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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Claiborne Pell, the quirky blueblood who represented blue-collar Rhode Island in the U.S. Senate for 36 years and was the force behind a grant program that has helped tens of millions of Americans attend college, died Thursday after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. He was 90.
Pell, a Democrat, died at his Newport home just after midnight, according to his former assistant, Jan Demers.
Pell was first elected to the Senate in 1960. The skinny son of a New York congressman, Pell spoke with an aristocratic tone but was an unabashed liberal who spent his political career championing causes to help the less fortunate.
When asked his greatest achievement, Pell always was quick to answer, "Pell Grants."
He sponsored legislation creating the Basic Educational Opportunity Grant program, which passed in 1972 and provided direct aid to college students. The awards were renamed "Pell Grants" in 1980. By the time Pell retired, they had aided more than 54 million low- and middle-income Americans.
"He believed strongly that a good education could open infinite doors of opportunity, and he has transformed the lives of millions of young people who have been able to go to college because of the grant that rightly bears his name," said Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.
Thomas Hughes, Pell's chief of staff from 1975 until his retirement, said Pell believed financial aid should be given directly to students rather than distributed by colleges and universities.
"He always had this view that the federal government should help young people be able to have an education beyond high school," Hughes said.
Quiet, thoughtful and polite to a fault, Pell seemed out of place in an era of in-your-face, made-for-television politicians. A multimillionaire, he often wore old, ill-fitting suits and sometimes jogged in a tweed coat.
Though criticized by some for his fascination with UFOs and extra sensory perception, he was best remembered for his devotion to education, maritime and foreign affairs issues.
Pell also shared a strong interest in the arts, and was chief Senate sponsor of a 1965 law establishing the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Pell was well-liked among peers from both political parties, who respected his non-confrontational style. "I believe in letting the other fellow have my way" was a favorite refrain Pell used to refer to his negotiating skills.
Born in 1918, Pell came from a political family and was a descendant of early New York landowners who lived among the old-money families in Newport. Five family members served in the House or Senate, including great-great-granduncle George M. Dallas, who was a senator from Pennsylvania in the 1830s and vice president under President James K. Polk in the 1840s. His father, Herbert Claiborne Pell, was a one-term representative from New York.
Pell graduated from Princeton in 1940, and served in the Coast Guard during World War II. He remained in the Coast Guard Reserve until retiring as a captain in 1978.
He participated in the 1945 San Francisco conference that drafted the United Nations charter and was a staunch defender of the institution throughout his life.
He served in the foreign service for seven years, holding diplomatic posts in Czechoslovakia and Italy, then returned to Rhode Island in the 1950s. He was elected to the Senate in 1960 after defeating two former governors in the Democratic primary.
Despite his peculiarities, he became the most formidable political force in Rhode Island. In his six statewide elections, he received an average 64 percent of the votes.
"I attribute (my popularity) to one reason, and that is I have never critically mentioned my adversary," Pell would say.
The late Republican Sen. John Chafee of Rhode Island once said Pell's popularity was due to the state's overwhelmingly Democratic leanings and Pell's honesty and integrity. Voters embraced Pell's quirkiness and, to a certain extent, his distance from common people.
A story from Pell's 1972 Senate campaign was a favorite in Rhode Island and was told often to illustrate his isolation from the average Joe.
Pell was campaigning in Providence when it began raining. Pell, who had a formal evening engagement, had forgotten his galoshes. An aide was dispatched and returned with a pair.
In his very formal manner of speech, Pell asked the aide, "To whom am I indebted for these fine rubbers?"
"I got them at Thom McAn, senator," the aide answered, referring to the budget shoe store chain.
"Well, do tell Mr. McAn that I am much obliged to him," Pell said.
A dove who vigorously opposed the Vietnam War, Pell in 1987 became chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. He was considered a weak chairman, and he lost the job to Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina when Republicans gained a majority in 1994.
Pell considered retiring in 1990, but was persuaded by party leaders to run. He easily defeated then-U.S. Rep. Claudine Schneider despite making a monumental gaffe during a televised debate in which he was asked to identify a piece of recent legislation he had sponsored to help Rhode Islanders.
"I couldn't give you a specific answer," Pell said. "My memory's not as good as it should be."
Pell was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in December 1994 and disclosed the condition the following spring. He insisted the disease had nothing to do with his retirement.
"There is a natural time for all life's adventures to come to an end and this period of 36 years would seem to me about the right time for my service in the Senate to end," he said in September 1995. _________________ "When I became a man, I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up."- C.S. Lewis
"Superman can't be emo. He can't cut himself."-CP
Last edited by Nobuyuki on Sat Jan 09, 2010 4:33 am; edited 1 time in total
Thu Jan 01, 2009 11:46 pm
Joined: Nov 07, 2002
LOS ANGELES - Ricardo Montalban, the Mexican-born actor who became a star in splashy MGM musicals and later as the wish-fulfilling Mr. Roarke in TV’s “Fantasy Island,” died Wednesday morning at his home, his family said. He was 88.
Montalban’s death was first announced at a city council meeting by president Eric Garcetti, who represents the district where the actor lived. He died “from complications of advancing age,” his son-in-law, Gilbert Smith, later said.
“He was so gracious, and Aaron was always humbled by Ricardo’s gratitude for ’Fantasy Island,” said Candy Spelling, wife of the late Aaron Spelling, who created the show. “I miss him already, and wish his family well.”
Montalban had been a star in Mexican movies when MGM brought him to Hollywood in 1946. He was cast in the leading role opposite Esther Williams in “Fiesta,” and starred again with the swimming beauty in “On an Island with You” and “Neptune’s Daughter.”
But Montalban was best known as the faintly mysterious, white-suited Mr. Roarke, who presided over a tropical island resort where visitors fulfilled their lifelong dreams — usually at the unexpected expense of a difficult life lesson. “I am Mr. Roarke, your host. Welcome to Fantasy Island,” he told arriving guests.
Montalban had already coined a cultural catchphrase before the show, which ran from 1978 to 1984. As the celebrity spokesman for mid-1970s models of the Chrysler Cordoba, Montalban unwittingly opened himself up to endless imitation when he described the car’s optional seats as being “available in soft, Corinthian leather.”
More recently, he appeared as villains in two hits of the 1980s: “Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan” and — in line with his always-apparent sense of humor about himself — the farcical “The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad.”
Montalban’s longtime friend and publicist David Brokaw said the actor was “exactly how you’d imagine him to be” off camera. “What you saw on the screen and on television and on talk shows, this very courtly, modest, dignified individual, that’s exactly who he was,” Brokaw said.
Raul Yzaguirre, longtime president of National Council of La Raza, called Montalban “a hero” and noted the actor’s contributions to his community. Montalban helped found the ALMA Awards, which honor and encourage fair portrayals of Latinos in entertainment.
“He was just a marvelous human being and an inspiration to be around,” Yzaguirre said. “I hope his spirit pervades more of Hollywood — the spirit of humility and excellence and giving back to the community and just plain decency.”
In 1970, Montalban organized fellow Latino actors into an organization called Nosotros (“We”), and he became the first president. Their aim: to improve the image of Spanish-speaking Americans on the screen; to assure that Latin-American actors were not discriminated against; to stimulate Latino actors to study their profession.
Montalban commented in a 1970 interview:
“The Spanish-speaking American boy sees Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid wipe out a regiment of Bolivian soldiers. He sees ‘The Wild Bunch’ annihilate the Mexican army. It’s only natural for him to say, ‘Gee, I wish I were an Anglo.”’
Montalban was no stranger to prejudice. He was born Nov. 25, 1920, in Mexico City, the son of parents who had emigrated from Spain. The boy was brought up to speak the Castilian Spanish of his forebears. To Mexican ears that sounded strange and effeminate, and young Ricardo was jeered by his schoolmates.
His mother also dressed him with old-country formality, and he wore lace collars and short pants “long after my legs had grown long and hairy,” he wrote in his 1980 autobiography, “Reflections: A Life in Two Worlds.”
“It is not easy to grow up in a country that has different customs from your own family’s.”
While driving through Texas with his brother, Montalban recalled seeing a sign on a diner: “No Dogs or Mexicans Allowed.” In Los Angeles, where he attended Fairfax High School, he and a friend were refused entrance to a dance hall because they were Mexican.
Rather than seek a career in Hollywood, Montalban played summer stock in New York. He returned to Mexico City and played leading roles in movies from 1941 to 1945. That led to an MGM contract.
“Movies were never kind to me; I had to fight for every inch of film,” he reflected in 1970. “Usually my best scenes would end up on the cutting-room floor.”
Montalban had better luck after leaving MGM in 1953, though he was usually cast in ethnic roles. He appeared as a Japanese kabuki actor in “Sayonara” and an Indian in “Cheyenne Autumn.” His other films included “Madame X,” “The Singing Nun,” “Sweet Charity,” “Escape from the Planet of the Apes” and “Conquest of the Planet of the Apes.”
In 1944, Montalban married Georgiana Young, actress and model and younger sister of actress Loretta Young. Both Roman Catholics, they remained one of Hollywood’s most devoted couples. She died in 2007. They had four children: Laura, Mark, Anita and Victor.
Montalban suffered a spinal injury in a horse fall while making a 1951 Clark Gable Western, “Across the Wide Missouri,” and thereafter walked with a limp he managed to mask during his performances.
When asked to play the grandfather in “Spy Kids 2” and “Spy Kids 3,” Montalban told filmmaker Robert Rodriguez in his self-effacing way: “I’m old. I’m in a wheelchair. And I have a Mexican accent. Three strikes and you’re out,” recalled Joel Brokaw, another of the actor’s spokesmen.
“But Robert Rodriguez idolized Ricardo, and came up to his home in the Hollywood Hills to convince him to do the role,” Brokaw said. He did, and despite his obvious pain while waiting to do a scene, “something miraculous would happen,” Brokaw said. “As soon as Rodriguez said ’Action,’ his pain would completely disappear, time and time again. I asked him about this. He smiled and said, ’It’s impossible for my mind to do two things at once.”’
LOS ANGELES - Patrick McGoohan, the Emmy-winning actor who created and starred in the cult classic television show “The Prisoner,” has died. He was 80.
McGoohan died Tuesday in Los Angeles after a short illness, his son-in-law, film producer Cleve Landsberg, said.
McGoohan won two Emmys for his work on the Peter Falk detective drama “Columbo,” and more recently appeared as King Edward Longshanks in the 1995 Mel Gibson film “Braveheart.”
But he was most famous as the character known only as Number Six in “The Prisoner,” a sci-fi tinged 1960s British series in which a former spy is held captive in a small enclave known only as The Village, where a mysterious authority named Number One constantly prevents his escape.
