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Saturday, May 23, 2015


Israel Kamakawiwoole would have been 59, except he passed away 17 years ago, two years before the birth of Jackie Evancho.   Iz's Somewhere Over the Rainbow / What a Wonderful World must be in more commercials and television programs than anything else.  He was part of the Hawaiian Renaissance with formation of the Makaha Sons of Niihau in 1976, nearly 40 years ago.  To the left a young Iz.  Above photo was taken in 1993 four years before he passed away of obesity.   Here is an hour live concert.

Jackie Evancho shot to stardom at the age of ten on America's Got Talent.  Here is her first national performance (more than 11 million clicks) on that show, probably the most stunningly transcendent moment for me watching television, although Susan Boyle's premiere (this site has been visited more than 8.5 million times) at the age of 47 on Britain's Got Talent was almost as memorable.  Not sure if this is really Jackie at 15, but the following comes from her web page:

Born Cherilyn Sarkisian, Cher is now 69, and gained fame with her husband Sonny Bono half a century ago with I Got You Babe.  He was 11 years older, and their marriage produced Chastity Bono, who went on to become Chaz (below left).

They met when she was 16, and he introduced her to Phil Spector, where she ended up singing backup on the Ronettes Be My Baby and the Righteous Brothers You've Lost That Loving Feeling.    Cher's marriage to Gregg Allman resulted in Elijah Blue (right).  Her date list is lengthy, and includes Tom Cruise.  She went on to earn an Oscar in 1988 as Best Actress for Moonstruck, and a decade later established the contralto "Cher effect" with Believe.  She has also won a Grammy and an Emmy.  

I find this list difficult to accept, but according to Billboard, her top song is Half Breed (she is part Cherokee), with The Beat Goes On at #12 and no sign of The Shoop Shoop Song, originally made popular by Betty Everett 51 years ago.  She has throughout her spectacular career continued to re-invent herself, still tours and is expected to semi-star in a Broadway show of her life, possibly this year.  Cher today on the right.

Let me end with Hugh Hefner, who is 89 and still alive.  Sixty-two years ago, Heffner, this conservative midwesterner who was kind of religious, launched Playboy, with $8000 from 45 investors, including $1000 from his mother, who did not think well of the venture.  The first issue featured Marilyn Monroe from her 1949 nude calendar shoot, where he sold 50,000 copies and we all came kicking and screaming into his brave new world.  You can get that mag Hef is holding from Amazon for $4000.  Google Blogspot is rather puritanical about nude pictures, but I can show the cover, though not the innards, which for those times, were eye-popping.  Hey, you can go to them by just clicking on the cover, and I guess there were two:

He bought the crypt next to Marilyn at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery.  Basically, he epitomized the term playboy and started the sexual revolution.

My only connection to him is that I'm in the same eating society--Chaine des Rotisseurs--as Barbi Benton, here to the right today, at the age of 65.  She said His Mansion was a candy store for men.  Much of Bill Cosby's philandering and subsequent lawsuit occurred here.  A typical party we all missed:

The connection of the four is that if you look closely at the above photo, you can see Iz, Jackie's father, Cher and Hugh.  Nah, just kidding.


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