Clare Fischer (October 22, 1928 – January 26, 2012) was an American keyboardist, composer, arranger, and bandleader. After graduating from Michigan State University, he became the pianist and arranger for the vocal group The Hi-Lo’s in the late 1950s. Fischer went on to work with Dizzy Gillespie and Donald Byrd, and became known for his Latin and bossa nova recordings in the 1960s. He composed the jazz standard, "Pensativa". Fischer was nominated for eleven Grammy Awards, winning two for his albums, Clare Fischer and Salsa Picante Present 2+2 (1981) and Free Fall (1986), where he merged Latin and vocal music. Fischer also became an in-demand arranger for pop albums, working with Prince, Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, Celine Dion, Robert Palmer, and many others.
Fischer wrote for Prince and many other renowned artists including Michael Jackson, Amy Grant, João Gilberto, Paula Abdul, Natalie Cole and more recently Chaka Khan and Branford Marsalis.
Clare Fischer cause of death On January 8, 2012, Fischer suffered a cardiac arrest in Los Angeles, following a minor surgery a few days before. His wife of 18 years, Donna, was at his side and performed CPR, which saved his life. He remained in ICU on life support, and died on January 26, 2012. Clare Fischer was 83 years old at the time of his death.
Bud Shank & Clare Fischer 'Wistful Samba' on Franly Jazz
Manuel Galbán (1931 – July 7, 2011) was a Grammy winning Cuban guitarist, pianist and arranger, most notable for his work with Los Zafiros, Ry Cooder and the Buena Vista Social Club. The last surviving member of Los Zafiros,
In 2001 he recorded Mambo Sinuendo with Ry Cooder which won the 2003 Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Album.
Manuel Galban Cause of Death Manuel Galban passed away on July 7, 2011 of cardiac arrest at his home in Havana, Cuba. Manuel Galban was 80 years old at the time of his death.
Manuel Galban & Ry Cooder Echale Salsita Manuel Galban (wearing a hat) - On Guitar
* Tony Curtis was once married to actress Janet Leigh (Psycho, 1960) and fathered actresses Jamie Lee Curtis
Tony Curtis (June 3, 1925 – September 29, 2010) was an American film actor. He played a variety of roles, from light comedy, such as the musician on the run from gangsters in Some Like It Hot, to serious dramatic roles, such as an escaped convict in The Defiant Ones, which earned him a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor. From 1949, he appeared in more than 100 films and made frequent television appearances.
Tony Curtis cemented his reputation with breakthrough performances such as in the role of the scheming press agent Sidney Falco in Sweet Smell of Success (1957) with Burt Lancaster and an Oscar-nominated performance as a bigoted escaped convict chained to Sidney Poitier in The Defiant Ones. He did both screen comedy and drama together and became the most sought after star in Hollywood: Curtis' comedies include Some Like It Hot (1959) and Sex and the Single Girl (1964), and his dramas include The Outsider (1961), the true story of WW II veteran Ira Hayes, and The Boston Strangler (1968), in which he played the self-confessed murderer of the film's title, Albert DeSalvo. The latter film was praised for Curtis' performance.
Curtis also appeared frequently on television; he co-starred with Roger Moore in the TV series The Persuaders!. Later, he co-starred in McCoy and Vega$. In the early 1960s, he was immortalized as "Stony Curtis," a voice-over guest star on The Flintstones.
Throughout his life, Curtis enjoyed painting, and since the early 1980s, painted as a second career. His work commands more than $25,000 a canvas now. In the last years of his life, he concentrated on painting rather than movies
Death of Tony Curtis Tony Curtis died in bed at his Las Vegas home, on September 29, 2010, at 9:25 PM of cardiac arrest. Tony Curtis was 85 years old at the time of his death.
Lawrence Vonetta McGee (January 14, 1945 – July 9, 2010) was an American actress.
Vonenna McGee became well-known for her parts in the 1972 Blaxploitation films Melinda and Hammer.
In the action thriller Shaft in Africa (1973), McGee took the role of Aleme, the daughter of an emir, who teaches John Shaft (Richard Roundtree) Ethiopian geography. She also starred alongside Clint Eastwood in the action thriller The Eiger Sanction (1975).
Death of Vonetta McGee In 1987, McGee married the actor Carl Lumbly; they have one child. McGee passed away from a cardiac arrest on July 9, 2010.
Brittany Murphy (November 10, 1977 – December 20, 2009) was an American actress and recording artist. She starred in films such as Just Married, Clueless, Girl, Interrupted, 8 Mile, Sin City, The Dead Girl, Uptown Girls, Riding in Cars with Boys and Spun.
