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"In the Spotlight"


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Vallo, your most likely right about how some celebrities get their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, although perhaps the studio foot the bill for Mamie. Good publicity?

 

Larry, I also have always liked Mamie. She has a certain charm about her, also very up-front (no pun intended) and honest.

 

Bartlett, your on the money regarding Donald Trump.

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In the Spotlight: Sabu

 

Sabu Dastagir was an Indian actor known by his first name, Sabu.

 

Born in Karapur Mysore, India, he was the son of an Indian mahout (elephant driver) and was discovered by documentary film-maker Robert Flaherty who cast him in the role of an elephant driver in the 1937 British film "Elephant Boy", based on "Toomai of the Elephants", a story by Kipling.

 

Most reference books have his full name as "Sabu Dastigir", but research by journalist Philip Leibfried suggests that was his brother's name, and that Sabu was in fact Selar Shaik Sabu. His brother managed his career.

 

Sabu is remembered most fondly for his role as Abu in the British-American film "The Thief of Bagdad" in which he also sang "I Want to be a Sailor". In 1942 he once again played a role based on Kipling, namely Mowgli in "Jungle Book" directed by Zolt?n Korda.

 

After World War II, unable to secure the equivalent roles in Hollywood British films had offered him, his career went into decline with rare gleams of glory, such as his supporting role in the classic British film "Black Narcissus".

Other films included, "The Drum", "Tangier", "The End of the River", "Song of India", "Savage Drums", "Jaguar" and "Rampage" with Robert Mitchum.

He co-starred with Jon Hall and Maria Montez in three lush Technicolor adventure films, "Arabian Nights", "White Savage", and "Cobra Woman" a cult favorite.

 

After becoming an American citizen in 1944, Sabu joined the U.S Army Air Force as a tail gunner. He flew several dozen missions over the Pacific and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his valor and bravery.

 

In the late 1940s and 1950s, he was among the richest stars in Hollywood. In an era in which white actors often played Asian characters, he was respected not only for his physique but also for his natural acting abilities. He was a friend to many Hollywood actors including James Stewart and Ronald Reagan.

 

In 1948 Sabu married Marilyn Cooper, with whom he had two children.

Thus, his sudden death in 1963 of a heart attack at the age of 39 came as even more of a shock than it would have been otherwise.

According to his widow, Sabu had a complete physical just a few days before his death, at which time his doctor told him, "If all my patients were as healthy as you, I'd be out of business."

He died in his wife's arms and was interred in the Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills Cemetery.

His last film, Disney's "A Tiger Walks" was released only a few weeks after his death.

 

His son Paul Sabu established the rock band Sabu in the 1980s.

His daughter Jasmine Sabu was an animal trainer on various films. She died in 2001.

 

The actor has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Hooray!

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Since Mongo and other posters have often mentioned the notable absence of a Hollywood Star for many of those who've contributed most to movie history in this thread, I thought that I'd mention that CBS Sunday Morning News will be featuring a piece by their resident "lighter side" reporter, Bill Geist this morning about the practice. It may be amusing as well as irksome. If you can't catch the broadcast today, you may wish to look for the story on their website, listed below:

 

Here's a link to the main part of the CBS Sunday Morning News site, where Geist's story will be posted after the program airs this a.m.:

http://tinyurl.com/bry9f

 

Here's a link to the list of celebs given the star recently:

http://tinyurl.com/yoe8k5

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I can add a few more facts about the life of Sabu, one of my very favorite actors.

 

He was brought to England by the Kordas production company (he was still a child), and given something of a British "gentleman's education." However, they never seemed to be able to do much to smooth out his pretty heavy Indian accent.

 

His older brother brought him to Hollywood, and managed his career. The brother owned a furniture business in Los Angeles, and was unfortunately murdered, in the store, by a disgruntled former employee.

 

Sabu was the defendant in a lurid paternity suit, and was exonerated by forensic evidence. He was also accused of arson by insurers as the result of a fire at his house, but was also exonerated of any responsibility for the accident.

 

I very well remember reading, as a girl, the headline in the New York Post about his death. I still feel the sadness.

 

Message was edited by:

jdb1

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It's very true, mongo. My impression is that Sabu's wealth and ethnic origin, coupled with his reputation for affability, made him seem an easy mark for the sleazier elements of Hollywood. However, he managed to maintain his even temper and his identity in the face of all manner of exploitation, not to mention being his being an exemplary sodier (Army Air Corps, actually) during WWII. Everything I've ever read or heard about him points to his being an extremely nice man.

