Friday, October 31, 2014

A Woodlawn Cemetery Halloween

A Hollywood Forever Cemetery Halloween

Actor River Phoenix Collapses on Viper Room Sidewalk 1993

River Jude Phoenix (August 23, 1970 – October 31, 1993) was an American film actor. He was listed on John Willis's Screen World, Vol. 38 as one of twelve "promising new actors of 1986," and was hailed as highly talented by such critics as Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel. He was also well known for his animal rights activism. He died of a drug overdose on Halloween morning 1993 at age 23.[1] He was the oldest sibling of actors and actresses Rain Phoenix, Joaquin Phoenix, Liberty Phoenix and Summer Phoenix.

Early life

Phoenix was born River Jude Bottom in a two-room log cabin in Metolius, Oregon,[2] on August 23, 1970, the oldest child of Arlyn Sharon Dunetz and John Lee Bottom. His parents named their first child after the river of life from novel Siddhartha.[2]

In an interview with People, River Phoenix described his parents as "hippieish".[2] His mother was born in The Bronx, New York, to Jewish parents from Hungary and Russia.[3][4][5][6] His father was a lapsed Catholic from Fontana, California.[3] In 1968, Phoenix's mother left her family in New York and moved to California, meeting Phoenix's father while hitchhiking. They married in June 1969 and joined the religious cult the Children of God, working as missionaries and fruit pickers in Venezuela.[2] Phoenix was the oldest of five and had four younger siblings: one brother, Joaquin, and three sisters, Rain, Summer, and Liberty. He also had an older half-sister from his father's previous relationship, Jodene (who later changed her name to Trust).

In an interview with Details magazine in November 1991, Phoenix stated that he lost his virginity at age four.[7][2] The magazine quotes him as saying "But I've blocked it out ... I was completely celibate from 10 to 14."[7] His representatives reportedly pressured him to later recant the comment, claiming it was "a joke."

In March 1994, Esquire magazine quoted River as speaking angrily of the Children of God cult: "They're disgusting ... they're ruining people's lives."[8] After the family left the cult and returned to the United States in 1977, they officially adopted the surname "Phoenix" on April 2, 1979, to reflect their rebirth to a new life, just like the mythical sacred firebird Phoenix arising from the ashes.

In 1977, the family returned to United States, and lived with Phoenix's maternal grandparents in Florida before moving to California and eventually settling back in Micanopy near Gainesville, Florida, in 1987.[2]

Phoenix often made different and conflicting accounts of his life to reporters. He told reporters "I have lied and changed stories and contradicted myself left and right, so at the end of the year you could read five different articles and say 'This guy is schizophrenic.'"[9]


Phoenix pursued a career in show business, encouraged by his parents. He had significant juvenile roles in Joe Dante's Explorers (1985); Rob Reiner's coming of age picture Stand By Me (1986) which first brought Phoenix to public prominence; Peter Weir's The Mosquito Coast (1986), where Phoenix played the son of Harrison Ford's character; A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon (1988); and Little Nikita (1988) with Sidney Poitier.

In 1989, at the age of 18, Phoenix was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor (as well as for a Golden Globe) and received the Best Supporting Actor honor from the National Board of Review for his role in Sidney Lumet's Running on Empty (1988).

At the suggestion of Harrison Ford, Phoenix portrayed the teenage Indiana Jones in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) and was offered the role of the young Indiana Jones in the TV series, which he turned down. Phoenix met actor Keanu Reeves while Reeves was filming Parenthood with Phoenix's brother, Joaquin. River later went on to star opposite Reeves (along with Kevin Kline, Tracey Ullman and Joan Plowright) in 1990's I Love You to Death and again in Gus Van Sant's avant-garde film My Own Private Idaho. For his role in My Own Private Idaho, Phoenix won Best Actor honors at the Venice Film Festival, the National Society of Film Critics and the Independent Spirit Awards. The film and its success solidified Phoenix's image as an actor with edgy, leading man potential. At a press screening for My Own Private Idaho at the New York Film Festival Phoenix correctly predicted a large number of gay-themed films were "on the horizon."[10] (His friendship with Reeves and Van Sant continued until his death). Just prior to My Own Private Idaho, he filmed an acclaimed independent picture called Dogfight co-starring Lili Taylor and directed by Nancy Savoca, in which Phoenix portrayed a young U.S. Marine on the night prior to his being shipped off to Vietnam in November 1963.

