Sunday, May 28, 2017

Musician Chris Cornell 1964-2017 Memorial Video

Chris Cornell (born Christopher John Boyle; July 20, 1964 – May 18, 2017) was an American musician, singer, and songwriter. He was best known as lead vocalist for the bands Soundgarden and Audioslave. He was also known for his numerous solo works, soundtrack contributions since 1991 and as founder and frontman for Temple of the Dog, the one-off tribute band dedicated to his friend, the late Andrew Wood.

Cornell, who is considered one of the architects of the 1990s grunge movement, is well known for his extensive catalog as a songwriter, for his nearly four-octave vocal range, and for his powerful vocal belting technique. He released four solo studio albums, Euphoria Morning (1999), Carry On (2007), Scream (2009), Higher Truth (2015), and the live album Songbook (2011). Cornell received a Golden Globe Award nomination for his song "The Keeper" which appeared in the film Machine Gun Preacher and co-wrote and performed the theme song to the James Bond film Casino Royale (2006), "You Know My Name." The last solo release by Chris was the charity single "The Promise," written for the ending credits for the film of the same name. He was voted "Rock's Greatest Singer" by readers of Guitar World, ranked 4th in the list of "Heavy Metal's All-Time Top 100 Vocalists" by Hit Parader, 9th in the list of "Best Lead Singers of All Time" by Rolling Stone, and 12th in MTV's "22 Greatest Voices in Music."

According to Nielsen Music, across his entire catalog (Soundgarden, Audioslave and solo career), Cornell sold 14,865,000 albums, 8,808,000 digital songs and had 300,091,000 on-demand audio streams.

Cornell was found dead from suicide in his Detroit hotel room early on the morning of May 18, 2017, following a Soundgarden concert the night before. He suffered from depression and had substance abuse problems earlier in life.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

"Falcon" Character Actor Edward Brophy 1960 Woodlawn Cemetery

Edward Santree Brophy (February 27, 1895 – May 27, 1960) was an American character actor, voice artist, and comedian. Small of build, balding, and raucous-voiced, he frequently portrayed dumb cops and gangsters, both serious and comic.

He is best remembered for his roles in the Falcon film series, based on the suave detective of the same name, and for voicing Timothy Q. Mouse in Dumbo (1941).


Edward Santree Brophy was born in New York City. His screen debut was in Yes or No (1920).[1]

In 1928, with only a few minor film roles to his credit, Brophy was working as a junior production executive for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer when he was chosen to appear with Buster Keaton in one sequence of Keaton's film The Cameraman. As two clients in a bath-house, Brophy and Keaton attempt to undress and put on bathing suits while sharing a single tiny changing room. Each time Keaton attempts to hang his clothes on one hook, Brophy removes the clothes and hands them back to Keaton and gestures to the other hook. He manhandles the smaller, more slender Keaton, at one point picking him up by the feet and dumping him out of his trousers. Appearing only in this one brief scene, Brophy attracted enough attention to receive more and better roles. Though he did appear in a few theatre roles, most of his long and prolific career was in film and was spent at the studio's of MGM.

He played the main character's loyal manager in The Champ (1931), 

a Rollo Brother circus proprietor in the movie Freaks (1932), 

Joe Morelli from The Thin Man (1934) 

and Nick Charles' friend Brogan from The Thin Man Goes Home (1944). 

Brophy made a lasting impression on Disney fans as the voice of Timothy the mouse in Dumbo, even though he was uncredited for this role. He also made several appearances in the films of director John Ford.


Edward Brophy died on May 27, 1960 during the production of Ford's Two Rode Together. (One source says Brophy "died while watching a prizefight on television."[2]) He is buried in Santa Monica's Woodlawn Cemetery next to his wife Ann S. Brophy who died in 1963.[3]

