Happy birthday Harrison Ford

American film actor and producer. Harrison Ford was born is date July 13 in 1942. He is famous for his performances as Han Solo in the original Star Wars trilogy and as the title character of the Indiana Jones film series. Ford is also known for his roles as Rick Deckard in Blade Runner, John Book in Witness and Jack Ryan in Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger. His career has spanned six decades and includes roles in several Hollywood blockbusters, including Presumed Innocent, The Fugitive, Air Force One, and What Lies Beneath. At one point, four of the top six box-office hits of all time included one of his roles. Five of his films have been inducted into the National Film Registry. In 1997, Ford was ranked No. 1 in Empire’s “The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time” list. As of July 2008, the United States domestic box office grosses of Ford’s films total over US$3.5 billion, with worldwide grosses surpassing $6 billion, making Ford the third highest grossing U.S. domestic box-office star. Ford is the husband of actress Calista Flockhart.

His first known part was an uncredited role as a bellhop in Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round  and he later worked for Universal Studios, playing minor roles in many television series throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s, including Gunsmoke, Ironside, The Virginian, The F.B.I., Love, American Style, and Kung Fu. He appeared in the western Journey to Shiloh and had an uncredited, non-speaking role in the film Zabriskie Point.

He eventually landed his first starring film role. In 1975, after George Lucas hired him to read lines for actors auditioning for parts in his Star Wars. Lucas was eventually won over by Ford’s portrayal, and cast him as Han Solo. Star Wars became one of the most successful movies of all time worldwide, and established Ford as a superstar. He went on to star in the similarly-successful Star Wars sequels, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, as well as The Star Wars Holiday Special.

Ford’s status as a leading actor was solidified when he starred as Indiana Jones in the George Lucas/Steven Spielberg collaboration Raiders of the Lost Ark. Though Spielberg was interested in casting Ford in the lead role from the start, Lucas was not, due to having already worked with the actor in American Graffiti and Star Wars, but he eventually relented after Tom Selleck was unable to accept.Ford reprised the role for the prequel Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and the sequel Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. He later returned to his role as Indiana Jones again for a 1993 episode of the television series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, and for the fourth film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Ford has been in numerous other films, including Heroes, Force 10 from Navarone, and Hanover Street. Ford also co-starred alongside Gene Wilder in the buddy-Western The Frisco Kid, playing a bank robber with a heart of gold. He then starred as Rick Deckard in Ridley Scott’s cult sci-fi classic Blade Runner, and in a number of dramatic-action films: Peter Weir’s Witness and The Mosquito Coast, and Roman Polanski’s Frantic The 1990s brought Ford the role of Jack Ryan in Tom Clancy’s Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger, as well as leading roles in Alan Pakula’s Presumed Innocent and The Devil’s Own, Andrew Davis’ The Fugitive, Sydney Pollack’s remake of Sabrina, and Wolfgang Petersen’s Air Force One. Ford also played straight dramatic roles, including an adulterous husband in both Presumed Innocent and What Lies Beneath, and a recovering amnesiac in Mike Nichols’ Regarding Henry. He also starred in Six Days Seven Nights, Random Hearts, K-19: The Widowmaker, Hollywood Homicide, Firewall, Extraordinary Measures, and also starred alongside Daniel Craig and Olivia Wilde in the science fiction Western film Cowboys & Aliens. As of April 2012, he was said to be in late-stage negotiations to join the corporate espionage thriller Paranoia. The movie already has Hunger Games star Liam Hemsworth confirmed as the lead while Gary Oldman is also in final talks to star in a supporting role. Directed by Robert Luketic, Production is scheduled to begin this summer.

