Paul Newman, James Dean, and Marilyn Monroe

Paul Newman, James Dean, and Marilyn Monroe

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A short glimpse into yesterday, today and tomorrow, reveals the timeless everlasting appeal of great film icons. A truly gifted actress and two talented actors, Paul Newman, James Dean, and Marilyn Monroe have helped to shape and mold our generation, and are still a great influence with in our society today. We Americans are famous for worshiping dub ions demigods of the miraculous moment. The celebrities, who have inspired, identified with and transcended screen roles to become an active part of popular culture and people's lives became icons. Based upon their bodies of work in films, Paul Newman, James Dean, and Marilyn Monroe have become film icons who will endure well into the twenty-first century.
Paul Newman, screen legend, superstar, and the man with the most famous blue eyes in history was born on January 30th, 1925 in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of a successful sporting goods store owner. He first started acting in grade school and high school plays. He served in WWII and after discharge from the Navy in 1946; he attended Kenyon College on an athletic scholarship. His sports career ended with an injury and he turned to drama, joining summer stock Company in Wisconsin.
After relocating to Illinois in 1947, he married actress Jacqueline Witte, and following the death of his father took over the family business. Newman soon grew restless, and after selling his interest in the store to his brother, enrolled at the Yale School of Drama. During a break from classes he traveled to New York City where he won a role in the CBS television series The Aldridge Family. (blockbuster) A number of other TV performances followed, and in 1952 Newman was accepted by the Actors Studio, making his Broadway debut a year later in Pinic, where he was signed by Warner Bros. He co-starred with Joanne Woodward, who soon became his second wife. Today Paul resides with his wife, actress Joanne in Westport, CT. Newman has remained a prominent public figure through his extensive charitable work; he created the Scott Newman foundation after the drug-related death of his son and later marketed a series of gourmet foodstuff under the umbrella name Newman's' own, with all the profits going to support his project for children suffering from cancer. (classicfilm)
Paul Newman, classically handsome with an abundance of sex appeal was offered his first film Silver Chalice, 1954 by Warner Brothers.

