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Obituaries


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« Reply #325 on: February 22, 2014, 01:57:12 pm »

http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/celebrities/9752980/Charlotte-Dawson-found-dead

must admit I thought all her previous hissy fits we just attention seeking but this time she cracked it!
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« Reply #326 on: February 22, 2014, 03:31:12 pm »

http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/celebrities/9752980/Charlotte-Dawson-found-dead

must admit I thought all her previous hissy fits we just attention seeking but this time she cracked it!

When she said she was taunted on Twitter etc I thought - 'simple solution is not to be a part of twitter. When you put yourself out there ... you put yourself out there!
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« Reply #327 on: February 25, 2014, 02:26:36 pm »


From the Los Angeles Times....

Maria von Trapp dies at 99; member of ‘Sound of Music’ family

By ASSOCIATED PRESS | 5:58AM PST - Saturday, February 22, 2014


Maria von Trapp, the last surviving member and second-eldest daughter of the musical family whose
escape from Nazi-occupied Austria was the basis for “The Sound of Music”, has died. She was 99.


STOWE, VERMONT — Maria von Trapp, a member of the musical family whose escape from Nazi-occupied Austria was the basis for “The Sound of Music”, has died, her brother said Saturday.

Von Trapp, 99, died at her home in Vermont on Tuesday, Johannes von Trapp said.

“She was a lovely woman who was one of the few truly good people,” he said. “There wasn't a mean or miserable bone in her body. I think everyone who knew her would agree with that.”

Maria von Trapp was the last surviving member of the seven original Trapp Family Singers made famous in “The Sound of Music”. Their story was turned into the film and Broadway musical.

She was the third child and second-oldest daughter of Austrian Naval Captain Georg von Trapp and his first wife, Agathe Whitehead von Trapp. Their seven children were the basis for the singing family in the 1959 Broadway musical and 1965 film, which won the Oscar for best picture. Maria von Trapp was portrayed as Louisa in the film and musical.


The Von Trapp Family Singers in 1948 — from left, Baroness Maria von Trapp and her daughters, Johanna, Eleanore, Agathe, Hedwig, Rosmary, Martina, and Maria.
The Von Trapp Family Singers in 1948 — from left, Baroness Maria von Trapp and her daughters, Johanna, Eleanore, Agathe, Hedwig, Rosmary, Martina, Maria.

The Sound of Music” was based loosely on a 1949 book by von Trapp's second wife, also Maria von Trapp, who died in 1987. It tells the story of an Austrian woman who marries a widower with seven children and teaches them music.

In 1938, the family escaped from Nazi-occupied Austria. After they arrived in New York, the family became popular with concert audiences. The family eventually settled in Vermont, where they opened a ski lodge in Stowe.

Von Trapp played accordion and taught Austrian dance with sister Rosmarie at the lodge.

Rosmarie von Trapp, Johannes von Trapp and Eleonore Von Trapp Campbell were born to Georg von Trapp and his second wife.


http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-maria-von-trapp-dies-20140222,0,6545623.story
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« Reply #328 on: March 11, 2014, 12:55:25 pm »


From the Los Angeles Times....

William Guarnere dies at 90; member of legendary WWII ‘Band of Brothers

South Philadelphia native, who lost a leg at the Battle of the Bulge,
received the Silver Star and two Purple Hearts for combat.


By JOHN F. MORRISON | 4:50PM PST - Monday, March 10, 2014

William “Wild Bill” Guarnere participates in the Veterans Day parade in Media, Pennsylvania, in 2004. Guarnere was one of the World War II veterans whose exploits were dramatized in the TV mini-series “Band of Brothers”. — Photo: Jacqueline Larma/Associated Press/November 11th, 2004.
William “Wild Bill” Guarnere participates in the Veterans Day parade in Media, Pennsylvania, in 2004. Guarnere was one of the World War II veterans
whose exploits were dramatized in the TV mini-series “Band of Brothers”. — Photo: Jacqueline Larma/Associated Press/November 11th, 2004.


WILLIAM GUARNERE didn't have to go to war.

At the time of the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941, he was building tanks at the old Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia, a job considered crucial to the war effort and good for an exemption from military service.

But Guarnere didn't take it. He enlisted in the Army paratroops on August 31st, 1942, and went to battle.

"Wild Bill" Guarnere, the nickname he earned as a fearless combat soldier against the Germans, was a member of the legendary "Band of Brothers" — Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division — celebrated in books and an HBO mini-series in 2001.

Guarnere, a South Philadelphia native who was awarded the Silver Star and two Purple Hearts among other decorations in World War II combat, lost a leg at the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium in 1944 and returned home to live a productive life unimpaired by his injury, died Saturday of a ruptured aneurysm. He was 90.

