Wednesday, January 18, 2017

"Lost in Space" Actor & Stuntman Bob May 2009 San Fernando Mission Cemetery


Bob May (September 4, 1939 – January 18, 2009)[1][2] was an American actor best remembered for playing The Robot on the television series Lost in Space, which debuted in 1965 and ran until 1968. May appeared in all 83 episodes inside a prop costume built by Bob Stewart; the robot's voice was dubbed by Dick Tufeld, who was also the narrator of the series.[3]



Acting and stunt career

Born in New York City, May was the grandson of vaudeville comedian Chic Johnson, half of the Olsen and Johnson comedy team famed for their blackout gags and orchestrated mayhem. May's first experience in show business came when he was two years old, when his grandfather had him appear in the Hellzapoppin comedy review, together with his partner Ole Olsen.[4]

May became an actor, stage performer, stuntman, director and public speaker, appearing in several films together with Jerry Lewis, including The Nutty Professor. He also performed in several television series, including The Time Tunnel (where he played the role of Adolf Hitler in the 1967 episode titled "The Kidnappers"), McHale's Navy and The Red Skelton Show. May also worked as a stuntman, performing in television programs and movies of the 1950s and 1960s, among them Cheyenne, Hawaiian Eye, Palm Springs Weekend, Stagecoach, Surfside 6, The Roaring Twenties and 77 Sunset Strip.[4]



Lost in Space

June Lockhart, who played Maureen Robinson in the series, said that May had insisted he got the job because he fit in the robot suit. Irwin Allen, the creator of the Lost in Space television series, selected May to fill the role of the robot, the sidekick of the Robinson family, after May was sent to see him about the part; Allen promised May, "If you can fit in the suit, you've got the job."[4] Bob donned the suit for the first time in front of Allen, and made the suit fit. When he exited the suit (which was made of metal and fiberglass) for the first time, he was cut and bleeding, but very happy that he got the part.

The voice of the robot was primarily performed by the show's announcer Dick Tufeld, including the show's catch phrase, "Danger, danger, Will Robinson." However, May's own voice can be heard when the robot's voice overlaps the other characters' lines and during instances of when the robot is singing. May enjoyed playing the part inside the robot, describing the suit as his "home away from home." It was so difficult to get inside the suit, that he would stay inside even during breaks in filming. Because he couldn't respond to external cues, he would learn the lines of all of the actors in each show so that he would know when it was his line. During breaks, he would puff on a cigarette inside the suit, with the smoke coming out of the suit amusing other members of the cast.[4] Bob's suit was even fitted inside with an ashtray. Once Allen showed up on the set in between shooting and saw smoke billowing up out of the suit. He wasn't aware that Bob was still inside, and thought that the suit was on fire. When he saw that it was Bob smoking inside the suit, he told him that in the future, whenever the script called for the suit to issue smoke, that Bob should be the one to make it happen.

The robot costume had been created by art director and production designer Robert Kinoshita, who had been the designer of Robby the Robot from the 1956 film Forbidden Planet. Though the regularly used robot required someone to be inside, there were some shots filmed during the third season of the series that used an unoccupied "stunt robot" in certain long shots.[5]



For years, May was a regular at autograph conventions in the Los Angeles area and around the country, sought after by fans of the show.[4] One Los Angeles-based convention, Gallifrey One, has named its annual charity auction in May's memory. May was never too busy for his fans, he once remarked: "I will stay at any convention signing autographs until the last fan was finished, or the cleaning crew forces me to leave."



Though the robot character appeared in the 1998 Lost in Space film, with Dick Tufeld reprising his role as the robot's voice, May did not fill the role of fitting inside the robot in the movie remake.[6]

Personal

May's home in an upscale mobile home park in the San Fernando Valley was destroyed in the November 2008 California wildfires that hit the Los Angeles area, though he and his wife were able to escape without injury.[7]

May died at age 69 on January 18, 2009 at a hospital in Lancaster, California of congestive heart failure. He was survived by his wife, Judith, son, Martin, daughter, Deborah and four grandchildren.[4]

Bob May is interred in San Fernando Mission Cemetery.




