joi, 26 aprilie 2012
Succes 2012: Mihai Leu aka Michael Loewe, former professional boxer, WBO Welterweight Champion. The second European boxer to retire as an undefeated world champion. He later became Romanian national driving champion
marți, 24 aprilie 2012
Success 2012: Jean-Paul Belmondo, famous french actor initially associated with the New Wave of the 1960s. His typical characters were either dashing adventurers or more cynical heroes
Born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Hauts-de-Seine, west of Paris, Belmondo did not perform well in school, but developed a passion for boxing and football. "Did you box professionally very long?" "Not very long. I was never a professional, just an amateur." "Did you want to be one?" "Yes, when I was 17, I dreamed of being a champion boxer. I trained at the Avia Club with Pierre Dupain, along with Maurice Auzel, who's now European welter-weight champion." "Why did you quit?" "Because you have to really love it and sacrifice for it, I had other ambitions and didn't want to sacrifice my life for it. To be a champion, you have to sacrifice everything. Since at the time I also loved acting, I thought it would be easier and less dangerous than boxing. It would hurt less. There might be blows to your morale, but in boxing you take blows to your body as well, so I chose just blows to my morale." – 1961.
His breakthrough role was in Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless (1960), which made him a major figure in the French New Wave. Later he acted in Jean-Pierre Melville's philosophical movie Leon Morin, Priest (1961) and in Melville's film noir crime film The Fingerman (Le Doulos, 1963) and Godard again with Pierrot le fou (1965). With That Man From Rio (1965) he switched to commercial, mainstream productions, mainly comedies and action films but did appear in the title role of Alain Resnais' masterpiece Stavisky (1974), which some critics regard as Belmondo's finest performance. Until the mid-1980s, when he ceased to be one of France's biggest box-office stars, Belmondo's typical characters were either dashing adventurers or more cynical heroes. As he grew older, Belmondo preferred concentrating on his stage work, where he encountered success. He suffered a stroke in 2001 and had since been absent from the stage and the screen until 2009 when he appeared in Un homme et son chien (A man and his dog).
He was made Chevalier (Knight) of the Ordre national du Mérite, promoted Officier (Officer) in 1986 and promoted Commandeur (Commander) in 1994.
He was made Chevalier (Knight) of the Légion d'honneur, promoted Officier (Officer) in 1991 and promoted Commandeur (Commander) in 2007.
In 2010 the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards gave him a Career Achievement award. Belmondo attended the ceremony and made appearances in the Los Angeles area.
Belmondo's father, Paul Belmondo, was a sculptor who was born in Algeria of Italian descent.
In 1953, Belmondo married Élodie Constantin, with whom he had three children: Patricia (1958), Florence (1960) and Paul (1963). Paul became a Formula One driver; his eldest daughter Patricia was killed in a fire in 1994. In 1966, due to a well-publicized affair between Belmondo and actress Ursula Andress, Belmondo and his wife divorced.
In 1989, Belmondo met Nathalie Tardivel who was 24 at the time, she and Belmondo married in 2002. On 13 August 2003, when he was 70, his fourth child Stella Eva Angelina was born. In 2008, Belmondo and Tardivel divorced.
Belmondo is saluted in a 1967 episode of the U.S. television sitcom Get Smart. In the episode "The Spirit is Willing" a top agent of the sinister spy agency KAOS is named Paul John Mondebello, an obvious alteration of Belmondo's name. He is also mentioned in a song about "Masculinity" in the play La Cage Aux Folles, and is mentioned in the Donovan song "Sunny South Kensington" on the Mellow Yellow album.
luni, 23 aprilie 2012
As of 2012, Simeon is one of the last living heads of state from the World War II-era, the only living person who has borne the Bulgarian title "Tsar", and one of the few monarchs in history to have become the head of government through democratic elections.
