12 July, 2008

Moustapha Akkad




Moustapha Akkad was a Syrian-American film producer and director, best known for producing the series of Halloween films and directing Mohammad, Messenger of God and Lion of the Desert.

Akkad was born in Aleppo, Syria. In 1935, his father, then a customs officer, gave him $200 and a copy of the Quran before he left for the United States to study film direction and production at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). Akkad spent a further three years studying for a Master's degree at the University of Southern California (USC), where he met the legendary director Sam Peckinpah. Peckinpah became Akkad's mentor in Hollywood and hired him as a consultant for a film about the Algerian revolution that never made it to the big screen, but he continued to encourage him until he found a job as a producer at CBS.

In 1976, he produced and directed Mohammad, Messenger of God, starring Anthony Quinn and Irene Papas. Akkad faced resistance from Hollywood to making a film about the origins of Islam and had to go outside the United States to raise the production money for the film.

While creating Muhammad, Messenger of God, he consulted Islamic clerics and tried to be respectful toward Islam and its views on portraying Muhammad. He saw the film as a way to bridge the gap between the Western and Islamic world.

In 1978, he helped make low-budget film history when he produced Halloween. Akkad became best known for his key involvement in the first eight Halloween movies, as an executive producer, Akkad also later owned the long-running franchise that spawned seven further variations on the original theme. The series was highly profitable, although it was only the first film that became iconic.

In 1980 he directed his next big project, Lion of the Desert, in which Quinn and Irene Papas were joined by Oliver Reed, Rod Steiger, and John Gielgud. It was about the real-life Bedouin leader Omar Mukhtar (Quinn), who fought Mussolini's Italian troops in the deserts of Libya. The movie is now critically acclaimed, after initially receiving negative publicity in the West for being partially funded by Libya's Muammar al-Gaddafi, who invested $35 million in the movie. This negative publicity may have been the cause of its relatively poor performance at the box office.

In the United Kingdom Akkad once tried to buy Pinewood Studios from the Rank Organisation and also had a studio at Twickenham. He was in the process of producing an $80 million movie featuring Sean Connery about Saladin and the Crusades, for which he already had the script that would be filmed in Jordan. Speaking of the film, he said:

“ ...Saladin exactly portrays Islam. Right now, Islam is portrayed as a terrorist religion. Because a few terrorists are Muslims, the whole religion has that image. If there ever was a religious war full of terror, it was the Crusades. But you can't blame Christianity because a few adventurers did this. That's my message. ”

In a tragic twist of fate, Akkad, and his 34-year-old daughter Rima Akkad Monla, were killed in the 2005 Amman bombings. They were both in the lobby at the Grand Hyatt. His daughter died instantly, and Akkad died of his injuries two days later in a hospital. Akkad is survived by three sons.






Evelyn Waugh


Arthur Evelyn St. John Waugh was an English writer, best known for such satirical novels as Decline and Fall, Vile Bodies, Scoop, A Handful of Dust and The Loved One, as well as for broader and more personal works, such as Brideshead Revisited and the Sword of Honour trilogy, that are influenced by his own experiences and his conservative and Catholic viewpoints. Many of Waugh's novels depict British aristocracy and high society, which he satirizes but to which, paradoxically, he was also strongly attracted. In addition, he wrote short stories, three biographies, and the first volume of an unfinished autobiography. His travel writings and his extensive diaries and correspondence have also been published.

Waugh's health declined in later life. He put on weight, and the sleeping draughts he continued to take, combined with alcohol, cigars and little exercise, weakened his health. His productivity also declined, and his output was uneven. His last published work, Basil Seal Rides Again, revisiting the characters of his earliest satirical works, did not meet critical or popular approval, but is still read today. At the same time, he continued as a journalist and was well received.

Evelyn Waugh died, aged 62, on 10 April 1966, after attending a Latin Mass on Easter Sunday. He suffered a heart attack in the lavatory of his home, Combe Florey.

Harold Wilson


James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, KG, OBE, FRS, PC (11 March 1916 – 24 May 1995) was one of the most prominent British politicians of the later 20th century. He emerged as Prime Minister after more general elections than any other 20th century premier. He contested 5 general elections and won 4 of them, winning in 1964, 1966, February 1974 and October 1974. He is the most recent British Prime Minister to serve non-consecutive terms.

Harold Wilson first served as Prime Minister in the 1960s, during a period of low unemployment and relative economic prosperity. His second term in office occurred during the 1970s, when a period of economic crisis was beginning to hit most Western countries. On both occasions, economic concerns were to prove a significant constraint on his governments' ambitions. Although originating from the left wing of the Labour Party, Wilson's brand of socialism placed emphasis on promoting social justice, allied to the technocratic aim of taking better advantage of rapid scientific progress, rather than on the left's traditional goal of promoting wider public ownership of industry. While he did not challenge the Party constitution's stated dedication to nationalisation head-on, he took little action to pursue it either, suggesting that he may have viewed some of the old ideas of the Left as being of limited relevance. Wilson managed a number of difficult political issues with considerable tactical skill, but his ambition of substantially improving Britain's long-term economic performance remained largely unfulfilled.

Wilson died of colon cancer in May 1995, at the age of 79.

Bertrand Russell



Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell was a philosopher, historian, logician, mathematician, advocate for social reform, and pacifist. Although usually regarded as English, he was actually Welsh.

A prolific writer, he popularized philosophy and a commentator on a large variety of topics. Continuing a family tradition in political affairs, he was a prominent anti-war activist, championing free trade between nations and anti-imperialism. He wrote the essay On Denoting and was co-author (with Alfred North Whitehead) of Principia Mathematica, an attempt to ground mathematics on the laws of logic. Both works have had a considerable influence on logic, set theory, linguistics and analytic philosophy.

Bertrand Russell was born at the height of Britain's economic and political ascendancy. When he died almost a century later, the British Empire had all but vanished, its power had been dissipated by two world wars and its imperial system had been brought to an end. Among his post–Second World War political activities, Russell was a vigorous proponent of nuclear disarmament, antagonist to communist totalitarianism and an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War. Previously he had been imprisoned and deprived of his Fellowship of Trinity College because of his activity as a vigorous peace campaigner and opponent of conscription during the First World War. In 1920, Russell visited the emerging Soviet Union which subsequently met with his disapproval; he also campaigned vigorously against Adolf Hitler in the 1930s.

In 1950, Lord Russell was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, "in recognition of his varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought".

On the morning of February 2, 1970 Bertrand Russell died of influenza at the age of 97.

Alf Landon


Alfred "Alf" Mossman Landon was an American Republican politician, who served as Governor of Kansas from 1933–1937. He was best known as Republican Presidential Nominee, defeated in a landslide by Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1936 presidential election.

Born in West Middlesex, Pennsylvania, in 1887, Landon grew up in Marietta, Ohio. He moved with his family to Kansas at age 17 and graduated from the University of Kansas in 1908. He first pursued a career in banking, but in 1912 he became an independent petroleum producer in Independence, KS. During World War I, Landon served in the Army as a first lieutenant in chemical warfare. By 1929 the oil industry had made him a millionaire.

Landon supported Theodore Roosevelt's Progressive Party in 1912, and, in 1922, was private secretary to the governor of Kansas. He later became known as the leader of the liberal Republicans in the state. He was elected chairman of the Republican state central committee in 1928 and directed the Republican successful presidential and gubernatorial campaigns in Kansas in that year.

Landon was elected Governor of Kansas in 1932. He was re-elected governor in 1934 — the only Republican governor in the nation to be re-elected that year. He served as governor from 1933 until 1937. As Governor, Landon gained a reputation for reducing taxes and balancing the budget. Landon is often described as a fiscal conservative who nevertheless believed that government must also address social issues. He supported parts of the New Deal but opposed labor unions.

In 1936, Landon sought the Republican presidential nominee opposing the re-election of FDR. At the Republican National Convention in 1936, Landon's campaign manager John Hamilton mobilized the younger elements of the party against the faction led by Herbert Hoover. Landon won the nomination on the first ballot; the convention selected Chicago newspaper publisher Frank Knox as his running mate.

Landon proved to be an ineffective campaigner who rarely traveled. Most of the attacks on FDR and social security were developed by Republican campaigners rather than Landon himself. In the two months after his nomination he made no campaign appearances.

Landon respected and admired Roosevelt and accepted much of the New Deal but objected that it was hostile to business and involved too much waste and inefficiency. Late in the campaign, Landon accused Roosevelt of corruption — that is, of acquiring so much power that he was subverting the Constitution. Landon said:

The 1936 presidential election was extraordinarily lopsided. Although Landon gained nearly 17 million votes and obtained the endorsement of track star Jesse Owens, he lost the popular vote by more than 10 million votes. He lost his home state Kansas and carried only Maine and Vermont for a total of 8 electoral votes to Roosevelt's 523. FDR's win was the most crushing electoral victory since 1820. The overwhelming Roosevelt victory prompted Democratic Party boss James Farley to joke, "As Maine goes, so goes Vermont."

Following his defeat, Landon finished out his term as governor of Kansas and returned to the oil industry.

After war broke out in Europe in 1939 Landon fought against isolationists such as America First who supported the Neutrality Act; he feared it would mislead Nazi Germany into thinking the United States was unwilling to fight. In 1940 he argued against lend-lease, urging instead that Britain be given $5 billion outright. After the war, he backed the Marshall Plan, while opposing high domestic spending. After the communist takeover of China, he was one of the first to advocate recognition of Mao Zedong's communist government, and its admission to the United Nations, when this was still a very unpopular position among the leadership and followers of both major parties.

