Thursday, August 25, 2016

RIP: JEANNE MARTIN

Jeanne Martin, the second wife of singer Dean Martin, has died at age 89, The Hollywood Reporter shares.

Martin's family announced that she passed away Wednesday after a battle with cancer.

Martin was born in Florida in 1927 and became a model, appearing in magazines, catalogs and calendars. She was voted Orange Bowl queen in 1947 at age 20, and appeared its New Year’s Eve parade and at the Jan. 1, 1948 Georgia Tech vs. Kansas football game.

In 1948, Martin met Dean at a New Year's Eve show at the Beachcomber Club in Miami.

“We locked eyes and I knew," she told author Nick Tosches for a 1992 biography of Dean Martin. "We just fell madly in love.”

The pair were married from 1949–1973 and had three children together, Dean Paul, Ricci and Gina. Ricci died earlier this month.

After marrying Dean Martin in 1949, the pair were one of Hollywood’s most photographed couples. Matriarch of their large family, she gave birth to three of Dean’s children while raising four more from his previous marriage. Their breakup in 1969 caused nearly as much distress to Martin’s fans as his professional split with partner Jerry Lewis had in 1956.


In his 2005 memoir, Dean & Me, Jerry Lewis described Jeanne as “the best thing (next to me) that ever happened to Dean.”

Martin was married to the singer during the height of his career, though the couple separated in 1969 and divorced in 1973. Martin never remarried.

The pair became reacquainted in 1987 when one of their sons, actor Dean Paul Martin, was killed at 35 while piloting a military jet. Jeanne and Dean remained on good terms until his death from respiratory failure on Christmas Day 1995.


Eldest daughter Claudia Martin died of breast cancer in 2001.

Their youngest son, musician Ricci Martin, died on Aug. 3.

She is survived by son Craig Martin; daughters Gail Martin Downey, Deana Martin Griffeth and Gina Martin Romano; and 11 grandchildren. Funeral services will be private...

Monday, August 22, 2016

THE WIT OF GRETA GARBO


I have to admit I am a classic movie fan, but I have never seen a Garbo movie all the way through. I admit Greta Garbo (1905-1990) was one of the most beautiful women to ever have her face captured on film. However, the dry and sophisticated dramas she made during her time in Hollywood never appealed to me much. She was beautiful, eccentric, and witty as these quotes will show...

I never said, 'I want to be alone.' I only said, 'I want to be left alone.' There is all the difference.

Anyone who has a continuous smile on his face conceals a toughness that is almost frightening.

Life would be so wonderful if we only knew what to do with it.

There are some who want to get married and others who don't. I have never had an impulse to go to the altar. I am a difficult person to lead.

I'm tired and nervous and I'm in America. Here you don't know that you live.



I smoke all the time, one after the other.

It is bitter to think of one's best years disappearing in this unpolished country.

Your joys and sorrows. You can never tell them. You cheapen the inside of yourself if you do tell them.

There are many things in your heart you can never tell to another person. They are you, your private joys and sorrows, and you can never tell them. You cheapen yourself, the inside of yourself, when you tell them.


There is no one who would have me - I can't cook.

I don't want to be a silly temptress. I cannot see any sense in getting dressed up and doing nothing but tempting men in pictures.

There are some who want to get married and others who don't. I have never had an impulse to go to the altar. I am a difficult person to lead.

Being a movie star, and this applies to all of them, means being looked at from every possible direction. You are never left at peace, you're just fair game.

The story of my life is about back entrances, side doors, secret elevators and other ways of getting in and out of places so that people won't bother me....


Friday, August 19, 2016

WHERE ARE THEY NOW: KEITH THIBODEUX

It's been 60 years since Keith Thibodeux won America's hearts as "Little Ricky" on "I Love Lucy."

Thibodeux, now 64 and one of the last surviving cast members of the show, said he is grateful to have been a part of the cult classic.

"It was an interesting show, but it was a very special show," Thibodeux told ABC News. "It seems to be very memorable and people of any different generation can appreciate it...appreciate the humor of it, appreciate the silliness of it."

Thibodeux said he still has fond memories of his TV parents Lucille Ball, who died in 1989, and Desi Arnaz, who died in 1986.

