19 June, 2012

Richard Brooks


Richard Brooks was an American screenwriter, film director, novelist and occasional film producer. His outstanding works as director are Blackboard Jungle (1955), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), Elmer Gantry (1960) — for which he won an Academy Award for Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay) — In Cold Blood (1967) and Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977).

Robert Ollivier



Robert Ollivier, died in September 1997, was a pyreneist and mountaineer French, author of guides.

Jack Dieval



Jacques Diéval is a musician and composer of jazz French, born 21 September 1921 at Douai . He is a pianist and has been dubbed the Debussy of Jazz.

He hosted the radio program Jazz on the Champs-Elysees between 1954 and 1955 .

He also collaborated on various projects with musicians such as Guy Lafitte , and lyricists as Boris Vian wrote two texts which in 1945 : It was only a shadow of a cloud and I made ​​an appointment with the wind .

In 1949 , Jack became the accompanist Diéval music of Henri Salvador .

He won the Grand Prix of the 2001 jazz SACEM .

Maurice Challe



Maurice Challe  was a French general during the Algerian War, one of four generals who took part in the Algiers putsch.

A native of Le Pontet, Vaucluse, and a veteran of the Second World War, Challe transmitted the Luftwaffe order of battle to the British prior to D-Day and backed De Gaulle's return to power.

In July 1956, Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser took control of the Suez Canal, in violation of agreements he had signed with the British and French governments. On 14 October 1956, Challe visited British Prime Minister Anthony Eden at his home, accompanied by French Minister of Labor Albert Gazier. The French men told Eden about secret negotiations between Israel and France regarding a proposed Israeli attack on Egypt followed with military occupation by European powers, to control the Suez Canal. Eden backed the plan with UK resources including military forces, directly leading to the Suez Crisis.

Challe was a French Air Force general whose greatest military success was in the realm of counter-insurgency operations during the Algerian War. His offensive, begun in March 1959, succeeded in substantially weakening the ALN. Through the use of speed and concentration of force, Challe kept the ALN insurgents in constant retreat and disorder. His innovative tactics would be studied and emulated by others seeking to keep insurgency at bay and off-balance. The Challe Plan was only partially completed before he was reassigned to France.

A militarised line, the Challe Line, was named after him. It doubled another defence work, the Morice Line, which fortified the border and separated Algeria from Morocco and Tunisia.

He was Commander-in-Chief Allied Forces Central Europe (CINCENT) from May 1960 to his deliberate resignation, February 1961.

Challe was one of the heads of the Algiers putsch of 1961, along with Raoul Salan, Edmond Jouhaud, and André Zeller. After the putsch failed, he and Zeller surrendered to the French Army (while Salan and Jouhaud created the OAS) and was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment. He was freed in December 1966 and received amnesty from President de Gaulle in 1968.

Challe died on 18 January 1979.

Charles Pickard


Group Captain Percy Charles "Pick" Pickard DSO & Two Bars, DFC, was a British bomber pilot and commander during World War II. He is best remembered by the public for his role in the 1941 wartime propaganda film Target for Tonight in which he featured as the pilot of 'F for Freddie' – a Wellington bomber of No. 149 Squadron. He was killed in Operation Jericho.

Birago Diop


Birago Diop was a Senegalese poet and story-teller, whose work restored the general interest in African folktales and promoted him into one of the most outstanding African francophone writers. A renowned veterinarian, diplomat and leading voice of the Négritude literary movement, Diop exemplified the "African renaissance man".

Serge Reggiani



Serge Reggiani was an Italian-born French singer and actor. He was born in Reggio Emilia, Italy and moved to France with his parents at the age of eight. For many years, he struggled with alcoholism, caused in part by the 1980 suicide of his son Stephan.

After acting school (Conservatoire des arts cinématographiques) he was discovered by Jean Cocteau and appeared in a wartime production of Les Parents terribles ("The Terrible Parents"). During World War II, he left Paris to join the French resistance.

His first feature film came in 1946 with his role in Les portes de la nuit ("Gates of the Night"). He later went on to perform in 80 films including Casque d'or, Les Misérables (1958),Tutti a casa, Le Doulos, Il Gattopardo, La terrazza, The Pianist (1998).

