Dear Person

It’s difficult to overstate my love for this wonderful letter of thanks, written in 1982 by the late Jack Lemmon. It was sent to friend and fellow actor, Burt Reynolds, in response to a donation made to the Jack Lemmon Burn Center—one can only hope that Lemmon thanked all donors in a similarly amusing manner. This precious

This film should break ground

Early 1968, before Stanley Kubrick took the helm of A Clockwork Orange and created the classic we now know, Hollywood producer Si Litvinoff sent both a draft of Terry Southern‘s script and a copy of the original novel to John Schlesinger, just one of the filmmakers he approached to direct before pinning Kubrick down (incidentally,

You’re off, by God!

Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton (United Archives GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo) Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were both already married when they fell in love on the set of Cleopatra in 1962 – she to fourth husband, Eddie Fisher, a singer, and he to actress Sybil Christopher. In 1964, with divorces finalised, they wed and

I am Danny DeVito’s mother

In 1973, at the very beginning of Danny DeVito‘s Hollywood career, he was cast in Scalawag—a largely forgotten movie directed by, and starring, Kirk Douglas which received, at best, lukewarm reviews upon release. No-one was prouder of the film, however, than DeVito’s mother, Julia, and soon after watching it she sent an endearing letter to

The Outsiders

In March of 1980, a school librarian by the name of Jo Ellen Misakian wrote to Francis Ford Coppola and, on behalf of the students at Lone Star School in Fresno, California, asked him to consider adapting their favourite novel, S. E. Hinton‘s The Outsiders, for the big screen. Also included with her letter were a copy of the book, and

Good luck with the picture

Early-1999, shortly after the release of Terrence Malick‘s The Thin Red Line, in which he starred, Sean Penn approached 20th Century Fox and asked for a private jet to take him to a screening of the movie in Houston. Much to his dismay, the studio refused on grounds of cost and company policy. Infuriated by the

The Alien Father is H.R.Giger

In November of 1997, shortly before the release of the fourth Alien movie, Alien: Resurrection, H.R. Giger — the award-winning Swiss artist responsible for designing the Alien itself for the original movie — learned that he wasn’t to be named in the credits of the franchise’s latest installment. Understandably, he was furious, and responded to the news by

My name is Sidney Poitier

In January of 1943, 15-year-old Sidney Poitier left his poverty-stricken family in Nassau and headed for the United States, the “land of opportunity,” in search of a better life for himself and, ultimately, his loved ones. Months of low-paying jobs in Miami followed, and then countless nights sleeping rough as he slowly made his way to Harlem. Once

Does IBM know that HAL is psychotic?

In August of 1966, 2 years prior to the release of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick wrote to the vice president of his production company and asked whether IBM — a company with whom Kubrick consulted during production, and whose logo briefly appears in the film  — were aware of HAL‘s murderous actions in the

I am a human being

In October of 1989, two weeks after a heated meeting in which he informed his hugely influential agent, Michael Ovitz, that he would soon be leaving CAA to join rival agency ICM, screenwriter Joe Eszterhas (Flashdance, Jagged Edge) wrote Ovitz the following defiant letter and stood firm. What was seen by many to be a brave letter quickly circulated Hollywood, and soon

Damn you all to hell

In July of 2012, in an admirable attempt to secure him as a guest on his Nerdist Podcast, Chris Hardwick sent a beautiful 1934 Smith Corona to noted typewriter collector Tom Hanks and popped the question. Within days, Hanks responded with the charming letter seen below, typed on the Corona. Unsurprisingly, the anecdote-filled podcast that resulted is

Sin-sationally, Mae West

In 1942, midway through World War II, Hollywood actress Mae West discovered that RAF aircrew had taken to calling their life jackets “Mae Wests” — in part due to rhyming slang, and also as a result of their “bulging” shape when inflated. West, delighted to be playing even a minuscule part in proceedings, immediately wrote the following letter to the RAF. (Source: Air Force Association, 1943;

