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Archive for the ‘Celebrity Deaths’ Category

LA Times – Amy Winehouse: Autopsy due in days; dad Mitch Winehouse flies home

Posted by 4love2love on July 24, 2011

Amy Winehouse fans remember her in Camden Square

With an autopsy on the body of Amy Winehouse yet to come and no signs of foul play found, her father Mitch has canceled his singing engagement at a New York jazz club and headed home.

Meanwhile, police called speculation as to the cause of Winehouse’s death “inappropriate” and fans in Camden Square left flowers, candles and more in her memory. Amy Winehouse was found dead Saturday in her north London home at age 27.

Pictures: Amy Winehouse, 1983-2011

“I am aware of reports suggesting that the death was a result of a suspected drug overdose, but I would like to re-emphasise that no post-mortem examination has yet taken place,” said Supt. Raj Kohli, who according to London papers confirmed it was Winehouse’s body found Saturday afternoon in Camden.

Scotland Yard told TMZ that there were no signs of foul play; because the death appeared accidental, an autopsy was unlikely to happen before Sunday or even Monday, police told Radar Online.

“We are very sad to report that the Mitch Winehouse performance on Monday July 25 is canceled due to the unexpected death of his daughter, Amy Winehouse,” the Blue Note New York jazz clubsaid on its website Saturday.

The former cabbie, who’d recently started singing jazz in public, was headed back to London to be with his family, TMZ said. Mitch Winehouse, who credited his daughter for his opportunity to perform, just told the New York Times that despite some rough times, in the last few weeks Amy had been “absolutely fantastic.”

On Twitter, celebs including Diddy, Rihanna, Demi Lovato, Natasha Bedingfield, Nicki Minaj, Ricky Martin and Selena Gomez acknowledged the singer’s death, lamenting her entry into the “27 Club” of performers — among them Kurt Cobain and Janis Joplin — whose lives ended at age 27.

“She was a lovely and intelligent person and when we recorded together she gave a soulful and extraordinary performance,” said singer Tony Bennett, who praised her “rare intuition as a vocalist” in a statement Saturday to Us Magazine. Winehouse was among those who recorded with him for “Duets 2,” an album to be released in August to mark his 85th birthday.

Pal Kelly Osbourne was distraught: “i cant even breath right my now im crying so hard i just lost 1 of my best friends. i love you forever Amy & will never forget the real you!”

Copyright 2011 Los Angeles Times


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LA Times – Amy Winehouse found dead at home; singer was 27

Posted by 4love2love on July 24, 2011

July 23, 2011 | 12:30 pm
Amy Winehouse is dead at 27

Amy Winehouse has been found dead in her northern London home, according to London police and ambulance crews who responded to the scene around 4 p.m. Saturday.

Though police confirmed that a 27-year-old woman had been found dead in Camden, they did not offer a cause of death for the soulful, bluesy singer whose father said only days ago that despite going through some rough stuff, “the last few weeks she’s been absolutely fantastic.”

Winehouse, whose second album, “Back to Black,” featured the hit “Rehab” and earned her five Grammys in 2008, had struggled with drugs and alcohol for years, recently canceling a European tour after being booed off the stage in Serbia.

Her father Mitch Winehouse, who started a jazz-singing career only recently, tweeted Thursday that he was off to New York, where he was booked for two Monday shows at the Blue Note. His daughter came to most of his London performances, he’d told the New York Times.

“She always gets up onstage and refuses to rehearse,” Mitch Winehouse said. “So we end up doing a couple of songs which are terrible. We just end up in fits of laughter. Everyone enjoys it because they can see we are enjoying it.

“She’s very, very supportive and she’s a great kid and she’s going through some rough stuff at the moment, but the last few weeks she’s been absolutely fantastic.”

Winehouse had been in and out of rehab over the years, and in and out of a relationship with Blake Fielder-Civil, and in court over allegations that she’d assaulted a fan. Winehouse had reportedly been working for years on a third album as well. She had recorded a song for Tony Bennett’s “Duets II,” which is scheduled for release in September, according to Pop & Hiss.

In her 90-minute Serbia set in June, Winehouse had mumbled through songs and occasionally left the stage, leaving her band to cover for her. Shortly before heading out on the road she’d checked herself out of rehab after a week, and her hotel was reportedly stripped of alcohol before the show. After the Belgrade gig, her camp decided that she should head home.

“Everyone involved wishes to do everything they can to help her return to her best and she will be given as long as it takes for this to happen,” a spokesman said at the time.

Here’s a link to the video for “Tears Dry on their Own,” a Ministry favorite. (How Winehouse of her to include that one well-placed cuss word that prevents us from embedding it. Sigh.)

“I cannot play myself again / I should just be my own best friend.”

RIP Amy Winehouse.

Copyright 2011 Los Angeles Times

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The Washington Post – Betty Ford dies at 93: Former first lady founded iconic clinic

Posted by 4love2love on July 9, 2011

By Donnie Radcliffe, Published: July 8

Betty Ford, a self-proclaimed “ordinary” woman who never cared for political life but made a liberating adventure out of her 30 months as first lady, died Friday at age 93.

“I decided that if the White House was our fate,” she once said of Gerald R. Ford’s brief presidency, “I might as well have a good time doing it.”

To the surprise of some and the consternation of others, Mrs. Ford evolved as an activist first lady whose non-threatening manner coupled with her newfound celebrity provided the women’s movement with an impressive ally. Undaunted by critics, she campaigned for ratification of the ill-starred Equal Rights Amendment, championed liberalized abortion laws and lobbied her husband to name more women to policymaking government jobs.

