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If you consider films like Rebecca, Citizen Kane or All About Eve to be cinematic masterpieces, you’re not alone. All three were born during Hollywood’s Golden Age, a wildly creative era in which movies dominated mass entertainment and their glamorous stars entranced the public.
But during the 1940s and 1950s, that success suddenly evaporated. Movie palaces shuttered, once mighty studios closed down and some of Hollywood’s greatest actors, directors and screenwriters stopped making films. It was the end of an era and television was to blame: the new technology effectively killed Hollywood’s Golden Age.
These days, you’re much more likely to turn on your television than to head to a movie theater. Here’s how TV captivated American audiences—and upended just about everything about the movie business along the way.
Though historians can’t agree on the exact years of Hollywood’s so-called Golden Age, the years 1930 through 1945 were particularly good for moviemaking. Hollywood glittered not just with profit, but with popular stars and brilliant filmmakers. In those 15 years, more than 7,500 features were released and the number of Americans who watched at least one movie in a theater per week swelled to more than 80 million. It was the best of times—and beloved movies like The Wizard of Oz, It’s a Wonderful Life, Casablanca, King Kong and Gone With the Wind are proof of the creative genius unleashed by those stable years.
Part of the winning formula had to do with the studio system. On the lots of the “big eight” studios (20th Century Fox, Columbia Pictures, MGM, Paramount Pictures, RKO Radio Pictures, United Artists, Universal Studios and Warner Bros.), pools of incomparable acting talent on long-term contracts and hordes of talented artisans helped turn screenplays into vivid films. Since studios were so profitable (in part due to their iron grip on movie distribution), they could afford to gamble on creative writing and art direction. And their careful management of actors’ personal and professional lives meant they had plenty of beloved movie stars.
But as the good years wore on, movies developed a potentially destructive rival: TV. By the 1930s, technological leaps and a series of high-profile experimental broadcasts made it clear that one day television would be broadcast directly into people’s homes. Though a few stations with experimental licenses began broadcasting things like baseball games and early news programs in New York in 1939, television sets were expensive and programming limited. When World War II began, materials shortages halted the expansion of TV in the United States. The threat had been put off—momentarily.
Then the war ended, and social changes turned a trickle of demand for television into a tidal wave. Americans had scrimped and saved since the Great Depression, and when men returned home from war, many families were ready to start spending. Often, their first purchase—with assistance from federal home loans—was a house in the suburbs. Between 1947 and 1953, the number of people living in suburbs grew 43 percent. Since these newly built areas weren’t close to downtown movie palaces and often lacked mass transportation options, people began to seek entertainment inside their homes.
They found it on their new TV sets, and in 1948 four major TV networks began broadcasting a full prime-time schedule seven nights a week. Major studios, perhaps seeing the writing on the wall, started scrambling to purchase interests in TV stations. They succeeded, gaining a majority control of TV studios by 1948.
That same year, though, the Supreme Court found Paramount guilty of price-fixing in an antitrust lawsuit. It forced all major movie studios to loosen their grip on the theaters that showed their movies and split up their businesses so they no longer combined production, distribution and exhibition.
The federal government quickly smacked down the studios’ ambitions to control television. Federal laws allowed the government to deny TV licenses to companies that had been convicted of engaging in monopolistic activities. The Federal Communications Commission put the powerful studios, which controlled not just their creative artists but the distributors and the movie theaters, in jeopardy.
Shut out from potential TV station ownership and stripped of the control that provided most of their profits, studios began to falter. As the Cold War got chillier, Hollywood was pressured to blacklist actors, directors, screenwriters and others who were suspected of sympathizing with Communists. This drained the industry of some of its best talent.
Broadcast television was free, and it was hard for studios to convince people to look away from a cheap medium that was already in their own homes. Meanwhile, many in-demand stars who weren’t blacklisted left the studios behind and flocked to television, too.
In a desperate bid to stay in business, movie studios diversified. They began to produce not just movies, but television shows. Studios licensed out their movies for television broadcast, opened record labels, and created theme parks in an attempt to make more money. Studios even turned their backs on strict morality codes in an attempt to offer viewers something they couldn’t get on TV, which could not show controversial or suggestive material due to tough FCC regulations. As a result, movies became more titillating and featured more adult content than before the rise of television.
By the 1960s, more than half of all American homes contained television sets, and TV had done away with nearly everything that made the major motion picture studios so great. Tighter belts meant movie studios took fewer creative risks and invested less money in quality films. Movie palaces fell into disrepair. Fewer feature films were made, and often studios had to rely on sales of their back catalogs for televisions syndication for profit instead of their own current-day films.
Luckily, the rise of TV didn’t mean the death of popular entertainment—just its migration to a smaller screen. But the days of the unstoppable Hollywood studio now seem as far away as the days when a movie ticket cost nothing but a quarter.
American cinema has undergone numerous periods of dynamic change, from the advent of sound, to the implementation of color. With each obstacle, the industry has adapted and shifted with the changing attitudes of each generation. The language of cinema gained an important accent in the 1970's.
The `70's saw the emergence of a new American film. Be h ind this revolution was all the cynicism and mistrust towards authority which pervaded American culture. The 1960's upended all facets of American society music, literature, politics, sex and race all experienced drastic change during the decade. American cinema adapted and reflected these changes in it’s own time. The studio system of the Golden Era of Hollywood was in it’s twilight. Even though many of the symbols of the old vanguard were still leaving, there was still a reluctance to take risks, or embrace the changing values of society.
American cinema in the 70’s had it’s roots in the ashes of Italy after World War II. New Hollywood was a combination of the cynicism of post-modern society with the sweeping romanticism of Pre-Cold War Hollywood. Both past and present became the source of inspiration for driving forward Hollywood’s future.
40 Iconic Photos of Old Hollywood Stars on Set
The most intriguing and beautiful stars of old-school Hollywood at work.
Long before streaming was a thing, people flocked to the movies to escape reality. The Golden Age of Hollywood reverberated with glamorous women in elegant gowns (Marilyn! Audrey!), tough-talking men with square jaws and cleft chins, and cute kiddie stars who sang and danced their little hearts out. During Old Hollywood&rsquos heyday from the 1930s to the late 1950s, lavish musicals, screwball comedies, and later, wartime dramas, dominated the screen. Stars were signed to longtime contracts under the studio system and made numerous films every year.
Take a trip back in time with these iconic photos of Old Hollywood on the set:
Jean Harlow epitomized old-school Tinseltown glamour with her cupid&rsquos bow mouth, dramatic eyeliner, and platinum blonde curls. Born in Missouri, she ran away to get married at age 16 to an older man, and the couple moved to Los Angeles. She auditioned for many roles as an extra, but her breakthrough role was in the 1930 Howard Hughes&rsquo hit, Hell&rsquos Angels. She often appeared with other big stars of the time, such as in Hold Your Man with Clark Gable (1933). Here, she&rsquos having her hair done between takes on the set.
