Happy Birthday Boris Pasternak

Today is the 125th birthday of the Russian writer and Nobel Prize winner Boris Pasternak.  It is always with a tinge of embarrassment when you say you first learned of a very important writer through a dramatized version of his work, but whatever road gets you there is fine, as long as you get there.  I mean, have you seen Dr. Zhivago?  It is so sweepingly epic and cold.  I always feel so cold when I watch it.  Boris’ story is beautiful and should be a lesson to us to not not do the things we love because there is no excuse.  Sure, it is hard to carve out the time to do things sometimes, but we can always find a little time.  Boris had the Soviet Government’s opposition to his work.  There’s your perspective.  The world is a better place because he was in it and still feels the loss that he has left.

boris pasternak

NAME: Boris Pasternak
OCCUPATION: Author, Poet
BIRTH DATE: February 10, 1890
DEATH DATE: May 30, 1960
EDUCATION: Moscow University, University of Marburg
PLACE OF BIRTH: Moscow, Russia
PLACE OF DEATH: Peredelkino, Russia
Full Name: Boris Leonidovich Pasternak

Best Known For:  Boris Pasternak was a Russian novelist and poet who wrote the epic Dr. Zhivago.

Boris Pasternak was born in Moscow to a cultured Jewish family. His father Leonid was a professor at the Moscow School of Painting and an illustrator of Tolstoy’s works. His mother, Rosa Kaufman, was an acclaimed concert pianist. His parents received frequent visits from prominent Moscow writers, artists, and intellectuals, including composers Sergei Rachmaninoff and Alexander Scriabin, poet and playwright Alexander Blok, writer Andrei Bely, and poet Rainer Maria Rilke, whose writing would greatly influence Pasternak.

While he drew well, Pasternak’s first love was botany and his second, music. Inspired by Scriabin, Pasternak studied composition for six years, from which three of his finished piano pieces have survived. Pasternak entered the Moscow Conservatory, but dropped out in 1910 because he lacked confidence in his technical skill. He entered the Law Faculty at Moscow University and later studied philosophy at Marburg University in Germany. Ultimately he gave up his academic career, returning to Russia in 1913 to pursue his poetry. He would not find success for another ten years.

Unable to serve in the army because of a fall from a horse that left him with one leg shorter than the other, Pasternak spent World War I working as a clerk at a chemical works to the far east of Moscow. Pasternak’s poetic debut was Twin in the Stormclouds (1913), published by Lirika, a cooperative publishing enterprise he formed with a group of seven fellow poets. When Lirikia disbanded, Pasternak briefly joined the Futurist group Tsentrifuga, which jettisoned tradition in favor of innovation in style and subject with poets Sergei Bobrov and Vladimir Mayakovsky. Though influenced by topical urban, symbolist, and futurist elements, Pasternak’s early poetry was distinguished by its alliteration, rhyme, rhythm, and use of metaphor.

He wrote two books in 1917, My Sister Life and Themes and Variations.The Bolshevik Revolution and World War I would delay their appearance for five years, during which he translated plays by Heinrich von Kleist and Ben Johnson and poems by the German expressionists. When it was finally published in 1922, My Sister Life secured his place among the leading writers of the time. Its lush imagery and idiomatic language contrasted with its disciplined quatrain form. That same year Pasternak married Art Institute student Evgeniya Lurye and brought her to Berlin to stay with his family, who would relocate there permanently. This was the last time Pasternak would ever see them, as his repeated applications for permission to visit were denied. In 1923, the couple began their own family with a son, Evgenii. Pasternak finally publishedThemes and Variations that same year.