"Lucy was naturally very motherly to me and Desi kind of made me feel at ease--that was his role," Thibodeux said. "They were very generous towards me and I was best friends with their children. Whenever I was over there, and Desi would give his kids gifts and he'd never leave me out--whether it was customized bowling balls or L.A. Rams jerseys, he'd give me the same thing.

"Lucy would give me birthday presents on the set and make a big deal of it," he added. "She gave me an Indian Tipi one time. Another time she gave me my own dressing room and a set of drums. That same set I still have today."

Thibodeaux got his start in show business on the "Horace Heidt" variety show when he was 4 years old.

"They billed me the tiniest drummer, pound for pound, the greatest drummer around," he said.


Thibodeaux said he remembers the day in 1955 when his father brought him to audition for the role of Ricky Ricardo Jr.

"I walked on the set and there was Lucy, she was standing there and she was looking at me," he said. "She said 'OK he's cute, but what does he do?' My dad said, 'Well he plays the drums' and she said, 'Oh, come on--I can't believe that.' Then, she says 'Look, we have a drum set over there, go ahead and let him play.' Eventually Desi Arnaz himself came over and started jamming with him.


Years later, the former child star said he became severely depressed.

"I do kind of look at it like a time of my life where I wasn't able to fully be a kid, but that's a problem with child stars--that dynamic is always in the mix," he said. "I was very depressed and suicidal and got to the end of my rope and became a Christian in 1974. That kind of changed my perspective on the show. After that, I was able to appreciate the show much more than I did when I was a young adult."

Thibodeaux, who still plays the drums, ditched acting and joined his wife Kathy, a professional ballet dancer, as the executive director of Ballet Magnificat! in Jackson, Miss. Thibodeaux's daughter Tara gave birth to a son a year ago. Thibodeaux calls his grandson Bryson his "little buddy."

And although he said he seldom watches "I Love Lucy," Thibodeaux continues to be proud of what it has become...

Monday, August 15, 2016

LEO ROBIN: THANKS FOR THE MEMORY

In the early 1930s, Harry Warren was the songwriter that helped to shape the musicals in Hollywood. However, by the late 1930s it was the team of Leo Robin  and Ralph Rainger that were writing some of the most memorable songs of the day.  Leo Robin was born on April 6, 1900 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He studied at the University of Pittsburgh Law School and Carnegie Tech’s drama school. After graduation, he worked as a publicity agent, a newspaper reporter and even as a social worker. However, his first ambition was to be a playwright and in the early 1920’s he moved to New York City to achieve this goal.

In New York, Robin began writing lyrics for songs by various composers. His first success came with the song “Looking Around”, with composer Richard Myers. Robin soon turned his attention to the Broadway stage and with composers like Vincent Youmans, produced Just Fancy, Alley Oop and Hit the Deck.

In 1930, Robin had another hit song featured in the Broadway revue Tattle Tales, entitled “I'll Take an Option on You”, composed by Ralph Rainger. This was the beginning of a great Robin and Rainger team. Under contract with Paramount Studios, Robin and Rainger moved to Hollywood and produced some of the most memorable film scores from the era, including She Done Him Wrong, She Loves Me Not, Shoot the Works, Here is My Heart, The Big Broadcast of 1937, The Big Broadcast of 1938, Waikiki Wedding, Give Me A Sailor and Paris Honeymoon. In 1939, Robin and Rainger left Paramount and signed with 20th Century Fox, where they continued to contribute songs to films.


Robin and Rainger wrote some of the greatest standards from the era, including “Please”, “I Have to Have You”, “Beyond the Blue Horizon”, “June in January”, “I Don’t Want to Make History, I Just Want to Make Love”, “A Rhyme for Love”, “Here Lies Love”, “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Love”, “With Every Breath I Take”, “Here’s Love in Your Eye” and “Blue Hawaii.” In 1938, the pair received the Academy Award for Best Song for “Thanks For the Memory”.

