30 June, 2012

William Holden


William Holden was an American actor. Holden won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1954 and the Emmy Award for Best Actor in 1974. One of the most popular and well known movie stars of all time, Holden was one of the biggest box office draws of the 1950s, he was named one of the "Top 10 Stars of the Year" six times (1954–1958, 1961) and appeared on the American Film Institute's AFI's 100 Years…100 Stars list as number 25. He starred in some of the most popular and critically acclaimed films of all time, including such blockbusters as Sunset Boulevard, The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Wild Bunch, The Towering Inferno, and Network.

Charles Starrett



Charles Starrett was an American actor best known for his starring role in the Durango Kid Columbia Pictures western series. He was born in Athol, Massachusetts.

A graduate of Worcester Academy in 1922, Starrett went on to study at Dartmouth College. While on the Dartmouth football team, he was hired to play a football extra in the 1926 film The Quarterback. In 1930 he played the romantic lead in Fast and Loose, which also featured Miriam Hopkins, Carole Lombard and Frank Morgan. He also starred in the Canadian production The Viking (1931), filmed on location in Newfoundland, which had begun as a Paramount Pictures project.

After that, he was very active for the next two years but his roles were unremarkable. In 1933 he was featured in Our Betters and helped organize the Screen Actors Guild, and in 1936 signed with Columbia Pictures and become one of the top ten western stars, starring in 115 movies the following 16 years.

After playing assorted sheriff and rangers roles, Starrett gained fame for his role as the Durango Kid. The first film in which he played his famous alter-ego character was known as The Durango Kid, which was released in 1940, but for some reason, Columbia did not see fit to continue with the series at that time. The character was revived in 1944 and lasted through 1952. Dub Taylor, as "Cannonball", worked with Starrett until 1946. At that time, Smiley Burnette, who had been a very popular sidekick to Gene Autry, was brought in to replace Taylor. Burnette, appropriately enough, played a character called Smiley Burnette. The Durango Kid films combined vigorous action sequences – often with speeded up camera work and spectacular stunts performed by Jock Mahoney – and western music. Each film featured a singing group, and many gave free rein to Burnette's singing and playing.

José Iturbi



José Iturbi Báguena was a Spanish conductor, harpsichordist and pianist. He appeared in several Hollywood films of the 1940s, notably playing himself in the 1943 musical, Thousands Cheer, and the 1945 film, Anchors Aweigh.

Born in Valencia, Spain, of Basque descent, Iturbi studied in Barcelona and at the Valencia and Paris conservatories on scholarship; at this time, he also undertook extensive private studies in keyboard technique and interpretation with the harpsichordist Wanda Landowska. His worldwide concert tours, beginning around 1912, were very successful. He made his American debut in New York City in 1929. He made his first appearance as a conductor in Mexico City in 1933 when presented by impresario Ernesto de Quesada from Conciertos Daniel. In April 1936, Iturbi was injured in the crash and sinking of Pan American Airways' Puerto Rican Clipper in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. After the incident, he said he would not be able to play "for some time", and "I may not be able to conduct again." Later that year, he was named conductor of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in Rochester, New York, serving until 1944. He also led the Valencia Symphony Orchestra for many years. He often appeared in concert with his sister, Amparo, also a renowned pianist.

Iturbi was also a noted harpsichordist, and made several short length instructional films utilizing the re-emergent early 20th Century French Pleyel et Cie pedal, metal-framed harpsichord made famous by Wanda Landowska.

He appeared as an actor-performer in several filmed musicals of the 1940s, beginning with 1943's Thousands Cheer for MGM and again in Three Daring Daughters in 1948 again playing himself, and starring along with Jeanette MacDonald. He usually appeared as himself in these films. He later was featured in MGM's Anchors Aweigh, which starred Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra, as well as several other MGM movies. In the biopic about Frédéric Chopin, A Song to Remember, Iturbi's playing was used in the soundtrack in scenes where Cornel Wilde, as Chopin, was playing the piano.

José Iturbi continued his public performances into his eighties. Finally he was ordered by his doctors to take a sabbatical in March 1980. He died on 28 June 1980, five days after being admitted to Cedars-Sinai Hospital for heart problems. He was 84 years old.

Hal Skelly



Hal Skelly was an American Broadway and film actor.

J. Harold Skelly was born in Alleghenyville, Pennsylvania and spent his early years in Davenport, Iowa. He left home at the age of 15 and joined the circus. He acted in his first stage production, The Time, the Place and the Girl, at the LaSalle Theater in Chicago. He became a veteran of medicine shows, musical comedy, burlesque, Lew Dockstader's minstrels and opera. His eccentric dancing ability earned him the nickname "Tumbling Harold Skelly".

Skelly made his Broadway debut in Fiddler’s Three (1918) and went on to appear in ten other shows on Broadway. In 1927, he played a starring role alongside Barbara Stanwyck, in her first Broadway hit, the musical Burlesque. The two were invited by Paramount Studio to star in the 1929 film version of the show, retitled The Dance of Life since Paramount executives thought the original title too risqué. Stanwyck turned down the offer, while Skelly reprised his role as 'Skid' Johnson.[1] Skelly made a total of ten films, including the Woman Trap (1929), Behind the Make-Up (1930), and The Shadow Laughs (1933). He was also featured on two movie soundtracks.

Skelly was killed in a train-auto accident in West Cornwall, Connecticut when the truck he was driving was struck by a New York-Pittsfield train at a crossing.

Henry Wilcoxon


Henry Wilcoxon was an actor born in Roseau, Dominica, British West Indies, and best known as a leading man in many of Cecil B. DeMille's films, also serving as DeMille's associate producer on his later films.

Fredric March


Fredric March was an American stage and film actor. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1932 for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and in 1946 for The Best Years of Our Lives.

March was born in Racine, Wisconsin, the son of Cora Brown (née Marcher), a schoolteacher, and John F. Bickel, a devout Presbyterian Church elder who worked in the wholesale hardware business.[2] March attended the Winslow Elementary School (established in 1855), Racine High School, and the University of Wisconsin–Madison where he was a member of Alpha Delta Phi. He began a career as a banker, but an emergency appendectomy caused him to reevaluate his life, and in 1920 he began working as an extra in movies made in New York City, using a shortened form of his mother's maiden name, Marcher. He appeared on Broadway in 1926, and by the end of the decade signed a film contract with Paramount Pictures.

March received an Oscar nomination in 1930 for The Royal Family of Broadway, in which he played a role based upon John Barrymore (which he had first played on stage in Los Angeles). He won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1932 for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (tied with Wallace Beery for The Champ although March accrued one more vote than Beery), leading to a series of classic films based on stage hits and classic novels like Design for Living (1933) with Gary Cooper, Death Takes a Holiday (1934), Les Misérables (1935) with Charles Laughton, Anthony Adverse (1936) with Olivia de Havilland, and as the original Norman Maine in A Star is Born (1937) with Janet Gaynor, for which he received his third Oscar nomination.

March was one of the few leading actors of his era to resist signing long-term contracts with the studios, and was able to freelance and pick and choose his roles, in the process also avoiding typecasting. He returned to Broadway after a ten year absence in 1937 with a notable flop Yr. Obedient Husband, but after the huge success of Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth he focused his work as much on Broadway theatre as often as on Hollywood film, and his screen career was not as prolific as it had been. He won two Best Actor Tony Awards: in 1947 for the play Years Ago, written by Ruth Gordon; and in 1957 for his performance as James Tyrone in the original Broadway production of Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night. He also had major successes in A Bell for Adano in 1944 and Gideon in 1961, and played Ibsen's An Enemy of the People on Broadway in 1951. He also starred in such films as I Married a Witch (1942) and Another Part of the Forest (1948) during this period, and won his second Oscar in 1946 for The Best Years of Our Lives. March also branched out into television, winning Emmy nominations for his third attempt at The Royal Family for the series The Best of Broadway as well as for a television performances as Samuel Dodsworth and Ebenezer Scrooge. On March 25, 1954, March co-hosted the 26th Annual Academy Awards ceremony from New York City, with co-host Donald O'Connor in Los Angeles.

In 1957, March was awarded The George Eastman Award, given by George Eastman House for distinguished contribution to the art of film.

