Jack Wild (September 30, 1952 - March 2, 2006) was an English actor who achieved fame for his roles in both stage and screen productions of the Lionel Bart musical Oliver! with Ron Moody, Shani Wallis and Oliver Reed. For the latter performance (playing the Artful Dodger), he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor at the age of 16, but the Oscar went to Jack Albertson for his performance in The Subject Was Roses. Jack Wild appeared with actor Mark Lester in two films: Oliver! (1968) and Melody (1971).
Death of Jack Wild Wild died on 2 March, 2006, aged 53, after a long battle with oral cancer, which he claimed was caused by his alcoholism and smoking. Diagnosed with the disease in 2000, he underwent surgery in July 2004 and had part of his tongue and both vocal cords removed. Because of this surgery, he had lost his speech and had to communicate through his wife, Clare Harding, whom he had met in a stage production of Cinderella; Jack played one of the ugly stepsisters. He is buried in Toddington Parish Cemetery.
William Dennis Weaver (June 4, 1924 - February 24, 2006) was an Emmy Award-winning American actor, best known for his work in television, including roles on Gunsmoke, as Marshal Sam McCloud on the NBC police drama McCloud and in Steven Spielberg's feature-length directorial debut, the cult TV movie Duel in 1971.
Death of Dennis Weaver Dennis Weaver died of complications from cancer, in Ridgway, Colorado, United States. Dennis Weaver was 81 year old at the time of his death.
Jesse Donald Knotts (July 21, 1924 – February 24, 2006) was an American comedic actor best known for his portrayal of Barney Fife on the 1960s television sitcom The Andy Griffith Show (a role which earned him five Emmy Awards), and as landlord Ralph Furley on the television sitcom Three’s Company in the 1980s.
Death of Don Knotts Don Knotts died at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California from pulmonary and respiratory complications related to lung cancer. He had been undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in the months before his death, but had gone home after he reportedly had been getting better. Long-time friend Andy Griffith visited Knotts’ bedside a few hours before he died. His wife and his daughter stayed with him until his death.
Knotts’ obituaries cited him as a huge influence on other entertainers. Musician and fan J.D. Wilkes said this about Knotts: “Only a genius like Knotts could make an anxiety-ridden,passive-aggressive Napoleon character like Fife a familiar, welcome friend each week. Without his awesome contributions to television there would’ve been no other over-the-top, self-deprecating acts like Conan O’Brien or Chris Farley.”
Knotts is buried at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles.
His hometown of Morgantown, West Virginia, has begun creation of a statue of the actor that will be placed in a special memorial park along the river and Don Knotts Boulevard.
Don Knotts - Funniest Moments as Barney Fife
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Early life Knotts was born in the university town of Morgantown, West Virginia, the son of Elsie L. (née Moore) and William Jesse Knotts. His father’s family had been in the United States since the 17th century, originally settling in Queen Anne’s County, Maryland.His father had been a farmer, but suffered a nervous breakdown and lost his farm. The family (including Don’s two brothers) was supported by Don’s mother, who ran a boarding house in town. Knotts’ father suffered from schizophrenia and alcoholism and died when Don was 13 years old. Some time later, Knotts graduated from Morgantown High School.
At 19, Knotts was drafted into the Army and served during World War II as part of a traveling GI variety show and as a nurse, including in the Pacific Theater.
Early roles After performing in many venues (including a ventriloquist act with a dummy named Hooch Matador), Knotts got his first major break on television in the soap opera Search for Tomorrow where he appeared from 1953 to 1955. He came to fame in 1956 on Steve Allen’s variety show, as part of Allen’s repertory company, most notably in Allen’s mock “Man in the Street” interviews, always as a man extremely nervous. The laughs grew when Knotts stated his occupation -- always one that wouldn’t be appropriate for such a shaky person, such as a surgeon or explosives expert.
In 1958, Knotts appeared in the movie No Time for Sergeants alongside Andy Griffith. The movie, based on the play and book of the same name, began a professional and personal relationship between Knotts and Griffith that would last for decades.
Andy Griffith Show In 1960, when Griffith was offered the opportunity to headline in his own sitcom, The Andy Griffith Show (1960-1968), Knotts took the role of Barney Fife, the deputy — and originally cousin — of Sheriff Andy Taylor (portrayed by Griffith). Knotts’ five seasons portraying the deputy on the popular show would earn him five Emmy Awards for Best Supporting Actor in a Television Comedy.Andy Griffith Show
Personal life The actor was married to college sweetheart Kathryn (Kay) Metz from 1947-64 and to Loralee Czuchna from 1974-83. He had two children from his first marriage, Karen and Thomas. He was married to actress Francey Yarborough at the time of his death.
Film No Time for Sergeants (1958) Wake Me When It's Over (1960) The Last Time I Saw Archie (1961) It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) (cameo) Move Over, Darling (1963) The Incredible Mr. Limpet (1964) The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (1966) The Reluctant Astronaut (1967) Rowan & Martin at the Movies (1968) The Shakiest Gun in the West (1968) The Love God? (1969) How to Frame a Figg (1971) The Apple Dumpling Gang (1975) No Deposit, No Return (1976) Gus (1977) Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977) Hot Lead and Cold Feet (1978) The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again (1979) The Prize Fighter (1979) The Private Eyes (1981) Cannonball Run II (1984) Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night (1987) Big Bully (1996) Cats Don't Dance (1997) Pleasantville (1998) Tom Sawyer (2000) Chicken Little (2005) Air Buddies (2006)
Television Search for Tomorrow (1953-1955) The Steve Allen Show (1956-1960) The Andy Griffith Show (1960-1965, 1966, 1967) The New Steve Allen Show (1961-1963) The Don Knotts Show (1970-1971) The Man Who Came to Dinner (1972) The New Scooby-Doo Movies (1972) I Love a Mystery (1973) Steve Allen's Laugh Back (1975) Fantasy Island (1978-1979) Three's Company (1979-1984) The Little Troll Prince (1985) Return to Mayberry (1986) Johnny Bravo Matlock (1987-1995) What a Country (1987) Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night (1987) Timmy's Gift: A Precious Moments Christmas (1991) Jingle Bells (1999) Quints (2000) Hermie: A Common Caterpillar (2003) Odd Job Jack (2003) 8 Simple Rules For Dating My Teenage Daughter (2003) Hermie and Friends (2004) Robot Chicken (2005) That 70's Show (2005) Las Vegas (2005)
Louis Allen Rawls (December 1, 1933 – January 6, 2006) was a Chicago-born American soul music, jazz, and blues singer. Known for his smooth vocal style, Frank Sinatra once said that Rawls had "the classiest singing and silkiest chops in the singing game." Rawls released more than 70 albums, sold more than 40 million records, appeared as an actor in motion pictures and on television, and voiced-over many cartoons. He had been called "The Funkiest Man Alive".
Death of Lou Rawls Rawls died on January 6, 2006 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from complications of the cancers. Lou Rawls was 74 years old at the time of his death.
