Harrison Ford was born on July 13, 1942 in Chicago, Illinois, to Dorothy (Nidelman), a radio actress, and Christopher Ford (born John William Ford), an actor turned advertising executive. His father was of Irish and German ancestry, while his maternal grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Minsk, Belarus. Harrison was a lackluster student at Maine Township High School East in Park Ridge Illinois (no athletic star, never above a C average). After dropping out of Ripon College in Wisconsin, where he did some acting and later summer stock, he signed a Hollywood contract with Columbia and later Universal. His roles in movies and television (Ironside, The Virginian) remained secondary and, discouraged, he turned to a career in professional carpentry. He came back big four years later, however, as Bob Falfa in American Graffiti. Four years after that, he hit colossal with the role of Han Solo in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. Another four years and Ford was Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Four years later and he received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for his role as John Book in Witness. All he managed four years after that was his third starring success as Indiana Jones; in fact, many of his earlier successful roles led to sequels as did his more recent portrayal of Jack Ryan in Patriot Games. Another Golden Globe nomination came his way for the part of Dr. Richard Kimble in The Fugitive. He is clearly a well-established Hollywood superstar. He also maintains an 800-acre ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Ford is a private pilot of both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, and owns an 800-acre (3.2 km2) ranch in Jackson, Wyoming, approximately half of which he has donated as a nature reserve. On several occasions, Ford has personally provided emergency helicopter services at the request of local authorities, in one instance rescuing a hiker overcome by dehydration. Ford began flight training in the 1960s at Wild Rose Idlewild Airport in Wild Rose, Wisconsin, flying in a Piper PA-22 Tri-Pacer, but at $15 an hour, he could not afford to continue the training. In the mid-1990s, he bought a used Gulfstream II and asked one of his pilots, Terry Bender, to give him flying lessons. They started flying a Cessna 182 out of Jackson, Wyoming, later switching to Teterboro, New Jersey, flying a Cessna 206, the aircraft he soloed in. Ford is an honorary board member of the humanitarian aviation organization Wings of Hope.
On March 5, 2015, Ford's plane, believed to be a Ryan PT-22 Recruit, made an emergency landing on the Penmar Golf Course in Venice, California. Ford had radioed in to report that the plane had suffered engine failure. He was taken to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, where he was reported to be in fair to moderate condition. Ford suffered a broken pelvis and broken ankle during the accident, as well as other injuries.
Patricia is best known for her work on ABC TV's Home Improvement as Jill Taylor. For that show she was nominated for two Golden Globe Awards, and four Emmy Awards. Her first television series was for Norman Lear, Double Trouble, starring Liz and Jean Sagal. She also starred in two other comedies from one of the creators of the Mary Tyler Moore show, Alan Burns: Eisenhower and Lutz with Scott Bakula and FM with Robert Hays. After Home Improvement she took off a few years to be with her kids and then went back to work on Lifetime's Strong Medicine, produced by Whoopie Goldberg. She was nominated for her work in it by the Prism Awards. Patricia co-hosted the Emmy Awards with Ellen Degeneres and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for her first starring role in a movie opposite Peter Fonda in Ulee's Gold. Ms. Richardson received a BFA in acting from Southern Methodist University and spent several years in New York doing theatre. She created roles in two Beth Henley plays, The Wake of Jamie Foster, and The Miss Firecracker Contest, Michael Weller's Loose Ends, Kevin Wade's Cruise Control, and various other plays on and off- Broadway and around the country in regional theaters. She got her Equity card from Arthur Laurents on her first audition in New York for the job understudying the young Gypsy Rose Lee in Angela Lansbury's revival of Gypsy at the Winter Garden. In the last few years as her youngest children finally went off to college she went back to work and started doing theatre again: a World Premiere of Alfred Uhry's Apples and Oranges, directed by Lynne Meadow at the Alliance Theater, and more recently, I Forgive You Ronald Reagan Off-Broadway at the Samuel Beckett Theater. She has also started appearing again in films and television movies.
Patricia is the National Spokesperson and on the Board of Directors for CurePSP, a patient advocacy organization for Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, the disease that took her father in 2005. She serves on the LA Local and the National Board of SAG AFTRA . And she is the proud mother of three: Henry, Roxie, and Joe.
With features chiseled in stone, and renowned for playing a long list of historical figures, particularly in Biblical epics, the tall, well built and ruggedly handsome Charlton Heston was one of Hollywood's greatest leading men and remained active in front of movie cameras for over sixty years. As a Hollywood star, he appeared in 100 films over the course of 60 years. He played Moses in the epic film, The Ten Commandments (1956), for which he received his first Golden Globe Award nomination. He also starred in Touch of Evil (1958) with Orson Welles; Ben-Hur, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor (1959); El Cid (1961); and Planet of the Apes (1968). He also starred in the films The Greatest Show on Earth (1952); Secret of the Incas (1954); The Big Country (1958); and The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965). A supporter of Democratic politicians and civil rights in the 1960s, Heston later became a Republican, founding a conservative political action committee and supporting Ronald Reagan. Heston's most famous role in politics came as the five-term president of the National Rifle Association, from 1998 to 2003.
Heston was born John Charles Carter on October 4, 1924, in No Man's Land, Illinois, to Lila (Charlton) and Russell Whitford Carter, who operated a sawmill. He had English and Scottish ancestry, with recent Canadian forebears.
Heston made his feature film debut as the lead character in a 16mm production of Peer Gynt, based on the Henrik Ibsen play. In 1944, Heston enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces. He served for two years as a radio operator and aerial gunner aboard a B-25 Mitchell stationed in the Alaskan Aleutian Islands with the 77th Bombardment Squadron of the Eleventh Air Force. He reached the rank of Staff Sergeant. Heston married Northwestern University student Lydia Marie Clarke, who was six months his senior. That same year he joined the military.
Heston played 'Marc Antony' in Julius Caesar, and firmly stamped himself as genuine leading man material with his performance as circus manager 'Brad Braden' in the Cecil B. DeMille spectacular The Greatest Show on Earth, also starring James Stewart and Cornel Wilde. The now very popular actor remained perpetually busy during the 1950s, both on TV and on the silver screen with audience pleasing performances in the steamy thriller The Naked Jungle, as a treasure hunter in Secret of the Incas and another barn storming performance for Cecil B. DeMille as "Moses" in the blockbuster The Ten Commandments.
Heston delivered further dynamic performances in the oily film noir thriller Touch of Evil, and then alongside Gregory Peck in the western The Big Country before scoring the role for which he is arguably best known, that of the wronged Jewish prince who seeks his freedom and revenge in the William Wyler directed Ben-Hur. This mammoth Biblical epic running in excess of three and a half hours became the standard by which other large scale productions would be judged, and it's superb cast also including Stephen Boyd as the villainous "Massala", English actor Jack Hawkins as the Roman officer "Quintus Arrius", and Australian actor Frank Thring as "Pontius Pilate", all contributed wonderful performances. Never one to rest on his laurels, steely Heston remained the preferred choice of directors to lead the cast in major historical productions and during the 1960s he starred as Spanish legend "Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar" in El Cid, as a US soldier battling hostile Chinese boxers during 55 Days at Peking, played the ill-fated "John the Baptist" in The Greatest Story Ever Told, the masterful painter "Michelangelo" battling Pope Julius II in The Agony and the Ecstasy, and an English general in Khartoum. In 1968, Heston filmed the unusual western Will Penny about an aging and lonely cowboy befriending a lost woman and her son, which Heston has often referred to as his favorite piece of work on screen. Interestingly, Heston was on the verge of acquiring an entirely new league of fans due to his appearance in four very topical science fiction films (all based on popular novels) painting bleak future's for mankind.
In 1968, Heston starred as time traveling astronaut "George Taylor", in the terrific Planet of the Apes with it's now legendary conclusion as Heston realizes the true horror of his destination. He returned to reprise the role, albeit primarily as a cameo, alongside fellow astronaut James Franciscus in the slightly inferior sequel Beneath the Planet of the Apes. Next up, Heston again found himself facing the apocalypse in The Omega Man as the survivor of a germ plague that has wiped out humanity leaving only bands of psychotic lunatics roaming the cities who seek to kill the uninfected Heston. And fourthly, taking its inspiration from the Harry Harrison novel "Make Room!, Make Room!", Heston starred alongside screen legend Edward G. Robinson and Chuck Connors in Soylent Green. During the remainder of the 1970s, Heston appeared in two very popular "disaster movies" contributing lead roles in the far fetched Airport 1975, plus in the star laden Earthquake, filmed in "Sensoround" (low bass speakers were installed in selected theaters to simulate the earthquake rumblings on screen to movie audiences). He played an evil Cardinal in the lively The Four Musketeers: Milady's Revenge, a mythical US naval officer in the recreation of Midway, also filmed in "Sensoround", an LA cop trying to stop a sniper in Two-Minute Warning and another US naval officer in the submarine thriller Gray Lady Down. Heston appeared in numerous episodes of the high rating TV series Dynasty and The Colbys, before moving onto a mixed bag of projects including TV adaptations of Treasure Island and A Man for All Seasons, hosting two episodes of the comedy show, Saturday Night Live, starring as the "Good Actor" bringing love struck Mike Myers to tears in Wayne's World 2, and as the eye patch wearing boss of intelligence agent Arnold Schwarzenegger in True Lies. He also narrated numerous TV specials and lent his vocal talents to the animated movie Hercules, the family comedy Cats & Dogs and an animated version of Ben Hur. Heston made an uncredited appearance in the inferior remake of Planet of the Apes, and his last film appearance to date was in the Holocaust themed drama of Rua Alguem 5555: My Father.
Heston narrated for highly classified military and Department of Energy instructional films, particularly relating to nuclear weapons, and "for six years Heston [held] the nation's highest security clearance" or Q clearance." The Q clearance is similar to a DoD or Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) clearance of Top Secret.
Heston was married to Lydia Marie Clark Heston since March 1944, and they have two children. His highly entertaining autobiography was released in 1995, titled appropriately enough "Into The Arena". Although often criticized for his strong conservative beliefs and involvement with the NRA, Heston was a strong advocate for civil right many years before it became fashionable, and was a recipient of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, plus the Kennedy Center Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2002, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, and did appear in a film or TV production after 2003. He died in April 2008. Truly, Charlton Heston is one of the legendary figures of US cinema.
Ronald Reagan is, arguably, the most successful actor in history, having catapulted from a career as a Warner Bros. contract player and television star, into serving as president of the Screen Actors Guild, the governorship of California (1967-1975), and lastly, two terms as President of the United States (1981-1989).
Ronald Wilson Reagan was born in Tampico, Illinois, to Nelle Clyde (Wilson) and John Edward "Jack" Reagan, who was a salesman and storyteller. His father was of Irish descent, and his mother was of half Scottish and half English ancestry.
A successful actor beginning in the 1930s, the young Reagan was a staunch admirer of President Franklin D. Roosevelt (even after he evolved into a Republican), and was a Democrat in the 1940s, a self-described 'hemophilliac' liberal. He was elected president of the Screen Actors Guild in 1947 and served five years during the most tumultuous times to ever hit Hollywood. A committed anti-communist, Reagan not only fought more-militantly activist movie industry unions that he and others felt had been infiltrated by communists, but had to deal with the investigation into Hollywood's politics launched by the House Un-Amercan Activities Committee in 1947, an inquisition that lasted through the 1950s. The House Un-American Activities Committee investigations of Hollywood (which led to the jailing of the "Hollywood Ten" in the late '40s) sowed the seeds of the McCarthyism that racked Hollywood and America in the 1950s.
In 1950, U.S. Representative Helen Gahagan Douglas (D-CA), the wife of "Dutch" Reagan's friend Melvyn Douglas, ran as a Democrat for the U.S. Senate and was opposed by the Republican nominee, the Red-bating Congresman from Whittier, Richard Nixon. While Nixon did not go so far as to accuse Gahagan Douglas of being a communist herself, he did charge her with being soft on communism due to her opposition to the House Un-Amercan Activities Committee. Nixon tarred her as a "fellow traveler" of communists, a "pinko" who was "pink right down to her underwear." Gahagan Douglas was defeated by the man she was the first to call "Tricky Dicky" because of his unethical behavior and dirty campaign tactics. Reagan was on the Douglases' side during that campaign.
The Douglases, like Reagan and such other prominent actors as Humphrey Bogart and Edward G. Robinson, were liberal Democrats, supporters of the late Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal, a legacy that increasingly was under attack by the right after World War II. They were NOT fellow-travelers; Melyvn Douglas had actually been an active anti-communist and was someone the communists despised. Melvyn Douglas, Robinson and Henry Fonda - a registered Republican! - wound up "gray-listed." (They weren't explicitly black-listed, they just weren't offered any work.) Reagan, who it was later revealed had been an F.B.I. informant while a union leader (turning in suspected communists), was never hurt that way, as he made S.A.G. an accomplice of the black-listing.
Reagan's career sagged after the late 1940s, and he started appearing in B-movies after he left Warners to go free-lance. However, he had a eminence grise par excellence in Lew Wasserman, his agent and the head of the Music Corp. of America. Wasserman, later called "The Pope of Hollywood," was the genius who figured out that an actor could make a killing via a tax windfall by turning himself into a corporation. The corporation, which would employ the actor, would own part of a motion picture the actor appeared in, and all monies would accrue to the corporation, which was taxed at a much lower rate than was personal income. Wasserman pioneered this tax avoidance scheme with his client James Stewart, beginning with the Anthony Mann western Winchester '73 (1950). It made Stewart enormously rich as he became a top box office draw in the 1950s after the success of "Winchester 73" and several more Mann-directed westerns, all of which he had an ownership stake in.
Ironically, Reagan became a poor-man's James Stewart in the early 1950s, appearing in westerns, but they were mostly B-pictures. He did not have the acting chops of the great Stewart, but he did have his agent. Wasserman at M.C.A. was one of the pioneers of television syndication, and this was to benefit Reagan enormously. M.C.A. was the only talent agency that was also allowed to be a producer through an exemption to union rules granted by S.A.G. when Reagan was the union president, and it used the exemption to acquire Universal International Pictures. Talent agents were not permitted to be producers as there was an inherent conflict of interest between the two professions, one of which was committed to acquiring talent at the lowest possible cost and the other whose focus was to get the best possible price for their client. When a talent agent was also a producer, like M.C.A. was, it had a habit of steering its clients to its own productions, where they were employed but at a lower price than their potential free market value. It was a system that made M.C.A. and Lew Wasserman, enormously wealthy.
The ownership of Universal and its entry into the production of television shows that were syndicated to network made M.C.A. the most successful organization in Hollywood of its time, a real cash cow as television overtook the movies as the #1 business of the entertainment industry. Wasserman repaid Ronald Reagan's largess by structuring a deal by which he hosted and owned part of General Electric Theater, a western omnibus showcase that ran from 1954 to 1961. It made Reagan very comfortable financially, though it did not make him rich. That came later.
In 1960, with the election of the Democratic President John F. Kennedy, the black and gray lists went into eclipse. J.F.K. appointed Helen Gahagan Douglas Treasurer of the United States. About this time, as the civil rights movement became stronger and found more support among Democrats and the Kennedy administration, Reagan - fresh from a second stint as S.A.G. president in 1959 - was in the process of undergoing a personal and political metamorphosis into a right-wing Republican, a process that culminated with his endorsing Barry Goldwater for the Republican presidential nomination in 1964. (He narrated a Goldwater campaign film played at the G.O.P. Convention in San Francisco.) Reagan's evolution into a right-wing Republican sundered his friendship with the Douglases. (After Reagan was elected President of the United States in 1980, Melvyn Douglas said of his former friend that Reagan turned to the right after he had begun to believe the pro-business speeches he delivered for General Electric when he was the host of the "G.E. Theater.")
In 1959, while Reagan was back as a second go-round as S.A.G. president, M.C.A.'s exemption from S.A.G. regulations that forbade a talent agency from being a producer was renewed. However, in 1962, the U.S. Justice Department under Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy successfully forced M.C.A. - known as "The Octopus" in Hollywood for its monopolistic tendencies - to divest itself of its talent agency.
When Reagan was tipped by the California Republican Party to be its standard-bearer in the 1965 gubernatorial election against Democratic Governor Pat Brown, Lew Wasserman went back in action. Politics makes strange bedfellows, and though Wasserman was a liberal Democrat, having an old friend like Reagan who had shown his loyalty as S.A.G. president in the state house was good for business. Wasserman and his partner, M.C.A. Chairman Jules Styne (a Republican), helped ensure that Reagan would be financially secure for the rest of his life so that he could enter politics. (At the time, he was the host of "Death Valley Days" on TV.)
According to the Wall Street Journal, Universal sold Reagan a nice piece of land of many acres north of Santa Barbara that had been used for location shooting. The Reagans sold most of the ranch, then converted the rest of it, about 200 acres, into a magnificent estate overlooking the valley and the Pacific Ocean. The Rancho del Cielo became President Reagan's much needed counterpoint to the buzz of Washington, D.C. There, in a setting both rugged and serene, the Reagans could spend time alone or receive political leaders such as the Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, Margaret Thatcher, and others.
Reagan was known to the world for his one-liners, the most famous of them was addressed to Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987. "Mister Gorbachev, tear down this wall" said Reagan standing in front of the Berlin Wall. That call made an impact on the course of human history.
Ronald Reagan played many roles in his life's seven acts: radio announcer, movie star, union boss, television actor-cum-host, governor, right-wing critic of big government and President of the United States.
Phillip Rhee is a master martial artist, actor and filmmaker best known for creating the "BEST of the BEST" film franchise with his producing partner and mentor Peter E. Strauss (Executive VP and Mandalay Pictures) and Frank Giustra, a Canadian Billionaire and founder of Lions Gate. The first "Best of the Best" starring academy award nominated actors, James Earl Jones, Eric Roberts, Louise Fletcher, Sally Kirkland and Chris Penn was distributed through Sony Pictures. "Best of the Best 2" through 20th Century Fox and "Best of the Best 3", directed and starring Rhee and Gina Gershon was picked up by Miramax, and the fourth installment of "Best of the Best: Without Warning", directed and starring Rhee and Ernie Hudson was also acquired by Miramax/Dimension Films.
2015 AMC Movie Review by Chief Editor John Campea chose "Best of the Best" as his favorite movie of all time.
In 2015, "Best of the Best" was chosen by Fandango's 15 most inspirational sports movies of all time along with "Rocky".
In 2010, Rhee partnered with former President of Warner Bros, Jim Miller and launched "Stereo Pictures" a 3D conversion technology studio based in L.A. and Korea, servicing major Hollywood studios and consumer electronic giants such as Samsung, LG and game developers Blizzard.
Rhee, an avid martial artist holds a 6th degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, 3rd degree in Hap Ki Do and Kendo and is one of the most sought after teachers in the world. His former students include the son of President, Ronald Reagan, Chairman of Warner Chappell, former Chairman of Fox, Chairman of ACI and numerous sports and film celebrities.
Rhee speaks three languages and lives with his fashion designer wife, Amy and his son Sean.
Angela Davis was born on January 26, 1944, in Birmingham, Alabama. Her both parents were college graduates and worked as school teachers. Her brother, named Ben Davis, played for the Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions in the 60s and 70s. Young Angela chose to attend a small private school known as the 'Little Red School House' in Greenwich Village in New York City. There she got involved in studies of socialism and communism and befriended the children of the leaders of the Communist Party, including her lifelong friend, Bettina Aptheker.
Angela Davis was awarded a full scholarship to Brandais University in Massachusette, where she met German-American philosopher Herbert Marcuse, later becoming his student at UCSD. Together with Herbert Marcuse she participated in a political rally during the Cuban Missile Crisis. At that time she studied Karl Marx, Albert Camus, and Jean-Paul Sartre, and spent summer in Paris and Helsinki, where she participated in the World Festival of Youth and Students. There Davis met with the Cuban students and became a supporter of Fidel Castro and Cuba. Then she continued her studies at the University of Frankfurt, Germany for 2 years, from where she graduated in 1965.
Davis returned to East Germany for her Ph. D. in philosophy from Humboldt University in East Berlin. Back in California she worked as a lecturer at UCLA during the 60s. At that time Davis was a radical feminist and a member of the Communist Party USA and was also associated with the Black Panther Party. She was fired from University of California in 1969, in a controversial decision by the Board, pushed by then Governor Ronald Reagan. She was later rehired to her job.
In 1970, Angela Davis appeared on the FBI's Most Wanted List. She was able to evade the police for 2 months before being arrested. She spent 18 months in the Women's Detention Center in New York awaiting the trial. In 1972 John Lennon and Yoko Ono supported her with their song "Angela" and Rolling Stones recorded their song "Sweet Black Angel" advocating her release. She was tried and acquitted of all charges.
During the Cold War she was hosted by the Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. Her name and image were abused by the Soviet propaganda; she was taken to schools, factories, collective farms, where she was shown as a victim of "capitalism" to poor Russian victims of socialism. She was tightly controlled by the agents and interpreters, who were twisting the translation of her liberal words. Witty Russian dissidents also demanded equality and rights to travel to her country's prisons. Davis refused to meet with the real Russian political prisoners.
Angela Davis ran for Vice President of the United States as a candidate from the Communist Party USA in 1980 and 1984 along with the Communist Party leader Gus Hall.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, a survivor of the Stalin's Gulag prisons, commented: "Angela Davis was set free, as you know. Although she didn't have too difficult a time in this country's jails, she came to recuperate in Soviet resorts. Some Soviet dissidents, but more important, a group of Czech dissidents, addressed an appeal to her: "Comrade Davis, you were in prison. You know how unpleasant it is to sit in prison, especially when you consider yourself innocent. You have such great authority now. Could you help our Czech prisoners? Could you stand up for those people in Czechoslovakia who are being persecuted by the state?" Angela Davis answered: "They deserve what they get. Let them remain in prison. That is the face of Communism. That is the heart of Communism for you."
Angela Davis opposed the 1995 Million Men March because, in her view it promoted male chauvinism. She is currently the Presidential Chair and Professor with the History of Consciousness Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz campus. She is also director of the Feminist Studies department. She stands against the Death Penalty in California and remains a prominent Abolitionist.
Lionel Stander, the movie character actor with the great gravelly voice, was born on January 11th, 1908 in The Bronx borough of New York City. Stander's acting career was derailed when he was blacklisted during the 1950s after being exposed as a Communist Party member during the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings. In his own HUAC testimony in May 1953, Stander denounced HUAC's use of informers, particularly those with mental problems.
Stander specialized in playing lovable hoodlums and henchmen and assorted acerbic, hard-boiled types. His physique was burly and brutish, and his head featured a square-jaw beneath a coarse-featured pan that was lightened by his charm. But it was his gruff, foghorn voice that made his fortune.
