SHOW BUSINESS - ACTORS - 1900s-1920s

Storyline: The minority Renaissance man encases his superb skills in a costume of color and does great battle to show that genius is a universal gift of the heart and mind, not the skin.

Paul Robeson (1898-1976) - American actor, singer and activist. Outer: Of African/American descent. Father was a runaway slave who served with the Union army during the Civil War, and eventually became a Presbyterian pastor, only to be driven from the pulpit for his activist stance against racism, and forced to haul ashes for a living. Passed on his convictions to his son, while filling him with the confidence that hard work could overcome any obstacle set in his path. Youngest of 5, and fourth son. Mother was a former teacher, who came from an abolitionist Quaker family and died from burns in a fire when he was 6. Had 3 brothers and a sister, although he was clearly the best-loved of the bunch. After excelling in both athletics and academics, he won an academic scholarship to Rutgers Univ., where he was an All-American football player, Phi Beta Kappa, and won 12 letters in sports. When he first went out for football, he was beaten and had his fingernails torn out, but persevered, and ultimately let his prowess prevail. 6’3”, 230 lbs. Nevertheless, his name was later struck from the All-American lists when his patriotism eventually came into question. Graduated as valedictorian of his class, and opted for a career in law, gaining a degree from Columbia Univ., while playing pro football and performing to pay his way through. Worked for a white law firm, but quit when a secretary refused to take dictation from him. In his early 20s, he married Eslanda “Essie” Cardozo Goode (Shonda Rhimes), the daughter of a clerk in the War Dept., who headed the pathology dept. at a city hospital, and was of mixed blood, although mostly of African descent, one son from the union, Paul Robeson, Jr. an historian. A compulsively inconstant mate, which put enormous strains on the marriage, although the two never divorced. His wife became a speaker and activist, working for the common goals of her husband, who eventually turned his skills towards the stage, where she had steered him, initially appearing in Harlem. Their stormy relationship would include separations, although she managed much of his career, and wrote an early biography of him, “Paul Robeson, Negro,” in 1930. With his longtime accompanist, Lawrence Brown, he gave the first-ever concert of African-American secular songs and spirituals in 1925 in NYC, then launched his legendary recording career later that year, ultimately releasing some 450 recordings. Moved to England in the late 1920s, and made it his home base until WW II. Triumphed on Broadway in Eugene O’Neill’s “Emperor Jones,” a role he reprised in a film loosely based on the play in 1933. Because roles of that nature were limited, he turned towards the concert stage as a more effective venue for his talent. The possessor of a powerful bass-baritone, which he had inherited from his father, he gave vocal recitals of spirituals, while also appearing in such musicals as “Showboat,” to highly dramatic effect. Made his theatrical mark as a genuine Othello, a Moor who was normally played by white actors in cork, although initially he had to go to England to do it, since no U.S. company would employ him as such. Spent most of his 30s in Europe, speaking around the world against racism, while becoming conversant in 20 languages, and fluent in 12 of them, after studying linguistics at the London Univ. Despite all his gifts, he had an ego to match his abilities, and was completely remiss as a father, as well as often unfaithful to his loyal wife, who continually took him back after his many, many affairs because of her great belief in his abilities. As a symbolic underground figure, he came to identify with the plight of Welsh miners, performing for them over the decades, and supporting their labor struggles. Between 1925 and 1942, he also made 11 films, most of them British productions. Visited the U.S.S.R. in his mid-30s, and became increasingly involved in left-wing activity, while remaining a popular public figure to many, and an increasing threat to many more for his outspokenness. Became a permanent expatriate, living in Europe, and touring the Soviet bloc, where he won the Stalin Peace Prize in 1952. In 1950, he had his passport withdrawn when he refused to disclaim membership in the Communist Party. Because of the red hysteria of the time, his public career was all but over, even though the Supreme Court eventually overturned the ruling in 1958. All his films and recordings, however, were withdrawn from circulation. On the death of Stalin he wrote a flowery eulogy praising his humanity, while ignoring the inconvenient fact he had killed tens of millions of his countrymen in his paranoid purges. Also turned a blind eye to the country’s blatant anti-Semitism. Had mass celebrations for both his 50th and 75th birthdays, with activists and heads of state saluting him, while remaining persona non grata to those who refused to see him as anything other than an anti-American troublemaker. Began showing signs of manic-depression in the mid-1950s, as the pressures of his life started getting to more and more. Made a suicide attempt in a Moscow hotel room in 1961 under somewhat suspicious circumstances, and in 1963, returned to the U.S. for good. Two years later his wife died of cancer, and he spent his last decade an isolated invalid, cared for by his sister and the son he had too long ignored, before dying of a stroke in total seclusion in his sister’s home. Given a posthumous Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998. Inner: Powerful political convictions, and superbly talented at every mode of expression he tried. Probably the most singularly gifted American of the century. Great desire to embody all the beauty, power and grace of Africa. Used African traditions, spirituals, folk songs and dialect to sensitize European descendants to injustices. Wanted black culture to liberate black and white workers, and was extremely sensitive to oppressed people everywhere, taking on their pain and humiliation. Messianic lifetime of trying to integrate his extraordinary gifts into a society unwilling to see past surfaces, and eager to defame any messenger who deviated from the acceptable patriotic platitudes of the time. Ira Aldridge (1807-1867) - American/English actor. Called the African Roscius. Outer: Father was probably a ship’s carpenter, who was brought to the United States, where he became a pastor. Educated in the African Free School in New York and Glascow, Scotland. Engaged by dissolute English actor Edmund Kean (Peter O’Toole) as a personal attendant, and returned with him to England. Also worked in the same capacity for Henry Wallack (Henry Winkler). In his early 20s, he made a successful debut performing scenes in the role of the jealous Moorish general, Othello, a role traditionally played by Europeans in black cork. Gradually graduated to larger parts, beginning with slave portrayals, and working his way up into white parts. Made several triumphant tours of Europe in a small variety of Shakespearean roles, and was viewed as a faithful interpreter of the Bard of Avon. Tall, well-built, with dark, noble features. Acted in English, in Germany, although supporting players employed their native language. Married Margaret Gill, an Englishwoman, in his 20s, which greatly angered America’s pro-slavers. From his late 40s, he played almost exclusively on the continent, becoming an English citizen in his late 50s. Probably never returned to the United States after having left it. Learned enough Russian to perform there as well in the late 1850s. After his wife’s death in 1864, he married his former mistress, Amanda Von Brandt, a Swedish woman with whom he already had a son. 4 more children, a son and three daughters, were subsequently added to their brood, and each would be involved in music as teachers, composers or singers, save for his final daughter who died in infancy. Accumulated a considerable fortune from his skills, and despite being a distinct racial minority, largely enjoyed a life of praise, cultural power and acceptance for his skills. Died while visiting Poland, and was buried there. Inner: Natural actor, well-liked, well-respected. Toe-in-the-water lifetime of being rewarded for who he was in order to prepare himself for a much larger social role on a much larger stage, with far less reward for far greater efforts. Thomas Doggett (c1640-1721) - Irish actor, manager and sport sponsor. Outer: Origins obscured, but probably rose from relative poverty. Around 1680, he married Mary Owen, the granddaughter of a celebrated divine, after became an Irish performer, acting, singing and dancing in a comic manner. Following the Glorious Revolution of 1688, he decided he could earn his keep as an actor in England. First began to be known in London with a traveling company in 1689, performing at Bartholomew’s Fair. Specialized in comic parts afterwards at Drury Lane, and when that company split in 1695 to form an actor’s collective, he went with the latter group. Continued doing comic roles, while getting into theater management with several partners at the Theater Royal, Haymarket and Drury Lane, where he became part of a famous triumvirate of actor/managers, along with Robert Wilks (Kevin Kline) and Colley Cibber (Brendan Behan), although quit in a dispute over adding Barton Booth (Orlando Bloom) to their number. Retired in 1713, and lost his wife afterwards, while retiring to his home in Eltham. Two years later, in honor of the Hanoverian ascension to the throne by George I (Prince Charles) the previous annum, he founded the Doggett’s Coat and Badge prize for the winner of an annual rowing race for watermen on the Thames between London Bridge and Chelsea. The contest, which would be his ultimate legacy, would continue on for the next two centuries as a longtime sporting tradition. Although he was well-compensated for his various activities, and was extremely generous with his money, evidence indicated he ultimately died a pauper. Inner: Painstaking and highly industrious, as well as well-respected, honorable and witty. Businesslike and strongly political, while taking great care in both his costuming and observations on life. Dogged lifetime of forging a well-received career through sheer dint of his many talents and convictions, as prelude to his later attempts at doing the same in far more exotic fashion, while playing against deep-seated prejudices that absolutely refused to acknowledge his profound humanity. Roscius (Quintus Roscius Gallus) (?-62BZ) - Roman actor. Outer: Born a slave, but was particularly handsome, well-sculpted and manly. Carefully studied the gestures of public figures in the forum, and was able to transliterate them to the stage, winning praise for his form and style, while showing a particular aptitude for comedy. Compared acting to oratory, and was a teacher himself in the fine art of public speaking to Cicero (Abraham Lincoln), and he, in turn, defended him in a lawsuit. Was able to not only win his freedom through the fame he won upon the stage. Given a gold ring to mark him as an equestrian by the Roman dictator Lucius Sulla (Gerhard Schroeder), which was an extraordinary achievement, since actors were traditionally held in extremely low repute. Gained considerable fortune as well as fame, for his well-rehearsed roles and fine sense of improvisation, and retired rich and well-loved. Inner: Self-inventing lifetime of transcending humble origins through a brilliant gift for strutting upon the stage, allowing him to become a symbol through the ages of lowly birth and transcendental skills, a theme he would continue to explore.


Storyline: The bedeviled boards-walker uses effective partnership as ballast for his own ungainly and unsteady emotional ship, while continually augmenting his craft by playing off his fears and failings.

Charles Laughton (1899-1962) - English actor. Outer: Parents were hotelkeepers. Fascinated by acting from childhood onward. Had a Catholic education, attending a convent school, then a Jesuit college, later taught himself in the arts, becoming an authority on painting and sculpture and a connoisseur of literature. Began work as a hotel clerk, then served in the great drama of WW I, enlisting as a private, participating in a bayonet attack as well as hand-to-hand trench combat and experiencing being gassed just before the Armistice that ended the conflict. 5’8”, and increasingly corpulent. Started thinking of the stage as a career by joining an amateur theater group after being discharged. In his mid-20s, he enrolled at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and became a gold-medal student there. Made his professional debut in London at 27, and enjoyed considerable success. Married a cast member from one of his first plays, Elsa Lanchester, in his late 20s, and the two had a long and devoted relationship. Appeared in 2 film shorts with her, prior to their union, and then began making his presence known in British features. Took one of his stage efforts to NYC in his early 30s for his first U.S. appearance, then hied himself to Hollywood where he fashioned an extremely memorable career for himself. Probably best remembered for his Best Actor of 1933 portrayal of Henry, Part VIII, (Maxwell Beaverbrook) with a leg of venison in one hand and a flagon of ale in the other. Returned to England in 1938 to form Mayflower Productions, but the 3 films he co-produced were unsatisfactory to him, and he came back to the U.S. for the rest of his career, finding his native land highly oppressive. His first film on his return was the memorable Hunchback of Notre Dame, in which he probably gave his peak performance, as the title character, never to invest a role again with so much of his alien self. In the early 1940s, he found fulfillment with a young actor, which seemed to free him of lingering inhibitions. Began to do public readings geared towards a younger audience, and taught acting to small groups at his house. Showed an astonishing range of character, as well as the ability to delightfully bluster his way through characters in otherwise unmemorable fare. His singular film director stint was the unsettling Night of the Hunter in 1955, whose lack of response at the time unsettled him, and ended what would have been an equally unique directorial career. In his later days, he gave Bible and dramatic poetry readings, as well as appearing on radio, TV and films. Often had young lovers go on the road with him, while his wife tolerated his alternative carnal appetites. Died after surgery for spinal cancer. His spouse wrote a dual biography of them, “Charles Laughton and I.” Inner: Boisterous, social, a born performer, albeit moody and difficult. Extremely neurotic and codependent, with a great fear of being exposed as naked on the stage. Emotionally hunchbacked lifetime of continuing his association with his longtime mate while raising his sense of craft several notches through a foreign medium, a foreign country, and a prickly personality that gave him little peace. Charles Kean (1811-1868) - English actor. Outer: Father was the brilliant but erratic actor Edmund Kean (Peter O’Toole). Mother was a member of her husband’s company. Both parents were ill-suited for one another. Younger of 2 sons, the elder was his father’s favorite. Educated at Eton, and despite paternal discouragement for a career on the boards, made his London debut at 16. Served his apprenticeship through an extensive tour of the provinces, and first appeared with his father at 27. Won his first real plaudits during his first U.S. tour in his late 20s. On his return to England, he was rewarded with richer roles and made the most of them. Was playing Iago to his father’s Othello, when the latter collapsed on stage during his final performance. Unprepossessing physically and with poor projection, he compensated for his inadequacies by perfecting the details of his characterizations. His frequent co-star was Mary Tree (Elsa Lanchester), whom he married in his early 30s. Their adoptive daughter became an actress and made her debut at 17 in her father’s theater. Careful and conscientious, although basically an uninspired actor. Had many mannerisms and odd pronunciation habits. Managed the Princess Theater in London during the 1850s, and staged his/storically accurate revivals there that were quite successful. Moody at the end of his life, but also lavishly generous, occasionally ostentatious, and like his father, given to drink. Died after a long and painful illness. Inner: Turbulent sense of vanity, got into and out of disputes with equal good and bad grace. Always aware of his progenitor’s legacy, with a continual desire to step beyond his shadow. Bedeviled lifetime of incarnating through a thespian genius, although unable to tap into his father’s innate emotional abilities, in an attempt to make himself less cerebral and more intuitive in his ongoing approach to his craft. Thomas Betterton (c1635-1710) - English actor. Outer: Father was an undercook to the royal household, who styled himself a gentleman, mother was his 2nd wife. Oldest son of 7 children. Had a ‘polite’ education, showing a strong interest in reading. Began working as an assistant to a bookseller. Did some early writing, then decided to apprentice himself as an actor. Large-headed, corpulent, physically unimpressive. Made his debut in his mid-20s, then was hired by William Davenant (David Hare) for his troupe, the Duke’s Company, over which he became the guiding theatrical force. Able to play Hamlet only a year and a half after officially taking to the stage. Went to Paris in his mid-20s as official agent of the restored King Charles II (Peter O’Toole) to report on the Parisian theater, since England’s stage had been abandoned during the puritanical interlude between monarchies. At 27, he married his leading lady, Mary Betterton (Elsa Lanchester?), and together the two did Shakespeare, as he became the foremost actor of his time. When its chief rival collapsed, his company merged with it. Built up a fortune but lost it in a failed commercial venture in his early 60s. Played at Drury Lane theater until that time, then contested the power of management, and triumphantly negotiated a license to lease Lincoln Fields Inn, and led his players there, in a successful theatrical revolt. Took on roles he was too mature for, but invested them with his own deep stage experience. Continued acting into his 70s, while also taking the role of teacher. Despite extreme stage skills, he wound up his life in poverty, and at the near end, his wife lost her reason. Died from complications of gout. Inner: Energetic, charismatic, with a brilliant ability to project a wide range of characters. Ungainly, great head, short, thick neck, small eyes, corpulent, low and grumbling voice, but vivacious actor, who breathed theatrical life into all his parts. Basically lived for his art. Total theater lifetime of transcending an unimpressive physicality to completely immerse himself in his craft, or both betterton and worse. Edward Alleyn (1566-1626) - English Elizabethan actor, businessman and college founder. Outer: Younger son of an innkeeper who was porter to the queen. Began his acting career in his late teens when he joined the provincial troupe of the Earl of Worcester’s Men. The troupe played in the outlying districts of London, appearing in Shakespeare’s hometown of Stratford many times in the mid-1580s. In 1585, he moved to London, hoping to play before the queen and her court. Joined the Admiral’s Men, and he quickly became acknowledged as the foremost actor of his times, rivaling Richard Burbage (Ralph Richardson) for that accolade. Christopher Marlowe (Tennessee Williams) created the leads in three of his plays, “Faustus,” “Tamburlaine” and “The Jew of Malta” for him. In 1592, he married Joan Woodward, the stepdaughter of theater owner and theatrical patron Philip Henslowe, and went into business with him, becoming wealthy in the process, through managing theaters and producing plays. Eventually owned several playhouses, as well as several less elevated enterprises, such as bull-baiting, bear-pits and brothels, taking an active interest in the former activities to the point of once baiting a lion in front of James I (Kenneth Tynan). Won the plaudits of many of the playwrights of his time, for his range and depth of emoting, although never acted in any of Shakespeare’s plays, since he owned a rival theater to the Globe. In 1598, content with his role as theater manager, he retired, while still at the height of his fame, although Queen Elizabeth (Mae West) implored him to return to the stage, which he did until 1604 after the latter’s death. His acting, however, took secondary status to his continued entrepreneurial activities, including the erection of the Fortune Theater, a deliberate replica of the Globe. Inherited property from his father, and by 1613, was quite wealthy, enjoying his high social status, and his friendships with many of the eminent minds of his time. Bought an estate in Dulwich in 1605, and became the town’s leading citizen. In 1619, he founded and built the College of God’s Gift in Dulwich, which later became Dulwich College, as well as Alleyn’s School. After his beloved wife’s death in 1623, which caused him no end of grief, he married Constance Donne, the daughter of John Donne (James Joyce) who was nearly four decade his junior, later that year. No children from either of his unions. Buried in the chapel of the college he founded. Inner: Kind, genial and genuinely religious. Skilled tragedian, with a Midas touch to everything he assayed. Luminous lifetime of combining his superb acting gifts with his entrepreneurial skills, to literally and figuratively set the stage for his ongoing mastery of his craft.


Storyline: The eccentric everyman gives classic definition to the extraordinarily ordinary, while allowing his sardonic overview free license to make him a highly uncommon commoner.

