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Thread: In Memoriam

  1. #1471

    Re: In Memoriam

    I watched that scene tonight dry. It's my favorite too.

    Maybe it's time I watch "Deliverance" though.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

  2. #1472

    Re: In Memoriam

    My favorite Burt Reynolds' scene was the centerfold. May he rest in peace. GH

  3. #1473
    Slightly Less of a Loser
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    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

    Re: In Memoriam

    Quote Originally Posted by Ti-Amie View Post
    I watched that scene tonight dry. It's my favorite too.

    Maybe it's time I watch "Deliverance" though.
    If you haven't, you should...although his performance in that didn't overly stand out for me. Just don't go camping/canoeing right after you do
    Thanks for the medal Johanna!

  4. #1474

    Re: In Memoriam

    Quote Originally Posted by ptmcmahon View Post
    If you haven't, you should...although his performance in that didn't overly stand out for me. Just don't go camping/canoeing right after you do
    The chances of my going camping/canoeing are slim to none. My idea of camping is a nice walk in the woods, slathered in bug repellant, and spending the night in a nice, air conditioned cabin with WiFi and a fully stocked fridge and wine fridge and a huge comfy bed.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

  5. #1475
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    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

    Re: In Memoriam

    I first watched at after returning from a weekend of was glad we waited until after to watch it.
    Thanks for the medal Johanna!

  6. #1476

    Re: In Memoriam

    Whitey Bulger, Boston crime boss and elusive fugitive, dead in prison at 89

    By Paul Duggan October 30 at 7:50 PM

    This 1953 booking-photo combo shows James "Whitey" Bulger after an arrest. (Boston police/AP)

    At the peak of his nefarious career, James “Whitey” Bulger, the long-ago murderous Boston mob boss, wasn’t one to dwell on his mistakes, even when he killed the wrong guy a few times. For back then, as whispers had it, Whitey was untouchable.

    However, in 2015, after three schoolgirls wrote to him in prison as part of a history project, seeking his views on “leadership” and “legacy,” the octogenarian ex-gangster, a ninth-grade dropout, responded with a rueful letter.

    In the Coleman II federal penitentiary in Florida, he filled a sheet of college-ruled notebook paper with tidy cursive, lamenting, “My life was wasted and spent foolishly, brought shame + suffering on my parents and siblings and will end soon.”

    Now it has.

    Mr. Bulger, whose bloody reign in the Boston underworld was aided by crooked FBI agents in the 1980s and who later went on the lam for 16 years, living incognito by the California seashore, died Oct. 30 while completing the first of his two life sentences. He was 89.

    The Bureau of Prisons confirmed Tuesday that Mr. Bulger was found unresponsive at a penitentiary in Bruceton Mills, W.Va. After responding staff members attempted lifesaving measures, he was pronounced dead by the county medical examiner. The U.S. attorney’s office for the Northern District of West Virginia and the FBI are investigating.

    The Associated Press said the death is being investigated as a homicide. One prison employee familiar with the investigation said Bulger was found with severe head trauma in the morning. That person said two inmates have been identified as possible suspects, partly based on surveillance cameras.

    Although notorious in Boston, Mr. Bulger was largely unknown to the wider world until after he disappeared in 1994. In his absence, his darkest secrets, including his corrupt ties with FBI agents, were gradually laid bare in court hearings, media exposés and a congressional inquiry. He became a nationwide curiosity, sharing space with Osama bin Laden on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list.

    Captured in Santa Monica, Calif., in 2011, Mr. Bulger was sentenced to two consecutive life terms plus five years after a Boston jury convicted him of 31 racketeering offenses. The indictment against him catalogued 19 alleged murders, and he was found guilty of ordering or carrying out 11 of them.

    The verdicts, in 2013, climaxed a gangland opera of fealty and betrayal that spanned half a century and combined two of Boston’s abiding fixations: ethnic crime and politics.

