Monday, October 10, 2011

Helen Hayes, Richard Jaeckel, Ed Wood, Orson Welles, Victoria Horne and Yul Brynner

Who was born on this date:

Helen Hayes known as “the First Lady of the American theater” was born Helen Hayes Brown on October 10, 1900 in Washington, District of Columbia. The diminutive star was an award winning actress of stage, film and television. Her show business career spanned seven decades from 1931 to 1985. Hayes had a very disciplined stage technique but was never totally at ease in Hollywood or with the star system. As a result she never fully embraced the screen but she adored the theater. Although her film appearances were few in quantity they were almost always high in quality. Her major film credits include; Arrowsmith (1931), A Farewell to Arms (1932), Another Language (1933), Night Flight (1933), Crime Without Passion (1934), Vanessa: Her Love Story (1935), and Airport (1970). She won two Academy Awards, first in 1932 for best actress, playing the role of a prostitute in The Sin of Madelon Claudet (1931), which was her debut on the big screen. A second Oscar win was for best supporting actress and it came forty years later, in 1970’s Airport. She was nominated for numerous other awards including nine Emmy awards (winning one), two Golden Globes, and three Tony Award wins. Helen Hayes died on March 17, 1993 at the Nyack Hospital in Nyack, New York from heart failure at age ninety-two. Her funeral was held at St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Nyack. The funeral mass was attended by nearly five hundred mourners and was officiated by Cardinal John J. O’Connor. She is buried in a simple grave at the Oak Hill Cemetery in Nyack, New York.

Actor Richard Jaeckel was born on October 10, 1926 in Long Island, New York. During his fifty years in movies & television, he was known as one of Hollywood's best known character actors. Jaeckel got his start in the business at the age of seventeen while working as a mail clerk at 20th Century Fox studios in Hollywood. A casting director auditioned him for a key role in the 1943 film Guadalcanal Diary, Jaeckel got the role and settled into a lengthy career in supporting parts. He starred in two of the most remembered war films of 1949, Battleground and Sands of Iwo Jima with John Wayne. One of Jaeckel's shortest film roles was in The Gunfighter, in which his character is killed by Gregory Peck's character in the opening scene. He also played the role of Turk, the roomer's boyfriend, in the Oscar-winning 1952 film Come Back, Little Sheba, co-starring with Shirley Booth, Burt Lancaster, and Terry Moore. In 1960, he appeared as Angus Pierce in the Western Flaming Star which starred Elvis Presley. He played Lee Marvin's able second-in-command in The Dirty Dozen for director Robert Aldrich. Jaeckel appeared in several other Aldrich films, including Attack, Ulzana's Raid and Twilight's Last Gleaming. In 1972, Jaeckel received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Sometimes a Great Notion. In his later years, Jaeckel was known to TV audiences as Lt. Ben Edwards on the NBC series Baywatch. He also co-starred on Robert Urich's ABC series Spenser: For Hire in the role of Lieutenant Martin Quirk. On June 14, 1997, Jaeckel died after a three-year battle with melanoma, at the Motion Picture and Television Hospital in Woodland Hills, California and his ashes were scattered at sea.

Director Ed Wood was born on October 10, 1924 in Poughkeepsie, New York. In the 1950s, Wood made a number of low-budget films, now enjoyed for their technical errors, unsophisticated special effects, large amounts of ill-fitting dialogue, eccentric casts and outlandish plot elements, although his flair for showmanship gave his projects at least a modicum of critical success. Wood's popularity waned soon after his biggest name star Bela Lugosi died. He was able to salvage a saleable feature from Lugosi's last moments on film, but his career declined thereafter. His infamy began two years after his death, when he was awarded a Golden Turkey Award as Worst Director of All Time. The lack of filmmaking ability in his work has earned Wood and his films a considerable cult following. He died on December 10, 1978 in Los Angeles and his ashes were scattered at sea.

Who died on this date:

On October 10, 1985, actor/ director Orson Welles died. He was born on May 6, 1915in Kenosa, Wisconsin.  He is noted for his innovative dramatic productions as well as his distinctive voice and personality, Welles is widely acknowledged as one of the most accomplished dramatic artists of the twentieth century, especially for his significant and influential early work, despite his notoriously contentious relationship with Hollywood. His long career in film is noted for his struggle for artistic control in the face of pressure from studios. Many of his films were heavily edited and others left unreleased. After directing a number of high-profile theatrical productions in his early twenties, including Macbeth and The Cradle Will Rock, Welles found national and international fame as the director and narrator of a 1938 radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds performed for the radio drama anthology series Mercury Theatre on the Air. It was reported to have caused widespread panic when listeners thought that an invasion by extraterrestrial beings was occurring, although these reports of panic were mostly false and overstated. His first film with RKO, Citizen Kane (1941) is often considered the greatest film ever made. Several of his other films, including The Magnificient Ambersons (1942), The Lady from Shanghai (1947), Touch of Evil (1958), Chimes at Midnight (1965), and F for Fake (1974). He died on October 10, 1985 in Los Angeles, his ashes were given to family with final disposition being unknown.

On October 10, 2003, actress Victoria Horne died. She was born on November 1, 1911in New York City. She was a character-actress, who appeared in 49 films (uncredited in 25 of these) during the 1940s and 1950s. Her film credits include Blue Skies, Forever Amber, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, and perhaps her best-known film roles were as Myrtle Mae Simmons in the 1950’s Harvey, and as Roberta in the 1952 Three Stooges short Cuckoo on a Choo Choo. She was married actor Jack Oakie. She died on October 10, 2003 and is buried at Forest Lawn Glendale.

On October 10, 1985, actor Yul Brynner died. He was born on July 11, 1920 in Primorsky Krai, Russia. He was best known for his portrayal of Mongkut, king of Siam, in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The King and I, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Actor; he also played the role more than 4,500 times on stage. He is also remembered as Rameses II in the 1956 Cecil B. DeMille film The Ten Commandments, General Bounine in Anastasia and Chris Adams in The Magnificent Seven. Brynner was noted for his distinctive voice and for his shaven head, which he maintained as a personal trademark long after adopting it for his initial role in The King and I. Brynner is one of only nine people who have won both a Tony Award and an Academy Award for the same role. Brynner was married four times, the first three ending in divorce. He fathered three children and adopted two. According to Marlene Dietrich's daughter Maria Riva (as she wrote in her memoir Marlene Dietrich, 1994), he had a passionate affair with the famous actress during the first production of The King and I. Brynner died of lung cancer on October 10, 1985, in New York City. Knowing he was dying of cancer, Brynner starred in a run of farewell performances of his most famous role, The King and I, on Broadway from January 7 to June 30, 1985. Throughout his life, Brynner was often seen with a cigarette in his hand. In January 1985, nine months before his death, he gave an interview on Good Morning America, expressing his desire to make an anti-smoking commercial. A clip from that interview was made into just such a public service announcement by the American Cancer Society, and released after his death; it includes the warning "Now that I'm gone, I tell you, don't smoke. Whatever you do, just don't smoke. If I could take back that smoking, we wouldn't be talking about any cancer. I'm convinced of that." He is interred, in France, on the grounds of the Saint-Michel-de-Bois-Aubry Russian Orthodox monastery, near Luzé.

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