A pool player from Oakland, California as good as anyone who ever picked up a cue, Eddie (Paul Newman) has an Achilles' heel: arrogance. It's not enough for him to win: he must force his opponent to acknowledge his superiority. The movie follows Eddie from his match against billiards champ Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason) as he falls in love with Sarah (Piper Laurie), an alcoholic would-be writer and sometime prostitute, and falls under the spell of Bert Gordon (George C. Scott), a successful gambler who offers to take Eddie under his wing and teach him how to play in the big time. However, when Sarah joins Eddie and Bert on a trip to Louisville for a high-stakes match with a dandy named Findlay (Murray Hamilton), the consequences prove tragic.
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Piper LaurieActorPiper Laurie is a three-time Oscar nominee, nominated by BAFTA as well as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for best performance by an actress in 'The Hustler' with Paul Newman. Laurie was born Rosetta Jacobs in Detroit, Michigan, to Charlotte Sadie (Alperin) and Alfred Jacobs, a furniture dealer. Her family is of Russian Jewish and Polish Jewish descent. Piper had been studying acting with Benno and Betomi Schnider for three years when she auditioned for Universal Studios, who signed her to a long term contract. They made more than twenty films starring the teenage girl opposite such actors as Tony Curtis, Rock Hudson and Tyrone Power. Disgusted with the lack of serious roles, Laurie finally broke her lucrative Hollywood contract, moved to New York, lived on a budget, worked on live television and theater, and within two years changed her life and her career. She stopped working for fifteen years after 'The Hustler' to devote her energies to the Civil Rights movement and to the Vietnam War, feeling acting was less important. When she accepted work again she was nominated for an Academy Award as best supporting actress for the original 'Carrie' with Sissy Spacek, and again as best supporting actress in 'Children of a Lesser God' with Marlee Matlin. She won the Golden Globe for her role in the David Lynch cult favorite "Twin Peaks' and was nominated for an Emmy for both best actress and best supporting actress in 'Twin Peaks." She has been nominated twelve times for an Emmy, including one for the original and celebrated live broadcast of 'The Days of Wine and Roses' with Cliff Robertson, directed by John Frankenheimer, as well as for her comedic performance in 'Frasier'. She won the Emmy for 'Promise' opposite James Woods and James Garner. She was Harvard's Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year, and she also received an SFECA award for her performance as Dolly in the film of 'The Grass Harp'. In 2010 she played an ancient grandma who learns to smoke a bong in the feature film 'Hesher', with Joseph Gordon Levitt and Natalie Portman. Most recently she has appeared as Grandma Hershe in White Boy Rick, starring Matthew McConaughey, and as Rose Muller in Snapshots, directed by Melanie Mayron. In 2013 she made her musical stage debut in 'A Little Night Music' as the glamorous Madame Armfeldt. Ms. Laurie performed on Broadway in the Tony-nominated Lincoln Center production of 'Mornings at Seven' directed by Dan Sullivan at the Lyceum Theatre. She also appeared on Broadway in the 20th Anniversary production of 'The Glass Menagerie', in which she played Laura, with Maureen Stapleton as Amanda, at the Brooks Atkinson. Off-Broadway, she has appeared in Molly Kazan's 'Rosemary and the Alligators', Larry Kramer's 'The Destiny of Me'. She toured in a one-person play about Zelda Fitzgerald, written by Bill Luce. In 2010 she directed Jim Brochu in his one-man show 'Zero Hour', for which he received the Drama Desk Award for best solo performance on or off Broadway, playing Zero Mostel. Piper Laurie is divorced from Wall Street Journal's movie critic, Pulitzer Prize-winner Joe Morgenstern. Their daughter lives in Oregon. Laurie's autobiography Learning to Live Out Loud was published by Crown in 2011 to rave reviews and is now available as an audio book on audible.com.More
Michael ConstantineActorAward-winning Greek-American actor Michael Constantine (born 22 May 1927) is best known for his portrayal of the Windex bottle-toting family patriarch "Gus Portokalos" in the sleeper hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002). Before his appearance in that movie and the subsequent TV series based on it, he was primarily known for his portrayal of principal "Seymour Kaufman" in the series Room 222 (1969), for which he won a 1970 Emmy Award as Best Supporting Actor (in 1971, he also received a second Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe nomination as Best Supporting Actor for the role). Michael Constantine was born Constantine Joanides in Reading, Pennsylvania, to Greek parents, Andromache (Fotiadou) and Theoharis Ioannides, a steel worker. He made his Broadway debut as part of the ensemble of the hit play "Inherit the Wind", which made its bow at the National Theatre on April 21, 1955, and closed on June 22, 1957, after 806 performances. During the run of the play, Constantine managed to work his way up into the part of "Conklin". His next appearance on the Great White Way was in "Compulsion", a dramatization of the Leopold & Loeb trial, in which he played three parts: speakeasy owner "Al", defense attorney "Jonathan Wilk" and "Dr. Ball". The show had a modest run of 140 performances in the 1957-58 season at the Ambassador Theatre. On October 19, 1959, Constantine was part of the opening-night cast of the hit play "The Miracle Worker", appearing in the role of "Anagnos". It ran for 719 performances at the Playhouse through July 1, 1961, but his next play, "The Egg", was a flop, lasting but one week (eight performances) at the Cort in January 1962. His last turn on Broadway was in Tony Richardson's staging of Bertolt Brecht's mediation on the rise of Adolf Hitler, "Arturo Ui" (a.k.a. "The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui"). Constantine played the character "Dogsborough" in support of the great Broadway star Christopher Plummer's "Arturo Ui". It, too, was a one-week flop, lasting but eight performances at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in November 1963. Constantine's Broadway career was at an end. He had made his motion picture debut in The Last Mile (1959) in support of Mickey Rooney, but had already begun appearing in the medium in which he made his reputation, television, the year before. He appeared in teleplays on the omnibus television anthologies Armstrong Circle Theatre (1950) and Play of the Week (1959) and made numerous guest appearances on TV series, where his ethnic look made him valuable as heavies on such programs as The Untouchables (1959). In film, he appeared in such productions as Robert Rossen's classic The Hustler (1961), If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium (1969) and the film version of Woody Allen's play, Don't Drink the Water (1969), the latter two films revealing his flair for comedy. Constantine was a regular on the series Hey, Landlord (1966). His stint on Room 222 (1969) was followed by his star-turn in the short-lived series Sirota's Court (1976), for which he received his second Golden Globe nomination, this time as Best Leading Actor in a Musical or Comedy TV Series, in 1976. After that, he remained steadily employed but his career remained rather quiet until cast he was cast in My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002).More
George C. ScottActor