Archive for December, 2009

James Cameron Gets Star on Walk of Fame

Friday, December 18th, 2009

WALK OF FAME

James Cameron honored on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

 

Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Cameron

( December 17, 2009 – Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images North America)

 

Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger poses with Director James Cameron who was honored on The Hollywood Walk Of Fame with the 2,396th star on December 18, 2009 in Hollywood, California. Cameron’s star is placed just in front of the Egyptian Theatre.

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Jennifer Jones Obituary

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

OBITUARY

Jennifer Jones, Oscar-winning actress, dies at 90

 

 Jennifer Jones

 

Discovered by future husband David O. Selznick, Jones won the Academy Award for 1943’s ‘The Song of Bernadette.’ She also was married to industrialist and art collector Norton Simon.

 

By Claudia Luther
Los Angeles Times
December 17, 2009

 

Jennifer Jones, the actress who won an Academy Award for her luminous performance in the 1943 film “The Song of Bernadette” and who was married to two legendary men — producer David O. Selznick and industrialist and art collector Norton Simon — died today. She was 90.

 

Click here to continue reading the Los Angeles Times obituary for Jennifer Jones

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Mary Steenburgen on the Walk of Fame

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

WALK OF FAME

Mary Steenburgen receives star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

 

 Mary Steenburgen

Photo(s) by David Edwards- © 2009- DailyCeleb.com- All Rights Reserved

 

Academy Award-winning actress Mary Steenburgen received the 2,395th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame today, two days before the release of her latest film, “Did You Hear About the Morgans?” 

 

Actresses Laura Dern and Diane Lane, actor Josh Brolin and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” star Larry David were among those joining Steenburgen at the late-morning ceremony on Hollywood Boulevard. Her star is 10 stars away from that of her husband, Emmy Award-winning actor Ted Danson.

 

“When I passed the Chateau Marmont on Sunset Boulevard on my way here, I remembered being put up there for my first movie, `Goin South’ with Jack Nicholson,” Steenburgen said. “And I used to come here and walk along these sidewalks. It seemed like a dream and now I am here.”

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Roy Edward Disney Obituary

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

OBITUARY

Roy Edward Disney dies at 79; nephew of Walt helped revive animation

 

 Roy E. Disney and Mickey Mouse

 

In the 1980s after establishing financial independence, he paved the way for a new management team that brought back to life the art form that defined Walt Disney Co.

 

By Dawn C. Chmielewski and James Bates
Los Angeles Times
December 17, 2009

 

Roy Edward Disney, the nephew of Walt Disney whose commitment to his uncle’s creative spirit prompted him to mount revolts that led to the unseating of two of the company’s chief executives and a revival of the studio’s legendary animation unit, died Wednesday. He was 79.

 

Click here to continue reading the Los Angeles Times obituary for Roy Disney

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LA’s Graveside Companion

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

BOOKS

LA’s Graveside Companion:

Where the V.I.P.s R.I.P.

By Steve Goldstein

 

LA's Graveside Companion

 

A perfect gift for your history and graveyard lovers!

 

Ten years in the making, this informative guide to a dozen Los Angeles cemeteries locates the 400 most interesting gravesites in Southern California. Over 270 color photos, informative text, and driving directions guide readers to the graves of L.A.’s most famous and influential citizens. Included are early film stars Rudolph Valentino, Douglas Fairbanks, and Florence Lawrence; along with Cecil B. DeMille and Jesse Lasky. It includes the graves of former slave turned philanthropist Biddy Mason and comic legends Jack Benny, Eddie Cantor, Milton Berle, and George Jessel; even the area’s most visited grave, Marilyn Monroe’s, is featured.
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The text includes biographies for each star and where bodies are buried that are not in cemeteries! All who are passionate about history and the movies will treasure this book.

 

Click here to purchase LA’s Graveside Companion

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Caryl S. Fleming at Hollywood Forever

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

HOLLYWOOD FOREVER CEMETERY

Caryl S. Fleming, an immortal of magic

 

Caryl S. Fleming

Caryl S. Fleming (above) does not find a rabbit in his hat (Photo:  IBM Ring #21)

  

The Magic Castle, located at 7001 Franklin Avenue at the foot of the Hollywood Hills, is currently observing the centennial of it’s headquarters which was built by banker Rollin B. Lane in 1909. To celebrate, I will post a biography of Lane and the history of the mansion on January 2, 2010, the 47th anniversary of the organization’s opening. Today, the last in a series of articles on magic and magicians in Hollywood, is about Caryl S. Fleming, a banker and one-time film director whose true love was magic!

