Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Top Stars of Tomorrow of 1966

In 1941, the same group that produced the “top box office stars” list started polling with the question, “who are the individuals most likely to achieve major stardom?”. The results were generally an interesting mix of those who would become long term stars and those whose fame only lasted for a short time. These were the choices of 1966.

10. Chad Everett

Chad Everett first got attention with a small part in a 1960 episode of “Surfside 6”. He got his first film role the next year in “Claudelle Inglish”. In 1963, he was in the cast of ABC’s “The Dakotas”. In 1966, the year he made this list, he appeared in three films: “Made in Paris”, “The Singing Nun” & “Johnny Tiger”. It was three years before he would score the role he was most famous for, Dr. Joe Gannon on CBS’s “Medical Center”. The series ran to 1976 and netted Everett two Golden Globe nominations. He has gone on to work steadily in movies and television up to the present day.

9. Sandy Dennis

Sandy Dennis got her start with a two month stint on “The Guiding Light” back in 1956. In 1961, she appeared in “Splendor in the Grass”, her first movie. Going back to the stage, she won Tony Awards in 1963 and 1964. In 1966, the year she made the list, she appeared in the film version of Chekhov’s “The Three Sisters” and won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”. She continued to receive great critical acclaim throughout her career. She died of cancer at the age of 54 in 1992.

8. Beverly Adams

Beverly Adams’ first credit was an episode of “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” in 1963. She continued to get small roles in movies and television, but made her first big splash in 1965 with her appearance in “How to Stuff a Wild Bikini” with Annette Funicello. She appeared in four films in 1966 including two films as Lovey Kravezit, Dean Martin’s secretary in the Matt Helm series. She also married famous hair stylist Vidal Sassoon in 1966 and soon retired from acting to raise her children.

7. Robert Redford

Robert Redford first made the scene in 1959, doing Broadway and appearing as a guest star on most of the best shows of the day (Maverick, Playhouse 90, Perry Mason, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Twilight Zone, The Untouchables). He even scored himself an Emmy nomination for an episode of Alcoa Premiere in 1962, but lost to Don Knotts. In 1965, he got his first major film role with “Inside Daisy Clover”. In 1966, he starred in “The Chase” & “This Property is Condemned”. When he made this list, he was three years away from “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and mega-stardom. Today, he’s an Oscar-winning director and a film legend, so it looks like they made a good pick here even if he is only number seven.

6. Guy Stockwell

Guy Stockwell got his start in theatre in the 40’s along with his younger brother Dean. While Dean became a major child star right away, Guy had to wait a few years for his big break. It came in 1961 when he joined the cast of “Adventures in Paradise” after a couple of years of television guest spots. Universal hired him as a contract player in 1965 and started starring in several swashbuckler type roles for them. In 1966, he was in three films: “And Now Miguel”, “The Plainsman” as Buffalo Bill, and the title role in “Beau Geste”. He worked steadily in film and television until 1990. He taught acting until his death at 68 in 2002.

5. Geraldine Chaplin

Geraldine Chaplin, the daughter of silent film legend Charles Chaplin, made her first film appearance at the age of eight in an uncredited role in her father’s 1952 film, “Limelight”. She returned to the screen in 1965 when David Lean chose her to play the part of Tonya in his epic “Dr. Zhivago”. The role got her a Golden Globe nomination for Most Promising Female Newcomer. Her only role in 1966 was in an Italian film called “Andremo in Città”. She has continued working very prolifically appearing in at least four films a year over the past decade and has received much acclaim including two more Golden Globe noms. I look forward to seeing her in next year’s remake of “The Wolfman”.

4. Raquel Welch

Raquel Welch started making the rounds in Hollywood in 1964 and did several bit parts and TV appearances. Her first featured role was in a 1965 beach party film called “A Swingin’ Summer”. In 1966, when she made the list, she was in four films: two Italian movies and two really big and well-remembered films that made her a star. “Fantastic Voyage” and “One Million Years B.C.” turned Raquel into one of the predominant sex symbols of the 60s and 70s. She has had a long and varied career since, including a Golden Globe win, and is still considered one of the world’s great beauties.

3. Alan Arkin

Alan Arkin made his first film appearance in “The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming” in 1966. He got an Oscar nomination for Best Actor and placed third on this list of the most promising new stars. He was nominated for Best Actor again just two years later for “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter”. He finally won the Oscar in the Supporting category in 2007 for “Little Miss Sunshine”. He has continued to work prolifically and is still one of the finest actors in the business. They made a really good choice putting him on this list.

2. George Segal

George Segal’s first film role was in 1961’s “The Young Doctors”. He got good reviews for 1965’s “King Rat” and “Ship of Fools”. In 1966 he had a hell of a good year with roles in “Lost Command”, the fine spy film “The Quiller Memorandum”, and an Oscar-nominated performance in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”. He went on to be one of the biggest stars of the 70’s, although his career faltered somewhat in the 80’s. He was wonderful in the 90’s on the NBC sitcom “Just Shoot Me” and is still working today.

1. Elizabeth Hartman

Elizabeth Hartman’s first film role was as the abused blind girl who falls in love with Sidney Poitier’s character in 1965’s “A Patch of Blue”. The performance earned the 22 year old beauty a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress. At the time, she was the youngest actress who had ever been nominated for that award. In 1966, she appeared in “The Group” and “You’re a Big Boy Now”. She worked sporadically through the 70’s and her last role in a film was as a voice actress in 1982’s “The Secret of NIMH”. She suffered from acute depression and was working in a museum in Pittsburgh while an outpatient at a psychiatric hospital when she fell from the fifth floor window of her apartment in June of 1987. It was believed to be a suicide. She was 43 at the time.

I won't be posting again for a little over a week. I'm not going AWOL again. Leo the Listmaker is going to his 20 year high school reunion, but I'll be back with the news of 1966, television, books, comics, and more.

Thank you for your interest.


dino martin peters said...

Hey pallie Leo, man likes thanks so much for sharin' the info on Miss Beverly...truly diggs her performances as Miss Lovey with our Dino in the first two Matt Helm capers....

dino martin peters said...

Hey pallie, likes btw forgots to mention that actually Miss Adams appeared with our Dino in the first THREE of the Matt Helm epics....

Leo said...

This is true, but she was only in two in 1966. :-)

dino martin peters said...

Hey pallie, likes thanks for that clarification...have a great Dinoday man....