Categotry Archives: Hollywood

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James Dougherty

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Categories: Hollywood, Law, Writers/Editors

James Edward Dougherty, a retired Los Angeles police detective who was once married to Marilyn Monroe, died on Aug. 15 from complications of pneumonia. He was 84.
Norma Jeane Baker was only 16 years old when she wed Dougherty, 21, in 1942. At the time, her only goals in life were to become a homemaker and mother. During World War II, Dougherty joined the Merchant Marines and was sent to the South Pacific. While he was overseas, however, Baker began rethinking her future plans.
Although her husband didn’t approve, Baker decided to pursue a career in acting and modeling, and change her name to Marilyn Monroe. When 20th Century Fox offered her a film contract, it included a stipulation that she be a single woman, so Monroe decided to ask for a separation. Dougherty was on a ship in the Yangtze River getting ready to go into Shanghai when he was served with divorce papers in 1946. He contested the separation, at first, but eventually gave in to her demands.
Upon his permanent return to the states, Dougherty worked as an electrical contractor and ran a gas station in southern California. Several police officers who were regular customers encouraged him to consider a career in law enforcement. Dougherty easily passed the entrance exam, completed his academy training and went to work for the Los Angeles Police Department. As a patrolman, he once handled crowd control for the premiere of his ex-wife’s film, “The Asphalt Jungle.” Dougherty later worked his way up the ranks, serving as a detective and an instructor for the department’s first Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team.
After 25 years on the force, Dougherty retired in 1974. He spent the remainder of his life residing in Arizona and Maine. Dougherty was elected to a county commission in Maine, and taught at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy. In 1986, he lost a congressional bid to Republican Rep. Albert G. Stevens.
For years, Dougherty refused to talk about his marriage to the legendary sex symbol. But he broke his silence in 1976 with the publication of the book, “The Secret Happiness of Marilyn Monroe.” Its sequel, “To Norma Jeane With Love, Jimmie,” was released in 1997. Dougherty’s second marriage to Patricia Scoman ended in divorce; his third marriage to Rita Lambert lasted for 32 years, until her death in 2003.
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Matthew McGrory

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Categories: Actors, Extraordinary People, Hollywood

mmcgrory2.jpgMatthew McGrory, an actor who starred in nearly a dozen Hollywood pictures, died on Aug. 9. He was 32.

A native of West Chester, Pa., McGrory weighed 15 pounds and was 24 inches long at his birth. By the time he reached the first grade, he was over 5 feet tall. From that point on, all of his clothes and shoes had to be handmade at great expense to accommodate his growing dimensions.

McGrory played the drums and attended law school at Widener University, then broke into show business on Howard Stern’s radio show in the 1990s. His deep voice was a hit with listeners — and with people in the industry who hired him to appear in music videos for Iron Maiden and Marilyn Manson.

Acting offers followed as well. McGrory played a human Sasquatch in “Bubble Boy,” Tiny Firefly in “House of 1000 Corpses” and its sequel “The Devil’s Rejects,” an alien in “Men in Black II” and Karl the Giant in the box office hit “Big Fish.” He also did guest appearances on the TV shows “The Pretender,” “The Drew Carey Show,” “Malcolm in the Middle” and “Charmed.”

McGrory was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the world’s largest feet (size 29 1/2) and for being the world’s tallest actor (7 feet, 6 inches). At the time of his death, he was working on a biopic of wrestler-turned-actor Andre the Giant.

“Like Andre, sometimes he just wanted to be able to walk around and be a regular guy and not have people ask him how tall he is or how much he weighs. He wanted to ride in a sports car, and he loved making movies, but it made him sad that he couldn’t even go to theaters to watch them because he was too big for the seats,” director Drew Sky said.

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Eddie Bunker

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Categories: Actors, Criminals, Hollywood, Writers/Editors

Edward Bunker Jr., a career criminal and author, died on July 19 from complications of surgery. He was 71.
The Hollywood, Calif., native was the son of stagehand Edward Bunker Sr., and dancer/chorus girl Sarah Bunker. A born troublemaker, Eddie was only three years old when he destroyed a neighbor’s incinerator with a claw hammer. The following year, he set fire to his family’s garage.
Bunker spent the rest of his childhood attending reform schools and running away from foster homes. By the time he reached his teens, Bunker had become an accomplished thief, drug dealer and thug. He would eventually serve up to 18 years behind bars for various crimes, such as extortion, assault, forgery and armed robbery.
Using his experiences as the backdrop for fiction, Bunker began writing hard-boiled crime novels in prison. He sold his blood to pay for postage and submitted his manuscripts to dozens of magazines and publishers. When his first novel, “No Beast So Fierce,” was released in 1973, Bunker decided to reenter mainstream society as a professional writer. He was paroled two years later.
Over the next three decades, Bunker wrote screenplays (“Straight Time,” “Animal Factory”) and books (“Little Boy Blue,” “Dog Eat Dog” and “Education of a Felon”), and befriended authors William Styron and James Ellroy. He received an Oscar nomination for the screenplay “Runaway Train,” which was based on a story by Japanese director Akira Kurosawa, and won a Macallan Dagger Prize for his autobiography, “Mr. Blue: Memoirs of a Renegade.”
Bunker also acted in more than 20 movies, including “The Running Man,” “Tango and Cash” and “The Longest Yard.” In Quentin Tarantino’s violent debut, “Reservoir Dogs,” he played the character Mr. Blue.