Murphy starred in many successful films, including Clueless (1995), Girl, Interrupted (1999), Don't Say a Word (2001), the TV adaption of the novel The Devil's Arithmetic (2001), 8 Mile (2002) and Uptown Girls (2003) as well as many lesser-known films, such as Spun (2003). In 2004, she starred in the romantic comedy Little Black Book, and the critically acclaimed Sin City (2005). She starred in two Edward Burns films: Sidewalks of New York (2002) and The Groomsmen (2006). In 2009, she was cast in the Lifetime TV movie, Tribute, as the main character, Cilla.
Death of Brittany Murphy On December 20, 2009, Murphy was rushed to the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and pronounced dead. Her family said Brittany Murphy suffered flu-like symptom before death.
Cause of death February 4, 2010, the Los Angeles County coroner stated that the primary cause of Murphy's death was pneumonia, with secondary factors of iron-deficiency anemia and multiple drug intoxication.
February 25, 2010, the coroner released a report stating that Murphy had been taking a range of over-the-counter and prescription medications, with the most likely reason being to treat a cold or respiratory infection. These included "elevated levels" of hydrocodone, acetaminophen, L-methamphetamine and chlorpheniramine. All of the drugs were legal and the death was ruled to be an accident, but the report observed: "the possible adverse physiological effects of elevated levels of these medications cannot be discounted, especially in her weakened state"
Brittany Murphy on Letterman
July 26, 2010 - Investigation is underway for possible toxic mold that might have killed both Brittany Murphy & her husband Simon Monjack.
February 25, 2010 - Brittany Murphy's death was ruled "Accident"
February 4, 2010, the Los Angeles County coroner stated that the primary cause of Murphy's death was pneumonia, with secondary factors of iron-deficiency anemia and multiple drug intoxication.
Dec 23, 2009: Retailers are pulling Brittany's new movie poster "Deadline" - The poster shows Brittany in the bath tub (looked like she's dying).
Dec 21, 2009: Autopsy is completed, but it may take up to 6 weeks for the result to be released (especially toxicology result). Autopsy found no signs of trauma. The family said she suffered "flu like symptom" before death.
Dec 21, 2009: Hulu & YouTube pulled 'SNL' Brittany Murphy skit.
Dec 20, 2009: Autopsy is underway. Her husband originally didn't want autopsy. He claimed autopsy was against his Jewish belief.
Al Martino (born Alfred Cini, October 7, 1927 – October 13, 2009) was an Italian American singer and actor. Allmusic journalist Steve Huey states, "Martino was one of the great Italian American pop crooners, boasting a string of hit singles and albums that stretched from the early 1950s all the way into the mid 1970s. However, he was perhaps even better known for his role in The Godfather as singer Johnny Fontane, a character supposedly based on Frank Sinatra, but with eerie similarities to Martino's own career."
In the U.S., Martino had eleven Top 40 hits in the Billboard pop singles chart in the 1960s and 1970s, with 1963's "I Love You Because" (#3) and 1964's "I Love You More and More Every Day" (#9) both reaching the Top Ten. He also sang the title song for the film, Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964), and is credited in the end titles of the film.
Apart from singing, Martino played the role of Johnny Fontane in the 1972 film The Godfather, as well as singing the film's theme, "I Have But One Heart (O Marenariello)". He played the same role in "The Godfather Part II and The Godfather Part III, as well as The Godfather Trilogy: 1901-1980.
Death of Al Martino Al Martino died at his childhood home in Springfield, Pennsylvania. Al Martino was 82 years old at the time of his death.
Gordon Trueman Riviere Waller (June 4, 1945 - July 17, 2009) was a singer–songwriter–guitarist, best known as "Gordon" of the 1960s duo Peter and Gordon, whose biggest hit was "A World Without Love".
Gordon Waller Bio Waller was born in Braemar, Scotland. While attending Westminster School, he met fellow student Peter Asher, and they began playing together as a duo — Peter and Gordon. Asher mentioned in a 2006 interview that "Our voices are quite different, Gordon's and mine, but we tried singing together experimentally and we found that we could achieve this very nice harmony".
Asher is the older brother of actress and businesswoman Jane Asher, who in the mid-1960s was girlfriend of The Beatles' Paul McCartney. Through this connection he and Waller were often given unrecorded Lennon–McCartney songs to perform, most notably their first and biggest hit, 1964's decidedly Beatlesque "A World Without Love".
Peter and Gordon disbanded in 1968.
Death of Gordon Waller Gordon Waller went into cardiac arrest on the evening of July 16, 2009 and died early in the morning of July 17, 2009 at a hospital near his home in Ledyard, Connecticut.
A world without love - Peter and Gordon Gordon Waller on Left
I Go to Pieces - Peter & Gordon Gordon Waller on Left
Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor III (December 1, 1940 – December 10, 2005) was an American comedian, actor, and writer.
