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Obituaries


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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #300 on: September 14, 2013, 04:39:46 pm »


From the Los Angeles Times....

Ray Dolby dies at 80; engineer's sound system eliminated underlying noise

The Dolby Sound System was first used commercially in recording studios
nearly 50 years ago and then adopted by the film industry.


By DAVID COLKER | 8:36PM - Thursday, September 12, 2013

Ray Dolby, the inventor and engineer who founded Dolby Laboratories and pioneered noise-reducing and surround-sound technology widely used in the film and recording industries, has died in San Francisco, the company announced Thursday. He was 80. — Photo: James Butler.
Ray Dolby, the inventor and engineer who founded Dolby Laboratories and pioneered noise-reducing and surround-sound
technology widely used in the film and recording industries, has died in San Francisco, the company announced Thursday.
He was 80. — Photo James Butler.


BEFORE AN audio revolution in the mid-1960s, just about all music, dialogue and other sounds played on tape recordings had one thing in common: hiss.

The bothersome, underlying noise seemed especially unavoidable during quiet passages on the once-ubiquitous cassette tapes.

But then came an engineering breakthrough that nearly wiped out the hiss, and made the inventor's name — Dolby — world-famous.

Ray Dolby, 80, died Thursday at his home in San Francisco. The company he founded, Dolby Laboratories, released a statement saying he had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease in recent years and in July was found to have acute leukemia.

The Dolby Sound System was first used commercially in recording studios nearly 50 years ago and then adopted by the film industry.

"You could divide film sound in half: there is BD, before Dolby, and there is AD, after Dolby," said Oscar-winning film and sound editor Walter Murch last year at the Hollywood Post Alliance Awards that honored Dolby.

Eliminating hiss, along with other sound enhancements invented by Dolby, allowed filmmakers to use far more sophisticated multi-track, surround-sound audio to transport audiences into fantasy worlds.

Perhaps no movie used this technology, in its early days, more effectively than "Star Wars" in 1977.

"Ray's pioneering work in sound played a pivotal role in allowing ‘Star Wars’ to be the truly immersive experience I had always dreamed it would be," the film's director, George Lucas, said in a statement Thursday.

Murch agreed. "‘Star Wars’ kicked it into another realm," he said Thursday, also citing "Apocalypse Now" and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" as films whose impact probably would have not been the same without Dolby.

Although Dolby's original audio developments have been supplanted by digital sound regimens, Dolby Labs' products are still used in movie theaters, recording studios and consumer electronic devices around the world. More than 7.4 billion consumer products use Dolby technologies, according to the company, including personal computers, mobile devices and video game machines.

Last year, the Dolby name got another boost when it was placed atop the Hollywood theater from where the Oscars are telecast.

But Ray Dolby will probably be best remembered as the man who changed recorded sound.

"You saw a tape machine and saw ‘Dolby’," said British sound engineer John Kurlander, who worked on the Beatles' "Abbey Road" among numerous records and film tracks, "and they became inseparable."

Ray Milton Dolby was born January 18th, 1933, in Portland, Oregon, and his family moved to Palo Alto while he was still a boy. He took an early interest in music.

"I started playing the piano at 10, then moved to clarinet so I could play in the school orchestra," he told The Times in 1988. "Mainly, though, I was fascinated by the technology of music: how organs worked, how reeds vibrated, why things sounded the way they did."

While still in high school, he started working for the ground-breaking Ampex Corporation in Redwood City that made audio tape recorders and was developing new uses for magnetic tape. "I made a deal with my high school," Dolby said. "I was so far ahead in my credits that I didn't have to worry about getting into college, so I went to school three hours a day and worked five at Ampex."

He worked at the company with Charlie Ginsburg, who headed a small team that developed the first broadcast-quality videotape recorder, according to an MIT profile. Ginsburg, who died in 1992, said in a 1988 Times interview that Dolby played a vital role.

"I'd say that Ray essentially was the inventor of that whole system," Ginsburg said. "He had virtually no formal education then, no college, but he was already an outstanding inventory."

Dolby was also demonstrating a keen business sense at a young age. He didn't like to be called a "tinkerer" exploring new ideas for the sake of it. His work was more focused on an outcome. "An inventor knows what he wants to do," he said. "An inventor has to have taken out a patent."

"I had my first one at 19."

After serving in the Army, Dolby graduated from Stanford University in 1957 with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and went on to Cambridge University in England where he received a doctorate in physics. He also met his wife, Dagmar, at the university where she was a summer student from Germany.

In 1963 he was eager to leave academia and embarked on a two-year appointment in India as a UNESCO science advisor. It was in that country, while working on noise-reduction systems, that he had a revelation regarding hiss. It involved separating high and low frequencies in order to clean out the noise. In a 1979 interview with Fortune magazine, he said the system "increases the desired tones, suppresses hiss and recombines the cleaned frequencies into very high-fidelity sound."

At the end of his India stint, he established the original Dolby Laboratories in London at a cost of $25,000. Last year, according to the company's fiscal 2012 annual report, it had sales of $926 million.

Dolby stepped down as chairman of the San Francisco company in 2009. He and his wife contributed to Bay Area charities, including $36 million to UC San Francisco for stem cell research.

Dolby is survived by his wife of 47 years, sons Tom and David and four grandchildren.


L.A. Times staff writers Elaine Woo and Devin Kelly contributed to this report.

http://www.latimes.com/obituaries/la-me-ray-dolby-20130913,0,1038127.story
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« Reply #301 on: October 13, 2013, 02:07:19 pm »


From the Los Angeles Times....

Vo Nguyen Giap dies at 102; Vietnamese general led North to victory

The unpretentious communist general masterminded the defeat of French and American
forces and became known as one of the 20th century's military geniuses.


By DAVID LAMB, Special to the L.A. Times | 2:53PM - Friday, October 04, 2013

Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap is seen in front of a painting of himself and president Ho Chi Minh, left, at his home in Hanoi, Vietnam in this picture taken August 25th 2008, his 97th birthday. Officials say Giap, the military mastermind who drove the French and the Americans out of Vietnam, has died at age 102. He was the country's last famous communist revolutionary, and used ingenious guerrilla tactics to overcome enormous odds against superior forces. — Photo: Na Son Nguyen/Associated Press.
Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap is seen in front of a painting of himself and president Ho Chi Minh, left, at his home in Hanoi, Vietnam
in this picture taken August 25th 2008, his 97th birthday. Officials say Giap, the military mastermind who drove the French and the
Americans out of Vietnam, has died at age 102. He was the country's last famous communist revolutionary, and used ingenious
guerrilla tactics to overcome enormous odds against superior forces. — Photo: Na Son Nguyen/Associated Press.


VO NGUYEN GIAP, the communist general widely regarded as one of the military geniuses of the 20th century, who masterminded the defeat of the French and the war against the Americans in Vietnam, has died. He was 102.

Giap died Friday at a military hospital in Hanoi, the Associated Press reported, citing a government official.

Though Ho Chi Minh was the symbol of Vietnam's fight for independence and reunification, it was Giap who carved out the victories. From Dien Bien Phu to Khe Sanh to the Tet offensive, his name became synonymous with the battles that defined a chapter of world history and emboldened liberation movements from Africa to Latin America.

A man of little pretense and great ambition, Giap had no formal military training and used to joke that he was a self-taught general. His early nationalistic calling was as a writer and propagandist. Never having touched a gun, he protested when Ho ordered him to prepare for a war with France: "I wield a pen, not a sword."

But he followed orders, and on Christmas Eve 1944 he and a band of 33 partisans armed with knives and flintlock rifles attacked two isolated French outposts. Thirty years later, with the French gone and the U.S.-backed South Vietnamese forces now near collapse, his army was the world's third largest, numbering 800,000. Through three decades of war, he was his nation's supreme military commander, a service record with few, if any, parallels in modern times.

Giap understood what the French and Americans did not: that a peasant army, imbued with patience, nationalism and a willingness to endure untold suffering, could defeat a far more powerful force whose cause was not enthusiastically supported at home. Giap lost an estimated one million communist soldiers in winning Vietnam's independence as a unified state, but he never expressed the slightest doubt that such huge casualties were worth the sacrifice.

"Every minute, hundreds of thousands of people die on this Earth," Giap said in 1969, adding that he was prepared to fight as long as necessary for ultimate victory. "The life or death of a hundred, a thousand, tens of thousands of human beings, even our compatriots, means little."

Said General William Westmoreland, the U.S. commander in Vietnam during the 1968 Tet offensive: "Giap was callous. Had any American general taken such losses, he wouldn't have lasted three weeks."

In later life, Giap — a short, white-haired man with a round face and soft hands—had lived quietly in Hanoi in a downtown villa, deified by the city's residents as a national hero. His parlor was lined with busts and portraits of Marx, Lenin and Ho Chi Minh. He chatted with visitors in perfect French, sometimes receiving them in his military uniform, and could recall various campaigns — Napoleon's and his own — in brilliant detail.

He saw the war against the United States as merely an extension of the war against France and always believed that Washington's resolve eventually would wither, as had Paris' resolve. "You can kill 10 of my men for every one I kill of yours," he once said to the Americans, repeating what he had warned the French more than a decade earlier. "But even at those odds, you will lose and I will win."

Toward the end of his long life, Giap spoke out strongly, although unsuccessfully, on another issue. His was one of the most prominent voices to urge the Vietnamese government in 2009 to reconsider its plans for a vast Chinese-run bauxite mining operation in Vietnam's central highlands, which Giap and others said posed environmental and security risks. But the project proceeded.

Giap was born August 25th, 1911, in the village of An Xa, just north of what would become the Demilitarized Zone. His father was a scholarly rice farmer who taught Giap to read — the first book he read was a child's history of Vietnam — and who scrimped to send his son to the best schools available.

Young Giap attended the prestigious Quoc Hoc academy in Hue, whose alumni included Ho Chi Minh and Ngo Dinh Diem, an intense anti-Communist who would become prime minister of South Vietnam. Giap, then just 13, began reading Marx, organized student protests against France's ban on nationalistic activities and was expelled.

By 1938, he was a professional agitator. He had spent time in a French prison, earned a law degree from Hanoi University, taught history in a private school to support himself and married a communist militant, Minh Khai. They had one child, a daughter, Vo Hong Anh, who would become a nuclear physicist and who would win, in 1987, the Soviet Union's Kowolenskia Prize for Science.

Nationalistic fervor was building against the French at the onset of World War II, and in 1940, at the age of 28, Giap moved across Vietnam's border to Yenan in southern China. It is not clear whether he learned guerrilla tactics there from actual training or from reading, but it is known that the next year, at a communist gathering in China's Guangxi province, he first met Ho Chi Minh, then a widely known revolutionary who had not set foot in Vietnam for 30 years.

"Ho immediately took a liking to the young firebrand," historian Bernard Fall wrote, "and entrusted him with a most difficult mission: the organization of a communist military force inside Vietnam."

Back in Vietnam, Giap lived for the next four years in caves and jungles with a small band of cadres, organizing a resistance movement and hunted by French patrols. He wore sandals with soles made from automobile tires and, with his men, often ate bark and roots. The structure of the camp was egalitarian, and the chore Giap assigned himself was that of dishwasher.

In 1943, Giap received news that devastated him. Shortly after he had left Hanoi, his sister-in-law, returning from Paris, had been arrested by the French and executed as a revolutionary. His wife had been imprisoned on similar charges, and he learned that she had died in the French prison that eventually would house American POWs and become known as the Hanoi Hilton. Giap would later remarry and father five more children, but he once told an interviewer that news of Minh Khai's death "ruined" his life.

Giap's army, known as the Viet Minh, now a formidable guerrilla force, fought both Japanese occupiers and French colonialists during World War II. Giap hoped the United States would support Vietnam's bid for independence and told a crowd in Hanoi in 1946 to regard the United States as a "good friend" because "it is a democracy without territorial ambitions."

But the war between Vietnam and France started in earnest that year, and between then and 1954, when France surrendered at Dien Bien Phu — ending 71 years of colonial rule — Washington backed France with $4 billion in military aid. The battle for Dien Bien Phu claimed the lives of about 8,000 Viet Minh and 2,000 French.

Although the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff had rejected France's plea for American intervention in the final days of Dien Bien Phu, saying "Indochina is devoid of decisive military objectives," the United States, by the mid-1960s, found itself being drawn into the same quagmire that had trapped the French.

Facing the world's mightiest military power, Giap created the so-called Ho Chi Minh Trail to move supplies south and designed networks of tunnels in which his soldiers lived, cared for the wounded and planned battles. Armed by Moscow, Giap built an air defense system that the Americans themselves admitted was second only to NATO's in sophistication. He changed his tactics, from guerrilla skirmishes to main-force confrontation.

"Confuse your enemy," Giap wrote. "Keep him in the dark about your intentions."

In late 1967, wanting to draw the Americans away from the coast so he could attack South Vietnam's cities, Giap began building up his forces around an isolated U.S. base at Khe Sanh. The Americans reinforced their position and were besieged for 75 days. Remembering how the French had met their Waterloo, President Lyndon B. Johnson told his advisors: "I don't want another Dinbinphoo."

"Khe Sanh was not important to us," Giap told his biographer, Peter Macdonald. "It was only a diversion, but one to be exploited if we could cause many casualties and win a big victory."

While the world's attention was riveted on Khe Sanh, Giap turned 70,000 Communist troops loose in January 1968—on the first day of the lunar new year celebration—in a widespread attack against South Vietnam's cities. A suicide squad made it into the U.S. Embassy complex in Saigon.

Although Giap's forces suffered tremendous losses in what became known as the Tet offensive, the campaign shocked the American public, which had been told that North Vietnam was incapable of fighting much longer, and undermined public support for the war.

Under internal pressure to make peace at any price, the United States negotiated an end to the conflict in Paris in 1972. It agreed to withdraw all U.S. forces but did not insist that North Vietnam also withdraw its troops from the South. On January 6th, 1975, Giap launched a major attack against South Vietnam, estimating that his campaign to reunite Vietnam would take two years. Fifty-five days later, Saigon fell to North Vietnam to secure the victory Giap had sought all his adult life.

"If I had not become a soldier," he told writer Stanley Karnow, "I probably would have remained a teacher, maybe of philosophy or history. Someone recently asked me whether, when I first formed our army, I ever imagined I would fight the Americans. Quelle question! Did the Americans, back then, ever imagine that they would one day fight us?"


David Lamb is a former L.A. Times staff writer.

http://www.latimes.com/obituaries/la-me-vo-nguyen-giap-20131005,0,6097313,full.story
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« Reply #302 on: October 13, 2013, 02:07:33 pm »


From the Los Angeles Times....

Astronaut Scott Carpenter dies at 88; second American to orbit Earth

One of seven original Project Mercury astronauts, he was briefly feared lost after
orbiting Earth three times and plunging into the Atlantic far from his target.


By STEVE CHAWKINS and ERIC MALNIC | 7:33PM - Thursday, October 10, 2013

President John F. Kennedy congratulates Scott Carpenter, with his family watching, on the astronaut's three-orbit flight in 1962. — Photo: Associated Press.
President John F. Kennedy congratulates Scott Carpenter, with his family watching, on the astronaut's three-orbit flight in 1962.
 — Photo: Associated Press.


M. SCOTT CARPENTER, a college dropout and local ne'er-do-well who became the second American to orbit Earth, wasn't proud of the way his teen years took off.

"The local papers that say I was just a normal boy are trying to think of something not bad to say," he told Life magazine in May 1962, a few days before his historic flight in the Aurora 7 space capsule that made him the second American to orbit Earth. "I didn't study hard and I quit high school football because I couldn't devote myself to learning the plays. I stole things from stores and I was just drifting through, sort of a no-good."

After twice flunking out of the University of Colorado and getting into a serious accident driving home from a party, he had an epiphany in his hospital bed. He returned to college and studied hard. Three years later, he was a Navy pilot. A decade afterward, he was one of America's seven original Project Mercury astronauts.

Briefly feared lost after orbiting Earth three times and plunging into the Atlantic far from his target, he returned to parades and plaudits.

Carpenter, who in 1965 made history again with his experiments in an undersea research capsule, died Thursday morning at a Denver hospice, said his wife, Patty Carpenter, after having a stroke about three weeks ago. He was 88.

Carpenter's friend and fellow astronaut John Glenn said in an interview that Carpenter's death made him "sad and glad — sad of his death, and glad he is not suffering any more. We talked all the time, up to the time he was no longer able to talk."

Unlike Glenn, Carpenter rocketed into space just once, on May 24th, 1962.

After a flawless liftoff, problems arose.

NASA controllers on the ground felt Carpenter practiced too many maneuvers during his orbits, draining the spaceship's fuel and driving it slightly out of position. Because its nose was pointed too high when retrorockets fired to lower it from orbit, the capsule landed about 250 miles off course. Carpenter was well beyond the range of Cape Canaveral's radios, and no one knew where he was.

"We may have … lost an astronaut," veteran CBS News anchorman Walter Cronkite solemnly told a broadcast audience of millions.

Then, after many tense minutes, a Navy pilot spotted Carpenter in a life raft beside the floating space capsule. Moments later, a helicopter deposited him on the deck of the aircraft carrier Intrepid.

"We are relieved and very proud of your trip," President John F. Kennedy told him by telephone.

Carpenter apologized for "not having aimed better."

Despite some criticisms of his performance within NASA, Carpenter's flight was hailed as a success.

In a statement Thursday, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden praised Carpenter for completing his mission "despite challenging circumstances". "We knew then that not only did America have what it took technologically, but our entire astronaut corps would be able to face the challenges ahead that would lead us to the moon and living and working in space," Bolden said.

Born May 1st, 1925, Malcolm Scott Carpenter had a tough childhood in Boulder, Colorado. His parents separated when he was 3. After his mother was placed in a tuberculosis sanitarium, he was raised by his grandfather Victor Noxon, a local newspaper publisher. In 1939, Noxon died and Carpenter, all of 14 years old, was more or less on his own.

After graduation from high school in 1943, he joined the Navy's V-5 flight training program at Colorado College in Colorado Springs. The war ended before he got his wings.

