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Miriam Marx Allen, Daughter of Groucho Marx, Dies at 90

Miriam Marx Allen, the eldest daughter of Groucho Marx who worked on his quiz show You Bet Your Life and turned letters that she received from her famous father into a revealing book, has died. She was 90.

Allen died June 29 in Capistrano Beach, Calif., according to friend Frank Ferrante, an actor who has made a career out of expertly portraying her dad on stage in such productions as the 1980s smash Groucho: A Life in Revue and the current An Evening With Groucho.

Miriam Ruth Marx was born in Manhattan on May...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - TV News »

Miriam Marx Allen, Daughter of Groucho Marx, Dies at 90

Miriam Marx Allen, Daughter of Groucho Marx, Dies at 90
Miriam Marx Allen, the eldest daughter of Groucho Marx who worked on his quiz show You Bet Your Life and turned letters that she received from her famous father into a revealing book, has died. She was 90.

Allen died June 29 in Capistrano Beach, Calif., according to friend Frank Ferrante, an actor who has made a career out of expertly portraying her dad on stage in such productions as the 1980s smash Groucho: A Life in Revue and the current An Evening With Groucho.

Miriam Ruth Marx was born in Manhattan on May...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

William Peter Blatty, Author of ‘The Exorcist,’ Dies at 89

William Peter Blatty, Author of ‘The Exorcist,’ Dies at 89
William Peter Blatty, the novelist and Oscar-winning screenwriter most famous for landmark horror film “The Exorcist” as well as the director of two films, “The Ninth Configuration” and “The Exorcist III,” has died. He was 89.

“Exorcist” director William Friedkin announced the news on Twitter Friday morning: “William Peter Blatty, dear friend and brother who created The Exorcist passed away yesterday,” Friedkin wrote.

Blatty’s 1970 novel “The Exorcist” remained on the New York Times bestseller list for 57 weeks, and he subsequently adapted it for the 1973 bigscreen version directed by William Friedkin. That film was not only an enormous box office success, playing in theaters for months, but was Oscar nominated for best picture (becoming the first horror film ever so nominated) and won for Blatty’s adapted screenplay.

The film won several polls for scariest horror movie ever, and the Library of Congress designated “The Exorcist” for preservation as part of
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Get Ruthless! The Musical Tickets Starting at $29

What if Annie was Rosemary's Baby What if Psycho's Norman Bates was astage mother What if Bad Seed was an eight-year-old understudy for thelead in a school play You'd get Ruthless the Musical, the show that asksCan cute little Tina and her very own Mommy Dearest make it in showbusiness You bet your life. No Cats or Lion Kings here-these kitties areclawing their way to the top.
See full article at BroadwayWorld.com »

The Top 25 Funniest Actors of All Time

  • Cinelinx
Who are the funniest, wackiest, cleverest, wittiest comic actors in the history of film and television? Take a look at our list and see who we came up with.

The top 25 laugh-getters…

#25…George Carlin: Probably the best stand-up comedian of all-time. He brilliantly satirized American culture, mixing his liberal social commentary with an often unapologetically coarse and dirty style of language. His penchant for obscenities was most evident in his trademark routine “Seven words you can never say on television”. No one was better at mocking the excesses of American culture than Carlin.

#24…Robin Williams: He had a manic energy and great improvisational skills. His hyper, free-form style inspired many comedians to follow, such as Jim Carrey. He shot to fame in the TV series Mork & Mindy, before breaking away to very successful movie career, appearing in films like Good Morning Vietnam, The World According to Garp, Mrs. Doubtfire and Popeye.
See full article at Cinelinx »

60 years ago today: ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ opened in theaters

  • Hitfix
60 years ago today: ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ opened in theaters
60 years ago today, one of the most iconic cinematic depictions of youthful rebellion and alienation, “Rebel Without a Cause,” opened in theaters. The film debuted less than a month after the premature death of James Dean (who plays troubled teen Jim Stark in the film) at age 24 in a car accident. “Rebel Without a Cause” came out at a time when pop culture was fascinated with the juvenile delinquent, though director Nicholas Ray looked not so much to recent films about troubled youths (like 1954’s “The Wild One”). He has said that he strove for a classical tone and that he found major influence in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” which Ray once called “the best play written about ‘juvenile delinquents.’” Other notable October 27 happenings in pop culture history: • 1947: “You Bet Your Life,” the radio show hosted by Groucho Marx, premiered. It was later a TV show on NBC.
See full article at Hitfix »

