CHARLIE CHAN AND THE CURSE OF THE DRAGON QUEEN
starring Peter Ustinov, Lee Grant, Brian Keith, Roddy McDowall, Rachel Roberts, Michelle Pfeiffer, Paul Ryan, Johnny Sekka, and Richard Hatch as Lee Chan, Jr., with Angie Dickinson as the Dragon Queen.
Directed by Clive Donner. Screenplay by Stan Burns and David Axlerod from an original story by Jerry Sherlock. Produced by Jerry Sherlock. Executive Producers are Alan Belkin and Michael Leone. From American Cinema Productions. A Jerry Sherlock Production of a Clive Donner film. An American Cinema release.
While vacationing in Honolulu in 1919, author Earl Derr Biggers read a newspaper article about the exploits of a local Chinese detective named Chang Apana. Biggers had never heard of an Oriental detective ~nd was so intrigued by the idea that a character began to take shape in his mind. In 1925, with the publication of “House Without A Key,” Charlie Chan of the Honolulu Police Department made his first appearance and was an instant success. Biggers completed six additional books on Chan before his death in 1933.
On the screen, Charlie Chan was first played by George Kuwa in a 1926 Hollywood serial. Kamiyama Sojin played the great detective once in 1928, E.L. Park in 1929.
In 1931, Fox bought the rights to ”Charlie Chan Carries On,” and introduced Warner Oland as Charlie Chan. The Swedish-born actor, selected for the title role by Earl Derr Bigger’s wife, went on to play the world’s greatest detective sixteen times (1931-37).
In 1938, Sidney Toler debuted as Chan in “Charlie Chan in Honolulu,” and completed a staggering total of twenty-two Chan films (1938-47). This was followed with the performances of Roland Winters in the role six times (1948-52). J. Carroll Naish then took over for thirty-nine television episodes
in 1957. Ross Martin appeared as Chan in a television feature in 1971, and the great detective was the subject of an animated series “Charlie Chan and the Chan Clan” in 1972. In that cartoon series, Chan was voiced by Keye Luke, who had played Chan’s number one son so often in the thirties.
American Cinema is proud to announce the triumphant return of Charlie Chan in the comedy-mystery “CHARLIE CHAN AND THE CURSE OF THE DRAGON QUEEN,” starring Peter Ustinov as Chan, with Lee Grant, Brian Keith, Roddy McDowall, Rachel Roberts, Michelle Pfeiffer, Paul Ryan, Johnny Sekka, and Richard Hatch as Lee Chan, Jr. with Angie Dickinson as the Dragon Queen.
Some thirty years ago, the brilliance of Charlie Chan (PETER USTINOV) solved the love-related murder of a wealthy Hawaiian Pineapple Baron. The murderess, the Dragon Queen (ANGIE DICKINSON), cursed Chan and his descendants for three generations. Newly released from jail, the villainous Dragon Queen now plots her revenge on the great Charlie Chan in the comedy-mystery “CHARLIE CHAN AND THE CURSE OF THE DRAGON QUEEN.”
A series of grotesque, bizarre killings is plaguing the city of San Francisco. The Police Chief (BRIAN KEITH) and his sidekick Masten (PAUL RYAN) appeal to the now retired Chan to leave the Hawaiian Islands and help solve the murders. Upon arriving in the city, Chan is greeted by his number one grandson, Lee Chan, Jr. (RICHARD HATCH), also a detective more adept at catastrophes than clues.
The half-Chinese, half-Jewish Lee Chan, Jr. has been raised these many years by his maternal grandmother, Sylvia Lupowitz (LEE GRANT), the widow of the wealthy Pineapple Baron murdered years before by the Dragon Queen. In constant mourning, she remains faithful to her late husband Bernie by keeping his ashes close to her.
Mrs. Lupowitz’s mourning for Bernie is surpassed only by her concern for Lee Chan, Jr. and his desire to follow in the great Chan’s footsteps rather than pursue a fruitful career of pineapple growing. To further annoy his grandmother, Lee Chan, Jr. plans to marry the beautiful heiress Cordelia Farrington, III (MICHELLE PFEIFFER) I neither Jewish nor Chinese but a Wasp whose brains are in the bank.
Mrs. Lupowitz must also deal with a questionable staff lurking about her household. Mrs. Dangers (RACHEL ROBERTS), the schizophrenic, paranoid maid is ever alert to dangers and curses hidden in the shadows of the mansion. The crippled butler, Gillespie (RODDY McDOWALL), speeding about the halls in a motorized wheelchair is less than impeccable and far from cooperative. And the black, Oxford-educated chauffeur, Stefan (JOHNNY SEKKA), bearing distinctive Mozambi tribal marks, is an ever ominous presence.
While Charlie Chan investigates the bizarre murders including one victim baked to death and seven drowned in an elevator, he eludes several attempts on his own life with inscrutable calm and perception. Shadowing all of these events is the sinister, exotic Dragon Queen, her dragon-ringed hand appearing from behind curtains or rising from the darkened interiors of her sumptuous limousine.
The final confrontation with his old enemy, the Dragon Queen, occurs in the wings of an old theatre hosting a Charlie Chan film festival. With the entire collection of characters assembled, Charlie Chan reveals the true identity of the killer who is in their midst.
This final honorable solution carries a twist capable of surprising even the great Chan himself!
When “CHARLIE CHAN AND THE CURSE OF THE DRAGON QUEEN opens on at the Theatre, it will feature some of Hollywood’s most distinguished and brightest stars.
Heading the credits is Peter Ustinov as the great detective Charlie Chan. The winner of two Academy Awards, three Ernmy’s, a Grarnrny and countless other honers, Ustinov brings Chan to the screen in a performance of dignity and rare intuitive reasoning.
