Famous Actors and Actresses Graves
Don Knotts. Actor, Comedian. Born Jesse Donald Knotts in Morgantown, West Virginia, he is best known for his roles as ‘Deputy Barney Fife’ in the 1960s television series the “Andy Griffith Show,” and as landlord ‘Ralph Furley’ from the late 1970s television situation comedy series “Three’s Company.” He began his career as a ventriloquist and comedian in his local hometown of Morgantown. Following an unsuccessful career launch in New York, he returned home to attend West Virginia University. He entered the United States Army following his freshman year and served in the Pacific Theater entertaining troops in a variety show called “Stars and Gripes.” Following the war he returned to college, graduating in 1948 with a Bachelor’s degree in Education. After completing college he moved to New York City where he became a regular on several radio and television programs, including the “Steve Allen Show.” In 1955 he made his theatrical debut on Broadway, appearing in the comedy “No Time for Sergeants” along with Andy Griffith. In 1959 he moved to Hollywood where he joined Griffith on the “Andy Griffith Show.” He appeared on the series from 1960 to 1965 as a regular cast member, earning five Emmy Awards for Outstanding Performance as a Supporting Actor. In 1965 he left the show to follow a film career. Over the next two years he returned periodically to the “Andy Griffith Show” in numerous guest appearance roles. Following a successful career in low-budget films which lasted late into the 1970s, he returned to television as the leisure-suit clad landlord in “Three’s Company.” He appeared on the series from 1979 to 1984. His notable TV and film credits include “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World” (1963), “The Incredible Mr. Limpet” (1964), “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken” (1966), “The Reluctant Astronaut” (1967), “The Shakiest Gun in the West” (1968), “The Love God” (1969), “The Don Knotts Show” (1970), “The Apple Dumpling Gang” (1975), “Gus” (1976), “Return to Mayberry” (1986), “Matlock” (1986), “Pleasantville” (1998) and numerous voice over characterizations on animated films.
Jim Varney. Actor. A comic figure, his best remembered role was that of the character ‘Ernest P. Worrel’ in the various “Ernest” movies from 1983 to 1998, as well as in numerous television commercials.
John Candy. Actor. He is fondly remembered as one of Canada’s greatest and funniest character actors, earning a reputation for his quirky humor and his uncanny imitation of others. Born John Franklin Candy in East York (a suburb of Toronto), Ontario, Canada, he was raised in a working-class Roman Catholic family. His father died from a heart attack when he was only five years old. He attended Holy Cross Catholic Grade School and graduated from Neil McNeil Catholic High School in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and soon found his passion for drama while attending a local community college. His first movie role was a small uncredited appearance in the 1973 film “Class of ’44.” He appeared in several other low-budget films during the 1970s, including “Tunnel Vision” (1976), “Find the Lady (1976), and “The Silent Partner” (1978). In 1976 he played a supporting role (with Rick Moranis) on Peter Gzowski’s short-lived, late-night television talk show, “90 Minutes Live.” That same year, as a member of Toronto’s branch of The Second City (an improvisational comedy enterprise), he gained wide popularity, which grew when he became a cast member on the influential Toronto-based comedy-variety show “Second City Television” (SCTV). In 1981, NBC picked up the show and it quickly became a fan favorite, winning Emmy Awards for the show’s writing in 1981 and 1982. By 1980 he began a more active film career having appeared as a soldier in Steven Spielberg’s big-budget comedy flop “1941” and had a supporting role as Burton Mercer, “Joliet” Jake’s probation/parole officer in “The Blues Brothers”. The following year he played the lovable, mild-mannered Army recruit Dewey Oxberger in “Stripes,” one of the most successful films of the year. In the next two years, Candy did a small cameo in Harold Ramis’s “National Lampoon’s Vacation” and appeared on “Saturday Night Live” twice (hosting in 1983) while still appearing on SCTV. In 1983 he headlined in the film “Going Berserk,” and was also approached to play the character of accountant Louis Tully in “Ghostbusters” (completed and released in 1984), but ultimately did not get the role because of his conflicting ideas of how to play the character, and the part went instead to Rick Moranis (He was one of the many celebrities who appeared chanting “Ghostbusters” in Ray Parker, Jr.’s hit “single” for the movie.). In 1984 he played Tom Hanks’s womanizing brother in the hit romantic comedy “Splash,” generally considered his breakout role. During the last half of the 1980s, he often took roles in substandard films (even performing the voice of a talking horse in the Bobcat Goldthwait comedy “Hot to Trot” (1988)). While continuing to play supporting roles in films like “Spaceballs” (1987), he headlined or co-starred in such comedy films as “Summer Rental” (1985), “Volunteers’ (1985), “Brewster’s Millions” (1985), “Armed and Dangerous” (1986), “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” (1987), “The Great Outdoors” (1988), “Who’s Harry Crumb?” (1989), and “Uncle Buck” (1989). He also continued to provide memorable bit roles, including a policeman in the Sesame Street film “Follow That Bird” (1985) and a “weird” disc jockey in the comic musical film “Little Shop of Horrors” (1986). He also produced and starred in a Saturday-morning animated series on NBC entitled “Camp Candy” in 1989. The show was set in a fictional summer camp run by Candy, featured his two children in supporting roles, and also spawned a brief comic book series published by Marvel Comics’ Star Comics imprint. In the early 1990s, his career began to decline after he appeared in a string of critical and commercial failures, including “Nothing but Trouble” (1991) for which he was nominated for a Razzie as “worst supporting actress,” playing a woman), “Delirious” (1991), and “Once Upon a Crime” (1992), although he did appear in major successes such as “The Rescuers Down Under” (1990), “Home Alone” (1990), “Rookie of the Year” (1993, uncredited), and “Cool Runnings” (1993). He attempted to reinvigorate his acting career by broadening his range and playing more dramatic roles. In 1991 he appeared in a light romantic drama, “Only the Lonely,” which saw him as a Chicago cop torn between his overbearing mother (Maureen O’Hara) and his new girlfriend (Ally Sheedy). The same year and in rare form, he played a dramatic role as Dean Andrews Jr., a shady Southern lawyer in Oliver Stone’s “JFK.” In 1991 he, along with Bruce McNall and Wayne Gretzky became owners of the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts. The celebrity ownership group attracted a lot of attention in Canada and the team spent a significant amount of money, even signing some highly touted National Football League prospects like wide receiver Raghib Ismail, and the Argonauts won the Grey Cup in their first year of ownership. While filming “Wagons East!” on location in Durango, Mexico in 1994, he gave notice that he was putting the Argonauts up for sale. On March 3, 1994, after cooking a late lasagna dinner for his assistants, he went to bed and in the early morning hours of the following day he died from a heart attack in Durango at the age of 43. In the Walt Disney animated movie “Pocahontas” (1995), he had planned to be the voice for a turkey named ‘Redfeather’ but after his death, his character and dialogue were deleted. His final completed movie was “Canadian Bacon” (1995) was released a year after his death.
Paul Walker. Actor. Walker, who will best be remembered for his role as Brian O’Conner in the blockbuster action ‘Fast & Furious’ films, began his career on the small screen with a commercial for diapers when he was 2 years old. He went on to appear in TV shows such as ‘Highway to Heaven’, ‘Throb’, ‘Charles in Charge’, ‘Who’s the Boss?’ and ‘Touched By An Angel’. His first movie role was in ‘Meet the Deedles’ (1998) followed by supporting roles in ‘Pleasantville’ (1998), ‘Varsity Blues’ (1999), ‘She’s All That’ (1999) and ‘The Skulls’ (2000). His career really took off when he was cast as an undercover cop in 2001’s ‘The Fast and the Furious’. Among other films he went on to appear in were ‘Timeline’ (2003), ‘Into the Blue’ (2005), ‘Running Scared’ (2006), ‘The Death and Life of Bobby Z’ (2007), ‘The Lazarus Project’ (2008), ‘Takers’ (2010) and ‘Pawn Shop Chronicles’ (2013). At the time of his death, Walker was working on the seventh film of the “Fast & Furious’ franchise, slated for release in 2014.
Merv Griffin. Entertainer, Actor, Television Host, and Media Mogul. He is best remembered as the host of his CBS television talk show, “The Merv Griffin Show,” which ran from 1965 to 1986. Additionally, he created the game shows “Jeopardy!” (1964), “Wheel of Fortune” (1975), “Ruckus” (1991), “Click” (1997), and “Merv Griffin’s Crosswords” (2007) with his own television production companies, Merv Griffin Enterprises and Merv Griffin Entertainment.
Mel Blanc. Voice Actor. His career spanned radio, movies and television starting in the early 1930’s and even continued after his death into 2000. A television commercial for American Express charge card was revived after his death. His birth and death years appeared on the bottom of the screen at the end of the commercial, both to promote their card, and pay tribute to Mel Blanc. The rarely seen voice innovator even did sound effects. He literally performed in over a thousand shows. Some of the cartoon characters he voiced…Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny, Woody Woodpecker, Tweety Bird, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn, Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner, The Tasmanian Devil, Speedy Gonzalez, Elmer Fudd, Barney Rubble, Dino and Heathcliff. He was born Melvin Jerome Blank in San Francisco to Frederick and Eva Blank, managers of a women’s retail clothing business but was raised in Portland, Oregon from an early age. He attended Lincoln High School and was constantly in trouble becoming the class clown mimicking foreign accents resulting in admonishment by the teacher using his name to degrade him. He began to spell his name Blanc and later changed it legally. A poor student, however, very popular with his classmates but often annoyed his teachers and principals. He loved doing voice exercises in the school hallways because of the echo. A cackle imitated here became the hallmark for Woody Woodpecker. Mel had his eye on the theatre as he constantly skipped school to attend vaudeville shows. After high school, he drove to Hollywood to try his luck which was dismal. However, he found a wife and returned to Portland landing a radio job with local station KGW and even given his own show called “Cobwebs & Nuts.” The couple moved back to Hollywood and tried again. Mel landed a job with Disney, doing the voice of the cat in the movie Pinocchio. He was a natural for radio which was at its peak. His ability to create voices for multiple characters landed him a job on the Jack Benny Program. He performed various roles including Benny’s Maxwell auto in desperate need of a tune up. Mel joined Leon Schlesinger Studio’s (subsidiary of Warner Brothers) which produced animated cartoons. He had arrived, his wild mimicking crazy childhood had led him to a career which would last the rest of his life. At Warner’s, Mel was the first to receive a movie credit. It was a landmark innovation as it not only gave recognition to him but others who labored behind the cameras. During his days at the studio, they earned five Oscars for cartoons he was involved with. The first award came in 1947 for “Tweety Pie.” By the time Warner Brothers closed its animation shop in 1969, Blanc had performed around 700 human and animal characters and created voices for 848 of the studio’s 1,003 cartoons. Blanc’s last original character was an orange cat called “Heathcliff” and as his career wound down due to age, he continued to voice his famous characters in commercials and on TV specials. He died at age 81 in Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles from emphysema and heart failure. “That’s all, folks!” (Tag line of every WB cartoon) became the epitaph on his headstone. Legacy…For his contribution to radio, Mel Blanc has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His autobiography, “That’s Not All, Folks” was published in 1988. He received the Legion of Honor in 1966 and was inducted into the DeMolay Hall of Fame in 1987. Mel Blanc called the 1957 Oscar wining cartoon “Birds Anonymous” his all-time favorite and producer Eddie Selzer bequeathed the statue to him upon his death. (cartoon Oscars are only awarded to producers) In a bit of trivia…A near fatal car accident in 1961 narrowly missed taking his life. Many cartoon productions required his services. He fulfilled his contracts by doing his character voice in a full body cast from his hospital bed and continued the process while convalescing at home with recording equipment crowded into his room.
