09 February, 2009

Dudley Digges


Dudley Digges was an Irish character actor on stage and in motion pictures. On stage, one of his famous roles was as Ficsur in the original 1921 Broadway production of Ferenc Molnar's Liliom, the play that Rodgers and Hammerstein later musicalized as Carousel. Ficsur was the criminal who talks Liliom into helping him commit a robbery; in Carousel, his name was changed to Jigger Craigin, but the character otherwise remained almost the same.

Digges also played the role of the Heavenly Examiner in both the original Broadway and the 1930 screen versions of Sutton Vane's hit play Outward Bound.

Digges appeared in forty films between 1929 and 1946, including the original, nearly forgotten 1931 version of The Maltese Falcon, as Caspar Gutman, the character later made famous by Sydney Greenstreet in the 1941 Humphrey Bogart film version of the story. He also worked as a director on Broadway.

In 1924, Digges founded the Maverick Theater, in Woodstock, NY, with the assistance of Hervey White, the founder of the Maverick Arts Colony. Digges was artistic director of a company that included Helen Hayes and Edward G. Robinson.

Don Edwards


Don Edwards is a cowboy singer and guitarist who plays Western music. He has recorded several albums, two of which, Guitars & Saddle Songs and Songs of the Cowboy, are included in the Folklore Archives of the Library of Congress. Edwards also recorded the album High Lonesome Cowboy with Peter Rowan and Tony Rice.

In 1993 he appeared on Nanci Griffith's Grammy Award winning album "Other Voices, Other Rooms" on which he accompanied Griffith on a Michael Burton song entitled "Night Rider's Lament". Edwards played the character Smokey in Robert Redford's The Horse Whisperer. Edwards also performs the song "Coyotes" that plays during the final minutes of the documentary Grizzly Man.

In 2005, Don Edwards was inducted into the Western Music Association Hall of Fame.

Charlie Ruggles


Charles Sherman “Charlie” Ruggles was a comic American actor. In a career spanning six decades, Ruggles appeared in close to 100 feature films.

Charlie Ruggles was born in Los Angeles, California in 1886. Despite training to be a doctor, Ruggles soon found himself on the stage, appearing in a stock production of Nathan Hale in 1905. At Los Angeles's Majestic Theatre, he played the romantic lead Private Jo Files in L. Frank Baum and Louis F. Gottschalk's musical, The Tik-Tok Man of Oz in 1913. He moved to Broadway to appear in Help Wanted in 1914. His first screen role came in the silent Peer Gynt the following year. Throughout the 1910s and 1920s Ruggles continued to appear in silent movies, though his passion remained the stage, appearing in long-running productions such as The Passing Show of 1918, The Demi-Virgin and Battling Butler. His most famous stage hit was one of his last before a twenty year hiatus, Queen High, produced in 1930.

From 1929, Ruggles appeared in talking pictures. His first was Gentleman of the Press in which he played a comic, alcoholic newspaper reporter. Throughout the 1930s he was teamed with comic actress Mary Boland in a string of domestic farces, notably Six of a Kind, Ruggles of Red Gap, and People Will Talk; Boland was the domineering wife and Ruggles the mild-mannered husband. Ruggles is best remembered today as the big-game hunter in Bringing Up Baby. In other films he often played the "comic relief" character in otherwise straight films. In all, he appeared in about 100 movies.

In 1949, Ruggles halted in his film career to return to the stage and to move into television. He was the headline character in the TV series The Ruggles, a family comedy in which he played a character also called Charlie Ruggles, and The World of Mr. Sweeney. He returned to the big screen in 1961, playing Charles McKendrick in The Parent Trap and Mackenzie Savage in The Pleasure of His Company. He had a recurring guest role on The Beverly Hillbillies in the mid-1960s as Lowell Redlings Farquhar, father-in-law of Milburn Drysdale (Raymond Bailey).

Ruggles also lent his voice to the "Aesop and Son" TV cartoons produced by Jay Ward and Bill Scott. Ruggles played Aesop; Daws Butler played "Junior."

Ruggles died of cancer at his Hollywood home in 1970 at the age of 84.

Kenneth Macgowan


Kenneth Macgowan began his career as a drama critic. He wrote many books on the modern theater including The Theatre of Tomorrow (1921) and Continental Stagecraft (1922), the latter with Robert Edmond Jones. In 1922, he ran The Provincetown Playhouse as its producer, with Eugene O'Neill and Robert Edmond Jones as partners. His close relationship with O'Neill lasted their lifetimes.

In 1928 he moved to Hollywood, California to become a story editor for RKO Radio Pictures. By 1932, Macgowan had become a producer for RKO, including Little Women (1933) starring Katharine Hepburn.

Macgowan produced many films between 1932 and 1947, not only at RKO, but also for 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures. He produced the first color picture, Becky Sharp (1935), Young Mr. Lincoln with Henry Fonda (1939), and Alfred Hitchcock's Lifeboat (1944).

In 1946, he left from the industry to become the first chair of the Department of Theater Arts at UCLA. The theater building on the school's campus is named in his honor.

Throughout his life, he wrote books on a number of subjects including drama and film, most notably Behind the Screen, a history of cinema published in 1965 after his death.

He died on 27 April 1963, in West Los Angeles, California.

Francis Blanche


Francis Blanche, whose real name was John Francis White was born on July 21, 1921. He created with Pierre Dac famous sketches SAR Rabindrantah Duval and “Party to laugh” and the radio series called Signe Furax. He was also the author of hilarious prank calls which were broadcast regularly on radio in the 1960’s. He also wrote poems, lyrics, and music. He died of a heart attack on July 6, 1974.

Robert Sabatier



Robert Sabatier was a French poet and writer.


Sabatier was born on the August 17, 1923 in Paris.  He had written numerous novels, essays and books of aphorisms and poems. He was elected to the Académie Goncourt in 1971, as well as to the Académie Mallarme. He is also the author of "A History of the French Poems". He grew up in Montmartre, afterwards in the district of Canal Saint-Martin, he retold the story of his childhood in the series of "roman d'Olivier", one of which is "les Allumettes Suédoises", turned into a movie by Jacques Ertaud, which became a bestseller (3 millions copies were sold on this day), with more recent episodes such as "Olivier 1940", "les Trompettes Guerrières". "Les années secrètes de la vie d'un homme", which was translated to German and Swedish as "Ego", as well as "Diogène" and "le Traité de la Déraison Souriante" representing a more serious side of him. He is currently writing his memoirs.

Sabatier died on June 28, 2012  at the age of 88 in Boulogne.

Louis Pauwels


Louis Pauwels was a French journalist and writer.

Louis Pauwels was a teacher at Athis-Mons from 1939 to 1945 (licence de Lettres was interrupted at the start of the Second World War), Louis Pauwels wrote in many monthly literary French magazines as early as 1946 (including Esprit and Variété) until the 1950s. He participated in the foundation of Travail et Culture (Work and Culture) in 1946 (intended to spread culture to the masses, and of which he was the secretary). In 1948, he joined the work groups of G. I. Gurdjieff for fifteen months, until he became editor in chief of Combat in 1949 and editor of the newspaper Paris-Presse. He directed (among others) the Bibliothèque Mondiale (Worldwide Library) (the precursor of "Livre de Poche" ["Pocket Books"]), Carrefour (Intersection), the monthly women's Marie Claire, and the magazine Arts et Culture in 1952.

