A scenes from the film The Associate with Whoopi Goldberg as Laurel Ayres, Eli Wallach as Donald Fallon, Bebe Neuwirth as Camille Scott and Lainie Kazan as Cindy Mason.
The Associate is a 1996 American comedy film directed by Donald Petrie and written by Nick Thiel. The film, a remake of René Gainville's 1979 French film of the same name, which, in turn, was based on Jenaro Prieto's 1928 novel The Partner, stars Whoopi Goldberg, Dianne Wiest, Eli Wallach, Tim Daly, and Bebe Neuwirth, alongside Austin Pendleton and Lainie Kazan.
Investment banker Laurel Ayres (Whoopi Goldberg) is a smart and single woman trying to make it up the Wall Street corporate ladder, until one day she finds out that she is passed over for a promotion because she is a woman. Unable to face the fact that her less intelligent male protege, Frank Peterson (Tim Daly), has now become her boss, she quits and tries to start up her own company only to find out that the male dominated world of Wall Street is not interested in taking an African American woman seriously, and thus is forced to create a fictional white man, Robert S. Cutty (inspired by a bottle of Cutty Sark) in order to be judged on her own merits. Ayres' financial wisdom is joined by the intelligent and computer-savvy secretary Sally Dugan (Dianne Wiest), who also was not properly recognized for her talents. Together they are able to become the most successful independent stockbrokers in the world while helping a struggling high-tech computer company stay afloat.
However, the ruse eventually runs into problems, as Cutty is still getting credit for Ayres' great ideas, and competing firms and tabloid journalists are willing to do anything in order to bring the wealthy and elusive Cutty into the public and on their side. Thus Ayres is forced to get her best friend (who works at a nightclub as a female impersonator) to create an effective disguise in the mould of Marlon Brando to try to fool the naysayers; when that fails, she and Dugan decide to kill Cutty only to be charged with his murder. Frank uncovers the ruse and pretends that he is now the front man to world-famous Cutty.
The film ends with Ayres donning the Cutty disguise one last time to attend a meeting of the exclusive gentlemen's club to accept Cutty's awards and unmasking herself in order to teach the male-dominated industry the evils of racial and seksual discrimination. Ayres is finally given credit for her work and creates a huge business empire with her friends at the helm. Frank attempts to land a job with the business, only to be laughed off.
Caryn Elaine Johnson (born November 13, 1955), better known by her stage name Whoopi Goldberg (/ˈhwʊpi/), is an African American actress, comedian, and television host. She has been nominated for 13 Emmy Awards for her work in television, and is one of the few entertainers who have won an Emmy Award, a Grammy Award, an Oscar, and a Tony Award. She was only the second black woman in the history of the Academy Awards to win an acting Oscar.
Her breakthrough role was playing Celie, a mistreated black woman in the Deep South in the period drama film The Color Purple (1985), for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. Goldberg played Oda Mae Brown, an eccentric psychic helping a slain man (Patrick Swayze) save his lover (Demi Moore), in the romantic fantasy film Ghost (1990), for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She was co-producer of the television game show Hollywood Squares from 1998 to 2002. She has been the moderator of the daytime television talk show The View since 2007.
Eli Herschel Wallach (/ˈiːlaɪ ˈwɔːlək/; December 7, 1915 – June 24, 2014) was an American film, television and stage actor whose career spanned more than six decades, beginning in the late 1940s. Trained in stage acting, which he enjoyed doing most, he became "one of the greatest 'character actors' ever to appear on stage and screen," states TCM, with over 90 film credits. On stage, he often co-starred with his wife, Anne Jackson, becoming one of the best-known acting couples in the American theater.
Wallach initially studied method acting under Sanford Meisner, and later became a founding member of the Actors Studio, where he studied under Lee Strasberg. His versatility gave him the ability to play a wide variety of different roles throughout his career, primarily as a supporting actor.
