Tuesday, August 27, 2013
julie harris



The Broadway Theatre and America, has lost one of it's truly great great "STARS".
The sublime Julie Harris, has died.
She won 5 Tony Awards in her more than 60 year career, and was awarded a 6th Tony for Life Achievement In The Theatre.
No one else has achieved this distinction.She was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors; a  well deserved recognition of her singular place in the American theatre.
She won a couple of Emmy's, too.....
She was dedicated to her craft in ways that one rarely sees, today....
I admired her more than I can say for being such an amazing role model to the nobility of a life in the theatre and what great personal rewards it could bring---forget all the possible honors----the rewards which she valued the most were in just doing 'the work' wherever it took her; she was so completely devoted to The Theatre and all that went with it....She always retained her Integrity and her Humanity, in every respect.
Julie Harris was a rare and beautiful example of "excellence" in every respect.


I was lucky enough to see her create the role of 'Frankie', in the Original Broadway Production of Carson McCullers, "The Member Of The Wedding", playing a twelve year old, (She was 24 at the time)---a tour de force performance, (for which she should have won a Tony....)---and a part she repeated on Film, and for which she was Nominated for The Academy Award.
Julie Harris was an 'old school' actress, like The Lunts, and Katherine Cornell, only with modern training....A member of the actors studio, her work ethic was always connected to her devotion to the Theatre.
There were many other plays...."The Lark",
and 'I Am A Camera",

and "Forty Carats",


and "The Last Of Mrs. Lincoln",


and "The Belle Of Amhearst"---


Each of these plays won her the coveted Tony Award......




She would open in a play on Broadway, and stay in it 


for two years, or more....and then would take It 'On the Road', and play the play all over the country for another two or more years----something no star of her caliber does today...(And in truth, there are no Theatre Stars of her caliber, today....) In fact, I think she was the last of the Great Theatre 'stars' to do this....And the thing is....She LOVED it!
She was always quoted as saying:

“The theater has been my Church.....






don't hesitate to say that I found God, in 


the Theatre.”  

And indeed, the theatre was her Church! 

We have lost another one of our true 'greats'.....the last of her kind----Another important and meaningful part of my early life in the theatre.....And, it makes me terribly, terribly sad. This third act, and it's losses, continue, I'm sorry to say.....



But I do feel very very lucky that I lived during the Golden Age of Broadway and know what all of that phrase truly means....

And it was a "Golden Age',and the very magnificent Julie Harris was an enormous part of that time.
RIP, dear wonderful Julie. 
More To Come......


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Tuesday, August 20, 2013
more losses

It keeps being brought home to me that for those of us in our Third Act, so to speak, there are these continual losses of people who were very dear to us and/or who touched our lives, in some very important ways.
In the last few weeks, there have been two more people, that have passed on, who touched my life in really important ways, I'm sorry to say.
Gail Kobe was a very dear friend going back to the 1960's.......I knew her from Theatre West, and also we were in "Group" together for a time, with the great therapist, George Bach.
Gail was a wonderful actress who later moved into Producing, and who, at one time, oversaw all the Daytime Television Soap Opera's sponsored by Proctor and Gamble---and then later, moved into Producing individual Soap Opera's.....
She was smart and quick and was one of the great Hostesses of all time---Every place she lived over all the years I knew her---- every one of her homes was always warm and welcoming and reflected who she was in life.  She absolutely loved entertaining and back in the mid 1960's, she gave me a wonderful wonderful Birthday Party.....
Besides sharing a great love of Theatre, and admiring her tremendously for being a Pioneer, for women, there was something else that Gail did for me, that stands tall in my memory and in my heart, and will be remembered by me, forever and ever.
Below is part of what I wrote to her dear Cousin, Greg, about this incident...... 

