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#1 Carole

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 05:00 PM

I saw this one last week, and though the name nagged at me as familiar, it wasn't till I saw this obit mentioning CBS's Sunday Morning that I realized what a loss it is. I loved his intelligent but down-to-earth comments.

November 7, 2008
John Leonard, 69, Cultural Critic, Dies

John Leonard, a widely influential and enduringly visible cultural critic known for the breadth of his knowledge, the depth of his inquiries and the lavish passion of his prose, died on Wednesday in Manhattan. He was 69 and lived in Manhattan.

His death, at Mount Sinai Hospital, was from complications of lung cancer, his stepdaughter, Jen Nessel, said.

Considered one of his profession’s most eminent practitioners, Mr. Leonard was at his death the television critic for New York magazine and a regular book critic for Harper’s Magazine. For many years he was a cultural critic for “CBS Sunday Morning.”

Mr. Leonard had a long association with The New York Times. In the 1970s he was the editor of The Times Book Review and was afterward a cultural critic at the paper. He contributed freelance reviews to The Times until last year.

A contributing editor of The Nation till his death, Mr. Leonard was also a past literary editor there, a post he held jointly with his wife, Sue Leonard, from 1995 to 1998.

His work was also found in The New York Review of Books, The Atlantic Monthly, The Village Voice and The Washington Post Book World, as well as on the National Public Radio program “Fresh Air.”

His portfolio took in books and television, the subjects for which he was best known, and film and politics, among other areas. Much of his work was infused, directly or obliquely, with autobiography, including forthright mentions of his struggle with alcoholism. In the late ’70s Mr. Leonard wrote a weekly column in The Times titled Private Lives, in which he chronicled doings in his Upper East Side home.

Mr. Leonard wrote a dozen books. These included several early novels and many volumes of criticism, among them “Smoke and Mirrors: Violence, Television and Other American Cultures” (New Press, 1997) and the profusely titled “When the Kissing Had to Stop: Cult Studs, Khmer Newts, Langley Spooks, Techno-Geeks, Video Drones, Author Gods, Serial Killers, Vampire Media, Alien Sperm-Suckers, Satanic Therapists, and Those of Us Who Hold a Left-Wing Grudge in the Post Toasties New World Hip-Hop” (New Press, 1999).

As a critic, Mr. Leonard was far less interested in saying yea or nay about a work of art than he was in scrutinizing the who, the what and the why of it. His writing opened a window onto the contemporary American scene, examining a book or film or television show as it was shaped by the cultural winds of the day.

Amid the thicket of book galleys he received each week, Mr. Leonard often spied glimmers that other critics had not yet noticed. He was known as an early champion of a string of writers who are now household names, among them Mary Gordon, Maxine Hong Kingston and the Nobel Prize winners Toni Morrison and Gabriel García Márquez.

Mr. Leonard’s prose was known not only for its erudition, but also for its sheer revelry in the sounds and sentences of English. Stylistic hallmarks included wit, wordplay, a carefully constructed acerbity and a syntax so unabashedly baroque that some readers found it overwhelming. The comma seemed to have been invented expressly for him.

In The Times Book Review in 2005, Mr. Leonard opened a review of an anthology of the writer James Agee with this single sweeping paragraph:

“Not every photograph ever snapped of James Agee caught him between pulls on a bottle or puffs on a cigarette. It only seems that way because the journalist/critic/novelist/screenwriter drank and smoked himself to death at 45, in 1955, at a time when postwar American culture conflated art with martyrdom and manhood with excess. Think of the poets lost to lithium, loony bins and suicide, the jazz musicians strung up and out on heroin, the abstract expressionists who slashed and burned themselves. Delmore Schwartz, Charlie Parker and Jackson Pollock pointed the way for Jack Kerouac, James Dean, Truman Capote, John Berryman, Elvis, Janis and Jimi. Like the Greek warrior Philoctetes, hadn’t they been allowed to play so brilliantly with their bows and arrows because they suffered suppurating wounds? So the iconic image, emblematic and self-destructive, was the Shadow Man — a Humphrey Bogart, a J. D. Salinger, an Edward R. Murrow, maybe even an Albert Camus. Agee, with his cold blue eyes, his thick dark hair and his handsome hillbilly Huguenot hatchet face, belonged on this wall of tragic-hero masks, at least till he inflated like a frog, from drinking alone in a Hollywood bungalow, and got kicked out of the 20th Century Fox studio commissary because he smelled so bad from never taking a bath.”

Mr. Leonard did not hesitate to be caustic when he felt it was required. He did not spare himself. Writing in The Nation, he reviewed “Private Lives in the Imperial City” (Knopf, 1979), a collection of his columns from The Times:

“It was hard enough for some of us to work up much interest in his cats and his stoop and his coffee grinder and his fondue pot and his qualms on the first go-round,” Mr. Leonard wrote, adding, “a book-length rerun is an exacerbation.”

John Dillon Leonard was born on Feb. 25, 1939, in Washington and reared there and in Jackson Heights, Queens, and Long Beach, Calif. He attended Harvard from 1956 to 1958 before dropping out to go to work; he later studied briefly at the University of California, Berkeley.

An ardent leftist all his life, Mr. Leonard worked early on as a teacher in Roxbury, a depressed Boston neighborhood; as an organizer of migrant workers in New Hampshire apple orchards; and as a community activist in Massachusetts during the “Vietnam Summer” of 1967. In an irony lost on no one, Mr. Leonard was ushered into journalism by William F. Buckley Jr., who in 1959 made him an editorial assistant on the National Review, a proud bastion of conservatism.

In September 1967, Mr. Leonard joined The Times as an editor in The Sunday Book Review. He became the paper’s daily book critic in 1969 and the head of The Book Review in December 1970. One of the signal events of his tenure there was a widely praised issue, published on March 28, 1971, devoted largely to books about the Vietnam War, many of them critical of United States policy. In 1975 Mr. Leonard became a cultural critic at The Times. He left the paper in 1982.

Mr. Leonard’s first marriage, to Christiana Morison, ended in divorce. Besides his stepdaughter, Ms. Nessel, he is survived by his second wife, Sue; two children from his first marriage, Andrew and Amy; his mother, Ruth Smith; and three grandchildren.

In 2006 Mr. Leonard received the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Book Critics Circle. In his acceptance speech, he thanked the writers who had occupied his time, day in and day out, for decades.

“My whole life I have been waving the names of writers, as if we needed rescue,” Mr. Leonard said. “From these writers, for almost 50 years, I have received narrative, witness, companionship, sanctuary, shock and steely strangeness; good advice, bad news, deep chords, hurtful discrepancy and amazing grace. At an average of five books a week, not counting all those sighed at and nibbled on before they go to the Strand, I will read 13,000. Then I’m dead. Thirteen thousand in a lifetime.”


It was as if the world was presenting her with everything she wanted ... in all the wrong ways. 
 
Eloisa James, Three Weeks With Lady X

#2 Carole

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 06:51 PM

December 3, 2008

Odetta, Voice of Civil Rights Movement, Dies at 77

By TIM WEINER
The New York Times


Odetta, the singer whose resonant voice wove together the strongest songs of American folk music and the civil rights movement, died on Tuesday in Manhattan. She was 77.

