Jack Cole (choreographer)
Jack Cole was an American dancer and theatre director known as "the Father of Theatrical Jazz Dance". Cole was born John Ewing Richter in New Jersey. Early on he was sent away to boarding school by his parents who divorced and discontinued contact with him, he decided to pursue dance with the Denishawn Dance Company led by Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn, fond of Cole, he made his first professional appearance in August 1930, although he had studied ballet, Cole was entranced by the Asian influences Denishawn utilized in its choreography and costuming. Cole performed with another pair of pioneering modernists, Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman, but left the modern dance world for commercial dance career in nightclubs, performing with Alice Dudley, Anna Austin and Florence Lessing. No other American dance artist had a similar career trajectory, starting at the roots of modern dance, becoming a commercial dancer in nightclubs across the nation starting at The Embassy Club and headlining at the Rainbow Room by May 1938.
He ended his career as a desired coach to Hollywood stars and a innovative choreographer for the camera. Cole was a performer in Broadway musicals, starting with The Dream of Sganarelle in 1933, his first Broadway credit as a choreographer was Something for the Boys in 1943. Cole is credited with choreographing and/or directing the stage musicals Alive and Kicking, Carnival in Flanders, Foxy, Kismet, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Donnybrook!, Man of La Mancha. He studied the Indian dance used other ethnic material in his dances; the Jack Cole Dancers performed in nightclubs including the Rainbow Room. His film work includes Moon Over Miami, Cover Girl and Every Night, Down to Earth, The Merry Widow, Meet Me After the Show, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, On the Riviera, There's No Business Like Show Business, The I Don't Care Girl, The Thrill of Brazil, Les Girls, Let's Make Love, Some Like it Hot, Three for the Show, Lydia Bailey, Eadie Was a Lady and many others, he was famous in Hollywood for his work with Rita Hayworth, Betty Grable, Jane Russell, Mitzi Gaynor and Marilyn Monroe.
Cole worked with Monroe in particular, influencing her iconic performance in "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, in five other films. Cole invented the idiom of American show dancing known as "theatrical jazz dance." He developed a mode of jazz-ethnic-ballet that prevails as the dominant dancing style in today's musicals, nightclub revues, television commercials and music videos. According to Martin Gottfried, Cole "won a place in choreographic history for developing the basic vocabulary of jazz dancing—the kind of dancing done in nightclubs and Broadway musicals."Cole-style dancing is acrobatic and angular, using small groups of dancers rather than a large company. Cole is remembered as the prime innovator of the theatrical jazz dance heritage. Cole's unmistakable style endures in the work of Gwen Verdon, Bob Fosse, Jerome Robbins, Gower Champion, Peter Gennaro, Michael Bennett, Tommy Tune, Patsy Swayze, Alvin Ailey, countless other dancers and choreographers including Wayne Lamb.
Verdon said that "Jack influenced all the choreographers in the theater from Jerome Robbins, Michael Kidd, Bob Fosse down to Michael Bennett and Ron Field today. When you see dancing on television, that's Jack Cole." Verdon was Cole's assistant for seven years. If not for Cole, it is unlikely. Cole's choreography in the "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" sequence in the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes was reinterpreted by Madonna for her music video of "Material Girl". Jack Cole made a name for himself in Hollywood by establishing a dance-training workshop at Columbia Pictures. Cole and his legacy are the subject of a dance musical by choreographer Chet Walker titled Heat Wave: The Jack Cole Project, given its world premiere in May 2012 at Queens Theatre in New York's Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Jack Cole at the Internet Broadway Database Jack Cole on IMDb Archival footage of Jacob's Pillow PillowTalk: Jack Cole, Unsung Genius, 8/14/2010 Archival footage of Jacob's Pillow PillowTalk: Jack Cole: Unsung Genius, 8/14/2010 Levine, Debra.
