Archive for August, 2010

Patricia Neal Obituary

Monday, August 9th, 2010

OBITUARY

Patricia Neal dies at 84; Oscar-winning actress

 

 

The actress, who won an Academy Award for her role in the 1963 film ‘Hud,’ persevered through a life that was marked by a succession of tragedies.

 

By Jack Jones
Los Angeles Times
August 8, 2010

 

Actress Patricia Neal, who rebuilt a troubled career to win an Academy Award only to face a more desperate battle for survival when three strokes left her paralyzed and unable to speak or remember, has died. She was 84.

 

Click here to continue reading the Los Angeles Times obituary for Patricia Neal

 

 

 

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Sylvia Sidney’s 100th Birthday

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

100th BIRTHDAY

Sylvia Sidney

 

 

 

AMERICAN ACTRESS

 

  • BORN: August 8, 1910, The Bronx, New York
  • DIED: July 1, 1999, New York City, New York
  • CAUSE OF DEATH: Throat cancer
  • BURIAL: Cremated, ashes given to family or friend

 

 

 

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Anita Page Tribute…

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

A TRIBUTE

Anita Page – You were meant for me

 

 

 

By Allan R. Ellenberger 

 

Anita Page, the last great silent film star from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, would have celebrated her 100th birthday yesterday. Some argue whether she was a star, an actress or leading lady —  to me she was all of the above and more. Anita was the first real actress that I had a chance to know personally.

 

 

 

Me and Anita at USC (Michael Schwibs photo)

 

SOME MEMORIES AND PHOTOS

 

I first met Anita Page in 1993 when I was researching my biography on Ramon Novarro, whom she costarred with in the 1929 film, The Flying Fleet. Her husband had passed away two years earlier, so to keep busy she came out of retirement and began appearing at film festivals and other functions.

 

At the time she was living in a retirement center in Burbank. Her good friend, actor Randal Malone, set up the interview. Anita was very sweet and accommodating to my questions. She had suffered a stroke after her husbands death which affected her short term memory. Her long-term memory was still intact, however she sometimes forgot that she had told a story and would repeat it. Other than being a little frail, that was the only noticeable evidence from her stroke.

 

Only once during the interview did she hesitate repeating information about Novarro. It was about his height. Evidently Novarro was not tall – probably about 5’8” – so he sometimes wore lifts in his shoes depending on his costar. Novarro wanted Anita to appear in the film with him, but the studio felt she was too tall and wanted to use Josephine Dunn instead.

 

Novarro told the executives, “I can always wear lifts in my shoes. Besides, I did a film with Joan Crawford and she’s as tall as Miss Page.” As we know Anita got the job, however, she thought the information about his height might be embarrassing so she asked that I turn off my tape recorder before she would tell the story – which of course I did.

 

I became friends with Anita and Randal that day and over the ensuing years was invited to their homes and to events where Anita was appearing. I also began interviewing her over a period of a year for a proposed book on her career. Whether it was at a noisy restaurant, her home or some other venue, I showed up with a tape recorder and we talked about early Hollywood. During that time she relayed stories about her films and the famous people she worked with and knew.

 

I completed a rough draft of what was to be the text for a coffee table book, but sadly it never came to fruition. I did, however, donate a copy of the unedited manuscript to the Margaret Herrick Library under the title, “Anita Page: You Were Meant For Me,” so future film historians will have access to her stories. The title is from the song by Nacio Herb Brown, her short-lived husband, who wrote it for Broadway Melody (1929) and dedicated it to her.

 

 

Anita with her parents (above), Maude and Marino Pomares. Mrs. Pomares died from cancer at her Manhattan Beach home in May 1943. A few years later her father remarried and he passed away in 1951. They are buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City. Anita also had a younger brother, Marino, Jr. who died in 1960 from a brain tumor. He was 36.

 

 Anita was Clark Gable’s first leading lady in The Easiest Way (1931)

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Above is a Los Angeles Examiner photo announcing Anita’s first arrival in California on December 7, 1927. She was a protégé of Harry K. Thaw who brought her and another starlet, Susan Hughes to California to make films. While Thaw’s plans failed, Anita (who was known then as Anita Rivers) decided to stay in Hollywood and try to make it on her own. Thaw returned to New York, as did Susan Hughes, who gave up show business.

  

 

 Josephine Dunn, Joan Crawford and Anita Page in Our Moderm Maidens (1929)

 

  

 Anita and me sitting on the steps outside her first Hollywood apartment (Randal Malone photo)

 

When I first interviewed Anita, she talked about her first Hollywood apartment that she shared with her mother. It intrigued me so I went about trying to find it using the phone book. Sure enough, there was a listing for Mrs. Marino Pomares in the 1928 directory – 7566 ½ De Longpre Avenue. Randal and I took Anita to the address for a photo shoot. Unfortunately the tenants were not home so we didn’t get a chance to look inside.

