Animal Rights Activist, Film Actor, Television Actor (1961–)
Animal Rights Activist, Film Actor, Television Actor
July 23, 1961 (age 54)
PLACE OF BIRTH
Woodrow Tracy Harrelson
RISE TO FAME
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Woody Harrelson is an actor known for his long-running role on TV’s Cheers, film roles and his breakthrough work on True Detective.
Woody Harrelson’s big break came in 1985, when he was cast as sweet, dim-witted bartender Woody Boyd on the wildly popular sitcom Cheers. His performance earned him five Emmy nominations and a win for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. Harrelson moved into film and has had an impressive run, in films such as Natural Born Killers, The Thin Red Line and No Country for Old Men. More recently, Harrelson won accolades for his role on the HBO crime series True Detective.
Woody Harrelson was born Woodrow Tracy Harrelson on July 23, 1961, in Midland, Texas, to parents Charles and Diane Harrelson. Harrelson’s father went to prison on a murder conviction when Harrelson was only seven, leaving Woody’s mother, a legal secretary, to raise him and his two brothers in Lebanon, Ohio. Harrelson was raised with a strong, spiritual foundation, which helped him earn a scholarship to Hanover College, a Presbyterian institution in Indiana.
In 1983, Harrelson earned a bachelor’s degree in English and theatrical arts, after which he headed to New York City to pursue acting. His career began as an understudy in the Neil Simon play Biloxi Blues and as an extra in various films and television shows.
Rise to Fame
Harrelson’s big break came in 1985, when he was cast as sweet, dim-witted bartender Woody Boyd on the wildly popular sitcom Cheers, which was in its fourth season. Woody was an instant hit with viewers, as well as with critics, and he stayed on with eight seasons. His performance earned him five Emmy nominations, including a 1989 Emmy win for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.
While still on Cheers, Harrelson also continued his work as a stage actor, appearing in the James Brooks play Brooklyn Laundry in 1991, as well as the drama Furthest From the Sun (1993), a play he both wrote and directed. Harrelson also took on some supporting and cameo film roles in films such as Wildcats (1986) and L.A. Story (1991), as well his first starring role in the comedy White Men Can’t Jump, co-staring Wesley Snipes. But his film career didn’t take off until after Cheers was over and he starred with Demi Moore and Robert Redford in 1993’s Indecent Proposal. After the success of Indecent Proposal, Woody landed the lead in Oliver Stone’s controversial movie Natural Born Killers (1993), with co-star Juliette Lewis.
After starring roles in 1996’s The Sunchaser and the Farrelly Brothers’ comedy Kingpin (1996), Harrelson sparked controversy in the biopic The People vs. Larry Flynt. But once the controversy faded, Harrelson’s sympathetic portrayal of adult-film mogul Larry Flynt earned the actor Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor. The film was lauded by critics, and his performance boosted Harrelson to A-list actor status.
After that, Harrelson landed a series of more serious film roles, including the war movie Welcome to Sarajevo (1997), the political satire Wag the Dog (1997) and the award-winning war film The Thin Red Line (1998).
Harrelson earned the attention of critics again in 2007 for the Coen brothers drama No Country for Old Men. The film won Harrelson a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Cast, along with Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin and Kelly Macdonald. In 2008, Harrelson appeared in several films, including the comedy Semi-Pro with Will Ferrell and the drama Seven Pounds (2008) with Will Smith. In 2009, he co-starred in the horror comedy Zombieland and the dystopian apocalypse film 2012. His role that same year in the critically acclaimed drama The Messenger earned him several award nominations, including Golden Globe and Academy Award nods.
Harrelson made his next big splash, and it might be his biggest to date, on January 12, 2014, the day the series True Detective premiered on HBO. Harrelson played Detective Marty Hart opposite Matthew McConaughey, and both actors served as executive producers. The show, a dark and atmospheric crime drama, was an instant critical darling and pulled in a whole new crop of fans for Harrelson. It also earned the actor an Emmy nomination for Best Actor.
In addition to acting, Harrelson has been an outspoken advocate for the environment. His activism includes efforts for preserving the California redwoods, involvement in the American Oceans’ Campaign and legalization efforts for the use of industrial hemp. Harrelson challenged the constitutionality of the Kentucky state law that does not distinguish between industrial hemp and marijuana by planting several hemp seeds. He won the case, and became an advisor for NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws
Harrelson was briefly married to Nancy Simon, the daughter of playwright Neil Simon, in 1985 during a trip to Tijuana, Mexico. They planned to annul the marriage but divorced instead in 1986. On January 11, 1998, Harrelson married longtime girlfriend and former assistant Laura Louie in a private ceremony in Costa Rica. Louie is currently a partner in their production company, Children at Play, and co-owned their health-food restaurant and oxygen bar, 02, which was located in Los Angeles. They currently reside in Maui, Hawaii, in a self-sustained community with their two children, Deni Montana and Zoe Giordano.
REEFER MADNESS: Old Hollywood Stars Who Danced With Mary Jane!
April 21, 2016
It’s no secret that the world was a little less productive than normal yesterday. April 20th – or, 4/20– has quickly become the poster-boy of counter-culture Holidays. One that is so widely known, Canada chose yesterday to announce they would be legalizing marijuana in spring of 2017. Yep, this was an official announcement.
