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An Academy Award winner, MacLaine received the 40th AFI Life Achievement Award from the American Film Institute in 2012, and received the Kennedy Center Honors for her lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts in 2013. She is known for her New Age beliefs, and has an interest in spirituality and reincarnation. She has written a series of autobiographical works that describe these beliefs, document her world travels, and describe her Hollywood career.
A six-time Academy Award nominee, MacLaine received a nomination for Best Documentary Feature for The Other Half of the Sky: A China Memoir (1975), and Best Actress nominations for Some Came Running (1958), The Apartment (1960), Irma la Douce (1963), and The Turning Point (1977), before winning Best Actress for Terms of Endearment (1983). She twice won the BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress, for Ask Any Girl (1959), and The Apartment (1960).
MacLaine won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy-Variety or Music Special for the 1976 TV special, Gypsy In My Soul. She has also won five competitive Golden Globe Awards and received the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 1998 ceremony.
Named after Shirley Temple (who was 6 years old at the time), Shirley MacLean Beaty was born in Richmond, Virginia. Her father, Ira Owens Beaty, was a professor of psychology, public school administrator, and real estate agent, and her mother, Kathlyn Corinne (née MacLean), was a drama teacher, originally from Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada. MacLaine’s younger brother is the actor, writer and director Warren Beatty; he changed the spelling of his surname when he became an actor.
Their parents raised them as Baptists. Her uncle (her mother’s brother-in-law) was A. A. MacLeod, a Communist member of the Ontario legislature in the 1940s.
While MacLaine was still a child, Ira Beaty moved his family from Richmond to Norfolk, and then to Arlington and Waverly, eventually taking a position at Arlington’s Thomas Jefferson Junior High School. MacLaine played baseball in an all-boys team, holding the record for most home runs which earned her the nickname “Powerhouse”. During the 1950s, the family resided in the Dominion Hills section of Arlington.
As a toddler she had weak ankles and would fall over with the slightest misstep, so her mother decided to enroll her in ballet class at the Washington School of Ballet at the age of three.
This was the beginning of her interest in performing. Strongly motivated by ballet, she never missed a class. In classical romantic pieces like Romeo and Juliet and The Sleeping Beauty, she always played the boys’ roles due to being the tallest in the group and the absence of males in the class.
Eventually she had a substantial female role as the fairy godmother in Cinderella; while warming up backstage, she broke her ankle, but then tightened the ribbons on her toe shoes and proceeded to dance the role all the way through before calling for an ambulance.
Ultimately she decided against making a career of professional ballet because she had grown too tall and was unable to acquire perfect technique.
She explained that she didn’t have the ideal body type, lacking the requisite “beautifully constructed feet” of high arches, high insteps and a flexible ankle.
Also slowly realizing ballet’s propensity to be too all-consuming, and ultimately limiting, she moved on to other forms of dancing, acting and musical theater.
MacLaine made her film debut in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Trouble with Harry (1955), for which she won the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actress. This was quickly followed by her role in the Martin and Lewis film Artists and Models (also 1955).
Soon afterwards, she had a role in Around the World in 80 Days (1956). This was followed by Hot Spell and a leading role in Some Came Running (both 1958); for the latter film she gained her first Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe nomination.
Her second Oscar nomination came two years later for The Apartment (1960), starring with Jack Lemmon.
The film won five Oscars, including Best Director for Billy Wilder. She later said, “I thought I would win for The Apartment, but then Elizabeth Taylor had a tracheotomy.” She starred in The Children’s Hour (1961) also starring Audrey Hepburn and James Garner, based on the play by Lillian Hellman and directed by William Wyler.
She was again nominated, this time for Irma la Douce (1963), which reunited her with Wilder and Lemmon. Don Siegel, her director on Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970) said of her: “It’s hard to feel any great warmth to her. She’s too unfeminine and has too much balls. She’s very, very hard.”
At the peak of her success, she replaced Marilyn Monroe in Irma la Douce and What a Way to Go! (1964). Other films from this period include Gambit (1966), with Michael Caine, and the film version of the musical Sweet Charity (1968), based on the script for Fellini’s Nights of Cabiria released a decade earlier.
MacLaine’s documentary film The Other Half of the Sky: A China Memoir (1975), co-directed with Claudia Weill, concentrates on the experiences of women in China. It was nominated for the year’s Documentary Feature Oscar.
Co-starring with Anne Bancroft in The Turning Point (1977), MacLaine portrayed a retired ballerina much like herself; she was nominated for an Oscar as the Best Actress in a Leading Role. In 1978, she was awarded the Women in FilmCrystal Award for outstanding women who, through their endurance and the excellence of their work, have helped to expand the role of women within the entertainment industry.
In Being There (1979), she appeared with Peter Sellers. In a short-lived MacLaine television sitcom, Shirley’s World (1971–72), co-produced by Sheldon Leonard and ITC and shot in the United Kingdom, she was cast as a photojournalist.
MacLaine has also appeared in numerous television projects including an autobiographical miniseries based upon the book Out on a Limb;
The Salem Witch Trials;
These Old Broads written by Carrie Fisher and co-starring Elizabeth Taylor, Debbie Reynolds, and Joan Collins;
Coco, a Lifetime production based on the life of Coco Chanel.
She appeared in the third and fourth seasons of the British drama Downton Abbey as Martha Levinson, mother to Cora, Countess of Grantham (played by Elizabeth McGovern) and Harold Levinson (played by Paul Giamatti) in 2012–2013.
In February 2016, it was announced that MacLaine will star in the live-action family film A Little Mermaid, based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairytale, to be produced by MVP Studios.
MacLaine was married to businessman Steve Parker from 1954 until their divorce in 1982; they have a daughter, Sachi.
In April 2011, while promoting her new book, I’m Over All That, she revealed to Oprah Winfrey that she had had an open relationship with her husband.
MacLaine also told Winfrey that she often fell for the leading men she worked with, with the exceptions of Jack Lemmon (The Apartment) and Jack Nicholson (Terms of Endearment).
MacLaine has also gotten into feuds with such notable co-stars as Anthony Hopkins (A Change of Seasons), who said that “she was the most obnoxious actress I have ever worked with,” and Debra Winger (Terms of Endearment).
MacLaine has claimed that, in a previous life in Atlantis, she was the brother to a 35,000-year-old spirit named Ramtha channeled by American mystic teacher and author J. Z. Knight.
She has a strong interest in spirituality and metaphysics, the central theme of some of her best-selling books including Out on a Limb and Dancing in the Light. She has undertaken such forms of spiritual exploration as walking the Way of St. James, working with Chris Griscom and practicing Transcendental Meditation.
Her well-known interest in New Age spirituality has also made its way into several of her films. In Albert Brooks’s romantic comedy Defending Your Life (1991), the recently deceased lead characters, played by Brooks and Meryl Streep, are astonished to find MacLaine introducing their past lives in the “Past Lives Pavilion”.
In Postcards from the Edge (1990), MacLaine sings a version of “I’m Still Here”, with customized lyrics created for her by composer Stephen Sondheim. One of the lyrics was changed to “I’m feeling transcendental – am I here?” In the television movie These Old Broads, MacLaine’s character is a devotee of New Age spirituality.
She has an interest in UFOs, and gave numerous interviews on CNN, NBC and Fox news channels on the subject during 2007–8. In her book Sage-ing While Age-ing (2007), she described alien encounters and witnessing a Washington, D.C. UFO incident in the 1950s.In the April 2011 edition of the Oprah show MacLaine stated that she and her neighbor observed numerous UFO incidents at her New Mexico ranch for extended periods of time.
MacLaine is godmother to the daughter of former Democratic U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich.
Along with her brother, Warren Beatty, MacLaine used her celebrity status in instrumental roles as a fundraiser and organizer for George McGovern’s campaign for president in 1972.That year, she authored the book McGovern: The Man and His Beliefs.
On February 7, 2013, Penguin Group USA published Sachi Parker’s autobiography Lucky Me: My Life With – and Without – My Mom, Shirley MacLaine.MacLaine has called the book “virtually all fiction”.
MacLaine starred in A Change of Seasons (1980) alongside Anthony Hopkins, and won the Best Actress in a Leading Role Oscar for Terms of Endearment (1983), playing Debra Winger’s mother. She won a Golden Globe for Best Actress (Drama) for Madame Sousatzka (1988).
She has continued to star in major films, such as Steel Magnolias with Sally Field, Julia Roberts and other stars. In 2000 she made her feature-film directorial debut and starred in Bruno, which was released to video as The Dress Code. MacLaine has starred in Postcards from the Edge (1990) with Meryl Streep, playing a fictionalized version of Debbie Reynolds from a screenplay by Reynolds’s daughter, Carrie Fisher; Used People (1992) with Jessica Tandy and Kathy Bates; Guarding Tess (1994) with Nicolas Cage; Mrs. Winterbourne (1996), with Ricki Lake and Brendan Fraser; Rumor Has It… (2005) with Kevin Costner and Jennifer Aniston; In Her Shoes (also 2005) with Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette; and Closing the Ring (2007) directed by Richard Attenborough and starring Christopher Plummer.
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The film was made independently by Edwards using largely his own finances and was distributed by Columbia Pictures. Although Columbia released the film, Artisan Entertainment holds the rights to distribute it on DVD.
That’s Life! was shot in Edwards and his wife Andrews’ own beachside home in Malibu and features their family in small roles, including two daughters. Lemmon’s son Chris Lemmon plays his character’s son Josh, while his wife Felicia Farr puts in a brief cameo appearance as a fortune teller.
Because of the film’s independent status, many of the cast and crew were paid below union-level wages, resulting in the American Society of Cinematographers picketing the film during production and taking an advertisement in Variety in protest. As a result, the original director of photography, Harry Stradling Jr., was forced to quit the film and was subsequently replaced by Anthony Richmond, a British cinematographer.
Harvey Fairchild is a wealthy, Malibu-based architect who is turning 60 and suffering from a form of male menopause. He feels aches and pains, real or imaginary, and seems unhappy with his professional and personal life.
Harvey’s patient wife Gillian tries to cheer him with family get-togethers and an elaborately planned birthday party. But she secretly has worries of her own, a throat condition that could result in the loss of her voice.
Whining his way through day after day, Harvey snaps at his pregnant daughter Megan and makes rude remarks to his actor son Josh. He tries going to a priest, only to discover that the man to whom he is confessing is an old rival from their college years at Notre Dame. He also consults a local psychic, Madame Carrie, sex with whom leaves Harvey with a venereal disease.
The miserable Harvey is furious with a client named Janice Kern who can’t stop revising her plans for a magnificent house Harvey has been building, but he has meaningless sex with her as well. Gillian bravely hides her cancer fear from the family, but finally, overcome with emotion, she confides in her friend and neighbor, Holly.
Harvey threatens to spoil the birthday party for everybody. He is in such a foul mood that just because a friend named Belmont tells him a depressing story about an illness, he amuses himself by introducing Belmont to the VD-infected psychic.
Gillian warns her husband that he is going to lose everything if he continues to behave this way. During his party, Gillian’s doctor arrives to inform her that the biopsy test results are negative and she is going to be all right. She takes Harvey aside to let him know just how precious life really can be.
Jack Lemmon as Harvey Fairchild
Julie Andrews as Gillian Fairchild
Sally Kellerman as Holly Parrish
Robert Loggia as Father Baragone
Jennifer Edwards as Megan Fairchild Bartlet
Rob Knepper as Steve Larwin
Matt Lattanzi as Larry Bartlet
Chris Lemmon as Josh Fairchild
Cynthia Sikes as Janice Kern
Dana Sparks as Fanny Ward
Emma Walton as Kate Fairchild
Felicia Farr as Madame Carrie
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He and Dean Martin were partners as the hit popular comedy duo of Martin and Lewis. Following that success, he was a solo star in film, nightclubs, television, concerts and musicals. Lewis served as national chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Association and hosted the live Labor Day broadcast of the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon for 44 years.
Lewis has received several awards for lifetime achievements from the American Comedy Awards, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, Venice Film Festival, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and been honored with two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Lewis was born on March 16, 1926 in Newark, New Jersey to Russian Jewish parents His father, Daniel Levitch (1902–80), was a master of ceremonies and vaudeville entertainerwho used the professional name Danny Lewis.
His mother, Rachel (“Rae”) Levitch (née Brodsky),was a piano player for a radio station. Lewis started performing at age five and would often perform alongside his parents in the Catskill Mountains in New York State.
By 15, he had developed his “Record Act” in which he exaggeratedly mimed the lyrics to songs on a phonograph.
He used the professional name Joey Lewis but soon changed it to Jerry Lewis to avoid confusion with comedian Joe E. Lewis and heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis. Lewis then dropped out of Irvington High School in the tenth grade. He was a “character” even in his teenage years pulling pranks in his neighborhood including sneaking into kitchens to steal fried chicken and pies. During World War II, he was rejected for military service because of a heart murmur.
Lewis initially gained attention as part of a double act with singer Dean Martin, who served as straight man to Lewis’ zany antics in the Martin and Lewis comedy team. The performers were different from most other comedy acts of the time because they relied on their interaction instead of planned skits. They quickly rose to national prominence, first with their popular nightclub act, next as stars of their own radio program.
The two men made many appearances on early live television, their first on the June 20, 1948, debut broadcast of Toast of the Town on CBS (later as The Ed Sullivan Show). This was followed on October 3, 1948, by an appearance on the NBC series Welcome Aboard, then a stint as the first of a series of hosts of The Colgate Comedy Hour in 1950.
The duo began their Paramount film careers as ensemble players in My Friend Irma (1949), based on the popular radio series of the same name. This was followed by a sequel My Friend Irma Goes West (1950).
Starting with At War with the Army (1950), Martin and Lewis were the stars of their own vehicles in fourteen additional titles, That’s My Boy (1951), Sailor Beware (1952), Jumping Jacks (1952), (plus appearing in the Crosby and Hope film, Road to Bali (1952) as cameos) The Stooge (1952), Scared Stiff (1953), The Caddy (1953), Money from Home (1953), Living It Up (1954), 3 Ring Circus (1954), You’re Never Too Young (1955), Artists and Models (1955) and Pardners (1956) at Paramount, ending with Hollywood or Bust (1956).
All sixteen movies were produced by Hal B. Wallis. Attesting the comedy team’s popularity, DC Comics published the best-selling The Adventures of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis comics from 1952 to 1957. As Martin’s roles in their films became less important over time the partnership came under strain. Martin’s participation became an embarrassment in 1954 when Look magazine used a publicity photo of the team for the magazine cover but cropped Martin out of the photo.The partnership ended on July 24, 1956.
While both Martin and Lewis went on to successful solo careers, neither would comment on the split nor consider a reunion. They did however make occasional public appearances together up until 1961, but were not seen together again until a surprise television appearance by Martin on a Muscular Dystrophy Telethon in 1976, arranged by Frank Sinatra.
The pair eventually reconciled in the late 1980s after the death of Martin’s son, Dean Paul Martin, in 1987.
The two men were seen together on stage for the last time when Martin was making what would be his final live performance at Bally’s Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Lewis pushed out a birthday cake for Martin’s 72nd birthday in 1989 and sang “Happy Birthday” to him, and joking, “why we broke up, I’ll never know.”
After the split from Martin, Lewis remained at Paramount and became a comedy star in his own right with his first film as a solo comic, The Delicate Delinquent (1957). Meanwhile, DC Comics published a new comic book series The Adventures of Jerry Lewis from 1957 to 1971. Teaming with director Frank Tashlin, whose background as a Warner Bros. Looney Tunes cartoon director suited Lewis’s brand of humor, he starred in five more films, The Sad Sack (1957), Rock-A-Bye Baby (1958), The Geisha Boy (1958), Don’t Give Up The Ship (1959) and even appeared uncredited as Itchy McRabbitt in Li’l Abner (1959).
Lewis tried his hand at releasing music during the 1950s, having a chart hit with the song “Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody” (a song largely associated with Al Jolson and later re-popularized by Judy Garland) as well as the song, “It All Depends on You” in 1958. He eventually released his own album titled, Jerry Lewis Just Sings.
