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On the Passing of Robin Williams

Posted by V the K at 6:49 pm - August 12, 2014.
Filed under: Hollywood Legends

I was preparing dinner last night, and I dropped the pepper shaker on the floor, and heard myself exclaim “Shazbot!” I immediately thought, “Where did that come from?” My mouth is prone to unusual things coming out of it, but that Obscure Reference was a new one. I knew the source, of course. I had just never used that particular colorful metaphor before.

It was only after dinner, that I learned that Robin Williams had killed himself.

Strange coincidence, but I get those all the time. Little reminders that the Universe is neither random nor godless.

I don’t get affected by celebrity deaths, but it’s obvious from Facebook, the blogosphere, and such limited media as I have been exposed to that his passing affected a lot of people. Depression is a hard thing, and it must especially hard on a comedian. I lost a friend, in an indirect, non-suicidal way, to depression three years ago; he died while undergoing treatment in a hospital for his depression. (As another coincidence, his surname was also Williams.)

And I couldn’t help but wonder if all of those Family Guy jokes ripping on Robin Williams had contributed to his state of mind. How could it have felt for a comedian at the Winter Solstice of his career to not only witness a rising, seminal comic (Seth MacFarlane) occupy his former level of celebrity, but also to be a recurring target of that comic’s jokes. That must have been brutal.

Lots of people sad today. Are you?

 

Joan Rivers: Obama’s Gay and Michelle’s a Tranny

Posted by V the K at 8:18 am - July 4, 2014.
Filed under: Divas,Hollywood Legends

Sometimes people get to a certain age and completely lose their filter. [Video at the link]

Asked by a street reporter whether a gay president or a female president will take office first, Rivers replied, “We already have it with Obama.”

“You know Michelle is a tr*nny,” she went on. “A transgender. Weall know.”

One Suspects Gary Oldman Is Not a Hollywood Liberal

Posted by V the K at 3:03 pm - June 24, 2014.
Filed under: Hollywood Legends

Based on excerpts from his interview in Playdude.

OLDMAN: Well, if I called Nancy Pelosi a [ladypart] —and I’ll go one better, a [frakking] useless [ladypart] —I can’t really say that. But Bill Maher and Jon Stewart can, and nobody’s going to stop them from working because of it. Bill Maher could call someone a fag and get away with it. He said to Seth MacFarlane this year, “I thought you were going to do the Oscars again. Instead they got a lesbian.” He can say something like that. Is that more or less offensive than Alec Baldwin saying to someone in the street, “You fag”? I don’t get it.

PLAYBOY: You see it as a double standard.

OLDMAN: It’s our culture now, absolutely. At the Oscars, if you didn’t vote for 12 Years a Slave you were a racist. You have to be very careful about what you say. I do have particular views and opinions that most of this town doesn’t share, but it’s not like I’m a fascist or a racist. There’s nothing like that in my history.

RIP: Ann B. Davis

Posted by V the K at 6:50 am - June 2, 2014.
Filed under: Hollywood Legends

Ann B. Davis passed away this weekend at the ripe old age of 88; a relic of a bygone era where you could be gay in Hollywood and not have to shove it in everybody’s face every couple of minutes.

She is best remembered for her role as Alice on The Brady Bunch, where she starred with closeted gay actor Robert Reed. She was the butch one.

Apologies: When I wrote this, I was under the impression that Ms. Davis had come out as a lesbian in the early 2000s. But apparently, that was an unconfirmed but persistent Hollywood rumor. In fact, she went to her grave without ever making a spectacle of her sexuality; which is commendable.

Hollywood Make-Believe

Posted by V the K at 9:37 pm - March 1, 2014.
Filed under: Hollywood Legends

The plot of the new movie Non-Stop is apparently totally credible and believable… if you’ve spent the last 13 years watching nothing but MSNBC and Bill Maher.

It turns out that the villain is not a hijacker but a terrorist — someone who wants to murder everyone on the plane to further a political goal. You ready? The terrorist is a 9/11 family member. Yes, you read that right; the terrorist is a 9/11 family-member who lost a loved-one in the World Trade Center on 9/11.