March's neighbor in Connecticut, playwright Arthur Miller, was thought to favor March to inaugurate the part of Willy Loman in the Pulitzer Prize-winning Death of a Salesman (1949). However, March read the play and turned down the role, whereupon director Elia Kazan cast Lee J. Cobb as Willy, and Arthur Kennedy as one of Willy's sons, Biff Loman, two men that the director had worked with in the film Boomerang (1947). March later regretted turning down the role and finally played Willy Loman in Columbia Pictures's 1951 film version of the play, directed by Laslo Benedek, receiving his fifth-and-final Oscar nomination as well as a Golden Globe Award. March also played one of the two leads in The Desperate Hours (1955) with Humphrey Bogart when Bogart and Spencer Tracy both insisted upon top billing and Tracy withdrew, leaving the part available for March. Perhaps March's greatest later career role was in Inherit the Wind (1960), this time working opposite Spencer Tracy. In the 1960s, March's film career proceeded apace with a notable performance as President Jordan Lyman in the political thriller Seven Days in May (1964) in which he co-starred with Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, and Edmund O'Brien; the part earned March a nomination as Best Actor by Golden Globes.

When March underwent major surgery for prostate cancer in 1970, it seemed his career was over, yet he managed to give one last great performance in The Iceman Cometh (1973), as the complicated Irish bartender, Harry Hope.

March died in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 77 from cancer.

John Cromwell




Elwood Dager Cromwell, known as John Cromwell, was an American film actor, director and producer.

Born in Toledo, Ohio, Cromwell made his New York City stage debut in Marian De Forest's adaptation of Little Women (1912) on Broadway. It was a hit and ran for 184 performances. He then directed the play The Painted Woman (1913), which failed. Next, he acted in and co-directed with Frank Craven the hit show Too Many Cooks (1914), which ran for 223 performances.

Cromwell played Charles Lomax in the original Broadway production of George Bernard Shaw's play Major Barbara (1915), about a woman of The Salvation Army, and he played the role as Capt. Kearney in the revival of Shaw's Captain Brassbound's Conversion (1916). Among others, he also had a role in The Racket (1927), which ran for 119 performances. The following year while the Broadway company was playing The Racket in Los Angeles, Cromwell was signed to a Paramount Pictures contract as an actor and student director.

He made his motion picture debut playing Walter Babbing in the comedy The Dummy (1929), a talkie starring Ruth Chatterton and Fredric March, with Jack Oakie, and Zasu Pitts. His work as co-director with Edward Sutherland on the musical/romance Close Harmony starring Buddy Rogers, Nancy Carroll, Harry Green, and Jack Oakie, and the musical/drama The Dance of Life (both released in 1929), was so skillful he was allowed to begin directing without collaboration, beginning with The Mighty that same year starring George Bancroft, in which he also played the part of Mr. Jamieson.

He directed Tom Sawyer (1930) starring Jackie Coogan in the title role; Sinclair Lewis's Ann Vickers (1933) starring Irene Dunne, Walter Huston, Conrad Nagel, Bruce Cabot, and Edna May Oliver; and Somerset Maugham's Of Human Bondage (1934) starring Leslie Howard, Bette Davis, and Frances Dee.
The latter two movies were at RKO and both had censorship trouble. In the novel by Lewis, Ann Vickers is a birth control advocate and reformer who has an extramarital affair. The screenplay was finally approved by the Production Code when the studio agreed to make Vickers an unmarried woman at the time of her affair, thus eliminating the issue of adultery. The screenplay for Maugham's Of Human Bondage was unacceptable because the prostitute, Mildred Rogers (played by Davis), whom the club-footed medical student, Philip Carey (played by Howard), falls in love with, comes down with syphilis. Will Hays's office demanded that Mildred be made a waitress who comes down with TB, and that she be married to Carey's friend she cheats on him with. RKO agreed to everything to keep from having to pay a $25,000 fine.

Cromwell won the 1952 Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his performance as John Gray in Point of No Return (1951) starring Henry Fonda. Of his Shakespearean roles on Broadway, Cromwell played Paris, kinsman to the prince, in Romeo and Juliet (1935) starring Katharine Cornell, who also produced the play, and Maurice Evans, in the title roles; Rosencrantz in Hamlet (1936), which was staged and produced by Guthrie McClintic (Cornell's husband, who had been married to Estelle Winwood), starring John Gielgud in the title role, Judith Anderson as Gertrude, and Lillian Gish as Ophelia; and Lennox in the revival of Macbeth (1948) starring Michael Redgrave in the title role and Flora Robson as Lady Macbeth, with Julie Harris as a witch, Martin Balsam as one of the three murderers, and Beatrice Straight as Lady MacDuff.
Cromwell also appeared on Broadway in the role of Brother Martin Ladvenu in Katharine Cornell's revival of Saint Joan (1936), which was directed by Guthrie McClintic; and as Freddy Eynsford Hill in Cedric Hardwicke's revival of Pygmalion (1945) starring Gertrude Lawrence as Eliza Doolittle and Raymond Massey as Henry Higgins.

Among the movies Cromwell directed are Little Lord Fauntleroy (1936) starring Freddie Bartholomew and Dolores Costello; The Prisoner of Zenda (1937) starring Ronald Colman and Madeleine Carroll, with Raymond Massey, Mary Astor, David Niven, and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.; Algiers (1938) starring Charles Boyer and Hedy Lamarr; Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940) starring Raymond Massey, Gene Lockhart, and Ruth Gordon; Son of Fury: The Story of Benjamin Blake (1942) starring Tyrone Power, Gene Tierney; Since You Went Away (1944) starring Claudette Colbert, Jennifer Jones, Joseph Cotten, Shirley Temple, Robert Walker, and Monty Woolley, with Hattie McDaniel, Agnes Moorehead, Alla Nazimova, Lionel Barrymore and Keenan Wynn; Anna and the King of Siam (1946) starring Irene Dunne, Rex Harrison, Linda Darnell, Lee J. Cobb, and Gale Sondergaard; Dead Reckoning (1947) starring Humphrey Bogart and Lizabeth Scott; the women's prison drama Caged (1950) and the noir crime/drama The Racket (1951) starring Robert Mitchum, Lizabeth Scott, and Robert Ryan, which Cromwell had appeared in onstage in New York and on tour.

Cromwell was cast by Robert Altman in the role as Mr. Rose in the movie 3 Women (1977) starring Shelley Duvall and Sissy Spacek, and as Bishop Martin in A Wedding (1978) starring Desi Arnaz, Jr., Carol Burnett, Geraldine Chaplin, Mia Farrow, Vittorio Gassman and Lillian Gish.

He died at age 91 in Santa Barbara, California. His remains were cremated.

Michael Whalen



Born Joseph Shovlin on June 30, 1902, in Wilkes-Barre, Penssylvania, he took piano lessons as a child but the talent never went anywhere. He eventually was hired by the Woolworths department store chain and worked his way up to manager by the time he resigned at the age of 23. During an extensive period of travel, he stopped in New York City and became hooked on acting after catching a Broadway show. He apprenticed and made his stage debut with Eva Le Gallienne's repertory company. To make do, the handsome hopeful worked as an artist's model, including the renowned 'James Montgomery Flagg'.

Whalen came to Hollywood in 1933 and started out on the L.A. stage with roles in "When Knighthood Was in Flower" (as the Dauphin) and "Common Flesh." Noticed by Twentieth Century-Fox talent agents, he made his debut with a second-lead role in Professional Soldier (1935) starring Victor McLaglen. On screen he appeared opposite a bevy of Hollywood lovelies, notably Alice FayeGloria StuartClaire Trevor and June Lang, in standard "B" filmmaking, playing a series of virile, flashy roles including Hollywood producers and sports editor types. He also had the adult male leads in two of little Shirley Temple's popular vehicles -- Poor Little Rich Girl (1936) and Wee Willie Winkie (1937). In 1938 he starred as newsman Barney Callahan in a string of murder mystery tales (Time Out for Murder (1938), While New York Sleeps (1938) and Inside Story (1939)) alongside love interest Jean Rogers.

By the early 1940s his leading man career started to falter. He went to Broadway for two years in "Ten Little Indians" (1944), then toured with the show on the road. By the 1950s he was appearing less frequently on film and more and more into character roles. TV became a source of income for him. His last movie was an unbilled bit in Elmer Gantry (1960), and in 1964 he made his final appearance on an episode of "My Three Sons" (1960).

Whalen remained a bachelor and lived with his mother until her death in the 1960s. He collected antiques and enjoyed gardening until his death of bronchial pneumonia in 1974 at age 71.

Edmund H. North



Edmund Hall North, was an American screenwriter who shared an Academy Award for "Best Original Screenplay" with Francis Ford Coppola in 1970 for their script for Patton.

He was a son of Bobby North and Stella Maury who performed in vaudeville and the Ziegfeld Follies. North began writing plays while attending Culver Military Academy in Indiana and at Stanford University. As a major in the U.S. Army Signal Corps during World War II he made training and educational films.
North was a former president of the screen branch of the Writers Guild of America in which he served on more than 40 committees, including the contract-bargaining panel.

