joi, 29 noiembrie 2012

Success 2012: Robert Redford, american actor, film director, producer, businessman, environmentalist, philanthropist, and founder of the Sundance Film Festival. He won two Oscars

Charles Robert Redford, Jr. (born August 18, 1936), better known as Robert Redford, is an American actor, film director, producer, businessman, environmentalist, philanthropist, and founder of the Sundance Film Festival. He has received two Oscars: one in 1981 for directing Ordinary People, and one for Lifetime Achievement in 2002. In 2010 he was awarded French Knighthood in the Legion d'Honneur. At the height of Redford's fame in the 1970s and 1980s, he was often described as one of the world's most attractive men and remains one of the most popular movie stars.
While still largely an unknown, Redford made his screen debut in War Hunt (1962), co-starring with John Saxon in a film set during the last days of the Korean War. This film also marked the debuts of director Sydney Pollack, with whom Redford would often collaborate in the near future, and actor Tom Skerritt. After his Broadway success, he was cast in larger feature roles in movies. He was cast alongside screen legend Alec Guinness in the war comedy Situation Hopeless ... But Not Serious, in which he played a soldier who has to spend years of his life hiding behind enemy lines. In Inside Daisy Clover (1965), which won him a Golden Globe for best new star, he played a bisexual movie star who marries starlet Natalie Wood, and rejoined her along with Charles Bronson for Pollack's This Property Is Condemned (1966) — again as her lover, though this time in a film which achieved even greater success. The same year saw his first teaming with Jane Fonda, in Arthur Penn's The Chase. This film marked the only time Redford would star with Marlon Brando. Fonda and Redford were paired again in the popular big screen version of Barefoot in the Park (1967) and were again co-stars much later in Pollack's The Electric Horseman (1979).
After this initial success, Redford became concerned about his blond male stereotype image[citation needed] and turned down roles in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and The Graduate. Redford found the property he was looking for in George Roy Hill's Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), scripted by William Goldman, in which he was paired for the first time with Paul Newman. The film was a huge success and made him a major bankable star, cementing his screen image as an intelligent, reliable, sometimes sardonic good guy.
Redford suffered through a few films that did not achieve box office success during this time, including Downhill Racer (1969); Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here (1969); Little Fauss and Big Halsy (1970), and The Hot Rock (1972). But his overall career was flourishing with the critical and box office hit Jeremiah Johnson (1972);  the political satire The Candidate (1972); the hugely popular period drama The Way We Were (1973); and the biggest hit of his career; the blockbuster crime caper The Sting (1973), which became one of the top 20 highest grossing movies of all time when adjusted for inflation and for which he was also nominated for an Oscar.
Between 1974 and 1976, exhibitors voted Redford Hollywood's top box-office name.His hits included The Great Gatsby (1974), The Great Waldo Pepper (1975), and Three Days of the Condor (1975). The popular and acclaimed All the President's Men (1976), directed by Alan J. Pakula and scripted once again by Goldman, was a landmark film for Redford. Not only was he the executive producer and co-star, but the film's serious subject matter — the Watergate scandal — and its attempt to create a realistic portrayal of journalism also reflected the actor's offscreen concerns for political causes.