Guarnere had a special grudge against the Germans. His older brother, Henry, had been killed in combat at Monte Cassino in Italy, and he wanted revenge.

He made his first combat jump on D-Day, June 6th, 1944, the Allied invasion of Normandy. Easy Company landed behind enemy lines right into a firefight raging in the town of Sainte-Mere-Eglise.

"I couldn't wait to get off the plane," he said in a 2010 interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer. "I killed every German I could. That's why they called me ‘Wild Bill’."

His unit was assigned to secure the village of Sainte-Marie-du-Mont to block Germans retreating from Utah Beach, one of the five beaches in the Normandy invasion.

When his unit encountered a detachment of German soldiers, Lieutenant Richard Winters told his men to wait for his command to fire. But Guarnere couldn't wait. He opened fire with his submachine gun and wiped out most of the German patrol.

Later that day, Winters' unit attacked a group of four large howitzers at Brecourt Manor. Guarnere was a platoon sergeant when his force of only a dozen men attacked an enemy unit of about 50.

He was wounded in mid-October 1944 when he was shot in the right leg by a sniper while riding a motorcycle he had liberated from a farmer near the Rhine River. He fell off the bike, broke his right tibia and took shrapnel in his back.

He was sent to a hospital in England. While recovering, he feared he would be assigned to another outfit, and he managed to flee the hospital. He was caught, court-martialed, busted to the rank of private and sent back to the hospital.

He warned authorities that he would just go AWOL again to get back to his outfit. The hospital officials finally relented and sent him to the Netherlands, where he rejoined Easy Company.

Guarnere was in time to participate in the ferocious Battle of the Bulge after the German army had made a breakthrough in the bitter winter of December 1944.

He lost his right leg in a German artillery barrage while helping a wounded comrade.

He received the Silver Star medal for the action at Brecourt Manor on D-Day and later received two Bronze Stars for valor and two Purple Heart medals for his wounds.

Guarnere and another Easy Company veteran from Philadelphia, Edward "Babe" Heffron teamed with journalist Robyn Post to write a 2007 book, "Brothers in Battle, Best of Friends: Two WWII Paratroopers from the Original Band of Brothers Tell Their Story".

Guarnere was played by actor Frank John Hughes in the TV mini-series, based on the Stephen Ambrose book of the same title.

Born in Philadelphia on April 28th, 1923, Guarnere was the youngest of the 10 children of Joseph and Augusta Guarnere. While working nights at the locomotive works, he graduated from South Philadelphia High School in 1941.

After the war, Guarnere worked for manufacturing firms in Philadelphia, among other jobs.

He is survived by his wife of 68 years, the former Frances Peca; two sons, Eugene and William Guarnere Jr.; nine grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.


John Morrison writes for the Philadelphia Daily News and McClatchy Newspapers.

http://www.latimes.com/obituaries/la-me-william-guarnere-20140311,0,4074832.story
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« Reply #329 on: March 15, 2014, 02:45:24 pm »


From the Los Angeles Times....

Hal Douglas dies at 89; voice artist in film and TV

Hal Douglas' gravelly voice narrated trailers of movies such as
Lethal Weapon’ and ‘Marley & Me’, in addition to TV commercials.


By DAVID COLKER | 7:00PM PST - Thursday, March 13, 2014

Hal Douglas, one of the leading voice-over artists for films, commercials and TV shows, died at 89 on his Lovettsville, Virginia, farm. — Family photo: Sarah Douglas.
Hal Douglas, one of the leading voice-over artists for films, commercials and TV shows, died at 89
on his Lovettsville, Virginia, farm. — Family photo: Sarah Douglas.


HAL DOUGLAS was a movie star, but only until the feature film started.

Douglas, who was one of the most sought-after voice artists working in film and television, did the narration for so many movie trailers that he could not recall how many he recorded even in a given week. But some of the most prominent films for which he was the voice of the trailers were "Men in Black" (1 and 2), "Philadelphia", "Lethal Weapon", "Marley & Me" and "Forrest Gump".

Comedies, dramas, sci-fi blockbusters, documentaries — he did them all, not to mention thousands of TV show promotions and commercials.

"It's really narration in all of its own forms," said Douglas in a 2006 Los Angeles Times interview. "One takes what comes — that is the working craft."

Douglas, 89, died on March 7th at his home in Lovettsville, Virginia. He was diagnosed four years ago with pancreatic cancer and then had a stroke in October, said his daughter, Sarah Douglas.

He did not have booming tones, like some others who did movie trailers. His was a more gravelly sound, infused with character. "I never thought of it as a great voice," he said in a video interview (see below) with documentary filmmaker Casimir Nozkowski. "It's always verging on hoarseness, rarely crystal clear. So much so that that's become my voice. It's a unique sound."