Since 1992, Ford has lent his voice to a series of public service messages promoting environmental involvement for EarthShare, an American federation of environmental and conservation charities. In 2006 He also received the Jules Verne Spirit of Nature Award for his ongoing work in preservation of the planet. In 1993, the arachnologist Norman Platnick named a new species of spider Calponia harrisonfordi, and in 2002, the entomologist Edward O. Wilson named a new ant species Pheidole harrisonfordi (in recognition of Harrison’s work as Vice Chairman of Conservation International). Following on his success portraying the archaeologist Indiana Jones, Ford also plays a part in supporting the work of professional archaeologists. He serves as a General Trustee on the Governing Board of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA), North America’s oldest and largest organization devoted to the world of archaeology. Ford assists them in their mission of increasing public awareness of archaeology and preventing looting and the illegal antiquities trade.

During his film career Ford has received many awards including  Academy Award and Golden Globe  nominations for  Best Actor in Witness, He received the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 2002 Golden Globe Awards and  received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He has received three additional “Best Actor” Golden Globe nominations for The Mosquito Coast, The Fugitive and Sabrina, and also received the first ever Hero Award for his many iconic roles, including Han Solo and Indiana Jones, at the 2007 Scream Awards,  and also the AFI Life Achievement Award in 2000.

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Happy Birthday Patrick Stewart

Best known as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation and its successor films English film, television and stage actor Patrick Stewart was Born 13th July 1940. He has had a distinguished career in theatre and television. He is most widely known for his television and film roles, such , Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men film series, and as the voice of Avery Bullock in American Dad!.  He attributes his acting career to an English teacher who “put a copy of Shakespeare in my hand and said, ‘Now get up on your feet and perform'”. In 1951, aged 11, he entered  Mirfield Free Grammar School, where he continued to study drama. At age 15, Stewart dropped out of school and increased his participation in local theatre. He acquired a job as a newspaper reporter and obituary writer, but after a year, his employer gave him an ultimatum to choose acting or journalism, Stewart also trained as a boxer.

Following a period with Manchester’s Library Theatre, he became a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1966 where  He appeared next to actors such as Ben Kingsley and Ian Richardson. In January 1967, he made his debut TV appearance on Coronation Street as a Fire Officer. In 1969, he had a brief TV cameo role as Horatio, opposite Ian Richardson’s Hamlet, in a performance of the gravedigger scene as part of episode six of Sir Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation television series. He made his Broadway debut as Snout in Peter Brook’s legendary production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, then moved to the Royal National Theatre in the early 1980s. Over the years, Stewart took roles in many major television series without ever becoming a household name. He appeared as Lenin in Fall of Eagles; Sejanus in I, Claudius; Karla in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Smiley’s People; Claudius in a 1980 BBC adaptation of Hamlet. He even took the romantic male lead in the 1975 BBC adaptation of Mrs Gaskell’s North and South. He also took the lead, playing Psychiatric Consultant Dr. Edward Roebuck in a BBC TV series called Maybury in 1981. He also had minor roles in several films such as King Leondegrance in John Boorman’s Excalibur the character Gurney Halleck in David Lynch’s 1984 film version of Dune and Dr. Armstrong in Tobe Hooper’s Lifeforce.

In 1987 Stewart began his role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation,  and received a 1995 Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for “Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series”. From 1994 to 2002, he also portrayed Picard in the films Star Trek: Generations, Star Trek: First Contact , Star Trek: Insurrection, and Star Trek: Nemesis and in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s pilot episode “Emissary”.

Stewart became so typecast as Picard that he has found obtaining other Hollywood roles difficult. The main exception is the X-Men film series. The films’ success has resulted in another lucrative regular genre role in a major superhero film series. Stewart’s character, Charles Xavier, is very similar to Picard and himself; “a grand, deep-voiced, bald English guy”. He has also since voiced the role in three video games, X-Men Legends, X-Men Legends II and X-Men: Next Dimension. Other film and television roles include the flamboyantly gay Sterling in the 1995 film Jeffrey and King Henry II in The Lion in Winter, for which he received a Golden Globe Award nomination for his performance and an Emmy Award nomination for executive-producing the film. He portrayed Captain Ahab in the 1998 made-for-television film version of Moby Dick, receiving Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award nominations for his performance. He also starred as Scrooge in a 1999 television film version, receiving a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for his performance. (You may be able to find copies of these on Ebay)