Stander attended the University of North Carolina, but after making his stage debut at the age of 19, he decided to give up college for acting. Along with a successful stage career, his unusual voice made him ideal for radio. His movie screen debut was in the comedy short Salt Water Daffy with Jack Haley and Shemp Howard. He went on to star in a number of two-reel comedy shorts produced at Vitaphone's Brooklyn studio before moving to Hollywood in 1935, where he appeared as a character actor in many A-list features such as Nothing Sacred.
John Howard Lawson, the screenwriter who was one of the Hollywood Ten and who served as the Communist Party's cultural commissar in Hollywood, held up Stander as the model of a committed communist actor who enhanced the class struggle through his performances. In the movie No Time to Marry, which had been written by Party member Paul Jarrico, Stander had whistled a few bars of the "Internationale" while waiting for an elevator.
Stander thought that the scene would be cut from the movie, but it remained in the picture because "they were so apolitical in Hollywood at the time that nobody recognized the tune".
Stander had a long history of supporting left-wing causes. He was an active member of the Popular Front from 1936-39, a broad grouping of left-wing organizations dedicated to fighting reactionaries at home and fascism abroad. Stander wrote of the time, "We fought on every front because we realized that the forces of reaction and Faciscm fight democracy on every front. We, too, have been forced, therefore, to organize in order to combat them on every front: politically through such organizations as the Motion Picture Democratic Committee; economically through our guilds and unions; socially, and culturally through such organizations as the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League."
The Front disintegrated when the U.S.S.R. signed a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany, which engendered World War II by giving the Nazis the get-go to invade Poland (with the Soviet Union invading from the East). The Communist Party-USA dropped out of the Front and from anti-Nazi activities, and during the early days of the War, before Germany invaded the U.S.S.R. in June 1941, it tried to hamper US support for the UK under the aegis of supporting "peace," including calling strikes in defense plants. Many communists, such as Elia Kazan, dropped out of the Party after this development, but many others stayed. These were the Stalinists that the American non-communist left grew to despise, and eventually joined with the right to destroy, though much of their antipathy after 1947-48 was generated by a desire to save themselves from the tightening noose of reaction.
Melvyn Douglas, a prominent liberal whose wife Helen Gahagan Douglas would later be a U.S. Representative from California (and would lose her bid for the Senate to a young Congressman named Richard Nixon, who red-baited her as "The Pink Lady"), had resisted Stander's attempts to recruit him to the Party. "One night, Lionel Stander kept me up until dawn trying to sell me the Russian brand of Marxism and to recruit me for the Communist Party. I resisted. I had always been condemnatory of totalitarianism and I made continual, critical references to the U.S.S.R. in my speeches. Members of the Anti-Nazi League would urge me to delete these references and several conflicts ensued."
Douglas, his wife, and other liberals were not adverse to cooperating with Party members and fellow travelers under the aegis of the MPDC, working to oppose fascism and organize relief for the Spanish Republic. They believed that they could minimize Communist Party influence, and were heartened by the fact that the Communists had joined the liberal, patriotic, anti-fascist bandwagon. Their tolerance of Communists lasted until the Soviet-Nazi Pact of August 1939. That, and the invasion of Poland by the Nazis and the USSR shattered the Popular Front.
Stander had been subpoenaed by the very first House Un-American Activities Committee inquisition in Hollywood, in 1940, when it was headed by Texas Congressman Martin Dies. The Dies Committee had succeeded in abolishing the Federal Theatre Project of the Works Progress Administration as a left-wing menace in 1939 (the FTP had put on a revival of Lawson's play about the exploitation of miners, "Prcessional," that year in New York). The attack on the FTP had been opposed by many liberals in Hollywood. Stung by the criticisms of Hollywood, the Dies Committee decided to turn its attention on Hollywood itself.
Sending investigators to Hollywood, Dies' HUAC compiled a long-list of subversives, including Melvyn Douglas. John L. Leech, a police agent who had infiltrated the Communist Party before being expelled in 1937, presented a list of real and suspected communists to a Los Angeles County grand jury, which also subpoenaed Stander. The testimony was leaked, and the newspapers reported that Stander, along with such prominent Hollywood liberals as James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Frederic March and Francot Tone, had been identified as communists.
Committee chairman Dies offered all of the people named as communists the opportunity to clear themselves if they would cooperate with him in executive session. Only one of the named people did not appear, and Stander was the only one to appear who was not cleared. Subsequently, he was fired by his studio, Republic Pictures.
Stander was then subpoenaed to testify before the California Assembly's Committee on Un-American Activities, along with John Howard Lawson, the union leader John Sorrell and others. During the strike led by Sorrell's militant Conference of Student Unions against the studios in 1945, Stander was the head of a group of progressives in the Screen Actors Guild who supported the CSU and lobbied the guild to honor its picket lines. They were outvoted by the more conservative faction headed by Robert Montgomery, George Murphy and Ronald Reagan. The SAG membership voted 3,029 to 88 to cross the CSU picket-line.
Stander continued to work after being fired by Republic. He appeared in Hangmen Also Die!, a film about the Nazi Reinhard Heydrich, who was assassinated by anti-fascists. After the bitter CSU strike, which was smeared as being communist-inspired by the studios, HUAC once again turned its gaze towards Hollywood, starting two cycles of inquisitions in 1947 and 1951. The screenwriter Martin Berkeley, who set a record by naming 155 names before the the second round of Committee hearings, testified that Stander had introduced him to the militant labor union leader Harry Bridges, long suspected of being a communist, whom Stander called "comrade".
After being blacklisted, Stander worked as a broker on Wall Street and appeared on the stage as a journeyman actor. He returned to the movies in Tony Richardson's The Loved One, and he began his career anew as a character actor, appearing in many films, including Roman Polanski's Cul-De-Sac and Martin Scorsese's New York, New York. Other movies he appeared in included Promise Her Anything, The Black Bird, The Cassandra Crossing, 1941, Cookie and The Last Good Time, his final theatrical film.
Stander is best remembered for playing Max on TV's Hart to Hart (1979-84) with Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers, a role he reprised in a series of "Hart to Hart" TV movies. Stander also appeared on Wagner's earlier TV series It Takes a Thief and on the HBO series Dream On.
Lionel Stander died of lung cancer on November 30, 1994 in Los Angeles, California. He was 86 years old.
Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro was born on February 5, 1985, in Madeira, Portugal to Maria Dolores dos Santos Aveiro and José Diniz Aveiro. Cristiano has an elder brother, Hugo and two elder sisters, Elma and Liliana Cátia. His name was inspired by the former US-president, Ronald Reagan, whom his father was influenced by.
The island of Madeira was also the place where Cristiano first learned to master his skills as a footballer. He spent his early years playing for his local team, Nacional, and by the time he turned 12 years old, he already made his name for himself as one of Madeira's top footballers . It wasn't long before he started to catch the attention of other big Portuguese clubs. Among Sporting was Benfica, a team Cristiano and his father followed as a young boy. However he eventually chose to play for Sporting which was a team his mother loved and followed as she was growing up, to play with the likes of Figo was the dream for her son.
He was then spotted by former Liverpool manager, Gerard Houllier at the age of sixteen but Liverpool had no intentions to sign him at that time because they thought he was too young and he needed more time to develop his skills. However, in the summer of 2003, when Sporting played against Manchester United and defeated them, Cristiano caught the attention of Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson.
Ronaldo became Manchester United's first-ever Portuguese player. Initially, he requested for the number 28 as his jersey number because he didn't feel that he could live up to the pressure of previous players such as George Best and David Beckham who wore the number 7 jersey.
The year 2006 to 2008 proved to be a rather controversial year for the star. In the 2006 World Cup, Cristiano faced accusations regarding his sportsmanship. In a quarter-final match against England, he was heavily criticized for sending of his club team mate, Wayne Rooney who was playing for the England team. It wasn't too long until fans started accepting Cristiano again. In 2007, he won PFA Young Player of the Year, PFA Player of the Year, PFA Fans' Player of the Year, Portuguese Footballer of the Year, FWA Footballer of the Year, Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year and Manchester United's Players' Player of the Year. The year 2008 also saw him taking back the PFA Player Of The Year Award for the second time running. That same year, Ronaldo also had to deal with controversies regarding his club transfer to Spanish giants, Real Madrid. He eventually chose to stay with Manchester United and stressed to the public that he had no intentions of leaving the club.
Cristiano now lives with his cousin, Nuno and his brother in law Ze. When he is not on the field, he is a very family oriented person. Growing up, when he was about to choose football as his career, he said that it was very difficult for him as that would mean lesser time with his family, especially his mother, whom he says play a major role in his life.
During his free time, Cristiano enjoys cooking. He mentioned in an interview that he usually cooks before he leaves for his soccer practice. Because he is constantly training, Cristiano rarely has time to watch TV. If he does get the time to watch, he says he loves watching one of the local Portuguese game show which is mostly about trivia questions. Cristiano is an avid learner and he takes interest in learning new things everyday. Among Cristiano's biggest pet peeves are smoking, people who don't make an effort and dishonesty.
When the tsunami hit South East Asia, Cristiano flew to Indonesia to help those in need. He auctioned off a few stuff to help raise funds for charity. He hopes to get involved in more charity projects in the future because he believes his star status will help him reach out to others for help.
|George W. Bush
The 43rd President of the United States of America, George Walker Bush (known colloquially as "W" to distinguish himself from his father, George Bush, the 41st president of the U.S.), was born two days after the national holiday of the Fourth of July, 1946 in New Haven, Connecticut where his father was attending Yale College in the Class of 1949. His mother was Barbara Bush (the former Barbara Pierce), whom his father had married on January 6, 1945. "W" was their first child named after his father. Bush disliked being called "Junior" or Bush II, or even having the term "Jr." abbreviated next to his name.
Initially, W's prospects of living up to his illustrious pedigree were dim. Possibly hobbled by dyslexia (a condition little understood and seldom treated during his childhood), Bush proved an uninspired student in high school. He did maintain a gentlemanly "C+" average at Yale and acquired a Masters of Business Administration degree from Harvard Business School, but until he turned 40, he seemed to be floundering. He admittedly had a drinking problem in his youth, but a late marriage to Laura Welch helped stabilize him. His rebirth as a believing Christian (he is a Methodist whereas his parents were Episcopalian) in 1986 helped put him on the straight and narrow path that led him to the Presidency.
Bush has been discounted many times in his life and career for being wooden and unintelligent due to his fractured speaking style, but in fact, his academic performance was on par if not slightly better than that of his better-spoken, fellow Yalie John Kerry. As Bush's test scores and subsequent achievements suggest an above average intelligence, it is appropriate to believe that he likely has benefited from other's underestimation of his gifts. This was apparent in the first televised debate with Al Gore in 2000, when Bush held his own against the condescending vice president, and in doing so, triumphed in the eyes of the political handicappers.
After W. turned his life around in the late 1980s, he began achieving success on his own, though that success inevitably was indebted to his social position and his father's business and political connections, particularly after he himself ascended to the Presidency after the expiration of Ronald Reagan's second term. The first President Bush (Bush 41, as he is colloquially known) had great connections in the Middle East, particularly with the Saudi royal family and the powerful Bin Laden clan. Using his father's Saudi connections, Bush Jr. became a millionaire twice over through Middle Eastern oil projects. His most notable achievement in private life was in becoming president and chief operating partner of the Texas Rangers professional baseball team, which was financially invigorated by the building of a new stadium with taxpayers' funds. For a man whose greatest ambition was not the presidency but to be baseball commissioner, the "job" of Rangers owner suited him just fine, and his stint as the amiable owner of the team helped generate good publicity that wiped out his past image as a playboy. When he cashed out his ownership stake, Bush had a $14 million profit. More importantly, ownership of the Rangers positioned him financially and in the public eye for a successful run for the governorship of Texas, which proved to be his springboard to the presidency.
Under the quirky Texas constitution, the governor of Texas is primarily a ceremonial position, somewhat akin to that of the president in a Parliamentary system. The true political power in Texas lies with the lieutenant governor, who acts as a prime minister (or provincial premier in Canada) in that that he/she runs the legislature. In a life characterized by luck, the capricious Bush was luckier still in that he was told by the lieutenant governor, a Democrat, that he would make Bush a great governor if he would let him. Bush did and established an enviable reputation, one that crossed both party lines in Texas, where it would have been futile for the governor to act in a partisan fashion.
With his father's Eastern Establishment credentials that linked him to the "Rockefeller Republicans" (conservative on financial matters, liberal on social issues) and his mother's own noted social liberalism, Bush was seen as being a moderate with a difference. That difference was his connections to the powerful evangelical Christian wing of the Republican Party, due to his own rebirth as a believing Christian and his immersion in day-to-day Texas politics. In the Sun Belt, fundamentalists and evangelicals were considered ordinary, run-of-the-day folk, not the exotics that Washington and the Eastern Establishment looked at them as.
With a foot in both wings of the party, Bush was seen as a natural candidate for president after Bob Dole's dolorous 1996 candidacy. That he was a "straight shooter" with no scandal attached to him since his misbegotten youth (which he had confessed to and had put behind him) made him attractive to the Republicans, who had tried to terminate William Jefferson Clinton's presidency through impeachment due to his lies linked to his "bimbo eruptions." Bush seemed like a "Man for All Seasons" that would be the GOP's best shot of unseating the Clintonistas as represented by Al Gore in the 2000 presidential election.
With the Republican Establishment firmly behind him as a kind of "Great White Hope" of the Grand Old Party, Bush managed to wrap up the nomination easily, after stumbling initially when confronted with the candidacy of the renegade Republican senator from Arizona, John McCain. Although viewed by most Republicans as a RINO (Republican in name only), McCain dominated the early primaries in states that allowed cross over voting by attracting middle-of-the-road independents and conservative Democrats, but stumbled himself when the primary season headed South. He was badly defeated by Bush in South Carolina, a deeply conservative state that had voted for favorite son (and segregationist) Strom Thurmond in 1948, uber-conservative Barry Goldwater in 1964, and segregationist George Wallace in 1968. McCain also was victimized by smear tactics, such as the whispering campaign started by Mississippi Senator Trent Lott that claimed the renegade McCain had been mentally discombobulated by his seven years as a POW in Vietnam. The dirty tricks used against McCain by Bush campaign manager/major domo Karl Rove would prove to be harbingers of the paranoid style of politics that would come to fruition during Bush's first term.)
McCain, a maverick senator with the support of many moderate Republicans and Independents as well as a following among conservative Democrats, was not only smeared, but his attempts to get on the ballot in such states as New York were stymied until the federal courts stepped in. (In 2004, even though he endorsed Bush against Kerry, McCain found himself smeared again by elements connected with Karl Rove when he defended Kerry's war record and patriotism.) The Republican Establishment were determined to give the nomination to a true blue Republican who could win (the color red was not associated with the GOP until Election Night 2000, when it was used as the map color for the Party after a century wherein the Republicans were blue and the Democrats red). After his defeat of McCain in South Carolina, Bush had as easy a time wrapping up the nomination as if he had been an incumbent.
At the beginning of the fall campaign, what with the U.S. still enjoying the tail end of almost eight years of prosperity under President Bill Clinton, his vice president, Al Gore, started out as a prohibitive favorite to win the presidency. Gore, whoever, turned out to be unable to shed his past reputation as an uninspiring campaigner, and failed to fire up the uncommitted. Bush, on the other hand, a relative unknown commodity who had enjoyed good press for the past decade as a baseball owner and governor, did not make many errors after appearing at Bob Jones University several weeks after it had banned interracial dating during the early Republican primaries (for which he apologized). He capitalized on the low expectations others had for him, and won respect - and votes - for going the distance without stumbling or embarrassing himself, while Gore had to live down the bimbo eruptions of his past running mate and his own faux pas, such as his claim to have invented the "Information Superhighway" (Internet). His stiff, "Wooden Indian" style came off as pompous on the campaign trail, giving Bush's persona a boost as it could have been portrayed as bumbling if he had been up against a natural born campaigner such as Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan.
In the game of politics as played in the US, Gore had everything to lose and Bush had everything to gain. Gore had to rise and exceed expectations while Bush merely had to live up to lowered expectations to rise above them and gain credence, and he did, beginning with the first debate. Going into the first debate, pundits expected the better-spoken Gore to eviscerate the syntactically challenged Bush (whose intelligence they disparaged), but it did not happen. Gore was haughty, and since Bush held his own, the governor of Texas was adjudged the winner. From there to the end of the campaign, Gore could never consolidate his early lead, which slipped away.
On election day, Bush and Gore were locked in a dead heat. In the closest election in a century, it all came down to a matter of 537 votes in Florida. Out of the nearly six million votes cast in the Sunshine State (5,861,785 total, only 36,742 of which were won by third party candidates), Bush won by a margin representing 0.0087%. That's less than nine one-thousandths of a percentage point.
After a long drawn-out process involving recounts and court challenges, Bush took the oath of office on January 20, 2001 and won re-election in November 2004 to become the first son of a president to win two terms in office.
|Anna Maria Perez de Tagle
Anna Maria Perez de Tagle, is one of today's hottest triple threats with an extensive list of accomplishments including acting, singing, and dancing. The talented rising star opened for the Jonas Brothers Asia 2012 tour. She also concluded her starring role in Godspell on Broadway, the beloved classic from Stephen Schwartz alongside Hunter Parrish and Corbin Bleu. Anna Maria and her fellow cast mates have been featured on the Late Show with David Letterman, The View, The Rosie Show and The 2012 Tony Awards. Anna Maria was also featured in a full capacity concert on May 7, 2012 on board the Hornblower Hybrid in New York City, benefiting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Anna Maria was voted the "Best Featured Female Artist in a Musical" at the 2012 Broadway World Awards.
Anna Maria guest starred in ABC family's hit TV series Baby Daddy as "Jenna". She starred in the hit Disney movies, Camp Rock and Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam, where she portrayed the role of Ella alongside Demi Lovato and the Jonas Brothers. She also had a recurring role as Ashley Dewitt in the Disney hit show "Hannah Montana".
In 2009 Anna Maria stole the screen in MGM/Lakeshore's re-invention of FAME as Joy, the aspiring actress. No stranger to music, in 2010 she toured with the Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato in North and South America as an opener and performer throughout the show.
At the Ronald Reagan Centennial Birthday Celebration, Anna Maria was requested by the former first lady Mrs. Nancy Reagan to perform two of her favorite Broadway songs, "I Dreamed A Dream" from Les Miserables and "Someone Like You" from Jekyll and Hyde in front of hundreds of dignitaries at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California.
She enjoys working with the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, Saint Judes Research Hospital and the American Diabetes Association. She enjoys singing, dancing, working out and reading.
Anna Maria resides in New York City and Los Angeles.
The lesser-known sister of Joan Blondell, she performed in around two dozen Hollywood features. First appearing on Broadway in the 1935 "Three Men on a Horse", she made her silver screen debut with 1938's "Daredevil Drivers". Gloria co-starred with Ronald Reagan in "Accidents Will Happen" (1938), then saw most of her work in the 1940s as the voice of Disney's 'Daisy Duck'. With the coming of television, she was kept busy with "I Love Lucy", "Thriller", and other fare. During the mid-1950s she had the regular role of 'Honeybee Gillis' on "The Life of Riley". Following her turn as 'Gloria' in "Calvin and the Colonel" up to 1962, she retired in Los Angeles, where she died of cancer.
Warner was grooming Bryan for stardom in the late 1930s when she met and married the love of her life, Justin Dart, head of the Rexall Drug empire. An ardent Republican, he became one of Ronald Reagan's most trusted advisors.
Gerald Rudolph Ford was the 38th President of the United States from August 1974 until January 1977.
Ford was born on July 14, 1913, in Omaha, Nebraska as Leslie Lynch King, Jr., being the son of Leslie Lynch King and Dorothy Ayer Gardner King. His parents separated two weeks after his birth and his mother took him to Grand Rapids, Michigan to live with her parents. On February 1, 1916, his mother Dorothy King married Gerald R. Ford, a paint salesman. The Fords began calling their son Gerald R. Ford, Jr. but this name became legal only on December 3, 1935. Aged 13, Ford knows that Gerald Ford Sr., was not his biological father, but it lasted until 1930 he met his biological father Leslie King, who made an unexpected stop in Grand Rapids.
Ford grew up in a family with three younger half-brothers (Thomas, Richard, and James). He attended South High School in Grand Rapids, where he already showed is athletics skills, being named to the honor society and the "All-City" and "All-State" football teams. As a scout he was ranked Eagle Scout in November 1927. He earned money by working in the family paint business and at a local restaurant.
Ford attended The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor from 1931 to 1935. He majored in economics and political science and graduated with a B.A. degree in June 1935. He played on the University's national championship football teams in 1932 and 1933 and was voted MVP of Wolverine in 1934. He also played in All-Star and benefit football games. He denied offers from two professional football teams, (Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers), but chose to become boxing coach and assistant varsity football coach at Yale hoping to attend law school there. Ford earned his law degree in 1941.
After returning to Michigan and passing his bar exam, Ford set up a law partnership in Grand Rapids with Philip Buchen, a University of Michigan fraternity brother (who later served on Ford's White House staff as Counsel to the President).
In April 1942 Ford joined the U.S. Naval Reserve and became a physical fitness instructor at a flight school in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. In the spring of 1943 he began service in the light aircraft carrier USS Monterey. Ford spent the remainder of the war ashore and was discharged as a lieutenant commander in February 1946. He returned to Grand Rapids to become a partner in the locally prestigious law firm of Butterfield, Keeney, and Amberg.
His first political experience was in the summer of 1940 when he was working in the presidential campaign of Wendell Willkie. Six years later he decided to challenge Bartel Jonkman for the Republican nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 1948 election. Ford won the nomination and after that was elected to Congress on November 2, 1948, receiving 61% of the vote.
On October 15 1948, the height of the campaign, Ford married Elizabeth ('Betty') Anne Bloomer Warren, a department store fashion consultant. Betty was born on April 8, 1918 in Chicago, Illinois, but grew up in Grand Rapids. They subsequently had four children: Michael Gerald (March 14, 1950), John Gardner (March 16, 1952), Steven Meigs (May 19, 1956) and Susan Elizabeth (July 6, 1957).
Ford served in the House of Representatives from January 3, 1949 to December 6, 1973. He was re-elected twelve times, winning each time with more than 60% of the vote. As his ambition was to become Speaker of the House already in the early 1950s, he denied offers to run for both the Senate and the Michigan governorship in these years. In 1961 he became chairman of the House Republican Conference. In 1963 President Johnson appointed Ford to the Warren Commission to investigate the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He was the last living member of the Warren Commission.
In 1965 Ford was chosen as the House minority leader, a post he held until 1973. As minority leader Ford made more than 200 speeches a year all across the country, which made him nationally known. He was not only a close friend of Richard Nixon for many years, but also a loyal supporter in both the 1968 and 1972 presidential elections. As in 1960, Ford was again considered as a vice presidential candidate in 1968. Because the Republicans did not attain a majority in the House, Ford was unable to reach his ultimate political goal, Speaker of the House. Instead, he became president of the Senate.