After losing out on the Brad Pitt role in Robert Redford's film A River Runs Through It, Phoenix teamed up with Redford and again with Sidney Poitier for the conspiracy/espionage thriller Sneakers (1992). He then appeared in Peter Bogdanovich's country music-themed film, The Thing Called Love (1993); it was his last completed picture before his death. Phoenix and co-star in the film, Samantha Mathis, became an item in real life.

“It's not about career. It's about believing in something, it's about prosperity. And it's about caring and empathizing and wanting to create the best, the most true to life, the most real. ”

After his death in 1993, his last picture, Sam Shepard's art-house, ghost western Silent Tongue (1994), was released; it had been filmed prior to The Thing Called Love. Phoenix was still working on George Sluizer's post-apocalyptic Dark Blood which was three weeks from completion at the time of his death. 90% completed, the film was never released, as Phoenix's death made it impossible for the filmmakers to film several key scenes. Director George Sluizer now owns the material and has been reported to be considering releasing some footage material about Phoenix embedded in a documentary on River's life.

Phoenix was being considered for the role of Jim Carroll, the drug addicted teen in the 1995 drama The Basketball Diaries and Arthur Rimbaud in Total Eclipse. After his death, Leonardo DiCaprio was cast in both roles. Author Anne Rice had originally wanted Phoenix cast in the role of Lestat in the film version of Interview with the Vampire and Phoenix became attached to the project; however, when the producer wanted a more consistently bankable actor for the part, Tom Cruise was hired (against Rice's initial outrage). Phoenix remained with the picture and was to appear as the interviewer, Daniel Molloy, a role that ultimately ended up going to Christian Slater following Phoenix's death. The film was dedicated to him and Slater donated his salary from the film to Phoenix's favorite charities.

Generally regarded by critics at the time as the most promising young actor on the cusp of the '80s and '90s, River and younger brother Joaquin would later go on to become the first brothers in Hollywood history to be nominated for an Oscar in the acting categories.


“I've been wanting to go into music ever since I can remember. I mean even before I became an actor. I just thought it would be a tough field to break into, so I became an actor instead.”

Although Phoenix's movie career was generating most of the income for his family, it has been stated by close friends and relatives that his true passion was music. Phoenix was a singer, song writer and an accomplished guitarist. He had begun teaching himself guitar at the age of five and had stated in an interview for E! in 1988 that his family's move to Los Angeles when he was nine was made so that he and his sister "..could become recording artists. I fell into commercials for financial reasons and acting became an attractive concept..." Prior to securing an acting agent, Phoenix and his siblings had attempted to forge a career in music by playing cover songs on the streets of the Westwood district of LA; often being moved along by police because of the gathering crowds who obstructed the pavement.

Whilst working on A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon in 1986 Phoenix had written and recorded a song, "Heart to Get," specifically for the end credits of the movie. 20th Century Fox cut it from the completed film, but director William Richert put it back into place for his director's cut some years later. It was during filming that Phoenix met Chris Blackwell of Island Records, this meeting would later secure Phoenix a 2 year development deal with the label. Phoenix disliked the idea of being a solo artist and relished collaboration and so focused on putting together a band. Aleka's Attic were formed in 1987 and the line up included his sister Rain. Phoenix was committed to gaining credibility by his own merit and so he maintained that the band would not use his name when securing performances that were not benefits for charitable organizations. Phoenix's first release was 'Across the Way,' co-written with bandmate Josh McKay, which was released in 1989 on a benefit album for PETA entitled "Tame Yourself." In 1991 River wrote and recorded a spoken word piece called "Curi Curi" for Milton Nascimento's album TXAI. Also in 1991 the Aleka's Attic track "Too Many Colors" was lent to the soundtrack of Gus Van Sant's My Own Private Idaho a film which included Phoenix in a starring role.

Due to Phoenix having to take numerous breaks to fulfill movie obligations the two year deal was frozen repeatedly and, subsequently, it was over four years before the final demos were completed. With the refusal to compromise his music to gear it towards a more 'mainstream' audience the deal eventually fell through. Around this time, Phoenix's friend John Frusciante had left his band Red Hot Chili Peppers and, with Phoenix spending more and more time in LA, the two began collaborating frequently; recording material on 4 and 8-track recorders in Frusciante's home.