Although Pasternak initially welcomed the Bolshevik Revolution, the brutality of new government came to horrify him, a reversal acknowledged in his collection Aerial Ways (1924), which showed his growing disregard of politics as a primary human and artistic concern. Vladimir Lenin‘s new Soviet government maintained that art should motivate political change while Pasternak insisted that art focus on eternal truths rather than historical or societal concerns. For his stance, he became a silent hero among Russian intellectuals. Living in an overcrowded communal flat in Moscow, he continued to write short poems,  came to believe that poets and artists had no assured place in society and could only live as outsiders. During the 1920s his poetry turned from the lyric to narrative and epic forms, addressing the 1905 Russian Revolution in Sublime Malady (1924), Lieutenant Schmidt(1927), and The Year 1905 (1927).

In 1924 Lenin died and the struggle for succession ensued. In 1928, Stalin emerged victorious; Trotsky was driven into exile and one by one Stalin’s other rivals were eliminated. While the most sweeping changes in Russia occurred in agriculture, which was collectivized, a clampdown occurred in all fields, including that of literature. By 1932, the doctrine of Socialist Realism, the principle that the arts should glorify the ideals of Communism, was established. Independent artistic groups were disbanded in 1932 and the new Union of Soviet Writers assumed control of literary affairs, imposing adherence to socialist realism.

Pasternak’s first foray into prose, Spektorsky (1931), showed scenes from the life of a young poet, who shared the author’s own historical passivity and fatalism in the face of the Revolution. While many writers and artists became despondent and felt the temptation to commit suicide, Pasternak believed that poets must continue working when art and even spiritualism were no longer secure. He expressed this theory through the metaphor of “second birth,” the title of his 1932 poetry collection. Pasternak has been criticized for self-centeredness, a sentiment embodied in the popular saying, “Everything changes under our zodiac, only Pasternak remains Pasternak.” While he was not oblivious to the terror going on around him, he was resistant to its impact on his work, hoping to create something transcendent.

The love poems in Second Birth also addressed a change in Pasternak’s personal life: he had fallen for Zinaida Neigauz, wife of composer Genrikh Neigauz. He would eventually leave Evgeniya and take Zinaida as his second wife. While these poems expressed a newfound optimism and reconciliation of lyrical and social elements, his artistic rebirth was short-lived. Second Birth and his autobiography Safe Conduct (1931) were Pasternak’s last original works before the state forbade him to publish, considering his work contrary to the aims of Communism. Pasternak resorted to translation as a safer livelihood, taking on classic works by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Rilke, William Shakespeare, and Paul Verlaine. Both successful and well compensated, he was able to buy a house in a writers’ village just outside Moscow in 1936. It would be his principal home for the rest of his life. In the late 1940s he also translated the major tragedies of Shakespeare, and these remain the standard versions used in Russia.

During World War II, as Hitler’s troops marched into Russia, Pasternak published two new poetry collections, On Early (1942) and The Terrestrial Expanse (1945). In 1945 Zinaida’s son, Adrian, died, a loss that left her bereft and joyless. The following year Pasternak fell in love with Olga Ivinskaya, who from then on was Pasternak’s de facto wife, though he still shared a home with Zinaida. Olga inspired his later love poems and served as a prototype for Lara in Doctor Zhivago.

Pasternak was one of the rare poets to be popular during his lifetime. If he forgot a line in one of his poems during a reading, the crowd would assist him. During the war, letters he received from the front line reminded him of the reach that his voice had. He did not want to lose this contact with the masses so Pasternak began a large novel that glorified freedom, independence, and a return to Christian religion that would become Dr. Zhivago. Basing the story on his own experience of wartime and revolution, Pasternak employed Yuri Zhivago as mouthpiece for his own philosophical and artistic beliefs. He presented Zhivago’s inability to influence his own fate not as a fault, but as a sign that he was destined to become an artistic witness to the tragedy of his age. The author closely identified Zhivago’s predicament with that of the suffering Christ.

