Monday, October 3, 2011

Charles Middleton, Roddy McDowall and Janet Leigh

Who was born on this date:

Actor Charles Middleton was born on October 3, 1874 in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. During a film career that began at age 46 and lasted almost 30 years, Middleton appeared in nearly two hundred films and is best remembered for his performance as Ming the Merciless opposite Buster Crabbe in the 1930s Flash Gordon serial. His career as a character actor came into full flower with the advent of sound movies. His ominous baritone voice was perfect for villainous roles, and he became an excellent foil for some of the legends of comedy. Charles Middleton died from a heart attack in Los Angeles on April 22, 1949 and was buried at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles.

Who died on this date:

On October 3, 1998, actor Roddy McDowall died. He was born on September 17, 1928in Herne Hill, England. He made his film debut at the age of 12 in How Green was my Valley (1941). This role made him a household name and he then starred in Lassie Come Home (1943), a movie that introduced a girl who would become his lifelong friend, Elizabeth Taylor. He then appeared in My Friend Flicka (1943), The Keys of the Kingdom (1944) and The White Cliffs of Dover (1944). McDowall continued his career successfully into adulthood, but it was usually in character roles in films and television, such as Cleopatra (1963), It! (1966), The Planet of the Ape movie series (1968-1973), The Poseidon Adventure (1972), Dirty Mary, and Crazy Larry (1974),  Fright Night (1985), and Overboard (1987). McDowall died on October 3, 1998 from lung cancer at his home in Studio City and his ashes were scattered at sea.

On October 3, 2004, actress Janet Leigh died. She was born on July 6, 1927 in Merced, California. Discovered by actress Norma Shearer, Leigh secured a contract with MGM and began her film career in the late 1940s. She made her film debut in The Romance of Rosy Ridge (1947). She appeared in numerous films over the following decade, including If Winter Comes (1947), The Hills of Home (1948), The Stratton Story (1949), Living It Up (1954), Safari (1958), Touch of Evil (1958), Psycho (1960) for which she was nominated for a best supporting Academy Award, The Manchurian Candidate (1962), and The Fog (1980). She co-starred with third husband Tony Curtis in five films Houdini (1953), The Black Shield of Falworth (1954), The Vikings (1958), and Who was that Lady (1960). She also appeared in two horror films with her daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis. Leigh died at her home on October 3, 2004, after suffering cardiac arrest and is buried at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles.

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