11/29/01 George Harrison - LOS ANGELES - George Harrison, the Beatles' quiet lead guitarist and spiritual explorer who added both rock 'n' roll flash and a touch of the mystic to the band's timeless magic, has died. He was 58. Harrison died at 1:30 p.m. (2130 GMT) Thursday at a friend's Los Angeles home following a battle with cancer, longtime friend Gavin De Becker told The Associated Press late Thursday. Harrison's wife, Olivia Harrison, and son Dhani, 24, were with him. ''He left this world as he lived in it, conscious of God, fearless of death, and at peace, surrounded by family and friends,'' the Harrison family said in a statement. ''He often said, 'Everything else can wait, but the search for God cannot wait, and love one another.''' With Harrison's death, there remain two surviving Beatles: Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. John Lennon was shot to death by a deranged fan in 1980. ''I am devastated and very, very sad,'' McCartney told The Press Association, a British news agency, early Friday. ''He was a lovely guy and a very brave man and had a wonderful sense of humor. He is really just my baby brother.'' It wasn't immediately known if there would be a public funeral for Harrison. A private ceremony had already taken place, De Becker said. In 1998, Harrison disclosed that he had been treated for throat cancer. ''It reminds you that anything can happen,'' he said at the time. The following year, Harrison survived an attack by an intruder who stabbed him several times. In July 2001, he released a statement asking fans not to worry about reports that he was still battling cancer. The Beatles were four distinct personalities joined as a singular force in the rebellious 1960s, influencing everything from hair styles to music. Whether dropping acid, proclaiming ''All You Need is Love'' or poking fun at the squares in the film ''A Hard Day's Night,'' the Beatles inspired millions. Harrison's guitar work, modeled on Chuck Berry and Carl Perkins among others, was essential. He often blended with the band's joyous sound, but also rocked out wildly on ''Long Tall Sally'' and turned slow and dreamy on ''Something.'' His jangly 12-string Rickenbacker, featured in ''A Hard Day's Night,'' was a major influence on the American band the Byrds. Although his songwriting was overshadowed by the great Lennon-McCartney team, Harrison did contribute such classics as ''Here Comes the Sun'' and ''Something,'' which Frank Sinatra covered. Harrison also taught the young Lennon how to play the guitar. ''As he said himself, how do you compare with the genius of John and Paul? But he did, very well,'' rock star and activist Bob Geldof told BBC radio. He was known as the ''quiet'' Beatle and his public image was summed up in the first song he wrote for them, ''Don't Bother Me,'' which appeared on the group's second album. But Harrison also had a wry sense of humor that helped shape the Beatles' irreverent charm, memorably fitting in alongside Lennon's cutting wit and Starr's cartoonish appeal. At their first recording session under George Martin, the producer reportedly asked the young musicians to tell him if they didn't like anything. Harrison's response: ''Well, first of all, I don't like your tie.'' Asked by a reporter what he called the Beatles' famous moptop hairstyle, he quipped, ''Arthur.'' He was even funny about his own mortality. As reports of his failing health proliferated, Harrison recorded a new song - ''Horse to the Water'' - and credited it to ''RIP Ltd. 2001.'' He always preferred being a musician to being a star, and he soon soured on Beatlemania - the screaming girls, the hair-tearing mobs, the wild chases from limos to gigs and back to limos. Like Lennon, his memories of the Beatles were often tempered by what he felt was lost in all the madness. ''There was never anything, in any of the Beatle experiences really, that good: even the best thrill soon got tiring,'' Harrison wrote in his 1979 book, ''I, Me, Mine.'' ''There was never any doubt. The Beatles were doomed. Your own space, man, it's so important. That's why we were doomed, because we didn't have any. We were like monkeys in a zoo.'' Still, in a 1992 interview with The Daily Telegraph, Harrison confided: ''We had the time of our lives: We laughed for years.'' ''George has given so much to us in his lifetime and continues to do so even after his passing, with his music, his wit and his wisdom,'' Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono said Friday. Alan Williams, The Beatles' first manager, described Harrison as the major cog in The Beatles. ''He kept them together probably because of the calming effect he had,'' Williams said. After the Beatles broke up in 1970, Harrison had sporadic success. He organized the concert for Bangladesh in New York City, produced films which included Monty Python's ''Life of Brian,'' and teamed with old friends, including Bob Dylan and Roy Orbison, as ''The Traveling Wilburys.'' George Harrison was born Feb. 25, 1943, in Liverpool, one of four children of Harold and Louise Harrison. His father, a former ship's steward, became a bus conductor soon after his marriage. Harrison was 13 when he bought his first guitar and befriended Paul McCartney at their school. McCartney introduced him to Lennon, who had founded a band called the Quarry Men - Harrison was allowed to play if one of the regulars didn't show up. ''When I joined, he didn't really know how to play the guitar; he had a little guitar with three strings on it that looked like a banjo,'' Harrison recalled of Lennon during testimony in a 1998 court case against the owner of a bootleg Beatles' recording. ''I put the six strings on and showed him all the chords - it was actually me who got him playing the guitar. He didn't object to that, being taught by someone who was the baby of the group. John and I had a very good relationship from very early on.'' Harrison evolved as both musician and songwriter. He became interested in the sitar while making the 1965 film ''Help!'' and introduced it to a generation of Western listeners on ''Norwegian Wood,'' a song by Lennon from the ''Rubber Soul'' album. He also began contributing more of his own material. Among his compositions were ''I Need You'' for the soundtrack of ''Help''; ''If I Needed Someone'' on ''Rubber Soul''; ''Taxman'' and ''Love You To'' on ''Revolver''; ''Within You, Without You'' on ''Sgt. Pepper''; and ''While My Guitar Gently Weeps'' on the White Album. In 1966, he married model Patti Boyd, who had a bit part in ''A Hard Day's Night.'' (They divorced in 1977, and she married Harrison's friend, the guitarist Eric Clapton, who wrote the anguished song ''Layla'' about her. Harrison attended the wedding.) More than any of the Beatles, Harrison craved a little quiet. He found it in India. Late in 1966, after the Beatles had ceased touring, George and Patti went to India, where Harrison studied the sitar with Ravi Shankar. He maintained a lifelong affiliation with that part of the world. In 1967, Harrison introduced the other Beatles to the teaching of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and all four took up transcendental meditation. Harrison was the only one who remained a follower - the others dropped out, with Lennon mocking the Maharishi in the song ''Sexy Sadie.'' By the late '60s, Harrison was clearly worn out from being a Beatle and openly bickered with McCartney, arguing with him on camera during the filming of ''Let It Be.'' As the Beatles grew apart, Harrison collaborated with Clapton on the song ''Badge,'' performed with Lennon's Plastic Ono Band and produced his most acclaimed solo work, the triple album ''All Things Must Pass.'' The sheer volume of material on that 1970 release confirmed the feelings of Harrison fans that he was being stifled in the Beatles. But one of those songs, the hit ''My Sweet Lord,'' later drew Harrison into a lawsuit: The copyright owner of ''He's So Fine,'' written by Lonnie Mack and recorded by The Chiffons, won a claim that Harrison had stolen the music. Another Harrison project also led to legal problems. Moved by the starvation caused by the war between Bangladesh and Pakistan, Harrison in 1971 staged two benefit concerts at Madison Square Garden and recruited such performers as Starr, Shankar, Clapton and Dylan. Anticipating such later superstar benefits as Live Aid and Farm Aid, the Bangladesh concerts were also a cautionary tale about counterculture bookkeeping. Although millions were raised and the three-record concert release won a Grammy for album of the year, allegations emerged over mishandling of funds and the money long stayed in escrow. Despite the occasional hit single, including the Lennon tribute song ''All Those Years Ago,'' Harrison's solo career did not live up to initial expectations. Reviewing a greatest hits compilation, Village Voice critic Robert Christgau likened him to a ''borderline hitter they can pitch around after the sluggers (Lennon and McCartney) are traded away.'' Harrison's family life was steadier. He married Olivia Arias in 1978, a month after Dhani was born. The next year, Harrison founded Handmade Films to produce Monty Python's ''Life of Brian.'' He sold the company for dlrs 8.5 million in 1994. Fame continued to haunt him. In 1999, he was stabbed several times by a man who broke into his home west of London. The man, who thought the Beatles were witches and believed himself on a divine mission to kill Harrison, was acquitted on grounds of insanity. But fame also continued to enrich Harrison. The following year, he saw a compilation of Beatles No. 1 singles, ''1,'' sell millions of copies and re-establish the band's status around the world. ''The thing that pleases me the most about it is that young people like it,'' he said in an interview with The Associated Press. ''It's given kids from 6 to 16 an alternate view of music to what's been available for the past 20 years. ''I think the popular music has gone truly weird,'' he said. ''It's either cutesy-wutesy or it's hard, nasty stuff. It's good that this has life again with the youth.'' John Chambers, of the Liverpool Beatles Appreciation Society, said Harrison's death was the end of an era for Beatles fans. ''Until now there has always been the hope of a reunion, perhaps with Julian Lennon standing in for his dad,'' Chambers said. ''It really is the end of a dream.'' At Harrison's mansion near London, fans left bunches of roses and lilies. One note read: ''The world will never be the same''; another said: ''The music, the rock 'n' roll life you led won't be forgotten.'' Fans in New York began gathering before dawn Friday at Strawberry Fields, a section of Central Park created in memory of Lennon, who was shot outside his apartment nearby. ''I just decided to buy a bottle of wine and some roses at the corner and head over here,'' said restaurateur John Soler, 38. Added Pete Degan, 42: ''It's a sad day for rock and roll.'"
12/2/01 Update on George Harrison, from MSN Entertainment-
Harrison's ashes to be scattered on sacred river
The family of George Harrison are preparing to scatter his ashes on a sacred river in India as it emerged he had been cremated in a cardboard coffin. The ex-Beatle's funeral ceremony was held just hours after he died in Los Angeles on Thursday, it was confirmed. He was taken to a crematorium after his family held hands around his death bed and said a simple prayer over his body, the funeral directors said. His wife Olivia and son Dhani were given the ashes after the service and were then reported to be preparing to cast them on a river in India, in accordance with his last wishes. The death from cancer of the so-called "quiet" Beatle, at just 58, caused mourning around the world. Profoundly spiritual, Harrison's faith meant that his body should be cremated as quickly as possible. Within 20 minutes of his death, staff from funeral firm Hollywood Forever were on their way to the Los Angeles home of "bodyguard-to-the-stars" Gavin de Becker, where Harrison died. Annette Lloyd, production director of Hollywood Forever, said: "We received the first call about 20 minutes after Mr Harrison's death. "All they told us was that a VIP had died - they didn't give us the name. "Two members of our staff at the home proceeded to the address that was given. It was at that point that they found out it was George Harrison." As the funeral workers prepared to take Harrison from the house, the family said a final prayer over his body. "Before the body was taken from the home to the doctor's office, the family, our staff and the security staff joined hands and said a prayer around him," said Ms Lloyd. "That was the only instance I know of of some kind of informal, very brief prayer." The body was then taken to Harrison's doctor's office in an unmarked white van, where a death certificate was issued, before the motorcade proceeded to the crematorium. There were no prayers, and the superstar's cardboard coffin was "directly cremated", meaning there was no ceremony, according to Ms Lloyd. "There was no use of the chapel, there was no casket. There was what we call a cremation casket, and that was all. He was removed and his ashes were put in an urn. "I don't know if they had an urn ready, as many families do, but the crematorium would have given them one if they did not." Ms Lloyd said she did not know if the family had been present at the moment of cremation, but they had followed the van carrying Harrison's coffin to the crematorium. When it was over the family decided to reveal to the world that the guitarist, songwriter and singer was dead, Ms Lloyd said. She revealed that the family plans to place their own biography of Harrison's life on the Internet, as part of an on-line archive of obituaries which the funeral firm operates.
12/3/01 Another update on George Harrison -
Harrison Ashes to Be Spread in India
NEW DELHI, India (AP) - George Harrison's intimate relationship with Indian mysticism, music and Hinduism sent his wife and son on a pilgrimage to the holy Ganges River, where authorities said the former Beatles' ashes would be scattered before dawn Tuesday. Harrison's widow, Olivia, and his 23-year-old son, Dhani, were to be accompanied by two Hare Krishna devotees who performed Hindu rites on Harrison's ashes with the family in London, said Maha Mantra Das, a New Delhi spokesman for the International Society of Krishna Consciousness. The society said its representatives in London had been in contact with Harrison's family. The family would not discuss any details or confirm any aspect of the reports, spokesman Gavin de Becker said in Los Angeles. Harrison, 58, died of cancer in Los Angeles on Thursday. He was cremated hours after his death at Hollywood Forever Memorial Park, a cemetery worker said. Britain's Press Association news agency reported that his widow and son left for India with his ashes. In a tradition dating back more than 3,500 years, Hindus are cremated on riversides and their ashes immersed in holy waters. Hindus believe this ritual releases the soul from the body for its heavenward journey, and frees it from the cycle of reincarnation. ``It is a great loss to us,'' said Vrijendra Nandan, a spokesman for the New Delhi chapter of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness. ``When he was leaving his body, our devotees were chanting songs of Krishna by his bedside. We give him all the credit for spreading our thoughts in Europe and the USA.'' Arijit Das, another spokesman for the Hare Krishnas, said the Harrisons were expected to arrive before dawn Tuesday to scatter some of Harrison's ashes in the Ganges in the northern city of Varanasi. He said an urn would be kept at the Krishna temple for the public to offer their last respects before the ashes were immersed in the Ganges River at the Dashaswamedh ritual bathing area. Hare Krishna officials said the ashes would also be sprinkled off Allahabad, where the Ganges and Yamuna Rivers converge - and according to Hindu tradition are joined by a third holy river, the mythical Saraswati. Olivia Harrison has asked fans for a minute of meditation as a tribute to the musician. The Press Association reported his family was to scatter his ashes in India to coincide with that minute, which would take place at 3 a.m. Tuesday in India (4:30 p.m. EST). Subigra Das, the head of the Baluaghat Krishna temple in Allahabad, told The Associated Press that Harrison's widow and son would begin the Hindu rites at the temple, then walk six miles to the rivers. ``We will take out a procession and the rituals will be completed in Sangam,'' said Das, referring to the site of the confluence of the three rivers. London-based Hare Krishna devotee Mukund Goswami introduced Harrison to the movement's founder, Srila Prabhupada. Harrison later donated one of his studios, spread over 14 acres in London, to the Hare Krishnas. In one of his most popular songs, ``My Sweet Lord,'' Harrison chants Hare Krishna. Krishna is one of the most popular Hindu gods. Hindu mythology describes him as a mischievous character born into a cow herder's family. He was seen as a shrewd manipulator who plotted to kill exploiting rulers and mobilized farmers to defend their rights. Krishna's views on the immortality of the soul were compiled in one of India's holiest books of scriptures, the Bhagwad Gita. In 1966, after the Beatles had stopped touring, Harrison came to India to study the sitar with Ravi Shankar. Shankar, whom Harrison helped make famous during the Beatles visits to India, was present during Harrison's final hours in California. ``We spent the day before with him, and even then he looked so peaceful, surrounded by love,'' Shankar said in a statement Friday. In 1967, Harrison introduced the other Beatles to the teaching of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and all four took up transcendental meditation. Harrison and John Lennon traveled to Rishikesh, a holy city in northern India, to study with the Maharishi. ``George's music was wild before he met the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi,'' said Swami Shyam, a holy man drinking tea along the Ganges River in Rishikesh, who said he met Harrison at the Maharishi's ashram. ``Some peace was infused into his music after he came to the ashram,'' Shyam said. ``Bliss came much later, after he was associated with the Hare Krishna movement.''
