Saturday, November 19, 2016

Hollywood Birthday Pairs

Here's a trivia post on pairs who shared movie screen credits and birthdays.  It's Saturday, November 19th.  Born on this day in show biz history, two stars of one of Hollywood's best and nastiest Manhattan murder mysteries. The nastiness is covered up by deluxe apartment furnishings, sophisticated clothing and swanky cocktail parties.  But it is definitely there.  The story with all this elegant seediness is played terrifically by Clifton Webb and the gorgeous Gene Tierney, the stars of LAURA.  In addition to being the stars of this 1944 classic, they also shared a November 19th birthday.
Joining Clifton Webb and Gene Tierney in the cast were Dana Andrews, excellent as the detective, Vincent Price as the big city freeloader who's not above banging an older babe for a few bucks, and Judith Anderson as an older babe.  Otto Preminger directed the film.  Preminger and Vincent Price would go on to play villains on the kooky and colorful ABC TV series in the 1960s, BATMAN, starring Adam West.  If you're into classic film noir from Hollywood and you haven't seen LAURA...make it an immediate DVD must-see.
Clifton Webb was a stage veteran by the time Hollywood gave him his first major film role.  That role was in LAURA and Webb got a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his performance as the brilliant and spiteful columnist, Waldo Lydecker.  That kicked off a fabulous film career for Webb that went on well into the 1950s.

Did you know that Clifton Webb was a Broadway song and dance man?  As a matter of fact, he introduced the Irving Berlin song "Easter Parade."  Clifton Webb performed it in a 1933 Irving Berlin Broadway musical.  The song was sung by Bing Crosby in the hit movie HOLIDAY INN, for which Irving Berlin won an Oscar for Best Song of 1942.  The song he wrote for Bing to introduce in HOLIDAY INN was "White Christmas."  The Easter song became the title and was sung by two of MGM's top stars in a classic movie musical.  Judy Garland and Fred Astaire were the stars of 1948's EASTER PARADE.  Irving Berlin's "Easter Parade" was also sung by Don Ameche in ALEXANDER'S RAGTIME BAND.  This highly entertaining 20th Century Fox musical was a 1938 release, full of the Irving Berlin catalogue.  The stars of this Irving Berlin musical were Alice Faye as the brassy singer who's given sort of a Pygmalion makeover by Alexander, played by Tyrone Power.  He's the classy leader of a band who hires her.  Of course, the mouthy singer falls in love with the bandleader after the makeover.

Alice Faye and Tyrone Power shared screen credits in a couple of films.  My favorite pairing of theirs is in ALEXANDER'S RAGTIME BAND.  And they also shared a May 5th birthday.
When I was new to New York City in the mid 1980s, I arrived to accept an on-air job for WPIX TV, New York City's local Channel 11.  One of the first celebrities I had the great privilege to interview on our weekday magazine show was Alice Faye.  Oh, man, she was sensational!  She was in town to promote an appearance.  We had a 5-minute interview but then we hung out for about fifteen minutes just chatting about life and her movies.  She was eager to chat more off the set when she realized I was classic film fan who knew him films and the names of songs she'd introduced in them.  She was proof that you can be over 60 and continue to be really hip.  I loved her attitude.  I still laugh at her comment about Fox studio head, her boss, Darryl F. Zanuck.  She could not stand him.  I think the lusty studio head tried several times to get his star in a "grand horizontal" and she wasn't having it.  Said Alice Faye, "Kid, I had one prayer and one prayer only at Fox: "Please, Lord, let me live long enough to see him die first."

Darryl F. Zanuck died in 1979.  Alice Faye died in 1998.

2-time Best Actress Oscar winner Olivia de Havilland celebrated her 100th birthday in July of this year.  Her second Academy Award came for her extraordinary performance as sweet, unsophisticated young woman jilted by a fortune hunter in THE HEIRESS.  Montgomery Clift starred as the handsome fortune hunter who pretends to love the heiress.
Master director William Wyler guided de Havilland to her second Oscar victory.  Not only did the star and the director share screen credits....
...they also shared a July 1st birthday.  They took time to cut a cake on the set.  That's co-star Miriam Hopkins on the right.

Can you think of any other films that had a pair of contributors to it who celebrated a birthday on the same day?




4 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Donald O'Connor and Peggy Ryan were both born on August 28, and only a year apart at that! Peggy was the older of the two. They appeared together in a number of films together.

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  3. They were Universal's modest budget answer to Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland in the early 40s as show biz teens eager to perform.

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  4. And thanks for that one, Terry. I did not know about Donald O'Connor and Peggy Ryan sharing a birthday.

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Notes from Alice Faye and Don Ameche

If you're a fan of the late, great queen of Broadway...that legendary belter, Ethel Merman, then be sure to watch Turner Classic Movies ...