Goerge A.Romero

Best known as an influential pioneer of the horror-film genre, and for his series of gruesome and satirical horror films, about an imagined zombie apocalypse, the American-Canadian filmmaker, writer and editor, George Andrew Romero Sadly died July 16, 2017. He was born February 4, 1940 in the New York City borough of the Bronx, the son of Ann (Dvorsky) and George Romero, a commercial artist. Raised in the Bronx, he would frequently ride the subway into Manhattan to rent film reels to view at his house.He was one of only two people who repeatedly rented the opera-based film The Tales of Hoffmann; the other was future director Martin Scorsese. Romero attended Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

After graduating from college in 1960, Romero began shooting short films and TV commercials. One of his early commercial films was a segment for Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood in which Rogers underwent a tonsillectomy. With nine friends, including screenwriter John A. Russo, Romero formed Image Ten Productions in the late 1960s, and produced Night of the Living Dead (1968). Directed by him and co-written with John A. Russo, the movie became a cult classic and a defining moment for modern horror cinema. Among the inspiration for Romero’s filmmaking, was the British film, The Tales of Hoffmann (1951) and Herk Harvey’s Carnival of Souls (1962).

Romero then released the films There’s Always Vanilla (1971), Jack’s Wife / Season of the Witch (1972) and The Crazies (1973) which dealt with a bio spill that induces an epidemic of homicidal madness. Sadly these were not as well received as Night of the Living Dead or some of his later work. So in 1978 Romero returned to the zombie genre with Dawn of the Dead. Shot on a budget of $1.5 million the film earned over $55 million internationally. Romero then made a third entry in his “Dead Series” with Day of the Dead in 1985. Between these two films, Romero shot Knightriders (1981), about a group of modern-day jousters who reenact tournaments on motorcycles and Creepshow written by Stephen King, an anthology of tongue-in-cheek tales modeled after 1950s horror comics. The success of Creepshow led to the creation of Romero’s Tales from the Darkside, a horror anthology television series that aired from 1983 to 1988. In 1988 Romero made Monkey Shines, about a killer helper monkey; Two Evil Eyes (a.k.a. “Due occhi Diabolici”, 1990), an Edgar Allan Poe adaptation in collaboration with Dario Argento; The Dark Half (1993) written by Stephen King; and Bruiser (2000), about a man whose face becomes a blank mask.

Romero updated his original screenplay and executive-produced the 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead directed by Tom Savini who was also responsible for the makeup and special effects in many of Romero’s previous films including Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Creepshow, and Monkey Shines. Romero also had a cameo appearance in Jonathan Demme’s Academy Award-winning The Silence of the Lambs (1991) as one of Hannibal Lecter’s jailers.

In 1998, he directed a live-action commercial promoting the videogame Resident Evil 2 in Tokyo. The 30-second advertisement featured the game’s two main characters, Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield, fighting a horde of zombies while in Raccoon City’s police station. The project was obvious territory for Romero; the Resident Evil series has been heavily influenced by the “Dead Series”. The commercial was popular and was shown in the weeks before the game’s actual release. Capcom was so impressed with Romero’s work, That they wanted him to direct the first Resident Evil film. He declined at first although in later years, he reconsidered and wrote a script for the first movie. It was eventually rejected in favor of Paul W. S. Anderson’s version.

Universal Studios produced and released a 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead, with which Romero was not involved. Later that year, Romero kicked off the DC Comics title Toe Tags with a six-issue miniseries titled The Death of Death. Based on an unused script that Romero had previously written for his “Dead Series”, the comic miniseries concerns Damien, an intelligent zombie who remembers his former life, struggling to find his identity as he battles armies of both the living and the dead. Romero has stated that the miniseries is set in the same kind of world as his Dead films, but featured other locales besides Pittsburgh, where the majority of his films take place. In 2005 Romero, who lived in Toronto, released a fourth Dead movie, Land of the Dead,. The movie’s working title was “Dead Reckoning” and it starred Simon Baker, Dennis Hopper, Asia Argento, and John Leguizamo. There is often social commentary in much of Romero’s work. They view Night of the Living Dead as a film made in reaction to the turbulent 1960s, Dawn of the Dead as a satire on consumerism, Day of the Dead as a study of the conflict between science and the military, and Land of the Dead as an examination of class conflict

In 2006, Romero began his next project, called Zombisodes. Broadcast on the Internet, it is a combination of a series of “Making of” shorts and story expansion detailing the work behind the 2007 film George A. Romero’s Diary of the Dead which was released on DVD And Bluray in 2008. Next Romero released the film Survival of the Dead in 2009 which was to be a direct sequel to Diary of the Dead, but features only Alan van Sprang, who appeared briefly as a rogue National Guard officer, reprising his role from the previous film, This film centers on two feuding families taking very different approaches in dealing with the living dead on a small coastal island.

