Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Actor Pete Duel's Beachwood Canyon SUICIDE 1971


Pete Duel (February 24, 1940 – December 31, 1971) was an American actor, best known for his role in the television series Alias Smith and Jones.

Early life

Peter Ellstrom Deuel was born in Rochester, New York, and grew up in nearby Penfield. He attended St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, where he majored in English. Still, he preferred performing in the drama department’s productions to studying for his classes during his two years there. When his father came to see him in The Rose Tattoo, he realized that his son was only wasting time and money at the university, and told him to follow a career in acting.[1] Moving to New York, Duel landed a role in a touring production of the comedy Take Her, She's Mine. In order to find work in the movies, Duel and his mother drove across the country to Hollywood in 1963 with only a tent to house them each night.[2]


Career

In Hollywood, he found work in television, making small guest appearances in comedies like Gomer Pyle, USMC and dramas, such as ABC's Channing with Jason Evers and Combat! with Rick Jason and Vic Morrow. In 1965 he was cast in the comedy series Gidget. Duel played Gidget's brother-in-law, John Cooper, on the series and appeared in twenty-two of the thirty-two episodes. Gidget was canceled after only one season in 1966, but Duel was immediately offered the starring role of Dave Willis, a newlywed apprentice architect, in an upcoming romantic comedy called Love on a Rooftop. Although the show earned good ratings, ABC decided to not bring it back after its first season. Duel wished to move from sitcoms to more serious roles.[3] He appeared in The Psychiatrist, The Bold Ones, Ironside, and Marcus Welby, M.D.. He also made feature films during this time, beginning with the important role of Rod Taylor’s best friend and co-pilot, Mike Brewer, in The Hell with Heroes in 1968 and the next year in Generation. Following that movie, he went to Spain to film Cannon for Cordoba (1970), a western in which he played the mischievous soldier, Andy Rice. Due in part to their uncanny resemblance his younger brother, Geoffrey Deuel (who starred in the movie Chisum with John Wayne as the character Billy the Kid), is sometimes mistaken for him.

In 1970 Duel was cast as the outlaw Hannibal Heyes, alias Joshua Smith, opposite Ben Murphy, in Alias Smith and Jones, a light-hearted western about the exploits of two outlaws trying to earn an amnesty. During the hiatus between the first and second seasons, he starred in the television production of Percy MacKaye’s 1908 play, The Scarecrow.

Personal life

Duel became involved in politics during the primaries for the 1968 presidential election, campaigning for Eugene McCarthy, in opposition to the Vietnam war.[4] He attended the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, and witnessed the violence that erupted.[5]


Death

In the early hours of December 31, 1971, Duel apparently shot himself, after drinking heavily that evening.[6] At the time, his girlfriend, Dianne Ray, was in the house but not in the same room, and did not witness what happened. In October 1970 he had been the driver in a car wreck in which another person was injured, and was facing legal problems; an astrologer had then told him that 1972 was going to be a difficult year for him. After his death, his role in Alias Smith and Jones was taken over by Roger Davis (previously, the series' narrator), but the sudden loss proved too great and fans were slow to accept the dissimilar-looking Davis. The series was cancelled in 1973.


Pete Duel's Green Glen Deathhouse

Duel is buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Penfield, New York.[7]

References

1.^ Sandra K. Sagala and JoAnne M. Bagwell Alias Smith and Jones: The Story of Two Pretty Good Bad Men (Boalsburg: Bear Manor Media, 2005). 16
2.^ Sandra K. Sagala and JoAnne M. Bagwell Alias Smith and Jones: The Story of Two Pretty Good Bad Men (Boalsburg: Bear Manor Media, 2005). 17
3.^ Percy Shain (February 14, 1971). "He Prefers Duel to Deuel." Boston Globe TV Week, found at Alias Smith & Jones Collection.
4.^ "Actor Campaigning Here" (June 17, 1968). Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, found at Alias Smith & Jones Collection.
5.^ Sandra K. Sagala and JoAnne M. Bagwell Alias Smith and Jones: The Story of Two Pretty Good Bad Men (Boalsburg: Bear Manor Media, 2005). 18
6.^ Green, Paul (2007). "A Sudden Compulsion". Pete Duel: A Biography. Johnson, Pamela Deuel. McFarland. p. 156. ISBN 9780786430628. http://books.google.com/books?
7.^ Penfield Post, June 14, 2007, page 6A, "You'd Never Guess Who is Buried Here" by Amy Cavalier

