Dora Bryan, best known recently as June Whitfield's dotty friend on Absolutely Fabulous in the '90s, has died at 91. The British actress had a long and fruitful career in radio, TV and film.
1154 posts categorized "TV"
Purple Crush's “Tastyride” video is a (vogueing) ball!
Brett Gleason's latest video is “Futile & Fooled”.
Dungy clarifies his disgusting comments re: Michael Sam/gay marriage.
Ralph Lauren designer leaves toddler in hot car while bargain-hunting.
Bek Andersen photo of nude man freaks out some in SoHo, NYC.
Anti-gay laws feed HIV spread.
Big Brother's Zankie puts on a mini Madonna performance.
I think this person likes Madonna lots, too.
Underwear-clad burglars...recognize any?
The Levonias + La Lopez invade The Pines.
When did David Tyree decide to be straight?
Ex-Mayor Bloomberg stands with Israel on flight ban.
Barcelona's Gay Circuit fest prep, captured on video.
I spent a nice evening at the 82nd Street Barnes & Noble, attending the booksigning for the memoir I Said Yes to Everything (Blue Rider, $28.95) by Lee Grant (b. October 31, 1925)...though it did have some ups and downs.
First, getting there 20 minutes before the start time, I was nonplused to find the entire seating area filled. The crowd was older, and the event free, which made for an interesting time when it came to the things one overheard:
“Who exactly is this person?”
“She was in everything in the '60s and '70s.”
“How old is she? Eighty-eight? That's a very flattering photo on the cover.”
“What's she going to talk about? A book? What book?”
Joy Behar (b. October 7, 1942) had a ringside seat [later asking a loaded question about Grant's Broadway co-star Peter Falk (September 16, 1927—June 23, 2011)], while the rest of us just stood around like groupies. Grant was there early, off to the side, eyeballing the attendees and excusing herself silently to find a bathroom. It was cute that she looked so pleased by the big crowd.
Grant was engaged in a conversation by well-known biographer Tom Santopietro, who repeatedly joked about Grant being the star. Grant was very comfortable doing the same, cracking jokes, cursing and openly reflecting about her early career, her experience being blacklisted for a dozen years and her transition to directing mostly documentaries.
Of her experience on the blacklist, she recalled stumbling into it after doing a Broadway play with J. Edward Bromberg (December 25, 1903—December 6, 1951) and many others who'd fled the House Un-American Activities. She was asked how she felt about his death of a heart attack and said she felt he'd been hounded to his death...and that quote wound up in Red Channels.
One highlight was when she reminisced about walking down the aisle to receive her Oscar and thinking it was a big fuck you to the McCarthyites who'd tried to keep her down.
For an 88-year-old woman, she looks and acts far younger, and has not only her wits but also her wit about her.
The questions were—shocker!—really great. These things usually have at least one or two embarrassing queries, but this time, Grant fielded thoughtful questions about stage fright, making diverse projects like her Columbo episode (March 1, 1971) and the '90s gay-themed movie It's My Party (1996) and how she felt when her sitcom Fay (1975) was axed after eight episodes.
After, we lined up. I spotted the fabulous actress Barbara Barrie (b. May 23, 1931) off to the side, chatting, but she gave off a vibe of, “Don't.” So I hesitated. After I saw her sign an autograph and then receive an intro by Grant, who'd begun signing in earnest, I knew I would go for a photo. By pure luck, Barrie was with the legendary singer Barbara Cook (b. October 25, 1927) when I got over to them. I asked politely for a photo with them both. “With? Yes,” Barrie said, implicitly saying no to a posed shot of just the two of them.
“Oh, is it your birthday?” Cook asked, why I had no idea. Turns out she'd misheard something I said, but I didn't want to correct her. Barrie was amazed that Cook had guessed that just from seeing me. I felt guilty taking advantage of birthday positivity, but it was just an oops. The pic is cute.
