Friday, July 30, 2010

William Powell July 29, 1892 - March 05, 1984

William Powell was one of the most popular and longest-enduring leading men in Hollywood, his stardom lasting four decades, from the 1920s through the 1950s, and even beyond his retirement in 1955, and embracing some of the best comedies, detective thrillers, and dramas in each of those decades. William Horatio Powell was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, in 1892, and in his early teens the family moved to Kansas City, MO. His father was an accountant and planned a career in law for him, but the younger Powell got other ideas after he worked on a high-school production of Richard Brinsley Sheridan's The Rivals. A quiet and studious boy, he enjoyed the freedom that acting gave him, and came to seek out more plays and watch professional actors at work, frequenting the city's theaters and even taking a job as an usher at an opera house to learn what he could from watching actors at work. Powell enrolled in the University of Kansas in an attempt to satisfy his father but was gone almost as soon as he arrived, in pursuit of an acting career. He had to support himself, as his father refused to contribute to his support, so he went to work for the telephone company in 1910. By the following year, he'd conceived of a plan to go to New York: he wrote to a wealthy aunt appealing for her assistance and a loan of 1,400 dollars; he got 700 dollars, put up the rest himself, and was off to New York. There he enrolled in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, where his classmates included Joseph Schildkraut and Edward G. Robinson.

Powell got his first role, a walk-on in The Ne'er-Do-Well, in 1912, and in 1913 got a supporting role in Within the Law, which was successful enough to keep him employed for two years on tour. He also married Eileen Wilson, an actress in the cast of the play, in 1915; their marriage lasted 16 years and gave them one son, William David Powell, born in 1925. Powell moved between stock companies based in Pittsburgh, Portland (OR), Buffalo, and Detroit, and was back on Broadway in 1917 in The King and the Judge of Zalamea. That same year, he was cast in the musical comedy Going Up, which became a huge hit for the time, running 351 performances. He spent a season in Boston with the Castle Square Stock Company and then returned to Broadway for what proved to be his star-making role, as the villain Javier in Spanish Love, which ran from 1920 through 1922. During the run of the show, he was approached backstage and offered a role in a new movie version of Sherlock Holmes, to star John Barrymore, and, intrigued by the idea of working in this burgeoning entertainment medium, accepted. He ended up playing the secondary villain of Fortnam, opposite Barrymore, and was a smashing success.

A whole new career opened up for Powell with the release of Sherlock Holmes. He quickly appeared in two more movies that year, and he was done with the theater after one last, unsuccessful play, The Woman Who Laughed (1923). Over the next seven years, he came to specialize in playing villains onscreen, his intense yet suave, mustachioed presence gracing a series of melodramas and costume romances, including Under the Red Robe (1923) and Romola (1925), the latter shot in Italy, where he became a lifelong friend of the star, Ronald Colman. That movie, in which he brought a romantic and witty side to the heavy, marked the peak of Powell's silent-era villain portrayals, and he was never less than top-billed for the rest of his career. Powell worked in some of the best movies of the late silent era, including early versions of The Great Gatsby (1926), Beau Geste (also 1926), and The Four Feathers (1928), and was among the top stars at Paramount -- but he had an even bigger future ahead of him with the dawn of the sound era.

The arrival of synchronized sound hit Hollywood like an earthquake, wiping out the careers of an entire generation of stars, but Powell -- as an experienced stage actor -- was more than equal to the challenge at hand. It was during this period that he made the transition from villainous to heroic parts, and his breakthrough came when he was cast as Philo Vance, the detective created by author S.S. Van Dine. The Canary Murder Case (1929), starring Powell and Louise Brooks, was started as a silent but converted to a talkie after shooting was completed; Brooks refused to return to dub her voice and ended her Hollywood career as a result, but Powell proved even more charismatic with his voice than he had seemed in the silents. He sounded the way he looked, sophisticated, with excellent but natural diction, and was very appealing in the part of the detective, essentially carrying the movie when another actress was forced to voice Brook's part.

