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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Pernell Roberts "Mata Hari" star dies!

LOS ANGELES — Pernell Roberts, the ruggedly handsome actor who shocked Hollywood by leaving TV's "Bonanza" at the height of its popularity, then found fame again years later on "Trapper John, M.D.," has died. He was 81. Roberts, the last surviving member of the classic Western's cast, died of cancer on Sunday January 24th 2010 at his Malibu home, his wife Eleanor Criswell told the Los Angeles Times. Although he rocketed to fame in 1959 as Adam Cartwright, eldest son of a Nevada ranching family led by Lorne Greene's patriarchal Ben Cartwright, Roberts chafed at the limitations he felt his "Bonanza" character was given. "They told me the four characters (Greene, himself and Dan Blocker and Michael Landon as his brothers) would be carefully defined and the scripts carefully prepared," he complained to The Associated Press in 1964. "None of it ever happened." It particularly distressed him that his character, a man in his 30s, had to continually defer to the wishes of his widowed father. "Doesn't it seem a bit silly for three adult males to get Father's permission for everything they do?" he once asked a reporter. Roberts agreed to fulfill his six-year contract but refused to extend it, and when he left the series in 1965, his character was eliminated with the explanation that he had simply moved away." Bonanza," with its three remaining stars, continued until 1973, making it second to "Gunsmoke" as the longest-running Western on TV. Blocker died in 1972, Greene in 1987, and Landon in 1991.When Roberts left the show the general feeling in Hollywood was that he had foolishly doomed his career and turned his back on a fortune in "Bonanza" earnings.
Indeed, for the next 14 years he mainly made appearances on TV shows and in miniseries, or toured with such theatrical productions as "The King and I, "Camelot" and "The Music Man." Pernell Roberts was also the leading man in the short lived ill fated musical "Mata Hari" with Austrian beauty Marisa Mell. The play never got to Broadway! His TV credits during that time included "The Virginian," "Hawaii Five-O," "Mission Impossible," "Marcus Welby, M.D.," "Banacek," "Ironside" and "Mannix."Then, in 1979, he landed another series, "Trapper John, M.D.," in which he played the title role. The character, but little else, was spun off from the brilliant Korean War comedy-drama "M-A-S-H," in which Wayne Rogers had played the offbeat Dr. "Trapper" John McIntire opposite Alan Alda's Dr. Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce.Rogers had left that series after just three seasons. In "Trapper John, M.D.," the Korean War was nearly 30 years past and Roberts' character was now a balding, middle-aged chief of surgery at San Francisco Memorial Hospital. He no longer fought the establishment, having learned how to deal with it with patience and wry humor. The series, praised for its serious treatment of the surgical world, aired until 1986.Roberts' other venture into series TV was "FBI: The Untold Stories" (1991-1993), in which he acted as host and narrator. Pernell Roberts Jr. was born in 1928 in Waycross, Ga. As a young man, he once commented, "I distinguished myself by flunking out of college three times." After pursuing occupations that ranged from tombstone maker to railroad riveter, he decided to become an actor.Roberts worked extensively in regional theaters, then gained notice in New York, where he won a Drama Desk award in 1956 for his performance in an off-Broadway production of "Macbeth." He eventually moved to Hollywood, where he appeared in several TV shows and landed character roles in such features as "Desire Under the Elms," "The Sheepman" and "Ride Lonesome" until "Bonanza" made him a star.Three of Roberts' marriages ended in divorce. His first, to Vera Mowry, produced a son, Jonathan, who died in 1989 at age 37.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Man Who Loved Sirens!

