Archive for February, 2011

Jane Russell Obituary

Monday, February 28th, 2011

OBITUARY

Jane Russell dies at 89; screen siren had sensational debut in ‘The Outlaw’

 

  

Her provocative performance in the 1943 Howard Hughes film — and the publicity shots posing her in a low-cut blouse while reclined on a stack of hay bales — marked a turning point in moviedom sexuality. She became a bona fide star and a favorite pinup girl of soldiers during World War II

 

By Claudia Luther
Special to the Los Angeles Times
March 1, 2011

 

Jane Russell, the dark-haired siren whose sensational debut in the 1943 film “The Outlaw” inspired producer Howard Hughes to challenge the power and strict morality of Hollywood’s production code, died Monday at her home in Santa Maria, Calif. She was 89.

 

Click here to continue reading the Los Angeles Times obituary for Jane Russell

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Bing Crosby’s stolen Oscar!

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

OSCAR STORIES

 Bing Crosby’s stolen Oscar!

 

  

 

By Allan R. Ellenberger

 

Bing Crosby graduated from Gonzaga High School in Spokane, Washington in 1920 and received an honorary doctorate from Gonzaga University in 1937. Crosby retained an interest for his former school throughout his life and contributed generously to it. Through his efforts the Crosby Library was constructed and dedicated as a memorial to the Crosby family in 1957. The school’s collection is the largest public Crosby collection containing his 1944 Oscar for “Going My Way,” gold and platinum records, trophies and awards, photographs, correspondence, news clippings, radio disks, records and cassettes, and other memorabilia.

 

One weekend in late April of 1972, Bing’s Oscar was stolen and a three-inch statue of Mickey Mouse was left in its place. Police said that the theft appeared to be a prank since none of the other Crosby memorabilia in display cases was disturbed. The police report at the time valued the gold-plated Oscar at about $75.

 

The following Friday, the university newspaper ran an interview with an anonymous person who said he carried out the theft because “I wanted to make people laugh.” A few days later, the Oscar was found in the University chapel by a priest and returned to the display case.

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James Marsden imposter

Monday, February 21st, 2011

GRAVE IMPOSTERS

James Marsden

 

 

As we know there are sometimes hundreds of people, or even more, with the same name lurking on tombstones in neighborhood graveyards from over the past two centuries. It’s even more weird to see celebrity names, especially for those who are still with us. Today we profile one for the very-much-alive actor, James Marsden, who has appeared in Superman Returns (2006), Hairspray (2007) and Death at a Funeral (2010) found at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Section 6.

 

 

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Today in LA

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

TODAY IN HOLLYWOOD

Snow covered peaks near Hollywood and Glendale

 

 

If you were out-and-about today in Los Angeles, you may have seen the beautiful snow capped mountians that are currently surrounding the city thanks to the recent rains and snows in the higher elevations. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 (Photos by Allan R. Ellenberger)

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Merle Oberon’s 100th Birthday

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

100th BIRTHDAY

Merle Oberon

 

 

INDIAN-BORN BRITISH ACTRESS

 

 

 

 

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Mickey Rooney Drama

Friday, February 18th, 2011

BREAKING NEWS

Mickey Rooney Gets Restraining Order Against Stepson

 

 

 

February 15, 2011

 

(NewsCore) – LOS ANGELES — Hollywood veteran Mickey Rooney obtained a restraining order against his stepson Tuesday in Los Angeles, alleging that the man is trying to steal his assets, TMZ reported.

 

The 90-year-old actor claims stepson Christopher Aber, 52, “threatens, intimidates … and harasses” him and has tried to convince him to sign over his assets to him.

 

According to Rooney’s petition for the restraining order, “Mickey is extremely fearful that Chris will become physically threatening against Mickey and may even attempt to kidnap Mickey from his home.”

 

Aber and his wife were ordered to stay 100 yards away from Rooney. Rooney also asked the judge in the case to appoint a temporary conservator to help protect his assets, and the judge complied by granting conservator status to Rooney’s attorney.

 

Aber is the son of Rooney’s eighth wife, Jan Rooney, to whom he has been married since 1978.

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Pierre Collings tragic story

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

HOLLYWOOD TRAGEDIES

The tragic story of Pierre Collings

  

 

 

By Allan R. Ellenberger

 

Time, fame and money trip lightly in Hollywood, and the men and women who have them one day find themselves alone and penniless the next. So it was with Pierre Collings, screenwriter, whose screenplay of The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936) won him two Academy Awards in 1937. Sadly he would not survive to the end of that year.

 

The second eldest of five children, Lysander Pierre Collings was born on September 22, 1900, in Truro, Nova Scotia where his father Otto was a mining engineer. Otto and his wife Martha were both American citizens and once they returned to the states, had Pierre naturalized as an American citizen.