No one could swashbuckle better than the often-shirtless Errol Flynn, whose real-life carousing was nearly as adventurous as his on-screen brawls. He&rsquos seen here on the set of Captain Blood in 1935. The film was an instant hit and made him and his co-star Olivia DeHavilland, another then-unknown in Hollywood, huge stars. The pair would co-star in eight movies together.
With his staccato delivery and distinctive &ldquotough guy&rdquo demeanor, James Cagney was small in stature but big on personality. He often played gangster roles in the '30s and '40s but is best loved for portraying the composer George M. Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), which allowed him to showcase his amazing energy and singing and dancing abilities. The role earned him an Oscar. He&rsquos with Jean Harlow on the set of The Public Enemy (1931).
Fredi Washington was a talented actress and stunning green-eyed beauty, who eventually worked as an activist for other African-American stars in the entertainment industry. She later married and retired from show biz. Here, she starred in the 1934 film, Imitation of Life and is seen with co-star, Louise Beavers (left), who plays her mother in the movie.
At just 13 years old, Judy Garland was signed by Hollywood&rsquos largest movie studio, Metro-Goldwyn Mayer (MGM). Her golden voice, youthful innocence and spirited personality made her an international sensation almost immediately. She appeared in her first major film in 1936. Here, she&rsquos resting between takes on the set of Ziegfield Girl (1940).
As one of the most popular child stars of all time, Shirley Temple&rsquos trademark golden curls, dimpled smile, charming personality and incredible dancing made her the top box office draw from 1935 to 1938. Her popularity declined during the '40s, but she eventually pursued a successful diplomatic career. She&rsquos between takes on the set, circa 1936.
Actor and dancer Fred Astaire started out in vaudeville and Broadway at age 5 alongside his partner and sister, Adele, who was widely believed to be the more talented sibling. When Adele married, Fred went to Hollywood and made his first movie in 1932 &mdash eventually starring in a string of popular musicals throughout the '30s, '40s and early '50s before heading into TV movies in the '70s. He&rsquos (far left) collaborating with renowned composers George and Ira Gershwin for the 1937 musical Shall We Dance.
Lana Turner appeared in her first movie in 1937, but it was her bit part the next year in Love Finds Andy Hardy that caught America&rsquos attention &mdash or at least the young men of America. Dubbed &ldquothe Sweater Girl,&rdquo Turner&rsquos sex appeal and strong performances made her a hit. She had numerous successful roles in the 1940s, though her personal life was a hot mess: She married eight times, and her daughter fatally stabbed Turner&rsquos abusive boyfriend. She&rsquos having her makeup touched up on the set of The Merry Widow (1952).
Marlene Dietrich began her career as a cabaret singer in 1920s Germany. She appeared in many silent films and a series of small US films before being offered a role in Destry Rides Again, a 1939 American film starring Jimmy Stewart. The role energized her career, and she soon became a US citizen, touring extensively for the Allied troops during World War II. Here, she&rsquos taking a much-deserved break from filming on set in 1936.
Often remembered for her famous bathing suit pin-up pose during World War II, Betty Grable started with bit roles in her early teens before becoming the biggest paid star in the country by 1947. Supposedly, her legs were insured for a million dollars by the studio! Considered a classic American beauty, she&rsquos having her makeup and hair done for her 1938 film College Swing.
A respected British actor with dreamy good looks and perfect diction, Laurence Olivier began his career on the Shakespearian stage before venturing to Hollywood. In his first film, he played the sullen Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights (1939). His real-life lover, Vivian Leigh, also launched her film career this year in Gone with the Wind. He was married to Leigh for more than two decades, and they often played on stage and in films together. Here, he&rsquos being coached alongside his co-star Joan Fontaine (Leigh wanted the role but didn&rsquot get it) by director Alfred Hitchcock on the set of Rebecca (1940).
Born in India, Vivian Leigh&rsquos parents emigrated to England when she was a small girl. When her mother took her to see a play, Leigh decided the theater was her destiny. She had a few small roles before she became involved with Laurence Olivier. On a trip to America to visit Olivier (who was filming Wuthering Heights), she won the coveted role of Scarlet O&rsquoHara in Gone with the Wind (1939). The role garnered her first Best Actress Oscar. She won her second Oscar for her role in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951). This shows her with co-star Marlon Brando on set.
Admired for his boyish charm and common man persona, Jimmy Stewart had a long and distinguished career in Hollywood. He originally attended Princeton University to study architecture, but when the Great Depression hit, he followed his friend, Henry Fonda, to Hollywood. He appeared in a bit part in 1934 but soon garnered larger roles collaborating with director Frank Capra in movies such as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) and It&rsquos a Wonderful Life (1946). He served in the US Army during WWII. He&rsquos on the set here with director Alfred Hitchcock on Rear Window (1954).
With her gorgeous violet eyes and creamy white skin, Elizabeth Taylor was a child star, co-starring alongside horses and dogs in National Velvet and the Lassie movies, long before she was a screen siren in movies such as Cleopatra. She&rsquos taking a break in filming with actor James Dean on the set of Giant in 1955.
Frank Sinatra was almost as famous for his movie roles as his decades of music. Ol' Blue Eyes first worked as a singer with renowned Big Band orchestras of the '30s including Harry James and Tommy Dorsey, eventually going solo in 1942 and becoming every teen girl's dream. He got his first movie role in 1945. His affair with actress Ava Gardner broke up his marriage, and his career stalled. But it was eventually kicked into high gear again by his role in From Here to Eternity (1953), which earned him an Oscar. He&rsquos shown here alongside hunky co-star Montgomery Clift.
Known for his commanding voice, dimpled chin, and bad boy appeal, Robert Mitchum discovered acting in an amateur theater company, obtaining bit parts in many 1940s films. His rugged good looks and devil-may-care demeanor soon rocketed him to super-star status by the 1950s. Here, Mitchum (right) plays checkers with his co-star Richard Hart on the set of the 1946 film, A Woman of My Own.
Trained as a dancer, Rita Hayworth was one of the most beautiful women of her time. She signed her first studio contract at age 16. After many minor roles (and studio-ordered electrolysis to raise her hairline!), she had her first big hit in the 1941 movie Strawberry Blonde. She was finally able to show off her dancing skills alongside Fred Astaire later that year in You&rsquoll Never Get Rich. She was briefly married to actor, producer and director Orson Welles in the mid-40s and is seen on the set of his movie The Lady from Shanghai (1947).