Partial filmography

Yes or No? (1920)
Something Different (1920)
The Cameraman (1928) (uncredited)
Free and Easy (1930)
Those Three French Girls (1930)
Doughboys (1930)[4]
Parlor, Bedroom and Bath (1931)
The Champ (1931)
Freaks (1932)
Speak Easily (1932)
Flesh (1932)
What! No Beer? (1933) (uncredited)
Beer and Pretzels (1933 short)
Hello Pop! (1933 short)
The Thin Man (1934)
Hide-Out (1934)
Death on the Diamond (1934)
Evelyn Prentice (1934)
1,000 Dollars a Minute (1935)
The Whole Town's Talking (1935)
Naughty Marietta (1935)
Mad Love (1935)
China Seas (1935) as Timmons
Remember Last Night? (1935)
Wedding Present (1936)
Great Guy (1936)
The Soldier and the Lady (1937)
The Girl Said No (1937)
The Last Gangster (1937)
A Slight Case of Murder (1938)
Romance on the Run (1938)
Hold That Kiss (1938)
Gold Diggers in Paris (1938)
You Can't Cheat an Honest Man (1939)
Golden Boy (1939)
The Amazing Mr. Williams (1939)
Golden Gloves (1940)
Dance, Girl, Dance (1940)
The Invisible Woman (1940)
Calling Philo Vance (1940)
The Bride Came C.O.D. (1941)
Dumbo (1941) as Timothy Q. Mouse (voice) (uncredited)
The Gay Falcon (1941)
All Through the Night (1942) as Joe Denning
Larceny, Inc. (1942)
Madame Spy (1942)
Broadway (1942)
Air Force (1943)
Destroyer (1943)
Cover Girl (1944)
It Happened Tomorrow (1944)
The Falcon in San Francisco (1945)
The Thin Man Goes Home (1945)
Wonder Man (1945)
Renegade Girl (1946)
The Falcon's Adventure (1946)
It Happened on Fifth Avenue (1947)
Arson, Inc. (1949) as Pete Purdy
Danger Zone (1951) as Prof. Frederick Simpson Schicker
Roaring City (1951) as 'Professor' Frederick Simpson Schicker
Pier 23 (1951) as Prof. Shicker
Bundle of Joy (1956) as Dance Contest Judge
The Last Hurrah (1958) as 'Ditto' Boland
Two Rode Together (1961) as Minor Role (uncredited; last appearance)


1. Katz, Ephraim (1979). The Film Encyclopedia: The Most Comprehensive Encyclopedia of World Cinema in a Single Volume. Perigee Books. ISBN 0-399-50601-2. P.171.
2. "Edward Brophy Dies". The Kansas City Times. May 31, 1960. p. 1.
3. "Edward Brophy, Movie Actor, Dies Watching Fight". The Times Record. May 31, 1960. p. 7.
4. Imdb

Thursday, May 25, 2017

"Sublime" Musician Bradley James Nowell 1996 Westminster Cemetery

Bradley James Nowell (February 22, 1968 – May 25, 1996) was an American musician who served as the founder, lead singer, and guitarist of the band Sublime.

Raised in Long Beach, California, Nowell developed an interest in music at a young age. His father took him on a trip to the Virgin Islands during childhood, which exposed him to reggae and dance hall music, then gained a strong interest in rock music once he learned how to play guitar. Nowell played in various bands until forming the group Sublime with bassist Eric Wilson and drummer Bud Gaugh, whom he had met while attending California State University, Long Beach. As Sublime gained success, Nowell struggled with a worsening addiction to heroin. He eventually became sober after his son, Jakob Nowell, was born. Nowell shot up again on the morning of May 25, 1996, and died of a heroin overdose in a San Francisco hotel while Sublime was on tour.


Early life

Bradley Nowell and his sister, Kellie, were born and raised in the Belmont Shore neighborhood of Long Beach, California to Jim and Nancy Nowell.[1][2] As a child, he enjoyed surfing and sailing, often participating in boat races. Nowell became a difficult child and was often hyperactive and disruptive; his mother recalled that he was "very emotional, very sensitive, very artistic, but he was needy...He was always testing just to see what he could get away with."[1] After his parents' divorce when he was ten, Nowell's behavior worsened. His mother was awarded custody, but found him too difficult to control, and at the age of ten he had moved in full-time with his father.[1]

Music was an integral part of Nowell's upbringing on the part of both of his parents.[3] His father, a construction worker, enjoyed playing guitar and exposed him to the music of Jim Croce; his mother taught piano for a living in addition to playing the flute.[2] Both parents helped teach young Nowell to play the guitar.[2] In the summer of 1979, eleven-year-old Nowell accompanied his father on a month-long sailing trip in the Virgin Islands, where he was first exposed to reggae music.[1]

By the age of sixteen, he started his first band, Hogan's Heroes (not to be confused with the New Jersey hardcore punk band of the same name), with Michael Yates and Eric Wilson. Nowell was described as a "gifted kid with many friends."[4] At first, Wilson did not share Nowell's interest in reggae music. Nowell recalled the experience: "I was trying to get them to do (UB40's version of) 'Cherry Oh Baby,' and it didn't work. They tried, but it just sounded like such garbage. We were horrible."[2] Nowell attended the University of California, Santa Cruz before transferring to California State University, Long Beach to study finance.[2] While at Cal State Long Beach, Nowell received good grades, appearing on the Dean's List in 1990.[5] However, he dropped out one semester shy of earning a degree, stating in 1995 "I have all the hard classes left...I doubt I'll ever go back."[2]


