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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Farley Granger dies at 85





















Of all of the old time movie actors, I would only describe one as a "guilty pleasure" Farley Granger. I was surprised late last night, not to learn that he had died, but to learn that he was still alive, and had just died.

Farley Granger was the 85 year-old actor who was well known to fans of film noir, who had also plied his trade on stage and on television. He was perhaps most remembered for having starred in the Alfred Hitchcock films Rope and Strangers on a Train.

News of his death at his Manhattan home was just made public but the veteran movie star passed away due to natural causes on Sunday night.

Granger was born in San Jose to a wealthy parents, who lost all at the start of the Depression. The family refugeed away from San Jose to LA with the last car from his father's former sales lot, taking up residence in West Hollywood. Farley enjoyed his experiences in high school plays and began to act in the community as a teenager.

His first major film role came along in 1943’s The North Star, a propaganda piece in favor of the Russians during the World War. Studio heads discovered him when they attended the play, signed him, and then in a press release said he had responded to a newspaper ad. Farley said he thought the truth was better. When he was signed the Goldwyn studio asked him to choose a new name, fearing that he would be confused with English actor Stewart Granger. After reviewing list upon list of generic names, he suggested Kent Clark. The studio let him preserve his name.

That role put Granger on the map and he followed that performance with Purple Heart, a 20th Century Fox production. After the film was finished Granger signed up for the US Navy but his military career was short lived as he suffered chronic seasickness on his maiden voyage to Honolulu, and remained there on base during the war, involved in entertaining the troops.

It was in Honolulu, during one fateful night, that Granger lost his virginity, both to a woman and a man, all within a matter of hours. He realized that night that he was truly bisexual. He said that through his life he never hid anything about his sexuality, and had partners ranging from Leonard Bernstein to Shelley Winters.

In 1947 he got his biggest break when he was spotted by Alfred Hitchcock in a private screening of the Nicholas Ray film noir Thieves Like Us. The film was shelved for two years after an RKO Pictures takeover by Howard Hughes, but its release in 1949 was a great success. It was released under the title They Live by Night which is perhaps Granger's best known film noir.

Hitchcock cast Granger in Rope which was filmed over a 21 day period. The 1948 film received mixed reviews, because of Hitchcock's revolutionary film techniques, which appeared stilted to some critics, but one thing every reviewer agreed on was the quality of Granger’s acting.

Granger went on to appear in 42 films and his career continued into his late 70’s. In the early 50's he bought out his Goldwyn contract, as he felt the scripts were beneath him. Practically penniless, he made his way to New York to work on his craft, taking acting lessons and being involved in a variety of projects.

I have always liked Farley Granger's acting. Although I didn't know he was still alive, I have to admit it was a shock to know he had died.

Granger's Films:

Granger also appeared on television in several soap operas.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Triathlete Faris al Sultan




Faris al-Sultan (Arabic: فارس السلطان‎) was born 21 January 1978 in Munich to a German mother and an Iraqi father.

Faris al-Sultan is known for his strengths in all three triathlon disciplines. In the running segment, he has a consistent but uncommon form of a long stride and loose arms, described as "looping." In competition, he typically wears a Speedo and half-singlet.

Al-Sultan started out as a collegiate swimmer before taking on triathlon.

In addition to his athletic training, al-Sultan was a graduate student at in Munich, studying for an MA in Arabic Language & Literature, but he dropped out to focus on competing.

Faris won the the 2005 Ironman World Championship in Kailua and Kona Hawaii. He has taken up residence in Abu Dhabi, and was considered a home favorite for the recent Abu Dhabi Triathlon, and finished 8th.

He is affectionately referred to as the "Sultan of Sweat."

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Karshner Triplets, Very much ALIVE at 28






Geraldine Ferraro dead at 75


Geraldine Ferraro is dead.

The first woman to stand for office as Vice President has died at the age of 75, succumbing to Blood Cancer. Her 1984 campaign, together with Democrat Presidential Candidate Walter Mondale made history by her inclusion on the ticket.

It also made history by the landslide loss of 49 states. There was some feeling that the ticket might have done much better, were she in the top spot.

In the November elections, Fox News interviewed Geraldine Ferraro and Sarah Palin together, and then they asked questions of one another. Click on this link to watch the interview:

Joint/Mutual Interview Ferraro Palin

It is interesting to see the rapport between the two, and the touching moment in which Palin thanks Ferraro for paving the way for women to run for president and vice president.

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