Classic Hollywood is ready for its close-up, Dahlink!

I’m Susan King, and I've been an entertainment writer at The Times for more than 25 years. But that's just the start of it.

I've been in love with movies since I was 3, when I saw James Cagney on TV in “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” Movies and stars from Hollywood's Golden Age have always played an important part in my life -- but they are more than just a pastime for me. I received my master’s degree in film history at USC and haven’t looked back.

Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to interview such legends as Helen Hayes, Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Kirk Douglas and Sidney Poitier. I’ve played a movie trivia game with Gregory Peck, was serenaded in a hotel coffee shop by Steve Lawrence and sang “Moses Supposes” with Debbie Reynolds.

If you're like me and can't get enough of Classic Hollywood in whatever form (including my Sunday Calendar feature and Facebook page), then you've come to the right place.

Every Friday, this newsletter will bring the Classic Hollywood buff notable births and deaths from the Hollywood Walk of Fame, movie and television milestones, classic film festivals and related events in the Los Angeles area and other fun tidbits.

Let's get started:

This week's movie milestone

The Black Cat with Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. Universal City Studios, Inc. MCA TVPhoto/Art

Universal’s horror superstars Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi teamed up for the first time for the atmospheric and creepy thriller “The Black Cat,” which premiered on May 3, 1934. Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer (“Detour”), “Black Cat” was the studio’s biggest hit that year, and Karloff and Lugosi went on to make seven more films together. Ironically, Lugosi would also go on to star in the studio’s 1941 “The Black Cat,” which was not related to the ’34 classic.

Book nook

Audrey Hepburn and William Holden played lovers in Billy Wilder’s classic 1954 romantic comedy “Sabrina.” But did you know they also fell in love during the production? "Audrey and Bill,” a “romantic biography” by Edward Z. Epstein, which was published in April, chronicles their short-lived affair and their lives after their romance including reuniting for the ill-fated 1964 comedy “Paris When it Sizzles.”

TV Rewind

The nostalgia TV channel MeTV is airing “Goodbye, Farewell & Amen,” the finale of the beloved CBS series “MASH” on Sunday evening. MeTV will also air new interviews with the cast and creative team, including Alan Alda, Loretta Swit, Jamie Farr and Wayne Rogers. The Emmy Award-winning series came to a close after 11 seasons with this 2 1/2-hour episode that aired on Feb. 28, 1983. Directed by Alda and co-written by the actor with several collaborators, it’s still the most watched television finale, with 121.6 million viewers tuning in for all or part of the entire show.  

DVD Vault

The recent Tribeca Film Festival closed with a 25th anniversary screening of Martin Scorsese's gangster masterpiece “Goodfellas” and a reunion with several of the crime thriller’s stars, including Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Lorraine Bracco and Paul Sorvino. On  May 5, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is releasing the new digital restoration of “Goodfellas” on Blu-ray. The edition features a new documentary and a 36-page book on the influential classic. “Goodfellas”  was nominated for six Academy Awards, including best film and director, and won a  supporting-actor Oscar for Joe Pesci as the hair-triggered tempered Tommy DeVito.

From our Hollywood Star Walk database

Notable birthdays this week include 

Glenn Ford (May 1); Bing Crosby (May 2); Mary Astor (May 3); Audrey Hepburn (May 4); and Tyrone Power (May 5). Among the noteworthy deaths are Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (May 2); Jackie Cooper (May 3) ; George Murphy (May 3) and Albert Dekker (May 5).

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