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On this date in February: Clark Gable's birthday, Raquel Welch dies, more

On this date in Hollywood history -- February: MGM's first "all-talkie" movie premiered ... Clark Gable's birthday ... Raquel Welch and Burt Bacharach passed away ...

Discover what happened on days throughout February in Hollywood history, from historic film premieres and industry milestones to anniversaries of birthdays/deaths of beloved Old Hollywood figures, and more.

(This story will be updated throughout the month) 

February 1

 👯‍♀️”One more crack from you and you’ll be holding a lily!” Bessie Love deals with her critics in “The Broadway Melody of 1929.” 

It was the first “all-talkie” musical movie from MGM and won the best picture Oscar. The box office smash, which premiered February 1, also helped set the stage (so to speak) for MGM to dominate the musical genre for decades to come. Anita Page and Bessie Love play two sisters who head to New York with dreams of making it on Broadway. Of course, they encounter some obstacles along the way. …

February 1 

A few of my favorites of birthday boy Clark Gable, who was born February 1, 1901. "It Happened One Night" with Claudette Colbert, "Run Silent, Run Deep" with Burt Lancaster and, of course, "Gone With the Wind."

February 6 

An edited chariot race scene from the 1925 silent movie blockbuster “Ben-Hur,” starring Ramon Novarro, born February 6, 1899. "Ben-Hur" was Novarro's breakthrough role, becoming one of Hollywood's most famous leading men of the era. Unfortunately today, Novarro is best known for his murder in 1968. 

In this moment, Ben-Hur is racing against Messala, played by Francis X. Bushman (in the winged helmet). The climactic race scene was one of the most extravagant, dangerous and technically innovative productions up to that point in Hollywood history. According to the U.S. Library of Congress, “the chariot race that was shot with 40 cameras on a Circus Maximus set costing a staggering (for the day) $300,000.”

RIP, Burt Bacharach. The legendary songwriter/composer died at age 94 on February 8, 2023, according to The Associated Press. Classic movie lovers may remember his Oscar-winning soundtrack to “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” including the song, “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head.” Or more modern audiences might remember his cameo (second image) in “Austin Powers.” But almost everyone has heard his music somewhere in their lifetime. He wrote pop hits and movie songs, arranged concerts and more. Read/listen to his list of song credits on Wikipedia and your mind (and ears) will be blown away. 

February 15 

RIP, Raquel Welch. The actress, style icon and international sex symbol is dead at age 82, The Associated Press reported February 15, 2023. Welch, shown in the first image at the 1974 Academy Awards, was one of the few women to get top billing in a Western (1971’s “Hannie Caulder”) and starred in numerous movies of the 1960s-2000s. She won the best actress Golden Globe for 1974’s “The Three Musketeers.” The image of her in a fur bikini in publicity for the 1966 movie “One Million Years B.C.” catapulted her into pop culture history (last image).

February 20 

“Lilies of the Field” stars Sidney Poitier (who was born February 20, 1927, and died last year) as a handyman who reluctantly helps a group of nuns build a church. He won the best actor Academy Award for the 1963 classic, and was the first Black actor to do so. It’s one of my favorites of his so I’m celebrating his birthday with a re-watch! You’ll be singing the song he teaches the nuns long after the end credits roll. 

February 27

Does anyone wear a slip and robe better on screen than these two? Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman in 1958’s “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” Newman and Taylor (born on February 27, 1932) were both nominated for Oscars for their performances.