Wednesday, August 5, 2015

HEALTHWATCH: HELEN REDDY

Singer Helen Reddy has been diagnosed with dementia and has moved into a Los Angeles nursing facility, interrupting what she hoped to be a career comeback, Lead Stories has learned exclusively.

Reddy, 73, rose to fame with her 1972 smash "I Am Woman," which became an anthem for the growing women's movement in the United States.

While one source says the progressive illness is in its early stages, marked by Reddy "asking same question every few minutes," another source suggested the symptoms were more advanced. She would forget where she put something and then suspect someone stole it, the second source said.

Reddy became a resident of the Motion Picture and Television Fund's Samuel Goldwyn Center for Behavioral Health in Woodland Hills, California, in June, both sources confirmed.

Reddy had been attempting a comeback this year, but her failing health forced her to cancel a concert planned for August 11 in San Diego. Her management kept the real reason secret, announcing that the show was "cancelled due to a scheduling conflict."


She did perform at the Orleans Hotel in Las Vegas for several nights in January. She earned great reviews for the Vegas shows.

"I am really in a very, very happy place," Reddy told a radio interviewer in January.

Reddy, who co-wrote "I Am Woman," earned a best female pop vocal performance Grammy for the record. She followed up with a dozen Top 40 hits over the next five years, including "Leave Me Along," "Angie Baby," and "You and Me Against the World."

A native of Australia, Reddy was helpful in launching the singing career of Olivia Newton-John.

She put her career on hold for more than a decade to return to Australia in 2002 to help care for ailing family members. She decided to return to the United States and the concert stage in 2012 after realizing she still had her voice when she sang for her sister's 80th birthday...

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

RIP: COLEEN GREY

Coleen Gray, the dark-haired beauty who stood out in such film noir thrillers as Kiss of Death,Nightmare Alley and Kansas City Confidential, has died. She was 92.

Gray, who also starred opposite John Wayne in Howard Hawks’ Red River (1948) and played crook Sterling Hayden’s attractive accomplice in Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing (1956), died Monday of natural causes at her home in Bel Air, longtime friend David Schecter told The Hollywood Reporter.

“My last dame is gone. Always had the feeling she'd be the last to go,” Eddie Muller, founder and president of the Film Noir Foundation, wrote on Facebook. They collaborated on his 2001 book,Dark City Dames: The Wicked Women of Film Noir.

Gray was “introduced” to audiences in Henry Hathaway’s Kiss of Death (1947) as Nette, the girlfriend and future wife of ex-con Nick Bianco (Victor Mature), who battles psychopathic killer Tommy Udo (Richard Widmark) in a bid to go straight once and for all.

The Nebraska native then segued to a role as scheming carnival barker Tyrone Power’s aide inNightmare Alley (1947), then appeared as Wayne’s sweetheart Fen in Red River.

In Kansas City Confidential (1952), Gray portrayed the law-school daughter of a former cop (Preston Foster) who engineers a bank heist by framing a delivery man played by John Payne. (Gray and Payne’s characters fall for each other in the movie, and they were romantically linked offscreen as well.)


Gray also starred in the Frank Capra horse picture Riding High (1950), where her scene with Bing Crosby and Clarence Muse singing “Sunshine Cake” was the favorite film moment of her career.

She played a nurse femme fatale in The Sleeping City (1950) opposite Richard Conte, was manhandled by a creature in The Vampire (1957) and discovered the secret to immortality (but not without consequences) in The Leech Woman (1960).

Gray spent much of the 1960s on television, with guest-starring roles on such shows as Rawhide,Alfred Hitchcock Presents, 77 Sunset Strip, Mister Ed, Perry Mason and Family Affair.

Later, on the NBC drama McCloud, she played the wife of police chief Peter B. Clifford (J.D. Cannon) in a few episodes.


She was born Doris Bernice Jensen on Oct. 23, 1922, in Staplehurst, Neb. At age 7, she and her family moved to Hutchinson, Minn., and she studied drama at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn.