Returning to Boulder, he was on an upward trajectory, winning reinstatement to the Navy in 1949.

Unlike some of his fellow astronauts, Carpenter was never a combat pilot. During the Korean War, he flew on anti-submarine patrols and surveillance sorties over the Formosa Strait, the Yellow Sea and the South China Sea.

At the Navy's test-pilot school in Patuxent River, Maryland, he made a name for himself wringing out developmental fighter jets. After further training, and service as an air intelligence officer on the carrier Hornet, he applied for Project Mercury.

"I volunteered for this project for a lot of reasons," he said after being selected in 1959. "One of them, quite frankly, is that it is a chance for immortality."

Besides Carpenter and Glenn, the other Mercury astronauts were Alan B. Shepard Jr., Gus Grissom, Wally Schirra, Gordon Cooper and Deke Slayton. Glenn, a former U.S. senator from Ohio, is the last surviving member of the group.

As their training progressed, the seven Mercury astronauts divided into two camps, Tom Wolfe wrote in "The Right Stuff". Wolfe said Glenn and Carpenter were the straight-arrow, church-going, family-oriented astronauts, while the others, led by Shepard, favored the looser lifestyles of "fighter jocks".

On May 5th, 1961, Shepard made the first American manned space flight, a suborbital trip that came almost a month after the world's first manned flight, by Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. Astronaut Virgil I "Gus" Grissom made America's second sub-orbital flight on July 21st, 1961.

Glenn made America's first orbital flight six months later. "Godspeed, John Glenn," Carpenter famously said as his friend lifted off.

Three months after that, it was Carpenter's turn. Although the trip ended well, grumblings about his inaccurate landing continued for years.

Flight director Chris Kraft charged that Carpenter's lack of discipline caused the sloppy landing and unnecessarily generated concern about his fate. Carpenter acknowledged pilot errors, but argued that he overcame "anomalous instrument readings, a tyrannical flight plan, unpleasant cabin temperatures and multiple and contradictory demands from the ground" to complete the mission.

On August 29th, 1965, Carpenter became the nation's first astro-aquanaut, descending 200 feet to the ocean floor off La Jolla to launch an undersea habitation called Sealab II.

He and three other men conducted experiments to determine how well humans can function in a high-pressure undersea capsule for extended periods. They mined ore from the ocean bottom, harvested fish, salvaged and refloated a sunken jet fighter and built an undersea petroleum-exploration platform.

"The sea is a tough adversary, a much more hostile environment than space," Carpenter said after emerging a month later. "But man has an incredible faculty to adapt in a hostile environment."

After his retirement from the Navy in 1969, Carpenter founded several small businesses and made occasional appearances on the lecture circuit. In 2003, he published his memoirs, "For Spacious Skies: The Uncommon Journey of a Mercury Astronaut", co-written by his daughter, Kristen Elaine Stoever.

He described his life as a "rare personal achievement and self-destruction of equal virtuosity: six cars totaled, four marriages, seven children. From all of them, somehow, boy and man always managed to walk away."

Carpenter, who had homes in Vail, Colorado, and West Palm Beach, Florida, married Rene Louise Price in 1948, Maria Roach in 1972, Barbara Curtin in 1988 and Patricia Kay Snyder in 1998.

In addition to wife Patty and Stoever, he leaves daughters Robyn Jay Carpenter and Candace Noxon Carpenter; sons Marc Scott Carpenter, Matthew Scott Carpenter, Nicholas Andre Carpenter and Zachary Scott Carpenter; one grandchild and five stepchildren.


Staff writer David Colker contributed to this report. Malnic, a former L.A. Times staff writer who died in 2010, prepared much of this report before retiring in 2006.

http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-scott-carpenter-20131011,0,1823618,full.story
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« Reply #303 on: October 13, 2013, 02:38:58 pm »


From the Los Angeles Times....

War criminal Erich Priebke dies at 100; Nazi captain convicted in 1995

He evaded arrest for nearly 50 years in Argentina after acting as
second in command of the Gestapo headquarters in Rome.


L.A. Times Staff and Wire Reports | 4:49PM - Friday, October 11, 2013

Former Nazi SS officer Erich Priebke enters the military court in Rome on December 7th, 1995. Priebke was eventually convicted in the massacre of 335 civilians in 1944. He died October 11th at 100. — Photo: Domenico Stinellis/Associated Press.
Former Nazi SS officer Erich Priebke enters the military court in Rome on December 7th, 1995. Priebke was eventually convicted
in the massacre of 335 civilians in 1944. He died October 11th at 100. — Photo: Domenico Stinellis/Associated Press.


ERICH PRIEBKE, a former Nazi SS captain who evaded arrest for nearly 50 years after taking part in one of the worst atrocities by German occupiers in Italy during World War II, died Friday in Rome. He was 100.

Priebke was finally extradited to Italy from Argentina in 1995 to face trial for the 1944 massacre, and he was sentenced to life in prison. Because of his age, he was allowed to serve that sentence under house arrest at the home of his lawyer, Paolo Giachini.

Giachini announced the death and released a final interview conducted with Priebke in July during which the German denied that Nazis gassed Jews during the Holocaust and accused the West of having fabricated the crimes to minimize the Allies' own abuses during the war.

Priebke was tried and convicted for his role in the 1944 massacre of 335 civilians by Nazi forces at the Ardeatine Caves outside Rome. The massacre was carried out in retaliation for an attack by resistance fighters that killed 33 members of a Nazi military police unit a day earlier in central Rome.

Second in command of the Gestapo headquarters in Rome, Priebke admitted shooting two people in the caves and maintaining the list of victims but insisted he was only following orders.

Born near Berlin in 1913, Priebke had worked at a hotel on the Italian Riviera since his teen years. During the Nazi occupation of Italy, he worked as a translator for the SS.

In 1946, he escaped from a British prison camp on Italy's Adriatic coast. He arrived in Argentina in 1949, working first in a restaurant as a dishwasher and then a waiter before saving enough money to buy a delicatessen in an Andean resort town. He lived openly in the country, using his own name. He led the German-Argentine Cultural Assn. and traveled back and forth to Europe.

While searching for another suspected Nazi criminal, reporter Sam Donaldson and an ABC News crew came upon Priebke, who freely admitted who he was.

That started a lengthy extradition process that ended with Priebke boarding a plane in Argentina on Nov. 20, 1995, the 50th anniversary of the start of the Nuremberg trials, to stand trial in Italy.

"The importance is not the fate of this man," Tullia Zevi, an Italian Jewish community leader in Rome, told The Times in 1996. "The importance of this is that we can interrogate the defendant, ask certain witnesses to appear and broaden the scope of the trial. It is our duty to document things as they were. This is important today, when the trend in the apportioning of war guilt is toward revisionism."

The country's highest appeals court upheld his conviction and life sentence in 1998.

Efraim Zuroff, the Simon Wiesenthal Center's chief Nazi hunter who this year launched a new push to search for unpunished war criminals, said the case proves it is never too late to seek justice.

"Priebke was a classic example of a totally unrepentant Nazi war criminal," Zuroff said.

In his final interview, Priebke denied that gas chambers were used in Nazi concentration camps and that generations have been "brainwashed" into believing that they were.

Priebke was to be buried in Argentina, alongside his wife, Alice Stoll Priebke, who died in 2004.


http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-erich-priebke-20131012,0,3042076.story
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« Reply #304 on: October 26, 2013, 03:30:47 pm »


Grand old lady Maude, 110, dies

By LOUISE BERWICK - The Southland Times | 5:00AM - Saturday, 26 October 2013

REMARKABLE LIFE: Maudie Wilson, aged 110, died on Thursday. She is believed to be the oldest person in New Zealand. — ROBYN EDIE/Fairfax NZ.
REMARKABLE LIFE: Maudie Wilson, aged 110, died on
Thursday. She is believed to be the oldest person
in New Zealand. — ROBYN EDIE/Fairfax NZ.


BELIEVED to be New Zealand's oldest woman, 110-year-old Maudie Wilson was well known for her independence, sweet smile, and gracious personality. She died on Thursday, surrounded by family.

Mrs Wilson was thought to be one of the oldest people to ever live in Southland — but that's not how her family will think of her.

Instead, they said, they would remember her appreciative personality, her warm heart and independence. Daughter Frances Tait said her mother had always been loving, and was a great mother.

Mrs Wilson was born in Invercargill in 1903, a year before the icecream cone was invented. She lived through two World Wars, a depression and saw 26 New Zealand prime ministers take office.

Having spent most of her adult life in Central Otago, she returned to Invercargill just over two years ago.

Mrs Tait said she would always remember her mother for her continuous gratitude and the way she was loved by her large family and her friends at Vickery Court, the rest home to which she had moved after falling and damaging her hip.

"She was always appreciative. She thanked everyone for everything that was done, even when she wasn't very well."

Until her accident, the widowed southern woman had lived on her own in Clyde, a sign of her determination and independence.

Mrs Wilson first met her husband-to-be, William, when she was nine. The couple were married in August 1929 at the newly built St Andrew's Church in South Invercargill.

They had three children, nine grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren and four great-great grandchildren.

Her family is now planning her funeral, which will be held in Clyde next Wednesday.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/news/9329451/Grand-old-lady-Maude-110-dies
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« Reply #305 on: October 28, 2013, 12:46:22 pm »


From the Los Angeles Times....

Lou Reed dead at 71

By TODD MARTENS | 12:29PM PDT - October 27, 2013

Lou Reed performs during a concert in Valencia. — Photo: Jose Jordan/AFP/Getty Images/July 7th, 2003.
Lou Reed performs during a concert in Valencia. — Photo: Jose Jordan/AFP/Getty Images/July 7th, 2003.

LOU REED, anchor of New York rock band the Velvet Underground and widely regarded as one of pop's most influential musicians, has died, the Associated Press reported Sunday. He was 71 years old.

Though a cause of death has not yet been revealed, the Associated Press cited a "liver-related ailment."

After canceling a scheduled appearance at April's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Reed underwent a liver transplant.

In a statement after the surgery, he said he looked "forward to being onstage and performing."

His most recently released recorded album was "Lulu", a 2011 collaboration with heavy metal act Metallica.

Known as much for his acidic personality as his confrontational rock 'n' roll, Reed in 2008 recalled the founding mission statement that would define the Velvet Underground, a group heralded for its tales of urban depravity.

Speaking at the Austin, Texas, music industry conference South by Southwest, Reed said the band was forbidden from playing blues or R&B licks, wanting the act to stand as a direct contrast to much of what was popular in the mid-'60s.

"This is going to be city," Reed said of the Velvet Underground. "This is going to be pure."

Some of the act's best known songs include "Sweet Jane", "I'm Waiting for the Man" and "Heroin".


http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/posts/la-et-ms-lou-reed-dead-at-71-20131027,0,1262185.story



From the Chicago Tribune....

Lou Reed, legendary rock pioneer, dead at 71

By GREG KOT | 6:43PM CDT - Sunday, October 27, 2013

Lou Reed performing on stage at the Zitadelle Spandau in Berlin, Germany, in 2011. — Photo: EPA.
Lou Reed performing on stage at the Zitadelle Spandau in Berlin, Germany, in 2011. — Photo: EPA.

LOU REED never had quite the notoriety or sales of '60s peers such as the Beatles or Bob Dylan -- his only major commercial hit was "Walk on the Wild Side." But his influence was just as vast, if not more so. Punk, post-punk and most strains of underground music of the last 40 years would not exist without the one-of-a-kind merger of music and words pioneered by Reed and his groundbreaking band, the Velvet Underground.

Reed died Sunday at 71 in Southampton, New York, of an ailment related to a liver transplant he underwent in May, his literary agent said.

He leaves behind one of the most profound musical legacies of any 20th Century artist. His lyrics suggested a new kind of street poetry, at once raw and literary. His music — conceived with John Cale, Sterling Morrison and Maureen Tucker in the Velvet Underground — merged primitivism with sophisticated avant-garde ideas. The Velvets made four landmark studio albums before crumbling in 1970, each a template for the underground music to follow. The artists in their debt include R.E.M., David Bowie, the Sex Pistols, the Talking Heads, Roxy Music, U2 and Patti Smith, and stretch from Iceland (Bjork) to South America (Os Mutantes). In an interview with the Tribune in 1990, Roxy Music founder Brian Eno reiterated his famous remark about the Velvets — "Only a few thousand people bought the first Velvet Underground album, but every one of them formed a band" — and embellished it: "I should know. I was one of those people."

In a 1992 interview with the Chicago Tribune, Reed explained his daring mix of high and low art. He only wanted nothing to do with the middle-brow territory occupied by most rock music in the '60s and beyond.

"I was an English major in college (Syracuse University), for chrissakes," Reed said. "I ought to be able to put together a good lyric at the very least. It would be embarrassing if I couldn`t. And I really like rock. It`s party stuff, dance stuff and R&B stuff that we all grew up on and loved. But I wanted something that would engage you mentally, that you could listen to on another level. I just thought that would be the perfect thing in rock 'n' roll. That 10 years from now you could still listen to one of my albums because it wasn`t just a party record, but something that would engage you emotionally, intellectually, if not spiritually, on the level that a novel can. And because you also have music going on, you could do something that no other form could do, especially if someone is listening on headphones. You could really get their attention and really take them someplace. You`re joining the voice in their head with your voice-there`s no one else there."

Reed, born in Brooklyn in 1942, grew up in a middle-class family and went on to study at Syracuse University, where he was mentored by the famed poet Delmore Schwartz. His staunch interest in Beat literature and classic soul and doo-wop was perhaps underutilized in his job as staff songwriter for Pickwick Records in New York, but the for-hire tunesmithing sharpened his affinity for writing simple two- or three-chord melodies. "I wanted to be a writer, always did," he once said. "Ever since elementary school I was writing songs, and I`ve essentially been able to survive by writing. I consider myself really, really lucky."

That gift flourished in the Velvets, where he wrote such future classics as "Rock 'n' Roll", "Sweet Jane" and "Pale Blue Eyes". In the mid-'60s, he befriended Cale, a classically trained musician from Wales, who brought a cutting-edge sense of harmonics and texture to Reed's melodies. Cale in turn was astounded by Reed's skill with lyrics. "I'd never met anyone like Lou who could put words together like that. He would create these dangerous scenarios in the songs, in part because we were finding ourselves in these strange, dangerous scenarios all the time in New York."


Lou Reed looks on during a Q&A session after the world premiere of his first film “Red Shirley” at the Vision du Reel Documentary film Festival in Nyon in 2010. — Photo: Reuters.
Lou Reed looks on during a Q&A session after the world premiere of his first film “Red Shirley” at the Vision du Reel Documentary
film Festival in Nyon in 2010. — Photo: Reuters.


At a time when rock music was only just beginning to grapple with deeper subjects, Reed's songs put society's misfits, outcasts and pariahs at the center, and not in a judgmental way. The epic "Heroin" its dire scene set by the ebb and surge of the guitars and Cale's viola, focused on a junkie. As shocking as the subject matter was when Reed and his bandmates began performing it in New York City clubs in 1965, "Heroin" was a nuanced and tragic first-person portrayal of addiction. It's a song about free will as much as drugs, about how a desperate person might try to escape or erase a world that he no longer comprehends. The junkie lives for his fix, even as he realizes that it will some day "nullify" him.

"I don`t think I`ve backed away from any subject," Reed told the Tribune. "Though I look back at some of it and say, ‘Whoa!’ I try to play fair. If I write that way about you, then when it comes to me, I have to write that way, too. ... All the way back to ‘Heroin’, the idea was to tell stories from different points of view, with conflicting opinions. Some of it can seem very personal, or at least it comes across that way, because you're acting. And then you can write something equally personal that's completely at odds with what the first person said. Any great novel has lots of 'personal things' floating through it, whatever the character you're writing about."

The Velvets were embraced by Andy Warhol, who made the band part of his Exploding Plastic Inevitable. Warhol would project his art films on the band, dressed all in black, while dancers writhed and, in some cases, cracked whips. Reed's lyrics looked at transgressive subjects, whether sadomasochism ("Venus in Furs") or drug dealing ("Waiting for the Man"), with a storyteller's eye for detail and a poet's flair for wordplay. The music could be ferociously violent or deeply sensitive, expanding the vocabulary of the rock quartet to include Eastern, European, classical and experimental impulses.

But the band was never widely understood in its time, and Reed left at the start of the '70s to pursue a solo career. His work was soon championed by a new wave of bands out of England and New York, including the New York Dolls, Sex Pistols and Patti Smith, and Reed became the "godfather of punk." The Bowie-produced "Walk on the Wild Side" single and "Transformer" album in 1972 became key moments in the gender-bending glam movement.

Along the way, Reed went from a widely misunderstood, even reviled underground figure into an international man of letters, published author and respected artist. In Europe, the Velvets music became central to the so-called "Velvet Revolution" in Czechoslovakia during the late '80s, and Reed was later lionized by the first president of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Havel, for contributing to the democratic shift. His solo albums became more elaborate, conceptual works, such as the much-praised 1989 release "New York"; his 1990 collaboration with Cale in tribute to their late benefactor Warhol, "Songs for Drella"; and his deep dive into the work of Edgar Allen Poe, "The Raven" (2003). His last major project was a deeply divisive collaboration with Metallica, "Lulu". It was in keeping with a history that includes its share of controversial releases, such as the all-instrumental noise album "Metal Machine Music" in 1975 and the brutal rock opera "Berlin" in 1973. The latter "didn't get one positive review and was considered a disaster" when it first came out, Reed once remarked, "and now people think it's a masterpiece" upon its reissue several decades later. "I've learned it takes people time to figure out what I'm up to."

Embedded within this cycle of reluctant acceptance was Reed's defiant, sometimes downright icy public persona. He was notorious for chewing up interviewers who did not properly defer to him. His jousting with the late critic Lester Bangs is one of the great chapters in the rock-media civil war. But Reed once showed a different side when a Tribune reporter tried to interview him backstage at the 1990 Farm Aid concert in Indianapolis. Reed, hiding behind shades and giving mono-syllabic answers, was in no apparent mood to talk when the journalist sat down with him. Then the writer's tape recorder inexplicably stopped working.