The cause was heart disease, her manager, Doug Yeager, said.

Odetta, who lived in Upper Manhattan, had been admitted to Lenox Hill Hospital three weeks ago with a number of ailments, including kidney trouble, Mr. Yeager said. In her last days, he said, she had been hoping to sing at the presidential inauguration for Barack Obama.

In a career of almost 60 years, Odetta sang at coffeehouses and at Carnegie Hall. She became one of the best-known folk-music artists of the 1950s and ’60s. Her recordings of blues and ballads on dozens of albums influenced Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Janis Joplin and many others.

Odetta’s voice was an accompaniment to the black-and-white images of the freedom marchers who walked the roads of Alabama and Mississippi and the boulevards of Washington to end racial discrimination.

Rosa Parks, whose refusal to give up her seat to a white passenger led to the boycott of segregated buses in Montgomery, Ala., was once asked which songs meant the most to her. “All of the songs Odetta sings,” she replied.

One of those songs was “I’m on My Way,” sung during the pivotal civil-rights March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963. In a videotaped interview with The New York Times in 2007 for its online feature “The Last Word,” Odetta recalled the sentiments of another song she performed that day, “Oh Freedom,” which is rooted in slavery: “Oh freedom, Oh freedom, Oh freedom over me/ And before I’d be a slave, I’d be buried in my grave/ And go home to my Lord and be free.”

Odetta Holmes was born in Birmingham, Ala., on Dec. 31, 1930, in the depths of the Depression. The music of that time and place — particularly prison songs and work songs recorded in the fields of the Deep South — shaped her life.

“They were liberation songs,” she said in the interview with The Times. She added: “You’re walking down life’s road, society’s foot is on your throat, every which way you turn you can’t get from under that foot. And you reach a fork in the road and you can either lie down and die or insist upon your life.”

Her father, Reuben Holmes, died when she was young, and in 1937 she and her mother, Flora Sanders, moved to Los Angeles. Three years later Odetta discovered that she could sing.

“A teacher told my mother that I had a voice, that maybe I should study,” she recalled. “But I myself didn’t have anything to measure it by.”

She found her own voice by listening to blues, jazz and folk music from the African-American and Anglo-American traditions. She earned a music degree from Los Angeles City College. Her training in classical music and musical theater was “a nice exercise, but it had nothing to do with my life,” she said.

“The folk songs were — the anger,” she emphasized.

In a National Public Radio interview in 2005 she said: “School taught me how to count and taught me how to put a sentence together. But as far as the human spirit goes, I learned through folk music.”

In 1950 Odetta began singing professionally in a West Coast production of the musical “Finian’s Rainbow,” but she found a stronger calling in the bohemian coffeehouses of San Francisco. “We would finish our play, we’d go to the joint, and people would sit around playing guitars and singing songs and it felt like home,” she said.

She moved to New York in 1953 and began singing in nightclubs like the storied Blue Angel, cutting a striking figure with her guitar and her close-cropped hair, her voice plunging deep and soaring high. Her songs blended the personal and the political, the theatrical and the spiritual. Her first solo album, “Odetta Sings Ballads and Blues,” released in 1956, resonated with an audience eager to hear old songs made new.

Mr. Dylan, referring to that recording, said in a 1978 interview with Playboy, “The first thing that turned me on to folk singing was Odetta.” He said he heard something “vital and personal,” and added, “I learned all the songs on that record.” The songs included “Muleskinner Blues,” “Jack o’ Diamonds” and “ ’Buked and Scorned.”

“What distinguished her from the start,” Time magazine wrote in 1960, “was the meticulous care with which she tried to recreate the feeling of her folk songs; to understand the emotions of a convict in a convict ditty, she once tried breaking up rocks with a sledgehammer.”

That year she gave a celebrated solo concert at Carnegie Hall and released a live album of it. Eight years later she was on stage there again, now with Mr. Dylan, Pete Seeger, Judy Collins, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and other folk stars in a tribute to Woody Guthrie, which was also recorded for an album.

Odetta’s blues and spirituals led directly to her work for the civil rights movement. They were two rivers running together, she said in her interview with The Times. The words and music captured “the fury and frustration that I had growing up.”

Her fame hit a peak in 1963, when she marched with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and performed for President John F. Kennedy. But with King’s assassination in 1968, much of the wind went out of the sails of the civil rights movement, and the songs of protest and resistance that had been the movement’s soundtrack began to fade. Odetta’s fame flagged for years thereafter.

In 1999 President Bill Clinton awarded her the National Endowment for the Arts’ National Medal of Arts. In 2003 she received a Living Legend tribute from the Library of Congress and a National Visionary Leadership award.

Odetta married three times: to Don Gordon, to Gary Shead, and, in 1977, to the blues musician Iverson Minter, known professionally as Louisiana Red. The first two marriages ended in divorce; Mr. Minter moved to Germany in 1983. There are no immediate survivors, Mr. Yeager, Odetta’s manager, said.

Odetta was singing and performing well into the 21st century — 60 concerts in the last two years, Mr. Yeager said — and her influence stayed strong.

In April 2007, a half-century after Mr. Dylan first heard her, she returned to Carnegie Hall to perform in a tribute to Bruce Springsteen. She turned one of his songs, “57 Channels,” into a chanted poem, and Mr. Springsteen came out from the wings to call it “the greatest version” of the song he had ever heard.

Reviewing a December 2006 performance, James Reed of The Boston Globe wrote: “Odetta’s voice is still a force of nature — something commented upon endlessly as folks exited the auditorium — and her phrasing and sensibility for a song have grown more complex and shaded.”

Mr. Reed called her “a majestic figure in American music, a direct gateway to bygone generations that feel so foreign today.”

In her 2007 interview with The Times, Odetta spoke of the long-dead singers who first gave voice to the old blues and ballads and slavery songs she sang. “Those people who made up the songs were the ones who insisted upon life and living, who reaffirmed themselves,” she said. “They didn’t just fall down into the cracks or the holes. And that was an incredible example for me.”


It was as if the world was presenting her with everything she wanted ... in all the wrong ways. 
 
Eloisa James, Three Weeks With Lady X

#3 Carole

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 02:30 PM

Paul Benedict, actor in 'The Jeffersons,' dies at 70
Dec. 4, 2008, 5:15 PM EST

BOSTON (AP) -- Paul Benedict, the actor who played the English neighbor Harry Bentley on the sitcom "The Jeffersons," has died. He was 70.

Benedict was found dead Monday on Martha's Vineyard and his brother, Charles, said authorities were still investigating the cause of death.

Benedict began his acting career in the 1960s in the Theatre Company of Boston, alongside such future stars as Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman and Al Pacino.

Benedict went on to appear in a number of movies, including a role as the oddball director in "The Goodbye Girl" with Richard Dreyfuss. But he was mainly known for his role as Bentley in "The Jeffersons," which ran on CBS from 1975 to '85.


It was as if the world was presenting her with everything she wanted ... in all the wrong ways. 
 