References

1. Cast Birthdays - LIS Memories
2. "'Lost in Space' robot actor Bob May dies". The Associated Press. January 19, 2009.
3. 'Lost in Space' actor Bob May dies at 69 in Calif. - Monday, January 19, 2009 10:47 AM - (AP) The Columbus Dispatch
4. Associated Press (January 18, 2009). "Lost in Space actor Bob May dies". Los Angeles Times.
5. Huntington, Tom. "Lust in Space", Forbes, June 20, 2005.
6. Sauter, Michael. "Platinum-Plated Pal: Lost in Space revives its 'mechanical man' -- Dick Tufeld recreates his role as the famous robot’s voice in the upcoming movie", Entertainment Weekly, April 10, 1998.
7. "Lost in Space - May's Home Claimed by Fire". Contactmusic.com. November 20, 2008.



Sunday, January 15, 2017

Theatrical Exhibition Businessman & Producer Ted Mann 2001 Hillside Cemetery


Ted Mann (April 16, 1916 – January 15, 2001) was an American businessman, involved in the film industry, and head of Mann Theatres. He famously changed the name of Grauman's Chinese Theater to Mann's Chinese Theater when he purchased the National General Theatre chain that owned it in 1973. Born in Wishek, North Dakota, Mann started off in the movie business as an usher around the time he attended the University of Minnesota in the 1930s. He rented the Selby Theatre in Saint Paul, Minnesota for $100 a month and began to build his own company. He ran the theater almost completely by himself, expanding to 25 venues within a few years.



Mann sold the theaters to General Cinema Corporation in 1970 and moved to California. The first production to his credit was 1969's The Illustrated Man, based on a Ray Bradbury book. 



He didn't stay out of the theater business for long, and purchased the troubled 276-screen National General Theatre chain in 1973. Mann soon expanded the chain to 360 screens, but again sold off his theaters in 1986, this time to Gulf+Western, which later renamed itself to Paramount Communications (which itself became part of Viacom). Grauman's Theater eventually regained its original name in late 2001.


Ted Mann served as Producer on The Illustrated Man and Buster and Billie. He served as Executive Producer on Lifeguard, The Nude Bomb, Brubaker, and Krull





Both the Orpheum and Pantages venues of today's Hennepin Theatre District in Minneapolis were once owned by Mann. He eventually owned at least six theaters in the city's downtown region. The Ted Mann Concert Hall at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis is named for him.



On June 24, 1934, Ted Mann married Ida Charon (1911–1997).[1] Before their divorce,[2] Ted and Ida Mann had two daughters, Victoria Mann Sims[3] and Roberta Lynn Mann-Benson (died 2010).[4] He married actress Rhonda Fleming in 1977, and they remained together until Mann died at age 84 in Los Angeles of complications from a stroke. Upon his death he was survived by, in addition to Fleming, two daughters, a sister Edythe, two grandsons, and two granddaughters.[5]



Ted Mann is buried at Hillside Cemetery.



References

1. "Paid Notice - Memorials MANN, IDA". NY Times. 23 December 1997.
2. "Divorce settlement just not enough". Gadsden Times. 30 July 1978.
3. Foreman, Judy (2 March 2014). "Dr. Victoria Mann Simms, Champion of Early Childhood Education, Opens Up about Cause". Noozhawk, Santa Barbara, California.
4. "Mann-Benson, Dr. Roberta". Star Tribune, Minneapolis. 28 October 2010.
5. Oliver, Myrna (17 January 2001). "Ted Mann; Theater Chain Owner Put His Name on Grauman's Chinese". Los Angeles Times. Jason Buchanan. Ted Mann Biography. Yahoo!/Allmovie.






