They went on to do bigger things.

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Over the decades there have been so many iconic movies and TV shows which spawned many big actors and actresses.But it didn’t always happen over night, sometimes these stars started off in big shows or movies with minor obscure rolls, or even in music videos.

Below are just a few examples.

Before Dirty Dancing.

Dirty

The biggest star to come out of the movie Dirty Dancing is without a doubt Patrick Swayze,although I didn’t like the movie I have to admit it became one id the most iconic movies of the 80s.

However before Patrick Swayze made it big, he appeared in an episode of MASH. Where he played a character who catches Leukemia at a young age.

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Before Magnum P.I.

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When you think Magnum P.I. you just couldn’t imagine else playing that role then Tom Selleck. Tom went on to do other iconic movies such as ‘Three men and a baby’ and stars currently in the hugely popular ‘Blue Bloods’

But before all this he had an obscure role in the medical thriller ‘Coma’ as an injured football player.

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Before Million Dollar Baby

Million Dollar Bbay

Million Dollar Baby is still one of the finest movies ever made. It gave Hilary Swank the chance to shine and show how good an actress she is.Deservedly she won the Oscar for her role. But before she was boxing, she was being harassed by vampires in the movie “Buffy the Vampire slayer”

Buffy

Before Blade

Blade

Staying with vampire slayers, although Wesley Snipes has played in many big budget action movies, his most iconic role is that of ‘Blade’ half vampire,half human vampire slayer.

But it was Michael Jackson who chose Wesley for hos other talents, his dancing skills in the music video for ‘Bad’Bad

Before Speed

Speed

Sandra Bullock has done so many great movies in a variety of genres from comedy to science fiction but her breakthrough movie is without a doubt “Speed”

However before she drove buses at a speed of over 50 M/PH she was a bit of a Bionic woman in “Bionic Showdown: The Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman (1989 TV Movie)”

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Before Man on the Moon

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I good picked a number of movies when it comes to Jim Carrey, -the Grinch,Mask,Dumb and Dumber- the list goes on. But I picked ‘Man on the Moon’ because I think that was his best performance to date, and he should have got the Oscar for that.

He did have a part though in another iconic movie “The Dead pool” the last of the Dirty Harry movies, where he played a rock star, basically based on Axl Rose.

Dirty Harru

They all went on to do greater things.

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Your job in Germany and Our Job in Japan.

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Cat in the hat;How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and It’s a Wonderful Life are not stories you would associate with WWII or propaganda, and yet they have a distinct ,albeit indirect link to WWII propaganda movies.

The name Theodor Seuss Geisel will mean little to many people,although there is a hint in his name which gives away the name he is known by to most. He is better known as Dr. Seuss.

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In 1943, he joined the Army as a Captain and was commander of the Animation Department of the First Motion Picture Unit of the United States Army Air Forces. Where he got to work with Frank Capra, the director of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’.

Initially they worked together on a series of black-and-white American instructional,  cartoons, of a character created by Capra called ‘Private Snafu’,that were produced between 1943 and 1945

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The cartoons were humorous very much like the Looney toons. The short movies were directed by famous  directors like Chuck Jones and Fritz Freleng.

In one episode of the series ‘Three Brothers’ released on December 4, 1944 a certain Bugs Bunny made an appearance.

Frank Capra and Dr Seuss worked on 2 hard hitting propaganda films ,shortly after WWII in 1945.

Your Job in Germany

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The film would probably be called racist and non political correct nowadays but in the context of the time it was accepted and also understandable.This training film was made for U.S. Army occupation forces in Germany following World War II.

It  tells how Germany has always been evil and when given a the chance again they would start another war with another leader like Hitler.

In the films the troops are urged not to become friends with the Germans, for the Nazi mentality is still prevalent in the German psyche, and probably always will be.

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Jack Warner, of Warner Brothers,  secured the rights to ‘Your Job in Germany’ and turned it into a short documentary entitled Hitler Lives?, directed by Don Siegel. It was released commercially on December 29, 1945 and won the 1946 Academy Award  for Documentary Short Subject.

