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Samuel Shepard Rogers II
November 5, 1943
Sam worked on a ranch as a teenager.
Most of his initial writing was for the stage; after winning six Obie Awards between 1966-1968, Shepard emerged as a viable screenwriter with Robert Frank's Me and My Brother (1968) and Michelangelo Antonioni's Zabriskie Point (1970).
Shepard's early science fiction play The Unseen Hand (1969) would influence Richard O'Brien's stage musical The Rocky Horror Show.
Shepard began his acting career in earnest when he was cast as the handsome land baron in Terrence Malick's Days of Heaven (1978). This led to other important films and roles, including the role of "Cal", Ellen Burnstyn's love interest in the film "Resurrection" (1980) and most notably his portrayal of Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff (1983), earning him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
By 1986, one of his plays, Fool for Love, was being made into a film directed by Robert Altman, in which Shepard played the lead role; his play A Lie of the Mind was Off-Broadway with an all-star cast including Harvey Keitel and Geraldine Page; he was living with Jessica Lange; and he was working steadily as a film actor—all of which put him on the cover of Newsweek magazine.
A revival of A Lie of the Mind in New York was staged at the same time as his 2010 play, Ages of the Moon, also opened there. Reflecting on the two plays, Shepard said that the older, longer play feels to him "awkward ...[, a]ll of the characters are in a fractured place, broken into pieces, and the pieces don’t really fit together," while the newer play "is like a Porsche. ... It’s sleek, it does exactly what you want it to do, and it can speed up but also shows off great brakes." The revival and new play also coincided with the publication of the collection Day out of Days: Stories (book title echoing a film-making term), also by Shepard. The book includes "short stories, poems and narrative sketches ... that developed from dozens of leather-bound notebooks [Shepard] has carried with him over the years."
Was the drummer for late 1960s bands "Lothar and the Hand People" and "The Holy Modal Rounders"
Has twice been nominated for Broadway's Tony Award as author of a Best Play nominee: in 1996 for "Buried Child" and in 2000 for "True West."
Collaborated with Bob Dylan in writing the song "Brownsville Girl," which appeared on Dylan's 1986 album "Knocked Out Loaded."
You Were Never Here
Out of the Furnace
August: Osage County
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Black Hawk Down
Snow Falling On Cedars
The Pelican Brief
The Right Stuff
Sydney Irwin Pollack
July 1, 1934
Sydney Pollack was born to a family of Jewish immigrants from Ukraine.
Pollack studied acting with Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse from 1952 to 1954, working on a lumber truck between terms. After two years' army service until 1958, he returned to the Playhouse at Meisner’s invitation to become his assistant.
Pollack found initial success in television in the 1960s by directing episodes of series such as The Fugitive and Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
One of a select group of non- and/or former actors awarded membership in The Actors Studio.
During his career, he directed 12 different actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Jane Fonda, Gig Young, Susannah York, Barbra Streisand, Paul Newman, Melinda Dillon, Jessica Lange, Dustin Hoffman, Teri Garr, Meryl Streep, Klaus Maria Brandauer and Holly Hunter. Only Young and Lange won Oscars for their performances in one of Pollack's films.
In 2000, Sydney Pollack was honored with the John Huston Award from the Directors Guild of America as a "defender of artists' rights."
In 2000, co-founder, with Anthony Minghella, of "Mirage Enterprises" to produce films. Kate Winslet dedicated her first Oscar win to Sydney Pollack and his partner in Mirage Enterprises, Anthony Minghella, following their deaths.
Pollack died the next day of stomach cancer, at his home in Los Angeles, surrounded by family. His body was cremated, and his ashes were scattered along the runway at the Van Nuys Airport in Los Angeles.
Out of Africa
Absence of Malice
Three Days of the Condor
The Way We Were
This Property Is Condemned
The Slender Thread
June 1, 1937
In 1955, he graduated from Broad Street, but turned down a partial drama scholarship from Jackson State University, opting instead to enlist in the United States Air Force. Freeman served in the U.S. Air Force as an Automatic Tracking Radar Repairman and rose to the rank of Airman 1st Class.
He acted in a touring company version of The Royal Hunt of the Sun, and also appeared as an extra in the 1965 film The Pawnbroker. Freeman made his off-Broadway debut in 1967, opposite Viveca Lindfors in The Nigger Lovers (about the civil rights era "Freedom Riders"), before debuting on Broadway in 1968's all-black version of Hello, Dolly! which also starred Pearl Bailey and Cab Calloway.
Although his first credited film appearance was in 1971's Who Says I Can't Ride a Rainbow?, Freeman first became known in the American media through roles on the soap opera Another World and the PBS kids' show The Electric Company (notably as Easy Reader, Mel Mounds the DJ, and Vincent the Vegetable Vampire).
