Posts Tagged ‘ Television ’

Ben Gazzara obituary

February 4, 2012

Ben Gazzara in 2011

We will miss Ben Gazzara….a great actor…thank you for the memories..

Pass it on,

Dr Anthony 

Powered by article titled “Ben Gazzara obituary” was written by Brian Baxter, for on Saturday 4th February 2012 03.42 UTC

Few screen debuts have equalled the searing malevolence of Ben Gazzara’s Iago-inspired Jocko de Paris in The Strange One (1957). The role, which he had created on stage, became forever associated with this intense graduate of New York’s method school of acting.

Gazzara, who has died aged 81, continued his stage career in modern classics including Epitaph for George Dillon and as the humiliated and vengeful George in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? He also achieved popular acclaim through television series – notably Run for Your Life – and in movies for his friend John Cassavetes and other directors including Otto Preminger, Peter Bogdanovich, David Mamet, Todd Solandz and the Coen brothers.

Gazzara was born to Sicilian immigrants and grew up on Manhattan’s lower east side. He began acting at the Madison Square Boy’s Club and made a teenage debut in a TV dramatisation of a short play by Tennessee Williams. After gaining a scholarship to Erwin Piscator’s drama workshop, he eventually moved to the equally legendary Actor’s Studio headed by Lee Strasberg.

His stage debut was in Pennsylvania, then on tour, in Jezebel’s Husband but his career took off when – aged 23 – he created Jocko in Calder Willingham’s adaptation of his own novel End as a Man. When a revised version of the play transferred to the Vanderbilt Theatre, Gazzara received the New York critics’ award as “most promising young actor”.

Its director, Jack Garfein, an assistant to Elia Kazan, took four years to get the movie version financed and in the interim Gazzara gained experience as the original Brick in Williams’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and as the drug-addicted Johnny in A Hatful of Rain, where his darkly handsome features and forceful acting were distinct assets.

Although The Strange One looked overly theatrical, Gazzara’s pared-down performance survived the lumpen direction, revealing a natural screen presence. The sombre work about a duplicitous cadet leader, who manipulates an army camp in the deep south, was not a popular success and Gazzara returned to the stage until cast as the equally venal, though more enigmatic, soldier Lieutenant Manion in Preminger’s courtroom masterpiece Anatomy of a Murder (1959).

These movies were hard acts to follow and Gazzara, who spoke Italian before he learned English, returned to his roots to star opposite Anna Magnani in The Passionate Thief (1960). It was the start of a lifetime affair with Italy, where he was to work and live for many months each year and where he eventually bought a villa in Umbria.

The following year Gazzara married Janice Rule (having divorced his first wife in 1957) and took the role of the idealistic pathologist in The Young Doctors. He then co-starred opposite David Niven in The Captive City, a lacklustre war movie set in Athens. A challenging role as the convicted murderer turned painter John Resko better reflected Gazzara’s ambitions, but Convicts Four was not a hit and he moved into television, first as the detective in Arrest and Trial and then as the dying Paul Bryan in Run For Your Life (1965-68).

Gazzara was one of several stars coaxed into a cameo role in If It’s Tuesday, This Must be Belgium (1969). Fortuitously, another was Cassavetes and, after working on the liberal documentary King: A Filmed Record … Montgomery to Memphis, Gazzara joined Peter Falk and Cassavetes as the eponymous Husbands in the latter’s improvised study of marital discord.

Gazzara took a decidedly less comedic role as the murderous stripclub owner Cosmo Vitelli in Cassavetes’s edgy thriller The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976) and a year later played Manny Victor in the director’s masterpiece Opening Night. After the director’s untimely death, Gazzara appeared in several documentaries about his friend, notably Anything for John (1995), which reflected the admiration felt by his peers for that maverick filmmaker.

Gazzara had established a willingness to work outside the commercial mainstream, specialising in anti-social characters including a plumply brutish Al Capone, but his career wavered between quality and dross, film and television and work in the US, Italy and a few other countries, notching up over 80 movies in the years following his initial collaboration with Cassavetes.

These included the free-spirited Saint Jack (1979) in Peter Bogdanovich’s elegant rendition of Paul Theroux’s novel and – two years later, also for Bogdanovich – a co-starring role opposite Audrey Hepburn in They All Laughed, an underrated but commercially disastrous variation on love’s roundabout.

Following a second divorce Gazzara worked for a decade in Italy, returning to the US only for lucrative TV movies, including A Question of Honour (1982), A Letter to Three Wives and the Aids drama An Early Frost (both 1985), Road House (1989) and Blindsided (1993).

