This Week in Film History 14th December

This Week in Film History: 14th December – 20th December

We love to celebrate the history of cinema here at More Movies and we really enjoy delving in to the rich history of film. Each week, we like to highlight some of the most interesting moments in the movie world, including milestone releases, births and deaths of the industry’s most notable characters, along with other historic happenings. This week we cover the period between 14th December – 20th December.

English playwright, director, actor and singer Noël Coward, most famous for his films In Which We Serve and Brief Encounter, was born in London.
16th December, 1899

Charlie Chaplin begins his film career at Keystone for $150 a week.
16th December, 1913

American singer, dancer, pin-up girl and actress Betty Grable, most famous for her roles in Wake Up Screaming, How to Marry a Millionaire and Gay Divorcee, was born in St. Louis, Missouri.
18th December, 1916

American actor Irving “Sully” Boyar, most famous for his roles in Dog Day Afternoon and Car Wash, was born in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
14th December, 1923

British actor and screenwriter James Booth, most famous for his role as Private Henry Hook in Zulu, was born in Croydon, Surrey.
19th December, 1927

Gone With the Wind, directed by Victor Fleming and starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, premiered in Atlanta. Without adjustment for inflation, this is the highest-grossing film of all time.
15th December, 1939

English actor Bernard Hill, most famous for his role as King Théoden in The Lord of the Rings movies, was born in Manchester, England.
17th December, 1944

American actor Ernie Hudson, most famous for his role as Winston Zeddemore in the Ghostbusters film series, was born in Michigan.
17th December, 1945

American director Steven Spielberg, famous for his films such as ET, Jaws, Schindler’s List and Raiders of the Lost Ark, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio.
18th December, 1946

Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life, directed by Frank Capra, starring James Stewart, Donna Reed and Lionel Barrymore, premiered in New York.
20th December, 1946

English actor Ben Cross, famous for his roles in Chariots of Fire and Star Trek, was born in London.
16th December, 1947

Australian actress Cassandra Harris, famous for her role in For Your Eyes Only, was born in Sydney, Australia.
15th December, 1948

Indian actress Joni Flynn, famous for her roles in Octopussy and Monty Python and the Holy Grail, was born in Assam, India.
18th December, 1949

Child star Shirley Temple announces her retirement from films aged just 22.
16th December, 1950

English actress Jenny Agutter, famous for her roles in Logan’s Run, Equus and Amy, was born in Taunton England.
20th December, 1952

Indian actor Vijay Amritraj, famous for his role in Octopussy, was born in Chennai, India.
14th December, 1953

American actor Bill Pullman, famous for his roles in Sommersby, League of their Own and Independence Day, was born in Hornell, New York.
17th December, 1953

American actor Ray Liotta, most famous for his role as Henry Hill in Goodfellas, was born in Newark, New Jersey.
18th December, 1954

English actor and director Charles Laughton, famous for directing The Night of the Hunter and starring in films such as Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mutiny on the Bounty and Jamaica Inn, died aged 63.
15th December, 1962

Lawrence of Arabia, directed by David Lean and starring Peter O’Toole, was released in the United States.
16th December, 1962

American academy award-winning actor Thomas Mitchell, famous for his roles in Gone with the Wind and High Noon, died of bone cancer aged 70.
17th December, 1962

The Pink Panther, directed by Blake Edwards and starring Peter Sellers and David Niven, premiered in the US.
18th December, 1963

American actor Brad Pitt, famous for his roles in Fight Club, Troy and Seven, was born in Shawnee, Oklahoma.
18th December, 1963

American actress Jennifer Beals, famous for her roles in Flashdance and Bride, was born in Chicago, Illinois.
19th December, 1963

Goldfinger, the third James Bond film, starring Sean Connery and Honor Blackman, premiered in London.
17th December, 1964

American animator and producer Walt Disney, co-founder of Walt Disney Co., died of lung cancer aged 65.
15th December, 1966

American actor Casper Van Dien, famous for his role in Starship Troopers, was born in Milton, Florida.
18th December, 1968

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the sixth James Bond Film, starring George Lazenby and Diana Rigg, premiered in London.
18th December, 1969

American filmmaker Todd Phillips, famous for his films The Hangover, Joker and Due Date, was born in Brooklyn, New York.
20th December, 1970

English actress Natascha McElhone, famous for her role in The Truman Show, was born in Walton-on-Thames, England.
14th December, 1971

Stanley Kubrick’s X-rated film A Clockwork Orange, based on the book by Anthony Burgess and starring Malcolm McDowell, premiered in the US.
19th December, 1971