Douglas, who mostly worked at home in a studio set up for his narration work, tuned his voice to whatever trailer was at hand, whether airborne action flick "Con Air" ("This summer, check your weapons, take your seat and say your prayers"), heartstring-tugging "Marvin's Room" ("Sometimes the people you know the least are the ones you need the most") or the Jerry Seinfeld comedy "Comedian", in which Douglas appeared on-screen in a trailer that parodied trailers ("In a world where laughter was king").

On TV, he did promotional spots for shows on ABC, CBS and NBC, as well as the A&E, WB and History cable networks.

"I get direction, but for the most part it is kind of working in the dark to an extent," he said in the Times interview. "I don't do character voices per se, but depending upon the emotion, try to approach it as an actor."

He had to especially adapt his approach when he did commercials, including those for high-end cars and over-the-counter remedies. "You get associated with Mercedes Benz, you've got class," he said wryly in the video interview of one client. "When you do Carter's Little Liver Pills, however, you're at the other end."

He was born Harold Cohen on September 1st, 1924, in Stamford, Connecticuit. His family later changed the last name to Cone and then, when he was seeking acting work, he took the name Douglas.

He studied theater at the University of Miami in Florida and worked as a radio announcer before trying his luck as an actor in New York. But wanting "a salary at the end of the week," he worked in advertising for a decade, which he felt equipped him to sell products and productions in voice-over work.

Douglas worked steadily until about four years ago, his daughter said. One of his last trailers was for the animated "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs".

"People have been telling me," he said in the Los Angeles Times interview, "they have been hearing me since they were children."

In addition to his daughter, he is survived by his wife, Ruth; sons Jeremy and Jon; and three grandchildren.




http://www.latimes.com/obituaries/la-me-hal-douglas-20140314,0,725445.story
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« Reply #330 on: March 18, 2014, 09:13:20 am »

http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/tv-radio/9839587/Two-Fat-Ladies-chef-Clarissa-Dickson-Wright-dies

 British celebrity chef Clarissa Dickson Wright, best known as one half of the eccentric television culinary duo Two Fat Ladies, has died at the age of 66, her agents said on Monday.

The former barrister, who had fought a well-documented battle with alcoholism, shot to fame in the 1990s with Jennifer Paterson in a BBC TV show in which the two women sped around Britain on a motorbike and sidecar searching for good food.
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« Reply #331 on: March 18, 2014, 09:16:26 am »

Shock death of former All Black captain Oliver


One of the rugged men of Manawatu and All Blacks rugby, Frank Oliver, has died suddenly at home in Palmerston North aged 65.

It came as a shock yesterday within the Manawatu community, where Oliver had lived for 34 years, because he was considered almost indestructible in his playing days.

Oliver played 43 matches for the All Blacks including 17 tests.

Oliver's son and Manawatu loose forward James had been working with his father on Sunday on a property James had bought.

''We're really surprised and pretty shocked at finding out,'' James said.

''He was really healthy and working up until the day he died.''

Each morning he would rise at 5am, but not so yesterday morning.

Frank Oliver worked every day at his sawmilll near Palmerston North.

''It was a big surprise,'' James said .

''He was still full of life, wasn't sick and had plenty of years left in him.''

He said his father closely followed Manawatu rugby and James' fortunes with the Varsity side.

James added his father's death left a big hole because Frank was someone he saw every day.

The cause of death is not yet known.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been made, James said.

STELLAR CAREER

Oliver's debut test was at Johannesburg in 1976 and his last test was against the Springboks at Wellington in 1981.

He captained the All Blacks in three tests in the 1978 home series against Australia when Graham Mourie was injured.

In more recent times he was a coach of the Hurricanes from 1996 to 1999 (45 games) and the Blues in 2001. Until the end of last season his rugby interest centred around watching his son James playing for Massey University and the Manawatu Turbos. Another son, Anton, was an All Black hooker between 1996 and 2007.

Until his death, Frank was still running his sawmill business just outside Palmerston North adjacent to Massey University.

He always said he "liked the logs" after having been a logging contractor in the forests around the lower North Island.

Dunedin-born, Oliver's career started in Southland with Invercargill Marist. He played 64 games for Southland in 1976-77, eight for Otago from the Tokomairiro club in 1978-79, and 54 for Manawatu from 1980 to 1983 from Palmerston North Marist, retiring from the game aged 34.

After captaining a World XV in South Africa in 1979, he shifted to Palmerston North where his brother-in-law and fellow All Black Mark Donaldson was playing for Manawatu.
     
He was a key cog when Manawatu won the national championships in 1980.

