Monday, 21 September 2015

Hedy Lamarr: World's Most Beautiful Woman

About Hedy Lamarr:

"Any girl can be glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid."

Hedy Lamarr (born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, 9 November 1914 – 19 January 2000) was an Austrian and American film actress and inventor.

Lamarr appeared in numerous popular feature films, including Algiers (1938) with Charles Boyer, I Take This Woman (1940) with Spencer Tracy, Comrade X (1940) with Clark Gable, Come Live With Me (1941) with James Stewart, H.M. Pulham, Esq. (1941) with Robert Young, and Samson and Delilah (1949) with Victor Mature. After an early and brief film career in Germany, which included a controversial love-making scene in the film Ecstasy (1933), she fled her husband and secretly moved to Paris. While there, she met MGM head Louis B. Mayer, who offered her a movie contract in Hollywood where she became a film star from the late 1930s to the 1950s.

Early Life:
Lamarr was born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler in 1914 in Vienna, Austria-Hungary, the only child of Gertrud "Trude" Kiesler (née Lichtwitz; 3 February 1894 – 27 February 1977) and Emil Kiesler (27 December 1880 – 14 February 1935). Her father was born in Lemberg (nowadays Lviv, Ukraine) and was a successful bank director. He died before the Holocaust, and later Hedy, through her influence as an actress, was able to rescue her mother from this plight.

Her mother was a pianist and Budapest native who came from the "Jewish haute bourgeoisie". Stephen Michael Shearer, a Lamarr biographer, asserts that Lamarr's mother had converted from Judaism to Catholicism and was a "practising Christian".

In the late 1920s, Lamarr was discovered as an actress and brought to Berlin by producer Max Reinhardt. Following her training in the theater, she returned to Vienna where she began to work in the film industry, first as a script girl, and soon as an actress.

In early 1933, at age 18, she starred in Gustav Machatý's film, Ecstasy (Extase in German and Czech), which was filmed in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Lamarr’s role was that of a neglected young wife married to an indifferent older man. The film became notorious for showing Lamarr's face in the throes of orgasm as well as close-up and brief nude scenes in which she is seen swimming and running through the woods.

1. First marriage:
In 1933 she married Friedrich Mandl, a wealthy Austrian military arms merchant. He objected to what he felt was exploitation of his wife and "the expression on her face" during the simulated orgasm. He purportedly bought up as many copies of Ecstasy as he could find in an attempt to restrict its public viewing. In her autobiography, she insists that all sexual activity in the film was simulated, and the orgasm was achieved using "method acting reality". The authenticity of passion was attained by the film director's off-screen manipulation of a safety pin strategically poking her bottom. Lamarr had married Mandl at the age of 19 on 10 August 1933.

Reputed to be the third richest man in Austria, Mandl was a munitions manufacturer. In her autobiography Ecstasy and Me, Lamarr described Mandl as extremely controlling, preventing her from pursuing her acting career and keeping her a virtual prisoner, confined to their castle home, Schloss Schwarzenau. Although half-Jewish himself, Mandl had close social and business ties to the fascist governments of Italy and Nazi Germany, selling munitions to Mussolini.

Lamarr wrote that Mussolini and Hitler had attended lavish parties hosted at the Mandl home. Mandl had her accompany him to business meetings, where he conferred with scientists and other professionals involved in military technology. These conferences were her introduction to the field of applied science and the ground that nurtured her latent talent in science.

Lamarr's marriage to Mandl eventually became unbearable, and she decided to separate herself from both him and her country. She wrote in her autobiography that she disguised herself as her maid and fled to Paris. However, rumors claimed that Lamarr persuaded Mandl to let her wear all of her jewelry for a dinner, then disappeared.

2. Shoplifting:
Lamarr became a naturalized citizen of the United States on 10 April 1953, at age 38. In 1966, she was arrested for shoplifting in Los Angeles. The charges were eventually dropped. In 1991, she was arrested on the same charge in Florida, this time for US$21.48 worth of laxatives and eye drops. She pleaded "no contest" to avoid a court appearance, and in return for a promise to refrain from breaking any laws for a year, the charges were once again dropped.

3. Legal actions:
Lamarr sued the publisher, saying that many of the anecdotes in the book, which was described by a judge as "filthy, nauseating, and revolting," were fabricated by its ghost writer, Leo Guild. She was also sued in Federal Court by Gene Ringgold, who asserted the actress's autobiography contained material from an article about her life which he wrote in 1965 for a magazine called Screen Facts.

4. Failed attempt to return to the screen:
The publication of her autobiography took place about a year after the accusations of shoplifting and a year after Andy Warhol's short film Hedy (1966). The shoplifting charges coincided with a failed attempt to return to the screen in Picture Mommy Dead (1966). The role was ultimately filled by Zsa Zsa Gabor. Ecstasy and Me begins in a despondent mood, with this reference:

On a recent evening, sitting home alone suffering and brooding about my treatment at the police station because of an incident in a department store, and being replaced by Zsa Zsa Gabor in a motion picture (imagine how that pleased the ego!) I figured out that I had made – and spent – some thirty million dollars. Yet earlier that day I had been unable to pay for a sandwich at Schwab's drug store.

5. Invasion of privacy:
The 1970s was a decade of increasing seclusion for Lamarr. She was offered several scripts, television commercials, and stage projects, but none piqued her interest. In 1974, she filed an invasion of privacy lawsuit for US$10 million for an unauthorized use of her name (i.e. "Hedley Lamarr" in Mel Brooks' comedy film Blazing Saddles); the case was settled out of court. With failing eyesight, she retreated from public life and settled in Miami Beach, Florida, in 1981.

6. CorelDRAW:
For several years beginning in 1997, the boxes of Corel DRAW’s software suites were graced by a large Corel-drawn image of Lamarr. The picture won Corel DRAW’s yearly software suite cover design contest in 1996. Lamarr sued Corel for using the image without her permission. Corel countered that she did not own rights to the image. The parties reached an undisclosed settlement in 1998.

