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TLBSPEDIA

TLBSPEDIA: GEORGE A. ROMERO

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Legendary filmmaker George A. Romero was born on February 4 1940, in the Bronx, New York. He started out making commercials and short films before moving on to feature films. His iconic movies, including ‘Night of the Living Dead’ and ‘Day of the Dead’, he combines horror with social commentary and satire.

The son of a commercial artist, George Andrew Romero loved watching movies growing up. ‘The Tales of Hoffman’ (1951), a film adaptation of an opera, was an early influence. As a teen, he borrowed the film numerous times, using a projector to watch it at home. Romero once said that only one other person took this movie out as much as he did, and the fellow fan turned out to be Martin Scorsese.

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TLBSPEDIA: MARTIN LANDAU

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Veteran character actor Martin Landau was born on June 20 1928, in Brooklyn, New York. He first dreamed of becoming an artist. After graduating from Brooklyn’s James Madison High School, Landau studied at the Pratt Institute and the Art Students League.

Around the age of 17, Landau landed a job with the ‘New York Daily News’ as a cartoonist and illustrator. He made the switch to acting in his early twenties. As Landau explained to ‘Back Stage West’, “I was being groomed to be the next theater cartoonist. But when I looked around the office and saw guys 30 and 40 years my senior doing exactly what I was doing… I knew this wasn’t for me.”

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TLBSPEDIA: VIVIEN LEIGH

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Famed actress Vivien Leigh was born Vivian Mary Hartley on November 5 1913, in Darjeeling, India, to an English stockbroker and his Irish wife. The family returned to England when Hartley was 6 years old. A year later, the precocious Hartley announced to classmate Maureen O’Sullivan that she “was going to be famous.” She was right, though her fame would eventually come under a different name.

As a teen, Vivian Hartley attended schools in England, France, Italy and Germany, becoming fluent in both French and Italian. She went on to study acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, but put her career temporarily on hold at age 19, when she married a lawyer named Leigh Holman and had his daughter. Replacing the “a” in her first name with the less commonly used “e,” Hartley used her husband’s name to craft a more glamorous stage name, Vivien Leigh.

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TLBSPEDIA: ROSWELL INCIDENT

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An unidentified flying object crashed on a ranch northwest of Roswell, New Mexico, sometime during the first week of July 1947.

Rancher W.W. “Mack” Brazel said later he found debris from the crash as he and the son of Floyd and Loretta Proctor rode their horses out to check on sheep after a fierce thunderstorm the night before. Brazel said that as they rode along, he began to notice unusual pieces of what seemed to be metal debris scattered over a large area. Upon further inspection, he said, he saw a shallow trench several hundred feet long had been gouged into the ground.

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TLBSPEDIA: VLADIMIR NABOKOV

 

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Vladimir Nabokov was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, on April 23 1899, one of Vladimir Dmitrievich Nabokov and Helene Rukavishnikov Nabokov’s five children. Nabokov’s parents were wealthy and encouraged him to develop his imagination. He studied languages, mathematics, puzzles, and games, including chess, soccer, and boxing. He was educated by private tutors and read English before he read Russian. He entered Prince Tenishev School in St. Petersburg at age eleven. Interested in butterflies his entire life, he became a recognized authority on the subject while still young. Nabokov began writing poems when he was thirteen years old and, as he described it, “the numb fury of verse making first came over me.” His first book of poetry was published in 1914.

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TLBSPEDIA: JAYNE MANSFIELD

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Jayne Mansfield was born Vera Jayne Palmer on April 19 1933, in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Mansfield’s father Herbert was an attorney and musician while her mother Vera had previously worked as a schoolteacher. Mansfield endured a childhood tragedy at the age of 3 when her father passed away from a heart attack while driving with the family. Reflecting back on the tragedy, Mansfield later said, “Something went out of my life. … My earliest memories are the best. I always try to remember the good times when Daddy was alive.”

Mansfield’s mother returned to teaching to support herself and her daughter, and in 1939 she married a sales engineer named Harry Peers. The family moved to Dallas, Texas.

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TLBSPEDIA: JACQUES COUSTEAU

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Jacques-Yves Cousteau was born in the village of Saint-André-de-Cubzac, in southwestern France, on June 11 1910. The younger of two sons born to Daniel and Elizabeth Cousteau, he suffered from stomach problems and anemia as a young child. At age 4, Cousteau learned to swim and started a lifelong fascination with water. As he entered adolescence, he showed a strong curiosity for mechanical objects and upon purchasing a movie camera, he took it apart to understand how it operated.

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TLBSPEDIA: ADAM WEST

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Actor Adam West was born William West Anderson on September 19 1928, in Seattle, Washington (some sources say Walla Walla). He spent his early years on his family’s ranch in Walla Walla, where his father, Otto, was a wheat farmer and his mother, Audrey, a concert pianist and opera singer. When he was a teenager, West’s parents divorced, and he moved with his mother and younger brother to Seattle, where he finished high school.

West continued his education at Whitman College, where he was a member of the debate team and participated in swimming, track, skiing and water polo. He graduated with a degree in English literature in 1951 and moved on to post-graduate work at Stanford and a stint in the U.S. Army, where he helped launch a series of military television stations.

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TLBSPEDIA: DEAN MARTIN

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Actor and singer Dean Martin was born Dino Paul Crocetti in Steubenville, Ohio on June 7 1917. Martin was the youngest of two sons, the oldest being Bill Crocetti, born to Italian immigrants. He attended Grant Elementary School in Steubenville, Ohio, and took up the drums as a hobby as a teenager.

After dropping out of Steubenville High School in the 10h grade, Martin worked odd jobs, including a part-time job as an amateur welterweight boxer under the name “Kid Crochet.” Martin also dabbled in illegal activities, including driving liquor across state lines during prohibition, selling lottery tickets, acting as a bookie and working as a card dealer and croupier in local gambling joints.

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