The Chan lineage has been accursed these many years by the sinister and vengeful Dragon Queen. In a performance of exotic charm and evil, Angie Dickinson portrays the Dragon Queen.
The cursed household is headed by Oscar-winning actress Lee Grant. As the wealthy widow of Pineapple Baron Bernie Lupowitz, Lee Grant carries on her theatrical mourning while casting a wary eye at her eccentric staff. There is Rachel Roberts as the schizophrenic, paranoid maid; Roddy McDowall as the less than impeccable, crippled butler Gillespie; and Johnny Sekka as the Oxford-educated, Mozarnbi· chauffeur, Stefan.
Aiding his grandfather is Lee Chan, Jr., played by displays his broad range of comedic talent as the aspiring detective who is more adept at creating catastophes than in locating clues. The lovely Michelle Pfeiffer is cast as Cordelia Farrington, III, a beautiful heiress and fiancee to Lee Chan, Jr.
Rounding out the cast is Brian Keith as the harrassed Police Chief and Paul Ryan as his sidekick, Masten.
“CHARLIE CHAN AND THE CURSE OF THE DRAGON QUEEN” is directed by Clive Donner. The screenplay is by Stan Burns and David Axlerod, from an original story by Jerry Sherlock. Producer is Jerry Sherlock, with Alan Belkin and Michael Leone serving as Executive Producers.
It will feature costumes by one of Hollywood’s most gifted designers, Jocelyn Rickards, most noted for her work on the film “Ryan’s Daughter.”
Ms. Rickards’ other notable credits include “Sunday, Bloody Sunday,” “Alfred The Great,” “Blow-Up” and “From Russia with Love.” In “CHARLIE CHAN AND THE CURSE OF THE DRAGON QUEEN,” she has created an extravagance of exotic designs enhanced by feathered headresses and elegant jewels, all influenced by the historical elegance of Chinese fashions.
“CHARLIE CHAN AND THE CURSE OF THE DRAGON QUEEN” stars Peter Ustinov, Lee Grant, Brian Keith, Roddy McDowall, Rachel Roberts, Michelle Pfeiffer, Paul Ryan, Johnny Sekka, and Richard Hatch as Lee Chan, Jr., with Angie Dickinson as the Dragon Queen.
Paul Lohman serves as Cinematographer for the film “CHARLIE CHAN AND THE CURSE OF THE DRAGON QUEEN,” set to open at Theatre.
Principal photography was shot on location in and around Los Angeles and San Francisco before interiors were completed at Hollywood General and MGM Studios. Three weeks of location filming in San Francisco involved a chaotic destruction of a Chinatown street as well as a spectacular hansom cab chase through Golden Gate Park.
In Los Angeles, Lohman utilized the Italian villa once belonging to Norma Talmadge as the setting of the cursed household. His cameras capture the clusters of semi-precious stones decorating the domed ceilings and the abundance of art deco graffiti.
PETER.USTINOV: “CAN’T YOU SEE THAT I’M WORKING!”
“I always enjoyed the Charlie Chan mysteries,” says Peter Ustinov. “I remember as a young boy, urging some friends who were then experimenting with a bow and arrow, to shoot arrows through my school cap. The first shot struck dead center and I delivered the line in the character of Chan — ‘Ah, was expecting same.’ It delights me enormously to have an opportunity of using that same line in this movie. It must be the earliest dramatic line I ever invented which has managed to live on! ”
Peter Ustinov arrived to shoot “CHARLIE CHAN AND THE CURSE OF THE DRAGON QUEEN,” with director Clive Donner and Roddy McDowall with who he made “Theif of Baghdad,” following a triumphant production of “King Lear” at Canada’s Stratford Theatre.
Ustinov’s latest play, “Overheard,” a comedy about political dissidents, is due to open at the same time with Deborah Kerr in a lead role.
Reacting to comments about his many diverse talents, Peter Ustinov says, “It always seems to amaze people that I do so much, but in fact I think I’m doing less than the average musician. For example, very few people can write music. It seems normal to them that a man should be able to conduct an orchestra, compose and play the piano for his own piano concertos. But because everybody can write, even if it’s only to put up a little notice saying ‘back soon’ or ‘out to lunch,’ t.hey think it’s absolutely extraordinary you can do the same things with words.
When Ustinov is not acting, writing, producing, or directing, he devotes time to UNICEF, UNESCO or the High Commission for Refugees.
Shortly after “CHARLIE CHAN AND THE CURSE OF THE DRAGON QUENN” opens in America, Peter Ustinov will be preparing for his new Poirot role in the latest of the Agatha Christie thrillers to reach the screen. Save for “moustaches down for Chan, up for Poirot,” Ustinov assesses the detectives have one basic similarity. “They both have a stillness about them. Everyone else worries what you’re thinking and what conclusions you’re going to reach. The detective asks ‘Where were you on the night of … ?’ and goes off on his own train of thought.”
During the course of the production — whether rattling around in a hansom cab during a chase scene with the Dragon Queen or preparing to trap the killer by a series of deductions and perceptions — Peter Ustinov was also at work writing in his trailer between scenes every day. This time on a novel.
“The only problem about that is that each time the Assistant Director comes to call you for the next scene,
you want to shout, a trifle impatiently, ‘Why are you interrupting me — can’t you see that I’m working?” Such is the predicament of an excellent and talented actor/dramatist/novelist/director!
ANGIE DICKINSON: “HOW COULD I RESIST?”
