Monday, July 30, 2012

Tony Martin (1913-2012)

I promised myself that I would write a non-obituary entry this week, but we just found out that singer Tony Martin died on Friday evening! Mr. Martin is one of our favorites, and he is one of the five singers who Sarah has classified as having a 'Disney Prince'-type voice. He died at his home in Los Angeles on Friday night at 98 years old.

In 1948, Mr. Martin married dancer Cyd Charisse. They remained devoted to each other, even co-writing their autobiography, The Two of Us. She passed away in 2008, after sixty years of marriage. Their son, Tony Jr., died in 2011. Mr. Martin is survived by his step-son, Nicky Charisse.

He appeared in many films during the 1930s-50s, including The Big Store with the Marx Bros., Easy To Love with Esther Williams, Deep In My Heart, and Till The Clouds Roll By. His voice was clear and smooth, with a very gentle quality. This is the passing of an era.

There is one time in a film where Tony and Cyd appeared together. At the very end of Easy To Love, he is walking along a lane when a girl drops her hat in front of him. That girl is Mrs. Tony Martin. :o)

To read his full obituary at the San Francisco Chronicle, click here.

Here is his section of the finale from the 1946 film, Till the Clouds Roll By. This is one of his best musical moments. He is singing the fabulous Jerome Kern song, "All the Things You Are".

Friday, July 27, 2012

Peter Breck; Nick Barkley in 'The Big Velley'; Dies at 82

PETER BRECK (13 March 1929 - 6 February 2012)

I know that this is a little late, but we just found out last night that Peter Breck died February 6th. He is best remembered for playing Barbra Stanwyk's hot-headed son, Nick Barkley, in the TV show, The Big Valley. Always the one to come to the rescue with the guns blazing, or belt the dishonest citizen in the face, or get into trouble and have to be rescued by his level-headed brothers.

Sarah and I were introduced to The Big Valley several years ago, when we got a disc of episodes out from the library. Ever since, we have been ardent fans of the show. In our minds, it even surpassed Bonanza. The five family members work so well together and make the stories believable. This is definitely a show not to be missed. Right now, the complete first season and the first half of season two are available on DVD.

Right after we discovered the series, we wrote to Mr. Breck and received autographed photos of him as Nick. He was a fantastic cowboy and a great character. We have seen him in several other shows, and it is funny as it always seems like Nick on another show. :o)

For a full obituary, see the NYTimes.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Screen Legend, Celeste Holm, Dies at 95

CELESTE HOLM (29 April 1917 - 15 July 2012)

Oscar-winning actress, Celeste Holm, died on Sunday at her apartment from complications of a heart attack. Celeste Holm appeared in over a dozen films, lots of TV shows and many stage productions during her long and distinguished career. She won the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her third movie role in Gentleman's Agreement, opposite Gregory Peck and Dorothy McGuire. She was also nominated for her roles in Come To The Stable and the classic All About Eve. Some of her other film credits include The Snake Pit, High Society and The Tender Trap.

To read her full obituary, go to the NYTimes.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Remembering Andy: Mayberry Bids Farewell to Sheriff Taylor

ANDY GRIFFITH (1 June 1926 - 3 July 2012)

Died Tuesday at his home on Roanoke Island in North Carolina. An actor, singer and comedian, he is fondly remembered by generations of fans as the Mayberry sheriff in The Andy Griffith Show. Who can forget the opening of a man and a little boy, walking down a dirt road, carrying their fishing poles and whistling a tune? It featured the memorable characters of Deputy Barney Fife, garage mechanic Gomer Pyle, Aunt Bee, Thelma Lou, and little Opie Taylor.

Sheriff Andy Griffith made his screen debut in a 1960 episode of The Danny Thomas Show, where Danny is arrested for running a stop sign. Later that same year, Andy's own show debuted and continued for 8 seasons and a total of 249 episodes. Andy helped other townspeople fix their problems and the show provided wholesome entertainment for the entire family.

Mr. Griffith also recorded and released several albums of Gospel songs and comedy sketches. He performed on Broadway, at night clubs, and in films as well as television.