Powell was cast in a multitude of roles over the next few years at Paramount, and was successful in all of them, becoming one of the studio's most reliable leading men and a serious box-office draw. In 1931, Powell and his first wife, Eileen, divorced, and that same year he married Carole Lombard, then an up-and-coming young leading lady with whom he appeared in Man of the World and Ladies' Man (both 1931); they were divorced two years later but always remained on friendly terms. When he moved over to Warner Bros. briefly during the early '30s, Powell took on an even greater diversity of parts, however, including one part that even decades later seems a total surprise, the role of a Lower East Side attorney and first-generation American who challenges the prejudices and exclusivity of New York's upscale legal profession, in Lawyer Man (1933) -- and he pulled it off. But Powell's best role at Warner Bros. was in The Kennel Murder Case that same year, in which he returned to the part of Philo Vance in one of the finest mystery films of its period. In 1934, Powell moved over to MGM -- then the Tiffany's of Hollywood studios and ascending to the peak of its artistic and commercial success -- joining an array of stars that included Greta Garbo, Wallace Beery, John Barrymore, Marie Dressler, and Clark Gable.

Powell was cast with Gable, playing opposite Myrna Loy, in a crime drama called Manhattan Melodrama (1934), directed by W.S. Van Dyke, one of the studio's top hands, and during shooting Van Dyke noticed how unusually well Powell and Loy seemed to get along when they were off the set, awaiting their cues. There was a natural chemistry between the two, a shared wry wit that others enjoyed seeing, and he felt that this was something to pursue in another movie. Manhattan Melodrama went on to become a huge hit and achieved footnote status in the annals of American crime lore as the movie playing at the Biograph Theatre in Chicago when authorities shot and killed notorious bank robber John Dillinger as he was leaving the theater (though speculation has also been raised by a tiny faction of revisionist crime scholars that it wasn't, in fact, Dillinger, who was killed that night but some unknown man and that the FBI, seeking to burnish its image and cover up a mistake, simply claimed the kill).

With that success under his belt, Van Dyke was able to convince MGM to let him try pairing Powell off with Loy in a vehicle of their own, an adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's recent best-selling mystery novel The Thin Man. The management had so little interest or faith in this "experiment" by Van Dyke that he was given just 12 days in which to shoot the movie, however, where four weeks would have been a more normal shooting time for a film that was 93 minutes in its final cut. Cast as Nick and Nora Charles, a fun-loving independently wealthy couple -- she a wealthy heiress and he an attorney looking forward to retirement -- who solve a murder that has the police baffled, they delighted audiences with their banter and the obvious pleasure they took in their work with each other. Viewers actually could believe them as a married couple, and also as a very special type of married couple. The mystery at the center of the movie was intriguing enough, and the supporting cast, including Maureen O'Sullivan, was fun, but it was the vision of marriage that made the movie something new. Up until that time, marriage, when it was depicted onscreen, had usually been shown in either overly sentimental or comically slapstick terms. Powell and Loy, and the script they worked from by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, presented a sometimes passionate, sometimes tart (but always loving) vision of marriage, and for the first time in a talking picture presented an image of marriage that made the institution look like it was fun. It was charming enough to get Powell a Best Actor nomination in the Academy Awards for that year.

Ironically for Powell -- who was just a bit portly -- the name "the Thin Man" (which had actually referred to a character played by Edward Ellis in the first film) stuck to his character of Nick Charles. Whereas Hammett's novel was billed as "A Nick Charles Mystery" (and the only Nick Charles mystery), the inevitable sequels ordered by the studio all used the "Thin Man" name, and he and Loy acquitted themselves beautifully through the first two, After the Thin Man (1936) and Another Thin Man (1939), under the direction of Van Dyke. In the interim, Powell made many more movies, among them the delightful 1936 screwball comedies Libeled Lady and My Man Godfrey, the former teaming him once again with Loy while the latter (done on loan-out to Universal) played beautifully off of Powell's sophisticated image, and teamed him with Carole Lombard as successfully as he had been with Loy. He also played the title role in the studio's blockbuster biopic The Great Ziegfeld, a fanciful all-star tribute (also with Loy) to the late theatrical impresario Florenz Ziegfeld. In these and a couple dozen other movies, Powell proved himself a winning presence at the box office; audiences genuinely liked him, and the aura of unpretentious sophistication that he brought to his portrayals allowed him to elicit that sympathy, going all the way back to his villainous parts in the silents.