He also starred in a segment of the war film A Bridge Too Far (1977), the prison drama Brubaker (1980), playing a prison warden attempting to reform the system, and the fantasy baseball drama The Natural (1984).Redford continued his involvement in mainstream Hollywood movies, though with a newfound focus on directing. The first film he directed, Ordinary People, which followed the disintegration of an upper class American family after the death of a son, was one of the most critically and publicly acclaimed films of the decade, winning a number of Oscars, including the Academy Award for best director for Redford himself. His followup directorial project, The Milagro Beanfield War (1987), failed to generate the same level of attention. Sydney Pollack's Out of Africa (1985), with Redford in the male lead role opposite Meryl Streep, became an enormous critical and box office success and won seven Oscars including Best Picture, proving to be Redford's biggest success of the decade and Redford and Pollack's most successful of their six movies together.His next film, Legal Eagles (1986), was only a minor success at the box office.
Redford continued as a major star throughout the 1990s and 2000s. He released his third film as a director, A River Runs Through It, in 1992, which was a return to mainstream success for Redford as a director and brought a young Brad Pitt to greater prominence. 1993 brought Redford one of his most popular and recognised roles when he starred as a millionaire businessman who tests people's morals through bribery in Indecent Proposal, which became one of the year's biggest hits. He co-starred with Michelle Pfeiffer in the newsroom romance Up Close & Personal (1996), and with Kristin Scott Thomas in The Horse Whisperer (1998), which he also directed. Redford also continued work in films with political context, such as Havana (1990), playing Jack Weil, a professional gambler in 1959 Cuba during the Revolution, as well as Sneakers (1992), in which he co starred with the late River Phoenix among others.
He appeared as a disgraced Army general sent to prison in the political thriller The Last Castle (2001), directed by Rod Lurie, someone else with a strong interest in politics. In the same year, Redford reteamed with Brad Pitt for Spy Game, another success for the pair but with Redford switching this time from director to actor. Redford, a leading environmental activist, narrated the IMAX documentary Sacred Planet (2004), a sweeping journey across the globe to some of its most exotic and endangered places. In The Clearing (2004), a thriller co-starring Helen Mirren, Redford was a successful businessman whose kidnapping unearths the secrets and inadequacies that led to his achieving the American Dream.
Redford stepped back into producing with The Motorcycle Diaries (2004), a coming-of-age road film about a young medical student, Ernesto "Che" Guevera, and his friend Alberto Granado. It also explored political and social issues of South America that influenced Guevara and shaped his future. With five years spent in the film's making, Redford was credited by director Walter Salles for being instrumental in getting it made and released.
Back in front of the camera, Redford received good notices for his role in director Lasse Hallstrom's An Unfinished Life (2005) as a cantankerous rancher who is forced to take in his estranged daughter-in-law (Jennifer Lopez) — whom he blames for his son's death — and the granddaughter he never knew he had when they fled an abusive relationship. The film, which sat on the shelf for many months while its distributor Miramax was restructured, was generally dismissed as clichéd and overly sentimental. Meanwhile, Redford returned to familiar territory when he reteamed with Meryl Streep 22 years after they starred in Out of Africa, for his personal project Lions for Lambs (2007), which also starred fellow superstar Tom Cruise. After a great deal of hype, the film opened to mixed reviews and disappointing box office. Redford more recently signed on to direct and star in an update of The Candidate.[citation needed]