Pryor was a storyteller known for unflinching examinations of racism and customs in modern life, and was well-known for his frequent use of colorful language, vulgarities, and racial epithets such as "nigger", "honky," "cracker," and "motherfucker." He reached a broad audience with his trenchant observations, although public opinion of his act was often divided. He is commonly regarded as the most important stand up comedian of his time: Jerry Seinfeld called Pryor "The Picasso of our profession"; Whoopi Goldberg cited him as her biggest influence, stating "The major influence was Richard - I want to say those things he's saying." Bob Newhart has called Pryor "the seminal comedian of the last 50 years."
Death of Richard Pryor Ricahrd Pryor died of cardiac arrest in Encino, California. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital at 7:58 a.m. PST. Richard Pryor was 65 years old at the time of his death.He was brought to the hospital after his wife's attempts to resuscitate him failed. His wife Jennifer was quoted as saying, "At the end, there was a smile on his face."
His body of work includes such concert movies and recordings as Richard Pryor: Live and Smokin' (1971), That Nigger's Crazy (1974), ...Is It Something I Said? (1975), Bicentennial Nigger (1976), Richard Pryor: Live in Concert (1979), Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip (1982) and Richard Pryor: Here and Now. He also starred in numerous films as an actor, usually in comedies such as Silver Streak, but occasionally in dramatic roles, such as Paul Schrader's film Blue Collar and epic roles like Gus Gorman from Superman III (1983). He also collaborated on many projects with actor Gene Wilder. He won an Emmy Award in 1973, and five Grammy Awards in 1974, 1975, 1976, 1981, and 1982. In 1974, he also won two American Academy of Humor awards and the Writers Guild of America Award. In 2004, Pryor was voted the greatest stand-up act of all time by Comedy Central.
Early life and career Born on December 1, 1940 in Peoria, Illinois, Pryor grew up in his grandmother's brothel, where his mother, Gertrude L. Thomas, practiced prostitution. His father, LeRoy "Buck" Pryor (a.k.a. Buck Carter) was a former bartender, boxer, and World War II veteran who worked as his wife's pimp. After his mother deserted him when he was 10, he was raised primarily by his grandmother, Marie Carter. As a small child, Pryor was molested by a neighbor and a priest.
He was expelled from school at age 14, and began working various odd jobs. His first professional performance was playing drums at a night club. From 1958 to 1960, Pryor served in the U.S. Army but spent virtually that entire stint in an army prison. According to a 1999 profile about Pryor in The New Yorker, Pryor was incarcerated for an incident that occurred while stationed in Germany. Annoyed that a white soldier was a bit too amused at the racially charged sections of Douglas Sirk's movie Imitation of Life, Pryor and some other black soldiers beat and stabbed the white soldier (not fatally). According to Live on Sunset Boulevard, when he was nineteen he worked at a Mafia owned nightclub as the MC. Upon hearing that they would not pay a stripper, he attempted to hold up the owners with a cap pistol. They apparently thought he was amusing, though Richard Pryor may have made this story up.
In 1963, Pryor moved to New York City and began performing regularly in clubs alongside performers such as Bob Dylan and Woody Allen. On one of his first nights he opened for singer and pianist Nina Simone at the Village Gate. Simone recalls Pryor's bout of performance anxiety:
“ He shook like he had malaria, he was so nervous. I couldn't bear to watch him shiver, so I put my arms around him there in the dark and rocked him like a baby until he calmed down. The next night was the same, and the next, and I rocked him each time.”
Inspired by Bill Cosby, Pryor began as a middlebrow comic far less controversial than what was to come. Soon, he began appearing regularly on television variety shows such as The Ed Sullivan Show and The Tonight Show. His popularity led him to become a rather successful comic in Las Vegas. The first five tracks on the 2005 compilation CD Evolution/Revolution: The Early Years (1966-1974), recorded in 1966 and 1967, capture Pryor in this era.
In September 1967, Pryor had what he called in his autobiography Pryor Convictions an "epiphany" when he walked onto the stage at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas (with Dean Martin in the audience), looked at the sold-out crowd, said over the microphone "What the fuck am I doing here!?", and walked off the stage. Afterward, Pryor began working at least mild profanity into his act, including the word "nigger". His first comedy recording, the eponymous 1968 debut release on the Dove/Reprise label, captures this particular period, tracking the evolution of Pryor's routine. It was around this time that his parents died-his mother in 1967 and his father in 1968. Richard got his familiar nickname at this point of time which is ba-loot.
What he thought was his first child was a girl named Renee. Years later however, he found out that this was not his child. In 1960, he married Patricia Price and they had one child together, Richard Jr. (his first child and first son) They divorced in 1961. In 1967, his second child and first daughter, Elizabeth Ann, was born to his girlfriend Maxine Anderson. Later that year, he married Shelly Bonus. In 1969, his third child and second daughter Rain Pryor was born. Pryor and Bonus divorced later that year.
