Archive for "RIP"

R.I.P. The Legendary Lena Horne

Published by Clay Cane on Monday, May 10, 2010 at 8:59 am.

lenahorne2Before Halle Berry, Diana Ross and even Diahann Carroll, Lena Horne changed the world with her talent, beauty and fearlessness.  She broke down what was thought to be solid barriers, becoming an international legend. Born in Brooklyn on June 30, 1917 and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Horne got her start in 1933 when she joined the chorus line of the Cotton Club in Harlem. She was mainly a nightclub performer until she was discovered by a talent agent. In 1941, Horne was the first African-American performer to sign a long-term contact with a major movie studio, which was Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Her first film was in 1942, but because she was African American, most of her scenes were cut to stand-alone performances. Film after film, Horne endured her performances being cut down due to racism. However, in 1943, Horne starred in the all-Black musical, Cabin in the Sky, which also included Ethel Waters, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington.

By the mid-1950s, Horne was disgusted with Hollywood. She was turned down for more roles than she was offered, and then Hollywood blacklisted her for her political views. Horne fought anti-lynching laws, she refused to perform for segregated audiences during World War II and was such a powerful force for civil rights she met President John F. Kennedy two days before he was assassinated.  In regard to the way she was treated by the powers that be in Hollywood, Horne said, “I don’t have to be an imitation of a White woman that Hollywood sort of hoped I’d become. I’m me, and I’m like nobody else.”  Lena was asked by several Hollywood heavyweights to just pass for White to get better roles, which she never did.  She also refused to play a maid — a role to which most Black actresses at that time were relegated.

Horne didn’t let Hollywood defeat her.  She appeared on several television shows, was nominated for a Tony Award in 1957, and also toured the world with several concerts. For her 1981 one-woman show, Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music, she holds the record for the longest-running solo performance in Broadway history. In the 1990s, Lena Horne released several studio recordings, winning a Grammy in 1995 for Best Jazz Vocal Album.

In 1997, Horne had a resurgence of popularity among the younger generation when she appeared in a Gap commercial. By 1998, Horne officially retired from show business. Lena Horne died Sunday, May 9 at 92 years old in New York City.

Check out this clip below from Horne in Cabin in the Sky!

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80s Teen Heartthrob Dies at 38

Published by Clay Cane on Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at 11:22 am.

coreyhaimCorey Haim, who could be described as the Taylor Lautner of the ‘80s, died this morning at 38 years old. Haim is most known for popular ’80s teen flicks like License to Drive, Dream a Little Dream and The Lost Boys. He is also known for his on-screen friendship with Corey Feldman; they were labeled the “Two Coreys” and had a reality show of the same name back in June 2008.  Feldman allegedly stopped communicating with Haim because of a drug addiction.

Haim had an ongoing battle with drugs.  According to TMZ, he was pronounced dead at 2:15 a.m. (PST). CBS News is reporting the death was due to an accidental drug overdose. In an odd coincidence, Haim died in the same apartment complex as funk legend Rick James.

Our condolences go out to Corey Haim’s friends and family.

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Brittany Murphy Dies at 32

Published by Clay Cane on Monday, December 21, 2009 at 12:00 am.

brittanymurphy2009 has been a sad year for celebrities. We lost Farrah Fawcett, David Carradine, Michael Jackson and so many others. Now, word has been released that Brittany Murphy died this morning of cardiac arrest. She was 32 years-old.

Murphy was born in Atlanta, Georgia, but raised in New Jersey and Los Angeles. In her early teens she began working on television series like Blossom, Sister, Sister and Party of Five. It was Brittany’s breakout role Tai Fraiser in 1995 ’s Clueless that made her a star. More hit movies continued like 1999’s Girl, Interrupted, 2001’s Don’t Say a Word (her line, “I’ll never tell…” became a catch phrase) and 2005’s Sin City. In 2002 she played Eminem’s girlfriend in the semi-autobiographical 8 Mile, which also included Mekhi Phifer and Kim Basinger.

Brittany Murphy once dated Ashton Kutcher. Kutcher Twittered, “2day the world lost a little piece of sunshine. My deepest condolences go out to Brittany’s family, her husband, and her amazing mother Sharon.“  Russell Simmons also shared his thoughts via Twitter, “I met britney murphy before her star rose its tough to find peace in fame. I wish her peace and happiness in her next lifetime.”

