June 5, 2016

Quote of the Day

I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.

Confucius was a Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher of the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history. 
Born: September 28, 551 BC, Lu
Died: 479 BC, Lu
Full name: Kong Qiu


Muhammad Ali 
Born: January 17, 1942, Louisville, KY
Died: June 3, 2016, Scottsdale, AZ

Muhammad Ali, the Greatest, Dies at 74
The legendary boxer leaves a legacy unmatched in sports—a charismatic champion of free speech and civil change

Muhammad Ali, one of the most influential athletes in American history and a three-time heavyweight champion who fought as well with his mouth and mind, has died. He was 74 years old.
The Associated Press, citing a statement from his family, said Ali died Friday. He was hospitalized in the Phoenix area with respiratory problems earlier this week.
A private funeral is scheduled for Thursday in his hometown of Louisville, Ky. On Friday, a procession will carry Ali’s body’s through the city, followed by a memorial service open to the public at the KFC YUM! Center, the AP reported.
Ali called himself “The Greatest,” and many agreed. Among boxers, he certainly ranked among the elite, having won the heavyweight title three times in his 21-year career. But it was his life outside the ring that inspired the strongest adjectives. He was the prettiest, the brashest, the baddest, the fastest, the loudest, the rashest.
He openly attacked American racism at a time when the nation’s black athletes and celebrities were expected to acquiesce, to thank the white power structure that gave them the opportunity to earn wealth and celebrity, and to otherwise keep their mouths shut. Ali’s mouth was seldom shut. He joined the Nation of Islam at a time when the FBI and many journalists labeled the Muslim group a dangerous cult bent on destroying America. He challenged the legitimacy of the Vietnam War and refused to enlist in the military at a time when few prominent Americans were protesting, an act of civil disobedience that led to his suspension from boxing for more than three years.

In a career full of seemingly magical feats, Ali’s greatest trick may have been his transformation—from one the nation’s most reviled characters to one of its most beloved. It was in that journey that the boxer left his marks—including welts, cuts and bruises—on American culture. He was born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. on Jan. 17, 1942, in Louisville, Ky., the son of a sign painter and a domestic worker. His paternal grandfather, Herman Clay, was a convicted murderer. His paternal great-grandfather, in all likelihood, was a slave.
The young Cassius Clay was a poor student who struggled to read the printed word, probably as a result of dyslexia, according to his wife, Lonnie Ali. He discovered his talent for boxing by accident, at the age of 12, when he told a police officer that his bicycle had been stolen. The police officer invited Cassius to join a group of young boxers, black and white, who trained at a gymnasium in downtown Louisville.
Team sports held little interest for Cassius, according to his brother, Rahman Ali, who was born Rudolph Clay. Cassius couldn’t stand the notion of wearing a helmet where his face would be obscured or being one of only 10 men on a basketball court or 22 men on a football field.
Cassius wanted nothing more than to be famous, according to his childhood friend, Owen Sitgraves of Louisville, who remembered Ali jogging to Central High School every day beside the bus that carried his classmates.
“He did it for the attention,” not just the exercise, Sitgraves said in a recent interview. In 1960, while taking time off from high school, 18-year-old Cassius Clay won the gold medal as a light heavyweight at the Olympic Games in Rome. He turned professional soon after and won his first 19 fights before earning a chance to fight for the heavyweight championship against Charles “Sonny” Liston in 1964. Liston was the most feared fighter of his time, and reporters covering the fight predicted almost unanimously that Cassius Clay would lose.

When the fight began, however, reporters saw instantly that Cassius Clay was not only bigger than Liston, he was also much faster. Cassius attacked with relentless jabs and combinations until the sixth round, when Liston quit.
“I am the greatest!” the new champion shouted into the microphone of radio reporter Howard Cosell. “I am the greatest! I am the king of the world!”
After the fight, Clay told reporters he had joined the Nation of Islam and embraced the teachings of its leader, Elijah Muhammad, as well the group’s most prominent minister, Malcolm X. At a time when civil-rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. were leading the fight for integration, the Nation of Islam preached separatism, saying white Americans would never give black citizens true equality.
The boxer said he would abandon his so-called slave name and accept the name Muhammad Ali, which had been chosen for him by Elijah Muhammad. As Cassius Clay, the boxer had been deemed a loudmouth who didn’t know his place and didn’t comport himself with the dignity expected of sports heroes. Now, as Muhammad Ali, he was something more threatening. “I pity Clay and abhor what he represents,” wrote Jimmy Cannon, one of the most influential sportswriters of the time. “In the years of hunger during the Depression, the Communists used famous people the way the Black Muslims are exploiting Clay. This is a sect that deforms the beautiful purpose of religion.”

But many black Americans, even those who didn’t embrace the Nation of Islam, saw in Ali a man who was willing to fight outside the ring. “What white America demands in her black champions,” the Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver said, “is a brilliant, powerful body, and a dull, bestial mind—a tiger in the ring and a pussycat outside the ring.”
Muhammad Ali changed that. He became one of the most talked-about men in the world. He criticized Dr. King and other leaders of the civil-rights movement for their timidity. He traveled to Africa and the Middle East, where he was cheered not only for his boxing fame but also for his embrace of Islam. And, in 1967, he stood in opposition to the Vietnam War, refusing to be drafted. On the one hand, he claimed his objection was political—a black man ought not fight for a country that continued to treat him as a second-class citizen. On the other hand, he claimed exemption as a minister in the Nation of Islam, saying his religious beliefs precluded him from fighting.
Courts rejected both arguments, judging him guilty of draft evasion. Boxing officials denied him licenses to fight for more than three years. By the time the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Ali’s conviction, the war in Vietnam had grown wildly unpopular, with protests erupting all over the country, and Ali’s bold anti-establishment stance made him a hero even among people who cared nothing for boxing.