Powels met Jacques Bergier in 1954 while he was the literary director of Bibliothèque Mondiale, he would write Le Matin des Magiciens (The Dawn of Magic or The Morning of the Magicians) in 1960, and in 1970 the interrupted continuation of "L'Homme Eternel" (The Eternal Man). Constantly with Bergier (as well as François Richaudeau), he founded the bi-monthly magazine Planète in October 1961 (around 150 pages) that appeared until May 1968 (and would appear again that same year under the title le Nouveau Planète (the New Planet); 64 numbers in total between the two editions). Various studies were researched and published in a collection which the authors called "Encyclopédie Planète" (each volume containing around 250 pages, with around thirty volumes in all). The seventeen "Anthologies Planètes" dedicated to Jacques Sternberg grouped short texts by various authors on a given subject together. A great friend of Aimé Michel, the "Planète" was also dedicated to him. In the 1970s, he became friend with some members of GRECE.

Pauwels wrote numerous articles for Le Journal du Dimanche (The Sunday Newspaper) from 1975 to 1976. In 1977, he directed the cultural services of Le Figaro, where he established the bases of the Figaro-Magazine. Le Figaro-Magazine was launched in October 1978, as a weekly supplement to the newspaper Le Figaro. The intention of Robert Hersant was to create a counterweight to the influential Le Nouvel Observateur that he considered too left-wing. Louis Pauwels was in charge of the new magazine. Louis Pauwels offered initially the position of chief editor to Alain de Benoist who declined it due to his editorial duties at Éléments and at the Éditions Copernic. Jean-Claude Valla (politics and society) and Patrice de Plunkett (culture) thus became the first chief editors. Members of the GRECE were such as Alain de Benoist, Michel Marmin or Yves Chisten contributed to Le Figaro Magazine until the summer 1979. After their departure, the tone of the magazine became more libertarian (on economics) while remaining socially conservative. Louis Pauwels remained at the head of the weekly until 1993. When students demonstrated against the Devaquet law on universities in 1986, Louis Pauwels penned his most famous editorial on the Mental AIDS that had hit french youth. He founded, with Gabriel Véraldi and Rémy Chauvin, la Fondation Marcel et Monique Odier de Psycho-Physique in Geneva in 1992. He died on January 28, 1997.

Jean Dutourd


Jean Gwenaël Dutourd is a French novelist. His mother died when he was seven years old. At the age of twenty, he was taken prisoner fifteen days after Germany's invasion of France in World War II. He escaped six weeks later and returned to Paris where he studied philosophy at the Sorbonne.

His first work, Le Complexe de César appeared in 1946 and received the prix Stendhal. He was elected to the Académie française November 30, 1978. In 1997 he was elected as a member of Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts in the Department of Language and Literature.

Harry Belafonte


Harold George Belafonte Jr. is a Jamaican American musician, actor and social activist. One of the most successful popular singers in history, he was dubbed the "King of Calypso," a title which he was very reluctant to accept for popularizing the Caribbean musical style with an international audience in the 1950s. Belafonte is perhaps best known for singing the "Banana Boat Song", with its signature lyric "Day-O". Throughout his career, he has been an advocate for civil rights and humanitarian causes.

Clive Brook


Clive Brook was an English actor.

Brook was born in London. Brook was 5' 11" tall and had black hair with brown eyes. He was the son of an opera singer, a published writer and a violinist. He distinguished himself in the First World War. He first appeared on stage in 1918 and also in films from 1919. He worked first in British films then in Hollywood.

One of his best remembered appearances was playing opposite Marlene Dietrich in Shanghai Express (1932). He played Sherlock Holmes three times: The Return of Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes (in that order) and as part of a portmanteau film, Paramount on Parade. In 1943, he adapted the comedy On Approval by Frederick Lonsdale and wrote, produced, directed and starred in the film with Beatrice Lillie, Googie Withers and Roland Culver. The costumes were by Cecil Beaton. It is seen by many as Brooks' crowning achievement. In 1949 he presented the radio series The Secrets of Scotland Yard. He died on November 17, 1974.

Prince Souvanna Phouma


Prince Souvanna Phouma was the leader of the neutralist faction and prime minister of the Kingdom of Laos several times, from 1951-1952, 1956-1958, 1960 and 1962-1975.

Souvanna Phouma was the son of Bounkhong, the last vice-king of Luang Prabang and a nephew of King Sisavang Vong of Laos, given a French education in Hanoi, Paris and Grenoble, where he obtained his degree in architecture and engineering. He returned to his homeland in 1931, marrying Aline Claire Allard, the daughter of a French father and a Lao mother.

Souvanna Phouma, together with his brother, Prince Phetsarath Rattanavongsa (1891-1959) and his half-brother, Prince Souphanouvong (1909-1995), became involved in Laotian politics at around the end of World War II, at which time the Lao Issara was established to counter the French occupation.

He married Aline Claire Allard, and had a daughter, Princess Moune, who married Perry J. Stieglitz, cultural-affairs attache of the U.S. embassy.

In 1951 Souvanna became Prime Minister of Laos with a landslide victory. 7th Premier of Laos known for having sought, throughout several terms in office, to maintain Laotian neutrality in Southeast Asian affairs. Souvanna was the nephew of King Sisavangvong of Laos. He studied architectural engineering in France and then entered the Public Works Service of French Indochina on returning to his country in 1931. When his uncle welcomed the return of French rule after the defeat of the Japanese, who had occupied Laos at the end of World War II, Souvanna and his half brother Souphanouvong joined the Lao Issara (Free Laos) movement and its provisional Vientiane government (1945–46). When the French reoccupied Laos, Souvanna fled to exile in Bangkok, but returned to Laos in 1949 as France began conceding autonomy to Laos. In 1951 he was elected premier and held that office until 1954. He returned to the premiership in 1956 as the head of a coalition government that included both rightist representatives and members of the Communist Pathet Lao, which Souphanouvong headed. The coalition collapsed in 1958, and civil war broke out between the two groups. Souvanna served briefly as premier in 1960 and again returned during a brief truce in 1962. During the 1960s and early 1970s Souvanna struggled to retain a neutral position; with the proximity of the war in Vietnam, his efforts were in vain, and he came to depend upon U.S. military assistance. After the United States began to withdraw from that struggle, however, the Vientiane government and the Pathet Lao agreed on a cease-fire (February 1973), and in April 1974 a coalition government was formed. Souvanna retained the premiership until December 1975, when the People's Democratic Republic of Laos was established. He remained an adviser to the government until his death.

