Classic Hollywood Trivia & Quotes

Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackman roomed together in New York at Hackman’s one-bedroom apartment on 2nd Ave. & 26th St.  Hoffman slept on the kitchen floor.  Originally, Hackman had offered to let him stay a few nights, but Hoffman would not leave.  Hackman had to take him out to look for his own apartment.  (LOL!)

Another roommate of Hoffman’s in NYC was Robert Duvall.

They would often go to the apartment rooftop and play the drums.  Hoffman played the bongo drums while Hackman played the conga drums.

Gene Hackman worked as a doorman, soda jerk at a pharmacy, and moved furniture while he was a struggling actor in NYC.

Hackman (now retired) admitted that he took roles with money as the first consideration in some cases. 

Hackman said:

Dysfunctional families have sired a number of pretty good actors.

I wanted to act, but I’d always been convinced that actors had to be handsome.  That came from the days when Errol Flynn was my idol.  I’d come out of a theater and be startled when I looked in a mirror because I didn’t look like Flynn.  I felt like him.

I was trained to be an actor, not a star. I was trained to play roles, not to deal with fame and agents and lawyers and the press.


Hoffman said:

I wanted to be a jazz pianist, but I wasn’t good enough.

I started junior college in Los Angeles because I didn’t have the grades to go to university and I didn’t want to go into the military. So in my first year of junior college I’m failing and I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to get a job, I want to be a student, and a friend says, ‘Take acting, because they don’t flunk you – it’s like gym, nobody gets an F.’  I took it and suddenly it was the first thing I ever did that wasn’t painful. Where I held focus. And suddenly, rehearsing with somebody – learning lines – hours could pass by. And I begged my parents to let me go to this acting school, because I knew I couldn’t fail.


Laurence Olivier‘s ancestors were French Huguenots (Protestants) who fled to England in the 17th century because of persecution by the majority Catholics.  (That’s why his surname is French.) 

After he became ill, Olivier was replaced by Brando in The Godfather.

He  insisted that people call him “Larry” despite having several noble titles.


Olivier said:

Without acting I cannot breathe.

If I wasn’t an actor, I think I’d have gone mad. You have to have extra voltage, some extra temperament to reach certain heights. Art is a little bit larger than life – it’s an exhalation of life and I think you probably need a little touch of madness.

Surely we have always acted; it is an instinct inherent in all of us. Some of us are better at it than others, but we all do it.


Robert Redford lost his baseball scholarship and was expelled from The University of Colorado for drunkenness.  (His position had been pitcher.)

Some people have analysis. I have Utah.

I never did look like a 21-year-old just out of college who’d never been laid.  (On why he turned down the lead role in The Graduate– LOL!)

All my life I’ve been dogged by guilt because I feel there is this difference between the way I look and the way I feel inside.


Spencer Tracy served in the navy,  and worked as a bellhop, janitor, and salesman while doing stock theater.

Tracy didn’t like to rehearse and would read through a scene only once. He also never liked to shoot a scene more than once, and in most cases he didn’t have to.

He turned down Cary Grant’s role in The Philadelphia Story because he wanted to work on another film.

Tracy said:

It is up to us to give ourselves recognition. If we wait for it to come from others, we feel resentful when it doesn’t, and when it does, we may well reject it.

I couldn’t be a director because I couldn’t put up with the actors. I don’t have the patience. Why, I’d probably kill the actors. Not to mention some of the beautiful actresses.

Why do actors think they’re so God damn important? They’re not. Acting is not an important job in the scheme of things. Plumbing is.

This mug of mine is as plain as a barn door. Why should people pay thirty-five cents to look at it?

Two Movie Reviews

Michael Clayton (2007)

This thriller is a vehicle for George Clooney, though it has terrific performances from Sydney Pollack, Tilda Swinton, and Tom Wilkinson.  The boy who plays Henry, Michael’s young son, does a fine job as well.  Unlike many child actors, he is natural, likeable, and believable.   Clooney almost disappears into the role of a self-loathing and disappointed lawyer, Michael Collins.  But Michael is not your typical lawyer- he’s labled a “fixer.”  To put it bluntly, he’s helped a lot of wealthy clients cover up misdeeds.  (I’m not going to give away many details.) 


When a close friend, litigator Arthur Edens (Tom Wilkinson), becomes unhinged during a deposition in Milwaukee, the firm sends in Michael.  (Arthur was defending UNorth, a huge corporation embroiled in a class-action lawsuit, for the firm of Kenner, Bach, and Odeen.)  But Arthur (the heart of this movie) will not be controlled- he’s had an epiphany and wants to do the right thing.  He refuses to be “an accomplice” in a cover-up. 

Sydney Pollack (in his last role) is pitch-perfect as one of the founding partners of the firm, Marty Bach.  Is he a villain, or just trying to represent his client?  You will have to decide.


The villain in this film is Oscar winner Tilda Swinton, who takes on the role of Karen Crowder, the top attorney for UNorth.  She is the opposite of Michael Collins-  she stands up very straight and doesn’t doubt/regret her decisions.  Karen will go to extremes to protect UNorth and her boss/mentor.  Her suits are likened to “armor” by director Tony Gilroy.


The Full Monty (1997)

I think this comedy is a fitting one for our tough economic times.  The Full Monty is a hilarious, touching, and well-acted British film (that I wanted to see for a long time)!  It centers on a group of unemployed steel workers in Sheffield, an industrial city in Northern England.  (It may take some time to get accustomed to their accents and slang.  You can turn on subtitles, if needed.) 

