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 …

Maria von Trapp: Her Family Inspired ‘The Sound of Music’

In 1938, Maria von Trapp fled the Nazi takeover of her Austrian homeland along with her father, her siblings, and her similarly named governess-turned-stepmother, Maria Kutschera von Trapp. Their adventure eventually inspired one of the most beloved film musicals in history, The Sound of Music, which made Julie Andrews (who played stepmother Maria) into a superstar. But the true story lived by von Trapp - who died on Feb. 22 at age 99 in Stowe, Vt. – was considerably different from the one depicted on …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun 1. Valentine’s Day is for lovers … and scammers. (Learn more at AARP) 2. Barbie, 55, is #unapologetic about appearing in Sports Illustrated’s 50th anniversary swimsuit issue. (Learn more at Ad Age) Spotted in NYC: Barbie traded her parka for a one-piece! What are you #unapologetic about today? pic.twitter.com/CqnFl6ZLQP – Barbie (@Barbie) February 10, 2014   3. The FDA has approved a pill camera to replace some colonoscopies. (Learn more at AP) 4. Discussing movies about relationships …

Marriage Therapy for the Price of a Movie Ticket

By Susan Hagen, University of Rochester A new study finds that watching and discussing movies about relationships is as effective in lowering divorce rates as other, more intensive early marriage counseling programs. Discussing five movies about relationships over a month could cut the three-year divorce rate for newlyweds in half, researchers report. The study, involving 174 couples, is the first long-term investigation to compare different types of early marriage intervention programs. The findings show that an inexpensive, fun, and relatively …

Shirley Temple: The Biggest Child Movie Star

At a time when Americans were weathering the tail-end of the Great Depression, child actress Shirley Temple Black was an unparalleled sensation. People not only flocked to her movies and bought Shirley Temple dolls, they also dressed their daughters in dresses and coats modeled after those she wore in the movie Dimples. “Every girl 3 to 14 will want them,” proclaimed a 1936 newspaper advertisement for a line of official “Inspired by Shirley Temple” outfits. The film credits of Shirley Temple, who passed …

The Essential Philip Seymour Hoffman

When I glanced at my e-mail alerts on Sunday and saw that Philip Seymour Hoffman, arguably the greatest film actor of his generation, had died of a probable drug overdose, I felt the same mix of sadness and anger that came over me when Whitney Houston died. Again, a performer taken way too soon… again a drug death preceded by reports that the artist was “clean and sober”…again that empty feeling of a creative resume half-filled, never to be completed. …