7. Addiction to pills:
In her later years, Lamarr turned to plastic surgery to preserve the looks she was terrified of losing. Lamarr had to endure disastrous results. "She had her breasts enlarged, her cheeks raised, her lips made bigger, and much, much more" said Anthony. "She had plastic surgery thinking it could revive her looks and her career, but it backfired and distorted her beauty". Anthony Loder also claimed that Lamarr was addicted to pills.

8. Mother-Son relation:
Lamarr became estranged from her adopted son, James Lamarr Loder, when he was 12 years old. Their relationship ended abruptly and he moved in with another family. They did not speak again for almost 50 years. Lamarr left James Loder out of her will and he sued for control of the US$3.3 million estate left by Lamarr in 2000.

9. Marriages and relationships:
Lamarr was married six times. She adopted a son, James, in 1939 during her second marriage to Gene Markey. She went on to have two biological children, Denise (b. 1945) and Anthony (b. 1947), with her third husband, actor John Loder, who also adopted James. The following is a list of her marriages:

  • Friedrich Mandl (married 1933–1937), chairman of the Hirtenberger Patronen-Fabrik.
  • Gene Markey (married 1939–1941), screenwriter and producer. Child: James Lamarr Markey (born 9 January 1939), adopted 12 June 1939, and re-adopted by John Loder; the child was thereafter known as James Lamarr Loder. The couple lived at 2727 Benedict St in Los Angeles, California during their marriage.
  • John Loder (married 1943–1947), actor. Children: Denise Loder (born 19 January 1945), married Larry Colton, a writer and former baseball player, and Anthony Loder (born 1 February 1947), married Roxanne who worked for illustrator James McMullan. Anthony Loder was featured in the 2004 documentary film Calling Hedy Lamarr.
  • Ernest "Ted" Stauffer (married 1951–1952), nightclub owner, restaurateur, and former bandleader.
  • W. Howard Lee (married 1953–1960); a Texas oilman (who later married film actress Gene Tierney).
  • Lewis J. Boies (married 1963–1965); Lamarr's own divorce lawyer.

"I am not ashamed to say that no man I ever met was my father's equal, and I never loved any other man as much."


Grave of Hedy Lamarr at Vienna's Central Cemetery, Group 33 D No. 80 (Dec. 2014)
Lamarr died in Casselberry, Florida, on 19 January 2000, aged 85. Her death certificate cited three causes: heart failure, chronic valvular heart disease, and arteriosclerotic heart disease. Her death coincided with her daughter Denise's 55th birthday. Her son Anthony Loder took her ashes to Austria and spread them in the Vienna Woods, in accordance with her last wishes.

Lamarr was given an honorary grave in Vienna's Central Cemetery in 2014.

The Story:
According to her autobiography Ecstasy and Me (1966), while attempting to flee her husband, Fritz Mandl, she reputedly slipped into a brothel and hid in an empty room. While her husband searched the brothel, a man entered the room and she had sex with him so she could remain unrecognized. She was finally successful in escaping when she hired a new maid who resembled her; she drugged the maid and used her uniform as a disguise to escape.

At the beginning of the war, she was told that she could better help the war effort by using her celebrity status to sell war bonds, which she did with great success. But she wanted to do more, particularly by using her interest in science to aid in the defeat of Nazism. This desire only intensified as Hitler continued his relentless attacks on Europe. When German submarines began torpedoing passenger liners, she said at one point, "I've got to invent something that will put a stop to that". This desire would give rise to the invention for which she would become famous many years later.

Lamarr's earliest inventions include an improved traffic stoplight and a tablet that would dissolve in water to create a carbonated drink. The beverage was unsuccessful; Lamarr herself claimed it tasted like Alka-Seltzer.

Fundraising for the war effort:
Lamarr wanted to join the National Inventors Council, but was reportedly told by NIC member Charles F. Kettering and others that she could better help the war effort by using her celebrity status to sell War Bonds. Lamarr participated in a war bond selling campaign with a sailor named Eddie Rhodes. Rhodes would be in the crowd at each Lamarr appearance, and she would call him up on stage. She would briefly flirt with him before asking the audience if she should give him a kiss. The crowd would of course say yes, to which Hedy would reply that she would if enough people bought war bonds. After enough bonds were purchased, she would give Rhodes his kiss, and he would head back into the audience. Then they would head off to the next war bond rally.

In the 1990s, Lamarr and Antheil got the recognition they deserved for their invention. They received such awards as the Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award and the BULBIEª Gnass Spirit of Achievement Bronze Award, given to individuals whose creative lifetime achievements in the arts, sciences, business, or invention fields have significantly contributed to society.

In addition, her technological contributions have been featured on the Science Channel and the Discovery Channel. Lamarr and Antheil were inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014.

In the last decades of her life the telephone became her only means of communication with the outside world, even with her children and close friends. She often talked up to six or seven hours a day on the phone, but she hardly spent any time with anyone in person in her final years. A documentary, Calling Hedy Lamarr, was released in 2004. Lamarr's children, Anthony Loder and Denise Loder-DeLuca, were featured in the documentary.

The story of Lamarr's frequency-hopping spread-spectrum invention was explored in an episode of the Science Channel show Dark Matters: Twisted But True, a series which explores the darker side of scientific discovery and experimentation, which premiered on 7 September 2011. Her story was also featured in the premiere episode of the Discovery Channel show How We Invented the World.



Friday, 11 September 2015

Mel Gibson: Sexiest Man Alive

About Mel Gibson:
Mel Colm-Cille Gerard Gibson AO (born January 3, 1956) is an American actor and filmmaker. He is most well known as an action hero, for roles such as Martin Riggs in the Lethal Weapon buddy cop film series and Max Rockatansky in the first three films in the Mad Max post-apocalyptic action series.

He was born in Peekskill, New York, and moved with his parents to Sydney when he was 12 years old. He studied acting at the Australian National Institute of Dramatic Art. During the 1980s, Gibson founded Icon Entertainment, a production company which independent film director Atom Egoyan has called, "an alternative to the studio system." Director Peter Weir cast Gibson as one of the leads in the critically acclaimed World War I drama Gallipoli (1981), which earned Gibson a Best Actor Award from the Australian Film Institute. The film also helped to earn Gibson the reputation of a serious, versatile actor.

