Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Celebrity Grave: Actress Natalie Wood Drowns in Catalina 1981


Natalie Wood (July 20, 1938 – November 29, 1981) was an American actress.

Wood began acting in movies at the age of four and became a successful child actor in such films as Miracle on 34th Street (1947). A well received performance opposite James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause (1955) earned her a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and helped her to make the transition from a child performer. She then starred in the musicals West Side Story (1961) and Gypsy (1962). She also received Academy Award nominations for her performances in Splendor in the Grass (1961) and Love with the Proper Stranger (1963).

Her career continued successfully with films such as Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice (1969). After this she took a break from acting and had two children, appearing in only two theatrical films during the 1970s. She was married to actor Robert Wagner twice, and to producer Richard Gregson. She had one daughter by each: Natasha Gregson and Courtney Wagner. Her younger sister, Lana Wood, is also an actress. Wood starred in several television productions, including a remake of the film From Here to Eternity (1979) for which she won a Golden Globe Award.

Death

In September and October 1981, Wood and Wagner stayed in Raleigh, North Carolina, while Wood did location work for the science-fiction film Brainstorm. Wood then spent most of November in California shooting interior scenes with Christopher Walken and other cast members on the MGM lot in Culver City.

The day after Thanksgiving, Wood, Wagner and Walken went to Catalina Island for the weekend and on the night of November 28, the Wagners' yacht (Splendour) was anchored in Isthmus Cove. Also on board was the boat's skipper, Dennis Davern, who had worked for the couple for many years. The official theory is that Wood either tried to leave the yacht or to secure a dinghy from banging against the hull when she accidentally slipped and fell overboard. When her body was found, she was wearing a down jacket, nightgown, and socks. A woman on a nearby yacht said she heard calls for help at around midnight. The cries lasted for about 15 minutes and were answered by someone else who said, "Take it easy. We'll be over to get you." "It was laid back," the witness recalled. "There was no urgency or immediacy in their shouts." There was much partying going on in the area, though, and while it has never been proven that the woman calling for help was, indeed, Natalie Wood, no other person ever has been identified or come forward as having called out for help on that night. An investigation by Los Angeles County coroner Thomas Noguchi resulted in an official verdict of accidental drowning. Noguchi concluded Wood had drunk "seven or eight" glasses of wine and was intoxicated when she died. Noguchi also wrote that he found Wood's fingernail scratches on the side of the rubber dinghy indicating she was trying to get in. Wood was 43 at the time of her death and is buried in Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery.


On March 11, 2010 Wood's sister Lana Wood decided to re-open the case of her death.


At the funeral, at least a thousand spectators, along with scores of photographers and reporters from around the world, were spread out behind the cemetery walls. Among the guests at her funeral were Laurence Olivier, who flew there from London. Also there were Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Fred Astaire, Rock Hudson, David Niven, Gregory Peck, Gene Kelly, and director Elia Kazan.

Maid Found Body Parts - Continental Hotel - Downtown Skid Row 2010


A Pennsylvania couple is wanted in the slaying and dismemberment of a Hollywood man whose body was "cut up into five different parts -- basically his limbs were removed," said a Los Angeles detective.


The body was found in a hotel near downtown Los Angeles' skid row. Los Angeles Police Department detectives are seeking Edward Garcia Jr., 36, and his wife, Melissa Hope Garcia, 25 (also known as Melissa Turner). They are believed either to be in Hollywood or en route to Pennsylvania, said LAPD Det. Kelle Baitx.

A housekeeper at the Continental Hotel discovered body parts in a backpack left behind in the room on Nov. 29, 2010. The victim has been identified as 49-year-old Herbert Tracy White.


Additional body parts were found wrapped in blankets underneath the bed, police said, and a knife was recovered in the small hotel room. Baitx said police detectives believed it was a robbery gone wrong.

Continental Hotel representatives declined to comment.

“The crime-scene investigation revealed signs that the suspects were attempting to clean up the scene and attempting to remove the body from the location,” Baitx said.

Investigators used physical evidence left at the scene and witness’ statements to identify the couple.

