Showing posts with label Gay Actor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gay Actor. Show all posts

January 27, 2017

We Lost John Hurt to Death at 77



I am so sorry to report that our companion of many years and many battles is died.
PHIL MCCAUSLAND reported on NBC News:


Acting legend John Hurt, who appeared in "Midnight Express," "The Elephant Man" and "Nineteen Eighty-Four" among many other films, has died at the age of 77, his publicist said. 
A cause of death was not immediately disclosed. "The story is sadly true," publicist Charles McDonald said Friday, adding that a statement would be issued later. Hurt was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2015. 
With a career that stretches back more than 60 years, Hurt has long been a familiar face to moviegoers. In recent years, audiences recognized him as wandmaker Garrick Olivander in the Harry Potter films, as the British dictator in "V for Vendetta" and as the disturbed Harold "Ox" Oxley in "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." 
But Hurt is perhaps best known for his role that came some years ago. His role in "Midnight Express" earned him an Oscar nomination and his work as David Lynch's "The Elephant Man" in 1980 and as the main character in "Nineteen Eighty-Four" provided him global name recognition.  
In total Hurt was nominated for two Oscars and won four BAFTA Awards and a Golden Globe Award. In 2015, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. 
But he wasn't only famous for his live action roles. 
Hurt had a unique voice that provided him a rich voice acting career. From the animated films "Watership Down" and "The Lord of the Rings," both made in 1978, to the popular BBC series "Merlin," Hurt's voice built entire worlds for audiences. 
Hurt also held the dubious honor for the most onscreen deaths of any actor, according to a 2014 article by the Nerdist

Image: Actor John Hurt, seen here as he appears in the movie 'Alien', in 1979.

Actor John Hurt, seen here as he appears in the movie 'Alien', in 1979. Stanley Bielecki Movie Collection / Getty Images

Movie fans might best remember such a role's outcome in the 1979 film "Alien." The first character to be killed by the creature, Hurt was impregnated with an alien embryo that later burst out of his chest during a notable dinner scene. 
He amusingly reprised the role in the 1987 Mel Brooks spoof "Spaceballs" with the self-parodying line, "Oh no, not again." 
Fans of the popular BBC show "Dr. Who" will remember Hurt's important role as the War Doctor. 
The popular sci-fi magazine dedicated to the longtime British series, mourned Hurt's death. 
 Hurt was diagnosed with cancer in 2015 and was believed to be clear of the disease later that year. In an interview at the time, the actor was philosophical. 
"I can't say I worry about mortality, but it's impossible to get to my age and not have a little contemplation of it," Hurt told the Radio Times in August 2015. "We're all just passing time, and occupy our chair very briefly." 
Hurt most recently appeared in the 2016 film "Jackie" alongside Natalie Portman about John F. Kennedy's wife Jackie Onassis. He will next be in the 2017 film "Darkest Hour" as British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, which is slated to come out in November.

December 14, 2016

Johnny Mathis On Being Gay and His Entertainment Life from Another Era



Mathis with Johnny Carson in 1979.
 Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images



At his penthouse in Beverly Hills, Johnny Mathis has no objection to a 9 a.m. interview — he has been up for five hours already, and at the gym for a long-standing regime of pulley stretching and leg lifts. “Anything to get the juices flowing and also get me into my stage clothes,” says the 81-year-old singer. “I look at myself in the mirror and go, ‘Well, not bad,’ ” he adds with a laugh.

Mathis has been donning those stage clothes all year, on a tour marking the 60th anniversary of his debut album. He is a singular vocalist whose classic hits from the 1950s — “Chances Are,” “Misty,” “It’s Not for Me to Say” — established an enduring style of  pop romance. In Barry Levinson’s Oscar-nominated 1982 film Diner, set in the postwar era, the character Eddie Simmons memorably asks his pals, “When you’re making out, which do you prefer, Sinatra or Mathis?”
A native of Texas, raised in California and the fourth of seven children, Mathis caught his father’s passion for music at a young age. He began vocal lessons, including classical and operatic styles, at age 13. Yet, in high school, he also was talented enough at track and field to get an athletic scholarship to San Francisco State University and, later, an invitation to try out for the U.S. team heading to the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia.

Around that same time, however, while performing at a San Francisco nightclub, Mathis caught the ear of George Avakian, head of jazz A&R at Columbia Records, who was vacationing in the city. “Have found phenomenal 19-year-old boy who could go all the way,” Avakian telegrammed his label. “Send blank contracts.”

In the six decades since, Mathis has charted 43 hit singles and sent 74 titles, including numerous Christmas releases, onto the Billboard 200. In 2003, The Recording Academy presented Mathis with a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement. It was recognition for an artist who has long sung of romance— but also has supported civil rights and gay rights, from singing with activists at the Salute to Freedom concert in Birmingham, Ala., in 1963 to acknowledging his own sexual orientation two decades later.
You were part of a generation of racial pioneers in pop in the ’50s who crossed over to white fans. What’s your perspective on Black Lives Matter and race relations today?

The world changes. The world is completely different now from when I was growing up. Back then you didn’t say things like they say now out loud, about race and things. But that’s just progress. When are we going to find out that we’re all the same, we’re all absolutely, without a doubt, the same? It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white or straight or gay.

You’ve seen a lot of change in attitudes toward being gay since you were getting death threats in the 1980s. [The threats followed a 1982 interview in Us Weekly in which Mathis was quoted as saying, “Homosexuality is a way of life I’ve become accustomed to.”]

Things take time. People are stubborn about what they perceive to be the right thing or the wrong thing, and it takes a long time to filter this human condition. There’s a waiting period until people catch up. But if you have patience — which it takes when someone thinks differently from you — everybody always catches up. That patience is a wonderful virtue.

You have declined to talk about your own relationships, and it seems that you prefer to lead by your presence rather than speaking out.

I’ve been very happy to see some of the success that I’ve had along the way in opening the eyes of people, especially people who listen to music.

Looking back, what do you remember about George Avakian discovering you at San Francisco’s 440 Club?

I didn’t realize he was in the audience, and unfortunately he had a bad case of poison oak or poison ivy. So he was not in a very good mood. But he heard me sing and said, “I think you’re ready to make your first recording.” George is still with us; He’s now 102 years old, and I saw him not too long ago. He counseled me for many years.

Gary Graff

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