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Who's Next To Croak?

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Reply #480 on: June 06, 2006, 01:44:23 PM
Singer-songwriter Billy Preston dead at 59

Billy Preston, the exuberant keyboardist who landed dream gigs with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and enjoyed his own series of hit singles, including "Outta Space" and "Nothing From Nothing," died Tuesday at 59.

Preston's longtime manager, Joyce Moore, said Preston had been in a coma since November in a care facility and was taken to a hospital in Scottsdale Saturday after his condition deteriorated.

"He had a very, very beautiful last few hours and a really beautiful passing," Moore said by telephone from Germany. "He went home good."

Preston had battled chronic kidney failure, and he received a kidney transplant in 2002. But the kidney failed and he has been on dialysis ever since, Moore said earlier this year.

Known for his big smile and towering Afro, Preston was a teen prodigy on the piano and organ, and lent his gospel-tinged touch to classics such as the Beatles' "Get Back" and the Stones' "Can't You Hear Me Knocking?"

He broke out as a solo artist in the 1970s, winning a best instrumental Grammy in 1973 for "Outta Space," and scoring other hits with "Will It Go 'Round In Circles," "Nothing From Nothing" and "With You I'm Born Again," a duet with Syreeta Wright.

He also wrote Joe Cocker's weeper, "You Are So Beautiful," and co-wrote with Quincy Jones the score for 1970 movie "They Call Me Mr. Tibbs." Other achievements included being a musical guest on the 1975 debut of "Saturday Night Live," and having a song named after him by Miles Davis. Among his film credits: "Blues Brothers 2000" and "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."

Preston's partnership with the Beatles began in early 1969 when friend George Harrison recruited him to play on "Let It Be," a back-to-basics film and record project that nearly broke down because of feuding among band members. Harrison himself quit at one point, walking out on camera after arguing with Paul McCartney.

Preston not only inspired the Beatles to get along — Harrison likened his effect to a feuding family staying on its best behavior in front of a guest — but contributed a light, bluesy solo to "Get Back," performing the song with the band on its legendary "roof top" concert, the last time the Beatles played live. He was one of many sometimes labeled "The Fifth Beatle."

Preston remained close to Harrison and performed at Harrison's all-star charity event, "The Concert for Bangladesh" and at the "Concert for George," a tribute to Harrison, who died of cancer in 2001. He played on solo records by Harrison, Ringo Starr and John Lennon.

Preston also toured and recorded extensively with the Rolling Stones, playing on such classic albums as "Sticky Fingers" and "Exile on Main Street." In the mid-'70s, he parted from the Stones, reportedly unhappy over not getting proper credit for "Melody" and other songs. He reunited with the band in 1997 on its "Bridges to Babylon" record.

His sessions credits included Aretha Franklin's "Young, Gifted and Black," Bob Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks" and Sly and Family Stone's "There's a Riot Goin' On," three of the most acclaimed albums of the past 35 years.

The Houston native earned his performance chops at age 10 playing the keyboard for gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, and at 12 portraying a young W. C. Handy in the 1958 biopic "St. Louis Blues." He toured with mentors and fellow piano greats Ray Charles and Little Richard in the early 1960s, first encountering the Beatles while on the road in Germany.

Preston had numerous personal troubles in recent years. In 1992, he was given a suspended jail sentence, but ordered incarcerated for nine months at a drug rehabilitation center for his no-contest pleas to cocaine and assault charges. Five years later, he was sentenced to three years in prison for violating probation. In 1998, he pleaded guilty to insurance fraud and agreed to testify against other defendants in an alleged scam that netted about $1 million.

 :yabbse-cry: :yabbse-cry:
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Reply #481 on: June 07, 2006, 05:25:57 PM
I don't like coming here. I feel like I'm at work all over again (I write obits for the local paper!)
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Reply #482 on: June 07, 2006, 05:47:25 PM
I don't like coming here either. I feel like I'm at work all over again (I'm an assassian!)
Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.


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Reply #483 on: June 07, 2006, 06:09:14 PM
That would have been funny if you had spelled "assassin" correctly.


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Reply #484 on: June 07, 2006, 06:21:15 PM
Here's the difference:




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Reply #485 on: June 07, 2006, 06:27:37 PM
666 strikes again...


Photographer Arnold Newman dies at age 88
By Arthur Spiegelman Wed Jun 7, 1:14 AM ET

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Photographer Arnold Newman, whose portraits of artists like Igor Stravinsky and Pablo Picasso aimed to capture their souls, not just their faces, died on Tuesday at age 88 at a New York hospital, friends said.

Newman, whose work appeared frequently in Life magazine, was famed for pioneering a style called "environmental portraiture" in which an artist and his or her craft were aligned in a pose that could stay with a viewer forever. Often a painter would be set against his or her works until they seemed a part of it.

