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Reinventing One's Career in Show Biz


Bogie56
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I find it fascinating that Dick Powell became this hard boiled noir character in the 1940's after becoming too old for the sappy love struck singing male ingenue of the 1930's.

It is so easy for people to be pigeon holed in show business so this is a tremendous accomplishment when someone manages this kind of transformation.

TCM's current airing of Murder, My Sweet is a good example of Powell's reinvention.

 

I've seen a couple of the films he directed.  The Enemy Below is quite good.  But I'm not that familiar with his producing credits on television.

 

I'm sure there are plenty of other people in show business who have reinvented themselves too.

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George Burns started in vaudeville and television as the straight man of his wife, Gracie Allen.  She was arguably the more talented of the two, in front of the camera.  Many years after Gracie's death when George starred in movies like "The Sunshine Boys" and "Oh God!", he enjoyed a big surge in popularity (especially after "OG", I think), and it showed another side to his persona, that he could be more than a straight man... 

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Jim Carrey has attempted to break away from his madcap persona several times - not with a great deal of success as far as box-office is concerned.

 

But I credit him for trying. He's a better actor than people give him credit for. 'Man in the Moon', and 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' are both good movies. I also like the dark comedy 'The Cable Guy' as well, and think that's where he began to stretch out as an actor.

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Well, here's three I can name immediately;

 

Shelley Winters--film career started in the 1940's, started out as a sex symbol (don't laugh if you haven't seen her pre-1956 movies).  Reinvented herself as a character actress in 1959's "The Diary of Anne Frank", winning a Best Supporting Actress Oscar in the process.  She never looked back, and made over 40 films as a character actress.

 

Loretta Young, who started in films in the 1920's, saw her options as a "leading lady" dwindle as the 1950's started.  After her final starring film in 1953, she moved to the "enemy", television.  She hosted her own dramatic show until 1961(?) , winning multiple Emmys along the way.

 

Frank Sinatra--started in films in the 1940's, was viewed by MGM as only as a musical star, after two non-musicals he was in failed disastrously, showed he could act in 1953's "From Here to Eternity, winning an Oscar while doing so.  The rest of his career in film he varied genres, from comedy to drama to musicals.

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I know there will be other nominees -- I'll probably list a couple myself -- but IMHO the undisputed champ in this category is Leslie Nielsen.

 

Think about it. A leading man of no great distinction who spent decades in the sausage factory of episodic TV drama -- presumably because he was capable of giving a usable if unexciting line reading on the first take, thus saving precious time and money.

 

Then out of nowhere, in late middle age he makes a comeback -- not as a Melvyn Douglasish character actor, but as a comedian. A zany slapstick comedian.

 

There is little in Nielsen's pre-Airplane career to presage his comic stardom -- the only example I know of being his 1972 MASH episode "The Ringbanger", which has moments (notably when Frank Burns tries to examine him) where he uses reactions that would pop up later in Police Squad et al.

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I find it fascinating that Dick Powell became this hard boiled noir character in the 1940's after becoming too old for the sappy love struck singing male ingenue of the 1930's.

It is so easy for people to be pigeon holed in show business so this is a tremendous accomplishment when someone manages this kind of transformation.

TCM's current airing of Murder, My Sweet is a good example of Powell's reinvention.

 

I've seen a couple of the films he directed. The Enemy Below is quite good. But I'm not that familiar with his producing credits on television.

 

I'm sure there are plenty of other people in show business who have reinvented themselves too.

Oh yes,Powell did a great job of reinventing himself. He was a really big player in Hollywood too. His "4 Star Television" did pretty darn good. I know it says Joel McCrae,David Niven and Charles Boyer (later Ida Lupino) as well,but he was really the acting founder running things. Was involed in all kinds of shows,and things.

Then he directed the infamous 1956 John Wayne film "The Conqueror" ...which ended up killing a good amount of the cast and crew over time from the effects of radiation,including Wayne and Powell himself. I have a lot of respect for Dick,and really enjoy his role as Marlowe.

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I find it fascinating that Dick Powell became this hard boiled noir character in the 1940's after becoming too old for the sappy love struck singing male ingenue of the 1930's.

It is so easy for people to be pigeon holed in show business so this is a tremendous accomplishment when someone manages this kind of transformation.

TCM's current airing of Murder, My Sweet is a good example of Powell's reinvention.

 

I've seen a couple of the films he directed.  The Enemy Below is quite good.  But I'm not that familiar with his producing credits on television.

 

I'm sure there are plenty of other people in show business who have reinvented themselves too.