Simeon was born the son of Tsar Boris III and Tsaritsa Giovanna di Savoia and is related to various European royalty, including Queen Elizabeth II, King Albert II of the Belgians and the Kings Victor Emmanuel III of Italy and Umberto II of Italy. Following his birth, Boris III sent an air force officer to the River Jordan to obtain water for Simeon's baptism in the Orthodox faith. He became Tsar on 28 August 1943 on the death of his father, who had just returned to Bulgaria from a meeting with Adolf Hitler. Since Tsar Simeon was only six years old when he ascended the throne, his uncle Prince Kyril of Bulgaria, Prime Minister Bogdan Filov, and Lieutenant-General Nikola Mihailov Mihov of the Bulgarian Army were appointed regents.
On 5 September 1944 the Soviet Union declared war on Bulgaria and three days later the Red Army entered the country without encountering resistance. On the next day, 9 September 1944, Prince Kyril and the other regents were deposed by a Soviet-backed coup and arrested. The three regents, all members of the last three governments, Parliament deputies, heads of the army and eminent journalists were executed by the Communists in February 1945
miercuri, 18 aprilie 2012
Succes 2012: Bobby Hargis, the motorcycle cop that flanked the left rear bumper of the president JF Kennedy's car in Dallas. He was struck by JFK's brain matter after the president was shot
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, was assassinated at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time (18:30 UTC) on Friday, November 22, 1963, in Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas. Kennedy was fatally shot while traveling with his wife Jacqueline, Texas governor John Connally, and the latter's wife Nellie, in a Presidential motorcade. Kennedy is the most recent of the four Presidents who were assassinated. He followed Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield and William McKinley, all of them fatally shot.
The ten-month investigation by the Warren Commission, 1963–1964, concluded that the President was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald acting alone and that Jack Ruby acted alone when he killed Oswald before he could stand trial. These conclusions were initially supported by the American public; however, polls conducted from 1966 to 2004 found that as many as 80 percent of Americans have suspected that there was a plot or cover-up.
Contrary to the Warren Commission, the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) in 1979 concluded that President John F. Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy. The HSCA found both the original FBI investigation and the Warren Commission Report to be seriously flawed. While agreeing with the Commission that Oswald fired all the shots which caused the wounds to Kennedy and Governor Connally, it stated that there were at least four shots fired and that there was a "high probability" that two gunmen fired at the President. No gunmen or groups involved in the conspiracy were identified by the committee, but the CIA, Soviet Union, organized crime and several other groups were said to be not involved, based on available evidence. The assassination is still the subject of widespread debate and has spawned numerous conspiracy theories and alternative scenarios.
Bobby Hargis, then a Dallas police officer whose motorcycle flanked the left rear bumper of the president's car, has a recurring dream in which he chases but never quite catches Lee Harvey Oswald.
For Hargis, the ensuing years have taken him on his own spiritual journey. "It makes you think about life," he says, sitting at his breakfast table in Cleburne, Texas. "The shortness of it, the preciousness of it, every breath we take. And what did I learn that day? That we're never that far away from being nothing."
Would you state for the record your name and residence address.
Bobby W. Hargis, 1818 Adelaide, Dallas, Tex.
What is your occupation?
Mr. STERN. How long have you been a member of the Dallas Police Department?
Nine years and about 7 months.
Were you a part of the motorcade on November 22d?
Yes; I was.
In what position?
I was at the left-hand side of the Presidential limousine.
At what part of the President's car?
Front, or rear?
Riding next to Mrs. Kennedy?
Mr. STERN. Will you describe what occurred or what you observed as the limousine turned into Elm Street?
Mr. HARGIS. Well, at the time that the limousine turned left on Elm Street I was staying pretty well right up with the car. Sometimes on Elm we couldn't get right up next to it on account of the crowd, but the crowd was thinning out down here at the triple underpass, so, I was next to Mrs. Kennedy when I heard the first shot, and at that time the President bent over, and Governor Connally turned around. He was sitting directly in front of him, and a real shocked and surprised expression on his face.
On Governor Connally's?
Mr. HARGIS. Yes; that is why I thought Governor Connally had been shot first, but it looked like the President was bending over to hear what he had to say, and I thought to myself then that Governor Connally, the Governor had been hit, and then as the President raised back up like that (indicating) the shot that killed him hit him. I don't know whether it was the second or the third shot. Everything happened so fast.
But, you cannot now recall more than two shots?