There is no money in answering letters

In 1961, comedian Groucho Marx and filmmaker Woody Allen met for the first time and embarked on a friendship that would last 16 years. Groucho—the elder of the pair by 45 years—reminded Woody of “a Jewish uncle in my family, a wisecracking Jewish uncle with a sarcastic wit,” whilst Woody was, according to Groucho in

If ever an actor can do it – Gene can

In October of 1970, with production underway on the set of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, the film’s director, Mel Stuart, sent a progress report to producer David Wolper in the form of the following fascinating memo. Delays in the Chocolate Room were obviously frustrating the filmmaker, however it seems the acting talent on display — in particular

Shall we go together & look for her?

In April of 1948, having recently watched and been mesmerised by Open City and its sequel, Paisà, Oscar-winning actress Ingrid Bergman wrote a fan letter to the filmmaker responsible, Roberto Rossellini, and offered her acting services. That note can be read below, as can three passionate replies from Rossellini — the first an excited telegram sent in

What did you say? I can’t hear you…

On June 10th of 1967, Spencer Tracy — a Hollywood star who was nominated for nine Best Actor Oscars during his career, two of which he won — passed away after suffering a heart attack at the home he shared with his partner, Katharine Hepburn. Eighteen years later, Hepburn wrote him a letter. The clip above shows Katharine

The proverbial “really good” sci-fi movie

On March 31st of 1964, Stanley Kubrick initiated contact with author Arthur C. Clarke by way of the following letter, in which the filmmaker declared an interest in the two collaborating to produce, in his words, “the proverbial ‘really good’ science-fiction movie.” Clarke was immediately keen — so much so that just three weeks later, on April 22nd,

We’re sorry you’ve been misled

When released in 1979, Monty Python’s Life of Brian was instantly banned in a number of countries due its supposedly blasphemous content, and faced countless angry protests from incredibly disgusted people who, more often than not, hadn’t seen the film itself. In fact, so numerous were the written complaints that the Monty Python team had no

Part of this world, part of another

In 1970, when originally offered the lead role in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory by director Mel Stuart, the great Gene Wilder accepted on one condition. “When I make my first entrance,” he explained, “I’d like to come out of the door carrying a cane and then walk toward the crowd with a limp. After

I feel every cut

In August of 1985, many months after its successful release outside of North America, Terry Gilliam‘s iconic movie, Brazil, was still being cut for the U.S. market. Universal head Sid Sheinberg wanted a shorter, happier film; Gilliam, on the other hand, could think of nothing worse. He wrote the following letter to Sheinberg on the 8th

He’s here, living and vivid and unforgettable forever

On September 30th of 1955, less than a month before his most celebrated turn as Jim Stark in Rebel Without a Cause graced the screens, 24-year-old James Dean died shortly after his Porsche collided with another car at high speed. His funeral was held nine days later in Fairmount, not far from the farm on which he

Thank you, Mr. Hitchcock

In March of 1962, Alfred Hitchcock took a break during filming of The Birds in Bodega Bay and visited a local school to greet the pupils. Soon after, the school’s principal wrote the following letter of thanks to the filmmaker, and described the visit’s positive effect on one particular child. Transcript follows. (Source: Hitchcock, Piece by Piece;

John Cleese vs The Sun

In 1982, British tabloid The Sun reported that filming on Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life had been marred by an incident involving John Cleese and a group of extras dressed as Zulu warriors. According to the article, Cleese, frustrated that bad weather was slowing the shoot, had “leaped about among the extras demanding ‘Which one

Hitchcock for Bond?

