Liz Smith, the veteran gossip columnist known as the ‘doyenne of dish’, has died aged 94. Continue reading
Mick LaSalle, film critic for the San Francisco Chronicle and a champion of Pre-Code cinema, has often praised the few surviving film performances of Jeanne Eagels, who made her name in the theatre. Perhaps the best-known is her first ‘talkie’, The Letter, later remade with Bette Davis. Many viewers today are impressed by the raw power of Jeanne’s acting. In his regular ‘Dear Mick’ column, LaSalle answers an Oakland reader’s question: ‘Do you think that it’s possible to compare the quality of acting between generations?‘
Great acting has a truth, on its own terms, that may inevitably be influenced by its period in history, but which is grounded within the actor — it’s the actor’s truth … A perfect example of this is Jeanne Eagels in The Letter (1929). It’s a wild, mannered, crazy-over-the-top performance, with echoes of an earlier stage tradition. But you can’t take your eyes off her, because she is putting it all on the line and holding nothing back. You finish that movie, and it’s like Jeanne Eagels has just hit you in the face.
You can read more about her remarkable talent in Jeanne Eagels: A Life Revealed.
As I write, the hardcover edition of Jeanne Eagels: A Life Revealed is currently available for just £10.13 on Amazon UK – which is less than half the original price, and over £6 cheaper than the paperback. For readers abroad, it’s now £13.81 from the Book Depository (with free shipping to most countries.) I don’t know how long this bargain offer will last, so if you haven’t bought a copy yet, get it while you can!
It’s hard to believe that two years have passed since Jeanne Eagels: A Life Revealed was published. I feel immensely proud to have been part of bringing her unjustly neglected legacy back to the spotlight, and will be eternally grateful to my writing partner, Eric M. Woodard, for giving me that opportunity. Continue reading
Thanks to my readers for your continued support and have a very happy holiday, whether you’re at home, at work or far away. (And if all you want for Christmas is to settle down with a good book, Jeanne Eagels: A Life Revealed is now available on Kindle.)
John Cecil Pringle was born on July 10, 1897, in Logan, Utah. His parents were both stock company actors, and after their divorce his mother married Walter Gilbert. After many years on the road, the family settled in California. Jack, as he was nicknamed, began working at Thomas Ince’s studio in 1915, graduating from bit parts to more substantial roles over the next five years. He married Olivia Burwell in 1918, but they separated a year later. Continue reading
Anthony Bushell, Barry O'Neill, Colin Clark, Disraeli, Fredric March, George Arliss, Her Cardboard Lover, Jealousy, Jeanne Eagels, Jeanne Eagels: A Life Revealed, Laurence Olivier, Leslie Howard, Marilyn Monroe, The Prince And The Showgirl
Anthony Arnatt Bushell was born in Westerham, Kent on May 19, 1904. He was educated at Magdalen College School, and later Hertford College in Oxford. He was a champion boxer, rower, and member of the Hypocrites Club, infamous for its wild parties. After graduating, Bushell trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and made his theatrical debut in Diplomacy (1924), opposite Gerald Du Maurier. Continue reading
Alexander Hamilton, Bette Davis, Darryl F. Zanuck, Disraeli, Florence Arliss, George Arliss, Hamilton, J.M. Barrie, Jeanne Eagels, Jeanne Eagels: A Life Revealed, Knickerbocker Theatre, Maria Reynolds, The Professor's Love Story
Augustus George Andrews was born in London on April 10, 1868. He was educated at Harrow, one of Britain’s leading public schools. He worked for the publishing house owned by his father, William Joseph Arliss Andrews, before leaving at eighteen to pursue a life on the stage. After a long apprenticeship in provincial theatre, George Arliss established himself as a supporting actor in London’s West End. Continue reading
Leslie Howard Steiner was born in Forest Hill, South London, on April 3, 1893. His mother, Lillian Blumberg, came from an upper middle-class family who initially disapproved of her choice of husband, the Hungarian Ferdinand Steiner. The Steiners briefly moved to Vienna, returning to London when the rift was healed. They had four more children, and changed their name to the less Germanic ‘Stainer’ at the outbreak of World War I. Continue reading
A.H. Woods, Actors Equity Association, Actors Fund, Brooklyn, Evening of Happiness, Gilbert Miller, Her Cardboard Lover, Jacques Deval, Jeanne Eagels, Jeanne Eagels: A Life Revealed, Laurette Taylor, Leslie Howard, Montauk Theatre
Loretta Helen Cooney was born in Harlem, New York on April 1, 1883, to Irish parents. Her mother, Elizabeth Dorsey, was the owner of a successful millinery, and the family breadwinner. Loretta had two younger siblings. A gifted mimic, she was encouraged by Elizabeth to pursue a life on the stage, though her father, James Cooney, disapproved. Continue reading