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26 April 2017

Ilona Béres

Ilona Béres (1942) is a well-known film and television actress in Hungary. She appeared in many popular Hungarian films of the 1960s.

Ilona Beres in Nappali sötétség (1963)
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin. no. 2208, 1964. Photo: publicity still for Nappali sötétség/Darkness in Daytime (Zoltan Fabri, 1963).

Ilona Beres
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin. no. 2620, 1966. Photo: Hungarofilm.

The Man of Gold


Ilona Béres was born in 1942 in Kispest (now Budapest), Hungary. She went to study at the Theatre and Film Academy in Budapest, where legendary director Géza Pártos was one of her teachers.

Only 20, she had her breakthrough in the Hungarian historical film Az aranvember/The Man of Gold (Viktor Gertler, 1962), also starring András Csorba and Ernö Szabó. The film was shot in anamorphic widescreen and was based on Mór Jókai's classic 19th century novel which has been adapted for the screen several times.

Popular was also the romantic comedy Esös vasárnap/Rainy Sunday (Márton Keleti, 1962) with Teri Tordai. Another success was the drama Nappali sötétség/Darkness in Daytime (Zoltán Fábri, 1963).

So, when she graduated from the Theatre and Film Academy in 1964, she was already an acclaimed actress.

In the following decades, she was member of the following theatre companies: Csokonai Theatre in Debrecen (1964-1966), Madách Theatre in Budapest (1966-1967), National Theatre in Budapest (1967-1969), and Vígszínház (1969-1984). In 1984, she returned to the National Theatre.

Ilona Beres
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin. no. 2754, 1967. Photo: Hungarofilm. Publicity still for Igen/Yes (György Révész, 1964).

Ilona Beres
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin. no. 2334, 1965. Photo: Balinski.

Yes


The film career of Ilona Béres thrived well during the early 1960s. Her best known films of this decade include Hattyúdal/Swan Song (Márton Keleti, 1964) with Antal Pager, the drama Igen/Yes (György Révész, 1964) with Iván Darvas, and Álmodozások kora/Age of Illusions (Felnott kamaszok) (1965), the first feature-film effort by writer/director Istvan Szabo.

In Álmodozások kora/Age of Illusions, Andras Balint plays an electrical engineer who hops from bed to bed, never making any lasting commitment with any one woman. All this changes when he falls in love with a local celebrity whom he sees on television (Beres).

She also appeared in the historical drama A köszívü ember fiai/Men and Banners (Zoltán Várkonyi, 1965) about a family struggle during the 1848 Hungarian revolution against the Habsburg Empire. Other films from the 1960s include Aranysárkány/The Golden Kite (László Ranódy, Imre Gyöngyössy, 1966) and N.N. a halál angyala (János Herskó, 1970) with Miklós Gábor.

From then ons she worked mostly for television and the stage. She also worked as a voice actress for such animation films as Macskafogó/Cat City (Béla Ternovszky, 1986). Her latest film role was in the hit comedy Moszkva tér/Moscow Square (Ferenc Török, 2001), named after Moscow Square in Budapest. The film is about a group of high school students who would rather party than take notice of the history taking place all round them in 1989.

Nowadays, Ilona Béres is still very active, but mostly on stage. She is a life member of the National Theatre, which was renamed to Pesti Magyar Theatre in 2000. In 2000, she was awarded the Kossuth Award. Since 2000, she is also president of the MASZK, the Hungarian Actors Guild.

Iván Darvas and Ilona Beres in Igen (1964)
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin. no. 2.333, 1965. Publicity still for Igen/Yes (György Révész, 1964) with Iván Darvas.

Ilona Beres and Istvan Szankay in Szentjános fejevétele (1966)
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin. no. 2773, 1967. Photo: publicity still for Szentjános fejevétele/St. John's head reception (Márk Novák, 1966) with Istvan Szankay.

Sources: Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Wikipedia, and IMDb.