Sir Ralph Richardson (1902-1983) - English actor, director and producer. Outer: Mother was the daughter of a captain in the merchant navy, father was art master at Cheltenham College. Both parents were painters. 3rd son of duo and youngest child. Often alone, he amused himself by acting out stories. His parents separated when he was 4, and he lived with his mother as a self-described mama’s boy. Educated at home, then ran away from a seminary, receiving an erratic education. Worked as an office boy for an insurance company, before getting a small inheritance from his grandmother. Quit and went to Brighton Art College, although found he didn’t have enough talent to warrant a career. Joined a semi-pro acting troupe, his subsequent first role was making bomb sounds off-stage. At 22, he married Muriel Hewitt, a 17 year old student actress, in a childless union. 6’, bulbous-nosed and plain, but with a good stage presence. His wife contracted sleeping sickness while touring South Africa, and died when he was 40. Achieved prominence with the Old Vic company during the 1930s, focusing on ordinary men and turning them into extraordinary memories. Primarily a stage actor, concentrating on character roles, he brought an acute, sardonic intelligence to his stagecraft, although also did work in motion pictures, beginning in his early 30s with The Ghoul. 2 years after his wife’s death, he married Meriel Forbes, another actress, the grandniece of actor James Forbes-Robertson, one son from the union. Deeply attached to his 2nd mate, a 2nd mother for him. Became co-director of the Old Vic with Sir Laurence Olivier for 6 years, bringing that venerable institution back to its former glory. Knighted in his mid-40s. Did considerable work on the Broadway stage, and appeared on both sides of the Atlantic in films. Directed himself once in a film at 50, in a long and well-received career. Died of a digestive ailment and a stroke. Inner: Felt actors were the jockeys of literature. Eccentric, often carried a white mouse in his pocket to scare his leading ladies. Enthusiastic motorcyclist, notorious tease. Godly and homespun, alternately unapproachable and accessible. Never fully grew up, adding to his irrepressibility. Wily old shoe lifetime of trying to raise the ordinary to the extraordinary through his adept ability at gifting commonality with an unusual theatrical intelligence and verve. William Macready (1793-1873) - English actor and theater manager. Outer: Father was the son of a Dublin upholsterer, who became an actor, then a cold and surly provincial theatrical manager. Mother, from a family of clergymen and the daughter of a surgeon, was an actress, specializing in secondary parts. 5th of 8 children. The family expected him to be a lawyer, but financial difficulties curtailed his education at Rugby, and made him take to the stage, which he thought would only be temporary. His father’s subsequent failure as a manager, which put him into prison for debt, solidified his decision. Lost his mother at 10, and made his successful debut in his sire’s company at 13, as Romeo. Developed his craft in the provinces, and in his early 20s, appeared at London’s Covent Garden, mostly in malevolent malefactor roles. Graceless, ugly, with an occasional lapse into stuttering, despite a commanding voice and an extremely expressive pair of eyes. Within 4 years, however, he had achieved wide acclaim for the sincerity and candor of his craft, particularly in his Shakespearean roles, securing his reputation after playing Richard III (Evelyn Waugh). Always upstaged the rest of his cast, and made stagelife difficult for all of them, often flying into cold rages at any and all mistakes on their part. Married Catherine Atkins, an actress, at 30, scolded her on their first meeting, and she died 19 years later. The duo had a large family, but only 2 children survived into adulthood. In his mid-60s, he remarried Cecile Spender, who was over 30 years his junior and outlived him by three and a half decades, one son from the union. Manager of two of London’s most important theaters, Covent Garden and Drury Lane during the late 1830s and early 1840s, although less adept financially than he was in his stagecraft. Demanded a sense of unity for the performances he produced, with the actors working in tandem with one another, instead of as disparate disconnected entities. Insisted on rehearsals, which ran counter to the practice of the day of actors memorizing their lines separately, and then delivering them any way they wished. Also required accurate costumes and sets, and employed the original Shakespearean texts, rather than the later corrupted versions in common use. Kept a detailed diary of his life, and habituated the highest literary and artistic circles of London, inspiring leading authors of the time to write for the stage. Toured Europe, and made several visits to the United States. On his final one, in 1849, he precipitated the Astor Place riots, when a feud between his classical ways and the more naturalistic styles of the Americans, as embodied by Edwin Forrest (Marlon Brando), resulted in the latter’s partisans charging the theater during his performance of Macbeth and inciting enough mayhem to kill 22 people and injure another 3 dozen. Barely escaped with his life, and returned to England, retiring 2 years later, after a performance in his favorite role, that of Macbeth. Invalided his last two years, with his hands paralyzed and his speech faulty, although he retained his mental faculties to the end. His son later destroyed some of his diary, for fear it would be used against him. Great favorite with educated audiences. Inner: Vain, self-seeking and arrogant, with a quick temper and a facility of drawing strong reactions to himself. Treated those he worked with shabbily. Always had an intense dislike for his profession, although gave it all he had. Generous, but morose and morbidly introspective. Highly intelligent, with an excellent capacity for emotional depth as well, although not quite in the same class as the highest tier actors of his time. Full-throated lifetime of introducing the techniques of production of modern theater to an earlier age, while allowing his abrasive character to stimulate and outrage the public-at-large, before returning in far more charming manner, having released some of his ongoing demons. James Quin (1693-1766) - English actor. Outer: Of Irish descent. Paternal grandfather was Lord Mayor of Dublin, who committed suicide in 1674 over money woes. Father was a lawyer, while his mother was still legally married to a soldier turned shoemaker when they wed. The only child from the bigamous union, he thought he would inherit a considerable fortune when his sire died in 1710, only to have the will contested, forcing him to deal with it into middle-age, before money was no longer a concern to him. May have attended Trinity College in Dublin with the idea of becoming a lawyer, but the stage proved a far more compelling draw, and he probably made his debut in Dublin in his early 20s. By 1715, he was part of the Drury Lane company in London, as a supporting player. Subject to weight gain, with a multiplicity of chins, his voice rather than his physicality was his theatrical mainstay, consigning him to secondary roles, which he sometimes exaggerated with a gravitas that bordered on the ridiculous. In 1717, he transferred to John Rich’s (Anthony Hopkins) company and remained with it for the next 16 years. Fatally wounded William Bowen, a fellow actor twice his age noted for his volatility, in a duel, and, although found guilty of manslaughter, escaped branding on the thumb for the act, and was re-embraced by the public. Also killed a second actor, who had drawn on him, and was similarly not punished for his excessive temper. Had numerous to-dos with his fellow thespians, although not of a mortal nature, while maintaining a lifelong friendship with fellow actor Lacy Ryan (John Gielgud). Never married, feeling himself ungainly, which also affected the parts he took, making him avoid the heroic or romantic. Played leads in both tragedy and comedy, with the outsized Shakespearean character of Falstaff as his most memorable role, which occasioned his image cast in collectible china figurines. Enjoyed the status of being England’s leading actor in the 1730s, with commensurate salaries. Returned to Drury Lane for 7 seasons beginning in 1741, then found himself compared unfavorably with David Garrick (Richard Burton), a far more naturalistic actor, who assumed his title as England’s leading figure of the stage. Occasionally appeared with him, usually to his detriment, although the two remained good friends. Spent the remainder of his career with the Covent Garden company, before retiring to Bath in 1751, after receiving the stupendous salary of £1000 his final season. Did benefit performances afterwards, while ballooning to 20 stone (nearly 300 pounds), through excesses in both eating and social drinking. After one of his hands became enflamed while visiting Garrick, he returned home in an anxious state and soon expired. It would be the latter who composed the epitaph for his funereal monument. Showed himself to be extremely generous in his subsequent will. Inner: Fiery-tempered and coarse, with a ready wit and an elephantine taste for food and drink. Falstaffian lifetime of giving full play to his appetites for roaring crowds, groaning tables and good company as reward for his ready wit and rough, gluttonous ways. Richard Burbage (c1567-1619) - English actor. Outer: Outer: Father, James (Joseph Papp) was an actor, theater manager and theater owner. One of four siblings, including older brother Cuthbert (Harvey Weinstein), a theater manager, and two sisters. Made his stage debut as a boy. An established actor by the time he was 20, he became close friends with William Shakespeare (William Butler Yeats), and originated the roles of several of his tragedies, including Macbeth, Romeo, Hamlet and Othello. Although short and stout, he was able to project a far more impressive figure upon the boards, and proved an extremely popular and adept actor, finding himself always in demand, particularly because of his ability to memorize complex roles, which most of his contemporaries could not. Married a woman named Winifred in his mid-30s, 8 children from the union, 4 dying in early childhood, and one born posthumously. A major shareholder in the Globe and Blackfriars theaters, which his father helped build. Also a skilled painter, and may have done the best-known portrait of Shakespeare. Probably died of some sort of paralysis. Inner: Despite an ordinary physicality, able to radiate strong artistic illusions from his preferred canvas of the footlit stage. Present-at-the-creation lifetime of being given easy access to a successful career, and taking full advantage of it, as the original interpreter of many of the classics of classical Elizabethan drama.


Storyline: The classy classicist sticks to the high road in his long intertwining with the theater, despite his occasional low road lapses, preferring to channel his controlled interior into characters rather than his own persona, so that he can maintain his Olympian distance from himself.

cSir John Gielgud (Arthur John Gielgud) (1904-2000) - English actor, producer and director. Outer: From a dynastic acting family. Father was of noble Catholic Lithuanian/Polish descent, Protestant mother was related to actress Ellen Terry (Vanessa Redgrave). His older brother Val was a writer and impresario as well as a pioneering influence on BBC Radio. Had a happy childhood, with his own toy theater, and was raised in his mother’s faith. Loved to dress up from her theatrical trunk, and never really saw himself as anything but an extension of his own make-believe world. Graduated the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and made his stage debut with the Old Vic Theater at 17, rapidly becoming the actor of his generation in his interpretation of Shakespearean roles, a mantle he ultimately passed onto Lawrence Olivier. 5’11”, with a Roman profile, and the first to abandon antiquated Shakespearean histrionics in favor of psychological interpretations of the Bard’s characters. Known as “the voice that wooed the world.” Entered films at the age of 20 with Who Is the Man?, although he was less impressive on the silver screen because of his choice of roles. Appeared on Broadway in his mid-20s, then became associated with the Oxford Playhouse, before joining the Old Vic company. His neurotic, self-lacerating Hamlet at the age of 29 cemented his reputation, which was further augmented by his directing abilities. Acknowledged, along with Olivier, as the two preeminent actors of the English stage of the 20th century. His versatility allowed him to tackle a diverse set of roles, both ancient and modern, and he also won plaudits as a director for several repertory seasons of English theater before and during WW II. Unwilling to compromise himself with the ‘angry young men’ drama of the 1950s, he concentrated thereafter on classical roles and recitals, although occasionally did modern drama. Despite a long-term relationship with actor John Perry, he enjoyed the thrill of trolling in public lavatories in a special cruising cap to pick up fellow fellatialists. In 1953, a few weeks after he was knighted, he was arrested in a London loo on morals charges, inadvertently outing himself as a homophile. Initially afraid to go on stage, afterwards, but the theater world rallied round him. Within 5 months, he began suffering double vision and then had a nervous breakdown in recompense for the incident, which he subsequently refused to speak about throughout his life. Won an Academy Reward for Best Supporting Actor late in his career for his role as a butler in Arthur in 1981, at the age of 77. Continually worked throughout his long and active career on stage and in films, and expanded into television as well. Still active on the stage into his early 80s, and at 86, received the Order of Merit. Made his final screen appearance in his mid-90s, in a film adaptation of a short play. Wrote 4 books of an autobiographical nature on acting and stagecraft. His longtime partner, Martin Hensler, some 30 years his junior and Hungarian, whom he had met in 1962, died months before he passed away from natural causes. One of only a handful of performers who won an Emmy, Oscar, Grammy and Tony. Inner: Humble, genuinely modest, courtly, shy off stage, self-admitted ‘coward.’ Projected a nonphysical presence, and depended, instead, on his acute interior to convey character. Subtle, controlled craftsman, with a distinguished voice and an all-abiding need to work and perform. Felt the actor’s purpose was to be a channel for the playwright’s intentions, not to showboat his thespian skills. Self-critical, and always open to learning. Olympian lifetime of centering his existence around work and emoting, searching for himself in his art, which he made one and the same with his life, with a singular scandal to remind him of the difference between the two. cSamuel Phelps (1804-1878) - English actor. Outer: Parents were connected to people of both affluence and influence, father supplied outfits to naval officers. 7th child, orphaned at 16. At 17, he was a junior reader to the press, then went to London to become a reader to a pair of newspapers there. Matriculated at Trinity College, Cambridge, before taking holy orders. In 1826 he married Sarah Cooper, 6 children from the union, which ended when his wife died in 1867. Became an amateur actor, and first appeared in London as Shylock at 33. Had a good face, figure and voice, and ultimately excelled in characters of rugged strength. Rose steadily in his profession, as a sound, capable and powerful actor, although he was deficient in passion for tragedy, and lacking in imagination for truly memorable interpretations. Elected a fellow of Sidney Sussex, and was made master of that college from the age of 39 until his death. Co-managed the Sadler Well’s Theater for 15 years, with a particular dedication to the plays of William Shakespeare (William Butler Yeats). Became solo manager of the same theater in his late 50s for 2 seasons, then acted chiefly at Drury Lane. Although he preferred tragedy, he was at his best in dry-humored comedy. Towards the end of his life, his skills declined precipitously. Died after a series of colds. Inner: Scandal-free existence, with his whole life centered around his work. Fishing would be his only relaxation. Dour and pragmatical, with a large repertoire, and more of an emphasis on the physical than the mental. Alternate perspective lifetime of exploring the corporeal rather than the cerebral or emotional, only to wind up leaving a middling, competent legacy that still did not stretch his controlled sense of craft. Lacy Ryan (1694?-1760) - English actor: Outer: Of Irish descent. Father was a tailor. Destined for the law, he worked in his godfather’s office, but felt a far greater draw towards the stage. By his midteens, he was appearing at the Haymarket, and went on to do support roles in a variety of plays in London’s major theaters over the next several years, winning plaudits for his efforts, despite his extreme youth. Of middle height and reasonably handsome, he was awkward in the movement of his head, as if it were not integrated with the rest of his body. In 1718, while he was dining, he was assaulted by a notorious drunken bully, and killed him with his sword in self-defense. No charges were brought about. The same year, he began appearing at Lincoln’s Inn Fields, and was associated with the company for the next fourteen years. Appeared with close friend James Quin (Ralph Richardson) there, assaying both tragedy and comedy in a host of roles, originating many parts. When a new house opened in Covent Garden in 1732, his company played there, and it became his venue for the remainder of his career. In 1735, he was robbed and shot through the upper jaw by a thief, which caused him to fear he would never appear on stage again. After writing to a local newspaper in that regard, he was quickly rewarded with a packed-house benefit in his honor, with the Prince of Wales contributing moneys to him. Able to return to the stage less than two months later, and continued on his career, although his voice became somewhat croaking, while his features were impaired. Made his last appearance in 1760, and six months later died in either his house in Westminster, or in Bath. Although never viewed as an actor of the first rank, he acquitted himself well enough to be constantly employed, as a first rate second-rater. Inner: Highly esteemed, although some of his characterizations were seen as ridiculous because of his lack of physical grace. Curious magnet for violence, perhaps as a means to bring his uncoordinated physicality to bear. Targeted lifetime of continuing to try to master his craft, while dealing with direct assaults on his person as a means of proving his physical mettle to himself in arenas outside the stage, where it remained an obstacle rather than an enhancement to his footlit presence. William Sly (c1573-1608) - English Elizabethan actor and theater shareholder. Outer: Early life unrecorded. The first mention of him comes in 1591, in a play probably written by Richard Tarlton (Robin Williams). By 1594, he was thought to have been with the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, of which he was a founding member. Ultimately became a shareholder in the company by 1597, although little about his life can be stated with any surety. Friend of actor Richard Burbage (Ralph Richardson), as well as playwright William Shakespeare (William Butler Yeats). Became a shareholder in the Globe Theater by 1605, and a co-owner. Played romantic and soldierly support roles in several Shakespearean productions, and was one of the 26 actors who performed in the plays listed in the Bard’s first folio. Involved with several companies of the time, as well as theaters, becoming a co-owner in the Blackfriar’s playhouse in 1608, while profiting from his various theatrical enterprises, so as to be able to fashion a generous will. Inner: Second billing lifetime of being there at the beginning of classical English drama, while combining a sense of financial acumen with his ongoing desire to master the stage, through vocal rather than physical means.


