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Claude Akins: From Bad Guys to Good Roles

Typecasting is not always permanent. Like Paul Fix, R.G. Armstrong and Ward Bond, broad-shouldered Claude Akins began his motion picture career as a character actor in tough guy and villain roles. Then slowly, over time, his screen persona mellowed as he learned to use his rough-hewn looks to play sensitive and complex roles. Eventually, he even became a star in series television, somewhat in the vein of rascally MGM star Wallace Beery.

  • icon Updated: April 29

Recent Headlines

Tuesday 04/29/2014
Deana Martin: “Leave People Happy”
Updated: April 29, 2014 - 12:57 pm

Editor’s Note: Jim Monaco is regarded as the ultimate Dean Martin collector with a fantastic collection of Dean Martin memorabilia. His relationship with the Martin family goes back many years. In advance of the Dean Martin Expo in New York City this June, Jim has prepared this interview with Dean Martin’s daughter, Deana.

Wednesday 01/08/2014
Robert Rockwell: Going the Distance
Updated: January 08, 2014 - 7:30 pm

Tall, dark and handsome, Robert Rockwell had the looks of a popular romantic leading man. Early in his professional life, however, he got cast as a hopelessly shy biology teacher in the hit television show, Our Miss Brooks, and for a long time afterwards people could only think of him as that character.

Luise Rainer
Posted: January 08, 2014

During the 85-year run of the Academy Awards, more than two dozen performers have collected two of them, and a rare few even more. Only five, however, ever won that now-coveted honor in two consecutive years: Spencer Tracy, 1937 and ‘38; Katharine Hepburn, 1967 and ‘68; Jason Robards, as a supporting actor in the mid-1970s; and Tom Hanks, a generation after that. The very first to do so was Luise Rainer.

George Hurrell: Stars in his eyes
Posted: January 08, 2014

Think of a movie-star portrait from Hollywood’s Golden Era—Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Jane Russell, Robert Taylor, Jean Harlow, Norma Shearer. If it was glossy, sexy, and captivating, it probably was made by George Hurrell, the supreme creator of the Hollywood glamour portrait. In those days, his work trumpeted the latest movie. Now his work is collected as fine art, fetching high prices in galleries and at auctions. There’s a story behind this art, and a new book tells it. On November 5, 2013, Running Press publishes George Hurrell’s Hollywood: Glamour Portraits, 1925-1992.

Olga San Juan: One Touch of Olga
Updated: January 08, 2014 - 7:30 pm

The 1940s were glamorous, but turbulent, years in Hollywood. While World War II raged, the aggressors barred American films from vast swaths of the European and Asian markets. How could film studios make up for this loss of revenue? The moguls looked southward for an answer and began cultivating the neglected Latin American market in hopes of making up some of their box office losses.

Eve Arden: "Better to Remain Just Me"
Updated: January 08, 2014 - 7:20 pm

In 1972 I did my first phone interview with Eve Arden, born Eunice Quedens on April 3, 1908. This was just after her agent had arranged a short phoner to publicize a festival of 25 of her films to be shown here in Canada on CBC-TV. Our little talk turned out to be a marathon. Despite pleas from husband Brooks West—"Please, Eve, come back to your dinner"—our talk went on for hours. The next year we hooked up in person at the old Brown Derby restaurant at Sunset and Vine. Other phone talks followed. For this article I’ve selected the highlights of our talks.

My Early Film Memories in England
Updated: October 27, 2016 - 6:15 pm

In 1941, when I was 3 years old and still living in my native England, I had tonsillitis. My mother took me to the Cornelia Hospital in Poole, Dorset. I can still remember being prepped for the tonsillectomy operation—not a bit scary—and the surgeon and nurse asking me if I had any brothers or sisters (yes, one of each) and then the smell of chloroform as the mask was put over my mouth. It all went well and I woke up in the children’s ward and was given ice cream to eat and a Rupert Bear picture book to look at. But the exciting thing came the following December when all the child patients of the year were invited to a special party. There, we were given a lovely Christmas tea, and then a movie! They had a 16mm projector and a film, a Laurel and Hardy! This was wonderful, and it was my very first film!

Braff's Personality Index: Updated December 2012
Posted: March 08, 2013