Lionel Jay Stander was an American actor in films, radio and television. Lionel Stander was born in The Bronx, New York City, New York, to Russian-Jewish immigrants, the first of three children. According to newspaper interviews with Stander, as a teenager he appeared in the silent film Men of Steel as an extra, since he is not listed in the credits. During his one year at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he appeared in the student productions The Muse of the Unpublished Writer, The Muse and the Movies: A Comedy of Greenwich Village. Stander's acting career began in 1928, as Cop and First Fairy in Him by E. E. Cummings, at the Provincetown Playhouse, he claimed that he got the roles because one of them required shooting craps, which he did well, a friend in the company volunteered him. He appeared in a series of short-lived plays through the early 1930s, including The House Beautiful, which Dorothy Parker famously derided as "the play lousy". In 1932, Stander landed his first credited film role in the Warner-Vitaphone short feature In the Dough, with Fatty Arbuckle and Shemp Howard.
He made several other shorts, the last being The Old Grey Mayor with Bob Hope in 1935. That same year, he was cast in Ben Hecht's The Scoundrel, with Noël Coward, he signed a contract with Columbia Pictures. Stander was in a string of films over the next three years, appearing most notably in Frank Capra's Mr. Deeds Goes to Town with Gary Cooper, Meet Nero Wolfe playing Archie Goodwin, The League of Frightened Men, A Star Is Born with Janet Gaynor and Fredric March. Stander's distinctive rumbling voice, tough-guy demeanor, talent with accents made him a popular radio actor. In the 1930s and 1940s, he was on The Eddie Cantor Show, Bing Crosby's KMH show, the Lux Radio Theater production of A Star Is Born, The Fred Allen Show, the Mayor of the Town series with Lionel Barrymore and Agnes Moorehead, Kraft Music Hall on NBC, Stage Door Canteen on CBS, the Lincoln Highway Radio Show on NBC, The Jack Paar Show, among others. In 1941, he starred in a short-lived radio show called The Life of Riley on CBS, no relation to the radio and television character made famous by William Bendix.
Stander played the role of Spider Schultz in both Harold Lloyd's film The Milky Way and its remake ten years The Kid from Brooklyn, starring Danny Kaye. He was a regular on Danny Kaye's zany comedy-variety radio show on CBS, playing himself as "just the elevator operator" amidst the antics of Kaye, future Our Miss Brooks star Eve Arden, bandleader Harry James. During the 1940s, he played several characters on The Woody Woodpecker and Andy Panda animated theatrical shorts, produced by Walter Lantz. For Woody Woodpecker, he provided the voice of Buzz Buzzard, but was backlisted from the Lantz studio in 1951 and was replaced by Dal McKennon. Liberal and pro-labor, Stander espoused a variety of social and political causes, was a founding member of the Screen Actors Guild. At a SAG meeting held during a 1937 studio technicians' strike, he told the assemblage of 2000 members: "With the eyes of the whole world on this meeting, will it not give the Guild a black eye if its members continue to cross picket lines?"
Stander supported the Conference of Studio Unions in its fight against the Mob-influenced International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. In 1937, Ivan F. Cox, a deposed officer of the San Francisco longshoremen's union, sued Stander and a host of others, including union leader Harry Bridges, actors Fredric March, Franchot Tone, Mary Astor, James Cagney, Jean Muir, director William Dieterle; the charge, according to Time magazine, was "conspiring to propagate Communism on the Pacific Coast, causing Mr. Cox to lose his job". In 1938, Columbia Pictures head Harry Cohn called Stander "a Red son of a bitch" and threatened a US$100,000 fine against any studio that renewed his contract. Despite critical acclaim for his performances, Stander's film work dropped off drastically. After appearing in 15 films in 1935 and 1936, he was in only six in 1937 and 1938; this was followed by just six films from 1939 through 1943, none made by major studios, the most notable being Guadalcanal Diary. Stander was among the first group of Hollywood actors to be subpoenaed before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1940 for supposed Communist activities.