The government’s postwar ideological clampdown forced Pasternak to labor on the manuscript in secret. Rejected in Russia, Doctor Zhivagowas smuggled west in 1957 and published first in Italian and then in English in 1958. The epic novel about the life and loves of physician and poet Yuri Zhivago during the political upheavals of 20th-century Russia was acclaimed as a successful combination of lyrical, descriptive, and epic dramatic styles. The book, which concludes with a cycle of Zhivago’s poetry, was translated into 18 languages. In October 1958, Pasternak was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, “for his important achievement both in contemporary lyrical poetry and in the field of the great Russian epic tradition.” Russian authorities, unhappy with his harsh depiction of life under Communism, forced him to decline the Nobel Prize and ejected him from the Union of Soviet Writers. While he was not sent into exile or arrested, all publication of his translations came to a halt and he fell into poverty. He wrote his last complete book,When the Weather Clears, in 1959. That summer, he began The Blind Beauty, a play about an enslaved artist during the period of serfdom in Russia, but fell ill with lung cancer before he could complete it. Pasternak took to his bed in his home at Peredelkino, where he succumbed the evening of May 30, 1960. Upon hearing of his death, many thousands of people traveled from Moscow to his funeral. For the Russian people, he remains a symbol of resistance in the face of terror and oppression.

In 1988, the Union of Soviet Writers posthumously reinstated Pasternak, making the publication of Doctor Zhivago in the Soviet Union finally possible. Pasternak’s son, Evgenii, accepted the Nobel Prize medal on his father’s behalf at a ceremony in Stockholm in 1989.


Happy Birthday Fernand Léger

Today is the 134th birthday of the French artist Fernand Léger. His developed style of painting is distinctively his own. I see a combination of Picasso and Rivera cubism and the linear Art Deco formality. The world is a better place because he was in it and still feels the loss that he has left.

NAME: Fernand Léger
OCCUPATION: Painter
BIRTH DATE: February 4, 1881
DEATH DATE: August 17, 1955
EDUCATION: Paris School of Decorative Arts
PLACE OF BIRTH: Argentan, France
PLACE OF DEATH: Gif-sur-Yvette, France

BEST KNOWN FOR: French painter Fernand Léger created the abstract painting series “Contrast of Forms.” His work blended elements of Cubism with his own unique style, “tubism.”

Fernand Léger was born to a peasant family in the rural town of Argentan, France, on February 4, 1881. Léger’s father was a cattle dealer who hoped his son would follow in his footsteps and choose what he deemed a practical trade. Although Léger was initially discouraged from becoming an artist, his father became supportive once he recognized Léger’s gift for drawing.

With his father’s approval, Léger enrolled in architecture school and accepted an apprenticeship under an architect in Caen. In 1901, upon completion of his two-year internship, Léger moved to Paris, France, where he worked as an architectural draftsman.

Wishing to further pursue his art education, Léger applied to the prestigious École des Beux-Arts and was unfortunately rejected.In 1903 he stated attending the Paris School of Decorative Arts instead, while also being unofficially mentored by two École des Beux-Arts professors who recognized his potential. Up until this point, Léger’s painting style blended Impressionism with Fauvism. In 1907 he attended a retrospective of Paul Cézanne’s work. From then on, Léger’s work took on more elements of Cubism, but with his own unique style of slicing forms into tubular cylinders, casually referred to as “tubism.”

In 1913, he started a series of abstract paintings called “Contrast of Forms.” A year later, he put his art career on hold to serve in the French army during World War I. In 1916, he was gassed at Verdun. Having incurred a head injury, he was sent home and hospitalized until 1917.

After the war, Léger continued to paint but also tried his hand at other mediums, including book illustrations and set and costume designs for the theater. In 1924, Léger ventured to make his first film, Ballet Mécanique. That same year, he opened his own school of modern art.

As Léger’s work matured in the 1920s and ’30s, he increasingly incorporated elements of modernism—particularly representations of machinery and human figures expressing speed and movement. His notable paintings from this period include “The Mechanic,” “Mona Lisa with Keys,” “Adam and Eve,” and “Composition with Two Parrots,” among others.

