Happy Birthday Kurt Cobain

Today is the 48th birthday of Kurt Cobain.  I drive by his old house daily and even 20 years after his death, there are still people lighting candles and leaving flowers on the bench in the park  it is next to.  He was the reluctant crown-prince of my generation.  Had he lived, he would  an Indie Rock God Legend or a bloated cliche or a recluse.  There is no way to predict something that will never be.  We will always remember him as beautiful, and sad.  My family settled in  Aberdeen when they came to The United States.  The rain was heavy and constant.  There is a beautiful old mausoleum in the cemetery where my great-grandparents  are buried and when I am there, I wonder if Kurt liked it there.  If I were a kid growing up in Aberdeen, I would have made it one of my haunts, it is very quiet and empty and full of the forgotten founders of a town whose prime has passed.  The world was a better place because he was in it and still feels the loss that he has left.

Kurt Cobain

NAME: Kurt Cobain
OCCUPATION: Singer
BIRTH DATE: February 20, 1967
DEATH DATE: April 05, 1994
PLACE OF BIRTH: Aberdeen, Washington
PLACE OF DEATH: Seattle, Washington
FULL NAME: Kurt Donald Cobain

BEST KNOWN FOR:  A talented yet troubled grunge performer, Kurt Cobain became a rock legend in the 1990s with his band, Nirvana. He committed suicide at his Seattle home in 1994.

Singer, songwriter. Born Kurt Donald Cobain on February 20, 1967, in Aberdeen, Washington. A talented, troubled performer, Kurt Cobain became a rock legend with his band Nirvana in the 1990s. Growing up in a small logging town, Cobain showed an interest in art and music. He excelled at drawing, so much so that his talents were even apparent in kindergarten. He also learned to play piano by ear and enjoyed a kiddie drum kit his parents had given him. At his father’s urging, Cobain also played little league baseball. He sometimes spent time with his little sister Kim who was born in 1971, but both Cobain children had to deal with their parents yelling and fighting as their marriage became increasingly stormy.

After his parents divorced when he was nine, Cobain became withdrawn. He went to live with his father after the divorce. On the weekends, he would visit his mother and his sister. When his father remarried, Cobain resented his stepmother Jenny and her two children. One of the bright spots of this difficult time was a present he received from his uncle Chuck—a guitar. Although the instrument was fairly beat up, it inspired Cobain to learn to play and it offered him a respite from his unhappiness at home. Alienated and angry, he believed that his father always took his stepmother’s side and favored her children and his half-brother Chad who had been born in 1979. Cobain began experimenting with drugs in his mid-teens, and he pushed himself farther away from his father.

In 1982, Cobain left his father’s place and bounced around from relative to relative for several months. He then went to live with his mother who was with her boyfriend Pat O’Connor at the time. (They later married.) Attending high school in Aberdeen, he impressed teachers and students with his artistic talents. Cobain seemed to have odd tastes in subject matter, drawing a sperm transforming into an embryo for one project, according to Heavier than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain by Charles R. Cross.

Cobain’s life changed when he started listening punk rock. Discovering a local punk band, the Melvins, he befriended Buzz Osbourne, a member of the group. Osbourne introduced him to some other punk bands, such as the Sex Pistols. The Melvins often practiced in a space near drummer Dale Crover‘s house and a lot of fans, including Cobain, came to these sessions and hung out. As high school progressed, he was doing more drinking and drugging. Cobain also got into fights with his mother who was also drinking a lot, and he could not stand his stepfather.

Cobain spent much of 1984 and 1985 living in various places. He spent time living with friends when he could and sleeping in apartment building hallways and a hospital waiting room when he did not have any other place to crash. In July 1985, Cobain was arrested for spray painting buildings in town with some of his friends. His friends got away, but Cobain was caught and taken to the police station. He later received a fine and a suspended sentence for his actions. Several months later, Cobain started his first band, Fecal Matter. They recorded a few songs together at his aunt Mari’s house, but they never played any gigs.

The next year Cobain was in trouble with the law again after being found wandering around an abandoned building drunk at night. As a result, he ended up spending several days in jail. Cobain started playing music with bassist Krist Novoselic who was two years older than him. They knew each other from Novoselic’s younger brother Robert and from hanging around The Melvins. A local drummer named Aaron Burckhard soon joined in. Their first gig was a house party in 1987. This same year, Cobain started going out with Tracy Marander, his first serious girlfriend. The two eventually were living together in Olympia. Although they struggled financially, the couple seemed to enjoy the rock and roll lifestyle. Cobain spent a lot of his time exploring different creative outlets—writing, painting, drawing, and making collages.