At a grand jury hearing in Los Angeles in August 1940—the transcript of, shortly released to the press—John R. Leech, the self-described former "chief functionary" of the Communist Party in Los Angeles, named Stander as a CP member, along with more than 15 other Hollywood notables, including Franchot Tone, Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Clifford Odets and Budd Schulberg. Stander subsequently forced himself into the grand jury hearing, the district attorney cleared him of the allegations. Stander appeared in no films between 1944 and 1945. With HUAC's attentions focused elsewhere due to World War II, he played in a number of second-rate pictures from independent studios through the late 1940s; these include Ben Hecht's Specter of the Rose. One classic emerged from this period of his career, the Preston Sturges comedy Unfaithfully Yours with Rex Harrison. In 1947, HUAC turned its attention once again to Hollywood; that October, Howard Rushmore, who had belonged to the CPUSA in the 1930s and written film reviews for the Daily Worker, testified that writer John Howard Law
Casino Royale (1967 film)
Casino Royale is a 1967 spy comedy film produced by Columbia Pictures featuring an ensemble cast. It is loosely based on Ian Fleming's first James Bond novel; the film stars David Niven as the "original" Bond, Sir James Bond 007. Forced out of retirement to investigate the deaths and disappearances of international spies, he soon battles the mysterious Dr. Noah and SMERSH; the film's tagline: "Casino Royale is too much... for one James Bond!" Refers to Bond's ruse to mislead SMERSH in which six other agents are pretending to be "James Bond", baccarat master Evelyn Tremble. Charles K. Feldman, the producer, had acquired the film rights in 1960 and had attempted to get Casino Royale made as an Eon Productions Bond film. Believing that he could not compete with the Eon series, Feldman resolved to produce the film as a satire; the budget escalated as various directors and writers got involved in the production, actors expressed dissatisfaction with the project. Casino Royale was released on 13 April 1967, two months prior to Eon's fifth Bond movie, You Only Live Twice.
The film was a financial success, grossing over $41.7 million worldwide, Burt Bacharach's musical score was praised, earning him an Academy Award nomination for the song "The Look of Love". Critical reception to Casino Royale, was negative. Since 1999, the film's rights have been held by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, distributors of the official Bond movies by Eon Productions, although Columbia has co-production rights to the Daniel Craig films. Sir James Bond 007, a legendary British spy who retired from the secret service 20 years is visited by the head of British MI6, M, CIA representative Ransome, KGB representative Smernov, Deuxième Bureau representative Le Grand. All implore Bond to come out of retirement to deal with SMERSH who have been eliminating agents: Bond spurns all their pleas; when Bond continues to stand firm, his mansion is destroyed by a mortar attack at the orders of M, who is, killed in the explosion. Bond travels to Scotland to return M's remains to Lady Fiona McTarry. However, the real Lady Fiona has been replaced by SMERSH's Agent Mimi.
The rest of the household have been replaced, with SMERSH’s aim to discredit Bond by destroying his "celibate image". Attempts by a bevy of beauties to seduce Bond fail, but Mimi/Lady Fiona becomes so impressed with Bond that she changes loyalties and helps Bond to foil the plot against him. On his way back to London, Bond survives another attempt on his life. Bond is promoted to the head of MI6, he learns that many British agents around the world have been eliminated by enemy spies because of their inability to resist sex. Bond is told that the "sex maniac", given the name of "James Bond" when the original Bond retired has gone to work in television, he orders that all remaining MI6 agents will be named "James Bond 007", to confuse SMERSH. He creates a rigorous programme to train male agents to ignore the charms of women. Moneypenny recruits "Coop", a karate expert who begins training to resist seductive women: he meets an exotic agent known as the Detainer. Bond hires Vesper Lynd, a retired agent turned millionaire, to recruit baccarat expert Evelyn Tremble, whom he intends to use to beat SMERSH agent Le Chiffre.
Having embezzled SMERSH's money, Le Chiffre is desperate for money to cover up his theft before he is executed. Following up a clue from agent Mimi, Bond persuades his estranged daughter Mata Bond to travel to West Berlin to infiltrate International Mothers' Help, an au pair service, a cover for a SMERSH training center. Mata uncovers a plan to sell compromising photographs of military leaders from the US, USSR, China and Great Britain at an "art auction", another scheme Le Chiffre hopes to use to raise money. Mata destroys the photos. Le Chiffre's only remaining option is to raise the money by playing baccarat. Tremble arrives at the Casino Royale accompanied by Lynd, who foils an attempt to disable him by seductive SMERSH agent Miss Goodthighs; that night, Tremble observes Le Chiffre playing at the casino and realises that he is using infrared sunglasses to cheat. Lynd steals the sunglasses, allowing Evelyn to beat Le Chiffre in a game of baccarat. Lynd is abducted outside the casino, Tremble is kidnapped while pursuing her.