Late in 1973 Spiro Agnew pleaded no contest to a charge of income tax evasion and resigned as Vice President. President Nixon was empowered by the 25th Amendment to appoint a new vice president and chose Ford. He was sworn in on December 6, 1973.
On August 9, 1974, Nixon became the first president in U.S. history to resign from the office under the threat of impeachment in the Watergate scandal. The same day Gerald R. Ford took the oath of office as 38th President of the United States on August 9, 1974. Also in August 1974, Ford nominated Nelson Rockefeller for vice president, which nomination was confirmed by Congress on December 19, 1974.
One month after taking office President Ford faced one of the toughest decisions in his career. He decided to grant Nixon a full, free and absolute pardon for all offences against the United States which he has committed or may have committed or taken part in. The public opinion was mostly negative about the pardon and there was even suspicion Ford and Nixon had made a deal to grant a pardon if Nixon would resign. Although this happened on September 8, 1974, it might have cost the re-election of Ford two years later.
On November 24, 1974, in the conference hall of the Okeansky Sanitarium, Vladivostok, USSR, President Ford and Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev signed the SALT-treaty, following talks on the limitation of strategic offensive arms
In March 1975, during the final days of the Vietnam War, Ford ordered the airlift of about 237,000 Vietnamese refugees to the United States. Two months later, on May 14, 1975, Ford ordered U.S. forces to retake the S.S. Mayaguez after its seizure by Cambodia, an action Ford characterized as an "act of piracy." The operation saved the ship's 39-member crew, but sadly 41 Americans were killed and 50 more wounded during the preparation and execution of the rescue.
President Ford was twice the target of assassination attempts. Both took place in on two separate trips to California in September 1975 and both were 'performed' by women. On September 5, 1975 he survived an assassination attempt in Sacramento, California, by Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, a member of a cult once led by convicted mass murderer Charles Manson. On September 22, 1975, in San Francisco, California, Sara Jane Moore fired a shot at the president, but a bystander diverted the shot.
Despite his former athletics skills, Gerald Ford tumbled several times during his presidency. No cause was ever communicated.
At the Republican National Convention in August 1976, Ford fought off a serious challenge from Californian Governor Ronald Reagan to be nominated as his party's presidential candidate. He chose Senator Robert Dole of Kansas as his running mate.
Although he succeeded in closing in on Democrat Jimmy Carter's large lead in the polls, President Ford finally lost one of the closest elections in history in November 1976.
After leaving office, Gerald and Betty Ford returned to private life and moved to California where they built a new house in Rancho Mirage, which became his last residence.
President Ford continued to actively participate in the political process and to speak out on important political issues. He lectured at hundreds of colleges and universities.
In 1981, the Gerald R. Ford Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan, were dedicated.
President Ford was the recipient of numerous awards and honors by many civic organizations, like the recipient of many honorary Doctor of Law degrees from various public and private colleges and universities.
In August 1999, President Bill Clinton presented Ford with the nation's highest civilian award, the Medal of Freedom. Two months later, in October 1999, Senate and House leaders presented Ford and his wife, Betty, with the Congressional Gold Medal. Together with former President Carter, he served as honorary Co-Chair of the National Commission on Federal Election Reform in 2001. In May 2001 he was presented with the Profiles in Courage award for his controversial decision to pardon former President Nixon.
In August 2000 Ford suffered a mild stroke while attending the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On May 16, 2003 following fluctuations in blood pressure and hot weather, Ford suffered dizzy spells on the golf course and taken to hospital. He was released the next day.
Although President Ford cut back on his travel and public appearances in recent years, he attended funeral services for President Ronald Reagan at Washington's National Cathedral, sitting with former Presidents Clinton, Bush and Carter, and their wives in June 2004.
In August 2006, he was discharged from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, after doctors tried to reduce or eliminate blockages in his coronary arteries. They also implanted a pacemaker to improve his heart performance. In the fall of 2006 Ford spent several days at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage for medical tests. He was released on October 16.
On November 12, 2006, Ford officially became the longest-lived president, surpassing Ronald Reagan. Ford would extend the record by 45 days.
On December 26, 2006 at 6:45 p.m., President Ford died in his house in Rancho Mirage, California. He was aged 93 years and 165 days old, making him the longest-lived United States President. No cause of death was communicated. A state funeral and memorial services were held at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. on January 2, 2007. President Ford was buried at his presidential museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
President Gerald Ford is survived by his wife Betty, after more than 58 years of marriage, and by their four children, seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother, Richard, of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Danielle B. Roter was born on May 26, 1948 in Brussels, Belgium, the daughter of Tovia and Bella Roter. Along with her younger brother, Michel, the family departed from Cherbourg, France in early December 1948 on the Queen Elizabeth, arriving in New York, New York, USA on December 13, 1948. Diane's father, Tovia, was an actor and director credited as Theodore "Ted" Roter and Peter Balakoff. In 1952 the family officially moved to the United States and in 1957 became American citizens. After her first role as a little French speaking girl on Ronald Reagan's General Electric Theater in 1959 Diane was sent to a Brussels, Belgium school for the 1961-62 school year. She was multi-lingual and fluent in Dutch and French. Danielle's father became the executive director of the Santa Monica Playhouse giving her progressively larger parts in every play they produced until she reached starring role status. Danielle left school at the conclusion of her junior year (1965) at Venice High School in the west side of Los Angeles. Venice High is a foreign language and international studies magnet school. She accepted the role of Judge Garth's niece, Jennifer Sommers, at the start of The Virginian's fourth season for NBC. She replaced Roberta Shore who left the series to be married. After NBC changed her first name to Diane, she remained in the role of Jennifer for twenty-five episodes (1965-1966). Sara Lane replaced Diane after one season, appearing in over one hundred episodes (1966-1970). Diane has taught mime, movement, and acting in numerous private classes and schools. She has been a journalist and art critic in numerous newspapers. Diane earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Bio-Psychology at UCLA. As 2014 ends Diane is in the process of writing a novel.
Grew up in Long Beach, California
Was a member of the International Children's Choir for six years where she performed for world leaders such as President Ronald Reagan and Chaim Herzog, the President of Israel. She performed with the choir in the opening ceremonies of the 1984 Olympics, traveled with them to Mexico and Israel as "Little Ambassadors of Peace", sang for the opening of the Citicorp building in New York and on the steps of the Capital Building in Washington DC.
Modeled in Japan as a teen.
Earned her BA in Speech Communications from California State University Northridge
Steffanie Siebrand is a Los Angeles based Director, Producer, Actor, TV Host, and President & CEO of StormMaker Productions. She has directed two documentaries, "Swallow This: Navigating the Dietary Supplement Industry" and "Injected! The Truth About Vaccines". In addition, she was the Producer of the romantic comedy, "Grooming Giselle", as well as co-Executive Producer of the dramatic ensemble, "Dream In American". All four films are slated to be released in 2011.
Steffanie has over 19 years experience in the Entertainment industry from the entertainer side to the production side. After graduating from UCLA, and working for President Ronald Reagan, as well as for a congressman on Capital Hill, Siebrand returned to Los Angeles, and attended a prestigious two year Meisner acting school, Joanne Baron/D.W. Brown Studio in Santa Monica, CA. The experience gave her the insight on script construction and how to relate to actors. After graduation, she began working for an upstart cable channel, TFN, The Football Network where she soon became Vice President of Programming and Production. She was responsible for the creation of the networks programming grid, as well as acquiring the rights to a variety of football related programming. In addition, she produced and hosted a variety of programs for the network, and for national syndication including The Pac-10 Preview.
Siebrand is the host of KidCARE TV & Women's HealthCARE TV which can be seen throughout the country. She can also be seen as the host in "Injected! The Truth About Vaccines". She also hosted the paint ball show, "Splatter Factor" which aired on Fox Sports World.
As President & CEO of StormMaker Productions, Inc. since 2001, she has produced over 500 hours of digital signage programming that can be currently seen throughout the country on PetCARE TV, KidCARE TV, Women's HealthCARE TV, and America's Minority Health Network.
Siebrand thoroughly enjoys being behind the camera, as much as she enjoys being in front of it. As an actor, she can be seen in "Grooming Giselle", "Dream In American", and "Rock & Roll: The Movie", as well as in the short, "Stuck", to name a few.
Dorothy Granger was one of the first members of SAG when the Screen Actors Guild was founded over 65 years ago. A Texas beauty contest winner at the age of thirteen, Dorothy's career ran from a long-running two-reeler series, as the wife of Leon Errol for RKO, to the long-running television series Death Valley Days with Ronald Reagan. 'Dott-ee,' as Stan Laurel would call her, worked as a young foil with Laurel and Hardy, a damsel-in-distress for the Three Stooges, and a prop for Lucille Ball to pop in Perfectly Mismated. From one short comedy to another, she worked with every popular comic or comedy team of the twenties and thirties, from Burt Wheeler to W.C. Fields. But Dorothy wanted to be a dramatic actress. She appealed to her funny buddy Andy Devine, who told her, "Put on a petticoat and you'll work forever." She did, and she did. In the forties, it was western after western, working with Lon Chaney Jr. and Andy in North to the Klondike, Randolph Scott and Broderick Crawford in When the Daltons Rode, Robert Young and Betty Grable in Sweet Rosy O'Grady, and Gene Autry in Blue Montana Skies. Tiring of westerns, Dorothy ventured into everything from horrors with Bela Lugosi to musicals to the Charlie Chan series with Sydney Toler. By the fifties she'd hit her stride, working episodic TV, regularly on the Abbot and Costello Show , Cameo Theater with James Drury, and The Jack Benny Program. But like the westerns, Dorothy's style had passed, reducing her to bit roles in films like Dondi with Walter Winchell and David Janssen, New York Confidential with Anne Bancroft, and Raintree County with Montgomery Clift. Andy was right-the petticoat was the most natural wardrobe for Dorothy, since she spent most of her career in petticoats and covered wagons. Dorothy accepted that the West was done. Ending her career with over 250 films, she quit. The three most enjoyable things for Dorothy were making movies, her affair with Clark Gable, and watching her grandnephew, Alex Wilde, grow as an actor.
Michael Dukakis, three-term governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts who served longer in that post than any other person in history, is best remembered in history as the 1988 Democratic candidate for President in an election in which Ronald Reagan's vice president, George Bush, effectively used "Swift Boat" tactics to undermine Dukakis' candidacy.
Born Michael Stanley Dukakis on November 3, 1933 to Greek-immigrant parents in Brookline, Massachusetts (the birthplace of both John F. Kennedy and his 1988 Presidential opponent Bush). Dukakis' father was a Harvard-educated physician and his mother was a Massachusetts schoolteacher. She worked to eliminate first her native Greek accent and then her New England accent to remove imperfections from her speech pattern that might hinder her teaching ability. In a time and place where non-Anglo-Saxon ethnicity was looked down upon (even that of the Irish Americans who emigrated to the U.S. with the ability to speak English and a knowledge of Anglo-Saxon politics) and even proved a hindrance to social mobility, the Dukakis family was committed to assimilation. Part of the bad rap against Dukakis that would cost him his first reelection campaign as governor and his bid for the White House was that he was too stiff and formal; yet, being brought up in an era and place in which overt displays of emotion were looked down upon upon by the ruling class of Boston Brahmins as too "ethnic" (as well as betraying lower-caste origins), one can understand Dukakis' coolness and reserve as being an attempt not to be stereotyped by his social "betters". (His contemporary, three-term New York governor Mario Cuomo, said that when he entered law practice in the early 1950s, he was told to ditch his Italian name and rename himself something along the lines of "Mike COnnors". He, of course, refused, though that type of ethnic cleansing was considered normal among upwardly mobile and socially ambitious "urban ethnics" of the time.)
The class system in Boston was so strict before being shattered by John F. Kennedy's presidency that JFJ's father, Joseph P. Kennedy, felt the need to relocate his family to New York City in the 1930s so that they would no grow up amidst anti-Irish prejudice. Despite the fact that he was one of the richest men in the country and his wife was the daughter of a Boston mayor, an Irish Catholic was beyond the pale, socially, to the Boston Brahmins, the brethren of the Cabot and Lodge families that dominated the self-proclaimed "Hub" of the universe. (A local ditty went about Boston hailed the Hub as "...the land of the bean and the cod,/Where the Lodges speak only to the Cabots,/And the Cabots speak only to God.)
After graduating from Swarthmore College in 1955, Dukakis served as an enlisted intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army. After completing his military service, he graduated from Harvard Law School in 1960. After serving in the General Court (Massachusetts legislature), Dukakis was elected governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1974, defeating the incumbent Republican Francis W. Sargent. The commonwealth was undergoing a fiscal crisis and the Republican Party was very unpopular in the commonwealth, the only state that had been won in the electoral college by 1972 Presidential candidate George McGovern two years before. Dukakis' victory was the result, partially, of his taking a pledge not to increase the state's sales tax to balance the state budget, but he reneged on the promise soon after taking office. During the great Blizzard of 1978, which shut down Boston and a good deal of the Commonwealth, "The Duke" went into local TV studios in a sweater to announce emergency bulletins. The coldness of his public persona in the midst of the crisis was likened to that of the weather itself, and hurt his popularity. Combined with a nation-wide and local backlash against the high property tax rates, and his reneging on his promise to not raise the sales tax, he lost to Edward J. King in the Democratic primary, as King capitalized on the issue of taxes. Following California's lead, the voters of the Commonwealth voted for Proposition 2 and 1/2 that limited property tax rates to 2 1/2% of the property valuation.
Dukakis defeated King in in the Democratic primary in 1982, and easily defeated his Republican opponent to be reelected governor. (Fellow future Democratic Presidential nominee John Kerry was elected Lieutenant Governor on the same ballot with Dukakis, serving in the Dukakis administration from 1983 to 1985, when he was took Paul Tsongas's Senate seat.) The second term and the first years of Dukakis' third term as governor were very successful (he won re-election in 1986 with over 60% of the vote), during which time he presided over a booming economy fueled by the high-technology industry, second at the time only to that of California. A reform-minded technocrat, Dukakis was given credit for the "Massachusetts Miracle" (part of the credit of which should be attributed to Masssachusetts Congressman Tip O'Neil, who had taken over JFK's old congressional district, who as the powerful Democratic Speaker of the House helped direct billions in defense spending to the Commonwealth).
The National Governors Association voted Dukakis the most effective governor in 1986, positioning Dukakis for a bid for the presidency. Basing his candidacy as the architect of the "Massachusetts Miracle", Dukakis overcame the other contenders for the Democratic Party presidential nomination (a group dubbed the "Seven Dwarfs" by the media for their collective lack of stature or prominence on the national stage; Dukakis' own personal lack of stature). The success of the Dukakis' campaign was largely attributed to campaign manager John Sasso, who had originally worked for rival candidate Joseph Biden. (Having also managed the campaigns of Al Gore and John Kerry, Sasso is now 0-3 in presidential election contests.)
Dukakis came out of the Democratic convention with an overwhelming lead over Ronald Reagan's heir-apparent, Vice President George Bush, the Republican nominee, but would not or could not handle the dirty campaign tactics that were the stock-in-trade of all the Vice President's men, including Lee Atwater. While the Dukakis camp expected an attack on their candidate as a traditional liberal, they did not seem to be able to cope with the McCarthyite vitriol from the Bush camp, which sought to make the "L" word the equivalent of what communism had been in the early 1950s. Harking back to McCarthy, Bush had accused Dukakis during one of their televised debates as being a "card-carrying member of the American Civil Liberties Union," replacing "communist" with the ACLU (a variation of the "L"-word) and recycling an old charge from the '50s against liberals and "fellow travelers".
Unlike future Democratic Presidential candidate Bill Clinton (who had delivered the key-note address at the 19988 Democratic convention), who - when confronted with Bush's dirty tactics, such as pillorying his wife Hillary, shot back that "I'm not running for First Lady", thus touching on Bush's Achilles heel, the "Wimp Factor" -- Dukakis would not fight back. He either was constitutionally unable to fight back, or thought it beneath his dignity to answer the smears and accusations. Issues the Bush campaign chose to highlight were his veto of legislation requiring public school teachers to lead pupils in the Pledge of Allegiance and his opposition to capital punishment.
As it had during the Big Blizzard, The Duke's stoical personality as projected to the voting public was interpreted as a lack of passion (which ran against the traditional stereotype of the Greek-American being fiery if not hot headed, an image that Dukakis, like his mother earlier, chose to expunge from his being). His opponents, touching on his reputation as a technocrat and superb administrator, referred to him as "Zorba the Clerk." Nevertheless, Dukakis widely was perceived to have performed well in the first presidential debate with Bush, and his candidacy was buoyed by his running mate, Texas Senator Lloyd Bentsen, who was not afraid to take off the gloves. However, in the second debate, the runner stumbled; Dukakis had been suffering from the flu. Still, his performance was poor and played to his reputation as being cold, particularly his response to moderator Bernard Shaw's question, "Governor, if Kitty Dukakis [his wife] were raped and murdered, would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?"
Projecting himself as a man of reason, Dukakis replied with no visible emotion, "No, I don't, and I think you know that I've opposed the death penalty during all of my life," and then explained his stance. Many observers felt Dukakis' answer lacked the normal emotions one would expect of a person discussing a loved one's rape and death. Many - including the candidate himself - believe that this, in part, cost Dukakis the election, as his poll numbers dropped from 49% to 42% nationally overnight. Other commentators thought the question itself was unfair, in that it injected an irrelevant emotional element into the discussion of a policy issue.
Arguably the greatest issue of the campaign was that of race and crime, as articulated by the Bush camp in the prison furlough program issue. Framed by Lee Atwater, the Bush camp ran ads that criticized Dukakis for a prison furlough program that resulted in the release of convicted murderer Willie Horton, an African American, who committed a rape and assault in Maryland after fleeing Massachusetts. While it was Al Gore during the Democratic primaries that was the first candidate to publicly raise the furlough issue and highlight the fact that a furloughed prisoner had broken into a house, raped a woman and beaten her husband, Gore never mentioned Horton by name or highlighted the fact that he black, as the TV ads did merely by running his picture.
Despite the fact that the furlough program was started before Dukakis' gubernatorial administration and that the federal government under Ronald Reagan had a similar program that had resulted in similar outcomes, candidate Bush decided to play the race and crime card to boost his candidacy. Bush mentioned Horton by name in a speech in June 1988 and an "independent" political action committee (PAC) legally not affiliated with the Bush campaign, the National Security Political Action Committee, aired an ad entitled "Weekend Passes" which used a mug shot image of the African American Horton. The Bush campaign refused to repudiate it, and indeed, followed it up with its own, official campaign ad, "Revolving Door," criticizing Dukakis over the furlough program without mentioning Horton.
The first Bush to be president also hammered on the patriotism theme (and unlike his son, an errant National Guard pilot during the Vietnam War, George H.W. Bush was an authentic war hero, serving honorably during the Second World War) to undermine Dukakis by portraying him as soft on defense, in regards to the controversial "Star Wars" Space Defense Initiative program, which Dukakis promised to scale down. The response to this provocation lead to a public relations disaster when the Dukakis campaign engineered a photo-op at the General Dynamics plant in Michigan in September 1988, in which The Duke was photographed driving an M1 Abrams tank. Filmed wearing a safety helmet that seemed too large for his head, Dukakis looked awkward, out of place, and decidedly uncomfortable in such a military setting. Footage of Dukakis was used by the Bush campaign as evidence he would not make a good commander-in-chief, and "Dukakis in the tank" is still shorthand among political operatives for disastrous public relations outings.
The campaign arguably was the dirtiest since the 19th century until Bush's son ran for reelection against John Kerry in 2004. Dukakis lost the 1988 election and retired from active politics after his gubernatorial term expired in 1991. The "Massachusetts Miracle" expired during the lead up to the recession that gripped America in the Bush administration, and The Duke's popularity withered as he was forced to significantly raise taxes. He did not run for a fourth term in 1990; controversial Boston University President John Silber, a social reactionary who was dubbed by Ronald Reagan his "Favorite Demcorat" won the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, and narrowly lost the general election to William Weld, ushering in nearly two decades of Republican governors in the heavily Democratic Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
After the end of his term, he served on the board of directors for Amtrak. Splitting his time between Boston and Los Angeles, California, he became a professor of political science at Boston's Northeastern University and a visiting professor of public policy at the University of California, Los Angeles. Dukakis has recently developed a strong passion for grassroots campaigning and the appointment of precinct captains to coordinate local campaigning activities, two strategies he feels are essential for the Democratic Party to compete effectively in both local and national elections. His policies have become gospel to Howard Dean, the head of the Democratic Central Committee. He also has taken a strong role in advocating for effective public transportation and high speed rail as a solution to automobile congestion and the lack of space at airports.
Starting martial arts training at age 5 in different styles of Kung Fu, then Judo, Karate, Tang Soo Do and boxing under several masters in his hometown (Tainan City, Taiwan), only for one single reason: to defend himself from the local bullies' attack.
In 1982 he was the all Taiwan Teenage Nunchaku Champ.
In 1983 he became the Taiwan Government selected and trained martial artist for the US Presentation to the Ronald Reagan Government's event in Washington DC and other 13 states.
In 1987, he won the World-Cup's "Middle Weight" title in sparring (Los Angeles Open) before graduating from Blair High School (Pasadena); classmate with Director John Singleton in couple math and English classes there.
Later taught by Dan Lee (Bruce Lee's close disciple in JKD), Steven Chang (Yip Man/Lieon Shon's Wing Chun), Delon Tan (Tae Kwon Do), John Wong (Wu's Tai Chi), and Franco Lung (Yip Man/Wong Tsun-Leon's Wing Chun) in America.
Jeff Pomerantz attended Northwestern University, volunteered to serve in the US Infantry during the Viet Nam era and graduated from the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. He subsequently studied with Stella Adler and Lee Strasberg who invited him to work at the Actors Studio.
He has had an extremely varied career which has included performing on Broadway and off with stellar actors such as Jeff Daniels, Dianne Wiest, Richard Dreyfuss, and Richard Burton to name only a few. He has done a great variety of film and TV, starring for years on daytime dramas while performing nightly on and off Broadway.
For over 28 years he has performed in literally thousands of venues world over doing what has been basically a one man improvisational show promoting human rights and social betterment activities.
He founded Hollywood Says No to Drugs in 1986, gaining support on an individual basis from people as varied as Lord Laurence Olivier and civil rights icon Rosa Parks. Having successfully elicited help on an individual basis from scores of celebrities, he eventually wound up at the White House and has virtually never stopped. Along the way he met with Presidents (Ronald Reagan) and Princesses (Princess Di and Princess Christina of Denmark), Prime Ministers, military leaders, etc. While raising funds for black education, he stayed in every black township in South Africa...during Apartheid. He has spoken at the United Nations in Geneva, and was the Moderator of the White House Conference For A Drug Free America.