"Here, let me take a look at that," Reed offered. "Let`s reload these batteries ... Have you checked the pause button?"

Then Reed took off his shades and peered up from the balky machine. "You know," he said, "we're just going to have to improvise."

Reed is survived by his wife, the musician and performance artist Laurie Anderson.


http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-lou-reed-dead-20131027,0,4221650.story
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« Reply #306 on: October 28, 2013, 01:58:50 pm »



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« Reply #307 on: October 28, 2013, 04:18:51 pm »


From the Los Angeles Times....

Lou Reed dies at 71; rock giant led the Velvet Underground

Also famous for solo hits such as ‘Walk on the Wild Side’, Lou Reed
influenced generations of artists and resonated around the world.


By STEVE CHAWKINS and RANDY LEWIS | 7:33PM PDT - Sunday, October 27, 2013

Lou Reed's “uniquely stripped-down style of guitar playing and poetic lyrics have had a massive influence across many rock genres,” said Neil Portnow, president and chief executive of the Recording Academy. Above, Reed circa 1970. — Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images/January 1st, 1970.
Lou Reed's “uniquely stripped-down style of guitar playing and poetic lyrics have had a massive influence
across many rock genres,” said Neil Portnow, president and chief executive of the Recording Academy.
Above, Reed circa 1970. — Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images/January 1st, 1970.


PHOTOS: Lou Reed | 1942-2013

LIKE MANY unhappy teenagers, Lou Reed found more than a measure of solace in music.

"Listening to the radio absolutely transformed me," he told the Los Angeles Times in 1992. "It was like a huge, major-league signal that there was another world, another life out there … that everything wasn't as horrible as where I was."

A giant of rock, Reed sent the same message — as deafeningly harsh as it often was — to generations of punk aficionados and mainstream fans for nearly 50 years. The guitarist whose dark vision colored music for decades and whose 1960s group the Velvet Underground inspired musicians around the world, died Sunday in Southampton, New York, according to his literary agent Andrew Wylie.

Reed, 71, died of complications from a May liver transplant, Wylie said. In March, Reed had canceled his scheduled appearance at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio.

First as the Velvet Underground's principal songwriter and then as a solo artist, Reed continued to challenge musical and cultural conventions, becoming a pioneer of what came to be known as art rock and punk rock. Summing up Reed's influence, music producer Brian Eno once said that although the Velvet Underground sold only 30,000 copies of its debut album in five years, "everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band."

On Sunday, Greg Harris, president of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, said in a statement that Reed "cultivated a singular musical aesthetic that managed to be both arty and earthy, reflecting his college-educated yet streetwise-honed rock and roll narratives."

His work "provided the framework for generations of artists," Harris said, including Patti Smith, the Sex Pistols, Talking Heads, R.E.M. and U2.

Reed was inducted into the Cleveland-based Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, well after he was established as a global figure. Vaclav Havel, the writer and Czech president who led the 1989 uprising known as the Velvet Revolution, extolled Reed and hosted him in Prague. In 1998, at Havel's request, Reed performed at a White House dinner in Havel's honor.

Although cutting edge, Reed was credited with "introducing avant-garde rock to the mainstream," Neil Portnow, president and chief executive of the Recording Academy, an industry group, said Sunday. "His uniquely stripped-down style of guitar playing and poetic lyrics have had a massive influence across many rock genres."

Reed reveled in his music's simplicity.

"One chord is fine," he once said. "Two chords are pushing it. Three chords and you're into jazz."

A sonic assault was as important to Reed as his emotionally raw lyrics, and fans delighted in both.

"I met Lou Reed and told him he gave me tinnitus at a concert in 1989 that never went away and it was worth it," comedy star Judd Apatow tweeted Sunday.

John Cale, the Velvet Underground's original keyboardist and viola player, on Sunday called Reed "a fine songwriter and poet."

"I've lost my ‘school-yard buddy’," he said in a Twitter message.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, on March 2nd, 1942, the son of accountant Sidney Reed and his wife, Toby, Reed grew up in the Long Island suburb of Freeport.

It wasn't a happy childhood for him or his family.

"Tyrannically presiding over their middle-class home, he slashed screeching chords on his electric guitar, practiced an effeminate way of walking, drew his sister aside in conspiratorial conferences and threatened to throw the mother of all moodies if everyone didn't pay complete attention to him," Victor Bockris wrote in his 1995 Reed biography, "Transformer".

When Reed was 17, his parents sent him to a psychiatric hospital where he was given 24 rounds of electroconvulsive therapy to curb his homosexual tendencies. Years later, in 1974, he released a song about the ordeal called "Kill Your Sons", a harsh condemnation of "two-bit psychiatrists" and a clueless family.

"They're gonna kill, kill your sons," he wrote, "until they run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run away."

In high school and at Syracuse University, he played rhythm guitar in bands, performing upbeat campus staples like "Twist and Shout". At the same time, he was cultivating the darker artist within, devouring the urban underworld stories of Hubert Selby Jr. and cementing a lifelong friendship with Syracuse instructor Delmore Schwartz, a talented poet who struggled with mental illness for decades.

Graduating from Syracuse with a bachelor's degree in English in 1964, Reed headed for New York City. The following year, he first performed with Cale, guitarist Sterling Morrison and drummer Maureen "Moe" Tucker — a provocative bunch who came to call themselves the Velvet Underground.

The idea was to be exactly what the mid-'60s were not. The Velvet Underground aimed to rip the petals off flower power and focus on grimmer urban landscapes. It would not play blues or indulge in the popular R&B licks of the day, Reed vowed.

"This is going to be city," he said, reminiscing about the group's origin, at the 2008 South by Southwest music conference in Austin, Texas. "This is going to be pure."

The group's 1967 debut album, "The Velvet Underground and Nico", showcased "Heroin", an ode to the drug by a user who sang that being high made him "better off than dead":

When the smack begins to flow,

Then I really don't care anymore,

About all the Jim-Jims in this town,

And all the politicians makin' crazy sounds,

And everybody puttin' everybody else down,

And all the dead bodies piled up in mounds...


At the time, such subjects were off limits for song writers, Robert Hilburn, the Los Angeles Times' former rock critic, said on Sunday.

Reed "talked about heroin and illicit sex at a time when the music industry didn't want to hear it," Hilburn said. "Critics loved him, but it took him years and years to find an audience."

The pop artist Andy Warhol was a fan almost immediately. He made the Velvet Underground his studio's house band and gave the group a front-and-center position in his series of multimedia events called Exploding Plastic Inevitable.


Lou Reed, right, with Andy Warhol. — Photo: Ebet Roberts/Redferns.
Lou Reed, right, with Andy Warhol. — Photo: Ebet Roberts/Redferns.

By the time the Velvet Underground dissolved in 1970, the group had released four albums and recorded enough material for the release of two others in the mid-1980s. Its best-known songs include "Sweet Jane" and "I'm Waiting for the Man".

As a solo performer in the 1970s, Reed had a distinctive persona.

"Back then he was publicly gay, pretended to shoot heroin onstage, and cultivated a ‘Dachau panda’ look, with cropped peroxide hair and black circles painted under his eyes," the New York Times reported in 1998. "But in 1980, Reed renounced druggy theatrics, even swore off intoxicants themselves, and became openly heterosexual, openly married."

Along the way, he tested even his most stalwart fans with the 1975 double album "Metal Machine Music" a compilation of guitar noise that has been called "one of the most perverse recordings of the modern era, at least by a mainstream artist."

Reed also had a number of smash hits on his own. In his 1972 album "Transformer", produced with David Bowie, he sang his famous "Walk on the Wild Side", an anthem to a variety of sexual experiences.

In the heat of the 1996 presidential campaign, he released "Sex With Your Parents", a song aiming "to mock and ridicule the right-wing Republican fundamentalists who are so abhorrent to every principle of freedom of expression."

His most recently released recorded work was "Lulu", a 2011 collaboration with the heavy metal act Metallica.

Reed was divorced twice. He is survived by his wife, performance artist Laurie Anderson, whom he married in 2008.


L.A. Times staff writers Todd Martens and Jessica Gelt contributed to this report.

http://www.latimes.com/obituaries/la-me-lou-reed-20131028,0,7964384,full.story
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« Reply #308 on: October 31, 2013, 03:18:18 pm »


From the Los Angeles Times....

Lou Reed album sales jump 607% after death

By RYAN FAUGHNDER | 12:34PM PDT - Thursday, October 30, 2013

Legendary musician Lou Reed. Album sales have seen a huge jump since his death on Sunday. — Photo: Greg Wood/AFP/Getty Images/May 28th, 2010.
Legendary musician Lou Reed. Album sales have seen a huge jump since his death on Sunday.
 — Photo: Greg Wood/AFP/Getty Images/May 28th, 2010.


THE MUSIC of rock pioneer Lou Reed, the anchor for the legendary band The Velvet Underground, has seen a big sales boost since he died Sunday at age 71.

For the week ended October 27th, total sales of Reed's albums were 3,000, up 607% from the previous week's sales, which clocked in at less than 1,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

That time period includes less than a day after Reed's passing became public, so the tally will probably grow for the next week, especially considering that many people probably didn't learn about the news of the singer-songwriter's passing until Monday morning.

While Reed was never a big seller, he was a huge influence on the musicians that followed him. Music producer Brian Eno famously said that the Velvet Underground sold only 30,000 copies of its debut album in five years, but everyone who bought it started a band.


Lou Reed and Nico perform in 1972. — Photo: Mick Gold/Redferns/January 1st, 1972.
Lou Reed and Nico perform in 1972. — Photo: Mick Gold/Redferns/January 1st, 1972.

Reed's best-known solo album, "Transformer" (the one that features "Walk on the Wild Side", probably his best-known single), sold 1,400 copies for the week, up 527%, and digital download sales of "Walk on the Wild Side" jumped more than 700%. On the streaming service Spotify, plays of the track increased by 3,000% in the 12 hours after news of Reed's death broke.

Digital sales of Reed's songs have increased 590% to 17,000.

The Velvet Underground's catalog also saw a significant uptick, with album sales up 236% to about 3,000, while the best-selling record, unsurprisingly, was the debut "Velvet Underground & Nico", up 146%. The band's song sales quintupled to 5,000.

"Sweet Jane", from the 1970 album "Loaded", grew 521% to 1,000 downloads.


Related news stories:

 • Lou Reed put the underground front and center

 • After Lou Reed's death, Spotify streams rise 3,000%


http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-lou-reed-album-sales-jump-20131030,0,2975168.story
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« Reply #309 on: November 04, 2013, 04:41:08 pm »


From the Los Angeles Times....

John Spence dies at 95; Navy diver and pioneering WWII ‘frogman’

John Spence was the first enlisted man in a secret group trained in stealth, explosives
and close-in combat for missions including the sinking of enemy ships.


By TONY PERRY | 1:05PM PST - Sunday, November 03, 2013

John Spence, shown in a 2012 photo, served as a combat “frogman” during World War II. He was the first diver to try out a breathing apparatus that sent no bubbles to the surface, which would help swimmers approach their targets without notice. He died Tuesday in Bend, Oregon. — Photo: Ryan Brennecke/Bulletin.
John Spence, shown in a 2012 photo, served as a combat “frogman” during World War II. He was the first diver to try out a
breathing apparatus that sent no bubbles to the surface, which would help swimmers approach their targets without notice.
He died Tuesday in Bend, Oregon. — Photo: Ryan Brennecke/Bulletin.


JOHN SPENCE, a diver often credited as the first U.S. combat "frogman" in World War II and an important figure in the rigorous training that led to the establishment of the Navy SEALs, has died.

Spence died Tuesday at a care facility in Bend, Oregon. He was 95.

Because much of what Spence and others did during the war was under the Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner to the Central Intelligence Agency, stories of their bravery and resourcefulness were long classified as top secret.

Only in the late 1980s was the secrecy classification lifted, allowing Spence to finally tell friends and family members of his wartime experiences.

Rick Kaiser, executive director of the Navy SEAL Museum at Fort Pierce, Florida, said that Spence "fought for our country with nothing more than a Ka-Bar knife, a pack of explosives and a diving rig."

"In today's age of drone strikes and worldwide instant communications," Kaiser said, "it's hard to imagine going to war depending on nothing but your training, your cause and your teammates."

John Pitts Spence was born on June 14th, 1918, in Centerville Tennessee, where his father was the sheriff. He joined the Navy in 1936 and was trained as a gunner and "hard-hat" diver.

He served on the battleship Idaho, whose home port was San Pedro, left the Navy in 1940 and worked for Lockheed in Los Angeles County. He moved to rejoin the military after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Although he wanted to deploy as a gunner protecting merchant ships, Spence had the kind of diving experience that made him a natural for a clandestine group being organized by the OSS under the legendary Major General William "Wild Bill" Donovan.

Spence became the first enlisted man selected for the group, which was trained in stealth, demolition and close-in combat tactics, with the goal of sinking enemy ships and also blowing up underwater emplacements meant to thwart beach landings by U.S. assault troops.

During the training phrase, a new word was coined, based on the green waterproof suit that Spence was wearing.

"Someone saw me surfacing one day and yelled out, ‘Hey, frogman!’ The name stuck for all of us," Spence told maritime historian and filmmaker Erick Simmel.

In the initial training, Spence met a medical school student named Chris Lambertsen, who had developed a breathing apparatus that Spence was ordered to test. The device sent no bubbles to the surface, which would help swimmers approach their target without notice.

"The only sound was my own breathing," Spence told Simmel. "It made me feel kind of like Buck Rogers. Its classification was … on a par with the atomic program."

Lambertsen's breathing device, which he built in his garage, became the prototype for the apparatus still used by SEALs and other Special Forces troops.

Sent to England, Spence's unit prepared for a mission to attack a German submarine base on the French coast. But to Spence's dismay, the mission was scrubbed at the last moment for fear it would tip the Germans that the D-Day landings at Normandy were in preparation.

Spence made several forays into occupied France with British commandos, linking up with the French underground and rescuing downed airmen. Later he was assigned to a training command in the Bahamas as a scuba instructor preparing combat swimmers to support the war against Japan.

During the "island-hopping" campaign in the Pacific, Spence deployed aboard the destroyer Wadsworth. He manned a forward gun battery to provide covering fire for combat swimmers during the assault on Iwo Jima. During the prolonged battle for Okinawa, he fought off Japanese kamikaze planes in a battle described by historians as pitting "gunners who wanted to live against pilots who wanted to die."

After the war, Spence remained in the Navy until retiring in 1961 as a master chief gunner's mate. The first SEAL teams were organized in 1962 — one in Coronado, one in Virginia — with the enthusiastic support of President John F. Kennedy.

After leaving the Navy, Spence returned to Lockheed Corporation as a systems testing engineer. He lived in the San Fernando Valley and then in Oroville in Northern California. After the death of his second wife, Spence moved to Bend, Oregon.

Once the veil of secrecy was lifted, Spence was honored by the Army Special Forces and the Underwater Demolition Team SEAL Association. He received a green beret from the Army and, from the Navy, a Trident, the insignia worn by SEALs. He was honored at the Naval Academy.

Spence's third wife, Marilyn, died in 2002. He is survived by daughters Genevieve Ross, Yvonne Romano, Margot Kirkwood and Sharon Ogden, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


http://www.latimes.com/obituaries/la-me-john-spence-20131104,0,5696985.story



I learnt something from that....where the term FROGMAN came from....
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« Reply #310 on: December 11, 2013, 09:18:07 am »


From the Los Angeles Times....

Eleanor Parker dies at 91; played baroness in ‘The Sound of Music

A versatile character actress, Parker appeared in more than three dozen
movies and was nominated three times for Academy Awards.


By SUSAN KING and ELAINE WOO | 10:36PM PST - Monday, December 09, 2013

Eleanor Parker as the baroness in “The Sound of Music”. It took her many years to make peace with the fame the role brought her, her son said. — Photo: 20th Century Fox/December 31st, 1969.
Eleanor Parker as the baroness in “The Sound of Music”. It took her many years to make peace with the fame
the role brought her, her son said. — Photo: 20th Century Fox/December 31st, 1969.


ELEANOR PARKER, a versatile leading lady of the 1940s, '50s and '60s who earned three Oscar nominations — none of which were for her best-known role as the baroness in "The Sound of Music" — died Monday in Palm Springs of complications of pneumonia. She was 91.

Her death was confirmed by her son, actor Paul Clemens.

Parker brought a coolness, reserve and elegance to her portrayal of the baroness who is determined to marry the handsome captain played by Christopher Plummer, only to lose him to his children's governess, Maria, portrayed by Julie Andrews.

"Eleanor Parker was and is one of the most beautiful ladies I have ever known," said Plummer in a statement Monday. "I hardly believe the sad news for I was sure she was enchanted and would live forever."

The fame accompanying Parker's supporting but pivotal role in the enduring 1965 musical about the Von Trapp family was "something she came to make peace with" after many years, her son said Monday.

"It was a lovely role, and she was terrific in it," Clemens said, "but it was hardly her greatest role. It was only in the last 10 years of her life that she became glad she had done the film. People of all ages know it."

Her death came just four days after NBC aired its live version of "The Sound of Music", with Carrie Underwood as Maria, Stephen Moyer as Captain Von Trapp and Broadway musical comedy star Laura Benanti as the baroness.

The striking redhead appeared in more than three dozen movies, acting opposite many of Hollywood's most sought-after leading men, including Clark Gable, William Holden and Glenn Ford.

Born in Cedarville, Ohio, on June 26th, 1922, she caught the acting bug as a youngster. At 15, she joined the Rice Summer Theatre on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, where she was offered a screen test by a 20th Century Fox talent scout.

Believing she would profit from professional stage experience, she turned down the test and continued her studies at the Pasadena Playhouse, where she was quickly offered another chance at Hollywood exposure, this time by a Warner Brothers scout. She did not agree to a test until she had finished her first year at the playhouse. She made her film debut in 1942 in a forgettable B movie, "Busses Roar".