The main character, nicknamed Gaz (Robert Carlyle), has lost his job, wife, and is about to lose custody of his adolescent son, Nathan.  Gaz can’t cover the child support, so he hatches a drastic plan to earn some fast money.  If the foreign male dancers/strippers (Chippendales) can make big bucks off the Sheffield ladies, then why can’t local blokes?  Nathan isn’t sure this will work, but he goes along to help his dad.

Gaz is (reluctantly) joined by his best mate Dave (Mark Addy), an overweight, self-conscious, yet sweet man who feels unworthy of his wife.  Eventually, Gaz and Mark find a few more down-on-their-luck men to join their endeavor.  The guys pester their former supervisor Gerald (Tom Wilkinson) to teach them to dance.  At first, the upwardly-mobile Gerald doesn’t want to help the men.  But he relents when he sees their desperation.  (And he’s jobless, too.)     

Along the way, this misfit bunch have to overcome clumsiness, improve body-image, and summon up loads of courage.  From their eyes and expressions, we see that they are not doing this “as a lark” (for fun), but for survival.  They rent out a local pub for a one-night performance.  Will the ladies buy tickets to see ordinary guys?  Will the guys be able to go “the full monty?”


Some more trivia…

Aaron Eckhart and his family moved to England when he entered his teen years.  That is where he first got into acting.  Eckhart also served a 2 year mission in France and Switzerland (with the Mormon church).

Ben Stiller a self-professed Trekkie.


Catherine Keener is Irish (father’s side) and Lebanese (mother’s side). 

Daniel Day-Lewis was born to a titled poet (father) and an actress (mother).  As a child, he grew up partly in South London, and was sometimes bullied by the tough kids for being “posh” and Jewish (mother’s side).  As a result, he  mastered the local accent and mannerisms and credits that with being his first convincing performances.  In 1997, he moved to Florence, Italy and eventually apprenticed as a shoemaker.  Day-Lewis has his pic is on a stamp of Ireland- VERY cool!

Denis Leary was born to Irish Catholic immigrants; he holds both Irish and American citizenship.  Despite his tough-guy persona, he is still married to his college girlfriend (writer Ann Leary) and enjoys watching the Oprah show.



Edward Burns, like most of his characters, is a true son on New York.  The actor/writer/director was born in Woodside, Queens and raised on Long Island.  His mom worked for the fed gov’t and his dad was a cop/PR spokesman. 

Emilio Estevez often wrote short films for his brother (Charlie Sheen) and  friends (Rob & Chad Lowe, Sean & Chris Penn) while in high school.  



Jason Patric turned down the lead role in The Firm; he also turned down the role of Jesus in Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ.  Isn’t the young pic (above) ADORABLE?

Kiefer Sutherland took a brief break from acting in the early ’90s to pursue a career in the rodeo.

Madeleine Stowe,  an actress known for her delicate/exotic beauty, didn’t go on a date until age 18.  Her mother immigrated to the U.S. from Costa Rica.   Stowe began taking piano lessons at age 10 with the aim of becoming a concert pianist — and also as a way of not having to socialize with other kids.  (The 2nd pic is of Stowe w/ her co-star in The Last of the Mohicans, Daniel Day-Lewis.) 


Quincy Jones (above w/ Peggy Lipton & his daughters) has never learned to drive, citing an accident in which he was a passenger (at age 14) as the reason.

William Petersen, who is of Danish and German descent, attended college on a football scholarship.  But an acting class changed his life, and he followed his professor to the Basque region of Spain.   There he studied to be a Shakespearean actor.  Petersen was offered the lead role of Henry Hill in Goodfellas, but turned it down.

“American Idol” is in full swing!

Update: Lacey Brown was voted off on Thursday, 3/18. 

Hey readers!

I’m sure MANY fo you are watching American Idol these days.  Like last season, there is a diverse group of singers ranging in age from 16 to late 20s.  There is also a diversity of style of singing, presentation, and looks.  This makes the competition VERY exciting!  Last night, the hopefuls took on classic rock- the Rolling Stones.

When it comes to PURE natural talent, Andrew Garcia and Crystal Bowersox (both parents and 24 y.o.) are at the top.  They DON’T need to make an effort to get their voices to do what they want.  They are also calm, mature, creative and have distinct styles.  Knowing how Idol works, however, these qualities may NOT always help them.  (My dad said that Crystal reminds him of Jewel.)  

The singers whose styles I REALLY enjoy are Aaron Kelly (just 16) and Paige Miles (who has a VERY powerful voice).  Aaron, though very young, has a kind of quiet confidence.  He knows what he wants to sing- country w/ a hint of pop.  (I think it’s pretty EXCITING to have a country singer on such a big show!)  Paige has a lot of potential, but she needs to be careful when picking songs.  She carries herself well and has big, beautiful eyes.  And we know that LOOKS don’t hurt you on Idol!     

Speaking of beauty… Casey James (27) and Didi Benami (23 y.o. w/ wide smile) are doing pretty well.  Casey just makes me SMILE!  It seems like these two are eager to please and willing to experiment w/ song styles.  Lacey Brown (24) reminds me of Martina McBride when it comes to looks and voice- an unique sound.  I hope she stays around.  Lee Dewyze (23) stands out from the crowd w/ his simplicity and musical influences.  (He’s also the only contestant from the Midwest.)  I felt BAD for him when Simon commented harshly on his performance Tuesday night.  Lee looked near tears!     

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