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« Reply #330 on: April 19, 2012, 07:56:03 PM »

Man At Work Flautist dies at 56,I think.His famous song was was I come from a Land Down under.
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« Reply #331 on: April 19, 2012, 09:00:54 PM »

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/reports-say-greg-ham-of-iconic-australian-band-men-at-work-found-dead-in-melbourne-home/2012/04/19/gIQAwxUJUT_story.html

Men at Work flautist, saxophonist Greg Ham found dead in Melbourne home; circumstances unclear



By Associated Press, Updated: Thursday, April 19, 9:31 PM

SYDNEY — Greg Ham, a member of the iconic Australian band Men at Work whose saxophone and flute punctuated its biggest hits, was found dead in his Melbourne home on Thursday.

Victoria state police confirmed that the deceased was the 58-year-old resident of the house but did not identify him by name, in keeping with local practice. Ham was 58 and neighbors said he was the lone occupant of the house.

Two concerned friends who had not heard from Ham in some time found the body after going to check on him, police said. Police declined to say how Ham died or whether the circumstances were suspicious.

“There are a number of unexplained aspects to it which has caused our attendance here today, and we’re assisting the local detectives to determine what has occurred,” Detective Senior Sergeant Shane O’Connell told reporters.

Men at Work frontman Colin Hay issued a statement expressing deep love for his longtime friend, whom he met in 1972 when they were seniors in high school. Hay recalled decades of shared experiences with Ham — from appearing on “Saturday Night Live,” to flying through dust storms over the Grand Canyon, to getting lost in the rural Australian countryside.

“We played in a band and conquered the world together,” Hay said. “I love him very much. He’s a beautiful man. The saxophone solo on ‘Who Can It Be Now’ was the rehearsal take. We kept it, that was the one. He’s here forever.”

Ham was perhaps best known for playing the famous flute riff in the band’s smash 1980s hit “Down Under.” But the beloved tune came under intense scrutiny in recent years after the band was accused of stealing the catchy riff from the children’s campfire song “Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree.” The publisher of “Kookaburra” sued Men at Work, and in 2010 a judge ruled the band had copied the melody. The group was ordered to hand over a portion of its royalties.

Ham later said the controversy had left him devastated, and he worried it would tarnish his legacy.

“It has destroyed so much of my song,” he told Melbourne’s The Age newspaper after the court ruling. “It will be the way the song is remembered, and I hate that. I’m terribly disappointed that that’s the way I’m going to be remembered — for copying something.”

On Thursday, neighbor John Nassar praised Ham, whom he had known for about 30 years.

“He was a lovely human being, never judgmental about anyone,” Nassar told reporters. “He was a very friendly human being.”

Ham also played the saxophone and keyboards, and more recently worked as a guitar teacher.

“Down Under” and the album it was on, “Business As Usual,” topped the Australian, American and British charts in early 1983. The song remains an unofficial anthem for Australia and was ranked fourth in a 2001 music industry survey of the best Australian songs. Men at Work won the 1983 Grammy Award for Best New Artist.

Australian rock historian Glenn Baker, who was Australian editor of Billboard magazine when Men At Work was at its peak touring the world, recalled Ham as bursting with energy during the band’s glory days.

“When they came back (from tour), it was generally Greg who I would interview because he’d tell the best stories and he was effervescent, energetic, good fun, good-humored and good-natured,” Baker said. “He was having a great time.”
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« Reply #332 on: May 06, 2012, 12:44:24 PM »

 George Lindsey, known as Goober Pyle on 'The Andy Griffith Show,' dies



NASHVILLE, Tenn. –  George Lindsey, who spent nearly 30 years as the grinning Goober on "The Andy Griffith Show" and "Hee Haw," has died. He was 83.

A press release from Marshall-Donnelly-Combs Funeral Home in Nashville said Lindsay died early Sunday morning after a brief illness. Funeral arrangements were still being made.

Lindsey was the beanie-wearing Goober on "The Andy Griffith Show" from 1964 to 1968 and its successor, "Mayberry RFD," from 1968 to 1971. He played the same jovial character -- a service station attendant -- on "Hee Haw" from 1971 until it went out of production in 1993.

"America has grown up with me," Lindsey said in an Associated Press interview in 1985. "Goober is every man; everyone finds something to like about ol' Goober."

He joined "The Andy Griffith Show" in 1964 when Jim Nabors, portraying Gomer Pyle, left the program. Goober Pyle, who had been mentioned on the show as Gomer's cousin, thus replaced him.

"At that time, we were the best acting ensemble on TV. The scripts were terrific. Andy is the best script constructionist I've ever been involved with. And you have to lift your acting level up to his; he's awfully good."

Although he was best known as Goober, Lindsey had other roles during a long TV career. Earlier, he often was a "heavy" and once shot Matt Dillon on "Gunsmoke."

His other TV credits included roles on "M * A * S * H," "The Wonderful World of Disney," "CHIPs," "The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour," "The Real McCoys," "Rifleman," "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour," "Twilight Zone" and "Love American Style."

Reflecting on his career, he said in 1985: "There's a residual effect of knowing I've made America laugh. I'm not the only one, but I've contributed something."

He had movie roles, too, appearing in "Cannonball Run II" and "Take This Job and Shove It." His voice was used in animated Walt Disney features including "The Aristocats," "The Rescuers" and "Robin Hood."

Lindsey was born in Jasper, Ala., the son of a butcher. He received a bachelor of science degree from Florence State Teachers College (now the University of North Alabama) in 1952 after majoring in physical education and biology and playing quarterback on the football team.