In addition to his long list of credits Jeff has been a prolific Voice Over artist over the past 25 years.
Probably the pre-eminent violinist of our time, Itzhak Perlman is known for his brilliant technique, direct interpretation and precision. Mr. Perlman's recordings include not only all standard violin repertoires but those of contemporary composers. He has appeared with every major orchestra in the world, showcasing his talent at music festivals, recitals, and concerts around the world. The man who plays sitting down has never ceased to bring audiences and truly, the world, to its feet in appreciation of his gifts. Mr. Perlman was born to a barber in Israel in 1945. He contracted polio and lost the use of his legs at the age of four. Shortly after, he began to study the violin. After learning the violin at Shulamit High School in Tel-Aviv, he was performing with the Israel Broadcasting Orchestra. He toured with Ed Sullivan's Caravan of Stars, a showcase of talented children. He emigrated to the US in 1958 and under scholarship, Mr. Perlman went on to study at the prestigious Juilliard School of Music in New York with Ivan Galamian. Mr. Perlman made his professional debut playing Wienawski F-sharp minor Concerto at Carnegie Hall in 1963. He won the Leventritt Memorial Competition in 1964, which helped paved the way to his illustrious international career. Mr. Perlman returned to Israel in 1965 with a stunning eight concert and in 1968, made his British debut at Festival Hall with the London Symphony Orchestra. On the 4th of July in 1986, Mr. Perlman was one of 12 first-generation US citizens to be honored with the Medal of Liberty by President Ronald Reagan, in recognition and appreciation of his contributions to America. In December 2000, President Clinton awarded Mr. Perlman the "National Medal of Arts." With the Israel Philharmonic, Mr. Perlman performed several notable recitals in countries previously closed off. In November of 1987, the Philharmonic and Mr. Perlman performed in Warsaw and Budapest. It was the first time the Philharmonic and the violinist had performed in the Eastern Bloc. In April and May of 1990, the Philharmonic and Mr. Perlman journeyed to Russia for the first time, performing recitals in Moscow and Leningrad. The timing of this tour coincided with the 150th anniversary of Tchaikovsky's birth and Mr. Perlman honored the composer. In December 1994, Mr. Perlman and the Israel Philharmonic performed in China and India, marking the first time the Philharmonic played in either nation. Perhaps one of his greatest moments as an artist came when he collaborated with legendary composer John Williams. The film score that was created, with Mr. Perlman as a soloist, was used in the film _Schindler's List (1993)_ which won an Academy Award. Ever a teacher and holder of many teaching posts, Mr. Perlman participated in London South Bank Summer Music Series in 1968 and 1969. He created a master class in violin in 1970, at the Meadowbrooks Festival in the US. Mr. Perlman and his wife founded the Perlman Music Program in 1998 to nurture young musicians, ages 11-18. The program is costly but three quarters of the children receive some sort of financial aid. It includes year-round instruction and mentoring, a six-week summer residency on Shelter Island, New York and an annual international study/performance tour. In Mr. Perlman's 50th birthday year, he performed the major violin repertoire in a special concert series in London. That year was the launch of the Perlman Edition to commemorate his birth. The 20 CD set was released in May 1995. It was chosen by Mr. Perlman himself and included some of his favorite pieces by Sarasate, Wieniawski, Kreisler and Tchaikovsky. Later that year, EMI released a live recording of Beethoven's Triple Concerto with Yo-Yo Ma and the Berlin Philharmonic. The holder of honorary degrees from Harvard, Yale, and Yeshiva Universities, among others, it's Itzhak Perlman's passion for music that recommends him to the world. The joy of making music has seldom been translated so well and it is this combination of talent and personal charm which makes him such an outstanding violinist and the greatest violin virtuoso of our time.
Vikki Lizzi was born Victoria Elizabeth Spinoza in San Francisco California. She is a TV personality, actress and recording artist, songwriter and screenwriter. At the age of 6 she joined the San Francisco Children's Opera Theatre Company. She recorded an album with the opera and recorded her first record with Merv Griffin on Cavalier Records, a San Francisco based record label her father Tom owned and he produced such legends as Merv, Harry Belafonte, The Lettermen, Bob Ingram, Nick Lucas and over 250 other artists. Her song was "My Tender Years", his was "Love Is On A Holiday." She studied at the American Conservatory Theatre for acting, with the Tony Wing Dance Troupe, Alice Faye Dancers, Mason Kahn Dancers, Betty May Dance Studio and studied voice with the San Francisco Girls Chorus, private coach Giovanna Ditano, voice and music theory at the School of the Arts and studied piano. At age 12, Vikki wrote and recorded the Official Cable Car Song of San Francisco endorsed by then Mayor Dianne Feinstein and the Board of Supervisors to help raise the funds needed to fix the beloved cable cars. She grew up in political circles, as her father Tom was a San Franciscan Politician, having been the U.S. Republican Nominee for Congress and Senate and worked with good friends President Ronald Reagan, President Gerald Ford and President Richard Nixon. Vikki grew up performing for political campaigns, events and fund raisers for Senator Milton Marks, Governor George Deukmejian, Mayor George Moscone, Mayor Willie Brown, Mayor Ed Koch and many others. At age 16 she helped raise the money needed for her School Of the Arts Vocal Jazz Ensemble to be able to travel to LA and compete for the "Young Americans" song and dance troupe. Vikki won a spot in the Young Americans, singing Whitney Houston's The Greatest Love of All and fell in love with LA and she and her family, mother Shirley, brother Jay, and father Tom moved to LA at age 16. At 19, she had a top 10 most discovered hit in Hitmakers magazine called "Come On" which she wrote, on Classified Records and toured all over the world. She then fell in love with Manila, and co-starred in several blockbuster action films, one named "Kassanga Mo Ako Hangang Sa Huling Laban" (tranlates to) "I'm With You Til The End, co starring then Governor Lito Lapid. LA called Vikki back and Vikki started recording again with DJ Juanito, a single called "U Got Me" on Groove Nation Records (Universal). She also had a single with Big Ed Moore and DJ EFX called "So In Love" on Warlord Records and "Im So High". Vikki worked with Ricky Timas (New Edition) and they produced her 2002 album Vikki Lizzi. Vikki then wrote and recorded her last album with Jeff Conaway, "Saints and Sinners" as Vikki & Kenickie on ITunes, an album including their pop music coupled with Jeff's inspirational rock music. She has also appeared in a number of films from drama to horror and TV shows on VH1 & most recently TLC. Vikki has hosted many music awards shows and events and growing up won numerous title championship awards in the California State Talent Competition in the genre of tap, singing and jazz.
Willie Colón, Bronx-born of Puerto Rican grandparents, has fused his musical talent, his passion for humanity, and his community and political activism into an extraordinary, multifaceted career.
His achievements in all his activities are widely recognized. As musician, composer, arranger, singer, and trombonist, as well as producer and director, Colón still holds the all time record for sales, he has created 40 productions that have sold more than thirty million records worldwide. His collaboration with Ruben Blades, "Siembra", is the biggest selling album of all time for this genre. His collaboration with Hector LaVoe was the milestone that spread this fusion of tropical/urban music throughout Latin America. He is a strong catalog sale artist, whose songs are included in almost every Salsa artist's repertoire.
Three recent hit TV-soaps, Corazón Partido, Demasiado Corazón and Perro Amor, used his recordings/compositions as theme songs. He has also won 11 Grammy nominations, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Latin Grammy, fifteen gold and five platinum records, and has collaborated with such musical greats as the Fania All Stars, Héctor LaVoe, Rubén Blades, David Byrne, and Celia Cruz.
His music, which has powerfully influenced modern Latin jazz, reflects both rhythmic traditional lyrics and the cries of farewell and hope from a new generation pressured to abandon their homeland to congregate in urban America. William Anthony Colón Román (his full name) learned the lyrics from his Abuela (grandmother) Antonia, as she rocked him to sleep during his childhood in the heart of the Puerto Rican Bronx. Her strong beliefs and personality also powerfully influenced his devotion to his cultural roots. During his musical and cultural odyssey from the Bronx to the world scene, he moved from a fascination with the tropical paradise of his ancestors to the stark street images of rebellious youth and social struggle and finally to a mature fusion of joy and injustice, beauty and suffering, romance and realism. He has become an articulate and responsible public figure -- clever at injecting political messages into his music without becoming overbearing. He has been a visiting professor and lecturer at many prestigious colleges and universities.
As a community leader, he has won both local affection and national recognition. Colón, now 54, first emerged as a leader and organizer at age 16; he has since been a civil rights, community and political activist as well as Chair of the Association of Hispanic Arts, a member of the Latino Commission on AIDS, a member of the board of the United Nations Immigrant Foundation, President of the Arthur Schomburg Coalition for a Better New York, a current member of the Board of Directors of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, a founding member of the New Rochelle (NY) Hispanic Advisory Board, founding member of the New Rochelle Judicial System Committee and various other projects and organizations too numerous to mention. In 1993 he participated in the Presidential Inaugural Ceremonies, and in the following year, President Clinton invited Colón to become a member of the Presidents Committee on the Arts and Humanities. He declined this distinction in order to run in New York States 17th Congressional District primary.
In 1991 he was awarded Yale University's CHUBB Fellowship, a political recognition he shares with the late John F. Kennedy, Moshe Dyane, Jesse Jackson, Ronald Reagan, and George Bush, to mention a few. In 1995 he became the first minority to serve on the prestigious ASCAP National Board of Trustees and is now a member of the ASCAP FOUNDATION. In 1996 he was nominated as one of the 100 most Influential U.S. Hispanics by Hispanic Business Magazine.
In 1997 Willie Colón became a spokesperson for the international relief and development organization CARE and visited sites in Bolivia on their behalf.
In late 1997- early 1998 Colón appeared in the recurring role of Feliciano Pintor, a Puerto Rican DEA agent in the TV Azteca soap, "Demasiado Corazón." Willie's new CD release also titled "Demasiado Corazón" (Azteca Music) has been climbing the charts in Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico ( currently available for U.S. and European distribution.) In November 1998 Colón & Blades made history again with the Amnesty International Concert at la Carlota Airport in Caracas Venezuela where more than 141,000 tickets were sold. In 1999 he opened Salón 21 in Mexico City, one of the finest grand live music halls in the Americas. On February 12th in collaboration with the United Nation's women's organization UNIFEM, and the Mexican sister organization SEMILLAS, Willie hosted the tremendously successful International Women's Day fund raiser.
In 1999, Colón was ask to be part of the Jubilee 2000 Delegation to the Vatican along with Randolph Robinson of Trans Africa, Harvard economist Jeffrey Sachs, Bono from U2 and Quincy Jones. This initiative received Pope John Paul II's endorsement and later prompted President Clinton to forgive the US portion of the third world indebted countries. In November of 1999 he became Dr. William A. Colón when Hartford CT's Trinity College conferred the degree of Doctor Of Music for "The Art of Courage", a recognition given to artists who have used their art to make political change. In 2000, he was chosen to perform in Mexico City's El Zócalo plaza, to celebrate Easter (Sabado de Gloria) before a capacity crowd of over 100,000. Colón also appeared as the headliner to Puerto Rico's Regatta 2000 last May drawing a crowd of over 125,000 in Old San Juan. In Mexico City, he also wrote and produced a sitcom TV pilot titled "Willie's Café".
Willie Colón was also involved in the campaigns to end the Military occupation and practice bombing of the Puerto Rican island municipality of Vieques. It was through Willie's urging that Governor Pataki visited Vieques and pledged his support. On April 16, 2001, Willie received the EPA's "Environmental Quality Award" from EPA Director Gov. Christie Whitman. This is the EPA's highest award for people that do not work for the Agency.
Willie Colón ran in New York City's 2001 Democratic primary as a Candidate for Public Advocate of the City of New York, garnering a respectable 101,394 votes. After that primary, Colón endorsed then candidate Betsy Gotbaum for Public Advocate , who was handily elected. Willie Colón was also the first prominent Latino to endorse Michael Bloomberg for Mayor. He also composed and produced Bloomberg's Spanish campaign jingle.
In 2002, Willie Colón was retained by NYC & COMPANY (The City of New York Convention and Visitor's Bureau) as a Senior Advisor and Consultant, he was also appointed as Mayor Bloomberg's representative to El Museo Del Barrio.
On October 28, Willie Colón was received by President of the Dominican Republic, Hipólito Mejia and honored with the Order of The Hawk by Lieutenant General and Secretary of The Armed Forces, José Miguel Soto Jiménez.
On May 3 2003, Ruben & Willie reunited for the Siembra 25th Anniversary Concert. They packed Hiram Bithorn Stadium with 27,000 fans who turned out for this 3 hour concert show that included many of their early hits together. This concert was also critically acclaimed by the press for the excellent musical performance by Willie & Ruben and their All Star Orchestra that was composed of members of both Ruben and Willies present and former band members. On October 5, 2003 Willie Colón met with Ecuadorian Vice President Dr. Alfredo Palacios
ON October 28th, 2003, Mayor Michael Bloomberg kicked off the Latin Media Entertainment Commission appointing Willie Colón as his Liasion to the Commission, Robert Deniro as Celebrity Chairman and Jennifer Lopez as Celebrity Chairwoman.
On February 17th 2004 Willie Colón received the Metro New York Better Business Bureau's Public service Award.
On February 27th 2004 Willie was received by the Peruvian Congress and Vice President Carlos A. Infantas Fernández. He was also feted by the Mayor Alex Coury of El Callao, Lima.
On June 3, 2004, Lehman College conferred the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters on Salsa Legend/Political Activist Willie Colón in recognition of his compositions, poems and essays and the effect his work has had on millions of Latinos throughout the world.
In 2005, Willie Colón was Co-Chair of Michael Bloomberg's re-election campaign.
In 2006, Willie Colón was largely responsible for bringing the Latin grammy to New York City.
Jimmy Noonan is an American actor of Irish Ancestry. He was born in 1958 in Massapequa, NY and grew up in Rutherford, NJ. Jimmy was recognized for his work in "The Grifters" by Empire Magazine, which named him the 7th Greatest Movie Bartender of All-Time, and later for his very memorable portrayal of Frank Galikanokus in "Super Troopers". Jimmy also appeared on Broadway in the Tony Award winning "An Inspector Calls", doing over 400 performances. Jimmy left the business for some time to take a job as Director of Security for WWF and later WWE. He appeared on live television shows Monday Night Raw, ECW! and Smackdown for many years. He made a very memorable guest appearance on Sex In The City in it's second season. Jimmy has 6 Sisters, one of whom is Peggy, the famed Ronald Reagan Speechwriter.
Frances Eloise Hodges, who died in California on 19 January 2003 following a stroke, was not only a successful singer and actor, but will also be remembered for her part in launching Ronald Reagan's film career by getting him to 'ditch the glasses.' This he did, and the rest is history.
She was born on 29 January 1915 in Des Moines, Iowa, to Verne Hodges and his wife. At the age of eight, she became one half of the Bluebird Twins, performing across Iowa, and later at high school was part of a trio named the Crooning Co-eds.
Married three times, firstly to Gil Doorly from 1939 - 1941, then to Paul Helmund and finally, until his death, to Eugene Scheiss, she appeared frequently on stage, in films and on TV and radio. Her career began when she won a talent contest at the Paramount Theatre, and in 1935 she signed a 5-year contract with RKO.
She appeared with Fred Astaire in Follow the Fleet and in 1937 was singing at Hollywood's Biltmore Bowl and in various Broadway musicals, including 'I'd Rather Be Right'. In 1946 she had the lead role in 'Nellie Bly', and as late as 1972 took over from Ruby Keeler in the Broadway revival of 'No, No, Nanette'.
Ronald Reagan kept in touch with Joy for over 60 years, and she was a frequent guest at the White House, where she once sat next to President Gorbachev at dinner.
Julia Jones has a 20-year career writing, developing and financing films. Her original screenplay, Discretion Assured, starred Michael York and Jennifer O'Neill, screened at Cannes and was executive produced by James Aubrey, legendary head of MGM. She was co-writer and co-producer with Stephen K. Bannon on the feature documentary In The Face of Evil: The Epic Struggle of Ronald Reagan, which won the award for Best Feature Film at the Liberty Film Festival and the American Film Renaissance in 2004. In 2005, she founded East Coast Pictures LLC to develop and produce independent film. In 2006, Robert Guillaume staged a reading of her rap adaptation of Shakespeare's play "Coriolanus," directed by Israel Hicks, at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles. In 2008, she also adapted the New York Times best-selling book "Left to Tell: Finding God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust" by Immaculee Ilibagiza for Academy Award-winning producer, Steve McEveety (The Passion of the Christ, Brave Heart). She has served as creative consultant to Bannon Films, Genius Products, Inc. and Affinity Media in Los Angeles. She is working with John B. Crye (Memento, The Prestige) on an adaptation for screen of the book "Eros, Magic and the Murder of Professor Culianu" by award-winning investigative reporter, Ted Anton. A member of the Writers Guild of America West, she graduated with honors in English Literature from Harvard College.
George Clinton was born George Clinton C. on August 18, 1972 in Columbia, South Carolina, USA. Growing up in a family that started LP gas in his home town, both sides of his family are prominent. As with his grandfather the late Jame Edgar Bradbury was an attorney for Hud, great grandfather was a certified public accountant traveling to Washington at some point. George was fortunate in his life to meet and speak to many powerful people that being Ronald Reagan, President George H W Bush, President William Jefferson Clinton, President George H Bush, and even meeting Pope John Paul in St Louis at one point. At one point George said it seems like every major city he would be in one of these officials would some how show up due to some event that had nothing to do with him. His family roots have been in the film and television industry for many years. George was inspired by the industry talent as the late Johnny Grant said to him in 2000, keep the spirit and push forward. Attending college in Los Angeles then obtaining his Masters of Fine Arts he has also become a very talented Producer, Director. Having a love of animals especially parrots, George backs many rescues around the world having a mind set in conservation. Loves his cars and loves his dogs.
Born in the late summer of 1960, Donna was the 1st of 4 children. Her father was a linguist for both the Pentagon and NSA, speaking more than 5 languages fluently, he served every President from LBJ to Ronald Reagan. He died in 1986 of heart disease. Donna is a triple threat character actress with a great ear for accents. She can speak more than a few words of various languages and can adopt almost any accent when needed. She has a better than average soprano and, even with asthma, is still a popular soloist. She and her husband of over 30 years raised 3 successful children together.
Jerry S. Parr (September 16, 1930 - October 9, 2015) was an American Secret Service Agent. He was one of the agents protecting President Reagan on the day of his assassination attempt on March 30, 1981 and is widely credited with helping to save the President's life. The following obituary was published in The Washington Post on October 10, 2015:
Jerry Parr, Secret Service agent who helped save Ronald Reagan, dies at 85. By Martin Weil October 10, 2015
Jerry S. Parr, the quick-thinking and fast-moving Secret Service agent who was credited with saving the life of President Ronald Reagan after the 1981 ¬assassination attempt in Washington, died Oct. 9 at a hospice center near his home in Washington. He was 85.
The cause was congestive heart failure, said his wife, Carolyn Parr.
Mr. Parr had been an electric-power lineman before his Secret Service years and was a clergyman in retirement. But he was best known for the fraught moments after gunfire erupted March 30, 1981, as the president was leaving the Washington Hilton hotel.
In that time of chaos, Mr. Parr seemed the epitome of the firm-jawed man of action: forceful, resolute, decisive.
At the president's side when the shots resounded, Mr. Parr did not immediately look for the gunman, John W. Hinckley Jr. ¬Instead, according to accounts, Mr. Parr placed his hand on -Reagan's shoulder and pushed the president into an awaiting limousine.
The vehicle pulled away from the hotel, leaving behind a scene of blood and tumult. Also severely wounded by gunfire had been White House press secretary James S. Brady, Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy and D.C. police officer Thomas Delahanty.
Although Mr. Parr and the president were moving swiftly away from the carnage, shielded by the armor of a bulletproof vehicle, the agent's responsibilities were far from over. Carefully, he ran his hands over Reagan's body, searching for bullet wounds. He found none.
Then he recognized the ¬ominous signs: The president complained about pain in his chest, and there was blood on Reagan's lips.
Mr. Parr immediately ordered that the limo be driven to George Washington University Hospital instead of the White House. The president survived, but he had a close call.
"If Jerry hadn't made the change," first lady Nancy Reagan later told CNN host Larry King, "I wouldn't have a husband."
Doctors, noting the president's severe loss of blood, sometimes reported as three pints, have agreed with that assessment.
In the aftermath of the assassination attempt, Mr. Parr was hailed for his cool capacity to confront danger and steer a path to safety. But the skills, instincts and abilities he demonstrated then gave an incomplete picture of his character and personality.
Among those who knew him inside and outside the Secret Service, he was regarded as a patient man willing to hear out the troubled, to keep confidences and try to suggest a course of action.
He was called on so often to play the part of wise adviser, his wife said, that after retiring from the Secret Service in 1985, he obtained a master's degree in pastoral counseling from Loyola University in Baltimore and became co-pastor of the ecumenical Festival Church in Washington's Adams Morgan neighborhood.
Jerry Studstill Parr was born in Montgomery, Ala., on Sept. 16, 1930, and he grew up in the Miami area. His spent time as a lineman for Florida Power and Light. It was often hazardous work, and he was a pallbearer at the funerals of eight colleagues.
When he applied to join the Secret Service in 1962, soon after graduating from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, he was asked at an interview about what motivated him to assume the perils of the job.
As he recalled it, his wife said, he replied that he did not expect the work to be as dangerous as what he had been doing for the power company.
In fact, Mr. Parr had been fascinated by the Secret Service from boyhood. His father had taken him in 1939 to see the low-budget action film "Code of the Secret Service," one of several movies in which Reagan starred as the dashing agent "Brass" Bancroft.
"There's a couple of times where truth and training converge, where history and destiny converge," Mr. Parr told The Washington Post in 2006. "I thought about that for a long time. It's that moment - either you do it or you don't, either you save him or you don't."
Over the years, Mr. Parr met and provided security for some of the world's most prominent figures. His career took him to all 50 states and 37 countries. He helped to protect Pope John Paul II, and a photograph showed him alongside Japanese Emperor Hirohito. As deputy special agent in charge of the foreign dignitary division, he was credited with overseeing protection for more than 50 world leaders.
After assignments to vice presidential protection, he became head of the White House detail in the presidential protective division in 1979 and provided security for Jimmy Carter.
In recent years, he and his wife co-wrote "In the Secret Service," a memoir.
In addition to his wife of 56 years, Carolyn Miller Parr, a former U.S. Tax Court judge, survivors include three daughters, Kimberly Parr of Syracuse, N.Y., Jennifer Parr Turek of Severna Park, Md., and Patricia Parr of Frederick, Md.; and four granddaughters.