After elections in December 1955, Souvanna Phouma returned to the prime ministership on a platform of national reconciliation. In August 1956 Souvanna and the Pathet Lao leadership agreed on broad proposals for a ‘government of national union’. Elections for 21 extra assembly seats were finally held in May 1958, with parties aligned with the Pathet Lao acquiring 13. Souphanouvong entered the government as Economic Minister. Another Pathet Lao leader, Phoumi Vongvichit, also acquired a Ministry. The United States considered Souvanna Phouma's return to office bad news.

In June 1958 Souvanna was again forced to resign by the rightists. The king accepted the vote as legal the next day when he signed Royal Ordinance No. 282, dismissing Souvanna Phouma's government and giving powers provisionally to the Revolutionary Committee. Royal Ordinance No. 283, approved a provisional government formed by Prince Boun Oum, who acted as front man for Phoui Sananikone. The king had scruples about naming a general to be prime minister. The conflict in the 1960s was intensifying and Kong Le captured Vientiane and asked for a restoration of neutrality. Souvanna Phouma returned as Prime Minister, and subsequently reached an agreement with Souphanouvong on behalf of the Pathet Lao. In December 1960, however, Royal Lao troops under rightist command stormed Vientiane. Kong Le, his troops and Souvanna fled to the Pathet Lao-controlled Plain of Jars. The communist world and some non-aligned nations like India now upheld Souvanna as Lao rightful Prime Minister. The United States and the West recognised a new military-controlled Vientiane government, technically under another prince, Boun Oum, as Prime Minister.

Despite American intrigue in Laos up to this point, the incoming United States President in January 1961, John F Kennedy, concluded that a neutral Laos was desirable. In May 1961 another Geneva Conference called once more for the neutralisation of Laos. In June the three Lao princes, Boun Oum, Souvanna Phouma, and Souphanouvong agreed to a second attempt at a coalition government.

The new government came into existence in July 1962 with Souvanna as Prime Minister. The coalition led a tenuous existence, beset by tension, provocation and assassination until mid-1964 when its Pathet Lao component effectively abandoned it, later dismissing it as a ‘United States puppet’. Souvanna held on as Prime Minister, but he and other neutralists were now reduced to irrelevance. Laos was becoming one of the key theatres of war in the sharply escalating conflict in Vietnam. In 1975 he was removed from office by the new communist government.

Vincent Price


Vincent Leonard Price Jr. was an American film actor, remembered for his distinctive voice, his 6-foot 4-inch stature and serio-comic attitude in a series of horror films done in the latter part of his career.

Price was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Marguerite Cobb (née Willcox) and Vincent Leonard Price, Sr., who was the president of the National Candy Company. His grandfather, Vincent Clarence Price, invented "Dr. Price's Baking Powder", the first cream of tartar baking powder, and secured the family's fortune.

Price attended St. Louis Country Day School. He was further educated at Yale in art history and fine art. He was a member of Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity and the Courtauld Institute, London. He became interested in the theater during the 1930s, appearing professionally on stage from 1935.

He made his film debut in 1938 with Service de Luxe and established himself as a competent actor, notably in Laura (1944), opposite Gene Tierney, directed by Otto Preminger. He also played Joseph Smith, Jr. in the movie Brigham Young (1940), as well as a pretentious priest in The Keys of the Kingdom (1944).


Price's first venture into the horror genre was in the 1939 Boris Karloff film Tower of London in which his character was murdered by Karloff's. The following year he portrayed the title character in the film The Invisible Man Returns (a role he reprised in a vocal cameo at the end of the 1948 horror-comedy spoof Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein).

In 1946 Price reunited with Gene Tierney in two notable films, Dragonwyck and Leave Her to Heaven. There were also many villainous roles in slick film noir thrillers like The Web (1947), The Long Night (1947), Rogues' Regiment (1948) and The Bribe (1949) with Robert Taylor, Ava Gardner and Charles Laughton. He was also active in radio, portraying the Robin Hood-inspired crime-fighter Simon Templar, aka. The Saint, in a series that ran from 1943 to 1951.

In the 1950s, he moved into horror films, with a role in House of Wax (1953), the first 3-D film to land in the year's top ten at the North American box office, and then the monster movie The Fly (1958). Price also starred in the original House on Haunted Hill (1959) as the eccentric millionaire Fredrick Loren. In between these horror films, Price played Baka in The Ten Commandments.


In the 1960s, Price had a number of low-budget successes with Roger Corman and American International Pictures (AIP) including the Edgar Allan Poe adaptations House of Usher (1960), The Pit and the Pendulum (1961), Tales of Terror (1962), The Comedy of Terrors (1963) The Raven (1963), The Masque of the Red Death (1964), and The Tomb of Ligeia (1965). He also starred in The Last Man on Earth (1964), a film based on the Richard Matheson novel I Am Legend. In 1968 Price gave an iconic, coldly menacing, performance as Matthew Hopkins the "Witchfinder General" in the film of the same name.

He also starred in comedy films, notably the cult-classic Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine (1965). In 1968 he played the part of an eccentric artist in the musical Darling of the Day opposite Patricia Routledge, displaying an adequate if untrained singing voice.

He often spoke of his pleasure at playing Egghead in the Batman television series. One of his co-stars, Yvonne Craig (Batgirl), said Price was her favorite. In an often-repeated anecdote from the set of Batman, Price, after a take was printed, started throwing eggs at series stars Adam West and Burt Ward, and when asked to stop replied, "With a full artillery? Not a chance!", causing an eggfight to erupt on the soundstage. This incident is reenacted in the behind-the-scenes telefilm Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt.

It was also in the 1960s that he began his role as a guest on the game show The Hollywood Squares, even becoming a semi-regular in the 1970s, including being one of the guest panelists on the finale in 1980. He was known for usually making fun of Rose Marie's age, and using his famous voice to answer maliciously to questions.

During the early 1970s, Price hosted and starred in BBC Radio's horror and mystery series The Price of Fear. Price accepted a cameo part in the children's television program The Hilarious House of Frightenstein (1971) in Hamilton, Ontario Canada, on the local television station CHCH. In addition to the opening and closing monologues, his role in the show was to recite poems about the show's various characters, sometimes wearing a cloak or other costumes. He also appeared in The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971) and Theatre of Blood (1973), in which he created a pair of campy serial killers. Price also recorded dramatic readings of Edgar Allan Poe's short stories and poems, which were collected together with readings by Basil Rathbone.

He greatly reduced his film work from around 1975, as horror itself suffered a slump, and increased his narrative and voice work, as well as advertising Milton Bradley's Shrunken Head Apple Sculpture. Price's voiceover is heard on Alice Cooper's first solo album, Welcome to My Nightmare from 1975, as well as the TV special Alice Cooper-The Nightmare. He starred for a year in the early 1970s in a syndicated daily radio program, Tales of the Unexplained. He also made guest appearances in a 1970 episode of Here's Lucy showcasing his art expertise and in a 1972 episode of The Brady Bunch, in which he played a deranged archaeologist.

In the summer of 1977, he began performing as Oscar Wilde in the one man stage play Diversions and Delights. Written by John Gay and directed by Joe Hardy, the play is set in a Parisian theatre on a night about one year before Wilde's death. In an attempt to earn some much-needed money, he speaks to the audience about his life, his works and, in the second act, about his love for Bosie, Lord Alfred Douglas, which led to his downfall.

