Sunday, August 21, 2016

"Women Haters" Actress Marjorie White CAR ACCIDENT 1935 Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Marjorie White (July 22, 1904(?) – August 21, 1935) was a Canadian-born actress of stage and film.


Born Marjorie Ann Guthrie in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada,[1] she was the first-born child of a grain merchant born in Simcoe, Ontario. She entered show business at the age of eight or 10, as one of the Winnipeg Kiddies, a troupe of child performers who toured Canada and the United States. She danced and sang with the troupe until too old to continue, then at 17 in December 1921 went to San Francisco and joined Thelma Wolpa in amateur vaudeville comedy.

Teamed for a time with Thelma Wolpa as Wolpa and Guthrie, Little Bits of Everything, the duo act became 'The White Sisters' in New York City. Both women kept the name White after the act broke up. Thelma White later gained immortality as the blowsy Mae in Reefer Madness. According to the New York Times (August 11, 1924), Marjorie White married Eddie Tierney on August 10, 1924 in Greenwich, Connecticut. She appeared on Broadway in several musicals between 1926 and 1929, when she and her husband moved to Hollywood. In accordance with studio tradition, four years (?) were knocked off her birth date and she was supposedly born in 1908(?). Early biographies of James Cagney, the Marx Brothers and Bing Crosby typically gave birthdates occurring five years after the actual event.

She began getting parts in pictures, starting with leading roles in Happy Days (1929) and Sunny Side Up (1929). The same year she was required by executives of the Fox Film studio to lose four pounds in order to secure a role in The New Orleans Frolic. White was diminutive to begin with, weighing only 103 pounds and standing 4'10" tall. The part called for a woman who weighed less than 100 pounds.[2] She returned to Broadway for a musical, Hot-Cha, in 1932, but came back to Hollywood thereafter.

She will also be recognized by fans of "Charlie Chan" films in a prominent, if brief, uncredited role in the 1931 Fox film "The Black Camel" starring Warner Oland and featuring Bela Lugosi and Robert Young in what may be his first leading role. Marjorie appears as a forward and rather sarcastic young woman among the usual group of suspects held waiting upon the conclusion of Charlie's investigation. She is noticeably somewhat... 'full figured' in this role bordering on being overweight for young film actresses of this era.

In 1933, White had a featured role in the insanely funny Joseph Mankiewciz-scripted political satire "Diplomaniacs" starring the team of Wheeler and Woolsey. Marjorie is Dolores, a fem fatale custom-ordered by the film's villain (she arrives wrapped in plastic from a chute in the wall) to seduce Willy (Bert Wheeler) and steal secret plans from him. Wheeler and White's duet "Sing For Me" is performed while the tiny White physically assaults Wheeler because he is reluctant to sing to her in a terrific send-up of the typical boy-girl romantic song scenes of the era.

She also appeared with Joan Crawford in "Possessed" in 1931. She was also in the Fox feature films Just Imagine and New Movietone Follies of 1930 (both 1930).

White is perhaps best remembered for her co-starring role in the first Three Stooges short made at Columbia Pictures, Woman Haters (1934), in which she played the new wife of Larry Fine, who he needs to keep secret from his fellow Woman-Haters Club members (who are both "pitching woo" at her behind Larry's back). The entire comedy short is done in rhyming verse(!). Woman Haters was her last film.


On August 20, 1935, White was a passenger in a car driven by Marlow M. Lovell on the Roosevelt Highway near the Bel Air Beach Club, in Santa Monica, California. It sideswiped the car of a couple who had been married only an hour before, and overturned. A coroner's jury decided that the reckless driving of Lovell was to blame for the accident. White was riding with Lovell in the open car because another member of the party, Gloria Gould, was without a wrap. Gould was following Lovell's car in another vehicle with White's husband. White was the only person seriously injured. She died of internal hemorrhaging the next day, August 21, 1935, at a Hollywood hospital.

