08 May, 2018

Dr. Robert W. Woods

Robert Williams Wood was an American physicist and inventor.

Born in Concord, Massachusetts, Wood attended The Roxbury Latin School with the initial intent of becoming a priest. However, he decided to study optics instead when he witnessed a rare glowing aurora one night and believed the effect to be caused by "invisible rays". In his pursuit to find these "invisible rays", Wood studied and earned several degrees in physics from Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Chicago. From 1894 to 1896, he worked with Heinrich Rubens at the Berlin University.

Dr. Wood returned to the U.S.A., where he taught briefly at the University of Wisconsin and eventually became a full-time professor of "optical physics" at Johns Hopkins University from 1901 until his death. He worked closely with Alfred Lee Loomis at Tuxedo Park, New York. He wrote many articles on spectroscopy, phosphorescence and diffraction. He is best known for his work in ultraviolet light.

Another of his claims to fame was his debunking of N-rays in 1904. The French physicist Prosper-René Blondlot claimed to have discovered a new form of radiation like X-rays, which he named N-rays. Some physicists reported having successfully reproduced his experiments; others reported that they had failed. Visiting Blondlot's laboratory at the behest of the journal Nature, Wood surreptitiously removed an essential prism from Blondlot's apparatus during a demonstration. The effect did not vanish, showing that N-rays had always been self-deception on Blondlot's part.

Wood identified an area of very low ultraviolet albedo (reflectivity, that is most of the ultraviolet is absorbed) in the Aristarchus Plateau region of the Moon, one that he suggested was due to high sulfur content. The area continues to be called Wood's Spot. In 1909, Wood constructed the first practical liquid mirror astronomical telescope, by spinning mercury to form a paraboloidal shape, and investigated its benefits and limitations. Wood has been described as the "father of both infrared and ultraviolet photography." Though the discovery of electromagnetic radiation beyond the visible spectrum and the development of photographic emulsions capable of recording them predate Dr. Wood, he was the first to intentionally produce photographs with both infrared and ultraviolet radiation. In 1903 he developed a filter, Wood's glass, that was opaque to visible light but transparent to both ultraviolet and infrared, and is used in modern-day black lights. He used it for ultraviolet photography but also suggested its use for secret communication. He was also the first person to photograph ultraviolet fluorescence. He also developed an ultraviolet lamp, which is widely known as the Wood's lamp in medicine. The slightly surreal glowing appearance of foliage in infrared photographs is called the Wood effect.

Dr. Wood also authored nontechnical works. In 1915, Wood co-wrote a science fiction novel, The Man Who Rocked the Earth, along with Arthur Train. Its sequel, The Moon Maker, was published the next year. Wood also wrote and illustrated two books of children's verse, How to Tell the Birds from the Flowers (1907), and Animal Analogues (1908).

Wood also took part in the investigation of several crimes including the Wall Street bombing. Dr. Wood married Gertrude Hooper Ames in 1892 in San Francisco. She was the daughter of Pelham Warren and Augusta Hooper (Wood) Ames, and the granddaughter of William Northey Hooper and the Massachusetts Supreme Court justice Seth Ames. Dr. Wood died in Amityville, New York.

Frederic John Walker

Captain Frederic John Walker was a Royal Navy officer noted for his exploits during World War II.

Walker was born in Plymouth, the son of Frederic Murray and Lucy Selina (née Scriven) Walker. He joined the Royal Navy as a cadet in 1909 and was educated at the Royal Naval Colleges at Osborne and Dartmouth, where he excelled. First serving on the battleship Ajax as a midshipman, Walker as a sub-lieutenant went on to join the destroyers Mermaid and Sarpedon in 1916 and 1917 respectively. Following the end of the First World War, Walker joined the Queen Elizabeth-class battleship Valiant.

During the interwar period Walker partook in the field of antisubmarine warfare. He took a course at the newly founded antisubmarine warfare training school of HMS Osprey, on the Isle of Portland, which was established in 1924. Walker consequently became an expert in this type of warfare, and was appointed to a post specializing in this field, serving on many capital ships. In May 1933 he was promoted to commander and took charge of the World War I destroyer Shikari. In December 1933 Walker, took command of the Shoreham-class sloop Falmouth based on the China Station. In April 1937 Walker became the Experimental Commander at HMS Osprey.

When World War II began, in 1939, Walker's career seemed at an end. Still a commander, he had been ignored for promotion to captain and indeed had been scheduled for early retirement. He gained a reprieve, however, due to the commencement of war and in 1940 was appointed as Operations Staff Officer to Vice-Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay. Even so, Walker still had not been given a command, despite expertise in antisubmarine warfare that would no doubt be indispensable in the Battle of the Atlantic. During Walker's time in that role the Operation Dynamo evacuation took place from Dunkirk, in which the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was evacuated from France. The evacuation was a success with over 330,000 British and French troops being rescued and brought back to England, or to Brittany. He was Mentioned in Despatches for his work during this operation.