When I got up to Grant, I told her it was nice to be able to admire her both as an actress and as a person, because so many major stars are—and then the guy behind me was snapping our photo, so I smiled. “What? So many are what?” Grant wanted to know, ignoring the camera. Click. So that's why the photo is less than ideal. But oh, well, we look engaged in conversation.
“Sorry, so many are right-wingers,” I finished. She pooh-poohed that until I clarified, delicately, that I meant so many who were making movies in the '40s and, like she was, the '50s. With that proviso, she agreed.
I was able to get her people/the store's rep to approve my getting a posed shot of Ms. Grant—and I do mean one—posed shot in-between the umpteen fans who were queued up to buy her book.
It wasn't ideal, photo-wise (though my shots of Grant and of the Barbaras turned out great!), but it was still a thrill to be able to meet an Oscar-winning, one-of-a-kind actress and director whom I truly thought I'd never get to see.
I can't wait to read her book. If you've never seen The Landlord (1970), recommended to me by my pal Gordon not so very long ago, seek it out.
Shangela, already a RuPaul's Drag Race legend-in-the-making, is performing her show in NYC August 1 through 3 at the Laurie Beechman Theater (407 W. 42nd St. at Ninth Avenue).
Shangela: Straight Outta Paris
Enter for your chance to win 1 of 2 pairs of tickets for opening night, August 1! (No travel or lodging provided; winner must be local.)
To enter, comment this blog with Shangela's greatest moment on RDR...I'll pick 2 of you at random to win Monday at 5PM ET!
In a touching interview, Jaclyn Smith recalls her long friendship with Farrah Fawcett, including the last time she saw her.
Big Brother's Zach is throwing serious morning wood...right here. I hope Frankie gets a piece of that someday. He's helping to make Zach famous!
James Garner, famous for his roles on Maverick [1957—1962 + an '80s revival and an appearance in the big-screen Mel Gibson (b. January 3, 1956) version in 1994] and The Rockford Files (1974—1980 + TV movies thereafter)—not to mention as one half of the most beloved TV pitch-couple of all time, with Mariette Hartley (b. June 21, 1940), for Polaroid—has died at 86.
Garner was at his best playing anti-heroes and men with a sardonic view of life. He was handsome for sure, but always had an ironic smirk about it—he was no mere slab of beefcake. His terrific sense of comedy played against his good looks, making him funnily sexy and sexily funny.
Doris Day (b. April 3, 1924) has frequently cited him as her favorite leading man—they did The Thrill of It All and Move Over, Darling [the latter being the aborted last film of Marilyn Monroe (June 1, 1926—August 5, 1962), Something's Got to Give] together in 1963—and indeed, he was one of those actors about whom nothing bad was seemingly ever said.
Garner worked steadily from the '50s through the mid-'00s. Along with his indelible TV characters, he made big impressions in films, especially The Americanization of Emily (1964) with Julie Andrews (b. October 1, 1935), in the comic westerns Support Your Local Sheriff (1969) and Support Your Local Gunfighter (1971), as a man in love with a woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman (Andrews again) in Victor Victoria (1982) and in his Oscar-nominated role opposite Sally Field (b. November 6, 1946) in 1985's Murphy's Romance. His last noteworthy film role was in The Notebook (2004), and his last big TV role was on 8 Simple Rules (2003—2005).
Garner had been in failing health and never worked again after suffering a stroke in 2008.
Above, some classic examples of Amsel's work—timeless perfection.
You may not know the name Richard Amsel (December 1947—November 17, 1985) but you are almost without a doubt familiar with his absolutely classic work in movie posters, on TV Guide and elsewhere.
Amsel painted Lily Tomlin for Time and did all those drawings of Bette Midler that come to mind whenever you hear her name.
Amsel died of AIDS in 1985. The following excerpt from Emerald City is from October 30, 1978, and represents the only known footage of the artist discussing his craft, with special attention paid to his movie poster for Death on the Nile.
The clip also features great comments from equally legendary illustrator and artist David Edward Byrd (b. April 4, 1941).
It's a real treasure...