In the winter of 1966, Gail came to Manhattan for an extended stay----wanting to see what was happening in the Theatre and what possibilities might be presented to her as an actress.....I was in New York because my mother was dying. My sister and I were staying in the Family home in Great Neck, out on Long Island, where we had all grown up, and spending every day at Colombia Presbyterian Hospital's Harkness Pavllion, which was in the city, where my mother had been for weeks.....I invited Gail to come out to Great Neck, one weekend----the city was kind of getting to her and I thought she might very much enjoy being in the country and the peacefulness of all that 16 Pont Street held. She jumped at the chance, even though I had told her we would not be there at all, during the day.....That Saturday, Gene and I came home from 'vigiling' at the Hospital, exhausted physically and emotionally, and your dear Cousin Gail had cooked this wonderful delicious dinner for us----Even set the table in this very special beautiful way----you have no idea what this meant to my sister and I....Gail had never been in that house before----had no idea where anything was.....But, that didn't stop her. It was such a generous and caring thing to do.....I think it was our first Home Cooked Hot meal in almost a month! We had a cousin who lived next door who had said to us about a week before, 'Is there anything I can do?' We said, how meaningful it would be if she could make us dinner one night....(She had been in that house probably 200 hundred times, at least, since she had been a little girl, and she was now a grown woman.....)...She said: 'Oh, I won't know where anything is and I wouldn't know what to cook or anything.....!'. We said....that's okay, don't worry about it.....' 
The contrast between our cousin and Gail, was overwhelming on every level..... But that is who Gail was.....There is a Yiddish word----'Balabusta'...it means Homemaker, but as with all Yiddish words, it means so much more than that---it covers all the loving care someone takes in all that they do regarding their home and how they treat their guests---whether family or friends.....Gail was a true 'Balabusta' in every sense of the word....! Gene and I never ever forgot Gail's loving generous heart on that Saturday, all those years ago. It still brings tears to my eyes.....! There were many many other generous and loving things that Gail did over the years---not just for me, but for just about everyone she knew and loved. But this huge gesture stands out because it was so needed at that time, and Greg, we didn't even ask her to do anything; She just did it! And that was Gail, wasn't it? 
 
As I said.....That may seem like nothing to some-----but it was Everything to us.....And both Gene and I have never ever forgotten it.  Here it is.....over 47 years later, and it still touches both of us.
Gail was so many many good things---A great friend; a brilliant actress; a superlative producer; the consummate homemaker, and a deeply thoughtful and caring person when it came to those she loved.
Below, there is a picture of Gail on the closed circuit TV Channel that is a staple of The Motion Picture Home---all the people there were and are part of the film industry....Gail often appeared on Channel 22 sharing great story's about her show business experiences......
Gail died of Emphysema, out at the Motion Picture Home, in Woodland Hills, CA, on August 1st, 2013. Her Memorial Service was held on Sunday, August 18th, at the Louis B. Mayer Theatre, there at The MPH......
Given my confinement, I was not able to go.....But I hear it was just lovely---And that Gail would have felt very good about it.....Knowing her, she was no doubt guiding the whole afternoon from her new beautiful home....the loveliest spot in heaven, now that she is there......!

She will be remembered and will have a warm loving place in the Hearts of all those she touched, for always and for ever.
RIP Dear Dear Gail...... 


More To Come.......


Note:  One year, when Gail and I were on the Theatre West Board together. we were at a meeting of the Board and I tripped and fell in the parking lot behind the Theatre, having gone to the Liquor store two doors down to buy some Chocolate Mallomars---talk about punishment for eating the wrong things---And Gail had to drive me to the Emergency Room of UCLA Medical Center, after the meeting---at Midnight, to be treated---I had broken my foot. Now that is a friend!!!  So very many memories have flooded in on me.......

......I will write about the second loss, in a separate post.....

Now, back to The Emmy DVD's......