Walker received his own command in October 1941, taking control of the 36th Escort Group, commanding from the Bittern-class sloop Stork. The escort group comprised two sloops (including the Stork) and six corvettes and was based in Liverpool, the home of the Western Approaches Command. Initially his Group was primarily used to escort convoys to and from Gibraltar.

Walker's first chance to test his innovative methods against the U-boat menace came in December when his group escorted Convoy HG 76 (32 ships). During the journey five U-boats were sunk, four by Walker's group, including the U-574 which was depth-charged and rammed by Walker's own ship on 19 December. The Royal Navy's loss during the Battle for HG76 was one escort carrier, the Audacity, formerly the German vessel Hannover; one destroyer, the Stanley, and two merchant ships. This is sometimes described as the first true Allied convoy victory in the Battle of the Atlantic. He was given the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) on 6 January 1942, "For daring, skill and determination while escorting to this country a valuable Convoy in the face of relentless attacks from the Enemy, during which three of their Submarines were sunk and two aircraft destroyed by our forces". Walker's group succeeded in sinking at least three more U-boats during his tenure as commander of the 36th Group. He was awarded the first Bar to his DSO in July 1942.

During 1942, Walker left the 36th Group and became Captain (D) Liverpool, granting him some time to recuperate. He finally returned to a ship command when he became commander of the 2nd Support Group in 1943, consisting of six sloops. Walker led from Starling, a newly commissioned Black Swan-class sloop. The group was intended to act as reinforcement to convoys under attack, with the capacity to actively hunt and destroy U-boats, rather than be restricted to escorting convoys. Walker had suggested the innovative idea to the Commander-in-Chief Western Approaches Command, Sir Max Horton. The combination of an active hunting group and a charismatic, determined, and innovative antisubmarine specialist such as Walker proved to be a potent force. One eccentric aspect of his charismatic nature was the playing of the tune A Hunting We Will Go over the ship's Tannoy when returning to its base.

In June 1943 Walker's own ship Starling was responsible for the sinking of two U-boats. The first, U-202, was destroyed on 2 June by depth charges and gunfire, and the other, U-119, on 24 June by depth charges and ramming. Another U-boat, the U-449, was sunk by his group on the same day. One highly successful tactic employed by Walker was the creeping attack, in which two ships would work together to keep contact with a U–boat while attacking. A refinement of this was the barrage attack, in which three or more sloops in line to launch depth charges to saturate the area with depth charges in a manner similar to a rolling barrage by artillery in advance of an infantry attack. On 30 July, Walker's group encountered a group of three U-boats on the surface (two were vital type XIV replenishment boats known as "Milk Cows") while in the Bay of Biscay. He signaled the "General Chase" to his group and fired at them, causing damage that prevented them from diving. Two of the submarines, U-462, a Type XIV, and U-504, a Type IX/C40, were then sunk by Walker's group, and the second Type XIV, U-461, by an Australian Short Sunderland flying boat.

Upon his return to Liverpool, Walker was informed that his son, Timothy Walker, had been killed when the submarine HMS Parthian was lost in early August 1943 in the Mediterranean Sea. On 14 September 1943, Walker was appointed as a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) "for leadership and daring in command of H.M.S. Starling in successful actions against Enemy submarines in the Atlantic."

On 6 November 1943 Walker's group sank U-226 and U-842. In early 1944 Walker's group displayed its efficiency against U-boats by sinking six in one patrol. On 31 January 1944 Walker's group gained its first kill of the year when it sank the U-592. On 9 February his group sank U-762, U-238, and U-734 in one action, then sank U-424 on 11 February, and U-264 on 19 February. On 20 February 1944, one ship of Walker's group, the HMS Woodpecker, was torpedoed and sank seven days later while being towed home. All her crewmen were saved. They returned to their base at Liverpool to the thrilled jubilation of the city's inhabitants and the Admiralty. The First Lord of the Admiralty was present to greet Walker and his ships. Walker was promoted to captain and awarded a second bar to his DSO.

In March 1944, Walker's group provided the escort for the U.S. Navy light cruiser USS Milwaukee which was on its way to Russia as part of the Lend-Lease program. Walker's group sank two U-boats on the outward trip, and a third on the return trip. Walker's last duty was protecting the fleet from U-boats during the Normandy Landings, the immense Allied invasion of France. This he did successfully for two weeks; no U-boats managed to get past Walker and his vessels, and many U-boats were sunk or damaged in the process. During this concerted effort Walker's dedication to his tasks was tremendous; he took no respite from his duties, which ultimately contributed to his death. He was awarded the third bar on his DSO on 13 June 1944, and was again Mentioned in Dispatches on 20 June 1944.

