Hollywood Icons Curtis and Fisher Pass Same Week

Stars Eddie Fisher and Tony Curtis Pass Same Week

Two of the biggest Hollywood stars passed within a week of each other, first Eddie Fisher at 82 and then Tony Curtis (aka Bernie Schwartz) at 85. Though Fisher was known more for his singer and Curtis for his acting, they probably became better known in later years for their off screen exploits – following similar life paths winding their ways through ‘ booze and broads.’

They were both sons of Jewish immigrants and had to overcome the challenges of anti-semitism and poverty, no easy feat for sons of immigrants. As similar as their lives were, they both called Debbie Reynolds one of their numerous wives. Both didn’t go easily into middle and old age, with unsuccessuful comebacks during different times. Warts aside , Fisher and Curtis should be remembered as trailblazers who overcame challenges to become talented and well-deserved stars; their songs and movies remain classics to this day.

First of Two Holllwood Stars Passes

Actor Tony Curtis dies at Las Vegas home (AP)

FILE - Actor Tony Curtis is shown in this 1965 file photo. Curtis, whose real name was Bernard Schwartz, was perhaps most known for his comedic turn in Billy Wilder's 'Some Like It Hot' with co-stars Marilyn Monroe and Jack Lemmon has died at 85 according to the Clark County, Nev. coroner. (AP Photo, File)

HENDERSON, Nev. – Tony Curtis shaped himself from a 1950s movie heartthrob into a respected actor, showing a determined streak that served him well in such films as “Sweet Smell of Success,” “The Defiant Ones” and “Some Like It Hot.”

The Oscar-nominated actor died at age 85 Wednesday evening of cardiac arrest at his home in the Las Vegas-area city of Henderson, Clark County Coroner Mike Murphy said Thursday.

Curtis began in acting with frivolous movies that exploited his handsome physique and appealing personality, but then steadily moved to more substantial roles, starting in 1957 in the harrowing show business tale “Sweet Smell of Success.”


Jamie Lee Curtis: My Dad Leaves Behind Devoted Family and Fans

Thursday September 30, 2010 03:35 PM EDT

Jamie Lee Curtis: My Dad Leaves Behind Devoted Family and Fans | Jamie Lee Curtis, Tony Curtis

Tony and Jamie Lee Curtis

Darlene Hammond/Getty

Jamie Lee Curtis says her late father, Tony Curtis, who died Wednesday in Las Vegas from cardiac arrest, will be remembered as both a screen legend and family man.

“My father leaves behind a legacy of great performances in movies and in his paintings and assemblages,” the actress, 51, said in a statement Thursday.

“He leaves behind children and their families who loved him and respected him and a wife and in-laws who were devoted to him. He also leaves behind fans all over the world,” added Curtis.


In 1958, “The Defiant Ones” brought him an Academy Award nomination as best actor for his portrayal of a white racist who escaped from prison handcuffed to a black man, Sidney Poitier. The following year, he donned women’s clothing and sparred with Marilyn Monroe in one of the most acclaimed film comedies ever, Billy Wilder’s “Some Like It Hot.”

His first wife was actress Janet Leigh of “Psycho” fame; actress Jamie Lee Curtis is their daughter.

“My father leaves behind a legacy of great performances in movies and in his paintings and assemblages,” Jamie Lee Curtis said in a statement Thursday. “He leaves behind children and their families who loved him and respected him and a wife and in-laws who were devoted to him. He also leaves behind fans all over the world.”

Curtis struggled against drug and alcohol abuse as starring roles became fewer, but then bounced back in film and television as a character actor.

His brash optimism returned, and he allowed his once-shiny black hair to turn silver.

Again he came back after even those opportunities began to wane, reinventing himself as a writer and painter whose canvasses sold for as much as $20,000.

“I’m not ready to settle down like an elderly Jewish gentleman, sitting on a bench and leaning on a cane,” he said at 60. “I’ve got a helluva lot of living to do.”

“He was a fine actor … I shall miss him,” said British actor Roger Moore, who starred alongside Curtis in TV’s “The Persuaders.”

“He was great fun to work with, a great sense of humor and wonderful ad libs,” Moore told Sky News. “We had the best of times.”

Curtis perfected his craft in forgettable films such as “Francis,” “I Was a Shoplifter,” “No Room for the Groom” and “Son of Ali Baba.”

