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MONROE, MARILYN (Norma Jean Mortenson, Norma Jean Baker) (1926–1962) Actress

With the possible exception of Elvis Presley, no performer has become a greater American icon than film star Marilyn Monroe. Born as Norma Jean Mortenson in Los Angeles on June 1, 1926, Monroe was raised as Norma Jean Baker in a series of foster homes and orphanages. Her unmarried mother, Gladys, was mentally ill and unable to care for her. Gladys was ultimately committed to a mental institution and diagnosed as a schizophrenic.

Largely to escape living with still another foster family, Baker at 16 married James Dougherty in 1942. He soon left to join the merchant marine, while Baker found a wartime job with the Radio Plane Company in Van Nuys, California. There, she was spotted by army photographers, who chose her as their model for photos to accompany an article about female factory workers in Yank magazine. Her freshness, beauty, and ease in front of the camera attracted other photographers, and she began to model regularly for advertisements and promotions.

Eager for a Hollywood career, Baker divorced her husband in 1946 and convinced Twentieth Century-Fox to give her a silent screen test, designed to showcase her looks while de-emphasizing her lack of acting experience. The studio signed her up, assigning her Marilyn as her new first name. She herself chose Monroe, her mother’s maiden name.

Fox placed Monroe in bit parts in two films before letting her go. She was briefiy picked up by Columbia Pictures, where she made  Ladies of the Chorus (1949). Without a studio, she made an appearance in the Marx Brothers’  Love Happy (1949), but had to resort to posing for nude photographs when no more film work came her way. After she achieved stardom, these photographs resurfaced in 1955 in the first issue of Playboy magazine.

Monroe had better luck after she became romantically involved with Johnny Hyde, a powerful Hollywood agent. Hyde taught her how to handle herself in the film industry, but more important, he found parts for her in two distinguished films, The Asphalt Jungle (1950) and All About Eve (1950). The roles were small, but in them Monroe showed herself to be an accomplished scene-stealer. Her enthusiastic fan mail convinced Twentieth Century-Fox to re-sign the actress, this time to a seven-year contract.

Now confident in Monroe, Fox made her the center of a publicity campaign that sold her to the public as a classic “dumb blonde.” Her first starring role, however, was in a thriller, Don’t Bother to Knock (1952), in which she played a psychotic babysitter. The next year, she stayed closer to her image, playing a beautiful gold digger in both Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and How to Marry a Millionaire. Also in 1953, Monroe solidified her growing star status in Niagara, in which she played a scheming adulteress. Monroe’s fame was furthered by her marriage to baseball star Joe DiMaggio in January 14, 1954. Her studio-created reputation as a sexpot, however, soon came between them, as DiMaggio grew increasingly uncomfortable with the unrelenting attention she received from the public and press.

He was particularly repelled by the publicity surrounding  The Seven Year Itch (1955), a comedy that cast her as a young actress who inspired romantic fantasies in her married neighbor. A famous shot, exploited by the studio, had Monroe standing atop a street grating, allowing the wind to blow her skirt up. Although the film showcased Monroe’s budding skill as a comedian, it infuriated and offended DiMaggio, thereby contributing to the end of their nine-month marriage.

Monroe herself grew weary of playing a blonde bombshell. Always embarrassed about her lack of formal education, she became determined to be taken seriously as an actress not by Hollywood but by the intellectual elites of the theater world. Breaking her contract with Fox, she left for New York City to study acting with Lee and Paula Strasberg, the directors of the Actors Studio and leading proponents of the “Method” acting technique.

At the Strasbergs’ suggestion, Monroe began to undergo psychoanalysis to help relieve her personal and professional insecurities. While in New York, she also met playwright Arthur Miller, whom she married in 1956. Eager to keep one of their most popular stars, Fox renegotiated Monroe’s contract. She agreed to make four more pictures for the studio, but only if she could also appear in movies made by her own company, Marilyn Monroe Productions. The advantageous contract ushered in the most creatively successful era of Monroe’s film career.

Though she continued to play beautiful but dim women, her roles better allowed her to comment on this image. In 1956, she appeared in Bus Stop as Cherie, a saloon singer frustrated by men’s inability to see the woman behind her sexual facade. In 1959, in perhaps her best performance, Monroe hilariously parodied herself in  Some Like It Hot. And in 1961, she had her most complex role in The Misfits as the sensitive and disillusioned Roslyn, a part written especially for her by Miller.

Despite these successes, Monroe grew increasingly disturbed. Her natural emotionalism combined with overuse of alcohol and pills helped brand her as one of the film industry’s most “difficult” actresses. She was unpredictable on the set and chronically late, if she showed up for work at all. While filming Some Like It Hot, director Billy Wilder had to write her lines on furniture to aid her failing memory and focus. It took scores of takes for her deliver the simple line, “It’s me, Sugar.” Contributing to her personal difficulties were a series of miscarriages and her troubled marriage to Miller, which ended in divorce in 1961.

After a brief stay in a mental institution the same year, she went back to work on the film Something’s Got to Give. Her working habits, though, were so erratic that Fox fired her in June 1962. On August 5, Monroe’s housekeeper discovered her body at her home in Brentwood, California. At 36, she had died of a drug overdose. The tragedy invited various interpretations. Many people assumed she committed suicide, while others speculated that she was murdered, perhaps because of an affair she had with President John F. Kennedy. Most Monroe biographers, however, have since concluded that the overdose was accidental.