Saturday, January 14, 2017

Earp Matriarch Virginia Ann Cooksey Earp 1893 Pioneer Cemetery


Virginia Ann Cooksey Earp (February 2, 1821 - January 14, 1893) was born in Kentucky. On July 30, 1840, she married widower Nicholas Earp in Hartford, Kentucky. 



They had eight children:

James Cooksey Earp (June 28, 1841 in Hartford, Kentucky — January 25, 1926 in Los Angeles, California).

Virgil Walter Earp (July 18, 1843 in Hartford, Kentucky — October 19, 1905 in Goldfield, Nevada).

Martha Elizabeth Earp (September 25, 1845 in Kentucky — May 26, 1856 in Monmouth, Illinois).



Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp (March 19, 1848 in Monmouth, Illinois — January 13, 1929 in Los Angeles, California).

Morgan Seth Earp (April 24, 1851 in Pella, Iowa — March 18, 1882 in Tombstone, Arizona).

Baxter Warren Earp (always known as Warren) (March 9, 1855 in Pella, Iowa — July 6, 1900 in Willcox, Arizona).

Virginia Ann Earp (February 28, 1858 in Marion County, Iowa — October 26, 1861 in Pella, Iowa).

Adelia Douglas Earp (June 16, 1861 in Pella, Iowa — January 16, 1941 in San Bernardino, California).



On May 12, 1864, the Earp family joined a wagon train heading to California. The Earps joined with three other families from Pella, the Rousseaus, the Hamiltons, and the Curtises, and on May 12, 1864, they began a wagon trip to California. They took their children Wyatt, Jim, Morgan, Warren, and Adelia. Seven more wagons joined them during the trip to San Bernardino, California, where they arrived on December 17, 1864. Nicholas rented a farm on the banks of the Santa Ana River near present-day Redlands.



Virginia's died on January 14, 1893 in San Bernardino. She is buried at the Pioneer Cemetery in San Bernardino. She lies next to Bessie Bartlett Earp, the wife of James Earp. 



Thursday, January 5, 2017

Actress, Photographer, Comedian Constance Francesca Gabor Hilton 2015 Westwood Village Cemetery


Constance Francesca Gabor Hilton (March 10, 1947 – January 5, 2015) was an American actress, photographer and comedian. She was the only daughter of Hilton Hotel founder Conrad Hilton with his second wife, actress and socialite Zsa Zsa Gabor.



Early life

Francesca Hilton was born in 1947 in New York City.[1][2]

Her father, Conrad Nicholas Hilton, was the founder of the Hilton Hotel chain.[1][3][4] Her mother, Zsa Zsa Gabor, was a Hungarian-born actress and socialite.[1][3][4] She was the only child of Zsa Zsa Gabor and therefore the only descendant of the Gabor sisters as well as the only daughter of Conrad Hilton. Her three half-brothers are Conrad Nicholson Hilton, Jr. (1926-1969); William Barron Hilton (born 1927);[3] and Eric Michael Hilton (1933-2016). She attended movie premieres with her mother and competed in equestrian competitions as a child.[2][3] In 1947, while Hilton was an infant, a burglar entered their home and tied up Zsa Zsa Gabor and their housekeeper, and threatened to kill Francesca. The burglar stole jewelry worth over $750,000.[5]





She worked in reservations at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California during summers as a teenager.[1] When her father died in 1979, he left most of his wealth to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.[1] She contested the will, which left her only $100,000, but lost the suit.[1][3]



Career

She starred in A Safe Place in 1971[1][2] and The Gravy Train in 1974. She worked as a photographer in the 1980s.[1][2] She also worked for the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.[3]

In 2008, she started a new career as a comedian, performing on a regular basis at The Comedy Store in West Hollywood.[1] Her show talked about her family.[6] She joked that her great-nieces, Paris Hilton and Nicky Hilton, were "pole dancers and porn stars."[6]

According to her publicist, Edward Lozzi, she was writing an autobiography shortly before she died in 2015.[1][2] Its title was scheduled to be Hotels, Diamonds and Me.[7]



