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George Bassman

George Bassman

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Golden Globe-winning actress Angela Bassett was often associated with notable African-American cultural figures like Rosa Parks, Betty Shabazz, and Tina Turner, all of whom she portrayed on the big and small screens to critical acclaim. But when she was not ably filling the shoes of such important, multi-dimensional female icons in films like "What's Love Got to Do With It" (1992) and "Malcolm X" (1992), Bassett created equally compelling portraits of independent modern women audiences could relate to in "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" (1998) and "Meet the Browns" (2008). Bassett's stage training and open, expressive face - not to mention her sheer beauty - made her one of Hollywood's most versatile African-American actresses, admired by the black community to the tune of nearly a dozen NAACP Image Award nominations, and a universal appeal that saw her navigate between film and television and comedy and drama seemingly without effort, leaving a lasting impact with the powerful, purposeful women she left behind on screen. Aging gracefully, Bassett began doing character work in films ranging from romantic comedy "This Means War" (2012) to action thriller "Olympus Has Fallen" (2013) and its sequel...

Golden Globe-winning actress Angela Bassett was often associated with notable African-American cultural figures like Rosa Parks, Betty Shabazz, and Tina Turner, all of whom she portrayed on the big and small screens to critical acclaim. But when she was not ably filling the shoes of such important, multi-dimensional female icons in films like "What's Love Got to Do With It" (1992) and "Malcolm X" (1992), Bassett created equally compelling portraits of independent modern women audiences could relate to in "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" (1998) and "Meet the Browns" (2008). Bassett's stage training and open, expressive face - not to mention her sheer beauty - made her one of Hollywood's most versatile African-American actresses, admired by the black community to the tune of nearly a dozen NAACP Image Award nominations, and a universal appeal that saw her navigate between film and television and comedy and drama seemingly without effort, leaving a lasting impact with the powerful, purposeful women she left behind on screen. Aging gracefully, Bassett began doing character work in films ranging from romantic comedy "This Means War" (2012) to action thriller "Olympus Has Fallen" (2013) and its sequel "London Has Fallen" (2016) to Marvel blockbuster "Black Panther" (2018) while delivering scares in the anthology series "American Horror Story" (FX, 2011- ).

Born on Aug. 16, 1958 in New York City, NY, Bassett was raised in St. Petersburg, FL by a social worker single mother. A school field trip to see a live stage performance of "Of Mice and Men" starring James Earl Jones ignited Bassett's interest in acting, though the accomplished teen was already making a name for herself as an outstanding student - the first black student from her high school to be accepted into the National Honor Society - in addition to participating in student government, the debate team, and the choir. With excellent academic and extracurricular records, Bassett was offered a scholarship to Yale University, where she earned a bachelor's degree in African-American Studies before deciding to pursue theater seriously. While working towards a Masters degree at the Yale School of Drama (and dating future husband and fellow acting student, Courtney B. Vance), Bassett began a valuable association with the dean, celebrated stage director Lloyd Richards, who cast her in his 1984 Broadway production of August Wilson's "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom." Her promising start led to steady work in television, including guest shots on "The Cosby Show" (NBC, 1984-1992) and the detective drama "Spenser: For Hire" (ABC, 1985-88), as well as a brief turn on the CBS miniseries "Doubletake" (CBS, 1985).

With the action thriller "F/X" (1986), Bassett moved into features, though TV guest roles continued to make up the bulk of her work throughout the 1980s - with the exception of a 1988 return to Broadway in August Wilson's "Joe Turner's Come and Gone" and a supporting role as the wife of ill-fated astronaut Ronald McNair in the ABC television movie, "Challenger" (1990). The actress had a landmark year in 1991, first gaining notice in John Singleton's "Boyz in the Hood" (1991), a critically acclaimed look at the realities of life in South Central Los Angeles, where Bassett played an ambitious mother (and estranged wife of Laurence Fishburne) struggling to keep her young son on the right side of the law. From her supporting role in this NAACP Image Award winner for Outstanding Motion Picture, Bassett went on to play the "do-gooder" wife of politician Joe Morton in John Sayles' sprawling contemplation of corruption and community in "City of Hope" (1991). Meanwhile on the small screen, Bassett appeared in no fewer than five network television movies in 1991, including a portrayal of a real-life Patriot missile commander who endures the death of a grandmother while serving in the military in "Heroes of Desert Storm" (ABC, 1991).

