Friday, December 30, 2022


 As we bid this year a fond farewell, we can not help but also say goodbye to the entertainers and icons that we have lost in 2022...

Angela Lansbury

Entertainer ANGELA LANSBURY died at the age of 96 on October 11th. She was a star of stage, screen, and television for 80 years. To escape the Blitz, she moved to the United States in 1940, studying acting in New York City. Proceeding to Hollywood in 1942, she signed to MGM and obtained her first film roles, in Gaslight (1944), National Velvet in 1944, and The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945), earning her two Academy Award nominations and a Golden Globe Award. She appeared in eleven further MGM films, mostly in minor roles, and after her contract ended in 1952 she began supplementing her cinematic work with theatrical appearances. Although largely seen as a B-list star during this period, her role in the film The Manchurian Candidate (1962) received widespread acclaim and is often cited as one of her career-best performances, earning her a third Academy Award nomination. Moving into musical theatre, Lansbury finally gained stardom for playing the leading role in the Broadway musical Mame (1966), which won her her first Tony Award. She reached a new audience as Jessica Fletcher on TV's Murder She Wrote from 1984 to 1996. She also moved into voice work, contributing to animated films like Disney's Beauty and the Beast (1991) and Don Bluth's Anastasia (1997). She toured in a variety of international productions and continued to make occasional film appearances such as Nanny McPhee (2005) and Mary Poppins Returns (2018). Her last work was a cameo appearance in Rian Johnson's 2022 detective drama Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.

Singer LORETTA LYNN died at the age of 90 on October 4th. In a career which spanned six decades in country music, Lynn released multiple gold albums. She had hits such as "You Ain't Woman Enough (To Take My Man)", "Don't Come Home A-Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind)", "One's on the Way", "Fist City", and "Coal Miner's Daughter". In 1980, the film Coal Miner's Daughter was made based on her life. Loretta suffered a stroke in 2017 and broke her hip in 2018. She released her last album in 2021.

Actress ESTELLE HARRIS died on April 2nd at the age of 93. She was best known as George Costanza's mother on the television show Seinfeld from 1992 to 1998. Estelle also provided the voice of Mrs. Potato Head in the Toy Story cartoon franchise. She did not start acting until her children was grown up, and her first role was in 1977. Her last role was in 2019's Toy Story 4.

Singer BOBBY RYDELL died at the age of 79 on April 5th of pneumonia. He was a singer and actor who mainly performed rock and roll and traditional pop music. In the early 1960s he was considered a teen idol. His most well-known songs include "Wild One" and "Volare". In 1963 he appeared in the musical film Bye Bye Birdie as Ann-Margret's love interest. In the 1980s, he joined a trio called The Golden Boys with fellow former teen idols Frankie Avalon and Fabian Forte and he continued to tour up until his death.

Comedian LOUIE ANDERSON died of cancer at the age of 68 on January 21st.  Anderson created the cartoon series Life with Louie and wrote four books, including Hey Mom: Stories for My Mother, But You Can Read Them Too, which was published in 2018. He was the initial host of the third revival of the game show Family Feud from 1999 to 2002. For his performance on the FX comedy television series Baskets, Anderson received three consecutive Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series nominations and won once in 2016. Anderson performed a stand-up show called Louie: Larger Than Life in Las Vegas, Nevada, from 2003 through 2012.Louie's last role was in 2021's Coming 2 America with Eddie Murphy.

Sidney Poitier

Actor SIDNEY POITIER died on January 7th at the age of 94.   In 1964, he won the Academy Award for Best Actor, becoming the first Black male and Bahamian actor to win the award. He received two further Academy Award nominations, ten Golden Globes nominations, two Primetime Emmy Awards nominations, six BAFTA nominations, eight, and one Screen Actors Guild Awards nomination. Poitier was one of the last surviving major stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood cinema, and after the death of Kirk Douglas in 2020, was the oldest living and earliest surviving male Academy Award winner until his own death in 2022. He continued to break ground in three successful 1967 films which dealt with issues of race and race relations: To Sir, with Love; Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, and In the Heat of the Night. He retired from acting in 1997, but continued to be involved in the cinema and in his homeland of the Bahamas. 