Redford appears in the 2011 documentary Buck, where he discusses his experiences with title subject Buck Brannaman during the production of The Horse Whisperer in 1998.

luni, 26 noiembrie 2012

Success 2012: Andre Agassi, american retired professional tennis player and former world no. 1, who was one of the game's most dominant players from the early 1990s to the mid 2000s

Andre Kirk Agassi is an American retired professional tennis player and former world no. 1, who was one of the game's most dominant players from the early 1990s to the mid 2000s. Generally considered by critics and fellow players to be one of the greatest tennis players of all time, Agassi has been called the best service returner in the history of the game. Described by the BBC upon his retirement as "perhaps the biggest worldwide star in the sport's history", Agassi compiled performances that, along with his unorthodox apparel and attitude, saw him cited as one of the most charismatic players in the history of the game. As a result, he is credited for helping to revive the popularity of tennis during the 1990s.
In singles tennis, Agassi is an eight-time Grand Slam champion who competed in 15 Grand Slam finals, and a 1996 Olympic gold medalist. His four Australian Open titles are an Open Era record (shared with Roger Federer). He is one of four male singles players to achieve the Career Grand Slam (all four Grand Slam championships) in the Open Era and one of seven in history, the first of two to achieve the Career Golden Slam (Career Grand Slam and Olympic gold medal), and the only man to win the Career Golden Slam and the ATP Tour World Championships (won in 1990): a distinction dubbed as a "Career Super Slam" by Sports Illustrated. Agassi was the first male player to win all four Grand Slams on three different surfaces (hard, clay, and grass), and the last American male to win the French Open (1999) and the Australian Open (2003). He also won 17 ATP Masters Series titles, and was part of a winning Davis Cup team in 1990 and 1992. Agassi was troubled by personal issues during the mid-to-late 1990s and sank to world no. 141 in 1997, prompting many to believe that his career was over. Agassi, however, returned to world no. 1 in 1999 and enjoyed the most successful run of his career over the next four years. During his 20-plus year tour career, Agassi was known by the nickname "The Punisher".
After suffering from sciatica caused by two bulging discs in his back, a spondylolisthesis (vertebral displacement) and a bone spur that interfered with the nerve, Agassi retired from professional tennis on September 3, 2006, after losing in the third round of the US Open. He is the founder of the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation,  which has raised over $60 million for at-risk children in Southern Nevada. In 2001, the Foundation opened the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy in Las Vegas, a K-12 public charter school for at-risk children.  He has been married to fellow tennis star Steffi Graf since 2001.

luni, 19 noiembrie 2012

Success 2012: Gerhard Schröder, german politician that was Chancellor of Germany from 1998 to 2005

Gerhard Fritz Kurt Schröder is a German politician, and was Chancellor of Germany from 1998 to 2005. As a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), he led a coalition government of the SPD and the Greens. Before becoming a full-time politician, he was a lawyer, and before becoming Chancellor he served as Prime Minister of Lower Saxony (1990–1998). Following the 2005 federal election, which his party lost, after three weeks of negotiations he stood down as Chancellor in favour of Angela Merkel of the rival Christian Democratic Union. He is currently the chairman of the board of Nord Stream AG, after having been hired as a global manager by investment bank Rothschild.

Schröder was born in Mossenberg, today an outlying centre of Blomberg, in what is now North Rhine-Westphalia. His father, Fritz Schröder, a lance corporal in the Wehrmacht, was killed in action in World War II in Romania on 4 October 1944, a few months after Gerhard's birth. His mother Erika worked as an agricultural laborer so that she could support herself and her two sons.
Schröder completed an apprenticeship in retail sales in a Lemgo hardware shop from 1958 to 1961 and subsequently worked in a Lage retail shop and after that as an unskilled construction worker and a sales clerk in Göttingen whilst studying at night school so as to gain a high school diploma. He did not have to do military service because his father had died in the war. In 1966, Schröder secured entrance to a university, passing the Abitur exam at Westfalen-Kolleg, Bielefeld. From 1966 to 1971 he studied law at the University of Göttingen. From 1972 onwards, Schröder served as an assistant at the university. In 1976, he passed his second law examination, and he subsequently worked as a lawyer until 1990.

Among his more controversial cases, Schröder helped founding member of the Baader-Meinhof terrorist group Horst Mahler secure an early release from prison and the permission to practice law again in Germany.
Schröder joined the Social Democratic Party in 1963. In 1978 he became the federal chairman of the Young Socialists, the youth organisation of the SPD. He spoke for the dissident Rudolf Bahro, as did President Jimmy Carter, Herbert Marcuse and Wolf Biermann. In 1982 he wrote an article on the idea of a red/green coalition for a book at Olle & Wolter, Berlin, which later appeared in "Die Zeit". SPD and SI Chairman, Chancellor Willy Brandt, who reviewed Olle & Wolter at that time, had just asked for more books on the subject. In 1980 Gerhard Schröder was elected to the German Bundestag, and wore a sweater to parliament instead of the traditional suit. He became chairman of the SPD Hanover district. In 1985, Schröder met the GDR leader Erich Honecker during a visit to East Berlin.
In 1986, Schröder was elected to the parliament of Lower Saxony and became leader of the SPD group. After the SPD won the state elections in June 1990, he became Prime Minister of Lower Saxony as head of an SPD-Greens coalition; in this position, he also won the 1994 and 1998 state elections.