    Mr. Bulger, dubbed Whitey in his fair-haired youth, was a brother of William M. “Billy” Bulger, a longtime Democratic state lawmaker and iron-fisted boss of Massachusetts government. Theirs was a family epic — a tale of two siblings, each ruthless in his own way and each ever loyal to the other, who climbed to power by different means from a hardscrabble beginning in insular, working-class South Boston.

    On Boston’s Beacon Hill, William Bulger, an erudite lawyer schooled in classic literature, dominated the statehouse as Senate president for 18 years, while the shadowy, menacing Whitey, once a bank robber and Alcatraz inmate, loomed over the streets below, a czar of bookmaking, loan-sharking, extortion and drug distribution.

    'Where's Whitey?'
    After Whitey skipped town in late 1994, a step ahead of an indictment, it came to light that throughout the 1980s, in his racketeering heyday, he had been listed in FBI records as a confidential “top echelon informant” for agents in Boston.

    The “Irish Godfather,” recruited to snitch on his competitors in the Mafia, had also regularly lavished his FBI handlers with illicit cash and gifts. And the agents, for their part, had connived to shield him from law enforcement interference, allowing a homicidal mob kingpin to operate with virtual impunity for years.

    The news that the country’s top crime-fighting agency had been in cahoots with Boston’s most vicious gangster embroiled the FBI in scandal. Meanwhile, the revelation that Whitey had trampled on the underworld’s cherished conceit about a code of silence ruined the ex-boss’s good name among his peers.

    Testifying at Whitey’s 2013 trial, his former chief leg-breaker, Kevin Weeks, voiced the hoodlum community’s dismay at the gangster’s perfidy.

    To Whitey’s old cronies, it made no difference that he had supposedly dished dirt only on their Italian American rivals. As a matter of principle, “we used to kill people that were rats,” Weeks told the jury, evincing disgust that, unbeknown to him in the 1980s, one of “the biggest rats” had been “right next to me.”

    Hearing this, Whitey interrupted from the defendant’s table, yelling at the much younger Weeks, “You suck!”

    “F--- you!” retorted the erstwhile henchman, who had once been like a sociopathic son to him.

    “F--- you, too!” Whitey shouted, before the judge barked, “Hey!”

    Most of Mr. Bulger’s murder victims were enemy thugs or duplicitous underlings, but some of the 19 killings he was accused of were collateral damage or cases of mistaken identity. Whitey, a blue-collar godfather, often rolled up his sleeves and did the dirty work himself. “He stabbed people. He beat people with bats. He shot people, strangled people, run them over with cars,” Weeks said on CBS’s “60 Minutes” in 2006.

    There were innocent “civilians” among the slain, as well, notably Roger Wheeler, a wealthy Oklahoma entrepreneur who refused to sell his East Coast jai alai frontons to cohorts of Mr. Bulger. After a round of golf one day in 1981, Wheeler, 55, was ambushed by a Bulger hit man in the parking lot of a Tulsa country club and shot between the eyes.

    The FBI agents in league with Whitey back then effectively ignored the continuing bloodshed.

    Mr. Bulger had stashed away a fortune in cash in case he had to retire from organized crime in a hurry. Starting in 1997, a few years after he vanished, he and a Boston girlfriend, Catherine Greig, lived comfortably in an apartment near the Santa Monica beach, posing as Midwest retirees Charlie and Carol Gasko.

    Then, in 2011, a favorite South Boston guessing game — “Where’s Whitey?” — abruptly ended with a phone call to authorities from an ex-beauty queen: Anna Bjornsdottir, Miss Iceland 1974, had seen age-enhanced images of Mr. Bulger and his moll on TV and recognized the couple as neighbors of hers in Santa Monica.

    Bjornsdottir collected a $2 million federal reward. As for Greig, now 67, she got prison terms totaling nearly a decade for helping Whitey dodge justice and for dutifully keeping her mouth shut afterward — refusing to testify before a grand jury about others who might have aided Mr. Bulger as a fugitive.

