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Hollywood or Bust Wins Award

This month the National Indie Excellence Awards (NIEA) announced the winners of its annual contest. The competition was created to acknowledge self-publishers and small and independent presses that go the extra mile to produce high quality books, from eye-catching design to well-written content. Judges represent all aspects of the industry and include publishers, writers, editors, book cover designers and professional copywriters.

HorB CoverAuthor Susan Marg entered her book Hollywood or Bust in the category “Arts& Entertainment.” It was the perfect fit. Hollywood or Bust consists of over five hundred quips, quotes, and off-the-cuff remarks of actors, directors, writers, and others involved in making movies and conveys what Hollywood insiders think of themselves, their lives, their fame, their careers, each other, and the town itself.

Marg is pleased that this well-regarded organization recognized her efforts. “Hollywood or Bust was a lot of work, but it was fun to research and put together,” she comments, adding, “It’s a fun read, too – like overhearing a conversation at Starbucks.”

Hollywood or Bust, ISBN 978-0-578-11882-6, is a 182-page paperback book consisting of seven chapters and twenty original photographs.  Topics cover dreams of success to attending the Oscars.  It lists for $14.95.

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 Susan Marg is the author of Las Vegas Weddings: A Brief History, Celebrity Gossip, Everything Elvis, and the Complete Chapel Guide, published by HarperCollins.  Since she has moved her field of focus from the City of Lights to the City of Angels, her interest in popular culture has only intensified.

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From the Small Screen to the Silver Screen

In its November 4, 2013 issue, New York magazine released its second annual assessment of “Hollywood’s 100 Most Valuable Stars”.  Their ranking took into account such variables as box office, likability, and Oscar wins and nominations.  Mentions on Twitter counted, too.

From one to one hundred. Photo by: Mark Morgan

From one to one hundred. Photo by: Mark Morgan

Surprise!  Robert Downey Jr. was number one, again, as Iron Man 3 smashed records at the 2013 box office.  Ok, if we’re going by the numbers determined by a formula.

Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Sandra Bullock, and Brad Pitt follow on the list. No surprise there, considering such movies as Django, Silver Linings Playbook, The Heat and Gravity, and World War Z, respectively.

However, it was Will Smith at number 6 who caught my eye.  His stated goal was to become “the biggest movie star in the world,” and that he probably was – at some point in time. Smith began making movies while his sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990-1996) was still on the air.  Blockbusters came next.

That got me thinking. What other actors have made the transition from television to the movies and are considered “valuable” in 2013? There are many of them still going strong, per New York.

Tom Hanks (Bosom Buddies), Johnny Depp (21 Jump Street, not to be confused wtih the 2012 comedy starring Jonah Hill), and Jennifer Aniston (Friends) are in the top sixteen.

If we consider SNL cast members, there’s Adam Sandler and Will Ferrell, both of whom have had quite fruitful movie careers, as well as Tina Fey and Kristen Wiig, who write as well as perform.

Freaks and Greeks was a jumping off point for James Franco, Seth Rogen, and Jason Segel, although the series was cancelled after twelve episodes.  We loved Mila Kunis in That ’70s Show, Jennifer Garner in Alias, Steve Carrell in The Office, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Third Rock from the Sun, and we love them today.

Justin Timberlake appeared on The New Mickey Mouse Club.  I think that counts.

Do you remember Rawhide? That goes back a while. It was a Western in black and white, no less.  Well, Clint Eastwood is still around, still valuable. So, too, is Bruce Willis, having a huge career playing the fast-talking wiseguy from Moonlighting.

I’m sure I missed some.  I’m not as up on television, as I used to be. But ask me about Mad Men or The Good Wife.  Go ahead, ask me.  As for Jon Hamm and Julianne Margulies, I think their stars are golden in any medium.  And that’s worth something.

© 2013 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved

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To see New York’s “Hollywood’s 100 Most Valuable Stars,” visit: http://www.vulture.com/2013/10/most-valuable-movie-stars.html#/all/vulture-rankings

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Seen and Heard on Hollywood Boulevard:

“I only have to do three things to look halfway decent—curl my eyelashes, fill in my eyebrows, and put some lipstick on.” – Courtney Cox

“I only have to do three things to look halfway decent—curl my eyelashes, fill in my eyebrows, and put some lipstick on.” – Courtney Cox

Hot Lips. Loose Lips. Read My Lips.