Actor CARLTON CARPENTER died on January 31st at the age of 95. Carpenter signed with MGM in 1950, where he starred in a bunch of supporting roles. He he made eight films in three years: Father of the Bride, Three Little Words, Summer Stock, Two Weeks With Love, Vengeance Valley, Fearless Fagan (his one-of-two leading roles there), Sky Full of Moon (his other leading role there) and Take the High Ground!. He gained fame when teamed in 1950 with Debbie Reynolds in Three Little Words and Two Weeks with Love. In a guest sequence in Three Little Words, they perform “I Wanna Be Loved by You” as vaudeville players Dan Healy and Helen Kane, with Reynolds dubbed by Kane. In Two Weeks with Love, where they have featured roles, their duet "Aba Daba Honeymoon" was the first soundtrack recording to become a top-of-the-chart gold record, reaching number three on the Billboard chart. He worked as a stage actor through 2015.

Actress PAT CARROLL died of pneumonia on July 30th at the age of 95. She was known for voicing Ursula in The Little Mermaid and for appearances in CBS's The Danny Thomas Show, ABC's Laverne & Shirley, and NBC's ER. Carroll was an Emmy, Drama Desk, and Grammy Award winner, as well as a Tony Award nominee. She largely retired from acting in 2014.

Child star and voice actor PETER ROBBINS died at the age of 65 on January 25th of suicide. At the age of nine, Robbins provided the voice of Charlie Brown, whom he considered to be his childhood hero, in one television documentary, six Peanuts television specials and one movie from 1963 to 1969, including the film A Boy Named Charlie Brown and the television specials A Charlie Brown Christmas and It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. At the age of fourteen, Robbins was replaced by younger child actors in the Peanuts specials produced after the 1960s, but his trademark scream of "AUGH!!", first used in It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, continued to be used in later specials for Charlie Brown and other Peanuts characters. Peter suffered from mental illness and was arrested numerous times and jailed from 2015 to 2019.

Actor RAY LIOTTA died at the age of 67 on May 26th. His best-known roles include Shoeless Joe Jackson in Field of Dreams (1989), Henry Hill in Goodfellas (1990) and Tommy Vercetti in the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002). His other roles included Ray Sinclair in Something Wild (1986), for which he received a Golden Globe nomination, as well as starring in Unlawful Entry (1992), Cop Land (1997), Hannibal (2001), Blow (2001), John Q (2002), Identity (2003), Observe and Report (2009), Killing Them Softly (2012), The Place Beyond the Pines (2012), and Marriage Story (2019), as well as the drama series Shades of Blue (2016–2018). Ray was currently shooting a movie in the Dominican Republic when he passed away in his sleep.

Robert Morse

Actor ROBERT MORSE died at the age of 90 on April 20th. He best known as the star of both the 1961 original Broadway production, for which he won a Tony Award, and the 1967 film adaptation of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and as Bertram Cooper in the critically acclaimed AMC dramatic series Mad Men (2007–2015). He won his second Tony Award for playing Truman Capote in the 1989 production of the one-man play Tru. He reprised his role of Capote in an airing of the play for American Playhouse in 1992, winning him a Primetime Emmy Award. Robert made his last movie and television appearances in 2019.

Singer JONI JAMES died on February 20th at the age of  91. Signed at MGM records in the early 1950s, James had numerous hit records like: "Why Don't You Believe Me?" (No. 1 in 1952) "Have You Heard?" (No. 4 in 1953) "Your Cheatin' Heart" (No. 2 in 1953) "Almost Always" (No. 9 in 1953) "My Love, My Love" (No. 8 in 1953) "How Important Can It Be?" (No. 2 in 1955) and "You Are My Love" (No. 6 in 1955) as well as sixteen other Top 40 hits from 1952 to 1961. She left the music scene in the mid 1960s, but returned to performing in the 1990s.

Actress LOUISE FLETCHER died at the age of 88 on September 23rd. She was best known for her portrayal of Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), which earned her an Academy Award for Best Actress, a BAFTA Award, and a Golden Globe Award. She was also well-known for her recurring role as the Bajoran religious leader Kai Winn Adami in the television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993–99), as well as for her role as Helen Rosemond in the movie Cruel Intentions (1999). She was nominated for two Emmy Awards for her roles in the television series Picket Fences (1996) and Joan of Arcadia (2004). Her final role was as Rosie in the Netflix series Girlboss (2017).

