Archive for December, 2009

Happy 2010!

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Wishing everyone around the world a happy and prosperous New Year from Hollywoodland

 

 

Happy New Year

gelukkig nieuw jaar

nouvelle année heureuse

glückliches neues Jahr

καλή χρονιά

nuovo anno felice

عام جديد سعيد

Gott nytt år

ano novo feliz

счастливое Новый Год

Feliz Año Nuevo

manigong bagong taon

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Click below to watch Robert Taylor and Vivien Leigh dance the Farewell Waltz to the tune of Auld Lang Syne from “Waterloo Bridge” (1940)
 

 

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Hollywood Blvd in 1932

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

HOLLYWOOD: THEN & NOW

Hollywood Boulevard at Christmas

 

Hollywood Blvd in 1932

Hollywood Boulevard looking west at Hudson Avenue in December 1932 (LAPL)

 

 

Hollywood Blvd 2009

Hollywood Boulvevard looking west at Hudson Avenue in December 2009 (Allan R. Ellenberger)

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Walk of Fame Will Turn 50

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

WALK OF FAME

Hollywood Chamber of Commerce announces celebration plans for Walk of Fame 50th Anniversary in 2010

 

 Walk of Fame

  

HOLLYWOOD – (Business Wire) The Hollywood Walk of Fame, which has become a global icon for Hollywood and Los Angeles, turns 50 in 2010 and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has plans for a year-long series of celebrations. The idea of creating the Walk of Fame was first conceived by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce in 1953 and seven years later construction began on February 8, 1960. Today it is recognized around the world as a monument to the entertainment industry that draws scores of visitors each year who walk “the Walk” taking photos of their favorite stars. The 50th anniversary celebration will showcase the history of this Historic/Cultural Landmark as well as continue to raise awareness and funds for the Walk of Fame restoration that will secure its continued future as a treasure for the city of Los Angeles and the community. 
 

 

“There are three major events planned in 2010 that are designed to offer something of interest for a global audience as well as engage the local community. In addition, throughout the year there will be a series of additional promotions and smaller events to highlight the history and significance of the Walk of Fame through the years,” said Leron Gubler, president, Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. “Of course we will continue to add to the Walk of Fame next year with a series of star ceremonies that will include a new look for the 50th Anniversary.”

 

Celebration Plans

RINGO STARR CEREMONY February 8, 2010 – Fifty years to the day of the start of construction of the Walk of Fame, an elaborate ceremony will be held to honor internationally renowned, music industry legend Ringo Starr as he receives his Star on the Walk of Fame. The ceremony will be the first to feature new production elements as the Star Ceremonies take on a new look for the next 50 years.

 

COMMUNITY FESTIVAL OF THE STARS July 25, 2010 – A public celebration for the entire community that will showcase the five categories of the Walk of Fame Stars – motion pictures, television, radio, recording and live theatre – will be held on Sunday, July 25. It is currently envisioned as a day-long street festival on Vine Street, from Hollywood Boulevard to Sunset, featuring outdoor stages with live music, live theatre, radio personalities and indoor venues showing clips from Star Ceremonies over the years and film of historic Hollywood as well as food and games for the whole family.

 

GALA – 50 YEARS OF WALK OF FAME STARS November 3, 2010 – An evening of dining, entertainment and celebration to recognize all Walk of Fame Star honorees and raise funds for the ongoing restoration and maintenance of the Walk of Fame. The Chamber is inviting all those who have received stars on the Walk of Fame to participate in this historic event that is the culmination of the 50th Anniversary celebration to be held in the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center.

 

History of Walk of Fame

The Hollywood Walk of Fame began with the installation of a few demonstration stars in August 1958, the first of which was dedicated to actor Preston Foster. Officially dedicated in November 1960, the Walk now features 2,393 stars in the categories of television, radio, live theatre, motion pictures and recording. The Walk of Fame ceremonies draw international media attention and throngs of people to catch a glimpse of a favorite celebrity or Hollywood industry leader. It is one of the top tourist draws in Los Angeles and most recognizable images of Hollywood, along with the Hollywood sign that also is entrusted to the care and management of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with the Hollywood Sign Trust.