In 1992, Phoenix worked with producer and friend T-Bone Burnett on some songs for his final completed film The Thing Called Love. Phoenix performed all his character's songs himself and wrote the song "Lone Star State of Mine" especially for the movie. In 1996, a second Aleka's Attic track was released, "Note to a Friend" was included on a PETA compilation album In Defense of Animals Volume II. The track included friend Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers on bass. Two tracks collaborated on with John Frusciante were intended for release on his first solo album Niandre Lades and usually just a t-shirt(1994) but were pulled by request of the Phoenix family. They were released instead on Frusciante's second solo record, Smile from the streets you hold (1997) under different titles, "Height Down" (originally titled 'Soul Removal') and "Well, I've Been" (originally titled 'bought her soul').

Phoenix, along with friend Dan Aykroyd and other musically inclined celebrities, was an investor in the original House of Blues in Cambridge, Massachusetts which opened its doors to the public after serving a group of homeless people on Thanksgiving Day 1992.[11] Phoenix was also close friends with Michael Stipe of the band R.E.M.. At the time of his death Phoenix had been working on an album with Aleka's Attic (then consisting of a different line-up). The album, although close to completion, was shelved after Phoenix's death due to two of the musicians declining to sign artistic releases.


“If I have some celebrity, I hope I can use it to make a difference. The true social reward is that I can speak my mind and share my thoughts about the environment and civilisation itself. There's so much shit happening with people who are exploiting their positions and creating a lot of negativity.”

Phoenix was a dedicated animal rights, environmental and political activist. He was a prominent spokesperson for PETA and won their Humanitarian award in 1990 for his fund-raising efforts.[12] Also in 1990, for Earth Day, Phoenix wrote an environmental awareness essay targeted at his young fanbase, which was printed in Seventeen magazine. He financially aided a slew of environmental and humanitarian organizations and bought 800 acres (3.2 km2) of endangered rainforest in Costa Rica.

As well as comparing and giving speeches at rallies for various groups, he and his band often played environmental benefits for well known charities and also that of local ones around Gainesville, Florida. Phoenix was renowned for using his power within the media to voice his beliefs and opinions on issues he felt important, with his fanclub newsletters excluding the typical teen idol fodder to include information about issues such as the arms race, nuclear testing and climate change.


“For a long time, I've said the opposite of what I really thought. In interviews, I've also played characters that I wasn't. I've lied and often contradicted myself to dumbfound people. It's all over now, because I have nothing left to hide. Eventually, I'm quite an ordinary person.”

Prior to his death, River Phoenix's image — one he bemoaned in interviews — had been squeaky-clean, due in part to the public discussion of his various social, political, humanitarian and dietary interests not always popular in the '80s; as a result, his death elicited a vast amount of coverage from the media at the time. To this day, most family and friends remain silent on the subject.

Shortly before his 1993 demise, Phoenix, whose drug habits were still unknown to the public, said in an interview, "...drugs aren't just done by bad guys and sleaze-bags; it's a universal disease."[13][14]

Phoenix once said in an interview, "I wish sometimes that I wasn't as conscious as I am."[15]

Viper Room Sunset SidewalkDeath

On October 31, 1993, Phoenix collapsed from a drug overdose of heroin and cocaine (known as a speedball) outside the Viper Room, a Hollywood night club partially owned, at the time, by actor Johnny Depp. Phoenix had returned to Los Angeles early that week from Utah to complete the three weeks of interior shots left on his last (and, uncompleted) project Dark Blood. His younger sister Rain and brother Joaquin had flown out from Florida to join him at his hotel. River's girlfriend Samantha Mathis had also come to meet him, and all would be present at the scene of River's death.

On the evening of October 30, River was to perform onstage with his close friend Michael "Flea" Balzary from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. At some point in the evening Phoenix went to the bathroom to take drugs with various friends and dealers.[16] It is reported that an acquaintance offered him some Persian Brown (a powerful form of methamphetamine mixed with opiates, which is then snorted) and soon after consuming the drug he became ill.[16]

Upon leaving The Viper Room, River Phoenix collapsed onto the sidewalk and began convulsing for eight minutes. Joaquin dialed 911; during the call Joaquin was unable to determine whether River was breathing. River had, in fact, already stopped breathing. Rain proceeded to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. During the episode, Johnny Depp and his band P (featuring Flea and Phoenix's friend Gibby Haynes of the Butthole Surfers) were onstage. According to Haynes the band was in the middle of their song, "Michael Stipe" (which includes the line "but we didnt have a part, not a piece of our heart, not Michael, River Phoenix or Flea or me."), while Phoenix was outside the venue having seizures on the sidewalk.[17] When the news filtered through the club, Flea left the stage and rushed outside. Paramedics had arrived on the scene and found Phoenix in asystole (flatline), when they administered drugs in an attempt to restart his heart. He was rushed to the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, accompanied by Flea, via an ambulance. Further attempts to resuscitate Phoenix (including the insertion of a pacemaker) were unsuccessful. He was pronounced dead at 1:51 a.m. PST on the morning of October 31, 1993.[18] The following day the club became a make-shift shrine with fans and mourners leaving flowers, pictures and candles on the sidewalk and graffiti messages on the walls of the venue. A sign was placed in the window that read, "With much respect and love to River and his family, The Viper Room is temporarily closed. Our heartfelt condolences to all his family, friends and loved ones. He will be missed". The club remained closed for a week. Johnny Depp continued to close the club every year on October 31 until selling his share in 2004.

