Category Archives: Obituaries

So many sides to the tragedy of Nataline

nscigna.jpg Our own Jason Burns wrote about the passing of young Nataline Sarkisian HERE and HERE.

For me it was particularly heart wrenching as it forced me to look back and remember the passing of my then 17 year old nephew Craig. It started with an auto accident on 5/22/01, 2 days later all us flew to St Louis when the last ditch effort to save him was to put him into an artificial coma in hopes he would survive. The next 10 days were the most tear ridden days filled with helplessness that we have ever endured. In the end we lost him. I can fully understand the loss Nataline’s parents are facing as they prepare to bury their child.

As this played out in the media it raised a lot of questions and concerns. I was bothered that what we were getting was stirred by California Nurses and had their bias. Having lived through a similar loss I kept wondering why the parents didn’t do what was needed right now rather than wait for an insurance decision? I know that my sister and brother-in-law did what ever was needed right then to try and save him, worries about insurance came after. We are not a family of means but the cost was not the issue, doing what was needed right now was.

I got an interesting email from a very close friend who happens to work CIGNA on the 21st. More, including his email after the jump.
Continue reading So many sides to the tragedy of Nataline

RIP Stu Nuhan

http://blogging.la/archives/images/2007/12/stu_nahan-thumb.jpgLos Angeles loses yet another legendary sportscaster. Stu Nahan, who had been battling lymphoma, died on 12/26/2007 at age 81.

Stu came to Los Angeles in 1968 as a sportscaster on KABC-TV Channel 7, where he remained until 1977. He also broadcasted from KNBC-TV Channel 4, KTLA-TV Channel 5, KABC-AM (790) and on Dodgers-related programming on KFWB-AM (980).

Outside of Los Angeles, Nahan was known for being the boxing commentator in all of the Rocky films.

He shall be missed.

Coverage from KNBC and KTLA.

::Article from the Sacramento Bee covering Stu’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in May 2007::

Photo from KNBC

Laura Huxley Lives On Forever in My Mind

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Laura Huxley died at 96 years old last week, on December 13th, 2007. Weirdly enough, she died on my birthday and once again, her life has serendipitously touched mine.

Since moving to LA so many years ago, I’ve always felt a special kinship with her. When I first arrived, I would start each morning walking in the hills or around the Hollywood Reservoir to clear my head. I would invariably run into her, bursting with vigor and sporting one of her large hats.

She was an amazing woman and though her vital earthly essence will be missed, her amazing contributions to the world will live on. Her husband, Aldous Huxley, once mused that he would love to write her biography, “but the best parts would be unprintable!”

Born in Turin, Italy, she was a child prodigy, a virtuoso on the violin at age six. Laura went on to become a film editor for RKO studios, then later a therapist. She was fascinated with the worlds of psychotherapy and human consciousness.

After marrying Huxley in 1956, Laura and Aldous explored different realms of consciousness using meditation, LSD and other means to alter their minds. Both of them wrote books about their work and experiences and together, helped spark the psychedelic movement of the 60’s by publicizing their findings.
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The King and Her

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Deborah Kerr died today. She was 86. She had a brilliant career, but is most often remembered for her role as Anna Leonowens in The King and I. What you probably don’t know or remember is that it was her on the other end of Burt Lancaster’s lips in that most famous kiss scene on beach in From Here to Eternity.

I love The King and I, I think Yul Brenner is HOT. The scene (shown in the photo) is one of my all time favorite in the movies. Their love is forbidden, and they never acknowledge it, but they have one dance together and it is S T E A M Y. Watch it, tell me that is not a sexy scene, even with all it’s old school innocence.

She was nomited six times for an Oscar, but never won. Though she was awarded an honorary Oscar in 1993 for her body of work.

Keep dancing, Deborah, we’ll miss you.

To see the beach scene kiss and a list of her nomination join us after the jump.
Continue reading The King and Her

Greatest Dead Angelenos #6: Howard Hughes

hhughes.jpgIn 1930 a notable Angeleno made the most expensive motion picture to date with $3.8 million out of his own pocket – and turned a profit with a box office total of $8 million.

During World War II, a notable Angeleno designed and built the world’s largest aircraft for the US Army. It was a failure and flew only once.

On July 7, 1946, a notable Angeleno crashed a small aircraft into a Beverly Hills residential neighborhood, destroying several houses and breaking all of his ribs.

A notable Angeleno owned TWA and RKO, as well as his own Aerospace Company and a Medical Research Institute.

A notable Angeleno was in his lifetime romantically linked to Bette Davis, Katharine Hepburn, Ava Gardner, Olivia de Havilland, Joan Fontaine, Jean Harlowe, Jane Russell, and Gene Tierney, among others.

A great Angeleno did all of these things. Though he was born and is buried in Houston, Texas, he accomplished truly magnificent and terrible things in Los Angeles. Obsessive-compulsive and filthy rich, he never stopped thinking and spent his life trying to improve everything he came into contact with. He was investigated on suspicion of being a Communist. He was a womanizer, a germophobe, and later a recluse. He’s been portrayed on film by Leonardo DiCaprio, Jason Robards, and Terry O’Quinn, among others.

He was Howard Hughes.

The 25 Greatest Dead Angelenos can all be found right here.

Greatest Dead Angelenos #12: Louis B. Mayer

http://blogging.la/archives/images/2007/10/Louis_B._Mayer-thumb.jpgAt first glance, it would seem that we have Eliezer Mier – the once and future L.B. Mayer, son of an immigrant scrap metal salesman – to thank for helping plant the seeds of what has become today’s publicity hogging, hit-and-run driving, coke-sniffing celebutards.

Let’s take a look, shall we?

Mayer got into the movie business by starting a chain of successful theaters in New England, while in California, cattle was still being herded down the ditch that would someday become Sunset Boulevard. In those early days of film, the most successful exhibitioners were the biggest entertainers, and L.B. was known for his showmanship.
Continue reading Greatest Dead Angelenos #12: Louis B. Mayer

Greatest Dead Angelenos #15: Pío Pico

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It might be a stretch to include a Politician/Businessman as one of the greatest dead Angelenos, but the story and tumultuous political life of Pío Pico, last Mexican Governor of California, is an interesting and informative narrative that still has some relevance today.

Born of African, Indian, and European descent in 1801 at the San Gabriel Mission, this Mestizo was 100% Californio. When his father José María Pico (he was on the De Anza expedition to Alta California) died in 1819, Pío started his business ventures “by opening a small store in San Diego where he sold liquor, provisions, furniture, and shoes” in San Diego. By the 1850’s and “in only two generations the family amassed terrific wealth in land.” (Monroy)
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Greatest Dead Angelenos #18: Anais Nin

nin%20in%20silver%20lake.jpgI was sixteen and had just learned to drive. This means I was progressively exploring in a widening circle outside my little bit of the west end of the Valley, pushing up against the seaward hills and searching east in my 1969 VW slapstick bug. I was a classically trained oil painter and a social recluse more comfortable with Prussian blue than with the prom. My first boyfriend had broken up with me, leaving me, to my chagrin, still disappointingly virginal. I was skinny and coltish but didn’t know it. I thought I was ugly. I lived in my books and my head and my classes, and as much as I was tentatively growing, I was terrified. Finding my first Anais Nin book wasn’t really about sex so much as it was about seeing the world lushly–and lifting a veil from historic, literary LA.
Continue reading Greatest Dead Angelenos #18: Anais Nin

Greatest Dead Angelenos #20: Busby Berkeley

I should have forgotten you long ago, but you’re in every song I know

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images from Dames (1934).

Busby Berkeley‘s work speaks for itself. His choreography is, even by today’s standards, grandiose. I think it is that much more impressive, considering his best pieces were made during the Great Depression.

Busby Berkeley the man, however, needs a bit of an introduction. William Berkeley Enos was born in Los Angeles back in 1895. Although he began his career on Broadway, he came back to Hollywood once talkies hit the scene.

Like all legendary Hollywood directors, he had his fair share of scandal and controversy. He went through six wives, and was engaged in a fatal car accident which had him charged with, tried for, and eventually acquitted of second-degree murder. Eat your heart out, Phil Spector.

He died in Palm Springs in 1976. He is buried out in Riverside.

[Videos after the jump!]
Continue reading Greatest Dead Angelenos #20: Busby Berkeley

Greatest Dead Angelenos #23: Karen Carpenter

goodbye Hollywood, goodbye Downey
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Growing up in Downey was like living with the ghost of Karen Carpenter. My mom, a fan of their music, had a few LPs which she’d occasionally play, but I was never particularly interested. She was just this angelic voice I heard on the weekends, softly playing in the other room while my brother and I played Nintendo.

It was not until I heard Sonic Youth’s album Goo during my middle school days that I started paying any attention to the Carpenters. “Tunic (Song for Karen)” wasn’t just Kim Gordon singing about our hometown hero; she actually mentioned Downey by name! Incredibly cool, I thought. I started listening to my mother’s albums, learned all the songs by heart. As a burgeoning wee feminist, I thought Karen was really cool–she sang better than Joni Mitchell, and I thought the drums were way cooler than the piano.

Every time Christmas rolled around, my mom insisted we get in the car and go look at the neighbors’ decorations. That year, when we drove down one of the neighborhood streets, my mom squealed, “That’s where the Carpenters live!” Even though she said that every year, I finally really heard it. I took a good look at the house: nice decorations. A large-ish home, like the other houses on the block. I wondered what kinds of things that house had seen.
Continue reading Greatest Dead Angelenos #23: Karen Carpenter

Greatest Dead Angelenos #24: Howard Hawks

hawkshowardbio.jpgIn a town that was practically built on the motion picture industry, Howard Hawks was perhaps one of the most influential film directors of all time. His films spanned multiple genres and nearly all were noteworthy. He was one of the few in Hollywood to successfully make the transition from silents to talkies, and over his forty-five year career he worked with several of the greats and made many of the movies we now consider classics.

Hawks trivia: He infamously remade Rio Bravo – his own film – twice, first as El Dorado and again as Rio Lobo. All three incarnations starred John Wayne.

Hawks’ most fascinating characteristic (at least as far as I’m concerned) was his determination to create a star. According to Lauren Bacall, whom Hawks discovered, he wanted to create a very specific sort of girl and chose her to make over into that girl. He changed her name, changed her hair, fictionalized her history, and taught her to always pose with her chin down, a look she became famous for. She also claims that he gave up on her when she failed to maintain the air of mystery he needed and married Humphrey Bogart. Of course that might all be apocryphal, but whether he ever created an actress, he certainly created a character archetype: the tough, fast-talking dame epitomized by Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday. His contribution to the screwball comedy genre, the incomparable Bringing Up Baby, includes the screwy version of that character, as portrayed by Katharine Hepburn.

Though born in Indiana, Hawks and his family moved to Southern California when he was a small child, and he attended Glendora High School. He died in Palm Springs in 1977 after a bad fall; he was cremated and his ashes were scattered in the desert near Calimesa.

Sources: Wikipedia – Howard Hawks; Hawksian Woman | By Myself by Lauren Bacall | Find A Grave

See the rest of the 25 Greatest Dead Angelenos .

Greatest Dead Angelenos #25: Father Juan Crespi

crespi1.jpgOn August 2, 1769, Friar Juan Crespi (1721-1782), a diarist with the first European land expedition through California wrote in his journal of a beautiful river that he named, “El Rio de Nuestra Senora la Reyna de Los Angeles de Porciuncula,” or “The River of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels of the Small Parcel.” Ironically, while the name was shortened to “Los Angeles”, the “small parcel” would grow into the second largest city in the United States.

Juan Crespi’s mark on the city goes further, as he was also one of the leaders of the expedition that would blaze a trail known as El Camino Real through California, that freeway bound Angelenos will recognize as the roadside bells that commemorate its path.

Buried at the Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo in Carmel, Encino’s Crespi Carmelite High School is named in his honor.

sources: LA Almanac, LA Avenue, Wikipedia. Image from Piruca.com.

How long before your own haunting starts?

deathclock.jpg I stumbled across the Death Clock and just checked out the options. I have no idea what sort of scientific methodology is involved in making the determination as the factors you put in are nominal. I came up with just about another 41 years to annoy those around me before I kick. Given my grandfathers made it to their early 90’s and my great-grandmother made it to 102 and change it may happen. My brother says we are like cockroaches, you just can’t kill us off easy. I may have a shot at that one if the family tree holds true.

I still am working on where I want to haunt and what I want to do. Am thinking my kitchen and rattling the cupboard doors and putting the oven up to 500 when its being used. I have plenty of time to figure that one out.

For kicks and giggles check out the “sadistic” option. Now that you have had your morning amusement, get back to work.

How long do you have before you can start your haunting and what do you want to do?

Pic is the screenshot of my clock results, get’s bigger if you want to see all the details.

L.A.’s Greatest Dead Angelenos – The Guide

ramone.jpgThis week Metroblogging Los Angeles will count down twenty-five of the most notable, influential, and otherwise greatest individuals who have left their mark on the City of Angels before passing on to another plane of existence.

The list was chosen in a most unscientific group blog fashion that goes from controversial personal picks to a judiciously chosen handful of selections. While some of the Dead Angelenos who you’ll read about may seem like unconventional choices, they represent a broad interpretation of what makes one great. Especially with a project like this, there will be individuals excluded, not due to any other factor than the sheer subjectiveness of the editorial process (which, if you know the Metroblogging principal, essentially means no editorial process at all).

That said, I’ll let the selections speak for themselves, and, at the conclusion of the project, encourage other bloggers or commenters to make the case for other deceased Angelenos who should have made the list.

In the meantime, keep checking back here at blogging.la as we unveil five of L.A. Greatest Dead Angelenos every day, through Friday.

Free free to bookmark this entry, which will link to each entry shortly after they appear.
Continue reading L.A.’s Greatest Dead Angelenos – The Guide