One of the most famous examples of the style was his portrait of composer Stravinsky, sitting off to the side of a grand piano, his head tiny and in the corner of the picture dominated by the piano's huge, open kidney-shaped sounding board.

His portrait of Picasso showed a pensive artist whose own face might pass for a Picasso painting. His photograph of actress Marilyn Monroe with disheveled hair and seemingly lost in sad thoughts hinted at the dark tragedy that was yet to come.

Jonathan Klein, the chief executive of photo agency Getty Images and a friend of Newman's, called him "a true pioneer who advanced the art of portraiture throughout his career."

"He captured the defining images of many of the most notable figures of the 20th century and greatly influenced the generation of photographers who carry on this tradition today," Klein said.

In a career lasting 65 years, Newman photographed hundreds of famed figures in politics, business, arts and letters.

In an interview with Apogee Photo Magazine, Newman recalled that sometimes he was at a loss on how to take a picture as when he photographed Otto Frank, the father of Anne Frank, the teenage Dutch girl who came to symbolize the victims of the Holocaust.

"How could I ask this man to pose? I couldn't. Instead I just waited and Otto went into a deeply pensive mood. It was then I took the photograph," Newman said. He recalled that the two men embraced and cried when the photo shoot ended, according to interviewer Ysabel de la Rosa.

Newman was born on March 3, 1918, in New York City and raised in New Jersey and Florida. He studied art at the University of Miami and began photography in 1938 in chain portrait studios.

In 1941, he was discovered by Beaumont Newhall of the Museum of Modern Art and famed photographer Alfred Stieglitz and given an exhibit.

His work has been the subject of several books and exhibitions.



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Reply #486 on: June 12, 2006, 12:21:26 PM
'Space Odyssey' composer Ligeti dies

Composer Gyorgy Ligeti, who survived the Holocaust and fled Hungary after the 1956 revolution, then won acclaim for his opera "Le Grand Macabre" and his work on the soundtrack for "2001: A Space Odyssey," died Monday. He was 83.

Ligeti, celebrated as one of the world's leading 20th century musical pioneers, died in Vienna after a long illness, said Christiane Krauscheid, a spokeswoman for his publisher, Germany-based Schott Music. Details were unavailable, but Austrian media said he spent the last three years in a wheelchair.

Ligeti (pronounced lig'-ih-tee) was born in 1923 to Hungarian parents in the predominantly ethnic Hungarian part of Romania's Transylvania region. His father and brother later were murdered by the Nazis. He took Austrian citizenship in 1967 after fleeing his ex-communist homeland.

He began studying music under Ferenc Farkas at the conservatory in Cluj, Romania, in 1941, and continued his studies in Budapest. But in 1943, he was arrested as a Jew and sentenced to forced labor for the rest of World War II.

"My life in the Nazi era and under communist rule was full of risks, and I believe I still reflect this feeling," he once told the Austria Press Agency in an interview.

After the war, Ligeti resumed his studies with Farkas and Sandor Veress at Budapest's Franz Liszt Academy. After graduation in 1949, he did research on Romanian folk music and then returned to the academy as an instructor in harmony, counterpoint and formal analysis.

Ligeti attracted wide atttention for "Macabre," which he wrote in 1978.

Ligeti's early work was heavily censored by Hungary's repressive regime, but his arrival in Vienna in 1956 opened up new possibilities. In the Austrian capital, he met key players in Western Europe's avant-garde music movement such as Karlheinz Stockhausen, Gottfried Michael Koenig and Herbert Eimert, who invited him to join an electronic music studio at West Germany's state radio in Cologne in 1957.

He won early critical acclaim for his 1958 electronic composition "Artikulation" and the orchestral "Apparitions." He gained notoriety for a technique he called "micropolyphony," which wove together musical color and texture in ways that transcended the traditional borders of melody, harmony and rhythm.

Ligeti spoke at least six languages, including his native Hungarian, German, French, and English, said Stephen Ferguson, who worked as his assistant and editor at Schott Music from 1992-96.

"He was one of the few avant-garde composers who found his way into the modern program," Ferguson said. "He was fascinated by patterns, but at the same time created wonderful atmospheres, such as in the music used in '2001: A Space Odyssey,' or in 'Clocks and Clouds.'

"He reintroduced techniques of polyphony out of the tradition of Bach and Palestrina with a playful and innovative sense of sound. He developed a new sound — cluster sound — which fascinated director Stanley Kubrick and propelled Ligeti to the top of the great composers of the second half of the 20th century."

Excerpts of his "Atmospheres," a requiem and 1966's "Lux Aeterna" were used on the bestselling soundtrack for Kubrick's "Space Odyssey." Although the music was not the film's well-known fanfare, which was composed by Richard Strauss, it won Ligeti a global audience.

