03 June, 2012

Rex Ingram

Rex Ingram was an Irish film director, producer, writer and actor.

Early life
Born Reginald Ingram Montgomery Hitchcock in Dublin, Ireland, was the son of a clergyman. He was educated at Saint Columba's College, near Rathfarnam, County Dublin. He spent most of his adolescent life living in the Old Rectory, Kinnitty, Birr, County Offaly where his father was the Church of Ireland rector.  He immigrated to the United States in 1911. His brother Francis Clere Hitchcock went on to join the British army and fought during World War I where he was awarded the Military Cross and rose to the rank of Colonel.

Ingram studied sculpture at the Yale University School of Art, but soon moved into film, first taking acting work from 1913 and then writing, producing and directing.  His first work as producer-director was in 1916 on the romantic drama The Great Problem. He worked for  Edison Studios, Fox Film Corporation, Vitagraph Studios, and then MGM, directing mainly action or supernatural films. In 1920, he moved to Metro, where he was under supervision of executive June Mathis. Mathis and Ingram would go on to make four films together, Hearts are Trump, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, The Conquering Power, and Turn to the Right. It is believed the two were romantically involved. Ingram and Mathis had begun to grow distant when her new find, Rudolph Valentino, began to overshadow his own fame. Their relationship ended when Ingram eloped with Alice Terry in 1921.

He married twice, first to actress Doris Pawn in 1917; this ended in divorce in 1920.  He then married Alice Terry in 1921, with whom he remained for the rest of his life. In 1925, Ingram and Fred Niblo directed the hugely successful epic Ben-Hur, filming parts of it in Italy. He and his wife decided to move to the French Riviera. They formed a small studio in Nice and made several films on location in North Africa, Spain, and Italy for MGM and others.

Among those who worked for Ingram at MGM on the Riviera during this period was the young Michael Powell, who later went on to direct (with Emeric Pressburger) The Red Shoes and other classics. By Powell's own account, Ingram was a major influence on him. Indeed Ingram's influence on Powell's later work can be detected, especially in its themes in illusion, dreaming, magic and the surreal. David Lean also admitted he was deeply indebted to Ingram,  and MGM studio chief Dore Schary once listed the top creative people in Hollywood as D. W. Griffith, Ingram, Cecil B. DeMille, and Erich von Stroheim (in declining order of importance).

Unimpressed with sound, Rex Ingram made only one talkie, Baroud, filmed for Gaumont British Pictures in Morocco. The film was a not a commercial success and Ingram left the film business, returning to Los Angeles to work as a sculptor and writer. Interested in Islam as early as 1927, he converted to the faith in 1933.

Rex Ingram's films were considered by many contemporary directors to be artistic and skillful, with an imaginative and bold visual style. In 1949, the Directors Guild of America bestowed an Honorary Life Membership on him. For his contribution to the motion picture industry he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1651 Vine Street.

He also wrote two novels, Mars in the House of Death and The Legion Advances.

Rex Ingram died from a cerebral hemorrhage on 21 July 1950 and was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.

Rex Ingram

Rex Ingram was an American stage, film, and television actor.

Early life and career
Born near Cairo, Illinois on the Mississippi River, Ingram's father was a steamer fireman on the riverboat Robert E. Lee. Ingram graduated from the Northwestern University medical school in 1919 and was the first African American man to receive a Phi Beta Kappa key from Northwestern University. He went to Hollywood as a young man where he was literally discovered on a street corner by the casting director for Tarzan of the Apes (1918), starring Elmo Lincoln. He made his (uncredited) screen debut in that film and had many other small roles, usually as a generic black native, such as in the Tarzan films. With the arrival of sound, his presence and powerful voice became an asset and he went on to memorable roles in The Green Pastures (1936), The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (the 1939 MGM version, opposite Mickey Rooney), The Thief of Bagdad (1940—perhaps his best-known film appearance—as the genie), The Talk of the Town (1942), and Sahara (1943).

From 1929, he also appeared on stage, making his debut on Broadway. He appeared in more than a dozen Broadway productions, with his final role coming in Kwamina in 1961. He was in the original cast of Haiti (1938),Cabin in the Sky (1940), and St. Louis Woman (1946). He is one of the few actors to have played both God (in The Green Pastures) and the Devil (in Cabin in the Sky).

In 1962, he became the first African American actor to be hired for a contract role on a soap opera, when he appeared on The Brighter Day. He had other minor work in television in the sixties, appearing in an episode each of I Spy and The Bill Cosby Show, both of which starred Bill Cosby, who used his influence to land him the roles.

Shortly after filming a guest spot on The Bill Cosby Show, Ingram died of a heart attack at the age of 73. On his passing, his body was interred in the Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles.

John Fass

John Stroble Fass was an American graphic designer and a printer of fine press books. Fass designed books for the leading American publishers of limited edition books. Collectors of private press books also remember John Fass for the handcrafted books he printed on a tabletop printing press in his one-room apartment at the Bronx YMCA. Fass' books and his photography celebrate his life in New York City, where he lived most of his career. His work also documents his passion for the rural landscapes of his native Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

Albert Camus

Albert Camus was a French author, journalist, and philosopher. His views contributed to the rise of the philosophy known as absurdism. He wrote in his essay "The Rebel" that his whole life was devoted to opposing the philosophy of nihilism while still delving deeply into individual freedom.

Although often cited as a proponent of existentialism, the philosophy with which Camus was associated during his own lifetime, he rejected this particular label. In an interview in 1945, Camus rejected any ideological associations: "No, I am not an existentialist. Sartre and I are always surprised to see our names linked..."

In 1949, Camus founded the Group for International Liaisons within the Revolutionary Union Movement, which was opposed to some tendencies of the Surrealist movement of André Breton.

Camus was awarded the 1957 Nobel Prize for Literature "for his important literary production, which with clear-sighted earnestness illuminates the problems of the human conscience in our times". He was the second-youngest recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, after Rudyard Kipling, and the first African-born writer to receive the award. He is the shortest-lived of any Nobel literature laureate to date, having died in an automobile accident just over two years after receiving the award.