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Arnold, Eve (21 April 1912–04 January 2012), photojournalist, was born Eve Cohen in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the seventh of nine children of the Ukrainian Jewish immigrants Vevel (William) Sklarski, a rabbi, and Bosya (Bessie) Laschiner. Although Eve’s parents were poor she received a good basic education. Eve first considered a career as a writer or a dancer, then settled on medicine, but she gave this up to move to New York City. During World War II she got a job at America’s first automated photographic film processing plant in Hoboken, New Jersey, although she knew little about photography then. It was only in 1946 when her then boyfriend gave her a forty-dollar Rolleicord camera that she took up photography as a hobby. The boyfriend did not last long, but her love of photography grew into a highly successful and fulfilling career....

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Barrymore, Lionel (28 April 1878–15 November 1954), actor, composer, and artist, was born Lionel Blythe in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Herbert Blythe, an actor who adopted the stage name Maurice Barrymore, and Georgiana Drew (Georgie Drew Barrymore), an actress. His mother’s family had been in the theater for generations. Lionel was raised chiefly in the Philadelphia home of his maternal grandmother, actress-manager ...

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Bel Geddes, Barbara (31 October 1922–08 August 2005), actress, children's book author-illustrator, and painter, was born in New York City, the daughter of Norman Bel Geddes, a noted architect and stage designer, and Helen Belle Sneider, an English teacher. Educated at a series of private schools in and around New England, she also spent time in the company of her illustrious father, who was involved in hundreds of theater productions in many capacities. Once after a school play, the drama teacher at the Putney School in Vermont regretfully informed her father that Barbara had “no talent” (...

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Barbara Bel Geddes Associated Press

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de Wolfe, Elsie (20 December 1865–12 July 1950), actress and interior decorator, was born in New York City, the daughter of Stephen de Wolfe, a physician, and Georgina Copeland. She was baptized Ella Anderson de Wolfe. Her father had been raised in Nova Scotia and educated at the University of Pennsylvania; her mother, also reared in Canada, was born in Aberdeen, Scotland. Elsie attended private schools in New York until the age of fourteen and was then sent to Scotland to finish her education under the tutelage of her mother’s cousin, Dr. Archibald Charteris. Owing to Charteris’s connection to royal circles, she was presented to Queen Victoria and London society at age seventeen, an unusual honor then for an American girl. This experience focused her vision of life on elegance, refinement, fashion, and good taste....

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Charles Eames. [left to right]Ray Eames and Charles Eames. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-103825).

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Eames, Charles (17 June 1907–21 August 1978), architect, furniture designer, and filmmaker, was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Charles Ormond Eames, a Pinkerton security officer, and Marie Celine Adele Pauline Lambert. In 1921 Eames’s discovery of photographic equipment belonging to his father, who had died that year, initiated his lifelong interest in photography. He began his formal architectural education at Washington University in St. Louis on a scholarship in 1925. Prior to his enrollment, Eames had worked as a laborer with the LaClede Steel Company and as a designer of electrical lighting fixtures with the Edwin F. Guth Fixture Company, and while attending the university he worked summers as a draftsman in a St. Louis architectural office, Trueblood and Graf. He left school in 1928, his sophomore year. Despite his lack of a formal degree in architecture, other jobs and contacts in St. Louis substantially contributed to his education and to the development of his interests and skills in all aspects of design....

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Ray Eames. [left to right]Ray Eames and Charles Eames. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-103825).

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Eames, Ray (15 December 1912–21 August 1988), designer and filmmaker, was born Ray Kaiser in Sacramento, California, the daughter of Alexander Kaiser, an insurance salesman, and Edna Mary Burr. In 1933, after graduating from the May Bennett School in Millbrook, New York, she began studying painting with Hans Hoffmann in New York City. She was a founding member of American Abstract Artists, which first exhibited as a group in 1937 in New York City....

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Leyda, Jay (12 February 1910–15 February 1988), translator, writer, filmmaker, and photographer, was born in Detroit, Michigan. His parents’ names are not known. Leyda grew up in Dayton, Ohio, where he spent his youth experimenting with photography, acting, painting, and sculpture. After high school, Leyda worked on a punch press in Dayton and apprenticed in the studio of the photo-secessionist Jane Reece. He arrived in New York City in 1929 to work as a darkroom assistant for the photographer Ralph Steiner and made a living photographing portraits for small magazines such as ...