John Payne followed the same career path as Dick Powell.

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Another person that comes to mind is Joan Bennett.  As a blonde, she started out playing sweet ingenues. However, once she dyed her hair and became a brunette, she also became a femme fatale from that point on.

Rita Hayworth did not necessarily look like Rita Hayworth early in her career. She required significant tonsorial work.

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I'm a huge BEWITCHED  fan. I grew up watching Nick At Nite and have all 8 seasons with unedited episodes on DVD. 

I love Elizabeth Montgomery as Samantha and, of course, as Serena.

 

After the end of BEWITCHED, Elizabeth Montgomery apparently never played any more comedic roles, focusing instead on very heavy dramatic parts.

There are some clips of her on You Tube as Lizzie Borden that are really good.

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Jim Carrey has attempted to break away from his madcap persona several times - not with a great deal of success as far as box-office is concerned.

 

But I credit him for trying. He's a better actor than people give him credit for. 'Man in the Moon', and 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' are both good movies. I also like the dark comedy 'The Cable Guy' as well, and think that's where he began to stretch out as an actor.

Agreed that Man on the Moon is an under appreciated gem.

 

As far as reinventing oneself, Jim Carrey has done it a couple of times.  I first saw him in Yorkville, Toronto.  I happened to walk into a club where he was doing his stand up impersonations act.  I think he was about 16 at the time and had some sort of dispensation to appear in a club that served alcohol.

I thought, holy cow who is this guy?  He is sensational.

 

His career low had to be the Grinch.

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Now here's a chap who reinvented himself a few times and had a long career in show biz ... Bing Crosby.

 

He started out as a music hall crooner and hit record singer.  Moved to films where he starred in a lot of hokey college romantic comedies.  Then teamed with Hope to do the Road pictures and starred in other musical comedies such as White Christmas.  Then launched a rather credible dramatic acting career alongside the road pictures with Going My Way (Oscar winner), The Country Girl and Stagecoach to name just a few.  

 

Then became the host of a successful television variety show and even leant his name to a golf tournament.

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Ida.Lupino started.out.in films.in the mid 30s, was at Paramount as.a.blonde.cutie.of no great distinction. At the end of the decade,.she did a highly dramatic turn in THE LIGHT THAT.FAILED. Her new contract with WB at.the beginning of the 40s.offered.her more.of.the same, as the studio saw her as a backstop to Bette Davis. After she left Warners in the late 40s, she stumbled into directing films, and this opened up another avenue, as one of the few women directors.

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     The actor/female impersonator/singer DIVINE (Harris Glenn Milstead) was making inroads to mainstream success when he died of an enlarged heart in March 1988 at 42.  He was on his way to re-inventing himself from being a fringe performer when he died not long after "Hairspray" [PG] was released.  What could have been . . . ?  Too bad we'll never know. 

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Re:  Post #5 (HoldenIsHere).  I can't think of any theatrical films Elizabeth Montgomery appeared in when "Bewitched" ended in 1972, but she had either starring or substantial roles in approx. 20 made-for-television films with all manner of non-comedic subject matter before she died in 1995.   

 

      An exception to all those Tv dramas is the 1981 TVM "When the Circus Comes To Town".  It appears to be a lighthearted romance movie from what I've read about it from my reference guides and co-stars Christopher Plummer.  

 

     Anyway, I reckon she did re-invent herself . . . to a point.  A lot of those non-comic Tv movies she made in the '70s, '80s and early '90s are still not easily available in 2015 so the memory of her dramatic acting skills is getting distant, I think.  For example, I've no idea where to find a copy of the 1974 Tvm "A Case of Rape".  I never found a homevideo release of it and who knows when last it aired?  If one were to see Liz Montgomery in 2015 it's more than likely to be on re-runs of "Bewitched".  Credit to TCM for airing "Johnny Cool" (1963) recently, though!  She didn't appear in many theatrical movies.  

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I'd offer Mickey Rooney as somewhat of an ever-ready bunny who reinvented himself several times over.

 

From very young child actor to a huge teenage star in comedies, musicals and light family dramas to serious dramatic roles later in life.  The Bold and the Brave, Requiem For a Heavyweight and The Black Stallion are a few that come to mind.

 

Plus he was already a senior when he went back to the stage and performed on broadway.

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Re:  Post #5 (HoldenIsHere).  I can't think of any theatrical films Elizabeth Montgomery appeared in when "Bewitched" ended in 1972, but she had either starring or substantial roles in approx. 20 made-for-television films with all manner of non-comedic subject matter before she died in 1995.   