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#4 Carole

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 12:46 AM

Actress Beverly Garland has died. Those of us of a certain age remember her as the stepmom in My Three Sons. She also played Stephanie Zimbalist's mom in Remington Steele and Kate Jackson's mom in Scarecrow & Mrs. King.

From the Los Angeles Times

Beverly Garland, versatile actress in film and TV, dies at 82
December 7, 2008

Beverly Garland, whose long and varied acting career ranged from B-movie cult stardom in the 1950s portraying gutsy characters in movies such as "Not of This Earth" and "It Conquered the World" to playing Fred MacMurray's wife on the sitcom "My Three Sons," has died. She was 82.

Garland, who also was an involved owner of her namesake hotel in North Hollywood, died Friday after a long illness at her Hollywood Hills home, said son-in-law Packy Smith.

In a career that spanned more than 50 years and began with a supporting role in the 1950 film noir classic "D.O.A.," Garland appeared in about 40 films and scores of television shows.

"Not only was she a terrific actress, she was one of those special gals who was fun to work with," said Mike Connors, who appeared with Garland in director Roger Corman's low-budget 1955 film "Swamp Women" and later worked with her when she made guest appearances on his TV detective series "Mannix."

"She had a great sense of humor, she was very thoughtful and had a great laugh," Connors said. "You couldn't help but laugh with her when she laughed."

Despite her reputation for doing heavy drama -- including being nominated for an Emmy in 1955 for her performance as a leukemia patient in the pilot of the medical drama "Medic" -- Garland was best known to many for her comedy turn in "My Three Sons." She played the second wife of MacMurray's character, widower Steve Douglas, during the last three seasons of the popular series, which aired from 1960 to 1972.

"The only thing that bothers me is that everybody loves this character so much," Garland told The Times in 1969. "I don't remember anybody loving me all that much."

Garland also played her fair share of mothers in TV series. She was Stephanie Zimbalist's in "Remington Steele" and Kate Jackson's in "Scarecrow and Mrs. King" in the 1980s, and Teri Hatcher's in "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" in the '90s.

She also had recurring roles in the TV shows "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman," "7th Heaven" and the ABC soap opera "Port Charles."

Early in her career, Garland played undercover New York police officer Casey Jones in the 1957-59 syndicated series "Decoy," said to be the first American TV police series built around a female protagonist.

Garland's big-screen credits included roles in films such as "The Joker Is Wild" (1957), "Pretty Poison" (1968), "Where the Red Fern Grows" (1974) and "Airport 1975" (1974).

But her starring roles in low-budget exploitation films in the '50s such as "The Alligator People" gave her an enduring cult status.

For Corman, she starred in five films in the 1950s: "Gunslinger," "It Conquered the World," "Naked Paradise," "Not of This Earth" and "Swamp Women."

"Part of what made her a favorite of B-movie fans was that she was seldom a shrinking violet in her movies," Tom Weaver, a science-fiction and fantasy film expert, told The Times. "In fact, she was just the opposite."

In "It Conquered the World," "she grabs a rifle and goes gunning for the monster in its own lair. In 'The Alligator People,' she chases an alligator man into the swamp, and so on," he said.

"She didn't play the demure, reserved heroines very well," Weaver said.

She was born Beverly Fessenden, on Oct. 17, 1926, in Santa Cruz and grew up in Glendale, where she studied acting in high school and began working in little theater, which she continued after the family moved to Phoenix.

She became Beverly Garland when she married actor Richard Garland; they were divorced in 1953 after less than four years. An earlier, brief marriage to Bob Campbell when she was 18 also ended in divorce.

In 1960, she married real estate developer Fillmore Crank, a widower with two children, Cathleen and Fillmore Jr. They had two more children, Carrington Goodman and James Crank. In 1972, the couple built their mission-style hotel in North Hollywood, now called Beverly Garland's Holiday Inn, which she remained involved in running. They also built a hotel in Sacramento that bore Garland's name in the '80s but later sold it.

Her husband died in 1999. Garland is survived by four children, eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Plans for a memorial service are pending.


It was as if the world was presenting her with everything she wanted ... in all the wrong ways. 
 
Eloisa James, Three Weeks With Lady X

#5 Teresa55

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 01:05 AM

Just read the obit on comcastnews. How sad. I remember her from My Three Sons.
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#6 Carole

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 02:09 PM

December 8, 2008

Nina Foch, Actress in Sophisticated Roles, Dies at 84

Nina Foch, the Dutch-born actress who epitomized the cool, aloof blond sophisticate in films and on television for six decades while thriving as an acting teacher, died on Friday in Los Angeles. She was 84 and lived in Los Angeles.

The cause was complications from myelodysplasia, a blood disorder, said her son, Dr. Dirk de Brito.

Ms. Foch is probably best remembered by moviegoers as the rich, manipulative socialite who tries to buy Gene Kelly’s character, as well as his artwork, in Vincente Minnelli’s 1951 musical, “An American in Paris.” Or as Bithia, the pharaoh’s daughter, who finds and adopts the baby Moses in Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 epic, “The Ten Commandments.”

But Ms. Foch (pronounced fosh) received her highest acting accolades for a lesser-known film, “Executive Suite” (1954), a drama about corporate power. She received an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of a grief-stricken secretary.

Ms. Foch, who grew up in New York, made her Broadway debut in “John Loves Mary,” a comedy about a soldier and his eager bride-to-be, in 1947. Brooks Atkinson, writing in The New York Times, called her “an especially attractive young lady with a gift for sincerity.”

She played four more Broadway roles between 1948 and 1960, including Cordelia to Louis Calhern’s King Lear in a 1950 production. She directed “Ways and Means,” a short play by Noël Coward, as part of “Tonight at 8:30,” which had a short Broadway run in 1967.

By that time, she had found new career purpose in teaching and coaching actors and directors. She was affiliated with the University of Southern California’s film school for four decades and with the American Film Institute’s film studies center in the 1970s.

Nina Consuelo Maud Fock was born in Leyden, the Netherlands, on April 20, 1924. Her father, Dirk Fock, an orchestral conductor, moved to New York in 1928. He was soon involved in a fierce, highly publicized divorce and child-custody battle with his wife, the former Consuelo Flowerton, an American-born actress. Nina ended up living with her mother.

After graduating from the Lincoln School in Upper Manhattan, Ms. Foch attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Her first screen appearance, at the age of 19, was in “Wagon Wheels West” (1943), a short. She made her feature film debut the following year in a horror film, “The Return of the Vampire,” in which she played a professor’s vulnerable granddaughter who had been attacked by a vampire as a child.

This led to another horror film, “The Cry of the Werewolf” (1944), and a string of crime dramas including “Shadows in the Night” (1944), “Boston Blackie’s Rendezvous” (1945) and “The Dark Past” (1948), which left Ms. Foch with something of a reputation as a B-movie queen.

“An American in Paris” changed that, establishing her image as a knowing, often controlling character. She played Marie Antoinette in “Scaramouche” (1952), and the manipulative Helena Glabrus in “Spartacus” (1960).