In Europe he portrayed the disillusioned beat poet Charles Bukowski in Tales of Ordinary Madness (1981), was a professor in Il Camorrista (1985) and a less amiable Don in Don Bosco (1988). Although he had directed episodes of Columbo for his friend Peter Falk, he only graduated to the big screen in 1990 with the little-seen Beyond the Ocean, shot in Bali.

Soon after that Italian-financed movie he again concentrated on work in America, averaging five films or TV movies each year, while dividing his time between homes in Umbria, New York City, and Sag Harbor, New York state.

Highlights of this busy period included Mamet’s The Spanish Prisoner (1997), where he played the mysterious Mr Klein; cult success Buffalo ’66; the black comedy The Big Lebowski; and the controversial Happiness (all 1988). He was well cast as a gang leader in Spike Lee’s Summer of Sam and moved to the other side of the fence as a smooth lawyer in the glossy The Thomas Crown Affair (1999).

Dozens of other films were routine and he freely admitted that “these days I turn nothing down in order to maintain a comfortable and happy life with my third and last wife”.

Despite debilitating treatment for throat cancer, in 1999 he published an autobiography and worked steadily for the next decade, notching up over 30 credits, from television series to leading roles in features, many made in Europe, often in his beloved Italy. There he worked in TV, was on location in Calabria for Secret Heart (2003), in Umbria for a brilliant cameo in Christophe Roth and moved to Spain for Schubert, to Belgium for Chez Nico and for the title role in Godbye Michel. In 2008 he took the name role in Looking for Palladin, about a former Hollywood star who hides from fame in Guatemala.

He enjoyed his role as the Vatican’s banker in Holy Money, but most rewarding of the many films were a short, Eve, cleverly directed by Natalie Portman, with Lauren Bacall, and the two films with Gena Rowlands, echoing their John Cassavetes days. He took a supporting cameo to her lead in the superior television movie Hysterical Blindness (2002), and four years later they played a two-hander as part of the portmanteau film Paris, Je t’aime, in a bittersweet episode where, as in later works, a recent stroke affected his speech, though never his courage or professionalism.

Ben Gazzara: born Biagio Anthony Gazzara, 28 August 1930, New York City; died Friday 3 February 2012, New York City.

Married Louise Erickson (1951-1957); Janice Rule (1961-1979); Elke Krivat (1982) © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Big Bang Theory fuels physics boom

November 6, 2011

Big Bang Theory

People are now considering taking up physics as a subject in universities…perhaps the Bg Bang Theory show is motivating students or maybe physics is now  “cool” to do…whatever the reason, its refreshing to know that a comedy show is having a positive impact on education!

Pass it on,

Dr Anthony

Powered by article titled “Big Bang Theory fuels physics boom” was written by Mark Townsend, for The Observer on Sunday 6th November 2011 00.08 UTC

A cult US sitcom has emerged as the latest factor behind a remarkable resurgence of physics among A-level and university students.

The Big Bang Theory, a California-based comedy that follows two young physicists, is being credited with consolidating the growing appetite among teenagers for the once unfashionable subject of physics. Documentaries by Brian Cox have previously been mentioned as galvanising interest in the subject.

One pupil, Tom Whitmore, 15, from Brighton, acknowledged that Big Bang Theory had contributed to his decision, with a number of classmates, to consider physics at A-level, and in causing the subject to be regarded as “cool”. “The Big Bang Theory is a great show and it’s definitely made physics more popular. And disputes between classmates now have a new way of being settled: with a game of rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock,” he said.

Experts at the Institute of Physics (IoP) also believe the series is playing a role in increasing the number of physics students. Its spokesman, Joe Winters, said: “The rise in popularity of physics appears to be due to a range of factors, including Brian’s public success, the might of the Large Hadron Collider and, we’re sure, the popularity of shows like The Big Bang Theory.”

Alex Cheung, editor of, said: “There’s no doubt that TV has also played a role. The Big Bang Theory seems to have had a positive effect and the viewing figures for Brian Cox’s series suggest that millions of people in the UK are happy to welcome a physics professor, with a tutorial plan in hand, into their sitting room on a Sunday evening.”

According to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), there was a 10% increase in the number of students accepted to read physics by the university admissons services between 2008-09, when The Big Bang Theory was first broadcast in the UK, and 2010-11. Numbers currently stand at 3,672. Applications for physics courses at university are also up more than 17% on last year. Philip Walker, an HEFCE spokesman, said the recent spate of popular televisions services had been influential but was hard to quantify.

