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Olympia Dukakis, Broadway and Oscar-Winning Actress, Dies at 89

Olympia Dukakis, a character actress best known for her Oscar-winning supporting turn in Norman Jewison’s “Moonstruck” and for her role as the wealthy widow in “Steel Magnolias,” has died. She was 89.

Dukakis’ brother, Apollo Dukakis, confirmed her death to Variety. Apollo Dukakis announced her death in a Facebook post, writing: “My beloved sister, Olympia Dukakis, passed away this morning in New York City. After many months of failing health she is finally at peace and with her Louis.”

The actress was 56 when she came to prominence overnight thanks to her Oscar-winning turn in “Moonstruck,” in which she played, with an extraordinary comic ethnic gusto characteristic of the movie as a whole, the mother of Cher’s character. The Washington Post singled out Dukakis for praise: Cher and Nicolas Cage are “backed by an equally quirky cast of marvelous supporting players — especially Olympia Dukakis, whose role as Loretta’s world-weary mother Rose is expected to get Oscar’s attention.”

Dukakis, who also did a lot of television work, was thrice Oscar nominated, first for the 1991 TV movie “Lucky Day,” the second time for “Armistead Maupin’s More Tales of the City” in 1998 and the third time in 1999 for the miniseries “Joan of Arc.”

Probably made before her Oscar changed her fortunes, Mike Nichol’s “Working Girl” returned Dukakis to the sort of role she had had on a regular basis for much of her career: She was 12th credited for her role as the personnel director.

By the next year, however, she was third-billed, behind John Travolta and Kirstie Alley, in baby comedy “Look Who’s Talking,” in which she played the pregnant Alley’s mother in a manner reminiscent of her work in “Moonstruck.” She returned for the 1990 sequel.

Herbert Ross’ 1989 hit “Steel Magnolias,” starring Julia Roberts, Sally Field, Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine and Dukakis, drew women of all ages with its effective sentimentality and even more effective one-liners, but Rolling Stone said, “For the real fun, stick with MacLaine as the town crank and Dukakis as the wealthy widow who goads her to distraction; they’re priceless.”

The actress starred with Diane Ladd and Ellen Burstyn in the Bill Duke-directed 1993 film “The Cemetery Club,” about three Jewish women all of whom find themselves widowed over the course of a year and must reconstruct their lives, with Dukakis’ character prickly and strong-willed.

Dukakis was part of the Greek chorus that was either a charming conceit or an ungainly one, depending on whom you ask, in Woody Allen’s 1995 romantic comedy “Mighty Aphrodite,” in which the chorus comments on the Allen character’s infidelity. Also that year she appeared as the skeptical, hard-nosed principal in sentimental Richard Dreyfuss vehicle “Mr. Holland’s Opus,” and as the mother of a gay man in the AIDS drama “Jeffrey.”

The next year she had a small role in Danish auteur Bille August’s spiritually based period film “Jerusalem.” The actress also had a small but powerful role in the 2005 father-son road movie “The Thing About My Folks,” starring Peter Falk and Paul Reiser.

In 2006, Dukakis was part of the ensemble cast of “The Great New Wonderful,” a series of vignettes about life in New York City a year after the 9/11 attacks, and she did excellent work in Sarah Polley’s Alzheimer’s drama “Away From Her,” starring Julie Christie, in which Dukakis’ character reveals an unwaveringly realistic view of a difficult situation — her husband is an Alzheimer’s patient as well.

She played a senile grandmother in Jon Kasdan’s “In the Land of Women,” starring Adam Brody, Kristen Stewart and Meg Ryan. But much more interesting was writer-director Thomas Fitzgerald’s 2011 film “Cloudburst,” in which Dukakis starred with Brenda Fricker as a lesbian couple who travel to Canada in order to get married. Variety said, “Dukakis outdoes even her most memorable earlier turns as Stella, the irrepressible old dame determined to spring her lover free.”

Her TV work included playing Anna Madrigal, the flamboyant matriarch presiding over an apartment house in San Francisco, in HBO’s 1993 “Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City” and the 1998 sequel “Armistead Maupin’s More Tales of the City,” for which she drew an Emmy nomination; and 2001’s third entry “Further Tales of the City.”

Among the many TV movies in which Dukakis appeared was HBO and BBC’s “The Last of the Blonde Bombshells” (2000), starring with Judi Dench and Ian Holm and focusing on a reunion of a group of women who formed an orchestra in London during WWII.

Dukakis was a series regular on the brief 2004 CBS sitcom “Center of the Universe,” starring John Goodman and Jean Smart. She also guested on numerous TV series, providing voices on “Frasier” and “The Simpsons” and appearing on “Numbers”; “Law & Order: SVU,” as a defense attorney; and HBO detective comedy “Bored to Death.”