"Jack Cole" The Dance Heritage Coalition, America's 100 Irreplaceable Dance Treasures, 2012 The Jack Cole Scrapbook Collection is held by the Victoria and Albert Museum Theatre and Performance Department
Charles Douville Coburn was an American film and theatre actor. Best known for his work in comedies, Coburn received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for 1943's The More the Merrier. Coburn was born in Macon, the son of Scotch-Irish Americans Emma Louise Sprigman and Moses Douville Coburn. Growing up in Savannah, he started out at age 14 doing odd jobs at the local Savannah Theater, handing out programs, ushering, or being the doorman. By age 17 or 18, he was the theater manager, he became an actor, making his debut on Broadway in 1901. Coburn formed an acting company with actress Ivah Wills in 1905, they married in 1906. In addition to managing the company, the couple performed on Broadway. After his wife's death in 1937, Coburn relocated to Los Angeles and began film work, he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as a retired millionaire playing Cupid in The More the Merrier in 1943. He was nominated for The Devil and Miss Jones in 1941 and The Green Years in 1946.
Other notable film credits include Of Human Hearts, The Lady Eve, Kings Row, The Constant Nymph, Heaven Can Wait, Impact, The Paradine Case, Everybody Does It, Has Anybody Seen My Gal?, Monkey Business, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, John Paul Jones. He played comedic parts, but Kings Row and Wilson were dramatic parts, showing his versatility. For his contributions to motion pictures, in 1960, Coburn was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6268 Hollywood Boulevard. In the 1940s, Coburn served as vice-president of the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, a group opposed to leftist infiltration and proselytization in Hollywood during the Cold War. Born and raised in the southern state of Georgia, Coburn was a member of the White Citizens' Councils, a white supremacist group which opposed racial integration. Coburn married Ivah Wills on January 29, 1906 in Georgia, they had six children. Ivah died on December 3, 1937 in New York City of congestive heart failure, aged 59.
Coburn married Winifred Natzka on June 1959 in Los Angeles. She was the widow of the New Zealand bass opera singer Oscar Natzka, they had a daughter. Coburn died from a heart attack on August 1961, at age 84 in New York City. Winifred moved to New Zealand. List of actors with Academy Award nominations Charles Coburn on IMDb Charles Coburn at the Internet Broadway Database Charles Coburn at Find a Grave
Ernestine Jane Geraldine Russell was an American film actress and one of Hollywood's leading sex symbols in the 1940s and 1950s. Russell moved from the Midwestern United States to California, where she had her first film role in 1943 in The Outlaw. In 1947, Russell delved into music before returning to films. After starring in several films in the 1950s, including Gentlemen Prefer Blondes in 1953, Russell again returned to music while completing several other films in the 1960s, she starred in more than 20 films throughout her career. Russell married three times, adopted three children, in 1955 founded Waif, the first international adoption program, she received several accolades for her achievements in films, including having her hand and footprints immortalized in the forecourt of Grauman's Chinese Theatre, having a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Russell was born on June 1921, in Bemidji, Minnesota, she was the eldest child and only daughter of the five children of Geraldine and Roy William Russell.
Her brothers are Thomas, Kenneth and Wallace. Her father had been a first lieutenant in the U. S. Army, her mother an actress with a road troupe. Russell's parents lived in Edmonton, Canada until shortly before her birth and returned to that city nine days after her birth, where they lived for the first one or two years of her life; the family moved to Southern California where her father worked as an office manager. Russell's mother arranged. In addition to music, she was interested in drama and participated in stage productions at Van Nuys High School, her early ambition was to be a designer of some kind, until the death of her father in his mid-40s, when she decided to work as a receptionist after graduation. She modeled for photographers, and, at the urging of her mother, studied drama and acting with Max Reinhardt's Theatrical Workshop and with acting coach Maria Ouspenskaya. In 1940, Russell was signed to a seven-year contract by film mogul Howard Hughes, made her motion-picture debut in The Outlaw, a story about Billy the Kid that went to great lengths to showcase her voluptuous figure.