Tom Bosley. Actor. His most famous acting role was the patriarch ‘Howard Cunningham’ in the popular television series “Happy Days”, starring in it from 1974 to 1984. Born in Chicago, Illinois, he served in the United States Navy during World War II, and attended DePaul University following his return home. After becoming interested in an acting career, he studied at the Radio Institute of Chicago, and began performing on various radio programs. He made his debut in the Broadway Theatre in the production “The Power and the Glory” (1958 to 1959), and began a lengthy television career during that same period. His breakthrough theatre role was his Tony Award-winning performance as New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia in the musical “Fiorello!” (1959 to 1961), which was followed by scores of television guest appearances on such programs as “Car 54, Where Are You?”, “Route 66”, “The Defenders”, and “The Streets of San Francisco”. He found substantial film roles in the pictures “Love with the Proper Stranger” (1963), “The World of Henry Orient” (1964) and “Divorce American Style” (1967). After recurring parts in the series “The Debbie Reynolds Show” (1969 to 1970) and “The Sandy Duncan Show” (1972), Bosley would inherit the role of ‘Howard Cunningham’ for the series “Happy Days” (initially played by Harold Gould in a 1972 episode of “Love, American Style”, which inspired the show), and with it he would become a household name, earning an Emmy Award nomination in 1978. Following the conclusion of the shows’ run in 1984, he had a memorable supporting part as ‘Sheriff Amos Tupper’ in the series “Murder, She Wrote” (1984 to 1988), and played the title role in “Father Dowling Mysteries” (1987 to 1991). He died from heart failure.
Groucho Marx. Legendary Actor, Comedian. Groucho was probably the best known of the Marx Brothers comedy team. He achieved fame in film with his brothers Harpo and Chico and sometimes Zeppo, and went on to radio and TV success with the “You Bet Your Life” program. Groucho was born Julius Henry Marx in New York City, the fourth son of Sam and Minnie Marx. He started out as a boy singer before teaming up with his brother Harpo and Gummo. Brother Chico joined later, and the boys switched from a musical team to a comedy team. Groucho was always the leader, with his greasepaint mustache, big cigar, swallow tail coat, and most of all, sarcastic, caustic wit. The brothers became a smash hit on Broadway in 1924 with “I’ll Say She Is.” The brothers — by this time, with Zeppo replacing Gummo — became movie stars in 1929 with the film version of “The Cocoanuts.” The Marxes made 13 films together, finally retiring with “Love Happy” in 1949. After their film work, Groucho tried several radio programs and solo films with little success. In 1947, he went on radio as the quizmaster of “You Bet Your Life,” a show more famous for its repartee between Groucho and his contestants than for the game itself. The program went on TV in 1950 and ended in 1961. After the deaths of Harpo and Chico, Groucho faded into semi-oblivion, having ended his third marraige in 1969. Erin Fleming became his companion/secretary and helped revive his visibility, which included campus tours and a Carnegie Hall appearance. Groucho also wrote eight books. His last year was spent with his son Arthur battling Fleming over Groucho’s care.
Don LaFontaine. Voice Actor. He was the voice for hundreds of thousands of radio spots and television commercials, as well as working on nearly 5000 films. He also did a stint in the Army just after high school, was a head of production for Kaleidoscope Films, Ltd., had his own production company, Don LaFontaine Associates, and for a time was vice president of Paramount Pictures.
Larry “Bozo The Clown” Harmon. Entertainer. Larry Harmon portrayed ‘Bozo the Clown’ for more than fifty years. He bought the rights to Bozo, and the business that combined animation, character licensing, and personal appearances was worth millions. His television show was seen all over the country as well as some overseas markets. He trained more than 200 ‘Bozos’ to represent him in local markets. As Bozo’s influence spread, his name became a synonym for clownish behavior. He also worked in a animation studio in Hollywood, where he produced cartoons based on the characters of ‘Laurel and Hardy’,’Popeye’, and ‘Mr. Magoo’.
Dennis Farina. Actor. Farina, who at one time was a real-life police officer who served 18 years in the Chicago Police Dept. from 1967 to 1985, was a character actor who was often typecast as a mobster or a police officer. He began his work in show business working as a police consultant which subsequently led to his being cast in a small role in the 1981 film ‘Thief’, which led to memorabe roles in such films as ‘Code of Silence’ (1985), ‘Midnight Run’ (1988), ‘Romeo is Bleeding’ (1993), ‘Get Shorty’ (1995), ‘Saving Private Ryan’ (1998), ‘The Mod Squad’ (1999), ‘Snatch’ (2000), ‘Big Trouble’ (2002) and ‘The Last Rites of Joe May’ (2011). On television he was featured in ‘Hard Knox’, ‘Miami Vice’, ‘Hardcastle and McCormick’, ‘Remington Steele’, ‘Crime Story’, ‘The Case of the Hillside Stranglers’, ‘Cruel Doubt’, ‘Bella Mafia’, ‘Law & Order’, ‘Empire Falls’ and ‘Luck’. Farina died after suffering a blood clot in his lung.
Fred MacMurray. Actor. Born Frederick Martin MacMurray in Kankakee, Illinois to Maleta Martin and Frederick MacMurray, a violinist and music teacher. The family moved to Beaver Dam, Wisconsin by the time he started school, and he graduated from Beaver Dam High School where he had made a mark in football, baseball, and basketball earning numerous varsity letters. He earned a full scholarship to Carroll College in Waukesha, Wisconsin, but left school before earning a degree. With musical aspirations, in 1930, he played saxophone in the Gus Arnheim Coconut Grove Orchestra, recording “All I Want Is Just One Girl.” He then appeared on Broadway in the 1930 production of “Three’s a Crowd.” He followed with rolls in productions of “The Third Little Show” and “Roberta.” By 1934, he had signed a contract with Paramount Studios and made a splash in “The Gilded Lily” (1935). Suddenly in demand, he co-starred with Katherine Hepburn in “Alice Adams” (1935), with Claudette Colbert in “The Bride Comes Home” (1935), Carole Lombard in “Hands Across the Table” (1935), “The Princess Comes Across” (1936), and “Swing High Swing Low” (1937) among others, completing more than twenty films before the end of the decade. Often typecast as the “nice guy” or the “best friend,” in 1939 he also became artist C.C. Beck’s initial model for the superhero character Captain Marvel. He became the highest-paid actor of the early 1940s. He enjoyed playing against type, however, and some of his best thought of rolls were Walter Neff in “Double Indemnity (1944) and Lieutenant Thomas Keefer in “The Caine Mutiny” (1954). Movie rolls thinned in the 1950s and included “Never a Dull Moment” (1950), “Pushover” (1954), “The Rains of Ranchipur” (1955), “Gun for a Coward” (1957) and the initial foray with Disney, “The Shaggy Dog” (1959). He also branched out into television, appearing on “The Jack Benny Program,” “Screen Directors Playhouse,” and “General Electric Theatre.” He was cast against type as Jeff Sheldrake, in “The Apartment” (1960) in a critically acclaimed roll. Disney then cast him in “The Absent Minded Professor” (1961) and its sequel, “Son of Flubber” (1963). Meanwhile, what is probably one of his most remembered rolls, Steve Douglas in “My Three Sons,” debuted in 1960 on network television. The sitcom remained on the air for 12 seasons and his contract, through hard negotiation, required him to work only 65 days per season.
Clarence Nash. Voice Actor. Born in Watonga, Oklahoma, he was best known for being the original voice of Walt Disney Studios’ cartoon character, Donald Duck. In 1934, he began his career as a sound man at Walt Disney Studios when he created the voice for the prankster frustrations of Donald Duck. For the next 50 years besides voicing Donald Duck, he also supplied the voices for Donald’s nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie, plus his girl friend, Daisy Duck. He died at age 80 of leukemia at St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California.
Richard Dawson. Actor, Entertainer. His best remembered acting role was as the pocket-picking safe-cracker “Corporal Peter Newkirk” in the 1960s television comedy series “Hogan’s Heroes” (1965 to 1971), and he became associated with 1970s television game shows as a regular panelist on “Match Game” and as host of “Family Feud”. Born Colin Emm in the Southern region of England, in the town of Gosport, his father was a truck driver, he joined the Merchant Marine at the age of fourteen. He later earned wages as a boxer and waiter, prior to making a name for himself as a comedian in England. He gradually was introduced to American television audiences beginning with an appearance on Steve Allen’s program in 1959, and during this period he married British sex-symbol Diana Dors, whom he remained with until their divorce in 1967. He moved onto motion pictures with roles in the films “King Rat” (1965), “Munster, Go Home” (1966), “The Devil’s Brigade” (1968) and had an acclaimed role as the villainous game show host ‘Damon Killian’ in the Arnold Schwarzenegger picture “The Running Man” (1987). During his run as host of “Family Feud” (1976 to 1985, 1994), Dawson became memorable for his consistent kissing of the female contestants. In fact, he would go onto marry a former contestant of the show in 1991. He died of complications from esophageal cancer.
William “Buckwheat” Thomas. Actor. He was one of the most popular of “The Little Rascals”. He played Buckwheat in 93 “Our Gang” films, beginning in 1934. Conceived as a replacement for Matthew “Stymie” Beard, Buckwheat was originally an androgynous character with a tangle of braids, but with time he assumed his true gender and standard costume of floppy hat, striped shirt, and tattered pants precariously held up by one suspender. His garbled English—punctuated by his signature exclamation, “Otay!”—belied a craftiness that put him one step ahead of the bigger kids, and he was often paired with the inscrutable Porky as a sort of Greek chorus to the Gang’s antics. Buckwheat stayed with “Our Gang” until the series’ demise in 1944. Described by his co-stars as easygoing and cooperative, Thomas had seemingly little difficulty adjusting to life outside of show business. After serving in the Army during the Korean War (and obviously not World War II, as noted on his grave marker), he worked for many years as a lab technician at Technicolor and made few attempts to cash in on his fame. When he was given a standing ovation at an “Our Gang” reunion in August of 1980, Thomas was moved to tears.
George Lindsey. Actor. Fondly remembered for playing Goober Pyle in the TV series “The Andy Griffith Show” (1964 to 1968) and “Mayberry R.F.D.” (1968 to 1971). Raised in the small town of Jasper, Alabama, he became captivated by movies at an early age and spent a great deal of time at the neighborhood theater. He had a particular fondness for William “Hopalong Cassidy” Boyd. He caught the acting bug during his teens, after watching a production of “Oklahoma!”, but it would be athletics which first preoccupied him. He earned a football scholarship to Florence State Teachers College (now the University of North Alabama) and excelled playing at the quarterback position. It was during this period, when he began to fulfill his dream of acting and among one of the earliest stage productions he performed in would ironically be “Oklahoma!”. He graduated with degrees in Biological Science and Physical Education and went onto serve a stint with the US Air Force in Florida. While there he acted and performed comedy routines. He returned to Alabama, where he taught high school history, however it would not be long before he once again answered the calling to perform. He relocated to New York to acquire stronger skills and studied at the American Theater Wing. His break came when he landed a part in the Broadway play “All American” (1962) and this would lead to his television introduction in the series “The Rifleman”, which was followed by his role in an episode of “The Twilight Zone” titled “I am the Night- Color Me Black” (1964). He marked his film debut in “Ensign Pulver” (1964) and that same year launched his career-change role of Goober Pyle in “The Andy Griffith Show”. After “Mayberry R.F.D.” ended its run in 1971, he moved onto appearance in the series “Love, American Style” and “M*A*S*H*”, among others. When not performing, Lindsey donated time and money to such causes as the Special Olympics and programs to benefit children with mental disabilities.
Will Rogers. Humorist, Actor, Author. Born the youngest of eight children in Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory (which would later be known as Oologah, Oklahoma) as a boy he was taught the lariat by a former slave and became an expert rider and roper. He would later star in wild west shows and vaudeville around the world on the strengths learned on his father’s ranch. He dropped out of school in the tenth grade and would always regret doing so.He joined the Ziegfield Follies in 1917, which showcased his lariat skills, but gradually evolved to include observations about life, the country, and the government. He went to Hollywood in 1918 and appeared in such films as ‘Laughing Bill Hyde’ (1918), ‘The Ropin’ Fool’ (1921), ‘They Had to See Paris’ (1929) and ‘State Fair’ (1934). He eventually starred in over 70 features and shorts. In 1934 he was voted the most popular actor in Hollywood. He also wrote a popular syndicated column and six books. He became a prominent radio broadcaster and political commentator basing a large part of his humor upon politics which he called the best show in the world, describing Congress as the “national joke factory.” He is often quoted as saying: “I joked about every prominent man in my lifetime, but I never met one I didn’t like.” He once declined a nomination for the governorship of Oklahoma, but served as the mayor of Beverly Hills. Wiley Post, a famous aviator at the time, was a great friend of Will’s who shared his love of flying. The pair set off in Wiley’s bright red Lockheed Orion Sirius Explorer equipped with floats in the summer of 1935. Most experts now believe that a combination of miscalculations in the design and operation of the heavily customized aircraft resulted in the uncontrollable spin that occurred right after takeoff. They crashed at Point Barrow, Alaska, on August 15, 1935. Both men were killed on impact.
