Walter Matthau – Academy award winning actor (The Odd Couple)

Hollywood Walk of FameAcademy Award WinnerGolden Globe Award Winner 

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Walter Matthau DeathWalter 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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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)

Tito Puente – Mambo King, Latin Jazz, died 2000

Hollywood Walk of Famer 

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Tito Puente's DeathTito Puente, Sr., (April 20, 1923 – May 31, 2000 or June 1, 2000 according to IMDb), born Ernesto Antonio Puente, Jr., was an influential Latin jazz and mambo musician. The son of native Puerto Ricans Ernest and Ercilia Puente, of Spanish Harlem in New York City, Puente is often credited as "El Rey" (the King) of the timbales and "The King of Latin Music". He is best known for dance-oriented mambo and Latin jazz compositions that helped keep his career going for 50 years. He and his music appear in many films such as The Mambo Kings and Fernando Trueba’s Calle 54. He guest starred on several television shows including The Cosby Show and The Simpsons.

Death of Tito Puente
Tito Puente Died of a heart attack
Tito Puente was 77 years old at the time of his death.

Tito Puente on Sesame Street

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Biography
Tito Puente Sr. served in the Navy for three years during World War II after being drafted in 1942. He was discharged with a Presidential Commendation for serving in nine battles. The GI Bill allowed him to study music at Juilliard School of Music, where he completed a formal education in conducting, orchestration and theory. In 1969, he received the key to the City of New York from former Mayor John Lindsay. In 1992 he was inducted into the National Congressional Record, and in 1993 he received the Smithsonian Medal.

During the 1950s, Puente was at the height of his popularity, and helped to bring Afro-Cuban and Caribbean sounds, like mambo, son, and cha-cha-cha, to mainstream audiences (he was so successful playing popular Afro-Cuban rhythms that many people mistakenly identify him as Cuban). Dance Mania, possibly Puente’s most well known album was released in 1958.[1] Later, he moved into more diverse sounds, including pop music, bossa nova and others, eventually settling down with a fusion of Afro-Cuban and Latin jazz genres that became known as "salsa" (a term that he disliked). In 1979 Puente won the first of five Grammy Awards for the albums A Tribute to Benny Moré, On Broadway, Mambo Diablo, and Goza Mi Timbal. In 1990, Puente was awarded the "James Smithson Bicentennial Medal." He was also awarded a Grammy at the first Latin Grammy Awards, winning Best Traditional Tropical Album for Mambo Birdland. He was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000.

After a heart attack following a show in Puerto Rico, Puente had heart surgery in New York City, from which he never recovered. He died on May 31, 2000, just a few months after shooting for the music video Calle 54, in which Puente was wearing all-white outfit with his band

Honors
During the presidency of Sen. Roberto Rexach Benítez, Tito Puente received the unique honor of not only having a special session of the Senate of Puerto Rico dedicated to him, but being allowed to perform in his unique style on the floor of the Senate while it was in session.

On September 10, 2007, a United States Post Office in Harlem was named after him at a ceremony presided by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY) and Rep. José Serrano (D-NY).

Discography – too long to list here, Tito Puente is a legend

Douglas Fairbanks, Jr – Actor, Gunga Din, (2 stars at walk of fame)

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Douglas Fairbanks Jr

Douglas Elton Fairbanks, Jr., KBE, DSC, K.st.j. (December 9, 1909 – May 7, 2000) was an American actor and a highly decorated naval officer of World War II.

Birth of Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.
Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. was born in New York City, the son of actor Douglas Fairbanks and his first wife, Anna Beth Sully. His parents divorced when he was ten years old. He lived with his mother in California, Paris, and London.

Death of Douglas Fairbanks, Jr
Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. died of a heart attack in New York.
Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. was 90 years old at the time of his death. He is interred in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, California, in the same crypt as his father.

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Hollywood
Largely on the basis of his name, he was given a contract at age fourteen with Paramount Pictures. After making some undistinguished films, he took to the stage, where he impressed his father, his stepmother Mary Pickford, and Charlie Chaplin, who encouraged him to continue with acting.

