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Cassavetes, John (09 December 1929–03 February 1989), actor, screenwriter, director, and filmmaker, was born in New York City, the son of Nicholas John Cassavetes, the owner of a travel business, and Katherine Demitri. Although his father, a Greek immigrant, had a “knack” for making and losing millions, Cassavetes grew up in the affluent Long Island towns of Sands Point and Port Washington, where he went to public schools. He attended Mohawk College and Colgate University, majoring in English. He left college for a brief stint as a sports announcer, but after reading the plays of ...

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Gleason, James (23 May 1886–12 April 1959), film and stage actor and writer, was born in New York City, the son of William Gleason and Mina Crolius, both actors. Theater was always the center of Gleason’s life. Born just a few blocks from Broadway, he was first seen by audiences at the age of two months, carried in his mother’s arms in Aristophanes’ ...

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Loos, Anita (26 April 1893–18 August 1981), author and child actress, was born Corinne Anita Loos in Sissons (now called Mount Shasta), California, the daughter of Richard Beers Loos, a newspaper owner and editor, and Minnie Ellen Smith. “In my youth I never kept a diary, feeling that a girl who could sell her words for money had other fish to fry,” Loos (pronounced Lohse) wrote in her 1974 autobiography, ...

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Muse, Clarence E. (07 October 1889–13 October 1979), actor, producer, and writer of plays and films, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Alexander Muse and Mary Sales. He was educated at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where he became interested in music and participated in choral groups; although he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in international law in 1911, he immediately embarked on a musical and theatrical career. In 1907 he married Frieda Belle Moore; the marriage was apparently dissolved soon after the birth of their son in 1910....

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Weber, Lois (13 June 1879–13 November 1939), silent film director, screenwriter, and performer, was born Florence Lois Weber in Allegheny (now part of Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania, to George Weber, an upholsterer and decorator, and Mary Matilda Snaman. Weber displayed early musical prowess and, at age sixteen, toured briefly as a concert pianist. Her parents were devout Christians, and the influence of the church was a constant throughout Weber’s life. She spent two years with the Church Army, a Salvation Army–style missionary group, evangelizing on street corners and singing in rescue missions. She credited the advice of an uncle with her decision to enter the theater, a venue that allowed her to proselytize as well as perform....

Image

Lois Weber. Lois Weber, no date. Glass negative by Bain News Service. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-DIG-ggbain-32125).