The Los Angeles district attorney issued a warrant for the couple’s arrest Monday, charging them with capital murder that involved the infliction of torture, according to the arrest warrant. If convicted, they face a possible death sentence or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

-- L.A. Times


Monday, November 28, 2011

Jerry Rubin Jaywalks Wilshire Blvd to His Death


Jerry Rubin Jaywalks Wilshire Blvd to His Death

Celebrity Grave: Actress Rosalind Russell 1976


Rosalind Russell (June 4, 1907 – November 28, 1976) was an American actress of stage and screen, perhaps best known for her role as a fast-talking newspaper reporter in the Howard Hawks screwball comedy His Girl Friday, as well as the role of Mame Dennis in the film Auntie Mame. She won all 5 Golden Globes for which she was nominated, and was tied with Meryl Streep for wins until 2007 when Streep was awarded a sixth. Russell won a Tony Award in 1953 for Best Performance by an Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Ruth in the Broadway show Wonderful Town (a musical based the film My Sister Eileen, in which she also starred).

Russell was known for playing character roles, exceptionally wealthy, dignified ladylike women. She had a wide career span from the 1930s to the 1970s and attributed her long career to the fact that, although usually playing classy and glamorous roles, she never became a sex symbol, thereby not being famous for her looks.


Russell died after a long battle with breast cancer in 1976 at the age of 69, although initially her age was misreported because she had shaved a few years off her true age. She was survived by her husband and son. She is buried in Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Culver City, California.




West Hollywood Actress Karyn Kupcinet Dies Under Mysterious Circumstances 1963


Karyn Kupcinet (March 6, 1941 – November 28, 1963) was an American actress who was found dead at her West Hollywood, California home, in the days following the JFK assassination. It has been theorized that her death, officially ruled a homicide, was connected to the assassination or was the result of an accidental fall, though her family have disputed such claims.

Death

On the last day of her life, Kupcinet had dinner with future Lost in Space cast member Mark Goddard and his wife, Marcia Rogers Goddard, at their house on Coldwater Canyon Drive in Beverly Hills (near Mulholland Drive). She was due there at 6:30 pm, but arrived an hour late by taxicab. The couple said Kupcinet only toyed with her food during the meal. Marcia Goddard told two officers from the L.A. County Sheriff's Office that during dinner with Kupcinet "... her lips seemed numb. Her voice was funny. She moved her head at odd angles." The Goddards also noticed that her pupils were constricted. Mark Goddard told authorities that he confronted Kupcinet about her altered state during the meal, and she began to cry, putting her arm around him. At one point during the meal, Kupcinet told her friends an unsubstantiated story about a baby that had been abandoned on her doorstep earlier that day. At 8:30 pm, a taxicab arrived to take her home, and she promised to telephone the Goddards soon.

Karyn Kupcinet's West Hollywood Apartment
Kupcinet apparently went straight home after dining with her friends. She was visited by freelance writer Edward Stephen Rubin shortly afterward. The two were then joined by actor Robert Hathaway around 9:30 pm. They told detectives they watched TV, including The Danny Kaye Show, with Kupcinet. They all drank coffee until she fell asleep, sitting next to them on the couch. She awoke and went to her room. The men either turned the TV set off or simply lowered the volume (three days later it was still playing with a low volume), and made sure the door was locked behind them before departing at about 11:15 pm. Hathaway said he and Rubin returned to his place and were later joined by Kupcinet's boyfriend, Andrew Prine, who was also Hathaway's neighbor. The three young men watched television and talked until approximately 3:00 am.

The Goddards went to Kupcinet's apartment on November 30, after she failed to telephone the couple as promised. Mark Goddard stated that he had a "funny feeling" that something was wrong. Upon arriving at Kupcinet's apartment, the couple found her nude body lying on the couch. Mark Goddard initially assumed that she had died from a drug overdose.

Karyn Kupcinet's West Hollywood Apartment
Upon searching Kupcinet's apartment, police found prescriptions for Desoxyn, Miltown, Amvicel, and other medications. Authorities also found a note written by Kupcinet that reflected in some detail her emotions regarding issues in her life (i.e., parents, self-image, problems with boyfriend) and people she admired.

Coroner Harold Kade concluded that due to a broken hyoid bone in her throat, Kupcinet had been strangled. Her death was officially ruled a homicide.



Sixties Activist Jerry Rubin Jaywalks Wilshire Blvd. to His Death 1994


Jerry Rubin (July 14, 1938 – November 28, 1994) was an American radical social activist during the 1960s and 1970s. During the 1980s, he became a successful businessman.


