The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: Obituaries

Elizabeth Taylor's Obituary -- Outtakes From a Work in Progress

  Nov. 27, 1957, Michael Todd, Elizabeth Taylor  
  Photograph by George R. Fry Jr./Los Angeles Times  

Nov. 27, 1957: Michael Todd and Elizabeth Taylor.

Elaine Woo has a nice post about writing the obituary on Elizabeth Taylor, including some items cut from the final piece:

Elizabeth Taylor's death Wednesday moved me in an odd way. Although I never met or spoke to her, I had a "relationship" with her that spanned a dozen years: Hers was the first advance obituary I ever wrote for The Times. The assignment, which I received in 1999, probably was precipitated by one of Taylor's nearly annual brushes with death. I read a mountain of articles and books over a three-month period before writing a lengthy piece. And nearly every year since then I updated the article, adding a worthwhile quote or details about her latest illness. I felt I had come to know her and, unlike many of my subjects, I liked her.

Remembering Elizabeth Taylor: 1932 - 2011

  Feb. 6, 1945, National Velvet  

Feb. 6, 1945: “National Velvet” opens in Los Angeles.

  Michael Todd and Elizabeth Taylor, March 28, 1957  
  Photograph by John Malmin/Los Angeles Times  

March 27, 1957: Michael Todd poses with Elizabeth Taylor after “Around the World in 80 Days” won the Academy Award for best picture.

  Nov. 12, 1981, Elizabeth Taylor  

Nov. 12, 1981: Charles Champlin reflects on Elizabeth Taylor’s career after a tribute to her at the Ahmanson Theatre.
After viewing clips from many of Taylor’s films, Champlin says: “You gaze wistfully upon the shining child and the radiant girl and the ravishingly sensual woman, and are then pleased and inspired to discover in maturity the ripe and indefatigable joie de vivre, the inexhaustible capacity to find amusement in the world.”

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Jimmie Fidler in Hollywood, March 22, 1941

  March 22, 1941, Serb Uproar  

March 22, 1941,  Comics  

Spring Street, 1896
  Los Angeles Times file photo  

March 22, 1941: Lee Shippey writes about photographer Charles Chester “C.C.” Pierce (d. 1946), who has spent 55 years documenting Los Angeles. As Shippey notes, many of Pierce’s photographs are at the Huntington (51 linear feet!). This Pierce photo shows Spring Street in 1896, before it was straightened out. Notice the cable car tracks. 
The war, there seems no doubt, will change a great many of our materialistic standards, reducing the importance of wealth, position and inherited power. Something will have to replace these. The most likely candidates are religion, the arts and a new political philosophy, Tom Treanor says. 

NO BELLS to Charlie Chaplin for asking a local theater manager to rerun the feature picture on the comedian's arrival, and leaving in a huff when the manager refused, Jimmie Fidler says. 


C.C. Pierce on the Daily Mirror

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Voices: Warren Christopher, 1925 -- 2011


Warren M. Christopher, who died Friday, was an occasional contributor to The Times. I’m posting two pieces from 1977, when he was deputy secretary of State. One essay, adapted from a commencement speech, deals with  the actions of a Foreign Service officer evacuating the U.S. diplomatic post in Ethiopia.

The other essay takes a look at the Carter administration’s campaign for human rights:

"When human beings are forcibly abducted from their homes, interrogated incessantly at the pleasure of their captors and prodded with electrodes or held under water to the point of drowning -- when such things are happening around the world, as they are, all who truly value human rights must speak out."

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Jimmie Fidler in Hollywood, March 14, 1941

  March 14, 1941, British Open Vast Air Offensive  

  March 14, 1941, Comics  

March 14, 1941: Some time ago, this column told of the work of Ruby Berkley Goodwin, the Fullerton Negro poetess whose work has attracted national attention. Wendell Malliet & Co., New York, have just announced Mrs. Goodwin's first volume of poetry, "From My Kitchen Window," Lee Shippey says. 

THAT GREAT-WINGED monster, the B-19, is almost finished. I saw it yesterday and it was like seeing a nightmare, according to Tom Treanor.

Ask Paramount why Luise Rainer isn't being tested for Maria in "For Whom the Bell Tolls?" She'd be terrific, Jimmie Fidler says.

