Sunday, July 27, 2014

Out Spotlight

Today's Out Spotlight was an Australian-American screenwriter, actor, director, and producer. He was best known for writing the screenplay for the 1971 film Harold and Maude directed by Hal Ashby and for directing the films Foul Play and 9 to 5. Today's Out Spotlight is Colin Higgins.

One of six sons, Colin Higgins was born on July 28, 1941 in Nouméa, New Caledonia, a French territorial island in the South Pacific, to an American father and an Australian mother. His brother is Australian actor, John Higgins.

He spent most of his early childhood in Hunters Hill, a suburb of Sydney, Australia and attended Saint Ignatius' College, a Catholic school for boys located in Riverview, a nearby suburb located on the Lower North Shore of Sydney.

In 1957, Higgins and his family moved to Redwood City, California, where he attended the local public high school. In 1959, he was awarded a scholarship to attend nearby Stanford University.

He excelled at Stanford his freshman year, and became a well-known figure on campus for his standout performance in a student-written musical comedy. Although he was initially interested in English literature as his major, and thought he might become a writer, his surprising onstage triumph instead drew him toward acting as a possible profession.

As a result, Higgins dropped out of Stanford his sophomore year, and hitchhiked to New York City to take acting classes at the acclaimed Actors Studio. He also found employment as a page at the ABC Television Studios in Manhattan's theater district.

He lost hope at becoming an actor and enlisted in the US Army, where he was sent to Germany and worked for Stars and Stripes newspaper.

Higgins was discharged in 1965, spent six months in Europe, mostly in Paris, then returned to Stanford University to study a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing. While at college he supported himself as an actor, playing in small theatre productions, including acting in a sex farce called Once Over Nightly for a year an a half. He then did a M.F.A. in screenwriting at UCLA, where his classmates included Paul Schrader. While there he made two short films, Opus One (1968), a satire on student films and Retreat, an anti-war statement. His M.F.A. thesis would serve as the basis for Harold and Maude (1971).

After graduating he went to work for a rich man and his wife in Los Angeles as a part-time chauffeur and pool cleaner in exchange for free accommodation. The man was a film producer, Ed Lewis; Higgins showed a draft of Harold and Maude to him, and he showed it to Robert Evans at Paramount. Higgins wanted to direct the script himself and was allowed to shoot a director's test for $7,000 but Paramount were not sufficiently impressed, and Hal Ashby was hired. Higgins collaborated well with Ashby and both were pleased with the final film, but it was not a large box-office success on original release.

In 1972, Higgins got an offer to write a Movie of the Week for TV, The Devil's Daughter, which he later described as "just a job". He then received an offer from Jean-Louis Barrault in Paris to turn Harold and Maude into a play for French actor Madeleine Renaud. He did so, working on the French translation with Jean-Claude Carriere, and the play ran for seven years. The film of Harold and Maude continued to run in cinemas around the world, with some people having seen it over a hundred times; by 1983 it was in profit.

While in Paris, Higgins met theater director Peter Brook and worked with him as playwright-in-residence for his company. They did a play about mountain people in Uganda called The Ik which ran in Paris, London and New York.

He then wrote the script for the comedy thriller Silver Streak, starring Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder, which became a big hit under the direction of Arthur Hiller. The success of the movie enabled him to direct the movie Foul Play with Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn. It was enormously popular and launched his directing career.

He then went on to write and direct the movie 9 to 5, with Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Dolly Parton and then teamed with Parton again writing and directing The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

In 1986, he established the Colin Higgins Foundation, which is dedicated to supporting glbtq youth in underserved communities with programs and organizations "that foster and build leadership and empowerment."

Higgins, who was openly gay, died of AIDS at his home on August 5, 1988 and was buried in Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery.


the real m said...

Terrific spotlight today. Harold and Maude, Foul Play, Silver Streak. Some of my favorite movies from back in the day. So sorry to hear that he succumbed to Aids.

Another nice thing tonight, seeing Austin's name listed in the Ray Donovan end credits. Another tight script but we need to see a lot more of him than a few seconds.

destiny said...

Harold and Maude is one of my favorite movies, and love Silver Streak too. I Knew nothing about Higgins, including the fact that he'd written and in some cases directed some of these other movies. And knowing nothing about him, I was so sad to read that he was a victim of AIDS, another talent lost.

prairiegirl said...

Oh guess what has the Paid Troll allllll wound up? Just guess. lol

He knows.

prairiegirl said...

sarrah (@Saarrrryyy)
7/27/14, 1:57

But I'm pretty sure I just saw jake gyllenhal 😘😍😍😘

This one is a golden moment

And where is @Saarrrryyy?


And it's not just "Michigan". Whereabouts in Michigan is she/he?

