Saturday, December 31, 2016

Aviator John Bevins Moisant 1910 Valhalla Cemetery

John Bevins Moisant (April 25, 1868 – December 31, 1910), known as the "King of Aviators," was an American aviator, aeronautical engineer, flight instructor, businessman, and revolutionary.[1][2][3][4] As a pilot, he was the first to conduct passenger flights over a city, across the English Channel, from Paris to London, in the state of Mississippi, and the co-founder of a prominent flying circus, the Moisant International Aviators.[5][6][7]

Moisant funded his aviation career with proceeds from business ventures in El Salvador, where he had led two failed revolutions and coup attempts against President Figueroa in 1907 and 1909.[8]

Early life

Matilde Moisant, sister

He was born in L'Erable, Illinois to Medore Moisant (1839-?) and Josephine Fortier (1841–1901).[9] Both parents were French-Canadian immigrants. His siblings include: George Moisant (1866–1927); Ann Marguerite Moisant (1877–1957); Matilde Moisant (1878–1964) who was the second American woman to receive her pilot's license; Alfred J. Moisant (c1862-1929); Louisa Josephine Moisant (1882–1957); and possibly Eunice Moisant (1890-?) who was born in Illinois. Alfred and Matilde were also aviators.[10]

In 1880 the family was living in Manteno, Illinois and Moisant's father was working as a farmer. In the mid-1880s, the family moved to San Francisco, California.[11]

El Salvador

He and his brothers moved to El Salvador in 1896 and bought sugarcane plantations that generated a substantial sum for the family. In 1909, José Santos Zelaya, president of Nicaragua asked John to go to France to investigate airplanes.

Aviation career

Early aeronautical engineering

John Moisant entered the aviation field in 1909 as a hobby after attending the Grande Semaine d'Aviation de la Champagne air show in Reims, France in August 1909.[12] He designed and built two aircraft between August 1909 and 1910, before he became an officially licensed pilot. His first was the Moisant Biplane, alternatively known as "L’Ecrevisse,” which he had built in Issy-les-Moulineaux, Paris, France.[13] This experimental aircraft, constructed by workers hired by Moisant from Clément-Bayard, became the first all-metal aircraft in the world, being constructed entirely from aluminum and steel. This aircraft was completed in February 1910; the Moisant biplane's inaugural flight, and Moisant first flight, ultimately resulted in a crash after ascending only 90 feet with limited airtime.[14][15]

Moisant's second project, begun in January 1910, resulted in the Moisant Monoplane, alternatively known as "Le Corbeau," which was partially built out of the wreckage of L’Ecrevisse.[16][17] The alternative design had difficultly staying upright on the ground and was never flown.[18][19]

Training in France

In the spring of 1910, Moisant took four flying lessons at the Blériot School, headed by Louis Blériot, in Pau, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France, beginning his short but distinguished flying career.[20][21][22] Later, Moisant was granted a pilot's license from the Aéro-Club de France, which he transferred to the Aero Club of America to become the thirteenth registered pilot in the United States.[23]

Significant flights and aviation records

On August 9, 1910, Moisant flew his third flight as a pilot in his first recently purchased Blériot XI from Étampes to Issy-les-Moulineaux over Paris, landing the aircraft at the starting line of the Le Circuit de l'Est aerial time trial circuit.[24][25] Accompanying Moisant as a passenger on the flight was his mechanic, making the trip the first passenger flight over a city in the world.[26] At the time Moisant was still considered a novice pilot and had been previously denied entry into Le Circuit de l'Est competition by the Aéro-Club de France.[27] That same day, he followed this performance with an encore, flying over Paris again with Roland Garros, who would become a future member of the Moisant International Aviators flying circus, as his passenger.[28]

On August 17, 1910, he flew the first flight with a passenger across the English Channel. His passengers on the flight were Albert Fileux, his mechanic, and his cat, Mademoiselle Fifi. This feat was accomplished on Moisant's sixth flight as a pilot.[29]

Competitive events

At the Belmont International Aviation Tournament at Belmont Park, New York, John Moisant flew his Blériot XI around a marker balloon 10 miles (16 kilometers) away and returned to the racetrack in only 39 minutes, winning an $850 prize. 