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It was nearly his last; he considered his performances to be so bad he took out a full page ad apologizing to the public. He fared much better in his next effort, Somebody up There Likes Me, 1956 in which he portrayed boxer Rocky Graziano and drew raves form the critics for his brilliant performance. He went on to become one of the top box office draws of the 1960's starring in such films as Hustler, 1961; Hud, 1963; Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 1969. He also produced and directed many films including Rachel Rachel, 1968 in which he directed wife Joanne Woodward and which he received an Oscar nomination for best picture.
Paul Newman has become one of the great classic movie stars of the Golden age. His deep voice and amazing blue eyes keeps him from being just another action figure. He has appeared in around sixty theatrical motion pictures, and has been nominated for best actor nine times. He has a great success rate and considering the fact he continues to appear in films, he may still have a few more academy performances left in him.
James Bryon Dean led a brief but very significant life during our era. Jimmy was born on February 8th, 1931 at his home in Marion, Indiana, to Winton and Mildred Dean. His first name was the name of the doctor that delivered him and his mother gave him the middle name of Bryon after the poet Lord Bryon. (eaglesk 2003) Mildred Dean dies of Cancer when Jimmy was only nine years old. His father, Winton, felt he could not bring Jimmy up alone, so Jimmy went to live with his Aunt Ortense and Uncle Marcus Winslow. He grew up with their youngest son Markie on the Winslow farm outside of Fairmount, Indiana.
The death of Jimmy's mother left a deep mark on him; even through he was athletic and full of energy there was a deeper side to his personality. Sometimes he would appear solemn, distant, and reflective. Jim was only 5'8" but he broke the pole vault record for Grant County by the time he was seventeen. He attended Fairmount High School, where he graduated on May 16th, 1949. He was an excellent athlete and played on the school's basketball, baseball and football teams. Jimmy was not outwardly rebellious in school. Adeline Nall taught English and Drama at Fairmount High, and she was to become one of Jimmy's mentors. Adeline had a great influence on his decisions to become an actor and she constantly encouraged him to read works of literature and perform in school plays. Soon she motivated him to join the local debate team, and on April 9th, 1949 he won first place honors with his recital of "The Madison" form the pick wick papers (Charles Dickens) in a statewide debating contest.
The reverend James de Weerd also had an impact on Jimmy's artistic nature by introducing him to classical music, poetry and philosophy. Jimmy just adored poetry and began to write poems, but his favorite poetry was that of James Whitcomb Riley whose poetry Dean was able to relate to and connect with. (City paper 24 June 2003)
After graduating from Fairmount High, Jimmy enrolled in Santa Monica College. He got his first acting job and received $30 dollars for a Pepsi-Cola commercial as one of a group of teenagers dancing around a jukebox singing "Pepsi-Cola hits the spot."
James Deans career actually begin at the start of 1951, he with drew from College, preferring to attend drama work shops instead. These workshops were organized by James Whitmore. His first break came on July 22, 1951 he had a bit part in the movie Fixed Bayonets, which was directed by the legendary Sam Fuller. Unfortunately his one line in the movie, "it's a rear guard coming back," is later cut. He continues to get more bit parts and work non-stop. Initially doing lots theatrical roles, he ended up receiving a sting of parts for different television productions. His first major film role was the part of Cal Trask in the movie East of Eden. Jimmy received great reviews which helped to cinch the part of Jim Stark in Rebel without a Cause, which is without a doubt the classic film for which he is always remembered. Just before the filming of Rebel finished, Jimmy started the part of Jett Fink in the movie Giant. He would not complete the filming of this movie. Four months into the filming of Giant, on September 30, 1955, Jimmy's passion for sports cars lead to him losing his life. Rebel without a Cause was released one year after his death on November 10, 1956. As a last film, Dean does his audience proud, but watching it makes you realize the void his loss left.
Marilyn Monroe, the most celebrated of all actresses, was born Norma Jean Mortensen, on June 1, 1926, in the Los Angeles General Hospital, in California. (www.imdb.com 7 July 2003) Prior to her birth, Marilyn's father bought a motorcycle and headed north to San Francisco, thus abandoning the family in LA. Marilyn grew up not knowing for sure who her father really was. Her mother, Gladys, had entered into several relationships confusing her daughter as to who her actually fathered her. Later Gladys gave Norma Jean (Marilyn) the name of Baker, a previous suitor before Mortensen. Poverty was a constant companion. Gladys, who was an extremely attractive and found work at R K O Studios as a film cutter, suffered from mental illness and was in and out of institutions the rest of her life. As a result Marilyn spent time in foster homes. When she was nine Marilyn was placed in an orphanage where she was to stay for two years. When she was released from the orphanage, she went to another foster home. While in foster homes Marilyn was almost smothered to death at two, and nearly raped at six. At nine the L a Orphans Home paid her a nickel a month for kitchen work and took back a penny every Sunday for Church. (www. ellensplace.Net/mmbio3.html) Marilyn turned sixteen in 1942 and married an aircraft plant worker by the name of James Dougherty who was 21, Marilyn called him Daddy. The marriage only lasted four years and by this time Marilyn had began modeling. Marilyn married Joe DiMaggio on January 14, 1954 and divorced him on October 27, 1954. Marilyn later married Arthur Miller on June 29, 1956 only to divorce him on January 20, 1961. Marilyn legally changed her name in 1956 after using it for ten years. Marilyn had a dog named Tippy when she was a child and her final movie also had a dog named Tippy. Marilyn became wracked by personal problems, in security and self induced health problems. In 1962 Marilyn's absenteeism caused delay after delay in production and she was fired in June. She went into seclusion in her LA. Home on August 5, 1962, her housekeeper found her nude and lying face down on her bed, the victim of an overdose of sedative. She was only 36. Soon after she was found dead it was deemed an "accidental overdose", though her alleged affairs with both John and Robert Kennedy have brought out foul play conspiracies by the carload. Marilyn would appear as play boys' first centerfold. Marilyn made only 30 films in her lifetime, her legendary status will remain film history forever. Marilyn's first contract was with 20th Century Fox but it lapse a year later. Later they reassigned her contract for seven years. They launched her as a sex symbol superstar.
Public icons are becoming the center of attention within teen age lives at an enormous rate of speed. We have a huge quantity of celebrities but very few of them will enter into the collective psyche of becoming part of popular culture and people's lives. The problem with icons is that you always have a group of people or media who do nothing but stir up controversy. Even the media and entertainment industry have the reputation of bombarding the public with useless information on the lives of celebrities. These icons are creations of the public and they influence society through values, fashion and public behavior. They are direct or indirect reflections of the needs, drives and anxieties of our American society. Icons are the food of dreams, allowing people to live out their deepest fantasies and obsessions.
I feel that film icons bring a certain realness that the public can actually relate to. Their acting has all the qualities of being realistic, believable, truthfulness of performance with facial features and movements. Icons are connected to such features as good looks, sex appeal and special talents. There is a certain myth of becoming a star, the Rags to Riches aspect. Movies have lent the most perishable generalities, such as youth, beauty, and comedy wrapped in a millennial shell life. Until the film rolled stars of the past could only be remembered not experienced.
The End……..
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