||The Dead Thread
Joined: Mar 24, 2002
From: Ocean Beach, San Francisco
|Posted: 2005-10-19 9:09 pm  Permalink|
BILL KING: 1927-2005
Erudite voice of Bay Area sports
Bill King, who described in his distinctive rapid-fire style some of the greatest moments in Bay Area sports history and connected with generations of local sports fans, has died.
King, 78, died in San Leandro Hospital early Tuesday morning of a pulmonary embolism. He underwent surgery on Friday to repair his artificial hip but developed a blood clot.
He was the radio voice of the pro basketball Warriors from their 1962 arrival in the Bay Area through 1983, the pro football Raiders from 1966 through 1992 and the baseball A's from 1981 through this past season. Radio station KNBR, which was King's professional home for a large part of his career, devoted its entire programming Tuesday afternoon to replaying memorable play-by-play calls and interviewing colleagues.
King was almost as renowned for his handlebar mustache and wide-ranging interests as he was for the trademark "Holy Toledo'' exclamation he used to punctuate exciting plays.
"We've lost a unique person, no doubt about that,'' said former broadcaster Lon Simmons, who shared the A's booth with King from 1981 through '95.
King was the audio link to the Warriors during their championship season of 1974-75. His calls of great Raiders moments from their heyday of the 1970s are still often replayed. And he was behind the microphone during the A's run of three straight World Series appearances, 1988-90.
"He was the essence of what a sportscaster should be,'' said Hank Greenwald, who was King's broadcast partner on the Warriors before Greenwald became the voice of the Giants in 1979. "He had the ability to capture what was happening and enable listeners to see it as vividly as if they were in the arena themselves.''
"His name should be on the wall of the (Oakland) Coliseum with (Rollie) Fingers and (Catfish) Hunter and (Dennis) Eckersley and the rest,'' said Ken Korach, King's A's broadcast partner the past 10 years. "He's meant more to the organization than anyone. He touched so many lives -- he was like a member of the family for millions of people.
"I thought he was the greatest sportscaster this country every produced.''
Former Warriors owner Franklin Mieuli, who hired King to announce for the team when it moved to San Francisco from Philadelphia, said, "He had incredible eye-to-brain-to-mouth coordination. He was able to see everything so quickly and tell you about it. He was just phenomenal.''
Even the players appreciated that.
"I cannot believe that there ever was a better radio basketball play-by-play man than Bill King,'' said former Warriors forward Rick Barry, who hosts a talk show on KNBR. "Nobody, nobody had the vocabulary. ... It was like poetry almost. ... You could visualize with Bill. He created television in your mind.''
Former A's President Sandy Alderson said, "He was probably the best I've ever heard at describing a sporting event, ever, on the radio. He was so adept at all three sports. There was so much information packed into his description. And it wasn't about him, it was about the game. He had a tremendous respect for the responsibility he had.''
In an interview with The Chronicle in 2003, King was asked what was the greatest satisfaction he got from his job.
He replied: "There's no greater satisfaction than at a critical moment ... you have the right words, and you see it right, and you call it right, and that's when you walk out of the booth feeling, Wow, it was a great day to be here."
A native of Bloomington, Ill., King began his sportscasting career doing minor-league baseball and high school sports in Pekin, Ill. He went on to call Bradley University (Peoria, Ill.,) basketball before moving to the Bay Area in 1958. His early work included filling in on Giants broadcasts when Simmons was doing 49ers games.
"He was broadcasting the Giants from Candlestick on the final day of 1962 when they beat Houston and clinched the tie for the pennant,'' Simmons said.
King also broadcast Cal football and basketball during that period, as well as some games for the San Francisco Seals of the minor league Western Hockey League.
He made his big splash with the Warriors, becoming famous for keeping up with the action and firing barbs at the referees.
"He used to really get on the refs,'' Mieuli said. "The league couldn't do anything to him, but they fined the team. I would get the bill, but I believed in free speech.''
King's criticism wasn't one-sided.
"He wasn't a homer,'' said former Warriors coach and player Al Attles. "He was very passionate about his job, but he was fair and objective. If you did something wrong, he wasn't afraid to say so.''
He added the Raiders to his job list in 1966.
"Bill was a great friend, a brilliant performer and an exceptional man," Raiders owner Al Davis said in a statement. "I say this with great admiration and love that Bill becomes one of the people that I give the cloak of immortality. Time never stops for the great ones."