Storyline: The well-applauded impersonator divides his life neatly twixt character and self, allowing his wild side public view and his tame side domestic view, preferring to remain unintegrated and solitary when left to his own unseen devices.

hJames Cagney (1899-1986) - American actor. Outer: Mother was Norwegian, father was an Irish bartender, whose family name was original O’Caigne. Grew up on New York’s Lower East Side. Close family, loved both his parents deeply, although his sire was irresponsible and a drunk, who ultimately died in the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, so that his mother actually held the family together. His younger sister, Jeanne, became an actress, while his lookalike younger brother William also became an actor, as well as a producer/manager. Worked to help support the family, and began his show business career as a female impersonator, before appearing on Broadway in the chorus line. 5’7”, wiry. In his mid-20s, he married Frances Vernon, a chorus girl with whom he had professionally danced. Close union, in which she dominated, although the duo had no issue because of his sterility. Adopted two children 18 years into the marriage, and his wife had him build an extra house for them on his farmland, so that he would not be disturbed in his work. After his Broadway success, he came to Hollywood in his early 30s, and was a star for Warner Bros. within a year, after squishing a grapefruit in the face of his breakfasting co-star in Public Enemy. Created a unique, sneering, kinetic, staccato-speaking character for himself that came to embody the gangster tough guy, despite his small stature, and butterflies before every performance. Became the studio’s biggest male star, despite his outright contempt for its head, Jack Warner, as well as the ‘front office’ in general, whom he felt squashed creativity. An outspoken liberal, and pro-union during the 1930s, as well as an aggressive president of the Screen Actor’s Guild from 1942 to 1944, his patriotism was occasionally called into question, particularly after an LA grand jury released testimony in 1940 lumping him in with communist sympathizers. In response he and his brother, who had formed a production company, did Yankee Doodle Dandy, a biopic on George M. Cohan (Michael Flatley), for which he won an Oscar in 1942, after being given complete creative control on the film. Later directed one film himself, while growing more conservative in his beliefs. Retired from Hollywood in his early 60s, after an extremely memorable career, then was flooded with honors, including the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1974, while he lived in seclusion on his upstate NY farm. Suffered from diabetes and had several strokes, prompting a modest comeback after 20 years, on doctor’s advice to increase his activities. Died from cardiac arrest on Easter Sunday, following a long bout with diabetes. Had his autobiography ghostwritten for him, “Cagney on Cagney.” Inner: Felt acting was just a job, a phrase he continually uttered when asked of his craft. Reserved, sober, sensitive and a a quiet loner, who couldn’t wait to get away from Hollywood once a job was completed. Amateur poet and painter, devoted husband and son, quite the opposite of his screen persona. Compartmentalized lifetime of totally reinventing himself for the silver screen, while remaining a decent, domestic, very unstar-struck icon. hHenry Placide (1799-1870) - American actor. Outer: Mother was the daughter of a theatrical manager. His father was a popular acrobat, dancer and manager of French origin, who died when he was young. 2nd of 5 children, brother Tom was a popular comedian, while his 3 sisters had stage careers. Made his first recorded stage appearance at 9, although his early career is obscured. Presumed to have spent it on the road. Debuted in NYC in his his mid-20s, and thereafter was associated with the NY theatrical world. Had a 25 year connection with the Park Theater, played over 600 characters all told, and spent 57 years on the stage. Married in his mid-40s. Applied broad humor to his roles, and was lauded as one of the premier stage comedians of his time. Specialized in eccentric characters, with a particular affinity for Gallic parts. Made extensive tours, and was eventually forced to retire because of failing eyesight and ill health, spending his last years in seclusion. Inner: Character channel, who spent his personality coin on his performances, leaving him empty at life’s end. Compartmentalized lifetime, once again, of focusing completely on his career as a means of self-expression, while enjoying the adulation as one of the best loved stage comedians of his time, before drifting off into the isolation that seems to lie at the heart of this otherwise highly public figure. John Shank (?-1636) - English Elizabethan actor, dancer and acting teacher. Outer: Nothing known of his early life. Began his career towards the end of the century with Pembroke’s Men and Queen Elizabeth’s Men. By 1613, he had become a sharer with Prince Henry’s Men. Joined the weaver’s guild, so as to bind his apprentices to their contracts. Acted as jigging clown, singing and dancing jigs at the end of each performance, although in 1612, the practice was temporarily suppressed by the Middlesex judiciary, who viewed it as lewd. Joined the King’s Men afterwards, and was sharer in the company, remaining with it the rest of his career. Played comic thin-man roles, an archetype of the time, while continuing his jigging. Trained the boy actors who assayed female roles, playing one himself, so as to have direct experiential knowledge of his teaching. Also provided his troupe with costumes. Married late in life, may have had a child or children who followed him onto the stage. Ordered to sell his shares in the company in 1635, which made him quite bitter over the last year of his life. Filed a contentious will to underline his displeasure, with having been treated poorly by the magistrates. Inner: Hotheaded, albeit teacherly, with a genuine desire to impart his skills to others. Dance-master lifetime of bringing his unique staccato personality to the public stage, only to ultimately run afoul of wills far greater than his considerable own.


Storyline: The pre-eminent performance artist of his times gradually empties himself out, so as to refill himself with the brilliance of his artistic portrayals at the expense of experiencing any true sense of himself.

Sir Laurence Olivier (1907-1989) - English actor. Outer: Mother died when he was young, and he admittedly spent the rest of his life looking for her through applause. Father was a strict Anglican clergyman of Huguenot descent who, nevertheless, encouraged his son in his theatrical pursuits. Made his schoolboy debut at 9, and continued appearing in amateur theater until he joined the Birmingham Repertory Company in his late teens. 5’10 1/2”, and handsome, with grey-green eyes. Made his first Broadway appearance 3 years later, and his movie debut the following annum. Married actress Jill Esmond at 23, divorced 7 years later on grounds of adultery. Joined the Old Vic in his early 30s, playing Hamlet to Vivien Leigh’s (Keira Knightley) Ophelia in the Elsinore Castle in Denmark. Married her at 33, but their neurotic, tempestuous relationship ended in divorce 20 years later after she succumbed to mental illness, accusing him once again of adultery, while he was helpless in her disability. Continually chased after young actresses throughout his life. His initial career was not well-received, culminating with a rejection by Greta Garbo as her possible leading man. Did not become recognized until his mid-30s, and from then on, was seen as one of the pre-eminent actors of the 20th century, equally at ease with playing Shakespeare and slimeballs alike. Given a sword by actor John Gielgud once owned by Edmund Kean (Peter O’Toole), and passed down to Henry Irving for his performance in the same role of Richard III, in honor of his pre-eminence in the theater. His romantic movie roles in America made him a public icon by the end of the 1930s. Volunteered for the RAF at the start of WW II, but was turned down. Flew some 200 hours on his own and joined the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy, while also making propaganda films for the British government.Appointed co-director of the Old Vic Theater with Sir Ralph Richardson, and infused it with new life over the next 6 years, while carefully making sure no young actor could ever eclipse his standing. Began his career as a film director in 1944 with Henry V, in which he also starred as well as produced, earning a special Academy Reward for his efforts. Won another Oscar in 1948 for his Hamlet, and wound up being nominated 9 other times, as well as receiving a lifetime award in 1979. Directed 2 more films, including The Prince and the Showgirl, with Marilyn Monroe, in which he endlessly repeated his takes of a kissing scene, revealing his true motivation behind such a curiously dull undertaking. Knighted in 1947. Bi-sexual, had a 10 year affair with entertainer Danny Kaye. Became director of England’s National Theater Company, but was overwhelmed for the next 5 years with stage fright, ending his theatrical career in 1974. Suffered from cancer, thrombosis, dermato-myositis, and an obstructed kidney during his career, and yet fought his way back from all of them, while showing an incredible versatility in both classical and modern drama, including his memorable turn as the sleazy entertainer Archie Rice in The Entertainer. Married actress Joan Plowright in his mid-60s, whom Miss Leigh had named as his correspondent adulterer. Fell seriously ill in 1967, and was in pain most of his remaining 22 years. The first actor to be elevated to the peerage, with the title of baron, allowing him to sit in the House of Lords. Wrote his autobiography, “Confessions of an Actor,” as well as 2 other tomes on his craft. London’s theatrical awards were named the Olivier Awards after him. Died in his sleep of cancer and liver failure. Interred in Westminster Abbey, only the third actor to be so honored, with the second his previous go-round as Henry Irving. Inner: Ruthless, autocratic, narcissistic, but also convivial. Had piercing magnetic grey-green eyes, which he felt were his most important asset as an actor. Felt the key to thespian success was making every member of the audience, male and female, want you. Had a profound sense of emptiness about himself, despite his genius for his craft. Much preferred putting himself into his work than into his life. Worked from the outside in, getting the look before the feel of his characters. Never satisfied, always searching for better craftsmanship. Mean-spirited, jealous and cold. Eminent craftsman lifetime of bringing all his theatrical gifts together, physicality, voice, stage presence and interpretative qualities, to become the quintessential actor of the century, while sacrificing the development of his personal interior to the demands of his art. Sir Henry Irving (John Henry Brodibb) (1838-1905) - English actor. Outer: From yeoman stock. Father was a small shopkeeper, mother was a Cornishwoman. An only child, who his progenitors hoped would become a minister. Lived with an aunt in a religious Methodist household, then rejoined his parents at 11, and acted in school entertainments. First went to the theater to see Samuel Phelps (John Gielgud) play, catching as many of his engagements as he could. Built himself up physically, and actively pursued all the peripheral elements necessary for a stage career, including sword-fighting. Began work at 14 as a clerk for a London firm of East Indian merchants, and after 4 years there, made his stage debut in Edinburgh, although he was subsequently criticized for his mannerisms. Tall, very thin, with a noble face and beautiful, expressive hands. Appeared in London in his early 20s, and then spent 5 years in Manchester where he gave his initial performance as Hamlet. Toured the provinces, but his progress as an actor was slow. Did not have his first big success until his 30s, with Hamlet as his breakthrough role. At 31, he married Florence O’Callaghan, the snobbish daughter of the surgeon-general in the East India Company. The duo separated 3 years later, and she actively tried to poison their two sons Laurence and Henry, who both followed their sire’s profession, against him. Physically clumsy, not good looking, nor was his voice flexible. Far more the interpreter than the great actor. His mastery of technique, however, made up for his deficiencies. Despite his fame, he still garnered criticism for a weak voice and his affectations. After a string of Shakespearean successes, he became a lessee and manager of the Lyceum Theater, and began a 2 decade professional association with Ellen Terry (Vanessa Redgrave), whom he totally dominated and considered his stage ‘wife.’ Viewed his productions in their entirety, from scenery to costumes to acting to background music, showing himself to be a great stage visualizer, who employed all the latest gadgetry, to give his productions an extra flash and sparkle. Had Bram Stoker (Clive Barker), author of “Dracula,” as his longtime personal attendant. Made 8 American tours, and was the first English actor to be knighted, in 1895, while helping to revive Shakespeare through his thoughtful performances. Collapsed and died after acting in his most triumphant role, Thomas a Beckett (Martin Luther King). Inner: Ambitious, proud, lonely, self-centered, gentle, courteous, generous and magnetic. Far more at home in classical roles than modern drama. Had an acute theatrical intelligence, although was highly mannered in his style. Prodigious researcher, to the point of going to police courts to study the expressions of those on trial. Perfectionist, withdrawn, despotic and extremely self-involved. Steppingstone lifetime of dealing with deficiencies in order to develop his craft in compensation, so that he could put everything together as a consummate actor his next go-round in this series. Francois-Joseph Talma (1763-1826) - French actor. Outer: Father was a dentist, who moved the family to London, in order to give his son a good medical education. Attended theater while there, before returning to Paris to practice his sire’s profession, but felt far more of a draw towards the stage. Handsome, with a mellifluous voice, which he perfected for his stage characterizations. After appearing in private theatricals, he made his professional debut at the Comedie-Francaise in Voltaire’s “Mahomet.” Despite garnering much applause, he was relegated to support parts afterwards. Began getting juvenile leads, before his passionate brand of emoting led to stardom. Adopted many innovations of the English stage, including insisting on costumes and scenery that reflected the eras he portrayed. Shocked his audiences when he first appeared bare-armed and in a toga in a Roman drama, rather than the usual periwig and breeches. Caused a political furor in 1789, in Andre Chenier’s (Albert Camus) anti-monarchical and anticlerical “Charles IX.” Performed with vigor and great intensity, and came to be called a romantic trapped in neoclassicism, with his nondeclamatory style. In 1791, he married Julie Carreau, a wealthy salonist whose sympathies lay with the moderate Girdondists. His own proclivities brought him in accord with the Jacobins, although in order to avoid persecution, he formed a new theater, Theatre de la Republique, which would unite with the Comedie-Francaise, in 1799. Divorced in 1801, he managed to keep his head through the French Revolution, and afterwards, he became the favorite thespian of the emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte, who had him give several command performances in Germany, as the premier actor of the Empire. During the first decade of the new century he toured frequently, before finally leaving the Comedie-Francaise in 1815. The following year the restored king returned the pension given him by Napoleon, and he continued appearing on stage for most of the rest of his life, as the dominant tragedian of his times and a living symbol of the empire. Inner: Intense, innovative and very much the theatrical star, with a strong taste for fame, and an equal attraction to power. Marquee lifetime of bringing his unusual gifts to the French stage, taking it into the romantic era, with public career, as always, taking precedence over his private life.


Storyline: The charismatic cowboy makes himself the living embodiment of the masculine spirit of America, while doing battle with his own propensity to eat himself away for the sake of image & ideal set against frail mortality.

John Wayne (Marion Morrison) (1907-1979) - American actor. Known as ‘the Duke.’ Outer: Father was a pharmacist. One of 2 brothers, close to his sire, distant from his mother, who disliked him. His family moved to Southern California because of his brother’s TB. Went to USC on a football scholarship. Worked during the summer as a laborer and prop-man on the Fox film lot, and became friendly with director John Ford. Began playing bit roles in his early 20s as Duke Morrison, a nickname he picked up from a pet airedale. Married Josephine Saenz, a pious Panamanian, in his mid-20s, who was uninterested in his career, divorced 12 years later, 4 children from the union. Sons, Michael, became a producer, and Patrick an actor. 6’4”, markedly masculine with a distinctive walk and a unique speech rhythm. Appeared in numerous low-budget westerns, doing some 80 films in 8 years without ever grabbing the public’s attention, until Ford cast him as the Ringo Kid in Stagecoach in his early 30s. Avoided WW II, because he felt himself above the common fighting man, nevertheless became a celluloid hero of the conflict, re-enacting battles from the Pacific to the European theater. Also exemplified the spirit of individuality in the Old West, in a number of John Ford epic oaters. In his late 30s, he married Esperanza Baur, a volatile Mexican, and the duo noisily divorced 7 years later. Became one of Hollywood’s biggest box office stars, maturing into a leathery embodiment of all that America held its heroes to be, tough, resilient, and with a unique masculine charm. Married a third Latina, Pilar Palette, a Peruvian actress, in his mid-40s, 3 more children from the union, before the two separated nearly 20 years later. His abilities deepened and matured as he aged, and he was able to give complex, riveting performances of men of action and violence. In 1960, he produced, directed and starred in The Alamo, a paean to American resilience. Had a cancerous lung removed several years later. During the 1960s, he took the Vietnam War personally, thanks to acting it out in The Green Berets, his second three-hatted effort, and became a superhawk and patriot, despite his own earlier unwillingness to sully himself in actual battle. A heavy drinker and smoker, with a decidedly macho view of things, he displayed true grit over the last 15 years of his life, battling cancer. After some 250 films, he won a Best Actor Oscar in 1969, for his portrayal of a one-eyed marshal in True Grit, and ended his career with a strong portrayal of a gunman dying of cancer in The Shootist. Underwent open-heart surgery 2 years later, and the following year had his stomach removed. Died of lung and stomach cancer. Had a remarkable fifty year career, included 25 years as Hollywood’s top box office moneymaker. Inner: Considered himself a re-acter, rather than an actor. American icon, highly social, with the ability to make himself into a transcendental embodiment of manly virtue. White supremacist, anti-communist and unabashed right-winger, but also a collector of dolls. Loved to shop and was quite fastidious about his own person. Had lots of mother issues unresolved in his picking Latino women to work out his own inner dualities of the masculine and the feminine and dominance and subservience. Iconized lifetime of sticking to the realm of fantasy to act out his beliefs, after an earlier lesson in taking himself too seriously as an American institution. Dan Rice (Daniel McLaren) (1823-1900) - American entertainer and circus performer. Outer: Father was a grocer, who was connected to politico Aaron Burr (Jacqueline Kennedy). Mother was the daughter of a Methodist preacher, and the marriage was eventually annulled. Grew up in the infamous Five Points slum in NYC. Ran away from home at 14 to Pittsburgh, and worked as a stable-boy, then as a jockey, before beginning a circus career at 17, by buying half interest in a trained pig named ‘Lord Byron.’ Did songs and dances, but when the pig died, he had to close the show around it. Worked briefly as an agent for Mormon visionary Joseph Smith. Became a circus strongman, and by his early 20s, entered the ring as a clown. As the star of a one-ring circus, he worked up a riding act, and gained a national reputation as an equestrian clown. His horses, Excelsior and Excelsior, Jr. were great favorites. By his late 30s, he was earning the unheard of $1000 a week, and was one of the most popular acts in America, touring the country with his one horse show as well as with other circuses. Wore an Uncle Sam beard sans mustache. Sang, danced, exchanged repartee with the audience, and did feats of strength and trick riding as well as exhibited wild animals. In the 1850s, he shed his clown’s garb for a suit and tie and became a humorist, delivering public monologues on the politics of the day. Made an honorary colonel, even though he managed to miss serving in the Civil War. Married 3 times, and wintered his circus in Pennsylvania, where he lived for nearly a quarter century. Gave away his money, and felt compelled to build churches for African-American communities. Made and lost 3 fortunes. Nominated for the NY state senate in 1864, and it inspired him to campaign for the Republican nomination for president 4 years later, which he lost. After that failure, he became more of an alcoholic and soon was undependable, walking out on contracts, as his career nose-dived. Gave temperance lectures, although his water pitcher was often filled with gin. Made his last tour in his early 60s, then lived with relatives his last 15 years, dying in complete obscurity. Inner: Honest, kindly, generous. Iconic lifetime of playing a benign Uncle Sam, only to drown himself in his own image and suffer a humbling and self-defeating fall, giving him much time to redesign a far more satisfactory public character around similar elements in his next go-round in this series. John Henry (1746-1794) - Irish/American actor, acrobat and director. Outer: Grew up in Ireland, where he received a liberal education. Made his debut at 16 at London’s Drury Lane Theater, evincing skills as an acrobat and pantomimist. Left England to play in Jamaica in the West Indies, before making his American debut in Philadelphia in 1767. Capable, handsome actor, good athlete, particularly adept at Irish parts, and able to play classics, such as Othello. Returned to Jamaica with Lewis Hallam’s (Henry Fonda) American Company of Comedians during the Revolutionary War hostilities in 1775. Went back to England to play 2 seasons at the Drury Lane Theater and then came back to America in 1782, where he gave lectures and readings. Led actors of the American Company back to America and teamed with Hallam, although the duo were often at violent odds, since both were quarrelsome by nature. For the next 7 years, they had a monopoly on American theater from NYC to Annapolis, Md. Thomas Wignell (James Stewart), eventually quit the company to get more English actors, and returned with John Hodgkinson (Marlon Brando), who promptly robbed him of the roles he once played, while Hallam abetted the interloper. Resisted, but finally sold Hallam half his share for $10,000. Died soon after from rapid consumption. His wife, popular actress Maria Storer, was driven insane by his death and died 6 months later. Accomplished in all his theatrical skills. Inner: Physical player, whose emotional sense was not integrated into his life. Pugnacious, with a genuine love for performing. Competitive lifetime of trying to integrate his interior with his handsome, athletic exterior, only to be undone by several future screen legends, vying with him for the artistic and financial control of their mutual performing lives, which ultimately sent each off on his own unique personality pathway. Lorenzo di Piero de’ Medici II (1492-1519) - Italian Renaissance prince and ruler of Florence. Outer: Grandson of Lorenzo the Magnificent (Carl Sandburg). Father was the oldest son of the Medici household, Piero the Unfortunate (Budd Schulberg). Mother, Alfonsina Orsini was a cousin of his sire, and proved to be an effective regent in his stead. Older of two with a younger sister, as well as two brothers who died young.. Forced to flee Florence with his family when he was only 2, while his progenitor died when he was 11. Received the stewardship of Florence from his cardinal uncle (David Selznick). As soon as adult authority vanished, he proved to be acquisitive, greedy and highly ambitious. Married Madeleine de la Tour d’Auvergne, a French princess, one daughter, Catherine de’ Medici (Indira Gandhi), who became queen of France from the union. Also fathered an illegitimate son, Alessandro (Heinrich Himmler). Recipient of political philosopher Machiavelli’s (Stephen Fry) classic political treatise, “The Prince.” Not adverse to armed struggle to achieve his considerable ambitions, he eventually wore himself out at 27 through wounds, disease and excess. Died immediately following his wife, who may have perished from syphilis courtesy of her spouse. Inner: Charming, ostentatious, self-important, and highly ambitious. Overweening lifetime of giving play to his family’s reputation of martial derring-do, only to quickly self-destruct via a direct reflection of the excesses that ruled his existence, before returning much later on in the same show business mode that embraced the ambitions of his fellow de’ Medicis.


