Here are 10 things you should know about Burt Lancaster, born 107 years ago today. Rarely has a movie star taken the craft of acting more seriously.
Here are 10 things you should know about Olivia de Havilland, who passed away in her sleep on July 25, 2020, at the age of 104.
Burt Lancaster was born 103 years ago today in Manhattan, New York, and rarely has a movie star taken his acting more seriously. Here are 10 BL Did-You-Knows:
- All four of Lancaster’s grandparents came to the United States from Northern Ireland. His father was a postal worker.
- As a kid, Lancaster was interested in gymnastics and he eventually joined the circus, where he remained until he sustained an injury. He graduated in 1930 from DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx.
- Lancaster was nominated four times for the Best Actor in a Leading Role Oscar, winning once, for Elmer Gantry (1960).
- After actor John Garfield turned down the role of Stanley Kowalski in the original Broadway production of A Streetcar Named Desire, it was offered to Lancaster, who also passed. It’s said that Lancaster, given the acclaim that came to Marlon Brando in that role, felt competitive thereafter with Brando and was inspired to become more adventurous in his own choice of projects.
- Lancaster, whose political views were liberal, flew back from Europe, where he was making a film, to take part in Martin Luther King‘s March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 1963, where he was joined by other stars, among them Brando, Sammy Davis Jr., Charlton Heston, Judy Garland, Eartha Kitt, Harry Belafonte, Sidney Poitier and Paul Newman. Lancaster also contributed financially to Dr. King’s work and to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
- Lancaster always stipulated that a high bar be made available on set while he was making a film, so that he could exercise in between scenes.
- Lancaster’s son Bill Lancaster, screenwriter for The Bad News Bears (1976), based that script on his own Little League experiences playing for his father, who coached his team.
- Lancaster’s first television role was a 1969 guest appearance on Sesame Street.
- Lancaster’s was among the 575 names on Richard Nixon‘s infamous “enemies list.”
- Among the prominent roles Lancaster turned down were Moses in the 1959 remake of Ben-Hur (he was offered $1 million for the role) and Gen. George S. Patton in Patton (1970). A role he avidly pursued but was denied was Don Corleone in The Godfather (1972).
- Though they were closely associated in the minds of many fans, Lancaster and Kirk Douglas, who made seven films together between 1948 and 1986, did not enjoy a close relationship.
Happy birthday, Burt Lancaster, wherever you may be!
Olivia de Havilland was born Olivia Mary de Havilland 100 years ago today to British parents in Tokyo, Japan. Here are 10 OH Did-You-Knows:
- Her mother, Lilian Fontaine, was a stage and film actress.
- De Havilland and her sister, Joan Fontaine, were both nominated for the Best Actress Oscar in 1941. Never terribly close, the competition increased the tension between them and they never fully reconciled.
- Since December 15, 2014, de Havilland has been the only surviving major member of the cast of Gone with the Wind. Mickey Kuhn is the only other surviving member of the cast who received a screen credit.
- Since the 1950s, De Havilland as lived in Paris, France. In 1962, she published Every Frenchman Has One, a well-received memoir of adapting to French life.
- De Havilland declined the role of Blanche DuBois in Elia Kazan‘s screen adaptation of A Streetcar Named Desire (1951).
- Her father, Walter Augustus de Havilland, was a patent attorney in Japan who wrote a book in 1910 about a Japanese board game called The ABC of Go. He lived for 96 years.
- De Havilland and Fontaine were the first sisters to win Oscars and the first to be Oscar-nominated in the same year.
- De Havilland appeared in eight movies with Errol Flynn; the pair enjoyed a mutual attraction, but no romance ever sparked between them.
- She was named after William Shakespeare‘s romantic heroine in Twelfth Night.
- Olivia de Havilland was awarded the 2008 American National Medal of the Arts.
Happy birthday, Ms. de Havilland, and here’s to the next hundred years!