Walker suffered a cerebral thrombosis on 7 July 1944, and he died two days later at the Naval Hospital at Seaforth, Merseyside, at the age of 48.

Ivan Mosjoukine

Ivan Ilyich Mozzhukhin, regularly billed as Ivan Mosjoukine, was a Russian silent film actor.

Ivan Mozzhukhin was born in Kondol, in the Saratov Governorate of the Russian Empire (present-day Penza Oblast in Russia), the youngest of four brothers. His mother Rachel Ivanovna Mozzhukhina (née Lastochkina) was the daughter of a Russian Orthodox priest, while his father Ilya Ivanovich Mozzhukhin came from peasants and served as an estate manager for the noble Obolensky family. He inherited this position from his own father — a serf whose children were granted freedom as a gratitude for his service.

While all three elder brothers finished seminary, Ivan was sent to the Penza gymnasium for boys and later studied law at the Moscow State University. In 1910, he left academic life to join a troupe of traveling actors from Kiev, with which he toured for a year, gaining experience and a reputation for dynamic stage presence. Upon returning to Moscow, he launched his screen career with the 1911 adaptation of Tolstoy's The Kreutzer Sonata. He also starred in A House in Kolomna (1913, after Pushkin), Pyotr Chardynin directed drama Do You Remember? opposite the popular Russian ballerina Vera Karalli (1914), Nikolay Stavrogin (1915, after Dostoyevsky's The Devils aka The Possessed), The Queen of Spades (1916, after Pushkin) and other adaptations of Russian classics.

Mosjoukine's most lasting contribution to the theoretical concept of film as image is the legacy of his own face in recurring representation of illusory reactions seen in Lev Kuleshov's psychological montage experiment which demonstrated the Kuleshov Effect. In 1918, the first full year of the Russian Revolution, Kuleshov assembled his revolutionary illustration of the application of the principles of film editing out of footage from one of Mosjoukine's Tsarist-era films which had been left behind when he, along with his entire film production company, departed for the relative safety of Crimea in 1917.

At the end of 1919, Mosjoukine arrived in Paris and quickly established himself as one of the top stars of the French silent cinema, starring in one successful film after another. Handsome, tall, and possessing a powerful screen presence, he won a considerable following as a mysterious and exotic romantic figure.

The first film of his French career was also his final Russian film. L'Angoissante Aventure (The Harrowing Adventure) was a dramatized record of the difficult and dangerous journey of Russian actors, directors and other film artists as they made their way from Crimea into the chaos of Ottoman Turkey in the midst of the post-World War I fall of the Sultanate. The group was headed by the renowned director Yakov Protazanov and included Mosjoukine's frequent leading lady Natalya Lisenko (billed in France as Nathalie Lissenko), whom he married and later divorced. Their ultimate destination was Paris, which became the new capital for most of the exiled former aristocrats and other refugees escaping the civil war and Bolshevik terror gripping Russia. The film was completed and released in Paris in November 1920.

Mosjoukine's film stardom was assured and during the 1920s, his face with the trademark hypnotic stare appeared on covers of film magazines all over Europe. He wrote the screenplays for most of his starring vehicles and directed two of them, L'Enfant du carnaval (Child of the Carnival), released on 29 August 1921 and Le Brasier ardent (The Blazing Inferno), released on 2 November 1923. The leading lady in both films was the then-"Madame Mosjoukine", Nathalie Lissenko. Brasier, in particular, was highly praised for its innovative and inventive concepts, but ultimately proved too surreal and bizarre to become financially successful. Styled like a semi-comic Kafkaesque nightmare, the film has him playing a detective known only as "Z" hired by an older husband to follow his adventurous young wife. However, the plot was only the device which Mosjoukine and his assistant director Alexandre Volkoff used to experiment with the audience's perception of reality. Many of the scenes seem to be taking place on sets that are disconcertingly larger than normal and one particularly striking staging has the husband entering the detective agency to find a synchronized line of men, presumably detectives, all wearing tuxedos and gliding about in formation. Mosjoukine received praise for his enthusiastic acting and display of emotion.

According to popular myth, when Rudolph Valentino died on August 23, 1926, Hollywood producers began searching for another face or image that might capture some iota of that unique screen presence radiated by "The Great Lover". However, Mosjoukine was signed by Universal before Valentino's death, as the August 14, 1926 edition of Motion Picture News mentions Mosjoukine's role in Michel Strogoff as Universal had just announced that they were bringing the film to the American market. Universal's Laemmle was mentioned as having signed Mosjoukine to come to America that fall.  A few of the French productions which starred Mosjoukine were seen in large U.S. cities, where multitudes of cinemas regularly presented European films, but he was a generally unfamiliar persona to the large majority of American audiences. Universal's Carl Laemmle, who had employed Valentino as a supporting actor in two 1919-1920 films, found out that Mosjoukine was frequently described by the European press as the Russian Valentino.

