New York, Dec 19 (AP/UNB) — Penny Marshall, who indelibly starred in the top-rated sitcom "Laverne & Shirley" before becoming the trailblazing director of smash-hit big-screen comedies such as "Big" and "A League of Their Own," has died. She was 75.
Michelle Bega, a spokeswoman for the Marshall family, said Tuesday that Marshall died in her Los Angeles home on Monday night due to complications from diabetes. Marshall earlier fought lung cancer, which went into remission in 2013. "Our family is heartbroken," the Marshall family said in a statement.
In "Laverne & Shirley," among television's biggest hits for much of its eight-season run between 1976-1983, the nasal-voiced, Bronx-born Marshall starred as Laverne DeFazio alongside Cindy Williams as a pair of blue-collar roommates toiling on the assembly line of a Milwaukee brewery. A spinoff of "Happy Days," the series was the rare network hit about working-class characters, and its self-empowering opening song ("Give us any chance, we'll take it/ Read us any rule, we'll break it") foreshadowed Marshall's own path as a pioneering female filmmaker in the male-dominated movie business.
"Almost everyone had a theory about why 'Laverne & Shirley' took off," Marshall wrote in her 2012 memoir "My Mother Was Nuts." ''I thought it was simply because Laverne and Shirley were poor and there were no poor people on TV, but there were plenty of them sitting at home and watching TV."
Marshall directed several episodes of "Laverne & Shirley," which her older brother, the late filmmaker-producer Garry Marshall, created. Those episodes helped launch Marshall as a filmmaker. When Whoopi Goldberg clashed with director Howard Zieff, she brought in Marshall to direct "Jumpin' Jack Flash," the 1986 comedy starring Goldberg.
"Jumpin' Jack Flash" did fair business, but Marshall's next film, "Big," was a major success, making her the first woman to direct a film that grossed more than $100 million. The 1988 comedy, starring Tom Hanks, is about a 12-year-old boy who wakes up in the body of a 30-year-old New York City man. The film, which earned Hanks an Oscar nomination, grossed $151 million worldwide, or about $320 million accounting for inflation.
The honor meant only so much to the typically self-deprecating Marshall. "They didn't give ME the money," Marshall later joked to The New Yorker.
Marshall reteamed with Hanks for "A League of Their Own," the 1992 comedy about the women's professional baseball league begun during World War II, starring Geena Davis, Madonna and Rosie O'Donnell. That, too, crossed $100 million, making $107.5 million domestically.
More than any other films, "A League of Their Own" and "Big" ensured Marshall's stamp on the late '80s, early '90s. The piano dance scene in FAO Schwartz in "Big" became iconic. Hanks' reprimand from "A League of Their Own" — "There's no crying in baseball!" — remains quoted on baseball diamonds everywhere.
On Tuesday, Marshall's passing was felt across film, television and comedy . "Big" producer James L. Brooks praised her for making "films which celebrated humans" and for her helping hand to young comedians and writers. "To many of us lost ones she was, at the time, the world's greatest den mother."
"She had a heart of gold. Tough as nails," recalled Danny DeVito, who starred in Marshall's 1994 comedy "Renaissance Man." ''She could play round ball with the best of them."
Marshall's early success in a field where few women rose so high made her an inspiration to other aspiring female filmmakers. Ava DuVernay, whose "A Wrinkle in Time" was the first $100 million-budgeted film directed by a woman of color, said Tuesday: "Thank you, Penny Marshall. For the trails you blazed. The laughs you gave. The hearts you warmed."
In between "Big" and "A League of Their Own," Marshall made the Oliver Sacks adaptation "Awakenings," with Robin Williams and Robert De Niro. The medical drama, while not as successful at the box office, became only the second film directed by a woman nominated for best picture.
Carole Penny Marshall was born Oct. 15, 1943, in the Bronx. Her mother, Marjorie Marshall, was a dance teacher, and her father, Anthony, made industrial films. Their marriage was strained. Her mother's caustic wit — a major source of material and of pain in Marshall's memoir — was formative. (One remembered line: "You were a miscarriage, but you were stubborn and held on.")
"Those words are implanted in your soul, unfortunately. It's just the way it was," Marshall once recalled. "You had to learn at a certain age what sarcasm is, you know? When she says it about somebody else, you laughed, but when it was you, you didn't laugh so much."
During college at the University of New Mexico, Marshall met Michael Henry, whom she married briefly for two years and with whom she had a daughter, Tracy. Marshall would later wed the director Rob Reiner, a marriage that lasted from 1971 to 1981. Tracy, who took the name Reiner, became an actress; one of her first roles was a brief appearance in her mother's "Jumpin' Jack Flash." Marshall is also survived by her older sister, Ronny, and three grandchildren.