“Perhaps it was unusual for a first lady to be as outspoken about issues as I was, but that was my temperament, and I believed in it,” she said in an interview for this paper at her Rancho Mirage, Calif., home in 1994. “I don’t like to be dishonest, so when people asked me, I said what I thought.”

Her husband, who died in 2006, was a longtime Michigan congressman who became House minority leader. He served as Richard M. Nixon’s vice president before the Watergate scandal led him to succeed Nixon, who resigned Aug. 9, 1974, and become the nation’s 38th president. Mrs. Ford had not wanted her husband to be president, but once he took office, she was determined that Americans know him as one with integrity.

“I was against a pardon,” she said of Ford’s decision to release Nixon from his Watergate offenses, which critics viewed as a secret deal between the two men in exchange for Nixon’s resignation.

Fearing the pardon would undermine Ford’s still-fragile presidency, she said she argued that “it would be very detrimental. I saw the anger as far as Watergate was concerned and the anger at President Nixon. I said, ‘It’s not going to be popular, it’s not going to look good.’ And I wanted him to look good.”

In the end, she acquiesced to Ford’s rationale that he needed to “get the country going.” Impeachment proceedings “would have taken months in court, and he didn’t think the country could stand that kind of thing,” she said. “When you’re trying to turn things around because of the distrust and all that was out there, you’ve got to do something. And sometimes you have to do something extreme.”

Within weeks after Watergate claimed Nixon’s political life and the Fords were settled at the White House, she soared from nonentity to national heroine because of her candid disclosure that she had a nodule in her right breast and was entering Bethesda Naval Medical Command. When a biopsy showed the lump to be malignant, she underwent a radical mastectomy.

Although intended in part to suggest a new period of openness in the White House, the announcement had another — and unexpected — effect that she said had not occurred to her: Women across the country began seeking checkups for breast cancer.

“Circumstances made it appropriate for us to speak up about what was happening to me because we were in such a spotlight. I became the conduit and I was very glad to be one,” Mrs. Ford said. “The public needed to know that this didn’t have to be swept under the rug anymore, that this needed to be open and discussed.”

Although she once characterized political wives as dutiful “appendages” and early in her husband’s career had reconciled herself to being simply “Congressman Ford’s wife,” the Betty Ford whom Americans eventually came to know was no shrinking violet.

When interviewers asked brash questions about the family’s private lives, Mrs. Ford ingenuously responded in kind. She quipped that she slept with her husband “as often as I can,” would try marijuana if she were young again and she “wouldn’t be surprised” if her teenage daughter Susan were to have a premarital affair.

“I always had a more liberal view,” she said. Just because she was first lady didn’t mean she felt any different, Mrs. Ford said at one point. It could happen to anyone. “After all,” she said, “it has happened to anyone.”

Her unconventional opinions outraged some Americans who considered it a first lady’s obligation to be morally accountable in word as well as deed. Many of her detractors were fellow Republicans; many of her fans Democrats.

“I felt the public had a right to know where I stood,” she wrote in her 1978 autobiography, “The Times of My Life.” When Ford proclaimed indebtedness “to no man and only one woman” in his inaugural remarks, his wife said she, too, felt she had a moral obligation to uphold his pledge of candor and openness in his administration.

Thus, for Mrs. Ford, a frank, plain-spoken Midwesterner, going public became a pattern of action that would also punctuate her post-White House years. In 1978, she disclosed that her use of alcohol and mood-altering prescription drugs had become a serious dependency.

In what she has described as a painful “intervention” when her family confronted her with her problem, she agreed to enter the drug and alcohol rehabilitation program at Long Beach Naval Hospital. Of that experience came the momentum to establish the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, a live-in treatment program for alcoholics and drug abusers.

As “very much a believer” in fate, she often thought about how her life and those of others suffering from cancer or alcohol and drug addictions might have played out had her husband never become president.

Alcoholism had been a ghostly companion throughout Mrs. Ford’s life, starting with her father, a traveling salesman, and continuing with a brother after he returned from World War II. It also contributed to the dissolution of her first marriage when, as she later wrote, “I probably encouraged my husband to drink.”

Although she eventually thought she was “born alcoholic” and the pressures in her life had not suddenly transformed her into one, in “Betty: A Glad Awakening” (1987), she wrote that she always saw herself as a “controlled drinker, no binges.”

“I never thought it would touch me anymore than you expect cancer or diabetes,” she said.

Survivors include three sons, Mike, Steve and Jack Ford; a daughter, Susan Ford Bales; and her grandchildren.

Born Elizabeth Ann Bloomer on April 9, 1918, in Chicago, she was the only daughter and youngest of three children of William Stephenson and Hortense Neahr Bloomer. When she was 2, they moved to Grand Rapids, Mich. When she was 12, she went to her first dance, with a boy she married 12 years later.

Her father’s death by carbon monoxide poisoning in a garage accident when she was 16 came at the height of the Great Depression. By then she had an after-school job modeling in a local department store and on Saturdays gave dancing lessons in her aunt’s basement.

“Dancing was my happiness,” she wrote of her short-lived career, which included two summers at the Bennington School of Dance in Vermont, a winter in New York City under the tutelage of modern dance pioneer Martha Graham and, back in Grand Rapids, teaching dance for a bit before marrying insurance salesman William Warren in 1942.

“I could have as easily skipped it,” she said later of the marriage, which ended in divorce in 1947 with her vow never to remarry, particularly someone who traveled for a living. Within months Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr., a Grand Rapids lawyer five years her senior, changed her mind.

“If I had known he was going to run for Congress, I don’t think I would have married him,” she said in a 1973 interview with this reporter. “I really thought I was marrying a lawyer, and we’d be living in Grand Rapids.”

