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Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is a 1939 American political comedy-drama film directed by Frank Capra, starring Jean Arthur and James Stewart.

BOGART  1899 - 1957

Humphrey Deforest Bogart was born on January 23, 1899, in New York City to Deforest Bogart, a surgeon, and Maud Humphrey Bogart, an illustrator. He attended several private schools, including Trinity School in New York and Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. He performed poorly and was expelled at one point. Somewhat surprisingly Humphrey was not particularly interested in drama as a schoolboy.

Bogart left school to serve in the U.S. Navy during World War I (1914–18; a war that involved many European countries as well as Russia, the United States, and areas in the Middle East). While on assignment in the military police, a prisoner tried to escape and struck Bogart in the mouth. Bogart was left with a scar and a slight lisp. These gave a more sinister quality to his already gravelly voice. When he returned home he worked briefly as a Wall Street (the area of New York City where the stock exchange is located) clerk.

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LAUREN BACALL  1924 - 2014


Lauren Bacall was born Betty Joan Perske on September 16, 1924, in New York City. She is the daughter of Natalie Weinstein-Bacal, a Romanian Jewish immigrant, and William Perske, who was born in New Jersey, to Polish Jewish parents. Her family was middle-class, with her father working as a salesman and her mother as a secretary.


They divorced when she was five. When she was a school girl, Lauren originally wanted to be a dancer, but later, she became enthralled with acting, so she switched gears to head into that field. She had studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York after high school, which enabled her to get her feet wet in some off-Broadway productions.

 (1948). The crime drama was even more of a Key Largo in Lionel Barrymore, and Edward G. Robinson (1947). The film kept movie patrons on the edge of their seats. The following year, she starred with Bogart, Dark Passage(1946) with Bogart. The mystery, in the role of Vivian Sternwood Rutledge, was a resounding success. Although she was making one film a year, each production would be eagerly awaited by the public. In 1947, again with her husband, Lauren starred in the thriller The Big Sleep (1945), Lauren received second billing in Confidential AgentAfter 1945's nail biter than her previous film. In 1950, Lauren starred in Bright Leaf (1950), a drama set in 1894. It was a film of note because she appeared without her husband - her co-star was Gary Cooper. In 1953, Lauren appeared in her first comedy as Schatze Page in How to Marry a Millionaire(1953). The film, with co-stars Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable, was a smash hit all across the theaters of America.

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THE DUKE (John Wane)  1907 - 1979


From the age of twelve Duke helped his father at his drugstore in his spare time. He also supported himself with a variety of odd jobs, including stints as a delivery boy and as a trucker's helper. At first he aspired to attend the Naval Academy and become a naval officer but things did not work out as planned. Fortunately, he was a star football player on the Glendale High School team, and he was accepted at the University of Southern California on a football scholarship. But an accident soon ended his playing career and scholarship. Without funds to support himself, he left the university in 1927 after two years there.

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John Wayne was born Marion Mitchell Morrison, of Scotch-Irish descent, to Clyde and Mary Morrison on May 26, 1907, in Winterset, Iowa. He had one brother, Robert Emmet Morrison. He received his nickname "Duke" while still a child, because of his love for a dog of that name. His father was a pharmacist whose business ventures did not succeed. In 1914, when Duke was six, the family moved to California where his father was able to open a drugstore. In 1926 his parents were divorced.


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California lawmakers have defeated a resolution intended to honor John Wayne after opponents challenged what they say are racist statements by the late actor. Several Republicans say Wayne is remembered worldwide as an American hero. They argued that lawmakers have honored others despite controversies that eventually clouded their legacies.


INGRID BERGMAN  1915 - 1982


Ingrid Bergman was one of the greatest actresses from Hollywood's lamented Golden Era. Her natural and unpretentious beauty and her immense acting talent made her one of the most celebrated figures in the history of American cinema. Bergman is also one of the most Oscar-awarded actresses, tied with Meryl Streep, both second only to Katharine Hepburn.

Ingrid Bergman was born on August 29, 1915 in Stockholm, Sweden, to a German mother, Frieda Henrietta (Adler), and a Swedish father, Justus Samuel Bergman, an artist and photographer. Her mother died when she was only two and her father died when she was 12. She went to live with an elderly uncle.