Parker quickly proved to be more than just a pretty face. She was a character actress in a movie star's body — a nuanced, sensitive dramatic performer whether as a young woman on a ship bound for the afterlife in the 1944 drama "Between Two Worlds" or as John Garfield's resilient love interest in the 1945 classic "The Pride of the Marines".

She was so adaptable that she became known as "the star with 100 faces."

"I'm primarily a character actress," she once said. "I've portrayed so many diverse individuals on screen that my own personality never emerged."

She earned her first best actress Oscar nomination for the 1950 melodrama "Caged", in which she played a naive woman who is turned into a hardened criminal in prison. The next year, she received an Academy Award nomination for another difficult role in William Wyler's "Detective Story", starring as the wife of a police detective (Kirk Douglas) who harbors a dark secret that could destroy their marriage.

Parker earned her final Oscar nomination as a polio-stricken opera singer who makes a comeback in the glossy 1955 feature "Interrupted Melody". "That was her personal favorite," her son said. "She loved opera and learned to sing all the arias," although her singing was later dubbed in by soprano Eileen Farrell.

That same year, she appeared opposite Frank Sinatra in "The Man With the Golden Arm" and costarred with Robert Taylor in the western comedy "Many Rivers to Cross".

She continued to act in such films as 1959's "A Hole in the Head" and 1960's "Home From the Hill", but other than "The Sound of Music", her subsequent films were generally disappointments. Her last feature was the poorly reviewed 1979 Farrah Fawcett film "Sunburn".

She had a long career in television, including roles on shows including the 1969-70 NBC drama "Bracken's World", "The Love Boat", "Fantasy Island" and "Murder, She Wrote".

Parker, who lived in Palm Springs for more than 30 years, made one last TV movie, 1991's "Dead on the Money", before retiring.

ABC will air the original 1965 "The Sound of Music" on December 22nd.

Besides son Paul, she is survived by son Richard; daughters Sharon and Susan; stepdaughter Laurey; and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


http://www.latimes.com/obituaries/la-me-eleanor-parker-20131210,0,454195.story
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« Reply #311 on: December 16, 2013, 09:29:36 am »


From the Los Angeles Times....

Peter O'Toole dies at 81; nominated eight times for best-actor Oscar

Acclaimed for stage and film roles in a career spanning 50-plus years, Peter O'Toole
was best known for starring in 1962's epic “Lawrence of Arabia”.


By DENNIS McLELLAN | 12:37PM PST - Sunday, December 15, 2013

Peter O'Toole once said his role in the 1962 epic movie ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ “was the touchstone of all things excellent and changed my life completely.”
Peter O'Toole once said his role in the 1962 epic movie ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ “was the touchstone of all things excellent
and changed my life completely.”


PETER O'TOOLE, who donned flowing white robes and rode a camel to movie stardom in David Lean's epic 1962 film "Lawrence of Arabia", receiving the first of his eight Academy Award nominations for best actor, has died. He was 81.

O'Toole died Saturday in a London hospital, his daughter Kate O'Toole said in a statement. The cause was not disclosed.

His best-known role was T.E. Lawrence, the enigmatic British Army officer who fought with Arab tribes during the 1916-18 Arab revolt against Turkish imperial rule.

O'Toole always relished talking about "Lawrence of Arabia", whose locations included Jordan, Spain and Morocco.

"How could one not, since it was the touchstone of all things excellent and changed my life completely?" he said in a 2001 interview with the Mail on Sunday, a British newspaper.

In a more than 50-year film career that began with a small part in Walt Disney's 1960 family adventure "Kidnapped", O'Toole earned best-actor Oscar nominations for "Becket" (1964), "The Lion in Winter" (1968), "Goodbye, Mr. Chips" (1969), "The Ruling Class" (1972), "The Stunt Man" (1980) and "My Favorite Year" (1982).

He received his eighth Oscar nomination for best actor in 2007 for "Venus", a bittersweet British drama about an elderly London actor facing his own mortality who becomes smitten with an actor friend's free-spirited young grandniece.

Four years earlier, with his glory days as a leading man seemingly long over, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced that the 70-year-old actor would be given an honorary Oscar for his "remarkable talents [that] have provided cinema history with some of its most memorable characters."

O'Toole asked the academy to defer the honor, saying he was "still in the game and might win the lovely bugger outright."

On stage at the Academy Awards ceremony, however, he expressed his delight in being honored and wryly observed: "Always a bridesmaid never a bride — my foot! I have my very own Oscar now to be with me till death us do part."

Over the years, O'Toole's many film roles included a 19th century seaman (in "Lord Jim"), a shy schoolmaster (in "Goodbye, Mr. Chips"), a flamboyantly autocratic movie director (in "The Stunt Man"), a faded alcoholic movie swashbuckler (in "My Favorite Year") and England's King Henry II — twice — (in "Becket" and "The Lion in Winter").

But "Lawrence of Arabia", which won seven Academy Awards including the Oscar for best picture, made O'Toole's film career.

His Oscar nomination came as a result of his adept handling of what a critic for Variety called "Lawrence's many moods" — from his "veiled insolence and contempt of high authority" to his "courage, pain, vanity and fanaticism."

And, the critic noted, O'Toole was sure to attract female fans.

Indeed, with blond hair and a tanned face setting off his piercing blue eyes, O'Toole cut a strikingly handsome figure as Lawrence. Or as Noel Coward famously quipped to O'Toole at a premiere party: "If you'd been prettier, it would have been ‘Florence of Arabia’."

Film historian and biographer Joseph McBride said O'Toole made "a number of important films," but "Lawrence of Arabia" was his "crowning achievement."

"There are a lot of handsome actors who speak lines well, but there are not as many actors who are as thoughtful and portray human beings in such a complex light as Peter O'Toole," McBride told The Times in 2007.

O'Toole recalled in the Mail on Sunday interview that on the first day of filming "Lawrence of Arabia" in the desert, Lean stood next to him and said, "Well, Pete, off we go on a great adventure."

"And it was!" exclaimed O'Toole. "I was a young man, keen to get on in the business, working with great people, living in a part of the world that fascinated me, and forming an enduring friendship with Omar Sharif," who played Sherif Ali.

While making the film, O'Toole recalled, he and Sharif would "film nonstop for 10 days and then have three or four days off.

"We had the use of a private plane to fly to Beirut — this was in its better days — and misbehaved ourselves appallingly! Terribly! Omar loved gambling, too, so we'd lose all our money at the casino — we once did about nine months' wages in one night — and then get up to the usual things young men get up to."

But the long months of playing the role of Lawrence took a toll on the actor.

"Lawrence!," O'Toole cried, tossing back a slug of Scotch during a 1963 interview in a Dublin hotel bar with writer Gay Talese for Esquire magazine. "I became obsessed by that man, and it was bad.

"A true artist should be able to jump into a bucket of [excrement] and come out smelling of violets, but I spent two years and three months making that picture, and it was two years, three months of thinking about nothing but Lawrence, and you were him, and that's how it was day after day, and it became bad for me personally, and it killed my acting later."

He was, he said, "emotionally bankrupt after that picture."

And seeing himself on screen in "Lawrence of Arabia" was not a pleasant experience.

"Oh, it's painful seeing it all there on the screen, solidified, embalmed," O'Toole told Talese. "Once a thing is solidified it stops being a living thing. That's why I love the theater. It's the Art of the Moment. I'm in love with ephemera and I hate permanence."

When he was cast in "Lawrence of Arabia", O'Toole already had earned a reputation as one of Britain's most acclaimed young stage actors.

He gained fame on the London stage in 1959 — and earned the London Critics Award for best actor of the year — playing the insubordinate Cockney private in Willis Hall's World War II-set anti-war play "The Long and the Short and the Tall."

In his review, theater critic Kenneth Tynan wrote: "In the case of Mr. O'Toole, I sense a technical authority that may, given the discipline and purpose, presage greatness."

O'Toole further burnished his theatrical reputation in England in 1960 playing Shylock in "The Merchant of Venice" and Petruchio in "The Taming of the Shrew" with the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre Company at Stratford-on-Avon. And in 1963, he played Hamlet, under Laurence Olivier's direction, in the National Theatre Company production.

Despite a notoriously disastrous performance as Macbeth in 1980, O'Toole continued to return to the stage throughout his career.

"I do films for money," he once said, "and theater for pleasure."

He also did television, including winning an Emmy Award for outstanding supporting actor for his role as Bishop Cauchon in the 1999 TV mini-series "Joan of Arc".

Richard Burton, who co-starred with O'Toole in "Becket" and was one of his drinking cronies, once said that acting "is usually regarded as a craft and I claim it to be nothing more except in the hands of the few men who, once or twice in a lifetime, elevate it into something odd and mystical and deeply disturbing. I believe Peter O'Toole to have this strange quality."

O'Toole was as memorable off-stage as on.

Early on, he earned a reputation as a fun-loving heavy drinker — he claimed he once went for a drink in Paris and woke up in Corsica — a bar-room brawler, and a loquacious, Shakespeare-quoting raconteur.

"When you meet Peter O'Toole," Barbara Hershey, his co-star in "The Stunt Man" once said, "he does not disappoint."

He was born Peter Seamus O'Toole on August 2nd, 1932, in Connemara, Ireland. At least that's what most biographical references say. Exactly when and where O'Toole was born remains something of a mystery.

In the 1993 first volume of his autobiography, "Loitering with Intent: The Child", O'Toole wrote: "The family version of my date and place of birth is June, 1932, in Ireland; the same event is recorded as August of the same year at an accidental hospital in England; my baptism was in November, 1932, also in England."

O'Toole maintained, however, that "My nationality is Irish," and, for many years, he was known for wearing green socks, even, as Talese noted, with tuxedos.

The son of a popular Irish racetrack bookie and gambler, O'Toole grew up in Leeds, England, and attended Catholic schools.

After leaving school at 14, he landed a job as a copy boy at the Yorkshire Evening News. He remained at the paper, where he became a photographer's assistant and did some writing, until he was 18. He later described the experience as his "real education."

Required to perform two years of National Service at 18, he joined the Royal Navy, where he was trained as a signalman.

In 1953, he won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, where he was one of the standouts among a class that included Albert Finney, Alan Bates and Richard Harris.

O'Toole then apprenticed at the Bristol Old Vic, where he played more than 70 roles in three years.

They included a notable performance as Hamlet, which spurred British theater director Peter Hall to later remark: "I could see then the sparks of genius — and that isn't using too fine a word."

In 1959, O'Toole married Welsh actress Sian Phillips after he reportedly proposed to her by saying, "Will you have my babies?" They had two daughters, Kate and Pat, and were divorced in 1979. O'Toole also had a son, Lorcan, with American model Karen Brown in 1983.

O'Toole, who once described himself as "essentially an indoor fellow" who liked to "go from one smoke-filled, ill-lit room to another," was forced to curtail his drinking after pancreatitis led to the removal of part of his intestine in 1975.

But, he said in a 1989 interview with Us magazine, "I wouldn't have missed one drop of alcohol that I drank."

On July 10th, 2012, the 79-year-old O'Toole announced in a statement that it was "time for me to chuck in the sponge. To retire from films and stage. The heart for it has gone out of me: It won't come back."

His acting life, he said, "has brought me public support, emotional fulfillment and material comfort" — as well as bringing him together "with fine people, good companions with whom I've shared the inevitable lot of all actors: flops and hits."

But, he said, "it's my belief that one should decide for oneself when it is time to end one's stay. So I bid the profession a dry-eyed and profoundly grateful farewell."


Dennis McLellan is a former L.A. Times staffer.

http://www.latimes.com/obituaries/la-me-peter-otoole-20131216,0,6437640,full.story
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« Reply #312 on: December 19, 2013, 05:34:07 am »


From the Los Angeles Times....

Ronnie Biggs dies at 84; British criminal helped pull 1963's ‘Great Train Robbery’

After fleeing to Brazil, Biggs lived with impunity until 2001,
when he voluntarily returned to Britain and prison. His saga
fascinated and repelled the country for nearly half a century.


By HENRY CHU | 1:14AM PST - Wednesday, December 18, 2013

British train robber Ronnie Biggs was sentenced to 30 years in prison for his role in 1963's Great Train Robbery in London. He escaped and fled to Australia and, later, Brazil. — Photo: European Pressphoto Agency/July, 1963.
British train robber Ronnie Biggs was sentenced to 30 years
in prison for his role in 1963's Great Train Robbery in London.
He escaped and fled to Australia and, later, Brazil.
 — Photo: European Pressphoto Agency/July, 1963.


LONDON — Ronnie Biggs, one of the most famous criminals in British history, who helped commit the Great Train Robbery of 1963, broke out of prison, enjoyed a notoriously colorful life on the lam in Brazil and then gave himself up, in thoroughly British fashion, to a tabloid newspaper decades later, has died. He was 84.

Biggs died during the night, his official Twitter account said Wednesday morning; a woman at the nursing home where he was living, outside London, confirmed the news. He had been ill off and on for the past several years.

Biggs fulfilled a wish by going to his grave a free man, despite having been thrown back in jail after returning to England in 2001 and surrendering to authorities. In August 2009, the British government relented from its unyielding stance and released Biggs from custody, concluding that — at age 79 and nearly incapacitated in his hospital bed — he no longer posed a threat to society.

Biggs joked at his release that he would try to last until Christmas “to spite those who want me dead.” He lived four more years. By coincidence, he died hours before the BBC prepared to broadcast a new two-part dramatization of the Great Train Robbery on Wednesday and Thursday.

Biggs' last public appearance came in March, at the funeral of Bruce Reynolds, the robbery's mastermind. Frail, in a wheelchair, but still spirited, Biggs was caught on camera flashing an obscene gesture at a photographer.

His death brought to a close a long-running saga that has fascinated and repelled this country for nearly half a century, sparking heated debate over the competing demands of justice and mercy and whether Biggs was an unrepentant felon who was party to a violent crime or merely a lovable rogue who loved to party.

He certainly saw himself as the latter, cultivating an image as a catch-me-if-you-can figure who lived a playboy's life on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, merrily thumbing his nose at the authorities across the Atlantic while marketing himself as a tourist attraction to visitors he'd regale with stories — for a fee.

But Biggs also gave ammunition to his critics with statements like the one he made in a 1997 interview.

“I don't regret the fact that I was involved in the train robbery. As a matter of fact, I'm quite pleased with the idea I was involved, because it's given me a little place in history,” Biggs said. “I've made a mark for myself.”

His role in the robbery was almost an afterthought. The heist's mastermind, Bruce Reynolds, an antiques dealer who went by the nickname “Napoleon”, invited Biggs to join in late in the process of putting together a daring plan to ambush the Glasgow-to-London mail train.

By then, Ronald Arthur Biggs, who was born on August 8th, 1929, in Surrey, south of London, was a carpenter looking for some easy money. On his 34th birthday, in 1963, Biggs and 14 other masked thieves forced the mail train to stop by turning a track signal to red, swarming aboard under cover of darkness.

They beat the driver senseless with an iron bar; the man never fully recovered from his head injuries. Then they made off with 120 mailbags stuffed with unmarked currency amounting to 2.6 million pounds — well in excess of $65 million today. Biggs' share was a little less than 150,000 pounds.

The gang divvied up the loot in a farmhouse, which they paid some people to burn down afterward. But the arson did not go off as planned, leaving behind enough evidence for authorities to track them down.


Police mug shots of Ronnie Biggs are seen on display at The National Archives in London, England. The National Archives have released documentation relating to the hunt for Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs, showing attempts by Scotland Yard to have Biggs brought back to the UK in the 1970's from Brazil. — Photo: Getty Images.
Police mug shots of Ronnie Biggs are seen on display at The National Archives in London, England. The National Archives have released
documentation relating to the hunt for Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs, showing attempts by Scotland Yard to have Biggs brought
back to the UK in the 1970's from Brazil. — Photo: Getty Images.


For the British, caught in the grip of imperial decline, the robbery was a national sensation, the “crime of the century.”

Authorities arrested and convicted more than a dozen people, including Biggs, in connection with the heist. But most of the stolen money was never recovered.

Barely 15 months into his 30-year sentence at Wandsworth Prison in London, Biggs managed to escape in July 1965 by scaling a 30-foot wall with a rope ladder. He fled in a furniture van and eventually washed up in Australia, spending much of his share of the stolen cash along the way on plastic surgery to alter his appearance.

But Scotland Yard — in particular, a detective named Jack Slipper — kept up its pursuit of him, which forced Biggs to look for a new fugitive-friendly haven. He chose Latin America.

“There's 100,000 Nazi war criminals hanging out there,” he said. “That's the place to go.”

In 1974, Slipper, who was Sherlock Holmes to Biggs' Professor Moriarty, was tipped off to the train robber's whereabouts by a British newspaper. He flew to Brazil for the collar.

“Nice to see you again, Ronnie,” Slipper said after strolling into his elusive quarry's hotel room in Rio.

But Biggs gave Slipper the slip. When it emerged that Biggs' Brazilian girlfriend was pregnant with his child, Brazil refused to extradite him, leading to a famous photo of the thwarted Slipper returning to Britain with an empty seat next to him on his flight.

Safe from deportation, Biggs began living large, his brazenness as much a source of head-shaking admiration in his native land as of anger over his continued cheating of justice, especially after the train driver beaten in the robbery, Jack Mills, died without ever being able to return to his job.

To make money, Biggs traded on his biggest asset: his notoriety as a convict on the run (though “on the run” meant plenty of time lying on Copacabana Beach in a skimpy bathing suit).

He charged tourists for the privilege of meeting him. He sold T-shirts that boasted: “I went to Rio and met Ronnie Biggs — honest!” He promoted a burglar-alarm system with the slogan “Call the thief” and recorded the song “No One Is Innocent” with the punk group the Sex Pistols.

“I've got no shame whatsoever. When you're hard up, man, and your back's against the wall, you hustle,” he said. “That's what I've done. I've become a good hustler, you know — a lousy thief but a good hustler.”

He was at the center of yet another imagination-defying episode when, in 1981, ex-British soldiers kidnapped Biggs and smuggled him to Barbados, apparently with the intention of turning him over to the British government. But Barbados police found Biggs aboard a drifting yacht and sent him back to Brazil.

