Showing posts with label Obituary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Obituary. Show all posts

December 29, 2016

Debbie Reynolds’ Films

Debbie Reynolds Dead-Life Timeline

Debbie's son Todd Fisher confirmed to E! News that the Hollywood icon had passed away. "She went to be with Carrie. In fact, those were the last words she spoke this morning," he shared. No official cause of death was immediately available.
The heartbreaking loss comes one day after Debbie's daughter Carrie Fisher passed away in a Los Angeles hospital.  Hours after the news broke, Joely expressed her pain in a Twitter post.
"Breaking my silence with a broken heart…the unfathomable loss…the earth is off its axis today," she tweeted. "How dare you take her away from us."

December 27, 2016

Timeline of Carrie Fisher

My Dear Reader,

Actress Carrie Fisher passed away Tuesday, December 27 after suffering a heart attack whilst on a flight to LAX. The iconic actress rose to fame as Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise. Adamfoxie will provide you thanks to its friends and followers a timeline to her life.

Carrie Fisher, Dead at 60


"Star Wars" has lost its most beloved princess. 
Carrie Fisher, best known for her portrayal of the plucky Princess Leia in George Lucas' epic intergalactic movie series, died Tuesday, days after suffering a heart attack on a plane. She was 60 years old. 
"It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 855 this morning," Simon Halls, a representative for Fisher's daughter, said in a statement to NBC News. "She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly."

December 26, 2016

George Michael

When I got a text on Christmas day of George Michael’s death I very sad, was taken back to all those memories of George Michael on my younger days. I immediately let my readers know (those that are email registered got it immediately, others 24 hrs latter: George Michael, Dead at 53") of his passing. I wanted to find out the reason which was not immediately broadcasted but it was indeed a heart attack. Even at 53.

George Michael lived very fast in those similar circles that got other famous performers like Elton John hooked on drugs. He lived a fast life even though after his forced coming out following his arrest at a men’s room in Los Angeles we started to see change. He was terribly embarrassed but instead of just indefinably hiding he faced it head on and with honesty which had failed him before. He started a change in his life which was reflected on his music. He felt he was let down by the hypocrisy of the times including the music and failed bad for his audience particularly his gay audience who already knew he was gay.

The changed continued but he had bouts of depression and drug use. When we do a lot of damage early on with drugs such as cocaine which was the drug of the times we start the destruction of our vascular systems early on which we pay when our bodies start aging and no longer can absorb the damage we are doing or have done.
None of those problems takes away from the talent and humanity of this man.

 wrote on Rolling Stones a good piece about George Michael which I’m including below:

Damn it, George Michael – another beloved pop legend gone in 2016, dying on Christmas at the far-too-young age of 53, or four years younger than Prince. This one really hurts, because George Michael was a true pop visionary, one of the great Eighties glam eccentrics. No one else could have scored a classic like "Faith," his biggest, best and weirdest hit. It's one of the briefest Number One smashes of recent decades – under three minutes. Yet every moment is coded with sexual and stylistic provocations – the stubble, the black leather jacket, the acoustic guitar and handclaps, the breathy gasps and careless whispers, the paranoid lyrics, the way he sabotages his own straight-boy makeover by tricking out that leather jacket with a string of pearls. Even when George was draping himself with scantily clad supermodels, he made it seem like a statement of principle. 

George always took his pop devotion seriously, which is why he redefined the art of pop stardom in the Eighties. For him, every hit meant a radical revision of who he was and what he stood for. So when he rocked that leather jacket in "Faith," it was a renunciation of his frivolous past, just as setting that jacket on fire in his "Freedom '90" video meant no, really, this time he was renouncing his past. But whatever his next disguise was, he made it witty and seductive. This guy got how the erotics of fandom worked. As he sang, "I know all the games you play, because I play them too." 
If you want a glimpse of the original, no-filter George the world first met, check out his bizarre 1984 TV appearance on the BBC chat show 8 Days a Week with Morrissey, both gents sitting side by side to debate pop arcana from Joy Division to breakdancing. George wears a sequined tank top and sparkly earrings, casually toying with his Farrah locks as he speaks. "I literally have never seen a film as bad as Footloose," he laughs. "It was just so atrocious." Yet it's surprising how respectfully he and Morrissey defer to each other – they might be from different scenes, but they share the fierce conviction that these fan questions matter. (Surprise: George is the much bigger Joy Division booster of the two, especially Side Two of Closer.) 

