Happy Birthday Elizabeth Taylor

Today is the 83rd birthday of Elizabeth Taylor.  Everything has already been said and everything should be said about Elizabeth Taylor.  Pick one of her films and watch it and re-fall in love with her.  I can’t even decide which one it should be.  Cat? Place? BUtterfield? Suddenly? Giant? Just watch one.  The world is a better place because she was in it and still feels the loss that she has left.

NAME: Elizabeth Taylor
OCCUPATION: Film Actress
BIRTH DATE: February 27, 1932
DEATH DATE: March 23, 2011
PLACE OF BIRTH: London, England
PLACE OF DEATH: Los Angeles, California
NICKNAME: Liz Taylor
FULL NAME: Dame Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor, DBE

BEST KNOWN FOR: Actress Elizabeth Taylor starred in films like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and BUtterfield 8, but was just as famous for her violet eyes and scandalous love life.

Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor was born on February 27, 1932, in London, England. One of film’s most celebrated stars, Elizabeth Taylor has fashioned a career that’s covered more than six decades, accepting roles that have not only showcased her beauty, but her ability to take on emotionally charged characters.

Taylor’s American parents, both art dealers, were residing in London when she was born. Soon after the outbreak of World War II, the Taylors returned to the United States and settled into their new life in Los Angeles.

“One problem with people who have no vices is that they’re pretty sure to have some annoying virtues.” – Elizabeth Taylor

Performance was in Taylor’s blood. Her mother had worked as an actress until she married. At the age of 3, the young Taylor started dancing, and eventually gave a recital for Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret. Not long after relocating to California a family friend suggested the Taylors’ daughter take a screen test.

She soon signed a contract with Universal Studios, and made her screen debut at the age of 10 in There’s One Born Every Minute (1942). She followed that up with a bigger role in Lassie Come Home (1943) and later The White Cliffs of Dover (1944).

Her breakout role, however, came in 1944 with National Velvet, in a role Elizabeth Taylor spent four months working to get. The film subsequently turned out to be a huge hit that pulled in more than $4 million and made the 12-year-old actress a huge star.

In the glare of the Hollywood spotlight, the young actress showed she was more than adept at handling celebrity’s tricky terrain. Even more impressive was the fact that, unlike so many child stars before and after her, Taylor proved she could make a seamless transition to more adult roles.

“It would be glamorous to be reincarnated as a great big ring on Liz Taylor’s finger.” – Andy Warhol

Her stunning looks helped. At just 18 she played opposite Spencer Tracy in Father of the Bride (1950). Taylor also showed her acting talents in 1954 with three films: The Last Time I Saw Paris, Rhapsody, and Elephant Walk, the latter of which saw Taylor take on the role of a plantation owner’s wife who is in love with the farm’s manager.

Her personal life only boosted the success of her films. For a time she dated millionaire Howard Hughes, then at the age of 17, Elizabeth Taylor made her first entrance into marriage, when she wed hotel heir, Nicky Hilton.

The union didn’t last long and, in 1952, Taylor was walking down the aisle again—this time to marry actor Michael Welding. In all, Taylor has married eight times during life, including twice to actor Richard Burton.

While her love life continued to make international headlines, Taylor continued to shine showed as an actress.

She delivered a riveting performance in the drama A Place in the Sun, and turned things up even more in 1956 with the film adaptation of the Edna Ferber novel, Giant that co-starred James Dean. Two years later, she sizzled on the big screen in the film adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. The following year, she starred in another Williams classic, Suddenly Last Summer. Taylor earned her first Oscar, capturing the coveted Best Actress award for her role as call girl in BUtterfield 8 (1960).

But Taylor’s fame was also touched by tragedy and loss. In 1958, she became a young widow when her husband, pioneering film producer Mike Todd, was killed in a plane crash. After his death, Taylor became embroiled in one of the greatest Hollywood love scandals of the era when she began an affair with Todd’s close friend, Eddie Fisher. Fisher divorced Debbie Reynolds and married Taylor in 1959. The couple stayed married for five years until she left Fisher for actor Richard Burton.