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It's very true, mongo. My impression is that Sabu's and ethnic origin, coupled with his reputation for affability, made him seem an easy mark for the sleazier elements of Hollywood. However, he managed to maintain his even temper and his identity in the face of all manner of exploitation, not to mention being his being an exemplary sodier (Army Air Corps, actually) during WWII. Everything I've ever read or heard about him points to his being an extremely nice man.

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In the Spotlight: Mercedes McCambridge

 

 

Mercedes Agnes Carlotta McCambridge was born March 16, 1916 in Joliet, Illinois to Irish Catholic immigrant parents; she later falsely claimed to have been born on March 17, 1918. Her nickname was Mercy.

 

McCambridge began as a radio performer in the 1940s and also performed on Broadway. Her work in this period included a period as Rosemary Levy in the radio program "Abie's Irish Rose".

Her big break in Hollywood came when she was cast opposite Broderick Crawford in the 1949 film "All the King's Men".

McCambridge cemented her fame when she won the 1950 Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film, which also won Best Picture for that year. She also won the Golden Globe Awards for Best Supporting Actress and Most Promising Newcomer - Female for that film.

 

In 1954, McCambridge co-starred with Joan Crawford and Sterling Hayden in the offbeat western drama, "Johnny Guitar", now a cult classic. McCambridge and Hayden publicly declared their dislike of Crawford, with McCambridge labeling Crawford "a bad egg."

 

Her performance in "Johnny Guitar" led to her co-starring with Burt Lancaster and Walter Matthau in "The Kentuckian," in which she played, yet again, a woman of evil intent.

Other films included, "The Scarf", "Lightning Strikes Twice", "A Faewell to Arms" (1957), "Touch of Evil" (cameo role), "Suddenly Last Summer", "Cimarron" (1960), "Angel Baby", "The Last Generation", "Thieves", etc.

She was Oscar nominated once again in 1956 for her role in "Giant". The hat McCambridge wore in the film was given to her by actor Gary Cooper.

 

McCambridge was also well-known for providing the dubbed-in voice of the demonically possessed character in The Exorcist, acted by Linda Blair. McCambridge's already deep voice was made raspy and frightening-sounding and it "really became the Devil's" via sleep deprivation, cigarettes, and drinking raw egg yolks and liquor.

 

McCambridge frequently acted in feature roles in the radio dramas of the CBS Radio Mystery Theater. Also a TV and Broadway actress, she was nominated for a Tony Award.

 

McCambridge told the story of her life in "The Quality of Mercy: An Autobiography" (in which she discusses her battle with alcoholism, among other things), the title making use of her childhood nickname.

 

The Academy Award actress spoke these inflammable words at the Algonquin in her position as founder of McCambridge "Magnolias Anonymous."

That's an organization to make women quit trying to prove they are smarter than men--with the slogan, "More rustling, less hustling." The "rustling" refers to rustling garments.

 

McCambridge's only child, her son John Lawrence Fifield (who later adopted his step-father's surname and became known as John Markle), killed his family and then himself in a murder/suicide in 1987.

 

Since the early 1980s Mercedes enjoyed a quiet retirement. She was a special guest star at the 70th Annual Anniversary Academy Awards in 1998 along with many other Oscar winners.

 

Quoted: "One of the most destructive things in my life was the kind of parts I played in pictures. I studied Shakespeare and the classics, and I end up shooting Joan Crawford and killing a horse that Elizabeth Taylor was in love with. I'm serious. I played the worst harridans, the most hard-bitten women, the absolute heavies, and it just about did me in."

 

The great actress died on March 2, 2004 in La Jolla, California, of natural causes aged 87.

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Hi Mongo,

 

Thank you so much for including Mercedes McCambridge in your "Spotlight" series.

You do manage to pick the right people for it and 'hit the nail on the head', so to speak.

And, Mercy would love it that she is still remembered......

Very much appreciated..

 

BTW, she has 2 stars on the Walk of Fame - one for movies and one for radio..

 

Larry

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Larry, there is no doubt that Mercedes McCambridge deserves to be in the spotlight.

 

I had all intentions to proudly announce that she has two (2) stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and I botched it. I'm glad that you did mention it.

 

Do you happen to have a copy of her book "The Quality of Mercy"? I understand it is out of print and hard to obtain.

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