11/12/01 Carrie Donovan - NEW YORK (AP) - Carrie Donovan, the flamboyant fashion editor who embarked on a second career as a high-profile spokeswoman for Old Navy late in life, died Monday. She was 73. Donovan died at New York Weill Cornell Medical Center. She had been ailing for several months, said George O'Brien, a friend. Donovan's eye for trends and outgoing personality brought her success as a fashion journalist, first as a reporter for The New York Times and then as an editor for Vogue, Harper's Baazar and The New York Times Magazine. With her trademark pearls and oversized black-rimmed glasses, Donovan was a one-of-a-kind fashionista. Her home on New York City's Upper East Side had red walls, red furnishings and leopard carpeting, and she sprinkled her speech with French phrases. Although she worked as a journalist for more than 30 years, well into the computer age, she wrote all her copy by hand - never having mastered the typewriter. In 1997, Donovan began working for Old Navy, taping a series of television ads that showcased her quirky image and fashion credibility. She appeared in 42 spots, including one that featured her piloting an airplane with a dog named Magic. Donovan, born in Lake Placid, N.Y., in 1928, became enamored with the fashion world at a young age. At 10, she sent actress Jane Wyman sketches for a wardrobe and received a handwritten reply. She graduated from the Parsons School of Design in 1950. She is survived by her sister Joan Donovan of Cambridge, Mass.
11/10/01 Ken Kesey - GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) - Ken Kesey, whose LSD-fueled bus ride became a symbol of the psychedelic 1960s after he won fame as a novelist with "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," died Saturday morning. He was 66. Kesey died at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Eugene, two weeks after cancer surgery to remove 40 percent of his liver. "He's gone too soon and he will leave a big gap. Always the leader, now he leads the way again," said Ken Babbs, a longtime friend. After studying writing at Stanford University, Kesey burst onto the literary scene in 1962 with "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," followed quickly with "Sometimes a Great Notion" in 1964, then went 28 years before publishing his third major novel. In 1964, he rode across the country in an old school bus named Furthur driven by Neal Cassady, hero of Jack Kerouac's beat generation classic, "On The Road." The bus was filled with pals who called themselves the Merry Pranksters and sought enlightenment through the psychedelic drug LSD. The odyssey was immortalized in Tom Wolfe's 1968 account, "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test." "Anyone trying to get a handle on our times had better read Kesey," Charles Bowden wrote when the Los Angeles Times honored Kesey's lifetime of work with the Robert Kirsh Award in 1991. "And unless we get lucky and things change, they're going to have to read him a century from now too." "Sometimes a Great Notion," widely considered Kesey's greatest book, told the saga of the Stamper clan, rugged independent loggers carving a living out of the Oregon woods under the motto, "Never Give A Inch." It was made into a movie starring Henry Fonda and Paul Newman. But "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" became much more widely known, thanks to a movie that Kesey hated. It tells the story of R.P. McMurphy, who feigned insanity to get off a prison farm, only to be lobotomized when he threatened the authority of the mental hospital. The 1974 movie swept the Academy Awards for best picture, best director, best actor and best actress, but Kesey sued the producers because it took the viewpoint away from the character of the schizophrenic Indian, Chief Bromden. Kesey based the story on experiences working at the Veterans Administration hospital in Palo Alto, Calif., while attending Wallace Stegner's writing seminar at Stanford. Kesey also volunteered for experiments with LSD. While Kesey continued to write a variety of short autobiographical fiction, magazine articles and children's books, he didn't produce another major novel until "Sailor Song" in 1992, his long-awaited Alaska book, which he described as a story of ``love at the end of the world.'' "This is a real old-fashioned form," he said of the novel. "But it is sort of the Vatican of the art. Every once in a while you've got to go get a blessing from the pope." Kesey considered pranks part of his art, and in 1990 took a poke at the Smithsonian Institution by announcing he would drive his old psychedelic bus to Washington, D.C., to give it to the nation. The museum recognized the bus as a new one, with no particular history, and rejected the gift. In a 1990 interview with The Associated Press, Kesey said it had become harder to write since he became famous. "When I was working on "Sometimes a Great Notion," one of the reasons I could do it was because I was unknown," he said. "I could get all those balls in the air and keep them up there and nothing would come along and distract me. Now there's a lot of stuff happens that happens because I'm famous. And famous isn't good for a writer. You don't observe well when you're being observed." A graduate of the University of Oregon, Kesey returned to his alma mater in 1990 to teach novel writing. With each student assigned a character and writing under the gun, the class produced "Caverns," under the pen name OU Levon, or UO Novel spelled backward. "The life of it comes from making people believe that these people are drawing breath and standing up, casting shadows, and living lives and feeling agonies," Kesey said then. "And that's a trick. It's a glorious trick. And it's a trick that you can be taught. It's not something, just a thing that comes from the muses." Among his proudest achievements was seeing "Little Tricker the Squirrel Meets Big Double the Bear," which he wrote from an Ozark mountains tale told by his grandmother, included on the 1991 Library of Congress list of suggested children's books. "I'm up there with Dr. Seuss," he crowed. Fond of performing, Kesey sometimes recited the piece in top hat and tails accompanied by an orchestra, throwing a shawl over his head while assuming the character of his grandmother reciting the nursery rhyme, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." Other works include "Kesey's Garage Sale" and "Demon Box," collections of essays and short stories, and "Further Inquiry," another look at the 1964 bus trip in which the soul of Cassidy is put on trial. "The Sea Lion" was another children's book, telling the story of a crippled boy who saves his Northwest Indian tribe from an evil spirit by invoking the gift-giving ceremony of potlatch. Born in La Junta, Colorado on September 17, 1935, Kesey moved as a young boy in 1943 from the dry prairie to his grandparents' dairy farm in Oregon's lush Willamette Valley. He earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Oregon, where he also was a wrestler. After serving four months in jail for a marijuana bust in California, he set down roots in Pleasant Hill in 1965 with his high school sweetheart, Faye, and reared four children. Their rambling red barn house with the big Pennsylvania Dutch star on the side became a landmark of the psychedelic era, attracting visits from myriad strangers in tie-dyed clothing seeking enlightenment. The bus Furthur rusted away in a boggy pasture while Kesey raised beef cattle. Kesey was diagnosed with diabetes in 1992. His son Jed, killed in a 1984 van wreck on a road trip with the University of Oregon wrestling team, was buried in the back yard.
10/17/01 Jay Livingston - (LOS ANGELES) Oscar-winning composer and lyricist Jay Livingston, whose collaboration with Ray Evans led to such hits as "Silver Bells,""Que Sera, Sera" and "Mona Lisa," died Wednesday. He was 86. Livingston, whose songwriting partnership with Evans spanned 64 years, died of pneumonia at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, family spokesman Frank Liberman said. Often called the last of the great songwriters, Livingston and Evans had seven Academy Award nominations and won three - in 1948 for "Buttons and Bows" in the film "The Paleface," in 1950 for "Mona Lisa" in "Captain Carey, USA," and in 1956 for "Que Sera, Sera" in "The Man Who Knew Too Much." They wrote the television theme songs for "Bonanza" and "Mr. Ed," and were honored by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers for "the most performed music for film and TV for 1996." The members of the Songwriters Hall of Fame also produced such hits as "The Cat and the Canary" from the 1945 film "Why Girls Leave Home,""Tammy" from the 1957 movie "Tammy and the Bachelor,""Almost in Your Arms" from the 1958 film "Houseboat" and the title song of the 1964 film "Dear Heart." Livingston was born on March 28, 1915, in the Pittsburgh suburb of McDonald. He met Evans in 1937 at the University of Pennsylvania, where they were both students. The team's final project was the recording, "Michael Feinstein Sings the Livingston and Evans Song Book," due for 2002 release.
10/9/01 Herbert Ross - NEW YORK (AP) - Herbert Ross, a choreographer and director who worked on films including "Funny Girl" with Barbra Streisand and "Steel Magnolias" with Julia Roberts, died Tuesday. He was 74. The cause of death was not immediately released. He had been hospitalized for the past three months, according to Barbara Wrede, media relations manager for Lenox Hill Hospital. Ross began his career as a dancer and started choreographing Broadway shows in the early 1950s. He was soon directing musical sequences and choreographed his first film, "Carmen Jones," with Dorothy Dandridge, in 1954. In the 1970s, Ross directed Woody Allen's "Play it Again Sam" and was a frequent collaborator with playwright Neil Simon. Ross directed five Simon scripts, including "The Sunshine Boys," in 1975 "California Suite," in 1978 and 1981's "I Ought to Be in Pictures." Ross enjoyed critical and box-office success in the 1980s and 90s with "Pennies From Heaven," "Soapdish," and "Boys on the Side." In 1977, Ross returned to his dancing roots with his acclaimed study of the ballet world, "The Turning Point," with Anne Bancroft, Shirley MacLaine, and Mikhail Baryshnikov. The film earned numerous Academy Award nominations, including Best Director and Best Picture. His first wife, prima ballerina Nora Kaye, died of cancer in 1987. In 1989, he married Lee Radziwill, the sister of former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. They divorced in 1999. Some of Ross' other credits include "The Secret of My Success," "The Owl and The Pussycat," "Footloose," "The Sunshine Boys," and "The Goodbye Girl." The son of a postal clerk, Ross was born May 13, 1927 in Brooklyn. After his mother died, when Ross was 9, the family moved to Miami where his father opened a luncheonette. A chance appearance in a walk-on role with a roadshow company of Ballet Theatre when he was 15 put Ross on his career path. "I've never been to a shrink, so I can't explain my compulsion on psychological grounds," he said in a 1978 interview with The New York Times Magazine. "The idea just suddenly popped into my head and took over."
9/27/01 Lani O'Grady - SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (AP) - Lani O'Grady, who played Dick Van Patten's oldest daughter on the 1970s TV show ``Eight is Enough,'' was found dead Tuesday. She was 46. O'Grady was found dead in her mobile home by a neighbor. The cause of death was under investigation, but there was no indication of suspicious circumstances, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said. O'Grady played Mary Bradford, the eldest daughter of newspaper columnist Tom Bradford on the ABC comedy-drama that aired from 1977 to 1981. After the show, O'Grady drifted away from acting, according to a story in TV Guide last year. Her mother, Mary Grady, was one of Hollywood's top children's agents, and her brother, Don Grady, played Robbie Douglas on ``My Three Sons,'' which aired from 1960 to 1972.
9/22/01 Isaac Stern - NEW YORK (AP) - Isaac Stern, the master violinist who saved Carnegie Hall from the wrecking ball, died Saturday. He was 81. Stern was one of the last great violinists of his generation and helped advance the careers of generations of musicians who followed, including Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman and Yo-Yo Ma (news - web sites). Stern died of heart failure at New York Weill Cornell Medical Center, said Ann Diebold, spokeswoman for Carnegie Hall. He had suffered from heart disease for several years and had been in and out of the hospital for the past six weeks, said Carnegie Hall Chairman Sandy Weill. ``Isaac was far more than a musician. He was a person who was outstanding in everything, whether thinking about politics, or business, or as a humanitarian,'' Weill said. Five-foot-6, rotund and with pudgy, dimpled hands, Stern commanded a rich tone and steady rhythm from his 18th century Guarneri. With his dynamo energy and fluid bow strokes, he was equally at home with the mathematical contortions of Bach, the fury of Beethoven, the syncopations of Brahms and the convulsions of 20th century composers. Stern was one of the most recorded classical musicians in history, making well over 100 recordings. A supporter of Israel, tireless concertizer, teacher and raconteur, Stern played well over 175 performances by the late 1990s at Carnegie Hall, America's musical temple renowned for its acoustics. The hall was built by industrialist Andrew Carnegie and opened in 1891 with a concert conducted in part by Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky. ``Carnegie was, is and will not be only a building. It's an idea. It's a mythology, a necessary mythology about music,'' Stern said in a 1997 interview with CNN's Larry King. In the late 1950s, as the city was planning Lincoln Center, a developer proposed razing Carnegie Hall and building a 44-story office tower with panels of bright red porcelain and diagonally placed windows. Life magazine in 1957 described the architect's plan as ``a strange-looking checkerboard.'' Using his prestige and his contacts among fellow artists and benefactors, Stern rallied the opposition, eventually securing legislation that enabled the city to acquire the building in 1960 for $5 million. ``I talked a lot,'' Stern told King. ``It's something I do very well. When you believe in something, you can move mountains. I knew that this could not disappear from the face of the Earth.'' Weill described Stern, who had been president of Carnegie Hall since 1960, as ``the inspiration for all of us to scale higher heights to create an institution that would really make the world feel better.'' Stern was born in 1920 in Ukraine in the fledgling Soviet Union. His parents brought him to America when he was 10 months old, settling in San Francisco. Believing that music was an essential ingredient to education, they started him on the piano at age 6. Two years later, after hearing a friend's violin playing, he picked up the fiddle and wound up playing it for the rest of his life. Ironically, he never went to college. He studied at the San Francisco Conservatory and with Naoum Blinder, concertmaster of the San Francisco Symphony and a violinist of the Russian school of playing. ``He taught me to teach myself, which is the greatest thing a teacher can do,'' Stern recalled in a 1987 interview with the Guardian. At 16, Stern attracted his first national attention, performing the Brahms Violin Concerto with Pierre Monteux conducting the San Francisco Symphony in a concert broadcast on national radio. Seven years later, on Jan. 8, 1943, he made his Carnegie Hall debut in a recital produced by the impresario Sol Hurok. Performing with pianist Alexander Zakin, who became his longtime accompanist, Stern played Mozart, Bach, Szymanowski, Brahms and Wieniawski. ``I played almost defiantly, to demonstrate my skills, to show them all what I was capable of doing with the fiddle,'' Stern recalled in his 1999 memoir, ``My First 79 Years.'' The performance attracted the attention of composer-critic Virgil Thomson. Writing in the New York Herald Tribune, Thomson proclaimed him ``one of the world's master fiddle players.'' He later played in countless places around the world: Iceland, Greenland and the South Pacific for Allied troops during World War II; Moscow after Stalin's death; Jerusalem's Mount Scopus immediately after Israeli soldiers recaptured it in 1967; China months after Washington restored full diplomatic relations in 1979. One country he refused to perform in was Germany, which he boycotted for years because of the Holocaust. During the 1991 Gulf War (news - web sites), a concert in Jerusalem was interrupted by a siren warning of an Iraqi Scud missile attack. After the audience put on gas masks, Stern returned to the stage and played the Sarabande from Bach's D minor Partita for solo violin. Stern didn't wear one, saying he doubted Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) would fire missiles at Jerusalem with its many Muslim holy sites and large Palestinian population. ``It was a very eerie sensation to look out in the hall with the audience covered with gas masks,'' he said. Through the American-Israel Cultural Foundation, he helped finance the studies of many Israeli performers, including Perlman and Zukerman. He also helped arrange for Ma to study with the great cellist Leonard Rose - Stern's partner in the much recorded Istomin- Stern-Rose trio, along with the pianist Eugene Istomin, and he approached Hurok about the sensational young cellist. At his peak, Stern would perform more than 200 concerts a year. He also played in the movies ``Humoresque,'' ``Fiddler on the Roof'' and on TV's ``Sesame Street.'' The Academy Award winning documentary ``From Mozart to Mao'' chronicled Stern's performance and tutoring in China in 1979 after the Cultural Revolution. Stern ended his boycott of Germany in 1999 for a nine-day teaching seminar, saying it was time to see how young German musicians were absorbing their musical heritage of Bach, Beethoven, Brahms and Mendelssohn. ``It isn't very human not to give people a chance to change. The time came when I wanted to hear, search and think. With my visit, I forgive nothing,'' he said at the time. ``I have a responsibility to pass on to the next generation what I learned from my teachers,'' Stern said. ``It keeps me young and reminds me where I came from. Teaching young artists is like giving water to a flower.'' Survivors include his wife, Linda Reynolds Stern, whom he married in 1996; three children from a previous marriage, daughter Shira, a rabbi, and sons Michael and David, both conductors; and five grandchildren.
