April 25: “Crafty Cockney” Eric Bristow is 60

Celebrity-04-25-1957Eric Bristow (“The Crafty Cockney”) is a former professional English darts player, born 25 April 1957.

He was ranked World No. 1 by the World Darts Federation a record six times from (1980–81,83–85, 90). He is a five time World Champion, a five time World Masters Champion and a four time World Cup singles champion. He won twenty two WDF and BDO Major titles and seventy career titles overall. In the 1980s, Bristow’s skill and personality helped turn darts into a worldwide spectator sport. In 1993, Bristow was one of sixteen top players who broke away from the British Darts Organisation to form their own organisation, which became the Professional Darts Corporation.

He retired from competitive darts in 2007 and worked as a commentator and pundit on Sky Sports’ darts coverage, but lost his job after a series of tweets on the United Kingdom football sexual abuse scandal that were condemned as offensive. He apologised the following day. [Wikipedia]

Read more at http://www.ericbristowexhibition.co.uk/

April 25: Coronation Street’s William Roache is 85

Celebrity-04-25-1932William Roache, born 25 April 1932, is an English actor who has played Ken Barlow in the soap opera Coronation Street since its first episode on 9 December 1960. He is listed in the Guinness World Records as the longest-serving living television actor in a continuous role. His eldest son is actor Linus Roache.

Roache joined the British Army, and was commissioned into the Royal Welch Fusiliers in 1953. A year later he was promoted to lieutenant. In 1956 he left the British Army with the rank of captain. Due to an exploding mortar round during his military service, Roache suffers from tinnitus. After leaving the army, Roache turned to acting. Appearing in various stage productions, he hen had uncredited roles in several films, and later small parts in television serials. He played the minor role of a space centre operator in the Norman Wisdom film The Bulldog Breed.

Shortly before joining Coronation Street at the beginning of the programme in 1960, Roache played the leading role in a Granada Television play called Marking Time, transmitted on ITV in 1961. In an interview in 2007, Roache recalled “I played a young soldier in Germany who fraternised with a German girl, although I can’t remember now how it ended. It was highly prestigious, though, and I have tried to hunt it down but there is no trace of it.” He added: “But Tony Warren, who created Coronation Street, saw it and thought I was right for Ken Barlow.” [Wikipedia]

April 20: Happy birthday @Lou_Jameson

LeelaLouise Jameson (born 20 April 1951) played Leela, the leather-clad warrior companion of the Fourth Doctor, from The Face of Evil to The Invasion of Time. She later reprised the role for the anniversary special, Dimensions in Time.

She has also appeared as Patricia Haggard in three “direct-to-video” adventures of the investigating organisation P.R.O.B.E., with Caroline John as Liz Shaw.

Jameson has also appeared on Emmerdale (as Sharon Crossthwaite), The Omega Factor (as Dr. Anne Reynolds), Tenko (as Blanche Simmons), Bergerac (as Susan Young) and EastEnders (as Rosa di Marco). Fellow EastEnders cast member Leslie Grantham, who appeared in Resurrection of the Daleks, has credited Jameson with inspiring him to pursue a career in drama while he was serving time in prison.

Jameson attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art with her successor on Doctor Who, Mary Tamm, and spent two years with the Royal Shakespeare Company, performing in Romeo and Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew, King Lear, and Blithe Spirit. Other stage appearances include the first production of Passion Play.

In the early 1980s, Jameson modelled for photographs for one of Lalla Ward‘s knitting books, wearing some of Ward’s designs.

She is married to actor David Warwick who played Kimus in the Doctor Who television story The Pirate Planet.

Read more at tardis.wikia.com/

April 20: Happy 80th Birthday @GeorgeTakei

Celebrity-04-20-1937American actor, director, author, and activist of Japanese descent, George Takei is best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the USS Enterprise in the television series Star Trek. He also portrayed the character in six Star Trek feature films and one episode of Star Trek: Voyager.

Takei’s involvement in social media has brought him fresh attention. As of February 2017, his Facebook page has over 10 million likes since he joined in 2011, and he frequently shares photos with original humorous commentary.

Takei is a proponent of LGBT rights and is active in state and local politics. He has won several awards and accolades in his work on human rights and Japan–United States relations, including his work with the Japanese American National Museum. [Wikipedia]

Visit http://georgetakei.com/.

April 19: We remember…Elisabeth Sladen

Elisabeth_SladenElisabeth Sladen (1 February 1946 – 19 April 2011) played Sarah Jane Smith in Doctor Who. She appeared as a regular with both Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker. She also appeared in the pilot for the spin-off series, K9 and Company. Most recently, she reprised her role as Sarah Jane on Doctor Who and in its spin-off series, The Sarah Jane Adventures.

Sladen was interested in ballet and theatre from childhood, and began to appear on stage in the mid-1960s, although more often as a stage manager at this time. She moved to London in 1970 and an appearance in the police drama Z-Cars led to her being selected for a part in Doctor Who. She subsequently starred in other roles on both television and radio, before semi-retiring to bring up a family in the mid-1980s.