Comedian BOB SAGET died at the age of 65 on January 9th. His acting roles included Danny Tanner on the sitcom Full House (1987–1995), its sequel Fuller House (2016–2020), and the voice of narrator Ted Mosby on the sitcom How I Met Your Mother (2005–2014). From 1989 to 1997, he was the original host of America's Funniest Home Videos. Saget was also known for his adult-oriented stand-up comedy, and his 2014 album That's What I'm Talkin' About was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album. He passed away in his hotel room where he was performing in Orlando, Florida.

Actress MARSHA HUNT died on September 7th at the age of 104. She was blacklisted by Hollywood film studio executives in the 1950s during McCarthyism. She appeared in many films, including Born to the West (1937) with John Wayne, Pride and Prejudice (1940) with Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier, Kid Glove Killer (1942) with Van Heflin, Cry 'Havoc' (1943) with Margaret Sullavan and Joan Blondell, The Human Comedy (1943) with Mickey Rooney, Raw Deal (1948) with Claire Trevor, The Happy Time (1952) with Charles Boyer, and Dalton Trumbo's Johnny Got His Gun (1971). She appeared in a documentary of her life that was made in 2014.

Olivia Newton-John

Actress and singer OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN died of cancer at the age of 73 on August 8th. She was a four-time Grammy Award winner whose music career included five number-one hits and many other Top Ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100, and two number-one albums on the Billboard 200. In 1978, Newton-John starred in the musical film Grease, which was the highest-grossing musical film at the time and whose soundtrack remains one of the world's best-selling albums. It features two major hit duets with co-star John Travolta: "You're the One That I Want"—which is one of the best-selling singles of all time—and "Summer Nights". She made a handful of movies, and she is considered one of the great recording artists of the 2nd half of the 20th century.

Actor WILLIAM HURT died of prostate cancer on March 13th at the age of 71. Hurt garnered three consecutive nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actor, for Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985), Children of a Lesser God (1986), and Broadcast News (1987), winning for the first of these. After playing character roles in the following decade, Hurt earned his fourth Academy Award nomination for his supporting performance in David Cronenberg's crime thriller A History of Violence (2005). His later career films roles include turns in A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001), The Village (2004), Syriana (2005), The Good Shepherd (2006), Mr. Brooks (2007), Into the Wild (2007), Robin Hood (2010), and the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, in which he portrayed Thaddeus Ross.

Comedian GILBERT GOTTFRIED died on April 12th of muscular dystrophy at the age of 67. His persona as a comedian featured an exaggerated shrill voice and emphasis on crude humor. His numerous roles in film and television include voicing the parrot Iago in the Aladdin animated films and series, Digit LeBoid in Cyberchase, Kraang Subprime in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and the Aflac Duck. He appeared in the critically panned but commercially successful Problem Child in 1990. Gottfried hosted the podcast Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast (2014–2022), which featured discussions of classic movies and celebrity interviews, most often with veteran actors, comedians, musicians, and comedy writers.

Actor JAMES CAAN died at age of 82 on July 6th. After early roles in Howard Hawks's El Dorado (1966), Robert Altman's Countdown (1967) and Francis Ford Coppola's The Rain People (1969), he came to prominence playing Sonny Corleone in Coppola's The Godfather (1972) – a performance which earned him Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for Best Supporting Actor. He reprised his role in The Godfather Part II (1974). Caan gained acclaim for his portrayal of Brian Piccolo in the 1971 television movie Brian's Song for which he received a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie nomination. Caan received Golden Globe Award nominations for his performances in the drama The Gambler (1974), and the musical Funny Lady (1975). He remained a popular actor in films like Misery (1989) and Elf (2003). He continued making movies until the end of his life.

Actor LESLIE JORDAN died on October 24th at the age of 67 in a car crash. Leslie was on countless TV shows and movies. His television roles included Lonnie Garr on Hearts Afire (1993–1995), Beverley Leslie on Will & Grace (2001–2006, 2017–2020), for which he won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series in 2006, several characters in the American Horror Story franchise (2013–2019), Sid on The Cool Kids (2018–2019), and Phil on Call Me Kat (2021–2022). In theater, he played Earl "Brother Boy" Ingram from Sordid Lives, and also portrayed the character in the popular cult film of the same name.