Our Job in Japan

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Our Job in Japan was a United States military training film made in 1945. Equally to ‘Your Job in Germany’ this movie would now be perceived as racist and totally not political correct.But similarly in the context of the aftermath of WWII and the brutality the Japanese army had displayed during the war it was understandable and probably warranted to portray the Japanese people in the way they did.

The film was aimed at American troops heading to Japan to occupy the country in 1945  It presented the problem of turning the militarist state into a peaceful democracy.

It starts off showing Japan surrendering  , followed by the depiction of bad things that they did during the war, and also how the Japanese always followed a backward quasi religious philosophy. The  narrator explains that although the war is over the Japanese brains still need to adapt to a more modern society based on common sense and not by worshiping the old ways.

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Our Job in Japan was also used as a  basis for a longer, commercially released film, with the title ‘Design for Death’  in 1947 directed by Richard Fleischer. It won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

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How Peter Falk cheated the system to serve in WWII-Columbo’s 1st case

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I have always been a great fan of the cop show Columbo with Peter Falk in the title role. However I did not know that Peter Falk and I had a few things in common.

Born in New York City, Falk was the son of Michael Peter Falk , owner of a clothing and dry goods store, and his wife, Madeline (née Hochhauser) an accountant and buyer. Both of his parents were Jewish,coming from Poland and Russia on his father’s side,and from Hungary and Labowa, Nowy Sacz, Poland, on his mother’s side. Falk grew up in Ossining, New York.

When Peter was 3  he lost his right due to a tumor. This is where one similarity comes in, although I did not lose my right eye, I did nearly lose my left eye when I was 3. Due to an accident my eye was pulled out of its socket. I have  had a very bad vision in that eye ever since, well until recently, I’ll come back to that later.

He used a prosthetic  eye throughout his life, which makes his War contribution evene more remarkable.adafruit_products_IMG_5242

Always embracing challenges, he tried to join the Marines, and even got as far as passing his first eye test, using “creativity.”, by memorizing the eye test chart. This is something I also did when I was called up for military service. A second round rousted Peter Falk out though. Undaunted, several months later he joined the Merchant Navy as a cook. He also tried to join the Israeli Irgun and the CIA, both turned him down. The CIA however did not turn him down because of his eye but according to Peter Falk in a Guardian interview “I’d joined the union of cooks and stewards at sea. And because I’d attended a liberal college and been in Yugoslavia.”

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As I mentioned earlier I would come back about my eye. Ironically,although I had always fears of losing my left eye.In 2011 I ended up losing my right eye, well partially, because of a failed operation the wall of my left eye caved in, making it shrink and resulting in loss of vision.I now also wear a prosthetic eye, not a full one as Peter Falk though.

Peter Falk is one of my heroes, despite some set backs in his life he didn’t give up on his dreams.Such was the charisma of the man that when one thinks of Columbo one automatically thinks of Peter Falk, not realizing he was actually the 2nd actor to play the slightly confused but highly intelligent Lt Columbo.

The first actor who played Columbo was Bert Freed  in an episode of “The Chevy Mystery Show” called “Enough Rope”

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Bert Freed had served in the US Army during WWII in the European theatre.

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I pronounce you Mr and Mrs Dougherty-a slightly different WWII story.

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A young couple in love,neighborhood sweethearts getting married. It was just like a fairy tale, what could possibly go wrong.

Well WWII for one, but not in the usual World War 2 drama sense, but  there were more reasons. one being fame.

They began dating in January 1942 and were married in June of that year, just 18 days after she  celebrated her 16th birthday.The she was Norma Jeane Baker.On June 19, 1942, she got married to James Dougherty, a 20 year old Los Angeles police officer .The wedding was officiated by a minister, Norma Jean wore an embroidered lace wedding dress with long sleeves and veil.