A local paparazzo chose not to photograph Phoenix dying on the street, however, the day before his cremation in Florida, a reporter broke into the funeral home and took a picture of Phoenix resting in his casket; this picture was later to be sold to the tabloids for $1,000,000. It has now been published by the National Enquirer three times since the initial publishing in 1993.

References in popular culture

River Phoenix first gained references in music with Brazilian singer Milton Nascimento writing the song "River Phoenix: Letter to a Young Actor" about him after having seen Phoenix in The Mosquito Coast (1986). The song appears on the 1989 release Miltons. Phoenix's friends, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, wrote a few lines for him in the song "Give It Away" from the 1991 album Blood Sugar Sex Magik: "There's a River born to be a giver, keep you warm won't let you shiver, his heart is never gonna wither..."

Phoenix has been the subject of numerous tributes in song and other media. The band R.E.M. dedicated their album Monster to Phoenix, and their song "E-Bow the Letter" from 1996's New Adventures in Hi-Fi is said to have been written from a letter Michael Stipe wrote to Phoenix but never sent because of the actor's death. Musician Sam Phillips has the dedication "For River" on her album Martinis and Bikinis. Again, Red Hot Chili Peppers, paid tribute with the song "Transcending" on 1995's One Hot Minute being written about him. Other songs inspired by Phoenix include Dana Lyons' "Song For River Phoenix (If I Had Known)," Grant Lee Buffalo's "Halloween," Natalie Merchant's "River" for her 1995 album Tigerlily, Ellis Paul's song "River," found on his 1994 release Stories,[19] Rufus Wainwright's "Matinee Idol", Nada Surf's "River Phoenix" and Stereophonics's "Chris Chambers." In her 1996 album Woman & A Man, Belinda Carlisle referenced River in the song "California". The song opens and closes with the line "I remember I was in a tanning salon, when I heard that River Phoenix was gone." In Jay-Z's album, Kingdom Come, the lyrics of "Hollywood" list him as one of the many fatalities of the pressures of Hollywood. New York band Japanther featured a song on their album Skuffed up my Huffy (2008) entitled "River Phoenix," which is about certain events in his life and delivers the chorus "River Phoenix didn't mean it". In the song "The Viper Room," Wesley Willis takes an abrupt turn from an otherwise glowing account of the club by noting Phoenix's death, stating that he "...collapsed and died like a Doberman." UK indie-singer/rapper TRIP (aka Alex Child) also recorded a song entitled River Phoenix in 2009, about the night that he died. The song "Jude' from ambient musician Hypnic Jerk's album "Martorell" is a tribute to Phoenix and contains sampled audio from Phoenix's performance in My Own Private Idaho. Hannah Marcus recorded a song titled "River Phoenix," with lyrics about his death, on her 1998 album Faith Burns.

Gus Van Sant, with whom Phoenix worked in the film My Own Private Idaho, dedicated his 1994 movie Even Cowgirls Get The Blues as well as his 1998 novel Pink to him. The film Phoenix was due to start shooting shortly after his death, Interview With The Vampire, features the dedication "In memory of River Phoenix, 1970-1993" at the end of the closing credits. Experimental Santa Cruz filmmaker Cam Archer also produced a documentary called Drowning River Phoenix as part of his USA Fame series.

During performances on November 13[20] and November 15, 1993[21] February 12, 1994,[22] and one of Nirvana's last USA shows in Seattle on January 7, 1994,[23] Kurt Cobain of Nirvana dedicated the song "Jesus Don't Want Me For a Sunbeam" to Phoenix (among other celebrities who died young), just a few months before Cobain's death. Tom Petty dedicated "Ballad of Easy Rider" to Phoenix when he played in his and Phoenix's hometown of Gainesville, Florida in November 1993.