He was a hard-nosed player, with a reputation as an enforcer and possessed a colourful turn of phrase. He proved to be an astute coach after working for the Manawatu Rugby Union as a coaching co-ordinator, then as a staff coach for the New Zealand Rugby Union and as New Zealand under 19s coach in 1993-94.

After coaching in the grades for Marist, he took over the Marist seniors with Bill Gleeson and won the Hankins Shield in 1992.

Oliver was soon employed as the Manawatu representative coach in 1995-96, but even under his guidance they couldn't escape the second division.

When the Manawatu and Hawke's Bay teams merged to form the controversial Central Vikings for the 1997-98 seasons, Oliver coached them to win the second division in his second season.

One of his philosophies was if one of his teams suffered a heavy loss, the same XV was sent out the next week to put it right.

Name: Francis "Frank" Oliver

Date of birth: 24 December 1948

Place of birth: Dunedin

School: Lawrence District High

Test debut: 18 September 1976, v South Africa in Johannesburg (lost 15-14)

Test stats: 17 caps, 4 points (1976-1981)

Provincial stats (1969-1983): Southland 64 caps, Otago 8 caps, Manawatu 54 caps

Coaching: Manawatu (1995-1996), Central Vikings (1998-1999), Hurricanes (1996-1999), Blues (2001)

http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/all-blacks/9839390/Shock-death-of-former-All-Black-captain-Oliver
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« Reply #332 on: March 22, 2014, 02:01:49 am »


GOOD RIDDANCE to TRASH — Fred Phelps “kicks the bucket”



From the Los Angeles Times....

Fred Phelps dies at 84; Westboro Baptist's preacher of hate

A disbarred lawyer, Fred Phelps led a small Kansas church that picketed military
and celebrity funerals, preaching a doctrine of divine retribution against gays.


By STEVE CHAWKINS | 9:25AM PST - Thursday, March 20, 2014

Fred Phelps preaching at Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. "You can't preach the Bible without preaching hate," he once said. — Photo: Charlie Riedel/Associated Press.
Fred Phelps preaching at Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. "You can't preach the Bible without preaching hate," he once said.
 — Photo: Charlie Riedel/Associated Press.


FRED PHELPS, a publicity-hungry Kansas pastor who picketed hundreds of military funerals because he believed America was too sympathetic to gays, died early Thursday in Topeka, Kansas. He was 84.

His daughter, Margie Phelps, confirmed his death to the Associated Press but did not give the cause.

With his small Topeka congregation, Phelps also demonstrated at funerals and memorials for Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, former Mormon leader Gordon B. Hinckley and heavy metal singer Ronnie James Dio — any observance, regardless of any connection to gay issues, where cameras might be rolling.

Convinced that the deaths of U.S. soldiers were divine retribution for the nation's increasing acceptance of homosexuality, Phelps and his followers carried signs like: "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" and "God Hates the USA/Thank God for 9/11". A disbarred attorney, Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church were sued numerous times but won a landmark freedom of speech case in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Despite its name, his church is unaffiliated with any denomination. Its Web address, more reflective of its founder's theology, contains an anti-gay slur. The congregation is heavily composed of his relatives, including many of his 13 children and 54 grandchildren.

Two of his estranged sons, Nate and Mark, have said that Phelps' clan "excommunicated" him last year. The church declined to comment.

Phelps came to national attention in 1998 leading anti-gay pickets at the Casper, Wyoming, funeral of Matthew Shepard, a gay 21-year-old who had been lashed to a fence post and beaten to death. Five years after the funeral, Phelps returned to Casper with plans to erect a granite monument inscribed: "Matthew Shepard Entered Hell October 12th, 1998".

Phelps was denounced by many conservative Christian leaders, including the Reverend Jerry Falwell, who called him a "hatemonger" and "emotionally unbalanced."

Phelps jubilantly acknowledged spreading the message of hate.

"He's saying I preach hate? You can't preach the Bible without preaching hate!" Phelps told the Los Angeles Times in 1999.

"Looky here, the hatred of God is an attribute of the Almighty," he said. "It means he's determined to punish the wicked for their sins!"

An attorney for many years, Phelps handled civil rights cases in Kansas and elsewhere in the Midwest. In Topeka, he worked on behalf of black students claiming school discrimination and black bar patrons who accused police of abusive tactics during a 1979 drug raid. In 1987, he was honored by the Bonner Springs, Kansas, branch of the NAACP for his "steely determination for justice during his tenure as a civil rights attorney."

Privately, however, he was intensely prejudiced against African Americans, his estranged son Nate Phelps told the Telegraph, a British newspaper, in 2013. When Coretta Scott King died in 2006, Phelps picketed her funeral, condemning civil rights leaders for "giving away the movement" to homosexuals.