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Superman's Fiancee Leonore Lemmon DIES in Gotham City 1989


Leonore Lemmon (May 11, 1923 - December 30, 1989) was an American socialite who was the fiancée of actor George Reeves at the time of his death.

Life

Lemmon was the daughter of Arthur Lemmon, a successful Broadway ticket broker. In her early years, she was known as a party girl member of Cafe Society. She was well known and liked in the nightclub world and was infamous as the only woman ever tossed out of the Stork Club for fist-fighting.

In 1941 she married Jacob L. "Jakie" Webb, who was a great-great-grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt. She left him after eight days but remained married long enough for the colorful Webb to marry someone else several years later and face bigamy charges. She later married and divorced musician Hamish Menzies.


In the late 1950s, Lemmon was the girlfriend and fiancée of Adventures of Superman star George Reeves. The couple were to be married in Mexico on June 19, 1959, honeymoon in Spain and then go to Australia for public appearances as Superman. However, Reeves died of a gunshot wound to the head three days before the scheduled wedding. Lemmon attempted, without success, to claim a share of Reeves's estate.


George Reeves' Benedict Canyon Deathhouse

She returned to New York where she lived out the remainder of her life, her last years spent, according to her family, in alcohol dementia.

In popular culture

She was portrayed by Robin Tunney in the 2006 movie Hollywoodland.

Notes

1.^ Her body was found in her New York Apartment January 4, 1990, and time of death was calculated as most likely five days earlier. Her death certificate reads December 30, 1989

2.^ New York Borough of Manhattan Death Records, 1989

Talent Agent Irving "Swifty" Lazar 1993 Westwood Village Cemetery


Irving Paul "Swifty" Lazar (March 28, 1907 – December 30, 1993) was a talent agent and deal-maker, representing both movie stars and authors.

Born as Samuel Lazar in Brooklyn, New York, he graduated from Brooklyn Law School in 1931. While practicing bankruptcy law during the early-1930s, he negotiated a business deal for a vaudeville performer and realized the income potential for acting as an agent.

He moved to Hollywood in 1936 but maintained a presence in New York until after World War II when he moved to Los Angeles permanently. After putting together three major deals for Humphrey Bogart in a single day, he was dubbed "Swifty" by Bogart. The moniker stuck but was a name he actually disliked.

In addition to Bogart, Lazar became the agent representing the top tier of celebrities, including Lauren Bacall, Truman Capote, Cher, Joan Collins, Noel Coward, Ira Gershwin, Cary Grant, Moss Hart, Ernest Hemingway, Gene Kelly, Madonna, Walter Matthau, Larry McMurtry, Vladimir Nabokov, Clifford Odets, Cole Porter, William Saroyan, Irwin Shaw, President Richard Nixon and Tennessee Williams. Lazar's power became such that he could negotiate a deal for someone who was not even his client and then collect a fee from that person's agent.

During World War II, Lazar, with Benjamin Landis, suggested to the U.S. Army Air Forces that it produce a play to encourage enlistment and to raise funds for the Army Emergency Relief Fund. The Air Forces commanding general, Henry H. Arnold, agreed and the play Winged Victory was written by Moss Hart and produced by Hart and Lazar. It was a huge success, playing on Broadway and on tour around the U.S. for over a million people. A film version was produced during the same period.

