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Does religion get in the way of a star's career?


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First, I want to preface that this is not a discussion about religion per se. It is more about perception and careers.

 

I just read an article where former members of Scientology claim Tom Cruise's religious beliefs derailed all three of his marriages. I find it a very interesting theory.

 

It begs a more general question: do religious views, especially from very devout believers, affect not only celebrity marriages, but motion picture and television careers, too?

 

Was Loretta Young's career hampered because she was a Catholic and could not 'fit' certain roles?

 

Did Elizabeth Taylor have to downplay her Judaism in order to be sold as sexy CLEOPATRA?

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Religion became a minor problem when Streisand co-starred with Egyptian Omar Sharif in Funny Girl ...

 

From Wikipedia:

 

"His decision to work with co-star Barbra Streisand angered Egypt's government at the time due to Streisand's support for the state of Israel. Streisand herself responded with 'You think Cairo was upset? You should've seen the letter I got from my Aunt Rose!'"

 

Oy, what would Aunt Rose have written if she heard the rumors of their affair ?

 

FunnyGirl1.jpg

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Well I can think of one definite example where religion got in the way of not only a star's career, but of her life. Jean Harlow and her "Mama" were both Christian Scientists (I think that is the one), and when she collapsed on the set of 1937's SARATOGA, she was recuperating at home. Her mother fimrly believed that she should not get any medical treatment, as per the precepts of their faith. This lack of treatment is what did poor Jean in.

 

*Was Loretta Young's career hampered because she was a Catholic and could not 'fit' certain roles?*

 

Loretta, to my knowledge, never turned down a role because it conflicted with some of the tenets of Catholicism. But what might have happened was that, with her infamous swearbox ever-present on her sets, she might have alienated certain directors or producers, who might not have considered her later for another role. We'll never know ....

 

*Did Elizabeth Taylor have to downplay her Judaism in order to be sold as sexy CLEOPATRA?*

 

As in probably all her portrayals, Liz' Judaism is downplayed to the point of non-existence. I have never thought of her as such while viewing one of her roles, including CLEAOPATRA.

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The anecdote I am about to offer up is second-hand, but I have no reason to doubt it. A friend of mine would visit the set of TV's Falcon Crest where a friend of his was performing in a recurring role. Apparently, Jane Wyman had a priest on the set for confessions and she expected everyone to follow the tenets of Catholicism whether they were of the faith or not. Of course, Miss Wyman had a lot of power and it was her show. It is not surprising that the actors who appeared on the show the longest, like Lorenzo Lamas and Ana-Alicia, were practicing Catholics...and that many of the key storylines involved the church.

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I am assuming she had the previous marriages annulled. My mother is a devout Catholic and after her divorce from my father, after a marriage of 20 years, she had it officially annulled. This allows the Catholic to remarry and to have a church wedding again.

 

From many accounts, Wyman was a strict life-long Catholic.

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Wasnt so easy back then to cancel out divorces. I guess it helps to be a movie star. She was married at least 3 times......It's much easier now (especially if money payment is involved. I know due to my sister).....I guess she and Loretta had a lot in common........

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I don't know if this actually hurt Kirstie Alley's career, but there is a reason she was the only cast member of Cheers not to show appear on Fraiser. As a Scientologist she felt that show glorified Psychiatry, which that group is strongly against.

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> {quote:title=Hibi wrote:}{quote}I remember him leaving. I thought he was just unhappy with the show........He sure missed out on that series..........

Hill showed great principle. My uncle was devout Seventh Day Adventist. He lost many jobs through the 1960s and 1970s because he would not work Saturdays.

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Interesting site:

 

"Religious Affiliation of Famous Actors and Actresses"

 

http://www.adherents.com/movies/adh_actors.html

 

I never knew Gary Cooper converted to Catholicism ...

 

GaryCooper_with_Pope_small.jpg

 

*Coop with Pope Pius XII*

 

And Burt Lancaster's religion is listed as "Church of

the Son of Man -- 'non-denominational' Protestant" and

also "ACLU" ...

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A lot of the stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood who were Jewish, had to down play that fact.

 

When Garfield arrived at Warner Bros in 1938, the first thing Jack Warner told him is we have to change your first name, it sounds too Jewish. Garfield replied but you are Jewish too? Warner said, never mind there a lot of people out there who "think" they don't like Jews.

 

 

So, Jacob Julius Garfinkle changed his name for the stage in New York to, Jules Garfield. Then Jules Garfield changed his name to John Garfield for Hollywood.

 

 

Only two times in his film career did Garfield play a Jewish character. In Body and Soul, 1947 and in Gentleman's Agreement, 1947.

 

 

At the end his full legal name was "John Jules Garfield."

