Archive for the ‘Actors’ Category

A-lists and B-lists

May 27, 2018

Following up on yesterday’s posting “In the morning: the B list actor and the scholar”, Gadi Niram asked on Facebook:

Do you know where the term B list comes from? I tried searching, but I didn’t find anything. My assumption is that it comes from casting lists in the old studio system.

Well, the A list / B list usage started with lists of things ranked according to importance, but it really took off when it got a foothold in the entertainment business generally (the A sides and B sides of records might have played a role in this) — and then, via the expression A-list gay, we got the count noun A-gay to refer to a gay “type” and to members of a gay male subculture. (There’s almost always a gay angle to linguistic topics, just as there’s almost always a linguistic angle to gay topics.)

I know this thanks to entries in OED3 that have been added in this century (2002, 2009, 2011). All praise to lexicographers!


Visit to a Small Planet

April 29, 2018

My morning name from a couple of days ago: the title of the Broadway play starring Cyril Ritchard, specifically (and not the movie starring Jerry Lewis):

(#1) Playbill for the show


The Legend of Hercules

March 22, 2018

… and the stages of shirtless Kellan Lutz.

A little while back, I stumbled into watching the 2014 The Legend of Hercules for the, omigod, second time. Starring an immensely muscled Kellan Lutz as the great hero of myth, embedded in a famous stinker of a movie whose faults are at least in part linguistic. Though it does offer tons of glistening male flesh for aficionados.

(#1) Exhibit #1: Lutz as Hercules


Nanette Fabray

February 28, 2018

From the NYT on the 23rd on-line, “Nanette Fabray, Star of TV and Stage Comedies, Dies at 97” by Anita Gates:

(#1) Fred Astaire and Nanette Fabray on the set of The Band Wagon

Nanette Fabray, whose enthusiastic charm, wide smile and diverse talents made her a Tony Award-winning performer in the 1940s and an Emmy Award-winning comic actress in the 1950s, died on Thursday at her home in Palos Verdes, Calif. She was 97.

Warm memories for me, since I came to know her first in the 1953 movie musical The Band Wagon, which I saw as an impressionable young teen at the Radio City Music Hall. (I have the DVD and watched it again last weekend, with great pleasure.)


Two cute guys with accents

February 4, 2018

From the annals of tv watching: Eddie Cahill as Tag Jones in season 7 of the sitcom Friends (and then as Det. Don Flack in CSI: New York); and Lucas Black as Special Agent Christopher LaSalle on NCIS: New Orleans. Both men are strongly physical actors with mobile expressive faces and both smile amiably a lot — they are really cute guys — and both do notable local accents: EC white working-class NYC in CSI: New York and LB white NOLA in NCIS: New Orleans. Both accents build on the actors’ native varieties — EC’s NYC and LB’s Alabamian — but with crafting (quite considerable on LB’s part) to fit their characters.


Andrea Zwicky

January 30, 2018

From Google Alerts, a brief mention of the actor Andrea Zwicky, from her extremely brief entry in IMDb:

Andrea Zwicky is an actress, known for Scotchend (2016).

That’s it. No age, nationality, picture, whatever. But there’s the link to Scotchend. And there’s the net. From which we discover that she’s yet another Germanophone Swiss Zwicky.


Donnelly Rhodes

January 21, 2018

In the NYT on the 10th on-line, “Donnelly Rhodes, Prolific Character Actor, Is Dead at 81” by Daniel E. Slotnik, beginning:

(#1) The craggy-faced Rhodes on screen

Donnelly Rhodes, a Canadian-born character actor best remembered by American television audiences for playing an escaped convict on the sitcom “Soap” and a brusque doctor on the recent reboot of “Battlestar Galactica,” died on Monday at a hospice facility near his home in Maple Ridge, British Columbia.

Rhodes was a major figure in the American branch of what I think of as the Acting Corps, a bank of reliable, competent, and versatile actors, many with recognizable faces — but without star status. (Discussion in my 7/20/15 posting “The Acting Corps”.) I took pleasure in his performances for over 50 years.


Arnold Stang

December 3, 2017

Today’s Zippy reminisces affectionately about the character actor Arnold Stang:

Of special interest to me, since Stang and I are are both citizens of the great Land of Arnoldia.


The Unusual Two

November 29, 2017

In the tradition of Judi Dench and Vin Diesel (in a posting of 3/29/15 here), an unlikely pairing of actors in an episode of The Twilight Zone: Elizabeth Montgomery and Charles Bronson. Two gender icons of pop culture, early in their careers — a few years before Montgomery started her role as Samantha Stevens on the fantasy tv sitcom Bewitched, about the same time as Bronson broke through as Bernardo O’Reilly in the movie Western The Magnificent Seven.


Singing at the Theatre de Lys

November 2, 2017

This morning’s music — what my iTunes offered when I woke, as it automatically went through music overnight — was clearly the voice of Bea Arthur. Yes, it was her, singing the “Barbara Song” from the Three Penny Opera, specifically on the cast album of the 1954 production in English at the Theatre de Lys in Greenwich Village:


Not just Bea Arthur (as Lucy Brown), but also Charlotte Rae (as Mrs. Peachum), two young actors then mostly appearing on stage, especially the musical stage — before they established their tv sitcom careers, both of them in tremendously popular sitcoms (The Golden Girls, The Facts of Life) whose central characters were all female (four older women in The Golden Girls, a woman and four schoolgirls in The Facts of Life).