“Who Am I?” 2018

January 2018

I was born outside of Pittsburgh PA and grew up in Butler, PA. Dad was an executive in a paper box company and mom was a hausfrau. From an early age I wanted to be an actress. I pursued that dream and majored in drama when I got my degree from what was to be become Carnegie Mellon University.

Before I got my real break in TV I studied hard for 3 months and legitimately answered the $64,000.Question! I got a modeling job with a fashion designer and plugged a men’s hair cream on TV. Later on I did voice-over commercials and readings at poetry slams. My early TV exposure led to a co-starring role in a TV comedy series working alongside an inept secret agent who used the latest in high-tech spyware. For my role I was twice nominated for “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series”. You probably best remember me from that particular series. As the sidekick I added glamour to the series because I was tall, dressed fashionably and I often had to bail out my shorter my co-star. I stand over 5’9” so I had to be careful not to develop a permanent slouch for the duration of our long-running show. I also appeared in “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”, “Laugh-In” and “Cheers”. For awhile I hosted my own TV interview show on “Hearst’s/ABC’s Daytime Cable Channel.”

Along my journey in life I married a well-known Belgian photographer but the marriage didn’t last. I later wrote a self-help book that was published.

My debut feature film co-starred someone who starred in a TV series of his own where he played the fictional “Rob Petrie.” In my later years I was a sought after speaker on behalf of girls and women.

You might have bumped into me at the Chiller Theatre Expo which is often held at the Hilton in Parsippany, N.J. The promoters of the Expo invite me there as one of the celebrities who attract fans and paying customers who remember them kindly.

That’s me in the photo below. (1)Who Am I? What was my moniker in my best known TV role? (2)What was my field of expertise on the quiz show mentioned above that enabled me to win the big prize? (3)What designer did I model for and what men’s hair cream did I promote? (4)What was the name of my Belgian husband? What self-help book did I write? (5)What full length movie did I debut in with “Rob” and on what novel was it based? (6)Finally, what is my anti-aging secret?

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February 2018

I was born to German Jews in the Hungarian part (Tolcsva) of the Austro-Hungarian Empire but was brought to the NYC when I was 9 months old. I came from a family of 12 brothers and sisters; so, as you can imagine, money was tight in our lower east side flat. I dropped out of school at age 10 because I was obliged to go out and work to help support the family. I worked in the fur and garment business pressing pants and other odd jobs.

I think I was a born entrepreneur because as soon as I was able to, I bought a “nickelodeon” in Brooklyn. It was one of those 5 cent theaters which showed short “flickers” accompanied by a tinny piano. I used barkers to herd the crowds inside. Little by little I began to invest in more nickelodeons and arcades until I could afford to buy more lavish movie theaters. Eventually, I was able to move into Manhattan and install better film projectors to show my one-reelers. I won a lawsuit against Thomas Edison which shattered his monopoly on the motion picture camera and then I was off and running!

I leased a movie studio at the corner of Main Street and Linwood Avenue in Fort Lee and made movies there. Fort Lee was an ideal location because it had both the Palisades and wooded areas nearby. I began producing my own films because I was dissatisfied with the quality of the films that I was able to purchase and exhibit. Also, I needed a reliable stream of products for my theaters. Those early films were often sentimental tales featuring villains and vamps. There was one very famous western star under contract to me and I believe I created what could arguably be called the first movie femme fatale. I introduced organ accompaniment to my silent films to bring in the patrons.

I moved operations out to CA in 1916. I converted nickelodeons to theaters; and, at the height of my success I built or bought over 1100 screens! I knew sound would be the up and coming trend so I engaged engineers to develop the ‘sound on celluloid process’ rather than the ‘sound on disc system’ which was used by my competitors over at Warner’s. My ‘sound system’ became the industry standard. The royalties and licensing fees from this process kept me afloat during the hard times which were to come.

A car accident and the stock market crash left me in a financial pickle. I had no cash and the stock in my company became worthless. I was the subject of a federal anti-trust investigation and I eventually had to file bankruptcy. I made the big mistake of trying to bribe a federal judge which earned me a stay at the Lewisburg federal pen. My name survives today in multiple media outlets. That’s me holding the stogie in the picture below.

(1)Who am I? And how was I addressed around the studio? (2)What was my personal motto? (3)What do Upton Sinclair and I have in common? (4)Who were the aforementioned western star and vamp? (5)Who is the media mogul of today that has perpetuated my name?

