Thursday, March 31, 2011

Non-scandal of the week: Screaming baby at tennis match....

The web (and even the U.S. national news!) is all abuzz and positively scandalized that Spanish tennis player, David Ferrer, frustrated over a screaming baby in the crowd at his Florida tennis match, lightly lobbed a tennis ball in the direction of the wailing brat.  Some news outlets (especially ABC, and that loathesome Robin Roberts--who's a loud crybaby herself--see the clip) are trying to spin the story that he fired a missile-strength ball directly at the kid's head...but if you watch the replay video, it was nothing like that.  Personally, I think he should have lobbed the ball at the head of the FATHER of the screaming infant!  Why, on earth---other than being too cheap to hire a babysitter---would a parent bring an infant to a tennis match??  Weren't there any golf games he could go and ruin? Aren't there rules against such things?  Why do certain people feel some sense of innate "entitlement" to shlepp their kid absolutely anywhere they please (think:  4-star restaurants, movie theatres, etc.)?  And while we're at it, and maybe it's just a NYC thing---but those double, and even TRIPLE-wide strollers that certain mothers feel they are entitled to use, hogging the entire sidewalk, not to mention small stores and businesses.  Don't get me started... 
Click below to see the footage:

More rare Elizabeth Taylor photos

eBay continues to have a spate of items relating to the recently deceased Elizabeth Taylor, including many photos that are rarely, if ever, seen....

With 1st husband, Nicky Hilton.
With 2nd husband, Michael Wilding and son, Michael Wilding Jr., 1953.
With 3rd husband, Mike Todd.
With 4th husband, Eddie Fisher, in Moscow.
With 5th/6th husband, Richard Burton.
With 7th husband, John Warner
With 8th husband, Larry Fortensky

With Rock Hudson and unidentified man while shooting Giant, 1955
Late '50's

As a blonde, in Beau Brummel, 1954
With best friend/co-star, Montgomery Clift, 1951
Budding beauty, 1947
In Ivanhoe, 1952
At age 8...1940
Early 50's peek-a-boo...
Test shot from 1970's The Only Game in Town.
1958, at the peak of her beauty....

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Farley Granger: 1923-2011

A fond farewell to the actor Farley Granger, who died this weekend at the age of 85 at his home in Manhattan.  One of the last of the living Alfred Hitchcock leading men of the golden age,  Granger always came across as the sensitive, quiet and vulnerable young man that he was, off-screen as well.  Granger was one of the very few major stars who went to no great lengths to hide his homosexuality, and he starred in two Hitchock classics:  1951's Strangers on a Train and 1948's Rope, both films that had strong gay overtones (below, w/James Stewart, in Rope).

In recent years, he was very much on the theatrical and social scenes in New York, and by all accounts, he was a kind, funny and very nice gentleman, through and through. 

He wrote his autobiography, Include Me Out: My Life from Goldwyn to Broadway  just a few years ago, and it's a very candid, well-written and interestingly told life story that I recommend highly.  It's available (link below) at Amazon, for less than $4.00 for a used hardcover (also available on Kindle):

(Below, two stills from They Live By Night, Nicholas Ray's noir classic, 1949, which many consider Granger's finest performance)

If they were still alive today...'d be the birthday of these notables:

The brilliant Dutch post-Impressionist Vincent van Gogh was born 158 years ago.  He painted atleast 30 self-portraits during his life (that are known to survive), including these four.  The others are collected on this Wikipedia page, and are interesting to study in order, side-by-side. His most famous work, of course, is The Starry Night, which the troubled artist painted at the window of his room in a sanitarium in Arles, France, of the town of St. Remy.  It is in the permanent collection of The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Brooke Astor would be 109.  It is unfortunate that the final legacy of Mrs. Astor is the swirl of scandal that surrounded her final years--and beyond.  Her only child, Anthony, is still awaiting his re-trial for his role in trying to divert his mother's millions into the accounts of himself and his loathesome wife, Charlene.  It all played out on the front pages of the New York scandal rags, where the term "elder abuse" was widely used in describing his treatment of his enfeebled mother.  But during her prime, Brooke Astor was New York's most luminous and generous "lady bountiful," distributing tens of millions of her enormous fortune to many worthy charitable causes (most notably, The New York Public Library).  Sonny boy was convicted in the first trial of grand larceny and it could be years before his appeals are used up.  If he lives that long, as he is 87 years old.  If you like filth, scandal and gossip, there is a very interesting book about Astor, and more specifically, her final years, called, Mrs. Astor Regrets, by Meryl Gordon.  A very juicy can get a used hardback copy on Amazon for ONE PENNY (plus postage).  Just do it!

Frankie "Mule Train" Laine would be 98.  I dunno.  I want to like him, but his singing just makes me really nervous for some reason.  He's a little"vivid" for my taste.  But what do I know?  He was sure popular in the early 1950's...

Swedish silent film star Anna Q. Nilsson would be 123.  The "Q" stood for "Quirentia", just in case you were wondering.  She was a very popular star in the 1920's, famed for her beauty, though her career quickly failed in the advent of talking pictures, probably hastened by her thick Swedish accent (though that certainly didn't hurt her compatriot, Greta Garbo).  She's remembered today as one of Norma Desmond's "waxworks" at the card party scene in Sunset Boulevard, where she drawls her one line with a cigarette hanging from her lip.