In late 2003, during the eleventh and final season of NBC’s Frasier, Stewart appeared on the show as a gay Seattle socialite and Opera director who mistakes Frasier for a potential lover. In July 2003, he appeared in Top Gear in the Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car segment, he was cast as Professor Ian Hood in an ITV thriller 4-episode series Eleventh Hour, created by Stephen Gallagher.  He also played Captain Nemo in a two part adaptation of The Mysterious Island andt also appeared in the television series Extras. For which  he was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2006 for Guest Actor in a Comedy Series.Stewart is also a fairly frequent guest voice on Fox’s animated comedy American Dad! as Avery Bullock and also appeared with the rest of the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation in the Family Guy episode “Not All Dogs Go To Heaven

Although he remained associated with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the lengthy filming for the Next Generation prevented him from participating in most other works. He instead began writing one-man shows that he performed in California universities and acting schools. Stewart found that one—a version of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol in which he portrayed all 40-plus characters—was ideal for him because of its limited performing schedule which was performed on Broadway, receiving a nomination for that year’s Drama Desk Award for Outstanding One-Person Show it also had d a 23-day run in London’s West End. For his performances in this play, Stewart also received the Drama Desk Award for Best Solo Performance in 1992 and the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Entertainment for Solo Performance in 1994. Other Shakespeare roles during this period included Prospero in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, as well as in Rupert Goold’s 2006 production of The Tempest as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Complete Works Festival. In 1997, he took the role of Othello with the Shakespeare Theatre Company (Washington, D.C.)

Surprisingly for a Shakespearean actor, he has not  played notable roles such as Hamlet, Romeo, and Richard III He played Antony again opposite Harriet Walter’s Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra at the Novello Theatre in London in 2007 to excellent reviews. During this period, Stewart also addressed the Durham Union Society on his life in film and theatre. When Stewart began playing Macbeth in the West End in 2007, some said that he was too old for the role; however, he and the show again received excellent reviews, with one critic calling Stewart “one of our finest Shakespearean actors”. He was named as the next Cameron Mackintosh Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre based at St Catherine’s College, Oxford in January 2007. In 2008, Stewart played King Claudius in Hamlet alongside David Tennant. He won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actor for the part. When collecting his award, he dedicated the award “in part” to Tennant and Tennant’s understudy Edward Bennett, after Tennant’s back injury and subsequent absence from four weeks of Hamlet disqualified him from an Olivier nomination.Stewart has expressed interest in appearing in Doctor Who.

In 2009, Stewart appeared alongside Ian McKellen as the lead duo of Vladimir (Didi) and Estragon (Gogo), in Waiting for Godot. Stewart had previously only appeared once alongside McKellen on stage, but the pair had developed a close friendship while waiting around on set filming the X-Men films. “In 2011, Stewart appeared in the feature length documentary The Captains alongside William Shatner, who also wrote and directed the film. which is about actors who have portrayed captains within the Star Trek franchise and Stewart reveals the fear and personal failings that came along with his tenure as a Starfleet captain, but also the great triumphs he believes accompanied his role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard

Loton Park Hillclimb

This weekend There is  a Hill climb at Loton Park, Alberbury, near Shrewsbury. On Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th July Loton Park will host 2 National B one-day Hill Climb events featuring Ferrari (both days),  Lotus(Saturday), MG (Sunday), Reliant Scimitar (Saturday) and motorcycles (both days).

The  lotus event on Saturday sponsored by Lotus Specialist Paul Matty and is a heat in the Paul Matty Lotus Hill Climb Championship. Which is a class comprising of as many different and diverse models of Lotus’s ,  from road-going ‘baby’ Elans to new Elises, powerful and rare racing cars such as the formidable Lotus 30 and 6’s, 11’s, 51’s, 61’s and Lotus 69’s.  The Championship celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011 and has become very popular with spectators and grown each year to its current position,

Sticking with the theme of Motorsport,  Italian race car driver  Alberto Ascari was  born July 13th 1918, sadly he passed away in 1955, Italian racing  and Formula One driver  Jarno Trulli, was also Born 13th July  1974 and Belgian racing driver and former Formula One driver  Thierry Boutsen was Born 13th July  1957.