Storyline: The honest icon plays himself both off-screen and on with the same modest humanity and integrity he brings to all aspects of his well-received, well-loved, wonderful, if not wonder-filled, lives.

Jimmy Stewart (1908-1997) - American actor. Outer: Father owned a hardware store in rural Pennsylvania, and was a strict disciplinarian who raised his son to be of service. An amateur magician as a boy, he first performed in a Boy Scout play. Graduated Princeton Univ. with a degree in architecture, while appearing in shows at the Princeton Triangle Club. Persuaded to join the University Players in Mass., where he met actor and future icon Henry Fonda, with whom he later roomed. 6’3” and thin. Began appearing in films in the mid-1930s, and quickly established his drawling, gangly persona as a singular shy figure of integrity and commonality in a series of pictures that suited his unique persona and distinctive voice and gait. Particularly effective in the sentimental works of director Frank Capra. Won an Academy Reward for Best Actor for The Philadelphia Story in 1940, which he sent to his father, stating, “It belongs to us both.” At the height of his fame, he enlisted in the Air Force as a private and had a distinguished war record, flying some 25 missions, before returning to civilian life as a highly decorated colonel. Needed time to recover from his experience, which deepened his sense of character, and allowed him to play more ambiguous roles. Ultimately rose to brigadier general in the reserves, the highest ranking member of the entertainment industry in the military. Refused, however, to exploit his real life heroism for the reel life producers of Hollywood. Despite being romantically linked to several noted actresses, including Marlene Dietrich and Grace Kelly, he never had a breath of scandal about him. Married Gloria McLean in his early 40s, twin girls from the union, as well as 2 sons from his wife’s earlier marriage. Diversified his roles following the war, and is best remembered for the Christmas classic, It’s A Wonderful Life, which was his favorite role as well. Became a millionaire in the 1950s, by taking a percentage of the gross of his movies, rather than salary. The last 35 years of his career saw him in lesser films, on radio and in 2 television shows, one a comedy, the other a drama. Honored for his work in later life, including the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1980, while maintaining a continuous conservative stance in all things political, viewing himself as a diehard patriot. Wrote banal verse that became a bestseller, while remaining one of Hollywood’s best-loved figures. Had a statue dedicated to him in his hometown, as emblem of the genuine affection in which he was universally held. Devastated by his wife’s death from cancer in 1994, he retreated into himself through deafness, melancholy, and passed on 3 years later from a blood clot on the lung, dying the same week as his antithesis, perennial badboy, Robert Mitchum. Inner: Modest, compliant, honest. Able to grow as an actor, and deepen his screen presentations. Devout Presbyterian, traditionalist, genuinely humane human being. Shy and unsure of his gifts, it took him quite a while to accept himself. Good guy lifetime of expanding his capabilities for expression while maintaining his unique gift for eliciting public love. Joseph Jefferson III (1829-1905) - American actor. Outer: Grandson of actor Joseph Jefferson I (Kevin Bacon). Father was also an actor, but preferred painting and stage design as his mode of expression. His sire had no particular acting skills, and was more a stage personality. Mother was a French exile and an actress. Made his stage debut at 4, imitating blackface dancer Thomas Rice (Michael Jackson). The family moved West when he was 8 and lived the life of frontier players. The only schooling he ever had was for the stage. After his father suddenly died, he was forced to be the family breadwinner at 13. His mother remarried, half-brother of actor Charles Burke (Martin Short). Acted in the South and followed the American army into Mexico. At 20, he returned to NYC and after a successful run there, toured the South with his own company, before joining Laura Keene’s (Mary Pickford) troupe, which signaled the end of his apprenticeship. Married at 21 to actress Margaret Clements Lockyer, but his wife died when he was in his early 30s, which caused his health to fail. 5 children from the union, including an actor and a manager. Went to Australia for 4 years and recovered. Secured a new version of “Rip Van Winkle,” from Irish actor/playwright Dion Boucicault (Robert Shaw) while in London, which had been a longtime dream of his. Acted it initially in London, and then NYC and it became the part by which he is most remembered. Gradually diminished his repertoire to two roles, the sleeping Van Winkle and that of Bob Acres in “The Rivals.” Married a distant cousin in his late 30s, Sarah Warren, the niece of actor William Warren (Walter Matthau) and had 2 more children. Continually toured the country with “Rip Van Winkle,” and became one of the best-loved figures in American theatrical annals. Eventually confined his tours to winters and spring. Had a plantation in Louisiana and a winter home in Florida. Lectured and wrote his autobiography, while enjoying a 71 career. Died of pneumonia on William Shakespeare’s (William Butler Yeats) dual birthday/deathday. Inner: Sunny, optimistic nature, kindly, happy, like his granddad. Competent actor, able to meld the perfect character with his gifts in the sleepy, out-of-touch Van Winkle. Integrated lifetime of being loved and honored for who he was in a straightforward existence dedicated to repetitively bringing joy to others. Thomas Wignell (1753-1803) - English/American comedian and theatrical manager. Father was an actor of no great talent with the Garrick Company. Apprenticed as a seal cutter, but soon abandoned the trade for a more creative life upon the stage. Sent in 1774 to join his cousin, Lewis Hallam, Jr. (Henry Fonda), with the American Company, but the day after his arrival in the fledgling United States, the Continental Congress ceased all public amusements because of the Revolutionary War, and he went with his fellow actors to Jamaica, where he apprenticed in his new trade for a full decade. Made his debut American performance in his mid-30s in NYC. Despite limited acting ability, he showed intelligence and taste and quickly became one of America’s favorite comic actors. Short, athletic and bow-legged, he was equally adept at low and high comedy. Wanted to be part of Hallam & Henry, but John Henry (John Wayne) opposed him, and he was forced to resign when Hallam did the same. Partnered with Alexander Reinagle, a Philadelphia musician, and together the two secured the Chestnut Street Theater in the latter’s native town. Went to England to secure players, returned in 1793, and the following year, opened the theater. Thanks to superior productions, they were able to expand to Baltimore. Added actress Ann Merry (Jane Fonda) to the troupe, and enjoyed several brilliant seasons. Although he lost money in NYC, he opened the first theater in the nation’s capitol, Washington, D.C. in 1800. Despite his popularity and touring, he was continually in financial straits. Married Merry in 1803, but died of an infection 7 weeks later from a blood-letting operation. Inner: Generous, honorable, well-liked by one and all. Buildingblock lifetime of having some of his ambitions tempered in an effort to control all aspects of his creative life, while once again, proving a well-loved, if not yet financially adept, public figure.


Storyline: The exuberant exhibitionist takes a roller coaster ride on his puckish self, and manages to maintain some sense of equilibrium, despite all its ups and downs.

mMickey Rooney (Joe Yule, Jr.) (1920-2014) - American entertainer. Outer: Both parents were vaudevillians. Made his first appearance with them at 15 months, and soon was an integral part of their act as a singer, dancer, mimic and comedian. Began appearing in films at the age of 6, starting with Orchids and Ermine, and from 7 to 13 starred in 50 two-reelers as a popular comic-strip character of the time, Mickey McGuire, a preternaturally adult little kid. Legally changed his name to his filmdom alter ego, before adopting the name Mickey Rooney when his career expanded into small parts in other features. 5’3” and puckish. Scored his most remarkable success soon after as Puck in the film version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. At the age of 17, he began a series of 15 Andy Hardy comedies, as a small-town judge’s son with a spunky ready wit. Showing his versatility, he did a memorable turn in Boy’s Town, as well as several musicals with fellow child-star Judy Garland. Won a special Academy Reward for his juvenile work in 1938, and by the following year, not yet 20, he was the country’s most popular star. Continued to extend his juvenile career into the early 1940s, but after serving in WW II, his popularity went into sharp decline and he terminated his studio contract to form his own production company, and tried to make the difficult transition into filmic adulthood. Did numerous pedestrian movies to stave off bankruptcy, and re-emerged in the mid-1950s with several fine character portrayals. Despite earning some $12 million in his career, he was forced to file for bankruptcy in the early 1960s, because of his proclivity for marriage, divorce and alimony. Despite his diminutive stature, he exhibited a pronounced proclivity for tall, statuesque women, heading to the altar 8 times all told. Wed actress Ava Gardner (Ashley Judd) in his early 20s, divorced 2 years later. His next union, was to Betty Jane Rase, a former Miss Alabama, and lasted from 1944 to 1949. His 3rd wife was actress Martha Vickers (Jessica Biel), a 3 year union which ended in 1951, and saw his career nosedive, while he descended for a while into alcoholism. Number four, Elaine Devry, was another actress, and spanned 1952 to 1959. HIs 5th wife, actress Barbara Ann Thomason, was found dead at home in 1966 with her lover, an actor, which was ruled a murder-suicide, while his 6th union, to Marge Lane, only lasted 100 days. Number seven, Carolyn Hockett, was from 1969 to 1974. Admittedly unfaithful to most of his spouses. 10 children in all from his unions, as well as 2 step-children. His last and lasting marriage was to country/western singer Jan Chamberlin in 1978. Despite letting his physical appearance go, and growing deliberately middle-aged, fat and bald, he continued working, doing a TV series in the mid-1960s, appearing in films, nightclubs, and involving himself in numerous business ventures. In his late 50s, he announced his retirement from show business, but the following year, he made his Broadway debut in the musical Sugar Babies, launching himself yet again in a 80 + year career that saw him remain active past the 20th century’s turn doing commercials, TV and voiceovers, as a survivor of his own excesses and his compulsion and gift to continually entertain. Forced to get a restraining order against his stepson in 2011, for his meddling in his finances and abusive care for him. Died of natural causes at home surrounded by family. Died in his sleep of natural causes at his stepson’s home. Despite making a fortune during his lifetime, he gambled away almost all of it, so his estate didn’t even have enough money for a headstone. Inner: High energy performer, garrulous, friendly and ‘on’ a great deal of the time. Harbored a remarkable facility for rebounding from adversity , in a roller coaster career that literally lasted his entire life. Wild ride lifetime of experiencing all the vicissitudes of the stage, and remaining largely upbeat in the wake of his rises and falls. mJohn E. Owens (1823-1886) - Irish/American comedian. Outer: Parents were Welsh, and came to America when son was 5. Made his stage debut at 17 while working in a drugstore in Philadelphia. Married a Quaker in his mid-20s. Despite slow progress, within a decade he had become a widely-celebrated comedian throughout the U.S. In addition, he managed companies in Baltimore, New Orleans and other cities. Used his genuine comic personality to create a projected persona for himself, while building his career on impersonating Yankee characters, a popular stage ploy of the time. Sometimes played the star, more often than not, the low comedian, with his dapper, small, plump figure and his highly expressive face. Expanded his repertoire over the years and bought a large estate in Maryland, which he used to entertain his friends, while constantly adding to its acreage. Retired to his estate a year before his death, after a highly successful career with no ups-and-downs, just continued popularity and steady, accumulative luck. Inner: Good-humored, jaunty persona, with a natural ability to entertain. Smooth ride lifetime of enjoying continued success in order to give him the foundation to take his talents on a far more rocky ride the next time around, in order to see if he had the continual capacity to rebound. William Kempe (?-1603?) - English Elizabethan actor. Outer: Origins are obscure, although he probably came from a humble background. First recorded as a touring member of Leicester’s Men in the Netherlands and Denmark. Joined Strange’s Men afterwards, and became a comic favorite of Elizabethan audiences, succeeding Richard Tarlton (Robin Williams) as the stage’s premier clown. A large man, he specialized in earthy clowns who confuse and mispronounce words. Often danced the jig and mugged on stage, as an extremely physical performer, showing himself to be far more the clown than the wit. As a member of Chamberlain’s Men from 1594, he became one of five actor-shareholders, while appearing in William Shakespeare’s (William Butler Yeats) plays, before leaving them, in 1599, when his constant improvising grated on the company, as well as the Bard, himself, who made plaint after seeing it in his classic “Hamlet.” Once he left, Shakespeare’s comic characters changed quite appreciatively, indicating he had first written them with the actor in mind. In 1600, as the theater world’s first publicity stunt, he did a Morris dance from London to Norwich, a distance of over 100 miles, which took him several weeks to complete, then wrote about it in “Kempe’s Nine Days Wonder.” Toured Europe afterwards, and when he returned to London, in 1602, he joined Worcester’s Men. Disappeared from the records in 1603, and is believed to have died of the plague in London. Inner: Natural clown and extremely exuberant performer. Undisciplined, highly improvisational and a delight to all his audiences. Happy feet lifetime of serving as one of the premier comic performers of the Elizabethan age, despite proving to be a little too independent for those who wished their actors “to speak no more than what is written down for them.”


Storyline: The contentious controversialist crosses swords with articulate glee at the drop of a costumed hat, while continually refashioning himself to fit his larger-than-life self-view.

mCharlton Heston (John Charles Carter) (1923-2008) - American actor. Outer: Of English/ Scottish descent. Father operated a lumber mill. Went to a one-room school, and had a solitary outdoorsy childhood, amusing himself by acting out stories he had read. His parents divorced when he was young and his mother remarried, before moving to a Chicago suburb, where he felt completely out-of-place. Adopted the name of his stepfather, and turned to the school’s theater program, which allowed him to be other than himself. Studied speech and drama at Northwestern Univ., while performing on Chicago radio stations. Made a long and happy marriage to fellow student Lydia Clarke at 20, two children from union, with his son becoming a film director. During WW II, he served 3 years in the Army Air Force, where he was a radio gunner on B-52 bombers, and upon his discharge, took up acting again, using his mother’s maiden name as his first name. Spent several theater seasons in North Carolina and made his Broadway debut in his mid-20s in a support role in Shakespeare’s “Antony and Cleopatra.” After a series of early TV specials, he made his Hollywood debut in 1950 with Dark City, playing a gambler, and went on appear in some 100 films over a half-century plus career. 6’2, 215 lbs, with an innate muscular intelligence, he began his film career playing young men caught in dualistic dilemmas, but soon became Hollywood’s resident epic larger-than-life hero, as Moses, Ben Hur and Michelangelo, for which he learned how to sculpt and paint. Won an Academy Reward for the middle role in 1959. Initially a moderate Democrat, he became more conservative during the 1960s. A member of the board of the Screen Actors Guild from 1960 to 1975, where he was a pioneer negotiator, as well as its president from 1966 to 1971. In addition, he was chairman of the American Film Institute, as well as serving several terms as its president. Active in the theater life of Los Angeles, occasionally appearing onstage with his wife. Always outspoken, he garnered a reputation as a spokesman for conservative causes, flying in the face of liberal Hollywood with great relish, while also showing his support for just civil right causes. Less active in films as he grew older, preferring his own cantankerous soapboxes as his primary mode of expression. Directed a Mandarin translation of The Caine Mutiny Court Martial, in Beijing in 1988. Scaled back his workload in the 1990s, appearing more on TV than in film, while acting as more of a public carper. Made vice-president, and then, in 1998, president of the National Rifle Association, presenting himself as the reasonable voice of God-fearing, Caucasian, middle-class Protestant, heterosexual, gun-toting America. Wrote his autobiography, “In The Arena.” Later admitted to a drinking problem brought on by his crusading zeal, and underwent several weeks of rehabilitation for it. Announced he had symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease in 2002, although vowed to continue working until they pried his costumes from his cold, dead hands. Eventually disappeared from public view and died of the disease at his home. Inner: Cranky, but articulate and intelligent libertarian. Repressed, controlled actor, with great attention towards detail in his work, and a strong, masculine filmic presence. Excellent storyteller, good communicator, totally immersed himself in his characters. Prepared diligently for every role, and was never satisfied with his performances, always demanding better of himself. Preferred reading, sketching and exercising to socializing, as a stay-at-home. Larger-than-life lifetime of recasting himself in the heroic mold and standing strongly for his beliefs, while taking delight in his role as conservative scold for the excess liberalism of the entertainment industry. mCharles Fechter (1824-1879) - English actor. Outer: Father was a sculptor of German descent. Mother was Piedmontese. Taken to France at an early age and brought up there. Had strong conflicts with his sire, and hated all things German, while identifying with the French. Studied sculpture but felt far more of a draw towards the stage, making his debut at 20. Received a polyglot education, and was able to speak English correctly, although without a knowledge of the nuances of the language. Withdrew in a huff from the theater in his early 20s, and took up sculpting, although returned soon after. At 23, he married Eleonore Rabut, a French actress with whom he had 2 children, including a daughter who became an opera singer. Attained eminence on the French stage, exhibiting great attention to the details of his productions. Belonged to the older school of declamatory, melodramatic acting. Went to England in his mid-30s and stayed there for a decade, becoming a good friend of author Charles Dickens (Richard Burton). Adapted several plays, also executed a bust of himself. In his mid-40s, he sailed for America, where he remarried, only to be accused of bigamy by his first wife who claimed their marriage had never been legally dissolved. Broke his leg in his early 50s, and retired to a farm in Pennsylvania. Athletic dog-lover, although dissipated himself towards the end of his life. Died of a stomach and liver disease. Inner: Plain and blunt-bodied with a rich voice. More interested in the approval of his fellow actors than the audience-at-large. As entertaining off-stage as he was on. Imperious temper, engaged in numerous quarrels. Contentious lifetime of expanding his repertoire into other languages and art-forms, while maintaining the integrity of his confrontational character, only to ultimately self-destruct through unreleased bile. mCharles Macklin (Cathal McLaughlin) (c1697-1797) - Irish actor. Known as ‘Wicked Charlie.’’ Outer: Some confusion remains as to his origins. Probably came from landed gentry whose estates were lost in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. His father died when he was about 7, and his mother remarried a tavern landlord. Had a Roman Catholic upbringing and was educated in boarding school by a stern Scotsman, instilling in him a hatred of the Scots that lasted his entire life. First acted in a school production, playing a female role, counter to his decided masculinity, and knew the stage would be the perfect outlet for his considerable energy. A good mimic, he ran away from home with money stolen from his mother, and became a servant in a public house. Began his acting career in the provinces, making his debut in Bristol, before coming to London in his late 20s, where he rebelled against the declamatory style of the day, and proved himself a memorable actor. Strong-bodied, robust and rugged, with a clear rasping voice. Lived with actor/manager David Garrick (Richard Burton), although the duo later had a misunderstanding, which developed into a lifelong feud. Gave lessons in acting, specializing in comic roles. Took up with Ann Grace, an Irish actress and widow of a Dublin hosier, and their daughter, Maria Macklin, became an actress of note. Also had a son with her, although the pair never married. Eventually became involved in the management of the Drury Lane Theater, where he proved himself adept with finances and productions. In his late 30s, he accidentally killed another actor in an argument over a wig, and was subsequently tried, convicted of manslaughter and branded on the hand and released. His signature part became Shylock in Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, which he rescued from a comedic role and turned it into a malignant character study, and it became his favorite. After failing with a restaurant, he returned to the stage, and began writing for it, producing an ill-received drama exploiting the current anti-Catholic mood, and a farce, while converting to Protestantism. Retired in 1753, and opened a School of Oratory, featuring himself giving lectures on au courant issues, and within two years was bankrupt. Lost his wife in 1758, and eventually married one of his servants in 1778, Elizabeth Jones, who was the same age as his daughter. Penned a popular satirical comedy, and returned to the stage as Shylock the following year. His later years saw him focused on Dublin, with occasional forays onto the London stage, while his more mature works enjoyed both critical and commercial acclaim. Served as a teacher during the latter part of his career, while also placing Shakespeare in the context of the times his dramas were written, rather than in contemporary dress, beginning with “Macbeth,” in 1773, which proved quite successful despite initial resistance to it. Constantly involved in lawsuits over payments and assumed slights, and perpetually quarreling, even with his daughter, who predeceased him, and ultimately left her savings to others. His wastrel son also decimated his finances. Became prey to both deafness and absent-mindedness, and eventually slipped into senility, and could not complete his last performances in his favorite role of Shylock in 1789. Died at home, saddling his second wife with his debts. Inner: Violent, volcanic, contentious, peevish, with an extremely strong will. Bold experimenter, and perennial outsider, which would inform his Shylock portrayal, while giving him his chip-on-the-shoulder personality. In-your-face lifetime of completely acting out his unintegrated character, only to be given a mirror by his children of his inability to put his heart in his life, rather than his craft.