A high-school dropout at age 16, Clark Gable decided to become an actor when he saw a play in his hometown. His personal life was as colorful as the characters he portrayed. As a young man, he married his much-older acting coach, and the couple moved to L.A., where Gable was signed to MGM in 1930. By the mid-1930s, he was a huge star due to films such as It Happened One Night (1934), which won him an Oscar for Best Actor. In 1935, he had a child with his Call of the Wild co-star Loretta Young because of the strict morality clauses in their contracts&mdash and the fact that Gable was married &mdash they kept the child secret. He married a total of five times, including his greatest love, actress Carole Lombard, who was killed in a plane crash in 1942. After her death, Gable was grief-stricken and joined the US Army during WWII, then returned to acting upon his return. Here, he&rsquos on the set of Red Dust (1932).
With his methodical delivery, natural acting abilities, and striking good looks, Gary Cooper enjoyed a long and respected career in Hollywood, including leading roles more than 80 films. Raised on a ranch in Montana and in England, he began his screen career in silent films in 1925 and eventually won Oscars for his roles in Sergeant York (1941) and High Noon (1952). Cooper was known for doing his own stunts and for having many different lovers, despite his wholesome portrayals. Here, he&rsquos reading passages from Hemingway&rsquos book on which the movie was based during shooting of A Farewell to Arms (1932).
With her huge eyes and gravelly voice, Bette Davis was not the stereotypical Hollywood star of the Golden Age. Her larger-than-life persona, ironic delivery, and biting wit made her somewhat abrasive, and she often feuded with the studios. She started her career in off-Broadway plays, signing with the studio in 1930. Reflecting her real-life personality, Davis insisted on playing strong (sometimes unlikable) women characters during her career. She won Oscars for Dangerous (1935) and Jezebel (1938). She&rsquos resting during a break on the set of The Bride Came COD (1941).
Carole Lombard got her first one-film contract at age 12. Within a few years, she was playing theater roles before signing with the studio in 1925. Working in a series of films during the '20s, her silky voice enabled her to transition seamlessly to &ldquotalkies&rdquo when sound became part of movies in the late '20s. She played in many 1930s comedies and soon commanded one of the top salaries of the time. She married Clark Gable in 1939, and she was flying back from a WW II war bonds rally in the Midwest when her plane crashed. She was only 33. Here, she's on set with Gary Cooper in the 1931 film I Take This Woman.
Comedian Bob Hope made his first movie appearance in The Big Broadcast of 1938, singing his soon-to-be signature song, &ldquoThanks for the Memory.&rdquo In partnership with the crooner/ actor Bing Crosby and the lovely actress Dorothy Lamour, he starred in many &ldquoRoad to &hellip&rdquo comedies in the '40s and '50s. He spent countless hours visiting the troops during WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, as well as in Lebanon and the Persian Gulf. He&rsquos chatting with his co-star Bing Crosby and the director on the Road to Morocco (1942) set in this shot.
One of Bob Hope&rsquos frequent co-stars, Bing Crosby started his musical career in the '30s. His easygoing manner and butter-smooth voice garnered a huge fan base, especially during the dark days of the Great Depression. He won a Best Oscar for his role in Going My Way (1944), but he&rsquos often remembered most for crooning the classic holiday anthem, &ldquoWhite Christmas&rdquo and starring in the film of the same name (1954). He&rsquos taking a break to play some solitaire on set in 1934.
Starting out as a child star in vaudeville and moving into theater, Mae West didn&rsquot have her first movie role until age 40 in Night after Night (1932). When the coat check girl in the film admires her diamonds, exclaiming &ldquoGoodness! What beautiful diamonds!,&rdquo Mae responds, &ldquoGoodness had nothing to do with it, dearie.&rdquo Her brash swagger and vava-voom figure earned her star status. She&rsquos on set here with W.C. Fields in My Little Chickadee (1940).
Born in Sweden, Greta Garbo worked in a department store as a teen to support her impoverished, fatherless family. The store used her in a short advertising film, which helped her get minor parts in Swedish films. She decided to attend film school, where a Swedish film director pulled her for a part in his movie, which then led to Hollywood roles. She appeared in several silent movies before her first &ldquotalkie&rdquo in 1930 and starred in many 1930s movies including Mata Hari (1930) and Grand Hotel (1932). She was known for her intense style and enigmatic personality. After WW II, she retired from film and led a life of seclusion until she died in 1990. She&rsquos on the set here in 1932.
After studying acting in New York, Lauren Bacall worked as a model. The wife of famed director Howard Hawks supposedly saw her photo and encouraged him to give Bacall a screen test, which purportedly earned the nineteen-year-old a role on her first film, To Have and Have Not (1944). The film also starred Humphrey Bogart, and the two married the next year. They made several films together. Here, they rehearse their lines.
In the '20s, Humphrey Bogart managed a small theater company in New York, soon taking to the stage himself. With his nasal voice and distinctive hard-boiled style, he played minor roles in the '30s, eventually leading to his breakout role in 1936&rsquos The Petrified Forest, alongside Bette Davis. He went on to star in many '40s classics including High Sierra (1941), The Maltese Falcon (1941), and Casablanca (1942). He won an Oscar for The African Queen (1951). He remained married to Bacall until his death in 1957. He&rsquos headed to his dressing room between takes, circa 1940.
Tall, dark and handsome described Gregory Peck, who started going to school for medicine but changed gears once he fell in love with theater. He worked briefly on Broadway before heading to Hollywood in 1943, starring in a string of hits through the '40s and '50s including The Yearling (1946), The Gunfighter (1950), Roman Holiday (1953), Moby Dick (1956), and To Kill a Mockingbird. He&rsquos with Ingrid Bergman here on the set of Spellbound (1945).
Born in Sweden, Ingrid Bergman got her start in a few Swedish films when producer David O. Selznick brought her to America for her first film, Intermezzo (1939). Her unpretentious beauty and skilled acting made her an immediate success, and she went on to become one of the biggest stars of the '40s in classics such as Casablanca. An affair with the famous Italian director Roberto Rossellini (and pregnancy) tarnished her reputation because they were both married to other people at the time. During the course of her career, she won Oscars for ­Gaslight (1944), Anastasia (1956), and Murder on the Orient Express (1974). Here, she&rsquos on the set in 1948.
Cary Grant left school at age 14 to join a comedy troupe in his native England. When the show made it to Broadway in 1920, Grant found a new home in America. Mae West wanted him hired for her 1933 movie, She Done Him Wrong. His gentlemanly behavior and understated sex appeal quickly caught the attention of moviegoers, and he reigned during the '40s and '50s. His most memorable movies were The Philadelphia Story (1940), An Affair to Remember (1957), and North by Northwest (1959). He&rsquos with director Alfred Hitchcock on set.
Old Hollywood’s Most Scandalous Secrets, as Told by David Niven
According to David Niven, debonair star of films including Wuthering Heights, Around the World in 80 Days, and Bonjour Tristesse, not all full-service brothels in the golden age of movies were run out of gas stations, as in Ryan Murphy’s Netflix series Hollywood. One was housed in a stately colonial-style mansion right under his window in the North Hollywood hills, run by a “Baroness” and filled with whips, kinky costumes, and two beautiful failed actresses deeply in love.