 

 Bessie Love and Anita from Broadway Melody (1929)

 

 

Actress Glenn Close as Norma Desmond and Anita Page (Michale Schwibs photo)

 

When Sunset Boulevard, the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical came to Los Angeles, Anita received an invitation to attend. A real silent film actress meets a fictional silent film actress — what great publicity! Randal graciously asked me to attend along with his friend Michael Schwibs. The four of us had the best seats in the house – fourth row center – all compliments of the theatre. The play was breathtaking and the performances top rate. Afterward we went backstage to personally meet the star of production, Glenn Close who played Norma Desmond. Ms Close was still in costume and in character and had a brief conversation with Anita. It was a great experience and Ms Close kindly signed my program. What a night.

  

 

 Reportedly, at one point, Anita received more fan mail than any other actor at MGM except for Garbo

 

 

 

Anita Page

  August 4, 1910 – September 6, 2008

 

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Anita Page’s 100th Birthday

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

100th BIRTHDAY

Anita Page

 

 

 

AMERICAN ACTRESS

 

 

 

 

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Dr. Drew on basic civil rights

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

LGBT

Dr. Drew: Prop 8 Tramples on Basic Civil Rights

 

 

I am certainly by no means a legal scholar.  Nor do I have any special understanding of American History.  I am an American citizen with a deep appreciation of the brilliantly balanced system our founding fathers created.

 

 

Dr Drew

 

 

There was a reason they set up our system as a republic and not a direct democracy.  The Jacksonian Revolution started us in a direction whereby direct appeal to the people and direct democracy gained a distinct priority in our value system.

 

But never did the founding generations expect that we might see the advent of a system where a simple appeal to a majority could result in any whim the majority might decide to assert.

 

A main concern of the founding fathers was to create a system that was sufficiently balanced and thoughtful so as to buffer against one group exerting its will upon another.  This to them, was nothing other than mob rule. While we retain a distinct preference for the gloss of a direct democracy the fact is we are not and thankfully so.

 

Throughout history democracies have inevitably fractured and failed.  Even the Greeks felt that a democracy was impossible in populations greater than 100,000 members.  Not only are we so much larger but more heterogeneous making this even more treacherous.

 

Alexis De Toqueville, a Frenchman who came to America in the opening decades of the nineteenth century to study Democracy in America, in his objective assessment remained very concerned that our system had a potential to allow for something he called the Tyranny of the Majority.  That is to say he was concerned that merely by being a majority one group could exert its will upon another, even restrict its civil liberties and rights.

 

Unfortunately, the referendum system in the State of California has become the mechanism for actualizing precisely this tyranny. The California Supreme Court determined that the argument against same sex marriage was untenable.

 

The opinion, written by Chief Justice Ronald M. George, cited the Court’s 1948 decision in Perez v. Sharp where the state’s interracial marriage ban was held unconstitutional. It found that “equal respect and dignity” of marriage is a “basic civil right” that cannot be withheld from same-sex couples, that sexual orientation is a protected class like race and gender, and that any classification or discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is subject to strict scrutiny under the Equal Protection Clause of the California State Constitution (source: Wikipedia).

 

In other words it was the concerted opinion of the judicial authority that the logic used against interracial marriage was the same as that, which was being used against same sex marriages. In spite of this very clear understanding of the law and the logic of prejudice, the response rendered by the referendum system with the passage of Proposition 8 was: “too bad”.

 

Now my point here is not to get into whether or not gay marriage is good, right or should even be included in the definition of what we consider marriage.  My concern is that the referendum system in California can rescind the civil rights of a minority group, independent of the operation of other governmental authority.

 

Abraham Lincoln famously argued in his debates with Stephen Douglas that there are certain things that the majority simply cannot decide.  We simply could not allow for a majority to decide that it is acceptable to enslave another population of humans no matter how substantial that majority.

 

He famously quipped that “squatter sovereignty’s” right to determine whether or not a state should be free or slave was based on an argument that was thinner that the soup made from the shadow of a pigeon that was starved to death!  And so are the arguments flying about today to justify and legitimate Prop 8 and the Referendum system from which it was unleashed.

 

I ask my fellow citizens to give this careful thought.  The protection against the tyranny of the majority has been an important consideration throughout the history of our government and we have quietly allowed, out of our own ignorance and apathy, a very important threshold to be crossed.  A majority has restricted the basic civil rights of a minority.  Beware, it may be your rights next to be trampled merely because there are enough people who think it should be so.

 

Dr. Drew Pinsky is the host of VH1’s “Celebrity Rehab” and a frequent guest on Larry King Live.