    A bank robber in his youth
    James Joseph Bulger Jr. was born Sept. 3, 1929, in Everett, Mass., across the Mystic River from Boston. When he was a child, his family moved to public housing in South Boston, or “Southie,” as it’s known. For most of his life, the neighborhood was a hard-knocks Irish American stronghold steeped in an ethos of us-against-the-world.

    His father, who had one arm, eked out a living in low-end jobs while young Whitey went around stealing with both hands. He graduated to bank robbery in the mid-1950s and landed behind bars, eventually in Alcatraz, with a 20-year sentence.

    Not long afterward, his kid brother Billy began a career in the state legislature that would last 35 years and make him the most enduringly powerful figure of his era in Massachusetts government. “What Whitey does with a gun, Billy does with a gavel,” a political foe once remarked.

    William Bulger steadfastly looked out for his incarcerated brother’s well-being, enlisting help from another son of Southie, John W. McCormack, the neighborhood’s 21-term Democratic congressman, who was U.S. House speaker for most of the 1960s.

    In Washington, McCormack, who died in 1980, made it clear to federal prison officials that he was keenly interested in the welfare of his constituent James Bulger, according to a stack of books about Whitey. The authors include current and former Boston Globe journalists Kevin Cullen, Shelley Murphy, Dick Lehr and Gerald O’Neill, all prolific chroniclers of the Bulger clan.

    With the two politicians, one a titan, advocating for him, Whitey was transferred out of Alcatraz in 1962 and paroled three years later. Back home, he found a niche as an entry-level enforcer in the Southie rackets and rose fast. Through treachery, intimidation and murder, he muscled his way to criminal dominion over a large share of the region.

    When his secret alliance with the FBI began, in 1975, two rival groups stood supreme in the Boston underworld — the local Mafia franchise, ruled by brothers named Angiulo in the city’s North End, and Mr. Bulger’s fearsome outfit, known as the Winter Hill Gang.

    In those days, the FBI was fixated on crushing the Italian American mob nationwide. Whitey was recruited to inform on the Angiulos by a Southie-bred agent, John J. Connolly Jr., who was a protege and longtime friend of soon-to-be state Senate president William Bulger. Over the years, while the crime boss was on the FBI’s books as a snitch, the relationship devolved into one of payoffs and protection.

    Prosecutors said Connolly, who pocketed about a quarter-million dollars in bribes, schemed to thwart investigations of the Winter Hill crew and alerted the boss to turncoats in his midst, occasionally with lethal results. Finally, in December 1994, as a grand jury was about to indict Mr. Bulger, Connolly gave him a heads-up and the gangster beat feet, eventually to his West Coast hideaway.

    The disgraced former agent, now 78, got a 10-year prison term for racketeering and other crimes and was sentenced to an additional 40 years for complicity in a 1982 mob hit. In that one, a potential witness against Whitey wound up dead in a Cadillac trunk at Miami International Airport.

    Mr. Bulger’s survivors include three siblings, one of them William Bulger, who retired from the legislature in 1996 and became president of the state’s University of Massachusetts system. He has always been publicly reticent about Whitey, saying little more than that “Jim” was his brother and he loved him.

    After invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination at a 2002 congressional hearing on the FBI scandal, William Bulger was granted immunity by a House committee and forced to answer questions. His grudging testimony, ridiculed in Massachusetts, sparked months of political warfare between him and then-Gov. Mitt Romney (R), who pressured the ex-lawmaker into resigning his university post.

    William Bulger told the House panel that he had spoken by phone with his fugitive brother but did not know where he was. And in the tight-lipped manner of an old-school Southie stalwart, he professed to know little about Whitey’s former livelihood.

    “It was vague to me,” he said at the hearing.

