Memorials

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Memorials

Postby olywaguy » Fri Jan 29, 2010 10:19 am

This week has been hard hit by a number of people passing away.

Howard Zinn, J.D. Salinger, Zelda Rubinstein, Lawrence Garfinkel, and Pernell Roberts all passed away this week.

Howard Zinn was a historian known for his the book A People's History of the United States (1980). He was going to speak at the college I work at this weekend. He has also was a graduation speaker in recent years at the college as well.

J.D. Salinger was 91 years old at his passing. Author of Catcher in the Rye and Nine Stories. Very reclusive author. Don't be surprised if his unpublished works all of a sudden start getting published posthumously. He didn't believe in publishing his work, but you can bet he did write at home.

Zelda Rubinstein was the diminutive actress that was in the movie Poltergeist.

Lawrence Garfinkel was the scientist that found the link between smoking and cancer.

Pernell Roberts from the tv shows Bonanza (Adam) and star of Trapper John MD.


Howard Zinn
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J.D. Salinger
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At 90 years old
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Zelda Rubinstein
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Lawrence Garfinkel
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Pernell Roberts as Adam in Bonanza
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as Trapper John in Trapper John MD
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Re: Memorials

Postby DeckApe » Fri Jan 29, 2010 10:48 am

I mentioned JD Salinger's passing to my English-major hubby, and his response was, "how did anyone know?"

I'm sure people heard me laughing all over Costco... :oops:
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Re: Memorials

Postby olywaguy » Fri Jan 29, 2010 11:12 am

Salinger had his own publicist. So, it was he/she that announced it.
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Re: Memorials

Postby olywaguy » Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:42 am

Actress Nan Martin passed away a few days ago, she was 82. You may know her best as Mrs. Louder on The Drew Carey Show and as matchmaker the Widow Thayer in Big Eden. She appeared in countless movies and TV shows. You would recognize her face when you see her.

Nan Martin in Big Eden
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Nan Martin (left) with Cloris Leachman in Mrs. Harris.
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Nan Martin, an Actress Known for Her Strong Roles, Dies at 82

By WILLIAM GRIMES
Published: March 9, 2010

Nan Martin, a veteran stage, television and film actress whose Broadway credits include “J.B.” and “Under the Yum-Yum Tree” and who played Ali McGraw’s snooty mother in the film “Goodbye, Columbus,” died on Thursday at her home in Malibu, Calif. She was 82.

The cause was complications of emphysema, said her son Casey Dolan.

Ms. Martin gained wide exposure in the late 1990s in the recurring role of the mean-spirited boss, Mrs. Louder, in the sitcom “The Drew Carey Show.”

She made her Broadway debut in 1950 in a short-lived play, “A Story for a Sunday Evening.” She went on to appear in numerous television films and television series, including “The Twilight Zone” and “The Untouchables,” and became a regular in Joseph Papp’s Shakespeare in the Park productions in the early 1960s.

She earned a Tony nomination for her performance as the wife, Sarah, in Archibald MacLeish’s verse drama “J.B.” (1958), directed by Elia Kazan. In “Under the Yum-Yum Tree” (1960), she played Irene Wilson, the divorcée who briefly attracts the roving eye of Gig Young.

In 1976 she returned to Broadway as Mrs. Buchanan in Tennessee Williams’s “Eccentricities of a Nightingale,” a reconceived version of his play “Summer and Smoke.” In his review for The New York Times, Clive Barnes wrote that she “glitters like a bejeweled snake as the awful mother.”

Nan Clow Martin was born in Decatur, Ill., on July 15, 1927, and grew up in Santa Monica, Calif. After acting in a student production at the University of California, Los Angeles, which she attended part time, and modeling for the fashion designer Adrian, she moved to New York.

Besides “The Drew Carey Show,” her many television credits include “NYPD Blue” and “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” and she appeared in the films “Toys in the Attic,” “For Love of Ivy” and “Shallow Hal,” among others.

Mothers were something of a specialty for Ms. Martin on television and in film, most memorably her role as Mrs. Ben Patimkin, who douses Richard Benjamin with cold contempt in “Goodbye, Columbus” (1969). She also played Freddy Krueger’s mother in “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors” (1987).

Later in her career, Ms. Martin acted with the South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, Calif. Her performance as Miss Helen in Athol Fugard’s three-character “Road to Mecca” in 1989 led to an engagement in the same role opposite the playwright at the Kennedy Center in Washington.

Ms. Martin’s first marriage, to the screen composer Robert Emmett Dolan, ended in divorce. In addition to her son Casey, of Los Angeles, she is survived by her husband, Harry Gesner; another son, Zen Gesner of Malibu; and three grandsons.

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Re: Memorials

Postby olywaguy » Mon Mar 15, 2010 9:07 am

Actor Peter Graves from the TV series Mission: Impossible and Airplane passed away yesterday at the age of 83. He is also known as the host and narrator of A&E's Biography.

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YouTube: AP
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btrbQ-BRp0M


Peter Graves, ‘Mission: Impossible’ Star, Dies at 83

By MICHAEL POLLAK
Published: March 14, 2010

Peter Graves, the cool spymaster of television’s “Mission: Impossible” and the dignified host of the “Biography” series, who successfully spoofed his own gravitas in the “Airplane!” movie farces, died on Sunday. He was 83.

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He died of a heart attack at his home in Pacific Palisades, Calif., said Fred Barman, his business manager.

It was a testament to Mr. Graves’s earnest, unhammy ability to make fun of himself that after decades of playing square he-men and straitlaced authority figures, he was perhaps best known to younger audiences for a deadpan line in “Airplane!” (“Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?”) and one from a memorable Geico car insurance commercial (“I was one lucky woman”).

Born Peter Aurness in Minneapolis, the blond, 6-foot-2 Mr. Graves served in the Army Air Forces in 1944 and ’45, studied drama at the University of Minnesota under the G.I. Bill of Rights and played the clarinet in local bands before following his older brother, James Arness, to Hollywood.

His first credited film appearance was in “Rogue River” (1950), with Rory Calhoun. Mr. Graves’s getting a Hollywood contract for the picture persuaded his fiancée’s family to let her marry him. He changed his name for that movie to Graves, his maternal grandfather’s name, to avoid confusion with his older brother.

He soon found himself in classics like Billy Wilder’s “Stalag 17” (1953), where he played a security officer with a secret; Charles Laughton’s “Night of the Hunter” (1955); Otto Preminger’s “Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell” (1955); and John Ford’s “Long Gray Line” (1955).

Mr. Graves became known for taking all his roles seriously, injecting a certain believability into even the campiest plot. He appeared in westerns like “The Yellow Tomahawk” (1954) and “Wichita” (1955); a Civil War adventure, “The Raid” (1954); and gangster movies (“Black Tuesday,” 1954, and “The Naked Street,” 1955). He played earnest scientists in science fiction/horror films: “Killers From Space” (1954), “It Conquered the World” (1956) and “Beginning of the End” (1957, about giant grasshoppers in Chicago). There was also cold war science fiction anti-Communism: “Red Planet Mars” (1952).