McGoohan came up with the concept and wrote and directed several episodes of the show, which has kept a devoted following in the United States and Europe for four decades.
His agent, Sharif Ali, said Wednesday that McGoohan was still active in Hollywood, with two offers for wide-release films on the table when he died. “The man was just cool,” Ali said. “It was an honor to have him here and work with him. ... He was one of those actors, a real actor. He didn’t have a lie.”
Born in New York on March 19, 1928, McGoohan was raised in England and Ireland, where his family moved shortly after his birth. He had a busy stage career before moving to television, and won a London Drama Critics Award for playing the title role in the Henrik Ibsen play “Brand.”
He married stage actress Joan Drummond in 1951. The oldest of their three daughters, Catherine, is also an actress.
His first foray into TV was in 1964 in the series “Danger Man,” a more straightforward spy show that initially lasted just one season but was later brought back for three more when its popularity — and McGoohan’s — exploded in reruns.
Weary of playing the show’s lead John Drake, McGoohan pitched to producers the surreal and cerebral “The Prisoner” to give himself a challenge.
The series ran just one season and 17 episodes in 1967, but its cultural impact remains.
He voiced his Number Six character in an episode of “The Simpsons” in 2000. The show is being remade as a series for AMC that premieres later this year.
“His creation of ’The Prisoner’ made an indelible mark on the sci-fi, fantasy and political thriller genres, creating one of the most iconic characters of all time,” AMC said in a statement Wednesday. “AMC hopes to honor his legacy in our re-imagining of ’The Prisoner.”’
Later came smaller roles in film and television. McGoohan won Emmys for guest spots on “Columbo” 16 years apart, in 1974 and 1990.
He also appeared as a warden in the 1979 Clint Eastwood film “Escape from Alcatraz” and as a judge in the 1996 John Grisham courtroom drama “A Time To Kill.”
His last major role was in “Braveheart,” in what The Associated Press called a “standout” performance as the brutal king who battles Scottish freedom fighter William Wallace, played by Gibson.
In his review of the film for the Los Angeles Times critic Peter Rainer said “McGoohan is in possession of perhaps the most villainous enunciation in the history of acting.” _________________ "When I became a man, I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up."- C.S. Lewis
"Superman can't be emo. He can't cut himself."-CP
Thu Jan 15, 2009 6:34 am
Joined: Nov 07, 2002
MINNEAPOLIS – Dave Arneson, one of the co-creators of the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy game and a pioneer of role-playing entertainment, died after a two-year battle with cancer, his family said Thursday. He was 61.
Arneson's daughter, Malia Weinhagen of Maplewood, said her father died peacefully Tuesday in hospice care in St. Paul.
Arneson and Gary Gygax developed Dungeons & Dragons in 1974 using medieval characters and mythical creatures. The game known for its oddly shaped dice became a hit, particularly among teenage boys. It eventually was turned into video games, books and movies. Gygax died in March 2008.
"The biggest thing about my dad's world is he wanted people to have fun in life," Weinhagen said. "I think we get distracted by the everyday things you have to do in life and we forget to enjoy life and have fun.
"But my dad never did," she said. "He just wanted people to have fun."
"(Arneson) developed many of the fundamental ideas of role-playing: that each player controls just one hero, that heroes gain power through adventures, and that personality is as important as combat prowess," according to a statement from Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. that produces Dungeons & Dragons.
Blackmoor, a game Arneson was developing before D&D, was the "first-ever role-playing campaign and the prototype for all (role-playing game) campaigns since," the company said.
Arneson and Gygax were dedicated tabletop wargamers who recreated historical battles with painted miniature armies and fleets. They met in 1969 at a convention, and their first collaboration, along with Mike Carr, was a set of rules for sailing-ship battles called "Don't Give Up the Ship!"
In later years, Dave published other role-playing games and started his own game-publishing company and computer game company. He also taught classes in game design. He was inducted into the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design Hall of Fame in 1984.
Weinhagen said her father enjoyed teaching game design at Full Sail University in Winter Park, Fla., in recent years, where he taught students to make a solid set of rules for their games.
"He said if you have a good foundation and a good set of rules, people would play the game again," Weinhagen said. _________________ "When I became a man, I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up."- C.S. Lewis
"Superman can't be emo. He can't cut himself."-CP
Fri Apr 10, 2009 7:17 am
Joined: Nov 07, 2002
Wayne Allwine, a Walt Disney Studios voice-over artist who was the voice of Mickey Mouse for more than three decades, has died. He was 62.
Allwine, an Emmy Award-winning former sound effects editor and foley artist, died of complications of diabetes early Monday morning at UCLA Medical Center, said his voice-over artist wife, Russi Taylor.
The Glendale couple had a unique distinction: In 1991, Allwine, the voice of Mickey Mouse, married Taylor, the voice of Minnie Mouse.
"Wayne was my hero," Taylor, who began voicing Minnie in 1986, told The Times on Wednesday. "He really loved doing Mickey Mouse and was very proud that he did it 32 years."
Since Mickey Mouse first hit movie theaters in the cartoon short "Steamboat Willie" in 1928, only three people have supplied the iconic cartoon character's distinctive falsetto: Walt Disney himself, Jimmy Macdonald and Allwine.
In 1947, Disney turned the job over to Macdonald, the studio's sound-effects wizard. Allwine was hired for the job in late 1976 while working in sound effects under Macdonald and continued to supply Mickey's voice until his death.
Allwine made his debut voicing the world's most famous mouse on "The New Mickey Mouse Club" (1977-78) and went on to supply Mickey's voice for Disney movies, TV specials, theme parks, records, toys and video games.
Among his credits as the voice of Disney's top animated star: “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” (1983), “The Prince and the Pauper” (1990) and "Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers" (2004) and TV series "Mickey MouseWorks," "House of Mouse" and "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse."
Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Robert A. Iger described a "profound sense of loss and sadness throughout our company" over the death of the man who gave voice to Disney's most beloved character.
"Wayne's great talent, deep compassion, kindness and gentle way, all of which shone brightly through his alter ego, will be greatly missed," Iger said in a statement.
Roy E. Disney, Walt's nephew, director emeritus of the Walt Disney Co., said in a statement: "Wayne not only gave voice to the character of Mickey but gave him a heart and soul as well."
Allwine, who launched his Disney Studios career in the mail room a few months before Disney died in 1966, had been working in sound effects under Macdonald for more than seven years when he was sent to an open audition for Mickey's voice after an actor failed to show up.
The Glendale native had watched "The Mickey Mouse Club" on TV as a youngster in the 1950s and simply conjured up Mickey's voice from memory.
Allwine later said, however, that doing the famed falsetto of the perennially optimistic Mickey was easy for him.
"Actually, I was accustomed to doing vocal stuff," he told United Press International in 1997. "My father was a barbershop quartet singer. He was a high tenor with an odd voice and could go from lower range to upper range without cracking his voice. I inherited that."
Allwine always remembered what Macdonald told him after Allwine took over the voice of Disney's top animated star: "Just remember, kid, you're only filling in for the boss."
Allwine later acknowledged that in an interview for a “Walt Disney Treasures” box DVD set.
"It's really not about me; it's about Mickey, and Mickey is Walt's," he said. "So what I do is I get to take this wonderful American icon and keep it alive until the next Mickey comes along, and it will one day. And that's also one of the heartbreaks of the character, of doing the job, because, you know, I'm three; there's going to be a four."
It was, he said, "a great honor to represent what Walt loved so dearly and what Jimmy kept alive so well."
Allwine was born in Glendale on Feb. 7, 1947. While a student at John Burroughs High School in Burbank, he acted in school plays and formed his own music group, the International Singers, which performed in clubs and at colleges throughout the state.
He later formed other bands and had a stint with Davie Allan & the Arrows, for which he played rhythm guitar on the hit "Blues' Theme."
Among Allwine's credits as a sound effects editor are "The Black Hole," "Something Wicked This Way Comes," "Mickey's Christmas Carol," "The Black Cauldron," "Splash," "Three Men and a Baby" and "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier."
In 1986, he shared an Emmy Award for outstanding sound editing for a series for Steven Spielberg's "Amazing Stories."
As a married couple, Allwine and Taylor received similar reactions whenever people discovered that they were the voices of Mickey and Minnie.
"Everybody goes, 'Oh, that's so sweet,' " Taylor said. "When we got married, we kind of kept it quiet because everybody was saying, 'Oh, Mickey and Minnie got married.' It wasn't Mickey and Minnie; it was Wayne and Russi. We wanted to keep it about us and not about the characters." _________________ "When I became a man, I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up."- C.S. Lewis
"Superman can't be emo. He can't cut himself."-CP
Thu May 21, 2009 5:00 am
Joined: Nov 07, 2002
Her swimsuit poster launched a thousand male fantasies.
Her feathered locks made curling irons de rigueur for women and kick-started the most pervasive hair trend of the '70s.
She was Hollywood's penultimate golden girl. And, now, Farrah Fawcett, who epitomized the all-American ideal of beauty, has died after a three-year battle with cancer. She was 62. Her spokesman, Paul Bloch, says Fawcett died Thursday morning in a Santa Monica hospital.
In September 2006, Fawcett learned she had anal cancer. The devastating news led to a reconciliation with her on-and-off boyfriend, Ryan O'Neal, 68, the father of their troubled son, Redmond, 24. O'Neal was by her side as Fawcett went through chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and the actress was declared cancer-free in February 2007. But later that spring, she learned the cancer had returned. After growing weary of ineffective treatments in the USA, Fawcett traveled to Germany in September 2007 for alternative cancer therapies.
Her friend Craig Nevius told People that Fawcett was "discouraged by the treatments she got here. The fact that it recurred after all that she went through was heartbreaking."
At her side throughout her final difficult years: O'Neal — who himself had battled leukemia — and their son, Redmond.
Fawcett's tumultuous personal life belied her scrubbed, wholesome good looks. Perhaps most heartbreaking for her was Redmond's battle with drug addiction, which led to two arrests. In September, the youngest O'Neal was arrested and charged with drug possession after methamphetamine was found in his father's Malibu residence. And on April 5, Redmond was arrested again on suspicion of trying to sneak drugs into prison, where he had been visiting an inmate. He was sentenced to drug court, an intensive rehab program, during which he was allowed to visit his ailing mother under police supervision.
Fawcett will long be remembered as the pistol-packing blonde Jill Munroe on the '70s classic Charlie's Angels. But her legacy may be that she was never completely victorious in the decades-long battle she waged to overcome that enduring, indelible sex-symbol image. It is fitting that Fawcett — who launched to superstardom on the small screen — also said goodbye the same way. In May, NBC aired the documentary Farrah's Story, which chronicled Fawcett's battle with cancer and attracted nearly 9 million viewers.
