Seems like we can’t go more than a year or so without taking a look at what Halle Berry’s been up to. This first shot comes from 2016, at a time when she felt like giving up some scare quotes; the other two happened this year.
Fifteen years ago, Barbara Corcoran wrote this book:
Corcoran, who turns sixty-nine today, originally made a killing in real estate and since has done nine years on Shark Tank as one of the resident investors, having put up somewhere over $5 million on various deals. She also dresses well:
What she doesn’t do especially well is dance:
Give her points, though, for enthusiasm. (Clip from Dancing with the Stars, season 25.)
Senta Berger was born in Vienna in 1941; at the ripe old age of four she was singing on stage, accompanied by her father, pianist Josef Berger. After a few German-language films, she found herself in Hollywood, far from home but far from unnoticed; Fox’s Darryl F. Zanuck, she said in her autobiography, had made a clumsy attempt to get her onto the casting couch. In the middle Sixties, she returned to Europe and made lots of films, some as noteworthy as Major Dundee, some as inconsequential as Diaboliquement Vôtre, in which she gets to humiliate Alain Delon:
That autobiography, published in 2006, is called Ich habe ja gewußt, daß ich fliegen kann (“I Knew That I Could Fly”).
And at 76, she still acts. This is the second trailer made for Willkommen bei den Hartmanns, inexplicably retitled Welcome to Germany for us Yanks:
Warner Bros. disabled comments on this video, following the response to the first trailer. The film, directed by Berger’s son Simon Verhoeven, was a fair-sized hit.
Virginia Mayo started out in St Louis as Virginia Jones; “Mayo” she picked up from her brother-in-law Andy Mayo, who by all accounts was something of a horse’s ass. By the late 1940s she was the biggest money maker at Warner Bros.; according to legend, the Sultan of Morocco said her appearance was “tangible proof of the existence of God.”
Mayo was very popular in musicals; while she could dance up a storm — she was taking dance lessons as early as age six — she couldn’t sing a lick, and was always dubbed. Her last film role was in the lightly-regarded The Man Next Door (1997).
In this clip from A Song Is Born (1948), Danny Kaye tries his darnedest to resist:
Wait, what? No. Of course not. Beth Broderick, who turns 59 today, is not at all a bad actress. But in 2011, she starred in a film called Bad Actress, which, says the guy at Wikipedia, is “a retelling of the Greek tragedy Elektra set in the San Fernando Valley.” This is quite a step for someone who used to be an aunt to Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, and who appeared in four seasons of Lost.
I admit to not having seen Bad Actress. Based on the trailer, though, I might have to:
So I’m minding my own business at the start of the weekend when the little slider whizzes by with a notification. Oh, look, it’s a Twitter follower, and it’s a pretty blonde:
The pretty blondes I usually get are bots with numbers and nothing to recommend themselves. Ms Helms seemed to have something of a history, and so I sought out that New Single:
Yep, it’s that Eric Carmen song with the melody lifted from Rachmaninoff; I didn’t expect her to sing the verses in Italian, though. I found her My Love album, and finally figured out where she belongs on the spectrum: think Susan Boyle divided by Celine Dion. This becomes most obvious in Clara’s cover of Meghan Trainor’s “Like I’m Gonna Lose You”:
The following exchange ensued:
Wow thank you so much for supporting my music. Bless you & Enjoy. I hope you play it on repeat until I make more 💓🎶💓
Meanwhile, I scrolled down her timeline and snagged a few photographs:
There exists a video of Clara Helms presenting a house in Perth (Western Australia), utilizing the purest of real-estate conventions, and I got the distinct impression that she did this sort of thing only long enough to get her music career started. (Alternate explanation: she lived in this house, and sold it to finance her trip to the States.)
Had I the wherewithal — but no, I was never intended to live this high on the wombat.
And I still wonder how it is that music acts find their way to my Twitter account. I mean, yeah, I’m the sort of person who’ll give them a chance, but who knows that? How is anyone finding this out?
Heck, I’d even feed her; Rene Russo is sixty-four today, which means that any day now, she’s going to start looking fifty or so. A model in her late teens, she backed away from modeling in her early thirties and signed up for acting lessons; her first feature film was Major League in 1989.