Powell was the third most popular actor in Hollywood, based on box-office receipts, in 1936, and 1937 seemed to bid to be just as successful when fate intervened. He had been teamed with Jean Harlow in two movies, Reckless and Libeled Lady, and the two were reportedly engaged to be married at the time of the actress' sudden death that year, an event that forced him to take a break from acting. And, in 1938, although it wasn't revealed until many years later when he began discussing his health issues openly as a way to help others, he was diagnosed with rectal cancer and forced to take a further leave. He was given a short time to live, but managed to confound the illness and the predictions with radiation treatments; he even kept his career going with one film each in 1938 and 1939, the latter the second Thin Man sequel, Another Thin Man. Powell was back working full-time if not keeping so heavy a schedule in the early '40s, when the studio revived the Thin Man movies anew, starting with Shadow of the Thin Man. With Van Dyke now gone, Powell and Loy proved that they could work their magic in the hands of other filmmakers, in scripts that carried them through World War II (The Thin Man Goes Home, 1944) and the postwar period (Song of the Thin Man, 1947). The Florenz Ziegfeld character was also revived for Powell once more in Ziegfeld Follies (1946), allowing him to reprise that part from a decade earlier.

The following year at Warner Bros., Powell got to realize his long-held wish to play Clarence Day in Life With Father. He'd been after the play as a film vehicle since 1942, when he'd convinced MGM to try and buy the film rights. When those proved too expensive and the studio declined to buy them, he waited until Warners had them and then auditioned successfully for the part. The result was the best of reviews of Powell's entire career, and another Oscar nomination as Best Actor (the award went to his old friend Ronald Colman for A Double Life). Instead, Powell won the New York Film Critics award for his work in that movie and the comedy The Senator Was Indiscreet, the latter directed by George S. Kaufman and featuring Loy in a gag appearance. Powell continued starring in movies such as Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid (1948) and Dancing in the Dark (1949), and later settled into what amounted to starring character roles in films such as How to Marry a Millionaire (1953), closing out his career in the role of Doc in Mr. Roberts.

Powell retired happily and comfortably to his home in Palm Springs, CA, with his third wife, the former actress Diana Lewis, whom he married in 1940 and who survived him. Ironically, with the advent of the television era and the boom in repertory movie houses in the 1960s and '70s, and the advent of home video in the early '80s, Powell's popularity didn't wane after his retirement, as older viewers continually rediscovered The Thin Man and its sequels, as well as his other hits such as My Man Godfrey and Libeled Lady, and new generations came to know those movies as well. He was one of the most consistently popular of retired film stars among the ever growing audience attuned to older movies, his fame enduring for decades in a manner similar to that of his onetime friends the Gish sisters (with whom he'd gone to Italy in 1920s for the shooting of Romola). Powell never re-emerged to give celebrity interviews, apart from discussing his cancer, preferring to keep to himself and a tight coterie of friends (including Loy, who lived on the opposite coast, in New York). His personal life also had a tragic side, as his son, who had become a story editor and producer, took his own life in 1968. Loy became one of the better conduits to the public for what information there was about Powell, and later told interviewers that he was embarrassed by the gradual hearing loss that had overtaken him.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Barbara Stanwyck (July 16, 1907 – January 20, 1990)

Barbara Stanwyck (July 16, 1907 – January 20, 1990) was an American actress, a film and television star, known during her 60-year career as a consummate and versatile professional with a strong screen presence, and a favorite of directors including Cecil B. DeMille, Fritz Lang and Frank Capra. After a short stint as a stage actress, she made 85 films in 38 years in Hollywood, before turning to television.

Stanwyck was nominated for the Academy Award four times, and won three Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe. She was the recipient of honorary lifetime awards from the Motion Picture Academy, the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the Golden Globes, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and the Screen Actors Guild, has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and is ranked as the eleventh greatest female star of all time by the American Film Institute.

Stanwyck's first sound film was The Locked Door (1928), followed by Mexicali Rose in 1929. Neither film was successful; nonetheless, Frank Capra chose Stanwyck for his Ladies of Leisure (1930). Numerous memorable roles followed, among them the self-sacrificing mother in Stella Dallas (1937), the con artist who falls for her would-be victim (played by Henry Fonda) in The Lady Eve (1941), the woman who talks an infatuated insurance salesman (Fred McMurray) into killing her husband in Double Indemnity (1944), and the doomed shrewish wife in Sorry, Wrong Number (1948). Stanwyck was one of the actresses considered for the role of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With The Wind (1939), although she wasn't given a screen test. In 1944, Stanwyck was the highest-paid woman in the United States.