Early life
Gibson was born in Peekskill, New York, the sixth of eleven children, and the second son of Hutton Gibson, a writer, and Irish-born Anne Patricia (née Reilly, died 1990). His paternal grandmother was opera contralto Eva Mylott (1875–1920), who was born in Australia, to Irish parents, while his paternal grandfather, John Hutton Gibson, was a millionaire tobacco businessman from the American South. One of Gibson's younger brothers, Donal, is also an actor. Gibson's first name is derived from Saint Mel, fifth-century Irish saint, and founder of Gibson's mother's native diocese, Ardagh, while his second name, Colm-Cille, is also shared by an Irish saint and is the name of the parish in County Longford where Gibson's mother was born and raised. Because of his mother, Gibson retains dual Irish and American citizenship.

His father was awarded US$145,000 in a work-related-injury lawsuit against New York Central Railroad on February 14, 1968; and soon afterwards relocated his family to West Pymble, Sydney. Mel Gibson was 12 years old at the time. The move to his grandmother's native Australia was both for economic reasons and his father's expectation that the Australian Defence Forces would reject his eldest son for the draft during the Vietnam War.

Gibson was educated by members of the Congregation of Christian Brothers at St Leo's Catholic College in Wahroonga, New South Wales, during his high school years

1.  The Maccabees film:
In 2011, it was announced that Gibson had commissioned a screenplay from Joe Eszterhas about the Maccabees. The film is to be distributed by Warner Brothers Pictures. The announcement generated significant controversy. In April 2012, Eszterhas wrote a letter to Gibson accusing him of sabotaging their movie about the Maccabees because he "hates Jews", and citing a series of private incidents during which he allegedly heard Gibson express extremely racist views. Although written as a private letter, it was subsequently published on a film industry website. In response, Gibson stated that he still intends to make the movie, but will not base it upon Eszterhas' script, which he called substandard. Eszterhas then claimed his son had secretly recorded a number of Gibson's alleged "hateful rants".

In a 2012 interview, Gibson explained that the Maccabees film was still in preparation. He explained that he was drawn to the Biblical account of the uprising due to its similarity to the American Old West genre.

2. Prankster:
Gibson has a reputation for practical jokes, puns, Stooge-inspired physical comedy, and doing outrageous things to shock people. As a director he sometimes breaks the tension on set by having his actors perform serious scenes wearing a red clown nose. Helena Bonham Carter, who appeared alongside him in Hamlet, said of him, "He has a very basic sense of humor. It's a bit lavatorial and not very sophisticated." During the filming of Hamlet, Gibson would relieve pressure on the set by mooning the cast and crew, directly following a serious scene. In addition to inserting several homages to the Three Stooges in his Lethal Weapon movies, Gibson produced a 2000 television movie about the comedy group which starred Michael Chiklis as Curly Howard. As a gag, Gibson inserted a single frame of himself smoking a cigarette into the 2005 teaser trailer of Apocalypto.

3. Fahrenheit 9/11:
Gibson complimented filmmaker Michael Moore and his documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 when he and Moore were recognized at the 2005 People's Choice Awards. Gibson's Icon Productions originally agreed to finance Moore's film, but later sold the rights to Miramax Films. Moore said that his agent Ari Emanuel claimed that "top Republicans" called Mel Gibson to tell him, "don't expect to get more invitations to the White House". Icon's spokesman dismissed this story, saying "We never run from a controversy. You'd have to be out of your mind to think that of the company that just put out The Passion of the Christ.

4. President Bill Clinton:
In a July 1995 interview with Playboy magazine, Gibson said President Bill Clinton was a "low-level opportunist" and someone was "telling him what to do". He said that the Rhodes Scholarship was established for young men and women who want to strive for a "new world order" and this was a campaign for Marxism. Gibson later backed away from such conspiracy theories saying, "It was like: 'Hey, tell us a conspiracy'... so I laid out this thing, and suddenly, it was like I was talking the gospel truth, espousing all this political shit like I believed in it." In the same 1995 Playboy interview, Gibson argued against ordaining women to the priesthood.

5. State-Sanctioned Murder:
In 2004, he publicly spoke out against taxpayer-funded embryonic stem-cell research that involves the cloning and destruction of human embryos. In March 2005, he condemned the outcome of the Terri Schiavo case, referring to Schiavo's death as "state-sanctioned murder".

6. Iraq War:
Gibson questioned the Iraq War in March 2004. In 2006, Gibson said that the "fearmongering" depicted in his film Apocalypto "reminds me a little of President Bush and his guys."

In a 2011 interview, Gibson stated:

"The whole notion of politics is they always present you with this or this or this. I'll get a newspaper to read between the lines. Why do you have to adhere to prescribed formulas that they have and people argue over them and they're all in a box. And you watch Fox claw CNN, and CNN claw Fox. Sometimes I catch a piece of the news and it seems insanity to me. I quietly support candidates. I'm not out there banging a drum for candidates. But I have supported a candidate and it's a whole other world. Once you've been exposed to it, once or twice or however many times, if you know the facts and see how they're presented, it's mind-boggling. It's a very scary arena to be in, but I do vote. I go in there and pull the lever. It's kind of like pulling the lever and watching the trap door fall out from beneath you. Why should we trust any of these people? None of them ever deliver on anything. It's always disappointing."

7. Alcoholic:
Gibson has said that he started drinking at the age of 13. In a 2002 interview about his time at NIDA, Gibson said, "I had really good highs but some very low lows. I found out recently I'm manic depressive."

Gibson was banned from driving in Ontario for three months in 1984, after rear-ending a car in Toronto while under the influence of alcohol. He retreated to his Australian farm for over a year to recover, but he continued to struggle with drinking. Despite this problem, Gibson gained a reputation in Hollywood for professionalism and punctuality such that Lethal Weapon 2 director Richard Donner was shocked when Gibson confided that he was drinking five pints of beer for breakfast. Reflecting in 2003 and 2004, Gibson said that despair in his mid-30s led him to contemplate suicide, and he meditated on Christ's Passion to heal his wounds.

He took more time off acting in 1991 and sought professional help. That year, Gibson's attorneys were unsuccessful at blocking the Sunday Mirror from publishing what Gibson shared at AA meetings. In 1992, Gibson provided financial support to Hollywood's Recovery Center, saying, "Alcoholism is something that runs in my family. It's something that's close to me. People do come back from it, and it's a miracle."

