December 26, 2012

Book Review: The Digest Diet Cookbook by Liz Vaccariello

The Digest Diet Cookbook
by Liz Vaccariello

Easy-to-Prepare, Healthy Recipes

Diet books are popular this time of year, with many people resolving to lose weight and get healthy as the new year begins. The problem with many of them is that they are so complicated, requiring a degree in science to be able to understand and follow the program.

Reader's Digest editor-in-chief Liz Vaccariello and her team reviewed the science of weight loss and created a 21-day eating plan called The Digest Diet to help people lose weight. Now she has a follow-up book, The Digest Diet Cookbook, with 150 recipes using her plan to aid in that goal.

The good news is that the recipes are filled with fresh ingredients that anyone can find in your grocery store -- nothing crazy or exotic. There is also a wonderful variety of foods; you can make Thai, Greek, Vietnamese, Italian and American food. You won't get bored making the same thing over and over again.

Even the Fat-Release Shakes, which you can drink twice a day, start with familiar items like nonfat yogurt, coconut milk and honey and allow you to add variations such as bananas, berries, grapes, peanut butter, and cinnamon to create a new shake each day (and it's not that awful green color).

Each recipe includes a graphic with the fat releasers contained in the dish (vinegar, honey, hot sauce) and there is a two-page spread of all the fat release staples that will help you stock your pantry. I also liked that they give a list of their favorite wraps and crackers. They also have some success stories from readers who have used the plan.

If you are looking for a healthy, easy-to-follow way to lose weight or if you just want some new, healthy, fresh recipes, The Digest Diet Cookbook is a great way to go.

October 02, 2012

Book Review: Fast Food Vindication by Lisa Tillinger Johansen

Fast Food Vindication
by Lisa Tillinger Johansen

Obesity is an epidemic. Over 50 percent of Americans eat fast food. Is fast food the culprit or a scapegoat? Can you eat healthy fast food meals?

Lisa Johansen argues that yes, you can eat healthy fast food meals. There is much misinformation out there and she aims to change that.

Lisa says up front that she worked for the McDonald's Corporation as a real estate executive. Then she received her master's in nutritional science and is currently a registered dietitian working in the health education department of a major hospital in Southern California.

She says fast food is here to stay. It is our responsibility to learn how to eat for life and understand how fast food affects our lives. Armed with a bit of knowledge (and self-discipline), Lisa says we can incorporate nutritional food into a healthy lifestyle. She emphasizes that we must take responsibility for our weight. We cannot place the blame somewhere else. Fast food restaurants do not force feed us their food.

She gives a history of the fast food establishments and explains the benefits of the industry on labor and the economy. She also writes about the contributions of the various fast food chains to education and other causes.

She shows how to calculate our BMI and our BMR. She clarifies how we can find nutritional information about our favorite meals. (Finding this information is important as studies have shown we are not good at estimating the calorie content of food.) She includes tips for grocery shopping.

Part of Lisa's argument is that often the meals at sit down restaurants are much heavier in calories, fat, and sodium than fast food. I was shocked that some of the meals offered at restaurants contain more calories than one should have in an entire day and more sodium than three days!

Lisa reminds us that we are ultimately responsible for our own behavior. She gives us the tools we need to make better food choices, whether it is fast food or a meal at a sit down restaurant.

July 15, 2012

Oscar-winning actress Celeste Holm dies at 95

Celeste Holm, a versatile, bright-eyed blonde who soared to Broadway fame in "Oklahoma!" and won an Oscar in "Gentleman's Agreement" but whose last years were filled with financial difficulty and estrangement from her sons, died Sunday, a relative said. She was 95.

Holm had been hospitalized about two weeks ago with dehydration. She asked her husband on Friday to bring her home and spent her final days with her husband, Frank Basile, and other relatives and close friends by her side, said Amy Phillips, a great-niece of Holm's.

Holm died around 3:30 a.m. at her longtime apartment on Central Park West, located in the same building where Robert De Niro lives and where a fire broke out last month, Phillips said.

"I think she wanted to be here, in her home, among her things, with people who loved her," she said.

