On This Day … 08 May [2022]


  • 1912 – Paramount Pictures is founded.

People (Births)

  • 1916 – Ramananda Sengupta, Indian cinematographer (d. 2017).
  • 1926 – David Hurst, German actor (d. 2019).
  • 1954 – David Keith, American actor and director.

People (Deaths)

  • 1952 – William Fox, Austrian businessman, founded Fox Theatres (b. 1879).
  • 1988 – Robert A. Heinlein, American science fiction writer and screenwriter (b. 1907).
  • 1994 – George Peppard, American actor and producer (b. 1928).
  • 1999 – Dirk Bogarde, English actor and screenwriter (b. 1921).
  • 2018 – Anne V. Coates, British film editor (Lawrence of Arabia, The Elephant Man, Erin Brockovich), Oscar winner (1963) (b. 1925).

Paramount Pictures

Paramount Pictures Corporation is an American film and television production and distribution company and the main namesake subsidiary of Paramount Global (formerly ViacomCBS). It is the fifth oldest film studio in the world, the second oldest film studio in the United States (behind Universal Pictures), and the sole member of the “Big Five” film studios still located in the city limits of Los Angeles.

In 1916, film producer Adolph Zukor put 24 actors and actresses under contract and honoured each with a star on the logo. In 1967, the number of stars was reduced to 22 and their hidden meaning was dropped. In 2014, Paramount Pictures became the first major Hollywood studio to distribute all of its films in digital form only. The company’s headquarters and studios are located at 5555 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, California.

Paramount Pictures is a member of the Motion Picture Association (MPA).

Ramananda Sengupta

Ramananda Sengupta (08 May 1916 to 23 August 2017) was an Indian cinematographer. He was born in Dhaka in 1916 and became a centenarian in 2016.

Sengupta stood behind the lens in more than 70 films. His work in cinematography began in 1938 when he joined as an apprentice at the Aurora Film Corporation in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta). He worked with G. K. Mehta, as first assistant on the 1941 film Kurukshetra. Sengupta’s first independent work was Purbaraag directed by Ardhendu Mukherjee. Sengupta worked with French director Jean Renoir when he came to Kolkata to shoot his 1951 film The River.

In 2007 Utsav Mukherjee prepared a documentary Under Exposed about Sengupta. Siddhartha Maity has written a book and made a documentary, Alor Frame e Chhayar Saaj (Framing Light Against the Shadows) about Sengupta.

David Hurst

David Hurst (born Heinrich Theodor Hirsch; 8 May 1926 – 15 September 2019) was a German actor, best known for his role in the film Hello, Dolly as Rudolph the headwaiter.

Early Life and Career

Hurst grew up in a family of actors. As a Jewish child living in 1930s Germany, he faced persecution from the Nazi regime. After the pogroms of Kristallnacht, the British government allowed for the rescue of Jewish children from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland and the Free City of Danzig. He was one of the nearly 10,000 children in 1938-1939 moved with the Kindertransport to the United Kingdom. He was separated from his mother at 12 years old, and never saw her again.

Housed in a manor in Northern Ireland, he lived with other young emigrants in the care of the family of an estate manager. His first stage experience was in Belfast at a repertory theatre, where he also changed his name from Heinrich Hirsch to David Hurst. During the Second World War he joined the British army, but because of his German background he was assigned to Entertainments National Service Association, where he performed as an actor and a comedian.

His first film role was as Wolfgang Winkel in The Perfect Woman (1949), a role Hurst had previously played in the West End to critical praise. He went on to appear in many British films of the 1950s.

United States

In 1957, Hurst moved to the United States. He spent most of his time in California, but often performed on Broadway. In 1960, he created the role of Merlin in the original Broadway production of Camelot opposite Richard Burton.

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s he played in film, television and theatre. In 1959 he received the Clarence Derwent Award and in 1964, he was awarded the Obie Award from The Village Voice for his off-Broadway performance in A Month in the Country.

He performed in the film version of Hello, Dolly (1969) as Rudolph the headwaiter alongside Barbra Streisand and Walter Matthau. This was his most notable role in America. He also had roles in the films Kelly’s Heroes (1970) and The Boys From Brazil (1978). Hurst also appeared in numerous TV series including Mission: Impossible, Serpico and Star Trek.

Throughout his career he worked as a visiting professor at Yale, Boston University and Carnegie Mellon.

Return to Germany

In the 1980s he appeared in several German-American co-productions, and visited his half-brother Wolfgang Heinz in East Berlin. Hurst decided to remain in Germany, and worked in Vienna and Berlin with a fellow erstwhile emigrant (and Actors Studio colleague), theatre director George Tabori. From 1991 Hurst worked at the Burgtheater, Vienna, eventually returning to live in Berlin in 2000, when he retired from acting. He died there on 15 September 2019 after suffering a stroke and pneumonia.