"Everybody talks about his great voice and his ability to describe and that was true,'' said Scotty Stirling, King's onetime broadcast partner on the Raiders and later general manager of the Warriors. "But what I remember most is his preparation. He would study everything about an opponent and learned enough football so he could see a team line up and know where the play was going to go.''
Broadcaster John Madden, who was the Raiders coach during much of King's time there, agreed. "He didn't just show up in shorts the day of the game and do the broadcast,'' Madden said. "He would come to training camp, get to know the players and the coaches. He was thorough.''
When the Walter Haas family bought the A's in 1981, one of the first things it did was to hire King and Simmons to create one of the highest-profile broadcast teams in professional sports.
"The one thing I regret is that he passed before he got a chance to get into the baseball Hall of Fame,'' said Simmons, who had that honor, the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasters, in 2004.
For three years, King was the lead announcer for the A's, Raiders and Warriors. "I don't see how anybody could do that, but he did,'' Greenwald said. "And his work didn't suffer. Broadcasting was his passion. What he really needed was to be at a microphone.''
King finally gave up the Warriors following the 1982-83 season and the Raiders nine years later. He stayed with the A's for 25 years. Although he was unable to travel for much of the 2005 season after injuring himself in a fall during spring training, King worked the entire home schedule that concluded last month. His final broadcast was from Seattle on Oct. 2.
His beard and carefully curled-up mustache gave him a unique look in the traditionally clean- shaven world of broadcasting. And his interests included opera, ballet, painting and Russian history and literature.
"He loved the ballet more than he loved sports,'' Stirling said. "He would always make a point to see it when we were in New York or Chicago and certainly at home in San Francisco.''
And King didn't merely dabble. "Everything he did, he really got into it,'' Simmons said. "He taught himself how to paint, and a lot of what he did was pretty good. ... And for me, eating is something you do three times a day because you're hungry. For Bill, dining was an adventure. He loved ethnic foods and wines. He studied that, too.''
Madden said that King was a born traveling companion. "On road trips I would talk with him to get my mind off football, and he could talk about anything,'' Madden said. "He was as well-versed a person as I've ever been around.''
King's wife Nancy Stephens died last year. He is survived by his stepdaughter Kathleen Lowenthal and her husband Barry of Woodacre, stepson John Stephens of Sausalito and grandchildren Julia and John Lowenthal. Memorial services are pending.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the Smuin Ballet, 300 Brannan Street, Suite 407, San Francisco, CA 94107 or the Marin Agricultural Land Trust, P.O. Box 809, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956.
Bill King, 1927-2005
Hometown: Bloomington, Ill.
Local residence: Sausalito
Play-by-play: San Francisco/Golden State Warriors, 1962-83.
Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders, 1966-92.
Oakland A's, 1981-2005.
Also: King began his career on Guam with Armed Forces Radio, and started broadcasting sports in the late '40s in Pekin, Ill., calling minor-league baseball and high school football and basketball. He came to the Bay Area in 1958 and was hired by KSFO to work on Giants broadcasts. He also called Cal football and basketball games, and did color commentary for the San Francisco Seals hockey team.
Source: Oakland Athletics, Chronicle staff
'Holy Toledo': The words of Bill King
Here is Bill King's description of the "Holy Roller" play when Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler fumbled the ball forward, and ultimately Dave Casper grabbed it in the end zone for a game-winning TD at San Diego on Sept. 10, 1978:
"The ball, flipped forward, is loose. A wild scramble. Two seconds on the clock. Casper grabbing the ball. It is ruled a fumble. Casper has recovered in the end zone. The Oakland Raiders have scored on the most zany, unbelievable, absolutely impossible dream of a play. Madden is on the field. He wants to know if it's real. They said yes, get your big butt out of here. He does. There's nothing real in the world anymore. The Raiders have won the football game.''
This is King's call of George Blanda's game-winning field goal for the Raiders against Cleveland on Nov. 8, 1970, during Blanda's stretch of heroics at the age of 43:
"Here it is. Snapped, spotted. It's kicked. That's got a chance. That is ... good. It's good. Holy Toledo, the place has gone wild. I don't believe it. I don't believe it. There are three seconds left in the game. There are three seconds left in the game. Well, if you can hear me, this place has gone wild. The Oakland Raiders 23, the Cleveland Browns 20. George Blanda has just been elected king of the world.''
King was at his best during a game's most dramatic moments.
