James Caan passed away last week at the age of 82. He’s rightfully received praise for his roles in Brian’s Song (which earned him an Emmy nomination) and The Godfather (Caan received his only Oscar nod for his performance as Sonny Corleone). But when I think of Caan, I think of three movies: Thief, Misery, and Elf.
Tony Sirico, best known as The Sopranos‘ Paulie Walnuts, also died last week at the age of 79. No official cause of death was given, but Sirico was apparently diagnosed with dementia several years ago.
After six years and two kids, Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons are married. Dunst and Plemons met in 2015 while filming season two of Fargo, where they played Peggy and Ed Blumquist. The two also appeared together in one of 2021’s most highly acclaimed films, The Power of the Dog, for which they were both nominated for Oscars.
Speaking of Jesse Plemons, my husband and I recently began watching Friday NightLights, which neither of us had seen before (2006 was a challenging year for us, and television wasn’t a top priority). The entire cast – headlined by Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton (Eric and Tami Taylor are #relationshipgoals) – is fantastic. Plemons, in his breakout role, was just eighteen when the series premiered. In the first season, his Landry Clarke mainly provided comic relief for Zach Gilford’s super-serious quarterback Matt Saracen. But in season two, Plemons was given his own storyline (plus a romance AND a spot on the football team!) and he knocked it out of the park. Anyway, Friday Night Lights is awesome and I highly recommend it; you can stream it on Netflix or Hulu.
The Last Movie Stars, an intimate profile of one of Hollywood’s most enduring and beloved couples – Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman – will premiere on HBO Max on July 21. Directed by Ethan Hawke, The Last Movie Stars will feature the couple’s home movies as well as transcripts of interviews with their friends (Laura Linney and George Clooney provide the voices of Woodward and Newman). I can’t wait for this one.
The trailer for David O. Russell’s upcoming Amsterdam was also released this past week. I do love a period comedy-mystery and the cast is *chef’s kiss*.
Fred Gwynne, best known for his roles in 60s sitcoms Car 54, Where Are You? and The Munsters, was born on July 10, 1926. Gwynne’s height (6’5″) and his booming baritone voice made him the perfect fit for Herman Munster (although they had to add up to fifty pounds of padding to give him the requisite hulking frame). The Munsters only ran for three seasons on CBS but the series found life in syndication; Herman Munster remains Gwynne’s most iconic role. Gwynne made memorable appearances in 80s flicks like The Cotton Club, Fatal Attraction, and Pet Sematary. His final film appearance was My Cousin Vinny, a movie I unabashedly love. Gwynne passed away in 1993 after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Pet Shop Boy Neil Tennant was born on July 10, 1954. Tennant met Chris Lowe in 1981 (at the time, Tennant worked in publishing but dreamed of a music career); the two bonded over a love of early synthpop pioneers like OMD, Soft Cell, and Kraftwerk. In 1983, after being hired by British music magazine Smash Hits, Tennant traveled to New York City to interview The Police. While in New York, Tennant met with music producer Bobby Orlando, who agreed to a recording session with the lads. Orlando went on to produce the band’s first single, “West End Girls”. Pet Shop Boys continue to perform and record together.
The Hollywood Bowl opened on July 11, 1922.
On July 11, 1969, David Bowie released “Space Oddity”. I’m just going to leave this here:
Oscar Hammerstein II was born on July 12, 1895. One-half of one of the most beloved musical songwriting teams ever (composer Richard Rodgers was the other half), Hammerstein left Columbia Law School in 1917 to pursue a career in the theater. After Rodgers’ first partner Lorenz Hart was incapacitated by alcohol addiction, he and Hammerstein began collaborating with 1943’s Oklahoma! Among their best-known works are South Pacific, The King & I, and The Sound of Music, all of which won Tony Awards for Best Musical and were adapted into Oscar-winning movies. The pair also won two Academy Awards, a Pulitzer, and a Grammy (fun fact: Richard Rodgers was the first person to get an EGOT). Eight months after The Sound of Music debuted on Broadway, Hammerstein died of stomach cancer at the age of 65. “Edelweiss” was the final song the pair wrote together.
And finally, this year’s Emmy nominations were announced today. It is a very good day for HBO, which picked up an extraordinary 140 nominations (Succession led the pack with 25). I’m thrilled to see nominations for Melanie Lynskey and Christina Ricci, who were so brilliant in Yellowjackets‘ spectacular first season. See the full list of nominees below. The Emmy Awards will air live on NBC and Peacock on Monday, September 12.