As of now, no cause has been released on why Brittany Murphy passed away so suddenly.

Our condolences go out to all of Murphy’s families and friends. Check out the clip below from 8 Mile.

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Tyler Perry’s Mother Passes Away At 64

Published by Clay Cane on Tuesday, December 8, 2009 at 12:00 am.

tylerperryCondolences go out to Tyler Perry, his friends and family. Yesterday Tyler Perry’s mother, Willie Maxine Perry, passed away at the age of 64. According to Tyler Perry’s web site, “My mother is the wisdom of Madea, she was 64. Thank you for all your prayers.”

The female figures in Perry films and plays have always been such a huge force. One can only imagine how Tyler Perry was inspired by the women in his life, especially his mother.  Back in August, Tyler said his mother was ill and asked for prayers.  As of October, Perry planned to not work for the rest of 2009 in order to care for his mother.

Willie Maxine Perry was a pre-school teacher for most of her life and raised Tyler Perry in New Orleans, Louisiana.  It’s widely known that Tyler and his mother suffered abuse at the hands of his father. However, Mr. Perry has been able to reinvent his circumstances, becoming a major force in Hollywood and opening the first African American-owned film studio in Atlanta, Georgia.

Perry had planned to take Madea on the road for a nationwide tour in early 2010.  There is no word if the tour will be postponed.

Our thoughts are with the entire Perry family.

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R.I.P. Patrick Swayze

Published by Clay Cane on Tuesday, September 15, 2009 at 12:00 am.

patrickswayzeThe legendary Patrick Swayze passed away September 14th after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. Swayze died at his Los Angeles home. He was 57 years-old.

The Texas native catapulted into super stardom after 1987’s Dirty Dancing, which earned him his one out of three Golden Globe nominations. The movie grossed 300-million worldwide and spawned a top ten hit pop hit from Swayze called “She’s Like the Wind.”  Also, Swayze delivered one of the classic pop culture lines, “Nobody puts baby in a corner!”

Swayze was a household name and his success only continued with the outrageously successful Ghost in 1990. The movie included Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, which earned her an Oscar, and made Swayze one of the most sought after actors in the world. In 1991 People magazine said Swayze was the “Sexiest Man Alive.”

Other successful films continued such as Point Break and To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar, which racked up his third Golden Globe nomination as drag diva Vida Boheme.

In January 2008 Patrick Swayze was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. Swayze was a smoker and in 2008 he told Barbara Walters, “I will go so far as to say probably smoking had something to do with my pancreatic cancer.”

Rest in peace Patrick Swayze.

Check out the clip below from Ghost.

Watch Ghost in Entertainment |  View More Free Videos Online at

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‘Charlie’s Angel’ dies at 62

Published by Clay Cane on Thursday, June 25, 2009 at 1:49 pm.

farrah-fawcettIt’s been a sad week in Hollywood. First, Ed McMahon and now the legendary Farrah Fawcett has passed.

Before Halle, Angelina Jolie, or Meagan Fox, Farrah Fawcett was the most beautiful and popular woman in the world, ruling the 70s and early 80s. Fawcett’s lean body and blond hair with the classic “Farrah” flip made her a pop culture phenomenon. She got her start on televison in 1976 with Charlie’s Angels but left after only one season. Her career would explode as a film star in movies like Extremities, which included Alfre Woodard and The Burning Bed, earning her an Emmy  nomination and proving to the critics she was more than a sex symbol — she could act.

Farrah Fawcett had a long battle with cancer that was documented in a NBC documentary, which aired May 15th, 2009 and brought in almost 9 million viewers.  Farrah, who was a Texas native and originally born Mary Farrah Leni Fawcett, succumbed to the disease today at 62 years old in Santa Monica, California.

Check out the clip below of an interview a healthy Farrah did with CNN.

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Hollywood Legend Dies at 86

Published by Clay Cane on Tuesday, June 23, 2009 at 12:29 pm.

mcmahonAccording to published reports, the iconic Ed McMahon died at 86 at the Ronald Reagan Medical Center in Westwood, California. The Detroit native is most known for being Johnny Carson’s sidekick on The Tonight Show from 1962 to 1992. Also, he hosted the American Idol of the ’80s, Star Search, which featured young artists like Aaliyah, Usher and Beyonce.

