Friday, February 02, 2007

Oscar curse

Gig Young was a career supporting player who won an Oscar late in his career for the 1969 film They Shoot Horses, Don't They? He took the stage name Gig Young after playing a character by that name in the movie The Gay Sisters (1942). After serving in World War II, Gig became a reliable supporting player in the movies, earning Oscar nominations for Come Fill The Cup (1951) and Teacher's Pet (1958). Young had alcohol and marital problems, and his career began to wane in the 1960s, but he rallied to win the best supporting actor Oscar as an abrasive dance marathon emcee in They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (with Jane Fonda).

Young is considered the ultimate victim of the Oscar curse, so-called because many Academy Award winners have seen their careers decline or reach a dead-end after winning the ultimate accolade from their peers. According to his fourth wife, Elaine , "What he was aching for, as he walked up to collect his Oscar, was a role in his own movie -- one that they could finally call a Gig Young movie." Young was shattered when that opportunity did not materialise. "For Gig, the Oscar was literally the kiss of death, the end of the line," according to Williams. He himself said to Louella Parsons after failing to win in 1951 that "So many people who have been nominated for an Oscar have had bad luck afterwards."

On 27 September 1978, aged 64, he married his fifth wife, a 31 year-old German art gallery employee named Kim Schmidt. On 19 October 1978, three weeks after their marriage, they were both found dead at home with gunshot wounds to the head in their New York City apartment. Police theorize that Young first shot his wife and then turned the gun on himself in a suicide pact..

Extra credit: Among Young's five wives was actress Elizabeth Montgomery, star of TV's Bewitched; they were married from 1956-63... Young was originally cast as the lead in Blazing Saddles, but was replaced by Gene Wilder.

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