Born in Lowell, Massachusetts, Dukakis graduated from Boston University and studied acting with Peter Kass in Boston.

Dukakis’ first experience on Broadway was as an understudy in 1962 on the original play “The Aspern Papers,” written by Michael Redgrave based on a story by Henry James and starring Maurice Evans and Wendy Hiller. Dukakis won an Obie in 1963 for her work Off Broadway in Bertolt Brechlt’s “Man Equals Man.” She hit the stage in 1964 in the one-nighter “Abraham Cochrane.” She returned to Broadway in 1974 in Peter Ustinov’s “Who’s Who in Hell,” but its run proved brief as well. Much more successful was her 1986-87 run in Andrew Bergman’s “Social Security,” directed by Mike Nichols and also starring Ron Silver, Marlo Thomas and Joanna Gleason. In 2000 she starred on Broadway in the one-woman show “Rose,” in which she played an 80-year-old Jewish woman in Miami Beach who talks to the audience of her life, including her experiences in the Holocaust.

She made her television debut in 1962 on an episode of “The Doctors and the Nurses,” also guesting on “Dr. Kildare” the same year. The actress made her bigscreen debut in the 1964 film short “Twice a Man.” Over the next 10 years she had a number of small, often uncredited, roles in films including “Death Wish.” In the Peter Yates’ 1969 film “John and Mary,” starring Dustin Hoffman and Mia Farrow, Dukakis played the Hoffman character’s mother; she also had a supporting role in 1971’s “Made for Each Other,” starring Renee Taylor and Joseph Bologna.

Dukakis was one of the stars of a 1974 political film by writer-director Jules Dassin called “The Rehearsal,” concerning the massacre of students protesting the ruling junta in Greece; many famous people were involved with the film, including Laurence Olivier, Arthur Miller, Melina Mercouri, Maximilian Schell and Arthur Millet, but by the time the film was completed the junta fell and it was never publicly seen in this country until decades later. In 1975, the actress appeared in a “Great Performances” presentation of a production of Chekhov’s “The Seagull” that also starred Frank Langella, Blythe Danner and Lee Grant. She had supporting roles in Philip Kaufman’s “The Wanderers” in 1979 and in Taylor Hackford’s “The Idolmaker” in 1980. But despite years earning credits in film, on television and onstage, the actress did not break through until “Moonstruck” in 1987.

Much later, Dukakis taught master classes in acting throughout the U.S. and elsewhere. In July 2020, a documentary feature about her life, titled “Olympia,” was released in the U.S.

Dukakis is predeceased by her husband, actor Louis Zorich, who died in 2018. She is survived by daughter Christina Zorich, an actress; and sons Peter and Stefan Zorich.

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Bill and Melinda Gates have announced that they are separating. I'm sad because I used to do flowers for her every Friday in the nineties and early aughts. I got a call one afternoon from Microsoft saying that Mr. Gates had admired some arrangement I had sent for an employee and wanted me to make a bouquet for Melinda and deliver it to the house every Friday. It was a lot of fun and I got to go crazy on big budget vases and flowers. I never saw the house though, my driver said he had to leave the flowers at the gate.

Edited by peacheslatour
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4 hours ago, peacheslatour said:

Bill and Melinda Gates have announced that they are separating. I'm sad because I used to do flowers for her every Friday in the nineties and early aughts. I got a call one afternoon from Microsoft saying that Mr. Gates had admired some arrangement I had sent for an employee and wanted me to make a bouquet for Melinda and deliver it to the house every Friday. It was a lot of fun and I got to go crazy on big budget vases and flowers. I never saw the house though, my driver said he had to leave the flowers at the gate.

How cool!

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On 5/1/2021 at 1:24 PM, peacheslatour said:

Our wedding anniversary. We got married on May 3rd, 1980 and it was the first time a filly had won the Kentucky Derby in something like a hundred years. We stopped by a bar in between receptions (we had three) and watched it with some of the wedding party.

happy anniversary love GIF by CBC

Congrats @peacheslatour!

We are going to hit 40 years in July, and I seriously cannot believe that.

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The Flaming Lips - Assassins of Youth

 

Subsource - The Reason

 

Iron & Wine - Naked as We Came

 

Anya Marin - Not a Through Street

 

Reggaeton Explosion - Boom!