Phelps' funeral protests were intensely contested in court. In 2006, Phelps and six of his followers picketed a funeral for Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, a Marine killed in Iraq. Considering the case in 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that such demonstrations, no matter how odious, were legal as long as protesters obeyed state and local laws setting a minimum distance between themselves and mourners.

In his dissenting opinion, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote that the nation's commitment to free speech is not a license for "vicious verbal assault."

Eleven of Phelps' children are said to be attorneys, including Margie Phelps, who represented the church before the Supreme Court.

Born in Meridian, Mississippi, on November 13th, 1929, Phelps was the son of a railroad detective. An Eagle Scout, he was bound for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point when he attended a revival meeting and felt a calling to preach. In 1947, he was ordained a Southern Baptist minister.

He graduated from John Muir College in Pasadena, a forerunner of Pasadena City College, where he led a 1951 campaign against "promiscuous petting" and "evil language". He also attended Arizona Bible Institute, where he met his wife, Margie Simms, whom he married in 1952.

In 1964, he received a law degree from Washburn University in Topeka. He was disbarred by Kansas in 1979 after suing a court reporter, bullying her on the witness stand and calling her a "slut". Ten years later, after federal judges complained that he had made false accusations against them, he agreed to stop practicing in federal courts.

For Phelps and his followers, public condemnation by powerful opponents was a healthy sign; it proved that the voices of Westboro Baptist Church were the only righteous ones in a world clamoring with sinners.

When the BBC released a 2007 documentary about the Phelps clan called "The Most Hated Family in America", Fred's daughter Shirley saw only one failing, according to the Telegraph: "She wished it had been called ‘The Most Hated Family in the World’."


Related news stories:

 • Don't protest Fred Phelps' funeral, Kansas LGBT group says   (March 20th, 2014)

 • Little sorrow seen as anti-gay preacher Phelps said to be near death   (March 17th, 2014)


http://www.latimes.com/obituaries/la-me-fred-phelps-20140321,0,4718547.story
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« Reply #333 on: April 07, 2014, 04:18:25 pm »


Mickey Rooney dead at 93

By TMZ staff | 7:37PM PST - Sunday, April 06, 2014

MICKEY ROONEY

MICKEY ROONEY, who spent nearly his entire life in show business, died today. He was 93.

Rooney had been in ill health for quite some time. We're told death was attributed to natural causes.

He was one of the most famous child actors in entertainment history. He played the role of Andy Hardy in "The Hardy Boys" in 20 films.

Rooney also teamed up with Judy Garland for "Babes in Arms" which was a huge hit back in 1939.




He was the first teenager ever to be nominated for an Oscar for his leading role in "Strike Up the Band" in 1940.

Rooney and Elizabeth Taylor starred in one of the biggest movies of the 40s — "National Velvet" — which launched Taylor's career.

Rooney also starred with Audrey Hepburn in "Breakfast at Tiffany's".

Rooney appeared most recently in "The Muppets" in 2011 with Amy Adams and Jason Segal and "Night at the Museum" in 2006 with Ben Stiller.




The 5' 2" Rooney was married 8 times. One of his wives was Ava Gardner.

Rooney's last few years were filled with family strife. He claimed elder abuse at the hands of his step-son Chris Aber and won a $2.8 million judgment against him last year for siphoning money from his accounts.

Rooney testified before the U.S. Senate to discuss her personal story of abuse.




Photograph gallery:

 • Remembering Mickey Rooney


http://www.tmz.com/2014/04/06/mickey-rooney-dead
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« Reply #334 on: April 09, 2014, 10:55:59 pm »



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« Reply #335 on: July 17, 2014, 07:51:08 pm »


from The Dominion Post....

Militant unionist Con Devitt dead at 86

By CPAUL EASTON | 5:00AM - Wednesday, 16 July 2014

PROUD TO BE A SOCIALIST: Leading unionist Con Devitt, boss of the Boilermakers’ Union and the Trade Union Federation, was at the centre of many big industrial disputes in the 1970s and '80s.
PROUD TO BE A SOCIALIST: Leading unionist Con Devitt,
boss of the Boilermakers’ Union and the Trade Union
Federation, was at the centre of many big industrial
disputes in the 1970s and '80s.


HE WAS a proud union man, an enemy of Rob Muldoon but a friend to many.

Con Devitt, a leading union figure from the 1970s and '80s, died suddenly in Wellington on Sunday. He was 86.

To many, he was the baleful face of the militant unionist, fresh from the shipyards of Scotland and determined to wreak havoc in New Zealand. That was certainly the view held by former prime minister Sir Robert Muldoon.

The powerful Devitt-led Boilermakers' Union was knee deep in some of the biggest industrial disputes of the day, from wrangles over Wellington's BNZ Centre to festering disputes at Marsden Point oil refinery, the Kawerau pulp and paper plant, and the Kinleith timber mill.