Also on the jump: Ruby Berkley Goodwin, former personal secretary to Hattie McDaniel and Ethel Waters, dies in 1961 at the age of 58.
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Architectural Ramblings, March 5, 1911


  March 5, 1911, Chalet  


  236 Adelaide  

236 Adelaide Drive via Google maps’ street view.

  March 5, 1911, Chalet  

March 5, 1911: The Times features the new home of Los Angeles capitalist Isaac Milbank at 236 Adelaide Drive, Santa Monica. According to the clips, Milbank, a former executive of the New York Condensed Milk Co. (later Borden) and Union Oil, only lived here a few years before building an even bigger home at 3340 Country Club Drive, where he was living at the time of his death in 1922 at the age of 58.

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Upton Sinclair House for Sale

  Sept. 16, 1923, Upton Sinclair House  

  Upton Sinclair House  

Photo courtesy of Cecilia Farnum, Century 21



The Upton Sinclair House at 464 N. Myrtle Ave., Monrovia has been listed for sale at $1.5 million. The 1923 home was designed by Frederick H. Wallis for L.B. Vollmer (d. 1948), owner of the ‘Leven Oaks Hotel, 120 S. Myrtle Ave., in Monrovia. Vollmer had promised in 1911 to build the hotel if people bought lots in his subdivision.

Sinclair (d. 1968) bought the home in 1942 and was living there when he won the Pulitzer Prize for a novel in 1943 with “Dragon’s Teeth,” the third book in his Lanny Budd series. The Times clips shows that he moved out at various times for undisclosed “desert hideaways” but he apparently returned each time.
A year before he died, Sinclair left Monrovia for New Jersey to be closer to his son David, The Times said.

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Voices -- Jane Russell 1921 - 2011 [Updated]

  Jane Russell  
  Los Angeles Times file photo  

Jane Russell and Victor Mature visit with George Dolenz on the set of “The Las Vegas Story.”

  May 6, 1945, Jane Russell  

May 6, 1945: Jane Russell has Hollywood abuzz, The Times says.

[Update: Actress Jane Russell, star of Howard Hughes' 'The Outlaw,' dies at 89]

[Services are set for 11 a.m. March 12 at Pacific Christian Church, 3435 Santa Maria Way, Santa Maria.

Instead of flowers, her family suggests donations in her name to Care Net Pregnancy & Resource Center, 121 W. Battles, Santa Maria, CA  93458; or CASA of Santa Barbara County, 120 E. Jones Street, Ste. 130, Santa Maria, CA  93454.]

The Times has received word that Jane Russell has died at the age of 89. An obituary is in the works. More details to come…. 


Jane Russell on the Daily Mirror


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Movieland Mystery Photo [Updated]

  Los Angeles Time file photo  

I thought it would be fun to switch back to mystery people, so here’s today’s mystery guest!

[Update: Please congratulate Mike Hawks and Mary Mallory for identifying our mystery fellow!]

[Update 2: This is Tay Garnett in a photo published Feb. 22, 1935.]
There’s a new photo on the jump!

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On the Frontiers of Ethnomusicology

  Feb. 11, 1911, Flute  

  Feb. 11, 1911, Flute  

Feb. 11, 1911: Among the items at the Southwest Museum is a flute, made of a human bone, that was discovered while excavating Native American graves on Santa Catalina Island.  The flute was something of a rarity, The Times said, because it had six finger holes rather than three.

The museum asked various musicians to try playing the flute, but none was successful. Museum curator Hector Alliot (d. 1919) decided that "as the flute had been played by a people whose minds were as children's compared with the minds of the modern man, he would find the person to make the flute speak among the children."

Clifford Elliott Martindale was able to make a sound on the flute. “Suddenly a long, weird sound like a wail arose throughout the museum. It hung and quavered and then died away as Martindale gasped for more breath," The Times said. 

[No matter how many years I have spent looking at old newspapers, I am still amazed at some of the complete rubbish that was presented as scientific inquiry, particularly in the field of anthropology and archeology—lrh].
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Maria Schneider, Marlon Brando and 'Last Tango'

  March 15, 1973, Last Tango  

Maria Schneider, the co-star of “Last Tango in Paris,” has died at the age of 58. Here’s a March 11, 1973, Times feature on the movie for people who are too young to remember what a sensation it was at the time.

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Paul Coates, Feb. 2, 1961


  Feb. 2, 1961, Mirror Cover  

Feb. 2, 1961: Los Angeles County Supervisor Ernest Debs (d. 2002) calls for lower fares on buses and streetcars (yes, Los Angeles still had them in 1961) for senior citizens between 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. on weekdays and all day on Sundays. Paul Coates thinks it’s such a good idea that he says it should be extended to movie theaters and sporting events. 

Ernest E. Debs, 98; County Supervisor for 16 Years

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