Rod Taylor: The Aussie Actor Who Hit It Big in ‘The Birds’

You might remember Rod Taylor as Mitch Brenner, the handsome, stolid lawyer who, despite being something of a mama’s boy, summons up the courage and presence of mind to repeatedly rescue young socialite Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) from flocks of inexplicably murderous avians in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 horror-suspense classic, The Birds. Taylor, who died Jan. 7 at age 84 in Los Angeles, was one of the first Australian-born actors to make it big in Hollywood, following in the footsteps of …

Richard Attenborough: Versatile Actor Turned ‘Gandhi’ Director

Richard Attenborough had a pretty good career as a character actor. From the 1940s to the mid-2000s, he appeared in nearly 80 films, including the 1963 World War II epic The Great Escape, in which he played the mastermind of a daring flight from a Nazi prison camp, to 1992’s Jurassic Park, in which he played bioengineering genius John Hammond, the owner of an ill-fated theme park stocked with cloned dinosaurs. But Attenborough, who died on Aug. 24 at age 90 in …

Bill Murray Adds His Voice as Baloo to Disney’s ‘The Jungle Book’ Remake

Bill Murray is the latest celeb announced for the cast of Disney’s new live-action adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. He’ll be the voice of Baloo, the lovable bear who became popular after singing the Bare Necessities in Disney’s 1967 animated version. Best known for starring in Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, Lost in Translation and many more smash hits, the Saturday Night Live alum is no stranger to voicing animated characters. You heard him as the self-interested lead cat in …

Eli Wallach: The Good, the Bad and the Brilliant

Eli Wallach is burned into our memories as the “Ugly” in Sergio Leone’s 1966 spaghetti western, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. As Tuco Ramí­rez, the malevolent but clownish bandit who tangles with a bounty hunter (Clint Eastwood) and a cold-blooded killer (Lee Van Cleef) over a cache of Confederate gold, Wallach gave a performance that was lauded as “inspired” by critic Roger Ebert, who wrote that “Wallach took this low-rent role seriously and made something evocative out of it.” …

Efrem Zimbalist Jr.: The Actor Who Went From Private Eye to Mr. FBI

Back in late 1950s and early 1960s, one of the coolest series on the tube was 77 Sunset Strip, a stylish variation on hard-boiled detective noir infused with wise-cracking hipster humor – sort of Raymond Chandler meets the Rat Pack, set in what TV historian Horace Newcomb describes as “a sun-drenched world of cocktails, cool jazz and convertibles.” The show’s star was Efrem Zimbalist Jr., who, as suave detective Stuart “Stu” Bailey, deftly tangled with tough guys, charmed beautiful dames and unraveled mysteries …

Bob Hoskins: A Likable British Tough Guy

British actor Bob Hoskins was known to joke that if a film were to be made about him, Danny DeVito would be perfect for the role.   Indeed, at a roly-poly five feet six inches, with his bullet-shaped head crowned by a sparse widow’s peak, Hoskins – who died on April 29 in England at age 71 – was hardly physically imposing, nor Hollywood handsome. “Not even my mum would call me pretty,” he admitted in a 2009 interview. >> Sign up for the …