Movie star Kevin Spacey has a stolen party invite to thank for helping him land his dream stage role opposite the legendary Jack Lemmon early on in his career. The House of Cards star was a young thespian working in a theatre production of Hurlyburly in New York in the mid-1980s when he heard director Jonathan Miller was going to be in the city to hold tryouts for a planned version of Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night, starring Lemmon in the lead role.
Spacey was desperate to play the part of Lemmon's onstage son, but reveals he had no way to score an audition - until he stole an invite for a party with Miller from an elderly guest at a lecture series the filmmaker was hosting.
He says, "This is a true story, I don't make this up - I was sitting in my seat, terrified, thinking, 'How am I going to f**king meet him...?'
"There was an elderly woman sitting next to me... and she was sleeping. And I happened to look down, and sticking outside of her purse on the ground was an invitation to a cocktail reception in honour of Dr. Jonathan Miller. And I thought, 'You know, she's tired.' So I leaned down, I took this invitation and I went to this cocktail reception..."
The daring move gave Spacey the chance to introduce himself to Miller at the party and he managed to talk his way into an audition, which led to him performing in front of Lemmon himself.
He recalls, "I'll never forget, I did four scenes with Jack, this man who had meant so much to me, was a huge idol of mine, and he walked up to me... at the end of the audition... and he said, 'You know, I never thought we'd find the rotten kid but you're it, Jesus Christ, what the f**k was that?' And I spent the next year of my life working with Jack."
The pair became good friends and went on to work together on three other projects, including 1992's film adaptation of Glengarry Glen Ross, and Spacey insists he owes a lot of his career success to the late star: "He became my friend, my mentor, my father figure."
The actor claims he has learned to live by one of Lemmon's life lessons.
Speaking at Wednesday's (09Apr14) Museum of the Moving Image event held in New York in Spacey's honour, added, "Jack had a philosophy... that he passed down to me... Jack used to say all the time, 'If you've done well in the business you want to do well in, then it is your obligation to spend a good portion of your time sending the elevator back down...'
"So there isn't a day that goes by when I'm not enormously grateful for the people that believed in me and gave me a chance, and I know in my heart, that if we all just keep a little bit of the Lemmon clause in our hearts, we're going to be OK."
George Clooney, Tom Hanks and Julianne Moore have added their tributes to the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman as Hollywood continues to come to terms with the actor's shocking death. The Oscar winner was found dead from an apparent drug overdose in his New York City apartment on Sunday (02Feb14), and friends and former co-workers like Mia Farrow, Jim Carrey, Whoopi Goldberg, Steve Martin and Evan Rachel Wood were among the first celebrities to express their condolences via Twitter.com.
Now Clooney admits the death of his The Ides of March co-star has left him speechless, stating, "There are no words... it's just terrible", while Hanks says of his Charlie Wilson's War colleague, "This is a horrible day for those who worked with Philip. He was a giant talent."
Actress Moore has also added her voice to the outpouring of Hollywood tributes after co-starring with Hoffman in Boogie Nights, Magnolia and The Big Lebowski. They had also completed work on the upcoming The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 and had been in the middle of filming Mockingjay - Part 2 at the time of his passing.
She says, "I feel so fortunate to have known and worked with the extraordinary Philip Seymour Hoffman, and am deeply saddened by his passing."
Another Boogie Nights castmate, Mark Wahlberg, adds, "Saddened by the passing of friend and colleague Philip Seymour Hoffman...such a tragic loss. Miss you, Scotty J. RIP."
And Gwyneth Paltrow, who teamed up with Hoffman for 1999 thriller The Talented Mr. Ripley, also commented on the tragedy by sharing an old photo of the pair with fellow co-star Jude Law during their stay in Italy for the movie shoot.
In the accompanying caption, she wrote, "Ischia 1998, post dinner, post shooting... Philip was a true genius."
Broadway theatre bosses will dim their marquee lights on Wednesday night (05Feb14) in memory of the triple Tony Award nominee.
The Master star won high praise and a Tony nod for each of his three outings on the Great White Way - his debut in True West in 2000, his follow-up performance in Long Day's Journey into Night in 2003, and his turn in a 2012 production of Death of a Salesman.