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James’ family lived next door to Grace Goddard, a friend of Norma Jean’s mother, Gladys, who was frequently in psychiatric hospitals. After living in a handful of foster homes, Norma Jeane was taken in by Grace and her husband, who wanted to move across the country and couldn’t take her with them. To prevent Norma Jean from having to go back into the foster care system, Grace suggested that James marry the teenager.

Norma Jeane and her Jimmie had a near idyllic first one or two years as a married couple and seemed destined to spend their lives together in marital bliss.

But after Jimmie enlisted in the Merchant Marines in 1943, things were to change.Monroe_and_James_Dougherty (6)

He was soon called up for overseas duty. Norma Jeane would dutifully write her husband letters several times a week, but soon she became bored without him. She got a job at the Radioplane factory, inspecting parachutes and preparing planes for flight. Photos of the pretty brunette taken at work landed her modeling gigs around LA, and it wasn’t long before she caught the fame bug.Norma Jeane

While James was still stationed overseas in September 1946, Norma Jean filed for divorce.“I was on a ship in the Yangtze River getting ready to go into Shanghai when I was served with divorce papers,” James said in a 2002 interview. They divorced in 1946.

Norma Jeane Baker of course went on to become Marilyn Monroe, one of the most iconic figures of the 20th century.

How things could have been for these tow if it hadn’t been for WWII, we will never know.

Monroe_and_James_Dougherty (5)

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Don’t give up on us baby! The remarkable story of Hutch,The Covered Man and male prostitution.

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On this day in 1977 David Soul scored a massive NO 1 hit with “Don’t give up on us baby”, take away the “on us baby” and you would have the perfect title for his life.

Mostly know as the iconic Hutch from the  buddy cop  TV show “Starsky and Hutch”, David Soul has had a turbulent life to use an understatement.

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Born in Chicago, Illinois, as  David Richard Solberg,David Soul is the son of a minister who was at one time serving as the religious affairs advisor to the U.S. High Commission in Berlin.

Soul attended Augustana College, University of the Americas in Mexico City and the University of Minnesota. At 19, he turned down a professional baseball contract with the Chicago White Sox in order to study political science. While in Mexico, inspired by students who taught him to play the guitar, Soul changed his direction and decided to follow his passion for music. His first appearance upon returning from Mexico to the States was in a club in Minneapolis, The 10 O’Clock Scholar.

He first appeared on TV in small roles in shows including I Dream of Jeannie (1965), Flipper (1964) and All in the Family (1971). Regular TV work kept coming in for Soul including making masked appearances on The Merv Griffin Show (1962), as the popular singer known only as “The Covered Man.”

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He explained: “My name is David Soul, and I want to be known for my music.”

In 1967, he signed a contract with Columbia Pictures and following a number of guest appearances, including the episode “The Apple” from the second season of Star Trek.Makora

He landed the role of Joshua Bolt on the television program Here Come the Brides with co-stars Robert Brown, Bobby Sherman and Bridget Hanley. The series was telecast on the ABC network from September 25, 1968, to September 18, 1970.[6] In 1972 he co-starred as Arthur Hill’s law partner on Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law. Following numerous guest-starring roles on TV, including Streets of San Francisco, he was cast by Clint Eastwood in the film Magnum Force.

Poster-for-Magnum-Force-1973-clint-eastwood-40037482-500-312His talents came to the attention of several TV execs who were looking for someone to play one of the lead roles in the upcoming Starsky and Hutch (1975) TV series. After four seasons, the show came to an end, yet Soul’s talents were still in demand. He quickly went on to appear as the meek writer turned terrified vampire hunter Ben Mears in the chilling television mini-series Salem’s Lot (1979), and then as Jake in the interesting television movie Homeward Bound (1980).

Soul has been married five times and has five sons (two of whom are stepsons) and a daughter. He first married the actress Mirriam “Mim” Solberg (née Russeth), in 1964. The couple had one child together, but the marriage only lasted a year.

Soul then married actress Karen Carlson in 1968, after they had met on the set of the television series Here Come The Brides. The couple also had a child together, but they divorced in 1977.

