Sunday, August 11, 2013


“I'm not afraid of death; I just don't want to be there when it happens.”
Karen Black, died on Thursday August 8, 2013.

― Woody Allen

Blame it on the Bossa Nova ...A fond farewell to Eydie Gorme and others we've lost in the past few weeks. Last week Eileen Brennan, then Karen Black, and now Eydie Gorme.
Rest In Peace you lovely and talented ladies. You helped make the 70's the golden age that it was My childhood is slipping away.
Over the past few weeks, we have lost several artists that have changed the cultural landscape for always.
They say that deaths happen in threes, but we've been hit with several recent losses in the entertainment field.
Some more famous than others, but the contributions of all should never be minimized.
This blog is just scratching the surface in homage. How could I possibly all of their careers?

Last night as I watched CBS, the death of Eydie Gorme was practically nothing more than a passing mention.
Her name wasn't even mentioned. Eydie Gorme was a popular nightclub and television singer as a solo act and as a team with her husband, Steve Lawrence.
She died yesterday. She was 84.
Performing everything from ballads to bossa nova with singing partner and husband Steve Lawrence, she made an indelible impression on American audiences during the swingin' '60s. The couple had their own television variety show, The Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme Show, until Lawrence entered the Army for two years and Gorme went on the nightclub circuit.They performed in Las Vegas for many years.
Gorme retired in 2009.

Gormé charmed American audiences as a prolific, versatile singer and entertainer from the '50s on.

Twenty-five years ago, she would have gotten a lot more coverage.

I found out yesterday by seeing a posting by entertainer Sierra Rein.
Eydie Gorme enjoyed decades-long success as half of the duo Steve and Eydie and as a solo artist in her own right.
Eileen Brennan
In the Spanish-speaking market, Gorme's major hit was 1964's Amor. Gorme also had a huge solo hit in 1963 with Blame it on the Bossa Nova. She died Saturday at Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas following a brief, undisclosed illness, said her publicist, Howard Bragman.
Bragman's statement went on to say that she was “surrounded by her husband, son and other loved ones at the time of her death.”
Ms. Gorme was a successful band singer and nightclub entertainer when she was invited to join the cast of Steve Allen’s local New York television show in 1953.
  She sang solos and performed duets and comedy skits with Mr. Lawrence, a young singer who joined the show a year earlier.

When the program became NBC’s Tonight Show in 1954, the young couple went with it.

They married in Las Vegas in 1957.

Born in the Bronx to a tailor originally from Sicily and a mother from Turkey, Gormé was a Sephardic Jew whose real name was Edith Garmezano. Spanish was spoken in the home, while at William Howard Taft High School she became the Taft Swing Band's lead female vocalist.

“Eydie has been my partner onstage and in life for more than 55 years,” Lawrence said in a statement. “I fell
in love with her the moment I saw her and even more the first time I heard her sing. While my personal loss is unimaginable, the world has lost one of the greatest pop vocalists of all time.” The internet is how most of us get our news now. Over the course of the past few weeks, we have lost ten greats.

Eileen Brennan died Sunday, July 28, after a battle with bladder cancer, her management company said.She was part of the original Broadway company of Hello, Dolly starring Carol Channing.
Brennan also received a best supporting actress Oscar nomination for playing tough drill captain Doreen Lewis opposite Goldie Hawn in the fish-out-of-water comedy Private Benjamin (1980). She reprised the role in the CBS series that starred Lorna Patterson in the title role and won an Emmy, her only win out of her seven career nominations.
 Brennan also memorably appeared as brothel madam Billie, a confidant of con man Paul Newman, in the best picture Oscar winner The Sting (1973); as Peter Falk’s long-suffering secretary, Tess, in the classic Agatha Christie spoof Murder by Death (1976), written by Neil Simon; and as Mrs. Peacock in Clue (1985). She often played world-weary, sympathetic characters yet demonstrated a real comic flair throughout her career.

Oscar-nominated actress Karen Black died Thursday at the age of 74 after a long battle with cancer.
Black, notoriously remembered for her roles in The Pyx and more recently,  House of 1000 Corpses, was a revered notable among the 70s counter-culture film movement. I remember vividly having nightmares after seeing her in Trilogy of Terror, a television movie. Everybody was talking about it the next day in school. It was about a murderous Zuni doll come to life. That was1975. I was thirteen years old.
Karen Black was on one of the Murder She Wrotes on the marathon last night and she was wonderful as a psychiatrist who gave drugs to the writer of a diary that everyone wanted. Others in the episode were Hurd Hatfield, Edward Mulhare, Jerry Orbach. Karen had several scenes as one of the suspects.
Here is a great blog remembering Karen Black.

