Mary Claire Kendall

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‘All Too Human’ Stars Would Have Loved Pope Francis

Two of the stars I write about in Oasis: Conversion Stories of Hollywood Legends—Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal—fell in love. Problem is, “Coop” was married. As his daughter, Maria Cooper Janis, said, it was a “complicated situation.” Cooper took Neal

AP Photo/LightWorkers Media/NBC, Joe Alblas

‘A.D.: The Bible Continues,’ Along with Mark Burnett and Roma Downey

Hollywood power couple Roma Downey and Mark Burnett have turned out a spiritual classic in “A.D.: The Bible Continues,” through Downey’s aptly named production company “LightWorkers Media,” part of United Artists Media Group, an MGM Company, which Burnett helms.

'The Honors' and 'Wounded Warrior Experience' Spotlight American Heroes

'The Honors' and 'Wounded Warrior Experience' Spotlight American Heroes

Hollywood has the “Oscars.” Now Washington has the “Honors.” Sponsored by the American Veterans Center and Northrop Grumman Corporation, hundreds of millions will have the opportunity to be enriched by our military heroes’ “full measure of devotion” when “The Honors”

Spencer Tracy and Son John: A Bond Built on Faith, Family

Spencer Tracy and Son John: A Bond Built on Faith, Family

On July 6, 2007, when I was interviewing A.C. Lyles, a.k.a. “Mr. Paramount,” he suggested I write about someone, who was never a star, but had an enormous impact on the life of one of Hollywood’s greatest. He was referring

Remembering Judy Garland: An American Original

Remembering Judy Garland: An American Original

Some 30 years after Judy Garland first publicly performed Over the Rainbow on June 29, 1939, previewing the upcoming The Wizard of Oz, this quintessential girl-next-door reached for more sleeping pills and hoped-for sleep, only to be, mercifully, granted eternal rest. Garland always wanted to

Faith-Based Film Summit Shows Spiritual Content in High Demand

Faith-Based Film Summit Shows Spiritual Content in High Demand

Recently, Hollywood’s elite gathered for Variety’s “Purpose Family Entertainment + Faith-based Summit” at the Four Seasons Los Angeles Hotel at Beverly Hills. In association with Rogers & Cowan–joined by Disney Publishing Worldwide, Faith Driven Entertainment, Persecuted, Pure Flix, and Walden Media and

John Wayne's Legacy Shows No Signs of Age on Anniversary of His Death

John Wayne's Legacy Shows No Signs of Age on Anniversary of His Death

Thirty-five years ago today, John “Duke” Wayne, made famous by playing the rugged hero in westerns directed by John Ford and Howard Hawks, went to his reward. In May 2012, I interviewed writer-producer A.J. Fenady (1), known for The Rebel, Branded, Hondo

Hollywood's D-Day Tributes Forget Invasion's U.S. Civilian Hero

Hollywood's D-Day Tributes Forget Invasion's U.S. Civilian Hero

“D-Day was a completely incredible experience and one that I haven’t yet been able to write about satisfactorily. So much of it is a matter of feeling and sensation that you don’t write when you’re writing for a newspaper or

The G.I. Film Festival: Showcasing Heroism Through Film

The G.I. Film Festival: Showcasing Heroism Through Film

As we wind down this “Military Appreciation Month” on this the 146th anniversary of the Memorial Day–first celebrated on May 30, 1868 as “Decoration Day”–most of us have no real idea of what it is like to “give the last

Will 'Foxcatcher' Crush the Cannes Competition?

Will 'Foxcatcher' Crush the Cannes Competition?

What do you know? The Cannes Film Festival that yearly transforms that quiet French Riviera town into a colliding cacophony of celebrity and cinema, is once again pinpointing with amazing precision the most artistically pre-eminent and therefore most commercially viable

Jackie Kennedy & Hollywood: Image Trumped Reality

Jackie Kennedy & Hollywood: Image Trumped Reality

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who died 20 years ago today at the age of 64, was a heavy smoker. It was a closely guarded secret. Image mattered most. Always image! A hundred years ago this June, her mother-in-law Rose Kennedy became

'The Passion of the Christ' Makes Commercial TV Debut on Palm Sunday

'The Passion of the Christ' Makes Commercial TV Debut on Palm Sunday

This Palm Sunday, more than 2 billion Christians worldwide will celebrate Christ’s triumphal entrance into Jerusalem 1981 years ago–mere days before his Passion. To mark the occasion, UP Television will show The Passion of the Christ (2004) in its commercial TV debut at

Mickey Rooney's '80s Comeback Tied to Dad's Burlesque Days

Mickey Rooney's '80s Comeback Tied to Dad's Burlesque Days

After Mickey Rooney hit the big time at MGM, he was “embarrassed” by his father, burlesque comedian Joseph Yule, Sr., according to producer Ewing Miles “Lucky” Brown, an old friend of the Hollywood legend. Brown recently reminisced about his old

Alec Guinness: Acting Legend Forged by Faith, Timeless Characters

Alec Guinness: Acting Legend Forged by Faith, Timeless Characters

Sir Alec Guinness, born 100 years ago today on April 2, 1914 in Marylebone, England, was a star’s star. While Spencer Tracy, born just three days later in 1900, was ranked his fellow stars’ favorite, Guinness had dramatic gifts rivaling Tracy for

John Wayne's Oscar Victory Honored Timeless Star, Long Lost Era

John Wayne's Oscar Victory Honored Timeless Star, Long Lost Era

In 1970 when John “Duke” Wayne won an Oscar for his starring role as U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn in True Grit (1969), the industry was a shadow of its current self. Or perhaps it’s the other way around. Veteran writer-producer, A.J. Fenady,

Remembering Hollywood's First Feature Film – 'The Squaw Man'

Remembering Hollywood's First Feature Film – 'The Squaw Man'

As Hollywood goes through the annual ritual and frenzy of the Oscars, celebrating all it is and aspires to be through the prism of this year’s films, it’s worth noting that on this day 100 years ago the first feature

Beatlemania Now Concert Recalls Band's Historic D.C. Debut

Beatlemania Now Concert Recalls Band's Historic D.C. Debut

When The Beatles splashed onto the American scene on February 7, 1964, at JFK International Airport and, two days later, on “The Ed Sullivan Show”–love was in the air, evidenced by all the screaming girls, Baby Boomers all! Two nights later, The Beatles performed

Lights Go Out on Shirley Temple, Classic Hollywood's 'Bright Eyes'

Lights Go Out on Shirley Temple, Classic Hollywood's 'Bright Eyes'

Shirley Temple, one of Hollywood’s biggest and brightest stars at the height of the Depression–her break out film Bright Eyes (1934), featuring “On the Good Ship Lollipop”–has gone to her reward.  She joins her good friend, and my friend, the former film producer

The Strings of Judy Garland's Heart

Thirty years after Judy Garland-“Dorothy”-first publicly performed “Over the Rainbow” on June 29, 1939, previewing the soon-to-be-released Wizard of Oz, this quintessential girl-next-door reached for more sleeping pills and hoped-for sleep, only to be, mercifully, granted eternal rest. She always

Seeing the Duke in a Whole New Light

For navel-gazing Republicans, in the throes of a full-blown identity crisis, the 30th anniversary of John “Duke” Wayne’s passing this June 11th, couldn’t come sooner, reminding us of what it was like when giants were in our midst. The Duke,