He first arrived with Wham!, the ultimate boy-boy duo – "every little hungry schoolgirl's pride and joy." Of all the 1980s British Invasion upstarts, Wham! paid zero lip service to postpunk artiness – they came on as just two shamelessly ambitious teenage boys in tight shorts performing "Wham Rap! (Enjoy What You Do)." "Success does not go hand in hand with credibility," he told Smash Hits in 1984. "Look at what's happening to the Smiths now." George was schooled in Motown tunecraft – especially Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and Holland-Dozier-Holland. But nobody could guess exactly what Andrew Ridgeley did. In their first big Rolling Stone interview in 1985, they got testy about it. Andrew: "My role is everything people don't see because they're not in pop bands." George: "He just plays the guitar and has a good time."
Either way, Wham! made themselves an easy target. As Dead or Alive's late, great Pete Burns said, "They're just two toothpaste ads with a microphone, aren't they?" (And he meant that as a compliment.) Eighties kids argued over whether Wham! even counted as New Wave; the exclamation point was seen as evidence for both sides. Make It Big cracked America with "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," "Careless Whisper," "Freedom" and "Everything She Wants," where George bitchily arches an eyebrow at his pregnant bride: "You've shown me you can take – you've got some giving to do." Harry Styles ended up getting "Careless Whisper" lyrics tattooed on his feet – "never gonna" on his right foot, "dance again" on his left. Now that's true pop immortality. 
Wham! signed off with two killer farewell hits, "I'm Your Man" and "The Edge of Heaven." But George's solo blockbuster Faith was the apex of everything he wanted and everything he was, from dance-pop glitz to obsessive late-night ballads like "Father Figure." In the infamous "I Want Your Sex" video, George provided MTV with an intro telling the kids at home "This song is not about casual sex" while scrawling "explore monogamy" in lipstick on the bare flesh of his make-up artist. Faith's best song wasn't even one of the hits – the deep cut "Hard Day" was a beatbox funk groove where George overdubbed a duet with himself, chanting "Don't let me down" to a taunting falsetto voice. The twin Georges bicker over sex and money and respect until they break down into their climactic call-and-response: "Do you trust me?" "Yeah."
That inner conflict is all over Faith, with regard to George's hotly debated sexuality. He blasted into the music game at a time when pop stardom practically required boys to pose as gay, but forbade them from coming out in real life. It's insane how the Eighties, now cherished as the queerest of pop decades, was so closeted at the time. Freddie Mercury didn't just deny being gay – he threatened to sue press outlets who dared to suggest otherwise. So Faith was a pop starlet struggling to figure it out for himself in public but spinning off more questions than answers. (As he sings in "I Want Your Sex," there's things that you guess and things that you know.) For him it was complicated by his own inner denial – and then there was teaming up with Elton John for the ridiculous MTV smash "Wrap Her Up," with both men drooling over Marilyn Monroe, Joan Collins and Grace Jones. Last week I was karaoke-ing ("Last Christmas," of course) with a couple of women who grew up in the Eighties – they interrupted the song to give heartfelt speeches about how their whole ideal of teen romance was shaped by the dream that George Michael might be straight. That's part of the role he played in his fans' lives. (And speaking of "Last Christmas" – how did I never hear Taylor Swift's version until last week? Talk about a songwriter built for Tay to interpret. I only wish George Michael lived long enough to cover "New Romantics.") 
But George tired of the hustle faster than anyone would have guessed. Listen Without Prejudice was where he abdicated, despite muted beauties like "Praying for Time." In "Freedom '90," he could only express his quest for artistic authenticity by bringing in Christy Turlington to do his lip-synching for him. His summer-'92 hit "Too Funky" was a slight but welcome comeback in disco-supermodel mode; Older had low-key ballads inspired by a dead lover. It took a 1998 bust in an L.A. park men's room to motivate him to come out, but with typical wit he turned the episode into his "Outside" video, complete with beefcake cops. For his final album in 2014, Symphonica, he teamed up with an orchestra to do a set of lounge songs, some his own ("One More Try," "A Different Corner") and others identified with torch singers like Nina Simone. One of the highlights, as it happens, was "Wild Is the Wind," a song defined by the late David Bowie. 
I once saw a Patti Smith show in October 2004 (with Television opening) where she announced she had a song stuck in her head all day, after hearing it on the radio, so she wanted to give it a try onstage. Then she wailed "Father Figure," a ballad so perfect for her stern voice it was truly frightening. When Patti moaned the words, "If you ever hunger, hunger for me," you could hear this was a song she was always meant to sing. (She covered it a couple more times on tour that month.) The moment was a glorious tribute from one cracked pop devotee to another. And only a moment like that could do justice to the strange, beautiful, timeless spirit of George Michael. 