During the course of the past two years this blog has highlighted several times the career of one of Italy's and probably the world's best movie star and fashion photographer: Angelo Frontoni. During almost 50 years, from the 1950's untill his untimely death in 2002, Angelo Frontoni was "the glamour photographer" for magazine's like Vogue, Harper's Bazar, Photo, Paris Match, Stern, Playboy... and many, many more. Angelo Frontoni with Sophia Loren
This amazing photographer with an unsurpassed eye for the use of light, color and composition entered the professional field around 1957 when one of his best friends starlet Gina Lollobrigida asked him to photograph her on and off set during the filming of her latest movie "La donna più bella del mondo". That was all the start of his career needed. He never looked back. In the course of several years his stardom rose never to be faded. After his death in 2002 Angelo Frontoni left an archive of more than 500.000 photo's being one of the most important historic archives in the world of movie and fashion history. Because of the importance of this archive, it's curatorship was devided between two important Italian movie organisations: "Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia" and "Museo Nationale del Cinema". This guaranteed that his legacy would never get lost, was archived in the most professional way and would become object of study for many future generations of movie students, photographers, fashion addicts...
To honor this great photographer, both organisations created in 2007 a traveling exhibition called "Angelo Frontoni: Mediterraneo - Bellezze Al Bagno" under the curatorship of Sergio Toffetti. During this exhibition, 30 photo's were shown taken by Frontoni between 1960-1970 of the then most famous female stars and starlets in Italian cinema while they were relaxing during the hot summer months on one of Italy's many beaches like Fregene, Ostia, Fiumicino, Sabaudia or Sperlonga. They show the actresses in completely different settings than the classic movie sets or photo studios, not staged or arranged by public relation agencies during a time when beauty was still natural without plastic surgery or any other gimmick. (Virna Lisi, co-star with Marisa Mell in two movies: "Casanova '70" in 1965 and "Le Dolci Signore" in 1968) (Elsa Martinelli, co-star with Marisa Mell in "Una Sull'Altra" in 1969.)
(Edwige Fenech, giallo and Italian sexy comedy still reigning Eurocult-queen. Strangely Marisa Mell never made a movie with her!)
(Anna Maria Ferrero, forgotten Italian cult actress with more than 50 movies to her credit from 1950 untill 1964. She left the movie business after marrying another Eurocult star Jean Sorel, co-star with Marisa Mell in "Una Sull'Altra" in 1969. They are still married!)(German star Elke Sommer, during the filming of one of her most sexy movies "Deadlier Than Male" in 1968. She will turn 70 this year on November 5th.)(Annette Froyberg, later Annette Vadim, after marrying French director Roger Vadim. Annette Vadim was Ken Russell's first choice for the role of Françoise Fayol in his 1964 movie "French Dressing". She fell ill during pre-production and was replaced by Marisa Mell.)(Anna Maria Pierangeli, better known as "Pier Angeli", was one of the 50's and 60's cult actresses in Europa and America. She was once engaged to James Dean, Kirk Douglas but ultimately married superstar singer Vic Damone. Unfortenately, their married life ended in a War of the Roses-type of divorce leaving her devastated. Once in Europe, she tried to revive her career but it was not to be so she killed herself at the age of 37 in her home in Beverly Hills, Hollywood on September 10th 1971.) (Alessandra Panaro played during the 50's and 60's mostly in peplum and western movies. She left the business around 1965, although appeared again last year to do an episode on a long running Brazilian sitcom at the age of 70.)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

"Harmoniebilder" by Irene Rohrmoser (Exclusive interview)

At the end of the 70’s and beginning of the 80’s the movie career of Marisa Mell was slowly coming to an end. Movie offers were dwindling very fast in a rapid changing Italian movie and television landscape with the rise of the (free) commercial television stations on cable and satellite. Although there was a huge demand for broadcast content to feed the always hungry time tables of those stations from early in the morning until very late at night, the once flourishing Italian Cinema Bis could not sustain this pressure and collapsed.

That content had to be made very cheap, very quick and be very popular to attract massive audiences like endless soaps, series, telenovela’s, game and talk shows preferably with very young peroxy blond starlets as décor and an older male presenter or show host whose only interest was hearing himself endlessly talk and talk and talk. Those programmes could be molded around the financially important commercials, movies could not. And finally there was so much more quick money to be made at that time with the booming commercial television stations than in the very slow process of making and marketing movies. So Marisa Mell had to look elsewhere to find her income after two very financially successful decades giving her a luxurious jet set lifestyle but in the end an empty bank account.Nude photography for skin magazines like Italian Playboy or High Society was one venue for a beautiful women in her 40’s but that source would dry up very easily due to the limited amount of quality nude magazines in the world unless she made the transfer to hardcore porn like Karen Schubert, another Austrian Eurocult actress, did in 1985, after the end of her film career.(BTW what did happen to Karin Schubert after her porn career died? Where is she living now?) That was a road Marisa Mell was not willing to take, although she got some very tempting offers to cash in on her still very recognisable name in Southern Europe, especially in Italy and Spain. So around mid 1980’s she left expensive Rome and her sunny Italian lifestyle and came back to Vienna, her home town since her theatre school days, directing her career into another kind of segment of the arts like… drawing and painting, hoping to make another decent living. During the year 1988, Marisa Mell had painted together some kind of body of work that was good enough in her eyes to be shown to the world. One of those exhibitions was held in Vienna where she made the acquaintance with another young creative women at the beginning of her own career in photography. The beautiful lady was called Irene Rohrmoser.Irene Rohrmoser remembers: "That is a picture from long ago, so I do not remember much about it. What I do remember is that Marisa Mell was living again in Vienna, after her stay in Italy. She had no money. It was one of two evenings that I have met her. The exhibition had as central theme "dogs" that Marisa had painted. I think that it were "Malthesers" but I am not sure of it. My job at the exhibition was to document it for the press. I also remember her being very charming and nice with a deep velvety voice. During the meeting we had a nice talk about creating pictures and the subject of probably new exhibitions like animals which she liked very much. This is the only picture that I have of her. The other time that I met her was during the premiere of her last movie called "I love Vienna" together with other actors of the movie. She also was an actress on stage of the Wiener Rathaus. I know that during X-mas 1991 she was so needing that she had accepted a job as cook for a Vienna priest called "Father Laun". A few months later she sadly died. Thanks to this nice priest she received a grave on the Kahlenbergerdorf Graveyard, being so poor she was otherwise not able to afford one." During the following years Irene Rohrmoser went on to become a prominent commercial photographer in Vienna, Austria. During her professional life she discovered her talent to take stunning photos of every day objects like flowers, drops of water, rocks... and turn those photos into very powerful meditational pictures that vibrate on a conscious and subconscious level for the viewer that sees them. But let's hear Irene Rohrmoser tell us about this wonderful meditational tool in her own words:

