Happy birthday to actor Edward G. Robinson, born Dec. 12, 1893 in Bucharest, Romania. One of Hollywood’s iconic stars, Edward G. Robinson was a forceful presence on-screen, whether playing a tough gangster or an average working man. In an era when Hollywood was obsessed with tall handsome leading men, Robinson, who was of short stature and possessed unspectacular looks, proved that talent, charisma, and intelligence were the true keys to success. Robinson’s family emigrated to the United States in 1903, settling in the Lower East Side of New York, where Robinson studied acting while attending City College, earning an American Academy of Dramatic Arts scholarship. In 1913, he began performing in local theater, and by 1915, was appearing regularly on Broadway. Robinson had two small movie parts during the silent era, but it wasn’t until talkies that his film career began in earnest, starting with The Hole in the Wall (1929). His breakout role came in 1931 when he was cast as Rico Bandello in Little Caesar. His powerful performance set the standard for movie gangsters for decades to come, and led to many more tough guy parts for Robinson. But by the 1940s, Robinson expanded his range, appearing in dramas and even comedies. He was a mainstay of film noir, appearing in over a dozen classic noir films: Double Indemnity (1944), The Woman in the Window (1944), Scarlet Street (1945), The Stranger (1946), The Red House (1947), All My Sons (1948), Key Largo (1948), Night Has a Thousand Eyes (1948), House of Strangers (1949), The Glass Web (1953), Black Tuesday (1954), A Bullet for Joey (1955), Illegal (1955), Tight Spot (1955), and Nightmare (1956). In his career, Robinson appeared in over 100 films and TV shows and worked consistently up until his death. His final role was in the sci-fi classic Soylent Green (1973). Two months after his passing, he was awarded an Honorary Oscar for “greatness as a player, a patron of the arts, and a dedicated citizen…” Robinson died of cancer in 1973 at age 79.