Her television work did much to keep that image alive. Beginning in 1949, with an appearance on “The Chevrolet Tele-Theater” and including a very recent recurring role as David McCallum’s eccentric mother on the CBS series “NCIS,” Ms. Foch could be seen on more than 90 series. The shows ranged in tone from “Studio One” to “That Girl” and “Route 66.”

She appeared in at least a dozen television movies and mini-series. Her best-remembered roles include portrayals of the grim housekeeper Mrs. Danvers (when she was only 38) in an NBC version of “Rebecca,” a Nazi-era countess in “War and Remembrance” and an alcoholic socialite in “Tales of the City.”

Directing had always interested her, and she was said to have been an uncredited assistant director and dialogue consultant on “The Diary of Anne Frank” (1959), set in Amsterdam. In 1996 she and the actress Deborah Raffin were co-directors of “Family Blessings,” a television movie based on a LaVyrle Spencer novel.

Periodically she returned to film acting, appearing in “Mahogany” (1975), the AIDS drama “It’s My Party” (1996) and “How to Deal” (2003), in which she played a marijuana-smoking grandmother.

“I’ve been busy in my career and all my life,” Ms. Foch said in a 2007 interview. “But I think the biggest thing I’ve done in life is teach. Breaking down every scene, every line, every beat, and putting the piece together. That’s my contribution.”

Ms. Foch married and divorced three times. Her first husband (1954-58) was James Lipton, the host of Bravo’s “Inside the Actors Studio” series, then an actor. Her second (1959-63) was Dennis de Brito, a television writer, with whom she had her son. In 1966 she married Michael Dewell, a theater producer. They were divorced in 1993, a year before his death.

She is survived by her son, Dr. de Brito, of Los Angeles, and three grandchildren.


It was as if the world was presenting her with everything she wanted ... in all the wrong ways. 
 
Eloisa James, Three Weeks With Lady X

#7 Carole

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 02:10 PM

December 7, 2008

Sunny von Bülow, 76, Focus of Society Drama, Dies

Martha (Sunny) von Bülow, the American heiress who was first married to an Austrian playboy prince and then to a Danish-born man-about-society who was twice tried on charges of attempting to murder her, died Saturday at a nursing home in Manhattan. Mrs. von Bülow, who was 76, had been in a coma for nearly 28 years.

Maureen Connelly, a spokeswoman for the family, confirmed the death. Mrs. von Bülow’s three children said in a statement that they “were blessed to have an extraordinary loving and caring mother.” The cause, as listed in the death certificate, was cardiopulmonary arrest, Ms. Connelly said.

Mrs. von Bülow’s death came 27 years, 11 months and 15 days after she was found unconscious on the floor of her bathroom in her mansion in Newport, R.I., on Dec. 21, 1980.

In her long, silent years at the Milstein Building at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia hospital, and then at a nursing home on the Upper East Side, doctors said Mrs. von Bülow never showed any signs of brain activity; she was fed through a tube in her stomach. Yet there were always fresh flowers in her room, and photographs of her children and grandchildren sat on a bedside table. She was attended by private nurses, and her room, for some time, was guarded by private security personnel.

She is survived by her daughters, Annie-Laurie von Auersperg Kneissl Isham and Cosima Pavoncelli; her son, Alexander von Auersperg; and nine grandchildren.

Her second husband, Claus von Bülow, was convicted and later acquitted of twice trying to kill her with injections of insulin so as to aggravate her hypoglycemia, a low blood sugar condition.

His trials were among the most sensational of the 1980s. News media from around the world were drawn to the drama of the beautiful heiress who lay in a twilight zone, the debonair husband accused of attempted murder and two royal children pitted against their younger stepsister, with the glittering social milieus of Newport and New York providing the backdrop.

Hollywood, too, could not resist. The trials became the subject of the 1990 movie “Reversal of Fortune” with Glenn Close as Mrs. von Bülow and Jeremy Irons as Mr. von Bülow.

The prosecutions were the result of an investigation initiated by Alexander von Auersperg and his sister Annie-Laurie von Auersperg Kneissl, known as Ala, the children from Mrs. von Bülow’s marriage to Prince Alfred von Auersperg. The accusations pitted the von Auerspergs against their stepfather and their half sister, Cosima von Bülow, and divided the loyalty of friends in Newport and New York.

In his first trial, in Newport in 1982, Mr. von Bülow was found guilty of twice trying to kill his wife and was sentenced to 30 years in prison. He appealed and posted a $1 million bond believed to have been put up by his friend J. Paul Getty Jr., the oil tycoon.

The appeal was guided by Alan M. Dershowitz, the Harvard law professor, and the conviction was overturned on the grounds that certain information had not been made available to the defense and that there had been no search warrant when pills were sent for testing.

Mr. von Bülow was acquitted in 1985 after a second trial in Providence, R.I., where his chief defense counsel was Thomas P. Puccio.

A $56 million civil suit filed against Mr. von Bülow by his stepchildren was settled in 1987 with the stipulation that Mr. von Bülow agree to a divorce and not discuss the case publicly. The couple were divorced in 1988. Mr. von Bülow lives in London.

A principal prosecution witness at the trials, Maria Schrallhammer, Mrs. von Bülow’s longtime maid, testified that shortly before Christmas 1979, she became worried when Mr. von Bülow refused to call a doctor as his wife, moaning behind a locked door, sank into a coma. Mr. von Bülow said that he thought his wife was sleeping.

Mrs. von Bülow eventually recovered at Newport Hospital, where tests indicated a high level of insulin. A few months later, the maid said, she found in Mr. von Bülow’s closet a small black bag containing syringes, yellow paste and white powder. She said she had passed these on to Ala von Auersperg, who had the family physician analyze the contents. They were determined to be Seconal and a paste form of Valium. Ms. Schrallhammer said that she kept an eye on the bag and that some months later found insulin in it.

On Dec. 21, 1980, Mrs. von Bülow was again found unconscious and taken to Newport Hospital. Shortly afterward, an investigator working on behalf of the two older children searched the house and found a black bag said to contain three hypodermic needles, one with traces of a sedative and insulin.

Mrs. von Bülow, who had inherited $75 million, was depicted by the defense as a reticent woman who drowned her insecurities in alcohol and was familiar with drugs. The von Auersperg children, backed by Ms. Schrallhammer, claimed that Mrs. von Bülow needed as little as two drinks to appear that she had had too much.

The prosecution put Alexandra Isles, a socialite and former actress who had been Mr. von Bülow’s mistress, on the stand to admit that she had given Mr. von Bülow an ultimatum about dissolving his marriage. It was noted, too, that a divorce would have voided the $14 million that Mr. von Bülow would have inherited under his wife’s will and left him with an annual income of $120,000 from a trust.

Mr. von Bülow acknowledged that he and his wife had discussed divorce, but he denied that the issue was another woman. He initiated the talks, he said, because he wished to return to work and his wife did not agree. He had been working intermittingly as a broker.

Mrs. von Bülow, the former Martha Sharp Crawford, was born in Manassas, Va., on Sept. 1, 1932, the only child of Annie-Laurie and George W. Crawford, a former chairman of Columbia Gas and Electric Company of Pittsburgh, who died in 1935. Mrs. Crawford, the daughter of Robert Warmack, founder of the International Shoe Company, was remarried in 1957 to Russell Aitken, a sculptor. She died in 1984, leaving an estate estimated at $100 million.