8. Driving Under the Influence:
On July 28, 2006, Gibson was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) while speeding in his vehicle with an open container of alcohol, which is illegal in much of the United States. According to a 2011 article in Vanity Fair, Gibson first told the arresting officer, "My life is over. I'm fucked. Robyn's going to leave me." According to the arrest report, Gibson exploded into an angry tirade when the arresting officer would not allow him to drive home. Gibson climaxed with the words, "Fucking Jews... the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world. Are you a Jew?"

After the arrest report was leaked on, Gibson issued two apologies through his publicist, and in a televised interview with Diane Sawyer he affirmed the accuracy of the quotations. He further apologized for his "despicable" behavior, saying that the comments were "blurted out in a moment of insanity", and asked to meet with Jewish leaders to help him "discern the appropriate path for healing." After Gibson's arrest, his publicist said he had entered a recovery program to battle alcoholism.

On August 17, 2006, Gibson pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor drunken-driving charge and was sentenced to three years probation. He was ordered to attend self-help meetings five times a week for four and a half months and three times a week for the remainder of the first year of his probation. He was also ordered to attend a First Offenders Program, was fined $1,300, and his license was restricted for 90 days

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) accused Gibson of homophobia after a December 1991 interview in the Spanish newspaper El País in which he made derogatory comments about homosexuals. Gibson later defended his comments and rejected calls to apologize even as he faced fresh accusations of homophobia in the wake of his film Braveheart. However, Gibson joined GLAAD in hosting 10 lesbian and gay filmmakers for an on-location seminar on the set of the movie Conspiracy Theory in January 1997. In 1999 when asked about the comments to El País, Gibson said, "I shouldn't have said it, but I was tickling a bit of vodka during that interview, and the quote came back to bite me on the ass."

Gibson's 2004 film The Passion of the Christ sparked a fierce debate over alleged antisemitic imagery and overtones. Gibson denied that the film was antisemitic, but critics remained divided. Some agreed that the film was consistent with the Gospels and traditional Catholic teachings, while others argued that it reflected a selective reading of the Gospels.

In July 2010, Gibson had been recorded during a phone call with Oksana Grigorieva suggesting that if she got "raped by a pack of niggers," she would be to blame. Gibson was barred from coming near Grigorieva or her daughter due to a domestic violence-related restraining order. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department launched a domestic violence investigation against Gibson, later dropped when Gibson pled no contest to a misdemeanor battery charge.

10. Relationship:
After 26 years of marriage, Mel and Robyn Gibson separated on July 29, 2006. In a 2011 interview, Gibson stated that the separation began the day following his arrest for drunk driving in Malibu. Robyn Gibson filed for divorce on April 13, 2009, citing irreconcilable differences. In a joint statement, the Gibsons declared, "Throughout our marriage and separation we have always strives to maintain the privacy and integrity of our family and will continue to do so." The divorce filing followed the March 2009 release of photographs appearing to show him on a beach embracing Russian pianist Oksana Grigorieva. Gibson's divorce was finalized on December 23, 2011, and the settlement with his ex-wife was said to be the highest in Hollywood history at over $400 million.

11. Domestic Violence:
On April 28, 2009, Gibson made a red carpet appearance with Grigorieva. Grigorieva, who had previously had a son with actor Timothy Dalton, gave birth to Gibson's daughter Lucia (b. 2009). In April 2010, it was made public that Gibson and Grigorieva had split. On June 21, 2010, Grigorieva filed a restraining order against Gibson to keep him away from her and their child. The restraining order was modified the next day regarding Gibson's contact with their child. Gibson obtained a restraining order against Grigorieva on June 25, 2010. In response to claims by Grigorieva that an incident of domestic violence occurred in January 2010, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department launched a domestic violence investigation in July 2010.

On July 9, 2010, some audio recordings alleged to be of Gibson were posted on the internet. The same day Gibson was dropped by his agency, William Morris Endeavor. Civil rights activists alleged that Gibson had shown patterns of racism, sexism and anti-Semitism and called for a boycott of Gibson's movies.

Gibson's estranged wife, Robyn Gibson, filed a court statement declaring that she never experienced any abuse from Gibson, while forensic experts have questioned the validity of some of the tapes. In March 2011, Mel Gibson agreed to plead no contest to a misdemeanor battery charge.

In April 2011, Gibson finally broke his silence about the incident in question. In an interview with, Gibson expressed gratitude to longtime friends Whoopi Goldberg and Jodie Foster, both of whom had spoken publicly in his defense. About the recordings, Gibson said,

"I've never treated anyone badly or in a discriminatory way based on their gender, race, religion or sexuality – period. I don't blame some people for thinking that though, from the garbage they heard on those leaked tapes, which have been edited. You have to put it all in the proper context of being in an irrationally, heated discussion at the height of a breakdown, trying to get out of a really unhealthy relationship. It's one terribly awful moment in time, said to one person, in the span of one day and doesn't represent what I truly believe or how I've treated people my entire life."

In the same interview, Gibson stated,

"I was allowed to end the case and still maintain my innocence. It's called a West Plea and it's not something that prosecutors normally allow. But in my case, the prosecutors and the judge agreed that it was the right thing to do. I could have continued to fight this for years and it probably would have come out fine. But I ended it for my children and my family. This was going to be such a circus. You don't drag other people in your life through this sewer needlessly, so I'll take the hit and move on."

In August 2011, Gibson settled with Grigorieva and she was awarded $750,000, joint legal custody and a house in Sherman Oaks, California until their three-year-old daughter Lucia turns 18. In 2013, Grigorieva sued her attorneys accusing them of advising her to sign a bad agreement, including one with Gibson that holds her taking legal action against him would compromise her financial settlement

Interesting Facts:
1. Mel, who is named after a saint and whose name is means "honey" in Portuguese,  was born and raised Catholic and has 10 brothers and sisters. He was the middle child (although of course, at some point, he was the youngest of six).

2. Mel and cut his teeth in Australian theater productions, including one of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, which co-starred Judy Davis.

3. Braveheart, his most famous movie in which he starred while he still had hair, won him two Oscars, for Best Picture and Best Director, in 2006.