After this initial competition, Moisant collided his brake-less Blériot into another aircraft while both were taxiing, causing it to flip over, but had repairs completed in time for the next event.[30] 

On October 30, 1910, at the same show, he competed in a race to fly around the Statue of Liberty. He won the race, beating Claude Grahame-White, a British aviator, by 42.75 seconds. However, he was later disqualified because officials ruled that he had started late. The $10,000 prize later went to Count Jacques de Lesseps not Grahame-White, because the latter had fouled during the race.[31]

On December 30, 1910, in New Orleans, he raced his Blériot XI five miles (eight kilometers) against a Packard automobile, but lost.[32][33]

Entrepreneurship: the Moisant International Aviators

With his brother, Alfred Moisant, he formed the Moisant International Aviators, a flying circus which went barnstorming around the United States, Mexico, and Cuba.[39] Initially, John Moisant was one of the pilots in the exhibitions, along with Charles K. Hamilton, Rene Simon, Rene Barrier, J.J. Frisbie, C. Audemars, and Roland Garros.[40]


Moisant died on December 31, 1910, in Kenner, Louisiana in an air crash while making a preparatory flight in his attempt to win the 1910 Michelin Cup and its $4,000 prize.[41] He was caught in a gust of wind as he was attempting to land and was thrown from his Blériot XI monoplane, landing on his head.[42] Fellow aviator Arch Hoxsey died the same day.

John Moisant was buried at the Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles, California. His body was later moved to the Portal of Folded Wings Shrine to Aviation, also in Valhalla Cemetery.


John Moisant was one of the first to advocate for monoplanes with one set of fixed wings. Additionally, he believed in the potential of the use of aircraft in armed conflict.

Moisant Field

The international airport of New Orleans, Louisiana was originally named Moisant Field in his honor, though it has since been renamed Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. The airport retains its "MSY" identifier, derived from the airport's origins as "Moisant Stock Yards" the name given to the land where Moisant's fatal airplane crash occurred, and upon which the airport was later built.

"Nine-tenths confidence and one-tenth common sense equals [a] successful aviator." 
 — John B. Moisant, How to Fly: The Flyer's Manual, 1917


1. Stoff, Joshua. 1996. Picture History of Early Aviation 1903-1913. P.72. 
2. Mortimer, Gavin. 2010. Chasing Icarus: The Seventeen Days in 1910 That Forever Changed American Aviation. P.58. 
3. McLean, Jacqueline. 2001. Women With Wings. P.23. 
4. American Aviation Historical Society Journal, Volumes 7-8. 
5. Caire, Vincent P. 2012. Louisiana Aviation: An Extraordinary History in Photographs. 
6. American Aviation Historical Society Journal. 1984. Volumes 29-30. 
7. Simmons, Thomas E. 2013. A Man Called Brown Condor: The Forgotten History of an African American Fighter Pilot. 
8. Mortimer, Gavin. 2010. Chasing Icarus: The Seventeen Days in 1910 That Forever Changed American Aviation P.59-62. 
9. "United States Census, 1880," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 29 May 2013), John Moisant in entry for Medore Moisant, 1880. 
10. Caire, Vincent P. 2012. Louisiana Aviation: An Extraordinary History in Photographs. 
11. Mortimer, Gavin. 2010. Chasing Icarus: The Seventeen Days in 1910 That Forever Changed American Aviation P.59. 
13. Accessed 22 May 2013. 
14. Rich, Doris L. 1998. The Magnificent Moisants: Champions of Early Flight. P. 37–38. 
15. Flight. August 27, 1910. P. 692 
16. Villard, Henry S. 1987. Contact!: The Story of Early Aviators. P. 114–115. 
17. Rich, Doris L. 1998. The Magnificent Moisants: Champions of Early Flight. P. 38. 
18. Villard, Henry S. 1987. Contact!: The Story of Early Aviators. P. 115. 
19. Rich, Doris L. 1998. The Magnificent Moisants: Champions of Early Flight. P. 38. 
20. Rich, Doris L. 1998. The Magnificent Moisants: Champions of Early Flight. P. 39. 
23. Rich, Doris. 1998. The Magnificent Moisants: Champions of Early Flight. P. 40. 
24. Hopkins, Jerry. 1960. King of the Aviators. 
25. Villard, Henry S. 1987. Contact!: The Story of Early Aviators. P.115. 
26. Hopkins, Jerry. 1960. King of the Aviators. 
28. Hopkins, Jerry. 1960. King of the Aviators. 
30. Joshua Stoff. Long Island aircraft crashes 1909-1959. p. 15. 
31. The New York Time. 15 March 1911. 
32. US Naval Institute. 1911. Proceedings. P.204. 
33. Simmons, Thomas E. 2013. A Man Called Brown Condor: The Forgotten History of an African American Fighter Pilot. 
35. The Chicago Daily News Almanac and Year Book for 1911. P.316. 
36. Shaw, Albert. 1910. The American Review of Reviews. P.662. 
37. Aeronautics. 1911. P. 218. 
38. Widmer, Mary L. 1993. New Orleans in the twenties. P. 110. 
40. Aeronautics. December, 1910. 
42. Bilstein, Roger E. 2001. Flight in America: From the Wrights to the Astronauts.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Actress & Socialite Zsa Zsa Gabor 1917-2016 Memorial Video

