David Bruce: The Funniest People in Dance —Work; The Funniest People in Movies — Academy Awards, Actors

Work

• Georges Skibine was dancing for Colonel de Basil’s company when its financing was cut off due to World War II. While the company was on tour in Cuba, Colonel de Basil announced that he was cutting each dancer’s salary in half. Rather than take the pay cut, Mr. Skibine left the company and took a job as a cook in Cuba. Eventually, he made his way to New York and later even danced for Colonel de Basil again.

• Krissie Illing actually made a living in street theater — something she obviously was very proud of. She was trained in both dance and mime, and she worked with Mark Britton in the duo Nickelodeon. Ms. Illing once said, “It’s taken me 29 years to prove to my father that I can work and earn a living like this. He used to say, ‘Why don’t you take an office job and keep your dancing as a hobby?’”

• Dancers work extremely hard, making their day of rest extremely important. Karen Kain and Frank Augustyn were once offered a lot of money to dance on a Canadian television program on their day of rest, but they turned the money down. Ms. Kain explained, “We didn’t want to dance on our rest day — it might have led to a poor performance later that week.”

• The Shah of Persia was extremely wealthy and had lots of dancing girls. Once, he observed a lot of people dancing at a society ball in Paris, and he asked, “Can’t these people hire someone to do this for them?”

Academy Awards

• Oprah Winfrey was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance in her first feature film, The Color Purple, directed by Stephen Spielberg. Her father made sure that he saw the movie — it was the first time he had gone to a movie theater in 25 years. At the Academy Awards ceremony, Ms. Winfrey did not win, but she joked that she was relieved because her recently altered dress turned out to be too tight: “Perhaps God was saying to me, ‘Oprah, you are not winning because your dress is too tight for you to make it up all those steps to receive the statuette.’”

• In 1988, Jodie Foster won a Best Actress Oscar for her performance in The Accused. Following her acceptance speech, she joked backstage that she would immediately put the Oscar to good use: “I rented three videos last night … and they said if I brought this in I would get them free.”

• When a man streaked across the stage during the Academy Awards, Oscar presenter David Niven said, “Let’s not pay any attention to him. All he is doing is showing his shortcomings.”

Actors

• Javier Bardem, the Spanish actor who played the very evil murderer in the Coen Brothers’ No Country for Old Men, had a number of other jobs before becoming an actor. In fact, for one day when he was a teenager, he was a stripper. He says, “Unfortunately, I made the mistake of talking about it years later and my mother and sister read the article. You talk about showing your *ss and then your mother reads all about it.” As a citizen of Spain, he has a perspective different from that of Americans. For example, one day he had a nude scene, and the American crew made sure that he was covered up when he was not actually working — he definitely got the idea that people did not want to see his rear end. However, when he was murdering people in a scene, the Americans on set were happy. Mr. Bardem says that “the day I was killing people they were like, ‘Yaah! That was good!’ I know I don’t have a nice *ss, but I would go for an *ss over killing people every time.” A final difference between Spain and other countries — which in the opinion of the author of the book you are reading now definitely includes the USA — is this, according to Mr. Bardem, “I like the way people behave in my country. It’s about being open to life instead of being obsessed about getting somewhere. There’s a moment when they put the worries about paying the bills to one side and just live. In some countries, it’s all about being number one and if you are second you are a failure.”

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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The Funniest People in Movies — Buy

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