“He was always very political and moral,” said Andrew Young, the former mayor of Atlanta and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. And while Elijah Muhammad preached separatism, Ali didn’t always adhere to that belief. He loved people and attention too much to ever dismiss anyone for their color or beliefs. The appetite for affection guided much of Ali’s life. It led him through four marriages and countless sexual affairs. It made him a political wild card, too. He offered praise for John F. Kennedy and endorsement for Ronald Reagan while he declined to support the presidential bid of his friend Jesse Jackson.
Ali was the rare man who enjoyed airports because there were so many people there to entertain. When limousine drivers arranged to pick him up on quiet side streets or in alleys, he would rebuff them, saying he wanted to come and go from the busiest spots possible, and he would often stand next to his car until people noticed him. Even at his most subversive, he spoke with a twinkle in his eye, offering poetry and magic tricks, eager to please and torment simultaneously.
In his return to boxing, he lost to Joe Frazier in his first attempt at reclaiming the heavyweight championship. He lost again two years later to Ken Norton, defeated Joe Frazier in a 1974 rematch, and then earned the chance to regain his championship in a fight against George Foreman, who was considered the most devastating puncher the sport had seen since Sonny Liston. In the fight against Foreman, which was held in Zaire, Ali was once again a heavy underdog. Once again, he defied expectations. But while he had been too fast for Sonny Liston in 1964, 10 years later Ali didn’t rely on speed. Instead, he let one of the most powerful punchers in boxing history pound away until Foreman’s arms grew weary and his hope of a quick knockout faded.

“I thought I would knock him out,” Foreman recalled in a recent interview. “I creamed Ken Norton, and Joe Frazier with ease. I thought this would be the easiest of all of them. I had no idea that this guy would be competitive. I beat him up, beat him up, and he survived…Most guys you hit them and they fight back but he covered up. Smartest boxer I ever been in the ring with.”
Once, Ali had described his style as “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” Now he called his strategy “the rope-a-dope,” and he would rely on it in the late stage of his career, absorbing an increasing number of punches.
He lost his title to Leon Spinks in 1978, regained it in a rematch with Spinks later that same year and then announced his retirement.

In 1980, Ali emerged from retirement to fight Larry Holmes and suffered a brutal loss. He fought and lost one more time, in 1981, before truly retiring.
In 1984, Ali said he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, a degenerative neurological condition. In subsequent years, he traveled widely, raising money for many causes, including the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center in Phoenix. He also traveled on behalf of the American government on diplomatic missions, including negotiations to win the release of hostages.
In 1996, his hands shaking, Ali lit the Olympic torch to launch the Summer Games in Atlanta. In 2005, President George W. Bush awarded Ali the Presidential Medal of Freedom.



Born: June 7, 1958 Minneapolis, Minnesota, US
Died: April 21, 2016 (aged 57) Chanhassen, Minnesota, US

Prince, an Artist Who Defied Genre, Is Dead at 57 

Prince, the songwriter, singer, producer, one-man studio band and consummate showman, died on Thursday at his home, Paisley Park, in Chanhassen, Minn. He was 57.
His publicist, Yvette Noel-Schure, confirmed his death but did not report a cause. In a statement, the Carver County sheriff, Jim Olson, said that deputies responded to an emergency call at 9:43 a.m. “When deputies and medical personnel arrived,” he said, “they found an unresponsive adult male in the elevator. Emergency medical workers attempted to provide lifesaving CPR, but were unable to revive the victim. He was pronounced deceased at 10:07 a.m.”
The sheriff’s office said it would continue to investigate his death.
Last week, responding to news reports that Prince’s plane had made an emergency landing because of a health scare, Ms. Noel-Schure said Prince was “fighting the flu.”
Prince was a man bursting with music — a wildly prolific songwriter, a virtuoso on guitars, keyboards and drums and a master architect of funk, rock, R&B and pop, even as his music defied genres. In a career that lasted from the late 1970s until his solo “Piano & a Microphone” tour this year, he was acclaimed as a sex symbol, a musical prodigy and an artist who shaped his career his way, often battling with accepted music-business practices.
“When I first started out in the music industry, I was most concerned with freedom. Freedom to produce, freedom to play all the instruments on my records, freedom to say anything I wanted to,” he said when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. In a tribute to George Harrison that night, Prince went on to play a guitar solo in “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” that left the room floored.
A seven-time Grammy winner, Prince had Top 10 hits like “Little Red Corvette,” “When Doves Cry,” “Let’s Go Crazy,” “Kiss” and “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World”; albums like “Dirty Mind,” “1999” and “Sign O’ the Times” were full-length statements. His songs also became hits for others, among them “Nothing Compares 2 U” for Sinead O’Connor, “Manic Monday” for the Bangles and “I Feel for You” for Chaka Khan. With the 1984 film and album “Purple Rain,” he told a fictionalized version of his own story: biracial (although Prince’s parents were both African-American), gifted, spectacularly ambitious. Its music won him an Academy Award, and the album sold more than 13 million copies in the United States alone.
In a statement, President Obama said, “Few artists have influenced the sound and trajectory of popular music more distinctly, or touched quite so many people with their talent.”
He added, “He was a virtuoso instrumentalist, a brilliant bandleader, and an electrifying performer. ‘A strong spirit transcends rules,’ Prince once said — and nobody’s spirit was stronger, bolder, or more creative.”