It gets worse…This 9/11 family member-turned-terrorist then joined the military but found himself disillusioned by the pointless wars. And now…The 9/11 family member-turned-terrorist is upset because America hasn’t done enough to ensure there will never be another 9/11. And so he figures if he can get an air marshal blamed for a terrorist attack, America will wake up and anally probe us before we’re allowed on a plane, or something.

It gets even worse…The villain’s sidekick is a member of the American military willing to murder 150 innocent people for a payday.

If that isn’t inconceivable enough…The one passenger on the plane who is forever helpful, kind, reasonable, noble, and never under suspicion is allegedly a MUSLIM DOCTOR in traditional Muslim garb and full beard.

And these are the people who think we should follow their cultural and political lead. They also think Obama is a god.

On Jodie Foster & the privacy of gay* celebrities

I have been a fan of Jodie Foster even before confirming, even before hearing, that she liked the ladies.  She is an incredibly versatile actress who has crafted a number of powerful performances, with my favorite one that earned her only a handful of nominations, and two only wins, but no Oscar, not even a nomination, the 1997 film Contact. And I liked her in Panic Room. And she stood out in The Silence of the Lambs, but she did win an Oscar for that–not to mention numerous other honors.

Last night, as nearly everyone knows by now, she, without using the “L” word, acknowledged (as far as I know) for the first time in a public forum that she once had a romantic relationship with another woman and asked, as per the Yahoo! headline below, that people respect her privacy:

Screen shot 2013-01-13 at 10.55.24 PM

. . . I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago back in the Stone Age, in those very quaint days when a fragile young girl would open up to trusted friends and family and co-workers and then gradually, proudly to everyone who knew her, to everyone she actually met. But now I’m told, apparently that every celebrity is expected to honor the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance and a prime-time reality show. (more…)

Was Eastwood’s sketch designed to bait media and spook Democrats?

My friends who watched Clint Eastwood’s speech last night revealed in its irreverence and thought it was great.  Some of my favorite pundits, however, wondered about the exercise, particularly scheduling it at a”vital” hour of the convention.

Sara Murray of the Wall Street Journal reports that Eastwood’s (use of the) chair surprised the Romney camp:  “Mitt Romney’s campaign staff did not realize that Clint Eastwoodwould be using that chair — at least not for something other than sitting.”  But, I wonder.

Perhaps, we would we wise to take heed of how the Romney campaign reacted:

Judging an American icon like Clint Eastwood through a typical political lens doesn’t work. His ad-libbing was a break from all the political speeches, and the crowd enjoyed it.

(H/t Ed Morrissey.)  And “normal voters“, report the Washington Examiner’s Joel Gehrke, “like the Eastwood performance that pundits panned”.

The crowd (and those “normal voters”) may have loved it — as did a number of my conservative friends who do not follow politics all that closely, but the Obama people really hated it.  Last night Democratic National Committee Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz singled out the “sketch” for scorn in lieu of commenting on Romney’s strong speech.

And it really seems to have gotten under Obama’s skin.  “This“, quipped law professor William A. Jacobson “Is Not The Tweet Of A Confident Man of a message the president sent showing himself in a cabinet meeting (via Instapundit).

And maybe that was the point, to, as Jacobson put it, get “under Obama’s skin.” Obama does not do well on defense, particularly when he feels others are attempting to mock — or tarnish — his image.  Maybe Republicans were trying to provoke a reaction that would make the Democrat look petty. (more…)

He just went ahead and made Mitt’s day

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:39 am - August 4, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election,Hollywood Legends

Clint Eastwood Endorses Romney

Mitt Romney got some celebrity love when Clint Eastwood showed up at his high-dollar fundraiser this evening in Idaho to offer his endorsement of the presumptive GOP nominee.

When the Oscar-winning director was asked why he was supporting Romney, Eastwood responded, “Because I think the country needs a boost somewhere.

