Entertainment

John Wayne Birthplace & Museum

Speaking as an actress, I wish all actors would be more like Duke and speaking as a person, it would be nice if all people could be honest and as genuine as he is. This is a real man – Maureen O Hara

In a small town slightly southwest of Des Moines, IA is a tiny four room house that stakes claim to being the birthplace of one of America’s most celebrated actors: John Wayne. The future actor was born in Winterset on May 26, 1907 as Marion Robert Morrison.

Now the small rural town is making the most of its former resident by boasting about his birthplace with a museum and tours of his childhood home.

The John Wayne Birthplace and Museum (JWBM) is open daily from 10 to 5 pm (winter 10 to 4pm). Its tickets are priced so it’s affordable for anyone. The cost is $15, with discounts for children and seniors, to experience the truly unique life of Marion Robert Morrison. 

johnwaynestatuePeople that appreciate celebrity-driven attractions will enjoy the museum and gift shop. The museum is small, but it has an impressive array of personal John Wayne photos, movie memorabilia and stories that even a casual fan will appreciate, including an explanation on how the nickname”Duke” came about.

IMG_6363As for the gift shop, it is free to visit and has lots of products and merchandise. A Crow’s View suggests purchasing a JWBM pen or pencil; at .50¢ each, they are affordable and easily the best priced items in the store.

I found the house that Marion Robert Morrison, aka John Wayne, was born in more interesting.  Although the actual room of Wayne’s birth is lost to history, its historical significance to American cinema and pop culture is undeniable.

Touring Wayne’s childhood home is a stark reminder of the American dream; moreover, it is a powerful illustration that a child born in such humble circumstances can eventually rise to stardom. In Morrison’s case, he went on to become John Wayne a Hollywood legend and an icon, if not a national treasure.

The JWBM is a must see for any ardent fan of John Wayne. It’s worth checking out. Like John Wayne, it’s distinctly American.

Mary Tyler Moore Immortalized In Bronze

A groundbreaking actress, producer, and passionate advocate…, Mary will be remembered as a fearless visionary who turned the world on with her smile–Mara Buxbaum

Mary Tyler Moore’s passing was a huge blow to Hollywood and fans around the world; however, female journalist particularly took her passing extremely hard, but for far different reasons.

The television icon was more than just a ground breaking actress, brilliant business entrepreneur and philanthropist; she was a role model who also influenced a generation of women to become journalist.

Over a long career spanning decades, Mary Tyler Moore’s signature role was Mary Richards from the eponymously titled “Mary Tyler Moore” show.  The 70s sitcom was based in Minneapolis, Minnesota and centered around a young single career woman working as a news producer.

screen-shot-2017-02-28-at-9-49-51-pmThe series ran from 1970 to 1977; it received numerous awards for the cast, crew, and the star: Mary Tyler Moore (MTM). In fact, during its run the series won a record 29 Emmy Awards.  A record that stood for 25 years.

In 2001, MTM was immortalized by TVLAND when a life-sized bronze statue of Mary Richards tossing her tam into the air was unveiled. This iconic image captured the exuberance and excitement of a professional woman who ultimately did “make it on her own” in a new city and career.

When interviewed about being immortalized by a bronze statue, MTM said, “Forget about it, this is a unique situation. I never thought I’d have anything like that.”

0012The statue is exclusive to minneapolis and quite popular. Fans from around the state and the nation flock to the statue to pose for pictures and mimic the legendary hat toss.

When Minneapolis put the statue in storage due to downtown road construction, public outcry prompted city leaders to place it back on display.

Visitors to Minneapolis who wish to see the statue can find it quite easily at the visitor center. A Crow’s View suggests taking the light rail to the Nicollet Mall stop. This will allow people to avoid parking hassles and place seekers right at the statue’s location. After exiting the train, the statue is only steps away from the train station on the southeast corner of S. 5th St.

The visitor center’s hours are limited, but the statue can easily be seen from the large display windows if travelers show up after hours. Later in 2017, the city plans to return the statue outdoors for 24-hour access.

Visitor center hours are: 10:00 am–6:00 pm, Monday-Friday; and 12:00 pm–5:00 pm, Saturday-Sunday.

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Visitor Center

The Mary Tyler Moore Show

MTM Statue Facts

 

An Icon At 90: Marilyn Monroe

I never wanted to be Marilyn—it just happened. Marilyn’s like a veil I wear over Norma Jeane—Marilyn Monroe

June 1 is a pretty unremarkable day. It’s the 152-day of any given year, except leap year. It has no special or distinguishing events to mark its passing. This otherwise dull day has nothing going for it. However, that all changed 90 years ago with the birth of Norma Jeane Mortenson, better known as Marilyn Monroe.