He first attracted critical notice as Sidney Falco, the press agent seeking favor with a sadistic columnist, played by Burt Lancaster, in the 1957 classic “Sweet Smell of Success.”

In her book “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” Pauline Kael wrote that in the film, “Curtis grew up into an actor and gave the best performance of his career.”

Other prestigious films followed: Stanley Kubrick‘s “Spartacus,” “Captain Newman, M.D.,” “The Vikings,” “Kings Go Forth,” “Operation Petticoat” and “Some Like It Hot.” He also found time to do a voice acting gig as his prehistoric lookalike, Stony Curtis, in an episode of “The Flintstones.”

“The Defiant Ones” remained his only Oscar-nominated role.

Some Like It Hot Poster Movie 11×17 Marilyn Monroe Tony Curtis Jack Lemmon George RaftSome Like It Hot Poster Movie G 11×17 Marilyn Monroe Tony Curtis Jack Lemmon George Raft

Similar but different Stars Pass Same week: Ediie fisher

Eddie Fisher dies at age of 82

Fisher Taylor AP – **CORRECTS FISHER’S AGE AT DEATH TO 82** FILE – In this 1959 file photo, actress Elizabeth Taylor is …

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LOS ANGELES – Long before the era of Brangelina, TMZ and around-the-clock celebrity obsession, Eddie Fisher had a leading role in arguably the most explosive sex scandal of Hollywood’s golden age.

He was a music superstar and household name to millions of teenage girls who adored his crooning long songs. He was married to Debbie Reynolds — a megawatt movie star in her own right and the star of “Singin’ in the Rain.” They had a daughter Carrie who would one day go on to fame of her own.

Then Fisher left Reynolds for Elizabeth Taylor, and what resulted was a scandal that left no doubt about America’s love of a good-old-fashioned Hollywood romance story. The affair became a national obsession — and an early forerunner of the scandals that are now so common in the current celebrity-crazed world.

Fisher died Wednesday night at the age of 82 of complications from hip surgery, and he was remembered as much for his musical triumphs as his romances with Reynolds and Taylor.


from daughter Carrie Fisher, via Twitter from Australia:

‘My Puff Daddy passed away Wednesday night due to complications following his hip surgery. He was an extraordinary talent and a true mensch.’

Fisher sold millions of records in the early 1950s with 32 hit songs including “Any Time,” “Oh, My Pa-pa,” “Wish You Were Here,” “Lady of Spain” and “Count Your Blessings.” His romantic messages resonated with young girls in the pre-Elvis period.

Fisher’s fame was enhanced by his 1955 marriage to Reynolds, and they quickly became known as “America’s favorite couple.” Four years later, Fisher divorced Reynolds and married Taylor amid one sensational headline after another.

He was Taylor’s fourth husband, and the marriage lasted only five years. She fell in love with co-star Richard Burton during the Rome filming of “Cleopatra,” divorced Fisher and married Burton in one of the great entertainment world scandals of the 20th century.

An example of the obsession over the affair came in 1964 when Taylor and Burton arrived at the Los Angeles airport to what AP movie writer Bob Thomas described as a “seething, shouting, throng of newsmen.” Taylor was trying to divorce Fisher at the time, and the two camps were exchanging a war of words in the media in what Thomas called “filmdom’s most famous — and lengthiest — love epic.”

Fisher’s career never recovered from the notoriety. He married actress Connie Stevens, and they had two daughters. Another divorce followed. He married twice more.

“The world lost a true America icon,” Fisher’s family said in a statement. “One of the greatest voices of the century passed away. He was an extraordinary talent and a true mensch.”

“He was loved & will be missed by his four children as well as his six grandchildren,” Carrie Fisher said on her Twitter account.

Carrie Fisher became a film star herself in the first three “Star Wars” films as Princess Leia, and later as a best-selling author of “Postcards From the Edge” and other books.

Edwin Jack Fisher was born Aug. 10, 1928, in Philadelphia, one of seven children of a Jewish grocer. At 15 he was singing on Philadelphia radio.

After moving to New York, Fisher was adopted as a protege by comedian Eddie Cantor, who helped the young singer become a star in radio, television and records.

Fisher had legions of teenage fans. Publicist-manager Milton Blackstone helped the publicity by hiring girls to scream and swoon at Fisher’s appearances.