In 1961, he urged the U.S. to join the European Common Market. In November 1962, when he was asked to describe his political philosophy, Landon said: "I would say practical progressive, which means that the Republican party or any political party has got to recognize the problems of a growing and complex industrial civilization. And I don't think the Republican party is really wide awake to that." Later in the 1960s, Landon backed President Lyndon Johnson on Medicare and other Great Society programs.

On December 13, 1966, Landon gave the first "Landon Lecture" at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. Landon's lecture, titled "New Challenges in International Relations" was the first in a series of public issues lectures that continues to this day and has featured numerous world leaders and political figures, including seven U.S. presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

Landon died October 12, 1987, in Topeka, Kansas, 34 days after his 100th birthday.

Edgar Buchanan


Edgar Buchanan was an American actor with a long career in both film and television, most familiar today as Uncle Joe Carson from the Petticoat Junction, Green Acres and Beverly Hillbillies television sitcoms of the 1960s.

Born William Edgar Buchanan in Humansville, Missouri, he moved with his family to Oregon when he was young. Like his father before him, he was a successful dentist. He and his his wife Mildred were married in 1927. In 1939, they moved from Eugene, Oregon, to Altadena, California. He joined the Pasadena Playhouse as an actor. He appeared in his first film in 1939, at the age of thirty-six, after which he turned his dentistry practice over to his wife. He was a member of Theta Chi Fraternity and a Freemason.

Buchanan appeared in more than 100 movies, including Penny Serenade (1941) with Cary Grant, Tombstone, the Town Too Tough to Die (1942), The Man from Colorado (1948), Cheaper by the Dozen (1950), She Couldn't Say No (1954), McLintock!(1963) with John Wayne, Move Over, Darling (1963) with Doris Day and James Garner, and Benji (1974). Television series in which he appeared included Hopalong Cassidy, Judge Roy Bean, the "Duel at Sundown" episode of Maverick with James Garner and Clint Eastwood, Leave It To Beaver (as both "Uncle Billy" and "Captain Jack"), The Twilight Zone, Gunsmoke, Bringing Up Buddy, and The Rifleman. He appeared in all 222 episodes of Petticoat Junction, 17 episodes of Green Acres, and 3 episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies, always as the character Uncle Joe Carson.

Buchanan died on April 4, 1979 at the age of 76 from a stroke complicated by pneumonia in Palm Desert, California.

Dean Jagger


Dean Jagger was an Academy Award-winning and a Daytime Emmy Award winning American film actor.

Born Ira Dean Jagger in Columbus Grove, Ohio, Jagger made his film debut in The Woman from Hell (1929) with Mary Astor. He became a successful character actor, without becoming a major star, and appeared in almost 100 films in a career that lasted until shortly before his death.

He received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Twelve O'Clock High (1949). Jagger made his breakthrough to major roles in film with his portrayal of Brigham Young in Brigham Young (1940).

Jagger then played prominent roles in Western Union (1941), Sister Kenny (1946), White Christmas (1954), Bad Day at Black Rock (1955), Vanishing Point (1971), and the 1956 British science-fiction film X the Unknown, although there was controversy when he refused to work with director Joseph Losey on this film because Losey was on the Hollywood blacklist. Losey was removed from the project after a few days shooting and replaced with Les Norman.

Jagger also achieved success in the television series Mr. Novak, winning Emmy Award nominations for his role, in 1964 and 1965. He won a Daytime Emmy award for a guest appearance in the religious series This Is the Life.

He died on February 5, 1991 at the age of 87, from heart disease in Santa Monica, California.

Edward G. Robinson

Edward Goldenberg Robinson, Sr. was an honorary Academy Award-winning American stage and film actor born in Romania.

Born to a Yiddish-speaking Jewish family in Bucharest, he emigrated with his family to New York City in 1903. He attended Townsend Harris High School and then City College of New York, but an interest in acting led to him winning an American Academy of Dramatic Arts scholarship, after which he changed his name to Edward G. Robinson.

He began his acting career in 1913 and made his Broadway debut in 1915. He made his film debut in a minor and uncredited role in 1916; in 1923 he made his named debut as E. G. Robinson in The Bright Shawl. One of many actors who saw his career flourish in the new sound film era rather than falter, he made only three films prior to 1930 but left his stage career that year and made fourteen films in 1930-32.

An acclaimed performance as the gangster Rico Bandello in Little Caesar (1931) led to him being typecast as a 'tough guy' for much of his early career in works such as Five Star Final (1931), Smart Money (1931; his only movie with James Cagney), Tiger Shark (1932), Kid Galahad (1937) with Bette Davis and Humphrey Bogart, and A Slight Case of Murder and The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse (1938). In the 1940s, after a good performance in Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet (1940), he expanded into edgy psychological dramas including Double Indemnity (1944), The Woman in the Window (1945) and Scarlet Street (1945); but he continued to portray gangsters such as Johnny Rocco in John Huston's classic Key Largo (1948), the last of five films he made with Humphrey Bogart.

On three occasions in 1950 and 1952 he was called to testify in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee and was threatened with blacklisting. Robinson became frightened and took steps to clear his name, such as having a representative go through his check stubs to ensure that none had been issued to subversive organizations. He reluctantly gave names of communist sympathizers and his own name was cleared, but thereafter he received smaller and less frequent roles. Still, anti-communist director Cecil B. DeMille cast him in The Ten Commandments in 1956.

A cultured and urbane man, Robinson built up a significant art collection, especially of abstract modern art.

His most notable roles were in A Hole in the Head (1959) opposite Frank Sinatra and The Cincinnati Kid (1965), which showcased Robinson alongside Steve McQueen.

Robinson was popular in the 1930s and 1940s and was able to avoid many flops during a 50-year career that included 101 films. His last scene was a euthanasia sequence in the science fiction cult classic Soylent Green (1973) in which he dies in a euthanasia clinic while watching nature films on a wall-sized screen.

He died on January 26, 1973 from cancer at the age of 79.

Rudyard Kipling



Joseph Rudyard Kipling was an English author and poet, born in Bombay, British India, and best known for his works The Jungle Book (1894), The Second Jungle Book (1895), Just So Stories (1902), and Puck of Pook's Hill (1906); his novel, Kim (1901); his poems, including Mandalay (1890), Gunga Din (1890), If— (1910) and Ulster 1912 (1912); and his many short stories, including The Man Who Would Be King (1888) and the collections Life's Handicap (1891), The Day's Work (1898), and Plain Tales from the Hills (1888). He is regarded as a major "innovator in the art of the short story"; his children's books are enduring classics of children's literature; and his best works speak to a versatile and luminous narrative gift. Kipling was one of the most popular writers in English, in both prose and verse, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The author Henry James famously said of him: "Kipling strikes me personally as the most complete man of genius (as distinct from fine intelligence) that I have ever known." In 1907, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, making him the first English language writer to receive the prize, and he remains its youngest-ever recipient. Among other honors, he was sounded out for the British Poet Laureateship and on several occasions for a knighthood, all of which he rejected.

However, later in life Kipling also came to be seen (in George Orwell's words) as a "prophet of British imperialism." Many saw prejudice and militarism in his works, and the resulting controversy about him continued for much of the 20th century.

He died of a hemorrhage from a perforated duodenal ulcer on 18 January 1936, two days before George V, at the age of 70.

Aaron Spelling



Aaron Spelling was an American film and television producer.

Spelling was born in Dallas, Texas, to polish Jewish immigrant parents.

Spelling attended Forest Avenue High School. He served in the U.S. Air Force and was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster. He then attended Southern Methodist University, graduating in 1949. He married actress Carolyn Jones in 1953, and they moved to California. They divorced in 1964. He had two children, Randy Spelling and Tori Spelling.

Spelling sold his first script to Jane Wyman Theater in 1954. He went on to write for Dick Powell, Playhouse 90, and Last Man, amongst others. Later, he also found work as an actor. In total he played screen parts in 22 programs and perhaps the best known being Gunsmoke between 1956 and 1997. During the 1950s, Spelling joined Powell's Four Star Productions.

After Powell's death, Spelling formed Thomas-Spelling Productions with Danny Thomas. Their first success was with the television show The Mod Squad. In total he wrote for fourteen television productions between 1957 and 1974, including several series with multiple episodes to his credit. Spelling and Thomas produced two 1960s series for Walter Brennan: The Tycoon and The Guns of Will Sonnett, both on ABC. He also began collaboration at that time with associate producer Shelley Hull, who, aside from Mod Squad, worked with Spelling on The Rookies and Charlie's Angels. Hull also worked with Spelling in 1976 on the hit ABC movie The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, starring a young John Travolta. Spelling directed only once, on "The Conchita Vasquez Story", a 1959 episode of Wagon Train.

In 1991, Spelling bought the home and six-acre lot of Bing Crosby's former Los Angeles house. He demolished the property, and built a 123-room home for the cost of USD $47,000,000, named "The Manor", which has 56,500 square feet of floor space and is the largest single-family dwelling in Hollywood.

In 1972, he created Spelling Television, and formed another co-production company with Leonard Goldberg. Spelling took his own company public in 1986 as Spelling Entertainment. Spelling also produced the NBC daytime soap opera Sunset Beach from 1997 to 1999, and in one of his few acting roles since the 1960s, played one of Bette's ex-husbands for one day in 1997.

He also appeared as himself on 27 programs between 1992 and 2005. After 2000, Spelling rarely gave interviews, though he remained active as CEO and continued to give notes on productions, day to day control of the Spelling Television Company was handled by his longtime producing and business partner E. Duke Vincent and company president, Jonathan Levin.

