Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Beauty of Retrospect, July Actress Edition: Jessica Lange

So what has Jessica Lange been doing since I last featured her in March 2012?

Plenty.  She may be remembered as a young ingenue from the late seventies and the early eighties, but guess what - Jessica Lange is grown up now! 

One of her more notable movie roles in the past six years and change was as the aunt of a sexually repressed girl in Second Empire Paris in 2013's In Secret, and she also played the mother of a college professor addicted to gambling in 2014's The Gambler (a remake of a 1974 movie of the same name).        

Jessica Lange has done more interesting work on TV, however, as she continued to play different roles in FX's "American Horror Stories" . . . and just wrapped a miniseries about the feud between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford as part of FX's ongoing anthology series "Feud."

Ms. Lange plated Joan Crawford. 

And she's as likely to become as big a legend.   

Saturday, July 14, 2018

The Beauty of Retrospect, July Actress Edition: Isabelle Huppert

Can you believe that I haven't featured France's Isabelle Huppert before now . . .  since July 2011?

Mercy me, where are my manners?

Isabelle Huppert has been very busy in the 2010s.  One of her most notable performances was in 2012's Amour, as the daughter of an elderly couple who struggle to stay together through infirmity.  That same year, in the South Korean comedy In Another Country, she played three different Frenchwomen, all named Anne and all taking the form of a charming French visitor to Korea, in a screenplay written by an aspiring Korean film student's sister.  (Not the screenplay of the movie itself, a screenplay within the movie from one of the movie's characters!)  Both movies were up for the Palme d'Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival; Amour won it.  

Mlle. Huppert turned to Australian theater in 2013, as she appeared with Cate Blanchett (another honoree on this blog) in the Sydney Theatre Company's production of Jean Genet's The Maids, with a new English translation; it stopped in New York in 2014 on a world tour.

Mlle.  Huppert's biggest achievements of late, though, have been her performance as a philosophy professor going through numerous separations in Things To Come and her performance in Elle, in which she plays a businesswoman who gets raped by an unknown assailant.  Both movies premiered in 2016.

And she even found time to do American television, with a role on "Law and Order: SVU" in 2010.

Isabelle Huppert, below, at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival) is still active at 65.  Her latest film, Eva, was a highlight of the Berlin Film Festival.

Oh, is today Bastille Day? :-D

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Beauty of Retrospect, July Actress Edition: Terry Farrell

I can't believe I haven't revisited Terry Farrell since October 2006.

Although her role in "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" made her more famous than she already was for her movie roles, Terry Farrell decided to retire from acting to concentrate on raising her family while married to actor Brian Baker.  After they divorced, she began dating and married . . . Adam Nimoy, Leonard Nimoy's son.  And yes, the press called it a "StarTrek-crossed romance."

She made a comeback of sorts in the science fiction TV series "Renegades" in 2017.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

The Beauty of Retrospect, July Actress Edition: Donna English

Donna English has remained active in the theater since I last featured her here in May 2013.  Not only has she appeared in the original Broadway production of Living On Love, she's done The Unsinkable Molly Brown in Denver and in St. Louis, and she appeared in San Francisco production of Roman Holiday, a musical of Cole Porter songs.  One of her co-stars in the latter production was Georgia Engel (you remember Georgette on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"?  her).  

The picture above is a color version of the black-and-white photo of Donna English that I previously featured.  And about time too. :-)   

Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Beauty of Retrospect, July Actress Edition: Catherine Deneuve

And how can I not include Catherine Deneuve, still France's greatest film star (and still my all-time favorite actress) after all these years, in this month-long retrospective?

Exquisite, no? :-D

The first picture is from 1966, and the picture immediately above is from 1982, but since we're in the twenty-teens now, why don't I concentrate in her film work in this decade?