In 1999, Biggs celebrated his 70th birthday with a party in Rio whose guest list included Reynolds, the former ringleader of the Great Train Robbery, who had spent 10 years in prison.

By then, however, ill health, if not the British authorities, was catching up to him. A series of strokes left Biggs barely able to walk.




In 2001, he announced that he wanted, at last, to go home to Britain, where his dream was “to walk into a Margate pub as an Englishman and buy a pint of bitter.” (Margate is a seaside town on England's southeastern coast.) Less-charitable observers said it was more likely that Biggs, broke and in need of decent medical care, wanted to return to sponge off of the National Health Service.

Biggs gave himself up to The Sun, Britain's biggest-selling tabloid, which chartered a private jet to fly him back home. He arrived on May 7th, 2001, wearing a cowboy hat and a Sun T-shirt.

“I'm coming back in style with my head held high,” Biggs told the tabloid. “I'm on my way and ready to finally face the music.”

He was arrested upon landing, then remanded to the high-security Belmarsh Prison in southeastern London to serve out the remaining 28 years and 9 months of his sentence.

Lawyers filed repeated appeals to spring him from jail. In truth, Biggs would spend much of the rest of his life in a hospital in eastern England rather than behind bars. The British government continued to reject his parole applications, ruling that he was “wholly unrepentant” over his crime.

Officials finally relented on “compassionate grounds” in 2009, at which point Biggs was unable to feed himself, ill with pneumonia and, according to his doctors, unlikely to recover. Still, the decision outraged many Britons who felt that Biggs had once again “cocked a snook” at justice.

The day before he turned 80, Biggs' walking papers came through by fax, and the guards who monitored him were withdrawn.

“Ronnie Biggs is free ... to die,” the front-page headline of The Times of London declared.

But he vowed not to go just yet.

“I've got a bit of living to do yet. I might even surprise them all by lasting until Christmas — that would be fantastic. I'll live on just to spite those who want me dead,” he told a newspaper.

Many years ago, Biggs said he deserved to be free.

Since his escape from Britain, “I've maintained an honest life. I've done nothing against the law. I fully believe I have wiped the slate clean,” he said. “If they say prison is to rehabilitate a person, then to my satisfaction, I am totally and completely rehabilitated.”

That, however, is a question that will no doubt live on.


http://www.latimes.com/obituaries/la-me-ronnie-biggs-20131219,0,4813019,full.story
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« Reply #313 on: December 22, 2013, 09:43:26 am »


An obituary which contains an amazing survival story …



From the Los Angeles Times....

Kenneth Schechter dies at 83; Navy pilot performed heroic blind landing

Blinded by shell fragments during Korean mission, Navy pilot Kenneth Schechter
followed the instructions of a friend to safely land his plane.


By STEVE CHAWKINS | 6:00AM PST - Saturday, December 21, 2013

Kenneth Schechter in 1995; because of misplaced Navy paperwork, Schechter was not awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross until he was in his mid-60s, after a congressman intervened to help. — Photo: Los Angeles Times.
Kenneth Schechter in 1995; because of misplaced Navy paperwork, Schechter was not awarded the
Distinguished Flying Cross until he was in his mid-60s, after a congressman intervened to help.
 — Photo: Los Angeles Times.


THE stunned Navy pilot was gripped in pain, blood was pouring down his face and a good part of his warplane was destroyed.

But worst of all, Ensign Kenneth Schechter couldn't see. An enemy shell had smashed into his Skyraider and fragments pierced his eyes. Hurtling over the Korean coast at 200 mph, Schechter was suddenly enveloped in blackness.

"I'm blind! For God's sake, help me!" he cried into his radio. "I'm blind!"

Even before the anguished call, Lieutenant J.G. Howard Thayer knew something was wrong. One of the planes in his formation was inexplicably climbing toward a thick cloudbank at 10,000 feet, where it could easily disappear.

Thayer called out: "Plane in trouble, rock your wings. Plane in trouble, rock your wings."

Schechter, snapping out of semi-consciousness, did just that.

Over the next 45 minutes, the temporarily blinded Schechter followed one calm instruction after another from Thayer, his best friend on the aircraft carrier USS Valley Forge. Severely wounded, Schechter finally managed a safe landing on a remote Army dirt strip. Thayer flew beside him, just feet away.

Schechter, who permanently lost the use of his right eye and whose skills and courage during the Korean War were finally recognized by the Navy with a Distinguished Flying Cross in 1995, died on December 11th in Fairfield, California. He was 83.

He had prostate cancer, his son Rob Schechter said.

After his military service, Kenneth Schechter became an insurance agent in the Los Angeles area. He also was active in Republican politics and a leader in various local causes, including the formation of a park district in La Cañada Flintridge.

But the event that defined much of his life occurred when he was 22 years old and on his 27th combat mission over Korea.

It was March 22nd, 1952, and Schechter was in a group of pilots ordered to bomb rail and truck lines. Flying at 1,200 feet, he was hit.

"Instinctively, I pulled back on the stick to gain altitude," he wrote in an account for the 2001 book, "Chicken Soup for the Veteran's Soul". "When I came to, sometime later, I couldn't see a thing. … I felt for my upper lip. It was almost severed from the rest of my face."

As Thayer gave step-by-step instructions, Schechter leveled his plane. He dumped his canteen over his head and, for a moment, saw his controls through a red-rimmed veil. But then — nothing.

"Get me down, Howie," he moaned. "Get me down."

Thayer guided his stricken friend toward the waters off Wonsan, where, he hoped, U.S. destroyers would pick him up.

But Schechter refused to bail out. On his second mission in Korea, he had seen his wing man, Lieutenant Commander Tom Pugh, leap into the same waters. Pugh drowned before help reached him.

"Jump out in that icy water blind? You'd have to be insane," Schechter said in a 1995 Los Angeles Times interview.

Thayer didn't argue. But the nearest air base was 30 miles away and he didn't think Schechter would make it.

Schechter was weakening. Thayer, close enough to see his friend's head slumping, looked around desperately for a field, a rice paddy, any place flat. Then he remembered the Jersey Bounce, a rutted strip that had been used by reconnaissance planes.

"Schechter, for all his loss of blood, handled his plane beautifully," a writer for the Saturday Evening Post recounted in 1954. "Spare energy and strength came from some reservoir God stores up for wounded men to draw on when a final, desperate effort is needed."

Approaching the trip's most difficult maneuver, Thayer told Schechter to lower his wheels.

"The hell with that!" Schechter barked, figuring a belly landing would be safer than slamming onto uneven ground with his wheels down.

Thayer remained unflappable.

"We're heading straight," he intoned. "Hundred yards to runway. You're 50 feet off the ground. You're level. You're OK. You're over the runway. Twenty feet. Kill it a little. You're setting down. OK, OK, OK. Cut!"

Thayer flew back to the Valley Forge, where sailors who had heard the tense transmission mobbed him with congratulations.

Schechter was flown to the hospital ship Consolation and then military hospitals in Pusan, Korea and San Diego.

He left the Navy months later but his final flight became famous. A 1954 film, "Men of the Fighting Lady", dished up the incident with Hollywood license, making jets of the men's prop planes and staging Schechter's landing as a flaming wreck back on his carrier.

The son of European immigants in the garment trade, Schechter was born in New York City on January 30th, 1930, and grew up in Los Angeles.

He attended UCLA for two years before his active duty, later receiving a bachelor's degree from Stanford University. He went on to receive a master's degree from Harvard Business School.

In his mid-60s, Schechter asked Navy officials what had happened to paperwork that was filed decades earlier to support the issuance of medals.

It was never received, he was told.

"That first letter was heartbreaking," Schechter said in a 1995 Los Angeles Times interview. "It was a cold letter — like, don't bother me."

With aid from then-Congressman Carlos Moorhead, (Republican-Glendale), Schechter was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross on board the aircraft carrier Constellation in San Diego.

Schechter is survived by his wife, Sue, whom he married in 1955; daughter Anne Buckley; sons Rob and Jonathan; and seven grandchildren.

Thayer, who was best man at the Schechters' wedding, died in 1961. Then a lieutenant colonel, he crashed into the Mediterranean while guiding a fellow pilot whose plane's electrical system had failed. Neither man's remains were found.

Thayer received a Distinguished Flying Cross posthumously, in 2009.


http://www.latimes.com/obituaries/la-me-kenneth-schechter-20131221,0,4726798,full.story
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« Reply #314 on: December 24, 2013, 07:16:05 am »


From the Los Angeles Times....

Mikhail Kalashnikov dies at 94; creator of the AK-47 assault rifle

Mikhail Kalashnikov's AK-47, sometimes called the Kalashnikov, became the world's most
ubiquitous weapon. For the most part, Kalashnikov defended his brainchild, designed
‘for the glory of the Soviet army’. But he admitted: ‘I am sad that terrorists use it’.


By STEVE CHAWKINS | 11:09AM PST - Monday, December 23, 2013

Mikhail Kalashnikov, shown in Moscow in 2004, holds his creation, the AK-47. By some estimates, it is the world’s most abundant firearm, with one for every 70 of the men, women and children on Earth. — Photo: Sergei L. Loiko/Los Angeles Times/May 6th, 2004.
Mikhail Kalashnikov, shown in Moscow in 2004, holds his creation, the AK-47. By some estimates, it is the world’s most abundant firearm,
with one for every 70 of the men, women and children on Earth. — Photo: Sergei L. Loiko/Los Angeles Times/May 6th, 2004.


INTERVIEWERS always asked Mikhail Kalashnikov the same question and he always gave the same answer: Yes, he could sleep at night. Quite easily, thank you.

Yes, his creation, the AK-47 assault rifle, had become the world's most ubiquitous weapon. Yes, it was available everywhere, and so easy to operate that uneducated children as well as professional soldiers could fire 650 deadly bursts a minute.

In Vietnam, the Viet Cong used AK-47s while moisture and muck sometimes jammed more precise American M16s. In Rwanda, some 800,000 Tutsi villagers were slaughtered with machetes and AK-47s. With its distinctive banana-shaped clip, the weapon was a favorite of Yasser Arafat, Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, who had one nearby in almost every photograph. In Africa, Mozambique placed a silhouetted AK-47 on its flag, crossed with a hoe.

Over six decades, the AK-47 — sometimes called the Kalashnikov — became a staple in guerrilla raids and ghetto drive-bys. In his native Russia, its creator became a hero.

Kalashnikov, whose cheap, simple and rugged creation became the weapon of choice for more than 50 standing armies as well as drug lords, street gangs, revolutionaries, terrorists, pirates and thugs the world over, died Monday at a hospital in Izhevsk, the capital of the Russian republic of Udmurtia, according to Viktor Chulkov, a government spokesman. Kalashnikov was 94.

Kalashnikov had been a patient in the hospital's intensive care unit for about a month, according to the Russian newspaper Pravda.

A diminutive, white-haired man with the honorary rank of general, Kalashnikov was revered throughout Russia and the other republics of the former Soviet Union. A Kalashnikov museum in Izhevsk, the once-closed industrial city in the Urals where he spent much of his career, draws 10,000 visitors a month. Anniversaries of the gun's 1947 birth are duly noted; at a ceremony for its 60th birthday in 2007, Russian President Vladimir Putin called it "a symbol of the creative genius of our people".

In a November interview with the Los Angeles Times, Russian arms expert Igor Korotchenko called Kalashnikov one of the greatest weapons designers of all time.

"If Colt designed a handgun which made all Americans equal, Kalashnikov invented a weapon which made it possible for many countries to fight for their independence and win it," said Korotchenko, a retired Russian colonel who edits Nastionalnaya Oborona, a Moscow-based national defense magazine.

Historians say the AK-47 and its spinoffs changed combat forever. While they aren't as accurate as other guns or as effective at long distances, they weigh only eight pounds and have few moving parts. Child soldiers can take them apart and put them back together in 30 seconds. They can tolerate sand, grit, mud and humidity. They work just as well in jungle and swamp as on city streets.

"Together these traits meant that once this weapon was distributed, the small-statured, the mechanically disinclined, the dimwitted and the untrained might be able to wield, with little difficulty or instruction, a lightweight automatic rifle that could push out blistering fire for the lengths of two or three football fields," wrote journalist C.J. Chivers in "The Gun", his 2010 book about the AK-47.

On top of that, the AK-47 — short for Avtomat Kaloshnikova 1947 — is everywhere. It can be purchased in some countries for "less than the cost of a live chicken," according to author Larry Kahaner. By some estimates, it is the world's most abundant firearm, with one for every 70 of the men, women and children on Earth.

Its spread "helps explain why, since World War II, so many ‘small wars’ have lingered far beyond the months and years one might expect," Kahaner wrote in the Washington Post. "Indeed, for all the billions of dollars Washington has spent on space-age weapons and military technology, the AK still remains the most devastating weapon on the planet, transforming conflicts from Vietnam to Afghanistan to Iraq."

In news reports over the years, Kalashnikov appeared to be of mixed minds about his brainchild. At one point, he spoke of establishing a fund for gunshot victims.

"I am proud of my weapon but I am sad that terrorists use it," he told the Russian online publication NEWSru.com in 2009. "I wish I had invented a machine which people could use, which could do good for farmers — for example, a sowing machine."

But for the most part, he vigorously defended his namesake weapon.

"I designed the Kalashnikov for my motherland, for the glory of the Soviet army," he said, choking with emotion during a 1997 interview with the Moscow Times. "If it has fallen into the wrong hands, that is not my business."

In his later years, Kalashnikov was pleased to learn that former rebels in Africa were naming their firstborn sons "Kalash."

And he was proud that his tiny hometown on the Russian steppes had erected a bronze bust of its most famous son.

Newlyweds dropped by to lay flowers beside it, he told the Associated Press in 2007.

"They whisper, 'Uncle Misha, wish us happiness and healthy kids,'" he said. "What other gun designer can boast of that?"

Born on November 10th, 1919, in Kurya, a remote village in south central Russia, Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov was one of 18 children. Only eight survived to adulthood.

A sickly boy who built toy guns, he was the son of an illiterate mother and a barely literate father. After Stalin ordered the collectivization of farms in 1929, local officials slaughtered the Kalashnikovs' animals, seized their hardscrabble property, and sent the family to Siberia, transported in cattle cars with other dispossessed farmers.

Kalashnikov made it through ninth grade, taught by deportees in a school that lacked even paper. His father, broken by the ordeal, died during a blizzard. For days, the family sat indoors with the body. Kalashnikov recalled a man who, in happier times, would break out in song.

"It seemed to me that I was just about to hear him say something softly in his confident, deep voice," Kalashnikov wrote in "From a Stranger's Doorstep to the Kremlin's Gates", a 1997 memoir. "But no, he did not sing of the ‘sacred Baikal’, the tramp was not running down a narrow path, and the Cossack was not galloping across a valley.... There was only the vicious snowstorm raging around our hut."

As a teenager, Kalashnikov fled 600 miles to his hometown, gazed at the ashes of his torched family home, and headed with a friend to Kazakhstan. He picked up a job as a clerk for the Turkestan-Siberian Railway and was recruited into the Young Communist League, but for decades afterward feared that his family's exile would brand him an enemy of the state.

With World War II looming, he was drafted into the Soviet Army and was made a tank sergeant. Seriously wounded in 1941, he spent six months recovering, all the while sketching out designs for better Soviet guns. He'd seen his fellow troops struggle on the battlefield with cumbersome, 50-year-old rifles — and even then, they sometimes had to share weapons as Nazi soldiers mowed them down with automatics.

On leave, he returned to his old railroad office in Kazakhstan and, by his account, persuaded machinists there to help him craft a prototype weapon. It was a flop but got him a job in a military design bureau. Over five years, he fine-tuned it, drawing ideas from German and American weapons.

He also relied on colleagues, though historians argue over just who contributed what.

In 1947, he won a secret, state-sponsored contest for design of the Red Army's new mainstay weapon. His prototype assault rifles had made many cuts, having been drenched in salt water, dropped on concrete, and dragged through mud. Soldiers tested its ballistics by firing into dead animals, first requesting vodka for the task.

At last, a breathless assistant told him the Main Artillery Directorate had made its choice: "Today, you must dance, Mikhail Timofeyovich!"

Weeks later, the first AK-47s were in production. Soviet soldiers, who wore them in special pouches to hide their design, used them in the 1956 Hungarian uprising, killing thousands.

With the help of a huge Soviet propaganda campaign, Kalashnikov became known as a larger-than-life patriot. He was given a dacha — a lakeside summer lodge — and was named a deputy in the Supreme Soviet. While official biographies left out portions of his life — like his family's travails under Stalin — he became "an approved symbol of the proletariat," Chivers wrote.

But in later years, he had moments of resignation.

In Afghanistan and Chechnya, after all, the AK-47 had been used against the very Soviet troops it was meant to help.

Kalashnikov insisted his intent had been only to arm his countrymen.

But, as he told a French journalist in 2006, he still had to live with the rest of it.

"Where the goat is tied," he said, citing a favorite proverb, "there she must graze."

Kalashnikov is survived by a son, two daughters and two grandsons.


Correspondent Sergei L. Loiko contributed to this report from Moscow.

http://www.latimes.com/obituaries/la-me-mikhail-kalashnikov-20131224,0,179554,full.story
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« Reply #315 on: January 04, 2014, 05:52:54 am »

http://www.3news.co.nz/Fresh-Prince-actor-James-Avery-dies-aged-65/tabid/418/articleID/326960/Default.aspx 

Actor James Avery, best known for his portrayal of Uncle Phil on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, has died.

Celebrity news website TMZ says Avery, 65, died after an undisclosed illness "took a turn for the worse" following recent surgery.

The death was confirmed on Twitter by Fresh Prince co-star Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton), who said he was "deeply saddened to say that James Avery has passed away. He was a second father to me. I will miss him greatly."

In addition to his work on the Fresh Prince, Avery was also known for providing the voice of Shredder in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon series from the late 1980s and early '90s, and had a recurring role in That '70s Show.

