto, Canada. He’s about to become even more famous with the forthcoming release of the Quentin Tarantino movie, Django Unchained.


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