 

seawolf4.jpg

 

 

I am glad he kept the "Jules," of course all his life his family and close friends called him "Julie."

 

 

When his second daughter Julie was born in 1946, he was then called "big" Julie and she was called "little" Julie. Very sweet I think.

 

 

 

Lori

 

Edited by: Lori3 on Sep 6, 2012 7:41 PM

 

Edited by: Lori3 on Sep 6, 2012 8:52 PM

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> {quote:title=Lori3 wrote:}{quote}A lot of the stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood who were Jewish, had to down play that fact.

>

> When Garfield arrived at Warner Bros in 1938, the first thing Jack Warner told him is we have to change your first name, it sounds too Jewish. Garfield replied but you are Jewish too? Warner said, never mind there a lot of people out there who "think" they don't like Jews.

>

> So, Jacob Julius Garfinkle changed his name for the stage in New York to, Jules Garfield. Then Jules Garfield changed his name to John Garfield for Hollywood.

>

>

> Only two times in his film career did Garfield play a Jewish character. In Body and Soul, 1947 and in Gentleman's Agreement, 1947.

>

>

> At the end his full legal name was "John Jules Garfield."

>

>

> seawolf4.jpg

>

>

> I am glad he kept the "Jules," of course all his life his family and close friends called him "Julie."

>

>

> When his second daughter Julie was born in 1946, he was then called "big" Julie and she was called "little" Julie. Very sweet I think.

>

>

>

> Lori

>

>

> Edited by: Lori3 on Sep 6, 2012 7:41 PM

>

> Edited by: Lori3 on Sep 6, 2012 8:52 PM

>

Thank you for that explanation. It's hard to realize how much the leaders of the film industry, many Jewish themselves, really ran from that. I don't really blame them for they were pretty accurately reading the feelings of the times. My guess is that only character actors were allowed to keep their "ethnic sounding" names.

 

As a leading man, Garfield would have faced the "you wouldn't want your daughter to marry one" problem that would have cost him box office. Garfield kind of lived GENTLEMAN'S AGREEMENT.

 

I also find it interesting how many of these Jewish studios heads oversaw productions that were pretty blatant in their Christian symbolism. Whether they believed it themselves, they knew what would sell in middle America.

 

A lot of that thought continued well into recent times. My uncle always told my actor brother that he wouldn't make it in the business because you HAD to be Jewish, something my brother always nervously laughed off (you don't want to tell your minister uncle what a bigot he is).

 

Also in the last couple of months I found a comment on another board about the failure of my favorite actress to transition to adult roles. Of course she didn't make it, the poster insisted, she just looked too "ethnic" as she got older.

 

 

 

 

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*"Worship money?" According to Screen Actors Guild records, most actors barely make enough to pay the light bill.*

 

ST: Sorry to be the one who always seems to nitpick, but the thread is titled "....a STAR's career", the A list or A minus list celebrities making the big bucks . . .

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The topic of this thread is the story of the movie "The Jazz Singer" (1927). There are some similiarities between his real life and the movie. His birth name is Asa Yoelson which he change to Al Jolson and in the movie he changed his name from Jakie Rabinowitz to Jack Robin.

 

His father like in the movie was a cantor.

 

Did Al Jolson have a real life conflict with choosing between his religion and carrer like in "Tha Jazz Singer"?

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Thank you ginnyfan for your comments on my post on John Garfield, and Jack Warner insisting on changing his first name (Jules) because it "sounded to Jewish."

 

You wrote, "Garfield kind of lived GENTLEMAN'S AGREEMENT." Yes, I think he did at least from all reading and research I have done on him. He said of the role in Gentleman's Agreement, that he didn't act the part, he felt the part in every part of his body. I think he gave very dignified, quiet and powerful performance in that film, and when tells Peck's character, "That is where they get at you, through your kids. Well, you can stop being Jewish now, the is nothing else" I get chills. Someone wrote, that they almost could feel Kazan urging Garfield on in the film to "give a little more" in his performance. However, Garfield they felt was almost saying back to Kazan, back off, I knew you when, and I know how to play this character, I have lived this part. I do love the part in film where Garfield almost takes apart the drunk in the restraunt though.He had a lot of "moxie" for a little guy.

 

ginnyfan, I am going over to your post on Ginny in the "died to young" thread to address, "the too ethnic" look someone wrote.

 

Lori

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lori3, your behind-the-scenes story about *Gentleman's Agreement* (1947) illustrates how Garfield's religion *helped* his performance/career, not interfered w/ it. I don't want to hurt your feelings, but does every other thread on this board have to contain a salute to John Garfield? Just something I've noticed over the past few months. I have a favorite actor too, but I don't have to insert him into *every* conversation.

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