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During the years he was filming Starsky & Hutch, Soul had an open relationship with actress Lynne Marta.

Soul’s third wife was Patti Carnel Sherman (the ex-wife of fellow Here Come the Brides co-star and teen pop idol Bobby Sherman), whom he married in 1980. They had a child together, but the marriage disintegrated due to Soul’s alcohol abuse and violent temper. During his marriage to Sherman, Soul was court-ordered to undergo anger management therapy after assaulting her while she was seven months pregnant. The couple divorced in 1986.

Those weren’t his only problems, despite the huge success in Starsky and Hutch and hit songs like “Don’t give up on us baby”  he was left virtually broke. In a British TV documentary he  admitted that at one  he had been so desperate he had tried male prostitution, however he did not say when, or if he had gone the whole way.

Soul married again in 1987, to actress Julia Nickson. The couple had one child, China Soul, who is a singer/songwriter.Soul and Nickson divorced in 1993.[citation needed]

Soul immigrated to the United Kingdom in the mid-1990s and settled in London with his girlfriend, American actress Alexa Hamilton, though the couple later broke upIn September 2004, Soul became a British citizen, while retaining his U.S. citizenship. He is an avid fan of English football and is an Arsenal F.C. supporter.

Soul married his fifth wife, Helen Snell, in June 2010. They had been in a relationship since 2002, after meeting when Soul was working in the British stage production of Deathtrap.

In 2005 appeared as Jerry Springer in “Jerry Springer-the Opera”

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Leaving you with the song mentioned in the title.

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When Stalin wanted to kill John Wayne

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No this is not the title of a movie, but why this never was turned into a movie is beyond me.

Joseph Stalin wanted John Wayne gone so badly he sent two men to pose as FBI agents to take him down.It might come as a surprise that Joseph Stalin, Soviet dictator, man of steel, and murderer of millions, was quite the movie buff. He had a private theater in each one of his homes,and in his last years, the cinema became not only his favourite entertainment but also a source of political inspiration.

Stalin was so angered by John Wayne’s anti-communism that he plotted to have him murdered. He ordered the KGB to assassinate John Wayne because he considered him a threat to the Soviet Union.maxresdefault

When the Russian filmmaker Sergei Gerasimov attended a peace conference in New York in 1949 he heard about John Wayne and his anti-communist beliefs. When he returned to the Soviet Union he immediately told Stalin about John Wayne.

Wayne had previously clashed with the Communists because of his opinions, even receiving a threatening anonymous letter. When one of his friends advised him to be more cautious, the Duke declared “no goddamn Commie’s gonna frighten me.”john-wayne-assassination

The situation took a decidedly more serious turn, however, when the movie star attracted the attention of the Soviet dictator himself.

The alleged assassination attempt unfolded in the early 1950’s, just as the Communist scare in the United States was starting to peak.

Sources reported that after one of his routine film viewings, Stalin suddenly decided that Wayne was a direct “threat to the cause and should be assassinated.”

American agents also took the threat seriously enough to offer Wayne protection, to which he replied: “I’m not gonna hide away for the rest of my life, this is the land of the free and that’s the way I’m gonna stay.”

According to Wayne’s stuntman and real-life cowboy Yakima Canutt, the FBI foiled at least one assassination attempt with the help of the Duke himself.yakima-canutt

After getting word that two KGB agents posing as FBI agents were going to come to the movie studio where Wayne was filming and lure him away, the FBI and the actors decided to outflank them. When the Soviets came into Wayne’s office as expected, the actual FBI agents were hidden in a room next door and were able to burst in and subdue them at gunpoint. The Soviets were so terrified of being sent back to Russia and reporting to Stalin they had failed, that they willingly agreed to provide intelligence to the Americans.

Later, in 1953, Wayne was filming “Hondo” in Mexico when yet another communist cell tried to assassinate him.