The British band Manic Street Preachers mentions River in their song "Ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthforonedayitsworldwouldfallapart" (from the album The Holy Bible, 1994) in the following line:"...I'm thinking right now of Hollywood tragedy; big mac; smack; Phoenix.R; please smile y'all..."

Phoenix was the subject of a controversial song by Australian group TISM. Titled "(He'll Never Be An) Ol' Man River" the single originally featured a mock-up of River Phoenix' tombstone as its cover art in 1995. The chorus features the line, "I'm on the drug that killed River Phoenix."

On the song "Love Me, Hate Me" by rapper Ja Rule, he numerates different ways he could die as a celebrity, and one of the lyrics says "I might OD in a club off drugs like River Phoenix."

In the 1997 musical, The Fix, Phoenix is alluded to in the song "Mistress of Deception" in the lines, "Hot young actor died last night at an L.A. club./ecstasy and booze/and too much nyquil./had the sweetest face,/warm and shy and innocent; sexy in that careless kinda way./the newsman said his heart just stopped like that...."

The scene of River Phoenix's death merits several mentions in William Gibson's book Spook Country.

A lesser known reference to River Phoenix was Final Fantasty VIII's main protagonist Squall Leonhart. Tetsuya Nomura, the lead character designer for the game, stated he modelled Squall on River's visage during development, and even gave Squall the same birthdate.[24]

The Family Guy episode Three Kings, which was parodying Rob Reiner's Stand By Me ended in a synopsis of what the actors who originally played the characters in the movie went on to do. When he gets to Quagmire, who was parodying the character who was originally played by Phoenix, the narrator states, "Quag grew up to become a famous Hollywood actor. Unfortunately, about a week ago, he took an overdose of designer drugs at the Viper Room. He died, on the curb outside. And now we are left with a harelipped reminder of what might have been." A picture of Joaquin Phoenix, River's brother, fills the screen, accompanied by a Benny Hill-style trumpet sound. After the commercial break, Peter's first line is, "Joaquin Phoenix, if you are still watching, you're a good sport, and a trooper. And you passed our test. And you can be our friend." On the controversial episode, "I Dream of Jesus," Jesus says he raised Phoenix from the dead, only to have him overdose again in front of the Viper Room.

In 2004 Phoenix was voted #64 greatest movie star of all time in a poll by channel 4 television in the UK. The poll was made up wholly of votes from prominent figures of the acting and directing communities.

Phoenix's life and death has been the subject of an E! True Hollywood Story, an A&E Biography and an episode of Final 24, which contains a dramatic reconstruction of his final hours and death.*


1.^ Remembering 1993 Gary Kirkland Gainesville Sun - December 26, 1993
2.^ River's Untimely Death from People (November 15, 1993)
4.^ Summer Phoenix: articles (part 1)
5.^ - 'Walk the Line' Star Won't Campaign for Oscar - Celebrity Gossip Entertainment News Arts And Entertainment
6.^ Ten American showbiz celebrities of Russian descent - Pravda.Ru
7.^ Details, November, 1991[1]
8.^ Esquire magazine, March, 1994
9.^ Gone Too Soon. People. 2007. 37.
10.^ Esquire magazine, March, 1994
11.^ [2]
13.^ People Magazine November 1993
14.^ Chatter:
15.^ Catherine Elsworth. "Ledger death recalls River Phoenix". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2008-01-29.
16.^ "The Untimely Death of River Phoenix". Reel Reviews article. Retrieved 2007-04-24.
17.^ Aaron, Charles. "They Came from Hollywood", Spin, 30 July 2007.
18.^ Weinraub, Bernard (1993-11-02). "Death of River Phoenix Jolts the Movie Industry". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-06-07.
19.^ Ellis Paul website. Lyrics and audio to "River" from the album Stories. Retrieved 3 September 2007.
20.^ LIVE NIRVANA TOUR HISTORY: 11/13/93 - Bender Arena, American University, Washington, DC, US
21.^ LIVE NIRVANA TOUR HISTORY: 11/15/93 - Roseland Ballroom, New York, NY, US
22.^ LIVE NIRVANA TOUR HISTORY: 02/12/94 - Zénith Omega, Toulon, FR
23.^ LIVE NIRVANA TOUR HISTORY: 01/07/94 - Seattle Center Arena, Seattle, WA, US
24.^ Staff (2000-09-21). "The Bouncer Team Talks About Its Mysterious Game". IGN. Retrieved 2009-06-24.