After spending three years in the Air Force, he worked one year as a high school baseball and basketball coach and history teacher near Huntsville, Ala.

In 1956, he attended the American Theatre Wing in New York City and began his professional career on Broadway, appearing in the musicals "All American" and "Wonderful Town."

He moved to Hollywood in the early 1960s and then to Nashville in the early 1990s.

"There's no place in the United States I can go that they don't know me. They may not know me, but they know the character," he told The Tennessean in 1980.

At that time, he said the Griffith show "was the first soft rural comedy with a moral."

"We physically and mentally became those people when we got to the set."

He did some standup comedy -- ending the show by tap and break dancing.

One of his jokes:

"A football coach, holding a football, asks his quarterback, `Son, can you pass this?' The player says, `Coach, I don't even think I can swallow it."'

Lindsey devoted much of his spare time to raising funds for the Alabama Special Olympics. For 17 years, he sponsored a celebrity golf tournament in Montgomery, Ala., that raised money for the mentally disabled.

The University of North Alabama awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1992, and he was affectionately called "Doctor Goober" by acquaintances after that.

http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2012/05/06/george-lindsey-known-as-goober-pyle-on-andy-griffith-show-dies/?intcmp=features
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« Reply #333 on: May 11, 2012, 02:45:29 PM »

Carroll Shelby, famed for fast living and faster cars, dies at 89




By Shav Glick and Jerry Hirsch

May 11, 2012, 1:04 p.m.

Carroll Shelby, the charismatic Texan who parlayed a short-lived racing career into a specialized business building high-performance, street-legal cars, died Thursday. He was 89.

Shelby died at Baylor Hospital in Dallas, according to an announcement by his company, Carroll Shelby Licensing. A cause was not disclosed.

He led a colorful, outsized life that touched virtually every corner of the automotive world, said Leslie Kendall, curator of the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.

“He was the only individual to influence the designs of all three major American automakers. Everything he touched became legendary,” Kendall said.  “Even recently he was working on an experimental engine.”

Living in the fast lane was a matter of fact for Shelby, who designed the cult-classic Shelby Cobras and Ford’s Shelby Mustang.

He raced cars. He had a heart transplant from a Las Vegas gambler in 1990 and a kidney transplant from a son in 1996. He was married seven times.

While trying to fend off an anticipated heart attack, he drove in a 200-mile race in 1960 with nitroglycerin pills underneath his tongue, finishing third at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey.

“If I hadn't slowed down each time I popped one of those pills, I might have won,” he said, then announced his retirement as a driver later that year after clinching the U.S. Road Racing championship series at Riverside International Speedway.

Five years earlier he had replaced a plastic cast on his broken elbow with a fiberglass one and had his hand taped to the steering wheel so he could help Phil Hill drive a Ferrari to second place in a 12-hour race at Sebring, Fla.

“Carroll Shelby is one of the most recognized names in performance car history, and he's been successful at everything he's done,” said Edsel B. Ford II, member of the board of directors of Ford Motor Co.and great-grandson of Henry Ford, founder of the company. “Whether helping Ford dominate the 1960s racing scene, to building some of the most famous Mustangs, his enthusiasm and passion for great automobiles over six decades has truly inspired everyone who worked with him.”

Shelby most recently collaborated with the automaker on the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang, which has 650 horsepower, making it the most powerful production V-8 engine in the world.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-carroll-shelby-20120511,0,7384989.story
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« Reply #334 on: May 17, 2012, 10:50:48 AM »

Disco queen Donna Summer dead at 63





Legendary disco singer Donna Summer died Thursday after a battle with cancer, sources close to the singer confirmed to FoxNews.com. She was 63.

"Early this morning, we lost Donna Summer Sudano, a woman of many gifts, the greatest being her faith," family of the singer said in a statement.

"While we grieve her passing, we are at peace celebrating her extraordinary life and her continued legacy. Words truly can't express how much we appreciate your prayers and love for our family at this sensitive time."

Often called the Queen of Disco, Summer was born LaDonna Adrian Gaines on Dec. 31, 1948, in Boston. She began singing early in the church choir and by her teens had formed several musical groups.

Her sound was a mix of genres, and helped her earn Grammy Awards in the dance, rock, R&B and inspirational categories.

Her first album, "Lady of the Night," arrived in 1974 in Europe, and 1975's "Love to Love You Baby" brought her worldwide fame.

In the 1978 disco film "Thank God it's Friday," her song "Last Dance" won Summer her first Grammy.

Summer's soaring vocals on "She Works Hard for the Money" brought her a Best Pop Vocal Performance Award in 1984.

In the mid-1980s, Summer encountered controversy when she was accused of making anti-gay comments related to AIDS. She claimed she had been misquoted but not before thousands of her records were returned and dance clubs boycotted her music.

Summer holds the record for most consecutive double albums to hit number one on the Billboard charts (three) and was the first female to have four number one singles in a 12-month period: three as a solo artist and one as a duo with Barbra Streisand, CBS said.

She released her last album, "Crayons," in 2008. She also performed on "American Idol" that year with its top female contestants.

http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2012/05/17/disco-queen-donna-summer-dead-at-63-report-says/
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« Reply #335 on: May 20, 2012, 06:46:28 PM »

Bee Gees co-founder Robin Gibb dies at 62



Robin Gibb, one of the three Bee Gees whose falsetto harmonies powered such hits as "Stayin' Alive" and "Night Fever" and defined the flashy disco era died Sunday, his representative said. He was 62.