Mr. HARGIS. That is all that I can recall remembering. Of course, everything was moving so fast at the time that there could have been 30 more shots that I probably never would have noticed them.
Mr. STERN. Did something happen to you, personally in connection with the shot you have just described?
You mean about the blood hitting me?
Mr. HARGIS. Yes; when President Kennedy straightened back up in the car the bullet him in the head, the one that killed him and it seemed like his head exploded, and I was splattered with blood and brain, and kind of a bloody water. It wasn't really blood. And at that time the Presidential car slowed down. I heard somebody say, "Get going," or "get going,"----
Mr. HARGIS. I don't know whether it was the Secret Service car, and I remembered seeing Officer Chaney. Chaney put his motor in' first gear and accelerated up to the front to tell them to get everything out of the way, that he was coming through, and that is when the Presidential limousine shot off, and I stopped and got off my motorcycle and ran to the right-hand side of the street, behind the light pole.
Just a minute. Do you recall your impression at the time regarding the source of the shots?
Mr. HARGIS. Well, at the time it sounded like the shots were right next to me.
luni, 9 aprilie 2012
Maya Mikhailovna Plisetskaya, born November 20, 1925 is a Russian ballet dancer, frequently cited as one of the greatest ballerinas of the 20th century. Maya danced during the Soviet era at the same time as the great Galina Ulanova, and took over from her as prima ballerina assoluta of the Bolshoi in 1960. Maya Plisetskaya is a naturalized Lithuanian and Spanish citizen.
Maya Plisetskaya was born in Moscow into a prominent Jewish family. She went to school in Spitzbergen, where her father worked as an engineer and mine director.
In 1938, her father, Michael Plisetski was executed during the Stalinist purges, possibly because he had hired a friend who had been a secretary to Leon Trotsky. Her mother Rachel Messerer-Plisetskaya (aka Ra Messerer), a silent-film actress, was arrested and sent to a labor camp (Gulag) in Kazakhstan, together with Maya's seven-month old baby brother. Thereupon Maya was adopted by her maternal aunt, the ballerina Sulamith Messerer, until her mother was released in 1941.
Maya studied under the great ballerina of imperial school, Elizaveta Gerdt. She first performed at the Bolshoi Theatre when she had just turned 11 years of age. In 1943, she graduated from the choreographic school and joined the Bolshoi Ballet, where she would perform until 1990.
From the beginning, Maya was a different kind of ballerina. She spent very short time in the corps de ballet after graduation and was quickly named a soloist. Her bright red hair and striking looks made her a glamorous figure on and off the stage. Her long arms had a fluidity that to this day remains unmatched; her interpretation of The Dying Swan, a short showcase piece made famous by Anna Pavlova, became Maya's calling card. Maya was known for the height of her jumps, her extremely flexible back, the technical strength of her dancing, and her charisma. She excelled both in adagio and allegro, which is very unusual in dancers.
Despite her acclaim, Maya was not treated well by the Bolshoi management. She was Jewish in an anti-Semitic climate, her family had been purged during the Stalinist era and her personality was defiant, so she was not allowed to tour outside the country for six years after joining the Bolshoi. It wasn't until 1959 that Nikita Khrushchev permitted her to travel abroad, and Plisetskaya could tour internationally. Her ability changed the world of ballet, setting a higher standard for ballerinas both in terms of technical brilliance and dramatic presence.
Maya's most acclaimed roles included Odette-Odile in Swan Lake (1947) and Aurora in Sleeping Beauty (1961). In 1958, she was honoured with the title of the People's Artist of the USSR and married the young composer Rodion Shchedrin, in whose subsequent fame she shared.
After Galina Ulanova left the stage in 1960, Maya Plisetskaya was proclaimed the prima ballerina assoluta of the Bolshoi Theatre. In the Soviet screen version of Anna Karenina, she played Princess Tverskaya. In 1971, her husband the composer Rodion Shchedrin wrote a ballet on the same subject, where she would play the leading role. Anna Karenina was also her first attempt at choreography. Other choreographers who created ballets for her include Yury Grigorovich, Roland Petit, Alberto Alonso, and Maurice Béjart with "Isadora".
