Category Archives: obituary

Goodbye Whitney, hello Sparkle.

With the sad passing of singer/actress Whitney Houston today comes news of her last screen appearance. Already filmed and due for release in American cinemas in August is the remake of the 1976 musical drama “Sparkle”. Whitney plays the mother of Jordan Sparks (a former American Idol alumni).

Jordan Sparks & Whitney Houston in upcoming “Sparkle”

“Sparkle” is a gulity pleasure of mine, it tells the story of the Williams sisters, a trio of 1950s Harlem singers whose story was loosely inspired by the Supremes. Headed by Sister (Lonette McKee), the group also features Sister’s younger sister –  Sparkle (Irene Cara) and Dolores (Dawn Smith). As they begin to climb the road to success, Sister’s life spirals out of control, with drug addiction eventually leading to her death. SPOOKY! ! !

The original film featured original songs by the great Curtis Mayfield (I believe the new film will use these same songs), there was an album released by Aretha Franklin in which she sang all the songs, an album I cherish.

I was not a great fan of Whitney Houston, I appreciated her singing talents but thought she lacked any real acting chops (The Bodyguard is one of my least favorite film experiences) but I am truly saddened for all her fans, friends and family. I hope she is in peace now.

Liza the last lady standing! Whitney with a couple of mega stars

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Vale: Ken Russell

Vale: KEN RUSSELL (1927 – 2011)

One of Britain’s cinemas greats died peacefully in his sleep on Sunday aged 84. He was a favourite of mine and I am saddened.

The director of the movies “Women In Love”, “The Devils” and “Tommy” was best known for his flamboyant over the top style and often caused controversy with his films.

The Oscar winning “Women In Love” (1969) featured a famous nude male wrestling scene between Oliver Reed and Alan Bates.

Look at this list of films and you will realise what an amazing talent he was.

Women In Love, The Devils, The Music Lovers, Tommy, The Boyfriend, Lisztomania, Valentino, Altered States, Gothic, Lair Of The White Worm, Crimes Of Passion, amongst many others – of course not all of them were successful both artistically or at the box office but many of them were and they always entertained.

You will be sadly missed Mr Russell – thank you so much for your film legacy.

The infamous nude wrestling scene from “Women In Love”

Roger Daltry as the pinball wizard – “Tommy”

Kathleen Turner as China Blue in “Crimes Of Passion”

Glenda Jackson in “The Music Lovers” another controversial scene

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Her heart won’t go on

Vale Gloria Stuart

Film actress Gloria Stuart, who started out back in the early days of talkies and returned to become the oldest Oscar nominee in Academy Awards history in the blockbuster film “Titanic”  (age  87), has died in Los Angeles. She was 100 years old. Not a bad innings at all.

Playing the older Rose, the survivor of the sinking of the Titanic, she was nominated for supporting actress, as well as a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild award,  she shared with Kim Basinger.


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Vale Eddie Fisher

Breaking News.

Eddie Fisher is dead!

R.I.P. Eddie Fisher.

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Vale, Victoria Longley

A friend told me some very sad news today. That acclaimed Australian actress Victoria Longley passed away a few weeks ago on August 29. She was 49 years old. She succumbed to breast cancer, her second battle with the disease.

Longley was a major talent, appearing in many television, film & stage roles.

After graduating from NIDA in 1984, she was snapped up by the Sydney Theatre Company appearing alongside Judy Davis in “Hedda Gabler”, and as Lady Capulet in “Romeo & Juliet”. I was fortunate enough to see her luminous performance as Tracy Lords in “The Philadelphia Story”.

She won a well deserved  AFI award in 1989 for her supporting performance in the film “Celia”.

Her many credits include the film “The More Things Change”, directed by Robyn Nevin, television series – Wildside, Mercury and All Saints among others, and her acclaimed performance in Edward Albee’s “The Goat, Or Who Is Sylvia” – which garnered her a Sydney Theatre award & a Helpmann nomination.

I was lucky enough to work on productions that Victoria appeared in, firstly on the epic Kennedy Miller miniseries “The Dirtwater Dynasty”, on the film “Turtle Beach” and then once more on the film “Talk”.

I remember her as a beautiful tall woman, very elegant and enigmatic. Fun to have a chat with over the lunch table, and very serious and committed to her role.

She will be sadly missed by the Australian entertainment industry and to the public who have enjoyed her many performances.

Victoria with her co-star Rebecca Smart in the movie “Celia”.

Victoria alongside co-star William Zappa in the play “The Goat, Or Who Is Sylvia”.

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