 

 

 

 

“I like to drive with my knees. Otherwise, how can I put on my lipstick and talk on the phone?” – Sharon Stone

“I like to drive with my knees. Otherwise, how can I put on my lipstick and talk on the phone?” – Sharon Stone

 

 

 

 

 

 

“You can't keep changing men, so you settle for changing your lipstick.” – Heather Locklear

“You can’t keep changing men, so you settle for changing your lipstick.” – Heather Locklear

“If I walk outside without lipstick, I feel naked.” – Sofia Vergara

“If I walk outside without lipstick, I feel naked.” – Sofia Vergara

“Adding sound to movies would be like putting lipstick on the Venus de Milo.” – Mary Pickford

“Adding sound to movies would be like putting lipstick on the Venus de Milo.” – Mary Pickford (photo by: Mattgirling/Ga

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On Hollywood Boulevard: Something Old, Something New

Some of the cast of Ocean's Eleven? No, it's Harpo, Groucho, Zeppo, and Chico Marx with Sid Grauman - 1933. Photo from: Dennis Amith

Some of the cast of Ocean’s Eleven? No, it’s Harpo, Groucho, Zeppo, and Chico Marx with Sid Grauman – 1933. Photo from: Dennis Amith

Hollywood’s Chinese Theatre was reopened in September after a four-month renovation.  Now called TCL, rather than Grauman’s, after a Chinese television manufacturer bought naming rights, the venue now has one of the country’s largest IMAX screens and almost a thousand stadium seats, once again spacious enough to host movie premieres and accommodate the attendant paparazzi.

But the best news for movie fans?  The iconic imprints of our favorite superstars are still in place.

In 1927 Douglas Fairbanks, and Mary Pickford, the King of Hollywood and America’s Sweetheart, as well as co-owners of the theater with Sid Grauman, were the first to officially step in wet cement.  They each had their own square smack dab in front of the entrance.

Many others, by themselves, as a couple, or in a group, have followed.

It must be lonely on the range because singing cowboys signed for themselves and their horse. If you look around, you’ll find Tom Mix and Tony, Gene Autry and Champion, Roy Rogers and Trigger.  “Happy trails” to you and your four-legged partner, too.

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers are co-located, although he got his square in 1938 and she followed, as usual, one year later.

Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy share space, as do Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. Harpo, Zeppo, Chico, and Groucho, who also left an imprint of his cigar, fell all over themselves to get their hands dirty.

When Gentlemen Prefer Blondes was released in 1953, Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe were memorialized in adjoining areas, writing the movie title above their signatures. Three years later in honor of the movie Giant, Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, and director George Stevens left their mark on the same day. If this was some sort of stunt to publicize their movies, who cares?

Certainly not Brad Pitt, George Clooney, and Matt Damon fans. A big crowd greeted them and producer Jerry Weintraub of Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen at their signing-in ceremony in 2007. As Clooney said, “If I had to be on my hands and knees with three other guys, I can’t think of three better guys to do it with.”

Do you think the Star Trek cast plus creator Gene Roddenberry were thinking the same thing when they were honored with a square in 1991? After all, together they had gone “where no man has gone before.” They are to the right of the box office. Star Wars stars Darth Vader, R2D2, and C3PO are on the left.

More recently the Twilight Saga‘s Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner celebrated the release of Breaking Dawn — Part 1 by participating in this Hollywood tradition.  Stewart summed up the experience exclaiming, “I think this is the coolest thing ever.”

If the past is a guide to the future, as an ancient Chinese proverb divines, the popularity of the Chinese Theatre, regardless of its name, is ensured for a long time to come.

© 2013 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved

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"I think my mouth just opens, and I spontaneously say things that occur to me." -- Helena Bonham Carter (Photo by: David Torcivia

“I think my mouth just opens, and I spontaneously say things that occur to me.” — Helena Bonham Carter (Photo by: David Torcivia)

Seen and heard

on Hollywood Boulevard:

“Lovely ladies waiting for a bite.”

Les Miserables

 

 

"My idea of a movie star is Joan Crawford, who can chew up two directors and three producers before lunch." -- Shelley Winters (Photo of Joan Crawford by George Hurrell)

“My idea of a movie star is Joan Crawford, who can chew up two directors and three producers before lunch.” — Shelley Winters (Photo of Joan Crawford by George Hurrell)

"I knew that with a mouth like mine, I just hadda be a star or something." --Barbra Streisand (Photo by: Allan Warren)

“I knew that with a mouth like mine, I just hadda be a star or something.” –Barbra Streisand (Photo by: Allan Warren)

"I ate a bug once.  It was flying around me. I was trying to get it away. It went right in my mouth." -- Hilary Duff (Photo by: David Shankbone)

“I ate a bug once. It was flying around me. I was trying to get it away. It went right in my mouth.” — Hilary Duff (Photo by: David Shankbone)

"I have a mouth, and I'm not afraid to use it." --Megan Fox (Photo by: Nicoles Genim)

“I have a mouth, and I’m not afraid to use it.” –Megan Fox (Photo by: Nicoles Genim)

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You Should Be Dancing

“I never really thought of myself as a sex goddess,” said the glamorously beautiful Rita Hayworth, as quoted in Hollywood or Bust: Movie Stars Dish on Following their Dreams, Making it Big, and Surviving in Tinseltown, “I felt I was more a comedian who could dance.” And dance she did.

Rita as Gilda.

Rita as Gilda.