The public’s obsession with Taylor’s love life hit new heights with her 1964 marriage to Richard Burton. She’d met and fallen in love with the actor during her work on Cleopatra (1963), a film that not only heightened Taylor’s clout and fame, but also proved to be a staggering investment, clocking in at an unprecedented $37 million to make.

The Taylor-Burton union was a fiery and passionate one. They appeared onscreen together in the much-panned The V.I.P.’s (1963), and then again two years later for the heralded Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, a film that earned Taylor her second Oscar for her role as an overweight, angry wife of an alcoholic professor, played by Burton.

The subsequent years proved to be an up-and-down affair for Taylor. There were more marriages, more divorces, health obstacles, and a struggling film career, with movies that gained little traction with critics or the movie-going public.

Still, Taylor continued to act. She found work on television, even making a guest appearance on General Hospital, and on stage. She also began focusing more attention on philanthropy. After her close friend Rock Hudson died in 1985 following his battle with HIV/AIDS, the actress started work to find a cure for the disease. In 1991 she launched the Elizabeth Taylor HIV/AIDS Foundation in order to offer greater support for those who are sick, as well fund research for more advanced treatments.

Largely retired from the world of acting, Taylor received numerous awards for her body of work. In 1993 she received the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award. In 2000 she was made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE).

Taylor overcame a litany of health problems throughout the 90s, from diabetes to congestive heart failure. She had both hips replaced, and in 1997 had a brain tumor removed. In October 2009, Taylor, who has four children, underwent successful heart surgery. In early 2011, Taylor again experienced heart problems.

She was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Hospital in that February for congestive heart failure. On March 23, 2011, Taylor passed away from the condition.

Shortly after her death, her son Michael Wilding released a statement, saying “My mother was an extraordinary woman who lived life to the fullest, with great passion, humor, and love … We will always be inspired by her enduring contribution to our world.”

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Happy Birthday Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Today is the 174th birthday of the artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir. I first remember seeing his art in the hallways of my elementary school. I didn’t know who the artist was at the time, but as I learned more about art, I realized that his paintings had been part of my life all along. I remember lining up in the hallways and staring at his paintings while waiting to go wherever we were going, lunch, recess, etc. The world is a better place because he was in it and still feels the loss the a he left.

NAME: Pierre-Auguste Renoir
OCCUPATION: Painter
BIRTH DATE: February 25, 1841
DEATH DATE: December 3, 1919
EDUCATION: École des Beaux-Arts
PLACE OF BIRTH: Limoges, France
PLACE OF DEATH: Cagnes-sur-Mer, France

BEST KNOWN FOR: A leading Impressionist painter, Pierre-Auguste Renoir was one of the most famous artists of the early twentieth century.

The son of a tailor and a seamstress, Pierre-Auguste Renoir came from humble beginnings. He was the couple’s sixth child, but two of his older siblings died as infants. The family moved to Paris sometime between 1844 and 1846, living near the Louvre, a world-renowned art museum. He attended a local Catholic school.

As a teenager, Renoir became an apprentice to a porcelain painter. He learned to copy designs to decorate plates and other dishware. Before long, Renoir started doing other types of decorative painting to make a living. He also took free drawing classes at a city-sponsored art school, which was run by sculptor Louis-Denis Caillouette.

Using imitation as a learning tool, a nineteen-year-old Renoir started studying and copying some of the great works hanging at the Louvre. He then entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, a famous art school, in 1862. Renoir also became a student of Charles Gleyre. At Gleyre’s studio, Renoir soon befriended three other young artists: Frédéric Bazille, Claude Monet, and Alfred Sisley. And through Monet, he met such emerging talents as Camille Pissarro and Paul Cézanne.

In 1864, Renoir won acceptance into the annual Paris Salon exhibit. There he showed the painting, “La Esmeralda,” which was inspired by a character from Victor Hugo’s Notre-Dame de Paris. The following year, Renoir again showed at the prestigious Salon, this time displaying a portrait of William Sisley, the wealthy father of artist Alfred Sisley.