After getting out of the Army in 1953 following a two-year hitch, hit records, his own TV show and the headlined marriage to Reynolds made Fisher a top star. The couple costarred in a 1956 romantic comedy, “Bundle of Joy,” that capitalized on their own parenthood.

In 1960 he played a role in “Butterfield 8,” for which Taylor won an Academy Award. But that film marked the end of his movie career.

After being discarded by Taylor, Fisher became the butt of comedians’ jokes. He began relying on drugs to get through performances, and his bookings dwindled. He later said he had made and spent $20 million during his heyday, and much of it went to gambling and drugs.

In 1983, Fisher attempted a full-scale comeback. But his old fans had been turned off by the scandals, and the tour was unsuccessful.

He had added to his notoriety that year with an autobiography, “Eddie: My Life, My Loves.” Of his first three marriages, he wrote he had been bullied into marriage with Reynolds, whom he didn’t know well; became nursemaid as well as husband to Taylor; and was reluctant to marry Connie Stevens but she was pregnant and he “did the proper thing.”

Another autobiography, “Been There, Done That,” published in 1999, was even more searing. He called Reynolds “self-centered, totally driven, insecure, untruthful, phony.” He claimed he abandoned his career during the Taylor marriage because he was too busy taking her to emergency rooms and cleaning up after her pets, children and servants. Both ex-wives were furious, and Carrie Fisher threatened to change her name to Reynolds.

At 47, Fisher married a 21-year-old beauty queen, Terry Richard. The marriage ended after 10 months. His fifth marriage, to Betty Lin, a Chinese-born businesswoman, lasted longer than any of the others. Fisher had two children with Reynolds: Carrie and Todd; and two girls with Stevens: Joely and Tricia.


Associated Press Writer Bob Thomas in Los Angeles contributed to this report.


Actrees Debbie Reynolds on Candid TV Series with Singer Eddie Fisher Collections Premium Photographic Poster Print by Allan Grant, 18×24Actrees Debbie Reynolds on Candid TV Series with Singer Eddie Fisher Collections Premium Photographic Poster Print by Allan Grant, 18×24Greatest HitsEddie Fisher: A Singing Legend [VHS]

hollywood stars, film stars, music stars, fifties stars, true stars of hollywood, three stars. celebrities stars

Stars Pass Same Week



NEW FILM DOMUMENTARY: The Agony and Ecstacy of Phil Spector

Phil Spector is a pioneer of American music, a legendary producer to John Lennon and Tina Turner, and, as of April 13th 2009, a convicted murderer. Yet the Spector who appears in Vikram Jayanti’s documentary is not the severe, outlandishly coiffed defendant seen in sensationalistic accounts of his trial, but a charming, savvy music executive with a generous, but arguably accurate, estimation of his place in the history of popular music. (from Rafael Theater review, San Rafael CA)


After just losing 2 hours of writing my review of this film I saw last night, let me just say , that whatever you think of Phil Spector I would recommend seeing this film. For old rock and rollers or anyone iinterested in a good psychological drama, producer gives us a little bit of everything by juxtaposing Spector’s’ music with the court case and with , the highlight, excerpts from a rare interview he got with Spector just prior to the court case and eventual conviction.

Spector is now in jail for 18 years so critics can feel more comfortable watching this film knowing he IS paying his dues for an apparent accidental murder of girlfriend Lana Clarkson. Those with a psychological bent maybe able to get into the head of Spector , at least somewhat, to see if a miserable childhood with suicidal father may have contributed to Spector’s bizarre personality. At the same time, one must be able to separate this terrible crime from a brilliant music career that has been largely forgotten .

Whether it is because rock and roll never gained full respect until the Beatles came along in 1964 or because Spector’s behavior was so abhorent

to many, some great music may never have seen major exposure again without the criminal case. I know its sad that it often takes a crime to bring a talent back in the limelight. But take it for what it is. Ajanty has laid out 20 or so of of Spectors finest productions, featuring classics like Be My Baby by the Ronnettes and You’ve Lost That Lovin Feeling by The Righteous Brothers as a backdrop, or perhaps foredrop, to the ongoing trial excerpts and amazing S pector interview from 2007.