Ken Douglas, former head of the Council of Trade Unions, said yesterday that his old friend had been unfairly maligned.

"There was a shortage of boilermakers. Con understood labour market forces and he was very effective at getting the best deal for his members. In overall terms, he made a very significant contribution to the union movement in Wellington."

Devitt was persecuted "quite viciously" for his role in union politics, Douglas said. "It was not a pleasant time for any militant union official, and he was a militant union official."

Away from the picket lines, Devitt was "a very engaging personality — full of humour and wit, and I certainly enjoyed his company".

Devitt gave as good as he got to his enemies. In 1979, he told a group of medical students that Muldoon was paranoid. "I'm sure some of you could assist him later when he gets worse."

Devitt is survived by his wife Joyce.

Family friend Helen Mulholland saw another side of the big gregarious Scot, who spoke with a thick Glaswegian accent despite decades in New Zealand.

"He and Joyce were always taking in waifs. Con would find these homeless people, bring them in and, get them some food and try and find them a job."

"I once said to Joyce: ‘Aren't you scared with all these people coming in?’ She said: ‘Not with Con beside me’."

The couple endured police raids as the government's dislike of Devitt increased, Mulholland said.

Devitt moved on to head the Trade Union Federation.

In 1995, he told The Evening Post he was proud to be socialist. It was, he said, "a good-sounding word".

His niece Maureen said from Scotland yesterday that Devitt had a "marvellous life".

"We used to ring him up and ask how he was going, and he's ‘Oh, it's great, I'm fighting with everyone’."


A MONUMENT TO UNION MILITANCY

The Bank of New Zealand building under construction on the corner of Willis and Willeston streets on 10th July 1981. — Photo: Ross Giblin/The Evening Post.
The Bank of New Zealand building under construction on the
corner of Willis and Willeston streets on 10th July 1981.
 — Photo: Ross Giblin/The Evening Post.


THE slow rise of Wellington's BNZ Centre came to represent the power of militant unions in the 1970s — and Con Devitt's name would forever be associated with the protracted construction of the black monolith.

Myriad delays meant that, although the 103-metre-high building was designed in the late 1960s, it wasn't occupied until 1984.

The Devitt-led Boilermakers' Union claimed the exclusive right of its members to weld the structural steel, as industrial action added six years to the project.

Among the more memorable boilermakers' stoppages was one prompted by union delegate "Black Jock" McKenzie's dissatisfaction with his company-issue boots.

The industrial strife was so bad that New Zealand architects were deterred from designing future buildings in steel.

The BNZ Centre, now called the State Insurance Building, finally opened at a cost of $93 million — more than four times over budget.

In 1995, Devitt insisted the union was made a scapegoat for the problems that plagued the project. Design flaws and faulty materials also caused delays, while disputes between the main contractor and sub-contractors were common.

"At one stage, our members were sitting across the road drinking coffee all day on full pay while the contractor and the BNZ sorted out their problems."


http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/10270609/Militant-unionist-Con-Devitt-dead-at-86
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« Reply #336 on: July 18, 2014, 06:50:06 am »

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"Life might not be the party you were expecting, but you're here now, so you may as well get up and dance"
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« Reply #337 on: July 30, 2014, 01:26:55 pm »


from the Los Angeles Times....

Theodore Van Kirk, last surviving member of Enola Gay crew, dead at 93

By JAMES QUEALLY | 4:00PM PDT - Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Theodore “Dutch” Van Kirk, the last surviving member of the plane that dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima in World War II, has died. He was 93. — Photo: Associated Press.
Theodore “Dutch” Van Kirk, the last surviving member of the plane that dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima in World War II,
has died. He was 93. — Photo: Associated Press.


THEODORE VAN KIRK, the last surviving member of the Enola Gay flight crew that bombed Hiroshima in the final stages of World War II, died on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press. He was 93.

Van Kirk, who went by the nickname “Dutch” and was the crew's navigator, died at the retirement home where he lived in Georgia, according to the report.

When Van Kirk spoke to a Los Angeles Times reporter in April 2010, he was 89 and had just become the final survivor of the famed crew.

“It’s a very lonely feeling,” he said.

The Enola Gay dropped the first atomic payload in U.S. history over Hiroshima on August 6th, 1945.

The bomb, nicknamed “Little Boy”, left 80,000 people dead in the initial explosion, and thousands more died from radiation poisoning. A second bombing in Nagasaki killed at least 60,000 people three days later, prompting the Japanese surrender and effectively ending the war.


http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-enola-gay-van-kirk-dead-20140729-story.html
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« Reply #338 on: August 12, 2014, 11:13:57 am »




   (click on the picture to read the news story)
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« Reply #339 on: August 13, 2014, 08:07:35 am »

Poor fella money problems depression and he hung himself
sad life its hard being a star.

reminds me of a song

« Last Edit: August 13, 2014, 09:17:16 am by Im2Sexy4MyPants » Report Spam   Logged

Are you sick of the bullshit from the sewer stream media spewed out from the usual Ken and Barby dickless talking point look a likes.