Bassett's career momentum took off the following year with an NAACP Image Award-winning portrayal of Betty Shabazz, the quietly strong wife of activist and preacher Malcolm X in Spike Lee's epic "Malcolm X" (1992). After receiving more raves for her portrayal of Katherine Jackson, the King of Pop's mom, in the miniseries "The Jacksons: An American Dream" (ABC, 1992), a lean and pumped-up Bassett gave an Academy Award-nominated starring performance in "What's Love Got To Do With It" (1993). Bassett's riveting and thoroughly convincing portrayal of three decades in the tumultuous life of pop icon Tina Turner put the actress through her paces and transformed her career, with a Golden Globe nomination and another Image Award win. Now a full-fledged Hollywood leading actress, Bassett was tapped for the millennial sci-fi actioner "Strange Days" (1995) and the Eddie Murphy horror comedy vehicle "Vampire in Brooklyn" (1995), both of which sought to build upon her image as a strong black woman but watered down her impact with such characters by giving her firearms and fangs, respectively. She was better showcased in the adaptation of Terry McMillan's best-selling novel "Waiting to Exhale" (1995), for which she earned another Image Award. Directed by Forest Whitaker, the film teamed Bassett with Whitney Houston, Loretta Devine and Lela Rochon for a wildly popular chick flick whose comic dissection of the male species had universal, cross-cultural appeal.

Bassett had a brief role as White House Chief of Staff in the sci-fi hit "Contact" (1997) and returned to first billing with "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" (1998), another McMillan adaptation that cast her as a 40-ish divorcee who embarks on a relationship with a much younger man (Taye Diggs). Bassett earned another Image Award for her performance and followed up the light romance with the inspirational drama "Music of the Heart" (1999), where she played the no-nonsense inner-city school principal of a novice music teacher (Meryl Streep). Bassett (and co-star Danny Glover) gave powerful but little-seen performances in the apartheid-set independent film "Boesman and Lena" in 2000 and the actress sustained her commitment to quality roles with a starring turn as Rosa Parks in the CBS biopic "The Rosa Parks Story" (2002). Bassett received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress for her portrayal of the civil rights icon, and gave a memorable big screen performance that year in John Sayles' "Sunshine State" (2002), turning in a finely etched characterization of a Florida-born woman who returns to confront her tangled past. In 2003, she appeared in the acclaimed PBS miniseries "Freedom: A History of Us" before making a surprising shift towards comedy, joining Bernie Mac in "Mr. 3000" (2004), where she played a sexy but tough-minded reporter who has a fling with a big-mouthed baseball player trying to make a comeback.

A recurring role as a CIA director on "Alias" (ABC, 2001-06) wooed Bassett back to series television in 2005, and the following year, she was well-cast in the family feature "Akeelah and the Bee" (2006), where she shone as the overprotective mother of a precocious 11-year-old (Keke Palmer) with her sights set on a national spelling bee dominated by rich, privileged children. After a long absence, Bassett returned to the stage to star alongside Laurence Fisburne in August Wilson's "Fences" at the Pasadena Playhouse in California. She starred in the political thriller "Time Bomb" (CBS, 2006) and voiced Mildred, the caretaker of the orphanage that houses a boy genius and inventor, in the animated family film "Meet the Robinsons" (2007). She went on to embody yet another of her infamous strong-willed, independent women in the popular Tyler Perry dramedy, "Meet the Browns" (2008), where she played a struggling single mother who discovers a family she has never known and a way of life far from her Chicago struggles in rural Georgia. The same year, she appeared on the festival circuit in Giancarlo Esposito's directorial debut "Gospel Hill" (2008) and had a supporting role in Rod Lurie's "Nothing But the Truth" (2008), a current events-based political drama about a journalist who exposes a CIA agent in which Bassett played the editor of a prominent Washington newspaper.