December 25, 2016

George Michael, Dead at 53

George Michael, who rocketed to stardom with WHAM! and went on to enjoy a long and celebrated solo career lined with controversies, has died, his publicist said Sunday. He was 53.

Michael died at his home in Goring, England. His publicist, Cindi Berger, said he had not been ill. No other details were released.

He enjoyed immense popularity early in his career as a teenybopper idol, delivering a series of hits such as "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," ''Young Guns (Go For It)" and "Freedom." As a solo artist, he developed into a more serious singer and songwriter, lauded by critics for his tremendous vocal range. He sold well over 100 million albums globally, earned numerous Grammy and American Music Awards, and recorded duets with legends like Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Luciano Pavarotti and Elton John.

Throughout his career, his drug use and taste for risky sex brought him into frequent brushes with the law, most famously in 1998 when he was arrested for public lewdness in Los Angeles. Yet, he managed to turn the incident into fodder for a popular song that poked fun at his behavior, and his acknowledgment of his homosexuality at that time made him even more popular with his fans.

Michael, with startling good looks and an easy stage manner, formed the boy band WHAM! with his school friend Andrew Ridgeley in the early 1980s. Helped by MTV, which was an emerging music industry force at the time, the cheerful duo easily crossed the Atlantic to become popular in the United States with Michael, as lead singer, usually the focal point.

He started his solo career shortly before WHAM! split, with the release of the megahit single "Careless Whisper," making a seamless transition. Critics generally viewed his WHAM! songs as catchy but disposable pop and gave his solo efforts far higher marks.

His first solo album, 1987's "Faith," sold more 20 million copies, and he enjoyed several hit singles including the raunchy "I Want Your Sex," which was helped immeasurably by a provocative video that received wide air play on MTV.

The song was controversial not only because of its explicit nature, but also because it was seen as encouraging casual sex and promiscuity at a time when the AIDS epidemic was deepening. Michael and his management tried to tamp down this point of view by having the singer write "Explore Monogamy" on the leg and back of a model in the video.

At the time, Michael had not disclosed his homosexuality, and much of his chart success was based on his sex appeal to young women. His look was raw and provocative, with tight jeans, tight T-shirts, black leather jackets and designer stubble, and his videos pushed the accepted limits with many lingerie-clad models vying for Michael's attentions on screen.

But Michael's situation changed abruptly in 1998 when he was arrested for lewd conduct in a public toilet in Los Angeles after being spotted by a male undercover police officer.

The arrest received international media attention, and seemed for a brief time to jeopardize Michael's stature as a top recording artist.

But instead of making excuses for his behavior, he went on to release a single and video, "Outside," that made light of the charges against him and mocked the Los Angeles police who had arrested him.

Like all of his efforts at the time, it sold in prodigious numbers, helping him put the incident behind him. The arrest also prompted him to speak openly about his sexual orientation.

These years represented the height of Michael's commercial success, which at times was marred by a protracted legal dispute with his record company Sony.

He remained a strong musical force throughout his career, releasing dozens of records and touring to adoring crowds despite a growing number of run-ins with police, many of them stemming from a series of driving-under-the-influence-of-drugs incidents, including several crashes.

Michael was an admitted user of marijuana and prescription sedatives and several times was found slumped over his car's steering wheel after using both at the same time.

His driver's license was finally revoked for five years in 2010 after Michael drove his Land Rover into the side of a Snappy Snap photo shop with so much force that his vehicle dented the wall.

A passer-by remembering Michael's early career wrote the word WHAM on the spot his SUV had hit.

He was also arrested a second time in public toilets — this time in North London in 2008 for drug use, an incident that prompted him to apologize to his fans and promise to get his life in order.

He also offered an apology to "everybody else, just for boring them."