One of her more recent movies is the 2014 film In the Name of My Daughter, a harrowing real-life tale of a young Frenchwoman, Agnès Le Roux, who became estranged from her mother Renée, the owner of a casino on the French Riviera, and ultimately disappeared; Renée (played by Mlle. Deneuve) had Agnès' disappearance investigated, leading to the trail and conviction of Agnès' husband for her murder.  She also starred in Three Hearts, about a pair of sisters who fall in love with the same man at different times, the man not knowing their relation at first.  Mlle. Deneuve played the mother of the two sisters (and her real-life daughter Chiara Mastroianni, an earlier honoree on this blog, played one of the sisters).

Many of Mlle Denevue's films in the 2010s have been comedies,  such as  Potiche, a 2010 comedy about a woman who takes over her husband's umbrella factory (not located in Cherbourg), and what are now called "dramedies,"such as 2013's On My Way, about a restaurateur who faces bankruptcy and one day just decides to drive off and go on an adventure across France.  (It won her Coup de Cœur award at the Cabourg Film Festival in France.)  In her most recent comedy, 2017's Bonne Pomme (Good Apple), she plays an innkeeper smitten with a man who's run away from everything to open an auto repair shop.  Both Potiche and Bonne Pomme co-star Gerard Depardieu; Deneuve and Depardieu are the Hepburn and Tracy of modern French cinema.  

Still thought of as a perfume model in Middle America, Catherine Deneuve (above, in a more recent picture) made headlines in the United States earlier in 2018, but not for a new movie or even a new perfume; she criticized the Me Too movement for criminalizing innocent male flirting.  The criticism she received hasn't slowed down her career, though; approaching 75 years of age this October, she has two movies in post-production at this writing.

This is my first post to honor Catherine Deneuve on this blog since November 2016.    

Monday, July 2, 2018

The Beauty of Retrospect, July Actress Edition: Kristen Bell

A lot has happened to Kristen Bell since I first featured here in April 2012.

For one thing, she's been married to actor Dax Shepard (best known for his role as Crosby in the TV series ("Parenthood") since 2013, and she appeared with him in TV commercials for Samsung cell phones.  Of course, she's been more successful for another television project - the sitcom "The Good Place," starring our heroine as Eleanor Shellstrop, an amoral woman who dies and arrives in a paradisaical afterlife in which she doesn't belong; she tires to be on her best behavior do she can stay.  She also did numerous episodes of "Parks and Recreation" as a city councilwoman.  (Like her husband's old series "Parenthood," both of these sitcoms were and are NBC shows.) 

She's also remained active in movies, having voiced the character of Anna in animated Disney movie Frozen, perhaps the the most successful cartoon movie aimed at girls in the twenty-teens, and she revisited her earlier TV series "Veronica Mars" by reprising the title role in a 2014 movie.  Oh, and she 's played one of the lousy mothers in the Bad Moms movies.

I'd better not wait until 2024 to feature Kristen Bell again.  Because if I do, I will clearly miss too much of her incredible career. :-)     

Sunday, July 1, 2018

The Beauty of Retrospect: July Actress Edition!

For the longest time, my month-long looks back on women I have featured on this blog before have primarily concerned models, and some of you may have been wondering why  I haven't spent a month looking back at women in other high-profile professions.  I'm sure a lot of you have been wishing that I'd take another look back on actresses instead.

Your wish has been granted.

For the first time since September 2015, I'm doing a month-long look back at actresses I've featured before.  And why not? Many of the actresses I will be looking back on this July of 2018 have merely added to their already impressive CVs since I last featured them here, and there are some I haven't revisited for far too long.  So this retrospective series is long overdue.

Oh yeah, one thing - I will not be revisiting the former Meghan Markle, now the wife of Britain's Prince Harry.  Too easy. :-D   Anyway, I featured her not too long ago, in May 2017, and she's  obviously not going to be making any more movies or TV shows.  I won't close the door on featuring her again, but I'd personally like to take a break from Meghan-mania.

