Category Archives: Today’s Birthday

Johannes Brahms 5.7.14 Thought of the Day

Johannes Brahms

Johannes Brahms (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


“Without craftsmanship, inspiration is a mere reed shaken in the wind”


“It is not hard to compose, but what is fabulously hard is to leave the superfluous notes under the table.”


“If there is anyone here whom I have not insulted, I beg his pardon.”


–Johannes Brahms





Johannes Brahms was born on this day in Hamburg, Germany in 1833. Today is the 181st anniversary of his birth.


The second of three children born to Johanna Henrika Christiane Nissen and Johann Jakob Brahms, Johannes’ love of music came from his father who played horn and double bass. Little Johannes was playing piano by age seven and earning money as a musician “at local inns, in brothels and along the city’s docks” [] by the time he was a teenager.At age 20 he met German composer Robert Schumann. Schumann help his career, and Brahms quickly became friends with Schumann and his wife Clara, a pianist and composer in her own right.  When Schumann attempted suicide  and had to be confined to a sanitarium, Brahms helped out the desperate (and very pregnant) Clara, by moving into the apartment above the family and acting as go between from the Schumann household and  the hospital. Schumann died in the sanitarium a few years later, but Brahm’s friendship with Clara continued. He relied on her to review his compositions and valued her opinions.


Brahms in 1853

Brahms in 1853 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While in Hamburg he “held several different posts, including conductor of a women’s choir in Hamburg” [Ibid]. His compositions from this period include:


  • String Sextet in B-flat Major
  • Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor

Here’s his String Sextet in B-Flat Major as performed by the Berlin Philharmonic:


He moved to Vienna in 1850 and in 1863 took the post of Director of the Singakademie, an a cappella group that focused on historical and modern works.


Brahms, for the most part, enjoyed steady success in Vienna. By the early 1870s he was principal conductor of the Society of Friends of Music. He also directed the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra for three seasons…. In 1868, following the death of his mother, he finished “A German Requiem,” a composition based on Biblical texts and often cited as one of the most important pieces of choral music created in the 19th century. The multi-layered piece brings together mixed chorus, solo voices and a complete orchestra. [Ibid]


He’d found his home in Vienna and lived there for the rest of his life. He traveled in summer, touring Europe for concerts and for pleasure.


These later years for the composer saw him living a comfortable life. His music, since 1860 anyway, had sold well, and Brahms, far from flamboyant or excessive, lived a frugal life in his simple apartment. A shrewd investor, Brahms did well in the stock market. His wealth, however, was rivaled by his generosity, as Brahms often gave money to friends and young musical students. [Ibid]


Brahms was rather famous in his old age for being sarcastic and rude to adults, but he loved children (and would often give them candy when he saw them in the street.) His music was popular and sold well, and he lived comfortably and with in his means. He was generous to his friends and his students.


English: Johannes Brahms (1833–1897), German c...


Brahms contracted Liver (or perhaps Pancreatic) Cancer and died at the age of 63 on April 3, 1897.




He wrote in a variety of genres for a number of instruments, and his works include:


  • Fugues
  • Cadenzas
  • Choral Pieces
  • Folk Dances
  • Folk Songs
  • Symphonies
  • Concertos
  • Canons
  • Sonatas
  • Masses




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Audrey Hepburn 5.4.14 Thought of the Day

“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others;
for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and
for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.”
— Audrey Hepburn.


English: Cropped screenshot of Audrey Hepburn ...

English: Cropped screenshot of Audrey Hepburn from the trailer for the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




Audrey Kathleen Ruston was born on this day  in Brussels, Belgium in 1929. Today is the 85 anniversary of her birth.


Her mother was a member of the Dutch aristocracy. Her father was banker. She had two older half brothers.


She grew up in Belgium, England and the Netherlands. She attended a small boarding school in Elham England (there were only 14 students) before the outbreak of WWII. Her parents divorced and her mother, Ella took Audrey back to Arnhem hoping that the Netherlands would remain neutral. There she attended the Arnhem Conservatory and continued to study ballet. She used the pseudonym Edda van Heemstra during the war because Audrey sounded too English. “Hepburn and her mother struggled to survive. She reportedly helped the resistance movement by delivering messages.” [] She carried messages in the toes of her ballet slippers and performed in a dance troupe that gave concerts to raise money for the Dutch resistance. She survived starvation by eating cakes made of flour made of ground tulip bulbs.  She suffered from anemia and malnutrition. She never forgot the hardships of her war-time youth and devoted herself to the humanitarian organization UNICEF in her later years.


