On This Day … 22 December [2022]

People (Births)

  • 1915 – Barbara Billingsley, American actress (d. 2010).
  • 1962 – Ralph Fiennes, English actor.
  • 1968 – Dina Meyer, American actress.

People (Deaths)

  • 1941 – Karel Hašler, Czech actor, director, composer, and screenwriter (b. 1879).

Barbara Billingsley

Barbara Billingsley (born Barbara Lillian Combes; 22 December 1915 to 16 October 2010) was an American actress. She began her career with uncredited roles in Three Guys Named Mike (1951), The Bad and the Beautiful (1952), and Invaders from Mars (1953), and was featured in the 1957 film The Careless Years opposite Natalie Trundy. She then appeared in recurring TV roles, such as The Brothers.

Billingsley gained prominence for her best-known role of June Cleaver, the mother in the television series Leave It to Beaver (1957-1963) and its sequel The New Leave It to Beaver (1983-1989). She appeared as the “Jive Lady” in Airplane! (1980), and her final film role was as Aunt Martha in the 1997 film version of Leave It to Beaver.

Ralph Fiennes

Ralph Nathaniel Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes (born 22 December 1962) is an English actor, film producer, and director. A Shakespeare interpreter, he excelled onstage at the Royal National Theatre before having further success at the Royal Shakespeare Company. He has received various accolades including a British Academy Film Award and a Tony Award, as well as nominations for two Academy Awards and an Emmy Award.

He made his film debut playing Heathcliff in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (1992). His portrayal of Nazi war criminal Amon Göth in the Steven Spielberg drama Schindler’s List (1993) earned him nominations for the Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor, and he won the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. His performance as Count Almásy in The English Patient (1996) garnered him a second Academy Award nomination, this time for Best Actor, as well as BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations.

Fiennes has appeared in a number of other notable films, including Quiz Show (1994), The End of the Affair (1999), Maid in Manhattan (2002), The Constant Gardener (2005), In Bruges (2008), The Duchess (2008), The Reader (2008), The Hurt Locker (2009), Clash of the Titans (2010), Great Expectations (2012), The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), A Bigger Splash (2015), Hail, Caesar! (2016), The King’s Man (2021), and The Menu (2022). He voiced Rameses in The Prince of Egypt (1998), Lord Victor Quartermaine in Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005) and Alfred Pennyworth in The Lego Batman Movie (2017). Fiennes starred in the Harry Potter film series (2005-2011) as the main antagonist Lord Voldemort. In the James Bond series he has played Gareth Mallory / M, the head of MI6, in Skyfall (2012), Spectre (2015) and No Time to Die (2021).

In 2011, Fiennes made his directorial debut with his film adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy Coriolanus, in which he also played the titular character. He followed this with The Invisible Woman (2013) where he portrayed Charles Dickens. In 1995, he won a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for playing Prince Hamlet on Broadway. Since 1999, Fiennes has served as an ambassador for UNICEF UK. Fiennes is also an Honorary Associate of London Film School. In 2018, he received the Special Achievement Award for Outstanding Artistic Contribution at the Tokyo International Film Festival for directing the film The White Crow. For his work behind the camera, in 2019 he received the Stanislavsky Award.

Dina Meyer

Dina Meyer (born 22 December 1968)[1] is an American actress. She began her career appearing in a recurring role on the Fox teen drama series Beverly Hills, 90210 (1993-1994), before landing a leading role opposite Keanu Reeves in the 1995 film Johnny Mnemonic.

Meyer has acted in a number of roles in films Dragonheart (1996), Starship Troopers (1997), Bats (1999), D-Tox (2002), and Star Trek: Nemesis (2002). She played Detective Allison Kerry in the Saw film franchise. On television, Meyer starred as Barbara Gordon/Oracle/Batgirl in the short-lived series Birds of Prey (2002-2003) and was regular on Secret Agent Man (2000) and Point Pleasant (2005).

Karel Hasler

Karel Hašler (31 October 1879 in Prague to 22 December 1941 in Mauthausen) was a Czech songwriter, actor, lyricist, film and theatre director, composer, writer, dramatist, screenwriter and cabaretier. He was murdered in the Mauthausen concentration camp.

During World War I he also began to appear in silent films, as an actor, director and author. In 1914, he made a comedy České hrady a zámky (Czech Castles), based on his own script. The film was intended as an introduction for the play Pán bez kvartýru (A Man Without Flat). He appeared also in the comedy Ahasver and in other silent films.

Among his most successful film roles were the lawyer and deputy Uher in the drama film Batalion (The Battalion, 1927) by Přemysl Pražský, and the organist in Varhaník u sv. Víta (Organist at St. Vitus Cathedral, 1929) by Martin Frič. The coming era of the sound film in 1930s enabled Hašler to utilise his singing skills. In his first sound film role Písničkář (Balladeer, 1932) by Svatopluk Innemann he sang patriotic songs Svoboda (Freedom) and Ta naše písnička česká (Our Czech song), among others. In 1942, in his last film role, he played himself in Za tichých nocí (In the Quiet Nights), made by his son Gina Hašler. From 1932 to 1941 Hašler played in more than 13 films. In September 1941, during production of the film Městečko na dlani, based on the script by Jan Drda, he was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to the Mauthausen concentration camp. The main reason for his arrest was his patriotic songs. On 22 December 1941 the Germans poured water on him and left him outside in the December frost to get frozen like an ice sculpture.

In the post-war Communist Czechoslovakia he was officially ignored for political reasons, because many of his songs hailed Tomáš Masaryk and Czechoslovak Legionnaires and mocked interbellum communists, and also because he was an admirer of the founder of the National Fascist Community Radola Gajda, and ideologically was close to the interbellum Czech fascists.

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