Meanwhile, I have an ID for the model from a Target ad that I recently featured.  She is Maria Borges, an Angolan model who is considered the leading top model from Africa today and who has walked the runways for every designer imaginable.  I'll be revisiting her and have more specific information on her soon enough. :-)  Thanks to "Divalocity" for the ID.  

Right. I'll be back with my first retrospective post for the month tomorrow, concerning an American TV actress who is not married to anyone in the British royal family.   

Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Beauty of Retrospect: Gisele Zelauy

Brazil's Gisele Zelauy is known for being a model of high class and sleek sophistication, and she certainly deserves the reputation, but what if she dropped that highbrow image and went for a more festive look?

Well, she's done that.

She pretty much wears all the colors of the rainbow here, with a nice fluorescent theme.  She may be a little overdressed for Carnival, but she definitely looks like that woman from Rio! :-D 

June may be over, but I have a whole month of more retrospectives for July - this time, actresses instead of models.  Back soon.  

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The Beauty of Retrospect: Tara Shannon

Tara Shannon, whom I last featured here in April 2017, has been called the woman of thousand faces.  But I think I say, without fear of contradiction, that her loveliest face is her own.

She's so confident of her own beauty in this pose that she holds a lipstick canister like she doesn't really need lipstick to be beautiful . . . like she's only modeling lipstick because, hey, that's her job.

No one could ever accuse Tara Shannon of not being confident.  That's why, now in her sixties, she promotes the need for an active life and a positive attitude for people over fifty and continues to model on a regular basis.  

I'm in my fifties now.  She's certainly an inspiration to me. :-) 

Sunday, June 24, 2018

The Beauty of Retrospect: Catherine Roberts, A Model For All Time

Catherine Roberts may not do ads for Chico's right now, but she's still active as a model.  She remains one of those incredible women who grow more beautiful with time.

Don't believe me?  Well, here's a picture of her from May 2018.

I thought that would quiet you down.  In fact, this image made me speechless. :-) 

Catherine Roberts - who, of course, is a friend of mine - has left me speechless on many an occasion. :-)

You may very well agree when you see this modeling video she has out now . . . and hear her cool, sophisticated voice.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Beauty of Retrospect: Catherine Roberts for Chico's (Again)

Although I last pictured Catherine Roberts in December 2017, these pictures are more of a sequel to my look back at her in June 2016.

Like that earlier post, this blog entry features our heroine in clothes from the women's-clothing retail chain Chico's.  And, like my earlier post, this one provides ample evidence that Catherine Roberts can look great in anything.  

These pictures are also from 2016.  Don't bother looking for more pictures of Ms. Roberts on the Chico's Web site; they've long since been replaced by photos of other models wearing the latest styles from the chain.  Well, those things happen.   That's why I made it a point to save as many Chico's photos of Ms. Roberts as possible for this blog.

My only regret is that I couldn't save any more than I did.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Beauty of Retrospect: Maria Hanson

I'm closing out June with some looks back on models I've featured before, and who should turn up but Swedish model Maria Hanson! :-D

Maria Hanson, also known as the Maidenform Woman, appeared in other guises, as in this intriguing James Moore picture of her applying eye shadow . . .

. . . or in this pensive photographic study.  (Both the picture above and below are from the early eighties.)  

Maria Hanson, whom I last featured here in February 2016, has largely retired from modeling, but she still looks beautiful even today, as evidenced below.   

Some people just know how to age well. :-)  

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Beauty of Anonymity: Unidentified Target model

I found this picture of this young, attractive model in an online ad for the Target discount store chain.

I have no idea who she is or what her name is, but her beauty alone is enough to warrant her inclusion here. Again, if anyone can identify her, please leave a message in the comment section on this blog entry. 

Monday, June 18, 2018

The Beauty of Anonymity: Unidentified actress in Dewey Stevens commercial

Wine coolers are to alcoholic beverages what the Pontiac Fiero is to cars or what Members Only jackets are to fashion - relics of the 1980s that no one really cares about any more.  But wine coolers, unlike the Pontiac Fiero or Members Only jackets, inspired a lot of clever commercials to give wine-cooler brands, usually given made-up names, some distinction.  There wasn't actually anyone named Dewey Stevens, but ads for the wine cooler of that name played on the idea that Dewey Stevens was a real individual that people knew personally.

