This Week In Showbiz History: Roman Polanski Jumps Bail & More

This Week In Showbiz History: Roman Polanski Jumps Bail & More


The first week of February is colder than Bernie Lomax, but it's got more than its share of off beat movie and television history. A banner day for comedian birthdays, the anniversary of one of the most famous bail jumpings of all time, and a couple of scream queens meet unfortunate real life ends, all in this week's edition of This Week In Showbiz History...

2/1/37: Garrett Morris born in New Orleans
• Morris is best known for his five-year run as an original castmember on Saturday Night Live, a job he apparently grew to hate. Who doesn't want to be the lone black dude who gets to play a bunch of stereotypes (besides Kenan Thompson)? Morris was actually a classicly trained singer, a talent he got to display on occasion at SNL (when he wasn't playing butlers, etc.).

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2/1/38: Sherman Hemsley born in Philadelphia
• Speaking of typecasting, Sherman Hemsley took a small role on All in the Family and flipped it into playing the immortal George Jefferson for 11 seasons on The Jeffersons. He was then forced to essentially play the same character for the rest of his life, although we doubt his bank account is any worse the wear for it.

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2/1/68: Pauly Shore born in Hollywood
• The noted porn starlet aficionado's career was pretty much on the downside by the time he was 27 (that tends to happen when you start getting roles titled "Himself" and "yourself" is nicknamed the Weasel), but again, he's friends (friend friends) with porn stars so world's smallest violin playing a dirge for his washed upness...

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2/1/78: Roman Polanski jumps bail on child rape charges
• Fearing that a judge would renege on the already ridiculously light sentence he'd been promised for pleading guilty to drugging, raping, and sodomizing a 13-year-old, Polanski, high-tailed it out of L.A. and spent the next 30-plus years making movies in Europe...and now he's back in jail again.

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2/1/88: Poltergeist child star Heather O'Rourke dies
• O'Rourke starred in all three Poltergeist franchises (uttering the instant classic lines "They're here!" and "They're ba-ack!") but died during the filming of the third. Diagnosed with Crohn's Disease, she in fact had an intestinal blockage, and died at the age of 12 of a heart attack brought on by septic shock (which sounds like just about the most painful way to die, ever). She was one of four cast and crewmembers of the original Poltergeist to die young, prompting talk of a Poltergeist curse.

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2/3/03: B-movie vixen Lana Clarkson killed
• Unfortunately, Clarkson is famous for two things, neither of them all that good: 1) getting raped in Roger Corman's b-movie turd Barbarian Queen, and 2) getting killed by Phil Spector. R.I.P., and we hope you're someplace without torture racks and oddly coiffed superproducers.

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Tags: pauly-shore, roman-polanski, sherman-hemsley, this-week-in-showbiz-history
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