4. Gibson spent $25 million of his own money producing the The Passion of the Christ, which Wikipedia describes like this: "…the main story line depicts Jesus relentlessly pursued by an evil cabal of Jews…"

5. In real life, Mel Gibson is one of the richest men in the world, with about $850 million to his name. In 2005 he bought the island of Mago, near Fiji, for $15 million and plans to turn it into his personal retreat.

6. Mel Gibson revealed that he has what is known as a “horseshoe kidney”. This is a condition where two kidneys have been fused into one.

7. In 1995 the actor was considered for the pivotal role of James Bond in the film “GoldenEye”, a role that eventually went to Pierce Brosnan.

8. Director Tim Burton also originally considered Mel Gibson for the lead role of Bruce Wayne in the widely popular film “Batman” in 1989 but he lost that role to Michael Keaton.

9. After displaying a widely controversial attitude and getting in trouble with the law multiple times, it was revealed that Mel Gibson was suffering from bipolar disorder.

1. In the 90’s Mel Gibson appeared in People magazine numerous times in their “50 Most Beautiful People” in the world list.

2. In 1985, Gibson was named the "Sexiest Man Alive" by People, the first person to be named so.

3. Gibson quietly declined the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres from the French government in 1995 as a protest against France's resumption of nuclear testing in the Southwest Pacific.

4. On July 25, 1997, Gibson was named an honorary Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), in recognition of his "service to the Australian film industry". The award was honorary because substantive awards are made only to Australian citizens.

5. Australian Film Institute Award: Best Actor in a Lead Role, for Tim (1979) and Gallipoli.

6. Academy Award: Best Picture, for Braveheart.

7. Academy Award: Best Director, for Braveheart (1995).

8. People's Choice Awards: Favorite Motion Picture Actor (1991, 1997, 2001, 2003, 2004).

9. People's Choice Awards: Favorite Motion Picture Star in a Comedy (2001).

10. ShoWest Award: Male Star of the Year (1993).

11. ShoWest Award: Director of the Year (1996).

12. American Cinematheque Gala Tribute: American Cinematheque Award (1995).

13. Hasty Pudding Theatricals: Man of the Year (1997).

14. Australian Film Institute: Global Achievement Award (2002).

15. Honorary Doctorate Recipient and Undergraduate Commencement Speaker, Loyola Marymount University (2003).

16. World's most powerful celebrity by U.S. business magazine Forbes (2004).

17. The Hollywood Reporter Innovator of the Year (2004).

18. Honorary fellowship in Performing Arts by Limkokwing University (2007).

19. Outstanding Contribution to World Cinema Award at the Irish Film and Television Awards (2008).

The Story:
In October 2011, Robert Downey, Jr., who has a history of overcoming legal problems and drug addiction, was honored at the 25th American Cinematheque Awards. Downey chose Gibson to present him with his award for his life's work. After Gibson's introduction, Downey did not discuss himself but instead explained he had chosen Gibson since he had helped Downey through his hardships. Downey then told the audience: "I humbly ask that you join me, unless you are completely without sin, and in which case you picked the wrong fucking industry, in forgiving my friend of his trespasses and offering him the same clean slate that you have me and allowing him to continue his great and ongoing contribution to our collective art without shame." After the speech, the two friends hugged onstage to applause.


Sunday, 30 August 2015

Marilyn Monroe: The Blonde Bombshell

About Marilyn Monroe:
"Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring."

Marilyn Monroe (born Norma Jeane Mortenson; June 1, 1926 – August 5, 1962) was an American actress, model, and singer, who became a major sex symbol, starring in a number of commercially successful motion pictures during the 1950s and early 1960s.

After spending much of her childhood in foster homes, Monroe began a career as a model, which led to a film contract in 1946 with Twentieth Century-Fox. Her early film appearances were minor, but her performances in The Asphalt Jungle and All About Eve (both 1950) drew attention. By 1952 she had her first leading role in Don't Bother to Knock and 1953 brought a lead in Niagara.

The final years of Monroe's life were marked by illness, personal problems, and a reputation for unreliability and being difficult to work with. Ever since Monroe's death from an overdose of barbiturates on August 5, 1962, the exact circumstances have been subject to conjecture. Though officially classified as a "probable suicide", the possibilities of an accidental overdose or a homicide have not been ruled out.

Early Life:
Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson at the charity ward of the Los Angeles County Hospital on June 1, 1926  as the third child of Gladys Pearl Baker (née Monroe, 1902 –1984), a negative-cutter at Columbia. Gladys' older children, Robert (nicknamed "Jack" or "Jackie", 1917–1933) and Berniece (1919–), were from her first marriage to John Newton Baker (also called Jasper or Jack), whom she had married in 1917 at the age of 15 after becoming pregnant by him.

She had filed for divorce in 1921, after which Baker had taken the children with him to his native Kentucky; Monroe would have no contact with her sister until adulthood. Gladys had then married Martin Edward Mortensen in 1924, but they had separated after only a few months and before she had become pregnant with Monroe; they would divorce in 1928. However, in Monroe's birth certificate, Gladys named Mortensen as the father (although the name was misspelled), probably to avoid the stigma of illegitimacy. During Monroe's childhood, Mortenson, Mortensen and Baker were all variably used as her surnames.

1. Sexual abuse:
As an adult, Monroe told several friends and interviewers that she had been sexually abused during her childhood. It is unclear when this occurred and who the perpetrator was; biographers have named George Atkinson, Doc Goddard and one of Monroe's cousins as possibilities. Due to lack of evidence to either prove or disprove the claims, biographers have been divided in their opinions: Summers, Guiles and Carl Rollyson have denied them as fabrication, while Spoto, Banner, Gloria Steinem, and Barbara Leaming have accepted them as truthful. In her analysis on the topic, Sarah Churchwell has stated that biographers' opinions on both sides of the debate have been "predetermined by what they already believe" about Monroe's personality and sexual abuse in general, and that "we simply don't know what happened".

2. Contract dismissal:
She was given her first two film roles: a one-line appearance in the comedy Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay! (1948), and minor role as a waitress with nine lines of dialogue in the drama Dangerous Years (1947). The studio also paid for her to attend acting classes at the Actors' Laboratory Theatre, an acting school teaching the techniques of the Group Theatre. However, her contract was not renewed for a second time and she was let go in August 1947.

