Friday, January 16, 2009
May All Rest In Peace
The textbook definition of being "multi-talented" can be summed up in two words: Eartha Kitt, who died from colon cancer on December 25, Christmas Day.
Actress (television, film, theater), singer, dancer. Orson Wells called her, "the most exciting woman in the world." And gorgeous, she was just gorgeous.
And, no offense at all to the other actors who played the role of Catwoman, Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether and Halle Berry, but Eartha was The Best Catwoman ever. Her delicious purr, and delicate balance of sensuality and evilness as Catwoman was simply the best.
Her version of "Autumn Leaves", spectacularly beautiful.
The club mix of her solo hit, "Where Is My Man" kicks ass, purrs and all.
Her rendition of "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" takes a back seat to no blues or jazz singer.
And, of course, her fantastic version of "Santa Baby."
And Ms. Kitt knew whom and where to place the blame for Vietnam:
...during the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson, Kitt encountered a substantial professional setback after she made anti-war statements during a White House luncheon. "In 1968 she was invited to a White House luncheon and was asked by Lady Bird Johnson about the Vietnam War. She replied: 'You send the best of this country off to be shot and maimed. No wonder the kids rebel and take pot.' The remark reportedly caused Mrs. Johnson to burst into tears and led to a derailment in Ms. Kitt's career." The public reaction to Kitt's statements was much more extreme, both for and against her statements. Publicly ostracized in the US, she devoted her energies to overseas performances.
Ricardo Montalban has has died at the age of 88.
Known to many as Mr. Roarke from the television series, "Fantasy Island," as well as "Star Trek" Villain Khan in both the television series and film, "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan."
Best Khan quote ever, from "Wrath of Khan," Khan's last words:
[Khan] liberally paraphrases Ahab, with his final lines to Kirk nearly verbatim, Ahab's tirade at the end of the novel: "to the last I grapple with thee; from Hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee."
Scrolling through his filmography, I don't know when he found time to eat or sleep. He was always working. He provided the voice of a cow on a recent episode of "Family Guy."
Other memorable acting gigs included 1988's "Naked Gun" film, sci-fi classics "Escape From The Planet of The Apes" and "Conquest of The Planet of The Apes," as well as "Columbo," "Chicago Hope" and many other hit television series.
And, of course, his television commercials for The Chrysler Cordoba and its rich, Corinthian leather of which he was always good natured when being ribbed about that phrase.
The guy seemed to never stop working. He loved his craft and it showed.
- - - - - - - - - -
American-born but Irish actor Patrick McGoohan has died at the age of 80.
Best known for his tole in the British television drama "The Prisoner," where his character spent the entire time attempting to escape from The Village and finding out the identity of his captor, the elusive Number One. "The Prisoner" still has an active, avid, cult following. I only remember seeing it in reruns and I loved it. From the previously linked BBC story:
"His [McGoohan's] creation of The Prisoner made an indelible mark on the sci-fi, fantasy and political thriller genres, creating one of the most iconic characters of all time[.]"
He also appeared in Mel Gibson's "Braveheart," and two of my favorite all time films: "Scanners," and co-starring with Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder in "Silver Streak."
Like Montalban, McGoohan guest starred on several hit television programs including "Columbo" and "Murder, She Wrote."
Like Montalban, McGoohan's filmography indicates his love for his craft by a seemingly endless amount of work.
We have damn near 300 years worth of talent from these three individuals. All were unique, all had talent that is evident in so many areas of the entertainment industry and we are fortunate as hell to have their works on film, video, DVD, records, CDs and Mp3s so we can enjoy their performances again and again.
I don't use this phrase loosely, not by any means, but we will not - not ever - see the likes of these three people again.
May they all rest in peace.
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We did lose so much talent in a matter of around three weeks. What is it about Christmas day...with Eartha Kitt dying and was it a year ago on Christmas day that James Brown died?
I have to find The Prisoner somewhere and watch all 17 episodes again. I only remember seeing reruns on cable years ago and I didn't see each episode or a chronological progression of it.
Yeah...man...if I can be as active and have my faculties about me when I'm in my 80's as Kitt, Montalban and McGoohan did...I think that's how we all hope it goes.
I think every singer from Sinatra to Bennett to Harry Connick to Mel Torme to Ray Charles - all of at some point - recorded "Autumn Leaves." Eartha Kitt's version is just so perfect and beautiful. Her voice was just...just...it was Heaven. Thanks for your input, as always. You bring so much to the table with your blog and with your comments.
Dos Equis would have been a good company for him to do some ads for, I agree.
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