In 1988, Cobain was able to make some of his rock ambitions come true. He finally settled on the name Nirvana for the group. They made their first single, “Love Buzz,” which was released by the small independent label Sub Pop Records. By this time, Burckhard was out and Chad Channing had taken over drumming duties. Nirvana’s popularity in the Seattle music scene was growing, and they released their debut album, Bleach, in 1989. While it failed to make much of a splash, the recording showed signs of Cobain’s emerging talent as a songwriter, especially the ballad “About a Girl.” Their signature sound, which included elements of punk and heavy metal, was also apparent on the album. Cobain felt mistreated by Sub Pop, believing that the company devoted more resources toward promoting other acts such as Soundgarden and Mudhoney.

While his band was struggling to make it, Cobain made a fateful connection in his personal life. In 1990, Cobain met his match in an edgy rocker named Courtney Love. The two met at a show at the Portland, Oregon nightclub Satyricon. While they were interested in each other, their relationship did not get off the ground until much later.

That same year, he got a chance to know some of his rock and roll heroes when the band toured with Sonic Youth. Nirvana was going through some internal changes at the time. Their friend Dale Crover filled in on drums as Cobain and Novoselic had kicked out Channing. After the tour, they finally found a replacement in Dave Grohl who had played with Washington, D.C., hardcore band Scream.

Despite their antiestablishment and punk tendencies, Nirvana made the leap to a major label in 1991 when they signed with Geffen Records. That same year, they released Nevermind, which spearheaded a music revolution. With the raw edges of punk and the blistering guitars of metal, their sound was labeled “grunge” for its murky and rough qualities.

The single “Smells Like Teen Spirit”—like many Nirvana tracks—modulated between the soft and the thrashing. And Cobain was equally convincing as he sang the song’s mellow chorus and as he screamed its final lines. It proved to be the group’s biggest single and helped take the entire album to the top of the charts.
Soon, Cobain was being called one of the best songwriters of his generation. This along with the rapid rise of the group put pressure on the talented and sensitive 24-year-old. Cobain began to worry about how his music was being received and how to regain control of a seemingly uncontrollable future. He had started using heroin in the early 1990s. The drug provided an escape as well as some relief for his chronic stomach problems.

Before Nevermind’s release, Cobain met up again with Courtney Love, now the lead singer and guitarist with Hole, at an L7 concert in Los Angeles. She was friends with Jennifer Finch, a member of the band who was also dating Dave Grohl at the time. Later that year, Cobain and Love started a whirlwind relationship that included letters, faxes, and numerous phone calls as the two were traveling with their respective bands. In February 1992, they got married and welcomed their daughter Frances Bean Cobain in August of that year. Both Cobain and Love were into drugs and often used together. They found themselves being investigated by social services after Love told Vanity Fair that she had taken heroin while pregnant. After a costly legal battle, Cobain and Love were able keep custody of their daughter.

Always volatile, Cobain’s relationship with Love was becoming more strained. The Seattle police came to their house after the two had been in a physical altercation over Cobain having guns in the house in 1993. As a result, he was arrested for assault. The police also took the guns from the home.

While his personal life was in turmoil, Cobain had continued success professionally. Nirvana’s highly acclaimed album In Utero was released in September 1993 and went to the top of the album charts. Full of highly personal lyrics by Cobain about his many life struggles, the recording featured a fair amount of hostility toward people and situations that Cobain reviled. He took on the recording industry with “Radio Friendly Unit Shifter.” It also had some more tender moments with “Heart-Shaped Box,” which is supposed to be about his marriage to Love. Guitar Player magazine described the album as having “a startling level of anger, energy, and jaded intelligence.”

While the band earned raves for the new album, Cobain had become more distant from the other members.

But he continued to press on, playing a gig with Nirvana in New York City in November 1993 for MTV’s Unplugged series and touring Europe that winter. Cobain and Love often fought about his drug use.

On a break during the tour, Cobain spent some time in Europe with his family. On March 4, 1994, while in his hotel room in Rome, Italy, he attempted suicide by taking an overdose of drugs. Love woke up and discovered that Cobain was in trouble. He was rushed to the hospital in a coma. While official reports said that it was accidentally overdose, Cobain had clearly meant to kill himself, having left a suicide note.

Returning to the United States, Cobain became a hermit, spending much of his time alone and high. Love called the police on March 18 to report that Cobain was suicidal. He had locked himself inside a closet with some guns and some medication, according to the police report. After interviewing Love and Cobain, it was determined that he had not threatened to kill himself, but Love called the authorities because he had locked himself in and would not open the door. She knew that he had access to guns. For their safety, the police took the guns and the medications.

A few days later, Love had an intervention for Cobain, trying to convince him to get off drugs. She herself traveled to Los Angeles after the event to try to get clean. Cobain eventually checked into a chemical dependency clinic in Los Angeles, but left after only a few days.

On April 5, 1994, in the guest house behind his Seattle home, a 27-year-old Cobain committed suicide. He placed a shotgun into his mouth and fired, killing himself instantly. He left a lengthy suicide note in which he addressed his many fans as well as his wife and young daughter. Despite the official ruling of his death as a suicide, some have wondered whether it was murder and whether Love had been involved in his death.

