Archive for the ‘AMPAS History’ Category

Margaret O’Brien’s Stolen Oscar

Sunday, February 25th, 2018

Margaret O’Brien, on stage at Grauman’s Chinese Theater receiving her juvenile Academy Award for Meet Me in St. Louis

Oscar. The Academy Award. Regardless of its name, it evokes the same emotion of respect for those who have been fortunate enough to receive one. And for those lucky ones, whether deserved or not, it is the brass ring, the ultimate in praise from their peers.

And so it was for little eight-year-old Margaret O’Brien, arguably the most talented of all the child stars of her day – or since – who received the coveted award for most outstanding child actress of 1944 for her performance in Meet Me in St. Louis (1944). The special Oscar, which was a miniature version of the acclaimed award, was given sporadically in the 1930s and 1940s. Previous winners included Mickey Rooney, Deanna Durbin and Judy Garland, who was Margaret’s co-star that year.

Robert Young and Margaret O’Brien in Journey for Margaret

Born Angela Maxine O’Brien, Margaret’s rise to fame was meteoric. When her photograph was seen on a magazine cover, a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer executive signed her for a one-line scene in Babes on Broadway (1941). The powers-that-be at MGM saw the four-year-old’s raw talent and cast her with Robert Young in a war-time drama called Journey for Margaret (1942), from which she took her stage name. Small parts in three films followed until her starring role in Lost Angel, (1944) which was the first film written specifically for her.

At the request of director Vincent Minnelli, the studio cast her in the role of Tootie Smith in their new Technicolor musical, Meet Me in St. Louis. MGM had big hopes for this film and spent an astronomical $100,000 to build the St. Louis street on their back lot. Besides Margaret, the film included Judy Garland, Lucille Bremmer and Mary Astor, and introduced such musical standards as “The Boy Next Door,” “The Trolley Song,” and the holiday classic, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” which Garland sang to Margaret.

When the film was released near the end of 1944, critics across the country praised her performance. The Hollywood Reporter claimed that she was the hottest thing on the MGM roster.

“Hers is a great talent,” the Reporter continued, “as distinctly outstanding as the greatest stars we have. The O’Brien appeal is based on her naturalness. She’s all America’s child, the type every person in an audience wants to take into his arms.”

But it wasn’t only America that raved. In London, the film was the biggest hit that city had seen in months. The Daily Express prophetically declared, “Her quiet, compelling acting, worthy of an Academy Award, steals the show.”

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences shared that opinion and awarded her a Special Oscar for the Most Outstanding Child Actress of 1944. At the ceremony, which was held at Grauman’s Chinese Theater on March 15, 1945, Margaret was given her Oscar by director Mervyn LeRoy.

The emcee for the evening, comedian Bob Hope, lifted Margaret to the microphone so she could be heard by the listening radio audience.

“Will you hurry up and grow up, please?” Hope said as he struggled with the young winner.

As LeRoy handed her the Oscar, he said, “To the best young actress of the whole year of 1944. Congratulations.”

“Thank you,” she replied. I really don’t know what to say. Thank you very much.”

However, she did know what to say. Her mother had written her an acceptance speech, but at the last-minute Margaret decided to improvise her very own thank you to the Academy.

Margaret O’Brien and her mother Gladys at the footprints ceremony in the forecourt of Grauman’s Chinese Theater

During her career, Margaret O’Brien was bestowed with many awards and accolades, including the honor of placing her hands and footprints in cement in the forecourt of Grauman’s Chinese, but the Oscar would be her most prized and valued possession. Unfortunately, the little statuette would not stay around for long.

At the O’Brien home on Beverly Drive, Margaret had a separate room for her awards. One day in 1958, their maid took the Oscar and several other awards to her home to polish – a practice she did on several occasions. After three days, the maid failed to return so Mrs. O’Brien dismissed her and asked that she return the awards.

Not long after, Mrs. O’Brien, who was not in good health, suffered a relapse and died. Grief stricken, Margaret forgot about the maid and her Oscar until several months later when she tried to contact her, only to find that her phone was disconnected. The maid had moved and did not leave a forwarding address. Margaret considered the Oscar was gone forever. A few years later, the Academy graciously replaced the award with a substitute, but it was not the same.

Over the next thirty years, Margaret attended memorabilia shows searching for her lost Oscar. Then, in early 1995, a friend saw her Oscar in a an upcoming memorabilia auction catalogue. Margaret contacted the Academy’s legal department and they acted swiftly to have the Oscar returned.

Margaret O’Brien with her stolen Oscar that was returned to her by the Academy, and me in my younger days (no I’m not drunk it’s just one-of-those-pics) Michael Schwibs photo.

On February 7, 1995, nearly fifty years after receiving it, the Academy returned the stolen Oscar to O’Brien in a special ceremony at their Beverly Hills offices. Margaret told those attending:

“For all those people who have lost or misplaced something that was dear to them, as I have, never give up the dream of searching – never let go of the hope that you’ll find it because after all these many years, at last, my Oscar has been returned to me.”

 

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The tragic story of Pierre Collings

Thursday, February 8th, 2018

Time, fame and money trip lightly in Hollywood, and the men and women who have them one day, find themselves alone and penniless the next. So it was with Pierre Collings, screenwriter, whose screenplay of The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936) won him two Academy Awards in 1937. Sadly, he would not survive to the end of that year.