A year earlier, he had told a television interviewer that his problems stemmed from a self-destructive streak and his attention-seeking nature.

He said at a press conference in 2011 that he felt he had let young people down with his misbehavior and had made it easier for others to denigrate homosexuals.

Despite these personal setbacks, Michael's musical performances remained strong even as his material moved farther from the teen tunes that first brought him to stardom.

The Telegraph newspaper in 2011 described a London concert appearance as an impressive event, calling his voice, "A rich, soulful instrument, it's capable of serious emotional heft, expertly matching the confessional tone of his own material."

Michael, with strong Greek-Cypriot roots, was born Georgios Panayiotou in England. He and schoolmate Ridgeley formed a ska band called the Executive when they were just 16 before moving on to form WHAM!

"I wanted to be loved," said Michael of his start in the music field. "It was an ego satisfaction thing."

Michael was active in a number of charities and helped raise money to combat AIDS, help needy children, and support gay rights. He had a long-term relationship with Kenny Goss, but announced onstage in August 2011 that the two had broken up.

UPI, London


January 28, 2016

Amazing Bowie’s Eulogy by Bono on The Rolling Stones

Bowie; Tribute; Bono
David Bowie and Bono at Royal Festival Hall in London in 2002. "I'd like to consider myself David's friend, but I'm more of a fan," Bono told us. Kevin Mazur/Getty

"In our new David Bowie memorial issue, out January 29th, various artists pay tribute to the late singer, songwriter and pop innovator. In this exclusive recollection, Bono reflects on the way Bowie helped him find “doors into ... other worlds."

I've played at being a rock & roll star, but I'm really not one. David Bowie is my idea of a rock star. Right now, I’m in Myanmar, a little cut off from the reaction to David's passing, but I can assure you the sky is a lot darker here without the Starman.

The first time I saw him perform was on Top of the Pops in 1972, singing "Starman." He was so vivid. So luminous. So fluorescent. We had one of the first color TVs on our street, and David Bowie was the reason to have a color TV. I've said he was our Elvis Presley. There are so many similarities: the masculine-feminine duality, the physical mastery of being on a stage. They created original silhouettes, shapes now seen as obvious, that did not exist before.

They both had that otherworldliness. With Bowie, you had this sneaking suspicion that if you hung around him, you might find some doors into those other worlds. In my teenage mind, "Life on Mars?" was much more about, is there life on earth? Are we really alive? Is this really all there is? And some of the doors Bowie opened led to other artists. He opened doors for me into Bertolt Brecht, and William Burroughs — and, by the way, Bruce Springsteen, who he was on very early. And for me, the most important door he opened was the one with Brian Eno behind it.

I'd like to consider myself David's friend, but I'm more of a fan. He came and visited us when we were mixing Achtung Baby — and, of course, he had introduced us to Berlin and to Hansa Studios. We had a playful sort of banter — he would really go there in conversations, and we would even occasionally hurt each other's feelings. He took his daughter to a matinee to see Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, and he sent me the reasons he didn't like it. And everything he said was really helpful, because it was in the early days of the show.

I’ve been talking with Brian Eno about this, because David sent Brian a goodbye note, and he shared the contents with me. It was so amazing, and it’s so funny. It’s a really surreal, defiant type of goodbye letter, a kiss-off. And I was saying to Brian that David had been on our minds. Over Christmas, my oldest daughter Jordan and I were listening to Blackstar a lot. David met her when she was two. He called her “Pixie," and she’s been a lifelong Bowie fan. 

I like Bowie when he’s evenly pulled in the direction of being a pop star and Picasso, where he’s right down the middle. That’s usually my favorite, when the songwriting is disciplined but the recording is not. I love when he’s pulled equally in the directions of art and populism. Blackstar is much more art, so I shouldn’t like it as much as I do. But I really loved it. And so did my daughter Jordan.
I sent him a picture of myself and Jordan toasting him on his birthday this year. I sent him a long email, and I sent him a beautiful poem by Michael Leunig called "Love and Fear" — one line goes, "there are only two feelings/love and fear." I didn’t hear back, but I was told he got it.