This tale and many more are recorded in Niven’s 1975 memoir, Bring on the Empty Horses, which has long been considered by those in the know—including (strangely enough) conservative commentator William F. Buckley Jr.—one of the best books ever written about Hollywood in its studio-system heyday.
The memoir is a follow-up to his equally delightful 1971 autobiography, The Moon’s a Balloon. In Horses, the British-born Niven reveals a generous but clear-eyed view of Hollywood from the 1930s to the early ’60s. “[It] was hardly a nursery for intellectuals, it was a hotbed of false values, it harbored an unattractive percentage of small-time crooks and con artists, and the chances of being successful there were minimal,” he writes. “But it was fascinating, and if you were lucky, it was fun.”
Fun yes, but also freaky. Through a series of thematic vignettes, Niven spills the tea on the passions and pretentions of stars like Humphrey Bogart (a real softie), Mary Astor (at her best in bed), Fred Astaire (a terrible dancer in public), Greta Garbo ( a big fan of skinny-dipping), and Charlie Chaplin (a pompous bore). He does so with such grace and panache that one is almost unaware secrets are being revealed—but revealed they are, much to every Hollywood fan’s gossipy delight. Ahead, six of the juiciest tidbits from Niven’s pen.
Errol Flynn Was a Big Fan of Hollywood High School
For Niven, perhaps no star in Hollywood was as tragic and troubled as his former roommate (and frequent costar) Errol Flynn. “The great thing about Errol was you always knew exactly where you stood with him because he always let you down,” he writes.
On one particularly troubling occasion, Niven claims that Flynn (who was tried and acquitted of statutory rape by two women in the early 1940s) invited him to go view “the best-looking girls in L.A.” Allegedly, Flynn then drove them down Sunset Boulevard, parking directly across from Hollywood High just as school was letting out. “Jailbait,” he told Niven. “San Quentin Quail. What a waste!” When a policeman approached the car to ask what exactly they were doing, Flynn retorted, “We are just admiring the scenery.”
The policeman, not impressed, told him to beat it.
Shirley MacLaine Warmed Up the Cold War
According to Niven, when USSR premier Nikita Khrushchev and his family visited Hollywood in September of 1959, they were treated to the filming of a dance scene for the upcoming Shirley MacLaine musical Can-Can—which evidently left the Soviet leader decidedly unimpressed. Khrushchev and his cronies gazed with “undisguised horror,” writes Niven, as MacLaine and her scantily-clad dancer comrades “kicked their legs, swirled their petticoats, waggled their knees, and ended up with their skirts over their heads and their bottoms pointing directly at the guest of honor and his family.” Krushchev wound up giving a one-word summation of the performance to the publicity flacks who then asked for his comment: “DISGUSTING!”
Carole Lombard Came for Norma Shearer
Screwball comedian Carole Lombard, who was known for being particularly outspoken, was apparently incensed when 1930s MGM queen Norma Shearer showed up at her own all-white party at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in a bright red dress. The whole ballroom gasped when Lombard dared to come for Shearer, who was married to the all-powerful boy-wonder producer Irving Thalberg. According to Niven, in a voice loud enough for all of Hollywood to hear, Lombard proclaimed, “Who the fuck does Norma think she is? The house madam?”
Tyrone Power Was the Original Bad Santa
Matinee idol Tyrone Power might have been blessed with “flashing good looks, graceful carriage, and easy laughter,” writes Niven, but his confidence was shattered playing Santa at a Christmas party for a host of Hollywood kids (including a young Candice Bergen). Terrified of performing for children, Power leaned heavily on a bottle of scotch, and was soused when he turned up dressed as Father Christmas. As he swayed up to Niven’s house, Niven accidentally turned on the sprinkler to his lawn, drenching the drunk star. Power’s performer’s instinct somewhat saved the party as he let the children of Gary Cooper and Rosalind Russell sit on his knee. But Niven claimed that as “Santa” staggered off, “some children cried…and one complained about his breath.”
Joseph Cotten Kicked Hedda Hopper’s Derriere
The terror that Hollywood gossip columnist Hedda Hopper inspired in movieland’s elite was palpable. Niven claims that Hopper, with her “brisk staccato way of demanding replies rather than asking questions,” was fond of summoning stars to her Beverly Hills home (which she called “the house that fear built”). There, terrified actors were plied with alcohol, spilling secrets—often their friends’—while Hopper “shrewdly sipped tonic water.”
But not every movie star took Hopper’s abuse lying down. In the 1940s, Hopper insinuated in her column that Citizen Kane star Joseph Cotten, whom Niven calls “the epitome of the Southern gentleman,” had been caught by Malibu cops in the backseat of his car with teenage star Deanna Durbin. The very married Cotten vowed that if Hopper slandered him again, he would “kick her up the ass!” According to Niven:
“Sure enough, Hedda went into action again a few days later, and the next time Cotten saw Hedda’s behind entering a smart Hollywood party, he lined up on the target and let her have it.”
The Mystery of Missie
Since Bring on the Empty Horses’ publication, Hollywood biographers have been attempting to unravel the real identity of the drug addicted, industry-abused sex-symbol Niven writes about in a two-part chapter titled “Our Little Girl.” Referred to only as “Missie,” this studio-created star possessed the “most beautiful body in Hollywood” and was referred to as “the boy’s erector set.”
According to Niven, as her looks faded and her career hit the skids, Missie became addicted to pills supplied by doctor nicknamed “Needle Ned.” In his harrowing second chapter about Missie, Niven recalls caring for her alone for three days when she was in the midst of a major mental health crisis. He describes a hellish experience, with a naked, manic Missie taunting him, asking for his reassurance of her beauty, refusing to eat anything but cottage cheese, and never sleeping.
So just who was “Missie”? Some point to Niven’s friend Lana Turner. The physical description is spot on, as is the biography. But others believe the second chapter is based on an experience Niven had with the troubled Vivien Leigh. According to actor Stewart Granger, he and Niven spent a torturous time caring for Leigh—who had bipolar disorder and substance abuse problems—until her husband Laurence Olivier could commit her to a hospital. Whoever she was, Niven seems haunted by Missie—and perhaps his own complicity in Hollywood’s sexist and abusive system.
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Another teen idol of his time, actor James Dean was known for his bad boy persona and, fittingly, his role in 1955's "Rebel Without a Cause."
Dean only made three movies in his lifetime, as the budding actor died in a car accident at the age of 24 in 1955. His premature death left him etched into American pop culture as a forever young, T-shirt-and-jeans-clad icon. The New York Times described the enduring James Dean image as "clear, remaining strong, instantly recognizable, American as Coca-Cola."
How the Great Depression inspired Hollywood's golden age
For some months now over-excitable commentators have been comparing the current global economic downturn with the Wall Street Crash of 1929.