The life and death of Marilyn Monroe have inspired countless books, films, plays, paintings, and songs. Many have attempted to “explain” Monroe, though frequently their interpretations say less about their subject than the authors’ own agendas. She is most often seen as a waif victimized and ultimately destroyed by the film industry and her adoring public. Her movie legacy, however, shows something more extraordinary: a performer with presence so luminous it has rarely been equaled on film.

    * 1975 Tessa Bill-Yield in Adam Darius' ballet Marilyn
    * 1980 Catherine Hicks in Marilyn: The Untold Story
    * 1987 Constance Forslund in This Year's Blonde
    * 1987 Heather Thomas in Hoover vs. the Kennedys: The Second Civil War
    * 1991 Susan Griffiths in Marilyn and Me
    * 1991 Eve Gordon in A Woman Named Jackie
    * 1993 Melody Anderson in Marilyn & Bobby: Her Final Affair
    * 1996 Ashley Judd in Norma Jean & Marilyn
    * 1996 Mira Sorvino in Norma Jean & Marilyn
    * 1998 Barbara Niven in The Rat Pack
    * 1999 Kerri Randles in Introducing Dorothy Dandridge
    * 2001 Holly Beavon in James Dean
    * 2001 Poppy Montgomery in Blonde
    * 2004 Sophie Monk in The Mystery of Natalie Wood
    * 2006 Samantha Morton in Mister Lonely
    * 2009 Suzie Kennedy in "Io e Marilyn"


    * 1947    The Shocking Miss Pilgrim
    * 1947    Dangerous Years
    * 1948    You Were Meant for Me
    * 1948    Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay!
    * 1948    Green Grass of Wyoming
    * 1948    Ladies of the Chorus
    * 1949    Love Happy
    * 1950    A Ticket to Tomahawk
    * 1950    Right Cross
    * 1950    The Fireball
    * 1950    The Asphalt Jungle
    * 1950    All About Eve
    * 1951    Love Nest
    * 1951    Let's Make It Legal
    * 1951    Home Town Story
    * 1951    As Young as You Feel
    * 1952    O. Henry's Full House
    * 1952    Monkey Business
    * 1952    Clash by Night
    * 1952    We're Not Married!
    * 1952    Don't Bother to Knock
    * 1953    Niagara
    * 1953    Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
    * 1953    How to Marry a Millionaire
    * 1954    River of No Return
    * 1954    There's No Business Like Show Business
    * 1955    The Seven Year Itch
    * 1956    Bus Stop
    * 1957    The Prince and the Showgirl
    * 1959    Some Like It Hot
    * 1960    Let's Make Love
    * 1961    The Misfits
    * 1962    Something's Got to Give (Unfinished)


    * 1948 -Ladies of the Chorus  : "Every Baby Needs A Da Da Daddy," "Anyone Can See I Love You," "Ladies Of The Chorus"
    * 1953 -Niagara: "Kiss"
           -Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: "Two Little Girls From Little Rock," "When Love Goes Wrong," "Bye Bye Baby," "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend"
    * 1954 -River of No Return: "I'm Gonna File My Claim," "One Silver Dollar," "Down In The Meadow," "River Of No Return"
           -There's No Business Like Show Business: "Heatwave," "Lazy," "After You Get What You Want," "A Man Chases a Girl"
    * 1956 -Bus Stop: "That Old Black Magic"
    * 1959 -Some Like It Hot: "Some Like It Hot," "Runnin' Wild," "I Wanna Be Loved By You," "I'm Through With Love"
    * 1960 -Let's Make Love: "My Heart Belongs To Daddy," "Specialization," "Let's Make Love"
    * 1962 -"Happy Birthday Mr. President"

Awards and nominations

    * 1951 Henrietta Awards: The Best Young Box Office Personality
    * 1952 Photoplay Award: Fastest Rising Star of 1952
    * 1952 Photoplay Award: Special Award
    * 1952 Look American Magazine Achievement Award: Most Promising Female Newcomer of 1952
    * 1953 Golden Globe Henrietta Award: World Film Favorite Female.
    * 1953 Photoplay Award: Most Popular Female Star
    * 1954 Photoplay Award for Best Actress: for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and How to Marry a Millionaire
    * 1956 BAFTA Film Award nomination: Best Foreign Actress for The Seven Year Itch
    * 1956 Golden Globe nomination: Best Motion Picture Actress in Comedy or Musical for Bus Stop
    * 1958 BAFTA Film Award nomination: Best Foreign Actress for The Prince and the Showgirl
    * 1958 David di Donatello Award (Italian): Best Foreign Actress for The Prince and the Showgirl
    * 1959 Crystal Star Award (French): Best Foreign Actress for The Prince and the Showgirl
    * 1960 Golden Globe, Best Motion Picture Actress in Comedy or Musical for Some Like It Hot
    * 1962 Golden Globe, World Film Favorite: Female
    * Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame 6104 Hollywood Blvd.
    * 1999 she was ranked as the sixth greatest female star of all time by the American Film Institute in their list AFI's 100 Years... 100 Stars.
    * Sweetheart of The Month 1953 (Playboy)

Further Reading
McCann, Graham. Marilyn Monroe. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1987.
Monroe, Marilyn. My Story. New York: Stein and Day, 1974.
Spoto, Donald. Marilyn Monroe: The Biography. New York: HarperCollins, 1993.

