This strawberry blonde musical performer put in years in variety acts and as a bland screen cutie before proving her talent on Broadway. Born in Newark, New Jersey, Blaine was trouping in vaudeville a...
A decade-long gap between sequels could leave a franchise stale but in the case of Men in Black 3 it's the launch pad for an unexpectedly great blockbuster. The kooky antics of Agent J (Will Smith) and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) don't stray far from their 1997 and 2002 adventures but without a bombardment of follow-ups to keep the series in mind the wonderfully weird sensibilities of Men in Black feel fresh Smith's natural charisma once again on full display. Barry Sonnenfeld returns for the threequel another space alien romp with a time travel twist — which turns out to be Pandora's Box for the director's deranged imagination.
As time passed in the real world so did it for the timeline in the world of Men in Black. Picking up ten years after MIB 2 J and K are continuing to protect the Earth from alien threats and enforce the law on those who live incognito. While dealing with their own personal issues — K is at his all-time crabbiest for seemingly no reason — the suited duo encounter an old enemy Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) a prickly assassin seeking revenge on K who blew his arm off back in the '60s. Their street fight is more of a warning; Boris' real plan is to head back in time to save his arm and kill off K. He's successful prompting J to take his own leap through the time-space continuum — and team up with a younger K (Josh Brolin) to put an end to Boris plans for world domination.
Men in Black 3 is the Will Smith show. Splitting his time between the brick personalities of Jones and Brolin's K Smith struts his stuff with all the fast-talking comedic style that made him a star in yesteryears. In present day he's still the laid back normal guy in a world of oddities — J raises an eyebrow as new head honcho O (Emma Thompson) delivers a eulogy in a screeching alien tongue but coming up with real world explanations for flying saucer crashes comes a little easier. But back in 1969 he's an even bigger fish out water. Surprisingly director Barry Sonnenfeld and writer Etan Cohen dabble in the inherent issues that would spring up if a black gentlemen decked out in a slick suit paraded around New York in the late '60s. A star of Smith's caliber may stray away from that type of racy humor but the hook of Men in Black 3 is the actor's readiness for anything. He turns J's jokey anachronisms into genuine laughs and doesn't mind letting the special effect artists stretch him into an unrecognizable Twizzler for the movie's epic time jump sequence.
Unlike other summer blockbusters Men in Black 3 is light on the action Sonnenfeld utilizing his effects budget and dazzling creature work (by the legendary Rick Baker) to push the comedy forward. J's fight with an oversized extraterrestrial fish won't keep you on the edge of your seat but his slapstick escape and the marine animal's eventual demise are genuinely amusing. Sonnenfeld carries over the twisted sensibilities he displayed in small screen work like Pushing Daisies favoring bizarre banter and elaborating on the kookiness of the alien underworld than battle scenes. MIB3's chase scene is passable but the movie in its prime when Smith is sparring with Brolin and newcomer Michael Stuhlbarg who steals the show as a being capable of seeing the future. His twitchy character keeps Smith and the audience on their toes.
Men in Black 3 digs up nostalgia I wasn't aware I had. Smith's the golden boy of summer and even with modern ingenuity keeping it fresh — Sonnenfeld uses the mandatory 3D to full and fun effect — there's an element to the film that feels plucked from another era. The movie is economical and slight with plenty of lapses in logic that will provoke head scratching on the walk out of the theater but it's also perfectly executed. After ten years of cinematic neutralizing the folks behind Men in Black haven't forgotten what made the first movie work so well. After al these years Smith continues to make the goofy plot wild spectacle and crazed alien antics look good.
Signed contract with 20th Century-Fox (through 1946)
TV debut, regular on the NBC variety show "Those Two"
Film debut "Through Different Eyes"
Recreated Broadway role opposite Frank Sinatra in film version of "Guys and Dolls"
London debut in variety acts at Casino Theatre
Began performing in vaudeville at age 3
Broadway debut as Miss Adelaide in "Guys and Dolls"
This strawberry blonde musical performer put in years in variety acts and as a bland screen cutie before proving her talent on Broadway. Born in Newark, New Jersey, Blaine was trouping in vaudeville and nightclubs while still in grade school. From 1935 through 1941 Blaine worked as a band singer; spotted by a 20th Century-Fox agent, she was signed by the studio in 1942.
Blaine made 11 films for Fox over the next four years, beginning with small roles in the drama "Through Different Eyes" and the comedy "Girl Trouble" (both 1942) With these exceptions her roles were in fluffy musicals and romantic comedies. Having threatened to quit unless her parts improved, Blaine played her first major role with the 1944 Carmen Miranda musical "Greenwich Village". Blaine teamed with Miranda again in "Something for the Boys" (1944) and "Doll Face" (1945), then went on to the pleasantly innocuous "Nob Hill" and "State Fair" (both 1945), "If I'm Lucky" and "Three Little Girls in Blue" (both 1946). Leaving films in frustration, she was touring in nightclub acts when her big chance arose.
Cast as moll Miss Adelaide in the 1950 Damon Runyon-based musical "Guys and Dolls", Blaine took the role and ran with it. It was re-written and enlarged for her, and her adenoidal doxy stole the show (the most famous of her songs was "Adelaide's Lament"). The toast of Broadway, Blaine re-created the role in the 1955 film version, but her movie career never really took off again. After two films ("Skirts Ahoy!", 1952, and "Public Pigeon No. 1", 1957), she returned to nightclubs and touring companies, returning to Broadway in "Say, Darling" in 1958 and "Enter Laughing" in 1963.
Blaine also made a number of television appearances, including the series "Those Two" (NBC, 1951-53) the special "Dream Girl" (NBC, 1955), and numerous guest spots on variety specials. In later years, she returned to films, but only supporting roles in low-budget efforts such as "Richard" (1972), "The Dark" (1979), "Parasite" (with a young Demi Moore, 1982) and "I'm Going to be Famous" (1982). Her roles in TV were somewhat larger: in the NBC pilot "Hereafter" (1975), as a neighbor on "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman" (syndicated, 1975-77), and three 1979 TV movies, "Sooner or Later" (NBC), "Fast Friends" (NBC, co-starring with Carrie Snodgress), and "The Cracker Factory" (ABC, with Natalie Wood).
married on January 10, 1945; divorced
served as president of both Universal Pictures and Decca Records; married in 1959; divorced in 1961
American Academy of Dramatic Arts
Southside High School
"That part was virtually written as the play was rehearsed. Vivian would suggest things she had thought out for Miss Adelaide to do. Before long Miss Adelaide became one of the strongest elements in the show, simply because an actress had put her mind to making something out of nothing." --husband/agent Manny Franks in 1952 on Blaine's involvement with "Guys and Dolls", quoted in NEW YORK TIMES, December 14, 1995
Blaine was voted the Best Dressed Woman Award by the Fashion Academy in 1952