Pauline Kael described Stanwyck's acting, "[she] seems to have an intuitive understanding of the fluid physical movements that work best on camera" and in reference to her early 1930s film work "early talkies sentimentality ... only emphasizes Stanwyck's remarkable modernism."

Stanwyck was known for her accessibility and kindness to the backstage crew on any film set. She knew the names of their wives and children, and asked after them by name. Frank Capra said she was "destined to be beloved by all directors, actors, crews and extras. In a Hollywood popularity contest she would win first prize hands down."

When Stanwyck's film career declined in 1957, she moved to television. Her 1961–1962 series The Barbara Stanwyck Show was not a ratings success but earned her first Emmy Award. The 1965–1969 Western series The Big Valley on ABC made her one of the most popular actresses on television, winning her another Emmy. She was billed as "Miss Barbara Stanwyck," and her role as head of a frontier family was likened to that of Ben Cartwright, played by Lorne Greene in series Bonanza. Stanwyck's costars included Richard Long (who had been in Stanwyck's 1953 film All I Desire), Peter Breck, Linda Evans, and Lee Majors.

Years later, Stanwyck earned her third Emmy for The Thorn Birds. In 1985, she made three guest appearances on the hit primetime soap opera Dynasty prior to the launch of its ill-fated spin-off series The Colbys in which she starred alongside Charlton Heston, Stephanie Beacham and Katharine Ross. Disappointed with the experience, Stanwyck remained with the series for only one season (it lasted for two), and her role as Constance Colby Patterson would prove to be her last. Earl Hamner Jr. (producer of The Waltons) had initially wanted Stanwyck for the lead role of Angela Channing on the successful 1980s soap opera, Falcon Crest, but she turned it down.

William Holden credited her with saving his career when they co-starred in Golden Boy (1939). They remained lifelong friends. When Stanwyck and Holden were presenting the Best Sound Oscar, Holden paused to pay a special tribute to Stanwyck. Shortly after Holden's death, Stanwyck returned the favor upon receiving her honorary Oscar, she said with an emotion "tonight my golden boy you got your wish".

Her first husband was actor Frank Fay. They were married on August 26, 1928. On December 5, 1932, they adopted a son, Dion Anthony "Tony" Fay, who was one month old. (He and Stanwyck eventually became estranged.) The marriage was a troubled one; Fay's successful career on Broadway did not translate to the big screen, whereas Stanwyck achieved Hollywood stardom, after a bumpy start. Also, Fay reportedly did not shy away from physical confrontations with his young wife, especially when he was inebriated. Some film historians claim that the marriage was the basis for A Star is Born. The couple divorced on December 30, 1935.
In 1936, while making the film His Brother's Wife, Stanwyck met and fell in love with her co-star, Robert Taylor. Following a whirlwind romance, the couple began living together. Their 1939 marriage was arranged with the help of Taylor's studio MGM, a common practice in Hollywood's golden age. She and Taylor enjoyed time together outdoors during the early years of their marriage, and were the proud owners of many acres of prime West Los Angeles property. Their large ranch and home in the Mandeville Canyon section of Brentwood in Los Angeles is to this day referred to by locals as the old "Robert Taylor ranch".

Taylor had several affairs during the marriage, including one with Ava Gardner. Stanwyck was rumored to have attempted suicide when she learned of Taylor's fling with Lana Turner. She ultimately filed for divorce in 1950 when a starlet made Turner's romance with Taylor public. The decree was granted on February 21, 1951. After the divorce, they acted together in Stanwyck's last feature film The Night Walker (1964). Stanwyck was reportedly devastated when many of his old letters and photos were lost in a house fire. She never remarried, collecting alimony of 15 percent of Taylor's salary until his death in 1969.

Stanwyck had an affair with actor Robert Wagner, whom she met on the set of Titanic. Wagner, who was 22 years old, and Stanwyck, who was 45 at the beginning of the affair, enjoyed a four-year romance, as described in Wagner's 2008 memoir, Pieces of My Heart. Stanwyck eventually broke off the relationship.

[edit] Later years and death
Stanwyck's retirement years were active, with charity work done completely out of the limelight. Her decline started following a robbery and beating at her Beverly Hills home in 1981.