"I'm holding on to the hope that there is some reason I got cancer and that there is something, that may not be very clear to me right now, that I will do," Fawcett said in an interview filmed for the documentary, according to Access Hollywood.
It's hard to believe that it took just one season — and 12 million copies of an unforgettable poster — to launch a deep-seated phenomenon that would carry on for more than two decades. After only 22 episodes, Fawcett walked away from her hit show, saying it was preventing her from growing as an actress. Producer Aaron Spelling threatened to sue her for breach of contract, she agreed to guest appearances on the series and was ultimately replaced by model Cheryl Ladd.
Fawcett had no regrets about leaving. When she hit it big on Angels, Fawcett's life was "in great turmoil," she told LIFE magazine in 1987. "I was locked into a character who was never changing. The producers did not really want to change. They had a successful format. But on the other hand, if I hadn't had that show, I don't know if I'd be where I am today, even though I couldn't really appreciate that fact at the time. You're just never in sync."
It took years before Fawcett was able to gain the critical notices she yearned for as a serious actress. Yet, they still stung with an awe-inspiring tone of surprise that TV's airheaded sex symbol, indeed, had some genuine acting chops.
Critics offered praise for her first post-Angels return to television in the 1981 film Murder in Texas. Fawcett gained more critical raves and professional cachet with her 1983 leading role as rape victim in the off-Broadway play Extremities.
With the strongest role of her career — as an abused wife in the 1984 TV movie The Burning Bed— Fawcett earned an Emmy nomination and, at last, professional respect. But it would be more than a decade before she found a taste of critical acclaim in film. Fawcett seemed poised for a movie career after earning praise as Robert Duvall's spouse in 1997's The Apostle. But that never materialized. By the early 2000s, Fawcett was back on TV, and she earned another Emmy nomination with her work on CBS' The Guardian.
Behind that glossy grin, all-American good looks and acting stamina, Fawcett struggled to find personal happiness.
The daughter of James, a refinery pipe fitter, and Pauline, a homemaker, Fawcett — her real name — was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, and attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she was voted one of the campus beauties. After switching her major from biology to art, Fawcett left school in her junior year and headed to Los Angeles.
The knockout with the flawless teeth and blinding smile landed an agent in her second week in Hollywood and was soon starring in Ultra Brite toothpaste and Wella Balsam shampoo commercials. She found love, too, with the future Six Million Dollar Man, Lee Majors. The two were married in 1973, and three years later, she was cast as one of Aaron Spelling's Angels. In 1979 Fawcett and Majors split up, and that fall, she began living with O'Neal, marking the beginning of one of Hollywood's most memorable love stories.
O'Neal had been married twice and had three children. His reputation as a ladies' man preceded him, but Fawcett wasn't deterred.
"I didn't think about that. I just took it day by day. I was so overwhelmed by this mental and physical attraction for him that I didn't think about anything except what was happening right there," she told LIFE. "We just eased into it. To find someone who keeps you stimulated almost all day long — if you do happen to be with him all day long — is very rare."
The relationship was tumultuous, however, and was chronicled in his daughter Tatum O'Neal's tell-all A Paper Life. The two were never married but seemed unable to stay apart, and on Monday, O'Neal announced they planned to marry as soon as Fawcett felt strong enough.
Fawcett herself sometimes thwarted her attempts to maintain her momentum as a serious Hollywood actress. In the face of her lifelong quest for critical respect, Fawcett was 50 when she agreed to pose for Playboy magazine. She also released a Playboy video, All of Me, in which she paints using her much-admired body as a paintbrush. She made headlines for the wrong reasons with a dazed appearance June 6, 1997, on Late Show With David Letterman and her January 1998 brawl with then-boyfriend producer James Orr, which left her bruised. A 2005 TV Land reality show, Chasing Farrah, was short-lived and quickly forgotten.
Not even Fawcett could explain her own appeal. "But it's something I can't escape," she told Texas Monthly in its January 1997 issue. "I was in Houston recently visiting my parents, and we went to one of those chicken-fried-steak restaurants. Redmond and I had just been Rollerblading. I was wearing no makeup, and I hadn't done anything to my hair, and this 175-pound woman came up to me and shouted, 'Farrah, how can you let yourself go like this? You are Farrah Fawcett!' Then she asked me to sign an autograph because Charlie's Angels had been her favorite show. I thought, 'Sometimes it isn't worth it. The fame is just not worth it.' "
She got sick of her own photos, telling LIFE that "there have been way too many" of them out there of her. Her looks became the curse that she could never escape, she told Entertainment Weekly in 1996.
"I see T-shirts everywhere, with my face, my poster," she said. "In Saudi Arabia they're using photographs of me — not only from Charlie's Angels but from when I did ads for Faberge shampoo — to advertise everything: clothes, food, vitamins. It's almost like I couldn't stop it even if I wanted to."
After years of friction and fighting her Angels notoriety, Fawcett finally embraced it in recent years and reunited with her fellow Angels at the 2006 Emmys, walking out on stage with Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith.
But Fawcett's longing to be taken seriously and escape her larger-than-life persona stayed with her to the end.
LOS ANGELES -- Michael Jackson, the "King of Pop" who reigned over the music world like no other, died Thursday as he prepared for a comeback bid to vanquish nightmare years of sexual scandal and financial calamity. He was 50.
Jackson died at UCLA Medical Center after being stricken at his rented home in Holmby Hills. Paramedics tried to resuscitate him at his home for nearly three-quarters of an hour, then rushed him to the hospital, where doctors continued to work on him.
"It is believed he suffered cardiac arrest in his home. However, the cause of his death is unknown until results of the autopsy are known," his brother Jermaine said. Police said they were investigating, standard procedure in high-profile cases.
Jackson's death brought a tragic end to a long, bizarre, sometimes farcical decline from his peak in the 1980s, when he was popular music's premier all-around performer, a uniter of black and white music who shattered the race barrier on MTV, dominated the charts and dazzled even more on stage.
His 1982 album "Thriller" -- which included the blockbuster hits "Beat It," "Billie Jean" and "Thriller" -- is the best-selling album of all time, with an estimated 50 million copies sold worldwide.
At the time of his death, Jackson was rehearsing hard for what was to be his greatest comeback: He was scheduled for an unprecedented 50 shows at a London arena, with the first set for July 13.
As word of his death spread, MTV switched its programming to play videos from Jackson's heyday. Radio stations began playing marathons of his hits. Hundreds of people gathered outside the hospital. In New York's Times Square, a low groan went up in the crowd when a screen flashed that Jackson had died, and people began relaying the news to friends by cell phone.
"No joke. King of Pop is no more. Wow," Michael Harris, 36, of New York City, read from a text message a friend had sent him. "It's like when Kennedy was assassinated. I will always remember being in Times Square when Michael Jackson died."
The public first knew him as a boy in the late 1960s, when he was the precocious, spinning lead singer of the Jackson 5, the singing group he formed with his four older brothers out of Gary, Ind. Among their No. 1 hits were "I Want You Back," "ABC" and "I'll Be There."
He was perhaps the most exciting performer of his generation, known for his backward-gliding moonwalk, his feverish, crotch-grabbing dance moves and his high-pitched singing, punctuated with squeals and titters. His single sequined glove, tight, military-style jacket and aviator sunglasses were trademarks, as was his ever-changing, surgically altered appearance.
"For Michael to be taken away from us so suddenly at such a young age, I just don't have the words," said Quincy Jones, who produced "Thriller." "He was the consummate entertainer and his contributions and legacy will be felt upon the world forever. I've lost my little brother today, and part of my soul has gone with him."
Jackson ranked alongside Elvis Presley and the Beatles as the biggest pop sensations of all time. He united two of music's biggest names when he was briefly married to Presley's daughter, Lisa Marie, and Jackson's death immediately evoked comparisons to that of Presley himself, who died at age 42 in 1977.
As years went by, Jackson became an increasingly freakish figure -- a middle-aged man-child weirdly out of touch with grown-up life. His skin became lighter, his nose narrower, and he spoke in a breathy, girlish voice. He often wore a germ mask while traveling, kept a pet chimpanzee named Bubbles as one of his closest companions, and surrounded himself with children at his Neverland ranch, a storybook playland filled with toys, rides and animals. The tabloids dubbed him "Wacko Jacko."
"It seemed to me that his internal essence was at war with the norms of the world. It's as if he was trying to defy gravity," said Michael Levine, a Hollywood publicist who represented Jackson in the early 1990s. He called Jackson a "disciple of P.T. Barnum" and said the star appeared fragile at the time but was "much more cunning and shrewd about the industry than anyone knew."
Jackson caused a furor in 2002 when he playfully dangled his infant son, Prince Michael II, over a hotel balcony in Berlin while a throng of fans watched from below.
In 2005, he was cleared of charges he molested a 13-year-old cancer survivor at Neverland in 2003. He had been accused of plying the boy with alcohol and groping him, and of engaging in strange and inappropriate behavior with other children.
The case followed years of rumors about Jackson and young boys. In a TV documentary, he acknowledged sharing his bed with children, a practice he described as sweet and not at all sexual.
Despite the acquittal, the lurid allegations that came out in court took a fearsome toll on his career and image, and he fell into serious financial trouble.
Michael Joseph Jackson was born Aug. 29, 1958, in Gary, Indiana. He was 4 years old when he began singing with his brothers -- Marlon, Jermaine, Jackie and Tito -- in the Jackson 5. After his early success with bubblegum soul, he struck out on his own, generating innovative, explosive, unstoppable music.
The album "Thriller" alone mixed the dark, serpentine bass and drums and synthesizer approach of "Billie Jean," the grinding Eddie Van Halen solo on "Beat It," and the hiccups and falsettos on "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'."
The peak may have come in 1983, when Motown celebrated its 25th anniversary with an all-star televised concert and Jackson moonwalked off with the show, joining his brothers for a medley of old hits and then leaving them behind with a pointing, crouching, high-kicking, splay-footed, crotch-grabbing run through "Billie Jean."
The audience stood and roared. Jackson raised his fist.
During production of a 1984 Pepsi commercial, Jackson's scalp sustains burns when an explosion sets his hair on fire.
He had strong follow-up albums with 1987's "Bad" and 1991's "Dangerous," but his career began to collapse in 1993 after he was accused of molesting a boy who often stayed at his home. The singer denied any wrongdoing, reached a settlement with the boy's family, reported to be $20 million, and criminal charges were never filed.