25 April 2017

Constance Collier

Constance Collier (1878–1955) was an English stage and film actress and later one of Hollywood's premiere drama and voice coaches. In a career that covered six decades, she evolved into one of London’s and Broadway’s finest tragediennes. Although she appeared in a number of silent British and American films, her career in the cinema got really on steam in her senior years when Collier appeared in well-regarded supporting roles in more than twenty Hollywood productions.

Constance Collier in Antony and Cleopatra (1906)
British postcard by J.J. Samuels, London, no. J.S.-2. Photo: Bassano. Publicity still for the stage production Antony and Cleopatra (1906) with Constance Collier as Cleopatra.

Constance Collier in Nero (1906)
British postcard by Rotary Photo, no. 4039 D. Photo: Foulsham & Banfield. Publicity still for the stage play Nero (1906) with Constance Collier as Poppaea.

Constance Collier in The Sins of Society (1907)
British postcard by Rotary Photo, no. 854B. Photo: Foulsham & Banfield. Publicity still for the stage play The Sins of Society (1907) with Constance Collier as Lady Marion Beaumont.

Constance Collier in The Sins of Society (1907)
British postcard by Rotary Photo, no. 5854 G. Photo: Foulsham & Banfield. Publicity still for the stage play The Sins of Society (1907) with Constance Collier as Lady Marion Beaumont.

Constance Collier and Herbert Beerbohm Tree in Nero (1906)
British postcard by Beagles & Co., London no. G 407. Photo: F.W. Burford. Publicity still for the stage production Nero (1906) with Herbert Beerbohm Tree as Nero and Constance Collier as Poppoea, a part she created for the stage. Stephen Phillips’ Nero opened at His Majesty’s Theatre, London, in 1906.

A Gaiety Girl


In 1878, Constance Collier was born Laura Constance Hardie, in Windsor, Berkshire. She was the only child of Cheetham Agaste Hardie and Eliza Collier, both minor professional actors.

Constance made her stage debut at the age of 3, when she played Fairy Peasblossom in A Midsummer's Night Dream. In 1893, at the age of 15, she joined the famous Gaiety Girls dance troupe of George Edwardes-Hall, based at the Gaiety Theatre in London. Groomed extensively in singing, dancing and elocution, she managed to stand out among those others in the chorus line and went on to featured status in two of Edwardes-Hall's biggest hits, A Gaiety Girl (1894) and The Shop Girl (1894).

In addition, she had an enormous personality and considerable determination. Just after the turn of the century, she was invited to join the theatre company of the esteemed Herbert Beerbohm Tree, who had been searching for a comparably tall leading lady to play opposite him.

In 1905, Collier married handsome English actor Julian Boyle (stage name Julian L'Estrange). They performed together for many years until his death in 1918 in New York from the deadly Spanish influenza. No children were born from the marriage.

In 1906, Beerbohm Tree's extravagant revival of Antony and Cleopatra opened at His Majesty's Theatre, with Tree as Mark Antony and Constance Collier as Cleopatra, a performance for which she received much critical praise. Collier was now established as a popular and distinguished actress. In 1908, she starred with Beerbohm Tree at His Majesty's Theatre in J. Comyn's new play The Mystery of Edwin Drood, based on Charles Dickens's unfinished novel.

Later that year, she made the first of several tours of the United States. Collier made a successful American stage debut in 1908 with Samson at the Garrick Theatre in New York opposite well-known American actor/playwright William Gillette. During the second tour, made with Beerbohm Tree in 1916, she appeared in four silent films.

Her film debut was The Tongues of Men (Frank Lloyd, 1916), based on a 1913 Broadway play by Edward Childs Carpenter. The other films were the romantic crime drama The Code of Marcia Gray (Frank Lloyd, 1916), Macbeth (John Emerson, assisted by Erich von Stroheim, 1919) as Lady Macbeth opposite Herbert Beerbohm Tree, and an uncredited appearance in Intolerance (D. W. Griffith, 1916). She can be seen being carried through the entrance to the city in the Babylonian part of the film.