Following her dismissal, Monroe returned to modeling, and was also aided financially by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's (MGM) talent executive Lucille Ryman and her husband, actor John Carroll, whom she had befriended during her contract.

3. Nude photo-shoot:
 In March 1952, a scandal broke when she revealed in an interview that she had posed for nude pictures in 1949, which were featured in popular calendars. The studio had learnt of the photographs some weeks earlier, and in order to contain their potentially disastrous effects on her career, they and Monroe had decided to talk about them openly while stressing that she had only posed for them due to a dire financial situation. The strategy succeeded in gaining her public sympathy as well as increasing her popularity: the following month, she was featured on the cover of Life as "The Talk of Hollywood".

Monroe added to her reputation as a new sex symbol with other publicity stunts that year, such as by wearing a dress which décolleté was cut down to her navel when acting as Grand Marshal at the Miss America Pageant parade, and by revealing in Earl Wilson's column that she usually wore no underwear. The nude photo scandal ensured that all five films in which Monroe appeared in 1952 became popular with the audiences.

"Hollywood is a place where they'll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul."
4. Difficulties on film sets:
Monroe also gained "a reputation for being difficult on film sets", which would only get stronger as her career progressed: she was often late to work or did not show up at all, had trouble remembering her lines, and would demand several re-takes until she was satisfied. Her reliance on her acting coaches, first Natasha Lytess and later, Paula Strasberg, also often irritated her directors. Biographers have attributed these issues to a combination of perfectionism, low self-esteem, stage fright, and her gradually escalating use of barbiturates and amphetamines.

5. The girl with the horizontal walk:
Niagara, Rose was the most overtly sexual role of her career, and the film included scenes in which her body was covered only by a sheet or a towel, which contemporary audiences considered shocking. However, its most famous scene was a long shot of Monroe shown from behind walking down a street with her hips swaying; it was used heavily in the film's marketing and gained her the nickname "the girl with the horizontal walk". Niagara became a box office hit upon its release in January. Reviews of the film d welled on her sexually suggestive performance, with many finding it "indecent".

6. Revealing outfits:
Monroe also continued to attract attention with her revealing outfits in publicity events, most famously when she appeared in a skin-tight gold lamé dress at the Photoplay awards in January 1953, where she won the "Fastest Rising Star Award", prompting veteran star Joan Crawford to describe her behavior as "unbecoming an actress and a lady" to the press.

7. Diamonds are a Girl's best friend:
Based on Anita Loos' bestselling novel and its subsequent Broadway and film versions, the film focused on show girls Lorelei Lee and Dorothy Shaw, played by Monroe and Jane Russell, who are looking for rich husbands. The role of Lorelei was originally intended for Betty Grable, who had been 20th Century-Fox's most popular "blonde bombshell" in the 1940s; Monroe was now fast eclipsing her as a star who could appeal to both male and female audiences. The film included one of the most famous scenes of her career, a performance of "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" in a shocking pink dress. As part of the film's publicity campaign, she and Russell pressed their hand- and footprints in wet concrete in the forecourt of Grauman's Chinese Theatre in June. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes was released shortly after and became one of the biggest box office successes of the year, earning back more than double its production costs.

"The real lover is the man who can thrill you by kissing your forehead or smiling into your eyes or just staring into space."

8. Sex symbol:
Monroe's position as a leading sex symbol was further strengthened in December, when Hugh Hefner, who had bought the rights for her nudes from the 1949 Kelley session, featured one of the images, previously unreleased "Golden Dreams", as the centerfold and a photograph of her in a low-cut dress at the Miss America Pageant parade in 1952 as the cover in the first issue of Playboy.

"Sex is a part of nature. I go along with nature."

9. Conflicts with 20th Century-Fox (1954–1955):
Although Monroe had become one of 20th Century-Fox's biggest stars, her contract had remained the same since 1950, meaning that she was paid far less than her colleagues and could not choose her projects or the people she worked with. She was also tired of being typecast, and her attempts to be cast in films other than comedies or musicals had been thwarted by Zanuck. In December 1953, she was slated to begin filming yet another musical comedy, The Girl in Pink Tights, with Frank Sinatra. In protest, she did not show up on set when filming was due to start, which resulted in the studio suspending her on January 4, 1954.

The suspension was front page news and Monroe immediately began a campaign of self-promotion to counter any negative publicity and to strengthen her position in the conflict. On January 14, she and Joe DiMaggio, whose relationship had been subject to constant media attention since 1952, were married in San Francisco. She then traveled with DiMaggio to Japan, combining a honeymoon with his business trip.

10. The Prince and the Showgirl:
The Prince and the Showgirl, at Pinewood Studios in England. It was a period film set in 1911, in which she played a show girl who has an affair with the fictional Prince Regent of Carpathia (Olivier), and uncovers a treason plot. Its filming was troubled due to conflicts between Olivier and Monroe. He was frustrated by the state of his career, and angered Monroe by being patronizing to her, telling her "All you have to do is be sexy, dear Marilyn", and by trying to make her play the lead role exactly like Vivien Leigh had done in the stage version.

He also disliked the constant presence of Paula Strasberg, her acting coach, on set. In retaliation to Olivier's treatment of her, Monroe started arriving late to work and became difficult to work with. Her drug use also increased during the production and she possibly had a miscarriage. Other conflicts also took place: she clashed with Greene over the running of MMP and whether Miller should join it, and Greene and Olivier disagreed on who should be named executive producer in the credits. Despite its difficulties, the film was completed on schedule by the end of the year, with the cast members, including Olivier, being happy with her performance. The Prince and the Showgirl was released in June 1957, receiving mixed reviews and proving unpopular with the audiences in the United States. It was however better received in Europe, where she received the Italian David di Donatello and the French Crystal Star awards, and was nominated for a BAFTA.

After completing The Prince and the Showgirl, Monroe took an 18-month hiatus from work, focusing instead on married life with Miller in New York, Long Island and Connecticut. When she and Greene could not settle their conflicts over MMP, she dismissed him and bought out his share of the company.