According to a Westwood One interview (which can be found on disc three of the Sublime box set), in 1988 Nowell got together with bassist Wilson and drummer Bud Gaugh, performing in small shows at house parties and barbecues. The band was often asked to leave the parties due to excessive noise.[1] Sublime gained a reputation for their rowdy behavior and eventually became one of the most popular bands in Southern California. Despite their local success, music venues were skeptical of the band's eclectic musical fusion and many refused to book the band. In response, Nowell and Wilson created their own music label, Skunk Records, telling venues they were "Skunk Records recording artists," helping the band seem more accomplished and enabling them to book more shows.[6] The band produced and distributed Sublime's early recordings on the label, later selling demo tapes at shows and local record stores.

In 1990, music student Michael "Miguel" Happoldt offered to let the band record in the studio at the school where he was studying, although without the school's knowledge. The band agreed, and snuck into the school at night, where they recorded from midnight to seven in the morning.[1] That recording session resulted in the popular cassette tape, Jah Won't Pay the Bills, released in 1991. The tape helped the band gain a grassroots following throughout Southern California. It was during this time that Nowell became involved with drugs. For years, Nowell had refused to try heroin; however, as he entered his twenties and witnessed his band's success, he decided to try the drug. Nowell's father explained, "His excuse for taking the heroin was that he felt like he had to be larger than life. He was leading the band, leading his fans, and he had to put on this persona. He had heard a lot of musicians say that they were taking heroin to be more creative."[1]

Using the same tactics they had used in recording Jah Won't Pay the Bills, the band recorded its debut album 40oz. to Freedom in secrecy at the studios at California State University, Dominguez Hills.[7] Nowell recalled, "You weren't supposed to be in there after 9 p.m., but we'd go in at 9:30 and stay until 5 in the morning. We'd just hide from the security guards. They never knew we were there. We managed to get $30,000 worth of studio time for free."[7] 40oz. to Freedom was released in 1992; 60,000 copies were sold.

"We just kept being punkers and doing it all by ourselves. Now here we are today. We never thought it would be like this. We just thought we'd always be playing backyard parties. A couple of hundred people in Long Beach can claim we played in their back yards."

—Nowell, on Sublime's success in 1995.[8]

Despite their growing popularity in Southern California, Sublime still was not signed with a major label. Around this same time Nowell teamed up with longtime friend Gwen Stefani of No Doubt, to record the song "Saw Red." The song was eventually released on Sublime's Robbin' the Hood album, which was self-recorded on a four-track cassette, and released in October 1994.[7] Several songs from the album detail Nowell's worsening drug addiction. Nowell is believed to have predicted his own death in the song "Pool Shark," with the line, "One day I'm going to lose the war."[9]

About a year later, Tazy Phillipz took a copy of 40oz. to Freedom to Los Angeles radio station KROQ-FM, requesting that Sublime's song, "Date Rape," be added to the playlist.[10] Soon after, MCA Records picked up 40oz. to Freedom for national distribution, and Sublime was scheduled to tour throughout Europe. Nowell, an avid reader who enjoyed quoting historians and philosophers, began studying European history to prepare for the trip.[10] Attention from a major label did not curb Nowell's drug use, which sometimes led him to pawn his instruments and sell drugs, as reflected in the song "Pawn Shop."[11] In February 1996, Sublime returned to the studio to record the bulk of their self-titled album, which would be their debut with MCA. Production was done by Paul Leary of the Butthole Surfers (and producer of Marcy Playground and Meat Puppets) at Willie Nelson's Pedernales Studio in Austin, Texas.


Nowell was married to Troy Dendekker on May 18, 1996. Seven days later, on the morning of May 25, Sublime was supposed to begin a five-day tour through Northern California, followed by a European and East Coast tour. However, while the band was staying at the Ocean View Motel in San Francisco,[12] drummer Bud Gaugh woke up to find Nowell lying on the floor next to his bed. His dalmatian, Louie Dog, was curled up on the bed whimpering. Bradley had tried to wake up his fellow band-mates to go to the beach with him that morning, but they were too hung-over and tired to get out of bed.[13] Initially, Gaugh assumed he had been too intoxicated to get into bed, however, he noticed a green film around his mouth, and it became apparent that he had overdosed on heroin.[1] Gaugh called for paramedics, but Nowell had died several hours earlier, and was pronounced dead at the scene. Nowell was cremated and his ashes were spread over his favorite surfing spot in Surfside, California. A headstone was placed at Westminster Memorial Cemetery in Westminster, California in his memory.

