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the otto files

where the classics never go out of style

Category Archives: Character Actors

It’s hard to imagine Dean Martin as 100. In truth, it was hard to watch Dean get old. He was the living embodiment of the old joke, “If I’d known I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.” Except it’s doubtful Dean Martin would have changed anything he did. He […]

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Phil Silvers, comedy giant, was born on this day in 1911. He was the man who was always “glad to seeya” and we were certainly thrilled to see him. Best known as Master Sgt. Ernie Bilko, Silvers was the embodiment of the comedic con-man. He gave memorable performances in Top Banana, Sgt. Bilko, It’s A […]

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I am part of the TV Generation, the group of kids who literally grew up on television. Radio as a narrative medium was over by the time I came around and video games were still in the future. TV was the center of our cultural universe. That said, most of my contemporaries were obsessed with […]

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Two of the “Ocean’s 11” crew – the original crew – shared birthdays today: Richard Conte and Norman Fell. In fact, Conte’s character plays the vital role in the outcome of the 1960 heist film. Richard Conte was a dark, tough looking Italian and subsequently played lots of tough guys roles in the movies and […]

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Everyone’s favorite bumbling sitcom Nazi would have been 97 years old today. Werner Klemperer was born in Germany on March 22, 1920. His father, Otto Klemperer, was a world famous symphony conductor. The family, which was Jewish, wisely fled Europe in 1935. Werner Klemperer would go on to have a solid and steady career in […]

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Happy Birthday to one of the most talented men in the history of American entertainment! I love Carl Reiner for numerous reasons and projects that he has given the world. Nevertheless, he could have invented the light bulb and I still wouldn’t have been as grateful for that daily necessity as I am for his […]

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If you read through posts on this site it will quickly become obvious that I love character actors and actresses. As of late, I’ve taken to recording birthdays of thespians, musicians, comedians, etc. to salute here on this site, on my Sinatra and Company Facebook page, and on my weekly radio show. Today is a […]

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I remember seeing Tin Men in the theater many years ago and liking it but I honestly didn’t remember it being this funny. Then again, when I saw it in the theater back in 1987, I was a 23-year-old kid who’d never been married or had children and who just recently had become part of […]

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Oh what a tremendous service Turner Classic Movies provides for the civilized of this nation! Earlier this week TCM ran The Magnificent Yankee, an MGM production from 1950 starring Louis Calhern as Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. and Ann Harding as his wife of 57 years, Fanny Bowditch Holmes. I had never seen this rather obscure film […]

Jack Carter had a reputation as being one of the more miserable men in show business. He was, what you might call, a chronic complainer. He never felt he was as appreciated as he should be. According to Mr. Carter, he could do it all! Here’s a clip that I think confirms that indeed he […]

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