Recommended Recorded and Videotaped Performances
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953). Twentieth Century-Fox, VHS, 1998.
The Misfits (1961). MGM/UA, VHS, 1996.
The Seven Year Itch (1955). Twentieth Century-Fox, VHS, 1998.
Some Like It Hot (1959). MGM/UA, DVD/VHS, 2001/1999.

NATALIE WOOD (Natasha Gurdin)

WOOD, NATALIE (Natasha Gurdin) (1938–1981) Actress

In a career that spanned almost 40 years, Natalie Wood succeeded in making the difficult transition from child star to ingenue to serious actress. On July 20, 1938, she was born Natasha Gurdin in San Francisco, California. Her parents were Russian immigrants who found work in the entertainment industry—her father as a set designer, her mother as a ballet dancer.

At five, Natasha made her film debut in Happy Land (1943). Her next movie had her playing opposite Orson Welles in  Tomorrow Is Forever (1946). While working on the film, she was first dubbed Natalie Wood—“Natalie” as an Americanization of her given name and “Wood” as a tribute to the film director Sam Wood. Throughout the rest of her youth, Wood was in constant demand. Her winsome combination of intelligence and sweetness was most memorably captured in  Miracle on 34th Street, in which she played a practical little girl who comes to believe in the magic of Christmas. At 17, Wood re-created herself as a teen star in Rebel Without a Cause (1955). The film captured the anxieties of 1950s adolescents and made her an icon to her generation. Revealing a tender vulnerability, Wood won her first Academy Award nomination for the film.

Rebel also made Wood a star of the tabloids due to her romance with costar James Dean. She was linked with other rising celebrities, including singer Elvis Presley and actor Robert Wagner. Wood and Wagner were married in 1957 and starred in  All the Fine Young Cannibals (1960). They were divorced in 1962. In Splendor in the Grass (1961), which costarred Warren Beatty in his film debut, Wood made the jump to adult dramatic actress. Playing a young woman driven insane by sexual repression, she was nominated for her second Oscar. Wood also found success as a musical star, even though she could not sing or dance. She appeared (with her singing dubbed) as Maria in West Side Story (1961) and as GYPSY ROSE LEE in Gypsy (1962).

Throughout the 1960s, Wood played young women searching for their identity in a series of films.  The most effective was  Love with the Proper Stranger (1963), for which she received another Oscar nomination. At the end of the decade, she showed a newfound talent for comedy in Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969), a satire of middle-class sexual mores.

In 1969, Wood married Robert Gregson, with whom she had a daughter, Natasha. After divorcing Gregson in 1972, she remarried her first husband, Robert Wagner. They had one child, Courtney, and Wagner adopted Natasha, who would grow up to become a film actress. In the 1970s, Wood teamed with Wagner for several television projects, including a production of Tennessee Williams’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1976). She had less success finding suitable film roles. Among her last movies were the disaster film Meteor (1979) and the science fiction thriller  Brainstorm (1983). While still filming Brainstorm, Wood disappeared during a yachting vacation with Wagner and their guest, Wood’s costar Christopher Walken. On November 29, 1981, her body was found off the coast of California’s Santa Catalina Island. The victim of an accidental drowning, Natalie Wood died at the age of 43.


Year    Film
1943    Happy Land
1946    The Bride Wore Boots
            Tomorrow Is Forever
1947    Driftwood
            The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
            Miracle on 34th Street
1948    Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay!
1949    Father Was a Fullback
            The Green Promise
            Chicken Every Sunday
1950    Never a Dull Moment
            The Jackpot
            Our Very Own
            No Sad Songs for Me
1951    The Blue Veil
            Dear Brat
1952    The Star
            Just for You'
            The Rose Bowl Story
1954    The Silver Chalice
1955    Rebel Without a Cause
            One Desire
1956    The Girl He Left Behind
            The Burning Hills
            A Cry in the Night
            The Searchers
1957    Bombers B-52
1958    Kings Go Forth
            Marjorie Morningstar
1960    All the Fine Young Cannibals
            Cash McCall
1961    West Side Story
            Splendor in the Grass
1962    Gypsy
1963    Love with the Proper Stranger
1964    Sex and the Single Girl
1965    Inside Daisy Clover
            The Great Race
1966    Penelope
            This Property Is Condemned
1969    Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice
1972    The Candidate
1973    The Affair
1975    Peeper
1976    Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
1979    From Here to Eternity
            The Cracker Factory
1980    The Memory of Eva Ryker
            The Last Married Couple in America
            Willie & Phil
1983    Brainstorm

Further Reading
Finstad, Suzanne. Natasha: The Biography of Natalie Wood. New York: Crown, 2001.
Nickens, Christopher. Natalie Wood: A Biography in Pictures. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1986.

Recommended Recorded and Videotaped Performances
Gypsy (1962). Warner Home Video, DVD/VHS, 2000.
Miracle on 34th Street (1947). Twentieth Century-Fox, DVD/VHS, 1999/1999.
West Side Story (1961). MGM/UA, DVD/VHS, 1998/1998.