Rubin played an instrumental role in the anti-war demonstrations that accompanied the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago by helping to organize the Yippie "Festival of Life" in Lincoln Park and speaking at an anti-war rally at the Grant Park bandshell on August 28, 1968. Violence between Chicago police and demonstrators (which an official government report called a "police riot") eventually led to the indictment of Rubin and seven others (Abbie Hoffman, Rennie Davis, John Froines, David Dellinger, Lee Weiner, Tom Hayden, and Bobby Seale) on several charges of conspiracy and incitement to riot.


The defendants were commonly referred to as the "Chicago Eight." Seale's trial, however, was severed from the others after he demanded the right to serve as his own lawyer and was sentenced to four years in prison for contempt of court, making the Chicago Eight the Chicago Seven. Rubin, along with the six other defendants, was found not guilty on the charge of conspiracy but guilty (with four other defendants) on the charge of incitement. He was also sentenced by the judge to more than three years in prison for contempt of court. All the convictions for incitement were later thrown out by an appeals court, who cited judicial and prosecutorial misconduct. Most of the contempt of court citations were also overturned on appeal.


After the Vietnam War ended, Rubin became an entrepreneur and businessman. He was an early investor in Apple Computer.


On November 14, 1994, Rubin jaywalked on Wilshire Boulevard, near UCLA in Los Angeles, California. It was a weekday evening and traffic was heavy, with three lanes in each direction. A car swerved to miss Rubin but a second car, immediately behind the first, was unable to avoid him. He was taken to the UCLA Medical Center, where he died 14 days later. He is interred in the Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, California.


Celebrity Grave: Actor Christopher George 1983 THE RAT PATROL


Christopher John George (February 25, 1931 - November 28, 1983) was an American television and film actor who was perhaps best known for his starring role in the 1966-1968 TV series The Rat Patrol. He was nominated for a Golden Globe in 1967 as Best TV Star for his performance in the series. He was also the recipient of a New York Film Festival award as the Best Actor in a Television Commercial. George was married to actress Lynda Day George.


Soon after completing Mortuary, George died of a heart attack on November 28, 1983. He died at Westside Hospital in Los Angeles, California, while under the care of his cardiologist, Dr. Pearl McBroom. A contributing factor in his death is believed to have been the 1967 Rat Patrol mishap. The accident left George with a bad heart that contributed to his death. A Greek Orthodox rosary service was conducted at Westwood Memorial Park and a private funeral was held at Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Northridge, California. He is interred in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles. His death devastated his wife. Afterward, she only worked sporadically in television guest roles until her retirement in the early 1990s.


At his funeral, the Marine Corps provided an honor guard to render military honors. On May 5, 2009, the Marine Corps flew a flag over the Iwo Jima Memorial in honor of his service in the Corps.

George's niece is Wheel of Fortune hostess Vanna White.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Celebrity Grave: Actor George Raft 1980


George Raft (September 26, 1901 – November 24, 1980) was an American film actor identified with portrayals of gangsters in crime melodramas of the 1930s and 1940s. Today George Raft is mostly known for his role in Billy Wilder's 1959 comedy Some Like it Hot and also Scarface (1932), Bolero (1934), and They Drive by Night (1940).

Raft married Grayce Mulrooney, several years his senior, in 1923, long before his stardom. The pair separated soon thereafter, but Grayce, a devout Catholic, refused to grant Raft a divorce, and he remained married to and supported her until her death in 1970. A romantic figure in Hollywood, Raft had love affairs with Betty Grable, Marlene Dietrich, and Mae West. He stated publicly that he wanted to marry Norma Shearer, with whom he had a long romance, but his wife's refusal to allow a divorce eventually caused Shearer to end the affair.

In 1965, Raft was indicted for, and pled guilty to, income tax evasion and could have ended his life behind bars, but the court proved merciful when he wept before the judge, begging that he not be sent to prison, and he was sentenced to probation.

Raft died from leukemia at age 79 in Los Angeles, California, on November 24, 1980. He was interred in Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles.