By the end of his contract with producer Hal B. Wallis, Lewis had several productions of his own under his belt. In 1959, a contract between Paramount Pictures and Jerry Lewis Productions was signed specifying a payment of $10 million plus 60% of the profits for 14 films over a seven-year period.
In 1960, Lewis finished his contract with Wallis with Visit to a Small Planet (1960), and wrapped up work on his own production, Cinderfella, which was postponed for a Christmas 1960 release, and Paramount, needing a quickie feature film for its summer 1960 schedule, held Lewis to his contract to produce one. Lewis came up with The Bellboy (1960). Using the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami as his setting—and on a small budget, with a very tight shooting schedule, and no script—Lewis shot the film by day and performed at the hotel in the evenings. Bill Richmond collaborated with him on the many sight gags. Lewis later revealed that Paramount was not happy financing a ‘silent movie’ and withdrew backing. Lewis used his own funds to cover the $950,000 budget.
During production Lewis developed the technique of using video cameras and multiple closed circuit monitors, which allowed him to review his performance instantly.
His techniques and methods, documented in his book and his USC class, enabled him to complete most of his films on time and under budget.
Lewis followed The Bellboy by directing several more films that he co-wrote with Richmond while some were directed by Tashlin, including The Ladies Man (1961), The Errand Boy (1961), It’s Only Money (1962) and The Nutty Professor (1963). Lewis did a cameo in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963).
Lewis directed and co-wrote The Family Jewels (1965) about a young heiress who must choose among six uncles, one of whom is up to no good and out to harm the girl’s beloved bodyguard who practically raised her. Lewis played all six uncles and the bodyguard. On television, Lewis hosted two different programs called The Jerry Lewis Show. The first was a two-hour Saturday night variety show on ABC in the fall of 1963. The lavish, big-budget production failed to find an audience and was canceled after 13 weeks. His second program was a one-hour variety show on NBC from 1967 to 1969.
By 1966, Lewis, then 40, was no longer an angular juvenile, his routines seemed more labored and his box office appeal waned to the point where Paramount Pictures new executives felt no further need for the Lewis comedies and did not wish to renew his 1959 profit sharing contract. Undaunted, Lewis packed up and went to Columbia Pictures, where he made Three On A Couch (1966), then appeared in Way…Way Out (1966) for 20th Century Fox followed by The Big Mouth (1967), Don’t Raise the Bridge, Lower the River (1968) and Hook, Line & Sinker (1969).
In 1968, he screened Spielberg’s early film, Amblin’ and told his students, “That’s what filmmaking is all about.”
Lewis directed and made his first offscreen voice performance as a bandleader in One More Time (1970), which starred Sammy Davis Jr. (a friend of Lewis). He then produced, directed and starred in Which Way to the Front? (1970).
He would then make and star in the unreleased The Day the Clown Cried (1972), a drama set in a Nazi concentration camp.
Lewis rarely discusses the film, but once suggested that litigation over post-production finances prevented the film’s completion and release. However, he admitted during his book tour for Dean and Me that a major factor for the film’s burial is that he is not proud of the effort. In 1976, Lewis appeared in a revival of Hellzapoppin’ with Lynn Redgrave, but it closed on the road before reaching Broadway.
After an absence of 11 years, Lewis returned to film in Hardly Working (1981), a movie in which he both directed and starred.
Despite being panned by critics, the movie eventually earned $50 million. Lewis next appeared in Martin Scorsese‘s film The King of Comedy (1983), in which he portrayed a late-night television host plagued by two obsessive fans, played by Robert De Niro and Sandra Bernhard. Lewis also appeared in Cracking Up (1983) and Slapstick (Of Another Kind) (1984).
In France, Lewis starred in both To Catch a Cop a.k.a. “The Defective Detective” (1984) and How Did You Get In?, We Didn’t See You Leave (1984). Lewis has stated that as long as he has control over distribution of those movies, they will never have an American release. Meanwhile, a syndicated talk show Lewis hosted for Metromedia in 1984 was not continued beyond the scheduled five shows. Lewis starred in the ABC televised drama movie Fight For Life (1987) with Patty Duke, then appeared in Cookie (1989).
Lewis had a cameo in Mr. Saturday Night (1992) while guest appearing in an episode of Mad About You as an eccentric billionaire. Lewis made his Broadway debut, as a replacement cast member playing the devil in a revival of Damn Yankees, choreographed by future movie director Rob Marshall (Chicago) while also starring in the film Arizona Dream (1994), as a car salesman uncle. Lewis then starred as a father of a young comic in Funny Bones (1995).
In March 2006, the French Minister of Culture awarded Lewis the Légion d’honneur, calling him the “French people’s favorite clown” Lewis has remained popular in the country, evidenced by consistent praise by French critics in the influential magazine Cahiers du Cinéma for his absurd comedy, in part because he had gained respect as an auteur who had total control over all aspects of his films, comparable to Howard Hawks and Alfred Hitchcock.
Liking Lewis has long been a common stereotype about the French in the minds of many English-speakers, and is often the object of jokes in English-speaking world pop culture.
“That Americans can’t see Jerry Lewis’s genius is bewildering,” says N. T. Binh, a French film magazine critic. Such bewilderment was the basis of the book Why the French Love Jerry Lewis, by Rae Beth Gordon
In 2012, Lewis directed a musical theatre version of The Nutty Professor (with score by Marvin Hamlisch) at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville from July 31 to August 19 over the summer. Lewis appeared in the Brazilian film Till Luck Do Us Part 2 (2013), then next in a small role in the crime drama The Trust (2016). Lewis made a comeback in a lead role in Max Rose (2016).
In an October 6, 2016 interview with Inside Edition, Lewis acknowledged that he may not star in any more films given his advanced age, while admitting, through tears, that he was afraid of dying as it would leave his wife and daughter alone.] In December of that year, he expressed interest in making another film.
Lewis has been married twice:
He has six sons (one adopted) and one daughter (adopted):
Lewis has suffered from a number of illnesses and addictions related both to aging and a back injury sustained in a comedic pratfall from a piano while performing at the Sands Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip on March 20, 1965.
The accident almost left him paralyzed. In its aftermath, Lewis became addicted to the painkiller Percodan for thirteen years
He says he has been off the drug since 1978.] In April 2002, Lewis had a Medtronic “Synergy” neurostimulator implanted in his back which has helped reduce the discomfort. He is now one of the company’s leading spokesmen.
In the 2011 documentary Method to the Madness of Jerry Lewis, Lewis said he suffered his first heart attack while filming Cinderfella in 1960.
In December 1982, Lewis suffered another heart attack. En route to San Diego from New York City on a cross-country commercial airline flight on June 11, 2006, he sustained a minor heart attack .
It was discovered that he had pneumonia as well as a severely damaged heart. He underwent a cardiac catheterization and two stents were inserted into one of his coronary arteries, which was 90% blocked. The surgery resulted in increased blood flow to his heart and has allowed him to continue his rebound from earlier lung problems. Having the cardiac catheterization meant canceling several major events from his schedule, but Lewis fully recuperated in a matter of weeks.
In 1999, Lewis’ Australian tour was cut short when he had to be hospitalized in Darwin with viral meningitis. He was ill for more than five months. It was reported in the Australian press that he had failed to pay his medical bills. However, Lewis maintained that the payment confusion was the fault of his health insurer. The resulting negative publicity caused him to sue his insurer for US$100 million
Lewis has had prostate cancer, diabetes, pulmonary fibrosis and a decades-long history of heart disease. Prednisone treatment in the late 1990s for pulmonary fibrosis resulted in weight gain and a noticeable change in his appearance.
In September 2001, Lewis was unable to perform at a planned London charity event at the London Palladium.
He was the headlining act, and he was introduced, but did not appear. He had suddenly become unwell, apparently with heart problems. He was subsequently taken to the hospital. Some months thereafter, Lewis began an arduous, months-long therapy that weaned him off prednisone and enabled him to return to work. On June 12, 2012, he was treated and released from a hospital after collapsing from hypoglycemia at a New York Friars’ Club event. This latest health issue forced him to cancel a show in Sydney.
Throughout his entire life and prolific career, Lewis was a world renowned humanitarian who has supported fundraising for research into muscular dystrophy. Until 2011, he served as national chairman of and spokesman for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) (formerly, the Muscular Dystrophy Associations of America).
Lewis began hosting telethons to benefit the company from 1952 to 1959, then every Labor Day weekend from 1966 to 2010, he hosted the live annual Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon. Over nearly half a century, he raised over $2.6 billion in donations for the cause.
On August 3, 2011, it was announced that Lewis would no longer host the MDA telethons and is no longer associated with the Muscular Dystrophy Association
On May 1, 2015, it was announced that in view of “the new realities of television viewing and philanthropic giving”, the telethon was being discontinued.
] In early 2016, Lewis made an online video statement for the organization on its website, in honor of its rebranding, marking his first appearance in support of the Muscular Dystrophy Association since his final Labor Day Telethon in 2010 and the ending of his tenure as national chairman in 2011.
In 1969, Lewis agreed to lend his name to “Jerry Lewis Cinemas”, offered by National Cinema Corporation as a franchise business opportunity for those interested in theatrical movie exhibition. Jerry Lewis Cinemas stated that their theaters could be operated by a staff of as few as two with the aid of automation and support provided by the franchiser in booking films and in other aspects of film exhibition.
A forerunner of the smaller rooms typical of later multi-screen complexes, a Jerry Lewis Cinema was billed in franchising ads as a “mini-theatre” with a seating capacity of between 200 and 350. In addition to Lewis’s name, each Jerry Lewis Cinema bore a sign with a cartoon logo of Lewis in profile.
Initially 158 territories were franchised, with a buy-in fee of $10,000 or $15,000 depending on the territory, for what was called an “individual exhibitor”. For $50,000, the Jerry Lewis Cinemas offered an opportunity known as an “area directorship”, in which investors controlled franchising opportunities in a territory as well as their own cinemas.
The success of the chain was hampered by a policy of only booking second-run, family-friendly films. Eventually the policy was changed, and the Jerry Lewis Cinemas were allowed to show more competitive films, but after a decade the chain failed. Both Lewis and National Cinema Corp. declared bankruptcy in 1980.
In 2010, Lewis met with 7-year-old Lochie Graham who shared his idea for “Jerry’s House”, a place for vulnerable and traumatized children. The Australian charity hope2Day is raising funds to build the facility in Melbourne, Australia.
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Her career spanning six decades, she has become an icon in multiple fields of entertainment, and has been recognized with two Academy Awards, ten Grammy Awards including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and the Grammy Legend Award, five Emmy Awards including one Daytime Emmy, a Special Tony Award, an American Film Institute award, a Kennedy Center Honors prize, four Peabody Awards, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and nine Golden Globes.
She is among a small group of entertainers who have been honored with an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award, and is one of only two artists who have also won a Peabody.
Streisand is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, with more than 68.5 million albums in the United States and with a total of 145 million records sold worldwide, (The only female in the top ten, and the only artist outside of the rock ‘n’ roll genre.) making her the best-selling female artist among the top-selling artists recognized by the Recording Industry Association of America
After beginning a successful recording career in the 1960s, Streisand ventured into film by the end of that decade. She starred in the critically acclaimed Funny Girl, for which she won the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Actress.
Her other films include The Owl and the Pussycat, The Way We Were, and A Star Is Born, for which she received her second Academy Award, composing music for the love theme “Evergreen”, the first woman to be honored as a composer.
With the release of Yentl in 1983, Streisand became the first woman to write, produce, direct, and star in a major studio film.
The film won an Oscar for Best Score and a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Musical; Streisand received the Golden Globe Award for Best Director, the first (and to date only) woman to win that award.
The RIAA and Billboard recognize Streisand as holding the record for the most top 10 albums of any female recording artist: a total of 34 since 1963. According to Billboard, Streisand holds the record for the female with the most number one albums .
Billboard also recognizes Streisand as the greatest female of all time on its Billboard 200 chart and one of the greatest artists of all time on its Hot 100 chart.
Streisand is the only recording artist to have a number-one album in each of the last six decades, having released 53 gold albums, 31 platinum albums, and 14 multi-platinum albums in the United States.
Barbara Joan Streisand was born on April 24, 1942, in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Diana (born Ida Rosen) and Emanuel Streisand. Her mother had been a soprano singer in her youth and considered a career in music, but later became a school secretary.
Her father was a high school teacher at the same school, where they first met. Her paternal grandparents emigrated from Galicia (Poland–Ukraine) and her maternal grandparents from the Russian Empire, where her grandfather had been a cantor.
Her father earned a master’s degree from City College of New York in 1928 and was considered athletic and handsome. As a student, he spent his summers outdoors, once working as a lifeguard and another hitchhiking through Canada. “He’d try anything,” his sister Molly said. “He wasn’t afraid of anything.” He married Ida in 1930, two years after graduating, and became a highly respected educator with a focus on helping underprivileged and delinquent youth.
In August 1943, a few months after Streisand’s first birthday, her father died suddenly at age 34 from complications from an epileptic seizure, possibly the result of a head injury years earlier.
The family fell into near-poverty, with her mother working as a low-paid bookkeeper.
As an adult, Streisand remembered those early years as always feeling like an “outcast,” explaining, “Everybody else’s father came home from work at the end of the day. Mine didn’t.”
Her mother tried to pay their bills but could not give her daughter the attention she craved: “When I wanted love from my mother, she gave me food,” Streisand says.
Streisand recalls that her mother had a “great voice” and sang semi-professionally on occasion, in her operatic soprano voice. During a visit to the Catskills when Streisand was thirteen, she told Rosie O’Donnell, she and her mother recorded some songs on tape. That session was the first time Streisand ever asserted herself as an artist, which also became her “first moment of inspiration” as an artist.
She has an older brother, Sheldon, and a half-sister, the singer Roslyn Kind, from her mother’s remarriage to Louis Kind in 1949. Roslyn is nine years younger than Streisand.
Streisand began her education at the Jewish Orthodox Yeshiva of Brooklyn when she was five. There, she was considered to be bright and extremely inquisitive about everything; however, she lacked discipline, often shouting answers to questions out of turn.
She next entered Public School 89 in Brooklyn, and during those early school years began watching television and going to movies. Watching the glamorous stars on the screen, she was soon entranced by acting and now hoped someday to become an actress, partly as a means of escape: “I always wanted to be somebody, to be famous . . .You know, get out of Brooklyn.
Streisand became known by others in the neighborhood for her voice. With the other kids she remembers sitting on the stoop in front of their flat and singing: “I was considered the girl on the block with the good voice.” That talent became a way for her to gain attention. She would often practice her singing in the hallway of her apartment building which gave her voice an echoing quality.
She made her singing debut at a PTA assembly, where she became a hit to everyone but her mother, who was mostly critical of her daughter. Young Streisand was invited to sing at weddings and summer camp, along with having an unsuccessful audition at MGM records when she was nine. By the time she was thirteen, her mother began supporting her talent, helping her make a four-song demo tape, including “Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart,” and “You’ll Never Know.”
Although she knew her voice was good and she liked the attention, becoming an actress was her main objective. That desire was made stronger when she saw her first Broadway play, The Diary of Anne Frank, when she was fourteen. The star in the play was Susan Strasberg, whose acting she wanted to emulate if ever given the chance.
To help achieve that goal, Streisand began spending her spare time in the library, studying the biographies of various stage actresses such as Eleanora Duse and Sarah Bernhardt. In addition, she began reading novels and plays, including some by Shakespeare and Ibsen, and also on her own, studied the acting theories of Konstantin Stanislavski and Michael Chekhov.
She attended Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn in 1955 where she became an honor student in modern history, English, and Spanish. She also joined the Freshman Chorus and Choral Club, where she sang with another choir member and classmate, Neil Diamond.
Diamond recalls, “We were two poor kids in Brooklyn. We hung out in the front of Erasmus High and smoked cigarettes.” The school was near an art-movie house, and he recalls that she was always aware of the films they were showing, while he wasn’t as interested.
During the summer of 1957 she got her first stage experience as a walk-on at the Playhouse in Malden Bridge, New York. That small part was followed by a role as the kid sister in Picnic and one as a vamp in Desk Set.