In memoriam Ernest Borgnine–a great actor & a good man

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:48 am - July 9, 2012.
Filed under: Great Men,Hollywood Legends,Movies/Film & TV

One of the truly great character actors of the last century has passed.  According to IMDb, “Ernest Borgnine, the rugged, stocky actor with a brassy voice and the face of the local butcher, died today in Los Angeles at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center of renal failure. He was 95.”

A few years ago at Outfest, I had the good fortune to meet this great actor and good man.  He was attending the screening of a film in which, I believe, he played a bit part.  He was a real class act, agreeing to pose for pictures with volunteers and other festival patrons.  When I told him how much I enjoyed his performance in Marty (for which he won an Oscar) — and how that film has stood the test of time, moving us still today, his face lit up in a smile.  “We made a good picture”, he said.

This the concluding scene from that very, very good picture.

He didn’t always play lovable butchers, playing heavies in such films as From Here to EternityBad Day at Black Rock and The Wild Bunch.  And although he was, in life, a nice guy, on screen he made the malice of this dark characters readily manifest.

To my father’s generation, he was one of the most ubiquitous and versatile character actors on the big screen and the lead in the TV series, McHale’s Navy for which he won an Emmy nomination.  My generation got him in TV movies and mini-series.  And my nieces and nephews know him primarily as Mermaidman on the long-running cartoon, SpongeBob SquarePants.  This first generation American (his parents were born in Italy) has indeed had a distinguished career.

Ernest Borgnine has been gainfully employed in the entertainment industry for over six decades — and leaves behind an incredible body of work, including a number of classic films.  He will be missed, but his performances will endure.

FROM THE COMMENTS:  “He”, observed ohiochili, “could make you believe he was a saint or a scumbag.”  Yes, he could.

A random thought on the sustaining power of love

For the better part of the day, as I’ve been organizing my desk, taking care of some obligations and running errands, a character from one of my (unwritten) screenplays has once again come alive.  And I realize in again engaging with her how much this woman has in common, at least in terms of the broad outline of her life, with Lauren Bacall.*

Those who have seen The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel  will understand how Tom Wilkinson‘s Graham Dashwood brought her back to life.  (And those who haven’t seen the film should see it as soon as they are able.)

I called this character the “50-year Widow”.  In the late 40s when she was just out of college, she fell for a man a quarter century her senior.  He had lived a wild life, womanizing, drinking and otherwise carousing  . . . until he met her.  Of his seven wives, he was only faithful to her.  They had seven years of marital bliss until the effects of his previous life finally took their toll on him.

She had been a widow since the mid-1950s.  And though she grieved when he passed, when she picked herself up and took care of their children, she found she could move on, the glow of her romance, the knowledge that she loved — and had been loved — helped sustain her through life’s continuing challenges.

In talking to people who have loved and lost, I do find this idealized notion of romance has some basis in the real lives of human beings, perhaps not (entirely) in that of Wilkinson’s Graham Dashwood, but the notion does emerge.

——-

*A major difference being that Bacall remarried when she was 37, though that union ended in divorce.

In Memoriam Peter Falk

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:19 pm - June 24, 2011.
Filed under: Hollywood Legends,Movies/Film & TV

Few Americans (alas!) are aware of (what is, in my mind) Peter Falk’s greatest screen role where he plays a “fallen” angel in the Germany film Wings of Desire (remade, but without him, in the U.S. as City of Angels).  Whether it was in his serious turn in that flick or his comic turn in any number of movies, starting (at least) with the 1963 classic, It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, not to mention his twenty-year stint at TV detective Columbo, Falk had a quirky screen presence that was hard to describe, part street smart New Yorker, part favorite uncle, part cynic, occasional romantic.  He kept our eyes riveted to the screen and interested in him.

He died yesterday in his Beverly Hills home:

Falk, 83, was a five-time Emmy Award winner, four for his portrayal of the police lieutenant on episodic TV and television films from 1971 to 1993. In a ubiquitous trench coat, the absent-minded Columbo — whose first name was never revealed — was a slightly built, unassuming character who subtlety hounded murderers with dogged persistence. Inevitably, he confronted suspects with the comment “just one more thing,” which became part of the title for his 2006 autobiography, Just One More Thing: Stories From My Life.