Rob Zombie to Direct Groucho Marx Biopic

Rob Zombie to Direct Groucho Marx Biopic
Horror specialist Rob Zombie will direct and produce a biopic about the final years of iconic comedian Groucho Marx’s life along with Cold Iron Pictures’ Miranda Bailey, Amanda Marshall and Andy Gould.

The project is based on Steve Stoliar’s 1996 book “Raised Eyebrows: My Years Inside Groucho’s House,” written about Stoliar’s three years as Marx’s personal secretary at the actor’s Beverly Hills home before Marx died in 1977. Stoliar spent time with Marx, Mae West, George Burns, Bob Hope, Jack Lemmon, S.J. Perelman and Steve Allen along with dealing with Erin Fleming — the mercurial woman in charge of Marx’s life.

Marx made 13 movies with his brothers and was a major star on radio and TV with the quiz show “You Bet Your Life.”

Oren Moverman, whose credits include “Love and Mercy” and “The Messenger,” will write the screenplay.

Zombie’s directing credits include “House of 1000 Corpses,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

In with Flynn, part 1 by Anne-Katrin Titze

Kevin Kline, Dakota Fanning and Susan Sarandon in Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland's The Last Of Robin Hood: "The real Errol Flynn can't quite live up to Errol Flynn, the idol."

In a Trump SoHo Hotel suite, high above the city, I met up with The Last Of Robin Hood directors Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland for a conversation on Kevin Kline's portrayal of Errol Flynn. Susan Sarandon and Dakota Fanning as Florence and Beverly Aadland led us to Marjorie Morningstar, starring Gene Kelly and Natalie Wood - Too Much, Too Soon and the Barrymore clan - Groucho Marx and You Bet Your Life - John Huston's Roots Of Heaven and all the way down to Barry Mahon's Cuban Rebel Girls.

Earlier, I had spoken with Jane Pollard and Iain Forsyth about 20,000 Days On Earth, their documentary on and with Nick Cave, at the Regency Hotel.
See full article at eyeforfilm.co.uk »

Why Broadcast TV Lost Its Edge After ‘NYPD Blue’

Why Broadcast TV Lost Its Edge After ‘NYPD Blue’
When “NYPD Blue” made its debut 20 years ago, some of the predictions were nothing short of apocalyptic. The New York Times wondered whether the boundary-pushing police drama would put network standards-and-practices execs out of business under the headline, “What’s a network TV censor to do?”

Flash forward, however, and producers Steven Bochco and David Milch’s creation didn’t revolutionize television — at least, not in the way many foresaw. And while the program’s history and success over 12 seasons merit analysis and even celebration, the real revelation is that two decades later, the groundbreaking series remains an outlier for broadcast TV — where almost nothing, even now, is bluer than “Blue.”

That’s not to say “NYPD Blue” didn’t contribute to changes in television. It did, from perceptions regarding audience tastes to the way in which advocacy groups orchestrated lobbying campaigns targeting sponsors and stations.

In many ways, though,
See full article at Variety - TV News »

Lauren Graham Is Heading Back To The CW

Lauren Graham Is Heading Back To The CW
If you thought Lauren Graham's reign on The CW ended with "Gilmore Girls," think again: The "Parenthood" star is adapting her book "Someday, Someday, Maybe" for the network, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Even better, Ellen Degeneres is on board for the one-hour drama. Graham is set to write the script, while Degeneres will co-executive produce with Jeff Kleeman.

When "Someday, Someday, Maybe" came out on April 30, Graham told the Associated Press that the novel -- which is set in New York City in the mid-'90s and centers on Franny Banks, a young woman who has six months left in her three-year plan to make it as an actress -- would make a great TV show.

