Sunday, February 26, 2023


It is hard to believe that fabulous singer Joni James has been gone one year now. Her voice has been silenced, but her memories she left us will live on forever...

Sunday, February 19, 2023


The beautiful Ann Savage was born on this day (February 19th) in 1921. Ann Savage was born in Columbia, South Carolina. During her early years, her family moved often as her father, an officer in the United States Army, relocated from base to base.After he died when Berniece was four years old, her mother moved the two of them to Los Angeles. Growing up around the corner from the Jewelry District, the Broadway movie palaces of downtown Los Angeles served as her babysitter while her mother worked selling jewelry.

She attended 64th Street Grammar School and Mount Vernon Junior High and first stepped on a sound stage at the age of 17 at MGM Studios and was screen tested by Edgar Selwyn. Ann spent time among the more famous Hollywood kids of the day, such as Lana Turner, Judy Garland, Freddie Bartholomew, and Deanna Durbin. Her MGM test did not work out, prompting her to get her teeth capped and acquire theatre training at the Max Reinhardt workshop on Sunset Boulevard. Reinhardt oversaw her name change, and Berniece became Ann Savage. The Reinhardt school's manager, Bert D'Armand, became Savage's agent, and the two later married. Savage was offered a screen test by Fox, but she decided not to turn up, as she knew the studio already had a bevy of pretty blondes.

Savage instead made a screen test with Columbia Pictures—after playing Lorna in a Reinhardt acting showcase of Odet's Golden Boy"—and was offered a contract. Recalling Columbia mogul Harry Cohn as "a friendly Uncle type", Savage remembered Cohn being intimidated by acid-tongued Rosalind Russell. The two actresses featured together in What a Woman!, one of a dozen films with Savage released in 1943.

Although Columbia typically groomed its girls in the mold of Rita Hayworth, Savage's look echoed Ann Sheridan, although her customary blonde locks were reddened for Footlight Glamour (1943) "so that the star, Penny Singleton, would be the only blonde on screen." She joined Joan Davis and Jinx Falkenburg in Two Senoritas from Chicago (1943) and starred (as a brunette) in the first of several outings with Tom Neal in Klondike Kate (1943). At this time, during World War II, Savage was also a popular pin-up model, including posing for a centerfold in Esquire shot by George Hurrell. 

Although Savage and Neal did not see eye-to-eye (she found him "childlike"), the duo would star together in Two Man Submarine and The Unwritten Code (both 1944) before their most famous film, the 1945 film noir Detour. Reminiscing in the 1980s about her career as a stalwart actress in B movies, Savage dismissed most of her roles as "mindless", saying: "The actresses were just scenery. The stories all revolved around the male actors; they really had the choice roles. All the actresses had to do was to look lovely, since the dialogue was ridiculous". Detour, she felt, was different. The two leads underwent role reversal, with Savage's Vera blackmailing Neal's Al, in a style described by her manager Kent Adamson as "vicious and predatory... very sexually aggressive".

When Detour entered the public domain, it frequently was syndicated on television channels and released in numerous VHS incarnations. Gaining cult status and garnering critical acclaim as "arguably film noir's greatest low-budget feature", this exposure earned Savage a new, younger following. From the 1980s, Savage also attended a number of film festivals, helping to bolster her personal status and leading her to emerge once more as "a glamorous figure-about-Hollywood at film festivals and galas".

The rest as they say is history...

Friday, February 17, 2023


Stella Stevens, the actress best known for her roles in The Nutty Professor and The Poseidon Adventure and starring opposite Elvis Presley in Girls! Girls! Girls!, died today in Los Angeles after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. She was 84. Stevens’ passing was confirmed to Deadline by her son, actor-producer Andrew Stevens, and her longtime friend John O’Brien.

A former Playboy centerfold from January 1960, Stevens was modeling in her hometown of Memphis when she was discovered and given a screen test by 20th Century Fox. She wound up under contract with Paramount and then Columbia through the ’60s, starring opposite such big names as Presley in Girls! Girls! Girls!, Dean Martin in How to Save a Marriage and Ruin Your Life, Bobby Darin in Too Late Blues, Chuck Conners in Synanon and Glenn Ford in The Courtship of Eddie’s Father.

She won a Golden Globe as Most Promising Newcomer for her first film, 1959’s Say One for Me, which starred Bing Crosby and Debbie Reynolds. Stevens also appeared in Lil Abner that year.

She went on to play Jerry Lewis’ dream girl in The Nutty Professor — which was inducted into the National Film Registry in 2004 — and the lippy wife of Ernest Borgnine in The Poseidon Adventure, the star-packed pic that was among the biggest hits of 1972 and helped fuel that decade’s disaster-movie trend.

Her many other film credits include The Silencers, The Ballad of Cable Hogue, Sol Madrid, Where Angels Go Trouble Follows! and The Secret of My Success.