Le Chiffre, desperate for the winning cheque, hallucinogenically tortures Tremble. Lynd rescues Tremble, only to subsequently kill him. Meanwhile, SMERSH agents kill him. In London, Mata is kidnapped by SMERSH in a giant flying saucer, Sir James and Moneypenny travel to Casino Royale to rescue her, they discover that the casino is located atop a giant underground headquarters run by the evil Dr. Noah, secretly Sir James' nephew Jimmy Bond, a former MI6 agent who defected to SMERSH to spite his famous uncle. Jimmy reveals that he plans to use biological warfare to make all women beautiful and kill all men over 4-foot-6-inch tall, leaving him as the "big man" who gets all the girls. Jimmy has captured The Detainer, he tries to convince her to be his partner. Sir James, Moneypenny and Coop manage to escape from their cell and fight their way back to
Rik Battaglia was an Italian film actor. He was born near Rovigo, Veneto, he used the stage name of Rik Battaglia although alternate names he used for his films included Rick Austin, Riccardo Battaglia and Rick Battaglia. He would go on to appear in over 100 films from the 1955 to 1999, he worked on a freighter. He was discovered in a bar and producer Carlo Ponti hired him on the spot and signed to his first film in 1955's The River Girl, directed by Mario Soldati and opposite Sophia Loren, playing a cigarette smuggler who has a tempestuous love affair with a young and sexy Sophia Loren, he played the title role in Pietro Francisci's 1956 historical movie Roland the Mighty. He took two years of drama classes and appeared in a number of historical and peplum films, such as The Mighty Crusaders, Caesar the Conqueror, A Queen for Caesar, he was seen in the Hollywood adventure Raw Wind in Eden. He played in Esther and the King, From a Roman Balcony and in the biblical epic Sodom and Gomorrah. Battaglia appeared in adventure films such as Attack of the Moors, The Conqueror of the Orient, The Lion of St. Mark and Sandokan the Great, horror films such as Nightmare Castle.
He became a regular in the Karl May films, in Spaghetti westerns and adventure films. Some of these included Old Shatterhand, Die Pyramide des Sonnengottes, Das Vermächtnis des Inka and Old Firehand, Black Jack, The Valley of Death, You Sucker!, The Call of the Wild, White Fang, Challenge to White Fang and A Man Called Blade. His other films included'Tis Pity She's a Whore, Treasure Island, the Agatha Christie adaptation Ten Little Indians, the Sergio Leone co-produced western A Genius, Two Partners and a Dupe, Vincente Minnelli's A Matter of Time. Battaglia appeared in Deported Women of the SS Special Section, Suor Emanuelle, Il prefetto di ferro, Return of the 38 Gang and Don Bosco, his last feature film was Buck ai confini del cielo he retired from films in 1999. Rik Battaglia on IMDb
Mark Lester is an English former child actor who starred in a number of British and European films in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1968 he played the title role in the film Oliver!, a musical version of the Charles Dickens' novel Oliver Twist. Lester made several appearances in a number of British television series. In 1977, after appearing in the all-star international action adventure film The Prince and the Pauper, he retired from acting. In the 1980s, he trained as an osteopath specialising in sport injuries. Mark Letzer was born in the city of Oxford, Oxfordshire, in southern England, to actress Rita Keene Lester and actor and producer Michael Lester, his father was his mother Anglican. Lester was educated at three independent schools: at Corona Theatre School in Ravenscourt Park in West London, followed by Tower House School, a boys' preparatory school near Richmond Park, at Halliford School in Shepperton in Surrey. Lester had supporting roles in several British television series, including The Human Jungle and Danger Man.
In 1964, at the age of six, Lester was cast in Robert Dhéry's film Allez France! with Diana Dors. He played a small part as the second schoolboy in Fahrenheit 451. In 1967, at the age of eight, Lester was cast in the title role in the film version of Lionel Bart's musical Oliver!. The multiple Academy Award-winning adaptation of Charles Dickens' novel co-starred Jack Wild, Ron Moody, Harry Secombe, Shani Wallis and Oliver Reed and was directed by Carol Reed. Since Lester could not sing, his singing was dubbed by Kathe Green, daughter of the film's music arranger Johnny Green; the two child actors reunited for Melody, which depicted schoolchildren in love. Tracy Hyde played the role of Melody in the film, which used music from the Bee Gees and Crosby, Nash & Young. In 1969, Lester received critical acclaim for his portrayal of a dysfunctional and withdrawn only child in Run Wild, Run Free, starring opposite John Mills, as a disturbed child in the first regular episode of Then Came Bronson. Lester's acting roles peaked as he starred in Eyewitness, with Susan George, Night Hair Child with Britt Ekland, Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?, with Shelley Winters, Melody and a film version of Black Beauty.
