CLOSE
Original image

Richard Nixon and 12 Other Celebrity Quakers

Original image

Being a product of the Delaware school system, I can't help but love Quakers. My middle and junior high schools were located on a Meeting House Lane. Pacifism, abolitionism and tolerance have always seemed like good ideas to me. And I'm a total sucker for Quaker Oats packaging. But the fact is, aside from William Penn and Betsy Ross, I really don't know that many famous Quakers. So I decided to look "˜em up. Here's what I found"¦

1. Richard Nixon

With all the nation making such a big deal about Kennedy being a Catholic, it's interesting to note that old Milhous Nixon was born and raised Quaker. According to the web, his strict mother instilled conservative Quaker values in him (no swearing, drinking or dancing). When he couldn't afford to go to Harvard (despite earning a scholarship there), he attended Whitter- a local Quaker college where he became class President, started a frat, practiced with the football team, and even spent his Sundays teaching Sunday school to little tykes. The most interesting part of his faith to me, though, isn't that the non-violent doctrine conflicted with his personal views on Vietnam, but rather that his straightlaced upbringing hindered his ability to communicate as a family lawyer. According to wikipedia, "He later wrote that family law cases caused him particular discomfort, since his reticent Quaker upbringing was severely at odds with the idea of discussing intimate marital details with strangers."

2. Daniel Boone

daniel_boone.jpg

American settler, hunter, and folk hero Daniel Boone was born and raised Quaker. In fact, his family emigrated to the U.S. from England partially for that reason. What's more interesting, however, is why the Boone family didn't stay within the fold. Apparently, Danny's sister Sarah made waves in the community when she married a non-Quaker. That, in itself, might not have caused a controversy. The fact that she was visibly pregnant at the time did. The family publicly apologized for their daughter's behavior. But after their son Israel also married a non-Quaker, the Boone's became a famiglia non grata and up and moved to Carolina.

3. Joan Baez

Joan_Baez_Bob_Dylan.jpg

If you're wondering how folk singer Joan Baez's religion might have played into her development as a political activist, you might want to take a look at her father's life choices. Albert Baez converted to Quakerism when Joan was a youngster, and despite being a co-inventor of the X-ray microscope and a well-known physicist, he refused to work on the atomic bomb project in Los Alamos, and also turned down lucrative job offers from defense contractors during the Cold War.

4. John Cadbury

Cadbury Dairy Milk.jpg

If you love Cadbury's chocolates, you definitely owe a note of thanks to the Society of Friends. As a young man, Cadbury hoped to pursue a career in medicine or law. But because Quakers were discriminated against by all of the major universities at the time, John decided to focus on business. Believing that alcohol only exacerbated society's ills, Cadbury decided to focus on a happy alternative: chocolate and drinking cocoas. In addition to his views on temperance, Cadbury was also a bit of an activist. He led a campaign to stop the use of boys as chimney sweeps, and he founded an organization to prevent animal cruelty.

5. James Dean

Picture 1.png

Sent off to be raised by his father's sister in Fairmont, Indiana, James Dean was raised Quaker. And though the faith may not have played the biggest role in his life or career (there are tales that it was through befriending a Methodist reverend that he was encouraged to pursue his loves of bullfighting, car racing and theater), today he's buried in a Quaker cemetery.

6. Edward R. Murrow

Edward_r_murrow_challenge_of_ideas_screenshot_2.jpg
Born in North Carolina to Quaker parents. Amazingly, for the first 6 years of his life, the famed reporter grew up in a log cabin without plumbing or electricity. His parents, who farmed for a living, made only a few hundred dollars a year, at least until they picked up and moved to Washington state.

7. Piers Anthony

PA051806.jpgxanth1_chameleon.jpg

While agnostic today, best-selling science fiction author Piers Anthony grew up in a fairly devout family. During the Spanish Civil War his parents left young Piers and his sister to their grandparents care, and then went to "fight" in Spain. In his own words, "my parents were helping to keep those devastated children alive, by importing food and milk and feeding them on a regular basis. It was worthy work, and I don't fault it, but there was a personal cost."