She first learned of his plans to run for Congress when he announced his candidacy for Michigan’s 5th Congressional District seat in the 1948 elections. Only later did she learn why Ford didn’t want the marriage to take place until late that fall. By then the primary election would be over and what he feared might be unpopular with Republican voters, marrying a divorced woman, would no longer pose a problem for him.

She later admitted that she had not understood what running for Congress meant or how unprepared she was to be a political wife. Told by a future sister-in-law that there would never be another woman in Ford’s life because he was married to his work, she never expected to have an even more demanding rival: politics.

Politics, in fact, had been an alien and contentious world to the attractive former John Robert Powers model. “I ignored it,” she said.

Still, she was apolitical enough to realize that she could live with her husband’s moderate Republican positions. When she married him on Oct. 15, 1948, at Grand Rapids’ Grace Episcopal Church, “that made up my mind” about a political affiliation.

They honeymooned by making the rounds of campaign rallies. She voted Republican for the first time by casting her ballot for her new husband. (Later, she made no secret of occasionally splitting her vote, to the chagrin of party loyalists.) Years afterward, when Ford’s White House advisers warned that her liberal feminist views could damage his 1976 presidential bid (“If Jerry Ford can’t control his own wife, how can he run the country?” went a popular refrain of the day), Mrs. Ford countered that she was “merely raising another voice within the party.”

The close-knit society of congressional wives that Mrs. Ford joined in January 1949 offered bipartisan friendships but imposed strict protocols, some glamorous but most of them duty-driven. In the shadow world where she lived with their four children, born from 1950 to 1957, wives were caretakers of family, hearth and husband.

Her dependency on prescription drugs began around 1964, when she was hospitalized for a pinched nerve in her neck, the result of an earlier injury while shoving up a kitchen window. As her pain increased, so did the dosages of pain-killing and mood-altering prescription drugs, among them Valium, which she took daily. Her physical discomfort, Ford’s frequent absences and her growing resentment over his preoccupation with work reached a point where she sought the help of a psychiatrist.

Then in 1972, with Democrats retaining control of the House, Ford realized he no longer had any realistic hope of becoming speaker. He promised his wife he would seek one more term and then retire from political life in January 1977. But Vice President Spiro Agnew’s fall from grace with his response of “nolo contendere” to charges of taking bribes forced the Fords to alter their timetable.

Although Nixon’s list of vice presidential nominees included longtime friend and political ally Ford, Mrs. Ford never took seriously speculation that he would choose her husband. Unknown to her, however, Ford had met on several occasions with Nixon chief of staff Alexander Haig and eventually Nixon himself.

On Oct. 12, 1973, the same day the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that Nixon must make available eight subpoenaed Oval Office tapes critical to the Watergate case, Nixon announced his nominee. In private, Nixon had assured Ford that he need not worry about becoming the party nominee in 1976 because he would be backing Treasury Secretary John Connally for president. According to Mrs. Ford, Nixon’s promise made her husband’s nomination palatable.

She received reporters in the Fords’ unpretentious split-level Alexandria home, to talk readily about her children, openly about her physical problems and optimistically about seeing more of her husband as vice president.

But an early clue that behind the stereotypical political wife there was a little-known feminist came in an interview with Barbara Walters. On the condition that they not discuss political issues, she faced up to Walters, whose first question was what she thought of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 decision on Roe v. Wade, which effectively legalized abortion.

As Mrs. Ford later recalled the encounter, “I just said, ‘Well, I’m delighted because I’m glad they have taken abortion out of the backwoods and put it into the hospitals.’ And, of course, that was the beginning. Nobody realized that I had ever had an opinion. I mean, ‘All those children? She couldn’t!’ ”

That September, at her debut news conference as first lady, she moved publicly closer to the liberal roots of her youth, confirming her earlier statement on abortion by aligning herself with the abortion rights position of vice-president-designate Nelson Rockefeller. She expressed her support of the Equal Rights Amendment, five states short of ratification, and urged women to take a more active role in politics. Mrs. Ford’s August 1975 taped interview with CBS “60 Minutes” correspondent Morley Safer earned her the lasting animus of scandalized Republican conservatives and provided them another excuse to champion Ronald Reagan as the party challenger in 1976.

If Ford thought his wife “a little mouthy” about ERA, she said in 1994 that their children were indignant that they had become the subject of speculation about whether they had smoked marijuana (“Probably,” Mrs. Ford told Safer), premarital sex (it might reduce the divorce rate, she mused) and how she might respond if daughter Susan told her she was having an affair (“She’s a perfectly normal human being. . . . I would certainly counsel and advise her on the subject.”)

Privately, Ford pitched a pillow at her when he watched the program later. Publicly, he joked that his wife cost him “10 million votes,” then in a further attempt to minimize the political consequences with facetious exaggeration, upped the figure to 20 million. Anti-Ford forces were incensed that the president and his wife appeared to condone immorality and told her so in a barrage of critical mail.

A look back at the life and legacy of former first lady Betty Ford who died at the age of 93.

Attempting to defuse her remarks, Mrs. Ford subsequently wrote in a letter to her critics that “the emotion of my words spoke to the need of this communication, rather than the specific issues discussed.”

By year’s end, however, her approval rating jumped from 50 percent to 75 percent, making her the nation’s most admired woman.

When the 1976 presidential campaign got underway, it was Mrs. Ford who drew the crowds and inspired the campaign buttons that read: “Elect Betty’s Husband for President.”

Former Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter’s defeat of Ford by 2 percentage points raised the question of whether some of Mrs. Ford’s intemperate remarks had contributed to her husband’s loss. In California, where the Fords moved to establish a life away from Washington, she spoke of feeling unwanted, unnecessary and alone. She grappled with empty-nest syndrome by taking as many as 25 pills a day. By evening, she added before- and after-dinner vodka and tonics.