Lou Rawls is well known for:
Phrase "Yeahhhh, buddy!"
Songs "Lady Love", "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine", "Love Is a Hurtin' Thing"
Peter Charles Archibald Ewart Jennings, CM (July 29, 1938 - August 7, 2005) was a Canadian-American journalist and news anchor. He was the sole anchor of ABC's World News Tonight from 1983 until his death in 2005 of complications from lung cancer. A high-school dropout, he transformed himself into one of American television's most prominent journalists.
Death of Peter Jennings Peter Jennings died of lung cancer. Peter Jennings was 67 years old at the time of his death.
Jennings started his career early, hosting a Canadian radio show at the age of nine. In 1965, ABC News tapped him to anchor its flagship evening news program. His inexperience marred his first short stint in the anchor chair, and Jennings became a foreign correspondent in 1968, honing his reporting skills in the Middle East.
He returned as one of World News Tonight's three anchors in 1978, and was promoted to the role of sole anchor in 1983. Jennings formed part of the "Big Three" news anchors who dominated American evening news in the 1980s and 1990s. Having always been fascinated with the United States, Jennings became a naturalized United States citizen in 2003. His death, which closely followed the retirements of Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather, marked the end of the "Big Three" era.
President Clinton to Peter Jennings "Don't go there Peter!"
Morton Downey, Jr. (born Sean Morton Downey; December 9, 1932 - March 12, 2001) was a controversial and influential American television talk show host of the 1980s who pioneered the "trash talk show" format.
Death of Morton Downey, Jr Morton Downey, Jr was died of lung cancer
Morton Downey, Jr was 67 years old at the time of his death.
Lung cancer of Morton Downey, Jr
In 1996, Downey was diagnosed with lung cancer and had one of his lungs removed. He did a complete about-face on tobacco use, going from a one-time member of the National Smokers Alliance to a staunch anti-smoking activist. He continued to speak against smoking until his death from lung cancer in 2001 at age 67. After being diagnosed with lung cancer, he said, "I had spawned a generation of kids to think it was cool to smoke a cigarette. Kids walked up to me until a matter of weeks ago, they'd have a cigarette in their hand and they'd say, 'Hey, Mort,' or, 'Hey, Mouth, autograph my cigarette.' And I'd do it." He also blamed tobacco companies for lying to consumers about cigarettes.
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Morton Downey Jr - Rock / Metal
Author Adrian Havill later said that Downey's cancer and subsequent anti-smoking commercials, like other celebrity causes for certain diseases, served as a publicity tool
In the 1980s, Downey was working as a talk show host at KFBK-AM in Sacramento, California, where he established his abrasive and much imitated right wing, populist style, relentlessly deriding anyone who disagreed with him or had a liberal point of view. Downey's success, coupled with the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, laid the groundwork for more aggressive, opinion-based talk radio. His work led to the "trash talk" genre of Jerry Springer, Maury Povich, Ricki Lake and many more. His fight with fellow radio talk show host Wally George (with each charging that the other was not conservative) on George's talk show led to police tackling Downey to the ground.
Downey later headed to Secaucus, New Jersey where his highly controversial television program The Morton Downey Jr. Show was taped for two years before it was canceled for low ratings. (His replacement at KFBK was Rush Limbaugh). The program featured screaming matches among Downey, his guests, and his audience members. He would chainsmoke during the show and blow smoke in his guests' faces. Downey's signature phrases pabulum puker (referring to political liberals) and "zip it!" briefly enjoyed some popularity in the contemporary vernacular. He particularly enjoyed making his guests angry with each other. The Washington Post wrote about him, "Suppose a maniac got hold of a talk show. Or need we suppose?" David Letterman said, "I'm always amazed at what people will fall for. We see this every 10 or 12 years, an attempt at this, and I guess from that standpoint I don't quite understand why everybody's falling over backwards over the guy."
The success of the show made Downey a pop culture celebrity, leading to an appearance on Saturday Night Live in 1988 and later roles in movies such as Predator 2 and Revenge of the Nerds III: The Next Generation. He was also cast in several TV roles, often playing tabloid TV hosts or other obnoxious media types.
Controversies In 1989, as fascination with Downey's show began to wane, he was involved in an incident in a San Francisco International Airport restroom in which he claimed to have been attacked by neo-Nazis who painted a swastika on his face and attempted to shave his head. Some inconsistencies in Downey's account (e.g., the swastika was painted in reverse, suggesting that Downey had drawn it himself in a mirror), and the failure of the police to find supportive evidence, led many to suspect that the incident was a hoax and a plea for attention. A few months later, the show was canceled.
Downey was sued for allegedly appropriating the words and music to his theme song from two songwriters. He was sued for $40 million after bringing a stripper onto the show and calling her a "slut," a "pig," a "hooker," and a "tramp," saying that she had diseases, and banging his pelvis against hers. At one point, he was arraigned on criminal charges for attacking a gay guest on his show, in a never-aired segment. In another lawsuit, he was accused of slandering a newscaster (a former colleague), and of indecently exposing himself to her and slapping her.
Downey infamously hit Stuttering John with a chair on The Howard Stern Show and punched him.
In interviews, he expressed regret for some of the extreme theatrics of his TV show, saying he had taken things too far. He added that he had been a "bastard." However, he also claimed that his show was of a higher quality and not as "sleazy" as Jerry Springer's.
Attempted comeback In 1993, Downey attempted a comeback in talk radio on Dallas radio station KGBS, where he would scream insults at his callers. He was also hired as the station's VP of Operations. The following year he had a short-lived television show, Downey, that was similar in theme to his earlier, more popular show. In one episode, Downey claimed to have had a psychic communication with OJ Simpson's murdered ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson.
Like his father, Downey pursued music as a career, recording in both pop and country styles. One song, "Green Eyed Girl" scraped the bottom reaches of the Billboard Magazine Country chart, peaking at #95 in 1981. After the success of his talk show, Downey returned to the recording studio to cut an album of songs based on his show, Morton Downey Jr. Sings. The album's only single, "Zip It!" (a catch-phrase from the TV show, used to quiet an irate guest), became a surprise hit on some college radio stations. Following his death, news reports and obituaries incorrectly (according to the Orange County Register) credited him as the composer of "Wipe Out." As of 2007, Downey's official website (and others) continue to make this claim.
Personal life His parents were also in show business; his father Morton Downey was a popular singer, and his mother Barbara Bennett was a singer and dancer. His aunts included Hollywood film stars Constance and Joan Bennett, from whom he was estranged, and his maternal grandfather was the celebrated matinée idol Richard Bennett. Born into a life of luxury, he was raised next door to the Kennedy compound at Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.
Downey was married four times and had four children from three of those marriages. With wife Helen he had Melissa, with Joan he had daughters Tracey and Kelli, and with fourth wife and widow Lori he had Seanna. He and Lori met when she appeared as a dancer in a show he attended in Atlantic City.
Loretta Young (January 6, 1913 – August 12, 2000) was an Academy Award-winning American actress.