Barbara Stanwyck died of congestive heart failure, emphysema and chronic obstructive lung disease at St. John's Hospital, in Santa Monica, California, in 1990. She was 82. Her body was cremated, and her ashes scattered in Lone Pine, California.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

"To Kill A Mockingbird" turns 50!

To Kill a Mockingbird is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Harper Lee published in 1960. It was instantly successful and has become a classic of modern American literature. The plot and characters are loosely based on the author's observations of her family and neighbors, as well as on an event that occurred near her hometown in 1936—when she was 10 years old.

The novel is renowned for its warmth and humor, despite dealing with the serious issues of rape and racial inequality. The narrator's father, Atticus Finch, has served as a moral hero for many readers and as a model of integrity for lawyers. One critic explains the novel's impact by writing, "In the twentieth century, To Kill a Mockingbird is probably the most widely read book dealing with race in America, and its protagonist, Atticus Finch, the most enduring fictional image of racial heroism."

As a Southern Gothic novel and a Bildungsroman, the primary themes of To Kill a Mockingbird involve racial injustice and the destruction of innocence. Scholars have noted that Lee also addresses issues of class, courage, compassion, and gender roles in the American Deep South. The book is widely taught in schools in English-speaking countries with lessons that emphasize tolerance and decry prejudice. Despite its themes, To Kill a Mockingbird has been subject to campaigns for removal from public classrooms. Often the book is challenged for its use of racial epithets, and writers have noticed that regardless of its popularity since its publication, some readers are bothered by the novel's treatment of black characters.

Lee's novel was initially reviewed by at least 30 newspapers and magazines, whose critics varied widely in their assessments. More recently, British librarians ranked the book ahead of the Bible as one "every adult should read before they die". The book was adapted into an Oscar-winning film in 1962 by director Robert Mulligan, with a screenplay by Horton Foote. Since 1990, a play based on the novel has been performed annually in Harper Lee's hometown of Monroeville, Alabama. To date, it is Lee's only published novel, and although she continues to respond to the book's impact, she has refused any personal publicity for herself or the novel since 1964.

The Film:

To Kill a Mockingbird is a 1962 American drama film adaptation of Harper Lee's novel of the same name. It stars Mary Badham in the role of Scout and Gregory Peck in the role of Atticus Finch.

In 1995, the film was listed in the National Film Registry. It also ranks twenty-fifth on the American Film Institute's 10th anniversary list of the greatest American movies of all time, and #1 on AFI's list of best courtroom films. In 2003, AFI named Atticus Finch the greatest movie hero of the 20th century. The film is in the public domain.

This film marks the film debut of Robert Duvall, William Windom and Alice Ghostley.

The film's young protagonists, Scout (Mary Badham) and her brother Jem (Phillip Alford), live in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama, during the 1930s. The story covers three years, during which Scout and Jem undergo changes in their lives. They begin as innocent children, who spend their days happily playing games with each other and spying on the town bogeyman (Robert Duvall). Through their father's (Gregory Peck) work as a lawyer, they begin to learn of the racism and evil prevalent in their town, and painfully mature as they are exposed to it.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Jerry Orbach Jerome Bernard "Jerry" Orbach (October 20, 1935 – December 28, 2004)

Jerry Orbach often commented, without false modesty, that he was fortunate indeed to have been a steadily working actor since the age of 20. Such was an understatement: graced with not only formidable dramatic instinct but one of American theater's top singing voices, Orbach resisted others' attempts to peg him as a character actor time and again and established himself as one of the most unique talents in entertainment per se. Television producer Dick Wolf perhaps put it best when he described Orbach as "a legendary figure of 20th century show business" and "one of the most honored performers of his generation."

A native of the Bronx, Orbach was born to an ex-vaudevillian father who worked full time as a restaurant manager and a mother who sang professionally on the radio. The Orbachs moved around constantly during Jerry's youth, relocating from Gotham to Scranton to Wilkes-Barre to Springfield, Massachusetts and eventually settling in Chicago - a mobility that gave the young Orbach an unusual ability to adapt to any circumstance or situation, and thus presaged his involvement in drama. Orbach later attended Northwestern University, trained with Herbert_Berghof and Lee_Strasberg, and took his Gotham theatrical bow in 1955, as an understudy in the popular 1955 revival of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's The Threepenny Opera, eventually playing the lead role of serial killer Macheath.