Romero also made an appearance in the second downloadable map pack called “Escalation” for the video game Call of Duty: Black Ops. He appears as himself in the zombies map “Call of the Dead” as a non-playable enemy character. Romero is featured alongside actors Sarah Michelle Gellar, Danny Trejo, Michael Rooker, and Robert Englund, all of the four being playable characters. He is portrayed as a powerful “boss” zombie armed with a movie studio light. In 2010, Romero was asked to direct a 3D remake of Deep Red (1975) but he declined. In 2012, Romero returned to video games recording his voice for “Zombie Squash” as the lead villain, Dr. B. E. Vil. Then In 2014, Marvel Comics began releasing Empire of the Dead, a 15-issue miniseries written by Romero. The series, which is broken up into three five-issues acts, features not only zombies but also vampires and was also being developed into a TV series written and executive-produced by Romero and Peter Grunwald.

In 2017, Romero announced plans for George A. Romero Presents: Road of the Dead, a film that he co-wrote with Matt Birman, who would direct and Produce the film with Matt Manjourides and Justin Martell Birman had previously been the second unit director on Land of the Dead, Diary of the Dead and Survival of the Dead. Birman stated that the movie would be like The Road Warrior meets Rollerball at a NASCAR race, with significant inspiration from Ben-Hur. Road of the Dead is set in a sanctuary city where this fat cat runs a haven for rich folks. and one of the things that he does to entertain the wealthy residents is to stage drag races in a modern day coliseum using zombie prisoners. There’s also a scientist there doing genetic experiments, trying to make the zombies stop eating us, and he has discovered that with a little tampering, they can recall certain memory skills that enable them to drive in these races. It’s really The Fast and the Furious with zombies”.

Sadly though Romero died in his sleep following a “brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer”, while listening to the score of one of his favorite films, The Quiet Man, with his wife, Suzanne Desrocher Romero, and daughter from his second marriage, Tina Romero, at his side.

Romero’s influence, and that of Night of the Living Dead, remains huge and he has inspired inumerous filmmakers and artists, in particular those who have worked in the zombie subgenre, including comics writer Robert Kirkman, novelist Seth Grahame-Smith,and filmmakers John Carpenter, Edgar Wright and Jack Thomas Smith. He has left an impressive legacy and is Regarded as the “Godfather of the Dead” and the “father of the modern movie zombie”. The first episode of season 8 of The Walking Dead, “Mercy”, was also dedicated to the memory of Romero and stuntman John Bernecker.

Brian Selznick

American illustrator and writer Brian Selznick was born July 14, 1966. Selznick, the oldest of three children of a Jewish family, was born and grew up in East Brunswick Township, New Jersey. He is the son of Lynn (Samson) and Roger E. Selznick. His grandfather was a cousin of Hollywood producer David O. Selznick. He graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design and then worked for three years at Eeyore’s Books for Children in Manhattan while working on The Houdini Box, about a boy’s chance encounter with Harry Houdini and its aftermath. It became his debut work, a 56-page picture book published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1991.

Selznick won the 2008 Caldecott Medal from the American Library Association for the year’s best-illustrated picture book, recognizing The Invention of Hugo Cabret.Its Caldecott Medal was the first for a long book, 533 pages with 284 pictures. Selznick calls it “not exactly a novel, not quite a picture book, not really a graphic novel, or a flip book or a movie, but a combination of all these things. At the time it was “by far the longest and most involved book I’ve ever worked on. It has inspired students to action, including a fourth grade class staging a silent film festival, and a group of fifth graders who turned the book into a 30-minute modern dance.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret follows a young orphan named Hugo Cabret in Paris in the 1930s as he tries to piece together a broken automaton. The book was inspired by a passage in the book Edison’s Eve by Gaby Wood recounting the collection of automata that belonged to Georges Méliès. After his death they were thrown away by the museum that he donated them to. Selznick, a fan of Méliès and automata envisioned a young boy stealing an automaton from the garbage. The Invention of Hugo Cabret was adapted as a film, Hugo, by director Martin Scorsese and released in November 2011. Selznick cited Maurice Sendak, author of Where the Wild Things Are, and Remy Charlip, author of Fortunately, as strong influences on his books The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck.