Dawn Krantz has an extremely broad range of experience in the entertainment, real estate and financial arenas and is a self proclaimed serial entrepreneur.
Born in New York, raised in California, Krantz comes from a Hollywood family whose lineage overflows with talented, creative people. Dawn's great uncle was the founder of Paramount Pictures, Adolph Zukor, her cousins include, screenwriter, Stewart Stern, ("Rebel without a Cause", "The Ugly American") legendary musical Director, George Sidney ("Anchors Away, Bye Bye Birdie") Tony award winner, Sheila Bond ("Wish you were Here"), in addition to big band musicians, well known artists and other theater performers, on both her mother and father's side of the family. At the family gatherings there was always story telling and playing music and Dawn learned to love great story telling at an early age.
In 1983, Krantz saw the rising trend of the video business and opened a video store chain in Austin, Texas. These stores ultimately became one of the most successful independent video store chains in the country. In addition, Dawn also opened a chain of full entertainment stores in factory outlet malls throughout the country.
Krantz was voted in as a board member of the very prestigious Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA) from 1988-1995, eventually becoming Chairman of the Board, the only woman to ever hold this position. VSDA represented the major Hollywood studios and most independent studios as well as 35,000 video retailers around the world. During her reign as Chairman, she helped produce the most successful entertainment convention in the world; started an extremely successful charity, Fast Forward to End Hunger with Jeff Bridges; and worked hand in hand with the MPAA lobbying in Washington for both the film and video game industry and helping define the video industry during its hay day.
After selling her business, Dawn consulted with several very successful high tech, real estate and entertainment companies. She was then diagnosed with cancer and had to put everything on hold. When she got back on her feet she became a Realtor and in her third year, she sold 138 houses in one year, making her the # 1 agent in closed transactions in the US.
In 2008, Dawn was approached to help finance a movie and in less then a month she raised $3,000,000 and green-lit the movie, and with the real estate market crashing, she was back in show business. In 2010, Dawn moved back to California to produce full time. Since then she has been building a very successful production company which now has more than 12 films in the slate with budgets from $5,000,000 - $100,000,000. Her last completed project is Man Down with Shia LaBeouf and Gary Oldman to be released by Lionsgate, winter 2016. Her upcoming projects include the biopic of Ronald Reagan and Jena Six with Gabriele Muccino, (The Pursuit of Happyness) directing.
Dawn has also been on the Board of South by Southwest Film Festival (SXSW) The Texas Angel Investors and The Capital Network. She was awarded Austin Business Woman of the Year, Nominated by Inc. Magazine for the prestigious award of Entrepreneur of the Year, was Video Retailer of the Year from the American Video Association and awarded one of the Top Video Store chains in the US multiple years. \
Mario Cuomo was born to Andrea and Immaculata Cuomo on June 15th, 1932, in Queens, New York. He was the son of Italian immigrants. In Cuomo's early years he attended Saint John's University, summa cum laude in 1953. He then attended St. John's School of Law, and graduated tied for the top of his class in 1956. Cuomo became an advisor to Judge Adrian P. Burke that same year and then entered private practice in 1958. Cuomo also was a professor at St. John's law school throughout the sixties, and chaired the University Alumni Federation.
Cuomo was becoming a well known political figure and liberal in the state of New York about this time. In 1974 Cuomo was the Lieutenant Governor nominee on the Democratic ballot alongside Howard Samuels, but his ticket lost to the winners of the Democratic Nomination, Hugh Carey. Governor Hugh Carey was so impressed with Cuomo, Carey appointed him to Secretary of State.
In 1977 Cuomo ran for Mayor of New York, but lost in the primary to the eventual winner of the race Edward Koch. However Cuomo was elected to Lieutenant Governor in 1978. In 1982 Hugh Carey stepped down as Governor, and Cuomo won the primary over rival Ed Koch, and went on to defeat Republican Louis Lehrman. In his campaign, Cuomo's theme was the theme from Rocky, and his campaign can be detailed in the book Diaries of Mario M. Cuomo, about his rise to the Governor's office. Cuomo almost immediately became a national figure in Democratic Politics. A strong liberal who was against the death penalty, and for affective gun control, he was quite the contrast to the strong right values of Ronald Reagan.
In 1986 and 1990 Cuomo won the highest Margin ever for re-election to a second and third four year term. Cuomo became an extremely popular political figure. Cuomo made New York nationally known for progressive legislation. In his tenure Cuomo improved roads, re-vitalized education and infrastructure of New York City. Cuomo also created a large homeless assistance program, created investment in many high tech facilities, created programs to deal with AIDS and the mentally ill.
Cuomo was a devout Roman Catholic, and while he was opposed to abortion he felt the state had no right to ban it. As the decade progressed Cuomo focused attention on children's issues, and created 300,000 jobs for New Yorker's, and defied two Republican led recessions. Mario Cuomo also created the first major ethics law for public officials and gave New York the largest tax cut in the states history.
Cuomo also created the nations first seat belt law. Cuomo also appointed all of the judges to the state's court of appeals. To add to his large list of accomplishments he appointed the first African-American, Hispanic, and the First two women. Cuomo's strong progressive record made him a rallying point for liberals all across the nation. He was a favorite to run for president in 1988 and 1992. Cuomo refused to run either year. He was the Keynote Speaker at the 1984 Democratic Convention. Rumours were abound as to why he didn't run, the most notable of which was supposed ties to the Mafia, which were never confirmed. Cuomo gave the nominating speech to Bill Clinton in 1992. That year there was a movement to write him in to become president. However Mario Cuomo's strong record could not defy the Republican Revolution. Cuomo looked good for re-election in 1994. He had the endorsement of much of the Democratic top brass in the state, and a good part of the top Republicans, including the newly elected New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Critics of his campaign said that against conservative George Pataki he did not give a strong campaign, and lost narrowly to the novice former Peekskill Mayor.
Part of Pataki's victory could be attributed to the powerful Senator Alfonse D'Amato, who helped his campaign considerably. D'Amato lost heavily in 1998, but Pataki was re-elected. Since September 11th Pataki has become viewed as a strong leader. Before September 11th, his two Democratic rivals, Carl McCall, and Cuomo's son Andrew looked to have a shot at the Governor's seat. Mario Cuomo's political legacy looks to rest to a certain degree on the potential career of his son. However Cuomo will be forever remembered as a champion of progressive ideas that are still being hailed as some of the best in the nation.
Cuomo's post political career has been quite impressive too. Cuomo has written many essays and books, speaks at many functions across the country and at one point hosted a nationally syndicated talk show. Mario is married to Matilda Cuomo and had five children: Margaret, Andrew, Maria, Madeline and Christopher. He has six grand children.
John Davis Lodge, the movie actor who became a successful politician around the time that "Helen Gahagan' Douglas (the wife of Melvyn Douglas and the star of "She" (1932)) was making California politics safe for the likes of faded hoofer George Murphy and future General Electric Theater host Ronald Reagan, was the grandson of Massachusetts Senator Henry Cabot Lodge (the man who successfully prevented the U.S. entry into the League of Nations) and the brother of Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., Richard Nixon's former Senate companion and his running mate during the 1960 Presidential sweepstakes. (It was Nixon who beat Helen Gahagan Douglas for a U.S. Senate seat in 1950, branding her the "Pink Lady" in reference to her supposed communist sympathies, claiming she was pink right down to her scanties. Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. had lost to John F. Kennedy in the 1952 Massachusetts Senate race - a victory relished by the Irish-American Kennedy, whose father Joseph P. Kennedy had been shunned by the Boston Establishment whom Cabot Lodge, Jr. epitomized - and then again to J.F.K. and his running mate Lyndon Johnson in 1960. J.F.K. got a further dig in at the Boston Brahmin by appointing Cabot Lodge, Jr., who had been Dwight D. Eisenhower's Ambassador to the United Nations after losing his Senate seat, to the thankless post of ambassador to South Vietnam.)
There was a saying in Boston, portraying the capital of the Bay State as "the land of the bean & the cod/Where the Lodges talk only to the Cabots/And the Cabots talk only to God." John Lodge was both a Cabot AND a Lodge, a thorough and thoroughly bred blue-blood to boot. However, before realizing that politics flowed through his veins, John Lodge - who was born in Washington, D.C. - humored himself with acting, that other public speaking sport that ranks among the world's oldest professions, and it was as an actor that the general public first got to know him.
John was born a year after his brother, debuting in the world on October 20, 1903. His father was the patrician playwright and poet George Lodge and his mother was the former Matilda Frelinghuysen Davis. He grew up in Washington and in Paris before being educated at the Evans School in Mesa, Arizona and the Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts. He attended Harvard College (Class of 1925) and Harvard Law School ('29), with a year of graduate study at Paris' Ecole de Droit in between. At Middlesex, he had indulged his interest in school theatricals, and he continued as an amateur thespian while matriculating at Harvard, playing leads in Hasty Pudding Club shows and French Club productions.
It was in Cambridge, Massachusetts during his undergraduate days that he met his future wife, the Italian-born Francesca Braggioti. While men played female roles in drag at Hasty Pudding Club shows, this was not so at the French Club theatricals (where the plays were presented in the French tongue). Francesca, who was both a dancer and a choreographer, often appeared in the French Club plays when there was wont of a female. The couple were married in 1929.
The newlyweds settled in New York City, where Lodge obtained employment as a law clerk in a prestigious Wall Street firm. In 1930, the couple's daughter Lily Lodge, a future actress and drama coach, entered the world with a kick of her wee legs and a hearty scream. Lily's mama Francesca, ever the trouper, pursued her own dance career after recovering from the birth, branching out into acting on Broadway and at small theaters when she wasn't kicking up her own heels. While Lilly's papa John didn't join his wife for any profesisonal tripping of the light fantastic, he did indulge his own acting jones by joining Francesca in the New York Amateur Comedy Club's production of Noël Coward's "The Young Idea." The Coward comedy (the credits for which claim "The Snarks" as producer) played three performances on Broadway in March 1932.
It was the Great Depression, and despite John Lodge's patrician background, Francesca felt the need to generate some coin (gold specie wasn't outlawed until 1933 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt - Groton '00; Harvard '03, though he claimed allegiance to the Class of '04 despite finishing his undergraduate studies in three years - who most people of Lodge's class considered a class traitor) by hiring on to dub Greta Garbo's newly made sound films into Italian. Garbo had been a silent-film superstar in Francesca's native Italy, and the task was an important one, as the proper presentation of a speaking Garbo was critical to her future success in Italy. The job necessitated that Francesca move to Culver City, California for six months to perform the task at the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio.
Thus, fate intervened in John Lodge's life, separate from the accident of his birth. In the late summer of 1932, he took a vacation to California to join Francesca. In Santa Monica, while playing in a celebrity tennis tournament, he was spotted by talent agent Ad Schulberg. Lodge agreed to a screen-test, which was scripted by his prep school buddy John Lee Mahin, a successful screenwriter. The screen-test led to an offer of a six-month contract from Paramount Pictures at $75 a week.
Lodge's patrician family was aghast that he would even think of such as thing as leaving his law career for the then-disreputable "profession" of movie-making. (Old Joe Kennedy - Harvard '12 -- was bullish on the movies as an investment, though, having made a mint from creating R.K.O. He even sponsored movie investment conferences at Harvard.) For six weeks, Lodge dithered over accepting the offer. Paramount, anxious to sign the tall and handsome blue-blood, upped its offer to $275 a week (approximately $3,300/week in 2005 dollars), which at the time was a considerably greater sum than most New York City lawyers earned. Lodge signed the contact. While he did understand his family's dismay over his uprooting himself from a respectable avocation in the upright and proper Establishment East for a Prodigal Son-like journey to the Babylon on the sun-kissed and faintly wicked Left Coast to live the life of a Hollywood player, what he didn't count on was Mae West. His family was concerned over his new career route, while - if gossip was correct - Miss West was sure to be concerned over another root entirely.
As soon as the Paramount publicity department began ballyhooing the signing of their latest discovery, Mae West - who was not only Paramount's biggest star but had single-handedly taken the studio out of bankruptcy - decided she wanted the handsome young Lodge to play the male lead in her new movie, "She Done Him Wrong," an adaptation of her notorious stage hit "Diamond Lil." Lodge heard about West's interest, and as he was in no desire himself to further humiliate his family by associating with the notorious Mae West (West had been arrested and jailed for obscenity in New York in 1928 over her play "Sex"), he decided to nix the role. Lodge informed Paramount that he would not accept West's offer to co-star in her new picture and that he would prefer to learn the movie-acting craft by being cast initially in smaller parts.
No unknown had ever turned down such a big role before, but Paramount acquiesced. Lodge would later express regrets over his refusal of the part in "She Done Him Wrong," which became one of the top box office hits of 1933 and made the man whom Mae West chose to replace him in the role - Cary Grant - a star. Her first film at Paramount, "Night After Night," had introduced George Raft to Hollywood. No, John Lodge never became a star, but he did become the governor of Connecticut. Politics turned out to be his fate, after all. But before that milestone, there were movies to make, and a war to be fought.
After making three minor pictures at Paramount, the studio lent him out to R.K.O, where he made George Cukor's classic "Little Women" (1933). The apogee of his career came in 1934-35, when he appeared in two more classics: Josef von Sternberg's "The Scarlet Empress" (1934) in support of the legendary Marlene Dietrich at Paramount, and "The Little Colonel' at 20th Century-Fox, where he portrayed the father of another future actor-turned-politician (and yet another screen legend), Shirley Temple. That was about it. He made one more movie for Paramount, the mystery "Menace" (1934), and then became a freelance. In all, he appeared in 21 movies altogether between 1932 and 1940, including several that were shot in Europe, such as Maurice Tourneur's "Königsmark" (1935), which was made in France, and "Bulldog Drummond at Bay" (1937) and "Queer Cargo" (1938), which were shot in Great Britain. (John Lodge thus becomes an answer to a trivia question: name the actors who have played Bulldog Drummond.)
In January 1941, Lodge returned to Broadway after his less than auspicious 1932 interlude to appear as "The Young Man" in the musical "Night of Love." The musical, produced by the Schuberts, lasted twice as long as Lodge's previous engagement, closing after seven performances. He had better luck in his next play, Lillian Hellman's anti-fascist drama "Watch on the Rhine," in which he played David Farrelly. The play opened at the Martin Beck Theatre on April 1, 1941 and closed eleven months later, on February 21, 1942, bowing out after a total of 378 performances. John Lodge was ending his acting career with a hit.
World War II came to the United States during the run of his last play, and Lodge became a naval officer in August 1942. Capitalizing on his language skills and his molarity with Europe, the U.S. Navy made Lodge a liaison officer between the French and U.S. Fleets. In his over-three-years of service, Lodge reached the rank of Lieutenant Commander and was decorated with the rank of Chevalier in the French Legion of Honor and with the Croix de Guerre with Palm by General Charles de Gaulle. (He would later make the rank of Captain in the U.S Naval Reserve.) After he was demobilized, in January 1946, Lodge made his home in of Westport, Connecticut and joined the family business: politics.
In November 1946, he became the second movie actor ever elected to high office, winning a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican. (The Democrat Helen Gahagan Douglas had become the first when she was elected from California's 14th District in 1944.) He won a second term in 1948, but resigned his seat in 1950 to run for governor. He was elected, and took office as Connecticut's 50th governor in January 1951. His wife, Francesca, proved to be the most active First Lady in Connecticut history, opening the governor's mansion to the public. She served as a patron of the arts, promoting concerts and theater and serving as a founding member of the American Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Connecticut.
After his bid for a second gubernatorial term ended in defeat in 1954, President Eisenhower appointed Lodge U.S. Ambassador to Spain, where he served from 1955 to 1961. While the Republicans were out of power in Washington during the 1960s, Lodge was the National President of Junior Achievement, Inc. from 1963-64, served as a Delegate and Floor Leader at the 1965 Connecticut Constitutional Convention, and was the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Policy Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania from 1964-69. After Nixon was elected President in 1968, he appointed Lodge as U.S. Ambassador to Argentina, where he served from 1969 to 1974. Later, for the most successful actor-cum-politician in history, President Ronald Reagan, he served as the U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland from 1983-85 and as a member of the U.S delegation to the United Nations. (Lodge's tours as the ambassador to Spain and Switzerland were fitting, as he was a bigger star in Europe than he had ever been in the United States.)
John Davis Lodge died in New York City on October 29, 1985, nine days after his 83rd birthday, and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. The Connecticut Turnpike (Interstate-95) was named the Governor John Davis Lodge Turnpike in his honor. His widow, Francesca Lodge, died on February 25, 1998 at her home in Marbella, Spain. She was 95 years old.
Jennifer Niejadlik was born in Newport, Rhode Island on June 20, 1973. She attended Rogers High School. When she was 15 years old she acted in a regional Public Service Announcement warning against the dangers of drugs and alcohol for teenagers. This PSA was filmed at Brown University's library. Jennifer attended Emerson College studying Mass Communications with a concentration in Broadcast Journalism. While attending Emerson College she acted in a short student film. After graduation in 1995 she worked for ESPN on several X Games, was a reporter for Boating Today TV and worked for CBS News in New York. While at CBS News she covered several film press junkets, Red Carpet movie premieres interviewing A list actors, and various hard news such as the terrorist attacks on 9-11, the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, two presidential election campaigns, and the death of President Ronald Reagan. In October 2002 she was featured as a model in Marie Claire magazine for a body image campaign where she posed nude with an artist. In 2009 she acted as a reporter in the indie film "Life is an Art" that showcased at the 63rd Annual International Cannes Film Festival in May 2010. She attended the 64th Cannes Film Festival screening a promo trailer for the film "Rise of an Exile" in which she has an acting role and is a producer. Jennifer Niejadlik resides in Amsterdam, Holland.
|Lance J. Gosnell
Born Jeremy Lance Gosnell in Conway, Arkansas on September 6, 1978, to Linda Kay Gosnell (née Stacks) and James Leo Gosnell, but raised by his mother and maternal grandmother Wynell Stacks (née Dollar), a personal Nanny for former Arkansas Governor Winthrop Rockefeller and his family.
While growing up in Conway at an early age Lance become interested in acting imagining that one day he would be discovered by Hollywood. During his public school years he attending the University of Central Arkansas' youth theater where he was introduced to the basics of acting.
As a teenager Lance would often study the comedians on Saturday Night Live where he would often entertain his mother and anyone who would listen with the voices of Yogi the Bear, a parody of Dana Carvey's President George Bush and Ross Perot, the late Phil Hartman's President Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan and well as learning the art of physical comedy from watching Chevy Chase.
In 1998, Lance enrolled in college at Arkansas State University where he studied theater and stage managed William Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor.
After enrolling at the University of Central Arkansas in 2006, a few years later an HBO film crew came to Little Rock, Arkansas to film part the documentary Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (2011) at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Bowen School for Law and Lance made it into a background shot of the film.
|Stanley V. Henson Jr.
Stanley V. Henson, Jr. began his career composing songs as a teenager. His songs were published by MCA/Universal/Chriswald Music during the 80's. Some of his music was distributed throughout Europe and Japan. Henson also composed and produced music with the late Grammy-winning producer Guy Babylon (Band director for Elton John and composer with Quincy Jones) and Lenny Macaluso who composed songs for Motown and Universal Music. During the 90's, Henson continued to compose music for television commercials that include, Bausch and Lomb and TV shows such as Santa Barbara.
While attending college in Los Angeles, Henson studied music and acting. He interned at RCA/BMG Music in Hollywood. California, under Ron Fair and Lygia Guy. He was mentored by legendary music promoter, the late Sid Bernstein, who is known for introducing The Beatles to the U.S. and discovering entertainment mogul David Geffen and Laura Nero. Bernstein took an interest in Henson while lecturing at his college class under Mike Julian.
While attending LAVC, Henson was hired by producer Lee Levinson on the NBC movie "Playing with fire". He began working as a production assistant to actress legend Cicely Tyson, the late Ron O'Neal, Yaphet Kotto, the late Gary Coleman and film director Ivan Nagy. Henson was featured in a small acting role in the film, when Ivan Nagy needed an actor for a scene in the movie. This was his first acting role. After the film was completed, Henson began working security at Universal Studios on the film sets of several NBC's projects's like, "Knightrider", "Simon and Simon" and the films St. Elmo's Fire and "Back to the future".
Henson became intrigued by CEO, Lew Wasserman and MCA/Universal Studios system while working at the studio. His interest was sparked in film and TV production during this period. He met and was mentored by the late Matt Robinson, Comedian Dap "Sugar" Willie, the late Motown producer, Norman Whitfield, The late J.W. Alexander, who was the manager/partner of Sam Cooke, Rodney Gordy (nephew of Berry Gordy), John Harris (Head of Stevie Wonder's Quarter's West), Duffy Hooks, Maurice Sneed, Al Douche and The late Don Cornelius. These individuals educated Henson about the entertainment business.
After a divorce in 1995, Henson took a departure from the music industry and moved to Washington, D.C. Henson met the late Donald Iverson, founder of Iverson Technologies. Iverson was known for using IBM technology and patenting a way to prevent electromagnetic signals from being picked up from computers where they could be decoded and analyzed by foreign governments. His company was once in high demand for some time and brought him in contact with nations around the world and a personal meeting with then, President Ronald Reagan. Iverson made over $80 million dollars from that invention.
Henson and Iverson partnered, to form Gamer Corp and designed and manufactured apparel for The Prince Hall Mason's, The Daughter's of Isis, The Eastern Stars, Sigma Pi Phi, Omega Psi Phi, Delta Sigma Theta and the AKA Sorority (The Divine 9). He also created and designed apparel for Native American Tribes and Casino's throughout America such as The Colorado River Tribe, St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, Red Lake Gaming Enterprises, Mashantucket Pequot Tribe/Foxwoods Resort Casino. The tribal councils became Henson's allies and would only work with Henson. During his tenure with Iverson, Henson used his influence with Iverson to prevent pending taxation on Native American Casinos.
In 1996 Henson left Iverson and was employed to work for John Malone (co-founder of BET, Discovery Channel and owner of Direct TV, Liberty Media and the Denver Nuggets) at ETC/Telecommunications Inc. in Washington, D.C. and Denver, Colorado. Henson reported directly to former Congressman Tony Coelho (protege' of Bob Hope) for two years, where he worked as a federal consultant to The White House (Clinton Administration) and educators throughout the country.
While working with TCI, Henson helped to implement what is known today as, "Distance Learning Programs" in institutions of higher learning. In 2001 he began his employment with Convera/Intel,Inc. as a federal government information and technology consultant to The White House, Clinton and Bush Administrations and the federal government intelligence agencies. After 8 years in government consulting, Henson left to launch Equal Opportunity Motion Pictures and Films, LLC and EO Entertainment, also known as NCA (National Cinematic Artist) and Dreamcore.