"Innere Balance gewinnen mit speziell dafür aufgenommenen Fotos.
Unser BewusstSein wieder in Einklang bringen…
SEHEN, HÖREN , LESEN auch Sie tagtäglich Berichte über
Unfälle, Kriege, Überfälle und andere Gewalttaten ….
Bekommen auch SIE diese Berichte dann noch untermauert mit zum
Teil grausamen Bildern, damit sich diese negativen Informationen auch
besonders gut bei Ihnen EINPRÄGEN ?!
Diese „Aufnahmen“ nehmen SIE im „wahrsten“ Sinne des Wortes IN
SICH auf….sie setzen sich FEST im Unterbewusstsein – sie
PROGRAMMIEREN uns !!!…. Sie werden sicher bemerkt haben,
Sie manche von den Bildern lange Zeit nicht aus dem SINN bekommen,
oft machen Sie diese Bilder betroffen, zornig, Sie schlafen schlechter,
schlimmer noch, Sie verändern mit der Zeit IHR Wesen…. Es macht
Sie ängstlich, nervös und im schlimmsten Falle AGRESSIV, obwohl
das wahrscheinlich gar nicht Ihrem Wesen entspricht….
Das liegt ganz einfach daran, dass diese NEGATIVEN Informationen,
diese Bilder (= diese PROGRAMMIERUNGEN) Sie aus Ihrem
emotionalen Gleichgewicht bringen…..
Wie Sie sicher wissen, haben wir alle „zwei Seiten“ um es einfach
auszudrücken, „Yin und Yang“ nennt man es im chinesischen , bei uns
oft einfach nur „helle und dunkle Seiten“, etc….
Wenn Sie nun täglich nur EINE Seite in Ihnen „füttern“, nur EINE
Seite zu sehr „ausleben“, dann beginnt in Ihrem Inneren das
Gleichgewicht, die BALANCE zu kippen !
Dazu trägt noch das tägliche Einerlei bei, zu viel Stress, vielleicht
Ärger in der Schule, in der Firma, Hektik im Strassenverkehr, etc…. Sie
alle wissen davon sicher ein Lied zu singen….
Ihre innerliche „WAAGE “ sehnt sich vermehrt nach Lebensfreude,
Spaß, Muße, Ruhe, Zärtlichkeit, einfach wieder mehr nach der schönen
Seite des Lebens!!!
Mit MEINEN Bildern will ich persönlich dazu beitragen, Sie wieder
mehr in „Ihre“ Balance zu bringen…( den negativen Programmierungen
Meine Bilder sollen Ihnen über die visuelle Ebene MEHR Freude,
MEHR Ruhe, MEHR Schönheit vermitteln, sie sollen Sie GANZ
EINFACH WIEDER vermehrt GLÜCKLICHER sein lassen…
Sehen Sie sich auf meiner Webseite meine „Energetischen Bilder“ an, die
alle zu dem Zweck fotografiert wurden, Ihre „helle“ Seite wieder zum
Vorschein zu bringen….

If you like to learn more about the work of Irene Rohrmoser and the power of her pictures which can all be bought as very beautiful prints you can visit her at:

Thanks to Irene Rohrmoser for her generous contribution to this entry!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Cavaliere della Nuova Europa

Agenzia Ansa: "Roma, Aprile 1983. L'attrice Austriaca Marisa Mell é stata insignita del titolo di "Cavaliere della Nuova Europa", un ordine religioso cavalleresco. La ceremonia si é svolta nella Basilica di San Giovianni in Laterano à Roma. Nella foto: Marisa Mell che indossa il mantello del "Cavaliere della Nuova Europa". "
According to Marisa Mell fan from Austria Robert Schwarzbauer is the caption on the back of the photo not entirely correct. The "Cavaliere della Nuova Europa" is not a religious order of knights but a prize rewarded to artists for their achievements in their respective fields of the arts! Which organisation or institution this reward gives is not known he says. Thanks for the info, Robert!