After the war, Hepburn continued to pursue an interest in dance. She studied ballet in Amsterdam and later in London. In 1948, Hepburn made her stage debut as a chorus girl in the musical High Button Shoes in London. [Ibid]


Her first film role was an untitled one in 1951’s One Wild Oat. She met the French writer Colette who insisted that Hepburn play the lead in the Broadway play version of her book Gigi. So at 22 Hepburn found herself the star of major Broadway production.


Cropped screenshot of Audrey Hepburn and Grego...

Cropped screenshot of Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck from the trailer for the film Roman Holiday. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Soon she was making movies and at 24 she starred opposite Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday. She won an Academy Award for her performance as the elegant, spunky,  yet somehow fragile Princess Ann.


The following year, in 1954 she won a Tony for her role in the Broadway play Ondine opposite Mel Ferrer. She played a water nymph who falls in love with a human. In real life Hepburn and Ferrer fell in love off stage. They married in September of that year.


Also in 1954 Hepburn starred in Sabrina opposite Humphrey Bogart and William Holden. She got an Oscar nom. for this bittersweet  romantic comedy.



English: Screenshot of Audrey Hepburn and Hump...

English: Screenshot of Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart from the trailer for the film en:Sabrina (1954 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Rita’s note: Can some one please tell Hollywood… THIS is how you make a romantic comedy!






Hepburn turned to dramatic costume drama in 1956 co-starring with her husband, Ferrer, and Henry Fonda in War and Peace.




She teamed up with Fred Astaire for 1957’s Funny Face. The film allowed Hepburn to show off her dancing skills.




In 1959 she received another Oscar nom. for her role as Sister Luke in The Nun’s Story, which Variety called “her most demanding film role.”   [Ibid]




Then in 1960 she went Western starring in John Huston’s classic The Unforgiven with Burt Lancaster.




In 1961 she went back to rom/coms in Truman Copote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Her Holly Golightly earned her a fourth Oscar nom.




For the rest of the 1960s, Hepburn took on a variety of roles. She starred with Cary Grant in the romantic thriller Charade (1963). Playing the lead in the film version of the popular musical My Fair Lady (1964)… Taking on more dramatic fare, she starred a blind woman in the suspenseful tale Wait Until Dark (1967) opposite Alan Arkin. …This film brought her a fifth Academy Award nomination. That same year, Hepburn and her husband separated and later divorced. She married Italian psychiatrist Andrea Dotti in 1969, and the couple had a son, Luca, in 1970. [Ibid]



Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady (1964)

Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady (1964) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The roles slowed down in the 1970’s and 80s. She worked with Sean Connery, playing an aging Marian in Robin and Marian in 1976. She brought sophisticated grace to the crime thrilled Bloodline with Ben Gazzara in 1979. The two switched gears to comedy and starred again in They All Laughed in 1981. Steven Spielberg had the honor of directing her last film, when she took on a cameo role as an angel in Always.




Hepburn died on January 20, 1993 of appendiceal cancer.



... Audrey Hepburn

… Audrey Hepburn (Photo credit: x-ray delta one)


You may be interested in my previous blog post on

Secondary Character Saturday: Mr. Roat (Wait Until Dark)

Gregory Peck 4.5.13 Thought of the Day


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Maryland, My Maryland — thoughts on Maryland Day



The Maryland Flag proudly flying over my abode.

The Maryland Flag proudly flying over my abode.


The State of Maryland is 380 years old today.


On March 25, 1634 two small ships, The Ark and The Dove,  carrying 140 English settlers landed on St. Clement’s Island in the Potomac River. They’d left Cowes on the English Isle of Wight four months earlier with a charter from King Charles I to settle a new colony in North America (the third English colony in North America.)


English: Postage stamps and postal history of ...

