Actress and international sex symbol Raquel Welch has died after a brief illness according to her manager.
Welch a two-time Golden Globe nominee, winning the musical/comedy motion picture award in 1975 for her performance in “The Three Musketeers,” which starred Faye Dunaway and Charlton Heston.
Welch rose to fame in the 1966 sci-fi movie “Fantastic Voyage” where she portrayed a medical team member that worked to save an injured diplomat’s life and was named one of the “100 Sexiest Stars in Film History” by Empire magazine in 1995. Despite her sex symbol status, she viewed herself differently and was not afraid to take chances and was an ally of the gay community.
In 1970 Welch starred in Myra Breckinridge based on Gore Vidal‘s 1968 novel of the same name. The movie the follows the exploits of Myra Breckinridge (née Myron), a transgender woman who has undergone a sex change operation. Claiming to be her own widow, she manipulates her uncle into giving her a position at his acting school, where she attempts to usurp Hollywood’s social order by introducing femdom into the curriculum.
The picture was controversial for its sexual explicitness, unlike the novel, received little to no critical praise and has been cited as one of the worst films ever made
Watch below as Raquel talks with Dick Cavett and Janis Joplin about Myra Breckinridge.
Sal Piro the man for who over 40+ years introduced audiences to “Don’t Dream It. Be It.” mantra of the Rocky Horro Picture Show has passed away.
Sal began attending screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Waverly Theater in early 1977. Along with other early enthusiasts, Piro started the fan club in 1977 and later took it national after he and his group relocated to the 8th Street Playhouse. Along with being the Emcee at his theater, Sal became the voice of the Rocky Horror community, eventually acknowledged by both producer Lou Adler and 20th Century Fox. As a Rocky Horror Legend.
Sal Piro is and was a legend. Every weekend for decades he introduced “vrgins” (first time veiwers) to the thrills and pleasures of The Rocky Horro Picture Show. Huundeds of thousands of people and at a time in the 70s and 80s when any LGBT content was controversial and could be potentiall dangerous. Despite this Sal opened the minds and hearts of many not only to love RHPS but also to love themselves and others as well.
On a personal note I was introuced to Sal through his sister Lillias and was member of the 8th Street Floorshoor and I can attest to the fact thast there was never a not a nicer, kinder, more accepting soul ever walked the face of the earth.
David Carter’s 2004 book “Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution” thrust Carter into the limelight as a leading expert on the June 1969 riots triggered by the now infamous police raid on the Stonewall gay bar in Greenwich Village in which the patrons fought back.
Carter’s book was the basis for the PBS American Experience film “Stonewall Uprising,” which won a Peabody Award. He also played a key role working with the U.S. National Park Service to have the site of the Stonewall bar and surrounding streets designated as a national monument and an historic landmark.
One of the founding members of the Daughters of Bilitis and one half of the first same-sex couple to be legally married in San Francisco in 2004, Phyllis Lyon, has passed away. She was 95, and reportedly died of natural causes early Thursday.
Lyon and her wife Del Martin (pictured above) were famously the first couple to be granted a marriage license by then Mayor Gavin Newsom on Valentine’s Day 2004, and her life was characterized by a commitment to activism and equal rights for all.
“I’m very sad to learn of the death this morning of Phyllis Lyon,” writes legendary LGBTQ activist Cleve Jones. “I met Phyllis and Del in 1972 and it changed my life. Two of the most remarkable people I’ve ever known.”
The DOB advertised itself as “A Woman’s Organization for the purpose of Promoting the Integration of the Homosexual into Society.” The statement was composed of four parts that prioritized the purpose of the organization, and it was printed on the inside of the cover of every issue of The Ladder until 1970:
Education of the variant…to enable her to understand herself and make her adjustment to society…this to be accomplished by establishing…a library…on the sex deviant theme; by sponsoring public discussions…to be conducted by leading members of the legal psychiatric, religious and other professions; by advocating a mode of behavior and dress acceptable to society.
Education of the public…leading to an eventual breakdown of erroneous taboos and prejudices…
Participation in research projects by duly authorized and responsible psychologists, sociologists, and other such experts directed towards further knowledge of the homosexual.
Investigation of the penal code as it pertain to the homosexual, proposal of changes,…and promotion of these changes through the due process of law in the state legislatures.”
