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Anne Francis dies at 80; costarred in the 1950s science-fiction classic 'Forbidden Planet'


By Dennis McLellan, Los Angeles Times


January 3, 2011




Anne Francis, who costarred in the 1950s science-fiction classic "Forbidden Planet" and later played the title role in "Honey West," the mid-1960s TV series about a sexy female private detective with a pet ocelot, died Sunday. She was 80.


Francis, who was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2007 and underwent surgery and chemotherapy, died of complications of pancreatic cancer at a retirement home in Santa Barbara, said Jane Uemura, her daughter. Friends and family members were with her, said a family spokeswoman, Melissa Fitch.


A shapely blond with a signature beauty mark next to her lower lip, Francis was a former child model and radio actress when she first came to notice on the big screen in the early 1950s.


She had leading or supporting roles in more than 30 movies, including "Bad Day at Black Rock," "Battle Cry," "Blackboard Jungle," "The Hired Gun," "Don't Go Near the Water," "Brainstorm," "Funny Girl" and "Hook, Line and Sinker."'


She also achieved cult status as one of the stars of "Forbidden Planet," the 1956 MGM movie costarring Walter Pidgeon and Leslie Nielsen and featuring a helpful robot named Robby.


Francis, however, never became a major movie star and was more frequently seen on television as a guest star on scores of series from the late '50s and decades beyond, including an episode of "The Twilight Zone" in which she played a department store mannequin who comes to life at night.


But it's as the star of "Honey West," the first female detective to be featured in a weekly TV series, that Francis may be best remembered.


Based on the title character in G.G. Fickling's series of Honey West paperback mysteries launched in 1957, Francis' Honey West was introduced to TV viewers in an episode of "Burke's Law" in the spring of 1965.


The episode served as the pilot for the half-hour "Honey West" series, which was executive produced by Aaron Spelling and made its debut in the fall of 1965.


In it, West, who inherited a Los Angeles detective agency from her late father, had a partner named Sam Bolt (played by John Ericson), shared an apartment with her Aunt Meg (Irene Hervey) and owned a man-hating pet ocelot named Bruce Biteabit.


In what Francis later described as "a tongue-in-cheek, female James Bond," her karate-chopping private eye drove a custom-built Cobra convertible sports car and, when necessary, worked out of a specially equipped mobile surveillance van that masqueraded as a TV service vehicle.


Among her Bond-style gimmicks: a lipstick radio transmitter, a fake martini olive on a toothpick for bugging conversations, earrings that exploded with tear gas when they were thrown to the floor and a black garter with pink lace that doubled as a gas mask.


As the glamorous and sexy Honey, Francis was outfitted in an eye-catching wardrobe that included a black snakeskin trench coat, a white beaded gown trimmed in sable and a tiger-skin bathing suit with matching cape.


In a television era of Donna Reed and Harriet Nelson housewives, the independent, take-charge Honey West has been described as being a role model for young baby-boomer women.


"She was probably the forerunner of what we would call the good aspects of female independence," Francis told the (Memphis) Commercial Appeal in 1997.


"Producers and writers I work with, young women in their 30s and 40s, tell me all the time, 'You have no idea what an influence you had on me with Honey West. You showed that I could do something unusual with my life, that I could have my freedom and not be dependent on another human being for my livelihood.'"


Francis won a Golden Globe as best female TV star and received an Emmy nomination for her portrayal of Honey West.


The series received good ratings, but ABC canceled it in 1966 after 30 episodes. "They were able to buy 'The Avengers' [spy drama] from England for less than it cost to produce our show," Francis later said.


She was born Sept. 16, 1930, in Ossining, N.Y. At the age of 7, after her family moved to New York City, she was signed by the John Robert Powers modeling agency.


Her career as a child model led to acting roles on the children's radio shows "Let's Pretend" and "Coast-to-Coast on a Bus," and she then moved on to radio soap operas. In 1941, she also appeared on Broadway, playing Gertrude Lawrence as a child in "Lady in the Dark."


Francis arrived in Hollywood for the first time in 1946 and was signed to a contract with MGM. But after a year of "grooming" at the studio, during which she had a small part in the Mickey Rooney musical "Summer Holiday," the teenage Francis returned to New York, where she began appearing in live TV productions.


After playing a teenage prostitute with a baby in a girl's reform school in "So Young, So Bad," a 1950 movie drama shot in New York, Francis was signed to a contract at 20th Century Fox. After three years at Fox, she was signed again at MGM and by the late '50s was freelancing.


While at MGM, she co-starred in "Forbidden Planet," a big-budget, box-office hit that received an Oscar nomination for special effects.


Francis played Altaira, the alluring daughter of the scientist character played by Pidgeon: the two sole-surviving human inhabitants of the mysterious, technologically advanced planet.