After Rainger’s death in 1942, Robin worked with many other composers including Jerome Kern (“In Love In Vain,”), Arthur Schwartz (“A Gal in Calico,” “A Rainy Night in Rio,” “Oh But I Do”) Harry Warren (“The Lady in the Tutti Frutti Hat,” “Paducah,” “Zing A Little Zong,”), Harold Arlen (“Hooray for Love,” “For Every Man There’s a Woman”).


In 1949 Robin collaborated with July Styne writing the score for the Broadway Musical Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. The production starred Carol Channing and included the songs “Bye Bye, Baby,” “A Little Girl from Little Rock,” and, of course, “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.” A few years later, Marilyn Monroe would reprise the role in the 1953 movie version.

In the 1950’s, Robin collaborated with Sigmund Romberg on the Broadway musical The Girl in Pink Tights. While in production, Romberg died and the musical was not completed until 1954. Robin’s final collaboration came in 1955 for the film musical My Sister Eileen, another collaboration with Jule Styne. After the score was completed, Robin entered retirement.

Leo Robin died in Woodland Hills, CA on December 29, 1984. He has been gone for over thirty years now but the songs that he had a hand in writing will live on forever...


Thursday, August 11, 2016

RECENTLY VIEWED: MRS. DOUBTFIRE

It has been years since I watched the comedy Mrs. Doubtfire. My son and I ran across it on cable, and we watched it together. When I first saw it in the movie theater, it was a couple of years after my own parents' divorce, but I was too young back then to realize what it meant. The movie was full of laughs, but I got the opportunity to explain to my young son what divorce was. Only days before we watched this movie, my son got mad at me and said "I hope Mommy divorces you some day". After watching this film, I do not think he will ever say that again. Also, two years after Robin William's sad death, it seems like every movie he was in - he looked a little bit sad if you look really close. What a talent he was, and this film shows that genius off.

Mrs. Doubtfire is a 1993 American comedy-drama family film directed by Chris Columbus and based on the novel, Alias Madame Doubtfire by Anne Fine. It stars Robin Williams (who also served as co-producer) and Sally Field. It won the Academy Award for Best Makeup and the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.

Daniel Hillard is a freelance voice actor living in San Francisco, California who quits his job due to a disagreement over a questionable script. Though a devoted and loving father to his three children, Lydia, Chris and Natalie, Daniel is an irresponsible husband. Despite his wife Miranda's objections, Daniel throws a wild birthday party for his son Chris. Miranda becomes furious with him and seeks a divorce. At their first custody hearing, a judge grants Miranda custody of the children, since Daniel has neither a residence nor a job.


Daniel soon learns that Miranda intends to hire a housekeeper and alters her classifieds form when she declines his offer to take care of the children. He then calls Miranda several times, using his voice acting skills as several female job applicants. He then calls as a Scottish-accented nanny, whom he dubs "Mrs. Euphegenia Doubtfire". Impressed with her alleged qualifications, Miranda invites "Mrs. Doubtfire" for an interview. Daniel enlists his brother Frank, a makeup artist, and his partner Jack to transform him into the character.


Daniel also takes a job at a TV station. CEO Jonathan Lundy sees Daniel clowning around with toy dinosaurs on the set of an unsuccessful children's program. Impressed with Daniel's creativity, Lundy invites him to dinner at Bridge's Restaurant on the coming Friday night for Daniel to pitch ideas as a new host. Meanwhile, Miranda expects Mrs. Doubtfire to attend a birthday dinner arranged by romantic interest Stu Dunmire scheduled at the same time and place.

Unable to reschedule either appointment, Daniel goes to the restaurant and tries to rotate between both dinners, changing in and out of the Mrs. Doubtfire costume in the restroom. He consumes several alcoholic beverages between the two tables and becomes tipsy. He forgets to change out of the Mrs. Doubtfire costume before returning to Lundy's table and seasons cayenne pepper (which Stu is allergic to) on Stu's food. When Lundy questions the costume, Daniel covers for his mistake by explaining that his alter ego is his idea for a television persona, impressing Lundy. At Miranda's table, Stu starts choking. Realizing his mistake, Daniel administers the Heimlich maneuver. During the struggle, Daniel's mask accidentally rips off, revealing his identity to Miranda's dismay.