Hollywood Ten Blacklisted 1947


The Hollywood blacklist—as the broader entertainment industry blacklist is generally known—was the mid-twentieth-century list of screenwriters, actors, directors, musicians, and other U.S. entertainment professionals who were denied employment in the field because of their political beliefs or associations, real or suspected. Artists were barred from work on the basis of their alleged membership in or sympathy toward the American Communist Party, involvement in liberal or humanitarian political causes that enforcers of the blacklist associated with communism, and/or refusal to assist investigations into Communist Party activities; some were blacklisted merely because their names came up at the wrong place and time. Even during the period of its strictest enforcement, the late 1940s through the late 1950s, the blacklist was rarely made explicit and verifiable, but it caused direct damage to the careers of scores of American artists, often made betrayal of friendship (not to mention principle) the price for a livelihood, and promoted ideological censorship across the entire industry

The first systematic Hollywood blacklist was instituted on November 25, 1947, the day after ten writers and directors were cited for contempt of Congress for refusing to give testimony to the House Committee on Un-American Activities. A group of studio executives, acting under the aegis of the Motion Picture Association of America, announced the firing of the artists—the so-called Hollywood Ten—in what has become known as the Waldorf Statement. On June 22, 1950, a pamphlet called Red Channels appeared, focusing on the field of broadcasting. It named 151 entertainment industry professionals in the context of "Red Fascists and their sympathizers"; soon most of those named, along with a host of other artists, were barred from employment in much of the entertainment field. The blacklist was effectively broken in 1960 when Dalton Trumbo, an unrepentant member of the Hollywood Ten, was publicly acknowledged as the screenwriter of the films Spartacus and Exodus. A number of those blacklisted, however, were still barred from work in their professions for years afterward.

The Hollywood Ten

Alvah Bessie, screenwriter
Herbert Biberman, screenwriter and director
Lester Cole, screenwriter
Edward Dmytryk, director
Ring Lardner Jr., screenwriter
John Howard Lawson, screenwriter
Albert Maltz, screenwriter
Samuel Ornitz, screenwriter
Adrian Scott, producer and screenwriter
Dalton Trumbo, screenwriter

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Actress Mae West Dies at the Ravenswood Apartments 1980


Mae West (August 17, 1893 – November 22, 1980) was an American actress, playwright, screenwriter and sex symbol.

Known for her bawdy double entendres, West made a name for herself in Vaudeville and on the stage in New York before moving to Hollywood to become a comedienne, actress and writer in the motion picture industry. One of the more controversial movie stars of her day, West encountered many problems including censorship.


When her cinematic career ended, she continued to perform on stage, in Las Vegas, in the United Kingdom, on radio and television, and recorded rock and roll albums.


Mae West remained close to her family throughout her life and was devastated by her mother's death in 1930. In that year, she moved to Hollywood and into the penthouse at the historic Ravenswood apartment building (where she would live until her death in 1980).

Mae West Lived & Died Here - The Ravenswood - Hancock Park

In August 1980, West tripped while getting out of bed. After the fall, West was unable to speak and was taken to the Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles where tests revealed that she had suffered a stroke. She remained in the hospital where, seven days later, she had a diabetic reaction to the formula in her feeding tube. On September 18, she suffered a second stroke which left her right side paralyzed and developed pneumonia. By November, West's condition had improved, but the prognosis was not good and she was sent home.

She died there on November 22, 1980, at age 87.

A private service was held in the Old North Church replica, in Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills, on November 25, 1980. Bishop Andre Penachio, who was also a friend, officiated at the entombment in the family room at Cypress Hills Abbey, Brooklyn, purchased in 1930 when her mother died. Her father and brother were also entombed there before her, and her younger sister was laid to rest in the last of the five crypts within 18 months after West's death.

For her contribution to the film industry, she has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1560 Vine Street in Hollywood.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Silent Director Thomas Ince Murder Mystery 1924


Thomas Harper Ince (November 6, 1882 – November 19, 1924) was an American silent film actor, director, screenwriter and producer of more than 100 films and pioneering studio mogul. Known as the "Father of the Western", he invented many mechanisms of professional movie production, introducing early Hollywood to the "assembly line" system of film making. His screenplay The Italian (1915) was preserved by the United States National Film Registry, as was his film Civilization (1916). He was a partner with D.W. Griffith and Mack Sennett in the Triangle Motion Picture Company, and built his own studios in Culver City, which later became the legendary home of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. He is also known for his death aboard the yacht of William Randolph Hearst; officially he died of heart trouble, but Hollywood rumor of the time suggested he had been shot by Hearst in a dispute over actress Marion Davies.