Personal life

Hilton resided in Los Angeles most of her life.[1] She was engaged to Michael Natsis.[1][4]

On June 1, 2005, her stepfather, Frédéric Prinz von Anhalt, filed suit against her in a California court and accused her of fraud. The Court threw out the case for lack of evidence.[1] Hilton denied the allegations.[1] Hilton lived in West Hollywood apartments for the last 9 years of her life. After her mother Zsa Zsa Gabor became incapacitated (including loss of voice, total dementia, hearing and eyesight) and left to the care of her stepfather, Francesca was totally cut off financially. She did not have any children.



Death and burial

She died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on January 5, 2015 after suffering a major stroke.[1][2][4] She was just over two months short of her 68th birthday.[1][2][4] Her stepfather's fight to take possession of her body was rejected by the Los Angeles coroner, and so her body remained in a morgue until her half-brother Barron Hilton was given her body. Her family and Francesca's close friends arranged her funeral.[3] She was survived by her then close-to-98-year-old mother, Zsa Zsa Gabor, who was suffering from dementia so was unaware of her daughter's death and was never told before her own death in December 2016.[2]

Her funeral was held at St. Ambrose Catholic Church, West Hollywood.[8] She was cremated. Her ashes were interred at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery close to her mother and her aunt Eva Gabor.[6][9]



References

1. Kurtis Lee, Francesca Hilton, daughter of Zsa Zsa Gabor and Conrad Hilton, dies at 67, The Los Angeles Times, January 6, 2015. 
2. Mike Barnes, Francesca Hilton, Daughter of Zsa Zsa Gabor, Dies at 67, The Hollywood Reporter, January 6, 2015 
3. Danielle and Andy Mayoras, The Tragedy of Francesca Hilton, Daughter of Zsa Zsa Gabor and Hilton Founder, Forbes, January 13, 2015 
4. Ann Oldenburg, Francesa Hilton, Zsa Zsa Gabor's daughter, dies, USA Today, January 6, 2015 
5. "Owerpowers Two Women; Threatens To Murder Child". Logansport Pharaos Tribune. October 4, 1947. p. 1. 
6. Francesca Hilton, The Times, January 22, 2015 
7. Wendy Leigh, "Why Zsa Zsa's only child died a down and out: She dated Peter Sellers and was Liz Taylor's sister-in-law. Here a biographer who knew her reveals how her mother's lack of love shaped her life", The Daily Mail, January 8, 2015. 
8. Francesca Hilton burial, radaronline.com; accessed May 27, 2015. 
9. Francesca Hilton, daughter of Zsa Zsa Gabor, dies aged 67, reuters.com, January 6, 2015.




Tuesday, January 3, 2017

"All American Boy" Actor Jack Pickford 1933 Forest Lawn Glendale Cemetery


Jack Pickford (born John Charles Smith; August 18, 1896 – January 3, 1933) was a Canadian-born American actor, film director and producer. He was the younger brother of actresses Mary and Lottie Pickford.



After their father deserted the family, all three Pickford children began working as child actors on the stage. Mary Pickford later became a highly popular silent film actress, producer and early Hollywood pioneer. While Jack also appeared in numerous films as the "All American boy next door" and was a fairly popular performer, his popularity never matched that of his sister's as his off screen antics overshadowed his career. By the late 1920s, his career had begun to decline due to his penchant for partying and frequent use of drugs and alcohol. In 1933, Pickford died in Paris of progressive multiple neuritis, aged thirty-six.



Early life

He was born John Charles Smith in 1896 in Toronto, Ontario, to John Charles Smith, an English immigrant odd-job man of Methodist background, and Charlotte Hennessy Smith, who was Irish Catholic.[1] He was called Jack as a child. His alcoholic father left the family while Pickford was a young child. This incident left the family impoverished. Out of desperation, Charlotte allowed Jack and his two sisters Gladys and Lottie to appear onstage, beginning with Gladys, the eldest. This proved a good source of income and, by 1900, the family had relocated to New York City and the children were acting in plays across the United States.

