Clooney stars in Sinatra role in Ocean’s Eleven remake

On this day in 2001, Ocean’s Eleven, a caper film featuring an all-star ensemble cast including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Bernie Mac, Don Cheadle, Andy Garcia and Julia Roberts, opens in theaters. Ocean’s Eleven was a remake of the 1960 film of the same name, which featured so-called “Rat Pack” actors Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop, along with Angie Dickinson. Directed by Steven Soderbergh, the blockbuster 2001 remake spawned the profitable sequels Ocean’s Twelve (2004) and Ocean’s Thirteen (2007).

In 1960’s Ocean’s Eleven, Frank Sinatra starred as Danny Ocean, the ringleader of a gang of 11 accomplices who plot to rob a Las Vegas casino. At the time, the now-iconic entertainer had already won an Academy Award, in the Best Supporting Actor category, for his performance as an army private in Hawaii just before the Pearl Harbor attack in 1953’s From Here to Eternity, featuring Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr. Sinatra also earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his role as an ex-heroin addict in 1955’s The Man with the Golden Arm, with Kim Novak.Born on December 12, 1915, in Hoboken, New Jersey, Sinatra first rose to fame as a singer in the 1940s. He launched his movie career the same decade, appearing in such films as Anchors Away (1945) and Take Me Out to the Ball Game (1949), both of which co-starred Gene Kelly. Sinatra went on to star in such popular movie musicals as Guys and Dolls (1955), in which he played Nathan Detroit to Marlon Brando’s Sky Masterson,and Pal Joey (1957), with Rita Hayworth and Kim Novak. “Old Blue Eyes” also appeared in serious dramas, including The Manchurian Candidate (1962), a political thriller co-starring Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh and Angela Lansbury. Sinatra’s final silver-screen appearance was a cameo in 1984’s Cannonball Run II, starring Burt Reynolds. The Chairman of the Board died at age 82 on May 14, 1998.

George Clooney, who took on the role of Danny Ocean in the 2001 Ocean’s Eleven remake, was born on May 6, 1961, in Lexington, Kentucky. He began his acting career on television, with supporting roles on the popular sitcoms The Facts of Life and Roseanne and the drama Sisters, as well as single episodes of such programs as The Golden Girls and Murder, She Wrote. Clooney first achieved star status with his role as Dr. Doug Ross on the prime-time medical drama ER, which debuted in 1994. By the time he left ER in 1999, Clooney had appeared in such movies as Batman & Robin (1997), Out of Sight (1998), which marked the first time Clooney worked with Soderbergh, his frequent future collaborator; and Three Kings (1999). Clooney went on to starring roles in The Perfect Storm (2000), O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) and Ocean’s Eleven. The handsome actor made his directorial debut with 2002’s Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, about the 1960s and ‘70s game show host Chuck Barris, who claimed he also worked for the C.I.A.

Clooney won his first Academy Award, in the Best Supporting Actor category, for his role in Syriana (2005), a complex thriller about the oil industry. That same year, he received Best Director and Best Screenplay Oscar nominations for Good Night, and Good Luck (2005), about the 1950s TV newsman Edward R. Murrow and his conflict with the anti-Communist U.S. Senator Eugene McCarthy. Clooney received his first Best Actor Oscar nomination for his performance in the title role of 2007’s legal thriller Michael Clayton.


Pearl Harbor bombed

At 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time, a Japanese dive bomber bearing the red symbol of the Rising Sun of Japan on its wings appears out of the clouds above the island of Oahu. A swarm of 360 Japanese warplanes followed, descending on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in a ferocious more

The First State

In Dover, Delaware, the U.S. Constitution is unanimously ratified by all 30 delegates to the Delaware Constitutional Convention, making Delaware the first state of the modern United States. Less than four months before, the Constitution was signed by 37 of the original 55 more

Indonesia invades East Timor

Early in the morning, Indonesian forces launch a massive invasion of the former Portuguese half of the island of Timor, which lies near Australia in the Timor Sea. The Portuguese departed East Timor in August 1975, and Indonesian troops soon began infiltrating the border from more

First execution by lethal injection

The first execution by lethal injection takes place at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas. Charles Brooks, Jr., convicted of murdering an auto mechanic, received an intravenous injection of sodium pentathol, the barbiturate that is known as a “truth serum” when more

Earthquake devastates Armenia

In the Soviet Union, an earthquake of a 6.9 magnitude on the Richter scale hits northwestern Armenia, affecting an area 50 miles in diameter. The initial earthquake was followed four minutes later by a powerful 5.8 magnitude aftershock. More than 20 towns and 342 villages were more

Situation deteriorates in South Vietnam

The situation worsens in South Vietnam, as the Viet Cong attack and capture the district headquarters at An Lao and much of the surrounding valley 300 miles northeast of Saigon. South Vietnamese troops regained control only after reinforcements were airlifted into the area by more

Willa Cather is born

On this day in 1873, Willa Cather is born in Winchester, Virginia. Cather was the first of seven children born to an old Virginia family dating back to colonial times. Her maternal grandfather served several terms in the Virginia House of Delegates. Her grandmother was a strong, more

Earthquakes wreak havoc in Armenia

Two earthquakes hit Armenia on this day in 1988, killing 60,000 people and destroying nearly half a million buildings. The two tremors, only minutes apart, were measured at 6.9 and 5.8 in magnitude and were felt as far away as Georgia, Turkey and Iran. It was 11:41 a.m. when the more

Commute of terror

Colin Ferguson opens fire on a Long Island Rail Road commuter train from New York City, killing 6 and injuring 19. Other train passengers stopped the perpetrator by tackling and holding him down. Ferguson later attributed the shooting spree to his deep-seated hatred of white more

Battle of Prairie Grove, Arkansas

On this day in 1862, northwestern Arkansas and southwestern Missouriare secured for the Union when a force commanded by General James G. Blunt holds off a force of Confederates under General Thomas Hindman at the Battle of Prairie Grove, Arkansas. Hindman assembled a force at more