She returned to school in Brooklyn but never took dramatic arts classes, preferring instead to gain some real-world stage experience. To that end, in her sophomore year, she took a night job at the Cherry Lane Theater in Greenwich Village helping backstage. When she was a senior, she rehearsed for a small part in Driftwood, a play staged in a midtown attic space.
Her co-star in Driftwood was Joan Rivers.
At age sixteen, she graduated from Erasmus Hall in January 1959, and despite her mother’s pleas that she stay out of show business, she immediately set out trying to get roles on the New York City stage.
After renting a small apartment on 48th street, in the heart of the theater district, she accepted any job she could involving the stage, and at every opportunity, she “made the rounds” of the casting offices.
At sixteen, then living on her own, Streisand’s youth and ambition worked in her favor, but she lacked a mature woman’s physical features which were needed for serious female roles. She therefore took various menial jobs to have some income.
At one period, she lacked a permanent address, and found herself sleeping at the home of friends or anywhere else she could set up the army cot she carried around to save on rent expense. When desperate, she would return to her mother’s flat in Brooklyn for a home-cooked meal.
However, her mother would be horrified by her daughter’s “gypsy-like lifestyle,” wrote biographer Karen Swenson, and again begged her to give up trying to get into show business;
but Streisand took her mother’s pleadings as even more reason to keep trying: “My desires were strengthened by wanting to prove to my mother that I could be a star.”
She took a job as an usher at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater for The Sound of Music, early in 1960. During the run of the play, she heard that the casting director was auditioning for more singers, and it marked the first time she sang in pursuit of a job.
Although the director felt she was not right for the part, he encouraged her to begin including her talent as a singer on her résumé when looking for other work.
That suggestion prodded Streisand to think seriously about a singing career, in addition to acting. She asked her boyfriend, Barry Dennen, to tape her singing, copies of which she could then give out to possible employers. Dennen had acted with her briefly in an off-Broadway play, but had no reason to think she had any talent as a singer, and she never mentioned it. Nevertheless, he agreed and found a guitarist to accompany her:
We spent the afternoon taping, and the moment I heard the first playback I went insane. . . . This nutty little kook had one of the most breathtaking voices I’d ever heard . . . when she was finished and I turned off the machine, I needed a long moment before I dared look up at her.
Dennen grew enthusiastic and he convinced her to enter a talent contest at the Lion, a gay nightclub in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. She performed two songs, after which there was a “stunned silence” from the audience, followed by “thunderous applause” when she was pronounced the winner.
She was invited back and sang at the club for several weeks.
It was during this time that she dropped the second “a” from her first name, switching from “Barbara” to “Barbra”, due to her dislike of her original name.
Streisand was next asked to audition at the Bon Soir nightclub, after which she was signed up at $125 a week. It became her first professional engagement, in September 1960, where she was the opening act for comedian Phyllis Diller. She recalls it was the first time she had been in that kind of upper-scale environment: “I’d never been in a nightclub until I sang in one.”
Dennen now wanted to expose Streisand to his vast record collection of female singers, including Billie Holiday, Mabel Mercer, Ethel Waters, and Édith Piaf. His effort made a difference in her developing style, as she gained new respect for the art of popular singing. She also realized that she could still become an actress by first gaining recognition as a singer.
According to biographer Christopher Nickens, hearing other great female singers benefited her style, as she began creating different emotional characters when performing, which gave her singing a greater range.
This range allowed her to sing with a dramatic voice or a lighthearted, and playful one. Feeling more self-confident, she improved her stage presence when speaking to the audience between songs. She discovered that her Brooklyn-bred style of humor was received quite favorably.
During the next six months appearing at the club, some began comparing her singing voice to famous names such as Judy Garland, Lena Horne and Fanny Brice. Her conversational ability to charm an audience with spontaneous humor during performances became more sophisticated and professional.
Theater critic Leonard Harris, in one of his reviews, could already envision her future success: “She’s twenty; by the time she’s thirty she will have rewritten the record books.”
Streisand, however, never lost her desire to be a stage actress, and accepted her first role on the New York stage in Another Evening with Harry Stoones, a satirical comedy play in which she acted and sang two solos. The show received terrible reviews and closed the next day.
With the help of her new personal manager, Martin Erlichman, she had successful shows in Detroit and St. Louis.
Erlichman then booked her at an even more upscale nightclub in Manhattan, the Blue Angel, where she became an even bigger hit during the period of 1961 to 1962. Streisand once told Jimmy Fallon, whom she sang a duet with, on the Tonight Show, that Erlichman was a “fantastic manager” and still managed her career after 50 years.
While appearing at the Blue Angel, theater director and playwright Arthur Laurents asked her to audition for a new musical comedy he was directing, I Can Get It for You Wholesale. She got the part of secretary to the lead actor businessman, played by then unknown Elliott Gould.
They fell in love during rehearsals and eventually moved into a small apartment together above a seafood restaurant on Third Avenue. The show opened on March 22, 1962, at the Shubert Theater, and received rave reviews. Her performance “stopped the show cold,” writes Nickens, and she became Broadway’s most exciting and youngest new star.
Groucho Marx, while hosting the Tonight Show, told her that twenty was an “extremely young age to be a success on Broadway.”
Streisand received a Tony nomination and a New York Drama Critic’s prize for Best Supporting Actress.
The show was recorded and it was the first time the public could purchase an album of her singing.
Streisand’s first television appearance was on The Tonight Show, then credited to its usual host Jack Paar. She was seen during an April 1961 episode on which Orson Bean substituted for Paar. She sang Harold Arlen’s “A Sleepin’ Bee”.
During her appearance, Phyllis Diller, also a guest on the show, called her “one of the great singing talents in the world.”
Later in 1961, before she was cast in Another Evening With Harry Stoones, she became a semi-regular on PM East/PM West, a talk/variety series hosted by Mike Wallace and Joyce Davidson.
Her appearance with Orson Bean and his other guest Phyllis Diller on The Tonight Show was preserved by kinescope and has been viewed online by many people who were not alive in 1961. None of the video of Streisand on PM East/PM West was preserved for posterity.
In May 1962, Streisand appeared on The Garry Moore Show, where she sang “Happy Days Are Here Again” for the first time. Her sad, slow version of the 1930s upbeat Democratic Party theme song became her signature song during this early phase of her career.
Johnny Carson had her on the Tonight Show half a dozen times in 1962 and 1963, and she became a favorite of his television audience and himself personally. He described her as an “exciting new singer.”
During one show she joked with Groucho Marx, who liked her style of humor.
In December 1962 she made the first of a number of appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show, was later a cohost on the Mike Douglas Show, and made an impact on a number of Bob Hope specials. Performing with her on the Ed Sullivan Show was Liberace who became an instant fan of the young singer. Liberace invited her to Las Vegas, Nevada to perform as his opening act at the Riviera Hotel.
Liberace is credited with introducing Barbara to Western American audiences.
The following September, during her ongoing shows at Harrah’s Hotel in Lake Tahoe, she and Elliott Gould took time off to get married in Carson City, Nevada. With her career and popularity rising so quickly, she saw her marriage to Gould as a “stabilizing influence.”
Her first album, The Barbra Streisand Album in early 1963, made the top 10 on the Billboard chart and won three Grammy Awards.
The album made her the best-selling female vocalist in the country.
That summer she also released The Second Barbra Streisand Album, which established her as the “most exciting new personality since Elvis Presley.”
She ended that breakthrough year of 1963 by performing one-night concerts in Indianapolis, San Jose, Chicago, Sacramento, and Los Angeles.
Streisand returned to Broadway in 1964 with an acclaimed performance as entertainer Fanny Brice in Funny Girl at the Winter Garden Theatre. The show introduced two of her signature songs, “People” and “Don’t Rain on My Parade.”
Because of the play’s overnight success, she appeared on the cover of Time. In 1964 Streisand was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical but lost to Carol Channing in Hello, Dolly! Streisand received an honorary “Star of the Decade” Tony Award in 1970.
In 1966, she repeated her success with Funny Girl in London’s West End at the Prince of Wales Theatre. From 1965 to 1967 she appeared in her first four solo television specials.
Streisand has recorded 50 studio albums, almost all with Columbia Records.
Her early works in the 1960s (her debut The Barbra Streisand Album, The Second Barbra Streisand Album, The Third Album, My Name Is Barbra, etc.) are considered classic renditions of theatre and cabaret standards, including her pensive version of the normally uptempo “Happy Days Are Here Again”.
She performed this in a duet with Judy Garland on The Judy Garland Show. Garland referred to her on the air as one of the last great belters. They also sang “There’s No Business Like Show Business” with Ethel Merman joining them.
Beginning with My Name Is Barbra, her early albums were often medley-filled keepsakes of her television specials. Starting in 1969, she began attempting more contemporary material, but like many talented singers of the day, she found herself out of her element with rock.
Her vocal talents prevailed, and she gained newfound success with the pop and ballad-oriented Richard Perry-produced album Stoney End in 1971. The title track, written by Laura Nyro, was a major hit for Streisand.
During the 1970s, she was also highly prominent on the pop charts, with Top 10 recordings such as “The Way We Were” (US No. 1),
“Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star Is Born)” (US No. 1),
“No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)” (1979, with Donna Summer), which as of 2010 is reportedly still the most commercially successful duet, (US No. 1),
“You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” (with Neil Diamond) (US No. 1)
and “The Main Event” (US No. 3), some of which came from soundtrack recordings of her films.
As the 1970s ended, Streisand was named the most successful female singer in the U.S. — only Elvis Presley and The Beatles had sold more albums.
In 1980, she released her best-selling effort to date, the Barry Gibb-produced Guilty. The album contained the hits “Woman in Love” (which spent several weeks on top of the pop charts in the fall of 1980), “Guilty”, and “What Kind of Fool”.
After years of largely ignoring Broadway and traditional pop music in favor of more contemporary material, Streisand returned to her musical-theatre roots with 1985’s The Broadway Album, which was unexpectedly successful, holding the coveted No. 1 Billboard position for three straight weeks, and being certified quadruple platinum.
The album featured tunes by Rodgers and Hammerstein, George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, and Stephen Sondheim, who was persuaded to rework some of his songs especially for this recording.
The Broadway Album was met with acclaim, including a Grammy nomination for album of the year and, ultimately, handed Streisand her eighth Grammy as Best Female Vocalist.
After releasing the live album One Voice in 1986, Streisand was set to release another album of Broadway songs in 1988.
She recorded several cuts for the album under the direction of Rupert Holmes, including “On My Own” (from Les Misérables),
a medley of “How Are Things in Glocca Morra?”
and “Heather on the Hill” (from Finian’s Rainbow and Brigadoon, respectively),
“All I Ask of You” (from The Phantom of the Opera), “Warm All Over” (from The Most Happy Fella) and an unusual solo version of “Make Our Garden Grow” (from Candide).
Streisand was not happy with the direction of the project and it was ultimately scrapped.
Only “Warm All Over” and a reworked, lite FM-friendly version of “All I Ask of You” were ever released, the latter appearing on Streisand’s 1988 effort, Till I Loved You.
At the beginning of the 1990s, Streisand started focusing on her film directorial efforts and became almost inactive in the recording studio. In 1991, a four-disc box set, Just for the Record, was released.
A compilation spanning Streisand’s entire career to date, it featured over 70 tracks of live performances, greatest hits, rarities and previously unreleased material.
The following year, Streisand’s concert fundraising events helped propel former Pres. Bill Clinton into the spotlight and into office.
Streisand later introduced Clinton at his inauguration in 1993. Streisand’s music career, however, was largely on hold. A 1992 appearance at an APLA benefit as well as the aforementioned inaugural performance hinted that Streisand was becoming more receptive to the idea of live performances.
A tour was suggested, though Streisand would not immediately commit to it, citing her well-known stage fright as well as security concerns. During this time, Streisand finally returned to the recording studio and released Back to Broadway in June 1993.
The album was not as universally lauded as its predecessor, but it did debut at No. 1 on the pop charts (a rare feat for an artist of Streisand’s age, especially given that it relegated Janet Jackson’s Janet to the No. 2 spot).
One of the album’s highlights was a medley of “I Have A Love” / “One Hand, One Heart”, a duet with Johnny Mathis, who Streisand said is one of her favorite singers.
In 1993, New York Times music critic Stephen Holden wrote that Streisand “enjoys a cultural status that only one other American entertainer, Frank Sinatra, has achieved in the last half century”.
In September 1993, Streisand announced her first public concert appearances in 27 years (if one does not count her Las Vegas nightclub performances between 1969 and 1972).
What began as a two-night New Year’s event at the MGM Grand Las Vegas eventually led to a multi-city tour in the summer of 1994. Tickets for the tour were sold out in under one hour.
Streisand also appeared on the covers of major magazines in anticipation of what Time magazine named “The Music Event of the Century.”
The tour was one of the biggest all-media merchandise parlays in history. Ticket prices ranged from US$50 to US$1,500 – making Streisand the highest-paid concert performer in history. Barbra Streisand:
The Concert went on to be the top-grossing concert of the year and earned five Emmy Awards and the Peabody Award, while the taped broadcast on HBO is, to date, the highest-rated concert special in HBO’s 30-year history.
Following the tour’s conclusion, Streisand once again kept a low profile musically, instead focusing her efforts on acting and directing duties as well as a burgeoning romance with actor James Brolin.
In 1996, Streisand released “I Finally Found Someone” as a duet with Canadian singer and songwriter Bryan Adams. The song was nominated for an Oscar as it was part of the soundtrack of Streisand’s self-directed movie The Mirror Has Two Faces. It reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100, and was her first significant hit in almost a decade and her first top 10 hit on the Hot 100 (and first gold single) since 1981.
In 1997, she finally returned to the recording studio, releasing Higher Ground, a collection of songs of a loosely inspirational nature which also featured a duet with Céline Dion.
The album received generally favorable reviews and, remarkably, once again debuted at No. 1 on the pop charts. Following her marriage to Brolin in 1998, Streisand recorded an album of love songs entitled A Love Like Ours the following year.
Reviews were mixed, with many critics complaining about the somewhat syrupy sentiments and overly-lush arrangements; however, it did produce a modest hit for Streisand in the country-tinged “If You Ever Leave Me”, a duet with Vince Gill.
On New Year’s Eve 1999, Streisand returned to the concert stage, selling out in the first few hours, eight months before her return.
At the end of the millennium, she was the number one female singer in the U.S., with at least two No. 1 albums in each decade since she began performing.
A two-disc live album of the concert entitled Timeless: Live in Concert was released in 2000. Streisand performed versions of the Timeless concert in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, in early 2000. In advance of four concerts (two each in Los Angeles and New York) in September 2000, Streisand announced that she was retiring from playing public concerts. Her performance of the song “People” was broadcast on the Internet via America Online.
Streisand’s most recent albums have been Christmas Memories (2001), a somewhat somber collection of holiday songs (which felt entirely —albeit unintentionally— appropriate in the early post-9/11 days), and The Movie Album (2003), featuring famous film themes and backed by a large symphony orchestra. Guilty Pleasures (called Guilty Too in the UK), a collaboration with Barry Gibb and a sequel to their Guilty, was released worldwide in 2005.
In February 2006, Streisand recorded the song “Smile” alongside Tony Bennett at Streisand’s Malibu home.
The song is included on Bennett’s 80th birthday album, Duets. In September 2006, the pair filmed a live performance of the song for a special directed by Rob Marshall entitled Tony Bennett: An American Classic.
The special aired on NBC November 21, 2006, and was released on DVD the same day. Streisand’s duet with Bennett opened the special. In 2006, Streisand announced her intent to tour again, in an effort to raise money and awareness for multiple issues.
After four days of rehearsal at the Sovereign Bank Arena in Trenton, New Jersey, the tour began on October 4 at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, continued with a featured stop in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, (this was the concert Streisand chose to film for a TV special), and concluded at Staples Center in Los Angeles on November 20, 2006. Special guests Il Divo were interwoven throughout the show.
The show was known as Streisand: The Tour.
Streisand’s 20-concert tour set box-office records.
At the age of 64, well past the prime of most performers, she grossed $92,457,062 and set house gross records in 14 of the 16 arenas played on the tour.