Kubrick returned to Ligeti in 1999, using the composer's Musica Ricercata II (Mesto, rigido e cerimoniale), as the theme for what turned out to be his final film, "Eyes Wide Shut."

Ligeti, who for a time also lived in Germany and San Francisco and was a visiting professor at the Stockholm Academy of Music for many years, was known for striking a playful note with his music, epitomized by a piece he wrote for 100 metronomes.

Sir Simon Rattle was a fan of Ligeti and led many performances of his works during his tenure at the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra before taking over the Berlin Philharmonic.

Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel hailed Ligeti on Monday as "the greatest Austrian in the 20th century music world," and the city of Vienna said it would offer a special grave site in honor of its adopted composer.

Ligeti is survived by his wife, Vera, and a son, Lukas, a percussionist who lives in New York. Funeral arrangements were incomplete.
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Reply #487 on: June 12, 2006, 01:05:11 PM
under the paving stones.


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Reply #488 on: June 12, 2006, 01:14:01 PM
Sad day indeed.  :yabbse-sad:


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Reply #489 on: June 20, 2006, 12:01:15 AM

Hollywood director Sherman dies at 99
By BOB THOMAS, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 8 minutes ago

LOS ANGELES - Vincent Sherman, who directed — and romanced — Bette Davis, Rita Hayworth and Joan Crawford during his heyday as a leading Hollywood filmmaker in the 1940s and '50s, has died. He would have been 100 on July 16.

His death Sunday night of natural causes at the Motion Picture and Television Hospital was announced Monday by his son, Eric Sherman.

"Vince was in good condition until two months ago," said actress Francine York, his companion for the last nine years. "In January he had appeared on a documentary about Humphrey Bogart, and he told a lot of good stories. He was the last of the gentlemen, a real Southern gentleman."

Sherman, whose film career was seriously damaged by Hollywood's communist "red scare," later became a successful director of such television series as "The Waltons," "Doctors Hospital," "Baretta," "Trapper John, M.D." and "77 Sunset Strip."

He had begun as an actor, appearing on Broadway and in a handful of movies, among them 1933's "Counselor at Law," in which he had a small but memorable role as a young anarchist opposite John Barrymore. He also wrote several screenplays, including "Crime School," which starred Bogart and the Dead End Kids.

Because of his ability to evoke powerful performances from strong-willed female stars — he also directed Ida Lupino, Ann Sheridan and Patricia Neal — Sherman became known as a woman's director, a title he hated. He was quick to point out that he also directed Errol Flynn in "The Adventures of Don Juan," Paul Newman in "The Young Philadelphians," Bogart in "All Through the Night," Richard Burton in "The Ice Palace" and Ronald Reagan in "The Hasty Heart."

Sherman also gained a reputation for romancing many of his famous actresses, and he wrote about them in his 1996 autobiography, "Studio Affairs."

Though both were married at the time, he and Davis had an affair that began during the filming of 1943's "Old Acquaintance" and continued through "Mr. Skeffington," which was released the following year. His dalliance with Crawford lasted through three movies, and another with Hayworth happened during "Affair in Trinidad," after she had divorced Aly Khan.

Sherman's wife, Hedda, tolerated his extramarital adventures, and their marriage lasted 53 years. She died in 1984.

During the early 1950s, his thriving career foundered as he was dropped without explanation by Warner Bros. A federal agent had told the studio Sherman was suspected of communist ties.

"I wasn't a communist," he remarked in 1997, "but I knew people like John Garfield who'd been blacklisted, and I stood beside them."

Other studios shunned him, and he was caught in "a Kafkaesque situation."

After five years, he became employable again but never recovered his knack for skillful melodrama. His last major feature was a lame western comedy, "The Second Time Around," with Debbie Reynolds and Andy Griffith in 1961.

"My strong points were my relationships with actors; I got good performances from people," he said in a 1997 interview. "My weak points were in accepting assignments when I should have said no."

Turning to television, he worked well into the 1980s.

Born Abram Orovitz to one of the only two Jewish families in Vienna, Ga., in 1906, Sherman learned at an early age to defend himself against the taunts of his schoolmates.

After graduating from Oglethorpe University, he sought an acting career in New York, joining the left-wing Group Theater. Since ethnic names for actors were unfashionable, he changed his to Vincent Sherman. Squarely built with black hair and a ruggedly handsome face, he quickly began appearing on Broadway.

In the late 1940s Warner Bros. hired Sherman under an acting-writing-directing contract, and he was assigned to the studio's B-picture unit, adapting old movies into remakes.

He broke out as a director in 1942 with a gripping melodrama "The Hard Way."

