Entertainment Trivia


  • Gene Hackman rehearsed for The Graduate before best pal Dustin Hoffman.
  • Hackman paints on a regular basis.
  • Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackman were the two actors considered “the least likely to succeed” at the Pasadena Playhouse.
  • Gene Hackman loved Montgomery Cliff’s work “because of his sensitivity.”




  • Both Marlon Brando and Paul Newman observed Rocky Marciano during the boxer’s practice time at his gym.




  • Paul Newman said “people kept mistaking me for Brando” when he first became widely known.




  • Spike Lee’s grandmother (an Atlanta art teacher) financed all his student films at NYU.
  • Denzel Washington started preparing for Malcolm X one year before filming began.




  • Richard Dreyfuss began acting professionally at age 13.
  • Spielberg refers to Dreyfuss as his “alter ego.”
  • Richard Dreyfuss was the youngest Best Actor Oscar winner (age 29); regarding his character Elliot in The Goodbye Girl: “I wanted to be like him.  I really admired and liked him.”




  • Jeremy Irons worked small gigs as a musician (he sings and plays guitar) before going into acting.
  • Irons worked as a housekeeper (“I enjoyed it very much”) while auditioning for roles in his early 20s.



  • Jeremy Irons first (onscreen) love scene was with Meryl Streep in The French Lieutenant’s Woman.



  • Irons and long-time wife (actress Sinead Cusack) live in a castle in County Cork, Ireland. 




  • Kevin Spacey acted in high school productions with Val Kilmer and Mare Winningham in the LA suburbs; he transferred to their school after he saw them perform.
  • After high school and before getting into Julliard (“Kilmer encouraged me to apply”), Spacey did stand-up comedy for 1.5 years.
  • Kevin Spacey corresponded with Katherine Hepburn for many years, and thought of Jack Lemmon as a “Pop” (father figure/role model in the field of acting).




  • Helen Mirren grew up w/o TV and rarely went to the movies/theater (b/c her family couldn’t afford it). 
  • Mirren trained as a teacher after high school.  She worked for a time in inner-city London (Bethnal Green) teaching elective courses.


young hm

  • Helen Mirren prefers movies to acting b/c theater “is such hard work.”




  • Meryl Streep studied w/ the same voice teacher as (opera star) Beverly Sills as a teenager.  Before getting a full scholarship to Julliard for her master’s, she applied to law schools.
  • Streep wrote her own lines for the courtroom scene in Kramer vs. Kramer.  


sophies choice

  • Meryl Streep studied Polish for 4 months before Sophie’s Choice.
  • Streep heard that director Sidney Pollack didn’t think she was “sexy” enough for Out of Africa, so she wore padding (“We didn’t have the Wonderbra back then”) and a low-cut dress to meet him.




  • William H. Macy’s first acting teacher in college was David Mamet.  Eventually, their group of actors formed the Atlantic Theater Company.
  • Macy and long-time wife (actress Felicity Huffman) have been together since her early 20s; they met doing theater.




  • Michelle Pfeiffer worked as a bagger, checker, and won the Miss Orange County beauty pageant.  She also went to court reporting school for one year, but found it very boring.


fab boys

  • In The Fabulous Baker Boys, Michelle did her own singing.



  •  Pfeiffer threw some dishes during her Scarface screen test and accidentally cut Al Pacino’s hand.





  • Al Pacino’s maternal grandfather was born in Corleone, Sicily (this is where the family in The Godfather films comes from).
  • Pacino left high school (after 2 yrs) b/c he had to work to support the family; he also acted with a group of pals.
  • Pacino was homeless for a time; he slept in the little theater where he was performing.




  • Barbra Streisand collects dolls b/c she didn’t have one as a little girl.
  • Streisand took take-out orders at a Chinese restaurant during high school.  The lady who owned the restaurant was “like a second mother” to her.



  • The Way We Were was written specifically for Streisand; she feels the film worked b/c she and Robert Redford were so different from each other (just like their characters).  Redford “kept asking me about Brooklyn.”




  • Natalie Portman studied dance since age 4.




  • George Lucas scheduled Star Wars: Episode 2 to shoot in the summer (to work around Portman’s Harvard schedule).
  • Natalie Portman speaks several languages, including Hebrew (she was born in Israel) and Japanese.







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