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Author Archives: celebrityarchaeology

CA PODCAST EPISODE 74 – James Cagney


 

In his first professional acting performance, James Cagney danced costumed as a woman in the chorus line of the revue Every Sailor, in 1919. He spent several years in vaudeville as a dancer and comedian, until he got his first major acting part in 1925. He secured several other roles, receiving good notices, before landing the lead in the 1929 play Penny Arcade. After rave reviews, Warner Bros. signed him for an initial $500-a-week, three-week contract to reprise his role; this was quickly extended to a seven-year contract.

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CA PODCAST EPISODE 73 – Frankie Valli


Frankie Valli began his singing career in the early 1950s with A Variety Trio. Valli’s desire to sing in public was initially granted when, having heard Valli sing, the group offered him a guest spot when the group performed. In late 1952, the Variety Trio disbanded and Valli, along with Tommy DeVito, became part of the house band at The Strand in New Brunswick, New Jersey. For his part, Valli played bass and sang.

 

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CA PODCAST EPISODE 72 – Bea Arthur

In 1971, Arthur was invited by Norman Lear to guest-star on his sitcom All in the Family, as Maude Findlay, the cousin of Edith Bunker. An outspoken liberal feminist, Maude was the antithesis role to the conservative Republican character Archie Bunker, who described her as a “New Deal fanatic”. Nearly 50, Arthur’s tart turn on All in the Family impressed viewers as well as executives at CBS who, she would later recall, asked “‘Who is that girl? Let’s give her her own series.’”

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CA PODCAST EPISODE 71 – Jodie Foster

Born in Los Angeles, Foster was a gifted child who learned to read at the age of three. She attended a French-language prep school, the Lycée Français in Los Angeles. Her fluency in French has enabled her to act in French films, and she also dubs herself in French-language versions of most of her English-language films.

Foster’s career began with an appearance as the Coppertone girl in a television advertisement in 1965, when she was only three years old.

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CA PODCAST EPISODE 70 – Gloria Vanderbilt

Gloria Vanderbilt was married to author Wyatt Emory Cooper, on 24 December 1963. She was his only wife. The marriage, which lasted 15 years, ended with his death in 1978 while undergoing open-heart surgery. They had two sons: Carter Vanderbilt Cooper who committed suicide at age 23 by jumping from the family’s 14th-floor apartment. and Anderson Hays Cooper, the CNN news anchor.

 

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CA PODCAST EPISODE 69 – George Michael

George Michael formed the duo Wham! with Andrew Ridgeley in 1981. The band’s first album Fantastic reached No. 1 in the UK in 1983 and produced a series of top 10 singles including “Young Guns”, “Wham Rap!” and “Club Tropicana”. Their second album, Make It Big, reached No. 1 on the charts in the US. Singles from that album included “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” (No. 1 in the UK and US), “Freedom”, “Everything She Wants”, and “Careless Whisper” which reached No. 1 in nearly 25 countries, including the UK and US, and was Michael’s first solo effort as a single. In 1985 Michael received the first of his three Ivor Novello Awards for Songwriter of the Year from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors.

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CA PODCAST EPISODE 68 – Cybill Shepherd

Her first film was The Last Picture Show, also starring Jeff Bridges and Timothy Bottoms. The film became a critical and box office hit, earning several Academy Awards and nominations. Shepherd was nominated for a Golden Globe. Shepherd was cast opposite Charles Grodin in The Heartbreak Kid (1972). She played Kelly, the beautiful, sun-kissed young woman for whom Grodin’s character falls while on his honeymoon in Miami. Directed by Elaine May, it was another critical and box office hit.

CA PODCAST EPISODE 67 – Jessica Simpson

Jessica Ann Johnson, known professionally as Jessica Simpson; born July 10, 1980, is an American singer, actress, and fashion designer. Simpson signed a recording contract with Columbia Records when she was sixteen, and released her debut studio album Sweet Kisses in 1999. It sold over four million copies worldwide, and spawned the top three song “I Wanna Love You Forever” (1999).

CA PODCAST EPISODE 66 – Perry Como

Pierino Ronald “Perry” Como was an American singer and television personality. During a career spanning more than half a century he recorded exclusively for the RCA Victor label after signing with it in 1943. “Mr. C.”, as he was nicknamed, sold millions of records for Radio Corporation of America (RCA) and pioneered a weekly musical variety television show, which set the standards for the genre and proved to be one of the most successful in television history. Bing Crosby once described him as, “the man who invented casual”.

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CA PODCAST EPISODE 65 – Robert Redford

Redford began acting on television in the early 1960s. He earned an Emmy nomination as Best Supporting Actor for his performance in The Voice of Charlie Pont in 1962. 

Between 1974 and 1976, exhibitors voted Redford Hollywood’s top box-office name. His hits included The Great Gatsby (1974), The Great Waldo Pepper (1975), and Three Days of the Condor (1975).

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