3 News


Read more: http://www.3news.co.nz/Fresh-Prince-actor-James-Avery-dies-aged-65/tabid/418/articleID/326960/Default.aspx#ixzz2pMZjlLbk
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But rather, to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming...

WOW, What a Ride!"

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« Reply #316 on: January 04, 2014, 01:23:23 pm »


From the Los Angeles Times....

Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers dies at 74

By RANDY LEWIS | 5:34PM PST - Friday, January 03, 2014

The Everly Brothers — Phil, left, and Don — early in their career. — Photo: Rhino Records.
The Everly Brothers — Phil, left, and Don — early in their career. — Photo: Rhino Records.

PHIL EVERLY, who with his brother, Don, made up the most revered vocal duo of the rock-music era, their exquisite harmonies profoundly influencing the Beatles, the Beach Boys, the Byrds and countless younger-generation rock, folk and country singers, died Friday in Burbank of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, his wife, Patti Everly, told the Los Angeles Times. He was 74.

“We are absolutely heartbroken,” she said, noting that the disease was the result of a lifetime of cigarette smoking. “He fought long and hard.”

During the height of their popularity in the late 1950s and early 1960s, they charted nearly three dozen hits on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, among them “Cathy’s Clown”, “Wake Up Little Suzie”, “Bye Bye Love”, “When Will I Be Loved” and “All I Have to Do is Dream”. The Everly Brothers were among the first 10 performers inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when it got off the ground in 1986.

"They had that sibling sound," said Linda Ronstadt, who scored one of the biggest hits of her career in 1975 with her recording of "When Will I Be Loved", which Phil Everly wrote. "The information of your DNA is carried in your voice, and you can get a sound [with family] that you never get with someone who’s not blood related to you. And they were both such good singers — they were one of the foundations, one of the cornerstones of the new rock 'n' roll sound."

Robert Santelli, executive director of the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, said on Friday, “When you talk about harmony singing in the popular music of the postwar period, the first place you start is the Everly Brothers.... You could say they were the vocal link between all the 1950s great doo wop groups and what would come in the 1960s with the Beach Boys and the Beatles. They showed the Beach Boys and the Beatles how to sing harmony and incorporate that into a pop music form that was irresistible.”

In addition to his wife, Everly is survived by his brother, Don, their mother, Margaret, sons Jason and Chris, and two granddaughters. Funeral services will be private.


• A full obituary will appear in Saturday's Los Angeles Times.

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/posts/la-et-ms-phil-everly-of-the-everly-brothers-dies-at-74-20140103,0,2091176.story
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« Reply #317 on: January 04, 2014, 03:10:19 pm »

http://www.3news.co.nz/Fresh-Prince-actor-James-Avery-dies-aged-65/tabid/418/articleID/326960/Default.aspx 

Actor James Avery, best known for his portrayal of Uncle Phil on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, has died.

Celebrity news website TMZ says Avery, 65, died after an undisclosed illness "took a turn for the worse" following recent surgery.

The death was confirmed on Twitter by Fresh Prince co-star Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton), who said he was "deeply saddened to say that James Avery has passed away. He was a second father to me. I will miss him greatly."

In addition to his work on the Fresh Prince, Avery was also known for providing the voice of Shredder in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon series from the late 1980s and early '90s, and had a recurring role in That '70s Show.

3 News


Read more: http://www.3news.co.nz/Fresh-Prince-actor-James-Avery-dies-aged-65/tabid/418/articleID/326960/Default.aspx#ixzz2pMZjlLbk


He was a superb actor - great timing.
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« Reply #318 on: January 05, 2014, 09:01:00 am »


From the Los Angeles Times....

An appreciation: Phil Everly, voice of desperate teenage love

By RANDALL ROBERTS - Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic | 11:50AM PST - Saturday, January 04, 2014

Phil Everly, left, performs with his brother Don in Las Vegas in 1970. — Photo: Las Vegas News Bureau/EPA.
Phil Everly, left, performs with his brother Don in Las Vegas in 1970. — Photo: Las Vegas News Bureau/EPA.

PHOTOGRAPH GALLERY: The Everly Brothers through the years

LOVE HURTS, and few American pop singers have conveyed the teenage depths of that despair as well as Phil Everly, who died Friday at age 74.

Teamed with his older sibling Don as the Everly Brothers, Phil's tenor injected the pair's repertoire — among the best known are "Bye Bye Love", "Wake Up Little Susie" and "All I Have to Do Is Dream" — with quivering harmony, embodying the roller-coaster confusion of young desire.

The pair, in communion on many of their classic hits with husband-wife songwriting team Boudleaux and Felice Bryant, examined the fear, the danger and the worst-case scenario stories of a young American middle-class generation so insulated from real world problems that accidentally falling asleep during a drive-in movie as in "Wake Up, Little Susie" could offer ample drama to drive a hit.

They did so with a mellifluous directness that would make Raymond Carver blush: "The movie wasn't so hot. It didn't have much of a plot. We fell asleep. Our goose is cooked. Our reputation is shot."

Through an essential half decade the Everlys ruled the charts. Along with Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, the Coasters, Buddy Holly and others, their three-minute wonders during that pre-Beatles period helped to both define the era and codify a musical form. And though Presley's hips are often cited as the rock 'n' roll culture-shocker of the time, and Chuck Berry's raucous way with narrative drive added R&B fuel, Don and Phil's sense of countrified melody and harmony sent heads spinning in another direction.

Elvis expressed of love making him "all shook up" with feeling. The Everlys seemed to forever live with a looming panic, singing of nights alone, sleepless, obsessed and "wondering who is kissing you" in their classic version of "Sleepless Nights" (later perfected by Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris).

Their version of rock used oft-spritely melodies to accompany lyrical journeys into darkness. "Cathy's Clown" explores the cuckold's humiliation: "I die each time I hear this sound. Here he comes — that's Cathy's clown."

In offering voice to the also-rans, the Everlys were musical Charlie Browns to Presley's Lucy, documenting souls whose anonymous lives and loves carried equal intensity. The message of "Bye Bye Love", is pretty simple: Love is gone, life is terrible but the world can still be thrilling when driven by a few major chords and a backbeat.

These songs weren't delivered by two bumpkins with a backwoods band. The early hits, many chosen with the help of Wesley Rose of country publishing powerhouse Acuff-Rose, featured Nashville guitarist and production master Chet Atkins and the brilliant session man Floyd Cramer on piano. Deep listening reveals so many amazing musical textures and micro-moments that you realize that the Everlys were a perfectly honed meeting of hit making and song craft — and the embodiment of a notion that Nashville had been driving toward through much of the 1950s.

Listening to those songs now, you can't help but imagine teenaged Liverpudlians Paul McCartney and John Lennon absorbing the Everly way around a phrase, or George Harrison practicing Atkins' and Sonny Curtis' subtle runs.


Phil Everly and Don Everly performing on the LWT television show on January 1st, 1972. — Photo: Tony Russell/Redferns/Getty Images.
Phil Everly and Don Everly performing on the LWT television show on January 1st, 1972. — Photo: Tony Russell/Redferns/Getty Images.

Their recordings offer a portal to avowed super-fans Simon & Garfunkel rehearsing the close harmonies of "Susie" in Queens. Robert Zimmerman of northern Minnesota has acknowledged that before changing his name to Dylan and moving east, he was Everly-educated in how a line pared to the bone and delivered with tenor-high longing could upend hearts and minds.

Phil’s voice in particular delivered words with a desire just this side of innocence. Love was an exciting, mysterious emotion, but dangerous. Like Phil's magnificently coiffed pompadour, the Everlys thrived within this precisely contained structure, impressively built but likely to collapse with a single misguided beat.

Perhaps most important, the Everlys suggested that softening the rhetoric didn't automatically result in treacle. Though Phil wasn't immune to emotional oversaturation during his career, he and Don helped prove that rock 'n' roll could be a big enough tent to contain both Little Richard and the Everlys' renditions of "Rip It Up", and could express soul without being sapped of spirit a la Pat Boone.

Though Phil was a better stylist than he was a songwriter, he penned one of the brothers' most enduring hits, "When Will I Be Loved?". A simple song that asks an overwhelming, universal question, it presents a  man ruined by cheaters and mistreaters, but still harboring hope. Linda Ronstadt also turned it into a hit in the 1970s, serving as reminder of the Everlys' timelessness.

The popular narrative of the Everly Brothers often ends when the British Invasion remade the pop landscape, but the pair continued to record, and within that period are enough gems to awe even the most snobby musical know-it-all.

In particular, the Everlys' post-Beatles double-whammy of "Beat & Soul" and "Rock & Soul" injected a more driving and amplified sound to accompany their harmonies — and some twisted electric guitar runs. Their updated, more rocking version of "Love Hurts" is particularly thrilling.

The Brothers' unsung country-rock 1968 gem "Roots" found Phil and Don returning to their thematic home to record an album that stands as pure an examination of country rock (and wah-wah pedals) as similarly timed efforts by the Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers and the Rolling Stones.

Volumes could be spent honoring Phil and Don's harmonies. Digging through their collected works isn't just a journey into a thick discography. It's revisiting an America on the verge of a grand shift, embodied, and emboldened, by two brothers genetically designed to deliver music together with a reassuring beauty.


Related news story....

 • Los Angeles Times OBITUARY: Phil Everly dies at 74; half of vocal duo the Everly Brothers


http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/posts/la-et-ms-an-appreciation-phil-everly-the-voice-of-desperate-teenaged-love-20140104,0,5563013.story
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« Reply #319 on: January 13, 2014, 03:41:50 pm »


From the Los Angeles Times....

Franklin McCain dies at 73; one of the ‘Greensboro Four’

The teenager and three friends took the risk of staging a sit-in at a segregated lunch
counter; they were soon emulated by thousands of activists across the South.


By ELAINE WOO | 7:59PM PST - Friday, January 10, 2014

Franklin McCain, second from left, and friends sit at the Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, on the second day of black students' efforts in 1960 to desegregate the counter. — Photo: John G. Moebes/Corbis Images.
Franklin McCain, second from left, and friends sit at the Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, on the second day of black students'
efforts in 1960 to desegregate the counter. — Photo: John G. Moebes/Corbis Images.


WHEN teenager Franklin McCain decided to make a stand against segregation at the F.W. Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1960, two thoughts weighed on him.

"If I were lucky, I would go to jail for a long, long time. If I were not quite so lucky," he recalled to a reporter five decades later, "I would come back to my campus … in a pine box."

The black teenager and the three close friends who joined him that day were not arrested — at least not that time. Nor did white Greensboro react violently to their "sit-in," although threats poured in.

But that day — February 1st, 1960 — proved crucial. "With no prompting from any of the existing civil rights organizations or black adult leadership," Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David J. Garrow wrote, "a new stage in the black freedom struggle had been launched."

The actions of the "Greensboro Four," as McCain and his friends were later called, were soon emulated by thousands of youthful activists across the South, most notably in Nashville, where a disciplined corps of students turned the sit-in into a model of nonviolent protest for the 1960s and beyond.

"It did become a signal date in the development of the sit-in campaign. No doubt about that," the Reverend James Lawson, the architect of the Nashville campaign who later headed Holman United Methodist Church in Los Angeles, said of the Greensboro protest. "It is one of the historic dates in the struggle."

McCain, who continued to work for social justice during a long career with a Charlotte, North Carolina, chemical company, died Thursday at a Greensboro hospital of complications of pneumonia, said his son, Wendell McCain. He was 73.

The civil rights trailblazer did not see himself as a radical out to change the world, but he could not ignore the difficult realities of life for African Americans.

Born on January 3rd, 1941, in Union County, North Carolina, he grew up in Washington, D.C., where his businessman father and homemaker mother provided a comfortable home. In 1955, when he was 14, he was horrified by the murder of Emmett Till, also 14, who had been mutilated, shot and dumped in Mississippi's Tallahatchie River after being accused of flirting with a white woman.

"Emmett Till never had a chance. My young mind would never let me accept that or forget it," McCain told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2005.

In the fall of 1959, he enrolled at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, where he studied chemistry and biology. The three students who became his best friends were Ezell Blair Jr. (now Jibreel Khazan), David Richmond and Joseph McNeil. They all lived in the same dormitory and studied together every night.

The study sessions turned into heavy discussions, often focusing on the friends' disillusionment with their parents, who told them that if they were polite, worked hard and earned good grades, the American dream would be theirs. "The Big Lie," McCain called it.

Although victories had been won, they were years in the past: Brown vs. Board of Education, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling against separate-but-equal public schools, had been issued in 1954, and the Montgomery bus boycott that brought Martin Luther King Jr. to prominence ended in 1956. But in 1960, Jim Crow still ruled, with "whites only" signs on public facilities across the South.

"The more we talked, the more we felt we were living out the lie," McCain told the Charlotte Observer in 2010. "The only thing we'd done is dissected a system, criticized it and our parents … who tried to nurture us. We didn't like that feeling."

Instead of being "armchair activists," they decided to challenge the system.

The sit-in was not an original idea; black protesters in other states had tried the tactic sporadically in the late 1950s, to little effect. There was no reason to believe that the Greensboro Four would make a difference.

Nonetheless, on the afternoon of February 1st, 1960, McCain threw a coat over his ROTC uniform and joined Blair, McNeil and Richmond for the one-mile walk from campus to downtown Greensboro. They chose Woolworth's as their target because of its double standard: Its lunch counters in the North were integrated, but in the South they served only whites. "You could go in and buy your school supplies, but you couldn't sit at the lousy counter," McCain told the Washington Post in 1995.

The four college freshmen made a few purchases — McCain bought toothpaste and a composition book — and then approached the lunch counter, armed with the receipts that proved their money had been acceptable elsewhere in the store.

They sat down and ordered coffee, but a white waitress told them to leave. A black woman working behind the counter called them troublemakers and pointed them toward the counter where black customers were allowed to stand, but the young men did not budge. They left at closing time without being served.

At one point a white policeman had come in, slapping his nightstick in his hand.

Another chilling moment came when an elderly white woman got up from her seat and placed one hand on McCain's shoulder and the other on McNeil's. McCain steeled himself for a barrage of racial epithets, or worse. Instead, she told them she was proud of them and that she regretted they hadn't taken their stand sooner.

The next day they returned with nearly two dozen other students. The numbers grew through the week, with 1,000 students marching through downtown Greensboro by the fifth day.

A few weeks later, the Nashville students leaped into action, beating their Greensboro comrades to victory when their city's lunch counters were integrated in May. By then sit-ins had spread to more than 50 cities across the old Confederacy.

In Greensboro, success came on July 25th, 1960, when Woolworth's served four of its black employees at the lunch counter.

McCain graduated from North Carolina A&T in 1964 and for 40 years worked as a chemist and sales representative for the Celanese Corporation in Charlotte. In 1965 he married a fellow sit-in participant, the former Bettye Davis. She died in 2013.

Besides son Wendell, McCain is survived by sons Franklin Jr. and Bert, and seven grandchildren.

He traveled the country giving talks about the "the power in one and the few" to change the course of history.

"Never ask for permission to start a revolution," he told college students in Ohio a few years ago. "If there is something you want or need to do … just do it."


http://www.latimes.com/obituaries/la-me-franklin-mccain-20140111,0,3228562.story
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« Reply #320 on: January 17, 2014, 08:19:44 am »

Roger Lloyd-Pack Aged 69

http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2014/jan/16/roger-lloyd-pack-theatre-pinter

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« Reply #321 on: January 21, 2014, 04:48:50 pm »


From the Los Angeles Times....

Claudio Abbado dies at 80; Italian conductor with wide-ranging mastery

A former music director of opera houses in Milan and Vienna and symphonies in London
and Berlin, Abbado was known for attention to detail and respect for players.


By CHRIS PASLES | 9:00AM PST - Monday, January 20, 2014

A photograph taken in London in 1983 shows Italian conductor Claudio Abbado, a former music director of Teatro alla Scala in Milan, the Vienna State Opera and the Berlin Philharmonic. — Photo: AFP/Getty Images/September 14th, 1983.
A photograph taken in London in 1983 shows Italian conductor Claudio Abbado, a former music director of Teatro alla Scala in Milan,
the Vienna State Opera and the Berlin Philharmonic. — Photo: AFP/Getty Images/September 14th, 1983.


CLAUDIO ABBADO, an Italian conductor whose wide-ranging mastery of symphonic and operatic repertory and attention to detail drew comparisons to more famous maestros Carlo Mario Giulini, Arturo Toscanini and Herbert von Karajan, has died. He was 80.

A former music director of the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, the London Philharmonic, the Vienna State Opera and the Berlin Philharmonic, Abbado died on Monday at his home in Bologna, the mayor's office announced.

The cause was not given, but Abbado underwent surgery for stomach cancer in 2000.

One of his last notable concerts was leading Mahler's "Third Symphony" — at 1¾ hours, the longest in the standard repertory — with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall in London in 2007.

"Everything he did in this extraordinary performance was directed at sustaining an ensemble in which everyone listens intently to what all their colleagues are doing and responds instinctively," reviewer Andrew Clements wrote of the concert in England's Guardian newspaper. "The result was totally coherent and miraculously transparent. ... No one who heard this performance is likely to forget it; Abbado's Mahler, like Furtwängler's Wagner and Klemperer's Beethoven in previous generations, is just peerless."

Abbado last appeared in the Southland in 2001, when he conducted the Berlin Philharmonic in two concerts primarily of Beethoven symphonies at the Orange County Performing Arts Center.

"Abbado has given the players a sense of freedom and individuality, without lessening the phenomenal ensemble playing that is Berlin's hallmark," wrote Times music critic Mark Swed.

Abbado achieved that combination through a lifelong devotion to meticulous preparation in rehearsal in order to achieve intense spontaneity in performance.

"I kept wondering when the blinding light of inspiration was about to hit us," a former concertmaster with the London Symphony said in 1987, speaking about Abbado's rehearsals.

"It never did. He has a highly analytical, careful approach, leaving nothing to chance. But in concert, the man seems to throw his reserve aside and go 150% all out for the music. It is electrifying. He can conserve everything until that moment. It is as though after the cerebral approach to making music in rehearsal, he allows himself the luxury of turning the emotional tap on."