Early life She was born in Salt Lake City, Utah as Gretchen Young (she took the name Michaela at confirmation) she moved with her family to Hollywood when she was three years old. Loretta and her sisters Polly Ann Young and Elizabeth Jane Young (screen name Sally Blane) worked as child actresses, of whom Loretta was the most successful. Young's first role was at age 3 in the silent film The Primrose Ring. The movie's star Mae Murray so fell in love with little Gretchen that she wanted to adopt her. Although her mother declined, Gretchen was allowed to live with Murray for two years. Her half-sister Georgiana (daughter of her mother and stepfather George Belzer) eventually married actor Ricardo Montalban. During her high school years, she was educated at Ramona Convent Secondary School.
Death of Loretta young Loretta young died of ovarian cancer at the Santa Monica, California home of her half-sister, Georgiana Montalban, and was interred in the family plot in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California. Loretta young was 87 years old at the time of her death
Young has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame — one for motion pictures, at 6104 Hollywood Blvd, and another for television, at 6141 Hollywood Blvd.
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Career She was billed as "Gretchen Young" in the 1917 film, Sirens of the Sea. It wasn't until 1928 that she was first billed as "Loretta Young", in The Whip Woman. That same year she co-starred with Lon Chaney in the MGM film Laugh, Clown, Laugh.The next year, she was anointed one of the WAMPAS Baby Stars.
In 1930, Young, then 17, eloped with 26-year-old actor Grant Withers and married him in Yuma, Arizona. The marriage was annulled the next year, just as their second movie together (ironically titled Too Young to Marry) was released.
Young made as many as seven or eight movies a year and won an Oscar in 1947 for her performance in The Farmer's Daughter. The same year she co-starred with Cary Grant and David Niven in The Bishop's Wife, a perennial favorite that still airs on television during the Christmas season and was later remade as The Preacher's Wife with Whitney Houston. In 1949, Young received another Academy Award nomination (for Come to the Stable) and in 1953 appeared in her last film, It Happens Every Thursday.
Moving to television, she hosted and starred in the well-received half hour anthology series The Loretta Young Show. Her "sweeping" trademark appearance at the beginning of each show was to appear dramatically in various high fashion evening gowns. She returned at the program's conclusion to restate to the viewer the moral of the story just seen. (Young's introductions and conclusions to her television shows, which were widely satirized at the time, are not rerun on television because she had it legally stipulated that they not be; the ever image-conscious Young didn't want to be seen in "outdated" wardrobe and hairstyles.) Her program ran in prime time on NBC for eight years, the longest-running prime time network program ever hosted by a woman up to that time.
The program, which earned her three Emmys, began with the premise that each drama was an answer to a question asked in her fan mail; the program's original title was Letter to Loretta. The title was changed to The Loretta Young Show during the first season, and the "letter" concept was dropped altogether at the end of the second season. At this time, Young's health required that there be a number of guest hosts and guest stars; her first appearance in the 1955-56 season was for the Christmas show. From this point on, Young appeared in only about half of each season's shows as an actress and merely functioned as the program host for the remainder. This program, minus Young's introductions and summarized conclusions, was rerun in daytime by NBC from 1960 to 1964 and also appeared, again without the introductions and conclusions, in syndication.
Affair with Clark Gable In 1935, Young had an affair with Clark Gable, who was married at the time, while on location for The Call of the Wild. During their relationship, Young became pregnant. Due to the moral codes placed on the film industry Young covered up her pregnancy in order to avoid damaging her career (as well as Gable's). Returning from a long "vacation" (during which she secretly gave birth to her daughter), Young announced that she had adopted the little girl. The child was raised as "Judy Lewis" after taking the name of Young's second husband, producer Tom Lewis. According to Lewis's autobiography Uncommon Knowledge, Lewis was made fun of because of the ears that she received from her father, Clark Gable. Over the years she had heard rumors and secretly knew that Clark Gable was her biological father, but it was not until 1958 when Judy's future husband Joseph Tinney told her that "everybody" knew the rumors that she really began to suspect. It was not until a few years later, after becoming a mother herself, that she finally got the nerve to ask her mother, who, after promptly vomiting, admitted to her that Clark Gable was her father and the she was "a mortal sin."
Marriages and relationships Married to actor Grant Withers from 1930-1931. Married producer Tom Lewis in 1940 and they divorced very bitterly in the mid 1960s. Lewis died in 1988. They had two sons, Peter (Peter Lewis of the legendary San Francisco rock band Moby Grape) and Christopher, a film director. Married fashion designer Jean Louis in 1993. Louis died in 1997. Involved in affairs with Spencer Tracy and Clark Gable; in 1935, she gave birth to Gable's daughter, who was known as Judy Lewis.
Later life Loretta Young was the godmother of actress Marlo Thomas, whose parents (her father was Danny Thomas), were, like Young, devout Roman Catholics. From the time of Young's retirement in the 1960s, until not long before her death, she devoted herself to volunteer work for charities and churches with her friend of many years, Jane Wyman. Young did, however, briefly come out of retirement to star in two television films, Christmas Eve (1986), and Lady in a Corner (1989). Young was the mother of Peter Lewis, guitarist and vocalist of seminal 60's San Francisco underground rock band Moby Grape.
Young died at 87 from ovarian cancer at the Santa Monica, California home of her half-sister, Georgiana Montalban, and was interred in the family plot in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.
Young has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame — one for motion pictures, at 6104 Hollywood Blvd, and another for television, at 6141 Hollywood Blvd.
The Primrose Ring
Sirens of the Sea
The Only Way
Child on the operating table
White and Unmarried
Naughty But Nice
Her Wild Oat
Bit by Ping Pong Table
The Whip Woman
Laugh, Clown, Laugh
The Magnificent Flirt
The Head Man
Seven Footprints to Satan
One of Satan's victims
The Girl in the Glass Cage
Patricia Mason Stratton
The Careless Age
The Forward Pass
The Show of Shows
Ann Harper Berry
The Man from Blankley's
Show Girl in Hollywood
Herself, Cameo Appearance at Premiere
The Second Floor Mystery
Road to Paradise
Mary Brennan/Margaret Waring
Warner Bros. Jubilee Dinner
The Truth About Youth
The Devil to Pay!
How I Play Golf, by Bobby Jones No. 8: 'The Brassie'
Stephen L. Reeves (January 21, 1926 – May 1, 2000), was an American bodybuilder, actor, and author. Steve Reeves known as a pioneer who inspired Hollywood musclemen such as Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger
Death of Steve Reeves
Steve Reeves died at a hospital in San Diego of complications from lymphoma, a type of cancer.
Stephen Reeves was 74 years old at the time of his death.
Born in Glasgow, Montana, Steve Reeves moved to California at the age of 10 with his mother Goldie, after his father Lester Dell Reeves died in a farming accident. Reeves developed an interest in bodybuilding while in high school and trained at Ed Yarick's gym in Oakland. By the time he was 17 he had developed a Herculean build, long before the rise in general interest in bodybuilding. After graduating from high school, he entered the Army during the latter part of World War II, and served in the Pacific.