Sidney Toler. Actor. He is best remembered for his role of ‘Charlie Chan’ in the “Charlie Chan” series of movies. Of Scottish ancestry, he was the second non-Asian to play the role of the Chinese Hawaiian detective. Born in Warrensburg, Missouri, and a veteran of the stage, he entered the movie industry in 1929, taking a variety of supporting roles in such films as “The Gay Nineties” (1929), “Madame X” (1929), “Strickly Dishonorable” (1931), “Blonde Venus” (1932), “King of the Jungle” (1933), “Call of the Wild” (1935), “Three Godfathers” (1936) and “The Mysterious Rider” (1938), with supporting roles ranging from soldiers to policemen, bankers, doctors, professors, and even a Mexican peasant. In 1938, with the death of veteran actor Warner Oland, he signed on with 20th Century Fox to take over the role of ‘Detective Charlie Chan’. His first film in that role was in “Honolulu” (1938), which saw only modest audience acceptance. His next film, “Charlie Chan at Treasure Island” (1939), is considered by many fans as his best film and the best of the series. He made several other ‘Charlie Chan’ movies, including “Charlie Chan in Reno” (1939), “Charlie Chan in the City of Darkness” (1939), “Charlie Chan in Panama” (1940), “Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum” (1940), and “Charlie Chan in Rio” (1941), when Fox sold the character rights to Monogram Pictures in 1943. Monogram carried on the character, but without the great scripts and reliable supporting casts, in such films as “Charlie Chan in the Secret Service” (1944), “The Jade Mask” (1945), “The Shanghai Cobra” (1945), “Shadows over Chinatown” (1946), “Dark Alibi” (1946), and “The Trap” (1946). Typecast as ‘Charlie Chan’, Toler would walk through most of the later films, showing a steady decline in performing. He would appear in only a handful of other film roles after 1938, including “Heritage of the Desert” (1939), “The Adventures of Smiling Jack” (1943) and “White Savage” (1943), but the studio never developed his full potential as an actor. When he died in 1947 of intestinal cancer in Beverly Hills, California, the role of ‘Charlie Chan’ was given to actor Roland Winters.
Robert Prosky. Actor. A character performer of television, stage and films, he is best known to many for his role as ‘Sgt. Stan Jablonski’ in the series “Hill Street Blues”. He received Tony Award-nominations for his performances in the stage productions “Glengarry, Glen Ross” (1984 to 1985) and “A Walk in the Woods” (1988). Born Robert Porzuczek in Philadelphia, he studied economics at Temple University. He was a longtime player at Washington’s Arena Stage before making his Broadway debut in the short-lived production “Moonchildren” (1972). His other stage credits include “A View From the Bridge” (1983) and “Democracy” (2004 to 2005). Among his motion picture credits are “Thief” (1981), “The Natural” (1984), “Broadcast News” (1987), “Things Change” (1988), “Hoffa” (1992), “Rudy” (1993), “Mrs. Doubtfire” (1993) and “Dead Man Walking” (1995). His other television performances include “Cheers”, “Coach”, “Frasier” and “ER”. In addition, he had recurring roles in the series “Veronica’s Closet” and “The Practice”. He died from complications after a heart procedure.
Harry Houdini. Entertainer. A legendary magician and escape artist, he was born Ehrich Weiss in Budapest, Hungary, the son of a rabbi and religious teacher. When he was about four, his family moved to Appleton, Wisconsin, where he grew up. When he was about 8 years old, he sold newspapers and worked as a bootblack to help support his poor family. When his father took him to see a traveling magician, his interest in magic and in performing took off, and shortly after his family moved to New York City, he began to study magic. After reading about the famous magician, Robert-Houdin (1805 to 1871), he took the stage name, Harry Houdini, in honor of Houdin. When his father died in 1890, Harry Houdini began working full time at amusement parks, museums, and theaters, trying his hand at magic and escape attempts. In July 1894, he married Beatrice “Bess” Raymond, a struggling singer and dancer, and she became the love of his life. After perfecting many escapes, he began to work the vaudeville theaters, and proving to his critics that he could escape any restraint. Adding danger to his escape increased the audience suspense, and he took risks that most escape artists would shy away from. This only increased the audience’s appreciation of his work. Many of his tricks involved being cast under water, with the threat of suffocation, but he always came through. Many of his greatest escapes still defy explanation even today. In the last years of his life, he formed the Houdini Motion Picture Corporation, which made numerous silent films, many of them featuring Houdini in one of his escapes. In the early 1920s, spiritualism became a great interest in the country, and after researching it himself, Harry became convinced that most of the practitioners were frauds, and he spent much of his time debunking the fakes. On October 22, 1926, while in Montreal, Canada, giving a lecture on spiritualism, he was asked by a college student if he could withstand a blow to the stomach. Before he could prepare himself for the blow, the student suddenly hit him three times, the last blow rupturing his appendix. Harry thought he would recover, and went on to perform several times over the next few days. By the time he was properly diagnosed, it was too late, and he died of peritonitis from a ruptured appendix on October 31. Houdini memorabilia remains popular even today, and commands a good price in auctions.
Evel Knievel. Daredevil, Entertainer. Robert Knievel was born in Butte, Montana. He was a motorcycle daredevil whose daring and highly publicized motorcycle jumps, including attempting to jump over the Snake River canyon, made him a household name. Despite suffering a series of major injuries during stunts, he had a long career in stunt riding. He is immortalized in Washington’s Smithsonian Institution as “America’s Legendary Daredevil.” His son, Robbie “Kaptain” Knievel, has carried on in his father’s daredevil footsteps as a motorcycle stunt entertainer.
John Wayne. Actor. He is noted mostly for his military and cowboy roles, and an American Icon. Fiercely patriotic and a staunch American, he represented an American ideal of rugged individualism. Politically conservative and hawkish, he was directly the opposite of many Hollywood stars, and often ridiculed for his political opinions. Born Marion Morrison in Winterset, Iowa, his family moved to southern California, where his father owned a ranch, and he learned to ride a horse. When the ranch failed, his family moved to Glendale, California, where he attended high school, and had an airdale dog named “Duke” (source of his later nickname). When he narrowly missed getting an appointment to the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, he went to the University of Southern California (USC) on a football scholarship. Actor Cowboy Tom Mix got him a summer job as a prop man, in exchange for USC football tickets. On the set, he became lifelong friends with Director John Ford, for whom he began doing bit parts. His first film, in 1930, was “Men Without Women.” After bit parts in some 70 films, his breakthrough came in the 1939 film “Stagecoach,” where he emerged a star. He holds the record for the actor playing the most leading parts, in 142 movies. He stayed mostly with his best acting roles, those of strong military men or fierce independent cowboys, since that suited the audiences. He was exempt from military service in World War II due to an ear infection which left him partially deaf. In 1948, he starred in “Red River”, giving a dynamic performance which made critics take notice. However, he is best remembered for his performance in the John Ford cavalry trilogy, “Fort Apache”, “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon”, and “Rio Grande”. He had good film chemistry with Maureen O’Hara, and in 1952, he made “The Quiet Man” with her, considered by many to be Wayne’s most endearing film. When Republic Pictures refused to make “The Alamo”, Wayne started his own studio, Batjac, and made the film (1960). In 1968, during the Vietnam War, he made the film “The Green Berets”, considered the only pro-Vietnam War film made in that period. He won an Oscar (his only one) for his role as a boozy, one-eyed, over-the-hill lawman in “True Grit” (1969), a role he reprised in “Rooster Cogburn” (1975). His acting abilities were often underrated by the critics, yet he was always a professional actor who knew his lines, his mark, and was on time for shooting.
Michael Landon. Actor, Motion Picture Director. Born in Forest Hills, New York, the family moved to Collingswood, New Jersey, when he was four. Although he had a genius level IQ he failed to maintain passing grades in high school. He was, however, a popular student and was considered by most to be very funny. Discovering the javelin turned his life around. He became so proficient in the sport that he was offered several athletic scholarships and accepted the offer from the University of California. While there he injured his arm and was forced to relinquish the scholarship. He dropped out of college and became employed at a warehouse in California. An audition was planned at Warner Brothers Studio for Michael and a co-worker. Warner Brothers was impressed with his audition. They signed him and sent him to acting school for four months. During this time he decided to take a stage name and chose the name Michael Landon, picking it from a telephone book. His first notable appearance on film was in “I Was a Teenage Werewolf” in 1957. Around this time producer David Dortort had a television show in the works that he had created called Bonanza. Dortorts successful persuasion to the network that he could make a hit television show with relatively unknown actors was another turning point in Michael’s life and would form the basis of his career. Dortort chose him for the roll of Little Joe Cartwright. The show premiered on September 12, 1959 and was a hit for 10 of the 14 years it was on the air. While involved in Bonanza he was able to nurture his talent of writing and directing. He wrote and directed several of the episodes. His next project was Little House on the Prairie. The series, which premiered in 1974 and ended in 1983, was very successful. Relationships with his fellow actors on these projects were an essential part of his life and many remained close friends until his death. In 1984 he started his last television series, Highway to Heaven, which was to run until 1989. He was working on the production of a series when he became ill and was not able to see it to fruition. In April of 1991 he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He was married three times. His first wife was Dodie Frasier. They were married from 1956 until 1962. In 1963 he married model Marjorie Lynn Noe and they divorced in 1982. He married makeup artist Cindy Clerico on February 14, 1983. He was the father of five sons and four daughters. The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum posthumously inducted him into the Western Performers Hall of Fame in 1998. His star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is located at 1500 N. Vine Street.
Bruce Lee. Martial Artist, Actor, Motion Picture Director. Balancing martial arts theory and film performance, Bruce Lee remains the most recognized martial artist of the twentieth century. Though born in San Francisco, Lee would move to Hong Kong with his family while still an infant and would act in several films there as a child. After losing a street fight in 1953, he would also study Wing Chun Kung Fu, a style emphasizing economy of movement. He would quickly become one of the most feared street fighters in Hong Kong, in addition to, ironically, becoming the Crown Colony Cha-Cha dance champion in 1958. His street reputation led to several problems with the police, who took a dim view such things, and Lee’s parents convinced him to return to the United States in 1959, a trip largely financed by giving Cha-Cha lessons to first-class passengers aboard the ship to America. Working odd jobs and teaching Kung Fu, Lee entered the University of Washington in 1961, eventually earning a degree in philosophy. His reputation as a martial artist grew, and in 1964 he was invited by Kenpo Karate pioneer Ed Parker to do a demonstration at the Long Beach International Karate Championships. His performance became the sensation of the martial arts world, and Lee opened his first formal school in Oakland, California later that year. Within a few months, rival instructor Wong Jack Man, taking umbrage at Lee’s policy of teaching all students regardless of ethnicity, challenged Lee to a fight with the loser closing his school. By all accounts, Lee won the no-holds-barred contest handily, but his difficulty in forcing his opponent to submit caused him to seriously rethink his approach to martial arts. Lee would eventually devise a new style called Jeet Kune Do (The Way of the Intercepting Fist). While retaining the economy of motion embodied in Wing Chun, Lee’s new style did away with strict conceptions of form and freely incorporated techniques from a wide variety of styles, including the top Kung Fu schools as well as boxing, wrestling, jiu-jitsu, Philippine Boxing, and even some ideas from fencing. In 1966, Lee starred as Kato in the television series “The Green Hornet”. Though modestly received in the United States, “The Green Hornet” was a huge success in Hong Kong. After establishing a fantastically successful martial arts school in Los Angeles that catered to several celebrity clients, Lee capitalized on his Hong Kong popularity, returning to the city in 1970 to do a series of martial arts films, including “Fists of Fury” and “The Chinese Connection”. These films became popular worldwide, earning Lee a fanatically devoted following. He followed these with the higher-budgeted “Enter the Dragon” and “Return of the Dragon”, directing the latter himself. In 1973, after experiencing a series of headaches, Bruce Lee died of a cerebral edema. Though many still speculate that the incongruous death of “the fittest man alive” may have been a martial arts-connected murder of some sort, the prevailing medical opinion remains that Lee died from an unfortunate combination of medications.