 

Follow the Walk of Fame 50th Anniversary plans, news of upcoming star ceremonies and video clips from the ceremonies at www.WalkOfFame.com.

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Lennon’s Star Okay

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

WALK OF FAME

John Lennon Walk of Fame Star not stolen

 

 

Several media outlets have reported that John Lennon’s Hollywood Walk Of Fame star was stolen. A plastic seal was recently found covering Lennon’s star and created panic amongst the media and fans. The plastic was actually set up to cover the star, which was being relocated. Ana Martinez of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, also known as wofstargirl on Twitter, confirmed that Lennon’s star was not stolen, but moved so that all the Beatles will be together some day.

 

“Yes, as a gift to fans, we moved John Lennon’s star next to George Harrison’s and Ringo’s will be there soon 2,” she wrote on Twitter yesterday. “Just waiting for Paul now!”

 

Lennon’s star has been moved next to George Harrison’s star, which is near the Capitol Tower, in hopes that someday all the Beatles individual stars will be all together. Ringo Starr’s Walk of Fame star, which will be dedicated at the 50th Anniversary of the Hollywood Walk of Fame on February 8, 2010, will mean that all of the Beatles – except for Paul McCartney – will have their own stars. McCartney’s star will also be located in that same area when his star is finally dedicated. But he hasn’t set up a date for a star ceremony, though he has been approached about it.

 

There are no plans to move the star for the Beatles as a group, which is located on Hollywood Blvd.

SOURCE:  RockStar Weekly

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The Stars Happiest Christmas

Friday, December 25th, 2009

HAPPY HOLIDAYS

Classic stars recall their happiest yule

 

 

Claudette Colbert (above) poses on Vine Street next to her image emblazoned on a Christmas decoration in the heart of Hollywood. The two tall buildings on the right in the background are at the intersection of Hollywood and Vine.

 

By Allan R. Ellenberger

 

Just like anyone else, to film stars there is always just one Christmas that stands out above all others. In December 1932, several stars were asked about their most memorable Christmas.

 

The previous Christmas for Neil Hamilton competed with one when he was seven years old: “What with a new baby and a new house and the baby’s first Christmas tree, last year was hard to cap,” said Hamilton. “But for sheer unadulterated happiness I must remember the gorgeous Indian suit they gave me when I was seven years old. I strut when I remember it to this day. I was the reincarnation of Sitting Bull.”

 

James Dunn said a pool table presented to him when he was 14 still stood out as the most stylish event of his life. On that Christmas morning he invited all the boys in the neighborhood to play pool and they were still at it long past bedtime.

 

It was a Christmas bicycle that stood out for Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. He was eight years of age and had been demanding a bike from Santa since he was five. He’s almost given up hope when the family weakened. “It was a Rolls-Royce to me,” Fairbanks said.

 

Bette Davis claimed that no ecstasy since had surpassed the Christmas on which she acquired a huge Teddy Bear, handed to her from the very top of a big tree. “I have loved that Teddy all my life and still him,” she said.

 

It was a gorgeous box of paints, brushes, palettes all complete including a real artist’s smock, which made Claudette Colbert ecstatic when she was a small girl. She had always loved drawing and that Christmas saw the family’s recognition of her artistic yearnings.

 

Gary Cooper said the Christmas in which he and his family were snowed in on a cattle ranch in Montana stands our as his sweetest. No turkey, no shopping — a blizzard cut them off from everything. But the family decided to make their own fun and made presents by themselves out of any old odds and ends. “The least expensive and the jolliest Christmas I ever hope to enjoy,” he said.

 

A pair of rubber boots and a sled marked the most exciting Christmas for William Collier, Jr., who until that time, had to be content with a stocking encasing an orange, nuts and popcorn. He was nine years of age when the miracle occurred. And it was Marian Nixon’s very first watch, waiting on the breakfast table, which made one Christmas forever notable for her. In the same way a coaster-brake bike with a fancy headlight presented when he was 12 years old, marked one hilarious Christmas for John Boles.

 

Marie Dressler remembered a certain Christmas fifteen years earlier when, because her dearest friend was in the hospital, she took a tree, goodies and all the packages to the hospital between the matinee and the evening performance, and Christmassed at the there.