Shadowing Charlie Chan’s search for a bizarre killer is the sinister, vengeful Dragon Queen. In long, swirling skirts, feathered headresses and raven black hair, Angie Dickinson takes on a dramatically different appearance as the evil force in “CHARLIE CHAN AND THE CURSE OF THE DRAGON QUEEN” from American Cinema.
Angie is best known for her performances as Sergeant Pepper Anderson in the long running television series
“Police Woman.” Her starring role in that series garnered her a Golden Globe award, several Emmy nominations and “Police Woman of the Year” awarded by the International Conference of Police Associations and the American Federation of Police. She has also received many awards and citations for her work with local, state, and national agencies for law enforcement and humanitarian services.
Now Angie simmers and smolders with revenge, a threatening figure from Charlie Chan’s past. The dragon-ringed hand appearing from behind curtains or rising from darkened car interiors coincides with the occurences of a trail of bizarre murders.
“How could I resist a part like this?” Angie asks. “It’s a really great comedy script, and the part is such a change for me. different.”
It’s fun to have a chance of doing something Since “Police Woman” ended, Angie has enjoyed her freedom from the rigors that the series commanded.
“Don’t misunderstand me. The “Police Woman” series was wonderful for me. But I never got to go anywhere or see anyone. The entire time it was just work. All the time.”
Since the series ended, Angie has stayed busy with appearances in television movies such as “Pearl” and in theatrical films with her stunning, controversial role in “Dressed To Kill.” In her spare time, this warm and witty actress keeps busy every minute of the day, crammed with activity.
“There’s always so much to do. I’m either considering new curtains, planning a swimming pool for the backyard or looking for a new house. And I try to fit things in with Nikki’s school schedule.”
Nikki is Angie Dickinson’s 13 year-old daughter from her marriage to composer Burt Bacharach.
Angie is happy to be back on the big screen and is anxious to accept a wide variety of roles. Her successful career started in 1959 opposite John Wayne in “Rio Bravo,” and has continued with “The Sins of Rachel Cade” (1961) with Peter Finch, to “The Chase” (1966) with Marlon Brando and Robert Redford, to “CHARLIE CHAN AND THE CURSE OF THE DRAGON QUEEN” with Peter Ustinov.
Despite Angie’s impressive career, her ambitions remain realistic. ” I want to do enough work but not have to accept everything; I want to be independent.
“I’M GETTING THERE!”
According to Richard Hatch, starring as Lee Chan, Jr. in “CHARLIE CHAN AND THE CURSE OF THE DRAGON QUEEN” from American Cinema, “Taking risks is what it’s all about •.. stretching yourself as a person, as an actor, as an athlete.”
Richard Hatch ought to know. This left-handed, risk-taking, gymnastic, award-winning actor whose love for sports has led him to fly the trapeze and walk the high wire, also has a love for acting which has afforded him opportunities to make films,
star in successful television series, appear on stage and be recognized by millions of fans around the world.
Richard feels he’s only beginning. ” I’ve barely begun when it comes to putting performances on film. So far, I haven’t been able to stretch, to reach out and say ‘Hey, this is what I’m capable of doing.’ With ‘Charlie Chan,’ for the first time I feel I’m getting there.”
The climb to stardom for this handsome young man from Santa Monica, California, began with his role on “The Streets of San Francisco.” “With ‘Streets,’ I learned that no matter how small the role, you must give your total energy; that will open doors. Karl Malden helped me understand that you have to put you whole heart into whatever you’re doing.”
He followed that series with his award-winning performance as Captain Apollo on the spectacular “Battlestar Gallactica.” “Science fiction is the best kind of drama. It took 13 months to film and was one of the top money spinners of the year. But both series showed just one side of me.”
As Lee Chan, Jr., the great detective’s half-Jewish, half-Chinese grandson who is more adept at creating small catastrophes than in locating clues, Hatch has found his chance to demonstrate his broad range of talents. He also admits that working with such a wonderful cast has been “good for my self-confidence.”
The actor, who recently turned in his ’67 Volkswagen for a new sportscar and his one-room apartment for a house, has formed a management and production company with partner Paul Aaron, director of “A Force of One” and the television remake of “The Miracle Worker.”
In his personal life, Richard Hatch finds himself in a transition of becoming more trusting in relationships. “I’m becoming less demanding, critical and judgemental.”
And the perfect girl? “Blue-eyed blondes. I grew up on the beaches of California and there was always that surf-girl image. But in fact, I seem to like dark-haired girls, too.”
“I like very intelligent, feeling women who surprise me, take chances and are honest. But I don’t like it when women who know all about the sexual revolution push themselves on you, any more than women like it when men make straight passes at them. I’m just not into any casual relationships. It’s hard to deal with, because rejection makes all of us angry.
I just like to take my time. But this is a difficult time in sexual identities. Women are often going to extremes asserting themselves and men are continuously asking “What’s my role?”
“I’ve been in a shell, like an oyster, and I’ve been lonely alot. But now I’ve reconciled myself to the fact that when the time is right and when those magic ingredients emerge — whatever they are — for something romantic to happen … well, then they will happen!”
PETER USTINOV (Biography)
Few actors can boast of a more impressive and varied list of credits that Peter Ustinov. His performances in “Spartacus” (1961) and “Topkapi” (1964) won him Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor. He has won three Emmy’s, the first for “Dr. Johnson” on the Omnibus Show, the second for “Barefoot in Athens” (1966) and a third for “Storm in Summer” (1970).
In addition to acting, Ustinov’s talents as a writer have won the New York Critic’s Award and the Donaldson Award for Best Foreign Play (“The Love of Four Colonels,” 1953), the British Critics Award and Tony nomination for Best Play (“Romanoff and Juliet,” 1956) and the Writer’s Guild of Great Britain’s Award for Best British Comedy Screenplay (“Hot Millions,” 1968, in collaboration with Ira Wallach). Ustinov was awarded the Grammy award for hi,s recording of “Peter and the Wolf,” made with the London ~hilharmonia.