In a career that spanned more than half a century, Holm played everyone from Ado Annie — the girl who just can't say no in "Oklahoma!"— to a worldly theatrical agent in the 1991 comedy "I Hate Hamlet" to guest star turns on TV shows such as "Fantasy Island" and "Love Boat II" to Bette Davis' best friend in "All About Eve."

She won the Academy Award in 1947 for best supporting actress for her performance in "Gentleman's Agreement" and received Oscar nominations for "Come to the Stable" (1949) and "All About Eve" (1950).

Holm was also known for her untiring charity work — at one time she served on nine boards — and was a board member emeritus of the National Mental Health Association.

She was once president of the Creative Arts Rehabilitation Center, which treats emotionally disturbed people using arts therapies. Over the years, she raised $20,000 for UNICEF by charging 50 cents apiece for autographs.

President Ronald Reagan appointed her to a six-year term on the National Council on the Arts in 1982. In New York, she was active in the Save the Theatres Committee and was once arrested during a vigorous protest against the demolition of several theaters.

But late in her life she was in a bitter, multi-year family legal battle that pitted her two sons against her and her fifth husband — former waiter Basile, whom she married in 2004 and was more than 45 years her junior. The court fight over investments and inheritance wiped away much of her savings and left her dependent on Social Security. The actress and her sons no longer spoke, and she was sued for overdue maintenance and legal fees on her Manhattan apartment.

The future Broadway star was born in New York on April 29, 1917, the daughter of Norwegian-born Theodore Holm, who worked for the American branch of Lloyd's of London, and Jean Parke Holm, a painter and writer.

She was smitten by the theater as a 3-year-old when her grandmother took her to see ballerina Anna Pavlova. "There she was, being tossed in midair, caught, no mistakes, no falls. She never knew what an impression she made," Holm recalled years later.

She attended 14 schools growing up, including the Lycee Victor Duryui in Paris when her mother was there for an exhibition of her paintings. She studied ballet for 10 years.

Her first Broadway success came in 1939 in the cast of William Saroyan's "The Time of Your Life." But it was her creation of the role of man-crazy Ado Annie Carnes in the Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II's musical "Oklahoma!" in 1943 that really impressed the critics.

She only auditioned for the role because of World War II, she said years later. "There was a need for entertainers in Army camps and hospitals. The only way you could do that was if you were singing in something."

Holm was hired by La Vie Parisienne, and later by the Persian Room at the Plaza Hotel to sing to their late-night supper club audiences after the "Oklahoma!" curtain fell.

The slender, blue-eyed blonde moved west to pursue a film career. "Hollywood is a good place to learn how to eat a salad without smearing your lipstick," she would say.

"Oscar Hammerstein told me, 'You won't like it,'" and he was right, she said. Hollywood "was just too artificial. The values are entirely different. That
balmy climate is so deceptive." She returned to New York after several years.

Her well-known films included "The Tender Trap" and "High Society" but others were less memorable. "I made two movies I've never even seen," she told an interviewer in 1991.

She attributed her drive to do charity work to her grandparents and parents who "were always volunteers in every direction."

She said she learned first-hand the power of empathy in 1943 when she performed in a ward of mental patients and got a big smile from one man she learned later had been uncommunicative for six months.

"I suddenly realized with a great sense of impact how valuable we are to each other," she said.

In 1979, she was knighted by King Olav of Norway.

In her early 70s, an interviewer asked if she had ever thought of retiring. "No. What for?" she replied. "If people retired, we wouldn't have had Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson, John Gielgud ... I think it's very important to hang on as long as we can."

In the 1990s, Holm and Gerald McRainey starred in the CBS's "Promised Land," a spinoff of "Touched by an Angel." In 1995, she joined such stars as Tony Randall and Jerry Stiller to lobby for state funding for the arts in Albany, N.Y. Her last big screen role was as Brendan Fraser's grandmother in the romance "Still Breathing."

Holm was married five times and is survived by two sons and three grandchildren. Her marriage in 1938 to director Ralph Nelson lasted a year but produced a son, Theodor Holm Nelson. In 1940, she married Francis Davies, an English auditor. In 1946, she married airline public relations executive A. Schuyler Dunning and they had a son, Daniel Dunning.