The Man with the Golden Gun, the ninth James Bond film, starring Roger Moore, Britt Ekland and Christopher Lee, premiered in London.
19th December, 1974

The Godfather Part II, directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, is released in the US.
20th December, 1974

Ukranian born American actress Milla Jovovich, famous for her roles in The Fifth Element and Resident Evil, was born in Kiev.
17th December, 1975

A Star is Born, directed by Frank Pierson with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, premiered in the US.
18th December, 1976

American actress Katie Holmes, famous for her roles in Batman Begins and Phone Booth, was born in Toledo, Ohio.
18th December, 1978

Raging Bull, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro as boxer Jake LaMotta, was released in the US.
19th December, 1980

American actor Jake Gyllenhaal, famous for his roles in Donnie Darko and Jarhead, was born in Los Angeles, California.
19th December, 1980

American actor Jonah Hill, famous for his roles in Superbad, Moneyball and The Wolf of Wall Street, was born in Los Angeles, California.
20th December, 1983

A Christmas Carol, directed by Clive Donner and starring George C. Scott, premiered in the US.
18th December, 1984

The Color Purple, based on novel by Alice Walker, directed by Stephen Spielberg and starring Whoopi Goldberg and Danny Glover, premiered in New York.
16th December, 1985

Platoon, directed by Oliver Stone and starring Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger and Willem Dafoe, was released in the US.
19th December, 1986

American singer and actress Vanessa Hudgens, famous for her role in the High School Musical films, was born in Salinas, California.
14th December, 1988

Canadian actor Paul Maxwell, famous for his roles in Aliens, A Bridge Too Far and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, died aged 70.
19th December, 1991

American actress Myrna Loy, famous for her roles in The Great Ziegfeld, Thin Man and Vanity Fair, died aged 88.
14th December, 1993

Philadelphia, one of the first mainstream films about AIDS, directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington, premiered in Century City, California.
14th December, 1993 

Horror film classic Scream, starring Neve Campbell and Courteney Cox, is released in the US.
20th December, 1996

Spice World, directed by Bob Spiers and starring girl group The Spice Girls, premiered in the UK.
15th December, 1997

American actor Chris Farley, famous for his roles in Wayne’s World and Billy Madison, died of a drug overdose aged 33.
18th December, 1997

Welsh actor Desmond Llewelyn, best known for his role as Q in 17 of the James Bond films between 1963 and 1999, died aged 85.
19th December, 1999

The Two Towers, the second of the Lord of the Rings films is released. The film makes $926 million total worldwide.
18th December, 2002

Gangs of New York, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Cameron Diaz, is released in the US.
20th December, 2002

The Return of the King, the third Lord of the Rings films is released. It is the second film ever to gross over 1 billion worldwide.
17th December, 2003

Million Dollar Baby, directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman, was released in the US.
15th December, 2004

American actress Jennifer Jones, famous for her roles in Duel in the Sun, Since You Went Away and Farewell to Arms, died aged 90.
17th December, 2009

James Cameron’s Avatar, starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana and Sigourney Weaver, is released in the US, becoming the highest-grossing film of all time.
18th December, 2009

American actor Robert Easton, referred to as “The Man of a Thousand Voices” and Hollywood’s number one vocal/dialect coach, died aged 81.
16th December, 2011

Irish actor Peter O’Toole, famous for his roles in Lawrence of Arabia, The Lion in Winter and Troy, died aged 81.
14th December, 2013

British-American actress Joan Fontaine, famous for her roles in Rebecca, Suspicion and The Witches, dies aged 96.
15th December, 2013

Sony Pictures cancels the release of The Interview, starring Seth Rogen, Lizzy Caplan, and James Franco, after a cyber attack on the studio.
17th December, 2014

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, directed by J.J. Abrams and starring Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Harrison Ford, had its world premiere at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles.
14th December, 2015

Hungarian-born American actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, famous for her roles in Queen of Outer Space, Touch of Evil and Moulin Rouge, died aged 99.
18th December, 2016

The Walt Disney Company buys most of 21st Century Fox for $52.4 billion dollars.
14th December, 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi takes more than $450m worldwide in its opening weekend, the second largest opening in North America ($220m).
17th December, 2017

American actress and director Penny Marshall, famous for her roles in Big, Awakening and Jumpin Jack Flash, died aged 75.
17th December, 2018

Well there we have our picks for this week in film history. Be sure to check back next week for some more fun film facts and tidbits. If you think we missed something important, be sure to let us know in the comments.

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David Roberts
Dave is a digital content creator, web and software developer and keen filmmaker. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram @drobertsdigital.