Even after death, Cobain continued to intrigue and inspire fans. The group released Unplugged in New York shortly after Cobain’s death and it went to the top of the charts. Two years later, a collection of their songs entitled From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah was released, and again the group scored a huge hit, reaching the number three spot on the album charts.

With Cobain gone, there has been a struggle about what to do with what he left behind. Grohl and Novoselic fought with Love for years over Nirvana’s music. In September 2002, Love announced that they had finally resolved their long legal battle over unreleased material. An anthology of their songs, Nirvana, was released that year, including the previously unreleased track “You Know You’re Right.” Two collections that included other previously unreleased material followed with 2004’s With the Lights Out and 2005’s Sliver: The Best of the Box.

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Happy Birthday James Dean

Today is the 84th birthday of James Dean.  What is is about him that he has influenced so many people?  Sixty years after his death, he is still one of the most widely-recognized hollywood actors of all time.  His few films have all gone on to become absolute classics.  The world is a better place because he was in it and still feels the loss that he has left.

NAME: James Dean
OCCUPATION: Film Actor
BIRTH DATE: February 08, 1931
DEATH DATE: September 30, 1955
EDUCATION: University of California at Los Angeles
PLACE OF BIRTH: Marion, Indiana
PLACE OF DEATH: Paso Robles, California

BEST KNOWN FOR: American motion picture actor James Dean became a symbol of the confused, restless, and idealistic youth of the 1950s.

James Byron Dean was born on February 8, 1931, in Marion, Indiana, to Winton Dean and Mildred Wilson. Dean’s father left farming to become a dentist and moved the family to Santa Monica, California, where Dean attended Brentwood Public School. Several years later, Dean’s mother, whom he was very close to, died of cancer, and Dean’s father sent him back to Indiana to live on his aunt and uncle’s Quaker farm. During this time, Dean sought counsel from his pastor, the Rev. James DeWeerd, who influenced his later interest in car racing and theater. The two formed an intimate relationship that is rumored to have been sexual.

In 1949, Dean graduated from high school and moved back to California. He studied law at Santa Monica College, but eventually transferred to University of California, Los Angeles, and majored in theater.

After appearing in just one stage production, as Malcolm in Macbeth, Dean dropped out of UCLA. His first television appearance was in a Pepsi Cola commercial, and his first speaking part was in Sailor Beware, a comedy starring Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin. To make ends meet, Dean worked as a parking-lot attendant at CBS Studios, where he met Rogers Brackett, a radio director who became his mentor.

In 1951, Dean moved to New York City and was admitted to the Actors Studio to study under Lee Strasberg. His career began to pick up, and he performed in such 1950s television shows as Kraft Television Theatre and Omnibus. In 1954, Dean’s success in a theatrical role as an Arab boy in The Immoralist led to interest from Hollywood. Over the next 18 months, Dean starred in three major motion pictures, beginning with the film adaptation of John Steinbeck’s novel, East of Eden. Director Elia Kazan chose Dean after Dean met with Steinbeck, who thought him perfect for the part. Many of Dean’s scenes in the film were unscripted improvisations. He would eventually be nominated for an Oscar for this role, making him the first actor in history to receive a posthumous Oscar nomination.

In his next film, Dean starred as the agonized teenager Jim Stark in Rebel Without a Cause, a role that would define his image in American culture. Dean then landed a supporting role to Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson in Giant, playing an older, oil-rich Texan. Giant was Dean’s last film. It was released after his death in 1956. Dean received an Oscar nomination for this role, making him the only actor in history to receive more than one Oscar nomination posthumously.

When Dean wasn’t acting, he was a professional car racer. On Friday, September 30, 1955, Dean and his mechanic, Rolf Wütherich, drove Dean’s new Porsche 550 Spyder to a weekend race in Salinas, California. At 3:30 p.m., they were stopped just south of Bakersfield and given a speeding ticket. Later, while driving along Route 466, a 23-year-old Cal Poly student named Donald Turnupseed suddenly turned his Ford Custom in front of Dean’s Porsche. The two cars collided almost head-on, flipping the Spyder in the air and landing it on its wheels in a gully. Dean was killed almost immediately. He was 24.