Zsa Zsa Gabor (February 6, 1917 – December 18, 2016) was a Hungarian-American actress and socialite. Her sisters were actresses Eva and Magda Gabor.

Gabor began her stage career in Vienna and was crowned Miss Hungary in 1936. She emigrated from Hungary to the United States in 1941. Becoming a sought-after actress with "European flair and style," she was considered to have a personality that "exuded charm and grace." Her first film role was a supporting role in Lovely to Look At. She later acted in We're Not Married! and played one of her few leading roles in the John Huston-directed film, Moulin Rouge (1952). Huston would later describe her as a "creditable" actress.

Outside her acting career, Gabor was known for her extravagant Hollywood lifestyle, her glamorous personality, and her many marriages. In total, Gabor had nine husbands, including hotel magnate Conrad Hilton and actor George Sanders. She once stated, "Men have always liked me and I have always liked men. But I like a mannish man, a man who knows how to talk to and treat a woman — not just a man with muscles."

Gabor's only child, daughter Constance Francesca Hilton, was born on March 10, 1947. She died in 2015 at the age of 67 from a stroke. Gabor's husband never told her about her daughter's death, out of concern for her physical and emotional state.

Zsa Zsa Gabor died at the age of 99 of a heart attack at her home in Bel Air, Los Angeles, on December 18, 2016, less than two months before she would have become a centenarian. She had been on life support for the previous five years. She is survived by husband Frédéric Prinz von Anhalt, whom she wed in 1986.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

"Stalag 17" Actor Don Taylor 1998 Westwood Village Cemetery

Don Taylor (December 13, 1920 – December 29, 1998) was an American actor and film director.[1] He co-starred in 1950s classics, including Stalag 17, Father of the Bride, and the 1948 film noir The Naked City. He later turned to directing films such as Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971), Tom Sawyer (1973), and Damien: Omen II (1978).


Early life and work

The son of Mr. and Mrs. D.E. Taylor,[2] he was born Donald Ritchie Taylor[3] in Freeport, Pennsylvania, on December 13, 1920.[4] (Another source says that he was born "in Pittsburgh and raised in Freeport, Pa.")[3] He studied speech and drama at Penn State University and hitchhiked to Hollywood in 1942. He was signed as a contract player at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and appeared in small roles. Drafted into the United States Army Air Forces (AAF) during World War II, he appeared in the Air Forces's Winged Victory Broadway play[5] and movie (1944), credited as "Cpl. Don Taylor."

Acting career

After discharge from the AAF, Taylor was cast in a lead role as the young detective, Jimmy Halloran, working alongside veteran homicide detective Dan Muldoon (Barry Fitzgerald) in Universal's 1948 screen version of The Naked City, which was notable for being filmed entirely on location in New York. 

Taylor was later part of the ensemble cast in MGM's classic World War II drama Battleground (1949). 

He then appeared as the husband of Elizabeth Taylor in the comedies Father of the Bride (1950) and its sequel Father's Little Dividend (1951), starring Spencer Tracy. 

Another memorable role was Vern "Cowboy" Blithe in Flying Leathernecks (1951). In 1953, Taylor had a key role as the escaping prisoner Lt. Dunbar in Billy Wilder's Stalag 17. His last major film role came in I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955).

Directorial career

From the late 1950s through the 1980s, Taylor turned to directing movies and TV shows, such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, the short-lived Steve Canyon, starring Dean Fredericks, and Rod Serling's Night Gallery. One of his memorable efforts, in 1973, was the musical film Tom Sawyer,[6] which boasted a Sherman Brothers song score. 