Spelling worked in some capacity on almost 200 productions beginning with the Zane Grey Theatre in 1956. His most recognizable contributions to television include Charlie's Angels, Dynasty, Starsky and Hutch, Family, Hotel, The Rookies, Beverly Hills 90210 and its adult spin-off Melrose Place, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Vega$, Hart to Hart, The Colby’s, T.J. Hooker, Nightingales, Kindred: The Embraced, 7th Heaven, Charmed, Burke's Law, Honey West, The Mod Squad, and S.W.A.T.. His company also co-produced the David Lynch series Twin Peaks.

He also produced the HBO miniseries And the Band Played On, based on Randy Shilts's bestseller. The miniseries won an Emmy Award, Spelling's first.

In 2001, Spelling was diagnosed with oral cancer.

On June 18, 2006, Spelling suffered a severe stroke at his estate in Holmby Hills, Los Angeles, California. He died there on June 23, 2006, from complications of the stroke, at the age of 83. A private funeral was held several days later, and Spelling was interred in a mausoleum in Hillside Memorial Park in Culver City, California.

P.G. Wodehouse


Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse was an English comic novelist, who enjoyed enormous popular success during a career of more than seventy years and continues to be widely read. Despite the political and social upheavals that occurred during his life, much of which was spent in France and the United States, Wodehouse's main canvas remained that of prewar English upper-class society, reflecting his birth, education, and youthful writing career.

An acknowledged master of English prose, Wodehouse has been admired both by contemporaries such as Hilaire Belloc, Evelyn Waugh and Rudyard Kipling and by modern writers such as Douglas Adams, Salman Rushdie and Terry Pratchett. Sean O'Casey famously called him "English literature's performing flea", a description that Wodehouse used as the title of a collection of his letters to a friend, Bill Townend.

Best known today for the Jeeves and Blandings Castle novels and short stories, Wodehouse was also a talented playwright and lyricist who was part author and writer of fifteen plays and of 250 lyrics for some thirty musical comedies. He worked with Cole Porter on the musical Anything Goes (1934) and frequently collaborated with Jerome Kern and Guy Bolton. He wrote the lyrics for the hit song "Bill" in Kern's Show Boat (1927), wrote the lyrics for the Gershwin - Romberg musical Rosalie (1928), and collaborated with Rudolf Friml on a musical version of The Three Musketeers (1928).

Wodehouse died on January 14, 1975 at the age of 93.

Allen Dulles


Allen Welsh Dulles was the first civilian and the longest serving (1953-1961) Director of Central Intelligence and a member of the Warren Commission. Between stints of government service, Dulles was a corporate lawyer and partner at Sullivan & Cromwell.

Allen Dulles was born on April 7, 1893, in Watertown, New York, and graduated from Princeton University, and in 1916 entered the diplomatic service. Dulles was serving in Switzerland and was responsible for reviewing and rejecting Lenin's application for a visa to the United States. In 1920 he married Clover Todd, daughter of a Columbia University professor. In 1926 he earned a law degree from George Washington University and took a job at the New York firm where his brother, John Foster Dulles, was a partner.

Dulles was appointed by William J. Donovan to become head of operations in New York for the Coordinator of Information (COI), which was set up in Room 3603 of Rockefeller Center, taking over offices staffed by Britain's MI6. The COI was the precursor to the Office of Strategic Services, renamed in 1942.

During the 1930s Allen Dulles gained much experience in Germany. An early foe of Adolf Hitler, Dulles was transferred from Britain to Berne, Switzerland for the rest of World War II, and notably was heavily involved in the controversial and secret Operation Sunrise. He is featured in the classic Soviet TV series Seventeen Moments of Spring for his role in that operation. Dulles became the station chief in Berne, Switzerland, for the newly formed Office of Strategic Services. Dulles supplied his government with much sensitive information about Nazi Germany.

Dulles worked on intelligence regarding German plans and activities. Dulles established wide contacts with German émigrés, resistance figures, and anti-Nazi intelligence officers. Although Washington barred Dulles from making firm commitments to the plotters of the 20 July 1944 attempt to assassinate Hitler, the conspirators nonetheless gave him reports on developments in Germany, including sketchy but accurate warnings of plans for Hitler’s V-1 and V-2 missiles.

Dulles's career was jump-started by the information provided by Fritz Kolbe, a German diplomat and a foe of the Nazis. Kolbe supplied secret documents regarding active German spies and plans regarding the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter. In 1945, he played a central role in negotiations leading to the unconditional capitulation of German troops in Italy.

After the war in Europe, Dulles served for six months as the OSS Berlin station chief. In 1947, Congress created the Central Intelligence Agency. Dulles was closely involved with its development. His translator at this time was Henry Kissinger, who worked for Army Intelligence.

Dulles' CIA Operation Paperclip assimilated Nazi scientists into the American establishment by obscuring their histories and short circuiting efforts to bring their true stories to light. The project was led by officers in the United States Army. Although the program officially ended in September 1947, those officers and others carried out a conspiracy until the mid-fifties that bypassed both law and presidential directive to keep Paperclip going. Neither Presidents Truman nor Eisenhower were informed that their instructions were ignored.

In 1953, Dulles became the first civilian Director of Central Intelligence, which had been formed in 1947 as part of the National Security Act; earlier directors had been military officers. The Agency's covert operations were an important part of the Eisenhower administration's new Cold War national security policy known as the "New Look". Under Dulles's direction, the CIA created MK-Ultra, a top secret mind control research project which was managed by Sidney Gottlieb. Dulles also personally oversaw Operation Mockingbird, a program which influenced American media companies as part of the "New Look".

At Dulles' request, President Eisenhower demanded that Senator Joseph McCarthy discontinue issuing subpoenas against the CIA. In March, McCarthy had initiated a series of investigations into potential communist subversion of the Agency. Although none of the investigations revealed any wrongdoing, the hearings were still potentially damaging, not only to the CIA's reputation but also to the security of sensitive information.

In the early 1950s the U.S. Air Force conducted a competition for a new photo reconnaissance aircraft. Lockheed Aircraft Corporation's Skunk Works submitted a design number called the CL-282, which married sailplane-like wings to the body of a supersonic interceptor. This aircraft was rejected by the Air Force, but several of the civilians on the review board took notice, and Edwin Land presented a proposal for the aircraft to Dulles. The aircraft became what is known as the U-2 spy plane, and it was initially operated by CIA pilots. Its introduction into operational service in 1957 greatly enhanced the CIA's ability to monitor Soviet activity through overhead photo surveillance. Ironically, the aircraft eventually entered service with the Air force, who still operate it today.

At the direction of President Eisenhower, Dulles established Operation 40, comprised of 40 officials and agents whose primary area of operations was the Caribbean region, including Cuba. On 4th March, 1960, La Coubre, a ship flying a Belgian flag, exploded in Havana Bay. It was loaded with arms and ammunition destined for the armed forces of the government of Fidel Castro. The explosion killed 75 people and over 200 were injured. Fabian Escalante, an officer of the Department of State Security (G-2), later claimed that this was the first successful act carried out by Operation 40.

Operation 40 not only was involved in sabotage operations but also, in fact, evolved into a team of assassins. One member, Frank Sturgis, claimed: "this assassination group (Operation 40) would upon orders, naturally, assassinate either members of the military or the political parties of the foreign country that you were going to infiltrate, and if necessary some of your own members who were suspected of being foreign agents... We were concentrating strictly in Cuba at that particular time."

Over the next few years Operation 40 worked closely with several anti-Castro Cuban organizations including Alpha 66. CIA officials and freelance agents such as William Harvey, Thomas G. Clines, Porter Goss, Gerry Patrick Hemming, E. Howard Hunt, David Sánchez Morales, Carl Elmer Jenkins, Bernard Barker, Barry Seal, Frank Sturgis, William Robert Plumlee ("Tosh" Plumlee), and William C. Bishop also joined the project.

Dulles went on to be successful with the CIA's first attempts at removing foreign leaders by covert means. Notably, the elected Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh of Iran was deposed in 1953 (via Operation Ajax), and President Arbenz of Guatemala was removed in 1954. The Guatemalan coup was called Operation PBSUCCESS. Dulles was on the board of the United Fruit Company. Dulles saw these kind of clandestine activities as an essential part of the struggle against communism.

During the Kennedy Administration, Dulles faced increasing criticism. The failed Bay of Pigs Invasion and several failed assassination plots utilizing CIA-recruited operatives from the Mafia and anti-Castro Cubans directly against Fidel Castro undermined the CIA's credibility, and pro-American but unpopular regimes in Iran and Guatemala that he helped put in place were widely regarded as brutal and corrupt. The reputation of the agency and its director declined after the Bay of Pigs Invasion fiasco; he and his staff (including Director for Plans Richard Bissell and Deputy Director Charles Cabell) were forced to resign (September 1961). President Kennedy did not trust the CIA, and he reportedly intended to dismantle it after the Bay of Pigs failure. Kennedy said he wanted to "splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it into the winds." Ironically, Dulles was later appointed to the Warren Commission, the official government investigation of the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

On November 29, 1963, President Lyndon Johnson appointed Dulles as one of seven commissioners of the Warren Commission to investigate the assassination of the U.S. President John F. Kennedy.

In 1969 Dulles died of influenza, complicated by pneumonia, at the age of 75. He was buried in Greenmount Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland.

Otto Klemperer

Otto Klemperer was a German-born conductor and composer. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest conductors of the 20th century.

Klemperer was born in Breslau, then in Prussia, now Wrocław, Poland. He took United States citizenship in 1937 and Israeli citizenship in 1970.