A nd while one hopes they're overdoing it a bit, you would think that in the coming recession cinema -- a luxury if ever there was one -- will be among the first industries to be badly hit. Yet this summer, box office receipts were up significantly in the US, Australia, here and Britain (where attendances are at a 40-year high), and if the lessons of history are anything to go by, Hollywood may be among the rare beneficiaries of the economic slump.
In 1929 when the bottom fell out of the global economy, bankrupting millions of people and prompting mass unemployment, years of hardship and even suicides, Hollywood entered a sort of golden age. The advent of talking pictures helped re-energize the medium and people, no doubt desperate for diversion, began flocking to the cinema in unprecedented numbers.
Even in the depths of the Great Depression, between 60 and 80 million Americans went to the movies once a week or more, and back in those days they really got value for money. In the early 1930s, an American movie ticket would buy you a cartoon, a newsreel, a B-feature and the main film, which amounted to something like four hours' entertainment for a nickel, the price back then of a gallon of petrol or a packet of cigarettes.
The perceived wisdom was that Depression audiences went to the cinema to be distracted from their misery by escapist and romantic fare, but this is not entirely accurate. In fact a new mood of gritty cynicism emerged in Hollywood pictures that matched the grimness of the times. There were the glitzy distractions, of course from the absurdly elaborate dancing set-pieces from the choreographer Busby Berkeley to lavish exercises in escapism like the Garbo classic Grand Hotel (1932) and the Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers musical Flying Down to Rio (1933). But these were the exception rather than the rule, and most Depression films were grounded in the social realities of the time.
Columbia and Warner Brothers packed theatres across America with films whose scripts seemed to be dragged directly from the grim pages of contemporary newspapers. Typical of this new tide of social realism was I am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932), a Warner Brothers film in which Paul Muni plays a desperate man who's fooled into taking part in a heist and ends up escaping from a vicious Southern chain gang. Films in the early 1930s were full of these wronged heroes, who seemed as overwhelmed by forces outside their control as the down-at-heel punters watching them.
But even more popular than these hapless victims were the rogues who refused to be cowed by the Depression and even turned it to their advantage. A new contempt for law and government allowed audiences to revel in the adventures of organised criminals, and Warner Brothers quickly became masters of the gangster genre. Edward G Robinson and James Cagney became stars overnight by appearing as vicious thugs in films that were criticised at the time as breaching boundaries of morality and good taste.
In Little Caesar (1931), Robinson shocked audiences with his no-holds-barred portrayal of psycho hoodlum Rico, who guns down a priest on the steps of his church because his preaching is making one of Rico's gang feel guilty.
Irish-American actor James Cagney was right behind him, exploding on to the screen as Tom Powers in Public Enemy (1931), and breaking another taboo by smashing that grapefruit into Jean Harlow's face. Cagney would go on to star in the great Warner gangster pictures of the late 1930s, which also introduced the public to Humphrey Bogart.
If the gangster films gave audiences an outlet for their impotent rage, even the most popular comedies of the time were mocking, and angry. The original anarchists, the Marx Brothers, made the transition from Vaudeville to Hollywood just when the stock markets collapsed, and in their classic early comedies like Animal Crackers (1930) and Duck Soup (1933), they and their writers gleefully attacked the sacred cows of patriotism, monogamy and marriage.
How bitterly audiences must have laughed when, in Duck Soup, Groucho's Rufus T Firefly sang "If you think this country's bad off now, just wait till I get through with it!" W C Fields famously mocked marriage, children, pets and all the cornerstones of cosy domesticity -- and America loved it.
Hollywood, in other words, partly through a desperate public need for diversion, and partly through its own ingenuity, managed to thrive while the rest of the world was collapsing. But only for a limited period, because the other great lesson to be drawn from the Great Depression is that if economic slumps go on for long enough, everything is affected. Though the studios rode out the first few years of the Depression comfortably enough, by 1933 their massive debts were catching up with them. All had borrowed heavily to finance the mass purchase of movie theatres and their conversion to sound, leaving them with combined debts of over $400m (€285m).
And by 1933, as mass unemployment took hold of America, cinema attendances began to fall -- in that year by a massive 40pc. Attendances would not recover until the late 1930s, and by that time Hollywood had to cope with the strictures of the newly formed League of Decency, which had raised a formidable political lobby and attacked films for their immoral content. From that point on, Hollywood would have to start selling America instead of attacking it.
Of course, these days cinema is not the dominant medium it was in the 1930s, and must now compete with TV, computer games, DVDs and iPods. All the same, the cinema audience boom in times of economic crisis seems to be holding true. It will be interesting to see how modern cinema is affected by the changing public mood.
How TV Killed Hollywood’s Golden Age - HISTORY
The Golden Age of Hollywood: 1930s - 1940s
This pathfinder is intended for UNC Chapel Hill undergraduate and graduate students who have an interest in researching Hollywood’s Golden Age, including actors, directors, films, and studios of the period. The goal of the pathfinder is to introduce students to high-quality physical and virtual resources located on campus and the internet.
The decade marked by the Great Depression and leading into World War II is remembered as Hollywood’s Golden Age. During this period, new genres were formed, new stars were born, and the studio system rose to mammoth status. The eight major studios, each known for its distinctive style and stars, collectively produced 95% of all American films. More than 7,500 features were released by the studios between 1930 and 1945 to eager audiences. More than 80 million people took in a least one film per week at the height of the cinema’s popularity. This period also saw the introduction of the Production Code, B-Films, and the first animated feature of Snow White. Hollywood’s Golden Age began to decline in the late 1940’s due to the introduction of television, Hollywood blacklisting, and the ability of actors to become ‘free agents.’ A final blow to the industry occurred in 1948, when antitrust suits were filed against the major studios.
Source: “Motion Pictures.” The New Encyclopedia Britannica. Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2002.
10 Bonnie Lee Bakley
Married several times, running “lonely heart” scams, getting arrested for said scams, and being celebrity obsessed--Bonnie Lee Bakley lived a strange, if colorful, life. Her scams allowed to her to buy houses in Memphis and Los Angeles, but her career as an actor and singer never went anywhere, and she continued to try to marry any celebrity she could. Near the end of her life, that celebrity was Robert Blake.
The marriage itself was bizarre, since the two didn’t even live in the same house, and Blake had Bakely investigated at the same time. It was on May 4 th , 2001 when Bakley, waiting in the car for her husband (who had reentered a restaurant to pick up a gun that he’d left behind) was shot and killed by a bullet to the head. The gun Bakley went back for was confirmed to not have been used in the murder, but he was charged for the crime nonetheless. While Blake was later acquitted, he was later sued by Bakley’s children via a wrongful death lawsuit.
Later Career and Death
After his discharge in 1944, he returned to the big screen in Adventure. Though it was a lackluster flick, Gable’s return to film had people flocking to the box office. He continued to make movies with MGM, including Mogambo with Ava Gardner and Grace Kelly, but his career never regained the same momentum. Still, when his studio contract expired in 1954, he became the highest-paid freelance actor of his day.