9/13/01 Dorothy McGuire - LOS ANGELES (AP) - Dorothy McGuire, the lovely, soft-voiced actress who lent dignity and inner strength to such films as ``Gentlemen's Agreement'' and ``Friendly Persuasion,'' has died. She was 85. The actress died Thursday night at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, her daughter, Topo Swope, said Friday. She had broken her leg three weeks ago and then developed heart failure, Swope said. ``She had a wonderful life and accomplished a lot,'' she said. ``She went very peacefully.'' From 1943 to the 1960s, the Omaha, Neb.-born actress was a favorite leading lady to such stars as Robert Young, Gregory Peck, Burt Lancaster and Gary Cooper, often playing the gentle, understanding wife. She became a star in her first film, ``Claudia,'' based on the Rose Franken play in which she had appeared on Broadway. In her later years, she moved gracefully into character roles in films, television and theater. McGuire's controlled, well-crafted portrayals won critical praise but no Academy recognition until she was nominated as best actress from her role as Peck's wife in the 1947 film ``Gentleman's Agreement.'' The film, one of the first to attack anti-Semitism in America, won the Oscar as best picture. ``I love my career, but I never felt much about it, about how to nurture it,'' she remarked in a 1982 interview. ``To this day I don't know what shapes a Hollywood career. ... I was never a classic beauty. I had no image. So I found myself in a lot of things accidentally,'' she said. Her other films included ``A Tree Grows in Brooklyn'' 'The Spiral Staircase,'' the sequel ``Claudia and David,'' ``The Enchanted Cottage'' ``Three Coins in the Fountain,'' ``Till the End of Time,'' ``Mister 880,'' ``Old Yeller,'' ``A Summer Place'' ``The Dark at the Top of the Stairs,'' ``Swiss Family Robinson,'' ``Susan Slade'' and ``The Greatest Story Ever Told'' (as the Virgin Mary). She veered from the sweet roles only once, when she played an older woman who seduces Guy Madison in the 1946 ``Till the End of Time.'' The film failed, and ``I went right back to playing nice girls and faithful wives.'' It was the same in real life. She had a long, storybook marriage to John Swope, who helped found an airline and later became an acclaimed photographer for Life magazine. In addition to their daughter, they had a son, Mark Swope, who also survives. Omaha is a city rich in theatrical tradition, having spawned the careers of Henry Fonda, Marlon Brando and others. McGuire, who was born there in 1916, grew up with theater-loving parents who encouraged her ambition to become an actress. Her stage debut came in 1930, when Fonda, who was beginning to have success on Broadway, returned to his home town for an engagement in James Barrie's ``A Kiss for Cinderella.'' The teen-age Dorothy was chosen to play the role opposite him. When she auditioned for ``Claudia,'' the play's producers recognized her elfin charm and gave her the role immediately. Movie producer David O. Selznick signed her to a film contract and bought the film rights to ``Claudia'' as well. He wound up selling the rights to Twentieth Century-Fox and persuaded that studio to let McGuire repeat the role in the 1943 film.
9/11/01 David Angell - David Angell, creator and executive producer of NBC's hit comedy "Frasier," was one of the 56 passengers on United Airlines Flight 175 that hit the World Trade Center. The plane was bound from Boston to Los Angeles. Angell's brother informed NBC of the death. A native of West Barrington, Rhode Island, David Angell worked in engineering and insurance before selling a script to producers of "Annie Flynn" in 1977. In 1983, Angell became a member of the "Cheers" staff of writers and two years later began working with co-supervising producers Peter Casey and David Lee. The three went on to form Grub Street Productions, creating and producing "Wings" in 1990 (the show ran for seven seasons) and "Frasier" in 1993. According to Paramount's television division Web site, Angell, Casey and Lee were nominated for a total 37 Emmys over the years, winning 24 of them. Their Emmy track record includes an unprecedented streak of five consecutive Emmys for outstanding comedy series.
9/11/01 Barbara Olson - Barbara Olson, a conservative commentator and lawyer, was on American Airlines Flight 77 that crashed into the Pentagon. Her husband, Solicitor General Ted Olson, said she called twice by cell phone to tell him the Los Angeles-bound plane she was on was being hijacked. Ted Olson told CNN his wife said all passengers and flight personnel, including the pilots, were herded to the back of the plane by the hijackers. The only weapons she mentioned they were carrying were knives and cardboard box cutters. She said she felt nobody was in charge and asked her husband to tell the pilot what to do. Ted Olson notified the justice command center immediately. He told CNN that his wife originally had been booked on a Monday flight but delayed her departure because Tuesday was his birthday and she wanted to be with him in the morning. Barbara Olson had appeared frequently as a commentator on CNN.
9/2/01 Troy Donahue - LOS ANGELES (AP) - Actor Troy Donahue, a blond, blue-eyed heartthrob of the 1950s and '60s who starred in teen romances like ``A Summer Place'' and ``Parrish,'' died Sunday. He was 65. Donahue died at St. John's Hospital and Medical Center in Santa Monica after suffering a heart attack on Thursday, said family friend Bob Palmer. The actor played Sandra Dee's young lover in 1959's ``A Summer Place,'' a role that made him a teen matinee star. ``He was a good-looking, blond guy who looked great on the beach,'' Palmer said. ``He was a little more moody - he wasn't a gee-whiz guy. His character was more the brooding youth, but with heroic underpinnings.'' Donahue went on to star in a series of teen romances, including ``Parrish'' (1961), ``Rome Adventure'' (1962) and ``Palm Springs Weekend (1963). Donahue was born Merle Johnson Jr. on Jan. 27, 1936, according to a Warner Bros. studio biography from 1960. His father headed the motion picture division of General Motors Corp and his mother was an aspiring actress. The New York City native moved at 19 to Hollywood, where he was discovered by Warner Bros. The release of ``A Summer Place'' made him for a time the studio's top fan-mail draw. ``They'd ask me to light a cigarette and when I did, they screamed and fell down,'' Donahue said of his fans in an interview with The Associated Press a year after the film's release. During his heyday, Donahue split his time between the movies and television, appearing in ABC's detective series ``Surfside Six.'' He was given his screen moniker by Henry Willson, the same film agent who named Rock Hudson. ``It was part of me 10 minutes after I got it. It feels so natural, I jump when people call me by my old name. Even my mother and sister call me Troy now,'' he told AP. By the late 1960s, the studios stopped making the kind of teen films that propelled Donahue to stardom. He had a bit part in 1974's ``Godfather, Part II,'' playing a character called Merle Johnson. But with his career in decline, Donahue began abusing drugs and alcohol, even spending a summer homeless in New York's Central Park. He became sober by the early 1980s. ``I realized that I was going to die, and I was dying - or worse than that, I might live the way I was I was living for the rest of my life,'' Donahue said at the time. ``He had some adversity in his life and challenged it all,'' actress Connie Stevens, who appeared with him in three movies, said on CNN Sunday. He became sober by the early 1980s and has had bit parts since then, including in director John Waters' 1990 film, ``Cry-Baby.'' Donahue was married at least four times, including to actress Suzanne Pleshette. He is survived by a sister and two children. At the time of his death he lived in Santa Monica with his fiancee, mezzo soprano Zheng Cao, Palmer said.
Note from the Underground: Troy Donahue was cremated and return to residence.
8/25/01 Aaliyah - MIAMI, Aug 26 (Reuters) - U.S. singer and actress Aaliyah was killed along with seven other people on Saturday when a small Cessna passenger plane crashed and burst into flames shortly after taking off from an island in the Bahamas bound for Miami, police said early on Sunday. Sup. Basil Rahming of Grand Bahama police department named the 22-year-old star as one of the eight people, all U.S. residents, killed in the crash at the small airport at Marsh Harbour, the main town in the Abaco islands. The singer, whose full name was Aaliyah Haughton, was returning to the United States after completing filming of a music video in the Abaco islands, which are about 170 miles (270 km) east of south Florida. Only one person survived the crash, a man who was critically injured and was to be flown in the early hours of Sunday to Miami by air ambulance. Rahming told Reuters the twin-engined propeller plane apparently suffered engine failure on take-off and crashed into bushes about 200 feet (60 meters) from the end of the runway, bursting into flames. The plane was headed for Opa-Locka, an airport on the outskirts of Miami, when it crashed.
From the Underground: Aaliyah was buried at Ferncliff Cemetery, Westchester, NY. She is in the Main Mausoleum, unit 11, BBB (3rd floor). Thanks to Underground member Ginny Michaels for the information.
8/23/01 Kathleen Freeman - NEW YORK (AP) - Kathleen Freeman, a veteran character actress whose face if not her name was known to audiences from television sitcoms, the film classic "Singin' in the Rain" and Broadway's "The Full Monty," died Thursday of lung cancer. She was 82. Freeman gave her final performance in "The Full Monty" last Saturday. She played a sassy piano player in the hit musical and earned a Tony nomination in May. Big, brash and funny were Freeman's trademarks in playing recalcitrant maids, demented nuns, mouthy housekeepers, battle-ax mothers, irate landladies and nosy neighbors. Starting in the Golden Age of television, Freeman appeared in such shows as "Topper," "The Donna Reed Show," "The Beverly Hillbillies," "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "Hogan's Heroes," "The Lucy Show," "The Golden Girls," "Murphy Brown" and "Married ... With Children." "This will sound very corny and I'm sorry," Freeman said last year in an Associated Press interview, "but I have always had the sense I was put here to do this: I am somebody who is around to help the world laugh. I have always had that sense. Corny but absolutely true." One of her biggest fans was comedian Jerry Lewis, and she appeared in 10 of his movies including "The Ladies Man" and "The Disorderly Orderly." "I have never known an artist who loved doing what they do more than Kathleen," Lewis said last year. "She comes to work with such an energy and passion." In "Singin' in the Rain," considered by many to be the best movie musical ever made, she played Jean Hagen's frustrated voice teacher. Among Freeman's other films were the sci-fi thriller "The Fly," "The Rounders" with Henry Fonda, "Far Country" with Jimmy Stewart, and "North to Alaska" starring John Wayne. More recently she appeared in "Dragnet," "Gremlins II," "Nutty Professor II: The Klumps" and both "Blues Brothers" comedies.
6//28/01 Jack Lemmon - LOS ANGELES (June 28) - Veteran actor Jack Lemmon, whose roles ranged from brash or befuddled young men to grumpy old ones and who formed one of cinema's great odd couples with late partner Walter Matthau, has died at age 76, a spokesman said Thursday. Lemmon, a two time Oscar winner and an Emmy winner for "Tuesdays with Morrie," died Wednesday night at the University of Southern California's Norris Cancer Center with his wife, former actress Felicia Farr, and his son and daughter at his side, his longtime spokesman Warren Cowan said. He said that Lemmon died of complications from cancer. The Harvard-educated son of a baker, Lemmon dreamed of becoming an actor during a sickly boyhood. His father gave him the go-ahead, $300 in cash and his blessing and Lemmon was off and running winding up in Hollywood in the early 1950s as the co-star of Broadway great Judy Holliday in two films. Lemmon's career took off in 1955 when he won an Oscar for best supporting actor as Ensign Pulver in "Mister Roberts." The role was ideal for Lemmon -- he played a dithering, conniving ship's officer who develops a backbone thanks to an inspiring mentor -- Henry Fonda as Mister Roberts. It was his first Oscar. He received a best actor's one for "Save the Tiger" in 1973 for his portrayal of a clothing manufacturer trying desperately to save his business. He received six other Oscar nominations. Lemmon was known for two great longtime screen collaborations -- one with director Billy Wilder and the other with actor Walter Matthau. He made the screen classic "Some Like it Hot" with Wilder directing and he playing one of two Chicago musicians who hide out from the mob by posing as women. In the film he winds up being courted by a confused Joe E. Brown while his partner played by Tony Curtis does a lot better -- Marilyn Monroe. "Happiness," said director Wilder, "is working with Jack Lemmon."
LEMMON TEAMS UP WITH MATTHAU
It was Wilder who teamed Lemmon with Matthau in "The Fortune Cookie" in 1966. They starred in the 1968 film version of Neil Simon's "The Odd Couple" in which Lemmon played the fastidious "neatnik" to Matthau's total slob. And in 1993, they made the popular film "Grumpy Old Men." Matthau died last year. Lemmon made seven films with Wilder and eight with Matthau. Whether playing the comically conniving Pulver or the desperate businessman in "Save the Tiger," Lemmon displayed a sense of humanity that audiences could easily relate to. Critic David Shipman called Lemmon "Mr. Average Guy, Junior Executive version, immeasurably committed to Right and Truth, and permanently insecure about the choice he has made." Lemmon also starred in such popular movies as "The Apartment" (1960), "The Days of Wine and Roses" (1962), "The Front Page" (1974), "The Prisoner of Second Avenue" (1975) and "The China Syndrome" (1979). His last known work was a made for television film "Tuesdays with Morrie" in 1999 which won him an Emmy. An accomplished pianist, Lemmon was nominated for a total of eight Academy Awards and, in 1988, won the American Film Institute's 16th Life Achievement Award. But he attributed much of his success to "remarkable coincidences that have nothing to do with me." "But I will say this," he said. "When you're conducting an overall career -- be it in acting or golf -- it's a selfish process. You must believe totally in what you are doing even if it is garbage." In 1989, he played co-star Ted Danson's father in the movie "Dad" and also appeared in the London version of the play "Veteran's Day." Born John Uhler Lemmon III in Boston on Feb. 8, 1925 -- in an elevator because his mother refused to leave a winning bridge hand -- Lemmon from an early age had his heart set on acting. While in the Navy at the end of World War Two, he studied acting at Harvard. Theater work in stock companies led to hundreds of appearances on early 1950's TV programs, followed by his casting opposite Holliday in "It Should Happen To You" (1954). In that his first movie, Lemmon's screen personality was formed. He usually played an earnest but naive man whose good intentions run afoul of his manic energy.
Lemmon's Oscar-winning role in "Mr. Roberts" earned him plenty of movie work, but nothing particularly popular until Billy Wilder's hit "Some Like It Hot." Lemmon continued to take acting risks in the sex-charged "The Apartment," the liquor-soaked "Days of Wine and Roses" and the titillating "Irma la Douce" (1963). Five years later, Lemmon recovered from a string of less popular movies by playing the finicky Felix Unger in the movie version of Neil Simon's "The Odd Couple." Angered by the usual role restrictions placed on Hollywood stars, Lemmon throughout the rest of his career mixed "star" roles in the likes of "The Prisoner of Second Avenue" and "The China Syndrome" with smaller roles in such films as "Airport '77" (1977). He also produced the 1967 hit "Cool Hand Luke" with Paul Newman and directed frequent co-star and close friend Matthau in "Kotch" (1971). His later films included the dramas "Missing" (1982) and "Mass Appeal" (1984) and the serio-comic "That's Life" (1986), with Julie Andrews. In 1978, he appeared on Broadway in "Tribute" and he returned to the New York stage in 1985 in a revival of Eugene O'Neill's "Long Day's Journey Into Night" that was taped for transmission on cable television. Lemmon, who liked to play pool and the piano, had a son, Chris, an actor, with his first wife, Cynthia Stone (their marriage lasted from 1950-56). In 1962, he married actress Felicia Farr, with whom he had a daughter, Courtney. Los Angeles Times critic Charles Champlin once wrote of Lemmon: "What marks all the best work Lemmon has done are some trace elements of the man himself, some perceived truth that as clown or tragic figure, the persona within the character is likable, decent, intelligent, vulnerable, worth knowing; disorganized possibly, flawed almost certainly, but forever worth knowing."
