Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Laurence Olivier & Vivien Leigh

Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh met in the mid-1930s when they first appeared on stage together. They quickly started a love affair and began appearing in movies together, such as Fire Over England, 21 Days Together, and That Hamilton Woman.

1939 was a big year for both. Vivien appeared as Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind (which won her her first Oscar), and Laurence appeared as Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights. In 1940 after both their divorces were final, Olivier and Leigh married.

Over the next several years, they appeared in movies separately. In the mid 1940s, a pregnant Vivien was filming Caesar and Cleopatra. Sadly, she suffered a miscarriage on the set.

Laurence won an Oscar in 1948 for his performance in Hamlet. It was around that time when Vivien was suffering from tuberculosis and mental illness. However, she went on to win a second Oscar as Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire. Unfortuately, the marriage started to deteriorate with each having their own affairs. In 1960, Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh divorced, and Laurence Olivier married Joan Plowright.

Vivien Leigh died in 1967, and Laurence Olivier passed away in 1989.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Shirley Temple

One of the most famous child stars in film history: Shirley Temple. She brought together movie audiences in films such as Baby Take a Bow, Bright Eyes, Curly Top, Dimples, Heidi, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, and The Little Princess. She sang in most of her movies as well as tap-danced alongside such co-stars as Buddy Ebsen, Arthur Treacher, and Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. When she was seven years old, she won a Juvenile Academy Award for recognition in her films for 1934.

During her teens, she starred in more movies such as I'll Be Seeing You and The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer. Her last film was A Kiss for Corliss (1949) when she was 21 years old.

As the years went on, she became a wife and mother as well as the U.S. Ambassadors to Ghana and Czechoslovakia. She also had a television series titled Shirley Temple Theatre, which ran from 1958-1961.  In 2006, she was awarded the Screen Actors Guld Lifetime Achievement Award. Her films will continue to be watched and adored for generations to come!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Golden Girls

One of my favorite shows of all time: The Golden Girls. The show premiered in 1985. It starred Bea Arthur (Maude) as Dorothy Zbornak, a substitute teacher who had a funny, sarcastic take of the times, Betty White (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Mama's Family) as Rose Nylund, a naive widow with her funny home stories from St. Olaf, Minnesota, Rue McClanahan (Maude, Mama's Family) as Blanche Devereaux, a widow who loved men and sex, and Estelle Getty (Mask) as Sophia Petrillo, Dorothy's mother who had a stroke and always spoke her mind after the fact. The show had the four ladies living together after losing their husbands and adjusting to life in their 50's (Estelle Getty's character was in her 80's).  The show was an instant hit. It was created by Susan Harris, who suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. She later wrote an episode on the topic, with Dorothy having the disease.

The show ran for seven successful seasons, with all four actresses winning Emmys for their performances! Here are some facts from the series:

-Betty White was the oldest of the four actresses. As of today, she is the only one alive.

-Harold Gould played two characters on the show. He played Rose's boyfriend, Arnie Peterson, during the first season for one episode. He later played Rose's boyfriend again, but as Miles Webber; that character was recurring for several seasons.

-Estelle Getty played Bea Arthur's mother on the show. In real life, Bea was older than Estelle.

-After The Golden Girls ended, Betty, Rue, and Estelle went on to star in a spin-off titled The Golden Palace. The show lasted only one season.

-The show had many famous guest stars including Dick Van Dyke and Leslie Nielsen, whose character would marry Bea Arthur's character, Dorothy, at the end of the series.

-In the mid '90's, Betty, Rue, and Estelle guest-starred on The John Larroquette Show as themselves trying to start a Golden Girls musical.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Happy Days

This is one of my favorite shows of all time! Happy Days actually began as a skit on Love, American Style. When it premiered as a series, the Cunningham family consisted of Richie, his parents Howard and Marion, his sister Joanie, and his brother Chuck, who would later "go up the stairs and never come down." Fonzie was originally a minor character who did not wear his leather jacket at the beginning of the series. By the third season, Fonzie was starting to become a major character on the show. One of his most memorable catchphrases is "Aaaaaaaaaaaaay!!!" At one point, there were talks of renaming the show in Fonzie's favor. Both Ron Howard (Richie) and Henry Winkler (Fonzie) objected to the idea; the title of the show remained the same.