Eight months after Nowell's death, No Doubt headlined a "cautionary" benefit concert in honor of his memory. Nowell's widow wanted to make it clear that the goal of the concert was not to glamorize his death, but rather to promote drug awareness and prevention among fans. Proceeds from the concert were given to a nonprofit offering support for musicians struggling with drug addiction, as well as a scholarship fund for Nowell's son, Jakob.[14]

On January 11, 1997, a Los Angeles Times article titled "Cautionary Concert in Rocker's Memory," writer Jerry Crowe quoted No Doubt bassist Tony Kanal as saying, "Obviously, it's going to be very emotional because you're there playing a show to commemorate a good friend who died and died for very wrong reasons. But you're also there to change things for the future and prevent stuff like that from ever happening again. A lot of times we hear about musicians using drugs and it's so blasé and clichéd. You just kind of say, 'Oh, he'll be fine. Somebody will take care of him.' But that's not true. It's important for every single one of us to stand up and say, 'Enough of this shit.' It's time to make a difference."[14]

Jason Westfall, one of Sublime's managers, was quoted as saying that the other members of Sublime had no interest in continuing to perform and record under the "Sublime" name: "Just like Nirvana, Sublime died when Brad died." Sublime played their last show at the Phoenix Theater in Petaluma, California.[15] In late 2010 and early 2011 the remaining band members, along with Rome Ramirez, began touring under the name Sublime with Rome.


In light of Nowell's death, record executives considered not releasing Sublime's final album. The album was eventually released, though the original title, Killin' It, was replaced by the eponymous title, Sublime, and was released on July 30, 1996.

By 1997, the album entered Billboard's Top 20, with the largely acoustic single, "What I Got," becoming the number one song on the Modern Rock chart.[16] The album produced three more radio hits: "Santeria," "Wrong Way," and "Doin' Time." The accompanying music videos for "Santeria," "What I Got," and "Wrong Way," received heavy rotation on MTV, with previously filmed footage of Nowell performing live intercut into the video. The footage which was used came mostly from shows in 1996.

Sublime became one of the most successful American rock acts of 1997.[17] Rolling Stone reported in March 2010 that the album Sublime had sold over 6 million copies.[18]

In 2009, Gaugh and Wilson teamed up with Rome Ramirez to form Sublime with Rome after an attempt to reform "Sublime" was blocked by Nowell's estate. The new band plays all of Sublime's original songs except for "Caress Me Down", which Rome refuses to play out of respect for Nowell and his fans due to it having his name in the lyrics. The band also records original music. Their 2011 debut album Yours Truly is dedicated to Nowell.

Personal life

Marriage and fatherhood

While on tour in the early 1990s, Nowell began dating Troy Dendekker. In October, 1994, Troy became pregnant, giving birth to a son, Jakob James Nowell on June 8, 1995. A week before Nowell died, the couple married in a Hawaiian-themed ceremony in Las Vegas.[6]

Lou Dog

In February 1990, Nowell purchased an abused dalmatian puppy from an old man for $500, and named him "Louie" after his grandfather.[1] Also referred to as "Lou Dog," he became a mascot for the band Sublime. Lou Dog was often allowed to wander the stage during concert performances. Louie was also often featured on the cover of Sublime albums, and was referred to in the lyrics of Sublime songs. In Sublime's most successful radio track, "What I Got," Nowell sings, "Livin' with Louie Dog's the only way to stay sane." Another prominent song of the band, "Garden Grove," mentions Lou Dog as such: "We took this trip to Garden Grove. It smelled like Lou dog inside the van, oh yeah."

Nowell would sometimes begin live songs by referencing Lou Dog, and can be heard on the live version of "Caress Me Down" from Stand By Your Van yelling "Everybody say Louie - 1,2,3 Louie, Louie, Louie, Louie!" Nowell was known to invite his friends and their dogs over to film parodies of popular music videos; the dogs would pose as a band or an artist, dressed in corresponding costumes. In the early 1990s, Lou Dog disappeared for a week. Lou Dog was soon returned to Nowell, who later covered the Camper Van Beethoven song "The Day That Lassie Went To The Moon," and changed it to "Lou Dog Went to the Moon." Following Nowell's death in 1996, Lou Dog was cared for by Miguel. Lou Dog died on September 17, 2001.[19]



Dan MacDonald Custom Electric Guitar - Body based on a mix of a 1960s Vox Hurricane and a G and L 100 guitar — Ebony Fretboard — Fitted with a Floyd Rose Vibrato System
Ibanez S-540 Electric Guitar - Smoke Black — Flame Top
Ibanez S-470 Blue
Ibanez S-540
Gibson Les Paul
Bradley borrowed guitars many times from other bands.


