Archive for August, 2008

Paul Newman Given Weeks to Live…

Saturday, August 9th, 2008


‘I want to die at home,’ Paul Newman tells his family as he’s given ‘weeks to live’


By Andy Dolan
Daily Mail
August 8, 2008


Paul Newman has finished chemotherapy treatment for cancer and has told his family he wants to die at home.


The Oscar-winning star was pictured being pushed from a New York cancer hospital in a wheelchair looking thin and frail.


It was reported in America that Newman, 83, had only weeks to live and had returned home to his wife Joanne Woodward.


Paul Newman

Paul Newman is wheeled out of hospital


‘Paul didn’t want to die in the hospital,’ a source said. ‘Joanne and his daughters are beside themselves with grief.’


The source, described as a ‘close family friend’ said that the star – who co-owns a motor racing team and has his own salad dressing brand – had spent the past few weeks getting his affairs in order.


It was claimed that some of Newman’s actions had caused tension among of his children.


‘He gave a prized car – a Ferrari with his racing number 82 on it – to a long-time pal,’ the friend said. ‘The sudden move angered his children. It’s especially hard for them to come to grips with what’s going on.


‘The word they’ve been given is that he has only a few weeks to live.’


Newman married Miss Woodward in 1958 and the couple have three daughters.


It was reported last month that he had been readying their oldest child, Nell, to take over his Newman’s Own salad dressings company, the profits of which are given to a charitable foundation.


He also has two daughters from his first marriage to Jackie Witte.


Newman has so far declined to comment on his condition, apart from saying he is ‘doing nicely’.


Rumours about his health surfaced in January. Three months ago, he withdrew from directing a production of Of Mice and Men in his home town of Westport, Connecticut.


He was pictured leaving the Weill Cornell Medical Centre in New York, which specialises in cancer treatment, in a wheelchair on July 31.


He retired from acting in 2006 after a 50-year career that included Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), The Sting (1971), The Hustler (1961), Hud (1963) and Cool Hand Luke (1967).


Newman was nominated for ten Oscars, winning best actor for his role in The Color of Money in 1986.



Bernie Mac Obituary

Saturday, August 9th, 2008


Actor and comedian Bernie Mac dies at age 50




From the Associated Press
August 9, 2008


Bernie Mac, the actor and comedian who teamed up in the casino heist caper Ocean’s Eleven and gained a prestigious Peabody Award for his sitcom The Bernie Mac Show, died Saturday at age 50.  (click on ‘Continue Reading’ for more)



1932 Olympics in Los Angeles…

Friday, August 8th, 2008





By Allan R. Ellenberger


With tonight’s opening ceremonies of the Games of the XXIX Olympiad being held in Beijing, China, I thought a look at the 1932 Olympics would be appropriate. The games of the Tenth Olympiad which were held in Los Angeles from July 30 to August 14, 1932, contributed the greatest series of athletic events ever held in the United States up to that time. Here is a look at some of the highlights.



Aerial view of Olympic Stadium during the Opening Ceremony (IOC/Olympic Museum collections)




  • The crowds set records, starting with the 100,000 people who attended the Opening Ceremony
  • The 1932 Olympics were the first to last 16 days. The duration of the Olympics has remained between 15 and 18 days ever since. Between 1900 and 1928, no Summer Olympics was shorter than 79 days.
  • At the victory ceremonies, the medal winners stood on a victory stand and the flag of the winner was raised.
  • Official automatic timing was introduced for the track events, as was the photo-finish camera.
  • 14-year-old Japanese Kusuo Kitamura won the 1,500m freestyle to become the youngest male in any sport ever to earn a gold medal in an individual event.
  • Ivar Johansson, a Swedish policeman, won gold medals in both freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling. Another Swedish wrestler, Carl Westergren, won his third Greco-Roman title, each in a different division.
  • In the spirit of fair play, British fencer Judy Guinness gave up her hopes for a gold medal when she pointed out to officials that they had not noticed two touches scored against her by her final opponent, Ellen Preis of Austria.