But as modern as pot-culture seems to be – that isn’t quite the case. We’re going back before teenagers hid behind portables, before hippies sat in friend circles. Many of your favourite stars of yesteryear were chummy with the friendly stranger – some even caught red-handed, and charged criminally with the substance. Check out our list of stars below!
Famous, Fifties Crooner Bing Grosby was secretly packing his pipe with wacky tobbacy, it seems. Crosby was introduced with the herbal remedy way back in the 20’s (before it was made illegal in 1927) by jazz legend Louis Armstrong. A Pocketful of Dreams quotes Bing’s eldest son, Gary, as saying “If you look at the way he sang and the way he walked and talked, you could make a pretty good case for somebody who was loaded. Gary also explained how sometimes, when marijuana was mentioned to Crosby, “…he’d get a smile on his face. He’d kind of think about it and there’d be that little smile.”
Crosby was reluctant to publicly admit whether he continued to use cannabis, he wasn’t one to shy away from telling the media he thought it should be legalized. In numerous interviews during the 1960s-70s, he was forthright in saying the plants’ use should be decriminalized.
After a video surfaced in 2009, showing the Hollywood starlet purportedly smoking marijuana with friends in a New Jersey home, the world speculated if Marilyn truly participated in a puff puff pass. The film, which was shot in 1958 or 1959, shows Monroe sitting on a couch with what looks to be a joint in her hand. After a cut, the person sitting next to Monroe passes her the alleged joint from which she inhales.
While impossible to say for certain that she’s smoking marijuana in the clip, it certainly does look like it – Marilyn is all grins and giggles throughout the video.
Famous Fifties Heartthrob and father of actress Jamie Lee Curtis was no stranger to the green herb. He was famously arrested for possession of cannabis at London’s Heathrow Airport in 1970. And, in an interview with People magazine in 1980, he reminisced: “I used to smoke marijuana, years ago.”
The Famous Feet of famous actor and dancer Fred Astaire may have been fuelled by a little green plant, it seems. Actress Petula Clarke, who appeared alongside Astaire in the 1968 film Finian’s Rainbow, outed the actor in 2012. In an interview with the BBC, she said ‘…there was a lot of flower power going on!’ when asked about drug use between her and her co-stars.
It was revealed in the book Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations, that the sultry starlet was no stranger to Mary Jane’s advances. Ava is quoted as saying, “I adored him. He was outrageous,” of Robert Mitchum, who turned her on to marijuana on the set of “My Forbidden Past” in 1951. “[I]n front of reporters, he’d call to his makeup man: ‘Hey, bring me some of that good shit, man.’..”
Oscar winning Screen-writer Dalton Trumbo is more famous for being blacklisted than being a pot head. But he was outed in an October 2007 article in the New Yorker by Steve Martin, who says that he saw Trumbo “…sorting the seeds and stems from a brick of pot..” during the 1970s while he was dating Trumbo’s daughter Mitzi.
“I‘m just an obnoxious guy who can make it appear charming, that’s what they pay me to do,” said Bill Murray in an interview with T.J. English for Irish America . In an episode of PBS Digital Studios’ “Blank on Blank,” Murray cracks wise on giving back to his mom when he made it big, hijinks on the set of Ghostbusters, the spiritual change that saved him from destruction, and how fame sort of helps with talking to women.
Glen Campbell Plays “The #William Tell Overture” (acoustic)
Published on Aug 18, 2015
From September 1974 in New York’s Central Park, Glen Campbell plays an acoustic version of “The William Tell Overture”. In later years he always used an electric guitar for this. Sometime around 1974 Glen recorded an acoustic studio version of William Tell that sounds much like this, but it went unreleased for years until it was accidentally released on the 1997 Razor & Tie 2-CD set “The Glen Campbell Collection”. I say accidentally because the track listing for the compilation lists the live 1977 version with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, but what you hear is the 1974 studio acoustic version.
I was asked on Father’s Day, what my dad #Clayton Moore’s legacy was. No small question to anyone, but when layered on to a man who portrayed The #Lone Ranger for over five decades, slightly more daunting for a daughter to answer.
Nope, I’ve not yet seen the Johnny Depp/Armie Hammer version. I hope it’s fantastic. I hope it’s a rip-roaring, shoot-em-up adventure that brings the message the character carries into the 21st century. At least, that’s what I hope.
Last weekend, the Memphis Film Festival honored the legendary western lawman’s 80th anniversary and invited me along with many other first and second-generation links to Hollywood’s cowboy heritage. Dad, in fact, had attended that very festival exactly 30 years ago and indeed, some of those same fans were on hand to greet me. Some brought their copies of his autobiography, others 8×10 glossies, still others their costumed toddlers — mask and all — to take a picture or give me a hug. Their toddlers.
Just to lay the foundation here, I have chosen my own path far from the film industry’s blinding Klieg-lights. My talent for entertainment abruptly ends when any group larger than Thanksgiving dinner assembles, and my inherent childhood shyness turns to sheer terror. Yes, I suppose all the world’s a stage, but I have been cast as a reluctant performer.
That said, there I sat on a panel to receive questions from fans passionate about my father’s embodiment of the Masked Man. The day’s first question came to me. “Miss Moore,” (this is the Bible-belt, after all), “what do you consider your father’s legacy to be?” The answer — and emotions — came quickly.