In the 1980s, Plisetskaya and Shchedrin spent much time abroad, where she worked as the artistic director of the Rome Opera Ballet in 1984–5, then the Spanish National Ballet of Madrid from 1987–9. At the age of 65, she finally retired from the Bolshoi as a soloist. On her 70th birthday, she debuted in Béjart's piece choreographed for her and entitled "Ave Maya". Since 1994, she has been presiding over the annual international ballet competitions called Maya. In 1996 she was named President of the Imperial Russian Ballet.
She was forced to be member of the Anti-Zionist Committee of the Soviet Public by being threatened with having her passport revoked. When she traveled abroad in the 1960s, the Soviet secret police requested that she encourage the interest of Robert F. Kennedy, which she declined.
On her 80th birthday, the Financial Times summed up current opinion about Maya in the following words: "She was, and still is, a star, ballet's monstre sacre, the final statement about theatrical glamour, a flaring, flaming beacon in a world of dimly twinkling talents, a beauty in the world of prettiness." The following year, Emperor Akihito presented to her the Praemium Imperiale, informally considered a Nobel Prize for Art. Later in life while touring in the United States she joined the fight for women's rights.
luni, 2 aprilie 2012
Succes 2012: Cyndi Lauper, the first female singer to have four top-five singles released from one album. The Top 5 hits "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", "She Bop", "All Through the Night" and number-one single "Time After Time" became some of the most important and influential singles of the 80's
Cynthia Ann Stephanie "Cyndi" Lauper (born June 22, 1953) is an American singer, songwriter, actress and LGBT rights activist. She achieved success in the mid-1980s with the release of the album She's So Unusual and became the first female singer to have four top-five singles released from one album. The Top 5 hits "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", "She Bop", "All Through the Night" and number-one single "Time After Time" became some of the most important and influential singles of the 80s. The album earned Lauper Best New Artist at the 27th Grammy Awards in 1985. Her success continued with the follow-up, True Colors, which launched several more hits including the number-one single "True Colors", and earned two nominations at the 29th Grammy Awards. Lauper has since released 11 albums, the most recent the acclaimed grammy nominated Memphis Blues which was Billboard's biggest selling blues album of 2010. Lauper has also released over 40 singles, and as of 2011 had sold more than more 50 million albums worldwide, and 1 million DVDs and 20 million singles, which makes her one of the best selling artists of all time. Throughout her career, Lauper has won numerous awards, including Grammy, Emmy, MTV VMA, Billboard and AMA. In 1999, Lauper ranked #58 of the 100 Greatest Women of Rock & Roll by VH1 and in 2008 she was elected by the British tabloid The Sun ranked #4 of the Singer Who Will Never Be Forgotten at All Times, according to a survey conducted in the same year.
The daughter of Fred and Catrine Lauper, Cyndi Lauper was born and raised in Ozone Park in a Roman Catholic family, in the borough of Queens in New York City. Her mother uses the stage name "Catrine Dominique" for the music videos in which she has appeared. Her father was of German and Swiss descent and her mother is Italian American (from Sicily). She has an older sister, Ellen, and a younger brother, Fred (nicknamed Butch).
After Lauper's parents divorced, her mother remarried, divorced again, and went to work as a waitress. It was during this time that Lauper began listening to artists such as Judy Garland, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and the Beatles. Her mother encouraged her independence and creativity. At the age of twelve, Lauper learned how to play an acoustic guitar, which her sister had given to her, and she started to write her own lyrics. She had a great love of art and music and tried to find ways to express herself. Even at this early age, Lauper started dyeing her hair different colors and wearing radical fashions. Lauper was accepted in a special public high school for students with talent in the visual arts, but she was held back and eventually dropped out, earning her GED sometime later. At the age of seventeen, she left home, planning to study art. Her journey would take her to Canada, where she spent two weeks in the woods with her dog, Sparkle, trying to find herself. She eventually wound up in Vermont, where she took art classes at Johnson State College. She supported herself by working at various odd jobs.