7/2/01 Update on Jack Lemmon -
Hollywood's Past, Present Stars Honor Jack Lemmon
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Representatives of Hollywood's past and present gathered on Sunday to pay their final respects to Jack Lemmon, one of the most beloved American actors of his generation. He died on Wednesday at age 76. Those gathered at the private funeral service spanned the generational gamut from legendary writer-director Billy Wilder, 95, who first directed Lemmon in 1959 to actor Michael Douglas, 56, who appeared with him in "The China Syndrome" two decades later. The service at the exclusive Westwood cemetery was restricted to family and friends of the late actor, remembered this week for the nervous, edgy quality he brought to a range of roles from cross-dressing farce to passionate drama. Lemmon's widow, Felicia Farr, who was with her husband when he died Wednesday of complications from cancer, was the last to arrive for the hour-long memorial. Chris Lemmon, the late actor's son, emerged as the service ended holding a single red flower. Actress Shirley Maclaine, who starred as Lemmon's accidental love interest in the 1960 comedy "The Apartment" and actor Kevin Spacey, who considered Lemmon an idol and later a mentor, both attended the memorial. Spacey appeared as his Lemmon's bureaucratic tormentor in the 1992 David Mamet drama "Glengarry Glen Ross," in which Lemmon played the aging salesman on an unrelenting hard-luck streak.
ANDOVER AND HARVARD
Lemmon, who grew up in a wealthy Boston family and attended Andover and Harvard, was celebrated for his common touch and for his portrayals of ordinary men caught up in extraordinary circumstances, from the accident-prone traveler in "The Out of Towners" (1970) to his Oscar-winning role as the beleaguered businessman in "Save the Tiger" (1973). Among fellow actors, including Spacey and MacLaine, Lemmon was known for his signature, inspirational line repeated off-camera just as it was about to roll and the acting was to begin: "Magic time!" Charlie Matthau, the son of Lemmon's favorite comic foil and longtime friend, Walter Matthau, also attended Sunday's service. Lemmon made eight films with Matthau, including the 1968 film version of Neil Simon's "The Odd Couple," in which Lemmon played the fastidious "neatnik" to Matthau's total slob. Matthau died last year. Actor Kirk Douglas, 84, a self-described former poker buddy of both men, attended the funeral service, as did his daughter-in-law, actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, 31. Other notables in attendance included actor Gregory Peck, actor, director and diplomat Sidney Poitier and Barbara Sinatra, widow of Frank Sinatra. The Westwood cemetery where Sunday's funeral was held is also the grave site for other post-war stars, including Marilyn Monroe, who starred with Lemmon and Tony Curtis in the 1959 Wilder-directed comedy "Some Like it Hot" about a pair of jazz musicians in drag on the lam from the mob. A public memorial for Lemmon is planned for later this week in Los Angeles.
From the Underground: Jack Lemmon was buried at Westwood Memorial Park, Westwood, Ca. He is in Peter Lawford's old crypt, temporarily, until the new garden is built. Thanks to Jim Dugan and Hollywood Underground member, Mike S.
6/21/01 Carrol O'Connor - CULVER CITY, Calif. (AP) - Carroll O'Connor, whose portrayal of irascible bigot Archie Bunker on "All in the Family" helped make the groundbreaking TV comedy part of the American dialogue on race and politics, died of a heart attack Thursday. He was 76. O'Connor collapsed at his home and was taken to Brotman Medical Center, publicist Frank Tobin said. He said O'Connor died with his wife of nearly 50 years, Nancy, by his side. The actor had diabetes and had undergone coronary artery bypass surgery in 1989. Personal tragedy darkened O'Connor's later years. His only child, Hugh, a co-star with his father on the TV series "In The Heat of The Night," shot himself in a drug-related suicide in 1995. Actress Bonnie Hunt, who directed him in his last film role, the 2000 romantic comedy "Return to Me," said she "loved him dearly." "As an actor, he gave every role he played instant credibility," Hunt said. "I feel honored to have worked with him and more importantly, to have known him as a friend." Norman Lear, producer of "All in the Family," told KABC-TV that O'Connor was one of the funniest actors he ever worked with. "Carroll O'Connor as Archie Bunker was a genius at work, God's gift to the world," he said. "He is etched permanently in our memories." A native of New York, O'Connor had been working for two decades on stage and in TV and movie supporting parts when he was tapped by producer Norman Lear to play a blue-collar worker from New York's borough of Queens with the gift of gab and a big chip on his shoulder. On Jan. 12, 1971, Archie began spouting off against minorities, liberals and his long-haired son-in-law (whom he called "Meathead") and kept at it for 13 years. O'Connor didn't flinch at playing an unlikeable character and deftly brought Archie's intolerance to feisty comic life. The actor also managed to give Archie a vulnerability that allowed him to be seen as a beleaguered soul, bound by his unthinking prejudices and buffeted by the changes sweeping Vietnam War-era America. Further softening the character was his love for wife Edith (Jean Stapleton), lovingly known as "Dingbat," and their daughter, Gloria (Sally Struthers), and his grudging affection for Meathead Mike (Rob Reiner). "All in the Family," adapted from the British series "Till Death Do Us Part," shattered the sitcom mold that had produced decades of superficial and bland series featuring, invariably, a wise and kindly paternal figure. Lear considered other actors for the pivotal role of Archie, but said he found the right combination of "bombast and sweetness" in O'Connor, whom he had seen in the film "What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?" The sitcom got off to a rocky start. Many found it unsettling and offensive, and tuned it out. Harvard psychiatrist Alvin Poussaint called the show's bigotry "dangerous because it's disarming." Eventually, however, viewers came to embrace Archie and the series as a comedy and a source of debate. It ranked No. 1 for five years, was top-rated for much of its run and gave birth to two spin-offs, "Maude" and "The Jeffersons." The show was such a powerful cultural influence that the Smithsonian Institution in Washington commemorated the program by displaying the living room chairs used by Archie and Edith. O'Connor moved from "All in the Family" (1971-79) to "Archie Bunker's Place" (1979-83), which was based in a bar owned by Archie rather than in the Bunker household. The actor put his controversial character in perspective. "I have a great deal of sympathy for him," O'Connor said of Archie in a 1986 Playboy magazine interview. "As James Baldwin wrote, the white man here is trapped by his own history, a history that he himself cannot comprehend and therefore what can I do but love him?" O'Connor and his two brothers were raised by their father, an attorney, and schoolteacher mother in the New York City neighborhood of Forest Hills, a more prosperous section of Queens than Archie would ever know. O'Connor grew up in a life of financial comfort and social tolerance. "I never heard Archie's kind of talk in my own family," he once said. "My father was a lawyer and was in partnership with two Jews, who with their families were close to us. There were black families in our circle of friends. My father disliked talk like Archie's - he called it lowbrow." O'Connor served as a merchant seaman in World War II, enrolling at the University of Montana on his return. Although both his siblings became physicians, O'Connor studied literature and discovered acting. He met his future wife, Nancy Fields, while appearing in a play. Captivated by Ireland during a visit in 1950, O'Connor finished his undergraduate studies at the National University of Ireland. Fields joined him and they were married in Dublin in 1951. O'Connor appeared on stage throughout Ireland and in London, Paris and Edinburgh. Making it in New York proved to be a struggle. He worked as a substitute teacher, earned his master's degree at Montana and, in the late 1950s, finally began getting roles in theater and film. "Lonely Are the Brave" and "Cleopatra" (both 1963), "Hawaii" (1966) and "Point Blank" (1967) were among the movies in which he appeared. Then "All in the Family" made him a star and, eventually, a four-time Emmy winner. "Today's public recognition is something I never wished for or even cared about," he said in 1971. "But now that it is here, I find it wonderful, of course." He followed "Archie's Place" with a return to New York theater, then came back to TV series in 1988 with "In the Heat of the Night," a police drama based on the Rod Steiger-Sidney Poitier film. O'Connor played Bill Gillespie, police chief of a small Mississippi town; Howard Rollins co-starred as detective Virgil Tibbs. O'Connor continued with the series through health problems and a network change, from NBC to CBS. His son played a police officer on the show. O'Connor, who received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last year, appeared in the 2000 romantic comedy "Return to Me." The O'Connors adopted their son as an infant in 1962 in Italy, where O'Connor was filming "Cleopatra." Hugh O'Connor battled a longtime alcohol and drug addiction problem. On March 28, 1995, in several phone conversations, Hugh told his father "this is a very black day," said he had a gun and was going to "cap" himself. O'Connor recalled telling him "you're just saying crazy things" and advising him to seek a doctor's care. "So long, I love you," his son replied. O'Connor called police, who arrived just as Hugh O'Connor shot himself. O'Connor turned his grief over the death of 32-year-old Hugh into an anti-drug crusade and a quest for legal vengeance against his son's drug supplier. "Nothing will help," O'Connor said after the man was sentenced to a year in jail. "Our lives have changed. My wife's and mine, and his widow." O'Connor was hospitalized in November at the UCLA Medical Center, where he had a toe amputated because of a circulatory problem related to diabetes
From the Underground: Burial info on Carroll O'Connor - Viewing Monday, 2-5 p.m. at Gates-Kingsley-Gates, Moeller Murphy Funeral Home, 1925 Arizona Ave., Santa Monica. Funeral Mass, Tuesday 11:00 a.m., St Paul the Apostle in Westwood Cremation with burial of the cremains in Westwood Memorial Park. All are welcome at the viewing & Mass. Thanks to Hollywood Underground Member, Mike.
6/21/01 John Lee Hooker - SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Veteran bluesman John Lee Hooker, whose foot stompin' and gravelly voice on songs like ''Boom Boom'' and ''Boogie Chillen'' electrified audiences and inspired generations of musicians, died Thursday. He was 80. Hooker died of natural causes as he slept at his home in Los Altos, south of San Francisco, said his agent, Mike Kappus. The veteran blues singer from the Mississippi Delta estimated he recorded more than 100 albums over nearly seven decades. He won a Grammy Award for a version of ''I'm In The Mood,'' and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991. Through it all, Hooker's music remained hypnotic and unchanged -- his rich and sonorous voice, full of ancient hurt, coupled with a brooding, rhythmic guitar. He sang of loneliness and confusion. Neither polished nor urbane, his music was raw, primal emotion. His distinctive sound influenced rock 'n' rollers as well as rhythm and blues musicians. Among those whose music drew heavily on Hooker's style are Van Morrison, the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt and ZZ Top. In 1961, the then-unknown Rolling Stones opened for him on a European tour; he also shared a bill that year with Bob Dylan at a club in New York. Even in the '90s, when his fame was sealed and he was widely recognized as one of the grandfathers of pop music, Hooker remained a little in awe of his own success, telling The Times of London, ''People say I'm a genius but I don't know about that.'' Like many postwar bluesmen, Hooker got cheated by one fly-by-night record producer after another, who demanded exclusivity or didn't pay. Hooker fought back by recording with rival producers under a slew of different names: Texas Slim, John Lee Booker, John Lee Cocker, Delta John, Birmingham Sam and the Boogie Man, among others. Hooker's popularity grew steadily as he rode the wave of rock in the '50s into the folk boom of the '60s. In 1980, he played a street musician in ''The Blues Brothers'' movie. In 1985, his songs were used in Steven Spielberg's film, ''The Color Purple.'' Hooker hit it big again in 1990 with his album ''The Healer,'' featuring duets with Carlos Santana, Raitt and Robert Cray. It sold 1.5 million copies and won him his first Grammy Award, for a duet with Raitt on ''I'm in the Mood.'' Several more albums followed, including one recorded to celebrate his 75th birthday, titled ''Chill Out.'' Born in Clarksdale, Miss., in 1920, Hooker was one of 11 children born to a Baptist minister and sharecropper who discouraged his son's musical bent. His stepfather taught him to play guitar. By the time Hooker was a teen-ager, he was performing at local fish fries, dances and other occasions. Hooker hit the road to perform by the age of 14. He worked odd jobs by day and played small bars at night in Memphis, Tenn., then Cincinnati and finally Detroit in 1943. In Detroit, he was discovered and recorded his first hit, ''Boogie Chillen,'' in 1948. ''I don't know what a genius is,'' he told the London newspaper. ''I know there ain't no one ever sound like me, except maybe my stepfather. You hear all the kids trying to play like B.B. (King), and they ain't going to because, ooh, he's such a fine player and a very great man. But you never hear them even try and sound like John Lee Hooker.'' ''All these years, I ain't done nothin' different,'' he added. ''I been doing the same things as in my younger days, when I was coming up, and now here I am, an old man, up there in the charts. And I say, well, what happened? Have they just thought up the real John Lee Hooker, is that it? And I think, well, I won't tell nobody else! I can't help but wonder what happened.'' In his later years, Hooker laid back and enjoyed his success. He recorded only occasionally; he posed for blue jeans and hard liquor ads. He played benefits from time to time, but mostly performed in small clubs, dropping in unannounced. Mostly, though, he hung out with friends and family at his homes in Los Altos and Long Beach, watching baseball and enjoying a fleet of expensive cars.
6/7/01 Anne Haney -(LA Times) Hollywood - Anne Haney, the late-in-life character actress who portrayed the family court supervisor in "Mrs. Doubtfire," Michael Douglas' secretary in "The American President" and a nun in "Changing Habits," had a novel explanation for going into the movie business. "My husband died, my daughter went to college, the dog got fleas, and the maid quit," she told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 1985. "So I had to come to Hollywood." Haney, who appeared in about 50 motion pictures and television programs over the last two decades, died May 26 of congestive heart failure at her Studio City home. She was 67. The actress' unlikely Hollywood career, which began in her mid-40s, ran the gamut of mothers, secretaries, teachers, judges, patients, nurses, nuns and bag ladies. She played a housekeeper on Robert Wagner's 1985 television series "Lime Street" and on boxing champion George Foreman's 1993 series "George." She was a tough divorce lawyer on "Murder One," the mother of a decapitated gay man on "NYPD Blue" and a leukemia patient on "ER." On the big screen she appeared in Albert Brooks' "Mother," in Jim Carrey's "Liar, Liar" and in 1999's "The Out-of-Towners." Born in Memphis, Tenn., she studied drama and then radio and television at the University of North Carolina, where she met her husband, John Haney. After working briefly at a Memphis TV station, she settled with him in Atlanta, and was devoted to bringing up their daughter. "We were raised to be wives and mothers. Those were our choices. . . . There were no choices," she said five years ago. "I was a lovely faculty wife. We made ambrosia salad. We did good works. We played a lot of bridge." In the 1970s, Haney began performing in local theater and commercials. She also played the maid in a touring company of Noel Coward's "Fallen Angels" for two years. In Atlanta, she became a member of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of TV and Radio Artists. The couple planned to move to Hollywood after John Haney retired so she could try big-time acting. He died of kidney disease in 1980, and she came alone. In less than two months she had an agent. She appeared in "Hopscotch" with Walter Matthau and stayed so busy that she barely had time for her garden. The actress also appeared in plays for Theatre West, including "Verdigris" in 1985. Starring as salty-tongued Margaret Fielding, Haney earned accolades from Times reviewer Don Shirley, who wrote: "Anchoring the show is Anne Haney's powerful portrayal of Margaret. . . . [S]he projects a country-style hauteur that demands attention." Despite Haney's steady if belated success, she had no illusions about becoming a star. "This is gravy to me," she said in 1996. "It's a wonderful way to spend the last third of my life." Haney is survived by her daughter, Melissa Hacker of Philadelphia; a sister, Liza Minesinger of Atlanta; and one granddaughter. A service is scheduled for Friday at 2 p.m. in the Neighborhood Church in Pasadena.
