Friday, October 28, 2011

Empower Yourself by Dreaming Big

“Let your mind take you to places you would like to go, and then think about it and plan it and celebrate the possibilities.” ~Liza Minnelli

  Happy Friday!
Do you dream of running a marathon, opening a business, or going on a journey? Commit to make it happen -- you'll inspire yourself to dig deep. All of the people mentioned in today's blog went after their dreams...and succeeded!



It is COOLLLDDDD here in New York!
I know I'm always encouraging people to go out and see a LIVE show! But on cold winter and autumn nights, I sometimes like to curl up on the sofa with my comforter, Horace (our Yorkie), a fire in the fireplace, a nice hot apple cider and a great movie. Tonight, there is a great Bette Davis movie on Turner Classic Movies.  
Dead Ringer starring the actress that epitomizes Hollywood in the 40s and 50s for me, Bette Davis! The only actress that comes as close to Bette Davis these days, in my opinion is Meryl Streep.
But even with Meryl, she, nor no one, can/could chew up the scenery like Bette Davis!
What a cast! Bette Davis, Karl Malden, and Peter Lawford!
Karl Malden (born Mladen George Sekulovich, Serbian Cyrillic: Младен Ђорђе Секуловић (Mladen Đorđe Sekulović); March 22, 1912 – July 1, 2009) was an American actor.
In a career that spanned more than seven decades, he performed in such classic films as A Streetcar Named Desire, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, On The Waterfront and One Eyed Jacks (pictured,below).



Among other notable film roles were Archie Lee Meighan in Baby Doll, Zebulon Prescott in How The West Was Won and General Omar Bradley in Patton.
His best-known role was on television as Lt. Mike Stone on the 1970s crime drama, The Streets of San Francisco.

During the 1970s and 1980s, he was the spokesman for American Express.
Malden, the eldest of three brothers, was born in Chicago, Illinois and raised in Gary, Indiana.

His Serbian father, Petar Sekulović (1886–1975), worked in the steel mills and as a milkman, and his mother, Minnie (née Sebera) Sekulovich (1892–1995), was a Czech seamstress and actress.
The Sekulovich family roots trace back to Podosoje near the city of Bileca in Bosnia and Herzegovina, more specifically, in the Herzegovinian part. Malden spoke only the Serbian language until he was in kindergarten and was fluent in the language until his death. He was also proud of his Serbian heritage.
Malden's father had a passion for music, and organized a choir.
As a teenager, Malden joined the Karageorge Choir. In addition, his father produced Serbian plays at his church and taught acting.
A young Malden took part in many of these plays, which included a version of Jack and the Beanstalk, but mostly centered on the community's Serbian heritage.
In high school, he was a popular student and the star of the basketball team (according to his autobiography, Malden broke his nose twice while playing, taking elbows to the face and resulting in his trademark bulbous nose). 



He participated in the drama department, and was narrowly elected senior class president. Among other roles, he played Pooh Bah in The Mikado.
After graduating from Emerson High School in 1931 with high marks, he briefly planned to leave Gary for Arkansas, where he hoped to win an athletic scholarship, but college officials did not admit him owing to his refusal to play any sport besides basketball. From 1931 until 1934, he worked in the steel mills, as had his father.
 He changed his name from Mladen Sekulovich to Karl Malden at age 22.

He anglicized his first name by switching the letters "l" and "a" and making it his last name; then he proceeded to take his grandfather's first name.



This was because the first theatre company he was in wanted him to shorten his name for the marquee. He thought they wanted to fire him and were using his name as an excuse; although that wasn't the case, he still changed his name so as to give them no excuse. Malden often found ways to say "Sekulovich" in films and television shows in which he appears. 


For example, as General Omar Bradley in Patton, as his troops slog their way through enemy fire in Sicily, Malden says "Hand me that helmet, Sekulovich" to another soldier.





In Dead Ringer, as a police detective in the squad room, Malden tells another detective: "Sekulovich, gimme my hat."