After a flop or three, she avoided the camera for six years or so before resurfacing; in 2014, she resurfaced in Nightcrawler, written and directed by her husband Dan Gilroy, which got her plenty of acclaim. She also went public with her bipolar disorder:
The chap at her side is her Nightcrawler costar Jake Gyllenhaal.
Carol Alt is an International Supermodel. Really. Says so on her Twitter profile. Which is not a bad thing to be, especially if you were waiting tables and only got into modeling to raise some college money, which she was and did. And at 57, she’s done it all: she’s appeared on about 500 magazine covers, hawked lots of cosmetics and fashions, and gotten fired by Donald Trump.
In 2014, Sports Illustrated honored her for her, um, body of work, including the cover of the 1982 Swimsuit Issue:
Apart from the fact that she’s the only International Supermodel who follows me on Twitter, I tend to hang on her every word, especially on Tuesday, which she and many others celebrate as #shoesday. An example of her celebration:
It’s almost, but not quite, a tongue-twister of a name: Tinashe Jorgensen Kachingwe. The first name, you might think, would be quite enough; early on, she decided she agreed with you. In 2007, at the ripe old age of fourteen, Tinashe and some friends formed a singing group called The Stunners, who put out a series of heavily adolescent singles like “Spin the Bottle”:
The Stunners broke up in 2011, and Tinashe decided she could do this on her own. Six years ago this week she put out a “mixtape,” recorded in her home studio; she wrote all but one song, and brought in production assistance on some of them. Even after she’d gotten a record deal (with RCA), she continued with the mixtape format. And somehow in her apparently copious free time she found time to make her name in animation: she did a series of Holly Hobbie features for Nickelodeon, and at nine, she was the motion-capture model for “Hero Girl” Nona Gaye in The Polar Express.
That first mixtape, In Case We Die, featured a romantic number called “This Feeling”:
Her album Joyride, her third, is due this year; one track (“No Drama”) has been released so far. She’s twenty-five years old today.
And while you’re at it, get to know Filipino actress/singer Kim Domingo:
“More than just a girl with a hot body,” says the lyric. This doesn’t really describe Kim when she was a contestant in the Little Miss Philippines contest in 2000 at the age of five. Eighteen years later, well …
Most recently, she was seen in Super Ma’am, a short-run TV series (95 episodes over 19 weeks) as the wicked sister (of course) of the heroine, who teaches school during the day and occasionally fights off mythical creatures.
And there was this photobook called State of Undress:
There’s a scene early in Robert Mulligan’s The Man in the Moon, in which we find Dani Trant (Reese Witherspoon) sprinting on down to the old swimming hole, discarding bits of clothing as she goes, and finally diving in, presumably wearing nothing but a smile. She’s facing away from the camera, which allowed for the possibility that this was actually a body double, and inasmuch as Reese was fifteen playing fourteen, this was almost certainly the case. Besides. the double had only two legs.
Okay, we’ve worn out that gag, but Reese Witherspoon does have a way to stay on one’s mind. And about six weeks from now, you’ll see her as the middle Mrs. W. in Disney’s adaptation of Madeleine d’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, directed by Ava DuVernay.
For now, here are some more sedate scenes:
A Wrinkle in Time reunites Reese with Mindy Kaling; she’d guested on an episode of The Mindy Project last year.
If Riki Lindhome is Garfunkel, then Kate Micucci, seven inches shorter, must be Oates. And while they’ve been doing the G&O thing together for about a decade, their solo careers have diverged: in all the recent Scooby-Doo stuff. Kate’s been the voice of Velma, in the DuckTales reboot she’s Webbigail Vanderquack, and last year she appeared in The Little Hours as, um, it says here, a “lesbian Jewish nun.”
And she does clean up nicely:
And for G&O fans, here are their least-favorite songs ever:
Each and every tune has its defenders, you may be certain.
The comedy-folk duo Garfunkel and Oates has enjoyed a fair amount of notoriety over the past decade or so, partly because they fear no subject matter, and partly because they’re so gosh-darn cute. (And the name, borrowed from a couple of rock and roll second bananas, is enough to make you smile all by itself.) Riki Lindhome is the Garfunkel of the act, and she knows her way around red carpets:
Fun Size, weirdly enough, is a Nickelodeon picture about the horrors of Halloween, in which Riki (born “Erika”) plays a smallish role.
