Archive for August, 2009

Michael Kidd at Hollywood Forever

Friday, August 28th, 2009


Michael Kidd




By Allan R. Ellenberger


How many are aware that famed dancer and choreographer, Michael Kidd is buried at Hollywood Forever Cemetery? I didn’t know until a few months after his death in 2007 and I just recently found his unmarked grave.


He was born Milton Greenwald on August 12, 1915 in Brooklyn, New York. He made his stage debut in The Eternal Road (1937), and in 1942 joined the American Ballet Theatre as a soloist. Over the years he danced for Mikhail Fokine, Agnes de Mille, Jerome Robbins and David Lichine.


Michael Kidd won five Tony Awards for his Broadway choreography: Finian’s Rainbow (1947), Guys and Dolls (1951), Can-Can (1953), Li’l Abner (1957), and Destry Rides Again (1959).


Films that he choreographed included: Where’s Charley (1949), The Band Wagon (1953), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954), and Hello Dolly (1969). Kidd also acted and danced in movies. He appeared with Gene Kelly and Dan Daily in It’s Always Fair Weather, where they danced along a New York street with garbage-can lids attached to their shoes.


Kidd starred in the cult film, Smile (1975) and occasionally directed film and television (All in the Family, Laverne & Shirley). In 1993 he was nominated for a Tony award for directing Neil Simon’s The Goodbye Girl. In 1996, he was presented an honorary Oscar at the 69th Academy Award show .


Michael Kidd died in Los Angeles from cancer on December 23, 2007 at the age of 92. He was interred in the Pineland Section (13), Lot 847, Grave 1, next to a tree, about 20 feet southwest of Frank Keenan.


Michael Kidd grave

The grave of Michael Kidd (above) and his temporary marker (below)
(Photos by Allan R. Ellenberger)


Michael Kidd marker



‘Wizard of Oz’ at 70

Friday, August 28th, 2009


“Wizard of Oz,’ still magical after 70 years


Oz travelers


It was 70 years ago this week that “The Wizard of Oz” arrived in theaters and even in this CGI-jaded era those old red ruby slippers still shine brightly.


Geoff Boucher
Los Angeles Times
August 28, 2009 


The anniversary will be celebrated over the next year with numerous events, including a national tour by a seven-story Oz-themed hot-air balloon, a Sept. 23 one-night theatrical re-release of a newly restored version of the film in 450 theaters and the release next month of an “ultimate collector’s edition” package on Blu-ray and DVD with that remastered version and 16 hours of bonus material.


That may sound like a lot of attention for an artifact from the FDR administration, but there’s a timeless quality to the cinematic adaptation of  L. Frank Baum’s 1900 children’s novel that still transports new generations over the rainbow. The movie remains an essential reference point — this December in James Cameron’s much-ballyhooed sci-fi epic “Avatar,” for instance, when the main character arrives on a dazzling jungle planet, moviegoers will hear a familiar line : “You’re not in Kansas anymore.” Cameron chuckled when asked about the line. “Yeah, it’s my favorite movie; I had to get it in there somewhere,” he said. Cameron is not alone in his ongoing romance with “Oz.” To mark the anniversary, The Times interviewed creators in film, television, music and books who have never wearied of the cinematic trip down the yellow brick road.


Click here to continue reading


Sadie Corré Obituary

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009


Sadie Corré, appeared in ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show;’ dies at 91


 Sadie Corre

  Sadie Corré in Rocky Horror Picture Show
(Courtesy of Scott Michaels)


By Glen Barnham


Despite her height of only 4’,1”  Sadie Corré achieved much and overcame prejudice to become one of this countries greatest pantomime cats, and achieved cult status with her performance in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.


Corré was born in 1918 in Bognor, Sussex. Her first appearance was at the age of 7 on the Palace Pier, Brighton and her first professional appearance at age 12, was as ‘Trouble’ in Madam Butterfly at the Streatham Hill Theatre; she would say with a smile that her friends said she has been trouble ever since.