Boss DD-3 Digital Delay
Boss OS-2 Overdrive Distortion
Whirlwind A/B Selector


Marshall JCM-800 Combo / 2x12
Roland JC-120 Jazz Chorus Combo / 2x12
Mesa/Boogie {Triple Rectifier} Head / 4x12 Cabinet


1. "Sublime". Behind the Music. 2001-05-30. VH1. 
2. Boehm, Mike (May 4, 1995). "Sublime Making the Most of '40oz.' of Success". Los Angeles Times. Eddy Hartenstein.
3. Prato, Greg. "Brad Nowell Biography". Allmusic. 
4. Smith, RJ (1997-01-06). "Drug Bust: When Brad Nowell Died of a Heroin Overdose". Spin. 
5. Patterson, Kevin (2006-12-09). "Brad Nowell's Report Card | Flickr - Photo Sharing!". 
6. Farley, Christopher John (1996-08-12). "Sublime: When the Music's Over". Time. 
7. Freedom du Lac, J. (November 5, 1995). "Ska's the Limit for Controversial Band Sublime". The Sacramento Bee. Cheryl Dell.
8. Brown, Mark (April 30, 1995). "Belmont Shore's Sublime, playing Board in South Bay on Saturday, isn't fazed by the success, or furor, over its recording 'Date Rape.'". The Orange County Register. Freedom Communications, Inc.
9. Sullivan, James (August 11, 2002). "Rocker dies young and becomes a star". San Francisco Chronicle. Hearst Corporation. 
10. Boehm, Mike (June 1, 1996). "The Examined Life Ends for Brad Nowell; In appreciation: Late leader of Long Beach-based Sublime used his talents to explore how heroin addiction affected him. His legacy is greater than one novelty hit.". Los Angeles Times. Eddy Hartenstein.
11. "Sublime - Pawn Shop Lyrics". MetroLyrics. 
12. "Band's singer found dead in motel". SFGate. 
13. "The Band". 
14. "Cautionary Concert in Rocker's Memory - latimes". 1997-01-11. 
15. Vigil, Jennifer (1996-05-27). "Nowell's Memory Survives Mourning: Family and friends say L.B. singer likely succumbed to his drug addiction.". Long Beach PT. 
16. "Sublime's chart history". 
17. "Video Sublime — Behind the Music vh1 (full version) van IM BACK — MySpace Video". 
18. Serpick, Evan (March 18, 2010). Rolling Stone (1100).
19. "Lou Dog stories". 2011-05-25. 

"The Bronze Buckaroo" Actor & Musician Herb Jeffries 2014 Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Herb Jeffries (born Umberto Alexander Valentino; September 24, 1913 – May 25, 2014) was an American actor of film and television and popular music and jazz singer-songwriter, known of his baritone voice. He was of African descent and Hollywood's first singing black cowboy.

In the 1940s and 1950s Jeffries recorded for a number of labels, including RCA Victor, Exclusive, Coral, Decca, Bethlehem, Columbia, Mercury and Trend. His album Jamaica, recorded by RKO, is a concept album of self-composed calypso songs.

He starred in several low-budget "race"[1] Western feature films aimed at black audiences,[4] Harlem on the Prairie (1937), Two-Gun Man from Harlem (1938), Rhythm Rodeo (1938),[5] The Bronze Buckaroo (1939) and Harlem Rides the Range (1939). He also acted in several other films and television shows.[2] During his acting career he was usually billed as Herbert Jeffrey[4] (sometimes "Herbert Jeffries" or "Herbert Jeffries, Sensational Singing Cowboy").[6]

Early life and ethnicity

Jeffries was born Umberto Alexander Valentino in Detroit to a white Irish mother[2][7] who ran a rooming house. His father, whom he never knew, was of mixed Sicilian, French, Italian and Moorish roots.[8][9][10][11] He also claimed that his paternal great-grandmother was an Ethiopian with the surname of Carey.[12]

Firm evidence of Jeffries’s race and age is hard to come by, but census documents from 1920 described him as mulatto and listed his father as a black man named Howard Jeffrey. Jeffries himself, late in life, said that Howard Jeffrey was his stepfather, and his biological father was Domenico Balentino, a Sicilian who died in World War I.[7]

Jeffries once described himself in an interview as "three-eighths Negro," claiming pride in an African-American heritage during a period when many light-skinned black performers were attempting "to pass" as all-white in an effort to broaden their commercial appeal. In marked contrast, Jeffries used make-up to darken his skin in order to pursue a career in jazz and to be seen as employable by the leading all-black musical ensembles of the day.[9]