Jackson's expressed anger over the allegations on the 1995 album "HIStory," which sold more than 2.4 million copies, but by then, the popularity of Jackson's music was clearly waning, even as public fascination with his increasingly erratic behavior was growing.
Billboard magazine editorial director Bill Werde said Jackson's star power was unmatched. "The world just lost the biggest pop star in history, no matter how you cut it," Werde said. "He's literally the king of pop."
Jackson's 13 No. 1 one hits on the Billboard charts put him behind only Presley, the Beatles and Mariah Carey, Werde said.
"He was on the eve of potentially redeeming his career a little bit," he said. "People might have started to think of him again in a different light." _________________ "When I became a man, I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up."- C.S. Lewis
"Superman can't be emo. He can't cut himself."-CP
Fri Jun 26, 2009 4:35 am
Joined: Nov 07, 2002
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Karl Malden, the Academy Award-winning actor whose intelligent characterizations on stage, screen and television made him a star despite his plain looks, died Wednesday, his family said. He was 97.
Malden died of natural causes surrounded by his family at his Brentwood home, they told the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. He served as the academy’s president from 1989-92.
"Karl lived a rich, full life," Academy president Sid Ganis said. "He has the greatest and most loving family; a career that has spanned the spectrum of the arts from theater to film and television, to some very famous commercial work."
While he tackled a variety of characters over the years, he was often seen in working-class garb or military uniform. His authenticity in grittier roles came naturally: He was the son of a Czech mother and a Serbian father, and worked for a time in the steel mills of Gary, Ind., after dropping out of college.
Malden said he got his celebrated bulbous nose when he broke it a couple of times playing basketball or football, joking that he was "the only actor in Hollywood whose nose qualifies him for handicapped parking." He liked to say he had "an open-hearth face."
Malden won a supporting actor Oscar in 1951 for his role as Blanche DuBois’ naive suitor Mitch in "A Streetcar Named Desire" -- a role he also played on Broadway.
He was nominated again as best supporting actor in 1954 for his performance as Father Corrigan, a fearless, friend-of-the-workingman priest in "On the Waterfront." In both movies, he costarred with Marlon Brando.
"When you worked with him, he was the character," said Eva Marie Saint, who garnered a supporting actress Oscar for her role in "Waterfront." "He was the consummate actor and he loved acting. He was dear and smart. Whatever he did he enjoyed life."
Among his other memorable roles were: "Birdman of Alcatraz" opposite Burt Lancaster; "I Confess" with Montgomery Clift; "How the West Was Won;" and "The Cincinnati Kid" opposite Steve McQueen and Edward G. Robinson.
His more than 50 credits included "Patton," in which he played Gen. Omar Bradley, "Pollyanna," "Fear Strikes Out," "The Sting II," "Bombers B-52," "Cheyenne Autumn," and "All Fall Down."
One of his most controversial films was "Baby Doll" in 1956, in which he played a dullard husband whose child bride is exploited by a businessman. It was condemned by the Catholic Legion of Decency for what was termed its "carnal suggestiveness." The story was by "Streetcar" author Tennessee Williams.
Malden gained perhaps his greatest fame as Lt. Mike Stone in the 1970s television show "The Streets of San Francisco," in which Michael Douglas played the veteran detective’s junior partner.
Douglas was 28 when he earned his first major break on the detective series with Malden, who was 60. Douglas saluted Malden last month as a key mentor when the older actor received the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award, an event to be televised July 19 on the TV Land channel.
"He was fantastic. He just had a tremendous discipline, tremendous ethics," Douglas told AP Television News at the ceremony. "He insisted that next’s week’s script would be there when we were shooting that week’s script. Every time between setups, between breaks, we’d go in the trailer and run lines for the next’s week’s show. That’s the kind of discipline, training I got from Karl."
In the ‘70s, Malden gained a lucrative 21-year sideline and a place in pop culture with his "Don’t leave home without them" ads for American Express travelers checks.
"The Streets of San Francisco" earned him five Emmy nominations. He won one for his role as a murder victim’s father out to bring his former son-in-law to justice in the 1985 miniseries "Fatal Vision." He and Saint played husband and wife.
Malden played Barbra Streisand’s stepfather in the 1987 film "Nuts;" Adm. Elmo Zumwalt Jr. in the 1988 TV film "My Father, My Son;" and Leon Klinghoffer, the cruise ship passenger murdered by terrorists in 1985, in the 1989 TV film "The Hijacking of the Achille Lauro."
He acted sparingly in recent years, appearing in 2000 in a small role on TV’s "The West Wing."
In 2004, Malden received the Screen Actors Guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award, telling the group in his acceptance speech that "this is the peak for me." He served on the acting uni0n’s national board from 1963-72.
"We will remember the many indelible characters he created, and his screen legacy will continue to move us, educate us and enrich our lives," SAG president Alan Rosenberg said Wednesday.
Malden first gained prominence on Broadway in the late 1930s, making his debut in "Golden Boy" by Clifford Odets. It was during this time that he met Elia Kazan, who later was to direct him in "Streetcar" and "Waterfront."
He steadily gained more prominent roles, with time out for service in the Army in World War II (and a role in an Army show, "Winged Victory.")
"A Streetcar Named Desire" opened on Broadway in 1947 and went on to win the Pulitzer Prize and New York Drama Critics Circle awards. Brando’s breakthrough performance might have gotten most of the attention, but Malden did not want for praise. Once critic called him "one of the ablest young actors extant."
Among his other stage appearances were "Key Largo," "Winged Victory," Arthur Miller’s "All My Sons," "The Desperate Hours," and "The Egghead."
Malden was known for his meticulous preparation, studying a script carefully long before he stepped into his role.
"I not only figure out my own interpretation of the role, but try to guess other approaches that the director might like. I prepare them, too," he said in a 1962 Associated Press interview. "That way, I can switch in the middle of a scene with no sweat."
"There’s no such thing as an easy job, not if you do it right," he added.
He was born Mladen Sekulovich in Chicago on March 22, 1912. Malden regretted that in order to become an actor he had to change his name. He insisted that Fred Gwynne’s character in "On the Waterfront" be named Sekulovich to honor his heritage.
The family moved to Gary, Ind., when he was small. He quit his steel job 1934 to study acting at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre "because I wasn’t getting anywhere in the mills," he recalled.
"When I told my father, he said, ‘Are you crazy? You want to give up a good job in the middle of the Depression?’ Thank god for my mother. She said to give it a try."
In 2005, the U.S. Postal Service honored Malden by naming the post office in Brentwood to honor his achievement in film and his contributions to the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee, which meets to discuss ideas for stamp designs.
Malden helped create the "Legends of Hollywood" stamp series that has featured Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and Gary Cooper, and another celebrating Hollywood’s behind-the-scenes workers.
"As a kid, all the letters that would come from the old country, he would see the stamps and they always intrigued him," said David Failor, executive director of stamp services for the Postal Service. "He was such a regular guy."
Malden and his wife, Mona, a fellow acting student at the Goodman, had one of Hollywood’s longest marriages, having celebrated their 70th anniversary in December.
"That was sort of the last goodbye," said Saint, who attended a party in the couple’s honor. "His wish was, ‘After I die, I don’t want you to do anything but have a party.’ So another party is coming up."
Robert S. McNamara, the Kennedy-Johnson-era defense secretary, will be most remembered as a man instrumental in sending hundreds of thousands of Americans to fight in Vietnam, and who was haunted by his decision for the rest of his life.
McNamara, who died Monday at his Washington home at age 93, became one of the favorite targets of protesters as the war, launched as part of the nation's ongoing effort to stop communist aggression, tore apart the United States in the 1960s. ''He became emblematic of what that war was about, both the hope and the disappointment that set in,'' presidential historian Robert Dallek said.
McNamara, a San Francisco native, had come to Washington in 1961 to run the Defense Department for the Kennedy administration. After World War II he'd gone to work at the Ford Motor Co., where the ''whiz kid'' rose quickly through the ranks, a rare influential outsider in that family-run firm.
Just a year older than the 43-year-old president, McNamara was to be a symbol of the Kennedy administration's youth, and someone who'd apply his modern, analytical management techniques to the Pentagon.
The two men also shared a view that ''flexible responses'' to world crises were preferable to threatening massive retaliation, through limited wars if necessary. Despite resistance from the Pentagon ranks, McNamara went about trying to change U.S. military culture to better prepare the armed forces for such conflicts. One of the first ''flexible responses'' was the failed 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, an effort that McNamara said 40 years later was ``dumb.'' His reputation as an executive remained intact, however, and today even critics laud his efforts to revamp the Defense Department and contain the Soviet threat.
''There is a place for analytical rigor in Pentagon policy, and he knew how to answer all the small questions,'' said Ivan Eland, the director of the Center on Peace & Liberty, which studies national defense issues. ''But,'' Eland said, ``he couldn't answer the big questions.''
Sometimes he could, historians said. In October 1962, McNamara was one of the major players in the Cuban missile crisis. Soviet nuclear missiles had been spotted in Cuba, and the United States reacted forcefully, imposing a naval quarantine. Some in Kennedy's Cabinet and in the military urged an even stronger response. McNamara came to be convinced that a blockade, rather than a military strike, was the proper strategy, however. ''He was not buying the military arguments about the urgency of the threat,'' said Chris Preble, director of foreign policy studies at Washington's Cato Institute, a libertarian research group.
Kennedy reportedly relied on McNamara to convince military officials that airstrikes would start a war that might not be stopped easily, and the president would say that he was lucky to have McNamara and his logical approach at the Pentagon. The United States and the Soviet Uni0n seemed to be at the edge of nuclear war, but Moscow backed down when the United States agreed that it wouldn't invade Cuba. A few months later, the U.S. quietly dismantled nuclear missiles in Turkey and Italy.
The big question of Vietnam, though, would prove thornier, and ultimately would preoccupy McNamara. He, like others of the ''best and brightest'' who ran the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, thought that by backing the South Vietnamese, the United States could control communist aggression.
U.S. involvement in Vietnam began to escalate after the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, when North Vietnamese patrol boats reportedly fired on U.S. destroyers. As the Viet Cong and its allies stepped up their efforts to control the south, Johnson escalated a campaign of aerial bombing of North Vietnam and poured troops into the region; by the end of 1967, half a million Americans were serving there. McNamara's cool public demeanor was now a liability.
''He was the target. He was one of the whiz kids, and people now thought he was responsible for Vietnam policy,'' said Darrell West, the director of governance studies at Washington's Brookings Institution, a centrist public-policy center.