Italian conductor Claudio Abbado during the general rehearsals with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra for their tour, in Rome, Italy. Abbado died at the age of 80 in Bologna on 20 January 2014. — Photo: Riccardo Musacchio/EPA/February 8th, 2001.
Italian conductor Claudio Abbado during the general rehearsals with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra for their tour, in Rome, Italy.
Abbado died at the age of 80 in Bologna on 20 January 2014. — Photo: Riccardo Musacchio/EPA/February 8th, 2001.


Abbado was born June 26, 1933, into a musical Milanese family. His father was a professional violinist. His mother was a pianist. His brother was a pianist and composer who eventually became director of the Milan Conservatory. His sister studied violin.

A visit to La Scala when he was eight years old determined his future goal. "One day," he wrote in his diary after the performance, "I will conduct."

But first he threw himself into study of the piano and soon was accompanying his father in piano-violin duets. For a while, he was torn between piano, which he studied at the Milan Conservatory until 1955, and conducting, which he studied under Hans Swarowsky at the Vienna Academy of Music after graduating from the conservatory. Conducting won out.

A classmate and friend in Vienna was Zubin Mehta, future music director of the Los Angeles and New York philharmonics. In order to study the work of conductors in rehearsals, which were closed to students and the public, the two auditioned for the Musikverein Chorus. Once accepted in the bass section of the chorus, they scrutinized conductors such as Karajan and Bruno Walter.

After graduating, the two went to the Tanglewood Festival near Boston, where Abbado beat out Mehta to win the Serge Koussevitsky Prize for conducting in 1958. The award came with an offer to take over an American orchestra, but Abbado turned it down to return to Europe for further studies.

In 1963, he shared the prestigious Dimitri Mitropoulos prize for conducting with Zdenek Kosler and Pedro Calderon. The prize included a $5,000 award and a yearlong assistant conductor post at the New York Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein. Of the three, Abbado was the only one to go on to a major international career. Still feeling insufficiently prepared, however, when the year was up Abbado returned to Europe for further study.

Abbado's specialty initially was 20th century music, but he quickly broadened his repertory to include Classical and Romantic music and opera. He usually conducted from memory. He said he had learned from observing Toscanini the importance of eye contact with musicians. But he found Toscanini's dictatorial attitude toward musicians offensive and always treated his players with quiet respect.

His career took off after Karajan invited him in 1964 to lead the Vienna Philharmonic in Mahler's "Resurrection" Symphony at the Salzburg Festival.

Abbado served as music director at La Scala from 1968 to 1986 (he had made his house debut in 1960), premiering contemporary works by Luciano Berio, Pierre Boulez, Luigi Nono, Kryzsztof Penderecki and Karlheinz Stockhausen as well as choosing unconventional versions of older works. Mussorgsky's original version of "Boris Godunov" was his last production there.


Claudio Abbado conducts at the Lucerne Festival in Lucerne, Switzerland, in 2007. — Eddy Risch/EPA.
Claudio Abbado conducts at the Lucerne Festival in Lucerne, Switzerland, in 2007. — Eddy Risch/EPA.

Always interested in encouraging young musicians, in 1978 he founded the European Community Youth Orchestra. It excluded players from Eastern Europe, however, because their countries did not belong to the European Union, so in 1986 he formed the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra for musicians from Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and East Germany.

More recently, Abbado worked with the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, the flagship of that country's extensive music education system, and mentored its conductor, Gustavo Dudamel, now the music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

In 1979, Abbado was named music director of the London Philharmonic, and he later became its principal conductor. He made many recordings with the orchestra until he left in 1988 to concentrate his activities in Vienna.

He was appointed music director of the Vienna State Opera in 1986 and stayed until 1991, when he resigned for health reasons. Among his new productions was a critically acclaimed version of Berg's "Wozzeck" that was recorded live and issued by Deutsche Grammophon.

In 1989, Abbado was elected chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic by the orchestra's musicians, succeeding Karajan. He was the first Italian-born music director of that orchestra and only the fifth director in its history.

News of his appointment caused disappointment and anger in New York because Abbado reportedly had agreed to succeed Mehta at the New York Philharmonic when the latter stepped down in 1991. Abbado said that the discussions had never gone further than a few polite conversations.

Over the years, Abbado had his ups and downs with the Berlin Philharmonic, where he introduced more 20th century music than had his predecessors. In 1998, German critics and musicians complained about his choice of repertory and his rehearsal techniques. Some saw the criticism as a reaction to Abbado's announcement earlier that year that he would not extend his contract when it expired in 2002. The tradition had been for Philharmonic music directors to remain in the post until their deaths.

Abbado said he had no complaints; he merely wanted more time for himself, "to read more, go skiing and sailing." Other musicians rallied to his defense, and after his cancer surgery in July 2000, the complaints died down and the relationship between conductor and players was said to improve markedly. Still, he was forced to cancel most of his engagements in the latter half of the year. When his contract expired at the end of the 2001-02 season, he was succeeded by Simon Rattle.

His discography lists well over 100 recordings, mostly for Deutsche Grammophon, EMI Classics and Sony Classics. Abbado's numerous awards included the International Ernst von Siemens music prize, one of the most prestigious awards in classical music, which he received in 1994.

His survivors include his second wife and four children.


Chris Pasles is a former Los Angeles Times staff writer.

http://www.latimes.com/obituaries/la-me-claudio-abbado-20140121,0,4992387,full.story
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« Reply #322 on: January 28, 2014, 09:13:23 pm »


Pete Seeger Dies at 94: Remember the American Folk Legend with a Priceless Film from 1947

in Life, Music | January 28th, 2014 Leave a Comment

We’ve got some sad news to report. Last night Pete Seeger, one of America’s national treasures, died at the age of 94. For nearly 70 years, Seeger embodied folk music and its ideals (“communication, entertainment, social comment, historical continuity, inclusiveness”) and became a tireless advocate for social justice and protecting the environment. In recent years, Seeger made his voice heard at Occupy Wall Street and even paid a visit to the 2013 edition of Farm Aid, where he sang “This Land is Your Land”. Above you can watch a film that brings you back to Seeger’s early days. Released in 1946, To Hear Your Banjo Play is an engaging 16-minute introduction to American folk music, written and narrated by Alan Lomax and featuring rare performances by Woody Guthrie, Baldwin Hawes, Sonny Terry, Brownee McGhee, Texas Gladden and Margot Mayo’s American Square Dance Group. In the film, Seeger is only 27 years old. We’ll miss you dearly Pete.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/Hr9FP93o8Ro?version=3&amp;amp;hl=en_US&quot;&gt;&lt;/param&gt;&lt;param name=&quot;allowFullScreen&quot; value=&quot;true&quot;&gt;&lt;/param&gt;&lt;param name=&quot;allowscriptaccess&quot; value=&quot;always&quot;&gt;&lt;/param&gt;&lt;embed src=&quot;//www.youtube.com/v/Hr9FP93o8Ro?version=3&amp;amp;hl=en_US&quot; type=&quot;application/x-shockwave-flash&quot; width=&quot;420&quot; height=&quot;315&quot; allowscriptaccess=&quot;always&quot; allowfullscreen=&quot;true&quot;&gt;&lt;/embed&gt;&lt;/object&gt;" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/Hr9FP93o8Ro?version=3&amp;amp;hl=en_US&quot;&gt;&lt;/param&gt;&lt;param name=&quot;allowFullScreen&quot; value=&quot;true&quot;&gt;&lt;/param&gt;&lt;param name=&quot;allowscriptaccess&quot; value=&quot;always&quot;&gt;&lt;/param&gt;&lt;embed src=&quot;//www.youtube.com/v/Hr9FP93o8Ro?version=3&amp;amp;hl=en_US&quot; type=&quot;application/x-shockwave-flash&quot; width=&quot;420&quot; height=&quot;315&quot; allowscriptaccess=&quot;always&quot; allowfullscreen=&quot;true&quot;&gt;&lt;/embed&gt;&lt;/object&gt;</a>
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« Reply #323 on: January 29, 2014, 12:35:28 pm »


From the Los Angeles Times....

Pete Seeger dies at 94; balladeer was America's conscience

An advocate for peace and civil rights, Pete Seeger helped spark the folk
music revival with his five-string banjo and songs calling for justice.


By CLAUDIA LUTHER | 11:53PM PST - Moday, January 27, 2014

Folk singer Pete Seeger performing in a one-man benefit concert in Berkeley, California, at the Berkeley Community Theater. The American troubadour, folk singer and activist Seeger died on Monday, January 27th, 2014, at age 94. — Photo: Mark Costantini/Associated Press/February 25th, 1984.
Folk singer Pete Seeger performing in a one-man benefit concert in Berkeley, California, at the Berkeley Community Theater.
The American troubadour, folk singer and activist Seeger died on Monday, January 27th, 2014, at age 94.
 — Photo: Mark Costantini/Associated Press/February 25th, 1984.


PETE SEEGER, the iconoclastic American singer, songwriter and social activist who did battle with injustice in America armed with a banjo, a guitar and the transformative power of song, has died. He was 94.

Seeger died Monday at New York Presbyterian Hospital, his grandson Kitama Cahill-Jackson told the Associated Press.

A veteran of the labor, peace and civil rights movements, Seeger remained relevant as an activist into his 90s. He was equally musician and revolutionary, playing a major role in the folk music revival that began in the late 1950s while helping to craft the soundtrack of 1960s protests through such songs as "We Shall Overcome", "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" and "Turn! Turn! Turn!".

"At some point, Pete Seeger decided he'd be a walking, singing reminder of all of America's history," Bruce Springsteen said at the all-star Madison Square Garden concert marking Seeger's 90th birthday in 2009.

"He'd be a living archive of America's music and conscience, a testament to the power of song and culture to nudge history along, to push American events towards a more humane and justified ends," said Springsteen, who had performed Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" with Seeger at the Lincoln Memorial concert marking President Obama's 2008 inauguration.

Gifted at connecting with audiences, Seeger called his ability to inspire regular folks to sing along his "cultural guerrilla tactic." "There's no such thing as a wrong note as long as you're singing it," he told the 15,000-strong crowd at his birthday celebration.


Pete Seeger on May 16th 1997. — Photo: Pete Seeger handout image.
Pete Seeger on May 16th 1997. — Photo: Pete Seeger handout image.

Seeger plays the banjo and sings with Arlo Guthrie, back left, at the Woody Guthrie Tribute Concert at Severance Hall in Cleveland in September 1996. — Photo: Neal Preston/Corbis.
Seeger plays the banjo and sings with Arlo Guthrie, back left, at the Woody Guthrie Tribute Concert at Severance Hall in Cleveland
in September 1996. — Photo: Neal Preston/Corbis.


At a benefit celebrating his 90th birthday, Seeger performs at Madison Square Garden in New York on May 3rd, 2009. — Photo: Evan Agostini/Associated Press.
At a benefit celebrating his 90th birthday, Seeger performs at Madison Square Garden in New York on May 3rd, 2009.
 — Photo: Evan Agostini/Associated Press.


Seeger's life of music and political activism could be summed up in "The Hammer Song", the enduring anthem he wrote more than 60 years ago with his good friend Lee Hays to support the progressive political movement in the U.S. …

If I had a hammer,
I'd hammer in the morning,
I'd hammer in the evening,
All over this land/ I'd hammer out danger,
I'd hammer out a warning,
I'd hammer out love between my brothers and my sisters,
All over this land.


Popularized by Peter, Paul and Mary in the 1960s, the song embodied the heart of Seeger: his musicality, his activism, his optimism and his lifelong belief that songs could and should be used to build a sense of community to make the world a better place.

"I'd really rather put songs on people's lips than in their ears," he said.

Seeger inspired a generation of folk singers and musicians that included the Kingston Trio and Joan Baez, who once said: "We all owe our careers to Pete Seeger."

As a member of two influential folk groups, the Almanac Singers and the Weavers, Seeger wrote or co-wrote "We Shall Overcome", the anthem of the civil rights movement based on an early 20th century gospel song; "Where Have All the Flowers Gone", which became an anti-Vietnam War protest song; and another political anthem, "Turn! Turn! Turn!", which turned to a passage from the Bible — "to everything there is a season" — for the lyrics.

"Pete is America's tuning fork," author and oral historian Studs Terkel once said. "His songs capture the essence and beauty of this country."

Photographs of the tall, lanky Seeger in buoyant performance often show his head lifted, as if he had spotted his place in heaven and wanted to bring everyone else along. A storyteller known more for his charisma and message than for his voice, he is credited with single-handedly popularizing the five-string banjo. His was inscribed: "This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender."


Pete Seeger, center, sings before a crowd of nearly a thousand demonstrators sympathetic to the Occupy Wall Street protests at a brief acoustic concert in Columbus Circle in New York on October 21st, 2011. — Photo: John Minchillo/Associated Press.
Pete Seeger, center, sings before a crowd of nearly a thousand demonstrators sympathetic to the Occupy Wall Street protests
at a brief acoustic concert in Columbus Circle in New York on October 21st, 2011. — Photo: John Minchillo/Associated Press.


Seeger sings out at his 90th birthday benefit concert on May 3rd, 2009. — Photo: Evan Agostini/Associated Press.
Seeger sings out at his 90th birthday benefit concert on May 3rd, 2009. — Photo: Evan Agostini/Associated Press.

Pete Seeger plays his banjo on May 5th 2006 in Beacon, New York. — Photo: Frank Franklin II/Associated Press.
Pete Seeger plays his banjo on May 5th 2006 in Beacon, New York. — Photo: Frank Franklin II/Associated Press.

He was born May 3rd, 1919, in Patterson, New York, into a musical family that was rich in religious dissenters, abolitionists and Revolutionary solders and "shot through with pedagogues," according to Seeger.

His father, Charles Louis Seeger, was a noted musicologist and educator, and his mother, Constance de Clyver Edson, was a violinist and teacher. After his parents divorced, his father married Ruth Crawford, a composer.

Young Peter attended boarding school in Connecticut before enrolling at Harvard University, where he majored in sociology.

Never an enthusiastic student, he dropped out of Harvard in 1938 after attending an Appalachian song and dance festival in Asheville, North Carolina, with his father. While there he heard "Aunt" Samantha Bumgarner, who was "picking a banjo and singing old ballads and having so much fun," he later recalled.

Seeger fell in love with the old-fashioned five-string banjo. "I liked the rhythms," he said. "I liked the melodies, time-tested by generations of singers." Above all, he said, he liked the words.

"Compared to the trivialities of most popular songs, the words of these songs had all the meat of human life in them," Seeger said. "They sang of heroes, outlaws, murderers, fools. They weren't afraid of being tragic instead of just sentimental.... Above all, they seemed frank, straightforward, honest."

For a time, Seeger played banjo for children in his aunt's classroom. At 17, he met celebrated musicologist Alan Lomax, who hired him to transcribe songs from the Library of Congress collection. Through Lomax, he met Huddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter, king of the 12-string guitar and a living archive of black American music, who broadened Seeger's musical horizons.

"I think of Lead Belly always sitting up straight and singing right out straight," Seeger once said, using a description that could apply to his own musicianship. "No slyness, no finagling, no tricks."

On March 3rd, 1940, at a "Grapes of Wrath" migrant worker benefit concert, Seeger met Guthrie. The renaissance of the American folk song could be pegged to that night, Lomax later said.

Seeger rejoined Guthrie and Millard Lampell in New York City, playing the "subway circuit" — left-wing fund-raising parties. They soon formed the Almanac Singers, which also included Hays and a changing cast of others. The group sang such activist tunes as "The Talking Union Blues" and the pacifist song "The Ballad of October 16th".

When the Almanac Singers prepared to play before about 1,000 longshoremen, Seeger later said he heard some of them say, "What the heck are these hillbilly singers coming here for? We have work to do." By the time the group was done performing, the union members were on their feet.

Singing for union causes became almost a religion for Seeger, who — along with Guthrie and Ledbetter — helped bring folk music from the country into the big cities, mixed with a heavy dose of politics.

Seeger offered a simple analysis of his partnership with Guthrie: "I didn't play too fancy — just gave him the right note at the right time with the right rhythm."

This same modesty led Seeger to try to share the credit and profits on songs he recorded. He was "a hunter and gatherer" who edited and adapted songs "from half-remembered hymns and renewable folk tunes, Bible verses and poets' words, traditional songs that need a little tinkering," the Los Angeles Times said in 1998. Seeger was the first to acknowledge his source material.

The Almanac Singers broke up with the advent of World War II and Seeger served in the Army Special Services, entertaining troops in the U.S. and the South Pacific. After the war, Seeger formed the Weavers with Hays and others.

After a slow start, they began attracting crowds, and then, as Seeger described it, "lightning struck": Bandleader and composer Gordon Jenkins "fell in love with our work" and got the group a recording contract.

The Weavers' early recording of Ledbetter's "Goodnight, Irene" was a big hit. Soon, they were on the charts with other tunes, including a classic, "On Top of Old Smokey", and "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine". In all, the group sold 4 million or so records — astonishing at the time — and played top nightclubs in America.

As the group's popularity grew, so did interest in Seeger's connection to the Communist Party, which he had joined at Harvard. He once believed the party would help the common man, he said, but had spurned it in disgust by 1949. Yet he never apologized for this earlier belief.

"I'd like to see a world without millionaires," Seeger said in 1993.

Called before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1955 to explain his Communist Party membership, Seeger refused to answer questions about his personal beliefs and was held in contempt of Congress. Sentenced to a year in jail, he served a few hours before being released. The case was dismissed years later.

The controversy shattered Seeger's career. He continued to record and make concert appearances but was barred from network TV for 17 years.


Pete Seeger and his wife, Toshi, are shown on February 24th, 2009 in New York. — Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images.
Pete Seeger and his wife, Toshi, are shown on February 24th, 2009 in New York. — Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images.

US folk singer and activist Pete Seeger performs at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, April 25th, 2009. — Photo: Skip Bolen/EPA.
US folk singer and activist Pete Seeger performs at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, in New Orleans, Louisiana,
USA, April 25th, 2009. — Photo: Skip Bolen/EPA.