If you want to know what's going on in the real world...
And the many things that will personally effect you.
Go to
http://www.infowars.com/

AND WAKE THE F_ _K UP
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« Reply #340 on: August 13, 2014, 08:57:47 am »

Tragic death of Deirdre Elliott - 1987 Mobil Song Quest Winner




Sydney based New Zealand Mezzo-soprano Deirdre died after falling down some stairs at her sister's home. Deirdre never regained consciousness and died in Auckland Hospital.

Deirdre won the prestigious Mobil Song Quest judged that year by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. She won further scholarships enabling her to study for two years at the Royal Northern Manchester. Deirdre lived for 11 years in the UK performing widely in Europe before moving to Sydney to join Opera Australia's permanent ensemble of singers.

http://slippedisc.com/2014/08/sad-news-early-death-of-an-opera-australia-mezzo/
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« Reply #341 on: August 13, 2014, 09:31:25 am »


from the Los Angeles Times....

Robin Williams' ‘spark of madness’ let him soar above his demons

By DAVID HORSEY | 5:00AM PDT - Tuesday, August 12, 2014



ROBIN WILLIAMS did not have a mere spark of madness, he was a bonfire.

Given the apparent circumstances of his death — severe depression leading to suicide — some might ask if he burned too hot for his own good. Was the “spark of madness” truly the precious gift he considered it to be? Or is it a dangerous thing that we need to smother with rationality and restraint?

“You’re only given one little spark of madness,” Williams said. “You mustn’t lose it.” I very much doubt the “madness” of which he spoke had anything to do with mental illness. Rather, it is the spark of impulse, insight, enthusiasm and inspiration that is essential to creativity. It is defined negatively as madness only by the forces of conventionality and conformity, by the powers-that-be who are threatened and undermined by original thinkers, rebels, contrarians and comedians.

A rapid-fire rush of comic insight was the hallmark of Williams’ performances. He perceived the absurdities and ironies of politics, sex, identity, life and death at such a quick pace, he left us breathless with laughter and amazement.

In the midst of his manic hilarity, though, there was most often a trace of melancholy in his face and poignancy in his voice. You could see that he knew, all too well, that the human foolishness he so fiercely lampooned was tragic, not comic. It is that tragic sense that made him such a good dramatic actor; why this comic genius could inhabit serious roles, as he did in “Good Will Hunting”, “The World According to Garp”, “What Dreams May Come”, “The Dead Poets Society” and many other fine movies.

By all accounts, he was a generous and gracious man, but he struggled with his own flawed humanity — the addictions to cocaine and alcohol that kept luring him back and that contributed to his mortal fight with depression. If he’d been less on fire with creative madness, would he have been less susceptible to the things that tormented him and, perhaps, finally killed him? If he’d been more drab and restrained, would he still be alive?

I’m only guessing, but I suspect his troubles may have been with him either way. From my own observations of life and human folly, I’d argue it was his brilliant, explosive spark of madness that helped Robin Williams soar above his demons for so long.


http://www.latimes.com/opinion/topoftheticket/la-na-tt-robin-williams-20140811-story.html
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« Reply #342 on: August 13, 2014, 09:33:44 am »



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« Reply #343 on: August 13, 2014, 05:44:15 pm »


Mark Morford

A little spark of madness

By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist | 5:30PM PDT - Tuesday, August 12, 2014

You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.” – Robin Williams.

VERY MUCH did not want to write about Robin Williams.

Because futility. Because senselessness. Because it feels, at its core, utterly inadequate to attempt to unpack any potential meanings in Williams’ suicide, given how, like war, like disease, like abuse and ultraviolence and the endless slaughter of innocents worldwide, it requires going dark, digging into the bleak, shadowy regions of the human psyche, when all we ever really find there is phantasms, demons, glooms.

No meanings anywhere. No place to land. Just void.

Is it not true? To delve into the particularly gnarled portions of modern existence is to tacitly acknowledge that most of them are, by nature, quite thoroughly intractable, illusory, impossible to fully understand or process? Psychology and psychiatry are just elaborate educated guesses. Neuroscience is still shockingly primitive. Technically speaking, we really don’t know much of anything about the strange, divine kaleidoscope that is the human soul.


The best way to remember him.
The best way to remember him.

Nevertheless, we have to try? We have to at least look? This is important? These are not statements.