A Unifier of Dualities

Prince recorded the great majority of his music entirely on his own, playing every instrument and singing every vocal line. Many of his albums were simply credited, “Produced, arranged, composed and performed by Prince.” Then, performing those songs onstage, he worked as a bandleader in the polished, athletic, ecstatic tradition of James Brown, at once spontaneous and utterly precise, riveting enough to open a Grammy Awards telecast and play the Super Bowl halftime show. He would often follow a full-tilt arena concert with a late-night club show, pouring out even more music.
On Prince’s biggest hits, he sang passionately, affectionately and playfully about sex and seduction. With deep bedroom eyes and a sly, knowing smile, he was one of pop’s ultimate flirts: a sex symbol devoted to romance and pleasure, not power or machismo. Elsewhere in his catalog were songs that addressed social issues and delved into mysticism and science fiction. He made himself a unifier of dualities — racial, sexual, musical, cultural — teasing at them in songs like “Controversy” and transcending them in his career.
He had plenty of eccentricities: his fondness for the color purple, using “U” for “you” and a drawn eye for “I” long before textspeak, his vigilant policing of his music online, his penchant for releasing troves of music at once, his intensely private persona. Yet for musicians and listeners of multiple generations, he was admired well-nigh universally.
Prince’s music had an immediate and lasting influence: among songwriters concocting come-ons, among producers working on dance grooves, among studio experimenters and stage performers. He sang as a soul belter, a rocker, a bluesy ballad singer and a falsetto crooner. His most immediately recognizable (and widely imitated) instrumental style was a particular kind of pinpoint, staccato funk, defined as much by keyboards as by the rhythm section. But that was just one among the many styles he would draw on and blend, from hard rock to psychedelia to electronic music. His music was a cornucopia of ideas: triumphantly, brilliantly kaleidoscopic.

Runaway Success

Prince Rogers Nelson was born in Minneapolis on June 7, 1958, the son of John L. Nelson, a musician whose stage name was Prince Rogers, and Mattie Della Shaw, a jazz singer who had performed with the Prince Rogers Band. They were separated in 1965, and his mother remarried in 1967. Prince spent some time living with each parent and immersed himself in music, teaching himself to play his instruments. “I think you’ll always be able to do what your ear tells you,” he told his high school newspaper, according to the biography “I Would Die 4 U: Why Prince Became an Icon” (2013) by the critic Touré.
Eventually he ran away, living for some time in the basement of a neighbor whose son, André Anderson, would later record as André Cymone. As high school students they formed a band that would also include Morris Day, later the leader of the Time. In classes, Prince also studied the music business.
He recorded with a Minneapolis band, 94 East, and began working on his own solo recordings. He was still a teenager when he was signed to Warner Bros. Records, in a deal that included full creative control. His first album, “For You” (1978), gained only modest attention. But his second, “Prince” (1979), started with “I Wanna Be Your Lover,” a No. 1 R&B hit that reached No. 11 on the pop charts; the album sold more than a million copies, and for the next two decades Prince albums never failed to reach the Top 100. During the 1980s, nearly all were million-sellers that reached the Top 10.
With his third album, the pointedly titled “Dirty Mind,” Prince moved from typical R&B romance to raunchier, more graphic scenarios; he posed on the cover against a backdrop of bedsprings and added more rock guitar to his music. It was a clear signal that he would not let formats or categories confine him. “Controversy,” in 1981, had Prince taunting, “Am I black or white?/Am I straight or gay?” His audience was broadening; the Rolling Stones chose him as an opening act for part of their tour that year.
Prince grew only more prolific. His next album, “1999,” was a double LP; the video for one of its hit singles, “Little Red Corvette,” became one of the first songs by an African-American musician played in heavy rotation on MTV. He was also writing songs with and producing the female group Vanity 6 and the funk band Morris Day and the Time, which would have a prominent role in “Purple Rain.”
Prince played “the Kid,” escaping an abusive family to pursue rock stardom, in “Purple Rain.” Directed by Albert Magnoli on a budget of $7 million, it was Prince’s film debut and his transformation from stardom to superstardom. With No. 1 hits in “Let’s Go Crazy” and “When Doves Cry,” he at one point in 1984 had the No. 1 album, single and film simultaneously.
He also drew some opposition. “Darling Nikki,” a song on the album that refers to masturbation, shocked Tipper Gore, the wife of Al Gore, who was then a United States senator, when she heard her daughter listening to it, helping lead to the formation of the Parents’ Music Resource Center, which eventually pressured record companies into labeling albums to warn of “explicit content.” Prince himself would later, in a more religious phase, decide not to use profanities onstage, but his songs — like his 2013 single “Breakfast Can Wait” — never renounced carnal delights.
Prince didn’t try to repeat the blockbuster sound of “Purple Rain,” and for a time he withdrew from performing. He toyed with pastoral, psychedelic elements on “Around the World in a Day” in 1985, which included the hit “Raspberry Beret,” and “Parade” in 1986, which was the soundtrack for a movie he wrote and directed, “Under the Cherry Moon,” that was an awkward flop. He also built his studio complex, Paisley Park, in the mid-1980s for a reported $10 million, and in 1989 his “Batman” soundtrack album sold two million copies.

