On This Day … 22 January [2023]

People (Births)

  • 1898 – Sergei Eisenstein, Russian director and screenwriter (d. 1948).
  • 1940 – John Hurt, English actor (d. 2017).

People (Deaths)

  • 1994 – Telly Savalas, American actor (b. 1922).

Sergei Eisenstein

Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein (Russian: Сергей Михайлович Эйзенштейн, romanised: Sergey Mikhaylovich Eyzenshteyn; 22 January [O.S. 10 January] 1898 to 11 February 1948) was a Soviet film director, screenwriter, film editor and film theorist.

He was a pioneer in the theory and practice of montage. He is noted in particular for his silent films Strike (1925), Battleship Potemkin (1925) and October (1928), as well as the historical epics Alexander Nevsky (1938) and Ivan the Terrible (1944, 1958). In its 2012 decennial poll, the magazine Sight & Sound named his Battleship Potemkin the 11th greatest film of all time.

John Hurt

Sir John Vincent Hurt CBE (22 January 1940 to 25 January 2017) was an English actor whose career spanned over five decades. Hurt was regarded as one of Britain’s finest actors. Director David Lynch described him as “simply the greatest actor in the world”. He possessed what was described as the “most distinctive voice in Britain”. He received numerous awards including the BAFTA Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award in 2012 and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2015 for his services to drama.

He came to prominence playing Richard Rich in the film A Man for All Seasons (1966) and won the British Academy Television Award for Best Actor for The Naked Civil Servant (1975). He played Caligula in the BBC TV series I, Claudius (1976). Hurt earned Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor for Midnight Express (1978), and Best Actor for The Elephant Man (1980). Other films include Alien (1979), Heaven’s Gate (1980), Champions (1984), 1984 (1984), The Hit (1984), Scandal (1989), The Field (1990) and Rob Roy (1995).

Hurt gained further prominence portraying Mr. Ollivander in the Harry Potter film series (2001-2011), and starring in the Hellboy films (2004 and 2008), V for Vendetta (2005), Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), Outlander (2008), and Snowpiercer (2013). He also acted in the acclaimed films Melancholia (2011), Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011), Only Lovers Left Alive (2013), and Jackie (2016).

Hurt reprised his role as Quentin Crisp in An Englishman in New York (2009), which brought his seventh BAFTA nomination. He portrayed the War Doctor in the BBC TV series Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary special, “The Day of the Doctor”, in 2013. He voiced roles in Watership Down (1978), The Lord of the Rings (1978), The Plague Dogs (1982), The Black Cauldron (1985), and Dogville (2003) as well as BBC’s Merlin (2008-2012).

Telly Savalas

Aristotelis “Telly” Savalas (21 January 1922 to 22 January 1994) was an American actor and singer whose career spanned four decades. Noted for his bald head and deep, resonant voice, he is perhaps best known for portraying Lieutenant Theo Kojak on the crime drama series Kojak (1973-1978) and James Bond archvillain Ernst Stavro Blofeld in the film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969).

Savalas’ other roles include Birdman of Alcatraz (1962), The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), Battle of the Bulge (1965), The Dirty Dozen (1967), Kelly’s Heroes (1970), Horror Express (1972), Lisa and the Devil (1974) and Escape to Athena (1979). For Birdman of Alcatraz, he was nominated for the Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor.

As a singer, Savalas released a cover of the Bread song “If”, which became a UK No. 1 single in 1975. The song also peaked at number 12 in Australia.

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