Los Angeles, Coliseum Stadium, 30 July 1932. Opening Ceremony, Charles Curtis, US Vice-President, declares the Games of the X Olympiad open.


(Credit: IOC/Olympic Museum collections)



 ABOVE: Argentina’s Juan Carlos Zabala, winner of the marathon, ahead on the first lap of the track (IOC/Olympic Museum collections )






Crowds gather under several international flags at the Olympic Village in Baldwin Hills during the 1932 Olympics. This Olympic Village, the first ever to be built, served as the residence for the male athletes. Female athletes were housed at the Chapman Park Hotel on Wilshire Boulevard. (LAPL)



ABOVE: Los Angeles 1932, Games of the X Olympiad. Personalities and competitors in transit: (L to R) Duke KAHANAMOKU, Miss Earhart PUTMAN, Paavo NURMI, Douglas FAIRBANKS and Arthur JONATH. (Credit: IOC Olympic Museum Collections)







21-year-old American Babe Didrikson qualified for all five women’s track and field events, but was only allowed to compete in three. She won the javelin throw and set world records in the high jump and the 80m hurdles.




(Credit: IOC Olympic Museum Collections)




ABOVE: Los Angeles, August 1932. General view of the Olympic Stadium during an equestrian event at the Games of the X Olympiad.  (Credit: IOC Olympic Museum Collections)





Los Angeles, Coliseum Stadium, 14 August 1932. The IOC President, Count Baillet-Latour, closes the Games of the X Olympiad.



(Credit: IOC Olympic Museum Collections)















‘Spruce Goose’ Hangar For Sale…

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose hangar for sale


Spruce Goose hangar in 2007 (Annie Wells / Los Angeles Times)


The cavernous space where the mogul built his infamous seaplane is now used as a soundstage for movie and TV shoots. Real estate experts value it at more than $60 million.

By Roger Vincent
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer


August 7, 2008


A chunk of Howard Hughes’ Los Angeles is on the block: the cavernous hangar where the aviation mogul built his infamous Spruce Goose aircraft that flew only once — for about one minute — in 1947.  (click on ‘Continue Reading’ for more)


Mr. Blackwell Hospitalized…

Thursday, August 7th, 2008


Fashion critic Mr. Blackwell hospitalized in L.A.


August 7, 2008


LOS ANGELES (AP) – Acid-tongued fashion critic Mr. Blackwell has been hospitalized with a serious illness, his business partner said Thursday.


Blackwell, 85, has been in the hospital and unconscious since Tuesday, his partner, Robert Spencer, said from his home in Los Angeles. Spencer wouldn’t say what hospital was treating Blackwell or explain the nature of Blackwell’s illness.


Blackwell, whose first name is Richard, has for decades issued an annual worst-dressed list that is famous for its tongue-in-cheek cruelty.



Reality bites in Hollywood…

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

‘The Hills’ not a hit with Hollywood neighbors



A security guard strides toward the house on Orange Grove Avenue in Hollywood that is used by “The Hills” cast and production team. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)


Quiet street’s residents complain about filming at the home of the young women whose career and life struggles are the subjects of the MTV series. Show staffers say complaints are overblown.


By Bob Pool
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
August 6, 2008


Hollywood is learning that reality bites.


Residents of a quiet neighborhood between Sunset and Hollywood boulevards are in an uproar over the ongoing filming of a popular television reality show that they say has turned their lives upside down. 


The Hills producers and city officials allege that the neighborhood unrest is overblown — and has been fanned in part by a resident of the street who produces a competing TV reality show.  (click on ‘Continue Reading’ for more)


Ledger Death Probe Dropped…

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008


Feds have dropped Heath Ledger death probe



DEA had wanted actress Mary-Kate Olsen to discuss actor’s medications

The Associated Press
Aug. 6, 2008



NEW YORK – Federal prosecutors have decided not to pursue a criminal case into how Heath Ledger obtained the powerful painkillers that contributed to his overdose death this year, a law enforcement official said Wednesday.