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JAMES CAGNEY  1889 - 1986


Sinners' Holiday (1930) 

One of Hollywood's preeminent male stars of all time, James Cagney was also an accomplished dancer and easily played light comedy. James Francis Cagney was born on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City, to Carolyn (Nelson) and James Francis Cagney, Sr., who was a bartender and amateur boxer. Cagney was of Norwegian (from his maternal grandfather) and Irish descent. Ending three decades on the screen, he retired to his farm in Stanfordville, New York (some 77 miles/124 km. north of his New York City birthplace), after starring in Billy Wilder's One, Two, Three (1961). He emerged from retirement to star in the 1981 screen adaptation of E.L. Doctorow's novel "Ragtime" (Ragtime (1981)), in which he was reunited with his frequent co-star of the 1930s, Pat O'Brien, and which was his last theatrical film and O'Brien's as well). Cagney's final performance came in the title role of the made-for-TV movie Terrible Joe Moran (1984), in which he played opposite Art Carney.

Famous for his gangster roles he played in the 1930s and 1940s (which made his only Oscar win as the musical composer/dancer/actor George M.Cohan most ironic).

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Though most Cagney imitators use the line "You dirty rat!", Cagney never actually said it in any of his films.



AUDREY HEPBURN  1929 - 1993

Belgian-born British/Swiss actress and humanitarian.

Audrey Hepburn was a popular movie actress who won an Academy Award in 1954 for her work in Roman Holiday. She also worked with the United Nations to improve the lives of the poor, especially children.


Hepburn and her mother moved to England after the war, and she continued to pursue her dance career. She was cast in bit parts on stage and in films in both Holland and England before being discovered in 1952 by the French novelist Colette (1873–1954) in Monte Carlo, Monaco. Colette insisted that Hepburn play the lead role in the Broadway production of her novel Gigi.Although Hepburn's lack of experience was a problem at first, she improved steadily, and reviews of the show praised her performance. She also won a Theatre World Award for her work.


Hepburn's nationwide exposure in Gigi also brought her to Hollywood's attention. She was given a starring role in Paramount Studios' Roman Holiday. Costarring Gregory Peck (1916–), the 1953 film tells the tale of a runaway princess who is shown around Rome, Italy, by a reporter who falls in love with her. He then convinces her to resume her royal duties. The role landed Hepburn an Academy Award for best actress at the age of twenty-four.


Hepburn was now highly sought after. Director Billy Wilder (1906–2002) signed her up in 1954 for his new film, Sabrina. The movie was about a chauffeur's (someone who is paid to drive a wealthy person's car) daughter whose education in France makes her the toast of Long Island, New York, society. Hepburn costarred with William Holden (1918–1981) and Humphrey Bogart (1899–1957), who was her love interests in the film.


Hepburn went on to share the screen with all of the top leading men of her time: Cary Grant (1904–1986), Fred Astaire (1899–1987), Rex Harrison (1908–1990), Mel Ferrer (1917–) (whom she married in 1954 and divorced in 1968), and Sean Connery (1930–). In 1959 she made her first serious film, The Nun's Story. Hepburn and Albert Finney (1936–) were applauded for their strong acting. Of Hepburn's twenty-seven films, quite a few have become classics. She was nominated (her name was put forward for consideration) for three other Academy Awards in addition to the one she won for Roman Holiday.

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GRETA GARBO  1905 - 1990


Greta Garbo was born Greta Lovisa Gustafsson on September 18, 1905, in Stockholm, Sweden, to Anna Lovisa (Johansdotter), who worked at a jam factory, and Karl Alfred Gustafsson, a laborer. She was fourteen when her father died, which left the family destitute. Greta was forced to leave school and go to work in a department store. The store used her as a model in its newspaper ads. She had no film aspirations until she appeared in short advertising film at that same department store while she was still a teenager. Erik A. Petschler, a comedy director, saw the film and gave her a small part in his Luffar-Petter (1922). Encouraged by her own performance, she applied for and won a scholarship to a Swedish drama school. While there she appeared in at least one film, En lyckoriddare (1921). Both were small parts, but it was a start. Finally famed Swedish director Mauritz Stiller pulled her from the drama school for the lead role in The Saga of Gösta Berling (1924). At 18 Greta was on a roll.

Her career suffered a setback the following year in Marie Walewska (1937), which was a box office disaster. She later made a comeback when she starred in Ninotchka (1939), which showcased her comedic side. It wasn't until two years later she made what was to be her last film, Two-Faced Woman (1941), another comedy. But the film drew controversy and was condemned by the Catholic Church and other groups and was a box office failure, which left Garbo shaken.

