On This Day … 03 January [2023]

People (Births)

  • 1910 – John Sturges, American director and producer (d. 1992).
  • 1922 – Bill Travers, English actor, director, and screenwriter (d. 1994).
  • 1930 – Robert Loggia, American actor and director (d. 2015).
  • 1937 – Glen A. Larson, American director, producer, and screenwriter, created Battlestar Galactica (d. 2014).
  • 1956 – Mel Gibson, American-Australian actor, director, producer, and screenwriter.

John Sturges

John Eliot Sturges (03 January 1910 to 18 August 1992) was an American film director. His films include Bad Day at Black Rock (1955), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), The Magnificent Seven (1960), The Great Escape (1963), and Ice Station Zebra (1968). In 2013, The Magnificent Seven and 2018, Bad Day at Black Rock were selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

Bill Travers

William Inglis Lindon Travers MBE (03 January 1922 to 29 March 1994) was a British actor, screenwriter, director and animal rights activist. Prior to his show business career, he served in the British army with Gurkha and special forces units.

Military Service

Travers enlisted as a private in the British Army at the age of 18, a few months after the outbreak of the Second World War, and was sent to India then under British Raj rule. He was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the British Indian Army on 09 July 1942.

He served in the Long Range Penetration Brigade 4th Battalion 9th Gorkha Rifles in Burma, attached to Orde Wingate’s staff, during which he came to know John Masters, his brigade major. (Travers later acted in the film Bhowani Junction, written by Masters.) While deep behind enemy lines, he contracted malaria and volunteered to be left behind in a native Burmese village. To avoid capture, he disguised himself as a Chinese national and walked hundreds of miles through jungle territory until he reached an Allied position.

In 1945, Travers was promoted to the rank of major, and he joined Force 136 Special Operations Executive and was parachuted into Malaya. He was responsible for training and tactical decisions with the main resistance movement, the communist-led Malayan People’s Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA).

Travers was one of the first allied operatives to enter the Japanese city of Hiroshima after the dropping of the atomic bomb. He wrote about his experience in his diary, registering profound horror at the destruction and loss of life. He left the armed forces in 1947.

On 07 November 1946 Travers was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) “in recognition of gallant and distinguished service whilst engaged in Special Operations in South East Asia”.

Robert Loggia

Salvatore “Robert” Loggia (03 January 1930 to 04 December 2015) was an American actor. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for Jagged Edge (1985) and won the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor for Big (1988).

In a career spanning over sixty years, Loggia performed in many films, including The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), three Pink Panther films, An Officer and a Gentleman (1982), Scarface (1982), Prizzi’s Honor (1985), Oliver & Company (1988), Innocent Blood (1992), Independence Day (1996), Lost Highway (1997), Return to Me (2000), and Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie (2012). He also appeared on television series including the Walt Disney limited series, The Nine Lives of Elfego Baca (starring role-1958), Mancuso, FBI (in which he starred-1989-1990), Malcolm in the Middle (2001), The Sopranos (2004), Men of a Certain Age (2011), and was also the star of the 1966-1967 NBC martial arts/action series, T.H.E. Cat.

Glen A. Larson

Glen Albert Larson (03 January 1937 to 14 November 2014) was an American musician, television producer, writer, and director. His best known work in television was as the creator of the television series Alias Smith and Jones, Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo, Quincy, M.E., The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, B.J. and the Bear, The Fall Guy, Magnum, P.I. and Knight Rider. In addition to his television work, Larson also was a member of the folk revival/satire group The Four Preps.

Mel Gibson

Mel Columcille Gerard Gibson AO (born 03 January 1956) is an American actor, film director, and producer. He is best known for his action hero roles, particularly his breakout role as Max Rockatansky in the first three films of the post-apocalyptic action series Mad Max and as Martin Riggs in the buddy cop action-comedy film series Lethal Weapon.

Born in Peekskill, New York, Gibson moved with his parents to Sydney, Australia, when he was 12 years old. He studied acting at the National Institute of Dramatic Art, where he starred opposite Judy Davis in a production of Romeo and Juliet. During the 1980s, he founded Icon Entertainment, a production company, which independent film director Atom Egoyan has called “an alternative to the studio system”. Director Peter Weir cast him as one of the leads in the World War I drama Gallipoli (1981), which earned Gibson a Best Actor Award from the Australian Film Institute, as well as a reputation as a serious, versatile actor.

In 1995, Gibson produced, directed, and starred in Braveheart, a historical epic, for which he won the Golden Globe Award for Best Director, the Academy Award for Best Director, and the Academy Award for Best Picture. He later directed and produced The Passion of the Christ, a biblical drama that was both financially successful and highly controversial. He received further critical notice for his directorial work of the action-adventure film Apocalypto (2006), which is set in Mesoamerica during the early 16th century.

After several legal issues and controversial statements leaked to the public, Gibson’s public image plummeted significantly, affecting his careers in acting and directing. His career began seeing a resurgence with his performance in Edge of Darkness (2010) and Jodie Foster’s The Beaver (2011). His directorial comeback after an absence of 10 years, Hacksaw Ridge (2016), won two Academy Awards and was nominated for another four including Best Picture and Best Director for Gibson, his second nomination in the category.

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