Actors and actresses are under no obligation to have an official website. There’s IMDb.com, for starters, as well as Wikipedia, various other wikis, and the likes of Empire to fill those gaps. But still they remain, delightfully fan-friendly corners of the web that exist to let interested parties know where you can buy said actor’s autobiography, which dates they’ll be appearing at your local Corn Exchange, and how to download a variety of 640x480 wallpapers. Here are just seven of our favourites, but if you have any more, please do let us know in the comment box below.
There is so much to love about Sean Connery’s website. On the homepage alone, it proudly features messages from fans telling Sir Sean how wonderful he is – “You are so talented and I respect and admire you so much!” – alongside the opportunity to “download your ‘Bond’ theme screen saver for Windows 95 or later”. If you select a wallpaper, meanwhile, you’re then helpfully informed as to how to set it up on your PC or Mac, something that is genuinely incredibly sweet.
Elsewhere, a message from Sean himself reads: "I hope you are enjoying my website. While you are here, I would ask that you take a few moments to consider helping someone else. I would request that you help me to help others. The three areas that are very important to me are: education, culture, and Scotland." Now you know.
P.S. While not every website on this list is in honour of an incarnation of Bond, there are three of them, and forewarned is forearmed.
The second Bond on this list deserves your online adoration for many reasons. A key one is his latest Q&A, which almost matches his Pint Of Milk interview in the December 2014 issue of Empire. Some excerpts:
Q: Did you ever learn to scuba dive for real, or just for movies?
A: Re scuba diving – I did it for real. Of course it helped with movies later on of course.
Q: You are known for being a suave and sophisticated gentleman, so did you enjoy playing Rufus Excalibur Ffolkes in North Sea Hijack (1979)? As he is a bit of a git.
A: I loved it! I’d always played the nice guy parts and so to get a part when I could be rude and pig headed was terrific fun. Pity they never made a sequel!
This is just the latest Q&A – there are many, many more, all of which can be read here, and all of which you need to read immediately, especially as many of them feature the old version of his website, complete with a spinning Sir Roger Moore logo in the top left-hand corner.
Then there’s the pleasingly-named Roger Moore Store, which boasts on its hypothetical shelves a photo of David Attenborough next to a moulting seabird, signed by David Attenborough himself. Sadly, that particular product is currently unavailable. You can also buy his very enjoyable memoirs and a signed glossy picture of him pointing a gun at you for just £2.98 (amongst other things).
The only Bond on this list not to be knighted, Pierce Brosnan more than makes up for the absence of “Sir” on his business cards with a website, Facebook page, Twitter profile and instagram account that puts the other two 007s here to shame.
A trained commercial artist, Brosnan’s been painting in his spare time since the late 1980s, so the “Artist” tab is well worth a look, but it’s his recent spate of on- and off-set instagram photos that are the absolute highlight of his online presence. A photograph of the “Bron-Hom” – as some of his fans call him – recently made it to the Empire Facebook page, such is the power of Pierce Brosnan, mid-dance, making Spider-Man hands at the camera.
Elsewhere on the site, there is plenty on his activism for good causes – the environment, children’s welfare, animals, women’s health and whales – and a seriously slick photo gallery which will remind you just how ludicrously handsome he is. Make time to click through them all to see a snap of Brosnan and Connery at a party together.
An online institution, man of a thousand memes, king of Twitter and crown prince of Facebook, Sir Ian McKellen – often seen together with his brother-in-arms Sir Patrick Stewart – has the power to summon up more retweets and Facebook likes than a thousand of the cutest pug puppies all riding just one solitary unicycle. As such, his website is perhaps the best on this list, fastidiously maintaining its old schoolishness while remaining informative and witty at the same time.
As one of the first famous bloggers, much of what you’ll enjoy is to be found in the “Writings / Blogs” section, stretching back to his very first published writing when he was 17 to musings on the latest Hobbit movie. Then there are eye-opening behind-the-scenes accounts from his time on the X-Men sets, Lord Of The Rings sets, Da Vinvi Code sets... the list goes on and on, and you really should read them all, though possibly not all in one sitting.
Keeping you up to date in a more detailed manner than Twitter, there’s also the “What’s New?” section, which features such enjoyable segments as “How do you remember your lines?” and “Is that really alcohol you’re drinking on stage?” There is truly no actor more dedicated to keeping his fans in the loop, or more willing to play with his public persona, as recently seen in his speech to a group of Oxford University students, where he told the assembled crowd that if you don’t revise… “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!”
Preferring to concentrate on Twitter, Sir Michael Caine’s website has not changed much since his second autobiography, The Elephant To Hollywood, hit shelves in 2010. This isn’t to say the website isn’t worth your time, especially as it contains a detailed and officially-approved biography and a photo gallery that is guaranteed to make you smile.
A couple of minor caveats: the details in the aforementioned bio only extend to 1992. This may have something to do when the when his first autobiography, What’s It All About?, came out. Also, the photo gallery’s charm lies in both the images themselves and their titles – look forward to seeing photos called “Michael on a boat” and “Michael wearing a bow tie” in amongst the knighthood snaps, Oscars get-ups and official press stills.
Incidentally, fans of both Batman and Caine’s interpretation of Alfred will want to read this small passage in his blog section from the Batman Begins era:
“Doing Batman was the first time I ever understood, having seen all the films that have gone before, why he did what he did and why he chose the symbol of the Bat to become Batman. This film makes him a human instead of a super human, therefore, he is as vulnerable as the rest of us which makes for tremendous suspense when he is in jeopardy. Unlike every other Batman film I have seen when he is invulnerable. As for Albert, who is the butler and guardian of Batman… He is a very human core in the centre of the film and I have been told very funny but I haven’t seen the film yet.”
Make no mistake: though there’s some flashy slidey stuff and a variety of well-polished web-doohickies littering Travolta’s site, this is an old-fashioned movie actor website in a well-sheared sheep’s clothing. As is often the way, the best stuff is in the photo gallery, which may be a little cumbersome to use but is still worth your time, if only to see a teenage Travolta playing the violin or Travolta dancing with Princess Diana.
What makes this site particularly wonderful is that Travolta is still kicking it old school with his fans, offering a very reasonable service when it comes to signed photographs. The autograph page includes the words “If you want John to recognize a particular person by name, make sure you enclose a letter with the proper information”, which tells you succinctly the level of respect Team Travolta has for their fans. In the video section, there’s a clip featuring both Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, together again to promote their Christmas album, and it’s impressively cheesy.
Jane Fonda loves her community of fans, which is why they take centre stage on her homepage. Also getting some attention is a little-known cartoon programme called The Simpsons, which Fonda has written a blog about after appearing as Mr. Burns’ girlfriend in a recent episode. She also went on a tour around Simpsons HQ after doing her voice recording, and she’s posted some photos she took here, which are all genuinely illuminating. Did you know the writer who wrote the episode with the most viewers per seasons get a flag put up in their honour? Well, now you do.
Another choice blog of hers is this one, which tells you the perfect way to cook roasted butternut squash, then there’s her ode to Russell Crowe, which came about after Fonda worked with the Oscar-winner on an upcoming movie called Fathers And Daughters. And if you’re on the site for even the briefest period of time, at least consider buying one of her workout DVDs, or failing that, a t-shirt with her 1970s Vietnam protest mugshot on it.