 Business Battles
Friction grew in the 1990s between Prince and his label, Warner Bros., over the size of his output and how much music he was determined to release. “Sign O’ the Times,” a monumental 1987 album that addressed politics and religion as well as romance, was a two-LP set, cut back from a triple.
By the mid-1990s, Prince was in open battle with the label, releasing albums as rapidly as he could to finish his contract; quality suffered and so did sales. He appeared with the word “Slave” written on his face, complaining about the terms of his contract, and in 1993 he changed his stage name to an unpronounceable glyph, only returning to Prince in 1996 after the Warner contract ended. He marked the change with a triple album, independently released on his own NPG label: “Emancipation.”
For the next two decades, Prince put out an avalanche of recordings. Hip-hop’s takeover of R&B meant that he was heard far less often on the radio; his last Top 10 hit was “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World,” in 1994. He experimented early with online sales and distribution of his music, but eventually turned against what he saw as technology companies’ exploitation of the musician; instead, he tried other forms of distribution, like giving his 2007 album “Planet Earth” away with copies of The Daily Mail in Britain. His catalog is not available on the streaming service Spotify, and he took extensive legal measures against users of his music on YouTube and elsewhere.
But Prince could always draw and satisfy a live audience, and concerts easily sustained his later career. He was an indefatigable performer: posing, dancing, taking a turn at every instrument, teasing a crowd and then dazzling it. He defied a downpour to play a triumphal “Purple Rain” at the Super Bowl halftime show in 2007, and he headlined the Coachella festival in 2008 for a reported $5 million. A succession of his bands — the Revolution, the New Power Generation, 3rdEyeGirl — were united by their funky momentum and quick reflexes as Prince made every show seem both thoroughly rehearsed and improvisational.

His survivors include a sister, Tyka Nelson, and several half-siblings. His marriages to Mayte Garcia and Manuela Testolini ended in divorce.
A trove of Prince’s recordings remains unreleased, in an archive he called the Vault. Like much of his offstage career, its contents are a closely guarded secret, but it’s likely that there are masterpieces yet to be heard.
 Correction: April 27, 2016
An obituary on Friday about Prince referred imprecisely to which elements of the character he played in the movie “Purple Rain” were autobiographical and which were fictional. Although the character, known as the Kid, is biracial, Prince himself was not. (Both his parents were African-American.)


Quote of the Day

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”

April 1, 2016


Patty Duke
Born: December 14, 1946, Elmhurst, New York City, NY
Died: March 29, 2016, Coeur d'Alene, ID
Height: 5′ 0″

 Patty Duke, Child Star and Oscar Winner, Dies at 69
Patty Duke, an Oscar-winning actress renowned at midcentury as a child star of stage, film and television, who, amid public struggles with bipolar disorder, went on to cultivate a respected career in adulthood as an actress and mental-health advocate, died on Tuesday at a hospital near her home in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. She was 69.
The cause was complications of a ruptured intestine that Ms. Duke suffered on Thursday, said her husband, Michael Pearce.
Ms. Duke came to wide public notice in 1959, at 12, when she starred as Helen Keller in the original Broadway production of William Gibson’s drama “The Miracle Worker.” Anne Bancroft played Helen’s teacher, Annie Sullivan.
For her performance in the 1962 Hollywood film adaptation, in which she and Ms. Bancroft reprised their roles, Ms. Duke won the Academy Award for best supporting actress.

She came to even wider attention the next year, with the debut of “The Patty Duke Show,” the popular ABC sitcom in which Ms. Duke played the dual roles of Patty Lane, an unaffected Brooklyn girl, and her worldly, Scottish “identical cousin,” Cathy Lane.
Broadcast on ABC, the show ran through 1966, and also starred William Schallert as Patty’s father.
Homey, comforting and sentimental, the show, with its emblematic theme song (“Where Cathy adores a minuet,/The Ballets Russes, and crêpes suzette,/Our Patty loves to rock and roll,/A hot dog makes her lose control;/What a wild duet!”) remains a touchstone of American nostalgia.
But in an irony not lost one iota on Ms. Duke, the fame she won for playing a typical teenager — who inhabited a world of bubble gum, bobby socks and few real problems — belied the lifelong upheavals that began in childhood.
Among them were a threadbare upbringing; parental alcoholism; her removal from her home by her managers, who co-opted not only her earnings but also, Ms. Duke later wrote, her very identity; implication in the television quiz-show scandals of the late 1950s; sexual abuse; four marriages; and more than one suicide attempt.

In the end, however, Ms. Duke found contentment in an enduring fourth marriage; the presidency of the Screen Actors Guild; the proper diagnosis and treatment of her bipolar disorder; her public lobbying for causes including mental health, AIDS awareness and nuclear disarmament; and a renewed television career that brought her three Emmys.

The youngest of three children, Anna Marie Duke was born in New York City on Dec. 14, 1946, and reared in Queens. Her father, John Patrick Duke, was a handyman and cabby; her mother, the former Frances McMahon, was a cashier.
Her mother, Ms. Duke later said, was chronically depressed; her father was an alcoholic. When Anna was 6, her father left the family, and she saw him again only occasionally.
Anna began acting at about 8, when she was taken on by John and Ethel Ross, husband-and-wife managers who represented her older brother Raymond.
The Rosses immediately set to work neutralizing Anna’s prominent Queens accent. They also changed her name to the pert, less ethnic-sounding Patty.
“Anna Marie is dead; you’re Patty now,” she was told, as she recalled in a memoir, “Call Me Anna” (1987, with Kenneth Turan).
As Patty Duke, she landed bit parts in films and on television before being cast in “The Miracle Worker.” To prepare her to audition for the part, the Rosses took to blindfolding her and moving the furniture around.
Playing the young Helen Keller — a rigorous role that required her to act, persuasively but without sentimentality, the part of a deaf-blind child subject to fearsome rages; to learn the manual alphabet; and to engage nightly in an ad-libbed, highly physical onstage fight with Ms. Bancroft that could last nearly 10 minutes — she won critical plaudits and enduring fame.
Reviewing the play in The New York Times, Brooks Atkinson wrote:
“As Helen, little Miss Duke is altogether superb — a plain, sullen, explosive, miniature monster whose destructive behavior makes sympathy for her afflictions impossible, but whose independence and vitality are nevertheless admirable.”
In the view of many critics, Ms. Duke’s passage from Helen Keller to Patty Lane was a voyage from the sublime to the ridiculous.