Much later in his career, Jeffries identified as white for economic or highly personal reasons. Jet reported that Jeffries identified as White and stated his "real" name as "Herbert Jeffrey Ball" on an application in order to marry Tempest Storm in 1959.[13] Jeffries told the reporter for Jet:

"... I'm not passing, I never have, I never will. For all these years I've been wavering about the color question on the blanks. Suddenly I decided to fill in the blank the way I look and feel. Look at my blue eyes, look at my brown hair, look at my color. What color do you see?" he demand to know. "My mother was 100 per cent white," Jeffries said, his blue eyes glinting in the New York sun. "My father is Portuguese, Spanish, American Indian, and Negro. How in the hell can I identify myself as one race or another?"[13]

Raised in Detroit, Jeffries grew up "a ghetto baby"[14] in a mixed neighborhood without encountering severe racism as a child. In the aftermath of the Wall Street Crash of 1929, he dropped out of high school to earn a living as a singer.[14] He showed great interest in singing during his formative teenage years and was often found hanging out with the Howard Buntz Orchestra at various Detroit ballrooms.[2] Intensely musical from boyhood, he began performing in a local speakeasy where he caught the attention of Louis Armstrong, who gave the teenager a note of recommendation for Erskine Tate at the Savoy Ballroom in Chicago. Knowing that Tate fronted an all-black band, Jeffries claimed to be a Creole, and was offered a position as a featured singer three nights a week. Later he toured with Earl "Fatha" Hines's Orchestra in the Deep South.[14]

A 2007 documentary short describes Jeffries as "assuming the identity of a man of color" early in his career.[15] He is shown in Black/White and All That Jazz explaining that he was inspired by New Orleans-born musician Louis Armstrong to say falsely, at a job interview in Chicago, that he was "a Creole from Louisiana" when he was of Irish and Sicilian heritage, among other ethnic backgrounds.[15]

Music career

From Detroit, at the urging of Louis Armstrong, Jeffries moved to Chicago where he performed in various clubs. One of his first gigs was in a club allegedly owned by Al Capone.[2] Jeffries began his career working with Erskine Tate and his Vendome Orchestra. Tate signed the 19-year-old Jeffries to a contract with his Orchestra at the Savoy Ballroom in Chicago.[2] His break came during the 1933 Chicago World's Fair A Century of Progress International Exposition singing with the Earl Hines Orchestra on Hines’ national broadcasts live from the Grand Terrace Cafe. His first recordings were with Hines in 1934, including "Just to be in Carolina."[16] 

By 1940, he was singing with the Duke Ellington Orchestra and then recorded with him from 1940 to 1942. His 1940 recording of "Flamingo" with Ellington, released in 1941, sold more than 14 million copies in its day. His name had been Herbert Jeffrey, but the credits on the record mistakenly called him Jeffries, so he renamed himself to match the typo.[7] "Flamingo" was later covered by a white singer, the popular vocalist Tony Martin.[4] During his time with the Duke Ellington Orchestra as a lead vocalist, Jeffries proved his talent as a mature singer, demonstrating his wide vocal range in such songs as "I Don’t Know What Kind of Blues I’ve Got," "The Brownskin Gal," and "Jump for Joy" (all 1941).[14] The 1944 single "My Little Brown Book" by Ellington and his Famous Orchestra, on which Jeffries provided vocals, reached No. 4 on Billboard R and B chart.[17] Later on, Jeffries was replaced in the Ellington's band by Al Hibbler.

In his teens, Jeffries had developed a fine voice, initially singing in higher registers.[16] He started out his singing career as a lyrical tenor, but, on the advice of Duke Ellington's longtime music arranger, Billy Strayhorn, he lowered his range to mimic the vocal stylings of crooner Bing Crosby. Jeffries became a "silken, lusty baritone," according to music critic Jonny Whiteside.[2][18]

In 1945, Jeffries had a hit on the Billboard R and B chart with "Left A Good Deal In Mobile" (No. 2), on which he was accompanied by pianist Joe Liggins and his band Honeydrippers.[17] Then, he moved to Europe and performed there for many years, including at nightclubs he owned. He was back in America by the 1950s, recording jazz records again, including 1957 collection of ballads, Say It Isn’t So.[7]

In 1995, at age 81, he recorded The Bronze Buckaroo (Rides Again), a Nashville album of songs on the Warner Western label.[3]