The distinguished actor:’ s greatest awards have been the Commander of the Order of the British Empire for “services to the arts” in 1975 and the Benjamin Franklin Medal awarded by the Royal Society of Artists for his “notable contributions to the arts.” Ustinov was the first actor to receive the Franklin Medal which had previously only gone to accomplished scientists.
Born in London, 1921, Peter Ustinov was the son of famed journalist Iona Ustinov (known as “Klop”) and gifted artist Nadia Benois Ustinov. He attended Mr. Gibbs Preparatory School for Boys in London and continued his education at Westminster until age 16. Totally uninterested in academic studies, he entered the London Theatre Studio to pursue artistic studies.
Ustinov made his London stage debut at age 18 in a collection of his own sketches. This was followed by a season with Aylesbury Repertory Company, during which Ustinov completed his first play, “House of Regrets.” The play was brought to the attention of the foremost dramatic critic of that time, James Agate, whose zealous praise of the unproduced play turned Ustinov into an overnight celebrity.
A star at 18; a playwright at 19; Ustinov turned producer at the age of 20 when he produced “Squaring the Circle.”
A four year stint in the Army from 1942 to 1946 did not deter Ustinov from his creative efforts. He continued his playwriting and co-authored a motion picture called “The Way Ahead,” with director Carol Reed and star David Niven.
Following his release from the Army, Ustinov wrote, produced and directed a film for the Air Ministry, “School For Secrets,” which starred Sir Ralph Richardson
Since then, Peter Ustinov has written nineteen plays, four books, eight screenplays, has starred in or been topfeatured in fourteen plays, directed seven films and has appeared in over thirty movies.
His most recent performances have been in “Ashanti” and ”Death on the Nile” in which he played another great detective, Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot.
Fluent in French and German, with quite a bit of Italian and a smattering of Russian, Spanish, Turkish and Greek, Ustinov collects rare prints of French modern painters and owns several antique cars. He was married for seven years to Isolda Denham, a sister of Angela Lansbury, but the marriage ended in divorce in 1951. They have one daughter, Tamara. Ustinov married French-Canadian actress Suzanne Cloutier in 1954 and had three children: Pavla, Igor and Andrea. They divorced in 1971.
In 1972, Peter Ustinov married Helen du Lau d’Allemans in a secret ceremony in Cagnano, Corsica. They now live in a Paris apartment and also own a country chalet in Switzerland.
Though he has appeared in films of every scope, he yearns to do a silent film and regrets the only conspicuous failure in his life- an inability to play the flute because of an unusually protruberant upper lip.
Ustinov is born under the sign of the Rooster, according to Chinese zodiac. Roosters are known to be practical, exacting and industrious with a flair for captivating others with their brilliant powers of deduction. Optimistic and idealistic, Roosters have a passionate attitude toward work.
LEE GRANT (Biography)
Still mourning the death of her murdered husband some thirty years ago, Sylvia Lupowitz frets over the impending marriage of her half-Jewish, half-Chinese grandson to a WASPish beauty and tries to manage a household staff of questionable characters. As Mrs. Lupowitz, Lee Grant delivers a performance of comedic style and dramatic grace in “CHARLIE CHAN AND THE CURSE OF THE DRAGON QUEEN.”
Lee Grant is one of a select few of American actresses who might legitimately be called great. She has been honored with an Academy Award for her performance in “Shampoo” (1975), Ernmy’s for her roles in “Peyton Place” and “The Neon Ceiling.” Her stage awards include the Tony .and Critics Circle Award for her performance in “Detective Story,” and the Obie for “The Maids.” In addition, Lee has received Oscar nominations for “The Landlord” (1970) and “Voyage of The Damned” (1976) .
A native of the Bronx, Lee was born Lyova Haskell Rosenthal.
Her stage debut at age four was performed at the Metropolitan Opera in N.Y., playing the abducted princess in “L’Oroccolo.”
After graduating from high school, she won a scholarship to the Neighborhood Playhouse school of the theatre, where she studied acting with Sanford Meisner. While still in her teens, she established herself as a formidable talent in “Detective Story” playing the shoplifter.
A string of successful Broadway performances brought her to Hollywood, where she married a man in trouble- Arnold Manoff. The trouble was with the House Unamerican Activities Committee. Manoff was blacklisted for his politics and Lee found herself blacklisted for being his wife. Following the death of her husband in 1964, Lee enlisted influential help in having her name removed from the lists before resuming her career.
Since then, Lee has given vivid performances in such films as “In the Heat of the Night” (1967), “Plaza Suite” (1971), “Airport ’77” (1977) and “Damien-Omen II” ‘(1978). She has also been active as a director; on the stage with “The Adventures of Max and Jack,” on television with “For the Use of the Hall”·. and “The Shape of Things,” and on film with “The Stronger” and “The Last Fling.” Lee is currently planning to direct two plays by Strindberg which her husband, Jerry Feury, will produce.
Lee Grant’s first love is the stage, and she has been active both in Los Angeles and New York. She is a member and moderator at the Actors Studio in New York where she often teaches with Lee Strasberg.
Lee admits to having a propensity for working under pressure and loves painting, cooking and poker. She has a daughter of her own, Dinah Manoff, and an adopted daughter, Belinda.
Falling under the Chinese zodiac sign of the Dragon, Lee is noted for spirit, enthusiasm, vitality and high standards of perfection. Dragons, aside from their exciting personalities, are also sentimental, sensitive and romantic.