Other movies included “East of Sumatra” (1953), “Beneath the 12-Mile Reef” (1953), “A Rage to Live” (1965), “Texas Across the River” (1966), “Sergeant Ryker” (1968), “The Ballad of Josie” (1968), “The Five-Man Army” (1969), “The Clonus Horror” (1979), “The Guns and the Fury” (1981), “Savannah Smiles” (1982), “Number One With a Bullet” (1986), “Addams Family Values” (1993), “The House on Haunted Hill” (1999) and “Men in Black II” (2002).

In 1955 Mr. Graves began his career as a television series regular as the star of “Fury,” a western family adventure series about a rancher named Jim Newton, his orphaned ward and the boy’s black stallion. It ran until 1959 on NBC, helped pioneer television adventure series and solidified Mr. Graves’s TV credentials.

Some of his hundreds of television credits include “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” “Whiplash” (1961), “The Dean Martin Show” (1970), the Herman Wouk mini-series “The Winds of War” (1983) and “War and Remembrance” (1988), “Fantasy Island” (1978-83) and “7th Heaven” (1999-2005). He served as the host or narrator for numerous television specials and performed in television movies of the week like “The President’s Plane Is Missing” (1973), “Where Have All the People Gone” (1974) and “Death Car on the Freeway” (1979).

Mr. Graves played his most famous television character from 1967 to 1973 in “Mission: Impossible,” reprising it from 1988 to 1990. He was Jim Phelps, the leader of the Impossible Missions Force, a super-secret government organization that conducted dangerous undercover assignments (which he always chose to accept). After the tape summarizing the objective self-destructed, the team would use not violence, but elaborate con games to trap the villains. In his role, Mr. Graves was a model of cool, deadpan efficiency.

But he was appalled when his agent sent him the script for the role of a pedophile pilot in “Airplane!” (1980). “I tore my hair and ranted and raved and said, ‘This is insane,’ he recalled on “Biography” in 1997. Some of the role’s lines (“Have you ever been in a Turkish prison?”) looked at first as if they could get him thrown in jail, never mind ruining his career. He told his agent to tell David and Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrahams, the director-producers, to find themselves a comedian. He relented when the Zucker brothers explained that the secret of their spoof would be the deadpan behavior of the cast; they didn’t want a comedian, they wanted the Peter Graves of “Fury” and “Mission: Impossible.”

Mr. Graves used his familiar earnest, all-American demeanor in service of some of the comic movie’s most outrageous moments. He reprised the role of Captain Oveur in “Airplane II” in 1982.

Starting in the mid-1980s Mr. Graves was the host of a number of television science specials on “Discover.” In 1987, he became the host of the Arts and Entertainment Network’s long-running “Biography” series, narrating the lives of figures like Prince Andrew, Muhammad Ali, pioneers of the space program, Churchill, Ernie Kovacs, Edward G. Robinson, Sophia Loren, Jackie Robinson, Howard Hughes, Steven Spielberg and Jonathan Winters.

In 1997, Mr. Graves was the subject of his own “Biography” presentation, “Peter Graves: Mission Accomplished.” In 2002, Mr. Graves was interviewed for a special about the documentary series, “Biography: 15 Years and Counting.”

Mr. Graves won a Golden Globe Award in 1971 for his performance in “Mission: Impossible” and in 1997, he and “Biography” won an Emmy Award for outstanding informational series.

In 1998, he joined his wife, Joan, in an effort to get Los Angeles to ban gasoline-powered leaf blowers from residential areas, testifying before the City Council, “’We’re all victims of these machines.”

He is survived by his wife, Joan Graves, and three daughters, Amanda Lee Graves, Claudia King Graves and Kelly Jean Graves.

Derrick Henry contributed reporting.


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Re: Memorials

Postby olywaguy » Mon Mar 22, 2010 8:45 am

Fess Parker, TV's Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone, died on March 18, 2010. His characterization of Davy Crockett created one of the biggest fads of all time....wearing of coonskin caps. He also starred in the move Old Yeller.

If you ever watched the first Back to the Future movie, you would've heard the song "The Ballad of Davy Crockett" when Marty McFly appears on the 1950s Town Square. I think there were some kids wearing coonskin caps as well.

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Fess Parker, Who as Davy Crockett Set Off Coonskin Cap Craze, Dies at 85

By RICHARD SEVERO
Published: March 19, 2010

Fess Parker, whose television portrayal of the American frontiersman Davy Crockett catapulted him to stardom in the mid-1950s and inspired millions of children to wear coonskin caps in one of America’s greatest merchandising fads, died on Thursday at his home in the Santa Ynez Valley in California, where he ran a successful winery. He was 85.

A family spokeswoman, Sao Anash, said Mr. Parker died of natural causes.

Mr. Parker went rustic once again in the 1960s to play Daniel Boone for a new wave of young television watchers, but by the mid-1970s he had largely given up acting and become a successful businessman and real estate developer. In 1987, he and his son, Eli, purchased a 714-acre ranch and established the Fess Parker Winery and Vineyard.

Mr. Parker was a genial, handsome, imposingly tall but somewhat obscure Hollywood actor when he was discovered by Walt Disney, whose company was about to produce a series of Davy Crockett episodes for “Disneyland,” his new ABC television show.

Disney had been searching for a quintessential American type to play the rough-hewn hero of the Alamo and had considered established stars like Glenn Ford, Sterling Hayden and Ronald Reagan before deciding against them. When someone suggested James Arness, Disney went to see “Them!,” a well-regarded 1954 science-fiction movie in which Mr. Arness — who later went on to TV stardom on “Gunsmoke” — had a major role. Mr. Parker had a small but visible part in the film, and when Disney saw him — rugged-looking and well over 6 feet tall — he was said to have exclaimed, “There’s our Davy Crockett!”

The scriptwriter for the series, Tom W. Blackburn, and the head staff composer for the Disney organization, George Bruns, came up with a title song, “The Ballad of Davy Crockett,” and it was introduced on the first episode of “Disneyland” on Oct. 27, 1954, to publicize the coming Crockett episodes.

The song, with multiple choruses, began:

Born on a mountaintop in Tennessee

Greenest state in the land of the free

Raised in the woods so he knew every tree

Kilt him a b’ar when he was only 3

Davy, Davy Crockett

King of the wild frontier


“The Ballad of Davy Crockett” would become stamped in the memories of a generation of young viewers. A number of artists, including Mr. Parker himself, recorded the song, and it sold in the millions. Bill Hayes’s version reached No. 1 on the pop charts. Tennessee Ernie Ford, Eddy Arnold, Burl Ives and Mitch Miller were among the others to come out with recordings.