Hayworth performed an erotic Dance of the Seven Veils in Salome (1953), a mesmerizing strip-tease, taking off only her over-the-elbow length black satin evening gloves to “Put the Blame on Mame,” in Gilda (1946), and an equally captivating nightclub act in An Affair in Trinidad (1952).

While some of Hayworth’s well-known handsome leading men included Orson Welles, whom was her second husband, Glenn Ford, who appeared with her in five movies, Cary Grant, Victor Mature, Tyrone Power, Robert Mitchum, and the list goes on, her dancing partners were among Hollywood’s biggest and best musical talents.

She co-starred with Fred Astaire in You’ll Never Get Rich (1941) and You Were Never Lovelier (1942).  She kicked up her heels to “The Show Must Go On” with newcomer Gene Kelly in Cover Girl (1944) and later took a turn around the dance floor with Frank Sinatra to “The Lady is a Tramp” in Pal Joey (1957).

But Rita never danced to the Bee Gees – until now: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mz3CPzdCDws

Eat your heart out, John Travolta.

© 2013 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved

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Here Comes Oscar

220px-Wings_posterThe 85th Academy Awards will be held this Sunday night at the 3,400-seat Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center on Hollywood Boulevard. A worldwide audience of over a billion people is expected to view the proceedings.

Anticipation is building, and for weeks the odds for Best Picture have been changing daily.

Experts predict that Argo will be the winner, despite the fact that director Ben Affleck wasn’t nominated. As a thriller with humor dealing with the rescue of six U.S. diplomats from Tehran during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, it’s pure entertainment in the context of a fairly recent historical event.

Lincoln, more of a moral history lesson, is second with twelve nominations while Silver Linings Playbook, a romantic comedy with dark undertones, is third, with its four stars for best and supporting actors and actresses all nominated.

The critically praised Zero Dark Thirty has fallen to fifth place behind Life of Pi with only a one in ten chance of taking the grand prize.  The buzz is that its depiction of torture in the hunt for Osama Bin Laden is too politically incorrect for industry liberals.

The first Academy Awards presentation was a completely different affair.  Two hundred seventy guests paid five dollars each to attend the private dinner and ceremony at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.  It was the only time that the event was not broadcast over radio or television, nor, possibly, lasting only fifteen minutes, went into overtime.

Louis B. Mayer, head of M-G-M, had created the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to bring together actors, directors, producers, technicians and writers.  As for the awards themselves, he commented, “I found that the best way to handle  [filmmakers] was to hang medals all over them.”

Wings won Best Picture.  It was a silent drama about two friends in love with the same girl who serve together as combat pilots in World War I.  Only one makes it back.

There were no surprises that year as the winners had been announced three months earlier.  That didn’t keep fans from crowding the entrance to the hotel to cheer on their favorite stars.

© 2013 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved

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What Becomes a Legend Most?

What a history The Beverly Hills Hotel has had.  So many Hollywood legends stayed and played there it became a legend itself.

The Beverly Hills Hotel, 1925

In 1912 the hotel was built for $500,000 in the bean fields at the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains, halfway between Los Angeles and the sea.  The city of Beverly Hills developed around the property on Sunset Boulevard and Crescent Drive, incorporating two years later.

With newlyweds Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks taking up residence nearby in 1920, the Hollywood community began moving in.   Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Rudolph Valentino, and Tom Mix built fabulous homes in the area.  Gloria Swanson stayed there during a divorce, before relocating to a mansion across the street.

Movie stars took advantage of the hotel’s accommodations.  Following polo matches at Will Rogers’ ranch, Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Gary Cooper, Tyrone Power, Walt Disney, and Darryl Zanuck imbibed at its bar, hence, the name the Polo Lounge.  Humphrey Bogart and the Rat Pack later followed suit.

The pool was another favorite hangout.  George Hamilton cultivated his tan, while Fred Astaire read the industry rags poolside. Faye Dunaway learned the crawl for her role in Mommy Dearest.

Others just relaxed or socialized.  A veritable who’s who in entertainment included Cary Grant, Lucille Ball, Esther Williams, Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin, and Carol Burnett.  The pool was opened late one night when the Beatles wanted to take a dip.

And then there were the famous bungalows.  Marilyn Monroe preferred numbers 1 and 7.  Howard Hughes stayed off and on for thirty years in Bungalow #4.  Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton frequently occupied Bungalow #5, with a standing order for two bottles of vodka at breakfast and two more at lunch.  That certainly juiced up the tempo.

So what becomes a legend most?  The perfect location, fun in the sun, beautiful people, and a touch of mink.

Celebrating its centennial this year, the hotel is rolling out the red carpet for all its guests.  In its promotional literature it promises “every visitor to ‘The Pink Palace’ is pampered like a celebrity.”  It’s just not likely that you’ll bump into a real celebrity.  They’ve moved on to the next hot spot.

© 2012 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved

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Check out the fabulous icons in the Blackglama print ads:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2vNdROz7xg