Hondo

The Soviet campaign was canceled after Stalin’s death in 1953 because his successor Nikita Khrushchev was a fan of the film star. In a biography written by Michael Munn it says Krushchev told Wayne in a private meeting in 1958: “That was a decision of Stalin during his last five mad years. When Stalin died, I rescinded that order.”

John and Joe

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“These are not the soldiers you are looking for” The Jedi in WWII

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This blog is about 2 men of whom you could say “They just don’t make them like that anymore” Both Christopher Lee and Sir Alec Guinness were formidable actors and both served in WWII.

Christopher Lee

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Famous for so many iconic roles like Dracula, Count Dooku in Star Wars prequels  and Saruman in The Lord of the Rings. And lets not forget Christopher Lee was also an accomplished Heavy Metal performer and recording artist. However he showed his true grit in WWII.

In an interview with the Independent he said “When the Second World War finished I was 23 and already I had seen enough horror to last me a lifetime,”

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When the Second World War broke out, Lee volunteered to fight for the Finnish forces during the Winter War in 1939.He and other British volunteers were kept away from actual fighting, but they were issued winter gear and were posted on guard duty a safe distance from the front line.

Christopher Lee enlisted in the Royal Air Force in 1940, where he worked as an intelligence officer specializing in cracking German ciphers . In North Africa he was attached to the Long Range Desert Patrol, the forerunner of the SAS,

As an intelligence officer attached to No. 260 Squadron RAF, he reportedly prevented a small mutiny after troops – frustrated and lacking news from the eastern front – threatened to break ranks.

For a while he was assigned to the Long Range Desert Group.

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For the final few months of his service, Lee, who spoke fluent French and German, among other languages, was seconded to the Central Registry of War Criminals and Security Suspects Here, he was tasked with helping to track down Nazi war criminals.Of his time with the organisation, Lee said: “We were given dossiers of what they’d done and told to find them, interrogate them as much as we could and hand them over to the appropriate authority … We saw these concentration camps. Some had been cleaned up. Some had not.” He retired from the RAF in 1946 with the rank of flight lieutenant, and later again Jedi Master and Sith Lord.

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Sir Alec Guinness

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Sir Alec Guinness(center row third from right in the picture above) was one of the most versatile actors of all time. His genres included comedy,drama and science fiction. Probably most known for his portrayal as Ben Kenobi aka Obi Wan Kenobi in the original Star Wars Trilogy.

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The Bridge on the River Kwai is one of my favourite WWII movies, actually one of my favourite movies overall and it is mainly because of Alec Guinness’s convincing portrayal of Lieutenant Colonel Nicholson that makes the movie so compelling.

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Alec Guinness de Cuffe was born to mother Agnes Cuff and an unknown father in Britain in 1914.

Guinness served in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve in the Second World War,download initially as a seaman in 1941, before receiving a commission as a Temporary Sub-lieutenant on 30 April 1942 and a promotion to Temporary Lieutenant the following year.[Guinness then commanded a landing craft at the Allied invasion of Sicily, he aslo saw action in the , the invasion of Elbe,and Normandy and later ferried supplies and agents to the Yugoslav partisans in the eastern Mediterranean theatre.

During the war, he was granted leave to appear in the Broadway production Flare Path, which was a play about the RAF Bomber Command.

 

Two heroes on and off screen.

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The humour of Laurel and Hardy

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Today is the 53 rd anniversary of the passing away of Stan Laurel, time to look back at some of the wonderful and funny moments he and his ‘Partner in Crime’ delivered for our entertainment.

The power of the humour of Laurel and Hardy is that it did not date, it is still as fresh today as it was then.

Here are just some of their classic lines, very dry but very funny.

From ‘Another Fine Mess’

Ollie “Call me a Cab” Stan “Huh” Ollie “Call me a Cab” Stan “You’re a Cab”

L&H portrait 1929 Derby Pose

From Sons of the Desert

Ollie: You’d better take my temperature….. get that thermometer.
Stan: The what?
Ollie: Thermometer! You’ll find it on the shelf.
(Stan places the thermometer into Ollie’s mouth and starts to take his pulse)
Ollie: What does it say?
Stan: Wet and windy.