She was buried at Hollywood Memorial Cemetery (now Hollywood Forever Cemetery). She was survived by her husband, her parents Robert and Nettie, and siblings Orville, Morley, Stewart, and Belva.[3][4][5]

Selected filmography

Sunny Side Up (film) (1929) 
Charlie Chan Carries On (1931) 
Possessed (1931)* 
Broadminded (film) (1931) 
Her Bodyguard (1933)*


1. Manitoba's Vital Statistics website, Birth Certificate registration #1904,006829 
2. Los Angeles Times, Small Actress Has To Reduce Further, October 4, 1929, Page A10 
3. Winnipeg Free Press, 22 August 1935 
4. Variety, 28 August 1935 
5. Los Angeles Times, Actress' Death In Crash Laid To Reckless Driving, August 24, 1935, Page A3

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Producer David Begelman Suicide 1995 Hillside Cemetery

David Begelman (August 26, 1921 – August 7, 1995) was a Hollywood producer who was involved in a studio embezzlement scandal in the 1970s.

Life and career

Begelman was born to a Jewish family[1] in New York City. His father was a Manhattan tailor.[2]

David was in the Air Force during World War II. he then became a student at New York University. Following college, he worked in the insurance business.[2] He worked at the Music Corporation of America (MCA) for more than 11 years started in the mid-1950s,[2] eventually becoming vice president. He left in 1960 to co-found the talent agency Creative Management Associates (CMA) with Freddie Fields.[2] Their clients included Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand, Liza Minnelli, Woody Allen, Gregory Peck, Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Jackie Gleason, Fred Astaire and others. At CMA, Fields and Begelman pioneered the movie "package," where the talent agency put their stars, directors and writers together on a single project.[2]

He left CMA in 1973 to take over the floundering Columbia Pictures. Begelman used his package method at Columbia, dramatically changing the company's image by producing such hits as Shampoo (1975), Funny Lady and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977).[2] Begelman became among the first Hollywood agents to cross over and rise to the top of the studio system.

Embezzlement scandal

In February 1977, actor Cliff Robertson received a 1099 form from Columbia Pictures indicating he had received $10,000 from Columbia Pictures during 1976. He had never received the money, and discovered that his signature on the cashed check had been forged. Robertson's report started a criminal investigation. The LAPD and the FBI verified that the $10,000 check was a forgery, and it was tracked to Begelman. He was ultimately fined and sentenced to community service, a public service anti-drug documentary, for the forgeries.[2]

Columbia Pictures suspended Begelman on a paid vacation and announced its own investigation. The studio discovered that Begelman had embezzled an additional $65,000 through other forged checks. However, the studio board of directors wanted to keep the matter out of the press. The Begelman scandal led to a rift between Columbia executives. Columbia Pictures CEO Alan Hirschfield was ousted from the studio in 1978 following his refusal to reinstate Begelman on moral grounds.[3] Following a brief reinstatement, Begelman was quietly fired. The studio released a statement saying he had suffered emotional problems.

Despite the pressure to remain quiet, Robertson and his wife Dina Merrill spoke to the press. David McClintick broke the story in The Wall Street Journal in 1978, later turning it into the best-selling 1982 book Indecent Exposure. Robertson later claimed he had been blacklisted during the 1980s for coming forward about the Begelman affair, and had few roles during this period.

A writer for New West magazine, working on this story, queried Begelman's claimed alma mater, Yale University, listed in his Who's Who entry. Yale responded that Begelman had never attended that university. The New West article said that "although Begelman was indicted for forgery and grand theft, the Hollywood types were more outraged that he had listed Yale in Who's Who. Apparently they figured that everybody steals money. It was the fact that he lied about Yale that drove them crazy."

Judy Garland management

In 1993, a book by Coyne Steven Sanders, "Rainbow's End: The Judy Garland Show" (Morrow 1990), about the history of Judy Garland's CBS Television series The Judy Garland Show (1963–64), devoted a chapter to possible embezzlement of Garland's funds by Begelman. Garland's estranged husband at the time, Sid Luft, hired an attorney to audit her income from the time Begelman began representing her with fellow agent Freddie Fields. It was discovered that several hundred thousand dollars were missing, much of it written in checks to "Cash" and endorsed by Begelman at various casinos in Las Vegas. Other entries in her accounts showed large sums paid for "protection" with no authorization, all approved by Begelman, though Garland had no personal security. In addition, a 1963 Cadillac convertible, given to Garland as partial payment for appearances on Jack Paar's television program, was titled to Begelman. Garland never knew the car was part of her compensation for her appearance.