She set the third-place record for her October 9, 2006 show at Madison Square Garden, the first- and second-place records of which are held by her two shows in September 2000.
She set the second-place record at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, with her December 31, 1999 show being the house record and the highest-grossing concert of all time.
This led many people to openly criticize Streisand for price gouging, as many tickets sold for upwards of $1,000.
A collection of performances culled from different stops on this tour, Live in Concert 2006, debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard 200, making it Streisand’s 29th Top 10 album.
In the summer of 2007, Streisand gave concerts for the first time in continental Europe. The first concert took place in Zürich (June 18), then Vienna (June 22), Paris (June 26), Berlin (June 30), Stockholm (July 4, canceled), Manchester (July 10) and Celbridge, near Dublin (July 14), followed by three concerts in London (July 18, 22 and 25), the only European city where Streisand had performed before 2007.
Tickets for the London dates cost between £100.00 and £1,500.00 and for the Ireland date between €118 and €500.
The Ireland date was marred by problems, with serious parking and seating problems leading to the event’s being dubbed a fiasco by Hot Press. The tour included a 58-piece orchestra.
In February 2008, Forbes listed Streisand as the No.-2-earning female musician, between June 2006 and June 2007, with earnings of about $60 millions.
On November 17, 2008, Streisand returned to the studio to begin recording what would be her sixty-third album and it was announced that Diana Krall was producing the album.
Streisand is one of the recipients of the 2008 Kennedy Center Honors. On December 7, 2008, she visited the White House as part of the ceremonies.
On April 25, 2009, CBS aired Streisand’s latest television special, Streisand: Live in Concert, highlighting the aforementioned featured stop from her 2006 North American tour, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
On September 26, 2009, Streisand performed a one-night-only show at the Village Vanguard in New York City’s Greenwich Village.
This performance was later released on DVD as One Night Only: Barbra Streisand and Quartet at The Village Vanguard.
On September 29, 2009, Streisand and Columbia Records released her newest studio album, Love is the Answer, produced by Diana Krall.
On October 2, 2009, Streisand made her British television performance debut with an interview on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross to promote the album.
This album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and registered her biggest weekly sales since 1997, making Streisand the only artist in history to achieve No. 1 albums in five different decades.
On February 1, 2010, Streisand joined over eighty other artists in recording a new version of the 1985 charity single “We Are the World”. Quincy Jones and Lionel Richie planned to release the new version to mark the 25th anniversary of its original recording.
These plans changed, however, in view of the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti on January 12, 2010, and on February 12, the song, now called “We Are the World 25 for Haiti”, made its debut as a charity single to support relief aid for the beleaguered island nation.
In 2011, she sang Somewhere from the Broadway musical West Side Story, with child prodigy Jackie Evancho, on Evancho’s album Dream with Me.
Streisand was honored as MusiCares Person of the Year on February 11, 2011, two days prior to the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards.
On October 11, 2012, Streisand gave a three-hour concert performance before a crowd of 18,000 as part of the ongoing inaugural events of Barclays Center (and part of her current Barbra Live tour) in her native Brooklyn (her first-ever public performance in her home borough). Streisand was joined onstage by trumpeter Chris Botti, Italian operatic trio Il Volo, and her son Jason Gould. The concert included musical tributes by Streisand to Donna Summer and Marvin Hamlisch, both of whom had died earlier in 2012.
Confirmed attendees included Barbara Walters, Jimmy Fallon, Sting, Katie Couric, Woody Allen, Michael Douglas and New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, as well as designers Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren and Michael Kors.
In June 2013 she gave two concerts in Bloomfield Stadium, Tel Aviv.
Streisand is one of many singers who use teleprompters during their live performances. Streisand has defended her choice in using teleprompters to display lyrics and, sometimes, banter.
In September 2014, she released Partners, a new album of duets that features collaborations with Elvis Presley, Andrea Bocelli, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Billy Joel, Babyface, Michael Bublé, Josh Groban, John Mayer, John Legend, Blake Shelton and Jason Gould. This album topped the Billboard 200 with sales of 196,000 copies in the first week, making Streisand the only recording artist to have a number-one album in each of the last six decades.
It was also certified gold in November 2014 and platinum in January 2015, thus becoming Streisand’s 52nd gold and 31st Platinum album, more than any other female artist in history.
In May 2016, Streisand announced the upcoming album Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway to be released in August following a nine-city concert tour, Barbra: The Music, The Mem’ries, The Magic, including performances in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, and a return to her hometown of Brooklyn.
Her first film was a reprise of her Broadway hit, Funny Girl (1968), an artistic and commercial success directed by Hollywood veteran William Wyler. Streisand won the 1968 Academy Award for Best Actress for the role, sharing it with Katharine Hepburn (The Lion in Winter), the only time there has been a tie in this Oscar category.
Her next two movies were also based on musicals, Jerry Herman’s Hello, Dolly!, directed by Gene Kelly (1969); and Alan Jay Lerner’s and Burton Lane’s On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, directed by Vincente Minnelli (1970); while her fourth film was based on the Broadway play The Owl and the Pussycat (1970).
During the 1970s, Streisand starred in several screwball comedies, including What’s Up, Doc? (1972) and The Main Event (1979), both co-starring Ryan O’Neal, and For Pete’s Sake (1974) with Michael Sarrazin. One of her most famous roles during this period was in the drama The Way We Were (1973) with Robert Redford, for which she received an Academy Award nomination as Best Actress. She earned her second Academy Award for Best Original Song (with lyricist Paul Williams) for the song “Evergreen”, from A Star Is Born in 1976, in which she also starred.
Along with Paul Newman, Sidney Poitier and later Steve McQueen, Streisand formed First Artists Production Company in 1969, so that the actors could secure properties and develop movie projects for themselves. Streisand’s initial outing with First Artists was Up the Sandbox (1972).
From a period beginning in 1969 and ending in 1980, Streisand appeared in Top Ten Money Making Stars Poll, the annual motion picture exhibitors poll of Top 10 Box Office attractions a total of 10 times, often as the only woman on the list. After the commercially disappointing All Night Long in 1981, Streisand’s film output decreased considerably. She has acted in only eight films since.
Streisand produced a number of her own films, setting up Barwood Films in 1972. For Yentl (1983), she was producer, director, and star, an experience she repeated for The Prince of Tides (1991) and The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996).
There was controversy when Yentl received five Academy Award nominations, but none for the major categories of Best Picture, Actress, or Director. The Prince of Tides received even more Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Screenplay, although not for director. Upon completion of the film, its screenwriter, Pat Conroy, who also authored the novel, called Streisand “a goddess who walks upon the earth.”
Streisand also scripted Yentl, something for which she is not always given credit. According to The New York Times editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal in an interview with Allan Wolper, “The one thing that makes Barbra Streisand crazy is when nobody gives her the credit for having written Yentl.”
In 2004, Streisand made a return to film acting after an eight-year hiatus, in the comedy Meet the Fockers (a sequel to Meet the Parents), playing opposite Dustin Hoffman, Ben Stiller, Blythe Danner and Robert De Niro.
In 2005, Streisand’s Barwood Films, Gary Smith, and Sonny Murray purchased the rights to Simon Mawer’s book Mendel’s Dwarf.
In December 2008, she stated that she was considering directing an adaptation of Larry Kramer’s play The Normal Heart, a project she has worked on since the mid-1990s.
In December 2010, Streisand appeared in Little Fockers, the third film from the Meet the Parents trilogy. She reprised the role of Roz Focker alongside Dustin Hoffman.
On January 28, 2011, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Paramount Pictures had given the green light to begin shooting the road-trip comedy My Mother’s Curse, with Seth Rogen playing Streisand’s character’s son.
Anne Fletcher directed the project with a script by Dan Fogelman, produced by Lorne Michaels, John Goldwyn, and Evan Goldberg. Executive producers included Streisand, Rogen, Fogelman, and David Ellison, whose Skydance Productions co-financed the road movie.
Shooting began in spring 2011 and wrapped in July; the film’s title was eventually altered to The Guilt Trip, and the movie was released in December 2012.
It’s confirmed that Streisand has been set to star in a new feature film adaptation of the musical Gypsy – featuring music by Jules Styne, a book by Arthur Laurents and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim – with Richard LaGravenese reportedly attached to the project as screenwriter. In April 2016, it was reported that Streisand was in advanced negotiations to star in and produce the film, which will be directed by Barry Levinson and distributed by STX Entertainment.
Two months later, it was reported that the film’s script had been completed and that production is aiming to begin in early 2017.
Barbra Streisand is set to direct the historical drama Catherine the Great, a feature biopic about the 18th-century Russian empress, based on the top 2014 Black List script, produced by Gil Netter.
Streisand is a mezzo-soprano who has a range consisting of three octaves and 2 notes from B2 to a D6.
However, she has been identified by Whitney Balliett of The New Yorker as “a contralto with a couple of octaves at her command, and she wows her listeners with her shrewd dynamics (in-your-ear soft here, elbowing-loud there), her bravura climbs, her rolling vibrato, and the singular Streisand-from-Brooklyn nasal quality of her voice — a voice as immediately recognizable in its way as Louis Armstrong’s.
Music writer Allegra Rossi adds that Streisand creates complete compositions in her head:
Even though she can’t read or write music, Barbra hears melodies as completed compositions in her head. She hears a melody and takes it in, learning it quickly. Barbra developed her ability to sustain long notes because she wanted to. She can mold a tune that others cannot; she’s able to sing between song and speech, keeping in tune, carrying rhythm and meaning.
While she is predominantly a pop singer, Streisand’s voice has been described as “semi-operatic” due to its strength and quality of tone. According to Adam Feldman of Time Out, Streisand’s “signature vocal style” is “a suspension bridge between old-school belting and microphone pop.”
She is known for her ability to hold relatively high notes, both loud and soft, with great intensity, as well as for her ability to make slight but unobtrusive embellishments on a melodic line. The former quality led classical pianist Glenn Gould to call himself “a Streisand freak”.
In recent years, critics and audiences have noted that her voice has “lowered and acquired an occasionally husky edge”. However, New York Times music critic Stephen Holden noted that her distinctive tone and musical instincts remain, and that she still “has the gift of conveying a primal human longing in a beautiful sound”.
Paul Taylor of The Independent wrote that Streisand “has sounded a little scratchy and frayed, though the stout resolve and superb technique with which Streisand manages to hoist it over these difficulties has come to seem morally as well aesthetically impressive.”
Reviewing Streisand’s most recent studio effort Partners, Gil Naveh of Haaretz described Streisand’s voice as “velvety, clear and powerful … and the passing years have given it a fascinating depth and roughness.
Streisand has been married twice. Her first husband was actor Elliott Gould, to whom she was married from 1963 until 1971. They had one child, Jason Gould, who appeared as her on-screen son in The Prince of Tides. In 1969 and 1970, Streisand dated Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.
She started a relationship with hairdresser/producer Jon Peters in 1974. He went on to be her manager and producer. She is the godmother of his daughters, Caleigh Peters and Skye Peters.
Streisand dated tennis champion Andre Agassi in the early 1990s. Writing about the relationship in his 2009 autobiography, Agassi said: “We agree that we’re good for each other, and so what if she’s twenty-eight years older? We’re simpatico, and the public outcry only adds spice to our connection. It makes our friendship feel forbidden, taboo – another piece of my overall rebellion. Dating Barbra Streisand is like wearing Hot Lava.”
Her second husband is actor James Brolin, whom she married on July 1, 1998.
While they have no children together, Brolin has two children from his first marriage, including actor Josh Brolin, and one child from his second marriage.
Streisand changed her name from Barbara to Barbra because, she said, “I hated the name, but I refused to change it.”
Streisand further explained, “Well, I was 18 and I wanted to be unique, but I didn’t want to change my name because that was too false. You know, people were saying you could be Joanie Sands, or something like that. (My middle name is Joan.) And I said, ‘No, let’s see, if I take out the ‘a,’ it’s still ‘Barbara,’ but it’s unique.”
A 1967 biography with a concert program said, “the spelling of her first name is an instance of partial rebellion: she was advised to change her last name and retaliated by dropping an “a” from the first instead.”
Streisand has long been an active supporter of the Democratic Party and many of its causes.
In 1971, Streisand was one of the celebrities listed on President Richard Nixon’s infamous Enemies List.
Streisand is a supporter of gay rights, and in 2007 helped raise funds in an unsuccessful attempt to defeat Proposition 8 in California.
In June 2013 she helped celebrate the 90th birthday of Shimon Peres held at Jerusalem’s international convention center.
She also performed at two other concerts in Tel Aviv that same week, part of her first concert tour of Israel.
In August 2016 she stated that if Donald Trump is elected President that she will either move to Australia or Canada.
In 1984, Streisand donated the Emanuel Streisand Building for Jewish Studies to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in the Mount Scopus campus, in memory of her father, an educator and scholar who died when she was young.
Streisand has personally raised $25 millions for organizations through her live performances. The Streisand Foundation, established in 1986, has contributed over $16 million through nearly 1,000 grants to “national organizations working on preservation of the environment, voter education, the protection of civil liberties and civil rights, women’s issues and nuclear disarmament”.
In 2006, Streisand donated $1 million to the William J. Clinton Foundation in support of former President Bill Clinton’s climate change initiative.
In 2009, Streisand gifted $5 million to endow the Barbra Streisand Women’s Cardiovascular Research and Education Program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s Women’s Heart Center.
In September that year, Parade magazine included Streisand on its Giving Back Fund’s second annual Giving Back 30 survey, “a ranking of the celebrities who have made the largest donations to charity in 2007 according to public records”, as the third most generous celebrity. The Giving Back Fund claimed Streisand donated $11 million, which The Streisand Foundation distributed.
In 2012 she raised $22 million to support her women’s cardiovascular center, bringing her own personal contribution to $10 million.
The program was officially named the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center.
At Julien’s Auctions in October 2009, Streisand, a longtime collector of art and furniture, sold 526 items, with all the proceeds going to her foundation. Items included a costume from Funny Lady and a vintage dental cabinet purchased by the performer at 18 years old. The sale’s most valuable lot was a painting by Kees van Dongen.
In December 2011, she appeared at a fundraising gala for Israel Defense Forces charities.
Streisand was presented Distinguished Merit Award by Mademoiselle in 1964, and selected as Miss Ziegfeld in 1965.
In 1968, she received the Israel Freedom Medal, the highest civilian award of Israel, and she was awarded Pied Piper Award by ASCAP and Prix De L’Academie Charles Cros in 1969, Crystal Apple by her hometown City of New York, Woman of Achievement in the Arts by Anti-Defamation League in 1978.
In 1984, Streisand was awarded the Women in Film Crystal Award for outstanding women who, through their endurance and the excellence of their work, have helped to expand the role of women within the entertainment industry.
She received the Woman of Courage Award by the National Organization for Women (NOW), the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and Scopus Award by American Friends of The Hebrew University.
She received Breakthrough Awards for “making films that portray women with serious complexity” at the Women, Men and Media symposium in 1991.
In 1992, she was given the Commitment to Life Award by AIDS Project Los Angeles(APLA), and the Bill of Rights Award by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, the Dorothy Arzner Special Recognition by Women in Film, and the Golden Plate by the Academy of Achievement.
She was honored with the Harry Chapin Humanitarian Award from the ASCAP in 1994 and the Peabody Award in 1995, the same year she was accorded an Honorary Doctorate In Arts and Humanities by Brandeis University.
She was also awarded Filmmaker of the Year Award for “lifetime achievement in filmmaking” by ShowEast and Peabody Award in 1996, Christopher Award in 1998.
In 2000, President Bill Clinton presented Streisand with the National Medal of Arts,the highest honor specifically given for achievement in the arts and Library of Congress Living Legend
she also received the highest honor for a career in film AFI Life Achievement Award from American Film Institute and Liberty and Justice Award from Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, Gracie Allen Award，First Annual Jewish Image Awards in 2001, and Humanitarian Award “for her years of leadership, vision, and activism in the fight for civil liberties, including religion, race, gender equality and freedom of speech, as well as all aspects of gay rights” from Human Rights Campaign in 2004.