She died of pancreatic cancer on 19 April 2011. Her death made national and international news headlines, and major television stations and newspapers paid her tribute. [Wikipedia]

Watch a tribute to Elisabeth Sladen on the Babelcolour YouTube Channel.

April 19, 1992: We remember…Frankie Howerd

Celebrity-03-06-1917Frankie Howerd (6 March 1917 – 19 April 1992) was an English comedian and comic actor whose career, described by fellow comedian Barry Cryer as “a series of comebacks”, spanned six decades.

His first stage appearance was at age 13 but his early hopes of becoming a serious actor were dashed when he failed an audition for RADA. He began to entertain during World War II service in the British Army. Despite suffering from stage fright, he continued to work after the war, beginning his professional career in the summer of 1946 in a touring show called For the Fun of It.

His act was soon heard on radio, when he made his debut, in early December 1946, on the BBC’s Variety Bandbox programme with a number of other ex-servicemen. His profile rose in the immediate postwar period (aided with material written by Eric Sykes, Galton and Simpson and Johnny Speight). In 1954, he made his screen debut opposite Petula Clark in The Runaway Bus, which had been written for his specific comic talent. The film was an immediate hit, even though Howerd never established a major film presence thereafter.

After suffering a nervous breakdown at the start of the 1960s, he began to recover his old popularity, initially with a season at Peter Cook‘s satirical Establishment Club in Soho, London. He was boosted further by success on That Was the Week That Was (TW3) in 1963 and on stage with A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1963–1965), which led into regular television work.

He was famous for his seemingly off-the-cuff remarks to the audience, especially in the show Up Pompeii!, which was a direct follow-up from Forum. His television work was characterised by direct addresses to camera and by his littering monologues with verbal tics such as “Oooh, no missus” and “Titter ye not”. A later sale of his scripts, however, showed that the seemingly off-the-cuff remarks had all been meticulously planned. Another feature of his humour was to feign innocence about his obvious and risqué double entendres, while mockingly censuring the audience for finding them funny.

Howerd appeared as Francis Bigger, one of the lead characters in 1967’s Carry On Doctor.

Throughout his career, Howerd hid his potentially career-destroying homosexuality from both his audience and his mother, Edith. In 1958, he met wine waiter Dennis Heymer at the Dorchester Hotel while dining with Sir John Mills; Heymer became his lover as well as manager, and stayed with him for more than thirty years, until Howerd’s death.

Having contracted a virus during a Christmas trip up the Amazon River in 1991, Howerd suffered respiratory problems at the beginning of April 1992 and was rushed to a clinic in London’s Harley Street, but was discharged at Easter to enjoy his last few days at home. He collapsed and died of heart failure two weeks afterwards, aged 75. Two hours before he died, he was speaking on the telephone to his TV producer about new ideas for his next show.  He died the day before fellow comedian Benny Hill. News of the two deaths broke almost simultaneously and some newspapers ran an obituary of Howerd in which Hill was quoted as regretting Howerd’s death, saying “We were great, great friends”. The quote was released by Hill’s agent, who was not aware that his client had died. [Wikipedia]

April 13: Celebrity birthdays

HTRA146 VV1901937: Edward Fox is an English stage, film and television actor who famously played the part of the professional assassin, known only as the “Jackal”, who is hired to assassinate the French president Charles de Gaulle in the summer of 1963, in the film The Day of the Jackal (1973).  He also portrayed King Edward VIII in the British television drama series Edward & Mrs. Simpson (1978).

Fox has been married twice, to actresses Tracy Reed (1958–1961) and Joanna David (from July 2004, after a long-standing relationship). He has a daughter, Lucy, Viscountess Gormanston, by Reed, and two children, Emilia Fox and Freddie Fox, with David.

He is the elder brother and uncle, respectively, of actors James Fox and Laurence Fox.

Watch a tribute to Edward Fox on the aplantagereloaded YouTube Channel.

Celebrity-04-13-19421942: American composer and conductor Bill Conti is best known for his film and TV scores, including Rocky (and four of its sequels), For Your Eyes Only, Dynasty, and The Right Stuff, which earned him an Academy Award for Best Original Score. He has served as musical director at the Academy Awards a record nineteen times. [Wikipedia]

Hear Bill Conti’s music on Spotify.

 

 

Celebrity-04-13-19471947: Australian record producer and songwriter Mike Chapman was a major force in the British pop music industry in the 1970s. He created a string of hit singles for artists including The Sweet, Suzi Quatro, Smokie, Mud and Racey with business partner Nicky Chinn, creating a formularised sound that became identified with the “Chinnichap” brand. He later produced breakthrough albums for Blondie and The Knack. [Wikipedia]

April 13: We remember Caron Keating

CARON KEATINGBritish television presenter Caron Keating, born 5 October 1962, died this day in 2004. Her parents were the television presenter Gloria Hunniford and the BBC producer Donald Keating. Keating studied at the University of Bristol where she graduated with a BA Honours Degree in English and Drama.