MADONNA (Madonna Louise Ciccone) (1958– ) Singer, Actress, Dancer, Songwriter

A pop icon on the level of Elvis Presley and MARILYN MONROE, Madonna was arguably the most infiuential female performer of the late 20th century. Born Madonna Louise Ciccone on August 16, 1958, she was the third of six children in a Roman Catholic family living in Pontiac, Michigan. When Madonna was six, her mother also named Madonna, died of cancer. As the eldest daughter in the Ciccone household, she was largely responsible for taking care of the home and her younger siblings, even after her father remarried. Hemmed in by her religion and her father’s discipline, she later recalled that she “grew up feeling repressed. I was really a good girl.” An honor student and cheerleader, Madonna also studied ballet with instructor Christopher Flynn. He provided Madonna with welcome relief from her oppressive home life by taking her to dance clubs in downtown Detroit. Madonna won a dance scholarship to the University of Michigan. She soon dropped out, however, to seek her fortune in New York. Madonna arrived in the city the summer of 1978 with $37 in her pocket. To earn her rent, she worked as an artists’ and photographers’ model, while performing in the third company of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

In the thick of New York’s underground culture, Madonna soon gravitated toward the music scene. With the encouragement of her live-in boyfriend, musician Dan Gilroy, she began learning to play the drums and the guitar and experimenting with writing songs. She also sang with various bands, having a brief stint in Paris as a singer in a French disco group. Back in New York, her singing caught the attention of Mark Kamis, a disc jockey at Danceteria, then one of the city’s leading clubs. With Kamis’s help, Madonna cut a demo recording of the song “Everybody,” which landed her a contract with Warner Brothers. Her first album, Madonna (1983), initially sold badly. Sales took off only after three of its tracks “Holiday,” “Lucky Star,” and “Borderline” became dance club favorites. Adding to the appeal of her disco-infiuenced pop sound was her fashion sense. In music videos played on the then-fiedgling cable station MTV, Madonna presented herself as streetwise urchin. Badly dyed, teased hair, lace gloves, underwear worn as outerwear, and crucifixes were all hallmarks of her early style. With the success of her first album, Madonna was able to insist on having the best producers and musicians work on her next, Like a Virgin (1984).

The album and two singles from it the title track and “Material Girl”—charted at number one. Again Madonna successfully used MTV to market her music. As in the video for “Like a Virgin,” she wore a white wedding dress to perform the song on the MTV Video Music Awards. Writhing on stage as if in sexual ecstasy, Madonna’s performance was considered shocking at the time. In her music video for “Material Girl,” Madonna was made up as MARILYN MONROE in a clever send-up of the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953). Giving up her usual dance club look for a glamorous red ball gown, Madonna went through the first of the many physical transformations that define her career. In 1985 Madonna made her first foray into film with a small part in  Vision Quest. She became a full-fledged movie star with Desperately Seeking Susan (1985), playing a fashionable free spirit, a character who closely resembled herself.

The same year, she made her stage debut in David Rabe’s Goose and Tom-Tom, opposite Sean Penn. Madonna and Penn were married for four tumultuous years before divorcing in 1989. Madonna continued her recording career with two more hit albums, True Blue (1986) and Like a Prayer (1989). Turning to slightly more serious material, she provoked national controversies with several songs. “Papa Don’t Preach,” from True Blue, confounded Madonna’s conservative critics by telling the story of a pregnant teen who opts for motherhood instead of abortion. The title track on Like a Prayer angered the Catholic Church because of the video’s provocative images, which included Madonna kissing an African-American Christ and dancing in a field ablaze with burning crosses. Because of the uproar over the video, Pepsico pulled its sponsorship of Madonna’s upcoming tour, though the singer was able to keep her $5 million fee.

In the late 1980s, Madonna repeatedly struck out at the box office. Her films Shanghai Surprise (1969), Who’s That Girl (1987), and Bloodhounds of Broadway (1989) were all commercial fiops. She had better luck playing the small part of Breathless Mahoney in Dick Tracy (1990), starring Warren Beatty, with whom she had a well-publicized romance. Tying into the film, she released the album  Breathless, featuring the single “Vogue.” Revered in the gay community, Madonna introduced mainstream America to “voguing,” a dance involving posing like a fashion model that was popular in gay clubs in the mid-1980s.

Also in 1990, Madonna released The Immaculate Collection, a greatest hits album. It featured several new songs, including “Justify My Love.” Because of its suggestions of voyeurism, bisexuality, and group sex, its video was banned from play on MTV before 11 o’clock at night. The resulting publicity helped sell some 250,000 copies of the “Justify My Love” videotape and propelled The Immaculate Collection to number one. Madonna also delighted her fans with Truth or Dare (1991), a documentary film she commissioned about her “Blond Ambition” world tour. Presenting Madonna as every inch a star, the film contained Beatty’s memorable assessment of the melding of her life and art: “She doesn’t want to live off camera.”

In 1992, Madonna signed a seven-year, $60 million contract with Time Warner that gave her nearly total creative control over her recordings and films. It also gave her her own record label, Maverick. Unlike most vanity labels fronted by stars, it would become highly profitable, signing such artists as Alanis Morissette, Candlebox, and Me’Shell Ndegéocello. In the wake of her Time Warner deal, Madonna’s Sex (1992) was released. The $50 coffee table book contained photographs of a mostly nude Madonna acting out her sexual fantasies. Though condemned as an attention-getting stunt by her critics, the book’s first run sold out quickly.