Henson produced and directed two films that featured Bill Cosby, Dick Gregory, Raheem DeVaughn, Clifton Powell, Red Grant, Joe Theismann and Georgianna Robertson to name a few. He is producing three new films due for release in 2017-2018. Henson was an actor in the film "Jack Strong" and NCA was part of the crew production team. In 2006, he negotiated deals with AMC and Landmark Theatres to feature his films. This occurred prior to what is known today as AMC Independent and Open Roads.
As an artist and performer, Henson performed at the Mayan Theatre and was formerly managed by Sammy Chao and Robert J. Allan. Henson attributes this association to meeting many of his business alliances with companies like The Wanda Group, Chinese investors, Coppola/Zoetrope and Warner Bros. to his association with The Mayan Club staff, Sammy Chao and Robert Allan.
His companies, NCA Technologies Group, National Cinematic Artist and Dreamcore are under contract with the same Chinese manufacturing companies that develop product for Apple, Inc. NCA Technologies Group is a manufacturer and seller of virtual reality products in competition with Samsung and Oculus.
He is the uncle of the co-producer of "Shaunie's Home Court","Martha and Snoops Dinner Party" "The Real", "Jersey Shore", "Dance your ass off","Party Down South", "Nashville Star's" and Snooki and JWoww, who currently resides in Los Angeles with his younger brother.
Lori has had dance training since the age of three. She has a well rounded background in all performing arts including ballet, tap, jazz acrobatics, drama, voice and modeling. Lori has won many titles regionally and nationally, among them International Cinderella Teen 85-86. Lori was the first Junior Miss Dance of America Chapter #33, Dance Masters of America. Also 1985 Miss Dance Chapter #33, Dance Masters of America. She is a graduate of the Northside High School of the Arts where she played Cassia in a "Chorus Line" and danced for the President of the United States, Ronald Reagan. Lori was a featured dancer on the 1988 60th Academy Awards and had the opportunity to work with the late choreographer Michael Peters ("Thriller") Michael Kidd and Jerome Robbins. In early 1989 she could be seen in Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation short film and videos, and then was chosen to replace the Tony award nominated role of "Mr. Monotony" in Jerome Robbins' Broadway in New York. Lori was featured as "Diamond" in several videos and the world tour of Prince's "Diamonds and Pearls." Also, she toured with Ricky Martin as the "La Vida Loca" girl and performed with Michael Jackson worldwide as his lead girl in "The Way You Make Me Feel" and "Dangerous." She was the associate choreographer for Broadway's Tony nominated "Smokey Joe's Cafe."
Callista Gingrich and her husband, Newt Gingrich, host and produce historical and public policy documentaries. Recent films include A City Upon a Hill: The Spirit of American Exceptionalism, America at Risk, Nine Days That Changed the World, Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous with Destiny, Rediscovering God in America, Rediscovering God in America II: Our Heritage and We Have the Power.
Callista is the voice for several audio books, including "A Nation Like No Other", "Valley Forge", "To Save America", "To Try Men's Souls", "5 Principles for a Successful Life", "Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less", "The Art of Transformation", "Real Change", "Contract with the Earth" and "Rediscovering God in America". Callista is also the voice for American Solutions for Winning the Future, a conservative organization for political and governmental change.
Callista's photography has been published in the New York Times and Washington Post. It is featured in a photographic book entitled "Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous with Destiny", inspired by Newt and Callista's award-winning documentary film. This unique photographic collection by Newt, Callista and David Bossie honors the life and legacy of our nation's 40th President. Callista's photography is also featured in "Rediscovering God in America".
Prior to leading Gingrich Productions, Callista served as the Chief Clerk of the House Committee on Agriculture in Washington, DC. During her tenure the Agriculture Committee held hearings on a wide range of issues including biotechnology, bioterrorism, conservation, forest management, nutrition, rural development, trade and welfare reform.
Before joining the House Committee on Agriculture, Callista served in the office of Representative Steve Gunderson (R-WI). With over 18 years of staff experience in the US House of Representatives, she has a wide range of knowledge in government and legislative affairs, strategic planning, research and constituent services.
A devoted Catholic, she is a member of the Choir of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, a resident professional choir. In March of 2005 the Choir visited Rome, Italy to honor Pope John Paul II, and recorded a compact disc entitled "Pope John Paul II: A Celebration of Life and Faith". In April 2008, the Choir sang for the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, during his Apostolic Journey to the United States. In November 2008 the Choir participated in the International Festival of Sacred Music and Art in Rome, Italy.
Callista plays the French horn with the City of Fairfax Band in Fairfax, Virginia, promoting musical growth and education among area residents and students. The band performs frequently in Fairfax, Virginia, and the Washington, DC, area. The City of Fairfax Band is a recipient of the John Philip Sousa Foundation's Sudler Silver Scroll Award. The Sudler Silver Scroll is regarded to be North America's most prestigious award for community concert bands.
Callista is the President of the Gingrich Foundation, a nonprofit corporation. Among its charitable contributions, the Gingrich Foundation has established the Newt and Callista Gingrich Scholarship at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, which provides annual scholarships for instrumental music majors. Other grants have been awarded to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington National Opera, Wolf Trap Foundation, City of Fairfax Band, Atlanta Ballet, Mount Vernon Ladies Association, Museum of the Rockies, American Museum of Natural History, Arthritis Foundation, Alzheimer's Association, Learning Makes a Difference Foundation, Autism Society, Catholic Charities USA, American Heart Association, Girl Scouts of the USA, and the Trust for Public Land.
Callista graduated Cum Laude and earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music with a concentration in Public Communication from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. While at Luther College, she was a Pi Kappa Lambda Member and Regents Scholar.
She resides in McLean, Virginia, with her husband, Newt Gingrich.
|Helen Eileen Beardsley
Helen Beardsley was born Helen Eileen Brandmeir, the ninth in a family of ten children in Seattle, Washington on April 5, 1930. She grew up in Seattle where Helen trained to be a nurse at Providence Hospital. At age 19 Helen married Navy man Richard (Dick) Dale North on June 30, 1949.
Helen and Dick lived at Oak Harbor, Washington where they had their first child, Colleen North on June 1, 1950. They moved to Kodiak, Alaska where their children Janette and Nicholas were born on June 15, 1951 and July 16, 1952. Dick and Helen moved back to Oak Harbor where their son Tom was born on October 17, 1953. Next the Navy brought them to Okinawa, Japan where their daughter Jean was born at Uchitomari on December 12, 1955. Their next move brought them to Great Lakes, Michigan where their son Phillip was born on February 7, 1957. Three more moves soon followed to Key West, San Diego and back again to Oak Harbor, Washington where their son Gerald was born on October 14, 1958.
At age 30 Helen became a widow when she was six-and-a-half months pregnant for her eighth child. Dick died in an aircraft accident on June 7, 1960. She then gave birth to Teresa on August 30, 1960.
In early 1961 Helen moved to San Leandro, California where the principal of the parochial school where her children were registered, Sister Mary Eleanor, mentioned her recently widowed brother Francis (Frank) Beardsley, a Navy Warrant Officer. Frank had 10 children of his own. Frank and Helen began corresponding and had their first date on the eve of Mother's Day, May 13, 1961. The whirlwind courtship ended up in marriage less than four months later.
At age 31 Helen North married Frank Beardsley on September 9, 1961 in Carmel, California and became the mother of 18 children. She and her 8 children moved in with Frank and his 10 children. Frank's house was enlarged to 5,800 square feet in size, which included 8 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms and 3 living rooms. The family immediately gained national press attention. The couple soon sold the movie rights to their story to Desilu Studios.
On July 14, 1962 Frank and Helen's first child together, Joseph was born. In the spring of 1963 Helen legally adopted Frank's 10 children and Frank adopted Helen's 8 children in the largest mass adoption in California history. The couple's 20th child, named Helen was born on April 19, 1964.
Frank and Helen appeared on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson soon after their wedding. The family then appeared in west coast bread commercials. Helen received the National Campfire Girls Mother of the Year award in 1963. In 1965 Helen wrote the book "Who Gets the Drumstick" recounting her story as a Navy wife and mother. In April 1968, the movie "Yours, Mine and Ours" staring Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda which was loosely based on Frank and Helen's story, was released. Helen was also appointed by then California Governor Ronald Reagan to the State's Advisory Commission on the Status of Women.
Helen was known as a very giving and loving person. She was a classy woman with very traditional values. Helen was also a devout Catholic. She is also described by her daughter as a peacemaker and that family was the most important thing to Helen. She was very much loved and admired by all who knew her through out her whole life, especially by her 20 children.
In 1968 Frank retired from the Navy and with Helen they opened a nut and gift shop and Ye Ol' Beardsley Donut Shope, which later expanded into three locations. In 1973 the couple sold the stores and Helen returned to the medical field working at Carmel Community Hospital. The couple then moved to Fresno in 1977 where Helen worked at St Agnes Medical Center as a cardiovascular technician.
Frank and Helen Beardsley retired to the Santa Rosa area in the mid 1980s. Soon after obtaining her certificate in medical transcribing Helen began a long battle with a rare form of Parkinson disease which eventually took her life on April 26, 2000. At the time of her death Helen was the mother of 20 children, she had 44 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.
Helen was buried next to her first husband Dick North at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, Oregon.
Multiple award-winning television and film Producer, Director and Writer Tim Gibbons has a career spanning more than 30 years, working in every genre from comedy to drama, variety, specials, reality, movies and more.
Currently, he's Executive Producer of HBO's comedy "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (which he's been on for more than a decade), as well as Executive Producer for the upcoming BET single-camera comedy series "Real Husbands of Hollywood", starring comedian Kevin Hart. In addition, he's also Executive Producer and Director of NBC's reality comedy series "Betty White's Off Their Rockers".
Gibbons also sold and is writing an untitled drama pilot for Lifetime. In addition to Curb, over the last decade he co-executive produced HBO's single camera comedy, "The Unsuccessful Thug", executive produced and directed of A&E's hidden camera reality series, "Spying on Myself", and produced the pilot for HBO's comedy, "The Comeback", starring Lisa Kudrow.
Before Curb, he was Producer and Director of the hidden camera sketch comedy series "The Jamie Kennedy Experiment", and was Supervising Producer and Director for "Ripley's Believe It or Not!", on which he traveled all around the world.
In 1998, Gibbons developed, pitched and sold the film "In the Company of Spies" to Paramount Pictures, which he co-executive produced. Starring Tom Berenger and Ron Silver, it aired on Showtime as a backdoor pilot. Gibbons was the first producer to gain full CIA cooperation for a film production, including filming at their Langley, Virginia headquarters (using CIA personnel as extras), where the world premiere also took place.
Gibbons' impressive awards list includes a Golden Globe, two Producers Guild of America's Danny Thomas Producer of the Year awards, three DGA awards, the Monte-Carlo Television Festival's Outstanding Producer of the Year (Comedy), plus numerous other awards. He has also been nominated for six primetime Emmys for Best Comedy, and served twice at the Monte-Carlo Television Festival as a juror.
In 2009 the Producers Guild of America awarded him the Charles FitzSimons Award for "extraordinary and long-standing contributions" to the PGA, for which he received honorary lifetime membership to the Guild. He serves on its National Board of Directors (since 2001), and is a former co-president (along with Kathleen Kennedy). He was former Chairman of the American Association of Producers, and was instrumental in the merger of the AAP and the PGA in 2001. He is also the senior Governor (representing producers) at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (Emmys), for which he's also served on the Executive Committee.
Gibbons started his career in television in 1976 with four years at Dick Clark Productions, and has worked on more than 130 productions, including four years as Executive in Charge of Production for Lorimar/Telepictures. Along the way, he worked on "Ronald Reagan's 1981 Inauguration", NBC's "Real People" (shot all over the country), many reality, syndicated, music, and concert shows, and was the Associate Producer for the 1992 "Warner Bros Celebration of Tradition" (for Executive Producers David Wolper and Steven Spielberg).
He's a computer/tech geek, has thousands of followers on both Twitter (he's has a "verified" account!) and Facebook, and is an early adopter of new technology and fancy, expensive little gadgets.
Gibbons is managed by New Wave Entertainment, and repped by the law firm of Del, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka, Finkelstein & Lezcano.
Merrie Spaeth has a unique background in media, government, politics, and business. In 1987, she founded Spaeth Communications, Inc., a Dallas-based firm providing communication training and consulting for a wide range of companies and institutions. The firm specializes in teaching executives how to use communication as a strategic business tool. Ms. Spaeth frequently writes and lectures to business groups on communication. She began her government experience as a White House Fellow, serving as Special Assistant to William Webster, Director of the F.B.I., and in 1984 she was appointed Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan and Director of Media Relations at the White House where she pioneered the use of satellite communications and started the electronic White House News Service. She has worked in every area of the media and is currently a commentator on business communication for "Marketplace" on public radio stations across the country. She wrote "Your Finances," a weekly column on personal finance and investing for USA Today Sunday Magazine. During the last two decades, she has worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer, the New York Daily News, Family Weekly, and many other magazines and papers, and she is the author of Marketplace Communication (MasterMedia). Merrie is a former talk show host and a reporter in both radio and television as well as a producer for ABC's "20/20." As a noted speech writer, Merrie has written opinion articles and speeches for many business leaders including the late William S. Paley, the founder and chairman of CBS, Inc. A cum laude graduate of Smith College, she holds a masters degree from Columbia Business School and was awarded the school's Overall Achievement Award. She is an instructor for the Business Leadership Center in the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University. Honors include Glamour Magazine's 10 Outstanding Working Women of America, the National Council of Women's Citation of Accomplishment, as well as the Young Poet of New York and "Filmdom's Famous Five" which dates to the 1960s when Ms. Spaeth was an actress in television and film beginning with The World of Henry Orient with Peter Sellers and Angela Lansbury. Merrie is the founder and president of the Institute for Strategic Communications, a not-for-profit foundation devoted to studying and reporting on business communication issues. She is active in many local and national civic and charitable organizations, and her firm has been recognized for its extensive pro bono contributions to nonprofit institutions.
Clyde McLeod has been a movie extra since 1938. He's been directed by Charles Chaplin, Frank Capra, and Cecil B. DeMille. He's been a stand in for such actors as Anthony Quinn, Ronald Reagan, Rock Hudson, Tex Ritter, among others. Becoming a principal actor has never been his goal. "I got into the business because it was what my mother wanted me to do," said McLeod in 1985. For McLeod, show business is a family tradition that dates back to the 18th Century, when his ancestors, the Stickneys, played Shakespearean jesters on the stage. His grandmother was a bareback rider in traveling circuses. His mother, Emily Stickney, was a bareback rider with the Barnum & Bailey Circus and starred in the original stage version of "Polly of the Circus" in 1900. McLeod's father, Tex, worked in "cheap" vaudeville shows in the early '20s.
For ten years, he commuted from his ranch in Fallbrook to Los Angeles, totaling 130 miles each way.
He later spent his life living with Patricia Enns, another extra who worked in various films during the 1950s and 60s, such as "Artist and Models."
On May 17, 1911, as Norway was jubilantly celebrating its Constitution Day, two Norwegian citizens were born in Flatbush, a sector of Brooklyn, New York. They were twins. The boy was Knut Haukelid. He was to become a leader of the Norwegian underground during World War II and is given major credit for blocking the Germans from producing and shipping "heavy water," essential to their objective of developing the atomic bomb. His exploits were depicted in the 1965 movie, "The Heroes of Telemark." The daughter, born to Bjørgulv and Sigrid Haukelid, was never depicted in a movie. Rather, her destiny was to star in movies. Sigrid Guri Haukelid was to become Sigrid Gurie.
At the time the twins were born, their father, Bjørgulv Haukelid, was working as a civil engineer with the New York Subway System, a job he had held since 1902. He left that job when the twins were less than a year old, and the Hauklids set sail for Norway (at the same time the Titanic left for its doomed maiden voyage).
Knut came back to the United States to attend Massachusetts State College, returning to Norway in 1929. He completed his education in the 1930s, attending the Dresden School of Technology and the University of Berlin. He then returned to Norway, and was working for his father's engineering firm, Haukelid og Five, when the Germans invaded the country in April, 1940.
Haukelid evaded the Nazis and became a lieutenant in Kompani Linge (Norway's most successful resistance-group during WWII). Under his command part of the group snuck into the German Heavy Water Plant at Rjukan and blew it up thus setting back German endeavours to produce a product vital to the development of an atomic bomb. Then, when the Germans decided to ship the surviving heavy water they had already stored back to Germany in barrels, Haukelid and his team snuck aboard the ferry which had to haul it across a lake, set a time-bomb on board the ferry timed to blow up at the exact time when the ferry was in the middle of the lake. The plot worked perfectly with the entire German cache of heavy water sinking to the bottom of the lake.
Hitler was stopped from being the first to produce the atomic bomb (a quest that no doubt - had it succeeded - would help the Germans win the war). The successful sabotage by Haukelid and his men gave the United States time to complete their own atomic bomb. In an impressive way the actions of Kompani Linge directly contributed to the end of WW II. Knut Haukelid's wartime deeds have been widely covered. Among the numerous high military awards bestowed on him at the war's end by five grateful nations was the Medal of Freedom with Silver Palm, by the United States of America.
Knut graduated from the Norwegian Military Academy in 1948. He served as Major in the Telemark Infantry Regiment, and was later appointed Lieutenant General and head of the Home guard of Greater Oslo. After he retired, Knut often lectured, at home and abroad, on the importance of fostering and supporting resistance forces to serve behind enemy lines in wartime. In 1983, when Vice President George Bush visited in Norway, he invited Knut to a formal dinner at the American Embassy.
In the Spring of 1984, on the 40th anniversary of the sabotage action against the heavy water plant at Vemork, the survivors of the Kompani Linge group who participated in the action were honored at a reception at the residence of the American Ambassador, Mark Evans Austad. Nine of the 12 survivors were present when they were surprised with a gift of cufflinks from President Ronald Reagan, who also sent them a personal letter. They also received letters of congratulations from John W. Vessey Jr., Chief for the American High Command. Representatives of the Norwegian Parliament and the Army were also among those present when Knut Haukelid was singularly surprised and honored with an American passport (having been born in the US).
On Friday, October 18, 1985, Knut Haukelid was honored at the Second Annual Hall of Fame Banquet in Minot, North Dakota. He was one of five people named that night to the Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame - again an honor due not only by his deeds but because of his birth in the United States and his holding of dual-citizenship. In later years, Knut and his wife divided their time between winters in Oslo, and summers along the coast at Lillesand, and to visits with children and grandchildren. Perhaps his last public appearance occurred during Charles Kuralt's television tribute to the heavy water saboteurs during the 1994 Winter Olympics at Lillehammer, Norway. He was taken ill soon after, and died on March 8, 1994.
Ann-Marie Murrell is the CEO/Editor-in-Chief of PolitiChicks.com, which was nominated "People's Choice Blogger of the Year" at CPAC 2013. Ann-Marie is the co-author of the book, "What Women Really Want", which has been ranked a #1 bestselling book on Amazon in the category of "Women in Politics". Ann-Marie was the recipient of Front Page Magazine's Glazov Gang Ronald Reagan Award and she is a contributor for TownHall Finance, Daily Caller, Front Page Magazine, The Blaze, Jihad Watch, WND and more. In 2014, Ann-Marie was a panelist at the National Security Summit in Washington, D.C., discussing the barbaric treatment of women by Islamists.
A 7th generation Texan, Ann-Marie's ancestors were some of the first to settle in the newly-formed Republic of Texas in the early 1800s. She moved to California in the early 1980s to pursue an acting career, appearing in small parts in dozens of television shows and movies, including ABC's Sledge Hammer!, The A-Team, The Young and the Restless and the film, Sunset Strip, starring Tom Eplin (Another World).
Ann-Marie lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Mark Murrell. Her son, Jason Murrell, also lives in Los Angeles and works in TV production. You can find Ann-Marie Murrell on Facebook and Twitter: @PolitichickAM E-mail: email@example.com
Born in Rechnitz, Austria and raised in Brooklyn from the age of three, Julius Koch, Jr. had been a New York City police officer who walked a beat and retired with the rank of sergeant in 1969. At retirement, he moved to California, where Ronald Reagan was then governor.
His second career began when his wife Sylvia secretly sent Koch's photo to the National Enquirer's Ronald Reagan look-alike contest in 1980. He had the same thick dark hair worn in a pompadour style as Reagan, and in addition to the basic facial resemblance, had the same winning smile. Koch learned to quote some of Reagan's most famous lines and parlayed this talent into a career that lasted until his own final illness.
In addition to his film appearances as Reagan, he "was a fixture" at special events for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. Koch also appeared with other presidential impersonators at public events and private parties. He made television appearances and commercials in his Reagan role, including billboards posted in Europe. He made $1,000 per day for an appearance in film being made in Hong Kong.
Although he had had cancer since the summer of 2006, the ultimate cause of his death was heart failure, according to Associated Press reports which quoted his daughter, Maureen Foster.
An enthusiastic sailor, he was a WW II veteran of the United States Navy. Burial at sea was scheduled for April 14, 2007. His family included his wife Sylvia; his eldest daughter, Maureen Foster; another daughter, Jackie Schaeffer, and a son, Brian Koch. He had met his wife at a roller rink in Brooklyn before the move to California. They lived in Port Hueneme, California, near Simi Valley.
Alyson Stover was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, to parents Joy and Dan. Her beautiful mom, from Long Island, was a Powers model in NYC in the 1930's, and also worked for the great publicist Benjamin Sonnenberg. Her father was an auditor with the federal government and a true Virginia gentleman.
Alyson fell in love with the camera at the age of four, appearing regularly on the popular children's TV program "Romper Room". As a child she modeled with her sister, played the piano and violin, sang her heart out in the school chorus, swam competitively, was an accomplished equestrian, and played in the woods. Her grade school stage debut was in Gilbert and Sullivan's operetta, Trial by Jury.
Attending Florida State University, she majored in Multinational Business Operations, did post-graduate work in International Relations, then took time to sail across the Atlantic Ocean in a 60 ft. sailboat with 8 other people and a dog. With gale force winds 3 days in a row she is very grateful to be alive. Disembarking in Germany, she continued on to Istanbul, Turkey, to work for a manufacturer of nuts and bolts as a marketing research intern. Returning to Florida State and no longer interested in being an operative for the CIA, Alyson decided to indulge the right side of her brain by studying modern dance and ballet. After a short period she was accepted into the School of Dance which was no small feat. But soon realizing it was time to enter the work force, she landed her first job as an aide on Bill Gunter's U.S. Senate campaign. However, she had to unpack her bags for Washington when her candidate lost, as Florida swung Republican and elected Ronald Reagan.