The second eldest of five children, Lysander Pierre Collings was born on September 22, 1900, in Truro, Nova Scotia, where his father Otto was a mining engineer. Otto and his wife Martha were both American citizens, and when they returned to the states, they had Pierre naturalized as an American citizen.

Collings entered motion pictures as a messenger boy at the Pickford-Fairbanks Studios when he was 17-years-old. Over time he became a cameraman [Alimony (1924) and Untamed Youth (1924)] at the Brunton Studios (now Paramount); an assistant director, and then a writer. Among Collings early scripts were A Woman of the World (1925), and Good and Naughty (1926), both starring Pola Negri; The Grand Duchess and the Waiter (1926), with Adolph Menjou and Florence Vidor; the Louise Brooks classic, The Show Off (1926), and the continuity for the Marx Brothers’ Animal Crackers (1930).

Sadly, very little is known about Collings personal and professional life. In December 1926, Collings married Natalie Harris at New York’s Little Church Around the Corner. The couple was divorced in 1930. In 1928, Collings was to direct Alex the Great, but for unknown reasons the film was taken over by Dudley Murphy.

Between 1924 and 1930, Collings kept relatively busy writing screenplays, however between 1930 and 1937, he only produced two screenplays, one of which was as an uncredited dialogue contributor on British Agent (1934) starring Leslie Howard and Kay Francis. It could be during this time that some of his personal problems began. In August 1935, he was arrested for drunk driving.

The following December, he signed with Warner Bros. and was assigned, along with writer Sheridan Gibney, to write the screenplay for The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936), which was to star Paul Muni in the title role. During the production of the film, Collings mother, Martha died unexpectedly and was buried at Hollywood Cemetery.

The Story of Louis Pasteur would prove to be Collings biggest success professionally. Both he and Gibney were nominated for two Academy Awards for Original Story and for Screenplay. Reportedly, after finishing the screenplay Collings suffered a nervous breakdown and was not able to attend the ceremony on Oscar night. When Collings and Gibney won both awards, Gibney accepted the Oscars for his writing partner.

Soon after, Collings health improved enough so he could write the screenplay for a projected Warner Bros. film, Houdini the Great which was scheduled to star George Raft. For whatever reason, the project never materialized. After this, he had problems finding work again and started drinking and soon fell into more bad health and poverty. Stories circulated that he actually pawned one of his two Oscars in order to survive, but this cannot be confirmed. The following July, he was arrested on an intoxication charge that was filed by his landlady. He pleaded not guilty.

Pierre Collings died here at his father’s home at 12315 N. Huston Avenue in North Hollywood (PLEASE NOTE: This is a private residence. DO NOT disturb the occupants)

Pierre Collings death certificate (click on image to enlarge)

Collings was collaborating with songwriter Carrie Jacobs Bond on a screenplay based on her popular song, “I Love You Truly” when he died from pneumonia at his father’s home in North Hollywood on December 21, 1937. His funeral was held at Pierce Brothers Chapel and he was interred at Hollywood Cemetery near his mother.

Collings was already forgotten. The Los Angeles Times did not publish an obituary – only his name listed in the death notices. However, three weeks later, Lee Shippey, a columnist for the Times made this mention of him in his column:

“Little Pierre Collings, who wrote the script for Louis Pasteur, died the other day. His close friends tell me his decline in health resulted from heartache and despair because, after that truly great picture, he was given hardly any work. The producers thought one Louis Pasteur was great, through some accident, but the public wouldn’t stand for another picture like that – not when it could go to the next show house and see Ben Bernie. In fact, I think the sin of Hollywood is that it gathers genius from all the world and then says to it: ‘You mustn’t do your best or anything approaching it. Our public wouldn’t understand it.’” 

Pierre Collings grave at Hollywood Forever is located in Section 2W near the grave of Florence Lawrence.

Four months after Collings’ death, Charles Mackay, a wanna-be actor down on his luck, was living at Hollywood’s Mark Twain Hotel. Mackay had graduated from Washington and Lee University the year before, and decided to “try” Hollywood. His friends encouraged him, however, his father, a prosperous St. Louis broker, told him it was a mistake; he could go if he wanted, but “don’t come home for help.” Mackay ignored his father’s advice and intended to prove him wrong.

By April 1938, Mackay was down to his last quarter. His only way to pay for lodging was to work on a rock pile. He returned one evening to his room, sweaty, tired and discouraged. In hopes of finding a clean shirt, he looked through a closet that was reserved for the belongings of guests who left the hotel without paying their rent. In the closet, Mackay discovered a threadbare blue sweater, and wrapped in the sweater was one of Pierre Collings’ Oscar statuette.

Charles Mackay, center, is shown holding the Oscar given to Pierre Collings. At left is Donald Gledhill, secretary of the Academy, and at right is screenwriter Arthur Caesar.

Concerned that he would be arrested for stealing the Oscar if he tried to return it, Mackay walked Hollywood Blvd to think. By chance, he met Arthur Caesar, himself an Academy Award winning screenwriter for Manhattan Melodrama (1934). He told Caesar his story and the writer took him and the Oscar to the Academy’s office, where the secretary told him that Collings had died in poverty a few months earlier. It was assumed that, probably in need, Collings had been forced to leave the sweater and Oscar as hostage for his unpaid rent.