He began his career during the silent era. He was exceptionally handsome and initially played mainly supporting roles in a range of films featuring many of the leading female players of the day, Belle Bennett in Stella Dallas (1925), Esther Ralston in An American Venus (1926)and Pauline Starke in Women Love Diamonds (1927). In the last years of the silent period he was upped to star billing opposite Loretta Young in several pre-Code films, and Joan Crawford in Our Modern Maidens (1929). He supported John Gilbert and Greta Garbo in Woman of Affairs (1929). Progressing to sound, he played opposite Katharine Hepburn in her Oscar-winning role in the film Morning Glory (1933).

With Outward Bound (1930), The Dawn Patrol (1930), Little Caesar (1931), and Gunga Din (1939), his movies began to have more commercial success.

Marriages
His first notable relationship was with the actress Joan Crawford, whom he began to seriously date during the filming of their film Our Modern Maidens. On June 3, 1929, at City Hall in New York City, Crawford and Fairbanks married. He was technically underage, so one year was added to his birth (giving him 1908 as his year of birth), and Crawford shed three years from her age, which would remain shed until long after her death, giving her the same year of birth that Fairbanks had created for himself, 1908.

They went on a delayed honeymoon to England, where he was entertained by Noel Coward and George, Duke of Kent. He became active in both society and politics, but Crawford was far more interested in her career and her new affair with Clark Gable. The couple divorced in 1933.

Despite their divorce, Fairbanks and Crawford maintained a good relationship. In his later years, Fairbanks was quick to defend Crawford when her adopted daughter Christina Crawford, published Mommie Dearest, a scathing biography of Crawford’s personal life. He firmly stated, "The Joan Crawford that I’ve heard about in Mommie Dearest is not the Joan Crawford I knew back when."

On April 22, 1939, he married Mary Lee Hartford (née Mary Lee Epling), a former wife of George Huntington Hartford, the Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company heir. Douglas and Mary Lee were happily married for nearly fifty years, until Mary Lee died in 1988. They had three daughters, Daphne (married David Weston), Victoria (married Barend Van Gerbig) and Melissa (married Richard Morant). Douglas and Mary Lee had eight grandchildren:Anthony, Nicholas, Dominic and Natasha Weston; Barend and Eliza Isabella O Van Gerbig and Joseph and Crystal Morant. Their great grandchildren are:Benji, Hugo and Alfie Weston; Georgina and Eliza Weston; Aislinn and Charlie Weston; Violette Stymmel-Morant.

World War II
In 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt appointed him a special envoy to South America.

Although celebrated as an actor, Fairbanks most enduring legacy was a well-kept secret for decades. At the onset of World War II, Fairbanks was commissioned a reserve officer in the United States Navy and assigned to Lord Mountbatten’s Commando staff in England.

Having witnessed (and participated in) British training and cross-channel harassment operations emphasizing the military art of deception, Fairbanks attained a depth of understanding and appreciation of military deception then unheard of in the United States Navy. Lieutenant Fairbanks was subsequently transferred to Virginia Beach where he came under the command of Admiral H. Kent Hewitt, who was preparing U.S. Naval forces for the invasion of North Africa.

Fairbanks was able to convince Hewitt of the advantages of such a unit, and Admiral Hewitt soon took Fairbanks to Washington, D.C. to sell the idea to the Chief of Naval Operations, ADM Ernest King. Fairbanks succeeded and ADM King issued a secret letter on 5 March 1943 charging the Vice Chief of Naval Operations with the recruitment of 180 officers and 300 enlisted men for the Beach Jumper program.

The Beach Jumpers mission would simulate amphibious landings with a very limited force. Operating dozens of kilometers from the actual landing beaches and utilizing their deception equipment, the Beach Jumpers would lure the enemy into believing that theirs was the location of the amphibious beach landing, when in fact the actual amphibious landing would be conducted at another location. Even if the enemy was less than 100-percent convinced of the deception, the uncertainty created by the operations could conceivably delay enemy reinforcement of the actual landing area by several crucial hours.