The movie was completed in 1941. Problems occurred with the censorship of the production code over the way her ample cleavage was displayed in promotion of the film; when the movie was passed, it had a general release in 1946. During that time, Russell became known nationally. Contrary to countless incorrect reports in the media since the release of The Outlaw, Russell did not wear the specially designed underwire bra that Howard Hughes had designed and made for her to wear during filming. According to Jane's 1985 autobiography, she said that the bra was so uncomfortable that she secretly discarded it and wore her own bra with the cups padded with tissue and the straps pulled up to elevate her breasts. Russell's measurements were 38-24-36, she stood 5 ft 7 in, making her more statuesque than most of her contemporaries, her favorite co-star Bob Hope once introduced her as "the two and only Jane Russell". He joked, "Culture is the ability to describe Jane Russell without moving your hands." Howard Hughes said, "There are two good reasons.
Those are enough." She was a popular pin-up photo with servicemen during World War II. Speaking about her sex appeal, Russell said, "Sex appeal is good - but not in bad taste. It's ugly. I don't think. I've seen plenty of pin-up pictures that have sex appeal and allure, but they're not vulgar, they have a little art to them. Marilyn's calendar was artistic."She did not appear in another movie until 1946, when she played Joan Kenwood in Young Widow for Hunt Stromberg, who released through United Artists. The film was a box office failure. In 1947, Russell attempted to launch a musical career, she sang with the Kay Kyser Orchestra on radio, recorded two singles with his band, "As Long As I Live" and "Boin-n-n-ng!" She cut a 78 rpm album that year for Columbia Records, Let's Put Out the Lights, which included eight torch ballads and cover art that included a diaphanous gown that for once put the focus more on her legs than on her breasts. In a 2009 interview for the liner notes to another CD, Fine and Dandy, Russell denounced the Columbia album as "horrible and boring to listen to."
It was reissued on CD in 2002, in a package that included the Kyser singles and two songs she recorded for Columbia in 1949 that had gone unreleased at the time. In 1950, she recorded a single, "Kisses and Tears," with Frank Sinatra and The Modernaires for Columbia. Russell's career revived when she was cast as Calamity Jane opposite Bob Hope in The Paleface on loan out to Paramount; the film was a sizeable box office hit, earning $4 million. Russell shot Montana Belle for Fidelity Pictures in 1948; the film was intended to be released by Republic Pictures, but the producer sold the film to RKO, who released it in 1952. Howard Hughes bought RKO Pictures. At that studio, Russell co-starred with Groucho Marx and Frank Sinatra in a musical comedy, Double Dynamite, shot in 1948 and released in 1951, it was a commercial failure. Hughes cast Russell opposite Robert Mitchum and Vincent Price in His Kind of Woman, a film noir directed by John Farrow in 1950 which would be re-shot by Richard Fleischer the following year.
Russell did two
Anna Nicole Smith
Anna Nicole Smith was an American model and television personality. Smith first gained popularity in Playboy magazine when she won the title of 1993 Playmate of the Year, she modeled including Guess, H&M, Heatherette and Lane Bryant. Smith dropped out of high school at age 14 in 1982 and married in 1985, her publicized second marriage to 89-year old J. Howard Marshall, a billionaire as a result of his 16% ownership stake in Koch Industries, resulted in speculation that she married the octogenarian for his money, which she denied. Following Marshall's death, Smith began a lengthy legal battle over a share of his estate, her cases reached the Supreme Court of the United States: Marshall v. Marshall on a question of federal jurisdiction and Stern v. Marshall on a question of bankruptcy court authority. During the final six months of her life, Smith was the focus of renewed press coverage surrounding the death of her son and the paternity and custody battle over her newborn daughter, Dannielynn Birkhead.
Smith died in 2007 in a Hollywood, hotel room as a result of an overdose of prescription drugs. Smith was born Vickie Lynn Hogan in 1967 in Houston and raised in Mexia, Texas, she was the daughter of Donald Eugene Hogan and Virgie Mae Arthur, who married on February 22, 1967 and divorced on November 4, 1969. She had five half siblings: Donna Hogan, David Tacker Jr. Donnie Hogan, Amy Hogan and Donald Hart. Smith was raised by an aunt. Smith's mother married Donald R. Hart in 1971, after which Smith changed her name from Vickie Hogan to Nikki Hart. Smith attended Durkee Elementary Aldine Senior High School in Houston; when she was in the ninth grade, she was sent to live with her mother's younger sister, Kay Beall, in Mexia, Texas. At Mexia High School, Smith failed her freshman year and dropped out of school during her sophomore year. Smith appeared on the cover of the March 1992 issue of Playboy magazine as Vickie Smith, she appeared as the Playboy Playmate of the Month in a pictorial shot by Stephen Wayda for the May 1992 issue.