Gable’s status as a legend carried him, and he consistently made at least one movie a year, most notably Soldier of Fortune and The Tall Men. He gave what is considered to be one of his finest performances in The Misfits with Marilyn Monroe and Montgomery Clift, but he never got to enjoy its success: Two days after they completed filming, Gable suffered a heart attack. He died November 16, 1960.
Hollywood’s Notable Deaths of 2020 (Photos)Margeaux Sippell and Samson Amore | December 31, 2020 @ 12:10 PM
The former longtime commissioner of the NBA died Jan. 1 following a brain hemorrhage, according to a statement from current NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. He was 77.
The author of the seminal 1994 memoir “Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America” died in a Manhattan hospital on Jan. 7 at age 52.
Silvio Horta, creator of the ABC comedy series “Ugly Betty,” was found dead in a Miami motel room Jan. 7. He was 45.
The drummer and lyricist for the ’70s and ’80s Canadian rock band Rush, died on Jan. 7, according to the band’s Twitter account. He was 67.
Harry Hains, an actor and producer who had appeared on “American Horror Story: Hotel,” “The OA,” “Sneaky Pete” and “The Surface,” died on Jan. 7. He was 27.
The actor-screenwriter-director -- who co-created “Get Smart,” co-wrote “The Graduate” and co-directed the hit 1978 Warren Beatty film “Heaven Can Wait” -- died on Jan. 8 in Los Angeles. He was 89.
The actor, who played Vince Fontaine in “Grease” and also starred on the series “77 Sunset Strip” as the teen idol “Kookie,” died on Jan. 8. He was 87.
Ivan Passer -- a pioneering filmmaker in the Czech New Wave, a frequent collaborator with the late Milos Forman and the director of the 1981 film “Cutter’s Way” -- died on Jan. 9. He was 86.
Stan Kirsch, one of the stars of the syndicated '90s fantasy drama “Highlander: The Series,” died on Jan. 11. He was 51.
Rocky Johnson, a member of the WWE Hall of Fame and the father of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, died on Jan. 15 at the age of 75.
Terry Jones, a beloved member of the Monty Python comedy troupe who directed many of its classic films, died Jan. 21. He was 77.
Former “Bachelorette” contestant Tyler Gwozdz, who appeared on the 2019 season of the reality series, died Jan. 22 of a suspected drug overdose at age 29.
Retired NBA star Kobe Bryant was killed Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif., that killed four others. He was 41.
Kirk Douglas -- the prolific actor and producer whose “Spartacus” is credited with helping to end the Hollywood blacklist, patriarch of a successful entertainment dynasty and one of the last surviving stars of Hollywood’s golden age -- died Feb. 5 at age 103.
F.X. Feeney, a film historian, screenwriter and longtime film critic for LA Weekly, died on Feb. 5 after suffering several strokes over the previous few days. He was 66.
Kevin Conway, known for his roles in films like “Gettysburg” and ‘Thirteen Days,” died on Feb. 5 of a heart attack. He was 77.
Veteran character actor Orson Bean, a regular on shows like “To Tell the Truth” and “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” and star of “Being John Malkovich,” died the night of Feb. 7 at age 91 after he was struck and killed by a car in Los Angeles.
Raphael Coleman, who starred as Eric in the 2005 Emma Thompson movie “Nanny McPhee" and went on to devote himself to environmental activism, died suddenly on Feb. 7 at the age of 25.
Robert Conrad, who was the star of the '60s TV series “Wild Wild West,” died from heart failure on Feb. 8 at the age of 84.
Paula Kelly, an Emmy-nominated actress known for TV series like “Night Court” and films like “Sweet Charity” and “The Andromeda Strain,” died on Feb. 8 in Whittier, California. She was 77.
Joseph Vilsmaier, a German director and cinematographer behind the acclaimed 1993 World War II drama “Stalingrad" died “peacefully” at his home in Bavaria on Feb. 11. He was 81.
Daniel Lee Martin
Daniel Lee Martin, country singer and host of “Brotherhood Outdoors,” was found dead in his Pasco County, Florida, home on Feb. 14 of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 54.
Caroline Flack, former host of “Love Island,” died at the age of 40 on Feb. 15. A lawyer for the family told BBC that Flack died by suicide.
Nikita Pearl Waligwa
Nikita Pearl Waligwa, the young actress seen in the 2016 Disney film “Queen of Katwe,” died on Feb. 15, according to the Ugandan newspaper The Daily Monitor. Waligwa, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2016, was 15.
Jason Davis, best known as the voice of Mikey Blumberg on Disney Channel’s “Recess,” died on Feb. 16. He was 35.
Ja’net Dubois, who starred on the CBS sitcom “Good Times” and wrote and performed the theme song to "The Jeffersons," passed away on Feb. 18. She was 74.
Katherine Johnson, a pioneering mathematician and NASA employee who was pivotal in America’s space race and was portrayed by Taraji P. Henson in the film “Hidden Figures,” died on Feb. 24. She was 101.
Dieter Laser, the German actor best known for his role as the deranged doctor in “The Human Centipede,” died on Feb. 29. He was 78.
"Inside the Actors Studio" host James Lipton passed away on March 2 after a battle with bladder cancer. He was 93.
Max von Sydow
"The Exorcist" star Max von Sydow died on March 8 at the age of 90.
Lorenzo Brino, a former child star in the family drama “7th Heaven,” died in a car accident on March 9, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said.
Beatrice, who played the beloved French bulldog Stella on the last seven seasons of “Modern Family,” died March 9 shortly after the cast shot the series finale.
Stuart Whitman, a star of Westerns like “The Comancheros” and the war movie “The Longest Day,” died in his home March 16, his son told TMZ. Whitman was 92.
Lyle Waggoner, an actor known for starring on “The Carol Burnett Show” and the '70s “Wonder Woman” TV series, died March 17 at age 84.
Maggie Griffin, Kathy Griffin’s mother and co-star of her Bravo reality series “Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List,” died March 17 at age 99.
Country music legend Kenny Rogers passed away on March 20 at the age of 81. According to a statement, he died of natural causes.
Tony-winning playwright Terrence McNally died on March 24 of complications from the coronavirus. He was 81.
Bill Withers, the singer of classics like “Lean On Me” and “Ain’t No Sunshine,” died on March 30 at the age of 81.
Jeff Grosso, the legendary skateboarder who hosted Vans’ “Loveletters to Skating” video series, died March 31 in Costa Mesa, Calif. He was 51.
Adam Schlesinger, the lead singer-songwriter of the rock band Fountains of Wayne and a music producer and composer on “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” died on April 1 due to complications from the coronavirus.
Ellis Marsalis Jr.
Ellis Marsalis Jr., New Orleans jazz legend and father of Wynton and Branford Marsalis, died from COVID-19 complications on April 1. He was 85.