6/3/01 Anthony Quinn - PROVIDENCE, R.I. (June 3) - Anthony Quinn, the barrel-chested Oscar winner remembered for his roles as the earthy hero of ''Zorba the Greek'' and the fierce Bedouin leader in ''Lawrence of Arabia,'' died Sunday. He was 86. Quinn died of respiratory failure Sunday morning at a Boston hospital, said Providence Mayor Vincent ''Buddy'' Cianci, a friend of the actor. Quinn lived in nearby Bristol. ''He was larger than life,'' Cianci said. ''I was proud to call him a friend.'' Quinn's family had asked Cianci to make the announcement. The actor had been hospitalized for 17 days with pneumonia and respiratory problems. Quinn, who appeared in more than 100 feature films, won Academy Awards for best supporting actor in ''Viva Zapata!'' and ''Lust for Life.'' Born in Mexico and raised in poverty in East Los Angeles, Quinn went from stage and B-movie roles to become an international leading man renowned for his big-man sensitivity and honest acting style. In a film career that spanned more than 50 years, Quinn portrayed characters including kings, Indians, a pope, a boxer and an artist. ''I never get the girl,'' Quinn once joked in an interview. ''I wind up with a country instead.'' He won his first Oscar for his work in the 1952 film ''Viva Zapata!'' as the brother of Mexican revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata. To many, Quinn's Oscar-nominated characterization of the Greek peasant Zorba in 1964 remained his most memorable role. The Ouzo-drinking and bouzouki-dancing Zorba was Quinn's favorite role as well, so much so that he returned to the stage in 1983 in a revival of the musical inspired by the film. As a child, he shined shoes, sold papers and preached. After working as a movie extra, he met and married the adopted daughter of Cecil B. De Mille, Katherine. A real-life artist, sculptor and author, his role as painter Paul Gauguin in the 1956 film ''Lust for Life'' earned him his second Oscar. He was on screen in the film for only eight minutes. ''He was motivated by the passion for his art,'' said Irene Nagy Dessewffy, a friend of Quinn's who produced art shows and publications featuring his work. ''I saw 29 opening nights of Zorba, and other productions in between, and every single night it was as if it were the first time. He did it with a passion. ''He was constantly drawing, or constantly writing, or constantly sketching. He never stopped,'' Dessewffy added. ''He was never doing nothing.'' In the 1962 film ''Requiem for a Heavyweight,'' Quinn's character was battered by Cassius Clay, playing himself. The young boxer would later change his name to Muhammad Ali. ''He kicked the heck out of me,'' the actor said in 1997. Later, after leading roles became less frequent, he left Hollywood to live and work in Italy. ''What could I play there? They only think of me as a Mexican, an Indian or a Mafia don,'' he said in a 1977 interview with The Associated Press. He was divorced from Katherine in 1965 after he fathered two children with Italian costume designer Yolanda Addolari, sparking an international scandal. In 1972, Quinn wrote his autobiography, ''The Original Sin,'' which has been translated into more than 18 languages. He followed with a second volume titled ''Suddenly Sunset.'' The characteristically straightforward actor shunned the use of ghost writers, favoring blunt honesty over Hollywood image-making. ''I could either lie or tell the truth,'' he said. ''I figured the only value in such a book would be to describe my life as I lived it.'' In 1978, he played a character closely resembling the late shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis in ''The Greek Tycoon.'' As his film career slowed in recent years, Quinn devoted most of his time to painting and sculpting. Cianci said Quinn had moved to Bristol because ''He wanted to get away from all that New York stuff, all the Hollywood hustle and bustle.'' He had recently worked in television, appearing in a 1990 TV movie based on Ernest Hemingway's classic ''The Old Man and the Sea'' and the 1996 HBO movie, ''Gotti.'' Quinn said in a 1987 interview that he reached most of the goals he set for himself as a young boy. ''I never satisfied that kid but I think he and I have made a deal now,'' he said, referring to his younger self. ''It's like climbing a mountain: I didn't take him up Mount Everest, but I took him up Mount Whitney. ''And I think that's not bad.'' Quinn was divorced twice. He married Katherine DeMille, daughter of film director Cecil B. DeMille, in 1936 and they divorced in 1963. His second marriage, to Iolanda Quinn, ended in 1997 after 31 years. He is survived by his wife, Kathy Benvin, who is the mother of the two youngest of his 13 children. His eldest child, Christopher, drowned when he was 4 years old in a pond at the home of W.C. Fields. Dessewffy said Quinn grieved about the loss all his life. ''He passionately adores all his children - he has many kids - and I think much more so than anybody realizes,'' Dessewffy said. ''''He absolutely worshipped all his children, he worshipped all his kids, whether they were the oldest or the youngest he loved all his kids.''
6/8/01 Update on Anthony Quinn -
Actor Quinn to Be Buried on His Rhode Island Estate
BRISTOL, R.I. (Reuters) - The small Rhode Island town where Anthony Quinn lived approved a request on Friday to allow his body to be buried on his estate just before his private funeral was to take place. The town of Bristol's zoning board voted unanimously to allow the two-time Academy Award winner to be buried on his 19-acre estate, said Charles Alexandre, zoning board chairman. "They needed a special-use variance so they could create a cemetery to bury him on the property," Alexandre said. He said Quinn's property has a clear view to Rhode Island Sound in the Atlantic Ocean. The request, the first ever approved by the town, was made by Quinn's wife. Quinn moved to Bristol in 1995 in an effort to spend more time pursuing his work as an artist and sculptor as well as being a father to his youngest children, he told reporters at the time. Quinn is known for his roles in "Zorba the Greek" and "Lawrence of Arabia." He died at the age of 86 on Sunday at a Boston hospital. A public memorial service is scheduled for 1 p.m. EDT Saturday at Providence, Rhode Island's First Baptist Church in America.
6/2/01 Imogene Coca - HARTFORD, Conn. (June 2) - Imogene Coca, the elfin actress and satiric comedienne who co-starred with Sid Caesar on television's classic "Your Show of Shows'' in the 1950s, died Saturday. She was 92. Coca died of natural causes at her Westport residence, said longtime friend Mark Basile. ``She was a humanist,'' Basile said. "Her humanity was so strong, so giving. She made people want to be with her.' Coca's saucer eyes, fluttering lashes, big smile and boundless energy lit up the screen in television's "Golden Age'' and brought her an Emmy as best actress in 1951. Although she did some broad burlesque, her forte was subtle exaggeration. A talented singer and dancer, her spoofs of opera divas and prima ballerinas tiptoed a fine line between dignity and absurdity until she pushed them over the edge at the end. "The trouble with most comedians who try to do satire,'' a critic once wrote, "is that they are essentially brash, noisy and indelicate people who have to use a sledge hammer to smash a butterfly. Miss Coca, on the other hand, is the timid woman who, when aroused, can beat a tiger to death with a feather.'' With Caesar she performed skits that satirized the everyday - marital spats, takeoffs on films and TV programs, strangers meeting and speaking in cliches. "The Hickenloopers'' husband-and-wife skit became a staple. "All the wonderful times we shared together meant the world to me. It was a pleasure to work with her. I will miss her dearly,'' Caesar said in a statement released Saturday in Beverly Hills. Once Coca and Caesar pantomimed a wife posing for her amateur photographer husband. He kept rearranging her mobile features for the perfect look and wherever he put her lip or eyebrow, that's where it stayed. "The great thing about Imogene is that her left nostril never knows what the right one is doing,'' director-producer Max Liebman said. Coca and Caesar complemented each other marvelously. "The chemistry was perfect, that's all,'' Coca once said. ``We never went out together; we never see each other socially. But for years we worked together from 10 in the morning to 6 or 7 at night every day of the week. What made it work is that we found the same things funny.'' Show business came naturally to Coca, who was born in Philadelphia on Nov. 18, 1908. Her father was an orchestra conductor, her mother an actress and vaudeville dancer; she was their only child. She started piano lessons at age 5, singing lessons at 6 and dancing class at 7. She made her stage debut as a dancer at 9 and did a solo singing stint in vaudeville at age 11. ``I never thought of myself in comedy at all,'' she once said. ``I loved going to the theater and seeing people wearing beautiful clothes come down the staircase and start to dance. I wanted to play St. Joan.'' Her comedic ability was tapped by accident while she was rehearsing for a revue called ``New Faces of 1934.'' The theater was cold and she borrowed a man's camel's hair coat that was ludicrously large on her. The 5-foot-3 Coca began clowning around on stage using the over-length garment in a mock fan dance. The producer, Leonard Sillman, saw and liked the bit and incorporated it in the show. She developed a small following but her career went along in fits and starts. It was not until 1949 when she was hired by Liebman for his televised ``Admiral Broadway Revue'' that she became widely known. She was immediate hit, as was Caesar, another cast member. They starred together the following year when the program became ``Your Show of Shows,'' a 90-minute, live program on Saturday nights. Writers for the program included Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Woody Allen and Larry Gelbart, but everyone contributed, including the stars. Coca's last Broadway appearance was in 1978 in ``On the Twentieth Century,'' a lavish musical based on Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur's show-business farce and set on the Twentieth Century Limited luxury train as it sped from Chicago to New York. Coca was nominated for a Tony Award for her portrayal of a zany religious fanatic in the show. Offstage Coca was extremely shy and gentle. An animal lover, she once bought a crippled duck for 60 cents while vacationing in California and brought it back to live on her penthouse terrace in Manhattan. She also had standard poodles most of her life. She was married in 1935 to Robert Burton; he arranged the music for many of her sketches. Burton died in 1955, and five years later she married actor King Donovan. They often performed in the theater together. He died in 1987. Coca had no immediate family.
6/1/01 Hank Ketchum - SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Hank Ketcham, whose lovable scamp "Dennis the Menace" tormented cranky Mr. Wilson and amused readers of comics for five decades, died Friday at age 81. Ketcham, who died at his home in Pebble Beach, had suffered from heart disease and cancer, said his publicist, Linda Dozoretz. "He had had some bad spells and he slipped away in his sleep," said Ellen James, a neighbor and family friend. Unlike the late "Peanuts" creator Charles Schulz, who insisted on drawing every panel himself and had a clause in his contract dictating that original drawings would end with his death, Ketcham stopped drawing Sunday panels in the mid-1980s and retired from weekday sketches in 1994. Ketcham's assistants handled the bulk of the work after that, with Ketcham overseeing the feature daily by fax. The team, Marcus Hamilton and Ronald Ferdinand, will continue the panels. Ketcham began the strip in 1951, inspired by the antics of his 4-year-old son. In March, Ketcham's panels celebrated 50 years of publication - running in 1,000 newspapers, 48 countries and 19 languages. The strip inspired several books of cartoons, a television show, a musical, a 1993 movie and a playground in Monterey, where Ketcham had his studio. The TV show, starring Jay North as Dennis and Joseph Kearns as Mr. Wilson, ran on CBS from 1959 to 1963. "It's a joyful pursuit realizing that you're trying to ease the pain of front-page news or television," Ketcham told The Associated Press in March. "There's some little bright spot in your day that reminds you that it's fun to smile." "I look back at some of my old stuff and I laugh. I just burst out because I forgot about it," he said. Despite its longevity, the strip has changed little since the 1950s. Dennis was always a freckle-faced "five-ana-half" - an appealing if aggravating mixture of impishness and innocence. "Mischief just seems to follow wherever Dennis appears, but it is the product of good intentions, misdirected helpfulness, good-hearted generosity, and, possibly, an overactive thyroid," Ketcham wrote in his 1990 autobiography, "The Merchant of Dennis The Menace." "But what a dull world it would be without any Dennises in it! Peaceful, maybe - but dull," he said. Fellow cartoonists praised his skills. Bil Keane, creator of "Family Circus," once called him "the best pen-and-ink line artist in America today. He still is a brilliant technician when it comes to drawing the lines that make his cartoons so beautifully artistic." Henry King Ketcham was born March 14, 1920, in Seattle and grew up there. He recalled he was no more than 6 when he knew he wanted to be a cartoonist. One day he watched a family friend sketch Barney Google and other then-popular cartoon figures. "I couldn't wait to borrow his "magic pencil" and try my own hand at drawing these comic-strip characters," said Ketcham, who promptly copied every comic he could get his hands on. "It was a major discovery, and I was floating on air with excitement." In 1938, he dropped out of the University of Washington after his freshman year and went to Southern California to work as an animator, first for Walter Lantz, creator of "Woody Woodpecker," and then for Walt Disney. Ketcham worked on "Pinocchio," "Bambi," "Fantasia" and Donald Duck shorts. When the United States entered World War II, he enlisted in the Navy, where he was put to work drawing cartoons for Navy posters, training material and war bond sales. A free-lance cartoonist after the war, Ketcham was living in Carmel when he got the idea for "Dennis the Menace" in October 1950. His wife, Alice, burst into his home studio, exasperated that their 4-year-old son, Dennis, had dismantled his room instead of taking a nap. "Your son is a menace!" she said. The strip with the towhead tornado, crabby neighbor Mr. Wilson and a rangy, bespectacled dad who looked like Ketcham himself debuted in 16 newspapers. It was an instant hit, and the following year a collection of Dennis cartoons was a best seller. Despite the strip's real-life inspiration, Ketcham didn't depend on family life for ideas. He used comedy writers and credited the team approach for the strip's longevity. "Anyone in the humor business isn't thinking clearly if he doesn't surround himself with idea people," Ketcham told The Associated Press in a 1994 interview. "Otherwise, you settle for...mediocrity - or you burn yourself out." Ketcham and his first wife had been separated when she died in 1959 of a drug overdose. He and son Dennis drifted apart, and they spoke infrequently in later life. He made his first trip abroad in 1959, to swap Dennis drawings for Soviet-sketched cartoons. The CIA heard of the trip and asked him to take snapshots with a spy camera. On a flight from Moscow to Kiev, he saw "big circles and long rectangular shapes," he said. "I had my sketch book and I would put them down, and the flight attendant would walk by and I would put a big nose and some eyes and make the whole thing into a funny face. So I had a whole book full of funny-face cartoons at the end that I didn't know how to read." Sometime later, Ketcham met a CIA official and mentioned his days behind the Iron Curtain. Ketcham said, "I'm sorry I didn't have anything to report. He said, "Yeah, I know, Hank, we haven't sent any more cartoonists on any more missions." Ketcham stayed in Europe, drawing Dennis from Geneva for 17 years and relishing the peace of being thousands of miles away from business associates. He returned to the United States only infrequently and used the Sears catalogue to keep abreast of details of the changing American way of life. A second marriage ended in divorce. He moved back to California in 1977 with his third wife, Rolande and their two children, Scott and Dania, and drew the comic from his home along scenic 17 Mile Drive. He stopped drawing the Sunday strip in the mid-1980s but carefully supervised the process. He kept up the weekday strip through 1994. For Ketcham, giving up "Dennis the Menace" did not mean retirement; he concentrated on his more serious artwork, oil and watercolor portraits. While glad the strip continued, Ketcham didn't care if it outlived him. "I'm not in it for posterity. People look at it for 30 seconds ... then it gets used to wrap fish," he said. "Now my paintings, that's something else. My bid to posterity is my paintings."