Both Phyllis Lyon and her partner Del Martin went on to form the Council on Religion and the Homosexual (CRH) in northern California to persuade ministers to accept homosexuals into churches, and used their influence to decriminalize homosexuality in the late 1960s and early 1970s. They became politically active in San Francisco’s first gay political organization, the Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club, which influenced Dianne Feinstein to sponsor a citywide bill to outlaw employment discrimination for gays and lesbians. Both served in the White House Conference on Aging in 1995.
They were married on Feb. 12, 2004, in the first same-sex wedding to take place in San Francisco after Mayor Gavin Newsom ordered the city clerk to begin providing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but that marriage was voided by the California Supreme Court on August 12, 2004. They married again on June 16, 2008, in the first same-sex wedding to take place in San Francisco after the California Supreme Court’s decision in In re Marriage Cases legalized same-sex marriage in California.
Shelley Morrison, the actress best-known for playing the stoic and cantankerous maid Rosario Salazar on Will & Grace, has died aged 83.
She died of heart failure on Sunday, December 1, at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Ms. Morrison starred in Will & Grace as the no-nonsense Salvadoran maid of socialite Karen Walker (Megan Mullally) in the original run of the series from 1999 – 2006.
In a biography, Morrison referred to Rosario as one of her “all-time favourite characters” and said she reminded her of her own mother, “who loved animals and children, but she would not suffer fools”.
“It is very significant to me that we were able to show an older, Hispanic woman who is bright and smart and can hold her own,” she added.
Another of Ms. Morrison’s memorable roles was as Sister Sixto on The Flying Nun opposite Sally Field in the Sixties.
In 1973, she met writer Walter Dominguez, whom she married. Together they adopted six children through a traditional Native American ceremony. She is survived by Dominguez, their children and grandchildren.
Megan Mullally shared a tribute to her former co-star upon hearing the news, tweeting: “Just got a bulletin on my phone that Shelley Morrison has passed. My heart is heavy. Putting Shelley, her beloved husband Walter and their children in the light.
“Thank you for your friendship and partnership. You accomplished wonderful things in this world. You will be missed.”
Frank Kameny was one of the most significant figures and iconic figures in the American gay rights movement.
In 1957, Frank Kameny was dismissed from his position as an astronomer in the Army Map Service in Washington, D.C. because of his homosexuality leading him to begin “a Herculean struggle with the American establishment that would transform the gay rights movement” and “spearhead a new period of homosexual rights movement of the early 1960’s.
Kameny appealed his firing through the judicial system, losing twice before seeking review from the United States Supreme Court, which turned down his petition for certiorari. After devoting himself to activism, Kameny never held a paid job again and was supported by friends and family for the rest of his life. Despite his outspoken activism, he rarely discussed his personal life and never had any long-term relationships with other men, stating merely that he had no time for them.
In August, 1961 Kameny and Jack Nichols co-founded the Mattachine Society of Washington,[an organization that pressed aggressively for gay and lesbian civil rights. The goals of the Mattachine Society were “to unify, to educate, and to lead.”
Kameny and the Mattachine worked diligently for fair and equal treatment of gay employees in the federal government by fighting security clearance denials, employment restrictions and dismissals, and working with other groups to press for equality for gay citizens.
In 1963, Kameny also launched a campaign to overturn D.C. sodomy laws; he personally drafted a bill finally passed in 1993. He also worked to remove the classification of homosexuality as a mental disorder from the American Psychiatric Association’s manual of mental disorders.
Kameny launched the first organized public protests by gays and lesbians with a picket line at the White House on April 17, 1965 and expanded the picketing to the Pentagon, the U.S. Civil Service Commission, and to Philadelphia’s Independence Hall for what became known as the Annual Reminder for gay rights.
In 1971, Kameny became the first openly gay candidate for the United States Congress when he ran in the District of Columbia’s first election for a non-voting Congressional delegate.Following his defeat by Democrat Walter E. Fauntroy, Kameny and his campaign organization created the Gay and Lesbian Alliance of Washington, D.C., an organization which continues to lobby government and press the case for equal rights.