Klemperer studied music first at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt and later in Berlin under Hans Pfitzner. In 1905 he met Gustav Mahler while conducting the off-stage brass at a performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 2, 'Resurrection'. The two became friends, and Klemperer became conductor at the German Opera in Prague in 1907 on Mahler's recommendation. Mahler wrote a short testimonial, recommending Klemperer, on a small card which Klemperer kept for the rest of his life.

Later, in 1910, Klemperer assisted Mahler in the premiere of his Symphony No. 8, Symphony of a Thousand.

Klemperer went on to hold a number of conducting posts, in Hamburg (1910-1912); in Barmen (1912-1913); the Strasbourg Opera (1914-1917); the Cologne Opera (1917-1924); and the State Opera in Wiesbaden (1924-1927).

From 1927 to 1931, he was conductor at the Kroll Opera in Berlin. In this post he enhanced his reputation as a champion of new music, playing a number of new works, including Leoš Janáček's From the House of the Dead, Arnold Schönberg's Erwartung, Igor Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex, and Paul Hindemith's Cardillac.

In 1933, once the Nazi Party had reached power, Klemperer, who was Jewish, left Germany and moved to the United States. Klemperer had previously converted to Catholicism, but eventually returned to Judaism. In the U.S. he was appointed Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra; there, also, he began to concentrate more on the standard works of the Germanic repertoire that would later bring him greatest acclaim, particularly the works of Beethoven, Brahms and Mahler, though he gave the Los Angeles premieres some of fellow Los Angeles resident Arnold Schoenberg's works with the Philharmonic. He also visited other countries, including England and Australia. While the orchestra responded well to his leadership, Klemperer had a difficult time adjusting to Southern California, a situation exacerbated by repeated manic-depressive episodes, reportedly as a result of severe cyclothymic bipolar disorder.

Then, after completing the 1939 Los Angeles Philharmonic summer season at the Hollywood Bowl, Klemperer was visiting Boston and was incorrectly diagnosed with a brain tumor, and the subsequent brain surgery left him partially paralyzed. He went into a depressive state and was placed in institution; when he escaped, The New York Times ran a cover story declaring him missing, and after being found in New Jersey, a picture of him behind bars was printed in the Herald Tribune. Though he would occasionally conduct the Philharmonic after that, he lost the post of Music Director.[2] Furthermore, his erratic behavior during manic episodes made him an undesirable guest to US orchestras, and the late flowering of his career centered in other countries.

Following the end of World War II, Klemperer returned to Continental Europe to work at the Budapest Opera (1947-1950). Finding Communist rule in Hungary increasingly irksome, he became an itinerant conductor, guest conducting the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, WDR Orchestra Koln, Concertgebouw Orchestra, and the Philharmonia of London. He settled in Switzerland and became the first principal conductor of the Philharmonia in 1959.

Klemperer is less well known as a composer, but he wrote a number of pieces, including six symphonies, a Mass, nine string quartets and the opera Das Ziel. He seldom performed any of these himself and they have been almost entirely forgotten since his death.

A severe fall during a visit to Montreal forced Klemperer subsequently to conduct seated in a chair. A severe burning accident further paralyzed him; it was caused by his smoking in bed with a glass of whisky. Despite this, he continued conducting until his retirement in 1971. His career was turned around in 1954 by London-based producer Walter Legge, who recorded Klemperer in Beethoven, Brahms and much else with his hand-picked orchestra, the Philharmonia, for the premium EMI label.

Klemperer died in Zürich, Switzerland in 1973, aged 88, and was buried in the Israelitischer Friedhof-Oberer Friesenberg in that city.







Henry Fonda


Henry Jaynes Fonda was an American Academy Award-winning film and stage actor, best known for his roles as plain-speaking idealists. Fonda's subtle, naturalistic acting style preceded by many years the popularization of Method acting.

Fonda made his mark early as a Broadway actor, and made his Hollywood debut in 1935. Fonda's career gained momentum after his Academy Award-nominated performance as Tom Joad in 1940s The Grapes of Wrath, an adaptation of John Steinbeck's novel about an Oklahoma family who moved west during the Dust Bowl. Throughout six decades in Hollywood, Fonda cultivated a strong, appealing screen image in such classics as The Ox-Bow Incident, Mister Roberts, and 12 Angry Men. Later, Fonda moved toward both more challenging, darker epics as Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West and lighter roles in family comedies like Yours, Mine and Ours with Lucille Ball.

He then attended the University of Minnesota, majoring in journalism,[8] but he did not graduate. He took a job with the Retail Credit Company.

At age 20, Fonda started his acting career at the Omaha Community Playhouse when his mother's friend Dodie Brando needed a juvenile player for You and I. He was both fascinated by the stage, learning everything from set construction to stage production, and also profoundly embarrassed by his acting ability. Then he received the lead in Merton of the Movies, he realized the beauty of acting as a profession, as it allowed him to deflect attention from his own tongue-tied personality and create stage characters relying on someone else's scripted words. Fonda decided to quit his job and go East in 1928 to strike his fortune. He arrived on Cape Cod and was hanging around the Cape Playhouse in Dennis, Massachusetts when a friend took him over to Falmouth where he instantly became a valued member of the new University Players, an intercollegiate summer stock company, where he worked with Margaret Sullavan, his future wife, and which would be responsible for a lifelong friendship with James Stewart. He landed his first professional role in the University Players production of The Jest, by Sem Benelli, when Joshua Logan, a young sophomore at Princeton who had been double-cast in the show, gave Fonda the part of Tornaquinci, “an elderly Italian with long, white beard and heavy wig.” The role quickly proved that Fonda had little talent to play foreigners with accents and needed to stick to American roles, as did his friend Jimmy Stewart. Also in the cast of The Jest with Fonda and Logan were Bretaigne Windust, Kent Smith, and Eleanor Phelps.

Henry Fonda in The Lady Eve.The tall (6`2") and slim (160lbs) Fonda headed for New York City, where he was soon joined by Stewart (after Fonda's short marriage to Margaret Sullavan) and the two roommates struggled but honed their skills on Broadway. Fonda appeared in theatrical productions from 1926 to 1934. They fared no better than many Americans in and out of work during the Depression, with sometimes no money even to take the subway. Fonda got the first break going to Hollywood to make his first film appearance in (1935) as the leading man in 20th Century Fox's screen adaptation of The Farmer Takes a Wife, reprising his role from the Broadway production of the same name which gained him critical recognition. Suddenly, Fonda was making $3,000 a week and dining with Hollywood stars like Carol Lombard. Stewart soon followed him to Hollywood, and they roomed together again, in lodgings next door to Greta Garbo. In 1935 Fonda starred in the RKO film I Dream Too Much with the famous opera star Lily Pons. The New York Times proclaimed "Henry Fonda, the most likable of the new crop of romantic juveniles".

Fonda's film career blossomed as he costarred with Sylvia Sidney and Fred MacMurray in The Trail of the Lonesome Pine (1936), the first Technicolor movie filmed outdoors. He also starred with ex-wife Margaret Sullavan in The Moon's Our Home, and a short re-kindling of their relationship led to a brief consideration of re-marriage. Sullavan then married Fonda's agent Leland Hayward and Fonda married socialite Frances Seymour Brokaw, who had little interest in the movies or the theater. Fonda got the nod for the lead role in You Only Live Once (1937), also costarring Sidney, and directed by Fritz Lang. Fonda's first child Jane Fonda was born on December 21, 1937. A critical success opposite Bette Davis, who had picked Fonda, in the film Jezebel (1938) was followed by the title role in Young Mr. Lincoln and his first collaboration with director John Ford.

Fonda's successes led Ford to recruit him to play "Tom Joad" in the film version of John Steinbeck's novel The Grapes of Wrath (1940), but a reluctant Darryl Zanuck, who preferred Tyrone Power, insisted on Fonda's signing a seven-year contract with the studio, Twentieth Century-Fox.[16] Fonda agreed, and was ultimately nominated for an Academy Award for his work in the 1940 film, which many consider to be his finest role, but his friend James Stewart won the Best Actor award for his role in The Philadelphia Story. Second child Peter Fonda was born in 1940.


Fonda played opposite Barbara Stanwyck in The Lady Eve (1941), and teamed with Gene Tierney in the successful screwball comedy Rings on Her Fingers (1942 ) - Tierney was one of Fondas favorite co-stars, they appeared in three films together. He was acclaimed for his role in The Ox-Bow Incident (1943).

Fonda then enlisted in the Navy to fight in World War II, saying, "I don't want to be in a fake war in a studio." Previously, he and Stewart had helped raise funds for the defense of Britain. Fonda served for three years, initially as a Quartermaster 3rd Class on the destroyer USS Satterlee. He was later commissioned as a Lieutenant Junior Grade in Air Combat Intelligence in the Central Pacific and was awarded a Presidential Citation and the Bronze Star.

After the war, Fonda took a break from movies and attended Hollywood parties and enjoyed civilian life. He and Stewart would listen to records and invite Johnny Mercer, Hoagy Carmichael, Dinah Shore, and Nat King Cole over for music, with the latter giving the family piano lessons. Fonda played Wyatt Earp in John Ford's My Darling Clementine (1946) and appeared in the film Fort Apache (1948) as a rigid Army colonel, along with John Wayne and Shirley Temple in her first adult role. Fonda did seven post-war films then his contract with Fox expired.