Leonard Nimoy. Actor. He is best remembered as his role as ‘Spock’ in the “Star Trek” science fiction television and motion picture franchise. After serving in the United States Army from 1953 to 1955, he appeared in small roles in a few films, but mostly found roles in television series, appearing in episodes of “Dragnet”, “Sea Hunt”, “Bonanza”, “Wagon Train”, “Rawhide”, “The Twilight Zone”, “The Untouchables”, “The Outer Limits”, “Get Smart” and “Gunsmoke” before being spotted by ‘Star Trek’ creator Gene Roddenberry. Nimoy was offered the role of ‘Spock’, co-starred in the 1965 “Star Trek” pilot. He would go on to appear on the series until it was canceled in 1969, but would go on to be a hit in syndication, spawning films and other television incarnations and gaining a huge following of fans known as “Trekkers” or “Trekkies”. After the series ended, he joined the fourth season of spy series “Mission: Impossible”, but left after the fifth season. He went on to star in the 1971 Western “Catlow” and the 1978 remake of the science fiction movie “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”. He also made a series of television films throughout the 1970s and received an Emmy nomination in 1982 for his role as Golda Meir’s husband in telepic “A Woman Called Golda”. He also narrated the docu-series “In Search of …,”. In 1979, he reprised his role as ‘Spock’ for 1979’s movie “Star Trek: The Motion Picture”, as well as the sequels that would continue into the 1990s: “The Wrath of Khan” (1982), “The Search for Spock” (1984), “The Voyage Home” (1986), “The Final Frontier” (1989) and “The Undiscovered Country” (1991). Nimoy also directed for television, including episodes of “Rod Serling’s Night Gallery” and “T.J. Hooker”, as well as four other feature films, including “3 Men and a Baby” (1987) and “The Good Mother’ (1988). Nimoy, who also had a long history of stage work, wrote two autobiographies: “I Am Not Spock” in 1977 and “I Am Spock” in 1995, as well as several books of poetry and released five albums, the first of which was space-based music and spoken word. He died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Bob Kane. Cartoonist. Born in New York City, he was a comic book artist and writer, credited as the creator of the DC Comic’s superhero “Batman” character. He was a trainee animator when he entered the comic book field in 1936. Merging with DC Comics action series in 1938, editors were in a scramble for more heroes such as Superman. It was then when Kane who had influences from film actor action characters, conceived “Batman” as a superhero. Writer Bill Finger joined artist Kane and the “Batman” character debuted in DC’s Detective Comics series in May 1939, and was a breakout hit. For the decades to follow, he added more characters to the series which evolved “Batman” from comic books, to television shows and many full feature block buster films. He died from natural causes at age 83 in Los Angeles, California.
Joseph Wapner. Television Personality. He was a fixture on the popular television program “The People’s Court” from 1981 to 1993, appearing in nearly 2,500 episodes. A graduate of the University of Southern California (USC) Law School, he served in the U.S. Army’s 132nd infantry during the Second World War. He was a recipient of the bronze star and purple heart, and was involved in the South Pacific assault on the island of Guadalcanal. He was appointed to the Los Angeles Municipal Court in 1959 before advancing to the Los Angeles Superior Court. He remained on the court until his retirement in 1981. Following retirement from the “Peoples Court” he appeared on Animal Planet’s “Judge Wapner’s Animal Court.” He was the author of “A View from the Bench” published in November 1987. He died at the age of 97 after suffering a series of strokes.
Brandon Lee. Actor. Born to Bruce Lee, creator of the Jeet Kune Do style of martial arts, and the German born American, Linda Lee Emery, in Oakland, California. The Lee family moved to Hong Kong in 1971 where the senior Lee made several films, and Brandon became fluent in Cantonese. After his father’s death in 1973, the family returned to the United States. Brandon attended the Chadwick School until he was expelled for insubordination. After attaining a GED, he enrolled in Emerson College in Boston before moving to New York to attend the Lee Strasburg Academy acting school, and joined the American New Theatre. He made his film debut on American television in “Kung Fu: The Movie” in 1986. His feature film debut was in the Hong Kong produced Cantonese language film “Long Zai Jiang Hu” in 1986. He returned to American television in 1987 for “Kung Fu: The Next Generation” and a short lived role in the television series, “Ohara.” In 1990 he starred in his first English language feature film “Laser Mission,” which he followed with his breakthrough role in “Showdown in Little Tokyo.” His first starring role was the action adventure “Rapid Fire” in 1992. He was then cast as Eric Draven in “The Crow,” which was based on the comic of the same name. The production of the film was plagued with numerous problems from the beginning of filming including injuries among the crew. A week before the scheduled end of production, they were running behind schedule, and it was decided that dummy rounds used in the firearms would be made from real cartridges. On the third take of the evening, the cameras began to roll and Lee entered the scene in progress, he was shot at as scripted. Lee fell backwards against a door and collapsed. It was then discovered that he was bleeding from the abdomen and slipping into shock. An ambulance was called. At the hospital, five hours of surgery was unable to save the actor’s life. A fragment of a dummy bullet had apparently been lodged in the barrel of the gun, and the blank charge, when fired, propelled the fragment into Lee’s abdomen where it lodged near his spine.
Rodney Dangerfield. Actor, Comedian. Born Jacob Cohen, a native of Long Island, New York, he was fortunate to have two starts in the show business industry. His first was in the 1940s appearing in the “Borscht Belt” resorts in the Catskill Mountains of New York state where he wrote jokes, was a singing waiter and did a stand up act under the name of Jack Roy. He struggled until he decided to leave the business to earn a stable living as aluminum siding salesman and a house painter. He would later return in the 1960s at age 40 as Rodney Dangerfield, and his stand up act took off with various television appearances and comedy albums. The man who was famous for his signature phrase “I can’t get no respect,” he opened up the self-named comedy club “Dangerfield’s” in New York City, New York, where he helped the careers of notable comics such as Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Carrey, Roseanne Barr, Jeff Foxworthy, Tim Allen and Sam Kinison. His movie career was as varied as his comedy act, making his acting debut in the 1971 movie “The Projectionist.” He would later appear in such movies as “Caddyshack,” “Easy Money,” “Back to School,” “Ladybugs,” “Moving,” “The Scout,” and “Meet Wally Sparks.” He took a rare turn at dramatic acting in 1994 that drew positive reviews in “Natural Born Killers” as the abusive father. Over the years, he never lost a blunt and sarcastic appeal for his brand of humor. He was a regular when Johnny Carson hosted “The Tonight Show” and would appear frequently on ‘The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.’ One of his last appearances was in August 2004, just days before his hospitalization for heart valve replacement, on the television show, ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live.’
Bela Lugosi. Legendary stage and screen actor of the 1910s through 1950s. He is most widely identified with his title role in the movie “Dracula” (1931). Born Bela Ferenc Dezso Blasko in Lugos, Banat, Austria-Hungary (now Lugoj, Romania), he was the youngest of four children of a banker. Bela began his acting career on the stage in Hungary, playing in several Shakespearean plays (Hamlet, MacBeth, King Lear, and Richard III), and appeared in several silent movies of the Hungarian cinema under the stage name of Arisztid Olt. When World War I broke out, he became an infantry lieutenant in the Austro-Hungarian Army, being wounded three times. In 1917, he married Ilona Szmik, but she died without children three years later. In 1919, Bela moved to Germany and was well received in German cinema, appearing in “The Death Caravan” (1920) and other films. Following the death of his wife, in 1921 he emigrated to the US, and worked as a laborer before being spotted in the title role of the 1927 stage play “Dracula.” When Universal Pictures decided to film “Dracula” (1931), he had to campaign vigorously for the opportunity to get the same role. When the movie, “Dracula” (1931) became successful, Lugosi was given a studio contract with Universal; that same year, he became a US citizen. In 1929, he married a wealthy San Francisco widow named Beatrice Weeks, their marriage lasted only three days, and their divorce papers named actress Clara Bow as the cause of the breakup; the notoriety quickly brought him to Hollywood film attention. Due in part to his heavy accent and his success in Dracula, he was soon typecast in such B-horror films as “Murders in the Rue Morgue” (1932), “Chandu the Magician” (1932), “Mark of the Vampire” (1935), “The Raven” (1935), “The Invisible Ray” (1936), “Son of Frankenstein” (1939), “The Black Cat” (1941), “Night Monster” (1942), “Voodoo Man” (1944), and “Zombies on Broadway” (1945). He was often paired with Boris Karloff, an actor most famous as the Frankenstein monster, and despite their rivalry, they remained good friends. In the 1940s, he was reduced to making B-films, and after suffering a back injury, he became addicted to morphine. On the set, he would disguise his addiction by sipping burgundy wine. He ended up making movies for Ed Wood, considered by many as the worst director in Hollywood history, and he died while shooting the now-cult classic film “Plan 9 from Outer Space” (1959 – released after his death). He died of a drug related heart attack in his Los Angeles home, a copy of the script for “Final Curtain,” written by director Ed Wood, in his lap. He was buried wearing one of his many Dracula capes, per the request of his fifth wife, Hope Lininger, and his son, Bela Jr. At the time of his death, he was so poor that his family could not afford to bury him, and his friend Frank Sinatra quietly picked up the cost of the funeral. In 1997, he was honored on a 32 cent US postage stamp, part of a set of five stamps honoring “Famous Movie Monsters,” in his Dracula role.
Robert Stack. Actor. Born in Los Angeles, California to James Langford Stack and Elizabeth Modini Wood Stack. His parents divorced when he was one year old, and his mother took him to Europe when he was 3, he couldn’t speak English until he was 6. Robert spoke fluent Italian and French, but had to learn English when they returned to Los Angeles. His parents remarried in 1928. He was a National skeet champion at age 16 and a member of the all-American team. He took drama courses at the University of Southern California. When he visited the set of Universal Studios at age 20, producer Joe Pasternak offered him an opportunity to enter the business. Stack’s first film teamed him with popular starlet Deanna Durbin. He was the first actor to give Durbin an on screen kiss. During World War II, Stack served as gunnery instructor in the United States Navy. He continued his movie career and appeared in such films as “Fighter Squadron” (1948), “A Date With Judy” (1948) and “The Bullfighter And The Lady”(1951). In 1954, Stack was given his most important movie role. He appeared opposite John Wayne in “The High and the Mighty”. In 1957, he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for “Written on the Wind”. He starred in more than 40 films, His early television career included appearances on live programs like, “Lux Video Theatre”, “Ford Theatre”, and “Producers Showcase” during the early 1950s Robert married Rosemarie Bowe January 23, 1956, and they had 2 children, Elizabeth and Charlie. In 1959 he co-produced and starred as Eliot Ness in the ABC crime drama “The Untouchables” and won the Best Actor Emmy in 1960. He surprised everyone with his flair for comedies in movies like “1941” (1979) and “Airplane!”(1980). Later TV audiences would come to know him from his hosting duties on TV’s “Unsolved Mysteries” which debuted in 1988.
William Frawley. Actor. He is best known for his portrayal of Lucille Ball’s gruff landlord ‘Fred Mertz’ on the groundbreaking 1950s television situation comedy “I Love Lucy.” By the time he came to “I Love Lucy” he was a veteran of vaudeville, the theatre and over 100 Hollywood motion pictures. Born in Burlington, Iowa, in his youth he sang in the St. Paul’s Catholic Church choir, played at the Burlington Opera House, and also appeared in amateur shows at the Garrick Theater. His first “real” job was as a stenographer for the Union Pacific Railroad. But his true love was show business, which he pursued in a vaudeville act with his brother Paul, and later joined pianist Franz Rath in an act they took to San Francisco, “A Man, a Piano, and a Nut.” After four years, in 1914 he formed a light comedy act with his new wife Edna Louise Broedt, “Frawley and Louise,” touring the Orpheum and Keith vaudeville circuits until they divorced in 1927. Then he moved to Broadway and appeared in such shows as “Here’s Howe!” “Bye, Bye Bonnie,” “The Gingham Girl,” “Sons o’ Guns,” and “She’s My Baby” (with Bea Lillie, Clifton Webb, and Irene Dunne). His first dramatic role was that of press agent ‘Ward O’Malley’ in a 1932 production of “Twentieth Century” at the Broadhurst Theater. Then in 1932, it was off to Hollywood for a seven-year contract with Paramount. When Frawley approached Lucille Ball about a part in “I Love Lucy” in 1951, she was surprised to hear from a man she knew only barely from the forties. Lucy responded, “Bill Frawley, how are you?” and promised to discuss the matter with Desi Arnaz. Arnaz agreed that Frawley would be wonderful for the ‘Fred Mertz’ role, but shared the network’s concern over his reputation for instability and drinking problems. Arnaz immediately leveled with Frawley about CBS’s reservations. He denied it, but Desi warned him that if he was late to work, or unable to perform except because of legitimate illness more than once, he’d be written out of the show. So began the saga that continued until 1957 when “Lucy” went off of prime time after 179 episodes.