Thirteen years after my father’s passing, I continue to receive fan letters — not just from the United States, but from all over the world. The letters come from policemen, firemen and teachers who say they chose a life of protecting others wanting to emulate the example my father set — not just as an actor, but as a man. What’s his legacy? That he inspired and continues to inspire the notion of offering assistance without seeking acknowledgement or fame. To come to the aid of someone in need. Pretty powerful stuff.
As is the Lone Ranger Creed. Written by Fran Striker in 1933 as the template for the radio show’s writers — as in, “What would the Lone Ranger do?” — it remains remarkably timeless. Its tenants set quite a high moral bar few people could master; fewer still would even attempt. My dad was quoted often as saying portraying the character made him a better person. A little hokey perhaps, but hey, if the love that flows from his multi-generational fans is any measure of that effort, then I would say he accomplished his goal.
It’s ironic that almost 60 years after my father grasped hundreds of tiny hands on Disneyland’s opening day, that Disney is the studio holding the fate of the character in its hands. Well, Frontierland could use a little make-over…
Considered one of the 100 Most Interesting Items in The Smithsonian’s collection, the mask Clayton Moore wore has become an icon of Americana. Now, that’s what I call a legacy.
In the current ultra-managed, publicist-controlled, sound-byte-driven media atmosphere, you don’t get to hear stars really speaking their minds anymore — at least, not about anything fun, like how they really feel about their fellow stars. But occasionally a little something sneaks through the PR wall, both now and back in Hollywood’s golden age, sometimes as whispers, sometimes as gossip, sometimes long after the fact. And thus, we present another, long-overdue installment of our ongoing series (following authors, filmmakers, and musicians) of really famous people really cutting each other down.
1. Bette Davis on Joan Crawford:
“Joan Crawford — I wouldn’t sit on her toilet!”
“I wouldn’t piss on Joan Crawford if she were on fire.”
“Joan Crawford — Hollywood’s first case of syphilis.”
“She has slept with every male star at MGM except Lassie.”
“Why am I so good at playing bitches? I think it’s because I’m not a bitch. Maybe that’s why Miss Crawford always plays ladies.”
“You should never say bad things about the dead, you should only say good… Joan Crawford is dead. Good.”
2. Joan Crawford on Bette Davis:
“Bette will play anything, so long as she thinks someone is watching. I’m a little more selective than that.”
“She may have more Oscars… she’s also made herself into something of a joke.”
“Miss Davis was always partial to covering up her face in motion pictures. She called it ‘art.’ Others might call it camouflage — a cover-up for the absence of any real beauty.”
“I don’t hate Bette Davis, even though the press wants me to. I resent her — I don’t see how she built a career out of mannerisms instead of real acting ability. She’s a phony, but I guess the public likes that.”
3. Viven Leigh on Bette Davis (after turning down Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte:
“I could almost stand to look at Joan Crawford’s face at 6am, but not Bette Davis.”
4. Barbara Stanwyck on Marilyn Monroe:
“Her body has gone to her head.”
5. Bette Davis on Cary Grant: “He needed willowy or boyish girls like Katharine Hepburn to make him look what they now call macho. If I’d co-starred with Grant or if Crawford had, we’d have eaten him for breakfast.”
6. Cary Grant on Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, James Dean:
“I have no rapport with the new idols of the screen, and that includes Marlon Brando and his style of Method acting. It certainly includes Montgomery Clift and that God-awful James Dean. Some producer should cast all three of them in the same movie and let them duke it out. When they’ve finished each other off, James Stewart, Spencer Tracy and I will return and start making real movies again like we used to.”
7. Richard Burton on Marlon Brando: “Marlon has yet to learn to speak. He should have been born two generations before and acted in silent films.”
8. Marlon Brando on James Dean: “Mr. Dean appears to be wearing my last year’s wardrobe and using my last year’s talent.”
9. Richard Harris on Michael Caine: “An over-fat, flatulent, 62-year-old windbag. A master of inconsequence masquerading as a guru, passing off his vast limitations as pious virtues.”
10. Rex Harrison on Charlton Heston:
“Charlton Heston is good at playing arrogance and ambition. But in the same way that a dwarf is good at being short.”
11. Harrison Ford on Shia LaBeouf:
“I think he was a fucking idiot.”
12. Dean Martin on James Stewart: “There’s a statue of Jimmy Stewart in the Hollywood Wax Museum, and the statue talks better than he does.”
13. Sir John Gielgud on Ingrid Bergman:
“Dear Ingrid — speaks five languages and can’t act in any of them.”
14. Frank Sinatra on Shelly Winters:
“A bowlegged bitch of a Brooklyn blonde.”
15. Shelly Winters on Frank Sinatra:
“A skinny, no-talent, stupid Hoboken bastard.”
16. Ava Gardner on Mia Farrow and Frank Sinatra:
“I always knew Frank would end up in bed with a boy.”
17. Traci Lords on Johnny Depp: “He’s the kind of guy that would be really sweet to a girl and bring her flowers, but still take a pee in the alley.”
18. Bill Murray to Chevy Chase:
19. Julia Roberts on Nick Nolte:
“A disgusting human being.”
20. Nick Nolte on Julia Roberts:
“It’s not nice to call someone ‘disgusting’. But she’s not a nice person. Everyone knows that.”