At their next custody hearing, Daniel demonstrates he has a job and a suitable home. However, the judge is disgusted by his actions and grants Miranda full custody, with Daniel limited to supervised visitation once a week. Without Mrs. Doubtfire, the children again become devastated, and even Miranda admits their lives were so much better with "her". Soon they are delighted when they see Daniel dressed as Mrs. Doubtfire hosting his own television program, "Euphegenia's House", which becomes a hit across several American cities. 


Miranda pays a visit to Daniel after he wraps up one episode. Congratulating him on his success, she admits that things were better when he was involved, so she decides to appeal the custody ruling. Later the children are greeted by Daniel, revealed as their new babysitter, undisguised and without supervision. They head out as Miranda watches a Euphegenia's House episode where Mrs. Doubtfire answers a letter from a little girl whose parents are divorcing, saying no matter what arrangements families have, love will prevail.

I hope my children never have to go through the pain of a divorce like I did, and I do not think they will, but this movie really does a good job of not only making you laugh but also not sugar coating what a divorce does to a family. This film is also an example of why I miss Robin Williams so much...

MY RATING: 10 OUT OF 10





Monday, August 8, 2016

FATS WALLER MEETS AL CAPONE

Prohibition reigned that New Year of 1926, and Chicago was a wide- open town. When the mobs staked out their territories, he who trespassed died - rubbed out by hired hands. Alphonse "Al" Capone had made his share of "arrangements". Recent mass carnage had left him sole proprietor of a chain of breweries, brothels, speakeasies and gambling dens that netted millions. The press, politicians and the police were all in his pocket. He was 27.

Thomas "Fats" Waller was another kind of prodigy. To him, a "mob" was what packed in to hear you at Harlem rent parties. The "family" were your musical mentors, people like James P Johnson and Willie "the Lion" Smith; an "arrangement" was something you did on the piano. His experience with booze and women was strictly from the consumption end, and his only brush with the law was dodging the prcoess server to avoid paying alimony. When Fats left New York for Chicago to play a few gigs, he was 21 years old.

The ebullient young man with the dazzling jazz style was a big hit at the Sherman Hotel. His nightly audience included men with wide lapels and bulging pockets. One evening Fats felt a revolver poked into his paunchy stomach. He found himself bullied into a black limousine, heard the driver ordered to East Cicero. Sweat pouring down his body, Fats foresaw a premature end to his career, but on arrival at a fancy saloon, he was merely pushed toward a piano and told to play. He played. Loudest in applause was a beefy man with an unmistakable scar: Al Capone was having a birthday, and he, Fats, was a present from "the boys".


The party lasted three days. Fats exhausted himself and his repertoire, but with every request bills were stuffed into his pockets. He and Capone consumed vast quantities of food and drink. By the time the black limousine headed back to the Sherman, Fats had acquired severeal thousand dollars in cash and a decided taste for vintage champagne...



Sunday, August 7, 2016

RIP: RICCI MARTIN

Ricci Martin, an entertainer and the youngest son of legend Dean Martin has died, according to multiple reports. He was 62.

Family members say Martin was found dead at his home in Utah on Wednesday, according to Variety. A cause of death has not yet been determined, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Martin followed his father into show business, working as a musician and entertainer. In the 1970s, he released a single, "Stop, Look Around" with Carl Wilson of the Beach Boys. The two also worked together on Martin's album,Beached. Wilson, who died in 1998, went on to marry Martin's sister Gina in 1987, but the pair divorced one year later.

In the 1990s, Martin began performing at the MGM Grand hotel in Las Vegas and other clubs alongside Desi Arnaz, Jr. (son of Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball) and Billy Hinsche. Martin took the gig as a replacement for his older brother Dean Paul Martin, who was killed in a military plane crash in 1987 and had launched the group alongside Arnaz and Hinsche.

In 2002, Martin wrote a memoir, That's Amore, about growing up in the Martin family in Beverly Hills, California, and the A-list stars who would frequently visit their home.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Martin is survived by his three daughters, Pepper, Montana and Rio; by his mother, Jeanne Martin; an older brother, Craig, and by four sisters, Gail, Deana, Gina and Sasha....