Her album Erotica (1992), however, was a disappointment, suggesting to some in the music industry that Madonna’s popularity was fading. Her movie career provided further evidence. Though she appeared in a small role in the successful  A League of Their Own (1992), her star vehicle Body of Evidence (1993) was a disaster.

Perhaps sensing that she had gone too far, Madonna displayed a softer, more soulful sound on the album Bedtime Stories (1994). A year later, she released Something to Remember, a collection of her hit ballads. Hoping to finally establish herself as a movie draw, she also lobbied hard for the role of Eva Perón in the musical Evita. Although the movie received a lukewarm response from critics and audiences, it helped to establish Madonna as a credible actress.

During the filming, Madonna became pregnant by her boyfriend and personal trainer, Carlos Leon. On October 14, 1996, she gave birth to Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon and later described the experience to People magazine as “the greatest miracle of my life.” In addition to motherhood, Madonna publicly embraced the Jewish kabbalah and Far Eastern religions and culture. She showcased her new spiritual side on Ray of Light (1998), which many critics consider her best album.

Madonna had another success with her next album, Music (2000), which marked a return to the playful dance songs that had made her a star. A month before its release, she had her second child,Rocco. Madonna married Rocco’s father, British film director Guy Ritchie, in December 2000. The following year, her Drowned World tour—the first tour since 1993—sold out across Europe and the United States.

In an MTV interview, Madonna once said, “The whole reason I got into show business wasn’t because I thought I had a spectacular voice. It was because I thought I had something to say.” Since her early days as a performer, the public has been listening. A worldwide sensation for more than two decades, Madonna now has generations of fans who consider her the last word on what’s next in popular culture.


