- 07-24-2012, 10:39 PM #27
Chad Everett, star of 1970s TV drama 'Medical Center,' dies at 75
Chad Everett, who starred in the 1970s TV drama "Medical Center," has died. He was 75.
Everett's daughter told the Associated Press that he died Tuesday at his home in Los Angeles after a year-and-a-half-long battle with lung cancer.
Perhaps best known for his role as surgeon Dr. Joe Gannon, the actor was twice nominated for a Golden Globe for his perfomances on "Medical Center." The series ran seven seasons and, at the time, tied with "Marcus Welby, M.D." for longest-running medical drama.
But in an acting career that spanned more than 40 years, Everett guest-starred on a wide range of television series, including "The Love Boat," "Murder, She Wrote," "Melrose Place" and as a closeted gay police officer on "Cold Case." Everett found a new audience in 2009 when he acted in an episode of the CW's "Supernatural" as an aged version of Dean Winchester, usually played by Jensen Ackles. He recently appeared in the TV series "Castle."
His film credits include "Mulholland Dr.," "The Jigsaw Murders," "The Firechasers" and director Gus Van Sant's "Psycho."
Everett's interest in acting began in high school, when he took theater classes in Dearborn, Mich. Everett then attended Wayne State University before moving to Los Angeles and signing a Warner Bros. contract. According to his agent, Everett -- born Raymon Lee Cramton on June 11, 1936 -- changed his name because he was tired of explaining "Raymon, no 'D', Cramton, no 'P.'"
He began his career with a small role on the detective drama "Surfside 6," and he followed that with a more notable part in "Claudelle Inglish."
A conservative Republican, Everett made headlines in 1972 after going toe to toe with Lily Tomlin on "The Cavett Show." Tomlin, a feminist, became outraged after Everett referred to his wife, horse and dog as his "property." A 1977 Time magazine profile on Tomlin says she was so infuriated that she "stunned even herself" by storming off the set.
Everett is survived by his two daughters and six grandchildren. He was married 45 years to actress Shelby Grant -- who appeared opposite him on "Medical Center" as a dying young woman -- until her death last year.
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You've seen him in many films and TV shows, and probably never knew his name...
R.G. Armstrong, prolific character actor from Birmingham, dies | al.com
Norman Alden-Lou, the diner owner in Back to the Future
Last edited by BergerKing; 07-30-2012 at 12:37 PM.
- 07-30-2012, 05:08 PM #30
Tony Martin, romantic crooner and star of movie musicals, dies at 98
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tony Martin, the romantic singer who appeared in movie musicals from the 1930s to the 1950s and sustained a career in records, television and nightclubs from the Depression era into the 21st century, has died. He was 98.
Martin died of natural causes Friday evening at his West Los Angeles home, his friend and accountant Beverly Scott said Monday.
A peer of Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, Martin sang full voice in a warm baritone that carried special appeal for his female audience. Among his hit recordings were "I Get Ideas," ''To Each His Own," ''Begin the Beguine" and "There's No Tomorrow."
"He's the ultimate crooner who outlasted all is contemporaries," musician and longtime friend Gabriel Guerrero said from his Oregon home. Martin recently sang to Guerrero over the telephone.
"He has truly remained the butterscotch baritone until he was 98," Guerrero added.
Although he never became a full-fledged movie star, he was featured in 25 films, most of them made during the heyday of the Hollywood musicals. A husky 6 feet tall and dashingly handsome, he was often cast as the romantic lead.
He also married two movie musical superstars, Alice Faye and Cyd Charisse, and the latter union lasted 60 years, until her death in 2008.
Martin found his escape through music while growing up in San Francisco and Oakland amid a poor, close-knit Russian Jewish family, enduring taunts and slights from gentile classmates.
"I always sang," he wrote. "I always played some instrument or other, real or imagined. ... At first, of course, my music was just for my own fun. I didn't recognize it right away as my passport away from poverty."
Performing on radio led to his break into the film business. His first singing role came in the 1936 "Sing Baby Sing," which starred future wife Faye and introduced the Ritz Brothers to the screen as a more frenetic version of the Marx Brothers.
As a contract player at Twentieth Century-Fox, Martin also appeared in "Pigskin Parade" (featuring young Judy Garland), "Banjo on My Knee" (Barbara Stanwyck, Joel McCrea) "Sing and Be Happy," ''You Can't Have Everything" (Faye, Don Ameche) "Ali Baba Goes to Town" (comedian Eddie Cantor) and "Sally, Irene and Mary."