English: Postage stamps and postal history of the United States|History of the United States government|American Revolution|Maryland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


It was a rough journey. Three days out of port they hit a severe storm and the two ships were separated. The Ark, the larger ship assumed the Dove was lost and …


continued its journey, following the European coast south to the Fortunate (now Canary) Islands. From the Canaries, the Ark sailed due west across the Atlantic, touching land at the island of Barbadoes in the West Indies on January 3, 1633/4. There, the ship’s weary travelers stayed three weeks replenishing provisions, and there the Dove reappeared, having weathered the Atlantic voyage alone. At other Caribbean isles they also landed, and then sailed north. They reached Virginia on February 27th, gathered more supplies, and navigated Chesapeake Bay north to the mouth of the Potomac by March 3rd. []


After negotiating with the Native American Conoy tribe the settlers finally landed on Blackistone Island (they renamed it St. Clement’s Island.)  Father Andrew White, a Jesuit priest, said Mass, and the group celebrated a day of thanksgiving. Leonard Calvert, younger brother of Lord Baltimore who had received the Charter from the King, and first governor of the colony erected a large cross.


English: View of Commemorative Cross from Blac...

English: View of Commemorative Cross from Blackistone Lighthouse, September 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia) [This cross is in roughly the same location as Calvert’s Cross, but it, obviously, isn’t the same one that was planted in 1643]

Two days later, on March 27, 1634 the sailed about six miles up the river and established their first permanent settlement on a buff overlooking the St. Mary’s River.  The location had been a Yaocomico village, but the Indians “were more than willing to turn their home over to the Englishmen.” [ “Maryland: At the Beginning”]  When half the Yaocomicos left the English took over their bark huts as temporary dwellings. A “pallizado” (fort) was constructed and the colonist sowed the fields the Indians had already cleared. The countryside and river proved bountiful with game and fish. Relations between the Yaocomicos and the settlers was amicable and fair.


the natives supplied the English with corn and fish and were ready to teach them how to make corn bread and hominy, show them what herbs and roots could be used for medicine and dyes and cooperate in other ways. The English, for their part, paid the Indians for their land and supplies and the leaders wrote of the natives with respect.  [Ibid]


St. Mary’s City became the capitol of the new colony, and the first Maryland legislative assembly took place the following winter (1634-35). A Court House and Jesuit Church were erected.

St. Mary's City became a National Historic Landmark in 1969. Since then Archeological Digs have uncovered 800 acres of the colonial town and major buildings, like the State House, have been rebuilt.

St. Mary’s City became a National Historic Landmark in 1969. Since then Archeological Digs have uncovered 800 acres of the colonial town and major buildings, like the State House, have been rebuilt.

Maryland Day was created in 1903 to commemorate the landing on St. Clement’s Island. It became a legal holiday in 1916 in the state.


More facts about Maryland:

  • Nickname: Old Line State
  • Flower: Black-eyed Susan
  • Tree: White Oak
  • Bird: Baltimore Oriole
  • Sport: Jousting
  • Fish: Rockfish
  • Dog: Chesapeake Bay Retriever
  • Boat: Skipjack
  • Population: 5,828,289 (as of 2011) [Info from]



Largest City: Baltimore

Downtown Baltimore City from the Harbor.

Downtown Baltimore City from the Harbor.


Capital: Annapolis — Maryland’s capital moved up the Chesapeake Bay in 1694.

Downtown Annapolis. The State House tower is center.

Downtown Annapolis. The State House tower is center.




[All images were taken by me, unless otherwise noted]



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Pierre-Auguste Renoir 2.25 Thought of the Day


Self-portrait, (1875)

Self-portrait, (1875) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


“I’ve been forty years discovering that the queen of all colors is black.” — Pierre-Auguste Renoir


Pierre-Auguste Renoir was born on this day in Limoges, Haute-Vienne, France in 1841. Today is the 173rd anniversary of his birth.


He was the sixth child born into a working class family. His father was a tailor and his mother a seamstress.  When he was four the family moved to Paris, there Auguste attended primary school. By the time he was  a teen he was working at the Lévy Frères factory, a porcelain factory. He already had an interest in art and he brought some of his drawings to work. He was …


chosen to paint designs on fine china. He also painted hangings for overseas missionaries and decorations on fans before he enrolled in art school. During those early years, he often visited the Louvre to study the French master painters. [Pierre Auguste]


His family lived near the Louvre and he often went there in his free time with his sketch book. “His favorite painting was The Bathers by FrançoisBoucher, a Rococo piece, which would later inspire some of his artwork.” []


At 21 he began to study art at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts where he met Frédéric Bazille, Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley, Camille Pissarro and Paul Cézanne.