Born on October 1, 1938, in Yazoo City, MI, Stevens was also a steady presence on television, appearing in dozens of TV movies and guest-starring in more than 40 series, from Bonanza and Ben Casey in the ‘60’s through The Commish and Arli$$ in the ‘90s.

For two seasons in the early ‘80s, she starred in the primetime soap Flamingo Road and later had recurring roles in Santa Barbara and General Hospital. Reportedly, Stevens came to regret her association with Playboy, finding the sexpot label confining.

“I did the best I could with the tools I had and the opportunities given me,” she was once quoted as saying. “I was a divorced mom with a toddler by the time I was 17. And Playboy did as much harm as it helped. But in spite of that rough start, I did OK.”

Due to her illness, Stella made her last movie in 2010.

Along with her son, Stevens is survived by three grandchildren. She was predeceased by her longtime partner, rock musician Bob Kulick....


Bruce Willis is suffering from a form of dementia, specifically frontotemporal dementia (FTD), his loved ones announced on Thursday. In a statement, the Willis family said the 67-year-old actor's condition has worsened since he was diagnosed with aphasia last year.

"Unfortunately, challenges with communication are just one symptom of the disease Bruce faces. While this is painful, it is a relief to finally have a clear diagnosis," they shared. The Willis family wants to shed light on FTD by coming forward with the news.

"FTD is a cruel disease that many of us have never heard of and can strike anyone. For people under 60, FTD is the most common form of dementia, and because getting the diagnosis can take years, FTD is likely much more prevalent than we know. Today there are no treatments for the disease, a reality that we hope can change in the years ahead. As Bruce's condition advances, we hope that any media attention can be focused on shining a light on this disease that needs far more awareness and research," the family added.

"Bruce always believed in using his voice in the world to help others, and to raise awareness about important issues both publicly and privately. We know in our hearts that — if he could today — he would want to respond by bringing global attention and a connectedness with those who are also dealing with this debilitating disease and how it impacts so many individuals and their families," the Willis's continued.

"Bruce has always found joy in life — and has helped everyone he knows to do the same. It has meant the world to see that sense of care echoed back to him and to all of us," the statement concluded. "We have been so moved by the love you have all shared for our dear husband, father, and friend during this difficult time. Your continued compassion, understanding, and respect will enable us to help Bruce live as full a life as possible."

Thursday, February 16, 2023


When other 97 year olds are in nursing homes or relaxing in their final years, Dick Van Dyke is still working! This week Dick made an appearance on TV's The Masked Singer. Dressed as a gnome, he made a huge splash on The Masked Singer stage.

The wild disguised celebrity singing show returned for its 9th season on Fox Wednesday night, and the first elimination of the evening was touted for weeks as the "the most legendary, decorated and beloved unmasking in history," and they weren't wrong. After performing Billie Holiday's "When You're Smiling," Gnome was the first to get axed.

After taking off the mask, Gnome was revealed to be Tony, Emmy, and Grammy winner Dick Van Dyke, which sent the audience and panelists Robin Thicke, Nicole Scherzinger, Ken Jeong, and Jenny McCarthy-Wahlberg into quite a tizzy. Scherzinger in particular started to audibly sob in the presence of the beloved Mary Poppins and Dick Van Dyke Show star...

Wednesday, February 15, 2023


Raquel Welch, a veteran actress who rose to fame in the 1960s in the films “One Million Years B.C.” and “Fantastic Voyage,” has died, according to a statement provided by her manager, Steve Sauer.

She was 82.

Welch died Wednesday morning in Los Angeles after a “brief illness,” the statement said.

The actress, with more than 70 film and television credits, got her start as a spokesmodel on a variety show, “Hollywood Palace,” and had a small role in the Elvis Presley film “Roustabout” in 1964.

Her career took off two years later, with the release of the science fiction film “Fantastic Voyage,” about a team of scientists shrunken and injected into a critically ill man’s body; and “One Million Years, B.C.,” a prehistoric drama that cast Welch as the cavewoman Loana, with the photos of her in a fur bikini becoming the foundation of the movie’s marketing campaign, while turning Welch into an international sex symbol. (The poster later became a central device in the acclaimed movie “The Shawshank Redemption.”)

A number of starring roles for Welch followed in the late 1960s, including the westerns “Bandolero” and “100 Rifles,” the latter notable for her then-controversial interracial love scene with former football star Jim Brown.

Welch leaves behind her two children, son Damon Welch and her daughter Tahnee Welch, according to her manager’s statement. Raquel made her last movie and television appearance in 2017, and her health in recents has been the subject of much gossip...

Sunday, February 12, 2023


Interesting news story about the will of Jackie Gleason from 1986...