In 1940 he shifted to MGM and sang in such films as "The Ziegfeld Girl" (James Stewart, Lana Turner, Judy Garland), "The Big Store" (the Marx Brothers), "Till the Clouds Roll By," ''Easy to Love" (Esther Williams) and "Deep in My Heart."
In 1948, he produced and starred in "Casbah," a well-received film musical version of "Algiers" with a fine score by Harold Arlen and Leo Robin. He made singing tours of Europe and had a yearly contract at London's Palladium.
Martin had fallen in love with Faye while at Fox, where she was one of the studio's biggest stars. Married in 1937, the newlyweds were considered one of Hollywood's handsomest couples. But the marriage eroded because of career conflicts and his distaste for becoming known as Mr. Alice Faye. They divorced after two years.
Martin met Charisse, then a rising dance star at MGM, when they were dinner partners at a party given by their mutual agent. Just returned from the war, Martin was busy greeting old friends and paid her little attention.
They didn't meet until a year later, when the persistent agent arranged another date. This time they clicked, and they married in 1948. She had a son Nicky, born of her first marriage to dance director Nico Charisse. She gave birth to Tony Jr. in 1950.
Charisse became a star at MGM during the 1950s, dancing with Fred Astaire in "The Band Wagon" and "Silk Stockings" and Gene Kelly in "Singin' in the Rain" and "Brigadoon."
In later years, Martin and Charisee put out a 1976 double autobiography, "The Two of Us," and often toured in a singing and dancing shows. He continued appearances into his 90s, his voice only slightly tarnished by time.
"His voice is more or less intact," a New York Times critic wrote when he appeared at a New York club in early 2008. "Time has certainly taken its toll. He no longer belts. ... But the essential Tony Martin sound was still discernible."
Martin was born Dec. 25, 1913. His parents divorced when he was an infant.
"I was a Christmas present in a family that didn't believe in Christmas," Martin wrote. "The name they gave me when I was born on Christmas Day, 1913, was Alvin Morris. Tony Martin wasn't born for a long time after that."
He attended St. Mary's College of California, where he and other students formed a popular jazz combo, The Five Red Peppers. After college, he formed Al Morris and His Orchestra, and played in San Francisco nightclubs like the Chez Paree, often appearing on late-night national radio.
MGM chief Louis B. Mayer heard the bandleader sing "Poor Butterfly" on radio and ordered a screen test. It was a failure, but an agent landed Morris a contract at RKO, where he got a new name. He had enjoyed the music of Freddie Martin at the Coconut Grove, so he borrowed the name. "Tony" came from a magazine story.
His career at RKO was notable for a one-line bit in the 1936 "Follow the Fleet," which starred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. He had better luck at Fox, but nightclubbing every night with a succession of film beauties detracted from his work.
"I was so busy having fun that I didn't even learn my lines," he admitted in 1955. "I muffed a wonderful chance, and that was the end of me for a while."
World War II brought the one big scandal in his life. He enlisted in the Navy in 1941 and was given a specialist ranking. A year later, a Navy officer who facilitated Martin's enlistment was court-martialed, accused of accepting a $950 automobile from him. The singer was not charged but was dismissed from the Navy for unfitness. He asked his draft board for immediate induction into the Army and served three years in Asia.
The scandal lingered over Martin's head after the war, but he managed to rebuild his career with radio, films, personal appearances and records.
He is survived by stepson Nico Charisse.
Hillside Memorial Park in Culver City was handling funeral arrangements.
BOB THOMAS, Associated Press
Associated Press Writer Jeff Wilson contributed to this report.
- 07-31-2012, 11:37 AM #32
Maeve Binchy, popular Irish author, dies at 72
LONDON (AP) — Bestselling Irish author Maeve Binchy, one of Ireland's most popular writers who sold more than 40 million books worldwide, has died in Dublin after a brief illness, Irish media and national leaders said. She was 72 years old.
She was best known for her depictions of human relationships and their crises, mainly in the small towns of Ireland but also in London.
"We have lost a national treasure," said Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny.
The Irish Times, her former employer, told the AP it had spoken to Binchy's family and said the acclaimed author had died in a Dublin hospital on Monday with her husband Gordon Snell by her side.
"She was an outstanding novelist, short story writer and columnist, who engaged millions of people all around the world with her fluent and accessible style," said Ireland's president, Michael D. Higgins.