Charlotte St. Martin of the Broadway League says, "Philip Seymour Hoffman, a three-time Tony Award nominee, was a true artist who loved the theatre. His prolific body of work encompassed various mediums including theatre, film and television, and we'll always be grateful for his boundless and profound talent that he shared with us on the Broadway stage. Our thoughts go out to his family, friends and fans."
Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman has died from an apparent drug overdose at the age of 46. The Capote star's body was found in his New York home on Sunday (02Feb14).
Hoffman has struggled with drug abuse in the past and reportedly checked himself into rehab last year (13) to battle an addiction to heroin after 23 years of sobriety.
A statement from a representative for Hoffman reads, "We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Phil and appreciate the outpouring of love and support we have received from everyone.
"This is a tragic and sudden loss and we ask that you respect our privacy during this time of grieving. Please keep Phil in your thoughts and prayers."
The actor began his career in the early 1990s, appearing in films like Boogie Nights, The Big Lebowski and The Talented Mr. Ripley.
In 2005, he portrayed Truman Capote in Capote and picked up a Best Actor Academy Award for the role.
Hoffman also received Oscar nominations for his supporting roles in Charlie Wilson's War, Doubt and The Master.
In addition to his movie work, Hoffman was an accomplished thespian, earning Tony Award nominations for the plays True West, Death of a Salesman and Long Day's Journey into Night.
He also co-starred in last year's (13) Hunger Games film Catching Fire as Plutarch Heavensbee. The character also appears in the next two films in the series. It is unclear if Hoffman completed shooting for the film series.
The actor was signed on to lead the cast of new TV drama Happyish and he was about to start work on his second directorial feature Ezekiel Moss, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams.
Hoffman is survived by his longtime girlfriend Mimi O'Donnell, their son Cooper, and daughters Tallulah and Willa.
Actress Jessica Lange is planning to walk away from hit U.S. drama series American Horror Story next year (14), as she prepares to wind down her acting career. The Oscar-winning actress, who has played a meddling neighbour, witch and a nun on co-creator/producer Ryan Murphy's creepy show, reveals she is serious about retiring now she's 64, but there are a number of final projects she would like to complete before bowing out of the spotlight for good.
She tells the Los Angeles Times, "I am coming to the end of acting. I have a list: another stage production, maybe one or two more movies, one more season of American Horror Story... and then that is it for me. Because I think that's enough. I want to go out with a bang... or should I say, a scare?"
Lange credits the supernatural thriller with giving her a new lease of life onscreen, although it has taken a little adjustment to get used to the attention she has garnered from younger viewers: "It (American Horror Story) re-energised me; it re-energised my career. There's no shame in recognising that. It's exposed me to a whole new generation, which is a little strange. I'm not used to young people thinking I'm cool."
Lange already has plans for her last theatre project - she is hoping to make her Broadway return by reprising her West End role in classic drama Long Day's Journey Into Night.
Back in August (13), she told the Times, "About 12 years ago now, I did a production of what is probably my favourite play ever of all time, Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night, and I am planning on doing that sometime within the next year and a half back on Broadway."
Lange's portrayal of drug-addled mother Mary Tyrone in 2000 won her a nomination for the U.K.'s prestigious Olivier Awards.
She last appeared on Broadway in a 2005 revival of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie.
Stage play The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time was the toast of the 2013 Olivier Awards on Sunday (28Apr13), taking home seven trophies. The London production, about an autistic boy who tries to uncover who killed his neighbour's dog, landed the title of Best New Play, Best Director (Marianne Elliott), Best Actor (Luke Treadaway) and Best Supporting Actress (Nicola Walker), as well as mentions for sound, set and lighting design.
Dame Helen Mirren was crowned Best Actress for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in The Audience, which also earned her co-star Richard McCabe the Best Supporting Actor prize for his role as late British Prime Minister Harold Wilson.
Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton won Best Actor and Actress in a Musical for their stints in Sweeney Todd, which also received the title of Best Musical Revival.
Billy Elliot took home the Audience Award for Most Popular Show, Top Hat was recognised as Best New Musical, Best Entertainment and Family went to Goodnight Mister Tom, and Long Day's Journey Into Night nabbed Best Revival.
The winners were announced during the 37th annual ceremony, hosted by Sheridan Smith and Hugh Bonneville at the Royal Opera House in London.
Her part as Lotte in the surrealist play, which ran at The Barbican in London earlier this year (12), marks the Australian star's first U.K. stage role in more than 13 years.