Prior to winning the 2008 Caldecott Medal, Selznick had been a runner-up for the award, winning a Caldecott Honor in 2002 for The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins: An Illuminating History of Mr. Waterhouse Hawkins, Artist and Lecture. Other awards include the Texas Bluebonnet Award, the Rhode Island Children’s Book Award, and the Christopher Award. Apart from Writing the Invention of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck Selznick has written the Buried History of Paleantolgy and illustrated Doll Face Has a Party, Our House: stories of Levittown by Pam Conrad, Frindle by Andrew Clements, The Boy Who Longed for a Lift, by Norma Farber, Riding Freedom by Pam Muñoz Ryan, Amelia and Eleanor Go For a Ride by Pam Muñoz, Ryan, Barnyard Prayers by Laura Godwin, The Doll People by Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin, The Landry News by Andrew Clements, The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins by Barbara Kerley, The School Story by Andrew Clements, When Marian Sang by Pam Muñoz Ryan, Wingwalker, by Rosemary Wells, The Dulcimer Boy by Tor Seidler, Walt Whitman: words for America by Barbara KeRiley ,Lunch Money by Andrew Clements, Marly’s Ghost: a remix of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol by David Levithan and The Runaway Dolls by Martin and Goodwin.

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

Harrison Ford (Star Wars, Indiana Jnes, Blade Runner)

American film actor and producer. Harrison Ford was born 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.

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. Ford has also filmed corporate espionage thriller Paranoia, Directed by Robert Luketic and starringHunger Games/Avengers star Liam Hemsworth and Gary Oldman.

Ford Reprised his role as Han Solo alongside Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill in Star Wars Episode VII, The Force Awakens, which also starred John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Max von Sydow, Lupita Nyong’o, Crystal Clarke, Pip Anderson, Gwendoline Christie, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Kenny Baker. Although he sustained a minor injury while filming When part of the Millenium Falcon fell on him. The Force Awakens is set approximately 30 years after Return of the Jedi and sees a new threat in the form of the The First Order rising from the ashes of the Empire and threatening to take over the Galaxy. The First Order is led by the villainous Supreme Leader Snoke. J. J. Abrams Directed the film and co-wrote the screenplay with Lawrence Kasdan, who acted as co-writer on The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. The film was released December 2015, with Episode VIII The Last Jedi released in 2017. There is also the standalone film Solo directed by Ron Howard starring Alden Ehrenreich, Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton and Donald Glover, which concerns Han Solo’s upbringing.

Since 1992, Ford has also 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 the AIA in their mission to increase public awareness of archaeology and the preventing of looting and the illegal antiquities trade. Harrison Ford is also the husband of actress Calista Flockhart. 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.

Sir Laurence Olivier

One of the most famous and revered actors of the 20th century, the English stage & screen actor, director, and producer Sir Laurence Olivier Sadly died at his home in Steyning, West Sussex, England, from renal failure on 11 July 1989.

He, was born 22nd May 1907. He was also the youngest actor to be knighted and the first to be elevated to the peerage. He married three times, to actresses Jill Esmond, Vivien Leigh, and Joan Plowright. Actor Spencer Tracy said that Olivier was ‘the greatest actor in the English-speaking world’.During his long and distinguished career Olivier played a wide variety of roles on stage and screen from Greek tragedy, Shakespeare and Restoration comedy to modern American and British drama. He was the first artistic director of the National Theatre of Great Britain and its main stage is named in his honour. He is regarded by some to be the greatest actor of the 20th century, in the same category as David Garrick, Richard Burbage, Edmund Kean and Henry Irving in their own centuries. Olivier’s AMPAS acknowledgments are considerable: twelve Oscar nominations, with two awards (for Best Actor and Best Picture for the 1948 film Hamlet), plus two honorary awards including a statuette and certificate. He was also awarded five Emmy awards from the nine nominations hereceived. Additionally, he was a three-time Golden Globe and BAFTA winner.

