Saturday, February 11, 2012


Champion skier Jill Kinmont Boothe, 75, who was paralyzed in a 1955 skiing accident but went on to have successful careers as a teacher and a painter, died in a Carson City hospital.

She was the subject of a 1966 book and two films.

She made the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1955, just before her accident:

At the training camp for Olympic ski prospects in Sun Valley this month, everyone was watching Jill Kinmont (left). She was worth it. Last year, at 18, she became the only person ever to win the women's National Junior and Senior slalom in the same year. This year she looked like prime Olympic material, and George Macomber and Christian Pravda, special coaches at the camp, kept a close eye on her as she swung through the practice gates on Baldy Mountain. Every other man was watching because she was easily the prettiest girl in the place.

All this attention was a bit embarrassing to Jill, a snub-nosed blonde who seems to think everyone is wonderful, and who skis simply because "it's so much fun."

She also likes to win. Back home on her father's guest ranch in Bishop, Calif. she is making sure the Olympic Committee won't forget her. Her training program, an appalling dose of self-discipline, includes quarter-mile sprints, deep knee bends and hopping like a halfback through automobile tires spread out in her back yard. Six days a week she heads for Mammoth Mountain to run the slalom gates. And at day's end, Jill packs off to baby sit for transportation money to the most exciting meet of her life—the U.S. Olympic tryouts in Vermont and New Hampshire in the middle of March.

Chatting with girls in early morning outside lodge, Jill laughingly shares a joke with two other Olympic hopefuls.

After her accident she went to college and eventually received a teaching degree. However, she encountered much discrimination in the days before disability rights.

Actor Peter Breck, of The Big Valley fame, has died in Vancouver, British Columbia, according to his wife. He was 82 years old:

Beginning in 1961, he played Doc Holliday in a half-dozen episodes of “Maverick.” And in 1965 he was cast in “The Big Valley,” a drama about a prosperous ranch family in the Old West, which ran four seasons on ABC. The show, a kind of matriarchal version of “Bonanza,” also starred Lee Majors, Linda Evans and Richard Long.

He appeared in feature films over the years but concentrated on theater work beginning in the 1970s and eventually founded an acting school in Vancouver. His last screen appearance was in “Jiminy Glick in Lalawood,” the 2004 Martin Short comedy.

Actor, director, and producer Zalman King, 70, after a six-year battle with cancer:

In his later career, King focused on documentaries about musicians, directing films about country singers Willie Nelson and Dale Watson, and musician Toledo Diamond. Burnett told TheWrap that he also directed music videos for rap groups, typically free of charge.

Reporter and author Jeff Zaslow, 53, following a traffic accident:

His career included work as an advice columnist at the Chicago Sun-Times, succeeding Ann Landers, after winning a competition for the position, the Journal said.

Zaslow wrote about a column about Carnegie Mellon University professor Randy Pausch, who gave an inspiring lecture in 2007 after being told he only had months to live following a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, the Journal said. He followed that with a best-selling book called “The Last Lecture.” Zaslow also collaborated on “Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope,” the story of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who survived a shooting last year.

Just in: Singer Whitney Houston, 48, according to Associated Press.

Houston won Grammy Awards, had numerous hits, and had everything going for her only to squander it all on drug abuse.

She was found dead at the Beverly Hilton. No cause of death has been given at this point:

"The biggest devil is me. I'm either my best friend or my worst enemy," Houston told ABC's Diane Sawyer in an infamous 2002 interview with then-husband Brown by her side.

It was a tragic fall for a superstar who was one of the top-selling artists in pop music history, with more than 55 million records sold in the United States alone.

She seemed to be born into greatness. She was the daughter of gospel singer Cissy Houston, the cousin of 1960s pop diva Dionne Warwick and the goddaughter of Aretha Franklin.

Houston first started singing in the church as a child. In her teens, she sang backup for Chaka Khan, Jermaine Jackson and others, in addition to modeling. It was around that time when music mogul Clive Davis first heard Houston perform.

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