One Dewey Stevens ad, which is embedded in this post, in particular was downright hilarious.  A very attractive blonde in a bar (below) claims to know Dewey Stevens and credits him for helping her escape from aliens who took both of them to the planet Ribnok.  "They took me because of my personality," she says.  "They took Dewey too because he's got a great wine cooler - made with passion fruit!"

Her story - and her sound-effects dramatization of it - clear the bar out in a flash, but she saves the best laugh for last - when she informs us how many sisters she has, the bartender's reaction is priceless.

A daring ad - because the last person you normally want to sell an alcoholic beverage is an unhinged woman who may have had a few too many of your wine coolers.  

See the commercial for yourself! :-D

If the Internet had been available for civilian use in the eighties, the "Who's That Hot Ad Girl?" site might have been around to identify this comely comedic actress, but her name has long since been lost to history. Or maybe not.  If anyone can identify this actress by name, after having seen this commercial, please let me know in a comment on this blog entry.  :-)  

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Australian actress Mia Wasikowska

Mia Wasikowska is not yet thirty as of this writing, an she already has a formidable record as an actress.

The daughter of a Polish photographer who immigrated to Australia (her mother - Mia Wasikowska goes by her mother's surname), she gained notoriety as an abused daughter in 2009's That Evening Sun, for which she was nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for best supporting actress, and she had already debuted on American television for playing a suicidal gymnast in HBO's series "Treatment."  She thus established herself as actress open to playing difficult roles.

The same year that That Evening Sun was released, Mia Wasikowska also appeared in Amelia, a biodrama about lost airplane pilot Amelia Earhart, as another aviation pioneer - Elinor Smith, who set several endurance and speed records in flying.  (Smith was still alive at the time of Amelia's release, at age 97.)  The next few years were pretty busy for Ms. Wasikowska, playing the title role in Tim Burton's 2010 version of Alice In Wonderland, playing  Joni, a daughter of a lesbian couple who seeks out her biological father, in 2010's The Kids Are Alright, and the title role in a new version of Jane Eyre - a bit of a coincidence for a girl who grew up in the New South Wales town of . . . Bronte. :-D

Mia Wasikowska remains active today, having recently played Alice in 2016's Alice Through The Looking Glass, and at this writing she is set to appear in the psychological thriller Piercing, based on a novel by Japanese author Ryū Murakami.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

British actress Wanda Ventham

Do you think aliens would invade the earth for a glimpse of Earthling feminine beauty?

Definitely, if they knew they would encounter someone who looked like Wanda Ventham.

Wanda Ventham is a British actress best known for her role in science-fiction TV shows.  She's best known for her role in the British series "UFO," as Colonel Virginia Lake, an operative for a military force commissioned to save the world from woman-needing Martians - the force was called Supreme Headquarters, Alien Defence Organisation. Or, as those of us in America would write it, Supreme Headquarters, Alien Defense Organization.  So everyone instead called it by its acronym, SHADO.

Who knows how hot Colonel Lake was ?  The SHADO knows! :-D 

And, if you want to get technical about it, the show's name was pronounced "YOO-foh" in Britain.

Ms. Ventham also played different roles in the long-running "Doctor Who" series.  She had a knack for science fiction in the movies as well; in 1968's The Blood Beast Terror, she had a dual role as a female character and as a the giant moth that terrorizes the populace.

These days.Wanda Ventham is known by another role: actor Benedict Cumberbatch's mother. His father, Ms. Ventham's second husband, is actor Timothy Carlton, whose last name is really Cumberbatch but who goes by just his first name and the first of two middle names.  Now in her eighties, she remains active ans has appeared in TV shows and movies, including the 2016 cinematic adaption of "Absolutely Fabulous," as well as with her husband as Sherlock Holmes' parents in an episode of "Sherlock."  