He  was invited to exhibit at the 1864 Paris Salon, but he continued to struggle financially, sometimes he didn’t even have enough money to buy paint.


While his Salon works helped raise his profile in the art world, Renoir had to struggle to make a living. He sought out commissions for portraits and often depended on the kindness of his friends, mentors, and patrons. []


He served briefly in the French Army during the Franco-Prussian War, then returned to Paris at the end of the war. There he joined forces with his Impressionist friends to hold their own salon. The 1874 exhibit was a huge  success. Renoir’s six pieces in the show brought him to the attention of wealthy art patrons, such as the Georges and Marguérite Charpentier. “His 1878 painting, ‘Madame Charpentier and her Children,’ was featured in the official Salon of the following year and brought him much critical admiration.” [Ibid],”


English: Auguste Renoir (1841–1919) - Madame G...

English: Auguste Renoir (1841–1919) – Madame Georges Charpentier (Marguerite-Louise Lemonnier, 1848-1904) and her children, Georgette-Berthe (1872–1945) and Paul-Émile-Charles (1875–1895), 1878. Metropolitan Museum of Art Français : Auguste Renoir (1841–1919) – Madame Georges Charpentier (Marguerite-Louise Lemonnier, 1848-1904) et ses enfants, Georgette-Berthe (1872–1945) et Paul-Émile-Charles (1875–1895), 1878. Metropolitan Museum of Art (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


His success allowed him to travel internationally. Renoir went to Algeria, Madrid, and Italy. He met opera composer Richard Wagner in Palemrmo, Sicily and rather famously painted his portrait in 35 minutes. In 1883 he went to Guernsey for the summer.


Girl with a Watering Can

Girl with a Watering Can (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The Swing (La Balançoire), 1876, oil on canvas...

The Swing (La Balançoire), 1876, oil on canvas, Musée d’Orsay, Paris (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




Pierre-Auguste Renoir 104

Pierre-Auguste Renoir 104 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




Femme Nue dans un Paysage, by Pierre-Auguste R...

Femme Nue dans un Paysage, by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, from C2RMF cropped (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


In 1890 he married his longtime lover and muse Aline Charigot. They moved to a farm at Cagnes-sur-Mer near the Mediterranean to help alleviate the effects of Renoir’s rheumatoid arthritis. The condition left him wheelhair-bound, his joints were so swollen he couldn’t hold a brush and his limbs were misshapen. “In the advanced stages of his arthritis, he painted by having a brush strapped to his paralyzed fingers.” [Pierre Auguste]  He died at the age of 78 on December 3, 1919.


Self-portrait, (1910)

Self-portrait, (1910) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




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Judy Blume 2.12.14 Thought of the Day

“My only advice is to stay aware, listen carefully and yell for help if you need it.”– Judy Blume


Judy Blume was born on this day in Elizabeth, New Jersey in 1938. Today is her 76 birthday.

She was always an avid reader and remembers making up stories in her head as a child, but didn’t really start writing until her own kids were in preschool.  Her first book was The One in the Middle is the Green Kangaroo.

Bored with suburban life, she developed a creative outlet in writing and illustrating children’s stories. She published Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret (1970), Blubber (1974), Tiger Eyes (1981), and several other novels for teenagers that dealt frankly with sensitive issues. []

She found a new audience in 1978 when she began to publish for adults. Blume hit the New York Times Best-Seller list with Wifey in (1978) and Smart Women (1983). She continues to score big. Her latest novel, Summer Sisters, sold over 3 million copies and  5 months on the NYTimes Best-Seller list.

More than 82 million copies of her books have been sold, and her work has been translated into thirty-two languages. She receives thousands of letters a year from readers of all ages who share their feelings and concerns with her. [Judy]


Judy Blume at NPR (Image Courtesy NPR.)