Robert Cummings



Charles Clarence Robert Orville Cummings, known professionally as Robert Cummings but sometimes as Bob Cummings, was an American film and television actor.


Cummings performed mainly in comedies, but was effective in his few dramas, especially two Alfred Hitchcock films, Saboteur (1942) and Dial M for Murder (1954).


Bob Cummings was born in Joplin, Missouri, a son of Dr. Charles Clarence Cummings and his wife Ruth Annabelle Kraft. His father was a surgeon, who was part of the original medical staff of St. John's Hospital in Joplin. He was the founder of the Jasper County Tuberculosis Hospital in Webb City, Missouri. Cummings' mother was an ordained minister of the Science of Mind.


While attending Joplin High School, Cummings was taught to fly by his godfather, Orville Wright. His first solo was on 3 March, 1927. During high school Cummings would give Joplin residents rides in his plane for $5 per person. When the government began licensing flight instructors, Cummings was issued flight instructor certificate number 1, making him the first official flight instructor in the United States.


Cummings studied briefly at Drury College in Springfield, Missouri, but his love of flying caused him to transfer to the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He studied aeronautical engineering for a year before being forced to drop out for financial reasons, his family having lost heavily in the 1929 stock market crash. Since the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City paid its male actors $14 a week, Cummings decided to study there.


He studied drama for two years before appearing in Broadway in 1931. As British actors were heavily in demand, Cummings traveled to England and learned to mimic an upper-class English accent. He had a brief career on Broadway under the name Blade Stanhope Conway, posing as an Englishman.


In 1933, he met and married his second wife, Vivian Janis. They were both appearing in the Ziegfeld Follies, with Cummings as the male lead opposite comedian, Fanny Brice. In 1934, he moved to Hollywood, where he acted at first under the name Bruce Hutchens, assuming the persona of a wealthy Texan. He made his film debut the following year in The Virginia Judge.


Cummings then decided to use his own name, acting throughout the 1930s as a contract player in a number of supporting roles.


He achieved stardom in 1939 in Three Smart Girls Grow Up, opposite Deanna Durbin. His many film comedies include: The Devil and Miss Jones (1941) with Jean Arthur, and The Bride Wore Boots (1946) with Barbara Stanwyck. Cummings gave memorable performances in three notable dramas: Kings Row (1942) with friend Ronald Reagan, Saboteur (1942) with Priscilla Lane and Norman Lloyd, and Dial M for Murder (1954), with Grace Kelly and Ray Milland. Cummings also starred in You Came Along (1945), which featured a screenplay by Ayn Rand. The Army Air Forces pilot Cummings played ("Bob Collins") died off camera, but was resurrected ten years later for his television show.


Cummings made his mark in the CBS Radio network's dramatic serial entitled Those We Love, which ran from 1938 to 1945. Cummings played the role of David Adair, opposite Richard Cromwell, Francis X. Bushman, and Nan Grey.


In November 1942, Cummings joined the United States Army Air Corps. During the war he served as a flight instructor. Cummings had worked as a flight instructor for many years prior to the war. He was, in fact, the first certified flight instructor in the United States, having gained certification in 1938. After the war, Cummings served as a pilot in the United States Air Force Reserve.


Cummings began a long career on television in 1952, starring in the comedy My Hero. He received an Emmy award for his portrayal of "Juror Number Eight," in the first televised performance of Twelve Angry Men, a live production which aired in 1954 (Henry Fonda played the same role in the feature film adaptation). Cummings was one of the anchors on ABC's live broadcast of Disneyland's opening day in 1955.


From 1955 through 1959, Cummings starred on a successful NBC sitcom, The Bob Cummings Show (known as Love That Bob in reruns), in which he played Bob Collins, an ex-World War II pilot who became a successful professional photographer, and as a bachelor in 1950's Los Angeles, thought himself to be quite the ladies' man. This sitcom was noted for some very risque humor for its time. His co-stars were Rosemary DeCamp, as his sister, Margaret MacDonald, and Dwayne Hickman, as his nephew, Chuck MacDonald. Cummings also was a guest on the NBC interview program Here's Hollywood. He also made an appearance at Disneyland's grand opening on July 17, 1955.


The New Bob Cummings Show followed on CBS for one season, from 1961 to 1962. He also starred one season in My Living Doll which co-stars Julie Newmar as Rhoda the robot (1964), another CBS sitcom. His last significant role was the 1973 TV movie Partners in Crime, co-starring Lee Grant. He also appeared as Gopher's dad Eliott Smith on The Love Boat in 1979.


On December 2, 1990, Cummings died of kidney failure and complications from pneumonia at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California. He was interred in the Great Mausoleum at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California.

Lee J. Cobb



Lee J. Cobb was an American actor. He is best known for his performance in 12 Angry Men (1957), his Academy Award-nominated performance in On the Waterfront (1954), and one of his last films, The Exorcist (1973). He also played the role of Willy Loman in the original Broadway performance of Arthur Miller's 1949 play Death of a Salesman under the direction of Elia Kazan.

Born Leo Jacob in New York City to a Jewish family of Russian and Romanian extraction. He grew up in The Bronx, New York, on Wilkins Avenue, near Crotona Park. His parents were Benjamin (Benzion) Jacob, a compositor for a foreign-language newspaper, and Kate Neilecht. Cobb studied at New York University before making his film debut in The Vanishing Shadow (1934). He joined the Manhattan-based Group Theatre in 1935.

Cobb did summer stock at Pine Brook Country Club located in the countryside of Nichols, Connecticut, in the 1930s and early 1940s. Pine Brook was the summer home of the Group Theatre (New York) from 1931 until the 1940s. During World War II Cobb served in the First Motion Picture Unit of the Army Air Force.

Cobb entered films in the 1930s, successfully playing middle-aged and even older men while he was still a youth. He was cast as the Kralahome in the 1946 non-musical film Anna and the King of Siam. He also played the sympathetic doctor in The Song of Bernadette and appeared as James Coburn's supervisor in the spy spoofs In Like Flint and Our Man Flint. He reprised his role of Willy Loman in the 1966 CBS television adaptation of Death of a Salesman, which included Gene Wilder, James Farentino, Bernie Kopell and George Segal. Cobb was nominated for an Emmy Award for the performance. Mildred Dunnock, who had co-starred in both the original stage version and the 1951 film version, again repeated her role as Linda, Willy's devoted wife.

In 1957 he appeared in Sidney Lumet's 12 Angry Men as the abrasive Juror #3. In 1959, on CBS' DuPont Show of the Month, he starred in the dual roles of Miguel de Cervantes and Don Quixote in the play I, Don Quixote, which years later became the musical Man of La Mancha. Cobb also appeared as Wyoming ranch owner Judge Henry Garth in the first four seasons of the long-running NBC western television series The Virginian. His co-stars were James Drury, Doug McClure, Roberta Shore, Gary Clarke, Randy Boone, Clu Gulager and Diane Roter.

In 1968 his performance as King Lear with Stacy Keach as Edmund, René Auberjonois as the Fool and Philip Bosco as Kent achieved the longest run for the play in Broadway history, although the 1950 Broadway production of the play, with Louis Calhern as Lear, played 48 performances as opposed to Cobb's 47.

One of his final film roles was that of police detective Lt. Kinderman in the 1973 horror film The Exorcist.
Cobb died of a heart attack in 1976 in Woodland Hills, California, and was buried in Mount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.


Helmut Dantine



Helmut Dantine was a film actor remembered for playing many Nazis in thriller films of the 1940s. The Vienna-born actor appeared uncredited in Casablanca early in his career.

Dantine's father was the head of the Austrian railway system. As a young man, Dantine became involved in an anti-Nazi movement in Vienna. In 1938, when he was 21 years old, the Nazis took over Austria during the Anschluss. Dantine was rounded up, with hundreds of other enemies of the Third Reich, and imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp outside Vienna. Three months later, using their influence, his parents got his release and immediately sent him to California to live with a friend. Both his parents would later die in a Nazi concentration camp.

He began his U.S. acting career at the Pasadena Playhouse, where he was spotted by a talent scout and
signed to a Warner Bros. contract. Dantine spent the early 1940s there, appearing in International Squadron (1941) with Ronald Reagan, Casablanca (1942), Edge of Darkness (his first lead role), Mission to Moscow, Northern Pursuit (all 1943), Passage to Marseille, The Mask of Dimitrios (both 1944), Hotel Berlin, and Escape in the Desert (both 1945).