Gibb's family announced in a statement that "Robin passed away today following his long battle with cancer and intestinal surgery," Gibb's representative Doug Wright said.

"The family have asked that their privacy is respected at this very difficult time," it said.

The band of Gibb brothers was famed for the influential 1977 "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack that became one of the fastest-selling albums of all time with its innovative fusion of harmony and pulsing dance floor rhythms.

The album remains a turning point in popular music history, ending the hard rock era and ushering in a time when dance music ruled supreme.

"Saturday Night Fever" -- actually a compilation album featuring the Bee Gees but including songs by other performers -- represented the pinnacle of Gibb's career, but he enjoyed more than 40 years of prominence as a Bee Gee, as a solo artist, and as a songwriter and producer for other artists.

Gibb was for decades a familiar figure on the pop stage, starting out in the 1960s when the Bee Gees were seen as talented Beatles copycats. They sounded so much like the Beatles at first that there were strong rumors that the Bee Gees' singles were really the Beatles performing under another name.

Many late-'60s bands were quickly forgotten, but the Bee Gees transformed themselves into an enduring A-List powerhouse with the almost unbelievable, and certainly unexpected, success of the song "Stayin' Alive" and others from the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack. The movie it accompanied also catapulted the young John Travolta to cinematic stardom.

The Bee Gees went on to sell more than 200 million records and had a long string of successful singles, clearing their way to induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. There are more than 6,000 cover versions of their songs -- a substantial testament to their continued popularity.

The name Bee Gees was short for Brothers Gibb. They consisted of Barry Gibb, the eldest, and twins Robin Gibb and Maurice Gibb, who died of intestinal and cardiac problems in 2003.

The brothers' three-part harmonies became their musical signature, particularly in the disco phase, when Barry's matchless falsetto often dominated, and they were renowned for their wide-ranging songwriting and producing skills.

The Gibbs were born in England on the Isle of Man, an island in the Irish Sea, but moved to Australia with their parents in 1958 when they were still young and began their musical career there. They had been born into a musical family, with a father who was a drummer and bandleader and a mother who liked to sing.

After several hits in Australia, their career started to really take off when they returned to England in 1967 and linked up with promoter Robert Stigwood.

After several hits and successful albums, Robin Gibb left the group in 1969 after a series of disagreements, some focusing on whether he or Barry should be lead vocalist. He released some successful solo material -- most notably "Saved by the Bell" -- before rejoining his brothers in 1970 and scoring a major hit with "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart."

The Gibbs then suffered some slack years -- searching for a style that could sustain them in the post-Beatles era -- and Barry Gibb started experimenting with falsetto vocals, first on backup, and then in the lead position.

The brothers were at a low point when they went into a French studio to try to come up with some songs for the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack at the urging of Stigwood.

The success of those tunes -- closely linked to the popularity of the movie, and the power of the disco movement -- changed their lives forever, giving them a string of number one hits.

After several years of chart success, the Gibbs spent much of the 1980s writing songs and producing records for other artists, working closely with top talents such as Barbra Streisand, Dionne Warwick, Diana Ross and Dolly Parton. They also continued touring and releasing their own records.

Gibb also released more solo albums, including "Secret Agent," during this period.

The band continued in the 1990s, gaining recognition for their body of work with induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Then came Maurice's sudden death in 2003. The surviving brothers announced that the name Bee Gees would be retired with Maurice Gibbs' death, although Robin and Barry did collaborate on projects and Robin Gibb continued his solo career and extensive touring despite mounting health problems.

Robin Gibb had to cancel several engagements in 2011, including one with Prime Minister David Cameron, and he showed an alarming weight loss on his rare public appearances. He was hospitalized briefly in 2011 with what doctors said was an inflamed colon, and had several intestinal surgeries to remove growths.

One of his final projects was a classical requiem with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra that he co-wrote with his son RJ to mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.

Younger brother Andy Gibb, who also enjoyed considerable chart success as a solo artist, had died in 1988 just after turning 30. He suffered from an inflamed heart muscle attributed to a severe viral infection.

Robin Gibb remained emotionally attached to the Isle of Man, keeping a house there as well as homes in rural Oxfordshire, England, and Miami. He was a vegan who did not drink alcohol.

He also became involved with numerous charities and worked to establish a permanent memorial to the veterans of Britain's World War II Bomber Command and recorded songs honoring British veterans.

Gibb is survived by his second wife, Dwina, and four children, as well as his older brother, fellow Bee Gee Barry Gibb, and his sister Lesley Evans, who lives in Australia.

http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2012/05/20/bee-gees-co-founder-robin-gibb-dies-at-62/


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« Reply #336 on: May 23, 2012, 10:07:03 AM »

Inventor of the TV remote dies

By John D. Sutter, CNN

(CNN) -- The inventor of the TV remote, Eugene Polley, died on Sunday at 96.

After his death was announced on Tuesday, the Internet paused -- get it? -- to remember the man and the wireless television remote control, which ushered in the era of channel surfing and couch potatoes.

Some tributes were humorous. Others were fawning.

"Gush all you want about Facebook, Twitter and other recent tech innovations. I'd stack Polley and his TV remote against all of them," wrote David Lazarus at LATimes.com. "After all, which would you be more willing to give up -- Facebook or your remote? ... Thought so."