 

Collings entered motion pictures as a messenger boy at the Pickford-Fairbanks Studios when he was 17 years old. He became successively a cameraman [Alimony (1924) and Untamed Youth (1924)] at the Brunton Studios (now Paramount), an assistant director and then a writer. Among Collings early scripts were A Woman of the World (1925) and Good and Naughty (1926), both starring Pola Negri; The Grand Duchess and the Waiter (1926), with Adolph Menjou and Florence Vidor; the Louise Brooks classic, The Show Off (1926), and the continuity for the Marx Brothers’ Animal Crackers (1930).

 

Sadly, very little is known about Collings personal and professional life. In December 1926, Collings was married to Natalie Harris at New York’s Little Church Around the Corner. The couple was divorced in 1930. In 1928 Collings was scheduled to direct Alex the Great but for unknown reasons the film was taken over by Dudley Murphy.

 

 

 

 

Between 1924 and 1930, Collings kept relatively busy writing screenplays, however between 1930 and 1937 he only produced two screenplays, one of which was as an uncredited dialogue contributor on British Agent (1934) starring Leslie Howard and Kay Francis. It could be during this time that some of his personal problems began. In August 1935 he was arrested for drunk driving.

 

The following December he signed with Warner Bros. and was assigned, along with writer Sheridan Gibney, to write the screenplay for The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936), which was to star Paul Muni in the title role. During the production of the film, Collings mother, Martha died unexpectedly and was buried at Hollywood Cemetery.

 

 

The grave of Collings mother at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

 

The Story of Louis Pasteur would prove to be Collings biggest success professionally. Both he and Gibney were nominated for two Academy Awards for Original Story and for Screenplay. Reportedly, after finishing the screenplay Collings suffered a nervous breakdown and was not able to attend the ceremony on Oscar night. When Collings and Gibney won both awards, Gibney accepted the Oscars for his writing partner.

  

Soon after, Collings health improved enough for him to accept an assignment to write the screenplay for a projected Warner Bros. film, Houdini the Great which was scheduled to star George Raft. For whatever reason, the project never materialized. After this he had problems finding work again and started drinking and soon fell into more bad health and poverty. Stories circulated that he actually pawned one of his two Oscars in order to survive, but this cannot be confirmed. The following July, he was arrested on an intoxication charge that was filed by his landlady. He pleaded not guilty.

 

 

Pierre Collings died here at his father’s home at 12315 N. Huston Avenue in North Hollywood (PLEASE NOTE: This is a private residence. Please do not disburb the occupants)

 

Collings was working with songwriter Carrie Jacobs Bond on a proposed screenplay based on her popular song, “I Love You Truly” when he died from pneumonia at his father’s home in North Hollywood on December 21, 1937. His funeral was held at Pierce Brothers Chapel Hollywood and he was interred at Hollywood Cemetery near the body of his mother.

 

 

Pierre Collings grave at Hollywood Forever is located in Section 2W near the grave of Florence Lawrence.

 

Collings was already forgotten. The Los Angeles Times did not publish an obituary – only a listing of his name in the death notices. However, three weeks later, Lee Shipley, a columnist for the Times made this mention in his column:

 

“Little Pierre Collings, who wrote the script for Louis Pasteur, died the other day. His close friends tell me his decline in health resulted from heartache and despair because, after that truly great picture, he was given hardly any work. The producers thought one Louis Pasteur was great, through some accident, but the public wouldn’t stand for another picture like that – not when it could go to the next show house and see Ben Bernie.

 

“In fact, I think the sin of Hollywood is that it gathers genius from all the world and then says to it: ‘You mustn’t do your best or anything approaching it. Our public wouldn’t understand it.’”

 

Four months after Collings death, Charles Mackay, a wanna-be actor who was down on his luck was living at the Mark Twain Hotel in Hollywood. Mackay had graduated from Washington and Lee University the year before and decided to “try” Hollywood. His friends told him he should be an actor; his father, a prosperous St. Louis broker, told him he shouldn’t. He was told to go if he wanted, but don’t come home for help. Mackay decided to ignore his father and prove him wrong.

 

By April 1938, Mackay was down to his last quarter. His best prospect for finding lodging for the night was an afternoon working on a rock pile. He returned to his room sweaty, tired and discouraged. In hopes of finding a clean shirt, he looked through a closet reserved for the belongings of guests who left the hotel without paying their rent in advance. There Mackay discovered a threadbare blue sweater, and wrapped in the garment was Pierre Collings’ Oscar statuette.

 

Concerned that he would be arrested for the possible theft of the Oscar if he tried to return it to its owner, Mackay walked up to Hollywood Boulevard to think. By chance he ran into screenwriter Arthur Caesar, who himself won an Academy Award a few years earlier for Manhattan Melodrama (1934). He told Caesar his story and the writer took him and the Oscar to the Academy’s office where the secretary told him that Collings had died a few months earlier in poverty. It was assumed that, probably in need, Collings had been forced to leave the sweater and Oscar as hostage for his unpaid rent. The Academy gave Mackay $25 for the Oscar, told him to clean up, and they assumingly kept the Oscar.