Dantine was also loaned out to other film companies for two notable films in 1942. To Be or Not to Be and Mrs. Miniver were both released in 1942. In 1944 exhibitors voting for "Stars of Tomorrow" picked Dantine at number ten.

Dantine appeared as Dolokhov in King Vidor's War & Peace in 1956. His last screen appearances were in three films he executive produced including, Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974), and The Killer Elite (1975), both directed by Sam Peckinpah, and The Wilby Conspiracy.

Helmut Dantine died from a heart attack at the age of 64.

Tim Holt



Tim Holt was an American film actor perhaps best known for co-starring in the 1948 film The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

Born Charles John Holt III in Beverly Hills, California, he was the son of actor Jack Holt and his wife, Margaret Woods. Holt was sent to study at Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana, from which he graduated in 1936. Immediately afterward, he went to work in the Hollywood film business.

In 1938 at the age of 19, Holt, after five minor roles, landed a major role under star Harry Carey in The Law West of Tombstone. It was the first of the many Western films he made during the 1940s. During this time his sister, Jennifer Holt, also became a leading star in the western film genre.

After playing young Lieutenant Blanchard in the 1939 classic Stagecoach, Tim Holt had one of the leading roles in Orson Welles's The Magnificent Ambersons (1942). He also starred as a Nazi in Hitler's Children (1943). After making this film, he became a decorated combat veteran of World War II, flying in the Pacific Theatre with the United States Army Air Force as a B-29 bombardier. He returned to films after the war, appearing as Virgil Earp to Henry Fonda's Wyatt Earp in the John Ford western My Darling Clementine.

Holt was next cast in the role that he is probably most remembered for (in a film in which his father also appeared in a small part)—that of Bob Curtin to Humphrey Bogart's Fred C. Dobbs in John Huston's The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948). Before the film was released, Holt did another four westerns and afterward made two dozen more up until 1952. He was then absent from the screen for five years until he starred in a less-than-successful horror film, The Monster That Challenged the World, in 1957. Over the next 16 years, he appeared in only two more motion pictures.

In 1973, at the age of 54, Tim Holt died from bone cancer in Shawnee, Oklahoma, where he had been managing a radio station. He was interred in the Memory Lane Cemetery in Harrah, Oklahoma.

Edgar P. Jacobs



Edgard Félix Pierre Jacobs, better known under his pen name Edgar P. Jacobs, was a Belgian comic book creator (writer and artist), born in Brussels, Belgium. He was one of the founding fathers of the European comics movement, through his collaborations with Hergé and the graphic novel series that made him famous, Blake and Mortimer.

Edgar Pierre Jacobs was born in Brussels in 1904. Jacobs remembered having drawn for as far back as his memory would go. His real love though was for the dramatic arts and the opera in particular. In 1919 he graduated from the commercial school where his parents had sent him, and privately swore he would never work in an office. He kept on drawing in his spare time, focusing his greatest attention on musical and dramatic training. He took on odd jobs at the opera, including decoration, scenography, and painting, and sometimes got to work as an extra. In 1929 he received the annual Belgian government medal for excellence in classical singing. Financial good fortune did not follow, since the Great Depression hit the Brussels artistic community very hard.

After a career as extra and baritone singer in opera productions between 1919 and 1940 in Brussels and Lille, punctuated by small drawing commissions, Jacobs turned permanently to illustration, drawing commercial illustrations and collaborating in the Bravo review until 1946, after he was introduced there by Jacques Laudy. This review or periodical was a smashing success, hitting a circulation of 300,000 at times.

When the American comic strip Flash Gordon was prohibited in Belgium by the German forces of occupation during World War II, he was asked to write an end to the comic in order to provide a denouement to the readers. German censorship banned this continuation after only a couple of weeks. Jacobs subsequently published in Bravo his first comic strip, Le Rayon U (The U Ray), largely in the same Flash Gordon style.

Around this time, he became a stage painter for a theatre adaptation for Hergé's Cigars of the Pharaoh. Although the play was only a modest success, it brought him into contact with Hergé and the two quickly become friends. As a direct result, he assisted Hergé in colorizing the black and white strips of The Shooting Star from Le Soir in preparation for book publication in 1942, and from 1944 on he helped him in the recasting of his earlier albums Tintin in the Congo, Tintin in America, King Ottokar's Sceptre and The Blue Lotus for color book publication. After the project, he continued to contribute directly in the drawing as well as the storyline for the new Tintin double-albums The Seven Crystal Balls/Prisoners of the Sun. Jacobs, as a fan of opera, decided to take Hergé with him to a concert. Hergé did not like opera, however, and for decades he would gently lampoon his friend Jacobs through the device of opera singer Bianca Castafiore, a supporting character in The Adventures of Tintin. Hergé also gave him tiny cameo roles in Tintin adventures, sometimes under the name Jacobini, for example in The Calculus Affair where Jacobini is the name of an opera singer advertised as starring alongside La Castafiore in Gounod's Faust, and as a mummified egyptologist on the cover of Cigars of the Pharaoh, as well as in the rewritten version.

In 1946, he was part of the team gathered by Raymond Leblanc around the new comics magazine Le Journal de Tintin, where his story Le secret de l’Espadon (The Secret of the Swordfish) was published on September 26, the first of the Blake and Mortimer series.

In 1947, Jacobs asked to share the credit with Hergé on The Adventures of Tintin. When Hergé refused, their collaboration suffered a bit of a setback. Hergé still remained a friend however, and as before Blake et Mortimer continued to be serialised in Tintin magazine. In 1950, Jacobs published The Mystery of the Great Pyramid. Many others soon followed. Jacobs finally published in 1970 the first volume of The Three formulas of Professor Sato, which was staged in Japan.

In 1973 he restyled his first full-length album, Le Rayon U, and wrote his autobiography under the title Un opéra de papier: Les mémoires de Blake et Mortimer. He then wrote the scenario for the second episode of Les Trois Formules du Professeur Sato, but the artwork remained unfinished at the time of his death. Bob de Moor was drafted in to complete the album, which was published in 1990.

Jacobs had not one but two stone sphinxes to commemorate him. One of them is in the Bois des Pauvres near Brussels, where his home used to stand, and the other one is over his tomb at the Lasne cemetery, also near Brussels. The cemetery sphinx has a "collar" beard, and his face looks a lot like Philip Mortimer, the protagonist of most of the Jacobs albums.

Jacobs’ style varies greatly from one album to another. There are however many common threads, such as the theme of subterranean descent and the consistent Ligne claire drawing style.

Sergio Kokis



Sergio Kokis is a novelist and painter Quebec born in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

He had a difficult childhood that led him to the age of nine years in correctional institution. He continued his studies, however, and attended the School of Fine Arts in Rio , before studying in philosophy .

In 1966 he obtained a scholarship in France , where he completed a Masters in psychology at the University of Strasbourg . He immigrated to Canada in 1969 and was hired as a psychologist at the Psychiatric Hospital in Gaspe . The following year he became doctor of clinical psychology from the University of Montreal .

He teaches in the department of psychology from the University of Quebec at Montreal . Since 1975 , he also worked as part-time psychologist at the Sainte-Justine Hospital .

From 1973 he studied at the School of Art and Design's Fine Arts Museum of Montreal and the Saidye Bronfman Centre in Montreal .

Since May 1997 , he devoted himself solely to painting and to writing .

Charles Poncet



Charles Poncet is a Swiss lawyer and former politician.

Poncet studied law at the University of Geneva . After internships in Geneva, Zurich, London and Washington DC, he was admitted to the bar in 1972. From 1975 worked in the family's law firm Poncet, Turrettini, Amaudruz & Neyroud, and later at Lalive Budin. He received his doctorate in Geneva. In 1986,
Poncet his own law firm Ziegler Poncet Grumbach ZPG today Carrard Lüscher. He is a specialist in international affairs and arbitration. He has long been active in international arbitration, first as secretary and subsequently as an arbitrator, chairman or adviser. Poncet is the author of numerous legal publications.
Poncet sat from 1989 to 1996 for the Liberal Party in the National Council and the Grand Council of the Canton of Geneva .

Roger Martin du Gard



Roger Martin du Gard was a French author and winner of the 1937 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Trained as a paleographer and archivist, Martin du Gard brought to his works a spirit of objectivity and a scrupulous regard for details. For his concern with documentation and with the relationship of social reality to individual development, he has been linked with the realist and naturalist traditions of the 19th century.