 

Joan Crawford, without hesitation, said, “Oh, Christmas 1925. I hadn’t seen my people in Kansas City for so long. I had just signed my contract with MGM and they paid my fare to the coast via Kansas City. So I went home in triumph — the biggest thrill of my life.”

 

It was 1919 that meant everything to Ramon Novarro. After a bus-boy job in New York, he was back in Los Angeles with his family and was celebrating his very first picture role. “We had an utterly perfect Mexican Christmas,” he remembered.

 

But to Maurice Chevalier, escaping from a German prison camp, rejoining  his mother in Paris and receiving medical attention for his wounds — and the glorious award of the Croix de Guerre made Christmas 1918, the most memorable one for him.

 

Katherine Hepburn recalled an ecstatic Christmas when her father built her a little theater of her own in the back yard when she was about 12.

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Brittany Murphy Funeral

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

FUNERALS/MEMORIALS

‘Thank you’ for Brittany

 

(Pacificcoastnews.com/Fame Pictures)

 

Her final scene: Family and friends gathered at the Church of the Hills yesterday to say goodbye to Brittany Murphy

 
By LISA BURKS
New York Post
December 25, 2009

 

LOS ANGELES — Brittany Murphy’s grieving husband told a tight-knit circle of her closest relatives and friends yesterday how he’d always remember the “Clueless” star’s favorite words: “Thank you.”

 

“She was always grateful for everything,” screenwriter Simon Monjack told the 20 to 25 mourners, including director Penny Marshall and “24” actor Eric Balfour, assembled at Hollywood’s star-studded Forest Lawn cemetery.

 

Click here to continue reading

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Happy Holidays

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Hollywood!

 

Loretta Young  

Loretta Young decks the halls!

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Review of “The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond”

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

FILM REVIEWS

A rediscovered Tennessee Williams screenplay opens at theaters

 

The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond

 

“The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond” has the Williams touch and the feel of the south in the 20s

 

 By Allan R. Ellenberger

 

The Glass Menagerie, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Suddenly Last Summer – all are classic plays written by the prolific playwright, Tennessee Williams. All and several others were translated to the screen with judicious success.

 

This new film, The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond, is an original script that Williams wrote expressly for the screen decades ago. Williams affection for memorable, unstable, sometimes southern women such as Blanche DuBois and Maggie the Cat, now includes Teardrop’s  Fisher Willow, played in the film by Bryce Dallas Howard.

 

Fisher is a headstrong young debutante who rises against being a proper southern belle. At a Halloween party she loses her aunt’s teardrop diamond earring and suspicion falls on her escort and possible love interest, Jimmy Dobyne (Chris Evans). Fisher is forced to face her own demons which are putting her relationship with Dobyne in peril.

 

When Williams was writing the script in 1957, he expressed his desire to have Julie Harris play Fisher and Elia Kazan, with whom he worked before on Broadway and in films, to direct it. “That’s premature, of course,” Williams said at the time, “but they’ll get the first chance at the completed script.”

 

Unfortunately that chance never came and the screenplay was not produced. It stayed in Williams catalogue of works for fifty years until first-time director, Jodie Markell decided to direct it. Markell first read the script while studying acting years earlier and was struck by the character of Fisher Willow, a young woman trying to find herself.

 

Filmed in Louisiana, the look of the film is authentic; the locations, cinematography, and costumes all confer the feel of the 1920s south. The acting accolades go to Howard and veteran actress, Ellen Burstyn who plays Miss Addie, a free spirit, not unlike Fisher, who is now trapped in her stroke-ridden body and asks for the girls help. Burstyn is amazing and the scenes where Addie recalls her scandalous past and how she came to be bedridden, are some of the films highlights.

 

Recently I had the opportunity to interview the film’s director, Jodie Markell, on the making of The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond.

 

 

Jodie Markell

Jodie Markell, director of “The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond” in limited release on December 30, 2009 

 

Q&A with Jodie Markell:

 

The “Loss of a Teardrop Diamond” was made in 2007; what were the obstacles in getting the film released?

