We – and I am referring to most of our “Senior Reporter” readers – will always associate Angela Lansbury with her iconic TV mystery series, “Murder, She Wrote,” and her role as the fictional writer and whodunit sleuth Jessica Fletcher.
However, how many of us know the vibrant, highly successful 95-year-old actress whose professional career was as complicated as her life away from stage and screen?
It’s true: anybody who has lived long enough to remember the TV sitcom about the quaint neighborhood bar in Boston where “everyone knows your name” will forever equate Ted Danson with the quippy bartender in “Cheers,” one of the most iconic shows ever produced in the history of television.
And Danson admits as the above quote illustrates, the multi-Emmy-winning, 11- year running series was the springboard to stardom for the 73-year-old actor.
The word “breakthrough” is reserved for people and things that change the status quo forever. For instance, the Internet was a breakthrough for how we communicate and conduct research. Electric cars changed the way we transport ourselves without relying on oil and gas. Barack Obama made history by becoming the first African-American President of the United States.
Similarly, in the entertainment world, Viola Davis has broken the glass ceiling and ethnic boundaries by becoming the first black woman to achieve the “Triple Crown of Acting” – winning Academy Awards for film, Tony Awards for the stage, and Emmy Awards for TV
In the history of Hollywood, you can count on one hand how many child actors managed to weather the transition to becoming a full-grown movie star.
Take Kurt Russell, for instance. Maybe it’s the luck of the Irish since he was born on St. Patrick’s Day in 1951 in Springfield, Mass. And it so happens that both of his parents were in show business – his father was actor Neil “Bing” Russell and his mother is dancer, Louise Julia Russell. His father and sister had a lot to do with his childhood.
For most of us who grew up in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, the memories of flower children, hippies, Woodstock, and tiedye remain like tattoos. The same goes for the music of the era, including the unmistakable harmonic voice of one of the most colorful and talented singers of then and now — Carly Simon.
Known as “The Boss” to his fans, fellow musicians, and just about everyone around the world, Bruce Springsteen continues to bring his indelible style of rock music to the universe with passion and energy most singers at age 71 wish they still had.
If I asked you who is the undisputed modern queen of country music and you answered Dolly Parton, you would be 100 percent correct. You also would be right if you added a few other descriptors, like an award-winning actress, songwriter, musician, and entrepreneur.
Nobody in the history of show business lights up the stage like Dolly, with her curly blonde hair, voluptuous figure, her winning smile, insatiable sense of humor and humility, and most of all, her unmistakable voice.
It is safe to say that when it comes to Hollywood, the stars of movies and television come from widely diverse backgrounds. Their ethnicity and personalities vary like the Southern California landscape.
Take Cheech Marin, for instance. His emergence into fame derived from South Los Angeles, not Beverly Hills. His mom was a secretary, his dad an LAPD cop. At birth in July 1946, he had his cleft lip surgically repaired. And despite his Mexican American heritage and the fact that he calls himself a Chicano, he is not fluent in Spanish. However, the story of his name identifies Richard Anthony (Cheech) Marin in a most unique way. “Cheech” is short for “chicharron,” the Spanish word for fried pork rind, a popular snack and ingredient in Latin American cuisine. “I came home from the hospital, I was like a couple of days old or something, my uncle Cheech Marin came over and he looked in the crib and he said [in Spanish],‘Ay, parece un chicharrón.’ Looks like a little chicharrón, you know?’”
Fast approaching 89, actress Rita Moreno – the queen of the original “West Side Story” continues to shine her light off and on the entertainment stage. Last year alone, she appeared on six different TV shows while producing and appearing in Steven Spielberg’s new film adaptation of the iconic Broadway play that was scheduled to premiere on Dec. 20.
Moreno will be playing Valentina, a re-conceived and expanded version of the character of Doc, the owner of the corner store in which Tony, played by Ansel Elgort, works. She’s also currently portraying the role of the matriarch Lydia Margarita del Carmen Inclan Maribona Leyte-Vidal de Riera in the remake of “One Day At a Time.”
To most of us, we associate Alan Alda to one thing and one thing only: his acting role as Hawkeye Pierce in “MASH” one of the most popular TV series ever produced.
The last episode in 1983 remains the most watched episode in American broadcast history. However, Alda’s role in the famous TV production – and his entire career – goes much deeper into the story of this 84-year-old American actor, director, screenwriter, comedian, author, and philanthropist.