In September of 1959, as he began to assemble a cast and crew for the first James Bond movie, Ian Fleming sent the following telegram to fellow novelist Eric Ambler, and asked him to find out whether his friend, Alfred Hitchcock, would like to direct. Hitchcock, who had recently wowed audiences with his action-packed thriller,

Greetings Worm

From the pages of Diane Keaton‘s memoir, Then Again, come four brief and unsurprisingly entertaining letters from the inimitable Woody Allen. Says Keaton: I was his endearing oaf. He was my “White Thing.” […] We thrived on demeaning each other. His insights into my character were dead on and—duh!—hilarious. This bond remains the core of our

I like words

In 1934, a New York copywriter by the name of Robert Pirosh quit his well-paid job and headed for Hollywood, determined to begin the career of his dreams as a screenwriter. When he arrived, he gathered the names and addresses of as many directors, producers and studio executives as he could find, and sent them

Nor was there a stock comedy Negro

In 1943, Alfred Hitchcock approached author John Steinbeck and asked him to write the script for his next movie, Lifeboat. Steinbeck agreed, and quickly supplied the director with a novella. Over the coming months, Hitchcock gradually modified the story with the assistance of other writers, and in January of 1944, just before it premiered, Steinbeck

Damn

In 1939, two months prior to the release of Gone With the Wind, an American censor named Joe Breen decided that the word “damn,” as used in the now legendary line, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn,” should be removed from the movie. Breen’s decision was based on the Hays Code, a set

We both share the same goal

Author Douglas Adams had been trying for many years to bring The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to the big screen when, in December of 1997, a deal was made with Disney to do exactly that. Initially Adams was understandably delighted, but by April of 1999 — after multiple rewrites of his screenplay in response to

A flabby mass of clichés

Back in 1950, Alfred Hitchcock hired Oscar-nominated screenwriter Raymond Chandler to pen the script for his next project, Strangers on a Train — a thriller based on Patricia Highsmith‘s novel of the same name. Almost immediately their ideas clashed, and before long their working relationship deteriorated beyond repair, apparently culminating with Chandler remarking loudly one

It’s just terrific

February, 1976. Producer Jan Harlan writes to Stanley Kubrick and speaks passionately about a new piece of technology so impressive that it could lead to “shots which would not enter your mind otherwise.” That invention was the now-ubiquitous Steadicam, and Harlan was right to be so impressed. Indeed, Kubrick shared his enthusiasm, so much so

The Heroes of Our Time

June, 1964. Marlon Brando sends a telegram to Martin Luther King and declines an offer to assist in a forthcoming demonstration due to ill-health and legal troubles. Brando was an active supporter of the Civil Rights Movement, both vocally and financially, and in fact had been standing just “a few steps behind Dr. King when

YOUR ANONYMOUS GODARD

Mid-1968, the British Film Institute invited acclaimed filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard to open a series of lectures at the National Film Theatre in London. A fee was agreed, the invite accepted, and flights booked. In the days prior to the event, the BFI received two telegrams from Godard. The first can be seen below. The second

When are you going to release my film?

Terry Gilliam faced a problem in 1985: Although it had been released without a hitch by distributors outside the US, his final cut of Brazil was deemed unfit for release in North America by executives at Universal. Faced with Gilliam’s stern refusal to re-edit his work and craft a more commercial movie as proposed, a

Some Thoughts on Our Business

20 years ago, in January of 1991, a very critical 28-page internal memo — written by the then-head of Disney’s film studios, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and distributed to his fellow executives in an effort to refocus their approach — was leaked to the press, and instantly became talk of the industry. The recent release of the big-budget Dick

I wanted to be a nun or a movie star

Madonna was a 20-year-old drummer and virtually unknown in the world of showbiz when she hand-wrote this typically unabashed cover letter to Stephen Lewicki, a first-time filmmaker on the lookout for a woman to play the lead in his erotic thriller, A Certain Sacrifice. It’s a great read and essentially a brief but entertaining look back

You are the future. You can make a difference.