However, another story later circulated that Collings’ Oscar was somehow stolen by a thief who found it too hot to sell and ended up hiding it in the hotel’s closet.

The Academy gave Mackay $25, told him to clean up, and assumingly, kept the Oscar.

While researching this story, I contacted the Academy and was told that neither of Pierre Collings’ Oscars was in their possession, and there were no records of the transaction. It’s possible that the unclaimed statue is lying in a box in the Academy’s attic or, since his father was living at the time, it was returned to him. In any event, both Oscars won by Collings appear to be missing.

If you watch the Academy Awards ceremony this year, when the award for Best Screenplay is presented, remember Pierre Collings – may he rest in peace.

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Oscar nominees and winners at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Sunday, January 28th, 2018

The 90th Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, will honor the best films of 2017 and will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California at 5:00 p.m. PST on March 4, 2018.

To celebrate, let’s take a look at all (I hope none are hiding anywhere) Oscar nominees/winners that are interred at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

Pierre Collings (1902-1937) was the first Academy Award nominee and winner to be interred at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. He received two Best Writing/Story nominations/wins for The Story of Louis Pasteur, a 1938 bio-pic starring fellow Hollywood Forever resident and Oscar winner, Paul Muni (1895-1967) as the famous French biologist. Technician Nathan Levinson (1888-1952) had the most nominations at 24 for Best Recording, of which he received one statue, but also was bestowed with two technical awards and one Honorary. Composer Victor Young (1900-1956) came in second at 22 nominations and one win, which sadly, was given posthumously. Cinematographer Arthur C. Miller (1895-1970) won the most at three statues. The last Oscar nominee to be interred here was screenwriter Fay Kanin (1917-2013). Ironically, the last Oscar winner to be laid to rest was Kanin’s husband–and often writing partner–screenwriter Michael Kanin (1910-1993). They shared a writing nomination for 1958’s Teacher’s Pet starring Clark Gable and Doris Day.

Image result for hollywood forever cemetery

The following are the Hollywood Forever residents that were nominated or won an Academy Award or Honorary awards, and the films they were nominated/won for. The co-founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are also included.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery Academy Award Nominees and Winners. An asterisk (*) signifies the film that they won for:

1. George S. Barnes (1892-1953) Best Cinematography. 8 noms; 1 win. The Magic Flame (1927); The Devil Dancer (1927); Sadie Thompson (1928); Our Dancing Daughters (1928); *Rebecca (1940); The Spanish Main (1945); Spellbound (1945); Samson and Delilah (1949). Plot: Abbey of the Psalms, Sanctuary of Refuge, Corr G-2, Crypt 2087.

2. Anne Bauchens (1882-1967) Best Film Editing. 4 noms; 1 win. Cleopatra (1934); *Northwest Mounted Police (1940); The Greatest Show on Earth (1952); The Ten Commandments (1956). Plot: Chapel Columbarium, Lower floor, northwest wall, T-2, N-3.

3. Jack Brooks (1912-1971) Best Music, Original Song. 3 noms; 0 wins. Canyon Passage (1946); Son of Paleface (1952); The Caddy (1953). Plot: Abbey of the Psalms, Haven of Faith, T-11, N-4.

4. R. Dale Butts (1910-1990) Best Music. 1 nom; 0 wins. Flame of the Barbary Coast (1945). Plot: Section 2, Lot 69.

5. Louis Calhern (1895-1956) Best Actor. 1 nom; 0 wins. The Magnificent Yankee (1950). Plot: Abbey of the Psalms, Abbey Foyer, T-3, N-308, South wall.

6. Charles H. Christie (1880-1955) One of the 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Plot: Garden of Legends, Section 8, Lot 178 – family marker – unmarked.

7. Pierre Collings (1902-1937) Best Writing/Story. 2 noms; 2 wins. *The Story of Louis Pasteur (1937) [2 wins]. Plot: Section 2W, Lot 696.

8. Irving Cummings (1888-1959) Best Director. 1 nom; 0 wins. In Old Arizona (1928). Plot: Section 13, Lot 305.

9. Cecil B. DeMille (1881-1959) Best Director. 1 nom; 0 wins. The Greatest Show on Earth (1952) / Best Picture. 2 noms; 1 win. *The Greatest Show on Earth (1952); The Ten Commandments (1957) / *Honorary Award (1950) / *Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award (1953). One of the 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Plot: Garden of Legends, Section 8, Lot 50.

10. Elmer Dyer (1892-1970) Best Cinematography. 1 nom; 0 wins. Air Force (1943). Plot: Garden of Legends, Section 8, Lot 53.

11. Douglas Fairbanks (1883-1939) *Honorary Award (1940) [posthumous]. One of the 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Plot: Large reflecting pool plot adjacent to the Cathedral Mausoleum.

12. Daniel L. Fapp (1904-1986) Best Cinematography. 7 noms; 1 win. Desire Under the Elms (1958); The Five Pennies (1959); One, Two, Three (1961); *West Side Story (1961); The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964); Ice Station Zebra (1968); Marooned (1969). Plot: Court of the Apostles, Unit 9 (south side).