8. Judi Dench

james-bond-18.jpg

The award-winning actress converted to Quakerism after attending a Friends school. According to Quakernet, she was first attracted to the faith because she loved the school uniforms.

9. Annie Oakley

Picture 2.png

The sharp-shooting female who was rumored to split playing cards edge-wise, then shoot through them a few times before they hit the ground, grew up a dirt-poor Quaker. In fact, her early skill with the gun came from having to hunt food for her impoverished family.

10. Bonnie Raitt

1big_sept.jpg

In her own words, "I grew up... in a Quaker family, and for me being Quaker was a political calling rather than a religious one."

11. Joseph Lister

chfa_03_img0510.jpg

The British surgeon who promoted cleanliness and sterility (and for whom Listerine mouthwash is named) grew up in a wealthy Quaker family. Of course, this didn't stop him from being discriminated against. In fact, Lister studied medicine at the University of London precisely because it was one of the only institutions at the time which accepted Quakers.

12. David Byrne

up-talking_heads_1.jpg

According to TalkingHeads.net, the musician to-be was regularly encouraged by his mother's "tolerant Quaker philosophies." That, along with the constant drone of Scottish and American folk music in the house, supposedly played a large role in his eventual career choice.

13. Cassius Coolidge

6272a.jpg

I really only included "Cash" Coolidge because I have a fondness for his Dogs Playing Poker prints (one used to hang over my puppy's sleeping cushion in my old house). Still, it's pretty interesting to know that the painter was born to abolitionist Quakers in upstate New York, and that he's oft-credited with creating Comic Foregrounds, or those novelty photo scenes you pay $2 to stick your head into, to make your body look muscle-bound at the beach.

Original image
arrow
Art
Get Crazy With the Official Bob Ross Coloring Book
Original image

If you watched Bob Ross's classic series The Joy of Painting for hours on end but didn’t come away a terribly capable artist, you can still enjoy replicating the amazing public television personality’s work. You can now pretend you’re painting along with the late, great PBS star using a brand-new adult coloring book based on his art.

The Bob Ross Coloring Book (Universe) is the first authorized coloring book based on Ross’s artistic archive. Ross, who would have turned 75 later this year, was all about giving his fans the confidence to pursue art even without extensive training. “There’s an artist hidden at the bottom of every single one of us,” the gentle genius said. So what better way to honor his memory than to relax with his coloring book?

Here’s a sneak peek of some of the Ross landscapes you can recreate, all while flipping through some of his best quotes and timeless tidbits of wisdom.

An black-and-white outline of a Bob ross painting of a mountain valley

A black-and-white outline of a Bob Ross painting shows a house nestled among trees.

A black-and-white outline of a Bob Ross painting shows a farm scene.

And remember, even if you color outside the lines, it’s still a work of art. As Ross said, “We don’t make mistakes. We just have happy accidents.”

You can find The Bob Ross Coloring Book for about $14 on Amazon. Oh, and if you need even more Ross in your life, there’s now a Bob Ross wall calendar, too.

All images courtesy of Rizzoli.

Original image
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
arrow
entertainment
8 Movies That Almost Starred Keanu Reeves
Original image
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

He may not have the natural ease of Al Pacino, the classical training of Anthony Hopkins, the timeless cool of Jack Nicholson, or the raw versatility of Gary Oldman, but Keanu Reeves has been around long enough to have worked alongside each of those actors. Yet instead of Oscar nods, the actor whose first name means “cool breeze over the mountains” in Hawaiian has a handful of Razzie nominations.

While critical acclaim has mostly eluded Reeves during his 30-plus years in Hollywood, his movies have made nearly $2 billion at the box office. Whether because of his own choosiness or the decisions of studio powers-that-be, that tally could be much, much higher. To celebrate The Chosen One’s 53rd birthday, here are eight movies that almost starred Keanu Reeves.