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March 2018

I was born in Brooklyn but my family moved to CA when I was 11 years old. Dad worked alternately as a teacher and as a painter. In CA my dad worked as a set designer. I took acting lessons as kid and knew early on I wanted to be a professional thespian one day.

In college I studied drama. I also sang and played guitar in a folk music group. I have been called a “renaissance man” because of my diverse interests and talents. At different periods in my life I have been an actor, a director, a comedian, a singer-songwriter and an author of children’s books and Sci-Fi stories.

Some of my acting roles have been described as being edgy and intense. I could mimic accents pretty well. When I assumed the roles of Rozonov or Kudirka I felt I gave quite convincing performances.

I am better known for my supporting roles rather than being a leading man. I didn’t mind being second fiddle because I got to keep my clothes on more often than not. If I add up all my roles I’d wager that I have had over 100 acting credits in my TV and film work. Not bad for a kid from Brooklyn!

I am a big supporter of maintaining an organic way of living and of protecting our fragile environment for future generations.

I forget exactly when it was but about 23 summers or so ago I was the main event at a ‘Y’ summer evening program in Wayne where I spoke about my career on stage and on the big screen. It was very well attended and perhaps you were in that audience. That’s me in the photos below.

(1)Who Am I? (2)Who were Rozonov and Kudirka and what was my connection to them? (3a)What late 1950’s hit song did I co-write? (3b) Who popularized that song? (4) What improv comedy group did I help found? (5)Which 3 films of mine were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar? Which one won? (6)What is my connection to “Grey Wolf”? (Hint – It is not the name of a premium vodka I did commercial work for.)

April 2018

I was born in NYC and raised in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. Dad was a publisher and mom a singer. Our family had a summer home in Stamford, CT. Among our neighbors was a legendary baseball player. My mom, Andrea, became a close friend of his wife .My siblings, me, and their kids all became close friends. We went on picnics, attended ball games and had sleepovers at one another’s houses. I attended Sarah Lawrence but never graduated because I decided to pursue a musical career.

At first I sang with my sister. We found jobs as a folk duo performing at coffee houses and such. Sis decided to get married and so I embarked on a solo career. In the early ‘70’s I wrote a song and cut a record about a haughty guy whose identity became a matter of conjecture for decades. 1977 was a good year for me too because I wrote a song that was chosen for a Hollywood movie theme. The year after that I was in your neighborhood when I performed in concert at Bergen Community College in Paramus. I’m pretty sure some of you might have come out to see me.

At one time I was married to a fellow singer-songwriter who was pretty famous in his own right. I have had an amazing musical career that has earned me entry in the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame and the Grammy Hall of Fame. I’ve earned an Academy Award and a Golden Globes Award. I am also credited with writing several children’s books.

That’s me holding my favorite doll in the picture below. (1a)Who Am I? (1b)What was the name of our famous ballplayer neighbor? (2)Who is the enigmatic haughty person I wrote one of my first hits about? What was the name of that song? (3)Who was my singer-songwriter husband? (4)What is “Aja” to me and how did Aja get its name? (5)What was the first movie theme I wrote? In what film did it appear?

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May 2018

I was born in Brooklyn to Jewish immigrants who owned a sporting goods store. I earned a B.A. at an Ivy League school and a law degree at St. John’s; however, it was still hard for me to find work during the Great Depression. Never the prissy type I found work in construction, sales, boxing, and playing baseball. Hell, I even worked as a model for a time.

I did a little theater work but my big break came when Warner Bros. offered me roles in films with WWII themes. I got to work with some of the major stars of those days including Raymond Massey, Bette Davis, Cary Grant, John Garfield and Humphrey Bogart. I was just “the type” that Warner Bros., unlike the other studios, liked to portray on the screen i.e. not “pretty boys” but rather gritty, average looking guys like me who looked like real people.

Throughout my career I also worked in radio and was a pioneer in the nascent television industry. I made over 30 films and earned my star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. One of my favorite film roles of the 1950’s was partially shot on location in Bergenfield, N.J. That movie role epitomized some of my deepest personal beliefs.

I was a political conservative who voted Republican. Throughout my life I have been a champion of civil rights because I despise discriminatory practices. That’s me with one of my lovely co-stars in the picture below. (1)Who am I? Who is that beautiful British actress that I am embracing? (2) What star was I dancing with in the movie “Hollywood Canteen”? (3)What automobile did Jack L. Warner once give me as a birthday gift? (4)My sports trophy room is full of awards as a result of my achievements in what sport? (5)Finally, what is the name of the movie I am so proud of having starred in that was partially filmed in Bergenfield? Here’s a hint – It is biographical, inspirational and about real people.

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