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Entries in Olivia de Havilland (9)

Wednesday
Dec182013

Top Ten: The Best Sister Acts in Hollywood History

Today's top ten list was inspired by the passing of the great Joan Fontaine, half of Hollywood's most embittered AND most successful sibling rivalry, all-female division. Usually when a movie star has a sibling, one is considerably less successful than the other which is why the Fontaine & de Havilland business was so enduringly fascinating. (If we're talking mixed gender siblings only Warren Beatty & Shirley Maclaine are truly comparable in terms of parallel mega-careers). I'm dedicating this list to the Talmadge sisters, silent screen stars (though most of their work did not survive) as well as the one and only Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorleac (her gorgeous elder sister who died way too young)... those Young Girls of Rochefort. But Rochefort is a long way from Hollywood.

HOLLYWOOD'S TOP TEN FOURTEEN (ACTRESS) SISTER ACTS

The Sisters Mara: Kate & Rooney

14 Kate Mara (1983-) & Rooney Mara (1985-)
Rooney, currently playing Joaquin's ex-wife in Her, became a very big deal two years ago with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and Kate is currently working the Netflix original House of Cards. If Hollywood futures are kind they'll climb this informal list.

13 more actressy-sibling sets after the jump

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Monday
Dec162013

100 of the Oldest Living Screen Stars of Note

as of december 16th, 2013 - this list is no longer being updated

With the back-to-back departures of Peter O'Toole and Joan Fontaine I've been really bummed about losing great artists from Hollywood's Golden Age. The Golden Age is roughly considered to be from Hollywood's 1930s through the 1950s. I still hadn't recovered from the loss of Eleanor Parker, an underappreciated actress I had honestly planned a retrospective of but never got around to. 

This morning in my movie grief I inadvertently killed dozens of people off on twitter by claiming there were only six stars of the Golden Age still living. So consider this list my penance. In the past I've published a semi-annual list of all living Oscar-vets in any capacity. It ws never meant to be a morbid countdown list but a way for us to honor people while they're still theoretically conscious of our appreciation for their indelible contributions. So though I normally publish such a list on Ms. Luise Rainer's birthday and it normally includes all crafts, I thought I'd publish an actor specific list that is NOT about Oscar... so send out telepathic waves of appreciation to these talents. Rent one of their movies this month!

100 OLDEST LIVING SCREEN STARS OF NOTE

 DISCLAIMER: Not all screen actors who are old enough for this list are represented. We had to stop somewhere lest the list become a full time job. Check the comments for a rich treasure trove of names NOT included here that are still with us

 01 Carla Laemmle (10/20/09)
Her career was largely uncredited but she's one of the very last silent film players and appeared in both Phantom of the Opera and Dracula ! And she recently completed work on a new movie Mansion of Blood at 104 years of age!

02 Luise Rainer (1/12/10) 
She is 103 going on 104 ♫... that doesn't have a great ring to it but The Sound of Music is such an earworm and Hollywood did like to pretend she was Austrian nicknaming her "The Viennese Teardrop" (she was actually German but that wouldn't do in late 30s Hollywood). Oscar's first back-to-back Acting winner for The Great Ziegfeld (1936) and The Good Earth (1937) was recently name-checked not so flatteringly in Hitchcock (2011) but she can handle it. The outspoken actress was very vocal about what she thought of Hollywood, her unsatisfying films, and "The Oscar Curse" which she doesn't believe in. Other key works: Not really. Her acting career was short-lived.

03  Mártha Eggerth (4/22/12)
A major star in opera houses -- her best known production being a revival of "The Merry Widow" --  she frequently acted in musicals and for multiple countries, too (Germany and Hollywood for the bulk of them). She's undoubtedly best remembered State side for back-to-back Judy Garland vehicles: For Me and My Gal (1942) and Presenting Lily Mars (1943) and if you've never seen either, you're in for such a treat. They're both such good movies. 

04 Eli Wallach (12/7/1915)
This beloved character actor and recent Honorary Oscar recipient, played "Mr Freeze" on the Batman TV series. He's most famous for frequent television apperances and for his role as "Tuco" in The Good The Bad and The Ugly (1966).  In terms of contemporary film, he popped up in Oscar favorite Mystic River (2003) and his most recent acting gig was in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010). Other Key Works: He was busiest from the late 50s through early 60s stretching from Baby Doll (1956 - Golden Globe Nomination) to The Magnificent Seven (1960) and on throughThe Misfits (1961) and Moon Spinners (1964).

05 Olivia de Havilland (7/1/1916) 
The oldest truly enduring movie star on this list had won Best Actress twice by the time she was 33 for To Each His Own (1946) and The Heiress (1949). Olivia's legend was cemented years earlier than either of her Oscar wins, though, with her first nomination as the kind-hearted "Melanie" in the immortal Gone With the Wind (1939). She is the one of the only four remaining living actors with speaking roles from that historic film. The Snake Pit (1948) and Hold Back the Dawn (1941) also won her Oscar attention. Other Key Works: Maid Marian in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), My Cousin Rachel (1952), and Light in the Piazza (1962). 