Storyline: The bewildering wild one dances to his own bongo beat, but somehow can never make it past the first acts of adolescence in the ongoing theater of his own lives.

Marlon Brando (1924-2004) - American actor. Outer: Mother was an actress in the local community theater with a fondness for gin. Father was a traveling salesman and a drunk, bully and philanderer. The former continually sang to her son as a child and was a friend of actor Henry Fonda’s family. Disliked his highly critical father intensely, and was always trying to break up the marriage, in fine Oedipal fashion. Later would also show the same anti-marriage bias in his relationships with friends. Middle of 3 children, elder sister Jocelyn became an actress. Probably molested by his nanny at a young age. Defiant of authority, at 16 he was sent to a military school in Minnesota, where he experimented with group sex with other cadets. 5/’10”, stocky, athletic, strikingly handsome. Eventually expelled, after showing a singular interest in dramatics, then was rejected by the military because of a trick knee. At 19, he headed for his sister in NYC, where he joined the Dramatic Workshop at the New School for Social Research. Fell under the influence of Stella Adler, who brought out all his latent skills, although he was again asked to leave school. Did odd jobs, made his way to Broadway, and quickly established his magnetic, vital stage presence in a short run play, before his first triumph as the animalistic Stanley Kowalski in “A Streetcar Named Desire” in 1947. Brought a new visceral edge to the art of acting, although he always put down his craft, claiming “acting, not prostitution, is the oldest profession.” Notoriously promiscuous, nailing virtually everything that moved during this period. Disturbed by his fame, he began seeing psychiatrists, while effecting a blasé attitude towards acclaim. In the late 1940s, he joined the Actor’s Studio, and became one of the leading proponents of the Method, which depended on the inner resources of the actor. Made his screen debut in his mid-20s in The Men, and from then on focused on movies as his primary venue of expression, becoming one of the biggest stars of the 1950s. Won an Oscar in 1954, for his role as a fighter turned longshoreman in On The Waterfront. Formed his own production company in 1959, and produced, directed and starred in the western, One-Eyed Jacks. Married Indian actress Anna Kashfi in 1957, divorced 2 years later. Married and divorced Movita, a Spanish actress, who was his longtime mistress, in the 1960s, 2 children from his first union, and the same from his second. Also sired 2 children by his Tahitian wife, Tarita Teriipia, as well as a 7th by his housekeeper when he was in his 70s. May have sired as many as 11 all told. His career during the 1960s took a downturn, but he stuffed cotton in his cheeks and enjoyed a comeback in the next decade as a mafia don in The Godfather. Won his second Oscar in 1972 for it, but turned the award down through a spokeswoman to protest the plight of the Amerindian, after becoming directly involved in the aims of AIM, giving that rights’ organization several of his California properties. Eventually bloated himself to 300 pounds, using food the way his parents once employed drink, and went for eccentric roles, remaining a unique, albeit sporadic screen presence during the next 2 decades. His son by his 1st marriage, Christian Devil, killed the boyfriend of his daughter by his Tahitian wife, and was given a 10 year prison sentence, while the daughter, Cheyenne, who suffered from schizophrenia, ultimately committed suicide by hanging herself, after 3 earlier attempts on her life. Bought his own island paradise, Tetiaroa, in the South Seas in the late 1960s, and proceeded to alter the atoll according to his civilized vision of it, which ultimately drained his finances and forced him to continue making bad movies. Eventually abandoned the project and retreated to his Los Angeles home as a self-imposed recluse, while rarely appearing in public, and ballooning to such obese proportions, that he appeared naked from the waist down on the set of The Score, to make sure he was only shot from the shoulders up. Wrote his memoir, “Brando: Songs My Mother Taught Me,” while also serving as the subject of several biographies, as one of the most fascinating figures the American stage and cinema has yet to produce. Exited stage right from lung failure. In 2005, a posthumous rough-hewn potboiler, “Fan Tan,” based on a film treatment he had co-written, was published, as a coda to his odd contribution to American culture. Inner: Rebellious nonconformist with an animal vitality, and a confused interior. Involved in many causes, although intensely private and reclusive. Remote father, lover and friend, unable to combine his genius for the stage with a parallel talent for connection with other human beings. Abysmal to his close associates, basically a small boy who never had the desire to grow up. Arrested adolescent lifetime of unsuccessfully trying to integrate himself through a highly emotional craft, while remaining elusive to both himself and his adoring public. Edwin Forrest (1806-1872) - American actor. Outer: Father was a Scottish immigrant, mother was born in Germany. When he was 13, his father died, and he was forced to leave school and become an errand boy. Largely self-educated. Because of a gift for impersonations, he made his stage debut at 14 in Philadelphia, and then spent the next several years in frontier theaters. During this period, he lived with the Choctaws for a while, sang and danced, jumped through burning hoops that singed his hair, and, at one point, fled a sheriff. 5’10”, stocky, athletic and handsome, with a wrestler’s thickly sinewed arms and bulging calves. Joined a circus as a tumbler, but was then sent to New Orleans, where he received a further rough/house education in the ways of the theater, while using his sheer brute energy as the mainstay of his thesping. At 19, he worked with English actor Edmund Kean (Peter O’Toole), who influenced him greatly, and helped him become the thespian he wanted to be. The following year, he recorded the first ‘blackface’ role on the American stage, in his portrayal of Othello, and immediately became a star. Had a voice that matched his physicality, so that even his whispers could be heard in the back row. Quickly rose to be one of America’s most influential actors, and became quite wealthy from his profession, while gaining a reputation for seducing his female costars. Noted for his Shakespearean roles, thereby giving gravitas to the American stage, when it had always been seen as inferior to the English theater. Researched his roles with care, visiting so many hospitals in pursuit of his own King Lear, that he claimed to be more knowledgeable about medicine than many doctors. Went to Europe, where he was an equal sensation, introducing the more naturalistic American style, while employing a vigorous, strong voice and a vital, athletic sense to all he did. In his early 30, he married Catherine Sinclair (Claire Bloom) the daughter of an English singer , and traveled back and forth between America and Europe with her. 4 children, all of whom died at birth. While in Edinburgh, he loudly hissed actor William Macready (Ralph Richardson) during a performance of Hamlet, because of a misunderstanding about his desire to play in Paris. The tensions between the two culminated in the Astor Place riot in NYC in 1849, when his supporters, representing the ‘lowlife’ American stage, attacked the ‘highlife’ adherents of Macready. Some 10,000 or so of the former’s followers gathered round the Astor Opera House, and in the riot that followed, 22 people were killed and 3 dozen were wounded. His reputation thereafter was sullied, and was further damaged 2 years later, when he separated from his wife, accusing her of adultery, after she had charged him with the same. She filed a countersuit against him, and a sensational trial resulted that ultimately went against him, although he kept obsessively appealing the decision for the next 18 years. Acted sporadically from his mid-40s onward, and became reclusive in his large unhappy Philadelphia mansion. In his late 50s, he suffered a partial paralysis of his sciatic nerve, which curtailed his career and rendered him incapable of anything other than reading. Died alone of a apoplectic stroke at home. Inner: Proud, arrogant, violent, with an animal vitality and bicep esthetic. Egocentric, vain, stormy, and obsessive, albeit generous. Home alone lifetime of further embedding his unique masculine aesthetic in the American stage, while evincing a profound sense of alienation that ultimately drove him to absolute solitude. John Hodgkinson (John Meadowcroft) (c1767-1805) - English/American actor. Outer: Father was a farmer who eventually ran a public house, and died when his son was young. His mother remarried, and he was apprenticed to a weaver. Had an unusual voice, sang in the choir of a church, while organizing a cellar theater with a friend, until his employer violently broke it up. Fled Manchester at 15 and took his mother’s last name. Began his stage career in Bristol, singing and acting, and following the theater circuit. Ran off with the wife of his employer, although later dumped her and took a young actress to America, marrying her when he arrived in the New World. The duo made their American debut in Philadelphia in his mid-20s. As a gifted and astonishingly magnetic actor, he enjoyed a quick rise. Tall, strong, with a handsome masculinity and a melodious voice of such great range that he also appeared in opera. Regarded as a theatrical marvel, centering his career in NYC. His wife was a performer of distinction, with an opera-quality voice as well, 2 daughters from the union, who played juvenile characters. Best at low comedy, although capable of the full range of the stage. Became dictator of his acting company, Hallam and Henry, taking all the best parts for himself and his mate. Eventually forced out the directors, Lewis Hallam (Henry Fonda) and John Henry (John Wayne), although he overextended himself in his greed, then became associated with producer/writer William Dunlop (Bill Cosby). Retired from the NY stage in his early 30s, and took over the management of a Boston theater, although his cupidity put it in severe debt. Returned to NYC to work with Dunlop again, but his wife died of TB when he was in his late 30s. Took over the theater when Dunlop went bankrupt and on a trip south to secure actors for it, he was seized with yellow fever and died in a tavern. Inner: Vain, greedy and self-seeking. Grossly and willfully dishonest, but unconscious of his shortcomings. Rapid memory, excellent mimic, indefatigable. Flaw-filled lifetime of allowing all his childish emotions to rule him, perhaps to expunge them on his ongoing pathway of trying to integrate his complex interior with his rare expressive gifts and his denied desire to be noticed and loved by one and all.


Storyline: The fey photographer parlays a gift for friendship, an elfin charm, and a dual capacity for artistry both behind and in front of the lens to fashion a well-received go-round on all levels, after earlier finally being able to integrate his sense of craft with an equal thirst for acquisition and renown.

Roddy McDowell (1928-1998) - English actor. Outer: Of Scottish descent. Mother was an ardent movie fan, father was a merchant seaman. One sister. Began his career as a child model, and was given elocution lessons at 5 in preparation for a cinematic career, before entering the English film industry, making his debut at the age of 9, in Murder in the Family but after appearing in 15 pictures, he was brought to the United States during the London Blitz of 1940, by his mother, and became a child star in Hollywood, while also doing Shakespeare at Connecticut’s Stratford Festival. Longtime close friend of Elizabeth Taylor. Despite his very early success, in such films at How Green Was My Valley and My Friend Flicka, he became typecast quickly, limiting his roles to the extent that he played a teenager at 35 in Lord Love A Duck. 5’10”. Expanded onto the Broadway stage and live television in the 1950s, winning both a Tony and an Emmy, as well as a a charleston and cha cha contest on the Arthur Murray show in 1950. Became a character actor as an adult, enjoying an extended career of more than 150 films, most notably with three turns as a simian scientist in the Planet of the Apes series in the 1960s and 70s. A gifted photographer, who shot many of his fellow stars, he published 5 books of his works. In 1974, his home was raided and his vast collection of films and TV series was seized in an investigation of copyright infringements. His movie memorabilia was assessed at over $5 million. Very well-liked and very well-threaded into the movie community as host, recorder and social butterfly, capable of many longterm friendships. A homophile, although it was not a well-acknowledged part of his public persona. Died of cancer. Inner: Gregarious, expressive, compassionate, giving, dapper, elfin. Witty raconteur, excellent storyteller, generous and sensitive, with a gift for friendship, particularly for those who had long vanished from the spotlight. Well-loved lifetime of exploring fame and celebrity from an early age, and making it last, while living well in his ongoing dual drive to both acquire and enjoy the fruits of fame. Kyrle Bellew (Harold Kyrle Bellew) (1857-1911) - English actor. Outer: Father, John, was a writer, preacher and public reader. Joined the merchant service and went to Australia, where he dug for gold, served as a lecturer and writer, and made his stage debut at the age of 17 there in “Turn Him Out.” Returned to England the following year, and spent a decade continually working with the principle theaters and companies, before coming to America in 1882, although did no stagework, before returning to England. Married, son Cosmo Kyrle Bellew became an actor as well. In 1885, he made his American debut, and stayed for two seasons, then came back home, and teamed with actress Cora Urquhart Potter. The duo enjoyed a decade-long run as joint stars, playing the entire globe, wherever English-speaking audiences lived, including Australia, India and America. Abandoned the stage just before the century’s turning, and revisited Australia, where he made a considerable fortune mining gold. In his early 40s, he returned to America, and spent the rest of his life there. Died of pneumonia. Inner: Peripatetic, highly social, with a genuine interest in both fame and fortune, not necessarily in that order. Clear-voiced and handsome, a natural stage presence. Globe-trotting lifetime of putting his considerable energies into both his craft and the accrual of money, after earlier finding his tastes extending beyond his reach. Alexander Pope (1763-1835) - English actor and painter. Outer: Father and older brother were both miniaturists. Studied painting at the Dublin Art School, then became a crayon portrait painter, before trying the stage in his early 20s, where he enjoyed a successful career in London, specializing in tragedy. Best known for his Othello. Continued painting in a miniature mode throughout his career, and exhibited at the Royal Academy in London. Bon vivant, and highly social, although his tastes often outdid his purse. Married three times, including actress Elizabeth Yonge (Elizabeth Taylor), who was 20 years his senior, although the union was not a happy one. After her death, he married again in 1798, before becoming a widower anew, while gaining considerable property from his unions, although his loose attitude towards money often saw him in debt. In 1807, he married artist Clara Leigh, while continuing his irresponsible ways. In 1828, he received a pension of £100 a year from the Covent Garden Fund, to which he had long contributed. Died at home. Inner: Not particularly expressive, although possessed a good voice, his singular attribute as an actor. Gourmand, and not above bribing critics for favorable reviews. Covetous lifetime of dual self-expression and trying to live well as the best revenge, only to find himself stretching beyond his reach, which he would more than redress in his next two go-rounds in this series.


Storyline: The accidental thespian alternates between wealth and poverty for his springboard foundations, before diving into his considerable expressive gifts in order to allow his artistic life full sway over his existence.

