A Rough Week -- Screamin' Jay Hawkins leaves us, and then...
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 100 01:46:44 -0800
Subject: A Rough Week -- Screamin' Jay Hawkins leaves us, and then...
X-Lib-of-Cong-ISSN: 1098-7649 -=[ Fun_People ]=-
[I was out of town, so I didn't get to mark the passing of one of the greats
of popular music... as well as one of the greats of cartooning... as well
as one of ... well... read on... -psl]
From: Mark Boolootian <email@example.com>
R&B Musician Screamin' Jay Hawkins Dies at 70
PARIS (Reuters) - U.S. rhythm and blues musician Screamin' Jay Hawkins,
famous for performing his trademark voodoo-inspired blues lying in a coffin,
has died in Paris aged 70, local media said on Saturday.
Hawkins, who scored his biggest hit in the 1950s with his hollering
rendition of ``I Put A Spell On You,'' died in a hospital after suffering
a hemorrhage following an operation on an intestinal obstruction.
He sang and played the piano and tenor sax, and cultivated a reputation
for outrageousness with stage outfits of gold and leopardskin and props
including a smoking skull called Henry.
He was born Jalacy Hawkins on July 18, 1929, in Cleveland, Ohio. According
to published accounts, he spent the first 18 months of his life in an
orphanage before being adopted by a tribe of Blackfoot Indians.
``I came into this world black, naked and ugly. And no matter how much I
accumulate here, it's a short journey. I will go out of this world black,
naked and ugly. So I enjoy life,'' he told one interviewer.
An early musical talent, Hawkins joined the army aged 14 and won several
middleweight boxing titles before joining the army's entertainment unit.
He got his start in show business in the early 1950s playing with jazz and
R&B musician Tiny Grimes and was said to have played briefly with Fats
Domino, before getting fired for trying to upstage the singer onstage.
Legend has it that Hawkins earned his own nickname from an obese lady he
met in a nightclub, who was downing scotch and exhorted him to ``Scream,
Hawkins went on to cult fame with hits like ``Constipation Blues'' and in
later life found a second career as a movie actor after director Jim
Jarmusch hired him to star in ``Mystery Train'' in 1989.
He never realised his lifelong ambition of singing an opera. The
globe-trotting musician was living in a Paris suburb at the time of his
Forwarded-by: Citizen Kafka <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: [obits] too too many/Jay Hawkins, George Jackson, Maude Flanders,
Charles Schulz, Jim Varney, Lord Kitchener, Roger Vadim
PARIS (AP) -- Screamin' Jay Hawkins, the larger-than-life
American blues singer and pianist who shocked the music world with
his crazed shrieking and bizarre stage antics, died Saturday. He
Hawkins, from Cleveland, was best known for his song ``I Put a
Spell On You,'' which he recorded on the Okeh label in 1956 and
which helped win him cult status in the United States, Europe and
Japan. He planned the tune as a ballad, but after a night of heavy
drinking he took another crack -- screaming, yelling and groaning --
and never looked back.
Some of his groans had to be edited out so that ``I Put a Spell
On You'' could be played on the radio. Hawkins once said the song,
written to woo back a girlfriend, was at first banned by some radio
stations because it supposedly sounded cannibalistic.
Hawkins went on to use the same demented style again and again.
An outrageous performer, he used bizarre stage props, often
emerging out of coffins during shows. He would wield rubber snakes
and fake tarantulas and wear a boar's tooth around his neck or a
bone clipped to his nose.
Hawkins also acted in the 1989 Jim Jarmusch film ``Mystery
PARIS, Feb 12 (AFP) - Screamin' Jay Hawkins, a veteran American
blues singer and pianist, died Saturday in Paris at the age of 70
from haemorrhaging after an operation, his agent Viviane Sicnasi
The musician, whose real name was Jalacy Hawkins, died in a
clinic in the Neuilly suburb of Paris, where he had undergone an
operation earlier in the week on an obstructed bowel.
The black artist had settled in the Paris suburb of
Levallois-Perret in later life with a wife of Cameroonian origin
after complaining of "bigots" in his home country.