Reeves won the following bodybuilding titles:
1946 - Mr. Pacific Coast
1947 - Mr. Western America
1947 - Mr. America
1948 - Mr. World
1950 - Mr. Universe
By his own account, his best cold (unpumped) measurements at the peak of his bodybuilding activity were:
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Neck: 18 1/4"
Biceps: 18 1/4"
Calves: 18 1/4"
Reeves was known for his "V-taper" and for the great width of his shoulders, which Armand Tanny once measured at 23 1/2" using outside calipers.
Arnold Schwarzenegger's Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding states:
By [the 1940s] the distinction between lifting weights purely for strength and training with weights to shape and proportion the body had been clearly made. ... However, bodybuilding still remained an obscure sport. No champion was known to the general public--that is, until Steve Reeves came along. Reeves was the right man in the right place at the right time. He was handsome, personable, and had a magnificent physique. Survivors from the Muscle Beach era recall how crowds used to follow Reeves when he walked along the beach, and how people who knew nothing about him would simply stop and stare, awestruck.
After his military service, Reeves decided to try his hand at acting, having been told endlessly that he had the rugged good looks of a Hollywood star. After some intensive actor training, he came to the attention of film director Cecil B. De Mille, who considered him for the part of Samson in Samson and Delilah (1949). After a dispute over his physique in which De Mille and the studio wanted Reeves to lose 15 pounds of muscle, the part finally went to Victor Mature.
In 1954 he had a co-starring role in his first major motion picture, the musical Athena playing Jane Powell's boyfriend. The same year Reeves had a small role as a cop in the Ed Wood film Jail Bait. This is one of the few opportunities to hear Reeves' voice as most of his later films were dubbed. Reeves' appearance in Athena prompted Italian director Pietro Francisci's daughter to suggest him for the role of Hercules in her father's upcoming movie. In 1957, Reeves went to Italy and played the title character in Francisci's Hercules, which was released in Italy in February 1958 and in the U.S. in July 1959. The film's cinematographer Mario Bava claimed credit for suggesting that Reeves grow a beard for the role. Following the U.S. release, the film was an enormous hit and created a new sub-genre of the sword and sandal film (also known as the peplum film): the 'Hercules' or 'strong man' movie. The film is now in public domain and can be downloaded from the Internet Archive.
From 1959 through 1964, Reeves went on to appear in a string of sword and sandal movies, and although he is best known for his portrayal of the Greek hero Hercules, he played the character only twice - in the 1958 film Hercules and the sequel Hercules Unchained (released in the U.S. in 1960). He played a number of other characters on screen, including Sir Edward George Bulwer-Lytton's Glaucus of Pompeii; Goliath (also called Emiliano); Tatar hero Hadji Murad; Romulus, the legendary founder of Rome (opposite Gordon Scott as his twin brother Remus); the famous Olympian and war-time messenger of the Battle of Marathon, Pheidippides (The Giant of Marathon); pirate and self-proclaimed governor of Jamaica Captain Henry Morgan; and Karim, the Thief of Baghdad. Twice he played Aeneas of Troy and twice he played Emilio Salgari's Malaysian hero, Sandokan.
Paramount considered Reeves for the title role of their film version of the Broadway musical Li'l Abner in 1958, but the part eventually went to Peter Palmer. After the box office success of Hercules, Reeves turned down a number of parts that subsequently made the careers of other actors. He was asked to star as James Bond in Dr. No (1962), which he turned down. He also declined the role that finally went to Clint Eastwood in A Fistful of Dollars (1964).
During the filming of The Last Days of Pompeii, Reeves dislocated his shoulder when his chariot crashed into a tree. Reeves pulled the joint back into its socket by himself and chose to continue filming and performing his own stunts. Swimming in a subsequent underwater escape scene he reinjured his shoulder. The injury would be aggravated by his stunt work in each successive film, ultimately leading him to retire early.
In 1968 Reeves appeared in his final film, a spaghetti western which he also co-wrote, titled A Long Ride From Hell, fulfilling his wish to make a Western before he retired. George Pal had considered him for the title role of Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze but delays in filming had the part eventually go to Ron Ely. At the peak of his career, he was the highest-paid actor in Europe. His last screen appearance was in 2000 when he appeared as himself in the made-for-television A&E Biography: Arnold Schwarzenegger - Flex Appeal.
Later life Later in his life, Reeves promoted drug-free bodybuilding and bred horses. The last two decades of his life were spent in Valley Center (Escondido), California. He bought a ranch with his savings and lived there with his second wife Aline until her death in 1989. On May 1, 2000, Reeves died from complications of lymphoma.
Athena (1954) an MGM musical starring Debbie Reynolds, Jane Powell, and Edmund Purdom
Jail Bait (1954) directed by Edward D. Wood Jr.
Hercules (1958) aka The Labors of Hercules
Hercules Unchained (1959) aka Hercules and the Queen of Lydia
The Giant of Marathon (1959) aka The Battle of Marathon
Goliath and the Barbarians (1959) aka Terror of the Barbarians
The Last Days of Pompeii (1959)
The White Warrior (1959) directed by Riccardo Freda
Morgan, the Pirate (1960)
The Thief of Bagdad (1960)
Duel of the Titans (1961) aka Romulus and Remus
The Trojan Horse (1961) aka The Trojan War
The Avenger (1962) aka The Last Glory of Troy
The Slave (1962) aka Son of Spartacus
Sandokan The Great (1964) directed by Umberto Lenzi
Pirates of Malaysia (1964) aka Pirates of the Seven Seas
A Long Ride From Hell (1967) spaghetti western
Charles Monroe Schulz (November 26, 1922 – February 12, 2000) was a 20th-century American cartoonist best known worldwide for his Peanuts comic strip.
Charles M. Schulz was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and grew up in Saint Paul. He was the only child of Carl Schulz, who was German, and Dena, who was Norwegian. His uncle nicknamed him "Sparky" after the horse Spark Plug in the Barney Google comic strip.
Schulz attended St. Paul's Richard Gordon Elementary School, where he skipped two half-grades. He became a shy and isolated teenager, perhaps as a result of being the youngest in his class at Central High School.
Charles Schulz's death. Charles Schulz died in Santa Rosa of complications from colon cancer at 9:45 p.m. on February 12, 2000. Charles Schulz was 77 years old at the time of his death. He was interred in Pleasant Hills Cemetery in Sebastopol.
After his mother died in February 1943, he was drafted into the United States Army and was sent to Camp Campbell in Kentucky. He was shipped to Europe two years later to fight in World War II as an infantry squad patrol with the U.S. 20th Armored Division.
After leaving the army in 1945, he returned to Minneapolis where he took a job as an art teacher at Art Instruction, Inc. — he had taken correspondence courses before he was drafted. Schulz, before having his comics published, began doing lettering work for a Catholic comic magazine titled Timeless Topix, where he would rush back and forth from dropping off his lettering work and teaching at Art Instruction Schools, Inc.
