Straight Dope Message Board

Straight Dope Message Board (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/index.php)
-   Cafe Society (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/forumdisplay.php?f=13)
-   -   Renaissance people in the arts (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=829518)

Banksiaman 06-24-2017 05:47 PM

Renaissance people in the arts
 
Recently I found out that the Sam Shepherd I've always enjoyed as an actor [esp Chuck Yaeger in The Right Stuff], is the same Sam Shepherd who is an accomplished playwright and author and whom I always assumed to be a different person. I have to say, he's a mighty impressive bloke on all three counts.

What other people would have comparable achievement and critical acclaim across at least three fields of the arts?

For the purpose of this discussion I think some longevity and sustained output in each field is required as well as the acclaim of peers. I would not include, say, The Adam Sandler Barbecue Recipe Book as evidence of him either being a writer or cook, so he remains a single threat [or annoyance may be a better word].

RealityChuck 06-24-2017 06:14 PM

Martin Mull has an MFA in painting and started out as that, with work appearing in major art galleries over the years.

He is a singer-songwriter who recorded eight albums of comic songs since the 1970s.

He started acting after that, appearing movies like FM, Serial, and Mr. Mom and with roles on TV in Arrested Development (as Gene Parmesan); Roseanne; Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman; America 2-Night, Two and a half Men; Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and others.

He also created the TV series Domestic Life (with Steve Martin, who used one of Mulls paintings for his album "Love as Come for You.")

RealityChuck 06-24-2017 08:22 PM

Robert Shaw - Quint in Jaws -- was also a critically acclaimed novelist. He adapted his novel The Man in the Glass Booth into a Tony-nominated play.

William Shatner has gotten Acclaim as an actor, singer, and novelist. ;)

engineer_comp_geek 06-24-2017 09:16 PM

Moderator Action

Moving thread from General Questions to Cafe Society, our home for questions about arts and artists.

The Other Waldo Pepper 06-24-2017 09:40 PM

Warren Beatty had already earned Oscar nominations as an actor and a writer and a producer before he got Oscar nominations as the actor and writer and producer and director of one movie; and then, after getting Oscar nominations as the actor and writer and producer and director of another movie, he went back to earning Oscar nominations as an actor and a writer and a producer.

Now, pulling off that actor/writer/producer/director bit for one film at the Oscars? That's rare; it's crazy rare. But pulling it off twice? AFAIK, that's unheard-of.

Of course, his real talent was getting folks to say "uh, it's not vanity if he's right."

burpo the wonder mutt 06-24-2017 10:00 PM

Here goes:

Stephen King--mega-novelist, guitarist (I don't think The Rock-Bottom Remainders recorded anything, but they [were?] playing benefit shows), and never-going-to-win-an-Oscar actor (I thought his performances were just fine for the movies he was in).

What's that in my cheek? Oh, it's my tongue.

Thudlow Boink 06-24-2017 11:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RealityChuck (Post 20302070)
Steve Martin

who is an obvious example: comedian, actor, writer (of screenplays, novels), and banjo musician.

Grrr! 06-25-2017 12:05 AM

Can we give props to Hedy Lamarr?

Quote:

Hedy Lamarr, the actress habitually regarded as “that most beautiful woman in Hollywood,” was a rocket scientist on the side, inventing and patenting a torpedo guidance technique she called “frequency hopping,” which thwarted efforts to jam the signals that kept the missiles on track.
Okay, so that's only two things. But damn! What diversity!


ETA: Never mind. I misread the OP.

carlb 06-25-2017 07:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink (Post 20302529)
who is an obvious example: comedian, actor, writer (of screenplays, novels), and banjo musician.

...and serious art collector.

Chronos 06-25-2017 07:41 AM

How about painter/percussionist Richard Feynman?

WordMan 06-25-2017 08:30 AM

Prince: Songwriter; world class musician on at least three instruments; arranger; producer. And according to Charlie Murphy a badass 'baller, and according to ?uestlove, an excellent roller skater.

HyacinthBucket 06-25-2017 08:55 AM

Viggo Mortensen

Not just a fine actor, but a publisher (Perceval Press), writer of poetry, books about the arts, nonfiction, some in Spanish and Danish, a photographer and a painter as well.

Not bad for a scruffy Ranger!

HyacinthBucket 06-25-2017 08:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Grrr! (Post 20302571)
Can we give props to Hedy Lamarr?



Okay, so that's only two things. But damn! What diversity!


ETA: Never mind. I misread the OP.


That's HEDLEY! :D

Evin 06-25-2017 09:16 AM

With his cameo in Knight of Cups, Peter Matthiessen qualifies.
Among other things, he was the only winner of National Book Awards for fiction and nonfiction.