Polley, who died of "natural causes," according to a news release, invented Zenith's "Flash-Matic" wireless remote control, which was introduced in 1955 and was heralded as the first of its kind. "It used a flashlight-like device to activate photocells on the television set to change channels," the Zenith news release says.

In the 1950s, the mechanics of using a remote were a little clunky:

"The viewer used a highly directional flashlight to activate the four control functions, which turned the picture and sound on and off and changed channels by turning the tuner dial clockwise and counterclockwise," Zenith says.

Rosa Golijan from MSNBC writes that eccentricities always have been part of the remote control and its odd history:

"Because the remote shined visible light, TVs could be confused by other light sources. In spite of its quirkiness, the Flash-Matic was a revolution, and the reason Polley was bestowed with humorous titles ranging from 'the founding father of the couch potato' to 'the czar of zapping' to 'the beach boy of channel surfing.' "

And an advertisement from that era underscores just how new this invention was.

"A flash of magic light from across the room (no wires, no cords) turns set on, off or changes channels," one ad says, "and you remain in your easy chair!"

Born in Chicago, Polley had a long career as an engineer at Zenith, where he worked his way up from the stockroom. His inventions, mostly in the field of television, earned 18 U.S. patents.

Technology analysts, commentators and remote users are using the occasion of Polley's death to celebrate his invention and tease a bit about its legacy.

"Thanks for the belly Eugene," someone wrote on the tech blog Gizmodo's Facebook page. "Just kidding. Great invention."

Others chose to focus on the way Polley, who won a Emmy Award from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for his creation, changed the world with the invention.

The TV remote was the precursor to interactive entertainment -- and it's part of the reason we're able to navigate digital content so freely, says The Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal.

"The new device meant people could change channels quickly and easily from the comfort of their sectionals, and that affordance meant that television stations could not continue to sell advertising or deliver programming the way that they had before when it was more difficult to change the channel," he writes. "I do not think it is an accident that we started channel surfing (1986) before we started surfing the Web."

As if taking a cue from that thought, one Twitter user wrote:

"R.I.P. Eugene Polley, inventor of the TV remote control. Please honor the man by reading this tweet for at least 5 seconds before scrolling."

Gizmodo also muses on the post-remote world:

"Cordless control allowed audiences a vastly new experience of consuming television: For the first time ever, they could switch programs without getting up to turn the dial. No longer were programs endured simply because they were too lazy to get up off the couch. Commercials could be avoided by switching channels, or muted, with just the press of a button. 'Channel surfing' become a thing."

http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/22/tech/innovation/tv-remote-inventor-dies/index.html?hpt=hp_c3
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« Reply #337 on: June 03, 2012, 09:44:31 AM »

http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-mew-richard-dawson-obit-20120603,0,3441324.story

Family Feud' TV host Richard Dawson dies at 79





June 3, 2012, 7:29 a.m.

Former "Family Feud" TV game-show host Richard Dawson has died in California at age 79.

The British entertainer also was among the prisoner-of-war camp schemers in the 1960s TV comedy "Hogan's Heroes" and kissed thousands of women during his run on "Family Feud," as contestants tried to guess the most popular answers to poll questions such as "What do people give up when they go on a diet?"

On his last "Family Feud" in 1985, the studio audience honored Dawson with a standing ovation, and he responded: "Please sit down. I have to do at least 30 minutes of fun and laughter and you make me want to cry."
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« Reply #338 on: June 04, 2012, 05:07:18 PM »

Popularizer of 'slacks,' Joseph Haggar Jr., dies at 87




Former Haggar Clothing Co. chief executive Joseph Haggar Jr., whose company popularized casual pants called "slacks," and who helped clothe President Lyndon B. Johnson, has died at his Dallas home at age 87.

A family statement said Haggar died Friday. His daughter, Lydia Novakov, told The Dallas Morning News that her father died at his Dallas home of heart disease.

The Dallas-based apparel maker was founded by Hagar's father, a Lebanese immigrant, in 1926. Young Joe Haggar joined the family company at age 14 and, except for World War II service and study at the University of Notre Dame, remained with the company until his retirement in 1995.

Among LBJ's recently released telephone recordings were calls he made to Haggar to order slacks.

A Wednesday memorial Mass is scheduled.


http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2012/06/04/popularizer-lacks-joseph-haggar-jr-dies-at-87/
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« Reply #339 on: June 06, 2012, 01:30:31 PM »

Sci-fi legend Ray Bradbury dies

By Alan Duke, CNN



Los Angeles (CNN) -- Science fiction author Ray Bradbury, whose imagination yielded classic books such as "Fahrenheit 451," "The Martian Chronicles" and "Something Wicked This Way Comes," has died at 91, his publisher said Wednesday.

Bradbury "died peacefully, last night, in Los Angeles, after a lengthy illness," HarperCollins said in a written statement.

Bradbury's books and 600 short stories predicted a variety of things, including the emergence of ATMs and live broadcasts of fugitive car chases.

"In a career spanning more than seventy years, Ray Bradbury has inspired generations of readers to dream, think, and create," the statement said. "A prolific author of hundreds of short stories and close to fifty books, as well as numerous poems, essays, operas, plays, teleplays, and screenplays, Bradbury was one of the most celebrated writers of our time."

Bradbury wrote the screenplay for John Huston's classic film adaptation of "Moby Dick." He adapted 65 of his stories for television's "The Ray Bradbury Theater" and won an Emmy for his teleplay of "The Halloween Tree."