Smith secured a contract to replace supermodel Claudia Schiffer in a Guess jeans ad campaign featuring a series of sultry black-and-white photographs. During the Guess campaign, Smith changed her name to Anna Nicole Smith. Guess photographers noticed Smith bore a striking resemblance to bombshell Jayne Mansfield and showcased her in several Mansfield-inspired photo sessions. In 1993, she modeled for the Swedish clothing company H&M, which led to her being pictured on large billboards in Sweden and Norway. Smith appeared on the cover of German magazine Marie Claire, photographed by Peter Lindbergh. A photograph of Smith was used by New York magazine on the cover of its August 22, 1994 issue titled White Trash Nation. In the photo, she appears squatting in a short skirt with cowboy boots. In October 1994, her lawyer, T. Patrick Freydl, initiated a $5 million lawsuit against the magazine, claiming that Smith did not authorize the use of her photo; the suit alleged that the article damaged her reputation.
Freydl stated that Smith was under the impression that she was being photographed to embody the "all-American look." Editor Kurt Andersen said that the photo was one of dozens taken for the cover, further stating, "I guess they just found the picture we chose unflattering." The lawsuit was reported to be settled. Smith was successful as a model, she made her screen debut in the 1994 screwball comedy film, The Hudsucker Proxy as Za-Za, a flirtatious celebrity who flirts with the lead character, played by Tim Robbins, in a barbershop scene. Smith was next given a larger role as Tanya Peters in Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult, released seven days after her initial film debut, her role as a pivotal contact to a crime earned her favorable reviews and the film enjoyed box office success. Despite the publicity for her performance in both films, neither did much to advance her acting career. Smith wanted to be taken more as an actress, but Hollywood studios were reluctant, her persona of a ditzy dumb blonde was compressed in her film roles, which sought only to market her physical assets.
In an attempt to earn acting respect, Smith agreed to appear in To the Limit, her first starring role. She played a retired spy seeking revenge on the murderer of her husband. Although the film was publicized and boasted a lavish budget and script, Smith's performance drew negative reviews and was a box office bomb, it was Smith's only venture in a mainstream Hollywood leading role. Smith appeared as herself in the 1995 pilot episode of The Naked Truth attempted to revitalize her film career with a leading role in Skyscraper in 1996; the low-budget, direct-to-video film offered Smith no more than "soft-core exploitation" and her movie career again stalled. In the late 1990s, Smith focused her acting career on television, she appeared on the variety series Sin City Spectacular in 1998. That same year, Smith appeared in the tell-all self-promoting film, Anna Nicole Smith: Exposed, based on several photo sessions during her Playboy career, she appeared as Donna, the friend of Veronica Chase, played by Kirstie Alley, on the sitcom Veronica's Closet in 1999.
Smith guest-starred as Myra Jacobs in a 1999 episode of Ally McBeal. In the early 2000s, Smith had few acting roles; as a result of her rising popularity with tabloids and gossip columnists, Smith was given her own reality show on the E! Cable network; the Anna Nicole Show premiered on August 4, 2002, achieving the highest cable rating for a reality show
Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend
"Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" is a jazz song introduced by Carol Channing in the original Broadway production of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, written by Jule Styne and Leo Robin. It was based on a novel by Anita Loos; the song is most famously performed by Marilyn Monroe in the 1953 film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Monroe's character, Lorelei Lee, has been followed on a Transatlantic ocean liner by a detective hired by her fiancé's father, who wants assurance that she is not marrying purely for money, he is informed of compromising pictures taken with a British diamond mine owner and cancels her letter of credit before she arrives in France, requiring her to work in a nightclub to survive. Her fiancé arrives at the cabaret to see her perform this song, about exploiting men for riches. Diamonds are an element in another story line in the film, in which Lorelei is given a diamond tiara by the mine owner, in gratitude for her recovering the photographs. In a scene, Jane Russell, who played opposite Monroe, sang "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" in court, while pretending to be Lorelei.
