Wilson Post Blogs
Neeson broke his nose as a young boxer
Dear Ken: Can you share some background information on Liam Neeson, star of the movie “Unknown?”
Neeson, 58, was born in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, where his mother was a cook and his father a caretaker at a Catholic boys’ school. An excellent amateur boxer as a schoolboy (that’s how his nose was broken), he worked as a forklift operator and truck driver before he became a professional actor in Dublin in 1976. His first big movie role came in “Excalibur” in 1981, and he has since starred in such movies as “Darkman,” “Leap of Faith,” “Schindler’s List,” “Nell,” “Rob Roy,” “Michael Collins,” “Les Miserables,” “Gangs of New York,” “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace,” “Kingdom of Heaven” and “Clash of the Titans.” The 6-foot-4 Neeson provided the voice of the lion, Aslan, in “The Chronicles of Narnia” movies. He also worked on Broadway in “Anna Christie“ and on TV in the series “The Big C.” Neeson’s late wife, actress Natasha Richardson, died from head injuries suffered in a skiing accident in 2009. They have two sons.
Dear Ken: How many movies did Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy make together?
Between 1942 and 1967 they paired in nine films: “Woman of the Year,“ “Keeper of the Flame,” “Without Love,” “The Sea of Grass,” “State of the Union,” “Adam’s Rib,” “Pat and Mike,” “Desk Set” and “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.”
Dear Ken: What is Max Baer Jr., who played Jethro on “The Beverly Hillbillies,” doing today?
Baer, 73, became a writer, producer and director after “The Hillbillies” and made millions of dollars from the movies “Macon County Line” and “Ode to Billy Joe” in the 1970s. But for years he has been planning to open an entertainment complex related to the classic TV series. In May of 2007, Baer bought land near Carson City, Nevada, where he proposed to build Jethro Bodine’s Beverly Hillbillies Casino & Mansion. His vision for the venue includes a 40,000-square-foot gambling area with 800 slot machines and 16 tables, a 240-room hotel, a movie complex, showroom and restaurants, such as Jethro’s All You Ken Et Buffet. Latest word seems to indicate the downturn in the economy over the past two years has put the brakes on the project.
Dear Ken: What year did Chubby Checker have a hit with his song “The Twist”? Does he still perform and what is his real name?
Checker, born Ernest Evans, had a No l. hit with “The Twist” in 1960 and in 1962. The only single to hit No. 1 twice, it was proclaimed as the biggest chart hit of all time by “Billboard” magazine in 2008. Checker, 69, still entertains and continues on his 50th anniversary tour that will take him across the U.S. and Canada this year.