She later starred in the British silent films The Impossible Woman (Meyrick Milton, 1919), and Bleak House (Maurice Elvey, 1920) - one of the many silent film versions of Charles Dickens' stories.

Constance Collier in Antony and Cleopatra (1906)
British postcard by The Philco Publishing Co., London, no. 3316 E. Photo: Bassano. Publicity still for the stage production Antony and Cleopatra (1906) with Constance Collier as Cleopatra.

Constance Collier in Antony and Cleopatra (1906)
British postcard by Rotary Photo, no. 4039 I. Photo: Foulsham & Banfield. Publicity still for the stage production Antony and Cleopatra (1906) with Constance Collier as Cleopatra.

Constance Collier and Hilda Moore in Antony and Cleopatra (1906)
British postcard by J.J. Samuels, London, no. J.S.-2. Photo: Bassano. Publicity still for the stage production Antony and Cleopatra (1906) with Constance Collier and Hilda Moore.

Constance Collier in The Last of his Race (1907)
British postcard by Rotary Photo, no. 4482 E. Photo: Foulsham & Banfield. Publicity still for the stage production The Last of His Race (1907) with Constance Collier as Adulola.

Constance Collier in The Last of His Race (1907)
British postcard by Rotary Photo, no. 4482 F. Photo: Foulsham & Banfield. Publicity still for the stage production The Last of His Race (1907) with Constance Collier as Adulola..

Voice coach in Hollywood


In the early 1920s, Constance Collier established a close friendship with Ivor Novello, who was then a young, handsome actor. They appeared together in the film The Bohemian Girl (Harley Knoles, 1922), starring Gladys Cooper. Novello’s first play, The Rat, was written in collaboration with her in 1924. She also appeared in several plays with him, including the British version of the American success The Firebrand by Edwin Justus Mayer.

In the late 1920s Collier relocated to Hollywood where she became a voice coach and teacher in diction. This was during the tumultuous changeover from silent films to sound and many silent actors with no theatre training were scrambling for lessons. Her most famous pupil was arguably Colleen Moore. In 1935, upon her arrival in Hollywood, Luise Rainer hired Collier to improve Rainer's theatre acting and English, and to learn the basics of film acting.

Collier nevertheless maintained ties to Broadway and would appear in several plays in the 1930s. Her writing career is notable for her collaboration with Deems Taylor on the libretto of the opera Peter Ibbetson which was premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in February 1931 and which received mixed reviews.

In 1932 Collier starred as Carlotta Vance in the original production of George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber's comedy Dinner at Eight. The role was played in the 1933 film version by Marie Dressler.

Collier appeared in more than 20 Hollywood films, including Stage Door (Gregory La Cava, 1937) starring Katharine Hepburn, Kitty (Mitchell Leisen, 1945) as the comic Lady Susan, the drunken aunt of Ray Milland, Perils of Pauline (George Marshall, 1947) with Betty Hutton, Rope (Alfred Hitchcock, 1948) and Whirlpool (Otto Preminger, 1949).

Constance Collier was presented with the American Shakespeare Festival Theatre Award for distinguished service in training and guiding actors in Shakespearean roles. Collier was a drama coach for many famous actors, including Audrey Hepburn, Vivien Leigh and Marilyn Monroe. She also coached Katharine Hepburn during Hepburn's world tour performing Shakespeare in the 1950s.

Constance Collier died of natural causes in Manhattan in 1955 at age of 77. The marriage to L'Estrange produced no children and she never remarried. Katharine Hepburn ‘inherited’ Collier's secretary Phyllis Wilbourn, who remained with Hepburn as her secretary for 40 years. Collier has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Constance Collier
British postcard by Raphael Tuck and Sons, no. T 1278. Photo: Rover Street Studios.

