Sunday, January 08, 2017

Some Obituaries for Sunday

Actress Francine York, 78 or 80 depending on the source, has died after a long battle with cancer.

She was seen all over the place in the 1960s, especially in her role in the TV series Batman. She also had many big screen appearances to her credit.

York was working on her autobiography at the time of her death. She didn't marry but had shacked up with some director named Vincent Sherman for a decade until he died in 2006.

Before launching her Hollywood career, the Minnesota native had been a model and showgirl at the Moulin Rouge nightclub on Sunset Boulevard.
Her film debut came in 1962 in Secret File: Hollywood where she played a magazine editor.
The 5ft 8in beauty was the moll of the supervillain Bookworm on Batman in 1966 and played Venus de Milo on Bewitched.

One can say she was one of the "stock company" of actors viewers would see time and time again in television shows of the 1950s and 1960s. That is often the most fun part of watching the old shows today. I know it is fun for me to see these actors over and over again. Most of them didn't hit the big time of the big screen like Robert Redford or Ryan O'Neal or Clint Eastwood. Their careers and stories were just as interesting to me as the "big names."

I know more than a few of these actors "got away from me" when I would note obituaries because their names didn't remind me that I knew who they were but didn't recognize the names.

Famous journalist and social critic Nat Hentoff, 91, has died, and it is probably just as well he has departed from the scene given what is about to happen on January 20.

He was most closely associated with the Village Voice. He was a noted jazz critic and political commentator.

Hentoff wasn't always right in his views. He was extremely anti-abortion, which I guess makes sense for an old "leftist" because most of those guys were total sexists.

He also wasn't right about being an "absolutist" on the First Amendment, especially about speech. There is no such thing as an absolute right to it. He also didn't understand the feminist argument against pornography. It is not "speech" but human rights abuse.

Anyway, here is a snip of the New York Times obit:

Nathan Irving Hentoff was born in Boston on June 10, 1925, the son of Simon and Lena Katzenberg Hentoff. His parents were Russian-Jewish immigrants, and he grew up in the tough Roxbury section in a vortex of political debate among socialists, anarchists, Communists, Trotskyites and other revolutionaries. He learned early how to rebel.

On Yom Kippur in 1937, the Day of Atonement and fasting, the 12-year-old Nat sat on his porch on a street leading to a synagogue and slowly ate a salami sandwich. It made him sick, and the action outraged his father. He had not done it to scandalize passing Jews who glared at him, he said in a memoir, “Boston Boy” (1986). “I wanted to know how it felt to be an outcast,” he wrote. “Except for my father’s reaction and for getting sick, it turned out to be quite enjoyable.”

He attended Boston Latin, the oldest public school in America, and read voraciously. He discovered Artie Shaw and fell passionately for Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker and other jazz legends.

Sometimes he was right and sometimes he was wrong. He was never dull.

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