During the Threepenny run, Orbach made his first film appearance in the Manhattan-filmed low budgeter Cop_Killer (1958). In 1960, Orbach created the role of flamboyant interlocutor El Gallo in the off-Broadway smash The Fantasticks, and later starred in such Broadway productions as Carnival (1961), Promises Promises (1966), Chicago (1975) and 42nd Street (1983). By day, Orbach made early-1960s appearances in several New York-based TV series, notably The Shari Lewis Show.

In the early years, Orbach's film assignments were infrequent, but starting around 1981, with his pivotal role as officer Gus Levy in Sidney Lumet's masterful urban epic Prince of the City, the actor generally turned up in around one movie per year. His more fondly remembered screen assignments include the part of Jennifer Grey's father in Dirty_Dancing (1987), Martin Landau's shady underworld brother in Woody Allen's Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) the voice of the Chevalieresque candellabra in the Disney cartoon feature Beauty and the Beast (1990), and Billy Crystal's easily amused agent in Mr._Saturday_Night (1992). Orbach perhaps made his most memorable contribution to television, however. After headlining a brief, short-lived detective series entitled The Law and Harry McGraw from September 1987 to February 1988 (a spinoff of Murder, She Wrote), Orbach landed a role that seemed to draw heavily from his Prince of the City portrayal: Detective Lennie Briscoe, a sardonic, mordant police investigator on Wolf's blockbuster cop drama Law & Order.Orbach carried the assignment for twelve seasons, and many attributed a large degree of the program's success to him.

Jerry Orbach died of prostate cancer at the age of 69 on December 28, 2004. Three years later, Orbach turned up, posthumously, on subway print advertisements for the New York Eye Bank. As a performer with nearly perfect vision, he had opted to donate his eyes to two women after his death - a reflection on the remarkable humanitarian ideals that characterized his off-camera self. Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide


Eureka takes place in a high tech community of the same name, located in the U.S. State of Oregon (Washington in the pilot) and inhabited entirely by brilliant scientists working on new scientific advancements. The town is operated by a corporation called Global Dynamics (GD), that is overseen by the United States Department of Defense. The town's existence and location are closely guarded secrets.

U.S. Marshal Jack Carter stumbles upon Eureka while transporting a fugitive prisoner (his own rebellious teenage daughter Zoe) back to her mother's home in Los Angeles. When a faulty experiment cripples the sheriff of Eureka, Carter finds himself quickly chosen to fill the vacancy. Despite not being a genius like most members of the town, Jack Carter's ability to connect to others, his simple but effective ideas, his above average intelligence in practicality, and his steadfast dedication to his work repeatedly saves Eureka, and sometimes the entire world, from one would-be disaster after another.

Sheriff Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson) is a U.S. Marshal who reluctantly ends up as Sheriff of Eureka. Jack is consistently dumbfounded by the wonders Eureka produces, as well as their propensity to produce things that often threaten the entire town, if not the world. Despite being a man of average intellegence in a town full of geniuses, Jack's admittedly simplistic ideas and ability to make intuitive connections between seemingly disparate events often save the day. (This is in contrast to the other residents of Eureka, who, being stereotypical scientists, tend to over-complicate things and get lost in minutiae). Jack has deep feelings for Dr. Allison Blake, although his reaction to new arrival Dr. Tess Fontana results in a blossoming relationship. However, by the end of Season 3, the situation once again changes and at the end of the season finale, we find Carter at a crossroads with an important decision to make which could impact upon his relationships with both Blake and Fontana...

Dr. Allison Blake (Salli Richardson-Whitfield) is a Department of Defense agent who acts as the liaison between Eureka and the Federal Government, and later becomes the director of Global Dynamics. She is always at the forefront of any dilemma which might arise.

Dr. Tess Fontana (Jaime Ray Newman) is described as a "brilliant engineer and astrophysicist who sees things differently than those around her... putting her at odds with the mainstream scientific community." Allison, having known this out-of-the-box thinker since grad school, puts her to work on a highly confidential Global Dynamics project. By the last quarter of Season 3, Dr. Fontana finds herself spending time with - and eventually positioned as a love interest for - Colin Ferguson's Jack, by the season finale she had spent at least four nights with Jack in his home. The Season 3 finale suggests that her character is to be written out from the primary storylines in Season 4, however she has appeared in commercials for season 4.