After this period, his acting roles in the UK would begin to wane. He extended his range with roles in a series of films in Italy including Redneck with Telly Savalas and the Western Scalawag with Kirk Douglas; the final film of his Italian-based career was in the costume drama La Prima volta sull'erba, nominated for the Golden Bear prize at the 25th Berlin International Film Festival. Lester wrapped up his film career playing the dual role as Edward VI of England and Tom Canty in the all-star film The Prince and the Pauper starring Raquel Welch, Charlton Heston, Rex Harrison, George C. Scott, Oliver Reed, who had played Bill Sikes in Oliver! At the age of 18 Lester had access to some of his earnings from his films, he bought a Ferrari and a house in Belgravia and went to parties and restaurants paying for friends, taking drugs. After the poor reception of The Prince and the Pauper, Lester gave up acting at the age of 19. In his twenties he became a karate black belt. At the age of 28 he took his A-Levels, passing Biology.
He became an osteopath, studying at the British School of Osteopathy, in 1993, Lester opened the Carlton Clinic, an acupuncture clinic in Cheltenham. He is a patron of the theatre charity The Music Hall Guild of Great America. Lester has four children with his first wife, whom he married in January 1993 and divorced in 2005. In 2006, he married a psychiatric nurse. Lester is godfather to Jackson's three children. In August 2009, after Jackson's death, Lester gave an interview to the British tabloid newspaper News of the World in which he claimed that he could be the biological father of Paris, the late singer's daughter. Lester claimed to have been a sperm donor for Jackson in 1996, announced that he was willing to take a paternity test to determine whether he was the father. Brian Oxman, former lawyer for the Jackson family, rejected the claim in a television interview, stating, “The thing I always heard from Michael was that Michael was the father of these children, I believe Michael." In 2019, Lester stated.
Holmstrom, John. The Moving Picture Boy: An International Encyclopaedia from 1895 to 1995. Norwich, Michael Russell, 1996, pp. 323–324. Dye, David. Child and Youth Actors: Filmography of Their Entire Careers, 1914-1985. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co. 1988, pp. 130–131. Mark Lester on IMDb
CCC Film is a German film production company founded in 1946 by Artur Brauner. A Polish Jew who survived the Nazi era by fleeing to the Soviet Union, he lost dozens of relatives to the Nazis, his primary interest was making films about the Nazi era, but after his first such film failed at the box office, throwing him into debt, he began producing entertainment films, the commercial success of which financed his Holocaust-related films, some of which became successful. In 2009, Brauner donated 21 Holocaust-related films to Yad Vashem. On September 16, 1946, Brauner founded CCC Film with Joseph Einstein, his brother-in-law, a black marketeer in Berlin, with a capital investment of 21,000 Reichsmarks in the American sector of postwar Germany, they had money, but no license from the American authorities, without which, it was impossible to produce anything. Two months Einstein quit the enterprise, leaving Brauner as sole owner; the first CCC-produced film was the 1947 King of Hearts, followed in 1948 by self-autobiographical Morituri, directed by Eugen York.
Morituri tells the story of a Polish refugee from a Nazi concentration camp. After a few theaters were damaged, the film was boycotted by other theaters and became a box office disaster, nearly ruining CCC Film and Brauner, causing him to begin producing "normal films" in order to pay off his debt, as he told Time magazine in 2003. Postwar German audiences, struggling with devastated cities and hunger, wanted escapist movies in the aftermath of World War II and Brauner filled that desire with a mixture of comedies, crime stories and the occasional drama. In 1949, Brauner received his license from the American authorities and CCC Film produced three successful films and moved to a former Nazi munitions and poison gas factory in Haselhorst, a locality in the Spandau district of Berlin. Brauner said, "Out of the poison-gas factory I wanted to make a dream factory."In the 1950s, CCC continued producing its proven mix of light-hearted fare and hired directors such as Carl Boese, Helmut Käutner, Robert Adolf Stemmle, Géza von Bolváry, Akos von Ratony, Kurt Neumann, Paul Martin and Erich Engel.