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) _ Comedian Jackie Gleason changed his will the day before he died, decreasing his wife’s share of his estate from half to one-third and increasing bequests to his two daughters and secretary.

The size of Gleason’s estate was not listed in the initial will, and his attorney, Brian Patchen, declined to estimate its value.

Gleason,  died of liver and colon cancer June 24, 2986 at the age of 71.. A death certificate filed with the will in Broward Probate Court said death came two months after he was stricken with the liver cancer, but did not say when he contracted colon cancer, the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel reported today.

On June 23, too weak to sign his name, Gleason told Patchen and business associates Richard Green and Irwin Marks to amend the document, the attorney said. ″It’s a very amicable thing ... very straightforward.″

Gleason decreased the share of his third wife, Marilyn Gleason, from half to one-third and raised the bequest for his secretary of 29 years, Sydell Spear of Hialeah, from $25,000 to $100,000.

The balance is to be divided equally by Gleason’s daughters from his first marriage, Geraldine Chatuk of Los Angeles and Linda Miller of Santa Monica, Calif., each of whom was originally to receive a quarter of the estate.

Gleason did not provide for a stepson from his last marriage or any arts organizations or charities.

The star of ″The Honeymooners″ television series and several movies left his personal effects, including jewelry, clothing, art works and automobiles to his wife, the sister of choreographer June Taylor. Mrs. Gleason was also appointed executor of the will originally drawn up in April 1985...

Thursday, February 9, 2023


Burt Bacharach, the acclaimed composer and songwriter behind dozens of mellow pop hits from the 1950s to the 1980s, including “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” “(They Long to Be) Close to You” and the theme from the movie “Arthur,” has died, a family member of Bacharach confirmed to the Associated Press. He was 94. A major figure in 20th century pop music, Bacharach scored major hits in a variety of genres, from Top 40 to country to rhythm and blues and film scores. He wrote hit songs for a wide range of artists, including Dusty Springfield, Dionne Warwick, Tom Jones, Neil Diamond, the Carpenters and Christopher Cross.

Many of his songs were classified, perhaps unfairly, as “easy listening” – a gentle, old fashioned style of music with few rough edges. Most were far removed from the sounds of rock and roll, funk, disco or other popular genres of his time.

And yet Bacharach, with longtime collaborator Hal David, churned out many of the catchiest songs of the era. Many of them – “Say a Little Prayer,” “Walk on By,” “Do You Know the Way to San Jose” – became hits for Warwick, one of the biggest-selling female vocalists of the 1960s.

Bacharach also wrote such massive hits as Perry Como’s “Magic Moments,” the Shirelles’ “Baby It’s You,” Tom Jones’ “What’s New Pussycat?”, Jackie DeShannon’s “What the World Needs Now is Love,” Herb Alpert’s “This Guy’s In Love With You,” Neil Diamond’s “Heartlight” and the Patti Labelle-Michael McDonald duet “On My Own.”

One of his biggest and most impactful hits was “That’s What Friends Are For,” the charity collaboration between Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Gladys Knight, and Stevie Wonder that topped the charts in 1986 and raised millions for AIDS research.

“Never be afraid of something that you can whistle,” Bacharach told NPR’s Scott Simon in 2013.

Over his long career Bacharach earned almost every major award in music, including six Grammys, three Oscars and – with Hal David – the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, awarded by the Library of Congress. In 2008 the Grammys proclaimed him music’s greatest living composer...


When “It’s a Wonderful Life” comes on TV, Tony Capra – like so many others – will be watching at home.

If Capra’s name rings a bell, it’s because he shares it with Frank Capra, the film’s legendary director, producer and co-writer. Tony Capra is senior director at NBC News in Washington, D.C. and Frank was his grandfather. Tony grew up in California watching the film with his family every year like many other families. He says he has seen it all the way through “about 50 times.” But unlike other families, the Capras watched an original 16mm version.

“There’s the obvious connection and it does bring me close to my grandfather and the relationship I had with him,” Capra said.

Frank Capra was born in Sicily in 1897. He moved to California with his family when he was five years old. He became Hollywood’s highest-paid director in the 1930s thanks to classic movies like “It Happened One Night,” “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town,” “You Can’t Take It with You,” and “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” He was nominated for Best Director six times – including for “It’s a Wonderful Life” – and won three Oscars.

“If you watch all of his films, it’s like the culmination of all of his films.”

Capra, who volunteered in both World Wars, died in 1991 at the age of 94.

“He was very smart and very funny but could not tell a joke to save his life but he would have you falling on the floor telling stories,” Capra said.

When ‘It’s a Wonderful Life” came out in 1946, a year after the end of World War II, it was not a blockbuster. Reviews were mixed but it was nominated for five Oscars including Jimmy Stewart for Best Actor for his portrayal of down-on-his-luck George Bailey. The movie did not become an iconic film until the 1970s when its copyright lapsed and television stations all around the country started playing it often, especially during the holidays. It is now considered one of the greatest films of all-time.