"I got that part because I was under contract to MGM and I had good legs," Francis, who wore futuristically abbreviated costumes, said in a 1992 interview for Starlog magazine.


At the time, she recalled, "I don't think that any of us really were aware of the fact that it was going to turn into a longtime cult film, probably much, much stronger today than it was then. … 'Forbidden Planet' just had a life of its own, something that none of us was aware was going to happen."


Francis, who wrote the 1982 memoir "Voices From Home: An Inner Journey," continued to appear on television throughout the '90s.


In addition to Uemura, the twice-divorced Francis is survived by another daughter, Maggie, and a grandson, Fitch said.







I was quite young but I do remember watching Honey West.

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Celebrated British actor Pete Postlethwaite has died.


The 64-year-old passed away in a hospital in central England on Sunday, longtime friend Andrew Richardson told England's Press Association.


Postlethwaite had been battling cancer, he said.


The award-winning thespian had appeared in movies and television shows for years, but gained international fame as Mr. Kobayashi in 1995's "The Usual Suspects."


He followed the role with praised performances in numerous films, including "Brassed Off," "Romeo + Juliet" and "The Shipping News." He most recently appeared in last year's "Inception," "Clash of the Titans" and "The Town."


Director Steven Spielberg called Postlethwaite "the best actor in the world," and cast him in two of his movies in the 1990s, "The Lost World" and "Amistad."


In 1992, Postlethwaite was nominated for an Oscar for his performance opposite Daniel Day Lewis in "In the Name of the Father." He received the Order of the British Empire in 2004.





Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/m...l#ixzz19z7Q0XZj

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Do we have Zsa Zsa Gabor on the death watch?

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From AP reports"


LONDON – British actress Susannah York, one of the leading stars of British and Hollywood films in the late 1960s and early 1970s, has died in London. She was 72.York received an Oscar nomination in 1970 for her role in "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" and also appeared in the classic "A Man For All Seasons" before going on to play Christopher Reeve's biological mother in the Superman series of movies.


She died of cancer Saturday at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London. Her son, the actor Orlando Wells, said York was an incredibly brave woman who did not complain about her illness and a "truly wonderful mother." He said she went into the hospital on Jan. 6 after experiencing shoulder pain.


York had a long, distinguished career on film, television and on stage, but she is best remembered for her early roles, when she had an immediate impact that started with her 1963 role as Albert Finney's love interest in the memorable period piece romp "Tom Jones."


With its tongue-in-cheek sensuality and gentle send-up of the British aristocracy, the film is remembered as an early landmark in 1960s cinema, and York's unmistakable presence added to its appeal. Her long blond hair, stunning blue eyes and quick-witted repartee brought her a string of excellent roles.



I always mixed her up with Julie Christie not just because they looked similar but because I always liked them both in their roles and how they handled themselves.

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Fitness guru Jack LaLanne dies at 96

By the CNN Wires Staff


(CNN) -- American fitness guru Jack LaLanne died Sunday afternoon at his home in Morro Bay, California, according to his long-time agent, Rick Hersh. He was 96.


The cause, said Hersh, was respiratory failure due to pneumonia. LaLanne had been ill for the past week. His wife, Elaine, was at his side, along with his family and friends, Hersh said. No funeral arrangements were announced, but his agent said plans were being made.


LaLanne spent decades talking about the healthful benefits of exercise and fitness. He opened his own health spa in California in 1936, years before the fitness craze swept the United States. LaLanne even designed the world's first leg-extension machine, along with several other pieces of fitness equipment now standard in the fitness industry.


He was born in San Francisco on September 26, 1914. A self-confessed sugar- and junk-food addict as a child, he went on to study bodybuilding and weight-lifting by the time he was in his late teens.


From the 1950s through the 1980s, LaLanne performed multiple feats of strength and endurance. His first such stunt was an underwater swim the length of the Golden Gate Bridge, loaded with 140 pounds of equipment, in 1954. He went on to stage many attention-getting events, including completing over a thousand pushups in a little over 20 minutes, and towing 65 boats filled with thousands of pounds of wood pulp in Japan.


LaLanne had his own workout program, "The Jack LaLanne Show." First broadcast nationally in 1959, the show went on to run for three decades.


In his later years, he was easily recognized because of late-night infomercials on on the benefits of juicing.


He also made many appearances on CNN's "Larry King Live" and was a friend of the talk show host. "There was no one like Jack LaLanne," King said Sunday night. "He would go on forever ... a true guru. I guess Charles Atlas from the old comic books would be the predecessor for Jack LaLanne."


But it wasn't simply LaLanne's physical prowess that impressed King. "Elderly people were encouraged by him because he just kept on going," King said, adding that modern fitness celebrities owe a debt of gratitude to the original impresario of exercise.