 

By Allan R. Ellenberger

 

Since the early days of film, Hollywood has always been the land of make-believe where tricks and sleight of hand are evident in almost every frame. Hollywood has also been a friend to the magical arts – Harold Lloyd was a lover of magic and held meetings in his expansive estate in Beverly Hills. Other Hollywood celebrities such as Chester Morris, Sterling Holloway, Ramon Novarro, Johnny Mack Brown, Gene Raymond, Max Terhune, Bert Kalmar and Edgar Bergen also had an interest in magic.

 

Caryl Stacy Fleming is a name which may not be as familiar to the magically-challenged, but yet he was the major reason for the well-being of conjuring in the Los Angeles area from 1933 to 1940.

 

Fleming was born on October 13, 1890 (although his grave marker reads 1894, official records give his actual year of birth as 1890) at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the son of Frank Fleming and Grace Rosemary Stacy. As a child he moved with his family to Chicago, where his parents were divorced by the time he was 10 and his mother ran a boarding house on Michigan Avenue.

 

It was in Chicago that a family friend — the dean of magicians, Harry Kellar — sparked his interest in magic. He would spend time at Ed Vernello’s magic shop, learning the basics of conjuring.

 

Caryl S. Fleming

 

In 1910 he moved to New York and was educated at Columbia University. He soon found work on the legitimate stage and in early motion pictures. Around 1916 he married Constance Ethel Norton and they had a daughter, Marjorie Gladys Fleming in August 1917. That same year, he was employed by Film Craft Corporation in New York City as a motion picture director. His final film as a director was The Devil’s Partner (1923) which starred Norma Shearer. This was Shearer’s last film before being signed by Louis B. Mayer Productions (later Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios).

 

Eventually Caryl and Constance were divorced and he left for California in 1927 while Constance and Marjorie remained in New York. By all accounts it was a bitter divorce and reportedly he never saw his ex-wife or daughter again.

 

In California, he became involved with banking and was a director of several institutions, while still devoting himself to the organization of magicians. He was president of the Pacific Coast Association of Magicians and the associated International Alliance of Magicians and was a member of more than fifty magic clubs.

 

He was one of the founders and a one-time president of Los Magicos which met on Wednesday nights, sometimes at his Beverly Hills home. Caryl was the perfect host and loved to manufacture gimmicks in quantity and pass them out to his friends. He was a true friend to magicians everywhere and wanted to have the whole world share the fun he had found in magic. A lover of animals and an ardent amateur photographer, he also dabbled in chemistry and developed a rope cement and several chemicals for use in card tricks.

 

Fleming and ess Houdini

Caryl Fleming, 2nd row, far left with glasses. Bess Houdini in center front row. 

 

In October 1936, Fleming attended the tenth, and final, Houdini séance which was held atop the roof of the Knickerbocker Hotel in Hollywood. A close friend of Bess Houdini, Fleming sat in the inner circle with her and other distinguished magicians in a final attempt to contact her husband. However, no message was received from the great Houdini and it was announced that no further attempts would be made by his widow.

 

Many individual magicians were helped by Fleming’s counsel and directions. His advice was always constuctive, and usually in a humorous way. When he did not like some part of an act, he would say so and then do everything to help the magician change the act for the better. He was a stickler for accuracy. He credited audiences with having too much knowledge to allow a magician to get away with false claims.

 

On Labor Day, September 2, 1940, Fleming was entertaining at his Beverly Hills home (924 N. Beverly Drive). He was showing some card tricks to a friend, Joe Evedon when he suddenly complained of indigestion. He drank a glass of bicarbonate of soda but said that it didn’t seem to help. Then without warning, he slumped into Evedon’s  arms and died from a heart attack just a month shy of his 50th birthday.

 

Tributes poured in from around the country:

 

“Caryl S. Fleming was the true magician,” wrote Edward Saint, past-president of Los Magicos. “He recognized neither race, creed, nor color; and his magic vision drew no geographical borders. Anyone, anywhere in the world, if they had the love of magic in their heart, Fleming called them ‘brother.’ He was of the world, for the world, of magic.”

 

Bess Houdini wrote:

 

“Marble may coldly mark the name and passing of our friend Caryl, but the memory of his prodigious efforts and intense love of magic, the warmth of his handclasp, and his kindly friendliness is engraved on our hearts as one of the Immortals of Magic.”