From its pilot episode, scripted by Sidney Sheldon, the show gloried in its preposterous premise: two cousins so genetically indistinguishable that, as its theme song proclaimed, “They laugh alike, they walk alike, at times they even talk alike.”
But the public ate it up, along with vigorously marketed merchandise like dolls, clothes, puzzles and board games.
The show’s success — and Patty Lane’s popularity in particular — was something Ms. Duke came to deplore.
“I hated being less intelligent than I was,” she later wrote. “I hated pretending I was younger than I was, I hated not being consulted about anything, having no choice in how I looked or what I wore, I hated being trapped.”
The Rosses, who by now saw Ms. Duke as a golden goose, removed her, against her wishes, from her mother’s home and took her to live with them. They monitored her every movement, she later said, telling her what to wear, what to do and what to eat, and fiercely controlled her mother’s access to her.
They also, Ms. Duke said, fed her uppers and downers and introduced her to alcohol. Both members of the couple, she later wrote, sexually molested her on occasion.
There was also financial malfeasance. In 1959, testifying before a congressional committee, Mr. Ross, admitted that Patty, who had appeared not long before on the TV quiz show “The $64,000 Challenge,” had been fed the answers by the show’s producers.

She won $32,000 on the show, of which Mr. Ross took his standard 15 percent fee.
By the time Ms. Duke broke with the Rosses as a young woman, she later said, she discovered that they had embezzled the vast portion of her career earnings — about $1 million.
To extricate herself from the Rosses’ Svengali-like clutches, she married Harry Falk, an assistant director on “The Patty Duke Show,” when she was still a teenager; the marriage ended in divorce. A second marriage, to Michael Tell, was annulled after 13 days.
In 1972, Ms. Duke married the actor John Astin; during their marriage, she was billed as Patty Duke Astin. They divorced in 1985.
Her other roles include the female lead in “My Sweet Charlie,” a 1970 TV movie in which she portrayed a pregnant runaway who falls in love with a black man, played by Al Freeman Jr. Her performance garnered her the first of her three Emmy Awards.
On the big screen, she appeared in “Valley of the Dolls,” the 1967 adaptation of Jacqueline Susann’s novel, playing Neely O’Hara, a woman addicted to sex, drugs and alcohol.
But all the while, Ms. Duke was dealing increasingly with a real-life emotional lability for which she had no name. She attempted suicide several times, and was committed to mental hospitals.
Only in 1982 did she receive a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, along with proper medication. She recounted her experiences in another memoir, “A Brilliant Madness: Living With Manic-Depressive Illness” (1992, with Gloria Hochman).
Ms. Duke’s survivors include her fourth husband, Mr. Pearce, an Army drill sergeant whom she married in 1986 (she preferred afterward to be known in private life as Anna Pearce); her brother, Raymond; two sons, the actors Sean Astin and Mackenzie Astin; a stepdaughter, Charlene Gibson, from her marriage to Mr. Pearce; a son, Kevin, with Mr. Pearce; and six grandchildren. Another stepdaughter from her fourth marriage, Raelene Pearce, died in 1998.

Among Ms. Duke’s other television credits are the 1976 NBC mini-series “Captains and the Kings,” for which she won her second Emmy, and a 1979 TV adaptation of “The Miracle Worker” for which — playing Annie Sullivan to Melissa Gilbert’s Helen — she won her third.
Ms. Duke played her adult self in “Call Me Anna,” a 1990 TV movie based on her memoir. Over the years she had guest roles on a string of shows, including “The Love Boat,” “Amazing Grace,” “Touched by an Angel” and “Glee.”
She served as president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1985 to 1988.
In a quotation on her website, officialpattyduke.com, Ms. Duke summed up her quicksilver life in lines whose final word fairly rings with resonance:

“I’ve survived,” she wrote. “I’ve beaten my own bad system and on some days, on most days, that feels like a miracle.”


Belated RIP

Umberto Eco
Born: January 5, 1932, Alessandria, Italy

Died: February 19, 2016, Milan, Italy










Umberto Eco, Italian novelist and intellectual, dies aged 84

The revered literary critic, author and essayist – most famous for 1980 novel The Name of the Rose – had been suffering from cancer