The number studying A-level physics has been on the rise for five years, up 20% in that time to around 32,860. Physics is among the top 10 most popular A-level topics for the first time since 2002 – and the government’s target of 35,000 students entering physics A-level by 2014 seems likely to be hit ahead of schedule. It is a far cry from 2005 when physics was officially classified as a “vulnerable” subject.

The number of those entered for AS level has also increased, by 27.8% compared with 2009, up from 41,955 to 58,190. The number of girls studying physics AS-level has risen a quarter to 13,540 and of boys by 28.6% to 44,650.

A Twitter debate on whether Big Bang Theory had played a role in encouraging more potential physicists provoked mixed reactions. PhD student Tim Green wrote: “I’d say it’s more to do with economics and good science docs than sitcoms with only the vaguest relation to physics.” Markela Zeneli said: “I think the show is hilarious, and it may make physicists seem nerdy and geeky, but what’s so bad about that? ”

Winters identified another more prosaic reason for the rising popularity of physics. He said: “TV shows and news coverage of exciting research both have the power to inspire their audiences but we firmly believe, and all the evidence suggests, that only good physics teaching has the power to convert student’s latent interest into action.” © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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The Brady Bunch creator Sherwood Schwartz dies aged 94

July 13, 2011

Sherwood Schwartz

Growing up I enjoyed watching the episodes of “Gilligan’s Island” and the “Brady Bunch”. Sherwood Schwartz leaves a legacy of fine entertainment and we are thankful for his contributions to television. 

Pass it on,

Dr Anthony

Your Educational Podcast

Powered by article titled “The Brady Bunch creator Sherwood Schwartz dies aged 94” was written by Vicky Frost and agencies, for on Wednesday 13th July 2011 11.19 UTC

Sherwood Schwartz, the creator of television shows The Brady Bunch and Gilligan’s Island, has died at the age of 94.

Sherwood, who was still producing television in his 90s, started out writing jokes for Bob Hope’s radio show. Gilligan’s Island was first broadcast by CBS in 1964, featuring seven travellers marooned on a deserted Pacific island.

Critics did not fall for its humour – but audiences loved its comedy. The show ran until 1967, and was later revived as a cartoon, several TV films and, in 2004, a reality series The Real Gilligan’s Island, in which Schwartz was involved.

His nephew, Douglas Schwartz, said Schwartz had been working on a big-screen version of Gilligan’s Island. “Sherwood is an American classic, creating Brady Bunch and Gilligan’s Island, iconic shows that are still popular today,” he said.

His uncle was a “second father,” and a mentor who guided him through show business said Douglas Schwartz, who created Baywatch.

Schwartz launched The Brady Bunch – a story about a widow with three daughters who married a widower with three sons – in 1969. The show ran for five years and spawned a number of spin offs, as well as a hit 1995 film starring Shelley Long and Gary Cole.

“I think writers have become hypnotised by the number of jokes on the page at the expense of character,” Schwartz said in an interview with the Associated Press in 2000.

“If a show is good, if it’s written well, you should be able to erase the names of the characters saying the lines and still be able to know who said it. If you can’t do that, the show will fail.”

Schwartz grew up in Brooklyn, studied for a biological science degree, and landed a gig writing for Bob Hope when still in college via his brother, Al. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Peter Falk obituary

June 25, 2011

US Actor Peter Falk dies aged 83

I say good-bye to another “Kid from the Bronx” …I enjoyed watching his television series “Columbo”….he was destined to cast this character…he also went on to have a productive life in the film industry..there will never again be another Peter Falk…

Pass it on,

Dr Anthony

Your Educational Podcast

Powered by article titled “Peter Falk obituary” was written by Brian Baxter, for The Guardian on Sunday 26th June 2011 17.18 UTC

Show-business history records that the American actor Peter Falk, who has died aged 83, made his stage debut the year before he left high school, presciently cast as a detective. Despite the 17-year-old’s fleeting success, he had no thoughts of pursuing acting as a career – if only because tough kids from t

True Blood’s Vampires Drama Season 4

June 22, 2011

If you like the suspense of a vampire story, then perhaps you will enjoy “True Blood” series on television. Yes…another vampire series…but many are finding it very entertainining and now entering its 4th season. So get out your fangs and get ready to watch more blood,sex,fights,kissing,betrayal,etc

Pass it on,

Dr Anthony

Dr Anthony on television

June 2, 2010

Dr Anthony’s interview from Anthony Bendik on Vimeo.

Watch Dr Anthony on Arrirang’s Heart to Heart  program discussing chiropractic,oriental medicine,medical tourism, and teaching in South Korea.



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