Karen Black entered Northwestern University at 15 and left two years later. She studied under Lee Strasberg in New York and worked in a number of off-Broadway roles. She made a critically acclaimed debut on Broadway in 1965 in The Playroom. Her first big film role was in You're a Big Boy Now (1966), directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Shortly after wards, she appeared as Marcia in the TV series The Second Hundred Years (1967).

The film that made her a star was Easy Rider (1969), where she worked with Dennis Hopper, Peter Fonda, and a supporting actor named Jack Nicholson.
She appeared with Nicholson again the next year when they starred in Five Easy Pieces (1970), which garnered an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe for Karen. Her roles mainly consisted of waitresses, hookers and women on the edge. Some of her later films were disappointments at the box office, but she did receive another Golden Globe for The Great Gatsby (1974). One role for which she is well remembered is that of the jewel thief in Alfred Hitchcock's last film, Family Plot (1976).
After a number of forgettable movies, she again won rave reviews for her role in Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982). Since then, her film career has been busy, but the quality of the films has been uneven.
IMDb Mini Biography By: Tony Fontana
Stephen Eckelberry     (27 September 1987 - 8 August 2013) (her death) 1 child
L.M. Kit Carson     (4 July 1975 - 28 June 1983) (divorced) 1 child
Robert Burton     (18 April 1973 - 23 October 1974) (divorced)
Charles Black     (1955 - 1962) (divorced)


Mother of Hunter Carson with L.M. Kit Carson.

Godmother of Dylan Purcell. His mother, Lee Purcell, is the godmother of Karen's children, Hunter Carson and Celine Eckelberry.
Is the highest ranked actress on the "Oracle of Bacon" website (and 21st overall), which uses the IMDB database to determine which actors can be linked by the highest number of other actors in the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" trivia game.

Has a cult glam-punk band named after her. Called The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black, Kembra Pfahler is the American performance artist and singer/rock musician who fronts it. She is known for the often sexual nature of her pieces.

She and her husband, Stephen Eckelberry, are active in the Church of Scientology.

In this Sept 9, 1998 file photo, Margaret Pellegrini, a cast member who played a Munchkin named Sleepy Head in the original The Wizard of Oz movie, poses with various statues from the movie in Scottsdale, Ariz. Pellegrini suffered a stroke Monday, Aug. 5, 2013 at her Glendale, Ariz., home and died Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013 at a Phoenix-area hospital. She was 89. Photo: Tribune Newspapers, N. Scott Trimble
Margaret Pellegrini (September 23, 1923 – August 7, 2013) was an American actress best known for playing one of the munchkins from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. According to a spokesperson for the few surviving actors who appeared in the 1939 classic, Pellegrini suffered a stroke Monday at her Glendale home and died Wednesday at a Phoenix-area hospital, said Ted Bulthaup, a Woodbridge, Ill., resident who owns a Chicago theater where Pellegrini and other Munchkins have made special appearances.  Bulthaup said he learned of Pellegrini's death from her relatives.
Pellegrini was best known as one of the "Flower Pot" Munchkins who greet Dorothy (Judy Garland) when her house lands in Oz.With her death, only two of the original 124 Munchkins in the movie are still alive.
The Wizard of Oz Munchkin Margaret Pellegrini in 2009 (Photo: Rob Kim/Everett Collection)

Later, Pellegrini was a guest speaker at grade schools across the Phoenix metropolitan area for many years.
She usually appeared in costume and told stories about her time as a Munchkin, The Arizona Republic reported. She also told children that The Wizard of Oz contained a moral lesson.
 "There are two roads in life that you can take — the wrong road and the right road," she said. "And remember, there really is no place like home."
 When asked by the newspaper if she and the other actors who played Munchkins had sung for the movie, Pellegrini shook her head.
 The real singers were "adults, dubbed in," she said. "They just played the record faster so their voices would sound high."
Bulthaup had known Pellegrini for more than a decade and said she was an energetic person.
 "She really had a very robust personality. She was a great lady," he said. "She was always on the move. You couldn't hold her down."
 Until her death, she was one of the three surviving munchkins, the other two being Jerry Maren and Ruth Robinson Duccini. She was born Margaret Williams in Tuscumbia, Alabama.