Refusing another long-term studio contract, Fonda returned to Broadway, wearing his own officer's cap to originate the title role in Mister Roberts, a comedy about the Navy, where Fonda, a junior officer, wages a private war against the captain. He won a 1948 Tony Award for the part. Fonda followed that by reprising his performance in the national tour and with successful stage runs in Point of No Return and The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial. He starred in the 1955 film version of Mister Roberts opposite James Cagney, William Powell and Jack Lemmon, continuing a pattern of bringing his acclaimed stage roles to life on the big screen. On the set of Mister Roberts, Fonda came to blows with John Ford and vowed never to work for him again.

Fonda followed Mr. Roberts with Paramount Pictures's production of the Leo Tolstoy epic War and Peace, in which he played Pierre Bezukhov opposite Audrey Hepburn, and which took two years to shoot. Fonda worked with Alfred Hitchcock in 1956, playing a man falsely accused of murder in The Wrong Man, an unusual though not successful effort by Hitchcock based on an actual crime and filmed on location in black and white.

In 1957, Fonda made his first foray into production with 12 Angry Men, based on a teleplay and a script by Reginald Rose and directed by Sidney Lumet. The low budget production was completed in only seventeen days of filming mostly in one claustraphobic jury room and had a strong cast including Jack Klugman, Lee J. Cobb, Martin Balsam, and E. G. Marshall. The intense film about twelve jurors deciding the fate of a young man accused of murder was well-received by critics worldwide. Fonda shared the Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations with co-producer Reginald Rose and won the 1958 BAFTA Award for Best Actor for his performance as "Juror #8", who with logic and persistence eventually sways all the jurors to an acquittal. Early on the film drew poorly, but after winning critical acclaim and awards, it proved a success. In spite of the good outcome, Fonda vowed that he would never produce a movie again, fearing that failing as a producer might derail his acting career. After western movies The Tin Star (1957) and Warlock (1959), Fonda returned to the production seat for the NBC western television series The Deputy (1959–1961), in which he also starred. Around this time, his fourth troubled marriage was coming to an end.

The 1960s saw Fonda perform in a number of war and western epics, including 1962's The Longest Day and How the West Was Won, 1965's In Harm's Way and Battle of the Bulge. In the Cold War suspense film Fail-Safe (1964), Fonda played the resolute President of the United States who tries to avert a nuclear holocaust through tense negotiations with the Soviets who see an attack coming their way. He also returned to more light-hearted cinema in Spencer's Mountain (1963), which was the inspiration for the TV series, The Waltons.


Fonda as the villain Frank in Once Upon a Time in the WestFonda appeared against type as the villain "Frank" in 1968's Once Upon a Time in the West. After initially turning down the role, he was convinced to accept it by actor Eli Wallach and director Sergio Leone, who flew from Italy to the United States to persuade him to take the part. Fonda had planned on wearing a pair of brown-colored contact lenses, but Leone preferred the paradox of contrasting close-up shots of Fonda's innocent-looking blue eyes with the vicious personality of the character Fonda played.

Fonda's relationship with Jimmy Stewart survived their disagreements over politics — Fonda was a liberal Democrat, and Stewart a conservative Republican. After a heated argument, they avoided talking politics with each other. The two teamed up for 1968's Firecreek, where Fonda once again played the heavy. In 1970, Fonda and Stewart costarred in the western The Cheyenne Social Club, a minor film in which the two humorously argued politics. They had first appeared together on film in On Our Merry Way (1948), a comedy which also starred William Demarest and Fred MacMurray and featured a grown-up Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer.

Henry Fonda played the role of Marshal Simon Fry in the TV-Series "The Deputy" (1959-1961).

Despite approaching his seventies, Fonda continued to work in both television and film through the 1970s. In 1970, Fonda appeared in three films, the most successful of these ventures being The Cheyenne Social Club. The other two films were Too Late the Hero, in which Fonda played a secondary role, and There Was a Crooked Man, about Paris Pitman Jr. trying to escape from an Arizona prison.

Fonda made a return to both foreign and television productions, which provided career sustenance through a decade in which many aging screen actors suffered waning careers. He starred in the ABC television series The Smith Family between 1971 and 1972. 1973's TV-movie The Red Pony, an adaptation of John Steinbeck's novel, earned Fonda an Emmy nomination. After the unsuccessful Hollywood melodrama, Ash Wednesday, he filmed three Italian productions released in 1973 and 1974. The most successful of these, My Name Is Nobody, presented Fonda in a rare comedic performance as an old gunslinger whose plans to retire are dampened by a "fan" of sorts.

Fonda continued stage acting throughout his last years, including several demanding roles in Broadway plays. He returned to Broadway in 1974 for the biographical drama, Clarence Darrow, for which he was nominated for a Tony Award. Fonda's health had been deteriorating for years, but his first outward symptoms occurred after a performance of the play in April 1974, when he collapsed from exhaustion. After the appearance of a heart arrhythmia brought on by prostate cancer, a pacemaker was installed following surgery and Fonda returned to the play in 1975. After the run of a 1978 play, First Monday of October, he took the advice of his doctors and quit plays, though he continued to star in films and television.

In 1976, Fonda appeared in several notable television productions, the first being Collision Course, the story of the volatile relationship between President Harry Truman (E.G. Marshall) and General MacArthur (Fonda), produced by ABC. After an appearance in the acclaimed Showtime broadcast of Almos' a Man, based on a story by Richard Wright, he starred in the epic NBC miniseries Captains and Kings, based on Taylor Caldwell's novel. Three years later, he appeared in ABC's Roots: The Next Generations, but the miniseries was overshadowed by its predecessor, Roots. Also in 1976, Fonda starred in the World War II blockbuster Midway.

Fonda finished the 1970s in a number of disaster films. The first of these was the 1977 Italian killer octopus thriller Tentacoli (Tentacles) and the mediocre Rollercoaster, in which Fonda appeared with Richard Widmark and a young Helen Hunt. He performed once again with Widmark, Olivia de Havilland, Fred MacMurray, and José Ferrer in the killer bee action film The Swarm. He also acted in the global disaster film Meteor, with Sean Connery, Natalie Wood and Karl Malden, and then the Canadian production City on Fire, which also featured Shelley Winters and Ava Gardner. Fonda had a small role with his son, Peter, in 1979's Wanda Nevada, with Brooke Shields.

As Fonda's health continued to suffer and he took longer breaks between filming, critics began to take notice of his extensive body of work. In 1979, the Tony Awards committee gave Fonda a special award for his achievements on Broadway. Lifetime Achievement awards from the Golden Globes and Academy Awards followed in 1980 and 1981, respectively.

Fonda continued to act into the early 1980s, though all but one of the productions he was featured in before his death were for television. These television works included the critically acclaimed live performance of Preston Jones' The Oldest Living Graduate, the Emmy nominated Gideon's Trumpet.

1981's On Golden Pond, the film adaptation of Ernest Thompson's play, marked one final professional and personal triumph for Fonda. Directed by Mark Rydell, the project provided unprecedented collaborations between Fonda and Katharine Hepburn, and between Fonda and Fonda's daughter, Jane. The elder Fonda played an emotionally brittle and distant father who becomes more accessible at the end of his life. Jane Fonda has said that elements of the story mimicked their real-life relationship, and helped them to resolve certain issues. She bought the film rights in the hope that her father would play the role, and later described it as "a gift to my father that was so unbelievably successful."

When premiered in December 1981, the film was well received by critics, and after a limited release on December 4 On Golden Pond developed enough of an audience to be widely released on January 22. With eleven Academy Award nominations, the film earned nearly $120 million at the box office, becoming an unexpected blockbuster. In addition to wins for Hepburn (Best Actress), and Thompson (Screenplay), On Golden Pond brought Fonda his only Oscar for Best Actor (it also earned him a Golden Globe Best Actor award). Fonda was by that point too ill too attend the ceremony, and Jane Fonda accepted on his behalf.

Fonda was married five times. His marriage to Margaret Sullavan in 1931 soon ended in separation, which was finalized in a 1933 divorce. In 1936, he married Frances Ford Seymour. They had two children, Peter and Jane. In 1950, Seymour committed suicide. Fonda married Susan Blanchard, the stepdaughter of Oscar Hammerstein II, in 1950. Together, they adopted a daughter, Amy (born 1953), but divorced three years later. In 1957 Fonda married Italian Countess Afdera Franchetti. They remained married until 1961. Soon after Fonda married Shirlee Mae Adams, and remained with her until his death in 1982.

Fonda died at his Los Angeles home on August 12, 1982, at the age of 77 from heart disease. Fonda's wife Shirlee, daughter Jane and son Peter were at his side when he died. He also suffered from prostate cancer, but this did not directly cause his death and was only mentioned as a concurrent ailment on his death certificate.




Lee Van Cleef


Lee Van Cleef was an American film actor who appeared mostly in Western and action pictures. His sharp features and piercing eyes often led to his casting as an antagonist but he was also cast as a protagonist, such as with his role depicting a bounty hunter in For a Few Dollars More.

Van Cleef was born Clarence LeRoy Van Cleef, Jr. in Somerville, New Jersey. Van Cleef served in the United States Navy during World War II and became an actor after a brief career as an accountant. His first acting experiences were on stage, including a small role in the original Broadway production of Mister Roberts. His first film was the classic Western High Noon, in which he played a villain. He also had a bit part as the sharpshooter in the climax of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms around the same time. In 1956 he co-starred with Peter Graves in the B-grade Sci-Fi movie It Conquered the World.