BRIAN KEITH (Biography)
Perplexed by a series of bizarre killings, the San Francisco Police Chief seems to have more ailments than clues in “CHARLIE CHAN AND THE CURSE OF THE DRAGON QUEEN.” Brian Keith brings his gift for comedy to the role of the Chief.
Though best known for his two hit TV series, “Family Affair” and. “The Little People,” Brian Keith’s impressive filmography and staqe credits stretch back over twentv vears. Keith was a major television star of the fifties, appearing on NBC’s “Best In Mystery” and “Campbell Sound Stage,” and CBS’ “Undercurrent” and “Crusader.” In 1960, he starred in Sam Peckinpah’s noted series “The Westerner.” From 1966 to 1971, he was the star of his own CBS series, “Family Affair,” followed with the series “The Little People,” from 1972 to 1974.
No stranger to the Detective game, Keith starred as Lew Archer in the NBC series “Archer” in 1975.
Born in Bayonne, New Jersey, to the late character actor Robert Keith and actress Helen Shipman, Brian made his film debut at age three in “Pied Piper Malone.” After serving in the Marines during World War II, he returned to New York for radio and stage work, including “Mr. Roberts” and “The Moon Is Blue.”
Keith’s military experience provided the background for his ability to play rough and tumble men in films of the fifties like “Alaska Seas” (1953), “The Violent Men” (1954) and “Five Against the House” (1955).
In addition, Brian Keith went on to such family pictures as “The Parent Trap” (1961), “With Six You Get Eggroll” (1968) and “Those Calloways” (1965).
His gift as a comedic actor was well displayed in two Norman Jewison films, “The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming” (1966) and “Gaily, Gaily” (1969). Other notable performances included his distinguished role opposite Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor in John Huston’s “Reflections in a Golden Eye” (1967), “The Hallelujah Trail” (1965) and as Teddy Roosevelt in “The Wind and the Lion” (1975).
Brian Keith returned to the Broadway stage with great acclaim for his performance in “Da” in 1979. Following the successful engagement, Keith returned home to Hawaii.
The Chinese zodiac places Brian Keith under the sign of the Rooster. Committed to solving social problems to benefit all humanity, Roosters are tireless workers, full of determination and are blessed with the gift of oratory. As proven by Keith’s past accomplishments, those under the sign of the Rooster are known to excel in performing
RODDY McDOWALL (Biography)
Casting disgruntled looks from his wheelchair as he speeds about the Lupowitz mansion is the butler, Gillespie. Roddy McDowall turns in an impeccable performance as the less than impeccable butler in “CHARLIE CHAN AND THE CURSE OF THE DRAGON QUEEN. II
Roddy McDowall has established himself as one of the most durable stars of Hollywood. This one-time child star from “How Green Was My Valley” has played over ninety lead film roles including the “Planet of the Apes” series and, most recently, “Kiss of Gold” and “The Martian Chronicles.”
Born in London, McDowall became a clothing model at age five and made his film debut in “Murder in the Family” (1936) at age eight. Darryl F. Zanuck, impressed with his ability, brought McDowall to the United States. His first role was in “Man Hunt” (1941), but stardom came with “How Green Was My Valley” (1941). McDowall continued with critically acclaimed performances in “Lassie Come Home” (1943), “My Friend Flicka” (1943) and “‘.the White Cliffs of Dover” (1944). These classics are frequently seen on television today.
Other notable film roles include “The Longest Day” (1962), “Cleopatra” (1963), “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” (1971), “The Poseidon Adventure” (1972) and the “Planet of the Apes” series (1967-73).
In addition to his illustrious film career, McDowall has managed an impressive list of stage credits, including his role in “Not Without Honor” which earned him a Tony Award.
McDowall has served as Associate Producer on such movies as “Rocky,” “Kidnapped” and “Steel First.” He has also made a reputation as an award-winning photographer.
McDowall was born under the Chinese zodiac sign of the Dragon, which finds him setting high standards for himself. Resisting restrictions or limitations, the Dragon is progressive and establishes honesty and integrity as the paramount virtues.
MICHELLE PFEIFFER (Biography)
Lost in love, and a daze, is the beautiful heiress and fiancee to Lee Chan, Jr., Cordelia Farrington, III. Lovely Michelle Pfeiffer adds her charm and wit to the role of Cordelia in “CHARLIE CHAN AND THE CURSE OF THE DRAGON QUEEN.”
The 23 year-old ex-supermarket checker, court reporting student and Miss Orange County had been actively pursuing an acting career less than a year when she won the female lead as an undercover policewoman in the ABC series “B.A.D. Cats.”
A native of Orange County, California, Michelle put her interest in theatre aside after high school and attended Golden West Junior College and Whitley College for court reporting. She supported her education with money earned from her job as a supermarket checker. She entered the Miss Los Angeles Pageant on learning that a commercial agent would judge the event. He signed her as a client immediately.
Michelle landed numerous commercials, a regular part on the short-lived “Delta House” series, appearances on “CHiPs” and “Fantasy Island” and roles in two theatrical films, “Falling in Love Again” and “Hollywood Knights.”
Michelle is born under the Chinese zodiac sign of the Rooster possessing the qualities of self-assurance and old-fashioned charm. Witty and amusing, the Rooster is a distinctive, dignified personality.
RACHEL ROBERTS (Biography)
Running rampant through the Lupowitz mansion is the schizophrenic maid, Mrs. Dangers, who is paranoid of the slightest shadow, the softest noise. Rachel Roberts, the multi-award winning actress, delivers a performance of controlled hysteria as Mrs. Dangers in “CHARLIE CHAN AND THE CURSE OF THE DRAGON QUEEN.”