Due to the work the family was constantly separated until 1910 when Gladys signed with Biograph Studios. By that time his sister 'Gladys Smith' had been transformed into Mary Pickford (Marie was her middle name, and Pickford an old family name). Following suit, the Smiths changed their stage names to 'Pickford.'

Soon after signing with Biograph, Mary secured jobs for all the family, including the then-fourteen-year-old Jack. When the Biograph Company headed West to Hollywood, only Mary was to go, until Jack pleaded to join the company as well. Much to Mary's protest, Charlotte threw him on the train as it left the station. The company arrived in Hollywood, where Jack acted in bit parts during the stay.

Mary soon became a well-known star, and by 1917 had signed a contract for $1 million with First National Pictures. As part of her contract, Mary saw to it that her family was brought along, giving the now-named "Jack Pickford" a lucrative contract with the company as well.



Acting career

By the time he signed with First National, Pickford had played bit parts in 95 shorts and films. Though Pickford was considered a good actor, he was seen as someone who never lived up to his potential. In 1917 he starred in one of his first major roles as "Pip" in the adaptation of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations, as well as the title role in Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer.



During World War I, Pickford served a stint in the Navy; afterward he returned to making films. By 1923, his roles had gone from several a year to one. In 1928, he finished his last film, acting as Clyde Baxter in Gang War



Through the years he dabbled in writing and directing; however, he never pursued either form further. Most of his films were considered B movies, though he was able to make a name for himself. Pickford's image was that of the All-American boy.


Despite his "boy next door" image, Pickford's private life was one of drinking and drug abuse, and womanizing, culminating in the severe alcoholism that resulted in his early death. In the early days of Hollywood, movie studios were able to cover up almost all of their stars' misbehavior, but within the Hollywood crowd, Jack Pickford's behind-the scenes activities made him a legend in his own time.


In early 1918, after the United States entered World War I, Pickford joined the United States Navy. Using the famous Pickford name, he soon became involved in a scheme that allowed rich young men to pay bribes to avoid military service, as well as reportedly procuring young women for officers. For his involvement, Pickford was nearly dishonorably discharged.



Personal life

Marriages

Pickford met actress and Ziegfeld girl Olive Thomas at a beach cafe on the Santa Monica Pier. Thomas was just as wild as Pickford. Screenwriter Frances Marion remarked "...I had seen her [Thomas] often at the Pickford home, for she was engaged to Mary's brother, Jack. Two innocent-looking children, they were the gayest, wildest brats who ever stirred the stardust on Broadway. Both were talented, but they were much more interested in playing the roulette of life than in concentrating on their careers."[2]



Pickford and Thomas eloped on October 25, 1916 in New Jersey. None of their family was present and their only witness was Thomas Meighan. The couple had no children of their own, though in 1920, they adopted Olive's then-six-year-old nephew when his mother died.[3] Although by most accounts Olive was the love of Pickford's life, the marriage was stormy and filled with highly charged conflict, followed by lavish making up through the exchange of expensive gifts.[4] For many years the Pickfords had intended to vacation together and with their marriage on the rocks, the couple decided to take a second honeymoon.[3]



In August 1920, the pair traveled Paris, hoping to combine a vacation with some film preparations. On the night of September 5, 1920, the couple went out for a night of entertainment and partying at the famous bistros in the Montparnasse Quarter of Paris. They returned to their room in the Hôtel Ritz around 3:00 a.m. It was rumored Thomas may have taken cocaine that night, though it was never proven. She was intoxicated and tired, and took a large dose of mercury bichloride. She was taken to the American Hospital in the Paris suburb of Neuilly, where Pickford, together with his former brother-in-law Owen Moore, remained at her side until she succumbed to the poison a few days later. Rumors arose that she had either tried to commit suicide or had been murdered. A police investigation followed, as well as an autopsy, and Thomas's death was ruled accidental.[3]