BICK GOSS, Dancer, Director, Choreographer and New York's MUSICAL MONDAYS THEATRE LAB Founder and Artistic Director, Died at 75 (Aug 6, 2013).
Bick Goss
Richard "Bick" Goss was a noted New York City-based theater director and choreographer, former Bob Fosse dancer, and the Founder and Co-Artistic Director (with Frank Evans) of the non-profit musical theater development organization, Musical Mondays Theatre Lab. He died this past Saturday, August 3, from complications related to Parkinson's Disease, which Mr. Goss had battled for more than five years. He was 75 years old.
"Everyone connected with Musical Mondays Theatre Lab, and I'm sure all of Bick's family, friends and colleagues, are shocked and deeply saddened at Bick's passing," Musical Mondays Theatre Lab Board President Stephen Hanks told
"When it came to musical theater, Bick was a visionary and a champion and he brought incredible energy and talent to every project with which he was involved. Musical Mondays will greatly miss his insightful and perceptive artistic leadership, but we will continue the organization's work in his memory and grow even stronger. On a personal note, in the 10 years I knew Bick he became a very close personal friend and mentor and I will miss him deeply. He loved life and people and was an absolute joy to be around."

Bick Goss and Chrissy Fournier (Chris Stewart was her stage name then) in 1962 at the Jan Hus Playhouse, E 74th St.(Courtesy: Chrissy Fournier)

He cast me in a production of Godspell, @ Westport, in St Louis, w/ Greg Ganakas, Ken Ward, BartTinappand Tuck Milligan.  He was a delight to work for,  ( I had never been treated that well in a production, before, or since) and we were a very close cast...  His gift from the cast was  a beautiful  glass vase that was inscribed, " Long live Goss..."  He will be dearly missed by  everyone who was lucky enough to have worked with and for him. Rest in Peace, Kathy Robinson

Jamie deRoy with Bick Goss

Perhaps I haven't seen enough news, but I saw nothing about any of them beyond what I saw last night on Eydie Gorme and yet all of them made POSITIVE contributions to our culture and world. Unfortunately, today's media will devote twenty-five percent of a broadcast to a politician's private parts and those that have gone before us who have made the world a better place will be lucky to receive twenty-five seconds. I met Karen Black once. She came to one of my appearances many years ago. I remember how gracious and nice she was. Growing up, The Wizard of Oz was MY movie. I was lucky enough to meet Meinhardt Raabe who played the coroner. I saw Jerry Maren once on stage at Carnegie Hall in a tribute to Judy Garland. I met Bick Goss when I appeared at a benefit for Musical Mondays, thanks to Stephen Hanks. One of my biggest regrets is that I never saw Steve and Eydie. I used to love theirThe Carol Burnett Show. I was actually in talks to interview Eileen Brennan for my upcoming book celebrating the first Fifty Years of Hello, Dolly! Then, she took ill and it never happened. That will remain one of my biggest regrets.
My heart is full as I think of all that we've lost the past few weeks. Ironically, as I write these words, Judy Garland's Over The Rainbow, from the soundtrack just came on the radio. 
Eydie Gorme

Today, I celebrate them all and THANK THEM for the enjoyment they gave me and will continue to give thanks to film and recordings.

We also lost Regina Resnik and the actor who created Bunny Rabbit and Mr. Moose on Captain Kangaroo who died at 86, Gus "Cosmo" Allegretti.

Shirley Herz, a veteran theatre press agent who ran her own firm at a time when her industry was dominated by men, died Aug. 11, at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. The cause was complications from a stroke suffered on July 18, said Sam Altman, a longtime friend.
Born December 30, 1925 in Philadelphia, Ms. Herz worked in the theatre trenches for 65 years. She was honored in 2008 by having a section of the renamed Biltmore Theatre, now the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on West 47th Street, christened the “Shirley Herz and Bob Ullman Lobby."
(Bob Ullman, also a press agent, was a longtime colleague.)
Thank you to ALL that are mentioned in this blog for the gifts you have given to the world and continue to give!
Cosmo Allegretti, right, with Bob Keeshan in 1979.



Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!


Richard Skipper   

This Blog is dedicated to ALL THAT HAVE BEEN TOUCHED BY Hello, Dolly and ANYONE who has EVER had a connection with this show on ANY Level!

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