In Fear Strikes Out, Malden, playing Jimmy Piersall's father John, introduces Jimmy to a baseball scout named Sekulovich.
In Birdman of Alcatraz, as a prison warden touring the cell block, Malden recites a list of inmates' names, including Sekulovich. Malden's father was not pleased, as he told his son 'Mladen, no Sekulovich has ever been in prison!' Perhaps the most notable usage of his real name was in the TV series The Streets of San Francisco.
Malden's character in the program, Mike Stone, employed a legman (played by Art Metrano) with that name, who did various errands. Also, in On the Waterfront, in which Malden plays the priest, among the names of the officers of Local 374 called out in the courtroom scene is Mladen Sekulovich, Delegate.
In September 1934, Malden decided to leave his home in Gary, Indiana, to pursue formal dramatic training at the Goodman School (later part of DePaul University), then associated with the Goodman Theatre in Chicago.
Goodman Theatre, Chicago's oldest and largest not-for-profit theater, has won international renown for the quality of productions, the depth and diversity of artistic leadership, and the excellence of its many community and educational programs. The Goodman is committed to producing both classic and contemporary works, giving full voice to a wide range of artists and visions.Phone: 312-443-3800
Although he had worked in the steel mills in Gary for three years, he had helped support his family, and was thus unable to save enough money to pay for his schooling. Making a deal with the director of the program, he gave the institute the little money that he did have, with the director agreeing that, if Malden did well, he would be rewarded with a full scholarship. He won the scholarship. When Malden performed in the Goodman's children's theater, he wooed the actress Mona Greenberg (stage name: Mona Graham), who married him in 1938.
He graduated from the Chicago Art Institute in 1937. Soon after, without work and without money, Malden returned to his hometown. 

One of Karl Malden's most famous movies, of course,  is Streetcar Named Desire which  also starred two time Academy Award winner Vivian Leigh
.
"It's much easier to make people cry than to make them laugh."
-Vivien Leigh


She won both awards for playing Southern belles. This AND Gone With The Wind.
 Disturbed Blanche DuBois moves in with her sister in New Orleans and is tormented by her brutish brother-in-law while her reality crumbles around her. Vivien Leigh, Lady Olivier (5 November 1913 – 8 July 1967) was an English actress.
She won a Best Actress Academy Award for her portrayal of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), a role she also played on stage in London'sWest End, as well as her portrayal of the southern belle Scarlett O'Hara, alongside Clark Gable, in the epic civil war drama Gone With The Wind.

She was a prolific stage performer, frequently in collaboration with her then-husband, Laurence Olivier, who directed her in several of her roles. During her 30-year stage career, she played roles ranging from the heroines of Noel Coward and George Bernard Shaw comedies to classic Shakespearean characters such as Ophelia, Cleopatra and Juliet.
Lauded for her beauty, Leigh felt that it sometimes prevented her from being taken seriously as an actress. However, ill health proved to be her greatest obstacle. For much of her adult life Leigh suffered from bipolar disorder. She earned a reputation for being difficult to work with, and her career suffered periods of inactivity. She also suffered recurrent bouts of chronic tuberculosis, first diagnosed in the mid-1940s.
Leigh and Olivier divorced in 1960, and she worked sporadically in film and theatre until her death from tuberculosis in 1967.
An Anglo-Indian, Leigh was born Vivian Mary Hartley in Darjeeling, Bengal, British India, to Ernest Hartley, an officer in the Indian Cavalry, and Anglo-Indian Gertrude Robinson Yackjee. Leigh's parents were married in Kensington, London, in 1912.

In 1917, Ernest Hartley was transferred to Bangalore, while Gertrude and Vivian stayed in Ootacamund.
Young Vivian made her first stage appearance at the age of three, reciting "Little Bo Peep" for her mother's amateur theatre group.
Gertrude Hartley tried to instill in her daughter an appreciation of literature and introduced her to the works of Hans Christian Andersen, Lewis Carroll, and Rudyard Kipling, as well as stories of Greek mythology and Indian folklore
An only child, Vivian Hartley was sent to the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Roehampton (now Woldingham School) in 1920 by her devoutly Catholic mother. One of her mates there was future actress Maureen O'Sullivan, two years her senior, to whom Vivian expressed her desire to become "a great actress". 

In my opinion, the greatest American classic in which a manipulative woman and a roguish man carry on a turbulent love affair in the American south during the Civil War and Reconstruction.
The director's credit goes to Victor Fleming although George Cukor also worked on that film.  They also both worked on The Wizard of Oz, also 1939.  
Once again, Victor Fleming received sole directorial credit. Victor Lonzo Fleming (February 23, 1889 – January 6, 1949) was born in La Canada, California, the son of Elizabeth Evaleen (née Hartman) and William Alonzo "Lon" Fleming, who worked in the water industry in Pasadena.
His mother was of part German descent. Fleming served in the photographic section during World War I, and acted as chief photographer for President Woodrow Wilson in Versailles, France. 