The celebrated Italian intellectual Umberto Eco, who shot to fame with his 1980 novel The Name of the Rose, has been remembered as a master of Italian culture after his death at the age of 84.
Eco died on Friday night after suffering from cancer, prompting tributes to pour in for the esteemed writer.
He was “an extraordinary example of a European intellectual, combining unique intelligence of the past with a limitless capacity to anticipate the future”, said Italy’s prime minister, Matteo Renzi. “It’s an enormous loss for culture, which will miss his writing and voice, his sharp and lively thought, and his humanity,” Renzi told the Ansa news agency.
Italy’s culture minister, Dario Franceschini, said Eco remained youthful until his last day. “A master who brought Italian culture to the whole world,” Franceschini wrote on Twitter.
Leading daily Corriere della Sera called Eco “the writer who changed Italian culture”, while newspaper La Stampa described a country in mourning for the author’s death.
Through Eco’s academic writings and his bestselling books, he became a respected intellectual voice both in Italy and abroad.
Internationally, he remains best known for his bestseller The Name of the Rose, a medieval detective novel set in an Italian abbey, which follows Brother William of Baskerville as he investigates a series of suspicious deaths. The novel captured imaginations globally and was turned into a film starring Sean Connery as William.
The work secured Eco’s international reputation and he went on to pen a number of other novels, including Foucault’s Pendulum in 1988. His most recent work, Numero Zero, was published last year and centres on a new newspaper in Milan funded by a meddling tycoon. Later this year a final novel will be released posthumously, Italian media reported.
Although Eco’s works sold millions of copies, he was not one to pander to popular tastes. “It’s only publishers and some journalists who believe that people want simple things. People are tired of simple things. They want to be challenged,” he told the Guardian in 2011.
While his first novel was not published until 1980, Eco said he had always had a “narrative impulse” and began writing stories at the age of 10 or 12. Born on 5 January 1932 in Alessandria, north-west Italy, Eco rejected his father’s wish that he study law and instead read philosophy and literature at the University of Turin.
After finished his doctoral thesis, Eco lectured at his alma mater and during the same period worked at Italy’s state broadcaster, RAI, as a cultural editor. He went on to develop his interest in semiotics, the study of signs and symbols, and became a professor of the subject at the University of Bologna. His significant academic writings include On Beauty and the later On Ugliness, exploring how people’s perceptions are shaped through history.
George Lakoff, a professor of cognitive linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, credited his friend with changing academia’s approach to literature by giving respectability to the study of popular art forms.
“He showed how not only to understand culture, in general, but to create new culture that way. That is what this man was about,” Lakoff told the BBC World Service. “Not only that, he loved it, he enjoyed every minute of it. To be with Eco was to just enjoy life.”

-The Guardian

Quote of the Day

“If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.”
J.K. Rowling

February 23, 2016


Harper Nelle Lee
Born: April 28, 1926, Monroeville, AL
Died: February 19, 2016, Monroeville, AL

Author Nelle Harper Lee, who won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1961 for her book, "To Kill a Mockingbird," passed away in her sleep Friday morning at the age of 89, her family has confirmed.
"This is a sad day for our family. America and the world knew Harper Lee as one of the last century's most beloved authors," Hank Conner, Lee's nephew and a spokesman for the family, said in a statement Friday morning.
"We knew her as Nelle Harper Lee, a loving member of our family, a devoted friend to the many good people who touched her life, and a generous soul in our community and our state. We will miss her dearly."
Conner's statement indicated that "Ms. Lee passed away in her sleep early this morning. Her passing was unexpected. She remained in good basic health until her passing."
Services for Lee have not been announced, but Conner said the funeral will be private as per her request.
Lee was born April 28, 1926, in Monroeville, the youngest of four children of lawyer Amasa Coleman Lee and Frances Cunningham Finch Lee.
As a child, Lee attended elementary school and high school just a few blocks from her house on Alabama Avenue. In a March 1964 interview, she offered this capsule view of her childhood: "I was born in a little town called Monroeville, Alabama, on April 28, 1926. I went to school in the local grammar school, went to high school there, and then went to the University of Alabama. That's about it, as far as education goes."
She moved to New York in 1949, where she worked as an airlines reservations clerk while pursuing a writing career. Eight years later, Lee submitted her manuscript for "To Kill a Mockingbird" to J.B. Lippincott & Co., which asked her to rewrite it.
On July 11, 1960, "To Kill a Mockingbird" was published by Lippincott with critical and commercial success. The author won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction the following year.
Lee's novel tells the story of small-town lawyer Atticus Finch of Maycomb, Ala.—based on Monroeville — and his children, Scout and Jem. Told from Scout's point of view, the book reflects the innocence of children growing up in the early 1930s. It also depicts the various social classes that existed then, and brings the undercurrents of racism to light. 
More than a half-century after its publication, the novel continues to be studied by high school and college students. It has sold more than 30 million copies—still selling nearly a million copies per year by the 50th anniversary of its publication in 2010, according to Publishers Weekly--and has been translated into more than 40 languages. 
The film adaptation of the novel, with Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch and Mary Badham as Scout, opened on Christmas Day of 1962 and was an instant hit. It was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won four, including Best Actor for Peck and Best Screenplay for Horton Foote, who wrote the screenplay for the movie based on the book. Lee became close friends with both of them.
The novel also inspired a generation of lawyers with its portrayal of the gentle, wise Atticus Finch, who defends a black man, Tom Robinson, falsely accused of raping Mayella Ewell, a white woman. Meanwhile, the Finches' strange neighbor, Boo Radley, who strikes fear in Scout's and Jem's hearts, turns out not to be the monster the children expect him to be.