Judy Blume at NPR (Image Courtesy NPR.)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1.27.14 Thought of the Day

“My great-grandfather used to say to his wife, my great-grandmother, who in turn told her daughter, my grandmother, who repeated it to her daughter, my mother, who used to remind her daughter, my own sister, that to talk well and eloquently was a very great art, but that an equally great one was to know the right moment to stop.”–Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Painting of Mozart by Barbara Krafft (1764–1825) (Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Painting of Mozart by Barbara Krafft (1764–1825) (Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born on this day in Salzberg, Austria in 1756. Today is the 258 anniversary of his birth.

The youngest of seven children, only Wolfgang and he sister Maria Anna (whose nickname was Nannerl) survived infancy. His father, Leopold Mozart was a composer, teacher and violinist. Leopold began teaching Nannerl to play the keyboard. Little Wolfgang looked on and was soon absorbing the basics of the instrument. By four years old Leopold would play a game with his son, teaching him a minuet  which Wolfgang would play back “faultlessly and with the greatest delicacy, and keeping exactly in time… At the age of five, he was already composing little piece, which he played to his father who wrote them down.” [Mozart: a Documentary Biography]



Portrait de Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Salzbourg, 1756-Vienne, 1791) jouant à Paris avec son père Jean-Georg-Léopold et sa sœur Maria-Anna [Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons]

Portrait de Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Salzbourg, 1756-Vienne, 1791) jouant à Paris avec son père Jean-Georg-Léopold et sa sœur Maria-Anna [Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons]



Starting in 1762 the Mozarts began to tour Europe. At first Leopold, Nannerl and Wolfgang all performed, but by 1769 Nannerl was left at home, and Leopold focused his efforts exclusively on Wolfgang.  The purpose of the tours was to showcase the talents of the family and to try to get a position as a court composer. In March  of 1773, at 17 years of age,  Mozart was appointed as assistant concert master for the Royal Court of  Salzburg. Wolfgang was prolific in composing a number of instrumental pieces (string quartets, symphonies, sonatas) and vocal works (masses minor operas). Most notable works from this time period were his violin concertos (espeically K. 216, 218 and 219) and his breakthrough Piano Concerto  in E-flat (K. 271). But Salzburg offered him neither the salary nor the opportunity to write operas that he desired and he began to look elsewhere.

Here’s Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 4 in D, K. 218

He resigned from his post and traveled to Augsburg, Mannheim, Paris, and Munich touring, and looking for a new position. Eventually he wound up in Vienna as an independent composer and performer.

The year 1784, proved the most prolific in Mozart’s performance life. During one five-week period, he appeared in 22 concerts, including five he produced and performed as the soloist. In a typical concert, he would play a selection of existing and improvisational pieces and his various piano concertos. Other times he would conduct performances of his symphonies. The concerts were very well attended as Mozart enjoyed a unique connection with his audiences who were, in the words of Mozart biographer Maynard Solomon, “given the opportunity of witnessing the transformation and perfection of a major musical genre.” []

In 1776 and 1777 he had back to back operatic successes when he joined forces with librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte for  The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni.

Circa 1780: Family portrait: Maria Anna ("Nannerl") Mozart, her brother Wolfgang, their mother Anna Maria (medallion) and father, Leopold Mozart, by artist: Johann Nepomuk della Croce [Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons]

Circa 1780: Family portrait: Maria Anna (“Nannerl”) Mozart, her brother Wolfgang, their mother Anna Maria (medallion) and father, Leopold Mozart, by artist: Johann Nepomuk della Croce [Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons]

Emperor Joseph II appointed him “Chamber Composer” a decade later.

It was a part-time appointment with low pay, but it required Mozart only to compose dances for the annual balls. The modest income was a welcome windfall for Mozart, who was struggling with debt, and provided him the freedom to explore more of his personal musical ambitions. [Ibid]

His financial problems continued, due in part to his lavish spending, and in part to the fact that Austria was at war. The composer sank into depression.

The two-year period of 1788-1789 was a low point for Mozart, experiencing in his own words “black thoughts” and deep depression. Historians believe he may have had a cyclothymiacs personality with manic-depressive tendencies, which might explain the periods of hysteria coupled with spells of hectic creativity. [Ibid]

He rallied in 1791 (his final year). He composed The Magic Flute, one of his most beloved Operas, along with piano and clarinet concertos, a string quintet in E-Flat and his Ave Verum Corpus . All the while he was working on his Requiem.