With the arrival of World War II, in 1940, Léger temporarily relocated to America. During this time, he produced a series of paintings called “Divers,” noted for its unique use of large patches of color that overlapped outlines to portrayed stylized figures of swimmers diving off docks in Marseille. This series was followed by two others also portraying human figures in motion: “Acrobats” and “Cyclists.” In 1946, Léger went back to France, where he revitalized his art school and became active in the Communist Party. In the 1950s, Léger’s work focused on the theme of the common man, and further expanded to include tapestry, pottery, stained glass and mosaics.

Léger died on August 17, 1955, in Gif-sur-Yvette, France.

Happy Birthday James Michener

Every once in a while, I wonder if anyone is reading a Michener novel.  I mean, someone must, right?  His books are of such sweeping epic length, I worry that there is no one left with that sort of attention span.  They are important American literature for their impact on they reading habits of the every day citizen.  The world is a better place because he was in it and still feels the loss that he has left.

james michener 1NAME: James Michener
OCCUPATION: Author
BIRTH DATE: c. February 03, 1907
DEATH DATE: October 16, 1997
PLACE OF BIRTH: New York City, New York
PLACE OF DEATH: Austin, Texas

BEST KNOWN FOR: James Michener was an American novelist and story-story writer who penned Tales of the South Pacific, which one a Pulitzer Prize in 1947.

James Albert Michener (February 3, 1907 – October 16, 1997) was an American author of more than 40 titles, the majority of which were sweeping sagas, covering the lives of many generations in particular geographic locales and incorporating historical facts into the stories. Michener was known for the meticulous research behind his work.

Michener’s major books include Tales of the South Pacific (for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1948), Hawaii, The Drifters, Centennial, The Source, The Fires of Spring, Chesapeake, Caribbean, Caravans, Alaska, Texas, and Poland. His nonfiction works include the 1968 Iberia about his travels in Spain and Portugal, his 1992 memoir The World Is My Home, and Sports in America. Return to Paradise combines fictional short stories with Michener’s factual descriptions of the Pacific areas where they take place.

Michener gave away a great deal of the money he earned. Over the years, Mari Yoriko Sabusawa Michener played a major role in directing donations by her husband, totaling more than $100 million. Among the beneficiaries were the University of Texas, the Iowa Writers Workshop and Swarthmore College (stated by a New York Times’ notice about her death).

In 1989, Michener donated the royalty earnings from the Canadian edition of his novel Journey, published in Canada by McClelland & Stewart, to create the Journey Prize, an annual Canadian literary prize worth $10,000 (Cdn) that is awarded for the year’s best short story published by an emerging Canadian writer.

Author of books:
Tales of the South Pacific (1947, novel)
The Fires of Spring (1949, memoir)
Hawaii (1959, novel)
The Source (1965, novel)
Iberia: Spanish Travels and Reflections (1968, travelogue)
The Drifters (1971, novel)
Centennial (1974, novel)
Chesapeake (1978, novel)
The Covenant (1980, novel)
Space (1982, novel)
Texas (1985, novel)
The World Is My Home (1992, memoir)
A Century of Sonnets (1997)

 

Happy Birthday Victor Mature

Today is the 102nd birthday of the movie actor Victor Mature.  His fame and popularity rivaled any other male actor of the time.  He starred in every genre of film, then retired to a ranch.  The world is a better place because he was in it and still feels the loss that he has left.

NAME: Victor Mature
OCCUPATION: Film Actor, Theater Actor
BIRTH DATE: January 29, 1913
DEATH DATE: August 4, 1999
PLACE OF BIRTH: Louisville, Kentucky
PLACE OF DEATH: Rancho Santa Fe, California

BEST KNOWN FOR: Victor Mature was a film actor who became a sex symbol in the 1940s with hordes of adoring female fans.