Though Lee denied that the novel was autobiographical, many parallels exist between "To Kill a Mockingbird" and Lee's own childhood. Her father was also a lawyer who owned the town newspaper.  Comparisons have been made between Lee and Scout, the 9-year-old tomboy protagonist, especially in her friendship with Dill, a character widely considered to have been based on Lee's own childhood friend, Truman Capote.  
When he was a child, the author of "In Cold Blood" often stayed with his cousins, who lived next door to the Lees. Capote and Lee collaborated on the early stages of his novel and remained lifelong friends. 
The interior of the Monroe County Courthouse was reconstructed on a movie set in Hollywood for the film's pivotal courtroom scenes, and local actors bring the book to life each spring at the courthouse itself, where they stage "To Kill a Mockingbird" to sellout crowds. 
The press-averse author was thrust into the public eye in February 2015, when her publisher, HarperCollins, announced the upcoming release of "Go Set a Watchman," Lee's second and final full-length published work.
The announcement almost immediately sparked rumors that Lee – who had long said she would never publish another novel – had been taken advantage of by her attorney, Tonja Carter.
In February 2015, the Alabama Department of Human Resources met with Lee at Meadows of Monroeville, the southern Alabama assisted living facility where she resided, and concluded that she was mentally competent to handle her affairs, but rumors persisted that she was not lucid enough to sign off on business decisions.
A guardedly private individual, Lee was respected and protected by residents of the town that displays Mockingbird-themed murals and each year stages theatrical productions of "To Kill a Mockingbird."
Lee returned to Monroeville for good once her beloved sister Alice became ill and needed help. She'd eat breakfast each morning at the same fast-food place, and could later be seen picking up Alice from the law firm founded by their father, which currently employs Carter.
Since she stopped granting interviews in 1964, Harper Lee has been fiercely protected by Monroeville residents. In addition to maintaining an apartment in New York City, Lee lived in her hometown with her sister, Alice Finch Lee, who is 15 years older and practiced law until she was 100 years old.  
In recent years, Harper Lee had experienced declining health after a stroke left her partially paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. She also had lost 95 percent of her vision, according to a 2011 interview with Alice Lee in the Press-Register.
AL.com reporter Michelle Matthews contributed to this report.


Quote of the Day

“Sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning and you think, I'm not going to make it, but you laugh inside — remembering all the times you've felt that way.”
Charles Bukowski

January 30, 2016


René Angélil
Born: January 16, 1942, Montreal, Canada
Died: January 14, 2016, Henderson, NV


René Angélil, Who Discovered and Then Married Celine Dion, Dies at 73

René Angélil, the producer who discovered the singer Celine Dion at age 12 and later married her after leading her to stardom, died on Thursday at their home in Las Vegas. He was 73.
In a statement posted online, Ms. Dion said the cause was cancer. The Clark County coroner, John Fudenburg, said in a statement that Mr. Angélil died of throat cancer.
Mr. Angélil’s life and career were intertwined with those of Ms. Dion, a Grammy- and Oscar-winning vocal powerhouse known for love ballads and torch songs, notably the megahit “My Heart Will Go On,” the theme song to the movie “Titanic” and recipient of the Grammy record of the year award in 1999.
But when the two first met she was only a child. Ms. Dion’s older brother, Michel, sent Mr. Angélil a demo tape of her singing “It Was Only a Dream,” written by their mother.
“I listened to it right away, and I couldn’t believe it,” Mr. Angélil told The New York Times in 1997. “She wasn’t the cutest 12-year-old. She had a problem with her teeth, and she was very shy, but her eyes were incredible.”
Mr. Angélil was born in Montreal on Jan. 16, 1942, and became an established player in the entertainment industry in Quebec. He once sang as part of the French-Canadian pop group the Baronets and previously managed the career of another Quebecois child star, Ginette Reno, but he was soon firmly in the business of Celine Dion.
He began managing her career in 1981 and mortgaged his house to finance her debut album, which became a hit in French Canada and France.
Under his guidance, Ms. Dion became a household name in Quebec. She achieved her first taste of international fame by winning the Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin in 1988.
Her first American hit came two years later with the release of her first English-language album, and her celebrity was secured when she sang the title track of the 1991 Disney film “Beauty and the Beast,” which won an Academy Award in 1992.
Mr. Angélil guided her career in those years with a strong hand. The pair merged their professional and personal lives in 1994, marrying in a lavish ceremony at the Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal. White haired and goateed, Mr. Angélil was 26 years older than his bride.
Ms. Dion made the decision to leave recording and touring behind her in 2003 to take up a multimillion-dollar residency in a custom-built, 4,100-seat theater at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, where she and Mr. Angélil, an avid gambler, put down roots. Her first show lasted five years and a second, launched in 2011, is scheduled to run until 2019.
Mr. Angélil first received a cancer diagnosis in 1999. He was successfully treated, a turn of events that he described as “a miracle” to Oprah Winfrey in 2002. Mr. Angélil and Ms. Dion’s first child, René-Charles Angélil, was born two years later, and a set of twins, Nelson and Eddy, followed in 2010.
But the cancer returned on their wedding anniversary in 2013, Ms. Dion told ABC News last year.
He began treatment again, but this time it took a painful toll. Ms. Dion said that radiation treatment had damaged his hearing and that he was eventually unable to use his mouth. She fed him through a feeding tube three times a day, she said, and took a break from show business to focus on him and their children.
“I do this myself,” she told ABC. “I feed my husband, and I feed my kids, and unfortunately I had to say, Listen, I can’t be half here and half over there, please allow me to stay home.”
She returned to the stage in August 2014 at her husband’s urging, she said. “We are creating this show together,” she told Entertainment Tonight last May. “He wants me back, he wants me strong.”
Besides Ms. Dion and their three children, Mr. Angélil is survived by a son and a daughter from two previous marriages.


