Where Hope Lives

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

Carol Channing, the star of “Hello, Dolly!,” died on Tuesday, January 15, 2019. She was 97 years old.

Channing was best known for her Tony Award winning portrayal of Dolly Levi in the 1964 hit Broadway musical “Hello, Dolly!” and her starring role in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” in 1949. Her first award winning performance, however, was in 1956 with “The Vamp.” She received another Tony nomination in 1961 for her work on “Show Girl.” After “Hello, Dolly!” Channing received yet another Tony Award for her role in the 1974 musical “Lorelei.”

In addition to her work on stage, the Broadway legend also had a successful film career. Channing took home a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award nomination for her work on “Thoroughly Modern Millie” in 1967. She also appeared in “The First Traveling Saleslady” and “Skiddo” in 1956 and 1968 respectively. Besides working on the silver screen, Channing had several roles on television shows. Among those shows were “Hollywood Squares,” “Alice in Wonderland” and “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Channing also made several TV specials starting with the 1966 special “An Evening with Carol Channing.”

In 1981, Channing’s varied body of work and unusual talent were recognized with her induction into the American Theater Hall of Fame. In 1995, she received a Lifetime Achievement Tony Award, and the Drama Critics Circle awarded her a similar award the following year.

Channing continued to perform well into her 90’s. She would sing songs from her repertoire and share stories with fans in a cabaret style. In addition, Channing released an autobiography in 2002 titled “Just Lucky I Guess.” A decade later, a documentary about her life and career, “Larger Than Life,” was broadcast.

Channing was not quite as successful in her romantic life as she was on stage. She was married no less than three times. Her final husband, Harry Kullijian, was a middle school classmate of Channing. The two reunited after 70 years apart and married in 2003. Unfortunately, Kullijian died of an aneurism in 2011.

Channing had a long career on stage and will be missed by fans of her film and theater work alike. She is survived by her son, cartoonist Channing Carson, and the impact she made on Broadway.

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

Penny Marshall, the beloved star of the ABC comedy “Laverne & Shirley,” died in the evening on Monday, December 17, 2018. The cause of the actress’ death was determined to be complications stemming from diabetes. Marshall was 75 years old.

Marshall was the first woman to direct a film that grossed more than $100 million, and she was only the second female director to see her film receive an Oscar nomination for best picture. Her first feature length directorial project was “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” in 1986, but it was her second outing that made her name as a director. In 1988, Marshall’s sentimental comedy “Big” grossed over $150 million worldwide and sported an Oscar nominated performance by Tom Hanks.

As an actress, Marshall is best known for her work on “Laverne & Shirley.” The show premiered in January of 1976 and was an immediate smash hit in terms of ratings. As such, people quickly began working to capitalize on the show’s popularity and generate ancillary revenue. Only a few months after the show’s debut, Marshall and Williams were asked to record an album called “Laverne & Shirley Sing.” They later performed a song from the album for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in November 1976. The song they chose to sing while riding the float was a cover of the Crystals’ hit “Da Do Ron Ron.” The show also inspired an animated series that had Marshall and Williams voicing the characters. The show came to include Fonzie and was wedded to the animated version of “Mork & Mindy.” This resulted in “The Mork & Mindy/Laverne & Shirely/Fonz Hour” on ABC. The show mashup inspired tie-in merchandise that included a board game, puzzles and dolls of the characters such as Laverne, Shirley, Lenny and Squiggy. Years later, Marshall would end up acting as the director of some of the episodes of “Laverne & Shirley” herself as her first attempt at directing.

In 2009, Marshall was diagnosed with lung and brain cancer. She managed, however, to make a complete recovery. Unfortunately, it was her diabetes that later caused her death. She passed away in her home and is survived by her daughter, Tracy Reiner.

George_HW_BushGeorge H.W. Bush died November 30, less than 8 months after the death of his wife of 73 years Barbara Bush in April. The former president was 94 years old making him the longest lived U.S. president in history. “Jeb, Neil, Marvin, Doro and I are saddened to announce that after 94 remarkable years, our dear Dad has died,” his son, former President George W. Bush, said in a statement released by family spokesman Jim McGrath. “George H.W. Bush was a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for. The entire Bush family is deeply grateful for 41’s life and love, for the compassion of those who have cared and prayed for Dad, and for the condolences of our friends and fellow citizens.”

George H.W. Bush was born on June 12, 1924, in Milton, Massachusetts. He enlisted in the armed forces when he turned 18 and was the youngest pilot in the Navy when he received his wings. He flew 58 combat missions during World War II and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for bravery in action.

Following WWII, Bush turned his energy to completing his education at Yale University and toward his family. He married Barbara Pierce in January of 1945, and they had six children, George, Robin, John called Jeb, Neil, Marvin and Dorothy. Unfortunately, Robin died as a child.

George H.W. Bush entered public service and politics in 1966 when he was elected to serve as a Representative from the 7th congressional district. In 1980, he was elected to an even higher office when he was tapped by Ronald Reagan to serve as his running mate and Vice President. In 1988, George H.W. Bush ran for the presidency and defeated Michael Dukakis in the election.

George H.W. Bush served the American people during a dramatically changing time as the Communist empire failed, the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union dissolved. He was also Commander in Chief when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. Under George H.W. Bush’s leadership, 425,000 American troops and 118,000 troops from allied nations defeated Iraq’s massive army in what would come to be called Desert Storm.

The U.S. grieves the loss of a former president and flags everywhere are flying at half-mast in mourning as people across the nation express their condolences to the Bush family.

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of “SpongeBob SquarePants,” died on Monday, November 26, 2018. He was 57 years old. The cause of death was Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord and results in a loss of muscle strength and control.

Hillenburg originally began his time at Nickelodean with “Rocko’s Modern Life” in the mid 1990’s, but his magna opus “SpongeBob” had roots farther back in his past. Hillenburg was a marine biology teacher at the Orange County Marine Institute, now the Ocean Institute, in Dana Point, California. While working there, he wrote and illustrated stories to use as teaching tools. These would later become the various citizens of Bikini Bottom. In 1987, he went back to school to pursue a degree in Experimental Animation at the California Institute of Arts in Valencia. The year he graduated, he won the Best Animated Concept Award at the Ottawa International Animation Festival for his short “Wormholes.”

“SpongeBob,” Hillenburg’s best known creation, first aired on May 1, 1999. After the success of that first episode, the series commenced its full run on July 17 of the same year. The show has currently aired nearly 250 episodes and been on TV for almost 20 years. It has been dubbed or subtitled in over 60 languages, including Urdu and Maori, and earned a variety of awards such as U.S. and British Emmy Awards, Annie Awards and ASACP Awards.

“We are incredibly saddened by the news that Steve Hillenburg has passed away following a battle with ALS,” Nickelodeon said in a statement. “He was a beloved friend and long-time creative partner to everyone at Nickelodeon, and our hearts go out to his entire family. Steve imbued ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ with a unique sense of humor and innocence that has brought joy to generations of kids and families everywhere. His utterly original characters and the world of Bikini Bottom will long stand as a reminder of the value of optimism, friendship and the limitless power of imagination.”

Hillenburg is survived by his wife, Karen; his son, Clay; his mother, Nancy; his brother, Brian; his sister-in-law, Isabel; his nieces, Emma and Hazel, as well as a tie-wearing sponge and his friends, the varied and quirky sea creatures that continue to inhabit Bikini Bottom.