"In my later years I have looked in the mirror each day and found a happy person staring back." he wrote in a book of essays published in 2005. "Occasionally I wonder why I can be so happy. The answer is that every day of my life I've worked only for myself and for the joy that comes from writing and creating. The image in my mirror is not optimistic, but the result of optimal behavior."

Bradbury's death brought immediate reaction from his literary and film peers.

"He was my muse for the better part of my sci-fi career," director Steven Spielberg said. "He lives on through his legion of fans. In the world of science fiction and fantasy and imagination he is immortal."

"Ray Bradbury wrote three great novels and three hundred great stories," author Stephen King said. "One of the latter was called 'A Sound of Thunder.' The sound I hear today is the thunder of a giant's footsteps fading away. But the novels and stories remain, in all their resonance and strange beauty."

Bradbury received the 2000 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the 2004 National Medal of Arts and a 2007 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation.

Bradbury had lived in Los Angeles since his family moved there from his native Waukegan, Illinois, to look for work during the Great Depression.

He is survived by his four daughters, Susan Nixon, Ramona Ostergren, Bettina Karapetian and Alexandra Bradbury, and eight grandchildren. His wife of 57 years, Marguerite, died in 2003.

The biography released by his publisher quoted a story in which Bradbury recounted meeting a carnival magician, Mr. Electrico, in 1932. Electrico touched the 12-year-old Bradbury with his sword and commanded, "Live forever!"

"I decided that was the greatest idea I had ever heard," Bradbury said. "I started writing every day. I never stopped."

Sam Weller, Bradbury's biographer and friend, said in a posting on his website Wednesday, "I'll never see you again. I'll never see you again. I'll never see you again.

"The problem with death, you once said to me, is that 'it is so damned permanent,' " Weller's statement said.

Weller, in one of his books about Bradbury, quoted him as saying he would sometimes open one of his books late at night and cry out thanks to God.

"I sit there and cry because I haven't done any of this," he told Weller. "It's a God-given thing, and I'm so grateful, so, so grateful. The best description of my career as a writer is, 'At play in the fields of the Lord.' "

He discussed how many of his best friends were no longer around.

"My personal telephone book is a book of the dead now," Bradbury told Weller in his book of interviews. "I'm so old. Almost all of my friends have died, and I don't have the guts to take their names out of the book."

http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/06/showbiz/ray-bradbury-obit/index.html
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« Reply #340 on: June 07, 2012, 05:28:27 PM »

Bob Welch dies: Former Fleetwood Mac guitarist, 'Ebony Eyes' singer




June 7, 2012 |  3:14 pm

Former Fleetwood Mac guitarist and singer Bob Welch has been found dead in Nashville of an apparent suicide, according to the Nashville Police Department. The musician, who worked with the band in the early 1970s and later had hit solo songs such as "Ebony Eyes," was 66 years old.

Nashville Police Department spokesman Don Aaron said in a statement, "The police department responded to his address at 12:18 p.m., where Mr. Welch was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest." Aaron added that Welch's wife indicated that he had been suffering with health issues. A suicide note was found in the home.

Welch was a member of Fleetwood Mac as the band was transitioning away from being a British blues rock band and into the 1970s powerhouse that it became. As a singer and guitarist, Welch was lesser known than the pair who replaced him -- lead vocalist Stevie Nicks and guitarist Lindsey Buckingham -- but his work with fellow band mates including Mick Fleetwood and John and Christie McVie prior to Nicks' arrival on albums "Future Games," "Bare Trees" and "Heroes are Hard to Find," among others, set the tone for what was to come.

Welch left the band amid the chaos of the McVie divorce, just prior to mainstream success with the 1975 album "Fleetwood Mac" and then "Rumors," Fleetwood Mac's acclaimed 1977 hit album. The singer went solo, and scored a massive hit with "Ebony Eyes" in 1977. The album from which it was culled, "French Kiss," featured a number of former Fleetwood Mac members, as well as a rendition of "Sentimental Lady," a song originally recorded with Mac but reworked by Welch.

Welch was born in Los Angeles in 1945, the son of successful Hollywood movie producer Robert Welch, best known for his work with Bob Hope on a series of "Paleface" films. A full obituary will appear in the L.A. Times.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/music_blog/2012/06/bob-welch-dies-former-fleetwood-mac-guitarist-ebony-eyes-singer--1.html
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« Reply #341 on: June 13, 2012, 05:32:14 PM »

Original 'Goodfella' Henry Hill dies at 69



Henry Hill, who went from small-time gangster to big-time celebrity when his life as a mobster-turned-FBI informant became the basis for the Martin Scorsese film "Goodfellas," died Tuesday. He was 69.

Longtime girlfriend Lisa Caserta told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Hill died of complications from longtime heart problems related to smoking.

An associate in New York's Lucchese crime family, Hill told detailed, disturbing and often hilarious tales of life in the mob that first appeared in the 1986 book "Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family," by Nicholas Pileggi, a journalist Hill sought out shortly after becoming an informant.

"Henry Hill was a hood. He was a hustler. He had schemed and plotted and broken heads," Pileggi wrote in the book. "He knew how to bribe and he knew how to con. He was a full-time working racketeer, an articulate hoodlum from organized crime."

In 1990 the book, adapted for the screen by Pileggi and Scorsese, became the instant classic "Goodfellas," starring Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Ray Liotta as Hill, a young hoodlum on the make who thrives in the Mafia but is eventually forced by drugs to turn on his criminal friends and lead the life of a sad suburbanite.