 

JM: Yes the film was shot in the fall of 2007, played at Toronto in the fall of 2008, but the final adjustments were made in 2009.  Of course we all remember that the economy crashed last fall, which sent the independent distribution market into a tail spin that it is still recovering from.  We received offers from different companies, but we were waiting for the right distributor and we found him in Mark Urman of Paladin.  He has such an understanding of the film. He also knows how to market it to the right audience, not just in New York and LA but in additional markets across the country. When looking for a distributor, you have to be discerning and not desperate. I feel so grateful to be working with Mark Urman.

 

What’s the story behind the “rediscovered” Tennessee Williams screenplay? How did it come to your attention and what attracted you enough to want to film it?

 

JM: When I was fifteen, growing up in Memphis, Tennessee, I was cast as Laura Wingfield in a high school production of The Glass Menagerie. From that moment on, I was hooked. By the time I was seventeen, I had read everything I could find by Tennessee Williams and had been inspired by Elia Kazan’s classic films of A Streetcar Named Desire and my favorite, Baby Doll. As a teenager with artistic tendencies, who often felt a bit different, I had a real affinity for Williams’ sensitive characters who are searching for something authentic in a harsh world.  A few years later, when I was studying to be an actress in New York City, a teacher showed me the un-produced screenplay of Williams’ The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond written in 1957. The script was the only film Williams said he had written “directly for the films.” It was re-discovered amongst his papers many years later. I was immediately struck by the lead character, Fisher Willow, a young woman struggling to find her voice. I related to Fisher’s call for understanding. When a story touches me, I tend to carry it in my heart until the time is right to see it realized. A few years after I read the screenplay, I brought it to producer Brad Michael Gilbert who has a knack not only for getting what he wants, but also for supporting an artist’s vision. Gilbert knew I had an interest in finding lost American classics that have been overlooked. He had produced my first short film, Eudora Welty’s Why I Live at the P.O. which played the festivals and won several awards. Over the course of a few years, Gilbert made several attempts to acquire Teardrop Diamond, but it wasn’t until the estate changed hands that he was able to secure the rights.

 

Do you have a favorite Tennessee Williams character and why?

 

JM: Well,aside from Fisher Willow in our film, I have always liked the character of Carol Cutrere in Orpheus Descending and in the film The Fugitive Kind.  She is a rich, rebellious girl, who has a bad reputation in a small southern town.  A bit older than Fisher, she is almost like what Fisher would have become if she didn’t find her Jimmy.  Carol goes “juke-ing”: she drives her speedster to juke joints on old country roads, picks up men, and takes them to the local graveyard in the middle of the night. She is a wild one, but she speaks so poetically about it –in one scene she talks about how the dead have one message to us and it is “Live, just live.” She is so desperate, but she is brutally honest and she breaks our hearts. I always wanted to play that role.

 

This is an impressive directorial debut. What did you love about directing and what areas were not that enjoyable for you?

 

JM: What I love about directing most is working with the actors and the designers. I also love working with the camera and playing with color and light. And I love being on location.  As a director,  you have an opportunity to use your whole brain- it really wakes up areas of your mind that you don’t always use- and you need to keep so many thoughts going at once – like multi-tracking. You need to be present not only for the actors but also for everyone on the crew. Ready to answer any questions or concerns. You need to be ready to put out fires but at the same time to ignite the creative energy in your actors and designers. You need to be inspired so you can inspire others. It is quite an enlivening experience.

 

I had some frustrations shooting the levee sequence at the end of the film. We selected a levee in the middle of nowhere or so we thought.  We soon discovered that even though we were shooting in the middle of the night we were bombarded with interfering sound issues. It was like we were suddenly at the hub of all forms of modern transportation! Not great for a period film. We heard cars on an unforeseen highway nearby, planes, trains, and worst of all the barges and tugboats that slowly went by on the river, ruining the scene we were shooting. We had to wait sometimes half an hour for a boat to go by. That was frustrating because the actors were really in a great place emotionally and we kept having to cut for sound. I hated having to say CUT when the actors were so connected. But that comes with the territory.

 

The look of the film is amazing. The costumes, sets and cinematography, and even the poster, recreate the 1920s. Can you briefly tell how you accomplished this?