During her fourth marriage, to actor Robert Wesley Addy, whom she married in 1966, the two appeared together on stage when they could. In the mid-1960s, when neither had a project going, they put together a two-person show called "Interplay — An Evening of Theater-in-Concert" that toured the United States and was sent abroad by the State Department. Addy died in 1996.

Funeral arrangements for Holm were incomplete. The family is asking that any memorial donations be made to UNICEF, Arts Horizons or The Lillian Booth Actors Home of The Actors Fund in Englewood, N.J.

July 09, 2012

Ernest Borgnine dies at 95

The stocky, gap-toothed Connecticut native won an Academy Award for his portrayal of a lonely Bronx butcher looking for love in the 1955 drama 'Marty.' He also starred in the popular TV show 'McHale's Navy.'

Ernest Borgnine seemed born to play the heavy when he burst onto the Hollywood scene as "Fatso" Judson, a sadistic stockade sergeant who viciously beats a private to death in the 1953 movie "From Here to Eternity."

But two years later came the title role in "Marty," where the stocky, gap-toothed Borgnine defied typecasting and earned recognition as a versatile actor by inhabiting the part of a lonely Bronx butcher looking for love.

He went on to a prolific seven-decade career in film and television, moving easily from scoundrels and serious portrayals to a comedic role on the 1960s TV sitcom "McHale's Navy" and a spate of grandfatherly parts.

Borgnine, who won an Academy Award for his performance in "Marty," died Sunday of apparent kidney failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said his longtime publicist, Harry Flynn. He was 95.

The role opposite Frank Sinatra in "From Here to Eternity," based on James Jones' acclaimed novel depicting Army life in Hawaii before the attack on Pearl Harbor, moved Borgnine into the top echelon of movie villains in films such as "Vera Cruz" and "Bad Day at Black Rock."

He left expectations behind in "Marty," the 1955 film version of Paddy Chayefsky's original TV play about a sensitive Italian American bachelor butcher who longs for more than simply hanging out with his pals on Saturday night.

"Well, waddaya feel like doing tonight?" Marty's best friend, Angie, played by Joe Mantell, asks in the movie's often-quoted exchange.

"I don't know, Ang', wadda you feel like doing?" Marty replies.

Borgnine's sensitive portrayal of the self-described "fat ugly man" not only earned him an Oscar for best actor, but the movie also won Academy Awards for Chayefsky and director Delbert Mann, as well as the best picture Oscar.

In a film career that began in 1951, Borgnine appeared in more than 115 movies, including "Johnny Guitar," "Demetrius and the Gladiators," "The Flight of the Phoenix," "The Oscar," "The Dirty Dozen,""The Wild Bunch,""Willard," "The Poseidon Adventure" and "Emperor of the North."

From 1962 to 1966, he played the title role in the ABC sitcom "McHale's Navy." As the regulation-breaking commander of a PT boat in the South Pacific during World War II, Borgnine was pitted against the constantly frustrated Capt. Binghamton (played by Joe Flynn). Tim Conway played McHale's bumbling sidekick, Ensign Charles Parker.

Born Ermes Effron Borgnino in Hamden, Conn., on Jan. 24, 1917, Borgnine was the son of Italian immigrants. His parents separated when he was 2, and his mother took him to live in Italy, returning after a few years.

Borgnine graduated from New Haven High School in 1935, then worked a few weeks as a vegetable truck driver before enlisting in the Navy as an apprentice seaman. He was discharged two months before the attack on Pearl Harbor and promptly reenlisted. He spent the war as a gunner's mate on a destroyer.

After his discharge, Borgnine returned home, unsure of what he was going to do.

Finally, his mother suggested he give acting a shot. After all, she told him, "You're always making a fool of yourself in front of people."

After six months of study at the Randall School of Dramatic Art in Hartford, Conn., on the GI Bill, Borgnine got a job at the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Va., working behind the scenes before finally landing a $30-a-week acting spot in the theater's road company.