For his debut screen performance in Baby Doll, he won a BAFTA Award for Best Newcomer and a Golden Globe Award nomination. Among his other most famous roles are Calvera in The Magnificent Seven (1960), Guido in The Misfits (1961), and Tuco ("The Ugly") in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966). Other notable portrayals include outlaw Charlie Gant in How The West Was Won (1962), Don Altobello in The Godfather Part III, Cotton Weinberger in The Two Jakes (both 1990), and Arthur Abbott in The Holiday (2006). One of America's most prolific screen actors, Wallach remained active well into his nineties, with roles as recently as 2010 in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and The Ghost Writer.
Wallach received BAFTA Awards, Tony Awards and Emmy Awards for his work, and received an Academy Honorary Award at the second annual Governors Awards, presented on November 13, 2010.
Beatrice "Bebe" Neuwirth (/ˌbiːətrɪs ˌbiːbiː ˈnjuːwɜːrθ/; born December 31, 1958) is an American actress, singer and dancer. On television, she is known for her portrayal of Dr. Lilith Sternin, Dr. Frasier Crane's wife (later ex-wife), on both the TV sitcom Cheers (in a starring role), and its spin-off Frasier (in a recurring guest role). The role won her two Emmy Awards. On stage, she is known for her Tony Award winning roles of Nickie in the revival of Sweet Charity (1986), and Velma Kelly in the revival of Chicago (1996). Other Broadway musical roles include Morticia Addams in The Addams Family (2010). Since 2014, she has starred as Nadine Tolliver in the CBS drama Madam Secretary.
Lainie Kazan (born May 15, 1940) is an American actress and singer. Kazan made her Broadway debut in The Happiest Girl in the World in 1961 followed by Bravo Giovanni (1962). She served as understudy to Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl, finally getting to go on 18 months into the run when the star was ill with a serious throat problem. Both had attended the same high school, Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, New York. Kazan’s mother alerted the press and, encouraged by rave reviews for her performance, she quit the show and set out to establish herself in a singing career.
As her popularity increased, Kazan posed nube for a spread in the October 1970 issue of Playboy, which was reused in Pocket Playboy #4, issued in 1974. Her appearance in the magazine opened the door for her to headline and operate two different Playboy Jazz Clubs, both under Hugh Hefner’s overview, which she called Lainie’s Lounge East and West on opposite coasts, one in Los Angeles and the other in Manhattan. Her Playboy photographs also inspired the look of Jack Kirby’s DC Comics superheroine Big Barda.
Kazan appeared in numerous supper clubs across the country, and she guested on Dean Martin’s variety series 26 times. Other television work includes a recurring role as Aunt Frieda on the Fran Drescher sitcom The Nanny and as Kirstie Alley’s mother on Veronica’s Closet, and guest shots on St. Elsewhere (resulting in an Emmy nomination), The Paper Chase, Touched by an Angel, and Will & Grace. She was also featured in My Big Fat Greek Life, a short-lived series based on the Nia Vardalos hit film My Big Fat Greek Wedding, in which she had also starred alongside Vardalos. She appeared in a scene as the mother of Adam Sandler’s character in I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, but it was deleted in the feature film. It is, however, included in the special features on disc. Prior to this film, she had appeared with its co-star Kevin James in two episodes of his The King of Queens TV series as the once-renowned singer Ava St. Clair.
A life member of The Actors Studio, Kazan returned to Broadway to recreate her film role for the musical adaptation of My Favorite Year, earning a Tony Award nomination for her performance. She completed a stint in The Vagina Monologues. She has also appeared in regional productions of A Little Night Music, Man of La Mancha, Gypsy, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Hello, Dolly!, and Fiddler on the Roof, among others. In 1984, she made a guest appearance on the Faerie Tale Theatre episode “Pinocchio” as Sophia the Blue Fairy.
She appeared in an episode of Ugly Betty, playing the mother of Bobby, who was soon to become the central character’s brother-in-law. She appeared in one episode, "Fire and Nice". On August 17, 2010, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Kazan would join the cast of Desperate Housewives for Season 7. She played the role of a self-employed business owner and neighbor to Susan.
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