Audiences remarked on her acting ability when crying, but did not know it was Joan Cross trying to make her laugh. In return, Sadie got back at Joan while she sang ‘One Fine Day’, doing her best to make the great soprano laugh. Despite that, she was in demand for the same part by the leading opera companies of the day. That sense of fun was to be her hallmark for the next eight decades.


Her next appearance was in, Where the Rainbow Ends, at the Holborn Empire. Films at the time included child roles with Marlene Dietrich and Richard Tauber. By the age of 14, she had been at the Italia Conti stage school for two years, where a classmate was Dinah Sheridan.


After Holborn she worked in Cavalcade in 1931 for 11 months at Drury Lane. Sadie spoke very fondly of Noel Coward, who was a good friend to the entire cast and was the perfect boss; he was remembered with affection for his personal kindness. Other parts during the Conti period included cabaret work where her tap-dancing and comedy was recognized even at that age. Her next stage work was for Cochrane during the 1935/1936 season at the Adelphi Theatre in Follow the Sun with Vic Oliver and Winston Churchill’s daughter Sarah, who was in the chorus.


Her big break came in 1937 when Hughie Green asked her to join His Gang, where again her comedy and tap came to the fore. That act of three started at the Stratford Empire on August 7, 1937 and disbanded at the outbreak of the war. The act with Sadie and Hughie was the top of the bill at all the top theatres and gave her the opportunity to work the same bill, as all the legendary acts of the time. Her acts included Max Miller, Robb Wilton, Georgie Wood (who after seeing her impersonation of him said ‘am I that good’), and Jimmy James.


Then in 1939/1940 she toured as Michael in Peter Pan. After that she spent the war touring  with ENSA entertaining the troops. In 1947, while at the Gateshead Empire, Hughie Green asked if she was interested in touring with him in a new show called Opportunity Knocks. It opened in Leicester and continued as top of the bill at major theatres


After a year with Green and a huge bust-up which never healed (she was always very direct), they parted company and she moved on with more tours, including Melody Inn, with Jackson Earle, which ran for a year. Sadie was asked by both Harry Tate and Hilda Baker to join their acts but declined. Other shows included Frank Randles Scandals (he locked her in a dressing room in the nude and chased her with a loaded gun, but she sorted him out), Gulliver’s Travels, Folly to be Wise and Godiver Rides Again, which toured the last of the number 5’s variety theatres in 1956/1958 in the last throws of the old tours with nudes, but she managed to keep her clothes on.



 Sadie Corré in Caravaggio


In 1948, a chance meeting with Clarkson Rose saw her take the first of many animal roles in Pantomime (Panto) for Goody Two Shoes at Kings Theatre, Hammersmith. From then on she started a new career which made her one of the greatest pantomime animals who worked in that field. Panto experts rated her the greatest cat – praise that she enjoyed. Her legendary cat was child friendly and had its own personality. Such work culminated in a four month season in 1960/1961 at the London Palladium with Norman Wisdom in Turn Again Whitington.


Much in demand for Panto, she worked with all the leading performers over four decades and helped many of those first timers from the world of pop. Some of her favorite co-stars in Panto included Arthur Askey, Eddie Gray, Dana, Spike Milligan, Joe Brown, Jimmy Wheeler, Tommy Cooper, Norman Vaughan and Jess Conrad.


All the biggest and best Christmas productions, and the endless tours for Emile Littler of Snow White, kept her busy. Her last skin work was with Keith Harris when she played Cuddles at the 1984 Command Performance. Arthritis soon forced her to give up this work and the famous cat costume was proudly given to the Theatre Museum along with recorded memories that kept the staff in stitches.


Films and television included Funnybones; Chitty, Chitty, Bang Bang; Wombling Free; Dark Crystal; Who Framed Roger Rabbit; Willow; Return to Oz; Brazil; Dummy; Return of the Jedi; Caravaggio; Video Stars (BBC drama); Spike Milligan series (BBC), and Mr. Majieka (TVS). Two award winning documentaries (1960’s) about her life were Lord Snowdon’s, Born to be Small and Aquarius (LWT), which brought out the serious side of being small but were also vehicles for her dynamic personality.


