August 18, 1925: MGM settles on the winner of a fan magazine contest to rechristen contract starlet Lucille LeSeur, and adds “Joan Crawford” to the lexicography.
August 16, 1926: Up-and-coming starlet Clara Bow inks a deal with Paramount, but refuses to sign the customary “morality” clause.
August 21, 1939: RKO Pictures contracts with theater/radio wunderkind Orson Welles, allowing him to produce, direct, script and act in two projects of his choosing.
August 16, 1950: Sidney Poitier makes his Hollywood debut, playing doctor in the crime drama No Way Out.
August 16, 1956: The screen’s most famous vampire, Bela Lugosi, dies at 73. In accordance with his wishes, he’s buried in his Dracula cape.
August 22, 1956: Shooting begins on singer Elvis Presley’s first film, The Reno Brothers, which would come out later that year as Love Me Tender.
August 17, 1958: Producer Roger Corman‘s juvenile delinquent drama The Cry Baby Killer marks the screen debut of Jack Nicholson.
August 18, 1969: Stand-up comic and part-time actor Woody Allen debuts his first film as writer/director/star, Take the Money and Run.
August 16, 1977: Elvis Presley dies suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 42 in his Memphis home, Graceland.
August 19, 1977: Groucho Marx, cigar-chomping leader of the Marx Brothers, dies at the age of 76 of pneumonia in Los Angeles.
August 17, 1979: Amid protests and calls for its outright ban, the Monty Python troupe’s Life of Brian opens.
August 20, 1986: African-American filmmaker Spike Lee wins acclaim for his debut feature, She’s Gotta Have It, which will draw attention to other black artists.
August 16, 1995: The film noir genre gets a ’90s updating, and filmgoers learn “Who is Keyser Söze?,” with the release of the plot-twisting whodunit The Usual Suspects.
August 19, 2005: TV comedy veteran Judd Apatow (Freaks and Geeks) makes his feature directorial debut with the hit The 40-Year-Old Virgin, starring Steve Carell.
August 19, 2012: Tony Scott, 68, director of The Hunger and Top Gun, takes his own life by jumping off a bridge in Los Angeles.