Ultimately, as a songwriter and as a performer, your currencies are thoughts and feelings. Some people may have original thoughts, but the musical landscape is not that unique. Bowie's musical landscape affected you in a way that is completely different from all the other music around it. You have to close your eyes, imagine you don’t speak English and just feel the songs and say, "What part of me is being played by those notes?" Or "Who else plays them?"
And in his case, the answer is nobody. That part of me is only played by David Bowie. So that part of me is now a void — I have to find other ways to wake it up. But it woke me up when I was 14.
As told to Brian Hiatt
From The Archives Issue 1254: February 11, 2016 @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook

January 15, 2016

British Actor Alan Rickman Timeline


British Actor Alan Rickman, known best for his work in theater, passed away today at 69 years old. Rickman expanded his fan base from the stage to the box office through his roles as Hans Gruber in 'Die Hard' and Professor Severus Snape in the 'Harry Potter' film series, among a number of other notable film roles. Rickman will appear posthumously in two more films this year, 'Eye in the Sky' and 'Alice Through the Looking Glass.'
Visualization to provide a timeline of Alan Rickman's life and career:

September 20, 2015

33 Yr Old Son of Sheik al-Maktoum Reports his Son Dies of Heart Attack


ABU DHABI: Dubai announced a three-day mourning period after the 33-year-old son of the Gulf emirate’s ruler passed away, the official state news agency WAM said on Saturday.

Sheikh Rashid was the first son of Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid al-Maktoum and his senior wife, Sheikha Hind bint Maktoum bin Juma al-Maktoum.

The United Arab Emirates state news agency WAM said on Saturday that he died of a heart attack. Rashid’s brother Sheikh Hamdan is the crown prince of Dubai. Sheikh Rashid was an avid sportsman and horse racing enthusiast.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed deep sorrow over the sad demise of Sheikh Rashid.

Nawaz prayed for eternal peace of the departed soul and sympathised with the people and the government of the UAE in this hour of grief. President Mamnoon Hussain and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif also expressed deep grief and sorrow over sad demise of Sheikh Rashid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. They prayed for the eternal peace of the departed soul.

Former president Asif Ali Zardari also condoled with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum over the death of his son Sheikh Rashid.

In his condolence message, Zardari said that he was immensely saddened with the news. He said that the death of a close family member and that too of a son was one of the greatest tragedies for a family. He prayed to Almighty Allah to grant eternal peace to the departed soul and strength and fortitude to the royal family to bear this irreparable loss.

Novelist, Actress Jackie Collins Died today of Cancer

Novelist Jackie Collins died of breast cancer on Saturday, according to a statement from her family. She was 77.
"It is with tremendous sadness that we announce the death of our beautiful, dynamic and one-of-a-kind mother," the statement said. "She lived a wonderfully full life and was adored by her family, friends and the millions of readers who she has been entertaining for over four decades. She was a true inspiration, a trail blazer for women in fiction and a creative force. She will live on through her characters but we already miss her beyond words."
Jackie Collins never hit no. 1 on USA TODAY’s Best-Selling Books List (she made it as high as No. 23 in 2013 with The Power Trip) but she was a mainstay on the list with 22 of her books landing in the top 150 from American Star in February 1993 to as recently as June with The Santangelos. Collins authored 32 books, including one cookbook. Several of her best known books were published in the 1980s and include LuckyHollywood Wives and Hollywood Husbands and pre-date USA TODAY's list. All 32 of Collins' novels have appeared on The New York Times bestsellers list. Nine of her novels were adapted into movies or TV mini-series.
When The Santangelos was released in June, Collins said it was the concluding volume in her best-selling series about the Mob clan that began with 1981's Chances.
Collins told People magazine, which first reported her death Saturday, in her final interview Sept. 14 that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer over six years ago, but had chosen to keep the news among family, confiding mainly in her three daughters, 54-year-old Tracy, 48-year-old Tiffany and 46-year-old Rory.
Collins was born in London, along with older sister, actress Joan Collins. Jackie Collins started writing books about the sex lives of her rich and famous characters in the 1960s. She became a celebrity in her own right with 1983's Hollywood Wives. It sold more than 15 million copies, led to sequels and became a hit TV miniseries.
When asked by USA TODAY in 2007 if it's hard to compete with so much sex in books, she said no.  "Sex does not sell books. Characters and relationships do. If you're not interested in the characters, you're not interested in the sex."
As for staying "fresh" as an author, she told USA TODAY: "I'm a popular-culture junkie. I have six TiVos in my house."

