J.K. SIM­MONS

Escalon Times - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Tony Rizzo

J.K. Sim­mons is the busiest sup­port­ing ac­tor in Hol­ly­wood. At 62, he’s made 80 films and starred in four TV series: “Oz” (1997-2003), “Law & Or­der” (1997-2010), “The Closer” (2005-2012) and his own NBC series, “Grow­ing Up Fisher” (2014), play­ing a blind man. He’s also the TV spokesman for Farm­ers In­sur­ance. Then along came “Whiplash,” for which he won the best-sup­port­ing ac­tor Os­car.

Now, in ad­di­tion to Farm­ers In­sur­ance com­mer­cials and the cur­rent re­leases of “La La Land” and “Pa­triot’s Day,” Sim­mons has seven films await­ing re­lease in 2017: “Rene­gades,” with Sul­li­van Stapleton (of “Blindspot”) and Char­lie Bew­ley (vam­pire Demetri in “The Twi­light” saga), out Feb. 3; “All Nighter” (top billed), with Emile Hirsch, open­ing March 17; “The Snow­man,” with Michael Fass­ben­der, out Oct. 13; “The Jus­tice League,” com­ing Nov. 17; and “The Bach­e­lors” (top-billed), as well as “Bas­tards,” with Owen Wil­son and Glenn Close; and “I’m Not Here” (top-billed), with Se­bas­tian Stan (“Cap­tain Amer­ica”) and Mandy Moore. Sim­mons has been mar­ried for 20 years to Michelle Schu­macher and has two chil­dren.

*** Deb­bie Reynolds (who died Dec. 28) was one of the last stars of The Golden Age of MGM mu­si­cals. “That’s En­ter­tain­ment” (1974) and the se­quels “2” (1976) and “3” (1994) paid trib­ute to the glo­ri­ous mu­si­cals of MGM. I knew her very well, and she was a hand­ful, al­ways want­ing to run the show, but worth the trou­ble be­cause she knew her stuff.

Deb­bie was only 19 when she starred with Gene Kelly and Don­ald O’Con­ner in the 1952 clas­sic “Sin­gin’ in the Rain.” Some of her other great films were: “The Ten­der Trap” (1955), with Frank Si­na­tra; “Tammy and the Bach­e­lor” (1957); “The Rat Race” (1960), with Tony Cur­tis; and “The Unsink­able Molly Brown,” which earned her a best-ac­tress Os­car nom­i­na­tion. “The Singing Nun” (1966) and “In and Out” (1997), with Tom Sel­leck, were two of her best later films. Her last film was play­ing Lib­er­ace’s mother with Michael Dou­glas in HBO’s “Be­hind the Can­de­labra.”

The last re­main­ing MGM mu­si­cal film stars are Ar­lene Dahl (92), “Three Lit­tle Words” (1950); An­gela Lans­bury (91), “The Harvey Girls” and “Till the Clouds Roll By” (both in 1946); Ann Blyth (88), “Kis­met” (1955); Jane Pow­ell (87), “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” (1954); Les­lie Caron (86), “Lili” (1953) and “Gigi” (1958); and Mar­garet O’Brien (80), “Meet Me in St. Louis” (1944).

When I ran along­side Deb­bie’s vin­tage con­vert­ible down Fifth Av­enue en­route to the New York pre­miere of “The Unsink­able Molly Brown,” I was touched when she said, “Take a rest, come sit with me in the car.” When I told her I couldn’t shoot her from there, she chided, “That’s what I had in mind, the flashes are blind­ing me!”

Photo credit: De­posit­pho­tos

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