In April 1978, confronted with her addictions by her worried family, she agreed to seek help at the Navy’s rehabilitation facility in Long Beach. This time when Mrs. Ford returned home, fate handed her another assignment: point person in a fundraising campaign to build a $7.6 million chemical dependency recovery facility.

Four years later, the Betty Ford Center opened on the grounds of the Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, with its namesake as chairman of the board. She later was instrumental in expanding its services to include a family therapy program and a women’s treatment center.

She was an early proponent of help for AIDS victims and continued her support for women’s rights. As namesake of the Betty Ford Comprehensive Center for Breast Cancer at the old Columbia Hospital for Women in Washington, she remained a symbol of the importance of early detection.

In 1993, feeling they would have more impact together than as individuals, Mrs. Ford and her former campaign rival Rosalynn Carter joined forces to urge the White House and Congress to include in any health-care reform legislation being written coverage for mental health and substance abuse.

Although it would be another 17 years before a health-care package was enacted, Mrs. Ford, who had helped advance the role of future first ladies from dutiful “appendages” to activist partners, remained convinced that making the effort had always been worth it.

“When you have so much,” she said, “it is just human nature that you see the needs of others and you want to help.”

Radcliffe, a longtime Washington Post journalist, died in February 2010.



© 2011 The Washington Post


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NY Times – American Artist Who Scribbled a Unique Path

Posted by 4love2love on July 6, 2011

CY TWOMBLY, 1928-2011

Michael Stravato for The New York Times

Cy Twombly with his painting “1994 Untitled (Say Goodbye Catullus, to the Shores of Asia Minor),” at the Menil Collection in Houston in 2005. More Photos »

Published: July 5, 2011

Cy Twombly, whose spare, childlike scribbles and poetic engagement with antiquity left him stubbornly out of step with the movements of postwar American art even as he became one of the era’s most important painters, died on Tuesday in Rome. He was 83.

The Art of Cy Twombly

His death was announced by the Gagosian Gallery, which represents his work. Mr. Twombly had battled cancer for several years.

In a career that slyly subverted Abstract Expressionism, toyed briefly with Minimalism, seemed barely to acknowledge Pop art and anticipated some of the concerns of Conceptualism, Mr. Twombly was a divisive artist almost from the start. The curator Kirk Varnedoe, on the occasion of a 1994 retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, wrote that his work was “influential among artists, discomfiting to many critics and truculently difficult not just for a broad public, but for sophisticated initiates of postwar art as well.”

The critic Robert Hughes called him “the Third Man, a shadowy figure, beside that vivid duumvirate of his friends Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg.”

Mr. Twombly’s decision to settle permanently in southern Italy in 1957 as the art world shifted decisively in the other direction, from Europe to New York, was only the most symbolic of his idiosyncrasies. He avoided publicity throughout his life and mostly ignored his critics, who questioned constantly whether his work deserved a place at the forefront of 20th century abstraction, though he lived long enough to see it arrive there. It didn’t help that his paintings, because of their surface complexity and whirlwinds of tiny detail — scratches, erasures, drips, penciled fragments of Italian and classical verse amid scrawled phalluses and buttocks — lost much of their power in reproduction.

But Mr. Twombly, a tall, rangy Virginian who once practiced drawing in the dark to make his lines less purposeful, steadfastly followed his own program and looked to his own muses — often literary ones, like Catullus, Rumi, Pound and Rilke. He seemed to welcome the privacy that came with unpopularity.

“I had my freedom and that was nice,” he said in a rare interview, with Nicholas Serota, the director of the Tate, before a 2008 survey of his career at the Tate Modern.

The critical low point probably came after a widely panned 1964 exhibition at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York. The artist and writer Donald Judd, who was hostile toward painting in general, was especially damning, calling the show a fiasco. “There are a few drips and splatters and an occasional pencil line,” he wrote in a review. “There isn’t anything to these paintings.”

But by the 1980s, with the rise of neo-Expressionism, a generation of younger artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat found inspiration in Mr. Twombly’s skittery bathroom-graffiti scrawl. Coupled with rising interest in European artists whose work shared unexpected ground with Twombly’s, like Joseph Beuys, the newfound attention brought him a kind of critical favor he had never enjoyed before. And by the next decade, he was highly sought after not only by European museums and collectors, who had discovered his work early on, but also by those back in his homeland who had not known what to make of him two decades before.

In 1989, the Philadelphia Museum of Art opened permanent rooms dedicated to his monumental 10-painting cycle, “Fifty Days at Iliam,” based on Alexander Pope’s translation of “The Iliad.” (Mr. Twombly said that he purposely misspelled Ilium, a Latin name for Troy, with an “a,” to refer to Achilles.) That same year, Mr. Twombly’s work passed the million dollar mark at auction. In 1995, the Menil Collection in Houston opened a new gallery dedicated to his work, designed by Renzo Piano after a plan by Mr. Twombly himself. Despite this growing acceptance, Mr. Varnedoe still felt it necessary to include an essay in the Modern’s newsletter at the time of the retrospective, titled “Your Kid Could Not Do This, and Other Reflections on Cy Twombly.”

‘It Does Not Illustrate’

In the only written statement Mr. Twombly ever made about his work, a short essay in an Italian art journal in 1957, he tried to make clear that his intentions were not subversive but elementally human. Each line he made, he said, was “the actual experience” of making the line, adding: “It does not illustrate. It is the sensation of its own realization.” Years later, he described this more plainly. “It’s more like I’m having an experience than making a picture,” he said. The process stood in stark contrast to the detached, effete image that often clung to Mr. Twombly. After completing a work, in a kind of ecstatic state, it was as if the painting existed but he himself barely did anymore: “I usually have to go to bed for a couple of days,” he said.