From his New York Times obit:

"Mr. Matthiessen was a man of many parts: littérateur, journalist, environmentalist, explorer, Zen Buddhist, professional fisherman and, in the early 1950s, undercover agent for the Central Intelligence Agency in Paris. Only years later did Mr. Plimpton discover, to his anger and dismay, that Mr. Matthiessen had helped found The [Paris] Review as a cover for his spying on Americans in France."

I recently reread The Snow Leopard.

Bayard 06-25-2017 09:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HyacinthBucket (Post 20302971)
Viggo Mortensen

Not just a fine actor, but a publisher (Perceval Press), writer of poetry, books about the arts, nonfiction, some in Spanish and Danish, a photographer and a painter as well.

Not bad for a scruffy Ranger!

People like that make me feel so bad about myself. And if none of that was enough, he's also unfairly good looking.

Bastard. :mad:

jtur88 06-25-2017 09:29 AM

Kris Kristoflferson, composer, actor, and Rhodes scholar with PhD in English Lit.

The Other Waldo Pepper 06-25-2017 11:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jtur88 (Post 20303024)
Kris Kristoflferson, composer, actor, and Rhodes scholar with PhD in English Lit.

Award-winning singer, too.

mikecurtis 06-25-2017 11:45 AM

Wallace Shawn - actor, playwright, essayist and comedian.
Al Franken - comedian, actor, writer and politician.
Ben Carson - neurosurgeon, author, and politician
Ben Franklin - one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. author, printer, political theorist, politician, , postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat.
Paul Newman - actor, IndyCar driver, entrepreneur, activist, and philanthropist.

Wendell Wagner 06-25-2017 06:02 PM

Kris Kristofferson was a Rhodes scholar, but he doesn't have a Ph.D.

Hedy Lamarr is more accurately described as an electrical engineer rather than a rocket scientist, since frequency-hopping is about the control of radio signals rather than about the building of rockets. Of course, she wasn't in any professional sense either one.

Here's an article about multi-talented people in the arts (although it's not totally accurate either, since it claims that Danica McKellar has a Ph.D., although she doesn't).

mbh 06-25-2017 07:06 PM

William Smith, who made a career playing bikers and gangsters, is fluent in four languages, has a master's degree in Russian, and taught at UCLA before Hollywood lured him away.

RealityChuck 06-25-2017 08:45 PM

Mel Brooks. Writer, movie producer, director, actor, writer of hit Broadway musicals (including writing the songs)

John Lennon -- songwriter and performer, actor (Including the non-Beatles How I won the War, and author of two critically acclaimed books (In His Own Write and A Spaniard in the Works).

Eric Idle - writer, actor, songwriter (for Spamalot).

Wendell Wagner 06-26-2017 05:21 AM

Here's the link that I meant to give in post #19:

http://developingmultipletalents.com...ented-artists/

Banksiaman 06-26-2017 07:48 AM

Some great suggestions, and so many people I'd never heard of before to discover.

Looking over them there are a few actor-director-producer-writer combinations. Without discounting anyone's achievements is this more of a phase-shift that happens in a successful long career compared to, say, Arnold Schwarzeneggar [body building - acting - politics] or my pin-up woman Geena Davis [acting - archery - social issues] that represent quite distinct domains?

Fretful Porpentine 06-26-2017 08:02 AM

William Blake: poet, painter, printmaker.

RealityChuck 06-26-2017 08:25 AM

Frank Sinatra -- singer, Oscar-winning actor, and painter/artist.

Canada Lee -- Not well known today, but he had careers as a jockey, welterweight boxer, bandleader, actor (Broadway and movies), radio DJ (one of the first), and civil rights activist. His biography is fascinating reading.

Annie-Xmas 06-26-2017 09:06 AM

John Lithgow is an actor, musician, singer, comedian, voice actor, and author. Pretty impressive.

Elendil's Heir 06-26-2017 09:33 AM

Moby is, Wiki says, "a DJ, record producer, singer, songwriter, musician, photographer and animal rights activist."

Brian Eno is a "musician, composer, record producer, singer, writer, and visual artist."

Mikhail Baryshnikov is a "dancer, choreographer and actor."

Glenn Close is a "actress, singer and film producer."

Quote:

Originally Posted by carlb (Post 20302833)
...and [Steve Martin is a] serious art collector.

He is indeed. We saw the Lawren Harris exhibit of which he was guest curator (mentioned in that article) at the Art Gallery of Ontario last year. Quite interesting, and they had his opening remarks on a video loop at the entrance.

Quote:

Originally Posted by HyacinthBucket (Post 20302971)
Viggo Mortensen

Not just a fine actor, but a publisher (Perceval Press), writer of poetry, books about the arts, nonfiction, some in Spanish and Danish, a photographer and a painter as well.