Kameny realized that the battle had to be fought on more than one front; that the negative images of homosexuals, which had even permeated the self-identity of gay and lesbian people themselves, also had to be challenged. In 1966, he coined the slogan, “Gay is Good.” Then in 1971, he demanded microphone time at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association where he challenged their speculative theories as being entirely unscientific and harmful to the psychological well-being of millions
He described the day – December 15, 1973, when the American Psychological Association finally removed homosexuality from its manual of mental disorders – as the day “we were cured en masse by the psychiatrists.”
Kameny suffered from heart disease in his last years, but maintained a full schedule of public appearances, his last being a speech to an LGBT group in Washington DC on September 30, 2011.
In 1975, he was appointed a Commissioner of the D.C. Commission on Human Rights, thereby becoming the first gay municipal appointee.
Frank Kameny was found dead in his Washington home of a heart attack on October 11th, 2011 National Coming Out Day.
Frank Kameny was and always will be one of the greatest gay american activists and heros that our movement will ever have. And many today would be well served to use him as a role model in our fight for equality.
It was the hate crime that shocked not only the nation but the world.
On the night of October 8th, 1998Matthew Shepard was brutally attacked, pistol whipped, tied to a fence and left to die tied to a fence by Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson in Laramie, Wyoming. It was reported that Shepard was beaten so brutally that his face was completely covered in blood, except where it had been partially washed clean by his tears. Shepard, who was still alive but in a coma, was discovered 18 hour later on the morning of October 7th.
Matthew passed away a few days later on October 12, 1998 and the world mourned.
Now, 20 years later Matthew’s remains will finally be put to rest.
For 20 years, the ashes of Matthew Shepard have not been laid to rest. Mr. Shepard’s killing in 1998, when he was a 21-year-old college student, led to national outrage and, almost overnight, turned him into a symbol of deadly violence against gay people.
Mourners flocked to his funeral that year in Casper, Wyo., but there were also some protesters, carrying derogatory signs. Mr. Shepard’s parents worried that if they chose a final resting place for their son, it would be at risk of desecration. Now they have found a safe place. On Oct. 26, Mr. Shepard will be interred at the Washington National Cathedral, the neo-Gothic, Episcopalian house of worship that is a fixture of American politics and religion.
“I think it’s the perfect, appropriate place,” Dennis Shepard, Matthew’s father, said in an interview on Thursday. “We are, as a family, happy and relieved that we now have a final home for Matthew, a place that he himself would love.”
Burt Reynolds, the charismatic star of such films as Deliverance, The Longest Yard and Smokey and the Bandit and Cosmopolitan magazine’s first naked male centerfold who set out to have as much fun as possible on and off the screen — has died. He was 82.
Reynolds, who received an Oscar nomination when he portrayed porn director Jack Horner in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights (1997) and was the No. 1 box-office attraction for a five-year stretch starting in the late 1970s, died Thursday morning at Jupiter Medical Center in Florida, his manager, Erik Kritzer, told The Hollywood Reporter.
Reynolds had been battling health issues the past years. In 2013, the actor’s rep said he was in intensive care in a Florida hospital for treatment of flu symptoms, including dehydration.
Reynolds in his elder years blamed his limited mobility on doing his own stunts over the course of his career. Speaking on the Jonathan Ross Show on ITV, he said in 2015: “I did all my own stunts, which is why I can’t walk now.”
Reynolds appeared often on NBC’s The Tonight Show, and in 1972 he became the first non-comedian to sit in for Johnny Carson as guest host (Reynolds’ first guest that night was his ex-wife, Carne; they hadn’t spoken in six years, and she made a crack about his older girlfriend Shore). He and Carson once engaged in a wild and improvised whipped-cream fight during a taping, and he got to show a side of him the public never knew.
“Before I met Johnny, I’d played a bunch of angry guys in a series of forgettable action movies, and people didn’t know I had a sense of humor,” he wrote. “My appearances on The Tonight Show changed that. My public image went from a constipated actor who never took a chance to a cocky, wisecracking character.”
Reynolds shined in many action films and in such romantic comedies as Starting Over (1979) opposite Jill Clayburgh and Candice Bergen; The Best Little Whorehousein Texas (1982) with Dolly Parton; Best Friends (1982) with Goldie Hawn; and, quite aptly, The Man Who Loved Women (1983) with Julie Andrews.