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McCay, Winsor Zenic (26 September 1871–26 July 1934), comic strip artist, animator, and editorial cartoonist, was born in Spring Lake, Michigan, the son of Robert McCay, a lumberman and real estate agent, and Janet Murray. McCay cited 1871 as the year of his birth, but his gravestone cites 1869, and other sources cite 1867. Since his birth record may have been destroyed in a fire, the exact year may remain unknown. In addition to public education, in 1888 McCay studied business at Cleary’s Business College in Ypsilanti and took private art lessons with John Goodison of the Michigan State Normal School, who taught him the geometric bases for effective use of perspective in drawing, lessons he would later put to extraordinary use....

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Zero Mostel. As Leopold Bloom in Ulysses in Nighttown, 1958. Photograph by Carl Van Vechten. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-103716).

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Mostel, Zero (28 February 1915–08 September 1977), actor and painter, was born Samuel Joel Mostel in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Israel Mostel and Celia (originally Zina) Druchs, Orthodox Jewish immigrants who ran a kosher vineyard and slaughterhouse. Although Mostel was raised in a religious household and later displayed a special affinity for Jewish characters, his father was not a rabbi as has often been reported; Mostel’s penchant for improvisation extended to his autobiography, and he creatively refashioned his past in interviews throughout his life. Most notably, he sometimes attributed his numeric nickname to his “financial standing in the community” (as he testified to the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1955), but he more regularly credited the label to his supposedly undistinguished schoolwork. Despite these suggested derivations, his stage name may simply have been the innovation of an early publicist. In 1939 he married Clara Sverd; they were divorced in 1941....

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Orkin, Ruth (03 September 1921–16 January 1985), photographer and filmmaker, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the daughter of Sam Orkin, a toy-boat manufacturer, and Mary Ruby, a former silent-screen actress and cellist. She grew up, however, near Los Angeles, California, and attended Beverly Hills High School and then Eagle Rock High School, graduating in 1939. Orkin briefly attended Los Angeles City College, where she majored in photojournalism....

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Vincent Price. In Angel Street, 1942. Photograph by Carl Van Vechten. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LOT 12735, no. 945 P&P).

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Price, Vincent (27 May 1911–25 October 1993), actor and art collector, was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Vincent Leonard Price, a candy company president, and Marguerite Cobb Willcox. Price studied art history and English at Yale University and toured Europe as a member of the Yale Glee Club. After graduating in 1933, he made an unsuccessful attempt to obtain work as an actor in New York, then took a teaching job with the Riverdale (N.Y.) Country Day School. In 1934 Price began graduate study in fine arts at London University’s Courtald Institute. He wrote his master’s thesis on “Dürer and the School of the Danube” and auditioned for roles on the London stage....

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Robinson, Edward G. (12 December 1893–26 January 1973), actor, was born Emanuel Goldenberg in Bucharest, Romania, the son of Morris Goldenberg, a builder, and Sarah Guttman. He immigrated to the United States in 1902. The family settled in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, where his father ran a candy store and Emanuel attended P.S. 137, graduating in 1906. That year the family moved to the Bronx, where his father opened an antique shop and Emanuel attended P.S. 20 before being accepted at Townsend Harris High School. In 1910 Emanuel enrolled at the New York City College. He joined the campus drama club, the Elizabethan Society, and worked part time at an etching and lithograph printing shop, where he acquired the foundation for his extensive knowledge of the art world. In 1911 he was awarded a scholarship to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. His closest friend at the academy was Joseph Schildkraut, son of Rudolf Schildkraut, famous as a leading actor of the Yiddish Theater and a future successful actor in his own right. At the academy Emanuel changed his name to Edward G. Robinson, the ...

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Struss, Karl Fischer (30 November 1886–16 December 1981), photographer and cinematographer, was born in New York City, the son of Henry W. Struss, a silk-mill owner and later a bonnet-wire manufacturer, and Marie Fischer. Struss worked at his father’s factory for eleven years; in the evenings from 1908 to 1912 he studied photography under Clarence White, the pictorial photographer and influential photography educator, at Teachers College, Columbia University. In 1910 Struss first attracted attention when ...

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Warhol, Andy (06 August 1928–22 February 1987), artist and filmmaker, was born Andrew Warhola in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of Andrej Warhola, a construction worker, and Julia Zavacky. Warhol’s parents, both of Carpatho-Rusyn extraction, immigrated separately to the United States from the Medzilaborce region of what is now the Slovak Republic, his father in 1913, his mother in 1921. As a youngster, Warhol showed a proficiency in art and attended art appreciation classes at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie-Mellon University). Stricken at the age of nine with St. Vitus’s dance (chorea), he spent at least two months at home and amused himself by drawing. His fascination with movie stars began while he was still young, and by 1939 he was collecting their photographs; according to his brother Paul, he “used to get wax paper and get the comic strip and trace it and get the impression, the picture.”...