On This Day … 11 January [2023]


Events

  • 1927 – Louis B. Mayer, head of film studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), announces the creation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, at a banquet in Los Angeles, California.
  • 1949 – The first “networked” television broadcasts took place as KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania goes on the air connecting the east coast and mid-west programming.

People (Births)

  • 1930 – Rod Taylor, Australian-American actor and screenwriter (d. 2015).

Louis B. Mayer

Louis Burt Mayer (born Lazar Meir; 12 July 1882 or 1884 or 1885 to 29 October 1957) was a Canadian-American film producer and co-founder of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios (MGM) in 1924. Under Mayer’s management, MGM became the film industry’s most prestigious movie studio, accumulating the largest concentration of leading writers, directors, and stars in Hollywood.

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS, also known as simply the Academy or the Motion Picture Academy) is a professional honorary organisation with the stated goal of advancing the arts and sciences of motion pictures. The Academy’s corporate management and general policies are overseen by a board of governors, which includes representatives from each of the craft branches.

As of April 2020, the organisation was estimated to consist of around 9,921 motion picture professionals. The Academy is an international organisation and membership is open to qualified filmmakers around the world.

The Academy is known around the world for its annual Academy Awards, now officially and popularly known as “The Oscars”.

In addition, the Academy holds the Governors Awards annually for lifetime achievement in film; presents Scientific and Technical Awards annually; gives Student Academy Awards annually to filmmakers at the undergraduate and graduate level; awards up to five Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting annually; and operates the Margaret Herrick Library (at the Fairbanks Centre for Motion Picture Study) in Beverly Hills, California, and the Pickford Centre for Motion Picture Study in Hollywood, Los Angeles. The Academy opened the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles in 2021.

Rod Taylor

Rodney Sturt Taylor (11 January 1930 to 07 January 2015) was an Australian actor. He appeared in more than 50 feature films, including The Time Machine (1960), One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961), The Birds (1963), and Inglourious Basterds (2009).

Taylor was born in Lidcombe, a suburb of Sydney, to a father who was a steel construction contractor and commercial artist and a mother who was a children’s author. He began taking art classes in high school, and continued in college. He decided to become an actor after seeing Laurence Olivier in an Old Vic touring production of Richard III.

His first film role was in a re-enactment of Charles Sturt’s voyage down the Murrumbidgee and Murray Rivers, playing Sturt’s offsider, George Macleay. At the time, he was also appearing in a number of theatre productions for Australia’s Mercury Theatre. He made his feature film debut in the Australian Lee Robinson film King of the Coral Sea (1954). He soon started acting in television films, such as Studio 57 (1954), where he played multiple different characters.

He started to gain popularity after starring in The Time Machine (1960), as H. George Wells. He later starred in the Disney film One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961), as Pongo. In one of his most famous roles, he played Mitch Brenner in The Birds, directed by Alfred Hitchcock (1963). By the late 1990s, Taylor had moved into semi-retirement. His final film role was in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds in 2009, portraying a fictionalized version of Winston Churchill in a cameo.

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