6/1/01 Arlene Francis - SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Actress Arlene Francis, one-time radio "Oomph Girl" who became a household name in the United States as a panelist on prime time television's longest-running game show "What's my Line," has died of cancer in San Francisco at age 93, a hospital official said on Friday. Francis died Thursday evening at San Francisco's Kaiser Permanente Hospital, spokeswoman Mary Jaeger said. Francis, born Arlene Kazanjian in 1907 in Boston, got her start in show business during the 1930s when she began performing on radio soap operas. In her earlier days she was dubbed "Radio's Oomph Girl" because of her vivacious personality. Her father was an Armenian immigrant who became a successful painter and photographer. Her mother was the daughter of actor Alfred Davis. But she was perhaps best known for her 25 years as a panelist on the popular celebrity game show "What's My Line" that premiered in 1950. The show, produced by Mark Goodson and Bill Todman, was a staple on CBS's Sunday night schedule for years before moving in a rowdier version to syndication in 1968. Francis, who joined the program on its second show, was the only panelist to stay on for the syndicated version which lasted until 1975. The show was simple in its presentation -- panelists asked guests yes and no questions to determine what they did for a living and donned masks when a guest celebrity came on. Among the highlights of the program was panelist Steve Allen's shot at determining size: "Is it bigger than a breadbox?" Francis also became the first woman to host a network television news magazine as editor-in-chief of NBC's "Home" for several years in the late 1950s, according to a Web site tribute to the actress. While most famous as a television star, Francis also acted on the stage. She performed in the 1930s's as a member of Orson Welles' experimental Mercury Theater troupe and also starred in many Broadway plays, including "Once More with Feeling." She also acted in a number of films, including Arthur Miller's "All My Sons", Billy Wilder's "One, Two, Three, and "The Thrill of It All", sharing billing with such stars as Edward G. Robinson, James Cagney, James Garner and Doris Day. Francis married Broadway actor Martin Gabel in 1946 and is survived by their only son Peter. In 1992 she was said to be suffering from Alzheimer's disease, and she spent her last years living in San Francisco.
5/22/01 Whitman Mayo - ATLANTA (AP) - Whitman Mayo, who played Grady Wilson on the 1970s television series "Sanford and Son," died Tuesday. He was 70. Mayo, who has taught drama at Clark Atlanta University since 1996, recently was the host of Turner South's original weekly series "Liars & Legends." Mayo will forever be remembered as the sidekick of junk dealer Fred Sanford, played by Redd Foxx. The Grady character became so popular that in 1975 NBC briefly aired Mayo's own show, "Grady." After "Sanford and Son," Mayo appeared in such television shows as "Diff'rent Strokes," "In the Heat of the Night" and "ER." His movie credits include "Of Mice and Men," "The Main Event" and "Boyz N the Hood." Mayo spent seven years as a counselor for delinquent boys before pursuing his acting career.
5/12/01 Perry Como - MIAMI, Fla. (AP) - Perry Como, the crooning baritone barber famous for his relaxed vocals, cardigan sweaters and television Christmas specials, died Saturday after a lengthy illness. He was 87. Como died in his sleep at his home in Jupiter Inlet Beach Colony, his daughter Terry Thibadeau said. ``We spent two beautiful hours (Friday) with dad, me and my grandson, Holden,'' Thibadeau told The Palm Beach Post. ``We shared ice cream. It was a wonderful moment for us.'' The charming Italian-American whose name became synonymous with mellow performed through seven decades, starting in the 1930s. His idol, the late singer Bing Crosby, once called Como ``the man who invented casual.'' Como left his job as a steel town barber to sing with big bands in the 1930s and his songs were a mainstay of radio and jukeboxes in the late 1940s. He helped pioneer variety shows on the new medium of television in the 1950s and performed on television specials over the last four decades. His music remained popular in recent years on easy-listening radio. In 1945, Como had his first million-selling hit, ``Till the End of Time.'' It was among many songs including ``Prisoner of Love'' that topped the charts. He competed with Frank Sinatra and Crosby to be the era's top crooner. While Como emulated Crosby in his early years, some of his best-known numbers were light novelty songs like ``Hot Diggity'' and ``Papa Loves Mambo.'' He made a brief foray into wartime movie musicals in Hollywood, but decided to pursue a career in radio. Como often said he far preferred singing romantic ballads to some of the lightweight numbers, but the novelty songs were a frequent audience request. ``They get tired of hearing `Melancholy Baby' and those mushy things,'' Como said in a 1994 interview. ``But those are the songs that, as a singer, you love to sing.'' Some music experts say Como, with his naturally melodic baritone voice, might have carved a deeper niche if he had taken firmer control of his material. Will Friedwald, author of ``Jazz Singing'' and an expert of music from Como's era, once called Como ``a marvelous singer'' who ``seemed to do everything they put in front of him.'' Como made his television debut in 1948 on NBC's ``The Chesterfield Supper Club'' and in 1950 he switched to CBS for ``The Perry Como Show,'' which ran for five years. Como then returned to NBC for a variety show that ran for eight years, first on Saturday nights opposite Jackie Gleason, then on Tuesday night. In 1963, he gave up the regular television show and began doing occasional specials. Rock 'n' roll had crowded out the crooners who once charmed hordes of screaming bobby-soxers. His career saw a resurgence in the 1970s with songs like ``It's Impossible,'' ``And I Love You So'' and several best-selling Christmas albums. In 1994, Como put out a three-CD boxed set including his most popular songs since he started recording in 1943. And his former hit, ``Catch a Falling Star,'' became familiar to a new generation of fans when it became part of the Clint Eastwood-Kevin Costner movie ``A Perfect World.'' Como said he occasionally tired of the jokes about his somnambulant style, although he found a skit on the SCTV comedy show particularly amusing. The spot showed a Como impersonator lying on the floor nearly comatose with a microphone in front of his barely moving lips as dancers leaped about him. His casual legend grew from his first pressure-packed appearances on the pioneering medium of live television - with its crashing scenery, misplaced cue cards and camera confusion. ``I decided the only thing to do was take it as it came,'' he recalled in a 1985 interview. ``People wrote in asking how I could be so casual. It all started to grow.'' Pierino Roland Como was born May 18, 1913, in Canonsburg, Pa., the middle offspring of 13 children of Italian immigrants. At age 11, he went to work sweeping floors after school at a barbershop in the town just south of Pittsburgh. He got lessons on how to cut the hair of coal miners and other workers, and by the age of 14 he had his own barber business earning $150 a week. His pay dropped off during the Depression when he went to work for another barber. But he got an offer to sing with Freddie Carlone's band in Cleveland in the early 1930s. He began his rise in show business when he was signed to sing with Ted Weems big band in 1936, a relationship that continued for six years. In 1943, he began what turned into a 50-year contract with RCA-Victor Records with the recording of the song ``Goodbye Sue.'' In his later years, Como lived in a private semiretirement with his wife Roselle, whom he met at a picnic when he was 16 and married in 1933. They divided their time between the North Carolina mountains and the Palm Beach County town of Jupiter where he played golf, took long, brisk walks and entertained his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Mrs. Como died in August 1998, less than two weeks after she and Como celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. She was 84. He reappeared on television periodically for Christmas television specials from exotic, international locales. Even as he grew older, the graying Como retained a tanned, fit appearance and youthful charm.
4/15/01 Joey Ramone - NEW YORK (AP) - Singer Joey Ramone, the punk rock icon whose signature yelp melded with the Ramones' three-chord thrash to launch an explosion of bands like the Clash and the Sex Pistols, died Sunday. He was 49. Ramone, the gangly lead singer with the leather jacket, tinted glasses and permanently-torn jeans, was hospitalized in March 2001 with lymphoma. His death was confirmed Sunday by Arturo Vega, the Ramone's longtime artistic director. The Ramones - its four members adopted the common last name after forming the band in 1974 - came out of Queens, a motley collection of local losers with limited musical skills. Joey became the lead singer only after his drumming proved too rudimentary to keep up with his bandmates' thunderous riffs. While British bands such as the Sex Pistols and Clash received the media attention once punk rock exploded, both were schooled by the Ramones' tour of England that began on the U.S. Bicentennial - July 4, 1976. ``They changed the world of music. They rescued rock and roll from pretentiousness and unnecessary adornments,'' said Vega. Their ``do-it-yourself,'' garage-rock influence still echoes today in bands like Green Day and the Offspring. The low-tech Ramones spent just two days and dlrs 6,000 recording their 1976 debut album. ``They're the daddy punk group of all time,'' said Joe Strummer, lead singer of the Clash, in a recent Spin magazine interview. Despite their influence and critical acclaim, the Ramones never cracked the Top 40. Bruce Springsteen, after seeing the Ramones in an Asbury Park, New Jersey, club, wrote ``Hungry Heart'' for the band - but his manager convinced The Boss to keep the eventual hit single. The Ramones' best-known songs reflected their twisted teen years in Queens: ``Beat on the Brat,'' ``I Wanna Be Sedated,'' ``Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue,'' ``Teenage Lobotomy,'' ``Sheena Is a Punk Rocker.'' Joey Ramone was born Jeffrey Hyman on May 19, 1951. His career started during the early 1970s glam-rock era, when he played in several New York bands - occasionally under the name Jeff Starship. But his collaboration with Dee Dee, Johnny and Tommy Ramone was something special. They became fixtures in downtown clubs like CBGBs and Max's Kansas City, joining fellow punkers like Patti Smith and Richard Hell. The Ramones recorded their first album of two-minute, three-chord blasts in February 1976. The band then earned a loyal cult following with a seemingly endless string of tours where they would crank out 30 songs in 90 minutes. In 1979, Joey and the band appeared in the Roger Corman movie ``Rock N' Roll High School,'' contributing the title song to the soundtrack. They also did the title track for the film ``Pet Semetary,'' based on the book by Ramones fan Stephen King. Their last real stab at commercial success came in a bizarre 1980 collaboration with producer Phil Spector - a session that bassist Dee Dee Ramone recalled most for Spector's pulling a gun on the band inside his Beverly Hills mansion. Joey eventually wound up singing a syrupy version of Spector's classic ``Baby, I Love You'' - the strangest recording of the band's 22-year career. The Spector-produced ``End of the Century'' did become the Ramones' best-selling record, hitting No. 44 on the charts. Five years later, the band released ``Bonzo Goes to Bitburg'' - Joey Ramone's angry rant about former President Ronald Reagan's visit to a German military cemetery. The Ramones disbanded in 1996 after a tour that followed their final studio album, ``Adios Amigos.'' A live farewell tour album, ``We're Outta Here!'', was released in 1997. Since the band's demise, Joey Ramone kept a fairly low profile - occasionally popping up to perform or host shows at Manhattan clubs, making occasional radio show appearances, and working on a solo album that was never released.
Note from the Underground: Joey Ramone was buried Tuesday 4/17/01 at New Mount Zion Cemetery in Lyndhurst NJ. Thanks to HU Member, Wendy, for the info.
3/18/01 John Phillips - LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Rock and roll veteran John Phillips, the founder and main songwriter for the 1960's California pop group the Mamas and the Papas, died of heart failure on Sunday morning, his spokeswoman said. He was 65. Phillips, who received a liver transplant several years ago after years of drug and alcohol abuse, died at UCLA Medical Center at 8:15 a.m. PST (11:15 a.m. EST), surrounded by family and friends, spokeswoman Elizabeth Freund said. Although the Mamas and Papas lasted for just three years until 1968, the quartet recorded some of the most memorable tunes of the pop era, including "California Dreamin"', "Monday, Monday" and "Creeque Alley." The group also included Phillips' wife, Michelle (they divorced in 1970), Denny Doherty, and "Mama" Cass Elliot, who died in 1974. The survivors reunited in 1998 to sing "California Dreamin"' at the group's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Phillips also helped organize the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, which introduced artists such as guitarist Jimi Hendrix and English rock band the Who to American audiences. Additionally, he wrote or co-wrote songs for other artists, including "San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers in Your Hair)" for Scott McKenzie in 1967; "Kokomo," a No. 1 hit in 1988 for the Beach Boys; and "Me and My Uncle" for the Grateful Dead. Freund told Reuters that Phillips had been in hospital for several weeks. He had been in great pain after falling off a stool and badly hurting his shoulder. But the pain turned out to be related to a stomach virus which affected his kidneys. Doctors were anticipating putting him on dialysis and transferring him to an occupational therapy center in Palm Springs, east of Los Angeles when Phillips took a turn for the worse in the last few days. "His liver was doing OK," Freund said. Some tabloid reports had suggested recently that Phillips was waiting for another liver. His friend and producer, Harvey Goldberg, said Phillips had been sober for many years. Phillips had also undergone two hip replacements in recent years. He was born in Parris Island, South Carolina on Aug. 30, 1935. After stints at George Washington University and the U.S. Naval Academy, he became active in the New York folk community in the mid 1950s. He formed a group called the Journeymen, whose lineup included southern California native Michelle Phillips, who had come east to be a model. They married in 1962. Canadian native Denny Doherty later joined the group, by then known as the New Journeymen. GROUP TAKES FORM IN 1965 The Mamas and the Papas took form in 1965 when Doherty's former Mugwumps bandmate, Cass Elliot, joined the trio, which had relocated to California. The group's convoluted beginnings are recounted in the autobiographical song "Creeque Alley," a No. 5 hit in 1967. In all, the group had six top five hits in 1966 and 1967. "Monday, Monday" was No. 1 for three weeks in 1966. Although they were hippies, they stayed credible at a time when rock 'n' roll was becoming politicized. Their sumptuous folk-pop harmonies were a lasting tribute to Phillips' songwriting, arranging and producing skills. "There was a sophistication to the style of the melody and lyrics he wrote that almost approaches poetry," said Goldberg, a friend and collaborator of Phillips since 1972. After four studio albums, the group disbanded in 1968. Phillips made a solo LP "The Wolf King of L.A.," split with his wife and was involved in a legal tangle with his former bandmates and their Dunhill label. They reunited briefly in 1971 to record the little-appreciated album "People Like Us." During the 1970s, Phillips and new wife Genevieve Waite were sidetracked by big drug habits. In 1980, strung out on heroin and cocaine, he was arrested for drug trafficking and spent a month in jail after being convicted of a lesser charge. As often happens with rockers on the rebound, Phillips was on a strong creative streak at the time of his death, according to Goldberg. Phillips had just completed an album of new material, tentatively titled "Slow Starter," which included an update of "California Dreamin'." His collaborators on the album included "Late Show" bandleader Paul Shaffer and British rock guitarist Chris Spedding, said Goldberg. He had also completed a record he started over 25 years ago with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, entitled "Pay Pack and Follow", which is set for release in May via U.K. label Eagle Records, Goldberg said. A movie about the band started development at Twentieth Century Fox last year, with cooperation from the group's surviving members and the Elliot estate. Phillips is survived by his wife Farnaz; daughters MacKenzie, an actress best known for her work on the TV sitcom "One Day At A Time"; Chynna, a member of celebrity offspring trio Wilson Phillips; Bijou, a pop singer; sons Jeffrey and Tamerlane; step-daughters Atoosa and Sanaz. No funeral or memorial arrangements have been made yet.