In addition, Begelman told Garland a photo existed of her, partially nude, having her stomach pumped in a hospital emergency room after a drug overdose in London, and that blackmailers were demanding $50,000 to turn over the picture and all negatives. As she was in negotiations with CBS at the time for her new TV series, Garland paid rather than face the adverse publicity and potentially damaging the deal's prospects. Luft's attorney eventually determined that the check went to a holding company with a business address in New York City owned by Begelman, and was further traced to a personal account of Begelman.

Rather than confront Begelman at a time when he was playing such a pivotal role in her show business re-emergence, Garland decided to eat the financial losses based upon the promise of millions coming from the deal with CBS. Once her show was cancelled, however, she and Luft sued Begelman for the hundreds of thousands he had allegedly stolen as well as $1 million in punitive damages. Due to her dire financial situation at the time, Garland was forced to settle the suit for royalties owed her by Capitol Records that Begelman and Fields, as her agents, had collected but were holding because of the lawsuit.

Later career and suicide

In 1980, Begelman returned to the production world and became CEO and president of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, but with the exception of Poltergeist, he was unable to repeat his success at Columbia. His apparent slump led to his departure from MGM before his four-year contract expired. After leaving MGM, Begelman was offered a position to run a production company, Sherwood Productions, by backer Bruce McNall.[4] Under Sherwood, Begelman backed WarGames (which started production at MGM), Mr. Mom, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, and Blame It on Rio. According to the makers of Buckaroo Banzai, Begelman continued to be engaged in fraud: reporting inflated figures to investors but producing the films for much less to pocket the difference.

When investor Nelson Bunker Hunt pulled out of Sherwood in 1984, Begelman took the slack and founded Gladden Entertainment (named after Gladys, his wife) with the remaining assets[5] and repartnering with McNall. There, he greenlit Mannequin, Weekend at Bernie's, The Fabulous Baker Boys, "Short Time" and "Mannequin II: On the Move." "Short Time" and "Mannequin II" did poorly. In 1988, McNall sold 40% of his half to foreign investors. At the 1993 Cannes Film Festival, Begelman revealed that the company had a distribution deal with MGM, Live Entertainment and Rank Film Distributors for 10-film and $150-million. However, Credit Lyonnais had placed a lien on Gladden's assets as the bank was owed $90 million. A petition was filed by Hollywood's three major talent guilds in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Los Angeles to liquidate the company for failure to pay actors, directors and writers residuals to the tune of $4.1 million.[6] Begelman left Gladden Entertainment to found Gladden Productions.[7] However he was not able to get funding for the new production company.[2]

Begelman became depressed over his Gladden Entertainment bankruptcy and failure to find funding for Gladden Productions. David Begelman was found shot dead in a room at the Los Angeles Century Plaza Hotel on August 7, 1995 at the age of 73.[2] His death was ruled a suicide;[2] he was interred at Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City.

Begelman had one daughter, Leslie Belskie (née Begelman). At his death he was married to his fourth wife and was survived by his daughter, a sister and a brother.[2]


David McClintick, Indecent Exposure: A True Story of Hollywood and Wall Street (New York: William Morrow and Company, 1982) 
"Blowing the Whistle on Fake Alumni," Time magazine (February 5, 1979) 
Coyne Steven Sanders, Rainbow's End: The Judy Garland Show (1993) 
McNall, Bruce; D'Antonio, Michael (July 9, 2003). Fun While It Lasted: My Rise and Fall In the Land of Fame and Fortune (1st ed.). New York City: Hyperion. ISBN 978-0-7868-6864-3.


1. Erens, Patricia The Jew in American Cinema ISBN 9780253204936 | ISBN 0253204933 | Publisher: Indiana University Press | Publish Date: August 1988 
2. Eller, Claudia; Dutka, Eliane (August 9, 1995). "Begelman, Ex-Columbia Chief, an Apparent Suicide". Los Angeles Times. 
3. Stedman, Alex (2015-01-16). "Alan Hirschfield, Former Columbia Chief Exec, Dies at 79". Variety. 
4. McNall and D'Antonio, pg. 88 
5. McNall and D'Antonio, pg. 94–98 
6. Bates, James; Dillman, Lisa (April 7, 1994). "Guilds Seek Back Residuals From Gladden". Los Angeles Times. 
 7. Bates, James; Dillman, Lisa (April 15, 1994). "Embattled McNall Sued in Back Rent Dispute". Los Angeles Times.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Cellist Gregor Piatigorsky 1976 Westwood Village Cemetery

Gregor Piatigorsky (Russian: Григо́рий Па́влович Пятиго́рский, Grigoriy Pavlovich Pyatigorskiy; April 17 [O.S. April 4] 1903 – August 6, 1976) was a Russian-born American cellist.