 

 

Charles Mackay, center, is shown holding the Oscar given to Pierre Collings. At left is Donald Gledhill, scretary of the Academy, and at right is screenwriter Arthur Caesar.

 

During research for this article, I contacted the Academy and was told that Pierre Collings’ Oscar was not in their possession and there were no records of the transaction. It’s possible the unclaimed statue could be lying in a box somewhere in the Academy’s attic or, since his father was still living at the time, it was returned to him. In any event, both Oscars won by Collings that night are missing.

 

If you watch the Academy Awards ceremony in two weeks, when the award for Best Screenplay is presented, remember Pierre Collings – may he rest in peace.

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Betty Garrett Obituary

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

OBITUARY

Betty Garrett, versatile comedic actress, dies at 91

 

  

The veteran performer was in MGM musicals and a regular on “All in the Family” and “Laverne & Shirley.” She also starred on Broadway and in Los Angeles theater productions.

 

By Kate Linthicum
Los Angeles Times
February 13, 2011

 

Betty Garrett, a comedic actress who was a fixture in such MGM musicals as “On The Town” and “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” a regular on the television series “All in the Family” and “Laverne & Shirley” and a star on Broadway and in Los Angeles theater productions, has died. She was 91.

 

Click here to continue reading the Los Angeles Times obituary for Betty Garrett

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Elizabeth Taylor Hospitalized

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

BREAKING NEWS

Elizabeth Taylor treated for congestive heart failure

 

 

By Jill Serjeant
Reuters
February 12, 201

 

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Oscar-winning actress Elizabeth Taylor has been admitted to a Los Angeles hospital to treat congestive heart failure, the latest in a long history of serious medical problems.

 

Taylor, 78, was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center earlier this week for what her publicist said on Friday was “an ongoing condition.”

 

“Elizabeth Taylor was hospitalized earlier this week … suffering from symptoms caused by congestive heart failure, an ongoing condition. This issue is being addressed … She is currently being kept in the hospital for monitoring,” Sally Morrison said in a statement Taylor, a double Oscar winner famous for her eight marriages — twice to actor Richard Burton — underwent heart surgery in 2009 to replace a leaky valve.

 

She announced in 2004 that she had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure — a condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to other organs.

 

“Her family and close friends are appreciative of the warm support and interest of her loyal fans but have asked that people respect her privacy and allow her medical team the time and space to focus on restoring her back to health,” the statement said.

 

The London-born Taylor, who won Oscars for her roles in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” in 1966 and “Butterfield 8” in 1960, has been using a wheelchair for more than five years to cope with chronic pain after breaking her back four times.

 

In 2006, she appeared on Larry King’s CNN interview show to deny reports that she was gravely ill or suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Taylor has had three hip-replacement operations, a benign brain tumor, skin cancer and pneumonia. She spent two stints in rehab in the 1980s for alcohol and prescription drug addiction.

 

Taylor first achieved stardom at the age of 12 in “National Velvet” and became famous for her violet eyes, dark alluring beauty and love of diamonds.

 

She still makes appearances at charity events, especially those connected to her AIDS foundation, but has not appeared on screen since the 2001 TV movie “Old Broads”. Her last Hollywood movie performance was the 1994 live action comedy “The Flintstones”.

 

(Additional reporting by Steve Gorman and Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Philip Barbara)

Copyright © 2011, Reuters

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Peggy Rea Obituary

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

OBITUARY

TV Character Actress Peggy Rea Dies

 

 

  

The veteran performer was regular on ‘Grace Under Fire’ and ‘Dukes of Hazzard.’

 

HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

 

Peggy Rea, a veteran TV actress who played Brett Butler‘s mother-in-law on the ABC sitcom Grace Under Fire, died Feb. 5 of congestive heart failure at her home in Toluca Lake, Calif. She was 89.

 

Rea also was a regular on such series as The Waltons (as Olivia Walton’s cousin Rose Burton), The Dukes of Hazzard (as the man-chasing Lulu Hogg) and Step by Step (as Ivy Baker, the mother of Suzanne Somers‘ character).

 

The Los Angeles native began her TV career in the 1960s as a member of Red Skelton‘s stock company. She also appeared on such series as I Love Lucy; Have Gun, Will Travel; The Phil Silvers Show; Bonanza; Gunsmoke; Ironside; Hunter; Marcus Welby, M.D.; Burke’s Law; and MacGyver.

 

Rea’s film credits include Cold Turkey (1971), In Country (1989), Love Field (1992) and Made in America (1993).

 

Interment will take place at 11 a.m. on Feb. 28 at Santa Barbara Cemetery in the mausoleum in the Pines Courtyard.

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