His major work was Les Thibault, a roman fleuve about the Thibault family, originally published as a series of eight novels. The story follows the fortunes of the two Thibault brothers, Antoine and Jacques, from their prosperous bourgeois upbringing, through the First World War, to their deaths. He also wrote a novel, Jean Barois, set in the historical context of the Dreyfus Affair. This novel was compared with Augustin ou le Maître est là of Joseph Malègue. There are two different attitudes in front of death (linked to the return to faith in the two novels for the two heroes) : Finally, "Augustin ou le Maître est là" sharply departs from "Jean Barois" in the dramatic and moral functions attributed to suffering. Barois' physical and mental anguish provokes a state of moral depression and a yearning for childhood coziness. Barois chooses to die in his native village, surrounded by familiar faces and familiar objects. But for Augustin suffering is an exalting experience which elevates him to the "icy zones" of spiritual mediation. It is no coïncidence that, unlike Barois, he chooses to die in a quintessential solitude, in the impersonal sickroom of a Swiss mountain sanatorium. The very attitude symbolizes a spiritual state capable of transmuting suffering into beauty.

During the Second World War, he resided in Nice, where he prepared a novel, which remained unfinished (Souvenirs du lieutenant-colonel de Maumort); an English-language translation of this unfinished novel was published in 2000.

Roger Martin du Gard died in 1958 and was buried in the Cimiez Monastery Cemetery in Cimiez, a suburb of the city of Nice, France.

Daniel Boulanger


Daniel Boulanger is a French novelist, playwright, poet and screenwriter. He has also played secondary roles in films and has been a member of the Académie Goncourt since 1983.

Georges Perros



Georges Perros was a French writer.

He was awarded the Prix Littéraire Valery Larbaud in 1973.

P.V. Glob


Peter Vilhelm Glob, also P.V. Glob, was a Danish archaeologist who worked as the Director General of Museums and Antiquities of the state of Denmark and was also the Director of the National Museum in Copenhagen. Glob was most noted for his investigations of Denmark's bog bodies such as Tollund Man and Grauballe Man -- mummified remains of Iron and Bronze Age people found preserved within peat bogs. His anthropological works include The Bog People: Iron Age Man Preserved; Denmark: An Archaeological History from the Stone Age to the Vikings; and Mound People: Danish Bronze-Age Man Preserved. He was co-founder of the Scandinavian Institute of Comparative Vandalism. Glob was the son of the Danish painter Johannes Glob and the father of the Danish ceramic artist Lotte Glob. His most famous investigation was that of the Tollund Man.

Brian Blessed



Brian Blessed is an English actor, known for his sonorous voice and "hearty, king-sized portrayals".

The son of William Blessed, a socialist miner, and Hilda Wall, Blessed was born at the Montague Hospital in the town of Mexborough, England. He attended Bolton on Dearne Secondary Modern School, but after his father suffered an industrial accident, he was forced to leave school early at 14 and spent several years working at a variety of jobs, ranging from undertaker to plasterer's assistant. At the age of eighteen, he suffered a nervous breakdown, from which he gradually recovered with the help of friends and family. He completed his National Service as a parachutist in the Royal Air Force. He began his acting training at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, alongside Patrick Stewart. He has written about his early life in his autobiography, Dynamite Kid (1992).

An early role was that of PC 'Fancy' Smith in the BBC police drama Z-Cars from 1962 to 1965. In 1966, Blessed appeared in "Incident at Vichy" at the Phoenix Theatre in London. Blessed had small roles in such cult shows as The Avengers (1967, 1969) and the original Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) (1969). He portrayed Caesar Augustus in the BBC series I, Claudius. He portrayed the father of Robin Hood, Lord Locksley, in the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. He has appeared in a number of Shakespearean roles on both stage and screen, including four of the five Shakespeare films directed by Kenneth Branagh: as The Duke of Exeter in Henry V (1989), Antonio in Much Ado About Nothing (1993), The Ghost of Hamlet's Father in Hamlet (1996) and the dual role of Duke Frederick and Duke Senior in As You Like It (2006). He also provided the voices of Bob in the animated series Kika & Bob (2008) and Grampy Rabbit in Peppa Pig.

Other roles have emphasized his comedic abilities: notably Prince Vultan in Flash Gordon (1980) – for which he is frequently remembered for the famous line "Gordon's alive!"; the mad, comic figure of Richard IV in the first series of The Black Adder (1983); and Spiro in the BBC adaptation of My Family and Other Animals (1987). He also played the role of General Yevlenko in the 1988 miniseries War and Remembrance. Blessed jokes he almost starred in Blackadder II (1986) as Queen Elizabeth but he wasn't available at the time of filming.

He provided the vocal links on the Sony-Award-winning Christian O'Connell Breakfast Show on Virgin Radio and introduced adverts for Orange mobile phones. At Christmas 2006, he presented a panto Cinderella for Virgin Radio starring actors such as David Tennant and Thandie Newton. In November 2006, Blessed made a surprise appearance on the midday talk show Loose Women. Also, he is featured reading the story "The White City Part 1" which is the final piece on the album Late Night Tales: Nightmares on Wax. Blessed was also the voice of Jean Valjean in Focus on the Family Radio Theatre's audio dramatic adaptation of Victor Hugo's Les Misérables.

Blessed has also starred in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats as both Old Deuteronomy and Bustopher Jones during the original West End theatre production. In 2002, under the direction of Royal Shakespeare Company director, Adrian Noble, Blessed originated the role of Baron Bomburst for the stage musical version of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

During December 2005 to January 2006, Blessed headlined the pantomime production of Peter Pan, alongside CBBC Television presenter Kirsten O'Brien at the Regent Theatre in Ipswich. In late 2007 and early 2008, Blessed starred in the panto version of Peter Pan as Captain Hook at the Grove Theatre in Dunstable. He played the same role again in "Peter Pan" in late 2007, early 2008 and again at Christmas 2008 at the Fairfield Halls, Croydon.

Since October 2008, Blessed presents the UK showings of the Japanese gameshow Unbeatable Banzuke on the Challenge channel under the name Banzuke Brian. He also guest hosted an episode of Have I Got News for You in May 2008.

In 2009 Blessed played the world's worst explorer, Sir Basil Champion – a character based upon Blessed's fictional inspiration, The Lost World's Professor Challenger – in the fourth story in The Scarifyers series.

In November 2009, Blessed starred in a series of online videos on the BBC Comedy website in which he played Henry VIII. The concept of the video series is that the Tudor king is alive & well, and living in a suburban semi with his long-suffering sixth wife Catherine Parr. Henry has embraced modern technology and lives his life online – insulting the King of France on Facebook, surfing for desirable women friends, and blocking the Pope on Twitter.

In late 2009, Blessed starred as the Narrator in the In the Wings production of Peter and the Wolf at the New Victory Theatre, New York.

In September 2010 Blessed recorded the voiceover to Sheherazade, or The Princess, the Pirate and the Baboon!, an album of children's stories set to the classical music composition Scheherazade by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and also featuring the voices of Rory Bremner, Jess Murphy, Sam Morris and Nigel Garton. Brian voiced the role of the Great Sultan Shahryār; the album was released as the first in a series entitled Grandma Dingley's Ingeniously Musical Tales in March 2011.

Hans Aanrud


Hans Aanrud was a Norwegian author. He wrote plays, poetry, and stories depicting rural life in his native Gudbrandsdal, Norway.

Ralph Klein


Ralph Phillip Klein served as the 12th Premier of Alberta. He served as leader of the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta from 1992 until his retirement in 2006. 

21 June, 2012

Jean-Pierre Petit



Jean-Pierre Petit is a French scientist, senior researcher at National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) as an astrophysicist in Marseille Observatory, now retired. His main working fields are fluid mechanics, kinetic theory of gases, plasma physics applied in magnetohydrodynamics power generation and propulsion as well as topology and astrophysics applied in cosmology. He is a pioneer in magnetohydrodynamics and has worked out the principle and techniques of parietal MHD converter. In cosmology, he worked on the bi-gravity theory.

Besides his adventure in the UFO topic as well as his assertions about the existence of Ummo, Petit has succeeded in pursuing a scientific career within the CNRS.

Now retired, he is involved with UFO-Science which he co-founded and LAMBDA (Laboratory for Applications of MHD in Bitemperature Discharges to Aerodynamics) which he founded. He claims a true scientific study of the UFO phenomenon would improve our scientific knowledge and help mankind.

Thomas Beecham


Sir Thomas Beecham, 2nd Baronet, was an English conductor and impresario best known for his association with the London Philharmonic and the Royal Philharmonic orchestras. He was also closely associated with the Liverpool Philharmonic and Hallé orchestras. From the early 20th century until his death, Beecham was a major influence on the musical life of Britain and, according to the BBC, was Britain's first international conductor.

