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10 Performers Who Should be Star of the Month on TCM


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  • 3 years later...

I am going to recommend ten performers for Star of the Month on TCM. Amazingly, none of these people have ever been selected. They were all stars and deserve the honor for a variety of reasons. 

 

Among the criteria I am using--

 

FILMS IN TCM LIBRARY

SCREEN CAREER SPANNED THREE OR MORE DECADES

SUBJECT OF POPULAR BIOGRAPHIES (OR AUTOBIOGRAPHY)

VERSATILITY ACROSS ENTERTAINMENT MEDIA-- FILM, STAGE, TV, RADIO, FINE ARTS

APPEARED IN FILMS THAT HAVE BEEN PRESERVED BY THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

AWARDS-- OSCARS, GOLDEN GLOBES, KENNEDY CENTER HONORS, INTERNATIONAL AWARDS

ENDURING APPEAL (HOUSEHOLD NAME)

TOP MONEYMAKER

WORK REPRESENTS SPECIFIC STYLE OF ACTING (CHILD STAR, CHARACTER ACTOR, METHOD ACTOR)

NEVER BEEN HONORED AS STAR OF THE MONTH

 

If a candidate meets two-thirds of the above criteria, they make the list.

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10. p-e-t-e-r   l-a-w-f-o-r-d

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WHY SELECTED: Played romantic interest for many top actresses-- Elizabeth Taylor, June Allyson, Esther Williams, Judy Garland, Janet Leigh, Maureen O'Hara and Doris Day. Also known for his connections with the Kennedy family. Member of the Rat Pack. Active from 1930 to 1983.

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9. j-o-a-n   b-e-n-n-e-t-t

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WHY SELECTED: Member of highly regarded acting family. Played opposite almost all the top leading men of classic Hollywood-- Spencer Tracy, Gregory Peck, James Mason, Cary Grant, Robert Ryan, Robert Cummings, Fredric March, Edward G. Robinson, George Raft, etc. Career flourished under guidance of producer husband Walter Wanger. Directed by Fritz Lang multiple times. Active from 1916-1982.

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8. r-o-b-e-r-t   p-r-e-s-t-o-n

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WHY SELECTED: Could do it all in many genres. Played romantic leads, villains, and musical leads on stage and in film. Starred opposite Dorothy Lamour, Alan Ladd, Joan Bennett, Susan Hayward, Anne Bancroft, Shirley Jones, Julie Andrews, Mary Tyler Moore, etc. Active from 1938-1985.

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7. s-h-i-r-l-e-y   t-e-m-p-l-e

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WHY SELECTED: One of the world's most recognizable child stars. Transitioned to teen roles under David Selznick. Worked with John Ford twice. Active in show business from 1932-1965. Active in politics from 1967-1992.

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6. g-e-o-r-g-e   s-a-n-d-e-r-s

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WHY SELECTED: Curious mix of leading man and character actor. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock more than once. Made successful series of programmers as The Saint and The Falcon. Three more words: ALL ABOUT EVE. Active from 1929-1972.

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4. p-a-t-r-i-c-i-a   n-e-a-l

patricia_neal_-_1952.jpg

WHY SELECTED: Pat Neal’s style is hard to explain. But when you watch her performances, you know you’re witnessing greatness, brilliance. Who else could go from THE FOUNTAINHEAD to Olivia Walton on television? Oscar recipient for HUD.  Active from 1949-2009.

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2. s-u-s-a-n   h-a-y-w-a-r-d

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WHY SELECTED: Gutsy actress who left plenty of strong work behind for us to enjoy. From ADAM HAD FOUR SONS to VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, there was only one Susan Hayward. And thank goodness for that! Active from 1937-1972.

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1. m-a-r-l-o-n   b-r-a-n-d-o

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WHY SELECTED: Surprisingly, Brando has never been Star of the Month on TCM. The ultimate method actor. Better than Montgomery Clift and James Dean. Better than Laurence Olivier. Better than everyone, really. Active from 1945-2001.

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8. PARAMOUNT CONTRACT PLAYER

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WHY SELECTED: Could do it all in many genres. Played romantic leads, villains, and musical leads on stage and in film. Starred opposite Dorothy Lamour, Alan Ladd, Joan Bennett, Susan Hayward, Anne Bancroft, Shirley Jones, Julie Andrews, Mary Tyler Moore, etc. Active from 1938-1985.

 

Dumb question:  Who is this?  He looks vaguely familiar, but I can't place him. 

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Robert Preston is a fabulous choice.  As a matter of fact, he was going to be my next SOTM pick for the next TCM Programming Challenge!

 

Lydecker

I watched THE MACOMBER AFFAIR recently, and every review I read by professional critics and average movie watchers singled out his performance in this picture. One person claimed he brought emotional paranoia into his performances (when most leading men often played it cool and debonair). That caused me to re-evaluate him as a performer and a realization occurred just how underrated Robert Preston is.

 

Four evenings for Preston could be scheduled thusly: 

 

1. Costarring roles with Alan Ladd in the 40s

2. Western action pics from the 50s

3. Musicals in the second half of his career

4. Collaborations with big name directors-- DeMille and Blake Edwards

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I'm not sure he meets all of your criteria, such as having his body of work readily available in the TCM vaults but I would pick Max von Sydow.

He has had a 60 year career.  Worked all over the world (including America) with amazing directors.  Appeared in many classics.  Has been a leading man and character actor.  And has had as diverse a career as anyone I can think of.

If not a TCM star of the month, Max certainly deserves an Academy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Max von Sydow would be a good choice for Summer Under the Stars if a majority of his films are harder for TCM to acquire.

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Two other stars with long careers in a variety of genres, who have not yet had tributes-- Anne Baxter and George Murphy. I would settle for these two getting their own day-long tributes in August. 

 

Baxter would work as a Star of the Month. Not sure if George Murphy is a big enough household name, but he was definitely a star in his day and since he was under contract with RKO and MGM, a huge number of his films are in the TCM library.

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Robert Preston is a fabulous choice.  As a matter of fact, he was going to be my next SOTM pick for the next TCM Programming Challenge!

 

Lydecker

Preston's one of those guys who've been around a LOT longer and has made MORE movies than I've long given him credit for!

 

Never aware of him until MUSIC MAN in the early '60's, when I was a kid, Up until TCM came on the scene, I've only(and largely) been treated to Preston's later work from the early '60's on, which were several "period" pictures that took place around the "turn" of the 20th century, always playing the "misunderstood" husband and Father.  I always liked him, and for a brief time used to get HIM and DALE ROBERTSON confused!

 

 

Sepiatone

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I think Preston's greatest screen performance was as Steve McQueen's father in Sam Peckinpah's Junior Bonner.   And an equally amazing performance by Ida Lupino as his wife.

I agree. That's one of my favorite performances of his-- great film, stupendous acting all around.

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I would add Dana Andrews, Gloria Grahame,  Warren William and Merle Oberon to the list.

 

Yea,  some like Andrews might be difficult since he was under contract with Fox.

Andrews and Grahame would be good for SUTS. Not sure about William (though he did have a SUTS tribute a few years ago). But Oberon would be a most worthy SOTM honoree.

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