miercuri, 14 noiembrie 2012

Success 2012: Jack Nicklaus, aka "The Golden Bear". Professional golfer. He is widely regarded as the most accomplished professional golfer of all time, winning a total of 18 career major championships



Jack William Nicklaus (born January 21, 1940), nicknamed "The Golden Bear", is an American professional golfer. He is widely regarded as the most accomplished professional golfer of all time, winning a total of 18 career major championships while producing 19 second place and 9 third place finishes in major events on the PGA Tour over a span of 25 years. Nicklaus did not play that many tournaments because he wanted to focus on the Majors, but is still third on the PGA-tournament winning list, with 73 victories.
After winning two U.S. Amateurs in 1959 and 1961, and challenging for the 1960 U.S. Open, Nicklaus turned professional toward the end of 1961. The 1962 U.S. Open was both Nicklaus' first major championship victory and his first professional win. This win over Arnold Palmer began the on-course rivalry between the two. In 1966, Nicklaus won the Masters Tournament for the second year in a row, becoming the first golfer to achieve this, and also won The Open Championship, completing his career slam of major championships. At age 26, he became the youngest to do so at the time. In 1968 and 1969, Nicklaus did not win a major tournament. He then won another Open Championship in 1970.
Between 1971 and 1980, he would win a further nine major championships, overtake Bobby Jones' record of 13 majors, and become the first player to complete double and triple career slams of golf's four professional major championships. At the age of 46, Nicklaus claimed his 18th and final major championship at the 1986 Masters Tournament, becoming that championship's oldest winner. Nicklaus joined the Senior PGA Tour (now known as the Champions Tour) in January 1990, when he became eligible, and by April 1996 had won 10 of the tour's tournaments, including eight of that tour's major championships, despite playing a very limited schedule. He continued to play at least some of the four regular Tour majors until 2005, when he made his final appearances at The Open Championship and the Masters Tournament.
Nicklaus has also taken part in various off-course activities, including golf course design, charity work and book writing. Nicklaus helped design courses such as Harbour Town Golf Links. Nicklaus also runs his own tournament on the PGA Tour, the Memorial Tournament. His golf course design company is one of the largest in the world. Nicklaus' books vary from instructional to autobiographical, with his Golf My Way considered one of the best instructional golf books of all time; the video of the same name is the best-selling golf instructional to date.

Writings and media

Nicklaus has written several golf instructional books, an autobiography (My Story), a book on his golf course design methods and philosophy, and has produced several golf videos. The writer Ken Bowden often assisted him with this work. His book Golf My Way is one of the all-time classics of golf instruction, and has been reissued several times since the initial printing in 1974. Nicklaus has also written golf instructional columns for Golf Magazine and for Golf Digest magazine, with which he is currently associated. He also appeared as a television analyst and commentator with ABC Sports on golf broadcasts.[49] Several of the books have been reissued, sometimes under different titles, and "My Story" as a special high-quality limited edition for the 2000 Memorial Tournament.

Golf computer games

Between 1988 and 1998, Nicklaus also gave his name to promote the successful Jack Nicklaus Golf computer game series developed by Accolade. Several of the golf courses he designed were incorporated into the fourth incarnation of the game Jack Nicklaus 4 published in 1997. In addition, Jack Nicklaus 6: Golden Bear Challenge by Activision was published in 1999.