Murder or natural death debate

On Saturday, November 15, 1924, William Randolph Hearst's lavish 280-foot (85 m) yacht, the Oneida, set sail from San Pedro, California heading for San Diego. Among his guests that weekend were his mistress Marion Davies, silent film star Charlie Chaplin, newspaper columnist Louella Parsons, author Elinor Glyn, film actresses Aileen Pringle, Jacqueline Logan, Seena Owen, Theodore Kosloff, Margaret Livingston, Julanne Johnston and Dr. Daniel Carson Goodman, Hearst's film production manager. Ironically, Ince, the guest of honor as it was his 42nd birthday, was late due to a production deal he was negotiating with Hearst's International Film Corporation and the yacht left without him.

Ince finished up his business in Los Angeles and took a train to San Diego where he joined the guests the next morning. At dinner that Sunday night, the group enthusiastically celebrated his birthday. Sometime later, Ince suffered an acute bout of indigestion on the yacht. Determining that Ince was quite ill, the silent film producer was taken from the yacht by water taxi and brought back ashore in San Diego, accompanied by Dr. Goodman, still a licensed, though non-practicing physician, then quickly put on a train bound for Los Angeles. However, while en route Ince's condition worsened. At Del Mar, he was removed from the train, then taken to a hotel where he was promptly given medical treatment by Dr. T. A. Parker and a nurse Jessie Howard. Ince informed them he had drank liquor on the Hearst yacht. Afterward, he was taken to his home in Hollywood where the next day November 19, he succumbed to a heart ailment.

Less than forty-eight hours after leaving the Oneida, Ince had died in his "Dias Dorados" estate in Benedict Canyon officially of a heart attack. Dr. Ida Cowan Glasgow, his personal physician, signed the death certificate citing heart failure as the cause of death. The front page of the Wednesday morning Los Angeles Times, however, told another story: '"Movie Producer Shot on Hearst Yacht!", headlines that mysteriously vanished in the evening edition. Without further ado, Ince's body was cremated, after which his widow, Nell, soon left for Europe.

The first stories in Hearst's newspapers about Ince's death claimed the producer had fallen ill while visiting the Hearst ranch in San Simeon and had been rushed home by ambulance, dying in the bosom of his family. The rumor mill in Hollywood immediately went to work. Several conflicting stories began circulating about the incident, often revolving around a claim that Hearst shot Ince in the head by mistake.

The story goes that Hearst suspected that Davies and Chaplin were secretly lovers. In order to keep tabs on the two, he invited them both on board the yacht. Supposedly, he found the couple in a compromising clinch and went for his gun. Davies' screams awakened Ince who rushed to the scene. A scuffle ensued, followed by a gunshot and Ince took the bullet for Chaplin. A second version of the story had Davies and Ince alone in the galley late Sunday night. Ince, who suffered from ulcers, was supposedly looking for something to ease his upset stomach when Hearst walked in. Mistaking Ince for Chaplin, Hearst shot him. A third version tells of a struggle over a gun belowdecks between unidentified passengers. The gun fired accidentally and the bullet ripped through a plywood partition straight into Ince's room where it struck him.

Chaplin's secretary, Toraichi Kono, added fuel to the fire when he claimed to have seen Ince when he came ashore. Kono told his wife that, Ince's head was "bleeding from a bullet wound." The story quickly spread among the Japanese domestic workers throughout Beverly Hills. Whether Ince was killed in a fit of jealousy or by accident the story stuck and with many believing Hearst using his power and influence to cover up the incident. One month after Ince's death, the rumors ran so rampant that the San Diego District Attorney's Office was forced to take action.

The D.A. only interviewed Dr. Goodman, who explained that once ashore, he and Ince caught a train heading back to Los Angeles. According to Goodman, Ince got sick on the train so they disembarked in Del Mar and checked into a hotel. Goodman then called a doctor, as well as Nell Ince. Concerned for her husband, Nell agreed to come to Del Mar immediately. Goodman, unclear whether Ince was suffering from a heart attack or indigestion, claimed he left Del Mar before Nell arrived. The D.A. quickly closed the investigation.

Nonetheless, the rumors and suspicions continued to be fueled by the very people who celebrated with Ince that ill-fated weekend. Chaplin denied even being there, insisting that he, Hearst and Davies visited the ailing Ince later that week. He also stated that Ince died two weeks after their visit. In reality, Ince was dead within forty-eight hours after leaving the Oneida with Chaplin attending the memorial services that Friday.

Davies also added to the mystery in her attempts to deny the incident. She never acknowledged that Chaplin, Parsons or Goodman were aboard the yacht that weekend. She insisted that Nell Ince called her late Monday afternoon at United Studios to inform her of Ince's death.

When the Oneida sailed, Parsons was a New York movie columnist for one of Hearst's papers. After the Ince affair, Hearst gave her a lifetime contract and expanded her syndication. Hearst also provided Nell Ince with a trust fund just before she left for Europe. She refused an autopsy and ordered her husband's immediate cremation. Rumor also has it that Hearst paid off Ince's mortgage on his Château Élysée apartment building in Hollywood. D.W. Griffith said of the incident:

"All you have to do to make Hearst turn white as a ghost is mention Ince's name. There's plenty wrong there, but Hearst is too big."

The circumstances of Ince's death tainted his reputation as a pioneering filmmaker and diminished the way his role in the growth of the film industry was remembered. Even his studio could not survive his death. It shut down soon after he passed. The final film he produced, Enticement, a romance set in the French Alps, was released posthumously, in 1925. In summarizing Ince's career and the potential for his future in the movie business had he lived, David Thompson wrote in "A Biographical Dictionary of Film":

"His shameless self-aggrandizement seems the original of a brand of ambition central to American film. In that sense, he was the first tycoon, more businesslike than Griffith and much more prosperous. Remember that he died in early middle age, and it is possible to surmise that he might have become one of the moguls of the 1930s."

Friday, November 18, 2011

Celebrity Grave: Actor James Coburn 2002


James Harrison Coburn, Jr. (August 31, 1928 – November 18, 2002 was an American film and television actor who appeared in nearly 70 films and made over 100 television appearances during his 45-year career. He played a wide range of roles and won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor as Glen Whitehouse in the film Affliction.

Early life

Coburn was born in Laurel, Nebraska, the son of Mylet S. (née Johnson) and James Harrison Coburn Sr., who had a garage business that was wiped out by the Great Depression. Coburn was of Scotch-Irish and Swedish descent. He was raised in Compton, California, attended Compton Junior College, and enlisted in the US Army in 1950, serving as an Army truck driver and also was an occasional disc jockey on an Army radio station in Texas. Coburn also narrated Army training films in Mainz, Germany. He attended Los Angeles City College, where he studied acting alongside Jeff Corey and Stella Adler, then made his stage debut at the La Jolla Playhouse in Billy Budd. Coburn was selected for a Remington Products razor commercial when he was able to shave off eleven days of beard growth in less than 60 seconds, while joking that he had more teeth to show on camera than the other 12 candidates for the part.

Career

Coburn's film debut came in 1959 as the sidekick to bad guy Pernell Roberts in the Randolph Scott western Ride Lonesome. He appeared in dozens of television roles including, with Roberts, several episodes of Bonanza. He and Ralph Taeger co-starred with Joi Lansing in Klondike on NBC in the 1960–1961 season. When Klondike, set in the Alaskan gold rush town of Skagway, was cancelled, Taeger and Coburn were regrouped as detectives in Mexico in NBC's equally short-lived Acapulco.

Coburn became well known for his roles in a variety of action and western films in the 1960s and the 1970s, first primarily with Steve McQueen and Charles Bronson in two John Sturges films: The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape. A villainous Texan in the hugely successful Charade (1963), a glib naval officer in The Americanization of Emily (1964) and a character role as a one-armed Indian tracker in Major Dundee (1965) gained him much notice. In 1966, Coburn became a bona fide star with the release of Our Man Flint, a James Bond spoof released by 20th Century Fox. In 1971, he starred in the western film A Fistful of Dynamite, directed by Sergio Leone, as an Irish explosives expert and revolutionary who has fled to Mexico during the time of the Mexican Revolution in the early 20th Century. He teamed with director Sam Peckinpah for the 1973 film Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (they had worked together in 1965 on Major Dundee). An MGM producer tried to sabotage the production, causing the film to be drastically edited when it opened. Peckinpah and Coburn were greatly disappointed and turned next to Cross of Iron, a critically acclaimed war epic which performed poorly in the U.S. but was a huge hit in Europe. The two remained close friends until the director's death in 1984. In 1973, Coburn was one of the featured celebrities, dressed in prison gear on the cover of the album Band On The Run made by Paul McCartney and his band Wings.