"In recent years she showed great courage and thankfully never lost her self-deprecating humor, honesty and remarkable integrity as an artist and human being," Higgins said.
Binchy, author of "Circle of Friends" and "Tara Road," wrote 16 novels, four collections of short stories, a play and a novella. Her work landed her on The New York Times' bestseller list and in Oprah's Book Club.
In recent years she continued to write despite being slowed down by arthritis and a heart ailment.
"I do realize that I am a popular writer who people buy to take on vacation. I'm an escapist kind of writer," Binchy said in an interview with the BookReporter website.
"I was just lucky I lived in this time of mass-market paperbacks," she added.
Describing her childhood in Dalkey in County Dublin, Binchy wrote on her official website that she was "full of enthusiasms, mad fantasies, desperate urges to be famous and anxious to be a saint. "
After graduating from University College Dublin, Binchy worked as a teacher before becoming a journalist, columnist and editor at the Irish Times, one of the country's leading newspapers.
She later moved to England, where she became the newspaper's London editor in the early 1970s.
Her first novel, "Light a Penny Candle," was published in 1982 — after being rejected by five publishers — and became a bestseller.
That book led to an invitation to appear on a French TV program, "a terrifying serious program about books," she recalled two years ago in an interview with Donald O'Donoghue of broadcaster RTE.
"Suddenly they asked me, as only the French would, 'Madame, what is your philosophy of life?' What a cosmic question, but I had to answer, and answer quickly, because it was live.
"So I said, in French, 'I think that you've got to play the hand that you're dealt and stop wishing for another hand.'"
Several of her works — including "Circle of Friends" and "Tara Road" — were turned into films. "Tara Road," about Irish and American women who switch homes without having met, was chosen by U.S. TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey for her popular book club, bringing her many new readers.
She had announced in her column in 2000 that "Scarlet Feather" would be her last novel, prompting more than 800 people to write in protest to The Irish Times.
A new novel, "Quentins," appeared in 2002.
In the same year, she suffered a health crisis related to a heart condition, and doctors warned that it would restrict her activity. Her time in hospital waiting rooms, absorbing the conversations of patients, inspired another novel, "Heart and Soul," in 2009.
Binchy's novel "Minding Frankie" was published in 2010, the same year she received a lifetime achievement honor from the Irish Book Awards. Her latest novel, "A Week in Winter," is to be published later this year.
In an interview two years ago, Binchy said she preferred to deal with issues which could be argued from either side.
"I often wonder that if I had met Hitler, I reckon I might have found some streak of decency in him," she told O'Donoghue.
"I once tried to write a novel about revenge. It's the only book I didn't finish. I couldn't get into the mind of the person who was plotting vengeance," she said.
The best advice, she added, comes from the "Coronation Street," a British soap opera: "Oh, get over yourself."
Binchy is survived by her husband, her brother William and her sister Joan. Funeral arrangements were not immediately announced.
ROBERT BARR, Associated Press
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08-01-2012, 12:20 AM #33if at first you don't succeed, don't try sky diving!
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- 08-01-2012, 08:30 PM #34
No Use for a Name's Tony Sly dies at 41
By August Brown
August 1, 2012, 3:19 p.m.
Tony Sly, the frontman for the popular San Jose melodic hard-core band No Use for a Name, has died at age 41, according to a statement from the band's record label Fat Wreck Chords.
The statement didn't include a specific cause of death or location, but label founder Mike Burkett (who also fronts the skate-punk act NOFX), said: "One of my dearest friends and favorite song writers has gone way too soon. Tony, you will be greatly missed.”
No Use for a Name grew out of the Bay Area hard-core scene in the late '80s and '90s, and became known for its hook-driven punk and Sly's tender and harmony-rich vocal style on albums including the band's best-regarded full-length, 1999's "More Betterness." The group's lead guitarist, Chris Shiflett, later joined Foo Fighters, and Sly made a late-career turn to acoustic-driven pop on two solo albums, the latest being 2011's "Sad Bear," and two collaborations with Lagwagon's Joey Cape. No Use for a Name's most recent album was 2008's "The Feel Good Record of the Year."
On a more personal note, one my first concerts was a No Use for a Name show in Jacksonville where, as an underage punker, I sneaked in by showing up three hours early and carrying Sly's guitar into the venue for a soundcheck. In memoriam, here's a video for "Coming Too Close," which I had on repeat during nearly every shift I worked at the disgusting pizza restaurant where I got my record-buying money as a teenager.
