7 items from 2015
Comedians are often defined by one stock expression, from Jack Benny’s sighing “...well!” to Homer Simpson’s “Doh!” For Judy Carne, who has died aged 76, the phrase was “sock it to me” and every time she uttered it, or anything close to it, on America’s hit comedy sketch show Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, she would be doused in water, disappear down a trap door, or worse. The producer George Schlatter had appropriated the phrase from black musicians with whom he worked. It made Carne the show’s central figure, and put “sock it to me” into 1960s vernacular.
Carne was a vivacious singer and dancer whose rise to something close to stardom had been rapid in the Us, and which Laugh-In wound up bringing to a screeching halt. »
- Michael Carlson
In 2014, Michelle Obama and Tom Hanks toasted Lily Tomlin's lifetime achievement at the Kennedy Center — an honor that didn't mark the end of her career so much as kick off a comeback. Nearly five decades after her debut on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, the 75 year-old is hot: Her Netflix show Grace and Frankie, costarring Jane Fonda, was just renewed for a second season and helped Tomlin earn her 22nd Emmy nomination. And the comedienne's new film Grandma — about a cranky lesbian septuagenarian who helps her granddaughter get an abortion, »
Brad Pitt 'Glory Days' costar Nicholas Kallsen Brad Pitt 'Glory Days' costar Nicholas Kallsen dead at 48 Nicholas Kallsen, who was featured opposite Brad Pitt in the short-lived television series Glory Days, has died at age 48 in Thailand according to online reports. Their source is one of Rupert Murdoch's rags, citing a Facebook posting by one of the actor's friends. The cause of death was purportedly – no specific source was provided – a drug overdose.* Aired on Fox in July 1990, Glory Days told the story of four high-school friends whose paths take different directions after graduation. Besides Nicholas Kallsen and Brad Pitt, the show also featured Spike Alexander and Evan Mirand. Glory Days lasted a mere six episodes – two of which directed by former Happy Days actor Anson Williams – before its cancellation. Roommates Nicholas Kallsen and Brad Pitt vying for same 'Thelma & Louise' role? The Murdoch tabloid also »
- Andre Soares
Gary Owens, the famous voice of “Laugh-In,” died on Thursday at his Encino, California, home after succumbing to diabetes-related complications. He was 80. The veteran talent, who enjoyed a long career as a radio DJ, voice performer and TV announcer, served as the announcer for NBC’s “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In” from 1968 to 1973. His trademarks included the catchphrase “beautiful downtown Burbank” — said in a deep, booming voice — and holding his hand over his ear while he announced. See Photos: Hollywood’s Notable Deaths of 2015 Owens was the first radio star to be inducted into the Hollywood HaIl of Fame presented by the Hollywood. »
- Travis Reilly
He also lent his voice to hundreds of programs, such as Sesame Street and Yogi’s Treasure Hunt and, more recently, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Wizards of Waverly Place, Johnny Bravo and Dexter’s Laboratory.
Owens passed away at his Los Angeles-area home and is survived by his wife of 57 years, Arleta, and their two sons.
Related storiesWriters Guild Awards: True Detective, »
It may be difficult to recall (or imagine) a time when an uncivil war of words between politically disparate intellectuals was sufficiently novel to generate massive media coverage and score impressive Nielsen numbers. It is very much to the credit of co-directors Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon that their “Best of Enemies,” a thoroughly engrossing and surprisingly entertaining documentary about the notorious 1968 televised clash between conservative icon William F. Buckley Jr. and liberal gadfly Gore Vidal, is both fascinating as a glimpse at the not so distant past, and provocative as an account of what arguably was an early step in the decline of political discourse on television. After limited theatrical play and pubcast rotation, the film should enjoy a long shelf life as a teaching tool in broadcasting, political science and communications studies courses.
Ironically, the documakers emphasize early on, this epochal event was less a primetime innovation than a product of desperation. »
- Joe Leydon
7 items from 2015
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