January 28, 2016

Vintage TV Show of the Day

Laverne & Shirley

Theme music composer Norman Gimbel (lyrics) Charles Fox
Opening theme "Making Our Dreams Come True", performed by Cyndi Grecco


Abe Vigoda
Born: February 24, 1921, Brooklyn, New York City, NY
Died: January 26, 2016, Woodland Park, NJ
Height: 6′ 1″

Abe Vigoda, of ‘Godfather’ and ‘Barney Miller,’ Dies at 94
Abe Vigoda, the sad-faced actor who emerged from a workmanlike stage career to find belated fame in the 1970s as the earnest mobster Tessio in “The Godfather” and the dyspeptic Detective Phil Fish on the hit sitcom “Barney Miller,” died on Tuesday morning in Woodland Park, N.J. He was 94, having outlived by about 34 years an erroneous report of his death that made him a cult figure.
His daughter, Carol Vigoda Fuchs, told The Associated Press that Mr. Vigoda had died in his sleep at her home.
Mr. Vigoda, tall and graying with a long face, sturdy jaw and deep-set eyes, was a 50-year-old stage actor who had earned his stripes on and off Broadway performing Shakespeare, Strindberg and Shaw when he got his big Hollywood break, winning the role of Salvatore Tessio in Francis Ford Coppola’s epic 1972 adaptation of the Mario Puzo novel “The Godfather.”

“I’m really not a Mafia person,” Mr. Vigoda, who was of Russian-Jewish descent, told Vanity Fair magazine in 2009. “I’m an actor who spent his life in the theater. But Francis said, ‘I want to look at the Mafia not as thugs and gangsters but like royalty in Rome.’ And he saw something in me that fit Tessio as one would look at the classics in Rome.”
To prepare himself for the role — a high-ranking mobster, or capo, who runs a crew of his own — Mr. Vigoda frequented the Lower East Side and other New York neighborhoods that are backdrops in the story. He told Vanity Fair that he “practically lived in Little Italy during the shoot.”
Tessio is an old friend and ally of the Godfather, Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando). But in a story that traces a classical tragic arc, he becomes a figure of disloyalty who pays a steep price for his betrayal.
He reprised the role in a flashback scene in “The Godfather: Part II” in 1974.
A year after that, Mr. Vigoda was cast as the worn-out Detective Fish on the station-house sitcom “Barney Miller,” opposite Hal Linden in the title role. Mr. Vigoda stayed with the series for two seasons, 1975-76 and 1976-77, and the opening episodes of a third, earning three Emmy nominations for best supporting actor in a comedy series. (The show continued without him until 1982.)
He was so successful that he achieved a rare television feat: appearing in his own spinoff, “Fish,” while still in the cast of the original show. “Fish” centered on the detective’s home life as the foster parent of five children of various racial and ethnic backgrounds. It ran from February 1977 to May 1978.
Mr. Vigoda’s days as a television star seemed to be behind him in 1982 when People magazine reported that he had died. Mr. Vigoda responded by placing an ad in Variety with a photo showing him sitting up in a coffin and holding a copy of the offending issue of the magazine.
His “death” became a running joke. “I have nothing to say about Abe,” Billy Crystal said at a roast of Rob Reiner at the Friars Club, where Mr. Vigoda was a regular. “I was always taught to speak well of the dead.”

David Letterman and Conan O’Brien invited him onto their late-night shows to prove he was still alive. A website, abevigoda.com, continued to give updates on his status.
His name was kept alive in other ways as well. A punk-rock group appropriated his name as its own. And the Beastie Boys rapped about him in their 1986 album, “Licensed to Ill”: “I got a girl in the castle and one in the pagoda/You know I got rhymes like Abe Vigoda.”
Abraham Charles Vigoda was born in New York City on Feb. 24, 1921, to Samuel Vigoda, a tailor, and the former Lena Moses, immigrants from Russia. Abe, one of three brothers, began acting as a teenager and turned professional in 1947, performing almost entirely onstage for the next 20 or more years.

In 1960, he starred in an Off Broadway production of the Strindberg drama “The Dance of Death,” and he appeared frequently at the New York Shakespeare Festival in the early ’60s, as John of Gaunt in “Richard II” and King Alonzo in “The Tempest,” among other roles.
In 1963, he had the lead in an Off Broadway production of Shaw’s “Mrs. Warren’s Profession.” Five years later, he was on Broadway in Peter Weiss’s “Marat/Sade.”
In addition to his daughter, Mr. Vigoda is survived by three grandchildren and a great-grandson, The Associated Press reported. His second wife, Beatrice Schy, died in 1992.
After his successes in “The Godfather” and “Barney Miller,” Mr. Vigoda was seen in several television movies and on many prime-time series, including “Law & Order,” “Mad About You” and “Touched by an Angel.” He also appeared on the daytime soap operas “As the World Turns” in 1985 and “Santa Barbara” in 1989.
He acted in dozens of movies as well, including “Cannonball Run II” (1984), “Look Who’s Talking” (1989), “Joe Versus the Volcano” (1990), “Sugar Hill” (1993) and “Underworld” (1996). One of his last performances was in a Snickers commercial, first shown during the 2010 Super Bowl, which also featured his fellow octogenarian Betty White.
He continued to make occasional television and film appearances well into the 21st century, but it was the first film that mattered the most to him.
“‘The Godfather’ changed my life,” he told The New York Times in 2001.
Probably his most indelible scene from the film was his last, in which the consigliere or family lawyer Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall) and four henchmen confront Sal Tessio outside the Corleone compound after discovering that he had been in on a plot to kill the Godfather’s son and successor, Michael (Al Pacino).
Tessio’s face drops; he doesn’t have to be told what will happen next.
“Tell Mike it was only business,” he says to Hagen resignedly. “I always liked him.”
Tessio makes a final plea.

“Tom, can you get me off the hook? For old times’ sake?”
Hagen shakes his head; the code must be honored.
“Can’t do it, Sally.”