Remembering Lauren Bacall

Hollywood lost one of the last great 20th-century movie stars this week: Lauren Bacall. The husky-voiced screen legend has a powerful presence on camera and was well-known for her romance with Humphrey Bogart. Bacall’s comedic timing, confidence, and grace are what make her a true icon. In honor of Lauren Bacall, watch To Have And Have Not, The Big Sleep, and The Mirror Has Two Faces, and read her autobiographyBy Myself.

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Happy Birthday, Woody!

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Yesterday, December 1, was Woody Allen’s birthday. He turned 78 years old. I’ve made it abundantly clear that I’m a huge Woody Allen fan. It all started halfway through college when I wrote about him for one of my film classes. I quickly became hooked on his writing, films, and humor, and I ended up writing a 50+ page paper about him, his life, and his films and writing. It was one of my favorite papers to write, and it never once felt like ‘work.’ He is a fascinating man and if you haven’t seen one of his movies, you’ve got a lot to choose from. Get started! I’m almost jealous if you haven’t seen any of his work because that just means you get to discover and watch his talent for the first time. With over 50 films, there are so many to enjoy. Having thoroughly enjoyed his recent films (Midnight in Paris and Blue Jasmine, in particular), I can’t wait to see his next film, Magic in the MoonlightHappy birthday, Woody!

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In the Spotlight: Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore

When I think of romantic comedies, I think of Drew Barrymore. She is the Queen of RomComs! Therefore, she is perfect to spotlight in February, where every night is romcom night. Or maybe that’s just me. Also, her birthday is this Friday (February 22). The February spotlight suits her.

I’ve always been a Drew Barrymore fan because she is not afraid to be herself and she is hilarious. She can really deliver the emotion in each and every film she stars in. My absolute favorites include Never Been Kissed (1999), Charlie’s Angels (2003), Fever Pitch (2005), and Going the Distance (2010). If Drew is in a film, you can bet I’ll see it with enthusiasm.

Recently, she came out with her own affordable makeup line at Walmart called Flower. An inspiring entrepreneur, actress, and woman, Drew Barrymore will always be a favorite. What are your favorite Drew Barrymore films?

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In the Spotlight: Grace Kelly

Happy birthday, Grace Kelly! Born November 12, 1929, Grace Kelly epitomized the very essence of elegance. Starting out as an American actress, she married the Prince of Monaco in 1956 and became Princess Grace. Grace Kelly performed in many theatrical productions, but ultimately became a movie star after winning the Academy Award for The Country Girl. After 6 years of acting, Princess Grace decided to take care of her three children. In 1982, Princess Grace died in a car accident after supposedly suffering from a stroke. Her daughter, Stephanie, was in the car with her but survived the accident. With a successful acting career, Grace Kelly will not soon be forgotten, and she continues to grace the screen and captivate viewers after all these years.

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In the Spotlight: Frankenstein’s Monster

The phenomenon that revolves around Frankenstein stems from Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, which was published in 1818. Frankenstein tells the story of a creature born from a scientific experiment gone wrong. Frankenstein is often viewed as one of the first examples of science fiction because of the fantastical elements in the story. Oftentimes, the name Frankenstein is viewed as being the monster’s name, when it is actually Dr. Victor Frankenstein’s. Frankenstein’s monster has greatly influenced pop culture, and he remains an icon after all this time.

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In the Spotlight: Olivia Newton-John

I first fell in love with Olivia Newton-John when I watched her playing Sandy in the classic and beloved musical Grease. Olivia is a stunning beauty and has a very sweet quality in both her acting and singing. Born on September 26 (today!), 1948, Olivia started singing and acting when she was just a teenager growing up in Australia. After releasing several popular albums and starring in a few movies, Olivia became an international sensation after Grease. Olivia has been married twice, and is currently married to her second husband, John Easterling. Last spring, Olivia released a healthy living cookbook.

I will never, ever get tired of blasting Grease songs in the car, listening to Olivia’s music, or watching her in movies. Check out some fun facts about the star above!

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In the Spotlight: Lucille Ball

Lucille Ball is the perfect woman to honor in this month’s In the Spotlight column since her birthday was just a few weeks ago (August 6, 1911). Above are some random fun facts about Lucy. Lucy made the world fall in love with her when she graced television screens and showed off her acting and comedic skills. Lucille Ball started acting in the 1930s, and she excelled in radio, film, and television. Many of us know Lucille Ball from her hit shows, I Love Lucy and Here’s Lucy. I remember watching these shows on re-run when I was younger, absolutely loving the way Lucy used her facial expressions to express sarcasm or a joke. Lucille Ball led a very interesting life – check out Lucille Ball’s autobiography for more interesting tidbits and for a deeper look at the woman who made America laugh. Happy birthday, Lucy!

For more In the Spotlight fun facts, check this out!

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Film Icon: Doris Day

Doris Day dancing | Doris knitting | Doris posing pretty | Doris blowing bubbles | Pretty in Pink

I have been a big fan of Doris Day ever since I was a little girl and first saw the film, Pillow Talk. Doris Day represents the girl-next-door, and always brings a lightheartedness and charm to the screen. Born in 1924 in Ohio, Doris had always been involved in the arts, whether it was through dance, music, or acting. Doris was initially a singer, which led to a career as an actress later in life. She does a stellar job with her roles in romantic comedy movies, and she always lights up the screen with her grace. As if there is even more reason to adore her, Doris is also an animal lover and advocate. In the late 1970’s, she started a foundation called the Doris Day Animal League which merged with the Humane Society in 2006. While Doris is no longer active in the film industry, she spends her time helping animals across the country.

1. Calamity Jane (1953) and Cowboy Boot Cookies | 2. Pillow Talk (1959) and Rum and Raisin Pillows| 3. Send Me No Flowers (1964) and Vanilla Mascarpone with Edible Flowers| 4. Lover Come Back (1961) and Chocolate and Peppermint Patties | 5. The Doris Day Show (1968-1973) and Sweet Corn Ice Cream

Film Icon: Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn on her side, Audrey overlooking city, Audrey with balloons, glam Audrey, Audrey riding a bicycle

[Welcome to the new column: Film Icon! Film Icon will feature movie stars who have left their fingerprints on film history, and will be accompanied by food inspired by the icons and their films. I am always interested in learning more about figures from the past, as well as finding new recipes to try. This column will be a combination of both. I hope you enjoy! – Lauren]

Audrey Hepburn was a true inspiration, both on and off the silver screen. To this day, Audrey remains not only a film icon, but a fashion icon, as well. Audrey was born in Brussels in 1929, and spent a good amount of her childhood between England and the Netherlands. Audrey studied ballet and did some modeling during her youth.

When Roman Holiday came along in 1953, Audrey shot to stardom when she gained popularity and won the Academy Award for Best Actress. Audrey decided to leave acting after a failed marriage with Mel Ferrer, with whom she had a son named Sean. She eventually went on to marry Dr. Andrea Dotti but this relationship did not work out either, though she gave birth to son Luca during their time together.

After a successful career in film, several miscarriages, and relationship ups-and-downs, Audrey committed her time to UNICEF as a special ambassador. Audrey spent the last years of her life with her partner Robert Wolders. In January 1993, Audrey died of cancer. Audrey will always be remembered for her contribution to film, her fashion sense, and her charitable actions. She is definitely an inspiration to many, and her movies are classics. To learn more about the details of Audrey’s life, this is a great read.

1. Spaghetti | 2. Breakfast Sandwich | 3. Earl Grey Tea and Grapefruit Cookies | 4. Pandan Kaya Souffle | 5. Marble Cake