Sunday, January 30, 2011

Celebrity Grave: Writer Sidney Sheldon 2007

Deathday: Sidney Sheldon 1917-2007 RIP

Sidney Sheldon (February 11, 1917 – January 30, 2007) was an American writer. His TV works spanned a 20-year period during which he created The Patty Duke Show (1963-66), I Dream of Jeannie (1965-70) and Hart to Hart (1979–84), but it was not until after he turned 50 and began writing best-selling novels such as Master of the Game (1982), The Other Side of Midnight (1973) and Rage of Angels (1980) that he became most famous.

Deathday: Sidney Sheldon 1917-2007 RIP
Life and career

Sheldon was born Sidney Schechtel in Chicago, Illinois, to parents of Russian Jewish ancestry, Ascher "Otto" Schechtel (1894-1967), manager of a jewelry store, and Natalie Marcus. At 10, he made his first sale, $5 for a poem.[1] During the Depression, he worked at a variety of jobs, attended Northwestern University and contributed short plays to drama groups.[1]

Deathday: Sidney Sheldon 1917-2007 RIP
In 1937 he moved to Hollywood, California, where he reviewed scripts and collaborated on a number of B movies.[2] Sheldon enlisted in the military during World War II as a pilot in the War Training Service, a branch of the Army Air Corps,[2] However, his unit was disbanded before Sheldon could see any action. He then returned to civilian life and moved to New York where he began writing musicals for the Broadway stage while continuing to write screenplays for both MGM Studios and Paramount Pictures. He earned a reputation as a prolific writer; for example, at one time he had three musicals on Broadway: a rewritten The Merry Widow, Jackpot, and Dream with Music.[1] His success on Broadway brought him back to Hollywood where his first assignment was The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, which earned him the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay of 1947.

Deathday: Sidney Sheldon 1917-2007 RIP
When television became the new hot medium, he decided to try his hand in it. "I suppose I needed money," he remembered. "I met Patty Duke one day at lunch. So I produced The Patty Duke Show, and I did something nobody else in TV ever did. For seven years, I wrote almost every single episode of the series."[1] He also wrote for the series Hart to Hart and Nancy. Most famously he wrote the series I Dream of Jeannie, which he also created and produced, which lasted for five seasons from 1965–1970. It was "During the last year of I Dream of Jeannie, I decided to try a novel," he said in 1982. "Each morning from 9 until noon, I had a secretary at the studio take all calls. I mean every single call. I wrote each morning - or rather, dictated - and then I faced the TV business."[1]

Deathday: Sidney Sheldon 1917-2007 RIP
In 1969, Sheldon wrote his first novel, The Naked Face, which earned him a nomination for the Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America in the category of Best First Novel.

His next novel, The Other Side of Midnight, went to #1 on The New York Times bestseller list as did several ensuing novels, a number of which were also made into motion pictures or TV miniseries.

His novels often featured determined women who persevere in a tough world run by hostile men.[1] The novels contained a lot of suspense and devices to keep the reader turning the page:[1]
"I try to write my books so the reader can't put them down," he explained in a 1982 interview. "I try to construct them so when the reader gets to the end of a chapter, he or she has to read just one more chapter. It's the technique of the old Saturday afternoon serial: leave the guy hanging on the edge of the cliff at the end of the chapter."

Deathday: Sidney Sheldon 1917-2007 RIP
Most of his readers were women.[1] Asked why this was the case he said: "I like to write about women who are talented and capable, but most important, retain their femininity. Women have tremendous power - their femininity, because men can't do without it."[1] Books were Sheldon's favorite medium. "I love writing books," he commented. "Movies are a collaborative medium, and everyone is second-guessing you. When you do a novel you're on your own. It's a freedom that doesn't exist in any other medium."[1]

Sheldon created, produced and wrote I Dream of Jeannie in his co-production capacity with Screen Gems. He wrote all but two dozen scripts in five years, sometimes using three pseudonyms {"Mark Rowane", "Allan Devon", "Christopher Golato"}, while simultaneously writing scripts for "The Patty Duke Show". He also used the same pseudonyms in writing all seventeen episodes of Nancy. Sheldon did this because, as he later admitted, he felt his name was appearing too often in the credits as creator, producer, copyright owner and writer of his TV series.

