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When Hollywood Was Nice: Annette, Mother Dolores Honored This Week

By | Sunday June 30, 2013 @ 3:02pm PDT
Pete Hammond

In a summer where internal studio battles are exploding, talent agencies are attacking each other, gun violence is rampant in real life and on screen, football teams are spawning accused murderers, teen idols are out of control, and people don’t talk — they just text — it’s nice to reflect on this Sunday before Independence Day that there once was what, at least in retrospect, seemed to be a kinder, more innocent Hollywood. At least that was the feeling I got this week at two events celebrating two uniquely inspiring past stars, both very much off the radar of the industry that eats its young today. They are worth noting.

Many people today who worship the likes of the Kardashians may not know who Dolores Hart is. Or was. But in the late 1950s and early ’60s she was a genuine film star who gave Elvis Presley his first screen kiss in Loving You (1957) and again in King Creole (1958); searched for men in Where The Boys Are (1960); and co-starred opposite the likes of Montgomery Clift, Karl Malden, Anthony Quinn, Myrna Loy and many others until she suddenly gave it all up after attending the New York premiere of her last film (1963′s Come Fly With Me). She told the studio’s limo driver to drop her off at the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, CT, and became a nun. That was exactly 50 years ago, and Mother Dolores, as she is now known, is still there and still doing great things with her life — even if it isn’t as the movie star she once was. Read More »

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R.I.P. Annette Funicello

By | Monday April 8, 2013 @ 10:07am PDT

Annette FunicelloPop culture icon Annette Funicello, who began her TV and movie career as a 13-year-old member of the original Mickey Mouse Club in the 1950s and grew into a movie star and singer and a teenage boy’s fantasy, died today at Mercy Southwest Hospital in Bakersfield. She was 70. The Walt Disney Company said she passed peacefully from complications due to multiple sclerosis, a disease she battled for over 25 years. Disney CEO Bob Iger commented: “Annette was and always will be a cherished member of the Disney family, synonymous with the word Mousketeer, and a true Disney Legend. She will forever hold a place in our hearts as one of Walt Disney’s Annette Funicellobrightest stars, delighting an entire generation of baby boomers with her jubilant personality and endless talent. Annette was well known for being as beautiful inside as she was on the outside, and she faced her physical challenges with dignity, bravery and grace. All of us at Disney join with family, friends, and fans around the world in celebrating her extraordinary life.”

According to Disney’s official obituary, Funicello was born October 22, 1942, in Utica, NY and was 4 years old when her family moved to Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley. She was discovered by Walt Disney at age 13 while dancing the lead in Swan Lake at the Starlight Bowl … Read More »

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