13. Charles K. Feldman (1904-1968) Best Picture. 1 nom; 0 wins. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951). Plot: Abbey of the Psalms, Sanctuary of Faith, Corr D-3, Crypt 2305.

14. Peter Finch (1916-1977) Best Actor. 2 noms; 1 win. Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971); *Network (1976). Plot: Cathedral Mausoleum, Corr A, Crypt 1224.

15. Victor Fleming (1889-1949) Best Director. 1 nom; 1 win. *Gone with the Wind (1939). Plot: Abbey of the Psalms, Sanctuary of Refuge, Crypt 2081.

16. John Foreman (1925-1992) Best Picture. 2 noms; 0 wins. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969); Prizzi’s Honor (1985). Plot: unknown.

17. Sidney Franklin (1893-1972) Best Director. 1 nom; 0 wins. The Good Earth (1937). *Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award (1943). Plot: Garden of Legends, Section 8, Lot 1127.

18. George Froeschel (1891-1979) Best Writing, Screenplay. 2 noms; 1 win. Random Harvest (1942); *Mrs. Miniver (1942). Plot: Section 6, Lot 382.

19. Victor A. Gangelin (1899-1967) Best Art Direction. 2 noms; 1 win. Since You Went Away (1944); *West Side Story (1961). Plot: Section 9, Grave 910.

20. Judy Garland (1922-1969) Best Actress. 1 nom; 0 wins. A Star is Born (1954) / Best Supporting Actress. 1 nom; 0 wins. Judgement at Nuremburg (1961) / *Juvenile Award (1940). Plot: Abbey of the Psalms Mausoleum, Judy Garland Pavilion.

21. Tony Gaudio (1883-1951) Best Cinematography. 6 noms; 1 win. Hell’s Angels (1930); *Anthony Adverse (1936); Juarez (1939); The Letter (1940); Corvette K-225 (1943); A Song to Remember (1945). Plot: Section 5, Lot 471.

22. Janet Gaynor (1906-1984) Best Actress. 2 noms; 1 win. *[Sunrise (1927), 7th Heaven (1927), Street Angel (1928)]; A Star is Born (1937). Plot: Garden of Legends, Section 8, Lot 193.

23. Joan Hackett (1934-1983) Best Supporting Actress. 1 nom; 0 wins. Only When I Laugh (1981). Plot: Abbey of the Psalms, Sanctuary of Faith, Corr D-3, Crypt 2314.

24. Karl Hajos (1889-1950) Best Music. 2 noms; 0 wins. Summer Storm (1944); The Man Who Walked Alone (1945). Plot: Section 14, Row B, Grave 54.

25. Lenny Hayton (1908-1971) Best Music. 6 noms; 2 wins. The Harvey Girls (1946); The Pirate (1948); *On the Town (1949); Singin’ in the Rain (1952); Star! (1968); *Hello, Dolly! (1969). Plot: Plains of Abraham, Lot 153, Grave 19.

26. Milton E. Hoffman (1879-1952) One of the 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Plot: Abbey of the Palms, Sanctuary of Refuge, Corr G-1, Crypt 321.

27. John Huston (1906-1987) Best Director. 5 noms; 1 win. *The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948); The Asphalt Jungle (1950); The African Queen (1951); Moulin Rouge (1952); Prizzi’s Honor (1985) / Best Writing. 8 noms; 1 win. Dr. Ehrlich’s Magic Bullet (1940); The Maltese Falcon (1941); Sergeant York (1941); *The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948); The Asphalt Jungle (1950); The African Queen (1951); Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957); The Man Who Would Be King (1975) / Best Picture. 1 nom; 0 wins. Moulin Rouge (1952) / Best Supporting Actor. 1 nom; 0 wins. The Cardinal (1963). Plot: Garden of Legends, Section 8, Lot 6.

28. Harry Jackson (1896-1953) Best Cinematography. 1 nom; 0 wins. Mother Wore Tights (1947). Plot: Chapel Columbarium, Column D, Niche 2, Tier 2.

29. Fay Kanin (1917-2013) Best Writing. 1 nom; 0 wins. Teacher’s Pet (1958). Plot: New Beth Olam Mausoleum, 3d floor, Corr T-J-1-3.

30. Michael Kanin (1910-1993) Best Writing. 2 noms; 1 win. *Woman of the Year (1942); Teacher’s Pet (1958). Plot: New Beth Olam Mausoleum, 3rd floor, Corr T-J-1-3, Crypt 4762.

31. Bronislaw Kaper (1902-1983) Best Music-Score. 3 noms; 1 win. The Chocolate Soldier (1941); *Lili (1953); Mutiny on the Bounty (1962) / Best Original Song. 1 nom; 0 wins. Mutiny on the Bounty (1962). Plot: New Beth Olam Mausoleum, Hall of David, Corridor T-1, Niche 1513, Tier 15.

32. Frank P. Keller (1913-1977) Best Film Editing. 4 noms; 1 win. Beach Red (1967); *Bullitt (1968); The Hot Rock (1972); Jonathan Livingston Seagull (1973). Plot: Garden of Eternal Love, Section 5, east side.