Christopher Reeve graciously sent this touching letter of advice to students at University Heights Middle School, California, in 1999, in response to a request for some inspirational words by their teacher, Walt Owen. It was dictated four years after the tragic accident that left the Superman star in a wheelchair for the rest of his

Marlon I respect you enormously

Late-April of 1973, just a month after Marlon Brando famously turned down an Academy Award for his role as Vito Corleone in The Godfather, Francis Ford Coppola wrote him the following letter and asked him one final time to star as a young Vito in the next installment. Brando’s financial demands, coupled with the Oscar

You are the hippest of cats

The following note was written by Audrey Hepburn in 1961, shortly after hearing the musical score for her latest movie, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, for the first time. Such was her delight, she wrote a charming letter of praise to its composer, Henry Mancini; a man who would later be awarded an Academy Award for his efforts. Short, but

SEVEN LITTLE MEN HELP A GIRL

When, in early-1986, Disney executives decided to change the title of their upcoming animated feature from ‘Basil of Baker Street’ to the less ambiguous ‘The Great Mouse Detective‘, its production team were less than pleased. One animator in particular, Ed Gombert, harnessed his displeasure to comical effect by creating, and circulating, the following: a fake memo

He is talented to the point of genius

One of Orson Welles‘s biggest supporters during his early years was a man called Roger Hill. Hill was Welles’s teacher and later headmaster at Todd School for Boys in Woodstock, Illinois, and, having spotted the future filmmaker’s talents very early on, spent a great deal of time and effort adapting the curriculum to suit his skills. The

Make me proud

Below is further proof of Quentin Tarantino‘s admirably enthusiastic attitude when replying to fan mail, in the form of a brief but energetic handwritten note to a 14-year-old aspiring filmmaker named Richard in 1998 (for another perfect example, see this letter from 1996). This particular response was prompted by a letter from the young fan

I NEED TO TELL YOU MY EMOTION

From one master to another. A telegram received in 1968 by Stanley Kubrick shortly after the release of his cinematic tour de force, 2001: A Space Odyssey—sent to him by fellow filmmaker, Federico Fellini. Transcript follows. (Source: The Stanley Kubrick Archives.) Transcript SERCEIVED 4.9.68 DISTRIBUTION MR KUBRICK METROBRIT BORWO ERE STALBANS TELEGRAMS ONE MSGE FOR YOU720 1.55 LONDON

Cannes is a place of mental humiliation

Below we have two letters from Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman, both written in May of 1960, in which he makes clear his apparent hatred of awards ceremonies. The first letter, addressed to the founder of the Cinémathèque Française, Lotte Eisner, sees Bergman labelling the Cannes Film Festival as a “place of meat market and mental humiliation”; in

I need a monkey

Early-1983: Steven Spielberg writes a short note to Forrest Ackerman — editor of film magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland — and speaks briefly of the “insane” casting process on Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Transcript follows. Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions. Image: Heritage Auctions Transcript Dear Forry, Thank you for your kind and very amusing note the other

You are the greatest film-maker at work today

Stanley Kubrick wrote the following gushing letter of praise in 1960 to the man he considered to be “the greatest film-maker at work today,” and who he later cited as a major influence on his work: Ingmar Bergman. Bear in mind also that Kubrick was only 31 years of age at the time and yet

I was sickeningly awful

December 1984: During the run-up to the release of A Passage to India, one of its supporting cast, Alec Guinness, writes an embarrassed letter of congratulations to director David Lean. Even before the movie’s initial reviews — many of which quickly questioned the strange casting choice of Guinness as the Indian professor Godbole — Guinness had

I await you Hollywood feverishly

At Long Last Love — Peter Bogdanovich‘s homage to 1930s Hollywood musicals, starring Burt Reynolds and Cybill Shepherd — was famously savaged by critics when released in March of 1975, to the point where it was very quickly pulled from theatres to minimise damage. A response soon materialised from Bogdanovich in the form of the

Critics are venomous serpents that delight in hissing

When the movie Gilda was released in 1946 to less-than-stellar reviews, its lead actress, Rita Hayworth, immediately became somewhat dejected. Understandably keen to rebuild the confidence of his biggest star, Columbia Pictures‘ then-president, Harry Cohn, quickly assembled a list of quotes relating to the supposed uselessness of critics and included them in the following letter. Transcript follows. Image

I’m 82 and hate it!