Schulz's drawings were first published by Robert Ripley in his Ripley's Believe It or Not!. His first regular cartoons, Li'l Folks, were published from 1947 to 1950 by the St. Paul Pioneer Press; he first used the name Charlie Brown for a character there, although he applied the name in four gags to three different boys and one buried in sand. The series also had a dog that looked much like Snoopy. In 1948, Schulz sold a cartoon to the Saturday Evening Post; the first of seventeen single-panel cartoons by Schulz that would be published there. In 1948, Schulz tried to have Li'l Folks syndicated through the Newspaper Enterprise Association. Schulz would have been an independent contractor for the syndicate, unheard of in the 1940s, but the deal fell through. Li'l Folks was dropped in January, 1950.
Later that year, Schulz approached the United Feature Syndicate with his best strips from Li'l Folks, and Peanuts made its first appearance on October 2, 1950. The strip became one of the most popular comic strips of all time. He also had a short-lived sports-oriented comic strip called It's Only a Game (1957 – 1959), but abandoned it due to the demands of the successful Peanuts. From 1956 to 1965 he also contributed a single-panel strip ("Young Pillars") featuring teenagers to Youth, a publication associated with the Church of God (Anderson).
Charlie Brown, the principal character for Peanuts, was named after a co-worker at the Art Instruction Schools; he drew much of his inspiration, however, from his own life:
Like Charlie Brown, Schulz's father was a barber and his mother a housewife.
Schulz had a dog when he was a boy. Unlike Snoopy the beagle, it was a pointer. Eventually, it was revealed that Snoopy had a desert-dwelling brother named Spike.
Spike's residence, outside of Needles, California, was likely influenced by the few years (1928 – 1930) that the Schulz family lived there; they had moved to Needles to join other family members who had relocated from Minnesota to tend to an ill cousin.
Schulz was also shy and withdrawn.
Schulz's "Little Red-Haired Girl" was Donna Johnson, an Art Instruction Schools accountant with whom he had a relationship. She rejected his marriage proposal, but remained a friend for the rest of his life.
Linus and Shermy were both named for good friends of his (Linus Maurer and Sherman Plepler, respectively).
Lucy was inspired by Joyce Halverson, his first wife.
Peppermint Patty was inspired by Patricia Swanson, one of his cousins on his mother's side.
Schulz moved briefly to Colorado Springs, Colorado. He painted a wall in that home for his daughter Meredith, featuring Patty, Charlie Brown and Snoopy. The wall was removed in 2001 and donated to the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, California. The restored artwork by Schulz is printed in the paperback edition of Chip Kidd's book Peanuts: The Art of Charles M. Schulz.
Schulz's family returned to Minneapolis and stayed until 1958. They then moved to Sebastopol, California, where Schulz built his first studio. It was here that Schulz was interviewed for the unaired television documentary A Boy Named Charlie Brown. Some of the footage was eventually used in a later documentary titled Charlie Brown and Charles Schulz. The original documentary is available on DVD from The Charles M. Schulz Museum.
Schulz's father died while visiting him in 1966, the same year his Sebastopol studio burned down. By 1969, Schulz had moved to Santa Rosa, California, where he lived and worked for more than 30 years.
Schulz had a long association with ice sports, as both figure skating and ice hockey featured prominently in his cartoons. In Santa Rosa, he was the owner of the Redwood Empire Ice Arena, which opened in 1969. Schulz's daughter Amy served as a model for the skating in the 1980 television special She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown. Schulz also was very active in Senior Ice Hockey tournaments; in 1975, he formed Snoopy's Senior World Hockey Tournament at his Redwood Empire Ice Arena, and in 1981, Schulz was awarded the Lester Patrick Trophy for outstanding service to the sport of hockey in the United States. In 1998, he hosted the 1st ever Over 75 Hockey Tournament (although goalies could be younger - 60). In 2001, Saint Paul renamed The Highland Park Ice Arena the "Charles Schulz Arena" in his honor.
The first full-scale biography of Schulz, Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography, by David Michaelis, was released in October 2007. The book has been heavily criticized by the Schulz family, while Michaelis maintains that there is "no question" his work is accurate. However, fellow artist Bill Watterson (creator of Calvin & Hobbes) feels that the biography does justice to Schulz's legacy, while giving insight into the emotional impetus of the creation of the strips.
In light of David Michaelis' biography and the controversy surrounding his interpretation of the personality that was Charles Schulz, responses from his family reveal some intimate knowledge about the Schulz's persona beyond that of mere artist.
Peanuts ran for nearly 50 years without interruption and appeared in more than 2,600 newspapers in 75 countries. In November 1999 Schulz suffered a stroke, and later it was discovered that he had colon cancer that had metastasized to his stomach. Because of the chemotherapy and the fact he could not read or see clearly, he announced his retirement on December 14, 1999. This was difficult for Schulz, and he was quoted as saying to Al Roker on The Today Show, "I never dreamed that this would happen to me. I always had the feeling that I would stay with the strip until I was in my early eighties, or something like that. But all of sudden it's gone. I did not take it away. This has been taken away from me."
Schulz died in Santa Rosa of complications from colon cancer at 9:45 p.m. on February 12, 2000, at age 77. He was interred in Pleasant Hills Cemetery in Sebastopol.
The last original strip ran the day after his death. In it, a statement was included from Schulz that his family wished for the strip to end when he was no longer able to produce it. Schulz had previously predicted that the strip would outlive him, with his reason being that comic strips are usually drawn weeks before their publication. As part of his will, Schulz had requested that the Peanuts characters remain as authentic as possible and that no new comic strips based on them be drawn. United Features has legal ownership of the strip, but his wishes have been honored, although reruns of the strip are still being syndicated to newspapers. New television specials have also been produced since Schulz's death, but the stories are based on previous strips.
Schulz had been asked if, for his final Peanuts strip, Charlie Brown would finally get to kick that football after so many decades. His response: "Oh, no! Definitely not! I couldn't have Charlie Brown kick that football; that would be a terrible disservice to him after nearly half a century."
He was honored on May 27, 2000, by cartoonists of 42 comic strips paying homage to him and Peanuts.
Schulz received the National Cartoonist Society Humor Comic Strip Award in 1962 for Peanuts, the Society's Elzie Segar Award in 1980, their Reuben Award for 1955 and 1964, and their Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999. He was also a hockey fan; in 1981, Schulz was awarded the Lester Patrick Trophy for outstanding contributions to the sport of hockey in the United States, and he was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 1993. On June 28, 1996, Schulz was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, adjacent to Walt Disney's. A replica of this star appears outside his former studio in Santa Rosa. Schulz is a recipient of the Silver Buffalo Award, the highest adult award given by the Boy Scouts of America, for his service to American youth.
On June 7, 2001 the United States Congress posthumously awarded Schulz the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor the US legislature can award. Schulz's widow, Jean, accepted the award on behalf of her late husband.