In the interview excerpts, chich account for about half the movie, Spector comes across as both sympathetic and perhaps sociopathic, as he has been labelled by many. His grandeous ego and seeming lack of wrongdoing goes along with the latter, yet one must consider Spectors actual statements – much more lucid than might expect – re the trial and the treatment he has received both recently and in his past. Spector talks about his father, who committed suicide (though Spector embellishes the story, saying that his Dad ‘ shot himself when Phil was five or six’ when , in fact, it was by gas asphyixiation when Spector was 10 or 11, according to the producer, who was in the audience opening night, in San Rafael, where he later tood questions.

Phil Spector’s landmark effort, River Deep Mountain High, by Tina Turner in 1966, is regarded by many pure music critics as his finest single effort; yet, by then Spector’s time may have run out. The recording failed inthe United States, though it was No. 1 in England. Spector blamed it on white DJs not wanting to play it because it was too black and black DJs not wanting to play it for whatever reason, I didn’t quite get… Few would have little to do with him and the Ramones actually fired him midway thru recording, to this writer’s memory.

Spector was given a second life, as it were when Beatles and then John Lennon and George Harrison hired him . Many top sellers came out of these sessions, including a the ‘Let It Be’ sessions, ‘My Sweet Lord’ for George Harrison, ‘Imagine’ for Lennon, a full album of classic rock and roll from Lennon and some rewrites including ‘The Long and Winding Road,’of which Spector had criticized the original as full of mistakes with John ‘playing wrong notes on bass, ‘ etc. It may be a wonder the Beatles kept Spector around as long as they did, thru 1972 and Lennon’s song ‘ Woman is the World’s Nigger.’ Buy then maybe they realized Spector knew what he was talking about. Spector always known for speaking his mind and speaking out; elsewhere in the film he criticized his wealthy and talented high school mates and teachers at Fairfax High in Los Angeles for NOT speaking out, saying he was the only one who did, and became ostricized for it. He was always a loner, he said, though music did give him a modicum of popularity.

The Agony and Exstacy of Phil Spector has a little bit of something for everyone. Music fan or not, you should find it compelling and one of the few films that combines psychological drama , great music and a rare, up close, candid interview, the likes of which you will probably never see again.

As a music person, I would like to see a second movie about Spector featuring the making of the ‘Wall of Sound,’ interviews with members of the ‘Wrecking Crew’ which backed many Spector productions, more of the lesser known gems produced by Spector, such as those by Ray Peterson and Gene Pitney (including the incomparable ‘Every Little Breath I Take’ which can be heard on this site) and the infamous ‘Christmas Album’ in 1962.’During the trial on Court TV we were treated to interviews with many of Spector’s cohorts such as Darlene Love(who sang on many of the sonbgs, regardless of group name, Carroll Connors, who sang lead on ‘To Know Him Is To Love Him,’ Spector’s first recording, on which he sang, with the Teddy Bears .

Phil Spector is crazy, brilliant, charming all in one and he is convicted of killing a woman for which he is paying his price.

The Ronettes: Ultimate Collection; Greatest HitsJohn Lennon: Imagine [VHS]

Tearing Down the Wall of Sound: The Rise and Fall of Phil Spector (Vintage)

SHINDIG! Presents the Righteous Brothers [VHS]The Righteous Brothers – In Concert

Phil Spector’s Christmas Album The Beatles 1972 APPLE ReleasePhil Spector: Back to Mono
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Phil Spector Returns


Floyd Cramer – Boogie Woogie

Classic nite shot from the ’60s, featuring the famous neon ablaze…

(Editor’s Note: In a previous ‘life’ of this website we promoted ‘Saving The Kwik Way,’ the iconic 50s hamburger drivein in Oakland , CA where I spent many a good time and hamburgers, going back to when they cost 19 cents. Even tshirts with the moniker ‘Save the Kwik Way’ seemed to go for naught. Fortunately , vigilant neighbors rejected condominium projects, McDonalds and others to take its place and it just took one right person, and appears Gary Rizzo is the man. So, Kudos to him, though it may be still a bit early to get too excited, but here’s the lateston the Kwik Way, plus some excerpts from the old website, ‘Save The Kwk Way.’

Kwik Way Drivein goes `back to the future’ – Retro Diner

Former popular DRIVEIN to reopen as `retro hamburger place’

By Alan Lopez


The Kwik Way fast food restaurant on Lake Park Avenue near the Grand Lake Theater was a popular spot for teenagers to go in the ’60s and ’70s, but had fallen on hard times. Closed for at least two years, the front of the building is now covered with graffiti.

