What Hath Eastman Wrought?

….in the case of the film industry, plenty. Imagine an alternative Hollywood where Kodak products were not used in movie-making, and you would have a decidedly different industry indeed. But Rochester’s contributions to cinema don’t end with what the images are printed on. In light of the 11th High Falls Film Festival taking place this week (and which this blogger enthusiastically endorses), let us take, ahem, stock of some other notable local names in film’s storied history.

Maud Humphrey, born in Rochester (1868-1940), was a noted American illustrator, suffragette, and mother to one of cinema’s icons, Humphrey Bogart.

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The inimitable Cab Calloway (1907-1994), was also born here, in the Calloway home on 18 Cypress St. He lit up both stage and screen with his outsized presence; check out some of his many film clips on YouTube, including one of his classic Betty Boop appearances.

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We all know Fairport’s Philip Seymour Hoffman, an outstanding actor in any era, and Oscar winner to boot.

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The legendary Louise Brooks (1906-1985), silent film actress and raconteur, settled in Rochester in her later years.

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Besides being an author and prolific letter writer, she was also well known by the staff of the Central Library as a colorful patron of the Library in the 70s and 80s, and actually left some marginalia in her irascible style in a few books. The pages below (click to enlarge) are from the memoir “W. C. Fields & Me” by Carlotta Monti (originally found in the Literature Division, it can now be found, like the other fine books above, in the Local History Collection of the Rochester Public Library).00000001

Can you think of any other luminaries from the Genesee Valley area who went on to light up the silver screen? Feel free to share in the comments area below!

—Bob Scheffel, Librarian, Local History Division

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Published in: on April 15, 2013 at 2:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

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