Frederic March (Ernest Frederick McIntyre Bickel) (1897-1975) - American actor. Outer: Father was a successful businessman and pillar of the Presbyterian Church. Youngest of 4, in a conservative family that knew the value of money. Outgoing and popular in school, he went regularly to the theater. 5’10”. Attended the Univ. of Wisconsin, then served in WW I as an artillery lieutenant before returning to school, and acting in amateur dramatics there. Although originally intended for a career in banking, after serving a 5 year apprenticeship in NYC at the National City Bank, he had an attack of appendicitis, and while under an anesthetic, envisioned himself a great actor, although only had a vague idea of what the profession entailed. Made his Broadway debut in a bit part in his early 20s, and then played juvenile leads over the next 4 years. Originally acted under his own name of Frederick Bickel, but in his mid-20s, adopted the stage name of Frederic March. Achieved Broadway stardom in his late 20s, and the following year married actress Florence Eldridge, who frequently appeared with him on the stage, and occasionally in films. Instead of a honeymoon, the 2 went out on the road with the Theatre Guild’s first touring company, 2 adopted children from union. After parodying actor John Barrymore (Johnny Depp) in a West Coast play, he signed a 5 year contract with Paramount Studios. Began his film career as a romantic lead, but his innate skills enabled him to play many different kinds of roles, with a particular affinity for exhibiting great mental anguish. Won 2 Academy Rewards, for his dual portrayal of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde in 1932, and as a returning veteran in The Best Years of Our Lives in 1946. Despite his film successes, he also continually acted on the Broadway stage, returning there in his early 40s, and winning the NY Drama Critic’s award for Eugene O’Neill’s “Long Day’s Journey into Night.” Had a long and productive career, selecting his own roles, to exhibit his extreme versatility. Ultimately retired to a 40 acre farm, and died of cancer. Inner: Highly intelligent and self-motivated, with the ability to get inside his characters. Great range, from comedy to drama, with an expressive face and an identification with characters suffering from great inner turmoil, which he did not in his personal life. Continually working on improving his skills. Privileged lifetime of being given a solid material foundation before envisioning himself as an artist of the stage and then methodically bringing his vision to full and memorable, materialized life. Lawrence Barrett (1838-1891) - American actor. Outer: Father was an Irish immigrant, little known of his early years, although penniless and illiterate initially. Worked as an errand boy in Detroit, and at 14, became a callboy at a local theater. Debuted the following year, and then spent 2 years in a stock company, and quickly gained a grasp of his craft, traveling through the mid-west. At 19, he appeared on the New York stage, where he became a leading man. Married at 21, 3 daughters, 2 grandchildren became actors. Had classic features with deepset eyes. Served as a captain in the Civil War with a Massachusetts regiment for a year, and then after the war, gained national prominence, particularly for his Shakespearean roles. Strong identification with the part of Cassius in “Julius Caesar.” Managed, with John McCullough (Paul Newman), the California Theater in San Francisco. Known, along with McCullough, for his naturalistic acting, bringing a realistic tone to the usual declamatory style of the theater of the time. Also a producer, focusing on American drama. Partnered with actor Edwin Booth (Montgomery Clift) for the last 5 years of his life, taking personal responsibility for their productions. Died from pneumonia after suffering from glandular trouble in his throat. Inner: Careful, painstaking actor, with neither voice nor magnetic stage presence. An interpreter, rather than an impersonator, preferring to get inside his characters. Constantly studying and trying to improve his range. Underprivileged lifetime of rising from a shakey foundation to self-create, then employing his considerable artistic intelligence to reach into his emotional depths in order to better understand himself through his craft, an ongoing theme of his.


Storyline: The entertaining Erin goes brazenly ethnic in making himself into an accessible archetype, while building on his considerable communication skills through a stereotypical foundation.

Pat O’Brien (William Joseph Patrick O’Brien) (1899-1983) - American actor. Outer: All 4 grandparents were Irish immigrants. Adopted his first name from a grandfather who had been shot breaking up a bar/room brawl. The family struggled to stay economically afloat. Childhood friend of actor Spencer Tracy, attending military school with him, as well as joining the Navy with him during WW I. Graduated Marquette Univ. afterwards, where he developed a love of performing. Entered law school, but the stage was too strong a draw. Visited NYC to see an uncle and stayed, becoming a chorus boy. Returned home when his father got sick, wrote, produced and directed a Junior League drama, and when his parents saw his determination, they encouraged his theatrical ambitions. After attending Sargent’s School of Drama with Tracy, he began his career as a song-and-dance man, eventually working his way into dramatic roles on Broadway in his late 20s. Married Eloise Taylor, an actress, in his early 30s, and the 2 enjoyed over 50 years together, 2 sons and 2 daughters from union. Ultimately built a huge mansion in Hollywood called Tara. Made his first film prior to the advent of sound, but did not establish himself as a Hollywood player until the 1930s, when he often appeared as a cop or a priest as a counterfoil to the gangster films then riding a wave of popularity. Had a long Hollywood career, first as leads and then in character parts. One of the first Hollywood entertainers to volunteer for the USO during WW II. Finding himself unemployable in Hollywood in the 1950s, he developed a nightclub act of patter, songs and stories, and did TV work and Broadway, becoming a traditional St. Patrick’s Day guest on talk shows. Died of a heart attack. Inner: Devout Catholic, excellent verbal skills, good storyteller, extremely well-liked traditionalist. Sentimental, domestic, soft-spoken. Nice guy lifetime of being a good family man and expanding his communication skills when events demanded it, while continuing to play to stereotype, although with his range considerably broadened. Pat Rooney, Sr. 1848-1892) - Irish/American entertainer. Outer: English-born into a workingclass emigrant family. Came to America at the age of 19, and tried to breathe life into the stereotyped stage Irishman of the time through songs, clog dancing and costumes, beginning his song-and-dance career in the variety theatres of the Bowery in NYC. Rather than the leprechaun look that was popular at the time, he dressed in laborer’s attire, creating a strong bond between himself and his workingclass audience. His act was one of endless variations on comic songs, followed by a traditional clog dance. In his late 20s, he married actress Josie Granger, in a happy union. Of his five childern, his son Pat Rooney, Jr. had a long career as an entertainer, while his daughter Kate was also on stage. As a vaudeville dancer and singer of Irish songs, he was one of the first who wrote to the theaters he wanted to play beforehand, thereby planning and controlling the trajectory of his career, which was unusual for the time. Contnually toured with a show packaged around him, with his life focused on entertaining others. Extremely generous and addicted to gambling, he wound up dying of pneumonia, and completely broke. Inner: Traditional, domestic and easy-going. Self-defeating lifetime of carefully controlling his career, only to undo his best intentions with a propensity for giving and throwing his money away.


Storyline: The accomplished workaholic does it the old fashioned way, he earns it, setting up challenges and meeting them, while trying to raise the collective aesthetic through his own well-honed sensibilities.

John Houseman (Jacques Houseman) (1902-1988) - Romanian/American actor, director and producer. Outer: Father was Jewish-Alsatian and mother was Welsh-Irish. Traveled throughout Europe in his youth with his parents, learning 4 languages. His family owned an international grain business. Educated in England and went to Clifton College there, before joining the family concern and going to Argentina in his early 20s, as its representative. 6’, 200 lbs. 2 years later, he emigrated to the United States and began writing for magazines and translating plays from German and French. Married Hungarian actress, Zita Johann, in 1929, divorced 3 years later. The Depression destroyed the family business, but he wangled his way into directing the Virgil Thompson/Gertrude Stein opera, “Four Saints in Three Acts,” in his early 30s and it established his reputation. Along with Orson Welles, he formed the WPA’s Negro Theater Project and the short-lived Classical Theater. In 1937 they created the legendary Mercury Theater, for which he wrote, directed and produced, while also teaching at Vassar College. Although he received no screen credit, he was an integral part of the creation of the classic Citizen Kane. He and Welles had a subsequent falling out over who did what on the production, and became lifelong enemies. Joined producer David O. Selznick Productions as vice-president, but resigned at the beginning of America’s involvement in WW II to become chief of the overseas radio division of the OWI. After the war, he produced numerous distinguished films, as well as produced and directed on Broadway, in addition to doing several TV specials for which he won 3 Emmys. Married again in his late 40s, to Joan Courtney, which produced 2 sons, a painter and an anthropologist Continued as the artistic director of several organizations, including his own touring troupe, the Acting Company. Despite scattered roles throughout his career, he suddenly emerged as a memorable film actor in his early 70s, winning a Best Supporting Oscar in 1973 for his role as a law professor in The Paper Chase, which he reprised in a TV series based on the film. Continued his active career into old age, ironically being best remembered as a huckster for a Wall Street firm that claimed they made money the old fashioned way - they earned it. Published 3 volumes of his memoirs, as well as 2 other books. Died of spinal cancer. Inner: Warmer and more charming off-screen than his professorial presence upon it. Unpretentious, compulsive worker, incapable of relaxation, seeing work as life and life as work. Enthusiastic helper of those he saw as talented. Tote-that-aesthetic-barge lifetime of doing it the hard way - earning it - and reaping the rewards of his efforts into celebrated advanced age. James Murdoch (1811-1893) - American actor. Outer: Father was a bookbinder who was initially opposed to his son’s theatrical ambitions. Eldest of 4 sons, apprenticing his begetter’s trade. Later convinced him to hire an acting company and venue for him, the Chestnut Street Theater in Philadelphia, where he made his successful debut at 18. Married Eliza Middlecott, an Englishwoman, 2 years later. After an apprenticeship of traveling around the country with various companies, and garnering the reputation of a very promising career, he mistakenly took arsenic, believing it to be medicine, and wound up a semi-invalid for the rest of his life, forcing him to marshal his strength for all future appearances. Although his disability curtailed his activity, it did not stop his ambitions, and for the next 60 years, with his health permitting, he appeared irregularly on the stage, gathering plaudits for his equal abilities at both comedy and drama. Played with the reigning stars of the time, and was considered particularly masterful in Restoration and Shakespearean comedy, with an excellent ability at elocution and the projection of naturalness. He also served as a teacher of elocution as well as a collaborator on a book on the subject. Appeared on both coasts, as well as in England, before going into temporary retirement, only to reappear during the Civil War, performing benefits for the wounded veterans of that protracted engagement. Gave his last performance in his early 70s, and wound up as one of the most noted light comedy actors of the 19th century. Wrote “The Stage.” Inner: Articulate, driven, highly intelligent. Reflective lifetime of wounding himself to purposefully slow down his career and give him much time for self-analysis, in order to be even a more fully realized theatrical figure in his next go-round in this series.


Storyline: The adored Adonis presents a sophisticated worldly character to the public and a confused, fearful and unloved one in private, in his continual effort to integrate a strikingly handsome exterior with an interior aroil with insecurity and sham.

Cary Grant (Archibald Alexander Leech) (1904-1986) - English/American actor, producer and businessman. Outer: Father was a half-Jewish alcoholic pants presser, as well as a ne’er-do-well and philanderer. A lonely, only child, he had a lower class, unhappy impoverished upbringing, with his parents constantly bickering. When he was 10, his mother suffered a breakdown and was institutionalized, although his sire told him she had taken a long trip. Didn’t see her again for 20 years, and did not learn the truth about her until he was 30. Expelled from school, he ran away from home at 13 and began his stage career in English music-halls the following year, as an acrobat, song-and-dance man and pantomimist with the Pender stage troupe, where he learned his exquisite sense of timing. Came to the U.S. two years later with the troupe, although did not go to Hollywood until he was in his mid-20s, working first on stilts with advertising on his back, and later on the Broadway stage, beginning with “Polly.” Also served as a male escort. Made his film debut in a short, shot in NY called Singapore Sue, while idolizing dashing actor Douglas Fairbanks (Robert Downey), as his screen hero. 6’1 1/2”, uncommonly handsome, and able to carry his singular beauty into old age. Signed a contract with Paramount Studios, who insisted he change his name. His movie career took off when actress Mae West recognized his potential for comedy, although he later resented her claim she created him. Married actress Virginia Cherrill in 1933, and divorced two years later, when she claimed he hit her, as his career always took precedence over his private live. Extremely disciplined, with great physical agility, he made himself into a suave comedian, and became a fixture of the ‘screwball comedies’ of the 1930s and 1940s, the singular male star to emerge from them, beginning with The Awful Truth in 1937. Did dramatic leads where sophistication was demanded, and turned himself into Cary Grant both on and off screen, taking extreme care to maintain a consistent image for himself in the roles he chose, never playing a villain. Able to go independent because of his unique screen presence, and thereby totally control his career, rather than be at the mercy of studios, like his fellow cineserfs. Became a U.S. citizen in 1942, and at the same time married heiress Barbara Hutton, only to divorce in 1945, when he proved incapable of keeping her entertained all the time. In 1949, he wed much younger actress Betsy Drake, who introduced him to LSD therapy. Though the two separated several times, and he had a passionate public affair with actress Sophia Loren only to be dumped by her, the marriage officially lasted until 1962. During that time, he formed his own production company, Grantley Productions, which produced his final spate of largely unmemorable fare. Always felt that if a film made money, it was a success, showing a curious lack of discrimination in a lot of his projects. In the 1940s and 1950s, he did several thrillers with Alfred Hitchcock, most notably North by Northwest, and eventually retired from the screen in the mid-1960s, after 72 films. His fourth union was to 28 year old actress Dyan Cannon from 1965-1968, by whom he fathered his only child, a daughter, Jennifer, who became an actress. Their breakup was the only sore note of his public life, with allegations of abuse and revelations of his use of LSD, doing 100 psychiatrist-monitored trips, which helped him with his drinking problem and his feelings towards his parents. His final marriage was in 1981 to Barbara Harris, a British hotel public relations agent, and it would be a union of genuine love on both their parts, despite her being nearly 50 years his junior. Also shared a house with actor Randolph Scott for a dozen years beginning in 1932, raising questions about his possible bisexuality, which he would later vehemently deny, despite biographical affirmations from several people who had known them. The latter part of his life, he became a businessman, serving on the board of directors of several companies, including Fabergé cosmetics, MGM and Western Airlines. Received a special Academy Reward in 1970 for his life’s work, although never won an Oscar for any of his films, despite two nominations. In his 80s, he went on the lecture circuit, showing film-clips, and died of a massive stroke in a hospital during one of his tours, just before appearing at a tribute for him. Inner: Patterned himself after sophisticated playwright Noel Coward and a popular music-hall comedian of his early days, eventually becoming the character he had invented. In real life, quite the opposite of his carefree, debonair, relaxed pose in reel life. Reclusive, remote, abusive, conservative and picky, with plebeian tastes. Would charge a quarter for an autograph, because of a deep-rooted dread of poverty. Fearful of women because of his mother’s abandonment, making all save his last marriage unintegrated disasters. Preferred wearing lady’s panties, finding them easier to clean. Modest, downplayed his own abilities, and maintained a year-round suntan to avoid wearing make up. Once said, "I pretended to be somebody I wanted to be, and I finally became that person.” Illusionary lifetime of reinventing himself to conform to the well-loved character he had created for his public life, although had great difficulty in translating his screen image into his actual existence until life’s nearend. Bocage (Pierre Martinien Tousez) (1797-1863) - French actor. Outer: Came to Paris in his mid-20s and tried to join the Comedie-Francaise, but was rejected twice. Identified with dramatists of the romantic movement, and specialized in melodrama, building up his career by traveling the provinces. One time lover of writer George Sand (Rebecca West). Became director of the Odeon Theater in his late 40s. Had the looks of a Greek God, while displaying a sensitive and hypnotic stage presence. Despite a successful stage career, he became involved with financial speculation and ultimately died in poverty. Inner: Recreated himself to appeal to the tastes of the day, once more, designing around his striking exterior mien. Sculptured lifetime of exploiting his great beauty to best advantage, only to be undone by an unsure business sense, a failing he would make sure to redress in his next life in this series.


Storyline: The silent mimic has endless things to say without speaking a word, thanks to the richness of his art and his determination to continually expand his abilities in it down through the centuries.

Marcel Marceau (Marcel Mangel) (1923-2007) - French mime. Outer: 2nd son of a Jewish butcher with socialist leanings. Inspired by actor Charlie Chaplin when he was 5, he was determined to go on the stage afterwards. Part of a children’s theater group during his summers, in which he would imitate Chaplin’s ‘Little Tramp’ character. His brother became a leader of the local resistance during WW II, and he worked his helper, altering birth dates of i.d. cards to help young men avoid German labor camps. His father, however, was captured and died at Auschwitz. Went to Paris, changed his last name to Marceau, and enrolled in the Charles Dullin School of Dramatic Art in his early 20s. Though mime was passe, he was told by one of his teachers he was born to the art, and was taught its rich traditions, which connected him up to his previous existence as the foremost French mime of his time. Felt his previous character of Pierrot no long matched the times, and wanted to bring that tradition into the 20th century. Studied for 4 years, then formed his own company in 1948, and created the character of Bip, a bumbling innocent adrift in the modern world, replete with white face, sailor suit, a squished opera hat and a dangling flower. The previous year he played Arlequin in Marcel Carne’s Les Enfants du Paradis, which introduced him to the world as a classic mime. Lean and lithe, with a remarkable facility for physical expression. Created a full gamut of situations for Bip, from slapstick to starkly philosophical. Continually toyed with his creation, adding and changing gestures and movements. Became world-famous as the planet’s pre-eminent mime, while trying to raise the perceived level of his art to that of classical theater. In addition to a few select movie appearances, he was also a painter, and wrote both children’s books and a novel. On his first U.S. tour in his early 30s, he was surprised to find his art little-known, but wound up playing to packed houses across the country. Went back to France to start an international mime school in Paris to pass on his ideas and ideals, and his touring company began performing full-scale mime dramas. Married three times, the first to Huguette Mallet, two sons from the union. The second was to Ella Jaroszewicz in 1966, with both ending in divorce, and the third was to Anne Sicco in 1975, which produced 2 daughters. Still touring and enthusiastic about his art in his 70s, feeling himself on an unending mission to educate the world on his art-form. Wound up giving some 15,000 performances over a 60 year career. Fittingly had no final words when the end finally came. Inner: Soft-spoken and eloquent bridge of traditions. Totally dedicated, enthusiastic performer. Despite his professional silence, was fluent in 6 languages. Comfortable with fame, albeit insecure about his artistry. Articulately voiceless lifetime of continuing on a tradition he helped forge, while trying to raise the role of mime to that of true actor of the stage. J.-Baptiste Deburau (Jean-Baptiste-Gaspard Deburau) (Jan Kaspar Dvorak) (1796-1846) - Bohemian/French mime. Outer: Born in an army encampment, and spent his first years outside the walls of Warsaw with the Bohemian army. His father was a poor soldier, who discovered when his son was 7 that he had fallen heir to a legacy in Amiens, France. The former had his five children, two sons and 3 daughters, perform as street acrobats along the way towards claiming his inherited estates. Since he was rather clumsy as an acrobat, his father turned him into a clown instead, employing him as a heavy-handed counterfoil to his graceful siblings on the tightrope and slackwire. When they family arrived at Amiens, they discovered to their shock, a hovel awaiting them, and they were forced to take to the road again. Worked their way through Europe, all the way to Constantinople, where they entertained in the Sultan’s palace, before going on to Germany. Until he was 15, he traveled constantly, finally reaching Paris, where the family got the concession for open-air performances on public holidays. Had a largely unhappy early life because of his secondary role in his family’s performing dynamic, earning little or no applause while the audience oohed and aahed at his sibling’s feats. Extremely unfulfilled, he had thought more than once of summarily ending his cheerless existence. While trudging along a road, he was picked up by no less than the Emperor Napoleon in his carriage, which led to his break from his family and his joining the Theatre des Funambules, which did harlequin dramas. It was a company of tightrope walkers, acrobats, jugglers and circus performers, with whom he performed for the rest of his life. Received little recognition initially, until he appeared in harlequin guise in lieu of one of the company’s star performers. Received the very first real applause of his life as such, which subsequently led him to create his own version of the classic commedia dell’arte character of Pierrot, giving that age-old simpleton poignancy and depth. Dressed in a baggy white costume, he acted out his childlike interior and his disappointments to the hearty applause of both critics and common people alike, as a way of transforming his earlier life into moving performance. Soon became a legendary figure of the French stage, as well as the acknowledged master of the company. His son continued on with the tradition he established after his death, while his character inspired his later incarnation’s creation of the role of ‘Bip.’ Inner: Self-possessed, saying little. Autocratic with his company, but good-hearted and polite, with a full scope of experience behind him, from absolute despair to absolute mass love. Insecure lifetime of being made to suffer mightily for his deficiencies, before finding his true metier and making himself into a living legend through it, with a desire to further explore its possibilities in later more complex times.