Here is his call of Scott Hatteberg's pinch-hit homer that gave the A's a 12-11 victory over Kansas City on Sept. 4, 2002. It capped Oakland's American League-record 20-game win streak:
"Now the pitch. Swung on, there's a high drive, hit way back, right-center field. That one is gone, and it's 20 consecutive victories for the Oakland Athletics on an unbelievable night when they lost an 11-0 lead and now they win it.''
Here is his call of Miguel Tejada's game-tying homer at Seattle on Sept. 26, 2002. The A's would win in 10 innings, clinching the AL West title:
"Sasaki ready and pours it in. Tejada swings and lifts it high in the air to right, down toward the corner. Ichiro going back, and that ball is gone. A home run for Miguel Tejada, his 200th hit of the season, and the A's have tied the game against Sasaki. Holy Toledo!''
King's rapid-fire delivery in basketball was unmatched. The following is from the 1975 Western Conference finals, when the Warriors -- with Charles Johnson (CJ) and Rick Barry -- overcame Chicago en route to the NBA title:
"Here's CJ, top of the key. Works the dribble to the left. Backs into the left corner. Causes a switch. Over to Barry. Barry, guarded by Van Lier, the smaller man. Barry, dribbling, to the baseline. 13-footer. He had a good look. Good. 94-90. Barry now is on a runaway tear.''
Courtesy of Bruce Macgowan, Jeff Swisher and KNBR archives (Raiders, Warriors) and Robert Buan (A's).
Chronicle staff writers Steve Kroner and Susan Slusser contributed to this report.
Page A - 1
Joined: Aug 03, 2003
From: San Jose, CA
|Posted: 2005-10-21 2:25 pm  Permalink|
'Little Rascals' actor Gordon Lee dies
MINNEAPOLIS - Gordon Lee, the chubby child actor who played Spanky McFarland's little brother Porky in the "Little Rascals" comedies, has died. He was 71.
Lee died Sunday in a Minneapolis nursing home after battling lung and brain cancer, said Janice McClain, his partner of 13 years.
Lee played one of the younger members in the "Our Gang" shorts in the 1930s, appearing in more than 40 of them from 1935 to 1939. The comedies, produced by Hal Roach, became known as "The Little Rascals" when shown on TV in the 1950s.
Among the films Lee appeared in were "Bored of Education," which won the Oscar for best one-reel short subject in 1937; "Our Gang Follies of 1936"; "The Awful Tooth"; and "Roamin' Holiday."
In a 1998 interview with the Star Tribune of Minneapolis, the Texas-born Lee said he was 2 years old when his mother sent his picture to studio executives who were seeking an actor to play McFarland's brother.
"We were on the next train to L.A. and I had a contract within a few days," Lee said. "Fat kid got lucky."
"My memories are not about making movies. We played with our toys and the adults played with theirs (the cameras)," he said.
He and Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas teamed up against older boys Spanky and Alfalfa in many of the comedies. The Porky character is credited with originating the catchphrase "otay."
In the interview, Lee recalled a warm friendship with his black costar when they were kids and praised their interracial relationship on screen, saying, "Buckwheat played an absolute equal part in the Gang."
Lee told friends his career ended when a growth spurt made him thinner. "They wanted Porky to be a chunky fellow, so they looked for someone else," McClain said.
He was born Eugene Lee in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1933. His adoptive parents began calling him Gordon after Gordon Douglas, who directed many of the films Lee appeared in. He kept the first name as an adult.
Lee was a schoolteacher, living in Colorado for a time. He moved to Minnesota after he retired to be closer to his only son, Douglas, said a friend, Tracy Tolzmann. In recent years, Lee sold autographed photos of himself as Porky, Tolzmann and McClain said.
"Before that he felt like he was forgotten," McClain said. "It really made him feel good about himself."
Joined: Apr 09, 2003
From: Ontario, Canada
|Posted: 2005-10-21 2:48 pm  Permalink|
Woah, that is so strange. I watched an old Little Rascals episode last night, a very early one that had Porky in it.
It was included in a documentary about pitbulls.("Off the Chain is a horrifying glimpse into the world where the special relationship between man and dog has been perverted.")
Great Minds Drink Alike
Joined: Jun 24, 2004
|Posted: 2005-10-26 11:44 am  Permalink|
"Rule Update: No duplicate profiles anymore"
On 2005-10-26 10:32, Krustiki wrote:
01/01/2005 to 10/13/2005
Joined: Dec 13, 2002
From: New York City
|Posted: 2005-10-26 3:15 pm  Permalink|
Civil Rights Icon Rosa Parks Dies (1913-2005)
NPR.org, October 25, 2005 ·
Rosa Parks, the woman known as the "mother of the civil rights movement," has died. Parks turned the course of American history by refusing in 1955 to give up her seat on a bus for a white man.