21. Sharon Stone on Gwyneth Paltrow:
“[She’s] very young and lives in rarefied air that’s a little thin. It’s like she’s not getting quite enough oxygen.”
22. Katherine Hepburn on Sharon Stone: “It’s a new low for actresses when you have to wonder what’s between her ears instead of her legs.”
23. Susan Sarandon on Mel Gibson: “Mel Gibson is somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun. He’s beautiful, but only on the outside.”
24. Walter Matthau to Barbara Streisand: “I have more talent in my smallest fart than you have in your entire body.”
25. Elliot Gould on Jerry Lewis: “This arrogant, sour, ceremonial, piously chauvinistic egomaniac.”
26. Graham Chapman on John Travolta:
“How difficult can it be to fly an airplane? I mean, John Travolta learned how.”
27. W.C. Fields on Mae West:
“A plumber’s idea of Cleopatra.”
28. W.C. Fields on Charlie Chaplin:
“He’s a goddamned ballet dancer.”
29. Robert Downey Jr. on Hugh Grant: “A self-important, boring, flash-in-the-pan Brit.”
30. John Wayne on Clark Gable: “Gable’s an idiot. You know why he’s an actor? It’s the only thing he’s smart enough to do.”
In 1983 Dennis Hopper went to Rice University in Houston, Texas ostensibly to screen his latest film Out Of The Blue. But little known to anyone, other than Hopper and a handful of his buddies, he had another agenda entirely. While he did indeed screen his movie, Hopper had actually come to Houston to blow himself up.After screening Out Of The Blue, Hopper arranged to have the audience driven by a fleet of school buses to a racetrack on the outskirts of Houston, the Big H Speedway. Hopper and the buses arrived at the speedway just as the races were ending and a voice was announcing over the public address system “stick around folks and watch a famous Hollywood filmpersonalityperform the Russian Dynamite Death Chair Act. That’s right, folks, he’ll sit in a chair with six sticks of dynamite and light the fuse.”Was famous Hollywood personality Dennis Hopper about to go out with a bang?Hopper apparently learned this stunt when he was a kid after seeing it performed in a traveling roadshow. If you place the dynamite pointing outwards the explosion creates a vacuum in the middle and the person performing the stunt is, if all goes according to plan, unharmed.After bullshittingfor awhile with the crowd and his friends, a drunk and stoned Hopper climbed into the “death chair’ and lit the dynamite.A Rice News correspondent described the scene:
Dennis Hopper, at one with the shock wave, was thrown headlong in a halo of fire. For a single, timeless instant he looked like Wile E. Coyote, frazzled and splayed by his own petard. Then billowing smoke hid the scene. We all rushed forward, past the police, into the expanding cloud of smoke, excited, apprehensive, and no less expectant than we had been before the explosion. Were we looking for Hopper or pieces we could take home as souvenirs? Later Hopper would say blowing himself up was one of the craziest things he has ever done, and that it was weeks before he could hear again. At the moment, though, none of that mattered. He had been through the thunder, the light, and the heat, and he was still in one piece. And when Dennis Hopper staggered out of that cloud of smoke his eyes were glazed with the thrill of victory and spinout.
With 11 nominations and five wins for Hugo at the 2012 Oscars, Martin Scorsese remains one of the most influential directors in Hollywood. But what influenced him? Here’s an A-Z list of the films that mattered to Scorsese.
Interviewing Martin Scorsese is like taking a master class in film. Fast Company’s four-hour interview with the director for the December-January cover story was ostensibly about his career, and how he had been able to stay so creative through years of battling studios. But the Hugo director punctuated everything he said with references to movies: 85 of them, in fact, all listed below.
Some of the movies he discussed (note: the descriptions for these are below in quotes, denoting his own words). Others he just mentioned (noted below with short plot descriptions and no quotes). But the cumulative total reflects a life lived entirely within the confines of movie making, from his days as a young asthmatic child watching a tiny screen in Queens, New York to today, when Scorsese is as productive as he’s ever been in his career—and more revered than ever by the industry that once regarded him as a troublesome outsider. Hugo leads the Academy Award nominations with 11 nods, including Best Picture and Best Director. Several Oscar pundits believe he’ll nab his second Directing win. If so, he owes a lot to movies like the ones below.