Welsh-born, Rachel Roberts began her acting career in 1951 after leaving the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. Early performances in repertory, small theatre clubs and at the Stratford Memorial Theatre were followed by two years at the Old Vic and the Bristol Old Vic. Rachel made her first West End appearance in the musical “Oh My Papa” with Peter O’Toole.
On the Broadway stage, Rachel received great critical acclaim in Durrenmatt’s “The Visit” and Feydeau’s “Chemin de Fer.” For her performances in these two plays, she became the first actress ever nominated for the Tony Award for two separate plays in one year. She received the Drama Desk Award for her comedy role in “Habeas Corpus” and most recently appeared on Broadway in “Once A Catholic” with Peggy Cass.
Of all her performances, probably the most moving was Rachel’ s role in John Schlesinger’ s “Yanks” (1979) for which she received the British Academy Award. Rachel has also won British Academy Awards for Best Actress in “Saturday Night and Sunday Morning” (1969) and “This Sporting Life” (1963), which also earned her an Oscar nomination.
Other notable film roles have been in “Murder on the Orient Express” (1974) and “Picnic At Hanging Rock” (1976).
On television, Rachel made a great impact in CBS’ “Circle of Children” resulting in an Emmy nomination and the Television Critics Award for Best Dramatic Actress. This followed her three year stint in a co-starring role on the ABC/CBS series “The Tony Randall Show.”
Whether on the stage or in front of the camera, this versatile actress displayed a broad range of abilities from Restoration comedy to slapstick to pantomime. Above her many awards and performances, Rachel Roberts most fondly remembered her Emilia to Richard Burton’s Othello.
Rachel was born under the sign of the Rabbit , which the Chinese zodiac finds to possess a high level of intuition and creativity. Rabbits symbolize graciousness, kindness and strength .
Shadowing Charlie Chan’s search for the killer is the sinister, exotic Dragon Queen. This constant, ever threatening presence is portrayed by Angie Dickinson, who now finds herself on the other side of the law in “CHARLIE CHAN AND THE CURSE OF THE DRAGON QUEEN.”
Miss Dickinson, an all-American beauty, rose to stardom in such films as “Cap t.a i n ·Newman, M.D.” (1963) with Gregory Peck, “The Chase11 (1966) with Marlon Brando and Robert Redford, “Point Blank” (1968), “The Killers” (1964) with Lee Marvin, John Cassavetes and Ronald Reagan, “Oceans 11” with Frank Sinatra, “Sam Whiskey” (1968) with Burt Reynolds, “Young Billy Young” (1969) with Robert Mitchum and “Big Bad Mama” (1974).
She is perhaps best remembered for her long-running television series 11Police Woman” in which Angie played the title role of Sergeant Pepper Anderson. As television’s best known lady cop, she was honored with a series of awards:= including the Golden Globe, two Emmy nominations and a Photo- play Award as Star of the Year. It also brought Angie Dickinson a host of citations, such as Police Woman of the Year, and awards from civic and police groups for her portrayal which reflected credit on police women throughout the country. Most notable among these awards was one from the formidable New York Police Women’s Association.
Angie was born in Kulm, North Dakota, where her parents owned and operated a weekly newspaper. Ten years later, Angie moved to California with her parents where she attended parochial schools and then Immaculate Heart College and Glendale College. After leaving school, she worked in an aircraft plant to finance her acting lessons.
A talent scout spotted her and arranged for her first appearance on television in a variety show. This eventually landed her opposite John Wayne in the Howard Hawks’ film “Rio Bravo” in 1959.
In addition to starring in Brian de Palma’s thriller “Dressed To Kill” with Michael Caine, she has also starred in three recent television films; “A Sensitive, Passionate Man” with David Janssen, “Overboard” with Cliff Robertson, and the mini-series “Pearl.”
On the personal side, Angie has one daughter, Nikki, and is recently divorced from composer Burt Bacharach.
Born in the year of the sheep, Angie falls under the most sensitive sign of the Chinese zodiac. She is imaginative in artistic and aesthetic ventures and is considered to be fashionable and feminine.
RICHARD HATCH (Biography)
Lee Chan, Jr., the grandson of detective Charlie Chan, is intent on following in his grandfather’s footsteps. Unfortunately, every good intention ends in a series of disasters; the streets of San Francisco are a trail of wreckage in the wake of Lee Chan, Jr. ‘s helpful hands.
Having already secured a huge following from his starring roles in the TV series “Battlestar Gallactica” and “The Streets of San Francisco,” Richard Hatch marks his first theatrical film appearance in the pivotal role of Lee Chan, Jr., number one grandson of detective Charlie Chan in “CHARLIE CHAN AND THE CURSE OF THE DRAGON QUEEN.”
Born in Santa Monica, California, Richard’s first artistic interests were directed towards music. Both parents were musically inclined and Richard was studying classical piano by the time he was eight. To date, he has written, recorded and performed music ranging in style from classical to country and still looks forward to broadening the scope of his musical abilities.
After leaving Harbor College, in San Pedro, California, Hatch joined a Los Angeles repertory company which moved to New York in 1967. He was soon cast as Phillip Brent in the ABC soap “All My Children,” a role which he continued to play for two and a half years. While appearing on the daytime drama, Hatch performed in several off-Broadway plays including the Obie-award winning musical “Love Me, Love My Children.” Hatch returned to Los Angeles in 1972 and guest-starred on a number of television series: “Cannon;” “Barnaby Jones;”
“The Waltons;” and “Hawaii Five-0.” He also starred in several television films such as “Addy and the King of Hearts” opposite Jason Robards and “Last of the Belles” with Richard Chamberlain.