While his Salon works helped raise his profile in the art world, Renoir had to struggle to make a living. He sought out commissions for portraits and often depended on the kindness of his friends, mentors, and patrons. The artist Jules Le Coeur and his family served as strong supporters of Renoir’s for many years. Renoir also remained close to Monet, Bazille, and Sisley, sometimes staying at their homes or sharing their studios. According to many biographies, he seemed to have no fixed address during his early career.

Around 1867, Renoir met Lise Tréhot, a seamstress who became his model. She served as the model for such works as “Diana” (1867) and “Lise” (1867). The two also reportedly became romantically involved. According to some reports, she gave birth to his first child, a daughter named Jeanne, in 1870. Renoir never publicly acknowledged his daughter during his lifetime.

Renoir had to take a break from his work in 1870 when he was drafted into the army to serve in France’s war against Germany. He was assigned to a cavalry unit, but he soon fell ill with dysentery. Renoir never saw any action during the war, unlike his friend Bazille who was killed that November.

After the war ended in 1871, Renoir eventually made his way back to Paris. He and some of his friends, including Pissarro, Monet, Cézanne and Edgar Degas, decided to show their works on their own in Paris in 1874, which became known as the first Impressionist exhibition. The group’s name is derived from a critical review of their show, in which the works were called “impressions” rather than finished paintings done using traditional methods. Renoir, like other Impressionists, embraced a brighter palette for his paintings, which gave them a warmer and sunnier feel. He also used different types of brushstrokes to capture his artistic vision on the canvas.

While the first Impressionist exhibition was not a success, Renoir soon found other supportive patrons to propel his career. The wealthy publisher Georges Charpentier and his wife Marguérite took a great interest in the artist and invited him to numerous social gatherings at their Paris home. Through the Charpentiers, Renoir met such famous writers as Gustave Flaubert and ?mile Zola. He also received portrait commissions from the couple’s friends. His 1878 painting, “Madame Charpentier and her Children,” was featured in the official Salon of the following year and brought him much critical admiration.

Funded with the money from his commissions, Renoir made several inspirational journeys in the early 1880s. He visited Algeria and Italy and spent time in the south of France. While in Naples, Italy, Renoir worked on a portrait of famed composer Richard Wagner. He also painted three of his masterworks, “Dance in the Country,” “Dance in the City” and “Dance at Bougival” around this time.

As his fame grew, Renoir began to settle down. He finally married his longtime girlfriend Aline Charigot in 1890. The couple already had a son, Pierre, who was born in 1885. Aline served as a model for many of his works, including “Mother Nursing Her Child” (1886). His growing family, with the additions of sons Jean in 1894 and Claude in 1901, also provided inspiration for a number of paintings.

As he aged, Renoir continued to use his trademark feathery brushstrokes to depict primarily rural and domestic scenes. His work, however, proved to be more and more physically challenging for the artist. Renoir first battled with rheumatism in the mid-1890s and the disease plagued him for the rest of his life.

In 1907, Renoir bought some land in Cagnes-sur-Mer where he built a stately home for his family. He continued to work, painting whenever he could. The rheumatism had disfigured his hands, leaving his fingers permanently curled. Renoir also had a stroke in 1912, which left him in a wheelchair. Around this time, he tried his hand at sculpture. He worked with assistants to create works based on some of his paintings.

The world-renowned Renoir continued to paint until his death. He lived long enough to see one of his works bought by the Louvre in 1919, a tremendous honor for any artist. Renoir died that December at his home in Cagnes-sur-Mer, France. He was buried next to his wife, Aline (who died in 1915), in her hometown of Essoyes, France.

Besides leaving behind over two hundred works of art, Renoir served as an inspiration to so many other artists—Pierre Bonnard, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso are just a few who benefitted from Renoir’s artistic style and methods.

Happy Birthday Anna Pavlova

Today is the 134th birthday of the Russian ballet dancer and choreographer Anna Pavlova.  Her touring helped promote and expose ballet to groups of people that would have not known of it.  The number of people who were influenced through that exposure and the people they influenced is unfathomable.  The world is a better place because she was in it and still feels the loss that she has left.

pavlova

NAME: Anna Pavlova
OCCUPATION: Ballet Dancer, Choreographer
BIRTH DATE: February 12, 1881
DEATH DATE: January 23, 1931
EDUCATION: Imperial School of Ballet at the Mariinsky Theatre
PLACE OF BIRTH: St. Petersburg, Russia
PLACE OF DEATH: The Hague, Netherlands
Full Name: Anna Pavlovna Pavlova

Best Known For:  Anna Pavlova was a famous Russian prima ballerina and choreographer. The company she founded in 1911 was the first to tour ballet around the world.

