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Showbiz History: Betty Boop, Bob Aldrich, and the Muscles from Brussels

We're still so terribly depressed about the Academy's foolhardy new decisions, that we're looking for ANYTHING else to think about today as distraction. Herewith...

12 random things that happened on this very day (Aug 9th) in history...

1918 HAPPY ROBERT ALDRICH CENTENNIAL! The director was born 100 years ago today in Rhode Island. Among his best known films: The Big Knife, The Dirty Dozen, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, Autumn Leaves, Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte, and The Longest Yard. Alfred Molina was recently Emmy-nominated for playing him in the TV series Feud: Bette and Joan...

1930 Betty Boop debuts in the short Dizzy Dishes. Her look isn't perfected yet -- she's actually a take on a humanoid French poodle at this point (note the ears!) and not actually the star of the short. Nevertheless she makes quite an impression with her va va voom 'boop-boop-bee-doop'

1944 Sam Elliott is born in Sacramento. He becomes an enduring actor on screens large and small. We're looking forward to his Oscar nomination for A Star is Born ;) 

 1949 Jimmy Stewart marries Gloria Hatrick McLean in Los Angeles. It was his only marriage and her second. They raised four children together and remained together until her death in 1994. 

1963 Whitney Houston is born. She's a superstar in music by the time she's 22. Then, briefly, a movie star with two quintessential 90s flicks, The Bodyguard (1992) and Waiting to Exhale (1995) and one additional starring role The Preacher's Wife (1996) with Denzel Washington. This year's documentary Whitney was a hit at the box office. 

1967 Playwright Joe Orton is murdered. His life and violent death is dramatized in the 1987 film Prick Up Your Ears starring Gary Oldman. That's an interesting case study of failed Oscar buzz, actually, since the film won an award at Cannes, was runner up for some key critics awards, received a Golden Globe nomination for Vanessa Redgrave in supporting actress, and 3 BAFTA nominations but Oscar didn't bite in any category.

1969 Sharon Tate, Valley of the Dolls star and wife of Roman Polanski, is murdered by the Manson cult. She'll be played by Margot Robbie in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019).

Stephen Fung and Shu Qi were married 18 years after co-starring in the gay drama Bishonen.

1974 Actor/Producer/Director Stephen Fung born in Hong Kong. Some readers will know him as Jet in the gay romantic drama Bishonen (1998). A very young Shu Qi co-starred in that film and they were married just two years ago. Fung's current project is producing the AMC's series Into the Badlands.

1985 Anna Kendrick is born in Portland. Goes on to minor fame via a Tony nomination at just 12 years of age in Broadway's "High Society" followed by a bitingly funny film debut in Camp (2003). Mainstream fame hits at 24 when she grabs her first Oscar nomination for Up in the Air (2009).

1991 Double Impact starring Jean Claude Van Damme, the Muscles from Brussels, opens in movie theaters

2002 Action franchise of mild popularity xXx kicks off starring Vin Diesel, Asia Argento, and Vin Diesel's fur coat. 

2019 Disney's adaptation of Artemis Fowl, directed by Kenneth Branagh is due in theaters next year on this day.

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Reader Comments (10)

Thanks for this. Yes, any light moments among the gloom of the Academy's announcements is a help! I love that photo of Aldrich with Davis and Crawford. It's hard to tell whether the two women are in character or not. Given what we know of their relationship with each other, one suspects they didn't have much of a leap to make!

August 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

Currently listening to the 12-episode saga of Charles Manson in Hollywood on Karina Longworth's great "You Must Remember This" podcast. I had no idea of the timing, that it's been exactly 49 years since that terrible tragedy. It's hard to listen to at times, but Longworth makes the story absolutely riveting. I highly recommend this podcast to one and all (the multipart series on Jane Fonda & Jean Seberg in particular is also stellar). RIP Sharon Tate and the other victims.

On an entirely different note, I'd forgotten what a great butt Jean Claude Van Damme had back in the day. Wowza, thanks for the clip, also riveting.

August 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRob

The best gay thirst trappings happened before the internet and pandering to the pink constituency.

August 9, 2018 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

I just love this section. Nat: that would be Robert Aldrich. Not Aldritch.

August 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

Shu Qi is one of the most beautiful women ever. Now that I'm at it, I'll recommend "Three times".

August 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMe34

I thought Jimmy Stewart died in 1997? Wouldn't that make it three years as a widower?

August 9, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterajnrules

Prick up your Ears remains IMO Oldman's best performance.

August 9, 2018 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

I never expected Prick Up Your Ears to get nominated for anything in 1987. It would have been a suprise even in 1997.

By the way, The Joe Morton diaries are fascinating to read.

August 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Jean Claude Van Damme is for the gays what Bruce Lee is for the heterosexuals. He made kids who didn't care for fight movies watch them with other eyes.

August 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterFeline Justice

Really enjoyed Prick Up Your Ears which I saw twice in the last three years. Gary Oldman resembled the real Joe Orton and totally nailed the charisma of this talented and doomed figure. Alfred Molina as Joe's lover was also pitch perfect - embodying the restless jealousy and repressed rage of a man possibly past his prime and having to live under the shadow of a partner who was more celebrated than he is. But it was Vanessa Redgrave who delivered a totally convincing and riveting performance as Peggy Ramsay. She's sexy, charming, cunning, borderline manipulative and completely believable. I can see nominations for Redgrave and Oldman, Frears, the writing, and the quietly spooky score.

August 10, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterOwl

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