Dean is mentioned or featured in various songs, which include titles such as “Allure” by Jay-Z, “American Boy” by Chris Isaak, “American Pie” by Don McLean, “A Young Man is Gone” by The Beach Boys, “Bla bla bla (Blah Blah Blah)” by Perfect, “Chciałbym umrzeć jak James Dean (lit. I Wish to Die Like James Dean)” by Partia, “Come Back Jimmy Dean” by Bette Midler, “Daddy’s Speeding” by Suede, “Electrolite” by R.E.M., “Famous” by Scouting for Girls, “Five Years Time” by Noah & The Whale, “Just Like a Movie Star” by The 6ths, “Flip-Top Box” by Self, “Girl on TV” by LFO, “Hello my Hate” by Black Veil Brides, “Jack and Diane” by John Mellencamp, “James Dean” by Bonnie Tyler, “James Dean (I Wanna Know)” by Daniel Bedingfield, “James Dean” by That Handsome Devil, “James Dean” by the Eagles, “Jim Dean of Indiana” by Phil Ochs, “Jimmy Dean” by Icehouse, “Lost on Highway 46″ by Sham 69, “Choke On This” by Senses Fail, “Mr. James Dean” by Hilary Duff, “My Kind of Girl” by Collin Raye, “My Shine” by Childish Gambino, “Peach Trees” by Rufus Wainwright, “Picture Show” by John Prine, “Rather Die Young” by Beyoncé, “Rock On” by David Essex, “Rockstar” by Nickelback, “Speechless” by Lady GaGa, “Teenage Wildlife” by AJ McLean of the Backstreet Boys, “These Days” by Bon Jovi, “Under the Gun” by The Killers, “Vogue” by Madonna, “Walk on the Wild Side” by Lou Reed, and “We Didn’t Start The Fire” by Billy Joel.

Dean’s estate still earns about $5,000,000 per year, according to Forbes Magazine.

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Happy Birthday Carol Channing

Today is the 94th birthday of Seattle’s very own Carol Channing.  Do yourself a favor and watch the 1967 version of “Thoroughly Modern Milly” sometime, it is brilliant and Carol rips through every scene she has.  The world is a better place because she is in it.

NAME: Carol Channing
OCCUPATION: Theater Actress
BIRTH DATE: January 31, 1921
PLACE OF BIRTH: Seattle, Washington

BEST KNOWN FOR: Carol Channing starred as Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes on Broadway in 1949. She received a Tony lifetime achievement award in 1995.

Born January 31, 1921 in Seattle, Washington. The daughter of a prominent newspaper editor who was very active in the Christian Science movement, Channing attended high school in San Francisco before enrolling at Bennington College in Vermont. She majored in drama and dance for one year before dropping out to try her luck as an actress in New York.

andrews-channing-moore

Channing made her Broadway debut in 1941’s Never Take No for an Answer. With her megawatt wide-eyed grin and raspy voice, Channing made a name for herself in 1949 when she starred as Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. It was in this role that she immortalized the anthem Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend. Though she lost the Lorelei Lee role to Marilyn Monroe in the 1952 film version, she remained active in nightclub and review appearances throughout the 1950s and early 1960s.

Her next Broadway hit did not arrive until 1963, when she landed the role of Dolly Gallegher Levi in the blockbuster musical Hello, Dolly!. She won a Tony Award for her performance, but again forfeited the on-screen role to a young Barbra Streisand. In 1966, Channing was awarded an Emmy for the 1966 TV special An Evening With Carol Channing, and received an Oscar nod for her supporting performance in Thoroughly Modern Millie in 1967.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s Channing has lent her signature voice to animated films, including Shinbone Alley, Happily Ever After and Thumbelina. She has also supplied voices for the animated television series Where’s Waldo?, The Addams Family and The Magic School Bus. In 1995, Channing was honored at the Tony Awards with a lifetime achievement award.

Channing was married to Charles Lowe from 1956 until his death in 1999. She married her junior high school sweetheart, Harry Kullijian, at the age of 82 in 2003.

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Happy Birthday Veronica Lake

Today is Veronica Lake’s 92nd birthday.  Have you seen The Blue Dahlia?  It is amazing.  Her live story is as heartbreaking as she is beautiful.  The world is a better place because she was in it and still feels the loss that she has left.

 

Born: November 14, 1922 Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Died: July 7, 1973 (aged 50) Burlington, Vermont, U.S.
Cause of death: hepatitis and acute renal failure
Other names: Constance Keane, Connie Keane
Occupation: Actress

Veronica Lake  was an American film actress and pin-up model. She received both popular and critical acclaim, most notably for her role in Sullivan’s Travels and for her femme fatale roles in film noir with Alan Ladd during the 1940s. She was well-known for her peek-a-boo hairstyle. Lake had a string of broken marriages and, after her career declined, had long struggles with mental illness and alcoholism.

Lake was born Constance Frances Marie Ockelman in Brooklyn, New York. Her father, Harry E. Ockelman, of Danish-Irish descent, worked for an oil company aboard a ship. Her father died in an industrial explosion in Philadelphia in 1932 when she was ten. Her mother, née Constance Charlotta Trimble (1902–1992), (listed as “Veronica F.” on the 1920 census), married family friend Anthony Keane, a newspaper staff artist, a year later, and Lake began using his last name.