Happy Days was a ratings winner. It created three spin-offs: Laverne & Shirley, Mork & Mindy, and Joanie Loves Chachi. Other actors on the show included: Tom Bosley, Marion Ross, Erin Moran, Scott Baio, Anson Williams, Donny Most, and Al Molinaro. In 1980, Ron Howard and Donny Most left the show. During the last four seasons, they brought in new actors to put new life in the show. Other actors included Ted McGinley, Crystal Bernard, Linda Purl, and Heather O'Rourke. However, the show was never the same. In 1984 after a remarkable eleven seasons, Happy Days was canceled.

Today, the show is still alive in syndication, and millions of people can still enjoy the wonderful show it was!


Another classic television show in history is Bewitched, which ran from 1964 to 1972. I can give a list of many facts from this show.

-The producer and director of the show, William Asher, was married to the show's star, Elizabeth Montgomery, who played Samantha.

-Asher originally wanted Dick Sargent for the role of Darrin Stephens. He would later join the show in 1969.

-Elizabeth Montgomery was pregnant with her first child when production began on the series. This pregnancy was not written into the show, but her next two pregnancies were.

-The character of Tabitha was played by twin sisters Diane and Erin Murphy. Later, Erin took over the part since the girls were fraternal twins.

-Elizabeth Montgomery also played Samantha's cousin Serena, who was the exact opposite of Samantha.

-Paul Lynde played two characters on the show. First, he played a driving teacher teaching Samantha how to drive a car. Later, he played Samantha's memorable Uncle Arthur.

-Dick York, who played the first Darrin Stephens, had to leave the show in 1969 due to a chronic back problem that got worse during the fifth season of the show. Dick Sargent, who was originally considered for the part, became the new Darrin Stephens.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I Love Lucy

I Love Lucy, starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, premiered on CBS in 1951. Lucille Ball was a comedienne who helped make the show the classic it is today. The show had many memorable episodes such as Vitameatavegamin, and the California and Europe episodes. The show also made television history in different ways. Lucy and Desi, who were married, owned Desilu Studios, where I Love Lucy was filmed. Lucy would later own the whole studio after her divorce from Desi in 1960, making her the first female to own her own production company.

In 1953, Lucy made history again by becoming the first pregnant woman to be filmed on television. Although CBS executives were reluctant at first, they agreed to put her real-life pregnancy into the show. In fact, the night Little Ricky's birth was aired, Lucy gave birth to her son, Desi Jr. Desi Jr. was also the very first person to be featured on TV Guide

I Love Lucy later became The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, which ended its run in 1960. Lucy and Desi divorced soon afterwards, but remained close friends until Desi's death in 1986. Lucille Ball died in 1989.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Tracy and Hepburn

Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn each started out in movies in the 1930's and went on to win Oscars in the same decade. Their first movie together was 1942's Woman of the Year. Shortly after, they began a love affair that would span over 20 years. However, they would never marry since he had a wife and two children, and he would not divorce her due to his Catholicism. Tracy and Hepburn went on to star in seven more films together over a  25-year period including Adam's Rib (1949), Pat and Mike (1952), and Desk Set (1957). In 1967, the pair starred in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, co-starring Sidney Poitier and Katharine Hepburn's niece, Katharine Houghton. It was during flming that Spencer's health began to decline. On June 10, 1967, seventeen days after completing the film, Spencer Tracy died of a heart attack at the age of 67.

Katharine Hepburn went on to win the Best Actress Oscar the following year for Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. She went on to win two more Oscars over the years. Katharine died on June 29, 2003, at the age of 96.

Trivia: Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn have both won Oscars in back-to-back years. Spencer Tracy won Best Actor for 1937's Captains Courageous and 1938's Boys Town. Katharine Hepburn won for 1967's Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and 1968's The Lion in Winter.