United States Navy Beach Jumpers saw their initial action in Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily. Throughout the remainder of the war, the Beach Jumpers conducted their hazardous, shallow-water operations throughout the Mediterranean.

For his planning the diversion-deception operations and his part in the amphibious assault on Southern France, Lieutenant Commander Fairbanks was awarded the United States Navy’s Legion of Merit with bronze V (for valor), the Italian War Cross for Military Valor, the French Legion d’Honneur and the Croix de Guerre with Palm, and the British Distinguished Service Cross. Fairbanks was also awarded the Silver Star for valor displayed while serving on PT boats.

He was made an Honorary Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE) in 1949.

It is not a stretch to say that Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. was the father of the United States Navy’s Information Operations. As for the Beach Jumpers, they changed names several times in the decades following World War II, expanded their focus, and are currently known as the Navy Information Operations Command. Fairbanks stayed in the Naval Reserve after the war and ultimately retired a captain in 1954.

Many of the Navy’s most important information operations since World War II remain classified, but it is clear that the U.S. military retains its interest in this art of war.

Post-war years
Fairbanks returned to Hollywood at the conclusion of World War II and enjoyed success as host of the Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. Theater in the early years of television.

Fairbanks was a confirmed Anglophile and spent a good deal of his time in Britain, where he was well known in the highest social circles. Between 1954 and 1956 he also made a number of half-hour movies for television at one of the smaller Elstree film studios. The College of Arms in London granted Fairbanks a coat of arms symbolising the U.S. and Britain united across the blue Atlantic Ocean by a silken knot of friendship.

It has been claimed that Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. was one of the naked men in the incriminating photos which were used as evidence in the divorce trial of Margaret Campbell, Duchess of Argyll in 1963.

He was good friends with legendary English stage and screen actor Sir Laurence Olivier, and was one of the contributors to a documentary of Olivier’s life The South Bank Show Laurence Olivier: A Life.

He was the celebrated godfather of actor, John Bouvier Slatton, a relationship that he was proud of and cherished in his later years. Upon Slatton’s death in an airplane accident, several months before his own death, Fairbanks was distraught with grief.

He died of a heart attack in New York at the age of 90. He is interred in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, California, in the same crypt as his father.

Legacy
Fairbanks has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for motion pictures at 6318 Hollywood Boulevard and one for television at 6665 Hollywood Boulevard.

Partial filmography
American Aristocracy (1916)
The Three Musketeers (1921)
Stephen Steps Out (1923)
The Air Mail (1925)
Wild Horse Mesa (1925)
Stella Dallas (1925)
The American Venus (1926)
Padlocked (1926)
Broken Hearts of Hollywood (1926)
Man Bait (1927)
Women Love Diamonds (1927)
Is Zat So? (1927)
A Texas Steer (1927)
Dead Man’s Curve (1928)
Modern Mothers (1928)
The Toilers (1928)
The Power of the Press (1928)
The Barker (1928)
A Woman of Affairs (1928)
 Hollywood Snapshots #11 (1929) (short subject)
The Forward Pass (1929)
The Jazz Age (1929)
Our Modern Maidens (1929)
Little Caesar (1931)
Catherine the Great (1934)
Man of the Moment (1935)
The Amateur Gentleman (1936)
The Prisoner of Zenda (1937)
Joy of Living (1938)
The Rage of Paris (1938)
Having Wonderful Time (1938)
Gunga Din (1939)
Green Hell (1940)
Angels Over Broadway (1940)
The Corsican Brothers (1941)
Sinbad the Sailor (1947)
The Exile (1947)
Ghost Story (1981)

Steve Reeves – Bodybuilder, Actor – Greek God, Hercules

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Steve ReevesStephen 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.

Childhood
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.

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Bodybuilding
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)
Weight: 216
Neck: 18 1/4"
Chest: 52"
Waist: 29"
Biceps: 18 1/4"
Thighs: 26"
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.

Acting
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.

Filmography
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

Larry Linville – Major Frank in M*A*S*H

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Lawrence Lavonne "Larry" Linville (September 29, 1939 – April 10, 2000) was an American actor. Larry Linville was born in Ojai, California, and is best known for his portrayal of obnoxious, self-important Major Frank Burns in the television series M*A*S*H.