It’s safe to say that no other American actress has captured the imagination of a nation quite like she did. Her beauty quickly took Hollywood by storm and caught the eye of men and women alike.

Monroe Birth CirtificateBorn Norma Jeane Mortenson. She came into this world as the third child of a troubled woman; who was later diagnosed with acute paranoid schizophrenia. The future star eventually wound up a ward of the state.

As a young girl, Norma Jeane bounced from foster home to foster home. She would often dream of becoming a famous actress. It’s easy to imagine the life she fantasized about must have seemed out of reach, but destiny would come calling a few short years later.

A lucky encounter with a photographer, a few “breaks”, and an ability to market herself catapulted Norma Jeane to fame. She famously took on a new designation: Marilyn Monroe. The name is an amalgam of a 1920s Broadway starlet named Marilyn Miller, who ironically passed away in her mid-thirties too due to alcohol and other health issues, and her birth mother’s last name (Monroe).

Marilyn Monroe quickly rose within the industry. Her stardom was due to a rare combination of raw sexuality, vulnerability, sensuality and innocence all beautifully rolled up into one larger-than-life persona. That would ultimately take on a life of its own.

Carey Grant once said, “Everyone wants to be Cary Grant. Even I want to be Cary Grant.” The sentiment behind this statement surely applied to Marilyn Monroe. During her life she routinely hung out with Hollywood A-listers, married a sport’s legend, and was linked to political royalty. Her life seemed to be going perfectly. Vastly removed from the lifestyle of the orphan Norma Jeane.

But celebrity can be a double edge sword. At one point–in what may have been a veiled cry for help­–Monroe exclaimed, “Fame is fickle, and I know it. It has its compensations but it also has its drawbacks, and I have experienced them both.”

Following her death on Aug. 5, 1962, details about her private life painted a picture of a troubled woman spiraling out of control. Personal issues contributed to her slipping into the miasma of depression, alcohol, and prescription drugs. All of which contributed to her death.

The ensuing years since her passing Marilyn Monroe has never left the public eye. Fascination about her life and death has spawned multiple conspiracy theories detailed in books, documentaries, and movies. The public’s infatuation with Monroe has never waned, in fact its only grown over the years.

In life Marilyn Monroe struggled to earn as much as her costars, while in death her estate’s income consistently tops the charts for deceased celebrities.

Little Norma Jeane, who came into the world on the humdrum day of June 1, went from an orphaned childhood, to troubled Hollywood starlet, to an international icon. Her life may have been short, but she made a far greater impact than her contemporaries.

As for June 1, it’s no longer a day marred by indistinction. For more than half a century fans around the globe mark June 1 on their calendars to celibate Marilyn Monroe’s birth. This year the iconic actress would’ve seen her 90 birthday. Imagine that!

Happy Birthday Marilyn.

Marilyn Monroe Website

Biography.com

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Lost Talent & Artistry 2012-2015

A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP–Leonard Nimoy

When a larger-than-life personality dies, a chain reaction is triggered. Iconic rocker David Bowie’s passing made international headlines. His parting sparked numerous memorials and tributes around the world; however, every year extremely talented celebrities pass away with very little fanfare. A Crow’s View would like to recognize four of those people over the last few years.

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 9.33.59 PMGeoffrey Lewis (79) passed away April 7, 2015. If you’ve watched anything from the 70s, 80s, and even the 90s, then you will know his face-if not his name. Lewis was a veteran of more than 200 film and television roles, including starring in multiple Client Eastwood features. His work on the original Salem’s Lot” helped launch Steven King’s successful screen adaption franchise.

In the 2000s, Lewis continued to work steadily in feature films and television. His appearances on “Dawson Creek,” Thomas Kinkade’s “Christmas Cottage,” and voice work on “The Haunted World of El Superbeasto” exposed Mr. Lewis to a younger audience. His children–daughter Juliette Lewis is the most known–have all taken up the family business as actors, directors or producers. It’s a safe bet that Lewis’ legacy will impact Hollywood for generations to come.

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Veteran actor Eli Wallach passed June 24, 2014, at the age of 98. You may not know his name, but you will know his work. He played Tuco in Sergio Leone’s The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (1966); Dr. Herbert A. Morrison, in Nuts (1987); and Don Altobello, in The Godfather: Part III. Wallach was also a staple on television; guest staring in numerous series and made-for-TV movies.