Born to a rich industrial family, Beecham began his career as a conductor in 1899. He used his access to the family fortune to finance opera from the 1910s until the start of the Second World War, staging seasons at Covent Garden, Drury Lane and His Majesty's Theatre with international stars, his own orchestra and a wide repertoire. Among the works he introduced to England were Richard Strauss's Elektra, Salome and Der Rosenkavalier and three operas by Frederick Delius.

Together with his younger colleague Malcolm Sargent, Beecham founded the London Philharmonic, and he conducted its first performance at the Queen's Hall in 1932. In the 1940s, he worked for three years in the United States, where he was music director of the Seattle Symphony and conducted at the Metropolitan Opera. After his return to Britain, he founded the Royal Philharmonic in 1946 and conducted it until his death in 1961.

Beecham's repertoire was eclectic, sometimes favouring lesser-known composers over famous ones. His specialities included composers whose works were neglected in Britain before he became their advocate, such as Delius and Berlioz. Other composers with whose music he was frequently associated were Haydn, Schubert, Sibelius and the composer he revered above all others, Mozart.

Umberto Eco




Umberto Eco was an Italian semiotician, essayist, philosopher, literary critic, and novelist. He is best known for his groundbreaking 1980 novel Il nome della rosa (The Name of the Rose), an intellectual mystery combining semiotics in fiction, biblical analysis, medieval studies and literary theory. He had written further novels, including Il pendolo di Foucault (Foucault's Pendulum) and L'isola del giorno prima (The Island of the Day Before). His most recent novel Il cimitero di Praga (The Prague Cemetery), released in 2010, was a best-seller.

Eco had also written academic texts, children's books and many essays. He was founder of the Dipartimento di Comunicazione at the University of San Marino, President of the Scuola Superiore di Studi Umanistici, University of Bologna, member of the Accademia dei Lincei (since November 2010) and an Honorary Fellow of Kellogg College, University of Oxford.

Eco died at his Milanese home of pancreatic cancer, from which he had been suffering for two years, on the night of February 19, 2016. At the time of his death at the age of 84, he was a professor emeritus at the University of Bologna, a position that he had held since 2008.

Raymond Aron






Raymond-Claude-Ferdinand Aron was a French philosopher, sociologist, journalist and political scientist.

He is known for his lifelong friendship, sometimes fractious, with Jean-Paul Sartre. He is best known for his 1955 book The Opium of the Intellectuals, the title of which inverts Karl Marx's claim that religion was the opium of the people -- in contrast, Aron argued that in post-war France Marxism was the opium of intellectuals. In the book, Aron chastized French intellectuals for what he described as their harsh criticism of capitalism and democracy and their simultaneous defense of Marxist oppression, atrocities and intolerance.

Critic Roger Kimball suggests that Opium is "a seminal book of the twentieth century."

Aron also wrote extensively on a wide range of other topics, however. Citing the breadth and quality of Aron's writings, historian James R. Garland suggests that "Though he may be little known in America, Raymond Aron arguably stood as the preeminent example of French intellectualism for much of the twentieth century."

Born in Paris, the son of a secular Jewish lawyer, Aron studied at the École Normale Supérieure, where he met Jean-Paul Sartre, who became his friend and lifelong intellectual opponent.[3] Aron took first place in the Agrégation of philosophy in 1928, the year Sartre failed the same exam. In 1930, he received a doctorate in the philosophy of history from the École Normale Supérieure.

He had been teaching social philosophy at the University of Toulouse for only a few weeks when World War II began; he joined the Armée de l'Air. When France was defeated, he left for London to join the Free French forces, then edited the newspaper, France Libre (Free France).

When the war ended Aron returned to Paris to teach sociology at the École Nationale d'Administration and at the Paris Institute of Political Studies. From 1955 to 1968, he taught at the Sorbonne, and after 1970 at the Collège de France. In 1953, he befriended the young American philosopher Allan Bloom, who was teaching at the Sorbonne.

A lifelong journalist, Aron in 1947 became an influential columnist for Le Figaro, a position he held for thirty years until he joined L'Express, where he wrote a political column up to his death.

In Berlin, Aron witnessed Nazi book burnings, and developed an aversion to all totalitarian systems. In 1938 he participated in the Colloque Walter Lippmann in Paris. While generally considered to the right of most French and European intellectuals of his era, Aron believed in the need for a substantial welfare state.

Aron wrote important works on Karl Marx and on Carl von Clausewitz, the Prussian theorist of war. In Peace and War he set out a theory of international relations. For Aron, Max Weber's monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force held by the state in its internal affairs does not apply to the relationship between states.

Aron died of a heart attack in Paris on 17 October 1983.

He was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1960.













Marcel Bigeard




Marcel "Bruno" Bigeard) was a French military officer who fought in World War II, Indochina and Algeria. He was one of the commanders in the Battle of Dien Bien Phu and is thought by many to have been a dominating influence on French 'unconventional' warfare thinking from that time onwards. He was one of the most decorated soldiers in France, and is particularly noteworthy because of his ascendance from a regular soldier in 1936 to ultimately finishing his career in 1976 as a Lieutenant General (Général de corps d'armée). A former resistant, he is associated mainly with the war of Indochina and Algeria.

Marcel Bigeard was born in Toul, Meurthe-et-Moselle on 14 February 1916, the son of Charles Bigeard (1880–1948), a railway worker, and Sophie Bigeard (1880–1964), a domineering housewife. Bigeard's working-class family were staunchly patriotic, and believed France was the greatest nation in the world; Bigeard's often stated belief that France was worth fighting for stemmed from this upbringing. He also had an older sister, Charlotte Bigeard, four years his senior. Lorraine instilled a strong patriotism in him and his mother a will to win; those two would remain his strongest driving forces. At fourteen, Bigeard quit school to help his parents financially by taking a position in the local Société Générale bank, where he did well.

Following a 6-year career in Société générale, Marcel Bigeard conducted his military service in France at Haguenau at the corps of the 23rd Fortress Infantry Regiment, Incorporated in the regiment as a soldat de deuxième classe in September 1936, caporal-chef, he was relieved of duty and military obligations with the rank of reserve sergent in September 1938.

Six months following his relief of duty, in anticipation of imminent conflict, he was recalled on March 22, 1939 to duty at the corps of the 23rd Fortress Infantry and promoted to the rank of sergent.

In September 1939, with the arrival of the reserves, the battalions of the 23rd Fortress Infantry Regiment 23eRIF, served each in a chain link to form new Fortress infantry regiments of « mobilization », Brigeard was assigned to the 79th Fortress Infantry Regiment in the under fortified sector of Hoffen and the Maginot Line. Volunteer for the franc corps, he led a combat group at Trimbach in Alsace and became quickly a sergent-chef then adjudant (warrant officer) at the age of 24.

On June 25, 1940, he was captured (post-armistice) and made prisoner of war spending 18 months in captivity in a stalag. Following his third attempt to escape on November 11, 1941, he managed to make his way to the unoccupied zone in France, and from there, he went to Senegal.

Volunteering for the French Occidental Africa, he was assigned in February 1942 to a camp in Senegal, in a Senegalese Tirailleurs Regiment of the Armistice Army. Promoted to sous-lieutenant in October 1943, he was directed with his regiment to Morocco.

Recruited as a paratrooper of the Free French Forces, he conducted a military formation, with the British Commandos, near Algiers during three months, then was assigned the preliminary rank of Chef de bataillon (major) at a directorate. In 1944, after paratrooper training by the British, he was parachuted into occupied France as part of a Jedburgh team of four with the mission of leading the resistance in the Ariège département close to the border with Andorra. One of these audacious ambushes against superior German forces gained him a British decoration. His nickname of "Bruno" has its origins in his radio call sign.

At the beginning of 1945, Bigeard created and managed during a scholastic semester, the regional cadres school of Pyla, near Bordeaux, destined to form officers issued from the French Forces of the Interior. Decorated with the Légion d'honneur and the British Distinguished Service Order for his actions in Ariège, Bigeard was promoted to an active captain in June 1945.

Bigeard was first sent to Indo-China in October 1945 to assist with French efforts to reassert their influence over the former French colonies. He commanded the 23rd Colonial Infantry and then volunteered to train Thai auxiliaries in their interdiction of Viet Minh incursions around the Laos border along the 'road' R.C. 41 (Route Coloniale).

In the middle of 1945, captain Bigeard was entrusted with the command of the 6th company of the 23rd Colonial Infantry Regiment. Designated to participate to the expeditionary corps in Indochina, the regiment dismebarked in Saigon on October 25, 1945 and served until March 1946 in various sectors of operations. During this epoque, the "Bruno" surname started to circulate.