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Thursday, August 15, 2013
viewing time

It's that time of year, again. As a member of the Television Academy, I, once again, signed up to judge a number of panels......5, to be exact.
The DVDs have started to arrive and so I will be deeply involved in this always fascinating but time sensitive and time consuming commitment, for the next couple of weeks....
I am in a bit of 'shock' by the panel that arrived today....It entails watching more than 25 hours of stuff---in fact, if I'm not mistaken, closer to 30 hours.
That's just in ONE category.
So you can see I have my work cut out for me!
I very much enjoy this process and also, I take it very seriously.
This is the final step in the Voting. These panels decide who actually takes home that coveted Emmy Award in the many different and varied categories.......
So.....if I don't get around to visiting everyone.....Forgive me, please....And if I don't get around to updating my blog.....I hope you all will also understand......



More To Come......





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Sunday, August 11, 2013
edyie gorme 1928 - 2013

I was watching an old film late last night...Friday Night, that is...and under the credits came this glorious pure voice---the unmistakable Edyie Gorme.....I thought, 'God, she was so damn good'.....!
And I thought....'I wonder how she is....we never really hear anything about her anymore....'.
Then......on Saturday.....the news announced that she had died.....
I remember her from The Tonight Show, with Steve Allen.....(Before Carson.....before Jack Paar....)
She was very young and so very very talented!
I saw her in Las Vegas.....mid-1950's...she 'opened' for the Great Great comedian, Joe E. Lewis.....
And she was fantastic! Memorable, in every way.
The video above was later......in the 1960's.....but, you get the picture.

And then there was Steve and Edyie.
Steve Lawrence, who was also on The Tonight show with Eydie---that's how they met.....He was and is incredibly talented, too.
And they made Beautiful music, together.
They worked as a team for decades.....!
They were still a team, until yesterday.
RIP dear talented Edyie Gorme....you were a very special singer----gloriously gloriously special!
You will be missed.

Here below, is a really amazing Video of a number done on The Tonight Show, in 1958.....Steve Allen wrote the song, and he is singing it, along with Steve and Edyie and Ann Southern and Dinah Shore....and is that Frank Sinatra? YES!
One long tracking shot, using one camera and they never stop moving, either......
Enjoy!
And Remember.....!




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


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Tuesday, August 06, 2013
patio cactus

Here, above, is a really Beautiful plant.....I don't remember the name, I'm sorry to say, but it is part of the greater Cactus family.......
Here, above, is a picture of that same plant, a little further away.  It is in a very large pot with some of it's cousins....At one time, I had the very beautiful original mother plant.....Some terrible blight hit it and to save as much of the plant as we could, we cut off the tops of each arm, above the 'illness', and planted them, hoping that all was not lost and that they would root.....They did.  But, the disease was not completely gone....So, I lost all of those cuttings, except this one----and it has thrived, I am thrilled to say.....
There are two very small babies now, as well.......
Above, two small babies if this same plant.....And below some other views of this wonderful plant.....
There are a number of other cacti in this pot---the cousins, so to speak....But, I think this one is particularly amazing in it's structure, look and color.....And, on the design of the spines.
Here below, the top of this arm---you can clearly see the new growth....
And below....a closer look at this new growth.....
It is so healthy and green.....and the new spines are so interesting as they grow out at the top.....They haven't spread out yet.....These protective spines really keep predators away.....Unfortunately they cannot keep away something that attacks the root system, which is what happened to the mother plant......
Here below is another very beautiful cactus.....one of the cousins.

This one is very very healthy, too, I'm happy to say.....Over the years, I have lost so very many plants due to many different things----one year we had a fungus in the soil that came from next door----It was something that hit many hill areas here in Hollywood...And I lost about 45 plants----Some, irreplaceable...And it truly broke my heart.....Each plant in my garden was picked out by me and placed by me, having fallen in love with them, as you do with Works Of Art.....
Another pot above, of that same plant....It is so wonderfully healthy, too.....It makes me happy to look at it, in all it's special sculptural beauty......


More To Come.......


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