Health and death
A longtime smoker and drinker, Linville began to suffer in the late 1990s as his excesses began to catch up with him. In February 1998, he underwent surgery to remove part of his lung after doctors found a malignant tumor under his sternum. His health problems continued over the next two years. Linville died of pneumonia in New York City on April 10, 2000, after complications from cancer surgery. Linville died on fellow M*A*S*H actor Harry Morgan’s 85th birthday.

Larry Linville was 60 years old at the time of his death

Larry Linville Tribute Video

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Claire Trevor – Oscar winning actress, Stagecoach, Key Largo

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Clair TrevorClaire Trevor (March 8, 1910 – April 8, 2000) was an Academy Award-winning American actress. Beautiful and talented, she was nicknamed the "Queen of Film Noir" because of her many appearances in "bad girl” roles in film noir and other black-and-white thrillers. She appeared in over 60 films.

Death of Claire Trevor
Claire Trevor died of respiratory failure in Newport Beach, April 8, 2000.
Claire Trevor was 90 years old at the time of her death.
Claire Trevor is survived by several stepchildren by her marriage to Bren. Claire Trevor was cremated and her remains were scattered at sea.

Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
1948 for Key Largo

Early life
Trevor was born as Claire Wemlinger in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York, the only child of a 5th Avenue merchant-tailor and his wife. Her family was of Irish American and French American descent.

Stagecoach

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Early life
Trevor was born as Claire Wemlinger in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York, the only child of a 5th Avenue merchant-tailor and his wife. Her family was of Irish American and French American descent.

Career
Trevor’s acting career spanned more than seven decades and included success in stage, radio, television and film. Trevor often played the hard-boiled blonde, and every conceivable type of "bad girl" role. After attending American Academy of Dramatic Arts, she began her acting career in the late ’20s in stock. By 1932 she was starring on Broadway; that same year she began appearing in Brooklyn-filmed Vitaphone shorts. Her first credited film role was in the 1933 film Life in the Raw, with her feature film debut coming that same year in Jimmy and Sally (1933), with her portraying "Sally Johnson". From 1933 through 1938 Trevor starred in twenty nine films, often having either the lead role or the role of heroine. In 1937 she starred with Humphrey Bogart in Dead End, which would lead to her being nominated for Best Supporting Actress.

By 1939 she was well established as a solid "leading lady". Some of her most memorable performances during this period were opposite John Wayne, including the classic 1939 western Stagecoach, which was Wayne’s breakthrough role. She also starred opposite Wayne in Allegheny Uprising that same year, and again in 1940 in Dark Command. Another two of her more memorable roles was when she starred in Murder, My Sweet opposite Dick Powell, and fellow film noir flick Born to Kill playing a divorcee who gets more than she bargained for by falling in love with a bad boy who impulsively murders.

Awards and nominations
Trevor seemed to have her best performances when starring with either John Wayne or Humphrey Bogart. Of the Academy Award nominations and wins that she earned, two were starring opposite Bogart, and one was opposite Wayne. Although she was not nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in Wayne’s 1939 breakthrough film, Stagecoach, the film itself received Academy Award nominations in four categories, winning two of them.

Her awards and accolades include;

  • She was nominated for Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Dead End, a 1937 melodrama in which she played a good girl who grows up to be a prostitute, which co-starred Humphrey Bogart.
  • Trevor won the award for Best Supporting Actress for her 1948 performance in Key Largo, co-starring Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson and Lauren Bacall.
  • In 1956, Trevor won an Emmy for Best Live Television Performance by an Actress for Dodsworth, with Fredric March, on NBC’s Producers’ Showcase.
  • She was nominated again for an Academy Award for her performance in The High and the Mighty, a 1954 airplane disaster epic starring John Wayne.
  • The Claire Trevor School of the Arts at the University of California, Irvine was named in Trevor’s honor. Both her Oscar and Emmy trophies are on display in the Arts Plaza there, next to the Claire Trevor Theatre.
  • She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Private life
Trevor married film producer Clark Andrews in 1938, but they divorced four years later. Her second marriage to Cylos William Dunsmoore produced a son, Charles. The marriage ended in divorce in 1947. The next year, Trevor married Milton Bren, another film producer and soon after moved to Newport Beach, California.