33. Michael Kidd (1915-2007) *Honorary Award (1997). Plot: Section 13, Lot 847, Space 1.

34. Frederick Kohner (1905-1986) Best Writing. 1 nom; 0 wins. Mad About Music (1938). Plot: Garden of Jerusalem, Section 18.

35. Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957) Best Music. 3 noms; 1 win. *The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938); The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939); The Sea Hawk (1940). Plot: Garden of Legends, Section 8, Lot 15.

36. Milton R. Krasner (1904-1988) Best Cinematography. 7 noms; 1 win. Arabian Nights (1942); All About Eve (1950); *Three Coins in the Fountain (1954); An Affair to Remember (1957); How the West Was Won (1962); Love with the Proper Stranger (1963); Fate is the Hunter (1964). Plot: New Beth Olam Mausoleum, Corr T-7-2, Gates of Heaven, Crypt 1498 (unmarked).

37. Harry Kurnitz (1908-1968) Best Writing. 1 nom; 0 wins. What Next, Corporal Hargrove? (1945). Plot: Garden of Shalom, Section 16, Row K, Grave 22.

38. Jesse L. Laskey (1880-1958) One of the 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Plot: Abbey of the Psalms, Sanctuary of Light, Corr G-3, Crypt 2196.

39. Lester Lee (1904-1956) Best Music-Original Song. 1 nom; 0 wins. Miss Sadie Thompson (1953). Plot: Garden of Eternal Love, Section 5, Lot 838.

40. Sonya Levien (1888-1960) Best Writing. 2 noms; 1 win. State Fair (1933); *Interrupted Melody (1955). Plot: Garden of Jerusalem, Section 18, Lot 929, urn garden, far southeast corner of section.

41. Nathan Levinson (1888-1952) Best Sound-Recording/Special Effects. 24 noms; 1 win. I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1933); Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933); 42nd Street (1933); Flirtation Walk (1934); Captain Blood (1935); The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936); The Life of Emile Zola (1937); Four Daughters (1938); The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939)-2 noms; The Sea Hawk (1940)-2 noms; The Sea Wolf (1941); Sergeant York (1941); Desperate Journey (1942); *Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942); Air Force (1943); This is the Army (1943); The Adventures of Mark Twain (1944); Hollywood Canteen (1944); Rhapsody in Blue (1945); A Stolen Life (1946); Johnny Belinda (1948); A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) / *Technical Achievement Award (1936) / *Honorary Award (1941) / *Technical Achievement Award (1948). Plot: Beth Olam Mausoleum, Foyer O, T-8, N-7.

42. Jeanie MacPherson (1886-1946) One of the 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Plot: Chapel Colonnade, west Corr, South Wall, T-2.

43. Joe Mantell (1915-2010) Best Supporting Actor. 1 nom; 0 wins. Marty (1955). Plot: Section 21, Row 15, Grave 23.

44. Gertrude Ross Marks (1916-1994) Best Documentary. 1 nom; 0 wins. Walls of Fire (1971). Plot: New Beth Olam mausoleum, 3rd Floor, Corr T-J-1-3, Crypt 7763.

45. J. Peverell Marley (1901-1964) Best Cinematography. 2 noms; 0 wins. Suez (1938); Life with Father (1947). Plot: Cathedral Mausoleum, Crypt 223.

46. Hattie McDaniel (1895-1952) Best Supporting Actress. 1 nom; 1 win. *Gone with the Wind (1939). Plot: Garden of Legends, Section 8, south of lake: Cenotaph.

47. Adolphe Menjou (1890-1963) Best Actor. 1 nom; 0 wins. The Front Page (1931). Plot: Garden of Legends, Section 8, Lot 11.

48. Michel Michelet (1894-1995) Best Music. 2 noms; 0 wins. Voice in the Wind (1944); The Hairy Ape (1944). Plot: Chapel Columbarium, Second Floor, west wall, T-3, N-11.

49. Arthur C. Miller (1895-1970) Best Cinematography. 7 noms; 3 wins. The Rains Come (1939); The Blue Bird (1940); *How Green Was My Valley (1941); This Above All (1942); *The Song of Bernadette (1943); The Keys of the Kingdom (1944); *Anna and the King of Siam (1946). Plot: Abbey of the Psalms, Haven of Remembrance, T-1, N-3.

50. Thomas Miranda (1886-1962) One of the 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Plot: Cathedral Mausoleum, Alcove of Reverence, T-15, N-5.

51. Paul Muni (1895-1967) Best Actor. 6 noms; 1 win. The Valiant (1929); I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932); Black Fury (1935) [write-in]; *The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936); The Life of Emile Zola (1937); The Last Angry Man (1959). Plot: Plains of Abraham, Section 14, Grave 57.

52. Dudley Nichols (1895-1960) Best Writing. 4 noms; 1 win. *The Informer (1935); The Long Voyage Home (1940); Air Force (1943); The Tin Star (1957). Plot: Garden of Exodus, Section 13. Note: Nichols refused to accept his award for The Informer because of the antagonism between several industry guilds and the academy over union matters. This marked the first time an Academy Award had been declined. Academy records show that Dudley was in possession of an Oscar statuette by 1949.

53. Ingo Preminger (1911-2006) Best Picture. 1 nom; 0 wins. M*A*S*H (1970). Plot: Garden of Eternal Love, Section 5, Lot 11, Grave 1.