She’s also recorded music separately from G&O. This song appeared on her 2011 EP Yell At Me From Your Car:
Karishma Kotak was born in London, and in the UK she’s known as a TV presenter and model. In India, she’s known as a model and actress. This career path suggests a certain degree of, um, visual appeal:
Her most recent film was 2016’s Freaky Ali, which, so help me, is a Hindi remake of Happy Gilmore. Billed tenth, Kotak didn’t make the trailer. So for our video, we go back to her days as a model, on behalf of Titan, a luxury-goods house owned by Tata Group, which also owns Jaguar and Land-Rover:
Florence Ellen Arnold took up the drums at age six, and when she was twenty, she landed a gig with the Xenomania production house in Kent, having foreshortened her name to simply “Florrie.” She’s twenty-nine now, and her solo career has produced four EPs and not a single album — yet.
Florrie signed to Sony Music in 2014 and turned loose “Little White Lies”:
She describes her oeuvre as “a big mixture: kind of a sixties, organic feel merged with modern pop beats and electronics.”
Her most recent solo release is the single “Real Love,” not related to the Doobie Brothers’ song of the same name:
I assume she’ll turn loose a full-length album eventually.
On the couch, about three-quarters of the way through a therapy session. As it often does, the subject turned to the alleged “writing” I do here, and I allowed that I probably had a slightly twisted power of description. I rattled off a couple recent examples you might have seen, and she wanted to know how I’d sum her up. About 1.5 seconds worth of pause, and then: “About a 7/8 scale Lupita Nyong’o.”
Which geometrically, at least, doesn’t work at all, since Lupita Nyong’o is only 5’5″, and doesn’t really have an eighth to spare. And I have yet to see anything quite like this in the examination room:
In between The Jungle Book and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Lupita Nyong’o appeared in Mira Nair’s Queen of Katwe, which partially explains this clip:
Do enough of thqt, and it’s downright therapeutic, if you don’t bust a knuckle.
That’s what they called her, sometimes. Thelma Todd made over 100 films, most of them talkies and most of them funny, though perhaps she’s most remembered these days for playing Miles Archer’s widow in the pre-Code The Maltese Falcon (1931), the one with Ricardo Cortez as Sam Spade, in which she wasn’t the least bit hilarious.
It was Hal Roach who saw her potential as a comic, and after trying her out as a foil for Laurel and Hardy, paired her off with ZaSu Pitts, then Patsy Kelly, in a series of comedy shorts. Demand for her services was enough to persuade Roach to lend her out on a regular basis, which explains how she ended up in two Marx Bros. films.
Thelma’s last film was a full-length Laurel and Hardy feature, The Bohemian Girl, released in 1936 after her death by carbon-monoxide poisoning. Roach, worried that a dead star would not be good for the box office, reshot her scenes, though he left in her one musical number:
Ladies and gentlemen, we present your new Captain Marvel, Brianne Sidonie Desaulniers, otherwise known as Brie Larson, whom we haven’t mentioned in a couple of hours. (See “Rice is nice,” at a URL near you.) She has rather a lot of screen credits for being only twenty-eight, the biggest being Room, a squalid place where she’d been held against her will for seven years, along with her five-year-old son. (Don’t ask.) She won a shelf’s worth of awards, up to and including the Oscar®.
Brie also launched a music career, which so far has yielded up a handful of good songs and scarcely any sales: her 2005 album for Casablanca, Finally Out of P.E., sold about 4,000 copies. The first single, “She Said,” just missed the Top 30:
Admittedly, I dote on Radio Disney stuff like this. Brie was 15 when she recorded it, and by then, she’d already done a Disney Channel Original Movie: Right on Track, about two sisters determined to break into drag racing. If that doesn’t prepare one to be Captain Marvel, nothing does.
“I think part of what sparked my panic attacks was not feeling confident enough to believe in myself — I was scared I wasn’t as good of a singer as everyone thought I was,” she says. “And as the stakes grew, I was afraid of letting everyone, including myself, down.”
She fought off her mental reservations with purely physical means: boxing and kickboxing. It did knock a few pounds off her, but that wasn’t what she had in mind:
“It wasn’t about any change in my outward appearance; it was about seeing and feeling myself get better and stronger,” she explains. “It carried over into other areas of my life, and now I truly feel that exercise — however you like to work out — is good for the soul.”