Storyline: The rumpled harlequin thoroughly integrates his costume into his physical make-up, and fashions a long-lived career as a beloved and clever buffoon, while ridding himself of some of the sadness that lies at the heart of all great clowns.

Walter Matthau (Walter Matuschanskavasky) (1920-2000) - American actor. Outer: Parents were Russian-Jewish immigrants. Mother was Lithuanian and Jewish. His father had been a Catholic priest, but ran afoul of the authorities in Russia. The duo emigrated to the U.S., where his sire failed at business, then did odd jobs and eventually became a process server for a law firm. When he was 3, his sire left home and died a dozen years later. His mother supported him and his younger brother working in a garment district sweatshop. Grew up in poverty in the cold-water tenements of NY’s lower East Side. The family continually moved to stay ahead of the rent collectors. Read Shakespeare at 7, with an eye towards the stage as a career. Began working at 11 selling soft drinks at a Yiddish Theater, where he played small roles on stage. Good athlete in high school, continuing his interest in dramatics there, then worked a series of menial jobs, including boxing instructor and cement-bag hauler. Served as a radioman-gunner on Army Air Force bombers during WW II, winning 6 battle scars, then took acting classes afterwards at the New School’s Dramatic Workshop, before acting in summer stock, although brooded about his lack of education and odd looks. 6’3”. Married Grace Johnson in his late 20s, 2 children from the union, divorced a decade later. Began his career in earnest on Broadway, gradually working his way up from small roles to supporting parts, while garnering praise for his versatility and jowly stage presence. In his mid-30s, he added Hollywood to his resume, beginning with The Kentuckian in 1955, and shuttled back and forth between coasts, playing villains for the most part in his early films. In his late 30s, he married actress and writer Carol Marcus, the former wife of writer William Saroyan, their one son, Charlie, became a film director. Extremely close relationship. Directed one low budget feature, The Gangster in 1960 and also appeared in TV plays, as well as starred in a brief series in the early 1960s. His Broadway breakthrough came in his mid-40s, when he costarred in a role especially written for him by Neil Simon, as one/half of The Odd Couple. Later reprised it on film with longtime friend Jack Lemmon, and his career as a scowling, slouching comedian took off. Became one of Hollywood’s most dependable comic stars, despite his odd looks and sardonic manner. Won Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Fortune Cookie in 1966. At the same time, he suffered a severe heart attack, causing him to give up his 3-pack a day smoking habit and tone down his addictive gambling. Co-starred with Lemmon in numerous features, while also appearing in dramatic roles in a long screen career that extended from middle to grumpy old age. Died of cardiac arrest. Inner: Well-loved and well-rewarded figure. Able to physically incorporate the exaggerated features and movements of the classical clown onto his own body to become a totally naturalistic clown. Possessor of a raunchy sense of humor. Integrated lifetime of rising from very modest beginnings to thoroughly mix his ancient clown self with his modern persona, and in so doing, create a unique character for the American public to fully support and enjoy, allowing him, in turn, to largely enjoy himself. William Warren (1767-1832) - English/ American actor. Outer: Father was a cabinetmaker. Rejected his sire’s trade with scorn, and instead opted for a theatrical career. Served an apprenticeship in England with strolling players, making his stage debut at 17. Had a slow advancement, with lots of rigors and difficulties alongside a low-grade traveling troupe. Eventually moved up to actor Thomas Jefferson’s company, and began to make more of a name for himself, acting with such stellar lights as Sarah Siddons (Laurie Anderson). Seen as a comedian with his most noted role as Falstaff. His first wife died when he came to America in his late 20s with Thomas Wignell’s (Jimmy Stewart) company. Debuted in Philadelphia at 29, and then worked the Philadelphia-Baltimore area, as an actor and manager in both those cities. Partnered with William Burke Wood and began attracting top actors to his theaters. Specialized in playing old men, winning high praise for his efforts. Married actress Ann Merry (Jane Fonda) at 39, but she died 2 years later. Remarried the sister-in-law of actor Joseph Jefferson III (Jimmy Stewart), at 46, 6 children, all of whom became connected to the theater. His youngest son from the union, William Warren, Jr. (Jack Lemmon) eclipsed his father’s reputation. Prosperously juggled management and acting for many years, but the end of his life saw him sink into ill health and business reversals. Retired from management in his early 60s, acting only sporadically afterwards. In his last appearance, he could barely remember his lines, through loss of memory. Went into seclusion at the very end of his life, a fat and unhappy clown. Inner: Deft comic sensibilities, but always carried a great sadness, the classic unintegrated clown. One-ring circus lifetime of rising from hard knocks, only to be unable to maintain success at life’s end, giving him time and unhappy space to redesign himself the next time around for a longer and far more rewarding career into old age.


Storyline: The persistent player digs deep into his yankee roots to become a complex everyman, and, in so doing, revitalizes his own humanity for a long well-rounded life.

Jack Lemmon (John Uhler Lemmon III) (1925-2001) - American actor. Outer: Father was the president of a donut company, as well as an amateur barber-shop singer and soft-shoe dancer. Born in an elevator. Had a privileged upbringing, although his parents were frequently at odds with one another. Wanted to be an actor from the age of 4. Frequently sick, he had 3 serious ear surgeries before the age of 10, but became a determined athlete and set a schoolboy record for the 2-mile run. 5’9”. Educated in private schools and graduated from Harvard, where he was president of the dramatic Hasty Pudding Club, albeit a mediocre student. Served in the Navy as an ensign and communication’s officer, and then committed himself to an acting career, playing piano in a NYC beerhall, before gaining experience in off-Broadway theater, radio soap opera, and early TV, doing some 400 shows in the latter two media over the next 4 years. Also co-produced and starred in 4 early TV series, as well as did summer stock. Married Cynthia Stone, his co-producer in his mid-20s, divorced 6 years later. Their son, Christopher Lemmon, became an actor. After appearing on Broadway, he switched to film as his primary mode of expression, and within a short time won a best-supporting actor Oscar in 1955 for his role as Ensign Pulver in Mister Roberts. Quickly established himself in the late 1950s, as a comedic star of the first magnitude, often playing decent but confused characters dealing with worlds not of their making. Expanded his repertoire to include serious drama, always giving well-thought-out performances that exemplified his dedication to his craft, and his desire to continually expand his abilities. Married actress Felicia Farr in 1962, daughter from union. Teamed up with close friend Walter Matthau for 10 movies, and directed him in his only attempt at that discipline in 1970. Won a Best Actor Oscar in 1973 for Save the Tiger, as well as 2 Emmys. Returned to the NY stage at 60, and was later honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute in 1988. Worked til life’s nearend in nearly 50 films, before succumbing to complications from cancer. Inner: Strong work ethic, continually willing to stretch his abilities instead of settling into a comfortable niche. Personable, sensitive, well-liked. Good storyteller, easily accessible, kind and warm. Solid growth lifetime of opening himself up on all levels to be a more complete craftsman as well as a more integrated character. William Warren, Jr. (1812-1888) - American actor. Outer: Father was actor/manager William Warren (Walter Matthau) who emigrated from England. Mother was the sister-in-law of actor Joseph Jefferson III (Jimmy Stewart). Youngest of 6. Had a brief education, but was attracted to his father’s profession from the outset. Made his stage debut at 19, a few days after his father’s death. Acted the same part that had made the older Warren famous nearly 50 years previously. Traveled with touring troupes on the east coast for a decade as a way of apprenticeship. In his mid-30s, he came to Boston, and thereafter identified himself with that city, becoming one of its leading citizens. Had a wide range, although eventually focused on comedy. Except for one tour in his early 50s, he remained connected with the same theater, the Boston Museum, and the same company, performing some 600 roles with them. As a Boston institution, people would go out of their way to see him. Never married. Retired in his early 70s, and died after a brief illness. His memoirs were published posthumously. Inner: Tall, with a formal manner, and a sensitive, expressive mouth. Fine-mannered, refined, modest. Repetitive lifetime of being totally wedded to the theater, and finding his emotional fulfillment through the distant love of applause, while sacrificing any personal life to that end.


Storyline: The resurrected actor taps directly into his earlier tragic playlet to bring his own character full circle, after looking at death, denial and demonic self-destruction in the face, and opting for a more uplifting rewrite the second time around.

Jason Robards, Jr. (1922-2000) - American actor. Outer: Literally born on the road, father was an actor of the same name who was heading west at the time of his son’s birth. His parents’ marriage subsequently fell apart when he was 5, and he and his younger brother stayed with their sire. Very close with his progenitor, whom he later felt had ultimately sold out to Hollywood, and vowed he would not do the same, particularly after the latter’s summing up his craft as ‘heartbreak.’ Originally wanted to be a professional athlete. Settled in California, watched his father’s decline, then joined the Navy prior to America’s entry in WW II and was at Pearl Harbor when it was bombed. 5’10”, 156 lbs. Served in several Pacific war zones and was discharged 6 1/2 years later, after being awarded the Navy Cross. While in the service, he read the plays of Eugene O’Neill, and decided he wanted to be an actor, after all. Entered the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, which his father had attended, while supporting himself with odd jobs. In 1948, he contracted the first of 4 marriages, with actress Eleanor Pitman, 3 children, including an actor son. Divorced after a decade. After years of journeyman roles, including making his NY debut as the back end of a cow, he finally won acclaim in his mid-30s, after his performance as Hickey in Eugene O’Neill’s “The Iceman Cometh,” just as he was contemplating giving up his craft. The following year, he continued his past-life connection with O’Neill in “Long Day’s Journey into Night,” playing the alcoholic elder son. Acted with his father in “The Disenchanted” for a year, for which he won a Tony, and did several more plays before warily approaching Hollywood. Made his film debut in 1959 in The Journey. The same annum, he married a second time, to actress Rachel Taylor, divorced two years later. After his father’s death several years later, he dropped the Junior from his name, and went on to a successful screen career, winning two best supporting actor Oscars, in 1976 for All the President’s Men and in 1977 for Julia. Began drinking heavily while on Broadway to avoid facing himself, and had a near fatal automobile accident in California in 1972, requiring plastic surgery to restore his features. Finally gained control over his excesses in his early 50s, while appearing in “The Moon for the Misbegotten,” when he showed up drunk for a matinee. The following day he quit drinking for good, after years of denial about his alcoholism. His 3rd marriage, from 1961 to 1969 to actress Lauren Bacall also produced an actor. His final marriage in his late 40s to to Lois O’Connor, an associate producer, produced 2 more children, a lasting union, and a 6 acre Connecticut estate. In his late 70s, he spent 6 months, including 3 in a coma, in a hospital after having a tumor removed. Eventually succumbed to cancer. Wound up a definitive interpreter of the works of Eugene O’Neill. Inner: Gregarious, unpretentious, with a genuine love of his craft, particularly the stage. Also self-tortured and compulsively seductive at an earlier age, as well as gruff and craggy throughout. Stand and deliver lifetime of facing his ongoing demons, including alcoholism and the transformational energy of an auto accident, while expanding his abilities without ever becoming pigeonholed by a stereotypical role, as both his father and he had done before. James O’Neill (1847-1920) - Irish actor. Outer: Born in Ireland, he was brought to the U.S. by his parents at the age of 5, during the Irish potato famine. Carried a lifelong fear of poverty from his childhood, which made him look for security later on, rather than development as an actor. Had meager schooling, and made his stage debut in Cincinnati, Ohio as a teenager. In an early role, he was supposed to arrest Edwin Forrest (Marlon Brando) on stage, but was so awed by him, he failed to do so. Persisted in his chosen craft, however, and moved to Chicago in his early 20s to become a leading man with several stock companies in NYC and San Francisco. Intelligent and attractive with a melodious voice and graceful bearing, allowing him great versatility in his roles. After playing Jesus Christ, he was arrested by local authorities in San Francisco for violating an ordinance against such an impersonation, and the resultant publicity made him famous. Married in his mid-20s to Ellen Quinlan, the daughter of a successful businessman, although she never adjusted to her husband’s life. His wife was shy and mystical, and eventually became addicted to morphine, while the duo never integrated their differences. 3 sons from union, one dying in infancy, one an alcoholic actor, and the last was playwright Eugene O’Neill. In his early 30s, he played the role with which he would become identified, that of Edmund Dantes in “The Count of Monte Cristo,” and went on to do over 6,000 performances of the play, despite being ill-received initially. Made ineffectual attempts to abandon the character, but the public didn’t allow it. His touring appearance in the role would be an annual event wherever he played it. Eventually he did it by rote, killing his thespian spirit, and turning him to alcohol to assuage his failure at escaping easy success. Also did many Shakespearean plays, although the latter part of his career saw him go into decline, particularly when the public demanded he repeat himself rather than stretch himself as an actor. Son Eugene O’Neill portrayed his decline in unflattering manner as the character James Tyrone in his autobiographical “Long Day’s Journey into Night.” Suffered failing health at life’s near end due to an auto accident. Inner: Gregarious, materialistic, neurotic relationship with wife, who was his complete opposite. Corseted lifetime of being pigeonholed, despite obvious talent, and allowing himself to succumb to ill-earned applause, which eventually numbed his abilities and sensibilities.


Storyline: The wonderful boy wonder continually wonders what will happen to him when he reaches adulthood and all the early applause fades, and subsequently finds out to his ongoing detriment.

Freddy Bartholomew (Frederick Llewellyn) (1924-1992) - English/American actor. Outer: Father was a civil servant. Sent to live at 3 with his grandparents and an aunt, from whom he took his surname. Made his debut at the age of 4, reciting a poem at a church social, which inspired his guardian aunt to take him around on calls. Quickly became a perfect little man on both English stage and screen. Combined excellent diction, with a sure sense of himself in greasepaint. While visiting the United States with his aunt, he was offered the lead role in David Copperfield, which began his Hollywood career, as a precocious child star of adventure classics. When he was 13, and a bonafide success, and forever identified with his sissified role in Little Lord Fauntleroy, his parents contested his guardianship with his aunt, while she, in turn, went to court to release him from his MGM contract. Neither effort proved successful, but by the time he was 17, his career was all but over, and he eventually retired from films, after one final appearance in 1951. His parents, however, were awarded some of his salary, which rankled him deeply after their early abandonment, and they, in good turn, did their best to drain him dry as an ungrateful son. Returned to school, took U.S. citizenship in 1943, then served in WW II as a maintenance worker on bombers. In his 20s, he married Maely Daniele, the publicity director of the little theater group he had founded. His wife had already been twice wed and was 8 years his senior, and the duo divorced in 1953. The same year he wed Eileen Paul, a TV station employee, a son and two daughters from the union. His subsequent forays onto the stage and in vaudeville also proved unfruitful. In his late 20s, he hosted a daytime TV show. Later became an advertising executive, handling show accounts, and finally the producer of a soap opera. Died of emphysema and heart failure. Inner: Refined, well-bred and well-mannered despite his humble beginnings. Probably loathed his parents, which gave him the impetus for both success and failure in the same realm. His unwillingness to let go of childhood, will probably manifest itself again until he finally figures out a satisfactory way to do so. Early peak lifetime of rejection, acceptance, and then a long readjustment to a world that could not accept his childhood’s end. William Betty (1791-1874) - English actor. Known as’ the Young Roscius’ and ‘Master Betty.’ Outer: Mother was very talented and began instructing him on self-expression from infancy onward. Father was the son of a wealthy physician, who ran a farm and a linen manufactory. Saw his first play at 10, and declared he had to be an actor. Achieved instant acclaim as a child star, making his debut at the age of 12 on the Dublin stage. When he first appeared at Covent Garden in London, troops had to restrain the rush for the tickets. Became noted for his tragic Shakespearean roles, for which he received an enormous salary. Presented to the Queen, and once had the House of Commons adjourned so its members could see him in the role of “Hamlet.” Made his final appearance as a young actor at 17, then entered Christ’s College, Cambridge. His subsequent return to the stage at 21 was poorly received, and by the time he was in his early 30s, his career was over, due to being largely unimpressive as an adult actor. Retired on his wealth and lived 50 more years, but questioned his initial positive reception, feeling ultimately it must have been mistaken. Inner: Sad, lonely and stuck in the past once his childhood ended. Bubble bursting lifetime of early acclaim and a long life afterwards to mull over the vicissitudes of fleeting fame and permanent fortune, necessitating another try at the same dynamic.


Storyline: The iconoclastic icon pursues his own route to conventional success, while evincing an unconventional make-up, and a strong desire to make the world a more equitable place for having celebrated his maverick presence in it.