The film became a constantly quoted pop cultural phenomenon that provided the template for the modern gangster story.

Unlike older Mafia tales, which focused on family and honor, "Wiseguy" and "Goodfellas" mostly dwelled on how utterly awesome it was to be in the mob -- on the gangster as rock star -- at least until the life caught up with you.

"As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster," Liotta, as Hill, says in the movie. "For us to live any other way was nuts."

Born in Brooklyn to an Irish father and an Italian mother, Hill's life with the mob began at age 11 when he wandered into a cabstand across the street in 1955 looking for work, and soon knew the life of these silk-suited soldiers was for him.

"The men at the cabstand were not like anyone else from the neighborhood," Pileggi wrote. "He had watched them double-park their cars and never get tickets, even when they parked smack in front of a fire hydrant."

He began running errands for the men at the stand that soon led to small-time crimes. He was first arrested at age 16 for using a stolen credit card in an attempt to buy tires for the brother of gang leader Paul Vario, and impressed the gang leaders for refusing to squeal on them

Far bigger crimes awaited, including the 1967 theft of $420,000 in cash from the Air France cargo terminal at JFK airport in New York, among the biggest cash heists in history at the time.

And in 1978, Hill had a key role in the theft of $5.8 million in cash from a Lufthansa Airlines vault, a heist masterminded by Jimmy Burke, the inspiration for De Niro's character in "Goodfellas."

"Whenever we needed money, we'd rob the airport," Liotta says in the movie. "To us, it was better than Citibank."

But the crew involved in the heist would soon turn on each other, and several would end up dead, leaving Hill extremely paranoid he could be next, he later told Pileggi.

He was also selling drugs behind the back of his boss Vario, and in 1980 was arrested on a narcotics-trafficking charge.

More afraid of his associates than prison, Hill decided he had no choice but to become an informant, and signed an agreement with a Department of Justice task force that would prove more fruitful than anyone imagined.

"The arrest of Henry Hill was a price beyond measure," Pileggi wrote." "Hill had grown up in the mob. He was only a mechanic, but he knew everything. He knew how it worked. He knew who oiled the machinery. He knew, literally, where the bodies were buried. If he talked, police knew that Henry Hill could give them the key to dozens of indictments and convictions."

Hill's testimony did send dozens of men to prison, many for the Lufthansa heist, and he and his wife Karen, played by Lorraine Bracco in the movie, went into hiding together, spending years fearing retribution by a gun to the back of his head from his old colleagues.

In the early 1990s, after more drug arrests, Hill was booted from the witness protection program.

His fears for his life waned as many former associates died off, and he led a more public life in later years, appearing in documentaries and becoming a popular call-in guest on Howard Stern's radio show.

His death was first reported by the celebrity website TMZ.

His struggles with substances would continue for most of his life. In 2008 he pleaded guilty in San Bernardino, Calif. to two counts of public intoxication. In 2009, he was arrested in St. Louis on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

"I've been on every drug humanly possible, and I can't get a handle on alcohol," he told The Associated Press in 2009. "I'll go two, two and a half years, and I don't know what triggers me."

In the book and the film he talks about hard it was to lead an ordinary life after years steeped in gangster glamor.

"I had paper bags filled with jewelry stashed in the kitchen. I had a sugar bowl full of coke next to the bed. Anything I wanted was a phone call away," Hill says in the film. "Today, everything is different. There's no action. I have to wait around like everyone else. Can't even get decent food. Right after I got here I ordered some spaghetti with marinara sauce, and I got egg noodles and ketchup. I'm an average nobody."

http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2012/06/13/original-goodfella-henry-hill-dies-at-6/
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« Reply #342 on: June 17, 2012, 10:55:04 AM »

http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/17/us/rodney-king-timeline/

RODNEY KING - DEAD

A timeline of events in Rodney King's life
By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 12:30 PM EDT, Sun June 17, 2012

(CNN) -- A timeline of Rodney King's life, including his 1991 beating by Los Angeles police and its aftermath.

March 3, 1991

Rodney King is beaten by LAPD officers after King leads police on a high-speed chase through Los Angeles County. George Holliday videotapes the beating from his apartment balcony.

March 4, 1991

Holliday delivers the tape to local television station, KTLA.

March 7, 1991

Rodney King is released without being charged.

March 15, 1991

Sgt. Stacey Koon and officers Laurence Michael Powell, Timothy Wind, and Theodore Briseno are indicted by a Los Angeles grand jury in connection with the beating.

May 10, 1991

A grand jury refuses to indict 17 officers who stood by at the King beating and did nothing.

November 26, 1991

Superior Court Judge Stanley Weisberg orders the trial of the four officers charged in the King beating to be moved to Simi Valley.

April 29, 1992

The four white LAPD officers are acquitted of beating King. Riots start at the intersection of Florence and Normandie in South Central Los Angeles. Reginald Denny, a white truck driver, is pulled from his truck and beaten. A news helicopter captures the beating on videotape. Gov. Pete Wilson declares a state of emergency and calls in National Guard troops.

April 30-May 4, 1992

Dusk-to-dawn curfews are enforced in the city and county of Los Angeles.

May 1, 1992

Rodney King makes an emotional plea for calm, stating, "People, I just want to say, can we all get along? Can we get along? Can we stop making it horrible for the older people and the kids?"

August 4, 1992

A federal grand jury returns indictments against Koon, Powell, Wind, and Briseno on the charge of violating the civil rights of Rodney King.

