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Edward G. Robinson was born Emmanuel Goldenberg in Romania in 1892, and his parents took him to the U.S. in 1902. He was a small man, but possessed a gigantic talent! He was a stage actor in the 1910s and 1920s, but when sound came to movies Hollywood turned to Broadway to find talent who could talk, and he made his debut (after two minor roles) in The Hole in the Wall, starring opposite future major star Claudette Colbert, in her second movie. Seven movies later, he starred as Cesare Bandello (Rico) in Little Caesar, and it not only made him a major star, it also ushered in the great gangster movies of the 1930s. It also typecast him, and he made mostly gangster movies in the 1930s and 1940s, sometimes comedies or parodies of his classic image. In 1944 he made the incredibly wise decision to accept third billing in Billy Wilder's film noir Double Indemnity, and he and the movie were wonderful. That same year he also memorably starred in Fritz Lang's uber-depressing masterpiece, The Woman in the Window, and the following year he and Lang virtually remade that movie as Scarlet Street (although the two movies come from different source novels). He settled into character roles in major movies and lead roles in minor ones, greatly enriching such movies as The Stranger, Key Largo, and many more. He was caught up in the HUAAC hearings, and though he wasn't blacklisted, he spent a year on Broadway in plays. As he grew older he continued to enrich lots of movies in character roles, including his great performance as master poker player Lancey Howard in The Cincinnati Kid (opposite Steve McQueen), and as Sol Roth in Soylent Green (opposite Charlton Heston). In real life he was a quiet, retiring man, nothing at all like his onscreen persona of a brash tough man brandishing a cigar like a weapon. He was a lifelong collector, and one of the first in Hollywood to collect fine art, and he accumulated a collection worth millions of dollars. The ultimate proof of just how flawed to Motion Picture Academy's methods were over the years is that not only did Edward G. never win an Oscar, he never even was NOMINATED for an Oscar, and yet he gave some of the finest movie performances over, over a span of over 40 years! He passed away in 1973 at the age of 79.
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