Zoe Carter (Jordan Hinson) is Jack's rebellious teenage daughter. Unlike her father, she is intelligent enough to keep up with the town's residents (her IQ is 157), yet like her father, possesses the street smarts most of the town's residents do not. She longs to be a medical doctor, and with the help of Henry's recommendation letter, receives an early acceptance to Harvard's medical program. She dates Lucas.
Dr. Henry Deacon (Joe Morton) is the town jack-of-all-trades. Although, like most residents of Eureka, he is a brilliant multidisciplined scientist, Henry has ethical objections to the kind of research conducted at Global Dynamics, preferring employment as the town's mechanic. Henry's assistance is often invaluable in defusing the situations the experiments in town create. He was destined for incarceration, following a false biohazard scare to distract everyone from him trying to free Allison's son (Kevin) from the Artifact. The bioscare hoax also lead to the escape of Beverly. However, he was eventually granted a reprieve and remained in Eureka. During Season 3, he was elected Town Mayor as a write-in candidate.

Dr. Nathan Stark (Ed Quinn) was one of Eureka's top scientists who is modeled after Tony Stark. He and Jack are frequently at odds, though both respect the other. He was formerly married to Allison, and they rekindled their relationship in the second season. They were supposed to get remarried in the third season, but he died whilst saving the world from a time paradox on the day of their wedding.

Deputy Jo Lupo (Erica Cerra) is another of the town's few non-genius residents. Jo is a tough, no-nonsense cop with a love of firearms. From Season 2 onwards, after a brief fling with Taggart, she later develops a relationship with Zane.

Dr. Douglas Fargo (Neil Grayston) is a junior scientist who is treated somewhat dismissively by his peers. Accident prone, he more often than not ends up a victim of the disasters that befall the town. He has also caused a fair share of the problems. Neil Grayston also provides the voice of S.A.R.A.H (Self Actuated Residential Automated Habitat), the bunker home that Jack and Zoe Carter live in.

Dr. Beverly Barlowe (Debrah Farentino) is the town psychiatrist who secretly works for a conglomerate of business interests wishing to exploit Eureka's innovations.
Dr. Jim Taggart (Matt Frewer) is a somewhat eccentric animal expert. He also does work in geophysics.

Vincent (Chris Gauthier) is the owner of Cafe Diem. He prides himself on being able to make anything his customers ask for — partially due to the extradimensional features of his pantry, which essentially allows him infinite room in which to store ingredients for recipes. He is no exception to the town's geniuses and holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Gastronomy. Throughout the series, it has been implied that Vincent may be gay, due to his flamboyant manner of speech, and a scene in the second season episode, "Games People Play," in which residents of Eureka disappear, leaving residents of no memory of them. Jack asks Vincent about Jo, to which Vincent replies by asking him if he (the nonexistent new deputy) is cute. His last name has not yet been revealed.

Zane Donovan (Niall Matter) is a rebellious genius, recruited in the second season as an alternative to imprisonment after being arrested for fraud (allegedly causing the New York Stock Exchange to crash). He also develops a relationship with Jo Lupo shortly after his arrival in Eureka.

Eva Thorne (Frances Fisher) is a corporate fixer hired to make Eureka more profitable, which she mainly accomplishes by downsizing. She seems to have an ulterior motive involving an underground military base built before Eureka was founded. An accident in this facility resulted in her being extraordinarily long-lived - she is revealed to be 107 years old when she returns to Eureka. After sacrificing her one chance of finding a cure in order to save Zoe, Thorne leaves to start a new life finally able to put her past behind her.
General Mansfield (Barclay Hope) is an army general who frequently visits Eureka to check up on Government projects, or to enforce martial law when experiments get out of control.

Lexi Carter (Ever Carradine) is Jack's free-spirited sister who comes to live with him and Zoe early in Season 3 after finding out she (Lexi) is pregnant. Her fanatic emphasis on waste management, recycling, spirituality and politics quickly endears her to others and makes her an asset to the community. She leaves Eureka with her husband-to-be in the middle of season 3 after he discovers her pregnancy.

Lucas (Vanya Asher) is Zoe's shy genius boyfriend. They start dating after being forced to work together on a high school science project in Season 2. In Season 3, Lucas is cited as having the third highest IQ ever measured, even though he can be a bit of a klutz. He receives early acceptance to MIT after a letter of recommendation from Henry, so he is able to be with Zoe in Massachusetts.

