MIIKO TAKA is 87 today
Japanese American actress best known for co-starring with Marlon Brando as Hana-ogi in the 1957 movie Sayonara.
After director Joshua Logan's first choice for the role of Hana-ogi, Audrey
Hepburn, turned him down, he looked to cast an unknown actress. Taka, who at the time was working as a clerk at a travel agency in Los Angeles, was discovered by a talent scout at a local Nisei festival. Although she had no previous acting experience, Variety gave her a positive review in their review of the film. Warner Bros. gave her a term contract as a result of her performance in Sayonara.
After Sayonara, she steadily worked in various movies starring James Garner, Bob Hope, Cary Grant, and Toshirō Mifune (whom she also worked alongside of in the 1980 television miniseries, Shõgun). She also served as a translator for Mifune as well as Akira Kurosawa when they visited Hollywood).
Taka married Dale Ishimoto in Baltimore in 1944, and they had one son and one daughter. They divorced in 1958.
She married Los Angeles TV news director Lennie Blondheim in 1963.
CONSTANCE DOWLING (1920 - 1969)
Born in New York City, Dowling was a model and chorus girl before moving to California in 1943. She was the elder sister of actress Doris Dowling.
Dowling began her screen career appearing in Up in Arms (1944) for Samuel Goldwyn. She appeared in a few films after that, including the film noir Black Angel (1946) but her film career did not advance.
Dowling had been involved in a long affair with married director Elia Kazan in New York. He couldn't bring himself to leave his wife and the affair ended when Dowling went to Hollywood under contract to Goldwyn. She was later linked with Italian poet/novelist Cesare Pavese who committed suicide in 1950 after being rejected by Dowling.
In 1955, Dowling married film producer Ivan Tors, with whom she had three sons: Steven, David, and Peter Tors, as well as a foster child, Alfred Ndwego of Kenya. She retired from acting after this marriage. On October 28, 1969, Dowling died at the age of 49 of heart attack.
FRANK SILVERA (1914 - 1970)
He was a highly successful black actor/director in the 1950s and 1960s who - because of his light-skinned appearance - transcended race and ethnicity in his performances. In motion pictures, Frank Silvera was cast as black, Latino, Polynesian and "white"/racially indeterminate.
In films and on television, he was also cast without regards to his color, though mostly as Latinos, even appearing as a Polynesian in the 1962 version of Mutiny on the Bounty, starring Marlon Brando, with whom Silvera co-starred in Viva Zapata!, One-Eyed Jacks and The Appaloosa as Mexican characters. He appeared in two Stanley Kubrick-directed films, Fear and Desire (1953) and Killer's Kiss (1955).
On June 11, 1970, Silvera was electrocuted while attempting to repair the garbage disposal unit in his kitchen sink. A Navy veteran of World War II, Silvera was buried with honors at Long Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale, New York.
Morgan Freeman, director/actress Billie Allen and journalist Clayton Riley honored Frank by co-founding the Harlem-based Frank Silvera Writer's Workshop Foundation, Inc., in 1973 which sponsored up-and-coming playwrights.
ROBERT EMHARDT (1914 - 1994)
Heavy-set American character actor who learned his craft in London. Appeared frequently on the Broadway stage, and in film often portrayed sinister types, in the manner of Sydney Greenstreet.
He made his film debut in "The Iron Mistress" (1952), a fictionalized life of Jim Bowie starring Alan Ladd. Among his other memorable movies were "3:10 to Yuma" (1957), "Underworld, USA" (1961), and "The Stone Killer" with Charles Bronson (1973). His favorite, and probably his best, film role was as Shirley Knight's paunchy, gracious, but ultimately insane father in "The Group" (1966).
Emhardt had a busy career. He also acted in 125 summer stock productions and 250 television shows such as "Have Gun, Will Travel," "The Untouchables," "Perry Mason," "Bonanza," and in six episodes of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents." He had a recurring role on the soap opera "Another World."
The father of four children died of heart failure on December 29, 1994 in Ojai, California.
ALAN CURTIS (1909 - 1953)
Born Harry Ueberroth in Chicago, he began his career as a model before becoming an actor, appearing in local newspaper ads. His looks did not go unnoticed in Hollywood. He began appearing in films in the late 1930s (including a Technicolor appearance in the Alice Faye-Don Ameche film Hollywood Cavalcade and a memorable role in High Sierra (1941). He is probably best known as one of the romantic leads in Abbott and Costello's first hit movie Buck Privates.
His chance for leading-man stardom came when he replaced the unwilling John Garfield in the 1943 production Flesh and Fantasy. Curtis played a ruthless killer opposite Gloria Jean. However, the studio cut their performances from the final film version. The footage was later expanded into a B-picture melodrama Destiny. The film failed to establish Curtis as a major-name star, but it did typecast him in hardbitten roles, like the man framed for murder in Phantom Lady (1944) and the detective Philo Vance.
Alan Curtis was married four times, including actresses Priscilla Lawson and Ilona Massey.
Curtis had a routine kidney operation on January 28, 1953, at Saint Clare's Hospital in New York City. Several hours after the surgery, as he sipped some tea, he "died" for four minutes when his heart failed. He was revived and seemed to be improving but died five days later, aged 43.
Curtis starred in over two dozen movies and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
MABEL ALBERTSON (1901 - 1982)
Albertson was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, the daughter of Russian-born Jewish immigrants.
Her brother was actor Jack Albertson. Their mother, a stock actress, supported the family by working in a shoe factory.
Although she appeared in motion pictures, she was best known as Phyllis Stephens, Darrin's neurotic, interfering mother on the television sitcom Bewitched. She also played Donald Hollinger's mother on That Girl, Howard Sprague's mother on The Andy Griffith Show, Dick Preston's mother on The New Dick Van Dyke Show, and Mrs. Van Hoskins, a wealthy woman whose jewels are stolen, in the screwball comedy, What's Up, Doc? (1972).
She died of Alzheimer's disease on September 28, 1982, at the age of 81, in Santa Monica, California. Her ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean.