DCS: diahann carroll

half of what I say is meaningless
I drew this picture to give to Diahann Carroll when I met her at the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention in 2018. She was among a group of celebrity guests that were attending the show to meet fans and sign autographs. I had been collecting autographed photos of “celebrities” for almost thirty years before stopping in 2017. The prices had gotten too out of hand and those claiming “celebrity” status became questionable.

Diahann Carroll, however, was a bonafide celebrity. She was a Tony Award-winning and Oscar-nominated actress with a long and successful career. She is best remembered, of course, as “Julia Baker,” the title character in a groundbreaking NBC sitcom. Diahann was the first African-American actress to have her own show in a non-servant role. The show was very successful for Diahann. She later appeared in a regular role on the nighttime soap opera “Dynasty” as a rival to Joan Collins’s “Alexis Carrington.”

At the convention, Diahann was seated behind a table covered with glossy photos highlighting her illustrious career. I approached her table. At 83, she was still the glamorous star I recalled from my youth. I handed her a print of my drawing and told her that I was a big fan. She looked at the print and said, “Oh, remember those short hair styles?” Then she offered a half-hearted smile. realizing that I was not going to purchase an autograph. I was not offended. She was there to make a little unreported income.

Diahann Carroll passed away on October 4 at the age of 84.

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DCS: irwin jacobs

everything the light touches...

Irwin Jacobs was a shrewd investor. He had an uncanny ability to spot an opportunity to make money. In the middle 1970s, Irwin purchased the Grain Belt Brewing Company. He tried to make the failing brewery profitable, sinking nearly $200,000 a month into the company. After eight months, he called it quits, but sold the brand to G. Heileman Brewing Company at a four million dollar gain. Next, he turned a huge profit by negotiating a deal for the bankrupt five-and-dime giant W.T. Grant’s accounts receivable. He owned Cable Value Network, a television retailer that was eventually sold to QVC for another huge profit.

Irwin’s investment company owned Genmar Holdings. one of the largest manufacturers of recreational motorboats. He also owned Watkins Incorporated, a huge consumer products conglomerate, Fishing League Worldwide (FLW), a sporting travel company and partner of Walmart, as well as numerous other product and investment companies. He was also a minority owner of the Minnesota Vikings football team, until he sold his share in 1991.

Irwin was known as a generous philanthropist. He served as chairman of the Special Olympics after is donations reached $8 million. One of Irwin’s five children was born with cerebral palsy.

In early 2019, Alexandra Jacobs, Irwin’s wife of 57 years showed advanced signs of dementia and was wheelchair-bound. According to friends, Irwin was distraught over her condition.

On April 10, 2019. 77-year old Irwin and his wife were found dead from gunshot wounds at their 32-acre suburban Minneapolis estate. Investigations determined it to be a murder-suicide.

 

 

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inktober 2019: week one

inktober 2019 week one

As the weather grows cooler, Inktober is once again upon us.  That means it’s time for hundreds of talented artists worldwide… and me…. to create special works daily just for October, based on a set of suggestions from the official Inktober website.  Always one to buck the system, I follow my own set of rules for Inktober. I will be posting a new, black & white drawing each week for the entire month (in addition to my participation in Illustration Friday and a Dead Celebrity Spotlight). Every year, I choose a theme in keeping with the “spirit” of the Hallowe’en season. This year, each of my drawings will be a tribute to the authors who bring you stories that thrill and chill.

Week One kicks off with Gaston Leroux, a popular detective novelist who created the amateur sleuth “Joseph Rouletabille.” Rouletabille appeared in seven novels by Leroux. Gaston Leroux also published a number of other novels, including the one for which he is most famous, The Phantom of the Opera. Originally serialized in 1909 and 1910, the novel was the basis for numerous films and remakes over the course of decades beginning in 1925 with Lon Chaney featured in the title role. In 1986, Andrew Lloyd Webber brought the story to the musical stage in his Tony Award winning production. Webber used an earlier musical by Ken Hill as his inspiration, but it all began with Gaston Leroux.

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DCS: eddie money

pack your bags, we'll leave tonight

I knew a few Eddie Money songs, but I would not consider myself a fan. He was just another average, innocuous singer on the radio… like Huey Lewis or Bob Seger. Eddie Money was one of those singers that made me think “every singer is someone’s favorite singer.”

I remember regularly hearing “Two Tickets to Paradise” on the radio all through my junior year of high school. The ubiquitous tune was the follow-up single of “Baby Hold On” which was released just a few months earlier. Both songs were from Eddie Money’s self-titled debut album. Soon, more Eddie Money songs were infiltrating the airwaves, including “Maybe I’m a Fool” and “Gimme Some Water” from his sophomore effort. Obviously a good sport, he appeared on The Howard Stern Show, happily parodying “Two Tickets to Paradise” at the height of his popularity.

But soon, Eddie Money’s popularity began to wane. He made a minor comeback with “Take Me Home Tonight,” which actually became more of a comeback for one-time girl group icon Ronnie Spector. But, Eddie never gave up on his career. He released a dozen albums and continued to tour, even if the venues weren’t as big as those early in his career.

In August 2019, during a routine check-up, Eddie was diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal cancer. He succumbed to the disease a month later at the age of 70.

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DCS: carol lynley

there's got to be a morning after

Carol Lynley started off her career as a child model, eventually transitioning to actress in such films as the controversial Blue Denim  with Brandon deWilde and Otto Preminger’s Bunny Lake is Missing. She is best remembered for her role as ingenue “Nonnie Parry” in The Poseidon Adventure, wherein she sang (actually lip-synched another actress’s voice) the Oscar-winning song “The Morning After.” In the star-studded disaster film, Carol was paired with veteran actor Red Buttons, who was 23 years her senior. The two characters were linked in a budding romance as they tried to overcome the perils of a capsized ocean liner. However, Carol and Buttons disliked each other intensely during production, refusing to speak to each other aside from acting. Later in their lives, they reconciled and Carol accompanied Buttons at his last public appearance — the premiere of the reboot of Poseidon in 2006.

carol made a career of numerous guest roles in episodic television, including eleven different roles on eleven different episodes of Fantasy Island. Conversely, she only made one appearance on The Love Boat. She capped her career with small roles in B-grade horror movies.

I met Carol at an autograph show many years ago. She was pleasant and personable, although she appeared a bit distant and other-worldly. There was just something a bit “off” about her.

Carol suffered a fatal heart attack at her home in Southern California. She was 77.

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