- 08-07-2012, 10:20 AM #35
‘Chorus Line’ composer Marvin Hamlisch dies at 68
‘Chorus Line’ composer Marvin Hamlisch dies at 68
August 7, 2012 | 7:01 am
Celebrated composer Marvin Hamlisch, best known for the Broadway hit "A Chorus Line" and the movie classic "The Sting," has died in Los Angeles. He was 68.
Celebrated composer Marvin Hamlisch, best known for the Tony Award-winning "A Chorus Line" and the movie classic "The Sting," has died in Los Angeles. He was 68.
Family spokesman Jason Lee said Hamlisch died Monday after a brief illness, but he did not provide additional details, according to the Associated Press.
Hamlisch was a prolific composer. His work included the Oscar-winning score and song for "The Way We Were," as well as "Sophie's Choice," "Ordinary People," "Ice Castles" and, most recently, "The Informant."
Hamlisch, the winner of three Oscars, four Grammys, four Emmys and the Tony -– as well as a Pulitzer Prize -– came the Pasadena Pops as principal conductor last year.
Despite his credentials, he started with a two-season, six-concert contract, joking, "because if it doesn't work, why should they be stuck with me for five years?"
"I like everybody here," he told The Times in August 2011. "I think they are really trying, and I've found this to be refreshing. I felt like they can only afford so much, and [I decided], you know what, I should be part of this, because it could be a great success story. You don't know, so you give it a shot."
After his first conducting effort, Paul Jan Zdunek, chief executive of the Pasadena Symphony and Pops organization, gave Hamlisch high marks: "You wind Marvin up, you send him out, and he knocks it out of the park."
Hamlisch conducted with orchestras across the country and in Europe, including the New York Philharmonic and the Cleveland and Royal Philharmonic orchestras. He often conducted music from "A Chorus Line" and other Broadway shows as well as from his more than 40 motion picture scores.
Hamlisch seemed to enjoy the gig. On his Facebook page in July, he posted a note: Love you Pasadena symphony ! ... Thank you record breaking crowds for showing your support ! 3,800 .. Wow ! Can't do it without you ! See you in September!"
Mel Stuart, director of 'Willy Wonka,' dead at 83 - WSJ.com
Mel Stuart (bornStuart Solomon; September 2, 1928 – August 9, 2012) was an American film director and producer.
Stuart directed the fantasy-musical Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971). He has directed other features, including If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium (1969), Two is a Happy Number (1972) and Running on the Sun: The Badwater 135 (2000).
Stuart also directed feature documentaries including Four Days in November and Wattstax.
In addition he has directed or produced over 180 films including movies of the week, The Triangle Factory Fire, Bill, The Chisholms, and Ruby and Oswald, the television series Ripley's Believe it Not, and the documentaries The Making of the President 1960, 1964, and 1968, The Hobart Shakespeareans, Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Man Ray — The Prophet of the Avant-Garde, George Plimpton and the Philharmonicand The Poet's View. He has been awarded four Emmy awards, an Academy Award nomination, a Peabody and numerous other awards. He served as president of the International Documentary Association for two years.
He often worked with the late TV producer David L. Wolper. Stuart died of cancer at his Beverly Hills home on August 9, 2012.  Stuart was a first cousin of Stan Lee.
William "Bill" Rafferty (June 17, 1944 – August 11, 2012) was a comedian and impressionist who hosted the game shows Every Second Counts(1984, syndicated), Card Sharks(1986–87, syndication), and Blockbusters(1987, NBC).
Rafferty was born in Queens, New York. His first national TV exposure came as a roving reporter on the NBC reality series Real Peoplewhich ran from 1979-1984.
Rafferty also did some guest spots on episodes of Laugh-In in the late 1970s version of the show. During his brief game show hosting stints, Rafferty developed several catchphrases, including "dual implication", meaning that either contestant can win the game or match with the next correct answer on Blockbustersand "the land of parting gifts" which was used on both Blockbustersand Card Sharks, meaning that the person who lost the game wins whatever prizes mentioned by the announcer in the closing plug. Rafferty was the host of a television show on Retirement Living TV, called Retired and Wired, which debuted in October 2007.
Last edited by BergerKing; 08-13-2012 at 03:14 AM.