Knowing she'd always wanted to be a film and television actor she began her western migration, stopping in Denver where she took her first acting workshop with visiting teacher Cliff Osmond, then studying at the Bonfils Theatre School and Loretto Heights College. A few years later she pulled out the road map and finally arrived in Hollywood knowing two people. She persevered with acting classes at night while working inside the studios to survive, rubbing elbows with many greats in the industry while working for Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Broadcasting, Fox Sports Net, and Sony Pictures Entertainment. After a workforce reduction, she took her 7th trip to India and spent over a year with her yoga teachers. She also studied Reiki healing, Ayurveda, and volunteered at a facility for mentally-challenged children. She has returned to Los Angeles, and continues fulfilling her dreams of making the world a much more loving and peaceful place.
Sonny Melendrez grew up in San Antonio.
Twice named Billboard Magazine's "Radio Personality of the Year," he was awarded the honor of Hispanic Radio Personality of the Year by Ricardo Montalban and the National Nosotros Organization. He was inducted into the Texas Radio Hall Of Fame and has the honor of being included in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as one of the Top 100 Radio Personalities of All-Time.
Radio being his first love, Melendrez has hosted drive time shows at some of America's greatest radio stations, including KIIS, KMPC, KFI, KMGG, and KRLA in Los Angeles.
Sonny is equally at home serving as TV host, actor, radio personality, writer, commercial spokesman, comedian, motivational speaker, or cartoon voice artist.
He has hosted or been featured speaker at such prestigious events as the White House Hispanic Heritage Awards; the National "Just Say No To Drugs" Rally at the Washington Monument; and the USO 50th Anniversary Gala at the Ambassador's Palace in Paris, France with guest of honor, the late Princess Grace of Monaco. As host of the award-winning children's television series, 'You And Me, Kid," on the Disney Channel, Sonny displayed his natural talent for working with children.
Sonny's ability and willingness to rally people behind a cause is one reason he is involved in so many charities, both locally and nationally. He was named Inc. Magazine's "Socially Responsible Entrepreneur of the Year" and awarded the "2000 Marketing Philanthropist Lifetime Achievement Award" by the Sales and Marketing Executives of San Antonio.
President Ronald Reagan commended Sonny for his efforts in the war on drugs and he received the National Director's Community Leadership Award by the FBI. In 1990, in recognition for raising tens of thousands of dollars for youth scholarships, he was named "El Rey Feo" (The People's King) and presided over San Antonio's annual week-long Fiesta celebration.
The City of San Antonio named the Sonny Melendrez Community Center located on the city's West Side in his honor as way to say "thank you" for his community involvement.
Programs that benefit children have always been a priority for Sonny Melendrez. One of the projects of which he is most proud is the children's version of "We Are The World," which he created in Los Angeles in 1985. Over 1500 children participated in the recording and video, and proceeds from record sales benefited USA For Africa. Sonny received a Grammy nomination for "Best Children's Recording."
The Sonny Melendrez Children's Foundation was created in 1998 to help disabled and disadvantaged youth in San Antonio. It is estimated that he has helped to raise over 100 million dollars in cash, goods and services for local and national charities during the last 25 years!
Sonny is truly the man of a thousand voices. As a teenager he discovered an uncanny ability to imitate and create character voices. He has provided the voices of several characters in Hanna-Barbera's "Jetsons" cartoon series; created many of the sounds heard in the Gremlins movie; was the bug who yelled "Oh, no! It's Raaaaaaid!" in the popular TV commercial; played opposite Walter Mathau as the voice of Bob Cratchet in the animated TV classic, "The Stingiest Man in Town"; and was even the voice of the infamous Fred the Cockatoo in the 70"s NBC TV series, Baretta. He was chosen from a field of over 140,000 as the new voice of the Parkay Margarine Talking Tub! Recently, after a nationwide search, Sonny was chosen to provide the voice of Jerry Seinfeld in a campaign promoting The Bee Movie Game for ActiVision.
Colleges, universities, school districts, and corporate groups of all types have been inspired by Sonny's captivating motivational presentations. His topics are designed to fire up team members, teachers, students, parents, and companies to get involved and make a difference in the world around them.
In his new book, "The Art of Living With Enthusiasm!," Sonny offers the powerful benefits to be found in positive living through personal and powerful stories of encouragement, comfort, and joy.
Eugenia (Jean) Bartness, the daughter of Leslie and Bessie (Barham) Bartness (and granddaughter of Tim Barham, a famous old U.S. Marshal in the Medicine Lodge Country) was born November 19, 1900 in Ohio. She lived with her grandmother in Malden, Missouri, where she attended school. Her stepfather, Harry Clark, was the organizer and company director of the Model Players stock company. They were located at the Crawford farm in Chase County, Missouri, where part of the house was converted into a theater where they rehearsed their shows and went on a tour about the area. They had their circuit where they played five nights a week, each night at a different town. They went to Harrington one night, to Osage City the next, and one of the others was Council Bluffs. They did the same show in all five places. They would present that show and rehearse another show for the next week. Jean, an attractive blonde, was the ingénue in the company. Clark came to Council Bluff, where he spotted Don Carlos Harvey working as host of a weekly amateur night, and signed him up as the leading man for his stock company. Jean and Don met doing the plays and after one season they were married on March 3, 1934. The ceremony was performed at midnight on a Saturday night at the home of Don's half-brother Hal Sheldon. On the night of the wedding a bunch of Don's old school friends found out that they were going to be married that night so they came down and were going to chivalry's him, and Jean was just scared to death. She thought they were going to do something to him and so they locked themselves in the bathroom and they couldn't get them out. Finally Don's brother went out and asked the kids to please go home. But it was a pretty wild place for a while. A chivalry is when they have an impromptu party for the couple that is being married, and in those days it was pretty customary. They'd take the couple and make the husband wheel the wife down the street in a wheel barrel and think up things like that for them to do. Jean was just scared to death that Don might be hurt, and she was quite a little older. Some people thought because of the age difference that the marriage would not last, but it worked fine. Don always referred to Jean as My Missouri bride. Don and Jean left Kansas and went to Des Moines, Iowa where Don began work on the radio, and became acquainted with fellow newscaster Ronald Reagan. In 1945 they moved to Hollywood, California, where her husband began his career in motion pictures and television. Jean started professional acting at the age of four, and has done almost every child part ever written for the stage, and was in show business all of her life. She really liked working in Hollywood and always hoped that she and Don would be able to work out their time on earth right there in Movie Town. Her first film part was in Caged with Hope Emerson, and other films on the theater screen have been City of Fear, Solid Gold Cadillac, Women's Prison, The Ten Commandments, Gun's Don't Argue and The Werewolf. She also appeared in a lot of work on television in such shows as Dragnet, Johnny Staccato, McKenzie's Raiders, Tales of the Texas Rangers, Rescue 8, Wyatt Earp, Underworld USA (a pilot), 77 Sunset Strip, December Bride and The Millionaire. Jean and Don were the owners of a movie horse named Goldie that was used by Bill Williams in his Adventures of Kit Carson television series. They were both people of very high principals, always caring for other people. Don spent time entertaining the residents of the Actors Country Home. They were active members of the Little Country Church of Hollywood, as well as members of the Roy Roger's Hollywood Christian Group, which was a fine group of almost four hundred and fifty men and women from the entertainment industry who believed that Jesus Christ has a place in the world of movies, television and recordings the same as he does in any other business. They both appeared in a play, Geraldine The Story of an Adolescent, donating their time and talents to help raise funds for the Reiss-Davis Clinic for Child Guidance. On the evening of April 24, 1963, Don had just come home to his Studio City apartment before dinner. He told Jean that he was tired and laid down on the couch, and she went back to getting dinner in the kitchen. A short while later she came in the room to call him to eat and saw his arm drop down beside him, and he died. Among those who attended his funeral were co-workers Myron Healey and Dale Evans. Jean never quite recovered from this loss and died, it was said of a broken heart, on Dec 14, 1966 in Studio City.
William Goetz, a producer and studio boss who revolutionized the industry with the development of the profit participation deal, was born on March 24, 1903, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to ship's purser Theodore Goetz and his wife Fanny. William was the youngest in a brood of eight children (six boys and two girls). After Fanny's death in 1913 Theodore abandoned his family, and William was raised by his older brothers.
All of the Goetz brothers wound up in the movie business. Two of his brothers worked at Monogram and were among the founders of Republic Pictures (see Herbert J. Yates), and another worked for Corinne Griffith Productions. In 1924 Goetz took advantage of the well-known Hollywood practice of nepotism and moved to Hollywood where his brothers got him a job at Corinne Griffith Productions as a crew member. Within three years he had worked his way up to associate producer. Goetz then moved on to production jobs at MGM and Paramount before becoming an associate producer at Fox Films in March 1930. The first movies Goetz produced at Fox were two Spanish-language westerns, El último de los Vargas, based on a Zane Grey novel, and Figaro and His Great Day, both of which starred George J. Lewis as "Jorge Lewis."
A dashing man with an earthy sense of humor, Goetz married Louis B. Mayer's daughter Edith in 1930. Edith said her husband was a fast talker who persistently telephoned her for date after they met at L.A.'s Ambassador Hotel. When Goetz asked Edith to marry him, Mayer objected, wanting to know how he was going to support her. Goetz won Mayer's consent when he replied, "If necessary, Mr. Mayer, with my own two hands." The two men would continue to argue about the proposed marriage right up until the ceremony itself. Their marriage was Hollywood's wedding of the year. William and Edith's marriage lasted until his death, and they had two daughters. His ultra-conservative father-in-law would eventually disinherit Edith, perhaps because of his son-in-law's key role in undermining the studio system in the 1950s, or because he was a staunch Democrat, or possibly due to the brothers' ties to a man with reputed underworld connections (although Mayer's ostensible boss Nicholas Schenck, Chairman of Loew's Inc. had the same connections).
One of the most influential figures in Goetz's life would prove to be Warner Bros.' production chief Darryl F. Zanuck, who had remarkably risen through the ranks of Hollywood on his own merits and who had a natural disdain for nepotism. Nearly every one of Warner Bros.' successes after 1924 could be directly credited to the workaholic (many would add sexoholic) producer-writer-production chief. In 1933 Zanuck had quit Warners after a long-simmering rift with Harry M. Warner. Despite being offered several positions at other studios, Zanuck had a burning desire to run his own studio and was approached by the affable Joseph M. Schenck with an offer that would result in the creation of Twentieth Century Pictures. The deal was a conglomeration of backers, each with his own agenda, but each having enormous confidence in Zanuck's enviable track record of delivering a prodigious number of hits. Twentieth Century Pictures was created as a partnership between Louis B. Mayer, former United Artists president Joseph Schenck, and Loew's Inc. (the parent company of MGM) head Nicholas Schenck (Joe's brother and officially Mayer's boss), who arranged for underwriting by the Bank of America with additional backing by the cunningly abrasive Herbert J. Yates, who keenly sought out guaranteed business for his Consolidated Film Labs (and who would soon form Republic Pictures out of a merger among Mascot Pictures, Monogram Pictures and Liberty Pictures when bankrupt producer Mack Sennett's studio became available). Goetz's involvement was based on a string Mayer attached for his money: he wanted his son-in-law out from under his thumb. Whatever talents William Goetz possessed as a young man in Hollywood were lost on his father-in-law. Twentieth Century merged with ailing Fox Films (which owned a desirable theater chain) in 1935, and Goetz was named vice president of Twentieth Century-Fox, with Zanuck over him as production head and Joe Schenck serving as president. In its infancy the studio relied heavily on the talents of a small roster of popular stars such as Tyrone Power, Don Ameche and Alice Faye, but found a gold mine in an adorable and monumentally talented six-year-old moppet named Shirley Temple, who literally kept the ink from turning red. Among the 20th Century-Fox pictures Goetz personally produced were The House of Rothschild, for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture along with Zanuck; Les Misérables, a classic Hollywood production of Victor Hugo's novel; and a hit adaptation of Jack London's Call of the Wild, which starred MGM loan-out Clark Gable, Loretta Young (who got pregnant by Gable during production) and Jack Oakie. Goetz's stock at the studio began to rise and he gained a reputation for being an efficient, unassuming producer who (most importantly) could bring a project in at or under budget. At the outbreak of WWII, Zanuck eagerly accepted an army commission and placed Goetz as acting head of the studio in 1942. As production head, Goetz was responsible for some prestigious films that brought credit to both he and the studio, including Guadalcanal Diary and the The Song of Bernadette, which was nominated for 12 Academy Awards and won four, including a Best Actress Oscar for Jennifer Jones, who would eventually become the wife of Goetz's then brother-in-law, David O. Selznick.
Like his father-in-law Louis B. Mayer, Goetz emphasized quality to distinguish his product in the market, and he did not flinch from spending money to achieve it. Unlike Mayer, however, Goetz learned the mechanics of bringing a project through to completion. Hollywood is a town where paranoid bosses push many ambitious men out of their positions, though, and 20th Century-Fox was no different. Zanuck still regarded Goetz as an unimaginative administrator and began hearing rumors that Goetz was growing ambitious. Goetz, however, resigned upon Zanuck's return in 1943 to avoid any conflict. Zanuck was also said to be furious that Goetz had turned his special 4:00 p.m. casting couch interview room into a storage area.
Mayer, belatedly recognizing Goetz's production talents, offered him a chance to be the head of MGM's creative development, but Goetz told his wife that he had to turn her father down, since the first thing he would have done at MGM was fire Mayer. Zanuck's 1942-43 absence had given Goetz a taste of running a studio, and since there were no jobs on offer to become a studio boss, he created International Pictures in 1943 with lawyer Leo Spitz, who had been an adviser to Goetz's brother-in-law David O. Selznick. One of the great independent producers, Selznick had produced the most successful movie of all time, Gone with the Wind, which he found impossible to bring to the screen without help from Mayer, given MGM's irreplaceable Rhett Butler: Gable. Like Zanuck a dozen years earlier, Goetz opted to strike out on his own with International Pictures (Selznick was furious about that name, believing it conflicted with his own Selznick International Pictures).
During its brief life as an independent company, International Pictures produced ten middling films distributed by United Artists before merging with Universal Pictures to create Universal-International Pictures in 1945, with Goetz being appointed production chief. As U-I studio boss, Goetz partnered with British producer J. Arthur Rank to release Rank's British-produced films in America. A major stockholder, Rank at one point tried to take over the studio, but he proved unsuccessful. Under Goetz's direction, U-I became known for family fare and well-crafted B-pictures, including the long-running Bud Abbott and Lou Costello series of comedies, the "Francis the Talking Mule" series and the popular "Ma and Pa Kettle" movies. These would eventually become repetitious and Goetz had no particular fondness for inane comedies, but they were money in the bank for U-I.
Goetz participated in the 1946 Waldorf Conference with his father-in-law, MGM capo di tutti capi Nicholas Schenck, and other top studio executives. The conference was a studio boss pow-wow called by Motion Pictures Producers Association President Eric Johnston, who was in a panic over the so-called "Hollywood Ten", a group of Hollywood creative people who were indicted after failing to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee looking for evidence of Communist "subversion" in the motion picture industry. It was at the Waldorf Conference that the Hollywood blacklist was devised, with the aim of ridding the industry of any Communistsm real, suspected or imagined. What it did do was rein in the effect of New Deal progressives who may have proved too radical for the movie moguls' tastes when it came to labor relations.
Some commentators believe the real deal struck at the Waldorf Conference was an agreement to break the militants in the craft unions by tarring them as "Reds". An ancillary part of this deal, as the argument goes, was an agreement to place in control of the unions men who had strong ties to organized crime, in order for them to offer the bosses sweetheart deals and put an end to the labor unrest that Hollywood experienced as World War II came to a close. The studios had already suffered through a 13-week strike the year before.
The strike was launched on March 12, 1945, when the Conference of Studio Unions (CSU) went out in protest of the studios' delay in renewing the contract for interior decorators. The strike had been opposed by IATSE, which had been under the control of the Chicago mob in the 1930s and early 1940s. The studios had surreptitiously called on Mafia muscle to attempt to break up the strike. CSU officials were branded "Reds" and "Communist subversives" and harassed. Ronald Reagan, the future Screen Actors Guild (SAG) president, had volunteered to be an informer against the CSU, snitching to the FBI on its activities.
Goetz signed on to the blacklist, perhaps realizing he could not alienate his fellow studio bosses if he was to establish Universal-International Pictures on a sound footing, as he needed to curry their favor to get loan-outs of their stars. U-I's major problem was that it had no box-office stars. Rock Hudson, Tony Curtis and Jeff Chandler were contract players, but their careers had not yet bloomed. U-I thus had to rely on the good will of the other studio bosses until it could establish itself as a major player.
In 1949 Goetz and his good friend, super-agent Lew Wasserman, engineered the first profit participation deal in motion picture history. U-I wanted Wasserman's client, James Stewart, recently out of his contract at MGM, to appear in Anthony Mann's new Western, Winchester '73. Goetz felt he was unable to obtain funds necessary for such a costly production up front, so he signed Stewart to a deal that gave him half of the profits of the picture rather than a set fee.
Wasserman had wanted to establish Stewart, an independent contractor, as a corporation to protect him from the then-prohibitive income tax, which topped out at 90% for earners of Stewart's caliber. By making him a producer, Wasserman put Stewart in a lower tax-rate via a production company that would take a tax-favored stake in his movies in lieu of a personal fee. Stewart's production company would then be taxed at the lower corporate rate.
Stewart netted $750,000 from the deal, with U-I netting the same amount (while the deal cost the studio a greater percentage of profits from a hit, it was also insulated from the losses that possibly could be generated by a failure, as it lowered production costs). Regardless, it was a fortuitous deal since the picture was, deservedly, a smash hit. A profit participation deal was again used on U-I's excellent Stewart-Mann western Bend of the River.
The profit participation deal was revolutionary--- it would ultimately unravel the entire studio system, and would soon be copied by other independent-minded stars. Many of them would refuse to sign new contracts with their studios in order to go independent and take advantage of percentage deals. It proved to be the straw that finally broke the studio system's back (having lost proprietary theater ownership in the 1950s was another crippling blow, along with the competition from a new medium, television). With profit participation deals, power shifted from the studios to the stars and their agents. Studios now became financiers and renters of production facilities.
Although U-I shared in the profits of its profit-participation contracts with Stewart, who became a top-10 box office star for the first time in the 1950s appearing in U-I westerns, it did not reverse a financial slump the studio underwent in the early 1950s. U-I was financially weak and succumbed to a 1952 take-over by Decca Records.
Wasserman's MCA, an entertainment conglomerate that began as a talent agency but thrived as a leading TV producer due to a secret waiver granted it by SAG when it was headed by Wasserman client Ronald Reagan, ultimately would buy U-I by acquiring Decca Records in 1962 (Wasserman and MCA chairman Jules Stein reportedly had close ties to the Chicago mob; as late as 1984, a Mafia enforcer belonging to John Gotti's Gambino crime family with "a past history of arranging narcotics smuggling," according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, was serving as a middleman for MCA despite having no prior experience in the music industry. An investigation into MCA in the mid-'80s was quashed by then-President Ronald Reagan's Justice Department. Wasserman had remained close to Reagan, a man he had made a millionaire by giving him an ownership stake in the TV series Death Valley Days and also through a land deal. Through Wasserman, Reagan had become wealthy enough to pursue a political career after his acting career ended in 1964. Despite being a liberal Democrat, Wasserman raised money for Reagan's first gubernatorial campaign as a right-wing Republican and served as the chief fundraiser for his presidential library.
Goetz left the studio in 1954 and went independent, having obtained a distribution deal through Columbia for his William Goetz Productions. Films produced by the independent Goetz were nominated three times for Golden Globes: Sayonara, which garnered Academy Award nominations for Goetz, director Joshua Logan, star Marlon Brando and Best Supporting Oscars for featured players Red Buttons and Miyoshi Umeki; Me and the Colonel, a Holocaust comedy starring Danny Kaye; and Song Without End, a musical about composer Franz Liszt co-directed by George Cukor, which won Goetz the Best Musical Song from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and an Oscar for Best Music.
Like many movie moguls, including Nicholas Schenck and his father-in-law, Goetz raised thoroughbreds. He bought his first racing stock from L.B, a famous horsebreeder who got out of the racing business after World War II, as it was bad for his image. Goetz's horse Your Host won the 1950 Santa Anita Derby and subsequently sired Kelso, one of the all-time money winners.
Goetz terminated his production company in 1961 after making the Glenn Ford service comedy Cry for Happy, but he came out of retirement in 1964 to take the job of vice president at Seven Arts Productions Ltd., a Canadian-controlled production and distribution corporation. Goetz possibly took the job as a favor to his friend Lew Wasserman, as the major stockholder in Seven Arts, Louis Chesler, had ties to the Chicago mob, as did Wasserman in his early days as a musician and recording artists' agent. Significantly, Chesler had served on the board of directors of Allied Artists, a subsidiary of his brothers' defunct Monogram Pictures.
Chesler, an aficionado of horse-racing like Goetz and a reputed gambler, was the driving force behind Seven Arts Productions, which was capitalized on Toronto's stock exchange. In addition to investing in the entertainment field, the 300-pound entrepreneur was a major housing developer in Florida. Chesler was described as a front or associate of underworld crime bosses Vito Genovese and Meyer Lansky through the Florida real estate company General Development Corp., which he owned with another Lasky associate, Wallace Groves.
General Development's board of directors included gangster "Trigger Mike" Coppola and Max Orovitz, who was Lansky's stockbroker. Another partner was Eddie DeBartolo, a shopping mall developer and racetrack owner with a taste for high-stakes gambling. DeBartolo, who bought the San Francisco 49ers professional football team for his son, Edward DeBartolo Jr., was close to Lansky and Lansky associates Carlos Marcello, who controlled Florida's narcotics and gambling, and New Orleans Mafia boss Santo Trafficante. Both Marcello and Trafficante, who owed fealty to the Chicago mob, had been recruited via Chicago boss Sam Giancana to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro for the CIA, which they were glad to do, as Castro had booted them and Lansky out of Cuba--where they controlled lucrative gambling, narcotics, prostitution and other criminal activities--after the 1959 revolution (some conspiracy theorists place the responsibility for President John F. Kennedy's assassination on Marcello and Trafficante, though that has never been proven.)
Through General Development Corp., Chesler and Groves introduced gambling to the Bahamas, buying half of Grand Bahama Island and setting up the Grand Bahama Development Co. in the early 1960s to build a hotel cum casino. It was through Chesler that the Bahamian gaming business was penetrated by Lansky, looking for a new territory after losing Cuba, and Dino Cellini, a mob banker described as Lansky's right-hand man, the person he most trusted with the receipts from his gambling operations. One of Chesler's partners in the Bahamas was Carroll Rosenbloom, owner of the Los Angeles Rams and one of the three largest shareholders in Seven Arts, who was described as a notorious gambler.
