imyeyes-banner-sqIn My EyesBy Edward B. Antonio

From nothing to greatness

IN MY EYES

By Edward B. Antonio

(Last of 2 Parts)

 

People who never give up are inspiring.

They serve as good examples to desperate people who seem to be failing all the time.

Not all great men were born great, fellas.

Many of them started from nothing until they achieved something in life.

When Julie Andrews took her first screen test for MGM studios, the final determination was that “She’s not photogenic enough for film.”

Federico Fellini’s first films, “Luci del varieta” and “El sceicco bianco” were dismal financial and critical failures. In 1952, one film critic wrote, “We shall never hear from Fellini again.” Two years later, Fellini directed “La Strada,” which went on to garner the Academy Award and New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Foreign Film, as well as the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. What is it they say about critics … something about knowing the worth of everything and the value of nothing?

After his first audition, Sidney Poitier was told by the casting director, “Why don’t you stop wasting people’s time and go out and become a dishwasher or something?” It was at that moment, recalls Poitier, that he decided to devote his life to acting.

When Lucille Ball began studying to be an actress in 1927, she was told by the head instructor of the John Murray Anderson Drama School, “Try any other profession.”

The first time Jerry Seinfeld walked on-stage at a comedy club as a professional comic, he looked out at the audience, froze, and forgot the English language. He stumbled through “a minute-and a half” of material and was jeered offstage. He returned the following night and closed his set to wild applause.

In 1944, Emmeline Snively, director of the Blue Book Modeling Agency, told modeling hopeful Norma Jean Baker, “You’d better learn secretarial work or else get married.” I’m sure you know that Norma Jean was Marilyn Monroe. Now . . . who was Emmeline Snively?

At the age of 21, French acting legend Jeanne Moreau was told by a casting director that her head was too crooked, she wasn’t beautiful enough, and she wasn’t photogenic enough to make it in films. She took a deep breath and said to herself, “Alright, then, I guess I will have to make it my own way.” After making nearly 100 films her own way, in 1997 she received the European Film Academy Lifetime Achievement Award.

After Harrison Ford’s first performance as a hotel bellhop in the film Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round, the studio vice-president called him in to his office. “Sit down kid,” the studio head said, “I want to tell you a story. The first time Tony Curtis was ever in a movie he delivered a bag of groceries. We took one look at him and knew he was a movie star.” Ford replied, “I thought you were supposed to think that he was a grocery delivery boy.” The vice president dismissed Ford with “You ain’t got it kid , you ain’t got it … now get out of here.”

Michael Caine’s headmaster told him, “You will be a laborer all your life.” Caine labored his way to two Academy Awards.

Charlie Chaplin was initially rejected by Hollywood studio chiefs because his pantomime was considered “nonsense.”

In high school, actor and comic Robin Williams was voted “Least Likely to Succeed.”

Enrico Caruso’s music teacher said he had no voice at all and could not sing. His parents wanted him to become an engineer.

Decca Records turned down a recording contract with the Beatles with the unprophetic evaluation, “We don’t like their sound. Groups of guitars are on their way out.” After Decca rejected the Beatles, Columbia records followed suit. The rest is history.

In 1954, Jimmy Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry, fired Elvis Presley after one performance. He told Presley, “You ain’t goin’ nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.”

Beethoven handled the violin awkwardly and preferred playing his own compositions instead of improving his technique. His teacher called him “hopeless as a composer.” And, of course, you know that he wrote five of his greatest symphonies while completely deaf.

Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” He went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland. In fact, the proposed park was rejected by the city of Anaheim on the grounds that it would only attract riffraff.#