Jesus, it’s not like we’re lacking in other opportunities, you know? It’s not like we have insufficient examples of suffering, savagery and loss in the world, such that our karma requires someone as gloriously gifted — and apparently, quietly tormented — as Robin Williams to exit this world in the way he did, so we may more thoroughly examine our psychosis and our frayed pathways.

But there it is. It happens anyway, and we can only entreaty to the Fates, God, the infuriating ambivalence of the universe: Was this really necessary?

No answer comes. This is the beautiful, brutal secret of the universe. No answer ever comes. It just keeps dancing.

So we try something else. Instead of endless processing, instead of failed attempts to define the indefinable and make sense of our various demons — in Williams’ case, depression, addiction and suicide — we instead try the next best thing: we ponder. We discuss. We reflect. Maybe we even make a few changes. Just to see.

At the very least, we open ours hearts a tiny bit more to those around us, as we realize Williams was far from alone in his torment, and even as we understand that there is no easy solution to any of it. Because this is life, stupid. There’s never an easy solution. There’s never a safe place to land. Just not how it’s built.

There is, however, some possibility. More love. More offerings of support and kindness. And, to my mind, more work to be done to see just how many of our beloved demons exist as a result of our own money-crazed, power-mad culture, our fetishes for violence and teardown, our cruel addictions to celebrity, perfection and the false gods of fame.

Really now, do we not invent many of our own demons, feed and coddle them, manufacture and amplify and make them into unstoppable armies? Given the size of the population, our rapacious rates of consumption, the dazzling reach of the Internet and the speed at which suffering can now gain traction and travel, we have more potential threats to the stability of our psyche — both personal and collective — than we’ve ever had before.


An old San Francisco Chronicle shot, circa 1987, by Fred Larson.
An old San Francisco Chronicle shot, circa 1987, by Fred Larson.

What do you think? Do you feel the modern world is more fraught with relentless messages of hatred, odium, self-destruction than ever? It would certainly seem so. It’s a bit like environmental toxins. A hundred years ago they barely existed. Now? We swim in an inescapable chemical stew, our very air, water, food and furniture and technology and even cancerous toys loaded with so many freakish artificial compounds, we can’t even keep track anymore.

I digress. But only a little. Because most of what I’ve seen so far in the wake of Williams’ death is lots of powerful, informative outpourings about the illness of depression itself, its anguish and its savage mystery. Personal stories, anecdotes, shocking glimpses into the pain.

It’s all in turns hugely illuminating, frightening and sad, even as it remains impossible to locate exactly. Hell, even the late, hyper-articulate David Foster Wallace, prior to his own depression-induced suicide, couldn’t explain his illness’ source or its significance, only the staggering agony it induced.

But then, what of the popular Jungian notion that the dark side, the shadow is ever-present and ever lurking? What do we make of the idea that we are ever at the mercy of our own treacherous temptations and inherent flaws? What of the fear that whatever took down Williams is ever breathing at all our doors?

I’m not so sure of this. I’ve recoiled hard at the notion that the darkness is somehow built in, hard wired, that everyone has a shadow side and it’s only the thinnest veil of morals, laws, guilt, silly notions of God that keep everyone from murdering each other, and then themselves.

I’m much more taken of the Tantric notion of stuckness. Of dangerously stagnating energy, all those emotions, beliefs, convictions, patterns, traumas, memories that somehow take hold of us so deeply they actually begin to calcify, turn poisonous, convince us they’ve been there all along and that’s just the way we are and there’s nothing we can do about it.

I think even Williams would call bullshit on that one. No way are we hard-wired for doom. No way are we darkly predisposed to wipe ourselves out, to steal and murder and destroy like dumb zombies. As Williams’ own genius proved, we’re far more predisposed to laugh, to find joy, to relish the wonder and irresistible humor of existence itself, even amidst the pain and anguish. When all is said and done, isn’t that the best lesson of all?


Email: Mark Morford

Mark Morford on Twitter and Facebook.

http://blog.sfgate.com/morford/2014/08/12/a-little-spark-of-madness
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« Reply #344 on: August 13, 2014, 05:44:30 pm »




   (click on the picture to read the news story)
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« Reply #345 on: August 13, 2014, 07:04:11 pm »

Strange that theres page after page dedicated to Williams - Lauren Bacall gets one mention in the entertainment columns.
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« Reply #346 on: August 13, 2014, 07:20:59 pm »


You're looking in the wrong place.

There is page after page after page of stuff dedicated to Lauren Bacall at the Los Angeles Times at the moment, including the LEAD story.

Robin Williams' death has been knocked off the front page there.

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« Reply #347 on: August 14, 2014, 12:03:09 am »



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« Reply #348 on: August 20, 2014, 09:14:25 pm »



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« Reply #349 on: August 25, 2014, 11:30:37 am »




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