September 1, 2015

UK: Lord Montagu Dead at 88 (tried-jailed for being a homosexual)

 Lord Montagu, known for fast cars and for being gay(pic.

The aristocrat whose trial for consensual homosexual acts helped usher in the end of legal discrimination against gay people has died aged 88.

Determined to avoid being defined by his 1954 ordeal, Edward, 3rd Baron Montagu of Beaulieu, succeeded in becoming better known  for founding the National Motor Museum at his stately home of Palace House in Beaulieu, Hampshire.

As the chairman of English Heritage from 1984 to 1992, he also played a major role in the preservation of the nation’s historic houses.

But perhaps his greatest contribution to public life was thrust upon him in 1954 when he was arrested and tried amidst a moral panic about homosexuality.


Outwardly a conventional member of the upper classes, with an Eton and Oxford education and a stint in the Grenadier Guards, Lord Montagu led a double life as a bohemian bisexual. In 1954 he was arrested over the disputed events at a party in a beach hut near his estate.

Lord Montagu, who always maintained he was innocent, said the small gathering with his cousin Michael Pitt-Rivers, and his friend Peter Wildeblood – who bought two RAF men Edward McNally and John Reynolds – had involved nothing more than drinks, dancing and some kissing. But it took place in the summer of 1953, amid Establishment paranoia partly fuelled by the defections of the gay spy Guy Burgess. Conservative Home Secretary Sir David Maxwell Fyfe ordered a “new drive against male vice” that would “rid England of this plague”.

Amid what he later described as a “witch hunt”, Lord Montagu was arrested in January 1954. “I will never forget being woken up at 7am with the police banging on the (bedroom) door,” he recalled. “I was in bed alone, may I say.”

The two RAF men were granted immunity from prosecution and became witnesses, suggesting to the court that the party had, in fact, been something approaching an orgy.


Lord Montagu, Mr Wildeblood and Mr Pitt-Rivers were charged with “conspiracy to incite certain male persons to commit serious offences with male persons” – the first time this charge had been used since the Oscar Wilde trials in 1895. Suspicion grew that the proceedings at Winchester Assizes were really a show trial and the UK’s own anti-homosexual version of  McCarthyism.

Lord Montagu, then 28, was sentenced to 12 months in prison, and his co-defendants were sentenced to 18 months imprisonment. But when  the trio left the court, the  waiting crowd burst into  sympathetic applause. Newspaper editorials spoke of a victimless crime.

Maxwell Fyfe, the Home Secretary who had promised a drive against “male vice”, subsequently felt obliged to appoint a committee under Sir John Wolfenden, the Vice-Chancellor of Reading University, to investigate the law’s treatment of homosexuals. In 1957, this recommended that consenting adult homosexuality should not be a criminal offence. It was a key step towards the legalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales in 1967.

But Lord Montagu did not talk publicly about the case until decades later.

“I didn’t want to be a professional convict,” he said in 2007, “like Lord Archer or [Jonathan] Aitken. If you ever want to recover yourself in the public’s eye, you’ve got to do something else, you’ve got to achieve something. I just felt that the better I could succeed in life, the better I could deal with it.’

So successful was he, that many now know him as the founder of the motor museum that he created in 1952 as a tribute to his father, a pioneering motorist.

He was also a proud custodian of the Beaulieu Estate, which he took over in 1951 at the age of 25 without sufficient income to cover the running costs.

“To any rational being,” he said later. “The wise solution was to get rid of it. For me, however, neither entirely sensible nor rational, that was unthinkable.”

Lord Montagu was first married in 1959 to Belinda Crossley. They had a son, Ralph, in 1961, and a daughter, Mary, in 1964.

Their marriage ended in 1974, after which he wed Fiona Herbert. They had a son, Jonathan, in 1975. His elder son Ralph succeeds to the barony.

May 15, 2015

BB King Dead at 89

Blues Legend B.B. King Dies 89


May 10, 2015

Shirley Temple dead at 85 (cause of death and Video)

April 14, 2015

The “Tin Tin Drum”Gunther Grass Dead at 87

Nobel Prize winner and taboo breaker: The German writer was an unruly spirit throughout his life. Grass was an engaged citizen seen by some as a "moral authority," by others as a hypocrite. He passed away on Monday,April 13.