Her daughter was originally nicknamed Choo-Choo because she was born in her father’s railway car, and later called Sunny because of her disposition. She attended the Chapin School in Manhattan and St. Timothy’s School in Maryland, and she had an elaborate debut in 1949. She was 24 when she married Prince Alfred von Auersperg, a 20-year-old tennis pro at the exclusive Schloss Mittersell in Austria.

The couple settled in Munich and later in Kitzbühel, Austria. Ala von Auersperg was born in 1958 and Alexander the following year. The marriage ended in divorce in 1965. The princess had few interests in common with her husband, did not share his ardor for big-game hunting in Africa and disliked his flirting. She also missed the United States. The prince received $1 million and two houses in a settlement.

(In a twist of fate, Prince von Auersperg went into an irreversible coma in 1983 after an automobile accident in Austria. He died in 1992.)

The year after her divorce, the princess married Claus von Bülow, whom she had met years earlier in London. He was originally neither a von nor a Bülow. His mother was divorced from his father, Svend Borberg, a playwright and drama critic who was convicted of collaborating with the Nazis by a Danish court after the war. He was sentenced to four years in prison, released after 18 months and died shortly after.

Claus grew up with his mother and maternal grandfather, Frits Bülow, a former minister of justice in Denmark and a successful businessman. Claus adopted the Bülow name and added “von” as a young adult. At the time of his marriage, Mr. von Bülow was a senior aide to Mr. Getty.

The couple settled in an imposing Fifth Avenue apartment facing Central Park. A short time later, following the lead of her mother, Mrs. von Bülow acquired a Newport estate, Clarendon Court, a 23-room Georgian mansion on 10 acres overlooking the sea. Mrs. von Bülow had the huge lawn lowered 17 feet to improve the view of the ocean.

The house had been the setting for the 1956 musical “High Society,” starring Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby. The property was sold in 1988 for $4.2 million; the same year, an auction of von Bülow furniture, paintings, porcelains and silver brought more than $11.5 million.

A daughter, Cosima, was born in 1967, and the three siblings apparently got along well until their mother’s comas aroused the suspicions of the von Auersperg children. Miss von Bülow supported her father during his trials and as a result was cut out of her maternal grandmother’s will. When Mrs. Aitken died in 1984, Miss von Bülow filed suit claiming that family members had turned her grandmother against her. In a 1987 settlement, Mr. von Bülow renounced all his claims to his wife’s fortune in return for his daughter’s receiving a share of Mrs. Aitken’s estate, equal to those of her half sister and half brother.

Ms. Connelly, the family spokeswoman, said the three siblings, after a long period of estrangement, are “reconciling and moving forward together as a family, because that is what their mother would have wanted.”

After the trials, the von Auerspergs founded the Sunny von Bülow National Victim Advocacy Center, with headquarters in Fort Worth, Tex., and the Sunny von Bülow Coma and Head Trauma Research Foundation in New York. The author Dominick Dunne wrote about the case and had known Mrs. von Bulow since she was a debutante. He said on Saturday that she had been portrayed unfairly in the film as an emotionally frail alcoholic. He said she was a “beautiful and shy” woman who “really did not like the social life, although she was totally associated with the social life.”


It was as if the world was presenting her with everything she wanted ... in all the wrong ways. 
 
Eloisa James, Three Weeks With Lady X

#8 Carole

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 02:12 PM

December 6, 2008

Forrest J Ackerman, High Elder of Fantasy Fans, Is Dead at 92

It’s a common claim that someone is the world’s biggest fan of such-and-such. Elizabeth Taylor’s biggest fan. The biggest fan of the New York Jets. The world’s biggest country music fan. Hardly anyone takes such a designation seriously, except, perhaps, when it comes to Forrest J Ackerman, whose obsessive devotion to science fiction and horror stories was so fierce that he helped propel their popularity. Indeed, he was widely credited with coining the term sci-fi.

Mr. Ackerman died on Thursday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 92. The cause was heart failure, The Associated Press reported, quoting Kevin Burns, who is head of the production company Prometheus Entertainment and a trustee of Mr. Ackerman’s estate.

In the cultural niche defined by monsters, rocket ships and severed body parts, Mr. Ackerman was decreed by acclamation to be its leading citizen. He was a film buff, an editor of pulp magazines and anthologies, a literary agent for dozens of science fiction writers and an amateur historian. No one has evidently disputed his claim that he created the expression sci-fi.

He was also an omnivorous memorabilia collector who once turned a former home of his overlooking Los Angeles into a sort of scream-a-torium. Thousands of science-fiction fans made pilgrimages to the house, a repository of more than 300,000 books, posters, masks, costumes, statuettes, models, film props and other artifacts. (He sold the house several years ago to pay for mounting medical bills.)

“He was the world’s biggest fan,” the writer Stephen King said in a recent phone interview. “If you had been to his house, you wouldn’t doubt it.”

Mr. Ackerman’s appetite for science fiction embraced the highbrow as well as the low. His favorite film, he often said, was Fritz Lang’s futuristic masterpiece from 1927, “Metropolis.” He said he had seen it nearly 100 times. In 2002, when he received a lifetime achievement award at the World Fantasy Convention, he shared honors with one of the most admired writers of fantasy and science fiction, Ursula K. Le Guin, whose book “The Other Wind” was named the year’s best novel.

But Mr. Ackerman spent most of his time in the arena of pop culture. Between 1958 and 1983, he wrote and edited Famous Monsters of Filmland, a seminal black-and-white magazine heavily illustrated with photographs from Mr. Ackerman’s collection. The magazine emphasized the scream-worthy features of movies and was fond of groan-worthy wordplay. “Menace, Anyone?” was a typical title. But it also conveyed the idea that language was flexible and that using it could be fun.

The magazine fired the imaginations of generations of young horror fans, including Mr. King and the filmmakers George Lucas and Joe Dante (“Gremlins”).

“When you think of the size of the business, the dollar amount, that has sprung up out of fantasy, the people who made everything from ‘Star Wars’ to ‘Jaws,’ ” Mr. King said, “well, Forry was a part of their growing up. The first time I met Steven Spielberg, we didn’t talk about movies. We talked about monsters and Forry Ackerman.”

Forrest James Ackerman (he used his middle initial, but without the period) was born in Los Angeles on Nov. 24, 1916. His father was a statistician for an oil company. He saw his first science-fiction film in 1922: “One Glorious Day,” the story of a disembodied spirit that takes over the soul of a tired professor, played by Will Rogers. Four years later he discovered science-fiction magazines, starting with Amazing Stories, and began collecting them and science-fiction memorabilia. His collection eventually included more than 40,000 books and 100,000 film stills.

His wife, Wendayne, a teacher who translated many science-fiction novels from French and German into English, put up with the collection but restricted it to the lower floors of the house, which in the science-fiction world was known as the Ackermansion, in Horrorwood, Karloffornia. (After her death in 1990, the collection began creeping up the stairs.)

The couple had no children, and Mr. Ackerman leaves no immediate survivors.

