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good night funny lady

Imogene Coca was funny. Very funny. She starred opposite Sid Caesar on the early live TV showcase Your Show of Shows and she kept up with Caesar’s comic shenanigans every step of the way. Imogene was nominated five times for her work on Your Show of Shows, finally winning in 1951. In the early 1960s, Imogene starred in a few, short-lived sitcoms of her own, including the Sherwood Schwartz-produced It’s About Time, with comedian Joe E. Ross. Later in her career, she made memorable guest appearances on Bewitched, The Brady Bunch, Fantasy Island, and an episode of the comedy-drama Moonlighting for which she received her sixth Emmy nomination. At 75, she gave another brilliant hysterical character performance as eccentric “Aunt Edna” in National Lampoon’s Vacation.

Imogene passed away in 2001 at the age of 92, leaving a career that spanned eight decades — one of which anyone would be proud.

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DCS: victor mature

were you out there?

Over the course of his six-decade career, Victor Mature made a lot of movies. And he always looked like he was having the time of his life. Best known for action thrillers like One Million BC in 1940, Westerns like My Darling Clementine in 1946 and biblical epics like Samson and Delilah and The Robe, Victor was curiously cast in numerous musicals, often co-starring with Rita Hayworth and Betty Grable.

Victor never took his chosen career too seriously. Once, after being rejected for membership in a country club because he was an actor, he cracked, “I’m not an actor — and I’ve got 64 films to prove it! I never was an actor. Ask anybody, particularly the critics.”

In a 1980 interview, Victor revealed he was pretty proud of about 50% of my motion pictures. “Demetrius and the Gladiators wasn’t bad. The Robe and Samson and Delilah weren’t bad. I made 72 pictures and I made close to $18 million. So what the hell.”

Victor retired from acting in 1984 and passed away from leukemia in 1999 at the age of 86.

George Clooney loosely based his character of “Baird Whitlock” in the 2016 Coen Brothers’ film Hail Caesar! on Victor.

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DCS: kate spade

I wish that I could be

Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
“Good-morning,” and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich—yes, richer than a king—
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.

— Edwin Arlington Robinson, 1897

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DCS: christine chubbuck

good morning, here's the news

Christine Chubbuck was a broadcast major at Boston University. It was a bold direction for the timid, quiet girl from Shaker Heights, who, as a teen formed the group “Dateless Wonders Knitting Club” at the high school she attended.

Christine pursued her chosen profession at several television stations in her native Ohio, nearby Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and, eventually, Florida. She was hired by Sarasota’s ABC-affiliate WXLT-TV, first as a reporter, then as the host of a morning community affairs talk show called Suncoast Digest. The twenty-nine year old took her position very seriously and researched many topics for inclusion in the show.

On July 15, 1974, Christine opened her show with a newscast, something she had never done before. The morning’s show guest waited off-stage while Christine read three national news stories followed by an account of a shooting at a local restaurant. When technical difficulties kept the accompanying film footage of the story from being shown, Christine shrugged, looked straight into the camera and said: “In keeping with Channel 40’s policy of bringing you the latest in ‘blood and guts’, and in living color, you are going to see another first—attempted suicide.”

She drew a revolver from under the anchor desk and shot herself behind her right ear. Christine fell forward, bleeding profusely. The show’s technical director gave the signal for the cameramen to fade to black. A public service announcement ran, followed by a movie. In the panic on the set, the station news director picked up Christine’s script and read it completely, finding that, in addition to the words she spoke on-camera, it also contained a third-person account to be read by whichever staff member took over the broadcast.

Christine died at Sarasota Memorial Hospital 14 hours after the on-air incident.

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DCS: fay spain

determination

Fay Spain was on her own at 14, living in the attic at the home of her English teacher. At 17, she lied about her age and got a job as a dealer at a Reno, Nevada casino. She proudly proclaimed she made more money than her husband who worked as a gambling shill at the same casino.

Through a mutual friend, she became acquainted with noted columnist Walter Winchell, who mentioned Fay’s name in a column. A casting agent from Columbia Pictures called Fay in for a screen test. She was not offered a contract, though. She was told that she wasn’t “pretty enough” for Hollywood. Another failed screen test — this one with up-and-coming actor James Garner — resulted in Fay being told that she was not photogenic enough for the big screen.

Fay was undeterred. In 1955, she was named one of 15 young ladies to represent the Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers on a promotional tour. This led to a role in The Crooked Circle, a boxing picture in 1957 and later to a part in the big screen adaptation of Erskine Caldwell’s God’s Little Acre, co-starring Robert Ryan and Tina Louise in her motion picture debut. Fay proved Hollywood wrong by starring in dozens of films and television programs through the 50s, 60s and 70s. She even appeared as a contestant on You Bet Your Life with Groucho Marx. Fay’s final film role was in The Godfather Part II, potraying the  wife of mobster Hyman Roth (as played by Lee Strasberg).

Fay passed away from cancer in 1983 at the age of 50.

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DCS: scott hutchison

owl john

Scott Hutchison began singing at 19, despite being told that he couldn’t. Scott’s songwriting was influenced by American artists like Wilco and Ryan Adams. He liked playing guitar and performing, considering that he was always a shy kid growing up.

In 2003, Scott started performing under the stage name “Frightened Rabbit,” a nickname he picked up alluding to his shyness. He recruited his brother Grant to play drums. The duo released their debut album independently. The group added another guitarist and then a keyboard player and have since released five albums to critical acclaim, garnering a rabidly loyal fan base. Scott, a former student at the Glasgow School of Art, also created all of the artwork for each album.

Scott embarked on a solo project in 2014 called Owl John. He was determined to make it as different from Frightened Rabbit as possible. He also contributed to several collaborative projects, including one with fellow Scottish musicians and a “supergroup” with members of other indie bands.

On Wednesday, May 9, 2018, Scott’s bandmates in Frightened Rabbit reported the singer missing, last seen leaving a hotel in South Queensferry, Scotland. Just before he was last seen, Scott posted two mysterious tweets to his Twitter account:

“Be so good to everyone you love. It’s not a given. I’m so annoyed that it’s not. I didn’t live by that standard and it kills me. Please, hug your loved ones”

and soon after

“I’m away now. Thanks.”

Scott’s body was found by police early on the morning of May 11 on the banks of the River Forth. Frightened Rabbit’s website posted a statement regarding the band’s founder:

“There are no words to describe the overwhelming sadness and pain that comes with the death of our beloved Scott, but to know he is no longer suffering brings us some comfort. Reading messages of support and hope from those he has helped through his art has helped immensely and we encourage you all to continue doing this. He will be missed by all of us and his absence will always be felt but he leaves a legacy of hope, kindness and colour that will forever be remembered and shared.”

Scott Hutchison was 36 years old.

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