Van Cleef played different minor characters on four episodes of the TV series The Rifleman between 1959 and 1962. He appeared as minor villains and henchmen in various Westerns, including The Tin Star and Gunfight at the OK Corral. He also played one of Lee Marvin's villainous henchmen in the 1962 John Ford classic The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, with James Stewart and John Wayne. He had a small, uncredited role as one of the river pirates in 1962's How the West Was Won.

In 1962, Van Cleef was involved in a serious car accident and was forced temporarily to retire from acting. Between 1962 and 1965 Van Cleef worked as a freelance painter and carpenter, after which the actor appeared in several spaghetti Westerns, including For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly , as well as The Big Gundown and The Sabata Trilogy. Van Cleef also had a supporting role in John Carpenter's cult hit Escape from New York. He also appeared as a villainous swindler in the Bonanza episode, The Bloodline, along with 90 movie roles and 109 other television appearances over a 38-year span.

In the early 1980s he played John Peter McCallister, the "first Occidental to become a ninja" in NBC's The Master. His last television appearance was in 1984 when he left the show The Master. Episodes of the show were later remarketed as made-for-TV movies, two of which were featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Van Cleef lost the tip of his middle finger on his right hand while building a playhouse for his daughter. This can be seen in the close-up shots of his hand during the gunfights in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly and in an early scene of The Grand Duel.

He died from a heart attack in Oxnard, California and was interred in Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles. His gravestone reads "Lee Van Cleef Jan 9, 1925 - Dec 16, 1989 'Best of the Bad' Love and Light".

Jack Lemmon


John Uhler "Jack" Lemmon III was a two-time Academy Award winning American actor known principally for his comedic roles. He starred in such legendary classics as Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, Days of Wine and Roses, Irma La Douce, The Great Race, The Odd Couple, The Out-of-Towners, Glengarry Glen Ross, The China Syndrome, Short Cuts, and JFK.

Lemmon was born in an elevator at Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Newton, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. He attended John Ward Elementary School in Newton. He later revealed that he knew he wanted to be an actor from the age of eight. Lemmon attended Phillips Academy (Class of 43) and Harvard University (Class of 47), where he was an active member of several Drama Clubs - becoming president of the Hasty Pudding Club. At twenty-two years of age, Lemmon graduated from Harvard University and joined the Navy, received V-12 training and served as an ensign. On being discharged, he took up acting professionally, working on radio, television and Broadway. He studied acting under Uta Hagen. He also became enthused with the piano and learned to play it on his own. He could also play the harmonica and the bass fiddle.

Lemmon's film debut was a bit part as a plasterer/painter in the 1949 film The Lady Takes a Sailor, but he was not noticed until his official debut opposite Judy Holliday in the 1954 comedy, It Should Happen to You. Lemmon worked with many legendary leading ladies of the cinema screen. He worked with Marilyn Monroe, Natalie Wood, Betty Grable, Janet Leigh, Shirley MacLaine, Doris Day, Kim Novak, Judy Holliday, Rita Hayworth, June Allyson, Virna Lisi, Ann Margret, Sophia Loren, Grace Lee Whitney, Kathryn Grant and many, many more. He was also close friends with Tony Curtis, Ernie Kovacs, and Walter Matthau. He made two films with Curtis and a total of eleven films with Matthau.

He became a favorite actor of director Billy Wilder, starring in his films Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, Irma La Douce, The Fortune Cookie, Avanti!, The Front Page and Buddy Buddy. Wilder felt Lemmon had a natural tendency toward overacting that had to be tempered; the Wilder biography "Nobody's Perfect" quotes the director as saying: "Lemmon, I would describe him as a ham, a fine ham, and with ham you have to trim a little fat". The same Billy Wilder biography quotes Jack Lemmon as saying: "I am particularly susceptible to the parts I play... If my character was having a nervous breakdown I started to have one".

Lemmon recorded his own album in 1958 while filming Some Like It Hot with Marilyn Monroe. Twelve jazz tracks were created for Lemmon and another twelve tracks were added which were the soundtracks to his 1959 comedy film, Some Like It Hot. Lemmon also played the piano on his Frank Sinatra-type album. He recorded his own versions of Monroe's trademark songs, I Wanna Be Loved By You and I'm Through With Love. These two tracks can be heard on the album, which was eventually released in 1959 and was titled "A Twist of Lemmon/Some Like It Hot".

Lemmon was awarded the Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 1956 for Mister Roberts (1955), and the Best Actor Oscar for Save the Tiger (1973), being the first actor to achieve this double. He was also nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his role in the controversial film Missing in 1982 and for his role in "Some Like it Hot" in 1959. In 1988, the American Film Institute gave him its Lifetime Achievement Award. Days of Wine and Roses (1962) was one of his favorite roles. He portrayed Joe Clay, a young, fun-loving alcoholic businessman. In that film, Lemmon delivered the line, "My name is Joe Clay ... I'm an alcoholic." Three and a half decades later, he admitted on the television program, Inside the Actors Studio, that he was not acting when he delivered that line, that he really was a recovering alcoholic at the end of his life.

Throughout his career, Lemmon often appeared in films alongside actor Walter Matthau. They would go on to be one of the most beloved duos in cinema history. Among their pairings was as Felix Unger (Lemmon) and Oscar Madison (Matthau) in the 1968 film, The Odd Couple. They also starred together in The Fortune Cookie (for which Matthau won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor), The Front Page, and Buddy Buddy. In 1971, Lemmon directed Matthau in the comedy Kotch. It was the only movie that Lemmon ever directed, and Matthau was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar for his performance. Additionally, Lemmon and Matthau had small parts in Oliver Stone's 1991 film, JFK (the only film in which they both appear, but share no screentime). In 1993, the duo teamed up again to star in Grumpy Old Men. The film was a surprise hit, earning the two actors a new generation of young fans. During the rest of the decade, they would go on to star together in Out to Sea, Grumpier Old Men and the widely-panned The Odd Couple II. The only death scene that Lemmon performed was in The China Syndrome in 1979. For this part, he was awarded Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival. In 1982, he won another Cannes award for his performance in Missing (which also received the Palme d'Or). He is currently the only actor other than Marcello Mastroianni to have won it twice.

At the 1998 Golden Globe Awards, he was nominated for "Best Actor in a Made for TV Movie" for his role in Twelve Angry Men. He lost the award to Ving Rhames. After accepting the award, Rhames asked Lemmon to come onstage and in a move that stunned the audience, gave his award to him.

Lemmon was one of the best-liked actors in Hollywood. He is remembered as making time for people, as the actor Kevin Spacey recalled in a tribute. When already regarded as a legend, he met the teenage Spacey backstage after a theater performance and spoke to him about pursuing an acting career. Spacey would later work with Lemmon in the critically acclaimed film Glengarry Glen Ross (1992), and on stage in a revival of Long Day's Journey Into Night. Lemmon's performance even inspired Gil Gunderson, a character on The Simpsons that is modeled on Lemmon's character in the film.

When Lemmon won Best Actor for Save the Tiger, many people had expected Al Pacino to win for his performance in Serpico. Many years later, however, Pacino said that he was glad that Lemmon had won, because he (Pacino) was strung out on drugs that night and wouldn't have been able to have accepted the award. Lemmon and Pacino co-starred in Glengarry Glen Ross.

Jack Lemmon died of colon cancer and metastatic cancer of the bladder[4] on June 27, 2001. He had been fighting the disease, very privately, for two years before his death.

He is interred at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, Westwood, Los Angeles, California, where he is buried next to Walter Matthau. In typical Jack Lemmon wit, his gravestone simply reads 'Jack Lemmon — in'.

Peter Cushing

Peter Wilton Cushing was an English actor, known for his many appearances in Hammer Films, in which he played Baron Frankenstein and Dr. Van Helsing, amongst many other roles, often appearing opposite his close friend Christopher Lee. A familiar face on both sides of the Atlantic, he appeared in the original Star Wars film and the Doctor Who films.

Cushing was born in Kenley, Surrey, England, the son of Nellie Marie née King and George Edward Cushing. He was raised there and in Dulwich, South London. Cushing left his first job as a surveyor's assistant to take up a scholarship at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. After working in repertory theatre, he left for Hollywood in 1939, but returned in 1941 after roles in several films, one of them A Chump at Oxford (1940) appearing alongside Laurel and Hardy. His first major film part was as Osric in Laurence Olivier's Hamlet (1948).

In the 1950s, he worked in television, most notably as Winston Smith in the BBC's 1954 adaptation of the George Orwell novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, scripted by Nigel Kneale. Cushing drew much praise for his performance in this production, although he always felt that his performance in the existing version of the play — it was performed twice in one week and only the second version survives in the archives — was inferior to the first. During many of his small screen performances, Cushing also starred as Fitzwilliam Darcy in the BBC's 1952 production of Pride and Prejudice and as King Richard II in Richard of Bordeaux in 1955. He also went to Shoreham College for 1 term

His first appearances in his two most famous roles were in Terence Fisher's films The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) and Dracula (1958). Cushing will always be associated with playing Victor Frankenstein and Van Helsing in a long string of horror films produced by Hammer Horror. These provided him with 20 years of steady employment despite being of often middling quality. Although talented as an actor, he admitted that career decisions for him meant choosing roles where he knew the audience would accept him. "Who wants to see me as 'Hamlet'? Very few. But millions want to see me as Frankenstein so that's the one I do." He also said "If I played Hamlet, they'd call it a horror film."

Reportedly, he thought The Blood Beast Terror (1968) to be the worst film in which he participated. A shade under 6' tall and wiry, with a mane of increasingly iron-grey hair and an unemotional, meticulous delivery, he had an energetic onscreen presence. He often performed his own stunts.