3/23/01 UPDATE ON JOHN PHILLIPS - Papa John Phillips Funeral Set for Saturday LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The funeral for rock star John Phillips of the Mamas and Papas, who died of heart failure last weekend, will take place near the California desert resort of Palm Springs on Saturday (3/25/01), officials said. The Roman Catholic service will be held at the Palm Springs Mortuary in Cathedral City, and Phillips' body will then be entombed in the adjacent Palm Springs Mausoleum, said Nick Hager, an arrangement counselor at the complex. The service will begin at 1 p.m., Hager added, and it is open to the public. Details about the format of the service or scheduled speakers were not immediately available. Phillips, who wrote such 1960s classics as "Monday, Monday" and "California Dreamin" for the Mamas and Papas, died last Sunday morning at UCLA Medical Center. He was 65. His health had been wobbly since he received a liver transplant in 1992 after years of drug and alcohol abuse, but Phillips enjoyed a relatively fertile creative period during his last few years. Meanwhile, a new Phillips album is set to be released in the next few weeks, a spokesman for London-based Eagle Records said. Phillips recorded "Pay Pack and Follow" 25 years ago with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, and then f3/22/01 William Hanna - LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Animation legend William Hanna, who with partner Joseph Barbera helped turn television into their own personal cartoon world, creating such characters as Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, the Flintstones, Scooby Doo and the Jetsons, died on Thursday at age 90, a spokesman for Warner Brothers said. Hanna, the co-chairman and co-founder of Hanna Barbera Studios, died at his home in North Hollywood, Warner Brothers spokesman Scott Rowe said. The cause of death was not immediately released. Born in Melrose, New Mexico on July 14, 1910, Hanna received early training as an engineer. He began his animation career during the Depression when he took a position in the ink and paint department of Hollywood's Harman-Ising studios. He was hired by MGM in 1937 where he met his future partner, Barbera, and the two began a creative partnership that lasted over 60 years. They were famed for their work on the ``Tom and Jerry'' cartoons and founded Hanna-Barbera in 1957 after MGM closed its cartoon division. They went on to produce more than 3,000 animated half-hour television shows, carefully streamlining the process of animation to make it easier to do for television. Their studio has been owned by Warner Bros., a unit of AOL Time Warner Inc. ,since 1996. The duo received a star on the Hollywood walk of fame in 1976 and were inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1993. Hanna was involved with the studio until his death. He was also a charter member of the Boy Scouts of America and remained active in the organization throughout his life. He is survived by wife, Violet, two children, and seven grandchildren.orgot about it until recently.
3/16/01 Ann Sothern - LOS ANGELES (AP) - Ann Sothern, the blond beauty who starred as the movies' wisecracking ``Maisie'' and as the busybody Susie McNamara in the 1950s TV series ``Private Secretary,'' has died at her Idaho home. She was 92. Sothern died late Thursday of heart failure at her home in Ketchum, Idaho, said her spokesman, Mike Kaplan. An accomplished singer as well as comedian, Sothern appeared in MGM musicals such as ``Lady Be Good'' and ``Panama Hattie.'' She was in a second TV series, ``The Ann Sothern Show,'' as the assistant manager of a plush New York hotel. Sothern's film career spanned six decades and included 64 movies and more than 175 TV episodes. Only in 1988 did she win recognition from the Motion Picture Academy. She was nominated for an Oscar as supporting actress in ``The Whales of August,'' which also starred veterans Bette Davis, Lillian Gish and Vincent Price. ``She was one of those people who I think was never, ever appreciated in her own time,'' Robert Osborne, a columnist for The Hollywood Reporter and host of Turner Classic Movies cable TV network, said on Friday. ``There was nothing she couldn't do. Light comedy was her forte, but she also was a good singer and the camera loved her.'' Her first Columbia film was the lightweight 1934 musical ``Let's Fall in Love.'' She followed with more undemanding roles at Columbia and RKO, where she and another contract player, Lucille Ball, commiserated over their lack of progress. After RKO dropped her, Sothern waited a year until she could find a worthy role. ``Trade Winds'' in 1939 offered her sophisticated comedy (dialogue by Dorothy Parker) and brought rave reviews and an MGM contract. Her first MGM film, ``Maisie,'' had been designed for Jean Harlow, who had died in 1937. It cast Sothern as a flip one-time burlesque dancer with a warm heart and a failing for man trouble. Said Variety: ``She's sexy, smart and resourceful - and decidedly likable throughout.'' The film was a hit and led to nine more ``Maisies'' between 1939 and 1947. MGM also starred her in musicals and comedies such as ``Dulcy,'' ``Words and Music,'' ``Three Hearts for Julia,'' ``Thousands Cheer'' and ``Fast and Furious.'' In ``Lady Be Good'' she sang Kern-Hammerstein's ``The Last Time I saw Paris,'' which won the 1941 Academy Award as best song. After leaving MGM, she proved herself as a serious actress in Joseph Mankiewicz's ``A Letter to Three Wives,'' Oscar winner for best picture of 1949. A siege of hepatitis kept her out of acting for a year, then in 1952 she launched her television career with ``Private Secretary.'' ``Like all the other stars at MGM, I had been living in a glass cage,'' she said after facing the rigors of TV schedules. ``Life was beautiful there; everything was done for us. I had forgotten what real work was.'' ``Private Secretary,'' in which she played the nosy Susie McNamara, was an immediate success, lasting from 1953 to 1957. The star quit after a dispute with the producer, and in 1958 she began ``The Ann Sothern Show,'' playing an assistant manager of a big-city hotel. She worked at the former RKO studio, newly owned by Ball and Desi Arnaz. After the series faded in 1961, movie roles became scarce, studios being wary of hiring TV stars. Wanting to return to serious roles, she studied drama with Stella Adler and then played a prostitute in ``Lady in a Cage,'' a political busybody in ``The Best Man,'' a blowzy has-been in ``Sylvia.'' Her other films included ``Chubasco,'' ``The Killing Mind,'' ``Golden Needles'' and ``Crazy Mama.'' She also had one more recurring role in a TV series, a most unusual one: She was the voice of the woman reincarnated as an antique auto in the 1965-66 sitcom ``My Mother the Car.'' She was born Harriette Lake in Valley City, N.D., on Jan. 22, 1909. Her mother sang in concerts, and as a youngster Harriette learned piano and trained as a lyric soprano. Harriette was 6 when her father deserted the family, and her mother moved her three daughters to Minneapolis, and later Los Angeles. Harriette made her film debut in Warner Bros.' early talkie, ``The Show of Shows,'' in 1929. After a few small roles, she went to Broadway for the musicals ``Smiles,'' ``Everybody Welcome'' and ``America's Sweetheart.'' She was appearing in ``Of Thee I Sing'' when Columbia Pictures signed her. Columbia boss Harry Cohn decided there were too many Lakes in movies. She became Ann Sothern, taken from her mother's first name and the distinguished actor E.H. Sothern. Sothern was plagued with health problems in later years. In 1974, a fake tree fell on her during a play, fracturing a vertebra and damaging nerves to her legs. Years of operations and treatments followed. She was married to bandleader-actor Roger Pryor from 1936 to 1942 and to actor Robert Sterling from 1943 to 1949. Both marriages ended in divorce. Sothern moved to 1984 to Ketchum, where she had visited to ski since the 1940s. Her only child, actress Tisha Sterling, had a house nearby and was with her when she died.
3/13/01 Morton Downey, Jr. - LOS ANGELES, (Reuters) - Morton Downey Jr., the loud-mouthed, deliberately irritating television talk show host who called his guests "slimeballs" and blew smoke in their faces, has died of lung cancer at age 67, his family said Tuesday. Downey, the son of popular tenor Morton Downey Sr. and actress Barbara Bennett, and who was raised next door to the Kennedy compound in Hyannisport, Mass., died Monday in Los Angeles. He was about as contradictory a human being as one could meet, according to those who knew him well. On "The Morton Downey Jr. Show," broadcast from 1987 to 1989, the onetime political science teacher at Notre Dame and winner of an award from Pope Paul VI for his work on behalf of refugees, would rip into guests and audience members, calling them "slimeballs," "scumbuckets" and liberal "pablum pukers." "Mort the Mouth," as he was called, once wrapped an American flag across his bottom and demanded that his Iranian guest kiss it. Off stage, his family and friends said he was radically different -- a kind, gentle man who was even shocked and dismayed at the kind of confrontational television shows his own work had spawned, like the Jerry Springer show. "He thought the Springer show was pure sensationalism while he tried to deal with issues of substance," said his longtime friend and publicist Les Schecter. "He was really a kind and considerate human being, completely different from the persona of his show -- which was a deliberate pose. He wanted to get people edgy and angry and hopefully off the line they were on the show to promote," Schecter said, adding:
HAD LUNG CANCER SURGERY IN 1996 "He also was the first to involve audience members and Phil Donohue even called him the grandfather of talk shows and said he was inspired to go into his audience by Morton Downey Jr." While the chain-smoking Downey's late 1980s shows on WWOR-TV in the New York area won high ratings, they were also subjected to intense criticism from people who found Downey offensive, frightening and even fascistic in the way he manipulated his blue collar audiences into fits of frenzy at unpopular guests. A chain-smoker for 53 years, Downey underwent surgery for lung cancer in 1996 and became a champion of the anti-smoking cause afterward. "After his left lung was removed, he became an anti-smoking campaigner and a spokesman fro the American Lung Association. He filmed a public service announcement against teenage smoking and it went on the air the day after his operation. He was also the chairman of President Clinton's committee against teenage smoking and helped organize a march against cancer in Washington," Schecter said. "He had quite a life -- four marriages -- growing up in a socially well connected family. His father was close friends with Joseph Kennedy and he (Morton Downey Jr.) was close to Teddy Kennedy, whom he grew up with. In fact he had a lot of friends in politics and John McCain visited him in the hospital," Schecter added. Downey was also a songwriter and penned the 1960s surf hits "Wipeout" and "Pipeline." He earned several advanced college degrees, studied in Nigeria and aided Biafran refugees in the 1970s. He worked briefly for the Justice Department when Robert Kennedy Jr. was attorney general, Schecter said. He is survived by his fourth wife and four daughters.
3/13/01 Robert Ludlum - NAPLES, Fla. (AP) - Robert Ludlum, the author whose spy adventure novels had unbelievable plot twists that kept millions of readers turning pages and critics sometimes rolling their eyes, has died. He was 73. The cause of death is believed to be a heart attack, Matthew Shear, a spokesman for the author's publisher, St. Martin's Press, said Monday. ``It's a horrible loss for all of his fans and for his publisher,'' said Shear. ``Fortunately, he had been working on several books and to honor him we're going to continue to publish him.'' Readers can expect at least three more novels, Shear said. While some critics have called his writing - characterized by the liberal use of exclamation points, italics and rhetorical questions - crude, others have acknowledged its popular appeal and inimitable style. More than 210 million of the author's books are in print, according to www.ludlumbooks.com, the official Web site of St. Martin's Press. Ludlum was always somewhat astonished by his success, but had a theory to explain why his novels of international intrigue and conspiracy are so popular. ``When I came along writing novels in 1971, so much of the previous generation of novelists was very self-indulgent,'' he said in a 1986 interview with The Associated Press. ``It was always me, me, me. ... The craft of storytelling has kind of gone out the window for the sake of the writer himself. And I think I came along at a time when people were sick and tired of that. They wanted stories again. And I'm basically a storyteller.'' Government secrets and corruption were also recurring themes in his spy adventures, which were known for outrageous twists and turns. A Washington Post critic once said: ``It's a lousy book. So I stayed up until 3 a.m. to finish it.'' In ``The Chancellor Manuscript,'' Ludlum fictionalized J. Edgar Hoover's death, unraveling an assassination plot that killed the head of the FBI. One of his most popular series began with ``The Bourne Identity,'' which tells the tale of a spy suffering from amnesia who's followed by assassins. Jason Bourne repeatedly escaped death as he feared the worst of his past, leaving himself and readers guessing why he would be the target of killers. Two others followed in the series: ``The Bourne Supremacy'' and ``The Bourne Ultimatum.'' Ludlum said anger about how the world is run fueled many of his stories. `Generally it's in the area of outrage, as in the abuse of power, either elected or appointed,'' he said. ``We are supposed to be a republic, a democratic society, and so many things are done and manipulated without us, as the body politic, knowing about it,'' he said. ``And it bothers me. I'm not a statesman. I'm not a scholar. I just have a certain anger.'' Many believe Ludlum, who worked in the theater before taking up writing, was a former CIA agent because of his plot lines. The notion amused him. ``Anybody can if he decides to take the time to research it and talk with people,'' he said. ``And I was quite lucky that three of my roommates in college ended up in the intelligence community. So I had an opportunity to at least be able to talk with them.'' ``But,'' he added, ``most of what I write about in terms of intelligence and espionage is really just an extension of imagination.'' Born in New York in 1927, Ludlum attended prep schools in Connecticut and graduated from Wesleyan University in 1951 as a fine arts major. He started his career in the theater, working as an actor and a producer, and with his wife, Mary Ryducha, founded a theater at a New Jersey shopping center - the first of its kind in the nation. But he was always a closet writer. At age 40, he decided to write professionally, getting his first book, ``The Scarlatti Inheritance,'' published in 1971. The best-selling novel about a group that financed Adolf Hitler's Third Reich was followed by 20 novels which include ``The Matarese Circle,'' ``The Parsifal Mosaic,'' ``The Holcroft Covenant,'' ``The Aquitaine Progression,'' which have been published in 32 languages. Two of his novels, ``The Matlock Paper'' and ``Trevayne,'' were written under the pen name Jonathan Ryder, and for ``The Rhineman Exchange'' he used the pen name Michael Shepherd. As an actor, Ludlum performed minor roles on Broadway and appeared in television dramas in the 1950s. He opened the Playhouse-on-the-Mall in Paramus, N.J., in 1960, where he produced ``The Owl and the Pussycat,'' which featured then-unknown actor Alan Alda.
2/20/01 Stanley Kramer - LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Legendary Hollywood director Stanley Kramer, who attacked racism and the nuclear arms race in such socially conscious films as "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" and "On the Beach," died Monday after a brief bout with pneumonia, his wife said. He was 87. Karen Sharpe Kramer said her husband of 35 years died at the Motion Picture Home, a retirement community for former Hollywood workers, in the Los Angeles suburb of Woodland Hills. "He went quietly and peacefully, as we all hope we may do," she told Reuters. "He was as wonderful a husband as he was a filmmaker." The New York-born Kramer was famous for his message films, which also included "Judgment at Nuremberg," about the Nazi war crimes tribunal, and "Inherit the Wind," about the right to teach evolution in public schools. His producing credits included "High Noon," starring Gary Cooper as a sheriff who must face a band of killers alone. Several of Kramer's pictures won Oscars for their stars and writers, but he himself never received an Academy Award despite frequent nominations. He worked with many of Hollywood's top names, including Spencer Tracy; Tracy's long-time lover, Katharine Hepburn; Grace Kelly; Maximilian Schell; and Fredric March. Karen Sharpe Kramer said her husband did not have a favorite film. "He thought there was something wrong with all of his films," she said. After his last feature, "The Runner Stumbles," bombed at the box office in 1979, Kramer took his family to Seattle for seven years. On returning to Hollywood, he was unable to get back into feature filmmaking.