    As for Whitey, in a documentary produced after his arrest, he acknowledged bribing federal agents but indignantly denied being “a rat.” Despite a 700-page FBI informant file bearing his name, he insisted that the underworld ethic against snitching was sacred to him and that the file was a pack of lies, a big smear by the feds.

    At his trial, though, when he could have taken the witness stand to defend his integrity as a gangster, Mr. Bulger opted not to testify, telling the judge, “Do what youse want with me.”

    Amy Brittain and Mark Berman contributed to this report.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

  7. #1477

    Re: In Memoriam

    Jon Parton

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    "All I tried to do in my stories was show that there's some innate goodness in the human condition. And there's always going to be evil; we should always be fighting evil." -Stan Lee RIP
    Stan Lee, creator of superheroes, dies at 95

    By Alexander F. Remington and Michael Cavna November 12 at 2:15 PM

    Stan Lee, a writer and editor often credited with helping American comics grow up by redefining the notion of a superhero, including the self-doubting Spider-Man, the bickering Fantastic Four, the swaggering Iron Man and the raging Incredible Hulk, died Nov. 12 at a hospital in Los Angeles. He was 95.

    An attorney for Mr. Lee’s daughter confirmed the death in a statement. The cause was not immediately available.

    Mr. Lee’s name became synonymous with the company that would become Marvel Comics, which he joined as a teenage assistant and stayed with for much of his adult life.

    After toiling in comics for 20 years as a self-described hack, on the verge of quitting the business, he was ordered by his boss to emulate a line of superheroes done by rival DC Comics. Mr. Lee’s full-color, morally complex heroes helped foster a revival in a largely moribund profession.

    Comics had entered a dark age after Senate hearings in the early 1950s that condemned the trade for contributing to juvenile delinquency. What followed was a comics code to monitor standards and ban content deemed immoral and unsuitable for children.

    In the ’60s, Mr. Lee took a distinctly new approach to characters and setting, as well as to the very interaction with readers who had grown used to comics that were aimed solely at a younger audience and that featured flawless, square-jawed heroes who had uncomplicated morals.

    Michael Chabon, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the comic-book-themed novel “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay,” said in an interview that Mr. Lee’s best-known characters were “vain, pompous, conceited. . . . Everything that works in comic books today is indebted to him for that.”

    “There’s no question that Stan and the innovations he came up with saved the comic book and the superhero,” Tom Brevoort, Marvel’s senior vice president of publishing, told The Washington Post in 2011. “By crafting characters with feet of clay and personal problems — and not writing down to an audience that was perceived to be primarily 8-year-olds — Stan opened the doorway for more sophisticated and interesting treatments of any subject matter in comics. He made comics interesting and rel*evant and fun again.”

    Lee told The Post in 2012: “All of our characters were freaks in their own way. The greatest example was with X-Men — they were hated because they were different. The idea I had, the underlying theme, was that just because somebody is different doesn’t make them better. . . . That seems to be the worst thing in human nature.”

    Tension With Jack Kirby

    Much of Mr. Lee’s success was indebted to his Marvel partnership with artist and frequent co-creator Jack Kirby. Their first superheroes, appearing in 1961, were the Fantastic Four.

    They were unlike the perfectly genial Superman, a DC Comics character. The Fantastic Four were constantly at odds with one another. Mr. Fantastic was a boring scientist constantly interrupted by the rest of the group. One of the Fantastic Four, the Thing, looked like a monster and often acted like one, and he hated the powers that made him look that way.

    Other heroes came with their own weaknesses, such as the Jekyll-and-Hyde-like Incredible Hulk, who could not control the anger that gave him his strength; Daredevil, whose blindness helped develop other heightened senses. Iron Man was a billionaire industrialist modeled after Howard Hughes; his weakness was a piece of shrapnel dangerously close to his heart, acquired on a trip to Vietnam to inspect the weapons he produced for the war.

    (Mr. Lee wrote in his 2002 memoir, “Excelsior!”: “Due to his injury, he always had to either wear the iron armor, or an iron chest plate he had fashioned for himself, to keep his heart beating. If that explanation doesn’t sound medically correct, hey, he’s a comicbook hero and I’m not a cardiologist.”)

    With artist Steve Ditko, Mr. Lee created Spider-Man in 1962, of whom cartoonist and author Jules Feiffer said, “He took the anxiety and schlumpiness that had become part of the culture from the ’60s on and put them into the character of a superhero.”

    Besides giving the characters human personalities, the artists further attracted readers with the comics’ realistic settings. While other heroes protected fictional cities such as Metropolis and Gotham, Mr. Lee’s lived in his native New York.

    Mr. Lee constantly addressed and engaged the readers. In his memoir, written with George Mair, he remembered one particular author’s note: “On the cover I wrote something like, ‘Look, this may not be one of the best stories we’ve ever done, but we’ve given you enough good ones so that you owe it to us to buy this lemon anyway.’ ”

    “Stan was the first writer to bring an ironic distance to the material,” said Marvel artist Gerry Conway, as quoted in Tom Spurgeon and Jordan Raphael’s “Stan Lee and the Rise and Fall of the American Comic Book” (2003).

    Behind the scenes, Mr. Lee worked to foster a different kind of collaborative process with his artists.

    Traditionally, comics were drawn from a screenplay-like script provided by the writer. Instead, Mr. Lee said, he would offer his artists plot ideas and brainstorm with them. The artists would then draw the story, and he would later fill in dialogue and text.

    Artists in his “bullpen,” where the artists worked in proximity to each other and to him, were much more involved in the creative process. This became known as the Marvel Method.

    He crisscrossed the country as a popular college speaker, visiting campus chapters of the official fan clubs he founded, the Merry Marvel Marching Society and later the Friends of Ol’ Marvel. Marvel became — and remains — one of the best-selling comic book companies in the country. In 2009, the Walt Disney Co. reached an agreement to acquire Marvel Entertainment in a deal worth more than $4 billion.

    Mr. Lee has been criticized for not doing enough to acknowledge Kirby and Ditko’s roles in creating Marvel’s most popular characters. Marvel publicity and press coverage frequently played up Mr. Lee’s role and minimized his collaborators.

    They were minimized legally, as well. Historically, none of the creators had any ownership rights, not even Mr. Lee. Because there were no royalties, comic artists often struggled financially after they stopped working.

    In the 1970s, Kirby attempted to get back some of his original artwork to help support his family and sued. Mr. Lee, who was Marvel’s public face, refrained from taking an active role in the case. An elderly Kirby eventually received some of the art, years later, after agreeing to relinquish all claim to copyright.

    Kirby and Mr. Lee had a falling-out. Kirby died in 1994.

    “I made whatever I made because I was the editor . . . and I was the publisher and one-time president and chairman of the company,” Mr. Lee told The Post in 2012. “I was the scriptwriter. I made no more money than Jack, and at times he made more than I did. . . . If it hadn’t been for those other guys — like [comic-book artist] John Romita [Sr.] — who took over so many of the [comics], I don’t think these comics” would be as popular today.

    “Jack was great, and I have taken pains to say over and over again what a great collaborator he was and how much he contributed,” Mr. Lee continued. “But even when he was alive, I was the guy doing the publicity. I was . . . the guy boosting Marvel on the front lines. Jack was the voice of Jack Kirby, and at times he left to work at DC, and when it served his interests better he came back to Marvel.”

    Took pen name in his teens
    Stanley Martin Lieber was born in New York City on Dec. 28, 1922, the eldest son of Romanian Jewish immigrants. His father was a dress cutter who was frequently out of work.

    Mr. Lee came by his pen name as a teenager. He claimed he changed his name not because of anti-Semitism, like many comic book artists, but because he wanted to preserve his real name to write a real book.