Ed Farmer, an MLB player-turned-White Sox radio announcer, died April 1. He was 70.
Eddie Large, one-half of the comedy duo Little and Large, died April 2 after contracting coronavirus while hospitalized for heart failure. He was 78.
Patricia Bosworth, a stage and screen actress who also penned celebrity biographies, died April 2 from complications of the coronavirus. She was 86.
Honor Blackman, the British actress best known for her roles in "Goldfinger" and “The Avengers” series, died at the age of 94, her family announced on April 6.
Rapper and model Chynna Rogers died on April 8. She was 25.
Actor Brian Dennehy, a Tony and Golden Globe-winning actor, passed away on April 15 of natural causes. He was 81.
Irrfan Khan, the Indian actor who bolstered his fame beyond Bollywood with roles in English-language hits like “Slumdog Millionaire” and “Life of Pi,” died April 29 in Mumbai at age 53.
Sam Lloyd, best known for his role as downtrodden lawyer Ted Buckland on “Scrubs,” died on April 30. He was 56.
Legendary NFL coach Don Shula passed away on May 4 at the age of 90.
Brian Howe, the lead singer for the British rock supergroup Bad Company and a former vocalist for Ted Nugent, died on May 6. He was 66.
Longtime music executive Andre Harrell, who founded the hip-hop label Uptown Records and mentored Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, died on May 7 at age 59.
Magician Roy Horn, best known as half of the legendary Siegfried & Roy magic and animal act in Las Vegas, died on May 8 from complications due to coronavirus.
Little Richard, the singer and pianist who became a rock pioneer with his high-energy musicianship and boundary-pushing personality, died on May 9 at age 87 from unspecified causes.
Jerry Stiller, the Emmy-nominated comedy legend of TV sitcoms “Seinfeld” and “King of Queens,” passed away on May 11. He was 92.
Phyllis George, a former Miss America winner who went on to become one of the first female broadcasters covering the NFL — and later, the First Lady of Kentucky — died on May 14 at the age of 70.
Comedic actor Fred Willard, best known for his roles in "Spinal Tap" and "Modern Family," passed away on May 15 at the age of 86.
Director and producer Lynn Shelton, who helmed independent films like "Humpday" and "Sword of Trust," died on May 16 from a previously undisclosed blood disorder. She was 54.
Ken Osmond, best known for his role as Eddie Haskell on “Leave It to Beaver,” died on May 18 at the age of 76.
Chris Trousdale, a former member of the boy band Dream Street, died on June 2. His former bandmate, Jesse McCartney, said he died "due to complications from COVID-19." He was 34.
Bonnie Pointer, a member of the iconic R&B group The Pointer Sisters, passed away on June 8. She was 69.
"Lord of the Rings" star Ian Holm passed away on June 19. He was 88.
Joel Schumacher, director of films like “St. Elmo’s Fire,” “The Client” and “A Time to Kill,” died on June 22 after a long battle with cancer. He was 80.
Legendary entertainer Carl Reiner, perhaps best known as the creator of “The Dick Van Dyke Show," died on June 29. He was 98.
The actor, who appeared in several Sam Raimi films including “Evil Dead II,” “Darkman” and “Spider-Man 2,” died on June 30 at the age of 68.
Ronald L. Schwary
Ronald L. Schwary, Oscar-winning producer of Robert Redford’s 1980 drama “Ordinary People,” died on July 2 at age 76, his family announced.
Longtime TV news anchor Hugh Downs passed away on July 2 at the age of 99.
Earl Camerson, one of the first Black actors to be cast in major roles in British films, died at the age of 102 on July 3. His first role was in the 1951 film "Pool of London."
Tony Award-nominated actor Nick Cordero died on July 5 due to complications from coronavirus. He was 41.
Mary Kay Letourneau
The Seattle-area middle school teacher -- who became infamous in 1997 after raping one of her students, serving a lengthy prison sentence, then marrying the student after her release from prison -- died on July 6 following a battle with cancer. She was 58.
Oscar-winning Italian composer Ennio Morricone died on July 6 at age 91, his lawyer told the New York Times. Morricone became famous for his melodic scores for 1960s Westerns like “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly” and “Once Upon a Time in the West.” He drew on his work in so-called spaghetti Westerns for Quentin Tarantino’s 2015 Western “The Hateful Eight,” which earned the composer his first Academy Award after five previous nominations and an honorary award in 2007.
Charlie Daniels, a country music and Southern rock legend known for his song “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” died on July 6. He was 83.
Atlanta rapper Lil Marlo (né Rudolph Johnson), best known for his 2017 hit “2 the Hard Way" with Lil Baby, was shot and killed in his native Atlanta on July 12, the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office said. He was 30.
Actress Kelly Preston, who starred in such films as "Twins" and "Jerry Maguire," died on July 12 after a two-year battle with breast cancer. The star, who had three children with husband John Travolta, was 57.
Former "Glee" star Naya Rivera was found dead on July 13 after going missing the week prior while out on a boat with her son in Ventura County, Calif. She was 33.
Grant Imahara, the engineer and roboticist who helped test some of the world’s most famous rumors on the iconic Discovery Channel series “Mythbusters,” died on July 13 at the age of 49.
The dancer and actress, who appeared in classic television shows like “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and “Twin Peaks,” died on July 14 at the age of 55.
John Lewis, the civil rights icon who played a key role in some of the most important battles of the era, died on July 17 following a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 80.
Longtime morning television host and five-time Emmy-winner Regis Philbin died July 25 of natural causes. He was 88.
The British guitarist, who co-founded the seminal rock band Fleetwood Mac, died at age 73 on July 25.
Olivia de Havilland
Olivia de Havilland, an Oscar-winning actress best known for her role as the timid but strong Melanie in the 1939 classic “Gone With the Wind,” died July 26 of natural causes. She was 104.
Herman Cain, a former GOP presidential candidate and business czar, died on July 30 from complications of the coronavirus. He was 74.
Wilford Brimley, a beloved character actor who starred in such film as “Cocoon” and “The Natural,” died on Aug. 1 at age 85.
Sumner Redstone, a movie theater owner’s son who became one of the most powerful moguls in Hollywood history, died on Aug. 11 at the age of 97.
The singer and guitarist, who famously covered Pete Seeger and Lee Hays' song “If I Had a Hammer,” died due to complications from COVID-19 on Aug. 11 at the age of 83.
Robert Trump, the younger brother of Donald Trump and a former real estate developer and executive at the Trump Organization, died on Aug. 15. He was 71 years old.
Justin Townes Earle
The Americana singer-songwriter and son of the country artist Steve Earle, known for his 2007 EP "Yuma," died on Aug. 20 at age 38.
"Black Panther" star Chadwick Boseman died on Aug. 28 at the age of 43. He had been battling colon cancer but never publicly disclosed his diagnosis.