- 08-13-2012, 07:43 PM #38
Helen Gurley Brown, Who Gave Cosmopolitan Its Purr, Dies at 90
Helen Gurley Brown, who as the author of “Sex and the Single Girl” shocked early-1960s America with the news that unmarried women not only had sex but also thoroughly enjoyed it — and who as the editor of Cosmopolitan magazine spent the next three decades telling those women precisely how to enjoy it even more — died on Monday in Manhattan. She was 90, though parts of her were considerably younger.
The Hearst Corporation, Cosmopolitan’s publisher, said in a news release that she died at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia hospital after a brief stay there. She lived in Manhattan.
As Cosmopolitan’s editor from 1965 until 1997, Ms. Brown was widely credited with being the first to introduce frank discussions of sex into magazines for women. The look of women’s magazines on the newsstand today — a sea of voluptuous models and titillating cover lines — is due in no small part to her influence.
Before she arrived at Cosmopolitan, Ms. Brown had already shaken the collective consciousness with her best-selling book “Sex and the Single Girl.” Published in 1962, the year before Betty Friedan ignited the modern women’s movement with “The Feminine Mystique,” it taught unmarried women how to look their best, have delicious affairs and ultimately bag a man for keeps, all in breathless, aphoristic prose. (Ms. Brown was a former advertising copywriter.)
By turns celebrated and castigated, Ms. Brown was for decades a highly visible, though barely visible, public presence. A tiny, fragile-looking woman who favored big jewelry, fishnet stockings and minidresses till she was well into her 80s, she was a regular guest at society soirees and appeared often on television. At 5 feet 4, she remained a wraithlike hundred pounds throughout her adult life. That weight, she often said, was five pounds above her ideal.
Ms. Brown routinely described herself as a feminist, but whether her work helped or hindered the cause of women’s liberation has been publicly debated for decades. It will doubtless be debated long after her death. What is safe to say is that she was a Janus-headed figure in women’s history, simultaneously progressive and retrogressive in her approach to women’s social roles.
Few magazines have been identified so closely with a single editor as Cosmopolitan was with Ms. Brown. Before she took over, Cosmopolitan, like its competitors, was every inch a postwar product. Its target reader was a married suburbanite, preoccupied with maintaining the perfect figure, raising the perfect child and making the perfect Jell-O salad.
Ms. Brown tossed the children and the Jell-O, though she kept the diet advice with a vengeance. Yes, readers would need to land Mr. Right someday — the magazine left little doubt that he was still every woman’s grail. But in an era in which an unmarried woman was called an old maid at 23, the new Cosmopolitan gave readers license not to settle for settling down with just anyone, and to enjoy the search with blissful abandon for however long it took. Sex as an end in itself was perfectly fine, the magazine assured them. As a means to an end — the right husband, the right career, the right designer labels — it was better still.
In Ms. Brown’s hands, Cosmopolitan anticipated “Sex and the City” by three decades.
Gone was the housewife, apron in tow. In her place was That Cosmopolitan Girl, the idealized reader on whom Ms. Brown and her advertisers firmly trained their sights. Unencumbered by husband and children, the Cosmo Girl was self-made, sexual and supremely ambitious, a potent amalgam of Ragged , Sammy Glick and Holly Golightly. She looked great, wore fabulous clothes and had an unabashedly good time when those clothes came off.
Forty-three when she took the magazine’s helm, Ms. Brown often described the Cosmo Girl as the young woman she had been — or dreamed of being — 20 years before.
A child of the Ozarks, Helen Marie Gurley was born on Feb. 18, 1922, in Green Forest, Ark., the younger of two daughters of a family of modest means. Her father, Ira, was a schoolteacher, as her mother, the former Cleo Sisco, had been before her marriage.
“I never liked the looks of the life that was programmed for me — ordinary, hillbilly and poor — and I repudiated it from the time I was 7 years old,” Ms. Brown wrote in her book “Having It All” (1982).
When Helen was a baby, Ira Gurley was elected to the state legislature, and the family moved to Little Rock. In 1932, when she was 10, Ira was killed in an elevator accident, leaving her mother depressed and impoverished. In 1937, Mrs. Gurley moved with her daughters to Los Angeles. There, Helen’s older sister, Mary, contracted polio; she spent the rest of her life paralyzed from the waist down and in later years battled alcoholism.