    After graduating from high school, Mr. Lee took a job with Timely Publications, a company that published Marvel and was owned by his cousin-in-law Martin Goodman. He was hired by Timely editor Joe Simon, who with Kirby co-created Captain America.

    During World War II, Mr. Lee served in the Army and spent three years in New Jersey writing scripts for training films. After his discharge, he continued spinning out science-fiction and monster comics for Timely, which was renamed Atlas.

    In 1947, he married Joan Boocock, a British-born hat model. Mr. Lee credited wife with pushing him to create the Fantastic Four instead of leaving Marvel in frustration at midcareer. His breakthrough against the industry’s self-imposed “Comics Code” came in 1971, when the government asked him to produce a Spider-Man story line that came down harshly on drug use.

    The code had a zero-tolerance policy for drugs, even in a negative light, but Marvel ignored the regulations, published without the seal of approval and saw no change in sales. Comic books across the industry stopped following the code’s guidelines.

    Mr. Lee moved from editor to publisher in 1972, and then moved to Hollywood around 1980, attempting with little success to attain cinematic respectability for his characters. The few projects that came to fruition, such as “Howard the Duck” (1986) and “The Punisher” (1989), were critical and commercial failures.

    In 1999, Mr. Lee entered the Internet age with the company Stan Lee Media, which produced Web cartoons and briefly gave Mr. Lee a paper worth of $100 million. The company collapsed in 2001 amid allegations of a massive scam run by Mr. Lee’s partner, Peter F. Paul, who turned out to be a felon. Paul fled to Brazil but eventually returned to the United States and pleaded guilty to securities fraud.

    In 2002, “Spider-Man,” directed by Sam Raimi and starring Tobey Maguire, opened at the box office and eventually grossed more than $800 million worldwide. Citing a previously ignored line in his contract, Mr. Lee sued Marvel for 10 percent of the profits in what he told Variety was “the friendliest lawsuit in the world.” He won the case in 2005. Retaining his lifetime contract with Marvel, he started a new comic company, P.O.W. (Purveyors of Wonder) Entertainment.

    The first X-Men and Spider-Man films turned Marvel characters into box-office juggernauts. In the past decade alone, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has grossed more than $17.5 billion globally.

    In 2008, he received the National Medal of Arts, the highest honor given to artists by the U.S. government. Yet his final years were fraught with legal tensions. His circle of business partners and confidants had shifted tumultuously since his wife, who often guarded his interests, died in 2017. Not long after, court documents showed that the Los Angeles Police Department was investigating claims of elder abuse against Mr. Lee that involved a road convention manager, a memorabilia dealer and an excommunicated caregiver, among others.

    Yet in April 2018, he gave an interview to the New York Times in which he said “life is pretty good” and added that he had been “very careless with money.”

    Survivors include his daughter, Joan Celia “J.C.” Lee; and a brother, comic book artist and writer Larry Lieber. Another daughter, Jan, died days after her birth in 1953.

    Mr. Lee, who has had cameos in many Marvel-based films, was known for an economy of humility. As a teenage boss at Marvel, he would sit on a file cabinet and yell, “I am God!” at his artists sitting below. In his memoir, he said, “If I may be totally candid, I’m my biggest fan.”
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

  8. #1478

    Re: In Memoriam

    My brother was an avid collector of Marvel comics. He had originals of the Fantastic Four and X-Men. Sigh. My mother threw them out when we moved to a new apartment. He passed away never knowing the true value of what he had collected.

    Stan Lee made it okay not to be perfect. That meant a lot to me back in the day. May he RIP.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

  9. #1479

    Re: In Memoriam

    Poor Stan. May he RIP.
    Meet again we do, old foe...

  10. #1480

    Re: In Memoriam

    I was a big fan of Thor as a child. So he did provide me with a lot of enjoyment.
    Return to the universe, Mr. Lee. You did well.
    Starry starry night

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