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"In the Spotlight"


bansi4

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Mongo,

 

Another great choice. Lorre often played such complex characters. I often find something sympathetic in his portrayals. *Three Strangers* is one of my favorites. I can't help but love when he spoofs himself in films such as *Arsenic and Old Lace*,*My Favorite Brunette* and *Beat the Devil.* The picture with Bogie is both funny and a little disturbing.

 

Keep up the good work. I don't always comment but I always check out your thread and enjoy it. Sometimes I'm introduced to performers that I have overlooked and it renews my interest them.

 

Molo

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According to Vincent Price, when he and Peter Lorre went to view Bela Lugosi's body during Bela's funeral in 1956, Lorre, upon seeing Lugosi dressed in his famous Dracula cape, quipped, "Do you think we should drive a stake through his heart just in case?"

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Remembering Audie Murphy this Memorial Day.

 

In the Spotlight: Audie Murphy (first posted April 23, 2007)

 

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Audie Leon Murphy was born on June 20, 1924

to Emmett and Josie Bell Murphy, two poor sharecroppers, and grew up near Celeste, Texas. Murphy went to school in Celeste until the eighth grade, when he dropped out to work and help support his family. Murphy was the sixth of twelve children, only nine of whom survived to see their 18th birthday.

 

During the 1930s, Murphy also worked in a combination general store, garage, and filling station in Greenville, Texas. In 1940, his father deserted the family and never returned. At 16, Murphy was working in a radio repair shop when his mother died on May 23, 1941. Later in the year in accordance with his older sister, Corrinne, Murphy put his three youngest siblings into an orphanage to ensure their care.

 

Immediately following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Murphy ? then just 17 years old ? tried to enlist in the military, but the services rejected him because he had not yet reached the required 18 years of age. Shortly after his 18th birthday in June 1942, Murphy was finally accepted into the United States Army, after being turned down by the Marines and the paratroopers for being underweight and of slight build.

 

Due to his fragile physical appearance, Murphy still had to "fight the system" to get overseas and into combat. While in Italy, his instinctive skills as a combat infantryman began to earn him promotions, increased responsibilities, and decorations for valor.

 

Eventually lifted to "Living Legend" status

Audie Murphy was credited with destroying 6 tanks besides killing 250 German soldiers and wounding and capturing many others. By the end of World War II, he was a legend within the 3rd Infantry Division as a result of his heroism and battlefield leadership. His principal U.S. decorations included the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver Star Medals, the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Star Medals with Valor device, and three Purple Hearts (for the three wounds he received in combat).

Murphy suffered from Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after his return from the war. He was plagued by insomnia, bouts of depression, and nightmares related to his countless bloody battles.

 

Actor James Cagney invited Murphy to Hollywood in September 1945 after seeing the young hero's photo on the cover of the July 16 edition of Life Magazine. But the next few years in California were difficult for Murphy as he trained to become an actor. He became disillusioned from lack of work, was broke financially, and slept on the floor of a gymnasium owned by his friend Terry Hunt (Murphy would later name one of his sons Terry out of respect for his friend).

But he eventually received token acting parts in the films "Beyond Glory" with Alan Ladd and "Texas, Brooklyn and Heaven". Murphy's third movie, "Bad Boy", gave him his first leading role. He starred in the 1951 adaptation of Stephen Crane's Civil War novel, "The Red Badge of Courage". He expressed great discomfort in playing himself in "To Hell and Back" the 1955 Universal movie of his book.

He turned in such a fine performance that the Hollywood powers that be finally recognized his talent. As a direct result of this film, Universal Studios signed Murphy to his first seven-year studio contract.

The film grossed almost ten million dollars during its initial theatrical release, and at the time became Universal's biggest hit of the studio's entire 43-year history.

 

For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Audie Murphy has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1601 Vine Street.

In the twenty-five years Murphy spent in Hollywood, he made a total of 44 feature films, most of them Westerns, including "Kansas Raiders" as Jesse James, "Drums Across the River", "Destry" good remake, "Night Passage" with James Stewart, "No Name on the Bullet", "The Unforgiven" with Audrey Hepburn, "Posse from Hell", etc.

 

In addition to motion picture acting, Audie Murphy also became successful as a country music songwriter. He teamed up with talented artists and composers such as Guy Mitchell, Jimmy Bryant, Scott Turner, Coy Ziegler, and Terri Eddleman.

 

Murphy married actress Wanda Hendrix in 1949. She often talked of his struggle with PTSD even claiming that he slept wih a gun under his pillow and had at one time held her at gunpoint. They were divorced in 1951, having produced no children. He then married former airline stewardess Pamela Archer, with whom he had two children: Terry Michael Murphy (born 1952) and James Shannon Murphy (born 1954). Audie Murphy eventually became a successful actor, rancher, and businessman. He also bred and raised Quarter Horses and owned ranches in Texas, Tucson, Arizona and Perris, California.