The first episode of the Davy Crockett trilogy, “Davy Crockett: Indian Fighter,” with Buddy Ebsen as Mr. Parker’s sidekick, George, was shown on Dec. 15, 1954. “Davy Crockett Goes to Congress” appeared on Jan. 26, 1955. By the time the last episode, “Davy Crockett at the Alamo,” was broadcast, on Feb. 23, 1955, the country was in a Crockett frenzy.

Children wore coonskin caps to school and wore them to bed. They wore them with their Davy Crockett plastic fringe frontier costumes while they played with their Crockett trading cards, their Crockett board games and puzzles, their Crockett color slide sets and their Crockett powder horns. They pestered their parents for Crockett toy muskets and Crockett bubble gum and Crockett rings and comic books.

By the end of 1955, The New York Times reported, American children had their choice of more than 3,000 different Davy Crockett toys, lunch boxes, thermoses and coloring books.

The Disney studio also turned episodes from the series into two feature films — “Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier” in 1955 and “Davy Crockett and the River Pirates” the following year.

If the Disney scripts stretched the truth about Crockett, the final episode remained faithful to at least one historical fact. The real-life Crockett died at the Alamo in 1836 at the age of 49, and Mr. Parker’s Crockett fell there, too. But Disney, responding to a public outcry, brought him back for episodes in the 1955-56 season, including “Davy Crockett’s Keelboat Race.”

“Take off those black armbands, kids,” the gossip columnist Hedda Hopper wrote, “and put on your coonskin caps, for Davy Crockett will hit the trail again.”

But not for long. By early 1956 interest had begun to flag, and as suddenly as it had begun, the craze ended.

Mr. Parker had brought a quiet, manly dignity to his portrayal of Davy Crockett. Paul Andrew Hutton, a historian at the University of New Mexico, said the character had given young children “an appreciation not only of history but of a kind of patriotism and self-sacrifice.”

Years later, Mr. Parker said, Vietnam veterans told him that watching his Crockett deal with fear when they were young had influenced their conduct in battle.

Mr. Parker continued to star for Disney in films like “The Great Locomotive Chase” (1956), “Westward Ho the Wagons!” (1956), “Old Yeller” (1957) and “The Light in the Forest” (1958).

But he began to chafe at the roles the Disney organization was offering him, and when he refused to appear in “Tonka,” the studio suspended him. He was unhappy, too, that Walt Disney had discouraged his being cast in “The Searchers,” the John Ford classic starring John Wayne, and “Bus Stop,” with Marilyn Monroe.

In 1963, Mr. Parker took to the stage as Curly in a touring production of “Oklahoma!” But the movie roles he wanted didn’t come his way.

In 1964 he put on buckskin again in the title role of “Daniel Boone.” That series ran for six years, but it didn’t capture the public’s imagination the way “Davy Crockett” had.

Fess Elisha Parker II was born in Fort Worth on Aug. 16, 1924, and grew up in San Angelo, where his family raised watermelons, peanuts and cattle. He attended Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Tex., before joining the Navy in World War II and participating in mopping-up operations in the Philippines. Afterward he attended the University of Texas and the University of Southern California.

He began acting professionally in 1951, in the national company of “Mister Roberts.” Shortly afterward, he made his film debut in “Untamed Frontier” (1952), with Joseph Cotten and Shelley Winters, and appeared in small roles in other films.

Over the years Mr. Parker made many guest appearances on television variety shows. He also had a short-lived series in 1962 called “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” based on the 1939 Frank Capra movie that starred James Stewart.

Mr. Parker married Marcella Rinehart in 1960 and died on her 84th birthday, Ms. Anash, the family spokeswoman, told The Associated Press. Besides his wife, he is survived by his son, Fess Elisha Parker III; his daughter, Ashley Parker-Snyder; and 11 grandchildren.

As a developer and entrepreneur, Mr. Parker had interests in luxury hotels and a mobile home park in addition to his winery, which had its first harvest in 1989. He also acquired a reputation for being sure of himself and determined to get his way. Playing Davy Crockett, he said, had made him that way.

And if Crockett had a shrewd side, so did the businessman in Mr. Parker, who understood the character’s continuing marketing power long after the ’50s craze had become a memory.

At his winery visitors almost invariably asked him about Crockett, and he was sure to direct them to the gift shop, where coonskin caps were for sale. And though he politely but consistently refused to wear one for their cameras, he was always happy to sign a Fess Parker wine label, bearing its familiar trademark: a tiny picture of a coonskin cap.

Douglas Martin contributed reporting.

An earlier version of this article misspelled Eddy Arnold's first name as Eddie.

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Re: Memorials

Postby olywaguy » Thu Mar 25, 2010 8:42 pm

Robert Culp from the ground-breaking TV show I Spy. Why was it ground-breaking because his co-star was black...not only that, it was Bill Cosby.

You may recognize him from Everybody Loves Raymond as Debra's dad.

Culp and Cosby in I Spy
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Robert Culp, Star in ‘I Spy,’ Dies at 79

By WILLIAM GRIMES
Published: March 24, 2010

Robert Culp, who teamed with Bill Cosby as a secret agent in the hit 1960s television series “I Spy” and starred as one of the sexually adventurous title characters in the 1969 film “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice,” died on Wednesday in Los Angeles. He was 79.

His agent, Hillard Elkins, said that Mr. Culp apparently died of a heart attack after collapsing outside his home.

Later in his career Mr. Culp had a recurring role as Ray Romano’s father-in-law in the sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond,” but he may be best remembered for his role in NBC’s “I Spy” as part of an easygoing, wisecracking interracial team that was a first for network television and the inspiration for later black and white buddy films.

Secret agents and international intrigue in exotic locations loomed large on the big and small screens in the mid-1960s after the runaway success of the James Bond films. “I Spy,” which ran from 1965 to 1968, presented viewers with a couple of new twists on the formula.

Kelly Robinson, played by Mr. Culp, posed as a dissolute, globe-trotting tennis bum accompanied by his trainer, Alexander Scott, played by Mr. Cosby. Traveling from one tournament to another in glamorous settings, they carried out dangerous assignments in their real roles as agents for the Pentagon.

Blending comedy and drama, “I Spy” clicked with television audiences and established Mr. Culp as a suave leading man. After the series ended he took a starring role with Natalie Wood, Elliott Gould and Dyan Cannon in Paul Mazursky’s “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice,” playing a documentary filmmaker keen to test emotional and sexual limits after attending a group therapy session.

Later he played the F.B.I. agent Bill Maxwell in the television series “The Greatest American Hero,” which ran from 1981 to 1983.

Robert Martin Culp was born on Aug. 16, 1930, in Oakland, Calif., and attended high school in Berkeley. He attended the College of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif.; Washington University in St Louis; San Francisco State College; and the drama school of the University of Washington, though he never earned a degree.

His first starring role in television came in 1957 with the CBS series “Trackdown,” a spinoff of “Zane Grey Theater.” As Hoby Gilman, a Texas Ranger, he hunted down criminals all over the state.

