Tag Archives: hollywood

Elizabeth Taylor Dies

oTTo_WatsonOn March 23, 2011, actress Elizabeth Taylor died. Taylor was best known for her role in the Golden Era of Hollywood, starring in popular movies such as A Place in the Sun, Giant, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, BUtterfield 8 and Cleopatra. Later in her life, she became an advocate for HIV and AIDS awareness and research.

Taylor was born to two American parents in London, England in 1932. They soon returned to the United States and settled in Los Angeles where people began to encourage Taylor’s mother, who was a former actress, to screen test her daughter because of her incredible beauty. The idea of a child star was something very foreign to Taylor’s mother, and she refused to allow her daughter to be a part of the industry until both Universal Pictures and MGM were offering Taylor contracts. After starring in a Lassie film, she was offered a long-term contract with MGM starting in 1943. Her breakout role came the next year when the 12-year-old starred in National Velvet.

As she grew older, instead of fading out of the spotlight like most child actors of the time, her star only began to shine brighter. Because of her incredible beauty, she became known as a sex symbol and a quintessential part of Hollywood’s Golden Age. She starred in many films during this time starting most notably with Father of the Bride alongside Spencer Tracy, and moving on to other big hits like Giant, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Cleopatra (which cost around $37 million to make). She later starred in two movies which she received Academy Awards for – BUtterfield 8 and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 

Taylor’s acting career was not the only thing that kept her in the spotlight. Ever since the age of 18, Taylor’s personal life had been a roller coaster, and in her lifetime she was married a total of eight times, with most of these marriages being short-lived. Her most well-known love affair was with Richard Burton, whom she first met on the set of Cleopatra and subsequently married and divorced twice. Their relationship was passionate and volatile, and Burton once said of it, ”You can’t keep clapping a couple of sticks [of dynamite] together without expecting them to blow up.”

Also known for her love of jewelry, Taylor’s jewelry collection was estimated to be worth $150 million at the time of her death. She owned some of the most famous jewelry pieces in the world, including the Krupp Diamond, and the Taylor-Burton Diamond – both bought for her by Richard Burton. She also possessed the La Peregrina Pearl, which has a history spanning 500 years.

In her later years, she took on acting roles less and instead focused more on her philanthropic efforts. When her lifelong friend, Rock Hudson, died in 1985 after battling HIV/AIDS, she started to bring the disease to national attention by helping to found the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) and The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation. She also started her own jewelry and perfume lines as part of her own entrepreneurial efforts.

In the 1990s, she had mostly retired from the world of acting and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute in 1993. In 2000, she was honored again, but this time by the country she was born in when she became a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE). By this time her health had begun to decline and she suffered from diabetes, congestive heart failure, had both hips replaced, and had a brain tumor removed. It is reported that she went through over 30 surgeries. She was admitted into Cedars-Sinai Hospital for congestive heart failure in February 2011, and died on March 23, 2011.

Years earlier, in an interview with Barbara Walters, the reporter asked Taylor how she would like to be remembered after she was gone. She said she would like her tombstone to read, “‘Here lies Liz. She lived,’” before admitting, “No, I don’t like ‘Liz.’ I hate that name. ‘Here lies Elizabeth. She hated being called Liz. But she lived.’”

Sources: Wikipedia, ABC News, Biography.com

Read full storyComments { 0 }

Singin’ in the Rain Day

August 23 is Singin’ in the Rain Day!

This holiday celebrates the classic musical that it is named for, as well as the starring character and director, Gene Kelly, whose birthday falls on August 23.

Singin’ in the Rain was an American musical comedy released in 1952 starring Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, and Debbie Reynolds. The film was an amusing take on Hollywood, with the plot line focusing specifically on silent film actors transitioning into “talkies”. Despite Singin’ in the Rain’s modest success initially, it has come to be known as one of the best musicals of all time.

Celebrate Singin’ in the Rain Day by curling up and watching the classic movie, or go outside and sing to your heart’s content (even if it isn’t raining)!

Sources: Yahoo News, Wikipedia

Read full storyComments { 0 }

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Birthday

Former professional bodybuilder, actor, and politician Arnold Schwarzenegger was born on July 30, 1947 in Austria.

At age 20, Schwarzenegger won Mr. Universe and received the Mr. Olympia title seven times after that. He gained the nickname “Austrian Oak” for his roles in Hollywood action films including Conan the Barbarian, The Terminator, Predator, Total Recall, Eraser, and many more. Arnold Schwarzeneggar served for two terms from 2003 to 2011 as the 38th Governor of California.

Happy Birthday, Arnold!

 

Sources: Biography, Wikipedia

Read full storyComments { 0 }

Sylvester Stallone’s Birthday

American film actor, screenwriter, and director Sylvester Stallone was born on July 6, 1946 in New York, New York. His big break came in 1976 when he wrote and starred in the now iconic boxing movie, Rocky. The film was such a success, it received ten Oscar nods and Stallone walked away with Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Directing, and Best Film Editing.

Sylvester Stallone’s portrayal of Rocky Balboa, as well as John Rambo in First Blood, caused him to become one of the most popular Hollywood action film stars ever. He continues to write, act in, and direct movies, mostly within the action genre.

Happy Birthday Sylvester Stallone!

 

Sources: Wikipedia, Biography

Read full storyComments { 0 }

George Lucas’ Birthday

American filmmaker, producer, and screenwriter George Lucas was born in Modesto, California on May 14, 1944.  He is most famous for the creation of the Star Wars saga and the Indiana Jones adventure series.  Lucas has become one of the most successful filmmakers within the American film industry.

George Lucas attended the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts and was a member of the “Dirty Dozen” clique of film school students that would go on to make it big in Hollywood.  In 1973, Lucas found success with the release of his low-budget film, American Graffiti, which cost under $800,000 to make but garnered over $50 million at the box office.

Star Wars came next in 1977, and with the release of The Empire Strikes Back in 1980 and The Return of the Jedi in 1983, the saga began to attract quite the cult following.  Indiana Jones was also the brainchild of George Lucas, but he enlisted Steven Spielberg to direct the films while he wrote the screenplays.  After Indiana Jones, Lucas returned his attention back to Star Wars and created three more “episodes” which were hugely popular.  Both Hollywood franchises achieved momentous success, and in 2012, Lucas announced he would be retiring from major blockbuster films to focus on smaller, independent features.

Happy 69th Birthday George Lucas!

Sources: Wikipedia, Biography

Read full storyComments { 0 }

Fred Astaire’s Birthday

Dancer, choreographer, singer, and actor Fred Astaire was born on May 10, 1899. He was credited by many as the greatest popular music dancer of all time, and is acknowledged as a main influence by scores of professional dancers. Fred Astaire’s stage and film career lasted for 76 years, during which time he starred in 31 musical films.

After achieving roles in many Broadway productions, Fred Astaire received his big break when he landed a small role in the Joan Crawford film, Dancing Lady. He went on to become one half of American film’s most beloved dance team alongside Ginger Rogers. The pair starred in ten films together, including: The Gay Divorcee (1934), Top Hat (1935), and Follow the Fleet (1936).

Fred Astaire died of pneumonia on June 22, 1987 at the age of 88 in Los Angeles, California, leaving behind his legacy of one of Hollywood’s greatest talents.

Sources: Wikipedia, Biography

Read full storyComments { 0 }