Ballerina Anna Pavlova was born Anna Matveyevna Pavlovna Pavlova on February 12, 1881–a cold and snowy winter’s day–in St. Petersburg, Russia. Her mother, Lyubov Feodorovna was a washerwoman. Her stepfather, Matvey Pavlov, was a reserve soldier. The identity of Anna Pavlova’s biological father is unknown, though some speculate that her mother had an affair with a banker named Lazar Poliakoff. As a child, Anna preferred to believe she was a product of an earlier marriage. She told people her mother had once been married to a man named Pavel, who died when Anna was just a toddler. Yet this Pavel remains something of a mystery to historians and biographers.

From early on, Anna’s active imagination and love of fantasy drew her to the world of ballet. Looking back on her childhood, Anna Pavlova described her budding passion for ballet accordingly: “I always wanted to dance; from my youngest years…Thus I built castles in the air out of my hopes and dreams.”

Although they were poor, Anna and her mother were able to see a performance of The Sleeping Beauty at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg when Anna was 8 years old. Captivated by what she saw, the wide-eyed little girl declared she was resolved to become a ballet dancer. Anna’s mother enthusiastically supported her pursuit. Within just two years, Anna was accepted at the St. Petersburg Imperial Ballet School, after passing the entry exam with flying colors. The school was directed by famed ballet master Marius Petipa.

At the Imperial Ballet School, Petipa and Anna’s teachers, Ekaterina Vazem and Pavel Gerdt, quickly recognized her extraordinary gift. A dedicated and ambitious student, Anna knew a successful ballet career would require a lot more than just talent. Her natural gift for dance, combined with her tireless work ethic, is here summarized in her own words: “No one can arrive from being talented alone. God gives talent, work transforms talent into genius.” In 1899 Anna graduated the St. Petersburg Imperial Dance School at the age of 18–gracefully leaping from school to stage in her hard-earned transformation from ballet student to prima ballerina in the making.

Because Anna graduated as a coryphée, she was able to skip right over dancing in a corps de ballet. In other words, she bypassed the usual initiation rite of dancing in large groups, and was permitted to dance in smaller groups right away. Fresh out of dance school, on September 19, 1899, the gifted young ballerina made her company debut, dancing in a group of three in La Fille Mal Gardée.   The performance took place at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg–the same theater where, as a child, Anna Pavlova had first decided to become a dancer.

Pavlova’s career soon blossomed. With every performance, she gained increasing critical acclaim and subsequent fame. But it was in 1905 that Anna Pavlova made her breakthrough performance, when she danced the lead solo in choreographer Michael Fokine‘s The Dying Swan,  with music by Camille Saint-Saëns. With her delicate movements and intense facial expressions, Anna managed to convey to the audience the play’s complex message about the fragility and preciousness of life. The Dying Swan was to become Anna Pavlova’s signature role.

Anna continued to rise quickly through the ranks. By 1906 she had already successfully danced the difficult part of Giselle. Just seven years into her ballet career, Anna was promoted to prima ballerina.

Accompanied by a handful of other dancers, in 1907, Anna took leave on her first tour abroad. The tour stopped at capital cities throughout Europe–including Berlin, Copenhagen and Prague, among others. In response to the critical acclaim her performances received, Anna signed up for a second tour in 1908.

In 1909, after having completed her second tour, Anna was invited to join Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballet Russe on its historic tour, during the opening season in Paris. Anna’s fellow dancers in the company included the likes of Laurent Novikoff, Thadee Slavinsky, Olga Spessivtzeva, Anatole Vilz and Alexander Volinine. While touring, the Ballet Russe frequently visited Australia, and there played an instrumental role in Russian ballet’s influence on the future of Australian dance. During 1910, Anna toured the United Kingdom and the United States. When she wasn’t dancing solo, her more notable dance partners included Laurent Novikoff and Pierre Vladimirov.