 

Ozomatli - After Party

 

Cherry Hill - Anymore

 

TV On The Radio - Wolf Like Me

 

Epik - I'm So Fly

 

Griffin House - New Day

 

Sum 41 - 88

 

The 88 - How good it can be

 

The Brokedown - Please

 

Johnny Cash - Ring of Fire

 

The Chainsmokers ft. Halsey - Closer

 

Ben Gidsjoy - Bounce with Me

 

Sir Colin Davis · London Symphony - Requiem in D Minor, K. 626: No 7, Sequence - Lacrimosa

 

Jeremy Kay - I'm Alive

 

Deccatree - Tonight

 

Plumtree - My My

 

Bob James - Angela (Theme From 'Taxi')

 

Goldfrapp - Lovely 2 C U [T.raumschmiere Remix]

 

Joel Evans Big Band ft. Carmen Bradford - No Easy Way to Say Goodbye

 

The Dandy Warhols - Bohemian Like You

 

John Butler Trio - Zebra

 

Teddybears - Different Sound

 

Leif Vollebekk - Never Be Back

 

Bill Baylis & David Hewson - 21st Century Renaissance

 

MIRANDA LEE RICHARDS - Fredonia

 

Baby Strange - Jukebox Queen

 

G Love - Free

 

RZA - Tragedy

 

Lenny Kravitz - Fly Away

 

Robert Finley - "Sharecropper's Son"

 

The Obscurities - All Over

 

Prince - Welcome 2 America

 

 

From the US National Archives, an 8-minute film of aerial footage filmed from a dirigible piloted by Roy Knabenshue in 1914. I am not super familiar with Chicago and the architecture of the time, but given the city’s role in the development & popularization of the skyscraper, I bet there are some amazing views in here of iconic buildings not so long after they were constructed as well as some buildings and spaces that no longer exist.

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4 hours ago, Cupid Stunt said:

 

From the US National Archives, an 8-minute film of aerial footage filmed from a dirigible piloted by Roy Knabenshue in 1914. I am not super familiar with Chicago and the architecture of the time, but given the city’s role in the development & popularization of the skyscraper, I bet there are some amazing views in here of iconic buildings not so long after they were constructed as well as some buildings and spaces that no longer exist.

Thanks for this film of Chicago, it's spectacular!  I love Chicago - my first foray out of Iowa.  What a city!

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1 hour ago, boes said:

Thanks for this film of Chicago, it's spectacular!  I love Chicago - my first foray out of Iowa.  What a city!

I used to live in Evanston, a suburb of Chicago. I loved all the museums and cathedrals there. Thanks Cupid!

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Alison Krauss - When You Say Nothing At All

 

Pulp - Common People

 

The Zutons - Valerie

 

Fatboy Slim ft. Bootsy Collins - Weapon Of Choice

 

The Fratellis - Chelsea Dagger

 

Lorenzo Materazzo - Bach, French Suite No. 5 in G Major, BWV 816: I. Allemande

 

Bird York - In the Deep

 

Envio ‎- Love Poison

 

Blind Willie McTell - Little Delia

 

Grant Lee Buffalo - Happiness

 

Toussaint McCall - Nothing Takes The Place Of You

 

Estrella Morente - Tangos En lo alto del cerro de Palomares

 

Earlimart - It's Okay To Think About Ending

 

Jon Cleary - Got To Be More Careful

 

Victor Bellomo, feat. Windy Wagner - DEVIL

 

Foo Fighters - Everlong

 

The Who- Baba O'Riley

 

Robert L. Wyckoff - You Better Stop

 

Joe Cocker - Feelin' Alright 

 

The Crystal Method - Trip Like I Do

 

Thomas Newman - American Beauty

 

Jayme Kelly Curtis - Years May Go By

 

Rickie Lee Jones - On Saturday Afternoons in 1963

 

The Rolling Stones - You Can’t Always Get What You Want

 

Massive Attack - Teardrop

 

Richie Sambora - When A Blind Man Cries

 

Leon Bridges 2016.07.30, Lollapalooza

 

Maria Daines ~ Love Calls Time

 

Gary Moore - Still Got The Blues

 

hn Mayall & The Bluesbreakers with Gary Moore - So Many Roads

 

Jeff Beck - Live at Ronnie Scott's

 

Joaquin Cortes - Satachanispero

 

Adam Faith & The Roulettes - It's Alright

 

Sam Palladio & Clare Bowen - Fade into You

 

Blind Willie Johnson - Dark was the night

 

O-Zone - Dragostea Din Tei

 

 

Edited by Cupid Stunt
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Vans co-founder Paul Van Doren dies at 90

Paul Van Doren, co-founder of the Vans company whose iconic Southern California sneakers were beloved by skateboarders and became an international success, has died. He was 90.

The company, based southeast of Los Angeles in Costa Mesa, announced Van Doren’s death on social media Friday but didn’t provide any details.

“Paul was not just an entrepreneur; he was an innovator,” the company said. “Paul’s bold experiments in product design, distribution and marketing, along with his knack for numbers and efficiency turned a family shoe business into a globally recognized brand.”

Van Doren was a high school dropout who moved to Southern California from the Boston area. Van Doren, his brother James (who died in 2011) and business partners Gordon Lee and Serge Delia opened the Van Doren Rubber Co. in Orange County in 1966, making and selling their own shoes. At first, they struggled to produce enough of the product to fill the shoeboxes on store shelves.