After serving in the Army during World War II, he started a literary agency that eventually represented, by his count, 200 writers, including, at different times, Ray Bradbury, H. P. Lovecraft and L. Ron Hubbard, who later founded Scientology.

Mr. Ackerman said he came up with “sci-fi” in 1954. He was driving in a car with his wife when he heard a radio announcer say “hi-fi.” The term sci-fi just came reflexively and unbidden out of his mouth, he said.

Over the years he published as many as 50 short stories of his own, wrote most of the articles in Famous Monsters himself under pseudonyms like Dr. Ackula and wrote and edited many other magazines with titles like Monster World. At his induction into the Horror Hall of Fame in 1990, the actor Robert Englund (a k a the serial killer Freddy Krueger in the “Nightmare on Elm Street” films) introduced Mr. Ackerman as “the Hugh Hefner of horror.”

Mr. Ackerman also invented the comic character Vampirella. And as testimony to his ubiquitous presence, he acted (sort of) in more than 50 films, almost always as an extra. His longest screen appearance was a two-minute scene in which he played the president of the United States in the science-fiction spoof “Amazon Women on the Moon” (1987).

“He was an appreciator, a collector, not a creator,” Mr. King said. “Well, he was a creator in the sense that with the magazine he gave us a window into a world we really wanted to see. He was our Hubble telescope.”


It was as if the world was presenting her with everything she wanted ... in all the wrong ways. 
 
Eloisa James, Three Weeks With Lady X

#9 Carole

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 12:49 PM

Posted on Wed, Dec. 10, 2008

Robert Prosky, Phila.-born character actor
By Adam Bernstein

Washington Post

WASHINGTON - Robert Prosky, 77, a Manayunk-born actor with hundreds of film, TV and stage credits, whose roles included an avuncular sergeant on the NBC police drama Hill Street Blues and a desperate real estate salesman in David Mamet's play Glengarry Glen Ross, has died.

Mr. Prosky, a Washington resident for nearly 50 years, died Monday at Washington Hospital Center of complications from a heart procedure.

Earlier this year, he and two of his sons, actors Andrew and John, starred in a production of Arthur Miller's The Price at Philadelphia's Walnut Street Theatre - the first time Mr. Prosky had performed professionally in his hometown.

In an interview, he talked with Inquirer theater critic Toby Zinman about the joys of performing with his sons, and the mixed pleasures of his work, and of growing older, concluding: "I find myself thinking more and more about the panorama of life. As George Burns said: 'I can't die. I'm booked.' "

Starting in 1958, he began an affiliation at Washington's Arena Stage that transformed him over 23 seasons from a struggling actor to one of the most versatile and prolific performers in a top regional theater.

He jokingly attributed his success to his paunch and prematurely gray hair, saying: "This hair and this gut are the two reasons I got started as an actor. I could play men 50 when I was 30, maybe 25. I could always play the funny fat man."

He also excelled in drama and at one point called on memories of his father, a butcher with a seventh-grade education, for his interpretation of Willy Loman in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman.

Film roles included parts in Mrs. Doubtfire, Broadcast News and Dead Man Walking.

In addition, he played many recurring TV roles, as the big-hearted desk sergeant Stanislaus "Stan" Jablonski on Hill Street Blues from 1984 to 1987 and later as a priest accused of murder on the ABC legal drama The Practice. He played Kirstie Alley's father on the sitcoms Cheers and Veronica's Closet.

Robert Joseph Porzuczek was born Dec. 13, 1930, in Manayunk. Initially drawn to theater in high school, he briefly studied economics at Temple University before returning to the family grocery shop after his father's death in 1952.

He continued performing in plays, supporting himself in New York as a Federal Reserve Bank bookkeeper while working as a journeyman actor. What he considered just another one-shot deal, playing the sheriff in a 1958 Arena Stage revival of The Front Page, was instead a breakthrough, leading to a decades-long relationship.

He periodically returned to the New York stage and earned Tony Award nominations in two Broadway shows, Glengarry Glen Ross (1984) and Lee Blessing's A Walk in the Woods (1988).

In addition to Andrew and John, Mr. Prosky is survived by his wife, Ida, a third son, Stefan, and three grandchildren.


It was as if the world was presenting her with everything she wanted ... in all the wrong ways. 
 
Eloisa James, Three Weeks With Lady X

#10 LOOPYLEAH

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 10:46 PM

Ok not sure where to put this but is it true Cedric the Entertainer died?
Just a southern gal from Alabama, trying to make it in Canada...!

War
Eagle Baby!!!

#11 DallasLTEvefan

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 05:08 AM

Van Johnson dies at 92

NEW YORK (Dec. 12) -- Van Johnson, whose boy-next-door wholesomeness made him a popular Hollywood star in the '40s and '50s with such films as '30 Seconds over Tokyo,' 'A Guy Named Joe' and 'The Caine Mutiny,' died Friday of natural causes. He was 92. Johnson died at Tappan Zee Manor, an assistant living center in Nyack, N.Y., said Wendy Bleisweiss, a close friend.With his tall, athletic build, handsome, freckled face and sunny personality, the red-haired Johnson starred opposite Esther Williams, June Allyson, Elizabeth Taylor and others during his two decades under contract to MGM.
He proved to be a versatile actor, equally at home with comedies ('The Bride Goes Wild,' 'Too Young to Kiss'), war movies ('Go for Broke,' 'Command Decision'), musicals ('Thrill of a Romance,' 'Brigadoon') and dramas ('State of the Union,' 'Madame Curie').
During the height of his popularity, Johnson was cast most often as the all-American boy. He played a real-life flier who lost a leg in a crash after the bombing of Japan in '30 Seconds Over Tokyo.' He was a writer in love with a wealthy American girl (Taylor) in 'The Last Time I Saw Paris.' He appeared as a post-Civil War farmer in 'The Romance of Rosy Ridge.'
More recently, he had a small role in 1985 as a movie actor in Woody Allen's 'The Purple Rose of Cairo.'
A heartthrob with bobbysoxers — he was called "the non-singing Sinatra" — Johnson married only once. In 1947 at the height of his career, he eloped to Juarez, Mexico, to marry Eve Wynn, who had divorced Johnson's good friend Keenan Wynn four hours before.
The marriage produced a daughter, Schuyler, and ended bitterly 13 years later. "She wiped me out in the ugliest divorce in Hollywood history," Johnson told reporters.
As a young actor, Johnson had a brief run with Warner Bros. and then got a screen test and a contract with MGM with the help of his friend Lucille Ball.
After a bit in 'The War Against Mrs. Hadley,' Johnson appeared with Lionel Barrymore as 'Dr. Gillespie's New Assistant,' as Mickey Rooney's friend in 'The Human Comedy' and as a Navy pilot in 'Pilot No. 5.'


I cannot live without books.--Thomas Jefferson

Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.--Eleanore Roosevelt

#12 Carole

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Posted 15 December 2008 - 12:57 AM

The New York Times
December 12, 2008

Bettie Page, Queen of Pinups, Dies at 85

Bettie Page, a legendary pinup girl whose photographs in the nude, in bondage and in naughty-but-nice poses appeared in men’s magazines and private stashes across America in the 1950s and set the stage for the sexual revolution of the rebellious ’60s, died Thursday in Los Angeles. She was 85.