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From Way out West.

Lady “What did he die off” Stan ” I think he died of a Tuesday”

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From Brats

Stan “You can lead a horse to water, but a pencil must be led.”

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Recasting Movies-What if?

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I have never made a movie but I am a movie buff. It is hard to cast movies, not every actor is suited to every movie.

I do have a theory of ‘ Stand-by’ actors which is purely and solely based on my own imagination, what I mean whit ‘stand-by’ actors is , when a studio doesn’t get the actor they want for a movie or if their budget isn’t big enough to hire a big movie star, they hire an actor that looks like the star. For example, I have seen movies which I thought were suited for Nick Nolte, but Gary Busey was cast instead,

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Another example would be Mel Gibson and Aidan Quinn.

But again this is purely my own theory there is no back up for this.

Recently I came across some movie posters of classic and more modern movies with a completely new cast on them. I don’t know who made the posters but they are fantastic and it make you wonder, if you could back in time and shoot a movie who would you pick to play in it. What if you could remake a movie with a different cast, would it work?

Hell Boy with Sly Stallone

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Scanners with Frank Sinatra

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A new(old) ensemble cast for Watchmen

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Blade Runner with Bogart and Brando

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Not David Bowie but Jimi Hendrix in Labyrinth

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Dean Martin, Jack Lemon and Jerry Lewis in The Hangover.

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Goodbye Martin Crane-RIP John Mahoney

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John Mahoney, the veteran actor best known for his role as Martin Crane in the TV comedy series Frasier, has died in the US at the age of 77. He passed away on Sunday in his adopted hometown of Chicago after a brief hospitalisation.

Born into an Irish family in Blackpool, Lancashire, Mahoney emigrated to the US as a teenager to join his sister.

Mahoney, the seventh of eight children, was born in Blackpool, Lancashire, England on June 20, 1940.The family was evacuated to Blackpool from the Mahoneys’ home city of Manchester, when it was heavily bombed during the Second World War.

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He started school at St Joseph’s College, Blackpool. After the war, the Mahoneys moved back to Manchester. Mahoney grew up in the Withington area of the city and discovered acting at the Stretford Children’s Theatre. His Irish father, Reg, was a bakerwho played classical piano, and his mother, Margaret, was a housewife who loved reading. His parents’ marriage was not happy and they either would not speak to each other or have heated arguments. The family situation, combined with the war, fuelled Mahoney’s interest in acting and he vowed to leave Manchester.

Mahoney moved to the United States as a young man when his older sister, Vera, a war bride living in rural Illinois, agreed to sponsor him. He studied at Quincy University, Illinois, before joining the United States Army to speed up the U.S. citizenship process; he received citizenship in 1959.He lived in Macomb, Illinois, and taught English at Western Illinois University in the early 1970s,before settling in Forest Park, Illinois, and later in Oak Park, Illinois. He served as editor of a medical journal through much of the decade.

The actor only got into the profession in his late 30s after he returned to Manchester and saw Albert Finney and Leo McKern in Uncle Vanya. When he came back to Chicago he took an acting class which was run by David Mamet. The playwright and John Malkovich eventually convinced Mahoney to join the Steppenwolf group alongside the likes of Laurie Metcalf, Joan Allen and Gary Sinise.

 

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The actor played in a great number of movies, stage plays and TV Shows. But he will always be remembered as Martin Crane, retired cop and father of Psychiatrists Niles and Frasier Crane.

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We could not mention Martin Crane without mentioning his 4 legged companion, Eddie.

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For 11 seasons you made us laugh. There has not been one bad episode. Although your lines were always witty . funny and often sarcastic they were also sometimes very touching and profound.

Martin Crane thank you for all the laughs. John Mahoney thanks for being a great actor. let’s hope you can fulfill your dreams wherever you are now.

Rest in Peace.

Ending with one of my favourite scenes.

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