Further reading

Glatt, John. Lost in Hollywood: The Fast Times and Short Life of River Phoenix. ISBN 1-55611-440-0.
Furek, Maxim W.. The Death Proclamation of Generation X: A Self-Fulfilling Prophesy of Goth, Grunge and Heroin. ISBN 978-0-595-46319-0.
Lawrence, Barry C.. In Search of River Phoenix: the Truth Behind the Myth. ISBN 0-9672491-9-8.
Robb, Brian J.. River Phoenix: a short life. ISBN 0-06-095132-X.

Viper Room Sunset Sidewalk

Producer/Director/Dean Gilbert Cates 2011 Hillside Cemetery

Gilbert “Gil” Cates (June 6, 1934 – October 31, 2011), born Gilbert Katz, was an Award winning American film director and television producer, director of the Geffen Playhouse, and founding dean of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. He was probably best known for the annual Academy Award shows he produced 14 times between 1990 and 2008.[1]

Personal life

Cates was born Gilbert Katz in New York City, the son of Jewish parents Nina (née Peltzman) and Nathan Katz,[2] who was a dress manufacturer. He attended DeWitt Clinton High School,[3] and majored at Syracuse University.[1] According to the Jewish Journal, Cates stumbled into his profession by accident: As a pre-med student at Syracuse University, he was in the fencing team and was asked to instruct student actors in a production of Richard III on how to handle swords. He was so taken by the experience that he changed his major to theater.[2]

Cates was a member of the Reform Jewish Wilshire Boulevard Temple. The Jewish Journal quotes him as saying that he only attended services on the High Holy Days, but felt “very proud to be Jewish”.[2]

Cates was first married to Jane Betty Dubin and then to gynecologist Judith Reichman.[4] He had four children from his first and two stepchildren from his second marriage, and five grandchildren. He was the younger brother of Joseph Cates, also a director and producer, and the uncle of actress Phoebe Cates.[2]



Cates was a producing director and president of the board at the Geffen Playhouse.[5] He directed a number of feature films including I Never Sang for My Father (1970), and Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams (1973), both nominated for Oscars, Oh, God! Book II (1980) and The Last Married Couple in America (1980). He also produced and directed Broadway and off-Broadway plays,[1] including I Never Sang for My Father and You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running.[3]

Cates is credited with re-energizing the Academy Awards shows he produced 14 times between 1990 and 2008, recruiting Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, David Letterman, Steve Martin, Chris Rock and Jon Stewart as hosts. He served on the Academy's Board of Governors from 1984 to 1993, winning an Emmy in 1991 for the 63rd annual Oscars. He returned to the board for another term beginning in 2002, and held the post of vice president from 2003 to 2005. From 1983 to 1987 he served as president of the Directors Guild of America.[1] On April 8, 1991 he became dean of UCLA's newly combined School of Theater, Film and Television,[3] a post he held until 1998, and was on the faculty of the school as a professor.[1] In 2005 Cates received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.[5]


Gilbert Cates died in Los Angeles on October 31, 2011 at age 77. He is buried at Hillside Cemetery in Culver City, California.


1.^ Johnson, Reed; King, Susan (November 1, 2011). "Gil Cates: Consummate Hollywood professional." Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 8, 2011.

2.^ Berrin, Danielle (November 1, 2011). "Gil Cates, longtime Oscar producer, dead at 77." Retrieved November 8, 2011.

3.^ Champlin, Charles (February 26, 1991). "Another Year, Another Oscar Strategy - Movies: Gilbert Cates finds a different set of circumstances for this year's Academy Awards, his second as producer of the annual awards show." Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 14, 2009. "He started fencing at Dewitt Clinton High School in the Bronx and, he says, you spent three months of exercise just getting in shape to fence."

4.^ "Gilbert Cates Biography (1934-)." Retrieved November 8, 2011.

5.^ Weinstein, Joshua L. (November 1, 2011). "Oscar Producer Gilbert Cates Dead at 77." The Wrap. Retrieved November 8, 2011.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Actor Ramon Novarro MURDERED 1968 Calvary Cemetery

Jose Ramón Gil Samaniego, best known as Ramón Novarro (February 6, 1899 – October 30, 1968), was a Mexican film, stage and television actor who began his career as a leading man in silent films in 1917. Novarro was promoted by MGM as a "Latin lover" and became known as sex symbol after the death of Rudolph Valentino.

Personal life

Novarro was troubled all his life by his conflicted feelings toward his Roman Catholic religion and his homosexuality. His life-long struggle with alcoholism is often traced to these issues. MGM mogul Louis B. Mayer reportedly tried to coerce Novarro into a "lavender marriage," which he refused. He was romantically involved with journalist Herbert Howe, who was also his publicist in the late 1920s.