Her role as a ‘Trannie’ dancer in The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) gave her cult status in many countries, and kept her in demand at conventions for this cult film. In her 80s, she continued to be a star of the internet on the Rocky Horror website. It gave this totally professional artist satisfaction, and encouraged her to be available for work “as long as there was not too much running about, and not in the sticks (outside of London).”


Sadie appeared at all major Variety Theatre’s with the exception of Finsbury Park. International tours included the United States, Germany, France and Australia where her tap and Panto work were in demand. She recalled that the only time she went off to the sound of her own feet was at Chorley where she survived a number of appearances. She was a noted success at the legendary early Friday evening shows at the Glasgow Empire.


Sadie worked in all aspects of show business except the circus and worked on behalf of fellow artists as an active supporter of the Grand Order of Lady Ratlings, where she was a past officer. She also sat on the board of the Variety Artists Federation.


In 2007, this very independent and active lady suffered a serious stroke, and went into a care home in St John’s Wood, but still managed to bring a smile to staff and visitors. Sadie Corré died on August 26, 2009 at age 91.



Dominick Dunne Obituary

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009


Dominick Dunne, author and former Hollywood producer, dies at 83


 Dominick Dunne


Dunne was notorious for his skewering accounts of the trials of celebrities including Claus von Bulow, the Menendez brothers and O.J. Simpson. He was diagnosed with bladder cancer last year.


By Elaine Wo
Los Angeles Times
August 26, 2009


Dominick Dunne, the bestselling novelist and Vanity Fair writer who chronicled the misdeeds of the rich and famous with wicked glee — most memorably in his highly personal accounts of the trials of Claus von Bulow, the Menendez brothers and O.J. Simpson — has died. He was 83.


Click here to continue reading the Los Angeles Times obituary for Dominick Dunne



Edward Kennedy Obituary

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009


Edward Kennedy dies at 77; ‘liberal lion of the Senate’




The Massachusetts Democrat was the last surviving son in a legendary political family. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2008.


By Rich Simon and Claudia Luther
Los Angeles Times
August 26, 2009


Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat and icon of American liberal politics who was the last surviving brother of a legendary political family, died late Tuesday at his home in Hyannis Port, Mass., his family announced. He was 77.


Click here to continue reading the Los Angeles Times obituary for Senator Edward Kennedy



Jim Davis’ 100th Birthday

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009


Jim Davis


 Jim Davis




  • BORN: August 26, 1909, Edgerton, Missouri
  • DIED: April 26, 1981, Northridge, California
  • CAUSE OF DEATH: Complications of surgery for a perforated gastric ulcer

Great Mausoleum, Iris Terrace, Niche 24961



‘Wizard of Oz’ is 70

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009


70 years later, we still feel the echoes of ‘Oz’



‘The Wizard of Oz’ has influenced everything from ‘Star Wars’ to ‘Lost’


By Troy Brownfield
Aug 24, 2009

Ruby slippers. If I only had a brain. We’re not in Kansas, anymore. I’ll get you, My Pretty, and your little dog, too. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. That’s just the tip of a pop-culture iceberg, a towering mountain of nostalgia and influence that rises above most movie fare in a time when the majority of entertainment seems fairly disposable.


On Aug. 25, 1939, “The Wizard of Oz” was released into theatres nationwide and began its not-so-classic journey toward classic status.


Now, 70 years later, the echoes of Oz continue to reach into all corners of filmmaking and pop culture in general, from the iconic “Star Wars” characters Chewie and C-3PO to frequent references on ABC’s “Lost,” from adaptations for upcoming graphic novels to mysterious ties to Pink Floyd.


