Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day - Lest We Forget

~*~Memorial Day~*~ Lest We Forget~*~

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Tribute: Dom DeLuise

Dom DeLuise

Born: August 01, 1933
Died : May 04, 2009

After attending the High School of Performing Arts in New York, rotund comic actor Dom DeLuise secured his first professional job, playing Bernie the Dog with a children's theater troupe. He went on to work at the Cleveland Playhouse, then briefly considered becoming a high school biology teacher before landing a part in the off-Broadway production The Jackass. While appearing on Broadway in Meredith Willson's Here's Love, DeLuise made his TV bow on The Garry Moore Show as Dominic the Great, a lovably inept magician. In 1964, he was featured in his first film, billed as "Dom DeLouise" in the apocalyptic nailbiter Fail-Safe. That same year, he starred with Carol Burnett and Bob Newhart on the short-lived TV variety weekly The Entertainers. After a second film appearance in the Doris Day vehicle The Glass Bottom Boat (1965), DeLuise was signed to co-star with Rowan and Martin in a 1966 summer-replacement TV series. Two years later, he was hosting his own summertime weekly, The Dom DeLuise Show; one of the regulars on this outing was DeLuise's wife, comedienne Carol Arthur.

Soon afterward, his film career went into high gear thanks to director Mel Brooks, who cast him to excellent advantage in The Twelve Chairs (1970), Blazing Saddles (1974), Silent Movie (1976), History of the World -- Pt. I (1981), and Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993). Likewise tapping into DeLuise's extensive comic repertoire was actor/director Gene Wilder, who gave the pudgy funster carte blanche in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother (1975), The World's Greatest Lover (1978) and Haunted Honeymoon (1986). And when Mel Brooks' wife, Anne Bancroft, decided to give directing a try herself, she fashioned a full-length vehicle for DeLuise, Fatso (1980). Not to be left out, DeLuise directed a film himself, the amiable crime caper Hot Stuff (1980). All in all, DeLuise was afforded some of his best screen moments as Burt Reynolds' manic sidekick in The End (1978) and the Cannonball Run flicks. As funny verbally as visually, DeLuise has provided voice-overs to such animated fare as Oliver and Company (1987), An American Tail (1987), All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989), and A Troll in Central Park (1994).

With all this activity, DeLuise still found time for additional television work, as star of the 1973 sitcom Lotsa Luck and the 1987 improvisational syndicated The Dom DeLuise Show; he is also credited for "additional oohs and ahhs" on the 1992 Saturday morning cartoon weekly Feivel's American Tails. A lifelong opera buff, DeLuise has been given the opportunity from time to time to perform with various opera companies; in 1995, he brought down the house at New York's Metropolitan in the role of Frosh the Jailer in +Die Fledermaus. As indicated by his girth, DeLuise is quite the gourmand, and has published a book on his favorite gastronomic concoctions, -Eat This: It Will Make You Better. Dom DeLuise is the father of three sons, two of whom, Michael and Peter DeLuise, have gone on to successful show business careers of their own.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Tribute: Bea Arthur

A Tribute: Bea Arthur

Beatrice "Bea" Arthur

Born: May 13, 1922
Died: April 25, 2009

In 1971, Arthur was invited by Norman Lear to guest-star on his sit-com All in the Family, as Maude Findlay, the cousin of Edith Bunker. An outspoken liberal feminist, she was the antithesis to the bigoted, conservative Archie Bunker, who decried Maude as a "New Deal fanatic". The then-50 Arthur's tart turn appealed to viewers and to executives at CBS, who, she would later recall, asked "'Who is that girl? Let's give her her own series.'"

That show, previewed in a second episode of All in the Family, would be simply titled Maude. The show, debuting in 1972, would find her living in the affluent community of Tuckaho,

Westchester County, New York, with her husband Walter (Bill Macy) and divorced daughter Carol (Adrienne Barbeau). Her performance in the role garnered Arthur several Emmy and Golden Globe nominations, including her Emmy win in 1977 for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.