"We kept 14 shows in our heads all the time," he told Hollywood columnist Hedda Hopper in 1956. "We'd go from 'John Loves Mary' to 'Much Ado About Nothing' — what training! Dramatic school is OK, but the road is where you learn."

He continued his acting apprenticeship over the next four years, including making his Broadway debut playing the hospital attendant in"Harvey."

More stage work followed, supplemented by television appearances, including playing a villain on the science fiction series "Captain Video and His Video Rangers."

Borgnine made his motion picture debut in 1951, appearing in three films: "China Corsair," "The Whistle at Eaton Falls" and "The Mob." But he was unemployed in New York when the call came to play his next film role: Fatso Judson in "From Here to Eternity."

Borgnine made a convincingly menacing Fatso — so much so that when young Frank Sinatra Jr. saw the movie for the first time, Borgnine later told The Times, "He looked at it and said, 'Dad, when I meet that man, I am going to kill him.' And his father said, 'No. When you meet that man, you put your arms around him and kiss him. He helped me win an Academy Award!' "

Borgnine was on location in Lone Pine, Calif., playing another menacing heavy, this time in "Bad Day at Black Rock," when director Mann and writer Chayefsky flew up to have him read for the lead in "Marty."

As Borgnine recalled during a panel discussion at the Lone Pine Film Festival in 1999, he met with Mann and Chayefsky in his hotel room.

"The very first thing when we started reading, Paddy Chayefsky said, 'Hold it! Hold it!' I said, 'What's the matter?' He said, 'You're doing it with a western twang.' 'OK,' I said, 'wait a minute.' I threw off my hat, kicked off my boots and I went at it.

"Paddy was reading all the other parts and Delbert was stretched across my bed, listening, and we came to the part where my mother says, 'Put on your blue suit or your gray suit and go down to the dance hall; there are a lot of tomatoes there.' And I said, 'Mom, you don't understand. I'm just an ugly, ugly man,' and I turned away and tears were coming out.

"And I looked back and Paddy Chayefsky had tears in his eyes and Delbert was wiping tears from his face, and inwardly I said, 'I got it!'"

"Marty" proved to be both an artistic and commercial success.

Life magazine called Borgnine's characterization of the lonely butcher who falls in love with an equally plain and lonely schoolteacher (played by Betsy Blair) "one of the most successful pieces of movie casting so far this year."

New York Times film critic Bosley Crowther wrote that Borgnine's Oscar-winning performance was "a beautiful blend of the crude and the strangely gentle and sensitive in a monosyllabic man."

In the wake of "Marty," Borgnine played an Amish farmer in "Violent Saturday," a prizefight promoter in "The Square Jungle," a rancher in "Jubal" and a Bronx taxi driver (opposite Bette Davis) in "The Catered Affair."

But he was soon back in front of the cameras playing another heavy, this time the villainous Norse chief in "The Vikings," a 1958 film co-starring Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis.

"After 'From Here to Eternity,' I decided to steer away from heavies, but here I'm playing one again," he told The Times at the time.

"I made the original decision after some young Bronx characters almost took me apart. 'You're the guy that killed Sinatra,' a group yelled at me one day in New York, and it looked bad until I spoke soothingly to them in Italian — a language they understood. 'Fellows, it was just a picture,' I said. They were so intrigued that I spoke Italian, they let me go."

Borgnine closed out the '60s with a memorable role in Sam Peckinpah's bloody 1969 western "The Wild Bunch" and later made numerous television guest shots as well as appearances in TV movies and miniseries.

In the short-lived 1970 series "Future Cop," he starred with John Amos as veteran policemen whose new partner is a biosynthetic computerized android.

And he played Jan-Michael Vincent's older war buddy, Dominic Santini, on "Airwolf," a mid-1980s CBS adventure series about a high-tech attack helicopter.

In 1995, Borgnine was back in series television playing a friendly, pasta-loving doorman on "The Single Guy," which ran for two seasons on NBC. He also was the longtime voice of Mermaid Man on the animated TV series "SpongeBob SquarePants."

Off-screen, Borgnine has been described as soft-spoken and affable — a simple, unassuming, average man.