The episodes of season one were not aired in the order intended by the show's creators. This is suggested by the episodes' production numbers which are displayed on the SyFy's Eureka website next to episode titles quite often. There are some small inconsistencies when watched closely, but such inconsistencies are minimal and were intentionally controlled. In podcast commentaries with the show's creators and star Colin Ferguson, they confirm that the production order is in fact the order in which they intended the show to air, but the network executives changed the order to try to place stronger episodes earlier in the run to help attract viewers. The creators were able to make minor changes in editing and sometimes dubbed dialogue in later episodes (for instance, they removed the explicit mention of Zoe's first day at school) to try to eliminate audience confusion.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Janet Leigh (July 6, 1927 – October 3, 2004)

Janet Leigh (July 6, 1927 – October 3, 2004) was an American actress.

Discovered by the actress Norma Shearer, Leigh secured a contract with MGM and began her film career in the late 1940s. She appeared in several popular films over the following decade, including Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960).

From the end of the 1950s, she played more dramatic roles in such films as Safari (1958) Touch of Evil (1958) and The Manchurian Candidate (1962), but she achieved her most lasting recognition for her performance as the doomed Marion Crane in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960). For this role she was awarded the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Her acting career declined from the mid 1960s. However, she continued to appear occasionally in films and television, including two performances with her daughter Jamie Lee Curtis in The Fog (1980) and Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998).

Leigh made her film debut in the big budget film The Romance of Rosy Ridge in 1947, as the romantic interest of Van Johnson's character. She got the role when performing Phyllis Thaxter's long speech in Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944) for the head of the studio talent department in 1946. During the shooting, Leigh's name was first changed to 'Jeanette Reames', then to 'Janet Leigh' and finally back to her birth name 'Jeanette Morrison', because 'Janet Leigh' resembled Vivien Leigh too much. However, Johnson did not like the name and it was finally changed back to 'Janet Leigh'. Leigh initially left college for a film career, but enrolled night school at the University of Southern California in 1947.

Immediately after the film's release, Leigh was cast opposite Walter Pidgeon and Deborah Kerr in If Winter Comes (1947) in the summer of 1947. Furthermore, due to the box office success of The Romance of Rosy Ridge, Leigh and Johnson were teamed up again in a film project called The Life of Monty Stratton in August 1947. The project was eventually shelved and released in 1949 as The Stratton Story, starring James Stewart and June Allyson. Another film that Leigh was set to star in, before being replaced, was Alias a Gentleman, in which she was cast in April 1947. By late 1947, Leigh was occupied with the shooting of the Lassie film Hills of Home (1948), the first film in which she received star billing.

In late 1948, Leigh was hailed the 'No. 1 glamor girl' of Hollywood, although known for her polite, generous and down-to-earth persona.

Many movies followed, notably the title role in the musical comedy My Sister Eileen, co-starring Jack Lemmon, Betty Garrett and Dick York. She proved versatile, starring in films as diverse as the baseball farce Angels in the Outfield in 1951 and the tense western The Naked Spur in 1953.

Her initial roles were ingenues based on characters from historical literature, for example in Scaramouche opposite Stewart Granger. By 1958, she moved to more complex roles.

Leigh's best-known role was as the morally ambiguous Marion Crane in the Alfred Hitchcock film Psycho (1960), featuring its iconic shower murder scene. She received a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Leigh had starring roles in many other films, including the Orson Welles film-noir classic Touch of Evil, 1962's The Manchurian Candidate with Frank Sinatra and the 1963 musical Bye Bye Birdie based on the hit Broadway show.

She co-starred with third husband Tony Curtis in five films, Houdini (1953), The Black Shield of Falworth (1954), The Vikings (1958), The Perfect Furlough (1959) and Who Was That Lady? (1960).

In 1975, Leigh played a retired Hollywood song and dance star opposite Peter Falk and John Payne in the Columbo episode Forgotten Lady. She also appeared in two horror films with her daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis, playing a major role in The Fog (1980), and making a brief appearance in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998).

Leigh is also the author of four books. Her first, the memoir "There Really Was a Hollywood", was a NY Times bestseller. This was followed by the novels "House of Destiny" and "The Dream Factory", and the non-fiction book "Psycho: Behind the Scenes of the Classic Thriller".