However, as it turned out, Surrender, filmed in the summer of 1927, did not trust Mosjukine to carry the storyline. He was only the film's co-star, with the top billing and the central role going to Mary Philbin, a popular leading lady of the period who, eighteen months earlier, had the showy role of Christine, the focus of Lon Chaney's obsession and love in The Phantom of the Opera. The recent Russian Revolution was a popular film subject of the time, with the 1926 John Barrymore-Camilla Horn teaming in The Tempest and the Emil Jannings vehicle The Last Command, released three months after Surrender, being two examples of the genre. Since Laemmle's new star was a genuine survivor of the Revolution, it seemed only natural that the story would be set in that milieu.

Symptomatic of Mosjoukine's co-star status, he does not even appear in the first fifteen minutes of the film, which are occupied with the depiction of life in an Eastern European Jewish settlement on the eve of World War I. Eventually, at the centerpiece of the plot Mary Philbin, as the virginal daughter of the village rabbi, is confronted with the startling choice of willingly "surrendering" her maidenhood to Mosjoukine's aristocratic leader of the Cossack detachment sent to wipe out her village, or refusing and seeing him carry out his assignment. While this type of personality fitted into Valentino's past Son of the Sheik characterization of a dominant, forceful lover who initially takes women against their will, until they melt under the radiance of his sheer animal magnetism, it ran against Mosjoukine's European Casanova image as a fatalistically irresistible paramour to whom women flock and "surrender" without any hint of force or threat, but simply because of their inability to resist.

This basic misunderstanding of the dissimilarity between Valentino and Mosjoukine combined with journeyman direction by Edward Sloman and Mary Philbin's unresponsiveness and lack of chemistry with her leading man, consigned the film to a tepid reception by the critics and the public. Although moderately profitable, it was not the money-making hit that Laemmle expected. Mosjoukine received some good notices, but a number of critics doubted his suitability for American audiences. An even more ominous note, however, was sounded at the film's Broadway premiere on 10 October 1927. Another film, playing across the street, had its premiere four days earlier, on 6 October. The Jazz Singer was attracting much bigger audiences than Surrender and, as it was ushering in voice-on-film, would soon sound the death knell for Mosjoukine's career as a silent film star, as his heavy Russian accent eventually dealt a crippling blow to his hopes of continuing in talkies.

Ivan Mosjoukine died of tuberculosis in a Neuilly-sur-Seine clinic.

Stefan Zweig

Stefan Zweig was an Austrian novelist, playwright, journalist and biographer.

Zweig was born in Vienna, the son of Moritz Zweig (1845–1926), a wealthy Jewish textile manufacturer, and Ida Brettauer (1854–1938), a daughter of a Jewish banking family. He was related to the Czech writer Egon Hostovský, who described him as "a very distant relative"; some sources describe them as cousins.

Zweig studied philosophy at the University of Vienna and in 1904 earned a doctoral degree with a thesis on "The Philosophy of Hippolyte Taine". Religion did not play a central role in his education. "My mother and father were Jewish only through accident of birth," Zweig said later in an interview. Yet he did not renounce his Jewish faith and wrote repeatedly on Jews and Jewish themes, as in his story Buchmendel. Zweig had a warm relationship with Theodor Herzl, the founder of Zionism, whom he met when Herzl was still literary editor of the Neue Freie Presse, then Vienna's main newspaper; Herzl accepted for publication some of Zweig's early essays. Zweig believed in internationalism and in Europeanism, as The World of Yesterday, his autobiography, makes clear. According to Amos Elon, Zweig called Herzl's book Der Judenstaat an "obtuse text, [a] piece of nonsense."

At the beginning of World War I, patriotic sentiment was widespread, and extended to many German and Austrian Jews: Zweig, as well as Martin Buber and Hermann Cohen, showed support. Zweig served in the Archives of the Ministry of War and adopted a pacifist stand like his friend Romain Rolland, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature 1915. Zweig married Friderike Maria von Winternitz (born Burger) in 1920; they divorced in 1938. As Friderike Zweig she published a book on her former husband after his death. She later also published a picture book on Zweig. In the late summer of 1939, Zweig married his secretary Elisabet Charlotte "Lotte" Altmann at Bath, England. Zweig's secretary in Salzburg from November 1919 to March 1938 was Anna Meingast (13 May 1881, Vienna – 17 November 1953, Salzburg).