Louise Tobin

Big band singer LOUISE TOBIN died at the age of 104 on November 26th. She appeared with Benny Goodman, Bobby Hackett, Will Bradley, and Jack Jenney. Tobin introduced "I Didn't Know What Time It Was" with Goodman’s band in 1939. Her biggest hit with Goodman was "There'll Be Some Changes Made", which was number two on Your Hit Parade in 1941 for 15 weeks. Tobin was the first wife of trumpeter and bandleader Harry James, with whom she had two sons. She helped to discover Frank Sinatra in the late 1930s.

Actor TONY DOW died of cancer at the age of 77 on July 27th.Tony was an actor, film producer, director and sculptor. He portrayed Wally Cleaver in the iconic television sitcom Leave It to Beaver from 1957 to 1963. From 1983 to 1989, Dow reprised his role as Wally in a television movie and in The New Leave It to Beaver. He largely retired from acting in the 1990s, but he directed many TV shows.

Actress KIRSTIE ALLEY died on December 5th at the age of 71 of cancer. Her breakout role was as Rebecca Howe in the NBC sitcom Cheers (1987–1993), for which she received an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe in 1991. From 1997 to 2000, she starred as the lead in the sitcom Veronica's Closet, earning additional Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Alley appeared in various films, including  Look Who's Talking (1989) and its two sequels (1990–1993), It Takes Two (1995), Deconstructing Harry (1997), For Richer or Poorer (1997), and Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999). She won her second Emmy Award in 1994 for the television film David's Mother. Her last appearance was on TV's "The Masked Singer" in 2022.

Sunday, December 25, 2022


Friday, December 23, 2022

Wednesday, December 14, 2022


It's the Holidays again! Hard to believe we are celebrating Christmas 2022! I hope your holiday season is healthy and happy, and here is how some of the classic Hollywood celebrated Christmas in the past...

Carole Lombard

Burl Ives & Dinah Shore

Humphrey Bogart & Lauren Bacall

Eddie Cantor

Jayne Mansfield

June Haver    

Monday, December 12, 2022


My daughter currently goes to a local acting school. They have children from 6 to 13. It was just announced that their yearly peformance will be Matilda The Musical. It was perfect, because this new version of the Roald Dahl's novel has just been released to movie theaters, and we went this past weekend. The complete title is complete title: Roald Dahl's Matilda the Musical. An adaptation of the 2011 stage musical of the same name by Warchus, Kelly, and Tim Minchin, which itself is based on the 1988 novel Matilda by Roald Dahl, the film, co-produced by TriStar Pictures, Working Title Films, and Netflix, is also the second film adaptation of the novel, after the 1996 American film (also produced by TriStar). The film stars Alisha Weir as the title character, alongside Lashana Lynch, Stephen Graham, Andrea Riseborough, and Emma Thompson.

A film adaptation of Matilda the Musical was first announced in November 2013, with Warchus and Kelly reportedly attached to return as director and writer, respectively. In January 2020, the project was officially announced, and Warchus and Kelly's returns were confirmed, as well as Minchin, who revealed he was returning to write new songs for the film. Christopher Nightingale, who had written background music for the musical, was also hired to return as composer of the film's incidental score. The cast was filled out between January and April 2021, including Weir, Lynch, Thompson, Graham, and Riseborough. Principal photography took place beginning in May 2021 in Ireland.

The plot of this new incarnation has mostly remained the same. Matilda is an exceptional girl living a sad and lonely life. Then she meets a caring teacher who really turns her life around. Matilda is played by newcomer Alisha Weir, and for the most part the whole cast is new to me. The one excpetion is Emma Thompson, who steals the movie away as Agatha Trunchbull. Her acting in this role is a definite improvement on the 1996 film which had Pam Ferris as Miss Trunchbull. The movie is a little slow at times, but the music livens things up. 

My daughter loved the movie, and I am so glad to have had the opportunity to see this in a move theater. However, Netflix will begin streaming the movie on Christmas Day. I could have saved money by waiting two weeks to see the film, but there is just something about seeing a movie musical on the screen. It was an enjoyable movie, and I recommend this movie to anyone who has read and loved the story of Matilda Wormwood. It was not the greatest movie musical by any stretch, but it was a good one...