In spite of never quite reaching the peak with his acting career, he did triumph in the theatre in 1959 with his performance in Jean-Paul Sartre’s play Les Séquestrés d'Altona. In the meantime, though, in 1965 he began a second career, that of a singer (at the age of 43), with the help of Simone Signoret and her husband Yves Montand and later with great assistance of the French diva Barbara. Reggiani became one of the most acclaimed performers of French "Chanson" ("song") and although he was in his 40s, his bad-boy rugged image made him popular with both young and older listeners.

His best known songs include Les loups sont entrés dans Paris ("The Wolves Have Entered Paris") and Sarah (La femme qui est dans mon lit) ("The Woman Who Is In My Bed"), the latter written by Georges Moustaki. However, one of his regular songwriters throughout his career was Boris Vian (Le Déserteur, Arthur où t'as mis le corps, La Java des bombes atomiques). His new young fans identified with his left-wing ideals and antimilitarism, most notably during the 1968 student revolts in France. With age he became more and more acclaimed as one of the best interpreters of the French chanson also bringing the poetry of Rimbaud, Apollinaire and Prévert closer to his audience. In 1995, he made a comeback to the singing stage, giving a few concerts despite his deteriorated health and personal distress, the last one being held as late as in the year of his death, in spring of 2004.

In later life he became a painter and gave a number of exhibitions of his artwork.

Serge Reggiani died in Paris of a heart attack at the age of 82, one day after the death of another well known French singer Sacha Distel. He is interred in Montparnasse Cemetery.

Alexander Shirvindt



Alexander Anatolyevich Shirvindt is a Soviet and Russian screen and stage actor, screenwriter, voice actor, People's Artist and Meritorious Artist of the RSFSR. Awarded with Order of Merit for the Fatherland, Order of Friendship of Peoples. Since 2000 he has been a theater director of Moscow Theater of Satire.

Alexander Shirvindt was born in Moscow in a family of a violinist and music teacher Anatoly Gustavovich Shirvindt (1896–1962) and Raisa Samoilovna Shirvindt (1898–1985) of Moscow Philharmonic Society. In 1956 he graduated from Shchukin Theater Institute. The same year Shirvindt made his cinema debut in Ona vas lyubit! (1956).

Shirvindt appeared in more than 40 films, including Grandads-Robbers (1971), The Irony of Fate (1975), The Twelve Chairs (1976), Three Men in a Boat, To Say Nothing of the Dog (1979), Station for Two (1982), The Irony of Fate 2 (2007). He voiced Aramis in Dog in Boots film.

Nicolas Hayek


Nicolas George Hayek was a Swiss-Lebanese entrepreneur, co-founder, CEO and Chairman of the Board of the Swatch Group,

Eric Dolphy



Eric Allan Dolphy, Jr. was an American jazz alto saxophonist, flutist, and bass clarinetist. On a few occasions, he also played the clarinet, piccolo, and baritone saxophone. Dolphy was one of several multi-instrumentalists to gain prominence in the 1960s. He was also the first important bass clarinet soloist in jazz, and among the earliest significant flute soloists.

His improvisational style was characterized by the use of wide intervals, in addition to using an array of extended techniques to reproduce human- and animal-like effects which almost literally made his instruments speak. Although Dolphy's work is sometimes classified as free jazz, his compositions and solos were often rooted in conventional (if highly abstracted) tonal bebop harmony and melodic lines that suggest the influences of modern classical composers Béla Bartók and Igor Stravinsky.

Doc Cheatham


Adolphus Anthony Cheatham, better known as Doc Cheatham, was a jazz trumpeter, singer, and bandleader.

Earl Hines


Earl Kenneth Hines, universally known as Earl "Fatha" Hines,  was an American jazz pianist. Hines was one of the most influential figures in the development of modern jazz piano.

Piotr Slonimski



Piotr Słonimski was a Polish-born French geneticist, pioneer of yeast mitochondrial genetics, nephew of the Polish poet Antoni Słonimski.

Piotr Słonimski was born in Warsaw and finished "underground" studies of medicine during World War II in occupied Poland. He was a member of the polish resistance movement and Armia Krajowa, and fought during the Warsaw Uprising. According to his own account, he became interested with genetics when he discovered, among ruins of a German police station and while performing an act of sabotage, a German book on the experiments of George Wells Beadle and Boris Ephrussi.