 

      An exception to all those Tv dramas is the 1981 TVM "When the Circus Comes To Town".  It appears to be a lighthearted romance movie from what I've read about it from my reference guides and co-stars Christopher Plummer.  

 

     Anyway, I reckon she did re-invent herself . . . to a point.  A lot of those non-comic Tv movies she made in the '70s, '80s and early '90s are still not easily available in 2015 so the memory of her dramatic acting skills is getting distant, I think.  For example, I've no idea where to find a copy of the 1974 Tvm "A Case of Rape".  I never found a homevideo release of it and who knows when last it aired?  If one were to see Liz Montgomery in 2015 it's more than likely to be on re-runs of "Bewitched". 

 

Right, Mr. Gorman. Today's audience will be much more familiar with Elizabeth Montgomery as Samantha (and Serena) on BEWITCHED than with in any of her dramatic work in film or on television. At one point BEWITCHED was the highest rated show on NIck At Nite. 

I've sought out her work on YouTube  because I'm a fan of BEWITCHED.

I will admit to owning 2 great books written by Herbie J. Pilato: Bewitched Forever: The Immortal Companion to Television's Most Magical Supernatural Situation Comedy and Twitch Upon a Star: The Bewitched Life and Career of Elizabeth Montgomery.

I recommend these books to fans of BEWITCHED and Elizabeth Montgomery.

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Right, Mr. Gorman. Today's audience will be much more familiar with Elizabeth Montgomery as Samantha (and Serena) on BEWITCHED than with in any of her dramatic work in film or on television. At one point BEWITCHED was the highest rated show on NIck At Nite. 

I've sought out her work on YouTube  because I'm a fan of BEWITCHED.

I will admit to owning 2 great books written by Herbie J. Pilato: Bewitched Forever: The Immortal Companion to Television's Most Magical Supernatural Situation Comedy and Twitch Upon a Star: The Bewitched Life and Career of Elizabeth Montgomery.

I recommend these books to fans of BEWITCHED and Elizabeth Montgomery.

How much does Bewitched owe to Bell, Book and Candle?

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I LOVE Elizabeth Montgomery, Holden. And I mean love.

 

She was S-E-X-Y.

 

I saw her in an Alfred Hitchcock Presents (or was it Karloff's Thriller?) episode with its customary twist ending wherein she is revealed to be not quite the victim we thought.

 

Hot, hot, hot. What a beauty.

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How much does Bewitched owe to Bell, Book and Candle?

 

Many have suggested I MARRIED A WITCH and BELL, BOOK AND CANDLE as inspiratons for BEWICHED.

While these works also deal with love relationships between witches and mortals, the love in BEWITCHED is not the result of a potion or spell as it is in the other two works.

The witch in BELL, BOOK AND CANDLE does eventually fall in love with the mortal "for real," but the love between Samantha and Darrin on BEWITCHED was never due to the use of magic on Samantha's  part.  

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I LOVE Elizabeth Montgomery, Holden. And I mean love.

 

She was S-E-X-Y.

 

I saw her in an Alfred Hitchcock Presents (or was it Karloff's Thriller?) episode with its customary twist ending wherein she is revealed to be not quite the victim we thought.

 

Hot, hot, hot. What a beauty.

 

Here's a clip from one of my favorite episodes of BEWICHED, "Hippie Hippie Hooray." 

Samantha is pretending to be Serena.

 

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I saw her in an Alfred Hitchcock Presents (or was it Karloff's Thriller?)

 

Found it. It was a 'Thriller' episode (although she did do an Alfred as well). It's called 'Masquerade' and it's really good.

 

[...]

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John Howard Davies (1939-2011) the British child actor and star of Oliver Twist, The Rocking Horse Winner, and Tom Brown's Schooldays went on to have a hugely prolific career as a producer and director of drama for the BBC.

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John Howard Davies (1939-2011) the British child actor and star of Oliver Twist, The Rocking Horse Winner, and Tom Brown's Schooldays went on to have a hugely prolific career as a producer and director of drama for the BBC.

 

He directed many episodes of Monty Python's Flying Circus

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John Howard Davies (1939-2011) the British child actor and star of Oliver Twist, The Rocking Horse Winner, and Tom Brown's Schooldays went on to have a hugely prolific career as a producer and director of drama for the BBC.

 

I wish TCM would air TOM BROWN'S SCHOOLDAYS (1951) or TOM BROWN'S SCHOOL DAYS (1940).

There's a TCM article fior the 1940 movie (which features Freddie Bartholomew) so it must have aired at least once on the channel.

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