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Milestone, Lewis (30 September 1895–25 September 1980), film director, screenwriter, editor, and producer, was born Lewis Milstein in Kishinëv, near Odessa, Russia, the son of Emanuel Milstein, a clothing manufacturer. His mother’s name is unknown. Milestone attended Jewish schools. His family was disturbed when he showed an avid interest in acting, so after he completed high school he was sent to study engineering at a college in Saxony. When his father sent him money to travel home for the holidays in 1913, Milestone instead used the funds to immigrate to the United States with two school friends. They arrived in Hoboken, New Jersey, with a mere six dollars among them. Milestone was assisted financially by an aunt for a brief time but ended up working at odd jobs (factory sweeper for a raincoat manufacturer, salesman, photographer’s assistant) until he became an American citizen. With the country’s entry into World War I, he joined the Army Signal Corps to work stateside as an assistant director of training films....

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Parsons, Harriet Oettinger (23 Aug. 1906–2 Jan. 1983), journalist, filmmaker, and producer, was born in Burlington, Iowa, the only child of famed Hollywood columnist Louella Parsons and John Dement Parsons, a real estate salesman. When her parents’ marriage fell apart, she and her mother moved to Chicago. While Louella Parsons wrote scripts for Essanay Studios, Harriet was molded into a child star, “Baby Parsons,” and appeared in two films written by her mother, ...

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Wojnarowicz, David (14 Sept. 1954–22 July 1992), artist, filmmaker, writer, and activist was born in Red Bank, New Jersey, the third child of Edward Wojnarowicz, a merchant seamen from Michigan, and Dolores McGuinness, a receptionist from Australia. Wojnarowicz’s childhood was marred by violence and instability. Following his parents’ divorce at the age of three, Wojnarowicz and his two older siblings, Pat and Steven, were placed in a boarding home by their mother in ...