After the war, he finished medical studies at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. In 1947, Słonimski emigrated and settled in France, as members of Armia Krajowa were prosecuted by the newly established communist government in Poland. Once in Paris, he joined the group of Boris Ephrussi and started working in the field of genetics. In 1952 he obtained his Ph. D.

Between 1971 and 1991, Słonimski was the director of Centre de Génétique Moléculaire of the French CNRS in Gif-sur-Yvette.

Słonimski never broke the contacts with his home country, Poland. Since 1980, he was heading the Solidarité France-Pologne, organizing aid for Poland. He frequently hosted Polish intelectualists and dissidents, such as Adam Michnik, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, Maria and Leszek Kołakowski. When martial law was introduced in Poland in 1981, he organized financial support for scientists repressed by the government. The money was smuggled and distributed in Poland by two Polish couriers: Wacław Gajewski, a professor of genetics, and Władysław Kunicki-Goldfinger, a professor of microbiology. Słonimski gave them the code names "Eukaryote" and "Prokaryote", as Gajewski was working on funghi, and Kunicki-Goldfinger was a microbiologist.

Piotr Słonimski did pioneering work on yeast mitochondrial genetics. He was one of the first to show that genetic information is passed outside of the nucleus in mitochondria[, and his subsequent, much cited work led to establishment of the field of mitochondrial genomics. In 1980, he discovered that some parts of the introns in yeast mitochondrial encode an enzyme—which he called maturase—that aids the splicing and the maturation of mRNA.

Sir William Walton



Sir William Turner Walton was an English composer.

During a sixty-year career, he wrote music in several classical genres and styles, from film scores to opera. His best-known works include Façade, the cantata Belshazzar's Feast, the Viola Concerto, and the First Symphony.

Born in Lancashire, the son of a musician, Walton was a chorister and then an undergraduate at Christ Church, Oxford. On leaving the university, he was taken up by the literary Sitwell siblings, who provided him with a home and a cultural education. His earliest work of note was a collaboration with Edith Sitwell, Façade, which at first brought him notoriety as a modernist, but later became a popular ballet score.
In middle age, Walton left Britain and set up home with his young wife on the Italian island of Ischia. By this time, he had ceased to be regarded as a modernist, and some of his compositions of the 1950s were criticised as old-fashioned. His only full-length opera, Troilus and Cressida, was among the works to be so labelled and has made little impact in opera houses. In his last years, his works came back into critical fashion; his later compositions, dismissed by critics at the time of their premieres, were revalued and regarded alongside his earlier works.

Walton was a slow worker, painstakingly perfectionist, and his complete body of work across his long career is not large.

George Sidney



George Sidney was an American film director and film producer who worked primarily at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Born in Long Island City, New York, Sidney began his career as an assistant at MGM until being assigned to direct the Our Gang comedies, which MGM had just acquired from Hal Roach, in 1938. Sidney, then age 21, was the youngest Our Gang senior director ever, and was only nine years older than the eldest Our Gang kid, Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer's brother Harold Switzer.

After a year of working on Our Gang shorts, Sidney moved on to the Crime Does Not Pay series and popular Pete Smith specialties. He soon graduated to features, including The Harvey Girls (1946), The Three Musketeers (1948), Annie Get Your Gun (1950), Kiss Me, Kate (1953), Pal Joey (1957), and Elvis Presley's Viva Las Vegas (1964). His last film was Half a Sixpence (1967).

Sidney became good friends with MGM animation directors William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. Hanna and Barbera's Jerry Mouse appeared alongside Gene Kelly in Sidney's film Anchors Aweigh (1945). After MGM closed its animation studio in 1957, Sidney helped Hanna and Barbera form a deal with Screen Gems, the television division of Columbia Pictures, to form the successful television animation studio Hanna-Barbera Productions, for which Sidney served as President/CEO for ten years, and was the majority shareholder in the company. Sidney later featured Hanna-Barbera's Fred Flintstone, Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear in Bye Bye Birdie.

Sidney was nominated for the Directors Guild of America Award four times, starting with the lush Technicolor remake of Show Boat. In 1958 he was presented with a Golden Globe Award for Best World Entertainment through Musical Films. For his work in the art of cinema, he was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He died of complications from lymphoma in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the age of 85. He was interred at Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery.