 

JM: From the beginning, I wanted an authentic look set in the period. The designers and I immersed ourselves in imagery of the period from books of photographs and from early films. Our production and costume designers also have theatrical experience so they were used to making magic out of an independent film budget. We also spoke about how we did not want to create a faded old timey look, but we wanted to push the painterly use of color and light to create a dream-like atmosphere. We did not want to create an old fashioned movie, we wanted to create a film in a classic style. Cinematographer Giles Nuttgens and I selected to shoot scope (anamorphic), to not only give the film a larger than life canvas, but also to heighten the intimacy of the subtle emotional shifts that take place in the characters’ faces. The widescreen enabled the actors to move within the frame, even at times to share a close up. Shooting in cinemascope also allowed us to recall the style of the great films of the fifties (like Kazan’s East of Eden) when the screenplay was written.

 

Bryce Dallas Howard

Bryce Dallas Howard (above) stars as Fisher Willow in “The Loss of A Teardrop Diamond” 

 

The entire cast is incredible and Bryce Dallas Howard’s performance is, of course, central to the film. How did you decide on casting her and is the story about Lindsay Lohan originally being cast — or wanting the role — true?

 

JM: Bryce was always my first choice. I first saw her in Shamalyan’s The Village.  She is so grounded and earthy as an actor.  She is very present, honest and direct. And she has paid her dues in the theater. I knew the film called for actors with theater background because the language can be so elusive, almost as challenging as Shakespeare requiring a certain musicality. And many actresses make the mistake of playing Williams’ heroines in a very artificial mannered way that tends to keep the audience at a distance. I knew that Bryce would never fall into that trap.  She prepares her work with great focus and detail and yet her work always feels fresh.  But she was not available when we first offered her the role because she was pregnant. As our start date kept changing I met with several other talented actors, but had not quite found our Fisher.  About 6 months later, I received a call from Bryce’s agent suggesting that we could re-approach Bryce. I was ecstatic and we were able to delay our start date until she was ready to work again after her son was born. 

 

Academy Award winning actress, Ellen Burstyn, is memorable as Addie. What was it like to work with her?

 

JM: Working with Ellen was a dream come true – exactly what I wanted to experience when I became a director: to work with great actors, providing them a supportive environment where they can feel free to make discoveries.  Those discoveries are what ignite the screen and make their characters come alive.  Ellen arrived on location having already done a great deal of research. She even went to a hospital and met stroke victims who had been paralyzed like Miss Addie.  Ellen’s emotional well is very deep and she takes us on an inner journey without moving her body. Her character is on the brink of death and only an actress with great spiritual strength like Ellen could even approach this role. She is so honest and in the moment. Her work throughout her illustrious career has been such an inspiration and it was a real honor to work with her.

 

What project are you working on now?

 

JM: I have several scripts that I have developed and am reading others…I’ve got them all on the fire – we’ll see which one lights up first.

 

******

 

The film’s cast also includes Chris Evans as Fisher’s love interest, Jimmy Dobyne, Ann-Margaret as Aunt Cornelia and Will Patton as Old Man Dobyne. The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond opens in limited markets on December 30, 2009 and later in wide release.

 

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Brittany Murphy Dies at 32

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

BREAKING NEWS

Brittany Murphy may have died of natural causes

 

Brittany Murphy

 

Actress, 32, collapsed in bathroom; autopsy planned for Monday or Tuesday

 

An official with the Los Angeles coroner’s office says actress Brittany Murphy, 32, may have died of natural causes. The actress, who got her start in the sleeper hit “Clueless” and rose to stardom in “8 Mile,” died Sunday in Los Angeles.

 

Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter says the cause of Murphy’s death “appears to be natural.”  He says Murphy apparently collapsed in the bathroom Sunday morning, and authorities are looking into her medical history. Winter says Murphy’s family is cooperating with the coroner’s investigation. He says an autopsy is planned for Monday or Tuesday.

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Hollywood Blvd in 1932

Friday, December 18th, 2009

HOLLYWOOD: THEN & NOW

Hollywood Boulevard at Christmas

 

Hollywood Blvd 1932

Hollywood Boulevard looking west at Whitley Avenue in December 1932 (LAPL)

 

 

Hollywood Blvd at Whitley now 2009

Hollywood Boulevard looking west at Whitley in December 2009 (Allan R. Ellenberger)

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