In 1999, when former President Bill Clinton presented Parks with the Congressional Gold Medal, he said her short bus ride went a long way for civil rights.
Born Rosa Louise McCauley on Feb. 4, 1913, she married Raymond Parks in 1932. By the early 1950s, Rosa Parks and her now deceased husband were long-time activists in Montgomery Alabama's chapter of the NAACP.
Parks worked as a seamstress at a local department store, and on her way home from work one day, she engaged in a simple gesture of defiance that galvanized the civil rights movement.
It was nearly 50 years ago, Dec. 1, 1955, when Parks challenged the South's Jim Crow laws -- and Montgomery's segregated bus seating policy -- by refusing to get up and give her seat to a white passenger.
When the police officer boarded the bus, Parks, who was 42, had one question for him: "I said, 'Why do you push us around?' He said, 'I do not know, but the law is the law and you are under arrest.' "
Parks' grass roots activism had prepared her for this moment. She had attended a session the summer before at the Highlander Folk Center, the educational center for workers' rights and racial equality in Tennessee. Several years earlier she had been thrown off a bus by the same bus driver.
There were other black women in Montgomery who were arrested in 1955 for violating the segregated busing policy. But this time, the black community fought back in force. The NAACP had been looking for a test case to challenge segregated busing and Parks agreed to let the group take her case.
Parks lost her job and had trouble finding work in Alabama after her public stance. She and her husband moved to Detroit. For many years she worked as an aide to Congressman John Conyers, and she remained a committed activist. In the 1980s, she worked in the anti-apartheid movement and also opened a career counseling center for black youth in Detroit.
She received numerous awards and in 1999, President Clinton presented her with the nation's highest civilian honor, a Congressional Gold Medal. "We must never ever, when this ceremony is over, forget about the power of ordinary people to stand in the fire for the cause of human dignity," Clinton said.
Parks died Monday night in her Detroit home of natural causes. Her attorney said close friends were by her side.
Joined: Dec 13, 2002
From: New York City
|Posted: 2005-10-26 3:19 pm  Permalink|
Voice of Jolly Green Giant dies at 80
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - Elmer "Len" Dresslar Jr., who extolled vegetables to generations of TV watchers as the booming voice of the Jolly Green Giant, has died. He was 80.
Dresslar died Oct. 16 of cancer, according to daughter Teri Bennett.
Dresslar was an entertainer and singer for nearly six decades. But his voice rang through millions of households when he sang the simple refrain, "Ho, Ho, Ho," in an ad jingle for Green Giant foods.
"His was the most consistent and most frequent voice of the Jolly Green Giant over the years, the one consumers are going to recognize," said Tara Johnson, a spokeswoman for General Mills, which owns Green Giant Co.
Dresslar, a Kansas native, moved to Chicago with his wife in the early 1950s to study voice after touring with a production of "South Pacific." By the 1960s, the Navy veteran had carved out a career singing in clubs, on television and in advertising jingles.
He recorded 15 albums with The Singers Unlimited jazz group and appeared on the CBS television show "In Town Tonight" from 1955 to 1960. He and his wife, Dorothy, retired to Palm Springs in 1991.
Ad jingles were the most consistent part of his career, and he landed roles for Rice Krispies cereal, Marlboro cigarettes, Amoco oil and Dinty Moore canned beef stew.
He periodically re-recorded the "Ho, Ho, Ho" for Jolly Green Giant commercials, most recently about 10 years ago.
Bennett said her father auditioned for the Green Giant job without any idea his baritone would become so recognizable.
"He never got tired of it," she said. "If nothing else, it put my sister and I through college."
Joined: Mar 24, 2002
From: Ocean Beach, San Francisco
|Posted: 2005-10-28 12:58 am  Permalink|
from the New York Times
Coffins and Buried Remains Set Adrift by Hurricanes Create a Grisly Puzzle
BATON ROUGE, La., Oct. 24 - The living were not the only ones uprooted by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The force of the storms literally raised the dead from their resting places in peaceful parish cemeteries, sending nearly a thousand coffins and vaults floating across the Gulf Coast and creating a macabre puzzle for Louisiana coroners and morticians. Storm surges as high as 20 feet transformed two-ton concrete vaults, tombs and coffins into virtual ships that traveled for miles across parish lines, landing in front yards, fields and swamps. One barnacle-encrusted vault found underwater in a marsh is thought to have been a victim of Hurricane Audrey in 1957.