Tex Morton



Tex Morton was a pioneer of Australian country music.

About 1934, he recorded some "hillbilly" songs privately. He later claimed that these were played on New Zealand radio, though this is perhaps unlikely. Some of these recordings have recently come to light, though they have not been commercially reissued. About 1934 (the exact date is uncertain - Morton himself once claimed it was 1932), he emigrated to Australia, apparently intent on a recording career. On 25 February 1936, he recorded four songs for the Columbia Graphophone Company in Sydney, Australia.
Between 1936 and 1943, Morton recorded 93 78-rpm records of his songs, accompanying himself on an acoustic guitar for most tracks, for Columbia's Regal Zonophone label. On some later tracks, he was accompanied by his band, The Rough Riders, and a female singer 'Sister' Dorrie (real name Dorothy Carroll). In 1943, he left Columbia following a dispute with Arch Kerr, the Record Sales Manager, probably over the company's reluctance to use The Rough Riders. He was billed as 'The Yodelling Boundary Rider' on records, though he apparently didn't approve of the name.

During the 1930s and 1940s, he gradually 'Australian-ised' many of the songs he wrote. This approach was followed by other Australian country artists who followed in his footsteps, such as Buddy Williams and Slim Dusty, leading to a particular genre of country music - the Australian bush ballad, which was also influenced by the turn-of-the-century poetry of 'Banjo' Patterson and Henry Lawson.

In 1949 and 1950, he recorded more sides in Sydney and possibly New Zealand. These were released on the Rodeo and Tasman labels; some songs were probably recorded at the instigation of Ralph Peer, who visited Sydney in 1949 and met Morton.
From 1950 to 1959, Morton was in Canada and the United States. He toured with Pee Wee King in 1952 and recorded in Nashville in March 1953. He claimed to have toured for six months as an opening act for Hank Williams, but this is extremely unlikely, though he may have met Williams in late 1952 through Oscar Davis, who was Morton's manager and Williams's last manager.

Morton toured Canada and the United States as a stage hypnotist, memory expert, whip cracker and sharpshooter, and was associated for some time with the Canadian country singer, 'Dixie' Bill Hilton. He returned to Australia in 1959 with a Grand Ole Opry show, featuring Roy Acuff, the Wilburn Brothers and June Webb, but the show was not popular with Australian audiences and the tour had to be called off. As a sharpshooter, he was legendary, admitting to only one miss: He was about to shoot a cigarette out from between a man's lips when, at the moment he pulled the trigger, the man moved his lips, tilting the cigarette upward. The bullet nipped his nose and, recounted Morton, he was called "Nick" after that. He did a memory act, asking the audience to give him 100 words. He'd recount them back in order, "forgetting" one of them around the 50th word only to suddenly remember the word when he was almost finished his act.

Morton continued to record during the 1960s and 1970s, and had a surprise hit with 'Goondiwindi Grey' on the Australian Singles Charts (Go-Set), reaching #5 in June 1973.[1]
During this period, Morton showed an increasing interest in acting. He appeared in Australian television shows and feature movies (such as "We Of The Never Never"). He was the first inductee into Australia's country music Roll of Renown in 1976, recognising his pivotal role in the development of country music in Australia and New Zealand.

Morton, in his career, capitalized on American cowboy and "Wild West" images, and was sometimes billed as "The Singing Cowboy Sensation," performing for rodeos, and singing in a yodeling style that drew heavily on those of American singers such as Jimmie Rodgers. His yodelling was influenced by Rodgers, Goebel Reeves and the British Alpine yodeller, Harry Torrani. Although Morton chose to sing in an American (rather than Australian) accent and sang many songs with American subject matter, several of his recorded songs (such as "The Ned Kelly Song," "Beautiful Queensland," and "Murrumbidgee Jack") feature Australian themes. ("Beautiful Queensland" was a simple re-write of W. Lee O'Daniel's "Beautiful Texas", however.)

Morton died on 23 July 1983, after a short illness.

There is a collection of bronze busts in Bicentennial Park, Tamworth that includes Shirley Thoms, Stan Coster, Tex Morton, Gordon Parsons, Barry Thornton and Buddy Williams.