Deathday: Sidney Sheldon 1917-2007 RIP
Sheldon was married for 30 years to Jorja Curtright Sheldon, a stage and film actress who later became an accomplished and well known interior designer. She died of a heart attack in 1985. He then remarried Alexandra Kostoff, a former child actress and advertising executive of Macedonian origin,[3] in Las Vegas in 1989. His daughter, Mary Sheldon, became a novelist in her own right.

Deathday: Sidney Sheldon 1917-2007 RIP
He struggled with bipolar disorder for years; he contemplated suicide at 17 (talked out of it by his father, who discovered him), as detailed in his autobiography published in 2005, The Other Side of Me.

Sheldon died from complications arising from pneumonia at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, California.[2][4]

Deathday: Sidney Sheldon 1917-2007 RIP
He was cremated. His ashes were interred in Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery.

Deathday: Sidney Sheldon 1917-2007 RIP

Sheldon won an Academy Award for Writing Original Screenplay (1947) for The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, a Tony Award (1959) for his musical Redhead, and was nominated for an Emmy Award for his work on I Dream of Jeannie, an NBC sitcom.

Deathday: Sidney Sheldon 1917-2007 RIP


The Naked Face (1970)
The Other Side of Midnight (1973)
A Stranger in the Mirror (1976)
Bloodline (1977)
Rage of Angels (1980)
Master of the Game (1982)
If Tomorrow Comes (1985)
Windmills of the Gods (1987)
The Sands of Time (1988)
Memories of Midnight (1990)
The Doomsday Conspiracy (1991)
The Stars Shine Down (1992)
Nothing Lasts Forever (1994)
Morning, Noon and Night (1995)
The Best Laid Plans (1997)
Tell Me Your Dreams (1998)
The Sky Is Falling (2001)
Are You Afraid of the Dark? (2004)


The Other Side of Me (2005)

Broadway Plays

The Merry Widow
Alice in Arms
Roman Candle


The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer
Three Guys Named Mike
Annie Get Your Gun
Dream Wife
You're Never Too Young
Anything Goes
Billy Rose's Jumbo


I Dream of Jeannie
If Tomorrow Comes
The Patty Duke Show
Hart to Hart

Deathday: Sidney Sheldon 1917-2007 RIP

1.^ "Author Sidney Sheldon dies at 89", Associated Press, 30 January 2007. Archive copy.
2.^ Sidney Sheldon's biography
3.^ Sidney Sheldon
4.^ "Sidney Sheldon, Author of Steamy Novels, Dies at 89", The New York Times, 31 January 2007.

Deathday: Sidney Sheldon 1917-2007 RIP
Deathday: Sidney Sheldon 1917-2007 RIP
Deathday: Sidney Sheldon 1917-2007 RIP

Celebrity Grave: Actress & Screenwriter Barbara La Marr 1926

Barbara La Marr (July 28, 1896 – January 30, 1926) was an American stage and film actress, cabaret artist and screenwriter.

Early life

She was born Reatha Dale Watson to William Wallace and Rosana "Rose" Watson in Yakima, Washington. Her father was an editor for a newspaper, and her mother had a son, Henry, born in 1878, and a daughter, Violet, born in February 1881, from a previous marriage. The couple wed some time during 1884, and they had William Watson, Jr., born in June 1886 in Washington. He would later, in the 1920s, become a vaudeville comedian under the stage name of "Billy Devore." The Watsons lived in various locations during La Marr's formative years. By 1900, she was living with her parents in Portland, Oregon, with her brother William, her half-sister Violet Ross, and Violet's husband Arvel Ross. As a child, La Marr also performed in a few stage productions in Tacoma, Washington.