Ace in the Hole: “This Billy Wilder film was so tough and brutal in its cynicism that it died a sudden death at the box office, and they re-released it under the title Big Carnival, which didn’t help. Chuck Tatum is a reporter who’s very modern—he’ll do anything to get the story, to make up the story! He risks not only his reputation, but also the life of this guy who’s trapped in the mine.” 1951
All That Heaven Allows: In this Douglas Sirk melodrama, Rock Hudson plays a gardener who falls in love with a society widow played by Jane Wyman. Scandale! 1955
America, America: Drawn directly from director Elia Kazan’s family history, this film offers a passionate, intense view of the challenges faced by Greek immigrants at the end of the 19th century. 1963
An American in Paris: This Vincente Minnelli film, with Gene Kelly, picked up the idea of stopping within a film for a dance from The Red Shoes. 1951
Apocalypse Now: This Francis Ford Coppola masterpiece is from a period when directors like Brian DePalma, John Milius, Paul Schrader, Scorsese and others had great freedom—freedom that they then lost. 1979
Arsenic and Old Lace: Scorsese is a big fan of many Frank Capra movies, and this Cary Grant vehicle is one of several that he’s enjoyed with his family at his office screening room. 1944
The Bad and the Beautiful: Vincente Minnelli directed this film about a cynical Hollywood mogul trying to make a comeback. It stars Kirk Douglas, Lana Turner, Walter Pidgeon, and Dick Powell. 1952
The Band Wagon: “It’s my favorite of the Vincente Minnelli musicals. I love the storyline that combines Faust and a musical comedy, and the disaster that results. Tony Hunter, the lead character played by Fred Astaire, is a former vaudeville dancer whose time has passed, and who’s trying to make it on Broadway, which is a very different medium of course. By the time the movie was made, the popularity of the Astaire/Rogers films had waned, raising the question of what are you going to do with Fred Astaire in Technicolor? So, really, Tony Hunter is Fred Astaire—his whole reputation is on the line, and so was Fred Astaire’s.” 1953
Born on the Fourth of July: Produced by Universal Pictures under Tom Pollock and Casey Silver, this Tom Cruise movie (directed by Oliver Stone) was an example of how that studio “wanted to make special pictures,” says Scorsese. 1989
Cape Fear: As he once explained to Steven Spielberg over dinner in Tribeca, one of Scorsese’s fears about directing a remake of this film was that, “The original was so good. I mean, you’ve got Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, Polly Bergen, it’s terrific!” 1962
Cat People: Simone Simon plays a woman who fears that she might turn into a panther and kill. It sounds corny, but the psychological thrills that directors Jacques Tourneur got out of his measly $150,000 budget make this a fascinating movie, with amazing lighting. 1942
Caught: “There are certain styles I had trouble with at first, like some of Max Ophuls’ films. It took me till I was into my thirties to get The Earrings of Madame de…, for example. But I didn’t have trouble with this one, which I saw in a theater and which is kind of based on Howard Hughes [protagonist of The Aviator].” 1949
Citizen Kane: “Orson Welles was a force of nature, who just came in and wiped the slate clean. And Citizen Kane is the greatest risk-taking of all time in film. I don’t think anything had even seen anything quite like it. The photography was also unlike anything we’d seen. The odd coldness of the filmmaker towards the character reflects his own egomania and power, and yet a powerful empathy for all of them—it’s very interesting. It still holds up, and it’s still shocking. It takes storytelling and throws it up in the air.” 1941
The Conversation: Gene Hackman stars in this thrilled directed by Scorsese’s friend, Francis Ford Coppola. It’s a classic example of studio risk-taking in the early 1970s. 1974
Dial M for Murder: When discussing the creation of Hugo, Scorsese referred to this Hitchcock film as an example of other directors who have tangled with 3-D over the years. In its original release most theaters only showed it in 2-D; now the 3-D version pops up in theaters from time to time.1954
Do The Right Thing: Spike Lee’s film was the kind of risky production that drew Scorsese to Universal Pictures when it was run by Casey Silver and Tom Pollack. “Then Pollock left,” says Scorsese, “and it all changed.” 1989
Duel in the Sun: Scorsese went to see this movie, which some critics called “Lust in the Dust,” when he was 4 years old. Jennifer Jones falls hard for a villainous Gregory Peck in this lush King Vidor picture. A poster of the movie hangs in Scorsese’s offices. 1946
The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse:Rex Ingram made this movie, in which Rudolph Valentino dances the tango. Ingram stopped making films when sound came in. Michael Powell’s father worked for Ingram; living in that milieu gave Michael the cultural knowledge that informed his own movies like The Red Shoes. 1921
Europa ’51: “After making The Flowers of St. Francis, Rossellini asked, what would a modern-day saint be like? I think they based it on Simone Weil, and Ingrid Bergman played the part. It really takes everything we’re dealing with today, whether it’s revolutions in other countries or people trying to change their lifestyles, and it’s all there in that film. The character tries everything, because she has a tragedy in her family that really changes her, so she tries politics and even working in a factory, and in the end it has a very moving resolution.” [Also known as The Greatest Love] 1952
Faces: “[Director John] Cassavetes went to Hollywood to shoot films like A Child is Waiting and Too Late Blues, and after Too Late Blues he became disenchanted. Those of us in the New York scene, we kept asking, ‘What’s Cassavetes doing? What’s he up to?’ And he was shooting this film in his house in L.A. with his wife Gena Rowlands and his friends. And when Faces showed at the New York Film Festival, it absolutely trumped everything that was shown at the time. Cassavetes is the person who ultimately exemplifies independence in film.” 1968
The Fall of the Roman Empire: One of the last “sandal epics,” this sweeping Anthony Mann picture boasted a stellar cast of Sophia Loren, Anthony Boyd, James Mason, Alec Guinness, Christopher Plummer, and Anthony Quayle. And it failed miserably at the box office. 1964
The Flowers of St. Francis: “This Rossellini movie and Europa ’51 are two of the best films about the part of being human that yearns for something beyond the material. Rossellini used real monks for this movie. It’s very simple and beautiful.” 1950