His best-known song was "I Put a Spell On You," released in
1956, and he became known to younger audiences as an actor in the
films of cult director Jim Jarmusch.
Hawkins, born on July 18, 1929 in Cleveland, Ohio, was abandoned
by his mother aged only 18 months.
Adopted by native Americans, he began playing the piano from a
young age and became a talented amateur boxer, winning the 1947
Golden Gloves amateur championship, according to the singer's
He joined the army aged 16, fought in World War II, and began
playing piano in nightclubs in the 1950s while on leave from his
On leaving the army he worked first as a bodyguard for the
singer Tiny Grimes, before joining Fats Domino's famous band. Their
colloboration did not last long, however, and he was eventually
fired for insisting on wearing a gold and leopardskin outfit and
turban, his website recounts.
"I Put a Spell On You" was composed, he said, during a drunken
binge in Phildelphia after his then girlfriend left him. He claimed
to have picked up his stage name while he was touring the United
States to perform it.
"I went to a place called Nitro, West Virginia. There was a big,
big huge fat lady at the bar. She was downing scotch and Jack
Daniel's at the time and whenever she looked up at me she shouted
'Scream, baby, scream'," he would later recall.
"I Put a Spell on You" went on to become a worldwide success and
it has since been re-recorded by artists including Nina Simone, The
Animals, Creedence Clearwater Revival and The Who.
Hawkins' flamboyant stage persona -- he sang "I Put a Spell On
You" in a coffin brandishing a voodoo totem and often appeared with
a bone in his nose -- became as famous as his agressive singing
He performed another of his hits, "Constipation Blues," with
appropriate sound effects.
The 1960s took him to Hawaii where he began an artistic
partnership with the singer Shoutin' Pat Newborn, with whom he
recorded some provocative and introspective songs. Their
collaboration ended, however when she knifed him in a jealous rage.
Despite an enforced break from touring after being badly burned
by one of his flaming props, Hawkins continued to perform in the
1990s, opening for the Rolling Stones in Madison Square Garden in
1980, and releasing two albums in 1991.
On a tour in Japan he astonished blues fans by singing in
Japanese, and wowed cinema audiences with a talent for acting,
brought out notably in the films of Jim Jarmusch, including "Mystery
Train" in 1989 and "Stranger Than Paradise".
NYTimes obit: http://nytimes.com/yr/mo/day/news/national/obit-j-hawkins.html
NEW YORK (AP) -- George Jackson, a former president of Motown
Records who produced the movies of some of Hollywood's leading
black actors, died Thursday of a stroke. He was 42.
Jackson co-produced the films ``A Thin Line Between Love and
Hate'' starring Martin Lawrence, ``New Jack City'' with Wesley
Snipes and ``Krush Groove'' starring Blair Underwood.
Other films included ``Jason's Lyric'' and the second and third
installments of the ``House Party'' series featuring the hip-hop
duo Kid N' Play.
He and Doug McHenry founded Elephant Walk Entertainment.
Jackson also co-produced UPN's ``Malcolm & Eddie'' comedy under
the Elephant Walk banner.
Jackson's most recent effort was creating Urban Box Office
Network, described as a media company for the ``urban mindset.''
UBO will establish a media lab in Harlem to honor Jackson, McHenry
A Harvard University graduate, Jackson became president and
chief executive of Motown in 1997. He oversaw several acts,
including the group 98 Degrees and the Temptations.
SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) -- ``Peanuts'' creator Charles Schulz
died Saturday following a battle with cancer, just as the last
original cartoon of his half-century career was being published in
newspapers worldwide. He was 77.
Schulz was diagnosed with colon cancer in November.
The famous strip -- with its gentle humor spiked with a
child's-eye view of human foibles -- had one particularly endearing
For five decades, the long-suffering Charlie Brown faced
misfortune with a mild, ``Good grief!'' Tart-tongued Lucy handed
out advice at a nickel a pop. And Snoopy, Charlie Brown's
wise-but-weird beagle, still took the occasional flight of fancy
back to the skies of World War I and his rivalry with the Red
The strip was an intensely personal effort for Schulz. He had
had a clause in his contract dictating the strip had to end with
his death -- no one could imitate it.