When “Trackdown” ended in 1959, Mr. Culp appeared in numerous television series, including “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” “Bonanza,” “The Rifleman” and “The Outer Limits” before teaming up with Mr. Cosby. Mr. Culp wrote the scripts for seven episodes of “I Spy,” and was nominated for an Emmy for all three years the show was in production. Each year, he lost to Mr. Cosby.

There were no hard feelings. He reunited with Mr. Cosby in 1972 on the film “Hickey & Boggs,” a fast-paced comedy about a couple of seedy private-eyes. The film was Mr. Culp’s directorial debut. He later appeared opposite Mr. Cosby in a 1987 episode of “The Cosby Show,” playing Scott Kelly, an old friend of Dr. Cliff Huxtable’s, and, once again as Kelly Robinson, in a 1999 episode of “Cosby” that included a dream sequence of “I Spy.” They had also reunited in the television movie “I Spy Returns” in 1994.

In other films Mr. Culp played John F. Kennedy’s best friend in “PT 109” (1963), Wild Bill Hickok in “The Raiders” (1963), Jane Fonda’s fiancé in “Sunday in New York” (1963), and the president of the United States in “The Pelican Brief” (1993).

Mr. Culp was married five times. He is survived by his daughters, Samantha, who lives in China, and Rachel, of San Francisco; and his sons, Joseph, Joshua and Jason, all of Los Angeles.

Anahad O’Connor contributed reporting.

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Re: Memorials

Postby olywaguy » Sat May 29, 2010 7:17 pm

Gary Coleman and Dennis Hopper Pass Away.

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Dennis Hopper, 74, Hollywood Rebel, Dies

By EDWARD WYATT
Published: May 29, 2010

Dennis Hopper, who was part of a new generation of Hollywood rebels in portrayals of drug-addled misfits in the landmark films “Easy Rider,” “Apocalypse Now” and “Blue Velvet” and then went on to great success as a prolific character actor, died on Saturday at his home in Venice, Calif. He was 74.

The cause was complications from metastasized prostate cancer, according to a statement issued by Alex Hitz, a family friend.

Mr. Hopper, who said he stopped drinking and using drugs in the mid-1980s, followed that change with a tireless phase of his career in which he claimed to have turned down no parts. His credits include no fewer than six films released in 2008 and at least 25 over the past 10 years.

Most recently, Mr. Hopper starred in the television series “Crash,” an adaptation of the Oscar-winning film of the same title. Produced for the Starz cable channel, the show had Mr. Hopper portraying a music producer unhinged by years of drug use.

During a promotional tour last fall for that series, he fell ill; shortly thereafter, he began a new round of treatments for prostate cancer, which he said had been first diagnosed a decade ago.

Mr. Hopper was hospitalized in Los Angeles in January, at which time he also filed for divorce from his fifth wife, Victoria Duffy, with whom he had a young daughter. Mr. Hopper issued a news release citing “irreconcilable differences” for the filing.

“I wish Victoria the best but only want to spend these difficult days surrounded by my children and close friends,” he said in the release.

Mr. Hopper first won praise in Hollywood as a teenager in 1955 for his portrayal of an epileptic on the NBC series “Medic” and for a small part in the film “Rebel Without a Cause,” which starred James Dean, who was a friend of his.

Mr. Hopper confirmed his status as a rising star as the son of a wealthy rancher and his wife, played by Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor, in “Giant” (1956), the epic western with Dean.

In those years, he was linked romantically with Natalie Wood and Joanne Woodward.

Yet that success brought with it a growing hubris, and in 1958 Mr. Hopper found himself in a battle of wills with the director Henry Hathaway on the set of “From Hell to Texas.”

The story has several versions; the most common is that his refusal to play a scene in the manner that the director requested resulted in Mr. Hopper’s stubbornly performing more than 80 takes before he finally followed orders.

Upon wrapping the scene, Mr. Hopper later recalled, Mr. Hathaway told him that his career in Hollywood was finished.

He soon left for New York, where he studied with Lee Strasberg for several years, performed onstage and acted in more than 100 episodes of television shows.

It was not until after his marriage in 1961 to Brooke Hayward — who, as the daughter of Leland Hayward, a producer and agent, and Margaret Sullavan, the actress, was part of Hollywood royalty — that Mr. Hopper was regularly offered film roles again.

He wrangled small parts in big studio films like “The Sons of Katie Elder” (1965) — directed by his former nemesis Henry Hathaway — as well as “Cool Hand Luke” (1967) and “Hang ’Em High” (1968).

And he grew close to his wife’s childhood friend Peter Fonda, who, with Mr. Hopper and a few others, began mulling over a film whose story line followed traditional western themes but substituted motorcycles for horses.

That film, “Easy Rider,” which Mr. Hopper wrote with Mr. Fonda and Terry Southern and directed, followed a pair of truth-seeking bikers (Mr. Fonda and Mr. Hopper) on a cross-country journey to New Orleans.

It won the prize for best first film at the 1969 Cannes Film Festival (though it faced only one competitor, as the critic Vincent Canby pointed out in a tepid 1969 review in The New York Times).

Mr. Hopper also shared an Oscar nomination for writing the film, while a nomination for best supporting actor went to a little-known Jack Nicholson.

“Easy Rider” introduced much of its audience, if not Mr. Hopper, to cocaine, and the film’s success accelerated a period of intense drug and alcohol use that Mr. Hopper later said nearly killed him and turned him into a professional pariah.

Given nearly $1 million by Universal for a follow-up project, he retreated with a cadre of hippies to Peru to shoot “The Last Movie,” a hallucinogenic film about the making of a movie. It won a top prize at the 1971 Venice Film Festival, but it failed with critics and at the box office.

Mr. Hopper edited the film while living at Los Gallos, a 22-room adobe house in Taos, N.M., that he rechristened the Mud Palace and envisioned as a counterculture Hollywood.

It was there that his drug-induced paranoia took full flower, including a period in which he posted armed guards on the roof.

“I was terribly naïve in those days,” he told The New York Times in 2002. “I thought the crazier you behaved, the better artist you would be. And there was a time when I had a lot of energy to display how crazy that was.”

Mr. Hopper was seen mostly in small film parts until he returned to prominence with his performance in “Apocalypse Now” (1979).

In a 1993 interview with the British newspaper The Guardian, Mr. Hopper credited Marlon Brando, a star of the film, with the idea of having him portray a freewheeling photojournalist, rather than the smaller role of a C.I.A. officer, in which he was originally cast.

But Mr. Hopper’s after-hours style continued to affect his work; in “Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse,” a documentary about the making of that film, the director, Francis Ford Coppola, is seen lamenting that Mr. Hopper cannot seem to learn his lines.

After becoming sober in the 1980s, Mr. Hopper began taking on roles in several films a year, becoming one of the most recognizable character actors of the day.

He earned a second Oscar nomination for best supporting actor for his role as the alcoholic father of a troubled high school basketball star in “Hoosiers” (1986), and he honed his portrayal of unhinged villains in films like “Blue Velvet” (also in 1986), “Speed” (1994) and “Waterworld” (1995), as well as in the first season of the television series “24” (2002).

Mr. Hopper had several artistic pursuits beyond film. Early in his career, he painted and wrote poetry, though many of his works were destroyed in a 1961 fire that burned scores of homes, including his, in the Los Angeles enclave Bel Air.

Around that time, Ms. Hayward gave him a camera as a gift, and Mr. Hopper took up photography.

His intimate and unguarded images of celebrities like Ike and Tina Turner, Andy Warhol and Jane Fonda were the subject of gallery shows and were collected in a book, “1712 North Crescent Heights.” The book, whose title was his address in the Hollywood Hills in the 1960s, was edited by Marin Hopper, his daughter by Ms. Hayward.

He also built an extensive collection of works by artists he knew, including Warhol, Ed Ruscha and Julian Schnabel.

Born on May 17, 1936, in Dodge City, Kan., and raised on a nearby farm, Dennis Lee Hopper moved with his family to San Diego in the late 1940s.

He studied at the Old Globe Theater there while in high school, then signed a contract with Warner Brothers and moved to Los Angeles.

Mr. Hopper’s five marriages included one of eight days in 1970 to the singer Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas. He is survived by four children, all of the Los Angeles area: Marin Hopper; Ruthanna Hopper, his daughter by Daria Halprin, his third wife; a son, Henry Lee Hopper, whose mother is Katherine LaNasa; and Galen, his daughter by Ms. Duffy.

On March 26, surrounded by friends like Mr. Nicholson and David Lynch, the director of “Blue Velvet,” Mr. Hopper received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Looking frail, he began his brief acceptance speech by sardonically thanking the paparazzi for supposedly distracting him and causing him to lose his balance and fall the day before. He continued, “Everyone here today that I’ve invited — and obviously some that I haven’t invited — have enriched my life tremendously.”





Gary Coleman, ‘Diff’rent Strokes’ Star, Dies at 42

By ANITA GATES
Published: May 28, 2010

Gary Coleman, the former child star of the hit television series “Diff’rent Strokes,” who dealt with a well-publicized string of financial and personal difficulties after the show ended, died on Friday in Provo, Utah. He was 42 and lived in Santaquin, a small town near Provo.

Gary Coleman, left, with Dana Plato and Todd Bridges in a 1980 episode of “Diff’rent Strokes.”

Mr. Coleman was taken to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center on Wednesday as a result of a head injury caused by a fall. He suffered a brain hemorrhage and died after being removed from life support, a hospital spokeswoman, Janet Frank, said.

Mr. Coleman had been hospitalized twice this year with seizure-related problems and had been in and out of hospitals all his life, receiving treatment for congenital kidney disease. The treatment was said to have stunted his growth.

Mr. Coleman, who was 4 feet 8 inches tall, had a kidney transplant at 5 and a second one when he was 16.

“Diff’rent Strokes,” seen on NBC from 1978 to 1985 and on ABC from 1985 to 1986, was a comedy about a wealthy white New Yorker (Conrad Bain) who adopts two underprivileged black brothers, Arnold (played by Mr. Coleman) and Willis (Todd Bridges). Mr. Coleman made his character the little-boy version of America’s sweetheart.

“When he first strutted into our living rooms in 1978,” Bella Stumbo wrote in The Los Angeles Times Magazine in 1990, Mr. Coleman “looked like a lovable, smart-mouthed 6-year-old thrilled to be playing some new game.”

Viewers loved watching him make short work of bigotry and pretension, Ms. Stumbo continued. “He was sunshine, contagious joy,” she wrote, and “such was his natural comedic gift that he was hailed as a child genius by veterans like Lucille Ball and Bob Hope.”

But there was an undercurrent to the show’s portrayals.

“At the time, Arnold struck audiences as an endlessly endearing trickster figure, whose Harlem-based sensitivity to being hustled had been reduced to a sweetie-pie affectation: ‘What you talkin’ about, Willis?’ ” Virginia Heffernan wrote in The New York Times in 2006, quoting Mr. Coleman’s signature line. “Arnold was supposed to be shrewd and nobody’s fool, but also misguided; after learning his lessons, he was easily tamed and cuddled.” Ms. Heffernan called the characterization a form of latter-day minstrelsy.

Looking back at his childhood, Mr. Coleman saw himself as having been used. He sued his parents and his former manager in 1989, accusing them of misappropriating his trust fund. In 1999 he filed for bankruptcy protection. (During the same period, his young “Diff’rent Strokes” co-stars were having problems of their own. Mr. Bridges was tried on charges of attempted murder in 1990 but acquitted. Dana Plato, who played the daughter of Conrad Bain’s character, was arrested at least twice and died of a drug overdose in 1999.)

Beginning in the 1990s, Mr. Coleman was arrested several times and charged with assault and disorderly conduct. A year ago he was arrested on domestic violence charges. He and his wife, the former Shannon Price, appeared on the reality show “Divorce Court” in 2008 but remained together.

Gary Wayne Coleman was born on Feb. 8, 1968, in Zion, Ill., a small city in the state’s northeastern corner. He was adopted as an infant by W. G. Coleman, a forklift operator, and his wife, Edmonia Sue, a nurse practitioner.

As a young boy, he was cast in a commercial for a Chicago bank, offering a toy lion as a promotion. “You should have a Hubert doll,” the boy told viewers. Years later, Bob Greene, the Chicago Tribune columnist, recalled Mr. Coleman’s impact in that local ad campaign: “If there is chemistry with the camera, six words can make you a star.”

He was spotted by an agent for the television producer Norman Lear and brought to Hollywood for a project that never came to fruition, a new version of the “Our Gang” comedies. Instead he was cast in “Diff’rent Strokes” and was soon earning thousands of dollars per episode. At his peak he earned $3 million a year.

But after the series ended, his career spiraled downward. He made 20 or so television appearances over the next the two decades, as well as a handful of feature films. (His last was the 2009 “Midgets vs. Mascots,” a broad comedy.) But he also tried earning a living outside show business, even working as a security guard at one point. In 2003 he was one of 135 candidates in the carnival-like California gubernatorial recall election; he came in eighth, right after Larry Flynt, the publisher of Hustler.

Mr. Coleman’s difficulties are parodied in the Tony Award-winning musical “Avenue Q,” in which a character named Gary Coleman is the superintendent of a run-down building in an undesirable neighborhood. Mr. Coleman talked about suing the show’s producers but never did.

His survivors include his wife and his parents, who were estranged from their son. His mother told The Associated Press that she had prayed that “nothing like this would happen before we could sit with Gary and Shannon and say, ‘We’re here and we love you.’ ”

“We just didn’t want to push him,” she added.