Protesters dubbed it ''McNamara's war,'' even though the secretary was privately becoming wary of the strategy as early as 1965. He ordered a detailed review of the war -- which in 1971 became public as the Pentagon Papers -- and in February 1968 he stepped down to become the president of the World Bank, a position that he held until 1981.
McNamara stayed largely out of public sight for years, but in the last years of his life, he became an outspoken critic of his own policy. His public doubts began to surface in the mid-1990s in his memoir, In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam. ''We were wrong,'' he said in 1995 of the principles that underlay the Vietnam involvement. ``We were terribly wrong.''
His agony reached a new generation eight years later in a 2003 documentary, The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons From the Life of Robert S. McNamara, which was released several months after the United States invaded Iraq. ''I'm very proud of my accomplishments,'' he said in the film, ``and I'm very sorry that in the process of accomplishing things I've made errors.''
His agonized soul, though, couldn't heal his reputation. _________________ "When I became a man, I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up."- C.S. Lewis
"Superman can't be emo. He can't cut himself."-CP
Tue Jul 07, 2009 2:20 am
Joined: Nov 07, 2002
Walter Cronkite, America's preeminent television journalist of the 1960s and 1970s who as anchor and managing editor of "CBS Evening News" played a primary role in establishing television as the dominant national news medium of that era, died last night at age 92.
CBS Vice President Linda Mason said Cronkite died at 7:42 p.m. with his family by his side at his home in New York after a long illness. He had been suffering from cerebrovascular disease, his family said recently.
Cronkite's career reflected the arc of journalism in the mid-20th century. He was a wire service reporter covering major campaigns of World War II before working in radio and then joining a pioneering TV news venture at the CBS affiliate in Washington. Later in New York, he anchored the network's nightly news program from 1962 to 1981, a period in which television established itself as the principal source of information on current events for most Americans.
In a statement last night, President Obama called Cronkite "more than just an anchor." He was "someone we could trust to guide us through the most important issues of the day; a voice of certainty in an uncertain world," Obama said.
Describing him as "family," the president said Cronkite " invited us to believe in him, and he never let us down. This country has lost an icon and a dear friend, and he will be truly missed."
CBS was widely considered the best news-gathering operation among the three major networks, and Cronkite was a major reason why. With his avuncular pipe-and-slippers presence before the camera and an easy yet authoritative delivery, he had an extraordinary rapport with his viewers and a level of credibility that was unmatched in the industry. In a 1973 public opinion poll by the Oliver Quayle organization, Cronkite was named the most trusted public figure in the United States, ahead of the president and the vice president.
"He was the voice of truth, the voice of reliability," said Todd Gitlin, a Columbia University journalism professor and sociologist. "He belongs to a time when there were three networks, three oil companies, three brands of bread." He was the personification of stability and permanence, even when, in Gitlin's words, his message was "that things are falling apart."
In the decades before media outlets and media audiences splintered into numberless shards, Cronkite's broadcasts reached an estimated 20 million people a night. His name became permanently linked in the minds of millions of Americans with the major news events of his time: the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert and of Martin Luther King Jr.; the triumph of the first moon landing; the Watergate scandal; the return of American hostages after the Iranian Revolution; and a cavalcade of political conventions, national elections and presidential inaugurations.
Cronkite was often viewed as the personification of objectivity, but his reports on the Vietnam War increasingly came to criticize the American military role. "From 1964 to 1967, he never took anything other than a deferential approach to the White House on Vietnam," Gitlin said, but added, "He's remembered for the one moment when he stepped out of character and decided, to his great credit, to go see [Vietnam] for himself."
In 1968, after the surprise Tet Offensive of the Communist North Vietnamese, Cronkite went to Southeast Asia for a firsthand look at the war. His reports on the "Evening News" and in a half-hour special were instrumental in turning the tide of American public opinion against U.S. policy.
"To say that we are closer to victory today is to believe, in the face of evidence, the optimists who have been wrong in the past," he said, casting doubt in the minds of millions of Americans on official versions of the war. Cronkite's viewers were certain that he would never lie to them, and the White House and the Department of Defense did not command that level of credibility.
President Lyndon B. Johnson was widely quoted as having told aides, "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost Middle America."
Cronkite took pride in being unemotional on the air, but the one occasion when he lost his composure, for the briefest of moments, became an indelible part of the nation's communal memory.
"From Dallas, Texas, the flash, apparently official," he reported Nov. 22, 1963, while sitting at his newsroom desk in shirtsleeves, "President Kennedy died at 1 p.m. Central Standard Time . . . "
He removed his black horn-rimmed glasses, paused as he choked back a sob and then continued reporting about the whereabouts of then-Vice President Johnson, soon to be sworn in as president.
At the other end of the emotional spectrum, he exhibited almost a boyish glee when reporting on U.S. space triumphs. "Man on the moon! . . . Oh, boy! . . . Whew! Boy!" was his description of the spacecraft Eagle's landing on the moon on July 20, 1969. "Boy! There they sit on the moon! . . . My golly!"
Known as "old ironpants" for his durability, Cronkite spent 27 of the next 30 hours on the air.
News was a stepchild of the television industry in 1962 when CBS asked Cronkite to be its evening news "anchorman," a term CBS coined and a job Cronkite shaped for decades to come. At the time, network executives did not see television news as a profit center; it would take "60 Minutes," created in 1968 by Cronkite's former executive producer Don Hewitt, to change that belief about profitability. Nightly news programs lasted only 15 minutes, which permitted little more than a bare summary of the day's front-page news.
On Sept. 2, 1963, Cronkite and CBS made television history with the first half-hour edition of "CBS Evening News." It included an exclusive interview with President John F. Kennedy. Two weeks later, NBC expanded its nightly news program, with Chet Huntley and David Brinkley, to 30 minutes. ABC went to a half-hour format in 1967.
By 1968, Cronkite and CBS had established a dominance in the evening news viewer ratings that would remain unchallenged for the rest of his tenure as anchor and managing editor. He became the standard against which other television network anchors were judged, and his face became one of the most recognized in America.
So widely did Cronkite become known that eventually it interfered with his ability to cover politics, which had always been one of his passions. "I get off the bus in some small town and the crowd is around me rather than the candidate," he once said. "Not only is it embarrassing, it gets in the way of working. Instead of getting the crowd's reaction to the candidate, I'm dealing with the crowd's reaction to me."
His newscasts were based on a fundamental premise: "to tell it like it is without gimmicks," and he signed off each night's broadcast with the same line, "And that's the way it is."
Cronkite may have been a calm, unflappable presence on the air, but "he was always a hard-driving, fiercely competitive newsman off camera," David Shaw of the Los Angeles Times noted in 2003. The Times media critic recalled spending a day with him for a 1979 magazine profile.
"Throughout the day," Shaw recalled, "he was calling sources, prodding subordinates, asking questions, editing copy, deciding how stories would be played on that night's broadcast. At one point, when someone handed him a statement that had come in earlier from the Iranian Embassy, answering several questions he'd been pursuing, he exploded. . . .
"He continued to fume and fret and drive and demand through the day, right up until 6:28, when he combed his hair, put on his jacket and -- two minutes later -- began the broadcast with his calm and customary, 'Good evening.' "
Cronkite said he never anchored a single newscast that left him fully satisfied. He watched NBC's nightly news program each evening after finishing his own, and his staff lived in mortal terror of the explosion of anger that would surely follow if NBC had a story or even a fact that had not been on Cronkite's show.
"I want to win," he once said. "I not only want to win, I want to be the best. I feel very badly if I can't be."
Walter Leland Cronkite Jr. was born Nov. 4, 1916, in St. Joseph, Mo. He grew up in Kansas City, Mo., and later in Houston, where his father served on the faculty of the University of Texas Dental School. As a junior in high school, he read a short story about the exploits and adventures of a foreign news correspondent, and he decided then and there that he wanted to be a journalist. He got his first look at television at the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago.
He attended the University of Texas at Austin, where he worked part time as the campus correspondent for the Houston Post, as sports announcer for a radio station and as a state capitol reporter for the Scripps Howard newspaper chain. He concluded after two years that covering the state capitol was more exciting than studying political science at the university, and he dropped out of college to become a full-time reporter.
Cronkite worked at the Houston Post for a year, then joined the staff of a Kansas City radio station, where he worked as news and sports editor. Later, he became a sports announcer for an Oklahoma City radio station, where he developed a reputation for imagination and creativity for his colorful re-creations of football games based on nothing but wire-service copy.
In 1939, he became a reporter for the United Press wire service and soon was covering combat during World War II. He covered the Battle of the North Atlantic, went along on the first B-17 bombing raid over Germany, landed with Allied forces in North Africa and waded ashore in the Normandy invasion of June 6, 1944. Later, he accompanied the Allied breakthrough at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge.
Cronkite was chief United Press correspondent at the Nuremberg war crimes trials, and then from 1946 to 1948 was the agency's chief correspondent in Moscow. He returned to the United States in 1948 and served as Washington correspondent for a group of Midwestern radio stations until joining CBS News in 1950, shortly after the Korean War broke out. He had hoped to cover the fighting but was instead charged with developing the news department of what was then WTOP-TV, the CBS affiliate in Washington.
Although he came to the job with no TV experience whatsoever, he developed what he called "a gut feeling that television news delivery ought to be as informal as possible [and spoken] to that single individual in front of his set in the intimacy of his own home, not to a gathering of thousands.
Later, with the network, he covered Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev's 1959 visit to the United States, the 1960 Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley, Calif., and the early space flights of John Glenn, Alan Shepard, Gordon Cooper and Walter Schirra.
When asked to anchor the evening news program, succeeding Douglas Edwards, Cronkite insisted that he also be named managing editor in an effort to emphasize that it was a news -- not an entertainment -- broadcast. Over the next several years, Cronkite worked with CBS News President Fred Friendly and others to build up a newsgathering organization that reached all parts of the globe.
As early as 1952, Cronkite had predicted that television would someday dominate American politics, and he was sensitive about the enormous potential of his broadcasts to mold and influence public opinion.
Retirement and Honors
In 1980, a year before Cronkite turned 65, CBS executives began to prod him to step aside to make way for the younger Dan Rather to lead the Evening News. At Cronkite's last convention, the 1980 Democratic National Convention in New York, the intensity of a farewell demonstration for Cronkite surpassed that of the reaction to Jimmy Carter's speech accepting nomination for a second term. Delegates gathered on the floor of Madison Square Garden chanting, "Wal-ter, Wal-ter, Wal-ter." It was a major national news event itself when Cronkite anchored his last "CBS Evening News" broadcast March 6, 1981.
But Cronkite later came to regret having been pushed out of the anchor's chair before he was ready to leave.