Gary Rizzo, the owner of Somerset Restaurant on College Avenue, said he wants to open a casual restaurant there with outdoor seating and landscaping. The new place will hearken back to the Kwik Way aesthetic, though there will be no drive-through window, which had been a big concern for neighbors.


It came to our attention Sunday Sept 26, after attending an Oakland A’s baseball game  that one of the  three ORIGINAL Kwik Ways still stands at or near its original location on International Blvd (previously E. 14th St) near 62nd Ave.   The facade may be new but the food is the same… that spicy sauce you won’t get anywhere else – and the old Kwik Way logo emblazoned above..

We had to try the food… It was daylight so we braved the mean street s of Oakland (we say that with love a s we grew up here).

So, if that wasn’t exciting news for me I don’t know what is…

Check it out! Living history!


“It’s not like a chain fast-food restaurant, there will be outdoor seating,” said City Councilwoman Pat Kernighan. “There will not be a driveway window, that’s something the neighborhood and I absolutely opposed. We do not want to encourage any more car traffic across that sidewalk than we need to.”

Kernighan has been working with Rizzo and city and county officials to transform the shuttered Kwik Way drivein into a new establishment, which she described as a “retro hamburger place.”

“It will be a welcome reprieve from the blighted condition we’ve lived with for many years,” she said.

It’s not that people haven’t been trying to do something about the property, which is owned by local real estate developer Alex Hahn. In 2004, hundreds of local residents fought a proposal to turn the Kwik Way into a McDonald’s.Later, a plan for a mix of housing and retail on the property was proposed, but it fell through along with the downturn in the housing market, Kernighan said.

Recently, Kernighan said she believed construction could begin at the site by the second week of September and that Rizzo was “within 48 hours” of finalizing the permits.

She said there was one main issue left, involving the safest location for the outdoor seating.

“There was some disagreement about where the outdoor seating should be located,” she said, “which side of the building.”

Rizzo said he passed the health department permitting but needs two other permits from the city.

“We’re poised and ready to go as soon as we get those permits,” he said.

Rizzo said it would take at least until the second week of September to acquire the permits, since changes will be needed to architectural drawings and his architect will be away on vacation until then.

When his restaurant does open, Rizzo said the Kwik Way building will be restored.

“I don’t think that should be changed, it has too much history here,” Rizzo said. “There are too many people who remember going there when they were kids, or recently. We’re keeping the building as intact as possible and keeping the whole concept intact, architecturally and historically, it’s kind of iconic.”

KWIK WAY during better times. (Acually this was taken only about 5 years ago with my ’63 Imperial in front’ But, the restaurant, still open then, hadn’t changed much in 45 years. Old Web article follows…circa 2005

Old promo from around ’05… Still have
some tshirts left – if anyone wants one for cost ($12) just comment to this post and we’ll leave them for you at 484 Lake Park, near Kwik Way or oyu can submit $12 plus $3 postage – $15 to paypal email burtkaufman@couponcountry.com.
Thankfully, we can now say it worked, sort of…

Drive-in [VHS]Carhop Taking an Order from Customers at a Hollywood Drive-In

Restaurant Collections Photographic Poster Print by Alfred Eisenstaedt, 18×24

Cozy Drive-In Metal Sign by Lucinda Lewis

Diners, Drive-ins and Dives: An All-American Road Trip . . . with Recipes! (Food Network)

The American Drive-In: History and Folklore of the Drive-in Restaurant in American Car Culture

50s,diners,fifties,music,furniture retro

OldiesCountry.com OldiesCountry.com<rel=nofollow>


Disneyland’s Inspiration – Children’s Fairyland, Oakland, CA Celebrates 60 Years


Childrens Fairyland, in Oakland – the main inspiration for famous Walt Disney’s Disney lands- turns 60 this month with a big celebration. As a kid who grew up there, I hope they’ll let me in this time sans children. Afterall, I’m a big child anyway. Don’t miss this. Get your new clear Magic Key. I can’t wait to return to my youth!

Let us know if you grew up with Fairyland and if you’re going! Here are details.



Fifty Years: The Artistry Of Tony Bennett (5CD)Barry Manilow’s The Greatest Songs of the Fifties

David Halberstam’s the Fifties [VHS]


Fairyland Inspired Walt Disney to build Disneyland in Los angeles