100+ more wonderful talents after the jump

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Monday
Dec162013

Joan Fontaine (1917-2013)

First Peter O'Toole, and now Joan Fontaine (née Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland)? It's going to be a rough week. Hollywood lost another of its living giants this weekend when Ms Fontaine passed away of natural causes at 96 years of age. The two-time Hitchcock heroine, bizarrely the only actor to ever win an Oscar in one of his films, is survived by her daughter Debbie and her older estranged sister Olivia. Though Fontaine and Olivia de Havilland are the most successful sister movie stars of all time (both A listers, Oscar winners, and stars of at least one immortal classic) they were famously competitive, never got on well, and haven't spoken since 1975!

The actress would undoubtedly shoot us one of those delicious cocked eyebrow looks to hear her sister mentioned so prominently in all of her obituaries but Old Hollywood Mythology is too enticing to ignore. 

Though her career was very successful in the 40s, the 50s weren't as kind and like many Oscar winning actresses of her time she went Grande Dame Guignol in the 60s (American Horror Story didn't invent the stunt casting tradition of aging Best Actress winners in horror flicks); her last film was the Hammer Horror The Witches (1966). Have any of you seen it?

Five Must-Sees For Your Queue: The Women (1939), Rebecca (1940, Best Actress nomination, Best Picture winner), Suspicion (1941 Best Actress Oscar), The Constant Nymph (1943, Best Actress nomination) and Letters from an Unknown Woman (1948)

Tuesday
Sep102013

Top Ten Olivias

Here's a top ten stream of thought quickie for you. Let's just say it's in honor of Olivia Wilde who has been bouncing around in my head since that Boogie Nights live read last week and who won the StarMeter award from the IMDb last night. Congratulations on being so eminently, um, searchable, Livvy.

Olivia Wilde in Rush

I have to admit I don't quite get her appeal but Congratulations! Her career is white-hot right now (Rush is playing at TIFF and winningly surprisingly strong reviews) and she's engaged to Jason Sudeikis. Without further ado, off the top of my head and just for fun... 

The Ten Greatest "Olivia"s

10 Olivia Pope on Scandal
I don't watch Scandal (forgive) and the one episode I did see was atrocious and made me wonder what everyone is smoking when they praise it (blasphemy?) but I've been rooting for Kerry Washington since the very beginning of her film career (Our Song, holla!) and don't really wish to jump ship despite a few stumbles. Plus, she's up for an Emmy in this year's small screen Best Actress competition for this role, which is really quite historic if you check, television wise. If you love Scandal PLEASE explain why in the comments. [TFE's Interview]

09 Olivia Hussey
Romeo & Juliet need, desperately need, to be played by very young actors to maximize the authenticity and resonance of their tragedy. But it wasn't until Franco Zeffirelli's gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous 1968 adaptation that people finally understood this en masse. I am on record as complaining about the constant revivals of Shakespeare on stage and in the movies. But Romeo & Juliet I especially don't understand any more at least in movie form. [more...]

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Saturday
Jan122013

Emmanuelle Riva's Oscar Birthday And The 100 Oldest Living Oscar Nominees

Emmanuelle Riva at the NYFCC Awards earlier this weekGuess who has a birthday on Oscar night this year? Emmanuelle Riva! What fortuitous timing.

The legendary French actress of Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959) fame, was Oscar-nominated just a few days ago for her haunting downward spiral in Michael Haneke's Amour (2012) and on her 86th birthday she could become the oldest winner of any competitive acting Oscar. Christopher Plummer, who turned 83 last month, currently holds that record for his win last year for Beginners. Riva's abundantly well deserved nomination makes her, at this writing, the 64th oldest living Oscar nominee or winner, just a few days younger than American screen legend Sidney Poitier.

So, as we gear up for Oscar night, I thought it was time to look back with gratitude on our elders. Let's pay homage to the Oscar nominees and winners that are still with us. Investigate these talents with your DVD queues and perhaps they'll feel the vibes of new fans "discovering" their cinematic contributions. That would have to be a sweet (and deserved) sensation. 

I'm posting today, not just due to the discovery that next month's Emmanuelle Riva Birthday Celebration will involve all the biggest stars in the world, but because it's January 12th, on which we always say happy birthday to #1 on this list. I hope you enjoy!

100 OLDEST LIVING OSCAR NOMINEES/WINNERS
to clarify: I included Honorary Oscars even if the person was never up for a competitive statue

Luise Rainer and Luise Rainer1-10

01 Luise Rainer (1/12/10)
HAPPY 103rd BIRTHDAY, LUISE!
Recently name-checked not so flatteringly in Hitchcock, she was once known as the "Viennese Teardrop" and sits in the record books as the first back-to-back Oscar winning actor for The Great Ziegfeld (1936) and The Good Earth (1937). She's been very vocal about what she thought of Hollywood and "The Oscar Curse" which she doesn't believe in. Her career ended for more complicated reasons. Other key works: Not really. Not films she liked at any rate. Her career was over almost as soon as it began.

99 More Greats After the Jump 

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