Six weeks before stepping down, Cronkite received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. As a special correspondent, he covered the 40th anniversary of V-E Day, the 40th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, the funeral of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and the 25th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian uprising.
As the years passed, he lost some of his reporter's reluctance to express an opinion and gave voice to his conventionally liberal ideals. In 2006, he told a gathering of reporters that his proudest moment as a journalist was the night he delivered his editorial about the futility of the Vietnam War. Had he still been a network anchor, he said, he would have tried to deliver a similar editorial about the Iraq war.
Cronkite married Mary Elizabeth "Betsy" Maxwell, a columnist and women's editor for the Kansas City Journal, on March 30, 1940. She died three weeks before their 65th anniversary.
They had three children, Nancy, Kathy and Walter L. "Chip" Cronkite III. As a widower, Cronkite was the companion of opera singer Joanna Simon, the older sister of pop singer-songwriter Carly Simon.
He was deeply disappointed that outer space remained beyond his reach.
"He keeps looking into the sky at night and saying, 'I have to go there,' " his wife once recalled. _________________ "When I became a man, I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up."- C.S. Lewis
"Superman can't be emo. He can't cut himself."-CP
Sat Jul 18, 2009 1:18 am
Joined: Nov 02, 2002
John Hughes, best known for directing a string of 1980s hit movies including "The Breakfast Club," and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", has died, his publicist said Thursday. He was 59.
Hughes suffered a heart attack while visiting his family in Manhattan, his Los Angeles-based representatives said.
A prolific screenwriter and director, Hughes was the creative inspiration behind a series of teen-oriented films throughout the 1980s before penning the screenplay for the smash 1990 Macaulay Culkin film "Home Alone."
The family film -- about a boy who is accidentally left behind when his parents head off on a Christmas vacation and who has to fight off a gang of bungling burglars -- was Hughes's greatest commercial success.
He also penned a less successful 1992 sequel "Home Alone 2".
After starting out as a copywriter, Hughes began writing comedy for National Lampoon magazine before forging his successful movie career.
His breakthrough movie script came with the screenplay for the successful "National Lampoon's Vacation" in 1983.
His directorial debut, 1984's coming-of-age teen drama "Sixteen Candles", starring Molly Ringwald was a critical hit which set the tone for the films that were to define Hughes's career.
He later followed it up with "The Breakfast Club", about a group of teenagers who bond while stuck in detention, and 1986's classic "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," about a mischievous truant played by Matthew Broderick.
The film arguably launched Broderick's acting career and was one of the biggest hits of the decade, grossing more than 70 million dollars in North America alone after being made for around six million dollars.
Other Hughes hits from the time included "Weird Science" and another Ringwald film "Pretty In Pink."
His films were also notable for their choice of music, which helped propel bands such as "Simple Minds" and "Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark" to chart-topping success during the 1980s.
"I just used what I was listening to at the time, bands I liked," Hughes said in a rare 1999 interview. "It was my own personal taste."
Hughes branched out from the teen genre in 1987 with the slapstick comedy "Planes Trains & Automobiles" starring Steve Martin and John Candy, the late comic whom he teamed up with again for 1989's "Uncle Buck."
Yet is was 1990's "Home Alone" that cemented Hughes's reputation as one of the most successful talents of his generation.
The film -- which took nearly 500 million dollars worldwide -- remains the most successful live action comedy of all time. _________________ Toonami visual schedule - UPDATED AUGUST 2, 2015
Thu Aug 06, 2009 11:33 pm
Joined: Nov 07, 2002
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Legendary guitarist and inventor Les Paul, who pioneered the design of solid body Gibson electric guitars that bore his name, died Thursday at a New York hospital of complications from pneumonia. He was 94.
The rock 'n' roll icon was playing regular gigs at a New York City nightclub as recently as a few months ago until he began battling a series of illnesses that put him "in and out of the hospital," his attorney Michael Braunstein said.
"At 94, it's hard to fight a lot of stuff," Braunstein said. "He's a historical person. He certainly has left his mark here on Earth and had many, many friends."
Paul had been a dominant force in the music business since World War Two. He and wife Mary Ford enjoyed a string of hits in the 1940s and 1950s that included "Mockin' Bird Hill" and the influential "How High the Moon," which featured some of Paul's recording innovations, such as multi-layered tracks.
A passionate tinkerer, Paul created one of the first solid-body electric guitars in 1941, but it took nearly 10 years before he, working with Gibson Guitar Corp., perfected it. In 1952, the Les Paul Goldtop became an instant sensation that still impacts music, especially rock 'n' roll.
In the years that followed, Gibson released Paul's Black Beauty, the Les Paul Custom, Les Paul Junior, and 1958's Les Paul Standard, with its revolutionary humbucker pickups and sunburst design that has remained unchanged for 50 years
Tributes from the music world poured in as news of Paul's death spread.
"He was one of the most stellar human beings I've ever known," said former Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash, who described Paul as a friend and mentor.
Iconic American guitarist Joe Satriani called Paul "the original guitar hero and the kindest of souls."
Paul was born Lester William Polsfuss in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on June 9, 1915. He performed in honky-tonk bars and music halls when he was as young as 13 and dropped out of school at 17 to play in Sunny Joe Wolverton's Radio Band in St. Louis, Missouri, where he was dubbed "Rhubarb Red."
By the late 1930s, he had formed his first trio, moved to New York and become a national radio star with Fred Waring's Pennsylvanians.
It was in the early 1940s, that Paul first began tinkering with electronics and amplification because he disliked the hollow bodies on the electric guitars of the time. Their vibration led to a thin tone and feedback, Paul believed.
"What I wanted was to amplify pure string vibration, without the resonance of the wood getting involved in the sound," Paul once said, according to a statement from Gibson.
His experimenting sometimes got him in trouble.
He nearly electrocuted himself to death at home in the 1940s, and in 1948 he was in a near-fatal car accident that shattered his right arm and elbow. But he famously told doctors to set it in the cast in a guitar-picking position so he could continue to play.
Paul also was responsible for changes in the way music was recorded with his advances in multi-track engineering, tape delay, close-in microphones for vocals and playback speeds.
As rock 'n' roll became increasingly popular in the late 195O's, his and Mary Ford's recording careers began to wane, and a television show in which they starred for seven years ended in 1960. The pair divorced in 1964.
In 1977, Paul and another legendary guitarist, Chet Atkins, released the Grammy-winning album "Chester and Lester."
He was back at the Grammy Awards in 2005 with award-winning "Les Paul & Friends: American Made World Played," featuring guitarists Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton and Keith Richards among the collaborators.
Paul is the only person to be a member in the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll hall of Fame, the National Inventors Hall of Fame and the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame. _________________ "When I became a man, I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up."- C.S. Lewis
"Superman can't be emo. He can't cut himself."-CP
Thu Aug 13, 2009 2:39 pm
Joined: Nov 02, 2002
Patrick Swayze, the hunky actor who danced his way into moviegoers' hearts with "Dirty Dancing" and then broke them with "Ghost," died Monday after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 57.
"Patrick Swayze passed away peacefully today with family at his side after facing the challenges of his illness for the last 20 months," his publicist, Annett Wolf, said in a statement Monday evening. Swayze died in Los Angeles, Wolf said, but she declined to give further details.
Fans of the actor were saddened to learn in March 2008 that Swayze was suffering from a particularly deadly form of cancer. He kept working despite the diagnosis, putting together a memoir with his wife and shooting "The Beast," an A&E drama series for which he had already made the pilot.
Swayze said he opted not to use painkilling drugs while making "The Beast" because they would have taken the edge off his performance. The show drew a respectable 1.3 million viewers when the 13 episodes ran in 2009, but A&E said it had reluctantly decided not to renew it for a second season.
When he first went public with the illness, some reports gave him only weeks to live, but his doctor said his situation was "considerably more optimistic" than that. Swayze acknowledged that time might be running out given the grim nature of the disease.
"I'd say five years is pretty wishful thinking," Swayze told ABC's Barbara Walters in early 2009. "Two years seems likely if you're going to believe statistics. I want to last until they find a cure, which means I'd better get a fire under it."
C. Thomas Howell, who costarred with Swayze in "The Outsiders," "Grandview U.S.A." and "Red Dawn," said: "I have always had a special place in my heart for Patrick. While I was fortunate enough to work with him in three films, it was our passion for horses that forged a friendship between us that I treasure to this day. Not only did we lose a fine actor today, I lost my older `Outsiders' brother."
Other celebrities used Twitter to express condolences, and "Dirty Dancing" was the top trending topic for a while Monday night, trailed by several other Swayze films.
Ashton Kutcher — whose wife, Demi Moore, costarred with Swayze in "Ghost" — wrote: "RIP P Swayze." Kutcher also linked to a YouTube clip of the actor poking fun at himself in a classic "Saturday Night Live" sketch, in which he played a wannabe Chippendales dancer alongside the corpulent — and frighteningly shirtless — Chris Farley.
Larry King wrote: "Patrick Swayze was a wonderful actor & a terrific guy. He put his heart in everything. He was an extraordinary fighter in his battle w Cancer." King added that he'd do a tribute to Swayze on his CNN program on Tuesday night.
A three-time Golden Globe nominee, Swayze became a star with his performance as the misunderstood bad boy Johnny Castle in "Dirty Dancing." As the son of a choreographer who began his career in musical theater, he seemed a natural to play the role.
A coming-of-age romance starring Jennifer Grey as an idealistic young woman on vacation with her family and Swayze as the Catskills resort's sexy (and much older) dance instructor, the film made great use of both his grace on his feet and his muscular physique.
It became an international phenomenon in the summer of 1987, spawning albums, an Oscar-winning hit song in "(I've Had) the Time of My Life," stage productions and a sequel, 2004's "Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights," in which he made a cameo.
Swayze performed and co-wrote a song on the soundtrack, the ballad "She's Like the Wind," inspired by his wife, Lisa Niemi. The film also gave him the chance to utter the now-classic line, "Nobody puts Baby in a corner."
Swayze followed that up with the 1989 action flick "Road House," in which he played a bouncer at a rowdy bar. But it was his performance in 1990's "Ghost" that showed his vulnerable, sensitive side. He starred as a murdered man trying to communicate with his fiancee (Moore) — with great frustration and longing — through a psychic played by Whoopi Goldberg.
Swayze said at the time that he fought for the role of Sam Wheat (director Jerry Zucker wanted Kevin Kline) but once he went in for an audition and read six scenes, he got it.
Why did he want the part so badly? "It made me cry four or five times," he said of Bruce Joel Rubin's Oscar-winning script in an AP interview.