A coffin showed up on the lawn of Dr. Bryan Bertucci, the coroner of St. Bernard Parish. And later, a parish resident informed Dr. Bertucci that he found the remains of his grandmother, still wearing her pink gown, out of her grave in a local cemetery.
"Coffins were torn out of mausoleums like a child's blocks," Dr. Louis Cataldie, the state emergency medical director, said. "There are a lot. It is very disturbing to a lot of families who want their loved one. It is very disturbing."
Many of the coffins lack identification, so the task of learning the identity of the remains and returning them to their cemeteries is falling on the shoulders of medical examiners and coroners around the state, already overburdened with the victims of the most recent storms. An official said 137 disinterred remains, 80 of which were in their coffins, had been taken to the same temporary morgue that the state set up for Hurricane Katrina victims, while parish coroners would handle others.
Some coffins built in the 1960's and later contain burial scrolls with the names of the dead screwed into the exterior. In other cases, workers can trace the coffins using manufacturer's serial numbers and hand-drawn cemetery maps. Some family members have identified relatives through rosaries, scars, pacemakers or X-ray evidence of fractures. If embalming is intact, a visual identification can sometimes be made or DNA matching can be helpful.
"Cemeteries are very important to people in the South," Dr. Cataldie said. "We take care of our dead. In those cemeteries they find their memories and their childhoods. It's important to give them their mommies, daddies and grandparents back."
Federal officials from the Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team, known as Dmort, are assisting local officials in finding and identifying the remains, using marsh buggies, airboats and helicopters. New coffins are found every day, sometimes in trees.
Exposed skeletal remains have been salvaged from between cracked statues of Jesus and Mary. Like the remnants of classical antiquity, marble figures with broken wings rest on wasted cemetery lawns, lying among toppled headstones, some with inscriptions like "Hunting in Heaven." Empty graves look like spaces between teeth. A mausoleum appears like a desk emptied of its drawers.
"Many are in extremely remote and inaccessible areas," Don Kelly, a spokesman for Dmort, said. "They have been carried way downrange into muck and swamp and forest."
Family members fear that relatives, buried years ago, are now hidden in unknown fields, their bodies and stories lost.
"The first place they came was their cemeteries," said Zeb Johnson, an investigator for the Calcasieu Parish coroner in far southwestern Louisiana and the owner of Johnson Funeral Home in Lake Charles, who receives constant phone calls. "This may go on for years."
A few miles away in the town of Creole, the Sacred Heart Cemetery is full of disturbed graves.
"You just can't imagine that water can be that destructive," said Eloucia S. Richard, 78, a retired teacher who came to the cemetery to check on the grave of her husband, Dalton J. Richard, which was intact.
"I knew everybody," said Ms. Richard, crying when she saw dead friends missing. "I knew where everybody lived."
Two missing from the mausoleum were her students, and she thought that there might be more.
"I know them very well, playing football," she recalled. "Such a horrible thing. I knew these people. Where did they go?"
In St. Bernard Parish, just east of New Orleans, Merrick Cemetery is one of many devastated graveyards. Situated in a historically black section of Violet, it is full of cinderblock tombs built by neighborhood residents, who often painted them on the birthdays of the dead.
Larry M. Aisola, 32, a lawyer, would like to know where his dead grandfather and mother are, as well as his grandmother, buried days before Hurricane Katrina hit.
"They've got to go back," Mr. Aisola said. "The problem is trying to figure out how to put them back together."
Joined: Jan 21, 2004
|Posted: 2005-11-14 12:06 pm  Permalink|
WWE is deeply saddened by the news that Eddie Guerrero has passed away. He was found dead Sunday morning in his hotel room in Minneapolis. Eddie is survived by his wife Vickie and daughters Shaul, 14, Sherilyn, 9, and Kaylie Marie, 3.
The cause of death is unknown at this time. An autopsy will be performed in Minneapolis on Monday, and Eddie's body will then be flown to Arizona.
Grand Member (first year)
Joined: Mar 25, 2002
From: Tradewinds Apartments, Alameda, CA
|Posted: 2005-11-20 3:00 pm  Permalink|
Link Wray R.I.P.
As reported yesterday:
Guitarist Link Wray, considered one of the the pioneers of US Rock n Roll in the 1950's, and a cult figure, passed away at 76 years of age, in Copenhagen, where he had lived the past two decades, according to todays newspaper "Politiken."