On March 8, 1946, a detachment of the 2nd Armored Brigade 2e DB and 9th Colonial Infantry Division, which the 23rd Colonial Infantry Regiment 23e RIC was part of, disembarked in Tonkin. As a paratrooper, Bigeard was legendary in the French Army for his toughness and physical endurance as the American diplomat Howard Simpson noted that anyone who visited Bigeard could expect only “a thin slice of ham and one small, isolated boiled potato washed down with steaming tea”.

On July 1, 1946, Bigeard left the 23e RIC and formed south-east of Dien Bien Phu, a unit constituted of four commandos of 25 volunteers at the corps of the autonomous Thai Battalion. At the return of his men in metropole, mid-October 1946, he assumed command of the 3rd company, constituted of almost 40 men. He then left Indochina on September 17, 1947 and reached France three days later.

Volunteering for another tour in Indochina, Bigeard was assigned on February 1, 1948 to the 3rd Colonial Parachute Commando Battalion 3e BCCP.

On October 1, 1949, Bigeard set on foot the 3rd Thai Battalion, consisting of 2530 men divided in five regular companies and nine companies of civilian guards with military supplementaries.[18] Relieved from this post, he assumed on April 5, 1950 the command of an Indochinese marching battalion[11] who received, in August, the regimental color of the 1st Tonkin Tirailleurs Regiment which was decorated by the croix de guerre with palm. On November 12, 1950, Bigeard embarked on a paquebot and left again Indochina.

In the spring of 1951, Bigeard was assigned at Vannes, the colonial demi-brigade of colonel Jean Gilles and was confined with a passing battalion. In September 1951, he was assigned the command of the 6th Colonial Parachute Battalion 6e BPC at Saint-Brieuc. He was ranked then as a Chef de battaillon in January 1952.

On July 28, 1952, Bigeard, at the head of the 6th Colonial Parachute Battalion 6e BPC, disembarked at Haiphong for a third deployment in Indochina. Over half of Bigeard's men were Vietnamese while the other half were French, thus requiring considerable leadership on his part to tie together a mixed unit to allow it to function effectively. On October 16, 1952, the battalion was parachuted on Tu Lê and confronted during eight days the opposing regimental divisions. During the Battle of Tu Lê, the battalion was encircled by an entire Vietnamese division, being outnumbered ten to one. In the course of extremely fierce fighting, Bigeard fought off the attempts of the Vietnamese to destroy his unit and led his men into a successful break-out into the jungle marching for days and carrying all of their wounded until finally reaching a French fort. The 6e BPC distinguished savoir-faire again during the Battle of Nà Sản, during an operation on Lang Song July 17, 1953 and during Operation Castor on Dien Bien Phu November 20, 1953. He was a keen self-publicist, welcoming journalists among his troops, which assisted his cause to get the materials needed to help him succeed. His units were noted for their dedication to physical fitness above the normal requirements by the army. This unique style included creating the famous 'casquette Bigeard' cap from the 'excess' material of the long shorts in the standard uniform. A fitness fanatic known for his austere lifestyle and working out several hours every day, Bigeard was famous being one of the fittest men in the entire French Army. Bigeard extruded a peculiar sort of French machismo as he always led from the front while refusing to carry a weapon, never asked his men to do anything that he would not do and was well known for his saying: "It is possible, it will be done. And if it is impossible, it will still be done". A colorful man, Bigeard was extremely popular with the troops under his men for his courage and for always leading from the front, but his contempt for superior officers who did not suffer the same hardships as ordinary soldiers, the "generals with middle-aged spread" as Bigeard called them, made for tense relations with his commanding officers. He participated in many operations including a combat drop on Tu Lê in November 1952. It was also in 1952 that he fully qualified to be a flying pilot of a military transport helicopter so as to be fully capable of commanding a paratrooper battalion. An extremely able military tactician, Bigard was called by the British military historian Martin Windrow the "intuitive master of terrain, who could conduct a battle by map and radio like the conductor of an orchestra."

On 20 November 1953 Bigeard and his unit took part in Operation Castor, the opening stage of the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. Bigeard and the 6e BPC returned to Dien Bien Phu on 16 March 1954, parachuting in to reinforce the now besieged garrison. He acted as deputy to Pierre Langlais, and was a member of the "parachute mafia" – a unit of the high-ranking paratroopers at the camp who oversaw combat operations. Historian Bernard Fall asserts that an armed Bigeard, along with Langlais, took de facto command of the camp from General Christian de Castries in mid-March. Both Langlais and Bigeard were known to be on good relations with their commanding officer.

On December 31, 1953, Bigeard took command of the Airborne Groupment constituted of the 1st Parachute Chasseur Regiment 1er RCP and the 6e BPC, intervening to intercept opposing divisions.

Parachuted on March 16, 1954, while the outcome of Dien Bien Phu was being sealed, Ranks in the French Army Commandant Bigeard was promoted to lieutenant-colonel during ongoing fighting, making of him a recognized figure while leading his battalion on points Éliane 1 and 2, specially co-directing intervention troops of the retracted camp of colonel Langlais. This was in some ways seen as a reward for his valiant command of his troops before the expected massacre at the end of the battle. Bigeard called Dien Bien Phu a "jungle Verdun", the final and most intense battle in Vietnam as the Vietnamese used their Soviet-built artillery on the hills above to rain heavy fire on the French positions; every day the Vietnamese staged huge "human wave" attacks, sending thousands of infantrymen to try to storm the French lines, only to be repulsed time after time. Bigeard's paras were engaged in the heaviest fighting at Dien Bien Phu, and of his 800 men, only forty had not been killed by the end of the battle.

Lieutenant-colonel Marcel Bigeard was made a prisoner of war on May 7 1954, during the fall of the camp. After the battle, the Vietnamese forced the French prisoners on a death march to POW camps, making them march through a hot, humid jungle while refusing to provide food, water or medicine. It was a tribute to Bigeard's intense physical fitness regime that he emerged from Vietnamese captivity in relatively good health. He was liberated four month later, leaving Indochina for good on September 25 1954. Upon returning to France, Bigeard told the French press he "would do better the next time".

In 1956, Bigeard was sent to the bled (countryside) of Algeria to hunt down the FLN using helicopters to rapidly deploy his men. On 5 June 1956 during a skirmish, Bigeard took a bullet to his chest that narrowly missed his heart. On 5 September 1956, Bigeard was the victim of an assassination attempt by the FLN, being shot in the chest twice by FLN assassins while jogging alone by the Mediterranean. The American historian Max Boot wrote it was a tribute to Bigeard's toughness and the robust state of his health that he could take three bullets in his chest over the course of four months in 1956 and still be back to duty shortly afterwards. At the beginning of 1956, the regiment participated at the corps of the elite 10th Parachute Division of général Jacques Massu in the battle of Algiers. The mission of the paratroopers was to re-establish peace in the city in the autumn of 1956 and until the summer of 1957. In late 1956, the FLN had launched the Battle of Algiers, a campaign of assassinations and bombings targeting civilians designed to be the "Algerian Dien Bien Phu" The FLN had decided to deliberately target pied-noir citizens as a way of breaking French power. As one FLN directive put it: "A bomb causing the death of ten people and wounding fifty others is the equivalent on the psychological level to the loss of a French battalion." As such, the FLN set off bombs almost daily at restaurants, cafes, bus stops, football stadiums, and marketplaces, and anybody known to be pro-French was murdered. The FLN favored murdering pro-French Muslims and pied-noirs by making them wear the "Algerian smile" - cutting out the throat, ripping out the tongue and leaving the victim to bleed to death. As the carnage mounted, the 10th Parachute Division was deployed to Algiers as the police simply could not cope.