Other interests

Nicklaus continues to manage the Memorial Tournament he created in his home state of Ohio, which is played at Muirfield Village, a course which he designed and opened in 1974. The course was officially dedicated on Memorial Day, May 27, 1974, with an exhibition match between Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf. Nicklaus scored a six-under par 66, which stood as the course record until 1979. The forerunner to this tournament, the Columbus Pro-Am, had its final year in 1975, and the inaugural Memorial Tournament was held the following year. The tournament is one of the more prestigious events on the PGA Tour.[50]
Each year, the tournament selects one or more individuals as honorees who have made a significant impact to the game. The inaugural tournament in 1976 paid tribute to the late Bobby Jones, while the 25th edition in 2000 honored Nicklaus, himself. This concept was Nicklaus' idea as a contribution to perpetuating achievements of the game's greatest individuals. The honoree is selected by the Captain's Club, a group that acts independently of the tournament organization, but also advises on player invitations and the general conduct of the event. Members of the Captain's Club include Peter Alliss, Peggy Kirk Bell, George H.W. Bush, Sean Connery, Arnold Palmer, and Gary Player among others.
The Memorial Tournament continues the PGA Tour's philanthropic focus through its relationships with Central Ohio charities. The most significant of which is its relationship with Nationwide Children's Hospital since 1976. Contributions generated through the support of over 2,600 volunteers are distributed each year to the Hospital's unrestricted giving fund. This fund assists in ensuring Central Ohio continues to have one of the best children's hospitals in the United States. The Memorial Tournament has raised more than $5.7 million to support the programs and services at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in those 30-plus years. In 2005 the Memorial made a pledge that will elevate its level of giving to more than $11 million in the coming years. Unique and successful relationships also exist with Fore Hope, James Cancer Hospital, Wolfe Associates, The First Tee, Central Ohio Junior Golf Association, Shriners, Lions Club and many more.
Nicklaus and wife Barbara serve as honorary chairman and active chairwoman of the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation in North Palm Beach, Florida which provides valuable programs and services to more than 4,000 hospitalized children and their families, free of charge, through Child Life programs, the Pediatric Oncology Support Team, and the Safe Kids program. The Nicklauses established "The Jake", a pro-am golf tournament played annually at The Bear's Club in Jupiter, Florida in honor of their 17-month-old grandson who drowned in a hot tub in 2005. It has become the foundation's chief fundraiser. Players like Robert Allenby, Raymond Floyd, Tom Watson, Ian Baker-Finch, Ernie Els, Jay Haas, Johnny Miller, and Gary Player have participated. No one accepts a fee. Everything goes to the foundation, more than $3 million over the past three years.
Nicklaus and retired General John Shalikashvili, who served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1993–97, are serving as honorary chairs for the American Lake Veterans Golf Course capital campaign in Tacoma, WA. The $4.5 million campaign in 2009 was established to complete the nation's only golf course designed for the rehabilitation of wounded and disabled veterans. The existing nine-hole course is operated, maintained, and managed by 160 volunteers. Funds are needed to add nine new holes and make other improvements to better accommodate demand from the growing influx of wounded veterans. A two-day event was held at Bighorn Golf Club at Palm Desert, CA featuring Nicklaus, who is donating his design services for the "Nicklaus Nine". In announcing his donation of services (valued at $500,000), Nicklaus said, "I was moved to see the amazing efforts at American Lake Veterans Golf Course where our wounded warriors learn to play golf with the help of an incredible army of volunteers." Monies raised during the campaign will be used to construct the new holes, complete the construction of the Rehabilitation and Learning Center, make improvements to the original holes to enhance accessibility, upgrade the maintenance facilities and restrooms, and help underwrite operational costs.
Nicklaus owns Nicklaus Golf Equipment, founded in 1992. Nicklaus Golf Equipment manufactures equipment in three brands: Golden Bear, Jack Nicklaus Signature, and Nicklaus Premium. These brands are designed to target golfers at different stages of golfing ability.
He has also been known to reach out to younger golfers. One notable example came in 1984, when a teenage Canadian golfer who had previously met Nicklaus at an exhibition wrote him for career advice. The young golfer was right-handed but played left-handed; although he was showing considerable promise as a left-hander, he had been told that he might be an even better player if he switched to right-handed play. He wrote Nicklaus asking for advice; Nicklaus immediately wrote back telling him not to change if he was comfortable playing left-handed. The young Canadian, Mike Weir, decided to stay with left-handed play, and eventually became a Masters champion. He still keeps Nicklaus' letter framed in his home.
Nicklaus lends his name and likeness to a line of flavored lemonades from Arizona Beverage Company, the same company that sells the Arnold Palmer line of lemonade/iced tea blends.