I hope you are not Triskaidekaphobic

Today is Friday 13th July 2012 so I thought I would repost the article about why Friday 13th is considered unlucky along with other superstitions. It is believed that if the thirteenth day of a month falls on a Friday, it will be a day of bad luck. In the Gregorian calendar, this day occurs at least once, but at most three times a year and any month’s thirteenth day will fall on a Friday if the month starts on a Sunday. Friday the 13th The fear of Friday the 13th is called friggatriskaidekaphobia (Frigga being the name of the Norse goddess for whom “Friday” is named and triskaidekaphobia meaning fear of the number thirteen), or paraskevidekatriaphobia.

The latter word was derived in 1911 and first appeared in a mainstream source in 1953. Several theories have been proposed about the origin of the Friday the 13th superstition. One theory states that it is a modern amalgamation of two older superstitions: that thirteen is an unlucky number and that Friday is an unlucky day. In numerology, the number twelve is considered the number of completeness, as reflected in the twelve months of the year, twelve hours of the clock, twelve gods of Olympus, twelve tribes of Israel, twelve Apostles of Jesus, the 12 Descendants of Muhammad Imams, etc., whereas the number thirteen was considered irregular, transgressing this completeness. There is also a superstition, thought by some to derive from the Last Supper or a Norse myth, that having thirteen people seated at a table will result in the death of one of the diners. Friday has been considered an unlucky day at least since the 14th century’s The Canterbury Tales, and many other professions have regarded Friday as an unlucky day to undertake journeys or begin new projects.

Black Friday has been associated with stock market crashes and other disasters since the 1800s. It has also been suggested that Friday has been considered an unlucky day because, according to Christian scripture and tradition, Jesus was crucified on a Friday. One author, noting that references are all but nonexistent before 1907 but frequently seen thereafter, has argued that its popularity derives from the publication that year of Thomas W. Lawson’s popular novel Friday, the Thirteenth, in which an unscrupulous broker takes advantage of the superstition to create a Wall Street panic on a Friday the 13th. Records of the superstition are rarely found before the 20th century, when it became extremely common. The connection between the Friday the 13th superstition and the Knights Templar was popularized in the 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code. However, experts agree that this is a relatively recent correlation, and most likely a modern-day invention. Although according to many Freemasons, this date corresponds with the slaughtering of the Knights Templar by the Church.

Breaking a mirror One of the longer sentences dished out by Lady Luck, the superstition follows that breaking a mirror will leave you doomed for seven years. The generally accepted explanation is that the reflection in a mirror represents a soul, so damaging a mirror corrupts the soul of the one that broke it. Some believe that the reason for the seven years is that the Romans (who were the first glass mirror-makers) believe that life renewed itself after every seven years, so the soul wouldn’t be fully restored until the next seven-year cycle had passed. I personally have broken two mirrors but (touch wood) seem to be alright, but if you are one of the more superstitious amongst us, fear not as there are great lengths you can go to in order to save the best part of your next decade: •Throw salt over your shoulder •Grind the broken pieces into dust •Bury the pieces under a tree during a full moon •Place the broken pieces in a river running south •Touch the broken piece against a gravestone

Black cat The beliefs surrounding the luck of black cats varies across the world, with some cultures believing them to be lucky and others a bad omen. The most widespread belief is that if a black cat crosses your intended path, bad luck will befall you. Black cats have often been associated with being the familiars of witches and during the Middle Ages, these superstitions led people to kill black cats. This was said to increase the population of rats and hence the spread of the Black Death (Bubonic Plague). However, according to Daniel Defoe – who was alive during the spread of the disease but wrote a fictional account of the Plague – in 1665 the Lord Mayor ordered thousands of cats and many dogs to be killed as they were believed to be spreading the disease, despite it now being understood as the fleas on the rats that were responsible.