Click here to continue reading



Ruby Keeler’s 100th Birthday

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009


Ruby Keeler


Ruby Keeler



née Ethel Hilda Keeler


Plot: Section N, Tier 21, Grave 46



Michael Rennie’s 100th Birthday

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009


Michael Rennie


Michael Rennie



né Eric Alexander Rennie


Plot: Section F, Grave 21



Rudolph Valentino Memorial Service

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009


The 82nd Annual Rudolph Valentino Memorial Service


Valentino's grave marker


By Allan R. Ellenberger


Today the fans of Rudolph Valentino arrived in the heat and humidity to Hollywood Forever Cemetery for the actors 82nd annual memorial service. The Memorial Committee once again surpassed their previous efforts in providing a dignified and entertaining celebration of the life of silent film actor, Rudolph Valentino.


Cathedral Mausoleum


Fans enter the Cathedral Mausoleum (above) to attend the the 82nd Annual Rudolph Valentino Memorial Service.



Cathedral Mausoleum foyer


The foyer of the Cathedral Mausoleum where fans gathered to begin today’s service.



Channell O Farrill


Chanell O Farrill welcomes everyone on behalf of Hollywood Forever Cemetery.



Tracy Ryan Terhune


Valentino author and emcee, Tracy Ryan Terhune gave the opening remarks and introduced each of today’s speakers. The first speaker for the day, Jeanine Villalobos, the great-granddaughter of Rudy’s brother, Alberto, was delayed by that-infamous Los Angeles traffic, but the show must go on so a Valentino video based on the upcoming photo book by Valentino authority, Donna Hill, was premiered.



Garrett Bryant


 Actor Garrett Brant gave a reading of three selected poems from Valentino’s book of poetry, Daydreams.




The late Bob Mitchell in a photo from last years service.


There was a moving tribute to organist Bob Mitchell as a recording of Mitchell’s organ music played. Mitchell, who played the organ at many former Valentino services, passed away on July 4th and is also interred at Hollywood Forever.



Tracy Terhune and Vince Morton


Tracy Terhune presents an award for the late Bob Mitchell to his partner and friend, Vince Morton (above), who also perfomed the music for today’s service.



Jeanine Villalobos


Jeanine Villalobos (above), the great-granddaughter of Alberto Guglielmi Valentino, spoke about her uncle’s funeral and read from archival letters of Alberto to his wife Ada. Ms Villalobos also commended the memorial committee for conducting the services, both past and present, with respect and decorum.



Craig MacPherson


Craig MacPherson (above) shared his thoughts on the influence of Natacha Rambova in the life of Valentino. The 2009 Valentino Memorial Video showing the relationship of Valentino and Rambova was premiered to the song, “If I Love Again.”



 Christopher Riordan


Christopher Riordan (above), manager of Falcon Lair, shared his memories and the current and future of Valentino’s former home. Singer Ian Whitcomb entertained the audience with the songs, “My Buddy” and the perennial, “The Sheik Of Araby.” Valentino Memorial Committee member, Stella Grace, then led the audience in repeating the 23rd Psalm.



Marvin Page, Stella Grace, Chanell O Farrill and Tracy Terhune


The Valentino Memorial Committee: Marvin Page, Stella Grace, Chanell O Farrill and Tracy Ryan Terhune (missing is Jay Boileau).



Mike Francis, Kari Bible, Allison Francis


Celebrating the life of Rudolph Valentino are Michael Francis, Kari Bible, the Lady in Black and Allison Francis.



Flowers at the crypt of Rudolph Valentino


 Flowers surround the crypt of Rudolph Valentino.



Valentino memorabilia


The mysterious Sue Guldin reads a newspaper account of Valentino’s death.



Valentino memorabilia


Valentino memorabilia on display provided by Marvin Page.



Stella Grace and Tracy Terhune


Valentino authorities and memorial committee members, Stella Grace and Tracy Ryan Terhune (above). Stella, Tracy and the rest of the committee worked hard to produce a service that was respectful and entertaining. They should be congratulated. We look forward to next year.


Photos by Allan R. Ellenberger