"[It] would be a compelling TV show because it lends itself to that serialization," she said, adding jokingly that she wouldn't mind having her onscreen daughter on board. "Mae Whitman will star as
See full article at Huffington Post »

It’s Not TV: HBO, The Company That Changed Television: The Wasteland

The Wasteland:

Television is a gold goose that lays scrambled eggs;

and it is futile and probably fatal to beat it for not laying caviar.

Lee Loevinger

When people argue over the quality of television programming, both sides — it’s addictive crap v. underappreciated populist art — seem to forget one of the essentials about commercial TV. By definition, it is not a public service. It is not commercial TV’s job to enlighten, inform, educate, elevate, inspire, or offer insight. Frankly, it’s not even commercial TV’s job to entertain. Bottom line: its purpose is simply to deliver as many sets of eyes to advertisers as possible. As it happens, it tends to do this by offering various forms of entertainment, and occasionally by offering content that does enlighten, inform, etc., but a cynic would make the point that if TV could do the same job televising fish aimlessly swimming around an aquarium,
See full article at SoundOnSight »

It’s Not TV: HBO, The Company That Changed Television. In the Beginning Was the Word — Radio

In the Beginning Was the Word — Radio:

“I like doing radio because it’s so intimate. The moment people hear your voice, you’re inside their heads, not only that, you’re in there laying eggs”.

Doug Coupland

We can watch TV — or movies, YouTube videos, play videogames, exchange video phone calls — from anywhere and everywhere: on line at McD’s, from our seat on our commuter bus or train (usually annoying the hell out of the napping business professional next to us), even from a toilet stall (crass, I grant, but I’ve seen — , well, ahem, I mean, I’ve heard it done). It’s nearly impossible for a generation growing up immersed, submerged, and buried in portable visual media to imagine the magnetic hold radio had on its audiences back in its early days. Think about it, all you smartphone and ipad users, wi-fiers and Hopper subscribers: there
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Lauren Graham's Book Is Headed To TV

Lauren Graham's Book Is Headed To TV
Lauren Graham has another TV gig lined up.

Graham, who recently became a New York Times bestseller with her debut novel "Someday, Someday, Maybe," has closed a deal with Warner Bros. TV and Ellen DeGeneres’ A Very Good Production to adapt the book for the small screen, as first reported by Deadline and confirmed to The Huffington Post by a source close to the deal.

The "Parenthood "star will executive produce the hour-long drama with DeGeneres and Jeff Kleeman, also of A Very Good Production. Graham will pen the script as well.

"Someday, Someday, Maybe" is set in the mid-'90s and centers on a young woman named Franny Banks who's living in New York City and has six months left in her three-year plan to make it as an actress. While promoting her book, which came out on April 30, Graham told the Associated Press that the novel "would be
See full article at Huffington Post »

Five Forgotten Gems From Five Great Movie Music Composers

Anybody who has ever been to a high school reunion (and I’ve been to my share) will tell you that the calendar and the clock can be incredibly cruel (particularly when combined with the long-term effects of gravity, but let’s not go there).

Time punishes creative works as well. Some work grows dated, stale, stiff. Time and the evolving form of the given art leaves a once vibrant and exciting work behind looking dead and obsolete.

More cruel, perhaps, is work that is simply…forgotten. Not for any good reason. Good as it was, maybe it was simply not successful enough to lodge very deeply in the popular consciousness; working well enough in its day, but soon lost among the ever-growing detritus of a lot of other pieces of yesterday.

Movie music is particularly vulnerable to the cruelties of time. Outside of the form’s devotees, it rarely
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Man City: The Mario Balotelli Syndrome

Well, we managed to somehow leapfrog the end of the Mayan Calendar without as much as a whiff of any Doom, and we still haven’t expunged ourselves with the mis-handling of nuclear warheads, despite having approximately 20,000 of the devils scattered around the globe. And there’s not a sniff of any alien invasion, Elvis working in KFC or Polar ice heading towards the cocktails of Miami bar revelers for that matter…

All folklore theories eagerly digested by insatiable appetites of the gullible general public.