In 1911 Anna Pavlova took a major step in her career–by forming her own ballet company. In so doing, Anna was able to retain complete creative control over performances and even choreograph her own roles. Anna put her husband, Victor Dandré, in charge of organizing her independent tours. For the final two decades of her ballet career, she toured with her company all over the world, as little girls watched in awe and were inspired to become dancers, the same way Anna had been at the Mariinsky Theatre all those years ago.

In 1930, when Anna was 50 years old, her 30-year dance career had come to physically wear on her. She decided to take a Christmas vacation after wrapping up a particularly arduous tour in England. At the end of her vacation, she boarded a train back to The Hague, where she planned to resume dancing. On its way from Cannes to Paris, the train was in an accident. Anna was unharmed in the accident, but she was left waiting out the delay for 12 hours on the platform. It was a snowy evening, and Anna was only wearing only a thin jacket and flimsy silk pajamas. Once in Holland, within days of the accident, she developed double pneumonia. Her illness quickly worsened. On her deathbed, Anna, passionate about dance until her final breath, asked to see her swan costume one last time. She died in The Hague, Netherlands, in the wee hours of the morning, on January 23, 1931. Her ashes were interred at Golders Green Cemetery, near the Ivy House where she had lived with her manager and husband, Victor Dandré, in London,  England.

Anna Pavlova was one of the most celebrated and influential ballet dancers of her time. Her passion and grace are captured in striking photographic portraits. Her legacy lives on through dance schools, societies and companies established in her honor, and perhaps most powerfully, in the future generations of dancers she inspired.

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Happy Birthday Ivan Parker

 

Birth: Feb. 9, 1920
Death: May 18, 1988 (68)
Burial: Miller-Woodlawn Memorial Park Bremerton Washington, USA
Social Security Number (SSN):  537-03-8042

Today is my grandfather, Ivan Parker‘s birthday, he would have been 94.  A lot of people live to be 94 now, but he died at a far-too-young 68.  Seems unfair.

I remember that he had this strange way of floating on his back in the lake, his feet sticking out of the water, his hands slowly moving back and forth. It was sort of like treading water, sort of like floating on his back, but very casual. I try to recreate that floating when I am in the lake each summer, but I don’t have it exactly right because his head was sort of sticking up out of the water and he could hold conversations. I remember once, when my sister and I were very young, he was tucking us into our sleeping bags out at the lake house and my sister wanted to sleep in her socks. He told her that if she wore her socks to bed that her toes would rot off, jokingly. We laughed and laughed. I wish I could write down every single thing I remember about him, I probably will over time. I want to write it all down so I remember it all, forever.

ivan graveI will keep looking for more information and adding it when I find it, but he has very little internet presence, no obituary or anything like that.  I guess if I joined that family tree website, I could find things…

Since I am adding things, I will add other things that happened on this day:

On this day in 1964, the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show for the first time, as teenage girls screamed hysterically in the audience and 73 million people watched from home — a record for American television at the time. Their appearance on the show is considered the beginning of the “British Invasion” of music in the United States. The Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show the following two Sundays in a row, as well. On this first time, exactly 49 years ago today, they sang “All My Loving,” “Till There Was You,” “She Loves You,” “I Saw Her Standing There,” and finally “I Want to Hold Your Hand” — which had just hit No. 1 on the charts.

It was on this day in 1870 that the U.S. National Weather Service was established.

At first it was called the Weather Bureau and it was part of the War Department because, it was said, “military discipline would probably secure the greatest promptness, regularity, and accuracy in the required observations.” It became a civilian agency 20 years later, under the Department of Agriculture, and then was switched to the Commerce Department in 1940. These days, the National Weather Service is based out of Silver Spring, Maryland. It plays a very big role in making sure that American air travel is safe, providing up-to-minute weather updates to air traffic controller centers across the nation.

 

The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries – Not So Secret Obsession

I am especially obsessed about The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, all three seasons are on Netflix.  Pamela Sue Martin, Shaun Cassidy and Parker Stevenson play the main characters and are so quintessentially 70s, it is brilliant.  Watch a couple episodes for the amazing guest stars alone.  Between IMDB and Wiki, I gather that I am not the only one obsessed, those pages are extensive.  Do yourself a favor and head back to the 70s and solve a couple mysteries, you won’t regret it.