2/19/01 Howard Koch - LOS ANGELES (AP) - Howard W. Koch, a veteran producer and director whose credits include ``The Manchurian Candidate'' and the TV series ``The Maverick,'' has died of complications from Alzheimer's disease. He was 84. Koch, one-time president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and former head of production at Paramount Pictures, died Friday. He was still on staff as a producer at Paramount at the time of his death. Along with producing ``The Manchurian Candidate'' in 1962 and directing ``Maverick,'' Koch also was responsible for such feature films as ``Andy Hardy Comes Home'' and ``Bop Girl Goes Calypso'' and the successful TV series ``The Untouchables.'' Koch oversaw production at Paramount from 1964 to 1966. Born in New York, Koch began working as a film librarian at 20th Century Fox. He got his first assistant director job with ``The Keys to the Kingdom,'' starring Gregory Peck. His work put him in contact with such acting legends as Clark Gable and Barbara Stanwyck.
2/21/01 Addendum: DAILY VARIETY/Army Archerd's column 2/21/01 The ashes of Howard W. Koch will be flown over Utah on Saturday and wafted over the ``Turkey Crossing'' location where he shot many Westerns in his early career. And the ashes of his longtime partner, Aubrey Schenck, will find their final resting place in the same manner in the same location. Schenck died a year ago. Aboard the plane carrying the last remains of these movie pioneers will be the families of both, including sons Hawk Koch and George Schenck. At Sunday's ``celebration'' for Howard W. at Paramount, speakers will include Sumner Redstone, Bob Rehme, Arthur Hiller, Marty Pasetta, friends from the race tracks and, of course, family. Surprise film clips will be shown. On Thursday, when Howard's nurse told the family that he was fading, wife Ruth and the family -- children and grandchildren -- gathered around him in the family projection room at home and all watched clips of his pix and his life. He died peacefully in his sleep the next morning. He wanted no funeral. And thus Sunday's gathering at Paramount will be ``a celebration.'' Among my memories of the hard-working Koch was Oscar night, March 27, 1973, when Marlon Brando was the winner for ``The Godfather'' Howard was producing the Oscar show, and when I noticed a girl in full Indian attire lingering about the theater, I asked Koch in what part of the show she was scheduled? He had an inkling -- which soon proved to be accurate when she came on stage, instead of winner Marlon -- to criticize Hollywood's depiction of Indians on film.
2/7/01 Anne Morrow Lindbergh - MONTPELIER, Vt. (Feb. 7) - Anne Morrow Lindbergh, the wife of aviator Charles A. Lindbergh, who became his co-pilot and wrote extensively about their pioneering adventures in flight, died at her rural Vermont home Wednesday. She was 94. Lindbergh died in her home in Passumpsic about 30 miles northeast of the state capital, according to her son-in-law Nathaniel Tripp. Lindbergh, who published 13 books of memoirs, fiction, poems and essays, also had a secluded home in Darien, Conn. A painfully shy woman, she was thrown into the spotlight of her famous husband immediately after they met in 1927, shortly after he made his famous solo flight across the Atlantic. She was a senior at Smith College. He took her flying on their first date; they were engaged within a year. ''Mother died quietly in her second home in Vermont with her family around here,'' said Reeve Lindbergh, the youngest of the Lindbergh children, in a statement issued by the family foundation. She soon became her husband's co-pilot, co-navigator and radio operator. The couple's flights across oceans and around the world fascinated the American public. In 1932, the already-famous Lindberghs drew worldwide attention when their first child, 20-month-old Charles Jr., was kidnapped and murdered. In an introduction to her journals, she affectionately recalled her famous fiance as ''a knight in shining armor, with myself as his devoted page.'' Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow were married on May 27, 1929, in a private ceremony at the Morrow residence in Englewood, N.J. The couple had six children together. Charles Lindbergh died in 1974 and is buried at Palapala Hoomau Church on Maui where the Lindberghs once had a home. From 1929 to 1935, the Lindberghs flew across the United States on tours promoting air travel as a safe and convenient method of transportation. In 1930, she became the first American woman to get a glider pilot's license. On their flights, while her husband sat in the front seat, Lindbergh was in the rear seat, operating the radio and gathering weather conditions and landing information. On April 20, 1930, the Lindberghs set a transcontinental speed record, flying from Los Angeles to New York in 14 hours and 45 minutes. Anne Lindbergh was seven months pregnant at the time. In 1934, Lindbergh was the first woman to win the National Geographic Society's Hubbard Gold Medal for distinction in exploration, research and discovery. Lindbergh published 13 books, many of them autobiographical, including five volumes of diaries and letters that gave detailed accounts of the Lindberghs' lives from the 1920s through the 1940s. In an introduction to ''Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead,'' the volume covering the years 1929-32, she wrote of the joy flying gave her:''Flying was a very tangible freedom. In those days, it was beauty, adventure, discovery - the epitome of breaking into new worlds.'' In the same book, she wrote of the pain she and her husband felt after the body of their son was discovered in May 1932, 10 weeks after the sleeping baby was kidnapped from the Lindberghs' newly built house near Princeton, N.J. ''We sleep badly and wake up and talk. I dreamed right along as I was thinking - all of one piece, no relief. I was walking down a suburban street seeing other people's children and I stopped to see one in a carriage and I thought it was a sweet child, but I was looking for my child in his face. And I realized, in the dream, that I would do that forever. And I went on walking heavy and sad and woke heavy and sad.'' Among her other books were ''Gift from the Sea,'' a 1955 best-selling collection of essays; ''The War Within and Without,'' memoirs covering the years 1939-1944, when Charles Lindbergh was criticized as being pro-Nazi; and ''Listen! the Wind,'' chronicling the Lindberghs' 1933 trip to Greenland, Iceland, Scandinavia, Russia, Europe, Africa and South America. Lindbergh, who struggled throughout her life to maintain her family's privacy, wrote of her disdain for the media spotlight: ''I was quite unprepared for this cops-and-robbers pursuit, an aspect of publicity that has become a common practice with public figures. I felt like an escaped convict. This was not freedom.'' She wrote in her diary that when her husband landed in Paris, he was ''completely unaware of the world interest - the wild crowds below. The rush of the crowds to the plane is symbolic of life rushing at him - a new life - new responsibilities - he was completely unaware of and unprepared for.'' She broke with her tradition of privacy when she opened her late husband's and even her own papers to biographer A. Scott Berg, whose book ''Lindbergh'' came out in 1998, writing to him that ''you can't write about Charles without writing about me.'' In 1999, another book came out, focusing this time on Lindbergh: Susan Hertog's ''Anne Morrow Lindbergh: A Life.'' Lindbergh was born Anne Spencer Morrow, June 22, 1906, in Englewood, N.J., the second of four children. She was the daughter of Dwight Whitney Morrow, a banker who later became U.S. ambassador to Mexico and a U.S. senator, and Elizabeth Cutter Morrow, a writer and teacher. After attending private schools, Anne Morrow entered Smith College in the fall of 1924, following in the footsteps of her mother and her older sister. She graduated from Smith in 1928. Her academic record was fairly undistinguished until she began to flourish in her writing classes at Smith, where she won the Elizabeth Montagu Prize and the Mary Augusta Jordan Prize for her literary work. He took her flying on their first date; they were engaged within a year. In addition to the kidnapped child, the Lindberghs had five other children - Jon, Land, Scott, Reeve and Anne, who died in 1993.
2/7/01 Dale Evans - LOS ANGELES (Feb. 7) - Dale Evans, the singer-actress who teamed with husband Roy Rogers in popular Westerns and co-wrote their theme song, ''Happy Trails to You,'' died Wednesday at 88, a family spokesman said. Evans died of congestive heart failure at her home in Apple Valley in the high desert east of Los Angeles, said Dave Koch, son-in-law of Evans' stepson, Roy ''Dusty'' Rogers Jr. She had suffered a heart attack in 1992 and a stroke in 1996. Evans' son and other family members were at her side. A memorial service will be held Saturday, Koch said. She was the ''Queen of the Cowgirls'' to Rogers, the ''King of the Cowboys.'' She rode her horse, Buttermilk, beside him on his celebrated palomino, Trigger. The first movie she made with Rogers, already an established singing cowboy star, was ''Cowboy and the Senorita'' in 1944. They married in 1947, and together appeared in 35 movies, including such Saturday afternoon favorites as ''My Pal Trigger,'' ''Apache Rose'' and ''Don't Fence Me In.'' When the B Western faded in the early 1950s, they began their television career. ''The Roy Rogers Show'' ran from 1951 to 1957; later incarnations included ''The Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Show,'' 1962, and ''Happy Trails Theatre,'' 1986-89, a show of repackaged Rogers and Evans movies on cable TV's Nashville Network. In 1951, she co-wrote ''Happy Trails,'' which became their theme. She also wrote the 1955 gospel music standard ''The Bible Tells Me So,'' with the refrain, ''how do I know? the Bible tells me so.'' She and Rogers recorded more than 400 songs. Their most recent album was ''Many Happy Trails,'' recorded in Nashville in 1985. Rogers died in July 1998 at age 86. In a statement, Evans remembered him as ''a wonderful human being. What a blessing to have shared my life together with him for almost 51 years. To say I will miss him is a gross understatement. He was truly the king of the cowboys in my life.'' She was active in Christian evangelism, which she called ''the most meaningful, the most enjoyable part of my life.'' She wrote more than 20 books, including the best-selling ''Angel Unaware,'' a poignant account of their daughter, Robin, the only child born to the couple. Robin, who was retarded, died of complications from the mumps shortly before her second birthday in 1952. It wasn't the couple's only taste of tragedy. Korean-born Debbie, one of the couple's adopted children, was killed with seven others in a 1964 church bus crash; the following year, their adopted son John choked to death while serving in the Army in Germany. ''In the Bible, it doesn't say you're going to get by without having troubles,'' Rogers once said. The couple also adopted another daughter and raised a daughter by foster parenthood. In addition, Evans had a son by a previous marriage, and Rogers had a son and two daughters, one of them adopted, with his first wife, Arline. She had died in 1946, shortly after giving birth to their son Roy Jr. Evans was born Frances Octavia Smith on Oct. 31, 1912, in Uvalde, Texas. When she was a girl her family moved to Osceola, Ark., where she attended high school. She was working as a secretary in Chicago when she tried to launch a show business career, she recalled in the 1984 interview. ''I wanted to get a foothold in radio, but I couldn't get a job,'' she said. ''Finally I succeeded in Memphis, then I got jobs in Louisville and Dallas before going back to Chicago.'' From local radio singing jobs, she worked up to national radio, signing on in 1940 as a singer on a weekly CBS radio show ''News and Rhythm.'' Shortly afterward, she started working in Hollywood, appearing in films such as ''Orchestra Wives'' and ''Swing Your Partner.'' She said she felt sorry from some of today's rock stars: ''They are overnight successes making unbelievable amounts of money. They're like meteors, shooting up and then falling just as fast. People like Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Roy and me, we paid our dues. We've known the hard times and the good, and we appreciate what we've got.'' Note from the Underground - Ms. Evans will be buried right next to her husband, Roy Rogers, at Sunset Memorial Park in Apple Valley, CA.
1/5/01 Les Brown - LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Les Brown, whose Band of Renown was a mainstay of Bob Hope's act for decades and who turned "Sentimental Journey" into a No. 1 hit and a standard in the American repertoire, has died at his home here. He was 88. Brown, who started the Band of Renown in 1936 and led it for more than half a century until last year, died of lung cancer on Thursday night. "The world has lost a great musician," Hope said. "I have lost my music man, my side man, my straight man and a special friend. Dolores (Hope) and I will miss him so much." Among the stars that appeared with Brown and his band were singer and actress Doris Day, who hit the top of the charts with Brown's orchestra in 1944 with "Sentimental Journey" and who remembered the bandleader as a great friend. "I loved Les very much, I'm going to miss his phone calls," Day said. "The happiest times of my life were the days I was traveling with Les and his band." "Sentimental Journey," became more than a radio hit when young men and women returning home from the Second World War took the song to heart, giving it a permanent place in the century's pop culture. A few years later in 1950, Brown joined forces with Hope for the first of 18 Christmas tours, entertaining troops at military bases around the world. Brown served as first president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, helping make its Grammy awards into a television event by recruiting Hope, Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby to participate in the broadcast. "Les Brown was not only a gifted musician and bandleader who helped create some of our most treasured memories, he was an early and dedicated contributor to the Recording Academy and a great supporter of his fellow musician," said Michael Greene, president of the Academy. Brown is survived by his wife, Evelyn and two children. No services were scheduled.
1/2/01 Ray Walston - BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (Jan. 2) - Ray Walston, who played the lovable extraterrestrial Uncle Martin on the 1960s TV sitcom ``My Favorite Martian'' and the devil in ``Damn Yankees,'' has died. He was 86. The slim, icy-voiced actor died Monday of apparent natural causes at his home here, said his agent, Harry Gold. Walston made a career of playing charismatic, cranky characters. He won a Tony in 1955 for his performance in Broadway's ``Damn Yankees'' and two successive Emmys in 1995-96 for his role as acerbic Judge Henry Bone in the quirky small-town series ``Picket Fences.'' In ``My Favorite Martian,'' Walston played opposite Bill Bixby as a Martian explorer stranded on Earth. His antennae-sprouting alien character masqueraded as Bixby's ``Uncle Martin'' and spent most of the episodes trying to conceal his identity from curious Earthlings. Walston once said he auditioned and accepted the role for the money. But after just four episodes, he recalled, ``I thought, 'What am I doing here? I'm running around with two pieces of wire coming out of my head. I must be crazy.''' Despite its popularity, the role of Uncle Martin actually slowed Walston's Hollywood career. When the series went off the air in 1966 after a three-year run, the typecast actor returned to the stage for several years before re-emerging with a succession of solid supporting roles in movies and television. But it took Walston decades to receive award recognition from the Hollywood community: ``I have 30 seconds to tell you I have been waiting 60 years to get on this stage,'' he said in his 1995 Emmy acceptance speech. Walston's film debut came in the 1957 movie ``Kiss Them For Me'' with Cary Grant, and the next year he played the devil again in the film version of ``Damn Yankees.'' The smash musical told the story of a frustrated baseball fan who sells his soul. He also appeared in ``Say One For Me'' with Bing Crosby and in director Billy Wilder's films ``The Apartment'' and ``Kiss Me, Stupid.'' In addition, he had supporting roles in ``South Pacific,'' ``Portrait in Black,'' ``Wives and Lovers,'' ``Caprice,'' ``Paint Your Wagon,'' ``The Sting,'' ``Silver Streak'' and ``Stephen King's The Stand.'' Walston was known to younger film fans as the irascible Poopdeck Pappy in Robert Altman's live-action film ``Popeye'' in 1980, and as the crusty, slacker-hating teacher Mr. Hand in the 1982 teen comedy ``Fast Times at Ridgemont High.'' In 1999, Walston made a cameo appearance in the feature film version of ``My Favorite Martian,'' which starred Christopher Lloyd as Uncle Martin and Jeff Daniels in Bixby's role as the alien's beleaguered partner. In a 1996 interview, Walston said he had recently turned down a request to appear on a television news in a report on the possibility of life on Mars. ``Would you believe they were planning a sequence featuring two of the world's most distinguished scientists evaluating this monumental discovery, and they wanted to sandwich me in as sort of comedy relief?'' Walston said. ``Of course, I said no.'' Born in New Orleans, Walston started his acting career with a local stock company. It wasn't until the mid-1940s that Walston's stage career really started taking off, with roles in 22 productions by the famed Cleveland Playhouse. By 1945, he had moved to New York to appear on Broadway, which later brought him the biggest break of his career - George Abbott casting him as the devil in ``Damn Yankees.'' The musical also became a breakthrough for Gwen Verdon, who played the devil's amorous assistant, Lola. Verdon, who died last year at 75, teamed up with Walston in the film version, too. Note from the Underground: Per the LA Times, funeral services for Ray Walston will be at noon on Saturday at Westwood Memorial Park.