In 2007, French President Nicolas Sarkozy presented Streisand with Legion of Honour, the highest decoration in France, and President George W. Bush presented her Kennedy Center Honors, the highest recognition of cultural achievement.
In 2011, she was given Board of Governors Humanitarian Award for her efforts on behalf of women’s heart health and her many other philanthropic activities.” by Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute. She received the L’Oréal Paris Legend Award in 18th Elle Magazine Women in Hollywood. In 2012, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Women Film Critics Circle.
She was accorded an Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2013.
In that year, she was also recipient of the Charlie Chaplin Award for Lifetime Achievement by the Film Society of Lincoln Center as the only female artist to direct, write, produce and star in the same major studio film, Yentl
along with a Lifetime Achievement Glamour Awards.
In 2014, Streisand was on one of eight different New York Magazine covers celebrating the magazine’s “100 Years, 100 Songs, 100 Nights: A Century of Pop Music in New York”. She also received the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) Board of Governors Award, the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award at The Hollywood Reporter’s annual Women in Entertainment Breakfast, and came first in the 1010 Wins Iconic Celebrity Poll by CBS in 2015.
In November 2015, President Barack Obama announced that Streisand would receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award of the United States.
Streisand was inducted into and Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1976, Goldmine Hall of Fama in 2002, Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2007, the Hit Parade Hall of Fame in 2009, National Museum of American Jewish History and California Hall of Fame in 2010.
In 1970, she received a Special Tony Award named Star of the Decade,and selected as Star of the Decade by the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) in 1980, Star of Decade by NATO/ShowWest and President’s Award by NARM in 1988.
That year she was also named as All-Time Favorite Musical Performer by People’s Choice Awards. In 1986, Life named her as one of Five Hollywood’s Most Powerful Women.
In 1998, Harris Poll reported that she is the “Most Popular Singer Among Adult Americans of All Ages.”
She was also featured on VH1’s 100 Greatest Women of Rock N Roll, the Top 100 Singers of all time by Mojo magazine, named the century’s best female singer in a Reuters/Zogby poll and “Top Female Artist of the Century” by Recording Industry Association of America in 1999.
In 2006, Streisand was one of honorees at Oprah Winfrey’s white-tie Legends Ball.
In 2011, the British tabloid The Sun ranked Streisand as “The 50 female singers who will never be forgotten”.
The Daily Telegraph ranked Streisand as the 10 top female singer-songwriters of all time.
A&E’s Biography magazine ranked Streisand as one of their favorite leading actress of all time,[she was also featured on the Voices of the Century list by BBC, the “100 Greatest Movie Stars of Time” list compiled by People,
VH1’s list of the “200 Greatest Pop Culture Icons of All Time”,
the “100 Greatest Entertainers of All Time”（ranked at #13） and the “Greatest Movie Star of all time list” by Entertainment Weekly, “The 50 Greatest Actresses of All Tim” by AMC, and Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists.
Billboard also ranked Streisand as the top female Jewish musician of all time. As a gay icon, Streisand was named by The Advocate as one of the “25 Coolest Women” and the “9 Coolest Women Appealing to Both Lesbians and Gay Men”, and was also placed among the “12 Greatest Female Gay Icons of All Time” by Out magazine.
She was recognized as one of the top gay icons of the past three decades by Gay Times.
During the first decade of the 21st century, the American Film Institute celebrated 100 years of the greatest films in American cinema. Four of Streisand’s songs were represented on AFI’s 100 Years…
100 Songs, which highlighted “America’s Greatest Music in the Movies”: “The Way We Were” at
“Evergreen (Love Theme From A Star Is Born)” , “People” , and “Don’t Rain On My Parade” . Many of her films were represented on AFI’s 100 Years… series. AFI’s 100 Years…100 Laughs, highlighting “the films and film artists that have made audiences laugh throughout the century,” ranked What’s Up, Doc? . AFI’s 100 Years…
100 Passions highlighted the top 100 greatest love stories in American cinema and placed The Way We Were at, Funny Girl at, and What’s Up, Doc? at . AFI’s Greatest Movie Musicals highlighted the 25 greatest American movie musicals, ranking Funny Girl at
As one of the most acclaimed actresses, singers, directors, writers, composers, producers, designers, photographers, and activists in every medium that she’s worked in, Barbra is the only artist who is concurrently a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, the Screen Actors Guild, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, and Actors’ Equity Association, as well as the honorary chairwoman of the board of directors of Hadassah’s International Research Institute on Women.
On the sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live, in the recurring skit “Coffee Talk”, character Linda Richman, played by Mike Myers, hosts a talk show dedicated to, among other things, the adoration of Streisand. Streisand, in turn, made an unannounced guest appearance on the show, surprising Myers and his guests Madonna and Roseanne Barr. Myers also appeared as the Linda Richman character on stage with Streisand at her 1994 MGM Grand concert, as well as a few of the 1994 Streisand tour shows.
Sound clips of Streisand’s heated exchange with a supporter of former U.S. president George W. Bush were sampled in the 2009 Lucian Piane dance song “Bale Out”, making it sound as if she were arguing with actor Christian Bale (whose recorded outbursts during the filming of Terminator Salvation were the centerpiece of the song).
“Barbra Streisand” is a disco house song by American-Canadian DJ duo Duck Sauce (Armand Van Helden & A-Trak). It was released on September 10, 2010. The song peaked at number one in Poland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Finland, Switzerland and Austria. It became a top ten hit in Australia, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Ireland, and Italy.
Daniel Stern’s 2003 Off-Broadway play Barbra’s Wedding was set against the backdrop of Streisand’s 1998 wedding to James Brolin.
The 2013 comedy play Buyer & Cellar, written by Jonathan Tolins, is set in Streisand’s Malibu house cellar. A struggling actor finds a job there and one day meets the star. It is a one-man show starring Michael Urie that premiered at Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre in April 2013.
In 1972, the modern hair crimping iron was invented by Geri Cusenza, the original founder of Sebastian, for Streisand’s hair.
In 1977, Streisand become the first woman celebrity to be on the cover of Playboy who was interviewed inside.
In 2011, Jennifer Aniston paid tribute to Streisand in a series of poses that recreated some of Streisand’s classic looks on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar.
In 2013, Victoria Beckham revealed that Streisand was her own style icon. “She is the epitome of chic. She looked magnificent. She wears lots of Donna Karan, and she had on this fabulous Donna Karan dress that just draped perfectly. She had this gorgeous hair. She was just beautiful. I love her.”.
Dickinson has appeared in more than 50 films, including Ocean’s 11 (1960), The Sins of Rachel Cade (1961), Jessica (1962), Captain Newman, M.D. (1963), The Killers (1964), The Art of Love (1965), The Chase (1966) and the neo-noir classic Point Blank (1967). From 1974 to 1978, Dickinson starred as Sergeant Leann “Pepper” Anderson in the NBC crime series Police Woman, for which she received Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama and three Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series nominations.
During her later career, Dickinson starred in a number of television movies and miniseries, also playing supporting roles in films such as Sabrina (1995), Pay It Forward (2000) and Big Bad Love (2001). As lead actress, she starred in the 1980 erotic crime thriller Dressed to Kill, for which she received a Saturn Award for Best Actress.
Dickinson, the second of four daughters, was born Angeline Brown (called “Angie” by family and friends) in Kulm, North Dakota, the daughter of Fredericka (née Hehr) and Leo Henry Brown.
Her family is of German descent and she was raised Roman Catholic.
Her father was a small-town newspaper publisher and editor, working on the Kulm Messenger and the Edgeley Mail.
In 1942, her family moved to Burbank, California, where she attended Bellarmine-Jefferson High School, graduating in 1947 at 15 years of age. The previous year, she had won the Sixth Annual Bill of Rights essay contest.
She studied at Glendale Community College and in 1954 graduated from Immaculate Heart College with a degree in business. Taking a cue from her publisher father, she had intended to be a writer. While a student from 1950–52, she worked as a secretary at Lockheed Air Terminal in Burbank (now Bob Hope Airport) and in a parts factory. She became Angie Dickinson in 1952, when she married football player Gene Dickinson.
Dickinson entered a beauty pageant in 1953 and placed second. The exposure brought her to the attention of a television industry producer, who asked her to consider a career in acting. She studied the craft and a few years later was approached by NBC to guest-star on a number of variety shows, including The Colgate Comedy Hour. She soon met Frank Sinatra, who became a lifelong friend. She later was cast as Sinatra’s wife in the film Ocean’s 11.
On New Year’s Eve 1954, Dickinson made her television acting debut in an episode of Death Valley Days. This led to other roles in such productions as Matinee Theatre (eight episodes), Buffalo Bill Jr., City Detective, It’s a Great Life (two episodes), Gray Ghost, General Electric Theater, Broken Arrow, The People’s Choice (twice), Meet McGraw (twice), Northwest Passage, Gunsmoke, The Virginian, Tombstone Territory, Cheyenne, and The Restless Gun.
In 1956, Dickinson was cast as Ann Drew, who slips a gun to her jailed husband, Harry (John Craven), a former associate of the Jesse James gang, in the ABC/Desilu western series, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, starring Hugh O’Brian. In the story line, Harry vowed never to go to prison and was shot to death while escaping.
In 1957, she was cast as Amy Bender in Richard Boone’s series “Have Gun-Will Travel” in the episode “A Matter of Ethics.” She played the sister of a man who was killed and who wanted the murderer lynched.
In 1958, she was cast as Laura Meadows in the episode “The Deserters” of an ABC/Warner Brothers western series, Colt .45, with Wayde Preston.
That year she also played the role of defendant Mrs. Fargo in the Perry Mason episode “The Case of the One-Eyed Witness.”
Dickinson went on to create memorable characters in Mike Hammer, Wagon Train, and Men into Space. In 1965, she had a recurring role as Carol Tredman on NBC’s Dr. Kildare. She had a memorable turn as the duplicitous murder conspirator in a 1964 episode of The Fugitive series with David Janssen and fellow guest star Robert Duvall. She was at her evil best as an unfaithful wife and bank robber in the 1958 “Wild Blue Yonder” episode of Rod Cameron’s syndicated television series State Trooper.
She starred in two Alfred Hitchcock Hour episodes, “Captive Audience” with James Mason on Oct. 18, 1962, and “Thanatos Palace Hotel” on Feb. 1, 1965.
Dickinson’s motion picture career began with a small, uncredited role in Lucky Me (1954) starring Doris Day, followed by The Return of Jack Slade (1955), Man with the Gun (1955), and Hidden Guns (1956). She had her first starring role in Gun the Man Down (1956) with James Arness, followed by the Sam Fuller cult film China Gate (1957), which depicted an early view of the Vietnam War.
Rejecting the Marilyn Monroe/Jayne Mansfield style of platinum blonde sex-symbolism because she felt it would narrow her acting options, Dickinson initially allowed studios to lighten her naturally brunette hair to only honey-blonde.
She appeared early in her career mainly in B-movies or westerns, including Shoot-Out at Medicine Bend (1957), in which she co-starred with James Garner. In the 1958 crime drama Cry Terror!, Dickinson had a supporting role opposite James Mason and Rod Steiger as a femme fatale.
In 1959, Dickinson’s big-screen breakthrough role came in Howard Hawks’ Rio Bravo, in which she played a flirtatious gambler called “Feathers” who becomes attracted to the town sheriff played by Dickinson’s childhood idol John Wayne. The film co-starred Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, and Walter Brennan. When Hawks sold his personal contract with her to a major studio without her knowledge, she was unhappy. Dickinson nonetheless became one of the more prominent leading ladies of the next decade, beginning with The Bramble Bush with Richard Burton. She also took a supporting role in Ocean’s 11 with friends Sinatra and Martin, released in 1960.
These were followed by a political potboiler, A Fever in the Blood (1961); a Belgian Congo-based melodrama, The Sins of Rachel Cade (1961), in which she played a missionary nurse tempted by lust; a scheming woman in Rome Adventure (1962), filmed in Italy, and the title role in Jean Negulesco’s Jessica (1962) with Maurice Chevalier, in which she played a young midwife resented by the married women of the town, set in Sicily.
Angie would also share the screen with friend Gregory Peck as a military nurse in the dark comedy Captain Newman, M.D. (1963).
For The Killers (1964), originally intended to be the very first made-for-television movie but released to theatres due to its violent content, Dickinson played a femme fatale opposite future U.S. President Ronald Reagan in his last movie role.
Directed by Don Siegel, it was a remake of the 1946 version based on a story by Ernest Hemingway and the only film Reagan made in which he was cast as a villain. He viciously slaps Dickinson in one of the film’s scenes.
Dickinson co-starred in the comedy The Art of Love (1965), playing the love interest of both James Garner and Dick Van Dyke. She joined a star-studded Arthur Penn/Sam Spiegel production, The Chase (1966), along with Marlon Brando, Jane Fonda, Robert Redford, and Robert Duvall. That same year she was featured in Cast a Giant Shadow, a war story with Kirk Douglas.
Dickinson’s best movie of this era was arguably John Boorman’s cult classic Point Blank (1967), a lurid crime drama with Lee Marvin as a criminal betrayed by his wife and best friend and out for revenge. The film epitomized the stark urban mood of the period, and its reputation has grown through the years.
Westerns would continue to be a part of her work in the late ’60s, when she starred in The Last Challenge opposite Glenn Ford, in Young Billy Young with Robert Mitchum, and in Sam Whiskey, where she gave rising star Burt Reynolds his first on-screen kiss.
In 1971, she played a lascivious substitute high school teacher in the dark comedy Pretty Maids All in a Row for director Roger Vadim and writer-producer Gene Roddenberry, in which her character seduces a sexually inexperienced student, portrayed by John David Carson, against the backdrop of a series of murders of female students at the same high school; it was a box-office failure. In 1972’s The Outside Man, a French movie shot in L.A., with Jean-Louis Trintignant, directed by Jacques Deray, she plays the wife of a mobster. In 1973, she co-starred with Roy Thinnes in the supernatural thriller The Norliss Tapes, a TV movie produced and directed by Dan Curtis.
One of Dickinson’s best known and most sexually provocative movie roles followed, that of the tawdry widow Wilma McClatchie from the Great Depression romp Big Bad Mama (1974) with William Shatner and Tom Skerritt. Although well into her forties at the time, she appeared nude in several scenes, which created interest in the movie and a new generation of male fans for Dickinson.
A 1966 Esquire magazine cover gained Dickinson additional fame and notoriety, her having posed in nothing but a sweater and a pair of panty hose. The photo became so iconic that, while celebrating the magazine’s 70th anniversary in 2003, the Dickinson pose was recreated for the cover by Britney Spears.
Dickinson as Pepper Anderson, 1975 in Police Woman
Dickinson returned to the small screen in March 1974 for an episode of the critically acclaimed hit anthology series Police Story. That one guest appearance proved to be so popular that NBC offered Dickinson her own television show, which became a ground-breaking weekly series called Police Woman; it was the first successful dramatic TV series to feature a woman in the title role. At first, Dickinson was reluctant, but when producers told her she could become a household name, she accepted the role. They were right.
In the series, she played Sgt. Leann “Pepper” Anderson, an officer of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Criminal Conspiracy Unit who often works undercover.
The show became a hit, reaching number one in many countries in which it aired during its first year. It ran for four seasons and Dickinson would win a Golden Globe award, and receive Emmy nominations for three consecutive years.
Co-starring on the show was Earl Holliman as Sergeant Bill Crowley, Anderson’s commanding officer, along with Charles Dierkop as investigator Pete Royster and Ed Bernard as investigator Joe Styles.
The series ran from 1974 to 1978. The same year the show ended, Dickinson reprised her Pepper Anderson character on the television special Ringo, co-starring with Ringo Starr and John Ritter. She also parodied the part in the 1975 and 1979 Bob Hope Christmas specials for NBC. She would do the same years later on the 1987 Christmas episode of NBC’s Saturday Night Live.
Police Woman caused a surge of applications for employment from women to police departments around the United States; journalists who have in recent years examined the inspiration for long-term female law enforcement officials to adopt this vocation as their own have been surprised by how often Dickinson’s Police Woman has been referenced.
