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Jewish World Review
January 23, 2009
/ 27 Teves 5769
Long Livers Part II
my column of a couple of week's ago, I listed some long-lasting personalities who are still with us. The idea was to acknowledge people while they are still around, and not wait until it's too late to salute them. I knew I couldn't list everyone, there's just not enough space. So if I missed your favorite star, I am sorry. Matter of fact, I'm so sorry that I'm going to try it again this week.
Here are a few more that I neglected the first time around. However, in all likelihood, I have probably still left out somebody who should be included - so don't be bashful, if I've omitted one of your favorites, please drop me a line and I'll include him or her next time. By the way, in the first column I listed only those people who were 90 years old and above. So here are a few others that fall into that special age group.
I mentioned Olivia de Havilland in the first column but neglected her sister, Joan Fontaine. Both of these talented sisters have the distinction of winning Oscars. Miss de Havilland won Best Actress twice, the first time for "To Each His Own," and the second for "The Heiress." She was also nominated for "Hold Back the Dawn," and "The Snake Pit" as well as Best Supporting Actress for her role as Melanie in "Gone with the Wind." But for me she was always the most captivating as Errol Flynn's beautiful co-star in so many swashbuckling epics such as "Robin Hood" and "Captain Blood."
Joan Fontaine won her Best Actress Oscar for the Alfred Hitchcock classic "Suspicion," co-starring Cary Grant. She was also nominated for Best Actress in Hitchcock's first American picture, "Rebecca." Other notable films include "The Women," The Constant Nymph," Jane Eyre," and "Born to be Bad." These two sisters, both superb actresses, have had a sibling rivalry that has gone on for decades. They were both nominated for Best Actress in the same year, 1942, Olivia for "Hold Back the Dawn," and Joan for "Suspicion." Joan won.
Ernest Borgnine turned 92 on January 24th. After serving in the Navy Borgnine went into acting and spent several years as a top Hollywood character actor. His big break was in "From Here to Eternity" as the rotten bully who gives Frank Sinatra such a bad time. He was equally wonderful playing heavies in "Johnny Guitar" and "Bad Day at Black Rock." In 1955 he won Best Actor Oscar for his heartwarming portrayal of a lonely butcher in "Marty." For my generation he will probably be best remembered as the lead in the popular TV sitcom, "McHale's Navy." I have a hunch that Ernest Borgnine must be a nice man. He always looks so happy and throughout the years we have never heard a negative word about him.
Celeste Holm was born in New York City and "hit the boards," as they say, on Broadway in the late 30's. Her first major part was in William Saroyan's 1940 revival of "The Time of Your Life," co-starring another newcomer, Gene Kelly. Miss Holm hit the jackpot with the role of Ado Annie in the Rogers and Hammerstein musical hit "Oklahoma!" in 1943. From there it was "Boomer Girl" which led to a movie contract with 20th Century Fox. She won an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress in "Gentlemen's Agreement. After that came "All About Eve," and "High Society." Always an engaging personality, she has continued to work in movies, on stage and on television throughout the years. In 2004 she married her fifth husband on her 87th birthday.
June Foray is a little lady that you might not recognize if you passed her in a store, but when she opens her mouth to talk you'll know that voice immediately. June has done animated cartoon voice work for just about every major studio since the 40's. For Disney she played Lucifer the Cat in "Cinderella" and created the voice of the Witch Hazel character in shorts. Later she did voices for the Disney's "Gummi Bears" and "Ducktails" TV shows. She did many voices in Woody Woodpecker cartoons. She was (and continues to be) Granny, the owner of Tweety Bird and Sylvester the cat in Warner Brothers cartoons ever since 1943. She did many voices for The Smurfs, played Ursula in the Jay Ward George of the Jungle show and was Cindy Lou Who in the original "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."
Miss Foray did voices for Hanna-Barbera for almost all their shows and contributed to many Rankin/Bass TV specials in the 1960's and 1970's. TV, commercials, movies, even characters on Disneyland rides - June has done it all. But of everything she has done, I guarentee you I will always know her as the predominate voice of nearly all the female characters on "The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show," including that slinky Russian spy, Natasha. And of course, she was the voice of Rocky himself! I was first introduced to this sweet lady many years ago through a mutual friend, cartoonist and gagman, Cal Howard. June Foray - what a lot of talent in such a small package.
Other members of the over 90 club include John Forsythe, Eli Wallach, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Harry Morgan, Lena Horne, Herbert Lom, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. and author Herman Wouk. Best wishes to all of you!
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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.
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