Günter Grass died of a lung infection on Monday, April 13, in the northern German city of Lübeck, the Steidl publishing house announced.
His life, full of ups and downs, moments of triumph and turmoil, began on October 16, 1927. Günter Grass grew up in a rather humble home: His parents ran a grocery store in Gdansk (then known as Danzig), but their customers were so poor that they couldn't always pay the bills. The Catholic family lived in a very small apartment.
"A childhood between the Holy Spirit and Hitler," is how biographer Michael Jürgs sums up the environment in which Grass spent his childhood. At the age of just 17, he witnessed the horrors of World War II as a member of the Hitler Youth. He later joined the Waffen-SS, a Nazi special forces unit. It would be decades until he would be able to talk openly about these experiences - which later caused a scandal. During his years as a teenager and a young man, he focused on how to survive the war.

A scene from the film version of Grass' breakthrough novel, "The Tin Drum"
Beginnings of a bestselling author

1952: the Federal Republic of Germany was still in its infancy, and so was the intellectual development of Grass. He was interested in art, studied sculpture and graphic design, joined a jazz band, and traveled a lot. In 1956, he settled down in Paris for some time, where he lived a rather modest life together with his first wife.
That's where his brilliant career as an author began. Grass produced his first novel "The Tin Drum" in 1959, sparking an uproar in the rather conservative society of the former West Germany before it became a huge international success. The book was translated into numerous languages and adapted into a movie. Exactly four decades later, its writer received the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Creative and productive
Günter Grass wrote dramas, poems, and especially fiction, the list of his works is very long, among them "Cat and Mouse" and "Dog Years," which, together with "The Tin Drum" were part of his famous "Gdansk Trilogy;" "Local Anesthetic," "The Flounder," "The Rat," "The Call of the Toad," and "Crabwalk." Most of his works dealt with political conditions and social upheaval, like the sinking of a refugee ship in the Baltic Sea in 1945, the role of intellectuals in the uprising in former East Germany in 1953, the student protests of 1968, federal election campaigns and political relations between the East and West.

As a native of Danzig, reconciliation between Germany and Poland always remained a particularly important topic to Grass. Despite some critics lamenting that Grass' books were too heavy and political in nature, all of his works became very successful and sparked heated debates among literary circles in Germany. Yet none of them ever managed to match the enthusiasm created by the drumming Oskar Matzerath of Grass' very first novel, "The Tin Drum."
Morality and politics
Günter Grass was a multi-talented artist, not only a novelist and poet, but also a sculptor and designer who occasionally also designed the covers of his own books. Considered by some as a moral authority and by others as a radical leftist, his political views divided the nation. Since 1961, he committed himself to the Social Democrats (SPD) without being a party member, and he supported Willy Brandt in his election campaign in 1969. Later on, he did join the SPD - only to give up his membership a few years later in a row over alterations of the right to asylum.
Grass always remained a very critical observer, an independent leftist who, making use of his reputation, interfered in political issues now and then. He spoke out against the deportation of Kurds, for the compensation of former forced laborers during the Nazi era, for human rights, for persecuted writers and against wars.

In 2006, he saw himself forced to admit that, during the Second World War, he himself had not been altogether innocent. His former membership in the notorious Waffen-SS, mentioned in his 2006 autobiography "Peeling the Onion," caused a stir both in Germany and abroad, besmirching his reputation as a moral authority. Suddenly he who had always advocated stringently dealing with Germany’s Nazi past was accused of being a hypocrite. 
Deutschland Günter Grass Die Blechtrommel

A poem as a provocation

A rift seemed to grow between the writer and the public, a moral authority holding up a mirror to the Germans was no longer needed. Grass caused yet another international uproar in April 2012 after publishing a text entitled "What must be said." The text, which he labeled a poem, contained thinly veiled criticism of Israeli policy with Grass warning of an Israeli nuclear strike against Iran and calling the state of Israel, its nuclear capabilities and its occupation policy a threat to world peace.