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James Doohan

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Categories: Actors, Hollywood, Writers/Editors

jdoohan.jpg James Montgomery Doohan, the veteran actor who spent several decades saving the U.S.S. Enterprise from disaster, died on July 20 of pneumonia. He was 85.
Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Doohan attended the Sarnia Collegiate Institute and Technical School. His father, William Doohan, was an abusive alcoholic who made life miserable for his wife Sarah and their four children. To escape the old man’s wrath, James left home at 19 and enlisted in the Canadian Army at the outbreak of World War II. He attained the rank of captain in the Royal Canadian Artillery, and on June 6, 1944, landed with Allied forces on Juno Beach, Normandy. Doohan was struck by seven bullets in the D-Day battle, and doctors later amputated the middle finger of his right hand.
Upon his return to Canada, Doohan enrolled in a drama class. His commanding presence and ear for dialogue earned him a two-year scholarship to the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City, where he studied the craft alongside Leslie Nielsen and Tony Randall. For the next decade, Doohan found steady work as a character actor in films and television, but his big break came in 1966 when he adopted a Scottish accent and landed the role of Chief Engineer Montgomery “Scotty” Scott in the classic science fiction series, “Star Trek.”
As the chief engineer of the Starship Enterprise, Doohan kept the crew from getting blown up, captured by aliens or trapped on uncharted planets. His frazzled demeanor in the midst of crisis never stopped him from efficiently working the ship’s particle beam transporter whenever Capt. Kirk or one of the other crew members demanded (in some variation): “Beam me up, Scotty.”
Doohan remained on the show for its three-season run, provided dozens of voices to characters on “Star Trek: The Animated Series” and appeared in seven “Star Trek” movies. His dramatic exploits made him a popular speaker on the science fiction/fantasy convention circuit and inspired the Milwaukee School of Engineering to award him an honorary degree in 1993. Doohan’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is located at 7021 Hollywood Blvd.
Married three times, Doohan was also the father of nine children. In his spare time, he collaborated with author S.M. Stirling on three science fiction novels (“The Rising,” “The Privateer,” “The Independent Command”), and wrote his 1996 autobiography, “Beam Me Up, Scotty.” He retired from public life after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2004. Per his request, Doohan’s ashes will be blasted into outer space later this year.
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Frances Langford

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Categories: Actors, Hollywood, Military, Musicians

flangford.jpgFrances Langford Evinrude Stuart, the radio, stage and screen star who entertained the troops on Bob Hope’s USO tours, died on July 11. Cause of death was not released. She was 91.
Born in Lakeland, Fla., Langford was just a teenager when bandleader Rudy Vallee heard her sing. Vallee offered her a guest spot on his radio program and helped her get a start in New York. At 18, she made her Broadway debut in the 1931 musical “Here Goes the Bride.”
Langford’s beauty and talent soon took her to Hollywood, where she launched a successful radio, TV and film career. She became a household name playing Blanche, Don Ameche’s insufferable wife, on the popular radio comedy “The Bickersons,” and appeared in more than 30 movies, including “Broadway Melody,” “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and “Born to Dance.” Langford played herself in her final film, “The Glenn Miller Story,” starring Jimmy Stewart. On television, she starred in the variety programs “Frances Langford Presents” (1959) and “The Frances Langford Show” (1960).
Langford was singing on Hope’s “Pepsodent Show” in 1941 when he produced his first military program at March Field in Riverside, Calif. Once Hope decided to take the show overseas to boost wartime morale, Langford joined his troupe. She sang in military bases and hospitals in Great Britain, Italy, North Africa, the South Pacific, Korea and Vietnam. Known as the “Sweetheart of the Fighting Fronts,” Langford wooed thousands of servicemen with songs like “Embraceable You” and “I’m in the Mood for Love.” She also wrote about her war experiences in the newspaper column, “Purple Heart Diary.”
Langford’s first husband was Jon Hall, an actor who appeared in the films “The Hurricane” and “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”; they divorced in 1954. A year later, she married her second husband, outboard motor heir Ralph Evinrude. The couple donated more than a million dollars to the Martin Memorial Medical Center and built a Polynesian-themed restaurant and marina in South Florida. Their union lasted until Evinrude’s death in 1986.
Langford wed her third husband, Harold Cutliff Stuart, an attorney and former assistant secretary of the Air Force under Harry Truman, in 1994. The Stuarts spent the past 10 years traveling aboard her 110-foot yacht, fishing and supporting various medical and environmental causes. In 2002, Langford was inducted into the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame.
When asked by Larry King how she’d like to be remembered, Langford said: “Please remember me as a simple person, who loved this country, its people and especially its military servicemen and women. Our servicemen needed us and we were there. I will always consider it one of the greatest honors of my life to have entertained the troops during the war years with Bob Hope and the USO.”
Listen to Langford on “The Bickersons”
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