Which brings us to the phenomena of Super Mario. If ever a man was aptly named!

The media convinces us all about the endless list of pantomime antics, the artistry of his ability with a football and the inane updates of his latest hairstyle.

Do we really care to hear about him proffering fifty pound notes to beggars on the streets of Manchester? Do we
See full article at Obsessed with Film »

‘Zero Dark Thirty’ and the narrative of torture

Approximately a week and a half before last weekend’s release of Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, Glenn Greenwald, a lawyer and blogger for the Guardian newspaper, wrote this piece about the film’s approach to torture. Greenwald freely admitted that he was writing that piece of criticism which film critics hate most: social commentary from a person who had not yet seen the film (Greenwald later wrote this piece after seeing the film). He was later joined by director Alex Gibney, whose film Taxi to the Dark Side was about an innocent man who was tortured and killed at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, and a trio of U.S. Senators including John McCain, who was himself tortured by the Viet Cong as a prisoner of war.

If the positions of all of those letters and blog posts could be summed up in one word, it would be Greenwald’s “propaganda.
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Comedy Icon Phyllis Diller-rip

Superstar comedienne Phyllis Diller died today in Los Angeles, California. She was 95. Diller was not the first female stand-up comic ( ‘Moms’ Mabely had been performing since the 40′s ), but her outrageous fashions and irreverent sense of humor established her as a media comedy sensation in the 1960′s. Before Rosanne Barr, Diller joked about the drudgery of housework ( and a clueless husband named ” Fang ” ) and her self-depreciating gags no doubt inspired Totie Fields and Joan Rivers. Ms. Diller ( born Phyllis Ada Driver ) was writing radio copy in the San Francisco area in the 50′s when she decided to enter the world of stand-up comedy. After success at clubs, she soon branched into television with an appearance on Groucho Marx’s quiz show ” You Bet Your Life “. After nightclubs she perhaps had her biggest successes in TV as a fixture of talk shows, variety shows and game shows, although she had little
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

Phyllis Diller Dead At 95: Watch A Sampling Of Her Pioneering Comic Style

The world just got a little less funny today, as legendary comedian Phyllis Diller died today at the age of 95. According to TMZ, her health had been in decline following a recent fall and she was in hospice care in her Los Angeles home when she passed away, surrounded by her family.

Now many of us are a little too young to have been first-hand fans of Diller, who was a housewife before entering the stand-up world in the 1950s and appearing on shows such as Ed Sullivan and You Bet Your Life, as well as her own short-lived sitcom and variety shows. But her self-deprecating humor, wacky costumes and biting remarks have clearly influenced everyone from Roseanne to Lady Gaga. Here we’ve gathered a sampling of classic Phyllis Diller appearances, so you can see what we mean, and so you’ll think of that signature laugh for the rest of the day.
See full article at TheFabLife - Movies »

Phyllis Diller: 1917-2012

Phyllis Diller: 1917-2012
Phyllis Diller, the wild-haired, eccentrically-dressed performer credited with opening the doors of stand-up comedy to women, passed away at her home in Los Angeles. She was 95 years old.

She was born Phyllis Ada Driver on July 17, 1917 in Lima, Ohio to Perry Marcus and Frances Ada (Romshe) Driver. After graduating from Central High School, she headed to Chicago's Sherwood Music Conservatory, where she continued to study piano, with dreams of one day becoming a concert pianist. From the Conservatory, she transferred to Bluffton College in Ohio, where she became the school's newspaper editor and oversaw the publication of humor pieces.

In November 1939, at the age of 22, she married Sherwood Anderson Diller and gave birth to a son, Peter, in 1940. She would have five more children: Sally (1944), a son who died two weeks after being born (1945), Suzanne (1946), Stephanie (1948), and Perry (1950). Perry would later manage his mother's business affairs. Contrary to popular belief, she is no relation to Susan Lucci.