The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries (retitled The Hardy Boys Mysteries for season three) is a television series which aired for three seasons on ABC. The series starred Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy as amateur sleuth brothers Frank and Joe Hardy, respectively, and Pamela Sue Martin (later Janet Louise Johnson) as detective Nancy Drew.

The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries was unusual in that it often dealt with the characters individually, in an almost anthological style. That is, some episodes featured only the Hardy Boys and others only Nancy Drew.

The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew were both successful book publishing franchises, owned by the Stratemeyer Syndicate, a publishing group which owned many successful children’s book lines.

The Hardy Boys, Frank and Joe, are brother amateur detectives. The two boys live in the fictional city of Bayport, Massachusetts (a change from the book series, which sets Bayport in the state of New York) with their famous father, Fenton Hardy, a private detective who spent “twenty years” with the New York Police Department.

In addition to the Hardy Boys, their stories feature two other characters with some regularity: Aunt Gertrude and a platonic female friend of the boys, Callie Shaw, who also does part-time work for their father. The only other character who played a major part of the Hardy Boys books, Chet Morton, appeared only briefly in the series.

Nancy Drew is the amateur sleuth — she prefers the term “part time investigator” — daughter of attorney Carson Drew. She lives with her father, Carson, in the fictional town of River Heights, New Jersey (another change from the book series, which sets River Heights outside of Chicago).

In addition to Nancy Drew and her father, her stories feature two other characters with some regularity: her close friend Georgia (George) Fayne and Ned Nickerson. Another prominent character from the Nancy Drew books, Bess Marvin, made only two appearances in two-part episodes. In the novels on which the series was based, Nickerson is explicitly identified as Nancy’s boyfriend. In the television series, their romance is more ambiguous. In the first season, Nickerson is a law student who does part-time work for Carson Drew. In the second season, Nickerson is re-introduced, with no reference to his earlier appearances, in a scene, in which he is apparently introduced to Nancy Drew for the first time, as a young hotshot lawyer from the city District Attorney’s office.

The TV show marked the first time that the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew met and worked together as they had never done so in the context of the books at that time (up to that point). In the first episode of the second season (“The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula”) they meet in a hotel room in Europe. The boys, tracking their father, who was working on a case with Nancy Drew. Though the relationship between Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys is mostly platonic, there is a heavily-implied romance between Nancy Drew and Frank Hardy. In one episode (“Mystery of the Hollywood Phantom”) they kiss briefly.

The show was filmed on the studio lot on parts of Colonial Street, the backlot street which was later used in the Tom Hanks film The Burbs and was used as Wisteria Lane in the hit TV series Desperate Housewives.

A number of well known actors appeared in episodes of The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, either as celebrity guest stars or before they achieved subsequent fame.

Celebrities who appeared in episodes included Ricky Nelson (The Flickering Torch Mystery); Bob Crane (A Haunting We Will Go); Lorne Greene, Bernie Taupin, Trini Lopez and Paul Williams (The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula, where Williams sang the song “Hell of It”, which originally appeared on his 1974 starring film Phantom of the Paradise); Jaclyn Smith, Robert Wagner, Casey Kasem and Dennis Weaver (Mystery of the Hollywood Phantom); Tony Dow (The Creatures Who Came on Sunday); Maureen McCormick (Nancy Drew’s Love Match); William Campbell and Missy Gold (Will The Real Santa …?); Lloyd Bochner and Dorothy Malone (The House on Possessed Hill); Diana Muldaur (Sole Survivor); Ray Milland and Howard Duff (Voodoo Doll); Vic Damone, Fabian and Troy Donahue (Mystery on the Avalanche Express); Jack Jones (Death Surf); Pernell Roberts and Joseph Cotten (Arson and Old Lace); Kevin Tighe”Last Kiss of Summer” Dana Andrews and Patrick Macnee (Assault on the Tower); John Colicos (Search for Atlantis); June Lockhart and Robert Loggia (Dangerous Waters); and Robert Karnes, who guest starred as a sheriff in four episodes: Mystery of the Fallen Angels, A Haunting We Will Go, The Mystery of the Diamond Triangle, and The Mystery of Pirate’s Cove (all 1977).