Richard’s most notable television appearances have been as Karl Malden’s partner, Dan Robbins, on “The Streets of San Francisco” for which he won Germany’s equivalent to an Emmy, and “Battlestar Gallactica” which garnered the actor a Golden Globe nomination for his role as Captain Apollo in 1977.
The young actor believes in taking risks and “stretching yourself as a person, as an actor, as an athlete.” This lefthanded, risk-taking, guitar-playing, gymnastic actor aspires to running the quarter mile in record time, learning to fly a single engine plane and always taking chances.
“Whenever we force ourselves to take a chance- to risk the foundation of who we are, we learn something.”
Richard falls under the most likeable sign of the Chinese zodiac, the Dog. With the qualities of loyaliy, intelligence and honesty, those born under the sign are noted for their attractiveness and sex appeal.
JOHNNY SEKKA (Biography)
One of the most suspicious, ominous staff members of the Lupowitz household is the chauffeur/Mozambi tribal prince, Stefan. Capturing all the mystery and intrigue of the character is Johnny Sekka in “CHARLIE CHAN AND THE CURSE OF THE DRAGON QUEEN.”
A distinguished stage actor who has won acclaim in both American and European productions, Johnny Sekka began his career when he was cast by director Tony Richards in the first black production of “Flesh To A Tiger.”
Born in Dakar, Senega, Sekka was educated i~ Paris, and earned a scholarship to study English in London. Later, he went on to study theatre at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Upon graduating, Sekka joined the famous Royal Court Theatre.
In 1961, Frith Banbury cast him in the lead of Norman Rosten’s play “Mister Johnson,” at London’s Lyric Theatre. Sekka’s performance garnered critical acclaim and established him as the first African star in Europe.
Since then, Johnny Sekka has appeared in numerous films including “Kartoum” (1965), “A Warm December” (1972), “Uptown Saturday Night” (1974) and “Muhammed, Messenger of God” (1976).
In addition to guest appearances on many television series, Sekka has continued his stage career with consistently fine performances in such plays as “A Taste of Honey,” “Beyond the Sunrise” and “All God’s Chillun Got Wings.”
The Chinese zodiac finds Sekka under the sign of the Rabbit. With an impeccable style and self-assured nature, Rabbits are noted for being good entertainers and wonderful hosts due to their creative talents.
PAUL RYAN: (:Biography)
Having to cater to his boss’s physical ailments, Detective Masten barely has time to check his clues concerning the bizarre killings in “CHARLIE CHAN AND THE CURSE OF THE DRAGON QUEEN.” Yielding a throat sprayer, eardropper and pistol, Paul Ryan portrays the bumbling sidekick Masten.
Ryan is.most noted for hosting his own successful cable TV talk show, “The Paul Ryan Show,” which he also produces. Dubbed the “King of Cable TV,” Ryan’s television show goes to over 600 cities across the country and has featured stars ranging from Sophia Loren to Robin Williams.
Ryan’s duties as the popular host have not stopped him from turning in fine film performances in “Butterflies Are Free” (1972), “Coma” (1978), and “The Promise” (1979). He has appeared on such television shows as “Washington Behind Closed Doors,” “Barnaby Jones” and “The Young Lawyers” and has received critical praise for his performances on the stage in “Merchants of Venice” and “Fortune and Men’s Eyes” with the late Sal Mineo.
Ryan, born Bernard Paul Feldman in Philadelphia, initiated his acting career at the age of 16 when he moved to London to join a repertory company. While abroad, Ryan appeared in “Billy Liar” and “Blue Denim” for the BBC Playhouse, before returning to the states to complete his formal education. After spending some time on a kibbutz in Israel, Ryan completed his education at Los Angeles City College studying theatre arts. Despite his varied talents and activities, Paul’s talk show remains his first love.
Paul has also co-hosted an NBC variety special “Top Ten” and a syndicated disco series called ”Hot City.” In addition, Paul finds time to teach his own comedy workshop at the Pan Andreas Theatre.
Under the sign of the Rooster, Paul Ryan possesses the qualities of ambition, goodwill and the ability to succeed in most undertakings. With a progressive mind, dignified personality and a keen sense of fairness, Roosters are known to excel in performing.
CLIVE DONNER Director (Biography)
One of Britain’s most distinguished directors, Clive Donner, once again displays his keen sense of comedy in “CHARLIE CHAN AND THE CURSE OF THE DRAGON QUEEN.” Best known for his direction of “What’ s New, Pussycat?” (1965) with Peter Sellers and Woody Allen, as well as the Peter Ustinov starrer “The Thief of Baghdad” (1979) and “Luv” (1967), Donner says of “CHARLIE CHAN AND THE CURSE OF
THE DRAGON QUEEN”: “It is a classically structured whodunit. It has broad humor, balancing wild comedy against the playing of the archetypal detective — and one of the greatest detectives of them all!” Donner has been a dedicated movie fan since the age of nine, when he was given his first movie projector. He directed his first film when he was 14 with a ten minute, 8 mm effort at a boys’ club.
His professional career began as an assistant film editor at Denham Studios in England, working on his first feature film “On Approval.” Young Donner soon found himself apprenticing with such masters as Carol Reed and David Lean.
After serving in the military, Donner moved to Pinewood Studios as a full-fledged editor, working on such pictures as “Scrooge, ” “Genevive , ” “The Mi 11 ion Pound Note” and ~· I Am A Camera.”
As a director, Donner’s feature credits include “The Secret Place” (1956),, “Some People” (1962), “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush” (1967), the widely acclaimed “Nothing But the Best” (1963) and the Berlin Festival award-winning version of Harold Pinter’s “The Caretaker” (1962).