During WWII, the fledgling Diller clan moved to Michigan, where she began to mine her home-making experiences for jokes. She also worked as an advertising copywriter at this time. After the war, the Dillers moved to San Francisco, where she found work as a secretary at the radio station KROW. Later that year, she was in front of the camera for the first time with a program titled "Phyllis Dillis, the Homely Friendmaker" for Bay Area Radio-Television. She continued working in Bay Area television, this time at KGO-TV, where she was invited to participate in the station's show "Belfast Pop Club", co-hosted by Willard Anderson and Don Sherwood.

Both Anderson and Sherwood encouraged her to pursue her stand-up comedy ambitions, and in 1955, she landed a two-week gig at the venerable San Francisco nightclub, The Purple Onion, where her self-deprecating wit and unique laugh kept her on the stage for the better part of two years. The buzz created by her act reached Hollywood, and she made her first rounds on talk and variety shows with the likes of Jack Benny and Red Skelton.

Her appearance on "The Tonight Show" with Jack Parr was her breakthrough, and led to recurring gigs as a contestant on "You Bet Your Life" with host Groucho Marx, "What's My Line?", "I've Got a Secret", and "Hollywood Squares". She appeared on the silver screen as well, making her debut in William Inge's drama, Splendor in the Grass. In 1961, she made her stage debut in The Dark at the Top of the Stairs. Appearances in films with Bob Hope -- Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number!, The Private Navy of Sgt. O'Farrell, and Eight on the Lam -- began a lifelong bond between the two performers, who would co-star in numerous TV specials; in fact, Diller would be featured in every Bob Hope Christmas Special from 1965 through 1994. At the height of the Vietnam war in 1966, Diller joined Hope's USO troupe overseas.

As her star rose, husband Sherwood managed her career, though the relationship broke down and the couple divorced in 1965. By this point, however, Sherwood had become a staple of her act, as she made jokes about a husband named "Fang," while she smoked from a exaggerated cigarette holder -- which would become the comedienne's signature prop, paried with her increasingly outlandish wardrobe and hairstyles. Soon after her divorce, she married Ward Donovan, whom she met while appearing on stage in "Wonderful Town". Worth noting is the fact that Joan Rivers was one of her writers at this period in her career.

In the late 1960s, she starred in a pair of short-lived series, "The Pruitts of Southampton" and variety show "The Beautiful Phyllis Diller Show", though she found her greatest success elsewhere, from her continued guest appearances on talk, variety, and game shows. Toward the end of the decade, she began a successful string of guest spots on "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In". Harkening back to her film debut, she gained notices for her work in the drama The Adding Machine with Milo O'Shea.

For three months, at the start of the 1970s, she appeared on Broadway in "Hello, Dolly!", stepping in for Carol Channing. On TV, she frequented on Dean Martin's celebrity roast specials and "the Mike Douglas Show". She cut hit comedy records, published her first books, and continued working the stand-up circuit. A new source of laughs -- her own plastic surgery -- stood in humorous contrast with other Hollywood performers.

Her on-screen career began to wane in late in the decade and into the 1980s, with guest appearances on "The Love Boat", "Celebrity Hot Potato", and a revamped version of "Hollywood Squares".

In the 1990s, roles in B movies Dr. Hackenstein and Silence of the Hams were minor cultural blips, but in 1998 she regained the spotlight for her voice role as the Queen ant in the second Pixar movie, A Bug's Life. She also had a recurring role on "The Bold and the Beautiful". A year later, she suffered a heart attack and was fitted with a pacemaker.

By 2002 she mostly retired from the stage and screen, though she appeared in the 2005 documentary The Aristocrats, notable because Diller, who steered clear of graphic material, did not recite the content of the famous dirty joke. An autobiography, Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse, was published that same year; in 2006, a DVD version of the project was released, and she voiced several roles for "Robot Chicken" and, later, "Family Guy". She cameoed in 2007 on "Boston Legal" as a supposed lover of William Shatner's Denny Crane. A planned appearance later in the year for her 90th birthday on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" was canceled when she fractured her back.

Diller was a long-time member of the Society of Singers, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping singers in need. Two cities proclaimed "Phyllis Diller Day"s: Philadelphia (2001) and San Francisco (2006).

She is survived by daughters Sally and Suzanne and son Perry.
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