Cushing was often cast opposite the actor Christopher Lee, with whom he became best friends. "People look at me as if I were some sort of monster, but I can't think why. In my macabre pictures, I have either been a monster-maker or a monster-destroyer, but never a monster. Actually, I'm a gentle fellow. Never harmed a fly. I love animals, and when I'm in the country I'm a keen bird-watcher," he said in an interview published in ABC Film Review in November 1964.

In the mid-1960s, he played the eccentric Dr. Who in two movies based on the television series Doctor Who. He made a conscious decision to play the part as a lovable, avuncular figure, as a conscious effort to escape from his perceived image as a "horror" actor. "I do get terribly tired with the neighborhood kids telling me 'My mum says she wouldn't want to meet you in a dark alley'." he said in an interview in 1966. He also appeared in the cult series The Avengers and then again in its successor, The New Avengers. In 1986, he played the role of Colonel William Raymond in 'Biggles'. In Space: 1999, he appeared as a Prospero-like character called Raan.

He was one of many stars to guest on The Morecambe and Wise Show — the standing joke in his case being the idea that he was never paid for his appearance. He would appear, week after week, wearily asking hosts Eric and Ernie, "Have you got my five pounds yet?" (A ludicrously low price for an artists fee, even in the 1970s). When Cushing was the subject of This Is Your Life in 1989, one of the guests was Ernie Wise ... who promptly presented him with a five pound note, but then, with typical dexterity, extorted it back from him. Peter was absolutely delighted with this, and cried: "All these years and I still haven't got my fiver!"

Cushing played Sherlock Holmes many times, starting with Hammer's The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959), the first colour Holmes film. Cushing, who resembled classic Holmes portrayer Basil Rathbone, seemed a natural for the part, and he played the part with great fidelity to the written character -- that of a man who is not always easy to live with or be around -- which had not been done up to that point. He followed this up with a performance in 16 episodes of the BBC series Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes (1968), of which only six episodes survive. Finally, Cushing played the detective in old age, in The Masks of Death (1984) for Channel 4.

In 1971, Cushing withdrew from the film Blood from the Mummy's Tomb when his wife died. He and actress Helen Beck had been married since 1943. The following year, he was quoted in the Radio Times as saying "Since Helen passed on I can't find anything; the heart, quite simply, has gone out of everything. Time is interminable, the loneliness is almost unbearable and the only thing that keeps me going is the knowledge that my dear Helen and I will be united again some day. To join Helen is my only ambition. You have my permission to publish that... really, you know dear boy, it's all just killing time. Please say that."

Six years later, his feelings were unchanged: "When Helen passed on six years ago I lost the only joy in life that I ever wanted. She was my whole life and without her there is no meaning. I am simply killing time, so to speak, until that wonderful day when we are together again."

In his autobiography, he says he attempted suicide the night that Helen died, by running up and down stairs in the vain hope that it would induce a heart attack.

In 1986, Cushing appeared on the British TV show Jim'll Fix It. His "wish", "granted" by Jimmy Savile, was to have a strain of rose named after his late wife. Cushing's letter to the show, in copperplate handwriting, was shown, as was the identification and naming of a rose named "Helen Cushing".


In 1976, he was cast in Star Wars, which was shooting at Elstree Studios, Borehamwood, London. He appeared as one of his most recognised characters, Grand Moff Tarkin despite having originally been considered for the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Cushing found accepting the role in a science fiction fantasy easy. "My criterion for accepting a role isn't based on what I would like to do. I try to consider what the audience would like to see me do and I thought kids would adore Star Wars."

Costuming difficulties resulted in an endearing piece of trivia about Star Wars. He was presented with ill-fitting riding boots for the Moff Tarkin role and they pinched his feet so much that he was given permission by George Lucas to play the role wearing his slippers. The camera operators filmed him above the knees or standing behind the table of the conference room set. Also, during filming of Star Wars, a star-struck Carrie Fisher found it hard to deliver her lines to him and seem terrified in the presence of a charming, polished man who smelled of 'linen and lavender' when in their first scene together, her character speaks of Cushing's as having a 'foul stench'.

After Star Wars, he continued appearing in films and television sporadically, as his health allowed. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer but without surgery managed to survive several years, though his health was precarious.

In 1989, Cushing was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. He retired to Whitstable, where he had bought a seafront house in 1959, and continued his hobby of bird watching, and to write two autobiographies. Cushing also worked as a painter, specializing in watercolors, and wrote and illustrated a children's book of Lewis Carroll style humor, The Bois Saga.

His final professional engagement was as co-narrator of Flesh and Blood, the Hammer Heritage of Horror, produced by American writer/director Ted Newsom. As co-narrator, Cushing thus took his "last bow" with friend Christopher Lee, the BBC and Hammer Films. The narration was recorded in Canterbury near Cushing's home. The show was first broadcast in 1994, the week before Cushing's death from cancer in a Canterbury hospice, aged 81.

Barry Fitzgerald


Barry Fitzgerald was an Academy Award winning Irish stage, film and television actor.

He was born William Joseph Shields in Dublin, Ireland. He is the older brother of Irish actor Arthur Shields. He was a civil servant, while also working at the Abbey Theatre. By 1929, he turned to acting full-time. He was briefly a roommate of famed playwright Sean O'Casey and starred in such plays as O'Casey's Juno and the Paycock, a role he later recreated in his screen debut in 1930 for Alfred Hitchcock's film adaptation.

Fitzgerald went to Hollywood to star in another O'Casey work, The Plough and the Stars (1936), directed by John Ford. He had a successful Hollywood career in such films as The Long Voyage Home (1940), How Green Was My Valley (1941), And Then There Were None (1945), and The Quiet Man (1952). Fitzgerald achieved a feat unmatched in the history of the Academy Awards: he was nominated for both the Best Actor Oscar and the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for the same performance, as "Father Fitzgibbon" in Going My Way (1944). He won the Best Supporting Actor Award; an avid golfer, he later broke the head off his Oscar statue while practicing his golf swing. During World War II, Oscar statues were made of plaster instead of gold, owing to wartime metal shortages.

Fitzgerald has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, for movies at 6220 Hollywood Blvd. and for television at 7001 Hollywood Blvd.

He died on January 14, 1961, at the age of 61.

Hume Cronyn


Hume Blake Cronyn was a Canadian-American actor of stage, film and screen who enjoyed a long career.

Cronyn, one of five children, was born in London, Ontario, Canada, the son of Frances Amelia (née Labatt), an heiress of the brewing company of the same name, and her husband, Hume Blake Cronyn, Sr,, a businessman and a Member of Parliament for London. His paternal grandfather Verschoyle Cronyn was the son of the Right Reverend Benjamin Cronyn, an Anglican cleric of Anglo-Irish Protestant Ascendancy stock who served as first bishop of the Anglican diocese of Huron, and founder of Huron College from which grew the University of Western Ontario. His great-uncle Benjamin Jr was both a prominent citizen and early mayor of London, Ontario. Benjamin Jr was later indicted for fraud and fled to Vermont. During his tenure in London he built a mansion called Oakwood, which currently serves as the head office of the Info-Tech Research Group. Cronyn was also a cousin of Canadian-born theater producer, Robert Whitehead.

Early in life, Cronyn was an amateur featherweight boxer, having the skills to even be nominated for the 1932 Canadian Olympic Boxing Team.

His family had hoped he would pursue a law career, but subsequent to graduating from Ridley College, Cronyn switched majors, from pre-law to drama, while attending McGill University, and continued his acting studies thereafter, under Max Reinhardt and at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. In 1934, he made his Broadway debut as a janitor in Hipper's Holiday and became known for his versatility, playing a number of different roles on stage.

His first Hollywood film was Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt (1943). He later appeared in Hitchcock's Lifeboat (1944) and was a writer for the screenplays of Rope (1948) and Under Capricorn (1949). He was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actor for his performance in The Seventh Cross (1944) and won a Tony Award for his performance as Polonius opposite Richard Burton's Hamlet (1964). Cronyn bought the screenplay What Nancy Wanted from Norma Barzman — later blacklisted with her husband Ben Barzman — with the idea of producing the film and starring Tandy. However, he sold the screenplay to RKO which later filmed it as The Locket (1946). Cronyn also made two memorable appearances in television, Alfred Hitchcock Presents Kill with Kindness (1956) and Hawaii Five-O, Over Fifty, Steal (1970).

Cronyn was married to actress Jessica Tandy from 1942 until her death in 1994, and appeared with her in many of their more memorable dramatic stage, film and TV outings, including The Green Years, The Gin Game, Foxfire, *batteries not included, Cocoon and Cocoon: The Return.

The couple even starred in a short-lived (1953–1954) radio series, The Marriage, playing New York attorney Ben Marriott and his wife, former fashion buyer Liz, struggling with her switch to domestic life and their raising an awkward teenage daughter. The show was scheduled to move from radio to television, with Cronyn producing as well as acting in the show.

Cronyn turned up on the infamous Hollywood blacklist for a spell - not because of his own political activity Cronyn was long believed to shy away from political activism - but because he had hired, often without caring about their politics, staff members who had already been blacklisted.

Cronyn re-married in July 1996, to author Susan Cooper. He became an American citizen in 1966.).

He died at the age of 91 of prostate cancer at his home in Fairfield, Connecticut, after having lived for many years in nearby Pound Ridge, New York.

Graham Chapman


Graham Chapman was an English comedian, actor, writer, physician and one of the six members of the Monty Python comedy troupe. He was also the lead actor in their two narrative films, playing King Arthur in Monty Python and the Holy Grail and the title character in Monty Python's Life of Brian.