Schulz was inducted into the United States Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2007.
In 2000, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors rechristened the Charles M. Schulz - Sonoma County Airport in his honor. The airport's logo features Snoopy in goggles and scarf, taking to the skies on top of his red doghouse.
The Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center in Santa Rosa opened on August 17, 2002, two blocks away from his former studio and celebrates his life's work and art of cartooning. A bronze statue of Charlie Brown and Snoopy stands in Depot Park in downtown Santa Rosa.
The Jean and Charles Schulz Information Center at Sonoma State University is one of the largest libraries in the CSU system and the state of California with a 400,000 volume general collection and with a 750,000 volume automated retrieval system capacity. The $41.5 million building was named after Schulz and his wife donated a large sum of the money, $5 million, needed to build and furnish the structure. The library opened in 2000 and now stands as one of the largest buildings in the university.
Peanuts on Parade has been Saint Paul, Minnesota’s tribute to its favorite native cartoonist. It began in 2000 with the placing of 101 five-foot tall statues of Snoopy throughout the city of Saint Paul. Every summer for the next 4 years statues of a different Peanuts character were placed on the sidewalks of Saint Paul. In 2001 there was Charlie Brown Around Town, 2002 brought Looking for Lucy, then in 2003 along came Linus Blankets Saint Paul, ending in 2004 with Snoopy lying on his doghouse. The statues were auctioned off at the end of each summer, so some remain around the city but others have been relocated. Permanent, bronze statues of the Peanuts character are also found in Landmark Plaza in downtown Saint Paul.
For the past five years, Forbes Magazine has rated Schulz the second "highest paid deceased person" in America (after Elvis Presley), with his estate continuing to garner income totaling more than $32 million since his passing. According to the book "Where Are They Buried?" (as well as other sources), Charles M. Schulz's income during his lifetime totaled more than $1.1 billion, a true testament to the impact Schulz had on three generations of Americans who grew up with the Peanuts gang and "good Ol' Charlie Brown."
Schulz touched on religious themes in his work, including the classic television cartoon, A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965), which features the character Linus van Pelt quoting the King James Version of the Bible Luke 2:8-14 to explain "what Christmas is all about." In personal interviews Schulz mentioned that Linus represented his spiritual side.
Schulz, reared in the Lutheran faith, had been active in the Church of God (Anderson) as a young adult and then later taught Sunday school at a United Methodist Church. But, he remained a member of the Church of God (Anderson) until his death.
In an interview in the late 1980s, however, Schulz stated that his philosophical views had evolved over the years:
I do not go to church anymore… I guess you might say I've come around to secular humanism, an obligation I believe all humans have to others and the world we live in."
In the 1960s, Robert L. Short interpreted certain themes and conversations in Peanuts as being consistent with parts of Christian theology, and used them as illustrations during his lectures about the gospel, and as source material for several books, as he explained in his bestselling paperback book, The Gospel According to Peanuts.
James Albert Varney Jr. (June 15, 1949 – February 10, 2000) was an American actor. He was best known for his character Ernest P. Worrell, originally created by Nashville advertising agency Carden and Cherry in the 1980s. The character was used in numerous television commercial campaigns and movies in the following years, giving him fame worldwide. He is best known for his slapstick style and his portrayal of "redneck" stereotypes in a friendly, approachable way.
Death of James Varney
James Varney died of lung cancer on February 10, 2000 at 4:45 a.m. in his White House, Tennessee home as the movie Ernest the Pirate neared completion and when Atlantis: The Lost Empire was still in production.He is interred at Lexington's cemetery.
James Varney was 50 year old at the time of his death
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James Varney's biography & Fimography continues on next page
Varney was born in Lexington, Kentucky, where he grew up. He began his interest in theater as a teenager, winning state titles in drama competitions while a student at Lafayette High School (which he graduated from with the class of 1968) in Lexington. At the age of 15, he portrayed Ebenezer Scrooge in a local children's theater production, and by 17, he was performing professionally in nightclubs and coffee houses. He listed a former teacher, Thelma Beeler, as being one of the main contributing factors in his becoming an actor.
Television commercial career The first commercial as Ernest, filmed in 1980, was to advertise an appearance by the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders at Beech Bend Park, an amusement park located near Bowling Green, Kentucky. The character was franchised for use in markets all over the country, and was often used by dairies to advertise milk products. For example, the Midwestern dairy bar chain Braum's ran several advertisements using Ernest's catch phrase, "KnoWhutImean, Vern?" (as it was spelled in his registered trademark). Purity Dairies, based in Nashville, and Oakhurst Dairy in Maine ran commercials that were nearly identical, but with the dairy name changed.
For the same agency, Varney created a different character, "Sgt. Glory", a humorless drill instructor who harangued cows of the client's dairy into producing better milk. In another spot, Glory's home was shown as he had a date, and was so heavily decorated with the products of the sponsor and advertising specialty items for it that it was essentially devoid of any other decor. The Sgt. Glory character also appeared in an advertisement for a southern grocery chain, Pruitt's Food Town, in which he's drilling the checkout clerks on proper behavior. ("Bread on top. Repeat: Bread on top.") He approaches one of them at the end of the commercial with a look of menace and says, "You're not smilin'." The checkout bagger gives a very nervous and forced smile.
Varney also starred as Ernest in a series of commercials that ran in the New Orleans area, and throughout the Gulf South, as a spokesman for natural gas utilities. In one, he is seen kneeling down in front of Vern's desk under a lamp hanging from the ceiling, stating "Natural gas, Vern; it's hot, fast and cheap. Hot, fast, cheap; kinda like your first wife, Vern, you know, the pretty one!?" Vern then knocked the lamp into Ernest's head, knocking him down. Those same TV ads were also featured on TV channels in the St. Louis area for Laclede Gas, during the mid-1980s.
He was also noted for doing commercials for car dealerships across the country, most notably Cerritos Auto Square in Cerritos, California, Tyson's Toyota in Tysons Corner, Virginia, and Audubon Chrysler in Henderson, Kentucky. Another favorite Ernest vehicle was promotions for various TV stations around the nation, including the news team and the weather departments.
Varney also portrayed another character, "Auntie Nelda", in numerous commercials long before he resurrected the character for the movies Dr. Otto and the Riddle of the Gloom Beam, Ernest Goes to Jail and Ernest Goes to Camp. Dressed in drag and appearing to be a senior-citizen, the commercials gave off the tone of a motherly lady encouraging you to do what was right - in this case, buy whatever product was being promoted. This character, along with the "Ernest" character, ran a couple of years in Mississippi and Louisiana in commercials for Ledco Aluminum Siding, a company that would come out and give you an estimate for placing aluminum siding on your home. Ledco often bought 2 hour slots in local markets. During the 2 hour slot, a movie was televised and Varney, as one of his characters, and a Ledco representative, would be the only commercial breaks during the movie to promote Ledco.