Actors and actresses such as Heinz Rühmann, Maria Schell, Gert Fröbe, Klaus Kinski, Curd Jürgens and Romy Schneider were featured, like Kinski, making his film debut. It became one of the largest producers of postwar German-language films and helped to establish Berlin as a center of German film and television production. CCC produced International Counterfeiters directed by Franz Cap in 1952. In 1955, the company produced The Plot to Assassinate Hitler, directed by Falk Harnack and co-written by Günther Weisenborn, about the failed July 20, 1944 attempt on Adolf Hitler's life. Other more challenging films from the 1950s were Die Ratten adapted from a play by Nobel Prize winner Gerhart Hauptmann. CCC began working on large productions. By the end of the 1950s, the company had built five additional film studios on its Haselhorst property, outfitting them with equipment for film and television production. At the end of the 1950s, CCC began a string of Karl May films and historical dramas and Brauner brought important directors back from exile, such as Fritz Lang, Robert Siodmak, William Dieterle and Gerd Oswald.
In 1959, the company produced The Indian Tomb, directed by Lang. The company began co-producing low-budget films by American B movie directors like Hugo Fregonese and Russ Meyer. Brauner tried to establish a London production base, but abandoned this after making two films, one of, Station Six-Sahara by Seth Holt. In the mid-1960s, the French New Wave introduced a new, more realistic and contemporary way of filmmaking. Brauner pursued just one such project, directed by Edwin Zbonek; the effort was neither an artistic success. CCC returned to its safe formula of entertainment ventures, such as Karl May films, a series of Doctor Mabuse films and movies with sequels, such as Der Schatz der Azteken and its sequel, Die Pyramide des Sonnengottes. Nonetheless, when German television station ZDF moved to Mainz and no longer used CCC facilities to produce their programs, Brauner was forced to reverse his company's expansion of just a few years earlier. In 1970, CCC Film co-produced The Garden of the Finzi Continis directed by Vittorio De Sica, which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
With his large studio space less in demand and his staff reduced from over 200 in the 1950s to 85, Brauner closed the studios and laid off his remaining employees in September 1970, afterwards working instead on occasional projects, such as Sie sind frei, Dr. Korczak in 1974, directed by Aleksander Ford, he continued to produce projects related to Nazi war crimes, such as Die Weiße Rose in 1983, directed by Michael Verhoeven. In 2003, he produced Babi Yar, directed by the American director Jeff Kanew, about the mass executions at Babi Yar, which included 12 members of Brauner's family. In 2006, Brauner produced The Last Train, directed by Joseph Vilsmaier and Dana Vávrová, about the last transport of Jews from Berlin to Auschwitz. In 2009, Brauner donated 21 of his Holocau
Hugh Emrys Griffith was a Welsh film and television actor. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Ben-Hur and received an additional Oscar nomination in the same category for his work in Tom Jones. Griffith was born in Marian-glas, Wales, the youngest son of Mary and William Griffith, he was educated at Llangefni County School and attempted to gain entrance to university, but failed the English examination. He was urged to make a career in banking, becoming a bank clerk and transferring to London to be closer to acting opportunities. Just as he was making progress and gained admission to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, he had to suspend his plans in order to join the British Army, serving for six years with the Royal Welch Fusiliers in India and the Burma Campaign during the Second World War, he resumed his acting career in 1946. Between 1946 and 1976, Griffith won acclaim for many stage roles, in particular for his portrayals of Falstaff and Prospero. Griffith performed on both sides of the Atlantic, taking leading roles in London, New York City and Stratford.
In 1952, he starred in the Broadway adaption of Legend of Lovers, alongside fellow Welsh actor Richard Burton. In 1958, he was back in New York, this time taking a lead role in the opening production of Look Homeward, alongside Anthony Perkins. Both he and Perkins were nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play. Griffith began his film career in British films during the late 1940s, by the 1950s was working in Hollywood, he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Ben-Hur, was nominated for his performance in Tom Jones. In 1968, he appeared as the magistrate in Oliver!. His career was blighted by his chronic alcoholism, he played the funeral director Caradog Lloyd-Evans in the 1978 comedy Grand Slam. While visibly unwell at the time of shooting, Griffith's portrayal received widespread acclaim and helped the movie attain cult status. On television, he had major roles in Quatermass II, a miniseries adaptation of A. J. Cronin's The Citadel and Clochemerle, he received an honorary degree from the University of Wales, Bangor, in 1980.
Griffith died of a heart attack in London in 1980, shortly before his 68th birthday. Hugh Griffith on IMDb Hugh Griffith at the Internet Broadway Database Hugh Griffith at Find a Grave