February 25, 1993

Trial begins.

April 16, 1993

The federal jury convicts Koon and Powell on one charge of violating King's civil rights. Wind and Briseno are found not guilty. No disturbances follow the verdict.

August 4, 1993

U.S. District Judge John Davies sentences both Koon and Powell to 30 months in prison for violating King's civil rights. Powell is found guilty of violating King's constitutional right to be free from an arrest made with "unreasonable force." Ranking officer Koon is convicted of permitting the civil rights violation to occur.

April 19, 1994

The U.S. District Court in Los Angeles awards King $3.8 million in compensatory damages in a civil lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles. King had demanded $56 million, or $1 million for every blow struck by the officers.

June 1, 1994

Rodney King is awarded nothing in punitive damages in a civil trial against the police officers. He had asked for $15 million.

April 2012

Rodney King's autobiography, "The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption. Learning How We Can All Get Along," is published.

June 17, 2012

King is found dead in his swimming pool, according to police and his fiancee, Cynthia Kelly.
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« Reply #343 on: June 26, 2012, 08:11:08 PM »

'Sleepless in Seattle' writer Nora Ephron dies at 71



NEW YORK –  Nora Ephron, the essayist, author and filmmaker who challenged and thrived in the male-dominated worlds of movies and journalism and was loved, respected and feared for her wit, died on Tuesday of leukemia. She was 71.

Ephron's son, Jacob Bernstein, confirmed her death. Her book publisher Alfred A. Knopf also confirmed it in a statement.

Born into a family of screenwriters, she was a top journalist in her 20s and 30s, then a best-selling author and successful director. Ephron was among the most quotable and influential writers of her generation. She wrote and directed such favorites as "Julie & Julia" and "Sleepless in Seattle," and her books included the novel "Heartburn," a brutal roman a clef about her marriage to Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein; and the popular essay collections "I Feel Bad About My Neck" and "I Remember Nothing."

She was tough on others -- Bernstein's marital transgressions were immortalized by the horndog spouse in "Heartburn," a man "capable of having sex with a Venetian blind" -- and relentless about herself. She wrote openly about her difficult childhood, her failed relationships, her doubts about her physical appearance and the hated intrusion of age.

"We all look good for our age. Except for our necks," she wrote in the title piece from "I Feel Bad About My Neck," published in 2006. "Oh, the necks. There are chicken necks. There are turkey gobbler necks. There are elephant necks. There are necks with wattles and necks with creases that are on the verge of becoming wattles. ... According to my dermatologist, the neck starts to go at 43 and that's that."

Even within the smart-talking axis of New York-Washington-Los Angeles, no one bettered Ephron, slender and dark-haired and armed with a killer smile. Friends from Mike Nichols and Meryl Streep to Calvin Trillin and Pete Hamill adored her for her wisdom, her loyalty and turns of phrase.

As a screenwriter, Ephron was nominated three times for Academy Awards, for "Silkwood," "When Harry Met Sally ..." and "Sleepless in Seattle," and was the rare woman to write, direct and produce Hollywood movies. Meg Ryan was among the many actresses who said they loved working with Ephron because she understood them so much better than did her male peers.

The eldest of four children, Ephron was born in New York to screenwriters Harry and Phoebe Ephron, who moved to Beverly Hills, Calif., when she was 4 years old. Words, words, words were the air she breathed. Regular visitors included "Casablanca" co-writer Julius J. Epstein, "Sunset Boulevard" collaborator Charles Brackett, and the team of Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich, who worked on "The Thin Man" and "It's a Wonderful Life."

Everyone was in movies, "the business."

"People who were not in the business were known as civilians," Ephron wrote in "I Remember Nothing."

If the best humor is born out of sadness, then Ephron was destined for comedy. She was 15, she recalled, when her mother became an alcoholic, finishing off a bottle of scotch a night. Her father, too, was a heavy drinker, "sloppy, sentimental," although "somehow his alcoholism was more benign."

Determined by high school to be a journalist, Ephron graduated from the single sex Wellesley College in 1962, moved to New York and started out as a "mail girl" and fact checker at Newsweek. A newspaper strike at the end of the year gave her a chance. Victor Navasky, the future editor of The Nation, was then running a satirical magazine called the Monacle. He was working on a parody of the New York Post, "The New York Pest," and asked Ephron for a spoof of Post columnist Leonard Lyons.

She succeeded so well that the newspaper's publisher, Dorothy Schiff, reasoned that anyone who could make fun of the Post could also write for it. Ephron was asked to try out as a reporter. Within a week, she had a permanent job and remained there five years.

Ephron began writing for Esquire and The New York Times and developed a national following as a throwback to the prime of Dorothy Parker and S.J. Perelman and a worthy peer of such "new" and hip journalists as Gay Talese and Tom Wolfe. She covered political conventions, the feminist movement and Wellesley, which she labeled a factory for "docile" women. Part of her gift was her fresh takes on such traditional subjects for women as food and fashion, like in the essay "The Food Establishment: Life in the Land of the Rising Souffle (Or Is It the Rising Meringue)."

"The typical member of the Food Establishment," she wrote, "is given to telling you, apropos of nothing, how many souffles he has been known to make in a short period of time. ... He gossips a good deal about his colleagues, about what they are cooking, writing, and eating; and whom they are talking to, about everything, in fact, except the one thing everyone else in the universe gossips about -- who is sleeping with whom."

