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Screen bios starring actors bigger than the lead characters


jakeem
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I've watched a lot of movie biographies, and I can think of two in which the actor or actress portraying a famous character later became bigger than the movie figure -- either historically or in terms of popularity. I'll save those for later. But can any of you think of some examples?

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I've watched a lot of movie biographies, and I can think of two in which the actor or actress portraying a famous character later became bigger than the movie figure -- either historically or in terms of popularity. I'll save those for later. But can any of you think of some examples?

Jimmy Stewart in THE STRATTON STORY

Ronald Reagan in THE WINNING TEAM (Alexander was a great pitcher, but Reagan became President ---point goes to Reagan.

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Most( though not all )screen bios are done by actors who were or are bigger than the people they portray.  Of course, in the case of Lincoln, for example, even greats like Raymond Massey or Henry Fonda couldn't outshadow the original. but in the case of people who had marginal success in life, but had such a compelling story that someone felt it good movie fodder, it can't be helped. 

 

Sepiatone

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How about John Wayne as Genghis Khan???

 

(...juuuuuus' kiddin'...couldn't resist)

Duke is the best Genghis Khan on film! My 2 favorite scenes: When Genghis Duke rips the dress right off Bortai and she responds with a delightful "You mongol dog!" and when she tries to wack him with a sword and falls into the water eliciting guffaws of laughter from Genghis Duke's fellow tribesmen. I got one: Paul Muni as Louis Pasteur:D

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Robert De Niro as Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull

 

Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers as Vernon & Irene Castle

 

Gary Cooper as Sgt. York

 

Mario Lanza as The Great Caruso (I'm originally from Philly, don't try to tell me Lanza isn't bigger than Caruso!)

 

Liz Taylor as Cleopatra (Cleopatra didn't have her own line of fragrances!)

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Jimmy Stewart in THE STRATTON STORY

Ronald Reagan in THE WINNING TEAM (Alexander was a great pitcher, but Reagan became President ---point goes to Reagan.

 

Reagan's performance as St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander was No. 1 on my list. As great as Alexander was in the 1926 World Series, striking out Tony Lazzeri of the New York Yankees with the bases loaded in Game 7 doesn't come close to staring down the Soviet Union!

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Cary Grant as Cole Porter in "Night And Day".

...

 

I'm second to none in my admiration for Cary Grant, but I wouldn't say that he ended up bigger than Cole Porter.  Both still stand at or near the top of their fields, even decades after their deaths, and both are actually still pretty well known.  I'd say that they're peers in terms of accomplishment and fame.

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 I got one: Paul Muni as Louis Pasteur:D

 

I hope that laughing smiley is signifyin' that you were kiddin' about Muni as Pasteur here ND, and just like I was about Big Duke as Genghis.

 

(...'cause I've never seen ANY milk carton in MY fridge that says its contents has been "Muni-ized"!!!) ;)

 

:D

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I hope that laughing smiley is signifyin' that you were kiddin' about Muni as Pasteur here ND, and just like I was about Big Duke as Genghis.

 

(...'cause I've never seen ANY milk carton in MY fridge that says its contents has been "Muni-ized"!!!) ;)

 

Actually I meant it.  :P How can anyone seriously argue that Wayne's performance as Temujin is not far, far superior to Omar Sharif's?  Personally, I like Sharif as Genghis Khan but Wayne's approach is more plainly spot on. Genghis Khan was after all a warrior and not a diplomat so Duke easily gets the nod. A guy like Wayne could play Genghis Khan in his sleep. "When I want to know how to act tough, I just look at the Duke." -Steve McQueen  :) 

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I hope that laughing smiley is signifyin' that you were kiddin' about Muni as Pasteur here ND, and just like I was about Big Duke as Genghis.

 

(...'cause I've never seen ANY milk carton in MY fridge that says its contents has been "Muni-ized"!!!) ;)

 

Actually I meant it.  :P How can anyone seriously argue that Wayne's performance as Temujin is not far, far superior to Omar Sharif's?  Personally, I like Sharif as Genghis Khan but Wayne's approach is more plainly spot on. Genghis Khan was after all a warrior and not a diplomat so Duke easily gets the nod. A guy like Wayne could play Genghis Khan in his sleep. "When I want to know how to act tough, I just look at the Duke." -Steve McQueen  :) 

 

 

Yep. While his famed public persona of "gettin' to the point" might of course mirror ol' Genghis, sorry ND, once Big Duke opens his mouth and SOUNDS like, well, BIG DUKE, the few times I've attempted to watch this baby, I JUST can't get past that!

 

(...I'm always waitin' for the guy to say the word '"Pilgrim" in every freakin' scene!!!)

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Yep. While his famed public persona of "gettin' to the point" might of course mirror ol' Genghis, sorry ND, once Big Duke opens his mouth and SOUNDS like, well, BIG DUKE, the few times I've attempted to watch this baby, I JUST can't get past that!

 

(...I'm always waitin' for the guy to say the word '"Pilgrim" in every freakin' scene!!!)

You're tellin' me that with his arms bound in that wooden yoke, lettin' out to his mortal enemy Kum-lek "I regret that I cannot greet you O'Kum-lek the way I wish...I am bereft of spit!" You tellin' me that ain't good? Hell, I think it's great, Pilgrim:D

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My favorite Edward G. Robinson role:  Dr. Erlich's Magic Bullets.  He proved he was more than Little Caesar and those other gangster roles. 

 

Also:  Rosalind Russell as both Sister Kenney and Frank Pierson's mother in Roughly Speaking.

 

The sad thing is that many of these actors are better known than the folks they played when these people made contributions to humanity whose benefits we are still reaping.  These films, if not always accurate, remind us of who they are and why they should be so honored. 

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You're tellin' me that with his arms bound in that wooden yoke, lettin' out to his mortal enemy Kum-lek "I regret that I cannot greet you O'Kum-lek the way I wish...I am bereft of spit!" You tellin' me that ain't good? Hell, I think it's great, Pilgrim:D

 

Well...okay. Seein' as how you put it THAT way, I suppose I'll relent here. ;)

 

:D

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Another one that comes to mind is Jennifer Lopez in "Selena," the 1997 film bio of Tejano music star Selena Quintanilla, who was shot to death by the president of her fan club on March 31, 1995. Selena was on her way to major stardom, but I'm not sure she ever would have had a No. 1 album ("J.Lo") and a No. 1 film ("The Wedding Planner") at the same time. And let's not forget Lopez's clothing line and high visibility as a judge on TV's "American Idol."

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My favorite Edward G. Robinson role:  Dr. Erlich's Magic Bullets.  He proved he was more than Little Caesar and those other gangster roles. 

 

Also:  Rosalind Russell as both Sister Kenney and Frank Pierson's mother in Roughly Speaking.

 

The sad thing is that many of these actors are better known than the folks they played when these people made contributions to humanity whose benefits we are still reaping.  These films, if not always accurate, remind us of who they are and why they should be so honored.

Star, you summed that up perfectly :)

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You guys crack me up!  JOHN WAYNE as GENGHIS KHAN.....MAN!   If I could stretch a DOLLAR that far, I'd be in great shape!

 

What's REALLY scary though, is the notion that NipkowDisc might not be JOKING! :o

 

Sepiatone

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