By 1910, La Marr was living in Fresno, California, with her parents. Some time after 1911, the family moved to Los Angeles, and later settled at 220 San Jose Street in Burbank, California. In January 1913, La Marr's half-sister, now going by the name of Violet Ake, took her then 16-year-old sister on a three-day automobile excursion with a man named C.C. Boxley. They drove up to Santa Barbara, but after a few days La Marr felt that they were not going to let her return home. Ake and Boxley finally let La Marr return to Los Angeles after they realized that there were warrants issued for their arrests accusing them of kidnapping. This episode was published in several newspapers, and La Marr even testified against her sister, but the case was eventually dropped.

La Marr's name appeared frequently in newspaper headlines during the next few years. In November 1913, she came back from Arizona and announced that she was the newly-widowed wife of a rancher named Jack Lytell, and that they were supposedly married in Mexico. As legend goes, Lytell became enamored of La Marr as he saw her one day riding in an automobile while he was out on horseback. He rode up to her car and swept her on his horse and rode off with her. They were married the next day. She also stated that she loathed the name Reatha and preferred to be called by the childhood nickname "Beth."


After marrying and moving with her husband to New York City, La Marr found employment writing screenplays and her association with filmmakers led to her returning to Los Angeles and making her film debut in 1920. Over the next few years she acted frequently in films, and was widely publicised as "The Most Beautiful Girl In The World." With this, she rapidly shot to stardom.

La Marr made the successful leap from writer to actress in Douglas Fairbanks' The Nut (1921), appeared in over 30 films, wrote seven successful screenplays for United Artists and Fox studios, and danced in musical comedies on Broadway. She is also said to have filmed dancing shorts in New York City, Chicago, and in Los Angeles, with such diverse partners as Rudolph Valentino and Clifton Webb.

Among La Marr's films are The Prisoner of Zenda and Trifling Women, both 1922 releases directed by Rex Ingram.

Personal life

La Marr married for the first time at the age of 17, and was ultimately married five times. At the time of her death she was married to the actor Jack Dougherty. Some years after her death, it was revealed that she had mothered a son by a man whose name has never been released. The child, Marvin Carville La Marr, was adopted after her death by the actress ZaSu Pitts and her husband, film executive Tom Gallery. The child was renamed Don Gallery and grew up to become an actor and a sometime boyfriend of Elizabeth Taylor; he now lives in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

She was known as "The Girl Who Is Too Beautiful," after a Hearst newspaper feature writer, Adela Rogers St. Johns, saw a judge sending her home during the police beat in Los Angeles because she was too beautiful and young to be on her own.

La Marr said that she had been adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Watson of Yakima, Washington. Depending on her mood, La Marr claimed to be of different exotic ancestries. Some film historians, however, believe that this was a tall tale to glamorize herself, when, in fact, she was the biological child of the Watsons.

Her former dance partner, Robert Hobday (stage name Robert Carville), was named as her alleged lover by her former third husband Phil Ainsworth in his divorce suit. Hobday's sister, Virginia, had been La Marr's manager and friend, who later went on to marry Jules Roth, manager of the Hollywood Memorial Cemetery, and La Marr's former lover.

Later years and death

Although her film career flourished, she also embraced the fast-paced Hollywood nightlife, remarking in an interview that she slept no more than two hours a night.

During this time she became addicted to heroin. She died suddenly from tuberculosis and nephritis in Altadena, California and was interred in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

La Marr has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1621 Vine Street.