Early life

Gregor Piatigorsky was born in Ekaterinoslav (now Dnipropetrovsk in Ukraine) into a Jewish family. As a child, he was taught violin and piano by his father. After seeing and hearing the cello, he determined to become a cellist and was given his first cello when he was seven.

He won a scholarship to the Moscow Conservatory, studying with Alfred von Glehn, Anatoliy Brandukov, and a certain Gubariov. At the same time he was earning money for his family by playing in local cafés.

He was 13 when the Russian Revolution took place. Shortly afterwards he started playing in the Lenin Quartet. At 15, he was hired as the principal cellist for the Bolshoi Theater.

The Soviet authorities, specifically Anatoly Lunacharsky, would not allow him to travel abroad to further his studies, so he smuggled himself and his cello into Poland on a cattle train with a group of artists. One of the women was a heavy-set soprano who, when the border guards started shooting at them, grabbed Piatigorsky and his cello. The cello did not survive intact, but it was the only casualty.

Now 18, he studied briefly in Berlin and Leipzig, with Hugo Becker and Julius Klengel, playing in a trio in a Russian café to earn money for food. Among the patrons of the café were Emanuel Feuermann and Wilhelm Furtwängler. Furtwängler heard him and hired him as the principal cellist of the Berlin Philharmonic.

United States

In 1929, he first visited the United States, playing with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Leopold Stokowski and the New York Philharmonic under Willem Mengelberg. In Ann Arbor, Michigan, in January 1937 he married Jacqueline de Rothschild, daughter of Édouard Alphonse James de Rothschild of the wealthy Rothschild banking family of France. That fall, after returning to France, they had their first child, Jephta. Following the Nazi occupation in World War II, the family fled the country back to the States and settled in Elizabethtown, New York, in the Adirondack Mountains. Their son, Joram, was born in Elizabethtown in 1940.

From 1941 to 1949, he was head of the cello department at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, and he also taught at Tanglewood, Boston University, and the University of Southern California, where he remained until his death. The USC established the Piatigorsky Chair of Violoncello in 1974 to honor Piatigorsky.

Piatigorsky participated in a chamber group with Arthur Rubinstein (piano), William Primrose (viola) and Jascha Heifetz (violin). Referred to in some circles as the "Million Dollar Trio," Rubinstein, Heifetz, and Piatigorsky made several recordings for RCA Victor.[1][2]

He played chamber music privately with Heifetz, Vladimir Horowitz, Leonard Pennario, and Nathan Milstein.[1][3] Piatigorsky also performed at Carnegie Hall with Horowitz and Milstein in the 1930s.[4]

In 1965 his popular autobiography Cellist was published.

Gregor Piatigorsky died of lung cancer at his home in Los Angeles, California, in 1976. He was interred in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.


It has been reported that the great violin pedagogue Ivan Galamian once described Piatigorsky as the greatest string player of all time. He was an extraordinarily dramatic player. His orientation as a performer was to convey the maximum expression embodied in a piece. He brought a great authenticity to his understanding of this expression. He was able to communicate this authenticity because he had had extensive personal and professional contact with many of the great composers of the day.

Many of those composers wrote pieces for him, including Sergei Prokofiev (Cello Concerto[5]), Paul Hindemith (Cello Concerto), Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (Cello Concerto[6]), William Walton (Cello Concerto), Vernon Duke (Cello Concerto), and Igor Stravinsky (Piatigorsky and Stravinsky collaborated on the arrangement of Stravinsky's "Suite Italienne," which was extracted from Pulcinella, for cello and piano; Stravinsky demonstrated an extraordinary method of calculating fifty-fifty royalties[7]). At a rehearsal of Richard Strauss's Don Quixote, which Piatigorsky performed with the composer conducting, after the dramatic slow variation in D minor, Strauss announced to the orchestra, "Now I've heard my Don Quixote as I imagined him."

