Spartacus (1960), starring Kirk Douglas, is one of the classic movies TCM is airing during the 2016 Summer Under the Stars film festival.
Each August, TCM presents Summer Under the Stars, a month-long film festival that celebrates the talents of some of old Hollywood's most beloved actors with 24 hours of their best movies. This year's Summer Under the Stars continues on Monday with Gallic sensation Charles Boyer followed by English rose Jean Simmons on Tuesday. The festival will wrap up on Wednesday with rat packer Dean Martin.
Each week I'll have a viewer's guide with information about each actor and my top picks. FYI: the highlighted movies have links to feature articles.and my top picks.
Born: Aug. 28, 1899, in Figeac, France.
Died: Aug. 26, 1978, in Phoenix. Buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, Calif.
Bio: Boyer grew up in rural France as the son of a merchant. He became interested in acting after performing comic sketches for wounded soldiers during World War I. Boyer went to Paris to study acting and he soon got parts in the theater and in movies, where he became a popular romantic leading man. Boyer's Hollywood career took off in the mid-1930's where he became a popular leading man opposite Katharine Hepburn in Break of Hearts (1935) at 4:30 a.m. and Greta Garbo in Conquest (1937) at 2 p.m. Boyer became an international sensation after playing jewel thief Pepe Le Moko in Algiers (1938) at 8 p.m. and his performances in Love Affair (1939) at 4 p.m. opposite Irene Dunne; All This and Heaven Too (1940) at 5:30 p.m., opposite Bette Davis; Hold Back the Dawn (1941) at 9:45 p.m. opposite Olivia de Havilland, and Gaslight (1944) at midnight opposite Ingrid Bergman solidified his standing as an international star. Boyer mostly returned to French films after World War II like the historical drama The Earrings of Madame de. . .(1954) at noon, but he did earn a best actor Academy Award nomination for his role in Fanny (1961) at 2 p.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 30: Jean Simmons
Born: Jan. 31, 1929, in London.
Died: Jan. 2, 2010, in Santa Monica, Calif. Simmons was cremated.
Bio: Simmons grew up in Southwestern England as the daughter of a physical education teacher and his wife. She became interested in acting while performing with her sister in village plays and she was spotted by director Val Guest while she was studying at a dancing school. Simmons soon began getting good parts in British films, especially as Ophelia in Hamlet (1948) at 1:30 a.m. Hollywood soon came calling and Simmons was put under personal contract by Howard Hughes where she made the classic noir Angel Face (1953) at 2 p.m. She then played a variety of roles including a young Ruth Gordon in The Actress (1953) at 4:15 a.m., Elizabeth I in Young Bess (1953) at 8 p.m., Sister Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls (1955) at 5:15 p.m., and a Roman slave in Spartacus (1960) at 10 p.m.
Born: June 7, 1917, in Steubenville, Ohio.
Died: Dec. 25, 1995, in Beverly Hills, Calif. Buried in Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles.
Bio: Born Dino Crocetti to an Italian immigrant family, Martin dropped out of school in 10th grade and pursued a variety of odd jobs, including blackjack dealer, steel mill worker, and welterweight boxer until his smooth style of crooning landed him a series of gigs on the East Coast nightclub circuit. It was there that Martin met comedian Jerry Lewis. They became a wildly successful double act, and Paramount Pictures gave them a contract for a series of movie like At War With the Army (1950) at 2:30 p.m. that were big box-office hits. Martin and Lewis broke up in 1956, and Martin, ever the wise businessman, knew that the arrival of rock 'n' roll meant that he could no longer make a living as a solo singer. Martin got into acting with the saucy comedy Ten Thousand Bedrooms (1957) at 6 a.m. but his career really took off in the acclaimed drama Some Came Running (1958) at 3:30 p.m. where he played a gambler buddy of disillusioned war veteran Frank Sinatra. He then took on an eclectic series of roles including the musical comedy Bells Are Ringing (1960) at 8 p.m., the rat pack caper Ocean's Eleven (1960) at 10:15 p.m., and the award-winning drama Toys in the Attic (1963) at 4:15 a.m.
Check back Monday for my review of Algiers. Plus, I'll be posting photos, videos, and GIFs of each star every day on social media. You can follow me on Tumblr, Google+ or Pinterest or like Old Hollywood Film's page on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter @oldhollywood21.