Along with Dolores del Río, Lupe Vélez and James Cagney, Novarro was accused of promoting Communism in California. It happened after they attended a special screening of the film ¡QUE VIVA MEXICO! by famed Russian filmmaker Sergei M. Eisenstein.


Novarro was murdered on October 30, 1968, by brothers Paul and Tom Ferguson, aged 22 and 17, whom he had hired from an agency to come to his Laurel Canyon home for sex. According to the prosecution in the murder case, the two young men believed that a large sum of money was hidden in Novarro's house. The prosecution accused the brothers of torturing Novarro for several hours to force him to reveal where the non-existent money was hidden. They left the house with $20 they took from his bathrobe pocket. Novarro died as a result of asphyxiation—having choked to death on his own blood after being beaten. The two perpetrators were caught and sentenced to long prison terms, but released on probation in the mid-1970s. Both were later re-arrested for unrelated crimes for which they served longer prison terms than for the murder of Novarro.

Ramón Novarro is buried in Calvary Cemetery, in Los Angeles. Ramón Novarro's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is at 6350 Hollywood Boulevard.

Polly Bergen 1930-2014 Memorial Video

Polly Bergen (born Nellie Paulina Burgin; July 14, 1930 – September 20, 2014) Memorial Video.

Bergen was an American actress, singer, television host, writer, and entrepreneur.

Bergen was born in Knoxville, Tennessee to Lucy (née Lawhorn) and William Hugh Burgin, a construction engineer. "Bill Bergen," as he was later known, had singing talent and appeared with his daughter in several episodes of her 18-episode NBC comedy/variety show, The Polly Bergen Show, which aired during the 1957-1958 television season.

Bergen appeared in many film roles, most notably in the original Cape Fear (1962) opposite Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum. She had roles in three Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis comedy films in the early 1950s: At War with the Army, That's My Boy and The Stooge. Bergen's later roles included Mrs. Vernon-Williams in Cry-Baby, a John Waters film.

Bergen received an Emmy award for her portrayal of singer Helen Morgan in the episode The Helen Morgan Story of the 1950s television series Playhouse 90. Signed to Columbia Records, she enjoyed a successful recording career during this era, as well. In the 1950s she also was known as "The Pepsi Cola Girl," having done a series of commercials for that product.

She was a regular panelist on the CBS game show To Tell the Truth, during its original run. She also appeared on the NBC interview program Here's Hollywood. In 1963 Bergen co-starred with Doris Day and James Garner in the film comedy, Move Over, Darling. She earned an Emmy nomination for her role as Rhoda Henry, wife of Capt. "Pug" Henry (played by Mitchum), in two ABC miniseries, The Winds of War and its sequel, War and Remembrance.

She starred in a 2001 Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim's Follies at the Belasco Theater and received a Tony Award nomination as Best Featured Actress in a Musical.

Bergen played Fran Felstein on HBO's The Sopranos, the former mistress of Tony Soprano's father, and former mistress of John F. Kennedy. From 2007 to 2011 Bergen had a guest role in Desperate Housewives as Lynette Scavo's mother, Stella Wingfield, which earned her an Emmy Award nomination.

She was a semi-regular cast member of Commander-in-Chief (2006) as the mother of Mackenzie Allen, the President of the United States, played by Geena Davis. Bergen herself had once played the first female President of the United States, as President Leslie McCloud in the 1964 film, Kisses for My President. Another late appearance came in the Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation, Candles on Bay Street (2006), in which she played the assistant to a husband-and-wife team of veterinarians.

In 1965, Bergen created the Polly Bergen Company cosmetics line. She also created lines of jewelry and shoe brands, and authored three books on beauty.

Bergen converted to Judaism after marrying Hollywood talent agent Freddie Fields, with whom she had two adopted children, Pamela Kerry Fields and Peter William Fields. She had previously been a Southern Baptist.

Bergen's niece is television producer Wendy Riche.

Bergen was a liberal-minded, politically active Democrat and feminist.

She won an Emmy Award in 1958 for her performance as Helen Morgan in The Helen Morgan Story. For her stage work she was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance as Carlotta Campion in Follies in 2001. Her film work included 1962's Cape Fear and 1963's The Caretakers, for which she was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama. She hosted her own variety show for one season (The Polly Bergen Show), and as an author wrote three books on beauty, fashion, and charm.