The original tour of the play was a success in every city that it played, except for New York City. In the summer of 1979, Price performed it at the Tabor Opera House in Leadville, Colorado on the same stage from which Wilde had spoken to miners about art some 96 years before. Price would eventually perform the play worldwide and to many, including his daughter Victoria, it was his finest role.

In 1983, Price played the Sinister Man in the British spoof horror film Bloodbath at the House of Death starring Kenny Everett, and he also appeared in the film House of the Long Shadows, which teamed him with fellow actors Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing and John Carradine. While Price had worked with each one of them at least once in the prior decade, this was the first actually teaming of all of them together.

One of his last major roles, and one of his favorites, was as the voice of Professor Ratigan in Walt Disney Pictures' The Great Mouse Detective from 1986. His last significant film work was as the inventor in Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands (1990).

Price was a lifelong smoker. He had long suffered from emphysema and Parkinson's disease, which had forced his role in Edward Scissorhands to be much smaller than intended.

His illness also contributed to his retirement from Mystery, as his condition was becoming noticeable on-screen. He died of lung cancer on October 25, 1993.

Babe Ruth


George Herman Ruth, Jr. also popularly known as "Babe", "The Bambino", and "The Sultan of Swat", was an American Major League baseball player from 1914–1935. Ruth is one of the greatest sports heroes of American culture and has been named the greatest baseball player in history in various surveys and rankings, and his home run hitting prowess and charismatic personality made him a larger than life figure in the "Roaring Twenties". He was the first player to hit 60 home runs in one season (1927), a record which stood for 34 years until broken by Roger Maris in 1961. Ruth's lifetime total of 714 home runs at his retirement in 1935 was a record for 39 years, until broken by Hank Aaron in 1974. Unlike many power hitters, Ruth also hit for average: his .342 lifetime batting is tenth highest in baseball history, and in one season (1923) he hit .393, a Yankee record. His .690 career slugging percentage and 1.164 career on-base plus slugging (OPS) remain the major league records.

Ruth dominated in the era in which he played. He led the league in home runs during a season twelve times, slugging percentage thirteen times, OPS thirteen times, runs scored eight times, and runs batted in (RBI) six times. Each of those totals represents a modern record (and also an all-time record, except for RBIs). At the time of his retirement, his 714 home runs were not only the record, but that total was 336 more than the next player, Lou Gehrig. He also finished with the most career walks (2062), most career extra base hits (1356), and he is still the only player to have a season with at least 200 hits and 150 walks. In 1936, Ruth became one of the first five players elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. In 1969, he was named baseball's Greatest Player Ever in a ballot commemorating the 100th anniversary of professional baseball. In 1998, The Sporting News ranked Ruth Number 1 on the list of "Baseball's 100 Greatest Players." In 1999, baseball fans named Ruth to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.

Beyond his statistics, Ruth completely changed baseball itself. The popularity of the game exploded in the 1920s, largely due to him. Ruth ushered in the "live-ball era," as his big swing led to escalating home run totals that not only excited fans, but helped baseball evolve from a low-scoring, speed-dominated game to a high-scoring power game.

Off the field he was famous for his charity, but also was noted for his often reckless lifestyle. His participation in an all-star tour of Japan in 1934 sparked that country's interest in professional baseball; a decade later, Japanese soldiers seeking the ultimate insult for American troops would sometimes shout, "To hell with Babe Ruth!"

Babe Ruth died at age 53 due to pneumonia on August 16, 1948.

Jean-Pierre Aumont


Jean-Pierre Aumont was a French actor.

Aumont was born in Paris as Jean-Pierre Philippe Salomons to Alexandre Salomons, owner of La Maison du Blanc (a linen department store) and Suzanne Cahen. His mother's uncle was well-known stage actor Georges Berr. His father, whose family came from Holland, was Jewish and his mother also came from a Jewish family. Aumont began studying drama at the Paris Conservatory, following his mother, at the age of sixteen. His professional stage debut occurred at the age of 21. His film debut came one year later, when Jean de la Lune (Jean of the Moon) was produced in 1931.

However, his most important, career-defining role came in 1934, when Jean Cocteau's play La Machine Infernale (The Infernal Machine) was released. When his film and stage career began rising quickly, World War II broke out. Aumont stayed in France until 1942, when he realized that because of his Jewish ancestry, he would be forced to flee from the Nazi forces. He first fled to an unoccupied portion of Vichy territory, before moving, first to New York City, then to Hollywood to further his film career.

He began working with MGM, however, he was not content while his fellow countrymen were fighting for their lives in Europe. After finishing the film, The Cross of Lorraine, he joined the Free French Forces.

Aumont was sent to North Africa, where he participated in Operation Torch in Tunisia. Then, he moved with the Allied armies through Italy and France. Through the war, he was wounded twice. The first was on a mission with his brother. However, the second was more serious. Aumont's Jeep was blown up near a landmined bridge, and French General Diégo Brosset, commander of the 1st Free French Division, was killed. Because of his bravery during the fighting, Aumont received the Legion d'Honneur and the Croix de Guerre. Aumont continued working, starring as the magician in Lili with the then-ingenue Leslie Caron.

Aumont continued working with various famous actors and directors. In the mid-1950s he appeared as a guest on the television show What's My Line? In the 1960s and 70s he appearted in various Broadway productions, including Gigi. One of his last acting performances was in A Tale of Two Cities (1989). Two years later, he was decorated with the cross of Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres, and in 1992, he received an honorary César Award.

He died in 2001 of a heart attack at the age of 90, and was cremated.

Pierre-Jakez Hélias


Pierre-Jakez Hélias was born in 1914 in Pouldreuzig, Penn-ar-Bed, Brittany and died on August 13, 1995. He was a French author, poet, stage actor and radio worker of Breton expression. He also collected folk tales from his native land and wrote both in Breton and French. His best-selling novel is Le Cheval d'orgueil (Horse of Pride, 1975), which Claude Chabrol adapted for cinema in 1980.

Bernard Blier


Bernard Blier was a French character actor. His rotund features and premature baldness allowed him to often play cuckolded husbands in his early career. He proved to be one of France's most versatile and sought-after character actors, performing interchangeably in comedies and dramas. He often worked in Italian films, particularly in the last decade of his life.

He was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where his father, a researcher at the Institut Pasteur, was posted at the time. He is the father of director Bertrand Blier, and appeared in a number of his son's films, most notably Buffet froid (1989). He was awarded an Honorary César (the French Oscar) in 1989, a month before he died.

George Seldes


George Seldes was an influential American investigative journalist and media critic.
Seldes was born in Alliance, New Jersey. The writer and critic Gilbert Seldes was his younger brother. When he was nineteen, he went to work at the Pittsburgh Leader. In 1914, he was appointed night editor of the Pittsburgh Post. As a young journalist, he was influenced by the investigative journalism of Lincoln Steffens.

