Famous American Armenians - continued
On the celebration of her 25th anniversary at the Metropolitan Opera com
pany, Lucine Amara was presented not only the William Rockefeller Award, but also a standing ovation from the audience. Amara's musical career began in 1948 when she was awarded first prize at the Atwater-Kent audition. Along with receiving $ 2,000, she also won an appearance at the Hollywood Bowl. Two years later, Amara made her debut at the Met as the Celestial Voice in "Don Carlo." Amara has made several recordings and has performed with symphonies and opera companies around the world including the San Francisco Symphony, the New Orleans Opera. The Rome Opera, and the New York Philharmonic. She has given performances in Venezuela, the USSR, Mexico, Vienna, Paris and the Far East. Amara says her love of music comes from the fact that "independent of space. music is sublimely strong. With great eloquence it can move armies, kindle love, and become one of the most magnificent and delightful presents that God has given us."
He has appeared in numerous motion pictures with such stars as Bing Crosby, Ann-Margaret, Robert Redford, Sir Alec Guiness, Jack Lemmon, and Bette Davis. But it was his eight years on television's "Mannix" for which Mike Connors is most remembered. That role earned him three Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe as Best Actor. Connors grew up in Fresno where he won letters in football, basketball and track. The son of Armenian immigrants, Connors recalls he was often the victim of discrimination in school. "People looked upon us as outsiders. That welded our family into a stonger unit and we all hung in there together with nothing to depend upon but each other." He turned down several athletic scholarships and instead entered the Army Air Corps during World War II. He later attended UCLA and was spotted by a Hollywood talent scout who arranged a screen test for the budding actor. Along with the series "Mannix" Connors also appeared in "Tightrope" and "Today's FBI." His list of movies includes "Stagecoach," "Where Love Has gone," and "Nightkill." Connors has worked on the miniseries "War and Remembrance" based on the Herman Wouk novel.
As a young child, Nonny Hogrogian would go through her grandfather's many books, studying the beautiful illustrations and dreaming of one day creating such pictures. Those dreams have been realized as Hogrogian has illustrated over fifty books, most of them children's books. Hogrogian realized at a young age that she had a special talent and began studying art with her aunt. During her mid-twenties, Hogrogian began doing illustration work for books but soon found herself contemplating retirement. A few years later, retirement entered her mind again when she considered going back to school. Such thoughts soon vanished when she was awarded the Caldecott Award for her illustrations in the book "Always Room For One More." The Caldecott medal is given for the most distinguish picture book of the year. In 1972 she received the coveted award again, this time for a book she also authored, One Fine Day. Hogrogian is probably her strongest critic. She once said, "I am always dissatisfied with my work, always left with the feeling that I must try harder the next time, that I never seem capable enough to paint something as beautifully as it deserves to be painted," Her own work seems to prove otherwise.
The course of the Broadway musical was forever changed in 1943 when Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II teamed with director Rouben Mamoulian to produce "Oklahoma!" "The critics didn't know what to call it. It wasn't a play and it wasn't a musical as they new it. I told them it's a musical play," Mamoulian said. The trio's next musical, "Carousel," was equally successful. Mamoulian had begun his American directing career on Broadway in 1929 with the musical "Porgy" and had returned in 1935 to stage the original production of "Porgy and Bess" The years in between had been spent on the West Coast where Mamoulian worked his magic with the film industry. His first film, "Applause" in 1929, had been considered noteworthy because it utilized two sound tracks instead of one, yielding a better sound quality. Many noteworthy films were to follow including, "City Streets." "Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," and "Golden Boy." He was considered instrumental in launching the careers of Rita Hayworth, Claude Rains and William Holden. Even though he completed only sixteen films in his twenty-year motion picture career, he is recognized as one of the finest directors in American film history.