Constance Collier
British postcard. A.G. Taylor's Royalty Series, No. 847. Photo Bassano.

Basil Gill and Constance Collier
British postcard by J.J. Samuels, London, no. 4-8-102. Photo: Bassano.

Constance Collier in The Red Lamp (1907)
British postcard by Rotary Photo EC, No. 4039 O. Photo: Foulsham & Banfield. Constance Collier in the play The Red Lamp (1907)

Constance Collier
British postcard by Ralph Dunn & Co., London, no. A. 174. Sent by mail in 1905.

Sources: Gary Brumburgh (IMDb), Wikipedia and IMDb.

24 April 2017

Exported to the USA: Ann-Margret

Ann-Margret (1941) is a Swedish-American actress, singer and dancer, with a career that spans five decades. Her trademarks are her breathless voice, strawberry blonde hair and voluptuous figure which lead to the nickname 'sex kitten'.

Ann Margret
Spanish postcard by Postal Oscarcolor, S.L., no. 336.

Ann Margret
Italian postcard. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Made in Paris (Boris Sagal, 1966).

Ann Margret
Spanish postcard by Postal Oscarcolor, no. 018-65.

Ann Margret
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/250.

Ann-Margret and Pat Boone in State Fair (1962)
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/263. Photo: publicity still for State Fair (José Ferrer, 1962) with Pat Boone.


Born in Sweden


Ann-Margret Olsson was born in Valsjöbyn, Jämtland County, Sweden in 1941. Her parents were Anna Regina (Aronsson) and Carl Gustav Olsson. Her father worked in the United States during his youth and moved there again in 1942, working with the Johnson Electrical Company, while his wife and daughter stayed behind.

Mother and daughter came to America in 1946. Her father took his daughter to Radio City Music Hall on the day they arrived. They settled just outside Chicago, in Wilmette, Illinois. She became a naturalised citizen of the United States in 1949 and took her first dance lessons at the Marjorie Young School of Dance. While she attended New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois, she starred in theatricals.

As part of a group known as the Suttletones, she performed at the Mist, a Chicago nightclub. The group finally arrived at the Dunes in Las Vegas. There, Ann-Margret was discovered by George Burns and soon afterwards got both a record deal at RCA. In 1961, her single I Just Don't Understand charted in the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100.

That same year, Ann-Margret filmed a screen test at 20th Century Fox and was signed to a seven-year contract. She made her film debut in Pocketful of Miracles (1961), with Bette Davis. It was a remake of Lady for a Day (1933). Both versions were directed by Frank Capra. Then came a remake of Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical State Fair (José Ferrer, 1962), playing the 'bad girl' role of Emily opposite Bobby Darin and Pat Boone. It was considered to be a financially and critically flop.

Her next starring role, as the all-American teenager Kim from Sweet Apple, Ohio, in Bye Bye Birdie (George Sidney, 1963), made her a major star. She became a teen idol with her role in Viva Las Vegas (George Sidney, 1964) with Elvis Presley. While working on the film Once a Thief (Ralph Nelson, 1965), with Alain Delon, she met future husband Roger Smith, known for his starring role in the private-eye television series 77 Sunset Strip.

Ann-Margret and Pat Boone in State Fair (1962)
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/262. Photo: publicity still for State Fair (José Ferrer, 1962) with Pat Boone.

Ann Margret in Kitten with a Whip (1964)
Spanish postcard by Postal Oscarcolor, S.L., no. 27. Photo: Universal Pictures. Publicity still for Kitten with a Whip (Douglas Heyes, 1964).

Ann-Margret in Bus Riley's Back in Town (1965)
Spanish postcard by Productos Compactos, S.A., no. B 3789-1991. Photo: publicity still for Bus Riley's Back in Town (Harvey Hart, 1965).

Louis Jourdan and Ann Margret in Made in Paris (1966)
Italian postcard. Photo: Metro Goldwyn Mayer. Publicity still for Made in Paris (Boris Sagal, 1966) with Louis Jourdan.