She faces competition for the theatre prize from British actresses Dame Eileen Atkins (All That Fall) and Hattie Morahan (A Doll's House) as well as Laurie Metcalf (Long Day's Journey Into Night).
Last year (11), Sheridan Smith saw off competition from Kristin Scott Thomas to scoop the top actress accolade at the annual prizegiving.
Sarah Sands, editor of the London Evening Standard, says, "This year's shortlist serves to remind what is so great about London's theatre - new plays by young writers, classic drama reimagined in the most exciting ways and a host of unforgettable performances."
The winners will be announced at a ceremony hosted by British funnyman James Corden at London's Savoy Hotel on 25 November (12).
The iconic actress kept many of the clothes she wore onscreen and her personal collection has now formed a new exhibit at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts in Manhattan.
The exhibition, titled Katharine Hepburn: Dressed for Stage and Screen, features more than 40 items including outfits from some of her most famous films such as The Philadelphia Story and Long Day's Journey Into Night.
The costumes will be on display until 12 January (13).
The co-founder of New York's Circle in the Square Theatre passed away of complications from pneumonia.
Mann directed more than 200 stage productions, including Vanessa Redgrave's Broadway debut in The Lady from the Sea and Salome starring Al Pacino.
In 1951, he started up the Circle in the Square Theatre School, a non-profit acting and music training centre which counts Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kevin Bacon, Dustin Hoffman, Lady Gaga and Benicio Del Toro as former pupils.
He scored his first Tony in 1957 for Long Day's Journey into Night and accepted a special Tony in 1976 for his work with Circle in the Square.
The Broadway League's Executive Director Charlotte St. Martin says, "His contributions to Broadway and off-Broadway are immeasurable, both in the productions he created and the talent that he nurtured. He will be missed by many in our community, and our hearts go out to his friends, family, and students."
Actor Matt Roth, Metcalf's second husband of eight years, filed for divorce last week (ends23Sep11), but she is refusing to let her personal issues derail her career - the actress is returning to the London stage for a production of Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night.
Previews for the drama are scheduled to begin on 2 April (12) at the Apollo Theater and the production will run until August (12), reports trade paper Daily Variety.
Metcalf last appeared in the West End in Arthur Miller's All My Sons in 2001.
The critically-acclaimed filmmaker passed away on Saturday morning (09Apr11) at his New York home after a battle with lymphoma.
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to actor/director Baruch Lumet and dancer Eugenia, he began his career as a child actor, appearing in a number of Broadway plays, including 1935's Dead End and The Eternal Road.
He made his movie debut at the age of 11, in Yiddish short film Papirossen, but halted his acting dreams to serve in the U.S. Army during World War II.
Upon his return, he became involved in Off-Broadway productions as a director, before turning his attentions to TV in the 1950s.
Lumet's extensive small screen credits include hit series Danger, Mama and You Are There, which starred a young Walter Cronkite.
But it was his movie work which really grabbed critics' attention - his first film, 12 Angry Men (1957), featured Henry Fonda as a courageous court juror who manages to convince the panel the defendant on trial for murder is innocent.
Social issues and the topic of morality were key to Lumet's work and he is perhaps best known for 1976 satire Network. The movie, starring William Holden, Peter Finch and Faye Dunaway, garnered a whopping 10 Oscar nominations, including honours for Best Film and Best Director. Network was awarded gold in four categories, with Finch taking Best Actor and Dunaway Best Actress.
He also directed 1962 drama A View From the Bridge, based on the play by Arthur Miller, and Long Day's Journey Into Night, which earned Katharine Hepburn an Oscar nod.
Lumet's other works included Agatha Christie crime classic Murder on the Orient Express in 1974, and he created a fantasy version of his beloved New York for his 1978 musical The Wiz, starring Michael Jackson and Diana Ross. The picture, a take on The Wizard of Oz, was a departure from Lumet's cutting-edge style of filmmaking and was a critical and commercial flop.
His films received a total of 40 Academy Award nominations throughout his career, and his leading stars included Marlon Brando, Paul Newman and Christopher Reeve.
Lumet was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Oscar in 2005.
He is survived by his fourth wife, Mary Gimbel, two daughters, nine grandchildren, and a great grandson.
A television adaptation of the play by Eugene O'Neill. The story relates one day in the life of the Tyrone family -- a long hot day in August 1912 when the Tyrones torture one another with suppressed truths.