In 1934, following Hitler's rise to power in Germany, Zweig left Austria for England, living first in London, then from 1939 in Bath. Because of the swift advance of Hitler's troops westwards, Zweig and his second wife crossed the Atlantic to the United States, settling in 1940 in New York City; they lived for two months as guests of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, then they rented a house in Ossining, New York.

On 22 August 1940, they moved again to Petrópolis, a German-colonized mountain town 68 kilometres north of Rio de Janeiro. Zweig, feeling increasingly depressed about the situation in Europe and the future for humanity, wrote in a letter to author Jules Romains, "My inner crisis consists in that I am not able to identify myself with the me of passport, the self of exile." On 23 February 1942, the Zweigs were found dead of a barbiturate overdose in their house in the city of Petrópolis, holding hands.

Robert Desnos

Robert Desnos was a French surrealist poet who played a key role in the Surrealist movement of his day.

Robert Desnos was born in Paris on July 4, 1900, the son of a licensed dealer in game and poultry at the Halles market. Another sources state Desnos was the son of a Parisian café owner. Desnos attended commercial college, and started work as a clerk. He also worked as an amanuensis for journalist Jean de Bonnefon. After that he worked as a literary columnist for the newspaper Paris-Soir.

The first poems by Desnos to appear in print were published in 1917 in La Tribune des Jeunes (Platform for Youth) and in 1919 in the avant-garde review Le Trait d'union (Hyphen), and the same year in the Dadaist magazine Littérature. In 1922 he published his first book, a collection of surrealistic aphorisms, with the title Rrose Sélavy (based upon the name (pseudonym) of the popular French artist Marcel Duchamp).

In 1919 he met the poet Benjamin Péret, who introduced him to the Paris Dada group and André Breton, with whom he soon became friends. While working as a literary columnist for Paris-Soir, Desnos was an active member of the Surrealist group and developed a particular talent for automatic writing. He, together with writers such as Louis Aragon and Paul Éluard, would form the literary vanguard of surrealism. André Breton included two photographs of Desnos sleeping in his surrealist novel Nadja. Although he was praised by Breton in his 1924 Manifeste du Surréalisme for being the movement's "prophet", Desnos disagreed with Surrealism's involvement in communist politics, which caused a rift between him and Breton. Desnos continued work as a columnist.

In 1926 he composed The Night of Loveless Nights, a lyric poem dealing with solitude curiously written in classic quatrains, which makes it more like Baudelaire than Breton. Desnos fell in love with Yvonne George, a singer whose obsessed fans made his love impossible. He wrote several poems for her, as well as the erotic surrealist novel La liberté ou l'amour! (1927). Critic Ray Keenoy describes La liberté ou l'amour! as "literary and lyrical in its outpourings of sexual delirium."

By 1929 Breton definitively condemned Desnos, who in turn joined Georges Bataille and Documents, as one of the authors to sign Un Cadavre (A cadaver) attacking "le bœuf Breton" (the ox Breton). He wrote articles on "Modern Imagery", "Avant-garde Cinema" (1929, issue 7), "Pygmalion and the Sphinx" (1930, issue 1), and Sergei Eisenstein, the Soviet filmmaker, on his film titled The General Line (1930, issue 4).

His career in radio began in 1932 with a show dedicated to Fantômas. During that time, he became friends with Picasso, Hemingway, Artaud and John Dos Passos; published many critical reviews on jazz and cinema; and became increasingly involved in politics. He wrote for many periodicals, including Littérature, La Révolution surréaliste and Variétés. Besides his numerous collections of poems, he published three novels, Deuil pour deuil (1924), La Liberté ou l'amour! (1927) and Le vin est tiré (1943); a play, La Place de l'étoile (1928; revised 1944); and a film script, L'Étoile de mer (1928), which was directed by Man Ray that same year.

During World War II, Desnos was an active member of the French Résistance network Réseau AGIR, under the direction of Michel Hollard, often publishing under pseudonyms. For Réseau Agir, Desnos provided information collected during his job at the journal Aujourd'hui and made false identity papers, and was arrested by the Gestapo on February 22, 1944.  He was first deported to the German concentration camps of Auschwitz in occupied Poland, then Buchenwald, Flossenburg in Germany and finally to Terezín (Theresienstadt) in occupied Czechoslovakia in 1945.

Desnos died in "Malá pevnost", which was an inner part of Terezín used only for political prisoners, from typhoid, a month after the camp's liberation.

Mervyn LeRoy

Mervyn LeRoy was an American film director, film producer, author, and occasional actor.