Film career

Touring the Deep South with Hines, Jeffries was struck by the realities of segregation, as the Orchestra’s playing was restricted to tobacco warehouses and black-only movie theatres. Watching young boys fill theatres to watch the latest western, Jeffries resolved to create a cowboy hero geared specifically for such an audience.[14] A self-confessed western buff who had grown up watching the silent escapades of Tom Mix and Jack Holt, in the 1930s Jeffries set out to produce a low-budget western with an all-black cast. Though the silent era had seen a number of films starring only black actors, they had all but disappeared with the economic downturn and the arrival of the talkies, which proved too expensive for many of the "white independents" funding such projects. Jeffries’s ambition was to produce sound cinema’s "first all-Negro musical western." To fund his project, Jeffries approached a veteran B-movie producer named Jed Buell. Jeffries, having obtained finances, wrote his own songs for the film[5] and hired Spencer Williams to appear with him. When Buell wanted to know of a likely candidate for the lead role, Jeffries nominated himself. Having grown up partly on his grandfather’s farm, he had all the requisite horse-riding and roping skills, beside a fine singing voice, but Buell expressed concerns; Jeffries, whose mother was of Irish descent, was "not black enough." Eventually they went ahead, using make-up to darken the leading man’s skin tone. Jeffries made his debut as a crooning cowboy with Harlem on the Prairie, which was considered the first black western following the inauguration of the talkies[2] and the first sound Western with an all-black cast.[5] The movie was shot in 1937 over five days at N.B. Murray's Dude Ranch in Apple Valley, California, with Jeffries performing all his own stunts. Though critical reception was mixed, the film received a write-up in Time magazine and grossed $50,000 in its first 12 months. Playing a singing cowboy in low-budget films, Jeffries became known as the "Bronze Buckaroo" by his fans. In a time of American racial segregation, such "race movies" played mostly in theaters catering to African-American audiences.[19] The films include 

Harlem on the Prairie

The Bronze Buckaroo

Harlem Rides the Range 

and Two-Gun Man from Harlem.

Jeffries went on to star in another three musical westerns over the next two years.[14] Jeffries starred as a singing cowboy, in several all-black Western films, in which he sang his own western compositions. In those films, Jeffries starred as cowboy Bob Blake, sang and performed his own stunts. Bob Blake was the good guy, with a thin mustache, who wore a white Stetson and rode a white horse named Stardusk.[4][5]

Jeffries went on to make other films, starring in the title film role of Calypso Joe co-starring Angie Dickinson in Calypso Joe (1957). In 1968, Jeffries appeared in the long-running western TV series The Virginian playing a gunslinger who intimidated the town. In the 1970s he appeared on episodes of I Dream of Jeannie and Hawaii Five-0.[2] He later directed and produced Mundo depravados, a cult film starring his wife, Tempest Storm.

Honors and legacy

Today Jeffries is respected and remembered as a pioneer who broke down rusted-shut racial doors in Hollywood and ultimately displayed a positive image as a black actor on celluloid.[2]

For his recording career, Jeffries has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6672 Hollywood Boulevard. In 2004 he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In 1998 a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars was dedicated to him.[20]

Jeffries was described as the only black singing cowboy star in Hollywood history and, more recently, after the deaths of Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and others, as the "last of the singing cowboys."[4]

Jazz pianist Herbie Hancock was named after him.[21]

Personal life

His four marriages (including one to exotic dancer Tempest Storm) produced five children.

In 2007, while assembling material for the producers of a documentary film about him (A Colored Life), Jeffries found his birth certificate; this reminded him that he actually was born in 1913 and that he had misrepresented his age after he left home to look for a job.

He appeared at jazz festivals and events benefiting autism and other developmental problems and lectured at colleges and universities. He supported music education in schools. In June 2010, aged 96, Jeffries performed to raise funds for the Oceanside (California) Unified School District's music program, accompanied by the Big Band Jazz Hall of Fame Orchestra under the direction of clarinetist Tad Calcara. This benefit concert was his second (the previous concert was in 2001).

In later years, he resided in Wichita, Kansas.[10] He died of heart failure at West Hills Hospital and Medical Center on May 25, 2014, at the age of 100.[5][22]

Herb Jeffries is interred at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

Selected filmography[2]

Harlem on the Prairie (1937)
Two-Gun Man from Harlem (1938)
Harlem Rides the Range (1939)
The Bronze Buckaroo (1939)
Calypso Joe (1957)
Chrome and Hot Leather (1971)
Portrait of a Hitman (1977)