Olivier’s career as a stage and film actor spanned more than six decades and included a wide variety of roles, from the title role in Shakespeare’s Othello and Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night to the sadistic Nazi dentist Christian Szell in Marathon Man and the kindly but determined Nazi-hunter in The Boys from Brazil. A High church clergyman’s son who found fame on the West End stage, Olivier became determined early on to master Shakespeare, and eventually came to be regarded as one of the foremost Shakespeare interpreters of the 20th century. He continued to act until the year before his death in 1989. Olivier played more than 120 stage roles: Richard III, Macbeth, Romeo, Hamlet, Othello, Uncle Vanya, and Archie Rice in The Entertainer. He appeared in nearly sixty films, including William Wyler’s Wuthering Heights, Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca, Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus, Otto Preminger’s Bunny Lake Is Missing, Richard Attenborough’s Oh! What a Lovely War, and A Bridge Too Far, Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s Sleuth, John Schlesinger’s Marathon Man, Daniel Petrie’s The Betsy, Desmond Davis’ Clash of the Titans, and his own Henry V, Hamlet, and Richard III. He also preserved his Othello on film, with its stage cast virtually intact.

For television, he starred in The Moon and Sixpence, John Gabriel Borkman, Long Day’s Journey into Night, Brideshead Revisited, The Merchant of Venice, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and King Lear, among others.Olivier was created a Knight Bachelor on 12 June 1947 in the King’s Birthday Honours, becoming the youngest actor so honored. Nominated by Prime Minister Harold Wilson, he was created a life peer on 13 June 1970 in the Queen’s Birthday Honours as Baron Olivier, of Brighton in the County of Sussex, the first actor to be accorded this distinction. He was admitted to the Order of Merit in 1981, the first actor to be so honoured.

The Laurence Olivier Awards, organised by The Society of London Theatre, were renamed in his honour in 1984.Though he was a knight, a life peer, and one of the most respected personalities in the industry, Olivier insisted he be addressed as “Larry”, which he made clear he preferred to “Sir Laurence” or “Lord Olivier”. In 1999, the American Film Institute named Olivier among the Greatest Male Stars of All Time, at number 14 on the list. . He was survived by his son Tarquin from his first marriage, as well as his wife Joan Plowright and their three children. He was cremated and his ashes interred in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey, London. Olivier is one of only a few actors, along with David Garrick, Henry Irving, Ben Jonson and Sybil Thorndike to have been accorded this honour. Olivier is buried alongside some of the people he portrayed in theatre and film, for example King Henry V, General John Burgoyne and Air Chief Marshal Hugh Dowding. Fifteen years after his death, Olivier once again received star billing in a film. Through the use of computer graphics, footage of him as a young man was integrated into the 2004 film Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow in which played the villain.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee was first published on 11 July 1960. It was immediately successful, winning the Pulitzer Prize, and has become a classic of modern American literature. The plot and characters are loosely based on the author’s observations of her family and neighbors, as well as on an event that occurred near her hometown in 1936, when she was 10 years old. The novel is renowned for its warmth and humor, despite dealing with the serious issues of rape and racial inequality. The narrator’s father, Atticus Finch, has served as a moral hero for many readers and as a model of integrity for lawyers. One critic explains the novel’s impact by writing, “In the twentieth century, To Kill a Mockingbird is probably the most widely read book dealing with race in America, and its protagonist, Atticus Finch, the most enduring fictional image of racial heroism.”

As a Southern Gothic novel the primary themes of To Kill a Mockingbird involve racial injustice and the destruction of innocence. Scholars have noted that Lee also addresses issues of class, courage, compassion, and gender roles in the American Deep South. The book is widely taught in schools in English-speaking countries with lessons that emphasize tolerance and decry prejudice. Despite its themes, To Kill a Mockingbird has been subject to campaigns for removal from public classrooms, and is often challenged for its use of racial epithets. Reception to the novel varied widely upon publication. Literary analysis of it is sparse, considering the number of copies sold and its widespread use in education. Author Mary McDonough Murphy, who collected individual impressions of the book by several authors and public figures, calls To Kill a Mockingbird “an astonishing phenomenon”.

In 2006, British librarians ranked the book ahead of the Bible as one “every adult should read before they die”.It was adapted into an Oscar-winning film in 1962 by director Robert Mulligan, with a screenplay by Horton Foote. Since 1990, a play based on the novel has been performed annually in Harper Lee’s hometown of Monroeville, Alabama. Harper Lee continues to respond to the book’s impact, she has refused any personal publicity for herself or the novel since 1964. To Kill a Mockingbird has also been adapted into an Oscar-winning film in 1962 by director Robert Mulligan, with a screenplay by Horton Foote. Since 1990, a play based on the novel has also been performed annually in Harper Lee’s hometown of Monroeville, Alabama.