Dick York. Actor. His best known acting role was that of ‘Darrin Stephens’, the often-frustrated husband of a witch played by Elizabeth Montgomery, in the television sitcom series, “Bewitched.” Born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, he quickly found work in the entertainment industry. In 1943, at age 15, he became the star of the network radio program, “That Brewster Boy.” Beginning in movies in 1947, with the role of Philip Norton in the film “Shy Guy,” his roles were few and far between. To further develop his skills and to earn money, he played a number of small roles on early television shows, beginning with “Visit to a Small Planet” on the Goodyear Television Playhouse in May of 1955. Over the next several years, he continued playing small, supporting actor roles on such TV series as “Kraft Television Theater,” “The Philco Television Playhouse,” “Studio One,” “The United States Steel Hour,” and “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” all the while doing numerous other supporting actor roles in less than memorable films, waiting for the big breakthrough role which never came. In 1959, while acting in the role of Private Renziehausen in the cavalry film “They Came to Cordura,” he injured his back, which later aggravated into a painful degenerative spine injury. York was in the movie “Inherit the Wind” in 1960, which was based on the real-life court case of 1925, “Scopes Monkey Trial.” In the film two great lawyers argued the case for and against a science teacher, the role played by York, accused of the crime of teaching evolution in a Tennessee high school biology class room. In 1964 he won the supporting role of Darrin Stephens in the comic TV series “Bewitched,” where he played the all-too-human husband of a witch with supernatural powers, played by Elizabeth Montgomery. His back continued to hurt him, and he quit the role in 1969, being replaced by actor Dick Sargent. From 1983 to 1985, he regained his health enough to play a couple of small supporting roles in such TV series as “Simon and Simon” and “Fantasy Island.” He later founded Acting for Life, a private fund raising effort for the homeless.
Red West. Actor, Stuntman. He went from being a body guard and confidant for Elvis Presley to becoming a Hollywood stuntman and respectable actor. Born Robert Gene West, he was a well-rounded athlete during his youth and participated in high school football and later was a Golden Gloves boxer and karate instructor. He began his association with Elvis Presley as a driver and following service with the United States Marine Corps, West expanded on his friendship with Presley. He initiated his career in entertainment during the late 1950s with bit roles in film and television. West appeared in several of Presley’s pictures including “Kid Galahad” (1962), “Viva Las Vegas” (1965) and “Harum Scarum” (1965). He became a familiar presence to television audiences on the program “The Wild, Wild West” (1967 to 1969); usually cast as a villain sidekick. Additionally, he performed stunt work during the course of the show’s run. He formed a friendship with the series’ star Robert Conrad for which led to West being cast in the recurring part of ‘Sergeant Micklin’ in the show “Black Sheep Squadron” (1977 to 1978), of which Conrad was the star. West remained busy in both TV and films (among his films include “Road House”, 1989) into the 2010s.
Don Brockett. Actor. Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he is best known for his role as Chef Brockett on the children’s television series “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”. He also had parts in many major films including “Flashdance” (1983), “Day of the Dead” (1985), “Fletch Lives” (1989), “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991) and “Houseguest” (1995). He died of a heart attack at age 65.
Dennis Hopper. Actor, Motion Picture Director. Considered one of Hollywood’s most outspoken and versatile actors, he appeared in over 150 motion pictures during his lifetime, working as both an actor and film director in a career that spanned over five decades. Known in the motion picture industry for his anti-establishment reputation, he was nominated for two Academy Awards during his professional career. His first Oscar nomination came for his work in the 1969 motion picture “Easy Rider” which he wrote, co-starred and directed, and as a Best Supporting Actor nominee for his work in the 1987 basketball classic “Hoosiers” with Gene Hackman. He made his motion picture debut in the 1955 film “Rebel Without a Cause,” but it wasn’t until his performance as a drug-induced motorcycle hippie in “Easy Rider,” that launched him on path to international stardom. In 1979 he received critical acclaim for his screen performance as a maniacal Vietnam War photojournalist, working alongside Marlon Brando and Martin Sheen in the motion picture “Apocalypse Now.” He became a fan favorite for his villainous portrayals as the mad bomber in the 1994 motion picture “Speed,” and as the one-eyed leader of the “Smokers” in the post-apocalyptic film “Waterworld” (1995). His notable film credits include “Giant” (1956), “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” (1957), “Key Witness” (1960), “Cool Hand Luke” (1967), “Hang ‘Em High (1968), “True Grit” (1969), “Rumble Fish” (1983), “Blue Velvet” (1986), “Black Widow” (1987), “Blood Red” (1989), “Paris Trout” (1991), “The Blackout” (1997), “Lured Innocence” (1999), “The Spreading Ground” (2000), “The Piano Player” (2002), “Legacy” (2004) and “Alpha and Omega” in 2010. His notable television credits include: “Medic” “Cheyenne” “Studio One” “The Rifleman” “The Twilight Zone” “Wagon Train” “Petticoat Junction” “Bonanza” “Gunsmoke” “The Big Valley” “Saturday Night Live” “24” “Las Vegas” and “Crash.” In 1997 he was voted as one of Hollywood’s Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time by the British publication “Empire Magazine,” and was the recipient of several lifetime achievement awards. During the final years of his life he appeared frequently on television as a commercial spokesman for Ameriprise Financial Services. Diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2002, he suffered a recurrence of the disease in October 2009, which ultimately resulted in his death. He made his final public appearance on Friday March 26, 2010 in Los Angeles, California, accepting a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.
Famous Actresses Graves
Marilyn Monroe. Actress, Film Legend and Icon. Best remembered for playing comic “blonde bombshell” characters, she became one of the most popular sex symbols of the 1950s and was emblematic of the era’s attitudes towards sexuality. Although she was a top-billed actress for only a decade, her films grossed $200 million by the time of her unexpected death in 1962. More than half a century later, she continues to be a major popular culture icon. Her paternity remains an issue of debate to this day.
Florence Henderson. Actress. Born Florence Agnes Henderson, she was best known to television viewers as Carol Brady, the matriarch on the ABC television sitcom “The Brady Bunch” from 1969 to 1974. She grew up in rural Kentucky and received her high school education at St. Frances Academy in Owensboro, Kentucky. She later moved to New York City and studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She made her stage debut in 1952 in the musical comedy “Wish You Were Here” and that same year, was cast in the lead role of Laurey in the national tour of “Oklahoma!”. Her other stage credits included the title role in “Fanny” from 1954 to 1956, Maria in the national tour of “The Sound of Music” in 1961, Anna in the “The King and I” in 1965, and Nellie Forbush in “South Pacific” in 1967. Her popularity on the stage led her to numerous appearances on TV variety shows as well as game and talk shows. She was the first female guest host on “The Tonight Show” in 1962. Her actual television debut came in 1955 on the television series “I Spy” (not the 1960s series with Bill Cosby and Robert Culp). Besides “The Brady Bunch” and its several spin-offs, television movies, and reunion specials, her other television credits included “The United States Steel Hour”, “Medical Center”, “The Love Boat”, “Hart to Hart”, “Fantasy Island”, “The Love Boat”, “Murder, She Wrote”, “Dave’s World”, and “30 Rock”. She also hosted the television cooking shows “Country Kitchen” from 1985 to 1993 and “Florence Henderson’s Short-Cut Cooking” from 1998 to 1999. She also appeared in several films during her career. She was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1996. She passed away of heart failure.
Debbie Reynolds. Actress. Perky and multitalented, she experienced success on stage, in films and on television. She will perhaps be remembered for playing ‘Kathy Selden’ opposite Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor in the classic musical “Singin’ in the Rain” (1952). Born Mary Francis Reynolds, her father worked as a railroad carpenter for Southern Pacific, her mother washed laundry to provide additional income. She moved with her family to Southern California during her mid teens. After winning the ‘Miss Burbank’ beauty contest, she was spotted by Hollywood talent scouts. This led to her motion picture debut in the Warner Brothers film “June Bride” (1948) which was followed with the a string of musicals including “The Daughter of Rosie O’Grady” (1950) and “Three Little Words” (1950). Further films include “The Affairs of Doby Gillis” (1953), “The Tender Trap” (1955, opposite Frank Sinatra), “Tammy and the Bachelor” (1957), “It Started with a Kiss” (1959) and “The Rat Race” (1960, opposite Tony Curtis). In 1955 (divorced in 1959), she married singer Eddie Fisher and their marriage produced their children, actress Carrie Fisher and TV director Todd Fisher. She received an Academy Award nomination for her portrayal of the title role in the film “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” (1964) and had additional memorable credits with “The Singing Nun” (1966), “Divorce, American Style” (1967) and “How Sweet It Is” (1968). Her own TV series “The Debbie Reynolds Show” ran for one season (1969 to 1970). In 1973, she made her Broadway debut in the production “Irene” for which she received a Tony Award nomination. The play was also of note for costarring her daughter Carrie. She will also be remembered for providing the voice of ‘Charlotte’ in the animated children’s film “Charlotte’s Web” (1973). During the course of her career, she earned five Golden Globe nominations and one Emmy Award nomination. In 1997 she received a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame and in 2016, she was honored with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. After divorcing Eddie Fisher, she married two more time, however both marriages also ended in divorce. In 1985, she recorded two exercise videotapes and in 1988, she published her autobiography “Debbie: My Life”. Her relationship with her daughter Carrie Fisher was often stormy and was the basis for Fisher’s novel “Postcards from the Edge” (1987). A film adaptation of the same title for which starred Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine was made in 1990. Debbie Reynolds died from a stroke she suffered one day after the death of her daughter Carrie Fisher.
Carrie Fisher. Actress, Author. The daughter of actress Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher, she will be remembered for playing ‘Princess Leia’ in the “Star Wars” film franchise. She followed her parents into the entertainment industry and made her professional debut in the TV-Movie “Debbie Reynolds and the Sound of Children” (1969). In 1973, she co-starred opposite her mother on the Tony Award garnered play “Irene”. After this experience, she studied at London’s Central School of Speech and Drama. This was followed with her motion picture debut in “Shampoo” (1975). In 2008, She received an Emmy Award nomination for an episode from the series “30 Rock”. Her 1987 novel “Postcards from the Edge” was made into a 1990 motion picture adaptation which starred Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine. Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, she went on to become an advocate for mental health issues. Additionally, she battled drug addiction during part of her career. She was briefly married to singer Paul Simon from 1983 until 1984. Her daughter Billie Lourd went on to become a successful actress in her own right. Fisher suffered a serious heart attack onboard a flight from London to Los Angeles and died four days later. Her book “The Princess Diarist” was released just prior to her death.
Judy Garland. Actress. She began performing at the age of two and a half, and from 1924 to 1935 she and her older sisters performed as a singing trio that toured all over the country. In 1935, the group split up due to marriage by the oldest sister in the group. This was not exactly unwelcome news, since reviews of the trio always singled out the youngest, Judy, with lofty praise. She was billed as “the little girl with the big voice,” and soon drew the attention of casting agents. In September of 1935, she signed with MGM, and went on to be their biggest female star. Her time at MGM produced the studio’s greatest musicals, such as “The Wizard of Oz,” “Meet Me In St. Louis,” and “Easter Parade.” She also appeared with Mickey Rooney in a dozen films. She was the first celebrity to offer her services as an entertainer in World War two, and was the first female to be named an Honorary Corporal for her war efforts. Between 1937 and 1950 her films grossed over one hundred million dollars. In 1950, Garland asked to be released from her film contract, and the release was granted. She was the first film performer in history to cross over from film to live performances. She would go on to make some critically acclaimed films (such as the 1954 remake of “A Star Is Born”), but her first love remained the live concert stage, despite making over 30 films in her lifetime. From 1963-64 she hosted her own weekly television series. From 1964-69 she became primarily a live performer, peppering her live concerts with television appearances. In the last two years of her life she completed 120 concerts. In the early morning of June 22, 1969, she died as a result of an accidental overdose of a prescription sleeping aid. Over 22,000 people filed past her open, glass-covered casket during a 24 hour wake. Judy Garland was nominated for two Academy Awards, and won a special Academy Award for her performance in “The Wizard of Oz.” She won five Grammy awards, a Tony award, and was nominated for ten Emmy awards. Of her audiences, Judy said, “I just want them to know that I have been in love with them for all my life, and I tried to please. I hope I did.” In January of 2017, her family had her body moved from Ferncliff to Hollywood Forever cemetery in California.