David Keith

David Lemuel Keith (born 08 May 1954) is an American actor and director. His breakthrough role was that of aspiring Navy pilot Sid Worley in An Officer and a Gentleman (1982), for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award. The positive reception for this role led to leading parts in the films The Lords of Discipline (1983), Firestarter (1984) and White of the Eye (1987). Keith had notable supporting roles in features including Major League II (1994), The Indian in the Cupboard (1995), U-571 (2000), Men of Honour (2000) and Daredevil (2003).

William Fox

William Fox (born Wilhem Fuchs; Hungarian: Fried Vilmos; 01 January 1879 to 08 May 1952) was a Hungarian-American film executive who founded the Fox Film Corporation in 1915 and the Fox West Coast Theatres chain in the 1920s.

Although he lost control of his movie businesses in 1930, his name was used by 20th Century Fox and continues to be used in the trademarks of the present-day Fox Corporation, including the Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox News, and Fox Sports.

Fox Theatres

Fox Theatres was a large chain of movie theatres in the United States dating from the 1920s either built by Fox Film studio owner William Fox, or subsequently merged in 1929 by Fox with the West Coast Theatres chain, to form the Fox West Coast Theatres chain.

Fox West Coast went into bankruptcy and was sold to The National Theatres Corporation, led by Charles Skouras, on 20 November 1933, for $17,000,000.00. Eugene V. Klein later became CEO of National, and turned it into the conglomerate National General. Mann Theatres bought National General’s theatres in 1973.

This chain should not be confused with the Reading, Pennsylvania-based Fox Theatres, founded by Richard Allen “Dick” Fox in 1957 and primarily based on the East Coast.

Robert A. Heinlein

Robert Anson Heinlein (07 July 1907 to 08 May 1988) was an American science fiction author, aeronautical engineer, and naval officer.

Sometimes called the “dean of science fiction writers”, he was among the first to emphasize scientific accuracy in his fiction, and was thus a pioneer of the subgenre of hard science fiction. His published works, both fiction and non-fiction, express admiration for competence and emphasize the value of critical thinking. His plots often posed provocative situations which challenged conventional social mores. His work continues to have an influence on the science-fiction genre, and on modern culture more generally.

Notable Heinlein works include Stranger in a Strange Land, Starship Troopers (which helped mould the space marine and mecha archetypes) and The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. His work sometimes had controversial aspects, such as plural marriage in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, militarism in Starship Troopers and technologically competent women characters that were formidable, yet often stereotypically feminine – such as Friday.

George Peppard

George Peppard (01 October 1928 to 08 May 1994) was an American actor. He is best remembered for his role as struggling writer Paul Varjak in the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and for playing commando leader Lieutenant Colonel/Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith in the 1980s television series The A-Team.

Peppard secured a major role when he starred alongside Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), and later portrayed a character based on Howard Hughes in The Carpetbaggers (1964). On television, he played the title role of millionaire insurance investigator and sleuth Thomas Banacek in the early-1970s mystery series Banacek. He played Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith, the cigar-smoking leader of a renegade commando squad in the hit 1980s action show The A-Team.

Dirk Bogarde

Sir Dirk Bogarde (born Derek Niven van den Bogaerde; 28 March 1921 to 08 May 1999) was an English actor, novelist, and screenwriter. Initially a matinée idol in films such as Doctor in the House (1954) for the Rank Organisation, he later acted in art-house films.

In a second career, he wrote seven best-selling volumes of memoirs, six novels, and a volume of collected journalism, mainly from articles in The Daily Telegraph.

Notable film roles include A Bridge Too Far (1977).

Anne V. Coates

Anne Voase Coates OBE (12 December 1925 to 08 May 2018) was a British film editor with a more than 60-year-long career. She was perhaps best known as the editor of David Lean’s epic film Lawrence of Arabia in 1962, for which she won an Oscar. Coates was nominated five times for the Academy Award for Best Film Editing for the films Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Becket (1963), The Elephant Man (1980), In the Line of Fire (1993) and Out of Sight (1998).

In an industry where women accounted for only 16% of all editors working on the top 250 films of 2004, and 80% of the films had absolutely no women on their editing teams at all, Coates thrived as a top film editor. She was awarded BAFTA’s highest honour, a BAFTA Fellowship, in February 2007 and was given an Academy Honorary Award, which are popularly known as a Lifetime Achievement Oscar, in November 2016 by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

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