Mainstream success In 1969, Pryor moved to Berkeley, California, where he immersed himself in the counterculture and rubbed elbows with the likes of Huey P. Newton and Ishmael Reed. He signed with the comedy-centric independent record label Laff Records in 1970 and recorded his second album in 1971, Craps (After Hours). In 1972, the relatively unknown comedian appeared in his first film, a documentary entitled Wattstax, where he riffed on the tragic-comic absurdities of race relations in Watts and the nation. Not long afterward, Pryor sought a deal with a larger label, and after some time, signed with Stax Records. His third, breakthrough album, That Nigger's Crazy, was released in 1974 and, Laff, who claimed ownership of Pryor's recording rights, almost succeeded in getting an injunction to prevent the album from being sold. Negotiations led to Pryor's release from his Laff contract. In return for this concession, Laff was enabled to release previously unissued material, recorded between 1968 and 1973, at will.
During the legal battle, Stax briefly closed its doors. It was at this time that Pryor returned to Reprise/Warner Bros. Records, which re-released That Nigger's Crazy immediately after ...Is It Something I Said?, his first album with his new label. With every successful album Pryor recorded for Warner Bros. (or later, his concert films and his 1980 freebasing accident), Laff would quickly publish an album of older material to capitalize on Pryor's growing fame — a practice the label would continue until 1983.
In the 1970s, he wrote for such television shows as Sanford and Son, The Flip Wilson Show and a Lily Tomlin special, for which he shared an Emmy Award. Pryor also made an attempt to break into mainstream television during this period. In 1974, he was arrested for income tax evasion and served 10 days in jail. He was a guest host on the first season of Saturday Night Live,Richard took long time girlfriend -actress talk show host Kathrine McKee with him to New York,(sister of Lonette McKee) she made a brief guest appearance with Richard on SNL, and his "racist word association" skit with Chevy Chase is frequently cited by TV critics as one of the funniest and most daring skits in SNL history (this sketch was replayed on the Season 31 episode hosted by Alec Baldwin, which first aired on the day Pryor died). The Richard Pryor Show premiered on NBC in 1977 but after only four shows, the series was cancelled. Television was not ready for the show's controversial subject matter, and Pryor was not ready to alter the content of his material to meet the demands of network censors. During the short-lived series, he portrayed the first African-American President of the United States and in another skit, used costumes and visual distortion to appear nude.
In 1977, he married actress Deborah McGuire and they divorced in 1978. He soon began dating Jennifer Lee and they married in 1981. They divorced the following year.
Very successful and towards the height of his success, Pryor visited Africa in 1979. Upon returning to the United States, Pryor swore he would never use the word "nigger" in his stand-up comedy routine again. (His favorite epithet, "motherfucker", remains a term of endearment on his official website.)
In 1983, Pryor signed a five-year contract with Columbia Pictures for $40,000,000. Pryor appeared in several popular films, including Lady Sings the Blues; The Mack; Uptown Saturday Night; Silver Streak; Which Way Is Up?; Car Wash; Superman III (which earned Pryor $4,000,000); Brewster's Millions; Stir Crazy; Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling; Moving; and See No Evil, Hear No Evil. He also took part in The Toy, one of Jackie Gleason's last projects. Though he made four films with Gene Wilder, the two comic actors were never as close as many thought according to Wilder's autobiography.
Pryor also co-wrote Blazing Saddles directed by Mel Brooks and starring Gene Wilder. Pryor was to play the lead role of Bart, but the film's production studio would not insure him, and Mel Brooks chose Cleavon Little instead. Before his infamous 1980 freebasing accident, Pryor was about to start filming Mel Brooks' History of the World, Part I, but was replaced at the last minute by Gregory Hines. Pryor was also originally considered for the role of Billy Ray Valentine on Trading Places (1983), before Eddie Murphy ultimately won the part.
Despite a reputation for profanity, Pryor briefly hosted a children's show on CBS in 1984 called Pryor's Place. Like Sesame Street, Pryor's Place featured a cast of puppets, hanging out and having fun in a surprisingly friendly inner city environment along with several children and characters portrayed by Pryor himself. However, Pryor's Place frequently dealt with more sobering issues than Sesame Street. It was cancelled shortly after its debut, despite the efforts of famed puppeteers Sid and Marty Krofft and a theme song by Ray Parker Jr. of Ghostbusters fame to ensure its success.
Pryor co-hosted the Academy Awards twice, and was also nominated for an Emmy for a guest role on the television series, Chicago Hope.