Walking under a ladder This superstition is said to arise from early Christian teachings that an object with three points represents the Holy Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit. A ladder leaning up against a building was seen as a triangle, and to pass through this triangle by walking under the ladder was seen as breaking the Trinity, putting you in league with Satan. Of course it could simply be bad luck for you and the person at the top of the ladder if you accidentally knock it.

Opening an Umbrella indoors The most common origination of the myth stems from the days when umbrellas were used mainly as protection against the sun in Ancient Egypt. It was designed to capture the goddess of the sky’s (Nut) essence and so were suitable for use only by the highest nobility, and those seen to be holding one were seen to be bringer of bad luck. To open one indoors would also be to insult the sun god (Ra) and invite his wrath on everyone in the household. One legend surrounding the superstition is that it was invented specifically to cut down on the number of accidents that sprang from the umbrella when they had pointy and dangerous metal spokes in Victorian England.

Magpie To see a single Magpie is considered unlucky, so you may hear people greeting the bird with ‘Hello Mr Magpie. How/Where is your wife?’ to allay the bad luck. Magpies are often seen as sneaky due to their penchant for shiny objects, such as jewellery and coins, their lack of a pretty singing voice, and their habit of eating the eggs found in bird nests. An old English folk tale states that when Jesus was crucified on the cross, all of the birds sang to comfort him with the exception of the magpie. In Scotland they’re considered a sign of impending death, but in China spotting one is regarded as good luck. Generally they’re not all bad though, only when alone: The old rhyme goes: ‘One for sorrow, Two for joy, Three for a girl, Four for a boy, Five for silver, Six for gold, Seven for a secret never to be told.’

Spilling salt For many years, salt was an extremely rare commodity and so the most basic reason for considering it unlucky to spill it was to do with its cost. A valuable preservative, it was also linked with health and longevity so some cultures believed that it might be bad luck to spill salt since it could reduce your longevity or happiness. One prevalent explanation of the superstition is that Judas spilled the salt, which is depicted in Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper. It is also a religious symbol as it is used to make Holy water, and meals at the witches’ sabbath were thought to be salt-free, as it was also believed to ward off evil spirits. A German proverb held that ‘whoever spills salt arouses enmity’. The most common anecdote is tossing a pinch of the spilt salt over your left shoulder, into the face of the Devil who lurks there. Full moon

Full Moons These are traditionally linked with temporary insomnia and insanity due to the folklore that madness can occur in cycles with the moon, hence the term lunatic or lunacy. It’s also associated with lycanthropy as the mythological werewolf is said to appear when full moons are out. It was thought that to sleep in direct moonlight caused madness or blindness and in Italy, France and Germany, it was said that a man could turn into a werewolf if he, on a certain Wednesday or Friday, slept outside on a summer night with the full moon shining directly on him. Various facts have been claimed around Full Moons appearing such as Police in Toledo, Ohio claimed that crime rises by five percent during nights with a full moon and the study of the Bradford Royal Infirmary found that dog bites were twice as common during a full moon.

Treading on cracks in pavement ‘Step on a crack, break your mother’s back’ The fear of stepping on cracks in the pavement is said to originate from an ancient fear of letting the soul out of the Square, as the four corners are an ancient symbol of balance and perfection.

Never say ‘Macbeth’ According to the theatrical superstition called the Scottish curse, speaking the name Macbeth inside a theatre will cause tragedy and so the lead character is most often referred to as the Scottish King or Scottish Lord. Those who believe in the curse claim that real spells are cast in the three witches scene. Productions of Macbeth are said to have been plagued with accidents, many ending in death. The legend of the curse dates back to the premiere of the play when an actor died because a real dagger was mistakenly used instead of the prop.