Annette Funicello: From Mouseketeer to Teen Idol

In a sense, Annette Funicello created the template for Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan and Miley Cyrus. Funicello, who passed away on April 8 at age 70 in Bakersfield, Calif., proved the possibility of evolving from a cute child star in the Disney firmament into a sexy teen idol. But when Funicello accomplished that feat in the 1950s and 1960s, she did it without the personal drama that has plagued her recent successors. The closest that Annette came to a scandal …

Andy Griffith’s Widow to Raze His Home

[updated Dec. 2, 2013] The widow of actor Andy Griffith has demolished the house where he lived for many years on the North Carolina waterfront, ensuring that the site will never be used for an Andy Griffith museum, as the actor may have envisaged. >> Slideshow: Famous Child Stars – Where Are They Now? Cindi Griffith obtained a demolition permit for the Dare County home in March; the house was torn down in late May, according to county planning director …

In Honor of Malachi Throne: Hollywood Stars with Memorable Names

Actor Malachi Throne, who died on March 13 at age 84 in Los Angeles, had a remarkable career that spanned seven decades and included roles in scores of classic TV shows. Star Trek junkies remember him as the voice of the Talosian leader The Keeper in the series’ 1966 pilot episode, but he also portrayed False-Face in Batman and Noah Bain, the government boss assigned to rein in Robert Wagner’s thief-turned-spy Alexander Mundy, in the hit late-1960s action series It …

Hal Schaefer: The ‘Piano Man’s’ Other Claim to Fame

Hal Schaefer was an accomplished pianist, composer of movie scores and vocal coach to Hollywood stars – so multitalented, in fact, that he not only arranged the rendition of “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” for the classic 1953 Marilyn Monroe film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes but also coached Monroe into giving a scintillating performance of the song. But Schaefer, who died on Dec. 8 at age 87 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., had another claim to fame. His brief affair with …

A Forever Fan Wants Your Marilyn Memories

Fifty years ago, on August 5, in the early hours of a Sunday morning, Marilyn Monroe was found dead in her Brentwood home. Had she lived, she would have been 86-years-old. I have a longstanding Marilyn obsession, which makes this post tough to write. What could I reveal that hasn’t possibly already been said, written and speculated about her life?  What unique photo can I share? What evidence could I provide about the mystery surrounding her death? Perhaps you can relate to …

The Artist: Movies for Grownups 2012

“The Artist” is a nearly silent film that resonates deeply with 50+ viewers who appreciate its classic French cinema feel. Adult viewers will find a visual feast in the film’s pastiche of 1920s Hollywood. Jean Dujardin plays the protagonist, a silent movie star whose fortunes fade with the advent of ‘talkies’, and as demand for silent movies wanes. With a focus on high drama, emotional nuance and human pathos, ‘The Artist’ is a reminder that the past continues to inform …