Marshall's brother Garry, already established as a writer, coaxed her to move out to Los Angeles in 1967. She studied acting while supporting herself as a secretary — a role she would later play on "Happy Days." Her first commercial was for Head & Shoulders opposite a then-unknown Farrah Fawcett.
"I just cannot bring myself to accept that the homely person on the screen is me," Marshall told TV Guide in 1976. "I grew up believing an actress is supposed to be beautiful. After I saw myself in a 'Love American Style' segment, I cried for three days. I've had braces put on my teeth twice, but they did no good."
Marshall never again matched the run of "Big," ''Awakenings" and "A League of Their Own." Her next film, the Army recruit comedy "Renaissance Man," flopped. She directed "The Preacher's Wife" (1996) with Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston. Her last film as director was 2001's "Riding in Cars With Boys," with Drew Barrymore. Marshall also helmed episodes of ABC's "According to Jim" in 2009 and Showtime's "United States of Tara" in 2010 and 2011, and directed the 2010 TV movie "Women Without Men."
Marshall, a courtside regular at Los Angeles Lakers games, left behind a long-in-the-making documentary about former NBA star Dennis Rodman. When the project was announced in 2012, Marshall said Rodman asked her to do it.
"I have a little radar to the insane," explained Marshall. "They seek me out."
Dhaka, Dec 18 (UNB) – Renowned drama and film director Saidul Anam Tutul passed away at a city hospital on Tuesday.
The 68-year-old freedom fighter, who had long been suffering from heart related complications, breathed his last at Labaid Hospital’s Coronary Care Unit in the afternoon, said Saifur Rahman, the hospital’s public relations officer.
Tutul is survived by his wife and two daughters.
He won the National Film Award in the Best Editor category for ‘Surja Dighal Bari’ in 1979. He also edited films such as ‘Ghuddi’, ‘Dahan’, ‘Dipu Number 2’, and ‘Dukhai’ and directed ‘Adhier’ in 2003.
Born and brought up in Dhaka, Tutul was also the first general secretary and lifetime member of Director’s Guild, a television drama directors’ organisation.
His first namaj-e-janaja will be held at the premises of Dhaka University’s central mosque on December 20.
Dhaka, Dec 16 (UNB) – Miss World contest prioritises the beauty of a woman’s inner self over how she looks, said Jannatul Ferdous Oishi, who represented Bangladesh in the competition’s 68th edition.
She had made it to top 30 in the contest held in China’s Sanya. Oishi returned home and took part in a media conference organised by Antar Showbiz at the FDC on Saturday.
“In the Miss World competition, beautiful does not refer to attractive physical appearance alone,” she said.
Antar Showbiz Chairman Shapan Chowdhury said Oishi had brought glory to Bangladesh. “Supporting her will mean supporting Bangladesh,” he said.
Shapan said he believed that Bangladesh would win the Miss World competition within a year or two.
Eighteen-year-old Oishi won the 'Miss World Bangladesh-2018' title this year. She emerged top of Group-6 in the head-to-head challenge of Miss World competition.
Oishi said she could not groom herself properly before the main competition.
“I was hospitalised with dengue fever and could not prepare the way I would have wanted. After going there, I felt I should have prepared more elaborately,” Oishi said.
“In that competition, they (the judges) value the beauty of one’s heart and mind more,” the Miss World Bangladesh said.
Los Angeles, Dec 15 (AP/UNB) — One Academy Award trophy sold for nearly $500,000 and the second for well over $200,000 in a rare auction of Oscars that ended Friday in Los Angeles.
A best-picture Oscar for "Gentleman's Agreement," the 1947 film starring Gregory Peck that took on anti-Semitism, sold for $492,000. A best picture statuette for 1935's "Mutiny on the Bounty" fetched $240,000.
Both were outpaced by an archive of papers on the origin and development of "The Wizard of Oz" that brought in $1.2 million.
Auction house Profiles in History announced the results after four days of bidding on Hollywood memorabilia that brought in more than $8 million in total.
Other items sold include a TIE fighter helmet from the original "Star Wars" that went for $240,000, a Phaser pistol from the original "Star Trek" TV series that fetched $192,000, a hover board Marty McFly rode in "Back to the Future II" that sold for $102,000, and a golden ticket from "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" that brought in $48,000.
The "Mutiny on the Bounty" Oscar price came close to auction-house projections, but the "Gentleman's Agreement" statuette brought in more than twice what was expected, for reasons that are not clear. The buyers of both Oscars and "The Wizard of Oz" document chose to remain anonymous.
Auctions of Oscar statuettes are very uncommon because winners from 1951 onward have had to agree that they or their heirs must offer it back to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for $1 before selling it elsewhere. The academy has said it firmly believes Oscars should be won, not bought.
Neither of the Oscars sold this week approached the record of $1.5 million paid by Michael Jackson to acquire David O. Selznick's "Gone With the Wind" Oscar in 1999.