@Saarrrryyy is near the lakeshore. And not just any lake shore. They are near New Buffalo Township in Michigan which is where? It's 77 miles from Portage, MI, a city where Jake has been seen before. This is prime Nichols country.


That's a dead-on bullseye, folks.

And THIS would be why the troll is all worked up today.

HUGE credit to M & M, who took a tweet from this account of a Welcome to Pure Michigan highway sign and from there figured out the area of this tweeter. Because otherwise, there was no clue whatsoever where in Michigan this tweeter was at.

This was pretty darn exciting late last night. It's been awhile since we nailed these guys down and this one was pretty damned sweet.

prairiegirl said...

Spam away, Paid Troll. You just spam away 1000 times, we don't give a lick.

We've got you this time.

Dammit, I love it. This one was sweet.

New York City said...

Ronnie Weil ‏@ronnieweil Jul 26
At Soho brunch with Jake next table. Close enough :)
New York, NY

Andrew C Bly ‏@82acb Jul 26
Almost embarrassingly asked for a selfie with jake gyllenhaal on Lafayette. Happy Saturday everyone.

Gibson Johns ‏@gibsonoma 21h
Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal spotting at brunch? Yes please
New York, NY

[NEW PIC edited by me]

#JakeGyllenhaal yesterday in NYC!

destiny said...

As predictable as rain PG.

Good work M&M.

prairiegirl said...

Oh, and here's the other sweet part of this.

Jake's been a little altar boy, being real good, right? Filming and staying out of sight. Virtually no pictures of the guy but for a couple "from behind". Then we had like a couple of vague tweets this past weekend trying to place him in NYC.

But no pictures.

So @goosestile spilled the beans on this Michigan tweet last night, enough to get their heart palpitations going.

And what gets tweeted this morning? lol

7/28/14, 4:25

[NEW PIC edited by me]

#JakeGyllenhaal yesterday in NYC!

After weeks of no pictures of Jake

Flushed out.

This picture comes out of nowhere. We've had no pictures of Jake, no IHJ, no Just Jared, no SQUAT.

Management gets a heads up from @goosestile that we've seen the Michigan tweet and BOOM!

Here came a file photo of Jake in NYC.


prairiegirl said...

As predictable as rain PG.

Good work M&M.

She did awesome, Destiny. I just sat back and listened to her go to town.

Look at the Paid Troll up there putting up the lame NYC stuff.

The point is there were no pictures. Not until after the Michigan tweet was pointed out. They'll remember this next time - remember to keep dancing.
We caught the guard sleeping this time.

^.^ said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
prairiegirl said...

Go back home, Troll. There's no consolation prize on this one.

Better go on Standby over at Just Jared in preparation for the post of "Jake with Mystery Gal in NYC" which I anticipate could be coming soon by orders of Mr. Weinstein.

Okay, I only have 25 min. left of my lunch hour and I've got to see what's going on with my boys. My precious Jared who is undeservedly taking so much heat for totally innocent remarks he made yesterday at the San Diego Con.

destiny said...

So after weeks of no sightings of Jake in NYC, Jake put in an appearance in NYC and we get a flurry of mentions, and then the next day someone sees him in Michigan. I'm guessing the sightings on Saturday are real, the ones on Sunday probably made up to continue the impression that Jake is in NYC for the weekend.

destiny said...

Now I didn't look through every single post, but it appears that the Jake photo post is the only original post that is in English.

Florida Tom said...

Virginia :))))))

One by one !!!!

Florida Tom said...

Sounds like North Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia may be next. North Carolina's DA or Attorney General has already said he will stop enforcing the State's Constitutional ban. Yessssss

prairiegirl said...

I wouldn't be surprised if Jake has been in Michigan longer than since this past weekend.

The brunch tweet was incredibly lame as well was the "selfie" tweet.

BWAH!!! And now the portfolio has been expanded on IHJ to include Mommie Dearest.

Do they realize how reactionary it looks for there to have been no pictures for so long and as soon as someone is pretty sure they've spotted him in Michigan, here comes a few sandbags to patch up the flood leak.

They should have just let it go. Who's paying attention, anyway, but us? ;D

Those IHJ pics don't change a single thing.

On the run said...

There's been lots of sightings of Jake in Michigan over the years. The only conclusion I would draw is that he is still with Austin, which I believe is definitely still the case.

Jake was probably heading to one of the airports in the area. Maybe even in Northern Indiana. Look how early in the morning this person saw him. When someone's hiding they often catch flights at that time of night. I know Jake has been seen in Indiana before. Especially, in the northern part around Fort Wayne.

But I'm pretty sure I just saw jake gyllenhal 😘😍😍😘
1:57 AM - 27 Jul 2014

Florida Tom said...

Pretty obvious they spend a lot of time in Michigan during the summer every year. Vacation :-)