Monday, January 30, 2012


Actress Dorothy Malone turns 87 years old today. Malone was born Dorothy Eloise Maloney in Chicago on January 30, 1925. Her family moved to Dallas, Texas, where she worked as a child model and began acting in school plays at Ursuline Convent and Highland Park High School. While performing at Southern Methodist University, she was spotted by an RKO talent agent and was signed to a studio contract, making her film debut in 1943 in The Falcon and the Co-Eds. Much of her early career was spent in supporting roles in B-movies, many of them Westerns, although on occasion she played small but memorable roles, such as the brainy, lusty, bespectacled bookstore clerk in The Big Sleep (1946) with Humphrey Bogart, and the love interest of Dean Martin in the musical-comedy Artists and Models (1955).
From 1964-1968, she played the lead role of Constance MacKenzie on the ABC prime time serial Peyton Place, except for a brief stretch where she was absent due to surgery. In 1968, she was written out of the show after complaining that she was given little to do, especially in light of the show's concentration on the love story between young leads Mia Farrow and Ryan O'Neal. Malone sued 20th Century-Fox for $1.6 million for breach of contract; it was settled out of court. She would later return to the role in the TV movies Murder in Peyton Place (1977) and Peyton Place: The Next Generation (1985). Malone had a featured role in the miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man (1976). In her last screen appearance, she played a mother convicted of murdering her family in Basic Instinct (1992) with Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone.


Actor Gene Hackman turns 82 years old today. Hackman was born in San Bernardino, California, on January 30, 1930. His family moved frequently, finally settling in Danville, Illinois, where they lived in the house of his English-born maternal grandmother. Hackman's father operated the printing press for the Commercial-News, a local paper. Hackman's parents divorced in 1943 and his father subsequently left the family. He lived briefly in Storm Lake, Iowa, and his sophomore home room photograph is in the 1945 Storm Lake High School "Breeze" year-book. At age sixteen, Hackman left home to join the United States Marine Corps, where he served four-and-a-half years as a field radio operator. After his discharge, he moved to New York, working in several minor jobs. In 1956, Hackman began pursuing an acting career; he joined the Pasadena Playhouse in California. It was there that he forged a friendship with another aspiring actor, Dustin Hoffman.
Nominated for five Academy Awards, winning two, Hackman has also won three Golden Globes and two BAFTAs in a career that spanned five decades. He first came to fame in 1967 with his performance as Buck Barrow in Bonnie and Clyde. His major later films include The French Connection (1971), in which he played Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle; The Poseidon Adventure (1972); The Conversation (1974); Young Frankenstein (1974); Superman (1978), in which he played arch-villain Lex Luthor; Hoosiers (1986); Mississippi Burning (1987); Unforgiven (1992); Get Shorty (1995); The Birdcage (1996); Enemy Of The State (1998); and The Royal Tenenbaums (2001). His final screen appearance was in 2004 in Welcome to Mooseport.