Not bad for a scruffy Ranger!

Yep. He's also a singer-songwriter, and at Howard Shore's request wrote the melody that Aragorn sings at his coronation in The Return of the King (at 3:45 here; the words are Tolkien's): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jJnyyta07k

The Other Waldo Pepper 06-26-2017 10:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wendell Wagner (Post 20304022)
Kris Kristofferson was a Rhodes scholar, but he doesn't have a Ph.D.

One guy who does: Peter Weller, who's been teaching Art History for years. He's also been directing for years -- mostly television work, but also the project that got him an Oscar nomination for Best Short Film.

But the first line of his obituary will mention that he was the star of ROBOCOP.

The Other Waldo Pepper 06-26-2017 10:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Banksiaman (Post 20304896)
Some great suggestions, and so many people I'd never heard of before to discover.

Looking over them there are a few actor-director-producer-writer combinations. Without discounting anyone's achievements is this more of a phase-shift that happens in a successful long career compared to, say, Arnold Schwarzeneggar [body building - acting - politics] or my pin-up woman Geena Davis [acting - archery - social issues] that represent quite distinct domains?

Even if the actor-director-producer-writer combo deserves short shrift -- and I'm not saying that it does -- mention should still be made of actor-director-producer-writer Barbra Streisand, for doing award-winning movie work in multiple fields in her spare time from racking up an over-the-top level of success as, y'know, a singer.

MacLir 06-26-2017 10:35 AM

Not completely distinct, but Jimmy Buffett, beyond his renown as a singer songwriter has written some novels, produced movie theme music, and acted in supporting roles in some movies.

He has also used the cachet of his song style to launch a chain of establishments, a line of food and beverages, and recently a retirement community for all those aging parrottheads. ;)

Although I suspect the advice of his uncle Warren was involved somewhere. :smack:

RealityChuck 06-26-2017 10:54 AM

Gypsy Rose Lee -- actress, novelist, playwright, talk show host. And, of course, a striptease artist.

Corner Case 06-26-2017 01:03 PM

Dolph Lundgren - World-Class competitor in Japanese Karate, 3rd Degree Black Belt; Masters in Chemical Engineering and awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to M.I.T; and actor/(drummer)/director/producer.
In Expendables 2 (I believe) the team leader remarks how [the character] has a Masters in Chemical Engineering and went to M.I.T.

santiago42 06-26-2017 06:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jtur88 (Post 20303024)
Kris Kristoflferson, composer, actor, and Rhodes scholar with PhD in English Lit.

Also served as helicopter pilot in the US army.

Peanut Gallery 06-26-2017 06:29 PM

Donald Glover. Standup Comic, Rapper, Singer, TV Show Writer/Producer/Director/Actor.

Redbone

Wendell Wagner 06-26-2017 07:36 PM

Besides Peter Weller, among the celebrities in artistic fields who have Ph.D.s (and not honorary ones) are Brian May (astrophysics), Dexter Holland (molecular biology), and Mayim Bialik (neuroscience, just like her character in The Big Bang Theory):

http://www.ranker.com/list/famous-pe...elebrity-lists

Elendil's Heir 06-26-2017 09:06 PM

Natalie Portman is an actress, dancer, and contributed to two published scholarly journal articles. Fourth paragraph under "Education" here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natalie_Portman#Education

JoseB 06-27-2017 04:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir (Post 20306785)
Natalie Portman is an actress, dancer, and contributed to two published scholarly journal articles. Fourth paragraph under "Education" here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natalie_Portman#Education

Not only that, but she is one of the few people to actually have an Erdős–Bacon number!

Her Erdős number is 5, and her Bacon number is 2, for a combined Erdős–Bacon number of 7.

zimaane 06-27-2017 11:21 AM

Omer Sharif who is best known for his role in Lawrence of Arabia, for which he was nominated for an Oscar, spoke seven languages fluently and was a world class contract bridge player.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_of_Arabia_(film)

Blank Slate 06-27-2017 11:45 AM

Author Jo Nesbø is also lead singer and guitarist for the band Di Derre, which has 4 top ten albums in his native Norway (the band's first hit album predates the Harry Hole series.)

Maggie the Ocelot 06-27-2017 12:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Other Waldo Pepper (Post 20305225)
One guy who does: Peter Weller, who's been teaching Art History for years. He's also been directing for years -- mostly television work, but also the project that got him an Oscar nomination for Best Short Film.

But the first line of his obituary will mention that he was the star of ROBOCOP.

Bryan May, guitarist for Queen and currently holding the record for the longest time keeping the same hairstyle, has a PhD in astrophysics. Not the arts, but awesome in itself.