By the 1970s, she had met and mated with Carl Bernstein, who teamed with fellow Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward on prize-winning coverage of the Watergate scandal that brought down President Nixon. They married in 1976, and had two children, but love soon turned to hate -- and matured into art. Ephron was pregnant with the second child when she learned Bernstein was having an affair, a betrayal that had its rewards, once she stopped crying.

She wrote "Heartburn," later a film starring Streep and Jack Nicholson and directed by Nichols, with whom she collaborated often. The book was so close to her life that Bernstein threatened to sue. Decades later, the memory of the book's birth was easily summoned.

"Yes, totally, completely, absolutely, sitting at the legendary and long-gone Smith Corona electric typewriter that I once had," she told The Associated Press in 2010. "I was working on a screenplay and wrote the first 10 pages of a novel, and I knew the title, knew there were going to be recipes in it. This I remember, exactly where I was, working and knowing, `Oh, I see, enough time has passed that I'm ready to do this."'

Another perk from her time with Bernstein: She sussed out that "Deep Throat," the unnamed and unknown Watergate source, was in fact FBI official Mark Felt. She would allege that she told countless people about Felt, who did not acknowledge his role until years later.

Her screenwriting credits included "Heartburn," the nuclear power drama "Silkwood" and the romantic comedy "When Harry Met Sally ..." She twice directed the team of Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, in "Sleepless in Seattle" and "You've Got Mail," and also worked with John Travolta (in the fantasy "Michael"), Steve Martin ("Mixed Nuts") and Nicole Kidman ("Bewitched").

Ephron had a great nose for nonsense, but was enough a child of Hollywood to fall, and fall hard, for a happy ending. "Sleepless in Seattle," in which Ryan and Hanks play long-distance admirers who meet at film's end, was itself a tribute to how movies might tell us how to live. "Sleepless" was not only a remake of the sentimental "An Affair to Remember." Ryan and her best pal, played by Rosie O'Donnell, are seen watching "Affair to Remember," which inspires Ryan to suggest to Hanks that they meet on top of the Empire State Building, on Valentine's Day.

Ephron was married three times: to Dan Greenberg, Bernstein and, quite happily, to Nicholas Pileggi, who survives her and whose book "Wiseguys" was adapted into the Martin Scorsese film of the same name. Sisters Delia, Amy and Hallie Ephron also are writers and Nora and Delia collaborated on the screenplay for "This Is My Life."

In her essay "The O Word," Nora Ephron anticipated growing too old to make jokes about her age. She would be "really old," beyond sex in a hotel room, or even a frozen custard at Shake Shack. It would be nice if she believed in a higher being, but the phrase "everything happens for a reason" is a sermon that only annoys her.

Ephron wrote of summers in the Hamptons on Long Island when her children were little, of fireworks on the Fourth of July and picnics on the beach. She loved the sound of geese in mid-July -- "one of the things that made the summers out there so magical." As she aged, the geese reminded her that summer will end, and so will everything else.

"I especially began to hate their sound, which was not beating wings -- how could I have ever thought it was? -- but a lot of uneuphonious honks," she writes. "Now we don't go to Long Island in the summer and I don't hear the geese. Sometimes, instead, we go to Los Angeles, where there are hummingbirds, and I love to watch them because they're so busy getting the most out of life."

http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2012/06/26/nora-ephron-is-seriously-ill-book-rep-says/
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« Reply #344 on: June 26, 2012, 08:24:27 PM »

Prolific writer Nora Ephron dead at 71

By Alan Duke, CNN



(CNN) -- Novelist, filmmaker and screenwriter Nora Ephron has died after a battle with leukemia, her publisher said Tuesday. She was 71.

"She brought an awful lot of people a tremendous amount of joy. She will be sorely missed," said the statement from Alfred A. Knopf.

Ephron's romantic comedies included the box office hits "When Harry Met Sally," and "Sleepless in Seattle," both of which earned her screenwriting Oscar nominations.

She was also nominated for an Oscar for writing "Silkwood," the story of anti-nuclear activist Karen Silkwood.

She was one of the first woman to write and direct her own films, including "Sleepless in Seattle."

From the archives: Nora Ephron's best advice.

Ephron, known for creating strong female characters in her stories, wrote and directed "Julie & Julia," which earned Meryl Streep a best actress Oscar nomination in 2010.

Ephron's parents, Henry and Phoebe Ephron, were also screenwriters, with "Carousel," "Desk Set" and "There's No Business Like Show Business" on their resumes.

"They were funny and they believed that everything was copy," Ephron said in a CNN interview in 2009. "They believed that anything in life could be turned into a story, which is really the first rule of humor."

Ephron's life was particularly central to her father's memoir, "We Thought We Could Do Anything."

Humor was important for surviving her childhood, she said.

"I don't think you can get through almost anything without humor," she said.

She married screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi in 1987, eight years after she divorced investigative reporter Carl Bernstein.

The destruction of her marriage to Bernstein was the basis of her book and movie "Heartburn."

From the archives: A story told through clothes and Ephrons

"And I feel bad for the people who don't at some point understand that there's something funny in even the worst things that can happen to you," Ephron said.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the stories Ephron set in his city are classics.

"The loss of Nora Ephron is a devastating one for New York City's arts and cultural community," Mayor Bloomberg said in a statement. "From her earliest days at New York City's newspapers to her biggest Hollywood successes, Nora always loved a good New York story, and she could tell them like no one else."

http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/26/showbiz/nora-ephron-obit/index.html
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