Dickinson and Police Woman proved that a female lead could carry an hour-long television series, paving the way for several female-starring, hour-long TV series during the 1970s and 1980s, such as Charlie’s Angels, Wonder Woman, The Bionic Woman and Cagney and Lacey. In 1987, the Los Angeles Police Department awarded Dickinson an honorary doctorate, which led her to quip, “Now you can call me Doctor Pepper.”
On occasion during the 1970s, Dickinson took part in the popular Dean Martin Celebrity Roast on television, and herself was the guest of honor on August 2, 1977, roasted by a dais of celebrities that included James Stewart, Orson Welles and her Police Woman series co-star Earl Holliman.
Having done a television series plus the mini-series Pearl (1978) about the Pearl Harbor bombing of 1941, Dickinson’s career in feature films appeared to be in decline. But she returned to the big screen in Brian De Palma’s erotic thriller Dressed to Kill (1980), for which she gained considerable notice, particularly for a long, silent scene in a museum before the character meets her fate. The role of Kate Miller, a sexually frustrated New York housewife, earned her a 1981 Saturn Award for Best Actress. “The performers are excellent,” wrote Vincent Canby in his July 25, 1980 New York Times review, “especially Miss Dickinson.”
She took a less substantial role in 1981’s Death Hunt, reuniting her with Lee Marvin, and also appeared in Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen. Earlier that year, she had been the first choice to play the character Krystle Carrington on the television series Dynasty but, deciding she wanted to spend more time with her daughter, she turned it down; the role instead went to Linda Evans. In the mid-1980s Dickinson declined the role of Sable Colby on the Dynasty spin-off, The Colbys.
After nixing her own Johnny Carson-produced prospective sitcom, The Angie Dickinson Show, in 1980 after only two episodes had been shot because she did not feel she was funny enough, the private-eye series Cassie & Co. became her unsuccessful attempt at a television comeback. She then starred in several TV movies, such as One Shoe Makes It Murder (1982), Jealousy (1984), A Touch of Scandal (1984), and Stillwatch (1987). She had a pivotal role in the highly rated mini-series Hollywood Wives (1985), based on a novel by Jackie Collins.
In 1982, and again in 1986, Dickinson appeared in two of Perry Como’s Christmas specials for the ABC television network, in both of which she did something she was not known to have done before: singing. The specials in which she appeared, and in which she sang songs, were Perry Como’s Christmas In Paris, produced on location in Paris, France, which was transmitted on Saturday, December 18, 1982, and The Perry Como Christmas Special, produced on location in San Antonio, Texas, and transmitted on Saturday, December 6, 1986. As of early January of 2013, these two specials were not known to be available on home video. Dickinson later denied having sung on camera since then in an interview with Larry King conducted at the approximate time of her appearance in Duets.
In motion pictures, Dickinson reprised her role as Wilma McClatchie for Big Bad Mama II (1987) and completed the television movie Kojak: Fatal Flaw, in which she was reunited with Telly Savalas. She co-starred with Willie Nelson and numerous buddies in the 1988 television western Once Upon a Texas Train.
She was presented one of the Golden Boot Awards in 1989 for her contributions to western cinema.
In the 1993 ABC miniseries Wild Palms, produced by Oliver Stone, she was the sadistic, militant sister of Senator Tony Kruetzer, played by Robert Loggia. That same year, she starred as a ruthless Montana spa owner in Gus Van Sant’s Even Cowgirls Get the Blues with Uma Thurman.
In 1995, Sydney Pollack cast her as the prospective mother-in-law of Greg Kinnear in the romantic comedy Sabrina starring Harrison Ford, a remake of the Billy Wilder classic. She played Burt Reynolds’ wife in the thriller The Maddening and the mother of Rick Aiello and Robert Cicchini in the National Lampoon comedy The Don’s Analyst. In 1997, she seduced old flame Artie (Rip Torn) in an episode of HBO’s The Larry Sanders Show called “Artie and Angie and Hank and Hercules.”
Dickinson acted out the alcoholic, homeless mother of Helen Hunt’s character in Pay It Forward (2000); the grandmother of Gwyneth Paltrow’s character in the drama Duets (2000), and the mother of Arliss Howard’s character in Big Bad Love (2001), co-starring Debra Winger.
Having appeared in the original Ocean’s 11 (1960) with good friends Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, four decades later she made a brief cameo in the 2001 remake with George Clooney and Brad Pitt.
An avid poker player, during the summer of 2004 she participated in the second season of Bravo’s Celebrity Poker Showdown. After announcing her name, host Dave Foley said, “Sometimes, when we say ‘celebrity,’ we actually mean it.”
Dickinson is a recipient of the state of North Dakota’s Rough Rider Award.
In 1999, Playboy ranked Dickinson No. 42 on their list of the “100 Sexiest Stars of the Century.” In 2002, TV Guide ranked her No. 3 on a list of the “50 Sexiest Television Stars of All Time,” behind Diana Rigg and George Clooney (who tied for No. 1).
In 2009, Dickinson starred in a Hallmark Channel film, Mending Fences. It is her last screen role to date.
With husband-composer Burt Bacharach and new child, 1966
She was married to Gene Dickinson, a former football player, from 1952 to 1960. Close friends with John Kenneth Galbraith and Catherine Galbraith, her extensive visits to them and touring when John was American Ambassador to India is amply recounted in Galbraith memoirs including Ambassador’s Journal and A Life in Our Times. Dickinson kept her married name after her first divorce.
She married Burt Bacharach in 1965. They remained a married couple for 15 years, though late in their marriage, they had a period of separation where each dated other people.
Their daughter, Lea Nikki, known as Nikki, arrived a year after they were married. Born three months prematurely, Nikki suffered from chronic health problems, including visual impairment; she was later diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. Burt composed the music of the song Nikki for their fragile young daughter, and Angie rejected many roles to focus on caring for their daughter. Nikki’s parents eventually placed her at the Wilson Center, a psychiatric residential treatment facility for adolescents in Faribault, Minnesota, where she remained for nine years. Later, Nikki studied geology at California Lutheran University, but her poor eyesight prevented her from pursuing a career in that field. On January 4, 2007, Nikki killed herself by suffocation in her apartment in the Ventura County suburb of Thousand Oaks. She was 40.
In a joint statement, Dickinson and Bacharach said, “She quietly and peacefully committed suicide to escape the ravages to her brain brought on by Asperger’s… She loved kitties, earthquakes, glacial calving, meteor showers, science, blue skies and sunsets, and Tahiti. She was one of the most beautiful creatures created on this earth, and she is now in the white light, at peace.”
In a 2006 interview with NPR, Dickinson stated that she was a Democrat. She supported John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign in 1960.
|1954||Lucky Me||Party Guest||Uncredited|
|1955||Tennessee’s Partner||Abby Dean|
|1955||The Return of Jack Slade||Polly Logan|
|1955||Man with the Gun||Kitty||Uncredited|
|1956||Down Liberty Road||Mary||Short film|
|1956||Hidden Guns||Becky Carter|
|1956||Tension at Table Rock||Cathy|
|1956||Gun the Man Down||Janice|
|1956||The Black Whip||Sally Morrow|
|1957||Shoot-Out at Medicine Bend||Priscilla King|
|1957||China Gate||Lucky Legs|
|1957||Run of the Arrow||Yellow Moccasin||Voice|
|1958||I Married a Woman||Screen Wife|
|1958||Cry Terror!||Eileen Kelly|
|1960||I’ll Give My Life||Alice Greenway Bradford|
|1960||The Bramble Bush||Fran|
|1960||Ocean’s Eleven||Beatrice Ocean|
|1961||A Fever in the Blood||Cathy Simon|
|1961||The Sins of Rachel Cade||Rachel Cade|
|1962||Jessica||Jessica Brown Visconti|
|1962||Rome Adventure||Lyda Kent|
|1963||Captain Newman, M.D.||Lt. Francie Corum|
|1964||The Killers||Sheila Farr|
|1965||The Art of Love||Laurie Gibson|
|1966||The Chase||Ruby Calder|
|1966||Cast a Giant Shadow||Emma Marcus|
|1966||The Poppy Is Also a Flower||Linda Benson|
|1967||The Last Challenge||Lisa Denton|
|1969||Sam Whiskey||Laura Breckenridge|
|1969||Some Kind of a Nut||Rachel Amidon|
|1969||Young Billy Young||Lily Beloit|
|1971||Pretty Maids All in a Row||Miss Betty Smith|
|1971||The Resurrection of Zachary Wheeler||Dr. Layle Johnson|
|1972||The Outside Man||Jackie Kovacs|
|1974||Big Bad Mama||Wilma McClatchie|
|1979||L’homme en colère||Karen|
|1980||Klondike Fever||Belinda McNair|
|1980||Dressed to Kill||Kate Miller|
|1981||Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen||Dragon Queen|
|1981||Death Hunt||Vanessa McBride|
|1987||Big Bad Mama II||Wilma McClatchie|
|1993||Even Cowgirls Get the Blues||Miss Adrian|
|1996||The Maddening||Georgina Scudder|
|1996||The Sun, the Moon and the Stars||Abbie McGee|
|2000||The Last Producer||Poker Player||Cameo|
|2001||Pay It Forward||Grace|
|2001||Big Bad Love||Mrs. Barlow|
|2001||Ocean’s Eleven||Boxing Spectator||Cameo|
|2004||Elvis Has Left the Building||Bobette|
|1954||I Led 3 Lives||Comrade Margaret||Episode: “Asylum”|
|1954||The Mickey Rooney Show||Receptionist||Episode: “The Executive”|
|1954||Death Valley Days||Salina Harris||3 episodes|
|1955||City Detective||Cigarette Girl||Episode: “The Perfect Disguise”|
|1955||Buffalo Bill, Jr.||Anna Louise Beaumont||Episode: “The Death of Johnny Ringo”|
|1955||Matinee Theatre||7 episodes|
|1955||It’s a Great Life||Myra||Episode: “The Raffle Ticket”|
|1956||General Electric Theater||Shaw||Episode: “Try to Remember”|
|1956||It’s a Great Life||Rita Moore||Episode: “The Voice”|
|1956||The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp||Ann Drew||Episode: “One of Jesse’s Gang”|
|1956||Chevron Hall of Stars||Bertha||Episode: “Mr. Thompson”|
|1956||Four Star Playhouse||Episode: “The Rites of Spring”|
|1956||The Millionaire||Jane Carr / Janice Corwin||Episode: “Millionaire Jane Carr”|
|1956||Schlitz Playhouse of Stars||Ann||Episode: “Always the Best Man”|
|1956||Broken Arrow||Terry Weaver||Episode: “The Conspirators”|
|1957||The Gray Ghost||Edie Page||Episode: “Point of Honor”|
|1957||Gunsmoke||Rose Daggit||Episode: “War Party”|
|1957||Alcoa Theatre||Mrs. Garron||Episode: “Circumstantial”|
|1957||Have Gun – Will Travel||Amy Bender||Episode: “A Matter of Ethics”|
|1956-1957||The Lineup||Doris Collins||3 episodes|
|1957||M Squad||Hazel McLean||Episode: “Diamond Hard”|
|1957||Meet McGraw||Mary Gaan||Episode: “Tycoon”|
|1957||Meet McGraw||Lisa Parish||Episode: “McGraw in Reno”|
|1958||The Restless Gun||Evelyn Niemack||Episode: “Imposter for a Day”|
|1958||Perry Mason||Marian Gallagher||Episode: “The Case of the One-Eyed Witness”|
|1958||The Bob Cummings Show||Milly||Episode: “Bob and Automation”|
|1958||Tombstone Territory||Dolores||Episode: “Geronimo”|
|1958||State Trooper||Betty Locke||Episode: “Wild Green Yonder”|
|1958||Colt .45||Laura Meadows||Episode: “The Deserters”|
|1958||Studio 57||Episode: “Gambler’s Luck”|
|1958||The People’s Choice||Geraldine Gibson Hexley||Episodes: “Rollo Makes Good” and “Rollo’s Wedding”|
|1958||Mike Hammer||Lucille Hart||Episode: “Letter Edged in Blackmail”|
|1958||Mike Hammer||Rita Patten||Episode: “Look at the Old Man Go”|
|1958||Target||Betty Nelson||Episode: “Unreasonable Doubt”|
|1958||Northwest Passage||Rose Carver||Episode: “The Bound Women”|
|1958||Man with a Camera||Norma Delgado||Episode: “Closeup on Violence”|
|1959||Wagon Train||Clara Duncan||Episode: “The Clara Duncan Story”|
|1959||Men Into Space||Mary McCauley||Episode: “Moon Probe”|
|1960||Lock Up||Betty Nelson||Episode: “Sentenced to Die”|
|1962||Checkmate||Karen Vale||Episode: “Remembrance of Crimes Past”|
|1962||The Alfred Hitchcock Hour||Janet West||Episode: “Captive Audience”|
|1962||The Dick Powell Show||Judy Maxwell||Episode: “No Strings Attached”|
|1964||The Fisher Family||Helen||Episode: “Bright Shadows”|
|1965||The Fugitive||Norma Sessions||Episode: “Brass Ring”|
|1965||The Man Who Bought Paradise||Ruth Paris||Pilot|
|1965||The Alfred Hitchcock Hour||Ariane Shaw||Episode: “Thanatos Palace Hotel”|
|1965||Dr. Kildare||Carol Tredman||3 episodes|
|1966||The Virginian||Annie Carlson||Episode: “Ride to Delphi”|
|1966||Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre||Christina||Episode: “And Baby Makes Five”|
|1968||A Case of Libel||Anita Corcoran||Television film|
|1970||The Love War||Sandy||Television film|
|1971||Thief||Jean Melville||Television film|
|1971||The Man and the City||Charlene||Episode: “Running Scared”|
|1971||See the Man Run||Joanne Taylor||Television film|
|1972||Ghost Story||Carol Finney||Episode: “Creatures of the Canyon”|
|1973||The Norliss Tapes||Ellen Sterns Cort||Television film|
|1973||Hec Ramsey||Sarah Detweiler||Episode: “The Detroit Connection”|
|1974||Pray for the Wildcats||Nancy McIlvain||Television film|
|1974||Police Story||Lisa||Episode: “The Gamble”|
|1977||A Sensitive, Passionate Man||Marjorie ‘Margie’ Delaney||Television film|
|1974-1978||Police Woman||Sgt. Suzanne ‘Pepper’ Anderson||Series regular, 91 episodes|
|1978||Ringo||Sgt. Suzanne ‘Pepper’ Anderson||Television film|
|1978||Overboard||Lindy Garrison||Television film|
|1979||The Suicide’s Wife||Diana Harrington||Television film|
|1981||Dial M for Murder||Margot Wendice||Television film|
|1982||Cassie & Co.||Cassie Holland||Series regular, 13 episodes|
|1982||One Shoe Makes It Murder||Fay Reid||Television film|
|1984||Jealousy||Georgia / Laura / Ginny||Television film|
|1984||A Touch of Scandal||Katherine Gilvey||Television film|
|1984||Hollywood Wives||Sadie LaSalle||Miniseries|
|1987||Stillwatch||Abigail Winslow||Television film|
|1987||Police Story: The Freeway Killings||Officer Anne Cavanaugh||Television film|
|1988||Once Upon a Texas Train||Maggie Hayes||Television film|
|1989||Fire and Rain||Beth Mancini||Television film|
|1989||Prime Target||Sgt. Kelly Mulcahaney||Television film|
|1991||Empty Nest||Jackie Sheridan||Episode: “Almost Like Being in Love”|
|1991||Kojak: Fatal Flaw||Carolyn Payton||Television film|
|1992||Treacherous Crossing||Beverly Thomas||Television film|
|1993||Wild Palms||Josie Ito||Miniseries|
|1993||Daddy Dearest||Mrs. Winters||Episode: “Mother Love”|
|1996||Remembrance||Margaret Fullerton||Television film|
|1997||Deep Family Secrets||Rénee Chadway||Television film|
|1997||The Don’s Analyst||Victoria Leoni||Television film|
|1997||Diagnosis Murder||Capt. Cynthia Pike||Episode: “Murder Blues”|
|1997||Ellen||Betsy||Episode: “G.I. Ellen”|
|1997||George & Leo||Sheila Smith||Episode: “The Witness”|
|1999||Sealed with a Kiss||Lucille Ethridge||Television film|
|2004||Judging Amy||Evelyn Worth||Episode: “Catching It Early”|
|2009||Mending Fences||Ruth Hanson||Television film|
You can read also : Vous pouvez lire aussi : JOHN WAYNE
Claude Giraud est un acteur français né le 5 février 1936 à Chamalières.