Lake was sent to Villa Maria, an all-girls Catholic boarding school in Montreal, Canada, from which she was expelled. The Keane family later moved to Miami, Florida. Lake attended Miami Senior High School in Miami, where she was known for her beauty. She had a troubled childhood and was diagnosed as schizophrenic, according to her mother.

In 1938 Lake moved with her mother and stepfather to Beverly Hills, where her mother enrolled her in the Bliss-Hayden School of Acting. Her first appearance on screen was for RKO, playing a small role among several coeds in the 1939 film, Sorority House. Similar roles followed, including All Women Have Secrets and Dancing Co-Ed. During the making of Sorority House director John Farrow first noticed how her hair always covered her right eye, creating an air of mystery about her and enhancing her natural beauty. She was then introduced, while still a teenager, to the Paramount producer Arthur Hornblow, Jr. He changed her name to Veronica Lake because the surname suited her blue eyes.

RKO subsequently dropped her contract. She married art director John S. Detlie, 14 years her senior, in 1940. A small role in the comedy, Forty Little Mothers, brought unexpected attention. In 1941 she was signed to a long-term contract with Paramount Pictures. On August 21, 1941, she gave birth to her first child, Elaine Detlie.

Her breakthrough film was I Wanted Wings in 1941, a major hit in which Lake played the second female lead and was said to have stolen scene after scene from the rest of the cast. This success was followed by Hold Back the Dawn later that year. She had starring roles in more popular movies, including Sullivan’s Travels, This Gun for Hire, I Married a Witch, The Glass Key, and So Proudly We Hail!. René Clair, the director of I Married a Witch, said of Lake “She was a very gifted girl, but she didn’t believe she was gifted.”

For a short time during the early 1940s Lake was considered one of the most reliable box office draws in Hollywood. She became known for onscreen pairings with actor Alan Ladd. At first, the couple was teamed together merely out of physical necessity: Ladd was just 5 feet 5 inches (1.65 m) tall and the only actress then on the Paramount lot short enough to pair with him was Lake, who stood just 4 feet 1112 inches (1.511 m). They made four films together.

A stray lock of her shoulder-length, blonde hair during a publicity photo shoot led to her iconic “peekaboo” hairstyle, which was widely imitated. During World War II, Lake changed her trademark image to encourage women working in war industry factories to adopt more practical, safer hairstyles, although doing so may have damaged her career.

Although popular with the public, Lake had a complex personality and acquired a reputation for being difficult to work with. Eddie Bracken, her co-star in Star Spangled Rhythm, was quoted as saying, “She was known as ‘The Bitch’ and she deserved the title.”  In that movie, Lake took part in a song lampooning her hair style, “A Sweater, A Sarong and a Peekaboo Bang”, performed with Paulette Goddard and Dorothy Lamour.   Joel McCrea, her co-star in Sullivan’s Travels, reputedly turned down the co-starring role in I Married a Witch, saying, “Life’s too short for two films with Veronica Lake.”

Lake’s career stumbled with her unsympathetic role as Nazi spy Dora Bruckman in 1944’s The Hour Before the Dawn. During filming, she tripped on a lighting cable while pregnant and began hemorrhaging. She recovered, but her second child, William, was born prematurely on July 8, 1943, dying a week later from uremic poisoning.  By the end of 1943 her first marriage ended in divorce. Meanwhile, scathing reviews of The Hour Before Dawn included criticism of her unconvincing German accent.

Nonetheless, Lake was earning $4,500 per week under her contract with Paramount. She had begun drinking more heavily during this period and people began refusing to work with her.[citation needed] Paramount cast Lake in a string of mostly forgotten films. A notable exception was The Blue Dahlia (1946), in which she again co-starred with Ladd. During filming, screenplay writer Raymond Chandler referred to her as “Moronica Lake”.[14] Paramount decided not to renew her contract in 1948.

Looking back at her career years later, Lake remarked, “I never did cheesecake; I just used my hair.”

She married film director Andre De Toth in 1944 and had a son, Andre Anthony Michael De Toth, known as Michael De Toth (October 25, 1945 – February 24, 1991), and a daughter, Diana De Toth (born October 16, 1948). Lake was sued by her mother for support payments in 1948.

Lake earned her pilot’s license in 1946 and was able to fly solo between Los Angeles and New York.

Lake died on July 7, 1973, of hepatitis and acute renal failure (complications of her alcoholism) in Burlington, Vermont, where her death was certified by Dr. Wareen Beeken at the Fletcher Allen Hospital, and where she was seen by many staff members during her nearly two-week stay. A rumor persists that she died in Montreal and was smuggled across the border to Vermont. Vermont state death records, however, confirm that she died in Burlington, Vermont.

As she requested, her ashes were scattered off the coast of the Virgin Islands. A memorial service was held in Manhattan, but only her son and a handful of strangers attended. In 2004 some of Lake’s ashes were reportedly found in a New York antique store. Her son, Michael, died on February 24, 1991, at age 45 in Olympia, Washington.