Bassett debuted in her first regular series television role in the fall of 2008, joining the cast of the medical mainstay "ER" (NBC, 1994-2009) as it rolled out its much-ballyhooed final season. Her successful track record with portraying figures from the pop world led to her 2009 casting as the mother of rapper The Notorious B.I.G. in the biopic, "Notorious." She next appeared on the big screen in the marriage-minded comedy-drama "Jumping the Broom" (2011) and the superhero flop "Green Lantern" (2011). After a supporting role in the romantic action comedy "This Means War" (2012), Bassett played the director of the Secret Service in the thriller "Olympus Has Fallen" (2013) and Coretta Scott King in the TV biopic "Betty and Coretta" (Lifetime 2013) opposite Mary J. Blige as Betty Shabazz. Bassett also co-starred in the holiday musical "Black Nativity" (2013), with a libretto by Langston Hughes. Also in 2013, Bassett joined the cast of Ryan Murphy's "American Horror Story" (FX 2011- ) for its third season, subtitled "Coven," and returned as a new character in each following season of the anthology series. Between the seasons, Bassett co-starred in Gregg Araki's dysfunctional family drama "White Bird in a Blizzard" (2014). After appearing in Spike Lee's satirical "Chi-Raq" (2015), Bassett reappeared in "London Has Fallen" (2016). That same year, it was announced that Bassett would join the Marvel Cinematic Universe, playing Ramonda, the mother of the title character T'Challa in "Black Panther" (2018), which was a massive blockbuster upon its February 2018 release. She reprised the role later the same year in "Avengers: Infinity War" (2018).

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Source: Wikipedia The Internet Encyclopedia

George Bassman (February 7, 1914 - June 26, 1997) was an American composer and arranger. Born in New York to a Russian Jewish émigré couple, he was later raised in Boston and began studying music at the Boston Conservatory while still a boy. He studied orchestration and composition formally, but in his teens he left home against his father's wishes to play piano in an itinerant jazz group, and subsequently worked as an arranger for Fletcher Henderson in New York. Through that gig, he became part of the burgeoning swing/big band scene and was soon writing songs as well. Bassman peaked in that career when he and Ned Washington wrote "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You" for the bandleader Tommy Dorsey. Bassman also worked in radio as an arranger for Andre Kostelanetz, and made the move to Hollywood in the mid 1930s. Among his earliest film jobs was orchestrating the Gershwin songs in the Fred Astaire movie A Damsel in Distress at RKO. He later went to work at MGM, where he composed music for the Marx Brothers vehicles A Day at the Races, Go West, and The Big Store, as well as writing or arranging music for such musicals as Lady Be Good and Cabin in the Sky. He also worked on the Judy Garland musicals The Wizard of Oz (for which he orchestrated the background music used in the cyclone and poppy-field scenes and many of the Emerald City sequences), Babes in Arms, and For Me and My Gal. During his work at MGM, he returned to RKO to supervise the adaptation of the Richard Rodgers/Lorenz Hart musical Too Many Girls to the big screen. He also worked on dramas, including Vincente Minnelli's The Clock and Tay Garnett's The Postman Always Rings Twice. Bassman's career was interrupted in the midst of the Red Scare, however, when he admitted in testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee that he had been a member of the Communist party (it was virtually a family legacy, his mother apparently having been a dedicated Communist in the 1910s, when it had a very different meaning than it did in the 1950s). Bassman left Hollywood after the studios closed their doors to him and returned to New York where he found the theater still open to him -- Broadway producers were an independent lot, and most couldn't be scared by congressional investigations. He was engaged to orchestrate the show Guys and Dolls, and also composed music for various shows and revues. Ironically, although Hollywood was closed to him, Bassman was able to work in television in its early days, as a composer for various live shows and also as a conductor; he eventually composed the music for the live television anthology series Producers' Showcase as well. He also quietly kept his hand in movies, where independent producers were willing to hire him. Among his best scores during this period was his music for The Joe Louis Story (1955); he also got hired to write some music for the Hollywood movie Marty (1955), and Columbia hired him in 1958 to score Middle of the Night. Bassman had seemingly beaten the blacklist, and without too much inconvenience, but then his professional luck ran out, oddly enough upon his return to MGM for the first time in more than a decade. He clashed with the makers (including director Sam Peckinpah) of what could have been a triumphant comeback, on Ride the High Country (1962). He closed out his film career with Mail Order Bride (1964), and saw several of his scores (including one for Bonnie and Clyde) rejected. Bassman's later life was marred by tragedy -- his personal life involved three marriages, and the last had a duration of scarcely a year. By the late 1970s, he was cut loose from his career, and he later fell in with the wrong people. He died forgotten by his profession and alone in Los Angeles in 1997

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