Bergen died of natural causes on September 20, 2014, at her home in Southbury, Connecticut, surrounded by family and close friends. She had been diagnosed with emphysema and other ailments in the late 1990s.

Actress ELIZABETH NORMENT 1952-2014 "House of Cards"

Stage, television and screen actress Elizabeth Norment (December 31, 1952 - October 13, 2014), who most recently appeared in Netflix's "House of Cards," has died at the age of 61.

Owner of Leading Artists Talent Agency, Diane Bush, which represented Norment, confirmed the news this morning. Norment died on Oct. 13 at at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

-- Broadway World

An actress with a long-established history in television, film and theatre, Elizabeth Norment's most substantial onscreen career role came as secretary Nancy Kaufberger in David Fincher's remake of the classic British drama series "House of Cards" (Netflix 2013). While she made guest appearances in many other high-profile television shows, including "Doogie Howser, MD" (ABC 1989-1993) , "ER" (NBC 1994-2009), "Party of Five" (Fox 1994-2000) and "Law and Order" (NBC 1990-2010), her resume was also notable for small parts in the Gene Wilder-starring romantic comedy "The Woman in Red" (1984) and the Mira Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow slapstick comedy "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion" (1997). Born in Washington and partly raised in Japan and Germany while her father was in the CIA, Norment began acting professionally in 1980 following her graduation from Yale University, when she was invited to join Robert Brustein's American Repertory Theatre (ART). Developing a career in theatre before she transferred to the screen, many of Norment's early roles were with companies such as Milwaukee Repertory Theatre and the Colony Theater in Los Angeles. She credited much of her success to her early work in Shakespeare, once citing her roles in the comedies "As You Like It" and "Much Ado About Nothing" as her breakthroughs: "A lot of people in the business either saw them or heard about them. I've been working steadily ever since."

-- TCM

Elizabeth Norment Bio from

Another Part of the Forest

The Peccadillo Theater Company, 2010

Elizabeth Norment (Lavinia) New York: Blithe Spirit (Broadway), A Picasso (Manhattan Theatre Club), Dead City (World Premiere/New Georges), Roundabout Theatre, Public Theatre, Lucille Lortel. Nationally: American Repertory Theatre (three seasons); Oregon Shakespeare Festival (four seasons); The Year Of Magical Thinking, Wit, An Ideal Husband, A Delicate Balance (Milwaukee Rep); The Clean House (World Premiere/Yale Rep); The Magic Fire, Lake Hollywood (Guthrie); The Goat (Philadelhia Theatre Company), Sight Unseen (World Premiere/South Coast Rep); Oedipus The King (Clarence Brown); Homebody/Kabul (Ace Morgan); Berkshire Theatre Festival; Berkeley Rep; Ahmanson Theatre; Mark Taper Forum; TheatreWorks. Television: Law and Order (recurring), E.R., and numerous primetime series. Proud survivor of the Yale School of Drama.

-- Michael Cassara Casting

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Murderer Dr. Harold Perelson & Wife/Victim Lillian 1959 Home of Peace Cemetery

Murderer Dr. Harold Perelson and his wife/victim Lillian are buried side by side at Home of Peace Cemetery in East L.A.

"Through grimy, cracked windows, one can see dust-covered furniture, including a 1950s-style television set, seemingly frozen in time. What appear to be gaily wrapped Christmas gifts sit on a table.

Built in 1925, the three-story Spanish revival-style home has a basement that boasts a maid's quarters. The first floor features an entrance hall flanked by a glassed-in conservatory and large living room. Toward the back is a den, a dining room and the kitchen. Four master-bedroom-size sleeping chambers are on the second floor. A bar-equipped ballroom measuring 20 feet by 36 feet is on the third level.

No one has lived there since the predawn morning of 6 December 1959, when Dr. Harold Perelson killed his 42-year-old wife, Lillian, severely beat his teenage daughter, and finally killed himself by drinking battery acid. Eighteen-year-old Judye Perelson ran from the mansion and staggered to a neighbor's house. She was treated at Central Receiving Hospital with a possible skull fracture.

Police found Perelson lying dead on the floor next to his wife's blood-soaked bed. He was still clutching the murder weapon, a ballpeen hammer. On a nightstand next to his bed, investigators found an open copy of Dante's "Divine Comedy," which was opened to Canto 1: "Midway upon the journey of our life I found myself within a forest dark, for the straightforward pathway had been lost . . . "

Fifty years later, the Glendower Place home remains empty."