Pete Seeger performing on stage during the Farm Aid 2013 concert at Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, New York. — Photo: Hans Pennink/Associated Press.
Pete Seeger performing on stage during the Farm Aid 2013 concert at Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs,
New York. — Photo: Hans Pennink/Associated Press.


By the early 1960s, he had returned to performing at schools and colleges and came to view the blacklist as a blessing in disguise: He was showing "a whole generation of young people you didn't need to depend on the commercial world to make a living."

With other, younger folk singers, Seeger joined the anti-Vietnam War effort in the mid-1960s and travelled to Hanoi on a peace mission in the early 1970s.

When he finally returned to television in 1967 on "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" on CBS, his antiwar song, "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy", was censored. But after his performance was broadcast the next year, it was credited with helping to cement public opinion against the war.

He was also involved in environmental causes, including the cleanup of the Hudson River around his home near Beacon, New York. Seeger helped devise a plan to use a replica of a 19th century sloop, the Clearwater, to sail from port to port along the river to educate residents about the waterway's condition.

It was not uncommon to see Seeger, as he approached 90, holding a placard by the roadside near his upstate New York home as he stood with a small group protesting the war in Iraq.

As recently as 2011, he lent his voice to the Occupy Wall Street movement, leaning on two canes to march through crowds of New York City protesters before singing "We Shall Overcome" with a longtime collaborator, Woody Guthrie's son Arlo.

In August 2012, Seeger appeared on "The Colbert Report", accompanying himself on banjo and singing in a thin but clear voice his 1969 song "Quite Early Morning". Looking far younger than his 93 years, he credited "outdoor work," including splitting logs, with keeping him healthy.

Seeger was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1994, the same year he was honored by the Kennedy Center. In 1996, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and won a Grammy Award for best traditional folk album for "Pete". A 2008 album, "Pete Seeger at 89", also won a Grammy. In all, he recorded dozens of albums and records, and compiled a series of instructional songbooks.

His wife, Toshi, whom he married in 1943, died in 2013. His survivors include son Danny and daughters Mika and Tinya Seeger-Jackson.

When people asked the ever-upbeat Seeger if he ever got discouraged, he'd reply: "I say ‘the hell with it’ every night around 9:30 then get up the next morning. Besides, if you sing for children, you can't really say there's no hope."


Claudia Luther is a former Los Angeles Times staff writer.

Former Los Angeles Times staff writer Valerie J. Nelson contributed to this report.

http://www.latimes.com/obituaries/la-me-pete-seeger-20140128,0,2122566,full.story



From the Los Angeles Times....

Pete Seeger dies: The folk singer's movie and TV life

By OLIVER GETTELL | 12:19PM PST - Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Folk singer Pete Seeger, left, performing at the Rally for Détente at Carnegie Hall in New York. The American troubadour, folk singer and activist Pete Seeger died on Monday, January 27th, 2014, at age 94. — Photo: Richard Drew/Associated Press/May 13th, 1975.
Folk singer Pete Seeger, left, performing at the Rally for Détente at Carnegie Hall in New York. The American troubadour, folk singer
and activist Pete Seeger died on Monday, January 27th, 2014, at age 94. — Photo: Richard Drew/Associated Press/May 13th, 1975.


PETE SEEGER, the singer, songwriter and social activist who died  Monday at age 94, didn't have much of a movie career, making his mark with music instead. But the troubadour did pop up on screen from time to time, in documentaries, concert footage, his own TV series and even the odd comedy. Here's a look at some of Seeger's work on the big and small screens.

______________________________________

"To Hear Your Banjo Play" (1947)

In 1947, a young Seeger appeared in and narrated this 16-minute survey of folk music in the U.S. written by musicologist Alan Lomax. The short opens with Seeger playing "Sally Ann", after which Lomax calls to him from off-screen and says, "Hello there, Peter. What's that funny-looking guitar you're playing?"  Seeger also participated in a 2004 documentary about Lomax called "Lomax the Songhunter".



______________________________________

"Pete Seeger: Live in Australia" (1963)

Seeger, who had landed on the McCarthy-era Hollywood blacklist, embarked on a 10-month world tour in 1963. This concert documentary captures a 105-minute show in Melbourne, in which he performs such songs as "If I Had a Hammer" and "Michael, Row the Boat Ashore".



______________________________________

"Rainbow Quest" (1966)

As Seeger's blacklisting began to end in the mid-'60s, he hosted a regional folk-music program called "Rainbow Quest". This 1966 episode features Johnny Cash and June Carter.



______________________________________

"The Internationale" (2000)

Ever the activist, Seeger participated in this documentary about the left-wing anthem "The Internationale". In the trailer below, Seeger says, "If there's a world here 100 years from now, this song will be part of that world."



______________________________________

"Pete Seeger: The Power of Song" (2007)

Seeger himself was the subject of a documentary in 2007, a mix of interviews, archival footage and home movies illuminating his life and work that aired as part of PBS' acclaimed "American Masters" series. In the film, fellow musician Bonnie Raitt says Seeger's greatest gift "was shepherding songs of peace and justice."



______________________________________

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/moviesnow/la-et-mn-pete-seeger-dies-movies-songs-20140128,0,5306655.story
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« Reply #324 on: February 12, 2014, 01:21:03 pm »


From the Los Angeles Times....

Shirley Temple Black, iconic child star, dies at 85

By VALERIE J. NELSON | 3:21AM PST - Tuesday, February 11, 2014

In this 1933 file photo, child actress Shirley Temple is seen in her role as “Little Miss Marker”. Shirley Temple, the curly-haired child star who put smiles on the faces of Depression-era moviegoers, has died. She was 85. — Photo: Associated Press.Shirley Temple and tap dancer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson are shown in a scene from the 1935 motion picture “The Little Colonel”, one of four movies they appeared in together. — Photo: Associated Press.
LEFT: In this 1933 file photo, child actress Shirley Temple is seen in her role as “Little Miss Marker”. Shirley Temple, the curly-haired child star who put smiles
on the faces of Depression-era moviegoers, has died. She was 85. — Photo: Associated Press. | RIGHT: Shirley Temple and tap dancer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson
are shown in a scene from the 1935 motion picture “The Little Colonel”, one of four movies they appeared in together. — Photo: Associated Press.


SHIRLEY TEMPLE BLACK, who as the most popular child movie star of all time lifted a filmgoing nation’s spirits during the Depression and then grew up to be a diplomat, has died. She was aged 85.

Black died late Monday at her home in Woodside, California, according to publicist Cheryl J. Kagan. No cause was given.

From 1935 through 1938, the curly-haired moppet billed as Shirley Temple was the top box-office draw in the nation. She saved what became 20th Century Fox studios from bankruptcy and made more than 40 movies before she turned 12.

Hollywood recognized the enchanting, dimpled scene-stealer’s importance to the industry with a “special award” — a miniature Oscar — at the Academy Awards for 1934, the year she sang and danced her way into America’s collective heart.

After she sang “On the Good Ship Lollipop” in “Bright Eyes”. the song became a hit and the studio set up Shirley Temple Development, a department dedicated to churning out formulaic scripts that usually featured the cheerful, poised Shirley as the accidental Little Miss Fix-It who could charm any problem away.

Her most memorable performances included four films she made with Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, a black dancer 50 years her senior and a favorite costar, she later said.

They were first paired as foils for cantankerous Lionel Barrymore in 1935’s “The Little Colonel”, in which 7-year-old Shirley tap dances up and down the staircase, remarkably matching the veteran Robinson step for step.

“I would learn by listening to the taps,” Temple told the Washington Post in 1998. “I would primarily listen to what he was doing and I would do it.”

Their dance routines in such films as the Civil War saga “The Littlest Rebel” (1935) and “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm” (1938) reflected their off-screen rapport. They were the first mixed-race musical numbers to be seen in many parts of the country, according to “Who’s Who in Musicals”.


Shirley Temple, the American child star  at five years of age, standing on her climbing frame at home. — Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images.
Shirley Temple, the American child star  at five years of age, standing on her climbing frame at home.
 — Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images.


A scene from “Curly Top”, starring Shirley Temple, left, and John Boles.
A scene from “Curly Top”, starring Shirley Temple, left, and John Boles.

Two of her films released in 1937 were among Temple’s favorites — the John Ford-directed “Wee Willie Winkie”, in which she wins over a British outpost in India, and “Heidi”, a hit film that became a classic.

In her first film aimed squarely at children, Shirley sang “Animal Crackers in My Soup” to fellow orphans in 1935’s “Curly Top”. She danced with Jack Haley in “Poor Little Rich Girl” (1936), one of her best films and “a top musical on any terms,” according to movie critic Leonard Maltin.

A country desperate for relief from the excruciating economic hardships of the Depression fell in love with Shirley and her infectious optimism in “Baby Take a Bow”, the 1934 film that was her first starring vehicle.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt marveled how splendid it was “that for just 15 cents, an American can go to a movie and look at the smiling face of a baby and forget his troubles,” according to an American Film Institute history.

By 1935, lookalike Shirley Temple dolls, complete with her trademark curls, were selling at the rate of 1.5 million a year, part of a merchandising onslaught that included Temple-endorsed dresses and dishes.

Even bartenders got into the act. Although the 1930s origins of the non-alcoholic Shirley Temple cocktail have been debated, Temple told the Los Angeles Times in 1985 that the Brown Derby restaurant in Hollywood had named the drink after her.

To learn her lines, Shirley essentially memorized the script as her mother, Gertrude Temple, read it aloud. When Barrymore forgot his lines while filming 1934’s “Carolina”, Shirley sweetly told him what to say, causing the star to “roar like a singed cat,” actor Robert Young later recalled.

She attributed her well-adjusted nature on and off the set to her “super mother” who “kept my head on straight” and “just dusted off” the adulation, Temple told the Los Angeles Times in 1989.

As she moved into her teens, she literally outgrew the movie business — audiences would not accept her in more mature roles — and Temple made her last film, “Mr. Belvedere Goes to College”, in 1949.


“Curly Top” (1935). Directed by Ian Cummings, the film stars John Boles, left, and Shirley Temple, right. Shirley sings one of her classic hits “Animal Crackers In My Soap”.
Curly Top” (1935). Directed by Ian Cummings, the film stars John Boles, left, and Shirley Temple, right. Shirley sings one of her classic hits
Animal Crackers In My Soap”.


American actress Shirley Temple presents the Best Actress Oscar to French-born actress Claudette Colbert in 1935 for her role in director Frank Capra's film, “It Happened One Night”. — Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images.
American actress Shirley Temple presents the Best Actress Oscar to French-born actress Claudette Colbert in 1935 for her role in director Frank Capra's
film, “It Happened One Night”. — Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images.


A photogra*h taken on June 26th, 1937, shows US film star Shirley Temple (1928-2014) arriving at her first main premiere for the film “Wee Willie Winkie” in Hollywood. During 1934-38, the actress appeared in more than 20 feature films and was consistantly the top US movie star. — Photo: AFP/Getty Images.
A photogra*h taken on June 26th, 1937, shows US film star Shirley Temple (1928-2014) arriving at her first main premiere for the film “Wee Willie Winkie”
in Hollywood. During 1934-38, the actress appeared in more than 20 feature films and was consistantly the top US movie star. — Photo: AFP/Getty Images.


A decade later, she briefly returned to Hollywood to narrate and sometimes star in fairytales on what was originally called “Shirley Temple’s Storybook”, a successful show that aired on television from 1959 to 1961.

It prompted one critic to write that it proved once again that Temple “could, if she wanted to, steal Christmas from Tiny Tim,” Anne Edwards wrote in the 1988 biography “Shirley Temple: American Princess”.

Politics consumed much of her adult life after she married businessman Charlie Black in 1950 and was known as Shirley Temple Black.

An active Republican, she ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1967. Two years later, she was appointed the U.S. delegate to the United Nations by President Nixon.

From 1974 to 1976, Temple was the U.S. ambassador to the West African nation of Ghana and later served as White House chief of protocol for President Ford. She also was an ambassador to Czechoslovakia from 1989 to 1992, a “substantive job” that was the best she ever held, Temple told the Washington Post in 1998.

Initially short on diplomatic experience, she got an assist from her childhood. People on the street in Prague would often stop her and pull a memento from their wallets — their membership card from Czechoslovakia’s 1930s-era Shirley Temple fan club.

That recognition “was very helpful when you want to explain your country’s position on various foreign affairs,” she said in the Washington Post article.

The money she made as a child had long since evaporated.

At 22, she discovered that all but $28,000 of her $3.2-million income from the movies had vanished because of her family’s lavish lifestyle and bad investments made by her father, George Temple, a bank manager who left his job to oversee her career.

She “felt neither disappointment nor anger,” Temple wrote in her 1988 autobiography. “Perhaps years spent ignoring such matters had insulated me from disillusion. The spilt-milk parable surely played a role in my equanimity, as did the power of bloodline and family ties.”


Nine–year–old Shirley Temple presents to Walt Disney a special Oscar for “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” recognized as a significant screen innovation which has pioneered a great new entertainment field for the motion picture cartoon. Event was the 1938 Academy Awards. — Photo: Walt Disney Productions.
Nine–year–old Shirley Temple presents to Walt Disney a special Oscar for “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” recognized as a significant screen innovation
which has pioneered a great new entertainment field for the motion picture cartoon. Event was the 1938 Academy Awards. — Photo: Walt Disney Productions.


On January 31st, 1938, Shirley Temple, a mere nine years old but the top box–office attraction of 1938, cuts the cake at a party celebrating the 55th birthday of president Franklin D. Roosevelt. A trainload of Hollywood stars and moguls traveled from California to the nation's capital for the event. — Photo: Los Angeles Times archives.
On January 31st, 1938, Shirley Temple, a mere nine years old but the top box–office attraction of 1938, cuts the cake at a party celebrating the 55th
birthday of president Franklin D. Roosevelt. A trainload of Hollywood stars and moguls traveled from California to the nation's capital for the event.
 — Photo: Los Angeles Times archives.


Her brothers were 9 and 13 years old when she was born April 23, 1928, in Santa Monica to a mother who had suppressed a desire for her own career in the arts, according to Edwards.

When Shirley was barely 3, her mother enrolled her in a Los Angeles dance studio run by former Ziegfeld girl Ethel Meglin, who trained young children to work in film and advertising.

In publicity interviews, her mother always claimed that Shirley was accidentally “discovered” in a dancing class that was for recreation, but from the start, Gertrude made the rounds of casting directors with her young daughter.

At the dance studio, she was soon spotted by a talent scout and cast in a low-budget series called “Baby Burlesks” in which she parodied such adult actresses as Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo.

Her career took off when she signed with Fox in 1934 — she made 10 films that year alone. Her baby-doll image was so valuable to the studio that the 6-year-old’s birth certificate was altered to shave a year off her age. She did not discover the deceit until her 13th birthday, Temple recalled in her autobiography.

By then, she was officially unemployed, released from her contract in 1940 after her final two films flopped at the box office. With the advent of World War II, Temple’s endless optimism on screen went out of fashion, and she enrolled in the Westlake School for Girls. She had brought more than $32 million into Fox’s coffers, Edwards wrote.

She continued to make mostly forgettable movies until she was 21. The best of her post-child starring roles may have been the spunky Army brat she played in 1947’s “Fort Apache” which paired her romantically on screen with John Agar, whom she married at 17 in 1945.

The brother of one of Shirley’s classmates, Agar was a 24-year-old Army Air Corps sergeant when his marriage to Temple propelled him into acting. They had a daughter but divorced in 1949.


Newlyweds Shirley Temple and Sergeant John Agar Jr. cut their wedding cake beneath a tent on the lawn of the Temple estate on September 19th, 1945. — Photo: Associated Press.
Newlyweds Shirley Temple and Sergeant John Agar Jr. cut their wedding cake beneath a tent on the lawn of the Temple estate on September 19th, 1945.
 — Photo: Associated Press.


Former child movie star, US Shirley Temple Black, left, is greeted by US President Bill Clinton, right, during a reception at the White House on December 6th, 1998. — Photo: Chris Kleponischris/AFP/Getty Images.
Former child movie star, US Shirley Temple Black, left, is greeted by US President Bill Clinton, right, during a reception at the White House
on December 6th, 1998. — Photo: Chris Kleponischris/AFP/Getty Images.


Shirley Temple Black accepts the Screen Actors Guild Awards life achievement award at the 12th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, in Los Angeles on January 29th, 2006. — Photo: Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press.
Shirley Temple Black accepts the Screen Actors Guild Awards life achievement award at the 12th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, in Los Angeles
on January 29th, 2006. — Photo: Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press.


On vacation in Hawaii in 1950, Temple met the dashing Black, who was working at a shipping company and had never seen any of her films.

“He was an intensely interesting and fascinating man to me,” Temple said when Black died at 86 in 2005. “I fell in love with him at first sight. It sounds corny, but that’s what happened.”

During the Korean War, Black rejoined the military and worked as an intelligence officer in Washington, where his wife became interested in politics, according to a 2001 Los Angeles Times article.

After moving to California, Black started a fishing and hatchery company and consulted on maritime issues. The couple added two more children to their family and moved to the Bay Area in 1954.

In 1972, after undergoing a modified radical mastectomy, Temple held a televised news conference from her hospital room to encourage other women to have check-ups.

When Temple received a Kennedy Center honor in 1998, President Clinton said that “she was the first child actor ever to carry a full-length A-list picture” and “had the greatest short-lived career in movie history, then gracefully retired to ... the far less strenuous life of public service.”

Temple often underplayed her years as the little screen star whose blinding smile and bountiful talent rescued a studio. “Sometimes one scores a bull’s-eye purely by chance,” she wrote in her autobiography.

Of the shadow that always followed her, Temple told Time magazine in 1967: “I always think of her as ‘the little girl’. She’s not me.”

Temple is survived by a son, Charlie Jr.; two daughters, Lori and Susan; a granddaughter and two great-granddaughters.


Valerie J. Nelson is a former Los Angeles Times staff writer.

http://www.latimes.com/obituaries/la-me-shirley-temple-black-20140211,0,6338754,full.story
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