Mr. Coleman readily talked to interviewers about how unhappy his television success and its trappings had made him. “I would not give my first 15 years to my worst enemy,” he said in an A.P. interview in 2001. “And I don’t even have a worst enemy.”

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Re: Memorials

Postby J » Sun May 30, 2010 9:12 pm

I read that Gary Coleman died from a brain hemorrhage after a fall similar to how Natasha Richardson died. Ironic, considering his lifelong kidney problems, everybody thought that's what he'd die of.

I notice there's no mention of Corey Haim, who also died recently. (I think he was 40?)

Also John Forsythe (from Dynasty I believe?) died recently at 92.
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Re: Memorials

Postby olywaguy » Mon May 31, 2010 2:07 am

J wrote:
I notice there's no mention of Corey Haim, who also died recently. (I think he was 40?)



Here is the Corey Haim thread.
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Re: Memorials

Postby J » Thu Jun 03, 2010 10:32 pm

Rue McClanahan died today at 76. I was very sad to hear about this.

Hopefully Betty White (the last surviving "Golden Girl") will be with us for a while. Ironically, she was the oldest of the four in real life.
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Re: Memorials

Postby olywaguy » Fri Jun 04, 2010 9:47 am

Here's the obit from the NY Times

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Rue McClanahan, Actress and Golden Girl, Dies at 76

Rue McClanahan, second from right, with her co-stars on the NBC sitcom “The Golden Girls”: from left, Estelle Getty, Bea Arthur and Betty White. The series ran from 1985 to 1992.

By DOUGLAS MARTIN
Published: June 3, 2010

Rue McClanahan, who helped make “The Golden Girls” a long-running television hit playing the saucy, man-devouring Southern belle Blanche Devereaux (in one scene she made a date at her husband’s funeral), died Thursday in Manhattan. Unlike Blanche, she had no trouble admitting her age, 76.

Her manager, Barbara Lawrence, said Ms. McClanahan died of a brain hemorrhage at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. She was treated for breast cancer in 1997 and had heart bypass surgery last year.

Ms. McClanahan was the youngest, by at least 10 years, of the four actresses who played the Golden Girls, well-dressed, clever-tongued, over-50 women who shared a house in Miami. The others were Bea Arthur (Dorothy), Betty White (Rose) and Estelle Getty (Dorothy’s mother, Sophia). Of the four, only Ms. White, 88, now survives.

The show seized the No. 1 rating its first night, in 1985, stayed in the top 10 for six seasons and captured bundles of Emmys, one of which went to Ms. McClanahan for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series in 1987.

The show, which was canceled in 1992 but carries on, profitably, in reruns, succeeded by putting smart, funny lines in the mouths of, well, seasoned women.

In one episode, Rose, a rather dense Pollyanna, wonders if it’s possible to love two men at the same time.

“Set the scene,” Blanche replies. “Have we been drinking?”

Some critics saw “The Golden Girls” as a progenitor of shows like “Sex and the City” (about four young women given smart, funny lines).

Ms. McClanahan had appeared in the sitcom “All in the Family,” which broke ground with topical humor, and its spinoff “Maude,” in which she played the best friend of the liberated, middle-aged title character (Ms. Arthur).

She also acted in movies as well as on and off Broadway. In 1970 she won an Obie for her role in the Off Broadway show “Who’s Happy Now?,” a family drama by Oliver Hailey in which she played the father’s mistress. She reprised the role on PBS in 1975.

In her autobiography, “My First Five Husbands ... and the Ones Who Got Away” (2007), Ms. McClanahan wrote that one of her proudest moments was getting a letter from Tennessee Williams about her performance as Caitlin Thomas, the poet’s wife, in “Dylan,” Sidney Michaels’s play about Dylan Thomas.

“Your work is that rare combination of earthiness and lapidary polish,” Williams wrote, “that quality being utterly common and utterly noble. Frippery combined with fierceness.”

But it was Ms. McClanahan’s part in “The Golden Girls” that stands out in popular memory.

To Ms. McClanahan, “The Golden Girls” was special for allowing its women to be funny and many-sided, not stock figures, recognizing “that when people mature, they add layers,” as she told The New York Times in 1985.

“They don’t turn into other creatures,” she added. “The truth is, we all still have our child, our adolescent and our young woman living in us.”

Eddi-Rue McClanahan was born in Healdton, Okla., on Feb. 21, 1934. Her first name was a contraction of her parents’ middle names. She dropped the Eddi when, mistaken for a man, she was drafted into military service after high school. She grew up in towns in Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana as her father, a building contractor, moved around.

She made her stage debut at age 4 in a local production of “The Three Little Kittens.” “A character actor even then,” she told People magazine.

She was offered dance scholarships to college but chose to major in drama at the University of Tulsa. She graduated with honors in 1956.

Moving to New York to study ballet and drama, Ms. McLanahan made her professional debut in 1957 at the Erie Playhouse in Erie, Pa. On a scholarship she took a four-week acting course at the Pasadena Playhouse in California, where one of her roles was Blanche DuBois in Williams’s “Streetcar Named Desire.” She later said that her Blanche on “Girls” was inspired by both Blanche DuBois and Scarlett O’Hara of “Gone With the Wind.”

For most of the next decade she appeared onstage in New York. She originated the role of Lady MacBird in “MacBird!,” Barbara Garson’s comic melding of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s ascent to power and “Macbeth.” Ms. McClanahan’s Broadway debut was as a prostitute in Murray Schisgal’s “Jimmy Shine,” which starred Dustin Hoffman as an unsuccessful abstract painter.

Reviewing “Who’s Happy Now?” in 1969, Edith Oliver wrote in The New Yorker that Ms. McClanahan’s portrayal of an innocent, sunny waitress was a “first-rate comedy performance that is always legitimate — no hokum, nothing but truth.”

Ms. McClanahan had been appearing sporadically on television and in low-budget movies when Norman Lear tapped her for a spot on “All in the Family” in 1972. She played half of a married couple who, after being invited to dinner, reveal that they are swingers.

Mr. Lear also cast her for a guest appearance on “Maude,” a part that grew into a regular role as Vivian Harmon, Maude’s fluttery, unliberated friend.

Brandon Tartikoff, the president of NBC Entertainment, got the idea for “Girls” after seeing statistics showing that about 37 percent of Americans were at least 45 years old. He passed the concept on to Susan Harris, a television writer who had created series like “Benson” and “Soap.” She was inspired by her grandmother, who had remained active until her death at 93.

“A gift from the gods,” Ms. McClanahan called her placement in the series. NBC decided to cast her against the unworldly type she had played on “Maude” and give her the sex-charged role. Betty White, who had played the man-hungry Sue Ann Nivens on the “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” was the ditsy Rose.

After “The Golden Girls” ended in 1992, Ms. McClanahan appeared in a spinoff, “The Golden Palace.” She also had roles in movies like “Out to Sea,” a comedy starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, and on Broadway in “Wicked.” Away from acting, she delivered a lecture titled “Aging Gracefully” and campaigned for animal rights.