"I don't want to make money, I just want to be wonderful."

11. Like kissing Hitler:
In July 1958 to play the female lead, singer Sugar Kane, in Billy Wilder's comedy Some Like It Hot, about two men (Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis) who dress as women and join her all-female orchestra after needing to go into hiding after witnessing the Valentine's Day Massacre. In the film, she performed one of her most famous songs, "I Wanna Be Loved by You".

The difficulties of the film's production have since become "legendary". Monroe would demand dozens of re-takes, and could not remember her lines or act as Wilder directed; Curtis famously stated that kissing her in a romantic scene was "like kissing Hitler" due to the number of times it had to be re-taken. Biographer Sarah Churchwell has however suggested that the issues stemmed from a power struggle between Wilder, who also had a reputation for being difficult on set, and Monroe on how she should play the role, and that she deliberately ruined several scenes in order to act it her way. In the end, he was happy with her performance, stating: "Anyone can remember lines, but it takes a real artist to come on the set and not know her lines and yet give the performance she did!" Despite the difficulties of its production, when Some Like it Hot was released in March 1959, it became one of the most successful films of the 1950s, and earned Monroe a Golden Globe.

"I restore myself when I'm alone."

12. Fox troubles:
In the musical comedy Let's Make Love, about an actress whose theater company stages a satire about a billionaire, who by accident ends up being cast playing himself, for 20th Century-Fox. She chose George Cukor to direct and Miller re-wrote portions of the script, which she considered weak; she had only accepted the part because she had so far only made one film out of the four stipulated by her contract with the studio. Fox had difficulties in finding a male star for the role of the billionaire, eventually casting French star Yves Montand, who had not previously acted in American films. The filming was again complicated by Monroe's behavior, and her absences caused its production schedule to be delayed. While working on the film, she and Montand had an affair, which was widely reported by the press and used by the studio in the film's publicity campaign. Let's Make Love flopped upon its released in September 1960.

13. Drug addiction:
The Misfits, based on a short story that Miller had developed into a screenplay with the idea of providing her with a role in a drama. Directed by John Huston, it was filmed in the Nevada desert, and focused on the friendship between a recently divorced woman (Monroe) and three aging cowboys, played by Clark Gable, Eli Wallach and Montgomery Clift, who capture mustangs for a living. Its filming between July and November 1960 was complicated by several issues. Monroe and Miller's marriage was effectively over by this time, making working together difficult. She resented her character, which she thought was "less nuanced" than the male roles, and disliked that he had included elements of her life in it. She also struggled with his habit of re-writing scenes the night before filming, forcing her to rehearse through the night.

Her health was also failing: she was in pain from gall stones, and her drug addiction was severe by this point, to the extent that her make-up had to usually be applied while she was still asleep under the influence of barbiturates. In August, filming was halted for her to spend a week detoxing in a Los Angeles hospital. Other cast and crew members also struggled: the Nevada heat made filming difficult, Huston spent nights drinking and gambling with the result of sometimes falling asleep on set, and Gable suffered a fatal heart attack only days after completing the film. The Misfits was released in February 1961, receiving mixed reviews and failing at the box office.

14. Divorce:
Monroe and Miller divorced in early 1961. She had no new projects in 1961, and was preoccupied by her health issues, undergoing surgery for endometriosis and a cholecystectomy, and spending several weeks in two psychiatric hospitals to overcome her issues with addiction and depression. She returned to the public eye in 1962, receiving a "World Film Favorite" Golden Globe award in March and beginning to shoot a new film for 20th Century-Fox, Something's Got to Give, a re-make of My Favorite Wife (1940), on April 23. It was to be co-produced by MMP, directed by George Cukor and co-starred by Dean Martin and Cyd Charisse. Monroe was absent for the first two weeks of filming, officially due to the flu; biographers have also attributed her absence to sinusitis or her ongoing drug addiction.

"It's better to be unhappy alone than unhappy with someone - so far."

15. President Kennedy:
The extent of a relationship between President Kennedy and Monroe will never be known, although the White House switchboard did note calls from her during 1962. In the opinion of one writer, Monroe was in love with President Kennedy and wanted to marry him, and when their affair ended, she turned to Robert Kennedy, who reportedly visited Monroe in Los Angeles the day that she died.

"I don't mind living in a man's world as long as I can be a woman in it."

16. After death:
On May 4, 2007, a New York judge ruled that Monroe's rights of publicity ended at her death. In October 2007, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 771. The legislation, supported by Anna Strasberg and the Screen Actors Guild, established that non-family members may inherit rights of publicity through the residuary clause of the deceased's will, provided that the person was a resident of California at the time of death. In March 2008, the United States District Court in Los Angeles ruled that Monroe was a resident of New York at the time of her death, citing the statement of the executor of her estate to California tax authorities, and a 1966 affidavit by her housekeeper. The decision was reaffirmed by the United States District Court of New York in September 2008.

In July 2010, Monroe's Brentwood home was put up for sale by Prudential California Realty. The house was sold for $3.6 million. Monroe left to Lee Strasberg an archive of her own writing—diaries, poems, and letters, which Anna discovered in October 1999. In October 2010, the documents were published as a book, Fragments (ISBN 0-00-739534-5)

On August 5, 1962, at 4:25 a.m., LAPD sergeant Jack Clemmons received a call from Dr. Ralph Greenson, Monroe's psychiatrist, saying that Monroe was found dead at her home at 12305 Fifth Helena Drive in Brentwood, Los Angeles, California. She was 36 years old. At the subsequent autopsy, 8 mg/dL of chloral hydrate and 4.5 mg/dL of Nembutal were found in her system, and Dr. Thomas Noguchi (known as the "coroner to the stars") of the Los Angeles County Coroners office recorded cause of death as "acute barbiturate poisoning", resulting from a "probable suicide". Many theories, including murder, circulated about the circumstances of her death and the timeline after the body was found. Some conspiracy theories involved John and Robert Kennedy, while other theories suggested CIA or Mafia complicity. It was reported that President Kennedy was the last person Monroe called.