In 1978 her only biological child, her son Charles Dunsmoore, died in an airliner crash and her last husband, Milton Bren, died from a brain tumor in 1979. Trevor retired from acting in 1987. She made a special Academy Awards Appearance in 1998 at the 70th Academy Awards.

She died of respiratory failure in Newport Beach, April 8, 2000 at the age of 90, survived by several stepchildren by her marriage to Bren. Claire Trevor was cremated and her remains were scattered at sea.

Selected filmography
Dante’s Inferno (1935)
15 Maiden Lane (1936)
Dead End (1937)
The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse (1938)
Stagecoach (1939)
I Stole a Million (1939)
Allegheny Uprising (1939)
Dark Command (1940)
Honky Tonk (1941)
Crossroads (1942)
Street of Chance (1942)
Murder, My Sweet (1944)
 Johnny Angel (1945)
Crack-Up (1946)
Born to Kill (1947)
Raw Deal (1948)
The Velvet Touch (1948)
The Babe Ruth Story (1948)
Key Largo (1948)
Raw Deal (1948)
The High and the Mighty (1954)
The Mountain (1956)
Marjorie Morningstar (1958)
How to Murder Your Wife (1965)

Pee Wee King – Country songwriter “You belong to me”

Pee Wee King, born Julius Frank Anthony Kuczynski (February 18, 1914 – March 07, 2000), was an American country music songwriter and recording artist. He was born in Milwaukee to a Polish American family and lived in Abrams, Wisconsin, during his youth.

King’s songs included "The Tennessee Waltz", "Slow Poke", and "You Belong to Me". His songs introduced waltzes, polkas, and cowboy songs to country music. King joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1937

He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1974. He died of a heart attack in Louisville, Kentucky, at age 86.

Charles Schulz, creator of Peanuts Comic Strip

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Charles Schulz Cartoonist's DeathCharles 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.

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Charles Schulz’ Biography continues 

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.

Death

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.

Awards

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.

Legacy

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."

Religion

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.

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – I put a spell on you

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Screamin' jay hawkinsJalacy Hawkins, best known as Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (July 18, 1929 – February 12, 2000) was an African-American singer. Famed chiefly for his powerful, operatic vocal delivery & wildly theatrical performances of songs such as "I Put a Spell on You" and "Constipation Blues," Hawkins sometimes used macabre props onstage, making him perhaps the first shock rocker.

"I Put A Spell On You"
His most successful recording, "I Put a Spell on You" (1956), was selected as one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.

Death of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
Hawkins died on February 12, 2000 after surgery to treat an aneurysm. He left behind many children by many women; about 55 were known (or suspected) upon his death, and upon investigation, that number "soon became perhaps 75 offspring", according to this website. News of Hawkins’ death was largely overshadowed by the deaths of Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz, Dallas Cowboys football coach Tom Landry, and pop singer Oliver on that same day.

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – I put a spell on you, Live

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Early career
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Hawkins originally set out to become an opera singer, and has regularly cited Paul Robeson as his idol. When his initial ambitions failed, he began his career as a conventional blues singer and pianist.

He served in the U.S. Army in the Pacific Ocean during World War II, primarily as an entertainer, although he claimed to have been a POW. Hawkins was an avid and formidable boxer: in 1949, he was the middleweight boxing champion of Alaska.

In 1951, he joined guitarist Tiny Grimes for a while, and recorded a few songs with him. When Hawkins became a solo performer, he often performed in a very stylish wardrobe, featuring leopard skins, red leather and wild hats.

Later career
Hawkins had several further hits, including "Constipation Blues", "Orange Colored Sky", and "Feast of the Mau Mau". Nothing he released, however, had the monumental success of "I Put a Spell on You".