This versatile director’s talents also extend to the theatre. On the London stage, Donner has been responsible for some of the most prestigious productions of Shakespeare and Pinter. On Broadway, Donner recently won a Tony Award for his direction of “Kennedy’s Children,” which also enjoyed a successful run in London. He also received wide praise for the British production of “The Picture of Dorian Gray.”
Clive Donner is married to Jocelyn Rickards, the acclaimed costume designer and painter.
In the Chinese zodiac, Donner is born under the sign of the Monkey, which marks his ability to succeed in even the most impossible of ventures. The Monkey is the sign of the inventor, the improviser and the motivator noted for his inimitable guile and charm.
JERRY SHERLOCK Producer (Biography)
“CHARLIE CHAN AND THE CURSE OF THE DRAGON QUEEN” marks Jerry Sherlock’s first venture as a film producer. But his life has always been full of firsts.
Now 43, Sherlock was born in New York’s Coney Island. He ran away from school to become a carnival barker in his teens. A few years later, he decided to tour the Far East, roaming about the Orient and marrying a Japanese woman in the process. Although he is now divorced, Jerry’s Japanese-Jewish son, Jean, bears a strong ethnic resemblance to Lee Chan, Jr. in “CHARLIE CHAN AND THE CURSE OF THE DRAGON QUEEN.”
Jerry Sherlock recently served as a principal member of a major New York company of textile brokers. Two years ago, he first broke into show business by acquiring the rights to “Lolita” from the Nabokov estate. He persuaded playwright Edward Albee to adapt the contemporary classic for a Broadway production, which is scheduled to open shortly on broadway.
“I’ve never been afraid to fail,” exclaims Sherlock. “I wanted to move in a creative direction, and I’ve always been attracted by show business.” Following his instincts, Sherlock has acquired the rights to remake a number of comedy classics for EMI: “The Lavendar Hill Mob,” “The Lady Killers” and “Kind Hearts and Coronets.”
“CHARLIE CHAN AND THE CURSE OF THE DRAGON QUEEN” is his first movie to be released, almost a year from .the inception of his original story which was scripted by Stan Burns and David Axlerod.
Sherlock already has plans for his next production, “Me Irving, You Gladys” due to start production for EMI. “my expertise is life.
I believe in a certain native intelligence and I’ve accomplished everything that way. I’m putting my money and taste on the line because I believe in what I do.”
Born in the year of the Ox, the Chinese zodiac finds Sherlock intuitive, with amazing amounts of patience and perseverance. Never underestimate those born under the sign of the Ox for they are worth their weight in gold!
ALAN BELKIN Executive Producer (Biography)
Alan Belkin, the Executive Producer of “CHARLIE CHAN AND THE CURSE OF THE DRAGON QUEEN,” has been involved in all aspects of film production since graduating from UCLA in 1956. His first experience came in industrial and documentary movies, followed by commercials, television specials, and eventually, feature films.
Belkin, with the Peterson Company from 1960 to 1977, ultimately became Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer. His credits included “Five on the Black Hand Side” , which was the first family-oriented film for black audiences, and the award winning “This Far By Faith” for television.
He also produced the feature films “The Late Great Planet Earth, 11 narrated by Orson Welles and the comedy “A Different Story” starring Perry King and Meg Foster.
Belkin left the Peterson Company to become President and Director of American Cinema Productions and President and Director of American Communications Industries. Durinq that time, Belkin served as Producer of “A Force of One,” starring Chuck Norris and Jennifer O’Neill, and was Executive Producer of “The Octagon,” also starring Chuck Norris.
Born under the sign of the Dog according to the Chinese zodiac, Belkin is noted for being animated and attractive with a deep sense of loyalty. Those born under this sign are always cheerful, optimistic, perceptive and unwavering in their convictions.
PATRICK WILLIAMS Composer and Arranger (Biography)
The haunting melodies accompanying the evil Dragon Queen and spectacular orchestrations underscoring the dramatic pursuits will be the work of composer/arranger Patrick Williams. “CHARLIE CHAN AND THE CURSE OF THE DRAGON QUEEN” ·will mark Mr. Williams’ 42nd feature film score in his successful career as one of Hollywood’s most gifted composers. He has been the winner of a Grammy (“Threshold”), an Emmy (“The Lou Grant Show”), four
Emmy nominations, two Grammy nominations, an Academy Award nomination (“Breaking Away”) and the Pulitzer Prize for Music nomination (“An American Concerto”).
Williams has scored such films as “Cuba,” “Butch and Sundance: The Early Years,” and the recent “It’s My Turn” and “Used Cars.” In addition, he has served as composer of such television series as “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “The Bob Newhart Show,” “A Man Called Sloan” and “The Streets of San Francisco.”
Born in Bonne Terre, Missouri, Williams grew up in Connecticut and New York. He began his musical career studying trumpet, organizing high school musical combos, and fronting the band at Duke University. He returned to New York to study orchestration and composition at Columbia University. It was during his studies at Columbia that Williams began arranging and producing music in New York studios.
Williams career has also included composing for numerous commercials — and winning several Clios (the Oscar of television commercials) — and has arranged albums for such stars as Barbra Streisand, Paul Simon, Billy Joel and Chicago.
In addition to his busy writing schedule, Williams takes time to participate in college seminars and jazz festivals throughout the country. Now 40, Williams lives in Santa Monica, California, with his wife, Catherine, two daughters, Elizabeth (16) and Greer (15), and son Patrick, Jr. (13). They have three dogs, (Noodle, George and Gracis) and one cat named Ratoncita.
Williams is born under the sign of the Dragon which makes him one of the most positive, confident and magnetic members of The Chinese Zodiac. Forceful, fearless, and vibrant, the high-spirited Dragon is noted for being an innovator.