1920 Harriet and the Piper Tam O'Shanter Girl Credited as Barbara Deely
Alternative title: Paying the Piper
Flame of Youth Story
The Mother of His Children - Story
Credited as Barbara La Marr Deely
Rose of Nome - Story
Credited as Barbara La Marr Deely
The Little Grey Mouse - Story
The Land of Jazz - Story
Credited as Barbara La Marr Deely
1921 The Nut Claudine Dupree
Desperate Trails Lady Lou
The Three Musketeers Milady de Winter
Cinderella of the Hills Kate Gradley Credited as Barbara La Marr Deely
1922 Arabian Love Themar
Domestic Relations Mrs. Martin
The Prisoner of Zenda Antoinette de Mauban
Trifling Women Jacqueline de Séverac/Zareda
Quincy Adams Sawyer Lindy Putnam
1923 The Hero Hester Lane
The Brass Bottle The Queen
Poor Men's Wives Laura Bedford/Laura Maberne
Souls for Sale Leva Lemaire
Strangers of the Night Anna Valeska Alternative title: Ambrose Applejohn's Adventure
St. Elmo Agnes Hunt
The Eternal Struggle Camille Lenoir Alternative title: Masters of Women
The Eternal City Donna Roma
1924 Thy Name Is Woman Guerita
The Shooting of Dan McGrew Lady Known as Lou
The White Moth Mona Reid/The White Moth Writer, uncredited
Hello, 'Frisco
Sandra Sandra Waring
My Husband's Wives - Story
1925 The Heart of a Siren Isabella Echevaria Alternative title: The Heart of a Temptress
The White Monkey Fleur Forsyte
1926 The Girl from Montmartre Emilia Faneaux

Popular culture

In the 1930s, Louis B. Mayer named the actress Hedy Lamarr after Barbara La Marr, who had been one of his favorite actresses.

La Marr is referred to in the Flanagan and Allen song "Underneath the Arches" during the break when Ches Allen reads out the headlines from a 1926 newspaper.


1900 United States Federal Census, Portland Ward 7, Multnomah County, Oregon, June 1, 1900, Enumeration District 66, Sheet 1B.
1910 United States Federal Census, Fresno, Township 3, California, April 22, 1910.
The Duluth News Tribune, "Stolen Twice, Is Now Widow", November 17, 1913.
Oakland Tribune, "Two Are Accused Of Kidnapping Girl", January 5, 1913, Page 39.
Los Angeles Times, "Serious Charge Against Couple. Child Stealing Complaint Issued", January 5, 1913, p. 11.
Los Angeles Times, "Alleged Child Stealers Surrender Themselves.", January 7, 1913, p. 3.
Los Angeles Times, "Girl Missing: Warrants Out. Absent Maid's Father Takes Drastic Action.", January 3, 1913, p. 13.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Celebrity Grave: Entertainer Jimmy Durante 1980

James Francis "Jimmy" Durante (February 10, 1893 – January 29, 1980) was an American singer, pianist, comedian and actor. His distinctive clipped gravelly speech, comic language butchery, jazz-influenced songs, and large nose helped make him one of America's most familiar and popular personalities of the 1920s through the 1970s. His jokes about his nose included referring to it as a "Schnozzola," and the word became his nickname.

Durante suffered a stroke in 1972, and used a wheelchair during the last years of his life. He died of pneumonia in Santa Monica, California, on January 29, 1980 and was interred at Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City.

Celebrity Grave: Comedian & Actor Freddie Prinze 1977

Freddie Prinze (June 22, 1954 – January 29, 1977) was an American actor and stand-up comedian. He was best known as the star of Chico and the Man. He was the father of actor Freddie Prinze, Jr.

Early life

Prinze was born Frederick Karl Pruetzel at St. Clair's Hospital in New York City, the son of Maria Graniela Pruetzel and Edward Karl Pruetzel. His mother was Puerto Rican, and his father, a Hungarian of Lutheran and Jewish backgrounds, immigrated to the U.S. from Germany in 1934. He identified himself as Puerto Rican, and for comedic purposes called himself a "Hungarican."[1][2][3][4]

Prinze was raised in a predominately Hispanic neighborhood in Washington Heights, New York City.[5] He began his education at a private Lutheran school, in a religious compromise by his parents (his mother took him to Catholic mass on Sundays). When Prinze was a small child, his mother enrolled him in ballet classes to deal with his weight problem. Without telling his parents, Prinze successfully auditioned for the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts, where he was introduced to drama and continued ballet—and where he discovered his gift for comedy while entertaining crowds in the boys restroom. He was also a small time hustler and drug dealer in his neighborhood of 157th Street and Broadway. He dropped out of school in his senior year to become a stand-up comedian.