Her death was reported by her agent, Mark Roesler, on Ms. Page’s Web site, bettiepage.com.

Ms. Page, whose popularity underwent a cult-like revival in the last 20 years, had been hospitalized for three weeks with pneumonia and was about to be released Dec. 2 when she suffered a heart attack, said Mr. Roesler, of CMG Worldwide. She was transferred in a coma to Kindred Hospital, where she died.

In her trademark raven bangs, spike heels and killer curves, Ms. Page was the most famous pinup girl of the post-World War II era, a centerfold on a million locker doors and garage walls. She was also a major influence in the fashion industry and a target of Senator Estes Kefauver’s anti-pornography investigators.

But in 1957, at the height of her fame, she disappeared, and for three decades her private life — two failed marriages, a fight against poverty and mental illness, resurrection as a born-again Christian, years of seclusion in Southern California — was a mystery to all but a few close friends.

Then in the late 1980s and early ’90s, she was rediscovered and a Bettie Page renaissance began. David Stevens, creator of the comic-book and later movie character the Rocketeer, immortalized her as the Rocketeer’s girlfriend. Fashion designers revived her look. Uma Thurman, in bangs, reincarnated Bettie in Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction,” and Demi Moore, Madonna and others appeared in Page-like photos.

There were Bettie Page playing cards, lunch boxes, action figures, T-shirts and beach towels. Her saucy images went up in nightclubs. Bettie Page fan clubs sprang up. Look-alike contests, featuring leather-and-lace and kitten-with-a-whip Betties, were organized. Hundreds of Web sites appeared, including her own, which had 588 million hits in five years, CMG Worldwide said in 2006.

Biographies were published, including her authorized version, “Bettie Page: The Life of a Pin-Up Legend,” (General Publishing Group) which appeared in 1996. It was written by Karen Essex and James L. Swanson.

A movie, “The Notorious Bettie Page,” starring Gretchen Mol as Bettie and directed by Mary Harron for Picturehouse and HBO Films, was released in 2006, adapted from “The Real Bettie Page,” by Richard Foster. Bettie May Page was born in Jackson, Tenn., the eldest girl of Roy and Edna Page’s six children. The father, an auto mechanic, molested all three of his daughters, Ms. Page said years later, and was divorced by his wife when Bettie was 10. She and some of her siblings were placed for a time in an orphanage. She attended high school in Nashville, and was almost a straight-A student, graduating second in her class.

She graduated from Peabody College, a part of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, but a teaching career was brief. “I couldn’t control my students, especially the boys,” she said. She tried secretarial work, married Billy Neal in 1943 and moved to San Francisco, where she modeled fur coats for a few years. She divorced Mr. Neal in 1947, moved to New York and enrolled in acting classes.

She had a few stage and television appearances, but it was a chance meeting that changed her life. On the beach at Coney Island in 1950, she met Jerry Tibbs, a police officer and photographer, who assembled her first pinup portfolio. By 1951, the brother-sister photographers Irving and Paula Klaw, who ran a mail-order business in cheesecake, were promoting the Bettie Page image with spike heels and whips, while Bunny Yeager’s pictures featured her in jungle shots, with and without leopards skins.

Her pictures were ogled in Wink, Eyeful, Titter, Beauty Parade and other magazines, and in leather-fetish 8- and 16-millimeter films. Her first name was often misspelled. Her big break was the Playboy centerfold in January 1955, when she winked in a Santa Claus cap as she put a bulb on a Christmas tree. Money and offers rolled in, but as she recalled years later, she was becoming depressed.

In 1955, she received a summons from a Senate committee headed by Senator Kefauver, a Tennessee Democrat, that was investigating pornography. She was never compelled to testify, but the uproar and other pressures drove her to quit modeling two years later. She moved to Florida. Subsequent marriages to Armond Walterson and Harry Lear ended in divorce, and there were no children. She moved to California in 1978.

For years Ms. Page lived on Social Security benefits. After a nervous breakdown, she was arrested for an attack on a landlady, but was found not guilty by reason of insanity and sent to a California mental institution. She emerged years later as a born-again Christian, immersing herself in Bible studies and serving as an adviser to the Billy Graham Crusade.

In recent years, she had lived in Southern California on the proceeds of her revival. Occasionally, she gave interviews in her gentle Southern drawl, but largely stayed out of the public eye — and steadfastly refused to be photographed.

“I want to be remembered as I was when I was young and in my golden times,” she told The Los Angeles Times in 2006. “I want to be remembered as a woman who changed people’s perspectives concerning nudity in its natural form.”


It was as if the world was presenting her with everything she wanted ... in all the wrong ways. 
 
Eloisa James, Three Weeks With Lady X

#13 Carole

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Posted 15 December 2008 - 12:58 AM

Ok not sure where to put this but is it true Cedric the Entertainer died?


I haven't seen this anywhere. A good source of such info is the Dead People Server.
It was as if the world was presenting her with everything she wanted ... in all the wrong ways. 
 
Eloisa James, Three Weeks With Lady X

#14 Carole

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Posted 18 December 2008 - 06:24 PM

Sam Bottoms dies at 53; actor appeared in 'Apocalypse Now,' 'Last Picture Show'

By Dennis McLellan
December 18, 2008

Sam Bottoms, a film and television actor who played the role of California surfer-turned-GI Lance Johnson in Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 Vietnam War epic "Apocalypse Now," has died. He was 53.

Bottoms died Tuesday at his home in Los Angeles of glioblastoma multiforme, a virulent brain cancer, said his wife, Laura Bickford.

The brother of actors Timothy, Joseph and Ben Bottoms, Sam made his screen debut as a teenager in Peter Bogdanovich's 1971 film "The Last Picture Show," in which Timothy played one of the leads. Sam played Billy, the mute, mentally handicapped boy.

Then 15, he hadn't expected to be cast in the movie.

Bottoms had traveled from his home in Santa Barbara to Archer City, Tex., to observe the filming, he recalled in a 1993 interview with the Houston Chronicle.

He was sitting on a street corner drinking a Dr. Pepper with his brother when a station wagon rolled by and stopped.

"Peter Bogdanovich gets out," Bottoms recalled, "and says, 'What's your name?' "

When he said he had come to visit his brother, Bogdanovich surprised him by asking, "Do you want to be in the movie?"

Since then, Bottoms appeared in some 30 films, including Clint Eastwood's "The Outlaw Josey Wales" and "Bronco Billy." More recently, he appeared in "SherryBaby," "Shopgirl" and "Seabiscuit."

He also made guest appearances on TV series such as "NYPD Blue," "The X Files," "Murder, She Wrote" and "21 Jump Street." And he played Cal Trask in the 1981 TV mini-series "East of Eden."

Bottoms was 20 in 1976 when he was cast to play surfer Lance Johnson in "Apocalypse Now," in which he was one of the young sailors who accompany Capt. Benjamin Willard (Martin Sheen) up river in a gunboat for his rendezvous with Marlon Brando's renegade Col. Walter Kurtz.