Lake has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6918 Hollywood Boulevard for her contributions to the motion picture industry. She remains a legendary star today and her autographs and other memorabilia continue to draw high prices on eBay and other popular outlets.

Happy Birthday George C. Scott

Today is the 87th birthday of the actor George C. Scott. I remember seeing The Changeling (entire movie below) on TV when I was a kid and being so scared, but not being able to stop watching because it was filmed in Seattle. His film There Might Be Giants is honestly funny and quirky and about half the time, you feel like you are either not in on the joke or it just wasn’t a joke, but you aren’t sure, but you wish you were in on the joke it it was in fact a joke. I am sure that is why it is loved and hated, but rarely anything in-between.

NAME: George C. Scott
OCCUPATION: Film Actor
BIRTH DATE: October 18, 1927
DEATH DATE: September 22, 1999
EDUCATION: University of Missouri
PLACE OF BIRTH: Wise, Virginia
PLACE OF DEATH: Westlake Village, California

BEST KNOWN FOR: American actor George C. Scott starred in films and on Broadway during his 40-year career. In 1970, he won an Oscar for his portrayal of George S. Patton.

George C. Scott was born on October 18, 1927, in a small Virginia town in the Appalachian Mountains. At the age of 2, Scott’s family moved to Detroit, Michigan, where his father took a job at an automobile plant. His mother, a poet, died when he was 8.

In 1945, Scott joined the Marines and was posted to Arlington National Cemetery. His subsequent four-year tour was marked with heavy drinking and a raft of nose-breaking barroom brawls. After being discharged from the military, he studied journalism under the G.I. Bill at the University of Missouri. While there, Scott auditioned for a role in a campus production of Terence Rattigan’s play The Winslow Boy. He won the role, marking the beginning of his career in acting.

Acting jobs did not come easy at first. In fact, it would be years before Scott landed his first big role: as the lead in the New York Shakespeare Festival’s production of Richard III. His intense stage presence won acclaim by critics and would garner him a lifetime of notable roles on the stage, on television and in film.

In 1959, Scott starred opposite James Stewart in Anatomy of a Murder, and was awarded an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor. Despite all of his praise, however, he would gain even more attention for his over-the-top portrayal of General “Buck” Turgidson in Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 film Dr. Strangelove.

Scott once again turned to his military roots in order to play his most iconic role: General George Patton in the 1970 film Patton. His ability to dominate the screen once again won rave reviews from critics, as well as an Academy Award for his performance. The actor, however, defiantly refused to accepted the honor. Months earlier, Scott had sent a telegram to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences rejecting his nomination as best actor, citing his disapproval of the voting process and his disdain for competition among actors. His win at the award ceremony came as a shock to the audience, and led award presenter Goldie Hawn to famously announce, “Oh my God. It’s George C. Scott!”

Less controversial was Scott’s 1984 performance in the CBS television production of A Christmas Carol. As Ebenezer Scrooge, Scott played the role with a visceral intensity that evoked associations with Reagan and Thatcher. He even played the Dickensian role of the cliché penny-pincher with an American accent.

Throughout the 1980s and ’90s, Scott continued to appear in film, on television and on stage. In 1981, he starred with Tom Cruise, Timothy Hutton and Sean Penn in the drama Taps. He also appeared in television remakes of the films 12 Angry Men (1997) and Inherit the Wind (1999).

In the mid-1990s, however, the actor’s health began to fade. In April 1996, he walked off the stage in the middle of a Broadway performance of Inherit the Wind. One month later, news reports revealed that Scott had been suffering from an aortic aneurysm. Three years later, on September 22, 1999, the actor died in Westlake Village, California, when the aneurysm ruptured. He was reportedly working on his memoirs at the time.

George C. Scott left behind his wife, actress Trish Van Devere, whom he starred alongside in the 1980 film The Changeling, as well as five children. He had daughter Victoria with his first wife, Carolyn Hughes; son Matthew and daughter Devon Scott with his second wife, Patricia Reed; and sons Alexander and Campbell, an actor, from his marriage to Colleen Dewhurst.