Joined: Feb 16, 2004
From: San Diego, CA
|Posted: 2005-11-23 3:27 pm  Permalink|
Ironic... sad, but ironic
Creator of Stove Top Stuffing Dies
By RYAN LENZ, Associated Press Writer Wed Nov 23, 2:23 PM ET
EVANSVILLE, Ind. - Ruth M. Siems, a home economist who helped create Stove Top stuffing, a Thanksgiving favorite that will be on dinner tables across the country this year, has died at 74.
Siems, who worked for General Foods for more than 30 years, died Nov. 13 in Newburgh, Ind., after suffering a heart attack in her home.
Siems helped develop Stove Top in 1971 while working at General Foods' technical center in White Plains, N.Y. She was listed first among four inventors when the patent was awarded in 1975 for the quick and easy way of making stuffing without actually stuffing a turkey.
Kraft Foods, which now owns the Stove Top brand, sells about 60 million boxes each year around Thanksgiving. The five-minute stuffing comes in several flavors, including turkey, chicken and beef.
As a member of the research and development staff for General Foods, Siems helped find the ideal bread crumb size for making instant stuffing with the same texture as the real thing, said her brother, David Siems.
Siems grew up in Evansville and graduated from Purdue University in 1953 with a home economics degree. She later took a job at a General Foods plant in Indiana, researching flour and angel food cake mixes.
She retired in 1985 and settled in a historic house in Newburgh, near Evansville.
Joined: Apr 01, 2002
From: 1217 mi. North of the Mai Kai
|Posted: 2005-11-25 10:18 am  Permalink|
Actor Pat Morita Dies at 73
Nov 25, 12:40 PM (ET)
By TIM MOLLOY
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Actor Pat Morita, whose portrayal of the wise and dry-witted Mr. Miyagi in "The Karate Kid" earned him an Oscar nomination, has died. He was 73.
Morita died Thursday at his home in Las Vegas of natural causes, said his wife of 12 years, Evelyn. She said in a statement that her husband, who first rose to fame with a role on "Happy Days," had "dedicated his entire life to acting and comedy."
In 1984, he appeared in the role that would define his career and spawn countless affectionate imitations. As Kesuke Miyagi, the mentor to Ralph Macchio's "Daniel-san," he taught karate while trying to catch flies with chopsticks and offering such advice as "wax on, wax off" to guide Daniel through chores to improve his skills.
Morita said in a 1986 interview with The Associated Press he was billed as Noriyuki "Pat" Morita in the film because producer Jerry Weintraub wanted him to sound more ethnic. He said he used the billing because it was "the only name my parents gave me."
He lost the 1984 best supporting actor award to Haing S. Ngor, who appeared in "The Killing Fields."
For years, Morita played small and sometimes demeaning roles in such films as "Thoroughly Modern Millie" and TV series such as "The Odd Couple" and "Green Acres." His first breakthrough came with "Happy Days," and he followed with his own brief series, "Mr. T and Tina."
"The Karate Kid," led to three sequels, the last of which, 1994's "The Next Karate Kid," paired him with a young Hilary Swank.
Morita was prolific outside of the "Karate Kid" series as well, appearing in "Honeymoon in Vegas,""Spy Hard,""Even Cowgirls Get the Blues" and "The Center of the World." He also provided the voice for a character in the Disney movie "Mulan" in 1998.
Born in northern California on June 28, 1932, the son of migrant fruit pickers, Morita spent most of his early years in the hospital with spinal tuberculosis. He later recovered only to be sent to a Japanese-American internment camp in Arizona during World War II.
"One day I was an invalid," he recalled in a 1989 AP interview. "The next day I was public enemy No. 1 being escorted to an internment camp by an FBI agent wearing a piece."
After the war, Morita's family tried to repair their finances by operating a Sacramento restaurant. It was there that Morita first tried his comedy on patrons.
Because prospects for a Japanese-American standup comic seemed poor, Morita found steady work in computers at Aerojet General. But at age 30 he entered show business full time.
"Only in America could you get away with the kind of comedy I did," he commented. "If I tried it in Japan before the war, it would have been considered blasphemy, and I would have ended in leg irons. "
Morita was to be buried at Palm Green Valley Mortuary and Cemetery.
He is survived by his wife and three daughters from a previous marriage.