Releases (from oldest to newest):
    Everybody (Single, Maxi) < (11 versions)
    Borderline (Maxi, Single) < (14 versions)
    Burning Up / Physical Attraction (Maxi, Single) < (8 versions)
    Holiday (Maxi, Single) < (24 versions)
    Lucky Star (Maxi, Single) < (9 versions)
    Madonna (Album) < (29 versions)
    Angel (Maxi, Single) < (14 versions)
    Like A Virgin (Album) < (39 versions)
    Like A Virgin (Maxi, Single) < (16 versions)
    Like A Virgin & Other Big Hits (Maxi, EP) < (6 versions)
    Madonna (Comp) < (3 versions)
    Material Girl (Single, Maxi) < (20 versions)
    Crazy For You (Maxi, Single) < (17 versions)
    Dress You Up (Maxi, Single) < (20 versions)
    Gambler (Single, Maxi) < (11 versions)
    Into The Groove (Single, Maxi) < (14 versions)
    Madonna Mix (12", Mixed)
    Over And Over / Borderline (12")
    The First Album (Album) < (7 versions)
    The Virgin Tour Live < (3 versions)
    Cosmic Climb (Maxi) < (9 versions)
    La Isla Bonita (Maxi, Single) < (20 versions)
    Live To Tell (Single, Maxi) < (18 versions)
    Lucky Star/Like A Virgin (7", RE, Single)
    Open Your Heart (Maxi, Single) < (13 versions)
    Over And Over (7")
    Papa Don't Preach (Maxi, Single) < (26 versions)
    True Blue (Album) < (44 versions)
    True Blue (Maxi, Single, EP) < (20 versions)
    Causing A Commotion (Maxi, Single) < (15 versions)
    In The Beginning (EP) < (3 versions)
    Into The Groove / Everybody (12", Promo)
    It's That Girl (Cass, Promo)
    Non Si Nasce Mai Una Volta Sola / Causing A Commotion (7", Single)
    The Look Of Love (Maxi, Single) < (8 versions)
    True Blue Super Club Mix (Cass, EP)
    Where's The Party / Spotlight (12", Promo)
    Who's That Girl (Maxi, Single) < (18 versions)
    Wild Dancing (12")
    You Can Dance (Album) < (25 versions)
    Ciao Italia: Live From Italy < (5 versions)
    Spotlight < (2 versions)
    Cherish (Maxi, Single) < (16 versions)
    Dear Jessie (Single, Maxi) < (8 versions)
    Express Yourself (Maxi, Single) < (17 versions)
    Into The Groove (Cass, Single, Car)
    Into The Groove / Who's That Girl / Causing A Commotion (Maxi) < (2 versions)
    Keep It Together (Maxi, Single) < (12 versions)
    Like A Prayer (Album) < (29 versions)
    Like A Prayer (Maxi, Single) < (24 versions)
    Like A Prayer/Oh Father (Cass, Single)
    Lucky Star / Borderline (Maxi) < (2 versions)
    Oh Father (Maxi, Single) < (9 versions)
    On The Street (Maxi) < (3 versions)
    Pray For Spanish Eyes (7", Promo)
    Remixed Prayers (MiniAlbum) < (3 versions)
    The Early Years (Comp) < (2 versions)
    Time To Dance (Maxi) < (3 versions)
    Blond Ambition World Tour Live < (4 versions)
    Hanky Panky (Maxi, Single) < (18 versions)
    I'm Breathless - Music From And Inspired By The Film "Dick Tracy" (Album) < (20 versions)
    Into The Groove / Dress You Up (CD, Single)
    Justify My Love (Maxi, Single) < (29 versions)
    Justify My Love / Vogue (From MTV's Video Music Awards) (Comp) < (2 versions)
    Rescue Me (Maxi, Single) < (23 versions)
    Shake < (2 versions)
    The Immaculate Collection (Album, Comp) < (36 versions)
    The QSound Experience (Excerpts From Madonna's Immaculate Collection) (CD, Single, Promo)
    The Royal Box (CD + VHS + Box)
    The Very Best Of Madonna (Comp) < (3 versions)
    Vogue (Maxi, Single) < (27 versions)
    Get Down < (2 versions)
    Give It To Me < (3 versions)
    The Holiday Collection (Maxi) < (2 versions)
    Bad Girl (Maxi, Single) < (15 versions)
    Cosmic Climb (Album) < (2 versions)
    Deeper And Deeper (Maxi, Single, EP) < (20 versions)
    Erotica (Maxi, Single) < (28 versions)
    Erotica (Album) < (21 versions)
    Fever (Maxi, Single) < (6 versions)
    Rain (Maxi, Single) < (17 versions)
    Shine A Light (Single) < (3 versions)
    This Used To Be My Playground (Single) < (10 versions)
    Wild Dancing (Album) < (2 versions)
    Bye Bye Baby (Maxi) < (6 versions)
    Deeper And Deeper EP (Maxi, EP) < (3 versions)
    Fever / Rain (2x12")
    Rain (Cass, Single, Car)
    Rain EP (EP) < (2 versions)
    The Best Of & The Rest Of - Volume 2 (CD, Album)
    The Girlie Show - Live Down Under < (5 versions)
    Toy Boy (CD, P/Mixed)
    Wild Dancing (CD, Maxi)
    Bedtime Stories (Album) < (17 versions)
    Bedtime Story (Maxi, Single) < (22 versions)
    Favourite Mixes No. 1 (CD)
    I'll Remember (Maxi, Single) < (14 versions)
    Secret (Maxi, Single) < (21 versions)
    Take A Bow (Maxi, Single) < (20 versions)
    The Girlie Show (CD, Maxi)
    Human Nature (Maxi, Single) < (23 versions)
    La Isla Bonita / Human Nature (CD, Mini)
    One More Chance (Maxi, Single) < (5 versions)
    Something To Remember (Comp, Album) < (23 versions)
    Wild Dancing (Album) < (3 versions)
    You'll See (Maxi, Single) < (17 versions)
    Buenos Aires (Maxi, Single) < (4 versions)
    CD Single Collection (40xCD, Mini, Single + Box, Ltd)
    Don't Cry For Me Argentina (Maxi, Single) < (19 versions)
    Love Don't Live Here Anymore (Single, Maxi) < (11 versions)
    Pre-Madonna (1980-´81 New York City - Unauthorized) (Album) < (2 versions)
    Wild Dancing (CD, Shape, Ltd)
    Wow! (CD, Shape, Ltd)
    You Must Love Me (Maxi, Single) < (8 versions)
    Another Suitcase In Another Hall (Maxi, Single) < (4 versions)
    Drowned World / Substitute For Love (Maxi, Single) < (11 versions)
    Frozen (Single, Maxi) < (22 versions)
    Frozen / Take A Bow (7")
    Little Star (CD, Promo)
    Nothing Really Matters (Maxi, Single) < (30 versions)
    Ray Of Light (Maxi, Single) < (27 versions)
    Ray Of Light (Album) < (28 versions)
    Ray Of Light (Special Limited Edition) (VHS)
    The Power Of Good-Bye (Maxi, Single) < (19 versions)
    Words + Music (CD, Maxi, Promo)
    Beautiful Stranger (Maxi, Single) < (10 versions)
    The Video Collection 93:99 (Comp) < (6 versions)
    American Pie (Maxi, Single) < (20 versions)
    Best 'Music' (CD)
    Don't Tell Me (Maxi, Single) < (21 versions)
    GHV2 The Dance Remixes (3xLP, Promo)
    Impressive Instant < (3 versions)
    Music (Maxi, Single) < (41 versions)
    Music (Album) < (23 versions)
    Skin (CDr, TP)
    The Ultimate Collection (Comp) < (2 versions)
    Amazing (CD, Single, Promo)
    Don't Tell Me (CDr, Promo, clo)
    Drowned World Tour 2001 < (3 versions)
    Early Years (CD)
    GHV2 (Album, Comp) < (19 versions)
    GHV2 < (4 versions)
    GHV2 Remixed (The Best Of 1991-2001) (2xCD, Promo)
    Lo Que Siente La Mujer (CD, Single, Promo)
    Music (Dan-O-Rama Remix) (VHS, PAL, Pro)
    Ray Of Light / Beautiful Stranger (7")
    Thunderpuss GHV2 Megamix (Maxi) < (5 versions)
    What It Feels Like For A Girl (Maxi, Single) < (23 versions)
    2 CD Hit Collection (Erotica / Madonna) (CD, Album + CD, Album, RM + , RE)
    Die Another Day (Maxi, Single) < (25 versions)
    Die Another Day - Music From The Motion Picture < (6 versions)
    True Blue / Like A Virgin (Coffret 2 CD Originaux) (Box + 2xCD, Album)
    A New Groove. A New Jean (Into The Hollywood Groove) (CD, Single, Promo)
    American Life (Maxi, Single) < (24 versions)
    American Life (Album) < (19 versions)
    Hollywood (Maxi, Single) < (25 versions)
    Into The Hollywood Groove (CDr, Single, Promo)
    Love Profusion (Maxi) < (14 versions)
    Me Against The Music (Maxi, Single) < (12 versions)
    Nobody Knows Me (Remixes) (12", Promo)
    Nothing Fails (Maxi) < (11 versions)
    Remixed & Revisited (EP, Maxi) < (7 versions)
    Un Nouveau Groove. Un Nouveau Jean. (Into The Hollywood Groove) (CD, Single, Promo)
    House Music (Volume 1) (CD, Comp, Dig)
    House Music (Volume 2) (CD, Comp, Dig)
    Who's That Girl: Live In Japan (Mitsubishi Special) (DVD)
    2CD (American Life / Music) (2xCD, Album)
    3CD (American Life / Music / Ray Of Light) (3xCD, Album)
    Confessions On A Dance Floor (Album) < (19 versions)
    Dance To The Beat (CD)
    Hung Up (Maxi, Single) < (21 versions)
    The Girlie Show in Japan (DVD-V, Dig)
    Confessions Remixed (3x12", Ltd)
    Get Together (Maxi, Single) < (16 versions)
    I'm Going To Tell You A Secret < (6 versions)
    Jump (Maxi, Single) < (15 versions)
    Sorry (Maxi, Single) < (20 versions)
    Hey You (File, MP3, 128)
    The Confessions Tour (Album) < (6 versions)
    4 Minutes (Single, Maxi) < (25 versions)
    4 Minutes / Give It 2 Me (2x7", Single, Whi)
    Give It 2 Me (Single, Maxi) < (21 versions)
    Hard Candy (Album) < (16 versions)
    Miles Away (Single, Maxi) < (16 versions)
    Celebration (Album, Comp) < (11 versions)
    Celebration (Single, Maxi) < (17 versions)
    Celebration - The Video Collection (Comp) < (5 versions)
    Revolver (One Love Remix) (CDr, Single, Promo)
    3 For One (The First Album / Like A Virgin / True Blue) (3xCD, Album)
    Classic Party Rockers Vol. 3 - The Madonna Edition (12")
    Golden Madonna (Cass, Comp)

Further Reading
Benson, Carol, and Allan Metz, eds. The Madonna Companion:  Two Decades of Commentary. New York: Schirmer Books, 1999.
Bego, Mark. Madonna: Blonde Ambition. Updated edition. New York: Cooper Square Press, 2000.

Recommended Recorded and Videotaped Performances
Evita (1996). Hollywood Pictures Home Video, DVD/VHS, 1998.
The Immaculate Collection (1991). Warner/Electra, DVD/VHS, 1991/1999.
The Immaculate Collection.Warner Brothers, CD, 1990.
Madonna: Truth or Dare (1991). Artisan Entertainment, DVD/VHS, 2000/2001.
Ray of Light.Warner Brother, CD, 1998.


TAYLOR, ELIZABETH (1932– ) Actress

Elizabeth Taylor remains perhaps the quintessential movie star, as legendary for her messy private life as for her glamorous screen performances. She was born in London, England, on February 27, 1932, to prosperous parents. Fleeing Europe during World War II, the Taylor family moved to Los Angeles when Elizabeth was seven. Her mother, a former actress, then set about grooming her daughter for Hollywood. In 1941, Elizabeth was signed to Universal and cast in her first film, There’s One Born Every Minute (1942). After appearing in  Lassie Come Home (1943) opposite her lifelong friend Roddy McDowall, Elizabeth was given a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the studio best positioned to make her into a star. At 12, Elizabeth Taylor fulfilled her early promise in National Velvet (1944), the story of a young girl’s obsession with riding her horse in England’s Grand National steeplechase. Initially, Taylor was considered too slight for the role, but after a fourmonth regime of exercise, she proved herself physically robust enough to take it on. On the set, she further showed her dedication by continuing to perform even after a throw from a horse left her with a serious back injury.

Emerging from  National Velvet a star, Taylor was placed in a series of small ingenue roles, most successfully in Little Women (1949) and Father of the Bride (1950). By her 15th birthday, gossip columnist Hedda Hopper had declared that Taylor was the most beautiful woman in the world. Blessed with raven hair, violet eyes, and a heart shaped face, the young Taylor established a standard of beauty for the 1950s.

In A Place in the Sun (1951), Taylor graduated to adult roles as a woman so desirable that a man is willing to kill to have her. Although thought of more as decoration than as a great talent, she slowly proved herself a skillful actress in such dramas as  Giant (1956),  Suddenly Last Summer (1959), and Raintree County (1957), for which she received her first Oscar nomination. Taylor had her greatest early success in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), the film version of Tennesee Williams’s controversial play. Wearing a form-fitting white slip, she portrayed a woman seething with sexual frustration as her alcoholic husband (Paul Newman) draws away from her. The performance won her a second Academy Award nomination. Throughout the 1950s, Taylor was as big a star in the gossip columns as she was onscreen.

