Leonard Maltin is one of the world’s most respected film critics and historians. He is best known for his widely-used reference work Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide and its companion volume Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide, as well as his thirty-year run on television’s Entertainment Tonight. He teaches at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, appears regularly on Turner Classic Movies, and hosts the weekly podcast Maltin on Movies for the Nerdist network with his daughter Jessie. His books include The 151 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons, The Great Movie Comedians, The Disney Films, The Art of the Cinematographer, Movie Comedy Teams, The Great American Broadcast, and Leonard Maltin’s Movie Encyclopedia.
He served two terms as President of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, votes for films to be selected for the National Film Registry, and was appointed by the Librarian of Congress to sit on the Board of Directors of the National Film Preservation Foundation. He hosted and co-produced the popular Walt Disney Treasures DVD series and has appeared on innumerable television programs and documentaries.
He is the recipient of awards from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, American Society of Cinematographers, the Telluride Film Festival, George Eastman House, Anthology Film Archives, and San Diego’s Comic-Con International. Perhaps the pinnacle of his career was his appearance in a now-classic episode of South Park. (Or was it Carmela consulting his Movie Guide on an episode of The Sopranos?) He holds court at leonardmaltin.com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.
Michael Feinstein has built a dazzling career over the last three decades bringing the music of the Great American songbook to the world. From recordings that have earned him five Grammy Award nominations to his Emmy nominated PBS-TV specials, his acclaimed NPR series and concerts spanning the globe – in addition to his appearances at iconic venues such as The White House, Buckingham Palace, Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall and Sydney Opera House – his work as an educator and archivist define Feinstein as one of the most important musical forces of our time.
In 2007, he founded the Great American Songbook Foundation, dedicated to celebrating the art form and preserving it through educational programs, Master Classes, and the annual High School Songbook Academy. This summer intensive, open to students from across the country, has produced graduates who have gone on to record acclaimed albums and appear on television programs such as NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.” Michael serves on the Library of Congress’ National Recording Preservation Board, an organization dedicated to ensuring the survival, conservation and increased public availability of America’s sound recording heritage.
Feinstein earned his fifth Grammy Award nomination in 2009 for The Sinatra Project, his CD celebrating the music of “Ol’ Blue Eyes.” The Sinatra Project, Volume II: The Good Life was released in 2011. He released the CDs The Power Of Two – collaborating with “Glee” and “30 Rock” star Cheyenne Jackson – and “Cheek To Cheek,” recorded with Broadway legend Barbara Cook. For Feinstein’s CD We Dreamed These Days, he co-wrote the title song with Dr. Maya Angelou.
The Sinatra Legacy
His Emmy Award-nominated TV special “Michael Feinstein – The Sinatra Legacy,” which was taped live at the Palladium in Carmel, Indiana, aired across the country in 2011. The PBS series “Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook,” the recipient of the ASCAP Deems-Taylor Television Broadcast Award, was broadcast for three seasons and is available on DVD. His most recent primetime PBS-TV Special, “New Year’s Eve at The Rainbow Room” – written and directed by “Desperate Housewives” creator Marc Cherry – aired in 2014. For his nationally syndicated public radio program “Song Travels,” Michael interviews and performs alongside of music luminaries such as Bette Midler, Neil Sedaka, Liza Minnelli, Rickie Lee Jones, David Hyde Pierce and more.
Feinstein was named Principal Pops Conductor for the Pasadena Symphony in 2012 and made his conducting debut in June 2013 to celebrated critical acclaim. Under Feinstein’s leadership, the Pasadena Pops has quickly become a premier orchestral presenter of the Great American Songbook with definitive performances of rare orchestrations and classic arrangements. He launched an additional Pops series at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in Palm Beach, Florida in 2014.
Michael’s book The Gershwins and Me — the Los Angeles Times best-seller from Simon & Schuster — features a new CD of Gershwin standards performed with Cyrus Chestnut at the piano.
The Palladium in Carmel, Indiana
Feinstein serves as Artistic Director of the Palladium Center for the Performing Arts, a $170 million, three-theatre venue in Carmel, Indiana, which opened in January 2011. The theater is home to diverse live programming and a museum for his rare memorabilia and manuscripts. Since 1999, he has served as Artistic Director for Carnegie Hall’s “Standard Time with Michael Feinstein” in conjunction with ASCAP. In 2010 he became the director of the Jazz and Popular Song Series at New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Feinstein’s at the Nikko, Michael’s nightclub at San Francisco’s Nikko Hotel, has presented the top talents of pop and jazz since 2013. He debuted at Feinstein’s/54 Below, his new club in New York, late in 2015. His first venue in New York, Feinstein’s at the Regency, featured major entertainers such as Rosemary Clooney, Glen Campbell, Barbara Cook, Diahann Carroll, Jane Krakowski, Lea Michele, Cyndi Lauper, Jason Mraz and Alan Cumming from 1999 to 2012.
He has designed a new piano for Steinway called “The First Ladies,” inspired by the White House piano and signed by several former First Ladies. It was first played to commemorate the Ronald Reagan centennial on February 6, 2011.
