Archive for September, 2011
Gene Autry was born Orvon Grover Autry on September 29, 1907 in Tioga, Texas. Autry was an American composer, songwriter, actor, author, and businessman. He gained fame as The Singing Cowboy on the radio, in movies and on television for more than three decades beginning in the 1930s. Autry was also owner of the Los Angeles/California Angels Major League Baseball team from 1961 to 1997, a television station, and several radio stations in Southern California. Although his signature song was “Back in the Saddle Again,” Autry is best known today for his Christmas holiday songs, “Here Comes Santa Claus” (which he wrote), “Frosty the Snowman,” and his biggest hit, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” He joined ASCAP in 1939 and he is a member of both the Country Music and Nashville Songwriters halls of fame, and is the only person to be awarded stars in all five categories (Film, Television, Music, Radio, and Live Performance) on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Most recently, he became a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. He won the National Parents-Teachers Film Award for the films and television programs he produced.
In World War II Autry served as a C-47 Skytrain pilot in the United States Army Air Forces, with the rank of flight officer in the Air Transport Command flying dangerous missions over the Himalayas, nicknamed the Hump, between Burma and China.
Autry retired from show business in 1964, having made almost 100 films up to 1955 and over 600 records. After retiring, he invested widely and in real estate, radio, and television, including the purchase from dying Republic Pictures the rights for films he had made for the company. Included for many years on Forbes magazine’s list of the 400 richest Americans, he slipped to their “near miss” category in 1995 with an estimated net worth of $320 million.
In 1932 he married Ina May Spivey (who died in 1980), who was the niece of Jimmy Long. In 1981 he married Jacqueline Ellam, who had been his banker. He had no children by either marriage.
Gene Autry died of lymphoma three days after his 91st birthday at his home in Studio City, California. He is interred in the Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.
Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland can arguably be called the two greatest musical talents in cinema history. They first met in the fall of 1933 when both were attending the Lawlor School for Professional Children. According to TCM’s book “Leading Couples”, the first day Judy and Mickey met, he got his comb stuck in his hair and she helped him disentangle it. They would pass love notes to each other during math class and even appeared in the school’s Christmas show together. Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland became great lifelong friends and went on to make eight movies together, becoming America’s favorite teen couple.
Though they were both married many times, they were reportedly never lovers themselves. Whenever asked why they were never married, Mickey Rooney would reply, “It would be like marrying my sister.”
During an interview in the documentary film, When the Lion Roars, Rooney describes their friendship:
“Judy Garland and I were so close we could have come from the same womb. We weren’t like brothers or sisters but there was no love affair there, there was more than a love affair. It’s very, very difficult to explain the depths of our love for each other. It was so special. It was a forever love. Judy, as we speak, has not passed away. She’s always with me in every heartbeat of my body.”
Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland made their first film together in 1937, “Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry”. Besides three of the Andy Hardy films, where Garland portrayed Betsy Booth, a younger girl with a crush on Andy, they also appeared together in a string of successful musicals, including the Oscar-nominated “Babes in Arms” (1939). The following are stills and/or promo shots from each of the eight films they made together:
“I think the quality of sexiness comes from within. It is something that is in you or it isn’t and it really doesn’t have much to do with breasts or thighs or the pout of your lips.” ~ Sophia Loren
“Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical.” ~ Sophia Loren
“You have to be born a sex symbol. You don’t become one. If you’re born with it, you’ll have it even when you’re 100 years old.” ~ Sophia Loren
“Sex appeal is fifty percent what you’ve got and fifty percent what people think you’ve got.” ~ Sophia Loren
“A woman’s dress should be like a barbed-wire fence: serving its purpose without obstructing the view.” ~ Sophia Loren
“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” ~ Sophia Loren
“Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.” ~ Sophia Loren
When Greta Garbo was first brought to Hollywood from her native Sweden in 1925 by MGM’s Louis B. Mayer she was a 19 year old with only a few Swedish films to her credit. MGM started a publicity blitz to promote their new budding star. Probably the most popular publicity photos that were taken of Garbo were by sports photographer Don Gillum. Gillum was under contract to MGM to photograph several of their contract players including Garbo. In the spring of 1926. Gillum took her to the Lion Farm where Greta posed with Jackie the Lion, known as Leo the Lion, MGM’s mascot. She was coaxed into one picture seated in a chair beside the lion. Greta nervously moved to the farthest edge of the chair and her uneasiness is evident. Later Gillum took pictures of Garbo playing with lion cubs. The photos of Garbo with the lions were some of the most famous he ever took of Greta.
“I was this flat-chested, big-footed, lanky thing.” ~ Lauren Bacall
“Imagination is the highest kite one can fly.” ~ Lauren Bacall
“Stardom isn’t a profession, it’s an accident.” ~ Lauren Bacall
“I think your whole life shows in your face and you should be proud of that.” ~ Lauren Bacall
“A woman isn’t complete without a man. But where do you find a man… a real man… these days?” ~ Lauren Bacall
“Was he tough? In a word, no. Bogey was truly a gentle soul.” ~ Lauren Bacall
“We live in an age of mediocrity. Stars today are not the same stature as Bogie (Humphrey Bogart), James Cagney, Spencer Tracy, Henry Fonda and Jimmy Stewart (James Stewart).” ~ Lauren Bacall