Prosecutors in the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan had been overseeing a Drug Enforcement Administration probe into whether the painkillers found in Ledger’s system were obtained illegally. But the prosecutors have bowed out “because they don’t believe there’s a viable target,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because no charges have been filed.  (click on ‘Continue Reading’ for more)


Happy Birthday Anita Page…

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008


Anita Page



“I must say that I enjoyed being a movie star, but I have never had to look back. My life has been happy, rewarding and fruitful. Today I still receive fan mail and applause from fans all over the world and it gives me a warm feeling to know that I am remembered after all these years. It has been a pleasant life… what more could I ask for?”

— Anita Page, 1994


By Allan R. Ellenberger 


“The King,” Clark Gable compared her to the beautiful Grace Kelly. Talk show host, Jack Paar spoke of her to his late night viewers as his “dream girl.” Italian dictator, Benito Mussolini, hounded the studios for years for a photograph of her, and Prince Ferdinand of Germany would not stop until she agreed to go out on a date with him.


Anita Page, the object of desire for all these men, (and more) was a bright star in the Hollywood heavens for more than seven years. Of that, five of those years were at the legendary Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer-Studios, where she appeared in twenty-one films. With numerous public appearances, and friendships with many of Hollywood’s most celebrated people, Page secured a career that is legendary in its own right.




Yesterday, August 4, was the 98th birthday of Anita Page. I first met Anita in 1993 while researching my book, Ramon Novarro: A Biography of the Silent Film Idol. Anita costarred with Ramon Novarro in The Flying Fleet (1929) and was one of his last living co-stars, so naturally I was thrilled when she agreed to meet with me.


That same year, on her 83rd birthday, I was invited to join her family, friends and former costars at what was then called the St. James Hotel, on the renowned Sunset Strip. Once known as the Sunset Towers, it was at one time the home to countless Hollywood stars and executives, including Anita’s first husband, composer Nacio Herb Brown, who lived in the penthouse.


The guest list that evening looked like a Hollywood Who’s Who and included Cesar Romero, Milton Berle, Hugh Heffner, Margaret O’Brien, Betty Garrett and Mel Torme, to name a few. They all came to toast one of the last remaining silent film stars from that once great studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.


Hugh Heffner, who is a silent film fan, recalled that Anita “fell down the stairs well,” referring to her bravura performance in the hit Our Dancing Daughters (1928), which put Anita on top.


Hefner, who has helped to preserve old films said, “Well, I think one of the things that are fascinating — because of the technology — things are being reproduced on laser and tape and there’s a kind of rediscovery. I suspect as we move into the next millennium, this last century will be seen as very special. It’s really the dividing point in which the magic of an era has been captured and saved and I suspect as we move forward, the past is going to look better and better.”


Betty Garrett, who costarred in such films as On The Town and My Sister Eileen, recalled going to the movies as a child with her mother and spoke about the way movies used to be. “I became a movie fan in those days,” Betty recalled. “I saw Anita’s films and adored her. We’re all longing for movies the way they used to be. I don’t know what there was about them that was so intriguing – maybe it was because it was a new industry. It was so exciting to see a movie in those days. It was magic.”


Cesar Romero told everyone gathered that, “Her legs are just as beautiful today as when she was a top MGM star!”


Anita’s husband of fifty-four years, Admiral Herschel House, died in 1991 but Anita told the packed room that evening that her beloved husband was there in spirit. “I thought I’d never, never get over it. And I never will,” Anita said. “But I appreciate the beautiful daughters he gave me.”


“Mother left the business for many, many years, but people didn’t forget,” her oldest daughter Sandra said. “She had a combination of sweetness and sensuality. It’s what Marilyn had and it’s what Harlow had. It seems to be quite a good combination. She has all different ages of people that love her and remember her. It’s been a complete resurgence, and she’s so happy about it.”


At that time, Anita had a resurgence of her popularity, making personal appearances at film festivals, and taking time to answer her mail from a new generation of fans. As Margaret O’Brien said that evening, “That’s the wonderful thing about Hollywood. You can always come back!”