He continued to tour and record through the 1960s and 1970s, particularly in Europe, where he was very popular, but his career was not advancing in America until filmmaker Jim Jarmusch featured "I Put a Spell on You" on the soundtrack – and deep in the plot – of his film Stranger Than Paradise (1983) and then Hawkins himself as a hotel night clerk in his Mystery Train. This led to a few other movie performances, such as Álex de la Iglesia’s Perdita Durango and Bill Duke’s adaptation of Chester Himes’ A Rage In Harlem.

His 1957 single "Frenzy" (found on the early 1980s compilation of the same name) was included in the compilation CD, "Songs in the Key of X: Music From And Inspired By The X-Files", in 1996. This song was featured in the show’s season 2 episode "Humbug". It was also covered by the band Batmobile

In July 1991, Hawkins released his album Black Music for White People. The record features covers of two Tom Waits compositions; "Heart Attack and Vine" (which, later that year, was used in a European Levi’s advertisement without Waits’ permission, resulting in a lawsuit), and "Ice Cream Man" (which, contrary to popular belief, is a Waits original, and not a cover of the John Brim classic. Incidentally, Hawkins also covered the Waits tune "Whistlin’ Past the Graveyard" for his album Somethin’ Funny Goin’ On.)

Hawkins also toured with The Clash and Nick Cave during this period, and not only became a fixture of blues festivals, but appeared at many film festivals as well.

His performance style earned him a loyal following — the use of a skull, a moving arm and, in his early days — a coffin added to his charisma.

Hawkins died on February 12, 2000 after surgery to treat an aneurysm. He left behind many children by many women; about 55 were known (or suspected) upon his death, and upon investigation, that number "soon became perhaps 75 offspring", according to this website. News of Hawkins’ death was largely overshadowed by the deaths of Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz, Dallas Cowboys football coach Tom Landry, and pop singer Oliver on that same day.

Discography

Selected Singles
1956 I Put a Spell On You/Little Demon
1957 You Made Me Love You/Darling, Please Forgive Me
1957 Frenzy/Person to Person
1958 Alligator Wine/There’s Something Wrong With You
1958 Armpit #6/The Past [Red Top 126]
1962 I Hear Voices/Just Don’t Care
1962 Ashes/Nitty Gritty – w/ Shoutin’ Pat
1966 Poor Folks / Your Kind of Love
1970 Do You Really Love Me/Constipation Blues
1973 Monkberry Moon Delight/Sweet Ginny

Albums
1958 At Home with Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (Okeh/Epic) – other editions entitled Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and I Put a Spell on You
1965 The Night and Day of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (Planet) – also entitled In the Night and Day of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
1969 What That Is! (Philips)
1970 Because Is in Your Mind (Armpitrubber) (Philips)
1972 Portrait of a Man and His Woman (Hotline) – also entitled I Put a Spell on You and Blues Shouter
1977 I Put a Spell on You (Versatile–recordings from 1966-76)
1979 Lawdy Miss Clawdy (Koala)
1979 Screamin’ the Blues (Red Lightnin’) – also entitled She Put the Wammee on Me
1983 Real Life (Zeta)
1984 Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and The Fuzztones Live (Midnight Records) – live
1988 At Home with Jay in The Wee Wee Hours (Midnight Records) – live
1988 Live & Crazy (Blue Phoenix) – live
1990 The Art of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (Spivey)
1991 Black Music For White People (Bizarre/Straight Records/Planet Records)
1991 I Shake My Stick at You (Aim)
1993 Stone Crazy (Bizarre/Straight/Planet)
1994 Somethin’ Funny Goin’ On (Bizarre/Straight/Planet)
1993 Rated X (Sting S) – live
1998 At Last (Last Call)
1998 Live (Loudsprecher/Indigo) – live
1999 Live at the Olympia, Paris (Last Call) – live with one studio new song
2004 Live (Fremeaux & Associés) – live with two studio new songs

###

Jim Varney, James Varney – Ernest Goes to… movies

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Jim Varney DeathJames 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

Jim Varney’s TV commercial bloopers

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Early life
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.

Personal life
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.

Filmography

Cinema-Actor

  • 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

Television-Actor

  • 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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