Most of the song in the film is Monroe's own voice but she needed help in two phrases – "These rocks don't lose their shape, diamonds are a girl's best friend", at the beginning with a series of high-pitched "no's", all of which were dubbed in by the soprano Marni Nixon. The number was re-shot in CinemaScope, to be used as part of a CinemaScope demonstration held on the Fox lot in March 1953. Producer Darryl F. Zanuck told Daily Variety that it only took 3-1/2 hours to shoot the number in CinemaScope versus four days for the original film version; the public saw the CinemaScope version ten years when it closed Fox's documentary tribute to Marilyn, but this has not been released on DVD or VHS. The song was listed as the 12th most important film song of all time by the American Film Institute. Monroe's rendition of the song has been considered an iconic performance and has since been copied by other entertainers ranging from Madonna and Kylie Minogue to Geri Halliwell and Anna Nicole Smith. Madonna's video "Material Girl" uses a similar set and costumes for her male dancers.
The song is featured in the 2001 film Moulin Rouge!, in which it is sung principally by Nicole Kidman in the role of Satine, the star performer of the famous Moulin Rouge nightclub in Paris, at the turn of the 20th century. This film version is technically a musical adaptation that director Baz Luhrmann titled "Sparkling Diamonds". Although it consists entirely of an adaptation of "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend", this version differs from the lyrics in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes in several ways. For example, it does not include the name Harry Winston in the chant of famous jewelers. Black Starr & Frost-Gorham was known by that name only after 1925, but instead of using their 1875-1925 name of "Black Starr & Frost", their name was replaced in the Luhrmann film by nonsense words, and the anachronistic line "help you at the Automat" was altered in the Luhrmann film to "help you feed your pussycat." Additionally, a lyrical snippet from Madonna's song "Material Girl" was worked into this adaptation of the song.
Ethel Merman recorded the song in 1950. Jo Stafford recorded the song in 1950. Lena Horne recorded the song in 1958, for her album Give the Lady. Della Reese recorded the song for her album Cha Cha Cha. Julie London recorded the song in 1961. Eartha Kitt recorded the song in 1962. Emmylou Harris recorded a country/rock version for her album White Shoes. Thalía performed this song on Spanish television. Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French, dressed as Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell parodied the number in their 1993 BBC special Gentlemen Prefer French & Saunders. Kylie Minogue performed this song in 1995, she performed the song in 1999, dressed as Marilyn Monroe for the opening of 20th Century Fox's Australian Studios. In 2007, she recorded another version for her film White Diamond. Anna Nicole Smith recorded the song in 1998; the single went on to reach the top 100 dance singles in France. Nicole Kidman performed the song in the 2001 jukebox romantic comedy film Moulin Rouge!. In 2007, Beyoncé performed an updated version for Giorgio Armani's new fragrance Emporio Armani Diamonds in an ad directed by Jake Nava and titled "Can You Resist?".
Wendi Peters performed a version for BBC Children in Need on November 16, 2007, adding, "I am a Material Girl" halfway through returning to the main song. Nicole Scherzinger performed a version for the 2007 CBS special, Movies Rock, which paid tribute to the strong relationship between films and music. T-Bone Burnett's rock version of the song is both campy and cynical, while capturing the essence of the lyric. Nadine Coyle recorded a demo for this song. Deanna & The Downbeats, a cabaret-jazz quintet from Portland, performs a traditional version of the song that segues into a lounge-swing version of Madonna's "Material Girl". In the cartoon Hey Arnold! an episode called "The Beeper Queen" where Helga's mother Miriam sang, "Beepers Are a Girl's Best Friend", for a commercial in the same manner as Marilyn Monroe's performance. In the episode of The Muppet Show, both Miss Piggy and Carol Channing did the song as a closing number. In the episode of Muppets Tonight, both Miss Piggy and Whoopi Goldberg backed up by penguins in a staging similar to the original film did the song as a closing number.