Paul Newman (1925-2008) - American actor, director and producer. Outer: Mother was of Catholic/Hungarian descent, father was the Jewish co-owner of a sporting/goods store with his brother. Younger of two sons. Despite the Depression, he was raised in affluence and encouraged by an uncle, a well-known Ohio journalist and poet, to pursue his interests in the arts. His mother loved plays, and also cultivated his artistic expression. Enlisted in the Navy Air Corps during WW II, serving in the Pacific as a radioman/gunner in a torpedo bomber. On his discharge, he enrolled in Kenyon College to study economics, but felt a far stronger draw towards dramatics. Classically handsome, with an athletic physique, and curly-haired with piercing, cobalt blue eyes. 5’11”, 160 pounds. Appeared in summer stock, although he was initially uncomfortable on stage, then did graduate work at the Yale Drama School, as well as studying at The Actor’s Studio in NYC. Married in his mid-20s to actress Jacqueline Witte, two daughters and a son from the union which ended in divorce after 8 years. Their son died in 1978 of an alcohol and Valium overdose. Made his Broadway debut in “Picnic” in 1953, which led to a movie contract with Warner Brothers. Made his filmic debut in 1955 as a Greek slave in a film, The Silver Chalice, that he felt was so mediocre he took out an ad in Variety to apologize for it. Nevertheless, he quickly found himself a Hollywood star, thanks to his charismatic screen presence, and the ongoing sense of luck that permeated his life. A series of starring vehicles followed, beginning with the prophetic, Somebody Up There Likes Me, making him one of Hollywood’s top personalities by the 1960s, through a judicious selection of roles that matched his intelligence and ability to get inside maverick characters. Had noted successes in a series of ‘H’ roles, The Hustler, Hud, Hombre and Harper, among them. Married actress Joanna Woodward in his early 30s, and featured her in his 1968 directorial debut, Rachel, Rachel. 3 daughters from the union. The family settled in Connecticut in an 18th century farmhouse, and he and his wife would be very politically active for liberal causes, candidates and charities. Strayed briefly in the late 1960s, with Nancy Bacon, a divorced Hollywood journalist, but was able to repair his marriage, which would remain a beacon of show business constancy afterwards. Directed and produced a number of films under the banner of First Artists, which he formed with several other notable stars. Teamed with actor Robert Redford in two huge hits, Butch Cassiday and the Sundance Kid and The Sting. Although nominated several times for an Academy Reward, he did not win one until his early 60s in 1987, for The Color of Money, a sequel to The Hustler. The previous annum, he was given an honorary Oscar for his integrity as a performer. Along with his neighbor, writer A. E. Hotchner, he launched a line of successful food products in the 1980s, donating the profits, over $175 million, to charity, and was equally triumphant as a race car driver and team backer, beginning this second career at age 47, after appearing in Winning. Went on to win 4 amateur national championships as a driver, and 4 more as a team member. Also opened a series of summer camps for seriously ill children. Despite a love for beer, trim and fit and surprisingly youthful, and able to successfully continue his career into his 80s, through an ongoing judicious selection of roles that led to a 50 + year career encompassing over 55 films and 9 Oscar nominations. In 1994, he was awarded the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, an Oscar for charitable work, and the third such statuette to grace his mantleplace. Returned to Broadway in 2002 after a near 40 year absence as the stage manager in Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town,” winning praise for his low-key performance, and in 2005, took home an Emmy as best supporting actor in a miniseries or movie for his work in “Empire Falls.” Officially retired in 2007, and, at the same time, gave a $10 million donation to his alma mater, Kenyon, in order to fund scholarships for minorities, while beginning treatment for lung cancer. Died at home of the latter the following year, surrounded by family and close friends. Inner: Cantankerous, charming, sly-witted and edgy with a winner’s mien in all of his undertakings. Felt a strong desire to emotionally wake up society, with a soft spot for the underdog. Practical joker, who never watched his own films. Continually strove for simplicity and sanity. Felt that the key to acting was knowing how to be a child. Tenacious, angry and self-criticial. Winner’s circle lifetime of bringing a golden touch to all he undertook, while turning his contentious personality into a rich catalogue for a long, memorable career. John McCullough (1832-1885) - Irish/American actor/manager. Outer: From an Irish peasant background, father was a farmer, 3 sisters. His mother died when he was 12. Followed one of his sisters to America at 15 and worked as a chairmaker with one of his cousins. Married at 17, 2 sons. His father and other 2 sisters soon followed him over. Although illiterate upon arrival, he took lessons with a teacher to learn how to read, write and act. Made his debut at 25 in Philadelphia and then had a slow advancement in his chosen profession. Hard worker, making up for his rough edges through diligence and drive. Possessed an imposing figure, with a good voice, and was cut in a hero’s mold. Edwin Forrest (Marlon Brando) gave him his first big break at 28. Toured with him in secondary roles, then became a leading man in his company, traveling with his troupe for several seasons. Partnered with Lawrence Barrett (Frederic March) in California as a theatrical co-manager, then stayed in San Francisco as an actor/manager until heavy losses in 1875 made him abandon managing. From his early 40s, he continually toured until he was forced to retire through illness. Appeared in NY as well as London. Broke down at 52 in a performance of “The Gladiator,” then scolded the audience, who mistook his weakened condition, and had laughed at his miscues. Never acted again. Sought help for his failing body in Germany, then spent time in a sanitarium before dying at home. Inner: Noble thespian, effective rather than explosive in his abilities at delineating characters. Self-inventing lifetime of totally recreating himself from disadvantaged beginnings into a true gladiator of the stage, only to receive an ultimate horselaugh for his efforts, and a disappointing final act, perhaps as reflection of a life past in the life’n’death arena of mortal combat.


Storyline: The ardent activist employs his dignified persona to project perfection on his emblematic presence in the public consciousness, only to wind up straight-jacketed for his efforts, despite successfully serving as a bridge over the world’s troubled waters of racial fears.

Sidney Poitier (1927) - Bahamian/American actor. Outer: Parents were poor tomato growers in the Bahamas, where he grew up. Youngest of 7, close to his mother. A tomato embargo forced his father to sell cigars, and his mother to break rocks for gravel. Lived a largely isolated existence in a small village that had neither cars nor electricity, and saw very few Caucasians until he was 10, when the family moved to Nassau. Dropped out of school at 13 and moved to Miami to live with an older brother at 15, where he experienced the stultifying hand of racism, although by then he had a very strong sense of self. Did menial labor before briefly serving in the Army during WW II. 6’2 1/2”, 200 lbs., with a dignified bearing. On his discharge, he came to NYC and tried to join the American Negro Theater, but his 4th grade reading level caused him to be rejected in no uncertain terms. Worked as a dishwasher, while slowly improving his reading skills, and also listened to the radio to enhance his diction. Transformed himself through dint of strong discipline, was accepted by ANT, and made his Broadway debut in his early 20s with a bit part in an all-black version of "Lysistrata." Married Juanita Hardy in his early 20s, 4 daughters from the union, including actresses Pamela and Sherri, divorced 15 years later, because of a basic incompatibility. Entered films in his mid-20s in No Way Out, playing a black doctor who treated white patients, but after 2 films, he was back washing dishes in Harlem. Rose steadily afterwards, becoming the first African-descended star of mainstream films, garnering an Academy Reward nomination in his early 30s, as an escaped black convict chained to a white man in The Defiant Ones, and then a Best Actor Oscar in 1963 for Lilies of the Field, breaking the color line in that category. Refused to sign a loyalty oath because of his friendship with activists Paul Robeson and Canada Lee (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) but was not blacklisted. A longtime disciplined health food consumer, avoiding alcohol, red meat, milk and sugar. Close friend and fellow activist with Harry Belafonte, although he was forced to compromise himself far more, because of his singular focus on acting. By the 1960s, he was an established star, giving powerful and in-depth portrayals of the difficulties of being a minority in a race-obsessed country, while opening up Hollywood to the commercial and artistic potential of minorities, although was accused by white critics of being superficial and black critics of being a Stepin Fetchit (Craig Lamar Traylor) in white man’s drag. Formed First Artists Production Co. in 1969 with several other topflight stars, and made 4 films with them. His career as an actor peaked by the end of the decade, when he felt straitjacketed as a too-good-to-be true paragon of black middle-class values, and he turned to directing as an added venue of expression, first doing his own vehicles, and then working solely as a director with intermittent film appearances. His attempts to break his stereotype as a noble black hero overcoming intolerance were relatively unsuccessful, corseting and freezing him in popular consciousness. Married Canadian actress Joanna Shimkus in his late 40s, 2 more daughters from the union, Anika and Sydney, both of whom became actresses. Made an honorary knight of the British Empire in 1974, because of his Bahamian roots, although never uses the sobriquet, ‘Sir.’ Returned to the screen in his mid-60s after a decade’s absence, and in 1992 received the Life Achievement Award from the American Film Institute. 3 of his daughters became actresses. Wrote his autobiography, “This Life,” in 1980, and a followup memoir, “The Measure of a Man,” at the turning of the millennium, after surviving prostate cancer. Subject of a PBS biography in 2000, “One Bright Light.” In 2008, he had his squeaky clean image tarnished by actress Diahann Carroll in a tell-all memoir, in which she revealed caddish behavior on his part around his refusal to keep matrimonial promises to her, but even there, his ultimate decency prevailed, and they later resumed their connection as a friendship. Inner: Quiet, dignified, strong sense of mission. Bookish and cerebral. Fiercely protective of his privacy and time, never comfortable with the public nature of celebrity. Extremely disciplined and self-controlled, with a volcanic temper that he carefully reigns in. Disciplined lifetime of channeling his drive and ambitions into a serious assault on the racist containment of the entertainment industry, and succeeding handsomely, in his ongoing pioneering status as an exemplar of American Otherness. Bert Williams (Egbert Williams) (c1876-1922) - Bahamian/American entertainer. Outer: Had a Danish grandfather and quadroon grandmother. Father was papier-mache maker, mother was of African descent, and an Antiguan clergyman’s daughter. Lived on a plantation until his father’s illness forced the family to move from the Bahamas to Southern California where he spent his youth. Initially wanted to be an engineer. Joined a small minstrel troupe as a teenager and toured mining camps. Large and strongly built, 6’, 200 pounds. Met George Walker (Little Richard) in his his late teens on a street in San Francisco and teamed up as Williams & Walker, a comedy act, with himself playing the fool to Walker’s wise guy. Light-skinned, he would perform in burnt cork to darken himself. Had a rich bass singing voice. Married Lottie Thompson, an actress, in his mid-20s, who became part of his touring company. Drifted with Walker for several years, honing their act, before being discovered by a producer in Indiana who signed them up to do a farce that was running in NYC. The duo were eventually a huge hit, and, in the process, attacked the stereotypes of the minstrel shows, although he would often play black characters of a low order. In his late 20s, he produced a successful all-African-American musical comedy called “In Dahomey,” the first of its kind on Broadway, which was followed by others. After Walker’s death in 1911, he became a leading comedian for the Ziegfeld Follies, with monologues, pantomime and songs he had written himself, for which Walker had provided the lyrics. His signature costume was white gloves and a shabby coat. Became a much beloved stage figure, and by far the most popular black entertainer on Broadway, making more money at the height of his fame than the president of the U.S. Despite his successes, he was treated with racist contempt off-stage, which was doubly hurtful because of his acceptance behind the footlights. His signature song, which he co-wrote, was “Nobody,” which was how he was treated by white society-at-large. Died from pneumonia, after contracting it on a vaudeville tour. A black pioneer in almost all he did, including being the first of African descent to be buried by a white Masonic lodge, an order he had joined while in Scotland in a play. Inner: Modest, studious, with a rare gift for entertainment, and yet a profound sadness to him. Withdrawn and melancholic when not performing, with great dignity and reserve. Compartmentalized lifetime of being a pioneer figure in the integration of the American stage, but suffering the private slings and arrows for his public efforts, despite his overwhelming acceptance when a stage spotlight was thrown on him.


Storyline: The Caribbean caroler finally integrates his outer and inner lives through direct activism as a complement to his theatrical skills, in his ongoing desire to break down the barriers and fears that separate the various skin tones from one another in a world still stuck on its superficialities.

Harry Belafonte (Harold George Belafonte, Jr.) (1927) - American singer/actor, songwriter and social activist. Outer: Of West Indian descent. Maternal grandmother was a white, blue-eyed Jamaican. Mother was a cleaning woman, while his father was a ship’s cook from Martinique. One younger brother. His sire was extremely abusive to his proud, feisty mother, and wasn’t much of a family presence. Lived under claustrophobic conditions with several other families in Harlem, where his upbringing included attending Catholic Mass, per his mother’s wishes, and then the Apollo Theater, which he considered his true spiritual cathedral. In 1936, the family returned to Jamaica, although he was often left with relatives, while his mother was in NYC, giving him an eternal sense of being an outsider, although she also instilled in him a sense of drive and desire to transcend his milieu. Extremely close with his maternal Jamaican grandmother, which allowed him a later ease in moving among the races and classes, despite his own sense of being alien, which was further compounded by going to a British-style boarding school, which taught him to be totally self-reliant. Dyslexic, he had difficulty with his studies after returning to NYC, and was largely self-educated. Quit high school at 17 to join the Navy during WW II, where he became politicized, and after his discharge, he returned to NYC and worked as a janitor until one of his tenants gave him tickets to an American Negro Theater Production. Taken with its possibilities for him, he joined the company, then began studying acting at Erwin Piscator’s Dramatic Workshop at the New School, and made his debut in an ANT production of “Juno and the Paycock.” Paul Robeson subsequently became his mentor and hero, and a role model for him. Married Marguerite Byrd in his early 20s, and had 2 daughters, including Shari Belafonte-Harper, who became an actress and model. 6’, handsome and caramel-skinned, he started his singing career in 1948 by touring big city clubs, before investigating folk music. Quit after 2 years to study African-inspired Caribbean folk songs, and gained fame as a smooth-voiced singer, introducing the calypso and other Caribbean songforms to mainstream audiences, as well as folk ballads of the African experience in America, which he sang throughout the world. Cut his first calypso record in 1952, was signed by RCA Victor, and made his film debut with Bright Road, playing a school principal. At the same time, he fashioned his Las Vegas debut, learning how to control drunk crowds by first appearing hard, and then softening up. Headlined at the Copacabana nightclub in 1954, a decade after being banned there, while also almost having his career derailed through an accusation he was a Communist fronter. Divorced in 1957 and the same year, he married Russian-Jewish dancer, Julie Robinson. The union produced a son, David, a music producer, and a daughter Gina, an actress, with his wife joining him in his activism, and his children becoming in his career. His ballads were upbeat and did not challenge white sensibilities, making for his early acceptance as an entertainer. Won a Tony award in 1954 for a revue, “John Murray Anderson’s Almanac,” and had his first million-selling album in 1955 with “Calypso,” the first person ever to rack up that number of sales. Did not really begin to question his dual life as a popular entertainer and a member of an oppressed minority until he started to work with the Rev. Martin Luther King in the mid-1950s. His fame subsequently allowed him to take on far riskier film roles, exploring racial boundaries, including Odds Against Tomorrow. In 1959, he became the first African-American to win an Emmy for “Tonight with Belafonte.” During this time, he was a prominent social activist as an organizer and fund-raiser, while continuing his popular career over the next several decades, giving concerts, making recordings, appearing on TV, and playing occasional film roles, despite injuring his voice and having a node removed from his vocal chords. Almost ran for the Senate in 1992, but decided he had a better forum through his social activism. Ultimately bought the Manhattan building in which he lives, after earlier having been rejected from renting an apartment there, because of his heritage. Became a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF in 1986, and a ceaseless crusader for a host of personal causes, with the ability to create coalitions, and the energy and desire to make the world a far better place for his being in it. Continued to appear in films in the 1990s, and, in 2000, he was given a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. A harsh critic of George W. Bush and his policies, he became more and more strident the longer the president was in office, and more piqued about the iniquity of American social inequities, ultimately publicly embracing populist, but highly controlling, dictator Hugo Chavez, as emblem of his profound alienation from the U.S. power structure. Divorced in 2008, after fifty years of marriage, and wed Pamela Frank. In 2011, he published his co-written autobiography, “My Song.” Inner: Outspoken, with a great desire to raise public consciousness about its racial fears and prejudices. Views his art as a vehicle for social empowerment. Addicted to gambling, extremely outspoken, and more curmudgeonly as he has gotten older. Highly engaged lifetime of thoroughly integrating his gift for entertaining with his larger life, while evincing less and less tolerance for the ignorance and intolerance of others. Sam Lucas (Sam Milady) (1840-1916) - American entertainer. Outer: Of African/American descent. Spo tty information on his early life. Had one brother. Learned to sing and dance as a youngster, as well as play the guitar, before becoming a barber. Served in the Union army during the Civil War, and afterwards, began playing and singing for passengers on riverboats, before serially working with several minstrel companies, rising to star status via them, thanks to his entertaining stage presence and voice. Established “Grandfather’s Clock,” as his recognizable standard and theme song. Became the first black player to star in Charles Frohman’s (Harvey Weinstein) touring “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” although the show failed to reach its audience. In his mid-30s, he married fellow performer Carrie Melvin, and their only child, Marie, eventually became a well-known bandleader. Settled in Boston and organized a successful concert company, while also appearing in vaudeville with his wife. In 1890, he started a run of shows which would become black musicals, a new theater genre. He also organized a black burlesque company, in an ongoing desire to legitimize black performance. Also toured aboard, as well as continuing his vaudeville turns, working with his wife until century’s near end. At that time, he appeared in “A Trip To Coontown,” which was a landmark full-length black musical that drew a receptive NY audience. Continued appearing on stage, and wound up owning a couple of St. Louis restaurants, before finally retiring from performing in 1912, because of ill health. In 1914, he became the first actor of African descent to play the title character in a feature film, via Uncle Tom’s Cabin, once again. Died at his daughter’s home of an undiagnosed cirrhosis of the liver. Inner: Always dressed impeccably, and gave weight to outer appearances. Probably had a drinking habit, largely due to pressures he felt as an activist spearhead for the needs of others. Pioneering lifetime of bringing African-based culture to the theatrical institutions of White America, and largely succeeding on his own terms, in Act One, to his Two Act personal play of raising racial consciousness in a country long blinkered to its minority own.



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