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Greta continued to give intense performances in whatever was handed her. The next year she was cast in what turned out to be yet another hit, Grand Hotel (1932). However, it was in MGM's Anna Karenina (1935) that she gave what some consider the performance of her life. She was absolutely breathtaking in the role as a woman torn between two lovers and her son. Shortly afterwards, she starred in the historical drama Queen Christina (1933) playing the title character to great acclaim. She earned an Oscar nomination for her role in the romantic drama Camille (1936), again playing the title character.



CLARK GABLE  1901 - 1960

William Clark Gable was born on February 1, 1901 in Cadiz, Ohio, to Adeline (Hershelman) and William Henry Gable, an oil-well driller. He was of German, Irish, and Swiss-German descent. When he was seven months old, his mother died, and his father sent him to live with his maternal aunt and uncle in Pennsylvania, where he stayed until he was two.


His father then returned to take him back to Cadiz. At 16, he quit high school, went to work in an Akron, Ohio, tire factory, and decided to become an actor after seeing the play "The Bird of Paradise". He toured in stock companies, worked oil fields and sold ties. On December 13, 1924, he married Josephine Dillon, his acting coach and 15 years his senior. Around that time, they moved to Hollywood, so that Clark could concentrate on his acting career. In April 1930, they divorced and a year later, he married Maria Langham (a.k.a. Maria Franklin Gable), also about 17 years older than him.



His acting career then flourished. At one point, he refused an assignment, and the studio punished him by loaning him out to (at the time) low-rent Columbia Pictures, which put him in Frank Capra's It Happened One Night (1934), which won him an Academy Award for his performance. The next year saw a starring role in Call of the Wild (1935) with Loretta Young, with whom he had an affair (resulting in the birth of a daughter, Judy Lewis). He returned to far more substantial roles at MGM, such as Fletcher Christian in Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) and Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind (1939).

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Left - photograph by Yousuf Karsh, master photographer of the 20th century



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BETTE DAVIS  1908 - 1989


Ruth Elizabeth Davis was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, on April 5, 1908, the eldest daughter of Harlow Morrell Davis, a lawyer, and Ruth Favor Davis. She was called Bette as a child and kept the name throughout her career. After her parents divorced in 1916, she and her sister, Barbara, moved frequently throughout New England with their mother, who was pursuing a photography career. Both girls attended boarding school in the Berkshires and went to high school in Newton, Massachusetts. Bette started acting in plays and taking drama classes while she was in school.


She graduated from Cushing Academy, in Ashburnham, Massachusetts, with an idea that she might try acting. But she received little encouragement, as she was not considered very beautiful. She had made up her mind, though, and she headed for New York City.

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Davis enrolled in John Murray Anderson's drama school and found some work with George Cukor's acting company in Rochester, New York. She also worked at the Cape Playhouse in Dennis, Massachusetts, as an usherette (a female guide who escorts people to correct seats in theaters or in other events) and a bit-part player. Her first major role was in a stage production of The Earth Between (1928).

Broken Dishes opened in November 1929 and ran for six months. That led to a 1930 production of Solid South, after which she failed a screen test in Hollywood.


Davis was also tested at Universal Studios and hired, even though studio executives were not very supportive. She appeared in two films in 1931, Bad Sister and Seed. 
The critics ignored her in both. Davis got a break when she was offered a part in The Man Who Played God. She received good reviews and a long-term contract from the Warner Brothers studio. This began a series of films with Warner, mostly unremarkable and insignificant, but critics began to notice Davis's talent and unique quality.


Davis began to claw her way to the top of the film world. She fought for and won the right to appear in another studio's production of Of Human Bondage. Suddenly, the world was introduced to a brilliant new actress.


Warner continued to cast Davis in poor-quality films, with two exceptions. Playing a failed actress who tries to murder her husband in Dangerous, she won her first Best Actress Academy Award in 1935. She also appeared with Humphrey Bogart (1899–1957) and Leslie Howard in The Petrified Forest in 1936. Growing disgusted with the studio's offerings, Davis refused any more roles. The studio suspended her. She sued, which shocked the movie world. Although Davis lost her battle in court, Warner Brothers apparently got the message—they paid her legal fees and began offering her better roles. Her performance in Jezebel (1938) won her a second Academy Award.

By the end of the 1940s, Davis's career seemed to be slowing down. But she came through with a great performance in All About Eve (1950), winning the New York Film Critics best actress of the year award. After a number of films in the 1950s, Davis's career seemed to slow down again. But in 1962, Davis appeared in the smash hitWhatever Happened to Baby Jane?, acting opposite Joan Crawford (1904–1977). This was followed by Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte in 1965.

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