LeRoy was born in San Francisco on October 15, 1900 to Jewish parents Edna (née Armer) and Harry LeRoy. His family was financially ruined by the 1906 earthquake that destroyed his father's import-export business. To make money, young Mervyn sold newspapers in front of the Alcazar Theater after his dad's death in 1910. From this newspaper sales location, he was given a bit part for a play. Through his winning a Charlie Chaplin impersonation contest, he moved into vaudeville then minor parts in silent movies.

LeRoy worked in costumes, processing labs and as a camera assistant until he became a gag writer and actor in silent films, including The Ten Commandments in 1923. LeRoy credits Ten Commandments director, Cecil B. DeMille, for inspiring him to become a director: "As the top director of the era, DeMille had been the magnet that had drawn me to his set as often as I could go."[5] Leroy also credits DeMille for teaching him the directing techniques required to make his own films.

His first directing job was in 1928's No Place to Go. When his movies made lots of money without costing too much, he became well received in the movie business. He directed two key films which launched Edward G. Robinson into major stardom, the Oscar-nominated critique of tabloid journalism Five Star Final (1931), and the classic gangster film Little Caesar (1931), which made his mark. From that point forward, LeRoy would be responsible for a diverse variety of films as a director and producer. LeRoy ended up working at Warner Bros.. In 1938 he was chosen as head of production at MGM, where he was responsible for the decision to make The Wizard of Oz.

In the 1950s, LeRoy directed such musicals as Lovely to Look At, Million Dollar Mermaid, Latin Lovers and Rose Marie. He moved to Warner Brothers, where he was responsible for such famous films as Mister Roberts, The Bad Seed, No Time for Sergeants, The FBI Story and Gypsy. He was nominated in 1943 for Best Director for Random Harvest, and in 1940 as the producer of The Wizard of Oz. In addition, he received an honorary Oscar in 1946 for The House I Live In, "for tolerance short subject", and the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1976.

A total of eight movies Mervyn LeRoy directed or co-directed were nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, one of the highest numbers among all directors. LeRoy married three times and had many relationships with Hollywood actresses. He was first married to Elizabeth Edna Murphy in 1927, which ended in divorce in 1933. During their separation, LeRoy dated Ginger Rogers, but they ended the relationship and stayed lifelong friends. In 1934, he married Doris Warner, the daughter of Warner Bros. founder, Harry Warner. The couple had one son, Warner LeRoy and one daughter, Linda LeRoy Janklow (married to Morton L. Janklow). His son, Warner LeRoy, became a restaurateur. The marriage ended in divorce in 1942. In 1946, he married Kathryn "Kitty" Priest Rand, a gentile who was previously married to Sidney M. Spiegel (the co-founder of Essaness Theatres and grandson of Joseph Spiegel); and restaurateur to Ernie Byfield). They remained married until his death. LeRoy also sold his Bel Air, Los Angeles home to Johnny Carson.

LeRoy died natural causes and heart issues in Beverly Hills, California at age 86.

Rouben Mamoulian

Rouben Zachary Mamoulian was an Armenian-American film and theatre director.

Mamoulian was born in Tbilisi, Georgia to an Armenian family. His mother Virginia was a director of the Armenian theater, and his father, Zachary Mamoulian, was a bank president. Mamoulian relocated to England and started directing plays in London in 1922. He was brought to America the next year by Vladimir Rosing to teach at the Eastman School of Music and was involved in directing opera and theatre.

In 1925, Mamoulian was head of the School of Drama, where Martha Graham was also working at the time. Among other performances, together they produced a short two-color film called The Flute of Krishna, featuring Eastman students. Mamoulian left Eastman shortly after and Graham chose to leave also, even though she was asked to stay on. In 1930, Mamoulian became a naturalized citizen of the United States. Child star Jackie Cooper stated in his autobiography that Rouben Mamoulian was his uncle, and this fact helped establish Cooper's early movie career.  Mamoulian began his Broadway director career with a production of DuBose Heyward's Porgy, which opened on October 10, 1927. He directed Wings Over Europe from late 1928 to 1929. He directed the revival of Porgy in 1929 along with George Gershwin's operatic treatment, Porgy and Bess, which opened on October 10, 1935. Mamoulian was also the first to stage such notable Broadway works as Oklahoma! (1943), Carousel (1945) and Lost in the Stars (1949).

He directed his first feature film in 1929, Applause, which was one of the earliest talkies. It was a landmark film owing to Mamoulian's innovative use of camera movement and sound, and these qualities were carried through to his other films released in the 1930s. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931) benefits from having been made before the Production Code came into full force, and is regularly considered the best version of Robert Louis Stevenson's tale. Queen Christina (1933) was the last film Greta Garbo made with John Gilbert, and also benefits from being made before the Production Code came into full force. The musical film Love Me Tonight was released in 1932.