Très actif dans le milieu du doublage, il a été entre autres la voix française régulière des acteurs Robert Redford, Tommy Lee Jones et Alan Rickman. Il est aussi la voix d’Ulysse dans la série d’animation Ulysse 31 diffusée en 1981.
Fils d’un gynécologue, Claude Giraud grandit à Clermont Ferrand où son oncle possède plusieurs salles de cinéma.
C’est par Pierre Fresnay qu’il rencontre Henri Rollan4. Il est admis au Conservatoire national supérieur d’art dramatique à Paris. À sa sortie en 1962, il est engagé à la Comédie-Française, dont il devient le 460e sociétaire en 1976.
Claude Giraud quitte la Comédie-Française fin 1982 pour participer à la création de la compagnie de Jean-Laurent Cochet au théâtre Hébertot où, à l’instar de sa « maison » précédente, plusieurs spectacles seront donnés en alternance.
Il a joué de nombreux rôles à la télévision dont Roger Mortimer dans la série Les Rois maudits (1972), le principal protagoniste des Compagnons de Jéhu (1966) et le père de Sébastien dans Sébastien parmi les hommes (1968), aux côtés de Mehdi El Glaoui. Toujours à la télévision, il est Cinna (1962) devant la caméra de Jean Kerchbron, Mehdi Ben Barka dans La guerre du pétrole n’aura pas lieu (1974) de Souheil Ben Barka et donne la réplique à Claude Jade dans Mamie Rose (1975) de Pierre Goutas .
Au cinéma, il est Philippe de Plessis-Bellière dans la série des Angélique (1964-1966), Hippolyte dans Phèdre (1968) de Pierre Jourdan et Slimane dans Les Aventures de Rabbi Jacob (1973) de Gérard Oury.
Cependant, c’est surtout en tant que comédien de doublage que Claude Giraud s’est imposé depuis les années 1970, prêtant principalement sa voix à Robert Redford (Nos plus belles années, Les Hommes du président, Un pont trop loin, Out of Africa, L’Homme qui murmurait à l’oreille des chevaux), Tommy Lee Jones (Le Fugitif), Harrison Ford (Les Aventuriers de l’arche perdue), Sean Connery (dans Le Nom de la rose), Alan Rickman (Harry Potter, Sweeney Todd et Michael Collins) et Liam Neeson (La Liste de Schindler et Batman Begins). Il est également la voix française d’Ulysse dans la série animée Ulysse 31 (1981).
Il double Robert Redford dans la bande-annonce du film Sous surveillance en 2012 mais, ayant pris sa retraite avant la sortie en salles, C Giraud, est remplacé pour le doublage du film par Patrick Béthune. On peut néanmoins entendre sa voix en 2014 dans Les Luminessences d’Avignon, un spectacle en 3D dans la cour d’honneur du Palais des papes.
Marié avec la comédienne Catherine Demanet, Claude Giraud a deux enfants : Louis (1964) et Marianne (1966), épouse du comédien et metteur en scène Jean Martinez.
PARAMOUNT CHANNEL : CARY GRANT Wikipedia sources: Cary Grant (born Archibald Alexander Leach; January 18, 1904 – November 29, 1986) was an English stage and Hollywood film actor who became an American citizen in 1942. Known for his transatlantic accent, debonair demeanor and “dashing good looks”, Grant is considered one of classic Hollywood’s definitive leading men. Notorious (1946), The…
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S’il a joué dans des films policiers, des films de guerre et quelques comédies romantiques, c’est dans ses nombreux westernsque John Wayne s’est réellement imposé, sous la direction de deux réalisateurs particulièrement : John Ford (La Chevauchée fantastique, Le Massacre de Fort Apache, La Charge héroïque, Rio Grande, La Prisonnière du désert ou encore L’Homme qui tua Liberty Valance) et Howard Hawks (La Rivière rouge, Rio Bravo, El Dorado ou Rio Lobo). Il tourna également plusieurs films avec Henry Hathaway dont Cent dollars pour un shérif, qui lui valut en 1970 l’unique Oscar de sa carrière.
En 1960, il passa derrière la caméra pour réaliser une fresque historique d’envergure, Alamo, relatant les derniers jours de Davy Crockett et ses compagnons lors de la guerre d’indépendance du Texas. Huit ans plus tard, il coréalisa Les Bérets verts, film engagé justifiant l’intervention américaine au Viêt Nam. Ses deux réalisations reflètent l’engagement personnel de John Wayne, républicain et ardent patriote
Classé 13e plus grande star de légende par l’American Film Institute en 1999, John Wayne est certainement un des acteurs les plus représentatifs du western, une incarnation à lui seul de l’Amérique conquérante. Surnommé « The Duke » (le Duc), il reste toujours aujourd’hui, grâce à ses films, le symbole d’une certaine virilité. Il interpréta ce rôle d’homme viril, dur, solitaire et un peu machiste tout au long de sa carrière, ce qui lui fit déclarer : « J’ai joué John Wayne dans tous mes films et ça m’a plutôt pas mal réussi ».
Glendale aujourd’hui, où vécut John Wayne de 1916 à 1924.
Né dans une famille modeste et presbytérienne, son père est Clyde Leonard Morrison (1884–1937), d’ascendance irlandaise et écossaise et fils d’un vétéran de la Guerre de Sécession, Marion Mitchell Morrison (1845–1915). Sa mère est Mary Alberta Brown (1885–1970), d’origine irlandaise. En décembre 1912 naquit son frère Robert. Ses parents changèrent alors son identité en Marion Mitchell Morrison (toutefois il a souvent affirmé que son vrai nom aurait été Marion Michael Morrison).
Peu après son père eut des lésions aux poumons et fut contraint de « changer d’air » pour sa santé. Il mit en vente sa pharmacie et acheta une maison délabrée près du désert des Mojaves, à Palmdale, et des terres où il décida de faire pousser du maïs. Sa femme et ses enfants vinrent le rejoindre en 1914. « Je crois que c’était une misérable baraque. Ni gaz, ni électricité, ni eau courante. […] Nous étions absolument coupés du monde. » C’est pour aider son père qu’il apprit à se servir d’un fusil et à monter à cheval. « Je suis très à l’aise en selle, mais je ne suis pas amoureux des chevaux. Ils sont seulement utiles dans une ferme ou pour tourner un film. »
Lassée du climat rude et de la pauvreté de la famille, Mary Morrison poussa son mari à tout vendre. Ils partirent à Glendale, faubourg de Los Angeles, en 1916, où le père trouva un emploi dans une pharmacie5. Ils déménagèrent régulièrement, s’installant à chaque fois dans une maison plus petite. Marion devint vite un bon élève, lisant beaucoup à la bibliothèque municipale. À douze ans, il enchaîna, en parallèle des cours, des petits boulots : livreur de journaux, livreur, ouvreur du cinéma Palace.
Son premier vrai souvenir d’un film est probablement Les Quatre Cavaliers de l’Apocalypse avec Rudolph Valentino6. Grâce à son job d’ouvreur, il pouvait accéder à un très grand nombre de films, dont des westerns avec Harry Carey ou des films d’aventures avec Douglas Fairbanks. Il se lia d’amitié avec Bob Steele, future star de westerns des années 1920. C’est aussi dès cette époque que Marion fut surnommé « Big Duke » en référence à son chien, « Little Duke », qu’il emmenait partout avec lui. Au collège, il appartenait aux clubs sportifs et culturels, et fit du théâtre, non comme acteur, mais comme accessoiriste. Ses rares performances d’acteur ne furent pas convaincantes, trop pétrifié qu’il était par le trac
En 1924, l’Université de Californie du Sud décida de recruter les meilleurs éléments des clubs alentours pour sa propre équipe de football, les Trojans, dont Marion Morrison. Pouvant faire ses études gratuitement grâce à une bourse sportive, il fut aussi initié à une fraternité, Sigma Chi8. Il rencontra peu après la vedette Tom Mix, qui assistait à tous les matchs de l’équipe. Appréciant la carrure du jeune homme, il lui offrit un rôle dans un film qu’il devait tourner quelques mois après.
Entre-temps, lors d’un weekend à Balboa, il fut victime d’un accident de bodysurf : il se déchira un muscle de l’épaule après une chute qui le fit entrer en contact avec le fond, tenta vainement quelque temps de continuer le football mais fut évincé de l’équipe, avec toutefois un diplôme de la Fédération de football. Il n’y joua plus jamais. L’été au studio, la star méprisa le jeune Morrison, qui fut toutefois engagé, mais comme accessoiriste.
Après une figuration sur le film The drop Kick, il fut appelé sur le tournage de Maman de mon cœur, dirigé par John Ford, réalisateur déjà respecté à Hollywood. Celui-ci décida un jour de provoquer gentiment le jeune footballeur Morrison en le faisant se mettre en position, puis en lui faisant mordre la poussière. La pareille que lui rendit aussitôt le jeune homme le fit grimper dans l’estime du réalisateur.
Il l’embaucha d’ailleurs comme acteur sur son film suivant, La Maison du bourreau, dans un petit rôle de paysan condamné par un juge. John Ford le fit d’abord renvoyer à cause de son comportement (il fut pris d’un fou rire), puis le rappela et tourna la scène.
À partir de 1928, il décida de ne plus aller à l’université. N’ayant plus la bourse accordée grâce à l’équipe de football, il ne pouvait s’offrir les cours. Il retourna à la Fox et devint accessoiriste pendant trois années. « J’ai été menuisier, manœuvre, électricien, charpentier, peintre et tapissier. J’ai tout fait, je connais tous les problèmes du métier et les trucs pour les résoudre. » Il travailla alors de nouveau avec John Ford et d’autres réalisateurs, et fit un peu de figuration, notamment dans Words and music, Rough Romance ou Cheer up and smile. Dans Salute, il se confronta pour une des premières fois à un autre étudiant-footballeur voulant participer au film de Ford, Wardell Bond. Dans Hommes sans femmes il fut engagé comme cascadeur, mais payé au tarif d’un accessoiriste
Le cinéma parlant avait rendu difficile la réalisation de westerns. Le réalisateur Raoul Walsh prouva le contraire en coréalisant In Old Arizona qui fut un gros succès. La Fox voulut alors lui confier la réalisation d’un grand western, au budget d’un million de dollars. Des acteurs de théâtre furent engagés : Tyrone Power et Ian Keith. Pour le rôle principal, le choix s’orienta vers Gary Cooper, mais celui-ci était indisponible car sous contrat avecSamuel Goldwyn. Walsh remarqua alors par hasard cet accessoiriste qui déchargeait un camion, Duke Morrison, puis décida de lui faire faire un bout d’essai. Le producteur délégué et le réalisateur décidèrent juste après de lui faire changer de nom. Par admiration pour le général Anthony Wayne, on lui trouva un nom. Et tout bêtement parce que « John » faisait Américain et simple, on lui donna ce prénom. Ainsi Duke Morrison devint John Wayne, sans même avoir été consulté.
Le tournage de La Piste des géants commença à Yuma. Wayne fut victime d’une dysenterie qui l’obligea à un régime et lui fit perdre trois semaines de tournage. Le film fut tourné en70 mm, près de vingt ans avant le CinemaScope. La première mondiale eut lieu le 24 octobre 1930 dans un grand cinéma de Hollywood et la société de production fit faire à sa nouvelle vedette une promotion mensongère, lui inventant une nouvelle biographie.
Le film fut un échec notoire et la conséquence pour John Wayne fut de redevenir un acteur inconnu, sous contrat, à 75 dollars la semaine. De plus, il se fâcha quelque temps avec John Ford
Duke fut engagé en 1930 pour tourner Girls demand excitement, une comédie musicale dirigée par un chorégraphe de New York parfaitement inexpérimenté, avec Virginia Cherrill. Puis avec Loretta Young, ce fut Three girls lost. Présenté le 1er mai 1931, le film fut résumé par un critique par : « Tout cela est assez idiot ! » La Fox ne renouvela pas le contrat de John Wayne, qui fut embauché par Harry Cohn, grand patron de la Columbia, qui lui fit tourner un autre film sans intérêt, Men are like that. Ces films permirent toutefois à Wayne de se faire un public. Mais une brouille avec Cohn lui fit perdre son statut de vedette, et il devint un second rôle, au profit de Tim McCoy notamment. Il n’oublia jamais cette offense et, devenu une grande vedette, refusa toujours de tourner pour la Columbia.
La mode était aux films d’aviation. John Wayne, qui venait de prendre un agent, Al Kingston, tourna L’ombre d’un aigle. C’est sur ce tournage qu’il rencontra Yakima Canutt, qui allait devenir l’un des cascadeurs les plus connus du cinéma américain. Il enchaîna avec Hurricane express où il interprétait un aviateur décidé à venger son père, tué dans un accident de chemin de fer. Le 24 juin 1933, il se maria enfin à celle qu’il aimait depuis des années, Josie (Josephine Saenz).
cette dernière lui permit d’obtenir un petit rôle, celui d’un boxeur, dans La Vie de Jimmy Dolan avec Douglas Fairbanks. Al Kingston arrangea ensuite un entretien avec Trem Carr et Leo Ostrow qui venaient de fonder la sociétéMonogram Pictures et Duke se vit offrir un contrat de huit westerns par an, payés 2500 $. Il tourna la même année Les Cavaliers du destin où il fut un cow-boy chantant. Exaspéré par cette expérience humiliante, il déclara plus tard que sa chansonnette en play-back lui donnait l’impression « d’être une foutue pédale. » Pourtant cette époque laissa à Wayne de bons souvenirs, il déclara plus tard : « D’avril à septembre on travaillait comme des dingues pour fournir de la pellicule aux petites salles qui achetaient la production en bloc et d’avance. Puis, à la fin de l’été, je filais chasser la palombe. Ensuite c’était la saison des oies sauvages et des canards. […] Oui c’était le bon temps
Marié et à présent père, John Wayne refusa un nouveau contrat de 24 000 $ proposé par Herbert J. Yates pour Monogram Pictures, las de vivre loin de sa famille et de ses enfants. Il s’essaya sans succès à la gestion d’une agence immobilière. Puis, sous le nom de Duke Morrison, devint boxeur et fit quelques combats dans le Nevada19. Encore une fois, sans grand succès. Résolu à revenir au cinéma, il tenta de se faire remarquer par Cecil B. DeMille,
en vain. Son ami Paul Fix lui proposa alors une pièce de théâtre, Red Sky At Evening, avecSally Blane. D’abord enthousiasmé, il déchanta assez vite, se rappelant ses expériences navrantes de jeunesse. La seule et unique représentation fut un désastre : ayant vidé une bouteille de whisky pour se donner du courage, Wayne entra sur scène ivre, oubliant ses répliques et demandant : « Où suis-je? »
Il reprit alors le chemin des studios et tourna pour Universal quelques films où il abandonnait son personnage de cow-boy. Entre 1936 et 1937, il tourna ainsi Les Pirates de la mer, Conflic où il joua un boxeur, I Cover de war dans le rôle d’un reporter, et L’idole de la foule. Produits à coûts réduits, ces films furent des échecs cuisants. Son public fidèle ne voulait de John Wayne qu’il ne fût qu’un cow-boy, sachant se battre et manier son pistolet. Il revint alors vers Herbert J. Yates et tourna d’autres films médiocres, dont certains ne sortirent qu’une fois John Wayne devenu une star.
À l’été 1937, John Ford invita Wayne à bord de son bateau, l’Araner, et lui donna à lire un scénario de Dudley Nichols, La Chevauchée fantastique, pour avoir son avis quant à l’acteur qui pourrait endosser le premier rôle. Vexé, il proposa néanmoins Lloyd Nolan. Ce n’est que le lendemain que Ford lui demanda : « Idiot, tu penses que tu ne pourrais pas le jouer le rôle ? » Mais les producteurs envisageaient plutôt des vedettes confirmées : Gary Cooper et Marlène Dietrich.