54. Nelson Riddle (1921-1985) Best Music. 5 noms; 1 win. Li’l Abner (1959); Can-Can (1960); Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964); Paint Your Wagon (1969); *The Great Gatsby (1974). Plot: New Beth Olam Mausoleum, Corr T-1, Columbarium, Niche 702, Tier 7.

55. Hugo Riesenfeld (1879-1939) Best Music. 1 nom, 0 wins. Make a Wish (1937). Plot: Section 17, Row R, Plot 15.

56. Mickey Rooney (1920-2014) Best Actor. 2 noms; 0 wins. Babes in Arms (1939); The Human Comedy (1943) / Best Supporting Actor. 2 noms; 0 wins. The Bold and the Brave (1956); The Black Stallion (1979) / *Juvenile Award (1939) / *Honorary Award (1983). Plot: Cathedral Lake View, Elevation 15, Couch B-1501.

57. Harold Rosson (1895-1988) Best Cinematography. 5 noms; 0 wins. The Wizard of Oz (1939); Boom Town (1940); Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944); The Asphalt Jungle (1950); The Bad Seed (1956) / *Honorary Award. The Garden of Allah (1936). Plot: Garden of Legends, Section 8, Plot 43.

58. Hans J. Salter (1896-1994) Best Music. 6 noms; 0 wins. It Started with Eve (1941); The Amazing Mrs. Holliday (1943); The Merry Monahans (1944); Christmas Holiday (1944); Can’t Help Singing (1944); This Love of Ours (1945). Plot: Section 16, Lot 66B.

59. Joseph Schildkraut (1896-1964) Best Supporting Actor. 1 nom; 1 win. The Life of Emile Zola (1937). Plot: Beth Olam Mausoleum, Foyer R, West wall, Niche 212.

60. Leon Schlesinger (1884-1949) Best Short Subject-Cartoons. 6 noms; 0 wins. It’s Got Me Again (1932); A Wild Hare (1940); Rhapsody in Rivets (1941); Hiawatha’s Rabbit Hunt (1941); Pigs in a Polka (1943); Greetings Bait (1943). Plot: Beth Olam Mausoleum, Corr M-4, T-5-2, Crypt 1275.

61. Leonard Spigelgass (1908-1985) Best Writing. 1 nom; 0 wins. Mystery Street (1950). Plot: New Beth Olam Mausoleum, T-8-2, Crypt 7934.

62. George Stoll (1902-1985) Best Music. 9 noms; 1 win. Babes in Arms (1939); Strike Up the Band (1940) [2 noms]; For Me and My Gal (1942); Meet Me in St. Louis (1944); *Anchors Aweigh (1945); Love Me or Leave Me (1955); Meet Me in Las Vegas (1956); Billy Rose’s Jumbo (1962). Plot: Beth Olam, Section 18.

63. Gregg Toland (1904-1948) Best Cinematography. 6 noms; 1 win. Les Misérables (1935); Dead End (1937); Intermezzo: A Love Story (1939); *Wuthering Heights (1939); The Long Voyage Home (1940); Citizen Kane (1941). Plot: Chapel Columbarium, Lower Column H, Niche 2, Tier 4.

64. Franz Waxman (1906-1967) Best Music. 12 noms; 2 wins. The Young in Heart (1938) [2 noms]; Rebecca (1940); Suspicion (1941); Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941); Objective, Burma! (1945); Humoresque (1946); *Sunset Blvd. (1950); *A Place in the Sun (1951); The Silver Chalice (1954); The Nun’s Story (1959); Taras Bulba (1962). Plot: Beth Olam Mausoleum, Hall of Solomon, Foyer O, T-5, N-1.

65. Clifton Webb (1889-1966) Best Supporting Actor. 2 noms; 0 wins. Laura (1944); The Razor’s Edge (1946) / Best Actor. 1 nom; 0 wins. Sitting Pretty (1948). Plot: Abbey of the Psalms, Corr G-6, Crypt 2350.

66. Jules White (1900-1985) Best Short Subject-Two Reel/Comedy. 4 noms; 0 wins. Men in Black (1934); Oh, My Nerves (1935); The Jury Goes Round ‘n’ Round (1945); Hiss and Yell (1946). Plot: Beth Olam Mausoleum, Corr M-7, Crypt 1377.

67. Carey Wilson (1889-1962) Best Writing. 1 nom; 0 wins. Mutiny on the Bounty (1935). One of the 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Plot: Garden of Legends, Section 8, Lot 66.

68. Frank E. Woods (1860-1939) One of the 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Plot: Columbarium, Lower floor, North wall, Tier 4, Niche 8.

69. Victor Young (1900-1956) Best Music. 22 noms; 1 win. Breaking the Ice (1938); Army Girl (1938); Man of Conquest (1939); Gulliver’s Travels (1939); Golden Boy (1939); Way Down South (1939); North West Mounted Police (1940); Dark Command (1940); Arizona (1940); Arise, My Love (1940); Hold Back the Dawn (1941); Take a Letter, Darling (1942); Silver Queen (1942); Flying Tigers (1942); For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943); Love Letters (1945) [2 noms]; The Emperor Waltz (1948); My Foolish Heart (1949); Samson and Delilah (1949); Written on the Wind (1956); *Around the World in Eighty Days (1956) [win was posthumous]. Plot: Beth Olam Mausoleum, Foyer M, Crypt 46.