"Ghost" provided yet another indelible musical moment: Swayze and Moore sensually molding pottery together to the strains of the Righteous Brothers' "Unchained Melody." It also earned a best-picture nomination and a supporting-actress Oscar for Goldberg, who said she wouldn't have won if it weren't for Swayze.
"When I won my Academy Award, the only person I really thanked was Patrick," Goldberg said in March 2008 on the ABC daytime talk show "The View."
Swayze himself earned three Golden Globe nominations, for "Dirty Dancing," "Ghost" and 1995's "To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar," which further allowed him to toy with his masculine image. The role called for him to play a drag queen on a cross-country road trip alongside Wesley Snipes and John Leguizamo.
His heartthrob status almost kept him from being considered for the role of Vida Boheme.
"I couldn't get seen on it because everyone viewed me as terminally heterosexually masculine-macho," he told The Associated Press then. But he transformed himself so completely that when his screen test was sent to Steven Spielberg, whose Amblin pictures produced "To Wong Foo," Spielberg didn't recognize him.
Among his earlier films, Swayze was part of the star-studded lineup of up-and-comers in Francis Ford Coppola's 1983 adaptation of S.E. Hinton's novel "The Outsiders," alongside Rob Lowe, Tom Cruise, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Emilio Estevez and Diane Lane.
Other '80s films included "Red Dawn," "Grandview U.S.A." (for which he also provided choreography) and "Youngblood," once more with Lowe, as Canadian hockey teammates.
In the '90s, he made such eclectic films as "Point Break" (1991), in which he played the leader of a band of bank-robbing surfers, and the family Western "Tall Tale" (1995), in which he starred as Pecos Bill. He appeared on the cover of People magazine as its "Sexiest Man Alive" in 1991, but his career tapered off toward the end of the 1990s, when he also had a stay in rehab for alcohol abuse. In 2001, he appeared in the cult favorite "Donnie Darko," and in 2003 he returned to the New York stage with "Chicago"; 2006 found him in the musical "Guys and Dolls" in London.
Swayze was born in 1952 in Houston, the son of Jesse Swayze and choreographer Patsy Swayze, whose films include "Urban Cowboy."
He played football but also was drawn to dance and theater, performing with the Feld, Joffrey and Harkness Ballets and appearing on Broadway as Danny Zuko in "Grease." But he turned to acting in 1978 after a series of injuries.
Within a couple years of moving to Los Angeles, he made his debut in the roller-disco movie "Skatetown, U.S.A." The eclectic cast included Scott Baio, Flip Wilson, Maureen McCormack and Billy Barty.
Off-screen, he was an avid conservationist who was moved by his time in Africa to shine a light on "man's greed and absolute unwillingness to operate according to Mother Nature's laws," he told the AP in 2004.
Swayze was married since 1975 to Niemi, a fellow dancer who took lessons with his mother; they met when he was 19 and she was 15. A licensed pilot, Niemi would fly her husband from Los Angeles to Northern California for treatment at Stanford University Medical Center.
In February, Swayze wrote an op-ed piece in the Washington Post titled, "I'm Battling Cancer. How About Some Help, Congress?" in which he urged senators and representatives to vote for the maximum funding for the National Institutes of Health to fight cancer as part of the economic stimulus package.
He also appeared in the September 2008 live television event "Stand Up to Cancer," where he made this moving plea: "I keep dreaming of a future, a future with a long and healthy life, a life not lived in the shadow of cancer, but in the light. ... I dream that the word `cure' will no longer be followed by the words `is impossible.'" _________________ Toonami visual schedule - UPDATED AUGUST 2, 2015
Mon Sep 14, 2009 9:33 pm
Joined: Nov 07, 2002
Yoshito Usui, creator of the Japanese manga and anime property Crayon Shin-chan, was found dead Sept. 20th in the mountains north of Tokyo. He was 51.
According to news reports, Usui had told family he was planning to climb a mountain in Gunnma prefecture and went missing on Sept. 11th. Japanese media reported that he may have fallen from a cliff. His body was found with wounds to his chest.
Crayon Shin-chan, about a mischievous 5-year-old boy, became a hit manga in the 1990s, with 49 volumes published in Japan. An English-language version was published in the United States by CMX, an imprint of DC Comics. The series jumped to anime in 1992, and continues to run today. The show aired in the United States on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block. _________________ "When I became a man, I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up."- C.S. Lewis
"Superman can't be emo. He can't cut himself."-CP
Wed Sep 23, 2009 3:56 am
Joined: Nov 02, 2002
He was the maker of champions. The Guiding Light. Often imitated, never duplicated.
He was the greatest professional wrestling manager that I have ever seen.
Capt. Lou Albano, who died this morning at 76, was one of the most recognizable and over-the-top characters in the business during his heyday in the WWWF and WWF in the ’70s and ’80s.
I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that Albano played a major role in WWE becoming a pop culture staple. As the story goes, Albano met ’80s pop star Cyndi Lauper on an airplane and the two became friends. He played her father in the video for her big hit “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” and he later brought her to the WWF for an angle that led to a match between The Fabulous Moolah (managed by Albano) and Wendi Richter (managed by Lauper) live on MTV. The Rock and Wrestling Connection was born and it wasn’t long before Mr. T came on the scene and Hulk Hogan and Roddy Piper became mainstream celebrities.
My first exposure to Albano occurred while watching the WWWF’s syndicated show on a Saturday afternoon in 1973. Being 6 at the time, I found the wild-eyed, boisterous, gravely-voiced, slovenly manager to be a frightening individual. My earliest memories of Albano are of him being interviewed by a young Vince McMahon, and Albano yelling about how his charges were going to destroy the likes of Bruno Sammartino, Chief Jay Strongbow and Pedro Morales.
Albano, who had rubber bands sticking out of his face and usually had his shirt unbuttoned to expose his bulbous belly, was hands down the top heel in the company, and he transferred his heat to the men in his stable as well as any manger ever has. You bought a ticket to see the top babyfaces of the day beat Albano’s men simply because of your intense hatred for Albano.
Of course, it was even better when Albano donned the tights himself and got his comeuppance. Albano, who was a member of a mid-card tag team known as The Sicilians in the ’60s, was far from a great worker, but after he made a name for himself as a manager, his matches were must-see events.
I had the privilege of seeing Albano wrestle on quite a few occasions at The Baltimore Civic Center. From the moment he made his way down to the ring, the heat for the match was off the charts. The atmosphere was electric, as chants of “Albano is a Bum” filled the arena.
Every Albano match was pretty much the same. He would beg off and avoid locking up before the babyface eventually got his hands on him. After being on the receiving end for a bit, Albano would gain the advantage with the aid of a foreign object. The babyface would make a comeback, take the object from Albano and use it against him. Albano would blade – usually in full view of everyone without any attempt to conceal it – and then run to the back, losing via count-out.
Albano was such a despicable figure that even some of the heels didn’t care for him. In the angle that turned Pat Patterson babyface in the early ’80s, The Grand Wizard sold Patterson’s contract to Albano, but Patterson – who was a low-life heel himself – wanted nothing to do with The Capt. because he was “a fat slob.” Albano also was involved in the famous angle in which Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka turned babyface and became the most popular wrestler in the country before being supplanted by Hogan.
Albano’s initial claim to fame was that he was the manager of Ivan Koloff when “The Russian Bear” ended Sammartino’s title reign of nearly eight years in 1971. Albano was best known for being the manager of numerous tag team champions, including The Valiant Brothers, The Wild Samoans, The Blackjacks, The Moondogs and The Executioners.
Even though he was nowhere near as clever or smooth on the mic as managers such as Bobby Heenan or Jim Cornette, Albano cut highly entertaining promos. He would yell and scream and what he said usually was nonsensical. He also used the same phrases over and over, such as saying that if you put (insert babyface here)’s brain into a parakeet it would fly backward. As much as you hated him, you had to laugh sometimes at Albano’s antics.
One frequent target of Albano’s insults was Strongbow, who passed himself off as a Native American but in actuality was a guy named Joe Scarpa, an Italian just like Albano. The first wrestling angle that I remember involved Albano and Strongbow. For months Albano wore a cast on his arm, claiming that Strongbow had attacked him and broken his arm. The Chief always denied it. Finally, during a TV match involving Strongbow, Albano bludgeoned him with the cast and revealed that it had all been a ruse. That set up a series of heated matches between the two.
In the mid-80s, the unthinkable happened, and the man fans loved to hate became the man fans loved. Albano turned babyface, going from a sleazy, maniacal character to your fun-loving, crazy uncle. In typical campy fashion, it was revealed that Albano’s bad behavior all those years was because he had “a calcium deposit on the medulla of his oblongata.” Once doctors performed “surgery,” Albano underwent a transformation and began using his wrestling acumen for good instead of evil, managing the likes of George “The Animal” Steele and The British Bulldogs.
Albano parlayed his celebrity status from the ’80s wrestling boom into an acting career, as he got a part in the 1986 movie “Wiseguys” along with Danny DeVito and Joe Piscopo, and also made appearances on a number of TV shows. In the late ’80s and early ‘90s, he played one of the Mario Brothers on “The Super Mario Bros. Super Show.”
The word on Albano was that he could be as much of a loose cannon off camera as he was on. He had the reputation of being a hard drinker and wrote in his autobiography that Vince McMahon Sr. fired him on a number of occasions but always quickly changed his mind and brought him back. Albano also has said in interviews that he and Vince McMahon Jr. had their ups and downs.
I never really had an opportunity to interact with Albano except for a very brief conversation at the WWF Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Philadelphia in 1995 (Albano was inducted in 1996).
During the ’80s, I attended several tapings for the WWF’s Tuesday Night Titans show when Albano was a guest. For those too young to remember, TNT was wrestling’s version of “The Tonight Show,” and it took place in a small TV studio in Owings Mills, Md., before a live audience. Albano, who was a babyface at that point, would come into the audience during breaks and crack us up with his off-color humor and bad jokes. It was great watching McMahon, who was the host of the show, sitting behind his desk and rolling his eyes at Albano much the same way he would when interviewing Albano back in the day.
Those were good days. Rest in peace, Capt.
Note: A private wake will be held at Balsamo-Cordovano Funeral Home in Carmel, N.Y., from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, according to a release from wrestlersrescue.org. A funeral Mass will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. James the Apostle Church in Carmel. _________________ Toonami visual schedule - UPDATED AUGUST 2, 2015
Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:42 pm
Joined: Nov 07, 2002
LOS ANGELES — Roy E. Disney, who helped revitalize the famed animation division of the company founded by his uncle, Walt Disney, and who at times publicly feuded with top Disney executives, died on Wednesday in Newport Beach, Calif. He was 79.