Although Chesler is credited with opening up the British crown colony to gambling, having done most of the schmoozing and covert bribery through the awarding of "consulting fees" to well-connected politicians and colonial bureaucrats, he was forced out of the Bahamas in a power struggle in 1964. Chesler's story, well known in the 1960s, likely was one of the inspirations for Michael Corleone's Cuban sojourn and business dealings with Hyman Roth--a character based on Meyer Lansky--in The Godfather: Part II.
Lansky's gang ran the "skim" of Bahamian casino money that was repatriated to mob banks in Miami controlled by Cellini, who had to work in London and Rome, as he was persona non grata in Florida and the Bahamas. Subsequently, development in the Bahamas hit a downturn and the Canadian holding company Atlantic Acceptance, a major source of capital, went bankrupt in June 1965. The company's $104-million default touched off an international financial scandal. Although Chesler liquidated the rest of his holdings by the end of 1966, he had put his stamp on the Bahamas by creating the island's gaming industry and introducing the Lansky gang to the islands.
In 1967 his company, now called Seven Arts Ltd., acquired Jack L. Warner's controlling interest in Warner Bros. Pictures and other interests, including Warner Bros. Records and Reprise Records (the $84-million price tag of the acquisitions was worth approximately $640 million in 2003 dollars). The company was renamed Warner Bros-Seven Arts. The ambitious studio bought Atlantic Records for $17 million in stock that same year but, crippled by debt, the company itself was acquired by the conglomerate Kinney National Services Inc. in 1969, the year of Goetz's death.
One of the major shareholders in Warner Bros-Seven Arts was the Bahamas- and Switzerland-based mutual fund Investors Overseas Service (IOS), owned by Bernard Cornfeld, a reputed money launderer for Lansky and the mob. Allegedly in cahoots with Dino Cellini, swindler Robert Vesco took over IOS during the period Cornfeld was being held in prison by Swiss authorities investigating fraud (nothing was proven, and he was eventually released). Vesco defrauded IOS of $224 million in 1972, while major Democratic Party figures like former California governor Edmund G. Brown and President Franklin D. Roosevelt's son James Roosevelt served on the board of directors. Vesco was no partisan; he made a huge illegal campaign contribution to President Richard Nixon's 1972 re-election committee before going on the lam.
Nixon paid Vesco back by firing Robert Morgenthau, the U.S. Attorney for the southern district of New York, who was investigating Mafia money laundering through Switzerland. Morgenthau already had won a conviction against Max Orovitz for violating stock registration laws, and he was moving in on IOS' John King when he was unceremoniously sacked. Although King was later convicted, he received a relatively light sentence.
While it may seem ironic that a Democrat like Goetz would be involved with a possibly mobbed-up firm, one must remember that in the mid-'60s, at least 10% and as much as 20% of the Democratic Party's revenues were derived from organized crime, as in many cities, like Chicago, the Democratic ward headquarters usually doubled as a syndicate clubhouse. The Chicago organization swung the 1960 Presidential vote in Illinois to Kennedy. The Mafia had infiltrated Hollywood in the early 1940s, and many of the moguls rubbed shoulders with organized crime figures at the racetracks they haunted and at which they contested their own horses. Steve Ross, the Kinney conglomerate owner that acquired Warner Bros-Seven Arts, himself was reputed to have Mafia connections (former Paramount production chief Robert Evans boasts of his connections to mob lawyer and Hollywood fixer Sidney Korshak, whom he was not above asking favors from, in his autobiography "The Kid Stays in the Picture"). Democratic Senator Estes Kefauver had investigated the Mafia in 1951, holding televised hearings that put mob bosses such as Frank Costello on the spot and Kefauver in the spotlight. Later, Sen. John Kennedy and his brother Robert F. Kennedy were part of the committee investigating the Teamsters Union for its links to the mob (interestingly, Kefauver beat Kennedy out for the vice presidential slot on the 1956 ticket headed by Adlai Stevenson). The Democratic establishment was more interested in investigating labor corruption than it was in elucidating and ending the mob's links with politicians and legitimate businesses and businessmen, which included Kennedy's own father Joseph P. Kennedy, who had financed rum running by Detroit's Purple Gang during Prohibition.
This focus on labor to the detriment of the businessmen who actually did business with organized crime was a prejudice portrayed in Hollywood films such as On the Waterfront. In "Waterfront," union officials are shown as corrupt killers, whereas the warehouse-owner-surrogate is a sort of savior to the martyred longshoreman played by Marlon Brando, who leads the flock of his co-workers away from the mobbed-up union boss Johnny Friendly into the warm bosom of the owner's warehouse at the end of the movie. (ironically, playwright Arthur Miller had written a screenplay, "The Hook," about corruption on the New York waterfront for "Waterfront" director Elia Kazan. Columbia boss Harry Cohn, an attendee of the Waldorf Conference and a supporter of the blacklist, had demanded that Miller change the corrupt union officials to Communists, as it would then make the script "pro-American." Miller refused.).
Goetz's father-in-law, Louis B. Mayer, had been the driving force behind the foundation of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences in 1927, which he had envisioned as a company union that would forestall unionization by more militant craft guilds. Mayer, through the Academy, managed to hold off unionization until the mid-'30s, when the crafts bolted the Academy and formed their own guilds. Mayer's dream of controlling labor and keeping absolute control over labor costs was dashed, and the Academy morphed into a scientific and research organization focused on publicity. By the end of the 1930s, the New York Mafia began infiltrating Hollywood through the projectionists' union. Studio bosses such as Mayer still kept tight control over labor costs, though that power began to decline in the 1940s due to concessions made to rebellious stars. The DeHavilland decision--named after a lawsuit brought against Warner Bros. by actress Olivia de Havilland--which forbade the studios from adding on suspension time to the end of the standard seven-year contracts, also helped erode the studio's power. However, it was Goetz's and Wasserman's profit participation contract that effectively destroyed the studios, that and the loss of their profitable theater chains (Loew's Inc. managed to fend off the divestiture for years, until well after Louis B. Mayer was forced out of MGM in favor of Dore Schary by Nicholas Shenck in 1951).
As the power of the vertically integrated studios waned after their Justice Department-enforced divestiture of their movie chains, agents representing the now-free serfs who were stars moved into the breach, creating independent production companies. At the same time, the power of organized crime, which began at roughly the same time as Hollywood organized itself vertically to control the chaos of movie production and distribution, apparently waxed. A major landlord in vice districts, the Mafia controlled many old inner-city theaters abandoned by the studios that were subsequently turned into grindhouses showcasing exploitation fare and later pornography after the breakdown of censorship in the 1960s and early 1970s. Corruption extended to first-run houses as well. Warner Communications executives in the 1970s were convicted of accepting kickbacks from movie theaters, a case in which Warner boss Steve Ross was considered an unindicted co-conspirator, though he vigorously denied any knowledge of wrongdoing and was never himself indicted for any crime.
Goetz was never implicated in any improprieties in all his years as a movie executive. In fact, he was something of an anomaly in Hollywood. Although he was a member of one of Hollywood's royal families, Goetz was unusual in that he enforced a "no nepotism" policy in his companies. He was renowned for his erudition and good manners in an industry studded with vulgar (Columbia's Harry Cohn being a stellar example) and semi-literate moguls. He eschewed a chauffeur and drove his own car to work, where he cultivated a persona as paterfamilias (as did his father-in-law at MGM), helping his employees with personal problems. Goetz had his personal chef oversee the preparation of food at the studio fare.
Goetz was known for his exquisite taste, and he and his wife were counted among the movie colony's premier art collectors, specializing in the impressionists and post-impressionists. Some of his Vincent van Gogh paintings were used in MGM's Lust for Life. In 1959 the Goetzs' art collection had its own show at San Francisco's art museum, The Palace of the Legion of Honor. Speaking about Goetz, fellow art collector Billy Wilder said that he was "the very antithesis of being pompous . . . he had a funny cynicism." A respected member of the community, Goetz served as a director of the City National Bank of Beverly Hills and as a trustee of Reed College (Portland, Oregon). His last motion picture production was the mediocre Assault on a Queen, scripted by Rod Serling.
William Goetz contracted cancer and was treated at the Mayo Clinic. On August 15, 1969, he died in his Los Angeles home from complications of the disease. He was buried in Hillside Memorial cemetery.
James Roosevelt, the son of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the United States, and his wife Eleanor Roosevelt, was born on December 23, 1907 in New York City. The oldest son, he was the second of the Roosevelts' six children, only five of whom survived to adulthood; their third child, named Franklin, Jr. (as was their fifth child and fourth of five sons), was born on March 18, 1909 but died on November 7th of that year.
Following in the footsteps of his father, he was educated at the Groton School (Class of 1926) and Harvard College ('30). (He worked a stint in a Canadian paper mill in the summer between Groton and Harvard.) After graduating from Harvard, he enrolled in the Boston University School of Law and worked as peddling insurance. He eventually abandoned his law studies as he was making a huge amount of money as an insurance agent, founding his own agency, Roosevelt & Sargent. He also served as a radio announcer in 1933.
James was close to his father and throughout his life, serving as a political adviser and a campaign manager for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts during FDR's first presidential bid in 1932. In April 1936, he left his business interests behind (though retained his half-interest in his agency) to take over some of the duties of his father's secretary, Louis McHenry Howell, who had died. James essentially functioned as his father's press secretary. He was officially appointed administrative assistant to the President in January 1937 and was appointed Secretary to the President in July of that year. (The position of Secretary to the President was akin to the modern position of White House Chief of Staff.)
James Roosevelt resigned his position after the November 1938 elections, after being buffeted by allegations that he had steered business to his insurance agency while working at the White House. At the time, most politicians (including FDR's Vice President John Nance Garner) and Americans considered FDR a "lame duck" due to the informal "two term limit" for presidents, so there didn't seem much future in Washington.
James moved to Los Angeles, California to work for movie producer Samuel Goldwyn, serving as a vice president of Samuel Goldwyn productions. He eventually established his own production company, "Globe Productions", in 1939 while still with Goldwyn. Globe primarily produced shorts, but in 1941, he produced through Globe a feature film based on a radio show, Pot o' Gold, starring James Stewart and Paulette Goddard. (He had quit Goldwyn in late 1940.)
In November 1936, Roosevelt had been commissioned a Marine Corps lieutenant colonel so he could serve as a military aide to his father. As the war clouds lowered upon Europe, he resigned the commission in 1939 to become a captain in the Marines Corps Reserves. World War Two convinced his father to run for a third term. Before the U.S. entered the war, James served as a liaison officer with British forces fighting the Axis powers in the Middle East, then served with Wild Bill Donovan, FDR's Coordinator of Information who was overseeing the integration of the intelligence services.
After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor plunged the U.S. into the Second World War, the Marines Corps honored James's request to be placed on combat duty. He became part of the Corps' commando force, the Marine Raiders, eventually serving as second-in-command of the 2nd Raider Battalion. He earned the Navy Cross, the second-highest military medal for gallantry, in the August 1942 raid on Makin atoll in the Gilbert Islands. Subsequently, he commanded the newly created 4th Marine Raiders, but was taken off of combat duty due to medical problems in February 1943, being assigned staff positions. He won the Silver Star while part of the U.S. Army invasion of Makin in November 1943. He had obtained the rank of full colonel when he went off active duty in October 1945, but continued as a member of the Marine Corps Reserves. He retired from the Reserves in 1959 with the rank of Brigadier General.
After the war, Roosevelt moved back to California and briefly returned to radio broadcasting, going on the air as a commentator in 1946. That same year, he reentered politics in the Golden State as chairman of the California Democratic Party. He eventually was ousted as chairman when he wooed General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower to run against President 'Harry S Truman', his father's successor, for the 1948 Democratic Presidential nomination.
After that debacle, another one loomed when he tried his hand in elective politics, just like his younger brother Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr., who had successfully won a seat in Congress from New York in a special election in 1949. James Roosevelt won the 1950 California Democratic gubernatorial nomination but was beaten by popular incumbent Earl Warren in a two-to-one landslide. Four years later, he was luckier when he ran for Congress in the safely Democratic 26th District, getting elected to the first of six consecutive terms. In Congress, the liberal Democrat denounced red-baiter Joseph McCarthy at a time when few were willing to do so and was the sole Congressman to vote against funding the House Un-American Activities Committee. His proudest achievement in his career in the House was working for the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, lobbying for the inclusion of fair employment protections.
While still a a member of Congress, he challenged incumbent Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty, a conservative, in the Democratic primary, but lost. He resigned his seat in October 1965, in the first year of his sixth two-year term, after President Lyndon Johnson appointed him as a a delegate to UNESCO. He quit UNESCO in December 1966 to take a position as vice president and director Investors Overseas Services Management Co., Bernard Cornfeld's very successful Switzerland-based mutual fund company.
While living in Geneva, Switzerland in 1969, his third wife Gladys stabbed him while they were arguing. IOS eventually collapsed in a welter of fraud and he was sued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (an organization set up by his father). The lawsuit was dismissed in 1973 when he pledged in a court order not to violate securities laws. As part of the settlement with the SEC, he claimed he had committed no wrongdoing while at IOS.
The previous year, he had angered many Democrats when he endorsed the reelection of Richard Nixon, though he later campaigned for Jimmy Carter in '76. Eight years later, the backslid Roosevelt endorsed the reelection of former Democrat 'Ronald Reagan', a man who had revered his father.
He courted controversy again in the late 1980s when he headed the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, an organization that claimed a membership of 1.8 million. Critics claimed that the Committee used scare tactics while soliciting contributions from senior citizens, and Roosevelt went to Washington in 1987 to defend the organization before Congress.
James Roosevelt married four times (one less than his brother FDR, Jr.) and had seven children. Suffering from Parkinson's disease and the effects of a stroke, he died on August 13, 1991 in Newport Beach, California at the age of 83, the last surviving issue of Franklin and Eleanor.
Kathryn Isabelle Rea was born in Corydon, Iowa. Parents: Fred Albertson Rea and Lenore Gertrude Wilson.
Growing up on a farm in Missouri gave her an unusual assortment of playmates, there being no other children within miles. Cats; a dog; a calf who would play tag and let her ride; a pig; the runt of the litter who was hand raised by Kay's mother, and which soon learned to play tag; a huge mother sow who always rushed to the fence to greet Kay, and who enjoyed giving her a ride around the hog pen; and a patient horse, who when Kay fell off, walked to the nearest fence and waited for her to climb on again.
In good weather, Kay often rode the old horse over the several miles to a one room schoolhouse. Three items of note. Kay refused to use the outhouse when she learned there might be spiders lurking within. One family each school day would bring a big pot of some kind of soup or stew to feed everyone for the day, and provide the teacher with meals. And, because there were too few students for the teacher to be able to teach every subject, Kay got "promoted" a grade, and skipped decimals and fractions, something she rues even today.
Farm life was very hard, but still, the family owned a piano, so Kay was taught to play by her accomplished mother. When the family moved to the small town of Centerville, Iowa, Kay continued studying music. Musical talent filled Kay's mother's family. All her maternal relatives played piano, many sang, and one had a dance band. Family get-togethers often featured hours of everyone taking turns at the piano where all the standards and many light classical pieces were played.
When she was thirteen, she entered the statewide music performance contest, and won second place for piano, beating out the high school entrants. She was on the path toward show business.
Kay was gregarious. Because many of her friends were on the girls tennis team or basketball team, she joined both. Kay didn't show a great amount of athletic prowess. She was immediately "fired" from the tennis team because she had no idea about tennis, and couldn't hit the ball. She preferred dodging it. Likewise, her career as a basketball player was cut short when she ducked the first time a ball was passed to her. "What did I know?" she says. However, she did play golf, and enjoyed doing so.
Graduating from high school when she was fifteen, she won scholarships to Stephens College for women, and those, plus working, especially as an accompanist for other students, and performing in Columbia, Missouri as a singer/pianist with dance bands, made college affordable. Remember this was 1929 during the Great Depression. Many of the students were wealthy enough to be able to easily afford college, and some of them purposely made life difficult for Kay. While she was working serving tables in the dining hall, some of them tried to trip her, or poked and pinched her when she was carrying trays. It's truly the type of material that makes for movie scripts. Once, she had had enough with a particularly spiteful student who was demeaning Kay's homemade clothes. While walking by her, Kay "accidentally" dumped the loaded tray on the girl. That seemed to have ended the more blatant abuse.
It was also at Stephens where Kay, in the role of Juliette, nearly gave her director a heart attack. Being an enthusiastic person, during the "Romeo, Romeo. Wherefore art thou Romeo?" bit, Kay fell off the balcony, landing on her face. The director screamed and panicked. His utterances were many, and expressed a dozen concerns for her health, his health, what would happen, is she dead, call the doctor, I can't breathe, on and on. They both recovered.
Two years later, Kay transferred to Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. When she got there, her cousin, Cele (SEAL-ee) Mann, a Kappa Kappa Gamma sister, made sure Kay entered the sorority. That was a great benefit for Kay. She was accepted without judgment, and from that time she has always loved the sisterhood.
While studying at Drake, again, to supplement her scholarships, Kay performed widely in Des Moines and Chicago. She also earned money as a model, and by doing radio commercials. While doing commercials and modeling, she was sometimes partnered with the then-unknown Ronald Reagan.
At twenty years old, after Drake, not being able to afford graduate school or studying opera in Europe as her professors urged, Kay moved to Chicago to earn a living. She was already well known, especially for having an unusually wide full-voice vocal expression covering the entire soprano range, plus an extra ½ octave, and a reach up to high E, quite a rarity since most sopranos struggle to reach high C. Kay soon became a headliner at the Drake Hotel, did a nightly broadcast from the Morrison Hotel, and was an actor on radio, most notably in the forgotten Omar the Mystic.
She was soon asked to move the New York City to work the hotel circuit and in night clubs. She won roles in Broadway musicals such as By Jupiter with Ray Bolger, Nice Goin' with Mary Martin, Kismet, and several other shows. After performances, many of the actors would go to the great swing clubs in Harlem, and enjoy the music of greats like Count Basie.
While she was working in New York, she received a call from Hollywood that one of her fans, a dancer in the posh nightclub circuit in New York, was going to make a series of movies, and had asked that she be his partner. A studio executive tested her in New York, and immediately sent her by luxury railroad coach to Hollywood. Kay says that she was all alone and had no idea what to do in this large coach. It was rather a mystery to her.
After the studio approved her screen tests, she was told that, sadly, she wouldn't be that dancer's partner because the head of the studio's wardrobe department demanded that her daughter, Ginger Rodgers, must become Fred Astair's partner, or else.
So, Samuel Goldwyn signed her to do movies under his "personal" contract. His studio only made two movies a year, and he made his fortune hiring out his actors to other studios. Kay made twenty movies, each one using a different stage name because, "Nobody knows how to pronounce your last name, REA."
Some of her fellow actors were Bob Hope, Jimmy Durante, John Payne, Walter Huston, Jack Benny, Ida Lupino, Richard Arlen, Ben Blue, Hedda Hopper, Martha Raye, Anne Canova, Preston Foster, Gordon Jones, Victor McLaglen, Louis Armstrong, and others who were often themselves new to the movies. One, veteran actor, Maria Ouspenskya, was famous for recruiting starlets to join her acting school. For a stiff fee, of course. Kay was quickly warned off. Kay had quite a few amusing anecdotes about the movies, particularly the old roués!
The only movie that Kay made that is still available, and often shown on AMC, is Dodsworth, a 1936 movie made from a novel, both of which were quite racy for the times. They dealt with a woman becoming independent of her husband, wanting her own goals, refusing to "grow old", and-one of the bad words then-divorce. Kay played the daughter under one of her many stage names "Kathryn Marlowe". The movie won an Academy Award. Unfortunately, her longest bit was cut when the movie went to TV and VCR recording.
Because Goldwyn didn't use her much, and because she had become well known to the Hollywood music community, a producer asked her to take a lead in a new musical revue in New York, Two for the Show. The composer, Morgan Lewis, and lyricist, Nancy Hamilton, wrote a "serious song" for the revue to showcase Kay's voice. Unexpectedly, the song became a pop standard, How High the Moon. Who else was in the revue? Betty Hutton, Alfred Drake, Keenan Wynn, Eve Arden, and others. One task Kay was asked to undertake was to control Betty Hutton, whose only desire, it seemed, was to go out carousing whenever possible.
On shipboard, traveling on one of her tours of the British Isles, she met and became the daily dance partner of Henry Ford, Jr. "The poor man wasn't allowed out of the constant gaze of his body guard, and had no privacy."
Kay married Roy Fox, a successful dance band leader. Their two children, Fredrick Rea and Amanda Kathryn, were born during the war. At war's end, he took the family to Great Britain, where he had enjoyed his greatest popularity. Kay was busy as a pianist and singer, sometimes as a guest with Roy's orchestra.
Kay was asked to take the lead role of Mama in the first London production of High Button Shoes. As the only American in the show, she was resented, but was professional enough to earn respect. Noticing a young chorus girl whose face was striking, Kay asked her studio photographer to see if the girl was photogenic. She was, and so Kay had "discovered" Audrey Hepburn.
In 1950, Roy Fox told Kay to take the children to Iowa to visit her parents and have a vacation. That was the last she heard from Roy. It turns out that he had been married and had a child before marrying Kay, had a breakdown due to going broke because of gambling (he owned race horses), abandoned his band, and formed another, starting over again. For the same reason Roy abandoned Kay and kids. Years later, she learned that he had married again, and had another son. Because the demand for dance bands died away, he became an agent.
After several years of radio work, pioneering in television long before there were any American TV networks, did dramas and commercials on Dumont and the other new TV networks, being spokesperson for General Electric, making commercials, etc., Kay was invited, in 1954, to help set up new television station KTVO in Ottumwa, Iowa. She quit New York to do so, simply so she could spend time raising her two children, with the plus of being near her parents. Kay managed to hire the staff of the station, produce the news, write commercials, pioneer a 90 minute daily show with singing, interviewing guests, cooking, and doing most of what modern shows like Today do, while she raised her family.
When her second husband, an FBI Special Agent was transferred to New York in 1957, Kay retired from show business. She devoted full time to being a wife and mother. There were still numerous restaurants with live music on weekends, and after dining, she was always asked to sing and play piano.
James died of cancer at age 65. Not long after, Kay suffered a major stroke, and that began a long, steady decline. Although by the end at age 96, she was blind, nearly deaf, had developed heart failure, and suffered from TNA, she fought to enjoy as much of life as she could. Old age took away all of her pleasures. She couldn't sing, play piano, paint or cook. Her remaining interests were an infrequent visit from a friend, listening to the news, and riding in the car so she could "get out of here." When in the company of lively and engaging people, she remained alert, humorous, and enjoyed current events, science, and good conversation. She said that the only reason she wanted to stay around is that she "hasn't been on a rocket into space yet." Shortly before her death, she stated that she could only conclude that there is no god and no afterlife, and that didn't bother her. At the end, she said that she did the best she could, and loved her family and friends.