Here’s Mozart’s Ave Verum:

Mozart died at the age of 35 on December 5 1791. The cause of death is unclear. While his death certificate list  “Military Fever” as the final cause, there have been over 100 theories on how he died (including mercury poisoning and rheumatic fever.)
He composed more than 600 works in his short life. “Works that are widely acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music.” [The New World Enclyclopedia]

Paul Newman 1. 26.14 Thought of the Day

(Image courtesy: Detroit

(Image courtesy: Detroit

“If you’re playing a poker game and you look around the table and can’t tell who the sucker is, it’s you.” — Paul Newman

Paul Leonard Newman was born on this day  in Shaker Heights, Ohio, USA in 1925. Today is the 89th anniversary of his birth.

The second of  Arthur and Theresa Newman’s two boys, Paul took an early interest in acting. He made his debut as the court jester in Robin Hood on his elementary school stage at the age of 7. The Newmans lived in the wealthy Shaker Heights neighborhood of Cleveland, where Arthur owned a sporting good store. Paul graduated from Shaker Heights High in 1943 and attended Ohio University of Ohio for a while before he was kicked out for unruly behavior (including crashing a beer keg into the president of the University’s car.) He joined the Navy with hopes of becoming a pilot, but when it was discovered he was color blind he became a radio operator. He served three years in the service.

[Image courtesy:]

[Image courtesy:]

Back home he went to Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. He received his BA in drama and economics in 1949. He developed his craft in several summer stock productions before moving to New York and joining the Actors Studio.

In 1953 Newman had his Broadway premier in Picnic. He follow that with The Desperate Hours  and Sweet Bird of Youth.  He did TV appearances on series like Tales of Tomorrow and Appointmen twith Adventure.

His first film role was anything but successful…

In 1954, a film Paul was very reluctant to do was released, The Silver Chalice (1954). He considered his performance in this costume epic to be so bad that he took out a full-page ad in a trade paper apologizing for it to anyone who might have seen it. He had always been embarrassed about the film and reveled in making fun of it. [IMDb]

But second time was a charm and he was pleased with his work as Rocky Graziano in Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956). After Cat on a Hot Tin Roof came  The Long, Hot Summer with Joanne Woodward (who would soon become his second wife.) [Ibid]

[Image courtesy:]

[Image courtesy:]

The 1960s would bring Paul Newman into superstar status, as he became one of the most popular actors of the decade, and garnered three more Best Actor Oscar nominations, for The Hustler (1961), Hud (1963) and Cool Hand Luke (1967)…1969 brought the popular screen duo Paul Newman and Robert Redford together for the first time when Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) was released. It was a box office smash. Throughout the 1970s, Newman had hits and misses from such popular films as The Sting (1973) and The Towering Inferno (1974) to lesser known films as The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972) to a now cult classic Slap Shot (1977). (Ibid)

He finally got the Best Actor Oscar statue in 1986 for his role of Fast Eddie Felson in the Color of Money. (Color of Money was the long awaited sequel to The Hustler.)

In all he was nominated 10 times for Academy Awards over a span of 5 decades.

[Image courtesy: People]

[Image courtesy: People]

Films were not the only thing on his mind… A passionate race car driver since the early 1970s, Newman became co-owner of Newman-Haas racing in 1982, and also founded “Newman’s Own”, a successful line of food products that has earned in excess of $100 million, every penny of which Newman donated to charity. He also started The Hole in the Wall Gang Camps, an organization for terminally ill children. He was as well known for his philanthropic ways and highly successful business ventures as he was for his legendary actor status. [Ibid]

Newman died of lung cancer at the age of 83 in 2008.

[Image courtesy:]

[Image courtesy:]

John Hurt 1.22.14 Thought of the Day

“If you do an interview in 1960, something it’s bound to change by the year 2000. And if it doesn’t, then there’s something drastically wrong.” — John Hurt


John Vincent  Hurt was born on this day in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England in 1940. Today is his 74th birthday.