Edwin Parker Twombly Jr., was born in Lexington, Va., on April 25, 1928, to parents who had moved to the South from New England. His father, a talented athlete who pitched a summer for the Chicago White Sox and went on to become a revered college swimming coach, was nicknamed Cy, after Cy Young, the Hall of Fame pitcher. The younger Mr. Twombly (pronounced TWAHM-blee) inherited the name, though he was much more bookish than athletic as a child, with stooped shoulders and a high ponderous forehead. He read avidly and, discovering his calling early, he worked from art kits he ordered from the Sears Roebuck catalog. As a teenager, he studied with the Spanish painter Pierre Daura, who had left Europe after the Spanish Civil War and settled in Lexington. Daura’s wife, Louise Blair, studied cave paintings and may have sparked Mr. Twombly’s early interest in Paleolithic art.

In 1947 he attended the Boston Museum School, where German Expressionism was the rage, but Mr. Twombly gravitated to his own interests, like Dada and Kurt Schwitters and particularly to Jean Dubuffet and Alberto Giacometti, two important early influences. He moved back to Lexington in 1949 and studied art at Washington and Lee University, where his talent impressed teachers. By 1950, he was in New York, the recipient of a scholarship to the Art Students League. Later in his life, he cited visiting Willem de Kooning’s studio and seeing an Arshile Gorky retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art as important moments in his young painting life. But he also came to New York at the heyday of the New York School and was exposed to the work of almost all its giants in the city’s galleries. He turned down an offer for a solo show of his paintings at the Art Students League in 1950, saying that he felt it was too early for him.

He met Rauschenberg, a fellow student at the league, during his second semester, and Rauschenberg later persuaded Mr. Twombly to enroll at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, which had become a crucible for the American avant-garde, with John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Ray Johnson, Dorothea Rockburne and John Chamberlain among its faculty and students. Mr. Twombly, who studied with Ben Shahn, stayed at the college only briefly and was a bit of an outsider even then. As he told Mr. Serota: “I was always doing my own thing. I always wondered why there are books with photographs of all the artists of that period and I was only in one! I thought: ‘Where was I?’ ”

In the summer of 1952, after receiving a grant from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Mr. Twombly traveled to Europe for the first time and met up with Rauschenberg. The two wandered through Italy, North Africa and Spain, an experience that later yielded some of the first paintings to be considered a part of Mr. Twombly’s mature work. “Tiznit,” made with white enamel house paint and pencil and crayon, with gouges and scratches in the surface, was named for a town in Morocco that he had visited, and the painting’s primitivist shapes were inspired by tribal pieces he saw at the ethnographic museum in Rome, as well as by artists like Dubuffet, de Kooning and Franz Kline.

The painting, along with another based on tribal motifs, was exhibited in 1953 at Eleanor Ward’s Stable Gallery on West 58th Street along with monochromatic paintings by Rauschenberg. The show was generally savaged. (Early this year, the Museum of Modern Art acquired “Tiznit,” along with another early work, which Mr. Twombly had kept in his personal collection.)

Mr. Twombly was drafted and spent more than a year in the Army, where he was assigned to cryptography work in Washington. On weekends and leaves, he continued to paint and draw, sometimes at night with the lights out to try to lose techniques he had learned in art classes and to express himself more instinctively. After receiving a medical discharge and teaching for a time in Virginia, Mr. Twombly returned to New York and worked in a studio on William Street, near both Rauschenberg and Johns, who helped choose titles for his paintings during this period.

Mr. Twombly tried without success for several months to get a grant to go back to Europe and in 1957, with Ward’s help, he spent several months in Italy, where he met Tatiana Franchetti, a portrait painter and member of a storied family of Italian art patrons. They were married in 1959 at City Hall in New York and their son, Cyrus Alessandro, was born that year. She died in 2010. Mr. Twombly is survived by his son; two grandchildren, and by Nicola Del Roscio, his longtime companion.

In Love With Italy

Mr. Twombly fell in love with Italy, which reminded him of the faded grandeur of Lexington. (“Virginia is a good start for Italy,” he once said.) He rented an apartment facing the Coliseum in Rome and began to work on larger scale paintings, which were increasingly spare, incorporating scrawled words and doodle-like shapes on a smudged off-white background, establishing a lifelong reputation as a high-art graffitist that generally irked him. He told Mr. Serota that while early paintings made visual reference to ancient graffiti, his intentions were “more lyrical” and his inclusion of phalluses and female body parts were often just ways to evoke male and female presences in the work. If his aspirations were toward any period, he later said, it was an early neo-Classicism, like that of Poussin, whom he said he would have liked to have been. (In his final days, he at least communed with his hero’s spirit; the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London opened a show on June 29 pairing his works with Poussin’s.)

In 1958, Mr. Twombly left Ward’s Stable Gallery and began to show at Leo Castelli, which represented Rauschenberg and Johns and was establishing them as presences in the New York art world. Mr. Twombly continued to live and work in and around Rome, but he traveled extensively, to the Sahara, Greece, Egypt and Turkey. In 1964 his work was included in one of the first exhibitions to explore the ideas of Minimalism, “Black, White and Grey,” at the Wadsworth Athenaeum in Hartford, with a roster of rising stars like Agnes Martin, Frank Stella and Andy Warhol.

But the same year, Mr. Twombly’s “Nine Discourses on Commodus,” an ambitious painting cycle he made after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, based on the life and death of the Roman emperor, received scathing reviews in a show at the Castelli gallery. In addition to Judd’s condemnation, other critics dismissed the work as nostalgically backward-looking or barely there; one described paintings of “indecisive pinkish scrawled areas floating across each other at the edges.” According to the catalog for the Tate Modern show, the criticism damaged Mr. Twombly’s career and caused him to paint less for several years. His aversion to the press might also have been cemented at this point; not long after the Castelli show, Vogue magazine ran a piece about Mr. Twombly, lavishly illustrated with pictures by Horst P. Horst of his elegant Roman apartment. The article noted archly that his wealth and comfort had led to “Twombly being suspected of having fallen for ‘grandeur’ ” and to a view among American critics that he had “somehow betrayed the cause.”