Prinze worked at several comedy clubs in New York City, including The Improv and Catch a Rising Star where he introduced himself to audiences as a "Hungarican" (part Hungarian, part Puerto Rican). For the sake of his budding comedic career, he changed his surname to "Prinze," which he chose because, according to his friend David Brenner, he originally wanted to be known as the King of comedy, but Alan King already had that last name, so he would be the Prince of comedy instead.

During 1973, he made his first television appearance on one of the last episodes of The Jack Paar Show. In December 1973, his biggest break came with an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Prinze was the first young comedian to be asked to have a sit-down chat with Carson on his first appearance. (Prinze appeared on and guest hosted The Tonight Show on several other occasions). He also appeared on the Midnight Special show to perform his comic routine. From 1974 to 1977, Prinze starred as Francisco "Chico" Rodriguez in the NBC TV series Chico and the Man with Jack Albertson. The show was an instant hit.

Prinze made several appearances on the Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts, most notably at the roasts for Sammy Davis Jr. and Muhammad Ali. In 1975, he released a comedy album that was taped live at Mr. Kelly's in Chicago titled Looking Good—his catch phrase from Chico and the Man. In 1976, he starred in a made-for-TV movie, The Million Dollar Rip-Off.

Prinze had a little-known talent for singing, examples of which could be heard in the background of the title song of the Tony Orlando and Dawn album To Be With You, in his appearances on their variety show, and on rare occasions on his own sitcom.

About four months prior to his death, Prinze had signed a multi-year deal with NBC worth $6 million over five years. In the months before he died, he had a strong fixation on how John F. Kennedy was assassinated. He also developed an obsession with the film Taxi Driver, viewing it repeatedly.

Upon becoming wealthy, Prinze took martial arts lessons from Robert Wall, a student of Bruce Lee who appeared in Enter the Dragon and Return of the Dragon. Soon after, Wall became godfather to Prinze's newborn son Freddie Prinze, Jr.

Personal life

Prinze married Katherine Cochran in October 1975, with whom he had one son, future actor Freddie Prinze, Jr. In 1976, after his arrest for driving under the influence of quaaludes, his wife filed for divorce on the grounds that his escalating drug dependence was endangering her and their son.

Freddie Prinze Suicide Hotel

Freddie Prinze Suicide Hotel

Freddie Prinze Suicide Hotel

During the early morning hours of January 28, 1977, after receiving a restraining order from his ex-wife the previous evening, Prinze, who occasionally told friends that "life isn't worth living," made a series of farewell phone calls to family, friends and management from his hotel room at the Beverly Comstock Hotel (above, renamed Beverly Hills Plaza Hotel). His business manager, Marvin "Dusty" Snyder, was alarmed after receiving one of the calls and rushed over to Prinze's room. When Snyder arrived, Prinze continued his rueful phone calls, telling his mother "Mom, I love you very much, but I can't go on. I need to find peace." Snyder called Prinze's psychologist from the next room about what was happening, but the psychologist insisted that Prinze was in no actual danger. Snyder returned to Prinze, who supposedly called his ex-wife and said "I love you, Kathy. I love the baby, but I need to find peace. I can't go on."

After the call, Prinze pulled out a gun from the sofa. Snyder tried to intervene, but Prinze shot himself in the head,[6] and was rushed to the UCLA Medical Center to be placed on life support following emergency surgery. Prinze's family removed him from life support, and he died at 1:00 pm on January 29. He was 22 years of age.

In 1977, the death was ruled a suicide. In a civil case brought years later, a jury found that his death was accidental.[7] Prinze had a history of playing with guns, faking suicide attempts to frighten his friends for his amusement.[8] He had left a note stating that the decision to take his life was his alone, but because he pulled the trigger in the presence of a witness —it gave enough weight to the argument that he really was not planning to take his own life that night.[9]

Freddie Prinze is entombed at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Hollywood Hills in the Court of Remembrance, Sanctuary of Light.

Prinze's mother wrote a book about her son, The Freddie Prinze Story, which was published in 1978. In September 1979, the TV movie Can You Hear the Laughter? The Story of Freddie Prinze premiered.