Ms. McClanahan is survived by her sixth husband, Morrow Wilson; her son, Mark T. Bish; and her sister, Dr. Melinda Lou McClanahan.

Ms. McClanahan, who never tired of talking about Blanche, was wise to her. Though Sophia, the dotty mother of the witty, dominant Dorothy, could be pointed, calling Blanche “Sheena, Queen of the Slut People,” Ms. McClanahan saw the character differently — as a woman who mainly just talked about sex.

As for Ms. McClanahan herself, she wasn’t a vamp, she told People magazine; she liked to grow tomatoes and make quilts.

Still, in her book, she offered “fun in bed quotients” for married and unmarried lovers. And she had a pat answer when asked if she was like Blanche: “Well, Blanche was an oversexed, self-involved, man-crazy, vain Southern belle from Atlanta — and I’m not from Atlanta.”

A version of this article appeared in print on June 4, 2010, on page A25 of the New York edition.





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Re: Memorials

Postby olywaguy » Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:27 am

Someone that I knew in high school passed away yesterday. John Dye, who played the Angel of Death in TV's Touched by an Angel and who played the role of Doc in the TV show Tour of Duty. He was also in Campus Man, Making the Grade, Billionaire Boys Club and the ZZ Top video Sleeping Bag. He and I were in the musical South Pacific together in high school. He was only 47 years old...my age!! The Tupelo newspaper didn't say what the cause of death was.


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John Dye with the cast of Touched by an Angel
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Another performer that died on Monday was David Nelson from The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriett and older brother of Ricky Nelson. David was the good looking one. I am sure many of you discovered you were gay upon seeing him for the very first time. :D

David Nelson in his younger days.
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David (right) with his brother and parents.
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David in his older years.
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Actor David Nelson of Famous TV Family Dies at 74
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: January 11, 2011

Filed at 12:08 a.m. EST on January 12, 2011
A&E, via Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — David Nelson, who starred on his parents' popular television show "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet," has died, a family spokesman said. He was 74.

Nelson died Monday at his home in the Century City area of Los Angeles after battling complications of colon cancer, said family spokesman and longtime Hollywood publicist Dale Olson.

Born in New York City, Nelson attended the University of Southern California before joining his family on the small screen. He and his teen idol brother, Rick, convinced their parents to be on the show.

"The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" aired on ABC from 1952 to 1966 and some of the story lines were taken from the stars' own lives. Nelson was the last surviving member of the well-known TV family and he directed numerous episodes of the series.

His film credits include "Peyton Place," ''The Big Circus" and "Love and Kisses." In l976, he costarred with his mother in "Smash-Up on Interstate 5."

He also appeared in various TV roles and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Nelson is survived by his wife, Yvonne; four sons and a daughter; and seven grandchildren. A service will be held Thursday at Pierce Brothers Westwood Mortuary.


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Re: Memorials

Postby olywaguy » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:01 am

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The Howard Hughes movie that made Russell a star...The Outlaw.

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Jane Russell with Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes




Jane Russell, Sultry Star of 1940s and ’50s, Dies at 89
By ANITA GATES
Published: February 28, 2011

Jane Russell, the voluptuous actress at the center of one of the most highly publicized censorship episodes in movie history, the long-delayed release of the 1940s western “The Outlaw,” died on Monday at her home in Santa Maria, Calif. She was 89.

The cause was a respiratory-related illness, her daughter-in-law, Etta Waterfield, said.

Ms. Russell was 19 and working in a doctor’s office when Howard Hughes, returning to movie production after his aviation successes, cast her as the tempestuous Rio McDonald, Sheriff Pat Garrett’s girlfriend, in “The Outlaw,” which he directed.

A movie poster — which showed a sultry Ms. Russell in a cleavage-revealing blouse falling off one shoulder as she reclined in a haystack and held a gun — quickly became notorious and seemed to fuel movie censors’ determination to prevent the film’s release because of scenes that, by 1940s standards, revealed too much of the star’s breasts. The Roman Catholic Church was one of the movie’s vocal opponents.

Although the film had its premiere and ran for nine weeks in San Francisco in 1943, it did not open in New York until 1947 and was not given a complete national release until 1950. Critics were generally unimpressed by its quality, but it made Ms. Russell a star. The specially engineered bra that Hughes was said to have designed for his 38D leading lady took its place in cinematic history, although Ms. Russell always contended that she never actually wore it.

She went on to make some two dozen feature films, all but a handful of them between 1948 and 1957 and many of them westerns.

In the western comedy “The Paleface” (1948), she played Calamity Jane opposite Bob Hope, with whom she also starred in “Son of Paleface,” the 1952 sequel. In the musical comedy that she called her favorite film, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” (1953), she starred with Marilyn Monroe as one of two ambitious showgirls. Her numbers included “Two Little Girls From Little Rock,” one of several duets with Monroe, and the comic lament “Ain’t There Anyone Here for Love?” Two years later she starred with Jeanne Crain in “Gentlemen Marry Brunettes,” a sequel of sorts, set in Paris.

A number of her movies were musicals, and singing became a large part of her career. She first appeared in Las Vegas in 1957 and was performing in musical shows at small venues as recently as 2008. Although she did considerable stage acting over the years, her sole Broadway appearance was in 1971 in the Stephen Sondheim musical “Company,” in which she replaced Elaine Stritch as the tough-talking character who sings “The Ladies Who Lunch.”

Ms. Russell was best known in the 1970s and ’80s as the television spokeswoman in commercials for Playtex bras, which she promoted as ideal for “full-figured gals” like her.

Ernestine Jane Geraldine Russell was born on June 21, 1921, in Bemidji, Minn., the daughter of Roy and Geraldine Russell. Her mother had been an aspiring actress and a model. “The Girl in the Blue Hat,” a portrait of her by the watercolorist Mary B. Titcomb, once hung in the White House, bought by President Woodrow Wilson.

When Jane was 9 months old, before her four brothers were born, her father moved the family to Southern California to take a job as an office manager. He died when Jane was in her teens.

After high school, Jane took acting classes at Max Reinhardt’s theater workshop and with Maria Ouspenskaya. She did some modeling for a photographer friend but was working in a chiropodist’s office when a photo of her found its way to Hughes’s casting people.

In 1943 she married her high school sweetheart, Bob Waterfield, a U.C.L.A. football player who became the star quarterback of the Los Angeles Rams. They adopted a daughter, Tracy, and two sons, Thomas and Robert. (After a botched abortion before her marriage, Ms. Russell was unable to have children. She later became an outspoken opponent of abortion and an advocate of adoption, founding the World Adoption International Fund in the 1950s.)

She and Mr. Waterfield divorced in 1967 after 24 years of marriage. The following year she married Roger Barrett, an actor, who died of a heart attack three months after the wedding.