That comes after Bottoms' scenes with Robert Duvall's surf-obsessed Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore, who memorably calls in a napalm strike on the tree line behind a coastal village with a primo surf spot.

Bottoms spent a year and a half filming the movie in the Philippines.

"Francis is a great general, he's a Gen. Patton, a Gen. Sherman, a great leader," Bottoms said in a 2001 interview with The Times. "I was his loyal soldier. I would have done anything he asked. I did, and I'm surprised that I came out of it alive."

Coppola told The Times on Wednesday that in casting young actors to play soldiers in the movie, he had been impressed with Bottoms during improvisational sessions.

"He was a handsome, tall young man and very sweet-natured and seemed to be right for that part," Coppola said. "He, Larry Fishburne and Fred Forrest were like a young family almost to me [during filming], and they went through thick and thin uncomplainingly. We all admired them.

"Sam was an especially likable, beautiful young man. He was quiet and undemanding and always anxious to help and had a nice smile."

Bottoms later played a lieutenant in Coppola's "Gardens of Stone," a 1987 military film set during the Vietnam era.

"Sam was a good actor. Of course, he comes from a family that had a lot of theatrical activity," Coppola said.

Bottoms was born in Santa Barbara on Oct. 17, 1955, and began acting in the Santa Barbara Youth Theatre at age 10.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by his two daughters from his first marriage to Susan Arnold, Io and Clara Bottoms; his three brothers; his father, James "Bud" Bottoms; and his mother, Betty Bottoms.

A private funeral will be held today, and a memorial service will be held sometime early next year.

Instead of flowers, donations may be made to Angels Among Us at the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke University, DUMC Box 3624, Durham, N.C., 27710.


It was as if the world was presenting her with everything she wanted ... in all the wrong ways. 
 
Eloisa James, Three Weeks With Lady X

#15 Carole

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Posted 19 December 2008 - 12:59 PM

Majel B. Roddenberry dies at 76; wife of 'Star Trek' creator was voice of the Enterprise
December 19, 2008

Majel Barrett Roddenberry, the widow of "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry and an actress whose longtime association with the "Star Trek" franchise included playing Nurse Christine Chapel in the original series, died early Thursday morning. She was 76.

Roddenberry died at her home in Bel-Air after a battle with leukemia, said family spokesman Sean Rossall.

"She was a valiant lady," Leonard Nimoy, who played Mr. Spock on "Star Trek," told The Times. "She worked hard, she was straightforward, she was dedicated to 'Star Trek' and Gene, and a lot of people thought very highly of her."

Once dubbed "The First Lady of 'Trek' " by the Chicago Tribune, Majel (sounds like Mabel) Barrett Roddenberry was associated with "Star Trek" from the beginning.

In the first TV pilot, she played a leading role as Number One, the first officer who was second in command.

But at the request of various executives, changes were made, and she did not reprise her role in the second TV pilot. Instead, she played the minor role of Nurse Chapel when the series began airing on NBC in September 1966. Roddenberry had another distinction: Beginning with the original series, she supplied the coolly detached voice of the USS Enterprise's computer -- something she did on the various "Star Trek" series.

She also was the voice of the Starship Enterprise for six of the 10 "Star Trek" movies that have been released, as well as the 11th, which is due out next year.

Roddenberry also played Dr. Christine Chapel in two of the "Star Trek" movies, "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" and "Star Trek: The Voyage Home."

And she played the recurring role of the flamboyant Lwaxana Troi on "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine."

Roddenberry, whose pre-"Star Trek" acting career included guest appearances on series such as "The Untouchables" and "The Lucy Show," had no idea she was establishing a career path in science fiction when she took her first "Star Trek" role.

"Not at all," she said in a 2002 interview with the Tulsa World. "I certainly didn't have any idea that I'd be doing it this long, for so many different shows and films -- especially as a product of a series that was a flop. The original was only on for three years. It wasn't considered a success by anyone's standards."

The show took off as a pop-culture phenomenon after it went into syndication, however, and Roddenberry, who was married to Gene Roddenberry from 1969 until his death in 1991, attended her first "Star Trek" convention in 1972.

"You know, when the conventions started out, I'd attend four or five a month," she said in the 2002 interview. "But after a while, it got where there was no time for anything else. You'd just travel from city to city, making the same speech, answering the same questions."

Rossall said both Gene and Majel Roddenberry maintained warm relationships with "Star Trek" fans. And as late as August, he said, Majel Roddenberry attended a "Star Trek" convention in Las Vegas.

As she told the Buffalo City News in 1998, "It's been a hell of a ride."

Born Majel Hudec in Columbus, Ohio, on Feb. 23, 1932, she attended the University of Miami and acted in regional theater before heading to Hollywood in the late '50s.

Several years after her husband's death, Roddenberry discovered a pilot script and notes he had written for a series in the '70s.

And in 1997, with Majel Barrett Roddenberry as an executive producer and playing a recurring role, "Gene Roddenberry's Earth: Final Conflict" began airing in syndication. She later was an executive producer of the syndicated "Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda."

She is survived by her son, Eugene "Rod" Roddenberry Jr.

Roddenberry had a love of animals and was dedicated to animal rescue. Instead of flowers, the family suggests donations in her name to Precious Paws, www.preciouspaws.org, or CARE (Cat & Canine Assistance, Referral and Education), www.care4pets.org.

Funeral and memorial service details are pending.


It was as if the world was presenting her with everything she wanted ... in all the wrong ways. 
 
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#16 ruth

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Posted 19 December 2008 - 06:14 PM

Damn - another one is gone. Majel was in Portland several years ago for a mini- con. Never spoke with her - just smiled at her and left her alone. I think I was too much in awe of her to bother her. Wonder what will happen to Lincoln Enterprises, her company. I remember the stories about her giving Paramount Lawyers hell when they made their periodic visits to the dealer's rooms and gave dealers a hard time. They made the mistake several times with Lincoln Enterprises when Majel wasn't covering the table and she raised holy hell whenever it happened.

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#17 Carole

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Posted 19 December 2008 - 06:41 PM

Yeah, Rod (Gene Roddenberry Jr) hasn't really been publicly involved in that stuff. I hope the next movie has a nice tribute to her added on.
It was as if the world was presenting her with everything she wanted ... in all the wrong ways. 
 
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#18 joan56

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Posted 20 December 2008 - 12:13 AM

Re the rumor of Cedric the Entertainer dying...I don't know who that is, but do you mean Bernie Mac? I remember hearing he died in the fall...a heart problem I think.
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#19 Carole

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Posted 20 December 2008 - 12:17 AM

No, they are two different people. Bernie Mac died, Cedric the Entertainer is still alive.
It was as if the world was presenting her with everything she wanted ... in all the wrong ways. 
 
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#20 Teresa55

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Posted 20 December 2008 - 01:31 AM

Sorry to hear about Majel Barrett Roddenberry aka Nurse Christine Chapel. She was great at keeping Gene's vision alive. Hope their son will continue to keep his dad's legacy going. I hope the Star Trek Movie coming out next year will pay tribute to her.
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