Ann-Margret and Vittorio Gassman in Il profeta (1968)
Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin, no. 369. Photo: publicity still for Il Profeta/The Prophet (Dino Risi, 1968) with Vittorio Gassman.

Object of desire


As an actress, Ann-Margret is now best known for her roles in The Cincinnati Kid (Norman Jewison, 1965) opposite Steve McQueen, Carnal Knowledge (Mike Nichols, 1971) , and Tommy (Ken Russell, 1975), the rock opera film of the British rock band The Who. For her part of the over-loving girlfriend of a viciously abusive Jack Nicholson in Carnal Knowledge, she garnered an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress, and for Tommy she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress and won the Golden Globe Award.

During a lull in her film career in July 1967, Ann-Margret gave her first live performance in Las Vegas, with her husband Roger Smith (whom she had married in 1967) taking over as her manager after that engagement. For new film projects, she turned to Italy. Her Italian films are the comedy-drama Il tigre (Dino Risi, 1967) with Vittorio Gassman, Il profeta/The Prophet (Dino Risi, 1968), and the crime-comedy 7 uomini e un cervello/Criminal Affair (Rossano Brazzi, 1968) with Rossano Brazzi.

In 1972, she survived a dramatic 22-foot fall from a stage in a Lake Tahoe, Nevada concert. She broke an arm, suffered five fractures of five facial bones including a smashed cheekbone, and a brain concussion. 10 weeks later to the day, she was back on stage in Las Vegas. In 1979, she scored a disco hit with Love Rush. Later, she recorded the critically acclaimed gospel album God Is Love: The Gospel Sessions (2001), and an album of Christmas songs, Ann-Margret's Christmas Carol Collection (2004).

In 1982, she co-starred with Walter Matthau in the film version of Neil Simon's play I Ought to Be in Pictures, appeared with a six-year-old Angelina Jolie in Lookin' to Get Out, and played with Alan Bates, Glenda Jackson, and Julie Christie in The Return of the Soldier. On television, she starred in the TV movies Who Will Love My Children? (1983) and a remake of A Streetcar Named Desire (1984).

Other films include the crime thriller 52 Pick-Up (1986), as the wife of Roy Scheider's character. In 1991, she starred in the groundbreaking Our Sons (John Erman, 1991) opposite Julie Andrews as mothers of sons who are lovers, one of whom is dying of AIDS. A late career highlight for her was the hit comedy Grumpy Old Men (Donald Petrie, 1993) as the object of desire for Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau.

Ann-Margret published an autobiography in 1994 titled Ann-Margret: My Story, in which she publicly acknowledged her battle with and ongoing recovery from alcoholism. In Any Given Sunday (Oliver Stone, 1999), she portrayed the mother of football team owner Cameron Diaz. In 2006, she had supporting roles in the box-office hits The Break-Up (Peyton Reed, 2006) with Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn, and The Santa Clause 3 (Michael Lembeck, 2006) with Tim Allen.

In 2010, Ann-Margret won her first Emmy Award for her guest appearance on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (2010). In total, she has won five Golden Globe Awards and been nominated for two Academy Awards, two Grammy Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and six Emmy Awards. Her latest film is the upcoming American heist comedy Going in Style (Zach Braff, 2017) with Morgan FreemanMichael Caine and Alan Arkin.

Ann-Margret
Spanish postcard, no. 100/118.

Ann-Margret in Bye Bye Birdie (1963)
Spanish postcard by Ediciones Estes, no. 90-T. Photo: publicity still for Bye Bye Birdie (George Sidney, 1963).

Ann Margret
Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin, no. 192.

Ann-Margret
Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin.

Ann Margret and Treat Williams in A Streetcar Named Desire (1984)
Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin, no. 43 072. Photo: publicity still for the TV-movie A Streetcar Named Desire (John Erman, 1984) with Treat Williams.

Source: Wikipedia and IMDb.