TELEVISION
East Side/West Side Neil Brock (1963-64)
Mr. President President Samuel A. Tresch (1987-88)

FILMOGRAPHY AS DIRECTOR
The Savage is Loose (1974)
Rage (22-Nov-1972)
The Andersonville Trial (17-May-1970)

FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Inherit the Wind (29-May-1999)
Rocky Marciano (15-May-1999)
Gloria (22-Jan-1999) · Ruby
12 Angry Men (17-Aug-1997)
Titanic (17-Nov-1996)
Angus (15-Sep-1995) · Ivan
Tyson (29-Apr-1995)
The Whipping Boy (31-Jul-1994) · Blind George
Malice (29-Sep-1993)
Deadly Currents (27-Jun-1993)
Descending Angel (25-Nov-1990)
The Rescuers Down Under (16-Nov-1990) [VOICE]
The Exorcist III (17-Aug-1990) · Kinderman
The Ryan White Story (16-Jan-1989)
Pals (28-Feb-1987)
The Murders in the Rue Morgue (7-Dec-1986) · Auguste Dupin
The Last Days of Patton (14-Sep-1986)
The Indomitable Teddy Roosevelt (3-Jun-1986) · Narrator [VOICE]
Choices (17-Feb-1986)
A Christmas Carol (Nov-1984) · Ebenezer Scrooge
Firestarter (11-May-1984) · John Rainbird
China Rose (18-Oct-1983)
Oliver Twist (23-Mar-1982)
Taps (11-Dec-1981)
The Formula (19-Dec-1980)
The Changeling (28-Mar-1980)
Hardcore (9-Feb-1979)
Movie Movie (Nov-1978)
Crossed Swords (17-Mar-1978)
Islands in the Stream (8-Aug-1977)
Beauty and the Beast (3-Dec-1976) · The Beast
The Hindenburg (25-Dec-1975) · Ritter
Fear on Trial (2-Oct-1975)
Bank Shot (Jul-1974) · Walter Upjohn Ballantine
The Savage is Loose (1974)
The Day of the Dolphin (19-Dec-1973) · Jake Terrell
Oklahoma Crude (3-Jul-1973)
Rage (22-Nov-1972)
The New Centurions (3-Aug-1972)
The Hospital (14-Dec-1971) · Dr. Bock
The Last Run (7-Jul-1971) · Harry Garmes
They Might Be Giants (9-Jun-1971)
Jane Eyre (24-Mar-1971)
Patton (4-Feb-1970) · Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.
This Savage Land (1-Jul-1969) · Jud Barker
Petulia (10-Jun-1968) · Archie
The Flim-Flam Man (22-Aug-1967)
Not With My Wife, You Don’t! (2-Nov-1966) · Tank Martin
The Bible (28-Sep-1966)
The Yellow Rolls-Royce (31-Dec-1964) · Paolo Maltese
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (29-Jan-1964) · Gen. Buck Turgidson
The List of Adrian Messenger (29-May-1963)
The Power and the Glory (29-Oct-1961)
The Hustler (25-Sep-1961) · Bert Gordon
Anatomy of a Murder (1-Jul-1959) · Claude Dancer
The Hanging Tree (11-Feb-1959) · Dr. George Grubb

Happy Birthday Frances Farmer

Today is the 101st birthday of Frances Farmer.  There is something about her, the biopic with Jessica Lange helped push her into cult icon status for a lot of people, including me.  Seattle girl, free thinker, rule breaker and getting a raw deal from Hollywood all inspire other artists.  They understand the misunderstood.  She is the glamorous Hollywood misfit queen of all misfits.  I think of her several times a week when I walk by the employee side entrance to to the Olympic Hotel in Seattle, a door I know that she went through hundreds of times in the early 1950’s when she took a job sorting laundry after her release from a mental hospital.  How she must have felt going in that side door when only 14 years earlier, that very same hotel had held the world premier of her film “Come and Get It.”  I think of that aching feeling of betrayal and abandonment and the complexities of mental instability, it must have been crippling.  (It is a similar feeling that I have when I am driving home and pass Kurt Cobain’s old house and see the bench in “Kurt’s Park” covered with flowers and burning candles.)

NAME: Frances Farmer
OCCUPATION: Film Actress
BIRTH DATE: September 19, 1913
DEATH DATE: August 01, 1970
EDUCATION: University of Washington
PLACE OF BIRTH: Seattle, Washington
PLACE OF DEATH: Indianapolis, Indiana

BEST KNOWN FOR: Actress Frances Farmer starred in films in the late ‘30s and early ‘40s, but was best known for her rebellious reputation and the time she spent in a mental institution.

Born September 19, 1913, in Seattle, Washington. The daughter of a lawyer, Farmer enjoyed a comfortable childhood, during which she developed a penchant for stage acting. In 1931, she enrolled at the University of Washington, where she majored in journalism and drama. After a failed attempt to join the Group Theatre in New York, Farmer concentrated on a film career, signing with Paramount Studios in 1936. Later that year, she was cast in a bit part in the drama Too Many Parents, followed by Border Flight and the musical Rhythm on the Range, starring Bing Crosby. Playing the dual role of a saloon singer and her daughter, Farmer’s work in the 1936 film Come and Get It, was heralded as the best screen performance of her career.

Despite Farmer’s initial success, she quickly earned a reputation as a demanding and rebellious actress on the set. Displeased with her attitude, Paramount cast her in bland parts in a handful of films, including Exclusive and Ebb Tide (both 1937). By the early 1940s, Farmer was forced to appear in a succession of inferior productions, including South of Pago Pago (1940), World Premiere, and Among the Living (both 1941).