In the mid 1970s, Lauper performed as a vocalist with various cover bands in the New York metropolitan area, singing hits by bands such as Jefferson Airplane, Led Zeppelin, and Bad Company. Even though Lauper was now performing on stage, she was not happy singing cover songs. In 1977, Lauper damaged her vocal cords and took a year off. She was told by three doctors that she would never sing again. Vocal coach Katie Agresta helped Lauper regain her voice by teaching her proper vocal exercises.
In 1978, after regaining her voice, Lauper met saxophone player John Turi through her manager Ted Rosenblatt. Turi and Lauper became writing partners and formed a band called Blue Angel. They decided to put everything they had into making an album of original material. A few demos were recorded and the tape found its way over to Steve Massarsky, who was managing The Allman Brothers Band. Massarsky said the tape was horrible, but he was attracted to Lauper's voice. He saw them play live and eventually started managing the band after buying their contract out for $5,000. Many people wanted to sign Lauper only if she would sign on as a solo artist.
Lauper held out, wanting the band to be included in any deal she made. Polydor Records eventually signed them as a band. In 1980, they released a self-titled album on Polydor Records. Rolling Stone magazine later included it as one of the 100 best new wave album covers (2003). Lauper hated the cover, often saying they made her look like Big Bird. Despite critical acclaim, the album sold poorly (or "went lead", as Lauper says) and the band broke up. Polydor Records had a regime change, and the label would not let the band back into the studio unless they had a hit. The members of Blue Angel had a falling out with Massarsky and fired him as their manager. He later filed an $80,000 suit against them. This suit forced Lauper into bankruptcy.
Lauper started working in retail stores such as the New York high-end thrift store Screaming Mimi's to make ends meet, and she still sang in local clubs. Her most frequent gigs were at El Sombrero. Music critics that saw Lauper perform with Blue Angel thought that she had star potential since she had a wide singing range (four octaves), perfect pitch, and a vocal style all her own. In 1981, while singing in a local New York bar, Lauper met David Wolff, who took over as her manager (and at some point became romantically involved with her) and got her signed with Portrait Records, a subsidiary of Epic Records. Wolff had been working with a band called Arc Angel.
On October 14, 1983, She's So Unusual was released and peaked at #4 in the US becoming a worldwide hit. With help from Rick Chertoff, Eric Bazilian and Rob Hyman (of The Hooters) as her primary studio musicians, She's So Unusual's popularity spread like wildfire. At the time, Lauper became popular with teenagers and critics, in part due to her hybrid punk image, crafted by stylist Patrick Lucas
In 1986, We are the World won four awards at the 1986 Grammy Awards: Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals and Best Music Video, Short Form, However none of thes awards went to Lauper, Quincy Jones, the producer won three, while Song of the Year went to the composers of the song, Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie.
In 1986, Lauper appeared on the Billy Joel album The Bridge on a song called "Code of Silence". Lauper also sang the theme song for the series "Pee-wee's Playhouse" the same year, though she was credited as "Ellen Shaw". Playhouse star Paul Reubens appeared on the True Colors album track "911" as an emergency operator. In 1987, David Wolff produced a concert film for Lauper called Cyndi: Live in Paris. The concert was broadcast on HBO.
Lauper made her film debut in August 1988 in the quirky comedy Vibes, alongside Jeff Goldblum, Julian Sands, Elizabeth Peña and Peter Falk. Lauper played a psychic in search of a city of gold in South America. The film was produced by Ron Howard and David Wolff acted as the film's associate producer.
To prepare for the role, Lauper took a few classes in finger waving and hair setting at the Robert Fiance School of Beauty in New York and studied with a few Manhattan psychics. The film was poorly received by critics and commercially flopped. Lauper contributed a track called "Hole in My Heart (All the Way to China)" but the song was not included on the soundtrack. A video was released, which was a high energy, comic action/adventure romp through a Chinese laundry. The song stalled at a disappointing #54 on the US charts, but fared better in Australia, peaking at #8 and becoming her fifth and final Top 10 single in Australia. It was performed as the opening song on her 2008 Australian tour.
Lauper has been married to David Thornton since 1991. They have one son, Declyn Wallace Thornton, born November 19, 1997. Lauper was raised Roman Catholic and attended Catholic school. She refers to herself as a "Recovering Catholic".