In 1916, Seldes moved to London where he worked for the United Press. When the United States joined the First World War in 1917, Seldes was sent to France where he worked as the war correspondent for the Marshall Syndicate. At end of the war, he obtained an exclusive interview with Paul von Hindenburg, the supreme commander of the German Army, but the article was suppressed and never appeared in American news media.

According to Seldes, the battle of Saint-Mihiel never happened. In his book Even the Gods Can't Change History, Chapter 1, First Encounter with the Goddess of History: Saint-Mihiel, he gives his account of what really happened there. There really was going to be a battle. General Pershing had planned to capture Saint-Mihiel, "following it up with a flanking movement on Metz and an encircling movement to cut the German line of retreat and capture whole German armies." However, on September 1 the Germans made a decision to remove all forces from Saint-Mihiel in order to reinforce other positions. So on the day of the expected battle, September 13, Seldes by chance was among the first to enter the city and be met by the inhabitants as the saviors, before General Pershing, Petain, and other high-ranking officers. Not one bullet was fired. Thousands of Germans did fall prisoners, but days later as they arrived at the train station by mistake, as a reinforcement of the German troops that had long ago left the city.

In the interview, Hindenburg acknowledged the role America had played in defeating Germany. "The American infantry," said Hindenburg, "won the World War in battle in the Argonne." But American newspaper readers never read those outstanding words. Seldes and the others were accused of breaking the Armistice and were court martialed. They were also forbidden to write anything about the interview.

Seldes himself believed that the blocking of the interview proved to be tragic. Instead of hearing straight from the mouth of Germany's supreme commander that they were beaten fair and square on the battlefield, another story took hold — the Dolchstoss (or "stab-in-the-back"), the myth that Germany did not lose in battle but was betrayed at home by "the socialists, the Communists and the Jews." This was the central lie upon which Nazism was founded.

"If the Hindenburg interview had been passed by Pershing's censors at the time, it would have been headlined in every country civilized enough to have newspapers and undoubtedly would have made an impression on millions of people and became an important page in history," wrote Seldes in Witness to a Century. "I believe it would have destroyed the main planks on which Hitler rose to power, it would have prevented World War II, the greatest and worst war in all history, and it would have changed the future of all mankind."

Seldes spent the next ten years as an international reporter for the Chicago Tribune. He interviewed Lenin in 1922, but the Soviet government did not like Seldes's reports, and he was expelled from the country the following year.

The Chicago Tribune sent him to Italy where he wrote about Benito Mussolini and the rise of fascism. Seldes investigated the murder of Giacomo Matteotti, the head of the Italian Socialist Party. His article implicated Mussolini in the killing, and Seldes was expelled from Italy.

In 1927, the Chicago Tribune sent Seldes to Mexico, but his articles criticizing American corporations concerning their use of that country's mineral rights were not well received. Seldes returned to Europe but found that increasingly his work was being censored to fit the political views of the newspaper's owner, Robert McCormack.


Disillusioned, Seldes left the Tribune and went to work as a freelance writer. In his first two books, You Can't Print That! (1929) and Can These Things Be! (1931), Seldes included material that he had not been allowed to publish in the Tribune. His next book, World Panorama (1933), was a narrative history of the interbellum period.

In 1934, Seldes published a history of the Roman Catholic Church, The Vatican. This was followed by an exposé of the global arms industry, Iron, Blood and Profits(1934), an account of Benito Mussolini, Sawdust Caesar (1935), and two books on the newspaper business, Freedom of the Press (1935) and Lords of the Press (1938). He also reported on the Spanish Civil War for the New York Post.

On his return to the United States in 1940, Seldes published Witch Hunt, an account of the persecution of people with left-wing political views in America, and The Catholic Crisis, where he attempted to show the close relationship between the Catholic Church and fascist organizations in Europe.

From 1940 to 1950, Seldes published a political newsletter, In fact, which at the height of its popularity had a circulation of 176,000. One of the first articles published in the newsletter concerned the link between cigarette smoking and cancer. Seldes later explained that at the time, "The tobacco stories were suppressed by every major newspaper. For ten years we pounded on tobacco as being one of the only legal poisons you could buy in America."

As well as writing his newsletter, Seldes continued to publish books. These included Facts and Fascism (1943), 1000 Americans (1947), an account of the people who controlled America, and The People Don't Know (1949) on the origins of the Cold War.

In the early 1950s, Seldes came under attack from Joseph McCarthy, who accused him of being a communist. Seldes was blacklisted and found it difficult to publish his work. However, he continued to write books: Tell the Truth and Run (1953), Never Tire of Protesting (1968), Even the Gods Can't Change History (1976) and Witness to a Century (1987).

In 1981, Seldes appeared in Warren Beatty's Reds, a film about the life of journalist John Reed. Seldes appears as one of the film's 'witnesses' commenting on the historical events depicted in the film.

Seldes died in 1995 at age 104.

Claude Charbol


Claude Chabrol is a French film director and one of the core members of the French New Wave group of filmmakers who first came to prominence in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Like his fellow New Wave directors Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Éric Rohmer and Jacques Rivette, Chabrol worked as a critic for the influential film magazine Cahiers du Cinema before pursuing a career in filmmaking.

Often characterized as the most "mainstream" of the New Wave directors, Chabrol has remained prolific and popular throughout his now half-century career.

Claude Chabrol was born in Paris in 1930. After spending World War II in the village of Sardent, where he and a friend constructed a makeshift movie theater, Chabrol returned to Paris to study pharmacology at the University of Paris. There Chabrol became involved with the postwar cine club culture and met Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Éric Rohmer, Jacques Rivette and others with whom he would write for Cahiers du Cinema throughout the 1950s.

In 1957, Chabrol co-wrote Hitchcock (Paris: Éditions Universitaires, 1957)--a study of the films made by director Alfred Hitchcock through the film The Wrong Man (1957)--with Éric Rohmer. The next year, Chabrol made his feature directorial debut with Le Beau Serge (1958), a Hitchcock-influenced thriller starring Jean-Claude Brialy partly funded by his wife's inheritance and one of the first films of the French New Wave. The film, a critical success, won Chabrol the Prix Jean Vigo and was followed the next year by Les Cousins, one of the New Wave's first commercial successes, and Chabrol's first color film, À double tour, starring a young Jean-Paul Belmondo.

The most prolific of the major New Wave directors, Chabrol has averaged almost one film a year since 1958.

Norman Fell


Norman Noah Fell was an American actor of film and television, most famous for his role as landlord Mr. Roper on the sitcom Three's Company and its spin-off, The Ropers.

Fell was born Norman Feld in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to a Jewish family, and studied drama at Temple University after serving as a tail gunner in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II.

Though Fell mostly acted on television, he also had small character roles in several motion pictures including the original Ocean's Eleven, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, PT 109, The Graduate (in which he also played a landlord), Bullitt, and Catch-22 as Sergeant Towser. He appeared alongside Ronald Reagan in Reagan's last film, The Killers.

During the filming of Ocean's Eleven, Norman was considered a member of the infamous Rat Pack.

He received his Golden Globe Award in 1979, for Best TV Actor in a Supporting Role, for Three's Company. He was also nominated for an Emmy Award, but not for Three's Company, but rather for his dramatic performance in the miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man, in which he played Nick Nolte's character's boxing trainer. His final television appearance was in a cameo as Mr. Roper on an episode of the sitcom Ellen in 1997.