Beginning in the late 1980s, when he wasn't working, he traveled the country in a custom-made bus dubbed the Sunbum. In 2001, at age 84, he had just completed his latest trip to Alaska.

"I find it terribly relaxing," he told The Times in 1996. "It's like driving a big car. You see everything. The minute you get out of the cities, it's wonderful. You become part of America."

When Borgnine received the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award in 2011, his career in front of the camera had spanned six decades. And at age 94, the venerable actor was still going strong.

As he said in 2008 when he received a Golden Globe nomination for his performance as a retired song-and-dance man in the TV-movie "A Grandpa for Christmas": "You die on the vine if you just sit down in a chair and get old. The idea is to get up out of the chair and go out there and hustle."

Borgnine's final role came earlier this year in "The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vicente Fernandez," as a retired radio DJ with an unfulfilled dream of stardom who winds up in a nursing home staffed by Latin American immigrants.

Borgnine was married five times, including to actress Katy Jurado from 1959 to 1964, and briefly to Broadway musical star Ethel Merman in 1964.

In 1973 he married his Norwegian-born fifth wife, Tova, who became head of her own cosmetics company.

Besides his wife, he is survived by his children Nancee, Cristofer and Sharon Borgnine and David Johnson; six grandchildren; and a sister, Evelyn Velardi.

Services will be private.

June 12, 2012

GWTW actress Ann Rutherford dies

Ann Rutherford, the demure brunette actress who played the sweetheart in the long-running Andy Hardy series and Scarlett O'Hara's youngest sister in "Gone with the Wind," has died. She was 94.

A close friend, Anne Jeffreys, said she was at Rutherford's side when the actress died Monday evening at home in Beverly Hills. Rutherford died of heart problems and had been ill for several months, Jeffreys said.

"She was a dear person, a very funny lady, wonderful heart, was always trying to do things for people," said Jeffreys, a leading lady of many films of the 1940s and a star of the 1950s TV sitcom "Topper."

Rutherford was a frequent guest at "Gone with the Wind" celebrations in Georgia and, as one of the few remaining actors from the movie, continued to attract fans from around the world, Jeffreys said.

"She loved it. It really stimulated the last years of her life, because she got thousands of emails from fans," Jeffreys said. "She was in great demand."

She was also known for the Andy Hardy series, a hugely popular string of comical, sentimental films, that starred Lewis Stone as a small-town judge and Mickey Rooney as his spirited teenage son.

Rutherford first appeared in the second film of the series, "You're Only Young Once," in 1938, and she went on 11 more. She played Polly Benedict, the ever-faithful girlfriend that Andy always returned to, no matter what other, more glamorous girl had temporarily caught his eye. (Among the other girls: Judy Garland and Lana Turner.)

It was said she won the part of Carreen — the youngest of the three O'Hara sisters in "Gone with the Wind" — because Judy Garland was filming "The Wizard of Oz."

Rutherford told the Times in 2010 that MGM head Louis B. Mayer was going to refuse her the role, calling it "a nothing part." But Rutherford, who was a fan of the novel, uncharacteristically burst into tears and he relented.

Rutherford plays the sister who, early in the film, begs to be allowed to go to the ball at Ashley Wilkes' plantation. "Oh, Mother, can't I stay up for the ball tomorrow? ... I'm 13 now," she says in a sweet voice.

In 1989, she was one of 10 surviving "GWTW" cast members who gathered in Atlanta for the celebration of the film's 50th anniversary.

"Anyone who had read the book sensed they were into something that would belong to the ages, and everyone was in a frenzy to read the book," she said. "The specialness of this is with each generation of young people who are touched by 'Gone with the Wind,'" she said. "As long as there are little children, there will always be a Mickey Mouse. ... On an adult version, 'Gone with the Wind' does that."

Rutherford concurred with other cast members that no matter what else they had done, "Our obituary will say we were in 'Gone with the Wind' and we'll be proud of it."

In a 1969 Los Angeles Times interview, she lamented that the "permissive generation" of the 1960s wasn't getting the old-fashioned parenting that the fictional Andy Hardy got.

"Someday someone will have to sit down with today's youth and give them a man-to-man talk," she said.

She also joked that "my life has reached the point where I'm now 'camp.'"