Van Doren had two decades of experience in shoe manufacturing but none in retail, he recalled.

“The first person gave me a $5 bill; a pair of shoes was $2.49,” he told Los Angeles Magazine last month after releasing his memoir, “Authentic.”

“But I didn’t have any money in the cash register, so I gave her the shoes,” Van Doren said. “We ended up selling 16 or 18 pair of shoes that day. You know what? I said, ‘Come back later to pay.’ Every one of those people came back and paid.”

Van Doren’s son, Steve Van Doren, said his father’s acumen helped make the business a success.

“My dad was a systems guy,” Steve Van Doren told the Los Angeles Times in 2009. “He did things like color-coding the boxes, blue for men, green for women and orange for boys, so you could see what inventory you had right away. He would only open stores that had a free right-hand exterior wall because he thought that was the best place to catch someone’s eye if they were driving by.”

Van Doren also allowed people to order customized shoes. He expanded the customer base by allowing various designs to be sold everywhere from surf shops to department stores.

In “Authentic,” Van Doren said the key to success was to give customers what they wanted.

“If it’s a checkerboard, if it’s bright pinks and yellows, or if it happens to be dinosaurs or a skull and crossbones, listen to their two cents’ worth about colors and designs,” he said.

The shoes, with their canvas tops and tough, diamond-patterned rubber soles, caught the fancy of skateboarders. The company, which kept a sharp eye on trends, was quick to catch on.

“Everybody else was kicking these kids out of the park, kicking them out of pools. And here’s a company listening to them, backing them, and making shoes for them,” Van Doren told Los Angeles Magazine.

The company paid professional skateboard Stacy Peralta to wear its shoes. Vans also sold shoes individually, which benefited skateboarders who tended to wear out one at a time.

The brand’s popularity soared after Sean Penn wore his own pair of Checkerboard Slip-Ons in the 1982 movie “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”

However, knockoffs and competition ate into Vans’ profits, along with misguided efforts to expand the range of its offerings with specialized shoes for football, basketball, skydiving and even breakdancing. The company was forced into bankruptcy protection in 1984 and was sold to a banking firm in 1988.

Over the years, the brand’s popularity waxed and waned, losing ground to newer, high-techier kicks and regaining it when retro came back into fashion.

The firm, renamed Vans Inc., went public in 1991 and in 2004 was sold to VF Corp. of Denver, which owns a large number of footwear and apparel brands including Dickies, JanSport, Timberland and The North Face.

Today, Vans produces its shoes overseas. It continues to sell its traditional designs while also keeping an eye on trendsetters by collaborating with designers, skateboarding, BMX and surfing pros and other celebrities.

Vans racks up around $2 billion a year in sales and its shoes have been seen on the feet of Justin Bieber, Kanye West and the Kardashians.

The company also has built skateparks and sponsored various events, including the Warped Tour, an annual international traveling rock festival, and the US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, California.

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Tawny Kitaen, star of ’80s rock music videos, dies at 59

Tawny Kitaen, the sultry red-haired actress who appeared in rock music videos during they heyday of MTV and starred opposite Tom Hanks in the 1984 comedy “Bachelor Party,” has died. She was 59.

The Orange County coroner’s office said she died at her home in Newport Beach on Friday. The cause of death was not immediately released.

Her daughters, Wynter and Raine, confirmed their mother’s death on Kitaen’s Instagram account.

“We just want to say thank you for all of you, her fans and her friends, for always showing her such support and love. You gave her life everyday,” their statement said.

Kitaen became the rock world’s “video vixen” after appearing on the cover of two albums from the heavy metal band Ratt and starring in several music videos for Whitesnake, including the 1987 smash song “Here I Go Again.” The video, played repeatedly on the burgeoning music television network, featured Kitaen performing cartwheels on the hood of a Jaguar.

She also starred as the fiancee to Tom Hanks’ character in the comedy “Bachelor Party,” and as Jerry Seinfeld’s girlfriend in a 1991 episode of “Seinfeld.” Other TV credits included a stint as co-host of “America’s Funniest People” and on the reality shows “The Surreal Life” and “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew,” in which she revealed her struggle with substance abuse.

Kitaen had a tumultuous personal life, which included a brief marriage to Whitesnake’s lead singer, David Coverdale, and a rocky marriage to baseball pitcher Chuck Finley, with whom she had two daughters.

“My sincere condolences to her children, her family, friends & fans,” Coverdale tweeted on Saturday.

-- DAISY NGUYEN, Associated Press 

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For a Six Degrees of Y&R relationship, Tawny Kitaen was also in one of my favorite cheesy 80s horror movies, Witchboard, which also starred the guy who played Tucker McCall. 

 

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