Le film fut tourné d’octobre à décembre 1938, avec un budget modeste. Quelques scènes furent filmées à Monument Valley, le reste en Californie. Yakima Canutt doubla John Wayne, notamment lors de la grande attaque de la diligence. Ce dernier fut tout au long du tournage tyrannisé par le réalisateur, Ford le reprenant sans cesse sur sa façon de marcher, de jouer, de parler. « Je l’aurais tué. Il me mettait en rage. Mais Ford savait ce qu’il faisait. Il savait que j’avais honte d’être un cow-boy de westerns de séries B et de me retrouver là, en compagnie de ces grandes vedettes. » Ford offrit à son acteur vedette l’une des « plus belles entrées de star de l’histoire du cinéma », avec son fameux mouvement de caméra laissant apparaître Ringo Kid, une selle dans une main, un fusil dans l’autre.
La Chevauchée fantastique fut un succès public et reçut sept nominations aux Oscar du cinéma. Les conséquences furent nombreuses : le western comme genre de cinéma fut réhabilité (le critique Frank S. Nugent écrivit : « Dans un grand geste superbe, John Ford a balayé dix ans d’artifice et de compromis et a réalisé un film qui fait chanter la caméra ») et John Wayne sortit enfin de l’impasse dans laquelle il se trouvait depuis le début des années 1930.
Le succès international de La Chevauchée fantastique fit de John Wayne une star, auprès du public et des réalisateurs. Son salaire fut multiplié par trois, puis par onze en 1946, et il devint alors un des acteurs les plus chers avec Gary Cooper ou Clark Gable. Il retrouva le réalisateur Raoul Walsh en 1940 pour un western sur fond de guerre civile, L’Escadron noir, avec Claire Trevor. La même année, il fut engagé pour incarner un Américain accueillant des réfugiés allemands fuyant le régime nazi dans Les Déracinés, et retrouva John Ford pour Les Hommes de la mer. Tourné rapidement et pour un coût relativement modeste, le film ne fut pas un succès public. De plus, Wayne n’était toujours pas pris au sérieux par le réalisateur qui ne le pensait pas capable de jouer des rôles plus complexes. Il tourna un dernier film cette année 1940, La Maison des sept péchés, première collaboration avec Marlène Dietrich, avec qui il s’entendit à merveille33.
Il fut contacté par le réalisateur Cecil B. DeMille. Wayne, qui n’avait pas oublié sa première rencontre infructueuse avec lui, refusa de jouer dans son film, en lui adressant une longue notice visant à modifier le scénario. DeMille le rappela, John Wayne se fit prier et, après plusieurs discussions, DeMille obtint que John Wayne tournât dans Les Naufrageurs des mers du sud, en compagnie de Ray Milland et Paulette Goddard,
l’histoire d’un pilleur d’épaves dans les Caraïbes. Le tournage fut agréable, l’entente parfaite, ce qui fit déclarer à Wayne : « Après avoir tourné avec lui, j’ai pu garder la tête haute, en dépit des films dégueulasses que je devais faire pour Republic. » L’année 1942 vit également Lady for a Night, de Leigh Jason avec Joan Blondell pour partenaire.
Après l’entrée en guerre des États-Unis, John Wayne voulut s’engager pour partir combattre en Europe. Mais, marié et père de quatre enfants, sa demande fut rejetée à plusieurs reprises. Sa participation se réduisit alors à des visites dans des camps. Il déclara plus tard : « J’ai toujours eu honte de ne pas avoir combattu. Lorsque j’interprète un officier à la tête de son commando, j’ai une piètre opinion de moi-même. »
Il retrouva Marlène Dietrich en 1942 dans une nouvelle adaptation du roman de Rex Beach, Les Écumeurs, avec un jeune premier, Randolph Scott, puis dans La Fièvre de l’or noir, qui connut un accueil chaleureux de la part du public. Wayne incarna également un pilote de l’armée américaine combattant les Japonais dans Les Tigres volants, film de propagande réalisé par David Miller. Sacramento, un nouveau western, fut choisi par John Wayne car il devait incarner un pharmacien, une manière de rendre hommage à son père décédé en 1938.
où il incarna un pilote réfugié en Normandie, puis Alerte aux marines. Aux côtés d’ Anthony Quinn, il incarna un colonel américain luttant avec les résistants philippins dans Retour aux Philippines. Républicain et patriote, Wayne critiqua par la suite le travail du réalisateur Edward Dmytryk, qui fut lié au parti communiste et figura sur la liste des Dix d’Hollywood, ainsi que le scénario. Il retrouva ensuite John Ford pour Les Sacrifiés – qui se déroule pendant la guerre du Pacifique – aux côtés d’un jeune acteur, Robert Montgomery. Le film rapporta de l’argent et se classa parmi les vingt plus gros succès de l’année.
Entre temps, John Wayne revint au western dans L’Amazone aux yeux verts, revenant sur sa déclaration de ne plus jamais en tourner. Scénarisé et interprété par son ami Paul Fix, le film imposa durablement l’image virile, nonchalante et misogyne de son personnage.
En revanche, King Vidor ne peut le diriger avec Hedy Lamarr dans Duel au soleil (1946), western lyrique et exacerbé finalement interprété par Gregory Peck et Jennifer Jones et devenu un classique. Il enchaîna par la suite quelques films passés inaperçus, La Femme du pionnier, Sans réserve avec Claudette Colbert et L’Ange et le mauvais garçon. Pour faire « rentrer l’argent », il tourna également Taïkoun, de nouveau avec Anthony Quinn. En 1948, John Wayne, devenu une vedette importante, faisait partie des acteurs préférés du public américain, avec Clark Gable, Gary Cooper et Humphrey Bogart.
En 1947, John Ford tourna le premier volet d’une trilogie consacrée à la cavalerie américaine, Le Massacre de Fort Apache avec pour vedettesHenry Fonda et John Wayne dans un rôle d’officier « humain et pacifiste ». Tourné à Monument Valley pour un budget modeste, le film réunit également Ward Bond et Victor McLaglen. John Wayne, habitué aux humeurs du réalisateur, fut un soutien psychologique précieux pour le jeune John Agar, martyrisé par Ford48. L’accueil public fut chaleureux. Il enchaina avec un rôle de nouveau refusé par Gary Cooper, celui de Tom Dunson dans La Rivière rouge de Howard Hawks qui signait là son premier western. Dans un rôle de cow-boy dur et brutal, Wayne eut pour partenaire Montgomery Clift avec qui il ne s’entendit pas immédiatement. Ce film tourné en extérieurs fut également un grand succès, rapportant plus de dix millions de dollars. Et s’il ne fut pas récompensé, John Wayne impressionna John Ford qui déclara par la suite àHawks : « Je ne savais pas que ce grand fils de pute pouvait jouer ».
En 1948, il engagea à nouveau John Wayne pour Le fils du désert, film en technicolor avec Harry Carey Jr., tourné dans la vallée de la Mort. Wayne tourna ensuite deux films, Le Réveil de la sorcière rouge avec Gail Russell et Le Bagarreur du Kentucky avec Oliver Hardy,
western sans moyens. Deuxième épisode de la trilogie de la cavalerie de Ford, La Charge héroïque fut tourné en 1949 à Monument Valley et remporta un grand succès. L’année suivante, Rio Grande, suite du Massacre de Fort Apache, le mit en scène aux côtés de Maureen O’Haraqui devint une partenaire fidèle en même temps qu’une grande amie.
John Wayne enfila de nouveau l’uniforme de l’armée américaine dans trois films : Iwo Jima de Allan Dwan, pour lequel il fut nommé aux Oscars56, Opération dans le Pacifique puis Les Diables de Guadalcanal de Nicholas Ray (qui désavoua le film par la suite, au même titre que Wayne qui le considérait comme une œuvre mineure), clôturant ainsi sa série de films en hommage aux combattants de la guerre du Pacifique.
En 1952, John Wayne tourna à nouveau avec Maureen O’Hara et John Ford. Si Ford ne peut engager le couple d’acteurs pour son adaptation de What Price Glory (qu’ils ont joué sous sa direction sur scène), ils se consolent largement avec L’Homme tranquille, tourné en Irlande (terre des ancêtres du réalisateur), pour un cachet dérisoire. Le film, qui racontait le retour d’un boxeur américain dans son pays d’origine, fut un gros succès commercial dans le monde entier et remporta l’Oscar du Meilleur Film. Big Jim McLain, réalisé la même année parEdward Ludwig le mettait dans la peau d’un enquêteur de la Commission sur les activités anti-américaines au service du sénateur McCarthy. L’Homme de bonne volonté, réalisé en 1953 par Michael Curtiz ne remporta pas le succès espéré et orienta de nouveau John Wayne vers des films héroïques. Sous la direction de William Wellman, il tourna Aventure dans le Grand Nord, qu’il coproduisit, et refusa un rôle principal dans Géant (qui fut interprété par Rock Hudson). Également coproducteur de Hondo, l’homme du désert, il fut obligé de reprendre le rôle titre, la star du film Glenn Ford étant en désaccord avec le réalisateur, puis retrouva l’équipe de Aventure dans le Grand Nord pour un nouveau film catastrophe, Écrit dans le ciel. Le film fut un grand succès public, nommé aux Oscars (seule la musique de Dimitri Tiomkin reçut la récompense). Sa collaboration avec Lana Turner pour Le Renard des océans fut houleuse, mais il s’entendit à merveille avec Lauren Bacall sur le tournage de L’Allée sanglante, qui fut un succès immédiat.
Le tournage du Conquérant en 1956 fut éprouvant65. Produit par Howard Hughes et réalisé par Dick Powell, il mettait en scène John Wayne dans le rôle … du chef asiatique Gengis Khan, avec Susan Hayward pour partenaire.
Tourné près d’un site d’essais nucléaires, il fut probablement à l’origine du cancer de l’acteur (et d’une grande partie de l’équipe du film). En outre, il fut un lourd échec au box-office. La même année, Wayne tourna un nouveau western sous la direction de John Ford, La Prisonnière du désert. Tourné sur deux saisons (l’hiver et l’été), à Monument Valley notamment, le film permit à John Wayne de créer un personnage sombre et violent. Le film fut un énorme succès à sa sortie et plusieurs critiques louèrent le travail du réalisateur. En outre, il est aujourd’hui considéré par l’American Film Institute comme le plus grand western de tous les temps.
En 1957, de nouveau avec Ford, il tourna L’aigle vole au soleil, un film de guerre adapté de la biographie du héros Frank Wead, avant d’enchainer avec un film d’espionnage, Les espions s’amusent. Mise en scène par Joseph von Sternberg, avec l’actrice Janet Leigh, cette comédie d’espionnage était considérée par John Wayne comme son plus mauvais film. L’année suivante, il forma un couple à l’écran avec Sophia Loren dans La Cité disparue, tourné en partie en Italie par Henry Hathaway, puis entama le tournage du Barbare et la Geisha, sous la direction de John Huston. Les relations furent souvent tendues entre les deux hommes, et le film fut un échec. Wayne fut engagé de nouveau par Howard Hawks pour jouer dans Rio Bravo, aux côtés de Dean Martin et Rick Nelson. Construit comme l’opposition scénaristique du Train sifflera trois fois, le film fut un gros succès populaire et critique. Son nouveau projet avec John Ford et William Holden, Les Cavaliers, fut difficile : le scénario était complexe, le réalisateur vieillissait, des tensions intervinrent entre les sociétés de production et un cascadeur se tua sur le tournage.
John Wayne réalise en 1960 Alamo, qui fut une très belle fresque historique. Néanmoins le scénariste de ce film se permit quelques libertés par rapport aux causes et au déroulement de la bataille. En réalisant ce film, John Wayne souhaitait montrer l’abnégation des hommes à défendre une cause qui leur semble juste, telle la république ou la liberté. L’acteur reste fidèle à ce genre et retrouve à plusieurs reprises Henry Hathaway (1960 : Le Grand Sam avec Stewart Granger, 1965 : Les Quatre Fils de Katie Elder avec Dean Martin, 1969 : Cent dollars pour un shérif), Howard Hawks (1966 : El Dorado avec Robert Mitchum, 1970 : Rio Lobo avec Jennifer O’Neill), et bien sûr Ford pour L’Homme qui tua Liberty Valance (1962) face àJames Stewart, plus tard tournant beaucoup avec Andrew V. McLaglen (1963 : Le Grand McLintock qui réunit Wayne avec Maureen O’Hara et Yvonne De Carlo, 1969 : Les Géants de l’Ouest face à Rock Hudson, 1970 : Chisum, 1973 : Les Cordes de la potence).
La star continue de privilégier le film d’aventure : exotique (en 1962 Hatari ! de Hawks), de guerre (en 1962 Le Jour le plus long, en 1965 Première Victoire d’Otto Preminger avec Kirk Douglas, en 1966 L’Ombre d’un géant avec Yul Brynner et Frank Sinatra). Il participe aux superproductions Le Plus Grand Cirque du monde d’Hathaway (1964) avec Rita Hayworth
etClaudia Cardinale et La Plus Grande Histoire jamais contée de George Stevens (1965) où il incarne le centurion de la Crucifixion. Finalement il ne se détend vraiment à l’écran que chez Ford, dans La Taverne de l’Irlandais (1963).
Lui-même revient à la mise en scène en 1968 pour le très polémique Les Bérets verts. L’essentiel est ailleurs : miné par la maladie mais toujours très actif, ce grand séducteur de l’écran s’offre un dernier tour avec sa partenaire favorite, Maureen O’Hara, dans Big Jake en 1971 (que Wayne coréalise), et un duel avec une autre géante, Katharine Hepburn, dans le western humoristique Une bible et un fusil (1975). Sur le tard, il tourne deux policiers : Un silencieux au bout du canon de John Sturges (1974) et Brannigan (1975). L’année de sa mort, sa carrière se clôt sur un western au titre mythique : Le Dernier des géants, dirigé par Don Siegel, où John retrouve James Stewart et Lauren Bacall. Une époque disparaît.
En 1964, on diagnostique chez Wayne un cancer du poumon. Des rumeurs affirment que le responsable de ce cancer était le site nucléaire de Yucca Flat, proche du plateau de cinéma lors du tournage du film Le Conquérant. Patriote, John Wayne pensait que les six paquets de cigarettes qu’il fumait par jour en étaient la cause.
Toujours présent à l’écran dans des premiers rôles malgré la maladie jusqu’en 1976, il décède finalement d’un cancer de l’estomac le 11 juin 1979. D’après son fils Patrick, il se convertit au catholicisme peu avant sa mort . Il est enterré au cimetière de Pacific View à Corona del Mar.
John Wayne était connu pour ses opinions patriotiques, anti-communistes et conservatrices. Star du parti républicain, il s’impliqua dans la création de la Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, une association américaine de cinéma conservatrice. S’il n’a pas été incorporé pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale pour des raisons familiales, il a toujours soutenu l’effort de guerre américain : il incarnera toutes les catégories de soldats américains et cosigne, en 1968, avec Les Bérets verts le seul film américain ouvertement pro-guerre du Vietnam.
En 1964, il soutient encore la candidature de Barry Goldwater à la présidence des États-Unis et, en 1968, est approché pour être lui-même le candidat du parti républicain. Il déclina la proposition au prétexte qu’il ne pensait pas que le public pourrait envoyer un acteur à la Maison-Blanche. Il fut même approché pour être le colistier du candidat dixiecrat George Wallace. Il ne donna pas suite. John Wayne fut cependant un ardent soutien de son ami, l’acteur Ronald Reagan, lors de ses candidatures au poste de gouverneur de Californie en 1966 et 1970.
Le Congrès américain lui décerne le 26 mai 1979 la Médaille d’or du Congrès (plus haute distinction civile qui puisse être accordée à un citoyen). Événement exceptionnel car cette décoration ne fut décernée que deux fois à des acteurs du cinéma, John Wayne et Francis Albert Sinatra, dit Frank Sinatra, le 14 mai 1997.
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