Lazar was an executive producer (with Bernie Brillstein) of John G. Avildsen's Neighbors (1981), starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, and he was an associate producer on two television miniseries, The Thorn Birds (1983) and Robert Kennedy and His Times (1985). He was renowned for his annual post-Academy Award parties that started at the famous Romanoff's, then moved to the Bistro Garden and finally to Wolfgang Puck's restaurant, Spago. His was widely regarded as the most important Oscar celebration, and those who received invitations were regarded as the inner circle.

Lazar died in 1993, aged 86, from complications stemming from diabetes which eventually cut off circulation to his feet, which doctors wanted to amputate. Lazar, who was being treated at home via peritoneal dialysis, refused amputation. This refusal hastened Lazar's death.[1] The Death Certificate states "Imminent Cause: Chronic Renal Failure due to Glomerulo Sclerosis due to Hypertension. Other significant conditions contributing to death but not related to cause given in 21: lower extremities diabetes."[2]

He was interred in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles next to his wife, Mary, who had died in January that same year from liver cancer.


Michael Korda wrote a 1993 New Yorker profile of Lazar, later incorporated into Korda's book, Another Life: A Memoir of Other People (Random House, 1999). At the time of his death, Lazar was working on his autobiography, Swifty: My Life and Good Times, which was completed by Annette Tapert and published by Simon and Schuster in 1995.

Swifty Lazar appears as a character in Peter Morgan's stage play, Frost/Nixon, first staged at the Donmar Warehouse, London on August 10, 2006 and played by actor Kerry Shale. In the play Lazar negotiates a deal with David Frost on behalf of President Richard Nixon for Frost to interview Nixon. The play is closely based on real-life events. He has also been portrayed by Toby Jones in the 2008 film version of Frost/Nixon.

References

1.^ Sources: Quotes from Alan Nevins, Lazar Business Associate[where?]; Cindy Cassel, Executive Assistant to Lazar up until his death.[where?]
2.^ Death Certificate, Los Angeles Department of Health Services

"Johnny Belinda" Actor Lew Ayres 1996 Westwood Village Cemetery


Lew Ayres, born Lewis Frederick Ayres III, (December 28, 1908 – December 30, 1996) was an American actor, probably best known for his role as Dr. Kildare in several movies, which was apt since originally he had studied medicine at the University of Arizona.

In 1948 he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for Johnny Belinda, but his career was sparse after the war. Costar Jane Wyman fell in love with Ayres and left her husband Ronald Reagan for him, albeit unsuccessfully.


Ayres was married three times. He was married to actress Lola Lane from 1931 until 1933 and to actress Ginger Rogers from 1934 until 1940. His third marriage, to Diana Hall, lasted from 1964 until his death from complications while in a coma at the age of 88. They had one son, Justin, born in 1968.

Lew Ayres is buried at Westwood Village Memorial Park (next to Frank Zappa's unmarked grave).



Sunday, December 28, 2014

Boomer Television - Further Reading







"Biograph SUICIDE GIRL" Florence Lawrence 1938 Hollywood Forever Cemetery


Florence Lawrence (January 2, 1886 – December 28, 1938) was a Canadian inventor and silent film actress. She is often referred to as "The First Movie Star." When she was popular, she was known as "The Biograph Girl," "The Imp Girl," and "The Girl of a Thousand Faces." Lawrence appeared in more than 270 films for various motion picture companies.


Alone, discouraged, and suffering with chronic pain from myelofibrosis, a rare bone marrow disease, she was found unconscious in bed in her West Hollywood apartment on December 27, 1938 after she had attempted suicide by eating ant paste. She was rushed to a hospital but died a few hours later.


Just nine years after she had paid for an expensive memorial for her mother, Lawrence was interred in an unmarked grave not far from her mother in the Hollywood Cemetery, which is now Hollywood Forever Cemetery.





Friday, December 26, 2014

Comic Actor Jack Benny 1974 Hillside Cemetery


Jack Benny (born Benjamin Kubelsky; February 14, 1894 – December 26, 1974) was an American comedian, vaudevillian, radio, television, and film actor, and violinist. Recognized as a leading American entertainer of the 20th century, Benny portrayed his character as a miser, playing his violin badly. In character, he would be 39 years of age, regardless of his actual age.