He continued to be involved in theater work and received the Obie Award (or Off-Broadway Theater Awards) in 1980 for the title role in Coriolanus. In 1984, he received his second Obie Award for his role as the preacher in The Gospel at Colonus.
Beginning in the mid-1980s, Freeman began playing prominent supporting roles in many feature films, earning him a reputation for depicting wise, fatherly characters.
In 1997, Freeman, together with Lori McCreary, founded the film production company Revelations Entertainment.
Effective January 4, 2010, Freeman replaced Walter Cronkite as the voiceover introduction to the CBS Evening News featuring Katie Couric as news anchor. CBS cited the need for consistency in introductions for regular news broadcasts and special reports as the basis for the change. As of 2010, Freeman is the host and narrator of the Discovery Channel television show, focused on physics outreach, Through the Wormhole.
He was featured on the opening track to B.o.B's second album Strange Clouds. The track "Bombs Away" features a prologue and epilogue (which leads into a musical outro) spoken by Freeman. In 2011, Freeman was featured with John Lithgow in the Broadway debut of Dustin Lance Black's play, 8, a staged reenactment of Perry v. Brown, the federal trial that overturned California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage. Freeman played Attorney David Boies. The production was held at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre in New York City to raise money for the American Foundation for Equal Rights.
He owns and operates Ground Zero, a blues club, located in Clarksdale, Mississippi.
In 2004, Freeman and others formed the Grenada Relief Fund to aid people affected by Hurricane Ivan on the island of Grenada. The fund has since become PLANIT NOW, an organization that seeks to provide preparedness resources for people living in areas afflicted by hurricanes and severe storms.
Freeman has publicly criticized the celebration of Black History Month and does not participate in any related events, saying, "I don't want a black history month. Black history is American history." He says the only way to end racism is to stop talking about it, and he notes that there is no "white history month." Freeman once said on an interview with 60 Minutes 's Mike Wallace, "I am going to stop calling you a white man and I'm going to ask you to stop calling me a black man." Freeman supported the defeated proposal to change the Mississippi state flag, which contains the Confederate battle flag. Freeman sparked controversy in 2011 when, on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight, he accused the Tea Party movement of racism.
As of 2014, has appeared in four movies that were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar: Driving Miss Daisy (1989), Unforgiven (1992), The Shawshank Redemption (1994) and Million Dollar Baby (2004). With the exception of The Shawshank Redemption (1994), all the other films won in the category.
The Lego Movie
Now You See Me
Olympus Has Fallen
The Dark Knight Trilogy
Gone Baby Gone
Luky Numbler Slevin
An Unfinished Life
Million Dollar Baby
The Sum Of All Fears
Along Came A Spider
Kiss The Girls
The Shawshank Redemption
The Bonfire of The Vanities
Driving Miss Daisy
Lean On Me
7 April 1954
In his movies, he is known for his acrobatic fighting style, comic timing, use of improvised weapons, and innovative stunts, which he typically performs himself. Chan has been acting since the 1960s and has appeared in over 150 films.
Chan was born in British Hong Kong, as Chan Kong-sang, to Charles and Lee-Lee Chan, refugees from the Chinese Civil War.
His parents worked for the French ambassador in Hong Kong, and Chan spent his formative years within the grounds of the consul's residence in the Victoria Peak district.
Chan's first major breakthrough was the 1978 film Snake in the Eagle's Shadow, shot while he was loaned to Seasonal Film Corporation under a two-picture deal. Director Yuen Woo-ping allowed Chan complete freedom over his stunt work. The film established the comedic kung fu genre, and proved refreshing to the Hong Kong audience.
Chan has performed most of his own stunts throughout his film career, which are choreographed by the Jackie Chan Stunt Team.
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The dangerous nature of his stunts makes it difficult for Chan to get insurance, especially in the United States, where his stunt work is contractually limited. Chan holds the Guinness World Record for "Most Stunts by a Living Actor", which emphasises "no insurance company will underwrite Chan's productions in which he performs all his own stunts". In addition, he holds an unrecognised record for the most number of takes for a single shot in a film, having shot over 2900 retakes for a complex scene involving a Jianzi game in Dragon Lord.
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Chan has been injured frequently when attempting stunts; many of them have been shown as outtakes or as bloopers during the closing credits of his films. He came closest to death filming Armour of God, when he fell from a tree and fractured his skull.
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Chan's greatest regret in life is not having received a proper education, inspiring him to fund educational institutions around the world. He funded the construction of the Jackie Chan Science Centre at the Australian National University and the establishment of schools in poor regions of China.
Chan is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, and has championed charitable works and causes. He has campaigned for conservation, against animal abuse and has promoted disaster relief efforts for floods in mainland China and the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.
In 2005 Chan created the Dragon's Heart Foundation to help children and the elderly in remote areas of China by building schools, providing books, fees, and uniforms for children. The foundation also provides for the elderly with donations of warm clothing, wheelchairs, and other items.