Los Angeles, Dec 14 (AP/UNB) — Nancy Wilson, the Grammy-winning "song stylist" and torch singer whose polished pop-jazz vocals made her a platinum artist and top concert performer, has died.
Wilson, who retired from touring in 2011, died after a long illness at her home in Pioneertown, a California desert community near Joshua Tree National Park, her manager and publicist Devra Hall Levy told The Associated Press late Thursday night. She was 81.
Influenced by Dinah Washington, Nat "King" Cole and other stars, Wilson covered everything from jazz standards to "Little Green Apples" and in the 1960s alone released eight albums that reached the top 20 on Billboard's pop charts. Sometimes elegant and understated, or quick and conversational and a little naughty, she was best known for such songs as her breakthrough "Guess Who I Saw Today" and the 1964 hit "(You Don't Know) How Glad I Am," which drew upon Broadway, pop and jazz.
She resisted being identified with a single category, especially jazz, and referred to herself as a "song stylist."
"The music that I sing today was the pop music of the 1960s," she told The San Francisco Chronicle in 2010. "I just never considered myself a jazz singer. I do not do runs and — you know. I take a lyric and make it mine. I consider myself an interpreter of the lyric."
Wilson's dozens of albums included a celebrated collaboration with Cannonball Adderley, "Nancy Wilson/Cannonball Adderley," a small group setting which understandably could be called jazz; "Broadway — My Way"; "Lush Life"; and "The Nancy Wilson Show!" a best-selling concert recording. "How Glad I Am" brought her a Grammy in 1965 for best R&B performance, and she later won Grammys for best jazz vocal album in 2005 for the intimate "R.S.V.P (Rare Songs, Very Personal)" and in 2007 for "Turned to Blue," a showcase for the relaxed, confident swing she mastered later in life. The National Endowment for the Arts awarded her a "Jazz Masters Fellowship" in 2004 for lifetime achievement.
Wilson also had a busy career on television, film and radio, her credits including "Hawaii Five-O," ''Police Story," the Robert Townshend spoof "Meteor Man" and years hosting NPR's "Jazz Profiles" series. Active in the civil rights movement, including the Selma march of 1965, she received an NAACP Image Award in 1998.
Wilson was married twice — to drummer Kenny Dennis, whom she divorced in 1970; and to Wiley Burton, who died in 2008. She had three children.
Born in Chillicothe, Ohio, the eldest of six children of an iron foundry worker and a maid, Wilson sang in church as a girl and by age 4 had decided on her profession. She was in high school when she won a talent contest sponsored by a local TV station and was given her own program. After briefly attending Central State College, she toured Ohio with the Rusty Bryant's Carolyn Club Big Band and met such jazz artists as Adderley, who encouraged her to move to New York.
She soon had a regular gig at The Blue Morocco, and got in touch with Adderley's manager, John Levy.
"He set up a session to record a demo," Wilson later observed during an interview for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. "Ray Bryant and I went in and recorded 'Guess Who I Saw Today,' 'Sometimes I'm Happy,' and two other songs. We sent them to Capitol and within five days the phone rang. Within six weeks I had all the things I wanted."
Her first album, "Like in Love!", came out in 1959, and she had her greatest commercial success over the following decade despite contending at times with the latest sounds. Gamely, she covered Beatles songs ("And I Love Her" became "And I Love Him"), Stevie Wonder's "Uptight (Everything's Alright)" and "Son of a Preacher Man," on which she strained to mimic Aretha Franklin's fiery gospel style. She was so outside the contemporary music scene an interviewer once stumped her by asking about Cream, the million-selling rock trio featuring Eric Clapton.
"It took me years to know what that question was about. Remember, I was constantly working or I was traveling to perform. The '60s for me were about work," she told JazzWax in 2010.
In the 1970s and after, she continued to record regularly and perform worldwide, at home in nightclubs, concert halls and open-air settings, singing at jazz festivals from Newport to Tokyo. She officially stopped touring with a show at Ohio University in September 2011, but had been thinking of stepping back for years. When she turned 70, in 2007, she was guest of honor at a Carnegie Hall gala. The show ended with Wilson performing such favorites as "Never, Never Will I Marry," ''I Can't Make You Love Me" and the Gershwin classic "How Long Has This Been Going On?"
"After 55 years of doing what I do professionally, I have a right to ask how long? I'm trying to retire, people," she said with a laugh before leaving the stage to a standing ovation.
In accordance with Wilson's wishes, there will be no funeral service, a family statement said. A celebration of her life will be held most likely in February, the month of her birth.
She is survived by her son, Kacy Dennis; daughters Samantha Burton and Sheryl Burton; sisters Karen Davis and Brenda Vann and five grandchildren.