Bettie Page. Model, American Folk Figure. Called variously the “Queen of Pinups”, the “Queen of Curves”, and the “Dark Angel”, she was the subject of thousands of photographs during and shortly after the Korean War years years. Raised in Nashville, Tennessee, in a large and ultimately broken family in which she was molested by her father while her mother worked at two jobs, she was nevertheless a good student, graduating as salutatorian of her high school class in 1940. In 1943 she married for the first of several times and in 1944 graduated from George Peabody College. Bettie drifted for a time, working odd jobs in San Francisco, Miami, Haiti, and finally New York. Spotted on Coney Island in 1950 by photographer (and New York City Policeman) Jerry Tibbs, she posed for her first professional photos. Cass Carr took a large number of images which quickly became popular in such publications as “Wink”, “Titter”, and “Eyefull”; between 1952 and 1957 Bettie was the subject of later controversial bondage and sadomasochism themed photographs and short films (with such titles as “Leopard Bikini Bound”) produced and sold via mail order by Irving Klaw. In 1953 acting lessons led to some film, television, and stage work, with “Striporama” providing the only movie preservation of her voice. During a 1954 Miami vacation Bettie met model and photographer Bunny Yeager setting the stage for her best remembered work; posing with and without leopard skins (she always made her own costumes and did her own hair and make up) at Florida’s now defunct Africa USA theme park, she gained a large audience. Wearing a Santa hat and nothing else she was “Playboy” magazine’s Miss January 1955; she continued to model up thru 1957, and while she often posed nude the images were never sexually explicit. During the late 1950s she gave behind the scenes help to the F.B.I. and to Estes Kefauver’s Senate Committee investigating the mail order pornography industry, though she was never made to testify in public. Bettie dropped from view in 1957, moving to Florida where she became a born-again Christian on New Year’s Eve 1958; she attended three different Bible colleges and worked for several Christian organizations including that of Dr. Billy Graham. Her personal life remained troubled, with hospitalizations for psychiatric problems and more failed marriages, including a second try with her first husband Billy Neal. Gradually in the early 1980s collections of her photos appeared, a popular comic book character was built around her, and a fan magazine called “The Betty Pages” gained good circulation. By the early 1990s Bettie was broke and living in a shelter, for a time completely unaware that others were making money off of her. After one agent failed to assist her she hired the Curtis Management Group and finally began collecting some royalties. An “official” 1996 biography entitled “Bettie Page: The Life of a Pin-up Legend” told her story, then Richard Foster’s 1997 “The Real Bettie Page: The Truth About the Queen of Pinups” told the darker side of it; Bettie gave a few interviews and appeared at occasional autograph sessions, though she repeatedly declined to be photographed. In 2005 she was portrayed by Gretchen Mol in “The Notorious Bettie Page”; multiple DVDs have been released of her films including those done for Klaw and her image continues to be marketed worldwide. At her death from heart disease litigation over the rights to her legacy was ongoing. In a 1998 “Playboy” interview she said of her time before the camera: “I never thought it was shameful. I felt normal. It’s just that it was much better than pounding a typewriter eight hours a day, which gets monotonous”.
Lucille Ball. Comedienne, Actress. She is best known for the title role in the hit television sitcom of the 1950’s “I Love Lucy.” She was born Lucille Desiree Ball on August 6, 1911 in Jamestown, New York. Intent on becoming an actress, she left high school at age 15, and tried unsuccessfully to get into drama school in New York City. Undaunted, Ball took a job as a waitress while trying for jobs in modeling and in chorus lines of Broadway shows. Moderately successful in these pursuits, she was chosen to be the poster model for Chesterfield Cigarettes in 1933, which got her national exposure for the first time, and caught the attention of Hollywood. She started at the bottom, with bit parts in low budget films, but her initial success would lead to bigger and better parts. Ball would appear in over 60 films by the late 1940s. After performing in the musical “Too Many Girls,” in 1940 with popular Cuban band leader, Desi Arnaz, Ball fell in love with her co-star, and married him later that year. Their performing schedules clashed frequently, and the newlyweds often found themselves on opposite sides of the country at the end of the week. This was a problem because of the time needed for long distance travel in the days before jet airliners. The young couple decided that the best chance for their marriage to work was if they worked together. Offered her own TV series in 1950, Ball refused unless Arnaz could co-star. Television was a godsend for the couple. They formed their own production company called “Desilu.” Arnaz discovered he had a natural executive ability, and was soon calling all the shots for the project that would become “I Love Lucy.” From 1951 through 1957, it was the most popular show on television, and Ball was at last firmly established as a megastar. Working on camera through her second pregnancy, ‘Lucy’ was the first obviously pregnant woman to appear on network television. When the much-publicized birth of her son, Desi Arnaz Jr., occurred on the show in January 1953, the story received more press coverage than President Eisenhower’s inauguration. “I Love Lucy” won more than 200 awards, 5 Emmys and the respect and adoration of the country. After 179 episodes of the “I Love Lucy,” Ball and Arnaz decided to call it quits for the sake of their marriage. They soon began taping another show, named “The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour,” which didn’t need the time and attention of their previous works. Arnaz was able to spend more at home, working with “Desilu.” By the end of the 1950s, Desilu became a powerful, respected corporation, producing such hit TV shows as “Star Trek” and “Mission Impossible.” After 20 years of marriage, Ball and Arnaz divorced in 1960. While Arnaz turned to alcohol and was rarely seen in public again, Ball took out a loan for $3 million and bought her ex-husband’s half of Desilu. Desilu was then the world’s largest television production facility, so Lucy’s take-over made her the first woman in Hollywood history to hold such a powerful position. In 1962, encouraged by fans, Ball reprised her role as ‘Lucy’ in a new TV series, as she starred in “The Lucy Show.” It would run successfully for 6 years, and feature her former “I Love Lucy” co-star, Vivian Vance. When “The Lucy Show” went off the air, Ball wasted no time in reformatting the show and starring in yet another series based on the same character. “Here’s Lucy,” was instantly picked up by the networks and ran on prime time through 1974. It was during this same period that Ball won rave reviews for her appearance on Broadway in, “Wildcat.” On the heels of that success, Ball teamed with Bob Hope for two feature films and co-starred with Henry Fonda in the critically acclaimed, “Yours, Mine and Ours.” Though she played a scatterbrained redhead, Ball was nothing of the kind in real life. Desilu Productions continued to grow and prosper under her leadership, ultimately acquiring RKO Studios, where both Ball and Arnaz had formerly worked as contract players. In 1967, she sold Desilu Productions to Gulf & Western for $17 million, netting some $10 million cash out of the deal. Ball remarried in 1968, taking Gary Morton as her second husband. Morton, a former comedian, worked with Ball to help create “Lucille Ball Productions.” In the late 70s and early 80s, Ball made only sporadic appearances on TV, usually as the guest star. In 1985, she portrayed a New York homeless woman in the TV film, “Stone Pillow.” Her last attempt at a new comedy series, “Life with Lucy,” was a failure. Lucille Ball spent much of the rest of her life out of the spotlight. Her last public appearance was at the 1989 Academy Awards. One week after undergoing open heart surgery, on April 26, 1989, Lucille Ball suffered a ruptured aorta and died. She was 77 years old. Ball is survived by two children. Desi Arnaz died of cancer in 1986.
Farrah Fawcett. Actress. Born Mary Farrah Leni Fawcett, she is best known for her role as Jill Munroe from the television series “Charlie’s Angels.” She appeared on the series from 1976 to 1980. She left the show at the conclusion of the first season in 1976, but returned to the series in guest role appearances over the next three seasons as part of a contractual settlement, avoiding a potential breach of contract lawsuit. Fawcett became one of the premier sex symbols of the 1970s and 1980s, appearing on the magazine covers of “Playboy,” “Harpers Bazaar,” “People,” “Time,” “Cosmopolitan,” “Vanity Fair,” “Vogue” and “TV Guide” among others. In 1976 she posed in a red swimsuit poster, selling over 12 million copies worldwide. Fawcett was the former wife of actor Lee Majors and live-in girlfriend of actor Ryan O’Neal. She began her career appearing in television commercials for Ultra-Brite toothpaste, Noxema shaving cream and Wella Balsam shampoo before moving on to television and motion pictures. Her motion picture credits include: “Myra Breckinridge” (1970), “Logan’s Run” (1976), “Somebody Killed Her Husband” (1978), “Sunburn” (1979), “Saturn 3” (1980), “The Cannonball Run” (1981), “Extremities” (1986), “See You in the Morning” (1989), “Man of the House” (1995), “The Apostle” (1997), “The Lovemaster” (1997), “Dr T and the Women” (2000) and the “Cookout” in 2004. Her television credits include: “Mayberry R.F.D.,” “I Dream of Jeannie,” “The Flying Nun,” “The Partridge Family,” “McCloud,” “Marcus Welby M.D.,” “The Six Million Dollar Man,” “Ally McBeal,” “Spin City” and the “Guardian.” In 2004 she was the recipient of two TV Land Awards for her work in Charlie’s Angels, and in 1977 she earned a People’s Choice Award as Favorite Female Performer in a New TV Program. She also drew critical acclaim for her work in the television motion picture “The Burning Bed” in 1984, and was also nominated for her work in “Small Sacrifices” (1989), “The Guardian” (2001), “Poor Little Rich Girl: The Barbara Hutton Story” (1987) and “Nazi Hunter: The Beate Klarsfelt Story” in 1986. In 1995 she was awarded a star on Hollywood’s prestigious Walk of Fame, and in 2003 she was inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame. Diagnosed with cancer in September 2006, she waged a long battle with the disease before eventually succumbing to it at the age of 62.
Elizabeth Taylor. Actress. Considered by many to be one of the most glamorous stars to emerge during Hollywood’s fabled “Golden Age”, she was a two-time recipient of the Academy Award for “Butterfield 8” (1960) and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” (1966). Born to American parents in London, England, she studied ballet at the age of three and moved with her family to Los Angeles, California prior to the beginning of World War II. Already possessing radiant beauty by her pre-teen years, she caught the attention of a talent scout which led to her film debut in the picture “There’s One Born Every Minute” (1942). After being put under a long-term contract with MGM, she had a string of juvenile roles, endearing herself to audiences in the pictures “Lassie Come Home” (1943), “Jane Eyre” (1943) and “National Velvet” (1944). At age 18 she married Nick Hilton (son of hotel magnate Conrad Hilton), but their union only lasted a few months. During this period she co-starred in the picture “Father of the Bride”, followed by its sequel “Father’s Little Dividend” (1951). More mature roles were to come with “A Place in the Sun” (1951), “Giant” (1956), “Raintree County” (for which she received an Academy Award nomination) and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” (1958, earning an Oscar Nomination), as she shared the screen opposite the top leading men in the industry including Montgomery Clift, Rock Hudson and Paul Newman, and later Marlon Brando (“Reflections in a Golden Eye”, 1967). Her second marriage to actor Michael Wilding was followed by her third to filmmaker Michael Todd (during which she converted to Judaism), and following his death in a plane crash (which left her devastated), she was consoled by Eddie Fisher, whom become her fourth husband. Taylor would endure criticism, as she was partly blamed for the ending of Fisher’s marriage to actress Debbie Reynolds. She and Fisher appeared together in”Butterfield 8″. During filming of the epic “Cleopatra” (1963) – for which she became the first actress to be paid $1 million for a single movie – she began a highly-publicized off-screen romance with co-star Richard Burton. Her eventual divorce from Fisher led to her marriage to Burton in 1964, and their paring in the films “The Sandpiper” (1965), “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” (1966), “The Taming of the Shrew” (1967) and “The Comedians” (1967). By the 1970s her film career was waning and her marriage to Burton was falling apart; they divorced, remarried, then divorced again. In 1978 Taylor married John Warner (who later became US Senator from Virginia) and they divorced in 1982. During the 1980s she saw a resurgence in her career, as she received a Tony Award nomination for the play “The Little Foxes” (1981) and appeared in several TV programs including “General Hospital”, “Hotel” and the mini-series “North and South” (1985). Following the death of her former co-star Rock Hudson in 1985, Taylor became heavily involved in AIDS research and raised many millions of dollars for the cause. During her adulthood, Taylor suffered from health issues including a near-fatal bout with pneumonia. She had battled alcohol abuse and met her eighth and final husband Larry Fortensky in a treatment facility. They married at Taylor’s close friend Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch in 1991, but their marriage too ended in divorce. During her career, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was honored by the Kennedy Center in 2004. Taylor was made a Dame of the British Empire in 2000. She died from congestive heart failure.