Force of Evil: Another picture that defined the American gangster image, this noir stars John Garfield as the evil older brother whose younger sibling won’t join his numbers-running conglomerate. 1948
Forty Guns: Barbara Stanwyck stars in this Sam Fuller Western. She plays a bad-ass cattle rancher with a soft spot for a local lawman. 1957
Germany Year Zero: “Roberto Rossellini always felt he had an obligation to inform. He was the first one to do a story about compassion for the enemy, in this film—it’s always been hard to find, but now there’s a Criterion edition. It’s a very disturbing picture. He was the first one to go there after the war, to say we all have to live together. And he felt cinema was the tool that could do this, that could inform people.” 1948
Gilda: “I saw this when I was 10 or 11, I had some sort of funny reaction to her, I tell you! Me and my friends didn’t know what to do about Rita Hayworth, and we didn’t really understand what George McCready was doing to her. Can you imagine? Gilda at age 11. But that’s what we did. We went to the movies.” 1946
The Godfather: “Gordon Willis did the same dark filming trick on The Godfather as he had done on Klute. And now audiences accepted it, and went along with it, and every director of photography and now every director of photography of the past 40 years owes him the greatest debt, for changing the style completely—until now, of course, with the advent of digital.” 1972
Gun Crazy: A romantic example of film noir, this one features a gun-toting husband and a sharpshooting wife. 1950
Health: This Altman movie came out at the same time as King of Comedy. They were both flops, and we were both out. The age of the director was over. E.T. was a very big worldwide hit around then, and that changed the whole business of film finance. 1980
Heaven’s Gate: Scorsese was with United Artists in the ’70s, with producers he describes as “understanding and supportive.” Heaven’s Gate, one of the ambitious films UA backed at the time, was a critical and box office bomb, although its reputation has improved over the years. 1980
House of Wax: This was the first 3-D movie produced by a major American studio. It starred Vincent Price as a wax sculptor whose sourcing was, shall we say, unusual. 1953
How Green Was My Valley: “I appreciate the visual poetry of [director John] Ford’s film, like in the famous scene where Maureen O’Hara is married and the wind blows the veil on her head. It’s absolute poetry. No words. It’s all there in the image.” 1941
The Hustler: Scorsese liked the Paul Newman character (Eddie Felson) in this movie so much that when Newman came calling about a possible update of the movie, he agreed to direct The Color of Money. He says the movie’s box office success helped rehabilitate his career after a tough slog. 1961
I Walk Alone: One of several movies that Scorsese says clearly defined the American gangster ideal, this one stars Burt Lancaster and the smoldering Lizabeth Scott. 1948
The Infernal Cakewalk: One of the many George Melies movies that have been restored and can now be seen on DVD. Melies, a French director of silent films, is at the center of the plot of Hugo. 1903
It Happened One Night: “I didn’t think much of this Frank Capra film, until I saw it recently on the big screen. And I discovered it was a masterpiece! The body language of Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable, the way they related—it’s really quite remarkable.” 1934
Jason and the Argonauts: As part of his film education of his daughter, Scorsese screened a bunch of Ray Harryhausen classics, including this one. 1963
Journey to Italy: “After Rossellini married Ingrid Bergman he wiped the slate clean and left Neo-Realism behind. Instead he made these intimate stories that had a great deal to do with a certain intellectual mysticism, a sense of cultural power. In Viaggio [Viaggio in Italia is the Italian title], for example, the English couple played by George Sanders and Ingrid Bergman are traveling in Naples on vacation while marriage is falling apart, but the land around them—the people the museums, and especially their visit to Pompeii, these thousands of years of culture around them—work on them like a modern miracle. The film is basically two people in a car, and that became the entire New Wave. Kids may not have seen this film, but it’s basically in all the independent film of today.” 1954
Julius Caesar: “This is another example of Orson Welles’ risk-taking, with Caesar’s crew as out-and-out gangsters.” 1953
Kansas City: “This is one of the great jazz movies ever. If you could hang on with Altman, you were going to go on one of the great rides of your lives.” 1996
Kiss Me Deadly: A great example of the noir genre that so inspired Scorsese. This one stars Ralph Meeker as detective Mike Hammer. 1955
Klute: “There are movies that change the whole way in which films are made, like Klute, where Gordon Willis’s photography on the film is so textured, and, they said, too dark. At first this was alarming to people, because they’re used to a certain way things are done within the studio system. And the studio is selling a product, so they were wary of people thinking that it’s too dark.” 1971
La Terra Trema: This Lucchino Visconti film is one of the founding films of Neo-Realism. 1948
The Lady from Shanghai: “The story goes that Welles had to make a film and he was in this railway station, and there were some paperbacks there and he was talking to Harry Cohn of Columbia and he said look, I’ve got the greatest film it’s called Lady from Shanghai, which was this paperback he saw there. And then he made up this story, taking elements of Moby Dick, where he talks about the sharks, and the whole mirror sequence in that picture is unsurpassed. I don’t know if Lady is a noir, but it’s awkward, and it’s brilliant.” 1947
The Leopard: “Visconti and Rossellini and deSica were the founders of Neo-Realism. Visconti went a different way from Rossellini. He made this movie, which is one of the greatest films ever made.” 1963
Macbeth: “This was the first Welles movie I saw, on television. He shot it in 27 days. The look of it, the Celtic barbarism, the Druid priest, this was all very different from other Macbeth productions I’d seen. The use of superimpositions, the effigies at the beginning of the film—it was more like cinema than theatre. Anything Welles did, given his background in radio, was a big risk. Macbeth is an audacious film, set in Haiti of all places.” 1948
The Magic Box: “There were a number of people who felt that they had invented moving pictures. Robert Donat plays William Friese-Greene, one of those people, who’s obsessed from childhood with movement and color. Donat was a great actor. And this is a beautifully done film.” 1951