Please judge me by my mugs...
they are an extension of my soul, a mirror of my DNA,
my worth as an individual
Joined: Mar 24, 2002
From: Ocean Beach, San Francisco
|Posted: 2005-11-25 6:36 pm  Permalink|
Soccer Great George Best Dies at 59
- By ROBERT MILLWARD, AP Soccer Writer
Friday, November 25, 2005
(11-25) 09:32 PST LONDON, United Kingdom (AP) --
George Best, one of the most dazzling players in soccer history who also reveled in a hard-drinking, playboy lifestyle, died Friday after decades of alcohol abuse. He was 59.
Best, who starred in the 1960s and 1970s for Manchester United and Northern Ireland, had a liver transplant three years ago and had been hospitalized since Oct. 1 because of a reaction to medication to control his alcoholism.
He appeared close to death last month when doctors discovered internal bleeding. He had been readmitted to intensive care a week ago with a lung infection and was put on life support. His condition deteriorated sharply Thursday.
"After a long and very valiant fight, Mr. George Best died this afternoon in the intensive care unit at Cromwell Hospital," the hospital said in a statement.
Prime Minister Tony Blair said Best was "probably the most naturally gifted footballer of his generation."
England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson added: "His ability was an inspiration to everyone who loves football."
The Premier League said there will be a minute's silence before each game this weekend. Manchester United players will wear black armbands.
Best was told never to drink again after his liver transplant, but he went back to his old ways and was regularly seen at pubs.
"Unfortunately there is no solution to alcohol, you can't make it go away," Best wrote in a recent update to his second autobiography "Blessed.""Drink is the only opponent I've been unable to beat."
Denis Law, a former Manchester United teammate, was at Best's bedside all night.
"From 1964 to 1969, he was the best player in the country," Law said. "It's sad as hell, but I don't think we saw the best of him. I think he went on the blink at a time when he could have got even better."
Best humiliated defenders and frustrated coaches during his wayward career. He scored 180 goals in 465 appearances for Manchester United, helping the team win the 1968 European Cup. He also played in the North American Soccer League, scoring 54 goals in 139 games for the Los Angeles Aztecs, Fort Lauderdale Strikers and San Jose Earthquakes.
"Everyone has their own opinion about football and their favorite players," Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson said. "But in terms of British players, you would find it difficult to think of anyone better."
Best was only 17 when he began baffling defenders with his extraordinary dribbling, thrilling fans with spectacular goals for Manchester United.
Slightly built but with amazing balance and devastating speed, Best would run at defenders and leave them tackling thin air. Sometimes he would embarrass them further by going back to beat them again.
Best made 37 international appearances for Northern Ireland. But the team had few other stars capable of making an impact in the World Cup or European Championship, and Best played in neither competition.
In United's 5-1 win at Benfica's Stadium of Light in Portugal in 1966, he scored twice in the first 12 minutes, and the shaggy-haired star with screaming fans became known as the fifth Beatle. He was voted European Player of the Year after the club's Champions Cup triumph over the same Portuguese club at Wembley in 1968.
"Pele called me the greatest footballer in the world," Best once said. "That is the ultimate salute to my life."
Best retired at 27 in 1972 to concentrate on business ventures, which included nightclubs and clothing boutiques. He came out of retirement three years later, considerably overweight.
Best slimmed down and went to the United States, where he played for the Aztecs of the now-defunct NASL. After agreeing to join Fulham in 1976, he walked out on the second-division English club. FIFA imposed a worldwide ban on Best because he broke his contract. That ruled out a move to Fort Lauderdale, although he later played for the team.
After the ban was lifted, Best had a successful spell with San Jose. He then moved to the Scottish club Hibernian but was fired when he failed to show for two games because of drinking binges.
In 1984, he served two months in jail for drunken driving. In 2004, he was banned from driving for 20 months after another conviction. In 2000, Best collapsed from serious liver damage. He was hospitalized with pneumonia in 2001. Two months later, anti-alcohol pellets were implanted in his stomach.
Best had a reputation as someone who could not be relied on to keep appointments either as a player, TV soccer analyst or after-dinner speaker. His private life was splashed across the British tabloids, and he seemed to enjoy the attention.
"I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars," he once said. "The rest I just squandered."
At times, he had a comic's perfect delivery.
"I used to go missing a lot," he said. "Miss Canada, Miss United Kingdom, Miss World."
In 1983, his playing career over, Best was hit over the head with a beer glass in a London pub hours after he appeared in bankruptcy court for failing to pay back taxes. Just before Christmas the following year, Best was jailed for three months for drunken driving, assaulting a policeman and jumping bail.
In 1990, Best appeared wildly drunk on a live TV show, uttering expletives and embarrassing the host. But, with his second wife, Alex Pursey, standing by, he contained his drinking enough to regularly appear on an afternoon soccer program, giving his analysis.
The drinking caught up with him again when he was rushed to a London hospital. Doctors told him even one more glass of wine could kill him. In the hospital for a month, Best promised his wife he wouldn't drink again. It was one more promise he couldn't keep.
In 2004, Alex Best was granted a divorce after nine years of marriage, citing her husband's adultery. Best had a son, Calum, from a four-year marriage to his first wife, Angie.
Best will be buried next to his mother, Ann, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, said his agent, Phil Hughes. No date has been set.
Joined: Mar 24, 2002
From: Ocean Beach, San Francisco
|Posted: 2005-12-01 11:28 pm  Permalink|
Fan Says He Dumped Ashes on Eagles' Field
A man arrested for running onto the field during the Philadelphia Eagles' game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday told police he was spreading his late mother's ashes.
Christopher Noteboom, of Tempe, Ariz., ran onto the field holding a plastic bag, leaving a cloud of fine powder behind.
As he reached the 30-yard line, he dropped to his knees, made the sign of the cross and lay down on his stomach. Security personnel reached him moments later and he offered no resistance as he was escorted from the field.
The 33-year-old Noteboom, a native of Doylestown, said his mother died of emphysema in January 2005, shortly before the Eagles' Super Bowl appearance.
"She never cared for any other team except the Eagles," Noteboom told WPVI-TV after he was released from custody Monday. "I know that the last handful of ashes I had are laying on the field, and will never be taken away. She'll always be part of Lincoln Financial Field and of the Eagles."
Noteboom, a bar owner in Arizona, was charged with defiant trespass. He has a hearing scheduled for Dec. 27.
"It's bizarre, but we have a zero tolerance for people who run on the field," Police Inspector William Colarulo said. "We especially have a zero tolerance for people who run onto the field and dump an unknown substance in a stadium full of people."
Eagles spokeswoman Bonnie Grant said the team has declined requests to spread ashes on the field.
Joined: Mar 24, 2002
From: Ocean Beach, San Francisco
|Posted: 2005-12-01 11:31 pm  Permalink|
Children's book creator Stan Berenstain dies
By Jonathan Stempel
Tue Nov 29, 4:32 PM ET
Stan Berenstain, who with his wife created the popular Berenstain Bears children's book series, has died in Pennsylvania, his published said on Tuesday. He was 82.
Berenstain died on Saturday of complications from cancer, according to publisher HarperCollins Children's Books.
Stan Berenstain and his wife Jan co-wrote and illustrated more than 200 Berenstain Bears titles that helped two generations of children learn to read.
Books have included "The Berenstain Bears and the Trouble with Grownups," "The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food" and "The Berenstain Bears Forget Their Manners."
The patriarch, Papa Bear, is a carpenter who considers himself an expert in almost everything, "often wrong but never in doubt." Mama Bear is a champion quilt-maker and a fan of honey-cured salmon.
The Bears have three children, Brother Bear, Sister Bear and Honey Bear, the last of whom was introduced in 2000 in "The Berenstain Bears and Baby Makes Five."
Stan Berenstain was born in Philadelphia on September 29, 1923. He was trained in the fine arts at the city's Museum School, now the University of the Arts, where he met his future wife in 1941.
Stan became interested in cartooning during World War II, when he spent more than three years in the U.S. Army, and sold some cartoons to the Saturday Review of Literature.
He married Jan, who was also passionate about cartooning, soon after leaving the military. Before long, they were contributing to magazines such as Collier's and The Saturday Evening Post.
After publishing several books, starting with "The Berenstains' Baby Book," the Berenstains submitted a book to Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, who had become an editor for Random House's Beginner Books.
That 1962 book, "The Big Honey Hunt," introduced the Bear family, "who lived down a sunny dirt road deep in Bear Country." Geisel would edit several Bears books.
A show on the U.S. PBS public TV network would follow. The Berenstains have also written an autobiography and created two children's musicals.
Stan Berenstain is survived by his wife, sons Leo and Michael, a sister and four grandchildren. Jan and Michael Berenstain will continue the children's book series, according to HarperCollins. Funeral services are expected to be private.
Joined: Aug 30, 2005
From: Wilson, North Carolina
|Posted: 2005-12-02 08:59 am  Permalink|
How sad...my daughter loved the Berenstain Bears when she was a tot.