Disco music, bell bottom jeans, Rocky Balboa, and Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors album. It’s hard to look at the 1970s and not feel some sort of appreciation. A lot of actors and musicians who still have an impact on today’s entertainment began their careers back then. While younger generations may be hard pressed to recognize the pictures of some 1970s actors in their heyday, they’re definitely worth a peek. Not only did their looks spark a fire in many hearts, but sometimes their bold temperaments were just as fiery. Here are just a few freaky-deaky stories about 1970s hunks that even huge fans might not know.
Mark Hamill pulled at our heartstrings as Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, but it turns out he can do so IRL, too. Screenwriter Ed Solomon shared with his Twitter followers the story of the time the actor made a young fan's final wish come true:
When a friend's son (who was, so tragically, dying from an incurable illness) made a wish: to meet Luke Skywalker, it fell on me - the only person the dad knew who worked in the film business - to make a call...
Not knowing Mark, I called his agent and explained that this lovely boy watched [Star Wars] every day and wanted to meet NOT Mark Hamill, but, rather, the actual CHARACTER that he played (the boy's own mental state had devolved past the point of being able to [grasp] that... Luke was fictional). The agent begrudgingly said he'd call Mark, but also said not to get my hopes up. 90 seconds later I got a call from [Mark] who immediately said yes and gave me his home address...
He not only met with the boy, but spent hours answering question after question (sometimes the same ones repeatedly), AS "Luke." Even posting this now makes me teary. He was compassionate, kind, and patient. And it literally meant the world to this kid and his family.
No matter the decade, one pretty sure thing in James Bond films is that the dashing 007 will have a beautiful (and young) leading lady providing sexual tension and romance. The young part in particular is what began bothering actor Roger Moore, who played the famous spy in seven films from 1973 to 1985. Moore played Bond for the last time when he was 58 and later explained that even though he was more than fit enough to continue in the role, he was just no longer comfortable in it.
According to Moore, "...the leading ladies were young enough to be my grand-daughter and it becomes disgusting." Moore later reiterated the point, saying he was too old to be "hanging around women in their early twenties without it appearing creepy."
- Photo: Superman / Warner Bros.
Christopher Reeve is well known today, both for his disability activism and for his groundbreaking role as Clark Kent in the 1978 film Superman. Playing the titular character boosted Reeve to stardom and introduced the world to a superhero everyone daydreamed about. Yet becoming Superman wasn’t an easy feat for the thin and gangly Reeve, who stood 6 feet 5 inches and weighed 170 pounds when he was initially given the role.
Movie director Dick Donner, who said Reeve was a "skinny little kid" at the time, needed a Superman who looked the part, and came up with a plan. He contacted David Prowse, who, in addition to being an actor himself, was a bodybuilder and weight-training instructor. Prowse had most recently played the role of Darth Vader on screen (to James Earl Jones's voice) in 1977's A New Hope.
The man playing the famous villain helped the man playing the famous hero achieve the necessary physique for the role. Of working with Reeve, Prowse said:
He was fantastic. He was a very lovely person... We were like brothers, we got along so well together. And during the course of the period I had him, I took him from 170 pounds when we started and he was 212 [pounds] when he went into the suit.
- 42,153 VOTES
Actor and director Sidney Poitier and singer Harry Belafonte are each successful in their own right, but before their fame, they were young men working day jobs with big dreams. Meeting around the age of 20, they became close friends with a shared interest in acting and the arts, vowing to work together one day. In the meantime, they fueled their passion by sneaking into theaters using only one ticket. Belafonte recounts:
You kept the stub... You walked in and one of us saw the first half. We'd give each other an update about what we just saw, and the lucky one got to see the second half. It was called "sharing the burden and the joy."
Sharing the burden and the joy became a theme in their lives as they not only had prolific careers as entertainers but also became key figures in the civil rights movement.
- Photo: Rocky / United Artists
As an actor, Sylvester Stallone has a reputation for guns, muscles, and action. But that doesn't mean he doesn't have a softer side. As a young struggling actor he found himself unable to afford food, which led him to make a heartbreaking decision. He sold his dog Butkus, who he considered his best friend, for $40.
Luckily, as fate would have it, his screenplay for Rocky sold. As his career began taking off, Stallone knew he had to get his dog back. The new owner charged Stallone $15,000 for Butkus, but in Stallone's words, "He was worth every penny!"
- Photo: Raiders of the Lost Ark / Paramount Pictures
Being sick and still going to work usually ends up being a bad idea. For Harrison Ford, though, it proved to be a great move. In Raiders of the Lost Ark, the whip-weilding Indiana Jones was meant to have an elaborate fight with a swordsman, but a sickly Ford wasn't thrilled with the time it would take to film. In a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" forum, Ford recounted the story:
We were shooting in Tunisia, and the script had a scene in which I fight a swordsman, an expert swordsman, it was meant to be the ultimate duel between sword and whip. And I was suffering from dysentery, really, found it inconvenient to be out of my trailer for more than 10 minutes at a time. We'd done a brief rehearsal of the scene the night before we were meant to shoot it, and both [director] Steve [Spielberg] and I realized it would take 2 or 3 days to shoot this...
I was puzzling how to get out of this 3 days of shooting, so when I got to set I proposed to Steven that we just shoot the son a b*tch and Steve said "I was thinking that as well." So he drew his sword, the poor guy was a wonderful British stuntman who had practiced his sword skills for months in order to do this job, and was quite surprised by the idea that we would dispatch him in 5 minutes. But he flourished his sword, I pulled out my gun and shot him, and then we went back to England.