In the 1960’s, he began to work for periods of time back in Lexington and in New York, where he used the collector and curator David Whitney’s loft and then rented space on the Bowery. In 1972, he began working on one of the largest canvases of his career, a painting inspired by Burton’s “Anatomy of Melancholy,” which would take him 22 years to complete and is now installed in the Twombly gallery at the Menil Collection.

With the opening of that gallery Mr. Twombly fully entered what might be called the Old Master stage of a career that had taken a long time to arrive there, though his presence is still muted in the narrative of postwar art told by many American museum collections.

In 2010, the Louvre unveiled a ceiling painting it commissioned by Mr. Twombly, a 3,750-square-foot work in the museum’s Salle des Bronzes, next door to a ceiling triptych created more than half a century before by Georges Braque. The work is as calm and classical as his many of his early paintings were stormy and scatological: a listing of Hellenic sculptors against a deep blue background with planet-like discs. Characteristically, Mr. Twombly said little about the work.

Just before the retrospective at the Modern opened in 1994, he submitted reluctantly to an interview with The New York Times, sounding more agitated by the attention the show directed his way than vindicated by the recognition.

“I have my pace and way of living,” he said, in his hillside house in Gaeta, south of Rome, “and I’m not looking for something.” Of reputation and artistic acclaim, he added: “It’s something I don’t think about. If it happens, it happens, but don’t bother me with it. I couldn’t care less.”

© 2011 The New York Times

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Pop Eater – ‘Road Trip’ Actress Mia Amber Davis Dies at 36

Posted by 4love2love on July 2, 2011

By Kiki Von Glinow  Posted May 11th 2011 01:40PM

Mia Amber Davis, known for her role in ‘Road Trip,’ in which she plays a voluptuous woman who seduces the geeky main character, died in Los Angeles on Tuesday, according to a TMZ report. She was 36.

Plus Model Magazine, where Davis worked as an editor, took to their blog to comment on her death.

“Mia was a super model and industry leader because it was her love for the women she represented that kept pushing her when the industry itself did not embrace her … Today we lost our dear friend, plus size model, industry leader and colleague but we have one more heavenly angel watching over us.”

The cause of her death has yet to be released, but TMZ has learned that Davis underwent a routine knee surgery in Los Angeles on Monday, a day before her death. Her husband, in New York at the time, tells the site that he spoke to his wife on Tuesday and she sounded fine, but hours later heard from a cousin that she was taken to the hospital with dizziness.

Not long after, he was informed that his wife had died. “I want to know what happened to my wife.”

© Copyright 2011 AOL Inc.

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Pop Eater – ‘Jackass’ Star Ryan Dunn, 34, Dies in Car Crash

Posted by 4love2love on July 2, 2011

By PopEater Staff  Posted Jun 20th 2011 10:35AM

‘Jackass’ star Ryan Dunn died early Monday in a Pennsylvania car crash, police confirmed. April Margera, the mother of a fellow ‘Jackass’ dare devil, Bam Margera, told a local radio station and later TMZ that Dunn was killed in the car wreck that also left one other, who has yet to be identified, dead. He was 34.

“Today I lost my brother Ryan Dunn,” said ‘Jackass’ boss Johnny Knoxville in a statement. “My heart goes out to his family and his beloved Angie. RIP Ryan , I love you buddy.”

The Morning Freak Show on 96.1 is reporting that Dunn was at the wheel when his 2007 Porsche careened over the road’s guardrail and into the woods before bursting into flames. The collision occurred at roughly 3:00 AM Monday morning on Pennsylvania’s Route 322.

“Ryan was a wonderful person he really was the sweetest and nicest guy — he was like my extra son, everybody loved him,” April Margera told Radar Online.

Margera has not been able to reach her son, one of Dunn’s best friends, as he is currently traveling in Arizona. She also mentioned that Dunn’s longtime girlfriend is not taking any calls and has turned off her phone.

A photo of the charred wreckage was posted on Twitter, apparently by the towing company. They were quickly taken down but uploaded on Flickr. The images show the extent of the fire that engulfed the vehicle.

Just hours before his death, Dunn tweeted a photo of himself and two pals — documenting their night out, beer and cigarette in hand.

Although it has not yet been officially confirmed who was driving when it crashed or the cause of the accident, Chief Deputy Coroner David Garner told Chester County’s Daily Local News that there was only one vehicle involved in the crash.

“Preliminary investigation revealed that speed may have been a contributing factor to the accident,” police said in a press release. At this time, the report also categorizes the incident as an ‘Auto Accident’ rather than a ‘DUI.’

Both bodies suffered severe burns in the wreck, and emergency responders could not immediately identify them, but police have confirmed that one of the victims was Dunn. The identity of Dunn’s passenger will be revealed pending autopsy results due out later today.

In between projects with ‘Jackass,’ the fun-loving stuntman appeared regularly in spin-offs like ‘Viva La Bam’ and ‘Bam’s Unholy Union,’ later launching his own MTV show, ‘Home Wrecker’ and appearing in films such as ‘Haggard’ and ‘A Halfway House Christmas.’

© Copyright 2011 AOL Inc.