Miriam Hopkins on TCM…

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008


Lady With Red Hair (1940)


 Miriam Hopkins as Mrs. Leslie Carter


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

1:30 a.m. Pacific
4:30 a.m. Eastern


In the wee hours of tomorrow morning, Turner Classic Movies is showing the Miriam Hopkins bio-pic, The Lady with Red Hair (1940) with co-star Claude Rains. There are top-notch performances from the cast, along with quality production values and an outstanding directorial effort by Kurt Bernhardt, which are the distinctive features of this screen recreation of the career of stage actress, Mrs. Leslie Carter.


The film embraces the life of Mrs. Carter from the time of her famous divorce trial in Chicago, in which she lost the custody of her son, through her determination to become an actress to earn the money needed to reopen the fight for her child, her storming of the Belasco citadel, his creation of her success and the violent break between them, to their ultimate reconciliation, at the crucial moment of her career.







Mrs. Leslie Carter



Mrs. Leslie Carter (née Caroline Louise Dudley) was born in 1862 in Louisville, Kentucky, and died in 1937 in Santa Monica, California. Termed the “Bernhardt of America” at the turn of the century, Mrs. Carter was an international stage star of the “emotional” school of acting. She achieved her greatest fame in a quartet of plays produced between 1895 and 1905 under the direction of Director/Playwright David Belasco.


As the tempestuous Mrs. Carter, Miriam Hopkins gives a vivid and fascinating portrayal in an exacting and difficult role. But it is Claude Rains, who, for his magnificent and powerful delineation of the tempermental David Belasco, that top performance honors are accorded. Superlative too is Helen Westley’s portrait of the hard-boiled proprietress of a theatrical boarding house who knows all the answers.



While researching my biography of the life of Miriam Hopkins, I delved through the Warner Bros. Archives and came across the daily production log sheets that were kept during the making of “Lady with Red Hair.” Reproduced below is a one-day report during that production:












To Mr. T. C. Wright

From Mr. Eric Stacey

Date: October 3, 1940

Subject: #326 “LADY WITH RED HAIR”


Report for 10-2-40:



Bernhardt company with a 9:00 o’clock call in the PRIVATE DINING ROOM, obtained their first shot at 9:15AM and finished shooting at 6:20PM, covering one scene, 6 added scenes, 3’47” in time, 16 set-ups and 5-1/2 pages of dialogue.


As already reported, Miss HOPKINS failed to show for work this morning and company has been moved to Vitagraph where they will endeavor to pick up a few shots involving RAINS and JOHN LITEL in the last sequence, which is still being rewritten. We have the writer, Charles Kenyon, over at Vitagraph to keep Bernhardt straight.


I have just talked with Miss HOPKINS who will not be in for the balance of the day, and will not even come in for fittings. In the event she does not report for work tomorrow, FRIDAY, will remain at Vitagraph and shoot audience reactions, using 125 people. This will be a full day’s work and then also shoot one page of BACKSTAGE – Murray Production sequence – not involving Miss HOPKINS. The scene just came out this morning, OCTOBER 3RD.


This delay will put us one more day behind, and cannot hope to complete the picture before WEDNESDAY, 10/9, which will be 14 days behind schedule, with two additional days, THURSDAY and FRIDAY, for Montages and audience reactions, to be made by Siegel.


Production 10-1/2 days behind.











Brooks & Dunn on Walk of Fame…

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

Brooks & Dunn get Hollywood Walk of Fame star


Kix Brooks, left, and Ronnie Dunn, right, pose by their star, as Robin and Dr. Phil McGraw look on. (Photo provided by Charley Gallay / Getty Images)


Country superduo Brooks & Dunn today received yet another honor: They got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the walk’s 2,367th.


The duo – which has won the Country Music Association vocal duo of the year award every year except one since 1992 – got their star during a ceremony that featured their friends Dr. Phil and Robin McGraw as guest speakers.


Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn currently have the No. 5 song on the Billboard Hot Country Song with “Put A Girl In It,” from their latest album Cowboy Town.