It hasn’t changed her voice either: still high and breathy and fluttery. And to me. it’s never been better than when she recorded (in 2010) a version of Elton John’s “Your Song,” a UK Number Two with sales of over 800,000, but a non-starter in the States.
It’s too long to fit on her business cards, but this is Nikki Haley’s official title: “Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations, with the rank and status of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, and Representative of the United States of America in the Security Council of the United Nations.” You may address her as “Madam Ambassador,” and by “you” I mean this worthless little slimeball.
Rather a lot of globalist panties were rendered into a wad by Haley’s mic-drop in front of the General Assembly last week, which has had some Republican pundits starting to speculate as to her chances in further domestic elective office. I think this is way premature. But I have to admit, it’s fun to think so, especially when you consider some of the GOP back-benchers who will try to claw their way into the public eye. None will be as easy on the eye as Nikki Haley.
Her 2012 autobiography, Can’t is Not an Option, I have not yet read, but I have no reason to think it’s a cut above the usual political palaver; the one review I’ve seen, by Vani Saraswathi in The Hindu, dismissed it thusly: “It is obviously not meant for a wider audience. It is clearly for her vote bank.” Which describes almost all such books, actually.
The Gulf of Tonkin is the northern arm of the South China Sea. Phoebe Tonkin comes from Australia, which is much farther south. After studying dance (at four!) and theater, she landed a role in the series H2O: Just Add Water, in which she played one of three teenage girls who, after a supernatural-ish incident, become mermaids after ten seconds of wetness. (Had this been a risqué show instead of a fantasy show for kids, they could have named it Ten Seconds of Wetness.) H2O ran for three years; after that, she relocated to the States and won a role in The Secret Circle, a short-lived witches’ tale on The CW, followed by five seasons of The Originals, a spinoff from The Vampire Diaries.
Phoebe also did one music video: “Don’t Let Go” by Miles Fisher (2011):
“I don’t think I was ever cut out to have a Hollywood life,” said Kim Novak. Certainly she didn’t follow the conventional wisdom; these days she’s best known for Hitchcock and Vertigo, though she didn’t think it was her best performance: that would be Middle of the Night, opposite Fredric March. And the studio system generally, and Columbia head Harry Cohn in particular, treated her with something resembling disdain. Cohn, in fact, came up with “Kit Marlowe” for a stage name for Marilyn Pauline Novak, dismissing her surname as being a “Polack name.”
Cohn, for his part, really hated Hitchcock’s script for Vertigo, but figured it had potential as a prestige item. Novak, who liked the script, decided she wasn’t going to take it at the salary Cohn was paying. (Cohn eventually yielded and gave her a raise.)
Last time I saw her was a 19-episode stint on Falcon Crest (1986-87), playing a woman with a shady past who poses as Peter Stavros’ dead stepdaughter; her real name was, um, Kit Marlowe. Take that, Harry Cohn.
Reiko Aylesworth, born on this day in 1972 in Evanston, Illinois, gets to carry around a pure Anglo-Saxon surname and a Japanese given name. (I have no idea what her middle name is, if she has one, but she does have an initial M in there somewhere.) To make this even better, her first stage role, in Springfield, Illinois, was as Consuelo in West Side Story. She started out on television in the daytime soap One Life to Live.
After one-shots in two incarnations of Law & Order, she won the role of CTU agent Michelle Dressler on 24.. (Her character was killed off by a car bomb at the beginning of Season 5.) Subsequently, she worked all over the place in film and TV, including 14 episodes of ER, three episodes of Lost, and seasons 3-4 of Scorpion</SCORPION>.
A fan put together five minutes of snippets because, well, she’s a fan:
Samantha Kate Winward has been “Sammy” as long as I can remember, which isn’t very, since she’s only thirty-two. Then again, she’s been in front of one camera or another for half her life: in 2001, she signed up for the long haul on the British soap Emmerdale, a student first seen in detention with a boy she subsequently marries. Twice.
Apart from not quite a year’s worth of maternity leave, she stayed on Emmerdale until 2014, and was brutally killed off that winter in a scene with her brother-in-law, whom she’d been seeing on the side.
Most recently, she appeared in another ITV drama, Fearless, which ran for six episodes this year.
From ITV’s talk show Loose Women (!), Sammy talks about her post-Emmerdale existence:
I can’t imagine her missing a whole lot of work, you know?