Though beloved by audiences for his brand of good-ol’-boy fare, the Reynolds rarely was embraced by the critics. The first time he saw himself in Boogie Nights, he was so unhappy he fired his agent. (He went on to win a Golden Globe but lost out in the Oscar supporting actor race to Robin Williams for Good Will Hunting, a bitter disappointment for him.)
“I didn’t open myself to new writers or risky parts because I wasn’t interested in challenging myself as an actor. I was interested in having a good time,” Reynolds recalled in his 2015 memoir, But Enough About Me. “As a result, I missed a lot of opportunities to show I could play serious roles. By the time I finally woke up and tried to get it right, nobody would give me a chance.”
Despite the ups and downs of a Hollywood life, Reynolds seemed to have no regrets.
“I always wanted to experience everything and go down swinging,” he wrote in the final paragraph of his memoir. “Well, so far, so good. I know I’m old, but I feel young. And there’s one thing they can never take away: Nobody had more fun than I did.”
Barbara Cook, whose heartfelt soprano led her to a remarkably long-lived career, first as one of Broadway’s most memorable musical theatre ingénues and then as a leading light in the international cabaret scene, died August 8, 2017, of respiratory failure at the age of 89.
The Atlanta-born soprano started her Broadway career in 1951, but it was her 1956 role in Leonard Bernstein’s short-lived Candide, with its popular cast recording, that ensured her immortality. In 2002, Cook told NPR that Bernstein’s vocal demands were daunting.
Cook appeared in The Gay Life, at the Shubert Theatre in New York in 1962. Cook’s buttery soprano voice helped define show after show on Broadway.
“I was counting the high notes in the score, and there were four E flats over high C, there were six D flats, there were 16 B flats and 21 high Cs. … That’s just unbelievable,” she said. “It’s unheard of. But that’s what was in the score for me to sing and I did it eight times a week.”
Cook’s next Broadway outing proved to be one of her greatest triumphs. In The Music Man, she played the spinsterish Marian, a librarian who falls for con artist Harold Hill, played by Robert Preston. Meredith Willson wrote the book, music and lyrics for the show, which he later realized was a thinly veiled autobiography.
In the 1962 Jerry Bock-Sheldon Harnick musical She Loves Me. Cooked played what would be one of her most memorable roles, that of Amelia Balash. Of her performance Norman Nadel of the World-Telegram & Sun wrote: “Her clear soprano is not only one of the finest vocal instruments in the contemporary musical theatre, but it conveys all the vitality, brightness and strength of her feminine young personality, which is plenty.” The song “Vanilla Ice Cream” from the latter became one of Cook’s signature songs.
“One day, he came to me,” Cook recalled. “He said, ‘Oh … I know who you are. I know who this character is.’ He says, ‘I wrote this and I didn’t know it was my mother. This is my mother.’ “
Cook won a Tony Award for that role. But actresses can’t play ingénues forever and as the ’60s drew to a close, roles became scarce. Cook succumbed to what she referred to as her “middle-escence,” battling alcoholism, depression and obesity. She disappeared from the Broadway stage for five years. Then, in 1975, she reinvented herself as a highly regarded concert and cabaret artist.
In October 1991 they appeared as featured artists at the Carnegie Hall Gala Music and Remembrance: A Celebration of Great Musical Partnerships which raised money for the advancement of the performing arts and for AIDS research
In 1988 she originated the role of Margaret White in the ill-fated musical version of Stephen King’s Carrie, which premiered in England and was presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company. In 1994, she provided both her acting and singing skills to the animated film version of Thumbelina which featured music by Barry Manilow. That same year she was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame.
In October 1991 she appeared as featured artists at the Carnegie Hall Gala Music and Remembrance: A Celebration of Great Musical Partnerships which raised money for the advancement of the performing arts and for AIDS research
New York Times critic Stephen Holden says that as the years went on, not only did her voice grow deeper, but so did her musical interpretations.
“High voices really don’t express much. They’re just beautiful and phenomenal,” Holden says. “And it’s low voices that you can really get into the dark side of things, or whatever you want to call it. And she goes there and puts all of her life into what she sings.”
Over the decades, Cook also developed her own philosophy and approach to performance. She said, “I think it’s absolutely, totally important for a person, first of all, to hopefully know who they are as a performer and to choose songs that illuminate that person; and then to be present — to really, really be present.”