Truly a legendary figure and proof that even a one-eyed man with a craggy face and raspy voice can command our attention on screens both big and small.

On Elizabeth Taylor & Our Fascination with the Rich & Famous

Over at Big Hollywood, Janice R. Brenman has posted a thoughtful reflection on the struggles and resilience of Elizabeth Taylor:

No stranger to the perils of drug abuse herself, Taylor knew firsthand Jackson could indeed turn his life around.  After her own rehab stint made headlines in the early 1980s, Taylor was in a unique position to speak out to celebrities who abuse drugs to cope with fame and its pitfalls.  While Jackson eventually passed away, allegedly from a powerful prescription drug, there is something to be learned from the lives of both the King of Pop and Hollywood’s golden girl.

. . . .

Elizabeth Taylor’s passing provides us the opportunity to reflect on the perils of fame.  While the plights of celebrities have become a preoccupation and hobby for many people, it is apparent that the lenses under which these stars live result in more tragic endings than fairytale ones.

Read the whole thing.

I have often wondered if it is the superabundance of those “tragic endings” which accounts, in large part, for our fascination with the lifestyles of the rich and famous.  We may not have the wealth or recognition that these individuals, for lack of better word, enjoy.  And their stories remind us that while we may aspire for such things, they aren’t necessary to secure our happiness and fulfillment.  Indeed, in some cases –and for some individuals — they may even be detrimental to those ends.

True Grit: a truly great remake

John Wayne made few great movies, but his mere presence in a picture often prevented lesser scripts from becoming bad movies. His style and his swagger caused us to forget that the film lacked a story — or that we had seen this tale before, only set on a different cattle range or down a different river.

A number do stand out, notably Stagecoach, The Searchers, Fort Apache, Red River and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon. And though he won his only Oscar for the original True Grit, few would count that among his best films. Eminently watchable it was (and remains), but a great movie it is not.

The Coen Brothers remake is something else altogether, a lot funnier than the original — and much better shot. If Roger Deakins doesn’t secure another Oscar nomination for this picture, something is wrong with the Academy.

If you cast someone to play a role which Wayne pioneered on the silver screen, Jeff Bridges is the man for the job. He takes the job and runs with it, though given the nature of his character, rides and stumbles with it might better describe his performance.

That is all I’ll say about the movie for now, save that you should watch it — and on the big screen, indeed, the biggest you can find.

Bea Arthur, The Marines & The Lebanese

Last week, the Smoking Gun reported on military files revealing that iconic actress Bea Arthur was a truck-driving member of the US Marine Corps in World War II.

DECEMBER 9–While she strangely denied serving in the armed forces, military records show that the actress Bea Arthur spent 30 months in the Marine Corps, where she was one of the first members of the Women’s Reserve and spent time as a typist and a truck driver.

The “Maude” and “The Golden Girls” star, who died last year at age 86, enlisted in early-1943 when she was 21 (and known as Bernice Frankel). In a February 1943 letter included in her Marine personnel file, Arthur gave military officials a brief account of her prior employment as a food analyst at a Maryland packing plant, a hospital lab technician, and an office worker at a New York loan company.

This news resulted in an off-line exchange of emails among some of GayPatriot’s readers and Dan & I.  Of course, whenever I think of Bea Arthur — I fondly recall the Golden Girls during my college years.  (Yeah, I had no life and was watching TV on Saturday nights; what of it?)

And whenever I think of the Golden Girls — this memorable scene is at the top of my laugh list.  It is a great piece of writing, acting, timing and portrayal of Dorothy, Sofia and Blanche.  Hoping they continue to rest in peace….

Enjoy!

