Jan. 24th, 2005
02:08 am - Virginia Mayo, 1920-2005
Virginia Mayo, movie actress of the 1940s, died January 17 of old age. She was 84. She started in the business as one of the famous Goldwyn Girls - MGM chorus line beauties placed in practically every movie Samuel Goldwyn produced in the '40s. After a while of average pretty-girl song numbers (she can be seen in one of the song numbers in the Danny Kaye-Dinah Shore movie Up In Arms), she got to get bigger roles in movies - her first real starring role in The Princess and the Pirate with Bob Hope in 1944. She continued to get better and better roles, mostly more lightweight comedies as the love interest (she was partnered frequently with Danny Kaye, for example, in movies like The Kid From Brooklyn and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty), but she was in some well-known dramas such as the James Cagney movie White Heat and the WW2 drama about much-changed soldiers coming home after the war, The Best Years of Our Lives. She also co-starred with Gregory Peck in the '40s epic version of Horatio Hornblower.
Whenever I'm asked to name my favorite actresses, Virginia Mayo is on the top of my list. She was so beautiful, and - more than that - so graceful, so feminine, so classy. And she could sing, too.
I'm going to end this with a direct quote form Yahoo! News' obituary, because I think this is simply too brilliant to be altered:
Her first credited role in Hollywood had been a small part in 1943's "Jack London," a biography of the author starring Michael O'Shea, a former vaudevillian and stage actor who appeared in mostly B films. In 1956 she recalled how they met on the movie set: "He just sat there watching me, and then he walked right up and kissed me." They married in 1947.
Jan. 23rd, 2005
05:21 pm - Johnny Carson 1925-- 2005
Johnny Carson was the host of the Tonight Show for a hella long time. He was also really super awesome. He died today at age 79.
Dec. 29th, 2004
10:52 am - Jerry Orbach, 1935-2004
A star of TV and Broadway, Jerry Orbach, died of prostate cancer today. Although his latest project was the television show Law and Order, Mr. Orbach was also featured in the original casts of The Fantasticks and Neil Simon's Promises Promises (for which he won a Tony award.) His film appearances included Dirty Dancing and F/X.
On Law and Order, Orbach was best known for his one-liners.
Oct. 11th, 2004
Oct. 7th, 2004
Jacob Cohen, born on Long Island, New York, first performed comedy at the age of 17 under the name Jack Roy. He eventually gave up on being a comedian and sold aluminum siding. When he was 40, he adopted the name Rodney Dangerfield and relaunched his comedic career. He opened his own club, which launched the careers of future famous comedians such as Jerry Seinfeld, Roseanne Barr, Jeff Foxworthy, and Jim Carrey. Dangerfield was best known for his famous line, "I don't get no respect." He appeared in such movies as Caddyshack, and also did the voice of a dog in that little cartoon movie that was on the Disney Channel all the time when I was a kid. Dangerfield had been in a coma for several weeks after undergoing heart surgery, and died Tuesday at the UCLA hospital in Los Angeles. I'll miss that bug-eyed weirdo.
Janet Leigh (whose real name was Jeanette Helen Morrison) has appeared in such well-known films such as Bye Bye Birdie, The Manchurian Candidate, and Orson Wells's Touch of Evil. However, she is best known for playing Marion Crane, the woman who was killed by getting stabbed repeatedly by Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) in the famous shower scene of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. The role earned her an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actress. That movie has left millions of people across the world afraid to take showers. Hooray for the stink! Leigh was married to actor Tony Curtis for 12 years, and their two daughters, Kelly Curtis and Jamie Lee Curtis, also went on to become actresses. For the past year, Leigh had suffered from vasculitis, but she died peacefully at home with her husband Robert Brandt and her daughters by her side.
Sep. 16th, 2004
John Cummings was better known as Johnny Ramone, one of the four founding members of the legendary punk band the Ramones. He died quietly, surrounded by family and friends, on the afternoon of September 15th after a five-year struggle with prostate cancer. The Ramones were one of the pioneers of punk rock in the 1970's and frequently played at the New York City Club CBGB's. (Their only surviving member is now Tommy Ramone.) The Ramones are probably the most influential punk band ever (don't yell at me Sex Pistols people! They were good too but the Ramones did it first) and revolutionized music. As a huge Ramones fan, reading that yet another of one of these iconic musicians had passed on really hurt. Joey, Dee Dee, and Johnny-- we will miss you all.
Sep. 13th, 2004
03:52 pm - Frank Thomas, 1912-2004
Frank Thomas, one of the top animators for the Walt Disney company from the 1930s to the '80s, died on the 8th of Semptember due to declining health following a cerebral hemorrhage.
Famous Disney characters he animated include Thumper, The Queen of Hearts, Cinderella's wicked stepmother, and Captain Hook. He was also a member of the Dixie jazz band Firehouse Five Plus Two, which was formed by musically talented Disney animators. He was close friends with fellow Disney animator Ollie Johnston, and they often collaborated in the Disney films and even after they both retired, writing numerous valuable and informative books on animation that are still read by those interested in the biz. (Including myself.)
Mr. Thomas, you were one of my art heroes. Rest well, because your creations will live and be remembered forever.
Aug. 26th, 2004
Dennis Miles (who was better known as D-Roc, the guitarist for rapper Ice-T's band Body Count) died on August 17th after a long struggle with lymphoma. D-Roc was famous for wearing a hockey mask in public because he didn't want to get caught up in stardom and be recognized by people everywhere. Dying young isn't uncommon in members of Body Count; drummer Beastmaster V died of leukemia in 1996 and bassist Mooseman was killed in 2000 in a drive-by. Ice-T and and guitarist Ernie C are the last members alive (Personally, I'd break up if I were them-- before I got testicular cancer or something) and promise to keep making music together.
Aug. 15th, 2004
05:51 pm - Entry #4 - Fay Wray 1908-2004
Actress Fay Wray was born on a ranch in Canada in 1908, though she grew up in California. She originally appeared in silent films, and was one of the few silent stars who survived the cross over into "talkies." She then became known as the "scream queen" for appearing in many classic horror films such as Mystery at the Wax Museum. However, she is best known for her role as Ann Darrow in the original King Kong, in which she was carried by a big ole monkey to the top of the Empire State Building. After that movie she was typecast, and continued to appear in more seedy horror movies. She was married three times, but had no children. When her third husband became terminally ill, she retired from acting to take care of him. After his death, she had a mild comeback in films that no one today has ever heard of. She was not only an actress, but a screenwriter, a musician, and a playwright. Her autobiography was published in 1989, and it's apparently a rather boring read. A good part of her life was spent going back to New York City and the Empire State Building to celebrate King Kong's anniversary. She died because she was just plain old.
This happened August 9th but I didn't see in the news until today so maybe Ems will let me bend the rules... just a wee bit... please? It gives me joy.