LaLanne's wife of 51 years released a statement on her husband's passing: "I have not only lost my husband and a great American icon, but the best friend and most loving partner anyone could ever hope for," Elaine said.


CNN's Chuck Johnston contributed to this report




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R.I.P. 'Celeb Rehab' Rocker Mike Starr Dead


Former Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr died in Utah ... TMZ has learned.


Starr appeared on the third season of "Celebrity Rehab" back in 2009 -- and was arrested last month for felony possession of a controlled substance. Salt Lake City cops say he had 6 Xanax pills and 6 Opana (painkiller) pills when he was busted.


Starr was 44 years old.


Mike's dad tells TMZ, "It's a terrible shock and tragedy."


UPDATE: Police tell us Starr's body was found in a Salt Lake City home today. Cops say they were called to the house at 1:42PM.


Story developing...



source: TMZ

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Elizabeth Taylor dead at 79


By the CNN Wire Staff

March 23, 2011 9:11 a.m. EDT



Taylor died in Los Angeles' Cedars-Sinai hospital

She was famous for her beauty and many marriages

Los Angeles (CNN) -- Elizabeth Taylor, the legendary actress famed for her beauty, her jet-set lifestyle, her charitable endeavors and her many marriages, has died, her publicist told CNN Wednesday. She was 79.


Taylor died "peacefully today in Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles," said a statement from her publicist. She was hospitalized six weeks ago with congestive heart failure, "a condition with which she had struggled for many years. Though she had recently suffered a number of complications, her condition had stabilized and it was hoped that she would be able to return home. Sadly, this was not to be."


Though a two-time Oscar winner -- for "Butterfield 8" (1960) and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" (1966) -- Taylor was more celebrated for simply being Elizabeth Taylor: sexy, glamorous, tempestuous, fragile, always trailing courtiers, media and fans. She wasn't above playing to that image -- she had a fragrance called "White Diamonds" -- or mocking it.


"I am a very committed wife," she once said. "And I should be committed too -- for being married so many times."

Edited by dixiedoodah

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So sad- she'd been sick for so long, you never really thought she'd actually *die* though!


I hope AMC does a retrospective of her films this weekend - there are some I haven't seen and many I haven't seen in ages....

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Love Elizabeth Taylor. She fascinated me as Cleopatra, with her awesome costumes and make-up. I think I was six years old. It's hard to believe she started out as a child star and made it that long in Hollywood. I'll bet she knew a story or two. God Bless her. I was a big fan.

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Jeff Conaway in a coma after apparent OD

Former 'Taxi' star 'is unresponsive at this time,' rep says



updated 1 hour 18 minutes ago 2011-05-18T23:55:46

Another sad turn of events for a former Celebrity Rehab patient.


..Jeff Conaway is in critical condition at an Encino hospital after an apparent overdose, the actor's rep confirmed to E! News Wednesday.


"He is in a coma and unresponsive at this time," said manager Phil Brock.


Family members have been in and out of the hospital waiting for news, Brock said, adding, "He turned his head two days ago, but nothing since."


There is no word on whether or not doctors expect Conaway to wake up.


The former "Taxi" star, who also played bad-boy Kenickie in "Grease," has been plagued by health problems in recent years, including a bad fall a year ago that occurred when he was under the influence of methadone and OxyContin.


..There is no word on what he may have OD'd on today.


He left "Taxi" in 1982 and worked in television throughout the 1980s and '90s, including a starring stint on "Babylon 5."


In 2008, Conaway joined "Celebrity Rehab," where he opened up about his longtime addictions to cocaine, painkillers and alcohol.


© 2011 E! Entertainment Television, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Macho Man Randy Savage dies in car accident at 58: Wrestler suffered heart attack behind the wheel




All-time pro wrestling great Randy (Macho Man) Savage died in a Florida car wreck Friday morning after suffering an apparent heart attack behind the wheel.


The 58-year-old Savage was killed in Tampa when his 2009 Jeep Wrangler crossed a median and slammed head-on into a tree, authorities said. He was pronounced dead at Largo Medical Center in Largo, Fla.


His wife Lynn was in the car, but suffered only minor injuries just weeks after their first anniversary. The front end and hood of the car were crumpled by the impact.


Savage's brother, fellow ex-wrestler Lanny Poffo, told TMZ.com that the former world champion suffered a heart attack just before the 9:25 a.m. wreck.


"He had so much life in his eyes & in his spirit, I just pray that he's happy and in a better place and we miss him," Hulk Hogan said Friday on Twitter.


"We miss him a lot ... This was a tough one."


The one-time minor league baseball player helped catapult Vince McMahon's WWF into a huge success during his run from 1985-93.


"He was an amazing person," said longtime friend Steve Cardillo, the owner of Massachusetts company that supplied Savage with weight belts. "He was a very generous guy. He would come here, put on his whole costume, and sign autographs for kids."