Though Helen graduated as valedictorian of her high school class, she feared she could never transcend her family circumstances. At a time when a young woman’s main chance was to marry well, she felt ill equipped for the task. She did not consider herself pretty, she wrote years afterward, and had rampant, intractable acne. In “Having It All,” she coined the word “mouseburger” to describe young women like her. [mouseburger, n., pejorative, < mouse + -burger. A physically unprepossessing woman with little money and few prospects. Cf. milquetoast, said of men].
Helen Gurley persevered. She studied briefly at Texas State College for Women (it is now Texas Women’s University), but with no money to continue, she returned to Los Angeles and enrolled in secretarial school, from which she graduated in 1941.
- 08-14-2012, 01:37 PM #39
Ron Palillo Dead: 'Welcome Back, Kotter' Star Dies From Heart Attack At 63
According to TMZ, Palillo passed away after suffering a heart attack at his Palm Beach home Tuesday morning. Palillo was found by his partner of 41 years, retired actor Joseph Gramm, before being transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Palillo was "upbeat, fun, a great friend who loved theater, loved the fans and had a great sense of humor," the actor's agent, Scott Stander, told CNN.
Sources tell TMZ that the '70s TV star, who played Arnold Horshack on the popular sitcom, which starred John Travolta and Gabe Kaplan, was in good health and his death was unexpected.
Last edited by amazinglygraceless; 08-14-2012 at 01:40 PM.
- 08-14-2012, 06:54 PM #41
Last edited by BergerKing; 08-14-2012 at 07:44 PM.
- 08-20-2012, 12:52 AM #44
'Top Gun' director Tony Scott dead after jumping off bridge
'Top Gun' director Tony Scott dead after jumping off bridge
August 19, 2012 | 9:13 pm
"Top Gun" director Tony Scott fatally jumped off the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro on Sunday afternoon, according to Los Angeles police sources.
His body was pulled out of the water by Los Angeles Police Department, California Highway Patrol and U.S. Coast Guard officials.
[Updated at 9:42 p.m.: Investigators found a note in his car, which was parked on the bridge. That note listed contact information. They later found a suicide note at his office. An earlier version of this story said the suicide note was found in his car.]
Law enforcement sources said several witnesses saw Scott, the brother of director Ridley Scott, climb over a fence on the bridge and jump off.
The coroner's office identified him Sunday evening.
Scott was a respected action-movie director who also made "Enemy of the State," "Beverly Hills Cop II" and "Crimson Tide."
- 08-20-2012, 11:37 AM #45
'San Francisco' Singer Scott McKenzie Dies
LOS ANGELES—Singer Scott McKenzie, who performed "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)"—which became a hit in 1967 during the city's "Summer of Love"—has died.
A statement on Mr. McKenzie's website said the 73-year-old died on Saturday in Los Angeles. Mr. McKenzie battled Guillain–Barré syndrome, a disease that affects the nervous system, and had been in and out of the hospital since 2010.
"San Francisco" was written by John Phillips, the leader of the 1960s group The Mamas and the Papas. But Mr. McKenzie was the one who sang it, and it has stood as an anthem for the 1960s counterculture movement.
Mr. McKenzie also co-wrote "Kokomo," a No. 1 hit for The Beach Boys in 1988, and toured with The Mamas and the Papas in the 1990s.
- 08-20-2012, 03:43 PM #46
Phyllis Diller, pioneering woman of comedy, dies at 95 in Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Phyllis Diller, the housewife turned humorist who aimed some of her sharpest barbs at herself, has died at age 95 in Los Angeles.
Her longtime manager, Milton Suchin, says Diller died Monday morning in her sleep. She had survived a near-fatal heart attack in 1999.
Diller was a staple of nightclubs and television from the 1950s until her retirement in 2002. She was famous for her distinctive laugh and portrayed herself as a bizarre housewife with a husband named "Fang."
She would tell audiences that "I bury a lot of my ironing in the back yard."
Diller was nearly 40 when she began performing, with five children and a successful career as an advertising copywriter. At the time, women were a rarity in the world of stand-up comedy.
- 08-25-2012, 03:16 PM #48
Report: Neil Armstrong dead at 82
NBC news has reported that astronuat Neil Armstrong has died at the age of 82. Armstrong was the first human to walk on the surface of the moon as part of the Apollo 11 mission.
Unconfirmed reports indicate the cause of death was complications following a heart operation Armstrong underwent several weeks ago.
More details to follow shortly.