HyacinthBucket 06-27-2017 01:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Maggie the Ocelot (Post 20307937)
Bryan May, guitarist for Queen and currently holding the record for the longest time keeping the same hairstyle, has a PhD in astrophysics. Not the arts, but awesome in itself.

Not only is he one of the greatest rock guitarists EVER, but he and his dad hand-made the guitar that Brian still plays back in the 1960s when he was just a teenager. So we can add "instrument maker" to his list of credits too. He's also written or co-authored several books on astrophysics.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Special

The Other Waldo Pepper 06-27-2017 01:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mikecurtis (Post 20303240)
Paul Newman - actor, IndyCar driver, entrepreneur, activist, and philanthropist.

Newman also won a Golden Globe for directing Rachel, Rachel -- which was up for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, getting him an Oscar nomination as producer.

The Other Waldo Pepper 06-27-2017 01:34 PM

And, speaking of Paul Newman, Robert Redford of course famously went from being an Oscar-nominated actor to being an Oscar-winning director -- and then, in his Sundance Film Festival days, to being an Oscar-nominated producer.

Blank Slate 06-27-2017 02:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Blank Slate (Post 20307849)
Author Jo Nesbø is also lead singer and guitarist for the band Di Derre, which has 4 top ten albums in his native Norway (the band's first hit album predates the Harry Hole series.)

I left a few things out. He also has a degree in Economics and worked as a financial analyst before his writing career took off. Also, from the New Yorker:

Quote:

When he was eighteen, he won the prize for best junior player at the prestigious Norway Cup. But torn ligaments in both knees made an athletic career impossible...

DooWahDiddy 06-27-2017 02:16 PM

Since someone already said Steve Martin, I'll throw out Rupert Holmes. Known to most people (if known at all) as the singer of the song they love to hate, "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)", he was also the creator and writer of the television show Remember WENN, wrote the musical The Mystery of Edwin Drood, the play Say Goodnight, Gracie, the libretto of the shows Curtains and First Wives' Club, AND wrote a novel called Where the Truth Lies.

A multi-talented guy, to be sure, and as someone who had the pleasure of meeting him, I can say he's also very gracious and sweet.

Haldurson 06-27-2017 03:53 PM

Isaac Asimov: Professor of Biochemistry, prolific writer of science fiction, mysteries, and non-fiction, covering diverse subjects of science, history, religion, Shakespeare, poetry (well, limericks), etc. He was also well known as a populariser of science.

Richard Feynman: Nobel prize-winning Physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project. He also was a much beloved teacher at Caltech in the years I was present. He had art exhibits, he regularly played the Bongos in campus stage productions, he taught informal classes on safe cracking and lock picking, he was infamous for his practical jokes, and his physics lectures have been required reading at many schools. He also conducted (informal) research on psychedelic drugs, and was a critic of what he perceived as math illiteracy among biologists and social scientists (he claimed that the state of the soft sciences was a shambles due to a total misunderstanding of basic math and statistics by members of those fields). Before Sagan, he was THE science guy, the person who could take almost any scientific concept and put it into terms that even a layman could understand.

And oh yeah, he solved the mystery of the Challenger disaster shortly before his death from cancer.

Quartz 06-27-2017 04:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Banksiaman (Post 20302034)
Recently I found out that the Sam Shepherd I've always enjoyed as an actor [esp Chuck Yaeger in The Right Stuff], is the same Sam Shepherd who is an accomplished playwright and author and whom I always assumed to be a different person. I have to say, he's a mighty impressive bloke on all three counts.

Are these not all highly related?

Quote:

What other people would have comparable achievement and critical acclaim across at least three fields of the arts?
Well, Shakespeare was an actor, playwright and poet. Christopher Marlowe was a playwright, poet, and translator.

DooWahDiddy 06-27-2017 05:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Quartz (Post 20308601)
Are these not all highly related?

Not really. I can't think of very many actors who are also playwrights, especially in recent times. Gene Wilder comes to mind, but his plays are not nearly as celebrated as Shepard's. Not only that, but his plays tend to be quite complicated and cerebral; a far cry from, say, Baby Boom.

The Other Waldo Pepper 06-27-2017 05:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DooWahDiddy (Post 20308756)
Not really. I can't think of very many actors who are also playwrights, especially in recent times.

Do we get to count Lin-Manuel Miranda?

Drunky Smurf 06-27-2017 05:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Peanut Gallery (Post 20306500)
Donald Glover. Standup Comic, Rapper, Singer, TV Show Writer/Producer/Director/Actor.

Redbone

DonG lover is the best.


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:44 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright © 2017 Sun-Times Media, LLC.