Wallach gained rave reviews in his screen debut portraying Silva Vacarro in the 1956 sensual dark-drama Baby Doll, garnering him a Golden Globe nomination for “Best Supporting Actor” and winning a BAFTA Award for “Most Promising Newcomer to Film.” His career spanned six decades and included significant roles working with many of Hollywood’s most popular stars: Steve McQueen, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, Michael Landon and Barbara Streisand, to name a few.

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 10.10.04 AMChrissy Amphlett’s (53) untimely death on April 21, 2013, didn’t generate much attention. She is best remembered as the lead singer of the Australian rock band Divinyls. Her professional career peaked in 1991 when the band’s hit song “I Touch Myself” reached number one and four on the Australian and U.S. pop charts, respectively.

Amphlett was known for putting on a daring stage act that consisted of aggressively and provocatively performing on stage wearing a girl’s school uniform and fishnet stockings. Although she gained fame singing, Amphlett had a diverse resume’ that included a brief acting career, highlighted with a role in a 1988 musical production of Blood Brothers, starring Russell Crowe, and multiple soundtracks credits for television and feature films.

Before Chrissy Amphlett succumbed to cancer, it was her wish that the song “I Touch Myself” would become an anthem for breast cancer awareness. Near the anniversary of her death, her wish became a reality when the “I Touch Myself Project” launched in 2014. The campaign, featuring a who’s who video of Aussie celebrities singing her hit song, was a resounding success.

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 8.46.43 PMLegendary hard rock pioneer Jon Lord (71), a founding member and keyboardist for Deep Purple, passed away July 16, 2012. In the late 1960s, Lord revolutionized the music industry when he plugged a Hammond organ directly into an amplifier; this produced a distinctive and innovative sound that would become his trademark.

Two years after Deep Purple split in 1976, Lord joined the band Whitesnake. His influence was instrumental in developing the band into one of the most popular acts throughout Europe and the UK, eventually braking into the US market.

When Deep Purple regrouped in 1984, Lord’s presence was evident in the title track “Perfect Strangers.” He toured successfully with the band till he departed in 2002 to pursue a solo career. “It was the longest hardest decision of my life, to leave the band I had founded, and had loved for nearly 35 years.” Lord’s groundbreaking achievements on keyboards are still in use today throughout the recording industry.

The celebrities profiled above are examples of tremendously talented and artistic people whose death went largely unnoticed. A Crow’s View encourages people to look “below the fold” and celebrate the lives of the remarkable people that are often overlooked by the media. In many cases they may have made a larger impact in life, than the credit they received in death.

Good Bye Mr. Nimoy

“Change is the essential process of all existence.”–Spock, “Star Trek: TOS”, “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield”

A Crow’s View is saddened by the passing of Leonard Nimoy. Perhaps no other actor has ever captured the hearts and minds of fans like Nimoy’s portrayal Spock.Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 2.05.16 PM

The pointy-eared half-Vulcan half-Human emotionally suppressed character debuted Sept. 8, 1966 on CBS. The role of Mr. Spock was a risky move for an actor struggling to make a name for himself, but it paid off. Shortly after “Star Trek’s” cancellation, Nimoy wrote that, “Six years after having completed the role, I am still affected by the character of Spock.”

IMG_1708Nearly fifty-years later, the impact Spock has had is undeniable. For example, the word “Vulcan” is universally identified as a fictional alien race, instead of its Greek mythological origins, and the “Live Long And Prosper” slogan is an easily recognized hand gesture. Further validation of Spock’s influence includes being listed in TV Guide’s 50 greatest TV characters of all time.

In a recent interview with Pharrell Williams. Nimoy candidly reflected on his role of Spock, “The Spock character…opened up my life personally and creatively, created great opportunities for me to do work I chose to do, not had to do.”

Nimoy’s career is evidence that he successfully parlayed his role of Spock into other creative outlets. He directed two “Star Trek” feature films, as well as the hugely popular box office smash “Three Men and a Baby” (staring Tom Seleck, Steve Guttenberg, and Ted Dansen); he also worked as an executive producer, wrote numerous screenplays, authored several books and became an accomplished photographer.

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 3.23.24 PMAfter formally retiring from acting, Nimoy did accept acting gigs and projects that suited him. He was a welcomed guest star on TV series and feature films. His work on “Fringe” as William Bell was wildly popular among the show’s fan base, and his role as Spock Prime in the 2009 reboot of “Star Trek” reintroduced his character to a whole new generation of fans.

One of Spock’s greatest lexicons in his vocabulary was exclaiming “fascinating” when he faced a perplexity.  Spock once said, “fascinating is a word I use for the unexpected, in this case I would think interesting would suffice” (“Star Trek,” “The Squire of Gothos”). The raised eyebrow and the deadpan stare followed by Spock’s timely remark unquestionable sums up Nimoy’s life.