Sunday, December 11, 2022


On this day, screen actress Marie Windsor was born. She was born on December 11, 1919. The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lane Bertelsend, she graduated from Marysvale High School in 1934, doing a "musical reading" as part of the graduation exercises. She attended Brigham Young University, where she participated in dramatic productions. She was described in a 1939 newspaper article as "an accomplished athlete ... expert as a dancer, swimmer, horsewoman, and plays golf, tennis and skis."

In 1939, Windsor was chosen from a group of 81 contestants to be queen of Covered Wagon Days in Salt Lake City, Utah. She was unofficially appointed "Miss Utah of 1939" by her hometown Chamber of Commerce, and trained for the stage under famed Hollywood actress and coach Maria Ouspenskaya.Voluptuous and leggy, but unusually tall for a starlet of her generation, Windsor felt that she was handicapped when playing opposite actors of average stature (claiming that she had to progressively bend at the knees walking across the room in scene with John Garfield). As she later recalled, a production with Forrest Tucker as co-star made her happy with finally getting male lead who was her 'own size'.

After working for several years as a telephone operator, a stage and radio actress, and a bit part and extra player in films, Windsor began playing feature parts on the big screen in 1947.

Her first film contract, with Warner Bros. in 1942, resulted from her writing jokes and submitting them to Jack Benny. Windsor said she submitted the gags under the name M.E. Windsor "because I was afraid he might be prejudiced against a woman gag writer". When Benny finally met Windsor, "he was stunned by her good looks" and had a producer sign her to a contract. After a tenure with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in which the studio "signed her, put her in two small roles and then promptly forgot her", she signed a seven-year contract in 1948 with The Enterprise Studios.

The actress' first memorable role in 1948 was with John Garfield in Force of Evil playing seductress Edna Tucker. She had roles in numerous 1950s film noirs, notably The Sniper, The Narrow Margin, City That Never Sleeps, and the Stanley Kubrick heist film, The Killing, in which she played Elisha Cook, Jr.'s, scheming wife. She also made her first foray into science fiction with the release of Cat-Women of the Moon (1953). Windsor co-starred with Randolph Scott in The Bounty Hunter (1954). Marie never became a huge star but she continued to make movies in the 1990s. She died in 2000...

Sunday, December 4, 2022


 Every year we post a story about Vera-Ellen. Around this time, people start watching her in the 1954 musical White Christmas so it's a good time to remember this talented entertainer. Here are some things you might not have known about her...

1. Although Vera-Ellen only made 14 films, she was paired with all the famous Hollywood dancers of her day: Fred Astaire (Three Little Words; The Belle of New York); Gene Kelly (On the Town); Donald O’Connor (Call Me Madam); and Danny Kaye (White Christmas and others). Her singing voice was usually dubbed (including her numbers in White Christmas).

2. Vera-Ellen and Rosemary Clooney, who famously played sisters in White Christmas, both grew up near Cincinnati. Vera-Ellen was raised in the Cincinnati suburb of Norwood, Ohio (making her a “Norwooder” as the locals say). Rosemary was from Maysville, Kentucky, located about an hour southeast of Cincy.

3. As a teen-ager she won the Major Bowes Amateur Hour and toured New York theaters, dancing for $50 a week in the late 1930's. She also toured with the Ted Lewis Band and eventually broke into Broadway musicals, dancing with Ray Bolger in ''By Jupiter'' in 1942 and in the revival of ''A Connecticut Yankee'' in 1943.

4. Her movie career began in 1945, when she appeared with Danny Kaye in Wonder Man.

5. She was a Radio City Rockette (and one of the youngest) but was fired after two weeks because she showed too much individuality on stage.

6. In 1963, her three-month-old daughter died, and she withdrew from public life. “I stopped when I was ahead. I don’t need my work anymore, and I don’t need the applause,” she told a reporter.

7. Victor Rothschild and Vera-Ellen were married for 11 years. They dated for 1 year after getting together in 1953 and married on 13th Nov 1954. 11 years later they divorced in 1966.