Fell died of cancer in Los Angeles, California, and was interred there at the Mount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery.

Guy Béart



Guy Béhart-Hasson, known as Guy Béart, was a French singer and songwriter.


Béart was born Guy Béhart-Hasson in Cairo, Egypt. His father's work as an accountant and business consultant saw the family move frequently, leading to a childhood spent in France, Greece, and Mexico, in addition to Egypt. Between the ages of 10 and 17 his family settled in Lebanon where his interest in music developed to the point that he left for Paris to study at the "École nationale de musique". In addition to music, he also obtained a degree in engineering.

When his father died in 1952, the young Béhart chose to pursue a career in engineering in order to help support his family, studying at the prestigious École nationale des ponts et chaussées. Simultaneously, however, he enrolled in Paris's École nationale de musique, studying violin and mandolin, and in his spare time wrote songs and worked the Paris cabaret circuit, where he played guitar and sang under the stage name "Guy Béart". When a version of one of his songs by a popular performer of the day became a huge success, demand for his writing talents increased and he composed for Juliette Gréco and others. Taken under the wing of renowned music producer Jacques Canetti and fellow musician Boris Vian, he released an album of his own, which won the prestigious Grand Prix de l'Académie du Disque français in 1958.

Normally shy, Béart initially suffered from stage fright and struggled during his concert debut at the Paris Olympia. His biggest hit came when he wrote the soundtrack of the 1960 motion picture, L'Eau vive (Girl and the River in the USA). The title song of the film is considered a classic of what is known as French chanson. Despite his leap to fame, Béart's singing career was soon swamped by the rising tide of American rock and roll. However, reinventing himself as a host of a television show featuring musical stars from a variety of genres, he remained in the public eye and eventually made a recording comeback.

After Béart's television show ended in 1970, his popularity waned but he continued to record new music that was readily purchased by a loyal following. He was the co-composer of the 1977 Luxembourg entry at the Eurovision Song Contest. By the early 1980s he was almost completely out of the spotlight and, although only in his early fifties, he suffered from a number of serious health problems. In 1987, he published a book about his illness entitled Crazy Hope that, combined with his daughter’s success in the blockbuster film Manon of the Spring, brought a resurgence of popularity. More than 25 years after his first appearance at the Paris Olympia, he returned for a series of highly successful performances.

In 1994, Béart was awarded the Grand Prix de l'Académie française in recognition of his achievements over his long career. He continued to perform at a variety of venues around the country and in 1999 did a five-week run at Bobino in Montparnasse that was so popular it allowed for a successful re-release of his double live album recorded at the Olympia.

In the 2000s, he only made rare appearances on stage but many of his songs, of which Béart wrote more than 300 by himself, are still popular with his fans.

Béart died of a heart attack at the age of 85 in Garches, on 16 September 2015.

Chester Morris


John Chester Brooks Morris was an American actor.

Chester Morris is most famous for his role in the Boston Blackie detective series of the 1940s. He was a dark, handsome, firm-jawed actor who appealed to both men and women for his confidence and good-natured humor.

Born in New York City, the son of actor William Morris. He made his Broadway debut at 15 in Lionel Barrymore's The Copperhead. At 17 he billed himself as "the youngest leading man in the country". His film career began in 1917 in An Amateur Orphan.

Throughout the 1930s, he effortlessly switched between tough guy and slick debonair love interest roles. Morris was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for Alibi (1929) directed by Roland West. He also starred in The Bat Whispers (1930) and Corsair (1931), both directed by West. The Bat Whispers was notable as one of the first films to use the "Magna Screen" 70mm process. Sound films were just taking hold at the time, however theatres were not willing to pay for the added expense of 70 mm projectors and larger, wider screens on top of the cost of sound equipment. The process was abandoned until the 1950s, when film studios used it to lure customers away from their TV sets.

Perhaps his finest role was in the early prison film The Big House (1930), which was a huge success and propelled his career. His career gradually declined in the late 1930s, with roles in B-movies such as Smashing the Rackets (1938) and Five Came Back (1939). His career was revived during the 1940s when from 1941 to 1949 he played the character Boston Blackie in 14 movies (all produced by Columbia Pictures) and one season of radio shows.

Through the 1950s and 1960s he worked mainly in TV with occasional forays into regional theatre. After his last Boston Blackie movie, he only performed in three more movies, including his final role in The Great White Hope (1970). He died September 11, 1970.

Jean Poiret


Jean Poiret, born Jean Poiré was a French actor, director, and screenwriter. He is primarily known as the author of the original play La Cage Aux Folles.

Poiret first rose to prominence in 1951 playing the role of Fred Transport, one of the heroes of Pierre Dac and Francis Blanche's radio series Malheur aux Barbus. In 1952, he met his future co-star of La Cage Michel Serrault at the Sarah Bernhardt Theatre. Together, they starred in the sketch Jerry Scott, Vedette International

In 1961, Poiret, as a member of the French cinematic society Pathé, wrote and recorded La Vache à Mille Francs, a parody of La Valse à Mille Temps by Jacques Brel.

In 1973, Poiret wrote and starred in the stage play La Cage Aux Folles. Its film adaptation in 1978 eventually brought Poiret immense success. Although Poiret was replaced by Italian actor Ugo Tognazzi in the role of Renato Baldi, Serrault reprised his stage-role of Zaza Napoli and won a César Award for his work.

In 1992, Poiret directed his first and only film, Le Zèbre (The Zebra). This adaptation of Alexandre Jardin's novel starred Thierry Lhermitte and Mme. Poiret, Caroline Cellier. Unfortunately, Poiret died of a heart attack in Paris on 14 March 1992, three months before the film's premiere.

Tom Dowd


Tom Dowd was an American recording engineer and producer for Atlantic Records. He was credited with innovating the multi-track recording method. Dowd worked on a virtual "who's who" of recordings that encompassed blues, jazz, pop, rock and soul records.

Born in Manhattan, Dowd grew up playing piano, violin, tuba, and string bass. His mother was an opera singer and his father was a concertmaster.

Dowd graduated from Stuyvesant High School in June, 1942 at the age of 16. He continued his musical education at City College of New York. Dowd also played in a band at New York's Columbia University, where he became a conductor. He was also employed at the physics laboratory of Columbia University.

Dowd took a job at a classical music recording studio until he obtained employment at Atlantic Records. He soon became a top recording engineer at Atlantic Records and recorded popular artists such as Ray Charles, The Drifters, The Coasters, Ruth Brown, and Bobby Darin (Dowd recorded the legendary "Mack the Knife") and captured jazz masterpieces by John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Thelonius Monk, and Charlie Parker. His first hit was Eileen Barton's "If I Knew You Were Comin' I'd a Baked A Cake". It was Dowd's idea to cut Ray Charles' recording of "What'd I Say" into two parts and release them as the "A" and "B" sides of one 45 rpm single record.

Dowd worked as an engineer and producer from the 1940s until the beginning of the 21st century. He recorded albums by many artists including: Eric Clapton, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Derek and the Dominos, Rod Stewart, Wishbone Ash, Cream, Lulu, Chicago, The Allman Brothers Band, Joe Bonamassa, The J. Geils Band, Meat Loaf, Sonny & Cher, The Rascals, Willie Nelson, Diana Ross, Kenny Loggins, James Gang, Dusty Springfield, Eddie Harris, Charles Mingus, Herbie Mann, Booker T. and the MGs, The Drifters, Otis Redding, The Coasters, Bobby Darin, Aretha Franklin, Arlan Feiles, Joe Castro and Ruth Brown. Dowd received a Grammy Trustees Award for his lifetime achievements in February 2002.

He died of emphysema on October 27, 2002 in Florida, where he had been living and working at Criteria Studios recording studio for many years.

Jacob Ben-Ami


Jacob Ben-Ami was born in Minsk, Russia, and acted for Yiddish companies in Odessa, Vilna, and even London before immigrating to America in 1912. Ben-Ami soon joined Maurice Schwartz's famous theatre at Irving Place, but found his purist ideals clashed with Schwartz's more pragmatic approach. In 1918 he came to the attention of Arthur Hopkins, who encouraged him to improve his English and perform on Broadway. His first English speaking role was as Peter Krumback in Samson and Delilah (1920). Thereafter he moved back and forth between American and Yiddish theatres. He played and directed for the Theatre Guild and supported Eva Le Gallienne at her Civic Repertory Theatre (including Trigorin in The Sea Gull and Epihodov in The Cherry Orchard), as well as assuming important roles in other Broadway shows. He established a number of Yiddish theatre groups, dedicated to mountings of Yiddish classics and Yiddish translations of important works in other languages. Called “the knight of the Yiddish intelligentsia,” he was praised by Stark Young as “the most profoundly natural actor we have.”

Henry Travers


Henry Travers was an English actor.

Travers was born Travers John Heagerty in Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland, England, the son of Daniel Heagerty, an Irish doctor from Cork. The family were only in Prudhoe for a couple of years, moving there from Woodburn (Corsenside) in about 1866 and then moving on to Tweedmouth at Berwick-upon-Tweed in about 1876. Initially he trained as an architect at Berwick before taking to the stage under the name Henry Travers.

On his passing in 1965, Travers was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.

A stage actor in England, he emigrated to the United States and appeared in Hollywood film productions beginning in 1933. He made his last film in 1949. Travers' most famous role was as the angel Clarence who comes to save James Stewart's character from suicide in Frank Capra's classic It's a Wonderful Life. He was also an Oscar-nominated actor for his role in the film Mrs. Miniver.

Fritz Lang


Friedrich Christian Anton "Fritz" Lang was an Austrian-German-American filmmaker, screenwriter and occasional film producer. One of the best known émigrés from Germany's school of Expressionism, he was dubbed the "Master of Darkness" by the BFI. His most famous films are the groundbreaking Metropolis (the world's most expensive silent film at the time of its release) and M, made before he moved to the United States, where he contributed greatly to film noir.

Friedrich Lang was born in Vienna, in what was then Austria-Hungary, to Anton Lang (August 1, 1860–1940), an architect and construction company manager, and Pauline "Paula" Schlesinger (July 26, 1864–1920) on December 5, 1890. He was the second of two sons (his brother Adolf was nearly seven years older). Both his father and his mother were practicing Roman Catholics, although his mother was Jewish and converted to Catholicism when Fritz was ten. Lang himself was baptized at the Schottenkirche in Vienna.

After finishing high school, Lang briefly attended the Technical University of Vienna, where he studied civil engineering and eventually switched to art. In 1910 he left Vienna to see the world, traveling throughout Europe and Africa and later Asia and the Pacific area. In 1913, he studied painting in Paris, France. The next year, he returned home to Vienna at the outbreak of the First World War. In January 1914, he was drafted into service in the Austrian army and fought in Russia and Romania during World War I, where he was wounded three times.

Returning to the United States in retirement, he continued collecting research material and drafting screenplays, though he never made another film. While his career had ended without fanfare, his American and later German works were championed by the critics of the Cahiers du Cinema. Lang died in 1976 and was interred in the Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles.

John Sloan


John French Sloan was a U.S. artist. As a member of The Eight, a group of American artists, he became a leading figure in the Ashcan School of realist artists. He was known for his urban genre painting and ability to capture the essence of neighborhood life in New York City, often through his window. Sloan has been called "the premier artist of the Ashcan School who painted the inexhaustible energy and life of New York City during the first decades of the twentieth century", and an "early twentieth-century realist painter who embraced the principles of socialism and placed his artistic talents at the service of those beliefs."

John Sloan was born in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, in 1871, to James Dixon, a man with artistic leanings who made an unsteady income in a succession of jobs, and Henrietta Sloan, a schoolteacher from an affluent family. Sloan grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he lived and worked until 1904, when he moved to New York City. He and his two sisters were encouraged to draw and paint from an early age. In the fall of 1884 he started high school at Central High in Philadelphia, where his classmates included William Glackens and Albert C. Barnes.

In the spring of 1888, his father experienced a mental breakdown that left him unable to work, and Sloan became responsible, at the age of 16, for the support of his parents and sisters. He dropped out of school in order to work full-time as an assistant cashier at Porter and Coates, a bookstore. His duties were light, allowing him many hours to read the books and examine the works in the store's print department. It was there that Sloan created his earliest surviving works, among which are pen and ink copies after Dürer and Rembrandt. He also began making etchings, which were sold in the store for a modest sum. In 1890, the offer of a higher salary persuaded Sloan to leave his position to work for A. Edward Newton, a former clerk for Porter and Coates who had opened his own stationery store. At Newton's, Sloan designed greeting cards, calendars, and continued with his etchings. In that same year he also attended a night drawing class at the Spring Garden Institute, which provided him his first formal art training.

He soon left Newton's business in quest of greater freedom as a freelance commercial artist, but this venture produced little income, leading him in 1892 to take a job in the art department at The Philadelphia Inquirer where he worked as an illustrator. Later that same year, Sloan began taking evening classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts under the guidance of Thomas Pollock Anshutz. Among his fellow students was his old schoolmate William Glackens.

At a Christmas party in 1892, Sloan met Robert Henri, a charismatic advocate of artistic independence who became a mentor to him. From this point, Sloan began painting seriously, and the two of them have been regarded as the driving force behind the Ashcan School that helped to redefine American Art.

Towards the end of 1895, Sloan decided to leave The Philadelphia Inquirer to work in the art department of The Philadelphia Press. His schedule was now less rigid, allowing him more time to paint. Henri offered encouragement, and often sent Sloan reproductions of European artists, such as Manet, Hals, Goya and Velázquez.

In 1898, the socially awkward Sloan was introduced to Anna Maria (Dolly) Wall, and the two fell immediately in love. In entering into a relationship with her, Sloan accepted the challenges posed by her alcoholism and her sexual history which included prostitution—although Dolly worked in department store by day, Sloan met her in a brothel. The two were married on August 5, 1901, providing Sloan with an affectionate partner who believed in him absolutely, but whose lapses and mental instability led to frequent crises.