In 2013 Michael released Change Of Heart: The Songs of Andre Previn in collaboration with four time Oscar and eleven time Grammy Award-winning composer-conductor-pianist Andre Previn. The album celebrates Previn’s pop songs and motion picture classics. Earlier album highlights include Hopeless Romantics, a songbook of classics by Michael’s late friend Harry Warren, recording with legendary jazz pianist George Shearing. His album with songwriting icon Jimmy Webb, Only One Life – The Songs of Jimmy Webb, was named one of “10 Best CDs of the Year” by USA Today.
Feinstein received his fourth Grammy nomination for Michael Feinstein with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, his first recording with a symphony orchestra. The year before, Rhino/Elektra Music released The Michael Feinstein Anthology, a two-disc compilation spanning 1987 to 1996 and featuring old favorites and previously-unreleased tracks.
Michael was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, where he started playing piano by ear as a 5-year-old. After graduating from high school, he moved to Los Angeles when he was 20. The widow of legendary concert pianist-actor Oscar Levant introduced him to Ira Gershwin in July 1977. Feinstein became Gershwin’s assistant for six years, which earned him access to numerous unpublished Gershwin songs, many of which he has since performed and recorded.
Gershwin’s influence provided a solid base upon which Feinstein evolved into a captivating performer, composer and arranger of his own original music. He also has become an unparalleled interpreter of music legends such as Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Johnny Mercer, Duke Ellington and Harry Warren. Feinstein has received three honorary doctorates.
Through his live performances, recordings, film and television appearances, and his songwriting (in collaboration with Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Lindy Robbins, Bob Merrill and Marshall Barer), Feinstein is an all-star force in American music.
Richard W. Bann lives in Beverly Hills, California. He has served as vice-president of Blackhawk Films, Inc., and for nearly three decades as film library consultant to Kirch Media GmbH & Co., then the largest producer and distributor of motion pictures and television programming in the world outside the United States. At Kirch, he spent millions supervising the restoration and preservation of all Hal Roach Studios film properties including the Laurel & Hardy and Our Gang comedies. He has co-authored LAUREL & HARDY (E.P. Dutton) with John McCabe and Al Kilgore, and OUR GANG (Random House) with Leonard Maltin. Other published works include JOHN WAYNE’S WEST (Bear Family), and scores of essays for books such as HOLLYWOOD CORRAL (Riverwood Press), BETTIE PAGE (Ozone Productions, Ltd.), HAL ROACH (Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek), LONE PINE AND THE MOVIES, etc.
He has co-produced DVD boxed sets of both Laurel & Hardy and Our Gang collections. He is ever at work on two books, one on his friend and mentor of 25 years, Hal Roach, and another to be called MOVIES AT THE PLAYBOY MANSION.
Least of all, and also last, he loathes writing self-serving bios like this one. Otherwise he can be found living happily ever after in the “Dugout Club” seats adjacent to the owners’ box at Dodger Stadium when not consulting for CMG Worldwide, licensing agent for the estates of Hugh Hefner, Jackie Robinson, Mark Twain, Duke Ellington, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Marilyn Monroe, Vince Lombardi, and his old boss. Richard caddied for two years in high school for his former employer, the man who taught him how to fight, the one he helped put on baseball clinics and who advised him all down the line — the Hall of Fame manager for the New York Yankees, Billy Martin.
Born in Long Beach, California in 1958, Randy Skretvedt became a Laurel & Hardy convert at the age of five, when late in 1964 a Los Angeles-based TV station showed Robert Youngson’s compilation film The Golden Age of Comedy each night for a solid week.
At age 12, he became a member of the Way Out West Tent of Sons of the Desert, the Laurel & Hardy appreciation society, and through that group was able to meet many people who had worked with the team. He began doing formal interviews with them, ultimately talking with more than 60 of the boys’ associates.
After many years of research through scripts and studio files, this resulted in his book Laurel and Hardy: The Magic Behind the Movies, first published in 1987 and revised in 1994 and 1996. Skretvedt has recently completed a major revision and expansion, more than doubling the size of the original book. Information about the new edition may be obtained from Bonaventure Press, P. O. Box 51961, Irvine, CA 92619-1961 (www.bonaventurepress.com).
John Tefteller was born and raised in Southern California, not far from Randy Skretvedt. Specializing in nearly impossible to find 1920’s and 1930’s Blues records, he has been a world renowned record collector and dealer since the mid-1970’s. His other passion is for Laurel & Hardy and that started even earlier – at the tender age of eight. In the old days, before VHS, Betamax, DVD and Blu-ray, there was only film, so young John spent much of his childhood allowance buying Laurel & Hardy 8mm reels from the now defunct Blackhawk Films. During high school, he began a hobby that continues to this day – collecting original still photographs of the comedy duo. In his sophomore year, Tefteller landed a part-time dream job working for Groucho Marx, serving two years as his personal recording engineer and scout – purchasing and archiving original still photographs and radio programs. From 1977 to 1987, Tefteller established and spearheaded the Archives Library for The Society to Preserve and Encourage Radio Drama, Variety and Comedy (SPERDVAC) in Los Angeles. He is currently preparing a book and CD box set of The Marx Brothers’ long lost radio show Flywheel, Shyster & Flywheel, as well as various audio/visual projects involving legendary horror film actors Peter Lorre and Boris Karloff. Tefteller and his wife of over thirty years, Susie, live in Grants Pass, Oregon and have three adult children: daughters Janelle and Jennifer (who have not inherited the collecting gene) and son Joel (who has)!