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Leslie Nielsen dies 84

Posted by 4love2love on June 29, 2011

Leslie William Nielsen, OC (February 11, 1926 -November 28, 2010) was a Canadian actor and comedian. Although his acting career crosses a variety of genres in both television and films, Nielsen achieved his greatest successes in the comedy films Airplane! and The Naked Gun. His portrayal of serious characters seemingly oblivious to (and complicit in) their absurd surroundings gives him a reputation as a comedian.

Nielsen’s lead roles in the films Forbidden Planet and The Poseidon Adventure came long before he considered a turn to comedy. His deadpan delivery as a doctor in 1980’s Airplane! marked a turning point in Nielsen’s career, one that would make him, in the words of film critic Roger Ebert, “the Olivier of spoofs.” Nielsen appeared in over 100 films and 1,500 television programs over the span of his career, portraying over 220 characters.

Death of Leslie Nielsen
In November 2010, Nielsen was admitted to a Fort Lauderdale, Florida hospital for pneumonia. On November 28, Nielsen’s nephew announced to the CJOB radio station that Nielsen had died in his sleep around 5:30 p.m. EST, surrounded by family and friends. His nephew reflected on Nielsen’s life, “He was truly a nice man. A very caring, naturally funny guy in day-to-day life, not just because someone wrote something on paper for him. He was a very tender-hearted man. He was one of my best friends and I loved him dearly. I’ll miss him greatly.”

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Geraldine Doyle, WWII Poster ‘We Can Do It!’ Inspiration, Dies 86

Posted by 4love2love on June 29, 2011

Geraldine Hoff Doyle (July 31, 1924 — December 26, 2010) was the real-life model for the World War II era We Can Do It posters, an embodiment of the iconic World War II character Rosie the Riveter.

Because the We Can Do It poster was created for an internal Westinghouse project, it did not become widely known until the 1980s, when it began to be used by advocates of women’s equality in the workplace.

In 1942 Geraldine found work as a metal presser in a Michigan factory. (As men started enlisting and being drafted into military service for World War II, women began to support the war effort by taking on roles, including factory work, that were formerly considered “male only.”)

Because she was a cello player, Geraldine feared a hand injury from the metal pressing machines and soon left the factory. During the brief time she worked there a wire photographer took a picture of her. That image – re-imagined by graphic artist J. Howard Miller while working for the Westinghouse Company’s War Production Coordinating Committee — became the basis for the poster Miller created during a Westinghouse anti-absenteeism and anti-strike campaign.

Doyle didn’t know she was the model for We Can Do It until 1984, when she came across the original photograph in a 1940’s back issue of Modern Maturity Magazine.

Death of Geraldine Doyle
Geraldine Doyle died in Lansing, Michigan, due to complications from arthritis.
Geraldine Hoff Doyle was 86 years old at the time of her death.

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Peggy Rea, Actress (Dukes of Hazzard, I Love Lucy,etc.. ), Dies 89

Posted by 4love2love on June 29, 2011

Peggy Rea (March 31, 1921 – February 5, 2011) was an American character actress known for her many roles in television, often playing matronly characters. Her recurring roles included:

  • Cousin Bertha on All in the Family
  • Martha Burkhorn on All in the Family
  • Rose Burton on The Waltons
  • Lulu Hogg on The Dukes of Hazzard
  • Ivy Baker on Step by Step
  • Jean Kelly on Grace Under Fire

Rea appeared in such television programs as I Love Lucy, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Sergeant Bilko, Ironside, Burke’s Law, Marcus Welby, M.D., Hunter, The Odd Couple, Gidget, MacGyver, and The Golden Girls. She also appeared in feature films, including Cold Turkey and In Country.

Death of Peggy Rea
Peggy Rea died of congestive heart failure at her home in Toluca Lake, Calif.,
Peggy Rea was 89 years old at the time of her death

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Elizabeth Taylor, Screen Legend, Dies 79

Posted by 4love2love on June 29, 2011


Dame Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor, DBE (February 27, 1932 – March 23, 2011), also known as Liz Taylor, was an English-American actress. A former child star, she grew to be known for her acting talent and beauty, as well as her Hollywood lifestyle, including many marriages. Taylor was considered one of the great actresses of Hollywood’s golden age. The American Film Institute named Taylor seventh on its Female Legends list.

Elizabeth Taylor Cause of Death
Elizabeth Taylor dealt with various health problems over the years. In 2004 it was announced that she was suffering from congestive heart failure, and in 2009 she underwent cardiac surgery to replace a leaky valve. In February 2011 new symptoms related to congestive heart failure caused her to be admitted into Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for treatment.

Elizabeth Taylor died on 23 March 2011 surrounded by her four children at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California
Elizabeth Taylor was 79 years old at the time of her death.

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Mel McDaniel, Grand Ole Opry Country musician, dies 68

Posted by 4love2love on June 29, 2011

Mel McDaniel (September 6, 1942 – March 31, 2011) was an American country music artist. His chartmaking years were the 1980s and his hits from that era include “Louisiana Saturday Night,” “Stand Up,” “Anger and Tears,” the Number One “Baby’s Got Her Blue Jeans On”, “I Call It Love”, “Stand On It” and a remake of Chuck Berry’s “Let It Roll (Let It Rock).”

His career finally took off with “Louisiana Saturday Night” in 1981, a number one hit “Baby’s Got Her Blue Jeans On” in 1984 and Top 10 hits, like “Right in the Palm of Your Hand” (later covered by Alan Jackson in 1999), “Take Me to the Country,” “Big Ole Brew,” and “I Call It Love.”

McDaniel was a member of the Grand Ole Opry (since 1986) and made frequent appearances on the show.

McDaniel was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in 2006, along with induction classmate Leon Russell.

Mel McDaniel’s Health and Cause of Death
Since 1996, he had been recovering from a near-fatal fall into an orchestra pit, suffered while he was performing at a show in Lafayette, Louisiana. On June 16, 2009, McDaniel suffered a heart attack, putting him in a medically induced coma in a Nashville area hospital according to The Tennessean. Mel’s wife, Peggy, requested the prayers of the singer’s fans, saying his situation was “not good.” McDaniel died March 31, 2011 as a result of cancer.

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Yvette Vickers, Pin-up Model’s Mummified Body found

Posted by 4love2love on June 29, 2011

Yvette Vickers (August 26, 1928 – death discovered April 27, 2011, in Beverly Hills, California) was a blond-haired, blue-eyed American actress, pin-up model and singer.

In 1959, she appeared as the Playboy Playmate of the Month for the July issue. Her centerfold was photographed by Russ Meyer. She also appeared in several other men’s magazines.

Her neighbor became concerned after noticing a large pile of yellowing mail in her mailbox as well as spider webs across her front door. Her mummified body was found inside her home on April 27, 2011. It was unclear when she died, but may have been months (up to almost a year).

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‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage, WWF Wrester, Died 58

Posted by 4love2love on June 29, 2011

Randall Mario Poffo (November 15, 1952 – May 20, 2011), better known by his ring name “Macho Man” Randy Savage, was an American professional wrestler and actor best known for his time with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW). He also had a short run with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA). Savage held twenty championships during his professional wrestling career and is a seven-time world champion: a two-time WWF Champion, four-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion, and one-time USWA Unified World Heavyweight Champion. Also a one-time WWF Intercontinental Champion, WWE has named Savage the greatest Intercontinental champion of all time and credited him for bringing “a higher level of credibility to the title through his amazing in-ring performances.” Aside from championships, Savage is the 1987 WWF King of the Ring and the 1995 WCW World War 3 winner. For much of his tenures in the WWF and WCW, he was managed by his real life wife, “Miss Elizabeth” Hulette.

Miss Elizabeth died May 1, 2003, at the age of 42

Randy Savage Cause of Death
Randy Savage suffered a heart attack around 10AM while driving on a highway in Tampa, Florida before losing control of the vehicle and crashing.  Randy Savage was driving a 2009 Jeep Wrangler when he “veered across a concrete median … through oncoming traffic … and “collided head-on with a tree.” His wife Lynn was a passenger but survived with “minor injuries”. According to officials, both were wearing their seat belts at the time.
Randy Savage was 58 years old at the time of his death

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Joseph Brooks, “You Light Up My Life” Songwriter, Dies Before Trial 73

Posted by 4love2love on June 29, 2011

Important Background Story:
Joseph Brooks was waiting for a trial on charges of sexually assaulting of more than a dozen women.  He allegedly lured the women to his apartment to audition for movie roles.  He was indicted on June 23, 2009. He was being tried by Manhattan’s state Supreme Court for 91 counts and charged with rape, sexual abuse, criminal sexual act, assault, and other charges.

A month ago, Joseph Brooks’ son was accused of murdering a swimsuit designer.


Joseph Brooks (March 11, 1938 – May 22, 2011) was an American screenwriter, director, producer, and composer. He composed the hit song “You Light Up My Life” for the film of the same name that he also wrote, directed, and produced.

In the 1960s Brooks was a composer of advertising jingles, including highly successful ones for Pepsi, “You’ve Got a Lot to Live”, and Maxwell House, “Good to the Last Drop Feeling”.

In October 1977 “You Light Up My Life” reached #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 popularity charts where it held the top position for 10 consecutive weeks, which was then the longest run at #1 in the chart’s history. With sales of over four million copies in the United States alone, the song ultimately became the biggest hit of the 1970s. It also hit #1 Adult Contemporary and was even a Top 10 “Country” single. The passionate ballad also earned Brooks a Grammy Award for Song of the Year as well as an Academy Award for Best Original Song, a Golden Globe Award and an American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Award. The song was Debby Boone’s first solo hit record and only Top 40 Pop hit.

Joseph Brooks Cuase of Death
Police reported on May 22, 2011, that Brooks was found dead by a friend of an apparent suicide. He was 73 years old. His body was found in his Upper East Side apartment with a plastic dry cleaning bag around his head and a towel around his neck. His body was near a helium tank with a hose on it and a suicide note.

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‘Grease’ actor Jeff Conaway has died

Posted by 4love2love on June 29, 2011

Jeffrey Charles William Michael Conaway (October 5, 1950 – May 27, 2011, known by his stage name, Jeff Conaway, was an American actor, best known for his roles in the movie Grease, and the US TV series Taxi and Babylon 5. He also directed the 1992 film Bikini Summer 2.

Jeff Conaway Cause of Death
On May 11, 2011, Conaway was found unconscious from what was initially described as an overdose of what was believed to be pain medication, and was taken to a hospital in Encino, California, where he was listed as being in critical condition and in a coma.  After the initial reports, Dr. Drew Pinsky, who had treated Conaway for substance abuse, said the actor was suffering not from a drug overdose but rather from “pneumonia with sepsis”, for which he was placed into an induced coma.

While pneumonia was the cause of death, the doctor who treated him for drug addiction for years says it was his dependence on prescription painkillers that eventually cost him his life.

“Jeff was a severe, severe opiate addict with chronic pain, one of the most serious and dangerous combination of problems you could possibly interact with,” Dr. Drew Pinsky said during a taping for Friday night’s “Dr. Drew” on HLN.

Jeff Conaway died on May 27, 2011, after 2 weeks in a comma.
Jeff Conaway was 60 years old at the time of his death.

Conaway appeared on VH1’s ‘Celebrity Fit Club’ in 2008 and later on ‘Celebrity Rehab,’ where he admitted to being addicted to cocaine, painkillers and alcohol.

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