Famous actors who appeared in the series earlier in their career included Jamie Lee Curtis, Robert Englund and A Martinez (The Mystery of the Fallen Angels); Rosalind Chao (The Mystery of the Jade Kwan Yin); Mark Harmon and Martin Kove (The Mystery of the Solid Gold Kicker); Anne Lockhart (The Mystery of the African Safari and The Last Kiss of Summer); Rick Springfield (Will The Real Santa …?); Nicholas Hammond and John Karlen (The Lady on Thursday at Ten); Melanie Griffith (The House on Possessed Hill); Kim Cattrall and Linda Dano (Voodoo Doll); Valerie Bertinelli, Stepfanie Kramer and Kim Lankford (Campus Terror); and Ana Alicia (Life on the Line).

Bernie Taupin, the composer and musical partner of Elton John, appeared in the two-part episode The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula, as a young British musician.

Darleen Carr, who guest starred in the episode Search for Atlantis, is the sister of Charmian Carr, who played Liesl von Trapp in the Robert Wise film adaptation of The Sound of Music.

Producer Glen A. Larson also produced the science fiction series Battlestar Galactica, which aired in 1978-’79 and 1980. A number of actors who appeared in The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries were also either cast members or guest stars of that series, including Lorne Greene, Maren Jensen, Anne Lockhart, Rick Springfield, Ana Alicia, Patrick Macnee and John Colicos.

Happy Birthday Malcolm McLaren

Today is the 69th birthday of Malcolm McLaren.  He did a little bit of everything and was exceptionally successful at it.  The world is a better place because he was in it and still feels the loss that he has left.

MALCOLM MCLARENNAME: Malcolm McLaren
OCCUPATION: Fashion Designer, Artist
BIRTH DATE: January 22, 1946
DEATH DATE: April 8, 2010
EDUCATION: Harrow Art School, Croydon College of Art, Goldsmiths College
PLACE OF BIRTH: London, United Kingdom
PLACE OF DEATH: Switzerland

BEST KNOWN FOR: Recording artist and fashion designer Malcolm McLaren came to fame as manager of the Sex Pistols. Later, he recorded several albums of his own material.

Artist, musician, band manager. One of the creative forces behind English punk rock and the Sex Pistols in particular, Malcolm Robert Andrew McLaren was born January 22, 1946, in London, England. The son of a Scottish engineer, he was raised primarily by his maternal grandmother, whom he later credited with fostering his well-regarded subversive spirit.

As such, school was not a perfect fit for the creative McLaren. He attended more than half a dozen different art schools, including Harrow Art School, where he befriended Jamie Reid, who would later serve as the brains behind the Sex Pistols’ provocative graphics. His struggles in school led one institution to expel him and another, Croydon College of Art, to try to have him committed to a mental institution.

In 1971 McLaren dropped out of school for good and opened a boutique shop in Chelsea. Initially called Let It Rock and later renamed Too Fast to Live Too Young to Die, the store specialized in 1950s “Teddy boy” fashions.

McLaren’s world changed when the New York Dolls, a glam-rock band that performed in high heels, visited his shop one day. McLaren and the musicians quickly hit it off and eventually he followed the band back to the United States, where he worked as its manager. McLaren brought an unusual approach to his job, pushing the band to shock its American audiences as much as possible. In one instance he had the Dolls perform in Maoist Red Guard uniforms and play in front of a hammer-and-sickle flag.

But the Dolls’ run was short-lived, and after the group broke up, McLaren returned to London intent on trying to ramp up what he’d tried to do in the States.

He found his new cause in a group of musicians headed up by lead singer John Lydon, later renamed Johnny Rotten due to the condition of his teeth. In every shape and form, the Sex Pistols was the product of McLaren’s imagination. He put the band together and orchestrated the outrage that made them the toast of the English punk rock scene. Rotten called McLaren “the most evil person on earth.”