This NBA All-Star and former contestant on “Survivor” died on Aug. 29 at age 53. His cause of death was lymphoma, according to the New York Times.
Actor Kevin Dobson, a star on beloved CBS dramas “Kojak” and “Knots Landing,” died Sept. 6 of a heart attack. He was 77.
The lead singer of The Temptations from 2006-2015 died of COVID-19 on Sept. 6, according to TMZ. He was 49 years old.
Diana Rigg, who was best known for her roles as Lady Olenna Tyrell on “Game of Thrones” and Emma Peel in the 1960s TV series “The Avengers,” died Sept. 10 at her home in the U.K. following a battle with cancer. She was 82.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the celebrated Supreme Court Justice and feminist icon, died due to complications from metastatic pancreas cancer on Sept. 18. She was 87.
Michael Lonsdale, the actor who played the iconic villain Hugo Drax in 1979’s James Bond movie “Moonraker” and starred in 1973’s “The Day of the Jackal,” died on Sept. 21 at age 89.
The celebrity astrologer and mother of "Rocky" actor Sylvester Stallone died on Sept. 21 at the age of 98.
The "I am Woman" singer and feminist icon died Sept. 29. She was 78.
Eddie Van Halen
Legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen passed away on Oct. 6 following a long battle with cancer. He was 65.
Edward Charles Ford, better known as Whitey Ford, was a New York Yankees legend and Hall of Fame baseball player. The team announced his death on Oct. 8 at the age of 91.
Dubbed "The Queen of Technicolor," Rhonda Fleming -- who starred in Alfred Hitchcock's "Spellbound" and opposite Bing Crosby in "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court" -- died in mid-October at the age of 97.
The game show host, known for hosting "Name That Tune," "You Don't Say" and "Password Plus," died Oct. 11. He was 93.
The actress, who appeared in films like "Edward Scissorhands" and "Erin Brockovich" but was best known for playing the housekeeper Berta on “Two and a Half Men,” died on Oct. 12. She was 77.
Ferrell died on Monday, Oct. 12, due to complications following a cardiac arrest
MLB Hall of Famer and broadcast commentator Joe Morgan died Oct. 12 after suffering from polyneuropathy. He was 77 years old.
The legendary Minneapolis sports columnist and Lakers general manager died at the age of 100 on Oct. 18.
The famed magician was known as “The Amazing Randi” and also worked as a scientific investigator who debunked sensational claims of paranormal and occult occurrences. He died on Oct. 20 at age 92.
The British lead singer and bassist for the band The Outfield passed away Oct. 20. He was 62.
The actress, known for “Show Boat” and “Give a Girl a Break," was also the model for Walt Disney animators who created the dancing in “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." She died on Oct. 21 at age 101.
The creator of "Starsky & Hutch" and the writer of "Purple Rain" died on Oct. 22 at the age of 83.
WWE star Tracy Smothers, who competed under the moniker Freddie Joe Floyd, passed away Oct. 28. He was 58.
The legendary actor known for "James Bond," "Darby O'Gill and the Little People" and "The Hunt for Red October" passed away on Oct. 31 at age 90.
The "Devious Maids" and "The Kids Are Alright" actor was shot and killed in Texas on Nov. 1. He was 30.
The "American Idol" finalist and native Texan died Nov. 1. She was 42.
Alex Trebek, longtime “Jeopardy!” host and beloved TV personality, died on Nov. 8 after battling pancreatic cancer. He was 80.
Bobby Brown Jr.
Bobby Brown Jr., son of Bobby Brown and Kim Ward, died in Encino, Calif. on Nov. 19. He was 28.
Dinkins, the first Black mayor of New York City, passed away Nov. 23. He was 93.
Ed, the brother of Bill Murray, inspired the hit film "Caddyshack" by introducing his family to the game of golf. Ed Murray died Nov. 25 at age 67.
The actor behind Darth Vader's mask died Nov. 29. He was 85.
David Lander, the actor who played Squiggy on the “Happy Days” spin-off “Laverne & Shirley,” died on Dec. 4 due to complications from multiple sclerosis. He was 73.
Tommy 'Tiny' Lister
Former wrestler and actor Tommy "Tiny" Lister, best known for his role in the "Friday" movies, died on Dec. 10. He was 62.
John le Carré
Famed British author John le Carré, whose books include “The Spy Who Came in From the Cold” and “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” died on Dec. 13 after battling pneumonia. He was 89.
The Tony-winning actor and dancer most known for directing choreography in the 1996 "Chicago" musical and as protégée of Bob Fosse, died Dec. 14 in Washington state. She was 71.
Werden was a Hollywood publicist for 35 years and the Oscars' publicity lead from 1975 to 1993. He also was a unit publicist on over 40 movies, including "Pennies From Heaven" and the original "Superman" films. He died at his home in Los Angeles on Dec. 15. He was 94 years old.
The London-based actor was best known for appearing in the original “Tales of the City” miniseries in 1993. He died on Dec. 16 at the age of 55.
The prolific animator, writer, artist and songwriter whose work included "Spongebob," "The Simpsons," "Hey Arnold" and "The Fairly OddParents," died on Dec. 22 from undisclosed causes. He was 59.
The Tony Award-nominated Broadway actress and singer died on Dec. 23 at age 59 following a battle with ALS.
The professional wrestler with both WWE and All Elite Wrestling was best known under his ring names Brodie Lee and Luke Harper. He died on Dec. 26 from undisclosed causes at age 41.
The Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher best known for playing 20 seasons with the Atlanta Braves died on Dec. 26 after a battle with cancer. He was 81.
The seventh-generation fisherman was a regular on Discovery’s “Deadliest Catch” series, appearing as a deck boss on 78 episodes over seven seasons. He died on Dec. 27 at age 33, though no cause of death was given.
The co-creator of classic TV series including “Columbo” and “Murder, She Wrote" died on Dec. 27 at age 87. His cause of death was congestive heart failure, his widow told Deadline.
The New Jersey high school principal was the subject of the 1989 biopic “Lean on Me” starring Morgan Freeman. Clark died on Dec. 29 at the age of 82.
The legendary fashion designer and entrepreneur died on Dec. 29 at age 98. He was known for futuristic designs like the bubble dress.
The public relations heavyweight died on Dec. 29 at age 88. His past clients included Donald Trump, George Steinbrenner and the Yankees, Columbia University and the Metropolitan Opera. His cause of death was not immediately revealed.
The last surviving member of the 1950s singing trio The McGuire Sisters died on Dec. 29 at the age of 89. No cause of death was immediately given.
Adolfo "Shabba-Doo" Quinones
The pioneering hip-hop dancer and star of the film “Breakin'" died on Dec. 30 at age 65. His cause of death was not immediately released.
The "Gilligan's Island" star, who played Mary Ann on the classic 1960s sitcom, died of complications due to COVID-19 on Dec. 30. She was 82.