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Gone With or Without fanfare
Posted: April 23rd, 2007, 8:24 pm
Hope Joe/Bansai/Mongo II doesn't mind but I wanted somewhere to post that Pulitizer Prize winning author David Halberstam (The Fifties, The Children about the Civil Rights Movement's early days and other great books) has died.
He was in an auto accident and the car he was a passenger in was broadsided by another vehicle near Dumbarton Bridge in San Francisco.
Halberstam won his Pulitzer Prize at age 30 for his NYTimes coverage of the Vietnam War.
He had been at Berkeley over the weekend giving a lecture.
I always loved his voice and his writing style. He was 73.
Gone With or Without fanfare
Posted: April 24th, 2007, 9:30 am
Thanks for starting this thread, Lynn. I agree about the quality of David Halberstam's voice and his ability to make us see the world more clearly. His epic account of the intellectually dazzling, and fallible, individuals attracted to public service during the Kennedy administration, The Best and The Brightest, is a fine book, capturing the zeitgeist of an era still affecting our daily lives.
In the line of duty
Posted: April 24th, 2007, 10:30 am
Like Michael Smuin (who also died yesterday. See http://plasticage.net/refugees/viewtopic.php?t=281
), David Halberstam died while working on his latest project. Halberstam was just a few miles from a long-sought interview for a book he was planning about a legendary 1958 football game. He was being driven by a UC Berkeley journalist graduate student who was excited to by the chance to spend time with this living legend. The student survived, but is hospitalized with a punctured lung and of course is devastated that his hero died in this manner.
Halberstam had just finished the galleys last Thursday for his latest book on the Korean War. He had developed a habit of alternating weighty historical books with sports books, and his next work was to be about the 1958 NFL championship game between the New York Giants and the Baltimore Colts, often called football's greatest game. The game, won by the Colts in overtime, is widely regarded as having contributed to pro football's modern popularity. Halberstam had tracked down former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Y.A. Tittle who had played the Colts two weeks before and he hoped to gain singiths into the play of Colts quarterback Johnny Unitas.
Halberstam approached the UC Berkeley journalism school seeking a driver and offering -- in compensation -- a private seminar on the way back. The student, who had already received awards for his freelance work, jumped at the opportunity. Tittle, in the meantime, awaited the arrival of the two for their 11am meeting. At 12:30, his secretary came in and said he might as well go to lunch. "I thought maybe something had come up with his family," a shocked Tittle said last night. "He was only two miles away."
I culled this information from John Coté and Matthew B. Stannard's article in today's San Francisco Chronicle
Posted: April 24th, 2007, 10:52 am
This would have been an interesting book to read. Being from the Baltimore area this game has a legendary and historic place in our history. It was the game that put the NFL on the map.
It may not have been the greatest game literally ever played but as it was the first overtime championship game and the one of the first to be televised it has become probably more than it actually is based on a wonderful coming together of time, teams, personalities and a pretty good finish. Many of those Colts players were still active in the community long after they retired and are still fan favorites.
Posted: April 25th, 2007, 10:38 am
Lynn, I don't mind at all. Be my guest. It is an important thread to honor and remember those who have contributed, no matter how small, to our pleasure and interest in the arts.
Character/supporting actress[b] Alice Backes [/b]passed away on March 15th at the age of 83.
Miss Backes is familiar to TCM viewers as Barbara the sympathetic nurse in "I Want to Live!" with Susan Hayward.
Although in only a handful of films, she appeared on numerous TV programs including "Columbo", "Bewitched", "Alfred Hitchcock Presents", "Barnaby Jones", "Gunsmoke", "Dragnet", etc.
She served in the WAVES during WWII. Was the widow of film editor Milton Citron, and had 4 children.
Posted: April 26th, 2007, 3:49 pm
Jean-Pierre Cassel, a drily humorous actor, who was discovered by Gene Kelly when casting his non-musical valentine to France, The Happy Road in 1957, regarded another dancing legend, Fred Astaire as his inspiration throughout his career. Cassel has passed away at 74, it was announced on April 24th. M. Cassel worked with a range of good directors during his 110 films, including:
Sidney Lumet: Murder on the Orient Express
Phillipe de Broca: L'Amant de Cinq Jours, & Les Jeux de l'Amour, along with 4 other movies
Richard Attenborough: Oh! What a Lovely War
Robert Altman: Prêt-à-Porter & Vincent & Theo
His familiar long "horse face" may be seen as typically Gallic, but his talent was as distinctive as the professional company that he kept.
Posted: April 26th, 2007, 7:31 pm
Posted: April 26th, 2007, 9:14 pm
Wow, I thought ol' "Boom Boom Valenti was darn near indestructable.
I'm surprised to say the least. How weird that both he and David Halberstam go in the same week? Halberstam covered the Johnson White House and the Vietnam War and Valenti worked in the Johnson White House before becoming the Ratings Czar.