He directed the first three-strip Technicolor film, Becky Sharp (1935), based on Thackeray's Vanity Fair, as well as the 1937 musical High, Wide, and Handsome. His next two films earned him wide admiration, The Mark of Zorro (1940) and Blood and Sand (1941), both remakes of silent films. Blood and Sand, on bullfighting, was filmed in Technicolor, and used color schemes based on the work of Spanish artists such as Diego Velázquez and El Greco. His foray into screwball comedy genre in 1942 was a success with Rings on Her Fingers starring Henry Fonda and Gene Tierney. Mamoulian's last completed musical film was Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's 1957 film version of the Cole Porter musical Silk Stockings. This had been one of Porter's less successful stage musicals and was based on the 1939 Greta Garbo classic Ninotchka. The film Silk Stockings starred Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse, with Janis Paige and Peter Lorre in support.

Mamoulian's film directing career came to an end when he was fired from two consecutive films, Porgy and Bess (1959) and Cleopatra (1963). He had previously been fired as director of Laura (1944). After directing the highly successful original stage productions of Oklahoma! and Carousel, he worked on only a few other theatrical productions, such as St. Louis Woman, which introduced Pearl Bailey to Broadway audiences. He was personally recruited by Directors Guild of America (DGA) co-founder King Vidor in 1936 to help unionize fellow movie directors. Mamoulian's lifelong allegiance to the DGA, and more so his general unwillingness to compromise, contributed to his being targeted in Hollywood blacklisting of the 1950’s.

He died on December 4, 1987 at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital of natural causes at the age of 90 in Woodland Hills, California.

Ferdynand Ossendowski

Ferdynand Antoni Ossendowski was a Polish writer, explorer, university professor, and anti-Communist political activist. He is best known for his books about Lenin and the Russian Civil War in which he participated.

He was born on May 27, 1876, on his family's manor near Ludza in the Vitebsk Governorate (now Latvia), of Lipka Tatar descent. He studied at the famous gymnasium in Kamieniec Podolski, but he moved with his father, a renowned doctor, to Saint Petersburg, where he graduated from a school in Russian. Then he joined the mathematical-physical faculty of the local university, where he studied chemistry. As an assistant to professor Aleksander Zalewski, he traveled to many distant areas, including Siberia, the Caucasus and the Altay Mountains. During the summer, he was frequently enrolled as a ship's writer on the Odessa-Vladivostok line, a job that allowed him to visit many parts of Asia, including Japan, Sumatra, China, Malaya and Indonesia. For his description of his trip to Crimea and Constantinople, he received his first royalty. His record of a trip to India (Chmura nad Gangesem: A Cloud Over the Ganges) gained the prestigious Petersburg Society of Literature prize.

In 1899, after a students' riot in Saint Petersburg, Ossendowski was forced to leave Imperial Russia and move to Paris, where he continued his studies at the Sorbonne, his professors being Maria Curie-Skłodowska and Marcelin Berthelot. It is possible that he received a doctorate back in Russia, but no documents have survived. In 1901 he could return to Russia, where professor Zalewski invited him to the newly founded Institute of Technology of the Tomsk State University. There, he gave lectures on chemistry and physics. At the same time, he also gave lectures at the Agricultural Academy and published numerous scientific works on hydrology, geology, physical chemistry, geography and physics.

After the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905) Ossendowski moved to Harbin in Manchuria, where he founded a Central Technical Research Laboratory, a Russian-financed institution for development of the ore deposits in the area. At the same time, he headed the local branch of the Russian Geographic Society in Vladivostok. As such he made numerous trips to Korea, Sakhalin, Ussuri and the shores of the Bering Strait. In Manchuria, he also became one of the leaders of the considerable Polish diaspora and published his first novel in Polish, Noc (Night). He also got involved in the Main Revolutionary Committee, a leftist organization that tried to take power in Manchuria during the Revolution of 1905. After the failure of the revolution, Ossendowski organized a strike against the brutal repressions in Congress Poland for which he was arrested. A military tribunal sentenced him to death for conspiracy against the tsar, but his sentence was later commuted to several years' hard labor.

In 1907, he was released from prison with a so-called wolf ticket, which prevented him from finding a job or leaving Russia. At that time, he devoted himself to writing. His novel V ludskoi pyli (In Human Dust), in which he described his several years' stay in Russian prisons, gained him much popularity in Russia and was even described by Leo Tolstoy as one of his favorites. His popularity allowed him to return to St Petersburg in 1908. There he continued to write books and at the same time headed the Society of the Gold and Platinum Industry and several newspapers and journals, both in Russian and in Polish. After the outbreak of World War I, Ossendowski published several more books, including a science fiction novel, a propaganda novel on German spies in Russia and a brochure describing German and Austro-Hungarian war crimes.