In 1974, John Calvin Peoples, a real estate broker and retired Air Force lieutenant, became her third husband, and they were together until his death, in 1999. Ms. Russell had had previous problems with alcohol, but they became worse after she was widowed again; her grown children insisted that she undergo rehabilitation at the age of 79.

She also turned to conservative politics in her later years.

“These days I’m a teetotal, mean-spirited, right-wing, narrow-minded, conservative Christian bigot, but not a racist,” she told an Australian newspaper, The Daily Mail, in 2003. Bigotry, she added, “just means you don’t have an open mind.”

By the time she married Mr. Peoples, her acting career was all but over. After appearing in three movies in the mid-1960s, she had a small role in her last film, “Darker Than Amber,” a 1970 action drama starring Rod Taylor. She did relatively little television, but her final screen role was in a 1986 episode of the NBC police drama “Hunter.”

Her children survive her, as do 8 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Ms. Russell was very public about her religious convictions. She organized Bible study groups in Hollywood and wrote about having experienced speaking in tongues. In her memoir, “My Path and My Detours” (1985), she described the strength she drew from Christianity.

A higher power was always there, she wrote, “telling me that if I could just hold tough a little longer, I’d find myself around one more dark corner, see one more spot of light and have one more drop of pure joy in this journey called life.”

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Re: Memorials

Postby olywaguy » Mon Apr 25, 2011 6:12 pm

The guy that removed homosexuality as a mental illness from the psychiatric books died yesterday at the age of 94.

Please say "thank you" to the man.



Alfred Freedman, a Leader in Psychiatry, Dies at 94
By WILLIAM GRIMES
Published: April 20, 2011

Dr. Alfred M. Freedman, a psychiatrist and social reformer who led the American Psychiatric Association in 1973 when, overturning a century-old policy, it declared that homosexuality was not a mental illness, died on Sunday in Manhattan. He was 94.


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Alfred M. Freedman

The cause was complications of surgery to treat a fractured hip, his son Dan said.

In 1972, with pressure mounting from gay rights groups and from an increasing number of psychiatrists to destigmatize homosexuality, Dr. Freedman was elected president of the association, which he later described as a conservative “old boys’ club.” Its 20,000 members were deeply divided about its policy on homosexuality, which its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders II classified as a “sexual deviation” in the same class as fetishism, voyeurism, pedophilia and exhibitionism.

Well known as the chairman of the department of psychiatry at New York Medical College and a strong proponent of community-oriented psychiatric and social services, Dr. Freedman was approached by a group of young reformers, the Committee of Concerned Psychiatrists, who persuaded him to run as a petition candidate for the presidency of the psychiatric association.

Dr. Freedman, much to his surprise, won what may have been the first contested election in the organization’s history — by 3 votes out of more than 9,000 cast. Immediately on taking office, he threw his support behind a resolution, drafted by Robert L. Spitzer of Columbia University, to remove homosexuality from the list of mental disorders.

On Dec. 15, 1973, the board of trustees, many of them newly elected younger psychiatrists, voted 13 to 0, with two abstentions, in favor of the resolution, which stated that “by itself, homosexuality does not meet the criteria for being a psychiatric disorder.”

It went on: “We will no longer insist on a label of sickness for individuals who insist that they are well and demonstrate no generalized impairment in social effectiveness.”

The board stopped short of declaring homosexuality “a normal variant of human sexuality,” as the association’s task force on nomenclature had recommended.

The recently formed National Gay Task Force (now the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force) hailed the resolution as “the greatest gay victory,” one that removed “the cornerstone of oppression for one-tenth of our population.” Among other things, the resolution helped reassure gay men and women in need of treatment for mental problems that doctors would not have any authorization to try to change their sexual orientation, or to identify homosexuality as the root cause of their difficulties.

An equally important companion resolution condemned discrimination against gays in such areas as housing and employment. In addition, it called on local, state and federal lawmakers to pass legislation guaranteeing gay citizens the same protections as other Americans, and to repeal all criminal statutes penalizing sex between consenting adults.

The resolution served as a model for professional and religious organizations that took similar positions in the years to come.

“It was a huge victory for a movement that in 1973 was young, small, very underfunded and had not yet had this kind of political validation,” said Sue Hyde, who organizes the annual conference of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. “It is the single most important event in the history of what would become the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender movement.”

In a 2007 interview Dr. Freedman said, “I felt at the time that that decision was the most important thing we accomplished.”

Alfred Mordecai Freedman was born on Jan. 7, 1917, in Albany. He won scholarships to study at Cornell, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1937. He earned a medical degree from the University of Minnesota in 1941 but cut short his internship at Harlem Hospital to enlist in the Army Air Corps.

During World War II he served as a laboratory officer in Miami and chief of laboratories at the Air Corps hospital in Gulfport, Miss. He left the corps with the rank of major.

After doing research on neuropsychology with Harold E. Himwich at Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland, he became interested in the development of human cognition. He underwent training in general and child psychiatry and began a residency at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan, where he became a senior child psychiatrist.

He was the chief psychiatrist in the pediatrics department at the Downstate College of Medicine of the State University of New York for five years before becoming the first full-time chairman of the department of psychiatry at New York Medical College, then in East Harlem and now in Valhalla, N.Y.

In his 30 years at the college he built the department into an important teaching institution with a large residency program. He greatly expanded the psychiatric services offered at nearby Metropolitan Hospital, which is affiliated with the school and where he was director of psychiatry.

To address social problems in East Harlem, Dr. Freedman created a treatment program for adult drug addicts at the hospital in 1959 and the next year established a similar program for adolescents. These were among the earliest drug addiction programs to be conducted by a medical school and to be based in a general hospital. He also founded a division of social and community psychiatry at the school to serve neighborhood residents.

With Harold I. Kaplan, he edited “Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry,” which became adopted as a standard text on its publication in 1967 and is now in its ninth edition.

During his one-year term as president of the American Psychiatric Association, Dr. Freedman made the misuse of psychiatry in the Soviet Union one of the organization’s main issues. He challenged the Soviet government to answer charges that it routinely held political dissidents in psychiatric hospitals, and he led a delegation of American psychiatrists to the Soviet Union to visit mental hospitals and confer with Soviet psychiatrists.

After retiring from New York Medical College, Dr. Freedman turned his attention to the role that psychiatry played in death penalty cases. With his colleague Abraham L. Halpern, he lobbied the American Medical Association to enforce the provision in its code of ethics barring physicians from taking part in executions, and he campaigned against the practice of using psychopharmacologic drugs on psychotic death-row prisoners so that they could be declared competent to be executed.

In addition to his son Dan, of Silver Spring, Md., he is survived by his wife, Marcia; another son, Paul, of Pelham, N.Y.; and three grandchildren.



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Re: Memorials

Postby nimby » Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:27 pm

So sad. Davy Jones of the Monkees passed away today from a heart attack. He was 66. :(
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