Sidney Bechet: 1940–1941 (Classics)
Earl Hines: 1932–1934 (Classics)
Duke Ellington:The Blanton–Webster Band (RCA , 1940–42)
Michael Martin Murphey: Sagebrush Symphony
Jamaica (RKO) all songs composed by Jeffries
Passion (Brunswick) Coral singles compiled on 12" LP
Say it Isn't So (Bethlehem) with the Russ Garcia Orchestra
Herb Jeffries (Harmony) Columbia singles LP
Magenta Moods (Mercury 10") LP transfer of Exclusive label album
Herb Jeffries Sings (Mercury 10") more Exclusive singles with the Buddy Baker Orchestra
Herb Jeffries and His Orchestra (Mercury 10") Exclusive label singles
Songs by Herb Jeffries (Mercury 10") Exclusive label singles
I Remember the Bing (Dobre)
Play and Sing the Duke (Dobre)
The King and Me (Dobre)


1. "Herb Jeffries, jazz balladeer and star of all-black cowboy movies, dies". The Washington Post. May 26, 2014.
2. Herb Jeffries at the Internet Movie Database
3. Warner Bros. Records. "Promotional image of Herb Jeffries". Internet Archive Wayback Machine. 
4. "Herb Jeffries Obituary".
5. "Herb Jeffries, Pioneering Black Singing Cowboy of the Movies, Dies at 100". The Hollywood Reporter. May 25, 2014.
7. "Herb Jeffries-Singing Star of Black Cowboy Films Dies at 100". nytimes. May 27, 2014.
8. Feather, Leonard. "Jeffries, Herb" profile, Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz (Oxford UP, 1999). p. 354.
9. Manzoor, Sarfraz. "From Our Own Correspondent – The Black Cowboy." BBC Radio 4. First aired on March 21, 2013. Segment on Jeffries begins at 22:10. 
10. Fessier, Bruce (2013-09-24). "Bruce Fessier: At 100, age is just a number for jazz legend Herb Jeffries". The Desert Sun. Gannett Company. 
11. "Jeffries, Herb" profile at Biography and Genealogy Master Index (Gale, Cengage Learning, 2013)
12. "The Bronze Buckaroo Rides Off Into The Sunset". WMRA. 
13. Johnson, John H., ed. "Herb Jeffries Lists Self 'White'". Jet. June 11, 1959. pp. 48–49
14. "Herb Jeffries-obituary". The Telegraph. July 13, 2014.
15. Bailey, Betty; Lynde, Carol (2007). "Black/White and All That Jazz". Tall Paul Productions. 
16. "Herb Jeffries: Leading man in a string of all-black cowboy films who also sang with the Duke Ellington Orchestra". The Independent. May 29, 2014.
17. Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R and B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 297.
19. Halper, Donna L. "Hats off to a Happy Cowboy: A Salute to Herb Jeffries". Classic Images. In addition to being the first all-black singing cowboy film, Harlem on the Prairie was unique in other ways. Black films usually played in black theaters only. (One estimate is that there were as many as 500 black theaters nation-wide at the time when Herb Jeffries' first movie came out.) This film was not only shown in segregated movie houses; it was also shown in East and West Coast theaters where the audiences were mainly white.
20. Palm Springs Walk of Stars by date dedicated
21. Hancock, Herbie (February 2014). "The Ethics of Jazz". 11:50: Mahindra Humanities Center. 
22. McLellan, Dennis (26 May 2014). "Herb Jeffries dies at 100; Hollywood's first black singing cowboy". Los Angeles Times.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

"The Rifleman" Producer Jules Victor Levy 2003 Hillside Cemetery

Jules Victor Levy (February 12, 1923 – May 24, 2003) was the producer of the popular television series The Rifleman, The Detectives, and The Big Valley. Levy worked in film as well.

Early years

Jules Levy was the son of Joseph L. Levy, a real estate broker, and Bessie Levy. He was raised in Beverly Hills and joined the Army Air Force to fight in World War II.

Forms Production Company

While serving under Ronald Reagan at Culver City's Hal Roach Studios, Levy met Arthur Gardner and Arnold Laven, and the three men formed a production company, Levy-Gardner-Laven. Serving in various producer capacities from the early '40s to the mid-'70s, Levy was involved with such films as the 1967 Elvis Presley musical Clambake.[1]


Though he produced over 30 films in the course of his career, Levy is best known for his involvement in the hit television programs 

The Rifleman

The Big Valley

and The Detectives.[2]


Jules Levy died in his Los Angeles home following an extended illness. He was 80. He is buried in Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery, Los Angeles (Garden of Abraham).[3]


1. JULES LEVY | Produced hit TV Westerns; 80. The San Diego Union – Tribune. San Diego, Calif.: June 6, 2003. pg. B.5
2. PASSINGS; Jules Levy, 80; Producer of TV's 'Rifleman,' Independent Films. Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, Calif.: May 28, 2003. pg. B.11
3. Distinguished Residents of Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary