Los Angeles, Dec 22 (AP/UNB) — As Dr. Seuss neared the end of his life, the children's author told his wife that she would have to look after the Cat in the Hat, the Lorax, the Grinch and all the beloved characters he created.
It was a mission Audrey Geisel embraced for more than a quarter-century. As overseer of Dr. Seuss' prolific and lucrative literary estate, she carefully guarded the whimsical works of the writer and illustrator less known as Theodor Geisel and expanded the Seuss legacy. She promoted a highly profitable multimedia brand, from books and films to theme park rides and the Broadway show "Seussical."
Audrey Geisel, 97, died Wednesday at her home in the La Jolla section of San Diego, Random House Children's Books announced.
Geisel, who founded Dr. Seuss Enterprises, said she took to heart the responsibility her husband left her when he died in 1991.
"You keep a firm control as if they really were your children," Geisel told The Associated Press in 1998. "I don't want the Cat in a bad part of town, so to speak."
But she went far beyond keeping a tight grip on the empire. She broadly expanded it beyond what her husband cared to do while creating his 47 children's stories.
And, oh, the places she went with it.
More than 10 million Dr. Seuss books sell each year and new works are coming out, such as last spring's "Dr. Seuss's First 100 words," according to Random House.
The 2000 live-action film version of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," starring Jim Carrey, was a box-office smash. But Audrey Geisel and critics despised the 2003 live-action adaptation of "The Cat in the Hat" that starred Mike Myers of "Austin Powers" fame.
"I never saw 'Austin Powers,' but I knew 'Yeah, baby!' and I didn't want 'Yeah, baby!' at all," she told the AP in 2004.
Geisel is credited as executive producer of the animated film "The Grinch," which was released last month and tapped Benedict Cumberbatch to voice the title character.
A poll conducted by AP-NORC earlier this month put "The Grinch" just behind "It's a Wonderful Life" of favorite holiday films or television. It didn't specify if it was the Carrey version or the animated 1966 classic produced by Chuck Jones and narrated by Boris Karloff.
The movies have been lucrative with the recent "Grinch" production earning $245 million at the box office, according to Comscore. Animated film versions of "The Lorax" raked in $214 million and "Horton Hears a Who" made $154 million.
While Geisel has kept a tight rein on productions and merchandising, some of those efforts may have departed from Seuss' spirit, said Philip Nel, an English professor at Kansas State University, who wrote "Dr. Seuss: American Icon."
A group of books, for example, that use the Cat in the Hat as a conventional educator stray from the character's rebellious roots, Nel said. Another book titled "Seuss-isms for Success" takes Seuss quotes out of context to apply to business situations.
"There's been some pretty great stuff, too," Nel said. "The animated Horton film was really thoughtfully done and understood the Seuss universe really well."
Geisel was a Chicago native and former nursing student at Indiana University.
She and Theodor Geisel, who was 17 years older, were both married to other people when they began an affair in the 1960s. His first wife, Helen, killed herself.
Audrey Geisel sent the two daughters she had with her first husband to boarding school after the Geisels married in 1968. The couple had no children together — Seuss was not particularly fond of kids, she said.
"He was afraid of children to a degree," Audrey Geisel told AP.
Geisel said she understood the gravity of what she was undertaking when her husband died, but said she was surprised how much work it was to oversee the business and philanthropy of the Dr. Seuss Foundation.
She tooled around tony La Jolla in a Cadillac with a license plate that read: GRINCH. And she showed up at events that celebrated her late husband.
In 2002, Geisel helped unveil bronze sculptures of Seuss and some of his most beloved characters at The Seuss Memorial in his hometown of Springfield, Massachusetts. The works were created by her daughter, Lark Grey Dimond-Cates.
When Audrey Geisel unveiled the sculpture of her late husband seated at his desk, her light blue eyes brimmed with tears as she bent down and kissed it.
Despite any anxiety her husband may have had around children, she wanted kids to crawl on the sturdy works.
"I'd like certain parts of it to get real shiny," she said, "because they have been rubbed so many times by little grubby hands."
In addition to being Seuss' protector and promoter, she also influenced his work.
When Seuss was writing the book that became "The Lorax," he got writer's block and she suggested they take a trip to get unstuck, Nel said. They traveled to Kenya, where workers cutting down acacia trees sparked an idea.
"He thought, 'They can't cut down my Dr. Seuss trees' — which he renamed truffula trees — and invented the Lorax to protect them," Nel said.
New York, Dec 22 (AP/UNB) —The former U.S. president appears on a reworked song by Lin-Manuel Miranda originally from the Broadway hit "Hamilton." Released Friday, "One Last Time (44 Remix)" features Obama reciting a passage from George Washington's farewell address.
The song also features vocals from Tony nominee Christopher Jackson, who played Washington in "Hamilton." The track was produced by Grammy-winning gospel singer BeBe Winans and Tony and Grammy winner Alex Lacamoire.
Miranda performed his song "Alexander Hamilton" at the White House in 2009 when Obama was in office. He went on to write "Hamilton," which hit Broadway in 2015 and became a cultural phenomenon, winning 11 Tonys, a Pulitzer Prize and a Kennedy Center Honor.
Miranda returned to the White House to perform "One Last Time" in 2017 in a farewell to Obama.
Dhaka, Dec 20 (UNB) - A get-together program ‘Poetry Evening on Hafez Shirazi’ will be held on Friday at Iran Cultural Centre in the city.
Iran Cultural Centre in Dhaka will arrange the programme on occasion of the ‘Shab-e-Yalda’, a traditional night of Iran (The longest night of the year).
Ambassador of Iran in Bangladesh Mohammad Reza Nafar and Poet Asad Chowdhury will be present as special guests.
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.