With only $26 to her name, she took a Greyhound bus to Hollywood. She enrolled at USC and then drama school and starred in the play Brief Music. She was seen by an agent and signed with Fox, where she made her movie debut for the studio in State Fair (1945).

In 1949, Gray starred on Broadway in Leaf and Bough with Charlton Heston.
Gray was married three times, the first to screenwriter, producer and future TV director Rod Amateau and the last to biblical scholar Joseph “Fritz” Zeiser, who died in 2012 (they were together for more than 30 years). Survivors include her daughter Susan, son Bruce, stepsons Rick and Steve and several grandchildren.

A memorial service at Bel Air Presbyterian Church is being planned...

Monday, August 3, 2015

ON THE ROAD WITH BING & BOB

One of the most enduring comic teamings was that of singer Bing Crosby and  comedian Bob Hope. Bing and Bob met briefly for the first time on the streets of New York in the summer of 1932. In December, both performed at the Capitol Theater in New York, as the newspaper ad to the right reveals. There for the first time Crosby and Hope performed together, doing an old vaudeville routine that included two farmers meeting on the street.

They did not work together again until 1938, when Bing invited Bob to guest on his radio program and to appear with him at the opening of the Del Mar race track north of San Diego. The boys reprised some old vaudeville routines that proved quite amusing to the celebrity audience. One of the attendees was the production chief of Paramount Pictures. He began searching for a movie vehicle for Hope and Crosby. He dusted off an old script intended originally for Burns and Allen, then later Jack Oakie and Fred MacMurray, and, now, Hope and Crosby. The tentative title was "Road to Mandalay," but the destination was eventually changed to Singapore.

To add a love interest to the movie one of the leading Paramount stars, Dorothy Lamour, was written into the script. Dorothy had appeared with Bob in "The Big Broadcast of 1938," but had never appeared in a film with Bing. Dorothy was known for her sultry singing voice and the skimpy South Sea outfits called sarongs that she wore in a couple of her movies. Although "The Road to Singapore" turned out to be the least zany of the Road pictures, the chemistry of the stars turned it into a blockbuster hit.


The Road films became a new musical-comedy genre to which many imitators would be compared, almost invariably unfavorably. The characters played by Bing and Bob were con-men who openly acknowledged to the audience that they knew they were in a motion picture. They defied Paramount to have them killed because they had a contract to do another picture. As the series progressed even the bad guys got wise to the action. For example, the patty-cake routine that Bing and Bob used to escape trouble didn't always work because the bad guys, too, had seen the previous picture. The Road to Utopia employed a movie critic who intervenes from time to time to evaluate the movie for the audience, even suggesting when it would be best to go for popcorn, usually, of course, while Crosby was singing.

At the series outset Dorothy Lamour was nearly as big a star as Crosby and Hope, but as the series unfolded her star progressively dimmed, in the end leaving her only a brief appearance in the final Road flic. By the 1960s Lamour had retired from show business to devote more time to her family in Baltimore. Crosby wanted Brigitte Bardot to play the female lead in "Road to Hong Kong," but in the end had to settle for Joan Collins. An 8th road picture was to be filmed in 1978. It had been tentatively called "Road to the Fountain of Youth" and would have reunited Bing, Bob and Dorothy. Before the new adventure could begin Bing died suddenly of a heart attack in Spain...


Saturday, August 1, 2015

PHOTOS OF THE DAY: EDDIE CANTOR AND HIS FAMILY

Eddie Cantor was one of those rare vaudeville performs that loved his family. He not only loved them but he cherished them. He was married to his wife Ida from 1914 until her death in 1962. Together they had five daughters: Marjorie (1915-1959), Natalie (1916-1997), Edna (1919-2003), Marilyn (1921-2010), and Janet (born 1927). Here are some great family shots...