Actor. Born on January 29, 1913, in Louisville, Kentucky. The son of an Austrian scissors grinder, Mature left school at the age of 15. He then took on a string of odd jobs to support himself, including selling candy. Four years later, he headed out to Hollywood.

Mature started his acting career at the Pasadena Community Playhouse, appearing in more than 60 plays. He got a small role in 1939’s The Housekeeper’s Daughter, making his first on-screen appearance. He graduated to a more substantial part in the movie One Million B.C. (1940). The film made him a star and was the first of many roles that showcased his good looks and muscular physique.

In the early 1940s, Mature appeared in several different types of films – comedy, adventure, drama, and suspense. He even appeared in such musicals as No, No, Nanette (1940), Seven Days’ Leave (1942) with Lucille Ball, and My Gal Sal (1942) with Rita Hayworth. Mature starred in a number of films opposite Betty Grable, including I Wake Up Screaming (1941) and Footlight Serenade (1942). Sometimes called “the Hunk,” he became a very popular film idol and had many adoring female fans.

Putting acting on hold, Mature joined the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II. After the war, Mature returned to Hollywood and turned in arguably two of his best performances. In the John Ford-directed western My Darling Clementine (1946), Mature played the legendary Dr. John “Doc” Holliday alongside Henry Fonda as Wyatt Earp. In the crime drama Kiss of Death (1947), he starred as Nick Bianco, an ex-con who tries to go straight, but is menaced by someone from his criminal past.

Two years later, Mature took on one of his most famous roles as the long-haired hero in the biblical epic Samson and Delilah (1949). He starred opposite Hedy Lamarr as the legendary temptress. Mature continued to be to a in-demand leading man in the 1950s and appeared in several more epic films, such as The Robe (1953), The Egyptian (1954), and Hannibal (1960).

At the age of 46, Mature retired from Hollywood. He moved to Rancho Santa Fe, California, and spent his time playing golf and pursuing his hobbies. He was lured back into acting a few times over the years, appearing such films as After the Fox (1966) with Peter Sellers and Every Little Crook and Nanny (1972) with Lynn Redgrave. He made his television debut in Samson and Delilah (1984) as Samson’s father. This role turned out to be his last.

Mature died after battling cancer on August 4, 1999, in Rancho Santa Fe, California. He married five times, but his first two were very brief. Mature married for third time in 1948 but got divorced in 1955. His fourth marriage to Adrienne Joy Urwick in 1959 lasted a decade. In 1974, he married Lorey Sabena, and they had a daughter named Victoria. Besides his many marriages, Mature was romantically linked to co-star Rita Hayworth and other several other actresses.

FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Samson and Delilah (1-Apr-1984)
Firepower (27-Apr-1979)
Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood (26-May-1976)
Every Little Crook and Nanny (14-Jun-1972)
Head (6-Nov-1968) · The Big Victor
After the Fox (8-Sep-1966) · Tony Powell
The Tartars (1961)
Hannibal (21-Dec-1959)
The Big Circus (5-Jul-1959) · Henry Jasper Whirling
The Bandit of Zhobe (Apr-1959)
Timbuktu (31-Mar-1959) · Mike Conway
Escort West (2-Nov-1958) · Ben Lassiter
China Doll (8-Jun-1958) · Capt. Cliff Brandon
Tank Force (22-Apr-1958)
The Long Haul (27-Aug-1957)
Pickup Alley (2-Apr-1957) · Charles Sturgis
Zarak (Dec-1956)
Safari (20-Jun-1956) · Ken
The Sharkfighters (1956)
The Last Frontier (7-Dec-1955) · Jed Cooper
Violent Saturday (Apr-1955)
Chief Crazy Horse (Apr-1955) · Crazy Horse
Betrayed (7-Sep-1954) · The Scarf
The Egyptian (24-Aug-1954)
Demetrius and the Gladiators (18-Jun-1954) · Demetrius
Dangerous Mission (6-Mar-1954) · Matt Hallett
Veils of Bagdad (7-Oct-1953)
The Robe (16-Sep-1953) · Demetrius
Affair with a Stranger (20-Jun-1953)
The Glory Brigade (20-May-1953) · Lt. Sam Pryor
Million Dollar Mermaid (4-Dec-1952) · James Sullivan
Androcles and the Lion (Dec-1952)
Something for the Birds (Oct-1952)
The Las Vegas Story (1-Jan-1952) · Dave Andrews
Gambling House (17-Mar-1951)
Stella (20-Jul-1950)
Wabash Avenue (31-Mar-1950)
Samson and Delilah (31-Oct-1949) · Samson
Red, Hot and Blue (19-Oct-1949)
Easy Living (8-Oct-1949) · Pete Wilson
Cry of the City (29-Sep-1948)
Fury at Furnace Creek (30-Apr-1948)
Kiss of Death (27-Aug-1947) · Nick Bianco
Moss Rose (30-May-1947)
My Darling Clementine (3-Dec-1946)
Seven Days’ Leave (13-Nov-1942) · Johnny Grey
Footlight Serenade (1-Aug-1942)
My Gal Sal (30-Apr-1942) · Paul Dresser
Song of the Islands (5-Feb-1942) · Jefferson Harper, Jr.
The Shanghai Gesture (25-Dec-1941) · Dr. Omar
I Wake Up Screaming (14-Nov-1941) · Frankie Christopher
No, No, Nanette (13-Dec-1940)
Captain Caution (9-Aug-1940) · Dan Marvin
One Million B.C. (26-Apr-1940) · Tumak
The Housekeeper’s Daughter (1-Sep-1939)

Happy Birthday Porfirio Rubirosa

Today is the 105th birthday of Porfirio Rubirosa.  He is quite possibly the last of the famous international playboys.  As a impeccably-dressed multiple-heiress-marrying polo playing race car driver, he set the standard for jet-set men in the mid 20th century.  The world is a better place that he was in it and still feels the loss that he has left it.

Born: January 22, 1909 San Francisco de Macorís, Dominican Republic
Died: July 5, 1965 (aged 56) Paris, France
Occupation: Diplomat, polo player, race car driver

LAST OF THE FAMOUS INTERNATIONAL PLAYBOYS

Porfirio Rubirosa Ariza (January 22, 1909 – July 5, 1965) was a Dominican diplomat and adherent of Rafael Trujillo. He made his mark as an international playboy, for his jet setting lifestyle, and his legendary prowess with women.  Among his spouses were two of the richest women in the world.

Rubirosa was married five times, but never had any children. His wives were:

  • Flor de Oro Trujillo, Rafael Trujillo’s daughter, December 3, 1932-38
  • Danielle Darrieux, French actress, September 18, 1942 – May 21, 1947
  • Doris Duke, American heiress, September 1, 1947 – October 1948; with marital gifts and final settlement he received an alimony ($25,000 per year until remarriage), a fishing fleet off Africa, several sports cars, a converted B-25 bomber (La Ganza), and a 17th Century house at Rue de Bellechasse, Paris.
  • Barbara Hutton, American heiress, December 30, 1953 – on or before March 14, 1954; in the settlement he received a coffee plantation in the Dominican Republic, another B-25, polo ponies, jewelry, and she paid him a reported $2.5 million.
  • Odile Rodin, French actress, age 19, October 27, 1956 – July 5, 1965 (his death)