Sherlock Holmes, of course, was played by . . . Benedict Cumberbatch. :-)  

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Actress Liv Tyler

Liv Tyler is an actress who can claim two links to rock royalty.

Born in 1977 to model Bebe Buell, then the live-in girlfriend of rock star Todd Rundgren, she found out later that Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler was in fact her biological father, a role Rundgren, her adoptive father, assumed for the sake of appearances.  Liv legally changed her surname from Rundgren to Tyler as a result.  Ironically, Tyler was no more her father's original surname than her own; his original surname is Tallarico.      

Anyway, Liv Tyler could have been a singer like her two dads, but she became an actress instead.  She first gained notoriety in 1996's That Thing You Do!, a Tom Hanks-directed movie about a fictional rock band from Pennsylvania in 1964 aiming for stardom. Liv played the girlfriend of one of the band's members. 

Later roles included a part in Robert Altman's 2000 movie  Dr. T & the Women, as one of the girlfriends of the title character (played by Richard Gere) and her role as a therapist in 2007's Reign Over Me, a comedy-drama about the aftermath of 9/11.  Her best known roles are as Grace Stamper in Armageddon, a 1998 disaster movie about a giant meteor about to hit earth, and as Arwen Undómiel in three Lord of the Rings movies.

More recently, Liv Tyler has done smaller films, such as 2017's horror-fantasy film The Wildling.

Fun fact: "Liv" is not short for Olivia; Ms. Tyler was named for Norwegian actress Liv Ullmann  (an earlier honoree on this blog).

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Model Sara Sampaio

Sara Sampaio is one of the most popular models of her generation.

Best known for her Victoria's Secret ads (and that's all I'm going to say about that!), she's also been a spokesmodel for the Italian fashion brand Calzedonia and the Israeli beauty company Moroccanoil.  She's from Portugal, so it seems logical that she would represent fashion and beauty firms from other Mediterranean countries. :-)

She has also appeared in editorials for Elle, Vogue, and Glamour, and in 2014 she was featured in Sports Illustrated's annual swimsuit issue.

And, like all great beauties, Sara Sampaio looks best without makeup.         

See? :-)

Friday, June 8, 2018

Actress Dania Ramirez

Dania Ramirez is best known for her unorthodox character in the unorthodox NBC series "Heroes," about ordinary people with superhuman powers.

Her character, Maya Herrera, had the ability to emit poison and was able to kill the bride at her brother's wedding when it turned out that her bride was having an affair with a former lover who threatened Maya.  She could activate her power through stress or whenever she wanted to.

She also played Rosie Falta on the satirical Lifetime serious "Devious Maids," about Hispanic maids who work for the rich and powerful Hollywood elite, and, more recently, she has played Cinderella in ABC's "Once Upon a Time" series.

In the movies, Ms. Ramirez has played the mutant Callisto in the X-Men series (shades of her "Heroes" role!), and she played a bicycle messenger in Premium Rush.

Fun fact:  Dania Ramirez was born and raised in the Dominican Republic and emigrated to the United States to study acting, originally settling in New York City.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

CNN newswoman Abby Phillip

Abby Phillip is CNN's new star Washington correspondent.

She joined the cable news channel to cover the White House in 2017.  As she had never reported on the executive branch of the federal government before, Abby Phillip is probably the only White House correspondent who accepts Donald Trump as "normal." :-D

Her previous experience includes a stint as a digital reporter for ABC News and a news-story producer for "This Week" and "Nightline."  She worked at the Washington Post from 2014 to 2017.  

What drives Ms. Phillip as a journalist?  I'll let her explain it herself: "The stories that are the most interesting are the ones that your friends are talking about, the things where people are saying, 'what’s going on?'. . . and you can dig a little deeper."

She'll need a steam shovel to dig deeper into this White House. :-D

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Actress/singer Vanessa Paradis

Vanessa Paradis is a French female entertainer known for her multiple talents. She's sort of like the Mandy Moore of France.