Rutherford was born in 1917, according to the voter records reviewed by The Associated Press. Some sources give other dates. The daughter of an opera tenor and an actress, she began performing on the stage as a child.

She launched her movie career in Westerns while still in her teens, often appearing with singing cowboy hero Gene Autry and sometimes with John Wayne.

She joined MGM in 1937, playing a variety of roles for several years before leaving the studio to freelance.

Among her other films: "Whistling in the Dark," with Red Skelton, 1941, and its two sequels, "Whistling in Dixie" and "Whistling in Brooklyn"; "Orchestra Wives," with bandleader Glenn Miller, 1942; and "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," with Danny Kaye, 1947.

She largely retired from the screen in 1950, but appeared in a couple of films in the 1970s, "They Only Kill Their Masters," 1972, and "Won Ton Ton — The Dog Who Saved Hollywood," 1976.

Her first marriage, to David May in 1942, ended in divorce; they had two children. In 1953, she married producer William Dozier, a union that lasted until his death in 1991. He was best known as the producer of the "Batman" TV series.

Vivien Leigh, who played Scarlett O'Hara, died in 1967. Evelyn Keyes, who played the middle O'Hara sister, Suellen, died in July 2008.

Rutherford recalled that the night of the "Gone with the Wind" premiere in Atlanta, author Margaret Mitchell invited the cast, including Leigh and co-star Clark Gable, to her home for scrambled eggs. Gable and Mitchell disappeared.

"Clark Gable and Margaret were hiding in the bathroom, Clark on the edge of the tub and Margaret you know where, just talking," she chuckled. "They had to get away from the photographers."

February 10, 2012

GWTW memorabilia lost in Henry County blaze

A chunk of "irreplaceable" southern history apparently went up in flames overnight when fire raced through a Henry County storage facility.

The blaze broke out before midnight Thursday at Hudson Self Storage on Hudson Bridge Road near I-75.

Several storage units were heavily damaged, including a 20-by-12-foot storage bay leased by the Clayton County Convention and Visitor's Bureau.

Inside that unit was “highly, highly collectible” Gone With the Wind memorabilia from the Road to Tara museum, said Frenda Turner, a vice president with the Convention and Visitors Bureau, who came to the fire scene Friday to survey the damage.

Turner said that items not currently on display at the Jonesboro museum were stored at the facility.

“We had an awful lot of items that were from the Herb Bridges collection,” Turner told the AJC. Bridges is a noted collector of memorabilia from the book and movie.

“One thing that comes to mind, there were large circular poster-type boards that were used at the 1939 premier,” she said.

Turner said she feared that most of the items, which she called "irreplaceable," were destroyed, “if not by fire, by water.”

“We’re very anxious to find out the extent of the damage to the facility we have our items in,” she said.

Late Friday morning, firefighters continued to pour water on hot spots, while investigators from Henry County and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives worked to determine what sparked the blaze.

One person was possibly injured in the blaze. That person was being interviewed by arson investigators after showing up at Henry Medical Center for treatment of burns at about the same time that the fire was reported, Henry fire Capt. Sabrina Puckett said.

February 06, 2012

Actor Peter Breck dead at 82

The actor who played a son of ranch owner Barbara Stanwyck on the 1960s Western "The Big Valley," has died. Peter Breck was 82.

Breck died Monday in Vancouver, British Columbia, after a long illness, his wife, Diane, announced on the website The Big Valley Writing Desk.

A native of Haverhill, Mass., Breck was also a regular on the TV Westerns "Maverick" and "Black Saddle." He had guest roles on series from the 1950s through the early 2000s including "Perry Mason," ''The Virginian" and "Fantasy Island."

His film appearances include "Thunder Road," ''I Want to Live!" and "Benji."

Breck was best known for his role as hot-tempered rancher Nick Barkley on "The Big Valley," which aired from 1965 to 1969.

He and his wife were longtime Vancouver residents.

February 03, 2012

Actor Ben Gazzara dead at 81

Actor Ben Gazzara, known for his brooding tough-guy presence in dozens of films, television shows and stage productions over his long career, died of pancreatic cancer on Friday at a Manhattan hospital, his lawyer said. He was 81.