The freebasing incident and its aftermath On June 9, 1980, Pryor set himself on fire while freebasing cocaine. He ran down Parthenia Street from his Northridge, California home until subdued by police, with burns having covered over 50 percent of his body. Pryor spent six weeks in recovery at the Grossman Burn Center at Sherman Oaks Hospital. Pryor made this part of his heralded "final" stand up show Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip (1982). After joking that the incident was actually caused when he dunked a cookie into a glass containing two different types of milk, he gave a poignant yet funny account of his accident and recovery, then poked fun at people who told jokes about it by waving a lit match and saying "What's this? It's Richard Pryor running down the street." Interviewed in 2005, his wife Jennifer Lee Pryor said that Pryor poured high-proof rum over his body and torched himself in a drug psychosis.His daughter, Rain Pryor also stated this in an interview in People Magazine. In a TV interview with Barbara Walters during his recovery, Pryor said that he tried to commit suicide. He claimed that his managers and lawyers created the "accident" lie in the belief that it would be less damning than a suicide attempt. Regardless of the incident's origins, Pryor continued his tradition of mining comedy out of the most intensely personal events. One of his jokes about this subject was
“ When you're on fire and running down the street, people will get out of your way. ”
Fellow comedian George Carlin made reference to this incident during his Carnegie Hall performance in 1983:
“ An update on the comedian health sweepstakes. I currently lead Richard Pryor in heart attacks 2 to 1. But Richard still leads me 1 to nothing in burning yourself up. See, it happened like this. First Richard had a heart attack. Then I had a heart attack. Then Richard burned himself up. And I said, 'Fuck that. I'm having another heart attack!' ”
He did not stay away from stand-up comedy very long though — in 1983 he filmed and released a new concert film and accompanying album, Here And Now, which he directed himself. He then wrote and directed a fictionalized account of his life, Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling. Interestingly, Jo Jo Dancer depicted a suicide attempt by the main character in which he douses himself in rum and ignites himself.
In 1984, his fourth child and second son, Steven, was born to his girlfriend Flynn Belaine. Pryor married Belaine in October 1986. They divorced in July 1987. Before their divorce was final, Belaine conceived Kelsey Pryor. Meanwhile, another of Richard's girlfriends, Geraldine Mason gave birth to Franklin Mason in April 1987 (his fifth child and third son). Six months later (October 1987), Belaine gave birth to Kelsey Pryor (Richard's sixth child and third daughter).
Fight with multiple sclerosis In 1991, Pryor announced that he had been suffering from multiple sclerosis since 1986. In response to giving up drugs after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, he said:
“ God gave me this M.S. shit to save my life. ”
In 1992, he gave some final live performances, excerpts of which appear on the ...And It's Deep Too! box set. He continued to make occasional film appearances, pairing with Gene Wilder one last time in the unsuccessful 1991 comedy, Another You (in which his physical deterioration was noted by many critics). His final film appearance was a small role in the David Lynch film Lost Highway in 1997; by then, Pryor was wheelchair bound. His Final episodic Television appearance was on an episode of The Norm Show (AKA "Norm") in 2000, where he had a small role as one of Norm's clients. Afterwards, he was frequently a featured story on Entertainment Tonight until his death.
Marriages Richard Pryor was married seven times to five different women:
Patricia Price (1961 - 1967) (divorced) 1 child Richard Pryor Jr. Shelly Bonus (1967 - 1969) (divorced) 1 child Rain Pryor Deborah McGuire (22 September 1977 - 1979) (divorced) Jennifer Lee (August 1981 - October 1982) (divorced) Flynn Belaine (October 1986 - July 1987) (divorced) 1 child Flynn Belaine (1 April 1990 - July 1991) (divorced) 1 child Jennifer Lee (June 2001 - 10 December 2005) (his death) Each of his marriages was characterised by accusations of domestic violence and spousal abuse except for his relationship with Belaine (with whom there were no allegations of physical abuse); most of the allegations of abuse were connected to Pryor's drug use. The exception to this rule was Patricia Price who was married to Pryor before his rise to stardom. Deborah McGuire accused him of shooting her car with a .357 Magnum , but later dropped the charges (even though this was mentioned during one of Pryor's standup routines, Live in Concert). Lee accused him of beating and attempting to strangle her during their first marriage, and did not share his home after they remarried. During his relationship with actress Pam Grier, Pryor proposed to actress Deborah McGuire (1977).
He had seven children: Renee, Richard Jr, Elizabeth, Rain, Steven, Franklin and Kelsey.
Later life In 1998, Pryor became the first performer to win the inaugural Mark Twain Prize for American Humor from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. According to Former Kennedy Center President Lawrence J. Wilker,
“ Richard Pryor was selected as the first recipient of the new Mark Twain Prize because as a stand-up comic, writer, and actor, he struck a chord, and a nerve, with America, forcing it to look at large social questions of race and the more tragicomic aspects of the human condition. Though uncompromising in his wit, Pryor, like Twain, projects a generosity of spirit that unites us. They were both trenchant social critics who spoke the truth, however outrageous. ”
In 2000, Rhino Records remastered all of Pryor's Reprise and Warner Bros. albums for inclusion in the box set ...And It's Deep Too! The Complete Warner Bros. Recordings (1968-1992).