M*A*S*H: “I saw it at a press screening. That was the first football game I ever understood. Altman developed this style that came out of his life and making television movies, it was so unique—and his movies seemed to come out every two weeks.” 1972
A Matter of Life and Death: “This is another beautiful film by Powell and Pressburger, but it was made after World War II, so people said, ‘You can’t use the word ‘Death’ in the title!’ So it got changed to Stairway to Heaven, that’s what it was called in America. Now it’s A Matter of Life and Death again.” 1946
McCabe & Mrs. Miller: “This is an absolute masterpiece. Altman could shoot quickly and get the very best actors.” 1971
The Messiah: “Rossellini’s last film in this third period, the last film he made before he died, is this beautiful TV film on Jesus. He had planned on making more such films, like one on Karl Marx. He thought TV was the way to reach young people, to educate them. But then of course TV changed.” 1975
Midnight Cowboy: One of the great movies released by UA in its glory days, starring Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight. 1969
Mishima: Scorsese describes this Paul Schrader film about the great Japanese author as a “masterpiece.” 1985
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town: In this Frank Capra movie, one of several that Scorsese has screened for his family, Gary Cooper plays a small-town boy who inherits a fortune—and a bevy of big-city sharpies that he can’t quite contend with. 1936
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington: Jimmy Stewart stars in this Capra movie, one of the all-time greats, which features a dramatic filibuster. 1939
Nashville: “Altman had a point of view that was uniquely American and an artistic vision to go with it. All his early work pointed to this movie.” 1975
Night and the City: “It’s the essential British noir film. Harry Fabien, played by Richard Widmark, is a two-bit hustler running through the London underworld at night, and he always oversteps, particularly with the gangster played by Herbert Lom. From the very beginning you know Fabien’s going to fail, because he’s up against a power he doesn’t understand. 1950
One, Two, Three: A classic Billy Wilder comedy, starring James Cagney as a Coca-Cola exec in West Berlin. The dialogue crackles. 1961
Othello: “It took (Orson Welles) years to finish this. There were tons of quick cuts, and there’s a wonderful sequence where two people are attacked in a Turkish bath, and it works beautifully. They’re wearing towels, and one is dispatched under the boards. It has a strange North African whiteness. It turns out that he was ready to do the sequence, and the costumes didn’t show up. So he said, let’s put it in a Turkish bath. He had the actors there! He had to shoot it!” 1952
Paisa: “This is my all-time favorite of the Rossellini films.” 1946
Peeping Tom: “Michael Powell himself gambled everything on Peeping Tom and lost in such a way that his career was really ended. The film was so shocking to some British critics and the audience because he had some sympathy, sort of, for the serial killer. And the killer had the audacity to photograph the killing of the women with a motion picture camera, which of course tied in the motion picture camera as an object of voyeurism, implicating all of us watching horror films. He was reviled. One critic said this should be flushed down the toilet. He only got one or two more movies done. He really disappeared. And now in England there are cameras watching everyone all over the street.” 1960
Pickup on South Street: Richard Widmark picks up the wrong purse in this classic noir, unwittingly setting off a series of events that come to a violent climax. 1953
The Player: “In the years before this movie, the age of the director who had a free hand came to an end. And yet Altman kept experimenting with different kinds of actors, different approaches to narrative, different equipment, until finally he hit it with this movie, which took him off onto a whole other level.” 1992
The Power and the Glory: “Directed by William K. Howard and written by Preston Sturges, it had a structure that Mankiewicz and Welles used for Citizen Kane.” 1933
Stagecoach: “Welles drew from everywhere. The ceilings and the interiors in John Ford’s classic Western inspired him for Citizen Kane.” 1939
Raw Deal: NOT the Arnold Schwarzenegger pic. This one’s a noir directed by Anthony Mann, starring Dennis O’Keefe and Claire Trevor. 1948
The Red Shoes: “There’s something so rich and powerful about the story, and the use of the color, that it deeply affected me when I was 9 or 10 years old. The archness of the approach, and how serious the ballet dancers were … When they say, “The spotlight toujours on moi,” they mean it! The ballet sequence is almost like the first rock video. It’s almost as if you’re seeing what the dancer sees and hears and feels as she’s moving. It’s like in Raging Bull, where we never went outside the ring for the fighting sequences.” 1948
The Rise of Louis XIV: “In the third part of his career, Rossellini decided to make an encyclopedia, a series of didactic films. This is the first film in that series, and it’s an artistic masterpiece. He shot it in 16mm for TV, and called it anti-dramatic. Yet, I screen it once every couple of years, and when you look at frames of it on the big screen there are shots that just look like paintings. Rossellini couldn’t get away from it, he had an artist’s eye. There’s nothing like the last 10 minutes of that film to show the accumulation and the display of power. It’s not done through the sword or the speech, it’s done through the theatre he created around him with his clothes, his food, the way he eats. It’s extraordinary.” 1966
The Roaring Twenties: James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart star in this homage to the gangsters of the 1920s. It was one of the many great films made in 1939 (like Gone with the Wind, The Women, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Stagecoach and many many more). 1939
Rocco and his Brothers: “This Visconti film was also a major influence on filmmakers.” 1960
Rome, Open City: “I saw Italian movies as a 5-year-old, on a 16-inch TV my father bought. We were living in Queens. There were only three stations. One station showed Italian films on Friday night for the Italian-American community, subtitled, and the family would gather to see the films. My grandparents were there—they were the ones who moved over in 1910. So it became a ritual. [Director Roberto] Rossellini had an intellectual approach.” 1945 Secrets of the Soul: “This was a silent movie whose flashback structure was unlike anything else. Secrets of the Soul looked almost experimental.” 1912
Senso: “An extraordinary film by Visconti, another Neo-Realist masterpiece.”
