Alan Bergman & Marilyn Bergman + Dick Smith Tribute & Early Film Studio

Marilyn Bergman Alan Bergman at the 1983 OscarsMarilyn Bergman and Alan Bergman at 1983 Academy Awards.

Songwriters Alan and Marilyn Bergman, among whose compositions are “The Way We Were” and the song score for Yentl, will be the recipients of an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences tribute on Friday, May 29, at 8 p.m. at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

The evening will be hosted by music producer and composer Quincy Jones, and will feature film clips, personal remembrances from the Bergmans' colleagues and friends, and live performances of several Oscar-nominated songs. In addition to the honorees, special guests include Dave Grusin, James Newton Howard and Michel Legrand.

Neil Diamond Marilyn Bergman Michel Legrand Alan Bergman

The former Marilyn Keith (born in New York City in Nov. 1929) met Alan Bergman (born in Brooklyn in Sept. 1925) more than fifty years ago. Their professional partnership has resulted in hundreds of songs for film, television, theater, recordings and concert performances, in addition to 16 Oscar nominations and three awards: for “The Windmills of Your Mind” from The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), “The Way We Were” from The Way We Were (1973), and the song score for Yentl (1983, above with Neil Diamond and Michel Legrand).

Some of the films that feature songs written by the Bergmans are Paris When It Sizzles (1964), La Piscine (1968), Myra Breckinridge (1970), Ode to Billy Joe (1976), A Star Is Born (1976), Starting Over (1979), Les Uns et les autres / Bolero (1981), Shirley Valentine (1989), For the Boys (1991), and Sabrina (1995).

Barbra Streisand, Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman, Michel Legrand

Among their past musical collaborators are the aforementioned Grusin, Howard, Jones, and Legrand, plus Cy Coleman, Marvin Hamlisch, Henry Mancini, Johnny Mandel and John Williams, while the Bergmans' songs have been performed on film by the likes of Barbra Streisand, Ray Charles and Luciano Pavarotti.

In 1982 the Bergmans became the first lyricists to be nominated for three of the year's five Academy Award-nominated songs: “How Do You Keep the Music Playing?” (Best Friends), “If We Were in Love” (Yes, Giorgio) and “It Might Be You” (Tootsie). The following year they again received three nominations – two for songs and one for the score of Yentl.

Tickets for “A Tribute to Alan and Marilyn Bergman” are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. The Samuel Goldwyn Theater is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For more information, call (310) 247-3600 or visit www.oscars.org.

Photos: Courtesy of the Margaret Herrick Library

Dick Smith tribute

Dick Smith, Al Pacino on The Godfather set
Dick Smith, Marlon Brando, Phil Rhodes - The Godfather
The Godfather: Dick Smith and Al Pacino (top); Smith, Marlon Brando, and Phil Rhodes (bottom)

Dick Smith, Marlon Brando on The Godfather set"A Tribute to Dick Smith: The Godfather of Special Make-Up Effects” will be presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Scienceson Wednesday, June 17, at 7:30 p.m. at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

Six-time Oscar-winning make-up artist Rick Baker will host the evening, which will be attended by Dick Smith himself and will feature a panel discussion including writer-director Guillermo del Toro, actor Hal Holbrook, and make-up artists Greg Cannom, Kazuhiro Tsuji and Andrew Clement, among others.

The evening will highlight Smith's long career, which began in 1945 when he became NBC's first make-up man. Among Smith's credits are The World of Henry Orient, Little Big Man (in which Dustin Hoffman ends up playing a 100-year-old man), The Godfather, The Exorcist, The Godfather: Part II, The Stepford Wives, Taxi Driver, The Hunger, and Dad. Additionally, Smith shared an Oscar with Paul LeBlanc (below) for their work in Amadeus (1984). (There was no annual best make-up category at the Oscars until 1982.)

Paul LeBlanc, Dick Smith

Tickets for “A Tribute to Dick Smith” are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. The Academy is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For more information, call (310) 247-3600. For the latest updates on panelists and program details, visit www.oscars.org.

Photos: Courtesy of the Margaret Herrick Library

William N. Selig and chimp

Movies! Moguls! Monkeys! and Murder!: Centennial of Los Angeles' First Film Studio

“Movies! Moguls! Monkeys! and Murder!” is the title of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' celebration of the centennial of the first permanent film studio in the Los Angeles area. The event, which will showcase films shot in Los Angeles between 1909 and 1914, will take place on Wednesday, May 20, at 7:30 p.m. at the Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood.

“Movies! Moguls! Monkeys! and Murder!” will also kick off a three-month exhibition exploring those pioneering days, when independent producers set up shop in Southern California to enjoy the sunshine, the varied topography, and the distance between Los Angeles and the East Coast's filmmaking oligarchy.

And what was the first LA-based film studio?

That's the Selig Polyscope Company's studio in the suburb of Edendale (today's Echo Park/Silver Lake area, northwest of downtown LA). Following some location shooting at a Los Angeles-area beach to insert into their Monte Cristo (1908), producer William N. Selig (pictured with baby elephant, chimp, and Academy librarian Margaret Herrick in 1948) and director Francis Boggs opened the region's first permanent film studio in 1909.

By 1911 the area had become a filmmaking hub. In its July issue, the now forgotten film trade publication Motography called Edendale “a very beautiful suburb of Los Angeles. It is the motion picture center of the Pacific Coast. With clear air and sunshine three hundred days out of the year, conditions are ideal for perfect picture making.  The scenic advantages of the location, too, are unique.  From [Edendale] can be seen the Pacific Ocean, twenty-two miles to the west, and the broad panorama of Southern California, with its fruit and stock ranches, its snowcapped mountains and its tropical [!!!!] vegetation, to the east, north and south. Within a short distance of Edendale may be found every known variety of national scenery, seemingly arranged by a master producer expressly for the motion picture camera.”

As per the Academy's press release, “Movies! Moguls! Monkeys! and Murder!” will feature archival prints “representing the earliest surviving glimpses of Los Angeles as a filming location.” On display at the accompanying exhibition will be rare photographs, original correspondence, vintage camera equipment and other film-related artifacts, in addition to materials about both the first film studio murder and the Selig menagerie, a forerunner of the Los Angeles Zoo.

The murder in question is that of Francis Boggs, who was killed by his gardener in 1911. (Selig was reportedly also injured in the incident.)

In the late 1910s, Selig's studio was sold to William Fox. A number of Theda Bara vehicles and Tom Mix Westerns were shot there and in the surrounding areas. More information on Edendale can be found at the Echo Park Historical Society website.

Tickets to “Movies! Moguls! Monkeys! and Murder!” on May 20 are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. The exhibition is free and open to the public through August 30. Exhibition hours are Saturdays from noon to 6 p.m. and whenever Academy public programs are hosted at the Linwood Dunn Theater. The Academy will be closed for the Memorial and Independence Day holiday weekends, May 23 through 25 and July 3 through 5, respectively.

The Linwood Dunn Theater is located at 1313 Vine Street in Hollywood. For more information call (310) 247-3600 or visit www.oscars.org.

Photos: Courtesy of the Margaret Herrick Library

 

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