 In just seven years, she married three famous men—hotelier Conrad “Nicky” Hilton (1950), actor Michael Wilding (1952), and producer Michael Todd (1957). Divorced from Hilton and Wilding, Taylor became a widow when Todd’s plane, ironically named “the Lucky Liz,” crashed in 1958. The great outpouring of public sympathy that ensued quickly dried up as Taylor became romantically involved with singer Eddie Fisher, who was still married to film star Debbie Reynolds. When Fisher left his wife and children to marry Taylor in 1959, she was condemned as the ultimate other woman. Her fans, though, again embraced Taylor after she fell ill from an almost-fatal case of pneumonia. Perhaps out of sympathy for her near-death experience, Academy voters awarded Taylor the best actress Oscar for Butterfield 8 (1960). Taylor’s next role was as the title character in the four-hour extravaganza Cleopatra (1963). For her performance, she was paid a record-setting $1 million. The production itself cost $40 million, then the most ever spent on a film.

Cleopatra paired Taylor with British actor Richard Burton in the role of Marc Antony. Nearly from their meeting, rumors fiew about a romance between the stars, who were both married at the time. Adding to the gossip, Taylor and Burton were prone to making scenes and having loud drunken arguments. An unapologetic hedonist, Taylor was denounced by members of Congress and condemned by the Vatican as “a woman of loose morals.” Though Cleopatra was a box-office disaster, the public had a seemingly insatiable appetite for stories of Taylor and Burton’s extravagant misbehavior. As Burton once observed, “For some reason, the world has always been amused by us two maniacs.” After their marriage in 1964, Taylor and Burton made nine more movies together. Most were forgettable, though two were among Taylor’s best films. In Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolffi (1966) and Taming of the Shrew (1967), Taylor played two very different, yet equally difficult women, creating these characters out of intense, raw emotion. Her role as Martha in Woolf was especially impressive.

Although only 34 at the time, Taylor was wholly convincing as a decidedly unglamorous, middleaged harridan. The part won Taylor her second Academy Award for best actress. In the 1970s, Taylor’s career began to decline as she appeared in a string of lackluster films. Her relationship with Burton fell apart as well. They were divorced in 1974 and remarried in 1975, though their second marriage lasted only four months. In 1978, Taylor wed for seventh time, becoming the wife of future U.S. senator John Warner. Finding fewer appropriate roles in movies, Taylor moved to the stage in the early 1980s. She was nominated for a Tony Award for her theater debut in The Little Foxes (1981) but was slammed by critics for her performance in Private Lives (1983) opposite Burton. Taylor also began working in television in such films as Poker Alice (1987) and Sweet Bird of Youth (1989). In the 1990s, she made occasional guest appearances on situation comedies, most notably providing the voice for baby Maggie on an episode of the animated series The Simpsons.

Even when she was not performing, Taylor remained in the public eye, often through less-than-fiattering gossip about her weight gain and problems with alcohol and painkillers. In 1983, she checked into Washington, D.C.’s Betty Ford Clinic, becoming the first high-profile celebrity to admit to her addictions. Returning to the clinic in 1988, she met construction worker Larry Fortensky. They were married in 1991 and divorced five years later. While dealing with her own problems, Taylor began a new career as a crusader for AIDS awareness and research. In 1985 she cofounded the American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmFAR) and soon organized the first Hollywood gala fund-raiser for the cause. Also the founder of the Elizabeth Taylor Foundation for AIDS, she has helped raise more than $50 million for AIDS research. At the 1992 Academy Awards, she was given the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for her charitable work. Taylor added to her own bottom line with several perfume lines. Expertly marketed using her status as a cultural icon, her perfumes White Diamonds and Passion approached $200 million in annual sales by the early 1990s.

The mother of four children and grandmother of nine, Taylor has been plagued by health problems in recent years. During the late 1990s, she suffered from a broken back and a spinal fracture and had to have surgery for recurring hip problems and a benign brain tumor. As in the past, her personal difficulties have only seemed to add to her legend and endear her even more to her fans. In recognition of her charitable work and acting career, Taylor was named Dame—the female equivalent of knight—by Queen Elizabeth in 2000. The tribute seemed particularly fitting for the still glamorous Taylor, who had previously been dubbed by  People magazine “the platinum grande dame of celebrities.”

Further Reading
Amburn, Ellis. The Most Beautiful Woman in the World: The Obsessions, Passions, and Courage of Elizabeth Taylor. New York: Cliff Street Books, 2000.
Heymann, C. David. Liz: An Intimate Biography of Elizabeth Taylor. New York: Birch Lane Press, 1995.
Kelley, Kitty.  Elizabeth Taylor: The Last Star. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1981.
Spoto, Donald. A Passion for Life: The Biography of Elizabeth Taylor. New York: HarperCollins, 1995.

Recommended Recorded and Videotaped Performances
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958). Warner Home Video, DVD/VHS, 2000.
National Velvet (1945). Warner Home Video, DVD/VHS, 2001/2000.
A Place in the Sun (1951). Paramount, VHS, 1996.
Taming of the Shrew (1967). Columbia/Tristar, DVD/VHS, 1999/1998.
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolffi (1966). Warner Home Video, DVD/VHS, 1998/2000.


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