 

Fleming’s funeral service was held on September 4th from Dayton’s Mortuary in Beverly Hills. Amidst an array of floral tributes, more than 250 magicians gathered to pay last homage. A Universalist minister spoke first (Fleming’s great-great-grandfather established the Universalist church). Then, Bill Larson (the father of Milt and William Larson, founders of the Magic Castle in Hollywood) spoke to those gathered:

 

“Caryl would have been successful in anything he wanted to undertake,” Larson said. “His achievements in the fields of the theater and motion pictures were pronounced. Retiring, he turned his genius to magic. In a few short years he built, in the West, one of the largest and most prosperous organizations of magic the world has ever seen.”

 

Gerald Kosky then gave the S.A.M. ritual and wand breaking rites. Later Caryl S. Fleming was interred in the Cathedral Mausoleum at Hollywood Cemetery.

 

 

Caryl S. Fleming grave

 

 

Caryl S. Fleming grave

 

 

Fleming left an estate worth almost $100,000 to his mother, Grace R. Glaser but bequeathed only one-dollar to his daughter Marjorie, who resided in Glenmoore, Pennsylvania. It was understood that a property settlement, making provisions for his daughter and former wife, was effected when the Flemings were divorced several years earlier.

 

 

Caryl Fleming and mother graves

Fleming’s mother, Grace is interred below him. She remarried shortly before her death in 1948.

 

In 1947, Fleming’s mother, Grace, married James E. Miller. When Grace died just a few months later in February 1948, she left her considerable estate to her new husband. Grace’s secretary, cousin and Irva Ross, Fleming’s fiance at the time of his death, all were named benefieciareis under an earlier will. They contested the new will, claiming that Miller, who also had an alias, had married the wealthy widow in order to obtain control of her property. The court awarded each of the three contestants a specific amount and allowed Miller to inherit the remainder of the estate.

 

The Caryl S. Fleming Trophy for the most original amateur trick of the year was soon created and awarded yearly. In 1938, Fleming had helped charter the International Brotherhood of Magicians Hollywood RING 21 which, after his death, was changed to the Caryl Fleming RING 21 and is still in existence today.

 

fleming-ring21-a 

 

A year after his death, a tribute in Genii magazine memorialized Fleming saying:

 

“Years will pass. But the name Caryl Fleming will remain firmly in the minds of magicians. We, along with hundreds of others of our conjuring craft, will see to that.”

 

I would like to thank Bill Goodwin of the Magic Castle for providing  biographical information on Caryl S. Fleming for this article.

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Douglas Fairbank’s 100th Birthday

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

100th BIRTHDAY

Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.

 

Douglas fairbanks Jr

 

AMERICAN ACTOR

 

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Robert Downey Jr. at Grauman’s Chinese

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

GRAUMAN’S CHINESE THEATER

Robert Downey, Jr. places hand and footprints at Grauman’s

 

Robert Downey Jr. at Grauman's

 

 

Actor Robert Downey Jr. places his hands in cement during a hand and footprints ceremony in front of the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California, on December 7, 2009. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)

 

 

Robert Downey Jr. at Grauman's

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Jack Oakie in the 1930 Census

Monday, December 7th, 2009

1930 CENSUS

Jack Oakie

(1903-1978)

Film actor

Benzini Napaloni in The Great Dictator (1940)

 

oakie-jack

 

 

Jack Oakie house 1930

 

 

 1754 Taft Avenue

Hollywood, Los Angeles County, California

 

 

Rent, $175

no Radio

Census taken on April 8, 1930

 

 

HOUSEHOLD RESIDENTS*

 

  1. Jack Oakie (head), 26 / Missouri / Actor / Motion pictures.
  2. Evelyn Offield (mother), 60 / widowed / Virginia / None.

 

NOTE: This is a private residence. Please DO NOT disturb the occupants.

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* Information includes relationship to head of household, age / place of birth (year of arrival in this country, if applicable) / occupation / industry.

  

The preceeding text is taken from my book, Celebrities in the 1930 Census (McFarland & Co., Inc., 2008). This directory provides an extensive listing of household information collected for over 2,265 famous or notorious individuals who were alive during the 1930 United States Census. Please note: The above photographs do not appear in the book.

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Estelle Getty’s Grave is Marked

Saturday, December 5th, 2009

HOLLYWOOD FOREVER CEMETERY

The grave of Golden Girl, Estelle Getty, is finally marked!

 

Estelle Getty 

 

Click here to see what her grave looked like back in August

 

 

Estelle Getty marker

 

 

Estelle Getty marker 

 

Click below for an example of Estelle Getty’s comedic talent

 

 

 

Thanks Louis for the heads-up!

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