His movie career dates back over 50 years  (starting with Young and Willing), but his first serious role was in 1966’s A Man for All Seasons. He earned Best Supporting Actor  BAFTA  nomination for his work as Timothy Evans in the film. He worked steadily through the lat 60’s and early 70’s. In 1971 he won a BAFTA for his best supporting work in 10 Rillington Place. and another, for best Actor, for The Naked Civil Servant in 1975

In 1976 he co-starred in the BBC drama I, Claudius as the debauched Roman emperor Caligula. In 1978 he won a Golden Glob and BAFTA (and an Academy Award nomination) for his work in Midnight Express. The same year he did the voice work for Hazel in animated film Watership Down (he later played General Woundwort for the TV series) and Aragorn in the animated The Lord of the Rings.  He rounded out the decade by playing the ill-fated Kane in the Sci Fi classic Alien and Raskolnikov in the BBC’s Crime and Punishment.

The Elephant Man brought him another BAFTA (and Golden Globe and Oscar noms.) In 1983 he starred in The Osterman Weekend  and was the Fool to Olivier’s King Lear.

In 1984 (the  year)  he starred in 1984 (the movie) as Winston. 15 years later, having learned his lesson that 2 + 2 = 5,  he flipped roles and played Big Brother (on-screen) for the Paper Zoo Theatre Company’s production of the Orwell novel.

Besides his voice work younger audiences will recognize Hurt as Mr. Ollivander from the Harry Potter series.

(Image courtesy

(Image courtesy

Julianne Moore 12.3.13 Thought of the Day


Julianne Moore at the premiere of the movie TH...


“Comedy is ridiculously hard. And if the rhythm is not right, if the music or the line is not right, it’s not funny.” –Julianne Moore

Julie Anne Smith was born on this day in Fort Bragg, North Carolina in 1960. She is 53  years old.

The eldest daughter of three children born to an army officer, Peter Moore Smith, and psychologist /social worker, Anne Smith, Julie moved a lot as a child (as the family moved from base to base for her father’s career). She considered medicine, but in high school she began to do theatre.

She earned a BFA in Acting from Boston University’s School of Performing Arts in 1983 and moved to New York. It was there, when she applied for her Equity Card, that she knew she’d have to change her name. With a “Julie Smith” and a “Julie Anne Smith” already on the roles she chose to honor her father by taking his middle name as her last name. She mashed up her first and middle names to make Julianne and “Julianne Moore” was born.

She paid her dues working as a waitress and in off-Broadway plays for a few years before landing a couple of gigs on day time dramas. Her tenure on The Edge of Night was brief, but her stint as  twins Frannie and Sabrina on As The World Turns ran for three years and earned her a an Outstanding Ingenue Daytime Emmy Award in 1988.



Her stage work included Ophelia in Hamlet at the a Guthrie Theater, and a workshop performance of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya.


In 1990, she made her film debut in Tales of the Darkside. Moore, however, gained more notice for her supporting role in The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992). []


She followed that with four movies in 1993:

  • Body of Evidence
  • Benny & Joon
  • The Fugitive
  • Short Cuts

She took on Uncle Vanya again in the movie version Vanya on 42nd Street in 1994.

Vanya on 42nd Street

Vanya on 42nd Street (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Julianne moved to bigger roles in bigger movies, including the blockbuster second installment of Jurassic Park — The Lost World: Jurassic Park in 1997.  She picked up  her first Oscar nomination the same year for her role of Amber Waves in Boogie Nights.

She took on several more sequels and remakes, like the 1998 remake of Psycho, and the sequel to Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal.

Never afraid to swing from comedy to drama she’s been in movies as diverse as The Big Lebowski and Children of Men.

Children of Men

Children of Men (Photo credit: nata2)

She has been nominated for 4 Academy Awards. Besides Boogie Nights she’s gotten the nomination for After The Affair, Far From Heaven, and The Hours.

She can currently be seen the reboot of the Stephen King classic Carrie.

English: Actress Julianne Moore - 66th Venice ...

English: Actress Julianne Moore – 66th Venice International Film Festival (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Coming up Moore will be seen as:

  • Jenn Summers in Non-Stop (2014)
  • Havana Segrand in Maps to the Stars (2014)
  • Mother Malkin in Seventh Son (2015)
  • President Alma Coin in The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay (Part 1 — 2014, Part 2 — 2015)


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