Why he’s a style icon

Porfirio Rubirosa is the archetypal man’s man. He drove Ferraris at Le Mans, was a champion polo player, flew fighter planes from the South of France to South America for fun, married the two wealthiest women in the world back to back, and set the bar for all other Latin lotharios. While he stood only 5’9″, it was his manhood that made him a legend and the most desired man on the planet. He often described himself as half diplomat (which he actually was, after being appointed to numerous positions by Dominican dictator Generalissimo Trujillo, who happened to be Rubirosa’s first father-in-law) and half gigolo. While he was far too much of a gentleman to make mention of his now-legendary endowment, it is said that this alone caused women the world over to literally drag him into closets, bathrooms and under tables for a sample of what had entranced so many of the most beautiful and powerful women. He never held a steady job, and his goal was never to make money — but rather to spend it. Luckily, when a man can lay claim to romancing Barbara Hutton (a Woolworth heiress), Doris Duke (heiress to a tobacco and energy fortune), Zsa Zsa Gabor, Jayne Mansfield, Ava Gardner, Eva Peron, and countless other wealthy and powerful women, money tends to fall into one’s lap. Even his ex-wives were getting in on the action, as it is rumored that Rubirosa’s second wife, famed French actress Danielle Darrieux, received $1 million from Doris Duke to consent to a divorce so that she could lay a claim to Rubi herself. Has a woman ever paid someone $1 million to get a chance with you? Didn’t think so. At the age of only 47, Rubi died the night his team had won the Coupe de France polo cup. He died when his Ferrari skidded off the road and into a tree, and the steering column went through his heart. A true romantic even in death.

Dress the Rubirosa way

Rubirosa didn’t just act the part of Latin lover, he dressed the part. He was famously seen wearing thin three-piece suits of the finest quality, often with double-breasted jackets. His style of dress was equally influenced by the Latin flair that ran through his veins and the smooth, subtle cool of the Riviera. If you want to emulate Rubi you must remember that despite his generous endowment, he was not a showman and not a braggart, so the look must be quietly confident. In essence, he’s a prime example of “walk softly but carry a big stick.” One way to look like Rubi is to find a pink-gold Rolex like the one mentioned in American Psycho, but an even easier way is to buy a suit from Argentinean boutique Etiqueta Negra, whose polo-inspired flair would have certainly been a favorite of Rubi’s.

World War II, Rubirosa became engaged in two major passions, polo and car racing, both expensive sports that would be supported in years to come by his American wives. He organized and led his own polo team Cibao-La Pampa that was an often successful contender for the Coupe de France cup. Rubirosa played polo until the end of his life. In the same period, Rubirosa started to acquire fast cars and form friendships with race car drivers. He would own a number of Ferraris. His first race at 24 Hours of Le Mans took place in June 1950 with his partner Pierre Leygonie, and his second race, this time with Innocente Baggio, was four years later; in both races his car did not finish. Rubirosa participated in a number of races at Sebring, all but once as a private entry.

Rubirosa died early in the morning on July 5, 1965, when he crashed his Ferrari 250 GT into a chestnut tree and the steering column went through his heart after an all-night celebration at the Paris nightclub “Jimmy’s” in honor of winning the Coupe de France polo cup.  A true romantic even in death.

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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.

Happy Birthday Cecil Beaton

Today is the 111th birthday of Cecil Beaton.  He could evoke every emotion with his camera.  His photographs are as breathtaking as they were the day they were taken and you feel like you are are part of them, you can feel the love, the sorrow, the loss, the opulence.  The world is a better place because of Cecil Beaton was in it and still feels the loss that he has left.

Born: January 14, 1904, London
Died: January 18, 1980, Broad Chalke
Parents: Etty Sissons, Ernest Walter Hardy Beaton
Education: St John’s College, Cambridge, Harrow School
Awards: Academy Award for Costume Design, Academy Award for Best Art Direction

Best Known ForSir Cecil Beaton was an English fashion photographer. He was also a diarist, interior designer and Academy Award-winning stage and costume designer.

Sir Cecil Beaton was an English fashion photographer. As a child, he adored the picture postcards of society ladies that came with the the Sunday newspaper. In the 1920s, he was hired as a staff photographer for Vanity Fair and Vogue, where he developed a unique style of posing sitters with unusual backgrounds. He was also a diarist, interior designer and Oscar-winning stage and costume designer.

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