McMahon appeared in several films like Fun With Dick and Jane (1977), Full Moon High (1981) and Bewitched (2005).  He was also the face of American Family Publishers (not Publishers Clearing House, which was their competitor), where random people would sign up for magazine subscriptions and get the chance to win — anyone raised in the ’80s or early ’90s prayed for Ed to show up at their front door!

McMahon is one of the last remaining film and television legends before the era of cable and Internet. Over the past year, he suffered health and finanical problems — a neck injury and one of many celebrities to suffer from home foreclosure due to the economy. McMahon is survived by his wife and five children.

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R.I.P. David Carradine; Spoke of his own death

Published by Clay Cane on Thursday, June 4, 2009 at 12:44 pm.

david_carradineIf you are a lover of Kung-Fu films then you have to know the legendary David Carradine, who is most popular for his role as Kwai Chang Caine in the 1970s television series Kung Fu.

Carradine was born and raised in Hollywood, California and studied theatre at San Francisco State College. According to Wikipedia, he had a diverse ethnic background which consisted of German, Spanish, Italian, Ukrainian and Cherokee. His role in Kung Fu garnered him a cult following and would land him roles in Jackie Chan movies and Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill films.

According to published reports, David Carradine hung himself yesterday in his hotel room at the Park Nai Lert Hotel in Bangkok. The police are saying it is a suicide. Eerily enough, Carradine spoke of suicide in past interviews. According to

“I remember one time sitting in the window of the third or fourth floor of the Plaza Hotel for about an hour, thinking about just tipping off. And that was at a time when I was having more fun than you could imagine.

“I just thought, ‘Who the —- cares, man? Why don’t I just split?’ Of course I didn’t, so there you go.”

David Carradine was 72 years old.  Check out the vintage clip of Carradine below.

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Altovise Davis, Sammy Davis Jr.’s, widow dies at 65

Published by Clay Cane on Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 1:10 am.

sammy1The widow of the legendary Sammy Davis Jr., Altovise Davis, died Saturday at 65 due to complications from a stroke. According to the New York Times:

“Ms. Davis worked her way to the Broadway stage and was appearing in the musical ‘High Spirits,’ which ran in 1964 and ’65, when she met Sammy Davis Jr., who was starring in the musical ‘Golden Boy.’ She became his third wife in 1970, and they adopted a son. She was widowed when Mr. Davis died of throat cancer in 1990 at age 64.

After his death she was left to sort through his multimillion-dollar tax debt and oversee his troubled estate. Last year she sued two former business partners in federal court, claiming they tricked her into signing away the rights to the estate. The suit is pending.”

Rest in peace.

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Rest in peace Eartha Kitt

Published by Clay Cane on Friday, December 26, 2008 at 10:54 am.

Just like a true diva to go out on the biggest holiday of the year!

On Christmas Day the legendary Eartha Kitt died of colon cancer at 81 years-old.  Born on a cotton plantation in South Carolina, Kitt clawed her way to Hollywood despite the worst case scenarios.  According to her, Kitt was a child conceived by rape and she was never sure of her exact birthday.

Once called “The Tigeress of Stage,” Kitt made her film debut in 1948’s Cabash beginning a professional career that would span over six decades.  Never to be a victim, Kitt triumphantly stood in the face of ferocious racism and sexism.  Nowadays, any performer can be a triple threat — Kitt practically invented the term.

Despite once being booed off stage at the legendary Apollo Theatre, Kitt was a dancer, singer, and actress.  Kitt would become an international megastar with appearances on Broadway, charting on the Billboard charts, and, most famously, integrated Gotham City by playing Catwoman.  Kitt’s portrayal of Catwoman outshined the original (Julie Newmar) and no one since has been able to match — not Michelle Pfeiffer or even Halle Berry.

Of course no one can forget her role as Lady Eloise in 1992’s Boomerang, “Maaaaarcusssss!”

Coupled with her fame, she was an outspoken activist.  Kitt was aggressively against the Vietnam War –  she reportedly made the First Lady Bird Johnson at a White House luncheon in 1968 cry and was famously on President Richard Nixon’s enemies list.  Kitt was notoriously exiled from the United States, forced to only perform overseas — following a tradition of many black artists like Josephine Baker.  Kitt was also a champion for HIV/AIDS research.

Rest in peace Eartha — I am sure she is walking around heaven with Sammy Davis, Jr. (a former ex lover), Dorothy Dandridge, Josephine Baker,  and many others who added a little soul to Hollywood, Broadway, and stages across the world.

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