Graham Chapman was educated at Melton Mowbray Grammar School and studied medicine at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he began writing comedy sketches with John Cleese, who was also a Cambridge student. Chapman qualified as a medical doctor at the Barts Hospital Medical College, but never practised medicine professionally.

While at Cambridge, Chapman joined Footlights. His fellow members included Cleese, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Bill Oddie, David Hatch, Jonathan Lynn, Humphrey Barclay, and Jo Kendall. Their revue A Clump of Plinths was so successful at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival that they renamed it Cambridge Circus, and took the revue to the West End in London and later New Zealand and Broadway in September 1964. The revue appeared in October 1964 on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Chapman and Cleese wrote professionally for the BBC during the 1960s, primarily for David Frost, but also for Marty Feldman. Chapman also contributed sketches to the BBC radio series I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again and television programmes such as The Illustrated Weekly Hudd (starring Roy Hudd), Cilla Black, This is Petula Clark, and This is Tom Jones. Chapman, Cleese, and Tim Brooke-Taylor then joined Feldman in the television comedy series At Last the 1948 Show. Chapman, and on occasion Cleese, also wrote for the long-running television comedy series Doctor in the House. Chapman also co-wrote several episodes with Bernard McKenna and David Sherlock.

1969 Chapman and Cleese joined Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Eric Idle and American artist Terry Gilliam for Monty Python's Flying Circus. Cleese and Chapman's classic Python sketches include "Raymond Luxury Yacht", and “Dead Parrot”. These were largely straight roles, but in the Flying Circus, he had tended to specialise in characters closer to his own personality: outwardly calm, authoritative figures barely concealing a manic unpredictability.

In David Morgan's 1999 book Monty Python Speaks, Cleese asserted that Chapman - although officially his co-writer for many of their sketches - contributed comparatively little in the way of direct writing. Rather, the Pythons have said that his biggest contribution in the writing room was an uncanny intuition as to what was funny. Although often small, his contributions were often the spice that gave the sketch its flavour. In the classic "Dead Parrot Sketch", written mostly by Cleese, the frustrated customer was initially trying to return a faulty toaster to a shop. Chapman would ask "How can we make this madder?", and then came up with the idea that returning a dead parrot to a pet shop might make a more interesting subject than a toaster.

In the late 1970s, Chapman moved to Los Angeles, where he guest-starred on many US television shows, including The Hollywood Squares, Still Crazy Like a Fox, and the NBC sketch series The Big Show. Upon returning to England he became involved with the Dangerous Sports Club (an extreme sports club which introduced bungee jumping to a wide audience). He began a lengthy series of US college tours in the 1980s, where he would tell the audience anecdotes on Monty Python, the Dangerous Sports Club, Keith Moon, and other subjects. His memoir, A Liar's Autobiography, was published in 1980 and, unusually for an autobiography, had five authors: Chapman, his partner David Sherlock, Alex Martin, David Yallop and Douglas Adams, who in 1977 was virtually unknown as a recent graduate fresh from Cambridge. Together they wrote a pilot for a TV series, Out of the Trees; it was aired in 1975, but never became a series. They also wrote a show for Ringo Starr, which was never made. Adams was mentored by Chapman, but they later had a falling out and did not speak for several years.

Chapman's last project was to have been a TV series called Jake's Journey. Although the pilot episode was made, there were difficulties selling the project. Following Chapman's death, there was no interest. Chapman was also to have played a guest role as a television presenter in the Red Dwarf episode “Timeslides”, but died before filming was to have started.

In the years since Chapman's death, despite the existence of the "Graham Chapman Archive", only a few of his projects have actually been released. One such that has, is a play entitled O Happy Day, brought to life in 2000 by Dad's Garage Theatre Company in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael Palin and John Cleese assisted the theatre company in adapting the play. He also appeared in the Iron Maiden video, Can I Play with Madness.

In many ways, Chapman was the epitome of public-school respectability, a tall (6'2"), craggy pipe-smoker who enjoyed mountaineering and playing rugby. At the same time, he was proudly gay and highly eccentric.

Chapman was an alcoholic from his time in medical school. His drinking affected his performance on the TV recording set as well as on the set of Holy Grail, where he suffered from withdrawal symptoms including delirium tremens. He finally stopped drinking on Boxing Day 1977, having just irritated the other Pythons with an outspoken and drunken interview with the New Musical Express.

Chapman kept his homosexuality a secret until the mid 1970s when he famously came out on a chat show hosted by British jazz musician George Melly, becoming one of the first celebrities to do so. Several days later, he came out to a group of friends at a party held at his home in Belsize Park where he officially introduced them to his partner, David Sherlock, whom he had met in Ibiza in 1966. Chapman later told in his college tour that when he made his homosexuality public, a member of the television audience wrote to the Pythons to complain that she had heard a member of the team was gay, and included in the letter 25 sheets of prayers that might perhaps still save him if he repented and said these prayers every day for the rest of his life. With fellow Pythons already aware of his sexual orientation, Eric Idle replied, "We've found out who it was and we've had him killed."

Chapman was a vocal spokesman for gay rights, and in 1972 he lent his support to the fledgling newspaper Gay News, which publicly acknowledged his financial and editorial support by listing him as one of its "special friends".

Among Chapman's closest friends were Keith Moon of The Who, singer Harry Nilsson, and Beatle Ringo Starr.

During his 'drinking days', Chapman jokingly referred to himself as the British actress Betty Marsden, possibly because of Marsden's oft-quoted desire to die with a glass of gin in her hand.

Chapman died of a rare spinal cancer. It was diagnosed in November 1988 after Chapman's dentist found a growth on his tonsils. By September 1989 the cancer was declared incurable. He filmed scenes for the 20th anniversary of Monty Python that month, but was taken ill again on October 1, 1989. Present when he died in a Maidstone Hospice on the evening of October 4, 1989 were John Cleese, Michael Palin, David Sherlock, his brother John, and John's wife, although Cleese had to be led out of the room to deal with his grief. Terry Jones and Peter Cook had visited earlier that day. Chapman's death occurred one day before the 20th anniversary of the first broadcast of Flying Circus; Terry Jones called it “the worst case of party-pooping in all history."

A memorial service was held for Graham Chapman on the evening of December 6, 1989 in the Great Hall at St Bartholomew's Hospital. Cleese delivered the eulogy; after his initial remarks, which parodied the "Dead Parrot" sketch, he said of his former colleague: “…good riddance to him, the freeloading bastard, I hope he fries!”, and then pointed out that Chapman would have been disappointed if Cleese passed on the opportunity to scandalize the audience. He explained that Chapman would have been offended had Cleese, the first person to say "shit" on British television, not used Chapman's own funeral as an opportunity to also become the first person at a British memorial service to use the word "fuck". Afterward, Cleese joined Gilliam, Jones, and Palin along with Chapman's other friends as Idle led them in a rendition of "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" from the film Monty Python's Life of Brian not to be outdone by Cleese, Idle was heard to say during the song's close, "I'd like to be the last person here to say "'fuck'".

Nigel Bruce


Nigel Bruce was a British character actor on stage and screen, best known as Doctor Watson in a series of films and in the radio series The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

He was educated at The Grange, Stevenage, and at Abingdon School, Berkshire. Before World War I, he played first class cricket. He served in France from 1914 as a lieutenant in the 10th Service Battalion - Somerset Light Infantry, and the Honourable Artillery Company, but was severely wounded at Cambrai the following year, with eleven bullets in his left leg, and spent most of the remainder of the war in a wheelchair.

He made his first appearance on stage on May 12, 1920 at the Comedy Theatre as a footman in Why Marry? In October that year, he went to Canada as stage manager to Henry V. Esmond and Eva Moore, and also playing "Montague Jordan" in Eliza Comes to Stay; upon returning to England, he toured in the same part. He appeared constantly on stage thereafter, and eight years later, also started working in silent films. In 1934, he moved to Hollywood, later setting up home at 701 North Alpine Drive, Beverly Hills.

Nigel Bruce typically played buffoonish, fuzzy-minded gentlemen. During his film career, he worked in 78 movies, including Treasure Island (1934), The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934), The Trail of the Lonesome Pine (1936), Lassie Come Home (1943), and The Corn Is Green (1945). Bruce participated in two landmark films: Becky Sharp, the first feature film in full Technicolor, and Bwana Devil, the first 3-D feature. He also appeared in the Alfred Hitchcock films Rebecca (1940) and Suspicion (1941).

Bruce's signature role was that of Dr. Watson in the Sherlock Holmes series with his good friend Basil Rathbone. Bruce starred as Watson in 14 films (from 1939 to 1946) and over 200 radio programs. Although Watson often appears to be the older of the two main characters, Bruce was actually three years younger than his co-star Rathbone. Holmes purists objected that Watson in the books was an intelligent and capable person, and that the Bruce portrayal made him seem dimmer and more bumbling than his literary counterpart. Rathbone spoke highly of Bruce's portrayal, saying that Watson was one of the screen's most lovable characters. The Rathbone-Bruce film series lapsed with the death of producer-director Roy William Neill in 1946.

Bruce, known as "Willie" to his friends, was a leading member of the British movie colony in Los Angeles, and was captain of the Hollywood Cricket Club. Unlike some of his contemporaries, he never renounced his British citizenship despite his long residence in the United States, and he retained his membership of London's Garrick Club and Buck's Club until his death.

Bruce died from a heart attack in Santa Monica, California in 1953, aged 58. He was cremated, and his ashes stored in the vault at the Chapel of the Pines Crematory in Los Angeles.

His last movie, World for Ransom, was released posthumously in 1954.