By 1903 he had produced about sixty oil paintings in total. In April 1904, Sloan moved to New York City, and soon found quarters in Greenwich Village where he painted some of his best-known works, including McSorley's Bar, Sixth Avenue Elevated at Third Street, and Wake of the Ferry. His time in New York was his most prolific period, but he sold little, and he continued to rely on his earnings as a freelancer for The Philadelphia Press, for which he continued to draw weekly puzzles until 1910. By 1905 he was supplementing this income by drawing illustrations for books (including The Moonstone) and for such journals as Collier's Weekly, Good Housekeeping, Harper's Weekly, The Saturday Evening Post, and Scribner's.

A doctor who was consulted in an effort to help Dolly overcome her drinking problem suggested a scheme to Sloan: he was to start a diary in which he would include his fondest thoughts of her, with the expectation that she would surreptitiously read it and be freed of her disabling fear that Sloan would leave her. Spanning the period from 1906 to early 1913, the diary soon grew beyond its initial purpose, and its publication in 1965 supplied researchers with a detailed chronicle of Sloan's activities and interests.

Sloan's growing discontent with what he called "the Plutocracy's government" led him to join the Socialist party in 1910. He became the art editor of The Masses with the December 1912 issue, and contributed drawings to other socialist publications such as the Call and Coming Nation. As Sloan disliked propaganda, his work for these magazines often lacked overt political content. This was unacceptable to a faction of his fellow editors at The Masses, causing him to resign his position with the journal in 1916. He later became disenchanted with the Communist Party in America, although he remained hopeful that the Soviet Union would succeed in creating an egalitarian society.

In 1913, Sloan participated in the Armory Show. He served as a member of the committee that organized it, and also exhibited two paintings and five etchings. In that same year, the important collector Albert C. Barnes purchased one of Sloan's paintings; this was only the fourth sale of a painting for Sloan (although it has often erroneously been counted as his first). For Sloan, exposure to the European modernist works on view in the Armory Show initiated a gradual move away from the urban themes he had been painting for the previous ten years. In 1914–15, during summers spent in Gloucester, Massachusetts, he painted landscapes outdoors in a new, more colorful style influenced by Van Gogh and the Fauves.

Beginning in 1914, Sloan taught at the Art Students League, continuing for about ten years. Sloan also taught briefly at the George Luks Art School. His students respected him for his practical knowledge and integrity, but feared his caustic tongue; as a well-known painter who had nonetheless sold very few paintings, he advised his students, "I have nothing to teach you that will help you to make a living".

The summer of 1918 was the last he spent in Gloucester. For the next 30 years, he spent four months each summer in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the desert landscape inspired a new concentration on the rendering of form. Still, the majority of his works were completed in New York. He developed a strong interest in Native American arts and ceremonies, and became an advocate of Indian artists. He also championed the work of Diego Rivera, who he called "the one artist on this continent who is in the class of the old masters." The Society of Independent Artists, which Sloan had co-founded in 1916, gave Rivera and José Clemente Orozco their first showing in the United States in 1920.

In 1943, his wife, Dolly, died of coronary heart disease. The next year, Sloan married Helen Farr, who is responsible for most of the preservation of his works. On September 8, 1951 John Sloan died of cancer in Hanover, New Hampshire.

Charles-Marie Vanel


Charles-Marie Vanel , known as Charles Vanel (August 21, 1892 in Rennes, France - April 15, 1989, in Cannes, France) was a French director and actor.

Sir Denys Lasdun


Sir Denys Lasdun was an eminent English architect of the 20th century. Probably his best known work is the Royal National Theatre, on London's South Bank of the River Thames, which is a Grade II listed building and one of the most notable examples of Brutalist design in the United Kingdom.

Lasdun studied at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London and was a junior in the practice of Wells Coates. Like other Modernist architects, including Sir Basil Spence and Peter and Alison Smithson, Lasdun was much influenced by Le Corbusier and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, but there was a gentler, more classical influence, too, from the likes of Nicholas Hawksmoor.

Before and after Second World War service in the army, he worked for a while with Berthold Lubetkin's Tecton practice, and becoming a partner. In this period he also completed one private house in Paddington in Le Corbusier's style. After the war Lasdun worked with Lindsey Drake on the Hallfield Estate, which had been planned by Lubetkin and Tecton in a similar patterned, tightly planned idiom to his Spa Green and Priory Green Estates. His Hallfield School was the first clue to Lasdun's mature style, in its use of bare concrete and angularity, as well as its more human scale.

Lasdun's originality became more evident in his 'cluster blocks' in Bethnal Green. These were a response to the critique of much post-war development for creating an isolating environment and discouraging community. The cluster blocks grouped flats around a central tower, and tenants were intended to be able to pick out their own flats in the structure. The earlier blocks at Usk Street of 1954 were medium-sized, while the later block, Keeling House is high-rise. Keeling House was controversially sold to a private developer by Tower Hamlets council, and are now luxury flats. Lasdun made an excursion into private housing in 1958, with his St James' Flats, the plan of which was partly derived from social housing models such as the Narkomfin Building.

Elements of Lasdun's most famous style, which combined cubic towers, bare concrete and jutting foyers, which was compared by some to Frank Lloyd Wright, can be found in his first educational buildings, the Fitzwilliam College in Cambridge and the Royal College of Physicians in Regent's Park, the latter of which compared favourably to the surrounding buildings by John Nash. More extensive was his design for the University of East Anglia. This consisted of a series of classrooms and laboratories connected by walkways, and glazed residential quarters shaped like ziggurats. It shares with Norwich Cathedral the distinction of being built on one of the most prominent sites in the county. Following this acclaimed design Lasdun designed two buildings for the University of London, one for SOAS (1970) and another for the Institute of Education (1970-1976), which was particularly controversial in its insertion into the previous street plan of squares and terraces, which it tried to replicate in a more Brutalist manner. The expressed stair cases make references to Wells Coates and Louis Kahn and Lasdun's masterplanning created a new public square. The building is now listed Grade II*.

The most famous and disputed of the architect's work is his Royal National Theatre on London's South Bank, which was compared by Prince Charles to a nuclear power station. It was popular with other traditionalists however, with John Betjeman writing Lasdun a letter in praise of its design. Lasdun (or his firm Lasdun, Softley and Partners) designed the neighbouring IBM headquarters (finished 1985) as a continuity with the theatre. His European Investment Bank in Luxemburg was similar. The last work produced by the firm in London was an office block called Milton Gate near the Barbican Estate, which in its use of green-tinted glazing represented a departure from his familiar bare concrete style.

Lasdun was awarded the RIBA Royal Gold Medal in 1977. His drawings and papers are available for consultation at the RIBA Drawings & Archives Collections. Despite the controversy of much of his work, most of Lasdun's surviving buildings are listed, although his 1958 Peter Robinson department store on London's Strand was demolished in the 1990s.

Lasdun died on 11 January 2001 aged 86.