She's best known to Americans as Johnny Depp's live-in girlfriend (they were together for fourteen years beginning in 1998), but she has a substantial career that touches both music and film that many people in These States may not be aware of.

In 1997, when she was not yet fourteen, she released her first record, "Joe le taxi," about a taxicab driver in Paris, and the record became an international sensation - except in America.  She later worked in the U.S. in the 1990s, working with hippie soul brother Lenny Kravitz and singing in English.  Her self-titled English-language album was released in 1992 and it produced hit singles in Europe such as "Sunday Mondays" (which she wrote with Kravitz and Henry Hirsch)  and "Be My Baby" (not the Ronettes song but a tune Kravitz co-wrote with Gerry DeVeaux).  Vanessa Paradis even included a cover of the Velvet Underground's "I'm Waiting for the Man." Again, Americans couldn't be bothered.

It shouldn't surprise anyone that Ms. Paradis has been heralded as an actress in her own country as well.  She played a suicidal circus performer in the Patrice Leconte film Girl on the Bridge in 1999, and in the 2011 movie Café de Flore, directed by Canadian filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallée, she played a 1960s single mother of child with Down Syndrome.  It got her an award for Best Actress in a Leading Role at the Genie Awards, Canada's equivalent of the Oscars, in 2012.

Maybe someday Americans will take note of Ms. Paradis's talents.  But don't bet on it.  Why not?  Perhaps you weren't paying attention . . . she's French.   

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Actress Ana Ortiz

Ana Ortiz is best known for her role as Hilda Suarez in the early-2000s ABC comedy drama "Ugly Betty."

Hilda was the older sister of Betty Suarez, who got a job at a prestigious fashion magazine despite her plain looks.  Hilda could be vain, but she always stood by her sister and was protective of the whole Suarez family.

Although being an Hispanic actress has led her to typecasting, Ana Ortiz has made the best of it, garnering praise for her role as a housekeeper in Lifetime's "Devious Maids," about a quartet of Hispanic maids who share and get involved in secrets of the rich and famous people of Beverly Hills that they work for.

Fun fact:  Ana Ortiz auditioned for the title role in "Ugly Betty," which of course went to America Ferrera (an earlier honoree on this blog).    

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Actress Elizabeth Marvel

A Marvel of acting! :-)

Elizabeth Marvel is an actress best known for her work in television, mainly dramas - particularly, "The District," a CBS police drama set in Washington, D.C., where she played Detective Nancy Parras, and the Netflix political drama "House of Cards," where she has played Heather Dunbar, the U.S. Solicitor General, who runs for the Presidency.

And as Elizabeth Keane on "Homeland," she is the President, playing the first female Chief Executive on the national-security thriller-drama.

Elizabeth Marvel obviously has a knack for playing political figures.  In Hyde Park On Hudson, a film about President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR was played by Bill Murray), she played Marguerite LeHand, Roosevelt's personal secretary, who eventually fulfilled the role of White House Chief of Staff.  

Saturday, May 26, 2018

British sportscaster Rebecca Lowe

Rebecca Lowe has left an indelible impression on television viewers as an on-camera host of NBC's Olympic coverage, but she took an interesting career path to get there. 

The British sportscaster originally hoped to become an actress, and she got herself a job on a sports-talk radio station in the U.K. while looking for an agent.  Then in 2002, she entered a BBC talent contest for a reporter to cover "football" that is, soccer - and she ended up winning.

For the next five years, Ms. Lowe did interviews and features on the BBC soccer show "Football Focus" and reported Premier League matches on Saturdays for "Final Score."  She also had her own regular feature, "Football in the Community," on the BBC Sunday soccer program "Match of the Day."  She left the BBC for the Setanta sports channel in 2007, but that channel went off the air two years later.

Ms. Lowe was soon back on her feet, though, as she then joined ESPN's new British channel as a soccer commentator, and she soon divided her time between both ESPN's American and British outlets.  When NBC in the United States began showing British Premier League matches in 2013 in response to a growing American interest in soccer, Ms. Lowe joined the network as a commentator.  Sports Illustrated named Newcomer of the Year in its 2013 Media Awards, even though she was new only to American television.  She had been honing her sportscasting skills back in the mother country for a decade. 

It only made sense that Ms. Lowe would take on the task of hosting coverage of that other great international sporting phenomenon, the Olympics. Her posh accent and her personable charisma have won her fans among Americans who watch both the Olympics and the Premiere League.  She was the Olympic daytime host at the PyeongChang Winter Games in 2018 and will be back for more at Tokyo in 2020. 

Fun fact:  Rebecca Lowe first came to America as a scholarship student at the Mercersburg Academy, a prep boarding school in Pennsylvania.  

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Japanese actress Meiko Kaji

Meiko Kaji is well-known to movie audiences in her homeland of Japan.

She was first discovered in the late 1960s by Japanese director Masahiro Makino, and she worked with him in a few films before going on to stardom in different film franchises. One of them, Noraneko Rokku (Stray Cat Rock), dealt with young people in trouble with the law.    

Her star-making role was in Lady Snowblood, a 1973 thriller in which she starred as a woman who sought revenge against those who raped her mother and killed her father and brother.  Another notable film was 1976's Yakuza Graveyard, about organized crime in Japan.

Her portrayal of a prostitute in a star-crossed romance film, 1978's The Love Suicides at Sonezaki, was a departure from her usual fare, but it earned her four awards for Best Actress in her home country.  

Meiko Kaji has worked more on Japanese television in recent years, and she's also a singer with twenty-two singles and thirteen albums to her credit, her most recent LP, Aitsu No Suki Sona Burusu (His Favorite Dream Blues), released in 2011.  She turned down offers to appear in Hollywood movies because she is uncomfortable acting in any language other than Japanese.

Fun fact: American director Quentin Tarantino used two of Meiko Kaji's songs in his 2003 martial arts movie Kill Bill: Volume 1.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Actress Veronica Hamel

Ready for another eighties flashback?

Veronica Hamel was considered one of the most beautiful women on American television during that decade.  She played public defender Joyce Davenport on the NBC police drama series "Hill Street Blues."  Joyce the love interest of police captain Frank Furillo (played by Daniel J. Travanti). 

The Philadelphia-born Ms. Hamel started out as a model and even played one in the 1971 movie Klute before making the transition to acting, and almost got the part that went to Jaclyn Smith on "Charlie's Angels."  Joyce Davenport was her biggest role on TV, but it was hardly her only one; she also had recurring roles on "Lost" and the firefighter drama "Third Watch."

Her movie roles include Dr. Kay Hutton in the Alan Alda movie A New Life. She was Alda's character's love interest, repeating the history of her role as Joyce Davenport. :-)  

Fun fact: Veronica Hamel was the last female model to appear in a cigarette TV commercial - for Virginia Slims.  It aired a minute to midnight on New Year's Eve, 1970, as the law banning TV cigarette advertising went into effect on January 1, 1971.    

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Sportscaster Ros Gold-Owunde

If women can play basketball, why can't they cover it as sportscasters?

Rosalyn "Ros" Gold-Owunde covers National Basketball Association games for Turner Network Television, after having been a sideline reporter for the Golden State Warriors in the San Francisco Bay Area.  And when she's not covering the boys, she covers their female counterparts in the Women's National Basketball Association -specifically, the WNBA's New York team, the Liberty.  

So what does a girl who never played professional basketball know about the sport?  Plenty, as Ms. Gold-Owunde played college basketball at Stanford, under the guidance of Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer. Tara VanDerveer just happens to know Ros's mom; they were roommates in college.

Ros Gold-Owunde gets her exotic looks - and her exotic name - from her Jewish mother, Pat Gold, and her Nigerian father, Austin Onwude.