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Surely, this report isn’t serious; Lt. Frank Drebin has died

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:28 am - November 29, 2010.
Filed under: Hollywood Legends,Humor,Movies/Film & TV

But, alas it’s true.   Leslie Nielsen, who began his career as a serious dramatic actor, but it is best known for his humorous work in such Zucker Brothers classics as Airplane! and the Naked Gun movies where he played “the bumbling detective” Lt Frank Drebbin, “died on Sunday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. . . from complications from pneumonia.” He was 84.

What better tribute can I offer to a man who brought much laughter than a taste of his work:

As we enter the holiday season, what better way to remember this man than to share the gift of laughter. His movies stand the test of time — and make great gifts.

Steve Martin’s (Mostly) Disappointing Memoir

Ever since I saw him on Saturday Night Live, I have considered Steve Martin one of the funniest men alive. So, when I saw his memoir Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life on the bargain table at a bookstore in West Chester, Ohio (that I visited with a reader after we lunched together), I quickly snatched it up.  I mean, at six bucks, it seemed a steal.

The book alas wasn’t worth more than its (marked down) cover price.  I had been reading it since I bought it, carrying it with me on at least two trips out of LA, but only finishing it last night.  At times, the prose is stale, with Martin merely jotting down the facts of his life, as if he were just typing up his notes without trying to craft a narrative.

He seems reticent about his feelings, rarely going into much depth about his various relationships with women or describing his friendships with his fellow entertainers.

Yet, we do learn that he had a trying relationship with his father.  When he was a boy and his father suggested they play catch.  “This offer,” Martin writes, “to spend time together was so rare that I was confused about what I was supposed to do.” Later, the elder Martin wrote a “bad review” of his son’s first appearance on SNL (leading a co-worker to chide the action as “wrong”).

He got his showbiz start selling guidebooks at Disneyland, soon moving on to the magic shop there.  While in the park, he would visit the shows, watching and learning from the performers.  Later, he performed himself at nearby Knott’s Berry Farm and at various theaters around Los Angeles, then at small venues across the country.  He wrote for television, appeared on “The Tonight Show” and finally got the call for “Saturday Night Live.” (more…)

TONIGHT AT 9PM: GayPatriot’s America
With Guests Adam Baldwin & Lorie Byrd

Yes…. THAT Adam Baldwin, folks!

Tonight’s special guest for the first segment is TV/film actor and conservative author Adam Baldwin. Most of you know Adam for his work on NBC’s spy/comedy show “Chuck”. He’s had a successful Hollywood career for over 30 years including the role of “Animal Mother” in Stanley Kubrick’s Vietnam War classic “Full Metal Jacket.” I first remember Adam when I was a kid and I saw the movie “My Bodyguard”. A classic!

Our second half-hour features fellow North Carolinian blogger Lorie Byrd. She was one of the original center-right bloggers back in the day.  Lorie was featured on PoliPundit, started Wizbang, and writes at her own blog Byrd Droppings. We’ll talk about the state of play in the crucial NC Congressional races.
 

RELATED LINKS FROM TONIGHT’S SHOW

Adam Baldwin: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Baldwin
Adam Baldwin on Twitter:  www.twitter.com/adamsbaldwin

Lorie Byrd on Twitter: www.twitter.com/loriebyrd
Renee Ellmers for Congress: www.ReneeforCongress.com

Election Projection (The Blogging Caesar): http://electionprojection.com/index.php

WSJ: Congressional Staffers Gain from Insider Trading

FOX News: Military/Overseas Americans May Be Disenfranchised on Election Day

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Black Curtains Hanging on the Sugarbaker House Tonight

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 5:31 pm - April 11, 2010.
Filed under: Hollywood Legends

Dixie Carter, rest in peace. (h/t – Instapundit)

Television and stage actress Dixie Carter died Saturday morning at the age of 70. Cause of death has not been reported at this time. Carter was best known for playing wisecracking Julia Sugarbaker for seven years on the sitcom Designing Women. She has also been on the series Family Law, Diff’rent Strokes, and Filthy Rich. In 2007 she was nominated for an Emmy for her guest turn on Desperate Housewives. Carter married Oscar-nominated actor Hal Holbrook in 1984. They have two daughters, Mary Dixie and Ginna.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)