Alice Brady. Actress. Born Mary Rose Brady in New York City, New York, she began her career in the theatre in 1911, at age 18. In 1914, she made her motion picture debut in the silent picture “As Ye Sow”. She appeared in 53 films in the next 10 years, all while continuing to perform on stage, the film industry at the time being centered in New York City. When the silent era ended, she made the move to Hollywood appearing in MGM’s “When Ladies Meet” (1933) and made another 25 films in seven years. She was nominated for an Academy Award for “My Man Godfrey” (1936) and won the Academy award for Best Supporting Actress for “In Old Chicago” (1937). From then on she worked frequently until her death, her final film was “Young Mr. Lincoln” (1939).
Margaux Louise Hemingway. Movie Actress and Model. She was featured in 16 films, from 1976 to 1996, most of the films were minor. Born in Portland, Oregon, she grew up on a farm in Ketchum, Idaho. Her father, Jack Hemingway, was the son of Nobel prize author Ernest Hemingway. By 1975, when she was 21, she had a budding film career, a million dollar contract with Faberge perfume, and her face was on numerous magazines around the world. She was married twice, to Erroll Wetson (1977 to 1978) and to Bernard Foucher (1979 to 1982), with both marriages ending in divorce. By 1986, she was having financial problems and trouble finding work, and she turned to alcohol to ease her problems. In 1988, she checked herself into the Betty Ford Center for rehabilitation from an alcohol problem. She supported herself later in life by autographing her photos from Playboy Magazine, and working on a psychic telephone hotline. By 1995, she lived alone, with no children, no husband or boyfriend, and few friends. She was last seen alive on June 29. She was found by police on her bed, with her legs propped up on a pillow, and a book in her lap. She left no note
Mary Tyler Moore. Actress. She was an actress best known for her roles on both the 1960s sitcom “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and the 1970s sitcom “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”. Originally a dancer, she got her start in television as a dancing elf “Happy Hotpoint” in Hotpoint Appliance commercials during the popular show “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” in 1952. She would go to perform in various television shows such as “Richard Diamond, Private Detective”, “Bourbon Street Beat”, “77 Sunset Strip”, “Riverboat”, “Bachelor Father”, and “Hawaiian Eye”. In 1961 she got the first television role that would make her well known to viewers and that was of Laura Petrie on “The Dick Van Dyke Show”. She would go on to play this role from 1961 to 1966, which also won her a Golden Globe in 1965 for Best Female TV Star and two Emmy Awards. After “The Dick Van Dyke Show” went off the air, she continued in acting until receiving her second big role, that of Mary Richards on”The Mary Tyler Moore Show” in 1970. She played this role, which won her three Emmys, from 1970 to 1977. After the show ended, she went on to act in various films and television series for the remainder of her career with such credits as “Ordinary People” (1980), “Mary”, “Annie McGuire”, “New York News”, “The Naked Truth”, “Flirting with Disaster” (1996), “That 70s Show”, and “Hot in Cleveland”. She also appeared in various theatrical productions through the years. She received numerous other honors and awards throughout her long career in acting. She, along with then husband Grant Tinker (they divorced in 1981), had a production company MTM Enterprises that produced a variety of television sitcoms and dramas during the 1970s and early 1980s. She also did charity work for both animal rights and diabetes causes through the years.
Eva Gabor. Actress. She is best remembered for her role of ‘Lisa Douglas’ in the comic television series, “Green Acres”, in which she plays a city socialite forced to become a rural farmer’s wife when her husband, played by Eddie Albert, decides to abandon his career as a lawyer to return to his roots. Born in Budapest, Hungary, the youngest of three daughters to Vilmos and Jolie Gabor, she was considered the best actress compared to her other two sisters, Magda and Sari (Zsa Zsa). She began her career as an ice skater in Hungary, and immigrated to the United States just before World War II broke out. She married Dr. Erik Drimmer, who became the personal physician to actress Greta Garbo, and from that exposure, she decided to become an actress. Her first few films, including “Forced Landing” (1941), and “Pacific Blackout” (1942), did nothing to help her career, and for most of the decade, her appearances were minor. In 1950, she landed a starring role in the Broadway play “The Happy Time” and her quality acting got her noticed in Hollywood. Unfortunately, her sister, Zsa Zsa Gabor, arrived in Hollywood about the same time, and they were pitted against each other for many roles, although Eva managed to have hit movies in “The Last Time I saw Paris” (1954), and “Gigi” (1958). Her autobiography, “Orchids and Salami”, was published in 1954. In the 1960s, she returned to Broadway, taking on comic roles in such plays as “New Kind of Love” and in the mid 1960s to early 1970s, she landed her famous role of ‘Lisa Douglas’ in the hit television comedy, “Green Acres,” a role that gained her lasting fame. In 1990, she made a two hour television movie, “Return to Green Acres,” proving that she had not lost her comic timing. Like her sister, Zsa Zsa, she had a string of five husbands. She died in Los Angeles, California, from respiratory failure due to complications of food poisoning. She was once quoted as saying, “All any girl needs, at any time in history, is simple velvet and basic diamonds.”
Loretta King. Actress. Her best known role was as investigative newspaper reporter ‘Janet Lawton’ in maverick motion picture director Ed Wood’s 1955 film “Bride of the Monster,” with Bela Lugosi. She appeared in several episodes of Hallmark Television Playhouse the same year, but then quickly retired from film work. After her 1970 marriage to Herman Hadler, Loretta re-emerged briefly as an actress, appearing in two films under the name Loretta Hadler. Loretta King was portrayed by actress Juliet Landau in the 1994 Tim Burton bio-pic, “Ed Wood.” Interviewed in the 1996 documentary, “The Haunted World of Edward D. Wood Jr,” Loretta disputed many of the anecdotes that other people had told of her Ed Wood period. She denied that she was ever allergic to water, or that she received her “Bride of the Monster” role in exchange for financing the film. Both of these allegations had been dramatized in 1994’s “Ed Wood.”
Brittany Murphy. Actress. She landed her first job in Hollywood when she was 14, starring as Brenda Drexell in the series Drexell’s Class. She then went on to play Molly Morgan in the short-lived The Torkelsons spinoff Almost Home. Murphy has also guest starred on several television series including Parker Lewis Can’t Lose, Blossom, and Frasier. She also had recurring roles on Sister, Sister, Party of Five, and Boy Meets World. In 1997, she began voicing the character of Luanne Platter (as well as the younger version of Joseph Gribble) on the long-running animated series King of the Hill. She went on to star in many successful films, including Clueless (1995), Girl, Interrupted (1999), Don’t Say a Word (2001), the TV adaption of the novel The Devil’s Arithmetic (2001), 8 Mile (2002) and Uptown Girls (2003) as well as many lesser-known films, such as Spun (2003). In 2004, she starred in the romantic comedy Little Black Book, and the critically acclaimed Sin City (2005). In 2009, she was cast in the Lifetime TV movie, Tribute, as the main character, Cilla.
Bobbi Kristina Brown. Singer and Reality Television Star. The only child of entertainers Bobby Brown and the late Whitney Houston, she was thrust into the spotlight at an early age when she appeared with her parents, who had a tumultuous 14-year marriage, tarnished by rumors of infidelity, drug use, and domestic violence, on the widely criticized 2005 reality show ‘Being Bobby Brown’. Brown performed with her mother in several live duets on such songs as “My Love is Your Love” and “Little Drummer Boy” and had appeared in the television series ‘The Houstons: On Our Own’ and ‘Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse’. Upon her mother’s death in 2012, from what was later ruled an accidental drowning in a hotel bathtub, she was named the sole beneficiary of her mother’s entire estate. On January 31, 2015, Brown was found face down in a bathtub in her Georgia home. Doctors later placed her in a medically induced coma after determining her brain function had significantly diminished. On February 2, she was moved to Emory University Hospital, where she remained in a coma and on a ventilator. In June of 2015, she was moved to Peachtree Christian Hospice Care where she ultimately died from her injuries.
Gene Tierney. Actress. Brooklyn born Gene Eliza Tierney would survive several major tragedies in her life during a reign of stardom as a glamorous and talented Hollywood actress. Her role in the film version of the best-selling book “Leave Her to Heaven” earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. However, her most defining performance that made her a major star was in the Otto Preminger murder mystery movie “Laura.” She had much success throughout the 1940’s and 1950’s…”The Razor’s Edge” “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” and “The Left Hand of God.” Her final career performance was in the TV miniseries “Scruples in 1980.
Natalie Wood. Actress. Most remembered for her role of Susan Walker in “Miracle on 34th Street” (1947), a Christmas classic movie. She appeared in over 56 movies for the silver screen and television, and was nominated three times for an Oscar (she never won). She was born Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko, of Russian emigrants in San Francisco, California. Natalie won a bit part at age 4 in a movie, “Happy Land” (1943), then being shot in her Santa Rosa neighborhood. The family then moved to Los Angeles, hoping to land more film roles for her, but her second role did not come until 1946, when she appeared in “Tomorrow is Forever.” In 1947, she won the role of Susan Walker in “Miracle on 34th Street,” and began a successful career as a child star, appearing in 18 films. In 1955, she played in “Rebel Without a Cause”, the famous James Dean movie, and won an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actress. She played opposite John Wayne in “The Searchers” (1956) and in “Kings Go Forth” (1958). Roles continued to come to her. She appeared in “Splendor in the Grass” (1961), West Side Story (1961), as Gypsy Rose Lee in “Gypsy” (1962), and in “Love with a Proper Stranger” (1963), for which she earned her third academy award nomination. She had earned a second nomination for an academy award as best actress for “Splendor in the Grass.” In 1966, the Harvard Lampoon voted her the year’s worst actress, and she made Harvard history by appearing at the celebration to accept the award (she was the first person ever to appear in person to accept their award). After filming “This Property is Condemned” (1966), she stayed away from films for 3 years, returning to play the role of Carol Sanders in “Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice” (1969). After that, she made a few appearances on television, but spent most of her time with her family. Her only major role until 1980 was in the television mini-series “From Here to Eternity.” In 1981, she began work on “Brainstorm” (released in 1983), but she did not live to see it finished. While sailing on her yacht off Santa Catalina Island with her husband, Robert Wagner, and their friend, Christopher Walken, she disappeared one night, supposedly while trying to get into a dinghy. Her body was found just off shore the next morning, and the circumstances of her death have never been fully determined. The cause of death was determined as drowning. In a book written by her actress sister, Lana Wood, Natalie was portrayed as insecure and unhappy in life. She was married three times, first to Robert Wagner (28 Dec 1957 to 27 April 1962, divorced), then to Richard Gregson (30 May 1969 to 1 August 1971) with whom she had a daughter, Natasha. After discovering Gregson was having an affair, she divorced him and soon remarried her first husband, Robert Wagner, again on 16 July 1972. They had a daughter, Courtney Brooke Wagner, in 1974.
