TCM’s Summer Under the Stars 2017 Schedule of Tributes

TM & (C) 2002 TCM

TCM’s annual Summer Under the Stars has been a longtime fan favorite, offering 24-hour film marathons pegged around a single star. Perennial icons Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor brilliantly bookend this year’s event that will also see 12 newbies getting their due on the esteemed 31-day calendar. TCM host Ben Mankiewicz is thrilled at some of this year’s selections.

“Every year, when I look at the number of people who we’re doing for the first time, I find myself surprised,” he shares. “When we’ve been doing it as long as we have [14 years!] and I look at this list, and I’m like, ‘We never did George Sanders? People love George Sanders. Our audience loves George Sanders. I love George Sanders!’ I’m stunned that we haven’t done George Sanders.”

Sanders, of course, is known for his Academy Award-winning role opposite Bette Davis in All About Eve, as well as Journey to Italy, A Shot in the Dark and many others. Sanders was also known for his four wives (one being Zsa Zsa Gabor) and, sadly, his tragic suicide note that read “Dear World, I am leaving because I am bored.”

In addition to Sanders, other first-timers are Eleanor Parker, Franchot Tone, Sandra Dee, Vanessa Redgrave, Ricardo Montalban, Rod Taylor, Ann Harding, Dennis Morgan, Simone Signoret, Leslie Caron and Slim Pickens.

“I am most pleased to see that we’re doing Eleanor Parker, who’s one of my favorite actresses who I sort of came to appreciate [more] in just the past couple years,” Mankiewicz says. “I was ready to complain to our head of programming that we didn’t have her first starring movie. She was in some B pictures and she’d been a supporting actress but we didn’t have The Very Thought of You [on her calendar day], which was the first movie she really sort of starred in, but that’s because we’re showing it during Dennis Morgan’s night. …We’re showing Caged at 4 [Eastern] in the afternoon on Monday the 7th. Everybody should stop what they’re doing at 4 on Monday and watch that movie.”

With TCM’s robust film library, narrowing the calendar to just 31 stars proves challenging every year. Fan feedback definitely plays into the calendar’s development, as do significant anniversaries. This year marks the 40th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death, so TCM is dedicating Aug. 16 to the King. “My favorite … I love Ann-Margret so I particularly love Viva Las Vegas,” says Mankiewicz. “Any time you have a star that can nearly match Elvis in terms of magnetism, it just helps.”

Mankiewicz has built a career around being a steward of the classic film genre and has had the distinguished honor of interviewing many film legends of the past, but only a handful have truly left him starstruck. “In terms of taking-my-breath-away starstruck? Sophia Loren. I’ve never seen more people make an excuse to be in a green room than when Sophia Loren was [in attendance at TCM’s festival]. There is this regal quality to her and you just can’t help it when you walk into a room and you know she’s going to be there and you see her and you have to turn to whoever you’re with and be like, ‘That’s Sophia Loren!’ I waited forever to go up and talk to her and I was interviewing her later. And she was, as you might imagine, she was delightful and kind and sweet and so smart and funny. All the energy in the room is around her.”

While Loren isn’t a star on the calendar this year (believe us, she’s had a few turns), there are 31 other stars who will provide plenty of shine.

TCM Summer Under the Stars


  1. I have been watching TCM for many years and I am thankful for all the
    movies I have been able to see. I would like to see more films with
    Jean Paul Belmondo and some Lina Wertmuller’s films in the future.
    Thank you for the special you did on Natalie Wood with her daughter
    and Robert Wagner.

  2. I was just wondering where Jimmy Stewart & Humphrey Bogart are…
    Maybe it’s time to make this 60 days of summer…I Appreciate & Enjoy All that You do..

  3. always love tcms motages..WHAT A COLLECTION OF “EYEBROW” ACTING IN THIS ONE !… and PLEASE, what is the music that drives this bit…love it…please share , joe

  4. I love TCM & always look forward to summer under the stars……the line-up looks great!! I really wish sometime you would show Gene Kelly & Natalie Wood in Marjorie Morningstar. I haven’t seen that movie in decades. Also, some year, or day, I’d like to suggest you feature Barbara Rush. She is an awesome actress & beautiful, & I love her voice. Many of her movies, i.e., The Bramble Bush, Strangers When We Meet, The Young Philadelphians, might be considered “chick flicks” but so are many others that are shown & we gals do love them. Thank you for your considerations.

  5. I’m glad that Sandra Dee is being featured! I just wish they would have scheduled “Take Her, She’s Mine” with James Stewart – it’s one of my favorites!

  6. So happy about George Sanders. My friend Francesca Gabor Hilton told me once that some of the same people who tried to defame her by spreading false rumors that she was not the daughter of Conrad Hilton and Zsa Zsa, but of George Sanders and Zsa Zsa. Totally false and I have the DNA test given to me by Francesca to prove it.

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