Despite suffering quite heavily from emphysema and Parkinson’s disease during his final years, horror legend Vincent Price still kept up with his correspondence. Below are three postcards written by Price in the early-’90s to friend Bob Miller. Each touch on the declining health of both himself and his wife, Coral, who died in May of 1991 after

It can never be as bad in fiction as it is in real life

On January 7th of 1964, having held his tongue for two months despite a steady stream of criticism, author Ken Kesey wrote the following letter to The New York Times in defence of the Broadway adaptation of his novel, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest; a stage show which had attracted a fair amount of

Rock on Sarah!!

In 1996, two years after the release of Pulp Fiction, a 13-year-old film fanatic named Sarah wrote to her idol, Quentin Tarantino, and told him of her dream to one day become a filmmaker. She also praised his work on the recently released From Dusk till Dawn, and spoke of her love of horror movies.

Being an actor is the loneliest thing in the world

A dispirited James Dean hand-wrote the following note as he sat in a restaurant in 1952, months after moving to New York in a bid to further his acting career. Full-time auditioning in the Big Apple clearly left Dean feeling a little isolated. Two years later, Dean would reluctantly move to L.A. to shoot East

I may be killed in my attempt to get Reagan

On March 30th of 1981, 25-year-old John Hinckley wrote the following letter to actress Jodie Foster. In it, Hinckley—a man so obsessed with Foster as a result of her role in Taxi Driver that he had previously followed her to Yale University, enrolled in a class, and proceeded to stalk her—made clear his immediate plan:

My Definite Chief Aim

When he wrote the following mission statement in January of 1969, Bruce Lee was 28 years of age and a minor TV star in the United States, having featured in a number of shows which included, most notably, the ill-fated Green Hornet series. With his second child recently born and no financial security to speak of, the clearly determined

The Giant Zlig

Early-1976, aged 17 and still in high school, aspiring artist Tim Burton sent both a letter and copy of his illustrated children’s book — The Giant Zlig — to Walt Disney Productions in the hope that they would publish it. Weeks later, he received a very polite rejection letter from an editor named T. Jeanette Kroger

I had no idea that the City of Casablanca belonged exclusively to Warner Bros.

When the legal department of Warner Bros. were notified of a forthcoming feature-length Casablanca spoof in 1945 – A Night in Casablanca, featuring a lead character named ‘Humphrey Bogus’ – they were naturally curious as to the specifics, and so innocently requested more information from the movie’s creators, the Marx Brothers. Very quickly Groucho, sensing the opportunity

Mia’s Haircut

Mia Farrow, 1965 | Images: IMDb; Msinginaction One morning in 1965, Mia Farrow arrived for work on the set of Peyton Place looking decidedly different: she had, overnight and without warning, chosen to have the majority of her long hair chopped off. To make matters worse for an instantly panicked crew, filming was currently mid-episode. A

I’ll be waiting to see your names someday on the big screen

Over the course of seven years in the 1980s, three young friends — Jayson Lamb, Eric Zala and Chris Strompolos — undertook the mammoth task of remaking their favourite movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark, shot-for-shot; a premiere for the finished piece even took place in 1989, in a local auditorium. However, it was a hugely

We will never get past Viet Nam if we sweep it under the carpet

Mid-1976, during what would become one of the most troubled shoots in the history of cinema, Apocalypse Now director Francis Ford Coppola wrote the following apology to Marlon Brando as a result of his recent elusiveness; the reason being, he explained, further re-writes of the script — in particular with regard to Brando’s character, Colonel Leighley (later

I expect to make the best movie ever made

Writing to Stanley Kubrick in 1968, then-semi-retired actress Audrey Hepburn politely turns down his recent offer and asks that he keep her mind for future work. The role she refused? Joséphine de Beauharnais, the love-interest in Kubrick’s unfilmed epic: a large-scale biographical film based on the life of Napoleon Bonaparte for which Kubrick ultimately amassed a

I hope you will be a great and successful actress some day

Mid-1916, in response to a piece of fan mail from an aspiring young actress from London, England, Charlie Chaplin somehow found the time to write her the following letter of thanks. At this point in his career, although still aged just 27, Chaplin was already directing and producing the majority of his many films; the letterhead

Best Wishes, Brad Bird

Yet again (see also here, here, and here) we have a letter from the offices of Pixar that further cements their reputation as being incredibly generous to fans, the gracious respondent this time being the great Brad Bird, director of The Incredibles, Ratatouille, The Iron Giant, and, most importantly, the music video for Do the Bartman in 1990. Further

It was a busy year and then it wasn’t

Here we have a pleasant, charming letter from the living legend that is Christopher Walken, a man with one of the most distinctive voices in Hollywood, typewritten to members of the Online Christopher Walken Fan Club in 2004 via its co-ordinator, Candy Rosenbaum. According to Ms Rosenbaum, the actor, apparently a technophobe, makes a concerted effort each

Madonna: “I hate actresses”

Judging by the following letter, Madonna wasn’t exactly thrilled when filming A League of Their Own back in 1991. Writing to friend and photographer Steven Meisel – the man with whom Madonna later worked on Sex, the highly controversial book also mentioned in closing – the frustrated entertainer bemoans the lack of “beautiful men” in

Perhaps we should establish that worth in dollars

An angry Leonard Nimoy wrote the following letter in July of 1976, after learning that a Star Trek blooper reel had been shown in public without his consent. The letter, sent to the show’s creator, Gene Roddenberry, is brimming with annoyance and clearly spells out – not for the first time it seems – the reasons

Wear it well

Below: As seen in the December 2nd, 1977 issue of Variety, an open letter from Steven Spielberg to his friend, George Lucas, in which he congratulates him on the recent success of Star Wars. Good friends since the 60s, a healthy sense of competition had long been been present between the two, with Spielberg once

I would like to retain ‘fart in your general direction’

In August of 1974, eight months prior to its cinema release, a preview screening of Monty Python and the Holy Grail—a painfully funny parody of the legend of King Arthur and the Python team’s second feature film—was attended by a member of the British Board of Film Classification, Tony Kerpel, who was there to offer

Barfly, I love you

Prior to the release of Barfly in 1987, its writer – the late, great, Charles Bukowski – wrote the following ‘letter from a fan’ as a public show of support for the film’s production. In it, he speaks highly of the filming process under Barbet Shroeder‘s direction; makes clear his admiration for Mickey Rourke, the

20 years of experience dictates the following…

When he began scripting dramas for television in the late-’40s/early-’50s, screenwriter Rod Serling was something of a pioneer in what were then largely uncharted waters. Before long his talents were recognised: in 1955 his teleplay, Patterns, won huge acclaim; then, in 1959, the first episode of his greatest hit, The Twilight Zone, graced the screens.

Oh what an angry person you are!

In 1982, aged 17, Andrew Humphrey decided to send one more letter to Oscar-winning actress Tatum O’Neal. Says Andrew: We are the same age, and I had written her a couple of fan letters in my early teens, but had no reply. When clearing out my desk before heading to university in 1982, I found

Love, Corey

Back in 1985, Corey Feldman already had an impressive number of acting credits under his belt, and although he was yet to be seen in such classics as The Goonies, Stand By Me or The Lost Boys, parts in Gremlins, Mork & Mindy, Cheers, The Fox and the Hound and various other projects had already resulted in a

I was not an actress but rather a victim of degradation

October, 1986: In response to an autograph request from a fan, actress Linda Boreman writes the following angry note. Fourteen years previous, in 1972, Boreman, under her stage name Linda Lovelace, had starred in a hardcore pornographic movie that would go on to become the highest grossing x-rated film of all time: Deep Throat; it

I will never be the next Rene Zellwegger

Today, a short but humorous letter of thanks – and briefly annotated envelope – from 2003; sent by Zach Galifianakis to Ryan McKee and Ron Babcock, founders of a fledgling comedy magazine named Modest Proposal that ran for just six issues until its demise in 2006. Galifianakis had recently been interviewed for the publication and

More close-ups, more money

As U.S. audiences continued to be wowed by Hedy Lamarr‘s glamorous turn in Algiers, Oscar-winning movie producer David O. Selznick was both blatant and determined in his efforts to capitalise on the natural beauty of Ingrid Bergman whilst filming her Hollywood debut – Intermezzo – in 1938; so much so that he wrote the following memo to the movie’s director, editor

The Death List

On August 9th of 1969, four members of Charles Manson‘s ‘Family‘ followed his orders and carried out the murders of actress Sharon Tate and four of her friends. Three months later it was revealed that Steve McQueen – a friend of the victims who, since the murders, had carried a gun at all times – featured on a hit-list of

Let’s make use of this opportunity

In November of 1966, ever the optimist, Bruce Lee wrote the following letter to one of his students, Taky Kimura. Early ratings for The Green Hornet – his first acting role in front of U.S. audiences – had proven to be disappointing, however Lee was well aware that the exposure from just a single season as Kato

Wow! Am I fucked up

On April 8th of 1954, less than two years before his untimely death at the age of 24, promising young actor James Dean left New York and headed for Los Angeles in order to prepare for his first starring role in a Hollywood movie, as Cal Trask in East of Eden. The change of scene was

24 beers in a case, 24 hours in a day. Coincidence? I think not.

On the Friday closest to January 26th, in a tradition that began in the mid-1970s, students at Bates College in the U.S. take part in a drinking ritual: over the course of 24hrs, each participant must consume a total of 24 beers whilst carrying on with their daily routine. Known as Newman’s Day, the ritual

The best reappraisals are born in the worst crisis

On February 11th of 1961, just a week after her final movie was released to disappointing reviews, a depressed, exhausted and frequently ill Marilyn Monroe admitted herself for psychiatric treatment in New York. Whilst there, Marlon Brando sent the following note of support. Tragically, just over a year later Monroe passed away. The note sold

He was there with you on the bridge

During his seven acclaimed years as Jean-Luc Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Patrick Stewart was the recipient of numerous notes of thanks from viewers. The touching letter shown below was written in 1992 to Stewart, not by a fan directly, but by the parent of a young man afflicted with Duchenne muscular dystrophy

The quilt is beyond beautiful… Beyond!!!

In April of 2008, members of various online communities came together in an effort to send their idol, Johnny Depp, a unique quilt for his birthday the next year, and by February of 2009 it had been crafted. The quilt, comprising of over a hundred small squares of material – all signed by various fans around

Could you send me a little something?

Hot on the heels of Steve Martin’s personal letter comes another fan mail response — again with a humorous post-script — but this time courtesy of Martin’s sorely missed Planes, Trains and Automobiles co-star: the late, great, John Candy. It was sent in December of 1984, just months after Candy’s breakout role in Splash had hit the screens, and

Pixar films don’t get finished, they just get released

Mid-2008, hoping at best to receive a signed photo from his idol in return, a young man named Adam wrote to Pete Docter, the award-winning director of Monsters, Inc. and, more recently, Up. In the letter he spoke of his admiration for Docter and, as an amateur filmmaker and huge Pixar fan, mentioned his desire to

Earth, by the way, is a garden of delights

A good luck gift from Marlon Brando prior to filming his first major role, as Superman no less, provoked the following letter of thanks from the late-Christopher Reeve in 1977. Of course, seasoned actor Brando was playing Jor-El, Superman’s father. Please excuse the quality of the scan. As always, a much needed transcript follows. Source Transcript 29th March,

A Personal Letter From Steve Martin

Celebrities are faced with a dilemma as their star ascends: the fan mail that used to trickle to the front door now needs its own home, and replying to those messages of support is suddenly a full-time job of its own. A small few battle on valiantly, determined to respond personally to each and every

Come on now Marlon, put up your dukes and write!

Late-1957, with his newly released novel attracting near-universal praise from critics, Beat author Jack Kerouac aimed for the sky and wrote the following passionate letter to Marlon Brando in an effort to bring his work to the big screen. The novel in question was On the Road, and Kerouac — desperate to capitalise on the incredibly

Walt Disney’s 25 million reasons to re-release Snow White

Here’s a quick, easily digestible business lesson, brought to you by Walt Disney. It was 1952, and a recent visit by Walt to a local hospital had inspired one of the young patients to subsequently send him an inquisitive letter. The child, Blaine, simply wanted to know why Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – originally

It’s a good script

A job offer from Francis Ford Coppola. With the benefit of hindsight it seems like the easiest decision, but remember this was very early-1970s. Lee Marvin was an Oscar-winning leading man and as such able to pick and choose his next role; Francis Ford Coppola on the other hand, although respected, was yet to win acclaim

Posterity is quite apt to be a little rough on you

Late 1946, a preview screening of The Beginning or the End – a dramatisation of the events surrounding the bombing of Hiroshima – was arranged for then-U.S. President Harry Truman and his aides. They were unhappy, in particular due to Roman Bohnen‘s unflattering portrayal of Truman when deciding – quite quickly and with little consideration

I really do not happen to like champagne

Playboy Magazine were clearly determined to feature a photograph of Fred Astaire, drink in hand, in their January ’62 issue; so much so in fact, that they rather desperately ran with a picture despite three separate refusals from the man himself. Understandably annoyed but ever the gentleman, Astaire made his displeasure known by sending this remarkably

Respectfully yours, Clint Eastwood

On October 26th, 1954, 24-year-old aspiring actor Clint Eastwood — yet to make his debut on the big screen — penned the following extremely polite letter to Billy Wilder and warned the director of his poor performance during an on-screen interview; footage he feared Wilder would use in lieu of a screen test. The week

I felt the risk of being overwhelmed by Giger

Considering the hugely positive reaction to his incredible, Oscar-winning work on the film’s predecessor, it’s little wonder that H. R. Giger was “disappointed” not to be contacted when production began on Aliens, the second installment in what is one of the most successful movie franchises in cinema’s history. Indeed, Giger, the celebrated Swiss artist who famously

Life on the battlefield is different from the movie version

Writing letters of admiration to Hollywood pin-ups was a regular pastime for many soldiers during World War II, and the gracious responses and photos they received went some way to boosting troops’ morale at such uncertain times. In 1943, Lieutenant Norman Klinker wrote such a letter to Hollywood actress Donna Reed (It’s a Wonderful Life,

You’re boring

Studio head Harvey Weinstein sent this fantastically blunt letter to Errol Morris in 1988, following the director’s recent promotional interview for The Thin Blue Line. Morris’s documentary eventually went on to win multiple awards and much acclaim, and the subsequent exoneration of the movie’s “star” earned Miramax — Weinstein’s company — invaluable publicity, but at

“BUT HE NEVER CALLS ME!”

In November of 1993, as the media feasted on the first child sex abuse allegation to be made against Michael Jackson, Oscar-winning actor Maximilian Schell sent the following letter to the Hollywood Reporter and paid for it to be printed on the back page of every copy of the publication. Obviously there was a lot

No wonder Mary Poppins was awful in this regard

Following its release in 1988, the production team responsible for Who Framed Roger Rabbit were instantly applauded by the millions of stunned moviegoers who subsequently saw the film, and rightly so, as even now (an unbelievable 22 years later) the most hardened critic would have difficulty finding fault with the near-seamless interactions between live-action and

Disney, Day 1

On October 16th of 1923, just hours after striking a distribution deal with M. J. Winkler, near-penniless brothers Walt and Roy formed the company we now know as Disney. On the very same day, 21 year old Walt desperately wrote the following persuasive letter to the mother of Virginia Davis, a 5 year old girl