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 …

Hollywood Fearless

Recently our new AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins challenged Americans to “Be Fearless at 50+.” What does that mean? I saw the answer in action recently when actress and activist Holly Robinson Peete got an oversized AARP card as she celebrated her 50th birthday at a star-studded oceanside party in Malibu, Calif. The event raised money for Holly’s charity to support Parkinson’s and autism research, two causes that have affected her family and many more across the U.S. Her family …

Reese Witherspoon and Chris Rock Walk on the Wild Side

In Theaters this week: Reese Witherspoon takes to the hills, while Chris Rock takes to the director’s chair. At Home: Helen Mirren cooks up an ageless love story.   Wild Jettisoning her perky Legally Blonde persona like a pair of too-tight hiking boots, Reese Witherspoon gets down and dirty as Cheryl Strayed, the troubled young woman whose solo 1,100-mile trek along the Pacific Crest Trail became the subject of her bestselling memoir. Director Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club) follows Strayed’s …

At 50, Monica Bellucci Is the Newest Bond “Girl”

In a year when meaty movie roles for women 50-plus were as rare as crow’s feet on Rodeo Drive, it’s gratifying to see the news from London that Monica Bellucci, at 50, is about to become the oldest Bond “Girl” ever. Bellucci will costar with Daniel Craig, 46, in SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond movie, slated for release a bit less than a year from now. The Italian actress is best known for her steamy scenes opposite Keanu Reeves in …

Mike Nichols, Director of ‘The Graduate,’ Dies at 83

Mike Nichols, who died on Nov. 19 at age 83 in New York, might have gone down as one of the great directors in Hollywood history based upon his first two films alone. His 1966 adaptation of the Edward Albee play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was nominated for 13 Oscars and won five. His second, 1967’s The Graduate, won him the Best Director statuette, and its witty, provocative send-up of upper-middle-class mores — set to a Simon and Garfunkel …

Polly Bergen: An Entertainer Who Did It All

Actresses and singers come and go, but Polly Bergen had a multifaceted entertainment career that stretched from 1949 to 2012 because she was a star at just about everything she tried. Bergen, who died on Sept. 20 at age 84 in Southbury, Conn., won an Emmy in 1958 for her portrayal of alcoholic torch singer Helen Morgan on Playhouse 90, and she made a lasting impression on the big screen as the terrorized wife of a lawyer (Gregory Peck) stalked by a …