The 1946 movie has become the definitive holiday classic that resonates with so many people, standing the test of time with its universal messages.

Seventy-six years after the movie’s release, people come up to Capra at work — especially this time of year — to say how much the movie means to them. “It’s a meaningful film. It makes people feel good. It means a lot to me,” Capra said. “It is important, it’s got a message and he was very proud of it,” Capra said.

And though his grandfather was a Hollywood legend, “he was just a normal grandfather,” Capra said. “He taught me how to fish, how to do all sorts of stuff. I feel very lucky to have had him in my life. He was a wonderful person to be around. He was a wonderful grandfather.” You’ll excuse Capra if he uses the word “wonderful” more often than most. He’s got a pretty good excuse.

And, yes, he’ll be watching Saturday night with his family just like he has every year for as long as he can remember. “It always gets me.”

Sunday, February 5, 2023


Ahna Capri who you may ask? The name is not familiar now, but she was a true beauty in the 1970s. Capri was born Anna Marie Nanasi July 6, 1944 in Budapest, Hungary. She made her film debut in the Western Outlaw's Son. Her younger brother Louis, who used the stage name Peter Robbins, was the original television voice of the Peanuts character Charlie Brown. Ahna achieved her greatest enduring popularity as the enticing Tania in the exciting martial arts cult classic Enter the Dragon. Capri gave an excellent and impressive performance as country singer Rip Torn's snobby, fed-up girlfriend Mayleen in the terrific Payday.

Ahna's other memorable movie roles include the terrified Nicky in the creepy Devil worship horror winner The Brotherhood of Satan; feisty wildlife photographer Terry in Piranha; and luscious assassin Londa Wyeth in the tacky Crown International exploitation romp The Specialist. Among the many TV shows Capri guested were "Ms. Columbo," "Baretta," "Kojak," "Police Story," "Cannon," "Mannix," "Ironside," "Adam-12," "The Mod Squad," "The Invaders," "The Wild, Wild West," "I Spy," "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.," "Branded," "Leave It to Beaver," and "Maverick."

During the filming of Enter the Dragon, Capri became close friends with co-stars Bob Wall, Bruce Lee, John Saxon and Jim Kelly. Wall, closest to Ahna in the days before her passing, explained that anyone who came into contact with her knew he was in the presence of someone very special. “She brought a light to our experience while filming Enter the Dragon and she will be missed greatly,” Wall said.

She made her last film in 1979.

A longtime resident of the San Fernando Valley, she never married.

Her death was the result of an auto accident in North Hollywood on August 9, in which a 5-ton truck driven by a 22-year-old female driver collided with her car. She was in a coma on life support for 11 days, and passed away with family members at her side.

She was survived by her sister Rose and brother Peter...

Wednesday, February 1, 2023


Comedian Garrett Morris has the distinction of being the oldest Saturday Night Live cast member at the age of 38 in 1975. Today, decades later, Garrett is still going strong! He not only was part of the original cast of the sketch comedy program Saturday Night Live, appearing from 1975 to 1980, but he played Jimmy on The Jeffersons (1983–1984). Morris also had a role as Junior "Uncle Junior" King on the sitcom The Jamie Foxx Show, which aired from 1996 to 2001. Morris had a starring role as Earl Washington on the CBS sitcom 2 Broke Girls, from 2011 to 2017. He is also known for his role in the sitcom Martin as Stan Winters, from 1992 to 1995.

According to the book Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live, Morris was frequently unhappy during his tenure on SNL from 1975 to 1980, and expressed the opinion that he was usually typecast in stereotypical roles. Black performers who have followed Morris on SNL have at times been publicly concerned with experiencing the same fate Morris did. Eddie Murphy, for example, told TV Guide in the early 1980s that SNL producer Jean Doumanian "had tried to Garrett Morris me"

In recent years, Garrett has mostly starred on television. In 2015, Morris appeared in a cameo in Ant-Man, referencing an old SNL sketch in which he played the first live-action incarnation of the character. On September 9, 2016, Morris and his family appeared on the ABC's game show Celebrity Family Feud, playing against Alfonso Ribeiro and Ribeiro's friends. In 2018, Morris appeared in the NBC show This Is Us. In 2019, Morris appeared in the fifth episode of A Black Lady Sketch Show, titled "Why Are Her Pies Wet, Lord?".

February 1, 2023 marks Garrett's 86th birthday, but he is still active with his live comedy performances
, but he also now mixes singing blues with his comedy, and he has been working on a legacy project for his hometown of New Orleans. He was the first black performer on Saturday Night Live, and he paved the way for countless other performers so it is nice that he is still going strong!