Although he would go on to direct many important projects, he never rose to the level that would afford him consideration for an Academy Award.

"Of the 30 pictures that I made, I really liked only 10 or 12 of them," he said in 1997. "The rest were what we called bread-and-butter pictures."

Besides his son, Sherman is survived by a daughter, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.


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Reply #490 on: June 20, 2006, 12:16:39 AM
His dalliance with Crawford lasted through three movies, and another with Hayworth happened during "Affair in Trinidad," after she had divorced Aly Khan.

I've never wanted to be a dead 99-year-old dude more than at this moment.


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Reply #491 on: June 23, 2006, 11:05:39 PM
Aaron Spelling dies at age 83; built TV dynasty

Aaron Spelling, a onetime movie bit player who created a massive number of hit series, from the vintage "Charlie's Angels" and "Dynasty" to "Beverly Hills 90210" and "Melrose Place," died Friday, his publicist said. He was 83.

Spelling died at his mansion in Los Angeles after suffering a stroke on June 18, according to publicist Kevin Sasaki.

Spelling's other hit series included "Love Boat," "Fantasy Island," "Burke's Law," "The Mod Squad," "Starsky and Hutch," "T.J. Hooker," "Matt Houston," "Hart to Hart" and "Hotel." He kept his hand in 21st-century TV with series including "7th Heaven" and "Summerland."

He also produced more than 140 television movies. Among the most notable: "Death Sentence" (1974), Nick Nolte's first starring role; "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble" (1976), John Travolta's first dramatic role; and "The Best Little Girl in the World" (1981), which starred Jennifer Jason Leigh.
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Reply #492 on: June 26, 2006, 11:20:23 PM

Frasier's Best Friend 'Eddie' Dies

Moose, the feisty Jack Russell terrier who played Eddie for 10 years on TV's Frasier, has died, his trainer Mathilde Halberg tells PEOPLE.

"He was 16-and-a-half years old, and he just had an incredible charisma and was a such a free spirit," said Halberg. Moose, considered the Lassie of the '90s, died Thursday night of old age at Halberg's Los Angeles-area home.

Moose retired from showbiz when he was 10, and, although he also played a starring role in the 2000 Frankie Muniz-Kevin Bacon feature My Dog Skip (as the older Skip), he was best known for stealing scenes from Kelsey Grammer on the long-running Emmy-winning NBC sitcom.

"He was always trying to put Frasier in uncomfortable circumstances," said his trainer, who had rescued him in the early 1990s.

"I saved him from the pound. His owners called me as a last resort," Halberg recalled. "He was extremely mischievous, always escaping, chewing up things and running off. When he killed a neighbor's cat and chased some horses, that was it."

Not that anyone who owns a Jack Russell would find such behavior surprising. "But then," remembered his trainer, "he began his career, and he will never be forgotten."


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Reply #493 on: June 26, 2006, 11:30:07 PM
I always preferred the dog on "Mad About You", myself.


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Reply #494 on: July 05, 2006, 09:54:34 AM
Kenneth Lay, former chairman of Enron, has died at the age of 64

Lay, who was convicted of fraud and conspiracy for his part in the Houston-based company's collapse into bankruptcy in 2001, died of a heart attack at his vacation home in Colorado, a Houston television station reported on Wednesday.

Lay and Enron's former chief executive Jeffrey Skilling were found guilty earlier this year in one of the biggest corporate scandals in U.S. history.

Both men were free on bail, each having managed to secure a $5-million US bond.

Lay was convicted on all six counts against him, including conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud, and faced up to 45 years in prison. He was due to appear for sentencing on Sept. 11.

Skilling was found guilty of 19 out of 28 counts of conspiracy, fraud, insider trading and making false statements. Combined, these carry a maximum sentence of 185 years. He was not convicted on the remaining nine criminal counts.

Both were accused of repeatedly lying to investors and employees about Enron's finances before its spectacular December 2001 collapse into bankruptcy.

Lay and Skilling denied any wrongdoing and attributed the former energy giant's failure to bad publicity and lost market confidence.

In a separate trial, Lay was also convicted of illegally using money from $75 million US in personal loans to buy stock. He faced a maximum of 120 years in prison for that conviction, in addition to the 45 years for the corporate trial.

"We fought a good fight and some things work, some things don't," Skilling said in a brief statement outside court during which he thanked his family and his lawyer.

"We're going to have to go back and think this thing through. Obviously I'm disappointed but that's the way the system works."

Lay made a separate statement, saying he was "shocked" by the jury's decision and denied any wrongdoing.

"I firmly believe I'm innocent of the charges against me as I have said from day one, and I still firmly believe that to this day," Lay told reporters outside the court.

The man is dead, but it just feels like he's beaten the system.  I would love to die at my Colorado vacation home.