In the Müller Corner advert from 1997, famed
Marilyn Monroe was an American actress and singer. Famous for playing comic "blonde bombshell" characters, she became one of the most popular sex symbols of the 1950s and was emblematic of the era's attitudes towards sexuality. Although she was a top-billed actress for only a decade, her films grossed $200 million by the time of her unexpected death in 1962. More than half a century she continues to be a major popular culture icon. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Monroe spent most of her childhood in foster homes and an orphanage and married at the age of 16. While working in a radioplane factory in 1944 as part of the war effort, she was introduced to a photographer from the First Motion Picture Unit and began a successful pin-up modeling career; the work led to short-lived film contracts with Columbia Pictures. After a series of minor film roles, she signed a new contract with Fox in 1951. Over the next two years, she became a popular actress and had roles in several comedies, including As Young as You Feel and Monkey Business, in the dramas Clash by Night and Don't Bother to Knock.
Monroe faced a scandal when it was revealed that she had posed for nude photos before she became a star, but the story did not tarnish her career and instead resulted in increased interest in her films. By 1953, Monroe was one of the most marketable Hollywood stars; the same year, her images were used as the centerfold and in the cover of the first issue of the men's magazine Playboy. Although she played a significant role in the creation and management of her public image throughout her career, she was disappointed when she was typecast and underpaid by the studio, she was suspended in early 1954 for refusing a film project but returned to star in one of the biggest box office successes of her career, The Seven Year Itch. When the studio was still reluctant to change Monroe's contract, she founded a film production company in late 1954, she began studying method acting at the Actors Studio. In late 1955, Fox awarded her a new contract, which gave a larger salary, her subsequent roles included a critically acclaimed performance in Bus Stop and the first independent production of MMP, The Prince and the Showgirl.
Monroe won a Golden Globe for Best Actress for her work in Some Like It Hot, a critical and commercial success. Her last completed film was the drama The Misfits. Monroe's troubled private life received much attention, she struggled with substance abuse and anxiety. Her second and third marriages, to retired baseball star Joe DiMaggio and playwright Arthur Miller, were publicized and both ended in divorce. On August 5, 1962, she died at age 36 from an overdose of barbiturates at her home in Los Angeles. Although Monroe's death was ruled a probable suicide, several conspiracy theories have been proposed in the decades following her death. Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson at the Los Angeles County Hospital on June 1, 1926 as the third child of Gladys Pearl Baker. Gladys was the daughter of two poor Midwesterners. At the age of 15, she married a man nine years her senior, John Newton Baker, had two children by him and Berniece, she filed for divorce in 1921, Baker took the children with him to his native Kentucky.
Monroe was not told that she had a sister until she was 12, met her for the first time as an adult. Following the divorce, Gladys worked as a film negative cutter at Consolidated Film Industries. In 1924, she married her second husband, Martin Edward Mortensen, but they separated only some months and divorced in 1928; the identity of Monroe's father is unknown and she most used Baker as her surname. Although Gladys was mentally and financially unprepared for a child, Monroe's early childhood was stable and happy. Soon after the birth, Gladys was able to place her daughter with foster parents Albert and Ida Bolender in the rural town of Hawthorne, they raised their foster children according to the principles of evangelical Christianity. At first, Gladys lived with the Bolenders and commuted to work in Los Angeles, until longer work shifts forced her to move back to the city in early 1927, she began visiting her daughter on weekends taking her to the cinema and to sightsee in Los Angeles. Although the Bolenders wanted to adopt Monroe, by the summer of 1933 Gladys felt stable enough for Monroe to move in with her and bought a small house in Hollywood.