1. X-MEN (2000)

In Hollywood’s version of the X-Men universe, Hugh Jackman is the definitive Wolverine. But Jackman himself was a last-minute replacement (for Dougray Scott) and other, bigger (in 2000) names were considered for the hirsute superhero—including Reeves. Ultimately, it was the studio that decided to go in a different direction, much to Reeves’ disappointment. “I always wanted to play Wolverine,” the actor told Moviefone in 2014. “But I didn't get that. And they have a great Wolverine now. I always wanted to play The Dark Knight. But I didn't get that one. They've had some great Batmans. So now I'm just enjoying them as an audience.”

2. PLATOON (1986)

For an action star, Reeves isn’t a huge fan of violence, which is why he passed on playing the lead in Oliver Stone’s Oscar-winning Vietnam classic. “Keanu turned it down because of the violence,” Stone told Entertainment Weekly in 2011. “He didn’t want to do violence.”

3. THE FLY II (1989)

Few people would likely mistake Reeves for the son of Jeff Goldblum, but producers were anxious to see him play the next generation of Goldblum’s insectile role in the sequel to The Fly. But Reeves wasn’t having any of it. Why? Simple: “I didn't like the script,” he told Movieline in 1990.

4. SPEED 2: CRUISE CONTROL (1997)

Speaking of sequels (and bad scripts): Reeves was ready to reprise his role as Jack Traven in Jan de Bont’s second go at the series … then he read it. “When I was offered Speed 2, Jan came to Chicago and so did Sandra, and they said, ‘You’ve got to do this,’” Reeves recalled to The Telegraph. “And I said, 'I read the script and I can’t. It’s called Speed, and it’s on a cruise ship.” (He's got a point.)

Even when the studio dangled a $12 million paycheck in front of him, Reeves said no. “I told [William Mechanic, then-head of Fox], ‘If I do this film, I will not come back up. You guys will send me to the bottom of the ocean and I will not make it back up again.’ I really felt like I was fighting for my life.”

5. HEAT (1995)

Reeves’ refusal to cave on Speed 2 didn’t sit well in Hollywood circles. And it didn't help that he also passed on playing Chris Shiherlis (Val Kilmer’s role) in Michael Mann’s Heat in order to spend a month playing Hamlet at Canada’s Manitoba Theatre Centre. From that point on, Reeves told The Telegraph that it’s been a struggle for him to book any studio movies. “That’s a good old Hollywood story! That was a whole, 'Hey, kid, this is what happens in Hollywood: I said no to the number two and I never worked with the studio again!’”

6. BOWFINGER (1999)

By the time Frank Oz’s Bowfinger rolled around, Eddie Murphy was pretty much the go-to guy for any dual role part, but the movie wasn’t always intended to play that way. Steve Martin, who both starred in and wrote the movie, had actually penned the part of Kit Ramsey for Reeves (whom he had worked with a decade earlier in Parenthood).

“When Steve gave me the script for Bowfinger, it wasn't written for Eddie Murphy,” producer Brian Grazer explained. “It was written for a white action star. It was written for Keanu Reeves, literally. I said, 'Why does it have to be an action star?' He said, 'That's the joke.' I said: 'What if it were Eddie Murphy, and Eddie Murphy played two characters? That could be really funny.' He said: 'You know, that'd be great—that'd be brilliant. Let's do that.' He processed it in about a minute, and he made a creative sea change.”

7. WATCHMEN (2009)

A year before Zack Snyder’s Watchmen hit theaters, Reeves confirmed to MTV what many had speculated: that he had turned down the chance to play Dr. Manhattan in the highly anticipated adaptation. But it wasn’t because of lack of interest on Reeves’ part; it just “didn't work out.” Still, he made it as far as a set visit: “They were shooting in Vancouver while we were filming so I went over to the set to say, 'hi.' They showed me some stuff and it looks amazing! I can’t wait. It’s going to be so killer, man!”

8. TROPIC THUNDER (2008)

By the time Ben Stiller’s Tropic Thunder made its way into theaters in the summer of 2008, the meta-comedy had been more than a decade in the making. So it’s understandable that the final product veered from Stiller’s original plan for the film, which included Reeves playing the role of Tugg Speedman (Stiller’s eventual part). Initially, Stiller had planned to cast himself as smarmy agent Rick Peck (Matthew McConaughey picked up the slack).

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios