Friday, November 21, 2014
mike nichols

After I read the news of Mike Nichols death, early yesterday morning....All I could think about was what a great and special man he was----so talented in every way----writer, director, actor.....an exceptional human being in every way----the loss to his dear dear wife and family----the loss to all of us-----especially those of my generation.


I remember Nichols and May.....what a team they were----How truly side-splitingly funny they were---how we all bought their recordings, wanting to savor forever their on-the-nose-humor where human foibles were concerned---that GREAT sketch where they were mother and son-----it was truthful and painful and hysterically funny, all at the same time.
And his incredible gifts as a Director-----winning 9 Tony's.  NINE!
A Grammy, a couple of Oscars and a couple of Emmy's, too......He was in that rarefied small group known as 'EGOTS'----people who had won the big four Awards given to those few people who have proven their talents in all the 'Arts'---Theatre, Movies, Music or Spoken Word and Television.....
I did not know Mike Nichols, though I spoke to him once, on the telephone---a funny story too long to go into here.....
But.....I felt like I knew him and more than that, that he knew me. 
His work---his choices of plays and films touched me deeply.


"Angels In America"; and epic life-changing work,  brought to the small screen by HBO....His love and attention and understanding of Tony Kushner's play spoke volumes to the heart and the head.
"Birdcage", a funny treasure of a film based on the French film, 'La Cage Aux Folles'....The casting was superb----Robin Williams and Nathan Lane and Gene Hackman and Diane Wiest among many other wonderful actors----
"Who'd Afraid Of Virginia Woolf", starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor----getting performances from them that were unforgettably memorable.....
He discovered Whoopi Goldberg doing stand-up in a small theatre in New York in 1984 and brought her to Broadway---making her "career".
The list goes on and on......films like "The Graduate", "Silkwood", "Catch-22" and on and on....He directed Robert Redford and Elizabeth Ashley on Broadway in "Barefoot In The Park", by Neil Simon.....and, again, Simon's "The Odd Couple" for Broadway, with Walter Mathau and Art Carney.....And another Neil Simon play, "The Prisoner Of 2nd Avenue", with my dear long-time friend, Lee Grant----I was at the Opening of that one, and on and on and on, gathering those 9 Tony's.....
It was Mike Nichols who brought "Death Of A Salesman" back to Broadway a few years ago, in a revival with Philip Seymour Hoffman......



When The American Film Institute honored Nichols with it's Life Achievement Award a few years ago, it was one of the most joyous evenings I have ever witnessed.  The love in that room for this true genius, and 'mensch' of a man, was palpable.....

I've watched all of those evenings since they began televising them-----this one was unique. The true feelings of love and respect and yes, awe, were undeniably real.
Authentic.
Brilliant.
Sublime.
He was all those things

Why do I feel such a loss?
He was such an enormous presence in my world of 'show business' for over 55 years.
We were all so lucky to have had him in this world in our lifetime.
Someone you thought would go on, forever.
His death is another reminder of the fragility of life, especially as I grow older.
Another person who touched my life in such a deep way.



And of course, for those who really did know him and loved him---his beloved wife and children and grandchildren----and those incredibly lucky people who worked with him....

Well.....I cannot even imagine their loss.

RIP, dear dear Mike Nichols. 
I thank you for touching my heart and my soul and for giving me so many wonderful and exciting experiences with your exceptional razor-like understanding and your unique talent, and for giving me unforgettable spectacular memories that have and will stay with me, forever.



More To Come..........


  


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Sunday, November 02, 2014
public opinion debate

How come this is acceptable
and
this
is
not?
I am not a prude by any means, but it seems to me the outfit that Miley Cyrus is wearing at this AMFAR Fund raiser is incredibly inappropriate and pretty close to cheesy porn......
(And Miley is not alone in this fashion statement)
Rihanna came in a close second in the cheesy department?
Is this how we, as women, want to be defined?
I thought we had moved on from all this......
Boy, was I
Wrong!


On the other hand.....
A mother breast feeding her baby is a very beautiful and natural thing to see in my humble opinion......

Is my "age" showing?

I think we are now in 'The Hand Basket', just about ready to take off for Hell!

What are your thoughts about all this?



More To Come........


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Wednesday, October 15, 2014
flowers - 1979



Here are some more incredible flowers from my dear old friend Ron Rifkin's English Garden. He had planted all these seeds in the yard of his Hollywood Hills Home......

And when they all bloomed I thought they were magnificent......Beautiful, in every way. So I asked him if I could come over and take a bunch of pictures of these incredibly gorgeous flowers It was fine with him.
So.....one beautiful sunny afternoon I went over and took a huge amount of pictures----maybe 200 or more......
I don't know the names of any of these flowers----I'm sure Judy will know----But I just thought they were all incredibly stunning!
These pictures were all taken in 1979---I cannot believe that was 35 years ago.
  
As many of you know from having read my blog for a long long time, I love to get in close on plants and flowers.
Back then, I was using a Pentax SLR with a close up lens and with extension tubes as well, some of the time.......
I love seeing things in extreme close-up.  Like the picture above---where you can see all the little fuzzy hairs one would never notice or see, unless you can take it all in, in a very very close way---what they now call Macro.....
Back then.....I just wanted to get in as close as I could.
I love seeing these flowers in the 'abstract', so to speak.....the colors in the picture above just knock me out! I have said it so very many times-----you cannot beat nature and the colors that nature produces.......
The simplicity and yet, the complexity.....it's all magical, isn't it?
These are all slides for which I finally got a fantastic piece of equipment that allowed me to download them onto my computer......talk about magical......

I met Ron and Iva back in the 1960's here in Los Angeles, so here is another lovely long long friendship that means a great deal to me......
Below, a photo I took of Ron in Hawaii, in 1974......What a special time that was.......
  He and his sweet dear wife Iva, eventually left Los Angeles and went back to live in Manhattan----Ron is a Wonderful actor and works on the stage as well as in film and television, and New York was the place for them to be, though he continued to work out here, too.....
Below, a picture of Ronnnie's beautiful wife, Iva, at a dinner party in New York that Lee Grant and her dear husband Joey Feury gave for me in May, of 2001.
Ron was working in Los Angeles so he couldn't be there.
Starting from left to right, that's Lee and Joey and Iva......That was the last time I was in New York. 

It's funny how that works sometimes----people move back to New York, and then they get a series, which shoots here in L.A.!

That's Show Business!

And below....Iva and Ron at my 75th Birthday in 2006......


That was the last time I saw them.....but we do talk on the phone......I love the phone! There is nothing like hearing a dear loved ones voice on the phone.....


And just one more picture of Ron's truly Beautiful 1979 English Garden...........




More To Come.........



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Tuesday, October 07, 2014
an anniversary.....


It's been over a month since I last posted anything here on my blog.
I'm still struggling with all of my Lung Issues----and I have come to realize that this is my life now.
I've always known that this disease was not going to get better----that there is no cure.
And now, certain aspects of the problems have gotten worse. And with that, as mentioned in my last post, my energy level is just crap.
The Kleenex company should be very happy having me as a customer.....
So.....
not a whole lot to say here, except, 
I'm doing the best I can, and that's all
any of us can do.

One thing that has happened, which is a rather exciting milestone---
I just celebrated---if you can call it that----
my 9th Blog Anniversary.



It just doesn't seem possible that nine years have gone by since starting to blog.....
One of the great things about blogging has been all the truly wonderful dear sweet people I have met from all over the world----all of whom I would never have met if I had NOT started blogging
Amazing!
Many of you are long time blog buddies---almost from the very beginning.
That's amazing too, considering so very many people who were blogging back then, aren't blogging anymore.
And, even more amazing is----
I have actually met some of you, 
"In Person". 
From as far away as New Zealand, and as close as Glendale, CA., (for any of you who are familiar with the Greater Los Angeles area) and from all kinds of wonderful places around the U.S and even from the beautiful U.K.
This is one of the great bonuses of blogging and the incredible shrinking world due to the fantastic age we live in!

And, some more big news......
This post today, is my 1001 post.

I know many many people have posted a lot more than me, but I was kind of thrilled and overwhelmed when I realized that I had actually made it to 1001 posts!
I don't really have anything else of any consequence to report or share, except to say I will try to continue blogging when I can and will continue to visit all of you wonderful people when I can, as well.

And, Oh yes, we have been having a horrendous heat wave here and I hope it lets up soon---it has been going on for a very long time and it really doesn't help my Health Issues one bit---so I'm ready for some nice cool weather, and we could really use some rain to, 
Dear God!

I send all of you my love and I thank each and every one of you for all your loving and supportive words....
It means more to me than you will ever know.


More To Come........ 



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Monday, August 25, 2014
a little of this and that....

Since I haven't been blogging for a while.....many things have happened that I want to address, a least a little bit.....
Robin Williams death---such a loss to his family and friends and to the whole world. An insanely talented genius---he gave us so much joy and laughter, and also brought us to tears with his limitless gifts as an actor......The pain he lived with was the other side of this.  And the aloneness he must have felt in those moments before taking his life.....
My heart goes out to all those who loved him----particularly his children.....


The day after Robin Williams died, one of the last of the Golden Age Stars of The Studio System---Lauren Bacall,---died, at age 89.
I'm surprised at how little has been written about her considering she was an 'Icon', and a 'Legend' in the truest sense.


Bogie and Bacall.......there never was and there never will be another pairing like those two.....
Her career was quite incredible.....films and then Broadway---winning two Tony's.....And finally, being given an Honorary Oscar, long overdue.
I met her once---very briefly---when she was married to Jason Robards and we did the CBS Television "special" of "SPOON RIVER"....we taped in in New York, and Robards was one of the four actors.

He was still drinking at the time and that made our rehearsals somewhat difficult.....

It was the middle of Summer in New York City, including all the heat and humidity one can imagine..... 

The day of the 'taping', Bacall came to the backstage area where all of us were, having brought Jason something he had forgotten, at home.  It was a very wifely thing for her to do, and I was reminded of the fact that we are all just people, trying to live our lives as best we can.......She was dressed in a very light weight summer cotton dress---just like the rest of us----but, it was hard to forget she was Lauren Bacall, the 'star', and yet---there she was, just being a helpful wife to her hung over husband.
That marriage ended and eventually so did Jason Robards drinking, Bless him.

For any of you who want to see a slew of her films, Turner Classic Movies is devoting September 15th, starting at 8pm, eastern time, I believe that will continue for 24 hours.
This will be a day worth watching, if you can.
Lauren Bacall had a good long life and a great career.....And as I said, she is the last of those very BIG Movie Stars......The end of an era.....


The Emmy's are tonight and I will be watching, having voted in a number of categories, as I do, each year.....
And my dear sweet longtime friend, the incredibly talented Mitzie Welch, will be included in the 
"In Memorium" section, having died on
June 10th of this year..... 

I was very touched to know she will be included, and rightfully so.....


She and her dear husband Kenny have won a bunch of Emmy's over the years, 5 to be exact, having written for The Carol Burnett show for all the years it was on Television----and they wrote a number of 'specials' , too......"Barbra Streisand and Other Musical Instruments", plus lots of other terrific television shows....to see all 14 of their Emmy Nominations, go here.


I've been watching a lot of films on TCM this month, and it has been glorious!  Every August they devote each day to a different 'star'......Tuesday, August 26th is Sophia Loren, and each day after that is another wonderful actor or actress through August 31st.


Nothing else really happening here on my Hill.....just trying to get through each day, as best I can........

   
I've been away from my blog for a couple of weeks.....
I'm afraid my physical problems have kind of overtaken my life--Big Time!
Many many problems, but the most exhausting one is coughing up endless amounts of disgusting phlegm---sorry, TMI, I know......but, it is part and parcel of the lung disease I live with, and have been living with for many years now.....
And this problem has increased in volume.....
I should have stock in 'Kleenex'----I go through at last one big box, a day---sometimes more.
So......my energy is just depleted beyond words, from this----along with some other unspeakable problems....
Enough said.
I'll be back when I can....and I will visit you all when I can, too.....


More To Come....... 


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