duminică, 11 noiembrie 2012

Success 2012: Mardy Fish, professional tennis player. Fish has won six tournaments on the main ATP Tour and has reached the final of four Masters Series events

Mardy Simpson Fish (born December 9, 1981) is an American professional tennis player. He is a hardcourt specialist. He is one of several American tennis players who rose to prominence in the early 2000s.
Fish has won six tournaments on the main ATP Tour and has reached the final of four Masters Series events: Cincinnati in 2003 and 2010, Indian Wells in 2008, and Montreal in 2011. His best results at Grand Slam tournaments are reaching the quarter-finals of the 2007 Australian Open, the 2008 US Open, and the 2011 Wimbledon Championships. At the 2004 Olympics, Fish reached the final in the men's singles, losing to Nicolás Massú.
In April 2011, Fish overtook compatriot Andy Roddick to become the American No. 1 in the ATP rankings, reaching a career-high singles ranking of World No. 7 in August 2011.

 Fish is the son of a tennis teaching professional and a housewife, Tom and Sally Fish. He was born in Edina, Minnesota. In 1984 a Minneapolis TV station ran a profile of Fish, at the age of two, hitting tennis balls from the baseline over the net. In 1986, Fish's family moved to Vero Beach, Florida. He attended Vero Beach High School for tenth grade, then moved to Boca Prep in Boca Raton, Florida, for his junior and senior years of high school. He, Andy Roddick, and Jesse Levine all attended Boca Prep International School.During 1999 he lived with Roddick's family, and the two played on the same tennis and basketball teams.

Equipment

Fish currently endorses the Wilson BLX Six.One 95 18 by 20 racquet with hybrid of Wilson Natural Gut and Luxilon Alu Power strings. His grip of choice is "Wilson Pro Overgrip". He wears K-Swiss clothing and shoes.

Playing style

Fish is one of the few players on the tour to possess an all-court game. His biggest weapons are his strong serve and reliable backhand, and he often wins points at net with adept volleying. His most reliable shot is a two-handed backhand, which he can flatten out effectively to end points. His forehand is more inconsistent, though it has improved in recent years. In 2010, he dropped over 30 pounds, from 203 to 170. This enabled Fish to become much fitter, faster and maintain longer rallies.

joi, 8 noiembrie 2012

Success 2012: Marcos Baghdatis, professional tennis player. Semifinalist at the 2006 Wimbledon Championships and reached a career-high ATP singles ranking of World No. 8 in August 2006

Marcos Baghdatis is a Cypriot professional tennis player. He was the runner-up at the 2006 Australian Open and a semifinalist at the 2006 Wimbledon Championships and reached a career-high ATP singles ranking of World No. 8 in August 2006.
Marcos Baghdatis is the son of a Lebanese father, Christos, who migrated to Cyprus and a Cypriot mother.
Baghdatis began playing tennis at age five with his father and brothers. He enjoys playing and watching football and is a supporter of Apollon Limassol in Cyprus. He trained at the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in Paris on an Olympic Solidarity Youth Development Programme Scholarship since the age of 13 and learned to speak French.
On January 28, 2006, Baghdatis received an exemption from the otherwise mandatory Cypriot national service so that he could concentrate instead on playing tennis.
He received the 2005 Cyprus Male Athlete of the Year award.
On July 14, 2012 Baghdatis married former Croatian tennis player Karolina Šprem. The couple welcomed their first child, a daughter called Zahara, on 20 October 2012.