The Best of Blanche

My favorite Golden Girl has always been Blanche Deveraux. Rue McClanahan, who died today at the age of 76, played the part perfectly. Golden Girls producer and writer Marc Cherry probably put it best when he said in a statement: “In the hands of lesser actresses Blanche’s vanity and sexual appetite would have been off-putting. But in Rue’s brilliant hands, that character became one of the most beloved in the history of T.V.”

R.I.P Rue and thank you for being a friend.

Dennis Hopper (1936-2010)

“Somewhere in my strange career, someone has liked something.” – Dennis Hopper, in 2002.

Two months ago I watched a livestream of Dennis Hopper receiving his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It was an event, poignantly marked by an appearance by Hopper’s longtime friend Jack Nicholson, I made sure not miss. But the moment was bittersweet as the longtime Hollywood hellraiser was battling advanced prostate cancer.

It was announced today that Hopper has died at 74.

Hopper perhaps best work is Easy Rider (1969) but looking at his credits on IMDb, he was an actor, writer, director, and producer who showed up in almost everything. His appearances in everything from Hoosiers to to True Romance to Blue Velvet to the (thankfully short lived) television series Crash made these movies and t.v. series infinitely more enjoyable.

If only more actors were like Dennis Hopper. Hollywood would be a much better place.

Lena Horne (1917-2010)

Lena Horne

Lena Horne, the first African-American performer to be put under contract by a major studio, died on Sunday at age 92.

Despite her six decade long film career, Horne is best known for her music career, which included collaborations with Tony Bennett, Grammy-winning recordings of her Vegas nightclub act,The Lady and Her Music, Live on Broadway (1981), and An Evening With Lena Horne (1995), and her Tony-nominated performance in the musical, Calypso.

I loved her in Cabin in the Sky and Stormy Weather, both from 1943. There are a number of clips on Horne performing on YouTube. Here are some that I found including an interview of Horne on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

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Brittany Murphy’s Best

By now you have probably heard the shocking news that actress Brittany Murphy died today at the age of 32. Murphy has always been a charming actress, although she has not always made bank at the box office. She is probably best known for her roles in Clueless, Girl, Interrupted, and 8 Mile. Here are a few clips from YouTube.

My personal favorite (guilty pleasure), Uptown Girls:

And finally, the movie she will probably be remembered best for: Clueless.

Patrick Swayze (1952 – 2009)

Really sad news…

After nearly a two year battle with pancreatic cancer, Patrick Swayze, the star of Dirty Dancing and Ghost has died. The NY Times reported the news about 20 minutes ago.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Patrick Swayze has died after a nearly two-year battle with
pancreatic cancer.

Swayze’s publicist Annett Wolf says the 57-year-old “Dirty Dancing” actor died Monday with family at his side. He came forward about his illness last spring, but continued working as he underwent treatments.

It was 1987 when Swayze became a star with his performance in “Dirty Dancing,” a coming-of-age story set in a Catskills resort. The 1990 film “Ghost” cemented his status as a screen favorite.

Swayze played a murdered man trying to communicate with his fiancee through a spirit played by Whoopi Goldberg.

He kept on working even after it was disclosed in March 2008 that he had a particularly deadly form of cancer. He starred in “The Beast,” an A&E drama series, and said he and his wife were working on a memoir.

Because of his role as Johnny in Dirty Dancing, Patrick Swayze has always been a favorite actor of mine. You see, Baby is attending Mount Holyoke in the fall and as a current Mount Holyoke student, you always encounter someone who have heard of my college because of this movie; on perspective student weekend Dirty Dancing is screened in the amphitheatre. So Patrick Swayze is apart of the MoHo lexicon along with Emily Dickinson, Wendy Wasserstein and Animal House.

He will be missed.