- 08-25-2012, 03:53 PM #49
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- 09-01-2012, 05:48 PM #50
Hal David, Legendary Songwriter, Dies At 91
Hal David, who along with partner Burt Bacharach penned dozens of timeless songs for movies, television and a variety of recording artists in the 1960s and beyond, has died. He was 91.
David died of complications from a stroke Saturday morning in Los Angeles, according to Jim Steinblatt, spokesman for the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. David was a longtime member and former president of ASCAP.
Bacharach and David wrote many top 40 hits including "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head," "Close to You" and "That's What Friends Are For."
"As a lyric writer, Hal was simple, concise and poetic -- conveying volumes of meaning in fewest possible words and always in service to the music," ASCAP's current president, the songwriter Paul Williams, said in a statement. "It is no wonder that so many of his lyrics have become part of our everyday vocabulary and his songs... the backdrop of our lives."
Many lyrics and tunes from Bacharach and David continue to resonate in pop culture, including "Do You Know the Way to San Jose" and "I Say A Little Prayer" to "What The World Needs Now Is Love." Their music was recorded by legendary singers including The Beatles, Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Neil Diamond and their longtime partner Dionne Warwick.
In May, Bacharach and David received the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song during a White House tribute concert attended by President Barack Obama.
Bacharach, 83, thanked Obama, saying the award for his life's work topped even the Oscars and Grammys he won for individual projects. David could not attend because he is recovering from a stroke. His wife, Eunice David, accepted on his behalf.
More than 55 years after their first songs hit the airwaves, Obama said "these guys have still got it." He noted their music is still being recorded by such artists as Alicia Keys and John Legend.
"Above all, they stayed true to themselves," Obama said. "And with an unmistakable authenticity, they captured the emotions of our daily lives – the good times, the bad times, and everything in between."
David and Bacharach met when both worked in the Brill Building, New York's legendary Tin Pan Alley song factory where writers cranked out songs and attempted to sell them to music publishers. They scored their first big hit with "Magic Moments," a million-selling record for Perry Como.
In 1962 they began writing for a young singer named Dionne Warwick, whose versatile voice conveyed the emotion of David's lyrics and easily handled the changing patterns of Bacharach's melodies. Together the trio created a succession of popular songs including "Don't Make Me Over," "Walk On By," "I Say a Little Prayer." "Do You Know the Way to San Jose," "Trains and Boats and Planes," "Anyone Who Has a Heart," "You'll Never Get to Heaven" and "Always Something There to Remind Me."
Bacharach and David also wrote hit songs for numerous other singers: "This Guy's in Love with You" (trumpeter Herb Alpert in his vocal debut), "Make It Easy on Yourself" (Jerry Butler), "What the World Needs Now is Love" (Jackie DeShannon) and "Wishin' and Hopin'" (Dusty Springfield). They also turned out title songs for the movies "What's New, Pussycat" (Tom Jones), "Wives and Lovers" (Jack Jones) and "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence" (Gene Pitney).
In a 1999 interview, David explained his success as a lyricist this way: "Try and tell a narrative. The songs should be like a little film, told in three or four minutes. Try to say things as simply as possible, which is probably the most difficult thing to do."
The writer, who lived in New York, often flew to Los Angeles, where he and Bacharach would hole up for a few weeks of intense songwriting. Sometimes they conferred by long-distance telephone; "I Say a Little Prayer" was written that way.
The hit-making team broke up after the 1973 musical remake of "Lost Horizon." They had devoted two years to the movie, only to see it scorned by critics and audiences alike. Bacharach became so depressed he sequestered himself in his vacation home and refused to work.
Bacharach and David sued each other and Warwick sued them both. The cases were settled out of court in 1979 and the three went their separate ways. They reconciled in 1992 for Warwick's recording of "Sunny Weather Lover."
David, meanwhile, went on to collaborate successfully with several other composers: John Barry with the title song of the James Bond film "Moonraker;" Albert Hammond with "To All the Girls I've Loved Before," which Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson dueted on; and Henry Mancini with "The Greatest Gift" in "The Return of the Pink Panther."
Born in New York City, David had attended public schools before studying journalism at New York University.
He served in the Army during World War II, mostly as a member of an entertainment unit in the South Pacific.
After the war, he wrote lyrics for several composers until that fateful Brill Building meeting with Bacharach.
A longtime member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, David served as the organization's president from 1980 to 1986.
He married Anne Rauchman in 1947 and the couple had two sons.
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