While battling cancer, he opted to retire it, saying he wanted
to focus on his health and family without the worry of a daily
His last daily comic ran in early January, and the final
farewell strip appeared in newspapers Sunday. Old versions of the
strip will continue to be published.
The last strip showed Snoopy at his typewriter and other Peanuts
regulars along with a ``Dear Friends'' letter thanking his readers
for their support.
NYTimes obit: http://www.nytimes.com/library/arts/021400obit-c-schulz.html
WHITE HOUSE, Tenn. (AP) -- Jim Varney, the rubbernecked comic who
portrayed his rube character ``Ernest'' from hundreds of television
commercials to a series of hit movies, died Thursday at his home.
He was 50.
Varney died of lung cancer, said his attorney Hoot Gibson.
Varney became a cult figure in the 1980s in a series of regional
commercials, portraying Ernest P. Worrell, a now-it-all good ol'
boy whose best-known phrase was ``KnowhutImean?'' and who addressed
a character known as ``Vern.''
In the commercials, he got his fingers slammed in a house
window, fell off a ladder and got electrically shocked fooling with
a broken TV set. He plugged a variety of sponsors, including dairy
products, car dealerships, pizza and radio stations.
``Ernest is a neighbor or relative that we've all had at one
time,'' he once said. ``He's abrasive, but he doesn't mean to be.
He gets excited and ends up standing on your toes. I try to make
him clownish and I don't want him too low key; and he's physically
``It's been my biggest sounding board. I've grown to know him
Between 1987 and 1990, he was in four ``Ernest'' movies for
Disney. Five more Ernest films were released independently, mainly
for the video and television markets.
Varney also was the voice of Slinky Dog in ``Toy Story'' and Toy
His movie credits included ``Ernest Goes to Camp''; ``Ernest
Rides Again''; ``Ernest Saves Christmas''; ``Ernest Goes to Jail'';
``Ernest Scared Stupid''; ``Ernest Goes to School''; ''100 Proof,''
an independent film; ``The Beverly Hillbillies'' (as Jed Clampett);
and ``Treehouse Hostage.''
His TV credits included ``Hey Vern, It's Ernest,'' ``Roseanne,''
``The Simpsons,'' ``The Rousters,'' ``Alice,'' ``Operation
Petticoat,'' ``Fernwood 2-Night'' and ``Pop Goes the Country.''
Ernest usually was dressed in a baseball cap, T-shirt, blue
denim vest and blue jeans. He had a generous nose. He was hapless
About his outfit, he told The Associated Press in 1984, ``It's a
lovely outfit that can be worn gracefully six days a week.''
Born in Lexington, Ky., Varney began acting in local theater at
8. By the age of 16 he was playing Shakespeare in a professional
theater, though he didn't tell his teachers. He sought his acting
fortune in New York at 18 and slogged through off-Broadway, dinner
theaters and comedy clubs.
``That's a rough department, stand-up comedy,'' he remarked.
``At one point I had an act where I could go 30 or 40 minutes,
and I knew the material I was going to do, the timing, etc. You
could play it one night and knock'em over. The next night you could
play the same material -- nothing.''
Varney got the cancer diagnosis in August 1998, and within
months it had spread to his brain. The cancer appeared to be in
remission in late 1999 though radiation had left him bald. Despite
his illness, in 1999 he filmed the movie ``Daddy and Them''
starring Billy Bob Thornton.
GARRISON, N.Y. (AP) -- The Rev. Daniel Egan, whose pioneering
work with drug addicts and alcoholics earned him the nickname
``junkie priest,'' died Thursday. He was 84.
In 1959, when he helped interns at Bellevue Hospital find a
usable vein on a drug addict, one asked him, ``What are you, a
junkie priest?'' The nickname was adopted by police officers and it
became the title of his biography.
PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (AP) -- Lord Kitchener, who rose from a
country boy with no musical training to become the ``Grand Master''
of calypso in Trinidad and Tobago, died Friday. He was 77.
Born Aldwyn Roberts, Lord Kitchener was different from the time
he sang in his first calypso tent at the age of 15 for 12 cents.