During the 1990s, Jim reprised his role as Ernest for Blake's Lotaburger, a fast food chain in New Mexico. During these commercials, Ernest would typically be trying to get in to Vern's house to see what food Vern was eating. After a lengthy description of whatever tasty morsel Vern had, Ernest would get locked out, but continue to shout from outside.
An interesting fact about the commercials is how universal they were. For example, the dairy spots would be the same situation and script, changing only the name of the dairy. The same situations would be used (varying the script for the product, but resulting in the same punchline) for countless other products. The end result was that a finite number of commercials could sell a wide variety of products. However, all the commercials were not based on those cookie-cutter premises, and original commercials were shot for specific products/sponsors.
Ernest's popularity Varney's character Ernest P. Worrell proved so popular that it was spun off into a TV series, Hey Vern, It's Ernest! and a series of movies in the 1980s and 1990s. Ernest Goes to Camp earned Varney a nomination for "Worst New Star" at the 1987 Golden Raspberry Awards (he "lost"). The movie was a huge hit; however, grossing $25 million at the box office.
Other Ernest movies included Ernest Saves Christmas, Slam Dunk Ernest, Ernest Goes to Jail, Ernest Goes to Africa, Ernest Goes to School, Ernest Scared Stupid, and Ernest in the Army. The Walt Disney World Resort's Epcot theme park featured Ernest. Epcot's Cranium Command attraction used the Ernest character in its preshow as an example of a "lovable but not the brightest person on the planet" type of person. And in addition to his Ernest Goes to... series, he starred as Ernest in several smaller movies for Carden & Cherry such as Ernest P. Worrell's Family Album, Dr. Otto and the Riddle of the Gloom Beam, and Your World as I See It, all of which showcased his great facility with assuming a wide variety of characters and accents.
Non-"Ernest" work Varney played a recurring guest on faux late-night-talk show Fernwood 2 Night
He also lent his voice to the character "Slinky Dog" in Disney's Toy Story film series, and to the character "Cookie" Farnsworth, from Atlantis: The Lost Empire, which was released the year after his death.
Varney provided the guest voice for the carny character "Cooder" for "Bart Carny" episode of The Simpsons.
Varney played the character "Walt Evergreen" in the Duckman episode "You've Come a Wrong Way, Baby".
Varney played the prince that Roseanne's sister Jackie started dating near the end of the 1990s television series Roseanne.
Varney played the villain Lothar Zogg in the 1998 film 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain.
Varney is in Hank Williams, Jr. 's video for "All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight," where he is briefly shown casually riding a bull.
Varney also played the part of Jed Clampett in the 1993 production of The Beverly Hillbillies.
Varney also played the entertainer/watch guard Rudy James in the movie Snowboard Academy.
He also has a small part in an independent production 100 Proof. Just prior to his stint as Ernest P. Worrell, Varney was a cast member on the notorious television flop Pink Lady and Jeff.
Varney was a special guest, appearing as himself, in the Bibleman Genesis Series Bibleman Jr..
Varney starred in three videos The Misadventures of Bubba, The Misadventures of Bubba II, and Bubba goes Hunting in which he played himself and taught young kids important safety rules about hunting and guns. He illustrated the rules with the help of his bumbling and accident prone cousin Bubba (also played by varney) and Bubba's imaginary hunting pal Billy Bob. The videos were distributed as part of a membership pack from Buckmasters' Young Bucks Club.
Varney was married twice, to Jacqueline Drew (1977-1983), and Jane Varney (1988-1991). Both marriages ended in divorce, though he remained friends with Jane until his death.
He would visit hospitals, and entertain sick children in his "Ernest" persona.
Death Varney died of lung cancer on February 10, 2000 at 4:45 a.m. in his White House, Tennessee home as the movie Ernest the Pirate neared completion and when Atlantis: The Lost Empire was still in production. He is interred at Lexington's cemetery.
Daddy and Them (2001) Hazel Montgomery
Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001) Jedidiah Allardyce "Cookie" Farnsworth (voice)
Toy Story 2 (1999) Slinky Dog (voice)
Treehouse Hostage (1999) Carl Banks
Existo (1999) Marcel HRowitz
3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain (1998) Lothar Zogg
Ernest in the Army (1998) Pvt. Ernest P. Worrell/Captain Ernest P. Worrell/Operation Sandtrap Arab
Annabelle´s Wish (1997) Mr. Gus Holder (voice)(video)
Ernest Goes to Africa (1997) Ernest P. Worrell/Hey You, the Hindu/Auntie Nelda/African woman dancer
100 Proof (1997) Rae's Father
Blood, Friends and Money (1997) The Older Mariner
Snowboard Academy (1996) Rudy James
Toy Story (1995) Slinky Dog (voice)
The Expert (1995) Snake
Slam Dunk Ernest (1995) Ernest P.Worrell (video)
Your World as I See It (1994) Ernest P.Worrell/Aster Clement/Baby Ernest/Auntie Nelda/Bonnie/Coy
Ernest Goes to School (1994) Ernest P. Worrell
Ernest Rides Again (1993) Ernest P. Worrell
The Beverly Hillbillies (1993) Jed Clampett
Wilder Napalm (1993) Rex
Ernest´s Greatest Hits Volume 2 (1992) Ernest P.Worrell (video)
Ernest Scared Stupid (1991) Ernest P. Worrell
Ernest Goes to Jail (1990) Ernest P. Worrell/Mr. Felix Nash/Auntie Nelda
Fast Food (1989) Wrangler Bob
Ernest Saves Christmas (1988) Ernest P. Worrell/Aster Clement/Auntie Nelda/The Snake Guy
Ernest Goes to Camp (1987) Ernest P. Worrell
Hey, Vern, Win $10,000 (1987) Ernest P. Worrell (voice)
Dr. Otto and the Riddle of the Gloom Beam (1986) Dr. Otto/Rudd Hardtact/Laughin' Jack/Guy Dandy/Auntie Nelda/Ernest P. Worrell
The Ernest Film Festival (1986) Ernest P. Worrell (video)
Knowhutimean? Hey Vern, It's My Family Album (1983) Ernest P. Worrell/Davy Worrell & Company/Ace Worrell/Lloyd Worrell/Billy Boogie Worrell/Rhetch
Worrell/Pop Worrell (video)
Spittin' Image (1982) Sheriff
The Simpsons episode - Bart Carny (1998) Cooder (voice)
Roseanne (1996) Prince Carlos of Moldavia
Hey Vern, It's Ernest! (1988) Ernest, Dr. Otto, Auntie Nelda, Sergeant Glory, Baby Ernest
The Rousters (1983) Evan Earp
Operation Petticoat (1977-1979) Seaman Broom
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Madeline Kahn (September 29, 1942 – December 3, 1999) was a two-time Academy Award-nominated, four-time Golden Globe-nominated, Tony Award-winning and Emmy Award-winning American actress, known primarily for her comedic roles. Director Mel Brooks — who directed her in four films — said of her: "She is one of the most talented people that ever lived. I mean, either in stand-up comedy, or acting, or whatever you want, you can't beat Madeline Kahn".