Shadows: “I saw Shadows at the 8th Street Playhouse [in Manhattan], and when I saw such a direct communication with the human experience, of conflict and love, it was almost as if there was no camera there at all. And I love camera positions! But this was like you were living with the people.” 1959
Shock Corridor: A wild Sam Fuller movie about a journalist who enters an insane asylum to try to break a story. 1963
Some Came Running: This Vincent Minnelli melodrama is definitely not a musical. It’s a tough story about an alcoholic Army vet returning home. It stars Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Shirley MacLaine. 1958
Stromboli: “This too was a very important film of Rossellini’s second period. Very beautiful.” [During the shooting of Stromboli, the star, Ingrid Bergman, who was married to an American dentist, got pregnant with Rossellini’s child. She divorced the dentist, and became persona non grata in America]. 1950
Sullivan’s Travels: “Billy Wilder told me, you’re only as good as your last picture. Sullivan, played by Joel McRae, is in the studio system, under that kind of pressure. He makes comedies, but one day he decides he really wants to make ‘Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou?’ He puts it all on the line to learn about the poor. The resolution of the movie is very moving.” 1941
Sweet Smell of Success: Like Ace in the Hole, this classic noir is about an unethical journalist who will stop at nothing to get his way. Burt Lancaster plays the journalist. 1957
Tales of Hoffman: “This was a great risk for Powell and Pressburger. In fact, they lost it on that. He had in mind a composed film like a piece of music, and played the music back on set during the shooting, so the actors moved in a certain way.” 1951
The Third Man: “Carroll Reed made one of those films where everything came together. It made me see, with Kane, that there was another way of interpreting stories, and another approach to the visual frame of the classical films…all those low shots, and the cuts.” 1949
T-Men: Another Anthony Mann noir with great cinematography, this one’s about Department of Treasury men breaking up a counterfeiting ring. 1947
Touch of Evil: “Welles’ radio career with the Mercury Theater made him a master of the soundtrack. Just listen to this movie—you can close your eyes and imagine everything that is happening.” (Young people should listen to the radio soundtrack of War of the Worlds, which was so effective that people got in their cars and started to drive away, because they really believed that Martians were attacking.)
The Trial: “This is another film that gave us a new way of looking at films. You’re very aware of the camera, like when Anthony Perkins came running down this corridor of wooden slats and light cutting the image, blades and shafts of light, talk about paranoia!” 1962
Two Weeks in Another Town: The Vincente Minnelli movie stars Cyd Charisse, Kirk Douglas, and Edward G. Robinson. It’s a classic 1960s melodrama. 1962
Correction: Raw Deal was amended to reflect its release date of 1948.
Orson Welles directed the stage version of Julius Caesar; Joseph Mankiewicz directed the film.
Everyone knows Kevin Spacey for being an extremely talented actor with an extensive resume. You can see his amazing acting talents on ‘The Usual Suspects,’ ‘American Beauty’ and the extremely popular, ‘House of Cards’.
However, what many people may not know is that Kevin Spacey grew up in an extremely difficult and different household. Kevin Spacey’s father was an American-Nazi who physically and sexually abused him.
According to Fox News, Kevin Spacey’s father, Thomas Geoffrey Fowler, was a failed writer and was a Nazi-extremist who enjoyed dressing up and looking like Adolf Hitler. He collected Nazi memorabilia and claimed that the Holocaust never happened.
Spacey’s brother, Randall Fowler, has spoken out about his father. Fowler, claims his father sexually abused him and another female relative, while leaving Kevin Spacey alone. Despite not being sexually abused, Kevin Spacey tried to escape the trauma his father created in his life. He also changed his last name to Spacey, his mother’s maiden name, as a means to distance himself from his horrific father.
Kevin Spacey had tried to succeed as a comedian for several years, before attending the Juilliard School, one of the most elite acting schools in the world in New York City, where he studied drama.
Kevin Spacey is an extremely private man, who has managed to use these painful experiences to help him create deeply interesting characters. In most of his interviews he diverts questions relating to his private life, hoping to help people believe in his characters instead of who he really is. In an interview with Gotham Magazine, Spacey said, “I’ve just never believed in pimping my personal life out for publicity. I’m not interested in doing it. Never will do it. They can gossip all they want; they can speculate all they want. I just happen to believe that there’s a public life and there’s a private life. Everybody has a right to a private life no matter what their profession is.”
Since Kevin Spacey has become an A-List actor, he has given back to the community. He supports Cancer for College, Elton John Aids Foundation, and UNICEF.
Kevin Spacey may have grown up in a difficult hom, but he didn’t let that affect his future. He created a better life for himself and others, showing that it doesn’t matter where you com from but working hard to get to where you want to be.
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