Posted: April 27th, 2007, 12:25 am
Oh my! I just read in this morning's paper that he was released from the hospital. So I expected him to trudge on for a few more years. Does this close the door on the era of 1960's studios?
Posted: April 27th, 2007, 8:45 am
Jack Valenti--What a character! When he wasn't saying to a dumbfounded American public that he "slept better at night knowing that Lyndon Johnson" was in the White House, he had a real impact on the entertainment industry for decades, and not just by helping to implement the rating system that replaced the Hays Production Code, but often acting more as a Congressional lobbyist for the Hollywood bigwigs as much as the head of the MPAA. I couldn't help liking the guy, and especially enjoyed his flashy manner and ability to spin and schmooze with the big boys, which is supposedly what he was still doing in retirement on a golf course when he was felled by a stroke.
His memoirs, "This Time, This Place: My Life in War, the White House, and Hollywood" were just about to be published, documenting his life and times, from a fighter pilot in WWII to a witness to the swearing in of LBJ as president as he stood next to Mrs. Kennedy on that sad day in Dallas, to his starry-eyed friendships with Kirk Douglas, Sidney Poitier, Frank Sinatra, and Sophia Loren. I, for one, will enjoy reading them, since he was one of the witnesses, (and maybe a catalyst too), to the blurring of the divide between show biz & politics in American life.
Posted: May 2nd, 2007, 11:02 am
Gordon Scott, who played Tarzan in 5 films during the 1950's died in Baltimore Monday. He was 79.
Posted: May 2nd, 2007, 5:41 pm
Legendary cameraman Freddie Francis (Glory, Elephant man, Scorsese's Cape Fear) and horror director (The Skull, The Creeping Flesh, Dracula Has Risen from the Grave) died back in February aged 89.
I heard David Halberstam speak when I was in grad school. He was marvellous, one of the best guest speakers I heard. It is a shame that he is gone now.
Frank Capra, Jr has died
Posted: December 20th, 2007, 3:02 pm
Wilmington Studio Head Frank Capra Jr. Dies
By MARTHA WAGGONER
Associated Press Writer
Frank Capra Jr., the son of "It's A Wonderful Life" director Frank Capra
who followed his father into the movie business and help build the largest
television and movie studio on the East Coast, has died. He was 73.
Capra Jr. died Wednesday night at a hospital in Philadelphia, said Bill
Vassar, the executive vice president of Wilmington-based EUE/Screen Gems
Studios, of which Capra was president. Vassar said Capra died following a
long fight with prostate cancer, which had spread over the past several
"With his Hollywood pedigree and extensive experience as a producer, Frank
was the perfect ambassador to Hollywood," Chris Cooney, chief operating
officer of EUE Screen Gems LTD, said in a statement. "He will be missed as
a friend and a colleague."
Under Capra's leadership, EUE/Screen Gems' credits include several major
motion pictures, including "28 Days," "The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya
Sisterhood," "Domestic Disturbance," "Black Knight" and "A Walk to
He also was at the helm when "Dawson's Creek" - starring a then-unknown
Katie Holmes - filmed at the studios, and he kept all nine of the studio's
sound stages full in recent years between movies and the filming of another
successful teenage soap, "One Tree Hill."
"He brings a certain cachet to the studio that would not be there and
wasn't there before he came," said Bill Arnold, the former director of the
North Carolina Film Office, said in an interview earlier this year. "When
Frank came on, I think it assumed a larger profile just because of Frank's
Capra was one of three children of Frank Capra and Lucille Rayburn Warner
Capra, who tried to protect her children from the Hollywood life. Still, he
could tell stories about dinners with Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, and
said he was best friends with Gary Cooper's daughter Maria.
For the past several years, he screened his family's 35mm print of his
father's 1946 Christmas favorite at the University of North Carolina at
Wilmington. In an interview in the summer of 2007, Capra Jr. said his
father had no idea he was making the classic film, starring Jimmy Stewart,
Donna Reed and Lionel Barrymore.
"I don't think any filmmaker knows that," he said. "He loved the idea of
the story. He fell in love with that idea of the story about a man who
could see the world the way it would have been had he never been born."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material
may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the
Frank Capra, Jr. Film Studies Scholarship Fund, c/o Marla Rice Evans
at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, 601 South College Street,
Wilmington, NC 28403
Posted: December 20th, 2007, 3:34 pm
As it happens, this morning I took a different route to work, walking up East 44th Street, where EUE/Screen Gems has offices and studios, and I could see through the glass doors that there was a lot of hubbub and milling around in the little lobby. That would explain it. Too bad.
Vampira has died
Posted: January 12th, 2008, 3:31 am
Word came this afternoon that Maila Nurmi, better known to her legion of fans, as Vampira has passed away.
She has no family so details are sketchy though friends are said to be trying to get her a spot at Hollywood Forever cemetery.
Nurmi was 86.