They shared it with actors George and Maude Atkinson and their daughter, Nellie. Some months in January 1934, Gladys had a mental breakdown and was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. After several months in a rest home, she was committed to the Metropolitan State Hospital, she spent the rest of her life in and out of hospitals and was in contact with Monroe. Monroe became a ward of the state, her mother's friend, Grace McKee Goddard, took responsibility over her and her mother's affairs. In the following four years, she lived with several foster families and switched schools. For the first 16 months, she continued living with the Atkinsons. Always a shy girl, she now developed a stutter and became withdrawn. In the summer of 1935, she stayed with Grace and her husband Erwin "Doc" Goddard and two other famili
James Edward Franco is an American actor and college instructor. For his role in 127 Hours, he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor. Franco is known for his roles such as Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy, he is known for his collaborations with fellow actor Seth Rogen, having appeared in eight films and one television series with him. Franco is known for his work on television, he portrayed the title character in the television biographical film James Dean, for which he won a Golden Globe Award. Franco had a recurring role on the daytime soap opera General Hospital and starred in the limited series 11.22.63. He stars in the David Simon-created HBO drama The Deuce. Franco volunteers for the Art of Elysium charity, has taught film classes at New York University, the University of Southern California, UCLA, Studio 4, Palo Alto High School, Playhouse West. James Edward Franco was born in Palo Alto, California on April 19, 1978, his mother, Betsy Lou, is a writer and occasional actress, his father, Douglas Eugene "Doug" Franco, ran a Silicon Valley business.
His father was of Portuguese and Swedish ancestry, while his mother is Jewish, from a family of Russian Jewish descent. His maternal grandfather, changed his surname from "Verovitz" to "Verne" some time after 1940, his paternal grandmother, Marjorie, is a published author of young adult books. His maternal grandmother, owned the prominent Verne Art Gallery in Cleveland and was an active member in the National Council of Jewish Women. Franco's family upbringing was "academic and secular", he grew up in California with actors Tom and Dave. A "math whiz", Franco interned at Lockheed Martin, he was encouraged by his father to get good grades and did well on his SATs. He graduated from Palo Alto High School in 1996; this led to him attending CSSSA in 1998 for theater studies. In his high school years, Franco was arrested for underage drinking and being a part of a group that stole designer fragrances from department stores and sold them to classmates; these arrests led to Franco becoming a ward of the state.
Facing the possibility of juvenile hall, he was given a second chance by the judge. He recalled of his troubles with the law. I was uncomfortable in my own skin. I was shy. I changed my ways just in time to get good grades."Although the idea of becoming a marine zoologist interested him, Franco had always secretly wanted to become an actor but feared being rejected. He enrolled at the University of California, Los Angeles as an English major, but dropped out after his first year to pursue a career as an actor, since he would have had to wait two years to audition for their acting program, he instead chose to take acting lessons with Robert Carnegie at the Playhouse West. Around this time, he took up a late-night job at McDonald's to support himself because his parents refused to do so, he was a vegetarian for the year prior to working there. While working at the establishment, he would practice accents on customers, an experience he remembered nostalgically in a 2015 Washington Post editorial titled "McDonald's was there for me when no one else was".
After 15 months of training, Franco began auditioning in Los Angeles. His first paid role was a television commercial for Pizza Hut, featuring a dancing Elvis Presley, he found guest roles on television shows but his first break came in 1999, after he was cast in a leading role on the short-lived but well-reviewed NBC television series Freaks and Geeks, which ran for 18 episodes and was canceled due to low viewership. The show became a cult hit among audiences, he has since described the series. In another interview, Franco said: "When we were doing Freaks and Geeks, I didn't quite understand how movies and TV worked, I would improvise if the camera wasn't on me... So I was improvising a little bit back but not in a productive way." After his film debut Never Been Kissed, he played a popular jock Chris in Whatever It Takes, a modern-day remake of the 1897 play Cyrano de Bergerac. He was subsequently cast as the title role in director Mark Rydell's 2001 TV biographical film James Dean. To immerse himself in the role, Franco went from being a non-smoker to smoking two packs of cigarettes a day, bleached his dark brown hair blond, learned to ride a motorcycle as well as play guitar and the bongos.
To have a greater understanding of Dean, Franco spent hours with two of Dean's associates. Other research included studying his movies. While filming James Dean, the actor, to get into character, cut off communication with his family and friends, as well as his then-girlfriend. "It was a lonely existence," he notes. "If I wasn't on a set, I was watching James Dean. That was my whole thinking. James Dean. James Dean." Despite being a fan of Dean, Franco feared he might be typecast if he'd captured the actor too convincingly. Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly wrote: "Franco could have walked through the role and done a passable Dean, but instead gets under