In an era when calypsonians assumed powerful monikers like the
Roaring Lion, the Mighty Killer and Mighty Sparrow, he called
himself Lord Kitchener after the British army officer who
successfully waged a military campaign to win back the Sudan in
1898. With the theme of fighting and defending being central to the
calypso idiom, the persona seemed to fit.
He dominated the calypso world in the 1960s and 1970s with tunes
such as ``Mama dis is Mas'' and ``Rainorama'' -- a comic look at the
hysteria created among his countrymen when Carnival was delayed in
1973 because of an outbreak of polio.
He composed the first calypso played by a steelband orchestra.
``The Beat of the Steelband,'' in 1944, and was closely associated
with the steelband movement afterward.
PARIS (AP) -- Roger Vadim, the film director who pursued beauty
both in film and in life, romancing some of the world's most
sought-after actresses -- including Brigitte Bardot, Jane Fonda and
Catherine Deneuve-- died Friday of cancer. He was 72.
He counted Bardot and Fonda among his five wives, and had a
child with Deneuve, his companion between marriages.
Among them was French siren Bardot, who won instant fame in the
1956 ``And God Created Woman.''
The film defined the content and set the tone for many of
Vadim's movies, including the 1968 ``Barbarella,'' an avant-garde
sci-fi romp starring his new wife, Fonda.
Vadim cast 26 movies with leading ladies ranging from the
elegant Deneuve to earthy Angie Dickinson and intellectual Jeanne
Moreau and Susan Sarandon. In 1988, he did a remake of ``And God
Created Woman'' starring Rebecca DeMornay.
In 1975, he married Catherine Schneider with whom he had his
fourth child, Vania.
In 1990 he wedded for the fifth time, marrying actress
Marie-Christine Barrault. They were still married when he died.
Vadim's other films include ``Les Bijoutiers du Clair de Lune''
(The Night Heaven Fell) (1958), ``Les Liaisons Dangereuses,''
(Dangerous Liaisons) (1959), ``Et Mourir de Plaisir'' (Blood and
Roses) (1960) and ``The Hot Touch'' (1981).
PARIS, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- Roger Vadim, the French film director
best known as the man who discovered Brigitte Bardot, died in Paris on
Friday at age 72 after a long fight with cancer.
Vadim, born of French-Ukrainian parents in Paris on Jan. 26,
1928 and named Roger Vadim Plemiannikov, began his professional life as a
stage actor when he was 16.
Before he was 20 he had switched to movies as an apprentice
director and screen writer for the director Marc Allegret. In the
mid-'50s he also wrote for the weekly Paris Match and directed television
In 1952 Vadim married a budding 18-year-old model and starlet
named Brigitte Bardot, and four years later he directed his first film
with her as the blond, pouting and largely undraped star. The sensational
film, "And God Created Woman," was an international sensation that
catapulted both Bardot and Vadim to celebrity.
Vadim made several more films with Bardot, earning a fortune
and worldwide admiration while shocking the establishment. He made a
total of 26 films, starring such actresses as Angie Dickinson and Susan
His fame as a director of films was almost eclipsed by his
romantic liaisons with their stars. Vadim later married Annete Stroyberg
and Jane Fonda, whom he cast in the 1968 hit Barbarella, and fathered a
son by Catherine Deneuve, whom he lived with but never married. His last
wife was another actress, Marie-Christine Barrault.
Vadim's 1986 book, "From One Star to Another," depicted
Bardot, Deneuve and Fonda as weak, unsure and troubled until he propelled
them to stardom. A Paris court on Jan. 15, 1987, ordered the film
director to pay $10,000 each to Bardot and Deneuve for revealing intimate
details of their private lives in his kiss-and-tell book.
The court ruled that Vadim's book did not have to be withdrawn
from French bookshelves "due to the relatively innocent nature of the
critical revelations and the large publicity that was made when the book
appeared." Fonda was not a party to the lawsuit.
The court noted that Bardot for years had "expressed her
desire to escape the curiosity of the public" and had the right to oppose
the publication of her "sentimental life." The court said Deneuve had
"also opposed any revelation concerning her private life" and had won
several similar cases against publications. Vadim contended he had the
right to reveal his remembrances and that the court could not limit his
right of expression.
© 2000 Peter Langston