In March 1957, the 3e RPC made way south of Blida and participated in numerous operations in Atlas and Agounnenda. The regiment relieved the 1st Parachute Chasseur Regiment in July 1957 in Algiers. Bigeard revitalized the unit by weeding out laggards and the uncommitted and then put the remainder through an intense training regime. He led the 3e RPC through numerous operations, the most famous being the 1957 Battle of Algiers. It was known that the FLN was conducting its bombing campaign that was terrorizing Algiers out of the Casbah, the overcrowded medieval quarter of Algiers with narrow, serpentine streets. Bigeard had the 10th Parachute Division build barbed wire fences around the Casbah and imposed a curfew where anyone found on the streets of the Casbah would be shot down and their bodies left out to rot until the morning to show the people of the Casbah that the 10th Parachute Division was a force “even more extreme than the FLN.” In January 1957, a map was drawn up of the Casbah, a census was conducted and using files from the Algiers police department the paras started to staged raids to capture suspected fellagha. Over the course of the Battle of Algiers, the 10th Parachute Division arrested about 24,000 Muslims of whom about 4,000 "disappeared", as those who were murdered were euphemistically described. During the Battle of Algiers, Bigeard captured Larbi Ben M'hidi, one of the FLN's top leaders, but Bigeard refused to torture him on the grounds that M'hidi was a warrior who deserved respect. During the course of a dinner with his enemy, Bigeard asked M'hidi if he was ashamed that he had bombs planted in baskets at restaurants and cafes designed to kill the patrons, saying "Aren’t you ashamed to place bombs in the baskets of your women?," leading to the reply “Give me your planes. I’ll give you my baskets.” When Massu ordered M'hidi executed, Bigeard declined the order, and instead Major Paul Aussaresses was sent to take M'hidi away to hang him.” As Aussaresses was taking M'hidi out to the countryside to hang him, Bigeard had his paras give the doomed M'hidi full military honors as he was led away.

After the initial apparent victory in Algiers, in April 1957 Bigeard moved the 3e RPC back into the Atlas Mountains in pursuit of FLN groups in that province. In May he was in the area near Agounennda to ambush a large force of about 300 djounoud of the FLN group Wilaya 4. This group had already attacked an Algerian Battalion on 21 May causing heavy casualties. From a 'cold' start Bigeard estimated the attacking group's probable route of withdrawal and laid a wide ambush along a valley of 100 km². The ensuing battle and followup lasted from 23 to 26 May 1957, but resulted in eight paras killed for 96 enemy dead, twelve prisoners and five captives released. For this exemplary operation he was nicknamed "Seigneur de l'Atlas" by his boss General Massu.

Promoted to colonel in January 1958, Bigeard directed the 3e RPC with others to the Battle of the frontiers from January to June. After other urban, desert and mountain operations, Bigeard was replaced as the commander of 3e RPC in March 1958 by Roger Trinquier. In 1958, Time magazine wrote of Bigard that he was "a martinet, but the idol of his men, who made them shave every day, no matter where they were, and doled out raw onions instead of the traditional wine ration because 'wine reduces stamina'." The senior officers of the French Army, most of whom had graduated from Saint-Cyr, made no secret of their dislike for Bigeard, whom they viewed as a "jumped-up ranker" who disregarded orders if he thought them to be stupid. As a punishment, Bigeard was removed from his front-line duties in Algeria and sent to Paris to train officers in "revolutionary warfare".

Accordingly, Bigeard went back to Paris where, the minister of the armies, Jacques Chaban-Delmas, asked him to establish a center of instruction for cadres that opened at the end of April near Philippeville. The École Jeanne d'Arc in Philippeville was to provide field officers with a one-month training course in counter-insurgency techniques. Bigeard created the school and was placed in charge. He did not take any part to the events of May 13, 1958.

After fourth months in Toul, Bigeard went back to Algeria, taking command of a sector in Saida and Oranie on January 25 1959. Under his disposition were around 5,000 men, formed from the 8th Infantry Regiment, the 14th Algerian Tirailleurs Regiment, the 23rd Moroccan Saphis Regiment 23e RSM, one group of DCA, one artillery regiment, and two mobile groups.

Following a meeting with de Gaulle on August 27 1959, he assumed command on December 1 of the Ain-Sefra, with an effective strength of 1,500 men. In 1959 Bigeard was given command of his own sector in Ain-Sefra and, unlike many fellow officers who were closely associated with the war, did not take part in the Algiers putsch in 1961.

Bigeard was later drawn into the controversy in France over the use of torture in the Algerian war. The admission by senior military people involved to the long-accepted belief that torture was used systematically put the spotlight on all figures involved. Bigeard justified the use of torture during the Algerian War as a "necessary evil" in Le Monde newspaper, and confirmed its use while also denying any claim of his involvement in personally using torture.
From July 1960 to January 1963, Bigeard took command of the 6th Colonial Infantry Outremer Regiment 6e RIAOM at Bouar in Central African Republic.

Following a brief passage by the École supérieure de guerre from June 1963 to June 1964, he took command of the 25th Parachute Brigade which included the 1st Parachute Chasseur Regiment 1e RCP and the 9th Parachute Chasseur Regiment 9e RCP at Pau on August 31, 1964. Following, he also held the command of the 20th Parachute Brigade succeeding général Langlais and which included the 3rd Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment 3e RPIMa, the 6th Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment 6e RPIMa and the 9th Parachute Chasseur Regiment at Toulouse. Accordingly, he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general on August 1, 1967.

Following an encounter with général de Gaulle, he was designated to the post of superior commandant of terrestrial forces in Senegal, which included 2000 men (French Army 1100, French Navy 500, French Air Force 400) and accordingly joined Dakar on February 7, 1968.

In July 1970, Bigeard was back in Paris and was assigned for ten months at the CEMAT headquarter staff. On August 7, 1971, he took command of Area Forces present in the Indian Ocean at Antananarivo and obtained on December 1, 1971 his third star. He left Madagascar on July 31, 1973 with the total ensemble of French Forces present in that sector. Bigeard was known for his unusual way of taking command, namely by parachuting in to his post while saluting his men, which nearly led to disaster in Madagascar when the wind blew him into the Indian Ocean that was full of sharks, thus requiring his men to dive in to save him. Sharks will attack an individual, but never a group.

Following his return to France, he became from September 1973 to February 1974, the second adjoint to the Military governor of Paris. Promoted général de corps d'armée on March 1, 1974, he assumed command of the 4th Military Region, that is 40000 men out of which 10000 paratroopers.

He met on January 30, 1975, President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing who proposed the post of secretary of state attached to minister Yvone Bourges. He held that post from February 1975 to August 1976, date on which he leaves the service.

Following a brief retirement at Toul, he presented himself to the elections and became a deputy of Meurthe-et-Moselle from 1978 to 1981. During this first legislation, he would also be the assigned the function tenure of président de la commission de défense. He was reelected to the first round in June 1981 then to the proportionnelle in March 1986. In 1988, following the dissolution of the assembly, he retired.[67] During his retirement, he spent much of his time writing his memoire and wrote books on his military career while proposing reflexion thoughts on the evolution of France. In his last book, Mon dernier round, published in 2009, Bigeard strongly denounced de Gaulle for his treatment of the harkis (Algerian Muslims who served in the French Army), writing that de Gaulle shamefully abandoned thousands of harkis and their families to be slaughtered by the FLN in 1962 and even those harkis who did escape to France were shunted aside to live in the banlieues, writing that these men and their families who sacrificed so much for France deserved better much. In a memoir published in 1999, Bigeard admitted to using "muscular interrogations" to make FLN suspects talk, but denied engaging in torture himself while at the same time justifying torture as an interrogation method writing "Was it easy to do nothing when you had seen women and children with their limbs blown off by bombs?".

On 15 June 2000, Louisette Ighilahriz, a woman had been a member of the FLN accused Bigeard and Massu in an interview published in Le Monde newspaper of being present when she was tortured and raped by the French Army at a military prison in 1957. Ighilahriz had come forward with her story as she wanted to thank one "Richaud", an Army doctor at the prison for saving her life, saying that Dr. Richaud was a most gentle man who always treated her injuries and saved her life. Bigeard rejected Ighilarhiz's claims that she was tortured and raped and he been present, saying that Ighilarhiz's story was a "tissue of lies" designed to "destroy all that is decent in France", and going to say this "Richaud" had never existed. Bigeard was contradicted by Massu who confirmed the existence of "Richaud", saying that Ighilahriz was referring to Dr. François Richaud who had been the doctor stationed at the prison in 1957. Bigeard stated in his defense that Ighilahriz's claim she had been tortured by him was part of a "network of lies – destroying everything that remains decent in France", waged by the same left-wing intellectuals whom Bigeard blamed for undermining the French will to win in Algeria. Bigeard always denied having engaged in torture himself, but he also maintained that the use of torture against the FLN had been a "necessary evil". The Canadian historian Barnett Singer came to Bigeard's defense, writing that Ighilahriz was a terrorist whose account was full of "fabrications" and Bigeard was off hunting the FLN in the bled at the time she was held by the 10th Parachute Division in late 1957.
Bigeard died on June 18, 2010 at his home in Toul. His funeral procession was held at the Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Toul on June 21 in presence of former président de la République Valéry Giscard d'Estaing and the ministre de la Défense, Hervé Morin.