Other films that Taylor directed are Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971), Echoes of a Summer (1976), The Great Scout and Cathouse Thursday (also 1976), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1977) starring Burt Lancaster, Damien: Omen II (1978) with William Holden, and The Final Countdown (1980) with Kirk Douglas.

Taylor occasionally performed both acting and directing roles simultaneously, as he did for episodes of the TV detective series Burke's Law.

Writing career

Taylor "wrote one-act plays, radio dramas, short stories, and the 1985 TV movie My Wicked, wicked Ways ... The Legend of Errol Flynn."[3]

Personal life

Taylor was married twice.

His first wife was Phyllis Avery, whom he married in 1944; they divorced in 1955,[3] but not before the births of their daughters Anne and Avery.

His second wife was Hazel Court,[6] whom he married in 1964 and stayed with until his death;[7] they had a son, Jonathan, and a daughter, Courtney.


Taylor died on December 29, 1998 at the University of California Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, of heart failure. He was survived by two daughters, a son, a stepdaughter, a sister, and a granddaughter.[3] Don Taylor is buried at Westwood Village Cemetery.


1. Jerry Roberts (5 June 2009). Encyclopedia of Television Film Directors. Scarecrow Press. p. 584. ISBN 978-0-8108-6378-1. 
2. "Don Taylor Expected To Visit in Freeport". Pennsylvania, Kittanning. Simpson's Leader-Times. July 10, 1957. p. 1. 
3. "Actor Don Taylor, 78, Also Directed Movies, Tv". Los Angeles Times (via Sun Sentinel). January 4, 1999. 
4. Monush, Barry (2003). Screen World Presents the Encyclopedia of Hollywood Film Actors ..., Volume 1. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 720. ISBN 9781557835512. 
5. "Don Taylor". Playbill. 
6. Kleiner, Dick (September 27, 1972). ""Tom Sawyer" family film even on set". Nebraska, Columbus. The Columbus Telegram. p. 34. 
7. Weiskind, Ron (January 1, 1999). "Longtime Hollywood actor, director raised in Freeport". Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. B-7. 
8. "Awards Search: Don Taylor". Television Academy.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Actor & Director Lowell J. Sherman 1934 Forest Lawn Glendale Cemetery

Lowell J. Sherman (October 11, 1885 – December 28, 1934) was an American actor and film director. At a time when it was highly unusual, he was both the actor and director on several films in the early 1930s, before completely transitioning to the role of director. At the height of his career, after scoring huge successes with his directing the films She Done Him Wrong and Morning Glory (which introduced Mae West, and won the first Academy Award for Katharine Hepburn, respectively), he succumbed to pneumonia after a brief illness.

Early life and career

Born in San Francisco in 1885[1][2] (some sources list 1888)[3] to John Sherman and Julia Louise Gray, who were both connected with the theater; John as a theatrical agent and Julia as a stage actress. Even his maternal grandmother had been an actress, starring with the famous actor, Edwin Booth (brother of the notorious John Wilkes Booth).[4] Sherman began his career as a child actor appearing in many touring companies.

As an adult he appeared on Broadway in such plays as Judith of Bethulia (1904) with Nance O'Neil and in David Belasco's 1905 smash hit The Girl of the Golden West with Blanche Bates where he was a young Pony Express rider. On Broadway in 1923 Sherman played the aptly suited Casanova in a play of that name; his leading lady was Katharine Cornell. His sole Broadway directing credit would be in 1923's Morphia, in which he would also star.[5] His suave reputation was built after many years appearing in popular Broadway farces. Even after he became a successful silent film star, he continued to perform on Broadway, his last role being in The Woman Disputed, which ran from September 1926 through March 1927.[2]

By 1915 Sherman was appearing in silent films usually playing playboys, until D. W. Griffith cast him as the villain in the classic film, Way Down East (1920).[4] 

He would continue playing villains or playboys in films, as he had in the theatre, throughout the 1920s, in such films as Molly O' (1921), A Lady of Chance (1929) and later in talkies such as 

Ladies of Leisure (1930), 

and What Price Hollywood? (1932).[6]

Though successful, Sherman was not entirely happy with his career as an actor, stating "Nothing becomes so monotonous as acting on the stage, especially if you are successful ... working in the movies seemed even duller."[4] In 1930, RKO executive William LeBaron gave him the opportunity he was looking for; allowing him to star in and direct the film, Lawful Larceny.[4] Sherman had starred in the Broadway production of the play the film was based on, and reprised his role.[7] Over the next three years, he would star and direct himself in seven more films, including 

Bachelor Apartment (1931) with Irene Dunne, The Royal Bed (1931) with Mary Astor, and The Greeks Had a Word for Them (1932) with Joan Blondell. The Greeks Had a Word for Them would be his last acting role, either on stage or screen. 