Monroe was interred on August 8, 1962, in a crypt at Corridor of Memories No. 24, at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles. Joe DiMaggio took control of the funeral arrangements, which consisted of only 31 close family and friends, excluding Hollywood's elite. Lee Strasberg, her acting teacher, delivered the eulogy, and had once claimed that of all his acting students, she was the one who stood out above the rest, second only to Marlon Brando.

Interesting Facts:
1. Monroe arrived two hours late to her first date with Joe DiMaggio, but she charmed him into forgiving her when she told him, "There's a blue polka dot exactly in the middle of your tie knot. Did it take you long to fix it like that?"

2. "Niagara" is the only movie Monroe made in which her character dies.

3. Monroe notoriously became Playboy magazine's first monthly Playmate in 1953 after the magazine published a nude calendar photo she had posed for six years earlier, for which she had been paid just $50. (Hugh Hefner had paid the photographer $500 for the rights.) Back then, the magazine called its centerfold "Sweetheart of the Month."

4. For 20 years after Marilyn’s death, Joe DiMaggio arranged to have roses sent to her crypt three times a week.

5. She was never nominated for an Academy Award, but she was voted the “Oomph Girl” at Emerson Junior High in 1941; crowned Castroville’s first Artichoke Queen in 1948; and was Stars and Stripes magazine’s Miss Cheesecake of 1950.

6. Her funeral was a riot. Hundreds of her fans rushed into the cemetery after the service and stole the flowers from the floral tributes she’d been sent.

7. A report in The New York Times said that the number of suicides in New York a week after her death hit a record high of 12 in one day. One suicide victim left a note saying, “If the most wonderful, beautiful thing in the world has nothing to live for, then neither must I.”

1. In 1999, Monroe was ranked as the sixth-greatest female star of all time by the American Film Institute.

2. In the decades following her death, she has often been cited as both a pop and a cultural icon as well as the quintessential American sex symbol.

3. In 2009, TV Guide Network named her No. 1 in Film's Sexiest Women of All Time.

4. After returning to Hollywood in February, she was awarded Photoplay's "Most Popular Female Star" prize.

5. In an early modeling gig, at an agricultural festival in Castroville, California, Monroe was named the state's first-ever Artichoke Queen.

6. Monroe came in third (behind Michael Jackson and Elvis) on Forbes' annual list of Top-Earning Dead Celebrities. According to Forbes, she earned $27 million last year. Authentic Brands Group, which owns her likeness rights, is reportedly planning to license a chain of Monroe-themed cafes.

7. She was named “The Most Advertised Girl in the World” by the Advertising Association of the West in 1953. Among the brands she represented were American Airlines, Kyron Way Diet Pills, Pabst Beer, Tan-Tan Suntan Lotion and Royal Triton Oil.

The Story:
The identity of Monroe's father is unknown. Biographers Fred Guiles and Lois Banner have stated that her father was most likely Charles Stanley Gifford, a co-worker with whom Gladys had had an affair in 1925 and whose photograph she had allegedly shown Monroe, telling her it was her father. Anthony Summers and Donald Spoto disagree. In addition to the lack of evidence to prove Gifford's paternity, Spoto has stated that Monroe did not know who her father was, although as an adult she unsuccessfully tried to contact a number of men, including Gifford, to find answers. He instead suggests that any of Gladys' boyfriends in 1925 may have been the father, naming film developer Raymond Guthrie as the strongest possibility.

When Monroe was only a few weeks old, her mother placed her with evangelical Christian foster parents Albert and Ida Bolender in Hawthorne, California, as she was unable to quit working to take care of her. She paid for Monroe's upkeep and, according to Banner, lived with them to take care of the child herself until longer working hours forced her to move back to Hollywood in 1927, after which she visited her daughter weekly. Monroe lived with the Bolenders until the age of seven in 1933, when she was able to move in with her mother. Soon after, Gladys bought a small house for them, which they shared with lodgers, English actors George and Maude Atkinson. However, only some months later in early 1934, Gladys had a mental breakdown and was hospitalized. She was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and was institutionalized at the State Hospital in Norwalk in 1935, spending the rest of her life in and out of hospitals.

Following her mother's hospitalization, Monroe was declared a ward of the state, and her mother's friend, Grace McKee Goddard, took responsibility over her and her mother's affairs, later becoming her legal guardian. She was however often unable to foster Monroe herself, and placed her in foster families, most of them her friends and family members, although she would visit her often. In September 1935, she was placed in the Los Angeles Orphans Home (later named Hollygrove) and began attending nearby Vine Street Elementary School. Biographers disagree on how long she spent at the orphanage, with accounts varying from nine months to two years, and in how many foster families she stayed afterwards.

Spoto and Banner agree that after briefly staying with Grace and her husband Erwin "Doc" Goddard, she lived for several months from November 1937 onwards with her maternal uncle's wife Olive Monroe and their children, and for over two years from September 1938 onwards with Grace's aunt, Ana Atchinson Lower, in West Los Angeles. Lower introduced Monroe to her faith, Christian Science, which services she began to attend weekly. She attended Emerson Middle School, where she wrote for the school's newspaper and was elected "the Oomph Girl" by her classmates. Due to elderly Lower's health issues, Monroe moved to live with the Goddards in Van Nuys in either late 1940 or early 1941, and after graduating from Emerson began attending Van Nuys High School.

"Give a girl the right pair of shoes and she'll conquer the world."

In early 1942, the company that Doc Goddard worked for named him the head of sales at their plant in West Virginia. California laws prevented the Goddards from taking the fifteen-year-old Monroe out of state, and she faced the possibility of having to return to the orphanage. As a solution, it was decided that she would marry the neighbors' 21-year-old son, James "Jim" Dougherty (1921–2005). Biographers disagree on whether he and Monroe had already been dating before the Goddards knew they were moving to the East Coast or whether the marriage was entirely arranged by Grace.

They married on June 19, 1942, after Monroe had just turned 16. Subsequently, she dropped out of high school and became a housewife. In 1943, Dougherty enlisted in the Merchant Marine. He was initially stationed on Santa Catalina Island off California's coast, and she lived with him there for several months until he was shipped out to the Pacific in April 1944. Monroe then moved in with Dougherty's parents, and began working at the Radioplane Munitions Factory as part of the war effort, mainly spraying airplane parts with fire retardant and inspecting parachutes.

"I don't know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot."