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To the BIGTIME, and otherwise


Sepiatone
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Member "The Cid" helped spur this on.

 

I mentioned in my "uncredited" thread about starting a thread about TV stars who finally, or eventually(or maybe  inevitably )  made it to "the big screen".  Cid's idea was to go both ways on this.  and even mention those hollywood movie stars who've also made appearances on the tube.

 

But, that gets out of hand, since my only intent was to bring up those whose first BIG "claim to fame" was on the tube, and then moving to movies.

 

(Before I attempt my paltry list, and as a nod to Cid, I DID see LUISE RAINER and RAMON NAVARRO both guest on an old episode of "COMBAT" last night(or early this morning)

 

But---

 

STEVE McQUEEN---along with his uncredited role in "Somebody Up There Likes Me", he WAS sho' 'nuff credited in THE BLOB, which did precede his big rise to fame in TV's "Wanted: Dead Or Alive" in 1958.  McQueen's Josh Randall was so cool a TV cowboy character, that me, and many of my contemporaries (who were all about 9-10 years old at the  time) sort of took a personal pride  seeing him appear in THE MAGNIFICENT 7 !  But, HE'S an example of going from "big screen" obscurity to TV stardom and BACK to big screen "stardom".

 

I was also going to bring up ---

 

NICK ADAMS--but Nick had a bit more silver screen success than McQueen did before hitting, sadly, his biggest fame as Johnny Yuma in THE REBEL.  Nick had credited roles in MR. ROBERTS('55), PICNIC(also '55) as well as NO TIME FOR SERGEANTS('58) , TEACHER'S PET('58) and PILLOW TALK('59). before moving on to TV fame.  And never reaching the same "film actor" status as McQueen, which Adams aspired to.  IMO, I thought he really DID have both the talent and "screen  presence" to go much further than he did.  But I understand he had an abrasive personality which might have stunted his career.  I'm not sure.

 

Other small screen to big screen success stories escape me a bit, other than a few more contemporary examples.  Like:

 

ROBIN WILLIAMS--from planet ORK to academy award winning parts and other movies

 

BILLY CRYSTAL--from a gay son in "Soap" to many top-notch film roles, and a favorite host of the Oscars.

 

TOM HANKS--from a cross-dressing wiseacre to many fine film appearances, and two Oscars, and much to the chagrin of many TCM forum members.

 

TOMMY LEE JONES--from soap "One Life To Live "  to some pretty juicy and excellent movie roles.

 

MEG RYAN

 

CHRISTOPHER REEVE

 

TOM BERENGER

 

akk!  One could do a WHOLE THREAD dedicated to movie "stars" who first wet their feet in soap operas.

 

THE OTHER WAY---

 

Was a time when a well known and liked movie star( or actor) appeared on a television show, it was thought to be "career ending" or that their career had alREADY ended.  But movers from the big to small screen include:

 

EVE ARDEN--"Our Miss Brooks" star and a show that featured an aspiring RICHARD CRENNA, who also went from TV to movies.

 

LUCILLE BALL---well....'nuff said!

 

SPRING BYINGTON--who went from a comfortable level of movie popularity to TV's DECEMBER BRIDE( which was MY first familiarity of her, along with developing an affection for HARRY MORGAN)

 

ANDY GRIFFITH--who technically HAD starred in a few movies, and a couple of damned GOOD ones( But, out of love for Andy, I'll overlook ONIONHEAD) before moving on into one of TV's most popular characters.

 

RED SKELTON--was pretty popular on the big screen, before moving to TV and hosting one of television's most well loved variety shows.

 

JIMMY STEWART--BIG name in movies before heading up a self named sitcom which only lasted a season.  but still fared better than:

 

HENRY FONDA--whose TV attempt THE SMITH FAMILY--in which Hank played a police detective with a rebellious son played by RON HOWARD in a role tht was a far departure from his OPIE fame, and also somehow usually gets glossed over whenever a bio or profile of Howard gets done.

 

This is getting rather long, so I'll turn it over to the membership.

 

But, please just limit it to TV stars who made it big, or movie stars who worked their way to their own TV shows, as "big stars" making "waning years" TV spots and cameos would also wander into so many obscure appearances as to not be all that interesting.

 

 

Sepiatone

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TV Stars Who Made It Big:

 

James Garner - Mr. Garner became an overnight success as Bret Maverick in "Maverick" and continued his success as Jim Rockford in "The Rockford Files"

 

Diana Rigg - The absolutely gorgeous Mrs. Emma Peel from The Avengers - still think no one looked as beautiful as Diana Rigg in her slinky jumpsuits and mod wardrobe. Loved those cars and of course Patrick Macnee as Steed.

 

Angela Lansbury - The incredible Angela Lansbury became a world wide phenom due to the success of Murder She Wrote. She is an amazing actress and Broadway musical and stage performer but Murder She Wrote brought her world wide fame.

 

Peter Falk as the one and only Columbo. A truly marvelous actor of stage and film but as Columbo he became an institution. I believe the raincoat from Columbo is in the Smithsonian.

 

Carroll O'Connor - All In The Family's Archie Bunker - a TV character for the ages. Carroll O'Connor was an amazing actor from Shakespeare to comedy to dramatic roles - but he will always be remembered as Archie Bunker.

 

Jackie Gleason and Art Carney - Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton from The Honeymooners - two marvelous actors who will always be remembered for these two indelible roles.

 

Agnes Moorhead - Endora on Bewitched -- Miss Moorhead is one of my favorite film actresses and has played more kinds of parts than one can imagine.  However, TV's Endora on Bewitched brought international fame to this great actor.

 

Andy Griffith will always be remembered for Sherriff Andy Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show and Ben Matlock on Matlock although he was a wonderful stage and film actor. I saw him in my first Broadway musical Destry Rides Again with Dolores Gray.

 

Alan Alda as Hawkeye Pierce on M.A.S.H. - Alan Alda will always be remembered in this role even though he has had a marvelous stage and film career.

 

Tom Hanks rose from TV's **** Buddies to international film star.

 

George Clooney came from the TV show E.R. and the rest is history.

 

Raymond Burr had a long career in movies as the "heavy" - no pun intended - beautiful voice by the way - and Perry Mason made him internationally famous.

 

Michael Douglas in The Streets of San Francisco partnered with the great Karl Malden became an international film star and producer of films.

 

Neil Patrick Harris started as Doogie Howser, then went to How I Met Your Mother, and then became a Broadway star. I believe he made many films as a child actor (one with Whoopie Goldberg the title of which escapes me right now)

 

Richard Boone - Paladin in Have Gun Will Travel - This role will always remain iconic although Mr. Boone made many, many movies and was an exceptional actor.

 

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano - Mr. Gandolfino was a marvelous actor but will always be remembered for this role.

 

Roger Moore as "The Saint" became James Bond No. 2 - international success

 

 

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And then of course, there was this one guy who gained fame making movies with his brothers, and then ended up hosting a very popular television game show later on.

 

YOU know!

 

The one, the only...

 

youbetgroucho.jpg

 

(...somebody must've just said the secret woid here!)

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Good going all.

 

Although I'm a bit confused by MARSHA'S entries.(some of them):

 

DIANA RIGG never DID make it very "big" in movies.  In fact, THE HOSPITAL was the ONLY movie I know of her being in.

 

And ANGELA LANDSBURY had a VERY comfortable film career BEFORE going to TV.

 

And, didn't GEORGE CLOONEY actually FIRST show up on FACTS OF LIFE?

 

And others Marsha mentioned went from film to TV and BACK again.

 

But keep up the good work.

 

By the way, becoming a big "star" ON television isn't really the idea.  Using that "stardom" to leap into movies and then making it "big" THERE is.

 

AND also going the OTHER way, regardless the level of success.

 

 

Sepiatone

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Burt Reynolds

Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes on BBC

Morgan Freeman on the soap Another World

Johnny Depp on 21 Jump Street

Mia Farrow on the Peyton Place tv series

Denzel Washington on St. Elsewhere

Burt Reynolds was in GUNSMOKE

Morgan Freeman was also famously on ELECTRIC COMPANY

Other soap to movie stars include Alec Baldwin, Ray Liotta, Julianne Moore, Anne Heche, Meg Ryan

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Good going all.

 

Although I'm a bit confused by MARSHA'S entries.(some of them):

 

DIANA RIGG never DID make it very "big" in movies.  In fact, THE HOSPITAL was the ONLY movie I know of her being in.

 

And ANGELA LANDSBURY had a VERY comfortable film career BEFORE going to TV.

 

And, didn't GEORGE CLOONEY actually FIRST show up on FACTS OF LIFE?

 

And others Marsha mentioned went from film to TV and BACK again.

 

But keep up the good work.

 

By the way, becoming a big "star" ON television isn't really the idea.  Using that "stardom" to leap into movies and then making it "big" THERE is.

 

AND also going the OTHER way, regardless the level of success.

 

 

Sepiatone

Diana Rigg was very good in ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE as James Bond's doomed wife.

 

She was also enjoyable in the Vincent Price film THEATER OF BLOOD

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Sepiatone, Thanks for your comments. Am adding the following actors and hope they fit the bill:

 

Helen Mirren - Prime Suspect

 

Judi Dench - As Time Goes By

 

Benedict Cumberbatch - Sherlock

 

Martin Freeman - Sherlock

 

Clint Eastwood - Cowboy on Maverick, Rowdy Yates on Rawhide (not sure if Eastwood's name was already mentioned)

 

Ryan O'Neal - Peyton Place

 

Richard Chamberlain - Dr. Kildare and "King" of the mini series 

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Sepiatone, Thanks for your comments. Am adding the following actors and hope they fit the bill:

 

Helen Mirren - Prime Suspect

 

Judi Dench - As Time Goes By

 

Benedict Cumberbatch - Sherlock

 

Martin Freeman - Sherlock

 

Clint Eastwood - Cowboy on Maverick, Rowdy Yates on Rawhide (not sure if Eastwood's name was already mentioned)

 

Ryan O'Neal - Peyton Place

 

Richard Chamberlain - Dr. Kildare and "King" of the mini series 

 

Helen Miren had a mixed movie/tv start, but mostly it was movies at first.

 

Yes, Clint Eastwood wuz mentioned.

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I'd like to throw Desi Arnaz' hat into the ring.

 

His first film, Too Many Girls, was the film where he met Lucille Ball.  They married in 1940 about six months after meeting.  During the 1940s, when he wasn't touring with his orchestra or serving in WWII, Arnaz made a handful of very average films--nothing that was going to make him a huge star.  His best film was probably Bataan in 1943, where he played Mexican soldier, Felix Ramirez.  Arnaz' accent made him difficult to cast in films, said RKO.  By 1950, Ball was "appearing" in the successful radio show, CBS' My Favorite Husband.  CBS wanted to bring My Favorite Husband to the burgeoning medium, television.  Ball, tired of being apart from Arnaz for long periods of time (he toured a lot with his orchestra in the late 1940s), only agreed to appear on the show if Arnaz could co-star.  The rest as they say is history.

 

Arnaz and Ball formed their own production company, Desilu, and went on to star in and produce I Love Lucy.  Arnaz and Ball refused to move from Los Angeles to New York City where most television shows were being produced.  At the time, television shows were also aired live using a kinoscope process.  Those on the East Coast received a relatively clear picture.  However, by the time the signal reached the West Coast, the picture was fuzzy and poor quality.  Arnaz, wanting everyone in the country to be able receive a clear picture, insisted on filming the show.  CBS initially balked at the high cost until Lucy and Desi agreed to take a pay cut to make up the cost difference.  Arnaz, knowing that Lucy did her best work in front of an audience, went to work retro-fitting a soundstage to make it accomodate a live audience. He (along with some other Desilu employees, like the great Karl Freund), also pioneered the idea of using three cameras to film their show--this way they could catch different angles and edit them together after filming completed.  

 

In 1957, Desi Arnaz bought his former employer, RKO, the company who said they couldn't cast him in pictures and added their property to the Desilu empire.  

 

Arnaz' foresight, innovation in television production, and simply his role as Ricky Ricardo in one of the most beloved shows of all time, makes Arnaz a pioneer in the television industry and a big star in every sense of the word.

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  • 2 weeks later...

As far as Steve McQueen's debut you can actually catch it in Film Noir Girl On The Run (1953) I just watched a few days ago. I provided a link to a free site before but the board gestapo took it down in short order. Anyway to see it just google free-classic-movies.com and search for Girl on The Run.

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And, didn't GEORGE CLOONEY actually FIRST show up on FACTS OF LIFE?

 

Yes, and Tom Hanks was an alcoholic uncle in an episode or two of FAMILY TIES

I remember seeing Clooney even before he was on The Facts of Life. He was in a sitcom called E/R starring Elliot Gould & Mary McDonnell. He played a hospital orderly named Ace (I think) who had long hair and wore a leather jacket over his scrubs.

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