Keating’s television career began in Northern Ireland where she presented The Video Picture Show, Channel One and the music programme Greenrock, but her big break undoubtedly came when she was selected to join the team of Blue Peter late in 1986. She brought a new trendy image to the programme, and was popular with viewers because of her looks and fashion-conscious image, appearing on the programme with Peter Duncan, Janet Ellis, Mark Curry, Yvette Fielding, and John Leslie. Highlights of her Blue Peter career included a trip to Moscow in 1987 during the perestroika period, swimming with sharks, abseiling down skyscrapers and standing strapped to the top of a light aircraft whilst it performed aerial acrobatics. She also interviewed serving Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on the programme in 1988.

After four years, Keating left Blue Peter and joined BBC Radio 5 where, amongst other programmes, she co-hosted an early 90’s afternoon show with film critic Mark Kermode, the show was named “A game of two halves” and, in his autobiography, Kermode described Keating as “The very dictionary definition of Lovely”. She presented several other TV programmes including This Morning, before breast cancer was diagnosed in 1997.

After various conventional and alternative treatments, including a period away from her family on the Gold Coast, Australia, and at a hospice in Switzerland, she died at the age of 41, at her mother’s house in Sevenoaks, Kent.

Set up in Keating’s memory, The Caron Keating Foundation ( http://www.caronkeating.org/) is a fund-raising partnership set up to raise money to offer financial support to professional carers, complementary healing practitioners, and support groups dealing with cancer patients, as well as individuals and families who are affected by the disease. It will also financially help a number of cancer charities with their ongoing quest for prevention, early detection and hopefully an ultimate cure. It was set up by her mother, TV presenter Gloria Hunniford, and her two brothers Michael and Paul Keating. [Wikipedia]

April 12, 1947: Dan Lauria and David Letterman are 70 today

Celebrity-04-12-1947bItalian-American television, stage, and film actor Dan Lauria, was born in Brooklyn, New York. A Vietnam War veteran, Lauria served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps; he served at the same point in his life that Jack Arnold, his character in The Wonder Years, did during the Korean War. He got his start in acting while attending Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, Connecticut, on a football scholarship.

He has appeared in movies such as Stakeout (1987), Another Stakeout (1993), and Independence Day (1996). As well as The Wonder Years, Lauria has also appeared in LA Law, Party Of Five, and JAG. [Wikipedia]

David Letterman is an American former television host, comedian, writer, andCelebrity-04-12-1947a producer. He hosted a late night television talk show for 33 years, beginning with the February 1, 1982 debut of Late Night with David Letterman on NBC, and ending with the May 20, 2015 broadcast of Late Show with David Letterman on CBS. In total, Letterman hosted 6,028 episodes of Late Night and Late Show, surpassing friend and mentor Johnny Carson as the longest-serving late night talk show host in American television history. In 1996 Letterman was ranked 45th on TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time.

Letterman is also a television and film producer. His company, Worldwide Pants, produced his show as well as The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and several prime-time comedies, the most successful of which was Everybody Loves Raymond, currently in syndication. [Wikipedia]

April 12, 2009: We remember Marilyn Chambers

Celebrity-04-22-1952Known more for being an American pornographic film actress, especially for her 1972 hardcore film debut Behind the Green Door and her 1980 film .Insatiable, Marilyn Chambers (April 22, 1952 – April 12, 2009) was also an exotic dancer, model, actress, and vice-presidential candidate (Personal Choice Party, 2004 & 2008).

Chambers sought work in theatre and dance groups in San Francisco to no avail. In 1972 she saw an advertisement in the San Francisco Chronicle for a casting call for what was billed as a “major motion picture”. She rushed to the audition only to find it was for a pornographic film, which was to be called Behind the Green Door. She was about to leave when producers Artie and Jim Mitchell noticed her resemblance to Cybill Shepherd. They invited her upstairs to their offices and told her the film’s plot. Chambers was highly dubious about accepting a role in a pornographic film, fearing it might ruin her chances at breaking into the mainstream. But she was turned on by the fantasy of the story and decided to take a chance, under the condition that she receive a hefty salary and 10 percent of the film’s gross. She also insisted that each actor get tested for venereal disease. The Mitchell Brothers balked at her request for a percentage of the film’s profits, but finally agreed, realizing the film needed a wholesome blonde actress.

Chambers won the starring role in film director David Cronenberg‘s low-budget Canadian movie Rabid, which was released in 1977. Cronenberg stated that he wanted to cast Sissy Spacek in the film lead, but the studio vetoed his choice because of her accent.  The director says that the idea of casting Chambers came from producer Ivan Reitman, who had heard that Chambers was looking for a mainstream role. Reitman felt that it would be easier to market the film in different territories if the well-known porn star portrayed the main character. Cronenberg stated that Chambers put in a lot of hard work on the film and that he was impressed with her.

Rabid-1977-movie-Chambers-cronenberg-7

Chambers was found dead in her home in California. She was discovered by her 17-year-old daughter. The autopsy revealed Chambers died of a cerebral hemorrhage and an aneurysm related to heart disease. The painkiller hydrocodone and the antidepressant citalopram were found in her bloodstream, but not enough to cause death. [Wikipedia]