After the outbreak of the February Revolution of 1917, Ossendowski moved yet again, to Siberia, this time to Omsk, where he started giving lectures at the local university. After the October Revolution and the outbreak of the Russian Civil War, he also got involved in the counterrevolutionary Russian government led by Supreme Governor Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak. He served at various posts, among others as an intelligence officer, an envoy to the intervention corps from the United States and an assistant to the Polish 5th Rifle Division of Maj. Walerian Czuma. In 1918 he was responsible for transfer of many tsarist and White Russian documents to the Entente, including proofs (many apparently forged) of German support (confirmed later from German archives) for Lenin and his Bolsheviks (so-called Sisson Documents).

After Kolchak's defeat in 1920, Ossendowski joined a group of Poles and White Russians trying to escape from communist-controlled Siberia to India through Mongolia, China and Tibet. After a journey of several thousand miles, the group reached Chinese-controlled Mongolia, only to be stopped there by the takeover of the country led by mysterious Baron Roman Ungern von Sternberg. The Baron was a mystic who was fascinated by the beliefs and religions of the Far East such as Buddhism and Lamaism and "who believed himself to be a reincarnation of Kangchendzönga, the Mongolian god of war." Ungern-Sternberg's philosophy was an exceptionally muddled mixture of Russian nationalism with Chinese and Mongol beliefs. However, he also proved to be an exceptional military commander, and his forces grew rapidly.

Ossendowski joined the baron's army as a commanding officer of one of the self-defense troops. He also briefly became Ungern's political advisor and chief of intelligence. Little is known of his service at the latter post, which adds to Ossendowski's legend as a mysterious person. In late 1920, he was sent with a diplomatic mission to Japan and then the US, never to return to Mongolia. Some writers believe that Ossendowski was one of the people who hid the semi mythical treasures of the Bloody Baron.

After his arrival in New York City, Ossendowski started to work for the Polish diplomatic service and possibly as a spy. At the same time, in late 1921 he published his first book in English: Beasts, Men and Gods. The description of his travels during the Russian Civil War and the campaigns led by the Bloody Baron became a striking success and a bestseller. In 1923, it was translated into Polish and then into several other languages.

In 1922, Ossendowski returned to Poland and settled in Warsaw. Immediately upon his return, he started giving lectures at the Wolna Wszechnica Polska, Higher War School and School of Political Sciences at the Warsaw University. At the same time, he remained an advisor to the Polish government and an expert Sovietologist.

He continued to travel to different parts of the world, and after each journey he published a book or two. In the interwar period, he was considered the creator of a distinct genre called the traveling novel. With over 70 books published in Poland and translated almost 150 times into 20 other languages, Ossendowski was also the second most popular Polish author abroad, after Henryk Sienkiewicz. He repeated the success of his Beasts, Men and Gods with a book on Lenin in which he openly criticized Soviet communist methods and policies as well as the double face of the communist leaders. In Poland, three of his books were being filmed as World War II started.

After the Polish Defensive War of 1939 and the outbreak of World War II, Ossendowski remained in Warsaw, where he lived at 27 Grójecka Street. In 1942 he converted to Catholicism (previously being a Lutheran), and the following year, he joined the ranks of the underground National Party. He worked in the structures of the Polish Secret State and cooperated with the Government Delegate's Office in preparation of the underground education in Poland during World War II and postwar learning programs.

After the Warsaw Uprising, Ossendowski, now seriously ill, moved to the village of Żółwin, near the Warsaw suburb of Milanówek, where he died on January 3, 1945. He was buried the following day in the local cemetery in Milanówek.

Maurice Burrus

Maurice Jean Marie Burrus was an Alsatian tobacco magnate, politician and philatelist. Originally from Alsace but residing in Switzerland, he was a deputy in the French parliament during the 1930s. His stamp collection was considered one of the greatest ever assembled and included some of the world's rarest stamps.

Maurice Burrus was born in Sainte-Croix-aux-Mines on March 8, 1882 to a family of tobacco industrialists based in the Alsace area. The family moved to Switzerland after the French government created a monopoly on the manufacture of tobacco products under Napoleonic laws.

He was educated at Dole, in the Collège Stanislas de Paris and later in Hanover where he studied banking and learnt German before returning to Sainte-Croix-aux-Mines where he took over the running of the family tobacco factory. He also travelled to the United States, Canada, Mexico and Asia Minor.

During World War I his anti-German sentiment was displayed by refusing to supply the German armies with tobacco, an act that got him a prison sentence of eight months and exiled from Alsace where his property was seized and sold. For this he received the French Médaille de la Fidélité. He was also awarded the Croix de guerre and the Médaille des Proscrits d'Alsace (Exiles from Alsace medal). He died in Lausanne in 1959.