The five films where his sole responsibility was directing were all critical and financial successes. He directed Mae West in her first starring film She Done Him Wrong (Paramount Pictures, 1933), and followed that with Katharine Hepburn's Oscar-winning performance in Morning Glory (RKO Radio Pictures, 1933). He also directed Broadway Through a Keyhole (Twentieth Century Pictures, 1933) with Russ Columbo, and 

Born to Be Bad (United Artists, 1934) with Loretta Young and Cary Grant (who he had worked with on She Done Him Wrong). His final work, Night Life of the Gods (Universal Pictures), was released in 1935, after Sherman's death, and was another critical and financial success.

Personal life

Sherman was married three times and had no children. His first marriage was to actress Evelyn Booth, sister of playwright John Hunter Booth, whom he married on March 11, 1914.[8] Booth filed for divorce claiming that Sherman neglected to provide for her and was cruel. She was granted a divorce on March 19, 1922.[9] In 1926, he married actress Pauline Garon.[10] Sherman filed for divorce on January 25, 1929 claiming that Garon had deserted him in August 1928 at the insistence of her parents.[11][12] The divorce was granted in March 1929.[12] His third and final marriage was actress Helene Costello, the younger sister of Dolores Costello. They married on March 15, 1930 in Beverly Hills.[13] The couple separated in November 1931 and were divorced in May 1932.[14][15]


On December 28, 1934, Sherman died at a Los Angeles hospital of double pneumonia.[16] Sherman is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale.[3]

At the time of his death, Sherman was directing Becky Sharp, the first film to be shot entirely in the three-strip Technicolor technique. Even after he became ill, Sherman continued to work on the project, and was 25 days into production.[17] Upon his death, Rouben Mamoulian was brought in to finish the film. Mamoulian would not use any of the footage shot by Sherman, choosing instead to reshoot the entire film.[10][18]

Louella Parsons broke the news of Sherman's death on her Hollywood Hotel radio broadcast, the negative aspects of which caused her to be suspended by the J. Wallis Armstrong Agency, which represented the sponsor of the show, Campbell Soup.[19]


1. Focus on Film, Volumes 19-31. Tantivy Press. 1974. p. 41. 
2. "Lowell Sherman". Internet Broadway Database. 
3. Ellenberger, Allan R. (2001). Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory. McFarland & Company Incorporated Pub. p. 70. ISBN 0-786-40983-5. 
4. Nagle, Edward (May 1931). "No Questions Asked". Picture Play Magazine. p. 74. 
5. "Morphia". Internet Broadway Database. 
6. Lowell Sherman at database 
7. "Lawful Larceny". Internet Broadway Database. 
8. Focus on Film, Volumes 19-31. Tantivy Press. 1974. p. 42. 
9. "Telegraphic Briefs". The Day. March 30, 1922. p. 1. 
10. Slide, Anthony (2002). Silent Players: A Biographical and Autobiographical Study of 100 Silent Film Actors and Actresses. The University Press of Kentucky. p. 346. ISBN 0-813-12249-X. 
11. "Lowell Sherman Suing Actress For Divorce". San Jose News. January 25, 1929. p. 1. 
12. "Star Granted Divorce". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. March 7, 1929. p. 1. 
13. "Helene Costello Weds Film Actor". The Pittsburgh Press. March 16, 1930. p. 1. 
14. "Accuses Actress In Divorce Suit". Herald-Journal. December 2, 1931. p. 1. 
15. "Helene Costello Is Granted Divorce After Court Drama". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. May 11, 1932. p. 1. 
16. "Lowell Sherman Is Claimed By Death". The Evening Argus. December 29, 1934. p. 1. 
17. "Lowell Sherman's Last". Variety. January 1, 1935. p. 2. 
18. "Becky Sharp: Detail View". American Film Institute. 
19. "Louella Parsons Censored but Stays on Program". Variety. January 29, 1935. p. 41.