Barbara Bates. Movie and TV actress of the 1940s and 50s. After winning a local beauty contest, she won a trip to Hollywood where she met Cecil Coen, a publicist for UA whom would later be her first husband. Her second husband was William Reed. After some bit parts and a cover of Yank magazine in 1945, she won some parts in “A” list films, including “The Inspector General,” costarring Danny Kaye, with whom she reportedly had a brief affair. Her most memorable role was the shortest in 1950. In “All About Eve,” she played the scheming Phoebe, a wannabe actress and self proclaimed protege of Eve Harrington, played by Anne Baxter. In Eve’s bedroom, she dons her bejeweled gown, picks up a stage acting award Eve had just won, and in the very last scene of the movie, bows into a three way mirror. The image is breathtaking and critics and audiences were intrigued by the young actress. Sadly, she suffered from depression and insecurity, and as a result lost some valuable later roles. By 1958, she was out of show biz and moved back to Denver. After her husband Coen died in 1967, she became suicidal. She was found dead in her garage in 1969 from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Famous Directors / Producers / TV Host Graves
Fred Rogers. Educator, Television Show Host. He hosted the educational children’s program “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” from 1968 to 2000. His show was watched by millions of children over the years, and was repeatedly hailed by parents and critics for his simple, positive, educational messages. Born Fred McFeely Rogers in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, he was a graduate of Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. He attended the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, and was ordained into the Presbyterian Church in 1963. He began his work in children’s television programs in 1953, with “The Children’s Corner” for WQED TV in Pittsburgh, where he was the show’s producer, as well as its puppeteer and musician. Continuing his work, in 1968, he began “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood” to help children learn how to cope with such issues as anger, fear, jealousy, and other emotions. Each show would include adults, children, and puppets, each interacting with each other to convey the universal theme of accepting and loving each other as individuals. Fred Rogers often composed his own songs for the show, including his trade mark song “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood”. He was also noted for beginning each show by going into his living room, putting on sneakers and a cardigan sweater. One of his cardigan sweaters now hangs in the Smithsonian Institution. In 1999, he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame. In addition, he has received two George Foster Peabody Awards, several Emmys, and over 35 honorary degrees. In July 2002, President Bush presented him with the Medal of Freedom, the highest possible award for a civilian. Shortly after being diagnosed with incurable stomach cancer, he made his last appearance as the Grand Marshal at the 2003 Tournament of Roses parade. He passed away quietly in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in February 2003.
Hal Roach. Motion Picture Director, Producer. He is best remembered for producing the “Laurel and Hardy” and “Our Gang” (later known as “The Little Rascals”) film comedy series, in the 1920s and 1930s.
Howard Hughes. Academy Award-winning producer and director, aviator and businessman. Howard Hughes was born in Houston on December 24, 1905 to wealthy parents. His father had invented a revolutionary new oil drilling bit that was able to cut cleaner through rock; as a result, he made a fortune during the exploding Texas oil boom years. Howard was brought up into the business, studied at Rice University, and when his father passed away in 1924, he inherited the Hughes Tool Company at the age of 19. Using his great wealth, he was able to chase his two dreams: aviation and motion pictures. Breaking into Hollywood in 1927, Hughes was initially sneered at as just another rich kid until his first two films Everybody’s Acting and Two Arabian Knights were runaway hits – with Hughes winning an Academy Award for Best Director of a Comedy Picture for Knights. The Racket  and The Front Page  followed, both earning Oscar nominations, culminating in 1932’s classic films Hell’s Angels and Scarface. He was a notorious ladies man, having public affairs with Katherine Hepburn, Gene Tierney, Bette Davis and Ava Gardner. Hughes then started to turn his primary interest to aviation, his last important film being 1942’s The Outlaw. He started Hughes Aircraft, where he spent all his time designing, building and test piloting innovative airplanes that broke world records in speed. His H-1 Racer was the first to have retractable landing gear; he broke his own transcontinental flight records repeatedly; he broke the world record for flying around the globe; for his achievements in aviation, he won a Congressional Gold Medal in 1939. In 1946, Hughes was involved in a disastrous experimental aircraft accident that caused him massive injuries; it is believed that the painkillers, among them morphine and opiates, are what began his slow descent into addiction. He continued work on what he considered his masterpiece, the Hughes H-4 Hercules (which the press renamed as the Spruce Goose), which would become the largest aircraft to ever fly, although it was years behind schedule and only flew once in November 1947. In 1948, Hughes purchased a 25% share of RKO, but Hughes was by this time exhibiting his growing need for total control over everything, and production was slow. He finally gained control over the studio in 1954 only to sell it in 1955; but he retained all rights to the films he had personally produced. He married actress Jean Peters in 1957 but his compulsive disorders had grown so severe that he had become reclusive to the point of speaking even to his wife mostly over the phone. His seclusion over the next few years was so pronounced that he often had to make calls to newspapers to prove that he wasn’t dead. He continued his slide into madness, becoming addicted to valium and heroin. He bought TV stations just so he would have something to watch during his bouts of insomnia. During the last years of his life, he moved from one hotel to another, from Beverly Hills to the Bahamas. He bought the Desert Inn in Las Vegas just so he would always have a place to stay, then started buying up other casinos, which ended the Mafia’s hold on the city. He set up his organization on the Desert Inn’s eighth floor and began work restructuring Las Vegas into something more accessible and less seedy.
Billy Mays. Television Pitchman. He was notable for the products he advertised such as OxiClean, Orange Glo, and Mighty Putty. He recently starred in the Discovery Channel show “Pitchmen” with Anthony Sullivan. He began his selling career in 1977 on the Atlantic City boardwalk. The first item he sold was the Washmatik portable washing device. Later he traveled to home shows, auto shows, and state fairs selling various maintenance products, tools, cleaning products, and food choppers. He hit it big in 1993 when he struck up a friendship with rival salesman Max Appel who was the founder of Orange Glo International. It was after that he was hired by the company to promote their line of cleaning products such as OxiClean on the Home Shopping Network. He was CEO of Mays Promotions Inc.
Ed Sullivan. Legendary television variety show host. Born on East 114th Street in a Jewish and Irish section of Harlem, New York, he had a twin brother, Daniel, who died as a child. It was after the death of Daniel and a sister, Elizabeth, that his father, Peter, decided to move the family to Port Chester, New York. He attended St. Mary’s Catholic School and Port Chester High School where he won 12 letters in athletics. He ran away from home in 1917 to Chicago where he tried to enlist in the Navy but was rejected because of his age. After high school graduation, Sullivan worked for The Port Chester Daily Item – a newspaper he had written sports news for in high school. In 1919, he joined The Hartford Post, which folded in his first week there. He then landed a job at The New York Evening Mail, which closed in 1923. From 1923-1927 he wrote for The Associated Press, The Philadelphia Bulletin, The Morning World, The Morning Telegraph, The New York Bulletin, and The Leader. Finally, in 1927, Sullivan joined The Evening Graphic as a sports writer and quickly became sports editor. Two years later, when Walter Winchell moved to The New York Daily News, Sullivan became the paper’s gossip columnist. During his career as a columnist, he produced vaudeville shows, which he was also master of ceremonies for, in the 1920s and 1930s. He also directed a radio program at WABC (which later became WCBS) and organized benefit shows for a variety of causes, which reached its peak during World War II. It was through emceeing that Sullivan entered the new world of television. In 1947, he was master of ceremonies for the Harvest Moon Ball, an annual event sponsored by The New York Daily News. The event was broadcast on TV and drew the attention of Worthington Miner, manager of television program and development at CBS, who was impressed with Sullivan’s showmanship and hired him to be master of ceremonies for the TV show, “Toast of the Town.” The show eventually became “The Ed Sullivan Show.” The show, which Sullivan affectionately called a “rilly big shew” from the first broadcast, ran on CBS from June 1948 until 1971, when the station dropped the show in favor of movies. During the show’s 23 year run, between 45 and 50 million people tuned in for a weekly cavalcade of live performances from the biggest music acts, performances from Broadway musicals (some of which are the only visual recordings of those shows), and an array of carnival performers. The show cost $8 million per year to produced for which Sullivan received $164,000 annually to host. In the early years, Sullivan even put up some of his own salary to pay the talent when CBS wouldn’t. At one time, it cost $82,000 for one minute of advertising on his show. His show featured the American TV debuts of The Beatles, Humphrey Bogart, Jackie Gleason, Maria Callas, Elvis Presley and Rudolf Nureyev, among others. The Beatles’ February 9, 1964, appearance remains one of the most watched shows in television history. Sullivan also introduced the Italian puppet mouse Topo Gigio to the world. The puppet’s creator, Maria Perego Caldura of Milan, later secured a patent and the puppet went on to become a movie star. He was honored many times and in many ways – most notably on the December 10, 1967, broadcast when CBS renamed the studio he worked in “The Ed Sullivan Theater.” David Letterman taped his late night show in that theater.
Danny Thomas. Actor, Singer, Producer. His career began as a nightclub comedian with a brief fling in the movies. His greatest success was achieved in television starring in long run sitcom’s then a producer responsible for such shows as…Andy Griffith Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Gomer Pyle and the Mod Squad. However, his show business career pales in comparison to his role as Humanitarian. As a young man, he embraced as his patron saint, St Jude Thaddeus, one attributed to lost or impossible causes and founded as a memorial, St Jude’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, using much of his own money while spearheading the fundraising for its construction. For good measure, Danny Thomas, founded ALSAC (American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities) an organization comprised of wealthy Arabs that raises funds for the maintenance and operating costs of the hospital allowing free treatment to needy children while finding cures for catastrophic children’s diseases. He was born Muzyard Yaakoob (Amos Jacob) in Deerfield Michigan the fifth of 10 children born to Arab immigrants. The family moved to nearby Toledo, where he grew up considering the city his hometown. Schooled by Ursuline nuns at St. Francis de Sales parochial school then attended Woodward High School becoming a drop out in his junior year to pursue a show business career. Exposed to movies after taking a job selling snacks in the isles of the Empire Theater, St. Clair & Orange street, downtown Toledo, Amos became enamored as he watched during the course of his duties dreaming of a movie career. He began his career as a singer at a Detroit radio station while also performing as an MC-comedian in nightclubs. He first performed under his Anglicized birth name, Amos Jacobs, before settling on Danny Thomas, a derivative from first names of his two brothers. Danny debuted in 1946 with a brief film career with lead and supporting roles as a comic. He achieved success on television starring in the long running sitcom “Make Room for Daddy” then starring in a number of specials while making many guest appearances. Stepping behind the camera in late 1950’s, he formed a partnership which produced many successful television shows. Danny worked for his St Jude Hospital project until the end of his life. While taking part in the hospital’s 29th anniversary, he filmed a television commercial for the facility while signing fundraising copies of his autobiography in the Danny Thomas/ALSAC Pavilion. He pointed to the building’s chapel uttering a wish to be buried there upon his demise. Returning to Los Angeles, he suffered, a massive heart attack, two days later, which claimed his life at age 79. His funeral was held at Good Shepherd Catholic Church located in Hollywood, attended by former Presidents Gerald Ford & Ronald Reagan and a huge crowd of Hollywood celebrities. A special message from President George Bush lauding the entertainer was read. His remains were transported to Memphis where he lay in state in the Pavilion, while families stood in line for hours, to pay tribute to this extraordinary compassionate man until he was interred on the grounds in a plot now known as the Danny and Rose Marie Memorial Garden. Legacy…He cornered the market in humanitarian awards receiving hundreds. Some of the most noteworthy…On April 16, 1984, President Ronald Reagan presented him with the Congressional Gold Medal for his work with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Pope Paul VI presented Danny the highest honor that could bestowed up a layman…Knight Commander with Star in the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. The American Medical Association bestowed The Layman Award, it’s highest honor to a nonmedical personal. He was the father of actress Marlo Thomas and TV producer Tony Thomas. Received an Emmy Best Actor starring in a Regular Series “Make Room for Daddy” in 1954 and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He authored an autobiography, “Make Room for Danny” in 1990. The Danny Thomas/ALSAC Pavilion is the repository for thousands of artifacts from his life. Its presence allows the hospital to further raise funds for the facility by operating an extensive gift shop with an on-line “The Hope Catalog.” Adjacent to the Pavilion is the, Danny and Rose Marie Thomas Memorial Garden which is not only the site of the burial crypt of St. Jude founder Danny Thomas and his wife Rose Marie but a functional park which furnishes a contemplative setting for hospital staff workers and visitors alike to enjoy a peaceful place for relaxation.