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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Five Best: Capital Region Born

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Today is the dvd release of the little-seen suspense thriller The Perfect Host, starring David Hyde Pierce. Pierce was actually born in our neck of the woods, up here in Saratoga Springs, New York. To his honor, let's take a look at all the other names in the film industry born in the greater capital region in New York. Here they are in alphabetical order.

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Kirk Douglas

Best Known For: Spartacus (1960), Paths of Glory (1957), Lust for Life (1956)

Actually born Issur Danielovitch Demsky in Amsterdam, New York, the cleft-chinned actor first rose to stardom through his tough guy portrayal of a selfish boxer in Champion in 1947. From there, he became the go-to man for physical, aggressive parts, specifically for director Stanley Kubrick in 1957's Paths of Glory and again in 1960's Spartacus, when Douglas actually asked him to replace director Anthony Mann on the film. Though he is still very much with us, the three time Oscar nominees legacy is carried on by his son Michael.

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William Duell

Best Known For: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), In & Out (1997), 

You didn't recognize the name, did you? A character actor known for playing small, strange parts is probably best known for his role in the 1975 best picture winner One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (which, in a weird connection to the first person on the list, is actually produced by Michael Douglas). Duell was actually born in Corinth, New York and has a lifetime full of tiny, but important parts in a number of films and television shows. His last movie role was a cameo appearance in 2003's How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.

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John McTiernan

Best Known For: Die Hard (1988), Predator (1987), The Hunt for Red October (1990)

Born in Albany, New York, director John McTiernan first hit it big with 1987's sci-fi action thriller Predator, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. He then moved on to the modern classic Die Hard, starring Bruce Willis in his career making role. McTiernan has slowed down quite a bit in recent years, but has two upcoming films in production. Both are - you guessed it - action films.

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Mickey Rourke

Best Known For: The Wrestler (2008), Diner (1982), Sin City (2005)

I decided to go with a photo of him before the plastic surgery. Philip Andre Rourke, Jr. was born in Schenectady, New York, seven years before moving with his mother to Florida. In the 80's, he became an important member of the popular "brat pack," starring in a number films geared toward twentysomethings and focusing on rebellion and working against the status quo. Unfortunately, drugs and partying took hold, until his critical comeback with 2005's Sin City and 2008's Oscar nominated performance in Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler.

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Maureen Stapleton

Best Known For: Cocoon (1985), Reds (1981), Airport (1970)

The only Oscar winner on our list, Stapleton is one of a select few performers to win the "triple crown:" an Oscar (1981's Reds), a Tony (1951's The Rose Tattoo), and an Emmy (1967's Among the Paths to Eden). Stapleton was born in Troy, New York and passed away five years ago in Lenox, Massachusetts. Her career is litterd with memorable performances, ranging all the way back to her work on television in the late 40's and 50's. Her first work in film came with 1958's Lonelyhearts, for which she was nominated for her first Oscar. She turned in two more nominated performances (1970's Airport; 1978's Interiors) before her win in 1982.

So, be proud Capital region. You have your fair share of talented movie folks.

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