The dreadfully sad news that gifted actor Chadwick Boseman has passed away through cancer at the tragically early age of 43. Born in South Carolina in 1976, he wrote plays, acted and directed in theatre and had small roles in television, before landing his breakthrough role as iconic baseball player Jackie Robinson in 2013’s movie 42. His talent was obvious and he was soon dazzling audiences, with highlights including starring as James Brown in Get on Up (2014) and Thurgood Marshall in Marshall (2017).
But it was as T’Challa, the king of the African nation of Wakanda in Black Panther (2018), that he is most associated. It wasn’t just anyone who could have played such an iconic figure, one who represented so much and to so many. Known for his kindness, his sensitivity, his dedication to the craft as well as his natural warmth, grace and presence on camera, Chadwick Boseman was perfect for the role of such a respected leader. The fact Boseman was privately battling cancer for the final four years of his life while working as hard as ever and still continuing to inspire everyone around him, showed what a superhero he really was. Wakanda forever.
“I wanted to be an actor ever since I was a kid in the second grade. I did a play, and my mother made a black apron, and I played a shoemaker. After the performance, [my father] gave me my first Oscar: an ice cream cone.”
Farewell to the Hollywood legend that was Kirk Douglas (1916 – 2020). As well as his acting talents (including starring in of my favourite ever films Paths of Glory), he was also known for his producing, directing and writing talents. The New-York born star was also widely recognised for his philanthropy and for helping end the Hollywood blacklist.
“I’ve been through a lot and I realise the future can’t be controlled. I’m not worried. You can always learn to overcome difficulties.”
“You appreciate that it is very easy to die and you have to arrange your life to cope with that reality.”
It was with great sadness I read that Formula 1 great Niki Lauda had passed away at the age of 70. Courage comes in many forms and he had it throughout his life. The courage to go against his family’s wishes and follow his dream, the courage to drive a car at the fastest of speeds on all kinds of tracks and the courage to race (and win) again after a horrific accident that had lasting physical and mental damage. Farewell Niki Lauda, who was always far more than a 3 time Formula 1 World Champion.
“I used to be embarrassed because I was just a comic-book writer while other people were building bridges or going on to medical careers. And then I began to realise: entertainment is one of the most important things in people’s lives. Without it they might go off the deep end. I feel that if you’re able to entertain people, you’re doing a good thing.”
“Another definition of a hero is someone who is concerned about other people’s well-being, and will go out of his or her way to help them – even if there is no chance of a reward. That person who helps others simply because it should or must be done, and because it is the right thing to do, is indeed without a doubt, a real superhero.”
I wouldn’t normally use two quotes for a post, but it was impossible to choose between these two. Thanks to his many dynamic and modern Marvel creations like Spiderman, Thor, Hulk, Black Panther and the X-Men, the 95-year-old Lee helped launch the comic books revolution that has led to the incredible popularity of blockbuster superhero films. Thank you Stan Lee (1922 – 2018).
This is the spectacular installation at the Tower of London, commemorating 100 years since Armastice Day. There are 10,000 flames, which represent not just the soldiers who lost their lives, but all those who were bereaved or affected by the war. Each flame is ceremonially lit, creating a circle of light around the tower as a powerful symbol of remembrance. The lighting takes 4–50 minutes and the flames remain lit for around four hours. I really recommend you see this post from a previous commemoration.
Alright, that’s it. I’ve had enough of you two jack-asses. I’ve spent the whole night listening to you making cracks about the food and the help. Well, I got news for you: People like this place. I like this place. And when you insult this restaurant, you insult me. You know, I used to think you two took after your mother, liking the ballet and all that, but your mother liked a good ball game too. She even had a hot dog once in a while. She may have had fancy tastes, but she had too much class to ever make me or anybody else feel second-rate. If she saw the way you two have behaved tonight, she’d be ashamed. I know I am.
As said by John Mahoney (1940 – 2018), who played the part of Martin Crane in the critically acclaimed seattle-based sitcom Frasier. In the many warm and heartfelt tributes after his sad passing, it was clear that how highly regarded he was an actor. But even the most casual of readers of my blog will know how big a fan of Frasier I am. And so he will always be Marty Crane to me, who, despite a stubborn and gruff exterior, had a huge heart and was immensely proud of both his sons. But just like the best fathers he wasn’t afraid to call them out on their bad behaviour, remind them of their roots and family responsability.
I’d say love was a magical thing I’d say love would keep us from pain Had I been there, had I been there.
A Different Corner from the Music from the Edge of Heaven album (1986) has long been one of my favourite George Michael songs. With its heartfelt lyrics and gorgeous vocals, it really does highlight how special he was. A UK number one, it was written, sung, played produced and arranged by George himself, the first British person to do so. I never thought I would be writing a George Michael dedication for quite some time, 53 is no age at all. George had a ridiculous amount of talent and as long as I can remember listening to music he was always around. I even quoted one of his lyrics for Last Christmas only a few weeks ago. It’s also clear from the many tributes just how kind, caring and generous he was.
Sometimes you can only find Heaven by slowly backing away from Hell.
In tribute to the very sad passing of Carrie Fisher (1956 – 2016). As well as playing the iconic Princess Leia, Fisher also had success in numerous roles including Hannah and her Sisters, The ‘Burbs and When Harry Met Sally. Off-screen she published several books and was an inspirational figure around the world for her honesty, humility and empathy. Her hard work and dedication to different causes was also recognised by different awards such as Harvard’s Annual Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism. Her mother, the actress and humanitarian Debbie Reynolds (1932 – 2016) will also be missed.
As I described in my last post, there will never be anyone like David Bowie. He really does belong in the same realm as the likes of Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury. Genius musicians with incredible stage presence and a seemingly infinite level of creativity and influence that have inspired every generation. Below are my favourite songs from the Brixton maestro. Even allowing that quite a few of his most famous hits are on the list, they still omit some some real gems. Songs like Life on Mars, Under Pressure, Dancing in the Street, Modern Love, The Man who Sold the World, China Girl, Fame and Young Americans would have still made it a quality Gr8at. Which of his songs have you most connected with?