He showed a mechanical aptitude early in life; while working as a car mechanic he met the director Allan Dwan, who took him on as a camera assistant.

Fleming soon rose to the rank of cinematographer, working with both Dwan and D. W. Griffith, and directed his first film in 1919.


Many of Fleming's silent films were action movies, often starring Douglas Fairbanks, or Westerns, and with his robust attitude and love of outdoor sports he became known as a "man's director". But he also proved an effective director of women.
 Under his direction,Vivien Leigh won the Best Actress Oscar, Hattie McDaniel won for Best Supporting Actress, and Ingrid Bergman was nominated.

(In fact, nine actors who appeared in films directed by Fleming were Oscar-nominated.)

In 1932 Fleming joined MGM and directed some of the studio's most prestigious films.Red Dust (1932), Bombshell (1933), and Reckless (1935) showcased Jean Harlow while Treasure Island (1934) and Captains Courageous (1937) brought a touch of literary distinction to boy's-own adventure stories.
His two most famous films came in 1939, when The Wizard of Oz was closely followed by Gone With The Wind.

Fleming's version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1944) with Spencer Tracy, was  generally rated below Rouben Mamoulian's 1931 Pre-Code version, which had starred Frederick March.
Fleming's 1942 film version of John Steinbeck's Tortilla Flat starred Spencer Tracy, John Garfield, Hedy Lamarr, and Frank Morgan.



Other films that Fleming made with Tracy include Captains Courageous (for which Tracy won his first Oscar), A Guy Named Joe, and Test Pilot.
He directed Clark Gable in a total of five films - Red Dust, The White Sister, Test Pilot, Gone With the Wind, and Adventure.



The other director who directed Vivien Leigh to her second Oscar was Elia Kazan.  
Elia Kazan, known for his creative stage direction, was born Elia Kazanjoglous in Istanbul in 1909 to Greek parents.


He directed such Broadway plays as "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof". He is a proponent of the method approach to acting, developed by Konstantin Stanislavski.


 Kazan received two best director Academy Awards, for the films Gentleman's Agreement (1947) and On The Waterfront (1954). 
He has written many films about Greek immigrants, such as America, America (1963).
 These films are based on his novels. Kazan's autobiography, published in 1988, is entitled "Elie Kazan: A Life".
Elia Kazan (IPA:[e 'lia ka' zan] 1909–2003) was an American director and actor, described by the New York Times as "one of the most honored and influential directors in Broadway and Hollywood history".



Born in Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire, to Greek parents originally from Kayseri in Anatolia, the family emigrated to New York when he was four.   

After two years studying acting at Yale, he acted professionally for eight years before becoming a stage and film director.
Kazan joined the Group Theatre in 1932 and co-founded the Actors Studio in 1947. With Less Strasberg, he introduced Method acting to the American stage and cinema as a new form of self-expression and psychological "realism".

Having been an actor himself, he brought sensitivity and understanding of the acting process and was later considered the ideal "actor's director".
With playwright Arthur Miller, 1949
Kazan acted in only a few  films, including City For Conquest (1940) alongside James Gagney.
He also produced movies and wrote screenplays and novels. Kazan introduced a new generation of unknown young actors to the movie audiences, including Marlon Brando and James Dean.
Most noted for drawing out the best dramatic performances from his actors, he directed 21 actors to Oscar nominations, resulting in nine wins.
He became "one of the consummate filmmakers of the 20th century", after directing a continual string of successful films, including those already cited and East of Eden (1955). During his career, he won two Oscars as Best Director and received an Honorary Oscar, won three Tony Awards, and four Golden Globes.
 Among the other new actors he introduced to movie audiences were Warren Beatty, Carroll Baker, Julie Harris, Andy Griffith, Lee Remick, Rip Torn, Eli Wallach, Eva Marie Saint,Martin Balsam,Fred Gwynne, and Pat Hingle.

He also elicited some of the best performances in the careers of actors like Natalie Wood and James Dean. Producer George Stevens, Jr., concludes that Kazan's films and new actors have "changed American moviemaking".

Where do we go from here? YOU TELL ME!



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Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!

Thank you, to all the stars pictured in this blog! 

I love you ALL!!



 
Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!

Now, GO OUT AND DO SOMETHING FOR SOMEONE ELSE TONIGHT!

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TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED WEEKEND!
Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com








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