Freddie Prinze was a focal point of one of the storylines in the movie Fame set in Prinze's alma mater Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts. The character of Ralph Garcy (stage name for Raul Garcia) played by Barry Miller speaks often of growing up with Prinze and seeing him as the local neighborhood hero. Prinze's death affects him profoundly, and Garcy credits the event with inspiring his own career. He says he is doing it "for Freddie." Later, Garcy's stand-up career shows similar promise, followed by depression, drugs, and ultimately near self-destruction. The character of Doris Finsecker (Maureen Teefy) in one scene screams at Garcy, saying he is not Freddie, and he does not have to do (self-destructive behaviors) just because Freddie did them.

Prinze also received a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame a few decades after his death. In 2001, TV Land began showing reruns of Chico and the Man.


1.^ Nordheimer, Jon (1977-01-29). "Freddie Prinze". The New York Times.
2.^ Maeder, Jay (1999-06-09). "FREDDIE PRINZE EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD". New York Daily News.
3.^ "Freddie Prinze". The Fresno Bee Republican. 1975-07-25.
4.^ Lester, David (1993). Understanding Suicide: A Case Study Approach. Michigan: Nova Science Publishers. pp. 103. ISBN 1560721499.
5.^ Nordheimer, Jon. "Freddie Prinze Wounded in Head; Police Say TV Star Shot Himself; PRINZE, THE TV STAR, IS WOUNDED IN HEAD", The New York Times, January 29, 1977. Accessed June 11, 2008.
6.^ "Freddie Prinze: Too Much, Too Soon". Time Magazine. February 7, 1977.
7.^ The Show Must Go on: How the Deaths of Lead Actors Have Affected Television By Douglas Snauffer, Joel Thurm. Mcfarland press. p. 74.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Celebrity Grave: "Otis Campbell" Harold "Hal" Smith 1994

Harold John "Hal" Smith (August 24, 1916 – January 28, 1994) was an American character actor and voice-over artist. Smith is best known as Otis Campbell, the town drunk on The Andy Griffith Show and was the voice of many characters in animated cartoon shorts. He is also known to radio listeners as John Avery Whittaker on Adventures in Odyssey.

Early life

He was born in Petoskey, Michigan. Smith spent a significant part of his early years living in Massena, New York and graduated from the Massena High School class of 1936. His mother was a seamstress, and his father worked at the local Aluminum Company Of America. He later worked as a disc jockey and voice talent for WIBX Radio in Utica, New York from 1936-1943. After serving in the Special Services of World War II, he traveled to Hollywood and appeared in many television shows such as I Married Joan, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet and The Red Skelton Show.[1]


Screen actor

His most famous on screen character was Otis Campbell, the town drunk on The Andy Griffith Show during most of the series run from 1960 to 1968. He would often comically let himself into his regular jail cell using the key which was stored within reach of the two comfortable jail rooms. Hal Smith was the opposite of his character. According to longtime friends Andy Griffith and Don Knotts, he did not drink in real life. Otis Campbell stopped appearing in the show towards the end of the series due to concerns by the show's sponsors over the portrayal of excessive drinking. Smith appeared as Calver Weems in the Don Knotts comedy, The Ghost and Mr. Chicken in 1966, playing essentially the same town drunk character as Otis Campbell.

Hal Smith did play Otis Campbell one more time in the 1986 TV movie Return to Mayberry. In the TV movie, Otis is the town's ice cream truck driver and is reported to have been "sober for years." Smith later used his Otis Campbell character in commercial spots for the Mothers Against Drunk Driving organization and appeared as Otis in Alan Jackson's "Don't Rock the Juke Box" music video.

He also had a morning children's show at television station KTLA called The Pancake Man, sponsored by The International House of Pancakes during the late 1960s. He reprised the Pancake Man role as "Kartoon King" in an episode of The Brady Bunch in 1971 called "The Winner."