Leonard Simon Nimoy was born in Boston on March 26, 1931 to Ukrainian Orthodox Jewish immigrants Max and Dora Nimoy. His father was a barber. Thirty-five years later this obscure actor that grew up from humble beginnings would be introduced to the world as Mr. Spock.

IMG_1712In his 1975 autobiography “I Am Not Spock,” Nimoy addresses the affect playing Spock had on him personally, “Of course, the role changed my career. Or rather, gave me one… It also affected me very deeply and personally, socially, psychologically, emotionally.” Nimoy continues, “To this day I sense Vulcan speech patterns, Vulcan social attitudes, and even Vulcan patterns of logic and emotional suppression in my behavior.”  This sentiment can easily sum up the affect Spock has had on society and pop-culture as a whole.

Lowen Liu’s article “How Leonard Nimoy Left Us With the Best Scene in Star Trek” argues that “Star Trek II not only has the honor of the best Star Trek film ever—a tight revenge plot whose special effects hold up today—but it not coincidentally contains the best and most powerful scene in the franchise’s expansive oeuvre…. In it, Spock dies.”

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 10.12.02 PMSpock’s death scene in “Star Trek ll: The Wrath of Kahn” is arguably the greatest death scene ever made in film history. A lesser character, played by a lesser actor, would not have had the profound impact it had on audience members during its 1982 release. That scene is responsible for launching Nimoy’s directorial career and solidified him as an actor’s actor.

The coverage of Nimoy’s (and Spock’s) death from major news sources is a remarkable testaments to the iconic actor’s life; however, the buzz surrounding Nimoy’s passing that is manifest on multiple hashtags throughout Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets is more impressive. A Crow’s View sees the outpouring of love from family, friends, co-stars and fans as the best demonstration of a life well-lived.

Nimoy’s last tweet says it best, “A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory.  LLAP.” As a lifelong Trek fan, I wish to extend my condolences to Mr. Nimoy’s family. Live long and prosper.

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Leonard Nimoy

NYTimes Article

“Jane The Virgin”: A Breath of Fresh Air

CW Network’s breakout new comedy “Jane The Virgin” is delightfully charming and entertaining. Its strong writing and well-constructed plots are breathing a breath of fresh air into television sets across America.  In fact, “Jane” may be energizing the CW Network.

Unlike most CW programs, “Jane the Virgin” isn’t based on comic book superheroes or supernatural entities (a staples of the network’s lineup), but a 23-year-old virgin set in present day Miami, Florida. 

Don’t let the show’s name fool you. The title character is far from an ingénues prude. Jane–played by the talented Gina Rodriguez–is a complex individual who is extremely goal-oriented. She meticulously plans her life to the tiniest detail, including maintaining her virtue to keep a promise she made to her “La Abuela” (Grandmother). Otherwise, Jane lives a normal lifestyle.

When Jane is inadvertently impregnated during a routine doctor’s visit; her life is turned upside down. In the melee that follows, Jane’s long-term plans are rocked, she learns her new boss is the baby’s father, and her long-lost dad is a famous Latino actor she idolizes.

If this sounds like a Spanish telenovela, well, it’s because it is, but with an infusion of comedy.

The CW Network’s departure from its modus operandi of providing action-type programming is proving to be a wise decision. “Jane The Virgin” is finding an audience and receiving fawning praise from entertainment pundits.

Until now, critical acclaim was a rarity for CW. In its inaugural season, “Jane the Virgin” received two Golden Globe nominations. One nod went to Rodriguez for Best Lead Actress in a TV Comedy or Musical, which she won, and a second nomination for Best TV Comedy or Musical. actress-gina-rodriguez

“Jane” is receiving recognition from more than just the Golden Globes. The American Film Institute listed “Jane the Virgin” among the 10 best TV programs of 2014.

It only takes one episode to understand why the show is gaining notice. The casts’ chemistry is absolutely stellar. The dichotomy between Jane and the surrounding characters is fascinating; her personal growth through the pregnancy, attempts to follow through with her established goals, and the balancing act to keep her promise brings an interesting, if not comical, dynamic to the series.

It might be presumptuous to say, but “Jane the Virgin” may deliver legitimacy to the CW Network. Winning a Golden Globe is a great start to making it as viable as the big four broadcasters (CBS, NBC, ABC, and FOX). Only time will tell if CW will become a juggernaut, but “Jane the Virgin” is putting it on the right track to become the “fifth network.”

Jane the Virgin

AFI Programs of the Year

Golden Globes Awards