In 2001, he remarried Jennifer Lee, who also had become his manager.
In 2002, Pryor and his wife/manager Jennifer Lee Pryor, won the legal rights to all of the Laff material; almost 40 hours of reel-to-reel analog tape. After going through the tapes and getting Richard's blessing, Jennifer Lee Pryor gave Rhino Records access to the Laff tapes in 2004. These tapes, including the entire Craps album, form the basis of the double-CD release Evolution/Revolution: The Early Years (1966-1974).
In 2003, a television documentary, Richard Pryor: I Ain't Dead Yet, , came out. It consisted of archival footage of Pryor's performances and testimonials from fellow comedians such as Dave Chappelle, Wanda Sykes and Denis Leary of the influence Pryor had on comedy.
In 2004, Pryor was voted #1 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time. In a 2005 British poll to find The Comedian's Comedian, Pryor was voted the 10th greatest comedy act ever by fellow comedians and comedy insiders.
His final performance was at the Circle Star Theater in San Carlos, California.
In his later years, Richard Pryor became a wheelchair user due to multiple sclerosis (M.S., which he said stood for "More Shit"). In late-2004, his sister claimed that Pryor lost his voice. However, on January 9, 2005, Pryor's wife, Jennifer Lee, rebutted this statement in a post on Pryor's official website, citing Richard as saying: "Sick of hearing this shit about me not talking... not true... good days, bad days... but I still am a talkin' motherfucker!"
Pryor was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. The animal rights organization PETA gives out an award in Pryor's name to people who have done outstanding work to alleviate animal suffering. Mr. Pryor was active in animal rights and was deeply concerned about the plight of elephants in circuses and zoos.
Death On December 10, 2005, Pryor died of cardiac arrest in Encino, California. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital at 7:58 a.m. PST. He died just 9 days after his 65th birthday. He was brought to the hospital after his wife's attempts to resuscitate him failed. His wife Jennifer was quoted as saying, "At the end, there was a smile on his face."
Discography Richard Pryor (Dove/Reprise, 1968) Craps (After Hours) (Laff Records, 1971, reissued 1993 by Loose Cannon/Island) That Nigger's Crazy, (Partee/Stax, 1974, reissued 1975 by Reprise) ...Is It Something I Said?, (Reprise, 1975, reissued 1991 on CD by Warner Archives) L.A. Jail, (Tiger Lily, 1976) Bicentennial Nigger, (Reprise, 1976) Are You Serious???, (Laff, 1977) Who Me? I'm Not Him, (Laff, 1977) Black Ben The Blacksmith, (Laff, 1978) The title track was first issued as "Prison Play" on Richard Pryor, in spite of Warner Bros.' ownership of that particular master recording. The Wizard Of Comedy, (Laff, 1978) Wanted: Live in Concert (2-LP set), (Warner Bros. Records, 1978) Outrageous, (Laff, 1979) Insane, (Laff, 1980) Holy Smoke!, (Laff, 1980) Rev. Du Rite, (Laff, 1981) Live On The Sunset Strip (Warner Bros. Records, 1982) Richard Pryor Live! (picture disc), (Phoenix/Audiofidelity, 1982) Supernigger, (Laff. 1983) Here And Now, (Warner Bros. Records, 1983)
Filmography The Busy Body (1967) Uncle Tom's Fairy Tales (1968) (unfinished) Wild in the Streets (1968) Black Brigade (1970) The Phynx (1970) Richard Pryor: Live and Smokin' (filmed in 1971, released in 1985) (documentary) You've Got to Walk It Like You Talk It or You'll Lose That Beat (1971) Dynamite Chicken (1972) Lady Sings the Blues (1972) The Mack (1973) Wattstax (1973) (documentary) Hit! (1973) Some Call It Loving (1973) Blazing Saddles (1974) (co-writer) Uptown Saturday Night (1974) The Lion Roars Again (1975) (short subject) Adios Amigo (1976) Car Wash (1976) The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings (1976) Silver Streak (1976) Which Way Is Up? (1977) Greased Lightning (1977) Blue Collar (1978) The Wiz (1978) California Suite (1978) Richard Pryor: Live in Concert (1979) (documentary) The Muppet Movie (1979) (cameo) Wholly Moses (1980) In God We Tru$t (1980) Stir Crazy (1980) Bustin' Loose (1981) Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip (1982) (documentary) Some Kind of Hero (1982) The Toy (1982) Superman III (1983) Richard Pryor: Here and Now (1983) (documentary) Brewster's Millions (1985) Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling (1986) (also director and co-writer) Critical Condition (1987) Moving (1988) See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989) Harlem Nights (1989) The Three Muscatels (1991) Another You (1991) A Century of Cinema (1994) (documentary) Mad Dog Time (1996) Lost Highway (1997) Bitter Jester (2003) (documentary) I Ain't Dead Yet, #*%$@!! (2003) Richard Pryor: The Funniest Man Dead Or Alive (2005, BET Special)
Walter John Matthau (October 1, 1920 – July 1, 2000) was an Academy Award-winning American actor best known for his role as Oscar Madison in The Odd Couple and his frequent collaborations with fellow Odd Couple star Jack Lemmon.