The New York-born performer died Friday afternoon at Bellevue Hospital Center, with members of his family at his side, according to his attorney, Jay Julien.

Born Biagio Anthony Gazzara to Italian immigrant parents, the young actor began his career in live theater, most notably in the role of Brick in the original Broadway production of Tennessee Williams' "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," directed by Elia Kazan.

A three-time Tony nominee for his stage work, Gazzara made his film debut as a sociopathic military academy cadet in the 1957 drama "The Strange One," followed by his breakout role as an accused killer in Otto Preminger's 1959 hit courtroom drama "Anatomy of a Murder."

His character in that film, Army Lieutenant Frederick Manion, claims in his defense to have killed a bartender in a fit of rage because the victim had raped and beaten his wife. Jimmy Stewart starred as Gazzara's lawyer.

Best known for playing emotionally complex men and villains, Gazzara went on to work with numerous high-profile Hollywood directors, including John Cassavetes, with whom he collaborated on several films, including the 1976 gangster drama "The Killing of a Chinese Bookie."

His credits also included a role as porn-film producer Jackie Treehorn in the Coen Brothers' 1998 cult comedy classic "The Big Lebowski" and a supporting role in the 1999 remake of the art-heist drama "The Thomas Crown Affair," starring Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo.

On television, Gazzara starred for two seasons, 1965 to 1968, on the NBC prime-time drama "Run for Your Life." He played a wealthy, successful lawyer, Paul Bryan, who quits his practice after learning he has a terminal illness and then embarks on a globe-trotting quest for adventure before he dies.

The role earned him two Emmy nominations as best actor in a lead dramatic role. He picked up a third Emmy nod for his 1985 role in the made-for-TV movie "An Early Frost," and won an Emmy for his supporting work in the 2002 HBO television film "Hysterical Blindness."

He earned Tony nominations for his appearances in three Broadway productions of the 1970s, a revival of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" and his dual roles in a double bill of the plays "Hughie" and "Duet."

Gazzara was married three times, with his first two marriages ending in divorce. He is survived by his third wife, Elke, and daughter Elizabeth.

January 24, 2012

Actor James Farentino dead at 73

Actor James Farentino, who appeared in dozens of movies and television shows, died Tuesday in a Los Angeles hospital, according to a family spokesman. He was 73.

Farentino died of heart failure at Cedars-Sinai Hospital after a long illness, said the spokesman, Bob Palmer.

Farentino starred alongside Kirk Douglas and Martin Sheen in the 1980 science fiction film "The Final Countdown." The movie featured a modern aircraft carrier that travels back in time to Pearl Harbor hours before the Japanese attack.

Farentino also starred opposite Patty Duke in 1969's "Me, Natalie."

In 1967, he won a "Most Promising Newcomer" Golden Globe for his performance in the comedy "The Pad and How to Use It."

He also had recurring roles on "Dynasty," ''Melrose Place," ''The Bold Ones: The Lawyers" and "ER," playing the estranged father to George Clooney's character.

In 1978, he was nominated for an Emmy for his portrayal of Sai nt Peter in the television mini-series "Jesus of Nazareth."

A four-time divorcee, Farentino's tumultuous personal life made headlines, too.

In March 1994, he pleaded no contest to stalking his ex-girlfriend Tina Sinatra, daughter of Frank Sinatra.

In 2010, the actor was arrested at his Hollywood home on suspicion of battery when he tried to physically remove a man from his home.

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1938, Farentino is survived by two sons, David and Saverio.

January 02, 2012

Book Review: Recipes Menus Prayers for Family Gatherings by Carolyn Anderson

Recipes Menus Prayers for Family Gatherings
by Carolyn Anderson

What a wonderful book! Each chapter begins with a prayer, followed by a Bible verse and then a menu. Carolyn gives us the recipe for each dish, including some fun ice cream recipes. I was especially happy to find a page for notes at the end of each chapter. Being a person who loves to cook, I make notes for the next time I make a recipe -- what a nice touch. This book will make a unique and wonderful gift for your family and friends.