Thursday, July 30, 2015

MUSIC BREAK: RALPH FLANAGAN - DANCING WITH TEARS IN MY EYES

COOKING WITH THE STARS: JOAN CRAWFORD

Today, Joan Crawford (1905-1977) is mostly known for "supposedly" beating her adopted daughter after the young girl used a wire hanger. However, what is not known is Joan enjoyed cooking and knew her way around a kitchen.


Here is one of Joan's recipes:

Joan Crawford’s Pork Chops with Red Onions and Apple Rings
(for four to six)

6 loin pork chops, one inch thick
¼ pound margarine or butter
2 large Italian red onions, sliced
1 cup flour
Lawry’s Seasoned Salt

Salt chops on both sides. Dip lightly in flour. Place chops in ¼ pound melted butter or margarine in skillet. Add sliced onions and cook till golden. When onions are cooked, place on top of chops. Brown chops on one side, then turn, replacing onions on the top side.

Place chops in skillet in preheated 250° oven. Cover. Cook 15 minutes. Then reduce oven heat to 200° and bake for an additional 25 minutes. Top each chop with 2 fried apple rings...


SOURCE


Monday, July 27, 2015

SARAH BERNHARDT: THE FINAL YEARS

Sarah Bernhardt had an affair with a Belgian nobleman, Charles-Joseph Eugène Henri Georges Lamoral de Ligne (1837–1914), son of Eugène, 8th Prince of Ligne, with whom she bore her only child, Maurice Bernhardt (1864–1928). Maurice did not become an actor but worked for most of his life as a manager and agent for various theaters and performers, frequently managing his mother's career in her later years, but rarely with great success. Maurice and his family were usually financially dependent, in full or in part, on his mother until her death. Maurice married a Polish princess, Maria Jablonowska (see Jablonowski), with whom he had two daughters, Simone (who married Edgar Gross, son of a wealthy Philadelphia soap manufacturer) and Lysiana (who married the playwright Louis Verneuil ).

Bernhardt's close friends included several artists, most notably Gustave Doré and Georges Clairin, and actors Mounet-Sully and Lou Tellegen, as well as the famous French author Victor Hugo. Alphonse Mucha based several of his iconic Art Nouveau works on her. Her friendship with Louise Abbéma (1853–1927), a French impressionist painter, some nine years her junior, was so close and passionate that the two women were rumored to be lovers. In 1990, a painting by Abbéma, depicting the two on a boat ride on the lake in the bois de Boulogne, was donated to the Comédie-Française. The accompanying letter stated that the painting was "Peint par Louise Abbéma, le jour anniversaire de leur liaison amoureuse" (loosely translated: "Painted by Louise Abbéma on the anniversary of their love affair.")


In 1905, while performing in Victorien Sardou's La Tosca in Teatro Lírico do Rio de Janeiro, Bernhardt injured her right knee when jumping off the parapet in the final scene. The leg never healed properly. By 1915, gangrene set in and her entire right leg was amputated; she was required to use a wheelchair for several months. Bernhardt reportedly refused a $10,000 offer by a showman to display her amputated leg as a medical curiosity. (While P.T. Barnum is usually cited as the one to have made the offer, he had been dead since 1891.)

She continued her career, sometimes without using a wooden prosthetic limb, which she did not like. She carried out a successful tour of America in 1915, and on returning to France she played in her own productions almost continuously until her death. Later successes included Daniel (1920), La Gloire (1921), and Régine Armand (1922). According to Arthur Croxton, the manager of London's Coliseum, the amputation was not apparent during her performances, which were done with the use of an artificial limb. Her physical condition may have limited her mobility on the stage, but the charm of her voice, which had altered little with age, ensured her triumphs.

Sarah Bernhardt died from uremia following kidney failure in 1923. Newspaper reports stated she died "peacefully, without suffering, in the arms of her son." She is believed to have been 78 years old. She was the Meryl Streep of her generation even before Meryl Streep was even a thought...