Benny was known for comic timing, and the ability to create laughter with a pregnant pause or a single expression, such as his signature exasperated "Well!" His radio and television programs, popular from the 1930s to the 1970s, were a major influence on the sitcom genre.


Death

In October 1974, Benny canceled a performance in Dallas after suffering a dizzy spell, coupled with numbness in his arms. Despite a battery of tests, Benny's ailment could not be determined. When he complained of stomach pains in early December, a first test showed nothing, but a subsequent one showed he had inoperable pancreatic cancer. Choosing to spend his final days at home, he was visited by close friends including George Burns, Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Carson and John Rowles. He died on December 26, 1974.



George Burns, Benny's best friend for more than fifty years, attempted to deliver a eulogy. He broke down shortly after he began and was unable to continue. Bob Hope also delivered a eulogy in which he stated, "This is the only time Jack's timing was all wrong. He left us much too soon." He was interred in a crypt at Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, California. Benny's will arranged for flowers, specifically a single long-stemmed red rose, to be delivered to his widow, Mary Livingstone, every day for the rest of her life.





Character Actor Leo Gordon 2000 Hollywood Forever Cemetery


Leo Vincent Gordon (December 2, 1922 - December 26, 2000) was an American movie and television character actor as well as a screenplay writer. He specialized in playing brutish bad guys during more than forty years in film and television.


In contrast to his screen persona, Gordon was a quiet, thoughtful and intelligent man who generally avoided the Hollywood spotlight. He was widely regarded by his fellow actors and his directors as a well-prepared professional. In 1997, he received the "Golden Boot Award" for his many years of work in Westerns. In accepting the award, the actor simply flashed a smile for his fans and remarked "Thank God for typecasting!"


After struggling with a brief illness, Gordon died in his sleep at age 78 at his Los Angeles home from cardiac failure. He and his wife's ashes are interred at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles.




Thursday, December 25, 2014

Comic Actor W.C. Fields 1946 Forest Lawn Glendale Cemetery


William Claude Dukenfield (January 29, 1880 – December 25, 1946), better known as W. C. Fields, was an American comedian, actor, juggler and writer. Fields's comic persona was a misanthropic and hard-drinking egotist, who remained a sympathetic character despite his snarling contempt for dogs and children.



Death

Fields died in 1946, from an alcohol-related stomach hemorrhage, on the holiday he claimed to despise: Christmas Day. He died at Las Encinas Sanatorium, Pasadena, California, a bungalow-type sanitarium. According to Carlotta Monti's memoir published in 1971, as he lay in bed dying, she went outside and turned the hose onto the roof, to allow Fields to hear for one last time his favorite sound—falling rain. According to the documentary W.C. Fields Straight Up, his death occurred in this way: he winked and smiled at a nurse, put a finger to his lips, and died. Fields's biographer James Curtis says this story is unlikely, and is uncorroborated by the obituary in the Pasadena Star-News and its sources in the hospital. Fields was 66, and had been a patient for 22 months. His funeral took place on January 2, 1947, in Glendale, California.



Fields's will, written in 1943, directed that he be cremated immediately upon death, but this order was delayed when Hattie and Claude Fields objected on religious grounds. They were successful in contesting another clause in Fields's will that left a portion of his estate to establish a "W. C. Fields College for Orphan White Boys and Girls, where no religion of any sort is to be preached." After litigation concerning this and other provisions of the will, Fields was cremated on June 2, 1949, and his ashes interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, in Glendale.



Gravestone

There have been stories that Fields' grave marker reads "I'd rather be in Philadelphia," a line similar to one he used in My Little Chickadee when a mob that is preparing to hang him ask him if he has any last words: "I'd like to see Paris before I die...Philadelphia will do!" In life, Fields was known for disparaging his native city, Philadelphia. In a 1925 Vanity Fair article, "A Group of Artists Write Their Own Epitaphs," the mock-epitaph for Fields reads, "Here Lies / W.C. Fields / I Would Rather Be Living in Philadelphia."

In reality, the interment marker for Fields's ashes merely bears his stage name and the years of his birth and death.

"King of Cool" Entertainer Dean Martin 1995 Westwood Village Cemetery


Dean Martin (June 7, 1917 – December 25, 1995) was an American singer, film actor and comedian. Martin's hit singles included "Memories Are Made of This," "That's Amore," "Everybody Loves Somebody," "Mambo Italiano," "Sway," "Volare" and smash hit "Ain't That a Kick in the Head?" Nicknamed the "King of Cool," he was one of the members of the "Rat Pack" and a major star in four areas of show business: concert stage/night clubs, recordings, motion pictures, and television.


Decline and death

On March 21, 1987, Martin's son Dean Paul (formerly Dino of the 1960s "teeny-bopper" rock group Dino, Desi and Billy) was killed when his F-4 Phantom II jet fighter crashed while flying with the California Air National Guard. A much-touted tour with Davis and Sinatra in 1988 sputtered. On one occasion, he infuriated Sinatra when he turned to him and muttered "Frank, what the hell are we doing up here?" Martin, who always responded best to a club audience, felt lost in the huge stadiums they were performing in (at Sinatra's insistence), and he was not the least bit interested in drinking until dawn after their performances. His final Vegas shows were at the Bally's Hotel in 1990. It was there he had his final reunion with Jerry Lewis on his 72nd birthday. Martin's last two TV appearances both involved tributes to his former Rat Pack members. In 1990, he joined many stars of the entertainment industry in Sammy Davis, Jr's 60th anniversary celebration, which aired only a few weeks before Davis died from throat cancer. In December 1990, he congratulated Frank Sinatra on his 75th birthday special. By 1991, Martin had unofficially retired from performing.


Martin, a life-long smoker, died of acute respiratory failure resulting from emphysema at his Beverly Hills home on Christmas morning 1995, at the age of 78. The lights of the Las Vegas Strip were dimmed in his honor. He is buried at Westwood Village Memorial Park.



Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Silent Screen Actress Norma Talmadge 1957 Hollywood Forever Cemetery


Norma Talmadge (May 2, 1894 – December 24, 1957) was an American actress and film producer of the silent era. A major box office draw for more than a decade, her career reached a peak in the early 1920s, when she ranked among the most popular idols of the American screen.

Her most famous film was Smilin’ Through (1922), but she also scored artistic triumphs teamed with director Frank Borzage in Secrets (1924) and The Lady (1925). Her younger sisters Constance Talmadge and Natalie Talmadge were also movie stars. Talmadge married millionaire and film producer Joseph Schenck and they successfully created their own production company. After reaching fame in the film studios on the East Coast, she moved to Hollywood in 1922.


The Talmadge Sisters in life.

A specialist in melodrama, Talmadge was one of the most elegant and glamorous film stars of the roaring twenties. By the end of the silent film period her popularity with audiences had waned. After her two talkies proved disappointing at the box office, she retired a very wealthy woman. Of all the silent stars whose reputation collapsed with the coming of sound, Norma Talmadge was the most important. She is little remembered, since her films are seldom revived today, yet in her day she was hugely popular and the epitome of stardom.

In her later years, Talmadge, who had never been comfortable with the burdens of public celebrity, became reclusive. Increasingly crippled by painful arthritis and reportedly to be dependent on painkilling drugs, she moved to the warm climate of Las Vegas, Nevada for her final years. In 1956, she was voted by her peers as one of the top five female stars of the pre-1925 era, but was too ill to travel to Rochester, New York to accept her award.

After suffering a series of strokes in 1957, Talmadge died of pneumonia on Christmas Eve of that year. At the time of her death, her estate was valued at more than USD$1,000,000. For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Norma Talmadge has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1500 Vine Street. She is entombed at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.


The Talmadge Sisters in death.