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Tom Mankiewicz Obituary

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

OBITUARY

Writer-director Tom Mankiewicz dies in LA at 68

 

Rosemary Mankiewicz and writer Tom Mankiewicz attend
AMPAS’ centenial salute celebration of Joseph L. Mankiewicz
on May 21, 2009 in Beverly Hills, California.
(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images) .

 

Associated Press (AP)
August 2, 2010

 

LOS ANGELES — Tom Mankiewicz, the screenwriter of such James Bond films as “Diamonds Are Forever” and “Live and Let Die” and the first two “Superman” movies, has died in Los Angeles at 68.

 

Mankiewicz died Saturday at his home after battling cancer. He underwent the Whipple operation, which is used to treat pancreatic cancer, three months ago.

 

A cause of death was not immediately known.

 

He was a member of Hollywood’s legendary Mankiewicz family: His father was Joseph L. Mankiewicz, director of classics including “All About Eve,” “A Letter to Three Wives” and “The Barefoot Contessa.” He was also the nephew of “Citizen Kane” co-writer Herman J. Mankiewicz.

 

Tom Mankiewicz directed the 1987 movie “Dragnet,” starring Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks, and several episodes of the TV series “Hart to Hart.”

 

His cousin, Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz, said Monday that Tom Mankiewicz was in good spirits when they had lunch last week and was looking forward to returning this fall to Chapman University in Orange, Calif., where he taught filmmaking to graduate students.

 

“He was hopeful,” Ben Mankiewicz said. “He left lunch in a very good mood. He told stories about John Wayne and Michael Curtiz, and how he was going to get me to appreciate John Ford’s `The Searchers’ more.”

 

The Palm restaurant, where he ate daily, held his regular booth empty Monday in his honor.

 

Mankiewicz began his career as an assistant director on Curtiz’s last film, “The Comancheros” in 1961, in which Wayne starred.

 

In 1970, he was hired to rewrite “Diamonds Are Forever,” which was the beginning of a longtime association with the Broccoli family and the Bond franchise. He also wrote “The Man With the Golden Gun” and made uncredited contributions to “The Spy Who Loved Me” and “Moonraker.”

 

Director Richard Donner asked Mankiewicz to rewrite and condense the scripts for 1978’s “Superman” and the 1980 sequel “Superman II,” for which he received credit as a creative consultant but not as a writer.

 

“Making `Superman’ was only possible because when Tom came in, he brought his sense of humor and brought those characters to life,” Donner said in a family statement. “A lot of people in this town have `the gift of gab.’ Tom’s was unique; there was always a true emotional center.”

 

Mankiewicz again went by the “creative consultant” credit on “Hart to Hart,” which aired from 1979-84, even though he was a writer and director on the series.

 

“I don’t think it’s easy trying to succeed in Hollywood as a Mankiewicz, and especially as Joe Mankiewicz’s son,” Ben Mankiewicz said of the four-time Oscar winner. “But Tom carved out his own sort of realm of success, and I think it was pretty impressive.”

 

Tom Mankiewicz is survived by his brother Christopher, a film producer; his sister, Alexandra; his nephew, Jason; and many cousins working in film, television or journalism.

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Mitch Miller Obituary

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

OBITUARY

Mitch Miller, musical innovator and host of ‘Sing Along With Mitch,’ dies at 99

 

 

Wands/AP

 

The musician and producer helped shape musical tastes in the 1950s and ’60s. He nurtured the careers of Vic Damone, Patti Page and Leslie Uggams.

 

By Dennis McLellan
Los Angeles Times
August 2, 2010

 

Mitch Miller, who helped shape musical tastes in the 1950s and early ’60s as the head of the popular music division at Columbia Records and hosted the hit “Sing Along With Mitch” TV show in the early ’60s while becoming one of the era’s most commercially successful recording artists, has died. He was 99.

 

Click here to continue reading the Los Angeles Times obituary for Mitch Miller

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Mark Wahlberg gets Star!

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

WALK OF FAME

Mark Wahlberg gets Walk of Fame Star

 

 

 

Mark Wahlberg has joined the list of celebrities with the 2,414th star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.

 

Will Ferrell, who co-starts with Wahlberg in the upcoming flick “The Other Guys,” introduced Wahlberg during the ceremony, joking: “I first became a fan of his from his workout videos. And I loved him in the ‘Bourne’ movies.”

 

During his acceptance speech, Wahlberg thanked “all the people gutsy enough to put me in movies.”

 

Wahlberg’s film debut came in Penny Marshall’s “Renaissance Man.” He is known for his roles in such films as “Boogie Nights,” “The Perfect Storm,” “The Italian Job” and “The Departed.” His role in “The Departed” earned the actor an Oscar nomination.

 

“The Other Guys” opens in theaters August 6.

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