His death, at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, was caused by stomach cancer, a spokeswoman for the Walt Disney Company said. Mr. Disney, who had homes in Newport Beach and the Toluca Lake district of Los Angeles, was the last member of the Disney family to work at the entertainment conglomerate built by his uncle and his father, Roy O. Disney.
As a boy the younger Roy would play in the halls of his uncle’s studio, where animators often used him as a test audience as they toiled on movies like “Pinocchio.” As an adult he helped bring the animation studio back from the brink, overseeing a creative renaissance that led to “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Lion King.”
But the soft-spoken Mr. Disney was primarily known for a willingness to question the company’s top managers, aggressively and publicly, when he felt they were mishandling the family empire. Some people in the company referred to him as its real-life Jiminy Cricket: a living conscience who was at times intensely disliked by management for speaking out.
In 1984, when the company weathered two takeover attempts, Mr. Disney helped force the resignation of Ronald W. Miller — the husband of Walt Disney’s daughter, Diane — as chief executive. In 2004, a time when Pixar was pummeling Disney at the box office, Mr. Disney helped lead an investor uprising that culminated with the departure of Michael D. Eisner as chief executive and chairman.
Along the way, Mr. Disney organized Shamrock Holdings, a family investment enterprise that became known for instigating hostile takeovers, including an ultimately failed one of Polaroid in the late 1980s.
“Roy was a man who was steadfastly loyal to his principles,” said Stanley Gold, Shamrock’s president. “He was a gracious, humble gentleman who could make the tough decisions life sometimes requires.”
Roy E. Disney was born in Los Angeles on Jan. 10, 1930, and had a childhood that most people can only dream about. While playing at the studio, his uncle would occasionally take a break to read storybooks to him. Mr. Disney once remarked: “The animators used to test stuff out on me. They’d say, ‘Come on in and watch this and see if you think it’s funny.’ ”
Mr. Disney began his entertainment career in 1952 as an assistant film editor on “Dragnet,” the landmark television show. He joined Disney in 1953 and worked on nature documentaries like “The Living Desert” and “The Vanishing Prairie,” which both won Oscars. He also wrote for “Zorro.”
Although he retained a board seat, he left the company in 1977 after disagreements with Mr. Miller and became an independent producer.
Returning to the company in 1984, Mr. Disney set about revitalizing the floundering animation division. He obtained financing, for instance, for a computerized postproduction facility, helping to make possible the revolving ballroom scene in “Beauty and the Beast.”
Walt Disney had planned a sequel to “Fantasia,” the groundbreaking 1942 film that used animation to interpret classical music, but he died in 1966 before he could complete it. His nephew, Roy, took over the project and made it his passion, spending nine years on its execution. “Fantasia 2000” sold about $91 million in tickets worldwide, a disappointing total given its cost and time commitment.
Mr. Disney also pursued sailing. He set time records for offshore yacht racing on the Pacific Ocean, including the Los Angeles-to-Honolulu Transpac Race, which he won in his boat, the Pyewacket, in 1999 in just over seven days. A vacation home — a castle, actually — in Ireland was a favorite retreat.
Mr. Disney resigned for the second time in 2003 citing “serious differences of opinion about the direction and style of management” and started agitating for Mr. Eisner’s ouster. In 2005, after Mr. Eisner had announced his departure, Mr. Disney became director emeritus and a consultant, titles he held until his death.
Survivors include his wife, Leslie DeMeuse Disney. He is also survived by his former wife of 52 years, Patricia Dailey Disney, and four of their children: Tim, Roy Patrick, Abigail and Susan Disney Lord; and by 16 grandchildren.
Mr. Disney was a big fan of referring to the past to define the future. He told a biographer: “The goal is to look over our shoulder and see Snow White and Pinocchio and Dumbo standing there saying, ‘Be this good.’ We shouldn’t be intimidated by them; they’re an arrow pointing someplace.” _________________ "When I became a man, I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up."- C.S. Lewis
"Superman can't be emo. He can't cut himself."-CP
Thu Dec 17, 2009 2:16 am
Joined: Nov 02, 2002
Cult movie and sci-fi enthusiasts have suffered a great loss, as Dan O’Bannon, the pioneering mind behind genre classics like Dark Star and Alien, died yesterday in Los Angeles at age 63. After befriending John Carpenter at USC film school in the early ‘70s, the two collaborated on Dark Star, Carpenter’s feature debut, a wonderfully silly sci-fi comedy that parodied 2001: A Space Odyssey with a malevolent beach ball, among other creations. (O’Bannon also edited, co-starred, and assisted on the special effects.) In the late ‘70s, O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett wrote the original story for Alien, which reworked the sci-fi genre again by infusing it with heart-catching horror. Throughout the ‘80s, O’Bannon largely struggled to find success in collaborations with John Badham (Blue Thunder) and Tobe Hooper (Lifeforce, Invaders From Mars), but his 1985 directorial debut Return Of The Living Dead found plenty of champions then and now. Though O’Bannon’s frustrations continued into the ‘90s, he and Shusett enjoyed one last hit in expanding Philip K. Dick’s short story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” into the script for Paul Verhoeven’s Total Recall.
Brittany Murphy, the bubbly, free-spirited actress who appeared in films including "Clueless" and "8 Mile," has died, Los Angeles police and hospital officials said Sunday. She was 32.
Murphy was pronounced dead at 10:04 a.m. PT Sunday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, hospital spokeswoman Sally Stewart told CNN Radio. No other details were immediately available.
An autopsy had not been scheduled as of Sunday night, but a spokesman for the Los Angeles County coroner's office told CNN that there was no sign of foul play or trauma. A final report on the cause of death could take up to eight weeks.
The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating the death, and robbery and homicide detectives will be at her home, LAPD spokeswoman Norma Eisenman said.
"In this time of sadness, the family thanks you for your love and support," Murphy's publicist, Nicole Perna, said in a statement. "It is their wish that you respect their privacy."
An autopsy had not been scheduled as of Sunday night, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County coroner's office told CNN. A final report on the cause of death could take up to eight weeks.
Murphy starred in several movies, including "Just Married," "Don't Say a Word" and "Riding in Cars with Boys." She also voiced the character Luanne on the animated TV series "King of the Hill."
She is survived by her husband, British screenwriter Simon Monjack, whom she married in 2007.
Fans took to Murphy's official Facebook page Sunday to issue their condolences.
"She was a great actress and was going to go far in her career! She will be greatly missed!" read one post.
Murphy's former boyfriend and "Just Married" co-star Ashton Kutcher posted his reaction to the news via Twitter.
"2day the world lost a little piece of sunshine. My deepest condolences go out 2 Brittany's family, her husband, & her amazing mother Sharon," Kutcher posted.
He added later: "see you on the other side kid."
Singer-actress Jessica Simpson tweeted: "Brittany Murphy was an incredible ray of Light to so many people. Her smile was contagious. My prayers are with her family and loved ones."
Actress Alyssa Milano, who did a USO tour with Murphy in 2003, wrote on Twitter: "She was a sweet soul, with a lot of talent and heart."
Murphy was best known for her work in a string of romantic comedies in the early 2000s, including lead roles in "Uptown Girls" alongside fellow Georgia native Dakota Fanning, and "Little Black Book" with Holly Hunter and Kathy Bates, but her movie roles had declined in recent years.
Last month, Murphy reportedly was fired from "The Caller," a movie she was working on in Puerto Rico. Her representative issued a statement to news outlets disputing the report, saying: "She was not nor has she ever been fired from any job big or small. ... [Due] to creative differences Ms. Murphy and the production mutually parted ways," according to People magazine.
In addition to her "King of the Hill" role, she lent her voice to a number of animated works including the TV series "Futurama" and the 2006 hit movie "Happy Feet."
Her work as troubled teenagers in "Don't Say a Word" and "Girl, Interrupted" also gained her critical acclaim.
Murphy was the subject of tabloid gossip after she transformed from a pudgy brunette in 1995's "Clueless" to a petite, lithe blonde who graced the cover of such magazines as Cosmopolitan in 2005. She frequently denied rumors of an eating disorder and plastic surgery.
Her love life also was fodder for gossip sites as she broke two engagements in 2004 and 2006, then married Monjack after only four months of dating.
"All these ridiculous people came out and said all this nonsense when we got married, [but] thank God we had the substance and the history within that to [say], 'Yeah, whatever!' " Monjack told People magazine in a 2008 interview. "We still don't understand what happened. It's made us laugh, it's made us cry, but it's made us stronger." _________________ Toonami visual schedule - UPDATED AUGUST 2, 2015
Sun Dec 20, 2009 10:12 pm
Joined: Nov 07, 2002
BOSTON — Arnold Stang, an actor who appeared alongside Milton Berle and Frank Sinatra and was known for his nerdy looks and distinctive nasal voice, has died. He was 91.
Stang died Sunday of pneumonia at Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Massachusetts, said JoAnne Stang, his wife of 60 years.
She attributed her husband's career longevity to his willingness to tackle any professional challenge.
"He was really unique, because he could perform in any role, comedy or drama, he just loved it all," she said Tuesday. "He always thought of himself just as an actor, not any particular kind of actor, but just an actor who would play whatever he was asked to play."
Despite often playing goofy characters, Stang was the consummate professional, preparing the same for his biggest roles and the smallest commercials.
"I remember how smart he was, and how hardworking, and how disciplined he was, no matter what the role," his wife said.
The slight and diminutive Stang started his career on the radio as a teenager and never lost his love of the medium.
JoAnne Stang remembers her husband zipping across Manhattan in the 1940s and '50s, from radio show to radio show, all live and challenging in their own way because all the acting is done through voice, with no facial expressions or body language, she said.
"That was his education," she said.
He played alongside Berle on radio and television in the 1950s, starred as Sinatra's sidekick in the 1955 movie The Man with the Golden Arm, and was a member of the ensemble comedic cast of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World in 1963.
The dramatic role alongside Sinatra was one of his favorites, his wife said.
He voiced cartoons, including the lead character in the 1960s cartoon Top Cat, and did dozens of commercials, perhaps most notably for the Chunky candy bar.
He appeared in movies alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bill Cosby and continued acting into his 80s, playing a role in the 1993 movie Dennis the Menace.
Stang invented and mischievously perpetuated a story that he was born and raised in the Boston suburb of Chelsea. But his wife said he was really raised in Brooklyn. He lived in the Boston suburb of Needham for the past decade.
Stang is also survived by son David and daughter Deborah. _________________ "When I became a man, I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up."- C.S. Lewis
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