It would also earn a place for her in the history of the women's liberation movement. The groundbreaking series didn't shirk from addressing serious sociopolitical topics of the era that were fairly taboo for a sit-com, from the Vietnam War, the Nixon Administration and Maude's bid for a Congressional seat to divorce, menopause, drug use, alcoholism, nervous breakdown and spousal abuse. A prime example, "Maude's Dilemma", was a two-part episode in which Maude's character grapples with a late-life pregnancy, ultimately deciding to have an abortion. The episode aired two months before the U.S. Supreme Court legalized the procedure in the Roe v. Wade decision. Though abortion was legal in New York State, it was illegal in many regions of the country and so controversial that dozens of affiliates refused to broadcast the episode. A reported 65 million viewers watched the two episodes either in their first run that November or the following summer as a re-run. By 1978, however, Arthur decided to move on from the series.

That year, she costarred in The Star Wars Holiday Special, in which she had a song and dance routine in the Mos Eisley Cantina. She hosted The Beatrice Arthur Special on CBS on January 19, 1980, which paired the star in a musical comedy revue with Rock Hudson, Melba Moore and Wayland Flowers and Madame.

After appearing in the short-lived 1983 sitcom Amanda's (an adaptation of the British series Fawlty Towers), Arthur was cast in the sitcom The Golden Girls in 1985, in which she played Dorothy Zbornak, a divorced substitute teacher living in a Miami house owned by Blanche Devereaux (Rue McClanahan). Her other roommates included widow Rose Nylund (Betty White) and Dorothy's Sicilian mother, Sophia Petrillo (Estelle Getty). Getty was actually a year younger than Arthur in real life, and was heavily made up to look significantly older. The series remained a top ten ratings fixture for six seasons. Her performance led to several Emmy nominations over the course of the series and an Emmy win in 1988. Arthur decided to leave the show after seven years and in 1992, the show was moved from NBC to CBS and retooled as The Golden Palace in which the other three actresses reprised their roles. Arthur made a guest appearance in a two-part episode.

Arthur was married twice, first to Robert Alan Aurthur, a screenwriter, television, and film producer and director, whose surname she took and kept (though with a modified spelling), and second to director Gene Saks from 1950 to 1978 with whom she adopted two sons, Matthew (born in 1961), an actor, and Daniel (born in 1964), a set designer.

She primarily lived in the Greater Los Angeles Area and had sublet her apartment on Central Park West in New York City and her country home in Bedford, New York.

Arthur was a committed animal rights activist and frequently supported People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals campaigns. Arthur joined PETA in 1987 after a Golden Girls anti-fur episode. Arthur wrote letters, made personal appearances and placed ads against the use of furs, foie gras, and farm animal cruelty by KFC suppliers. She appeared on Judge Judy as a witness for an animal rights activist, and, along with Pamela Anderson insisted on a donation to PETA in exchange for appearing on Comedy Central.

Arthur's longtime championing of civil rights for women, the elderly and the LGBT community—in her two television roles and through her charity work and personal outspokenness—has led her to be cited as an LGBT icon.

Arthur died at her home in the Greater Los Angeles Area in the early morning hours of Saturday, April 25, 2009, aged 86. She had been ill from cancer.
On April 28, 2009, the Broadway community paid tribute to Arthur by dimming the marquees of New York City's Broadway theater district in her memory for one minute at 8:00 P.M.

Both of Arthur's surviving Golden Girls co-stars commented on her death. Rue McClanahan said, "I suppose perhaps the thing she did the best and the most of was make people laugh". Betty White said, "I knew it would hurt. I just didn't know it would hurt this much".

Longtime friend and actress Adrienne Barbeau, who co-starred in Maude, said "I loved Bea dearly and her passing brings a great sadness. We've lost a unique, incredible talent. No one could deliver a line or hold a take like Bea, and no one was more generous or giving to her fellow performers. She was truly one of a kind and her friendship was a cherished blessing for me."