The pamphlet sparked outrage. Grass, accused of anti-Semitism, became persona non grata in Israel. Nevertheless, he remained a role model throughout his lifetime - not least for his younger fellow writers. Author and critic Uwe Tellkamp considered him “one of the strongest narrative powers in German literature," while fellow author Moritz Rinke casually referred to him as "perhaps the most interesting and most versatile dinosaur."
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March 30, 2015

Dennis Hopper Dead at 74 in 2010 “The Last of the Hell Raiser is Dead”


Dennis Hopper, the hard-living Hollywood star with acclaimed roles in films including Apocalypse Now and Easy Rider, died yesterday of prostate cancer. He passed away at his home in Venice, California, at the age of 74.
He was surrounded by his family and friends and died peacefully at around 9am local time. Hopper had been taken ill last September with serious flu-like symptoms. Doctors quickly discovered he had cancer which then spread to other parts of his body.
Hopper's career was one of the most long-lived in an industry which is notorious for chewing up its stars. It began in the era of the 1950s with a role opposite James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause, flowered in art films of the 1960s and 1970s, and then transitioned into the modern era of the blockbuster, as he specialised in psychotic villains. "Great actor. Great director. Great American. Terrible loss. God bless the wild man with the gentle soul. May he rest in peace," wrote John Nolte, editor-in-chief of the Big Hollywood blog. "We all knew this was coming, but that does not lessen the blow."
Certainly not every role Hopper took was a great one. Especially towards the end of his career, he appeared in many movies that did little to impress critics or audiences. In his filmography cinematic duds such as Hell Ride and The Crow: Wicked Prayer sit alongside true classics including Blue VelvetGiant, and Cool Hand Luke and Speed. But Hopper's wild-eyed, scenery-chewing performances often lifted the quality of any B-movie, reminding viewers that he was one of the most watchable of Hollywood stars. "There are moments that I've had some real brilliance, you know," he reflected recently.  "But I think they are moments. And sometimes, in a career, moments are enough."
His private life was as variable as his professional one. He married five times and fathered four children. One of his marriages, to his second wife, Michelle Phillips, a singer in the group The Mamas and the Papas, lasted just eight days in 1970. Of the experience Hopper famously quipped: "Seven of those days were pretty good. The eighth day was the bad one." His final marriage, to actress Victoria Duffy took place in 1996. The pair were undergoing a bitter divorce when he died. So bitter, in fact, that a dreadfully ill Hopper sought a restraining order against his spouse even though he was dying and virtually bedridden.
Hopper's private life was often blighted by tales of hard-drinking and drug-taking. He confessed that he used cocaine in order to sober himself up so he could binge on more alcohol. His problems and lifestyle became the stuff of Hollywood legend – or nightmare. He once spent time on a New Mexico commune drinking spirits, taking drugs and firing machine guns. He was committed to a psychiatric ward in 1984 after experiencing violent hallucinations.
Nothing in Hopper's personal life could overshadow a handful of truly great screen performances. In 1969's Easy Rider, which he directed, co-wrote and co-starred in, Hopper explored the hippy counter-culture and the reaction to the Vietnam war. He dubbed the film his "state of the union" message and it was a roaring critical success, paving the way for the New Hollywood of the 1970s and directors such as Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola. Then in Apocalypse Now Hopper seemed to blend reality and fiction with his portrayal of a burned-out and insane war photographer. Finally, Hopper's portrayal of a sadistic brute, Frank Booth, in David Lynch's surreal Blue Velvet introduced the actor to an entirely new generation of fans.
He was born in Dodge City, Kansas, in 1936. After the second world war, the Hoppers moved to the relatively urbane metropolis of Kansas City, Missouri, where Hopper went to Saturday art classes. But after they moved again, to San Diego in California, Hopper was better able to express his interest in the arts.
He hung out with actors and actresses and eventually won a role playing opposite James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause. The young heart-throb, whose life was to be tragically cut short, left a major impression on Hopper. Dean's commitment to the art of acting profoundly influenced Hopper and left him reluctant to bend to the whims of directors – something that often caused friction throughout his career and, more than once, saw him written off as impossible to work with. Aside from the drug problems, he often refused to take a director's advice and instructions and wanted to go his own way. In one film, a western directed by Henry Hathaway, Hopper botched 87 takes of a simple line after disagreeing over how to play a scene. "Much of Hollywood found Hopper a pain in the neck," wrote critic-historian David Thomson.
In the end Hopper's career spanned more than five decades and 100 films – a huge triumph by anyone's standards. Last March Hopper, who received two Oscar nominations, got his own star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame. During the ceremony, a frail-looking Hopper, with a bandage on his forehead, told an audience of fans and Hollywood industry figures: “Everything I learned in my life, I learned from you."

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