Death of Walter Matthau Walter Matthau died of full cardiac arrest on July 1, 2000 in Santa Monica, California. Walter Matthau was 79 years old at the time of his death.
After heart surgery, doctors discovered that he had colon cancer, which had spread to his liver, lungs and brain. However, on his death certificate the causes of death are listed as cardiac arrest and atherosclerotic heart disease, with ESRD and atrial fibrillation added as "other significant conditions contributing to death but not related to [primary] cause..."
He is interred in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Westwood, California, next to fellow actor George C. Scott.
Almost exactly one year after Walter Matthau's death, Jack Lemmon was also buried at the cemetery, after dying from cancer. After Matthau's death, Lemmon as well as other friends and relatives appeared on Larry King Live in an hour of tribute and remembrance; poignantly, many of those same people appeared on the show one year later, reminiscing about Lemmon.
His widow, Carol, died of a brain aneurysm in 2003.
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Walter Matthau's biography & filmographyy continues next page
Early life Walter Matthau was born in New York City's Lower East Side on October 1, 1920, the son of Russian – Jewish immigrants. His original surname is often shown as Matuschanskayasky, but this is not true (see Original Name Rumor below for a detailed discussion).
Career During World War II Matthau served in the U.S. Army Air Forces with the Eighth Air Force in England as a B-24 Liberator radioman-gunner, in the same bomb group as Jimmy Stewart. He reached the rank of Staff Sergeant and became interested in acting. He often joked that his best early review came in a play where he posed as a derelict. One reviewer said, "The others just looked like actors in make-up, Walter Matthau really looks like a skid row bum!" Matthau was a respected stage actor for years in such fare as Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? and A Shot in the Dark. He won the 1962 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a play. In 1952 Matthau appeared in the pilot of Mr. Peepers with Wally Cox. For reasons unknown he used the name Leonard Elliot. His role was of the gym teacher Mr. Wall. In 1955 he made his motion picture debut as a whip-wielding bad guy in The Kentuckian opposite Burt Lancaster. He appeared in many movies after this as a villain such as the 1958 King Creole (where he is beaten up by Elvis Presley). That same year, he made a western called Ride a Crooked Trail with Audie Murphy and the notorious flop Onionhead starring Andy Griffith and Erin O'Brien. Matthau also directed a low budget 1960 movie called The Gangster Story. In 1962, he won acclaim as a sympathetic sheriff in Lonely are the Brave. He also played a villainous war veteran in Charade, which starred Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn.
In addition to his busy movie and stage schedule, Matthau made many television appearances in live TV plays. Although he was constantly working, it seemed that the fact that he was not handsome in the traditional sense would keep him from being a top star.
Success came late for Matthau. In 1965, aged 44, Neil Simon cast him in the hit play The Odd Couple opposite Art Carney. In 1966, he again achieved success as a shady lawyer opposite future friend and frequent co-star, actor Jack Lemmon, in The Fortune Cookie. During filming, the film had to be placed on a five month hiatus after he suffered a heart attack.
He won an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for that movie, and also made a memorable acceptance speech. He was visibly banged up, having been involved in a bicycle accident shortly before the awards show. He scolded nominated actors who were perfectly healthy and had not bothered to come to the ceremony, especially three of the other four major award winners: Elizabeth Taylor, Sandy Dennis and Paul Scofield.
Matthau and Lemmon became lifelong friends after making The Fortune Cookie and made a total of ten movies together (eleven if we count Kotch, in which Lemmon has a cameo as a sleeping bus passenger), including the movie version of The Odd Couple (with Lemmon playing the Art Carney role) and the popular 1993 hit Grumpy Old Men and its sequel Grumpier Old Men with Sophia Loren.
Matthau hummed the same tune in most of his movies, The Fortune Cookie, Grumpy Old Men, Grumpier Old Men etc.
Marriages Matthau was married twice; first to Grace Geraldine Johnson (1948 – 1958), from 1959 until his death in 2000 to Carol Marcus. He had two children, Jenny Matthau and David Matthau, with his first wife, and a son, Charlie Matthau, with his second. His grandchildren include William Matthau and Emily Roman. His son, Charlie, directed Matthau in the movie The Grass Harp (1995).