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Who Named Oscar?

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

The Birth of Oscar

 

 

By Allan R. Ellenberger

  

Oscar – the name on everyone’s lips in Hollywood at this time of year. Once again on February 22, nominees will stroll down the red carpet at the Kodak Theatre to attend the 81st Annual Academy Awards. There, the phrase, “And the Oscar goes to…” will be repeated numerous times, but who originally coined the term, Oscar? Depending on who you talk to, it could be any one of several suspects, but first, some history.

 

Oscar’s parents, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was chartered on May 4, 1927, when 36 film industry leaders met and organized the non-profit corporation dedicated to improving the artistic quality of the film medium.

 

Academy banquet at the Biltmore Hotel (LAPL)

 

A week later on May 11, a banquet was held in the Crystal Ballroom at the Biltmore Hotel where more than 300 gathered, and Douglas Fairbanks, the Academy’s first president, presided. Film industry leaders such as Louis B. Mayer, Joseph M. Schenck, Will Hays, Mary Pickford, Cecil B. DeMille, Frank Lloyd and Conrad Nagel gave their support.

 

It was Louis B. Mayer who suggested handing out awards as a way of focusing attention on films. Conrad Nagel agreed, saying, “Whatever we give, it should be a symbol of continuing progress – militant, dynamic.”

 

Inspired by the evenings proceedings, MGM art director, Cedric Gibbons began sketching a form on the tablecloth (some versions say a napkin). The figure was a brawny man standing on a reel of film gripping a crusader’s sword. Gibbons transferred the sketch to paper and it was given to sculptor George Stanley, who molded the trophy in clay. Since then very few changes have been made.

 

“They are a little distorted now because the original mold has been used so often,” Stanley said in 1957. The sculptor later designed and worked on the three well-known statues at the entrance of the Hollywood Bowl.

 

As with many actors, Oscar’s birth name would have been hard to fit on a marquee – the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Award of Merit – more than a mouthful. So perhaps this fated him to a moniker, but just how Oscar received its unusual name is debatable. Several Hollywood notables have claimed the distinction of originating the name.

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 Margaret Herrick and Col. W. N. Selig (LAPL)

 

On their website, the Academy does not attribute the nickname to a specific person, however, one version of the story gives credit to the Academy’s executive secretary, Margaret Herrick. The story goes that in 1931, she reportedly saw the statuette, studied it carefully and exclaimed, “Why he looks like my Uncle Oscar.”

 

Sitting in an adjoining office was a newspaper correspondent who, the following day, printed the line: “Academy employees have affectionately dubbed their famous gold statuette Oscar.” (unfortunately there is no known published validation for this story)

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 Irving Thalberg, Bette Davis and Frank Capra (LAPL)

 

Two-time Oscar winner, Bette Davis believed that she created the term Oscar to describe the golden trophy.

“I am convinced that I was the first to give the statuette its name when I received one for my performance in Dangerous, made in 1935,” Davis said in 1955.

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 Bette Davis and her then-husband, Harmon Oscar Nelson, Jr.
Was the coveted award named for him?

 

“I was married at that time to Harmon O. Nelson, Jr. For a long time I did not know what his middle name was. I found out one day that it was Oscar, and it seemed a very suitable nickname for the Academy statuette.”

 

Davis, knowing there were other petitioners to the name, hinted that she would be willing to resort to fisticuffs to support her contention.

 

“Of course, that’s all so very long ago – who knows? But I’d suggest that if the other claimants become very insistent we settle the whole thing with a duel.”

 

Still other stories say that John Barrymore first coined the name – in the early days Oscar was reportedly a facetious term. Animation pioneer, Walt Disney has also been quoted as thanking the Academy for his Oscar as early as 1932. However, the person who may have the best claim for originating the name is columnist Sidney Skolsky.

 

Many references credit Skolsky for using the term “Oscar” in a 1934 column in reference to Katharine Hepburn’s Best Actress award for Morning Glory (1933). Still another names Skolsky as the anonymous reporter who supposedly overheard Margaret Herrick christen the statue in 1931; but since Skolsky had not arrived in Hollywood until 1932, that part is unlikely.

 

Skolsky claimed the term referenced an old vaudeville joke that began, “Will you have a cigar, Oscar?”

 

Though Oscars true beginning is unknown, what can be proven is the use of “Oscar” in Time magazine on March 26, 1934. If it’s not the original, it certainly is one of the first times the term was used:

 

“In the cinema industry the small gold-washed statuettes which the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science annually awards for meritorious productions and performances are called ‘Oscars,’” the article stated.

 

This also negates Bette Davis’ claim of naming the award when she received hers in 1936 – by then the term Oscar had already been in use for two years.

 

Whatever its origin, it definitely will not to be an issue when this years nominees walk the red carpet in hopes of getting their own Oscar.

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The first Academy Awards

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

AMPAS HISTORY

Film efforts rewarded

 

 

Academy announces fifteen awards of statuette for elevating standards of screen

 

Los Angeles Times
February 18, 1929

The first awards for individual meritorious achievements in motion pictures were announced yesterday by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The fifteen awards are for outstanding achievements for 1928 and were made after an exhaustive survey.