Savage used his rippling physique, multi-colored bandanas and trademark cry of "Oooooh yeaaaaah!" to become one of the wrestling world's biggest draws.


He teamed with Hogan at one point before their "partnership" went south, and captured the world and intercontinental championships with the WWF - known now as the WWE.


"Our sincerest condolences go out to his family and friends," the WWE said in a statement. "We wish a speedy recovery to his wife Lynn."


Savage also wrestled for Ted Turner's WCW before retiring in 1999.


He later made a cameo appearance in the box office hit "Spider-Man" and became a pitchman for Slim Jims, but kept a relatively low profile after leaving the ring.


A previous Savage wife, wrestling manager Elizabeth Heulette, died in 2003 from a lethal combination of drugs and booze.



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Report: Jeff Conaway brain dead, to be taken off life support by grieving family

By Carina Adly MacKenzie

May 26, 2011 6:10 PM ET


"Grease" and "Taxi" star Jeff Conaway is set to be taken off of life support, reports RadarOnline. The actor, who has long struggled with drug addiction, was found unconscious on May 11 as a result of pneumonia exacerbated by substance abuse. He was put into an induced coma, struggling with sepsis, and has been on a ventilator and a feeding tube since.


"Doctors advised the family that Jeff has had no brain function since he was brought into the hospital," says a source close to the family. "The feeding tube has already been removed. The ventilator which is breathing for Jeff, will be removed sometime this afternoon. No measures will be made to try and revive him once the breathing tube is removed."


Dr. Drew Pinsky, who treated Conaway on "Celebrity Rehab," visited Conaway in the hospital. While his initial reports were hopeful, saying that Conaway would likely recover, he posted on May 21, "yes,we all need to pray for him.Not doing well today suddenly."


Conaway, 60, is best known for his work as Kenickie in "Grease," and for his star turns on "Taxi" and "Babylon 5." He began his career on Broadway at just 2 years old, and endured physical and sexual abuse as a child before leaving New York to attend the North Carolina School of the Arts. He married "Grease" co-star Olivia's sister, Rona Newton-John in 1980, but the couple divorced five years later. In 1990, he married Keri Conaway, and though it is not known when the couple officially divorced, he is estranged from her.

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'Grease' Star Jeff Conaway Dead At 60


Los Angeles — Jeff Conaway, who starred in the sitcom "Taxi," played swaggering Kenickie in the movie musical "Grease" and publicly battled drug and alcohol addiction on "Celebrity Rehab," died Friday. He was 60.


The actor was taken off life support Thursday and died Friday morning at Encino Tarzana Medical Center, according to one of his managers, Kathryn Boole.


"It's sad that people remember his struggle with drugs. ... He has touched so many people," she said, calling Conaway a kind and intelligent man who was well read and "always so interesting to talk to. We respected him as an artist and loved him as a friend."


"He was trying so hard to get clean and sober," Boole added. "If it hadn't been for his back pain, I think he would have been able to do it."


Family members, including Conway's sisters, nieces and nephews, and his minister, were with him when he died, »


Source- AP

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awww, I just heard that James Arness passed away Friday, June 3, 2011, at the age of 88. He was best known for playing Marshal Matt Dillon, from the long running t.v. series Gunsmoke. R.I.P.

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James Arness was the older brother of Peter Graves, whom I believe passed away last year. I remember, as a child, we were visiting our grandparents when an Elvis movie came on. Grandpa made us watch Gunsmoke instead.

Edited by KikiTopaz

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Clarence Clemons, sax player from Bruce Springsteen's band and so much more, died on Saturday at 7pm from complications due to a stroke. Clarence, you will be missed!

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Clarence Clemons, sax player from Bruce Springsteen's band and so much more, died on Saturday at 7pm from complications due to a stroke. Clarence, you will be missed!

Yes he will. Having seen them in concert about 3 years ago, he was a big presence on stage. My sympathies to the band and his family and friends.

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I've been bemoaning the lack of sax in modern music since the last heyday in the 80s - LOVED Clarence Clemons. What a musician! Was sad to hear this, though after the recent stroke, I guess not to surprised.

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'Jackass' star dies in car accident


"Jackass" star Ryan Dunn died in a car crash in Pennsylvania early Monday morning, TMZ is reporting. The website confirmed the accident with the mother of fellow "Jackass" star Bam Margera.


The 34-year-old Dunn appeared in all of the "Jackass" movies, and had two separate films in post-production and another in development, according to the IMDB.


Dunn and an unidentified person both died in the crash which happened around 3 a.m. at Route 322 and New Street in West Goshen Township, according to TMZ.

Full disclosure - I have no idea who this guy is.


ETA: It appears all of my 12 year old daughter's friends know who he is

Edited by branchop

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