Pickford married two more times. On July 31, 1922, he married Marilyn Miller, a celebrated Broadway dancer and former Ziegfeld girl, at his sister and brother-in-law's famed home Pickfair.[5][6] By most accounts he was not kind to her and was abusive in the marriage. They separated in 1926 and Miller was granted a French divorce in November 1927.[6][7]



Pickford's final marriage was to Mary Mulhern, age 22 and also a former Ziegfeld girl, whom he married on August 12, 1930.[8] After two years Mulhern left Pickford, claiming he had mistreated her throughout the marriage.[9] She was granted an interlocutory divorce in February 1932 which had yet to be finalized at the time of Pickford's death.[10]



Death and legacy

In 1932, Pickford visited his sister Mary at Pickfair. According to Mary, he looked ill and emaciated; his clothes were hanging on him as if he were a clothes hanger. Mary Pickford recalled in her autobiography that she felt a wave of premonition when watching her brother leave. As they started down the stairs to the automobile entrance, Jack called back to her, "Don’t come down with me, Mary dear, I can go alone." Mary later wrote that as she stood at the top of the staircase, an inner voice said, "That’s the last time you’ll see Jack."[11]

Jack Pickford died at the American Hospital of Paris on January 3, 1933. The cause for his death was listed as "progressive multiple neuritis which attacked all the nerve centers". This was believed due to his alcoholism. Mary Pickford arranged for his body to be returned to Los Angeles, where he was interred in the private Pickford plot at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale.[12]

For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Jack Pickford has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1523 Vine Street.[13]





References

1. Foster, Charles (2000). Stardust and Shadows: Canadians in Early Hollywood. Dundurn Press Ltd. p. 945. ISBN 1-55002-348-9.
2. Marion, Frances (1972). Off With Their Heads: A Serio-comic Tale of Hollywood. Macmillan. p. 65.
3. The Life and Death of Olive Thomas. Taylorology. Arizona State University.
4. Memories of Olive, Assumption College.
5. Slide, Anthony (2005). Silent topics: Essays on Undocumented Areas of Silent Film. Scarecrow Press. p. 34. ISBN 0-8108-5016-8.
6. "Report Marilyn Miller and Jack Pickford Separated". The Lewiston Daily Sun. January 6, 1926. p. 11.
7. "Paris Decree Won By Marilyn Miller". The Milwaukee Sentinel. November 3, 1927. p. 5.
8. "Pickford Wedding Is Unmarred". San Jose Evening News. August 13, 1930. p. 4.
9. "Jack Pickford Divorced". The Pittsburgh Press. February 27, 1932. p. 1.
10. "Jack Pickford, Famous Film Star's Brother Who Also Won Fame in Motion Pictures, Dies". Berkeley Daily Gazette. January 4, 1933. p. 18.
11. Pickford, Mary (1955). Sunshine and Shadow. Doubleday. p. 337.
12. Foster, Charles (2000). Stardust and Shadows: Canadians in Early Hollywood. Dundurn Press Ltd. p. 963. ISBN 1-55002-348-9. 13. "Hollywood Star Walk: Jack Pickford". latimes.com.

Bibliography

Menefee, David W. Sweet Memories. Dallas: Menefee Publishing, Inc., 2012.
Arvidson, Linda. When the Movies Were Young. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1969.
Menefee, David W. The First Male Stars: Men of the Silent Era. Albany: Bear Manor Media, 2007.
Talmadge, Margaret L. The Talmadge Sisters. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1924.
Paris Authorities Investigate Death of Olive Thomas. The New York Times, September 11, 1920.
Canadian Pioneers in Early Hollywood 
Holmstrom, John. The Moving Picture Boy: An International Encyclopaedia from 1895 to 1995, Norwich, Michael Russell, 1996, pp. 10-11.