Jackie Collins: The Woman Knew from Fame!

Best-selling novelist Jackie Collins, who died September 19 at age 77, lived in a Beverly Hills mansion and frequented Hollywood’s toniest hot spots, collecting dish for her sex- and scandal-filled chronicles of Tinseltown’s rich and famous, notably Hollywood Wives. But Collins was just as likely to be spotted at a local Rite Aid or Target store. Shortly before her last novel, The Santangelos, came out in June, Collins came out to me about her surprisingly down-to-earth tastes: Writing is so …

Jackie Collins: Writer of Steamy Bestselling Novels (and Joan’s Sister)

As a writer of steamy, salacious fiction about the rich and famous, Jackie Collins might have been a bigger star than her big sister Joan, the scheming Alex Carrington in the 1980s prime-time soap opera Dynasty. Jackie, who passed away Sept. 19 at age 77 in Los Angeles, churned out more than three dozen books — from Hollywood Wives and Rock Star to The Power Trip. Scantily clad beauties and shirtless male hunks on the covers gave a pretty good indication …

Bard Revisited

Readers everywhere, myself included, laughed, cried and just plain enjoyed Al Martinez’s wonderfully written and insightful blogs. Al’s wife, Joanne, now shares memories of the more than 65 years she and “The Bard of L.A.” spent together. Sometimes an ordinary moment transforms into a pivotal one. So it was when my husband, Al Martinez, met an imaginary field of daffodils. More than seven decades before he passed away in January, Al and his fellow fourth-graders were supposed to give speeches. Al …

In Memoriam — Al Martinez: More Than a Life Well-Lived

His voice was deep; his soul was too. His humor made you rock with laughter; his insight rocked your world. I never got to squeeze Al Martinez’s hand or give him a hug, though I often wanted to. We lived six hours apart, but when we talked by phone, Al, who died Jan. 12, was in my living room, sitting next to my desk. We laughed at each other’s jokes and exchanged sometimes thoughtful, sometimes silly emails about the topics …

Roger Angell, 93, Receives Baseball Hall of Fame Award

The game he loves has honored the man many say is its finest chronicler. On July 26, the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., presented the J.G. Taylor Spink Award to Roger Angell, for 50 years of writing about the national pastime. In The New Yorker magazine and in a number of books, Angell shared his passion for a sport he calls “the hardest game to play.” Speaking to the crowd after receiving his award, Angell was grateful: …

Maya Angelou: Memoirist, Poet and Much More

In 1969, at the age of 41, Maya Angelou, who died on May 28 at age 86 in Winston-Salem, N.C., published I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. It was a memoir of her childhood and adolescent odyssey from Arkansas to California, during which she survived a cascade of traumatic events, including being raped by her mother’s boyfriend at age seven and overcoming prejudice to become, at age 16, San Francisco’s first black streetcar conductor. It was the first autobiography by an …