Piatigorsky had a magnificent sound characterized by a distinctive fast and intense vibrato and he was able to execute with consummate articulation all manner of extremely difficult bowings, including a downbow staccato that other string players could not help but be in awe of. He often attributed his penchant for drama to his student days when he accepted an engagement playing during the intermissions in recitals by the great Russian basso, Feodor Chaliapin. Chaliapin, when portraying his dramatic roles, such as the title role in Boris Godunov, would not only sing, but declaim, almost shouting. On encountering him one day, the young Piatigorsky told him, "You talk too much and don't sing enough." Chaliapin responded, "You sing too much and don't talk enough." Piatigorsky thought about this and from that point on, tried to incorporate the kind of drama and expression he heard in Chaliapin's singing into his own artistic expression.

He owned two Stradivarius cellos, the "Batta" and the "Baudiot." According to, Piatigorsky also owned the famous Montagnana cello known as the Sleeping Beauty from 1939 to 1951.


Piatigorsky was also a composer. His Variations on a Paganini Theme (based on Caprice No. 24) was composed in 1946 for cello and orchestra and was orchestrated by his longtime accompanist Ralph Berkowitz; it was later transcribed for cello and piano.[8] Each of the fifteen variations whimsically portrays one of Piatigorsky’s musician colleagues. Denis Brott, a student of Piatigorsky, identified them as: Casals, Hindemith, Garbousova, Morini, Salmond, Szigeti, Menuhin, Milstein, Kreisler, a self-portrait of Piatigorsky himself, Cassadó, Elman, Bolognini, Heifetz, and Horowitz.[9]

Partial discography

Heifetz, Primrose and Piatigorsky (RCA Victor LP LSC-2563) RCA Victor Red Seal 1961 
Heifetz and Piatigorsky (Stereo LP LSC-3009) RCA Victor Red Seal 1968 


Piatigorsky also enjoyed playing chess. His wife, Jacqueline Piatigorsky, was a strong player who played in several US women's championships and represented the United States in the women's Chess Olympiad. In 1963, the Piatigorskys organized and financed a strong international tournament in Los Angeles, won by Paul Keres and Tigran Petrosian. A second Piatigorsky Cup was held in Santa Monica in 1966, and was won by Boris Spassky.


1. biography 
2. Arthur Rubinstein. My Many Years. Knopf 
3. Thiollet, Jean-Pierre (2012), Piano ma non solo, Anagramme Ed., p. 147. ISBN 978-2-35035-333-3 
4. Plaskin, Glenn (1983). Biography of Vladimir Horowitz Quill ISBN 0-688-02656-7 
5. Solow, Jeffrey (31 March 2010), "Prokofiev: Cello Concerto in E minor, Op.58", MusicaNova's Blog, MusicaNova Orchestra of Scottsdale
6. King, Terry (2010), Gregor Piatigorsky: The Life and Career of the Virtuoso Cellist, Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Co, ISBN 0786456264
7. Prieto 2006, p.251 
8. Lambooij, Henk; Feves, Michael (2007) [1999]. A cellist’s companion: a comprehensive catalogue of cello literature. Netherlands: Stichting The Cellist’s Companion. p. 430. ISBN 9781847990051. 
9. Lamoreaux, Andrea (2009). Wendy Warner Plays Popper and Piatigorsky (Liner notes). Wendy Warner, cello, and Eileen Buck, piano. Cedille Records. CDR 90000 111.

Prieto, Carlos; Murray, Elena C.; Mutis, Alvaro (2006). The Adventures of a Cello. University of Texas Press. pp. 249–251. ISBN 0-292-71322-3.

Further reading

His autobiography: Cellist (1965). Doubleday. Limited edition reprint: Da Capo Press (1976). ISBN 0-306-70822-1 
Bartley, M. (2006). Grisha: The Story of Cellist Gregor Piatigorsky. Otis Mountain Press. ISBN 0-9760023-0-2. 
"Gregor Piatigorsky". The Musical Times. 117 (1604): 849–849. October 1976. 
King, Terry (2010). Gregor Piatigorsky: The Life and Career of the Virtuoso Cellist. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-4635-3. 
"With the Artists". World Famed String Players Discuss Their Art, Samuel and Sada Applebaum, John Markert and Co., New York (1955). Pages 192-202 are devoted to Gregor Piatigorsky. 
Jump in the Waves, a Memoir, Jacqueline Piatigorsky, St. Martin's Press, New York (1988). ISBN 0-312-01834-7.