Friday, May 29, 2009

Who Is That: Edward Asner

Name: Edward Asner
Occupation: Actor
Genre: Television / Voice Over
Born: November 15, 1929

Ed Asner is a longstanding favorite of mine. This fantastic character actor, and former President of the Screen Actors Guild, won over the hearts of millions with his Emmy Award winning portrayal of Lou Grant on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and is currently winning over audiences of all ages with his vocal talents as the lead in the Disney/Pixar smash hit Up.

His credit list is incredibly vast with a career spanning over 50 years! This is just a small list of some of his more well known credits.

Before landing his star-making role as Lou Grant in 1970, Asner appeared in guest spots on some of the top television shows of the 1960s including "Gunsmoke", "Mission: Impossible", "Alfred Hitchcock Presents", "The Outer Limits", "Outlaws", and "The Untouchables".

Asner won multiple Emmy and Golden Globe awards for his portrayal of Lou Grant, not just on "Mary Tyler Moore", but also in his own spin-off series "Lou Grant" which ran from 1977-1982. This makes him the only actor to win an Emmy in both Sitcom and Drama categories for the same role.

He also won a Golden Globe and Emmy for his work on the television film "Rich Man, Poor Man", and won the Emmy for his supporting role in "Roots". He has since had guest spots on such hit television series as "Mad About You", "Arli$$", "The X-Files", "The Closer", "Dharma and Greg", "The Practice", "Touched By an Angel", "ER", and "Curb Your Enthusiasm" among many, many others. He is currently appearing on a semi-regular segment of "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" entitled "Does This Impress Ed Asner?"

Asner has also appeared in the films JFK, The Bachelor, and Elf, as well as Broadway productions of The Threepenny Opera, Face of a Hero, and Born Yesterday. He is set to appear in the upcoming films Trim (with Bruce Dern) and Stride (with Danny Glover).

The bulk of Asner's work since portraying Lou Grant has taken place in the recording studios, providing voices for some of the most successful animated series of the past three decades including voicing Hudson in Disney's "Gargoyles", J. Jonah Jameson in "Spider-Man", Master Vrook in "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic", Roland Daggett in "Batman: The Animated Series", and Hoggish Greedly in "Captain Planet and the Planeteers".

He has also done guest voice work for series such as "The Simpsons", "Recess", "Animaniacs", "Hercules", "Superman", "Buzz Lightyear of Star Command", "King of the Hill", and much more!

An avid comic book fan, Asner is a member of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, a free speech organization that's dedicated to protecting comic book creators and retailers from prosecutions based on content. He is also listed as an adviser to the Rosenberg Foundation, an organization founded by the children of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg which provides benefits for the children of political activists, and as a board member for the wildlife conservation organization Defenders of Wildlife.

He was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Screen Actors Guild and has a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Model and television personality Jules Asner is his former daughter-in-law and 42nd Mayor of San Francisco Gavin Newsom is his nephew.

The man has had (and continues to have) one amazing career and a very full life. He is, to put it far too simply, an amazing human being.

Below is a brief interview, along with footage and photos from his various films and television shows. Don't miss Edward Asner's memorable voice work in Up!

Happy Birthday Danny Elfman!

On this day, May 29, 1953, Daniel Robert Elfman was born in Los Angeles, CA.

This man would go on to lead a band of unlikely stars into the spotlight of alternative rock with Oingo Boingo, as well as becoming one of the most well known and loved film and television composers of all time with his scores including iconic successes such as Edward Scissorhands, Batman, Batman Returns, Beetlejuice, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Men In Black, Good Will Hunting, Spider-Man, Milk, and the theme music for the hit television shows "Tales from the Crypt", "The Simpsons", and "Desperate Housewives". He has won a myriad of awards and is both a Grammy and Academy Award nominee.

His music has brought much joy and inspiration to my life since I was a child. I look forward to the continuation of his magnificently original work and wish him the happiest of birthdays!

Long live Danny Elfman.

Music by Danny Elfman - Main TItle

Found at bee mp3 search engine

A Gay Moment: Zachary Quinto

This Gay Moment is brought to you by J.J. Abrams' Star Trek.

Zachary: I will not allow you to lecture me about the merits of "marriage protection"!

Monday, May 25, 2009

R.I.P. Wayne Allwine

Disney fans (and cartoon fans in general) received some sad news last week. A man whom most people would never recognize in a crowd and whose name rings no bell in their memory, yet he was an international entertainment star, has passed away. This man is Disney Legend Wayne Allwine. The talented and charismatic artist who had been bringing the immortal and beloved character of Mickey Mouse to life for the past 32 years.

He was the third person to voice the most famous mouse in history, in line following Walt Disney and Jimmy MacDonald. He was 62 years old. He was multi-talented, kind, humble, and had a great zeal and appreciation for life.


Name: Wayne Allwine
Occupation: Voice Over / Sound Editor
Genre: Animation / Film
Born: February 7, 1947
Died: May 18, 2009

Longing to work for Disney since childhood, Allwine got his start with the entertainment empire in the mail room of the studio in Burbank shortly before Walt's death in 1966. After working for extended periods in the mail room as well as a brief stint in wardrobe, Allwine left the company only to be called back two months later to "learn Jimmy MacDonald's job".

At that time, Jimmy MacDonald was the head of sound effects at Disney and one of the most innovative foley artists in the business. Allwine learned the artform from MacDonald and went on to have a successful sound editing career in the decade to follow, including winning an Emmy for it in 1985. MacDonald was also the current voice of Mickey Mouse, but due to his advancing years and naturally baritone voice he was unable to sustain the falsetto for the duration of recording sessions.

Allwine took over voicing Mickey Mouse in 1977 for "The New Mickey Mouse Club" and made his theatrical debut as Mickey in the holiday featurette Mickey's Christmas Carol in 1983. He went on to star as Mickey in films such as The Prince and the Pauper, Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, as well as the TV series "Mickey Mouse Works", "House of Mouse", and "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse".

He also provided Mickey's voice for nearly every entry in the popular "Kingdom Hearts" series of video games. Allwine had already finished recording for the Nintendo DS game "Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days" before his passing. He had voiced the character longer than either of his predecessors.

He was married since 1991 to Russi Taylor, the Emmy Award nominated voice over actress who has been voicing Minnie Mouse for the last 23 years. The pair were named Disney Legends in 2008. Allwine died in Los Angeles of complications from diabetes with Russi at his side.

Below is a very interesting excerpt from an interview with Allwine and Taylor conducted by film historian and Disney enthusiast Leonard Maltin.