Coburn returned to television in 1978 to star in a three-part mini-series version of a Dashiell Hammett detective novel, The Dain Curse, tailoring his character to bear a physical resemblance to the author. Due to severe rheumatoid arthritis, Coburn appeared in very few films during the 1980s. Though his hands were visibly gnarled in film appearances for the final two decades of his career, Coburn continued working. He spent much of his time writing songs with British singer-songwriter Lynsey De Paul[citation needed] and doing television such as his work on Darkroom. He claimed to have healed himself with pills containing a sulfur-based compound. Coburn returned to film in the 1990s, and appeared in supporting roles in Young Guns II, Hudson Hawk, Sister Act 2, Maverick, Eraser, The Nutty Professor, Affliction, and Payback. Coburn's role as Glen Whitehouse in the film Affliction earned him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, as well as nominations from the Screen Actors Guild, and the Independent Spirit Awards.

Cars

Coburn’s interest in fast cars began with his father’s garage business and continued all of his life, as he exported rare cars to Japan. Coburn’s personal Ferrari, driven for over twenty years, was one of 56, a rare 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Spyder California, which he bought used in 1964, shortly after completing the film The Great Escape. The car, chassis #GT 2377GT, was restored and sold for $10,894,400.00, setting a new world record for the highest price ever paid for an automobile at auction.

Death

Coburn died of a heart attack on November 18, 2002 while listening to music in his Beverly Hills, California home. He was survived by his widow Paula (née Murad), a son, and a stepdaughter. His ashes were interred in Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, and was marked by a stone bench inscribed with his name. By the time of his death, Coburn was the voice of the "Like a Rock" Chevrolet television ad campaign. Actor James Garner succeeded him for the remainder of the ad campaign.




Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Publicist Ronni Sue Chasen Shot & Killed 2010


Ronni Sue Chasen (October 17, 1946 – November 16, 2010) was an American publicist, who once represented such actors as Michael Douglas, as well as musicians such as Hans Zimmer and Mark Isham, among others. Chasen directed the Academy Award campaigns for more than 100 films during her career, including Driving Miss Daisy in 1989 and The Hurt Locker in 2009.

Chasen was shot and killed November 16, 2010 while driving home from the premiere of the film Burlesque. The investigation into her murder is ongoing.


Chasen was shot early in the morning on November 16, 2010, at approximately 12:28 a.m. PST, in Beverly Hills as she was driving home from the Hollywood premiere of the film Burlesque.


Neighbors near the intersection of Whittier Drive and Sunset Boulevard in the city of Beverly Hills originally reported hearing gunshots in front of their homes but more calls came in to the 911 call center a few moments later stating that a late model, black Mercedes-Benz had run a curb, hit, and toppled a concrete street light. When police crews arrived, they found Chasen slumped in the driver's seat, the steering wheel airbag inflated, blood emanating from her nose and chest area, in and out of consciousness with the front passenger side window shattered. Chasen was pronounced dead at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Chasen was buried at Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, California. She is survived by her brother, film director Larry Cohen.


Beverly Hills Police Department sources have stated that Chasen received approximately five gunshot wounds to the chest, which caused her to lose control of the vehicle just after turning from Sunset Boulevard onto Whittier Drive. Police believe that Chasen's killer was an expert marksman, and likely shot the woman from an SUV or truck that pulled alongside her car. A leaked coroner's report noted that hollow-point bullets may have been used by the gunman.


On December 1, 2010, the Los Angeles Times reported that a man believed to be involved with Chasen's murder committed suicide after being confronted by police at the Harvey Apartments (below) on Santa Monica Boulevard in East Hollywood. The Times reported the man, a convicted felon known to neighbors at the complex as Harold Smith, was approached by police in the apartment lobby, at which point the man pulled out a pistol and shot himself in the head. On December 6, 2010, it was reported that Smith is no longer considered a person of interest in the murder. However, on December 8, 2010, it was reported by the Beverly Hills Police Department that Ronni Chasen's murder was a random act of violence, a robbery gone bad - committed by a man on a bicycle. According to BHPD, the gun that Harold Smith used to kill himself last week was the very same gun used to murder Chasen. Police say they believe Smith acted alone and it was in no way connected with road rage -- an operating theory last week. The big break in the case was a tip through "America's Most Wanted" -- after Smith began bragging to neighbors that he shot Chasen and got $10,000 for it. The "AMW" tipster -- who wants to remain anonymous -- stands to collect a $125,000 reward.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Celebrity Grave: Actor Tyrone Power 1958 "The Razor's Edge"


Tyrone Edmund Power, Jr. (May 5, 1914 – November 15, 1958), usually credited as Tyrone Power and known sometimes as Ty Power, was an American film and stage actor who appeared in dozens of films from the 1930s to the 1950s, often in swashbuckler roles or romantic leads such as in The Mark of Zorro, Blood and Sand, The Black Swan, Prince of Foxes, The Black Rose, Captain from Castile, and The Razor's Edge.

Though renowned for his dark, classically handsome looks that made him a matinee idol from his first film appearance, Power played a wide range of roles, from film noir to light romantic comedy. In the 1950s, he began placing limits on the number of movies he would make in order to have time for the stage. He received his biggest accolades as a stage actor in John Brown's Body and Mister Roberts. Power died from a heart attack at the age of 44.

In 1957, he met Deborah Ann Montgomery Minardos. They were married on May 7, 1958, and she became pregnant soon after. She accompanied her husband to Madrid in September 1958, for the filming of Solomon and Sheba. She was worried about his health and asked him to slow down, but he pushed ahead with the movie. On November 15, 1958, while filming a strenuous dueling scene for the movie, he had a heart attack and died. His wife gave birth to his son, Tyrone Power IV, on January 22, 1959.



Tyrone Power was buried at Hollywood Cemetery, now known as Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Hollywood, California, at noon, on November 21, 1958, in a military service. The memorial service was held at the Chapel of the Psalms, Hollywood Cemetery, with Chaplain Thomas M. Gibson, U.S.N.R. officiating. The active pallbearers were officers of the United States Marine Corps. Honorary pallbearers were Charles Laughton, Raymond Massey, Tommy Noonan, Theodore Richmond, Murray Steckler, Cesar Romero, Watson Webb, Milton Bren, James Denton, George Sidney, George Cohen, Lew Schreiber, Lew Wasserman, and Harry Brand. Cesar Romero gave the eulogy, using in it a tribute written by Tyrone Power's good friend and frequent co-star, George Sanders. Sanders had written the tribute on the set of Solomon and Sheba, within the first few hours after Power's death. It read as follows:

I shall always remember Tyrone as a bountiful man, a man who gave freely of himself. It mattered not to whom he gave. His concern was in the giving. I shall always remember his wonderful smile, a smile that would light up the darkest hour of the day, like a sunburst. I shall always remember Tyrone Power as a man who gave more of himself than it was wise for him to give, until in the end, he gave his life.

Flying over the service was Henry King, who directed him in eleven movies. Almost 20 years before, Tyrone had flown with King, in King's plane, to the set of Jesse James in Missouri. It was then that Tyrone Power got his first experience with flying, which would become such a big part of his life, both in the U.S. Marines and in his private life. In the foreword to Dennis Belafonte's The Films of Tyrone Power, King said, "Knowing his love for flying and feeling that I had started it, I flew over his funeral procession and memorial park during his burial, and felt that he was with me." Tyrone Power was laid to rest, by a small lake, in one of the most beautiful parts of the cemetery. His grave is marked by a unique tombstone, in the form of a marble bench. On the tombstone are the masks of comedy and tragedy, with the transcription, "Good night, sweet prince." At his grave Laurence Olivier read the poem "High Flight."

Tyrone Power's will, filed on December 8, 1958, contained an unusual provision. It stated his wish that, upon his death, his eyes would be donated to the Estelle Doheny Eye Foundation, for such purposes as the trustees of the foundation should deem advisable, including transplantation of the cornea to the eyes of a living person or retinal study.

On the 50th anniversary of his death, Power was honored by American Cinematheque with a weekend of films and remembrances by co-stars and family, and a memorabilia display. The event was held at the Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles from November 14–16, 2008.