 

While on a business trip on May 28, 1971 (during Memorial Day weekend), flying in bad weather with a pilot unqualified to fly on instruments, Murphy's private plane crashed into Brush Mountain, near Catawba, Virginia, some 20 miles west of Roanoke. The pilot and all five passengers, including Murphy, were killed. Audie Murphy was 46 years old. In 1974, a large granite memorial marker was erected near the crash site.

 

On June 7, 1971, Audie Murphy was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. A small walkway leads to his final place of rest in Section 46, located near the Amphitheater. It is the second most-visited gravesite, second only to President John F. Kennedy's grave.

 

The tombstones of Arlington's Medal of Honor recipients are normally decorated in gold leaf, but Murphy had requested that his stone remain plain and inconspicous, as would be the case with an ordinary soldier. An unknown person maintains a small American flag next to his engraved Government-issue headstone.

 

Quoted: "I never liked being called the 'most decorated' soldier. There were so many guys who should have gotten medals and never did--guys who were killed."

 

Quite a man, that Audie Murphy.

 

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In the Spotlight: FLORENCE BATES

 

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The grand character actress was born Florence Rabe on April 15, 1888 in San Antonio, Texas, the second child of Jewish immigrants. Her father was the owner of an antique store.

 

Bates showed musical talent as a child, but a hand injury inhibited her from continuing her piano studies. She graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in Mathematics in 1906, after which she pursued a career in schoolteaching and social work.

 

Around 1909 she met and married her first husband and soon gave up her career to raise their daughter. When her marriage ended in divorce, she began to study law and passed the bar in 1914, becoming at the age of 26 the first female attorney in her home state.

 

After the death of her parents, Bates left the legal profession to help her sister operate their father's antique business. Buying for the store took her to Europe and Asia, where she utilized her proficiency in foreign languages. Also during this time she became a radio commentator with a bilingual program designed to foster good relations between the United States and Mexico.

In 1929, following the stock market crash and the death of her sister, Florence closed the antique shop and married wealthy oil baron William F. Jacoby.

When he lost his fortune, the couple moved to Los Angeles and opened a bakery. This business remained successful until the Jacobys sold it in the 1940s.

 

In the mid-1930s, Bates auditioned for and won the role of Miss Bates in a Pasadena Playhouse adaptation of Jane Austen's "Emma". When she decided to continue working with the theatre group, she took the name Florence Bates because she thought her first character had brought her good luck.

 

Bates got bit parts in several features but continued to focus on local theater until 1939, when she met and did a screen test for Alfred Hitchcock.

Impressed with her talent and surprised to learn that her training had not come from the stages of London and New York, he cast her as the vain American dowager Mrs. Van Hopper in his 1940 film "Rebecca". Directed by Hitchcock, Bates made her movie debut in this release with Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier, and from it she became a well-known character actor and went on to roles in more than fifty films.

 

Her movie career began after her fiftieth birthday, and for the rest of her life she enjoyed a variety of comic and dramatic supporting roles with some of Hollywood's biggest names.

She shared the screen with Ginger Rogers in "Kitty Foyle", Jean Arthur in "The Devil and Miss Jones", Nelson Eddy in "The Chocolate Soldier", Charles Laughton in "The Tuttles of Tahiti", George Sanders in "The Moon and Sixpence", Bob Hope in "They Got Me Covered", Cary Grant in "Mr. Lucky", Marlene Dietrich in "Kismet", Gypsy Rose Lee in "Belle of the Yukon", Errol Flynn in "San Antonio", Jennifer Jones in "Cluny Brown", Irene Dunne in "I Remember Mama", Bette Davis in "Winter Meeting", Ann Sothern in "A Letter to Three Wives", Doris Day in "Lullaby of Broadway", etc.

 

Bates had a regular role on the early television sitcom "The Hank McCune Show" and made guest appearances on "I Love Lucy", "My Little Margie", and "Our Miss Brooks".

 

Florence Bates enjoyed her work in films and was grateful for the financial, social, and professional success it gave her.

She also never forgot the origins of her success and throughout her life maintained ties to the Pasadena Playhouse, attending plays, endowing scholarships, and offering encouragement to local actors.

 

She continued in films into the 1950s, although after the death of her husband in 1951 her own health and happiness declined.

Florence Bates died of a heart attack at age 65 on January 31, 1954, in Burbank, California.

She was laid to rest in Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale), California.

 

She was survived by a granddaughter, who lived in Texas and inherited the actress's fortune.

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Cool choice! I remember Ms. Bates appearance on "I Love Lucy," playing the snobbish leader of the Society Matrons League. I've seen her in several movies since then, and kept thinking, "didn't I see her in "I Love Lucy?""

 

And a degree in mathematics!! My kind of woman!!

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