In 2015 Harper Lee also published a sequel Go Set A Watchmen, This was originally written in the mid-1950s, before To Kill a Mockingbird was written, which was published in 1960. Sadly the manuscript for Go Set a Watchmen was Assumed to have been lost, until being discovered in late 2014 and published as originally written, with no revisions. Go Set a Watchman is described as a moving, funny and compelling 304 page novel which is set some twenty years after the events in To Kill a Mockingbird. It contains many of the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird, including an adult Scout (Jean Louise) Finch who travels from New York to Maycomb, Alabama, to visit her father, Atticus Finch and is “forced to grapple with issues both personal and political as she tries to understand her father’s attitude toward society and her own feelings about the place where she was born and spent her childhood. Go Set a Watchman also examines how the characters adjust to the turbulent events transforming mid-1950s America. The title alludes to Scout’s view of her father, Atticus Finch, as the moral compass (“watchman”) of Maycomb and comes from Isaiah 21:6:

John Wyndham

English Science Fiction Author John Wyndham was born 10 July 1903 in the village of Dorridge near Knowle, Warwickshire (now West Midlands), England, the son of George Beynon Harris, a barrister, and Gertrude Parkes, the daughter of a Birmingham ironmaster. His early childhood was spent in Edgbaston in Birmingham, but when he was 8 years old his parents separated and he and his brother, the writer Vivian Beynon Harris, spent the rest of their childhood at a number of English preparatory and public schools, including Blundell’s School in Tiverton, Devon, during World War I. His longest and final stay was at Bedales School near Petersfield in Hampshire (1918–21), where he blossomed and was happy.

He left Bedales School at the age of 18 and after leaving school, Wyndham tried several careers, including farming, law, commercial art and advertising, but mostly relied on an allowance from his family. He eventually turned to writing for money in 1925 and, by 1931, was selling short stories and serial fiction to American science fiction magazines, most under the pen names “John Beynon” and “John Beynon Harris”, although he also wrote some detective stories including The Secret People (1935), as John Beynon, Foul Play Suspected (1935), as John Beynon and Planet Plane (1936), as John Beynon (a.k.a The Space Machine and Stowaway to Mars).

During World War II, Wyndham first served as a censor in the Ministry of Information, then joined the British Army, serving as a Corporal cipher operator in the Royal Corps of Signals. He participated in the Normandy landings, although he was not involved in the first days of the operation. After the war, Wyndham returned to writing, inspired by the success of his brother, who had four novels published. He altered his writing style; and, by 1951, using the John Wyndham pen name for the first time, he wrote the novel The Day of the Triffids. His pre-war writing career was not mentioned in the book’s publicity, and people were allowed to assume that it was a first novel from a previously unknown writer.

Novels published by John Wyndham include The Day of the Triffids (1951), also known as Revolt of the Triffids, The Kraken Wakes (1953), published in the US as Out of the Deeps, The Chrysalids (1955), The Midwich Cuckoos (1957), filmed twice as Village of the Damned, The Outward Urge (1959), Trouble with Lichen (1960) and Chocky, the Web and Plan for Chaos. Wyndham also published many Short story collections including Jizzle, The Seeds of Time, Tales of Gooseflesh and Laughter, Consider Her Ways and Others, The Infinite Moment, Sleepers of Mars, Worlds to Barter, Invisible Monster, The Man from Earth, the Third Vibrator, Wanderers of Time, Derelict of Space, Child of Power, The Last Lunarians, The Puff-ball Menace (a.k.a. Spheres of Hell), Exiles on Asperus, No Place Like Earth, The Lost Machine, The Venus Adventure” (1932), The Stare, The Moon Devils, The Cathedral Crypt, The Perfect Creature, Judson’s Annihilator and The Trojan Beam

In 1963, he married Grace Isobel Wilson, whom he had known for more than 20 years; the couple remained married until he died. He and Grace lived for several years in separate rooms at the Penn Club, London and later lived near Petersfield, Hampshire, just outside the grounds of Bedales School. He died 11 March 1969, aged 65, at his home in Petersfield, survived by his wife and his brother. Subsequently, some of his unsold work was published; and his earlier work was re-published. His archive was acquired by Liverpool University. On 24 May 2015 an alley in Hampstead that appears in The Day of the Triffids was formally named Triffid Alley as a memorial to him.