In 1942, Farmer’s career enjoyed a brief resurgence when she was cast opposite Tyrone Power and Roddy McDowall in the swashbuckler Son of Fury. However, Farmer’s efforts to improve her image backfired when she was arrested and convicted of drunk driving at the time of the film’s release. Inundated with negative publicity, Farmer traveled to Mexico. However, by leaving the United States, she was found in violation of her probation. She was put on trial and deemed mentally ill. Farmer was committed to a mental institution where she underwent shock treatments, hydrotherapy baths, and reportedly received a trans-orbital lobotomy. Over the next few years, her physical and mental health deteriorated; she developed a debilitating dependency on alcohol and suffered from a series of nervous breakdowns.

Upon her release from the institution, in 1949, Farmer worked as a hotel receptionist before making a comeback appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1957. The following year, she starred in her last feature film, The Party Crashers, and began a six-year run on the Indianapolis-based TV show Frances Farmer Presents.

On August 1, 1970, Farmer died after a long battle with cancer; she was 56 years old. Her intimate autobiography, Will There Really Be a Morning?, was published posthumously in 1972. In the early 1980s, her story was captured on film in the biopic Frances (1982), starring Jessica Lange, and in the black and white documentary Committed (1983).

More than two decades after Farmer’s death, the alternative rock group Nirvana recorded the single “Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle.” Written by lead singer Kurt Cobain, the tribute appeared on the band’s In Utero (1993) album. Cobain also named his daughter, Frances Bean Cobain, after Farmer.

Farmer was married three times: to actor Leif Erickson (from 1936-42); to Alfred Lobley (from 1953-58); and to Leland Mikesell (from 1958 until her death).

In Popular Culture:

  • Jessica Lange played Farmer in the 1982 film Frances, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress. Kim Stanley was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for portraying Farmer’s mother. The film contained a fictional scene which depicted Farmer undergoing a transorbital lobotomy. In Hollywood style, the film also omitted numerous facts and added a fictional life-long, love-interest character named “Harry”.
  • Susan Blakely portrayed Farmer in a 1983 television production Will There Really Be a Morning?, which was named after Farmer’s autobiography. Academy Award winner Lee Grant portrayed her mother in the same production.
  • In 1984, Culture Club had a #32 hit in the UK Single Charts “The Medal Song”, which was about the actress.
  • Tracey Thorn’s song “Ugly Little Dreams” on Everything But The Girl’s 1985 LP “Love Not Money” was also inspired by Frances Farmer.
  • The Nirvana song “Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle”, which was written by fellow Washington native Kurt Cobain, was named after Farmer. It appears on their 1993 “In Utero” LP.
  • Patterson Hood, singer, guitarist and songwriter with the rock band Drive-By Truckers, included a song about Farmer (titled “Frances Farmer”) on his 2004 solo album, Killers and Stars. The album’s cover features a drawing of Farmer by Toby Cole.
  • Carol Decker of the band T’Pau wrote a song “Monkey House” about Frances Farmer’s mental illness which was featured on the 1987 album “Bridge Of Spies”.
  • French singer Mylène Jeanne Gautier, changed her name into Mylène Farmer as a tribute to Frances.

 

Rear View Mirror – My Week In Review

This week, I started tracking my physical activity with a fitbit. I have learned that I am a restless sleeper and do not drink enough water. I should also probably run longer.

This week on Waldina, I celebrated the birthdays of Claudette Colbert, Shirley Booth, Molly Ivins, Carol Doda, Iris Apfel, Man Ray, Shirley Manson, and added The Girl Most Likely to to the Required Viewing film series.

The Stats:

Total Posts: 1,252
Total Subscribers: 335
Total All Time Views: 124,041
Total Views This Week: 1,084
This Week’s Most Popular Post: Happy Birthday Shirley Booth

This week on Wasp & Pear on Tumblr, I posted photos of Doris Day, Zelda Fitzgerald, Sophia Loren, On The Waterfront, Yves Saint Laurent, The Goonies, The Maltese Falcon, Treasure Island, Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, vintage Seattle, Vintage Air France posters Louise Brooks, Elizabeth Taylor, abandoned places, Christy Turlington, Kay Thompson, Candy Darling, Dorothy Parker and the art of Keith Haring.

The Stats:

Total Posts: 2,821
Posts This Week: 249
Total Subscribers: 238
Most Popular Post: Happy Birthday Yves Saint Laurent

This week I tweeted from @TheRealSPA my daily fitness stats via fitbit and this:

Seems strange I don’t know a single tatoo artist in Seattle. Any suggestions? #tattoo #seattle

The Stats:

Total Tweets: 278 (automatically deleted after 31 days to preserve freshness)
Total Following: 300
Total Followers: 242

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