Death of Madeline Kahn:
Kahn was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in early 1999. She underwent treatment and continued to work, even continuing her role on Cosby. However, the disease progressed rapidly, and on December 3, 1999, Kahn died.
Madeline Kahn was 57 years old at the time of her death
Madeline Kahn was born in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., as Madeline Gail Wolfson to Paula and Bernard Wolfson. Her mother was just 17 when Kahn was born. Although Kahn's parents were high school sweethearts, they divorced after her father's return from World War II (Kahn was only two years old at the time). After the divorce was finalized, Kahn and her mother moved to New York City. A few years later, her mother remarried and gave Kahn two half-siblings (Jeffrey and Robyn).
In 1948, Kahn was sent to a progressive boarding school in Pennsylvania and stayed there until 1952. During that time, her mother pursued her acting dream. Kahn soon began acting herself and performed in a number of school productions. In 1960, she graduated from Martin Van Buren High School in Queens, where she earned a drama scholarship to Hofstra University. At Hofstra, she studied drama, music, and speech therapy. After changing her major a number of times, Kahn graduated from Hofstra in 1964 with a degree in speech therapy.
Kahn began auditioning for professional acting roles shortly after her graduation from Hofstra; on the side, she briefly taught public school in Levittown, New York. Just before adopting the professional name Madeline Kahn (Kahn was her stepfather's last name), she made her stage debut as a chorus girl in a revival of Kiss Me, Kate, which led her to join the Actors' Equity. Her part in the flop How Now, Dow Jones was written out before the 1967 show reached Broadway, as was her role as Miss Whipple in the original production of Promises, Promises. She earned her first break on Broadway with New Faces of 1968. That same year, she performed her first professional lead in a special concert performance of the operetta Candide in honor of Leonard Bernstein's 50th birthday. In 1969, she appeared off-Broadway in the revue Promenade.
She appeared in two Broadway musicals in the 1970s: a featured role in Richard Rodgers' 1970 Noah's Ark-themed show Two by Two (her silly waltz "The Golden Ram," capped by a high C, can be heard on the show's cast album) and a leading lady turn as Lily Garland in 1978's On the Twentieth Century. She left (or was fired from) the latter show early in its run, yielding the role to her understudy, Judy Kaye, whose career it launched. She also starred in a 1977 Town Hall revival of She Loves Me (opposite Barry Bostwick and original London cast member Rita Moreno).
Kahn's film debut was in the 1968 short De Düva: The Dove. Her feature debut was as Ryan O'Neal's hysterical fiancé in Peter Bogdanovich's screwball comedy What's Up, Doc? (1972) starring Barbra Streisand. Her film career continued with Paper Moon (1973), for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Kahn was cast in the role of Agnes Gooch in the 1974 film Mame, but star Lucille Ball fired Kahn due to artistic differences. (Note: several of Ball's biographies note that Kahn was eager to be released from the role so that she could join the cast of Blazing Saddles, a film about to go into production; whether Kahn was fired or left Mame under mutual agreement is undetermined).
A close succession of Kahn comedies — Blazing Saddles (1974), Young Frankenstein (1974), and High Anxiety (1977) — were all directed by Mel Brooks, who many Hollywood observers claimed was able to bring out the best of Kahn's comic talents. Their last collaboration would be 1981's History of the World, Part I. For Blazing Saddles, she was again nominated for Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. In the April 2006 issue of Premiere magazine, her performance as Lili von Shtupp in Saddles was selected as #31 on its list of the 100 greatest performances of all time. In 1978, Kahn's comic screen persona reached another peak with Neil Simon's The Cheap Detective, a spoof of Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon directed by Robert Moore. In the film she befuddles Peter Falk's gumshoe with an array of fake identities.
Kahn's roles were primarily comedic rather than dramatic, though the 1970s found her originating roles in two plays that had both elements: 1974's In the Boom Boom Room and 1977's Marco Polo Sings a Solo. After her success in Brooks' films, she played in a number of less successful films in the 1980s (perhaps most memorably as Mrs. White in the 1985 film Clue). She also performed in the movie The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother opposite Gene Wilder.
In 1983, she starred in her own short-lived TV sitcom, Oh Madeline, which ended after only one season due to poor ratings. In 1987, Kahn won a Daytime Emmy award for her performance in the ABC After school special, 'Wanted: The Perfect Guy'.
Late in her career, Kahn returned to the stage, first in Judy Holliday's role in a 1989 revival of Born Yesterday, then as Dr. Gorgeous in Wendy Wasserstein's 1993 play The Sisters Rosensweig, a role that gained her a Tony Award. She played the corrupt mayoress (Angela Lansbury's role) in a concert performance of Anyone Can Whistle that was released on CD. She also continued to appear in movies, including the holiday farce Mixed Nuts and a cameo in the 1978 "The Muppet Movie".
In the early 1990s, Kahn recorded a voice for the animated movie The Magic 7. Her most notable role at that time was her recurring role on the sitcom Cosby as Pauline, the eccentric neighbor. She also voiced Gypsy the moth in A Bug's Life. Kahn received some of the best reviews of her career for her Chekhovian turn in the 1999 independent movie Judy Berlin, her final film.
Theater Leonard Sillman's New Faces of 1968 (1968)
Two by Two (1970)
Boom Boom Room (1973)
On the Twentieth Century (1978)
Born Yesterday (1989)
The Sisters Rosensweig (1993)
De Düva: The Dove (1968) (short subject)
What's Up, Doc? (1972)
Paper Moon (1973)
From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (1973)
Blazing Saddles (1974)
Young Frankenstein (1974)
At Long Last Love (1975)
The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother (1975)
Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood (1976)
High Anxiety (1977)
The Cheap Detective (1978)
The Muppet Movie (1979) (cameo)
Happy Birthday, Gemini (1980)
Wholly Moses (1980)
First Family (1980)
History of the World: Part I (1981)
Slapstick of Another Kind (1982)
Scrambled Feet (1983)
Group Madness (1983) (documentary)
City Heat (1984)
My Little Pony: The Movie (1986) (voice)
An American Tail (1986) (voice)
Betsy's Wedding (1990)
For Richer, for Poorer (1992)
Mixed Nuts (1994)
The Volunteers (1997)
A Bug's Life (1998) (voice)
Judy Berlin (1999)
The Magic 7 (projected for release in 2007) (voice)
Television Comedy Tonight (1970)
NBC's Saturday Night (1976) [Host]
Sesame Street (1976) [Guest]
NBC's Saturday Night (1977) [Host]
The Muppet Show (1977) [Guest]
Oh Madeline (1983)
Wanted: The Perfect Guy (1986)
Mr. President (1987)
Welcome to the Monkey House (1991)
Lucky Luke (1991)
New York News (1995)
Saturday Night Live (1995) [Host]
Saturday Night Live (1996) [60-minute syndicated version ONLY]
London Suite (1996)