Voice actor

Smith did much work in Hanna-Barbera cartoons in the 1970s, and in the early 1960s, he voiced Taurus, the Scots-accented mechanic of the spaceship Starduster for the series Space Angel. According to the book: Space Patrol, missions of daring in the name of early television "It's rumored that Gene Roddenberry was a huge fan of the show and patterned Star Trek's engineer, 'Mr Scott,' after McCloud's Scottish sidekick, 'Taurus.'" He is also mentioned in the ending credits of Hong Kong Phooey. In 1977, he was the voice of Grandpa Josiah in the cartoon TV special, Halloween Is Grinch Night. He was very active with voices in 1980s. He was Sludge in the Smurfs television series and Goofy in Mickey's Christmas Carol. For Disney's DuckTales and Super Ducktales he was the voice of Scrooge McDuck's rival Flintheart Glomgold and absent-minded scientist Gyro Gearloose.

Smith also voiced the Disney cartoon character Goofy after Pinto Colvig died and also provided the voice of Owl and Winnie-the-Pooh in many of the Winnie the Pooh shorts and feature films. In the 1960s, he was one of the most sought after voice actors in Hollywood. He provided the voices for many characters in Davey and Goliath. From 1960 to 1961, he was the voice of Elmer Fudd after Arthur Q. Bryan died. In 1963 he voiced Dr. Todd Goodheart, Belly Laguna and Dr. Von Upp in the Funny Company cartoon series. From 1964 to 1966, he was the voice of Yappee in the Hanna Barbera cartoon shorts Yippee, Yappee and Yahooey. He was also the voice of Cosmo Creeps and Mr. Bluestone the Great/Phantom, in Scooby Doo, Where are You?

In 1983, he reprised his role as Owl and voiced Winnie The Pooh in the Disney Channel's Welcome to Pooh Corner television series to replace longtime actor Sterling Holloway. In 1988's, The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh TV series, Jim Cummings took over as Pooh with Tigger (same voice actor as The Tasmanian Devil on Looney Tunes) while Smith again played Owl. The two voice actors sometimes rotated the voice of Winnie the Pooh. In 1991, Smith provided the voice of Philippe the horse in the 1991 Disney film Beauty and the Beast.

Starting in 1987 he was the voice of the main character John Avery Whittaker on the Focus on the Family radio drama Adventures in Odyssey. He was responsible for much of the cast joining the show after he signed on, and he continued recording episodes until a few weeks before his death, even while his health deteriorated. Additionally, he voiced dozens of other characters during the over 250 episodes he participated in.

Smith was also very active working in television commercials as various characters. He provided on screen promoting for 3 Musketeers, United Van Lines, Hickory Farms, Toyota, Green Giant, General Mills, Mattel, Pizza Hut, Chicken of the Sea tuna, Ivory soap, Doctor Ross dog food, Pioneer Chicken, Bell Telephone Company, and hundreds of other companies.

Personal life

Smith was a long-time active member of Westwood Hills Congregational Church in Los Angeles. He is entombed at Woodlawn Cemetery in Santa Monica, California.


1.^ Michaud, John D. III, ed (2004) [2004]. More than Otis: No Bull! A Salute to Hollywood Actor Hal J. Smith (1st edition ed.). Massena, New York: Stubbs Printing.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Michael Jackson's Shrine Auditorium Fire Accident 1984

On January 27, 1984, Michael Jackson and other members of the Jacksons filmed a Pepsi Cola commercial, overseen by executive Phil Dusenberry, from ad agency BBDO and Pepsi's Worldwide Creative Director, Alan Pottasch at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. In front of a full house of fans during a simulated concert, pyrotechnics accidentally set Jackson's hair on fire. He suffered second-degree burns to his scalp. Jackson underwent treatment to hide the scars on his scalp, and he also had his third rhinoplasty shortly thereafter. Jackson never recovered from this injury.

Shrine Auditorium

Pepsi settled out of court, and Jackson donated his $1.5 million settlement to the Brotman Medical Center in Culver City, California, which now has a "Michael Jackson Burn Center" in honor of his donation. Dusenberry later recounted the episode in his memoir, Then We Set His Hair on Fire: Insights and Accidents from a Hall of Fame Career in Advertising.