With singles like “Anarchy in the U.K.” and “God Save the Queen,” the Pistols climbed the charts in Britain. The group’s short run consisted of just one album, the 1977 release Never Mind the Bollocks: Here’s the Sex Pistols. In 1978 the group embarked on its first and only American tour. It quickly concluded when Rotten walked off the stage at a performance in San Francisco, leaving the band behind and marking the end of the Pistols as a group.

Even with the band’s demise, McLaren continued to stay heavily involved in the music scene. He went on to manage several other acts, and in 1983 issued an album of his own, Duck Rock, which featured a combination of world music and hip-hop. Several other albums followed, including Fans (1984), Waltz Darling (1989), and Paris (1994).

Over the last several years of his life, McLaren stayed busy with several film, television and radio projects. He was one of the producers of the docu-drama Fast Food Nation (2006) and oversaw the production of a pair of BBC2 radio presentations, Malcolm McLaren’s Musical Map of London and Malcolm McLaren’s Life and Times in L.A.. McLaren fathered a son with his first partner, designer Vivienne Westwood, and was in a relationship with another partner, Young Kim, at the time of his death. He’d been battling cancer for several months and passed away at a clinic in Switzerland on April 8, 2010.

His varied, bombastic career was driven, he once said, by some advice an old art school teacher had given him. “We will all be failures,” the educator told the young McLaren. “But at least be a magnificent, noble failure. Anyone can be a benign success.”

Happy Birthday Christian Dior

Today is the 110th birthday of the fashion designer Christian Dior.  The world is a better place because he was in it and still feels the loss that he has left.

NAME: Christian Dior
OCCUPATION: Fashion Designer
BIRTH DATE: January 21, 1905
DEATH DATE: c. October 23, 1957
EDUCATION: École des Sciences Politiques
PLACE OF BIRTH: Granville, France
PLACE OF DEATH: Montecatini, Italy

BEST KNOWN FOR: Christian Dior was a French fashion designer whose post–World War II creations were wildly popular, and whose legacy continues to influence the fashion industry.

Christian Dior was born on January 21, 1905, in Granville, a seaside town in the north of France. He was the second of five children born to Alexandre Louis Maurice Dior, the owner of a highly successful fertilizer manufacturer, and his wife, Isabelle. When he was a boy, Dior’s family moved to Paris, where he would spend his youth. Although Dior was passionate about art and expressed an interest in becoming an architect, he submitted to pressure from his father and, in 1925, enrolled at the École des Sciences Politiques to begin his studies in political science, with the understanding that he would eventually find work as a diplomat.

After his graduation in 1928, however, Dior opened a small art gallery with money he received from his father, who had agreed to lend his son his financial support on the condition that the family name would not appear above the gallery door. In the few years it was open, Dior’s gallery handled the works of such notable artists as Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso, Jean Cocteau and Max Jacob. He was forced to close the gallery in 1931, a year that included the deaths of both his older brother and mother and the financial collapse of his father’s business.

Following the closing of his gallery, Dior began to make ends meet by selling his fashion sketches, and in 1935, landed a job illustrating the magazine Figaro Illustré. Several years later, Dior was hired as a design assistant by Paris couturier Robert Piguet. However, when World War II began the following year, Dior served in the south of France as an officer in the French army.

Following France’s surrender to Germany in 1940, Dior returned to Paris, where he was soon hired by couturier Lucien Lelong. Throughout the remaining years of the war, Lelong’s design house would consistently dress the women of both Nazis and French collaborators. During this same time, Dior’s younger sister, Catherine, was working for the French Resistance. (She was captured and sent to a concentration camp, but survived; she was eventually released in 1945.)

In 1957, several months after appearing on the cover of Time magazine, Christian Dior traveled to Italy to vacation in the town of Montecatini. While there, on October 23, 1957, he suffered what was his third heart attack and died, at the age of 52.

Marcel Boussac sent his private plane to Montecatini to bring Dior’s body back to Paris, and Dior’s funeral was attended by an estimated 2,500 people, including all of his staff and many of his most famous clients. He was buried in Cimetière de Callian, in Var, France. At the time of his death, Dior’s house was earning more than $20 million annually.