Original name rumor There is a persistent rumor that his birth name was Matuschanskayasky, which is false, as are the rumors that his name was Matashansky or Matansky, or any of the other reported names. In truth - as reported by the authors of Matthau: A Life by Rob Edelman and Audrey Kupferberg (along with Walter's son, Charlie Matthau), Walter was a teller of tall tales. In his youth, he found that the joy of embellishment lifted a story (and the listener) to such enjoyable heights that he could not resist trying to pass off the most bogus of information, just to see who was gullible enough to believe it. Matthau told many stories to many reputable people – including the Social Security Administration.
When he registered for a number, he was amazed that they only wanted him to write his name, and offer no proof of his identity. So, as another of his traditional goofs, he wrote that his true name was "Walter Foghorn Matthau".
The "Matuschanskayasky" name rumor culminated with the release of 1974's Earthquake. The executive producer, Jennings Lang, had worked with Matthau the previous year on the film Charley Varrick, and convinced him to take a small cameo role in the film - the small part scripted only as a "drunk at the end of the bar." On a whim, Matthau agreed to take the part, without compensation, on the condition that he not be credited under his real name. After Matthau agreed, the part of the "drunk" was expanded to provide comic relief for the film, the character offering toasts to various people (Spiro Agnew, Bobby Riggs, and Peter Fonda), as well as delivering the punchline "Hey, who do you have to know to get a drink around here?" in the midst of a bar devastated by a major earthquake.
As requested, when it came time to insert the credits for Earthquake, the long name "Matuschanskayasky" was used, as agreed, by Jennings Lang and Matthau.
Despite the facts, this fake name continued to appear in the World Almanac section on "Original Names of Selected Entertainers" as recently as the 2007 edition (p.235).
Awards Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor 1966 for The Fortune Cookie
Filmography Atomic Attack (1950) (short subject) The Kentuckian (1955) The Indian Fighter (1955) Bigger Than Life (1956) A Face in the Crowd (1957) Slaughter on Tenth Avenue (1957) King Creole (1958) Voice in the Mirror (1958) Ride a Crooked Trail (1958) Onionhead (1958) Gangster Story (1960) (also director) Strangers When We Meet (1960) Lonely are the Brave (1962) Who's Got the Action? (1962) Island of Love (1963) Charade (1963) Ensign Pulver (1964) Fail-Safe (1964) Goodbye Charlie (1964) Mirage (1965) The Fortune Cookie (1966) A Guide for the Married Man (1967) The Odd Couple (1968) The Secret Life of an American Wife (1968) Candy (1968) Hello, Dolly! (1969) Cactus Flower (1969) A New Leaf (1971) Plaza Suite (1971) Kotch (1971) Pete 'n' Tillie (1972) The Laughing Policeman (1973) Charley Varrick (1973) The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) Earthquake (1974) (credited as "Walter Matuschanskayasky") The Front Page (1974) The Lion Roars Again (1975) (short subject) The Gentleman Tramp (1975) (documentary) The Sunshine Boys (1975) The Bad News Bears (1976) Casey's Shadow (1978) House Calls (1978) California Suite (1978) Portrait of a 60% Perfect Man (1980) (documentary) Little Miss Marker (1980) Hopscotch (1980) First Monday in October (1981) Buddy Buddy (1981) I Ought to Be in Pictures (1982) The Survivors (1983) Movers & Shakers (1985) Pirates (1986) The Little Devil (1988) The Couch Trip (1988) JFK (1991) as Senator Russell B. Long Beyond 'JFK': The Question of Conspiracy (1992) (documentary) Dennis the Menace (1993) Grumpy Old Men (1993) I.Q. (1994) The Grass Harp (1995) Grumpier Old Men (1995) I'm Not Rappaport (1996) Out to Sea (1997) The Odd Couple II (1998) The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg (1998) (documentary) Hanging Up (2000)
TV work Dry Run, episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents series (1959) Juno and the Paycock (1960) Tallahassee 7000 (cast member in 1961) Awake and Sing! (1972) Actor (1978) The Stingiest Man in Town (1978) (voice) The Incident (1990) Mrs Lambert Remembers Love (1991) Against Her Will: An Incident in Baltimore (1992) Incident in a Small Town (1994) The Marriage Fool (1998)
Stage appearances Anne of the Thousand Days (1948) (replacement) The Liar (1950) Twilight Walk (1951) Fancy Meeting You Again (1952) One Bright Day (1952) In Any Language (1952) The Grey-Eyed People (1952) The Ladies of the Corridor (1953) The Burning Glass (1953) Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter (1955) Once More, with Feeling! (1958) Once There Was a Russian (1961) A Shot in the Dark (1961) My Mother, My Father and Me (1963) The Odd Couple (1965)
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