As a reward for and in recognition of their efforts in raising the standards of motion pictures the winners are to be presented with statuettes in bronze and gold, designed by George Stanley, sculptor, under the supervision and selection of Cedric Gibbons, art director at the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio.

The statuette is twelve inches high with a Belgian marble base and consists of an idealized male figure standing on a representation of a reel of motion-picture film. It was announced the trophies will be presented at a later meeting of the academy at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood.

The winners of the merit awards follow:

Emil Jannings, first award for his outstanding performances in The Way of All Flesh and The Last Command. Honorable mention to Richard Barthelmess for his performance in The Noose and The Patent Leather Kid.

Janet Gaynor, first award for best performances among actresses in Seventh Heaven, Sunrise and The Street Angel. Honorable mention to Gloria Swanson for performance in Sadie Thompson and to Louise Dresser in A Ship Come In.

For direction of dramatic pictures, Frank Brozage received first award for Seventh Heaven. Honorable mention to Herbert Brenon for his directorial work in Sorrell and Son and to King Vidor for The Crowd. Lewis Milestone received first award for directing a comedy picture, Two Arabian Knights. Honorable mention to Ted Wilde for Harold Lloyd’s Speedy.

The first award for writing an original story was given to Ben Hecht for Underworld with honorable mention to Lajos Biros for The Last Command, while Benjamin Glazer received first award for adaptation of Seventh Heaven with honorable mention to Alfred Cohn for adapting The Jazz Singer and to Anthony Coldewey adapting Glorious Betsy.

For title-sriting the first award went to Joseph Farnham with honorable mention to George Marion, Jr., and Gerald Duffy.

The cinematography award is shared by Charles Rosher and Karl Struss for Sunrise.

George Barnes gets honorable mention for his work in Sadie Thompson, The Devil Dancer and Magic Flame.

The art direction award was given to William C. Menzies for The Tempest and The Dove, with honorable mention to Rochus Gliese for Sunrise and Harry Oliver for Seventh Heaven.

The engineering effects award goes to Roy Pomeroy for Wings, with honorable mention to Nugent Slaughter and to Ralph Hammeras.

The Paramount Famous Lasky Corporation received the first award for the production of the outstanding picture of the year, Wings. Honorable mention went to the Fox company for Seventh Heaven and to the Caddo company for Two Arabian Knights. This is the only award which was decided on box-office returns.

The Fox company won first award for the production of the most unusual and artistic picture, Sunrise, while honorable mention was received by Paramount for Chang and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer for The Crowd.

Special first award was given to Warner Brothers for producing the pioneer outstanding talking picture, The Jazz Singer, with Al Jolson, while another first special award was given to Charles Chaplin for acting, writing and producing The Circus.

It was announced by the central board of judges which made the award that the board felt that Warner Brothers and Chaplin should be considered separately from the other award classifications owing to the unique character of their accomplishments.

In deciding to make the first awards for individual achievements, the academy members made twelve classifications in addition to the two special awards. The nominations were turned in by the members last August. One thousand nominations were received and these were then referred to class committees consisting of five judges. These judges made three nominations which were then turned over to a central board of judges. This, it was explained, is responsible for the length of time taken in making the awards.

The central board of judges was composed of Alec Francis, Sid Grauman, Frank Lloyd, and A. George Volck. The awards were made for pictures first publicly released during the year ending August 1, 1928, and is the first time the academy has made the awards.

The preceding article is the announcement of the first Academy Awards from the Los Angeles Times in 1929. In the beginning the awards were announced before the ceremony instead of being a surprise that night.

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Emil Jannings and his Oscar

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

AMPAS HISTORY

Emil Jannings and the very first Oscar for Best Actor

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Clark Gable at the Oscars

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

AMPAS HISTORY

Clark Gable receiving his Oscar for “It Happened One Night”

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Doug and Janet at the Oscars

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

AMPAS HISTORY

Douglas Fairbanks presenting the very first Best Actress Oscar to Janet Gaynor

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Shirley and Claudette at the Oscars

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

AMPAS HISTORY

Shirley Temple holds Claudette Colbert’s Oscar for “It Happened One Night”

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Hattie McDaniel’s Oscar…

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

FILM HISTORY

Hattie McDaniel: Equality 41 Years in the Mud

 

Hattie McDaniel and Fay Bainter

 Hattie McDaniel and Fay Bainter

 

By Tom Gregory
The Huffington Post

 

The article that follows is a rerun of a piece I wrote in HuffPo over a year ago. The Academy is still unwavering in its choice not to reissue Howard University McDaniel’s statuette. At this historic time, I hope the Academy will finally do the right thing. — Tom Gregory



Today, more than any day ever before, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences is poised on the brink of a crisis of conscience.

 

Hattie McDaniel is best known for her portrayal of “Mammy” in 1939’s Gone with the Wind. She was born in Kansas in 1895, the same year Booker T. Washington delivered his famous “Atlanta Compromise” address. One hundred and thirteen African Americans were officially reported lynched in 1895.    (Click on ‘Continue Reading’ for more)

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